HC rejects bail plea of corporator in abetment to suicide case

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today rejected the pre-arrest bail plea of a corporator in Pune district in a case of alleged abetment of suicide of a real estate broker over a property dispute.

NCP leader and corporator Deepak Mankar had approached the high court after a sessions court in Pune rejected his anticipatory bail application on June 6.

Earlier this month, the Pune Police had lodged a case against Mankar and six others for allegedly abetting the suicide of real estate broker Jitendra Jagtap, who took the extreme step earlier this month.

The victim had left a purported suicide note in which he named the accused persons responsible for his death.

Justice Mridula Bhatkar today rejected Mankar’s plea while observing that the charges levelled against him were of serious nature.

According to the FIR lodged by Jitendra Jagtap’s son Jayesh, his father knew Mankar and was taking care of a plot of land at Rasta Peth in Pune since about a decade.

The FIR stated that Mankar along with a builder, Vasant Karnataki, was allegedly putting pressure on Jagtap to give up possession of the land in their favour by signing some blank documents.

The accused persons even threatened Jagtap with dire consequences. This drove him to commit suicide by jumping in front of a moving train on the tracks near B T Kawade Road in Pune on June 2, the FIR stated.

However, Mankar in his anticipatory bail plea claimed that he along with Karnataki were legal owners of the land.

The plea mentioned that Karnataki’s firm Try Builders had allegedly entered into an agreement with another realty company over development rights.

Mankar in his plea also said they were only seeking return of the land, and that making such a demand cannot be construed as abetment to suicide.

Moreover, Mankar had given an application to the police on June 1, complaining that Jagtap was demanding money to vacate the land, the plea said.

Bombay HC suggests traffic violation check in Pune on lines of metros

Bombay HC suggests traffic violation check in Pune on lines of metros
Bombay HC suggests traffic violation check in Pune on lines of metros

The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government to study how metros like Delhi, Bengaluru and others cope with traffic issues and violations and see if the same can be implemented in Pune also.

A bench headed by Justice V M Kanade said just as the government initiated the E-Challan system in Mumbai, whereby traffic violations along major stretches are detected by CCTV cameras and the violators thus identified through their registered number plates are penalised, it could begin a similar system in Pune.

The bench directed the government to inform the courtwhat measures can be implemented to tackle the increasing traffic violations in Pune on October 25.

The directions came when the bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by five Pune residents.

They have sought that CCTV cameras be installed at major traffic junctions in Pune and other measures be taken by the traffic department to curb violations in Pune and rest of the state.

During the last hearing in August this year, the bench had directed the state government to file a reply whether it was “possible to introduce a system for automatic registration of complaints against the owners of such vehicles that flout traffic norms.”

The state today sought additional time to file its reply.

( Source – PTI )

4 acquitted in suicide abetment case

4 acquitted in suicide abetment case
4 acquitted in suicide abetment case

Four persons accused of abetting suicide of a businessman were acquitted by a local court which gave them benefit of doubt as prosecution failed to follow proper procedure for proving the authenticity of his purported suicide note.

According to prosecution, the deceased, Dnyaneshwar Pawar, and one of the accused – Nivrutti Ranwade – were business partners in Nageshwar Transport firm.

Nivrutti was allegedly not contributing any finances for the company and Dnyaneshwar had to pay the outstanding amount and he had also invested Rs 8 lakhs in the business. It was also alleged that the accused was showing more expenses and grabbing the amount.

On December 2, 2008, the four accused – Nivrutti, and Vasant Jundhare, Raju Sonhne and Subash Kadam (managers at the firm’s Pune office) – went to Pawar’s office and asked for final settlement of the account, to which he agreed.

They allegedly took him out of the office forcibly and snatched some money, and later asked him to sign on a stamp paper for resigning from the firm.

After the incident, the victim came home and informed his family about it. Later that night, he allegedly took his own life by hanging himself in the store room of his house, the prosecution said, adding that the accused abetted his suicide and committed an offence under IPC section 306.

A suicide note purportedly written by Pawar was found lying near a washing machine in the house.

The victim’s family members were examined in the case wherein they narrated the episode and said that the victim was tortured by his partner and humiliated, and hence he had no option but to end his life.

However, defence counsel Ramrao S Jagtap stated that the dispute in the business and whether the suicide note was written by the deceased has not been proved. It has also not been proved that the accused abetted his suicide, and hence they be given benefit of doubt.
Thane Additional Sessions Judge V V Bambarde observed

that it has come in the evidence of the witnesses that Dnyaneshwar wrote a chit, and put it near the washing machine. The contents of the note are about loss in the business because of the accused partner.

The judge observed that the note also narrates about the meeting. The accused spoke about expelling him from the company and to grab possession of the company, so he repented and committed suicide.

The judge, however, noted that there was no proper seal on articles seized, and there was always a possibility of tampering. Also, the suicide note was not sealed on the spot.

Handwriting expert was not examined nor a person acquainted with the handwriting of the deceased. There is no evidence that this chit was written by Dnyaneshwar only. Hence, the handwriting of the deceased is not established, the court observed.

“If we see the facts of the case on the above ratios, we see that there was a meeting between the two partners and other accused were present. They spoke about expelling the deceased. They asked him to quit the office. But whether they were intending that Dnyaneshwar shall commit suicide is not seen,” Judge Bambarde said.

It does not seem that the compulsion was so grave that Dnyaneshwar was not left with any option but to commit suicide, the judge observed.

It has come in the evidence that the accused Ranwade owed Rs 7,75,000 to Dnyaneshwar. Dnyaneshwar was not expelled from the partnership. There was no act on the part of the accused to make Dnyaneshwar quit the office. Settlement of account is a right of partner. The resignation was not written down, the court said.

“So, no mens rea is seen on the part of accused to humiliate Dnyaneshwar to the extent of losing his life. Hence, I have no option but to give benefit of doubt to the accused, the judge said while recently acquitting the four accused.

( Source – PTI )

Bombay HC upholds life term to man in 2005 German woman murder case

Bombay HC upholds life term to man in 2005 German woman murder case
Bombay HC upholds life term to man in 2005 German woman murder case

The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction and life sentence imposed on a 27-year-old man for murdering a 79-year-old German woman in 2005 in Pune’s upmarket Koregaon Park.

A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice V K Tahilramani while dismissing an appeal filed by Iqlak Fakir Mohammad Shaikh challenging the lower court’s order convicting him, held that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the case against him.

The prosecution case was that the victim Dr Gudrun was seen last by her neighbours and friends on December 31, 2005.

On January 2, 2006 when the victim’s maid went to her house nobody responded. On January 6 the neighbours used a spare key to enter the flat and found the victim’s headless body.

According to the prosecution, a television and some silver items were missing from the victim’s home. On the basis of a cheque of a bank account of Shaikh apparently dropped during a scuffle with the victim and found near her body, the police arrested him. The stolen things were recovered from him.

The HC after perusing the evidence and facts of the case observed that there is ample and conclusive evidence to prove the guilt of the convict beyond reasonable doubt.

“This is a case of brutal murder of an old German lady of 79 years, who was residing all alone in the flat. The case of the prosecution is based on the circumstantial evidence alone and at the outset itself, we are constrained to observe that the circumstances proved on record by the prosecution in the present case are so strong and forbidding, forming a chain so complete that no other inference but of the guilt of the appellant can be drawn from the proved circumstances on record,” the court said.

( Source – PTI )

SC sets deadline for making 3 NGT benches functional

April 30 as deadline has been set by the Supreme Court for making functional benches of National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata, failure of which will require presence of their senior officials before it.

The date has been extended by the apex court the January 31 deadline after it was informed that authorities in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have failed to make the benches functional.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya expressed displeasure that the three states have failed to comply with its December 6, 2012 order and asked Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra to be in touch with the chief secretaries and other senior officials concerned so that the NGT benches become functional.

The bench was so anguished that in its order it noted, “At one stage it was felt that it was necessary to summon the officials of the three states.”

It said it was deferring the matter for the time being since the ASG has been requested to be in touch with them. “They (officials) in uncertain terms shall be responsible personally for the functioning of the NGT benches at Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata.”

The bench further said it hopes and trusts that the officials concerned of the three states would make the benches of NGT functional and “avoid a situation in which the apex court would require their presence”.

It noted the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have not taken adequate measures for functioning of the NGT benches.

The bench passed the order after the counsel appearing for Madhya Pradesh government gave an unequivocal assurance that the state government was taking necessary action for making the tribunal functional by April 30.

It also noted that the West Bengal government has not come on record to state the actual progress made for the functioning of the NGT.

The court on December 6 last year had directed the chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra to ensure that the NGT benches at Bhopal, Kolkata and Pune be functional without fail by January 31 and all facilities, including accommodation, be provided to them according to their previous status.

Besides the principal bench at Delhi, the Chennai bench of NGT is already functional.

High Court asks police to consider complaint on DAV college

The city police has been asked by the Delhi High Court to look into allegations of embezzlement in various land deals and tax evasions by the management of DAV College.

A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain told that “The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Economic Offence Wing (EoW) of Delhi Police is directed to look into it (complaint) and act as per the law.”

The bench, however, made it clear that it cannot order a “roving” enquiry by CBI into various allegations of Ashok Khanna and O P Mehta, Delhi residents who filed the PIL against Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College Management Committee.

The court, which disposed of the PIL with the direction to the DCP (EoW), was informed that the complaint had been referred to the CBI, but the latest status was not known.

During the hearing, Khanna’s counsel Prakash Kumar sought a direction for CBI enquiry saying the matter pertained to the fundamental right to education and the DAV Trust and Management Society, which runs the DAV College Management

Committee, cannot take a plea as it was an NGO and cannot be put to scrutiny like a government institution.

The DAV Trust and Management Society, an NGO which was registered in 1886, runs 750 institutions across the country.

The PIL alleged the Public Accounts Committee, in 2005, had found that the DAV management “evaded tax” to the tune of Rs 16.61 crore and Rs 24.12 crore in assessment years of 2000-01 and 2001-02 respectively.

It also claimed that a functionary of the NGO, which gets IT exemption and other concessions, including grants from state and Central governments, has been involved in Rs 30 crore fund embezzlement in a land deal at Jalandhar. The plot was to be purchased for establishing a DAV university.

The DAV universities were to be established at Pune, Yamuna Nagar (Haryana) and Jalandhar (Punjab).

“Several complaints of misappropriation of funds came to the office of DAV about scams in the land purchase at Pune…,” the PIL said, adding that the EoW cell did not take any action on an earlier complaint.

The petition also alleged that other scams, including the purchase of computers for DAV-run institutions, took place.

A committee, headed by Justice (retd) R N Mittal, was constituted in 2010 by the then president of DAV group to enquire into the allegations and it gave a report confirming embezzlement of funds in land deal, According to the PIL.

HC acquits retd Brig, wife from running brothel

Observing that there were contradictions in the prosecution evidence, the Bombay High Court has acquitted a retired Army Brigadier and his wife from the charges of running a brothel in the garb of a massage parlour in Pune.

The judgement was delivered recently by Justice P D Kode, who observed that there was no merit in the appeal filed by the State Government against the order of a Sessions Court acquitting the duo.

Retired Brigadier Upkarsing Samshersing Arora, (72), and his wife Manjeet Kaur, 20 years younger to him and working as a teacher with Kendriya Vidyalaya School in Pune, were found guilty under Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act by Judicial Magistrate First Class on June 15, 1996.

Both of them were sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment with Rs 1,000 fine. However, on March 13, 1997, the Sessions Court, while hearing an appeal against the judgement, reversed the finding of guilt for commission of such offences by the duo.

Being aggrieved, the State government filed an appeal in the Bombay High Court against the order of the Sessions Court acquitting the duo. This appeal was dismissed recently. The High Court, on hearing both the sides, agreed with the sessions court order that the prosecution evidence was full of variance of contradictions.

The judge opined that in not establishing guilt of respondents beyond the failure of doubt was apparently correct as stated by the lower court and was also based upon proper appreciation of the evidence.

“In the said circumstances, it is difficult to accept the government submission that the appellate court had not properly appreciated the prosecution evidence and without cogent reasons altered the judgement and order of conviction passed by the trial court”, Justice Kode observed.

“As a matter of fact, the perusal of the judgement reveals cogent reasons recorded by the appellate court in reversing the finding and setting aside the conviction not warranted upon the prosecution evidence and erroneously arrived at by the trial court,” the judge remarked.

Contradictions in the prosecution’s case pointed out by defence lawyer Mukhtar Khan resulted in the acquittal of the duo.