Delhi court commences trial in 2017 Unnao rape case

A Delhi court on Friday commenced the trial in a case of alleged rape of a minor girl in Unnao in 2017.

District Judge Dharmesh Sharma completed recording statement of a prosecution witness in an in-camera hearing in the case in which expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is a key accused.

The court will continue the examination of other witnesses on Monday.

It had earlier directed the media to abstain from reporting names and addresses of the rape survivor, her family and witnesses and certain other aspects of the case.

“The media shall refrain from reporting testimony of any witness, wholly or partly, and refrain from appreciating such evidence or giving any opinion on the merits of the case during the course of this enquiry/trial as the case may be,” the court had said.

The court had on August 9 put on trial the expelled BJP MLA for allegedly kidnapping and raping the woman in 2017, who was a minor then, saying charges were “prima facie” found.

It had said prima facie charges were found against Sengar for allegedly conspiring with co-accused Shashi Singh to bring the girl to the legislator’s residence on the pretext of getting her a job, sexually assaulting her and threatening to harm her and her family members if she disclosed the incident to anyone.

The court also framed charges against Singh for allegedly taking her to Sengar’s house on June 4, 2017 without the consent of her parents with the knowledge that she would be subjected to rape.

The charges framed against Sengar include sections 376 (1)(rape), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc.), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 506 (criminal intimidation), punishable under India Penal Code, and sections 3 and 4 (penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO (Protection of Child from Sexual Offences) Act.

The charges framed against Singh include sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (1) (rape), 366 (abducting or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (abetment) of the IPC and sections 3 and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.

The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Both the accused, had however, denied the allegations, saying they have been falsely implicated in the case and claimed trial.

Delhi court grants bail to Kejriwal, Sisodia in criminal defamation case filed by BJP leader

A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijender Gupta.

Gupta had accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders of “maligning” his image by accusing him of attempting to kill the Delhi chief minister.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted relief on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and one surety of like amount.

Vijender Gupta, who is the leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, has claimed in the complaint that due to widespread circulation of tweets and news reports on the statement of the two AAP leaders, his reputation was harmed for which they have not expressed any remorse or apologised.

Chopper case: ED moves Delhi court seeking bail cancellation of Rajiv Saxena

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday moved a Delhi court seeking bail cancellation of Rajeev Saxena, a middleman-turned-approver in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam, for allegedly not cooperating in the probe.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Saxena and put up the matter for hearing on July 18.

The court had earlier allowed Saxena to turn approver and his plea for grant of pardon on the condition that he will fully disclose all information in the case.

Saxena, director at two Dubai-based firms — UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, is one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by the ED in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland scam.

Delhi court sentences AAP MLA to 3 months in jail for obstructing polling process

A Delhi court Tuesday sentenced AAP MLA Manoj Kumar to three months in jail for obstructing the election process at a booth in east Delhi during the 2013 Assembly polls, saying offences relating to polls should be sternly dealt with.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, however, granted Kumar bail on furnishing a bond of Rs 10,000 to enable him to challenge the order in a superior court.

Kumar, currently an MLA from east Delhi’s Kondli constituency, had denied the charges and claimed that the case was politically motivated.

“The accused, Manoj Kumar, has been convicted for the commission of offence under section 131 (disorderly conduct in or near polling stations) of the Representation of People Act. He is sentenced with a simple imprisonment of a period of three months and with a fine of Rs 10,000,” the court said.

It has also sentenced him to three months in jail for commission of offence under Section 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging public functions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“At request of convict Manoj Kumar that he wishes to prefer an appeal/ revision against his conviction, he is admitted to bail on furnishing personal and surety bond of Rs 10,000… for a period of 30 days till July 25. Bail bond furnished and accepted,” the court said.

According to the prosecution, over 50 protesters led by Kumar had caused hindrance in the election process at an MCD school during the 2013 Delhi Assembly election.

The protesters had also closed the main gate of the school due to which the police staff and election officers were locked inside the school, the complaint said.

It had further said that when the voting was over, Kumar asked his volunteers not to allow the ballot boxes to be taken back and after closing the main gate, he sat in front of the gate.

The court, in its sentencing order, said since people tend to emulate their leaders, it was imperative that the conduct of lawmakers should be an ideal on the scale of constitutional morals.

“The convict has interfered with the polling process, a conduct which is not only illegal but also undemocratic. The convict was himself contesting the elections and therefore, is expected to know the laws which govern the election process in this country. Offences relating to elections are a direct assault on the peaceful conduct of such elections and therefore needs to be sternly dealt with,” it said.

“Ordinary people have the tendency to emulate their leaders and therefore, it is imperative that the conduct of those who lead society and make laws for them should be an ideal on the scale of constitutional morals. Disorderly conduct and even shouting outside polling station is a punishable offence under section 131 of the Representation of People Act and therefore, despite that the election process was complete in this case, the act of the convict of creating such conduct needs to be punished with sincerity,” it added.

Delhi court allows Shashi Tharoor to travel abroad

New Delhi : A Delhi court Wednesday allowed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, accused in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death, to travel abroad.

Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj granted permission to Tharoor to go to the United Kingdom and France from June 2 to July 1.

In his application, Tharoor claimed he has to attend and speak at different events there.

“The applicant has to travel to United Kingdom and France as he has been invited to speak at different events, scheduled to be held from June 2 to July 1. The applicant has been invited to attend and speak at several events across the United Kingdom during this period,” the application said.

While granting him bail in the case, the court had directed him not to leave the country without its prior permission.

The former Union minister has been charged under Sections 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 of IPC, but he has not been arrested in the case.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

Chopper scam: Delhi Court to pass order on Sushen Gupta’s bail plea on Jun 1

New Delhi : A Delhi court will pronounce on June 1 its order on whether to grant bail to Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent arrested in the money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers scam.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar reserved order after hearing arguments from the accused as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Senior advocate Siddhartha Luthra, appearing for Gupta, said the accused had always cooperated with the investigation and will be available as and when required by the probe agency as he has deep roots in India.

The application was opposed by ED’s special public prosecutors D P Singh ad N K Matta, who said the probe was at a initial stage and if granted the relief, the accused may flee from justice and hamper the investigation.

The agency on May 22 filed a supplementary charge sheet against Gupta, who was arrested by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and is currently in judicial custody.

There was clinching evidence of Gupta’s role in the chopper scam as well as in various other defence deals, agency’s advocate Samvedna Verma had told the court.

According to the ED, Gupta’s role in the case came to light on the basis of disclosures made by Rajeev Saxena, who turned approver in the case after he was deported from the UAE and arrested by the agency.

It is suspected that Gupta has in his possession payment details of the Rs 3,600-crore deal to purchase AgustaWestland VVIP choppers.

PMLA case: Robert Vadra moves Delhi court seeking permission to travel abroad

New Delhi: Robert Vadra, who is an accused in a money laundering case, Tuesday moved a Delhi court seeking permission to travel abroad.

The counsel for Vadra requested Special judge Arvind Kumar to ensure details of his itinerary are not shared with a third party as it was a matter of his security.

The counsel also requested the plea be taken up on May 24 as the lead counsel was not available for arguments today.

Vadra, facing investigation in a money laundering case, was directed on April 1 not to leave the country without prior permission by a court here which had granted him anticipatory bail while imposing several other conditions.

Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, is facing allegations of money laundering in purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds.

Bofors case : CBI withdraws application from Delhi court seeking permission for further probe in Bofors case

The CBI Thursday withdrew from a Delhi court its application that had sought permission to further probe the politically sensitive Rs 64-crore Bofors payoff case.

The agency told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Kumar Kashyap that it wants to withdraw the application filed on February 1, 2018.

It had moved the trial court seeking permission for further probe in the matter saying it had come across fresh material and evidence.

The agency on Thursday submitted before the court that decision on further course of action would be taken by it and wanted to withdraw the application for now.

Taking note of CBI’s stand, the judge said: “For the reason best known to the CBI, in case they want to withdraw the application, they have the right as they are the applicants.”

The court on December 4, 2018 had questioned as to why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) required its permission to further probe the matter.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court in February 2, 2018 against the May 31, 2005 verdict of the Delhi high Court discharging all the accused in the case.

The apex court had on November 2, 2018 dismissed CBI’s appeal in which it had sought condonation of the 13 year delay in filing the appeal against the high court judgment.

The apex court had said that it was not convinced with the grounds of the CBI to condone over 4,500 days’ delay in filing the appeal.

However, one of the appeals is still alive in the apex court in which CBI is one of the respondents and the top court on November 2, 2018 said that the agency can assist in the matter as respondent.

The apex court said the CBI can raise all grounds in the appeal against the high court verdict filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal who has also challenged the judgement.

Agrawal, who has now become a rebel BJP leader after he was denied Lok Sabha ticket from Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, in 2005 had challenged the high court verdict after the CBI did not file the appeal in the mandatory 90 days period.

The agency had swung into action for a permission for further probe in the case after the Attorney General had orally given it a go ahead to file the appeal in the case in which it cited the October 2017 interview of private detective Michael Hershman, alleging that the then Rajiv Gandhi government had sabotaged his probe.

Justice R S Sodhi (since retired) of the Delhi High Court had on May 31, 2005 quashed the CBI case in the Bofors pay-off scam.

Delhi Court orders attachment of Vijay Mallya’s properties

A Delhi court has ordered attachment of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s properties in Bengaluru in a case relating to FERA violations.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued fresh directions after the Bengaluru Police, through Enforcement Directorate’s special public prosecutor N K Matta and advocate Samvedna Verma, sought more time to execute its earlier order in this regard.

The court directed the state police to attach the properties by July 10, the next date of hearing.

The Bengaluru Police had earlier informed the court that it had identified 159 properties belonging to Mallya, but had not been able to attach any of them.

Mallya was declared a proclaimed offender by the court on January 4 last year for evading its summons in the case.

The court had on May 8 last year directed the attachment of Mallya’s properties in the case through the Bengaluru Police commissioner and sought a report on it.

It had declared Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FERA) violation case after noting that he had failed to appear despite repeated summonses.

It had on April 12, 2017 issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against the liquor baron.

Unlike a non-bailable warrant, an ‘open-ended NBW’ does not carry a time limit for execution.

Chopper case: Delhi court directs Saxena to record statement before magistrate on Mar 2

A Delhi court Thursday directed Rajeev Saxena, who had moved a plea to become an approver in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland money-laundering case, to record his statement before a magistrate court.

Special judge Arvind Kumar marked Saxena’s plea before the court of the CMM on March 2 for recording of his disclosure statement (disclose intentions for becoming an approver), after he told the court that he had no intention not to cooperate and that it was logical at this stage to complete his testimony in a fair way.

The judge asked him, “Are you aware that you may not be absolved of punishment by becoming an approver?”. To this Saxena replied in the affirmative.

“I have thought long and hard and I am confident that my exposure to the case is minimal… I have no intention not to cooperate. At this stage it is logical to complete my testimony in a fair way,” he told the court.

He further asserted that he decided to be an approver on his own free will and with a complete understanding of the case and he was neither given any assurances nor has he taken any.

The ED was on Wednesday asked by the court to file its response by today but Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh argued that the agency will file its reply after Saxena’s disclosure statement was recorded before a different court.

Saxena had moved an application to be an approver in the case, saying it was “out of free will” and “without any coercion” and prayed that he “will make a full disclosure subject to the grant of pardon”.

“The applicant humbly prays, without prejudice to his defence, that he may be granted pardon approver under Section 306 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 subject to the condition that he will make a full disclosure, to the extent, the facts are within his knowledge of which he will make a true and proper disclosure subject to the grant of pardon,” his application had said.

Saxena had said that he has cooperated with the investigation throughout and has made known entire facts regarding the case.

“The applicant cooperated with the investigation during the entire period of remand before the Directorate of Enforcement.

“The applicant has made a clean breast of the entire facts as known to the applicant with regard to the complaint pertaining to the AgustaWestland helicopters filed by the Directorate of Enforcement to the extent known to him,” the application had said.

Saxena was earlier granted bail by the court on medical grounds after perusing reports submitted by AIIMS.

The court had said that it was clear from the medical record submitted by AIIMS that Saxena was suffering from a number of serious ailments including blood cancer and needs constant medical checkups.

Saxena, who is in custody since January 31 after his deportation from Dubai, said in his bail plea that when all the other accused in the case, including Gautam Khaitan, Ritu Khaitan and S P Tyagi were out on bail, there could be “no justification” to deny him the same relief.

Saxena, a director of two Dubai-based firms – UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings – is one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by ED in the AgustaWestland case.

Christian Michel, former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and Saxena’s wife Shivani have also been named by the agency in the chargesheet.

The ED had alleged that in connivance with Khaitan, Saxena provided a global corporate structure for laundering illegal proceeds of the crime for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials to influence the contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

Saxena was residing in Palm Jumeriah, Dubai and has been living in the UAE for last 26 years.

Maintaining that AgustaWestland had paid Euro 58 million as kickbacks through two Tunisia-based firms, the ED has alleged that “these companies further siphoned off the said money in the name of consultancy contracts to M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius and others which were further transferred to M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings Ltd, Dubai and others”.

It was alleged by the probe agency that the two Dubai-based firms were the entities “through which the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/ shares, among others” in this case.

On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.