LEGAL NEWS 29.04.2012

Apex court quashes quota benefits for SCs, STs, OBCs in promotions

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

Terming the move unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has quashed Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to provide reservation benefits for SCs, STs & OBCs in promotions to higher posts saying the same was done without any sufficient data.

Upholding a bunch of petitions filed by aggrieved general category employees challenging the reservation in promotions, the apex court said the state failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on caste basis.

“The conditions precedent have not been satisfied. No exercise has been undertaken. What has been argued with vehemence is that it is not necessary as the concept of reservation in promotion was already in vogue.

“We are unable to accept the said submission, for when the provisions of the Constitution are treated valid with certain conditions or riders, it becomes incumbent on the part of the state to appreciate and apply the test so that its amendments can be tested and withstand the scrutiny on parameters laid down therein,” a bench of justice Dalveer Bhandari and justice Dipak Mishra said.

In this case, the employees had challenged the validity of the provisions contained in Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, which provided for promotions to SC, ST, OBC employees for higher posts.

While a two-judge bench of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had quashed the rule as unconstitutional, another two-judge bench of the high court upheld the reservation, after which the employees and the UP government filed appeals in the apex court.

The apex court said the rule was contary to the various judgements by the Constitution benches in the M Nagara, Indra Sawhney and various other cases wherein it was provided that reservation in promotions can be provided only if there is sufficient data and evidence to justify the need.

NHRC mulling ‘code of ethics’ for corporate

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 12:35 IST
Shemin Joy | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Controversies over land acquisition and labour unrest involving big businesses have prompted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to come up with a “code of ethics” for corporates.

A draft report in this respect has been submitted to the NHRC by New Delhi-based Institute of Corporate Sustainability Management (ICSM) Trust and has been perused by the Commission.

NHRC had commissioned a study — ‘Developing Code of Ethics for Indian Industries’ — with the objective of bringing into effect a similar a code of ethics for corporates by drawing from international norms.

For the study, data was collected from ten sectors –steel, power, mines, cement, paper, FMCG, sugar, banking and MFI, textile and pharma.

“We had a sitting on the draft report. It talks about what corporate bodies have to do in ensuring human rights, their obligations of corporates to maintain human rights and their attitude towards employees besides other issues,” NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan told PTI.

He said NHRC was looking at a scenario where the state will watch the performance of the corporate bodies and ensure that human rights values are observed by these bodies.

“There should be accessibility for common man to redress their grievances. So the state should provide this accessibility. So if there is a human rights violation, a single citizen may not be in a position to fight against the corporates. So should give the facility and accessibility by court or other fora,” he said.

Balakrishnan noted that the issues with corporates was not an India-specific problem.

“This was discussed during the Geneva Convention also. A member from Germany alleged that the land acquisition is creating problems there also. Huge land acquired and not enough compensation is paid. So then NHRC suggested that Haryana model could be adopted,” Balakrishnan said.

In the annuity-cum-compensation model followed in Haryana, the farmer gets not only the market price for his land, but also a fixed amount at pre-determined intervals for a specific number of years.

He also said NHRC has requested major universities to design their own courses on human rights.

“We have requested some of the universities to do research projects on important themes. We will enter into an MoU with them. Earlier, we thought of having Chairs in Universities. But we decided against it later.

“We think that it is more effective to have university do research on various themes. It will act as a foundation for some of our work, improve on some aspects of our work,” he said.

On environmental issues, he said NHRC has suggested to the International Coordination Committee (of national human rights bodies) to study the international protocols on environment and codify it for the national bodies.

“There are human rights issues involved with environment. There are a number of protocols. So a codified document will help us,” Balakrishnan said.









2002 riots: Bhatt writes to Prez for new probe panel

Ahmedabad, April 28, 2012

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has petitioned President Pratibha Patil to appoint a new Commission of Inquiry to probe the role of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 riots. “The Government of India should expeditiously appoint a two-member commission, under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to inquire into role of chief minister,” Bhatt said in his petition to the president.

Bhatt further said that the role of chief minister and any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations with respect to the adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances (communal riots) in the state should be examined by the new panel.

“The new commission should also inquire the adequacy of the steps and measures taken by the administration, from lst June 2002 till date; to facilitate relief, rehabilitation and the delivery of justice to the victims of the Godhra incident of 27th February 2002 and the subsequent communal riots of 2002 in the State of Gujarat,” Bhatt has said.

It may be noted here that a panel headed by Supreme Court justice (retd) GT Nanavati and high court justice (retd) Akshay Mehta is already inquiring 2002 riots.

Bhatt also contended in his letter that there was a lacuna in terms of reference of Nanavati Commission.

The point of adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances in the state–which was mentioned in the original terms of reference of Nanavati Commission–was deleted when the terms of reference were revised in 2004, he said.

Bhatt has also cast doubts on the overall role and conduct of the state government towards Nanavati Commission.

“It is indeed ironic that the Government of Gujarat instead of conducting itself as a neutral and dispassionate entity has chosen to act in a partisan manner by identifying with and espousing the cause of the functionaries of the state administration, including the chief minister, whose very role and conduct is squarely covered by the terms of reference of the inquiry,” Bhatt said in the letter.

He further said that the state government has been severely criticised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and several judgements of Gujarat high court and supreme court regarding the 2002 riots.

Meanwhile, Bhatt, who was summoned by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), in response to a complaint lodged by one Niyazbibi Malek from Ognaj village in Ahmedabad district, has filed an affidavit, claiming that the gruesome incident at Godhra railway station was an orchestrated attempt to commit violence on the person and property of Muslims with “total support” and “complicity” from the state government.

The complainant had alleged that certain records that “indicated” of the state government’s involvement in the riots have gone missing.

All these facts have been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) as well as the Nanavati Commission but despite this they are bent upon giving a “clean chit” to these tragic events by branding them as “spontaneous” outrage against the Godhra riots, Bhatt said in the affidavit.

“It should be noted that there is enough documentary as well as oral evidence available to establish the complicity of the state and its high functionaries in these riots but the Commission and SIT are deliberately turning a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence and any persons who try to bring out the truth are victimised,” he has alleged.

Commission nod for KSEB estimates

Power tariff hike soon to bridge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.16 crorePower tariff for all sections of consumers in the State is set to go up steeply soon. The estimates of annual accounts of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for 2012-13, approved on Saturday with modifications by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, show a huge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.15 crore.

The approved estimates put the expected revenue at Rs.6,097.24 crore and expense at Rs.7,986.39 crore. The single largest component of expense is ‘purchase of power,’ which, according to the KSEB, will come to Rs.5,659 crore. A stiff dose of tariff hike is indicated to save the power utility from a liquidity crisis.

The average revenue realisation from one unit of electricity now is Rs.3.49. This will have to be increased to Rs.4.64 to bridge the revenue gap. It means the tariffs will have to be increased across the board by nearly 33 per cent to help the KSEB break even.

Subsidy likely

The government might step in with a subsidy to protect low-end domestic consumers, agricultural consumers, and institutions for the poor, from the tariff shock. The KSEB told the commission that it would submit a tariff hike proposal in consultation with the government.

The tariff hike would have been still more severe had the commission accepted the KSEB’s accounts without some severe pruning and strict directives to ensure efficiency in demand-side management and bring down transmission and distribution loss.

The KSEB’s estimates had pegged its total expenses during the year at Rs.9,638.12 crore and income at Rs.6,397.87 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.3,240.25 crore. Even these estimates were based on the assumption that the commission would permit it to impose 15 per cent restriction in power supply to all categories of consumers. This would have necessitated 51 per cent tariff hike.

Without such a restriction, the KSEB had estimated its expense during the year to reach the Rs.10,540.93 crore and income Rs.6,203.85 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.4,337.08 crore. And that would have necessitated 70 per cent tariff hike.

KSEB’s calculation was that if the commission were to allow the power supply restriction proposed, 50 per cent of the consumers would purchase energy beyond the restricted level at a suggested high rate of Rs.11 a unit, thereby bringing it additional revenue of Rs.775.94 crore. But the commission said such a restriction throughout the year was not the correct way to approach the problem.

Public hearing

So the directive is to submit before the commission a proper tariff hike proposal immediately. The commission has fixed public hearing on June 4, 6, and 8 on the tariff petition the KSEB would submit.

Probe fake damages claims’

Smriti Singh

NEW DELHI: A railway claims tribunal in the capital has asked Delhi Police to conduct an inquiry to find out whether kin of the victims of the Samjhauta Express blast, who have already been given compensation by another state tribunal, are fraudulently filing similar claim petitions in Delhi.

Justice U K Dhaon, chairman of the tribunal’s principal bench, through the tribunal’s registrar A K Arya, has directed the Delhi Commissioner of Police (DCP), north, to take necessary action in the matter and submit a report by May 20, 2012. “To elucidate the facts, it is expedient that an inquiry be conducted by some independent agency of the government so that necessary steps may be taken in such cases,” the judge said.

The tribunal’s order came in wake of several petitions being filed before it by relatives of some Pakistani nationals, who died in February 2007, when a bomb exploded in the Samjhauta Express, a train that linked India and Pakistan, killing over 60 people.

The petitions sought compensation even as the counsel for the Indian railways claimed that they had already been awarded compensation by a Ghaziabad railway court.

In one such petition, a man claimed Rs 8 lakh as compensation on behalf of his relative Kumari Mehreen, a Pakistani national, who died in the blast. His plea, however, was opposed by the counsel for the railways on the grounds that a similar claim was filed before the railway claims tribunal at Ghaziabad and the compensation had already been awarded. The railways counsel also sought prosecution of the petitioner for submitting false evidence and making false claim. The petitioner claimed that he had filed the case “by mistake” on the advice of his counsel and sought court’s permission to withdraw it. The court, however, noted that “prima facie” the petitioner misrepresented the facts and “played fraud upon the court” and it needed to be investigated.

Plea to quash charges of threatening woman cop dismissed

PTI | 09:04 AM,Apr 29,2012

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) A plea by three men to quash a magisterial court charges against them for threatening a woman police personnel and hindering her in performing her duties 11 years ago, has been dismissed by a Delhi sessions court. Northwest Delhi residents Sandeep, Nitin and Rahul had been put on trial by the magisterial court for threatening Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajwanti Deshwal on October 24, 2001 and obstructing her from performing her duty. The trio had allegedly threatened Deshwal and used physical force in a bid to to stop her from issuing them a traffic challan to pay Rs 100 as fine for parking their motorcycle in a no-parking zone. The trio had reached the police station after coming to know that their motorcycle had been towed away and had entered into an altercation with her as she proceeded to prepare the challan. Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar rejected their plea to quash charges against them saying “there was grave suspicion that the trio had committed the offence.” “I am of the view that, prima facie, it is apparent that the complainant was discharging her public duties of issuance of the challan, at the time of alleged incident. “Further, they after sharing the said common intention, used criminal force to deter the complainant, woman ASI, Rajwanti Deshwal, from discharging her public duties,” the court said.

CM nod to special courts for corruption cases

Sanjay Ojha

RANCHI: If Bihar can, so can Jharkhand. The government has finally taken a strong step to curb corruption cases in the state by deciding to set up special courts for speedy disposal of such cases.

The four-page draft proposal of the ordinance – Jharkhand Special Courts Ordinance 2012 – was approved by chief minister Arjun Munda on Saturday and sent to governor Syed Ahmed for his assent. All government officials in the state will be in the ambit of cases to be heard by special courts. In Bihar, the state government has already established special courts and attached property of an IAS. The order for attachment of property of an IPS officer was stayed by the high court.

Sources in the chief minister’s secretariat said the decision to set up special courts to deal with corruption cases was taken in wake of a growing number of corruption cases pending before the cabinet (vigilance) department. The courts will be headed by district and sessions judge or additional district and judge-ank officers.

“On getting a complaint of corruption, the court will issue notice to the official and his associates asking them to explain why the property moveable, immovable or both should not be attached by the government. The accused official will have to file a reply within 30 days,” said a source.

The ordinance will also empower the state government to attach property earned by a corrupt official. “The government will have power to attach both moveable and immovable property. The person will have to surrender once the court passes order against the accused. In case, the order is opposed then the officer authorized to take over the property can even use force,” said a source.

“There have been instances in the past when a corrupt person creates wealth in name of some other person. Once the ordinance is in place, the court can even serve notice to those people who are in possession of the property – both moveable and immovable – and even attach it,” said the draft.

Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance awaiting Guv’s nod

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 28,2012

Ranchi, Apr 28 (PTI) Jharkhand will soon have special anti-corruption courts to seize, attach or take back “ill-gotten” property by public servants. The Arjun Munda-led government has sent Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance, 2012, to Raj Bhavan for Governor Syed Ahmed’s consent, according to an official release here. The special courts will be headed by sessions or additional sessions-ranked judges to deal with corruption cases against public servants, the release said. The move to set up special courts was taken after many corruption cases came before the vigilance department, it said. The main aim of this ordinance is to speed up cases relating to corruption and take back any ill-gotten property by any official found guilty by the special courts, the release said.

Bail plea rejected a month ago, but corporator still free

AKOLA: In what raises serious questions over the effectiveness of the police department, corporator Nakir Khan of Samajwadi Party (SP), a co-accused in the gang war in Akot file area of the city, continues to enjoy freedom despite the fact that his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the sessions court here on March 27.

The gang war, which claimed a person’s life and injured two others, took place occurred in 2010. Khan was a disqualified corporator of the last AMC due to his continued absence in the general body meeting of AMC. He was again elected to the AMC for which election was held on February 16.

He was absconding since the gang war and filed the anticipatory bail petition in December last year. But even after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected, he has enjoyed freedom. Since March 27, he has been again reported absconding by the police and they have not dared to arrest him. If sources are to be believed, Khan has been moving freely in the city and staying at his residence.

In another related development, the police have challenged the bail granted to another co-accused Abbas Khan in the Supreme Court and the police team is reported staying at Delhi for the outcome of their plea for cancellation of bail.

Abbas Khan is a co-accused in the gang war case and has been recently released on bail by the local magistrate on the direction of High Court Bench at Nagpur.

Surprisingly, an assistant to prosecutor on behalf of the complainant also stated in court that Nakir can be released on bail. However, assistant public prosecutor Mangla Pande flatly told the court that she does not require the assistance during the hearing on bail and the defence lawyer’s attempt to get the anticipatory bail for the accused was foiled.

Bangaru Laxman sent to 4 years in jail

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 8:00 IST
DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

A sessions court in Delhi handed out a tough sentence to former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, who had been caught on tape accepting bribe in a sting operation done almost a decade ago. The sentence immediately triggered off a war of words between the Congress and the BJP, with both parties accusing each other of corruption.

The judge came down severely on the septuagenarian tainted leader saying that this “sab chalta hai” attitude would have to be dispensed with. There was a strong plea from Laxman’s lawyers that the aging leader who is also suffering from various ailments be treated leniently. They pleaded for a maximum of six month sentence.

But the judge had decided to set an example. Not only did he hand down a sentence of four years’ imprisonment to the veteran leader but he also asked him to cough up a fine of Rs1 lakh. Laxman was sent off to Tihar Jail where he will have to cool his heels till his lawyers plead for his bail in the High Court. It is learnt from the disappointed lawyers of the former party boss that they would move a higher court of appeal next week itself.

From Friday, when the leader was convicted, the BJP had been gradually distancing itself from Laxman, arguing that he had been fighting his own case and that the party had not been in touch with him for a long time. On Saturday, the BJP said that the amount for which Laxman had been punished — the sum of Rs 1 lakh — was a pittance compared to the major scams like the 2G and the CWG in which UPA leaders were involved.

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said the BJP was committed to fighting corruption. He recalled that the decision to remove Laxman as party president was taken immediately after the bribery allegations. Hussain’s colleague, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the government of preventing a fair investigation into several cases corruptions, including alleged kickbacks to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi in the Bofors gun deal.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said this was the first time that the national president of a national party had been found guilty and punished by a court. Alvi added: “It is proper time for the BJP to do self-analysis, to rethink about its organisation.”

Interestingly, Laxman’s conviction and subsequent sentencing closely followed the debate over the Bofors controversy and to some extent took the sting away from the BJP onslaught.










Two bosses for STF to probe fake encounters in Gujarat

Prashant Dayal

AHMEDABAD: Who should the special task force (STF), formed to probe allegations of fake police encounters in Gujarat, take orders from? Should they report to Justice H S Bedi, appointed by the Supreme Court, or Justice K R Vyas who was appointed by the state government?

Unhappy with the Narendra Modi government’s decision to appoint Justice Vyas as the chief, the SC had asked Justice Bedi to replace him.

Strangely, however, the Gujarat government has not yet cancelled the notification that appointed Justice Vyas, creating a situation where there are two chiefs for one STF. Home department sources said Justice Bedi has been given a specific job of investigating 17 encounters that took place between 2003 and 2006. Justice Vyas would probe all other encounters, including those that may happen in future.

For instance, four Kashmiri youths who were killed in an encounter in Ganga Row House in the Vatva area of Ahmedabad in 2006 has not been included in Justice Bedi’s list.

Legal experts feel the state government is playing with fire despite SC’s clear directive. “The appointment of Justice Vyas was held annulled by the Supreme Court when it asked Justice Bedi to probe the encounters,” says advocate Anand Yagnik, who represents the father of Sameer Khan Pathan who was killed in an suspect encounter in October 2002.

“Any effort by the state government to continue with Justice Vyas amounts to defiance of the SC order, if the order is taken in its true letter and spirit.”

The state government invited SC’s ire after it appointed Justice Vyas in February in place of retired SC judge M B Shah, who was reluctant to head the STF. While appointing Justice Bedi, SC had said it wanted the supervision to be done by “someone whose integrity is completely beyond any question”.

“We deem it fit to request Justice Bedi to head and monitor the investigation of the cases of alleged fake encounter enumerated in the writ petitions,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai had said.

The Gujarat government was asked to extend all facilities to Justice Bedi “to enable him to make meaningful, effective investigation into the cases”. The STF was formed on basis of two PILs filed in 2007 by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar after senior cops including D G Vanzara were arrested for the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter. The petitions listed 17 police encounters and sought an independent probe.

AP Government justifies ACB transfer

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The state government on Friday defended its decision in transferring IPS officer Kothakota Srinivasa Reddy from the post of additional director of ACB to IG coastal security on April 3. The government submitted before the AP High Court stating that re-transfer of Srinivasa Reddy to the ACB at this juncture would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and impede the effective functioning and administration.

Advocate general A Sudarshan Reddy on Friday filed a counter affidavit before the division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice P V Sanjay Kumar which was dealing with various writ petitions on the liquor scam and seeking a stay on the orders of transfer of Srinivasa Reddy from the ACB.

The advocate general asserted that even after transfer of Srinivasa Reddy the ACB has registered many fresh cases and arrested several officers and that the probe is going on unhindered.

The advocate general said that the promotion and transfer of Srinivasa Reddy was done as per the guidelines prescribed by the Centre. As there was no vacant post in the rank of IGP in the ACB, he was transferred and posted as IGP, coastal security. The bench directed the petitioner’s counsel to file a counter reply to the government’s affidavit and posted the matter for hearing to June 11.

GO stopping increment to DSP quashed

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The order dated December 3, 2008 of the State Home Secretary imposing a punishment of stoppage of increment for one year without cumulative effect on C Kanagaraj, DSP, attached to the Economic Offence Wing-II in Nagercoil, has been set aside by the Madras High Court.

Justice KN Basha, who quashed the order, also directed the authorities concerned to give notional promotion to Kanagaraj, if he was otherwise eligible and qualified, to the post of Additional Superintendent of Police with all attendant and monetary benefits. The exercise should be executed within 12 weeks, the jduge added.

The judge was allowing two writ petitions from Kanagaraj, who was recruited as SI in 1976, promoted as inspector in 1989. He was again promoted to the position of DSP, in 2003.

He was served with a charge-memo dated May 10, 1993, while working as inspector attached to the CB CID in The Nilgiris. The charge against him was that he had kept a person in illegal custody at a police station in Cumbum for two days in February, 1991. The second charge was that he tortured the detenue. Kanagaraj offered his explanation.

However, the disciplinary authority imposed the punishment in February, 2002. He took up the matter with the Appellate Authority, the IG of Police (Crime Branch), Chennai, who by an order dated June 12, 2002 set aside the order of punishment.

However, by the order dated December 3, 2008, the Home Secretary imposed the punishment again. Petitioner’s consel Abudu Kumar contended that there was an inordinate and unexplained delay of more than six years in passing the order from the date of setting aside the order of the disciplinary authority. Hence, the entire proceedings were vitiated. The Home Secretary could not inflict the punishment by suo-motu proceedings without assigning any reason, Kumar added.

Accepting the submissions of Kumar, the judge set aside the punishment order and gave the direction to promote the petitioner.

Chandigarh education department told to clear teachers’ salary arrears

CHANDIGARH: The UT bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed the Chandigarh education department to release the arrears of enhanced consolidated salary of contractual teachers of various government schools of city.

These arrears have been pending since 2007 and the tribunal has now set a deadline of two months for the funds to be released to the beneficiary teachers, working under various capacities in UT government schools. The directions were passed by a division bench of CAT headed by Shayama Dogra.

CAT directed the U T Administration to release the enhanced consolidated salary with effect from 2007 in pursuance to UT administrations policy decision, within a period of two months. The issue was argued before the bench on behalf of the petitioners that the U T Administration has taken a policy decision through a circular dated March 13, 2007 to revise the consolidated monthly salary of contractual masters/mistresses from Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,900 with effect from January 1, 2007.

Similarly, vide subsequent policy circular dated January 10, 2008 and March 5, 2009 the said salary was further enhanced to Rs 10,500 and Rs 11,200 respectively. Similar pay enhancements were made with regard to contractual JBT teachers and lecturers.

74-yr-old former judge gets 3 yrs in jail for graft

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday awarded a 3-year jail term to a former judge in a 26-year-old graft case.

Special CBI judge VK Maheshwari sentenced former judge Gulab Tulsiyani to undergo three years’ rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

Tulsiyani, while holding the post of metropolitan magistrate at a Delhi court, was caught accepting a bribe of Rs. 2,000 at his residence June 6, 1986 from complainant Ajesh Mittal. Tulsiyani had asked a bribe from Mittal for settling his judicial matter pending in the court. He retired from judicial service in 1998.

The court, while awarding the sentence to the former judge, said the public’s confidence in the judiciary was getting shattered day by day. Special judge Maheshwari expressed his dissatisfaction saying that at present, the judiciary was suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

The court said: “The judiciary must take utmost care to see that the temple of justice does not crack from inside, which will lead to a catastrophe in the justice delivery system resulting in the failure of public confidence in the system.”

The court also added that judicial office is an office of public trust, therefore high integrity, honesty, ethical firmness is the requirement of society from the judge.

“A judge’s conduct is expected to be judged by standards higher than that expected from any other public servant,” said the court.

The special judge remarked that to keep the “stream of justice clean and pure”, a judge must be endowed with “sterling character, unimpeachable integrity and upright behaviour”.

However, the court suspended Tulsiyani’s sentence till May 28 and allowed the former judge’s interim bail after the convict informed the court that he would like to appeal against his conviction.

Excessive quotas violate equality mandate: SC

Express news service : New Delhi, Sun Apr 29 2012, 00:51 hrs

Noting that “excessive reservation” violates the constitutional mandate of equality, the Supreme Court has said that interests of certain sections of the society cannot be favoured over “the interests of every citizen of the entire society”.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, the Supreme Court said: “Article 16(4) which protects the interests of certain sections of the society has to be balanced against Article 16(1) which protects the interests of every citizen of the entire society. They should be harmonised because they are restatements of the principle of equality under Article 14.”

A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Misra said state governments can carve out quotas for SC/STs and OBCs in their region only if they can back their “exercise of power” with precise data on the backwardness of the communities. “Be it reservation or evaluation, excessiveness in either would result in violation of the constitutional mandate,” the judgment authored by Justice Misra observed.

The judgment dealt with two amendments brought by the Uttar Pradesh government to enable reservation and accelerated promotion for SC/STs and OBCs in the UP public services.

Both Rule 8A, which dealt with accelerated promotion in the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, and Section 3(7), which prescribed quota during promotion in the UP Public Servants (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes) Act, 1994, were quashed as ultra vires the Constitution.

The UP government had moved the SC after the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court quashed the two provisions in 2011.

The Supreme Court Bench said the state government’s amendments were not backed by any quantifiable data.

26 years on, HC sets free 12 convicted for killing villagers

Kanchan Chaudharii, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 29, 2012

Nearly 26 years after being convicted for a gruesome attack on a rival political group from Pirkon village in Uran tehsil, the Bombay high court has set free 12 persons convicted by a trial court for killing five and injuring 58 others in the mass attack after finding that the witnesses’ testimonies were unreliable.

The incident took place in December 1986 when a mob of about 250 persons attacked a group of a rival political party from the same village. The mob had killed five persons and injured 44 others, 14 of whom were grievously hurt, and also destroyed houses of many of the victims.

The Uran police had booked in all 95 persons for the attack, and relying on evidence of seven prime witnesses, the Raigad sessions court had held 12 from the mob responsible for the killings and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The trial court had acquitted all others for want of cogent evidence.

The convicts had carried the matter to the high court, where a division bench of justices Bhushan Gavai and Shrihari Davare found several loopholes in the prosecution’s case. The judges found all the seven witnesses were related to the victims. “No doubt that merely because the witnesses are interested or related to the deceased is not the ground for discarding their evidence,” the judges said, adding, “But the evidence of such witnesses is required to be scrutinised with greater caution.”

The judges found the evidence of the witnesses was full of contradictions, omissions and improvements. “The ocular testimony of these witnesses is not corroborated by any other evidence,” they noted. “On the contrary, ocular testimony is in contradiction with the spot panchanama,” the judges said while reversing the trial court verdict.

The high court also noted that the trial court had disbelieved evidence of these witnesses while acquitting the accused of the charge of rioting and house breaking, but relied on the same evidence for convicting the 12 for the charge of murders.

The high court also found that these witnesses had improved their versions and their testimonies were contradictory to the medical evidence.

HC orders State Bank of India to reinstate employee, pay all salary dues

HYDERABAD: Stating that being a sympathizer of Maoist philosophy or being a relative of a Maoist is no ground to terminate the services of an employee, Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP high court has directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to reinstate an employee and pay him all the salary benefits accrued to him from the date of his termination.

The judge made this order after hearing a petition filed by B Mallikarjuna Reddy of Guntur who was working with the bank branch in the district as an assistant in the cash wing. The employee was sacked in 2009 when he was on extended probation. The reason the bank had shown for his termination was that his father was a Maoist and was working as a president of district kerosene hawkers association. Mallikarjun’s name also figured in a ‘bind over’ case booked against several people. Showing this as a reason and also his antecedents as a relative or sympathizer of a Maoist, the bank sacked him.

Justice Chandra Kumar, in his order, found fault with the authorities of the bank for not seeing the ground realities in this case. The police and revenue officials who booked Mallikarjun in the case gave him a clean chit later. The bank should have taken this into consideration.

“The experience of the society shows us that if you repeatedly harass a person branding him as an extremist, he might be forced to become one finally. If a person commits crime or abets it then he may be prosecuted but not because he is a sympathizer or a relative of an extremist. You cannot punish a person for expressing certain views. If you punish people like that then there is no meaning to the model of democracy and the words of Rabindranath Tagore that… Our minds to be fearless and heads held high…”, the judge said and ordered reinstatement of the employee.

HC seeks CBI explanation on charges against ADGP Pulikesi

KOCHI: The high court has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Kochi unit to provide an explanation on the charges it had framed against ADGP S Pulikesi in connection with the procurement of medicines while Pulikesi was in charge of Supplyco. The order followed a petition by the ADGP challenging the charges.

The CBI has accused Pulikesi, who was the managing director of Supplyco, and 11 others of having hatched a criminal conspiracy to dupe the corporation while buying medicines for Maveli stores at exorbitant rates. According to the investigating agency, this brought about a loss of Rs 134 crore during 1998-2006 period.

In his petition, Pulikesi has challenged the charges, pointing out that CBI’s accusation that he had caused Supplyco losses was based on speculation. He has also said CBI hadn’t got state government clearance to prosecute him.

The Central agency had obtained clearance from the Central government to prosecute him thinking he belonged to the Central cadre. Permission should have been sought from the state government, instead, Pulikesi’s petition says.

After Pulikesi’s counsel C P Udayabhanu concluded his arguments, Justice P S Gopinathan ordered the CBI to file an explanation regarding the points raised by the ADGP in his petition. Though the petition had come up before Justice A M Shaffique earlier, the judge had declined to hear the case.

In December 2007, the high court had dismissed a petition by Pulikesi seeking quashing of the recommendations of the commission that inquired into the irregularities in the purchase of spices for Supplyco.

Pulikesi’s had pleaded that CBI should not be allowed to proceed with the investigation as the commission had not heard him before making the recommendations. It was a committee headed by former district judge E K Muraleedharan that had recommended that CBI probe the dealings of Supplyco.

HC asks WFI to allow dropped female wrestler to go to Finland

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 09:23

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been asked by the Delhi High Court to allow wrestler Geetika Jakhar, dropped from a touring athletes` contingent, to take part in an Olympic qualifier tournament in Finland.

Justice Vipin Sanghi also came down heavily on WFI for omitting Jakhar`s name from the list of touring athletes despite the fact that she had defeated rival Alka Tomar in a bout held on April 19 to select a wrestler in 63 kg weight category to represent India at Helsinki.

“I direct that the petitioner (Jakhar) shall be permitted to participate in the tournament in 63 kg weight category at Helsinki. The petitioner`s passport is already available with the WFI. They should proceed forthwith to obtain her visa, and it is hoped that the visa shall be endorsed by concerned authorities on April 30,” the court said.

The court was critical of WFI`s selection policy and subsequent change made in it to include a wrestler, who did not take part in qualifying bout as she was in China, in the touring contingent.

“There is no apparent reason for this sudden change of mind that WFI seems to have experienced. Having chalked out a course of action, they should stick to it, as the last minute changes, when Indian contingent has to leave for Helsinki on May 1, not only shakes confidence of athletes but also raises doubt about bonafides of the action of WFI,” the court said.

The court`s order came on Jakhar`s plea, filed by lawyer N K Chahar, against her omission from touring athletes` list.

Jakhar had taken part and won the bout against Tomar on April 19, organised by WFI for selecting wrestler for the Olympic qualifier. However, the sports body had ordered a re-trial as Tomar had challenged the result.
Tomar, who had lost the bout, raised protest, contending that she, in fact, had “floored” Jakhar whose shoulder had touched the ground and hence, re-trial should be held.

The WFI allowed Tomar`s objection and fixed the re-trial bout on April 23. However, Jakhar did not participate in it.

The sports body then changed its policy and inserted wrestler Anita`s name in the list. She did not participate in the WFI`s bout here on April 19, as she was in China.

Aggrieved by the decision of WFI, Jakhar moved the court which quashed the sports body decision and also asked the Union Sports Ministry to take all necessary steps for granting approval to her.

The court, in its order, rapped WFI`s decision to hold re-trial bout saying “even in a real competition, a bout`s decision is taken by the referee, match chairman and judge and their decision is final. The WFI action in calling for re-trial between petitioner and Alka Tomar defeats whole purpose of holding the bout in the first place, as it can lead to a never-ending process.”




SC slams Allahabad HC for indiscipline

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

The Supreme Court has chided the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench for conducting parallel proceedings in a single case and hoped “judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges.”

A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Mishra also faulted the two-judge Lucknow bench for passing a judgement overruling another two-bench judgement which it said was contrary to established judicial norms as ideally such a conflicting view should have been referred to a larger bench.

According to the apex court, judicial discipline commands in such a situation when there is disagreement to refer the matter to a larger bench.

“Instead of doing that, the Division Bench at Lucknow took the burden on themselves to decide the case. There are two decisions by two Division Benches from the same high court.

“We express our concern about the deviation from the judicial decorum and discipline by both the Benches and expect that in future, they shall be appositely guided by the conceptual eventuality of such discipline as laid down by this Court from time to time.

“We have said so with the fond hope that judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges,” the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a bunch of appeals filed by employees and the Uttar Pradesh government challenging conflicting judgements of the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench relating to validity of Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 1991 Rules of UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991.



Flexibility needed in parental access cases, says HC

NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Sun Apr 29 2012, 01:44 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Friday observed that there is a need to have a certain degree of flexibility while dealing with cases of allowing a parent access to his or her child.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a man seeking permission to meet his two daughters aged 16 and 15. In an order passed in March last year, the family court allowed him access to his nine-year old son, but disallowed him from meeting his daughters.

The family court had held that the daughters have reached an age when they are capable of taking decisions on their own. However, the father contended that as per law, access must be granted until the child is 18 years old.

In the order, Justice Roshan Dalvi noted that the husband and wife had had a very ‘acrimonious’ dispute with both filing several applications against each other.

The judge, who heard the father and daughters in her chamber, also recorded that the daughters displayed a very ‘venomous’ attitude towards their father.

“The daughters narrated to the court parrot-like what was mentioned in the petition containing expressions like harassment, cruelty, etc without any particulars or illustrations… Having been in the custody of one parent and having had absolutely no contact with the other, the source of such venom is easy to see,” Justice Dalvi observed.

The judge also observed that the father ‘patiently heard all the accusations’ and did not argue to assert his right.

However, ruling against the father, Justice Dalvi said, “In view of such vehemence, coupled with their (daughters’) age, the entire effort as counselling would be whittled down and would not be worth embarking upon.”

The order noted that no ‘hard and fast rule can be laid down’ in such cases. Significantly, the judge also observed, “It may also be mentioned that it is not the right of the parent that is to be determined in such applications, but the right of the child to have such access.”

Boat owner-Italy pact gets HC nod

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday approved the settlement made between the Republic of Italy and J Freddy, owner of the fishing boat involved in the Enrica Lexie episode, regarding compensation.

The out-of-court-settlement made with the Lok Adalat was recorded by Justice A M Shaffique of the High Court. Freddy’s counsel Raja Vijayaraghavan told the court that a demand draft for Rs 17 lakh has been handed over to him.

He also added that as per the terms of settlement, Freddy would withdraw all complaints and other legal proceedings initiated by him against the Republic of Italy.

Passing the award, the Lok Adalat headed by former High Court judge K John Mathew and former District Judge Sreelatha Devi held that the adalat is satisfied that the settlement was beneficial to the petitioner. Italian Consul-General Giampaolo Cuttillo handed over a DD of `17 lakh. Counsel for both the parties were also present.

In an undertaking produced along with the settlement agreement, Freddy agreed to unconditionally abandon all his claims in this regard and withdraw all allegations made by him in the suit.

Freddy stated that he is even willing to file an affidavit or statement to enable the Italian marines being exonerated or discharged from all accusations and charges with respect to the allegations against them.

Land acquisition for CMRL upheld

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The proceedings of the State government to acquire lands on Anna Salai, Saligramam, Anna Nagar and other places for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail project(CMRL) were upheld by Madras HC on Friday.

“On consideration, I find no force in these writ petitions,” Justice VK Sharma observed while dismissing a batch of writ petitions from Emcete & Sons P Ltd, Anna Salai, and six others.

He noted that the objections of the petitioners were considered and they were informed that the same could not be accepted. The bonafide of the government in acquiring the lands could not be doubted. It was also proved that the urgency clause was not mechanically invoked.

“It had been invoked keeping in view the real urgency and to see that the project did not come to a standstill. The petitions were not maintainable in view of the settled law that it was not open to the land owners to challenge the acquisition after passing of the award. Since they had participated in the award proceedings, they could not now challenge the acquisition,” the judge said and dismissed the petitions.

Reliance Power gets govt reprieve on Sasan coal use

NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power got a reprieve on Saturday as a ministerial panel under finance minister Pranab Mukherjee upheld a decision that allowed the company to use excess coal from Sasan power project’s mines to fuel its Chitrangi generation plant.

Both projects are being built in Madhya Pradesh, and the decision to allow Reliance in-house use of surplus coal from Sasan’s captive mines was taken in August, 2008, during the UPA-I rule.

The panel under Mukherjee, set up to smoothen the way for Centre’s showcase generation plants – or ultra-mega power projects – decided not to tinker with that decision after taking legal opinion from Attorney General G E Vahanvati.

“We were not reviewing that (in-house use of surplus coal) decision, we were trying to understand that decision based on Attorney General’s opinion… Given the conditions that applied at that time, the decision that was taken at that time, we have to interpret what surplus coal means and how that surplus coal can be utilized. We can’t review the decisions of the past. We can certainly look at the implications of these decisions in changing circumstances and what we need to do in the future,” law minister Salman Khurshi told reporters.

“What to do with the surplus coal is the question and is to be seen in the context that you don’t have to discourage the developer. If there is good technology and that good technology is bringing out more coal that it was there … How to utilize that coal is the issue. And that, Attorney General has taken decision in 2008, in subsequent developments that take place you cannot change decisions of the past.”

Tata Power, which has legally challenged the award of Sasan project to Reliance and the decision on use of surplus coal, said in a statement the “(Sasan) matter is sub judice”. Tata Power moved the SC after it had lost the legal challenge in the Delhi HC.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also members of the ministerial panel that took the decision on Saturday.

Court orders issuing of notices to major Aviation bodies

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 15:14 IST

Bangalore:  Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issuing of notices to Secretary, Civil Aviation, Directorate General of Civil Aviations (DGCA) and others on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the construction of a star hotel by the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) near the main terminal.

The petitioner who had given a representation to the concerned authorities filed the PIL when no action was taken on his representation.

The petitioner said that the star hotel was being constructed by BIAL, not even half a kilometre from the main terminal which would cause a major concern for safety of VIPs. He also claimed that the masterplan of BIA does not provide for construction of a hotel.

A Division bench, comprising Justice Hulwadi G Ramesh and Justice L Narayanaswamy, ordered issuing of notices to Secretary Civil Aviation, DGCA, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and BIAL on the petition filed by an advocate GR Mohan.

Indore police lacks equipment to measure tinted glass

Kundan Pandey

INDORE: In the backdrop of Supreme Court order to ban tinted glasses in cars that blocks light by 50 per cent to 70 per cent, the Indore police do not posses equipment required to measure the visibility of the glass.

Talking to TOI, senior superintendent of police (SSP) A Sai Manohar confirmed that police lack the instruments used for measuring the percentage of visibility. “We will start taking action against the vehicles having tinted glasses, after receiving the court order,” he added.

Traffic DSP Pradeep Singh Chauhan said, “Though there are 50-75 per cent of tinted-screened vehicles in the city, the police plan to purchase the ‘transparency measures instrument’ only in the next fiscal year.”

Another senior police official on the condition of anonymity said this new rule had been in existence since long, but it lacked proper mechanism to measure the visibility of the glass. Police have sent its proposal to higher authority but in vain, despite the fact that the instrument costs to Rs 30-40 thousand only, he said.

Hearing a PIL that complained cars with black film on window panes were being increasingly used for crimes, including sexual assault of women, the Supreme Court on Friday went by the limits prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Act and said anything beyond the visual light transmission (VLT) limit of 70% for the front and rear windshields and 50% for the side windows would be punishable. The decision would come into force from, May 4.

Bench refuses to extend stay on enquiry

Law officers spend anxious moments as case was posted wrongly before single judgeThe Madras High Court Bench here on Friday refused to extend the stay granted by it on the enquiry initiated by Madurai Collector U. Sagayam against M.K. Alagiri Educational Trust, of which Union Minister M.K. Alagiri was one of the trustees, on charges of having destroyed irrigation channels for constructing Dhaya Engineering College at Sivarakottai near here.

Justice K. Venkataraman refused to extend the stay on the ground that on Thursday itself he had referred the writ petition filed by the trust to be posted along with a Public Interest Litigation petition pending before a Division Bench and hence it would be practically impossible for him to pass further orders. “I have washed my hands of. You have to mention it before a Division Bench,” he told the petitioner’s counsel.

When the writ petition challenging a show cause notice issued by the Collector came up before the judge on Thursday, he extended the stay, originally granted by him on April 20, until Friday when the PIL petition, filed by the leader of a farmers’ association against the trust, was expected to be listed for hearing before a Division Bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice B. Rajendran.

However, the Division Bench was not constituted on Friday as Ms. Justice Banumathi had flown to the Principal Seat in Chennai on official work. The case was not listed even before another Division Bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and M. Vijayaraghavan as it took up only fresh PIL petitions that came up for admission for the first time and not those that were pending already.

Curiously, the case was listed before Mr. Justice Venkataraman on Friday too giving some anxious moments to the law officers who were perplexed as to how could a case that was ordered to be posted before a Division Bench was listed before the same judge on the next day too. But relieving them of the anxiety, the judge himself clarified that he would not take up the case.

In the meantime, the counsel for the trust Veera Kathiravan and R. Janakiramulu requested the Division Bench presided over by Mr. Justice Rajeswaran to take up the PIL as well as the writ petition on Friday. When the judges expressed their inability to hear the case on the same day, the counsel obtained an order to post both the cases on the first summer vacation court on May 3.

Seven Afghan nationals get life term for trespassing into India

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 22:23 IST

Jodhpur:  A court today sentenced 7 Afghan nationals to life imprisonment for trespassing into India allegedly with arms and ammunition in 1997.

All of them were arrested in October, 1997, by the Indian Army in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The hearing in the matter, which was taking place in J&K, was transferred to Jodhpur sessions court following the shifting of the accused to Jodhpur central jail in 2008.

The sessions court later transferred the case to the court of ACJM (SC/ST cases) in July 2010, where the hearing of the case had been going on since then.

The court had completed the hearing in the case last year and listed the matter for pronouncement of the order on 11 July, 2011. But the court amended the charges on the day instead of pronouncing the order and the hearing resumed again.

Magistrate Anoop Kumar Saxena sentenced all the seven to life imprisonment convicting them under sections 121, 121 A, 122 and 123 of Ranveer Penal Code (J&K), section 14 of Foreigners Act and section 25 read with section 7 of Arms Act.

Amicus curie Manish Vyas, appointed by the court for these nationals, said the order can be challenged as neither any evidence was produced before the court in support of the charges under Ranveer Penal Code nor any arms were ever produced before the court to prove that they are militants.

Newborn found abandoned in duct at hospital, critically ill

PUNE: A newborn baby was found abandoned in a duct between two buildings on the premises of Bharati Hospital early on Saturday morning.

The hospital authorities say the baby boy was in shock and is currently being given intravenous fluids, oxygen and inotropic drugs to increase its blood pressure. He is under observation at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital. The infant is a full-term baby, weighing 2.1 kg, less than the normal weight of 2.5 kg.

“A nurse in the casualty ward noticed the baby first, when she heard him wailing around 6 am. She brought him to the casualty ward and later took him to the NICU,” said N G Kamat, deputy medical director of the hospital. “When found, the baby was in shock (a condition in which the blood pressure falls and heart starts failing), and needed oxygen and inotropic drugs to enhance his heart functions.” He added that the placenta was still attached to the baby and it appeared to have been just born.

Hospital authorities have registered a medico-legal case at the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.

“The infant is in a critical condition and will therefore have to be observed minute-by-minute for the next 24 to 48 hours,” said senior paediatrician Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati hospital.

“We do not know the medical history of the mother, whether the infant cried immediately after the delivery or not and the sequence of events at the time of delivery, among other things,” he added.

Lalwani said the baby had bilateral pneumothorax (collection of air in the pleural cavity of the chest) when found. “We put him on a chest drain to remove the air. We will contact an NGO once the infant’s condition is stable,” he said.

The police have registered a complaint against an unidentified person for abandoning a newborn baby under section 317 of the Indian Penal Code.

“We conducted an inquiry with the hospital authorities in this regard, but they said that all the newborns at the hospital were accounted for,” said sub-inspector G M Landge. “A wireless message has been sent to all police stations in the city and we have appealed to the public to contact us if they have information about the baby, his parents or relatives,” he added.

Victims of money-doubling racket move High Court

Investors from across Maharashtra who fell prey to a ponzi money-doubling scheme, find themselves still without redress due to the alleged apathy of the police and the State administration.

The court recently came down heavily on the administration for tardy implementation of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. Sessions court judge Laxmi R. Rao recently observed that the State government had not appointed a competent authority under the Act for years together.

“The Home Department of the State government is directed to take immediate steps in appointment of competent authority in this case and several other cases under the MPID Act in which no action seems to be taken for years together,” she said in an order passed on April 24, adding that it defeated the purpose of the legislation by allowing the accused to tamper with property.

Meanwhile, the 681 investors have now approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation in view of ‘shoddy investigation’ by the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), advocate Filgi Fredrix, lawyer for the investors, told The Hindu.

The petition will be heard next week. “The police have seized only those bank accounts which the victims have themselves provided. They seized the accounts very late, rendering the process futile as only Rs. 5 lakh was found in the accounts. The list of property too has been provided by the accused themselves. There is no independent investigation whatsoever in the case. We have thus said in our petition that the case should either be transferred to the CBI or that guidelines should be issued to the EOW for proper investigation,” he said.

Middle class families from Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Nashik, Thane and Mumbai invested money in Raj Investment Services based in Mumbai, after the company promised that the money would be doubled in a few years, police said. It kept on introducing several schemes over a period of time.

More than a decade later, many investors have lost hope, while some have been running from pillar to post in the hope of recovery of at least the original amount.

The Sessions Court rapped the police for their inaction and gave an ultimatum for the attachment of the property of the accused. The judge observed that the police were yet to recover Rs. 32 crore from the accused.

A senior EOW officer told The Hindu that the EOW sealed 42 bank accounts, and initiated the procedure to seize three vehicles and 11 pieces of property in Nashik, Kolhapur, Pune, Lonavala, and Ratnagiri. The approximate worth of the seizures is slated to be barely Rs. 50 lakh.

Kalpana Anant Pakhurde, a clerk with a bank, started investing money with Raj Investment Services since 1998 after Amoolya Waskar and Vaishali Waskar, the couple owning the firm, assured her guaranteed returns.

“They showed us documents regarding registration with the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). They told us that they invest in shares,” her husband Anant Pakhurde told The Hindu.

Whenever her investment matured, she would be lured into a new scheme to reinvest the money. Finally, in 2011, when the company failed to return the money despite repeated requests, she suspected foul play.

“But even the police did not register our case in the beginning in 2011. The police approach was apathetic, to say the least. We had to meet senior police officials even to get an FIR [First Information Report] registered,” Mr. Pakhurde said.

The police finally registered an FIR in January this year after instructions from Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil. Amoolya Waskar, his wife Vaishali Waskar and Dattatray Palkar were arrested and charged under sections 409, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

But when the police started investigating the case, where the investors had been cheated of Rs. 75 lakh, they realised it was just the tip of the iceberg. Hordes of investors started approaching the police after they learnt of the FIR.

Two more accused namely Riya alias Jyoti Rajesh Bandre and Vilas Raikar were arrested and more charges under various sections of the MPID Act, the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act, 1978, were slapped on all the five.

Soon, the EOW started investigating the case. Exactly 681 had been cheated of more than Rs. 32 crore.

Of the five arrested, four have secured bail. The police filed a charge sheet against one accused a few days ago.


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