LEGAL NEWS 25.01.2012

IPO aspirants may take cue from Palco Recycle, move SAT over issue delays


MUMBAI: Several firms may knock on the doors of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), a quasi judicial body, to decide the fate of their IPOs which have been hanging fire for months. They are emboldened by Palco Recycle Industries, an Ahmedabad-based firm, which moved SAT to pursue its IPO application pending before the capital market regulator, Sebi, since November 2010.

The regulator is understood to be holding back some of the applications amid fears of price manipulation in the primary market. According to the Sebi website, around two dozen IPOs are yet to receive Sebi’s approval and about a similar number of companies are awaiting clarifications from their lead managers.

Around one-third of these documents (currently under process) were filed over a year ago. Palco Recycle Industries, which filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) in November 2010 and received an in-principle approval to list almost a year ago, filed an appeal before SAT, seeking the tribunal’s intervention. The company said that it had responded to all queries raised by Sebi from time to time.

“In spite of complying with all the queries raised by the board (Sebi) and repeated reminders, the board has not issued its approval for the proposed public issue of the company.” It said that Sebi cannot keep its application pending indefinitely.

Sebi, even as it raised an objection with regard to maintainability of the appeal, said that it would take a final decision on the application within a period of six weeks from January 6. Companies rarely move SAT to pursue their listing plans.

“It is possible that the regulator is cautious and has been slow in processing applications. The recent move may prompt other companies to approach SAT as a large number of companies are waiting for the final outcome for more than a year,” said a securities lawyer who deals in due diligence related to IPOs. He felt that the regulator would refrain from rejecting any application as it could provoke the company to challenge the decision.

Sebi did not respond to ET’s email query. Sebi chairman UK Sinha recently said that to expedite the clearance of IPO applications, the board was planning to put in place a time-frame within which firms would have to respond to regulator’s queries.

“We are going to make it obligatory that the response to Sebi’s queries has to be given in a particular time-frame, and if it is not given, the case will be closed,” Sinha had said. He had also said that there were companies that deliberately delayed their response to buy time in a bad market.

However, there are companies whose projects are stuck midway with the listing plan running into a hurdle. “The delay is hurting us. Sebi should decide either way so that we can look for alternative sources of funding. Even a bank approves or rejects loan application.

What stops the capital market regulator from taking a decision?,” said a senior official of a company that filed its DRHP a year ago. Updating all the documents continuously can be painstaking, said the person who refused to be named.

Securities lawyers point out that there are instances where the regulator is either suspicious of certain transactions in the company’s books or dissatisfied with the quality of disclosures and corporate governance standard. “If Sebi rejects any application, it opens the way for litigation as the company may challenge the rejection. So, it may be better not to spell out its stand in some cases,” he said.

Sebi has taken a number of steps to cleanse the IPO market from manipulation. It recently barred seven companies, their directors, merchant bankers and other related entities from participating in the securities market till further order for not complying with the disclosure norms in their IPO prospectus. Significantly, OneLife Capital Advisors, banker to the IPO of Palco Recycle, was among them. OneLife has appealed to SAT on the matter.

Any adverse outcome may add complications for Palco even if Sebi allows the company to raise funds through primary market. Under the circumstances, Sebi’s stand on the Palco Recycle’s IPO could be relevant to other companies.









Sebi moves Supreme Court against PW in Satyam case


Indu Bhan : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:08 hrs
Sebi on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on the sectoral tribunal’s order that allowed audit firm Price Waterhouse to cross-examine the accused in the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam Computer Services scam, including Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal in June last year had asked Sebi to allow Price Waterhouse, the scam-tainted company’s external auditor, to cross-examine Ramalinga Raju, his brother and managing director B Rama Raju, and former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas. It also asked Sebi to furnish copies of their statements to Price Waterhouse, if necessary.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati and counsel Pratap Venugopal, appearing for Sebi, to apprise the court of the scope of enquiry into the matter under the Sebi Act, and the consequences of the criminal prosecution initiated by CBI and the proceedings initiated by ICAI. Such clarity is required so that no confusion is created resulting in the accused getting away, it said.

Sebi had relied on the statements of Raju and the other accused to issue show-cause notices to Price Waterhouse asking them why they should not be debarred from carrying out auditing work for listed companies for a particular period. FE








Supreme Court rues homelessness 64 years after freedom


People sleeping on pavements and footpaths even after 64 years of independence is a matter of concern, the Supreme Court said on Monday while asking States to comply with its order to provide roofs to the homeless facing threat to their lives while sleeping in open and intense cold.

Quoting Article 21 of the Constitution, which deals with the fundamental right of life and liberty, the apex court said the “right to shelter” is also right to life and the authorities, particularly in northern states where the winter is likely to continue till March, must gear up “to preserve and protect” the lives of the people of weaker sections and destitute.

“We direct the authorities, particularly in northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to provide at least temporary night shelters to preserve and protect the lives of homeless people in consonance with the philosophy of the Constitution under Article 21,” a bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra said.

The court, which asked the states to comply with its order within three weeks, said “nothing is more important for states than to protect and preserve lives of the homeless people”. “Threat to life is perceivable in severe cold and states must comply with all its obligations under Article 21 by providing shelter to the homeless people,” the bench said.

It asked the authorities in states like Maharashtra and West Bengal, which are lagging behind the apex court’s deadline to erect temporary and permanent structure as night shelters, to discuss the issue at the highest level, including their chief ministers.

“For a civilised society, people sleeping on pavements and footpaths even after 64 years of independence is a matter of concern,” the bench said while dealing with the steps taken by Maharashtra government.

The bench expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress made by West Bengal government in providing night shelters for the homeless and asked the state authorities to take up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“You have a very sensitive chief minister. What are you doing? You take it up with the chief minister,” the bench said when the counsel for West Bengal submitted that out of the requisite 134 night shelters, only six were operational.

The court expressed satisfaction that Madhya Pradesh government had provided all facilities in 38 night shelters and around 61 were under construction.

The court appreciated state government’s counsel for visiting the state and placing an affidavit, annexed with photographs of night shelters made operational with all facilities in various districts of the state.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 27, while directing a joint inspection of the night shelters in various states by civil society members and court-appointed commissioners within two weeks.

The court had during the last hearing on January 16 asked the authorities to carry out its order in “letter and spirit” to “preserve and protect” the lives of homeless people.

The bench had, in an earlier hearing, said it cannot permit its own children to die in winter.

The NGO, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL), had submitted there are night shelters which had “near zero occupancy.”

The apex court is monitoring the implementation of its 2009 order for providing night shelters to the homeless across the country and has appointed court commissioners to inspect the progress in building and equipping them properly.

A recent report submitted to the court said “in almost all States, homeless persons continue to sleep in the open and lead a life of exclusion and destitution. Most of the state governments continue to show poor compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court.”

As Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday told the court that there are no homeless people in the state, it was told to file an affidavit in this regard.

Himachal Pradesh too had told the court that “there were no homeless persons” there and the court had recorded the undertaking.

The court had also directed the states to ensure that the night shelters were equipped with basic facilities like potable water, separate toilets for men and women, bedding, and medical facilities in the existing night shelters.







Supreme Court sets honourable precedent with Vodafone ruling


Shailesh Haribhakti, Hindustan Times
January 23, 2012

From September 2007, when a tax notice was first issued to Vodafone, to January 2012, when the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict, the Vodafone case has been by far controversy’s favourite child! While the Apex Court decision has given Vodafone a reason to cheer by stating that a transaction of transfer of shares of a foreign company between two non-residents is not taxable in India, it has also propounded the Indian judiciary’s views on such tax debates, with key takeaways.

 The Vodafone decision brings a great sense of transparency and stability to the Indian industry. Tax costs are always an integral factor, if not the sole factor, in a strategic business decision. This decision would make corporate planning more accurate, as companies could now have a fair idea of their tax costs, and tax costs will not be determined by creative interpretation of the law by tax authorities.

The key takeaway from this judgment is the emphasis of the Supreme Court to provide clarity to the foreign investor at the time of entry into India. In fact, the court has specifically held that the tax law in India, as it stands today, does not provide for such transactions to be taxed in India and accordingly no withholding taxes are attracted. The court has stated that if the tax department wishes to tax such transactions, they should specifically provide for such legislation after considering the impact on foreign investments. Without a specific provision, there is no necessity to lift the corporate veil in case of legitimate transactions.

It can only be hoped that the tax authorities respects this landmark ruling and don’t attempt to override it with retrospective legislation.

This landmark decision re-emphasises the time-honoured principle that taxpayers are entitled to plan their economic affairs within the framework of law and legitimate transaction structures cannot be disregarded merely because of the tax benefits arising out of them.

This decision is being welcomed with open arms by the global business community which has used similar offshore holding structures, and has provided tremendous certainty to investors.

The author is chairman of BDO India, a unit of BDO — a worldwide network of public accounting firms







Ready to order independent probe into MNREGA scam: Centre to HC


PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 23,2012

New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The Centre today informed the Allahabad High Court that it would order an independent probe into the alleged irregularities in the MNREGA implementation in Uttar Pradesh, if the court desires. In its counter-affidavit, the Centre has said that it was imperative to have a preliminary enquiry conducted by an independent agency like CBI. The counter affidavit, filed in response to a PIL challenging inadequate implementation of the Act by the state government, said Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had written to UP Chief Minister Mayawati twice suggesting CBI probe into the alleged scam. In his letters to Mayawati late last year, Ramesh had said if she was serious about tackling misutilisation of MNREGA funds then she should order for a CBI inquiry into the irregularities reported from seven districts. The Centre filed its counter affidavit as per the direction of the Allahabad High Court.







Corruption chorus grows against Sikkim chief minister Chamling

A Vaidyanathan, Updated: January 23, 2012 15:27 IST

New Delhi:  The government in Sikkim faces serious accusations of corruption, and the Supreme Court has now intervened. Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, the Centre and the CBI have all been asked to respond to allegations that Mr Chamling and his ministers have misused government funds.

The Supreme Court’s actions today are based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The petitioners, two residents of Sikkim, say a CBI report confirms that the state government is guilty of corruption and that the Chief Minister and several others in his Cabinet have assets that cannot be accounted for.

Mr Chamling, who heads the Sikkim Democratic Front or SDF, has been the Chief Minister of Sikkim since 1994. In December, the CBI asked his government for permission to prosecute him and was reportedly turned down.









Army Chief refuses to comment on age row


New Delhi, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Jan 23 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh, on Monday refused to comment on the ongoing issue surrounding his date of birth, saying the matter is sub-judice.

“What is it that you want to know, that particular issue is sub-judice. So. I can’t say anything about it,” General Singh told mediapersons here.

The Supreme Court had earlier on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to the government to restore the date of birth of Army Chief as May 10, 1951, and said it was not maintainable in law.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said: “In our view, the writ petition filed at the behest of an association is not maintainable. The writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable. This is purely a service matter.”

The bench expressed its disappointment that the PIL filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter) annexed the opinions of former chief justices of India in the petition on the age row of Army Chief when they themselves said it is not for being putting up before the court.

The apex court bench further said the affected person was not before it and entertaining a PIL based on newspaper headlines will set a “bad precedence” and lead to a “chaotic situation”.

General Singh, who has become the first serving military chief to take the government to court, had earlier filed a petition before the apex court seeking a direction to the government that his date of birth be treated as 10.5.1951 and not 1950. (ANI)









V-C appointment delayed again


Express news service : Pune, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:56 hrs
The University of Pune’s (UoP) wait for a Vice-Chancellor (V-C) just got longer. The state government has asked for two weeks’ time to file its say in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Thane-based activist in the Bombay High Court saying the appointment procedure violates the University Grant Commission (UGC) norms.

Though the PIL had been filed, the court had given a go-ahead for the interviews to be conducted on January 9, following which five candidates were shortlisted. However, the procedure has not been completed because the PIL contends the entire process, including the appointment of the search committee.

Suresh Patil-Khede, the petitioner, in his PIL, has said as per the UGC guidelines, a person who has been attached to the university in any way cannot be part of the search committee. “The expert committee needs to have a composition of people from the field of education. Also, a member of the search committee has been involved with the UoP. The present search committee should be scrapped and the procedure restarted,” said Patil-Khede.

VB Tiwari, Patil-Khede’s counsel, said, “The government has asked for two weeks’ time to file its say. The V-C will not be appointed in that period.”








Summons issued to board chairpersons


Staff Reporter

It is in connection with a PIL on manual scavenging

Expressing displeasure over steps taken to mechanise the process of cleaning of sewerage in the State in spite of orders passed by it earlier, the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the chairpersons of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) to be personally present in the court on January 31.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties-Karnataka in 2009 on manual scavenging and deaths of workers engaged in it.

Following this PIL, the court had earlier entrusted the task of studying the problem to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), which in June 2011 submitted report on the issues and its recommendations.

UGD facility

The KSLSA pointed out that there is no underground drainage (UGD) facility in 56 municipal councils, 66 town municipal councils and 13 city municipal councils and suggested that the State should be directed to take steps to ensure that there is an UGD facility.

It also recommended mechanisation of sewerage cleaning system through jetting equipment, among a series of suggestions.

Based on this report, the Government in July last year had given an undertaking to the court that it would provide one jetting machine to each urban local body in six months besides buying 48 more such machines for Bangalore city in addition to the existing 76 machines.

“They (chairpersons BWSSB and KUWSDB) have taken courts orders too lightly. Human beings are dying in gutters. Non-compliance with the undertaking given to this court shall entail serious consequences…,” the Bench observed during the hearing on the PIL on Monday on noticing the lapse on the part of the State.

School merger issue

While justifying its decision to merge primary and secondary schools with less than 5 students with other schools in the vicinity of three km, the State Government has claimed that the decision was taken in the interest of the students.

In its written response to the PIL filed by litterateurs, G.S. Shivarudrappa and others, challenging the decision, the Government stated that decision was taken to provide better learning environment, to enhance competitiveness, and teacher-student interaction in schools. The Government also said that it will be giving conveyance allowance of Rs. 300 per month to each student who will have to travel to the nearby school due to the merger.








Litigants’ body PIL seeks better sanitation facilities on court premises


Express news service : Pune, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:51 hrs


The Maharashtra Litigants’ Association, since its inception in May last year, has filed its first public interest litigation (PIL) demanding better sanitation and hygienic condition in courts across the state. The PIL has been filed against the law and judiciary department, building and communication department and principal secretary (planning) of the state and prays for additional public toilets on court premises, their maintenance and better drinking water facilities.

Bhalchandra Joshi, secretary of the Association and its president Narendra Chapalgaonkar filed the PIL through their lawyer Asim Sarode in the Bombay High Court on Monday.

The PIL states that except for Solapur, advocates from all over the state have complained about the inadequate number of the toilets on court premises and their sorry state of maintenance. “There is no monitoring committee or agency to look after the issue of sanitation, cleanliness, drinking water — the basic necessities for litigants who come to the court and, at times, have to spend the entire day in the court,” the PIL states.

The PIL pointed out that in the 11th Five Year Plan, a certain budget was proposed for infrastructural developments in the country’s courts.

“However, the Planning Commission of India and the State Planning Commission are not looking into the issues related to betterment of the court premises and the secretary (planning) of Maharashtra is not marking any specific budget for the same,” it states.

Among other recommendations, the PIL seeks to form a committee consisting of representatives of judges association, bar council, litigants association and judicial employees association to monitor hygiene and sanitation in the courts.

“The local bar associations shall be given responsibility of looking after such issues and they can work in coordination with the respective court administration,” the PIL states. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing next month.








Others occupying houses meant for slumdwellers?


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Even as the real beneficiaries are running from pillar to post to get a roof over their heads, it is alleged that followers of local politicians and goons have occupied houses built by the Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) at Lakshmidevinagar in Jaibhuvaneshwari Nagar ward near Nandini Layout.

The Board has constructed around 1,300 houses for slumdwellers, of which 400 are already allotted. It is alleged that while it is preparing to allot the remaining 900 houses, followers of corporator and goons have allegedly acquired some of these houses. Some, have rented out these houses. The slumdwellers continue to live in sheds next to the newly built houses. They were deprived of houses due to the dominance of money and influence, it is said. Officials from KSDB have allegedly colluded with the politicians and goons and were not willing to vacate the illegal occupants, the slumdwellers have complained.

“Several families don’t have legal documents. They are from the neighbouring states and reside in these houses by paying up to `1,500 rent,” said Pushpa, chief secretary of Samata Sainika Dala, a Dalit organisation. Illegal occupants stay by bribing local leaders and officials,” said Kumar, who lives in a shed. He is also mulling to file a PIL in the High Court in this regard.

Corporator Thimmaraju, however, denied the charge that his followers had acquired houses. When asked that houses were being allotted for extra money, he said: “I have also heard about such allegations. Police should act against illegal occupants.”








Historic Gokhale Hall is awaiting glorious days


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CHENNAI: Finding Gokhale Hall isn’t easy. Which is surprising, considering the fact that it is on the same heritage grade as the down-the-street neighbour, the gaily coloured Armenian Church. Even on Armenian Street, all the three people whom we asked for directions seemed clueless about ‘Gokhale Hall’ or ‘YMIA’, until we met Rafi, a soda-crate hauler. “There’s an old building next to the Syndicate Bank there, but I don’t know if it’s the one you want,” he suggests on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Turns out it is.

Impressioned in cement are the letters YMIA, the only sign that this run-down (dare we say), visually near-collapsible structure houses the greatest oration centre Madras has ever known. “It’s been many years, decades even, since any young men came here,” says Mukhtar, whose son owns a grocery shop in the vicinity. “We thought that it would be fully knocked down when they first began demolition in 2007-08,” he adds.

Built by the likes of Dr Annie Besant and CP Ramaswamy Aiyer, the building has clearly seen better times. The European-fashioned dome still has shades of its original red and blue as well as chambers along the first floor, from where the crowds listened to Nehru, Rajaji and Kamaraj. When one round of demolition happened, the stage (made of Burmese teak) and a few ramparts had been torn and stowed in the entrance way.

Apparently, they would have razed the structure to a rubble of heap, if the Madras High Court hadn’t restrained them from doing so following a PIL from a Sowcarpet resident. “We heard rumours that they (YMIA) were planning to rebuild a commercial high rise here that would help young men,” Mukhtar reveals. But that might not be on the cards, according to an examination done by INTACH. “We completed the study and submitted a report which suggested that demolishing this heritage structure could be avoided. Repair work and strengthening would help in ensuring that it is safe to use,” asserts S Suresh, State Convenor – INTACH.

The dust hasn’t moved for years and the wooden floorboards from the upper level hang dangerously overhead, but if renovated, the space might well serve as a memorial to the words of our country’s greatest. If not, it will still have the glory and splendour of an oration hall, from ages past.








Department of telecommunications to move Supreme Court against TDSAT


A miffed department of telecommunications (DoT) will move the Supreme Court against telecom tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the government’s policies and licence norms by offering relief to telecom companies in several cases in the recent past.

Telecom secretary R. Chandrashekhar.told Mail Today that his department is exploring the option of moving the Supreme Court (SC) against the TDSAT decision giving relief to telcos on 3G roaming pact even as the DoT had termed it illegal and had asked the operators late last month to stop such services.

“Either of the party can go in for an appeal before the Supreme Court. Ultimately, we have to see and we are looking into the matter. Our legal team is taking care of it. Whatever action will be taken will be taken. We will first take into consideration all facts before we go ahead,” said the telecom secretary.

In the recent past telcos have been challenging numerous policy decisions taken by the government and have moved the TDSAT. In most cases they have succeeded in getting a stay from the TDSAT, which has not gone down well with the DoT.

For instance, much to the embarrassment of the government, recently the TDSAT not only turned down the DoT’s decision banning 3G roaming pact between leading operators but also set aside all penalties – amounting to over Rs.300 crore – imposed by DoT on new telecom operators for missing out roll out obligations of its services.

Sources said the action has widened the rift between the TDSAT and the DoT.

Early this month, the DoT had questioned the jurisdiction of TDSAT to entertain plea by telcos challenging government’s policy issues and licence norms. The DoT had told the tribunal that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the petitions, which are altering the terms of telecom licences.

DoT has told TDSAT that the inter-circle 3G roaming pacts were illegal. The service providers cannot operate 3G services where they do not have the designated spectrum, it said. Filing an affidavit before the TDSAT, the DoT had requested the tribunal to dismiss the petition by telecom operators challenging the government directive to stop 3G roaming immediately.

The telecom ministry officials said they are now over-cautious before initiating action against the telecom operators. Top DoT officials have been asked to ensure there is no room left for telcos to move the TDSAT and take a stay.

According to a PTI report, apprehending that the government may appeal against the TDSAT order, which dismissed its plea that the telecom tribunal has no jurisdiction over the intra-circle 3G roaming pacts, private operators have filed caveat in both the SC as well as the High Court.

By filing the caveat, the operators have ensured that the courts would pass no orders on the DoT plea without hearing their counsel, or get an ex-parte relief.

The government had questioned the role of TDSAT, which gave a lifeline to telecom operators on December 24, by entertaining their plea during the winter vacations and asking DoT not to take any coercive step against them.

Confirming the move, one of the counsels representing the operators said that chances are that DoT may move the High Court, which is already hearing a similar issue in a PIL.









Peace Party fields SC, Muslim women


RAMENDRA SINGH : Lucknow, Tue Jan 24 2012, 04:55 hrs


The Peace Party, which aims to make a Muslim UP’s chief minister by following BSP’s methods, is attempting its own form of social enigeering. In an attempt to highlight the issue of what it calls “Dalit Muslims”, for whom it wants SC status, the party has fielded two rather interesting candidates.

Shabnam alias Sarvesh, its candidate for Chandausi (SC) constituency in Bhimnagar district, and Aisha alias Rani in Puranpur(SC) constituency of Pilibhit district, are both scheduled caste women married to Muslims. While Sarvesh is married to Shauqin Ahmed, a farmer from Thakurdwara tehsil of Moradabad, Rani is married to Rizwan Khan, a farmer from Puranpur in Pilibhit district. Shabnam’s maiden name is Sarvesh Jatav. Her husband Ahmed says he married Sarvesh in 1996.

It was a love-marriage. Sarvesh was the resident of nearby Hauspura village,Ahmed said, and added Chandausi has about 1lakh Muslims and about 2 lakh scheduled castes.

He says the chances of his wife winning the election are high as Chandausi has been reserved constituency for more than 30 years. About one lakh Muslim voters this time have a candidate who belongs to a Muslim community and they would definitely support her, he says. Sarvesh says it was in 2005 that she had decided to contest the election of pradhan from Abdullahpur Leda village which was then reserved for SCs and she got her SC certificate to contest the seat.

Sarvesh is the first person from Ahmed’s family to have contested an election. Later, in 2010 she won the election for the member of Moradabad Zila Panchayat, also a reserved seat. Claiming she will get support from Muslims as well as Dalits, Sarvesh is confident of winning the seat. She says during her earlier contests as pradhan and Zila Panchayat member too she got the votes from Muslims and Dalits. Sarvesh says if she won the election she would fight for giving Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Muslims.

She also want my children to get the benefits which a scheduled caste child gets, she says referring to her sons Sanu, Sabu and daughter Tabassum. Sarvesh will be contesting against BSP sitting MLA Girish Chandra, BJP candidate Gulabo Devi, SP candidate Lakshmi Gautam, and Congress candidate Satish Premi. While Peace Party’s Puranpur candidate Aisha alias Rani has also won the election for member of Pilibhit Zila Panchayat which was also reserved for scheduled castes, in 2010.

Aisha whose maiden name is Rani, belongs to the Kumhar caste. She got her scheduled caste certificate when she planned to contest for Zila Panchyat’s reserved seat. She says she met Rizwan when he used to drive a taxi in his locality in Puranpur town. She says there are about one lakh Muslims in Puranpur assembly constituency and she will get their votes as there is no other Muslim candidate contesting from the seat. Rani’s husband Rizwan says. No one in my family has ever contested any election and it was my wife who contested the first election for Zila Panchayat member and got elected.

Rani will contest against BJP candidate Ramratan Paswan, Congress candidate Sukhlal, BSP candidate Dinesh Bharti, and SP candidate Pritam Ram.

SC gives Noida week to allot land to banks


Dipankar Ghose : Noida, Tue Jan 24 2012, 02:27 hrs
The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Noida Authority one week’s time to come up with a scheme for the rehabilitation of banks that have been ordered to move out of residential areas, for disobeying norms of land use. The Supreme Court had summoned CEO of the Noida Authority, Captain SK Dwivedi, to explain what measures had been taken for the shifting of the 104 banks affected by the order.

“The court has asked us to come out with a scheme for banks within one week. We will adhere to the order as there is commercial space available in several sectors,” said Captain Dwivedi.

After a survey conducted by project engineers last week, the Authority said there is close to 17 lakh square feet of land available for banks and other commercial institutions.

“The also gave six weeks time, starting today, to adhere to the initial order that all banks must clear out from residential premises,” said Captain Dwivedi.

On December 4, the apex court had given the banks two months to vacate their residential plots.

“A resolution of the problem depends on what scheme the Noida Authority comes out with in the next week. We are hopeful of a beneficial scheme, which will be agreeable to both sides,” said Rohit Sapra, secretary of NRBA.







BJP, Cong men among 7 in court


Express news service : Jaipur, Tue Jan 24 2012, 03:22 hrs


The reading of excerpts from Salman Rushdie’s banned book, The Satanic Verses, at the Jaipur Literature Festival last week resulted in seven court petitions in Rajasthan and a police complaint. While the courts are yet to issue any directions to the Jaipur police, the police have begun inquires into the issue but have not filed any FIR.

The court petitions include one at a local court in Ajmer, filed by Muzaffar Bharati, a primary member of the Rajasthan Congress party. The remaining six, in Jaipur courts, have been filed by Daulat Khan, a BJP leader in the minority manch, Abdul Latif from the All India Milli Council and four others, Mohammed Hussain, Mohammed Naimuddin, Zahid and Nasir Zahid of the Muslim Mahasabha. Ashok Kumar, a resident of Jaipur, submitted a complaint to the Jaipur police on Saturday.

While Khan’s petition will be heard on Tuesday, Bharati’s petition will be heard on Wednesday and the remaining five have been slated for February 2.

The complaints name authors Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi as well as JLF organiser Sanjoy Roy. The four authors had read excerpts from the book on January 20. Kunzru and Kumar had even tweeted their intentions before the sessions and were thanked by Rushdie. However, during the reading, the organisers stopped them.

All court petitions include Sections of the IPC for uttering words with intent to hurt religious feelings (298), malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings (295a), promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion (153a) and criminal conspiracy (120b). Bharati’s petition includes Section 505 (creating mischief) and Section 296 (disturbing religious assembly).

‘Info on threat based on intel’

The Rajasthan government on Monday rubbished Salman Rushdie’s claims that he had been lied to by the Rajasthan police in a “plot” to keep him out of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The state home department stated it had based the information on threat to Rushdie’s life on intelligence inputs.







State govt probe against MSEDCL director Deore


Abhilash Botekar, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.39AM IST

NASHIK: The state government has ordered an inquiry against Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd director (projects) M K Deore after allegations of corruption and amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income were raised against him during the assembly session in Nagpur.

Power minister Ajit Pawar has directed state energy secretary Vidyadhar Kanade to look into the technical aspects of the allegations being levelled.

“We have initiated an inquiry against the officer and the report has to be presented to the state government,” Kanade told TOI. However, he did not give a time-frame for presenting the report.

Deore said he has not received any communication from the government over it. “I have overheard something… but nothing in black and white. As and when things come up, I will face it. I know, I have not done anything wrong anytime,” he told TOI.

MSEDCL managing director Ajoy Mehta refused to comment.

At the assembly session in Nagpur, the leader of the opposition, Eknath Khadse, had moved a motion alleging several charges of corruption against Deore and demanded an inquiry by the anti-corruption bureau.

“There are several allegations of corruption against Deore right since he joined service, including amassing of huge wealth. In 1996-97 the then energy minister had made a statement that Deore should not be given a posting where he comes into public contact,” Khadse had charged.

However, Pawar had said “I think the officer has good conduct” but asked the energy secretary to look into the technical aspects of it.

Deore was the chief engineer of the Nashik zone from 2007 to 2009, during which industrial consumers from Malegaon had objected to his billing decisions, while the city-based Veej Grahak Sanghatana, representing power consumers, filed a public interest litigation against him in the Bombay High Court.

During his tenure in Nashik, there were a lot of controversies surrounding Deore, including allegations of implementing load-shedding on industrial feeder at Dyane in Malegaon.

“We had been demanding continuous power from the industrial feeder but we were asked to pay for transmission and distribution losses of MSEDCL on that feeder. The officer even produced a memorandum of understanding that said the industrialists had to pay for the transmission and distribution losses. But neither did the MoU have any signatures on it nor were we aware of any such MoU,” alleged Swapnil Kothari, the then president of the association of plastic manufacturers at Dyane.

“We even filed a criminal case in the district and sessions court of Malegaon,” he said.

Lawyer Siddharth Soni, who represents Veej Grahak Samiti in Nashik, claimed that when the officer was being promoted from chief engineer to executive director (corporate planning) and then as the director (projects), there were criminal cases pending against him in Malegaon and Nashik district and sessions court.

“In Nashik, he is alleged of helping an individual in power theft. We have therefore challenged his appointments by way of PIL and it is pending before Bombay High Court Bombay,” Soni claimed.

Jayalalithaa files complaints against daily and Tamil bi-weekly


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 8:50 IST
Place: Chennai | Agency: PTI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday filed separate complaints in the Principal Sessions court against a Tamil bi-weekly and a leading English national daily accusing them of publishing ‘derogatory and defamatory’ comments against her about her eating habits.

The complaint filed on behalf of the Chief Minister by the city public prosecutor against the Editor, Joint Editor and a Reporter of Nakkheeran and a reporter and the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu seeks to punish them under IPC sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory).

When contacted, Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Hindu said, “we will study the matter and respond accordingly”.

Nakkheeran on January 7 had faced the wrath of irate AIADMK supporters who attacked its office and burnt copies over publication of the report about Jayalalithaa’s eating habits.

Facing contempt proceedings, Editor R Gopal had expressed regret in the High Court on January 12 for publishing the article and said a regret message would be carried on the cover page of the magazine’s next issue.

The chief public prosecutor submitted that if an article, which appeared as a news item, was one relating to the personal life of a public official, it would be necessary for the member of the press or media to publish it only after a reasonable verification of the facts.








Bombay High court clears oldest pending appeal


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The oldest criminal appeal of 26 years was finally disposed of on Monday.

The Bombay high court dismissed the appeal filed by the state government, challenging the acquittal of seven accused in a 1984 murder case.

“After 26 years, we do not find any reason to interfere with the order passed by the trial court,” said the division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice ML Tahaliyani.

The seven accused were acquitted by a sessions court in 1985. “The state had appealed against the acquittal in the high court,” said additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani.

The seven accused, suspected to be local gangsters, allegedly murdered Maxi Pascol, allegedly a goon from the Powai area, on February 2, 1984, when Pascol was travelling in an autorickshaw to the Andheri metropolitan court to attend a case hearing.A taxi overtook his autorickshaw near Powai lake and stopped suddenly. Soon, another taxi stopped. Pascol sensed something was wrong. He rushed out of the auto and started running in the opposite direction.

According to the police, the accused, armed with choppers and knives, chased him. Pascol fell into a trench and the accused allegedly assaulted him.

Two motorcyclists saw the incident, noted down the taxi numbers and informed the police about it. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead on admission.

Based on the taxi numbers, the accused were arrested and a case of murder and rioting was slapped against them.
During the trial, the prosecution examined 21 witnesses. The sessions court said the prosecution had failed to prove any motive behind the murder.

On December 24, 1985, the accused were let off and the state government appealed against their acquittal.

On September 1, 1986, the high court allowed the state to appeal and the petition was admitted. Since then, it had been pending. “As per the note forwarded by the registry, this was the oldest criminal appeal pending in the court,” said Hingorani.







Court to frame charges against 120 Somali nationals


Express News Service : Mumbai, Tue Jan 24 2012, 00:26 hrs
A Sessions court is scheduled to frame charges against 120 Somali nationals, who are alleged to be pirates, on January 31. The accused, currently lodged at Taloja Jail, were arrested in March 2011 for allegedly hijacking ships like Vega 5 and Al-Murtuza.

According to the chargesheet filed by the Yellow Gate police station, they will be tried under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in addition to attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and for carrying weapons. Four separate chargesheets have been filed against the accused.

On Monday all 120 were brought to the Sewri sessions court in six vans. However, the court took objection to their arrival as it had not summoned them to the court.

Unable to contain the accused in the court, they were made to wait in the van. The court tried contacting the Taloja jailor through video conferencing, to ask him why the escort officers had brought the accused to court.

However, the video connection could not be established. They were also unable to get their own lawyers, appointed by the court.

Seventy hostages belonging to Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and Pakistan were rescued by the Navy. Arms like AK-47 assault rifles with magazines and rocket launchers were also recovered from them when nabbed off the western coast of India.









Stay on NBW against Jayalalithaa extended


A. V. Ragunathan

The judge will pass orders in this regard on January 28

District and Sessions Court Judge K. Uthirapathi has extended till January 28 the stay on a non-bailable warrant (NBW) ordered by the Parangipettai Magistrate Court against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a case relating to filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections.

The judge will also pass orders in this regard on January 28. The petition came up for hearing before the district sessions court on Monday.

A. Sankaran of Tindivanam, counsel for Ms. Jayalalithaa, argued that when the Supreme Court had stayed the proceedings on the main petition and ordered status quo on July 10, 2007 an NBW would be out of place.

He said that no process had been filed by the complainant (the then Returning Officer of the Bhuvanagiri Assembly Constituency A.G. Selvamani) nor any notice or summons served on the revision petitioner (Ms. Jayalalithaa) till date. It was the elementary principle of law that no warrant could be issued in the absence of summons. Moreover, the main complaint was not taken on file till date.

Mr. Sankaran contended that the order passed by the Parangipettai Magistrate Court was a glaring defect of serious nature that had resulted in grave injustice. The order was passed in a slipshod manner without the application of mind, touching upon the fundamental rights of the petitioner.

Mr. Sankaran pleaded that the District Sessions Court, exercising both judicial and administrative control over the magistrate court, had to set aside the impugned order in the “interest of justice, equity and fair play.”

After hearing counsel, Judge Uthirapathi said that after going through the records he would issue detailed orders on January 28.

The impugned order issued on January 4 by the then Parangipettai Magistrate R. Gomathi Sakthi Sorupam (since placed under suspension by the Madras High Court on charges of corruption and alteration of records in a case pertaining to a private company in Salem) created a sensation as it called for the personal appearance of the Chief Minister before the magistrate court on February 16.

The recall petition filed by the Chief Minister’s counsel too was posted for February 16. Meanwhile, counsel moved the District Sessions Court and obtained a stay on the impugned order.

The main petition filed by Mr. Selvamani in 2007 relates to purported violation of the Representation of the People’s Act by Ms Jayalalithaa as she filed nominations in four Assembly constituencies of Bhuvanagiri, Andipatti, Krishnagiri and Pudukottai in 2001.











An accused let down by justice system, yet again


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 24, 2012

The alleged suicide by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam key accused Sunil Verma at his Lucknow residence exposes the weaknesses of our criminal justice system that has once again failed to protect an accused (and a possible witness) in a high-profile case.

The fact

that Verma’s is the fourth mysterious death in the scam being investigated by the CBI only highlights the gullible ways in which the “premier” agency deals with such cases, as it cannot be given the benefit of doubt regarding possible threats to the accused/witnesses in the case.

The saddest part is that rather than being an aberration, the mysterious deaths in the NRHM scam are a part of a larger pattern in high-profile corruption cases in India.

Shyam Bihari Sinha, the kingpin in the fodder scam – allegedly involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad – died under mysterious circumstances. Witnesses/accused have also  died under mysterious circumstances in at least in two SC-monitored cases – the Ghaziabad provident fund scam allegedly involving judges, and 2G-spectrum scam (See Box).

It goes without saying that witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice. Even to make a document admissible as evidence one needs a witness. But unlike the US and many other developed nations, India does not have any witness protection programme.

Witnesses and accused (particularly those likely to turn approver) need protection both during investigation and at the time of trial to ensure that not only is the case solved and a proper chargesheet is filed but also the charges are proved in the court.

Law Commission Vice Chairman KTS Tulsi said: “Witness protection involves changing their identities and relocating their entire families. We need to have enough financial provision for it. Until it’s done, at least cancel the bail granted to all the accused in cases where witnesses are dying.”

There are lots recommendations by the law commission, Mallimath committee, the SC and various high courts. But political will is lacking.

The legislative route may take time. Till then. the government should at least notify the guidelines framed by Delhi HC in Neelam Katara case in 2003 as an interim measure.


ITAT graft: CJI seeks action–CJI-seeks-action/903325/


Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 03:05 hrs
With the CBI widening its probe into whether decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) were allegedly fixed and authored by outsiders, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia is learnt to have asked the Law Ministry to take “appropriate” action in the issue.

Sources said the CJI, in a meeting with Law Minister Salman Khurshid sometime ago, also expressed concern over the manner in which his ministry was sitting for over three years on the CBI’s request for sanction to prosecute 20 ITAT members and officials for allegedly outsourcing writing of decisions to private individuals.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the CBI, after chargesheeting suspended ITAT member Jugal Kishore and five others for fixing ITAT decisions, had recently decided to examine allegations against other members of the tribunal for corruption.

The Law ministry will reportedly seek more information from the CBI and other agencies before taking a final call on the request for sanction to prosecute the ITAT officials.








Turf battle erupts around blast arrest

Mumbai says culprit, Delhi says informer

Jan. 23: Investigators in Maharashtra today announced the arrest of two youths allegedly linked to last year’s serial blasts in Mumbai but the “breakthrough” was challenged by Delhi police sources who claimed one of the suspects was their informer.

The Delhi sources also said that arrest in haste had alerted three key suspects and given them time to escape.

Security officials not involved with either side said the brawl appeared to be a manifestation of the scramble for credit and territorial mistrust plaguing the country’s terror-fighting networks.

Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria said in Mumbai that Naqi Ahmed Waqi Ahmed Sheikh, 22, and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh, 23, both from Darbhanga, Bihar, had been booked on charges of terrorism under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act and murder and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

The blasts on July 13, 2011, had killed 27 people. As many as 26 people died in Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House while a blast in Dadar killed one person. Over 120 people were injured.

The investigators said the two suspects stole two Activa scooters from South Mumbai which were used in the blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House. The ATS claimed to have seized from Darbhanga two motorcycles which were apparently stolen for future use.

Naqi and Nadeem have been sent to police custody till February 2. The ATS has also sought the custody of a third accused, Haroon Rashid Naik, 33, for investigation into the economic trail and the conspiracy. Naik was arrested in August in a counterfeit currency case.

According to the ATS, the main accused in the conspiracy is the Indian Mujahideen leader, Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal alias Imran. Two other accused, who were referred to as “A” and “B” and suspected to be Pakistani citizens, are also at large.

“Yasin Bhatkal had given Naqi Ahmed Rs 1.5 lakh to aid, assist and abet the crime. Nadeem was called to Delhi by Yasin Bhatkal who handed over a cloth packet to be given to Naqi, who was supposed to give it to the wanted accused. This packet had the detonators and explosives used in the blast,” Maria said.

He claimed that the entire conspiracy had cost Rs 10 lakh, routed through a hawala transaction.

The ATS said the explosives were assembled in a flat at South Mumbai’s Byculla, which Bhatkal had rented with the help of Naqi. The ATS has recorded the statements of the estate agent and the landlady who rented out her flat. The Byculla flat is located not too far from the ATS headquarters.

Naqi, who owns a leather business, has been living in Mumbai since 2010-end. The ATS claimed that Bhatkal was known to him since 2008. “Naqi had also facilitated the recce of the blast sites by helping enrol one of the wanted accused in a gym near Zaveri Bazaar. He would visit the gym in the evening between 7 and 8pm for the recce,” Maria said.

According to Maria, Naqi and Nadeem, along with six others, were arrested this month by the ATS while pursuing leads to a racket in obtaining SIM cards through bogus papers.

Indirectly referring to suggestions that Naqi is a police informer, Maria said: “Much has been written about the innocence of Naqi. It is not that he didn’t know about the antecedents of Bhatkal. Bhatkal used to visit him at Darbhanga, where indoctrination programmes were held to induct young boys into the modules.”

Media reports in the past week have suggested that Naqi was a Delhi police informer.

Delhi police sources today iterated that Naqi, who knew Bhatkal, was supposed to lead a Delhi police team camping in Mumbai to the three men living in the Byculla flat.

But before that, the ATS arrested Naqi in the forgery case after getting whiff of the Delhi police investigations in the ATS backyard. The arrest also alerted the three — Bhatkal and the two unidentified suspects, the Delhi sources claimed.

Maria today rubbished claims of a botch-up, saying that he had been working closely with Delhi police. “The so-called high-handedness of ATS is absolutely unfounded and far from the truth. The main accused in the case, Bhatkal, was in the city only in the month of June for some time and in July before the blasts. He left on July 13, while the other two left in November, around the same time when Delhi police arrested six IM men in a nation-wide operation.

“The reports have claimed that he was to return to the city to collect his rent deposit and that he would have been arrested then by Delhi police and that the ATS botched up the operation. This is not true. Would the terrorists come back for Rs 84,000?” Maria asked.

But sources in Delhi police said Naqi was first contacted by their special cell in December to trace IM militants responsible for the Mumbai serial blasts. On January 8, Delhi police officers had taken him to Mumbai to identify two suspects, they added.

According to Naqi’s brother Taqi Ahmed, Delhi police officers had taken Naqi to several places in Mumbai in search of terrorists. “I spoke to him on January 10 and he told me he would return home in a couple of days. But later I learnt that he was picked up by the Maharashtra ATS at night. He is suffering because of the ego clash between Delhi police and their counterparts in Mumbai. Whenever I call up Mumbai police, they abuse me,” Taqi said.

Taqi stays in Jamianagar in south-east Delhi and owns a small leather shop.

A Delhi police officer said: “They (the Maharashtra ATS) felt bad when Delhi police solved the Pune bakery blast case last year. Now it will be difficult for them to prove Naqi’s involvement.”

But a top security officer said: “It’s nothing but a turf war between the Maharashtra ATS and the Delhi special cell. Let them prove Naqi’s involvement in the court of law.”

Government sources in Delhi said there was no clash among agencies but conceded lack of clarity on sharing of information among different central and state agencies.

The Union home ministry is expected to meet directors-general of police next month to sort out problems of co-ordination between the ATS, central agencies and Delhi police.










Women harassment cases going up


S. P. Saravanan

‘Most differences between couples are about supremacy’

Blame it on issues over supremacy, financial or educational status or discontent in marriage life, complaints of harassment against women are on the rise in the city in 2011 when compared to 2009 and 2010.

Yet, 70 per cent of the victim’s problems were solved through counselling by the city police and 30 per cent were left for logical conclusion before a court of law.

Harassment against wife includes, beating of woman by husband in inebriated condition, abuse by mother-in-law, father-in-law and relatives, suspecting fidelity of the woman, blaming wife for childlessness, blaming her parents, disability harassment, spying on their activities, verbal and nor-verbal abuse are the forms of harassment reported.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Hema Karunakaran said that most of the differences between wife and husband were over supremacy and that too in the age group of 21 – 30 years.

When a woman approaches an All Women Police Station to file a complaint, priority is given for resolving the issue through expert counselling. The last option is registering a case, she added.

When a husband or relative subject her to cruelty, a case would be filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in which, the guilty, upon conviction would get three years of imprisonment and fine.

In case of harassment, case would be registered under Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act 2002 provides a maximum of three year imprisonment or Rs. 10,000 fine or both.

In case of dowry harassment, the District Social Welfare Officer K. Aruna has to conduct an inquiry with the husband and wife and submit a report to the police station, after which the case is registered.


Expert counselling is provided only if the couple wanted it, she added.

However, a police official said that some women misuse the law by preferring complaints over petty issues with the husband or his family.

They seek legal recourse to settle scores or intimidate the husband’s family. Such petitions are often resolved by offering adequate counselling.

This accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the dowry harassment cases registered.







Ex Min held in land grab case


A Subburaj, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 03.22AM IST

COIMBATORE: Senior DMK leader and former highways minister Vellakovil Saminathan was arrested along with a party colleague on Monday morning in connection with a land grab case filed by an egg exporter. While Saminathan was arrested from his residence at Muthur, his close aid and real estate dealer Kanagaraj was arrested from Tirupur.

The Crime Branch Police arrested Saminathan based on a complaint filed by R Gopinath from Vellakovil in Tirupur district, who operates an egg export business in Namakkal. In his complaint, Gopinath accused Saminathan and a few others of land grab and criminal intimidation.

As per the complaint, in 2007, when the DMK government was in power, Gopinath bought 32 housing plots behind the CODISA complex at Peelamedu in Coimbatore from Sivasamy. An advance of Rs 32 lakh was paid to Sivasamy who transferred the power of attorney to Gopinath. A few months later, Gopinath sold the housing plots to Kanagaraj of Tirupur and executed a sale agreement. Kanagaraj, a DMK party cadre was a real estate agent. Gopinath received Rs 32 lakh as advance from Kanagaraj and transferred the power of attorney to him.

Gopinath soon realized that the power of attorney provided by Sivasamy was forged and the latter had hatched a conspiracy with four others to dupe him. Around this time, Kanagaraj started demanding Rs 85 lakh from Gopinath to nullify the agreement, along with the Rs 32 lakh he had paid as advance. When Gopinath refused to pay, Kanagaraj used his clout in the government and forcibly took over five and a half cents of land owned by Gopinath’s wife, seizing ownership documents from her.

Kanagaraj continued to demand Rs 85 lakh. When Gopinath refused to pay, he approached Saminathan for help. Based on Saminathan’s instructions, two persons took Gopinath forcibly to the DMK party office at Moolanur near Dharapuram on July 10, 2007. Saminathan instructed Gopinath to pay Rs 85 lakh to Kanagaraj. When Gopinath refused to pay the amount, the former minister verbally abused him. Kanagaraj and two others beat him up severely in the presence of the then minister.

A few months after the incident, Kanagaraj wanted to possess 4.5 acres of agricultural land owned by Gopinath’s cousin brother Sundararajan at Avinashi. He threatened to send Gopinath to jail, if any of them put up a resistance. Unable to withstand the pressure, Sundararajan surrendered the land worth Rs 15 crore to Kanagaraj.

Even after the AIADMK government came to power, Kanagaraj and his associates threatened Gopinath frequently. Unable to withstand the trauma, he lodged a complaint with the District Crime branch (DCB) in Tirupur. After conducting a detailed inquiry, the police have registered a case against Kanagaraj, Saminathan and their associates under section 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (causing simple hurt), 294(b) (using filthy language), 387 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.

“We have arrested the former DMK minister and his party member Kanagaraj. Others involved in the crime will be nabbed soon,” said V Balakrishnan, superintendent of police, Tirupur.













Competition Commission closes case against GGCL

PTI, 23 Jan 2012 | 10:32 PM

Email0 1 0  0


“The commission, prima facie, is of the opinion that the conduct of GGCL is not abusive in terms of the provisions of the Act. There is no prima facie case made out for referring it to investigation,” CCI stated in the order on Monday.


Competition Commission of India on Monday ordered closure of case filed by the Gujarat Government against BG group subsidiary, Gujarat Gas Company Ltd (GGCL), accusing it of arbitrarily hiking CNG prices in Surat.

“The commission, prima facie, is of the opinion that the conduct of GGCL is not abusive in terms of the provisions of the Act. There is no prima facie case made out for referring it to investigation,” CCI stated in the order on Monday.

Since Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act is a special legislation for regulating the price mechanism and to ensure fair trade and competition among the entities, the Competition Act cannot be invoked complaining of increase in price, etc, the order said.

The commission on Monday passed the order after conducting hearing in two separate cases: one filed by the Gujarat Government and the other by the Gujarat Textile Processors Association (GTPA).

Both the complaints essentially alleged that GGCL had abused its dominant position by creating artificial scarcity of natural gas and increasing prices by 25 per cent during 2010-11 to reap windfall gains.

GGCL, a city gas distribution (CGD) company in Gujarat, supplies natural gas to domestic consumers, commercial establishments and industry in Surat, Bharuch and Ankleshwar. The company has a gas pipeline network of around 3,200 km.

The Gujarat Government had moved CCI against GGCL in November last year, saying it had received a lot of complaints against the company, regarding its price hike.

In June 2008, GGCL had raised the prices of natural gas from Rs 27.50 per kg to 39.75 per kg, according to the government.

The CCI order observed that operating margins of Indraprastha Gas Limited, a peer company operating in Delhi, were higher than that of GGCL.

Gujarat government was of the view that the case should be probed as the price hike was not driven by market forces and the company had hiked the prices as it was enjoying a monopoly. Gujarat Textile Processors Association had also moved Competition Commission saying GGCL had arbitrarily hiked the gas prices though it was sourcing it cheap.

GGCL currently distributes around 3.5 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of natural gas to nearly 3.30 lakh customers.









HC hauls up civic body for ‘acting like a civil court’


HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 24, 2012

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was hauled up by the Bombay high court on Monday over the case involving a plot at Worli owned by pharma group Glaxo Smithkline. The court said the BMC had assumed quasi-judicial authority and was acting like a civil court in the matter.

The division bench of justice SA Bobade and justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a petition filed by Glaxo Smithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd challenging an October 2009 order passed by the then civic commissioner revoking certain permissions granted to the company, including its transaction with I-Ven Realty for part of the Worli property.

Glaxo Smithkline’s counsel Aspi Chinoy argued that the order was passed without giving the pharma giant the chance for a personal hearing, when the civic commissioner had passed the order after hearing a representative of I-Ven Realty.

“Before the order was passed, notice was issued to us and we had requested a personal hearing. But the civic body only gave the other party a hearing,” the senior advocate submitted.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhare, on the other hand, stated that giving a personal hearing was not a must under the law and therefore the company could not make any grievance about it.

Sakhare also pointed out that the assistant municipal commissioner, estates, who had granted permission for sub-division of the plot, had no authority to do so and only the Improvements Committee has been authorised to handle issues pertaining to land.

The judges, however, reacted sharply to the approach of the civic authorities. “Once you (BMC) have assumed that you have powers to decide without giving a hearing, how can you then discriminate by hearing only one party?” they asked.

The judges were further irked to note the working of the commissioner’s order, which sounded like a decree by a civil court. “This is as if the commissioner has all the powers of a court,” the judges remarked and asked, “How can BMC act like a civil court?”

The bench further said if all sides are not given a hearing before a decision was taken then the order could be bad in law. The matter has been posted for final hearing on February 6.








HC raps state govt for not providing facilities to CBI


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.21AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court came down heavily on the state government on Monday for not providing proper infrastructure to the CBI, which is probing the 2003 Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. The government has been directed to give the CBI a 2,200 sq m office in Gandhinagar by Monday evening. The court also asked the government to provide all necessary facilities, including accommodation to CBI officials in circuit houses within 10 days.

The investigation had been handed over to the CBI in June 2011. “Six months later, all things are still on paper and nothing has been provided to CBI. You have not done anything else, except for exchange of correspondence in this period,” Justice M R Shah told the government pleader.

When the government pleader tried to argue loudly, blaming CBI for raising trivial issues, the judge commented, “By raising your voice, do not try to make the issue sensational and controversial.” The government objected to providing six air-conditioned rooms to CBI sleuths, but the judge remarked, “Do not compel us to speak out. You provide 600 AC rooms for different purpose. I do not want to speak such things from the dais.”

CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani told the court that the delay in the probe was due to lack of infrastructure. But counsel for Mehtar’s brother, Mukul Sinha, complained that the CBI’s investigations in the case had been slow in Maharashtra as well, where the agency can’t say it does not have infrastructure.

To this, Justice Shah noted that CBI had already examined 107 witnesses, and kept the next hearing on CBI’s demand for a six-month extension in February.







HC asks BWSSB boss: Have you entered a sewer in your lifetime?


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 03.50AM IST

BANGALORE: Expressing its displeasure at the manner in which its orders have been received by BWSSB and KUWSDB, the Karnataka high court on Monday directed the chairpersons of these boards to appear before it on January 31.

“They have taken the court’s orders too lightly. Human beings are dying in gutters. If Delhi has gone mechanical, there is no reason why it can’t happen in Bangalore? Have they (chairpersons of boards) entered a sewer once in their lifetime? Even if they go once in a week we would have forgiven them. They must do so to show empathy. Anyway, let them appear before the court at the next date of hearing,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen observed while adjourning the hearing of a PIL.

The counsel for tthe petitioners, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka, told the court that since the last order passed on July 20, 2011, eight more persons had died while cleaning drains in addition to the 16 deaths mentioned in the petition.

Directive to BDA on denotified land

A division bench of the Karnataka high court headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Monday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to remove all billboards/signboards on a 1-acre plot in Jarakabandekaval near Nandini Layout, apart from ensuring the land remained with the authority.

The bench then adjourned the hearing of a PIL filed by N L Narendra Babu, Congress MLA representing Mahalakshmi Layout, where the land is located. The next hearing is on March 23.

In the last hearing, the government had said it’s reconsidering the denotification but failed to show any action. The BDA maintained it had possession of the land before denotification. Babu challenged the January 12, 2010 order of the urban development department, denotifying the land based on then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s recommendation and ignoring the law department’s advice. The land was acquired by BDA in the 1980s for forming the Nandini Layout.

Yeddyurappa has also been arraigned as a party in the petition.









HC slams govt for not filing reply in T Nagar sealing case


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 07.11AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has slammed the state government for seeking more time to file its reply to the batch of cases concerning the sealing of 25 buildings in T Nagar for violating rules.

“The advocate-general seeks time to file counter-affidavit. It is unfortunate that despite the matter being heard on many dates and going up to the Supreme Court, till date no counter has been filed by the state,” observed the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Jjustice T S Sivagnanam on Monday.

The bench, however, did grant the government time till January 31 to file its response, and adjourned the matter to February 7 for further hearing.

The batch of cases are before the first bench after the apex court stayed its order directing the building code violators to approach the court-appointed monitoring committee to get the seals removed.

The first bench also directed the senior advocate for the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to submit a chart containing details such as the blueprints of the buildings that violated norms, the extent of unauthorized constructions by them and whether the plans were sanctioned or not.

The judges said: “We expect that the lawyers will not give an impression to the Supreme Court that the court was reluctant to hear the matter.”

More than 20 buildings were sealed by the CMDA and the Chennai Corporation on October 31, 2011. The matter is before the first bench for a third round of hearing.










HC denies bail to Kobad Ghandy


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.13AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed the bail application of Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy in a criminal case registered against him in Patiala.

Ghandy was booked by the Patiala police in January this year following a tip-off that he visited Punjabi University, Patiala, under a fake identity. In his petition filed before the HC, Ghandy had pleaded innocence alleging false implication in the matter.

The FIR was registered against the 63-year-old Ghandy and one Manoj alias Rajesh at the Sadar police station, Patiala, under sections 10, 13, 18 & 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Section 419 and 120B of IPC. Ghandy, a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist), was arrested in September 2009 in Delhi, following a joint operation by intelligence agencies and the police. Since then he has been behind bars.

In its petition filed through advocate R S Bains, Ghandy had pleaded innocence stating that he was booked for delivering a lecture in Punjabi University in April/May 2009 for spreading Maoist activities. He pleaded that at that time CPI (Maoist) was not banned. CPI (Maoist) was banned in June 22, 2009, he argued.

He also pleaded that the Lt governor of Delhi had stayed all proceedings against Ghandy pending in various other parts of the country while exercising powers under Section 268 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc). As such, Ghandy has right to get bail, the petition said.

It was also contended by Ghandy’s counsel that witnesses of the prosecution agency in the case had not signed their statement. Claiming that Ghandy was an intellectual and had written two books, his counsel sought directions for granting bail in the case. After hearing his contentions, however, Justice V S Malik dismissed his bail application.








HC reduces life term of 6 HuJI men to 8 yrs


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: The life sentences awarded to six Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) terrorists, including three Pakistanis, by a trial court for plotting to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly in 2002, were reduced to eight years each by the Delhi high court on Monday

While upholding the trial court’s 2010 judgment, a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg, however, modified the order on their sentence and reduced the life term awarded to them to eight years on the ground of parity. HC reduced the sentence, acceding to the pleas of the HuJI militants that three other key accused, who had earlier confessed to their crime, were awarded 8 years’ jail term in 2007 under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities (POTA) Act.

The court’s verdict came on appeals by three Pakistani convicts Tariq Mehmood, Arshad Khan and Ishaq Ahmed and their three Indian accomplices, Ghulam Mohammed Dar, Ghulam Qadir Bhat and Mufti Mohammed Israr, who had been convicted under the provisions of the POTA, the IPC and the Arms Act.

Besides plotting to kidnap the cricketers, the HuJI terrorists had planned to assassinate former President A P J Abdul Kalam when he was a scientist and bomb Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to secure the release of two Pakistani terrorists lodged in Indian jails.

On Monday, during the pronouncement of the verdict, Ghulam Qadir Bhat, one of the convicts, sought acquittal in the case on the grounds that he pleaded not guilty. HC then asked him to file an affidavit stating whether he accepts the reduced sentence or he wants to argue for an outright acquittal in the case.

Except Dar, five others have already spent over nine years in jail and as a consequence, they will be released unless required in other cases, the court said.






HC reprieve for 39 ‘polluting’ buildings


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 05.55AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has granted relief to 39 malls, commercial buildings and residential complexes that were fined by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for causing air and water pollution.

A division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani upheld a single judge’s order and said the DPCC has no power to levy penalties in case it comes across any violations. If the violations are not corrected despite DPCC’s inspection, the latter can file criminal complaints against the violators in court, HC said.

HC was hearing an appeal filed by DPCC after it lost the case before a single judge. The board had slapped notices to most of the leading builders and realtors in the city for erecting commercial and residential complexes in violation of sections of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and Environment (Protection) Act.

On their part, the builders defended their case, claiming they were not covered under these laws and DPCC illegally levied fine on them. Some of the prominent names against whom the DPCC notices were quashed include DLF Saket, Vasant Kunj Mall, Splendor Forum, TDI Mall at Rajouri Garden and Galleria Shopping Mall at Mayur Vihar.

“The power to issue directions under the Water Act and the power to issue directions under the Air Act doesn’t confer the power to levy any penalty …only courts can take cognizance of offences under the Act and levy penalties, role of pollution control boards is to initiate proceedings before the court of competent jurisdiction and no more,” the division bench added.








HC directs AP Transco to re-employ disabled lineman


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.37AM IST

HYDERABAD: Noting that the authorities should interpret the Acts pertaining to persons with disabilities in a humane manner and not in a whimsical way, Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP High Court on Monday directed the APTransco to give posting orders within three weeks to a former employee of the corporation who lost both his legs and right hand while discharging his duties.

The judge was dealing with a petition filed by S Venkataramana who was with AP Transmission Corporation as its junior lineman before the accident rendered him disabled in June, 2008. The corporation paid him Rs 4.92 lakh as compensation. Though it was decided later on humanitarian grounds to provide him the job of an attendant, somehow it did not materialise so far.

“The payment of compensation would not absolve the employer of his duty to provide suitable job under Section 47 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. In such a situation, it is the employer’s responsibility to see that the workman is shifted to some other post with the same pay and service benefits”, Justice Chandra Kumar said while dealing with the writ petition. The court also directed the corporation to ensure that the petitioner was allowed to perform his duties without anymore physical or mental strain.








2G case: Delhi HC to hear final arguments by Loop, Essar


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will hear final arguments by Loop Telecom and Essar Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case on Tuesday.

Loop and Essar had earlier filed a petition asking if their case was to be heard by a magistrate court or a special CBI court.

A special CBI court had accepted CBI’s chargesheet against Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case and issued summons to all the eight accused named in the chargesheet.







Multicrore Scam: HC Rejects Bail to 5 Officials


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: The High Court on Monday refused to grant anticipatory bail to fiveBBMP officials—B G Prakash Kumar, M Prabhu, C A Shivappa, Keera Naik and Ramesh, accused in the multicrore bogus bill scam.

The accused approached the Court after a lower court rejected anticipatory bail filed by 13 Palike officials on the grounds that the investigation of the scam was still under progress.

The FIR was filed against them by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) in connection with the alleged irregularities in three divisions – Gandhinagar, Rajarajeshwari and Malleswaram. The scam was estimated at `1,540 crore. CID sleuths are now investigating the case.

After the investigation was handed over to the CID, Executive Engineer Idiya Vendon was arrested.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force had registered a FIR and it was found that the officials had indulged in forgery of work code and also clearing bills for work which were not completed.








Govt not able to justify scrapping of post: HC


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 07.21AM IST

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government lost yet another legal battle in the Madras high court on Monday when its order abolishing the 12,618 Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (welfare workers) posts was quashed by a single judge.

Justice K Suguna, ordering the immediate reinstatement of all the workers, said the government order dated November 8, 2011 had been issued due to “political and extraneous considerations.” “Unfortunately, the government had not brought before this court any record to substantiate the reason mentioned in the order and no argument was also advanced by the advocate-general with regard to this,” she said.

Noting that it was a serious humanitarian problem and that 12,618 employees could not be sent home abruptly overnight, Justice Suguna said: “Viewing from any angle, a perusal of the details reveals that the stand of the counsel for the petitioners that the order had been passed for political reasons has to be accepted.” Appointed on contract basis, welfare workers, two in each village panchayat, are supposed to monitor implementation of the government’s welfare schemes. The judge referred to the fact that the posts were first created by the DMK government in 1989, and were abolished by the subsequent AIADMK government in 1991. The posts were created again in 1997 when the DMK returned to power, only to be scrapped by the AIADMK government in 2001. Again the DMK restored the posts and re-appointed the workers in 2006, and the present AIADMK government disbanded them in 2011.

Noting that theses details clearly revealed that the reasons for the disbandment of the posts were political, Justice Suguna said: “A political party assuming power is entitled to engraft the political philosophy behind the party. But, in the matter of execution of a decision taken by the previous government which does not involve any political philosophy, the successive government is duty-bound to continue the same rather than put an end to that.”

When it is brought to the notice of the court that for extraneous considerations and political reasons, orders are repeatedly passed so as to affect more than 12,000 employees, the court certainly has to look into the matter and see whether the abolition of posts is justified, Justice Suguna observed.

Once a budget sanction is made for a particular post, then it will get its sanctity on a par with other regular posts, she said, reiterating her conclusion that the government had not been able to justify the abolition of posts with right reasons.

The judge also pointed out that the workers had been involved in polio prevention camps, AIDS awareness camps, cattle census, assisting disabled persons and monitoring implementation of various schemes.







Sting op: HC reserves order on plea by Godhra convict


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Jan 24 2012, 04:01 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition by a convict in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case demanding to bring on record evidence related to a sting operation in which a key prosecution witness is purportedly seen stating he was bribed by the then investigation officer Noel Parmar to give a tutored statement.

J R Mothaliya, the investigation officer who is part of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had deposed before the trial court saying the CD related to the sting operation was “inaudible”. The SIT, however, had produced the same CD before other courts trying cases related to Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya massacres.

The petition before the HC was moved by Salim Zarda, one of the 11 convicts sentenced to death by a special trial court last year in the 2002 Godhra carnage case.

A bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay reserved its order after Zarda’s lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan and state government’s counsel Sushil Kumar concluded their arguments on Monday. Both Ramakrishnan and Kumar are advocates from the Supreme Court.

Ramakrishnan argued that the SIT has adopted a “pick and choose theory”, relying on the CD when it is against the accused and not doing so when it may exonerate the accused.

Sushil Kumar argued against the practice of sting operation being carried out by media houses, saying it cannot be allowed by the court.

However, Kumar was strongly opposed by Ramakrishnan, who argued that if relevant evidence, even if recorded illegally, is admissible as evidence.

Trial Court to visit Naroda Patiya site

The special trial court for the 2002 Naroda Patiya case is expected to visit the massacre site on January 30. The court of Jyotsana Yagnik on Monday ordered SIT officials and the prosecution to remain present there during their visit, special assistant public prosecutor in the case, Gaurang Vyas, said, adding the court kept it open for the defence advocates to remain present. Ninety-eight people were killed in the massacre on February 28, 2002 and 61 are undergoing trial in the case, including former minister, Dr Maya Kodnani.









JNU MMS case: HC dismisses plea of JNU student expelled for making porn clip


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:40 hrs

The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of one of the students expelled by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), for reportedly being involved in the act of creating pornographic MMS clips and distributing it on campus last year.

Justice Hima Kohli dismissed the petition of MCA student Balbir Chand, who had been indicted by the JNU authorities for helping a co-accused in making a CD of a pornographic film and abetting the crime.

Chand, who was then a second year MCA student and a resident of Tapti Hostel, had moved the court last year seeking permission from the court to sit for his semester exams. His petition had also sought quashing of a letter dated April 8, 2011, issued by the University, declining him permission to appear in the semester examination and also attend classes.

During the hearing, counsel for the JNU, however, emphasised on the legal infirmity in Chand’s petition. The counsel contended the writ petition was not maintainable since Chand had not challenged the order passed by the JNU Chief Protector, communicating to him the decision of the Vice-Chancellor to expel him from the University and removing his name from the rolls.

“Further, Chand was directed not to enter the JNU campus. The petitioner failed to challenge this order by the university. Hence, the petition is not maintainable in this form,” said the counsel.

Finding favour with JNU’s argument, Justice Kohli noted that the present writ petition was filed in April, by which date JNU’s Office Order dated February 12, 2011, had already been passed. “But for reasons best known to the petitioner, the same has not been challenged till date,” the court observed.

Admitting the lapses, Chand’s counsel then sought to withdraw petition in view of the legal glitch and said he would first challenge the expulsion order.

“At this stage, counsel for petitioner seeks leave to withdraw the present writ petition while seeking leave to challenge the aforesaid Office Order dated February 12, 2011, in appropriate proceedings. The petition is dismissed as withdrawn, along with the pending application,” ordered Justice Kohli.

The varsity was rocked by the scandal in February last year after its security officers informed the authorities about a video recording purportedly showing two students in a compromising position in a hostel room.

An inquiry by the JNU subsequently indicted Chand and Janardan Kumar, the students in the MMS clip. The report mentioned that the accused boys were blackmailing the girl after filming the obscene act and the CD was made on the campus itself.

After receiving a report from the JNU, the police registered an FIR against the two under section 292 (sale of obscene material) and sections 66E and 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act.







Help CBI probe Sadiq Jamal case, High Court tells Gujarat government


Manas Dasgupta

State government promises to do the needful in 10 days

The Gujarat High Court on Monday took the State government to task for its failure to provide necessary infrastructural facilities to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probing the Sadiq Jamal alleged fake encounter case.

The High Court issued the State government notice for immediate steps to provide the necessary facilities to the CBI probe team following which the Narendra Modi regime filed an affidavit promising to do the needful in 10 days.

CBI seeks 6 more months

The High Court reprimanded the State government on an application filed by the CBI requesting for six more months to complete the investigation claiming that absence of infrastructural facilities due to the non-cooperation by the State government was causing the delay in the probe.

The CBI in its application had stated that it was conducting investigation from the circuit house here and the government rest house as there was no infrastructure facility provided to them by the State government, which had allotted only three vehicles and two rooms in the Ahmedabad circuit house which is causing difficulty in investigation.

Gujarat assurance

On being told by the CBI that in the last six months since the High Court handed over the alleged fake encounter case to it, the government had only wasted time in formalities and promises to provide necessary facilities, the High Court issued the notice to the State government following which the government pleader Prakash Jani assured the court that the CBI would be provided a separate office in the Yojana Bhavan campus in Gandhinagar to conduct its probe in the fake encounter case. The arrangements would be finalised in 10 days, he said.

The Bhavnagar-based youth, Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, allegedly involved in some petty crimes, was killed in an ‘encounter’ in Narmda area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in January 2003, after which the State Police had described him as a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative out to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others. The doubts about the genuineness of the encounter was raised following a statement in Mumbai MCOCA court by a local journalist Ketan Tirodkar that he was an eye-witness to an incident in the Borivili national park when Sadiq was “handed over” to the Gujarat police by the Maharashtra “encounter specialist” Daya Nayak, a few days before the incident.

Godhra review plea

Meanwhile, the High Court completed its hearing and reserved its order on the review petition of the Godhra train carnage accused Salim Jarda to summon a journalist, Ashish Khaitan, who had conducted a sting operation on behalf of Tehelka magazine on the train carnage, as a witness.

Salim was one of the 11 accused awarded death sentence by the special fast-track court as he was found by the court to be part of the “pre-planned conspiracy” and had arranged for petrol to set the coach of the ill-fated S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express afire at the Godhra station. In the sting operation, the owner of the petrol pump was shown telling the journalist that he had given “false evidence” against Salim. The trial court had rejected his demand for summoning the journalist and awarded him the death sentence following which he filed the review petition in the High Court.







Supreme Court rejects Hasan Ali Khan’s bail review petition

Staff Reporter

The Supreme Court has rejected the plea of Hasan Ali Khan, Pune-based businessman accused of massive money laundering, to review its decision of rejecting his bail application. “Hasan Ali Khan had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court last year, seeking review of the Supreme Court’s order rejecting his bail plea. The court rejected it,” an official from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told The Hindu on Monday.

“We have gone through the Review Petition and connected papers. We do not find any merit in the same. Accordingly the Review Petition is dismissed,” the Supreme Court’s order stated. It was passed last week.

Hasan Ali had applied for bail in the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in July last year. The special judge had then rejected his application. He then moved the Bombay High Court challenging the lower court’s order.

In August 2011, the High Court granted him bail. But the ED filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay order on the Bombay High Court’s decision. “The order was stayed on 16th August, 2011 by Justice Altamas Kabir and S. Nijjar. Subsequently, the Bail granted by the High Court was cancelled by the Supreme Court by its order on September 30, 2011,” the officer said.








Supreme Court upholds verdict matching NREGA pay with state wages


ET Bureau Jan 24, 2012, 06.45AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has refused to stay a recent Karnataka High Court verdict that has said the central government is liable to pay higher wages under the country’s flagship rural employment programme in tandem with that of the state minimum wage rate. It has further asked the government to find a way to end the disparity between the wages paid under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) and state mandated rates under the Minimum Wages Act.

The move might mean an additional outgo of around Rs 900 crore in the current financial year from the central government to six states which have a minimum wage rate that is higher than the MGNREGA rate. The Karnataka High Court had in September directed the central government to match the wages under MGNREGA with the state’s minimum wage rates.

The central government had however decided to file a Special Leave Petition to the SC contesting the order. The SC, however, stayedthe order on the payment of arrears prior to the Karnataka high court order providing the central government some relief. The Court stated that non-payment of minimum wages under the scheme is tantamount to forced labour.

It had further strongly urged the Solicitor General to harmonise the MGNREGA wage rates with minimum wages in a manner in which the state Minimum Wages Act is respected. The court also said that the matter should not be treated in an adversarial manner and asked the government to resolve the issue in a consultative manner.

Earlier rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had favoured softening the central government’s stance by complying with the KHC order while suggesting an amendment to create a special wage rate for MGNREGA under the Minimum Wages Act to tackle the issue on a long term basis.

Ramesh, however met opposition from the Finance Ministry and the Law Ministry and on the insistence of PM Manmohan Singh had to file the SLP. The six states with disparate wage rates are Andhra Pradesh , Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka , Mizoram and Goa.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: