HC moved on summons against Sonia, Rahul

sonia-rahulPetitions were today filed in the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of a lower court order summoning Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and four others in a case relating to acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald.

The lower court order had come on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI), a company in which Sonia, Rahul, party treasurer Moti Lal Vora are among the directors.

A petition was filed on behalf of Vora while pleas were understood to have been filed on behalf of the other accused also.

“Set aside the order dated June 26, 2014 passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate-02, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi and set aside/quash the criminal complaint filed by Respondent 2 (Swamy) pending before Metropolitan Magistrate-02, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in so far as it relates to the present petitioners,” Vora’s petition said.

The trial court on June 26 had summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, party General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7.

While summoning the six as accused in the case, the trial court had held that Swamy has established a prima facie case of cheating, misappropriation of funds and criminal breach of trust against them.

Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.

The accused persons were summoned under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property, 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

Vora, in his petition, has contended that Swamy’s complaint was politically motivated.

“The present criminal proceedings have been initiated only with intent to secure an oblique political objective by the complainant. The complainant has no connection whatsoever with the issue at hand.

The criminal proceedings are, therefore, manifestly attended with malafide and the proceeding is maliciously instituted only with an ulterior motive for wrecking vengeance on the petitioners amongst others for narrow political objectives,” the petition said.

The plea also said there is “no prima facie case constituting any offence can be made out against the present petitioners as well as other accused persons”.

“It is submitted that none of these parties involved have alleged any kind of misrepresentation, misappropriation or dishonest conduct of the other parties.

“In these circumstances, it is most respectfully submitted that in the interest of justice, the present criminal proceedings ought to be set aside/quashed on this ground itself,” the petition said.

The petition further said “the trial court while passing the impugned order of summoning have failed to appreciate that there is no material at all to establish dishonest or fraudulent intent on the part of the accused persons.”

(Source: PTI)

Grounds for imposing ban on Lt Gen Suhag was ‘premeditated’: Centre to SC

aaThe Centre has told the Supreme Court that the alleged lapses which were made as grounds to impose disciplinary ban on Army Vice Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag by then Army Chief V K Singh between April and May 2012 were “premeditated”, “vague” and “illegal”.

Gen Singh, who is a now Minister of State in the NDA government having the Development of North Eastern Region, External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs as his portfolios, had placed Lt Gen Suhag under a Disciplinary and Vigilance (DV) ban.

The ban was imposed on Lt Gen Suhag for alleged “failure of command and control” in an operation carried out by an intelligence unit working directly under him when he was working as the then Dimapur-based 3 Corps commander.

In its last days in office, the UPA-II government had named Lt Gen Suhag as the Army Chief to succeed incumbent Gen Bikram Singh when he retires on July 31.

The Ministry of Defence, in a recent affidavit filed in the apex court registry, has said, “The alleged lapses observed by the then COAS, as reflected in show cause notice, were premeditated and issued in utter disregard to the legal provisions governing the court of inquiry, principles of natural justice… the lapses were vague, based on presumptions and legally and factually not maintainable.”

“Evidently, the entire exercise to issue show cause notice was premeditated and as per records, the directions issued in this regard, including imposition of the DV ban and issue of show cause notice were found to be illegal,” it said.

The affidavit has been filed in response to a plea of Lt Gen Ravi Dastane alleging favouritism in the selection of Lt Gen Suhag as the Army commander who will succeed the Army Chief.

Lt Gen Suhag’s promotion as Army commander was cleared by Gen Bikram Singh soon after V K Singh retired. The ban was also lifted.

The affidavit said, “Once the imposition of the DV ban itself was found to be illegal, then the same would be non est ab initio (nullity from the inception) and it cannot in any manner come in the way of either the consideration or appointment of Suhag.”

The apex court will hear the case in September.

(Source: PTI)

Kanimozhi: ED chargesheet on sketchy material

KanimozhiDMK MP Kanimozhi today argued in a Delhi court that there was no “iota of evidence” against her regarding the alleged “parking” of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV and Enforcement Directorate (ED) has chargesheeted her only on the basis of “sketchy material”.

Arguing on framing of charges and on the bail plea moved by Kanimozhi, senior advocate Rebecca John, who appeared for her, contended the DMK MP was not linked in any manner with the alleged transaction of Rs 200 crore from DB group company to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

“On these very very sketchy material, ED has now turned this into a grand allegation against her as if she had done some extraordinary thing….Not an iota of evidence is there which will even prima facie show that Kanimozhi had anything to do with the parking of Rs 200 crore in KTV,” John told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

ED had filed a charge sheet against 19 accused, including Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A Raja, claiming that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

During the arguments, John said Kanimozhi has been made an accused in the case merely because she used to regularly visit Raja’s office and was a promoter director of Kalaignar TV for just 13 days.

“Kanimozhi has resigned from the post of promoter director of Kalaignar TV after she was elected to Rajya Sabha. The decisions taken in board meetings of the company during her stint as promoter director were purely concerning the company and does not prove any illegality,” she contended.

John further argued that post resignation, she was just a minority shareholder of the company and had no say in company matters.

“Kanimozhi never visited the company after she resigned from her post….The allegation by prosecution that she was active brain behind the operations of Kalaignar TV is totally baseless. No criminality is made out if Kanimozhi and Raja meet each other being MPs from DMK party,” she contended while seeking bail for her client.

(Source: PTI)



Coalscam: Court allows Darda to travel abroad

CoalscamA Delhi court today allowed the plea of Devendra Darda, who along with his father Vijay Darda, a Rajya Sabha MP, is accused in a coal block allocation scam case, to travel to the USA and the UAE for business purpose.

Special CBI Judge Madhu Jain permitted Devendra to travel to the USA and the UAE from June 8 to July 2, 2014, while brushing aside the contentions of CBI that there was every likelihood that he may misuse the liberty granted to him.

During the hearing, CBI opposed the plea contending that if allowed, Devendra may abscond resulting in delay of trial.

The court, however, said no reasons have been stated by CBI which could suggest that the accused could abscond.

“In the facts and circumstances, the application of Devendra Darda seeking permission to travel abroad to USA and UAE from June 8, 2014 to July 2, 2014 for business purpose is allowed,” the court said.

The court also imposed certain conditions on Devendra saying “he shall inform personally to the investigating officer about his arrival in India within 24 hours of his arrival and shall appear before the court within 48 hours.

It also said the accused will not request for extension of time for staying abroad and shall not tamper with the evidence or try to influence any witness in any manner.

Devendra had, in his petition filed through his advocate Vijay Aggarwal, sought the court’s permission to travel abroad for business purposes.

On May 23, the court had granted bail to Vijay Darda and Devendra after they had appeared before it in pursuance to summons issued against them by the court which took cognisance of CBI’s charge sheet.

Besides them, Nagpur-based AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd’s Director Manoj Jayaswal, also an accused in the case along with the company, was granted bail on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs two lakh and a surety of the like amount.

Vijay Darda, Devendra, Jayaswal and the firm were named as accused in CBI’s charge sheet filed on March 27 in which the agency had alleged that they had fraudulently acquired coal blocks.

Darda and three others were chargesheeted for the offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of the IPC and under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Regarding AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, CBI had claimed in its FIR that the firm, in its application form for allocation of coal blocks, had “fraudulently” concealed the fact that its group firms had previously been allocated five coal blocks.

Detailing the allocation of coal blocks to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, the agency had alleged in its FIR that the Ministry of Coal had invited applications for allocation of coal blocks, including Bander coal block in Maharashtra having geological reserve of 126.105 million metric tonnes (MMT).

CBI had claimed the 36th Screening Committee, which was headed by the Coal Secretary, after concluding its deliberations on July 3, 2008, recommended allocation of Bander coal block jointly to J K Cement Ltd, M/s Century Textiles and Industries LtdBSE -0.25 % and AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd for their proposed plants in Karnataka and Maharashtra respectively.

(Source: PTI)