Terror funding: NIA files charge sheet against Hafiz Saeed

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court against terror masterminds Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin and ten Kashmiri separatists in a case of alleged terror funding and secessionist activities in the valley.

The charge sheet was filed by the probe agency before Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat, who kept it for consideration later today.

The probe agency said the 12,794-page charge sheet has been filed against 12 persons including Hafiz Saeed, the head of banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin for conspiring to wage war against the government (Section 121 of Indian Penal Code) by carrying out terrorist and secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

It said that offences for which the accused have been chargesheeted include those punishable under sections 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Besides Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen head Salahuddin, the other 10 persons accused in the final report are – Hurriyat leader Syed Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, Geelani’s personal assistant Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Media Advisor and strategist of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Chairman of secessionist outfit National Front, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (R), Mohammad Akbar Khanday, media advisor of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Geelani faction), Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, office-bearer of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watal, a hawala conduit and two stone-pelters – Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmad Bhat.

According to the NIA, the case was registered on May 30, 2017 and the first arrests made on July 24 last year.

The agency said that during the course of investigation, its teams conducted searches at over 60 locations spread across Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi and seized over 950 incriminating documents and over 600 electronic devices.

Over 300 witnesses were examined during the probe, it said.

The NIA said the scrutiny and analysis of the documents and digital devices established that the accused Hurriyat leaders, the terrorists and the stone-pelters were carrying out terrorist attacks and orchestrating violence in Jammu and Kashmir as a part of their “well-planned” criminal conspiracy.

It said that conspiracy was hatched with active support, connivance and funding from terrorist organisations based in Pakistan and its agencies to achieve their objective of secession of the Jammu and Kashmir by waging war against the Indian government.

Court grants bail to Vaiko in sedition case

Court grants bail to Vaiko in sedition case
Court grants bail to Vaiko in sedition case

A court here today granted bail to MDMK chief Vaiko, who had been in jail since April 3, in a sedition case of 2009.

Police had registered a case under IPC sections 124 (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, place of birth, residence, language) against Vaiko for a speech he had given while releasing his book, ‘Naan Kutram Sattugiren’ (I am Making the Accusation), in 2009.

The charge-sheet in the case was filed in 2010. However, the trial is yet to commence.

On April 3 this year, Vaiko had appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate S Gopinathan and filed a surrender petition.

Although the magistrate had offered to release Vaiko on bail, he refused to apply for it. Vaiko was remanded in judicial custody.

Later, the MDMK leader was lodged in the Central Prison in Puzhal here.

Vaiko had moved a bail application yesterday. When it came up for hearing today, Additional City Civil Court Judge Purushothaman granted unconditional bail to him.

( Source – PTI )

Court fixes Feb 27 for consideration of charge sheet

Court fixes Feb 27 for consideration of charge sheet
Court fixes Feb 27 for consideration of charge sheet

A special court today fixed February 27 for consideration of charge sheet against LIC agent Anand Chauhan in a money laundering case allegedly involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

“Advocate for the accused seeks one more adjournment for scrutinising the documents. Request allowed. Put up the matter for February 27,” Special Judge Virender Kr Goyal said.

The court had on September 7 last year taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed against Chauhan, while asking the Enforcement Directorate to provide him a copy of the final report and other documents.

The charge sheet was filed for offences under sections 3 (money-laundering) and 4 (punishment for the offence) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Act.

( Source – PTI )

NIA files charge sheet against captured Pak terrorist

NIA files charge sheet against captured Pak terrorist
NIA files charge sheet against captured Pak terrorist

NIA has filed a charge sheet against Pakistani national Bahadur Ali, who was arrested in Kashmir in July last year, alleging that he was working for terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and was planning to carry out attacks at several places including Delhi.

The agency has filed the charge sheet under various provisions of IPC, UAPA, sections of Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act, Foreigners Act and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act against Ali, who has been been in judicial custody since August.

According to court sources, the charge sheet, filed before District Judge Amar Nath, claimed that the recent unrest in Kashmir Valley had been orchestrated by Pakistan-based LeT.

The agency claimed that since summer last year, the banned outfit, with the “help of Pakistani forces deployed on the border”, pushed heavily armed terrorists into India with a direction to mix with local people, create disturbance and attack police and security forces.

NIA, in its charge sheet, has also alleged that along with his associates, Ali had planned terror attacks to destabilise the security and sovereignty of India.

The pocket diary recovered from Ali, among other things, contains the names of several towns in Jammu and Kashmir besides Delhi, the charge sheet claims.

It alleged that given the fact that Bahadur Ali is a trained cadre of the LeT, the inclusion of the names of these towns/cities in the diary indicates that Ali was tasked to carry out terror attacks at several places, including Delhi.

A special court had on December 19 extended the judicial custody of Ali till January 18.

A fourth-class dropout, Ali, who hails from Jahama village of Raiwind in Lahore, was arrested from village Yahama in Mawar area of Qalamabad, Handwara, in North Kashmir on July 25. The army had claimed to have recovered three AK-47 rifles, two pistols and Rs 23,000 in Indian currency from his possession.

According to NIA, Ali was trained at a Lashkar camp in PoK to carry out various activities, including map reading and operating GPS devices.

( Source – PTI )

IRS scam: Accused given soft copies of charge sheet

IRS scam: Accused given soft copies of charge sheet
IRS scam: Accused given soft copies of charge sheet

The crime branch of Thane police, probing the multi-crore call centre scam in which US citizens were duped by impostors who posed as IRS officers, today handed over to the accused the soft copies of charge sheet, instead of the usual hard copies.

The charge sheet filed by the crime branch on December 2, names 83 people as accused in the case and six others as absconding. Of 83, most of the accused were arrested by police in the crackdown since the scam was exposed in October.

The counsels for the accused were today given CDs of the charge sheet, stored in PDF format. The charge sheet runs into 5,786 pages.

The CDs were handed over to the counsels of the accused in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) A B Katte.

One of the counsels, Vikram Chavan, told the court that as per the provisions of sections 173 and 207 of the CrPC Act, the accused should get the hard copies of charge sheet.

Chavan argued that as the accused have been given the the charge sheet in PDF format, they will now have to shell out money to take the printouts, which will defeat the very purpose of giving the charge sheet free of cost.

The accused have been booked under sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC; sections 72(1), 75 of IT Act and under Indian Telegraph Act.

Police have attached to the charge sheet, the complaints filed by some US citizens, who were allegedly duped along with the statements by several witnesses.

The fraud was unearthed after the crime branch teams raided seven call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on October 4-5. Police had registered total three FIRs in connection with the scam.

Investigators had earlier said that they have identified transactions worth Rs 25-30 crore in the scam and that it will take a long time for them to arrive at the actual figure given the magnitude of the scandal.

The alleged mastermind of the scam, Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, is on the run.

On October 16, police arrested Sagar’s alleged mentor Jagdish Kanani (33) from suburban Borivali. The con syndicate has spread its tentacles nationwide including in cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Thane. Besides Kanani, about 70 directors and key persons of these call centres have been arrested.

The scamsters used to procure data of US citizens through their contacts and then call their potential targets over phone by impersonating IRS officials.

According to police, the call centre employees allegedly used to threaten their targets with legal action over some ‘tax issues’, and those who used to fall prey were asked to pay immediately online.

( Source – PTI )

Charge sheet filed in IRS scam in Thane court

Charge sheet filed in IRS scam in Thane court
Charge sheet filed in IRS scam in Thane court

A 5000-page charge sheet was filed in a special court today in connection with the multi-crore call centre scam wherein the accused based here allegedly duped US citizens by posing as officials of the US’ Internal Revenue Service and made them cough up money by threatening ‘legal action’.

The charge sheet, filed by the crime branch before the special court, names 82 people as the accused in the case and six others as absconding.

Of 82, most of the accused were arrested by police in the crackdown since the scam was exposed in October.

They have been booked under sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 419 (Punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC, under sections 72(1), 75 of IT Act and under Indian Telegraph Act.

Police have attached the complaints filed by some US citizens who were allegedly conned along with the statements by several witnesses, to the charge sheet.

The fraud was unearthed after the crime branch teams raided seven call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on October 4-5. Police had registered total three FIRs in connection with the scam.

Investigators had earlier said they have identified transactions worth Rs 25-30 crore in the scam and that it will take a long time for them to arrive at the actual figure given the magnitude of the scandal.

The alleged mastermind of the scam, Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, is on the run.

On October 16, police arrested Sagar’s alleged mentor Jagdish Kanani (33) from suburban Borivali. The con syndicate has spread its tentacles nationwide including in cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Thane.

Besides Kanani, about 70 directors and key persons of these call centres have been arrested.

Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hiray today said the assistance of computer experts was taken to make a watertight case.

The modus operandi adopted by the scamsters was to procure data of US citizens through their contacts and then call their potential targets over phone by impersonating IRS officials.

As per police, the call centre employees, trained in US accent, allegedly used to threaten their targets with legal action over some ‘tax issues’, and those who used to fall prey were asked to pay immediately online.

The US had announced indictment of 61 individuals and entities, including 31 from India, in connection with the scam and had also praised local police for the investigation.

An FBI officer had met Thane Police officials in October and gathered and shared details about the probe.

( Source – PTI )

Court takes cognizance on charge sheet in Rajan case

Court takes cognizance on charge sheet in Rajan case
Court takes cognizance on charge sheet in Rajan case

A Special court today took cognizance on a supplementary charge sheet filed in an alleged fake passport case in which gangster Chhota Rajan along with three retired public servants are facing prosecution.

Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar took cognizance on the charge sheet under the Passport Act and fixed the case for May 18 for hearing arguments on framing of charges.

“I have perused the charge sheet as well as sanction order (issued by Joint Secretary and Chief Passport Officer, Ministry of External Affairs on behalf of Central Government). I take cognizance under Section 12 of Passport Act against all the accused persons,” the judge said.

The court had earlier taken cognizance of the charge sheet and summoned the accused persons in February this year.

During the hearing, Rajan who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail here under judicial custody, was produced before court through video conferencing.

The court had earlier summoned as accused Rajan and three retired public servants — Jayashree Dattatray Rahate, Deepak Natvarlal Shah and Lalitha Lakshmanan — in the case.

According to CBI, Rajan had got his first fake passport issued from Bengaluru on January 1, 1998 allegedly in connivance with then passport officers — Jayashree Dattatray Rahate, Deepak Natvarlal Shah and Lalitha Lakshmanan — in the name of a fictitious person, Mohan Kumar.

According to CBI, Rajan had allegedly got his passport issued twice from Indian missions abroad on the basis of a fake travel document issued to him in the name of Kumar from the Bengaluru passport office in 1998.

The agency has filed the charge sheet for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery under the IPC and under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI sources had said these officers had allegedly ignored rules and regulations of verification while issuing the passport on fake identity and address.

CBI claimed that on the basis of passport issued in Kumars name, Rajan had allegedly got another passport issued on December 19, 2003 from High commission of India at Harare, Zimbabwe, and another one from the Consulate General of India in Sydney.

Deported after being on the run for 27 years, the 55-year old gangster, who was once a close aide of fugitive terrorist and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was brought to India to face trial in over 70 cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling in Delhi and Mumbai.

Rajan was deported to India after his arrest in Bali in October last year.

( Source – PTI )

Charges in spect case in NDA regime for cognisance

A local court will take up for cognisance the charge sheet in the allocation of additional spectrum during the NDA regime with CBI saying the then government’s decision had “brightened” the outcome of the IPO of one Bharti Airtel’s group companies.

The charge sheet has named three telecom firms — Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd) — as accused in the case in which the Department of  Telecommunications (DoT) had allegedly allocated the additional spectrum resulting in the loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.

“Investigation has thus established that during the pendency of the aforesaid period of said IPO (Initial Public Offer) of M/s Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd, Late Pramod Mahajan, then MOC & IT, took decision on January 31, 2002 for allocating additional spectrum between 6.2 MHz upto 10 MHz (paired) in conspiracy with accused Shyamal Ghosh and the said three accused telecom companies and on the basis of recommendation of Shyamal Ghosh.
“The IPO of the said company (Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd) was closed on February 2, 2002 and, therefore, by getting the said approval for additional spectrum and by getting such news published in the newspaper, the risk factor of additional spectrum as mentioned in draft prospectus had been mitigated and brightened the outcome of the said IPO,” the charge sheet said.

In the charge sheet filed against three telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, CBI has said that during the pendency of IPO of M/s Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd, a Bharti Group company, decision in this regard was taken by then Telecom Minister Late Pramod Mahajan, who was not named as accused as he is no more.

The charge sheet, filed before Special CBI judge O P Saini, on December 21 last year, has named former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh as an accused.

In the 57-page charge sheet, the CBI has booked all the accused for the offences of criminal conspiracy (120-B) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Giving details of the IPO, it said Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd had issued an IPO on January 28, 2002 and it was closed on February 2, 2002.

It said while seeking approvals for the IPO, the company had filed Draft Red Herring prospectus with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and different stock exchanges.

The CBI said in their draft prospectus, it had “mentioned that the expansion and development of their network might be impacted by the limited availability of frequency spectrum which was mentioned as one of the risk factors”.

It said the decision regarding allocation of additional spectrum to these telecom firms was taken on January 31, 2002 in “undue haste” in pursuance to the criminal conspiracy hatched amongst Mahajan, Ghosh and these telecom companies.

Detailing the sequence of events relating to the IPO, the CBI said the approval for additional spectrum boosted the investment in the shares of the company through the IPO.

“It thereby proved to boost and encouraging factor for the investors to invest in the shares of the said company through said IPO,” it said, adding, “Investigation also revealed that substantial number of share applications were received on February 1, 2002 and February 2, 2002 immediately after the said decision dated January 31, 2002 taken for allotment of additional spectrum…”

Regarding the alleged conspiracy hatched among all the accused, it said, “Investigation has also revealed that various directors/promoters/representatives of the said three accused telecom companies had been meeting the accused public servants in connection with getting allocation of additional spectrum, for which said accused companies had not yet achieved the subscribers base as recommended by the Technical committee of the DoT.”

The CBI has not named Jagdish Rai Gupta, a former Deputy Director General (VAS) cell of DoT and a former Director of BSNL, who was named in the FIR, as accused in the case saying, “no evidence attributing any criminality on his part or his involvement in the alleged offence has surfaced during the investigation.”

Regarding Ghosh, the agency has said that in conspiracy with Mahajan and accused telecom firms, he abused his official position to show undue favour to the companies causing a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the exchequer.

 

PTI

Supreme Court anguished on tardy trial in lower courts

The Supreme Court has expressed anguish over “unhappy state of affairs” of lower courts which take years in concluding the trial and said the proceedings must be concluded within a reasonable time.

A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur said the governments and the courts must gear up the administrative machinery for quick disposal of cases.

“It is high time that the state and the courts gear up their administrative machinery so that at least a trial for a heinous offence gets concluded within a reasonable period,” said the bench while delivering a verdict in a 1983 murder case in which trial went on for 14 long years.

“The investigation took almost four years to complete despite eyewitnesses who knew the appellant. The trial concluded after another 14 years or about 18 years after the murder. This is a rather unhappy state of affairs,” the bench said.

In this case, the bench upheld the trial court’s verdict awarding life imprisonment to the convict.

“The murder was committed on the intervening night of October 8-9, 1983. A charge sheet was filed sometime in 1987 and the trial court delivered its judgement on June 29, 2001. These time gaps are telling,” the bench added while expressing anguish over the delay in conclusion of trial.

 

PTI