LEGAL NEWS 13.05.2012

AP: Vijayamma goes to SC against Naidu

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: YSR Congress honorary president and Pulivendula MLA YS Vijayamma, on Friday, filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the AP High Court’s decision to dismiss her plea for an inquiry by CBI and other central agencies into alleged disproportionate assets of former chief minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and others. The matter is likely to come up for hearing after the court reopens after vacation beginning Saturday.
It may be recalled that the High Court division bench comprising justice G Rohini and justice Ashutosh Mohunta on February 16 dismissed the public interest petition of Vijayamma, widow of the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, seeking CBI probe into alleged disproportionate assets of Chandrababu Naidu.
The bench declared the order issued by another division bench on November 14, 2011, ordering a preliminary inquiry by the CBI against Naidu and others, to be a violation of the principles of natural justice.
It observed that there was political rivalry between YSR Congress and TDP and the present writ petition appeared to be a counter attack to the investigation ordered against the petitioner’s son (Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy). The petition amounted to abuse of the process of court in the guise of a PIL, it remarked.
Vijayamma, in her 45-pages petition before the Apex Court, asked whether it was appropriate for the HC bench to dismiss her petition when another bench had earlier ordered an enquiry into the issue. She said she had ‘doubts’ against justice Rohini and urged that the petition be not heard by the judge. However, a bench headed by justice Rohini dismissed the petition, she said.








HC lets police to drop MCOCA charges against Salem

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 11, 2012

The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed Delhi police to drop stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) charges against gangster Abu Salem in an extortion case pending in a court.
The police required the order urgently as the Portugese supreme court had in January cancelled Salem’s extradition for violating the extradition terms by invoking MCOCA against him. It was after the Indian government filed an appeal that a Portugese constitution court in March stayed the order cancelling the extradition.

“The petition of Delhi Police is allowed. The order dated August 28, 2009 passed by the designated lower court is set aside. The state is permitted to withdraw the charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA),” Justice V K Shali said.

The judgment came on a Delhi Police petition seeking revocation of the lower court’s order, which had denied it the permission to withdraw the MCOCA charges Salem.

The Delhi police had invoked Section 3(2) and Section 3(4) of MCOCA relating to commission of an offence by an organised crime syndicate as per a criminal conspiracy for extortion of money from a Delhi-based trader in 2002.

Earlier, the Portuguese high court had terminated the extradition of Salem to India on ground that the extradition terms agreed to between the two nations have not been observed. The supreme court of Portugal too had upheld the decision, which left the CBI with the sole remedy to seek reversal in the constitutional court there.

Salem, along with his girlfriend Monica Bedi, was detained in Portugal on September 18, 2002, and handed over to India on November 11, 2005, to face trial in eight cases including the 1992 Mumbai blast case.









HC notice to Punjab and Haryana, UT on rehabilitation policy for convicts


| May 12, 2012, 01.44AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Taking up a vital issue about absence of any policy in the region for rehabilitation of convicts after their release from the jails of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday issued notice to both the states and UT administration seeking their response.

The notice has been issued by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh while taking suo motu cognizance of a letter written to the high court by a convict lodged in Karnal district jail.

In his letter addressed to the high court, one convict from Karnal jail has submitted to the HC that on completion of his jail term, if an accused is released, he lags behind in the society and in case he does not get any job he again starts indulging in criminal activities. While informing about absence of any policy for rehabilitation of convicts after their release, the letter further added that a convict can be motivated to join the mainstream of the society by providing some job so that he may lead a peaceful life with family members. “Attention of the state government should be drawn towards rehabilitation of the convicts after their release from jails,” letter added.

Besides the rehabilitation policy, the HC has also sought reply from both the states and UT to file reply on the issues of remissions granted to convicts and any special provision of remission for convicts with severe disability. Now the case would come up for further hearing on July 24.









HC gives nod for appointment of Pune University vice chancellor

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 12, 2012

The Bombay high court, on Friday, dismissed a petition challenging the state’s selection process for vice chancellors (VC), paving the way for the appointment of a new VC for the University of Pune. Thane-based social activist, Suresh Patilkhede, had approached the HC challenging the validity of the Maharashtra Universities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2009.

The Ordinance, which amended certain provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, provides for nomination of a search committee to shortlist candidates for the VC’s post. The Governor then selects one of the short-listed candidates.

Patilkhede contended that the process went against the regulations of the Universities Grant Commission (UGC). He further contended the selection mechanism was illegal and lacked basic sanctity of law.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar, however, did not find anything wrong with the process. “The respondents have acted in consonance with the provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act,” the judges observed. The HC also turned down a request by the petitioner to stay the selection process till they moved Supreme Court.

The state authorities, on January 6, had said that they would not continue with the selection process till the petition was pending.

On Friday, after the judgement was pronounced, advocate VB Tiwari, who represented the petitioner, sought a stay based on that statement. 

Girish Kulkarni, representing University of Pune, opposed the request, stating that the VC’s post has been vacant for eight months now, and the university was in urgent need of a VC. The university’s VC, RK Shevgaonkar, left to join the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi as director. The judges accepted this and said that the appointment could not be delayed further..

The petitioner’s counsel, Anil Anturkar, had argued that UGC regulations would prevail over the Maharashtra Universities Act. The HC, however, held that UGC guidelines, at the most, could be termed as subordinate legislations and could not override the provisions of a legislation enacted by the State Legislature.







HC’s 5-day deadline for parking problems

Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat May 12 2012, 03:42 hrs

To find an immediate solution to the increasing parking problems in the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday gave five days’ time to the amicus curiae, appointed in the case pertaining to traffic congestion, to submit suggestions for easing out parking problems.

The Chandigarh Administration has been asked to look into the report, and the matter will be taken up for resumed hearing on May 18.

Making it clear that no time should be wasted in taking steps to find solution for parking problems, a division bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Ajay Tewari expressed strong disapproval of the lackadaisical attitude of the Chandigarh Administration. Advocate A P S Shergill and Reeta Kohli were asked to personally visit the spots and submit a report/list of suggestions to tackle with the problem of parking.

The bench asked the administration what steps it was taking to make use of the underground parking lots. Also, the administration was asked to identify and make use of empty areas near Sector 17, Chandigarh, so that vehicles could be parked there and Sector 17 could be made vehicle-free.

The court slammed the Chandigarh Administration for having “imaginative apprehensions” and not having a parking policy. The court observed that ad hocism was one of the major problems plaguing the Chandigarh Administration because of which no immediate action was taken. The court made it clear that the administration was trying to “stonewall” the ideas of progressive thinking.

However, appearing on behalf of the administration, its senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal said the administration was not trying to stonewall any ideas. He said the administration was doing its best to come up with a solution to the parking problems.

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a PIL arising out of a suo motu notice taken by the High Court on a news item published by The Indian Express highlighting the issue of eco cabs.

The High Court also directed the administration to come up with a final decision on the launch of eco cabs in the city.







HC orders videotaping of autopsy

TNN | May 12, 2012, 04.35AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has ordered video-recording of postmortem on the body of a woman who died after being in coma for 13 months following wrong administration of nitrous oxide, instead of oxygen, during tubectomy surgery at a government hospital in Kanyakumari district.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, disposing of a petition filed by her husband, ordered the postmortem to be conducted by a team of doctors at a government hospital in Vellore. The body should be transported at state cost to the victim’s native place in Kanyakumari.

The petitioner S Ganesan feared that the postmortem might not be conducted properly in the government hospital as it was where his wife fell into coma due to “negligence” on March 19, 2011.

It may be recalled that the woman Rukmani died after a struggle that lasted for over a year, at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, on May 4.

Rukmani, 37, was admitted to the medical college hospital in Nagercoil on March 18, 2011, for a tubectomy. A day later, she fell into a coma after the team that conducted the surgery administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen. Doctors blamed the company that supplied oxygen cylinders to the hospital for the mess-up.

An inquiry by the then Kanyakumari district collector, Rajendra Ratnoo, suspended the team that operated on Rukmani. Later, they were reinstated.

Ganesan brought Rukmani to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai for treatment last April. A Madurai-based lawyer moved the high court seeking justice for her, following which the court asked the state government to bear the cost of her treatment as well the accommodation of her family members.

Experts from Chennai had also visited Madurai to review her condition. She was shifted to Vellore for further treatment on the court’s order.

Ganesan had last week told TOI that CMC Vellore had asked him to take the body without a postmortem, but he refused since he thought an autopsy report was necessary to seek the court’s intervention to secure his children’s future.

“I am determined that the postmortem should be performed at CMC because I have great confidence in them. I don’t trust the government doctors,” he had said. “They destroyed my beautiful family and I am now physically exhausted. I believe in the court to provide help for my family,” he said. He plans to bury Rukmani in his family land and construct a memorial for her.

Ganesan was making a living by selling vessels whereas Rukmani used to do sewing jobs. They have two children – Subash, 15, and Amirthavarshini, 14.









HC okays AI pilots’ ongoing B777 training, stays further ones

New Delhi, May 11, 2012

Refusing to disturb the ongoing training of the Air India pilots on advanced Boeing 777 to be used in international flights, the Delhi High Court on Friday stayed further trainings of more pilots till implementation of Justice Dharmadhikari panel recommendations on the issue.

The high court’s order came on a plea by erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots for a stay on management’s decision to train only erstwhile Air India pilots.

“I hereby make it clear that those pilots of Air India, who are already on training on advanced aircrafts, shall not be disturbed,” said Justice Suresh Kait, adding, however, “… those who have already taken the training on advance aircraft shall be subject to the outcome of the instant petition.”

“I am of the considered opinion that till the report submitted by Justice Dharmadhikari Committee is implemented, the imparting of training on advanced aircraft, in this manner, shall remain stayed,” the court said.

The court’s verdict came on a plea by the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots under the banner of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) for an order to stay the ongoing training and also direct Air India to impart training to them as well along with their counterparts in Air India for the rank of Commanders for Boeing 777.

Considering ICPA’s contention that if the new training system is implemented, co-pilots of Air India will be directly promoted to the post of commanders of the advanced aircraft, the court observed it will prejudice the rights of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots who will remain as commanders of basic aircraft only, thus affecting their seniority.

“.. if the same system is allowed to go on, it will definitely cause prejudice to the rights and contention of the petitioners (ICPA), because the petitioners shall remain commander of basic aircraft, while the co-pilots of Air India, even without holding the position of commander of basic aircraft, would be commander on advance aircraft,” said Justice Kait.

“This imparity would be a great hurdle in the  seniority of the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots with Air India pilots at the time of implementation of report submitted by Justice Dharamadhikari Committee,” he added.

ICPA had moved the high court alleging it has not been dealt “at a par” with Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), an association Air India pilots.

Seeking parity in training, the petitioner pilots body, in its plea, alleged the commanders (head pilot) of basic aircraft of former Indian Airlines have not been considered by Air India management for training of commander of advanced aircraft like Boeing 747, 787 and 777.

During the course of hearing, Air India counsel Lalit Bhasin had argued that the management had taken the decision to train only Air India pilots for advance aircrafts because of their different nature of job and different experience profiles.











Fake arms deal case: HC calls for trial court records, Bangaru Laxman to stay in jail

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has called for the trial court records on former BJP president Bangaru Laxman in the fake arms deal case. The argument of expediting the case on the basis of Laxman’s old age and medical condition has been rejected by the court. Laxman will now have to spend two months in jail. The next date of hearing in the case is July 5.

Bangaru Laxman had moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and the punishment awarded to him by a special CBI court in New Delhi for taking Rs 1 lakh as bribe in a fictitious defence deal case.

Eleven years after having been caught in a sting operation by a news portal, Laxman was convicted and sent to four years in jail on April 28 and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

After spending around ten days in Tihar jail, Laxman moved the High Court seeking quashing of the trial court’s conviction and the sentence awarded to him for taking the bribe from fake arms dealers to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.

Laxman’s cousel Atul Kumar earlier claimed that in the case the FIR has not been proved and the trial court judge has wrongly convicted him. “The prosecution has not considered the submission made by the witnesses even though it was in his favour,” the counsel said.

Laxman, 72-year-old former union minister, who was caught on camera in a 2001 sting operation conducted by, accepting money in his chamber in the party headquarters, had to quit as BJP President shortly after the expose which had created a huge political storm.

As per the CBI chargesheet, the Tehelka scribes had held eight meetings with Laxman between December 23, 2000, and January 7, 2001, projecting themselves as supplier of defence-related products.

The CBI had alleged Laxman had accepted Rs one lakh from the representatives of the purported firm on January 1, 2001, at his office for pursuing their proposal to supply the products to the Army.

The FIR in the case was registered on December 6, 2006, against Laxman, his Assistant Personal Secretary N Umamaheshwar Raju and Personal Secretary T Satyamurthy.

Satyamurthy, however, had been granted pardon by a trial court after he turned an approver in the case while the trial could not proceed against Raju due to lack of evidence.









Haryana Indian Forest Service officer under HC scanner

TNN | May 12, 2012, 01.41AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Alleged financial irregularities and high handedness in the Haryana forest department at the hands of senior IFS officer V K Jhanjharia, has now come under the scanner of Punjab and Haryana high court, which on Friday issued notice to CBI, Union ministry of forest and environment and the officer seeking response on the issue. Jhanjharia is at present posted as conservator forest (west circle Hisar)

The matter came up for hearing before the Punjab and Haryana high court in the wake of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Gurgaon resident, Harinder Dhingra.

The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh has also put the Haryana government, its chief conservator (forest) and the state vigilance bureau on notice seeking their response on the contentions raised in the PIL.

Petitioner has sought directions to take cognizance of the financial irregularities and high handedness of V K Jhanjharia in the department and to order CBI probe to investigate into the matter of disproportionate assets, regarding which the vigilance inquiry is pending since April 21, 2011. It was submitted that the state vigilance bureau has not taken any action till date and neither inquiry is concluded in this matter.

He alleged that as per the information received from various sources, the IFS officer has amassed huge properties, which cannot be accounted for and has also indulged in malpractices so much so that he has not only misappropriated the state property but has also embezzled the funds of the state.

He added that he was appointed as the Haryana Forest Services officer in 1980 and promoted to IFS in 1986.

“The salary of a HFS/IFS officer is very moderate and with this salary the Jhanjharia not only raised a family of four, but also acquired huge valuable properties in Punjab (Aboharand Fazilka) in his paternal village, in Rajasthan (Sri Ganganagar) and in Haryana (Hisar and Gurgaon) and besides that also have petrol pumps in the name of his sons, wife and daughter-in-laws,” petitioner further alleged.

It was also submitted in the petition that one forest guard namely Sher Singh (who was dismissed by Jhanjharia) had submitted all the documents relating to unaccounted wealth submitted to the State Vigilance Bureau in June 2011, in the form of an affidavit. Following that an inquiry was initiated on the basis of complaint but because of Jhanjharia’s influence, till date no final report has been submitted and no action has been taken.

Now, the case would come up for further hearing on July 24.









Supreme Court issues notice over UPCL transmission lines

The Supreme Court issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of Karnataka, and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) on May 9 in the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Nandikur Janajagriti Samiti against the use of 172.53 hectares of forest land in the Western Ghats for building transmission lines from Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) at Yellur in Udupi district to Shanthigram in Hassan, said a release issued by the samiti here on Friday.

The release said the samiti had earlier challenged the forest clearance issued by MoEF on January 17, 2012, before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in New Delhi.

The NGT disposed of the appeal with direction that KPTCL will not fell any trees nor destroy the biodiversity in the stretch of reserve forest land measuring 8.3 km in Ballur, but allowed felling of minimum number of trees in rest of the forest lands for which clearance had been granted.

It has directed MoEF to take steps and notify detailed fresh guidelines for laying transmission line through forest area.

However, not satisfied with the NGT order, the samiti approached the Supreme Court in PIL (civil appeal) 4,143 of 2012 with a plea that the Supreme Court may restrain cutting of the trees on the entire stretch of Western Ghats.

The contention of the samiti was that that it had challenged the legality of the establishment of power plant from which the power was to be evacuated and if the PIL in the High Court was allowed, the exercise would prove futile.

One of the other main grounds urged by the samiti was that that KPTCL had not considered an alternative option, that was, there existed the 220kv Kemmar-Varahi-Shimoga-Bangalore line for which plenty of forest was already cleared at one stage and these lines could be upgraded to 400 kv DC.

The existing transformers could be used in other areas and after the coastal districts were provided sufficient power, the remaining could go to Bangalore through the upgraded lines.

The present proposal to take the lines through the forest would result in very high ecological cost and transmission losses.

The samiti argued that in a recent judgment, the Bombay High Court issued direction that until the Madhav Gadgil chaired Western Ghats Ecological Expert Panel Report was considered and a decision was taken by the Union Government, there should be no tree felling in the entire Western Ghats.

On the other hand, UNESCO was thinking of granting World Heritage status to the Western Ghats. It was noteworthy that enormous benefits would be derived if such declaration was eventually achieved by India, the release added.









HC seeks UP govt’s response on PIL on sale of sugar mills

PTI | 09:05 PM,May 11,2012

Lucknow May 11 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today directed the state government to file its response before May 17 on a PIL alleging irregularities in the sale of 21 sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh during the tenure of Mayawati government. The Lucknow bench comprising justices Umanath Singh and V K Dixit passed the order on a PIL filed by social activist Nutan Thakur. It was alleged by the petitioner that during the previous Mayawati government, 21 sugar mills were sold and irregularities were committed in selling these mills. The court directed to list the PIL on May 17 next with another similar matter. Before the next date of listing, the counsel for state government and other respondents may file short counter affidavit to the writ petition, the court said. PTI CORR SAB KKS









High Court quashes PIL against selection process of UoP V-C

Express news service : Pune, Sat May 12 2012, 04:11 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL challenging the selection process of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pune (UoP).

While ruling in favour of the university, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah held that the procedure is in consonance with the Maharashtra Universities

Act, 1994.

The court also held that the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) are at the most “subordinate legislation” and cannot override the Maharashtra Universities Act.

The petitioner, a Thane-based activist named Suresh Patil-Khede, claimed that the process was not in consonance with the UGC guidelines and hence should be quashed and set aside.

The petitioner had cited a regulation which lays down that a person who, in any way, has been connected with the university cannot be a member of the search committee which makes the appointment. He claimed that this rule had been violated in the case of the University of Pune, and demanded that the committee be dissolved and a fresh one be constituted.

Patil-Khede also claimed that an amendment to the regulations made in this regard were illegal and were formulated “with retrospective effect.” However, the court refused to accept his contentions.










2G case: Court reserves order on Raja’s bail plea till May 15

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 15:51
New Delhi: The CBI on Friday opposed in a Delhi court the bail plea of former Telecom Minister A Raja, arrested for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation case on February 2 last year, saying there is a new allegation that he got Rs 200 crores as bribe and it is being probed.

CBI prosecutor A K Singh opposed Raja’s bail plea saying there is a new allegation that he has received Rs 200 crores as bribe and this is being investigated.

“I am strongly opposing the bail plea. This accused (Raja) and other public servants are also involved in other tranche of Rs 200 crore which they have received as bribe and this was not known earlier and has come up during the investigation,” Singh told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

The court reserved its order on Raja’s bail plea for May 15 after hearing the arguments from Raja’s counsel and that of the CBI.

“Arguments on the bail plea heard. Put up for orders on May 15,” the judge said.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Raja, told the court that the former telecom minister should be granted bail as all the other co-accused in the case have been granted it, either by the Supreme Court or the Delhi High Court or the trial court.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s order granting bail to co-accused and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Gupta said the apex court has not distinguished the case of a public servant from others.

“The Supreme Court (in the order granting bail to Behura) had declined to distinguish the case of the public servant from others. Raja is no longer a minister or near the department (DoT).
He is in custody for the longest period and record indicates that he was the most co-operative among the accused during the course of trial,” Gupta said while pressing for Raja’s bail.









HC quashes acquisition of 15 hectares of land in Muzaffarnagar

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 11,2012

Allahabad, May 11 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today struck down the acquisition of 15 hectares of land in a village of Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, which was effected during the previous Mayawati regime. The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising justices Sunil Ambawani and A N Mittal while allowing the writ petitions of Anup Rai and other residents of Atmaspur village in the district who had challenged the acquisition through two notifications issued in September, 2007 and December, 2010. The petitioners had challenged the acquisition on the ground that urgency clause invoked by the government had deprived them of an opportunity to raise their objections as per the provisions of Land Acquisition Act though the land was not acquired for any urgent purpose but for constructing residential colonies. Significantly, the previous Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh which was voted out of power in March this year, has repeatedly faced flak from the court because of its land acquisition policy and invoking of urgency clause. Acquisition of thousands of hectares of land in districts like Gautam Buddh Nagar has been quashed vide a number of orders of the court.









Supreme Court stay on Manikonda land has demoralised Muslim community’

TNN | May 12, 2012, 05.36AM IST

HYDERABAD: In the light of the recent interim judgment of the Supreme Court on the Manikonda wakf land issue, a group of 400 activists and politicians staged a dharna at the Haj House on Friday. They condemned the AP State Wakf Board and the state government alleging that there was a nexus between the two which led to the apex court’s directive that went against the board.

Urging the government to return the wakf land to Dargah Hussain Shah Wali, the ‘rightful’ owners, the group noted that the apex court’s stay on the wakf tribunal injunction order prohibiting alienation of wakf land had demoralised the Muslims further.

Activists said that the AP State Wakf Board has lost many cases in courts on account of it appointing weak lawyers. Former Rajya Sabha MP Aziz Pasha said, “Only eight cases were ruled in favour of the Wakf Board of the 296 cases it fought in different courts pointing to a serious lapse in case building and also a disinterested approach.” Attorney general G E Vahanvati had represented the state government in the Manikonda case.

However, activists are hopeful that the final verdict to be passed in the second week of August, after the SC vacations, would be in the favour of the Wakf Board. The question of compensation remained a contentious issue with activists asking who would evaluate the land value. They said that the compensation should not be abysmal as in the case of Ishaq Madani Dargah land in Visakhapatnam which was given to the Hinduja Group where compensation was fixed at Rs 2.25 lakh per acre against the much higher prevailing market value. Activists said that the compensation should be given at the current market rate.









War against illegal mining half won, says SPS

The CBI probe ordered by the Supreme Court against the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for his alleged role in the multi-crore mining scam is a major victory for the Dharwad-based Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS), a non-governmental organisation, which has been fighting illegal mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for the past three years.

The SPS convinced both the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the Supreme Court on the alleged illegalities committed by Mr. Yeddyurappa and his kin, top bureaucrats and mining leaseholders in the State. However, it is a war half won for the SPS, which, according to Vishnu Kamath of the organisation, will continue its fight on the other issues connected to illegal mining in Karnataka.

The SPS filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) in the apex court on January 16, 2012 demanding extension of the scope of the CBI investigation to cover serious illegalities committed by politicians and major corporate groups, including JSW and Adani in Karnataka, as it was upset with the alleged attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to put the Lokayukta’s final report under wraps and weaken the institution of Lokayukta by transferring key investigating officials.

Considering the IA, the Supreme Court on February 10 directed the CEC to verify whether a CBI probe was necessary in the cases referred by the SPS and gave two weeks to the CEC to file its report.

The CEC in its report to the court on March 28 recommended investigation “in public interest” into a case involving two real estate firms owned by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s kin for allegedly receiving money to grant mining lease.

In its recommendation on April 20, the CEC suggested inquiry by an “independent investigating agency such as the CBI” against Mr. Yeddyurappa and his kin for alleged irregularities in denotification of land and donations made to Prerana Education Trust, belonging to them, from a mining company.

The court panel recommended similar kind of investigation into illegal export of ore from Belekeri port in Karnataka. The Supreme Court after providing enough opportunity to counsel of Mr. Yeddyrappa to defend, finally passed its verdict on May 11.

“The apex court is yet to take up issues related to the links between illegal mining by Obulapuram Mining Company in Andhra Pradesh and widespread illegal mining in Ramgadh area of Bellary district, in connivance with officials,” Prof. Kamath said.

The matter relating to the Bellary City MLA G. Somashekara Reddy allegedly preventing Lokayukta investigator U.V. Singh from discharging his duty; senior police officials’ failure in serving non-bailable warrant against the former Minister for Tourism G. Janardhan Reddy and, issue relating to illegal mining by Associated Mining Company were yet to be probed by CEC. “SPS will take up these issues vigorously in the second round”, Mr. Kamath added.








High court decision clears way for University of Pune vice-chancellor appointment

TNN | May 12, 2012, 01.12AM IST

PUNE: The Bombay high court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation challenging the appointment process for a new vice-chancellor at the University of Pune. This paves the way for the stalled process to move further.

The governor and chancellor of the state universities will soon conduct an individual interaction with the five candidates, who were shortlisted for the top job by the VC’s search committee, following the interviews held at Yashada in January.

Thane-based activist Suresh Patilkhede had filed the petition on the grounds that the three-member search committee, constituted by the state government, was not in accordance with the UGC’s regulations of 2010.

As per the guidelines of the UGC, a member of the commission should be the part of the search committee.

The three-member committee set up by the state did not have a UGC representative, as the move is not mandatory under the Maharashtra University Act, 1994. The PIL had challenged the validity of the Maharashtra Universities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2009, which amended certain provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994.

The government, in response, argued that the conflict between newly-added provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act and that of the UGC Act were minor and did not warrant a court order declaring the state statute illegal. Also, the UGC itself had not raised any objection to the amendment, the government said.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar accepted the government’s arguments and dismissed the PIL. The governor, who is the chancellor of all universities in the state, can now finalise the vice-chancellor from the five candidates shortlisted by the search committee.










KC (M) seeks PM’s intervention for amicable settlement on Mullaperiyar

Kerala Congress (M) has sought the intervention of Prime Minister in finding a lasting amicable solution for the Mullaperiyar issue. Speaking to media persons after the meeting of the party Steering Committee here on Friday , party chairman K M Mani said that it was the studied opinion of his party and that of the Kerala government, that there was no need for reconsidering the demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar.

Pointing out that the report of the empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar was not final, Kerala Congress working chairman and State irrigation Minister P J Joseph said the EC decision to reject the studies of IIT Roorkee and earlier findings by the Central Water Commission (CWC) on the stability of the dam, was a threat to the interests of the State. He said the State was awaiting the final verdict on the issue by the Supreme Court.

“In the mean time, steps for finding an amicable solution should be initiated,” Mr Mani said and pointed out that the even the EC report has mentioned about such a way out. The earlier endeavour on the part of the prime minister was not successful, as such new steps should be taken under the changed circumstances, he said.

According to him, Kerala has taken a definitive step in the direction of the construction of a new dam by allocating Rs.50 crore for the dam, which will be constructed at 1300 ft downstream from the present dam. “The government will move ahead with the construction of the dam,” he said. The construction of a new dam was necessary to instil confidence in the minds of the people on this side of the border Mr Mani said and added that this confidence was necessary for ensuring economic growth of the State.

Chit Fund Act

The Finance Minister allayed fears over the implementation of the Chit Fund Act of 1982 in the State and said that the State would frame necessary rules under the provisions of Rule 89 of the Act of ’82 to protect the interests of the chit companies including the Kerala State Financial Enterprise.

As per the Act of ’82, companies running chit business have been prohibited from transacting business other than chit business.

According to Mr Mani, the State government has already concluded discussions with the Reserve Bank of India on the issue and has obtained permission for providing exemptions in this regard under Rule 89 of the Act of ’82.

Mr Mani said the State government was not responsible for the delay in implementing the Act of ’82 in the State. As per the Act, the Central government was entrusted with the responsibility to notify the implementation of the Act in respective States. “The Act, though framed in 1982, was notified for implementation in Kerala only with effect from April 30, 2012 by the Central government,” Mr Mani said.








RTI an effective tool to fight corruption: CIC

PTI | 05:05 PM,May 11,2012

New Delhi, May 11 (PTI) Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra today said the Right to Information Act has proved to be a highly effective tool to combat corruption. “RTI is helping in a great way to fight corruption. It has achieved much more than what could be achieved by registering FIRs and cases through police and various investigative agencies,” Mishra said while inaugurating a workshop on sensitising Staff Selection Commission (SSC) officials about RTI matters here. Noting that the effectiveness of the transparency law in accessing information from government departments was hard to imagine at the time of its enactment, he said, “No one would have thought over its effect then (when the Act was made). It has proved to be an effective tool for fighting corruption.” The two-day workshop is being organised by National Productivity Council (NPC). Terming the Public Information Officers associated with SSC as the “ambassadors of the commission”, Mishra said what they lacked was a sense of pride and belonging to the commission. “You are the ambassadors of the commission. Your attitude would reflect the attitude of the commission. But it has been noticed that the sense of pride and belonging to the commission collectively and individually is missing,” he said. The CIC also called for shedding the rampant attitude of passing the buck to others while dealing with RTI related matters. “There is also a growing disease of passing the buck and shifting of responsibility. It is very rampant. Such attitude should be shed,” he said. Giving the officials various tips on how to handle RTI applications, he told them that a mechanism should be developed to streamline disclosure of information in a particular timeframe. S K Sarkar, Additional Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), called for generating greater awareness among various stakeholders and in changing the attitude of the government employees. “DoPT is looking to improve some of the thrust areas like capacity building of officials, generating awareness among various stakeholders, changing attitude of government servants, lack of resources and reducing the trust deficit among stakeholders like government, general public, NGOs and media,” he said. SSC Chairman N K Raghupathy, in his presidential address, highlighted the steps taken by the commission to establish transparency.









Gangster Act on Abhay to be withdrawn

Arshad Afzal Khan, TNN | May 12, 2012, 02.25AM IST

FAIZABAD: The Uttar Pradesh government is all set to withdraw the Gangster Act slapped on mafia-turned-politician and party MLA Abhay Singh who is currently lodged in Faizabad jail for last couple of years and is facing trial under charges of extortion, kidnapping and murder. The Gangster Act was slapped against him by the Mayawati government.

However, sources said, the Samajwadi Party government has started the process of withdrawing Gangster Act against Singh. According to RK Shrivastava, the prosecuting officer, the state government had asked for the report regarding the withdrawal of a case registered under relevant Section 386 of the IPC for extortion, attempt to murder and Gangster Act pending against Singh in Maharajganj police station.

Shrivastava said that Singh has got bail from the different courts in two other cases of Gangster Act registered at Raunahi police station and Kotwali police stations of the district. the district prosecution unit has sent the details of the case and its ‘no-objection’ for the withdrawal of the charges under Gangster Act is now being examined by the law department.

Singh had won recently held assembly election from Gosaiganj assembly constituency by defeating his rival BSP’s Indra Pratap Tiwari who is also a history-sheeter. Singh was denied bail by the court because of the Gangster Act. As a result, he had to contest elections from jail. The case under Gangster Act has been registered against him in Maharajganj police station of Faizabad district. The case is related to rivalry between Singh and another mafia-turned-politician Jitendra Singh alias Babloo. The Gangster Act was slapped against Singh when Babloo was MLA on BSP ticket and Mayawati was in power. Singh is in jail since October 2010, after a case of extortion was lodged against him by a local businessman Vikas Singh, a close aide of Babloo, in Maharajganj police station.








Naseeruddin Shah’s brother appointed Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor

Press Trust of India | Updated: May 11, 2012 19:42 IST

Aligarh:  Lieutenant General (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Lt Gen Shah, who is currently a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal, has been appointed for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 70, whichever is earlier, the Human Resource Development Ministry said in a statement.

“Lieutenant General Shah will put in his papers to the Armed Forces Tribunal and is expected to assume duties as Vice-Chancellor shortly,” an AMU spokesman said.

Lt Gen Shah, who is the elder brother of actor Naseeruddin Shah, made it to the top post after beating two other short-listed candidates — Noor Mohammad, who retired as the Secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority, and Syed Khalid Rizvi, a retired additional Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh.








Supreme Court imposes interim ban on sale of Wakf properties

TNN | May 12, 2012, 03.37AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday imposed an interim ban on any transaction related to Wakf properties in Maharashtra and directed all parties to maintain status quo.

“We direct that in relation to Wakf properties, as distinct from trusts created by Muslims, all concerned, including the charity commissioner, Mumbai, shall not permit any of the persons in management of such Wakf properties to encumber or alienate any of the properties under their management till a decision is rendered in the pending special leave petitions,” said a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi.

The special leave petitions had challenged the Bombay high court’s decision to vest powers of management and supervision of Muslim Wakf estates in Maharashtra in the charity commissioner. The HC had noted that the state Wakf board had not been properly constituted and that there could not be a vacuum in administering Wakf and the properties vested in them.

The three-judge bench said the question before it was whether the HC had the jurisdiction to make such orders in the writ jurisdiction and vest the management of all Wakf properties in the charity commissioner.

It said there was a vast difference between Muslim Wakfs and trusts created by Muslims. While Wakf properties are dedicated to “God” and the dedicator does not retain any title over it, in the trusts, the property is not dedicated to “God” and the owning trust retains title over its property.

The bench said: “In the present case, the difference between trusts and Wakfs appears to have been overlooked and the high court has passed orders without taking into consideration the fact that the charity commissioner would not ordinarily have any jurisdiction to manage Wakf properties.”

“In our view, it would be in the interest of all concerned to maintain the status quo and to restrain all those in management of the Wakf properties from alienating and/or encumbering the Wakf properties during the pendency of proceedings before this court,” it added.







High court notice to ex-DGP, chief secretary for inaction during Gujjar stir

TNN | May 12, 2012, 02.44AM IST

JAIPUR: Former chief secretary D C Sawant and former director general of police (DGP) A S Gill could be charged for committing contempt of court for their alleged inaction during the Gujjar agitation in 2008. The Rajasthan High Court on Friday issued notices to the then chief secretary Sawant and the then DGP Gill asking them to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

The single bench of Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma, while hearing the state government’s contempt petition against Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, observed that the government, too, failed to maintain law and order during the community’s agitation for quota in jobs and educational institutions in May-June 2008. Since Sawant and Gill were holding the top government posts then, the bench noted that the officers need to do some explaining. The two officers, who have retired and settled outside Rajasthan, have time till July 23 to file replies.

Principal secretary (home) Ashok Sampatram, DGP Harish Meena and Bainsla were present in the court when the notices were issued. The bench directed DGP Meena to ensure that the court notices were served to Sawant and Gill.

Bainsla, along with his 12 supporters, has been facing the contempt charge as the Gujjar agitation in 2008 witnessed violent clashes between the police and the protesters, resulting in loss of human lives and damage to government properties. The first Gujjar agitation in June 2007 saw similar violent clashes. As per the government reply in court, the two agitations resulted in death of 62 people and loss of government property worth Rs 30 crores. The Gujjars under Bainsla had uprooted railway tracks and forcefully blocked national highways in the eastern districts of Bharatpur, Dausa, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur.

Once the 2008 agitation was called off after negotiations, the then Vasundhara Raje government filed the contempt petition against Bainsla alleging that the Gujjar leader and his supporters knowingly violated the high court order of September 10, 2007, which required the Gujjars to keep their protests peaceful.

Justice Sharma, while hearing the petition, however, wanted to know what the state government did to maintain law and order during the agitation in 2008. On behalf of the government, additional advocate general NA Naqvi said on Friday that Bharatpur collector denied permission for the protest in May 2008. “When Bainsla and his supporters still declared to go ahead with the protest, we made 18,000 preventive detentions, suspended nearly 1600 arms licences, clamped prohibitory orders against public gatherings, deployed Army and RAC at sensitive places and registered police cases against law breakers across the state,” Naqvi told the bench. The court, however, said it was not satisfied with the government reply.








Supreme Court refuses to intervene in Air India stir

MUMBAI: Air India was forced to cancel nearly 30 international flights on Friday after 400 pilots refused to return to work and the Supreme Court declined to intervene saying that it is an internal matter. Striking pilots continued to defy the management and the government for the fourth straight day on Friday, prompting concerns that the agitation will drive up airfares and provoke an outcry from a public weary of troubles in the country’s various airlines.

India’s aviation regulator, the Director General of Civil Aviation, ( DGCA), warned airlines not to take advantage of the situation and increase fares beyond the highest price band. The warning came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh that airfares should not increase. “The Cabinet has approved a huge amount in the turnover plan to save Air India, but Air India family (union) should understand and co-operate,” agencies quoted the minister as saying. The government agreed to provide 30,000 crore to Air India as equity recently to revive it from a debt squeeze caused by reckless borrowing.

“We have sent out advisory to the airlines that there should not be any inordinate rise in the fares. We are keeping a watch on fare movement,” EK Bharat Bhushan, the director general of civil aviation told ET.

The apex court on Friday refused to entertain a contempt of court petition filed by the Air India management against pilots for not heeding a Delhi High Court order asking them to resume work. The Supreme Court told Air India and the civil aviation ministry to begin talks with the pilots and resolve the ‘internal’ matter.






CBI registers case in defence land sale in Kashmir; raids on

Press Trust of India | Updated: May 11, 2012 12:12 IST

Srinagar:  The CBI has registered a case against Defence Ministry officials and others as a part of its probe into alleged irregularities in the sale of military land near the high-security Srinagar airport.

Immediately after registering the case, the agency carried out searches at various places in Jammu, Srinagar, Patna, Delhi and Chandigarh, official sources said.

The agency had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into the matter last year during which it claimed to have found evidences that No Objection Certificates (NOCs) were granted to private persons for this prime and strategic piece of land arbitrarily.

The CBI has named Ajay Chowdhary, a 1997-batch Defence Estates official, and others in the FIR registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The agency had also conducted enquiry into the records of the Directorate General of Defence Estates and the local revenue, following a request from the Defence Ministry to probe the sanction of the NoC for sale of this land in Kashmir valley.

Defence Minister A K Antony had last year informed Parliament that on receipt of complaint, a preliminary enquiry was conducted during which it was found that prima-facie there have been irregularities in the issuance of NOCs which may have wider implications.

During the preliminary probe of the Defence Ministry, it was found that more than 70 NOCs were issued by the defence estates department in Srinagar during the last four years.

These NOCs were issued to private parties to buy more than 200 acres of land near high-security military installations in Srinagar.







2 Air India employees held for remarks against PMO, SC

Mumbai: Two Air India employees were on Friday arrested for allegedly posting unparliamentary and derogatory remarks on popular social networking sites against Prime Minister office, National flag, Supreme Court and leaders of opposite employees association.

According to the police, the two accused, identified as K V Janannathrao and Mayank Sharma, cabin crew of Air India, were nabbed and remanded to police custody till May 18.

There are two groups in Air India cabin crew association and the groups have a dispute over the presidential post and the association office.

While the dispute was getting accelerated day by day, the two accused started posting unparliamentary words against opposite group when one of members of the latter group complained to the cops, police said.

As the police started verifying the facts upon the complaint by Sagar Karnik, who is also an Air India employee, they stumbled upon various objectionable contents the accused posted on Orkut and Facebook.

“Other than using bad language about the opposite group and their leaders, the accused had also passed unparliamentary language against the PM office, Home Ministry, Supreme Court. The accused also gave death threat to the complainant over union dispute,” said a police officer from Cyber cell police station, but he refused to divulge the exact content.

The duo was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).









Illegal mining: Karnataka ex-minister GJ Reddy gets bail

Preeti Singh, CNN-IBN

Hyderabad: Hyderabad court on Friday granted conditional bail to former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy in the OMC illegal mining case. Associated Mining Corporation (AMC) and Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMC) owned by Reddy and his wife Aruna Lakshmi have been facing probe over charges of illegal mining.

Additional Civil and Sessions Court judge BM Angadi had remanded Reddy to custody after CBI moved an application in this regard. Former minister and Congress leader V Muniyappa and few other officials are the other accused in the case.

According to the chargesheet, the total amount earned by OMCPL through local sales and exports worked out to Rs 4,310 crore during the 2007-10 period.

The chargesheet further says that Reddys entered into a criminal conspiracy with public servants including late Linga Reddy, Rajagopal, suspended IAS officer and then secretary (Industries and Commerce department) Y Srilakshmi; and ensured that the mining leases for area of 68.5 hectares and 39.5 hectare were granted to OMC.

Gali and others encroached on mining areas of different companies located around lease area of OMCPL and carried out illegal mining, the CBI alleges, adding that OMCPL also laid roads illegally, linking to AGK mines (owned by OMCPL) for illegal transportation of iron ore.











High court acquits US teenager of his mother’s murder charge

TNN | May 12, 2012, 03.36AM IST

JODHPUR: US teenager Jon Carlo Patten, who was sentenced for the murder of his mother Cynthia Iannarelli at Jodhpur, has been acquitted by the Rajasthan high court. Jon was in the custody of a juvenile home at Jodhpur since May 2011.

The 15-year-old teenager from South Fayette (Pennsylvania) and his mother Iannarelli, a 51 year-old divorcee working as a business consultant, were holidaying at a desert resort in Osian village, 60 km from Jodhpur, in August 2010. Two days after their arrival, on the morning of August 13, Iannarelli was found murdered at the foot of a sand dune close to the resort. Her throat was slit and the nude body was wrapped in a bed-sheet.

Jon was preparing to leave for the US and about to board a flight from the Jodhpur Air Port the same day when he was arrested by the Jodhpur police. A chargesheet was filed against Jon on September 23, 2010 as the police accused him of the murder. As per the police, Jon had a heated argument with of his mother on the night before the body was found.

The Juvenile Justice Board convicted him of the murder on May 2, 2011 and sentenced him to three years detention at the special home meant for juvenile criminals. His counsel Rahul Mehra appealed against the conviction before the Sessions Court, which upheld the conviction on October 15, 2011.

During the court trial Jon wrote a letter to the Board’s presiding officer and pleaded innocence. The teenager alleged that the police falsely implicated him for the murder and that was coerced into making a confessional statement.

Jon’s counsel later filed a revision petition before the high court, which quashed the lower court’s decision. Considering the witnesses and evidences, the high court acquitted Jon of the charge and ordered his immediate release on Thursday. “He has been given his passport and is currently in the possession of the US Embassy officials who will arrange to send him back to the US after the receipt of the court order’s copy,” Jon’s counsel said









Aarushi Talwar Murder Case: Parents Stand Trial, Hearing Deferred Till May 14

Latest News in World

The Ghaziabad sessions court on Friday deferred hearing on the Aarushi Talwar murder case till May 14.

The trial of dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who are the prime suspect in the murder of their daughter Aarushi, began in the sessions court on Friday.

The couple’s counsel demanded the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give its case diary to the Talwars. The CBI, however, strongly objected to it.

The CBI argued the case diary had important references in connection to the various aspects of the case and it could be used to weaken the case further if it is handed over to the couple.

The couple said they want details of the mobile phone calls made by Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal, who were arrested initially in connection to the case.

Rajesh and Nupur also demanded statements of the police officers who investigated the case.

After hearing the arguments of both the sides, the court deferred the case till May 14.

The CBI is scheduled to submit the statement of Uttar Pradesh Police officer Data Ram Nanoria on May 14.

Nanoria was the first investigating officer in the case.

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear Nupur’s bail plea and review petition that challenged her trial in a lower court in connection to the murder of her teenage daughter Aarushi, media reports said.

A CBI court on Wednesday rejected dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur’s plea seeking more important documents from the CBI in connection to Aarushi’s murder.

Special Judicial Magistrate Preeti Singh on Wednesday rejected the demands made by the couple for more documents and transferred the case to a Sessions Court.

Teenager Aarushi Talwar was found dead, with her throat slit, at the Talwar residence in Noida in the morning of May 16, 2008. The body of Hemraj, Talwars’ domestic help, was found on the terrace the next day.

The case has since spiralled into one of the country’s biggest unsolved cases, with a prolonged investigation marked by admissions of lack of evidence and dramatic twists.

Nupur and Rajesh maintain that they are innocent, and are being framed by the CBI since the agency has not been able to track down the real killers.









SC verdict hits BSY’s comeback chances

TNN | May 12, 2012, 02.39AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court order of a CBI probe is a setback for former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa who was hoping for a comeback as CM, and interferes with BJP’s plan to put its Karnataka house in order ahead of the challenges of state and Lok Sabha polls. Although the BJP strongly resisted Yeddyurappa’s demand for reinstatement, its hopes of protecting its new-found dominance in Karnataka hinged on the Lingayat strongman’s return to the helm in Bangalore.

The setback for Yeddyurappa may ensure the continuation of Sadananda Gowda as chief minister: Hardly an appealing prospect for those who are worried about BJP’s sliding graph in Karnataka.

Asking the agency to treat the CEC report as “informant’s information to the investigation agency”, the SC said, “The CBI shall undertake investigations in a most fair, proper and unbiased manner. The CBI shall complete its investigation and submit a report to the court of competent jurisdiction with a copy of the report to be placed on the file of this court within three months.”

The court expressed anguish over the CEC report pointing out the inaction on the part of government and statutory authorities to stop rampant illegal mining of iron ore carried out with impunity under political patronage in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

“The facts reveal an unfortunate state of affairs which has prevailed for a considerable time in Andhra and Karnataka. The CEC has pointed out, and the complainant and petitioners have also highlighted, a complete failure of the state in relation to protecting the environment and minerals from being illegally mined,” said Justice Kumar in the 46-page judgment.










SC angry over states’ inaction on illegal mining

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | May 12, 2012, 02.06AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed anguish over the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report, pointing out the inaction on the part of government and statutory authorities to stop rampant illegal mining of iron ore carried out with impunity under political patronage in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

It asked Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and departments of that or any other state to fully cooperate and provide required information to the CBI. The premier probe agency has been asked to probe the alleged kickbacks received by trusts and institutions run by former CM B S Yeddyurappa and his family after he reportedly showed favours to certain mining majors.

Justice Kumar of the Supreme Court, who wrote the 46-page judgment, said: “The facts in the present case reveal an unfortunate state of affairs which has prevailed for a considerable time in the mentioned districts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The CEC has pointed out, and the complainant and petitioners have also highlighted, a complete failure of the state machinery in relation to controlling and protecting the environment, forests and minerals from being illegally mined and exploited.”

The court said, “Wherever and whenever the state fails to perform its duties, the court shall step in to ensure that rule of law prevails over the abuse of process of law.”

The court said all proceedings pending before any court relating to the matter, which now stood referred to the CBI for a detailed probe, would remain stayed till further orders.

In a 17-page report based on its investigation into serious charges levelled by NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya and after hearing all sides, the CEC had indicted the former CM, his two sons Vijayendra and B Y Raghavendra, and son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar for their involvement in the illegal allotment of land to South West Mining Ltd.

The CEC has found truth in the allegation that the Bangalore Development Authority allotted one acre from the Arkavathy Layout plan after irregularly denotifying the plot and converting its usage to non-agricultural purpose. The environment panel underlined that the Jindal Group-owned South West Mining Ltd, as part of the quid pro quo, contributed Rs 10 crore to Prerana Education Society set up by close relatives of Yeddyurappa.

The society, “during March 2010, vide two cheques of Rs 5 crore each, received a donation of Rs 10 crore from South West Mining Ltd, a Jindal Group company, which had a net profit after tax of Rs 5.73 crore during 2009-10”, the panel had said.

What shocked the CEC was the spread and extent of illegal mining in Karnataka. It said a detailed investigation was needed by the CBI into “the massive illegalities and illegal mining found to have taken place in Karnataka and the allegations made against the Jindal Group as being recipient of large quantities of illegally mined material and undue favours shown to them in respect of mining lease of M/s Mysore Minerals Ltd”.

The CEC examined the donation details of South West Mining and other Jindal Group companies. “It is seen that such a large donation has not been made by the said company or other Jindal Group companies to any other trust/society not owned by the Jindal Group,” the CEC had said.

It recommended CBI probe into the donations received by Prerana Education Society and its links to “alleged receipt of illegal mineral by M/s JSW Steel Ltd and the alleged undue favour shown to it in respect of the mining lease of MML”.

It had also recommended CBI probe into Rs 6-crore donation by mining baron R Praveen Chandra to entities managed by Yeddyurappa’s sons and son-in-law. The CEC report said Chandra had paid Rs 2.5 crore to Bhagat Homes and Rs 3.5 crore to Dhavalagiri Property Dealers “as a quid pro quo for allotment of a mining lease”.

“The CBI should investigate the payments made by the above said lessee to these two companies whose directors/shareholders are close relatives of the then chief minister, Karnataka, and whether there was any link between such payments and grant of mining lease to Praveen Chandra,” the CEC said.








SC orders probe into BS Yeddyurappa’s links to illegal mining; JSW Steel’s donations under scanner

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s links to illegal mining in the state, almost certainly dashing his hopes of a return to power in the near future.

Also under investigation will be JSW Steel, India’s third-largest steelmaker, which has been accused of making donations to entities controlled by Yeddyurappa’s kin in return for access to illegally mined iron ore.

In an order on Friday, a special forest bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and Swatanter Kumar directed the CBI to complete its investigation within three months. The judges also expressed anguish over the rampant illegal mining of iron ore under political patronage in Karantaka and Andhra Pradesh.

“Wherever and whenever the State fails to perform its duties, the court shall step in to ensure that the rule of law prevails,” wrote Justice Kumar on behalf of the bench.

Sadananda Gowda, the man who succeeded Yeddyurappa, declined to comment, but the opposition Congress said the government must resign. The former chief minister, who spoke to reporters at Nanjangud, near Mysore, insisted he was innocent.

“I will come out clean. I am confident of getting justice after the CBI probe,” he said.

The recommendation for an investigation was made by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), the SC-appointed panel which has been overseeing the clampdown on illegal mining.

The deals of denotification of government land bought by Yeddyurappa’s relatives and sold to a JSW-linked company South West Mining is under scanner. Another involves the donation of 10 crore to a trust controlled by the family of the former chief minister. Payments of 6 crore by a mine owner to two firms controlled by close kin of Yeddyurappa will also come under CBI scrutiny.

JSW Steel insists that it was a bona fide purchaser of iron ore from the open market, and that it was not obliged to check the origin of the ore. South West Mining, too, maintains it is innocent.

For chief minister Gowda, who has complained to the party’s leadership in New Delhi that the Yeddyurappa faction has been defying him, the Supreme Court’s order will be a relief. It could force Yeddyurappa’s supporters to lie low and give Gowda the room that he needs to carry out a cabinet expansion.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which formed its first government in south India in Karnataka, has been embarrassed by a series of corruption scandals. Besides leaving Karnataka in a state of almost permanent political dysfunction, they have also hampered the BJP’s attempts to corner the United Progressive Alliance government on the issue of corruption.

G Janaradhana Reddy, a former tourism minister and a mining baron from iron-ore rich Bellary, is in jail while being investigated for his involvement in illegal mining. Katta Subramanya Naidu and Krishnaiah Setty, who were both ministers, have been incarcerated in connection with land scams.

The allegations against Yeddyurappa’s kin were made by Samaja Parivartana Samudaya, which has been waging a court battle against illegal mining in the state.










Human rights commission hold open hearing in Ahmedabad on atrocities against Scheduled Castes

Press Trust of India | Updated: May 12, 2012 12:30 IST

New Delhi:  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will hold a two-day ‘open hearing’ in Ahmedabad from next Monday on issues relating to alleged atrocities against Scheduled Castes in Gujarat and the problems faced by them in seeking justice.

The delegation will be led by NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan. NHRC Member Justice B C Patel, A K Garg, Registrar (Law) and senior officers of the Commission will be part of the delegation.

The Commission after hearing the affected people will also meet the representatives of NGOs and later on hold discussions with the Chief Secretary, DGP and senior civil, police and jail officials on these issues along with other major outstanding cases pertaining to the State of Gujarat.

The Commission has decided to hold such open hearings to reach out to the Dalits and hear their complaints about violations of their rights by the public authorities as part of the recommendations given by K B Saxena IAS (retired) in his report to NHRC on the continuing problems faced by the Scheduled Castes.

The Commission had organized an ‘open hearing’ at Puri in Odisha in April this year during which more than 200 complaints were received.









HC issues notice to ex Rajasthan chief secy in contempt case

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 11,2012

Jaipur, May 11 (PTI) The Rajasthan High Court has issued contempt notice to former Chief Secretary D C Samant for his failure to comply with the court order during the Gujjar agitation for quota in 2008. The order came during a hearing on the contempt plea filed by the state government against Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla and his associates. The court had in 2008 passed guidelines to Gujjar leaders not to disrupt law and order and asked government to ensure its strict compliance but despite this the agitation led to unprecedented chaos. Justice M C Sharma said, “The state government had miserably failed to see compliance of our order and the entire chaos was outcome of failure of state machinery. “We, therefore, would like to seek explanation from the then chief secretary DC Samant to explain as to what prevented him from executing and complying court’s orders.”










HC directs Maha govt to fill up vacancies in consumer forums

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 21:38

Mumbai: Observing that people should not suffer due to vacancies in district consumer forums across the state, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to fill them up the earliest.

“So many consumer forums are not functioning as there are no presiding officers. People will suffer because of this,” a division bench headed by Justice D D Sinha observed.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Mumbai Grahak Panchayat stating that out of the 40 consumer district forums across Maharashtra, 19 are non- functional due to the vacant posts of Presidents and Members.

The court was today informed by the government that it has initiated process to fill up the vacancies by issuing advertisements calling for applications.

“Just initiating the process is not enough. You (government) should do it in a reasonable time. When will you finish filling up the vacancies?,” Justice Sinha questioned.

The court has directed the government to file an affidavit within five weeks stating by when it would complete the procedure of filling up vacancies.









HC asks Guj not to take coercive steps for recovery from Essar

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 22:12

Ahmedabad: In a relief to Essar Oil Ltd, the Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the state government not to take coercive steps for recovery of ‘sales tax deferral liability’ from the company till further orders.

The direction of division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala came upon the company’s petition.

The court also issued a notice to the state. The next hearing would be in June.

The company’s petition has sought waiver of interest and penalty — to the tune of around Rs 2,000 crore — on its sales tax deferral liability to the government of Gujarat.

It has also sought that state should allow it to make repayment in annual instalments from April next year. The state government had rejected this proposal.

According to the company, of total sales tax of Rs 6,406 crore, it has already paid Rs 237 crore. The state government has put the company’s tax dues at Rs 8,255.47 crore, which includes payable interest and penalty.

On January 17, the Supreme Court upheld Gujarat government’s appeal against Essar Oil’s tax benefit claims. Subsequently, state tax authorities issued a demand notice.

The SC had said that company could not take the benefit of exemption scheme as it had not started production from its refinery at Vadinar during the stipulated time.










HC seeks Maha govt’s reply on new rule in RTI

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 11,2012

Mumbai, May 11 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today sought Maharashtra government’s reply on a public interest litigation challenging the recent insertion of a rule under the Right to Information Act. The petition filed by advocate Shivaji Kshirsagar has challenged the insertion of rule 3 A, which was incorporated through a notification dated January 16, 2012. The rule states that a person seeking information under section 6 of the act shall limit the same to one subject matter, which shall not “ordinarily” exceed 150 words. If the applicant seeks information on more than one subject matter, they will have to make separate applications, the rule states. The rule further directs the public information officer to deal only with the first subject matter in the event of queries on multiple subjects. Kshirsagar argued that such a rule would deprive the citizens from seeking information within time and reasonable costs. Moreover, the requirement of “one subject matter” is not properly defined and hence, vague, the petition states. A division bench, headed by Justice D D Sinha asked the government the logic behind inclusion of such a rule. “This is a sensitive act and such matters are very important in larger public interest,” the court said directing the government to file its reply within six weeks. The petition states that the amendment to the rules would cause harassment to the citizen seeking information as it gives the public information officer discretionary powers which might be used against the applicant to deny information. Kshirsagar also pointed out that there will be difference in length when it comes to seeking information in English or other regional languages.









HC tells EC to give notice in newspapers about state elections

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 19:48

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the Election Commission (EC) to issue a public notice in leading newspapers of Maharashtra, giving details about the forthcoming Legislative Council elections from Graduates Constituencies and inviting applications from people to be enrolled as voters.

The court further directed that the advertisements be issued for seven days in newspapers commencing May 14 in order to bring an awareness among the electorate public about the forthcoming elections from Graduate Constituencies.

“The adverstisement shall also indicate that the last date for receiving applications will be June 15. However, this will not preclude Election Commission from receiving such applications after the date, if the date of nomination is after June 15,” said a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice NM Jamdar.

The judges clarified that this date (June 15) is indicated only for the purpose of convenience of the intending applicants so that they know about the date by which they should submit their applications.

The bench was hearing on May 9 a petition filed by Surendra Srivastava of Lok Satta party, who made a grievance that EC was not taking requisite steps for preparing and updating electoral rolls for the elections to the state Legislative Council from the Graduate constituencies.

The court also asked EC to indicate the website where applicants can seek further information. The advertisements should also indicate that the applications may be submitted to any of the designated officers whose addresses are given therein, irrespective of the place of residence or work place of the applicants.

EC counsel informed the court that the advertisements would be displayed in cinema halls and cable TV network.









HC orders Bombay Dyeing to hand over land to BMC, MHADA

PTI | 08:05 PM,May 11,2012

Mumbai, May 11 (PTI) Bombay High Court today directed the textile major Bombay Dyeing to hand over a third of its mill-land at Dadar-Naigaon in central Mumbai to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to be developed as an open space, and another third to the state housing agency MHADA for low-cost houses. In April 2010, the Court had stayed the stop-work notice issued by the municipal corporation to Bombay Dyeing, which was redeveloping the land. The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi today vacated the stay, and asked the company to hand over one-third of the land each to BMC and MHADA. Bombay Dyeing had approached high court challenging the notice issued by BMC, following a direction from the monitoring committee which oversees mill-land re-development. The committee, headed by Justice B V Chavan (retd), had directed the civic body to issue notice on the ground that Bombay Dyeing had failed to hand over the land to MHADA and BMC as required by the Development Control rules. Bombay Dyeing’s housing projects are coming up on the lands where once textile mills ran: Spring Mills in Dadar-Naigaon where a 38-storey residential-cum-commercial tower is coming up, and Textile Mills in Worli where retail and IT spaces are in the offing on a 1.02 lakh sq m plot. The committee also noted that the layout submitted by Bombay Dyeing was approved in 2005, but still the portions of land were not handed over to BMC and MHADA. Navroz Seervai, counsel for Bombay Dyeing, contended that under the DC regulations it would have to surrender land to MHADA and the corporation only upon completion of 30 per cent of the work. The court has stayed today’s order till June 30 to enable Bombay Dyeing to file appeal.







HC nod for CBI notice to Vijay Sai

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Friday granted permission to the CBI to serve a personal notice on Vijay Sai Reddy, accused number two in the alleged illegal assets case of YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

While granting the permission, justice N.Ravi Shankar, vacation judge, adjourned the hearing to next week of a CBI plea for cancellation of bail granted by a special CBI court to Vijay Sai Reddy. When the judge asked the CBI for reasons for seeking cancellation of the bail, the CBI’s counsel said the lower court had not stuck to the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court and there was every possibility of tampering of evidence by the accused if he was on bail.

On April 20 the High Court had set aside the bail granted to Vijay Sai by the special CBI court and directed the lower court to restore the bail petition of Vijay Sai and take an appropriate decision on it after hearing both the parties.

The special judge for CBI cases had granted bail again to Vijay Sai on April 30 by directing him not to leave the city without the court’s permission.










HC sets aside Bank’s order rejecting education loan plea

PTI | 11:05 PM,May 11,2012

Chennai,May 11 (PTI) The Madras High Court has held that a nationalised bank cannot deny a student-applicant an educational loan solely on the ground that admission was secured under the management quota. Justice M Jaichandren set aside an order of a nationalised bank rejecting an engineering student J Pandiyarajan’s’s educational loan application, as he had been admitted under the management quota. The judge applied the principles laid down in an earlier judgement and said the bank was not justified in rejecting the student’s education loan request. “There is no prohibition to sanction education loan to students admitted in the management quota,” the Judge said and added that if the bank’s stand was accepted, no student admitted under the management quota, in any private self-financing college, would be in a position to secure an education loan. This would defeat the purpose for which the Union Government and RBI had introduced the scheme. Directing the student to resubmit an application to the bank for a loan, the judge said the bank should pass appropriate orders as per the regulations and guidelines laid down for granting educational loans. The petitioner, studying B.E (Mechanical) course in a private institution, here, had challenged a February 13 last order of the Indian Overseas Bank’s branch in Salem district, rejecting his request for educational loan. He had sought a consequent direction to the bank to provide him the financial assistance.PTI GR BN








HC refers Welukar’s appointment to another bench

Express news service : Mumbai, Sat May 12 2012, 02:28 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Friday referred a petition challenging the appointment of Mumbai University’s Vice-Chancellor Rajan Welukar to a separate division bench in order to obtain a majority view on the issue.

In August last year, a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Girish Godbole had given a split verdict on the case, which was subsequently referred to a third judge.

The third judge, Justice Vazifdar, did not completely agree with either of the judges, but held that there was inadequate material to decide whether the appointment was valid or not. A set of petitions have challenged Welukar’s appointment on the ground that he did not possess the requisite number of research publications.

In August last year, Chief Justice Shah had declined to interfere with the appointment, while Justice Godbole had directed the university’s search committee to reconsider the appointment.







Patna HC quashes Patna University appointments

TNN | May 12, 2012, 01.28AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Friday quashed the Patna University (PU) notifications appointing the head of departments (HoDs) of three different postgraduate (PG) departments.

The order was passed by a single bench presided by Justice A K Tripathi on a writ petition filed by Sachchidanand Sharma and others challenging their removal from the post of the HoD.

Sharma, Ranganath Prasad Diwakar and Bhagwan Prasad Singh were removed unceremoniously from the post of HoDs in March 2011. They were HODs of the departments of political science, philosophy and economics, respectively.

Petitioner’s lawyer Abhinav Srivastava said these three were removed even before completing their tenure of three years as per the June 2008 statute. Sharma, who was elevated to the post of HoD, political science, in February, 2010, was removed after 13 months in March 2011 by the then acting VC of PU, S Adhikari.

The removal was challenged by him in the high court in April 2011.

With the court’s order on Friday, the notifications appointing Sunanda Bannerjee as HoD, political science, Sudha Srivastava as HoD, philosophy, and Rai Murari as HoD, economics, stand null and void.

The high court also ordered that the seniority disputes be put before a screening committee and gave the panel time till June 26 to resolve such cases.








HC issues notices on supply of drugs

Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat May 12 2012, 00:35 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Punjab government; its Director General of Police (DGP) and Narcotics Control Bureau, Chandigarh, on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate H C Arora.

The petitioner stated that he had obtained information under RTI Act from 20 police districts of Punjab, and had been informed that between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, as many as 1,663 cases involving offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act had been decided by various trial courts, and a large number of accused had been convicted.

However, the information states that not even in a single case, the Punjab Police succeeded in apprehending either the source of supply of narcotic drugs or its destination point.

In some of the letters received from the offices of superintendents of police of certain districts, it had been stated that the drugs were supplied from other states, including Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

However, the police have neither succeeded in laying its hands on the source of supply of drugs, nor referred the cases to Narcotics Control Bureau for further investigation.

Arora stated that there was need for co-ordination

between the Punjab Police and the Narcotic Control Bureau, Zonal Office, Chandigarh, so that inter-state suppliers of drugs could be apprehended.








HC notice to CBI on Jaya Jaitly’s plea

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 12:40

New Delhi: The CBI was today directed by the Delhi High Court to file its response on former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly’s plea seeking a reduction in the surety amount to be deposited by her to visit abroad.

Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the CBI and asked the probe agency to file its reply by May 14 besides filing a status report by the next date of hearing.

The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Abhijat appearing for Jaitly, who is facing trial for allegedly taking a bribe 11 years ago to recommend to the then NDA government a fake defence deal.

A CBI court had on May 1 allowed Jaitly to visit Singapore from May 30 to June 8 to attend a panel debate, but on furnishing a surety bond of Rs 3 lakh in the form of fixed deposit receipts (FDR) of a bank and instructed her not to extend her stay.

Challenging the trial court’s order, Jaitly has sought a reduction in the surety amount, saying she is 65 years old and is not engaged in any monetarily gainful employment.

Claiming that even her entire savings collectively would not amount to Rs 3 lakh, Jaitly has said that earlier she had applied for and was duly granted permission to travel abroad as many as 5 times and always had to deposit Rs 25,000 as FDR.

She has alleged even though her application was allowed, the trial court has indirectly fettered her right to travel abroad by imposing the “onerous” condition of Rs 3 lakh.

The case of bribe against Jaitly was lodged on the basis of a sting ‘Operation Westend,’ conducted by news portal tehelka.Com in 2001, exposing alleged corruption in defence deals.

George Fernandes, founder of Samata party, was the Defence Minister at that time.

The court had framed charges against three persons for offences of criminal conspiracy under IPC and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) dealing with ‘taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant’.

Special CBI Judge Kawal Jeet Arora had put Jaitly, her erstwhile party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and retired Major General S P Murgai on trial after they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges framed by the court against them.

The trial court had said the three accused, along with one Surender Kumar Surekha who has turned approver, hatched a conspiracy to accept bribe from Mathew Samuel, representative of Westend International for inducing officials of Ministry of Defence for obtaining supply orders for hand-held thermal imagers from the Army headquarters in favour of the firm.

The trial court had said that being the national president of Samata Party, Jaitly had on December 28, 2000, allegedly accepted Rs two lakh as “gratification” from Samuel at the official residence of Fernandes.






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