Supreme Court to examine plea seeking prosecution of UP CM in Gorakhpur riot case

The Supreme Court today agreed to examine a plea challenging an Allahabad High Court order dismissing a petition seeking prosecution of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a hate speech case of 2007.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked petitioner Rasheed Khan to serve the copy to all the parties who were before the High Court.

The High Court had earlier this year upheld a sessions court order which had quashed a magistrate’s order taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the police in 2009.

While dismissing the petition, the high court had said the sessions court was right in holding that there was no prosecution sanction to initiate trial against the BJP leader and others in the case.

The Sessions Court at Gorakhpur district had on January 28, 2017, quashed the magisterial court’s cognisance order saying there was no sanction to prosecute the accused including the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and others.

On January 27, 2007, several incidents of violence were reported in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and Khan had lodged the FIR under various sections of IPC.

Bribery remarks: Complaint case filed against Arvind Kejriwal

The Election Commission today told the Delhi High Court that a complaint case against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was pending before a Goa court for his alleged bribery remarks during the January 2017 assembly polls there.

The submission came in pursuance to the court’s earlier direction on whether any FIR has been lodged, as the EC had previously stated that such an action has been taken.

Justice Rekha Palli was informed by the counsel for EC that a complaint case was filed in pursuance to the poll panel’s letter of January 29 last year directing the Chief Electoral Officer of Goa to take legal action or lodge an FIR against Kejriwal for his bribery remark at poll rallies in the state on January 7-8 last year.

Addressing a series of rallies in Goa, Kejriwal had reportedly asked voters to “accept money from the Congress and BJP candidates but vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).”

EC’s counsel P R Chopra said no FIR has been lodged against the AAP leader and the complaint case has been listed before the Goa court for March 1 and the complainant has been asked to appear.

Kejriwal’s lawyer had earlier told the court that according to information received under the RTI Act, no FIR has been lodged against him anywhere in Goa in connection with the remarks.

During the day’s hearing, advocate Manish Vashisht, appearing for Kejriwal, contended that the actions of EC were in violation of his right to freedom and free speech.

This was opposed by Chopra who sought time to file counter affidavit. He also argued that the AAP leader’s petition was not maintainable and said such statements went against the model code of conduct.

The court noted that despite opportunity, the EC has not filed its response, but granted it time while listing the matter for further hearing on May 25. The bench also said it has not expressed any view on the maintainability of the petition.

Kejriwal’s lawyer contended that such statements did not fall in the category of instigating somebody and referred to an order of a Delhi trial court which had dismissed a petition making similar allegations. Kejriwal, in his plea, has alleged that the poll panel’s January 29, 2017 order had curtailed his right to free speech.

The BJP had filed two complaints against Kejriwal seeking his prosecution under various sections of Indian Penal Code for asking voters to accept money. Congress too had condemned his statement.

The poll panel had, thereafter, directed that a complaint be lodged against the AAP leader under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act dealing with bribing voters and relevant sections of the IPC.

Delhi CS Anshu Prakash assault case: Govt mulling live streaming of official meetings

 The Delhi government is mulling live streaming of all official meetings following the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the chief minister’s residence last week.

Prakash was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs and others during a meeting at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on February 19.

A senior government official said that as per a plan, live feed of meetings with audio output will be available on a website.

If the plan is passed, funds will be allocated for it in the upcoming budget, he said.

“Through live streaming of official meetings, people will be able to know who spoke what in the meeting, be it the elected representative or officials,” the official said.

There is also a plan to put all file movement and notings online, he said.

“Plan is also to put all file movement and file notings online for people to see who was working on a file for how long, who cleared it and who wrote what on a particular file, be it the elected government or officers,” the official said.

In the past, the AAP government had alleged that some officers created hurdles in the works of city administrations.

Since the alleged attack on the chief secretary, officers have not been attending meetings of the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues, demanding that Kejriwal apologise for the incident.

HC dismisses petition in 2007 Gorakhpur riot case

The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a plea seeking an independent probe into an FIR related to the 2007 Gorakhpur riot case in which the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and the then Gorakhpur MP, Yogi Adityanath, was one of the accused.

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Akhilesh Chandra Sharma dismissed the petition filed by Parvez Parwaz and Asad Hayat, saying it did not find any procedural irregularity in the order of refusal to grant sanction to prosecute the accused in the case.

Parwaz was the complainant in the FIR registered in connection with the riot case and Hayat a witness.

During the pendency of the writ petition, prosecution sanction was denied by the principal secretary (home) on May 3, 2017, which too was challenged by the petitioners.

In the writ petition, the petitioners had requested the court to order a probe by an independent agency into the FIR filed in 2008 in Gorakhpur against the then MP Yogi Adityanath and three others in a case of alleged communal violence on January 27, 2007.

It was alleged in the FIR that Adityanath, the then mayor of the city, Anju Chaudhri, the then MLA Radha Mohan Agarwal and another person had incited communal violence and riot in Gorakhpur in 2007.

Stating that the matter was being investigated by the CB-CID, the petitioner expressed concern that the state police may not act impartially and requested that the investigation be transferred to an independent agency.

Chhattisgarh proposes to set up fast-track courts for rape cases

In the wake of the state-wide protests over the Kanker rape case, Raman Singh-led BJP government has decided to send a proposal to the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court to set up fast-track courts in all the districts for speedy disposal of rape cases.

According to the government official, “While talking to a delegation of Akhil Bharatiya Gondwana Gond Mahasabha (ABGGM), Chief Minister said the state government has decided to send the proposal to Chief Justice to set up fast-track courts in each district.”

The delegation of ABGGM, comprising its National Chief SP Shori, Member of Parliament (MP) Sohan Potai and others, met CM at his official residence last night and handed over a memorandum stating several suggestions to ensure safety of tribal girls in government residential schools and hostels.

“A women’s vigilance committee comprising local women public representatives will be constituted for each residential (ashram) school and hostels for tribal girls to carry out routine inspection. The female public representatives, including panch, sarpanch and corporators, will be inducted into the committees,” the statement quoted Singh as saying during the discussion.

The committee will meet the parents of the inmates of the residential schools and hostels at least once a month to enquire about the problems faced by the children.

The Chief Minister also said the accused in rape cases should be given stringent punishment as early as possible.

“For this, the state government will request the Chief Justice of the High Court to establish fast-track courts in each district and deliver justice in such cases within the stipulated time so that cases related to sexual harassment of women could be disposed early.”

The incident of sexual assault on minor inmates of the government-run residential school for tribal girls in Jhaliyamari village of Kanker district was reported to police on January 6, following which a contract teacher and school watchman were arrested.

What action on arrest of girls: HC to Maha on FB row

The  Maharashtra government has been asked by the Bombay High Court that what action it had taken against policemen who arrested two girls from nearby Palghar district for posting comments on Facebook against the bandh observed in Mumbai during Bal Thackeray’s funeral in November last year.

A Bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka asked prosecutor Konde-Deshmukh to file by February 12 a reply on action taken by the state government in this case.

The court was hearing a petition filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar who prayed for a direction to the state via Home department to order appropriate penal action against the erring cops who made the arrests.

Arguing the petition in person, Tirodkar referred to a report in a newspaper which said that an inquiry into the arrests was made by Sukhwinder Singh, Inspector General of Police (Konkan region) and report submitted to the government.

The newspaper quoted the inquiry report saying three officials did not act in time to halt the arrests and opined that the case against the girls should be withdrawn. However, Singh’s report was too weak to be acted upon, the newspaper report said.

Moreover, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil had divergent views on action to be taken against the erring police personnel, Tirodkar said quoting the newspaper report.

While the Chief Minister was of the opinion that action should be taken against police officials responsible for the arrests of the two girls, the Home Minister did not agree with this and expressed his view that no action should be taken against the cops, Tirodkar said.

This had resulted in delay in taking action against the erring police officials for arresting the girls although no offence had been made out against them, the petitioner said.

Rape Case: Dikshit, Delhi Police at loggerheads

After the blame game, an open war has broken out between Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who complained of “interference” by police officers in the recording of gangrape victim’s statement, and Delhi Police which today demanded a probe into the “leakage” of her letter to the Home Minister.

Dikshit, who has been making a strong pitch of bringing the city police under Delhi government from Home Ministry’s control, shot off a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde seeking a high-level inquiry into the complaint of Sub- Divisional Magistrate.

In the complaint, sources said, SDM Usha Chaturvedi claimed that three senior police officers had prevented the video recording of the victim’s statement. It was also alleged that the police officers wanted the SDM to use a questionnaire they prepared.

When she refused to do so, sources said, police officials misbehaved with the SDM.

Delhi Police came out with a strong denial and also demanded a high-level probe into the “leakage” of Dikshit’s letter to Home Minister. “We deny the allegations levelled by SDM Usha Chaturvedi.

“Delhi Police demands a high-level inquiry into the leakage of a top-secret letter written by the Chief Minister to media,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

Ever since the public outrage over the December 16 gangrape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in south Delhi, the Chief Minister has made it clear that she cannot be held responsible for actions of police which is not under her government’s control.

Police has made known its unhappiness over Dikshit passing on the buck and raking up a “non-issue” at this juncture by writing to Shinde.

In her letter, Dikshit cited a communication to her by Deputy Commissioner (East) B.M. Mishra that Chaturvedi had complained about senior police officials’ “interference” while she was recording the statement of the victim.

The Chief Minister was “very upset” over the contents of the letter sent by the Deputy Commissioner and decided to write to Shinde seeking a thorough probe into the incident, Delhi government sources said.

Home Ministry sources said they are likely to order a probe into the Chief Minister’s complaint. “We are taking the complaint very seriously,” a senior Ministry official said.

Elaborating on police’s stand, Bhagat said the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Vasant Vihar) had written to Divisional Commissioner seeking the services of a SDM for recording the statement of the victim and Chaturvedi was assigned the job.

Doctors treating the victim at Safdarjung Hospital informed the SDM that she was fit for statement, he said.

“When the SDM arrived there and camera man was going inside, the victim’s family objected to the presence of the videography team thinking that they were from media. They were then told about the procedure but the family then in writing said that they would not like videographing the statement recording process,” Bhagat said.

As the family objected, he said, doctors did not allow the video team to record the proceedings.

He also said none of the police officers was present in the room when the SDM recorded the victim’s statement and that the victim herself signed all the papers in this regard. .

“There was no interference from Delhi Police’s part,” he said.



Former Andhra Pradesh Minister Mopidevi granted interim bail

Bail to former Andhra Pradesh Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao has been granted by a special CBI court, Mopidevi is an accused in disproportionate assets case involving YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, to enable him to go on Sabarimala pilgrimage.

The court allowed Mopidevi an interim bail for 10-days from December 24 to January 2 to enable him to visit Sabarimala for darshan of Lord Ayyappa at his own expenses along with an escort consisting of one CBI constable.

Mopidevi, who is under judicial remand and lodged in Chanchalguda jail since his arrest by CBI on May 24, had earlier moved the court stating he was in Ayyappa Diksha and required to go to Sabarimala for darshan of Lord Ayyappa.

An ardent devotee of Lord Ayyappa has submitted the petition and visiting Sabarimala since 1995 and requested the court to grant him an interim bail to visit Sabarimala and other religious places en route.

The court while further directing Mopidevi to surrender before it on January 3, asked him to submit two sureties of Rs 25,000 each towards the interim bail.

He was also told not to meddle with investigation, not to threaten, induce or make any promise to any person related to the case.

The CBI had earlier alleged Mopidevi, Minister for Infrastructure and Investments during YSR regime, approved the Cabinet memorandum containing proposals for awarding of a construction project by withholding important aspects related to it such as total extent of land required for the project.

However, the former minister had contended he was falsely implicated in the case and entire processing of the files were done in routine course of business of the Ministry and he dealt with transactions in a bona-fide manner in line with approvals by the then Chief Minister (late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy) and the Cabinet.

According to CBI, industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, a promoter of the project, got nearly 24,000 acres of land sanctioned by AP government for the project as quid-pro-quo for investments made by him in Jagan’s businesses when late Y S Reddy was the Chief Minister.

‘Goa chief minister anti-tribal’

Tribal leaders here Monday accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat of being “anti-tribal” and protecting the killers of two tribal activists during a May rally this year.

Speaking to reporters during a day-long tribal protest here, convenor of the United Tribal Associations Alliance (UTAA), Prakash Velip, said that Kamat’s disinterest in tribal welfare affairs was obvious as no judicial enquiry was in sight into the killing of two tribal activists during an agitation at Balli, some 50 km from here, May 25.

“Where is the judicial enquiry which the chief minister promised? Are there no retired judges available? The killers of Mangesh Gaonkar and Dilip Velip (both tribal activists) are still at large. The chief minister is anti-tribal,” Velip told reporters at the Azad Maidan here.

Days after the violence, Kamat had assured the tribal leaders of a judicial enquiry into the incident. The case was also transferred to the Crime Branch for investigation.

The tribal leaders, who have been demanding implementation of reservation for tribals in government jobs and other tribal rights, have also said that Crime Branch officers were more interested in harassing tribal activists and threatening them rather than probing the killings.

“Those who killed Mangesh and Dilip are still at large. Only one person has been arrested. They were young boys who were attacked and thrown into fire, where they were charred to death. It cannot have been done by one person,” tribal activist and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ramesh Tawadkar said.