Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case

Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case
Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case

The Delhi High Court today stayed a trial court order imposing a fine of Rs 50 lakh on a Kolkata-based iron and steel company in connection with a coal scam case.

Justice Anu Malhotra put on the hold till January 22, the next date of hearing, the special CBI court’s order to deposit the fine.

The high court’s interim order came on the appeal of the company, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd’s (VISUL), which has sought waiver of the costs.

The high court also sought response of the CBI on the company’s plea seeking setting aside of the trial court’s December 16 order convicting it in the coal scam case.

“The trial court order is stayed on parity with the other convict’s appeal,” the court said.

The company, in its plea, has said that the special court had wrongly found them guilty of the alleged scam.

The high court on December 20 had sought response of the CBI on an appeal by former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s close aide Vijay Joshi against the trial court’s order awarding him three years jail term in the case.

While admitting his appeal against conviction and jail term, the court had suspended the sentence of Joshi till the pendency of his appeal and had granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs one lakh and a surety of the like amount.

Koda, ex-coal secretary H C Gupta, A K Basu, former Jharkhand chief secretary, and Joshi were awarded jail terms of three years for indulging in corrupt practices and hatching a criminal conspiracy in the allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based company.

While confirming his bail, the high court had directed Joshi not to leave the country during the entire pendency of his appeal.

It had also stayed till January 22, the next date of hearing, the payment of the Rs 25 lakh fine imposed on Joshi by the special court.

The trial court had directed the convict to deposit by January 3 the fine amount and had suspended his sentence till February 18 to enable him to appeal before the superior court.

Advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for the CBI, gave a list of orders in the coal cases where the convicts were directed to deposit the fine and said the time to deposit the money was not extended.

While sentencing the convicts, the special court had said “white collar crimes” were more “dangerous” to the society than ordinary crimes.

It had imposed fines of Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 lakh on VISUL, Koda and Gupta respectively in the UPA-era coal scam. Rs one lakh fine was also imposed on Basu.

The convicts were granted statutory bail for a period of two months to enable them to file appeals in the Delhi High Court.

So far, four out of 30 coal block allocation scam cases have been decided by the special court, including this order, and 12 people and four companies have been held guilty.

The convicts were tried for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

While the offence of cheating carries a maximum punishment of seven years jail term, criminal breach of trust by public servants entails a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The CBI had said that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

It had said that although the Jharkhand government and the steel ministry did not recommend VISUL’s case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.

The CBI had said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed facts from then prime minister Manmohan Singh, who at that time headed the coal ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

( Source – PTI )

Kolkata court convicts Bangladeshi for raping nun in convent

Kolkata court convicts Bangladeshi for raping nun in convent
Kolkata court convicts Bangladeshi for raping nun in convent

A city court today convicted a Bangladeshi man for raping a septuagenarian nun in West Bengal’s Ranaghat town during a dacoity at a convent in 2015.

Additional Sessions Judge Kumkum Sinha termed the incident as a matter of shame in a state where Sister Nivedita and Mother Teresa had worked for the people.

The quantum of punishment will be pronounced tomorrow.

Noting that the charge of gangrape was not established, the judge said only Nazrul Islam was found guilty of rape.

Five accused, including Nazrul Islam, were found guilty of dacoity at the convent. A sixth person — Gopal Sarkar was found guilty of harbouring the five criminals at his residence.

All the six were also found guilty of criminal conspiracy for committing dacoity at the convent in Ranaghat, an otherwise quiet town about 80 km from here, in Nadia district bordering Bangladesh.

Other than Nazrul Islam and Gopal Sarkar, the other four persons found guilty are Milan Kumar Sarkar, Ohidul Islam, Mohd Selim Sheikh and Khaledar Rahman.

Apart from Gopal Sarkar, the five others are Bangladeshis and cases against them under Foreigners’ Act are pending before another court.

The nun was raped at the convent on March 14, 2015 where the six persons barged in for committing dacoity.

They had decamped with cash from the safe of the convent.

One accused is absconding.

The trial was shifted from a court in Ranaghat to the Kolkata Sessions court in May 2016 by the Calcutta High Court on a petition by the nun.

The nun, who had relocated to Delhi following the incident, had sought transfer of the case to Kolkata stating that she feared for her safety as the accused allegedly had strong links in Ranaghat.

The prosecution charged all the accused with gangrape, dacoity and criminal conspiracy among others.

( Source – PTI )

SC allows woman to abort 26-week foetus due to abnormalities

SC allows woman to abort 26-week foetus due to abnormalities
SC allows woman to abort 26-week foetus due to abnormalities

The Supreme Court today permitted a woman, who is in her 26th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus that is suffering from severe cardiac ailments.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and M Khanwilkar said the procedure of termination of pregnancy should be carried out “forthwith” at the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata.

The direction came after the bench perused the report of the medical board and the SSKM Hospital, which adviced the termination of pregnancy on the grounds that the mother would suffer “severe mental injury” if the pregnancy is continued and the child, if born alive, has to undergo multiple surgeries for severe cardiac ailments.

“Keeping in view the report of the medical board, we are inclined to allow the prayer and direct medical termination of pregnancy of petitioner no. 1 (woman),” the bench said.

The woman and her husband had approached the apex court seeking permission to abort her foetus on grounds of abnormalities which could be even fatal to her.

( Source – PTI )

Bhangor violence accused sent to 8-day CID custody

Bhangor violence accused sent to 8-day CID custody
Bhangor violence accused sent to 8-day CID custody

A sub-divisional court today remanded a woman CPI(ML) Red Star leader and two others, arrested for allegedly inciting violence in the Bhangor area over the construction of a Power Grid sub-station, to CID custody till February 3.

The Baruipur sub-divisional court remanded Sarmishta Choudhury and two others to CID custody for eight days on the prayer of the investigating agency.

The CID, which was yesterday handed over the probe into the January 17 violence at Bhangor in South 24 Parganas district, arrested Chowdhury from the area last evening.

Another Red Star member, Pradip Singha, and one Shahnawaz Molla were also arrested in connection with the violence in which two persons were killed and several others injured.

A number of police vehicles were burnt or damaged and pushed into waterbodies in the arson over the setting up of the Power Grid sub-station.

Chowdhury and some others were alleged to have incited the villagers in putting up blockades at several villages around the sub-station at Machibhanga village and also on the Bhangor-Haroa Road.

The protests led to a clash between the agitators and police forces on January 17.

The CPI(ML) Red Star has been backing the agitation, which is being organised under the banner of ‘Jami, Jibika, Paribesh O Bastutantra Raksha Committee’ (committee to protect land, livelihood, environment and ecosystem).

( Source – PTI )

Calcutta High Court allows RSS to hold programme at Brigade

Calcutta High Court allows RSS to hold programme at Brigade
Calcutta High Court allows RSS to hold programme at Brigade

The Calcutta High Court today allowed the RSS to hold a programme, which is to be attended by its supremo Mohan Bhagwat, at the Brigade Parade Ground here tomorrow.

Rejecting refusal of permission by Kolkata Police, Justice Joymalyo Bagchi directed that the programme be held at Brigade Parade Ground, subject to some restrictions including a cap of 4,000 on the number of attendees.

The police had refused permission to the organisers to hold the programme, both for an earlier venue of Bhukailash Park in the western part of the city and Brigade Parade Ground.

The petitioners submitted before the court that Makar Sankranti Utsav is an annual event and is organised on a specific date and cannot be postponed as suggested by Advocate General Jayanta Mitra.

The petitioners’ counsel, Anindya Mitra, also submitted that the organisers had already taken permission of the Army, which is the custodian of the Maidan area where the Brigade Parade Ground is situated in the heart of the city.

Specifying the restrictions, Justice Bagchi directed that the organising secretary, Kolkata Mahanagar unit of RSS, which is holding the programme where drills and other activities would be held with the participation of Mohan Bhagwat, would have to give an affidavit before the court that no person without proper registration and identity card be allowed to attend the programme.

The organisers would have to give an undertaking to the court as also the Kolkata Police authorities to bear the cost of any unruly behaviour by any person related to the programme scheduled to be held from 2 PM to 6 PM tomorrow.

The court also directed that the police might remove any person who was not an invitee and would also have to ensure adequate deployment of force to ensure maintenance of law and order.

Justice Bagchi directed that the organisers would have to furnish the names of all attendees to the court and the police.

( Source – PTI )

Kunal Ghosh, Sudipta Sen’s JC extended

Kunal Ghosh, Sudipta Sen's JC extended
Kunal Ghosh, Sudipta Sen’s JC extended

A Kolkata court today extended the judicial remand of suspended Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh, Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen and his close associate Debjani Mukherjee till January 11 next year.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arvind Mishra passed the order.

The counsel for the accused trio expressed opposition when CBI said it was ready to initiate trial in the cases related to the Saradha scam.

The counsel cited CBI’s earlier deposition in court that the probe into the Saradha ponzi scam was ongoing and said that the trial could not be conducted unless the investigation was completed.

CBI had taken over the investigation in June, 2014, upon Supreme Court’s orders.

( Source – PTI )

Ex-Bengal minister Madan Mitra’s JC extended

Ex-Bengal minister Madan Mitra's JC extended
Ex-Bengal minister Madan Mitra’s JC extended

A Kolkata court today extended the judicial custody of former West Bengal minister and Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra, an accused in the Saradha chit fund scam, by another 14 days till December 17.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Sougata Roy Chowdhury remanded Mitra, who was present in the court room, to 14 days’ judicial custody.

Though Mitra’s counsel did not press for bail, they prayed for the release of Rs one lakh which the TMC leader had deposited as security bond and his passport which was submitted to the police during his release on October 31.

Requesting that Mitra be treated as a Division-I prisoner, they also requested that all necessary medical assistance be extended to the former minister as he was suffering from various ailments.

Mitra, former Transport Minister, had surrendered before the court after his bail was cancelled by the Calcutta High Court on November 20.

The TMC leader was earlier arrested on December 12, 2014.

The investigation into the ponzi scam, which came to light in 2013, showed that the Saradha Group allegedly used 338 bank accounts and 224 companies to dupe investors from various states. Official estimates peg the swindle at Rs 1,200 crore.

Former Union minister Matang Sinh is among those arrested in the case, while several TMC functionaries, including Mamata Banerjee’s former aide Mukul Roy, have been questioned.

CBI had taken over the investigation in June, 2014 on the Supreme Court’s orders.

Police nod to grill Rose Valley chief at Kolkata jail

Police nod to grill Rose Valley chief at Kolkata jail
Police nod to grill Rose Valley chief at Kolkata jail

A Jalpaiguri court today allowed Jalpaiguri district police to interrogate chairman of ponzi firm Rose Valley Group, Gautam Kundu, at Presidency Correctional Home inKolkata in connection with a case of cheating of Rs 2.40 lakh.

The Jalpaiguri district court also directed the police to take Kundu to the Presidency Correctional Home, where he will be lodged, before December 3 and interrogate him there.

The Rose Valley Group chairman has a hearing in a Kolkata court on that day.

Kundu, who was arrested in a case of by Enforcement Directorate in connection with a case of money laundering on March 26, in currently in judicial custody and lodged at Presidency Correctional Home.

He was brought here in connection with a cheating case filed by one Sunil Majumder, a resident of Jalpaiguri.

Meanwhile, Kundu threatened to commit suicide if ED and CBI “did not cooperate with him”.

When he was being taken to court, he shouted at the mediapersons alleging that ED and CBI were not cooperating with him and he would kill himself if they did not do it.

He also alleged that the jail authorities and the police were torturing him mentally.

As he was taken away from the mediapersons to the court lock-up, he started banging his head on the lock-up bars and sustained minor injuries, police said.

CBI arrested Rose Valley Managing Director Shibomoy Datta on September 11 in connection with the chit fund scam probe. He was arrested for illegally raising funds from the public.

( Source – PTI )

TET results not before paper leak probe is over

TET results not before paper leak probe is over
TET results not before paper leak probe is over

The results of primary teachers’ recruitment examination would not be published before an investigation into the allegations of question paper leak is completed, Advocate General of West Bengal assured Calcutta High Courttoday.

There were 23 lakh examinees for the TET examination for nearly 40,000 vacancies.

On a petition seeking an independent investigation into the allegation of question paper leak, AG Jayanta Mitra told Justice Debangshu Basak that an investigation being carried out by Kolkata Police was likely to be completed within two months from date.

Justice Basak directed the state government to file its affidavit in opposition to the petitioner’s claim of question paper leak by November 23.

The petitioner would have to file his affidavit in reply to the opposition by November 30 and the matter would be heard again in December, the court directed.

Appearing for petitioner Satya Sundar Bhusan, counsel Bikash Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that the question papers for Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) for recruitment of primary teachers were leaked much before the examination commenced at 2 PM on October 11 and a police complaint had been lodged at Gariahat police station in the southern part of the city at 1.50 PM on that day in this regard.

He prayed for an order for independent investigation into the allegation, claiming that the alleged leak could adversely affect the careers of lakhs of examinees.

Bhattacharya also prayed that declaration of results be withheld till the investigation was completed.

Appearing for the state, additional Advocate General Lakshmi Gupta submitted that question papers were distributed to students in various examination halls across the state at 1.45 PM and four pages of the 32-page question paper were sent to a journalist with the use of ‘WhatsApp’, a social messaging application.

Claiming that there was no leakage and that it was an act of mischief, Gupta submitted that there was a sinister motive behind the act.

Gupta further stated that the examination was not affected by this act and as such no action was required to be taken with regard to the petition.

Advocate General Mitra submitted that since the pages were allegedly leaked at 1.46 PM as per the time of delivery of WhatsApp message and the examination was to start at 2.00 PM, the purported leakage would have had no bearing on the examination.

( Source – PTI )

HC extends Red FM licence for Del, Mum, Kolkata

HC extends Red FM licence for Del, Mum, Kolkata
HC extends Red FM licence for Del, Mum, Kolkata

In a relief to radio channel Red FM, Delhi High Court today extended its licence to operate in the national capital as well as in Mumbai and Kolkata till further orders on the company’s plea seeking direction to the Centre to allow it to migrate to phase III from II.

Justice R S Endlaw extended the licence, which was to expire tomorrow, after the radio channel said that while other similar companies were allowed to migrate to phase III in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, Red FM has not been granted any such permission till date.

The court said the channel “shall be allowed to maintain and operate its FM radio channel under phase II regime till further orders” and listed the matter for further hearing on November 18.

It also issued notice to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and sought its response on the plea of Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, which runs radio operations under the name of Red FM.

Red FM, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, told the court that it had communicated to the government its willingness to migrate to phase III but has received no response, including the amount to be paid for migration.

He said since the existing licence has not been extended and permission for migration has not been granted, Red FM will have to shut operations and will be off-air from October 1.

Salve and senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for the channel, said that on September 26 the company learnt that other radio operators, including Entertainment Network India Ltd which runs Radio Mirchi and Music Broadcast Private Ltd which runs Radio City, have been issued letters by government regarding steps to be taken for migration to phase III.

Digital Radio, in its plea, has sought enforcement of its right to migrate to FM phase III regime and maintain and operate its existing channel at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

It alleged that the ministry has “deliberately without giving any reason” not taken the requisite steps to enable the channel to migrate from phase II to III regime despite fulfilment of all eligibility criteria for migration.

( Source – PTI )