LEGAL NEWS 22.02.2012

Finance, law ministries differ on top tax tribunal


Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

In a setback to the government’s efforts to stem the rot in the allegedly scam-tainted country’s top income tax tribunal, the finance and law ministries differ on who should be appointed to head the troubled institution.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), which deals with appeals against the orders of income tax commissioners, has been in news for wrong reasons. Faced with complaints of judgments being allegedly outsourced for writing by some ITAT members, the government wants a course correction, but the two key ministries are unable to reach a common ground.

Former law minister M Veerappa Moily, had in last May asked finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to amend the Income Tax Act so that serving or retired high court judges could also be appointed to head the tribunal. In his reply, Mukherjee assured Moily that the issue has been addressed in the Direct Taxes Code Bill, introduced in Parliament in August 2010.

“The Direct Tax Code proposes to replace the Income Tax Act of 1961 and the issue has been adequately addressed,” Mukherjee wrote.

The finance ministry informed the law ministry that the Direct Taxes Code Bill states, “The central government may appoint a person, who is, or has been a chief justice of a high court to be the president of the ITAT.” The law ministry did not agree with the proposal to restrict the eligibility of the post only for judges.

“While making the request to widen the zone of consideration of persons eligible for appointment to the post by including serving or retired judges was not to exclude others,” the legal affairs department informed the appointments committee of the cabinet last month.

Khurshid, in a letter to Mukherjee on January 10, asked for reconsideration of the matter. “The relevant clause of the bill should be substitiuted to state that a person who is or has been a high court judge or a judicial member of the tribunal shall be eligible to head it,” he wrote.

The government is under pressure to improve the tirbunal’s image following a letter  from the chief justice of India.








Did SIT ignore Haren Pandya testimony?


Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 20, 2012

Former Gujarat minister of state for home Haren Pandya was one of the important witnesses who had accused the Modi administration of allowing the 2002 anti-minority riots in which 1,200 people were killed. He had even testified before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (CCT) on 2002 Gujarat riots.


Pandya, then juniour revenue minister, had told the tribunal that chief minister Narendra Modi had convened a meeting on the evening of February 27, 2002 after the train burning incident at Godhara and reportedly told the police to go slow on Hindus who were angry as 59 kar sevaks had been killed in Godhra.

“The tribunal received direct information through a testimony from a highly placed source of a meeting (on February 27, 2002) where the CM, two or three senior cabinet colleagues, the Ahmedabad police commissioner and an IG police were present. The meeting had a singular purpose: the senior-most police officials were told that they should expect a “Hindu reaction” after Godhra. They were also told they should not do anything to contain this reaction,” the tribunal noted in the report referring to Pandya’s testimony.

Now, former Bombay high court judge Hosbet Suresh, who was a member, along with former Supreme Court judge PB Sawant, of the body headed by justice Krishna Iyer, has revealed that even audio recording of Pandya’s testimony exists. Justice Suresh had told the SIT about Pandya’s testimony, which can be treated as evidence against Modi.

However, SIT officials claim Pandya’s testimony did not qualify as admissible evidence to seek somebody’s prosecution. “One cannot take the testimony on face value because Pandya himself was not present in meeting and secondly, he did not disclose his source who told him what transpired in the meeting,” said a senior SIT official. “What Pandya stated before the tribunal are mere allegations without any corroborative material,” the official added.

Justices Sawant and Suresh had visited Gujarat shortly after the anti-Muslim riots broke out in 2002 and recorded their statements before the SIT in 2009. Their evidence was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was later murdered on March 26, 2003.





WB rape: Govt’s response premature, says NCW


Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 00:24

New Delhi: Terming as “premature” the West Bengal government’s response to the Park Street car rape case, the National Commission for Women on Monday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the incident was fabricated could influence the investigation process.

“NCW is concerned of the reported statements of the West Bengal government saying the claim of the woman was fabricated. The reaction should have been given after a thorough investigation of the matter and such premature reaction can influence investigation,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said in a statement here.

Banerjee had said the rape of the Anglo-Indian woman was a “fabricated story” intended to malign her government and blamed some TV channels for projecting it.

The NCW also slammed Kolkata Police for purportedly not cooperating with the victim and pulled them up for the delay caused in her medical examination.

The Commission has also sought response from the state government on the progress made in the investigation and the relief provided to the victim.

On February 5, five man picked up the woman, in her mid-30’s and a mother of two children, in a car from outside a night club on Park Street in central Kolkata and raped her at gunpoint.

She alleged that the police ignored her complaints when she mustered courage to report the incident four days later at Park Street police station.







Supreme Court ruling on 2G will affect other sectors: Kapil Sibal


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said.

The apex court, cancelling licences allocated by the then Telecom Minister A Raja, had stated that auction was the best way for allocation of scarce natural resources. The court had also defined natural resources as both renewable and non-renewable.

Sibal added that the government is studying the implications of the judgement and would take a view on the way how it should proceed.

“We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.

Sibal cited example of the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act that governs mineral resources in the country and auction of these resources can pose challenges.

“Suppose we want to mine a particular mineral and we find that for the prospecting of that mineral because you don’t know what are the quantities of that mineral embedded in earth and you don’t know where it is embedded so naturally you will request entrepreneurs to come and prospect,” Sibal said.

After entrepreneurs spend $ 600 million on prospecting, and find the mineral, should it be the policy to auction it. These are the questions which need to be looked into, he said.

Telecom Minister said that the Supreme Court judgement would have impact on the future of investments in the country.

“We have to study all those things and then come to a considered view as to what extent it will impact and how we have to deal with it. So, we have not taken a position on it but these are all issues that need to be addressed,” Sibal said.








SpeakAsia panellists accuse EOW of harassment, move court


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Shahkar Abidi | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A group of over 15 lakh panellists of Singapore-headquartered SpeakAsia Online company has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that officials of the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the city police are harassing them with repeated attempts to extort money.

The panellists have in their writ filed in court claimed being threatened of being booked in a criminal case if they didn’t cough up the money demanded by the police. While over 150 panellists have so far been called in for questioning by the city police, a senior EOW official denied the charge saying it was aimed at derailing the ongoing probe, sources said.

Represented by Melwyn Crasto and Ashok Bahirwani, president and secretary respectively of the All-India SpeakAsia Panellists Association (AISPA), the association with a 15-lakh members, including over 3.5 lakh in Mumbai alone, has charged the police of using the company’s seized records to target members of the general public, who constitute the panellists.

One of the paragraphs in the criminal writ plea points to the unabashed means of police officers, who openly demand a certain amount from the panellists or ask them to face arrest. “It is public knowledge that Rs5,000 is the going rate for avoiding police harassment. If these corrupt officers are able in collect the sum from every panellist, they would end up with a total of Rs1500 crore,” it adds. Demanding an inquiry by the CBI into the case, the petitioners’ counsel Ahmed Abdi claimed that so far no probe by any investigating agencies in the country has found anything wrong with the company.










Father seeks CBI probe in son’s murder


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.15AM IST

MADURAI: Alleging that his son was brutally murdered by his wife under the pretext of self defence, the father of Veeranan alias Jothibasu has filed a writ petition seeking a CBI probe into the incident. Usharani, the woman, had assaulted her husband with a cricket bat when he allegedly attempted to molest their daughter.

Later, she was let off by the investigation officer citing that she had acted in self defence. In his petition, Veeranan’s father S Samayamuthu said since self defence was the only possible way to escape criminal action, the woman cleverly fabricated a false statement saying the deceased tried to rape his own daughter.

According to the petitioner, on February 9, his son Jothibasu was murdered by his daughter-in-law Usharani, who was assisted by her father, brother, her employer and two others. Even after receiving the complaint from him, the inspector of police, Oomatchikulam, did not conduct a proper enquiry by taking into account the previous animosity between the couple. He said the inspector had only accepted his daughter-in-law’s version. The father alleged that the injuries which were identified on his son’s body, clearly revealed multiple injuries and seemed to be caused by several persons. Samayamuthu also pointed out that his daughter-in-law, on earlier occasions, with the intention to murder his son, had attacked him and later he was admitted in hospital. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.










The Tamil Nadu government had filed a writ appeal in the


PTI | 12:02 AM,Feb 21,2012

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court seeking to stay the order of the single judge. R Anbalagan, Superintendent of Prisons, Madurai, submitted that in the earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for a total of 14 days on three different occasion along with heavy police escort party headed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Surveillance. But now, the High Court had directed to grant at least two weeks ordinary leave, which was a “very long duration,” he said. The state government said that the prisoner was involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility and the security of the prisoner also would not be safe. The government pointed out the prisoner had also not paid escort charges to the tune of about Rs 1.3 lakh that had been spent when he had gone on leave. In the event of his release further, he had to pay a large amount as escort charges, it said. The deployment of a large number of policemen in Virudhunagar district as escort for the prisoner, would also affect the normalcy in the area, it added. PTI SSN ARP

High Court dismisses six writ petitions


The petitions challenged land acquisition for National Highway

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed six more writ petitions challenging the Government for acquiring land for widening the National Highway 66 (former NH 17) to 60 m (right of way) in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told The Hindu that the petitions were dismissed on January 13, 16, and 23, 2012. Earlier last year, the court had dismissed/ disposed of seven writ petitions which had challenged the Government’s land acquisition for the widening project.

With this, of the 20 writ petitions before the High Court challenging the land acquisition to 60 m (right of way), the court had dismissed/ disposed of 13 petitions till February 16. Many petitioners wanted the highway to be widened to 45 m and acquire land only to that extent, the sources said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had taken up the widening of the highway stretch between Kundapur and Surathkal, and Nanthoor Junction and Talapady under phase III of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) under build, operate, and transfer (BOT) basis.

The single judge of the court who dismissed the writ petitions last month observed that he was dismissing them on the same grounds of the court’s judgment of October 17, 2011 while dismissing the writ petition nos. 27610-27627/2010 and 28088-28097/2010 which had challenged the land acquisition for the same project.

In the October 17, 2011 judgment the court observed: “…The NHAI cannot be charged with excessive acquisition with any rate of success. Some chunks of the land figuring in the preliminary notification do not figure in the final notification implying that they are dropped from the acquisition proceedings. It shows that the NHAI has not indulged in reckless, indiscriminate or excessive acquisition…”

The court said the manual prepared by the Indian Road Congress contained only the guidelines or norms. “It can always be modified to suit the requirements of a given situation…”

“…Further the court takes the judicial notice of the rolling out of lakhs of new vehicles on the roads everyday in the country. If the future requirements are anticipated by the decision-maker, he cannot be blamed for the same. Any road widening project has to be in the perspective of the long term requirement…”

In the judgment, a copy of which is with The Hindu, the court took note of the fact that the petitioners’ lands constituted only five per cent of the totally acquired land for the project.

Of the six writ petitions dismissed last month included the one filed by T. Sukumar, former Secretary, State Public Works Department, Ajjarakadu, Udupi; and others (W.P. No. 4988-5070/2011 (LA-RES)). It was dismissed on January 13, 2012. Two writ petitions were dismissed on January 16, 2012. They were W.P. No. 13929-14007/2011 (LA-RES) Ashok Raj and others, and W.P. No. 14888-14956/2011 (LA-RES) Lakshmindra Bhat and others.

The remaining three writ petitions were dismissed on January 23, 2012. They included W.P. No. 25910/2011 by Anasuya, W.P. No. 25911/2011 by N. Jayaram Shetty, and W.P. No. 18198/2011 by Nagaraja Shetty.








Apex court to hear appeal in case against Jayalalithaa


The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a special leave petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging a Madras High Court judgment setting aside the ‘three lakh US dollars case’ against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the ground of inordinate and unexplained delay in the investigation and trial stage.

A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir will hear the appeal against the impugned judgment dated September 30, 2011 pronounced on the petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa praying for quashing the FIR.

The CBI’s allegation against Ms. Jayalalithaa was that while functioning as Chief Minister, she accepted 89 demand drafts worth Rs.2,00,00,012 drawn in her favour from various banks in Tamil Nadu in the names of 57 persons on the occasion of her birthday in 1992 and received Rs.15 lakh in cash, totalling Rs. 2,15,00,012 and disclosed the same in her Income Tax returns as gifts.

She also received remittance of $3 lakh by way of demand draft dated December 23, 1991 issued by Bankers Trust Company, New York, drawn on ANZ Grindlays Bank, St. Halia, Jersey.

Investigation revealed that there was no evidence in respect of the first offence and investigation was continued regarding the receipt of $3 lakh.

Acting on a petition from Ms. Jayalalithaa that there was inordinate delay in the investigation and trial, the High Court quashed the proceedings. The appeal is directed against this judgment.

The CBI in its appeal contended that though the alleged offence took place in 1992, it came to the notice of the Income Tax Department only in 1996 and was communicated to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary for taking action. There was no delay.

The High Court ought to have seen that as per the allegation in the FIR, detailed investigation was to be conducted in various countries, which took considerable time. In the light of the material available, without testing them at the trial, proceedings could not be quashed merely on the ground of delay, the CBI said and prayed for quashing the impugned judgment and interim stay of its operation.










85-year-old man let off in secrets case after 30 yrs


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has let off an 85-year-old man, who was chargesheeted by CBI three decades ago under Official Secrets Act for procuring a classified document about a government contract for setting up an ammonia plant, after he pleaded guilty.

Jawand Singh Khurana, who worked as a liaison assistant with a private firm, pleaded guilty years after he was chargesheeted by CBI under the OSA for procuring the document related to the contract.

Four of the seven accused are already dead during the pendency of the trial.

Facing trial since 1983, Khurana, earlier, had settled for plea bargaining with the CBI to win his freedom. “Considering the mutually satisfactory disposition arrived at between the CBI and accused Jawand Singh and in view of the submissions made on the point of sentence, Jawand Singh is hereby fined Rs 5,000 for various offences under Official Secrets Act and IPC,” said additional sessions judge Kaveri Baweja, while letting off Khurana.

While working as a liaison assistant with a private firm in 1979-80, Khurana and six others, including the personal assistant of a director in the department of chemical and fertilizers, then under Union ministry of petroleum, were involved in leakage of a government tender document for setting up of an ammonia plant in India.

The CBI case dates back to 1979 when the Centre had given the contract of setting up of ammonia plants at Thal-Vaishet in Maharashtra and Hazira in Gujarat to US-based M/s C F Braun and Company.

The CBI had registered the case in March 1981 and its probe found K L Arora, the personal assistant of a director in chemicals and fertilizers department, responsible for leaking out secret information for monetary considerations.

Khurana won his freedom after he moved an application for plea bargaining saying he was willing to confess his guilt in exchange for lesser punishment.










Court asks commissioner to explain ‘shoddy theft probe’


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.27AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has sought an explanation from the Delhi Police commissioner on why no action was taken against two cops for an alleged shoddy probe in a theft case even as a vigilance enquiry found them to be “unprofessional”.

“Report be called from the commissioner of Police in respect of the fact as to on what ground no action was taken against SI Dharmendra and IO inspector Khanduri though the preliminary vigilance inquiry has found both of them to be unprofessional,” Metropolitan Magistrate Ekta Gauba said.

The report was called for on a plea by RTI activist Vivek Garg complaining police inaction in a case of theft lodged by him in June 2010 with the Daryaganj police station. Garg had reported a case of theft of crucial information, cash and books by three of his employees at his publishing house.










Adnan, Sabah still married’


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.27AM IST

MUMBAI: The Adnan Sami-Sabah Galadari divorce dispute drama is like them playing a game-now we are married, now we are not. A family court judge at Bandra said on Monday that they still are, as it held that a divorce certificate issued by Darul-Qaza, an Islamic body, invalid as it is contrary to the provisions of a codified 1939 law that governs dissolution of Muslim marriages.

With this, the judge dealt Sami a blow and rejected his objections to the maintainability of a divorce petition filed in 2009 by Sabah and pending before the family court. The court’s order is likely to have “widespread ramifications on the resolution of disputes by a Kazi and parallel institutions under provisions of the Muslim law,” said Sami’s lawyer, Vibhav Krishna.

Syed Noorie of Raza Academy questioned the family court order that renders illegal the certificates issued by Darul Qaza and similar institutions.

Sami would have benefitted and the latter would have suffered if the divorce petition in the family court were to be held infructuous as argued by him. That’s because a wife can file a domestic violence (DV) complaint in the family court where a divorce petition is filed. Sabah had filed a DV plea to protect her residence rights in their Andheri flats and got an order in her favour, which is being battled in appeal before the HC, as Sami lives there with his latest wife.

This is the second time that the Pakistani singer’s attempt to question Sabah’s divorce plea has come to a naught. After their divorce in 2004, they remarried in April 2007. When Sabah filed for divorce in 2009 and demanded over Rs 5 crore, Sami sought to slide the second marriage in the “null and void” slot, as he said Sabah did not perform the mandatory ‘halala’ (marry another man, consummate it and divorce him) practice. The Bombay High Court saw no merit in it and upheld the 2007 marriage.

In March 2011, Sabah who also approached Darul-Qaza with identical allegations of cruelty and alcoholism against Sami, as in her divorce plea, was given a faskh-e-nikah or “abrogation of marriage”, said her lawyer Mrinalini Deshmukh. The resolution was published in a prominent Mumbai newspaper. In September 2011, Sami seized its importance and through his lawyer argued that since Sabah had obtained the certificate and he has not challenged it, the divorce is accepted as final under Islamic law and that the case before the family court no longer stands. The divorce she obtained is valid, he said.

But Deshmukh said the certificate was “not relevant” in wake of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, that empowers a Muslim woman to seek divorce from a court. She said she had “merely sought to strengthen the hands of the family court by placing additional documents from an independent body that supported her case, to show why a divorce should be granted by the court.”

She said since their 2007 marriage was registered at the sub-registrar’s office, it needs to be dissolved by a civil court under the 1939 law.

Sami applied for a stay of the order to enable him to challenge it. The family court will hear his plea on Friday.










Water Board’s STP project in Lingam Kunta kicks up row


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.45AM IST

HYDERABAD: After Hussainsagar and Taj Banjara Lake, it is now the Lingam Kunta in Chanda Nagar in Ranga Reddy district that has fallen prey to a state government-backed Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) project. And much like in the case of the others, here too the STP is being constructed right in the middle of the lakebed __ on its full tank level (FTL). While the Andhra Pradesh High Court had issued a directive restraining authorities from going ahead with the project in November last year, local activists from the area rue how work at the site is still on. The STP is being built by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

“Only last week, we had noticed some dumping activity near the water body. The workers admitted they were deployed by the water board,” said Rajkumar Singh who had, in 2010, filed a petition against the government department for tampering with the lake. The court order of 2011 was issued against his PIL. Now, with water board officials refusing to move out of the area and even claiming that the High Court judgment was in fact passed in its (HMWS&SB) favour, Singh has decided to file a contempt of court case against the department on Tuesday.

Originally spread over a massive area of 20 acres, the water body has now been reduced to half over the last few years. Apart from illegal residential complexes, even religious structures have been erected on the lake area, say locals. Predictably, this new project that is part of a Rs 200 crore-worth venture undertaken by the HMWS&SB would further eat into the water spread, they add.

“And this is being constructed when there is no need for a STP here. A lesser expensive sewerage diversion pipe would have been enough to resolve the issue of sewage flowing into the lake,” said Jasveen Jairath, founder convener of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) pointing out how the Taj Banjara Lake too has been `killed’ by the water board the same way. “Here also, the department has unnecessarily undertaken a STP project when there is also a pipeline being laid to drain the sewage out of the area. Just because there is a certain amount earmarked for such projects does not mean you build STPs that too on the FTL of lakes for no reason,” Jairath added. She also stressed on how the `custodians’ of safe drinking water (the water board) were themselves working towards further reducing the water table by encroaching on lakes.

S Jeevanand Reddy, well-known environmentalist from the city is, however, not surprised. Noting how the government has ruined the Hussainsagar by allowing commercial activity not just on the FTL of the lake but also on the 30 metre (from the FTL, which is also supposed to be remain untouched as per a Supreme Court order) buffer zone, he said that the government offices have always been negligent towards Hyderabad’s water bodies.

When contacted HMWS&SB officials, however, claimed that all was well at the Lingam Kunta and they had committed no contempt of court. “The STP is near the lake not on it. Also, the court order was in our favour. It is only being misinterpreted by the petitioner,” said Y Anjani Kumar, general manager, project division (VIII) passing the blame of filling the water body, on the locals of the area. “It is the people of the neighbouring area who want to construct a community hall at the site where the STP is set to come up, trying to rake up a controversy over the issue. By turning this into a court case, these people want to win back this land from the government,” Kumar said.



MP backs tourism in tiger reserves


Milind Ghatwai : Bhopal, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:25 hrs


Making a pitch for tourism in tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh has told the Supreme Court that people living in reserves pose more danger to the big cats since both compete for the same resources.

As the hearing on a PIL seeking a ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves enters a crucial phase, the state has stuck to its stand that runs contrary to the position of the NTCA and the Centre that says core areas are meant to be kept inviolate. The Wildlife Trust of India has also backed activist Ajay Dubey’s plea, saying there is no control over hotels and resorts around the reserves.

The state told the court that tourism does not exploit resources on which wildlife depends for survival and propagation, and can’t be kept in the same category as other human activities.

The government argued that states have allowed tourism in core areas by developing necessary safeguards to regulate tourism and minimise the adverse impact on the habitat. It claimed that reserves where tourism has been allowed for the past 40 years continue to support highest wildlife densities.

It also argued that buffer areas don’t get the same level of legal protection as core areas and will never be able to satisfy the visitors due to a lack of “high density of wild animals and pristine wilderness’’. Also, local communities are given the nistar rights over forests in buffer areas.

“The court’s decision is likely to have national and international implications on wildlife as well as people and businesses dependent on wildlife tourism,” the state’s affidavit said, requesting the court to hear all states and UTs before passing any order.

Those opposed to tourism told the court that allowing it will further the sense of injustice among local people who will think that while they are being driven out, the rich are being let in.








Plea to detain anti-KNPP activist moved to Chennai


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 23:59

Madurai: The Madras High Court Bench here on Sunday transferred a PIL seeking invoking of National Security Act agsint SP Udayakumar, who is spearheading the protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), to Chennai.

R Sivakumar, a Madurai-based hotelier, had filed the PIL seeking to direct the district authorities of Tirunelveli, where the plant is located to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar, the coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMA), and detain him under NSA.

Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass said there was an administrative order issued by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to transfer cases relating to KNPP to the principal seat, and transferred the case.

The petitioner’s counsel M Patturajan said unless the High Court intervened in the matter and directed authorities to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar and apprehend him under NSA, “this agitation will not come to an end in the near future”.

In the PIL, the petitioner said a Peace Committee, made of members of the local population living around the plant, also came to the conclusion that the villagers who are agitating against the KNPP were being “thoroughly misled”.

Udayakumar was instigating the people to siege KNPP and he was “intimidating” the scientists and authorities at the Plant to remove uranium from the site, he alleged.









Taxi union moves court, wants Centre to implement Hire-Purchase Act, 1972


Express news service : Mumbai, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:38 hrs


Claiming the involvement of black money to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore in the auto and taxi permit system in the city, the Mumbai Taximen Sangathan (MTS) has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, by the Central government.

Money lenders and credit co-operative societies are cheating the taxi and auto drivers in the city due to the non-implementation of the Act, the PIL claimed. It is further alleged that the money lenders and the credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city.

The MTS said that the transport commissioner and the regional transport authorities do not check the illegalities in the hire-purchase agreement or the validity of the money lending license of those selling the vehicles. The petitioner stated that under hire-purchase installments, the hire- purchaser or the hirer agrees to take the goods on hire at a stipulated rental cost including the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire-purchaser acquires the property immediately on signing the hire-purchase agreement, but the ownership or title of the vehicle is transferred only when the last installment is paid, the petition said.

The MTS pointed out that the money lenders always retain the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle along with the RTO forms. They also allegedly take away the vehicle from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, the petition says.

In order to regulate the alleged discrepancies, a Central government notification to that effect is necessary, the MTS contended. The petitioner has urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements till date as null and void. The PIL is likely to be heard on March 1.









SC quashes Colonel’s court martial


PTI | Feb 21, 2012, 03.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has quashed a general court martial (GCM) proceeding against an Army Colonel that was initiated for alleged financial irregularities committed by him in making some purchases. The Supreme Court though rued the acquittal of several other officers involved in the scam.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad set aside the GCM proceedings, ordered against Colonel Rajvir Singh for alleged financial irregularities committed by him during 2005-2007, causing a loss Rs 60.18 lakhs to the exchequer. In 2005-07, as officiating commandant of the Central Ordnance Depot, Chheoki, Singh had procured materials worth Rs 2.2 crore, allegedly violating rules and causing wrongful loss of Rs 60.18 lakhs to the state exchequer.

Singh had moved the SC challenging an August 19, 2011 ruling of the Armed Forces Tribunal, rejecting his plea that direction to court martial him was time-barred as section 22 of the Army Act, 1950 provides that the trial must be concluded within three years from the date of its cognizance.








SC Vodafone verdict may hamper tax transparency, says govt



Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:27 hrs


The review petition filed by the Centre against the Supreme Court judgment on the overseas deal between Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) and Hutchison Group says the verdict will have “consequences” on the government’s measures to promote tax transparency.

The petition contends the judgments suffered errors on the face of the record, and refutes the court’s finding that “the question involved in this case is of considerable public importance, especially on Foreign Direct Investment”.

The Government says the case did not involve any inflow of monies into India because the sale consideration was admittedly paid outside India by VIH, a British Virgin Island Company to Hutchison Telecommunications Int (Cayman) Holdings Ltd a Cayman Island company.

The Government says that the FDI policy was in no way under challenge or scrutiny in the instant case. Besides FDI policy of the government and the interpretation of taxing statutes operate in two different realms, it added.

It argues that it was a patent error in the finding that the offshore transaction, which gave the Vodafone holding company a 67 per cent stake in Hutch-Essar, was “bonafide,” “structured FDI” into India.

A three-judge Bench on January 20 declared that both Vodafone and Hutch were not “fly by night” operators or short-term investors and had contributed substantially — Rs 20,242 crore — to the exchequer between 2002-03 and 2010-11, both by way of direct and indirect taxes.

The review finds fault with the court relying on the provisions of the Direct Tax Code Bills of 2009 and 2010 as one of the reasons to base its judgments on. The petition questions why the court relied on Direct Tax Code Bill 2009, when the Bill has not even been presented in Parliament, but was only a draft put up for public discussion.

The Centre said the court had failed to appreciate that Vodafone had a presence in India at the time of the transaction; it was a joint venture with Bharti Airtel.

Court ruling to affect other sectors: Sibal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said. “We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.









After 13 years, charges to be framed in Chennai jail riot case


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.44AM IST

CHENNAI: Thirteen years after one of the worst prison riots in Tamil Nadu’s history broke out at the Central prison in Chennai, charges will be framed against 41 accused next week. Twelve prisoners and two jail officials were killed in the incident on November 17, 1999.

The case, which came up for hearing on Monday, has been adjourned to February 28 for further hearing by fourth additional sessions court judge S Rajagopalan. M Prabavathi, additional city public prosecutor, said close to 165 witnesses would be examined in the course of trial.

According to documents furnished by the police department, the unprecedented violence was triggered by the news of the death of ‘Boxer’ Vadivelu, a gang leader from Power Kuppam near Kasimedu. Detained under the Goondas Act, the history-sheeter was suffering from diarrhoea and admitted to the Government General Hospital. However, he died in the early hours of November 17, 1999.

“Around 7am, his associates created a ruckus saying none of the prisoners should eat as they claimed Vadivelu was beaten to death. About half an hour later, a riot broke out in the prison. Rahamatullah, one of the wardens from the Tower Block where the prisoners were housed, ran out and warned deputy jailor Jayakumar about it close to 20 minutes later,” said V Kannadasan, former counsel for prisons department, who was part of the Justice David Christian Commission of Inquiry that probed the incident.

When police lathi-charged the mob, the prisoners dispersed, only to regroup a while later. They climbed the roofs of the jail buildings as well as trees in the compound, throwing stones, pieces of tiles and other objects they could lay their hands on while shouting slogans, a report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said.

“After the warning, Jayakumar walked towards the remission office where records are stored when he was hit by a stone. By then, some of the prisoners had run to his office near the main gate and taken his pistol from the desk and were searching for him. Another group looped a thick metal hook into warder Natarajan’s thigh and dragged him out. He died on the spot. More than 20 prison officials were attacked. The prisoners proceeded to the record room where they found Jayakumar. They chopped off his fingers, put hooks in his stomach and hit him, before setting the documents in the room on fire,” Kannadasan said.













Now, runaway couple on the run from police for fake wedding


Navjeevan Gopal : Amritsar, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:49 hrs


Runway couple Sumit Sharma and Shivani Arora, who had approached the court of Amritsar District and Sessions Judge for police protection, are now running for cover — not from their families but from the police after a case of forgery was registered against them for producing fake documents in court to secure police protection.

Besides Sumit — a resident of Sector 11 in Panchkula — and Shivani, a resident of Rudrapur in Uttrakhand, the police have also booked five members of Sumit’s family, including his parents and a maternal brother for connivance in the case.

The case was registered on the directions of Amritsar Session Judge Harminder Singh Madaan. On June 15, 2011, during vacations, in-charge Sessions Judge P P Singh had ordered that police protection be given to the couple in Amritsar and Uttrakhand. The couple had alleged in their petition Shivani’s parents and two other families could harm them.

In July, Shivani’s father, a lawyer by profession, moved an application in the court stating that the couple had submitted fake documents in court and prayed that the June 15 order be set aside. Following a probe into the matter, the marriage certificate and the employment letter provided by the couple turned out to be fake.

The couple had produced a marriage certificate purportedly issued by head priest of Durga Mata Mandir on Majitha Road. The head priest, during investigation, denied having performed their wedding ceremony. A certificate issued by a telecom company also proved to be fictitious.

The court has now ordered to revoke the protection order. “A case has been registered against Sumit and Shivani, besides Sumit’s family,” said Amritsar Commissioner of Police R P Mittal.











Trial in Radhakrishnan assault case commences


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

Chennai, Feb 20 (PTI): Trial in an assault case in which Kanchi Mutt Seer Jayendra Saraswati is the prime accused, commenced at a sessions court here today. The case is being heard by the First Additional Sessions Judge S Kalavathi. The complainant Radhakrishan was examined-in-chief. The examination will continue on March 9. According to the prosecution, Radhakrishnan, a mutt employee and his wife and brother were assaulted at their city residence on September 20, 2002 and sustained serious injuries. They had undergone treatment at a private hospital. Acting on a complaint by Radhakrishnan, police registered a case against 12 persons and arrested the Seer in 2005. The chargesheet was filed in 2006. All the accused, including the Sankaracharya have been granted bail in the case. Except for the seer, all other accused were present in court today. Meanwhile, the Judge rejected a bail application by P Ravisubramanian, an accused turned approver in the case and also in the Sankararaman murder case,being tried by Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge and the Seer is also an accused. Stating that he has been in jail for over seven years, Ravisubramanian pointed out that all accused were out on bail. He claimed that his aged mother was in ill health and required constant attention. Besides he too was suffering from various ailments, he had submitted. Claiming he was in no way connected with both cases, he charged police with keeping him in illegal custody in the murder case.










Raj Khurana in trouble even before Swamy judgment


Sanjay Sharma, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 03.42PM IST

CHANDIGARH: The former BJP chief parliamentary secretary of Punjab Raj Khurana, who should have been the first to have been affected by the Supreme Court judgment in the 2G scam on the complaint of Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday, has already lost immunity against sanction of prosecution in the bribery case he is facing.

“There is no need of seeking prosecution sanction from the Punjab government against Khurana as per Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) which says there is no need for the sanction of prosecution if a person is booked for demanding a bribe to get a work done from a government servant,” sources in the CBI told The Times of India.

If Khurana was booked under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for demanding a bribe to do some job himself, the prosecution sanction was required, he said.

Khurna loses the immunity even due to another reason of his term in public office during which he was accused of committing a crime has come to an end. Even if he is elected again, Khurana is not protected against prosecution sanction for the term that has ended, the sources said.

Now, his situation is similar to that of Parkash Singh Badal and speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, both of whom did not get immunity against prosecution in corruption cases, as the charges they faced related to a previous term.

Sources in the CBI said the clarification on Raj Khurana has recently been made clear.

The recent judgment by the division bench of justice Ak Ganguly and justice GS Singhvi is also fraught with dangers for Khurana as, if the other provisions did not work, then the government would have been forced to decide on granting sanction in a hurry.

Sources said Raj Khurna was one of the rarest minister level functionaries of the government who has attracted section 8 of (PCA as a large number of lawyers who demand money for income tax officials attract the provision.

Legal experts say though the court has fixed the time limit for deciding on prosecution sanction, there is another fight for bringing the denial of prosecution sanction under judicial review and allowing the investigating agency inquiry against an officer of joint secretary and above rank without a prior permission. On the contrary, vigilance bureau of Punjab is free to hold inquiry against officer of any level.

The judgment of justice Ganguly and Singhvi has placed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a peculiar situation as he may be forced to order an inquiry to find out as to who in PMO lapsed on the issue of 2G scam prosecution sanction.









74 Andhra women rescued from GB Road


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Seventy-four women from Andhra Pradesh, including 16 minors, were rescued from brothels in central Delhi’s GB Road area on Monday, police said. The operation, one of the biggest in the last six months, was conducted by a joint team of the Delhi Police and CBCID of Andhra Pradesh state police. It was carried out between 11am and 11:30am.

“We conducted the operation after we were intimidated about the presence of a large number of women, who had been forcibly trafficked from their homes in Andhra Pradesh and were being pushed into prostitution, by NGOs,” said a senior police officer.

According to the police, the parents or relatives of many women, who have been rescued, had registered missing complaints back home.

At least a dozen people, who were present at the brothels while the raids were conducted, have been detained.

“As per information, many victims were lured to the Capital by acquaintances, on the pretext of jobs or marriage, and forced into prostitution. Detentions have been made to ascertain the relationship of these people with the victims,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, as those detained were whisked away to the Kamla Market police station for questioning, the rescued minors were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) before being taken to a juvenile home.

“The adult women who were trafficked have been taken to Nari Niketan in west Delhi’s Hari Nagar area. A case has been registered,” the officer said. Monday’s operation is the fourth this year.

On January 18, two girls, including a minor, who were allegedly trafficked from West Bengal, were rescued.

Just a week before that, nine girls, all from west Bengal, had been rescued by a DelhiPolice team. More than 130 such victims from different parts of the country had been rescued last year.








Two accused released on bail in case


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 20, 2012

On Tuesday, the warden, Ramesh Maurya, and chief warden, Surendra Singh Chauhan, of Arya Orphanage were released on bail. The two had been arrested on Saturday for ignoring the complaint of the mother of a 10-year-old sodomy victim of the orphanage. An orphanage spokesperson said the two have already been suspended.

The guard Navrattan, who has been arrested for raping an 11-year-old resident, however, continues to be in jail.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has decided to conduct a medical examination of those children who had complained about being sexually abused first. This move comes when the government has barely a day left to submit a report to the high court over the alleged sexual abuse in the orphanage, The Child Welfare Committee will be getting in touch with the Delhi Police to get the names of all those children. “Due to holidays in this week, we have not been able to start the medical examination. We will be starting the medical examination from tomorrow,” said Sushma Vij, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Mayur Vihar.  

CWC members and the government appointed administrator will discuss the issue in a meeting on Tuesday.

To strengthen their case Delhi Police have also decided to include statements of more children in the chargesheet. “We will go to the orphanage on Tuesday with the counsellors to convince other children to record their statements. A number of them are now very scared and don’t want to say anything” said a senior police official.

One of the girls, who had given her statement to the police, has also been shifted out of the orphanage.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday ordered an inquiry into the case asked officials to go “deep down” to issues being faced by inmates to prevent their recurrence.

An 11-year-old girl, a resident of the Arya orphanage, had died on December 24 after being raped over a period of time.




Court relief for former postal chief


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.14AM IST

MUMBAI: In some relief for former chief postmaster general (Maharashtra & Goa), who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court recently upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crore for issuing an NOC no-objection certificate in respect of development of a Thane plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the grounds that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention was that review within 90 days from the date of Bali’s release from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules, 1995.

The Centre’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

February 19, 2012

Mumbai: In a relief for former Chief Post Master General (Maharashtra and Goa) , who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court has upheld Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crores for issuing a no objection certificate in respect of development of a plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo on February 15, this year heard an appeal filed by the Central government challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. Bali was arrested by CBI on February 25, 2010. He was suspended on March 3, 2010 but effective from February 25, 2010. He was released from custody on March 12, 2010.

CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the ground that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention before HC was that review within 90 days from the date of release of Bali from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules 1995.

Bali’s advocate Sandeep Marne argued that the effective date of suspension of Bali was from the date of his arrest. According to the Rules, the suspension automatically becomes invalid if it is not reviewed and extended within 90 days from the effective day of suspension,” said Marne.

Central government’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

Marne also informed the court that CAT’s order to reinstate him was implemented and Bali was appointed CPMG of West Bengal circle for a day and again suspended. Bali has challenged the second suspension before CAT.







Maj Gen Rathore Army’s new Judge Advocate General


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 19:49

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has cleared the appointment of Maj Gen Prabhu Singh Rathore, a veteran military law expert, as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Indian Army.

The JAG is the top law officer of the service and the chief legal adviser of the Army chief in matters pertaining to the force’s laws.

The appointment of the JAG was cleared on Friday and the officer will take over in the next few days, Defence Ministry sources told .

The top legal post in the Army has been lying vacant after the retirement of previous incumbent Maj Gen B V Nair, who superannuated on January 31.

The appointment was delayed as a Lieutenant Colonel had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) alleging that Rathore had attempted to adversely impact his career.

After admitting the case, the Kolkata Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal had stayed Rathore’s promotion but vacated it last month.

The case is still on in Kolkata.

Rathore was earlier serving as the Deputy Judge Advocate General (D-JAG) in the Jaipur-based South Western Army Command before proceeding to Army Headquarters here after promotion recently.

With his appointment as JAG, Rathore will have to look after several important ongoing cases in the Army courts including the final outcome in the Sukna land scam where Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash has been recommended for dismissal.











Insurance Co rebuked by consumer forum for ‘high handedness’


PTI | 04:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The National Insurance Company Ltd has been ticked off by a district consumer forum for its “high handedness” of dismissing an insurance policy holder’s claim for compensation for his car, damaged in a road mishap, on the ground that his documents were not valid. Holding the insurance company to be “highly negligent,” the Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to complainant Raghunath Prasad Tyagi for harassing him. The bench also directed it to pay him a compensation of Rs 1,70,598 as recommended by the company’s surveyor saying the “insurance company was highly negligent and deficient in service in not considering his claim.” The district consumer forum’s order came on a plea by Tyagi, accusing the state insurance firm denying him the compensation for damages sustained by his car in a mishap, in which its driver and a passenger had lost their lives. Relying upon the validity of the driver’s driving licence, the firm had awarded compensation to kins of both the driver and the passenger, but it has rejected his claim for compensation against damages to the vehicle, saying the driver did not have a valid licence, Tyagi had said in his complaint. The forum also held that documents, which the insurance firm was not considering for the claim, were already validated by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here as the company itself had agreed before the tribunal that the driving license was valid. “The deficiency in service on the part of the respondent (insurance firm) in this case is writ large. In the MACT case, driving license verification report was filed by the insurance company itself showing that driving license was found valid on the date of accident. (More)









J Dey murder: Crime Branch to file supplementary chargesheet


Mumbai: The Crime Branch is likely to file a supplementary chargesheet detailing the role allegedly played by journalist Jigna Vora in the murder of Mumbai-based journalist J Dey.

“We are likely to file a supplementary chargesheet against Vora tomorrow (Tuesday). We have gathered enough evidence against her to make a case,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Devendra Bharti said.

Vora has been accused of criminal conspiracy in the case and was arrested on November 25, 2011. The police believe the murder may be related to Dey’s reporting on the oil mafia.

Sources said that she will be charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

J Dey, a senior crime journalist with MiD Day, was shot dead in Mumbai on June 11, 2011 by four bike-borne assailants.

Mumbai Crime Branch had filed a chargesheet against 10 other accused on December 3, 2011.

The chargesheet filed in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court runs into 3,055 pages and has described in detail the role of 10 men involved in Dey’s murder.

Fugutive don Chhota Rajan has also been named in the chargesheet. However, police mention that Rajan and another accused, Nayan Singh, are still untraced and ion the run.

Though Bharti did not give further details on the evidence against Vora, sources in the crime branch said that police have enough reasons to support their theory that it was Vora’s professional rivalry with Dey that claimed his life.

According to police, Vora had allegedly provided Dey’s mobile number and his exact location to Rajan.

With Additional Inputs from Agencies









FIR against Rahul Gandhi for violating model code of conduct


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 20, 2012 23:56 IST

Kanpur:  An FIR has been filed against Rahul Gandhi for alleged model code of conduct violation in Kanpur.

Mr Gandhi’s road show allegedly did not take the route for which they had permissions for causing traffic snarls in the city.

“The district administration had allocated time till noon and fixed a 20-km route for Rahul Gandhi’s road show. This was done as today is Shivratri and there could be a traffic problem,” District Magistrate Hari Om said.

“But this road show completely violated the election code of conduct as it started at 10.30 AM continued till 3 PM It did not stick to the prescribed route and instead covered a stretch of 38 kms. Therefore, the organisers of the road show will be booked for violating the election code,” he added.

Mr Gandhi and 39 others have been booked under sections 188 (violation of prohibitory orders under 144), 283 (causing public inconvenience and nuisance) and 290 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who was part of the road show, denied there was any violation of the model code of conduct and accused the district administration of trying to stop Rahul’s mass contact programme at the behest of the Mayawati Government.

According to the District Magistrate, the road show organisers had sought permission for a 38-km stretch but they had been informed last night about the conditions. “Still they violated the rules and chose to follow the route for which permission had not been granted,” he said, adding, “There could have been a security breach or there could have been a clash”.

Ms Joshi, however, countered that the detailed programme of the Congress general secretary, including the route, was handed over to the district administration by the district unit well in advance and was also cleared by the SPG.

“The administration, however, revised the programme last night and sent it to the SPG,” she claimed. She said that as the people had already been informed about the entire programme, it was not possible to carry out last minute changes.

“During the entire mass contact programme neither Rahul Gandhi addressed a meeting, nor did he take out any procession. Therefore, he has not violated the model cone of conduct,” the state Congress president claimed.

She alleged that the Mayawati government was “nervous and shaken” after the “success” of Rahul’s roadshow in Lucknow. Jaiswal said, “Rahul Gandhi has not violated any election code. Was there curfew in the town, that he should not have visited those areas?”

Rahul’s road show began at the Circuit House this morning and crossed through all the five assembly segments here with people standing on both sides of the roads to greet the leader.

In Muslim-dominated Chunnigang area, people welcomed him by showering flowers while the Congress leader garlanded an Ambedkar statue in Bajaria area.

Kanpur will go to polls in the fifth phase of February 23.

The state Congress said that Rahul received a tumultuous welcome during his road show, creating “a new atmosphere in favour” of the party.

UP Media Campaign Committee chairman Raj Babbar said the road show witnessed large crowds with the youth, women and children particularly eager to meet the Congress leader.







CVC to review 2G probe with CBI, ED, I-T dept


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Vigilance Commission will hold detailed review of the probe into the 2G scam by various agencies in the wake of the Supreme Court order asking it to regularly monitor investigations into the case.

The Supreme Court had on February 2 asked the CVC to carry out regular review of the probe by agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax.

“Keeping in view the nature of the case and involvement of a large number of influential persons, we feel that it will be appropriate to require the central vigilance commissioner and the senior vigilance commissioner appointed under Section 3(2) of the 2003 CVC Act to render assistance to the court in effectively monitoring further investigation of the case,” an SC bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had said in its order.

Sources said the CVC is now drawing up plans for review meetings with the investigation agencies. First off the block will be the ED, which is set to carry out a detailed briefing for the CVC on Wednesday. Two days later, on February 24, the income tax department will hold a detailed briefing.

A meeting of the CBI chief with the CVC was yet to be scheduled, sources said. However, a PTI report said the CBI would make its presentation on the progress in its investigations on Tuesday.

“The officials have been called to discuss the probe in 2G matter. They will be giving a detailed presentation before the commission,” PTI quoted sources as saying.

The SC had tasked the CVC to regularly monitor investigations into the 2G case, after a petition was moved seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team to oversee the 2G case.

The CVC will be reviewing the progress in investigations into the 2G case on a regular basis, sources said. The trial in the 2G case is already underway, involving 17 accused, including three companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech Ltd. All the 17 accused are charged under various provisions of Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Former telecom minister A Raja, his former private secretary R K Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar are among those facing trial.

Also facing trial in the 2G case are six corporate executives – Reliance ADAG Group managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice-president Hari Nair, group president Surendra Pipara, Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Sanjay Chandra. Also facing trial are Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal.










No security threat to Taloja jail: Govt to HC


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state government has informed the Bombay high court that there is no security threat to Taloja jail near Alibaug as expressed by an inmate.

Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, had written a letter from the jail stating that there is a security threat to the prison and the inmates from the high rises around the jail.

The HC had taken suo moto cognisance of the letter and converted it into a petition asking the government to file its reply.

Additional government pleader Ajey Gadkari informed the court that the threat claim made by Upadhyay was uncalled for. The prison is built by latest hi-tech material and there is proper security inside and around the jail.

The buildings, including the high rises, have come up as per the sanctioned plans by the concerned authorities, added Gadkari.

An affidavit was filed by the home department stating that “outer walls of the jail are constructed using ultra-modern technique wherein the movements and activities of the prisoners cannot be viewed from outside”.







Bombay HC grants reprieve to bank facing eviction


Swati Deshpande, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 06.29PM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has granted a reprieve to ING Vysya Bank against being immediately dispossessed of its Opera House rental premises. The bank filed a Suit in the Bombay high court and sought interim reliefs against the Landlord M/s Modern Reality Private Limited and Mr Bhavesh P Seth from dispossession.

Through its lawyers Nishit Dhruva and others it accused the bank of forcibly changing the locks on its branch premises on February 12, 2012 and refusing to hand over the bank’s security deposit.

The Bank contended that under the Leave and License Agreement simultaneously upon handing over possession to the Landlord, the Bank was entitled to receive the security deposit.

The bank said it was “compelled” to file a police case and move the court to restrain the landlord from entering the bank premises. The HC will now hear the matter on February 21.









Eligibility of 1,000 MCA students questioned by HC


Ramendra Singh, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 05.15AM IST

BHOPAL: An order by the Madhya Pradesh high court with regards to eligibility norms for Masters in Computer Application (MCA) has dashed the hopes of almost 1,000 students from different colleges of the state. All the students were admitted after undertaking the entrance exam conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) and through counseling. The court order has termed their admissions illegal.

The issue started in September 2011 after MCA colleges refused to give admissions to the candidates who were BCA degree holders but did not have mathematics as a subject at the 10+2 level. These students moved court and got an interim relief from the high court in December.

However, last week, the high court termed their admission illegal saying that the court cannot interfere in the rules framed by AICTE.

“Whose mistake is this”, asked a dejected student. “We students or the Board that conducted the exam or the colleges. Who should be blamed”, he said.

Hailing from Jhansi, Nikita said that MPPEB conducted the pre-MCA exam in March 2011. “We appeared and cleared the exam. The board should have, in fact rejected our applications for the entrance test if there was any problem about our eligibility,” she added.

First they admitted us and now they say the admission is illegal. They should have not admitted us,” another MCA student, Vandana Kumari, said. Now, it’s a trauma for me and my family,” a dejected Vandana who hails from Patna said.

When contacted, public relations officer of MPPEB, Sunil Shrivastava, said that the board conducts exam on the basis of rules and regulations framed by the respective department and in this case, it is director of technical education. “Our job is to conduct exam. We put everything on our official website about the eligibility criteria for respective exams,” Shrivastava maintained.

Now, the aggrieved students plan to move the SC.








Heritage byelaws to be presented in HC


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Approved heritage byelaws for the ‘Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil’ — the first for any monument in Delhi and also in India — would be presented before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
The National Monument Authority (NMA) is set to submit it in connection with the court’s expansion case. Following an amendment in the Archaeological Act, the NMA can permit any building/repair/ renovation, etc, only as per the heritage byelaws.

The court intervention expedited the procedure for the byelaws as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was going too slow with it since the amendment in March 2010.

“Byelaws would be finalised as per commitment before the high court,” said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.

The final byelaws — touted as model byelaws — would set a precedent for allowing or disallowing construction of new buildings up to the height of existing structure in the periphery of 101-300 metre among other issues.

It includes heritage control matters such as elevations, facades, drainage systems, roads and service infrastructure (including electric poles, water and sewer pipelines) for areas around monuments.

The amendment bans new construction within 0-100 metre of an ASI-protected monument and puts restrictions on properties/ new construction within 101-300 metre of the same.

Sources said the first set of byelaws had witnessed a debate of sorts between the byelaw makers and the NMA. While the court’s main building is 15 metre tall, other buildings on the premises vary in height more than it, with one reaching up to 30 metre.

“The byelaws submitted to the NMA proposes maximum height of the new construction at 21 metres based on the fact that it does not affect the view of the monument – Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil – and study of angle of vision,” sources said, adding, “NMA members had sought to know the ‘rational’ for the proposed 21 metres height when the main building was just 15 metres high.”

The high court complex is part of the Central Vista , which includes India Gate and surroundings. The Central Vista Committee has not yet defined any height restriction in tune with the master plan.











Tribal women not raped, TN govt tells HC


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.01AM IST

CHENNAI: More than two months after announcing a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to four tribal women allegedly raped by policemen in Villupuram district, the government on Monday told Madras high court it was not a case of rape.

The jurisdictional judicial magistrate who had begun an inquiry into the issue on November 26, 2011, is yet to submit her finding. Without her report, the police are unlikely to file the chargesheet.

The women lodged a complaint on November 26, 2011, stating that a group of Tirukovilur police officers took them into custody and raped them on November 22, 2011. When the issue became a controversy, the state government announced Rs 5 lakh relief to each woman on December 2, 2011. The amount was put in fixed deposits in the names of the women on December 4, 2011. But now the government says a case of rape has not been made out.

When a PIL filed by advocate P Pugalenthi seeking transfer of case to CBI, besides criminal proceedings against those concerned, came up for hearing before the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Monday, the state home secretary and the director-general of police filed identical but separate counter-affidavits.

The officer investigating the rape allegation concluded that there were discrepancies in the statements of the women. “Medical evidence did not indicate injury, either in the genital area or in any other part of the body, that could indicate rape or struggle or resistance,” DGP K Ramanujam said, quoting the investigation report.

On the claim that the medical examination was conducted four days after the incident, the DGP said senior doctors were on record stating that it would take eight to 10 days for complete healing of hymenal rupture.

R Rajagopal, principal secretary, home department, in his counter-affidavit said there was “no medico-legal evidence” to suggest a sexual assault. He said the sum of Rs 5 lakh each was given to the women on humanitarian grounds.

Both the officials agreed that the women and children, who were not wanted in any case, should not have been taken into custody. It was an unwarranted act, and the government will not shield the guilty, they said.

M Radhakrishnan, counsel for petitioner, decried the government’s stance as shameful and said Rs 5 lakh was the price fixed for the women’s dignity. The bench asked the petitioner to file a reply in three weeks.










Ex-MP knocks HC doors for pension


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.25AM IST

HYDERABAD: Kanety Mohan Rao, one of the members of the first Lok Sabha during 1952- 1957, is now knocking the doors of the AP High Court for revised pension. Mohan Rao, 87, was elected MP from the Rajahmundry constituency.

Though the pension of former MPs has now gone up to Rs 20,000 per month, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to the Andhra Bank account of the octogenarian. When it was Rs 300, he received the pension through the treasury department. Though it was enhanced to Rs 1,400 in 1982, he continued to get only Rs 300 for a long time. But things got better when the government started paying pension directly into the account of the MP. But he never got his pension regularly, said Mohan Rao in his petition.

In spite of the amendments brought to the Act that governs the pensions of Parliament members and the enhancement of the monthly pension, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to his account at Tallarevu branch in East Godavari, the former MP lamented. His counsel VVLN Sarma told TOI that the former MP was now in a pathetic condition unable to make ends meet. The matter was posted to next week.












Why murder case not filed, HC asks Punjab Police


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Tue Feb 21 2012, 03:32 hrs


Two months after its own senior officer submitted an inquiry report recommending registration of a murder case in the “mysterious” death of Thapar University (Patiala) student Gagandeep, Punjab Police is still awaiting receipt of the inquiry report through “official channels” to register a murder case. Earlier, Punjab Police had registered a case of “rash and negligent driving” in the death of 21-year-old Gagandeep and his friend on September 28, 2010, claiming it to be an accident. However, last December Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report, stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” is required and recommended the registration of murder charges.

Till now the case has not been registered. When contacted, Amrik Singh, a sub-inspector with Punjab Police posted at Rajpura, told Newsline, “We are yet to receive the inquiry report through an official channel, only after which we will be able to register a case.” Peeved with this attitude of Punjab Police, Gurbax Singh Bains, father of the deceased, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court again seeking directions to the police for registration of a murder case.

Taking note, the High Court has issued notices to Punjab asking why the murder case has not been registered till now. Also, the High Court, as demanded by the father, has asked Punjab Police why the investigation of the case should not be not handed over to an independent agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Bains has submitted that he has no faith in Punjab Police and that the case should be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI. Days after DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had given his report, the Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) refused to accept the “recommendation” and ordered the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT).

Taking strong note of this, Punjab Deputy Secretary (Home Affairs & Justice) O P Bhatia had ordered the immediate disbanding of the SIT. Opining that the constitution of the SIT would “lead to tampering with the evidence”, the deputy secretary had ordered the upholding of the “recommendation” of registration of a murder case by the DIG.

The developments had taken place as a fallout of a petition filed by Gurbax Singh Bains, a local lawyer who had alleged that his son had been “murdered” in an accident by three youths. One of the “assailants”, the father had alleged before the High Court, is the son of a former Patiala Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

The father had alleged that since the then Patiala SDM is an influential person, he managed to save his son and his son’s friends and rather projected that his (SDM’s) son had suffered serious injuries in the accident. It has also been alleged that with the help of the Rajpura police, a case of rash and negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder was registered against a truck driver who was not at fault.

Personal enmity between his son and the SDM’s son has been alleged to be the motive behind the “murder”. Pursuant to directions from the Punjab Home Secretary last year, the inquiry was got conducted by the DIG.










Writ to be filed in HC against new devices


Somit Sen, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.25AM IST

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union plans to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on Thursday to oppose compulsory installation of e-meters in all autos.

Union leaders said they were not against e-meters if they were foolproof. “The state transport department has not taken auto unions into confidence nor proved to us that the new meters will be tamper-proof. This is in violation of Supreme Court guidelines, which stipulate that any new meter introduced should be foolproof,” said union leader Thampy Kurian, who will be a petitioner.

He stated that the union will not accept responsibility if the e-meters are found to be tampered with after installation. “We are suggesting in our petition that the state take a bank guarantee/deposit from meter manufacturers. If any driver is caught for meter-tampering by the RTO, the fine should be deducted from the deposit,” said Kurian, adding that the guarantee should be of more than Rs 1 crore.

He stated that at a recent meeting organized by the state-appointed committee on e-meters, which auto unions attended, the manufacturers had claimed that all e-meters post-2010 were tamperproof. “We are made to believe that if we try to fiddle with the new meters, they will display an ‘Error’ message and the system will hang. But the transport department has not yet given us a demo or told us to check the new gadgets. I challenge them, I can tamper with the new devices too,” he stated.

The petitioners plan to show the judiciary how the electronic meters can be tampered with. They will also demand that the state upgrade the model of autos in Mumbai and provide comfortable seating for drivers and passengers, and then install e-meters.

“Unlike taxis, our meters are exposed to sunlight, dust and rain. How will we protect the electronic gadgets which are expensive?” said a union activist.

A Mantralaya official said the union will be given a month to put forward queries on the new meters. A transport commissioner’s office official claimed that the new meters were tamper-proof. Transport commissioner V N More was unavailable for comment.




HC refuses to quash case despite settlement with bank


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by an industrialist, charged with fraudulently obtaining loan of more than Rs one crore from a bank eight years ago, to quash a criminal case against him on the ground that he had reached a settlement with the bank. Dismissing a petition filed by Faridabad-based Y N Kashyap and his father, Justice Suresh Kait accepted CBI’s argument that the FIR should not be quashed as there was a loss of Rs 20 lakh to UCO bank despite their settlement and ‘No Dues’ certificate issued by the bank to them. “Though the petitioners have paid the agreed amount and settled with the bank. The bank has also issued ‘No Dues Certificate. However, under the ‘One Time Scheme’, they have caused the net loss to the public exchequer. In such situation, I am of the considered view, where the parties have played tricks, documents were forged or adopted by illegal means, due to which the government/public sector undertaking has been duped and suffered loss, the parties are not entitled for any favour or lenient view,” the court said. The court rejected Kashyap’s argument that matter was settled amicably by paying a sum of Rs 68 lakhs on September 30, 2009 to the bank against outstanding dues to the tune of more than Rs 87 lakh. The court, however, relied on CBI’s affidavit, filed through its counsel Narender Maan, that the petitioners were hand in glove with the bank officer and forged the title deed of their property in sector 14 in Faridabad as the same was already mortgaged in a another bank and obtained loan from the UCO bank of Delhi High Court complex under the One Time Scheme (OTS) in January 2005.











HC stays trial proceedings against Khushboo


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.20AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has stayed a proceedings at Nattham court against actor Khushboo in a case registered against her for an alleged poll code violation during the last assembly poll campaign.

Last week, she filed a petition in the Madras high court seeking to quash the case registered against her. Justice T Sudnathiram, before whom the matter came up for hearing, has granted a stay on the proceedings in the Nattham court. During the assembly poll campaign, she lobbied for DMK candidate Vijayan at a public meeting on March 27, 2011 without permission of poll officials and thereby caused disturbance to public by creating a traffic jam.

Following the complaint lodged by the poll officials, the Nattham police registered a case against her and the candidate.

Last month, the star campaigner of the DMK appeared before Nattham Judicial Magistrate Court in the case.












HC to get new building, parking lot


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.08AM IST

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High Court will soon have a building on the premises of the old Nayapul Hospital next door.

The roads and buildings (R&B) department and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have been asked by the high court authorities to work out plans for the proposed new building with multi-level parking facility. Official sources said plans for a seven-storied building have been prepared by the R&B department. However, with some court officials expressing apprehension that the seven-storied building with cellar and sub-cellars might not be safe, the R&B and GHMC have been asked to work out another plan with two blocks, one for the courts and another exclusively for parking. The exclusive multi-level car parking would be designed to accommodate 600 to 800 cars.

The corporation had earlier requested the HC to part with about 4,500 square yards towards Madina on the main road for a vertical parking complex in view of the heavy traffic flow near Charminar. GHMC officials feel that the traffic volume and tourists flow would increase once the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP) is completed.

The GHMC is working on two plans, one, a parking complex to be taken up on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis by private persons and another to be taken up by the civic body on its own. “In the multi-level parking complex, lawyers and petitioners can utilise the parking space during the day, while tourists and others can use it during night-time,” an official of the GHMC said.

Meanwhile, construction of a multi-level parking complex near Khilwath on 2,150 square metres area would begin in a month’s time with the GHMC and the project developer, a consortium led by Futurage Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd, signing an agreement recently. The parking complex would have five floors and accommodate over 400 four-wheelers and 200 two-wheelers. Conventional ramps would be in place for parking floors below the ground level, while an automated machine would take vehicles to floors above the ground.











Koda probe report in HC next week


Sanjay Ojha, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 06.55AM IST

RANCHI: Three investigating agencies – the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), income tax (I-T) and enforcement directorate (ED) – will submit the progress report in the multi-crore scam related to former chief minister Madhu Koda in the Jharkhand high court on February 29.

Sources in the CBI said they were preparing the report on the status of investigation in the multi-crore scam of Koda and his associates. The former chief minister has been accused of amassing around Rs 3,300 crore by misusing his office between 2006 and 2008.

A senior officer of the CBI said they had made substantial progress in the case and submitted a 200-page report a couple of days back to the UAE government to extradite Sanjay Chaudhary, a close associate of Koda. Chaudhary was arrested by the Interpol last year in Dubai.

“According to extradition agreement with the UAE, the language of extradition is English. A detailed report was submitted in English soon after the arrest of Chaudhary in Dubai. On the request of the UAE government, we submitted the report in Arabic so that the court which is hearing the case of extradition does not find any difficulty in understanding the evidence against Chaudhary,” said the officer.

The extradition of Chaudhary is important not only for the CBI but also for the ED and the I-T departments because he is the person who managed the foreign investments of Koda and his close aides.

An I-T officer said according to the present assessment the total worth of assets of Koda and his aides was around Rs 3,300 crore but it is likely to increase as they still don’t have exact details of Chaudhary’s assets.

“We expect that the local court will soon give permission for extradition as evidences submitted to the UAE government has all details of misappropriation of funds and violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act,” said the CBI officer.










HC asks East Coast Railway to consider stoppage for Rajdhani


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 04.18AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa high court recently asked the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to examine if the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express can have a stoppage at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station. Acting on a PIL, the court asked the ECoR to take a decision on the matter within eight weeks.

Petitioner J K Pratihari, in his petition, had pleaded that the Rajdhani Express has stoppages at all district headquarters from its originating point besides Tata Nagar, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh and Koderma, but not at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station, which caters to two districts, Jajpur and Keonjhar.

The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Biswanath Mohapatra asked Pratihari to send a representation along with the court order to the chairman of Railway Board and others within two weeks. The court told the Railways to take a decision within eight weeks after submission of the representation, Pratihari said.

In 2006, Pratihari had filed a representation with the Railway Board member (traffic) seeking the stoppage. The railway authorities had conveyed to him that the demand was under consideration but no action was taken for over six years, following which he filed the PIL, Pratihari stated in his petition.










HC: Dying declaration has to be corroborated before conviction


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 21, 2012

Reiterating its earlier stand on the admissibility of uncorroborated dying declarations, the Bombay high court recently set aside a trial court’s conviction of a father-son duo from Ahmednagar based solely on the deceased’s narration to a doctor.

“(A) dying declaration has to be proved beyond any shadow of doubt whatsoever, it being a piece of evidence sought to be trusted without any scrutiny of cross-examination of its maker,” justice AH Joshi observed while acquitting the two on February 8.

The Ahmednagar police had charged Madhav Kharat, 64, and his son Shivaji, 34, for the murder of his brother Deochand on January 17, 1997. They were arrested the day after Deochand succumbed to injuries suffered in an alleged brutal assault.

While undergoing treatment at a Shirdi Hospital, Deochand had narrated the incident to a doctor and alleged that Kharat and Shivaji had assaulted him. The trial court had convicted the duo primarily on the basis of the dying declaration.

Kharat was convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, while his son received a six-month jail term for causing grievous hurt to the deceased.

Both moved the Aurangabad bench of the HC in appeal in 1999. Their counsel SP Chapalgaonkar argued that the convictions cannot be maintained since they are based solely on an uncorroborated dying declaration, in absence of any eyewitness or circumstantial evidence. However, assistant public prosecutor DR Kale justified the conviction contending the dying declaration was trustworthy.

The HC found the prosecution had not even bothered to examine the doctor who had recorded Deochand’s dying declaration in order to prove the deceased was in condition to give a statement. Justice Joshi set aside conviction of the duo stating that to maintain the convictions would mean to maintain them on suspicion, which cannot be done.

A division bench of the court had taken a similar view in December last year when it set aside the life sentence awarded to four persons by a Nashik sessions judge for the murder of a woman solely on the basis of her dying declaration.












HC upholds dismissal of ‘fake’ AI trainee pilot


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.19AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has upheld the dismissal of a trainee AI pilot who had joined the national carrier by producing fake results of his commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) examinations.

Last June, the airline had nipped the flying career of Saurabh Lokhande, a 29-year-old Mumbai resident, before it could take off. AI dismissed Lokhande a month after the Delhi crime branch arrested him for allegedly using a fake CPL certificate to join the airline as a trainee pilot on a five-year contract in 2010. Lokhande, after three failed attempts to clear the examinations in India, had allegedly paid Rs 3 lakh to a tout in 2008 and secured a fake licence to fly. He was finally arrested last year and though released on bail, faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL has been suspended.

He flew into the long arms of law finally last year and though released on bail faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL is suspended.

The worrying rise in the number of fake pilots across airlines last year had led to a crackdown by the top brass as the Directorate general of Civil Aviation. Lokhande was the second AI pilot to be arrested. The airline had earlier dismissed another pilot, J K Verma, for producing a fake CPL certificate. The HC, however, last August directed the airline to hold an inquiry and keep him under suspension. Last November, the Supreme Court stayed the HC order.

Lokhande too moved the HC against AI. His lawyer, Mohan Bir Singh, argued that dismissal cannot stem from mere allegations. “There is no finding by any authority that the CPL documents are fake,” said Singh. But AI, whose aircraft had crashed in Mangalore in 2010 killing all on-board, took a tough stand through its law firm M V Kini & Co. “The safety of passengers is of paramount consideration,” it said.

“The lives of passengers would be in danger if Lokhande, whose qualification as a CPL holder is based on fake documents, is allowed to fly an aircraft,” it said. As a pilot, Lokhande was governed by the terms and conditions of contract which were

signed by him and AI. Clause 31 of the agreement is very clear, said AI, and it empowers termination with immediate effect without assigning any reasons, if it is found at any stage that the pilot relied on false documents.

A bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R Y Ganoo last week had no sympathy either. In a brief order, the bench brushed off all arguments against AI.

The HC said, “The petitioner was merely a trainee pilot. It appears he was arrested for submitting a fake result card. In this situation, no fault can be found with the order of termination.”,” and disposed of the matter

Lokhande is likely to challenge the HC order, his lawyer said.











HC order for parole to Rajiv case convict challenged


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MADURAI: The state government on Monday challenged a single judge order directing it to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for a period of 15 days.

P Ravichandran, who was cited as accused no 16, found guilty of participating in criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, was sentenced to death along with 25 others by a Special Court for TADA cases on January 28, 1998.

Later, the Supreme Court commuted his sentence to life. Ravichandran is presently undergoing life imprisonment in the Madurai Central Prison. He has spent more than 20 years inside jail. His mother Rajeshwari had filed a writ petition in the Madurai bench seeking release of her son on 30 days’ ordinary leave for settling family disputes and also to make arrangements for maintenance of lands and properties.

On December 20, Justice V Ramasubramanian directed the authorities to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran at least for a period of 15 days and pass appropriate orders within two weeks. prescribing the date, time and modality for the working out of other details.

While passing the order, the judge also pointed out that the prisoner had gone out only on three occasions for short spells. On all those occasions, his conduct and character in society had not come to adverse notice.

Now, the state government has filed a writ appeal in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking to stay the order of the single judge’s order. On behalf of the state government, the writ appeal was filed by R Anbalagan, superintendent of prisons, Madurai.

The state government said that on earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for 14 days in 3 different times along with strong police escort headed by a deputy superintendent of police (surveillance). But now, the high court in its order had directed to grant 15 days’ ordinary leave to the convict. The government termed the leave very long and added that had the prisoner been released on leave without police escort in earlier instances, the situation would have worsened.

As this prisoner is involved in the assassination of a former prime minister, his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility. These points were not factored into account by the high court, added the state government.

Moreover, the state pointed out that the prisoner had not even paid escort charges totalling Rs 1,39,391 for having gone on leave. In the event of release of this prisoner further, he has to pay a large amount as escort charges.

The government added that the deployment of a large number of police personnel in the Virudhunagar district as escort would affect normalcy in the area.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass, the Additional Advocate General K Chellapandian sought time to put forth the state government’s further contentions in the matter.

The matter now has been adjourned to February 29 for further hearing.











BMC can change transit camp for tenants: HC


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.42AM IST

MUMBAI: There is nothing illegal in the BMC shifting tenants from one transit accommodation to another, said the Bombay High Court recently.

The court was hearing a petition by tenants of a municipal chawl in Parel who are to be shifted to a regular transit accommodation a decade after they were housed in a school.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka heard a petition filed by Harishchandra Sawant and others after the BMC, on June 28, 2011, issued them a notice to shift to the transit accommodation. The petitioners were residents of Bogdha Chawl on Jerbai Wadia Road, Parel. They were among 205 tenants who were shifted to the transit accommodation in 1998 at Baradevi Municipal School on Acharya Donde Marg, Wani Chawl and Pratiksha Nagar. The petitioners occupy the third and fourth floors of the dilapidated school.

An earlier bench had rapped the BMC for the delay. After seeing pictures of the new transit camp, the court had said, “Don’t treat people as animals.” According to the petition, the tenants formed a cooperative housing society. In June 2005 BMC gave permission to Tejaswini Group to redevelop the chawl but in May 2010 issued a show cause notice for termination for not beginning the work. BMC has now told the court that a new developer has been appointed and construction shall commence within 36 months from the date of issue of commencement certificate.

Petitioner’s advocate P G Lad said that reconstruction of permanent accommodation has taken a long time already and the action of BMC in trying to remove them from the presenting temporary alternate accommodation to shift them to another temporary alternate accommodation is neither legal nor proper. The judges at the hearing on February 10, 2012 disagreed. Prima facie we do not see any breach of any particular state or GR (government resolution) in regard to the impugned action,” they said, adding that no interference is called for by the court.

At the request of Lad that the children’s ensuing school exams are to take place in April, the judges in the interest of justice” directed BMC not to effect the shifting till April 31, 2012.










Jelestines wife to move HC against captain


Amritha K R

KOCHI: Dora Jelestine, wife of Valentine Jelestine who was gunned down by Italian marines on board the oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie,’ will file a case under Admiralty Law against the Italian vessel in the Kerala High Court. The decision came at a meeting of various fishermen organisations, boat owners associations and the Kollam Diocese held in Kollam on Saturday. The procedures for the case will be undertaken under the supervision of the Quilon Social Service Society, an organisation under the Quilon Diocese. This is the first legal action undertaken by the victims’ family after the incident that took place on February 15. Apart from compensation, the petitioner will also demand the arrest of the captain and the ship owner.

“The two Italian Navymen are being made scapegoats and the rest of the crew members will go scot-free. This cannot be allowed,” said the director of the Quilon Social Service Society, Fr Rajesh Martin. To protest against the gruesome incident, a massive rally will be taken out to the Kollam Collectorate with the participation of various fishermen organisations, trade unions and members of the Kollam Diocese.

“We have a charter of demands. All measures must be taken to ensure that such an incident will not be repeated on our waters. Fishermen should be able to carry on with their livelihood without fear and due compensation must be paid to the families of the victims,” said Fr Steven Kayathil of the Quilon Social Service Society.

Speaking to mediapersons on Friday Ernakulam IG K Padmakumar had said: “If the petitioner files a case under the Admiralty Law before the High Court, the ship can be released after the victims’ families are paid compensation. The Advocate-General can appear for the case.”



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