Chopper scam: ED moves HC to cancel Ratul Puri’s bail in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of bail granted by a trial court to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The plea by the ED was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar, which allowed it to be listed for hearing on Friday.

In its petition, filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, the agency has sought setting aside of the bail granted to Puri on December 2 by a trial court.

The ED, in its plea, has claimed that the trial court has not appreciated all the documents put on record while granting relief to Puri.

While granting him the relief, the trial court had directed Puri, who was in the ED custody since September 4, not to “tamper with evidence” or “try to contact or influence the witnesses”.

In the present VVIP chopper scam case, Puri was named as an accused in the sixth chargesheet filed by the ED.

The trial court had noted that the “co-accused having similar or greater role than the role of present accused have already been enlarged on bail.”

According to the ED, the role of Puri was that his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Ltd, a co-accused in the case, and that he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the present matter.

The ED had filed the supplementary prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent to a chargesheet) against Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

In January 2014, India had scrapped a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland, for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

One of 4 convicts moves SC seeking review of death penalty in Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case

One of the four convicts, Akshya Kumar Singh, moved the Supreme Court Tuesday seeking review of its 2017 judgement handing down death penalty to all of them in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

The apex court, on July 9, 2018, had dismissed the review pleas filed by three other convicts in the case.

Akshya, 31, who had not filed the review plea earlier with other three convicts, has now moved the apex court with the petition, his lawyer A P Singh said.

The 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally gang raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a running bus in South Delhi by six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road. She succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The top court had earlier dismissed the review pleas by Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24), saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the verdict.

The apex court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the case of gangrape and murder of the woman here.

One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here

A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board. He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.

Iqbal Mirchi PMLA case: ED files charge sheet

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday filed charge sheet in the money-laundering case involving gangster Iqbal Mirchi.

ED is probing Mirchi’s purchase of three properties of Sir Mohammad Yusuf Trust in Worli area in the metropolis in September 1986 for Rs 6.5 lakh through his Rockside Enterprise.

Four persons have been arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by ED so far.

Among those arrested are Humayun Merchant, an alleged aide of Mirchi, Ranjeet Bindra, a broker in the deal of Mirchi’s property, and Rinku Deshpande, through whom Bindra allegedly received his commission.

Mirchi, who died in London in 2013, was an aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

Delhi court allows Robert Vadra to travel abroad

A Delhi court on Monday allowed Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, to travel abroad for medical treatment and business purposes.

Vadra is facing a probe under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, following allegations of money laundering related to purchase of a property in London at 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted permission to Vadra to go to Spain for two weeks from today.

The court directed him to submit a fixed deposit receipt (FDR) of Rs 25 lakh and his contact details and address of his stay abroad.

In June, it had allowed him to travel to the US and the Netherlands for six weeks on account of health reasons. The court, however, had not allowed Vadra to go to the United Kingdom.

The ED had expressed apprehension that the accused may destroy the evidence if allowed to go to the UK.

On April 1, Vadra was directed not to leave the country without prior permission by the local court, which had granted him conditional anticipatory bail.

SC to hear after four weeks PIL seeking greater autonomy for ECI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear after four weeks a PIL seeking that the chief election commissioner and election commissioners be appointed by a three-member collegium.

The collegium will comprise the prime minister, the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant took note of submissions that the plea needed an urgent hearing.

“We will list it for hearing after four weeks,” the bench said.

BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay has filed the PIL seeking to ensure more autonomy for the chief election commissioner’s (CEC) office and election commissioners.

The plea has also sought an independent secretariat for the Election Commission of India (ECI) and that it should also be given the power to make rules.

Shahjahanpur law student granted bail in extortion money from Swami Chinmayanand.

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday granted bail to the law student charged with trying to extort money from Swami Chinmayanand, the BJP leader whom she has accused of rape.

Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested under section 376-C of the IPC and continues to be in judicial custody.

But, in a related case, the 23-year-old woman and her three friends were also booked on Chinmayanand’s complaint that they had demanded Rs 5 crore from him.

The former Union minister alleged that they had threatened to make public video clips that showed him getting massages from the student.

Allowing the student’s bail application, Justice S D Singh observed that the police had already completed the investigation and filed a charge sheet.

He said no reasonable apprehension had been cited by the state that her release on bail will delay the trial. Hence, there is no need to detain her further, the court added.

During the bail hearing, the woman’s counsel argued that she is a victim of sexual harassment and claimed that all allegations against her are fabricated.

The counsel alleged that the student was raped by Chinmayanand over a long period of time.

Chinmayanand’s lawyer opposed the bail application and said the student had used a spy camera for recording the video clips.

The BJP leader was arrested on September 20 by a special investigation team (SIT), formed by Uttar Pradesh Police following directions from the Supreme Court.

He was booked under section 376-C, a charge short of rape. It is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position and induces or seduces a woman to have sex with him.

Apart from the rape allegation, the 23-year-old student said she was often called for giving massages to Chinmayanand, and used a concealed camera to record video clips as evidence.

But Chinmayanand said the clips were recorded to blackmail him. She and her friends had asked him to shell out Rs 5 crore, he alleged.

Last month, the woman was taken from the jail in Shahjahanpur to Bareilly so that she could take an exam at a college there.

She was given admission at the Bareilly college on the Supreme Court’s directions so that she could continue her education.

The Supreme Court agrees to hear PIL seeking consecutive jail terms in cases of corruption and terrorism

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear after four weeks the PIL seeking various jail terms awarded to a convict under special laws on corruption and terrorism to run consecutively, as in countries like the US, and not concurrently.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde considered the submissions by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay that the plea needed an urgent hearing as the apex court had issued the notice to the Centre way back in March this year.

He said that the pleadings such as filing of responses by the Centre to the petition has already been completed and it be now listed for hearing.

“Let the matter be listed after four weeks,” said the bench, which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

The plea had said that the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provision, which provides that a convict can serve varying jail terms simultaneously for several offences, should not be made applicable to the convicts in heinous cases.

Section 31 of the CrPC should not apply to special laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, the PIL said.

Supreme Court asks J-K administration to place before it orders imposing restrictions

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to place before it the administrative orders imposing communication and other restrictions in the state following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370.

A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana questioned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the administration, as to why the administrative orders have not been filed yet in the court.

“You had passed some orders. Why you have not filed it?”, the bench, also comprising justices R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai, asked Mehta. “Is it purposefully done?”

Mehta told the bench that they had filed a reply earlier in the matter but now, there is a change in circumstances as far as restrictions are concerned.

“After filing of the affidavit, there is change in circumstance on the ground. Some restrictions have been removed,” he said.

He said he would place before the top court the administrative orders relating to restrictions for the perusal of the bench only.

“We will place them before the Supreme Court. Nobody can sit in appeal of administrative decisions taken in national interest. Only the court can look into it and certainly not the petitioners,” he told the bench.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for petitioner and Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin, told the bench that they have filed a rejoinder and said that the Centre and J&K administration have not yet placed those orders and notifications before the court.

Mehta told the bench that original prayer in Bhasin’s petition was regarding restrictions and media freedom but now they were expanding the scope of their prayer.

Grover said in their petition, they have also made a prayer regarding placing of orders imposing restrictions in the state.

During the arguments, the bench took exception that some of the advocates appearing in the matter have raised their voice and said, “It is not proper for lawyers to shout in the court. It is not proper.”

When an advocate appearing for one of the intervenors said that J&K has not complied with the earlier directions of the court to place the restriction orders before it, the bench told Mehta, “Mr Solicitor General, please keep all those orders ready”.

When a lawyer appearing for one of the petitioners told the court that J&K must justify why they are not sharing the restriction orders with them, the bench said, “He (Mehta) has assured us that he will produce those orders”.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on October 25.

When the bench referred to media reports that mobile services have been restored in the valley, the counsel for one of the petitioners said only BSNL postpaid mobiles were operational but the SMS service was stopped by authorities on Tuesday.

The apex court was hearing the petitions which have raised the issue of physical restrictions and communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of provisions of Article 370.

Depute expert to ascertain if Najafgarh Lake is water body: NGT to Gurgaon Dy Commissioner

The National Green Tribunal has asked the Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner to appoint an expert to ascertain whether Najafgarh Lake is a water body or not.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said in the report filed by Haryana and Delhi governments, there is doubt that it is a private land and not a wetland/lake.

“This assertion is based on the revenue record of the year 2005. As against the said revenue record, there is a 1983 gazette notification showing the area to be a lake,” the bench said.

“To reconcile the situation, it will be appropriate that the earlier revenue records particularly before the settlement are checked. Let the deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, depute an expert of the department to look into the revenue record. Further, an action-taken report be filed before the next date,” it said.

The order came after NGO Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) claimed even though two years have passed since the Haryana government assured the tribunal that it will declare the lake a water body, steps have not been taken to check encroachment and construction.

The NGO sought direction to Delhi and Haryana governments to declare Najafgarh Lake, which is partly in Delhi and partly in Haryana’s Gurgaon, a water body/wetland.

According to the applicant, there is a serious threat to the water body on account of continuous encroachment and construction in the submergence zone.

After claiming there was no natural lake in Najafgarh, the Haryana government had taken a U-turn by telling the NGT it had been accepted as a water body.

INTACH had alleged that large-scale construction done in the floodplain of the Najafgarh nallah and the lake had drained the area.

It claimed that sectors 106, 107 and 108 of Gurgaon were being constructed in the “high flood level” area of the lake, while construction was also on in areas falling in Delhi.

Court reserves order on summoning Gautam Gambhir as accused on AAP leader’s complaint

A Delhi court Monday reserved order on summoning BJP leader Gautam Gambhir as accused on AAP leader Atishi Marlena’s complaint against him alleging that he was enrolled as a voter in two Assembly constituencies in Delhi.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal reserved the order for October 22.

The order was reserved by the court after hearing the arguments from Marlena who said there was sufficient ground to summon Gambhir as accused.

The court had earlier asked Marlena to prove her locus standi for filing the petition against Gambhir.

The plea, filed by advocate Mohd Irshad, alleged that Gambhir has enrolled “deliberately” and “illegally” as a voter in Karol Bagh and Rajinder Nagar Assembly constituencies.

Marlena lost to Gambhir in 2019 general election from east Delhi constituency.