High Court Notice to Central Bureau of Investigation on Plea Seeking Probe into Pension Scam

The Punjab & Haryana HC on Thursday issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an ongoing petition seeking investigation into alleged pension scam in which various social security pensions in Haryana were disbursed to the ghost & ineligible beneficiaries.

The matter is pending before the HC in the wake of a petition filed by Rakesh Bains. A resident of Kurukhetra, Bains has been seeking directions to register an First Information Report (FIR) in the alleged scam.

According to the petitioner, no First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against most found receiving bogus old-age-pensions in various districts of Haryana.

Haryana has registered First Information Report (FIR)s only in Shahabad Markanda & Kurukshetra, but no action was taken against those found receiving the pension fraudulently in other districts of the state.

The controversy raised in the petition is with regard to disbursement of old-age samman allowance/pension & other financial incentives to ineligible beneficiaries across Haryana with connivance of the officials concerned.

‘ Manpasand Beverages’ Top Officials Arrested For Rs 40 Crore Tax Fraud

Top officials of Manpasand Beverages Ltd. were arrested on Friday by the goods and services tax department for an alleged Rs 40-crore fake invoice scam.

The Central GST and Customs office arrested Managing Director Abhishek Singh, his brother Harshvardhan Singh and the company’s Chief Financial Officer Paresh Thakkar after conducting an investigation, according the agency’s press release. Officials had conducted searches across various premises of the Vadodara-based beverage maker on Thursday.

“The searches unearthed a huge racket of creating fake/dummy units for availing fraudulent credit and committing tax evasion of Rs 40 crore and involving turnover of Rs 300 crore,” a Central GST and Customs press release said.

Moreover, the release said, the investigation has also revealed the presence of 30 such fake units located in various parts of the country that were used in availing illegal credit. “Further investigations to unearth more shell companies is under progress.” it added.

While Manpasand is yet to respond to BloombergQuint’s email query, it said in an exchange notification, it’s considering the present status of the case estimated impact on the company and amount of involved is not identifiable till the outcome in the matter.

The Mango Sip brand owner’s stock has lost nearly 75 percent of its market value in the last twelve months. In May last year, Deloitte Haskins & Sells resigned as the company’s auditor, saying it wasn’t provided with “significant information” that it had requested, forcing Manpasand to delay annoucing its financial results. That followed separate investigations by the market regulator and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs into alleged non-disclosures and possible accounting lapses.

Most analysts that were covering the stock have suspended coverage or have an under review status on the scrip. According to Bloomberg data, it has one ‘sell’ rating by Kotak Securities with target price of Rs 132 apiece.

“GRAs to look into harassment complaints of tribals”

grievance-bannerThe Supreme Court has said that the complaints of tribals of three districts in Madhya Pradesh regarding alleged harassment by forest officials and police inaction would be taken care of by the grievance redressal authority (GRAs) set up by it.

The ‘Shramik Adivasi Sangathan’ had approached the apex court against the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had dismissed their plea in which they had alleged that some officers of forest and police department were functioning as “feudal lords” and were considering tribals as their subjects.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur has directed the GRAs of Harda, Betul and Khandwa districts in the state to look into these issues and give their reports to the district judges concerned within three months.

The court also directed the Madhya Pradesh government to extend “every possible help in terms of financial and manpower assistance to GRAs to complete the task given to them”.

“GRAs for Harda, Betul and Khandwa constituted pursuant to the order dated August 13, 2012 passed by this Court shall look into every case highlighted in writ petition…filed by the appellant and such other similar grievances and make their report/reports to the district judges concerned as early as possible and in any case not later than three months from the date of this judgement,” the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Uday Umesh Lalit, said.

“If the report/reports so made by GRAs make out a case as alleged, the station house officer concerned shall do well to act accordingly and the cases in question shall be taken to logical end, in a manner known to law,” it said.

Row over goods entry tax: Hearing by SC’s 9-judge bench begins

Row over goods entry tax: Hearing by SC's 9-judge bench begins
Row over goods entry tax: Hearing by SC’s 9-judge bench begins

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court today commenced hearing to examine the validity of separate entry taxes on goods mandated by various state government statutes, without heeding to the plea of the Centre to wait for the passage of GST Bill in Parliament.

As the Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur assembled to hear the matter, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi pleaded that the issue be put on hold till the passage of pending GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill which would subsume the tax law under challenge.

However, the bench also comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, Shiva Kirti Singh, N V Ramana, R Banumathi, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan decided to go ahead with the hearing, saying that “complex tax issues are involved”.

It said issues related to past levies by the States will be decided in the matter.

The Attorney General submitted that some arrangement could be made in respect to past demands by the states relating to entry tax after GST Bill, involving a Constitution amendment, was passed by Parliament.

Entry tax is imposed by state governments on movement of goods from one state to another. It is levied by the state that receives goods.

The entry tax provisions of various states has been challenged by some companies on the ground that they are against the concept of free trade and commerce under Article 301 (freedom of trade commerce and intercourse with the territory of India) of the Constitution.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been representing some companies in the matter, is leading the arguments.

The bench would be revisiting two judgements passed by the apex court in 1960 and 1962 on the issue.

The decision to refer the case to the larger bench came during the hearing of matters filed by companies, including Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, Essar Steel Ltd, Tata Steel Ltd, Adani Enterprises Ltd and the Odisha government.

Jindal Stainless Ltd had brought the matter way back in 2002 when the company had challenged the validity of the Haryana Local Area Development Tax Act, 2000.

(Source : PTI)

Two accused firms received Rs 742.58 cr proceeds of crime: ED

edThe Enforcement Directorate today told the special 2G court that there were money transactions which allegedly showed that Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL) and South Asia FM Ltd (SAFL) received Rs 742.58 crore as “proceeds of crime” from Mauritius-based firms in Aircel-Maxis deal related money laundering case.

The court has fixed February 20 when it will further hear arguments on the point of taking cognisance.

The agency claimed before Special CBI Judge O P Saini that “proceeds of crime” amounting to Rs 549.03 crore and Rs 193.55 crore were received by SDTPL and SAFL, allegedly controlled by co-accused Kalanithi Maran, respectively through various Mauritius-based entities.

 

N K Matta, special prosecutor for Enforcement Directorate (ED), referred to the details of the money transactions between these firms and alleged that SDTPL had received a total of Rs 549.03 crore from Mauritius-based company M/s South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd.

He said that company secretary of SDTPL had declared about these remittances to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

“CBI has alleged in its charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis deal case that bribe money was received and our (EDs) case relates to the money trail,” he told the court.

After the prosecutor referred to the money transactions, the judge asked the agency, “These are all allegations. Where is the evidence for this?”

Responding to the courts query, the prosecutor read out the statements of the prosecution witnesses recorded during the investigation and also relevant documents pertaining to the money transactions.

The court, after hearing the submissions, said that it is a complicated case so it would hear arguments on the next date of hearing before passing any order on taking cognisance on the EDs charge sheet filed in the case.

“This is a very complex and complicated case. There is no urgency so one more hearing is required to pass an order,” the judge said, adding, “Arguments on the point of cognisance heard. Since records of the case are voluminous, put up for further arguments on February 20.”

ED has chargesheeted former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, his wife Kavery Kalanithi, K Shanmugam, Managing Director of SAFL and two firms SDTPL and SAFL as accused in the case filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Court to hear arguments on charges against Burman on Jul 24

Court to hear arguments on charges against Burman on Jul 24
Court to hear arguments on charges against Burman on Jul 24

A Delhi court has fixed July 24 for hearing arguments on framing of charges in an alleged tax evasion case against Pradip Burman, one of the Dabur India promoters whose name has cropped up in the list given by the Centre to the Supreme Court on the black money issue.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma put up the matter for arguments on framing of charges after concluding recording of pre-charge evidence.

“All the witnesses mentioned in the list of witnesses have been examined. Hence, pre-charge evidence stands closed. As prayed, put up on July 24 for arguments on charge,” the court said.

It has recorded statements of several income tax officials as pre-charge evidence in two alleged tax evasion cases involving Burman, who was earlier granted bail.

73-year-old Burman is facing prosecution in a complaint filed by the IT Department alleging that he was holding a foreign bank account which he has not disclosed in his IT returns and there were undisclosed deposits in that account.

The court had earlier recorded testimony of complainant Gaurav Dudeja, a senior Income Tax(IT) Department officer, who claimed that Burman has “wilfully attempted to evade tax” by not disclosing his foreign bank account in the initial return.

The officer had said that Burman also committed offence under the IT Act by not furnishing details or statements of the foreign bank account and wilfully made false statement during verification of his original income tax return.

Shortly after the disclosure in the Supreme Court in October last year, Dabur India promoter family, Burmans had said the account complied with all legal requirements.

“We wish to state that this account was opened when he (Pradip Burman) was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account,” a Dabur spokesperson had said in a statement.

Will hike auto, taxi fares as per Hakim panel report: Maha

Bombay High Court
Will hike auto, taxi fares as per Hakim panel report: Maha

The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that taxi and autorickshaw fares would be increased based on the recommendation of the now-scrapped Hakim Committee till the newly set up committee submits its report.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority (MMRTA) had on May 11 proposed a hike in the basic fare for autorickshaws and taxis based on the recommendation of the erstwhile Hakim Committee. The minimum fare for autos is expected to go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18 while taxi fare is likely to go up from the minimum Rs 21 to Rs 22.

The state government had earlier approached the high court seeking approval for the proposed hike. The court’s approval is required as a PIL was earlier filed by consumer body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat challenging the recommendations of the Hakim committee.

Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today told a division bench headed by Justice N H Patil that till the new committee headed by a retired high court judge does not submit its report, the government has decided to go ahead with the hike in fares based on the Hakim committee recommendation.

“From June 25 recalibration of the electronic meters of autos and taxis will start. Once the recalibration process is over the fare hike will be in place,” Vagyani said.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the court today adjourned till June 29 a petition filed by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat seeking contempt action against the taxi and autorickshaw unions for resorting to strike on June 15 and 17 in the city.

Taxi and autoriskshaw drivers had gone on strike to seek implementation of the proposed hike in fares and against scrapping of a one-man committee which recommended the hike.

The contempt petition contended that the high court had passed an order in August 2013 observing that taxi and auto unions should not threaten to go on strike time and again.

Court grants interim bail to IRS officer in graft case

Court grants interim bail to IRS officer in graft case
Court grants interim bail to IRS officer in graft case

A Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, arrested along with others by CBI for allegedly receiving bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh to favour private companies in their tax assessment-related matters, has been granted interim bail for one month by a Delhi court.

Special CBI Judge S C Rajan granted one month interim bail to M Logapathy, an IRS officer of 2008 batch, on health ground on a personal bond of Rs one lakh with a surety of the like amount.

“Considering the report submitted by medical officer and in view of the submissions of counsel, the applicant/accused M Logapathy is admitted to interim bail for a period of one month on furnishing personal bond in a sum of Rs one lakh with one surety of the like amount,” the court said.

Logapathy had sought bail, saying he was arrested on April 15 and was not required for any further interrogation by CBI.

His counsel argued that two co-accused have already been granted interim bail on medical ground and health condition of Logapathy, who was suffering from serious liver ailment, was deteriorating as he was not getting proper treatment in jail.

The defence counsel also said that daughter of the accused had suffered serious head injuries and Logapathy was required to look after her.

He also contended that the accused be released on interim bail as he was required to get proper treatment outside the jail for his ailment.

CBI, however, opposed his plea, saying the probe in the case was going on and was likely to conclude within the prescribed 60-day period.

The judge granted interim bail to Logapathy and directed him to surrender either before the court or directly to jail superintendent after expiry of the bail period.

Road mishap: Couple gets compensation for loss of unborn child

road mishapA 31-year-old man and his wife, who suffered injuries and lost their unborn child in a road accident here, have been awarded nearly Rs 13 lakh compensation by a Delhi court.

Additional District Judge Ashwani Kumar Sarpal directed New India Assurance Company Ltd, insurer of the offending RTV, to pay a compensation of 12.95 lakh to the couple who was on a motorcycle when they met with the accident.

The court, while holding the driver of the RTV guilty of rash driving, relied on the testimonies of the victim couple, eye witnesses and documents including FIR, medical report and mechanical inspection report of the vehicles.

Initially the woman and the man were awarded compensation of Rs 6 lakh and Rs 13.89 lakh, respectively, but the court deducted half the amount from the sum awarded to the husband due to his “contributory negligence” as he had jumped the red light leading to the accident.

“Thus the rashness and negligence on part of the petitioner driving the motorcycle due to jumping of red light is also clear,” the court said.

The court also rejected the claim of Rs 26 lakh made by the couple for the loss of unborn child and awarded Rs 2.5 lakh instead while citing a Delhi High Court verdict which had held that the “memories of an unborn child hurt less compared to an alive child who has died”.

“The claim of the petitioners for compensation of Rs 25 lakh towards death of unborn child and Rs one lakh for loss of love and affection is hereby rejected,” the court said.

According to the petition filed by the couple, on the night of July 19, 2007, they were going on a motorcycle from Lawrence Road to Yamuna Vihar here, when a rashly driven RTV hit them near a red light due to which the petitioners got injured and seven months pregnancy of the woman was aborted.

It claimed Rs 50 lakh compensation for injuries suffered by the couple, while through another petition they claimed an amount of Rs 26 lakh for the death of their unborn child.

The man, a businessman, had suffered 75 per cent permanent disability in his right leg, it said.

During the proceedings, the driver and the insurance company had claimed that their was negligence on the part of the man who was riding the bike as he had jumped the red light while the signal for the RTV was green.

The accused driver had alleged he was falsely implicated in the case as he was found near the accident spot.

Court dismisses bail plea of suspected LeT operative

A Delhi court has dismissed the bail plea of a suspected Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, who was arrested for allegedly conspiring to kidnap businessmen from various places for raising funds to carry out terror strikes in the national capital.

bailAdditional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Reetesh Singh denied bail to Mohd Shahid, arrested in December 2013 from Mewat region in Haryana, observing that the charges were yet to be framed against the accused persons arrested in the case. “Charges in this matter are yet to be framed. Keeping in view the allegations made against accused Shahid, I am not inclined to grant bail to him at this stage. Hence, the bail application is dismissed,” the judge said.

Special Cell of Delhi Police had named Shahid and Mohd Rashid in a charge sheet last May for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Later on, another suspected LeT operative Abdul Subhan, his nephew Ashabuddin and Pakistani national Arshad Khan were arrested in the case and a supplementary charge sheet was filed against them by the police.
While seeking bail, the counsel representing Shahid argued that there was nothing in the charge sheet which suggested that Shahid had met any of the co-accused. The police opposed the contentions of the defence counsel saying Shahid’s role was to provide logistics to facilitate the activities of Rashid.

In its charge sheet, police alleged that Subhan was the main conspirator in the case and he had entered into a conspiracy with other co-accused for carrying out terrorist acts in Delhi. It had said that Subhan was in touch with wanted LeT man Javed Baluchi, who is based in Pakistan. With the arrest of Rashid and Shahid, police had claimed to have unearthed a terror module of the LeT which was at an “advanced stage” of planning a major strike in Delhi.

Subhan was arrested on July 20 last year while Arshad is lodged in Kolkata Jail in connection with shoe baron Partha Roy Burman kidnapping case of 2001. Ashabuddin was arrested in the case after he was produced before the court here from Kolkata Jail where he was serving jail term for his role in Burman kidnapping case. Police had also claimed that Rashid had told the investigators about LeT’s plan to execute a terror strike “on the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition”.