LEGAL NEWS 25.02.2012

Chennai robberies: Human rights commission sends notice to police over encounter deaths

Press Trust of India, Updated: February 24, 2012 17:38 IST
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notices to Director General of Tamil Nadu Police and Chennai District Magistrate asking them to investigate the death of five suspected burglars in a police encounter.

The direction came after the commission received a complaint on the basis of media reports regarding the Chennai encounter yesterday in which the police killed five persons suspected to be involved in bank burglaries.

The notices have been issued to Tamil Nadu’s Director General of Police and the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police in Chennai.

“The commission has directed them to respond to its notices within eight weeks along with the magisterial enquiry report, the post-mortem report and the independent investigation report into the incident as per the guidelines of the commission,” an NHRC spokesperson said.

Responding to the claims made by the Human Rights activists that people never heard any gunshots, J K Tripathy, Chennai Police Commissioner, said that it is for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – which is investigating the case – to find out.

“It is only the initial information that was furnished to the concerned DGP or to the press on the basis of documents that were available with the criminals. I don’t think the criminals carry even the original documents. It is expected that there identity cards might be bogus. It is for the investigation to confirm it. It is being investigated by the judicial magistrate now. The investigating agency will take follow up on this,” he said.

Quoting reports, the commission said that the police was on look out for a gang of robbers reportedly involved in a series of bank robberies in the city.

In this connection, they surrounded a house at Velachery in Chennai where some suspects were lodged. According to the police, the encounter happened when instead of surrendering, the alleged suspects opened fire at the police injuring two inspectors.

The five persons, four from Bihar and one from West Bengal, were identified with the help of voters ID cards and driving licences recovered from the spot. The deceased are Chandrika Ray, Harish Kumar, Vinay Prasad, Vinod Kumar (all from Bihar) and Abhay Kumar from West Bengal.

In less than a month, branches of Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai were robbed of Rs. 19 lakh and Rs. 14 lakh on January 23 and February 21 respectively in daring daylight heist by armed men, sending shock waves. The police had set up 30 special teams to crack the cases.

BJP criticises Supreme Court verdict

BJP Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani with yoga guru Baba Ramdev at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
Taking exception to the Supreme Court verdict charging yoga guru Baba Ramdev of ‘contributory neglect’ that led to the midnight police crackdown at the Ramlila Maidan in June last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that by the same logic Mahatama Gandhi contributed to the crackdown by the British raj on his protests.
Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar also objected to the Baba Ramdev trust being asked to bear 25 per cent of the compensation the court asked the police to pay to the victims of the crackdown. Mr. Javadekar said the apex court was ‘diluting the right to protest.’
Indictment of the Delhi police for the crackdown did not amount to clean chit to the Union government, he said.
Mr. Javadekar argued that the Delhi police alone should not be held guilty for the human rights violations as it was “acting at the behest of their bosses in the Central government, namely, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Ministers P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal.”
“Such an attack on peaceful supporters of Ramdev would not have been possible without political clearance at a very high level. The policemen have suffered but what about political accountability,” he asked.
Elaborating on the issue of indictment of Ramdev, Mr. Javadekar said that it would have been justified only if the crowd had been violent. The party welcomed the court observation that the whole scenario was avoidable.
PTI reports:
Top lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Ramdev in the Supreme Court in the case, demanded the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, holding him responsible for the police action.

Draw water or not, pay charges to Chennai Metro

CHENNAI: Whether owners or occupants of flats in apartments draw water or not, they will have to pay the water charges to the Chennai Metro Water Supply & Sewerage Board, the Madras High Court has ruled. A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal gave the ruling on February 21 while dismissing a writ appeal from Akshay J Mehta and nine others challenging an order of a single judge, who made the same ruling.
According to appellants, the Board had provided a common sump in their apartment on Govindappa Naicken Street in Washermanpet. They did not apply for individual water supply and were not drawing water from the common sump. The other owners/occupants used the sump. However, the Board issued individual notices to the appellants also demanding Rs 5,050 from each. They challenged the same and a single judge rejected their plea. Hence, the present appeal.
Dismissing the appeal, the bench referred to Sec 2(4) of the CMWS & SB Water Supply Charges (Levy and Collections) Regulations, which stated that any person who drew water or had sewerage connection or provided with a service connection by the Board was a ‘consumer’.
This clause did not make any difference between the person drawing or not drawing water from the service connection provided by the Board. The use or non-use of water was immaterial, the bench said, and dismissed the appeal.

Principals appointment set aside

CHENNAI: The appointment of R Balaji Naidu as principal of Dr Ambedkar Law College in Chennai was set aside by the HC on Thursday. Justice V Ramasubramanian set side the appointment while allowing a quo-warranto writ plea from D Ganesan. Naidu was promoted as principal by a GO dated June 17 last year. Petitioner contended that he was not qualified for the post. The Masters Degree (ML) obtained by him through correspondence was not recognised by the Bar Council of India. The government stated that on the basis of the adhoc rules for the post, as amended by a GO dated March 12, 2010, Naidu was promoted. Neither the college nor the govt could give a go by to the UGC Regulations, 2010, the judge said and allowed the plea.

HC bans book for using foul language

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 05.20AM IST
LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday put a ban on the publication of a book, which allegedly used foul language against the Lucknow bench and its judges. A bench of Chief Justice Syed Rafat Alam and Justice SN Shukla directed the principal secretary of the state to immediately take notice of the allegations made in the writ petition as well as contents of the book and consider to take appropriate actions u/s 95 of CrPC to stop the publication, printing, sale and circulation of the book.
The bench posted the matter on March 3, further directing the principal secretary (Home) to consider to seize all the copies of the book, which are available in the state. The bench observed that the allegations levelled in the book against the Lucknow bench and its judges are highly scandalous.
“The book contains derogatory remarks against the judiciary and the judges of this court,” said the bench. The allegations have potential to disturb the respect of the judiciary among the general public, observed the court.
The book, which is authored by Devendra Kumar Dikshit contains foul language against the higher judiciary. A local lawyer Dinesh Kumar Tripathi had filed a PIL seeking ban on the book titled ‘Nyaylay Bana Bhrastalay’. The petitioner stated that the publication not only contains highly scandalous and derogatory remarks against the Lucknow bench and its judges, but also tends to destroy the respect of the judiciary and damage the whole institution of judiciary. It was contended that the publication had not been made after seeking approval u/s 9 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
The petitioner further said that the author and publisher committed offences u/s 153(A), 153(B) and 292 (IPC). He further said that since the circulation of the book has to be immediately stopped, he has instead of approaching the government authorities, rushed to the court for quick interference.
The court found the submission of the petitioner correct and issued notice to the author for his response. The court also directed its registry to issue copy of the order to the chief standing counsel Upendra Nath Mishra on the day itself for forthwith compliance by the state authorities.

High court sets aside law college principal’s appointment

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 04.25AM IST
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has set aside the promotion of R Balaji Naidu as principal of Dr Ambedkar Government Law College. Justice V Ramasubramanian, who passed orders on the matter on Thursday, held that his appointment was contrary to the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations, 2010, which were adopted by the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University (TNDALU) and accepted by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

A writ petition was filed by D Ganesan, state organizer of the Revolutionary Students Youth Front, asking that the high court issue a writ of quo warranto directing Naidu to show cause by what authority he continued to hold the post.

Tracing Naidu’s job profile, the petitioner said his appointment as a junior professor of sociology at the Government Law College was ratified on January 22, 1985. Later ad hoc rules were framed for the post of junior professor in a non-law subject, as per which an ML degree with 50% marks and enrollment as an advocate was made compulsory.

Later, Naidu acquired a BL degree from Madurai Law College (evening college) and an ML degree from Annamalai University through a correspondence course. With the state government amending the ad hoc rules in March 2010 and making lecturers in both law and non-law subjects eligible for promotion to the post of principal, Naidu was appointed to the post. He is due to retire from service on June 30, 2012.

Passing orders, the judge noted that UGC Regulations said a principal had to have a master’s degree with at least 55% marks and a PhD degree. Since Naidu did not have a PhD degree, he was not qualified as per the UGC guidelines. The ad hoc rules framed by the government could not have overriding effect upon the UGC regulations, the judge said.

Moreover, the BCI had made it clear in its counter-affidavit in this case that the master’s degree should have been obtained through a regular course and only then could the principal be able to impart and train students well. This stand had been given due weight by the Supreme Court as well, Justice Ramasubramanian observed.

Writ petition in HC seeking Rs 50L compensation for rape victims

TNN Feb 23, 2012, 01.04PM IST
INDORE: A writ petition has been filed in the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court questioning the safety of women in the state in the wake of the alleged gang-rape of two sisters in Betma village on February 10 and seeking Rs 50 lakh compensation for the rape victims.
Satpal Anand trustee of Aand Trust, which filed the writ petition on Tuesday, challenged chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tall claim of providing security and safety to the girls in Madhya Pradesh. Satpal has referred to some of the popular schemes including Ladli Laxmi and Beti Bachao Abhiyan. Apart from the chief minister, the petitioner has also made the police a party in the case.
With specific reference to the alleged Betma rape victims, the petitioner questioned the guarantee to life under the Constitution. He argued that the state government must give a compensation of at least Rs 25 lakh each to the victim and emphasized that nothing less than that was admissible.
Meanwhile, ASP Padmavilochan Shukla informed that the two accused in the Betma gangrape case, Ashu and Golu, who were arrested on Tuesday, were sent to judicial custody on Wednesday. The three absconders are yet to be unidentified.
Madhya Pradesh State Congress’ wing President Archana Jaiswal has sought the intervention of National Women’s Commission in the gangrape case. Party has accused the police of lackadaisical attitude even after the crime had come to light. “I have written to the chairperson of National Commission for Women Mamta Sharma to take cognizance of the case and ensure that the victims get justice,” said Jaiswal. She said that a video clipping of the crime was made public on a mobile phone. “But the police took no action and remained a mute spectator till the victims went up to the police station,” she said.

Bhatt questions SIT’s intentions

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.55AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Thursday questioned intentions of Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) for not putting the evidence provided by him with regard to Godhra carnage case, on record of the trial court, which convicted 31 persons last year.
Bhatt alleged that if SIT had used the phone call records that he had collected while he was DCP with the State Intelligence Bureau, for prosecuting the accused, it would have brought out the fact that Godhra train burning incident was unlikely to have been premeditated, thereby demolishing the conspiracy theory.
“In November 2009, during course of my deposition in connection with an enquiry entrusted to SIT by the SC, I had provided seven original floppies containing phone call records of all the AT&T and Celforce mobile phones operating in Godhra on 26 and 27 February 2002 to SIT member A K Malhotra,” Bhatt said adding it was provided with a request to share the same with the team investigating Godhra train burning incident. tnn & agencies”But when I asked the SIT member (Malhotra) in March 2011, if the data provided by me was used by them, he said they were yet to see the data. This action of theirs puts question mark on their intentions on using the data provided to them,” Bhatt said. TNN & AgenciesBhatt was of the opinion that a proper analysis of the said data would have “brought out the fact that the Godhra incident was unlikely to have been premeditated, thereby demolishing the so-called conspiracy theory.”
In March last year, a trial court had awarded death penalty to 11 persons and life imprisonment to 20 others, and acquitted 63 others in the Godhra carnage case.
The suspended IPS officer has been approached by a lawyer representing some of the convicts of the Godhra carnage case, who have appealed against the verdict of trial court in the High court. He wants to use the phone call data for their defence.
The lawyer has sought the phone call data which was submitted to the SIT. Bhatt has in a letter to the lawyer asked him to approach the SIT as the original record is with the agency.

Subramanian Swamy moves SC against Chidambaram in 2G scam

Feb 24, 2012, 03.24AM IST
NEW DELHI: Unsuccessful in convincing the 2G spectrum scam trial court to proceed against P Chidambaram for his alleged role as the then finance minister in the irregular allotment of wavelengths for mobile services, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Thursday moved the Supreme Court in appeal to agitate the issue.

Giving up his option of approaching the Delhi High Court, Swamy said the Special Judge erred by not proceeding against Chidambaram despite accepting his plea that the Union minister was party to two decisions – “that is, keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies (the precise two activities for which the main accused A Raja has been charged).”

The trial court had held that the two acts alleged against Chidambaram were not per se criminal in nature and rejected Swamy’s plea for either a CBI probe into the minister’s role or include him as an accused in the case.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to pass any order on Swamy’s plea for ordering CBI probe into the alleged role of Chidambaram as the finance minister in the 2008 spectrum scam saying the matter was pending before the trial court that would take a decision. The trial court on February 4 had rejected Swamy’s plea.

Nitish Katara case: Court to hear plea against convicts

New Delhi: A Delhi court is expected to hear Nitish Katara’s mother’s complaint against convicts Vikas and Vishal Yadav on Friday. Katara’s mother Neelam Katara had earlier claimed they have been enjoying preferential treatment at Tihar Jail.
CNN-IBN had reported that both the accused had made 151 medical outings in four years.
The Delhi High Court on February 1 asked Tihar Jail authorities to produce medical records of Vikas Yadav who is serving a life term, on a plea that he had visited hospitals 87 times by misusing his financial and political influence.
The court’s order came on the petition of Neelam Katara, mother of the victim, seeking a direction to the jail authorities and AIIMS to produce entire record relating to Yadav’s ailments and his visits to the premier hospital.
While the convicts had moved the high court seeking reversal of the trial court’s findings in the case, the Delhi Police and Nilam Katara had filed appeal for award of death penalty for them on the ground that the offence fell under the ‘rarest of rare’ category.
Neelam Katara, in her petition, had referred to the responses received from Tihar Jail authorities under the RTI on the issue.
Nitish Katara, a business executive, was abducted from a marriage party in Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and was later killed by the convicts for his alleged intimacy with Bharti Yadav, sister of Vikas Yadav.

HC seeks fresh report from Khurda collector

TNN Feb 23, 2012, 11.15AM IST
CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Wednesday refused to accept the affidavit filed by the deputy collector of Khurda furnishing status report of the alleged spurious liquor tragedy that claimed 36 lives in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
The division bench of Chief
Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra objected to filling of the affidavit by the deputy collector and directed the collector of Khurda to submit the affidavit within February 24.
Notably, the high court had asked both the collectors of Cuttack and Khurda to file status report on the incident, but instead of the collector, the deputy collector of Khurda had filed the affidavit.
In a related matter, a PIL was filed by a Balangir-based NGO, Abirbhav, last year to check the sell of spurious liquor in the state. Adjudicating the PIL, the high court had directed the then state excise commissioner to take appropriate action to check the ill practice in the state. The petitioner had recently filed a contempt petition against the
then excise commissioner citing that the court’s order was not implemented properly. “Taking note of the contempt petition, the high court has directed the then excise commissioner Sudarshan Nayak to reply to the allegations within a week,” said Ashis Mishra, the petitioner’s counsel.

Notice to govt over SC/ST students’ fee

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.39AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued showcause notices for contempt of court to the principal secretary of the social justice department and school education department for not complying with its order to reimburse fees of SC/ST and backward-class students.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More was hearing a PIL saying after the state stopped reimbursing fees in 2007, students had been harassed by schools.

On April 28, 2011, the HC ordered the reimbursement of fees to various schools. On behalf of the schools, it was submitted that non-reimbursement of fees was making it difficult for them. When the assistant government pleader was asked about the reason behind the non-reimbursement, the judges were told that the state had issued a GR directing a monthly support of Rs 100-150 to below-poverty-line students who study English-medium schools. The advocates for petitioners and schools pointed out that the order did not cover the fees for them. Concurring with them, the judges directed the issue of showcause notices.

HC admits petition on Skycity project

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 04.24AM IST
KOCHI: A public interest litigation ( PIL) challenging the proposed Rs 467-crore Skycity project by Yashoram Infra Developers Pvt Ltd at Chilavannoor was admitted by the Kerala High Court on Thursday.

Considering the petition by Indian Institute of Architects, division bench of acting chief justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon directed the central and State governments to file affidavits explaining their stands on alleged violation of coastal zone regulations.

The petition, filed through advocate Sivan Madathil, alleges that the Skycity project, which involves construction of two flyovers across Chilavannoor backwaters, is in violation of coastal zone regulations as backwaters are also covered under the regulations.Citing Swaminathan Committee Report, the petitioner alleges that the lake falls under the regulated zone as it is a part of Vembanad lake.

More trouble for Kripashankar Singh after Income Tax department finds serious lapses

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 23, 2012 12:28 IST
Mumbai: The former chief of Mumbai Congress, Kripashankar Singh and his son are entangled in a graft case where the Income Tax department has found serious lapses.

The I-T department says interest free loans were given to Mr Singh by big builders like DB realty, HDIL and Dinshaw Trapinex Builders.

The department also says that Mr Singh and his son Narendra possessed two PAN cards; the leader, however, claims he did not use the second PAN card and that the earlier one was made after he lost his PAN card in 2005.

There are also allegations that HDIL had lent the space it has leased in Hotel Grand Hyatt for hosting Mr Singh’s son Narendra Kumar’s engagement. Also, between 2006 and 2010 Kripashankar’s son did reveal correct tax according to his income.

In a huge embarrassment for the Congress, Mr Singh quit yesterday after the Bombay High Court asked the Mumbai police to file an FIR against him for “criminal misconduct” under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“The commissioner of police shall obtain sanction from the government to prosecute Kripashankar Singh for criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi said.

The bench further said that Commissioner Arup Patnaik shall collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties of Mr Singh and his family, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law, who will also be prosecuted for aiding in the crime.

“The immovable properties of Kripashankar shall be attached. We do not want to pass any directions regarding the bank accounts of the respondents as it is alleged that the money might have been washed out,” the court said.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The court, while keeping the PIL pending, directed the Commissioner of Police to file a compliance report on April 19.

A prayer by Kripashankar’s lawyer seeking a stay on the order was rejected.

In his complaint, Mr Tiwari alleged that Mr Singh had been close to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who is currently in jail for alleged involvement in a multi-crore hawala scam.

He alleged that several monetary transactions had taken place between them.

Mr Singh’s counsels had opposed the PIL, calling it politically motivated and one that served BJP’s interests.

Slumdweller brought down city Cong chief

Clara Lewis, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.10AM IST
MUMBAI: Sanjay Tiwari seems an unlikely person to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against someone as politically powerful as the city’s Congress chief. Tiwari lives in the Kajupada slums of Saki Naka, Andheri (East) and works as a supervisor in a private firm.

Tiwari’s tryst with anticorruption crusades began after the July 2005 floods. “People were given Rs 2,000 and made to sign a receipt for Rs 5,000 by government officials. Along with my friends we went door-to-door asking who received money and who didn’t. For the first time I used the Right to Information (RTI) Act to procure information from the government. We collected affidavits from local residents and filed a complaint against government officials. Nine officials were suspended,” he recalled.

Then there was the widening of the 90-foot road from Saki Naka to Kurla. “This was the second time we used RTI and discovered two Development Plans for the same area. We were able to save nearly 20 shops from demolition,” he said. There was also the issue of Sheetal Talao, Kurla, where both the BMC and Mhada claimed to have spent funds on upkeep. An RTI query revealed that only the BMC had spent money.

A few months after the 2009 assembly elections, Tiwari came upon the affidavit filed by Kalina MLA Kripashankar Singh. He then filed an RTI query to obtain the affidavit Singh filed for the 2004 elections. “The first discrepancy I discovered was that in 2004 he showed his educational qualifications as BSc and in 2009 as Std XII pass. The first affidavit made no mention of property. I then began seeking information under the RTI about his income-tax returns, his property etc,” Tiwari said. He obtained information about the flat obtained for his son-in-law at Powai under the chief minister’s discretionary quota, about property at Bandra and so on.

As word got around that Tiwari was making inquiries into Singh’s assets, people began approaching him with documents. “A person close to Singh brought me details of 10 to 12 of his bank accounts. The documents clearly traced how crores of rupees had passed through these accounts. We filed several complaints with the I-T department, but when nothing happened I filed a PIL in the Bombay high court in 2010,” he said. After he filed the PIL, farmers from Ratnagiri told him they were fighting to recover their land from Singh. They showed him documents on which signatures of dead people were allegedly used to grab their land. “The land records showed nearly 225 acres in the name of Malti Devi, his wife,” he said.

Tiwari credits the RTI Act for the success so far. “RTI ka bahut fayda hua. Agar yeh Act na hota, hum sachhai tak pahunch hi nahin sakte (I benefitted immensely from RTI. If not for this Act, we would not have reached the truth),” he said.

Surprisingly, while he was threatened during his fight to save the 20-odd shops, this time round there were no threats either to him or his family. “Since I had already fought and won on two earlier occasions, I was not afraid this time either,” he said.

BIADA jobs: Petitioner told to move Lokayukta

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 03.37AM IST
PATNA: A division bench of Patna high court comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Gopal Prasad on Thursday asked the petitioner against appointments on contractual basis in Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority, to approach the state Lokayukta.
Petitioner Deepak Kumar had challenged the appointments made after 2007, alleging irregularities and terming them as misuse of public money.
In another case, a single bench presided by Justice A K Tripathi on Thursday directed the state government to conduct Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) for appointment of fine arts teachers in different schools in the state and prepare its syllabus within six months. The order was passed on a PIL filed by Bihar Fine Arts Teachers’ Association.
In a separate contempt of court case, a single bench presided by Justice V N Sinha directed the state government to take action against the officials of Bihar State Housing Board responsible for the delay in allotment of house to one Harikant Thakur despite the court’s earlier directive.
The court ordered action against the erring officials and allotment of house to Thakur within two months.

PIL challenges order on Counter Terror unit

CHENNAI: A writ petition seeking to set aside the National Counter Terrorism Centre Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order, 2012, has been made in the Madras High Court. A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, before which the public interest writ petition from advocate S Vijayalakshmi came up on Wednesday, referred the matter to the Registry for placing it before the first bench led by Chief Justice MY Eqbal.
Her counsel Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, among other things, contended that no consultation with the stake-holders was done before passing the Order.
Nine Chief Ministers, including TN CM J Jayalalithaa, had objected to the Order. But, the Centre had not even considered them, petitioner added.

Court reserves order on PIL seeking FIR against Amar Singh

Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 17:46
New Delhi: A sessions court has reserved for March 1 its order on a plea by a key witness of the 2008 cash-for-vote case challenging a magistrate’s order, which had rejected his complaint to lodge an FIR against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and two others for allegedly kidnapping him.

Hashmat Ali, a key witness in the cash-for-vote case, has filed a revision petition in the sessions court challenging a December 12 order saying the magistrate had committed “legal error” by dismissing his plea as offences were clearly made out against Singh, his secretary Tarun and aide Ramesh.
Ali alleged that Tarun and his aide Ramesh had kidnapped him from Khan Market here on September 25, 2008, the day he was to depose before a parliamentary inquiry committee probing the case.

Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna has reserved the order after hearing the submissions put forward by Ali’s counsel.

“Submissions heard. To come up for orders on March 1,” the judge said.

Ali, in his plea, said the magistrate had “ignored” the material placed on record by him and proceeded on the basis of the “unfair inquiry” conducted by the Delhi Police.

“The trial court has committed legal error by dismissing the petition of the petitioner (Ali) whereas the cognizable offences are clearly made out against all the accused and it was a fit case for order, directing the SHO Tuglak Road, to register criminal case against the accused…,” he said.

Ali said that the magistrate had “wrongly appreciated the status report filed by the police ignoring the complaint which clearly indicates that cognizable offence is committed by the accused.”

Officer withdraws plea to quash transfer order

Express News Service
HYDERABAD: IAS officer VS Bhaskar who is facing charges of sexual harassment of a woman colleague, on Wednesday withdrew his writ petition filed before the High Court seeking to quash the interim order of the Central Administrative Tribunal transferring him from his posting as UIDAI deputy director-general.
On Wednesday, the petitioner’s counsel P Bhaskar sought permission of the bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar to withdraw the petition filed by his client.
The assistant solicitor-general had earlier informed the court that the Planning Commission has requested the department of personnel and training to repatriate Bhaskar to his parent cadre (Assam-Meghalaya).
It may be recalled that Bhaskar had stated in his petition that there may be some technical errors in constitution of the complaints committee and the enquiry procedure.
The applicant S Padmaja, assistant directorgeneral, UIDAI had complained of sexual harassment by Bhaskar and the tribunal had directed the Centre to take action not later than 15 days from February 3.

Panel: Bring NGOs, PPPs under RTI

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 23, 2012
Every non-government organisation (NGO) and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project should come under purview of the Right To Information Act, a panel appointed by Prime Manmohan Singh has said.

A high-level panel on public health has told the government that RTI should be made
mandatory for all NGOs and public private partnerships working in the social sector such as health to improve transparency and accountability.
The definition of the partnership involves hospitals built by a private entity but a land for which was given at a highly subsidised rate by the government. There are several such hospitals across India, which falls under this category, but they refuse to abide by the transparency law.
Transparency watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), has said any project where the government provides land at a subsidised rate or provide annual financial assistance of Rs one crore or more should come under the ambit of RTI.
Planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia had refused to bring all PPP projects under RTI saying the CIC will have to decide on individual projects.
K Srinath Reddy, who headed the PM-appointed panel, said transparency was a must to ensure accountability of PPP institutions working for national building and providing basic amenities to people.
“Many of these institutions were set up with the government’s help. We have asked the government to ensure that they come abide by RTI,” he said.
The Public Health Foundation of India, which Reddy heads, was one such PPP institution started in 2006 with Belinda and Bill Gates Foundation. It had been voluntarily providing information to citizens but from this March it will appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) to meet the requirements of RTI on the directives of the CIC. To be first public private body to come under RTI, Reddy said they have decided to abide by the CIC decision and will not appeal against it. Reddy’s panel wants PPP under the RTI as number of schemes to provide universal access to public health to all with the help of private entities

Government, judiciary not interested in RTI disclosures: CIC Satyananda Mishra
NEW DELHI: At a time when the Congress-led UPA government has been battling with Team Anna over a comprehensive anti-corruption legislation, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has taken on the government and the judiciary over the transparency issue saying not even a single public authority has been following disclosure norms.

Even six years after the implementation of the Right to Information Act 2005, the final appellate authority for the legislation feels that the government has not voluntarily disclosed information on its ministry and department websites, as required under Section 4 (1) (b) of RTI Act.

Speaking to ET, Central Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said, “The biggest issue on RTI Act implementation is whether the government departments have implemented Section 4 (1) (b) and voluntarily disclosed information on their websites. We have got a study done and when I say that none of the websites of Government of India follow the disclosure law, it is not an exaggeration. Even the high courts are no better.”

Each government department is required to disclose information, including number of employees, their education, salary drawn, the tenure of employment, records held by the department, records destroyed, areas of responsibility and similar information.

Mishra said, “When we see websites of the government, we find half-hearted attempt to disclose information. If you randomly go to websites, you will find names of people who have retired and in some cases have even died. There is no updated information. We have sent repeated letters to the government on how they can improve the information delivery mechanism, which would ultimately mean less number of RTI applications. After all RTI applications cost money not only to the applicant but also to the government.”

CIC’s suggestion that each ministry should publish a “negative list”, which would include information that the ministry would not provide, has also not been followed. “Our national goal should be that no citizen is required to use RTI Act. But our suggestions have not been followed,” Mishra said.

CIC had suggested in 2010 that each government department appoint a transparency officer to oversee the implementation of RTI Act. So far, of the 2,200 public authorities registered with CIC, only 324 (about 15%) have followed this.

It is not just the government but also the judiciary that does not seem to be following the rule book. CIC has found that only Guwahati High Court has a website that gives “exemplary information”. CIC has directed all the high courts to get their act together by April 1.

Hearing an appeal filed by Hyderabad-based RTI activist C J Karira, CIC has ordered that high courts should voluntarily disclose information as the law provides. Mishra said, “There are other issues like harsh RTI rules also. Allahabad high court has levied a fee of Rs 500 per application and per item, which means that if you ask more than one question they will charge Rs 1,000. We have directed them to at least follow what Supreme Court is doing – levying a standard fee of Rs 10.”

CCI approves Sasan Power Infra merger with Reliance Power

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 23, 2012
Competition watchdog CCI has approved the merger of Sasan Power Infrastructure with its parent firm Reliance Power, which is promoted by billionaire Anil Ambani.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), in an order, said, “Based on the facts on record and the details provided in the notice filed under sub-section (2) of Section 6, the proposed combination is not likely to give rise to any adverse competition concern … the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination.”
CCI further noted that Sasan Power Infrastructure (SPIL) and Reliance Power (RPL) are not engaged in production, supply, distribution, storage, sale or trade of identical or similar goods or provision of services.
“The activities of SPIL and RPL are also not related at different stages of levels of production chain different markets,” it said, adding, “Further, the control over the activities carried on by SPIL and RPL before and after the proposed combination remains with the management of RPL”.
RPL is engaged in development, construction and operation of power generation projects, and development of coal mines associated with such projects.
CCI added that in its filing, RPL has stated that SPIL (RPL’s wholly-owned subsidiary) is currently not carrying on any business activities and is holding investments in the group companies.
It is to be noted that SPIL is not implementing the Sasan ultra-mega power project.
The CCI is empowered by an Act of Parliament to scan high voltage merger and acquisition deals.
Under the Competition Act, 2002, companies with a turnover of more than Rs 1,500 crore will have to approach the CCI for approval before merging with another firm. Also, companies with combined assets of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or a combined turnover of Rs 3,000 crore or more, would require the CCI’s nod.

Police chief to act after getting court order

Mateen Hafeez, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.08AM IST
MUMBAI: City police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Thursday said he would wait till he gets a copy of the Bombay high court order before deciding the further course of action on probing the disproportionate assets case against former city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh. The court on Wednesday directed Patnaik to register an FIR against Singh for “criminal misconduct” under the Prevention of Corruption Act, attach the Singhs’ movable and immovable properties, personally investigate the case and submit a status report on April 19.

“The high court has directed us to probe the case,” said Patnaik. “I have read about it in the newspapers and watched on TV channels. However, I am yet to get a copy of the court order. I will decide a plan of action after going through the order.” The police chief added that since it was a court matter, commenting without reading the order wouldn’t be proper. The FIR could be registered at the Colaba police station as the HC comes under its jurisdiction. However, the appointment of investigating officers would have to be decided by the police chief.

The court passed the order while hearing a 2010 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that alleges that Singh and his family have amassed disproportionate assets worth hundreds of crores of rupees. Patnaik refused to comment on the pattern the investigation could take. “It’s too early to say anything,” he added.

It is learnt that Patnaik may form a team of handpicked officers to probe the case. Officers who have worked with the Economic Offences Wing and the Anti-Corruption Bureau may get a place in the police chief ‘s probe team. Sources said that seasoned officers could be part of the investigation and keep Patnaik informed about each and every action since he would be the highest investigating authority.

The HC directed that the PIL’s memo be treated as an FIR. The court asked the police chief to investigate the criminal case against Singh, his wife Malti Devi, son Narendra Kumar Singh, daughter-in-law Ankita Singh, daughter Sunita Singh and son-in-law Vijay Pratap Singh and submit a report by April 19. The high court ordered the attachment of about 15 immovable properties, estimated in the PIL to be worth Rs 320 crore, owned by the Singh family.

Raj Thackeray’s acquittal sets off blame game

Sanjeev Shivadekar, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 03.38AM IST
MUMBAI: The state home department on Thursday said it relied on its law and judiciary department’s report to close the case against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had quashed a case against Thackeray for his provocative speech against the north Indian migrant community delivered in 2008.

“The home department had sought law and judiciary department’s opinion on Raj Thackeray’s inflammatory statement and tirade against migrants, especially those hailing from north Indian community. On the file seeking sanction to prosecute Thackeray, the law and judiciary department stated that speech of the accused (Raj Thackeray), if read in totality, will not fall under Section 153 (A) of IPC. Hence, the case is not fit for accounting sanction to prosecute the accused under Section153 (A) of the IPC,” a senior home department official said on condition of anonymity.

In 2008, Vikhroli police arrested Thackeray and registered a case against him under Section 153 (A) of IPC.

Court issues notice to CBI on Balwa’s plea

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea filed by Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa seeking to quash charges against him in the 2G case.
Justice M.L. Mehta sought the CBI response by March 13.
Balwa, who was released on bail by a CBI special court, moved the high court to quash the main and supplementary chargesheet filed by the investigating agency against him.
“There is no circumstantial evidences of conspiracy, to be proved either directly or indirectly, against the petitioner, thus, the alleged accused could not be held responsible even for the offences of criminal conspiracy punishable under section 120 B of IPC (Indian Penal Code),” Balwa said.
Seeking discharge from charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the petitioner said: “There is no evidence on record to prove these facts that the accused had obtained for himself or for any other person any valuable things or pecuniary advantage.”
Balwa, along with other accused, was booked under penal provisions related to criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery. He was also booked under the anti-corruption law.
The court framed additional charges against him under penal provisions for giving false evidence and criminal conspiracy for creating false documents to show as loan transaction the Rs..200 crore allegedly paid to the DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

Karnataka forest minister summoned by court

Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 19:56 IST
Place: Bangalore | Agency: PTI
One more BJP Minister in Karnataka landed in legal trouble with a court today summoning CP Yogeshwar and four others in cases relating to alleged irregularities in a real estate project promoted by him.
Eighth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Kiran Kini directed Yogeshwar, holding charge of Forest portfolio, to appear in the court after two weeks in the cases relating to the Mega City project.
Taking a cognisance of 14 cases filed by the Union ministry of corporate affairs, the ACMM observed there was prima facie evidence to proceed against Yogeshwar under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Companies Act.
The judge also issued summons to four other accused.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, which investigated complaints from investors in the project, had pegged the alleged “misappropriation” committed by Yogeshwar, Managing Director of Megacity Developers and Builders Limited (MDBL), at Rs39 crore.
The SFIO revealed that from 2005-06, MDBL entered into 450 sale agreements but sold only 62 sites. After verifying 21 agreements, SFIO found that all of them were fraudulent and made with false documents.
MDBL had claimed that it had entered into an agreement with farmers for purchase of land and paid them money.
However, the balance sheet provided by MDBL could not provide evidence to prove that the amount was actually paid to farmers, the SFIO report had said.
Yogeshwar is the latest BJP minister to face court proceedings after Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani and Housing Minister V Somanna. Former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is facing a spate of corruption cases.
Others against whom court cases are on include former ministers SN Krishnaiah Setty, H Halappa and Katta Subramanya Naidu.

Fishermen killings: India, Italy to continue discussions today; marines’ custody extended by a week

NDTV Correspondent/ Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: February 24, 2012 12:12 IST
Kochi/New Delhi: India and Italy will continue discussions in New Delhi today on issues relating to the killing of two Indian fishermen by the Italian crew of ‘Enrika Lexie’.

The meeting, scheduled for this afternoon, comes a day after a Kerala court extended by one week the police custody of the two Italian marines arrested in connection with the killing. The police told the judges that they needed more time to interrogate marines Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone. Their three-day period for police interrogation expired on Thursday. The next hearing will be February 28.

Italy has offered to cooperate, but said the weapons of the two arrested marines should be examined in their presence and underlined that the vessel was in international waters.

Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura voiced appreciation at the way the two Marines were being treated, but there was no end to the unprecedented diplomatic row between Rome and Delhi.

With the Italians agreeing to cooperate with the investigation, they are likely to be taken on Friday to the cargo vessel, from where the Marines fired at the fishermen on February 15, mistaking them to be pirates. The weapons used in the shooting of Ajesh Binki and Jelestine are likely to be seized by police.

A Kollam court on Monday had permitted the police to search the Italian ship to seize the arms allegedly used by the two naval guards to shoot and kill the fishermen.

“We will cooperate for the ballistic examination, but we should also be present. Hope it will bring out justice,” de Mistura told reporters after meeting the two marines at the CISF guest house at Wellington in Kochi on Thursday morning.

The minister added that once the Italian vessel, now berthed in Kochi, was inspected, “our version will be proved right”.

Mr Mistura, however, reiterated that the firing incident took place in international waters and expressed sadness for the families of the dead fishermen. “We expressed regret.”

“We stick to our stand that the vessel was in international waters when the incident took place. It was 22.5 nautical miles of Kollam coast,” he said.

“We have expressed our appreciation in the manner in which they (Marines) have been treated,” de Mistura told reporters in Kochi after meeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kottayam. A day earlier, he met Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur in New Delhi in a bid to defuse the row.

New Delhi has said that since the incident involved an attack on an Indian vessel, the accused should be tried under the Indian penal code.

India has not relented on Italy’s demand that the case be taken out of a Kerala court. External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said any decision on how to pursue the case against the two accused should be left to the Centre and Kerala government.

A petition was filed in the Kerala High Court on behalf of two Marines on Wednesday seeking quashing of the murder charges filed against them in the trial court.

Appearing for the Italians in the high court, laywer Sunil Dutt told the judge that the incident took place in international waters and so the two men could only be tried in an international court.

The counsel told the court — and the judge agreed — that Italian officials should be present if the Marines were interrogated onboard the ship.

The counsel for Italians also told the Kerala High Court on Thursday that the state police had no jurisdiction to investigate the Italian marines.

The director general of prosecution T. Asaf Ali told the court that the weapon used for committing the crime was yet to be recovered from the ship. The court asked notices to be served on the central and state governments.

Meanwhile, the two sisters of the 25-year-old fisherman Ajesh Binki filed a petition in the high court demanding Rs. 2 crore (around $400,000) as compensation.

The court asked the ship owner to increase the bank guarantee from Rs. 2.5 million to Rs. 5 million.

Jelestine’s wife has filed a petition demanding a compensation of Rs. 1 crore.

HC maintains stay on PDKV staffers’ termination

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Feb 23, 2012, 03.25PM IST
NAGPUR: In a respite to beleaguered employees of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) who were issued termination notices, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday extended the status quo by a week.
A division bench comprising justices PB Majmudar and Prasanna Varale was hearing petitions of PDKV employees challenging termination of their services by the Akola-based university for their failure to produce caste validity certificates.
Earlier, the petitioners citing documents obtained under RTI alleged that the chancellor’s office had failed to take action in a similar case related to university. They pointed out that the chancellor in his letter of August 24 last year, expressed his inability to pass orders stating that he had “no jurisdiction to cancel the proceedings of the selection committee as he is not an authority as per provisions of Section 29 of Maharashtra Agriculture University Act, 1983”. The case was related to an inquiry conducted by the Director General of Maharashtra Council for Agricultural Education Research (MCAER) regarding irregularities and illegalities committed by the selection committee appointed by PDKV in 2006 and 2008 for selecting candidates on teaching posts. The report was submitted to chancellor for annulling the decisions taken by the selection panel.
The petitioners further argued in same vein chancellor’s December 16 order of last year which directed termination of PDKV employees were issued without any jurisdiction vested in him. They demanded that this order along with another December 29 order passed by PDKV vice chancellor on chancellor’s directives for termination should be quashed and set aside. Caste Scrutiny Committee and College of Horticulture in Akola, besides PDKV are other respondents in the petitions.

Ruchika case: HC summons inquiry report

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 03:13 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Thursday, directed the Chandigarh Administration to place on record the copy of the inquiry report prepared against Sacred Heart School which had allegedly expelled Ruchika Girhotra at the instance of SPS Rathore, former Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana.
The report was summoned during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its Chairman, Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.
The petitioner had moved the High Court seeking action against the school and framing of guidelines to take immediate action against influential persons and police officers involved in such incidents.
The case has been deferred to March 20 by the High Court for resumed hearing.
The report prepared by Chandigarh Administration had read that “Ruchika Girhotra was thrown out in a selective, arbitrary, biased and unwarranted manner by the school under outside compelling circumstances”.
The report prepared after a Magisterial Inquiry had further read that “this would certainly have contributed to mortifying the self-esteem, self-confidence, integrity and reputation of a young minor girl, thereby traumatizing and indelibly scarring her impressionable mind”.
The 45-page report had recommended that Principal Sister S Sebastina should be stripped of the State Award conferred on her in 2005.

Approve Games Village flats fast: HC to DDA

Abhinav Garg, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.37AM IST
NEW DELHI: Paving the way for possession of flats by Commonwealth Games village owners, the Delhi high court on Thursday asked the DDA to expedite the process of issuing completion certificates to the flats.

“DDA shall complete the issuance of completion certificate as expeditiously as possible. Regarding the towers in dispute on the issue of FAR ( floor-area ratio), let the developers pay the applicable charges liable under the statute to the DDA,” Justice Kohli said while asking the authority to fast-track the process in connection with a total of 30 towers while keeping four towers separately.

HC also made it clear that the compounding charges have to be calculated on the basis of Master Plan 2021 and building byelaws. Also no contractual demand should come in the way of issuing the certificate, the court added. Justice Kohli also took a serious view of the DDA’s pick and choose policy in issuing certificates to the flats and choosing towers arbitrarily for itself. It directed the land owning agency to keep four towers – number 5 and 15 (Emaar MGF share), and 26 and 29 (DDA’s own share) – separately from the total 34 towers so that these can be allotted later to flat buyers in case some flats are demolished for violating building bylaws. The court passed the order after DDA’s standing counsel, Ajay Verma, submitted the agency has begun the process of issuing completion certificate to the builder. The lawyer informed HC it would shortly issue certificates to the other towers after the builder clears all due.

HC allowed DDA to start preparation for the auction of 110 flats. The urban development ministry came under fire for its failure to place its stand on the issue of resolving non compoundable excess FAR. Directing the ministry to file the affidavit within a week, the court warned any further delay will result in the secretary UD ministry being summoned.

Hiranandani to challenge HC’s restraint order

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.19AM IST
MUMBAI: Developer Niranjan Hiranandani on Thursday said he was consulting his lawyers to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the Bombay High Court order against his Powai project.

On Wednesday, the high court restrained the developer from further construction on the remaining portion of the land without its consent. The court also ordered the developer to build 3,100 affordable homes of 430 sq ft and 861 sq ft as per the agreement between Hiranandani, state government and MMRDA more than two decades ago.

A petition filed by activist Medha Patkar said the developer never built these affordable homes, but instead illegally amalgamated them and sold them as single units to high-end clients.

Speaking to TOI on Thursday, Hiranandani said his company had stopped selling flats in its sprawling Powai complex since the past three years. “Although construction continued, we did not sell any apartment after a petition was filed in the high court,” he said.

Hiranandani said he did not agree with the court’s interpretation of the tripartite agreement signed over two decades ago. “We will challenge this in the apex court and hope the state government also does the same,” he added.

Asked about the implications of building public housing on the land as directed by the court, he said he was still to work out the calculations and financial implications of this order. The Powai land is spread over 230 acres and Hiranandani built about 70 towers which house 4,000 families. Around 15% to 20% of the land is yet to be developed. The developer was to construct 50% of flats of 430 sq ft and the remaining 861 sq ft. However, these apartments were merged into 4,000 to 5,000 sq ft flats and sold for up to Rs 7 crore each.

The Powai land was also exploited by the developer to construct a private hospital, business park, hotel, supermarket, entertainment zone, food courts and other recreational activities like clubhouses and swimming pools.

HC dismisses appeal by former STF personnel

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ appeal filed by several personnel of the Special Task Force (STF), who were part of anti-Veerappan operations, seeking sites instead of cash awards.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice V. Suri Appa Rao dismissed the appeal after the Government informed the court that the appellants have been given cash awards calculating it at the rate of Rs. 210 per sq. ft due to non-availability of sites.
They had challenged the order passed by the single judge upholding the cash reward announced by the State Government in May 17, 2010, in lieu of sites.
Initially, the Government in 2005 had issued a notification announcing cash awards and sites to all 754 eligible STF personnel, who were on duty in the anti-Veerappan operations when the forest brigand was killed in an encounter on October 18, 2004. Later, the Government decided to give cash awards due to non-availability of sites.
Direction to SHO
The High Court on Thursday directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of the K.R. Puram police station, Bangalore, to appear before the court on Saturday in connection with a petition filed by a senior citizen, Albert.
The petitioner alleged that illegal construction is under way on four acres of land belonging to his sister and himself at Sannathammanahalli and these persons were threatening him.
However, the jurisdictional police have not registered a case in this regard and are not protecting him even though he had an injunction order in his favour from a civil court, he said.

HC slams cops over senior citizen attack

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.43AM IST
MUMBAI: Senior citizens staying alone even in major cities in the state had no protection from physical attacks, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday.

“An old helpless woman is assaulted. Is the entire police station supposed to help a builder? Senior citizens who have no one, have nobody to protect them. What has it come to in Maharashtra!” said a division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode. Pulling up the police for failing to protect an elderly woman, the court has directed the crime branch to register an FIR against the builder accused of assaulting a 68 year old.

The bench was hearing a petition by Worli resident Anusuya Patil (68) saying builder Sandesh Gawadkar, his wife and 10-12 people assaulted her on December 9, 2011, in the presence of police inspector from the Dadar police station Vilas More. After she wrote to the police commissioner, a preliminary inquiry was initiated on December 17, 2011 and the report submitted on February 17, 2012.

The judges said a glance at a complaint discloses cognizable offences but the “police turned a deaf ear”: “Instead of registering an FIR, the police acted as mute spectators. Prima facie, it is clear that they colluded with the developer and not taken action,” the bench said.

Earlier, additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia argued that More was on duty at Siddhivinayak Temple at the time of the alleged incident. “More was not present on the spot. This is a false allegation against an officer,” she said, submitting the movement register to HC. But Patil’s advocate Jitendra Mishra said the spot was five minutes drive from the temple.

Justice Kode questioned why a preliminary inquiry was done on December 17, 2011, and not on the day of the incident, December 9. “What is the difference in the complaint in the NC and the preliminary inquiry? You were waiting to prepare the papers?” asked Justice Kode.

The judges disallowed Gawadkar’s advocate Ashok Saraogi to intervene. Justice Kanade said, “You have no locus. She (Kantharia) has argued for the builder. She has done a better job than you!” Observing that “Dadar police officers have failed in their duty”, the judges directed the crime branch to register an FIR and submit a report in four weeks. They have also directed the police chief to conduct a departmental inquiry against More. “Citizens have no rights. Police are there to help only builders and influential people,” said Justice Kanade.

Son rise: HC nailed Kripashankar Junior too

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.03AM IST
MUMBAI: While former city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh is in the dock for allegedly amassing hundreds of crores worth of disproportionate assets along with his family, it is his son Narendra Kumar Singh who received the most attention from the Bombay High Court. A bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi, while directing the city police chief to file an FIR against Kripashankar, devoted five pages of the order to Narendra, the most for any Singh family member.

In a damning observation, the court-without actually directing the registration of a money-laundering offence-said money exchanges between Kripashankar and Narendra “demonstrate only an attempt to create cross entries, the common feature and attribute of money laundering”.

The judges found Narendra’s “wealth grossly disproportionate to his own known source of income of Rs 1 lakh (a month) as a pilot”. Narendra quit his pilot’s job in the mid-2000s. The court said he gave inflated, misleading and wholly unexplained expenses. “His income, prima facie, emanates from income and dealings of Kripashankar Singh, his father, who as a public figure would be able to generate such funds, albeit only by illegal means, thus showing the son to be an abettor in criminal prosecution,” said the judges.

The court noted that Narendra says he returned Rs 5.5 crore to Dynamix Realty, but showed no income for the same. When told that Narendra gave Rs 1.4 crore to his wife, the judges asked, “Is it pocket expense paid by a husband who earns Rs 1 lakh to a wife who earns nothing?” The judges noted that Narendra would repay banks partly, but private individuals fully and, while owning four residential premises, paid Rs 1.15 crore for another.

Narendra was a Jet Airways pilot who trained in the US and, on his “modest income, he had taken a Rs 60 lakh loan from Standard Chartered Bank for (the) purchase of one flat”. Any other prospective loan applicant would have to produce solid proof of security. The HC observed, “It is not known what was the security given to the bank or income shown.”

The Singh name easily secured bank loans for Narendra, who also got Rs 38 crore from private firms, companies and developers with no specific purpose shown. ICICI Bank loaned him Rs 8 crore on a mortgage for his Bandra bungalow. He got a Rs 21 lakh loan for his BMW, which is then shown as sold for Rs 22 lakh. “We wonder when the loan was taken and repaid?” the court asked. Narendra got a second loan of Rs 43 lakh from the same bank for another BMW. He also sold for Rs 1 crore a flat whose ownership was never shown. He “returned” large amounts to “various family members”. The HC noted that the “Income Tax department report speaks eloquently of such dubious transactions, of huge unsecured loans from builders beyond business rationale and large interest-free loans and gifts from friends and associates”.

“What could a pilot of Jet Airways have to do with so many individuals and private firms for extensive loans taken without any apparent reason?” the court asked. The flat at Oceanic Park (Bandra West), valued at Rs 63 lakh, for which a Rs 60 lakh loan was taken from Standard Chartered Bank, was sold at a loss for Rs 50 lakh, the court said. Only Rs 40 lakh was returned to the bank. “What is not known or shown is when was the flat sold, to whom, when was the loan repaid,” the court said. Narendra’s bungalow was valued at Rs 3 crore, but he took a Rs 8 crore loan for it and two other flats valued at Rs 62 lakh. The judges asked if a Jet Airways pilot could afford to own these four properties worth Rs 9 crore. They added, “We wonder whether he paid even society charges of these properties from his salary income.”

The judges also found incredible that articles in Narendra’s bungalow were shown to be worth Rs 1 crore, but his bank accounts showed a “credit balance of not more than (a) few thousand rupees, with one account having zero balance”. The court was told that Narendra’s household expenses rose from a total of Rs 1 lakh from 2002 to 2005 to Rs 27 lakh from 2006 to 2010.

After going through Narendra’s various properties and transactions, the HC said, “Unlike his mother (who deals in gold and silver futures), Narendra trades in loans and advances of outlandish amounts with various parties, none of who are questioned, interviewed or

HC has stayed I-T order to attach co assets: Mahindra Satyam

Last Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012, 00:08
Mumbai: Mahindra Satyam on Thursday said the Andhra Pradesh High Court has stayed the provisional order from the Income Tax Department to attach land and buildings of the company in the Rs 617-crore tax-demand case.

“Upon hearing the petition filed by the company, the Hon’ble High Court Judicature of AP stayed the provisional attachment order dated January 30, 2012 from the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, central Range – 3, Hyderabad, attaching land and buildings of the Company under section 281B of the Income Tax Act, 1961,” Satyam said in a filing to the BSE.

The I-T Department had issued notices to the company seeking Rs 617 crore tax for assessment years 2003-04 to 2008-09–the period when the company was run by its founder B Ramalinga Raju.

Subsequently, the company deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 617 crore in last April with the I-T department as directed by the Supreme Court and the bank guarantee furnished was valid until December 31, 2011.

Once a leading Indian IT company, Satyam was hit by a multi-crore rupees corporate fraud, after Raju admitted fudging account books for years together.

Consider unified police command: HC tells states

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 03:02 hrs
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Thursday, asked Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to consider the methods adopted by foreign countries to tackle incidents relating to crime against children and having a unified police command.
This suggestion was made by Justice Mahesh Grover of the High Court during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation seeking directions to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to constitute a unified police command.
While the Punjab government had given its consent for constituting such a command, the Haryana government had expressed its reluctance stating that the Haryana Police already has such a wing. The Haryana government however had undertaken to cooperate if a unified police command is constituted.
The three states have been directed to read the method adopted by the United Kingdom and other foreign countries and submit their reports. The directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a PIL filed by World Human Rights Council through its Chairman Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.
The petitioner had also sought a CBI probe into the abduction and murder of five-year-old Khushpreet. The petitioner had sought strict possible action against the errant Chandigarh Police officers allegedly responsible for the murder. Submitting that the police have failed to arrest the murderers, the petitioner had stated that the investigation into the case should be handed over to the CBI. Blaming the Chandigarh Police for “inaction” and “lackadaisical attitude”, the petitioner had also demanded adequate compensation for the family of the deceased.
The public interest litigation also sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration to constitute a special cell to deal with similar situations and employ specially trained police staff.

HC holds Gehlot govt guilty of contempt of court

Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 18:23
Jaipur: Holding the Ashok Gehlot government guilty of contempt of court, the Rajasthan High Court has asked state Chief Secretary S Ahmed and DoP Secretary Khemraj to appear before it on February 27.

The matter pertains to giving seniority to general class employees, including RAS officials over Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe candidates, who were given reservation and accelerated promotions in more than 110 services of state.
The order came on two contempt petitions filed by one Babaulal and ‘Samta Andolan’.

The High Court had earlier in case of one Surajbhan Meena held that the government cannot give reservation in promotion to the SC and ST candidates and all such officers of Rajasthan administrative services were to be reverted but the government filed an appeal in the matter to Supreme Court, which also upheld the high court’s order.

The contempt petition was heard for almost a year and the state government issued a notification to protect the seniority and promotions given to reserved class candidates but the division bench of Justice NK Jain and RS Rathore held it a graver contempt of court.

The bench has directed and allowed the state government three days time to comply with the order and if not complied than the chief secretary and DOP secretary have been directed to appear in person on February 27 to hear the punishment.

It is noteworthy that a maximum of two years of imprisonment and fine or both is the provision under law.

Why court said no to Lokesh’s police remand: Case diary not produced, already chargesheeted–Case-diary-not-produced–already-chargesheeted/916074/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 04:01 hrs

Finding “no merit” in the application moved by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking police remand of Lokesh Sharma — eight months after his arrest in the Samjhauta blast case — a Panchkula court on Wednesday had declined the request on the ground that the NIA has already filed a chargesheet against Sharma.
The other ground based on which the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Kanchan Mahi declined the request was the non-production of “police file” relating to interrogation of Kamal Chauhan — a co-accused — by the NIA. “It is pertinent to mention here that when asked to produce the police file (jimni) relating to investigation and interrogation of Kamal Chauhan, the court was informed that it is lying at Delhi,” reads the one-page order. The court added that “under these circumstances, it could not be verified”. “It is relevant to note here that prosecution has already furnished charge sheetagainst Aseemanand and Lokesh Sharma,” stated the ADJ.
The judge also observed that the application seeking police remand of Sharma, who was arrested on June 16, 2011, has been moved at a stage when the case is “fixed for consideration of framing of charges”.
Special Public Prosectuor for NIA, Advocate R K Handa, had relied upon Section 43 (d) of Unlawful Activities Act to demonstrate that police remand can be sought even after an accused has been remanded to judicial custody. Showing little conviction, the Court ruled: “In my opinion, Section 43 (d) of the Unlawful Activities Act is of no help as the same is applicable in cases where investigation is pending.”


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: