Madras HC confirms jail term for kin of Sasikala in DA case

Madras HC confirms jail term for kin of Sasikala in DA case
Madras HC confirms jail term for kin of Sasikala in DA case

The Madras High Court today upheld a CBI court order convicting son-in-law and daughter of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala’s sister in a Rs 1.68 crore disproportionate assets (DA) case registered two decades ago.

Justice G Jayachandran dismissed appeals filed by S R Baskaran, a Reserve Bank of India employee, and his wife B Sreedaladevi challenging the Special CBI court order of August 26, 2008, convicting and sentencing them.

Sreedaladevi is the daughter of B Vanithamani, sister of Sasikala, who is serving a four-year jail term in a wealth case. Deposed AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran is Sreedaladevi’s brother.

The CBI had registered a case in November, 1997, against Baskaran and Sreedaladevi and conducted searches against them at various places, during which the investigating agency seized movable and immovable assets including 80 gold bars from a bank locker.

The agency had charged Baskaran with amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, to the extent of Rs 1,68,54,305, which stood in the name of his wife.

The trial court held them guilty for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code sections, and sentenced Baskaran to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years and his wife to three years, besides imposing a fine of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh on them respectively.

Confirming the lower court order, Justice Jayachandran held that the “investment in movable and immovable assets, cash, gold and silver articles, seized during the searches, by no stretch of imagination gave an impression that they were acquired through legal source”.

Through documentary and ocular evidence, the prosecution has proved the guilt of the accused to the core, he said.

Referring to the appellants filing Income Tax returns admitting undisclosed income and coming forward to pay the tax after the searches and seizures, the judge held mere declaring of income to authorities belatedly without accounting for the same would not make the source (of income) a lawful one.

Baskaran had joined the RBI in 1988 as a clerk.

According to prosecution, before joining RBI, Baskaran disclosed his total assets at Rs 2,96,816. At the end of the check period, as on July 31, 1998, his total immovable properties were Rs 87,96,823 and the movable Rs 2,28,91,994.

( Source – PTI )

SC sets aside exoneration of ex-TN minister in DA case

 In a setback to DMK veteran K N Nehru, the Supreme Court has paved the way for further investigation into the alleged disporportionate assets of his son and set aside his exoneration in the case.

The apex court has set aside the order of the Madras High Court exonerating Nehru, a former transport minister, and his wife terming their discharge pending investigation as “visibly prematured” and “unsustainable in law as well as on facts”.

Nehru, his wife Shanta and son Arun are accused of acquiring assets disproportionate to their known sources of income during his tenure as the transport minister of Tamil Nadu between 2006 and 2011.

Currently an MLA from the Tiruchirappalli West constituency, he has been a four-time legislator of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party.

“The impugned order directing the discharge of the respondents is hereby set aside and the order of the Trial Court vis-a-vis them is restored,” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy said.

It directed the vigilance department to complete further investigation at the earliest so as to enable the trial court to proceed in accordance with law.

The bench upheld the direction of High Court and the trial court for further probe and said the probe agency should keep in mind “the seriousness of the charge and the avowed objectives of the anti-corruption law involved and conduct the investigation as expected of it and submit its report as expeditiously as possible”.

The apex court allowed the appeal of the state government challenging the High Court order exonerating Nehru and his wife but affirming the direction for further probe against his son Arun.

“Having regard to the FIR, the explanation provided by the respondent No.1 (Nehru), the charge-sheet submitted as well as the indispensability of the scrutiny of the sources of income of Arun and his assets, we are of the view that the courts below had rightly directed further investigation to verify the genuineness or otherwise of the source(s) of income of Arun and his assets and the bearing thereof, if any, on the charge levelled against the respondents,” it said.

The court observed that the High Court, having endorsed the direction for further investigation vis-a-vis Arun, ought not to have recorded its findings of exoneration of Nehru and his wife at this stage.

“In fact, the discharge of the respondents flies in the face of the direction for further investigation into the affairs of Arun in order to verify the lawfulness or otherwise of his source of income and his assets.

“In our estimate, in view of the correlation of the explanation provided by the respondent No.1 to the imputation of disproportionate assets and the probe ordered into the affairs of Arun, to say the least, the discharge of the respondents before the completion of the investigation is visibly prematured,” the bench said.

Nehru in his explanation about his income said he had received the amount only from his son Arun and the latter had received remuneration for which he had paid TDS under the Income Tax Act and therefore the question of disproportionateness of his assets did not arise.

The court said that the exoneration of Nehru and his wife pending investigation amounted to “prejudging the charge” against them.

“We have thus no hesitation to hold that the order of the High Court, discharging the respondents herein, pending the investigation against Arun, at this stage, is unsustainable in law as well as on facts,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state government, contended that on taking into account the materials on record, the High Court ought not to have discharged them at this stage while affirming further probe into the sources of income of Arun.

He said the outcome of the further probe would have a vital bearing on the charge leveled against the accused and their discharge at this stage is wholly unwarranted.

Counsel appearing for Nehru and others said that the available materials do not substantiate the allegation and the discharge of the respondents is perfectly justified and does not merit any interference.

An FIR was lodged in 2011 against Nehru, his wife and son by the Deputy Superintendent of Police (vigilance & anti- corruption), Trichy, alleging that Nehru while serving as the transport minister had acquired assets in his name and in the names of his wife and son far beyond their known sources of income.

Before the check-period (May 13, 2006-March 24, 2011) both husband, wife and son had assets worth over Rs 2.83 crore which swelled to over Rs 18.52 crore at the end of the period.

After the charge sheet was filed against them, the accused moved trial court seeking discharge but the court ordered further probe into the assets and income of Arun.

The High Court on December 19, 2013, exonerated Nehru and his wife but affirmed further probe into the assets and income of Arun.

HP CM says DA case political vendetta,Digvijaya blames Jaitley

HP CM says DA case political vendetta,Digvijaya blames Jaitley
HP CM says DA case political vendetta,Digvijaya blames Jaitley

Top Congress leaders today termed as “political vendetta” the disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife and even alleged that the case was filed at the instance of Union Minister Arun Jaitley.

While 82-year old Virbhadra Singh himself said the case was a fallout of “political vendetta” and he would fight and win this “long battle”, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh dragged Jaitley in the matter alleging that the case was filed at the instance of the BJP leader.

“It’s a political vendetta. It’s a long battle and I will fight and win the case,” the Chief Minister said.

Digvijaya Singh, who stood surety for Virbhadra Singh who was granted bail in the case by a Delhi court, said the case was “part of a campaign” against the Virbhadra Singh since he took action against alleged corrupt practices in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.

“He (Virbhadra) is falsely implicated at the instance of Jaitley,” Digvijaya Singh told reporters outside the court.

He also asked the Prime Minister to start investigation into the alleged role of Jaitley in cricket bodies.

“The Prime Minister should start investigation against Jaitley since he says that ‘neither I will eat (indulge in corruption), nor allow others to do so’. It is not only us (Congress), but even their own MP Kirti Azad has made allegations against Jaitley,” the Congress leader said.

He also said that Virbhadra Singh was one of the longest- serving Chief Ministers of the country and his honesty was “well known”.

The Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh were granted bail by a special court here in connection with a nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each and one surety of the like amount.

( Source – PTI )

Court summons HP CM Virbhadra Singh,wife as accused in DA case

Court summons HP CM Virbhadra Singh,wife as accused in DA case
Court summons HP CM Virbhadra Singh,wife as accused in DA case

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was today summoned as accused by special court which took cognisance of the CBI charge sheet against him for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets worth around Rs 10 crore.

Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh was also summoned as accused.

They have been asked to appear on May 22 before the court of Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal.

Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife, those asked to appear as accused are Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia.

The charge sheet, running into over 500 pages, claims that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.

The final report, filed against Singh and eight others for alleged offences punishable under sections 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.

The report also named as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who is currently in judicial custody.

Chauhan was arrested by Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the present case.

The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.

On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.

( Source – PTI )

SC declines Sasikala’s plea for time to surrender in DA case

SC declines Sasikala's plea for time to surrender in DA case
SC declines Sasikala’s plea for time to surrender in DA case

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain AIADMK chief V K Sasikala’s plea seeking more time to surrender for undergoing jail term in the disproportionate assets case.

“We do not intend to pass any order on this. We are not going to change anything in the judgement,” a bench headed by Justice P C Ghose said.

“Sorry. We have already written everything in the fatty judgement and it says forthwith. I am not going to change even a word,” the bench said.

Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for Sasikala, said that the leader wanted some time to surrender as she has to manage her affairs.

He was seeking urgent hearing of the application today itself.

The bench instead of listing the plea, made clear to the lawyer that it would not consider the plea.

Yesterday, the apex court had upheld the trial court verdict awarding four years jail term to the convicts in the case, besides imposition of a fine of Rs 10 crore each on Sasikala and two others.

The trial court had imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the late Jayalalithaa.

( Source – PTI )

SC convicts Sasikala in DA case, dashes her bid to be TN CM

SC convicts Sasikala in DA case, dashes her bid to be TN CM
SC convicts Sasikala in DA case, dashes her bid to be TN CM

AIADMK chief V K Sasikala was today convicted in a corruption case by Supreme Court which dashed her ambition to become the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, as the verdict holding her guilty of entering into a conspiracy with late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa would bar her from electoral politics for the next decade.

The apex court judgement, delivered at a time when the state is witnessing a bitter power struggle in the aftermath of Jayalalithaa’s demise, set aside the Karnataka High Court order acquitting all the four accused and “restored in toto” the trial court’s decision in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case.

60-year-old Sasikala will now have to serve a jail term of around three-and-half years out of four years awarded by the trial court as she has already undergone almost six months in prison.

The special trial court had found disproportionate assets worth Rs 53.60 crore, which Jayalalithaa and the three others could not account for. The CBI had alleged that the unaccounted wealth was in the tune of Rs 66.65 crore.

The top court directed Sasikala and her two relatives — V N Sudhakaran, Jayalalithaa’s foster son, and Elavarasi, widow of Sasikala’s elder brother, to “forthwith surrender” before the Bengaluru’s trial court which will “take immediate steps” to ensure that all the three “serve out the remainder of sentence awarded to them and take further steps in compliance of this judgement, in accordance with law.”

Sasikala, the close aid and shadow of Jayalalithaa for almost three decades, was locked in a power struggle for the top post with acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who was today sacked from AIADMK’s primary membership.

She had been in the jail in 1996 when the case was registered and later in 2014 after the Special trial court convicted and awarded a four-year sentence with a fine of Rs 10 crore. Jayalalithaa was then awarded four-year jail term, besides a fine of Rs 100 crore.

The apex court, which abated the proceedings against Jayalalithaa who breathed her last on December 5 last year, held that the criminal conspiracy was hatched at her Poes Garden residence in Chennai.

“The joint residence of all the accused persons also could not be ignored as a factor contributing to the charge of conspiracy and abetment when assessed together with the attendant facts and circumstances reinforcing the said imputations,” a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said.

( Source – PTI )

Ex-Delhi Police DCP gets two-year jail in DA case

Ex-Delhi Police DCP gets two-year jail in DA case
Ex-Delhi Police DCP gets two-year jail in DA case

A former Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police was today awarded a two-year jail term by a special court in a 2001 case for amassing assets worth over Rs 10 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Special CBI Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna handed down the punishment to 1993-batch IPS Bhupinder Singh Bola and also imposed a fine of Rs five lakh on the convict.

Bola was convicted for the offence punishable under section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) read with 13(1)(e) (possession of disproportionate assets by public servant) of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

After awarding the punishment, the court granted bail to Bola on a personal surety of Rs 50,000 to enable him file an appeal against his conviction and punishment in the superior court.

According to the CBI, searches were conducted at Bola’s Delhi residence on July 6, 2001 when he was posted as Managing Director of Pondicherry Distilleries and assets over worth Rs 16,03,216 were recovered, including clothes worth Rs 2,38,600.

The accused failed to explain the source of the recovered assets, it claimed. A charge sheet was filed by the CBI on July 30, 2005, under the provisions of PC Act.

The accused has denied all allegations levelled against him.

( Source – PTI )

DA case probe against Virbhadra Singh, others complete: CBI

DA case probe against Virbhadra Singh, others complete: CBI
DA case probe against Virbhadra Singh, others complete: CBI

CBI today told Delhi High Court that its investigation in a disproportionate assets (DA) case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others was “complete” and it wanted to file the charge sheet in the matter.

The agency told Justice Vipin Sanghi that a case was made out against Virbhadra and others and since the investigation was over, they would like to file a charge sheet.

Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia said that as per the order passed earlier by the Himachal Pradesh High Court, CBI cannot file a charge sheet without that court’s permission.

“Himachal Pradesh High Court says charge sheet cannot be filed. Now investigation is over. Our challan (charge sheet) is ready. We want to file the challan. A case is made out against them,” Patwalia said.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order passed on October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case without the court’s permission.

The matter was later transferred by Supreme Court to Delhi High Court, but the interim order has not yet been vacated or stayed.

During the hearing today, Patwalia said the CBI had moved an application in the high court here for modification of the order passed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

The court, however, said it would hear arguments in the matter on the next date of hearing on September 8.

The Delhi High Court on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Singh while asking him to join the probe.

The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI’s application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order, which, the agency claimed, had “seriously held up” its investigation in the case.

( Source – PTI )

DA case:Karnataka questions cash as gifts to Jaya on birthdays

DA case:Karnataka questions cash as gifts to Jaya on birthdays
DA case:Karnataka questions cash as gifts to Jaya on birthdays

Karnataka government today raised questions in the Supreme Court about crores of rupees allegedly received as gift by AIADMK Chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister JJayalalithaa from party cadres on her birthdays, saying these earnings cannot be said to be from “lawful source of income”.

Continuing his arguments, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who is appearing for Karnataka in the disproportionate assets case, questioned the methodlogy adopted by the High Court in computing assets of Jayalalithaa.

“Can the Rs 1.5 crore received from (party) cadres as gifts on birthdays be said to be lawful source of income. It can’t be. Then tomorrow every politician will go and do the same thing. All the politicians are revered by their cadres,” Dave told the bench of justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy.

The Karnataka government is arguing its appeal in the case as the trial was shifted from Tamil Nadu and aBangalore court had convicted the accused including Jayalalithaa who had succeeded in her challenge before the High Court there.

“These leaders are like demi gods. They command enormous power. They have the capacity to subvert the system to their advantage. It is a reality,” Dave said.

He said that the high court had accepted the contention of the accused that the gifts received by Jayalalitha on her birthday and also for her son’s wedding have to be included in the income and has concluded that the income from gifts would be estimated as Rs 1.5 crore.

Dave also questioned the loan of Rs 15 crore taken by Jaya Publication in which AIADMK chief and her close aide were partners and said no authority was intimated during the check period between 1991 and 1996.

“Here loan was taken but no authority was intimated about it during the check period. Each of these defence taken by the accused were clear cut after thought and a carefully crafted legal advice,” Dave said.

He added that no one can tell the Income Tax department five years later that you had taken so much loan and acquired properties from that amount.

“The intimation has to be done at that time. Being a public servant you need to intimate the authorities concerned about any loan taken or acquiring properties,” Dave said.

To this the bench said that is there any rule or law in Karnataka which mandates the public authority to disclose his or her assets while holding the office.
The senior advocate further said that under civil service

conduct rules government servants have to disclose their assets and income but they are unaware of any law in Tamil Nadu as the state has not rendered any cooperation.

The bench said it is not the question of cooperation given or not and if there exists any rule or law, the court can order for it.

The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow.

The apex court had yesterday commenced final hearing on various appeals including the one filed by Karnataka against the acquittal of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa and others in the case.

Karnataka had said that the High Court’s order acquitting Jayalalithaa and others needs to be set aside as there were glaring mistakes.

On July 27, last year the apex court had issued notices on Karnataka government’s appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement to Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, asking them to file their replies within eight weeks.

The apex court had earlier allowed an intervention application by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter and asked him to file the issues he wished to press before it.

The Karnataka HC had on May 11, 2015 ruled that AIADMK supremo’s conviction by special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Karnataka government, in its plea against the May 11 last year order, claimed that HC had erred in computing disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader.

The Karnataka government also asked whether the high court had “erred in law” by according benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgement holding that accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets were to the extent of ten per cent.

The state government had also claimed that the high court has erred in overruling preliminary objections raised by it and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.

The special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

( Source – PTI )

MP: Suspended DIG jailed in DA case

MP: Suspended DIG jailed in DA case
MP: Suspended DIG jailed in DA case

Suspended Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Umesh Gandhi was sent to jail here after a court rejected his bail plea in a disproportionate assets case.

Special Judge Kashi Nath Singh yesterday turned down the bail plea of Gandhi, his wife Archana and brother Ajay Gandhi, who was posted as guard at Sehore district jail – also accused in the case – and sent them to Central Jail.

Gandhi had served as Superintendent of Central Jail in Bhopal from 1992 to 1995.

He arrived at the prison around 8.00 pm yesterday, Jail Superintendent Akilesh Tomar told PTI today.

Gandhi was put in the jail hospital under observation as he had undergone chemotherapy for cancer treatment the same day.

As per chargesheet filed against Gandhi by the Lokayukta Police last month, the suspended DIG owns assets which were 400 per cent more than his known sources of income.

Lokayukta Police had raided Gandhi’s residence on November 3, 2012 and reportedly unearthed disproportionate assets worth Rs 5 crore.

Gandhi, his wife and brother did not depose before the court when they were chargesheeted on January 22, 2016 and were wanted since then.

( Source – PTI )