Vigilance Court orders quick verification against Thomas Chandy

Vigilance Court orders quick verification against Thomas Chandy
Vigilance Court orders quick verification against Thomas Chandy

A court today directed the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to verify whether Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy had violated rules to construct a road through paddy fields to a lake resort owned by him in Alappuzha district.

Acting on a plea filed by a lawyer, Kottayam Special Vigilance Court judge V Dileep directed the bureau to file its report in a month.

The judge also dismissed the contention made by the state government that Chandy did not carry out illegal land filling in the paddy fields.

In his petition, Subhash, a lawyer, alleged that Chandy illegally carried out land filling on one km stretch through the middle of a paddy field to construct a road to the lake palace resort owned by Water World Company which is headed by him.

He also submitted in the court a report prepared by Alappuzha District Collector T V Anupama which stated that the lake resort owned by Chandy had violated rules.

Chandy has been facing allegations for allegedly filling paddy fields for the construction of a parking space and encroaching Marthandam backwaters.

Chandy, a nominee of the NCP in the CPI(M)-led LDF government, has been under attack from the Congress-led UDF opposition and the BJP ever since the allegations surfaced some time back.

Stepping up its demand for Chandy’s resignation, opposition alleged there was “mystery” behind Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan protecting the transport minister even after the revenue minister had accepted the district collector’s report that “found serious violation of rules”.

A businessman-turned-politician, Chandy joined the ministry in April following the resignation of A K Saseendran over allegations of sexual misconduct.

( Source – PTI )

No corruption case made out against traffic police: ACB to HC

The Maharashtra ACB today informed the Bombay High Court that no offence of corruption was made out against the traffic police department as alleged by a head constable.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s Additional Director General submitted a report before a division bench of Justices R V More and Revati Mohite Dere and said the allegations levelled by head constable Sunil Toke against the traffic police department were probed and were found to be baseless.

The high court had in January this year directed the ACB to carry out an inquiry into the corruption charges levelled against the traffic police department by Toke.

Additional Public Prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik today told the court that Toke’s statement was recorded by the ACB, which also examined the CDs submitted by the head constable in support of his allegations.

“The statements of 29 witnesses were also recorded.The ACB, after inquiry, has come to the conclusion that no offence is made out against any traffic police personnel as alleged by the petitioner,” Yagnik said.

He said that the CDs submitted by Toke were inaudible.

Yagnik claimed that some videos in the CDs were downloaded from Youtube which were of Ahmedabad police and not Maharashtra police.

Toke’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur, however, alleged that the ACB was scuttling the inquiry.

The bench directed Havnur to personally go through the CDs submitted by Toke and see if there is any specific video of a traffic police personnel in Maharashtra accepting bribe.

The court will further hear the petition on March 29.

Toke had petitioned the HC seeking an FIR to be lodged and departmental inquiry to be initiated against the corrupt officials.

“The traffic policemen take money from trucks which ply sand illegally, trucks which evade octroi and which carry construction material, for illegal parking, drunken driving and so on,” the petition alleged.

It further alleged that the traffic police department collects Rs 40,000-50,000 from four-star and five-star hotels for allowing illegal parking outside their premises.

“There are thousands of illegal taxis and auto rickshaws plying in the city without requisite permissions. The traffic police personnel collect Rs 1,000-2,000 from each such vehicle every month and allow them to ply,” the petition claimed.

Toke, who is presently attached with Armed Police Force Worli division, was earlier posted with the Goregaon traffic police and also the Wadala traffic police.

PIL seeks transfer of probe in Road, Desilting scams

desilting scams(PTI) A PIL in the Bombay High Court has sought transfer of probe from city police to Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) in the alleged road contract and desilting scams, saying it would expose the “unholy nexus” between contractors and civic staff.

The PIL, filed by Vivekananda Gupta, is placed for hearing before a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak on July 12.

The petition said there was water logging in the city on July 19 and 20 last year due to heavy rains following which Municipal Commissioner (MC) had ordered an inquiry into the desilting contract work.

The probe revealed “unholy nexus” of contractors and civic officials, the petition alleged.

Subsequently, the Municipal Commissioner ordered filing of FIR against contractors involved in the ‘Desilting scam’, also known as ‘nalla safai scam’.

The chief engineer (Vigilance) and few officials of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) were suspended. The ‘nalla safai scam’ exposed the fraud and nexus of contractors with MCGM officials, the PIL alleged.

In another development in the ‘road contract scam’, a probe was ordered by Municipal Commissioner on a complaint received from BJP MP and the Mayor.

The probe pertained to the construction of roads during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. The interim probe revealed serious irregularities in the road work. The municipal chief ordered registration of an FIR.

The FIR named six accused including third party road auditors and chief engineer (Roads) was suspended immediately.

Both the FIRs were registered with Azad Maidan Police station, said the petition and demanded that the probe be transferred to ACB in view of alleged nexus of contractors with civic staff, the PIL demanded.

Later, the FIR pertaining to the ‘Desilting scam’ was transferred from Azad Maidan Police Station to the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police. .

Court extends police remand of IAS, RAS officer

Court extends police remand of IAS, RAS officer
Court extends police remand of IAS, RAS officer

A court today extended till June 8 the police remand of suspended IAS officer Neeraj K Pawan and Rajasthan Administrative Service officer Anil Kumar Agarwal who were arrested by anti-corruption bureau in connection with a bribery case involving Rs 1.5 crore.

“Both of them were produced in the ACB court where the magistrate extended their police remand. They will now be produced before the court on June 8,” IG ACBV K Singh said.

The accused officials, now suspended, were arrested on May 30 in connection with a case registered on May 17 with the ACB.

Other three accused who were arrested on May 18 – Ajeet Soni, Deepa Gupta and Joji Varghese – are under judicial custody.

The ACB had on May 18 busted an alleged nexus between senior officers, including Pawan, and Soni, a middleman in the office of National Health Mission of medical and health department.

The complainant who registered the FIR had allegedly given over Rs 1.5 crore as bribe to Soni to get contracts of work under NHM worth Rs 7 crore.

The main accused in the case is Soni who used to allegedly collect bribe in form of consultancy fees from firms in lieu of getting them tenders from the department in collaboration with the officers.

Soni used to allegedly distribute bribe among Pawan, former Additional Mission Director of NHM, Agarwal, Additional Director IEC, Deepa Gupta, Chief Accounts Officerand Joji Varghese, store keeper.

( Source – PTI )

AG seeks time in ACB case, matter posted to April 20

AG seeks time in ACB case, matter posted to April 20
AG seeks time in ACB case, matter posted to April 20

The State Advocate General Madhu R Naik today sought time for seeking certain instructions from Karnataka government in a case pertaining to operation of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Granting time to facilitate the Advocate General toseek instructions from the government, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherejee and Justice Ravi Malimath posted the matter for next hearing on April 20.

On April 7, the High Court had stayed theoperation of ACB, saying corruption cases being probedby the Lokayukta and pending sanction for prosecution should notbe transferred to the newly-formed investigation agency.

The division bench had passed the order on a petition filed by B G Chidananda Urs, a city-based advocate.

The bench had also said that any action initiated by ACB would be subject to the result of the PIL filed before the Court.

The petitioner had challenged thevalidity of creation of ACB.

He had contended that the government had issued a notification for creating ACB despite submitting before the court that it is taking measures to strengthen the Lokayukta.

( Source – PTI )

More chargesheets would be filed against Bhujbals : ACB to Bombay HC

More chargesheets would be filed against Bhujbals : ACB to Bombay HC
More chargesheets would be filed against Bhujbals : ACB to Bombay HC

A charge sheet will be filed within a month against former Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal in a case of alleged kickbacks received in the award of contract of state central library in Kalina campus of Mumbai University here, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) told the Bombay High Court here today. In another case registered in Navi Mumbai in housing project “Hex World” scam, promoted by a realty firm owned by Bhujbal family, a charge sheet would be filed against Bhujbals son Pankaj and nephew Samir in a special court, ACB counsel told a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade. The High Court is hearing a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking registration of FIR against Bhujbal, also an NCP leader, and his family for alleged misappropriation of funds and land grabbing. ACB said that the magnitude in the case of Kalina land grabbing case is huge and it would therefore take some time to conduct the probe. Hence, ACB said, it needed a months time to probe the matter and file charge sheet. The land plot belongs to the Mumbai University and it is being developed by a private contractor, according to ACB. In the Hex World scam, Rs 44 crore were allegedly collected from over 2000 persons for providing them houses. The project was promoted by a realty firm owned by Bhujbal family, ACB said. The ACB had yesterday filed charge sheet against Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and 14 others in the Maharashtra Sadan scam case. ACB has alleged that the contractor had allegedly given kickbacks to a company in which Pankaj and Sameer are directors. The High Court had in December 2014 directed setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising ACB and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, to probe into 11 different allegations of irregularities and money laundering by private companies run by Bhujbal, his sons and relatives.

( Source – PTI )

Bhujbal case: HC asks ACB to complete probe in 2 months

Bhujbal case: HC asks ACB to complete probe in 2 months
Bhujbal case: HC asks ACB to complete probe in 2 months

Disapproving the state Anti Corruption Bureau having already taken over six months to probe allegations of money laundering and land grabbing against former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the Bombay High Court today directed the ACB to complete its investigation and submit a final report within two months.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah was informed by acting Advocate General Anil Singh that the ACB has registered two FIRs against NCP leader Bhujbal and his family members in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land grabbing case.

Another case has been registered by the Navi Mumbai police concerning a housing project scam wherein Rs 44 crore were collected from over 2,000 people for houses in a project ‘Hex World’, promoted by a realty firm owned by the Bhujbal family.

The High Court had on December 18, 2014, directed setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising ACB and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe 11 different allegations of irregularities relating to money laundering by private companies run by Bhujbal, his sons and relatives.

The direction was passed on a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking registration of FIR against Bhujbal.

“You (ACB) had six months to probe the allegations.

The petitioner had submitted sufficient material to start inquiry. All that you (ACB) had to do was verify the material submitted by the petitioner,” the court said.

Advocate General Singh informed the court that the 11 allegations submitted by the petitioner have been brought down to nine by the ACB.

“FIRs in three allegations have been filed. Probe into the remaining six allegations are on. A lot of material has been found during the probe involving money transactions from Singapore which includes companies across the country. The ACB in sincerely probing the case,” he said.

The court directed the ACB to submit an interim report by July 22 and a final report after completion of the investigation by August 19.

The court also noted that the Enforcement Directorate shall also go ahead with its probe expeditiously.

The ED had yesterday registered two Economic Case Information Reports (ECIR) against former PWD minister Bhujbal and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Telangana ACB grills TDP leader in cash-for-vote scam

Intensifying its probe in the cash-for-vote scam, Telangana’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday began questioning Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader V. Narender Reddy while another leader Sandra Venkata Veeraiah is yet to appear before the investigating agency.

The ACB late on Tuesday had served notice on TDP legislator Sandra Venkata Veeraiah and another leader Narender Reddy, who was the TDP-BJP candidate in Telangana legislative council elections. They were asked to appear before the ACB for questioning.

As Veeraiah was not available at his residence, the officials pasted the notice on the residence door. Though the officials asked Narender Reddy to accompany them, he sought time till Wednesday.

Narender Reddy on Wednesday morning reached ACB headquarters in Banjara Hills. A team of officials questioned him as he is alleged to be the ultimate beneficiary in the case, sources said.

The questioning began amid reports that ACB is planning to issue notices to TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and two party MPs.

For a second consecutive day, Hyderabad witnessed hectic activity relating to the case.

Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) Anurag Sharma, ACB chief A.K. Khan and Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy on Wednesday met Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The DGP had also called on the chief minister on Tuesday while Khan met him twice.

TDP MLA A. Revanth Reddy was arrested by the ACB on May 31 while he was offering Rs.50 lakh to nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson reportedly to induce him to vote for Narender Reddy.

In a trap laid on Stephenson’s complaint, the ACB also arrested Revanth Reddy’s aides Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha.

ACB has already questioned the three accused with regard to the source of the Rs.50 lakh and also from where they planned to arrange the remaining Rs.4.5 crore as the deal was reportedly struck for Rs.5 crore.

ACB called Narender Reddy and Veeraiah after analyzing the call data of Revanth and two other accused.

An audio tape of Chandrababu Naidu’s alleged telephonic conversation with Stephenson surfaced on June 7. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has alleged that Naidu is the mastermind of the scam.

Meanwhile, the ACB is set to record Stephenson’s statement on Wednesday. The nominated MLA, representing the Anglo-Indian community, will give his statement before a magistrate.

In another development, Hyderabad High Court adjourned till June 24 the hearing on a bail petition of Revanth Reddy.

ACB says it would complete probe against Tatkare in 3 months

ACB says it would complete probe against Tatkare in 3 months
ACB says it would complete probe against Tatkare in 3 months

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) today informed the Bombay High Court that it would complete the investigation against former Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Sunil Tatkare for alleged money laundering and land grabbing within three months.

The ACB submitted a one-page report before the division bench of Justices N H Patil and S B Shukre today, informing that the probe was still underway.

The High Court, in response to a public interest litigation filed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, had earlier directed the ACB, city police’s Economic Offences Wing and the Raigad collector to conduct inquiry into the allegations and submit periodical reports.

Somaiya had sought a CBI probe alleging money laundering and land grabbing by various companies floated by Tatkare and his relatives, mainly in the neighbouring Raigad district.

The investigating agencies had time and again faced the ire of the court for failing to conduct a fair probe against the minister and his family.

Somaiya has listed 51 companies formed by Tatkare which have his family members and friends as directors, and alleged that they purchased benami lands in Maharashtra and indulged in money-laundering, causing loss to the public exchequer.

Tatkare, who held water resources portfolio in Congress-NCP government, has termed the allegations as false, malicious and “politically motivated” in his reply affidavit.

ACB gives report to HC in Maha irrigation scam

ACB gives report to HC in Maha irrigation scam
ACB gives report to HC in Maha irrigation scam

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) today submitted to the Bombay High Court a confidential progress report in a sealed cover about its probe into the alleged irregularities in the multi-crore-rupee irrigation scam in Maharashtra.

The report was submitted by Acting Advocate General Anil Singh to a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil which was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mayank Gandhi, an Aam Aadmi Party leader, and others, alleging irregularities into 15 irrigation projects during the previous Cong-NCP led government in the state.

 

The bench adjourned the matter to July 2 to decide on the maintainablity of the petition.

The PIL contended among other things that hundreds of acres of forests will be affected by Kondhane Dam project in Raigad district which does not have the requisite permission from the environment ministry. Also, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had issued a stop-work notice on the project as it was affecting some caves in the vicinity, contended the PIL.

The court asked ACB whether it will probe violations pertaining to forest, archaeological and environment issues.

However, ACB said it had the jurisdiction to probe financial irregularities only. Other issues were to be inquired into by different agencies, it said.

Adjourning the matter to July 2, the HC asked ACB to declare its stand on the issue in an affidavit by then.

On January 29, Maharashtra government had informed the HC that ACB has initiated an open inquiry into 12 dam projects in Raigad district for alleged irregularities in their construction.

The government took the decision following recommendations by the Chitale committee which was set up to probe the alleged irregularities. The government had formed a special inquiry committee, headed by former secretary Madhavrao Chitale, along with three other members to probe irrigation scams across the state.

The government has accepted most of the recommendations of the Chitale Committee. It has suggested holding a detailed inquiry by an appropriate authority in respect of Kondhane and Chanera projects in Raigad district.