Court acquits retired government officer in 1987 espionage case

A former senior government officer accused of leaking secret defence documents has been acquitted in a 31-year-old espionage case by a Delhi court which said the CBI had failed to establish that they were classified “secret” documents.

The court absolved N W Nerurkar, who was working as an advisor to the Department of Electronics under the Centre in 1987, and another person, Aditya Kumar Jajodia, in the case and said the agency had failed to prove a conspiracy angle.

The two were acquitted of the offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and penalties for spying and wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act.

The CBI had filed a case on April 17, 1987, after it received a complaint from a courier company in Delhi that certain secret documents related to defence matters were being dispatched by the accused.

Dr Narayan Waman Nerurkar, Brigadier (Retd) Rajpal Singh Deol, Delhi-based firm William Jacks’ Krishna Kumar Jajodia, his son Aditya Kumar Jajodia and their employee Kizhuvara Venugopalan were named as the accused in the case.

While Venugopalan was discharged by the court earlier, Deol and Krishna Jajodia died during the trial and proceedings against them were abated.

Special CBI Judge Kamini Lau said in the recent judgement that there were a large number of missing links and a “total failure” on the prosecution’s part to prove that the documents on “Operational Requirement of Utility helicopters for the Army” and the “User/Evaluation Trial Report on RATAC-S Battlefield Surveillance Radar (BFSR), Phase-I” were declared classified “secret” documents.

The court said even if it was assumed that these documents were “secret” notes, the possibility of their leakage from other sources could not be ruled out.

It said just because the word “secret” was written on the document, it would not make it so, particularly when the details of the equipment and its literature were readily available and published in magazines and newspapers and global tenders were invited.

The court, while acquitting Nerurkar, said the searches conducted by the investigating agency did not result in the recovery of any incriminating material against him to connect him with the alleged offence.

Regarding Aditya Jajodia, it said the recovery of a xeroxed copy of the note from the bedroom of accused Krishna Jajodia did not incriminate his son.

The court said due care and caution had not been taken to keep the concerned documents in safe custody and the approach of keeping them open showed that they did not contain any strategic or sensitive information which would be useful to any enemy or the disclosure of which was likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India.

According to the CBI, the courier company, Trident Express, had informed it that two packets were picked up for dispatch from Jajodias’ firm.

On opening the packet, CBI officials had allegedly found that information about the Army’s battlefield surveillance radar was being sent to Marc De Saint Denis in Paris.

Another packet was addressed to JWH Weavers of the Netherlands and contained draft letters with details of a radar to detect low-level enemy aircraft, it had claimed.

It had alleged that the Jajodias were engaged in buying and selling secret reports of equipment to be inducted into the Army and that the father and son were also close to Nerurkar and Deol, who was a Brigadier in the Directorate of Weapons and Equipment.

Nerurkar had claimed innocence and said he was falsely implicated in the case and had never visited the Jajodias. He stated he had never seen the concerned documents and it was manipulated by the officials with the connivance of CBI officials.

Aditya Jajodia had also claimed innocence and said the prosecution sanction to prosecute him was not legal and valid.

Ruia sent to 14-day PC, fresh charges slapped

Ruia sent to 14-day PC, fresh charges slapped
Ruia sent to 14-day PC, fresh charges slapped

Ruia Group chairman Pawan Ruia was today remanded in 14 days’ police custody and fresh charges including of criminal conspiracy slapped on him, a day after he was arrested by the West Bengal CID in connection with a complaint of theft lodged by the railways.

A Barrackpore court in North 24-Parganas district passed the order when the industrialist was produced in the court this afternoon.

Submitting that it required sufficient time to question the industrialist, the CID had appealed for a full-term custody, which was granted by the court.

Ruia, arrested by the CID from his New Delhi residence yesterday, was booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant).

Today, fresh charges under IPC 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) were slapped on Ruia.

The railways had filed an FIR with the Dum Dum police station after an inspection team found several equipment and coaches worth Rs 50 crore missing from the Jessop factory at Dum Dum where a fire had broken out on October 17.

The Ruia Group chairman was summoned by the CID four times in the past in connection with its probe into the theft and fires at the Jessop factory, but each time he had failed to appear.

A Special Investigating Team was formed by the CID to probe the theft.

Ruia had moved the Calcutta High Court, which refused to stay proceedings against him in connection with the case filed by the CID following the fire and directed him to cooperate in the investigation.

Ruia had moved the high court seeking quashing of the case filed against him by CID, claiming he is not the chairman of Jessop and he is neither the director nor a shareholder, or an occupier of Jessop and Co Ltd or any of its premises.

Former workers of the factory had alleged that the fire was part of a “conspiracy by a third party” following which the West Bengal government ordered a CID probe into the incident.

( Source – PTI )

Charges framed in 2013 Thane building collapse case

Charges framed in 2013 Thane building collapse case
Charges framed in 2013 Thane building collapse case

More than three years after the collapse of an unauthorised building in the district in which 74 lives were lost, a district court here today framed charges against 27 people.

The charges were framed under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections of IPC, apart from the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The 7-storey building at Lucky Compound near Shil Phata collapsed on April 4, 2013.

The building had no permissions, and people were already living in it though construction was underway. It was alleged that the builders had paid bribes to the local leaders and Thane Municipal Corporation officials to turn a blind eye to the unauthorised construction.

It was also alleged that the builders encouraged people to live there so that it may not be demolished.

District judge V V Bambarde today framed charges against the 27 accused, which include builders Jameel Qureshi and Salim Sheikh, the then deputy municipal commissioners Deepak Chavan and Srikant Sarmokdam, NCP corporator Hira Patil and others.

In May 2015, while deciding bail applications of some of the accused, the Bombay High Court had asked the lower court to expedite the proceedings, said special public prosecutor Shishir Hirey.

Most of the accused are out on bail.

( Source – PTI )

Kanchi seer summoned by court in assault case

Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi
Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi

Kanchi seer summoned by court in assault case

Chennai,  A court here has directed Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi to appear before it on March 28 in auditor Radha krishnan assault case, in which he is the prime accused, to answer charges framed against him.

First Additional Sessions Judge P Rajamanickam has also ordered other accused, including Kanchi Sankara Mutt Manager Sundaresa Iyer and junior pontiff Vijayendra Saraswati’s brother Raghu to appear on the same day to answer questions under Section 313 of CrPc.

According to the prosecution, former auditor of the mutt S Radhakrishnan was allegedly assaulted by a gang in his home here on September 20, 2002.

Police had registered a case against 12 persons, including Jayendra Saraswati, and the charge sheet was filed in 2006 for offences including criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder.

The gang had attacked Radhakrishnan assuming that he was writing letters in the pseudo name of Somasekhara Ghanapadigal highlighting the alleged ‘irregularities’ in the mutt.

“Examination of 55 witnesses by the prosecution has been completed in the case,” Special Public Prosecutor N Vijayaraj told PTI.

Two of the accused Appu and Kathiravan have died during the pendency of the case. Ravi Subramaniam, an approver and key witness, has turned hostile.

PTi

Court charges Gopal Kanda with raping former air hostess

Delhi High court has fixed charges of rape and abetment of suicide on Former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda on trial in air hostess Geetika Sharma’s suicide case.

The court also framed charges of abeting rape and suicide of the 23-year-old victim against Kanda’s aide and an employee of MDLR company, Aruna Chadha.

District Judge S K Sarvaria framed charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery under IPC and Information Technology Act relating to hacking of computer and sending offensive or false messages on Kanda and Chadha.

“Prima facie charges under sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 468 (forgery with intention to cheat), 469 (forgery with intention to harm reputation) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) are made out against Gopal Kanda and Aruna Chadha.

“Further, prima facie charges under sections 376 (rape) and 377 (unnatural sex) are made out against Kanda and charge under section 376 read with 109 (abetment to rape) is made out against Chadha,” the judge said.

With Friday’s order, the suicide case has been converted into a sexual offence case in which name of the victim cannot be mentioned henceforth.

After framing charges, the district judge has sent the matter for trial before the fast track court dealing with sexual offence cases. The court has fixed the matter for May 27 for recording of prosecution evidence.

The charges of rape and unnatural sex were not invoked against them by the Delhi Police in its charge sheet.

The former air hostess, who was earlier employed with Kanda’s MLDR airlines, was found dead on August 5 at her Ashok Vihar residence in North West Delhi. In her August 4 suicide note, she had said she was ending her life due to “harassment” by Kanda, 46, and Chadha, 40.

Kanda was forced to resign from his post of minister of state for home following the registration of the case.

Life term for three, 2 escape with 3-year jailterm in ’84 riots case

Three persons were today awarded life imprisonment in a 29-year-old 1984 anti-Sikh riots case by a Delhi court which said the offences were grave as the victims of a particular community had been targeted and the acts of the convicts were most gruesome in nature.

District Judge J R Aryan gave life term to ex-councillor Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal for murder and rioting in the case in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted on April 30, which CBI had reportedly said would challenge in the Delhi High Court.

The court rejected CBI’s plea for death sentence to Balwan, Lal and Bhagmal, saying their offence does not come under the category of rarest of rare warranting capital punishment.

“They had no special or personal animosity towards anyone or the deceased individually. The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had blindfolded those youths and unfortunately, there was no leadership to bridle the mob frenzy unleashed with all cruelty,” it said.

Two other convicts, ex-MLA Mahinder Yadav and Kishan Khokkar were awarded three-year imprisonment and the court rejected their plea to release them on probation.

Kumar was acquitted by the court which held that he deserved “benefit of doubt” since one of the victims and key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.

In his ten-page order on sentence, the court said “there cannot be two opinions that offences committed in this case were grave where victims of a particular community had been targeted for killing and destroying their properties.

“This court has already taken the facts into consideration that there were 341 killings in the area of police station Delhi Cantt of this case itself.”

While holding that the crime doesn’t fall in the rarest of rare category warranting extreme punishment, the judge said “what the accused have done were no doubt acts of the most gruesome nature.

“But we bear in mind that they were in rampage and they ran berserk, unguided by a sense or reason and triggered only by a demented psyche,” he said.

The court also cited a Supreme judgement in another anti-Sikh riots case in which the death sentence awarded to the convicts by the trial court and upheld by the Delhi High Court was commuted to life imprisonment by the apex court.

“In a case in which four sons of a helpless woman were ‘roasted to death in front of her eyes’ on November 2, 1984 at Trilokpuri locality here, the convict was sentenced to death and it was affirmed by the Delhi High Court but the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment,” ASJ Aryan said.

The judge also rejected the plea of Yadav and Kishan Khokkar for granting them benefit of probation, as it said, “it was not warranted as this was a case of widespread rioting and violence to the extent of killing and destroying the properties of the victims.

On defence counsel’s argument on lapse of time, the judge said “the counsel tried to impress upon this court that 29 years have lapsed since the incident of this crime had occurred. To my mind, this should not be a mitigating circumstance and seriousness and gravity of the offence does not get diluted by that factor.”

“These two accused are kept at par with other three accused (held guilty of murder) as far as sentence for their conviction under section 147 (rioting) and 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons) IPC is concerned,” the judge said.

Earlier in the day, while arguing on the quantum of sentence, CBI prosecutor R S Cheema submitted before the court “the evidence showed that the scale of crime was so serious that adult male Sikhs were killed after being searched and chased by the mob.

“Complainant Jagdish Kaur’s son Gurpreet Singh, 18, ran for his life when he was located by the mob, captured, assaulted and burnt him,” he said.

The case, in which the five persons were held guilty, relates to the death of five Sikhs – Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh – by the mob in Raj Nagar area in Delhi Cantonment. They were members of the same family.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 on each of the five convicts.

Yadav and Kishan Kokkar were granted bail by the court.

High security arrangements had been made in and around and inside the court complex and the media was also barred from entering the courtroom.

Seeking death penalty for Balwan Khokkar, CBI said “such a person leading the mob and then assuming political power indicated the circumstances as to how the society was in need of protection from such kinds of don.”

Regarding Capt Bhagmal, CBI said “the accused was serving as a officer in Navy and thus being the member of the armed force, he was supposed to protect the country but he became a menace to the society and all these accused indulged in brutal killings.”

At this, Bhagmal started narrating the sequence of events to the court and said he had rather helped the victims during the riots.

He was, however, intervened by the judge who said “you have already been convicted and we have crossed this stage, so there is no point of addressing or submitting these things now. You can state all this before the superior courts.”

 

PTI

Anti-Sikh riots case: HC verdict on Sajjan’s plea tomorrow

On a plea of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar against a trial court order framing charges against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case related to the killings of six persons the Delhi High court will pronounce its verdict.

Justice Suresh Kait, who had reserved the order in December last year, will pronounce the verdict at 10.30 am tomorrow.

Besides the Congress leader, co-accused Ved Prakash Pial alias Vedu Pradhan and Brahmanand Gupta had also moved the high court against framing of charges against them in the case.

Complainant Sheela Kaur had filed a cross-appeal in the high court seeking to invoke the charges of criminal conspiracy against Kumar and other four accused in the case.

Earlier in July 2010, a lower court had framed charges against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with the case in which six persons were killed in Sultanpuri in anti-Sikhs riots that erupted in Delhi and elsewhere after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Besides charges of murder and rioting, the court had also framed charges for the offence of spreading enmity between two communities against the accused in the case.

The CBI had filed two charge sheets against Kumar and others in January, 2010 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice GT Nanavati Commission which probed the sequence of events leading to the riots.

98-yr-old former min ordered to appear before court

98-year-old former Union minister Sheila Kaul, facing prosecution in a 1996 accommodation allotment scam, has been directed to appear before a Delhi court which refused to give her any further exemption, observing that the case has not moved an inch in 13 months.

Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah directed that Kaul shall appear before it in person on April 3 for framing of charges.

“Orders were passed in the months of February 2012 directing framing of charges.

It has been 13 months and we hav e not moved an inch,” according to the court.

The order of the court came after Kaul’s counsel pleaded for exemption to her from personal appearance in the court and informed it that the Delhi High Court had last month rejected her plea against framing of corruption charges against her.

The court also refused to grant exemption on the ground that Kaul has moved the Supreme Court against the order of the high court but her petition is yet to be listed for hearing.

“File to come up for framing of charge on April 3. All the three accused (Kaul and her then additional private secretary Rajan Lala and private assistant R K Sharma) shall be appearing in person,” the court ordered.

Kaul, a Union urban development minister in P V Narasimha Rao’s cabinet, is accused of conspiring with Rajan Lala and R K Sharma for making out-of-turn allotments of government accommodations in return for monetary gains between 1992 and 1995.

The Special court had on February 2, 2012 held that prima facie a case was made out against them and decided to frame charges under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as hatching criminal conspiracy under section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Kaul, however, failed to appear before the court on various dates to either plead guilty or claim trial. She failed to turn up before the court on the plea that she is suffering from various ailments and is bed-ridden.

The court had in April 2012 even ordered constitution of an AIIMS medical board which examined Kaul and gave the opinion that she was of sound mind and was capable of understanding the questions put to her.

She had then moved the high court against framing of charges on the ground that mere misuse of discretionary quota did not constitute an offence.

The high court had rejected the plea saying when the misconduct is accompanied by the acts of accepting or obtaining or agreeing to accept or attempting to obtain gratification, it amounts to be an offence under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

CWG case: Trial of Kalmadi, others to begin tomorrow

Trial in a Commonwealth Games related case involving Suresh Kalmadi and nine others will commence tomorrow in a Delhi court which had invoked charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and other offences against them entailing maximum punishment of life term.

Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur had on February 4 framed charges against Kalmadi, who was sacked as CWG Organising Committee (OC) chairman, and other accused including OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot for the offences punishable under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.

The court had fixed February 20 for commencement of recording of evidence in the case related to alleged “illegal” awarding of a contract to install Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system for the 2010 CWG to Swiss Timing at inflated rates and had said that the trial will be held on day-to-day basis barring Monday and Friday.

All the accused were charged under various sections of the IPC, including section 467 (forgery of a valuable security), which entails life term as maximum punishment.

The court had framed substantive charge under section 13 (2) read with section 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by public servants) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Kalmadi.

Kalmadi will also face trial for offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 420 (cheating), 467, 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Besides these, Kalmadi and other accused have also been charged for offences under sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life) of the IPC.

After framing of charges, all the accused had pleaded not guilty and had claimed trial in the case.

Gangrape case: Supreme Court defers hearing over counsel row

A day after two lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court claiming to represent one of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, the sessions Judge has been asked by the court conducting the trial to find out who the actual counsel was and if he wanted to pursue the case for transferring the trial to a court outside Delhi.

A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the hearing after the advocates indulged in verbal dual and began making claims and counterclaims for representing accused Mukesh. Refusing to hear the case, the sessions judge has been asked by the Supreme Court bench to find out who the accused’s actual counsel was.

As soon as advocate ML Sharma, who claimed to have filed the plea on behalf of accused Mukesh to seek transfer of trial to Mathura in UP on the ground of prejudice and charged atmosphere, started arguments, another lawyer VK Anand objected saying Sharma was no more associated with the case.

It was then that the Supreme Court bench asked the advocate-on-record to appear before it at noon to find out the truth. When the matter was again taken up after lunch, Anand did a U-turn, saying he has been authorised by the accused to represent him only in the trial court.

Sharma then alleged that Mukesh is being tortured by the police and Anand was trying to create hindrance in hearing of the transfer plea in the gangrape case in which arguments on charges will commence from Thursday.

The court then directed the sessions judge to talk to Mukesh and find out the truth behind these allegations and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

Mukesh, who along with four others, has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, has alleged that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials are under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and hence, a fair hearing is not possible. “The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all,” Mukesh’s plea said.

Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been charged with offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC. Their sixth accomplice is a juvenile and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.