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TMC MP Tapas Paul’s bail denied, sent to 3-day CBI custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special court here today rejected the bail plea of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul, arrested for his alleged involvement in Rose Valley Chit Fund scam, and sent him to three-day CBI custody.Paul was produced in the court of Special CJM, CBI, P K Mishra.Against it plea for a five-day remand of Paul, the court allowed CBI to take him into custody for three days. The cine star-turned politician was one of the directors of the tainted chit fund group that allegedly duped investors in Odisha, West Bengal and some other states.Paul is also accused of promoting the company and “misleading” people to deposit money in the firm. He was also charged with giving senior posts to his family members in the company, a senior CBI official said.In its charge sheet submitted in the court on January 7, CBI had accused the ponzi firm of duping investors of Rs 17,000 crore, of which Rs 450 crore is from Odisha alone. The company was active in Odisha and had 28 branches in the state.Paul was brought from Kolkata in the morning and taken to the CBI state headquarters. From there, he was sent to the Capital Hospital for medical examination before being produced in the court.CBI sources said a special investigation team led by DIG N K Singh, CBI Superintendent of Police, Bhubaneswar, Rajeev Ranjan and investigating officer will interrogate Paul.

TMC MP Tapas Paul arrested in Rose Valley case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamul Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha MP and actor Tapas Paul was arrested on Friday after a four-hour-long questioning in two sessions at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office here for his alleged association with the Rose Valley Group.Paul had been the director of Brand Value Communication, the media division of the Group. His wife Nandini Paul, who was also an employee of the company, was also questioned on Friday.Sources said that he was arrested following several inconsistencies during interrogation. “He was mainly asked five questions: whether he had taken cash from the Rose Valley Group, what were the amenities he enjoyed as the director of the media wing, when had he written to the Centre against the chit fund companies of the state, why he had not mentioned Rose Valley when he had mentioned the Saradha Group and whether he had continued taking favours from the company even after stepping down from his post,” said a senior CBI official.He also said that the CBI had reasons to believe that Paul used to take cash from the company even after detaching himself from it. Sources said that Rose Valley employees had been questioned in the last one-and-a-half years and it was found out that Paul had met Goutam Kundu, who owned the company several times at different five-star hotels which Paul couldn’t give a satisfactory explanation to.Paul had been a TMC MLA for two terms from the Alipore constituency from 2001 till 2009 and had been representing the party in the Lok Sabha from 2009 from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency.Paul would be taken to Bhubaneswar and would be produced at a court there on Saturday and CBI officials said that they would seek Paul’s custody.In June 2010, he had written to Sebi and RBI against the chit fund companies in Bengal but had not mentioned Rose Valley at that time. Officials said that he had said that he did not know that Rose Valley raised money like a chit fund company but the CBI didn’t buy the theory.Another TMC MP, Sudip Bandopadhyay, had also been summoned by the CBI and he is believed to reach the CBI office on January 3.Interestingly, Paul’s arrest comes 50 days after the demonetization drive, against which the TMC had been vocal from the very beginning. Naturally, it has given rise to several political reactions from the TMC and other Opposition parties. TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that it was political vendetta and that she was not surprised and she was not afraid too. “We have been protesting the demonetization policy and knew something like this will happen. They may arrest more of our MPs but we will not deter from our protest,” Mamata said at a press conference.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that there may be other bigger names who should not be spared. “CBI investigation should be carried out the right way and the high and mighty should not be spared if found guilty. At the same time, no innocent person should be harassed,” he told DNA.CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty said, “Why only Tapas? He is not even the ear, which when pulled the head will be caught. Tapas is at the most the hand. Anyone who possesses money which has been siphoned off the common people should be arrested.”State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however, said that it was only a matter of time. “It was inevitable. Why was he not arrested so far was the question. Another MP is also going to be questioned. He has been summoned by the CBI, but he is not going there probably he knows that he will be arrested too. There will be more such arrests, given the kind of corruption within the TMC,” Ghosh said.

Delhi: Fresh fight between AAP govt and Centre ahead of new LG Anil Baijal’s oath

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI raids in Delhi government secretariat on Friday stoked a fresh confrontation between the AAP and the Centre with a combative Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal once again asking the Prime Minister to agree to a probe into the controversial ‘Sahara-Birla’ papers.Hours after the agency raided the office of former OSD of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain over alleged illegal appointments, Kejriwal sought to turn the tables on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by raking up the Sahara Birla papers, an issue over which he has been targeting the PM.Referring to the raids on his former Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office last December, that had also triggered a political firestorm, Kejriwal said Modi not agreeing to an investigation by a Delhi government-appointed panel will prove that the PM “does not have the guts”.Kejriwal taunted Modi saying the 2015 CBI raid in the Delhi secretariat had thrown up “four mufflers” and that even the cost of the raid could not be recovered. Modiji had found a corrupt only in me at that point, Kejriwal said.”Today he (Modi) got a raid conducted on Satyendar Jain. But we are not going to be scared by your CBI,” Kejriwal said.Earlier, Kejriwal also got into a social media duel with Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta who accused the Chief Minister of peddling false charges, which he said won’t “mitigate your own crime”.”You levelled false charges against my wife as well, used foul language against a woman. We are not scared of any probe but there has to be a crime,” Gupta tweeted.Kejriwal alleged that the CBI has filed “seven FIRs” against Jain and “two” against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, but did not elaborate.CBI carried out searches at the office of the former OSD of Jain in connection with alleged irregularities in his appointment at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalya and subsequently as an aide to the Minister.A senior government official said that it is a prerogative of the minister to appoint his OSD and that there was no irregularity involved in appointing Nikunj Aggarwal to the post.”Since October, he has not been holding any official post in the Delhi government as Health Minister Satyendar Jain had discontinued his service. Aggarwal had been appointed on contractual basis,” the official said.Reacting strongly, Jain tweeted, “CBI raided my office today. We will not bow down by these acts. Why not investigate Sahara Birla Diaries.”

TMC MP and actor Tapas Pal arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP from Krishnanagar constituency, Tapas Pal was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Rose Valley Chit Fund Scam for money laundering. Pal was arrested by CBI officials after four hours of questioning on Friday, when he appeared at the CBI office in CGO Complex of Kolkata. Sources in the CBI reveal that several inconsistencies had surfaced in his statements and he was not cooperating with the investigators. Officials are likely to take him to Bhubaneswar for further questioning. CBI had sent a notice to Pal on Tuesday to appear before them and give details of the transactions that took place when he was the director of the Films Division in the Rose Valley Group. He was also asked to produce documents of the transactions. Earlier, his accountant was also questioned by the CBI. Reacting to his arrest, Trinamool Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien said, “So now political atrocities against those opposed to #NoteBandi and with the movement. We will fight it out.” On the other hand, opposition parties welcomed the arrest of Pal and claimed that the noose will further tighten on other Trinamool Congress leaders. “Long awaited and much delayed arrest,” said CPI(M) leader Md.Salim.

AgustaWestland case: Delhi High Court issues notice to SP Tyagi against bail given to him

The Delhi High Court on Friday, on the Central Bureau Investigation’s (CBI) plea, issued a notice to ex-Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi against the bail given to him on 26 December. Tyagi was granted bail by a special court in Delhi which said that the CBI had failed to state the alleged bribe amount and when it was paid. The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi on CBI’s plea challenging his bail claiming its probe would be “hampered” if he remains out. Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to Tyagi and listed the matter for hearing on 3 January.

Tyagi, who retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were arrested on 9 December by the CBI in connection with a case which relates to the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from the UK-based firm Finmeccanica, during the UPA-2 regime. The Patiala House Court on Friday extended the judicial custody of SP Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan for 14 days.The court will decide the bail pleas of Sanjeev Tyagi and Khaitan on 4 January.

Tyagi, 72, who was interrogated by the CBI in its custody for seven days, had been asked by special CBI judge Arvind Kumar to furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and one surety of like amount as pre-requisites for his release on bail.

The court had asked Tyagi not to leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without its permission and ordered him not to tamper with the evidence or try to influence the witnesses.

“CBI failed to state as to how much cash was paid to the accused and when it was paid. Admittedly, the CBI has seized the documents regarding properties in 2013 and more than three years and nine months have passed but could not conduct probe in this regard. Accused was arrested after about three years and nine months, LOC was withdrawn by CBI, his accounts were de-frozed after the agency gave ‘no objection’ and accused was allowed to travel abroad,” the court, in its 26 December order, had said.

File photo of SP Tyagi. PTI

File photo of SP Tyagi. PTI

It had noted that Tyagi had joined the investigation as and when CBI called him and it was not the case that he either tampered with evidence after registration of the FIR or influenced witnesses in the case.

“CBI’s apprehension that the accused may tamper with the evidence is without any basis… Accused has been a senior government servant. The correctness or otherwise of the allegation as to whether the accused has taken any kickbacks and in what manner he was connected with the same, can only be looked into during the course of the trial,” it had said.

While granting the relief, the court had taken note of Tyagi’s advancing age and his health conditions and had said no purpose would be served by keeping him behind the bars.

During the hearing, Tyagi’s advocate Manger Guruswamy had said that her client “could not be deprived of freedom if the investigation is taking time to complete”.

She had also claimed that in the last four years after registration of the FIR, the CBI has never been able to confront Tyagi with any incriminating evidence till date.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, had opposed the bail pleas of the accused, saying if set free, they might influence witnesses and hamper the “multi-layered probe by various agencies in more than one jurisdictions involving several countries”.

“We have evidence where the meetings unofficially took place for the purpose of crime. At this stage, please do not entertain their bail pleas. Let the probe be completed,” he had said, seeking dismissal of the bail pleas of all the three accused and adding the matter has “tarnished country’s name”.

On the court’s query whether the CBI had any material regarding SP Tyagi receiving money, the agency replied the former IAF chief had purchased several properties for which the sources of income were not disclosed by him and alleged that he had abused his official position.

Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, counsel for Khaitan, had also countered CBI’s argument, claiming that the agency was trying to sensationalise the matter and there was no allegation that his client had not joined the probe or tried to influence it.

Sanjeev Tyagi’s counsel Manav Gupta had also opposed CBI’s contention saying there was no reason to claim that if granted the relief, his client would hamper the probe.

The accused had sought bail on the grounds that the evidence was documentary in nature and had already been seized by CBI and they have cooperated with the probe agency.

The court had on 17 December sent all the three accused to judicial custody till 30 December.

The CBI had said it was a “very serious” and “a very high-profile” case requiring interrogation to unearth larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”.

Tyagi’s counsel had earlier claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 14:47 IST

Appointments row | Not scared of probe but investigate Sahara diaries too: Arvind Kejriwal dares Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday dared the Centre to get all the appointments made by his government probed after the CBI filed an FIR into the appointment of city Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s OSD.Asserting that he was not afraid of any probe, the AAP chief also wondered whether the Centre would accept a Delhi government-appointed committee to look into the Sahara Birla papers.Kejriwal alleged that the CBI has filed “seven FIRs” against Jain and “two” against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, but did not elaborate.In fresh trouble for the AAP government, the CBI has filed an FIR into the appointment of Jain’s OSD while the LG office has recommended a probe by the agency into the appointment of his daughter Soumya Jain as a functionary in the Mohalla Clinic project.”You (Centre) make your committee and get all our appointments probed. And we will form one, and you get the Sahara Birla matter probed with it. Agree? “We are not scared of any probe as we have not done any wrong. Then why are you scared of a probe?” Kejriwal tweeted.

VVIP Chopper scam: CBI receives response from all eight countries, to begin fresh questioning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday received reply from all the eight countries to its Letter Rogatory in connection with the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case.Sources said the information provided by UAE and Singapore is of crucial importance to the CBI.”Both countries were recently approached through diplomatic channels for execution of the CBI’s letters rogatory (LRs) or judicial requests at the earliest. Now the agency has received responses to the LRs it sent to eight countries for establishing money trail in the Rs. 3,767 crore Agusta Westland VVIP helicopter deal case,” said sources.Mauritius, Tunisia, Italy, British Virgin Island, the UK and Switzerland are the other six countries where Letter Rogatory (a letter of formal request from court to a foreign court) was sent by the CBI, seeking assistance in probe and collection of documents in connection with this case.The CBI will very soon start a fresh round of questioning.Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) S. P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were arrested on December 10 in connection with this case. The court had on December 17 sent all the three accused to judicial custody till December 30.The former Air Chief was yesterday granted bail on the condition that he will not leave Delhi or try to contact any witness in the case.Air Marshal (Retd.) Tyagi, who headed the Indian Air Force between 2004 and 2007, has been accused of abusing his official position to help AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italy based Finmeccanica, win the deal to supply a dozen helicopters meant for the country’s top politicians.

Hyderabad: Con men posing as CBI officials loot 40 kg gold from Muthoot Finance

Hyderabad: Posing as CBI officials, five unidentified persons looted 40 kg gold from a Muthoot Finance officer here on Wednesday, the city police said.

The con men escaped with gold ornaments valued at about Rs 10 crore after first gaining access through the CBI pretence and then threatening the staff with weapons at the Ramachandrapuram office of the company on the outskirts of the city.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sandeep Shandilya said they also looted Rs 1 lakh cash.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Initially police had stated that 46 kg gold was looted.

According to police, five persons came to Muthoot Finance branch in the morning and told the staff that they were Central Bureau of Investigation officials and wanted to check records and gold in the lockers as they were investigating a case of theft.

When the branch manager said he was not in a position to show the lockers without permission from top officials, the unidentified men threatened action against him for disobeying orders of CBI officials.

When the lockers were opened, the intruders started collecting the golden ornaments in their bags. As the employees raised objection, one of the men whipped out a gun, threatened the branch manager and other employees and locked them in a bathroom.

The robbers also took away the hard disk of CCTV cameras with them.

Police have launched a massive hunt for the robbers, who escaped in a black coloured Scorpio.

The police commissioner said 16 teams have been formed to track down the culprits. Police were trying to identify the con men by analysing the footage from CCTV cameras around Muthoot Finance branch.

The policemen were searching vehicles along Hyderabad-Mumbai highway from Ramachandrapuram to Zaheerabad town in Sangareddy district.

Meanwhile, dozens of account holders who had kept their gold in Muthoot Finance branch gathered outside and wanted to know from the officials as to when will they get back their gold.

The officials told the people that their gold was completely insured. They said nobody should be worried as Muthoot Finance has 160 tonnes of gold at 4,500 branches spread across the country.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:21 IST

CBI summoning TMC MPs is ‘political revenge’: Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summoning the Trinamool Congress MPs is nothing but political revenge of the Centre.”This is nothing but political revenge. This can’t stop the Trinamool Congress (TMC). We will stand by our people,” Mamata told the media.The CBI has issued summons to two TMC MPs- Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, in connection with the alleged Rose Valley scam, one of the cases being probed by the investigating agency as part of the umbrella chit fund scams.Both the TMC MPs have been asked to appear at the CBI office on December 30.The CBI had filed its charge sheet in the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam naming Kundu and three others in a special court in Bhubaneswar on January 7.The firm was charged with defrauding depositors of Rs. 17,000 crore from across the country of which Rs. 450 crore was received by the ponzi firm from Odisha alone.In its charge sheet, CBI had claimed that it was still probing the role of ‘influential people’ in the scam.

AgustaWestland scam: SP Tyagi like family member, but no sympathy if proven guilty, says IAF chief Raha

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on Wednesday said his scam-tained predecessor SP Tyagi was like a “family member” but if corruption charges in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal were proven against him the force would have no sympathy for its former chief.

Addressing a press conference days before he is scheduled to retire as the IAF chief and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Raha said the law of the land must be followed in the scam that has rattled the force with Tyagi’s arrest on 9 December for allegedly accepting bribes in clearing the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland.

Tyagi — the first chief of any wing of the armed forces to be arrested in the country — was given bail by a court in Delhi on Monday. “Such issues have come up from time to time. Be it Bofors or be it some other acquisitions, there have been problems,” Raha said. He, however, admitted that if the corruption charges were proved it would be “bad for the armed forces, or whoever is involved”.

“It is not only the armed forces that are involved in procurement. There are so many agencies involved. Can’t pin the blame on one particular organisation or service. To my mind many of the issues that have sprung up in the recent times have their origin some time back, a decade back. These are being investigated. It is premature for me to say anything,” he said.

IAF chief Arup Raha. PIB

IAF chief Arup Raha. PIB

Raha said he didn’t know about the evidence the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), which is probing the case, has against Tyagi. “The Air Force believes the law of the land has to be followed… Let the investigation be complete. Whatever the decision of the court, we will abide by that.”

He said Tyagi, as long as not convicted, should be given his due credit being a former IAF chief. “A former Air Chief is like an extended family. If anyone in my family goes through a rough patch I think we should stand by them… If charges are proved, then of course we have no sympathy.”

The CBI has alleged that Tyagi and other accused had received bribes from AgustaWestland for helping the manufacturer win the $556.262 million contract to purchase the helicopters for the Communication Squadron of the Indian Air Force to carry the President, Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

The accused had allegedly hatched a conspiracy to reduce the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters to make AgustaWestland eligible for the contract.

The CBI claimed that Tyagi and his brothers received 126,000 euros after May 2004 and 200,000 euros after February 2005 in the form of consultancy fee from Gordian Services.

It added that Tyagi also received some amount in cash from Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Valentino Ferdinando Gerosa, who were linked with Gordian Services.

Tyagi, the Indian Air Force chief from 2004 to 2007, has denied the charges saying the deal was executed after his tenure.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 15:33 IST

SP Tyagi is like family, but won’t have sympathy if he’s found guilty: IAF chief Arup Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing Air Force chief Arup Raha came out in support of former chief SP Tyagi, recently arrested in the Rs 3,600 AgustaWestland helicopter deal case being probed by the CBI, drawing a parallel with the Bofors case where charges of corruption could not be established.Calling Tyagi a member of the Air Force family, Raha said his sympathies were with the former chief. “If a member of your family goes through a rough patch, you will have sympathy for him. If he is found guilty, punish him,” Raha said on Wednesday while addressing a press conference. He is due to hang up his uniform on December 31.Raha appeared to downplay the allegations, saying nothing could be proved as in the Bofors case. “Corruption issues have come up from time to time. Despite investigation, not much was achieved,” he said.Tyagi, who has been granted bail, was recently arrested three years after CBI named him as an accused in the helicopter deal. The agency was not able to file a charge sheet but arrested him for custodial interrogation based on new facts.A Delhi court granted Tyagi bail despite CBI’s opposition. It is alleged that as Air Force chief Tyagi took kickbacks to change the specifications of the VVIP helicopters, swinging the deal in favour of AgustaWestland.

Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani Mukerjea performs post-death rituals for father

Mumbai: Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, on Tuesday performed the post-death rituals for her father at Brahman Seva Samiti hall here and returned to the Byculla Women’s prison in the evening.

The special CBI court in Mumbai had last week granted her permission to perform the rituals anywhere in Mumbai. The court, however, had rejected her plea for interim bail to visit her hometown, Guwahati, for the purpose, following her father Upendra Bora’s death on 15 December.

Indrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTIIndrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTI

Indrani Mukherjee arrives to attend the post-death rituals of her father in Mulund, Mumbai on Tuesday. A special CBI court had last week granted Indrani the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai . PTI

Indrani left jail at around 7.30 am today with a police escort for Brahman Seva Samiti hall in Mulund. After
performing rituals there till 4.30 pm, she visited a nearby temple for prayers for an hour, a police officer said.

Judge HS Mahajan had said in his order that she shall not speak to media during the time she was out of the prison.

She shall be brought back to jail by 7 pm, the judge had said.

CBI had opposed Indrani’s request for interim bail to visit Assam. It had produced an e-mail sent by her son
Mikhail, which said he did not want her to visit Guwahati.

Indrani’s intention was to influence prosecution witnesses and there was also a possibility that she would try
to escape, CBI said.

Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyam Rai are accused of killing Sheena, her daughter from an earlier relationship, in April 2012. Her husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea too has been arrested in the case for being party to the conspiracy.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 22:19 IST

Trinamool MPs Sudip Bandopadhyay, Tapas Paul summoned by CBI in chit fund case

New Delhi: CBI has issued summons to two MPs of Trinamool Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, in connection with the alleged Rose Valley scam, one of the cases being probed by the investigating agency as part of the umbrella chit fund scams.

Both Bandyopadhyay and Paul have been asked to appear at the CBI office here on 30 December. CBI sources said Bandyopadhyay was called earlier also but he had cited ongoing Parliamentary session to seek exemption from personal appearance.

Now the agency has again asked the Member of Parliament to appear before its investigation team to be questioned in the connection with the chit fund scam related to Rose Valley group, the sources said.

When contacted in Kolkata, Bandyopadhyay told PTI, “I will appear in the first week of January.” “I will go because I want to know what are the exact charges that they have levelled against me. I feel that it is better to sit face-to-face rather than talking over phone,” he said.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay. PIB

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay. PIB

Recently, there was speculation that Bandyopadhyay may be questioned by CBI after which Trinamool Congress had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using central agency to scare the party because of its opposition to demonetisation.

“By pursuing political vendetta you can’t stop Mamata Banerjee and TMC from protesting against demonetisation. You are using CBI and other central agencies to scare us. But you won’t succeed,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had said.

“You feel you and your party are saints and all of us thieves. But the fact is you are the biggest thief,” he had said.

The CBI had filed its charge sheet in the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam naming Kundu and three others in a special court in Bhubaneswar on 7 January. The firm was charged with defrauding depositors of Rs 17,000 crore from across the country of which Rs 450 crore was received by the ponzi firm from Odisha alone.

In its charge sheet, CBI had claimed that it was still probing the role of “influential people” in the scam. Besides role of regulatory authorities, money trail and larger conspiracy hatched by the accused persons to cheat the public are still under probe of the agency, they said.

The sources said that CBI, in its charge sheet, has named Kundu, the then Managing Directors Ashok Kumar Saha and Ram Lal Goswami, besides Rose Valley Real Estate and Constructions, Rose Valley Real Estate and Land Bank, and Rose Valley Hotels and Entertainment.

CBI has alleged that these persons and companies were allegedly responsible for running “illegal” ponzi scheme in violations of the norms of RBI, SEBI and Registrar of Companies.

The agency alleged that they kept running the schemes “knowing fully well” that these were “commercially unviable” and continued cheating people by keeping them associated with the group.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 21:12 IST

Chit fund row: CBI summons 2 Trinamool MPs in connection with Rose Valley scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI has issued summons to two MPs of Trinamool Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, in connection with the alleged Rose Valley scam, one of the cases being probed by the investigating agency as part of the umbrella chit fund scams.Both Bandyopadhyay and Paul have been asked to appear at the CBI office here on December 30. CBI sources said Bandyopadhyay was called earlier also but he had cited ongoing Parliamentary session to seek exemption from personal appearance. Now the agency has again asked the Member of Parliament to appear before its investigation team to be questioned in the connection with the chit fund scam related to Rose Valley group, the sources said.When contacted in Kolkata, Bandyopadhyay told PTI, “I will appear in the first week of January.” “I will go because I want to know what are the exact charges that they have levelled against me. I feel that it is better to sit face-to-face rather than talking over phone,” he said. Recently, there was speculation that Bandyopadhyay may be questioned by CBI after which Trinamool Congress had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using central agency to scare the party because of its opposition to demonetization. “By pursuing political vendetta you can’t stop Mamata Banerjee and TMC from protesting against demonetization. You are using CBI and other central agencies to scare us. But you won’t succeed,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had said.”You feel you and your party are saints and all of us thieves. But the fact is you are the biggest thief,” he had said. The CBI had filed its charge sheet in the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam naming Kundu and three others in a special court in Bhubaneswar on January 7. The firm was charged with defrauding depositors of Rs 17,000 crore from across the country of which Rs 450 crore was received by the ponzi firm from Odisha alone.In its charge sheet, CBI had claimed that it was still probing the role of “influential people” in the scam. Besides role of regulatory authorities, money trail and larger conspiracy hatched by the accused persons to cheat the public are still under probe of the agency, they said.The sources said that CBI, in its charge sheet, has named Kundu, the then Managing Directors Ashok Kumar Saha and Ram Lal Goswami, besides Rose Valley Real Estate and Constructions, Rose Valley Real Estate and Land Bank, and Rose Valley Hotels and Entertainment. CBI has alleged that these persons and companies were allegedly responsible for running “illegal” ponzi scheme in violations of the norms of RBI, SEBI and Registrar of Companies. The agency alleged that they kept running the schemes “knowing fully well” that these were “commercially unviable” and continued cheating people by keeping them associated with the group.

AgustaWestland case: Why arrest SP Tyagi and let babus, politicians go scot-free?

It isn’t funny that a ‘CBI special court’ has virtually ‘slapped’ the CBI while granting bail to Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (retired) in the AugustaWestland probe. While the CBI had arrested Tyagi accusing him of receiving kickbacks illegally in the VVIP helicopter deal, the CBI special court has observed that the CBI had failed to show when and how much of the alleged bribe was paid to him, even though the investigation had gone on for almost four years. Special Judge Arvind Kumar also pointed out that the allegation that Tyagi’s properties were linked to the alleged illegal gratification was not investigated in over three-and-a-half years despite the CBI having seized the documents regarding his properties in 2013, but more than three years and nine months later, no investigation was conducted in this regard.

File image of SP Tyagi. PTI

File image of SP Tyagi. PTI

It may be noted that CBI was given four days custody following his recent arrest, however, the Bureau had it extended. The CBI special court made following important observations: Tyagi retired in 2007 and the CBI’s view that he influenced witnesses does not hold water; the present case is based on documents; the accused joined the investigation as and when called by the CBI and has also been interrogated in custody; allegations of whether he received kickbacks, and in what manner he was connected in the alleged conspiracy, can only be looked into during the trial stage; he has been in custody for 18 days. No purpose will be served by keeping the accused behind bars. CBI counsel and additional solicitor-general Tushar Mehta opposed Tyagi’s bail plea, arguing that they had found “new” evidence to build the case against Tyagi. Here the question is why this “new evidence” could not be shared with the CBI special court, or is it based on the hope that some “new evidence” will crop up with the Italian court reopening the case?

So now the question is that if the CBI did not have sufficient evidence against Tyagi, why was he arrested at this point of time and kept imprisoned for 18 days? Was this a fake “earthquake” warning for the UPA akin to the Congress vice-president’s threat to rock the Parliament? What a terrible shame that despite having exceptionally strong assistance from the Italian courts, who have virtually handed India the case on a plate, only Tyagi and two other accused are questioned and jailed while the bureaucrats, the politicians and the then SPG director involved are not questioned. As someone remarked on social media, “Just imagine what is going to happen to all the other UPA scam cases in the hands of CBI/Supreme Court where there is no external court assistance — actual culprits are going to get off scot-free.”

In the AugustaWestland probe, the following facts already public can hardly be ignored:

One, the helicopters in question were required by the SPG to fly VVIPs.

Two, the requirement of helicopters from eight to 12 was increased by the PMO.

Three, IAF had insisted since 1988 that service ceiling of 6,000 metres was an operational necessity to access all border areas, also reiterated to the defence secretary in January 2004.

Four, under instructions issued by the NSA in March 2005, fresh supplier quality requirements were evolved in consultation with PMO and SPG; a meeting chaired by the defence secretary in May 2005 decided to lower the service ceiling to 4,500 metres. This was obviously later approved by the defence minister — facilitating the purchase of AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopters which fly only up to 4,572 metres.

Five, there is no way Tyagi could have lowered the flying ceiling of the required helicopters without the indulgence of MoD, NSA, SPG and PMO.

Six, the then director, SPG (who used to accompany the Congress president during her foreign visits) was present during the so-called trials abroad on ‘representational helicopters’, based on which the deal for importing AugustaWestland helicopters was signed.

Seven, middleman Guido Haschke’s diary revealed the jotting of apparent beneficiaries.

So logically, the then defence minister, NSA, defence secretary, SPG director and officials of the PMO and Ministry of Defence should have been probed by now along with Tyagi, but no move has been made on this front as yet. Significantly, on 14 December, the Supreme Court ruled in another case that was just based on uncorroborated evidence of statements and records of hawala dealers or corporate diaries that investigations can’t be undertaken, never mind prosecution. So, hasn’t Tyagi been arrested because of similarly frivolous reasons — statements by middlemen?

The million dollar question is: Will the government of the day take up the gauntlet to smash what is generally referred to as the ‘Hamam‘?

The 1993 NN Vohra Committee Report while establishing the nexus between governmental functionaries, political leaders and others with various mafia organisations and crime syndicates, enabling the development of significant muscle and money power to operate with impunity, had finally opined that “leakage about the linkages of crime syndicates, senior government functionaries or political leaders in the states or at the Centre could have a destabilising effect on the functioning of government”. So there was no follow-up to this report.

Of the scores of defence scams since Independence, how many politicians and bureaucrats were probed, arrested, prosecuted? Of course, VK Krishna Menon had the distinction of initiating the first one — the Jeep Scandal of 1948, wherein he as India’s High Commissioner to the UK signed a deal with a company in England to supply 200 jeeps (bypassing all government regulations) for the Army costing Rs 80 lakh, but only 155 jeeps were supplied. The case was closed in 1955 and Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Menon as defence minister. And despite the ignominy of 1962, we have a Krishna Menon Marg in his name in the heart of the Capital.

On a different wavelength but hardly surprising, Francois Gautier writes on Facebook:

The author is a veteran Lieutenant-General of the Indian Army

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 15:51 IST

Breather for Tyagi as court grants bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major setback to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Delhi sessions court granted bail to former Air Force chief SP Tyagi on Monday. Tyagi was directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and one surety for a like amount.Sanjeev Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan, the co-accused, were denied bail and will remain in judicial custody till December 30.Tyagi and the other two allegedly received kickbacks while buying a dozen AW-101 VVIP helicopters from the UK-based AgustaWestland company. Tyagi, who was held on December 9, is the first chief from any wing of the armed forces to be arrested.The CBI arrested the accused more than three years after registering the FIR.”During the arguments, the CBI failed to state as to how much cash was paid to the accused and when it was paid,” Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar noted. The additional sessions judge gave his order after hearing arguments from the defence and the CBI last week.Representing the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on Friday, submitted that, if released, the former air chief would influence the witness and tamper with the investigation. However, the court found these charges to be “unfounded” and “without any bias.”The court forbade Tyagi from tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses. It directed him to join the investigation as and when called by the CBI. Tyagi also cannot leave the NCR region without court permission.The former air chief’s bail was hailed by veterans who have been supporting him throughout his incarceration. Shortly after receiving bail, IAF Chief Arup Raha made a statement to the media saying that Tyagi’s arrest had affected the morale of the Air Force and dented the image of the forces. Raha also added that Tyagi should not be treated like a common criminal.Such sentiments were echoed by Tyagi’s supporters — retired Air Marshals and Air Vice Marshals who thronged the courtroom to stand beside their chief. The community, who was incensed over Tyagi’s arrest and incarceration, had even come out with a petition seeking his release. The petition garnered over 2,000 signatures.Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, better known as Julie, and Khaitan were arrested by the CBI on December 9 in an illegal graft case. The FIR, which the CBI had filed close to four years ago, stated that Tyagi had granted approval for reduction of the service ceiling (height of flying capability) of the choppers from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres. This, the CBI alleged, was instrumental in making AgustaWestland eligible to participate in a bid to supply helicopters.The probe agency further alleged that Italian middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlos Gerosa had given Tyagi cash, camouflaged in the form of consultancy fees, to alter the operational requirements.Representing the defence, Menaka Guruswamy refuted all charges levelled against her client. In her arguments for bail submitted last week, Guruswamy stressed that the charges against Tyagi were economic in nature, for which the documents had already been investigated by the CBI. She claimed that the only charge against her client was vague and that the CBI had based their allegations on the judgment from an Italian court of appeals.Incidentally, the Italian Supreme Court accepted the plea and ordered a re-trial of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. The two were then convicted for bribing Indian government officials for a 560 million Euro deal involving the sale of 12 helicopters.

Harish Rawat seeks fresh date from CBI for appearance in CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday did not appear before the CBI in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him and has sought a fresh date for it.The matter pertains to CBI’s ongoing probe into the alleged sting operation purportedly showing Rawat negotiating a deal to buy support of disgruntled Congress MLAs to save his government earlier this year.Rawat has written to the apex investigating agency expressing his inability to appear before it and sought a fresh date for the purpose, his media advisor and spokesman Surendra Kumar said.He had been served summons by the CBI on Friday last, asking him to appear before it today.After the CBI summons were issued to him, Rawat had questioned its timing and accused the Centre of using the investigating agency as a tool to frame him as Assembly elections were round the corner in Uttarakhand.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.

AgustaWestland scam: SP Tyagi gets bail; court order on 2 other accused due on 4 Jan

The Patiala House Court on Monday granted bail to former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief SP Tyagi, accused of receiving kickbacks in AgustaWestland helicopter deal. Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar granted the relief to SP Tyagi on a personal bond of Rs two lakh and one surety of like amount.

The court, however, imposed certain conditions on the accused and asked him not to try to influence the witnesses and hamper the probe. The bail applications of other two accused — Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan — are pending before the court which said it will decide both the pleas on 4 January. During the hearing of the bail plea, S P Tyagi’s advocate Maneka Guruswamy had said that her client “could not be deprived of freedom if the investigation is taking time to complete”.

In a sudden and first of its kind action, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested SP Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, and a lawyer on 9 December in the sensational Rs 450 crore bribery case in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-II government.

Seventy-one-year-old SP Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was called for questioning at CBI headquarters along with his cousin and Chandigarh-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who were taken into custody after nearly four hours of grilling, PTI had reported.

These were the first arrests in the case by CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of the details of the scam emerging in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.

On 23 December special CBI judge Arvind Kumar also reserved its order on the bail applications of SP Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan and posted the matter for 26 December for pronouncing the order.

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

During proceedings, Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, had opposed the bail pleas of the accused, saying if set free, they might influence witnesses and hamper the “multi-layered probe by various agencies in more than one jurisdictions involving several countries”.

“The persons are of high ranking… The investigation is going on and we are getting support from other countries. If they get bail, they may influence witnesses, destroy evidences and hamper the ongoing probe which is at a very crucial stage.

“We have evidences where the meetings unofficially took place for the purpose of crime. At this stage, please do not entertain their bail pleas. Let the probe be completed,” he said, seeking dismissal of the bail pleas of all three accused and adding that the matter has “tarnished country’s name.”

However, the CBI also told the court that “it is not our argument that the accused may flee from justice.”

On the court’s query whether the CBI had any material regarding S P Tyagi receiving money, the agency said the former IAF chief had purchased several properties for which the sources of income were not disclosed by him and alleged that he had abused his official position.

Opposing CBI’s contention, S P Tyagi’s advocate Maneka Guruswamy said his client “could not be deprived from freedom if the investigation is taking time to complete”.

She claimed before the court that in the last four years since the FIR was registered, the CBI has never been able to confront Tyagi with any incriminating evidence till date.

“The CBI has not demonstrated anything more than a statement that my client recieved some cash. He is already retired and not going to influence the probe and there is no evidence to suggest that he tried to do so in the past,” the counsel said.

Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for Khaitan, also countered CBI’s argument, claiming that the agency was trying to sensitise the matter and there was no allegation that his client had not joined the probe or tried to influence it.

Dubey had told the court that “if they had to hamper probe, they would have done it in the past three years.”

Sanjeev Tyagi’s counsel Manav Gupta also opposed CBI’s contention saying there was no reason to claim that if granted the relief, his client would hamper the probe.

The accused persons have sought bail on the ground that the evidence was documentary in nature and has already been seized by CBI and they have cooperated with the probe agency.

The court had on 17 December sent all the three accused to the judicial custody till 30 December.

The accused have alleged that the “CBI was trying to extract the confession using force”. The defence counsel had also claimed that there was no apprehension of them fleeing from justice or tampering with evidence.

The CBI had said it was a “very serious” and “a very high-profile” case requiring interrogation to unearth larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”. It had submitted that “one part of the crime was committed in India while various other angles are in foreign land.”

Tyagi’s counsel had earlier claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 12:26 IST

Adarsh scam: Congress MP Ashok Chavan challenges nod granted to CBI to prosecute him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MP Ashok Chavan has approached the Bombay High Court challenging a decision of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao granting sanction to CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam.In February this year, Governor Rao had granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan for offences under IPC sections 120 (b)(criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case.The CBI had accused the former state Chief Minister of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in return for two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as the then Revenue Minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians.Chavan, in his petition filed recently, challenged the sanction order and said it was “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed without “proper application of mind” and with “malafide intentions”.The petition, which came up for hearing on December 22, was then adjourned. It will now come up for hearing before a division bench of the high court on January 23, 2017.Earlier, Chavan was forced to step down from the post of the Chief Minister in November 2010 after the allegations emerged against him.While the CBI named him as an accused in its FIR, in December 2013 the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused permission to it to prosecute Chavan in the scam, leaving the central probe agency with no choice but to close the case against him.However, in March last year, the high court dismissed a plea made by Chavan, who is the sitting Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, seeking deletion of his name from the case, as the Governor had refused to grant sanction.Following this, the CBI re-approached the Governor seeking sanction, which was granted in February this year.

New Delhi: Court acquits two men of charges of waging war against country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A city court has acquitted two persons of charges of waging war against the country in an over ten-year-old case registered by Delhi Police which had claimed that they were members of a banned militant outfit.Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh absolved Bihar residents, Irshad Ali and Maurif Qamar, who were allegedly picked up by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in 2005.The case was later transferred to CBI following directions of the Delhi High Court. After probing the matter, CBI had filed a closure report in the case claiming that the two men were informers of the special cell and Intelligence Bureau.According to the FIR, the police apprehended Ali and Qamar from Mukarba Chowk bus stand in north west Delhi on February 9, 2006. It was alleged that both were members of banned outfit Al-Badr and were carrying arms and ammunition including pistols, live cartridges and detonators.Thereafter, an FIR under section including 121 (waging war against Government of India) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, and under several provisions of the Explosive Substance Act and the Arms Act was registered.The accused, however, approached the high court and sought a CBI inquiry in the case alleging that both were illegally picked up by Delhi Police in December 2005 from the city and that they were the informers of the agency’s special cell and Intelligence Bureau, advocate Sufian Siddiqui, the counsel for the accused, said.The high court directed a CBI probe in the matter and the agency filed a closure report.The trial court, however, rejected the CBI’s report against which the accused again approached the high court. The high court asked the city court to consider CBI’s report.The special cell, however, had approached the Supreme Court against the high court order. The apex court in December 2012 directed the trial court to take the call and, if needed, ask the agency for re investigation in the matter.The trial court then ordered framing of charges without considering CBI’s closure report, the counsel said.The accused again approached the high court challenging the city court order for trial in the case. Thereafter, the high court again asked the trial court to consider all the aspects before passing the order which has now resulted into the acquittal of the accused. The accused were on bail since July 2009.

Parrikar floats demonetization theory behind possible alliance among Cong, SP and RLD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid talks of the grand alliance for upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday had a dig at the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, saying demonetization by Narendra Modi has left them in no condition to contest on their own strength.”Demonetization has caused such a powerful impact that none of these parties could be able to contest the UP Assembly polls independently,” Parrikar told reporters in response to a query over the talks about formation of ‘Mahagatbandhan’ with SP, Congress and RLD as its constituents. The minister was here to attend the 62nd national convention of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here.Parrikar said demonetization of high value currency notes has curbed “several illegal activities” in the country.”People may be facing some problems due to demonetization, but the common man is ready to face such problems, given the good impact of this move in the long run,” the BJP leader said. Parrikar evaded direct reply on the controversial AgustaWestland Helicopter deal, saying the matter is being investigated by CBI which doesn’t work under his ministry. “We have provided all information to CBI in this matter. I could not make any comment on this issue,” Parrikar said.On escalation of tension on Indo-Pak border, Parrikar said peace is prevailing at the border to an extent as of now.

Arrested air chief to spend christmas in jail, Court may decide on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Air Chief Marshall SP Tyagi will be spending Christmas behind bars as the court’s decision on his jail application maybe announced on Monday. Two days after the defence concluded their arguments, CBI submitted their opposition in front of Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar at Patiala house court on Friday.Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar reserved its order on the bail applications of Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev aka Julie and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan who were arrested on December 9 in the case pertaining to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.Refuting the charge that the CBI had arbitrarily arrested SP Tyagi and thereby tarnishing his image, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the CBI, stressed that not much could be revealed at this delicate stage since the investigation was multi-layered, and multi-jurisdictional. “We have evidences where the meetings unofficially took place for the purpose of crime. Let the probe be completed,” Mehta said, seeking the dismissal of all three bail pleas.The CBI submitted a case diary that contained evidence collected through oral and documentary material. “This evidence is not to be disclosed in the pre-chargesheet stage,” Mehta stressed throughout his submission. Mehta stated that the evidence gathered took time since Letters of Rogatory (LORs) were sent to eight countries through official channels and the process was time consuming. Mehta said that in 2014 Italy, one of the countries approached, sent 1.2 lakh documents of which 70 per cent was in Italian. Mauritius, Mehta added sent evidence in 2016.”We cannot reveal many facts as it will have serious implication on the case,” Mehta said. “During investigation the accused came to know the line of questioning when he was interrogated. Hence, the moment the accused comes out, there is a concern that other witnesses who have not yet been interrogated will be influenced and perhaps evidence maybe destroyed,” Mehta added.Mehta submitted that during their investigation not only Tyagi, but his family members also figured as prospective witnesses. “SP Tyagi and his cousin’s name have cropped up often during the investigation,” Mehta said. Replying to the court’s query whether the former air chief had received any money – the sole charge against him in the FIR, the CBI stated that SP Tyagi had bought several properties while he was still in office which he did not declare as he was supposed to.In the hour-long submission, the CBI touched upon many points – a few to strengthen their case against the three accused, and others to rebut the argument made by the defence.Clarifying that the Italian Surpeme Court had set aside the order of the appellate court and not the trial court, in the case pertaining to Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. Whereas, Italian national and middle-man Guido Haschke had never contested his guilt and continued to be a convict. “The decision of the Italian courts is not the foundation of my case, though it may simply work as a guide to my investigation,” Mehta said.Opposing CBI’s contention, Meneka Guruswamy, representing the former air chief, said his client “could not be deprived from freedom if the investigation is taking time to complete”. Guruswamy claimed that the CBI had already seized all the documents since the FIR was registered. “The CBI’s case is simply this, I will not tell you the case, I will not tell you the evidence and I will not allow you a defence,” Guruswamy argued. “Self-incrimination does not amount to non-cooperation,” she added.”Even today, the CBI has not demonstrated anything more than a statement that my client received some cash,”the defence said.

CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Rawat in sting CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection to its probe into a sting operation that purportedly showed the senior leader offering bribes to rebel Congress MLAs. The sting allegedly showed Rawat asking the rebel Congress MLAs to support him during the floor test that took place in May this year.The CBI on Friday said that its investigators had summoned Rawat to appear at the agency headquarters at the national capital on December 26. Confirming the development, a senior CBI official told DNA, “Investigators wanted to examine Mr Rawat in connection to the allegations of bribery made against him in April, 2016.” Rawat had been questioned by the CBI on one previous occasion on on May 9, 2016. Sources told DNA that during the previous session of questioning, Rawat had asked for more time to respond to queries made by the CBI.The case relates to an alleged sting operation carried out in April 2016 wherein Rawat is purportedly heard offering bribes to rebel Congress MLAs in exchange for their support in the assembly floor test.Rawat had dismissed the video as being fake after it was released by rebel Congress MLAs but later admitted that he was in the clip. The probe agency however filed a preliminary enquiry during which the CBI verifies the facts in the complaint received by it.The agency usually only ‘requests’ a person ‘to join the probe’ and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.The state cabinet, after Rawat’s victory in the floor test, withheld the notification recommending the CBI probe. Responding to the recommendation the probe agency had said that there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was ‘not legally tenable’ and rejected the state cabinets decision.

CBI asks Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat to appear for preliminary enquiry to probe sting operations

New Delhi: CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on 26 December in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.

This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on 24 May during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.

The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with the alleged sting operation on April 29 purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.

This may be a unique case where a sitting Chief Minister has been summoned by the CBI during its probe of a PE.

The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency usually only “requests” a person “to join the probe” and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests.

File photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

File photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.

The CBI probe focuses on Rawat’s relations with the owner of a news channel, alleged bribe proposal made to one dissident MLA by him and a minister in his previous cabinet, besides his claims on the purported sting video.

The reason for summoning him against, according to the sources, was because Rawat had not furnished full and complete details on many issues.

The case was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government.

Rawat has denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.

After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet had met on 15 May and withdrawn the notification recommending a CBI probe into the sting operation involving him.

Instead, the state cabinet decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the case as it was a state subject.

CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.

The chief minister had failed to get a reprieve from Uttarakhand High Court also which had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 21:29 IST

CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat again in sting CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months.He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours. The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with the alleged sting operation on April 29 purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.This may be a unique case where a sitting Chief Minister has been summoned by the CBI during its probe of a PE.The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency usually only “requests” a person “to join the probe” and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.The CBI probe focuses on Rawat’s relations with the owner of a news channel, alleged bribe proposal made to one dissident MLA by him and a minister in his previous cabinet, besides his claims on the purported sting video.The reason for summoning him against, according to the sources, was because Rawat had not furnished full and complete details on many issues.The case was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government.Rawat has denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet had met on May 15 and withdrawn the notification recommending a CBI probe into the sting operation involving him.Instead, the state cabinet decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the case as it was a state subject. CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.The Chief Minister had failed to get a reprieve from Uttarakhand High Court also which had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation.

Let Centre complete Agusta probe, nail culprits under law: AK Antony

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former defence minister AK Antony on Thursday said let the Centre complete the investigation into the Agustawestland Scam and bring the guilty to book.”In our time, when we found something wrong, we only ordered an enquiry, cancelled the contract, fought in Italy and won. So, let them complete the probe. This Government has been there for two-and-a-half years; they must complete the enquiry and bring the guilty to justice.” Antony said.The Delhi Court had earlier adjourned the hearing on the bail plea of former air chief SP Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and businessman-cum-lawyer Gautam Khaitan in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case till December 23.”All evidences asked by ED or CBI have been provided. Details of properties, bank accounts and foreign trips were handed over,” said the former air chief’s counsel.The Patiala House court on December 17 had remanded the trio to judicial custody till December 30 as their CBI custody ended.Also, The CBI had moved court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case.Tyagi has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland during his tenure as the IAF chief.He has, however, repeatedly denied the allegations.

Homoepathy Council chief Ramjee Singh gets bail in graft case

New Delhi: President of Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) Ramjee Singh, arrested on 22 October for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 20 lakh for giving clearance to a college in Gujarat, was granted bail on Friday by a special court in New Delhi.

Special Judge Parveen Singh also granted the relief to suspected middleman Harishankar Jha, who was arrested along with Singh by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court granted bail to both the accused on a personal bond of Rs two lakh each and one surety of like amount.

court-representational-ibn-380 copy

The probe agency recently filed a charge sheet against the accused for the alleged offences of criminal misconduct by a public servant, receiving illegal certification and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

The CBI had arrested Singh, who also runs GD Memorial Homeopathy Medical College in Patna, and Jha on 22 October.

According to CBI, Jha was allegedly receiving the bribe amount, which was a part payment for the total amount agreed upon, from a hawala operator in Karol Bagh area.

A CBI official had said that a private university based in Rajkot (Gujarat) had applied for setting up a new Homoeopathy college.

“It was alleged that…the vice president of the said University was in regular contact with both the president of CCH and a private person for getting inspection carried out by such team of inspectors of CCH who would give favourable inspection report,” the agency had said.

Others named in the FIR include RD Patel, assistant director, Homeopathy Department, Gujarat Government; Denish Patel, vice president of RK University, Bhavnagar, which was setting the Homoeopathy college; members of inspection team comprising Jabalpur-based Professor Rahul Shrivastava; Ashok Konar of National Institute of Homeopathy, Kolkata; and Ashwini Arya of JR Kissan Homoeopathy college in Rohtak.

It said RK University wanted to set up the homeopathy college for which mandatory clearance was needed from CCH, a statutory body for regulating education in the field, which accords it after inspection and deliberation among its various committees.

It was alleged that Denish Patel roped in RD Patel to get this done. RD Patel in turn approached Singh through Jha.

Singh allegedly deputed a team — comprising Shrivastava, Konar and Arya — which conducted the inspection in September, the agency had said.

The president of CCH had demanded illegal gratification and the part amount of which Rs 20 lakh was to be delivered in New Delhi and the same was to be collected from a hawala operator, the FIR alleged.

Jha had obtained an alleged bribe of Rs 20 lakh on behalf of the then president of CCH, CBI alleged in the FIR.

“Searches were conducted at Delhi, Rohtak, Gurgaon, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Jabalpur and Kolkata, including (at) the official and residential premises of accused persons and others which led to recovery of incriminating documents.

“A sum of Rs 21.5 lakh (approx) was also recovered from the residence of a private person in Gurgaon,” the agency had said.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 14:16 IST

Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani denied interim bail, but can attend post-death rituals of father

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The special CBI court in Mumbai on Thursday rejected the interim bail application of Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, for conducting post-death rituals of her father in Assam. The court however allowed her to attend rituals anywhere in Mumbai, including at her residence, on December 27.Indrani’s father Upendra Bora died on December 15. Special judge HS Mahajan said Indrani shall be taken out of the Byculla jail in Mumbai in the morning under a police escort and brought back to jail by 7 PM. She shall not speak to the media during this time, the judge said.Indrani had sought interim bail for visiting Assam for the rituals, but CBI opposed her request. The agency produced an e-mail sent by Indrani’s son Mikhail to CBI, saying he did not want her to visit Guwahati. Mikhail, an important witness in the case, said in the mail that his grandfather was bed-ridden for the past one year and he was looking after both his grandparents for the last three years without any financial and psychological support from Indrani.
ALSO READ Sheena Bora murder case: Peter was part of conspiracy from start, says CBIHis grandparents had legally adopted him as their son and he has already commenced the post-death rituals, he said. “Indrani has been accused of murdering my elder sister Sheena Bora and ruining my family. Therefore it is my utmost plea that I don’t want Indrani to come to Guwahati and visit me as this will create chaos and unnecessary disturbance in my life due to media and other persons, and will hamper post-death rituals of my grandfather,” Mikhail said.CBI also said that Indrani’s intention was to influence prosecution witnesses and there was also a possibility that she might try to escape from custody. Indrani’s lawyer then said she may be allowed to conduct the rituals in Mumbai.

Ex-coal secretary HC Gupta, others put on trial in coal scam case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, facing prosecution in coal scam cases, was on Thursday put on trial by a special court along with four others including two public servants for alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy in the JICPL case.Besides Gupta, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also framed charges against senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd (JICPL) and its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal for the alleged irregularities in the allotment of ‘Mahuagarhi Coal Block’ in Jharkhand to a private firm.After the charges were framed, the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in the case.The court has put up the matter for further hearing on April 17, 2017.While ordering to put the accused on trial, the court had on December 7, said, “The facts of the present case prima facie show that accused H C Gupta, K S Kropha and K C Samria entered into a criminal conspiracy with company M/s JICPL and its director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JICPL”.”The acts alleged against the accused public servants Gupta, Kropha and Samria are such that if questioned they cannot claim that they were acting in discharge of their official duties,” the court had said.In a surprising move, the former Coal Secretary had on August 16, told the court that he intended to “face trial from inside the jail” and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial issues. However, he later withdrew his plea.The court said prima facie charges for alleged offences under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act are made out against the accused. Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.Some of the cases in which Gupta was summoned as accused by the court include those relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block to accused firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal’s Raniganj area to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd.He is also accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two companies of Jindal group and allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to accused firm Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd (PSMPL).The court had on July 31 last year issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance of CBI’s final report. The court had earlier refused to accept the probe agency’s closure report filed in the case and had directed it to further investigate the matter.It had noted that it was prima facie clear that officers of the Ministry of Coal or the screening committee had acted in a manner which was “detrimental” to public interest and they had allowed JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd (JIPL), now known as JICPL, to “misappropriate” nationalised natural resources.The agency had earlier filed a closure report in the case in which it had lodged an FIR against the firm, Jayaswal and others for alleged irregularities by JIPL in acquiring the coal block.The FIR was lodged on the allegation that the company had not disclosed to the Ministry of Coal that it was already in possession of a coal block.

Major I-T raids since demonetisation: ED arrests TN chief secy; DRI seizes Rs 1.34cr in new notes at Chennai airport

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

Major I-T raids since note ban: TN chief secy held; DRI seizes Rs 1.34 cr in new currency in Chennai

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

TN chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao raided: Here are the major I-T raids since demonetisation

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 12:56 IST

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in I-T net, dept recovers Rs 48 lakh in new currency notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was surprised by Income-Tax (I-T) officials who stormed into his residence, 17/184, Anna Nagar, at 5.30 am on Wednesday, seizing a massive amount of black money and gold. Speaking to DNA, sources said that the search of Rao’s home unearthed an estimated Rs 18 lakh in cash and gold bars. Investigators have so far recovered Rs 48 lakh in new currency notes and 17 kg gold from the premises of Rao and his relatives.Investigating sources said that the powerful and well connected bureaucrat of the 1985 batch was thick with sand-mining baron and PWD contractor Sekar Reddy, whose home has also been recently raided by the I-T, the CBI and the ED. I-T officials questioned Mohana Rao about the seized assets from the house of Sekar Reddy and their links.A team of about 100 tax sleuths, aided by a platoon (about 35 personnel) of the Central Reserve Police Force, raided at least 15 premises in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as part of the tax evasion probe.TurnSources said that the department has found Rao’s name on seized documents taken from Reddy’s home. Allegedly, Rao was indulging in the conversion of old notes into gold.About 100 tax officials are still raiding 13 places belonging to Rao, his son, relatives, and other associates in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Chittoor. The raids, top I-T sources said, were launched against Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty and his relatives.Around Rs 18 lakh in new notes and two gold bars of 1 kg each were seized from the premises of Papisetty’s father-in-law based in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. I-T Department sources said on Wednesday that the raids had been going on in Badrinariyan’s house since 5.30 am. Badrinariyan is a close relative of Chittoor MLA DA Sathya Prabha, brother of former MP Adikesavulu. I-T officials also said that the raids are also linked to a tax evasion investigation against Rao’s son Vikram Rao. Earlier this month, taxmen had found over 100 kg of gold, Rs 96 crore in banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and Rs 34 crore in new currency notes in raids at the homes of three Tamil Nadu businessmen, one of whom, J Shekar Reddy, allegedly has business links with the chief secretary’s son.Rao is one of Tamil Nadu’s most powerful bureaucrats. He is said to have played a key role in J Jayalalithaa’s companion Sasikala Natarajan coming to the forefront of politics in the state after the former chief minister died in hospital earlier this month.Meanwhile, sand mining baron Reddy was arrested on Wednesday. This comes a day after the ED registered a case against him and his associates on Tuesday. A CBI official said a case against the accused has been registered.Reddy was taken into custody after several hours of questioning by the CBI and has been sent to custody till January 3, 2017.Reddy’s arrest made headlines after I-T searches at his residence and office resulted in the seizure of Rs 131 crore and 127 kg of gold. The Rs 131 crore included newly introduced notes of Rs 2,000 worth Rs 34 crore (seized on two different occasions) besides 127 kg of gold found from him and his associates Srinivasa Reddy and Prem Kumar, whose homes were also raided.

CBI books sever alleged Paytm customers for fraud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked seven alleged customers of Paytm for fraud after the digital wallet company complained that it had been cheated to the tune of Rs 3.21 lakh through 37 orders spread over the last two years.The case was registered against the seven accused individuals and unknown officials of Paytm under provisions of criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery, besides invoking provisions of the Information Technology Act.However, the digital wallet company, which has named seven customers in its complaint, has not identified any of its officials, despite mentioning that its employees facilitating refunds have been assigned specific login IDs and passwords, making it easier to identify those who processed which refunds. The customers, who allegedly cheated Paytm, were based in Lodhi colony in Delhi, besides Mathura and Bhilwara.This is the second time in December that the $500 company has filed a criminal complaint against its customers. The company claimed it makes payments for defective products received by customers and also arranges a reverse pickup of the damaged product sent to the merchant.In some cases from March 2014 to April 2016, where refunds were made to the customers, delivery of orders were also successfully made to the same customers.

AgustaWestland scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi seeks bail from special CBI court

New Delhi:  Former IAF chief SP Tyagi  on Wednesday sought bail from a special court on the ground that there was no apprehension of him fleeing from justice as all evidences in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case were documentary in nature and have already been seized by the CBI.

“Please let me (Tyagi) go home,” Tyagi’s counsel urged before the Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar who put up the matter for further hearing on 23 December.

The court heard the arguments from the counsel of Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, all three accused in the case, and adjourned the matter after the probe agency said it needed time to argue on the bail pleas.

While seeking relief, Tyagi’s advocate Maneka Guruswamy said “my client cannot languish in jail for an indefinite period for no reason. He has voluntarily cooperated to the best of his abilities. My client has appeared on every date (when he was) summoned by CBI and even without the summons.

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

All evidences are documentary in nature and already in the custody of CBI.”

She also told the court that Italy’s top court has ordered retrial of ex-Finmeccanica executives in the chopper scam case which makes CBI’s stand weak in the current case.

“Even his wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and her mother were called by the probe agency and interrogated even before his arrest,” the counsel said.

Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for Khaitan, also sought the relief claiming that the “allegations against me (Khaitan) is of money trail and that part is already being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). I cannot be put in jail twice for the same offence… They (CBI) have encroached my personal liberty for nothing.”

Sanjeev Tyagi’s counsel too sought bail, saying “if granted the relief, my client will not try to flee from the justice and tamper with the evidences.”

The court had on 17 December sent all the three accused to the judicial custody till 30 December.

71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on 9 December by the agency in connection with the case. The accused have alleged that the “CBI was trying to extract the confession using force”.

The defence counsel also claimed that there was no apprehension of them fleeing from the justice or tampering with evidence.

“My client is a 72-year-old decorated war hero. He suffers from heart and eye diseases and several other ailments. He has deep roots in the society after 44 years of distinguished career,” SP Tyagi’s counsel said.

The case relates to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.

The CBI had said it was a “very serious” and “a very high-profile” case requiring interrogation to unearth larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”. It had submitted that “one part of the crime was committed in India while various other angles are in foreign land.”

Tyagi’s counsel had earlier claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

CBI had alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position” and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other properties and had not disclosed the source his income.

It was also alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and how several firms through which the money travelled came into existence, while Sanjeev was known to the alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 19:17 IST

I-T raids uncovered Rs 3,185 Crore of undisclosed income since demonetisation

New Delhi: Over Rs 3,185 crore of un-disclosed income has been detected while Rs 86 crore worth new notes have been seized by the Income Tax department as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders post the demonetisation of two high value currencies by the government.

Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The I-T department, they said, has seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period even as the new currency seized (majorly Rs 2000 notes) is valued at about Rs 86 crore.

“The total undisclosed income admitted or detected as part of this action, till 19 December, is more than Rs 3,185 crore,” they said.

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Officials said various tax offices in the country and it’s policy-making body Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) are also coordinating with banks and their regulator RBI as part of these investigations, being carried out to check tax evasion and illegal profiteering leading to black money.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of these probe agencies have issued orders to all their field formations to deposit the new currency, being seized by their officials in operations, in bank accounts rather than keeping it in strong rooms.

“This way the new currency can come into circulation and help banks dispense it to the public,” they said.

The I-T department has also asked its field formations to coordinate with local police, also making huge cash and jewellery seizures, to understand the complete modus operandi of black money generation post demonetisation.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 22:32 IST

Indrani Mukerjea breaks down after learning about father’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, broke down on Monday outside the court here after learning about her father Upendra Kumar Bora’s death on December 15.Indrani, her husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna were produced in the court today for arguments on framing of charges. After the special prosecutors Bharat Badami and Kavita Patil finished the arguments, CBI’s investigating officer informed Indrani about her father’s demise in Assam. Indrani, through her lawyer, told the special judge H S Mahajan that CBI had been insensitive. She was informed only today when her father had died on Thursday, she told the court.”It’s very insensitive,” her lawyer said, adding that neither the CBI nor the jail officials informed her, and action should be taken against them for this lapse. The judge said he would warn the CBI officer at the hearing tomorrow. While coming out of the court, Indrani broke down. She was heard saying to the investigating officer, “You didn’t do the right thing. You should have told me earlier. You hadn’t told me about my mother’s death too (back in October 2015).” Indrani, her driver Shyam Rai (who has now turned approver in the case) and Khanna are accused of killing her daughter Sheena inside a car here in April 2012.Peter Mukerjea is accused of being a party to the conspiracy.

Ajay Chautala seeks transfer of DA case to another court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>INLD leader Ajay Chautala, who is serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, on Monday approached a Delhi court seeking transfer of a disproportionate assets case against him to another court.Chautala claimed he apprehends he would not get a fair trial if his case is continued to be tried in the court presided by a special CBI judge, raising questions about the conduct of the presiding officer.District Judge Ravinder Kaur after hearing the arguments on the transfer petition fixed the matter for January 6, 2017. Advocate Vaibhavi Sharma, who appeared for Chautala, said “Reasonable apprehensions exists with the applicant/accused that he would not get a fair trial and a fair opportunity to defend himself and prove his innocence” incase the trial is continued in the present case before the special judge.A similar transfer plea of co-accused Abhimanyu Singh is also pending before the district judge.The court is currently recording evidence in the DA case in which Ajay, son of former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, are facing trial.Two other similar cases are pending before it against his brother Abhay and their father. The cases were filed on a complaint by Haryana Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.Ajay is serving 10-year imprisonment awarded in January 2013 by another CBI court in the 1999-2000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers recruitment scam.O P Chautala was also sent to 10 years in jail in the JBT case. The Supreme Court had dismissed the appeals of Chautala and Ajay and had upheld their jail term.CBI had chargesheeted Ajay in 2010 indicting him for possessing assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 per cent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore, but had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, it had alleged.All the charges have been denied by Chautala and his sons.

Telangana police can conduct effective investigation into Nayeem’s activities: Chandrasekhar Rao

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Telangana government on Monday rejected demand of Opposition parties for a CBI probe into the criminal activities of slain gangster Nayeem, saying, state police can conduct effective investigation into the matter. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao informed the Assembly that an “impartial and thorough inquiry” will be conducted by police as it is an efficient force. “Telangana Police came in for praise even from top functionaries of the Union Government,” he said.Rao was speaking during a discussion on Measures taken by the government against the criminal activities of Nayeem and his associates and to maintain law and order in the state . According to a statement by Rao on the matter, Nayeem gang has committed crimes in Telangana for past two-and-half decades. “The activities of the gang which started from Bhongir (near Nalgonda) gradually spread to the entire state,” said the statement. “Several innocent people became victims of the atrocities committed by this gang. Public were forced to live in fear. During the reign of the previous governments Nayeem continued his criminal activities without any hindrance,” the statement said.After several victims approached the government, it decided to check the criminal activities of the gang with an “iron hand”, the statement said. Nayeem was killed in an exchange of fire with police on August 8. “Police recovered one AK-47 rifle, one 9 mm pistol and ammunition from the crime spot,” it said.The government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the crimes committed by the gangster, it said. “On the complaints of victims, 174 cases were registered. Police examined 741 witnesses and arrested 124 suspects owing allegiance to the gang,” it said. “During the raids conducted across the State on the hideouts of Nayeem’s gang, police seized 21 firearms, 21 cars, 26 motor-cycles and cash worth over Rs 2.95 crore,” the statement said.Police also seized documents of properties registered in the names of family and friends of Nayeem — land to the extent of 1,015 acres, house sites to the extent of 1,67,000 sq yards, and 27 residential houses, it said. The registered value of the properties seized is estimated to be Rs 143.94 crore. So far, the involvement of Nayeem’s gang is established in 27 murder cases and their involvement is suspected in another 25 murder cases, the statement said. “Chargesheets have been filed in 2 cases and another 15 chargesheets are ready to be filed in the competent Courts. As the extent of the criminal activities of the gang is spread all over the state, the investigation is still in progress,” it said. Speaking during the debate, Congress T Jeevan Reddy and TDP’s S Venkata Veeraiah sought a CBI probe into the matter. During the debate, the treasury benches and the Opposition members were also engaged in an exchange of words.

CBI files charge-sheet against Kejriwal’s ex-principal secretary Rajendra Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, reported PTI sources. CBI had registered a case against Kumar and others in December last year alleging that the officer had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders of Delhi government departments”.The accused have been charged under section 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to criminal misconduct for allegedly favouring ESPL in bagging of five contracts.CBI has alleged that the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015, and claimed that the officials had taken “undue benefit” of over Rs three crore while awarding the contracts. This is the same case in which the agency had come under scathing criticism from court which had directed it to return documents sought by Delhi government seized during December 15, 2015 search of Kejriwal’s office.Arrest of the top state government official had triggered a political storm with the Delhi government accusing Centre of indulging in “political vendetta” and “paralysing” governance.With inputs from PTI

Coal scam: Final arguments against ex-Coal Secretary HC Gupta concluded

New Delhi: The final arguments in a coal scam case against former coal secretary HC Gupta and five others, relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to an accused firm, was concluded on Monday before a special court.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar concluded hearing the arguments in a case filed against Gupta, two senior government officials, KS Kropha and KC Samria, firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL), its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered accountant Amit Goyal.

Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta. News 18

Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta. News 18

The court has now put up the matter for further hearing on 22 December in the case.

Kropha was the then Joint Secretary in Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I) section in ministry. This is first coal scam case involving any public servant in which the final arguments have been completed.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.

During the hearing, the CBI alleged that the application filed by KSSPL for the coal block was incomplete and was supposed to be rejected by the Ministry of Coal as it was not in accordance with the guidelines issued.

CBI charged that the firm had misrepresented about its net worth and existing capacity, adding that the state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.

The accused, however, denied the allegations during the arguments.

The court had in October last year framed charges against the accused observing that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the “dark” by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust imposed on him on the issue of coal block allocation.

The court on October 13, 2014, had summoned them as accused after refusing to accept CBI’s closure report. The accused were earlier granted bail by the court.

CBI had lodged an FIR against KSSPL, its officials and other unknown persons for alleged misrepresentation of facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.

The former coal secretary had on 16 August told the court that he intended to “face trial from inside the jail” and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial difficulties. However, he later withdrew his plea.

Over seven charge sheets have already been filed against Gupta in separate coal cases and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.

Besides KSSPL, some other cases in which Gupta was summoned as accused by the court include those relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal’s Raniganj area to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd.

He is also accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two companies of Jindal Group and allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 18:45 IST

SC upholds acquittal of ex-Army officer in murder case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is “unfortunate that a crime is going unpunished”. This was the observation and finding of the Delhi High Court as it acquitted a former Army officer in a 34-year old murder of a Delhi businessman, saying it “cannot hang any person” if evidence on record does not conclusively establish his guilt.The order has now been upheld as “plausible, logical and persuasive” by the Supreme Court that also rapped CBI for failing to bring home the guilt of the accused.The case relates to the murder of a famous Delhi businessman, 40-year-old Kishan Sikand who was killed in a blast when he opened a parcel containing explosives in 1982.Lt Col S J Chaudhary, now 78, who was convicted and sentenced to life term by a lower court after facing trial for 26 years, was acquitted by the high court in 2009 after being absolved of charges of murder and under the Explosive Substances Act.The order was upheld by the apex court, which observed that “CBI has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused”.An apex court bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy dismissed the appeals of CBI and family members of the victim, who was the son of Sikand Motors showroom owner H D Sikand, challenging Chaudhary’s acquittal, saying the high court’s findings are “plausible, logical and persuasive” and it commands for affirmation.”Accordingly, in our opinion, the high court has correctly come to the conclusion after analysing the facts and the evidence. In our opinion, the arguments which have been put forward in the matter by the counsel appearing on behalf of Chaudhary, are much more acceptable in the facts and circumstances of this case.”The findings recorded by the High Court are plausible, logical and persuasive, reached by the materials on record and command for affirmation. Thus, we do not have any hesitation to hold that the high court has correctly come to the conclusions with the reasons given therefor. Accordingly, we do not find any merit in these appeals which are hereby dismissed,” the bench said.The top court said it appeared that the case was totally dependent on circumstantial evidence and held that the CBI has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused.

AgustaWestland scam: Veterans in court to support Air Chief SP Tyagi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, one of the accused in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, maintained a cheerful persona even as his family broke down when he was remanded in judicial custody till December 30. Two others—cousin Sanjeev, aka Julie, and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan—were also remanded in judicial custody a week after they were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).Tyagi, who tried to raise the morale of his supporters—retired Air Marshals, including a retired Chief of Army—was overheard joking with his former mates that he hoped to be sent to Tihar Jail and assigned the same cell that Rajya Sabha MP K Kanimozhi was in when she was arrested in connection with the 2G scam.Tyagi’s remand in judicial custody came a day after Italy’s highest court of appeal ordered a re-trial of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. The duo was convicted for bribing Indian government officials a 560 million Euro deal involving the sale of 12 helicopters.When Tyagi entered the tiny courtroom presided by Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar, all stood up. The crowd of about 30 that included family members, and former air marshals—almost all beyond the age of 70, stayed there right through the proceedings.Hours after the hearing concluded, the veterans stayed back till the accused were ferried to jail in a separate van—as requested by the defence councils. Words of encouragement flowed as they tried to speak to Tyagi through a mesh outside the lock-up facility in Patiala House Court. Steaming cups of tea could not keep out the chill that they felt at how the system was treating a member of their fraternity who had once held the highest post in the Indian Air Force.Former Air Marshal Denzel Keelor, one of the first to arrive, was furious. “Is this how an officer of his (SP Tyagi) stature should be treated,” Keelor fumed. “We are all demoralized and are present here because in the Air Force we all fight together,” he added.Keelor—a war hero who shot down a Sabre jet during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, and many others including retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak who were present in the courtroom today, were disturbed at the turn of events. Kak’s face crumpled when he realized his junior was being sent to jail after all. “I am viewing these turn of events with great despair and disappointment. SP Tyagi is not ordinary, the investigation must have had proof beyond question to take such a drastic step,” Kak said.Many veterans in the Air Force questioned the arrest and all seemed to agree that it appeared to be politically motivated. “We are easy pickings because we don’t say anything,” a retired Air Marshal was heard saying.”Anybody who knows the system and the procedure will know that Tyagi would have been unable to influence the tweaking of the operational requirements (a charge he has been accused of) a retired Air Marshal said on condition of anonymity.The former Indian Air Force chief—the first chief from any wing of the armed forces to be arrestedand the others who were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of the VVIP helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland were first arrested by the CBI on December 9, more than three years after registering the FIR.According to the March 2013 FIR, the CBI stated that in 2005 Tyagi abused his official position to change the consistent stand of the IAF on the service ceiling of VVIP choppers from 6000 mts to 4500 mts. The CBI stressed that without changing the operational requirements, AgustaWestland would have been unable to compete in the bid.All the accused, including the companies, were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Demonetisation: CBI arrests two RBI officials in currency conversion case

New Delhi: CBI has arrested two employees of cash department of Reserve Bank of India in Bengaluru in connection with alleged conversion of Rs 1.99 crore of demonetised currency with specified bank notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 100.

CBI sources said Senior Special Assistant Sadananda Naika and Special Assistant A K Kavin were arrested for unauthorised exchange of the currency and have been booked under charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Both the accused have been sent to four days of CBI custody by a special court in Bengaluru, they said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“It is alleged that both the accused and other unknown officials of RBI, Bengaluru entered in criminal conspiracy with unknown others,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.

She said in furtherance with the criminal conspiracy, the accused, along with other unknown officials, who were entrusted with the responsibility of new currency notes, “fraudulently” gave away new notes to the tune of Rs 1.99 crore to RBI officials and others.

It is alleged that the exchange was done in violation of exchange limits imposed by the Bankers’ Bank.

CBI had earlier arrested another employee of RBI in a separate case in which currency worth over Rs six lakh was converted by him using his influence over officials of State Bank of Mysore.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 18:39 IST

VVIP Chopper scam: Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi to be produced before Delhi Court today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi along with other accused in the AgustaWestland chopper case will be produced before the Patiala House court on Saturday as their Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody ends.Earlier, the CBI had moved court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case. Last Friday, the CBI had arrested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev and lawyer Gautam Khaitan.The Rs 3600-crore deal to supply 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after Italian authorities claimed that the company paid bribes. Tyagi has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland during his tenure as the IAF chief, however, he has repeatedly denied the allegations. CBI said that they have received ‘incriminating documents’ from Italy and Mauritius against the former IAF chief.

Narendra Dabholkar murder case: Bombay HC reprimands CBI for slow probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on CBI, the Bombay High Court on Friday said it was “bungling up” probe in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar by causing inordinate delay in obtaining forensic reports from the Scotland Yard.A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and BP Colabawalla, which was hearing petitions filed by the family of Dabholkar and murdered activist Govind Pansare seeking HC supervision in the probe, was irked when CBI sought further adjournment in the case as it was still awaiting report from the forensic lab in UK. “The more you postpone and delay the more benefit the accused will get. It also gives an impression in the society that you (CBI) are not serious about the case and are not pursuing the probe sincerely. “You are just bungling it up. It is your credibility at stake. You should remember that this delay is impacting two trials which are ready to commence,” the court said.The agency had earlier claimed before the HC that it had sent bullets and empty shells recovered from Pansare’s body and the crime scene to the Scotland Yard to ascertain if there was any link between the Dabholkar and Pansare murders. The agency wanted to seek a third opinion as the forensic labs in Mumbai and Bangalore had submitted conflicting reports.Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for CBI, today told the court that the agency is still awaiting reports from UK and that several letters have been sent pursuing the case. “Alternately we could seek opinion from the forensic lab in Delhi,” Singh said.Irked by this, the court said if there was alternative of seeking opinion locally then why did the agency not do it before. “You (CBI) were aware of the difficulties and obstacles when you sought report from UK. What prevented you from seeking opinion from a local third party expert before? The point is efforts taken should be sincere. Especially in cases like this where the offence is of a serious nature and impacts the society,” Justice Dharmadhikari said. The court noted that the delay caused by the probe agency would not only benefit the accused but would also give a bad impression to the society at large.On Pansare murder case which is being probed by the state CID, the court called for better coordination between CBI and CID. “When the accused are common in both the cases then the agencies should coordinate and take joint efforts to nab the accused,” the court said.Special public prosecutor Ashok Mundargi, appearing for state CID, told the court today that a supplementary charge sheet has been filed in the case against two accused – Sameer Gaikwad and Virendra Tawde and two absconding accused. Mundargi said all efforts are being taken to nab the absconding accused.The court while posting the petitions for hearing after six weeks said this was the last chance it was giving to CBI to procure reports from UK and also sought a progress report from CID on its probe against the absconding accused.While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20.

Vyapam scam: ‘Truth has finally prevailed,’ says CM Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after the Supreme Court ruled that it would no longer monitor the alleged Vyapam scam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Thursday that truth has finally prevailed as all allegations against him turned out to be false. “All allegations turned out to be false and the truth has finally prevailed. It has been ruled there was no tampering,” he said.”Truth always wins. False allegations were levelled against me to tarnish my image and my family was also dragged into it. I had a firm belief that all allegations against me will prove wrong,” he added.The apex court earlier in the day said that further monitoring is not required in the alleged Vyapam scam as the special courts have begun trial in cases related to the same. The bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana said they do not intend to further monitor the issue and grant four months to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to finish the pending investigation. However, the court has given liberty to the parties as they can come to the court when the need arises.The CBI has filed a status report of the investigation as per earlier orders of the apex court. The court was informed by the Solicitor General, on behalf of CBI, that there was no tempering in the hard disk. The Vyapam scam is an admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh.Earlier in September, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to take over all the 72 Vyapam scam cases pending trial at various courts in Madhya Pradesh. As now, over 40 people linked to the scam have died under mysterious circumstances since 2013, the year when the scandal was first reported.

2013-14 raids: SC seeks relevant material to go into plea seeking SIT probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that it is not going to entertain the plea of an NGO seeking SIT probe into alleged recovery of documents by the IT department in connection with raids on two business houses unless it comes out with firm and relevant material.The apex court said there was difficulty in going into the petition which deals with high functionaries as it was not supported by even a smallest material. The court was hearing an application filed by NGO Common Cause seeking constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe “incriminating” evidence and details of “unaccounted” cash recovered allegedly during the raids by the Income Tax department and CBI on the two companies in 2013- 2014.The NGO had alleged that the documents seized by CBI in its search operation in Mumbai reportedly revealed massive bribery of politicians and officials of various ministries over several years.However, a bench comprising Justices JS Khehar and Arun Mishra, which during the last hearing on November 25 had asked the NGO to come out with relevant material, said that despite giving a definite date for hearing there is no material placed on record to support the allegations in the petition.The bench said it does not want to keep the matter pending and asked the NGO to come out with firm material on the matter on December 16. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said it was unreasonable for the court to deal with the matter in such a manner and not to give further date for supplying the relevant documents.The bench responded saying “it is not unreasonable as you are dealing with very high functionaries”.”You bring very firm and very clear material. You bring it, we have no difficulty,” the bench said. When Bhushan said the court was forcing him to bring the relevant material within two days, the bench said, “yes, it is not unreasonable as you are just casting aspersions”. An agitated Bhushan said that he was not casting any aspersions.The bench asked him to lower his pitch and said “we have a settled proposition that you have to give us a material”.When Bhushan questioned the hurriedness in which the court wants to deal with the matter, the bench told him that it is very difficult for a person to function against whom aspersion is made.”There is no difficulty if you bring the material. It is only today’s midnight oil that you have to burn,” the bench said while posting the matter for December 16.

VVIP chopper scam: SP Tyagi’s CBI remand extended for three days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi’s will undergo further custodial questioning for three more days as CBI told a court on Wednesday that AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam was a “very serious” case requiring his interrogation to unearth the larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”.Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar extended his custody till December 17 along with that of his cousin Sanjeev alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also accused in Rs 450 crore chopper deal bribery case. CBI, however, had sought extension of their custody by seven days, saying, “Its a very wide and serious case and some accused and firms from abroad were also involved in the conspiracy. Right now we are handicapped due to want of material. It is a very high-profile case and we need proper material. One part of the crime was committed in India while various other angles are in foreign land,” CBI said, noting that it has received help from various countries including Italy, Mauritius, Switzerland and the UK.The agency said that their further custodial interrogation was required to reach the bottom of the conspiracy. However, the counsel appearing for SP Tyagi opposed CBI’s plea, saying that he was “a decorated war hero of the nation” and “CBI, which was termed as ‘a caged parrot’ by the Supreme Court, is trying to tarnish his image”. “The FIR only says that the ex-ACM ‘also’ received some amount of cash. It is just a vague allegation,” Tyagi’s counsel said.The counsel submitted that SP Tyagi has already been confronted with his cousin and enough confrontation had taken place much before his arrest. “This arrest was made only for humiliation and not for confrontation,” the counsel said.The court had on December 10 sent the three accused to four days’ CBI custody, which expired on Wednesday, in the case related to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime. During the last hearing, Tyagi’s counsel had claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.CBI had alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position” and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other properties and had not disclosed the source his income. Tyagi’s counsel had refuted CBI’s claim, saying, “As per the allegations, conspiracy and money transaction were going on much before my client came into picture.” The counsel appearing for the other two arrested accused had also opposedCBI’s case saying the FIR was lodged over three years ago and there were no fresh grounds to arrest them at this stage. CBI, however, had alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and several firms through which the money travelled came into existence and Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on December 9 by the agency in connection with the case.

Post demonetization crackdown by CBI: 10 cases, 16 arrests and Rs 19 crore in questionable currency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As part of its ongoing countrywide operation, CBI lodged a case against a Bank of Baroda official in Kolkata for converting old currency in violation of rules, taking the number of such cases to 10 with 16 arrests and Rs 19 crore as currency in question. Cashier of Bank of Baroda, Behala branch, Ranjit Kumar Bhattacharya has been booked by CBI for allegedly converting currency worth Rs 50 lakh using fraudulent means in violation of laid down rules post demonetizationof Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8.Under its countrywide operation continuing for a few weeks, the agency has so far registered four such cases in Karnataka, four in Hyderabad, one in Rajasthan and one in Kolkata.CBI sources said so far it was probing currency conversion of Rs 19 crore, which might increase as the probe progresses and more FIRs are registered by it.The agency sources said it has made 16 arrests across the country which include public servants, middlemen and private persons.In Karnataka, CBI has arrested a JDS leader who is also a casino operator and an RBI official in separate cases of alleged illegal conversion of old currency.Reserve Bank official K Michael, posted in Bengaluru, was arrested by CBI while he was allegedly trying to convert Rs 1.51 crore of old currency notes.CBI sources said Michael, a senior special assistant at RBI, was arrested last week.The agency has also arrested Veerendra in a separate case relating to seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency from the bathroom of the casino owner by the Income Tax department.”We have arrested K C Veerendra. He was arrested in Hubballi on December 10 and brought to Bengaluru the following day and produced before the CBI court. He is in our custody for six days,” a top CBI official told PTI today.Besides Veerendra, middlemen Thipeswamy and Venkatesh, residents of Chitradurga districts of Karnataka, and unknown officials of four banks — State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra — have also been named in the FIR in this case.A case has been registered against an ATM servicing company and officials of Karnakata Bank and Dhanluxmi Bank. Another case has been registered against Central Bank of India officials and private persons for allegedly facilitating exchange of demonetised notes by issuing 149 Demand Drafts of Rs 70 lakh in the name of a private loan company.In Hyderabad, CBI had registered four cases related to conversion of currency by postal department officials with prime suspect named in the FIR being K Sudheer Reddy, an Indian Postal Service Officer.The agency has also registered an FIR against officials of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Dausa branch on similar charges.

Tata Group will suffer because of the greed of Ratan Tata, says Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday said that the Tata Group of companies will suffer because of the greed of Ratan Tata.Speaking ahead of a meeting of the shareholders of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) who are to decide the fate of ousted group chairman Cyrus Mistry, Swamy said, “That is one of the small parts of the Tata, the main thing is the vote that comes from the general body from Tata Sons. The fact is that Mr. Ratan Tata is already the voter and the director by illegal means; he is the nominee of the Tata Trust. Tata Trust is a charitable trust. It cannot play any role in the commercial activities of Tata Sons, and so far, nobody has paid attention. So, they have been carrying on.””Now, this all will be challenged in court. Tata’s will suffer because of the greed of the Mr. Ratan Tata,” he added.The Tata group led by Ratan Tata is expected to have a cakewalk and oust Mistry as Tata Sons holds a huge stake of over 73% in TCS.The voting pattern of mutual funds and institutions will give an indication of the level of support Mistry enjoys from shareholders in general, which in turn could set the tone for other Tata EGMs that are to follow in the coming days.On November 10, Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, sacked Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), bringing in Ishaat Hussain as the new chairman of the software services firm.Swamy had yesterday wrote to the Acting Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the role of former defence secretary Vijay Singh and Tata Sons interim chairman Ratan Tata in the Agusta Westland chopper scam.Talking to ANI about his letter, Swamy stated that he has urged the CBI acting director to look into the matter of how Ratan Tata appointed Vijay Singh to the board of Tata Trusts, which in itself is illegal.”Ratan Tata went and deposed in Italy in the trial in the Agusta scam, so that itself makes it necessary to interrogate Mr Tata, because how is he involved? If he can obey a summons from Italy, he can obey one from India also,” Swamy said.Further stating that all allegations made by sacked Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry so far have been proven true, the senior BJP leader added, “For instance the Air Asia scandal has been proved by records and Delhi High Court has taken notice of it. So, here also it is necessary for the CBI to summon both Vijay Singh who was defence Secretary and also Ratan Tata and interrogate them.”Accusing Ratan Tata of conspiring with Singh, Swamy states in his letter that the ex defence secretary had engaged in corrupt practices in the Agusta Westland scam, which the CBI is currently probing.

Hawala operator arrested, Rs 5.70 crore in new currency seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Tuesday arrested an alleged hawala operator K V Veerendra in connection with seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency notes of Rs 2000 denomination from his premises in Karanataka.The agency sources said CBI has registered a case against officials of four banks–State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.They said Veerendra was produced before Special court in Bengaluru which has sent him to six days of CBI custody for questioning.The sources said during preliminary probe names of several persons have been taken by Veerendra and it is trying to gather material evidence linking the alleged hawala operator with them.The sources said during the six days of questioning CBI will confront him with documents recovered from his premises and will try to get the source of these funds which may unravel alleged involvement of senior bank officials in the case.

Demonetisation: ED arrests 7 middlemen; seizes Rs 93 lakh new notes in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Unearthing a racket involved in illegal conversion of demonetised notes, the ED has arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 93 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.

PTIPTI

PTI

Officials said the agency placed the seven, including the relative of a government official, under arrest late yesterday under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Rs 93 lakh in new notes of Rs 2000 have been seized in the case, they added.

Officials said the action was taken as part of a probe in a case where the Income Tax department had recently seized Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency and the Enforcement Directorate had booked a money laundering case against a government engineer and others based on a CBI FIR in the case.

The modus operandi adopted by the alleged middlemen, officials said, was unearthed after ED officials launched a special operation and themselves posed as ‘customers’ looking to get old currency changed illegally, after paying commission to the said middlemen.

Officials said the probe by the agency found that these alleged middlemen were reportedly charging a commission between 15-35 per cent and were executing the racket of
illegal conversion of new notes in alleged connivance with bank officials.

They said the agency suspects that there is a chain of middlemen involved in converting black funds into white even as they added that the probe in continuing.

The accussed are expected to be produced in a local court here for further custody.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 11:38 IST

ED unearths racket involved in illegal currency conversion, seizes Rs 93 lakh in new notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unearthing a racket involved in illegal conversion of demonetised notes, the ED has arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 93 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.Officials said the agency placed the seven, including the relative of a government official, under arrest late Monday night under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).Rs 93 lakh in new notes of Rs 2000 have been seized in the case, they added.Officials said the action was taken as part of a probe in a case where the Income Tax department had recently seized Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency and the Enforcement Directorate had booked a money laundering case against a government engineer and others based on a CBI FIR in the case.The modus operandi adopted by the alleged middlemen, officials said, was unearthed after ED officials launched a special operation and themselves posed as ‘customers’ looking to get old currency changed illegally, after paying commission to the said middlemen.Officials said the probe by the agency found that these alleged middlemen were reportedly charging a commission between 15-35 per cent and were executing the racket of illegal conversion of new notes in alleged connivance with bank officials.They said the agency suspects that there is a chain of middlemen involved in converting black funds into white even as they added that the probe in continuing.The accussed are expected to be produced in a local court here for further custody.

VVIP Chopper scam: Ratan Tata must be interrogated, says Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday wrote to the Acting Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the role of former defence secretary Vijay Singh and Tata Sons interim chairman Ratan Tata in the Agusta Westland chopper scam.Swamy said that he has urged the CBI acting Director to look into the matter of how Ratan Tata appointed Vijay Singh to the board of Tata Trusts, which in itself is illegal.”Ratan Tata went and deposed in Italy in the trial in the Agusta scam, so that itself makes it necessary to interrogate Mr Tata, because how is he involved? If he can obey a summons from Italy, he can obey one from India also,” Swamy said.
ALSO READ Tata Sons Director Vijay Singh ‘involved’ in AgustaWestaland scam: Cyrus MistryFurther stating that all allegations made by sacked Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry so far have been proven true, the senior BJP leader added, “For instance the Air Asia scandal has been proved by records and Delhi High Court has taken notice of it. So, here also it is necessary for the CBI to summon both Vijay Singh who was defence Secretary and also Ratan Tata and interrogate them.”Accusing Ratan Tata of conspiring with Singh, Swamy states in his letter that the ex-defence secretary had engaged in corrupt practices in the Agusta Westland scam, which the CBI is currently probing.
ALSO READ After visit to Italy, CBI now probing money trail of 50 million euro in AgustaWestland scam”Ratan Tata thereafter rewarded Vijay Singh with a directorship in Tata Sons by the dubious route of being a nominee in the Tata Trusts which in itself are illegal since the Tata Trusts are Trusts for philanthropy and owned by the public and not by the Tatas,” the letter said.Asserting that a complaint has been filed in this regard with Securities and Exchange Bank of India (SEBI), Swamy added that such Trusts cannot engage in commercial business even if under the name of Tata and Sons Ltd.

VVIP chopper scam: Congress says CBI acting as govt’s ‘puppet’ by ‘planting false news’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing CBI of acting as the government’s “puppet” by “planting false news” related to the VVIP chopper scam, Congress attacked the Modi dispensation on Sunday saying it would not succeed in covering up the demonetization “mess” through a “captive” CBI and should instead answer questions in Parliament. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should also own up the “malicious news plants” and the media should not fall prey to such tactics, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said following reports that former IAF chief SP Tyagi, arrested in connection with the VVIP chopper scam, had blamed the office of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “A captive CBI wouldn’t succeed in covering up Modiji’s disastrous demonetization mess. Time for the Modi government to answer questions in Parliament,” he said.Surjewala also tweeted, “Instead of acting as ‘His Master’s Vendatta Machine’, CBI’s unappointed Chief & Co. should have the courage to own up malicious news plants (sic).” “Request friends of the media to not become unintended conduits of CBI’s false news plants, which is acting as Govt’s puppet to spread lies,” he said on Twitter.Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, and a lawyer were arrested on December 9 in the alleged Rs 450 crore bribery case in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-2 government. The counsel appearing for the former IAF chief had claimed in the court yesterday that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

Pansare murder case: Virendra Tawde approaches Bombay HC, seeks to be impleaded as respondent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virendra Tawde, accused in the murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to be impleaded as a respondent in the petition filed by Maharashtra government seeking stay in the Pansare trial.The state CID, probing the Pansare murder case, had earlier this year filed a petition in the high court seeking stay on the trial till a forensic report from Scotland Yard Police laboratory was obtained. The impending report pertains to a bullet and some cartridges recovered in the Pansare murder case that were sent by CBI, which is probing the Dabholkar case, to the UK for forensic tests last month.The CID petition had earlier sought the high court to stay the framing of charges against the arrested accused, Sameer Gaikwad. The HC had then granted the stay. Tawde, an alleged member of right wing group Sanathan Sanstha, who was arrested on June 10 this year by CBI in the Dabholkar case, was recently also arraigned as accused by CID in the Pansare case.Following this, Tawde filed an application in the high court seeking to be included as respondent in CID petition. “If the applicant is not joined as a respondent in the petition, there would be grave and irreparable harm and prejudice to the interests of the applicant,” said the application filed recently.The CBI, through the forensic reports, wants to ascertain if there is any link between the Pansare, Dabholkar and Prof MM Kalburgi murder cases. The high court had in June this year granted interim stay on the trial against Gaikwad. While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20. Prof Kalburgi was murdered on August 30 last year.

VVIP chopper scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi drags in then PMO, says I am not running away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was a day of high drama in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh on Saturday when SP Tyagi, former Air Force chief, was sent to four days’ police custody, following his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.The prosecution and the defence dropped high-profile names and levelled allegations against each other’s clients in a hearing that lasted for over three hours. In fact, the judge said that if he allowed the proceedings to continue, they will end only after three days.The highlight of the day came when Tyagi, who requested the court to speak in his own defence. This was after the prosecution accused him of buying agricultural land between 2005 and 2007 when he was the IAF chief.While the prosecution argued that fresh evidence had cropped up as a result of a judicial request the CBI had sent to some countries seeking information on the scam, the defence were belligerent, suggesting that the decision to procure the choppers came from the then Prime Minister’s Office.Tyagi is accused of influencing the IAF’s decision to tailor chopper specifications to suit Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland’s bid, resulting in what is now known as the Rs 3,726-crore AgustaWestland chopper scam.The CBI claims that kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore were paid through various middlemen, who routed the money using a maze of shell companies. Tyagi’s lawyer Gautam Khaitan and cousins Sanjeev, Rajiv and Sandeep are also accused of making the deal possible.”Yes, I have bought land and sold it off, too. But I started buying land from 2002 onwards, and if that proves I am corrupt, I have nothing to say. I can provide them (CBI) with the land records and all the data they need. Everything is accounted for,” the former IAF chief said. He said that if the alleged land deals were the basis for his arrest, he wanted to let the CBI know that he will be not be running anywhere and was ready for questioning.”Whenever the CBI asked me to come, I did that. If they want to ask anything, I am ready, I am not running away. I am not going anywhere, I am here,” the 71 year-old said. He added that the CBI had been treating him well. Sanjeev and Khaitan were also arrested on Friday.The magistrate sent the three accused to police custody till December 14. The CBI had sought a 10-day custody, claiming crucial information was collected from three countries — Italy, Switzerland and Mauritius – – via letters rogatory (LR) and they wanted to confront the accused with it. The prosecution also told the court that CBI had collected evidence from the Switzerland residence of Guido Haschke, the Swiss-Italian businessman accused in the FIR. The prosecution said the evidence was collected from Haschke’s mother.Defence counsel Siddharth Luthra opposed the CBI plea, citing multiple reasons. One of them was that the FIR was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now. The counsel also cited a separate probe into the chopper scam by the Enforcement Directorate, in which Khaitan was given bail and that no evidence had emerged to link Tyagi. The defence argued that since Tyagi had been cooperating with the probe agency and had appeared before the CBI whenever he was summoned, there was no need for custodial interrogation.”The arrest is only to use third-degree methods on the accused. By third degree, I don’t torture but what the CBI does is not any less either,” said Luthra. Hitting back at the defence, the prosecution said that the CBI was a premier agency of the country and does not arrest anyone randomly.CHARGESSP Tyagi: Allegedly met middlemen, accused of securing the deal, seven times when he was the Air Force chief. The Milan Court of Appeals had ruled that the contract involved payoffs to Indian officials, including Tyagi. The CBI is yet to establish if the money reached Tyagi.Sanjeev Tyagi: Sanjeev alias Julie, a cousin of Tyagi, made acquaintance with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa and signed a consultancy contract with Gordian Services Sarl in Tunisia. Gordian Services belonged to Haschke and Gerosa, both accused in the scam. The agency found out that after May 2004, 1.26 lakh euros and 2 lakh euros after February 2005, camouflaged as consultancy fee, were paid to the Tyagi brothers as kickbacks.Gautam Khaitan: Accused of setting up shell companies that received huge amounts of kickbacks. Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland, started giving payoffs to Haschke and Gerosa Gordon Services Sarl. Khaitan, legal advisory to IDS Infotech, introduced the middlemen to Satish Bagrodia and Partab K Aggarwal, managing directors of IDS. This firm received 2.166 million euros from Agusta between November 2007 and April 2010.FAMILYSPEAKSeveral members of the Tyagi family accused the government of raking up the issue to divert attention from demonetization. “The government had done a major blunder by introducing demonetization and now wants to divert public attention by arresting a former IAF chief,” said one family member, who did not wish to be named. Another family member, also requesting anonymity, said: “Chief (SP Tyagi) is 71 and a heart patient. He underwent an eye surgery 10 days ago but nothing stopped the current dispensation from taking him to court. He has fought three wars for the country and we are hopeful he will come out of this as well.”

VVIP chopper scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi says PMO was part of ‘collective decision’ in favour of AgustaWestland

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court on Saturday sent former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, arrested in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland bribery case in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, to police custody for four days after the CBI said he was needed to be quizzed to unearth a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.His cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also accused in the procurement of VVIP choppers from the UK-based company during UPA-2 regime, were also sent to police custody till December 14.Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh sent them to CBI custody saying their custodial interrogation was required for a “fair probe” in the case. During the proceedings, CBI sought 10 days’ custody saying it was a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.However, the counsel appearing for the accused, opposed CBI’s plea saying FIR in the case was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now.Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for the former IAF chief, claimed that the decision to procure 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.”It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi’s) individual one. It was a collective decision of which PMO was also a part,” he told the court. The CBI alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and several companies through which the money travelled came into existence.While seeking their custodial interrogation, the agency said the accused were required to be confronted and their assistance was needed to collect evidence and details of the bribe amount paid by AgustaWestland through different back channels abroad.It said they were required to be interrogated and confronted with each other and the incriminating evidences.The agency alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position, and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other (properties) and he had not disclosed the source of his income.”It also said the involvement of several others in the entire conspiracy cannot be ruled out. “It was a very large conspiracy having international ramifications. Involvement of others in the conspriracy cannot be ruled out.” The agency claimed that sensitive documents were procured by the firm’s officials and several information regarding the procurement of choppers were conveyed to the firm after which the AgustaWestland got the deal.During the hearing, senior public prosecutor Raj Mohan Chand said that on October 31, 2004, S P Tyagi was appointed the IAF chief and he had to take the charge on January 1, 2005. Till that time, he was attached with the then IAF chief.The agency said at a meeting on March 1, 2005, a fresh tender was issued for procurement of choppers and a U-turn was taken on decisions taken earlier regarding the chopper deal.Under the earlier decision, the choppers had to be twin- engined but after this meeting, at Tyagi’s instance, it was amended to “at least twin-engined”, it alleged.This amendment was intended to make AgustaWestland eligible for entry as its choppers had three engines, the CBI claimed, adding that Carlo Gerosa, the alleged European middleman, and Sanjeev Tyagi were known to each other.Later, another alleged European middleman, Guido Haschke, came in contact with Sanjeev through Gerosa, it said.CBI further alleged that officials of AgustaWestland visited India several times and they, along with Haschke, met Tyagi unofficially and continued their contact.Tyagi’s counsel N Hariharan opposed CBI’s contentions and said the decision to procure the choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective decision of which PMO was also a part”.”The file moved through several levels but I am the only one who has been arrayed as accused,” he said, adding that the investments were made by him post-retirement and there is no ground for seeking his remand. Tyagi’s counsel argued that “the entire material is already with the CBI for sometime and Tyagi joined the probe whenever he was called for. There was a house search a day after the registration of the FIR and CBI had seized all the required materials”.At this stage, S P Tyagi, who was present in the court, told the magistrate, “I can give account of all my land investments if they (CBI) want.”Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for Khaitan, opposed CBI’s plea saying “I hope it’s not the consequence of demonetisation which it seems to be. The FIR was lodged over three years earlier and the arrests now are illogical and illegal.”Luthra claimed that Khaitan had attended the probe on various occasions and his arrest was “malafide”.He said Khaitan was arrested in a case registered by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the chopper deal and had already got bail in the matter.”Khaitan had nothing to do with the award of the contract. They (CBI) just want to torture him. What was the CBI doing for three years? ED has already probed the facilitation of money. Money laundering is not CBI’s jurisdiction. If they did not need me when I was in ED custody, what grounds they have now,” he said, adding that everything said by the CBI against Khaitan was mentioned in ED’s case too.Sanjeev’s counsel also opposed the CBI’s contention saying that the agency was seeking custody after over three years of filing the FIR and there was no ground to keep them in custody.After hearing the arguments, the magistrate remanded the three accused to CBI’s custody till December 14 saying, “considering the seriousness of allegations and gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that CBI custody of the accused is required for a fair probe”. 71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on Friday by the agency.These are the first arrests in the case by CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of details of the scam emerging in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.CBI had alleged that in 2005, Tyagi had agreed to change long held stand of Indian Air Force that minimum operational ceiling of the VVIP helicopters should be 6000 metres.Tyagi allegedly influenced the decision to reduce it to 4500 metres which brought AgustaWestland into the running for the deal when its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids, CBI sources said.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 payment of kickbacks of Rs 450 crore by it for securing the deal.On April 7, an Italian court had convicted two top executives of defence major Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland is its subsidiary) for paying kickbacks in the deal.

SP Tyagi incident adversely affects IAF’s reputation: Chief Arup Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Saturday said that former air force chief SP Tyagi’s involvement in the AgustaWestland scam is unfortunate and would adversely affect the reputation of the Indian Air Force (IAF). “It is a very unfortunate episode and the incident adversely acts on the reputation of a very professional force that is the Indian Air Force. I am sure that law of the land and the judicial system will dwell into it and finally deal with the subject,” he said.Air Chief Marshal Raha assured that the Indian Air Force will correct every error quickly and will serve the nation to best of its ability. “I can rest assure you the Indian Air Force and the armed forces will continue to serve the nation to best of its abilities and if anything is wrong, we will correct it quickly,” he added.Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (retd.) was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday, along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, for their alleged involvement in the Rs. 3,700-crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter scam. They have been accused of routing kickbacks.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper scam | Not just SP TYagi, other bureaucrats, politicos involved must come under CBI radar: Defence expertThe CBI has determined that about Rs. 450 crore, or 12% of the Rs 3,767-crore deal for procurement of 12 helicopters was paid as bribe. The government rescinded the contract in January 2014 in view of the bribery allegations.

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