Saradha scam: Calcutta High Court vacates order granting protection from arrest to ex-top cop

The Calcutta High Court on Friday vacated its order granting protection from arrest to former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.

The court also rejected Kumar’s prayer for quashing of a CBI notice that sought his appearance for questioning in the case.

Kumar, who is currently the West Bengal CID Additional Director General, was part of a Special Investigation Team set up by the state government to investigate the scam before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases.

The Saradha group of companies has allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2500 crore, promising higher rates of returns on their investments.

Calcutta High Court to hear Mukul Roy’s anticipatory bail plea on Friday

The Calcutta High Court on Friday will hear an anticipatory bail plea of BJP leader Mukul Roy in a case of alleged payout for a railway panel membership.

His protection from arrest will expire on Thursday midnight.

A division bench of justices S Munshi and S Dasgupta, before whom Roy’s anticipatory bail plea was mentioned on Thursday, directed that it will hear the petition on Friday.

Roy was granted a week-long protection from arrest by Justice Munshi on August 29.

Roy moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail in a case of cheating filed by Santu Ganguly against Baban Ghosh, who claims to be a local BJP labour wing leader.

Ganguly alleged in the FIR that Ghosh had taken Roy’s name while assuring him a membership in the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee and took a bribe of several lakhs from him.

Following Ghosh’s arrest in the case by the Kolkata Police on August 21, Roy moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail, since his name had cropped up in the case.

Calcutta High Court grants interim protection to MP Soumitra Khan who has joined BJP

The Calcutta High Court on Monday gave MP Soumitra Khan, who had recently joined the BJP after quitting Trinamool Congress, interim protection from arrest for four weeks in connection with cases of allegedly taking money on the promise of giving jobs.

Hearing an application by the Bishnupur MP for anticipatory bail in connection with the cases, a division bench headed by Justice Joymalya Bagchi directed Khan not to enter the jurisdiction of Bankura district till further order.

In complaints lodged with Barjora police station in Bankura district, three persons had alleged that Khan had taken money from them in 2018 on the promise of securing them government jobs.

They claimed that they had not been given jobs despite having paid money to the MP.

Praying for anticipatory bail to Khan, his lawyers Sandipan Ganguly and Suvasish Dasgupta submitted that the complaints were false and motivated and that the MP was a victim of political vendetta.

They told the division bench, also comprising Justice M Mandal, that the criminal cases were lodged on January 10, 2019, a day after he joined the BJP after quitting TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal.

Public prosecutor Saswata Gopal Mukherjee opposed the anticipatory bail prayer of Khan stating that there were written complaints of three persons who were allegedly duped, along with statements by two independent witnesses.

He submitted that since the investigation was at a preliminary stage with the complaints having been lodged on January 10, granting anticipatory bail would hamper the probe.

After hearing both the parties, the court granted Khan interim protection from arrest for four weeks and posted the matter for March 19.

The bench also directed him not to enter the jurisdiction of Bankura district other than the purpose of investigation or for appearance in local courts.

Calcutta High Court partially stays WB notification banning motorcycle sale to people without driving licence

 The Calcutta High Court today partially stayed a West Bengal Transport Department notification banning sale of motorcycles to those who do not have a driving licence.

A consortium of motorcycle manufacturers challenged the state transport department’s notification that provided guidelines on sale of two-wheelers to people claiming that it was impractical since a section of people who are owners of motorcycles do not drive these themselves.

Hearing a plea challenging the notification, Justice Harish Tandon stayed the part which prohibited sale of two-wheelers to those who do not have a driving licence.

They also claimed that the ban through the notification on June 28 would hamper the sales of two-wheelers in the state.

Passing the order, Justice Tandon observed that for ensuring road safety, many other stricter steps can be taken using modern technology.

Calcutta High Court, directed government, no slaughter of animals in any open public place

Kolkata: The West Bengal High Court directed Mamta Banarjee, government to insure that there was no slaughter of animals in any open public place.

The High Court  also directed the state authorities to do needful exercise to ensure that the provisions of West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act 1950 were implemented prior to the observance of the festival of Id-Uz-Zoha next year.

Chief Justice of West Bengal High Court  J Bhattacharya expressed surprise that the state did not have the machinery to implement the provisions of an act which was 68 years old.

One could have definitely expected that by this time the state would have its machinery in place to implement the provisions of the said act of 1950, which is a creature of the legislature itself,” the bench, also comprising Justice A Banerjee, said.

The court directed that the state government must mention in its notice that slaughter of animals, including cows and buffalos, in any open public place was strictly prohibited.

Calcutta High Court grants anticipatory bail to BJP leader Mukul Roy

The Calcutta High Court today granted anticipatory bail to BJP leader and former railways minister Mukul Roy on a bond of Rs 50,000 in connection with a complaint over the death of his “mentor” Mrinal Kanti Singha Roy in 2015.

A division bench comprising Justices Joymalyo Bagchi and R K Kapur directed Roy to meet the investigating officer at Bijpur police station in North 24 Parganas district once a fornight, apart from furnishing Rs 50,000 bail bond as conditions for granting anticipatory bail to him.

Roy, who was a senior Trinamool Congress leader before joining the BJP in November last year, was also directed by the court to cooperate with the investigation by the state police.

The court had in January directed the police not to arrest Roy during the pendancy of his anticipatory bail application.

Roy had moved the bail application challenging an FIR filed by the sister of Mrinal Kanti Singha Roy who was said to be his mentor during his early days in politics and had died of complications after a road accident.

Singha Roy had allegedly suffered a road accident on June 8, 2011 at around midnight while returning home at Kanchrapara from Halisahar in North 24 Parganas district and was treated at a nursing home there and then at a private hospital in Kolkata.

Following his release from the hospital, Singha Roy was kept in a lodge under the supervision of Roy, who was then in TMC, according to the complaint.

Singha Roy’s sister Sonali alleged that he was shifted to the Kolkata hospital and on his release was kept in the lodge on the instructions of Roy instead of being taken home.

It was stated that during his stay at the lodge, Singha Roy suffered a throat infection and died after prolonged treatment at the city hospital.

Sonali alleged that she had learnt from the hospital that Singha Roy had suffered internal haemorrhage, which she claimed could be due to serious injury and suspected Roy’s role in the matter.

Lawyers for Sonali Singha Roy had told the high court that her attempts to lodge a police complaint had failed, following which she had moved the local court which directed the police to file an FIR.

Calcutta High Court asks CPI(M) to produce documents of those who failed to file nominations

The Calcutta HC on Thursday directed petitioner Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-M) to produce documents of individuals who, the party claimed, had failed to file nominations for the panchayat polls in West Bengal due to extraneous intervention.

The CPI(M) has moved the appeal before a division bench of the court, praying for allowing such candidates to file nomination for the polls through e-mail, after failing to receive a favourable order on the plea before a single bench.

On a plea by the State Election Commission (SEC) counsel that statutory provisions did not allow filing of nominations through e-mail, the division bench said the commission should not have objections to the court asking for documents from the petitioner.

The division bench of justices B Somadder and A Mukherjee said it had only asked the petitioner to submit documents in support of its claim and the SEC should not raise objections at this stage.

Claiming that intending candidates of the opposition CPI(M) were prevented by hooligans from filing nomination papers in person at the designated government offices, counsel Shamim Ahmed prayed that the court direct the commission to accept their nominations through e-mail.

The bench asked the petitioner to provide the names of the candidates who were allegedly prevented from filing nomination, documents showing that they had sent their nominations through e-mail and subsequent representations by them before the commission before the last date of nomination filing, if those were not considered.

The bench adjourned the hearing in the matter till next Monday and directed the petitioner to provide copies of the documents, if any, to the commission.

Justice Subrata Talukdar had, on April 25, disposed of the CPI(M)’s petition, observing that no orders or intervention were called for from the court at that stage.

The SEC secretary had pointed out before Justice Talukdar that the provisions of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003 did not provide for any scope for acceptance of nominations in the manner as claimed by the petitioner, beyond the time schedule fixed by the commission for filing the papers.

The last date for filing nominations for the three-tier panchayat polls in the state was April 23, after being extended by the court.

The SEC had announced that the polls would be held on May 14, but uncertainty prevails over the date of polling with Justice Talukdar having directed that the date announced by the commission could not be treated as final and could be considered as tentative only.

The final decision on the election date will be considered by a division bench, headed by the chief justice of the high court, Justice Talukdar had said yesterday, while passing the direction on petitions filed by political parties, challenging the SEC’s decision to hold the panchayat polls on a single day.

Calcutta High Court stays WB panchayat polls till further orders

Displeased with the State Election Commission’s (SEC) decision to cancel its own order to extend the nomination process by a day, the Calcutta High Court today stayed the ongoing panchayat election process in West Bengal till further orders.

Rejecting the SEC’s contention that the writ petition of the BJP was not maintainable, the court held that the SEC is endowed with powers relating to holding of elections, but in case of any digression, it needs to be corrected by the court of law.

Justice Subrata Talukdar stayed till further orders the ongoing panchayat election process in West Bengal.

Talukdar also sought from the SEC by Monday a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of those rejected, among other information.

The court said it would hear on April 16 the pleas challenging the SEC’s decision to withdraw its April 9 notification, which had extended the date for filing nominations by a day.

The BJP had challenged the cancellation of the notification dated April 9 by the commission vide its order dated April 10, withdrawing the one-day extension granted to the candidates to file their nomination papers.

The deadline to file nominations had expired at 3 pm on April 9.

Justice Talukdar observed that the commission had recognised the grievances expressed by different political parties as well as individuals by extending the date.

“However, the order was abruptly withdrawn,” he said.

Justice Talukdar had on April 10 stayed the SEC order, permitting the commission to take steps in accordance with the law by treating the operation of its order dated April 10 to have been kept in abeyance.

Referring to the Supreme Court order with regard to a petition by the West Bengal unit of the BJP challenging the SEC’s decision to recall the extension order, Justice Talukdar said that the operative part of the apex court order is crucially connected to the cancellation of the notification.

The high court also said that the SEC should have informed it today that it has ensured a level playing field for all players.

Justice Talukdar also expressed his displeasure at the conduct of the BJP representative, Pratap Banerjee, who had moved the petition on behalf of the party in view of an ongoing cease work by lawyers, for not disclosing that a similar petition had been moved by the party before the Supreme Court also.

Justice Talukdar observed that this court must hold a very dim view of the conduct of the BJP representative appearing in person.

“However, in view of public interest involved, this court is not vacating its directions to the SEC,” the judge said.

Likening its conduct to forum hopping, Justice Talukdar imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the BJP which would have to be deposited with the registrar general of the high court.

Representing the Trinamool Congress, its vice-president Kalyan Banerjee earlier prayed for vacating the order on the SEC, alleging that the petitioner had suppressed that it had moved both the high court and the apex court with similar petitions.

Supreme Court allows Centre to withdraw CAPF force from Darjeeling hills

The Supreme Court today allowed the Centre to withdraw the remaining four companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from West Bengal’s violence hit Darjeeling area after March 8.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered Attorney General K K Venugopal’s submission that the deployment of the central armed forces fell under the Central government’s administrative domain and allowed it to withdraw the remaining CAPF companies from Darjeeling area.

The apex court also set aside the Calcutta High Court order that had restrained the Centre from withdrawing CAPF from the state’s hill regions on the ground that normalcy had not returned.

The apex court had earlier permitted the Centre to withdraw four of the eight CAPF companies from Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Before that, the Centre was allowed to withdraw seven of the 15 companies of CAPF from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts for deployment along the borders of Jammu and Kashmir and in the north-eastern states and to the poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The Calcutta High Court had stayed the withdrawal of CAPF from Darjeeling hills, the scene of unrest over the statehood demand, till October 27 last year after the state government approached it, opposing the Centre’s decision.

Former Calcutta HC judge Karnan released from jail

Former Calcutta HC judge Karnan released from jail
Former Calcutta HC judge Karnan released from jail

Former Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan was released from jail today after serving a six- nonth sentence for contempt of court.

The sentence was awarded by the Supreme Court in May.

Karnan left the Presidency Correctional Home premises around 11.00 am, his wife Saraswati Karnan said.

His wife and elder son, who reached here last night from Chennai, accompanied him.

Karnan was arrested from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on June 20 after he had evaded the police for over a month. The Supreme Court passed the six-month jail sentence on him on May 9.

Karnan is the first sitting high court judge to have been sentenced to jail.

( Source – PTI )