LEGAL NEWS 04.05.2009

SC fixes July 28 for hearing black money issue

Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 4, 2009, 12:07 IST

The Supreme Court today posted for July 28 the hearing on the petition accusing government of inaction in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks.
Without issuing notice to the government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan allowed the petitioners Ram Jethmalani, senior advocate, and five others to file a comprehensive rejoinder to the affidavit filed by the Centre on May two on the issue.
The Bench also said that the Centre can also respond to the written submissions filed today by the petitioners, raising objections against the delay in filing of the affidavit in which it alleged that the petitioners had links with the BJP.
The petitioners accused the government of not honouring the April 22 promise of filing the affidavit within 48 hours. They said that the assurance to file the affidavit within 48 hours was given to avoid issuance of notice.
They said that in the affidavit the government had used the word “alleged deposits” which is directly contrary to everyone’s perception and knowledge including that of the Prime Minister.
Senior advocate Anil Diwan, appearing for the petitioners alleged that the affidavit filed by the government has not dealt with the facts that there was a fake passport case against Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan and investigations relating to money laundering were also being undertaken against him, and that he was involved in transactions with Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Pointing out various inactions against Khan who allegedly has stashed money in a Swiss Bank, the petitioners in written submissions said, “Is it not unreasonable to infer that the government is interested in protecting powerful individuals, who may be using Khan and his wife as their nominee/benamidar”.
Further, Diwan said, “The most important factor is that not even a single individual has been apprehended/interrogated by the government in the last five years in relation to money laundering and slush funds from illicit funds, parked abroad.”
Besides Jethmalani, five others including former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap, who are petitioners, have alleged that government was not taking action on the issue.
The PIL assumes importance as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani besides Left parties and others have been pressing the government to approach the foreign banks for bringing back the black money.
The petition sought a direction to the Centre to take up with the foreign banks, particularly the UBS Bank, Switzerland, the issue of freezing of accounts of Indian businessmen, politicians and other influential persons illegally holding their assets in such financial institutions.
The six petitioners, whom their counsel Diwan described as “super senior” citizens, had submitted that if the Rs 70 lakh crore, purportedly stashed in foreign banks, are retrieved it would substantially remove poverty in the country and promote its development.
In the 29-page affidavit, the government had said it has received information about Indian account holders in a German Bank but did not reveal the names on grounds of “confidentiality”.
The Ministry of Finance, in the affidavit, said German government made available the information after persistent follow up since February 2008 “on condition of strict confidentiality of contents under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).”
It had said the German government provided the information on March 18 this year about the Indian account holders in the LGT Bank, Liechtenstein. On the issue of deposits in banks in Switzerland, the affidavit had said Government has acted with utmost expedition.
The government had said that the PIL filed by former Law Minister and noted jurist Jethmalani and five others, accusing it of inaction was a “wild, reckless and baseless allegation”.

Government Files Affidavit in SC in Swiss Bank Accounts Case
May 3, 2009: The Center on Saturday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court in connection with Indian money illegally stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

The affidavit revealed that around Rs 72,000 crore were deposited in the accounts in name of horse trader Hasan Ali, his wife Raheema Khan and Ali’s friend Kashinath Tapuria.

The affidavit was filed in response to Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to seek government’s direction to bring back money in India.

Hasan Ali’s name had surfaced earlier in cases of fake passport and inappropriate assets.

Income Tax department is currently investigating the inappropriate assets case, whereas Ali has secured a bail in fake passports case.

The issue of hoarding Indian money in foreign banks was brought up by BJP leader L K Advani.

Advani had alleged that around Rs 25,00,000 crore was stashed in foreign bank accounts.

PIL against govt, I-T dept, Slocum over tax evasion
4 May 2009, 0253 hrs IST, M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed before Allahabad High Court against the government, income-tax department and Delhi-based Shiv Nadar group company Slocum Investment, alleging tax evasion using the Mauritius route.

The PIL, filed by a chartered accountant Atul Kakkar, alleges that around Rs 3,500 crore was siphoned out of India using Mauritius-based overseas commercial bodies (OCBs) allegedly managed from India. The list of respondents in the case include Slocum Investment, Union of India, finance ministry and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The petitioner has alleged that the government has not taken steps to check the loss of revenue arising from the complex round-trip transaction using Mauritius, with which India has a double taxation avoidance treaty.

When contacted an HCL spokesperson said: “Since it is a PIL, we believe it would not be appropriate to comment on the issue at the moment.”

According to the PIL, the modus operandi employed by the HCL group to circumvent tax payable in India was sent to all the authorities concerned but to no avail.

It consisted of HCL Technologies’ shares of Rs 4 face-value each being sold to Mauritius-based OCBs controlled by the Shiv Nadar group prior to listing for Rs 50 a share.

The sale was grossly undervalued as evident from the listing price of Rs 530. The shares were subsequently sold by the OCBs in the Indian stock markets at “astronomical” prices and resulted in value addition of Rs 3,500 crore.

The petitioner contends that while on the one hand the Nadar-controlled OCBs made huge profits that were not taxed in India even though they were managed from here, Slocum Investment filed its transactions in the shares as capital gains rather than business income at the time of declaration of income. In fact, these transactions were filed as long-term capital losses, which were offset against long-term capital gains from other transactions in shares.

The petitioner contends that his stand has been vindicated by an ITAT judgement of March 2006 in the case of Slocum Investment Vs. deputy commissioner of income tax, by Delhi Tribunal reported in 2007, wherein the departmental representative (DR) also acknowledged that the said shares were held as stock in trade and, thus, income arising out of sale of the said shares should be treated as business income.

“Thus it is very clear from the above facts that there has been considerable flight of capital out of the country by deliberate undervaluation of the assets,” claims the petitioner.

P-Notes in country’s larger interest: Centre tells SC
4 May 2009, 0233 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that investments through the issuance of participatory notes (P-Notes) are in the larger economic interest of the country.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court on Saturday, the government said, “The expert group on encouraging FII flows and checking the vulnerability of capital markets to speculative flows (the Lahiri committee) discussed by various concerns arising out of P-Notes issued by FIIs. The central government has decided the continuation of issuance of P-Notes is in the larger economic interests of the country”.

The affidavit is in response to a PIL filed by former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani and others contending that P-Notes were undesirable instruments since they did not disclose the true identity of investors. The PIL has been listed for hearing on Monday.

Significantly, the government said in its affidavit that it is “unable to subscribe to the position that evidence exists with Sebi that anonymous entities are misusing P-Notes in the Indian markets”.

It also said that Sebi is empowered to obtain information about the final holder/beneficiary or of any holder at any point of time in case of an investigation or inquiry. FIIs are now obliged to provide the requisite information to the markets regulator, the Centre said.

“The central government was duly informed by Sebi that the Sebi (FII) Regulations, 1995, as amended, already provided for disclosure of full information regarding P-Notes issued by the FIIs/sub-accounts/affiliates, as and when in such form as the Sebi may require,” the affidavit said.

The Centre said the monthly reporting format for FIIs requires them to provide “details of outsourcing ODIs”. It said Sebi is “adequately equipped” to call for any information regarding P-Notes both under provisions of the Sebi Act, 1992, and Regulation 20A of the Sebi (FII) Regulations, 1995.

“A FII in India is subject to money laundering and KYC requirements. Therefore … the nature of fund flow would be reflected in the accounts opened by FIIs with banks which in turn are under mandatory obligation to comply with the provisions of KYC and Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said affidavit filed by Priya VK Singh, director in the department of revenue.

High officials should not be given assignments post retirement: Justice JS Verma


Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has pleaded that those holding constitutional posts like Election Commissioner or Supreme Court judges should not be given post-retirement assignments by the government at least for the next 10 years.

The former CJI in Walk the Talk show on a TV channel, anchored by Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, also disapproved a former chief election commissioner joining a political party after retirement and becoming a minister in the Union Cabinet.

Justice Verma, who was the CJI in 1997-98, without taking name said he did not like the conduct of an ex-CJI who tried to secure nomination from a political party to become the President of India.

Justice Verma who dealt with Hawala case in which senior politicians of various political parties were the suspects, is also against political use of the CBI and also cited a case pending in the Supreme Court in which the CBI has taken several U-turns Although he did not name the case, the reference was obviously to the Disproportionate Asset case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in which the CBI has come under heavy fire from the Supreme Court for acting like a tool in the hands of the government.

Justice Verma who was also the head of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for a term of five years after retirement has also been pleading for the disclosure of assets by the judges, including the SC judges and had got faster resolution by the full SC to this effect when he was the CJI.

The present CJI Justice K G Balakrishnan is, however, opposed to the idea of judges revealing their assets.

Justice verma whose Walk the Talk interview was telecast last night by a private news channel, opposed high officials holding constitutional posts getting government assignments after retirement because, he felt such assignments adversely affect their independence and impartial functioning.

It was a bench headed by him as CJI that led to one-member Election Commission of India becoming multi-member with Chief Election Commissioner as its head, along with two Election Commissioners.

Mr T N Seshan was the CEC when Justice Verma was the CJI and he passed number of strictures against Mr Seshan.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana and several other political leaders were accused in the Hawala case, though later most of the political leaders were acquitted.


SFIO seeks speedy trials, changes in Companies Act
4 May 2009, 0104 hrs IST, Suchetana Ray & Souvik Sanyal, ET Now
A government agency looking into the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam Computer scam has called for setting up of fast-track courts to try cases involving corporate fraud and has advocated changes in the Companies Act for handing out maximum punishment to those found guilty.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which functions under the ministry of corporate affairs, made these recommendations in its report on the Satyam scandal. The agency’s view is that after it initiates prosecution after completing investigation, delays in the already overburdened courts come in the way of quick administration of justice. The multi-disciplinary investigating agency also wants legislative changes in the Companies Act to impose hefty fines on those perpetrating fraud and also to imprison the guilty. Now, such an offence is compoundable, which means that the offender can pay a certain penalty and walk out free.

The SFIO suggests that statutory auditors, whose alleged role in the Satyam scandal has been under scrutiny, be rotated every five years, and their appointment as well as remuneration be handled by an independent agency. The SFIO has laid special emphasis on extending the scope of peer review to include audit processes as well as audit plans. It has also recommended that disciplinary proceedings against statutory auditors be handled by an independent oversight board.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and banks should adopt steps to prevent companies faking bank documents to mislead auditors, reads the SFIO report. The investigative agency has said that in the absence of full details of credit transactions of clearance in the banks’ computerised data, the investigation gets hampered as it does not lead to the details of the beneficiary, the end use of funds and cases of siphoning off of funds.

“All credit transactions in the accounts (of banks) that are generated through clearing must reveal the details of credit as is done in the case of debit clearing transactions,” the SFIO has suggested, while stating that the RBI may also formulate guidelines for scheduled banks for developing such a software.

Satyam scam has revealed that bank papers were forged to show non-existent funds. “Although the banks concerned do not appear to have played any role in falsification of accounts and forgery, there is a need to adopt a uniform practice by all the commercial banks/foreign banks while issuing balance confirmation certificates to their customers. The RBI may examine this and issue necessary guidelines to ensure that forged balance confirmation certificates are not used for perpetration of fraud,” the report adds.

Panaji: Contempt Petition Against HC in Rane Case
Sunday, May 03, 2009 3:40:53 PM (IST)

Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network -Panaji

Panaji, May 3: Goa bench of bombay high court on Monday will hear the contempt petition filed by a social activist against police inspector for having tried to close the first information report registered against state’s health minister vishwajeet Rane.

Goa’s noted social activist Aires Rodrigues has filed contempt petition against Old Goa police station incharge Gurudas Gawade for trying to close FIR registered against the health minister.

The health minister is accused of threatening to kill Rodrigues.

The High Court has already issued notice to Police Inspector Mr. Gurudas Gawade.

Rodrigues has prayed that action be taken against Old Goa Police Inspector Gurudas Gawade for contempt of Court and that he be punished in accordance with law.

On 23rd September 2008, on instructions of Police Inspector Mr. Gurudas Gawade who was present in Court a statement was made by the Public Prosecutor Mrs. Winnie Coutinho before the High Court that a charge sheet would be filed against Mr. Vishwajit Rane by the Old Goa Police.

Rodrigues has in his contempt petition stated that Mr. Gawade in flagrant disobedience of the solemn statement recorded, instead of filing the charge sheet, tried to close the case against the Health Minister.

Rodrigues has submitted that Gawade had committed deliberate contempt of Court by disobeying and failing to abide by the solemn statement made and recorded by the High Court.

IFCI moves Delhi HC against RoC notices
NEW DELHI: Financial institution IFCI has moved the Delhi High Court requesting to quash two notices issued by the Registrar of Companies (RoC) directing it to furnish details. In its petition filed before the court, IFCI Ltd, along with its subsidiary IFCI Infrastructure Ltd, has requested the court to quash notices issued by RoC on April 22 and April 23, seeking various details including disbursement of loans, list of non-performing assets, perks of its top officials etc.
“RoC has asked certain information/explanations on the grounds that IFCI has granted loans to leading business houses of this country against shares pledged by the promoters of those companies,” submitted IFCI Ltd in its petition. Moreover, it further submitted that RoC in their notices was hinting some kind of fraudulent activity going in the company.
“There is no nexus in the decision of granting loan and in fact, the business of the company is not conducted by the management for fraudulent/unlawful purpose,” submitted the company.
The matter would come up for hearing on Monday before Justice S Ravindra Bhat. RoC had also directed IFCI to furnish information as to whether E Sreedharan, MD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, had expressed dissatisfaction on the functioning of the comp any in at a recent board meeting in the capacity of a director. – PTI

Wife’s suspicion about husband’s affair is not cruelty: HC’s+suspicion+about+husband’s+affair+is+not+cruelty%3a+HC
Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, May 03, 2009
First Published: 13:31 IST(3/5/2009)
Last Updated: 13:38 IST(3/5/2009)
Interpreting cruelty in divorce cases, the Bombay High Court has delivered a significant ruling that if a wife, who has been asked to sleep in a separate room by her husband, suspects about him having an extramarital affair and inquires about the same, it cannot be termed as mental cruelty.
“…When a wife contends that the husband had abandoned physical relationship, it was natural for her to inquire about, whether he had any other woman in life. We are therefore inclined to accept that the inquiry made by wife would not amount to mental cruelty,” Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice S J Vajifdar observed recently.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Suyog Dahiwadkar, a 35-year-old Pune-based jeweller, challenging an order passed by a family court rejecting his divorce petition on the grounds of cruelty.
The couple had an arranged marriage in December 1997. The husband had sought divorce in July 2001, after the wife left matrimonial home in April 2001, following a quarrel.
The family court, in April 2004, had rejected Suyog’s divorce petition which alleged that respondent (wife) Mohini, 33, did not tell her correct age at the time of wedding.
“She was born in 1969, but we were told she is 1970 born,” the petitioner alleged.

The petitioner claimed his wife had also not given her horoscope before wedding and that she was into performing black magic.
The divorce was sought on the grounds of cruelty under Section 13(i) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. “My wife has a quarrelsome nature. She used to misbehave with my family members. She had ill-motives against my elder brother and she had also inquired with my cousin, whether I was carrying on with other woman,” stated his petition.
Wife, on the other hand, had replied that her husband was an alcoholic and used to beat her mercilessly under the influence of liquor.
“On January 31, 2001, my husband came home late night and beat me up mercilessly under the influence of liquor. On March 23, 2001, I was suddenly told by him not to sleep with him in our bedroom. I was told to sleep separately in the hall,” she told the court.
As the wife had shown willingness to go back to her husband, the High Court refused to accept Suyog’s argument that their marriage has been irretrievably broken.
The court also enhanced the maintenance granted to his wife from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 a month, considering that Suyog was into 145-year-old family business earning jointly with other members an annual income of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.

Widen rape definition for stringent punishment: HC to govt
3 May 2009, 1153 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Concerned with the lesser sentences given to culprits committing sexual assault of different forms due to absence of a stricter law, Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to consider the Law Commission report and include “digital rape” while widening the definition of rape.

“Unfortunately the criminal law of our country does not recognise this form (digital rape) of sexual assault as a heinous crime. As a result, the culprit get convicted for use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman,” Justice S Muralidhar observed.

Digital rape is inserting finger into the victim’s private part.

“It is a matter of grave concern that nothing has been done till date…Absence of stringent law to deal with impunity,” the court said.

The court made the observation while dismissing an appeal filed by 54-year-old Tara Dutt, father of four daughters, who was convicted of committing digital rape on a five-year-old relative in 1996.

“The growing instances in the recent past of sexual assault of minors, should serve as a wake up call to make the appropriate amendments to the IPC without further delay,” Muralidhar observed while suggesting that legislators comply with the Law Commission report submitted nine years ago.

HC asks Delhi Govt to set up tribunal for old parents
New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has directed the city government to constitute a tribunal for the redressal of cases related to the maintenance of the old parents by their wards and protection of their rights.
Expressing anguish over the Delhi government’s failure to set up the tribunal even after the enactment of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act more than a year back, the Court gave the government four weeks time to execute the order and sought a compliance report by July 7.
“The legislative policy can not be defeated by executive inaction in respect of the constitution of such tribunal,” observed Justice S Ravindra Bhat in a recent order.
The Act came into force on December 31, 2007. Under the Act, state government has to set up a tribunal to hear the disputes pertaining to the maintenance of parents by the children.
“The Delhi government is hereby directed to ensure that the tribunal is constituted at the earliest, if not already done- and in any event within four weeks,” the court said.
The Act enables the tribunal to determine the cases in which children or relatives have neglected or refused to maintain the senior citizens, who are unable to maintain themselves, in the family. Under the act, the tribunal can also direct the children to make a monthly allowance and fix the rate of maintenance for their elderly parents.

Contempt petition against Modi
J. Venkatesan
Hearing next week, says Chief Justice
Court had asked SIT to probe complaint against Modi on post-Godhra riots
Modi alleged the order was passed in conspiracy with Minister Kapil Sibal
New Delhi: A contempt of court petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged remarks that the April 27 order asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into a complaint against Mr. Modi and others was passed in a mala fide manner in conspiracy with the Congress.
On Friday, Prashant Bhushan, amicus curiae in the petition filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri [who was killed during the Gujarat riots of 2002], made a ‘mention’ before a three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal for early listing of the contempt petition. The CJI told Mr. Bhushan that the matter would be listed next week.
On April 27, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and A.K. Ganguly had asked SIT to probe a complaint dated June 8, 2006 against Mr. Modi that he and his Cabinet colleagues orchestrated the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002 in connivance with police officials and senior bureaucrats, and submit its report in three months.
In the present contempt petition, Mr. Bhushan said Mr. Modi, while reacting to the Supreme Court order, had alleged that it was passed in conspiracy with Union Minister Kapil Sibal in the Congress-led government. He said it was clear that Mr. Modi had made very serious allegations against the Supreme Court which “are totally scandalous and unfounded and what is worse is that they have been made in order to derive political advantage in the elections.”
He said this technique of Mr. Modi making contemptuous statement and allegations was not new. In December 2007, the Supreme Court was forced to issue contempt notice to Mr. Modi for having made a public speech obliquely approving the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and seeking votes on that basis. This was done when the petition seeking action against police officers who were involved in the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin was pending before this court.
The petition said: “In these circumstances, it is imperative in the interest of justice that Mr. Modi be brought to book and held accountable for his grossly contemptuous action. If this is not done, he will be further encouraged to make any kind of wild allegations and statement against this court for his political ends.”
As amicus curiae appointed by the court “it is my duty to bring this matter to the notice of the court for appropriate directions,” Mr. Bhushan said. He sought a direction to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Mr. Modi for his alleged remarks.

Judges should vountarily to declare assets: DHC Bar
Published by: Noor Khan
Published: Fri, 01 May 2009 at 19:06 IST
New Delhi, May 1: The Delhi High Court Bar Association(DHCBA) today told the High Court that judges of higher courts should voluntarily declare their assets saying it would increase the people’s faith in the judiciary.

Appearing for the lawyers’ body, K C Mittal, President of the Bar Association, argued before the Court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat that “the disclosure of assets will enhance public faith and confidence in the judiciary”.

“It will enhance the credibility and acceptability of judicial institution,” Mittal added in his argument.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court challenging the January 6 order of the CIC directing the apex court Registry to reveal information pertaining to assets of judges.

Countering the argument of the Soliciotor General that the full court resolution of Supreme Court on May 7, 1997 , has no force of law, the counsel said this resolution cannot be treated as an informal resolution.

He also dismissed the contention of the Solicitor General that judges in superior courts, including the Supreme Court, submit the information to CJI office in fiduciary capacity.

“The judges of superior courts are Constitutional apointees and hold the constitutional position and relationship…There is no relationship of father and son, principle and agent, trustee-beneficiary, guardian-ward and attorney-client,” the Bar members submitted.

India seeks to renegotiate Swiss DTAA
3 May 2009, 0341 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has approached the Swiss government seeking renegotiation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) pertaining to exchange of information on the bank accounts of Indians. The Swiss Confederation has also informed the OECD that it was willing to withdraw its reservation on the disclosure of information due to rule of bank secrecy, said government in its affidavit filed in the apex court on Saturday.

The government, however, ruled out any sort of fishing or roving enquiry unless specific information about depositors becomes available. “The Government of India has already approached the Swiss government seeking renegotiation of Article concerning exchange of information in DTAA with them”, said Priya V K Singh, the director in the department of revenue in the affidavit.

The Centre said, “it was only in March 2009 that the Swiss Confederation informed OECD that it intended to adopt the OECD standards as per Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and withdraw the corresponding reservation and enter into negotiations for revising its Double Taxation Agreements”.

The OECD standards on exchange of information as contained in Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention provides for exchange of information even if there is only domestic interest of the requesting state i. e. enforcement of tax laws of the requesting state and no provision DTAA is to be applied.

As per the OECD standards, the limitation of information not being at the disposal of tax administration because of bank secrecy cannot be used to prevent exchange of information held by the banks. The Swiss Confederation had entered reservations on these OECD standards. In accordance with Article 26 of the DTAA, the competent authorities in India and Swiss Confederation can exchange information, being information at their disposal under their respective taxation laws in the normal course of administration, as is necessary for carrying out the provisions of the DTAA in relation to taxes.

In the past, the Swiss competent authority has consistently refused to share bank information on the grounds that information regarding bank deposits of Indian residents is not necessary for the application of the DTAA but is required only for the enforcement of Indian internal tax laws and that such information was not at their disposal under Swiss laws in the normal course of tax administration, said government.

However, government stated that as per the OECD standards, unless specific information about the depositors becomes available, fishing or roving enquiry is not permissible. The Centre also claimed that because of its continuos efforts with the German government, it has gathered information about Indian account holders in the LGT Bank Liechtenstein. “On account of persistent follow up by the Central government, the German government on March 16, 2009, informed that they were in a position to provide the information and said information was made available to the Central government on March 18, 2009,” said affidavit.

However, ruling out to divulge the details, the government said, “the information was made available on the condition of strict confidentiality of contents under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement”. The affidavit has been filed in response to a PIL seeking direction to the government to take steps to retrieve the hege amount of unaccounted money lying in various foreign banks and financial institutions. Former union law minister Ram Jethmalani and others had moved the apex court.

HC directs I-T to submit DA case details to state
3 May 2009, 0441 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Friday directed the Income Tax (I-T) department to submit details of investigations done by it in the disproportionate assets (DA) case against the former ministers to the state.

The court even asked the state to file a reply on what action it proposes to take against the former ministers accused in the DA case. The court in its order said it was very unfortunate that I-T department, despite the court’s earlier order, did not give the investigation details to the state government.

Counsel of I-T department argued that the department has not received the copy of court’s earlier order in which it aid that copy of the investigation details be given to the state government so that it can proceed accordingly.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D K Sinha gave the order while hearing a PIL filed by Durga Oraon. The petitioner alleged that former ministers while holding public posts have amassed huge wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income and demanded CBI inquiry into the case.

Oraon named seven former ministers in his PIL which include Chander Prakash Choudhary, Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Bandhu Tirkey, Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai.

Earlier, the I-T department on March 4 admitted in the court that prima facie in the investigations it appeared that the ministers have amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income

Meanwhile, a vigilance probe in underway against two accused former ministers Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai on similar charges of disproportionate assets.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Ritu Kumar said that interlocutory petition has been filed in the case in which former chief minister Madhu Koda, his associates Vinod Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary have been accused of amassing disproportionate wealth.

After hearing the arguments and counter arguments the court adjourned the hearing of the case for May 12 and gave permission for the inclusion of the interlocutory petition in the case.

HC on chopper misuse
Ranchi, May 2: Jharkhand High Court today asked the state to take action against those guilty of misusing the government’s helicopter however “influential” they may be.
While hearing a PIL on the misuse of the chopper between April 2005 and November 2008 that has left the state exchequer poorer by a whopping Rs 35 crore, the bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha was scathing in its observations.
Asking the state to stop using different yardsticks to measure common men and influential people, the bench warned the state not to compel the court to wash dirty linen in public.
“If the chopper has been used by unauthorised persons at the cost of the public exchequer, the government should initiate certificate proceedings on its own against such persons and recover the money spent on their flying in the chopper hired by the state for government use,” the bench said.
The bench took exception to the state’s stalling tactics when the counsel for the accountant-general said that despite six requests, the finance and civil aviation departments had not furnished details of expenditure on the chopper.
The court then directed the state to produce all documents sought by the accountant-general to compile a detailed report in the matter. The case will be taken up for hearing on May 19.
Not satisfied with the explanation of the advocate-general who tried to convince the court that the chopper had not been used for unofficial flights, the court observed that criminal cases be instituted to bring the guilty to book.
The court asked the state to have all records of flights and expenses audited by the office of the accountant-general.
The PIL was filed by Koderma-based social worker Bindu Bhushan Dubey who has detailed blatant misuse of the government chopper by ministers, bureaucrats and their relatives.
He has also invoked the Right to Information Act to show that the state did not have records of as many as 894 chopper flights during three years beginning April, 2005.
On the orders of the court, the accountant-general had filed a preliminary report saying that prima facie, there was enough evidence to indicate widespread misuse of the chopper chartered by the government from private companies.

The BCCI clique

Suveen K Sinha / New Delhi May 03, 2009, 0:43 IST
Is it time to separate the business of cricket and administering the sport?
Is BCCI the master of all cricket in India? It may have been started by a bunch of princes with a heightened perception of the self, but the sceptre is long gone. The board once described itself in court as a private club not performing any public function, and said that it could therefore not be subjected to public interest litigation. The board’s refuge was its status of a private society answerable only to its members — the 31 state associations. The board took the same cover when two cricket-lovers filed a PIL in February 2000, seeking accountability and transparency in the way cricket was run in the country.
As things stand, BCCI has only a handful of contracted players. There are another 450,000 or so out there who play matches in abysmal conditions, watched only by the jobless and stray dogs. Thousands of cricket players, with no hope of ever representing India and not under contract with BCCI opted to join Subhash Chandra’s Indian Cricket League (ICL), which offered them better pay and more respect at a time when IPL was not even on the drawing board.
The ICL players have now been given a supercilious and condescending offer to come back into BCCI’s fold if they ditch ICL by May 31. Most of them would be tempted, as this would make them eligible to play for their state almost immediately and for India in a year. If they do desert ICL, which is downsizing and cancelled its March programme due to the recession, BCCI would have nearly snuffed out the first flicker of competition.
The one year period is meant to be a cooling-off period, a practice common in the corporate world for executives who leave to join a rival. However, if BCCI wants to follow corporate conventions, perhaps it should also wake up to other issues that concern that world, such as free competition and monopolies. The West is extremely sensitive to this; Standard Oil, the world’s largest oil refiner, which allegedly used its size and clout to undercut competition, was broken up by the US Supreme Court way back in 1911. Microsoft has had long and bruising antitrust battles.
BCCI’s power is more absolute because in addition to being a monopoly it is also being allowed to act as the regulator. We had a similar situation when the Union government’s Department of Telecommunications, the policy maker, also operated nation-wide telephone services. Naturally, it used its position to fight competition, which was ushered in the middle of the 1990s. After a few acrimonious years, BSNL was carved out of DoT to prevent conflicts of interest. Has the time come to apply the principle to BCCI?

HC directs AG to submit final report
2 May 2009, 2101 hrs IST, Manohar Lal, TNN
RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Friday directed the Accountant General (AG) to submit a final report on the misuse of helicopter giving complete details of persons who enjoyed the rides and names of approvers of the flights.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D K Sinha even took strong exception to the complaint of the Accountant General that state was not providing the relevant details. The court asked the state to furnish each and every detail of the misuse of the chopper to the accountant general for the period April 2005 to March 2008.

The division bench issued its directive after taking up a PIL filed by one Bindu Bhushan Dubey demanding a CBI inquiry into the alleged misuse of the helicopter by unauthorized persons during the period May 2006 to September 2008.

The AG, in its preliminary report, termed 894 flights unauthorized as per the information provided by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD). The report said a total of 584 flights did not had any mandatory requisition, while 310 flights had requisition but were not signed by the competent authority.

The report of the AG said a total of 39 flights of the chopper had family members and relatives of chief ministers and governor as passengers who made non-officials trips without any payments. The payments were made from public fund, the report said.

Advocate general PK Prasad told the court none of flights undertaken by the chopper were illegal. He said the flights were in accordance with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulations and the tradition practiced in Bihar and now in Jharkhand.

Prasad contended that the AG report had termed the flights unauthorized on the basis of Bihar State Aircraft Utilization Circular passed in the year 1968, which was not practically followed by the Bihar as well as Jharkhand.

Dubey, appearing in-person, countered the argument and said the state was actually misleading the court by referring to the DGCA regulations which was applicable only for the state-owned chopper and not on chartered chopper.

Dubey further said the case was for chartered chopper which was being maintained by the companies owning the aircraft, while the state government was making an excuse saying some flights made outside the state were for maintenance purpose.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the bench asked the counsel for the AG to investigate who used the chopper and whether these were entitled. The court asked the state to cooperate with the AG in the matter and adjourned the hearing for May 19.

Ajmal Amir Kasab Trial: Court rejects Kazmi’s application seeking copy of X ray plates

The Special Court rejected the application of Abbas Kazmi, counsel of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist captured in the Mumbai attacks, seeking a copy of X-Ray plates in connection with the determination of Kasab’s actual age.

Passing an order to this effect, Special Court Judge Tahiliyani said the court had already suggested Mr Kazmi to seek the opinion of doctors before the court itself as it was not possible to provide the copies of the X-Ray plates to the defence.

The court had earlier ruled that it would give its ruling on the age issue after the arguments were completed by the prosecution and defence.

However, a clinical and physical examination of the accused stated that he was more than 20 years of age.

Judge Tahiliyani had earlier stated that the age issue was nothing but a tactic of the defence to delay the trial.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had also opposed Mr Kazmi’s application saying that the defence lawyer had already examined the witnesses and failed to react to the court’s decision.

‘The entire thing is planned to delay and sabotage the 26/11 trial,’ he added.


Rs 29.5L for accident victims’ kin
3 May 2009, 0243 hrs IST, Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN

CHANDIGARH: In what is probably the highest compensation ordered by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, a petition was settled in favour of complainants after the court directed truck driver, owner and insurance firm to pay Rs 29.46 lakh as relief for snuffing out two young lives and leaving another person grievously injured.

In April 2004, a plea was filed by Gurdeep Kaur and others, under Section 166 Motor Vehicle
Act in city?s district courts. The families stated on November 17, 2003, Tarun Bhasin (24) and US resident Jagtar Singh (30) along with Rajan Grover (23), a Sector 32 resident, had gone to Sonepat to attend Rajan’s ring ceremony. After the function, the trio left for the city in a car. Near Ambala, the car, being driven by Jagtar, was allegedly hit by a truck. While Jagtar and Tarun succumbed to injuries, Rajan suffered serious bruises. Alleging the truck was being driven in a rash and negligent manner, both the families and Rajan moved district courts.

However, the truck driver and its owner countered that the accident had occurred as Jagtar was at fault. The insurance company pleaded that Jagtar was driving the car without a valid driving license .

Keeping the circumstances in view, court awarded Rs 29.46 lakh as compensation along with 8% interest, out of which Jagtar’s family would get Rs 20.50 lakh, Tarun’s parents would receive Rs 5.92 lakh and Rajan will get Rs 3.07 lakh as compensation.

While zeroing in on the amount, the MACT, headed by SK Aggarwal, held, “Just compensation means appropriate and equitable… that neither it (sum) is punitive against whom (it is) awarded nor a windfall or bonanza to whom (it is) awarded.”

Prior to this claim case, the highest compensation amount given in a MACT case was Rs 19.05 lakh. In that case, the award went to a family from Ram Darbar that had lost five members, including an infant, in an accident in 2005.

In another case, a court had awarded Rs 18.51 lakh to a family from Sector 37 resident after a man died when his bike was hit by a car in 2002. The deceased ran a photography and STD shop at Lake Club.

Nanded blast: CBI questions Lt-Col Purohit
New Delhi, May 3: After reopening the probe into the Nanded blast of 2006, CBI has recently taken custody of Army’s tainted Lieutenant-Colonel, Srikant Purohit, and questioned him at length about his role in the incident.
The CBI officially remained tight-lipped about this development but sources in the investigating agency said the remand of Purohit has been taken from a designated court and he has been questioned about the Nanded blast. Purohit was examined by detectives of the Special Crime unit of CBI to ascertain whether he was instrumental in providing training to cadre of Abhinav Bharat, official sources said here today. n PTI

Patwari gets three-year jail
Our Correspondent
Kaithal, May 3
Additional Sessions Judge A K Shori here has sentenced a Patwari to three years imprisonment and a fin of Rs 4,000 after holding him guilty in a bribery case. As per the court orders, the convict will have to undergo further imprisonment of six months if he failed to pay fine.
According to facts of this case, a farmer, Jaswinder Singh, had purchased about 7 acres at Narwal village. He approached Patwari Jagmal for demarcation of the said land who demanded Rs 4,000.
The farmer paid Rs 2,500 and assured to pay balance later. The farmer reported the matter to the state Vigilance. A trap was laid and as the patwari received Rs 1,500 from Jaswinder the SVB team caught him and booked him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In another case, the ADJ awarded one-year sentence to two persons who were arrested when they were planning to loot a petrol station on July 15, 2006. A police team led by ASI Balbir Singh received information that six armed persons were planning to loot a petrol station.
During raid the police arrested six youths, including Chander, Shalinder, Kanwar Pal of Jind district and Ram Niwas, Shamsher and Subhash, and recovered two pistols and other arms from them. According to information, Chander and Ram Niwas were sentenced while four others were acquitted due to lack of evidence against them.
In yet another case, the ADJ sentenced Jarnail, alais Kala, to one-year imprisonment. The accused, along with three others, was arrested by a Pundri police team on August 21, 2006 on the charge of making preparations to loot liquor vend. They were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Court orders probe against senior cops
Seema Sharma
Tribune News Service
Jammu, May 3
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) YP Bourney in a significant order, passed on May 2, held custodian general Jammu and Kashmir Government Kifayat Hussain Rikzvi, KAS, guilty of criminal contempt of court, and also ordered judicial inquiry against several senior police officers, including the IG, DIG and the SSP, Jammu.
Bourney has referred the matter to the High Court under Section 15 (2) of the Contempt of Courts Act for taking an appropriate action against the respondent, Kifayat Hussain Rizvi.
The CJM has passed the order on the contempt petition filed by one complainant Iftikiar Khan Salaria through AK Sawney, advocate. The complainant said he was forcibly evicted from his land near Indra theatre.
He approached a local court for justice but the ruling of the court was not followed by the authorities concerned, due to which the contempt petition was filed.
The CJM in a separate order in the main complaint against all officers and constables has directed the inquiry to be conducted by a Judicial Magistrate, and has directed the Special Excise Magistrate Jammu to conduct the inquiry on the matter and submit the report within three months.
The complainant had filed a complaint for theft, robbery, criminal intimidation, hurt and conspiracy under Sections 323, 379, 506, 109 and 120 B of the RPC against the accused.
CJM Jammu forwarded the complaint to SHO, in charge Nowabad, under Section 156 (3) for investigation and reporting back on March 24.
According to Sawhney, though several days passed, the SHO did not take any action in the matter, and the complainant filed an application for calling of status report in the matter, wherein, the court on April 1, directed the SHO to file a report in the matter in the light of the application.
On the same day, SHO Nowabad Jamwal filed a report that the custodian general informed him through a written communication that the complaint filed was false, frivolous and motivated. He quoted provisions of law and stated in the communication that “no other court has the powers to take cognizance in the matter” .
On the basis of this communication, the SHO did not register an FIR, therefore, clearly committing gross contempt of the court, and custodian general committed criminal contempt by interfering in the course of administration of justice system.

Centre plans anti-ragging legislation
President to write to Governors
New Delhi, May 3
President Pratibha Patil will write to all Governors, who are also the Chancellors of their respective state universities, asking them to allow a group of activists to sensitise students about ragging even as the Centre plans to bring in a legislation to tackle the problem.
The activists of “Aman Movement”, led by Rajendra Kachru, father of Aman Kachru who died in ragging incident, met the President and requested her to ask the Chancellors to allow them to make presentations in campuses against ragging.
“The request was instantly accepted by the President who will now write to the Governors asking them to give permission to the group to create awareness against the ragging,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan official said.
Meanwhile, the government is also actively considering framing a special central legislation to effectively curb ragging menace and this was informed to the President by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, during his meeting with her on Friday.
Singh also told the President that he would convene an urgent meeting of all the regulatory bodies under the ministry to take up the issue to ensure that preventive measures were taken.
The President had recently expressed grave concern over the rising incidents of ragging in certain institutions of higher education across the country and said appropriate legislation should be enacted to tackle the menace.
Universities and colleges were centres of learning and for developing mutual respect, friendship and understanding, she said, adding that their sanctity could be vitiated year after year at the start of an academic season by those who indulge in mindless ragging.
Patil’s reaction came in the wake of death of Aman Kachru due to ragging in Himachal Pradesh in March this year.
Incidents of ragging were also reported from states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu last month.
Rajender had earlier met University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat and had suggested starting a national call centre for providing assistance to students who face ragging.
Educational Consultancy India Limited (ECIL), a government undertaking, is entrusted with the task of starting such a call centre to which students can make call at the time of crisis.
Meanwhile, the UGC has prepared a regulation, which has been adopted by 17 other councils. It stipulates that students can be expelled from an institute and debarred from taking admission to any other institute after found guilty of the offence. — PTI

On a fast track
Gujarat culprits may be punished now
SEVEN years after the Gujarat riots shook the world, the Supreme Court has finally put the trials on a fast track by ordering the setting up of six courts for day-to-day hearing. The apex court itself had stayed the trial in nine major riot cases, including the Godhra train-burning case, in November 2003 following complaints of tardy investigation and allegations that several accused were not booked. There is utmost need for early completion of sensitive cases, particularly those involving communal disturbances, and as such, such alacrity should have been shown from the beginning, but it is better late than never. The step has indeed given a new ray of hope to the victims who had been banging their heads against a wall raised by the Narendra Modi government. Perhaps they can now dream that they will get the elusive justice after all.
Given the brazen manner in which the government has tried to subvert the process of law, the apex court has given the required powers to the special investigation team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan. It will have the final say in the appointment of public prosecutors and the right to seek their replacements or the appointment of additional public prosecutors. It is the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice who would be appointing senior judicial officers to conduct the trials.
In the past, there has been a concerted effort to influence the witnesses. If the court has still not accepted the petitioner’s plea to shift the trial outside Gujarat, it is only because it feels confident that the SIT chief would be able to take adequate steps to make sure that they cannot be pressurised. If required, some witnesses can be given security by paramilitary forces and if the threat to their lives is grave, they can be relocated to other states, under an arrangement to be worked out by the Centre. In any case, the Supreme Court has not altogether closed the option of shifting the trial outside Gujarat. Mr Raghavan has said that the trials will take about a year. One hopes that with day-to-day hearing, there will be no need to extend this time period.

Threat to democracy
New House must ban criminals in polls
THE reports that 10 per cent of the candidates in Haryana contesting the Lok Sabha elections face criminal charges are disturbing. According to a survey by the National Election Watch, which has more than 1,200 NGOs working on improving the process of elections, democracy and governance in the country, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh and Faridabad lead in candidates with criminal charges (four each) with Hisar and Rohtak not too far behind (three each). In Rajasthan, too, 10 per cent of the candidates in the fray have a criminal record. In fact, no state is free from the candidates with criminal charges and every political party is guilty of fielding criminals. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra, national parties have given tickets to criminals.
Disturbingly, Bihar has given a new twist to the menace of criminalisation of politics. If husbands are convicted and imprisoned for murder and refused permission by the Supreme Court to contest the elections, their wives join the fray. Pappu Yadav’s wife Ranjeet Ranjan is contesting from Supaul on the Congress ticket, Mohd Shahabuddin’s wife Heena Shahab is standing from Siwan for the RJD and mafia don Surajbhan Singh’s wife Veena Devi has been put up by the LJP from Nawada. This is a mockery of the law. Is the nation lacking in upright persons with integrity and character that the political parties are depending upon the criminals or their relatives?
The people should ponder over the debilitating effect of criminalisation of politics on the representative institutions and the quality of governance. If tainted people get elected as MPs or MLAs and then become ministers, they will pose greater threat to the system. The new Lok Sabha, which will be constituted after the ongoing elections, should examine the issue of criminalisation of politics. As every political party is guilty of giving tickets to criminals, the new government should try for an all-party consensus on the matter and ban the entry of criminals to Parliament and state legislatures. The Election Commission, too, should step up pressure on the Centre for early implementation of its recommendations on electoral reforms.

Sessions court acquits doctor in harassment case
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: A Sessions Court in Chennai has acquitted a doctor who was sentenced to undergo two year simple imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.5000 by a magistrate for an offence under section 498 A IPC (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty).
In his judgment allowing an appeal by the doctor, the V Additional Sessions Judge, Chennai, A.K.Annamalai, said that the prosecution had miserably failed to establish the offence against the doctor beyond all reasonable doubt. The trial court had erroneously found him guilty on an unacceptable ground. Hence the lower court judgment and conviction were liable to be set aside by allowing the appeal.
The prosecution case was that Karthikeyan of Egmore was married to the defacto complainant Anugayathri in February 2004. It was alleged that he along with his parents harassed her by demanding money which abetted her to attempt suicide in July 2004. The IV Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet, convicted and sentenced Dr.Karthikeyan. Aggrieved, he preferred the appeal.

E-way death: NHAI gets HC notice
4 May 2009, 0424 hrs IST, Sumi Sukanya, TNN
GURGAON/CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and several other agencies including the Union road transport ministry in a case relating to the death of a boy on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway on March 7.

A Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Singh accepted the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by K S Anand father of the victim Rahul Anand on Friday. It asked NHAI, concessionaire DS Constructions Ltd, Union road transport ministry, town and country planning department, the Haryana government and the state police department to submit their explanation on July 21, the next hearing of the case.

Rahul Anand, a first year student of the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Gurgaon and a resident of Punjabi Bagh, Delhi, was on his way to college to attend the annual convocation when the accident took place. He was driving down the IFFCO Chowk flyover in his Maruti SX4, when he rammed into a stationary dumper on the main carriageway. He was trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian who had come in front of his car and took a steep right turn which resulted into the car ramming into the dumper. The car was damaged beyond recognition.

Rahul reportedly lay on the road severely injured but no policemen or volunteers from DS Constructions reached there and it was a commuter who rushed him to a private hospital after about an hour. He later succumbed to the injuries in the hospital.

“As per the contract, the concessionaire firm should placed ambulances every 300 metres on the expressway. But they have made a mockery of the contract. Also, they have failed to provide underpasses or footbridges on the expressway, because of which over 100 innocents have lost their lives so far,” said Rahul’s father, a businessman.

The aggrieved father added, “Workers of the concessionaire company had parked the water tanker right next to the median on the top lane, jeopardising the safety of motorists. So many deaths on this stretch are only because of the recklessness of the NHAI, DSC and the state government and and that is why we dragged them to a court of law.”

He went on to add that he wanted to find a purpose in his son’s death. “My son is dead and cannot be brought back, but at least others should not lose their lives in this manner in future,” he said.

Six sentenced to life in maxi-cab murder case
4 May 2009, 1254 hrs IST, Sumi Sukanya, TNN
GURGAON: A fast track court in Gurgaon on Monday awarded life imprisonment to six accused in the infamous killer cabbie case, involving the murder of two passengers who were travelling in their taxi in 2007.

This decision came in two separate murder and robbery cases. The six were also part of an eight-member gang involved in 24 cases of murder in 2006.

Additional district sessions Judge B L Singhal sentenced the six identified as Rohtas, Ravi, Vicky, Budhram, Pramod and Dalchand– all residents of Bhora Kala village along NH 8– for the murders.

The modus operandi of the gang, which used to operate taxis, was to murder their passengers, loot their belongings and subsequently throw the bodies in gutters along the highway.

The two cases in which the court awarded life sentence include murder of a factory worker, and an unidentified person from whose pockets, the murderers could recover only Rs 2 and Rs 150 respectively.

A total of nine persons, including 2 minors were arrested in these cases from Bhora Kalan village near Gurgaon.

No legal validity for AG’s advice’
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Lawyers’ Congress has said that the Advocate-General’s legal advice to the State government against prosecuting CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case had no legal validity. In a statement here, the organisation’s State secretary P. Rahim said the same ground applied in the palmolein case against Congress leader K. Karunakaran should become applicable in this case also. The Supreme Court had, in the palmolein case, held that the government’s approval was not necessary for going ahead with prosecution proceedings against Mr. Karunakaran, he noted. – Special Correspondent

Court raps investigating officer for acting in haste
4 May 2009, 0421 hrs IST, Smriti Singh, TNN

NEW DELHI: Unhappy with the way an investigating officer (IO) dealt with a house-trespass case by probing the matter “in haste”, a trial court has asked the deputy commissioner of police to take necessary action against the officer. The court also asked Delhi Police to look into the role of the station house officer of that area for not taking the matter seriously.

Stating that IO failed to make a full inquiry into the allegations made by the complainant against two men and instead registered the FIR at the behest of his SHO, metropolitan magistrate Sukhvir Singh Malhotra said “copy of the order (should) be sent to DCP for taking appropriate action against the IO/ SHO who both appear to have acted in haste under the intimation of the court.”

The court’s directions came while allowing the bail application of the two accused Satnam Singh and Raj arrested in a case filed by a woman who alleged the two men of trespassing her house and stealing some articles from there.

Opposing the bail, the IO in the case, head constable Nahar Singh, said that during the investigation it was found out that the accused had committed the offence and their bail should not be accepted.

Noting that it was a matter of property dispute and that the accused had also submitted all the original documents, the court said the IO did not investigate the matter properly. “SHO reached at the spot and he got the FIR registered,” Malhotra said. “Such an attitude on the part of the IO without making any investigations of the fact to whether complainant was residing at the given place or not appears to be an act of the IO either at the instance of himself or at the instance of SHO and it cannot be appreciated.”

Police rapped for not protecting Dalit woman
4 May 2009, 0423 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a Dalit woman whose `upper caste’ husband allegedly tried to kill her, a trial court has pulled up the Delhi Police for failing to invoke stringent provisions of law against the man.

“It seems, as far as Delhi Police is concerned, in a matrimony even if a hapless girl is beaten up or is poisoned and she survives then the only offence made out is under Section 498 A (cruelty)…And if unfortunately she does not survive to tell the tale of woes, it would invoke Section 304 B (dowry death) of the IPC,” additional sessions judge Surinder S Rathi said.

The court expressed its concern over the registration of the FIR by police in “mechanical manner” without going into the details of the incident. “Police are not supposed to underplay the gravity of allegations and turn a blind eye to the trauma of a woman in need. A strong objection is taken on the conduct of local police in registering the FIR mechanically under subdued offences instead of invoking appropriate provisions of law,” the court said.

The court’s observations came while dismissing bail plea of a man, who was alleged to have offered poisonous tea to his wife and his daughter. The accused, Bharat Sethi, was arrested on April 15 under milder provisions of committing cruelty and criminal breach of trust.

The court noted that the police did not invoke provisions of Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 328 (administering drug with intent to cause hurt) of the IPC and provisions of the SC/ST Act despite there being every reasons for doing so. The woman had alleged that her in-laws made derogatory remarks about her caste too.

The investigating officer of Burari police station failed to give any reasonable explanation for not registering the FIR under these offences, the court said. The victim, who was present during the hearing, alleged that family members of her husband used to abuse her because she belonged to the scheduled caste category.

She told court that accused married her on February 9, 2007 after the police forced him to do so as a part of compromise for not registering a criminal case against Sethi for committing rape with her in June, 2006.

Report on Shanno death in 10 days: HC tell govt
4 May 2009, 1341 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the government to file a detailed inquiry report on the death of 11-year-old Shanno, who died last month following alleged corporal punishment in school.
The court issued notice and asked the government to file an inquiry report within the next 10 days.

Shanno, a student of a government school in Delhi, slipped into coma April 15 and died two days after she was allegedly punished by her teacher.


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