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ED registers criminal case against Zakir Naik, his foundation for money laundering

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate has registered a criminal case against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his organisation IRF under money laundering laws.Officials said the agency’s zonal office in Mumbai has registered an FIR, called Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in ED’s parlance, against Naik and others after taking cognisance of a similar complaint booked by the NIA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them.The ED, they said, will specifically look into the charges of alleged illegal funds laundered by the accused and the proceeds of crime in its probe.The agency has already scanned some banking transaction documents and other details against Naik and IRF and is soon expected to issue summons to take the probe forward.The National Investigation Agency had last month registered a case against 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race.After registering the case against Naik, IRF and others, NIA along with Mumbai police had carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.Naik, who has been staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his name surfaced during a probe into the Bangladesh terror strike earlier this year, has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) beside various sections of UAPA.The charges, in the FIR registered by the NIA’s branch in Mumbai, were also slapped under sections 10 (being member of an unlawful organisation), 13 (punishment for being member of illegal organisation) and 18 of UAPA (punishment for being involved in a conspiracy for committing any terror act).IRF came under the scanner of security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack had allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik’s speeches. Some of the youths from Mumbai suburbs, who had left their home to join Islamic State earlier this year, were also allegedly inspired by the preacher. Naik’s speeches are banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia.The Home Ministry has alleged that the NGO had “dubious” links to Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism.According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, had allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalising Muslim youth and luring them into terror activities. Naik was alleged to have transferred IRF’s funds received from abroad to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes.

2008 Malegaon blast case: ATS killed two ‘missing’ accused in 2008 fake encounter, claims ex-cop

In a sensational revelation, a former officer of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) claimed that two accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, who were thought to be missing, were actually killed by the ATS in December 2008. Hindustan Times reported that in an application to the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Solapur on 19 August, 2016, suspended police inspector Mehboob Mujawar claimed Ramchandra Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange, currently wanted, were killed by ATS cops.  This information is contrary to the chargesheet filed by the ATS, which claimed the two are still on the run.

File image of Sadhvi Pragya. PTI

File image of Sadhvi Pragya. PTI

According to Mujawar, the two accused were brought to Mumbai from Indore in November 2008 were they were killed in a alleged fake encounter, Mid Day reported.

According to the paper, Mujawar was suspended in 2009 for allegedly threatening a terror suspect Ghulam Hussain Kasim Sahab Shaikh. The Times of India added that Mujawar was later accused of criminal intimidation and charged under the Arms Act. In his affidavit, he stated that he was falsely accused and while speaking to media, added that he was being hounded for being a witness to the encounter.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured of probing the matter, Times Now reported.

Malegaon blast took place on 29 September 2008, when a IED placed in a bike went off, killing six and ijuring 101 people.

Hindutva outfits were accused to have been the perpetrators of the attack, with the role of the Abhinav Bharat, a fringe right-wing group, coming under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency and the ATS. In 2009, ATS charged Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Indian Army officer Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit for criminal conspiracy under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In 2015, however, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) dropped charges Sadhvi Pragya and 10 others for lack of evidence.

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

WCD Ministry seeks monthly reports on sexual harassment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, asking all ministries and their departments to furnish monthly report on all sexual harassment cases registered in that particular month. The guidelines, issued via an order of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), mandated that the monthly report should also contain the details of cases disposed of and the action taken in the reported cases.The guidelines comes after a meeting that WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi had on October 26 with the heads of the internal complaints committees of different ministries and their departments wherein cases of sexual harassment which were pending with government offices were also examined.“On the basis of the discussions, it was decided that DoPT will issue fresh instructions so that some of the issues can be suitably addressed,” said a ministry release. Apart from that, Gandhi’s meeting had in attendance the director of DoPT.“The development is a procedural one, where we look toward plugging any gaps in the implementation of the act,” said a DoPT official, who issued the order, dated December 22, 2016.The new guidelines also stated that ‘as far as practical’ inquiries in such cases should be completed within 30 days of the complaints. And that, “in no case should it take more than 90 days as per the limit prescribed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013,” it stated.The guidelines also mandated that no complainant should be victimised and that, for a period of five years from the day the complaint was made, the ICC should ensure that she is not subjected to vendetta, or is posted under the officer against whom the complaint is made, or any other officer who may subject her to any form of harassment.“In case of any victimisation, the complainant may submit a representation to the Secretary in the case of ministries/departments and head of the organisation in other cases. These representations should be dealt with sensitivity, in consultation with the complaints committee, ministries/departments and head of the organisation in other cases, and a decision taken within 15 days of the submission of the same,” the memorandum read. The guidelines come close on the heels of Gandhi announcing a review of the internal complaints committees in government offices.Late October this year, Maneka Gandhi announced the said committee because cases of delays in probes have been brought to her notice. She told DNA that she was compiling the cases in this regard.Over a month before that, in a DoPT memorandum dated September 9, 2016, and another dated July 11, 2016, the DoPT issued orders reiterating the seniority of the chairperson of the complaint committee.The orders maintained that the chairperson of the complaints committee “is legally competent to hold an inquiry into a case irrespective of the fact that the chairperson of such Committee is lower in rank to the employee against whom the allegations have been made” as per the July 11 mandate.Answering a Lok Sabha question in August last year, Gandhi said that there were 526 cases of sexual harassment at the workplace in 2014. She further informed that 57 cases were reported at office premises and 469 cases were registered at other places related to work during 2014.

Ensure victims of sexual harassment at workplace are not subjected to vendetta: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> To prevent aggrieved women from being victimised in cases of sexual harassment at work places, the Centre has asked all ministries and departments to ensure that they are not posted under the accused or any other person where she may be subjected to harassment.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) also said in proven cases of sexual harassment, for a period of five years, a watch should be kept to ensure that the victim is not subjected to vendetta.”It should be ensured that the aggrieved women are not victimised in connection with the complaints filed by them… In case of any victimisation, the complainant may submit a representation to the Secretary in the case of Ministries or Departments and Head of the Organisation in other cases,” the DoPT order said.These representations should be dealt with sensitivity, in consultation with the complaints committees, ministries or departments and heads of the departments. And a decision should be taken within 15 days of the submission. The order came following a meeting of Minister of Women and Child Development with the DoPT where concerns were raised over the undue delay in completion of inquiries in such cases.”Any inquiry in cases of sexual harassment of women at the work place should be completed within one month and no probe should take more than 90 days, the permissible time limit prescribed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013″ it said.The Ministries and Departments have been directed to include information related to the number of such cases and their disposal in their annual reports.They have also been directed to furnish the details of number of complaints received, disposed and action taken in a monthly report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Kerala: Appointment of commission to re-examine UAPA cases sought

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Association of Muslim Scholars of India has urged the Centre to set up a commission to re-examine the cases registered under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against “innocent people” in the guise of national security.”The Centre should appoint a commission to re-examine the cases filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) that have been imposed on innocent people under the guise of national security,”General Secretary of the Association, Kanthapuram AP Abubacker Musliyar said. He was delivering the keynote address at the international Milad Conference by ‘Jamia Markaz,’ here on December 25. He further said, the freedom of religion and freedom to believe and practice one’s faith is one of the cornerstones provided in the Constitution.Any attempt to curb this basic right should be fought by all means, a release from Markaz’s media wing quoted him as saying. “We will oppose tooth and nail every attempt to deny the citizens, comprising those from multi-faith communities, the right to live according to their religious convictions and ideals and also carry out a nation-wide system of unified civil code,” Musliyar added.A host of Muslim scholars representing different countries and international associations attended the conference.

Notice served on legal counsel of Zakir Naik’s NGO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mumbai police on Monday served a notice received from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, set up to examine the evidence on the basis of which the Centre banned televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) last month, on the organisation’s legal counsel here.”The notice was received from the registrar of the tribunal and was served on IRF’s legal counsel SHA Jamati at the organisation’s office here,” a police spokesperson said. The tribunal was set up to adjudicate whether or not there was sufficient cause for declaring IRF an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. IRF was declared an unlawful association under section 3(1) of the UAPA, with the gazette notification, dated November 17, stating that the NGO and its members, particularly its founder Naik, had been “encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups”The “divisive ideology” propagated by IRF and its members, including Naik, is “against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India”, the notification had said.The tribunal issued notices seeking responses from the Maharashtra government, IRF and other “interested persons” after its preliminary hearing. The NGO has been granted time till February 6 for filing its response.The Centre had cited Naik’s alleged role in radicalising Muslim youths “to commit terrorist acts”, besides the purported role of the organisation’s “members/associates” in unlawful activities to justify the ban before the tribunal.

Rajasthan ATS officer who helped nab Islamic State-sympathiser, kills paramour, commits suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Rajasthan ATS officer, who was instrumental in the arrest of an IS-sympathiser Mohammed Sirajuddin last year, allegedly committed suicide after killing his 24-year-old paramour with his service pistol at Jagatpura here, police said today.It appears that ASP at the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Ashish Prabhakar, first murdered Poonam Sharma and then committed suicide in an SUV late last night near the under-construction Bombay Hospital, DCP South Manish Agarwal said, adding the victims had bullet wounds at their foreheads.The officer after murdering the woman informed the police control about the crime, police said.”He left two suicide notes in his briefcase. One for his wife where he apologised for choosing the wrong path and said Poonam was blackmailing him. In the other, he named six to seven persons- with whom the woman was in touch,” the DCP said.Prabhakar also mentioned that Poonam had spoilt his life and she should be punished, he said.The victims met in 2013 at a coaching centre where Poonam, who was divorced in 2011, was preparing for her civil services examinations, police said.”The forensic team has found two bullet shells, seven bullets in Prabhakar’s pistol and two beer bottles near the SUV,” Agarwal said, adding police are probing why he had mentioned the persons in his note.The post-mortem was conducted today but we are yet to receive the report, the DCP said.”Prabhakar was instrumental in the arrest of Mohammad Sirajuddhin, an IS-sympathiser December last. The NIA had filed a charge-sheet in July and maintained all the sections of the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act,” he said.The officer is survived by his wife and two sons, who are in Class V and VII.

Still awaiting reply from Guntur Collector on Rohit Vemula’s caste status: Cyberabad Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cyberabad Police on Wednesday said they are awaiting reply from Guntur Collector on the caste status of research scholar Rohit Vemula, who committed “suicide” on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus in Hyderabad on January 17, to enable them to finalise investigation in the case.”It (Vemula’s death) was unfortunate. To finalise investigation in the case (registered under) SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act…we need to have certificate/report from the Tahsildar or Collector with regard to the caste of the deceased (Vemula),” Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sandeep Shandilya said.”There is some problem in that regard…We (Cyberabad Police) have written several times to the Collector and that reply/report based on which we can proceed in this case that is not there. If the Collector gives reply to the letters we can finalise investigation into the case,” the Cyberabad Police chief said.
ALSO READ ‘I am a Dalit from Guntur’: New video of Rohith Vemula emerges after doubts raised over his casteShandilya said he had already met officials of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), who are also following this case. “As of now due to police…(investigations into) this case is not delayed,” he asserted.Vemula’s suicide on January 17 at the UoH had sparked massive nationwide protests, resulting in a fierce political slugfest, with a string of political parties and Dalit organisations siding with students and accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and varsity administration of being anti-Dalit.
ALSO READ Rohith Vemula suicide: Roopanwal commission submits report; says he was not DalitA group of students under Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which spearheaded the protests, had held UoH Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile responsible for the suicide of the research scholar.UoH, also known as Hyderabad Central University (HCU) had witnessed sporadic protests since Vemula’s death, with students demanding removal of Appa Rao from the VC’s post and had also been demanding his arrest.Earlier, Gachibowli Police under Cyberabad Commissionerate had registered case against Appa Rao, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and others under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and for abetment of Vemula’s suicide.The suicide of Vemula had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter.

India warns Pakistan at UN, says ‘what you sow will bear fruit’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filled a charge sheet against against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in the Pathankot attack, India took on Pakistan at the United Nations and called on the hostile neighbour to leave behind its ways of terrorism, with the warning saying that, ‘what you sow will bear fruit’.Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, India’s permanent envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin in a veiled attack on Pakistan, said that safe havens being provided to terrorists must be dealt with in order to bring sustainable peace. “We need to address, as an imperative, the support that terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Daesh, Al-Qaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed which operate entirely outside the fabric of international law draw from their shadowy supporters outside Afghanistan,” he said.Quoting poet Rumi, Akbaruddin said “what you sow will bear fruit. If you’ve any sense my friend, don’t plant anything but peace,” which seemed to be a clear message to Islamabad to refrain from stooping to terrorism.The NIA on Monday filed a chargesheet in the NIA special court against senior commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed including its Chief Maulana Masood Azhar, for their involvement in the terrorist attack at Pathankot Airbase on 2nd January, 2016.The NIA has filed charge sheet against four accused persons namely:1. Maulana Masood Azhar: Chief of the terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.2. Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar: Deputy Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.3. Shahid Latif: launching commander, resident of Mor Aminabad, Gujranwala, Pakistan.4. Kashif Jan: main handler of Pathankot attackers, resident of Charsada, Pakistan.They have been charged for commission of offences under sections 120B, 121, 121A, 302, 307, 364, 365, 367, 368, 397 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 16, 18, 20, 23, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, section 25, 27 of the Arms Act, 1959, Sections 3(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and section 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, in the chargesheet.It was established during investigation that the terrorists entered into a criminal conspiracy to infiltrate into the territory of India and to commit terrorist attack and wage war against the Government of India.In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, the accused persons, their leaders, handlers and co-conspirators including but not limited to Maulana Masood Azhar, Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif, set up training camps in Pakistan and the PoK area, for recruitment and training of terrorists, in order to carry out terror attacks on the Indian soil.

7.98 crore rupees recovered from 15 bank lockers in Pune, CBI registers case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Had it not been for credible intelligence received by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), smooth but illegal transactions taking place in the Parvati Towers of Parvati Gaon in Pune would have taken quite some time to get noticed.The probe agency on Monday registered a criminal case against Sudhir Puranik, director of Worldwide Oilfield Machine (WOM) Pvt Ltd, a multinational companywith its headquarters based in Houston, Texas and other unknown officials of the Bank of Maharashtra (BOM) for allegedly obtaining new currency notes to the tune of rupees 7.98 crores.Interestingly, the WOM office as a BOM branch is located in the same compound and the alleged exchange of new currency notes had been taking place smoothly since November 8, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonitization measures. The lid finally blew off when the Income Tax department conducted a raid on the Parvati branch of BOM and recovered a whopping 7,97,95,500 crore rupees from 15 lockers maintained in the name of WOM.Among other accused in the case are Mangesh Annachhatra the Chief Executive Officer of WOM and Satyen Gathani of the Ishaniya Hyundai Motors.The WOM, as per official company records,is a private limited company incorporated on December 19, 1985 with a registered address as 6th floor of Parvati Towers. The multi-national company deals in manufacture of special purpose machinery, such as gate valves and has facilities in Aberdeen, Scotland, Dubai, UAE and Singapore.Gathani, too is a designated partner in Pune-based Ishanya Motors Llp, a company dealing in sale,maintenance and repair of motor vehicles and retail sale of automotive fuel.According to the CBI, Sudhir, Annachhatra and Gathan, along with unknown bank officials, entered into a criminal conspiracy to obtain the note including the newly introduced 2000 and 500 rupee notes. Sources in the probe agency said that Gathani had obtained the notes from various other banks and had been handing over the same to Sudhir who filled the lockers with the same.According to CBI, the accused were booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) as well as other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

BJP-ruled Rajasthan tops list of states with highest atrocities against SC/ST; UP close second

New Delhi: BJP-ruled Rajasthan has reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against SCs and STs during 2013-15, followed by poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, a new government report said, even as the Centre on Monday flagged the issue of poor conviction rates in such cases.

Rajasthan has registered 23,861 cases under the amended Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, while UP and Bihar registered 23,556 and 21,061 cases respectively, according to the agenda papers for a meeting of a committee to review the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 held in New Delhi on Monday.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Reuters

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Reuters

Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil and Gujarat reported 14,016, 9,054, 8,084, 7,565, 6,546, 5,131 and 3,969 such crimes respectively during the years. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observed that during 2013-15, only 43.3 percent of the total cases registered (13,8077) were disposed of by courts and 25.7 percent of total cases disposed of by courts (59,779), ended in conviction.

“In certain states, i.e. Andhra Pradesh (6.3 percent), Gujarat (3.1 percent), Karnataka (3.5 percent), Maharashtra (7.6 percent), Odisha (4.3 per cent), Tamil Nadu (7.5 percent), Telangana (7.5 percent) and West Bengal (3 percent), the conviction rate was in single digit,” the agenda note read.

The committee headed by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot sought action taken report from state governments to improve the disposal and conviction rates in such cases.

During the meeting, Gehlot pointed out that only 14 states have set up exclusive special courts for speedy trial of cases registered under the PoA Act.

However, he rued there was no information about formation of such courts by 22 states and Union Territories including Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana, Goa, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam etc and urged them to do the needful.

Section 14 of the amended PoA Act provides for establishing of exclusive special courts for one or more districts and where number of cases under this Act is less, specification of Court of Session as a Special Court, with powers to take direct cognisance of the offences under the PoA Act.

The Committee also wanted to know if the relief amount, that has been raised and made between Rs 85,000 to Rs 8,25,000 depending upon the nature of offence, is being given within seven days to the concerned persons as specified in the PoA Rules amended on April 14, 2016.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 15:44 IST

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.

Robert Vadra land deal issue: Congress terms it a ‘vendetta and witch-hunt’ by BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the issue of Robert Vadra’s controversial land deals haunted the Congress again, the party on Saturday termed as “vendetta and witch-hunt” the summoning of a company linked to the son-in-law of its president Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed officials of Skylight hospitality have visited ED numerous times and supplied them whatever documents required but they have not been able to find anything either against Vadra or his company or associates.”As part of further vendetta and witch-hunt, BJP government proceeded to refer the matter to ED. Even ED has not been able to find anything,” he claimed.The reaction came after the Rajasthan High Court ordered last evening that the representative of Skylight Hospitality will have to appear before ED but allowed the presence of his lawyer “at a reasonable distance” during questioning.The order came after the company representative had moved the high court challenging the summons issued by the ED to him earlier this year in connection with a land deal in Bikaner, Rajasthan.Congress claimed that the company has been given “appropriate relief” by the court.”On account of consistent harassment and persecution, a petition for quashing was filed in which appropriate relief has been given to skylight.”This is one more instance of venal vendetta and severe campaign that BJP continues to unleash guided by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,” Surjewala said.He claimed Skylight hospitality has supplied every document asked by it right “from inception of company as also completely unrelated things on purchase of land”.He also claimed that the land of Mahajan Firing Range was allotted by BJP government in its last tenure when Vasundhara Raje was the Chief Minister. That land was sold twice during the tenure of BJP government and all mutations have been properly entered.Out of this land, an extremely small portion was purchased by Skylight, which is a third buyer, he said.This lease was finally cancelled as wrongfully allotment by the current BJP government of Vasundhara Raje, he said, adding that two years ago an FIR was lodged by Rajastan Police after investigation.”The challan has been presented. Neither Robert Vadra nor Skylight, nor anyone associated with him is an accused in the case,” he said.However, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, who hails from Rajasthan, said, “The law will do its job. I just want to say if a common man would have liked to buy those lands, I am sure they wouldn’t be allowed to do so.” Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Whenever there is been an attack on BJP on their misdoings, they just say ‘this has happened’, and ‘that had happened.’ They are enquiring about it (Vadra) for so many years why are they not able to find anything?.”The (ED) had issued the notice to the firm under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Mumbai: Railway official KL Bhoyar in CBI net for exchanging demonetized notes

Sat, 17 Dec 2016-01:35pm , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI has booked an Assistant Commercial Manager of Railways posted at Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus for allegedly exchanging demonetized currency having face value of Rs 8.22 lakh with newly introduced Rs 2,000 notes. CBI sources said the case has been been registered against KL Bhoyar, Assistant Commercial Manager, Central Railways posted at CST Mumbai under sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.It is alleged that he exchanged notes having face value of Rs 8.22 lakh with Rs 2000 and Rs 100 notes at a booking counter at CST Mumbai and Kalyan in Thane District, the sources said.They said CBI is carrying out searches at his official and residential premises.

Bombay High Court wants minors protected during Muharram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the state government whether it can implement the circular, issued in 2014, by Mumbai police, ensuring minors are prevented from taking part in Muharram procession and inflict injuries on themselves, across the state.The 2014, circular issued by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) had stated that the police will be taking all preventive measures to ensure that no follower of the Shia sect, inflict injuries on themselves. Meetings between organisers were held before the procession wherein senior members were appealed to ensure that injuries would not be inflicted. The police also kept first aid boxes and ambulances ready to meet with any unforeseen situation and video recorded the entire procession, which took place in South Mumbai.A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai while hearing a suo-moto public interest litigation asked the government whether it would extend the scope of the police circular to entire state and if not then provide reasons for not doing so, before the court by January 9.In 2014, the court while hearing the petition had said, “Our concern is only about injuries caused to children, we don’t want to interfere in religious rites, but at the same time we don’t want the children to be injured.” The petition had taken objection to the injuries inflicted on children during the Muharram procession. It had also sought a ban on the procession as children were being injured by sharp weapons.Further, the ‘matam’ it claimed was prohibited under the newly enacted legislation — Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and Other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act.

Chhagan Bhujbal case: PMLA court to pass order on Anjali Damania’s plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court will pass the order on December 21 on complaint of activist Anjali Damania’s plea in Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s hospital transfer matter.A special court on Wednesday directed Bhujbal to be transferred from the state-run JJ Hospital to Arthur Road jail immediately. Bhujbal was shifted from the jail on October 28 for two medical tests at JJ Hospital and one at Bombay Hospital. Damania had in her plea claimed that Bhujbal continued to remain at the private hospital for almost a month despite completion of the tests. The plea alleged negligence of duty by the jail and hospital authorities.Bhujbal was arrested on March 14 by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land case in which he and his relatives were alleged to have received kickbacks.

Chhagan Bhujbal is reaping what he has sown: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Bombay High Court dismissed former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s petition seeking bail and challenging his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said the former is reaping what he has sown, because, despite all ‘manipulations’, the court has sent him back to jail from hospital.”As you sow so shall you reap? Whatever Chhagan Bhujbal has sown, he is going to reap that only. And because of that only, despite all his efforts, the court has sent him back to jail from hospital,” said BJP leader Prem Shukla.Bhujbal, who is in judicial custody since March, had sought bail from the high court on medical grounds, saying his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was not as per procedures established by law.Before his incarceration on charges of having disproportionate sources of income, Bhujbal, an Other Backward Class (OBC) leader, had a mass political base in Maharashtra. Hailing from the Mali caste, he was a vegetable vendor in the Byculla market and started his political career with the Shiv Sena in the 1960s. Bhujbal left the Shiv Sena in 1991 and joined the Indian National Congress and thereafter the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party. He was arrested by the ED on March 14 this year.

Delhi: Over Rs 3 crores in old notes seized during raid on hotel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax (IT) Department and Delhi Police on Tuesday night conducted a raid on a hotel in Karol Bagh area, and seized over Rs 3 crore in banned currency notes.Based on secret information, the Crime Branch conducted a joint raid with Income Tax officials at Taksh Inn in Karol Bagh and found five persons in two rooms of the hotel carrying a total amount of Rs 3.25 crore, said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).The five men are carriers and have been identified as Ansari Abuzar, Fazal Khan, Ansari Affan, Ladu Ram and Mahaveer SinghThe recovered amount was kept in different suitcases and cardboard box. It was found during interrogation that the money belongs to some Mumbai-based hawala operators, said the officer.”They had hired packaging specialists who pack these notes in such a manner that they are even undetectable by airport scanning machines. Experts in packaging are using some tapes and wires which pass through X-ray,” Yadav said.A day ago, unearthing a racket involved in the illegal conversion of demonetized notes, the ED arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 91.94 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.Officials said the agency arrested the accused, including the brother-in-law of a state government official, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Bank accounts of ISIS ‘recruit’ Tabrez and kin under ATS scanner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anti-Terrorism Squad is finding out bank account details of Mumbra youth Tabrez Tambe, a suspected member of ISIS held in Libya, and his close relatives here to find out the nature of transactions, if any.Meanwhile, the agency has confirmed that Tabrez’s friend Ali who had indoctrinated him, is a Saudi national. Tabrez, a resident of Mumbra in neighbouring Thane district, was caught last week in Libya, where he had joined ISIS with Ali. According to ATS officials, the agency has written to Central government seeking more information about Tabrez and his activities in the oil-rich country and the exact role he might have played for the terror group.The agency is trying to ascertain the nature of bank transactions, if any, between Tabrez and his kin and if money was deposited in their accounts by any suspected IS handler, they said.ATS officials are now trying to find out if Ali, who had earlier visited India with Tabrez, met or brainwashed more local youths. The ATS teams are making enquiries with Tabrez’s family members, relatives and friends in this regard. “We will investigate Ali’s motive to visit India,” an ATS official said. ATS has also seized various gadgets belonging to Tabrez’s family members, through which he used to communicate with his mother, brother and wife.The gadgets, including mobile phone handsets and a laptop, are sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to find out details about the communication.According to an official, there is no contact between Tabrez and his family members after a case was lodged with ATS. The agency has already registered offences against him under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Tabrez had left India earlier this year to go to Egypt for a job and landed in Libya, where he was said to be fighting for ISIS against US-backed forces.Earlier this year, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and ATS officials had arrested suspected IS member Mudabbir Shaikh (33) from Mumbra. He was believed to be in direct contact with his handler Shafi Armar who is also known as Yousuf Al Hindi in ISIS.

Chhagan Bhujbal’s hospital stay: JJ Hospital Dean appears before PMLA court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dean of JJ Hospital TP Lahane on Thursday appeared before a special PMLA court here amid allegations that senior NCP leader and money laundering case accused Chaggan Bhujbal had “misused” the court order and stayed put at various hospitals. Bhujbal, an accused in the multi-crore money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate was yesterday discharged from the Bombay Hospital and sent to the state-run facility after his stay there since November 2 prompted criticism that he was receiving “preferential treatment”. Lahane today told the court that he does not have anything to add than what is mentioned in his reply, which he had submitted during the last hearing in this connection. In his reply to the court, the Dean had said that JJ doesn’t have any role in the stay of Bhujbal at the Bombay Hospital, where he had checked in for a medical test (thallium scan).The senior doctor had also asserted that the hospital has not misused the court order.This came after AAP activist Anjali Damania moved the court through an application where she alleged it was ‘sheer negligence of duty’ by JJ Hospital and Arthur Road jail that Bhujbal has been in Bombay Hospital since November 2.She had also alleged that court orders were misused as the Thallium scan does not require admission into a hospital. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court was recently informed that the former Maharashtra deputy chief minister continued to remain in the private hospital over a month after he was admitted there for the medical test.On October 27, Special Judge P R Bhavake had allowed Bhujbal to be taken to a private hospital after he was told that a Thallium scan, one of the three tests recommended to him, was not available at the government hospital. On October 28, prison authorities took Bhujbal to JJ Hospital for other two tests. He was then transferred to Bombay Hospital.The court is likely to hear the matter later in the day.

New Delhi: Man chops off puppy’s legs in Dwarka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A man allegedly severed two legs of a puppy after the canine gave him a minor scratch in southwest Delhi’s Dwarka following which police has initiated action against the accused under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.The incident happened last week when the puppy entered Pramod’s house and the latter offered him food, police said.In what may be called a love or its eagerness, the dog scratched the accused’s leg with a paw. Pramod got angry and brought a blade to chop off the legs of the puppy, said a senior police officer.”Punitive proceeding u/s 11 of PCA act has been initiated against the offender at PS Palam (sic),” tweeted DCP (Southwest) Surender Kumar.

NIA plea to conduct lie-detector test on IRF member rejected

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-11:50pm , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A special court on Tuesday rejected the National Investigation Agency’s application seeking a lie- detector test on the guest relationship manager of Zakir Naik- led Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) who was arrested for allegedly indoctrinating youths into joining ISIS.The NIA, which had taken Arshi Qureshi into custody on November 30 along with two others, moved the court yesterday seeking its permission. However, Qureshi did not give his consent to the procedure. “The court has rejected the NIA application’s after Qureshi did not consent to it and as per the Supreme Court guidelines, no tests can be conducted without the permission of the accused,” said his lawyer Ishrat Khan.Qureshi was sent to NIA’s custody last week till December 7. He along with Rizwan Khan and Mohammed Haneef were booked based on a complaint made by Abdul Majid Abdul Kader – the father of Ashfaq, one of the 22 youths who had allegedly joined ISIS. Mumbai-based IRF was banned by Union government last month for a period of five years under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Demonetisation: Two bank managers arrested for laundering money in first incident of fraud

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has arrested two Axis Bank managers in New Delhi and seized 3 kg gold bars in connection with its money laundering probe in a racket of illegally converting old notes in connivance with banking authorities.

The agency’s probe till now, after it registered a criminal complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on 30 November, found that huge monies were transferred through RTGS transfers to some shell companies including a case where the Director of such a firm was a “petty labourer.”

“It was also found that directors of other shell companies were also persons of no means,” the ED said in a statement.

The agency identified the two managers as Shobit Sinha and Vineet Gupta, working at Axis bank’s Kashmere Gate branch in New Delhi, and said they were arrested on Sunday under the provisions of PMLA. This is the first time such high ranking bank officials have been arrested for alleged fraud transactions post the currency scrap.

They will be produced in a court on Monday for further custody, they added.

Axis Bank said it has suspended the officials concerned.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“The bank is committed to following the highest standards of corporate governance and has zero tolerance towards any deviation on the part of any of its employees from the set model code of conduct. In this particular case, the bank has suspended the erring employee and is cooperating with the investigating agencies,” it said in a statement.

A gold bar, part of alleged kickbacks payment given to the bankers, has been seized by the agency from Sinha’s location in Lucknow, ED said, adding another 2 kg of gold bars have also been seized from one of the jewelers involved in the racket.

The case was first detected by the Delhi Police after it intercepted three people with cash of about Rs 3.7 crore in old notes, in front of the said Axis Bank branch last month, and the ED took cognisance of the police FIR to slap money laundering charges against the accused.

The Income Tax department too had carried out its action in this case and had surveyed the bank branch and later searched the residential premises of the duo.

ED has notified the bank to “stop operations” in 11 accounts even as it has zeroed on a number of jewelers, entry operators and others in this case.

“After demonetisation of high denomination notes certain persons having old currencies were looking for converting those notes into gold even at inflated rates. Such persons were contacted by the jewelers who collected such cash from these parties as advances against gold to be sold at high prices ranging from Rs 45000-50000 per 10 gm,” the agency said.

“The cash so collected was laundered through banking channels with the help of launderers who are professionally qualified CAs and managing several dummy/shell companies and finally payments from such companies were made through RTGS to bullion dealers and the physical gold so purchased at market rate of Rs 31000-32000/ 10 gm was handed over to the persons from whom advances were received,” the agency said.

ED claimed its probe found that some shell firms, which have their bank accounts in the said bank branch, were “used to deposit cash to the tune of Rs 39 crore between 10-22 November in close connivance” with the said bank managers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetisation of the Rs 500/1000 notes on the night of 8 November.

“These cash deposits were in the installments of Rs 90 to 99 lakh so as to avoid detection/reporting to government agencies (like FIU and I-T department). In several instances more than one such cash deposit in a day was made in these accounts,” the agency said.

It added it has identified firms like Ms Beagle Marketing Private Limited, Sunrise Trading company, Himalaya International and RD Traders among others are part of the alleged shell companies racket being used to launder funds and convert black money into white.

“During interrogation of the middlemen it was revealed that the bank officials agreed to the modus operandi for getting commission/bribe at 2 percent of the amount deposited in cash in these accounts. This gratification was given to the bank mangers — Gupta and Sinha — in the form of gold bars (at the rate of 1 percent each),” the agency said.

It added that during interrogation of the bank managers it was “revealed that at their instance huge amount of cash was also exchanged in the initial three days (post 8 November) without following the due procedure prescribed by RBI.

“For this bulk change forms and unverified identity documents were received from certain customers along with old currency notes which were exchanged by giving them new currency notes in bulk amounting to several lakhs. The Directorate (ED) has arrested both bank managers for their connivance and further investigations are under progress,” the ED statement added.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 15:08 IST

Axis Bank suspends two managers arrested by ED under PMLA Act

Mon, 5 Dec 2016-12:45pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Axis Bank suspended two of its managers on Monday. They were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case for their alleged involvement in settling of unaccounted money. The accused officials will be produced before the Tees Hazari court at around 2 pm today for further interrogation. Both managers had allegedly taken gold bricks as bribe to convert Rs 40 crore black money into white. One of the gold bricks was recovered from Lucknow.Money from three bank accounts was transferred to jewellers via RTGS mode of payment to buy gold. The jewellers sold the gold at 45,000 rupees per tola whereas the market price was much lower.The ED is probing the case and initiated an investigation into matter to unmask the other people, involved in the corruption.

National Anthem: Stand up in theaters or buy yourself a DVD and sit at home

If the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has ordered the playing of the National Anthem in a cinema hall, the skies have not fallen.

There are many orders we take in life that we do not necessarily agree with. In fact, just in a given day in office, we surrender space, compromise honesty, lie barefacedly and let down colleagues and the so-called value system we believe we have. All this done to get through the day and save our mangy little skins. Sycophantic yes men and women nodding like celluloid dolls because freedom and rights are very fine but the boss is in a bad mood so better buckle the knee and bow the head, don’t want to be on his bad side.

Representational image. GettyImagesRepresentational image. GettyImages

Representational image. GettyImages

Then we scream blue murder about our rights being infringed upon because we cannot give two minutes to a rhythmic sense of belonging.

People get holier than thou and pound their chests as if they were being consigned to hell and their integrity impugned. It becomes a national issue.

I might personally hold the opinion that it isn’t really necessary at cinema halls and does trivialise the anthem. Fine. You might think that it is pointless and even hypocritical. Others may feel even more strongly.

But once it is a fiat and is established as just that then I am not going to enter that cinema hall and insult my anthem.

I will stand.

I see no reason not to because if you object to this ‘imposition’ then find out the address of the Chief Justice’s office and go stand and protest there.

Make your feelings known outside the Supreme Court. Take your chances.

But do not target the anthem. Jana Gana Mana has nothing to do with the controversy and is mutually exclusive from your liking or rejecting the command.

Not to stand or to take it out on the anthem during the rendition is not a badge of valour or significant of some grand gesture of independence. You are not striking a blow for anyone, so get over your over inflated sense of self.

You pay taxes you don’t like. You may have been against the demonetisation process but you are lining up. There is a bundle of laws that make no sense. Like filling up forms at the airport when it is all computerised, but we fill it. Under the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911, not more than 20 people can get together. And the Indian Sarais Act, 1887 demands that if you fall ill in a hotel, the owner or management must clear the place of all vegetation to prevent allergy. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 allows the government to take away your land without giving a reason at any time so go fight that, not be loutish when your National Anthem is on.

It is not as if we haven’t done it before. Indians were made to stand at attention for the Union Jack under police observation and carted off to jail if they moved till 1947 in cinema halls. Ask your grandfather.

We had it on in halls and theatres after the 1965 war for some years then it faded away.

If we can play it for a sport and cry ourselves a river of emotion well, this is just another performance on a screen.

So stand or buy yourself a DVD and sit at home.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 14:46 IST

SC’s National Anthem order raises questions about an individual’s fundamental rights

The Supreme Court called for a mandatory dose of patriotism on Wednesday.

In its ruling, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, the SC ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem before screening of a movie and the audience must stand and show respect.

Even as the next hearing in the case has been scheduled for 14 February, there have been previous judgments, some of which show that the country’s highest court has taken into account an individual’s right, faith and belief.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

First, let’s travel back 30 years ago to 1986 bringing to the fore an old debate on a citizen’s fundamental right — Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors vs State Of Kerala & Ors on 11 August, 1986. The apex court granted protection to three children, who belonged to the Jehovah’s Witness sect, when they did not sing along to the National Anthem in school. The court held that the children did not disrespect the anthem and that forcing them to sing was against their fundamental right to religion as the singing of it was against the tenets of their religion.

There is no provision of law which obliges anyone to sing the National Anthem nor is it disrespectful to the National Anthem if a person who stands up respectfully when the National Anthem is sung does not join the singing. Proper respect is shown to the National Anthem by standing up when the National Anthem is sung. It will not be right to say that disrespect is shown by not joining in the singing. Standing up respectfully when the National Anthem is sung but not singing oneself clearly does not either prevent the singing of the National Anthem or cause disturbance to an assembly engaged in such singing so as to constitute the offence mentioned in s. 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. [527B-G]

Interestingly enough, this isn’t Justice Misra’s first case involving the National Anthem. As a judge in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Misra passed an order on the “imperatives of showing respect to the National Anthem” quotes a report in The Indian Express. It has to be noted that the petitioner was none other than Shyam Narayan Chouksey, who filed the plea in this case as well — being successful both times. In November 2006, the apex court closed the case saying that the “questions of law were being left open” and allowed the movie (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham), against which the case was filed, to be screened in its original form, minus any cuts to the scene involving the National Anthem.

Jana Gana Mana‘ penned by Rabindranath Tagore was first sung on 27 December, 1911, at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress — Tagore’s niece Sarala Devi Chowdhurani recited the song with some school students and in front of leaders such as Bishan Narayan Dar, Bupendra Nath Bose and Ambika Charan Mazumder, mentions this report in The Hindu. On 24 January, 1950, the assembly met to sign the Constitution of India and President Rajendra Prasad declared ‘Jana Gana Mana‘ as the National Anthem and ‘Vande Mataram‘ the national song.

Current laws don’t force a person to stand up or sing the National Anthem — case in point, this judgment of apex court in the case of Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala: “Proper respect is shown to the National Anthem by standing up when the National Anthem is sung. It will not be right to say that disrespect is shown by not joining in the singing.” Further, The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, categorically talks only about the prevention of singing the National Anthem, apart from insult to the National Flag and the Constitution.

Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Earlier in 2016, the United States was similarly divided in its opinions, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, chose to sit and then to kneel, rather than stand, during the national anthem before his team’s games. The New Yorker reports that while the team backed Kaepernick, with other players joining in, politicians like Ted Cruz denounced his act. The report goes on to say that the individual refused to stand “as a form of political expression”, protesting the treatment of African-Americans by the police and the society, at large. It also quotes a similar case where two girls belonging to the Jehovah’s Witness faith were punished for refusing to salute the flag and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance, a mandatory requirement by state law for students. This gave rise to West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which The New Yorker says “stands as perhaps the greatest defense of freedom of expression ever formulated by a Supreme Court Justice”, Robert Jackson.

It has to be noted that the Home Ministry’s Orders Relating to the National Anthem of India does insist on standing during the National Anthem, but it is an advisory and doesn’t prescribe a penalty for failing to do so; there’s certainly nothing on sedition.

Finally, what will Rabindranath Tagore, the author of our National Anthem, think of this ‘patriotic’ order by the Supreme Court? He is not around to answer it, but perhaps this line from his 1917 essay Nationalism in India might serve as one.

India has never had a real sense of nationalism. Even though from childhood I had been taught that the idolatry of Nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will gain truly their India by fighting against that education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 18:01 IST

ED proceedings against Karti: P Chidambaram objects in Madras HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday alleged in the Madras High Court that the Enforcement Directorate proceedings against his son Karti under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had been launched to cause political embarrassment to him.He made his submissions in an affidavit before Justice B Rajendran who reserved orders on a petition filed by Karti challenging the summons issued by the ED seeking his appearance in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal of the 2G scam. The judge reserved orders after hearing elaborate arguments by senior Supreme Court counsel Gopal Subramaniam on behalf of Karti Chidambaram and Anand Grover for ED. Chidambaram in his affidavit claimed that the ED lacked jurisdiction under the PMLA to proceed against his son and contended that CBI had not found any offence under any law in respect of FIPB approval over which his son was being probed.”No scheduled offence exists, proceeds of crime do not exist and thus the respondents (ED) absolutely lack jurisdiction under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to proceed further,” he said.He further said, “I regret to submit that the proceedings initiated against the petitioner (Karti) have been undertaken in order to cause political embarrassment to me and besmirch myreputation and that of my family members.” In the petition filed on his behalf by his power of attorney N R R Arun Natarajan, Karti sought to quash the ED’s August 19 summons contending that it was motivated by malice in law.He said he had reasons to believe that there had been determined campaign to bring discredit and harm to the reputation of his father Chidambaram. ED’s probe against Karti pertains to firms identified as Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited and Chess Global Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, where he had been a Director, and a few others for alleged violations under PMLA. The ED had told the court that further probe relating to the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal and related issues were subject of further investigation under the anti-money laundering laws.The agency had also told the court that further probe relating to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal and related issues are subject of further investigation under anti-money laundering laws. Chidambaram, during whose tenure as Finance Minister in 2006 the FIPB approval was given, submitted that the approval matter was investigated by the CBI fully and the agency had submitted its status reports to the Supreme Court.He said CBI had recorded his statement in 2014 December and that of FIPB officials. “In their statements to the CBI, all the persons affirmed that the approval was granted by FIPB and recommended to the Finance Minister for his approval in accordance with the guidelines. The Finance Minister granted approval in the ordinary course of government business.”Chidambaram pointed out that the charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case was filed on August 28, 2014 and the statements in respect of the FIPB approval from the officials concerned were recorded thereafter in the course of further probe under CrPc. “It is thereafter that the status reports were filed in the Supreme Court. The CBI has not found or reported any offence under any law in respect of the said FIPB approval,” he submitted adding thus no offence was made out.

India’s Supreme Court orders cinemas to play national anthem | Reuters

By Tommy Wilkes and Suchitra Mohanty

NEW DELHI Indian cinemas must play the national anthem before screening a film and the audience must stand and listen, the country’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday in a ruling echoing growing nationalist sentiment under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The court ordered that an image of India’s national flag also be displayed on screens during the anthem, and it gave cinemas 10 days to comply, saying its decision would help “instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism”.”People must feel this is my country and this is my motherland,” the New Delhi court said in an interim order issued in response to a petition from a local retiree.”The time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism.”Nationalist fervour surged when Modi’s government said in September it had sent troops into territory controlled by bitter rival and neighbour Pakistan to strike at Islamist militants suspected of preparing to attack.

India’s wildly popular Bollywood film industry found itself caught up in the aftermath when a filmmakers’ body banned the hiring of Pakistani actors and some regional politicians said that those prepared to work with their neighbours were unpatriotic.Playing the national anthem in Indian cinemas was common in the 1960s, but the practise fell out of favour as fewer and fewer people paid attention. A few states had since made it compulsory for theatre halls and cinemas to broadcast the anthem, but there is no nationwide law mandating it.

Some commentators mocked the court’s ruling as idiotic. “The Supreme Court’s moral, constitutional and political idiocy in the national anthem order is truly breathtaking. More dark times ahead,” Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research think-tank said on Twitter.Thousands took to the streets early this year in India’s biggest nationwide student protests in 25 years after the arrest of a student accused of sedition, prompting accusations that Modi’s government was clamping down on freedom of expression.

To support his case in the court, petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey said the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act of 1971 had been breached, Indian media reported.The court also ruled that broadcasting a shortened version of the anthem would not suffice, and it prohibited playing the anthem at “undesirable” or “disgraceful” places. (Editing by Mark Heinrich)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 23:44 IST

Demonetisation: ED conducts searches on 40 locations across country

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted searches at 40 locations across the country in order to check black money held with currency exchanges, hawala dealers and others in the wake of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Officials said the searches are being conducted by multiple teams of the agency in various cities and as many as 100 sleuths along with police personnel are undertaking the search operation.

In the eastern region, the agency is searching at least 16 locations including six in Kolkata, two each in Bhubaneswar and Paradip (both in Odisha), Guwahati among others.

The sleuths from the Kolkata zone of the ED have also seized Rs 10 lakh cash in new currency from the premises of a doctor in the West Bengal capital during the said operation, even as an assortment of foreign currency worth Rs 4 lakh has been seized from the same area.

They said the agency is looking at instances of illegal exchange of old currency and stashing of new currency notes to perpetrate hawala and money laundering like activities.

ED is the central agency to enforce two laws — the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 20:04 IST

‘Communal’ Zakir Naik believes no religion is better than Islam BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Welcoming the Centre’s decision to ban the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) run by Zakir Naik, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday asserted that the controversial Islamic preacher believes no religion is better than Islam. BJP leader and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh said Zakir Naik is communal from the very beginning. “He believes there is no better religion in the world than Islam. He, who himself is communal, sees everyone to be the same. The government’s decision is a welcome stand. It should have taken place earlier,” the Baghpat MP said.Naik’s counsel Mobin Solkar said earlier this month that the case filed by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) against his client under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is illegal, as the Supreme Court had earlier granted a stay in a similar case and hence any fresh complaint on the same grounds would stand void. Solankar maintained that from 2012 till date, Naik has not given any lecture which can be a cause of action for filing a fresh FIR against him.He, however, conceded that the investigative agency is entitled to search and visit the premises of the IRF owned by Naik and the organisation would comply with all investigative processes carried out by the NIA.Earlier, the authorities blocked the websites of IRF for allegedly spreading objectionable contents, speeches and videos. As per reports, the NIA will also raise the issue of suspension of videos on YouTube and Facebook pages with the US since the servers are located there.The NIA had earlier on November 19 carried out searches at 10 premises of the banned IRF in Mumbai after registering a case against its founder Naik and others under an anti-terror law.

Zakir Naik’s IRF might have funded 300 people, many visiting IS areas, claims NIA

Zakir Naik’s banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) might have funded at least 300 people, some of whom travelled to the Islamic State areas of Syria and Iraq, according to The New Indian Express.

Zakir Naik. CNN-News 18Zakir Naik. CNN-News 18

Zakir Naik. CNN-News 18

This came into light after the NIA had carried out searches for three days at 20 premises during which records related to bank accounts and other financial activities linked with Naik and IRF were seized. The NIA on Wednesday asked three banks to freeze 25 accounts of controversial preacher Zakir Naik, his family members and IRF, which has been banned under anti-terror law.

NIA is also planning to prepare a thorough list of IRF members not based in India to obtain more information about the funding, reports DNA.

In addition to it, NIA has handed over a list of over 12 people, including Naik, his family members, close friends and organisations, to all 72 scheduled commercial banks to check whether these people had any account in these financial institutions. Official sources said NIA has sent a notices to three private banks to freeze the accounts of Naik and others, which were found to be in operation during the three-day search by it that ended last night, till further orders.

In both the letters, NIA has cited Section 43 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for executing such action. The agency has booked Naik, IRF and unnamed office bearers of his organisation under IPC section 153-A relating to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, besides various sections of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The agency has claimed to have found documents showing that IS recruit Abu Anas had received Rs 80,000 from the IRF as scholarship in October 2015. After these documents were analysed by NIA, it had moved to block his bank accounts. A Tonk resident, Anas who is an engineer by profession, was arrested by the NIA in January for allegedly planning to carry out a terror strike ahead of Republic Day.

The NIA has also written to Union Home Ministry for banning the website run by the IRF and as well as suspending its online activities, which includes videos of speeches on social networking sites, the sources said, adding that the request will be forwarded to Information Technology ministry.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 11:41 IST

More trouble for Zakir Naik: NIA asks banks to freeze IRF’s accounts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to starve controversial preacher Zakir Naik and his organisation of funds, the NIA today asked banks to freeze accounts belonging to him and his Islamic Research Foundation, which has been banned under the anti-terror law. Official sources said all the banks, where Naik’s and his organisation’s accounts were in operation, have been asked to immediately freeze those till further directions.NIA had registered a case against Naik, IRF and unnamed office bearers of the foundation under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), besides various sections of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.Following this searches were conducted for three days at 20 premises during which details of bank accounts and other financial activities related to Naik and IRF were seized.The sources said the move to block his bank accounts was taken after the NIA claimed to have seized documents which showed ISIS recruit Abu Anas had received Rs 80,000 from the IRF as scholarship in October 2015.Anas, an engineer and a resident of Tonk in Rajasthan, had quit job in a Hyderabad-based company when he was arrested by the NIA in January for allegedly planning to carry out a terror strike ahead of Republic Day.The NIA claimed the probe into the IRF’s funding and distribution of money showed that Anas, who was among 16 people arrested for ISIS links at that time, had received Rs 80,000 from IRF as scholarship.NIA has also written to Union Home Ministry for banning the webiste run by the IRF and as well as suspending its online activities which inlcudes videos of speeches on social networking sites, the sources said.The Home Ministry will pass on the request to Information Technology ministry for blocking the Universal Resource Locator (URL) of the website. The NIA has been conducting searches since November 19 and raided at least 20 premises in Mumbai which are connected to the proscribed IRF or its trustees. During the search operations, video tapes and DVDs of Naik’s public speeches, documents related to property and investment, financial transactions, foreign and domestic funding to IRF as well as its associated companies, and electronic storage devices have been recovered. The NIA alleged that IRF, which was banned by the government last week under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), had close connections with some companies dealing in media, perfumes and some other sectors.

Drop in sex trafficking cases in India may mask real number, experts say | Reuters

By Roli Srivastava

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India has seen a 70 percent drop in cases filed under an anti-trafficking law between 2001 and 2015, which experts attribute to a lack of reporting of the crime and more sex workers moving out of brothels to escape police detection among other factors.According to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of cases filed under India’s anti-trafficking Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act fell to 2,424 in 2015 from 8,796 in 2001. The Act is one of a number of laws under which human trafficking and modern slavery are prosecuted in the country. The drop in sex trafficking cases is in contrast to a more than doubling of crimes against women recorded by the bureau over the same period, and could mask the real number of women trafficked into sex work across India, anti-slavery experts say. “A drop in numbers could be due to under-reporting or not filing of FIRs (complaints),” said Priti Patkar, co-founder of anti-trafficking charity Prerana.Campaigners estimate there are between three and 9 million victims of sex trafficking in India but say many do not come forward for fear of being ostracised by society, abused by their traffickers or not taken seriously by the police.

Many victims, often from poor backgrounds, are duped with the promise of a job before being sold into the sex trade. Michael Yangad, director of operations at campaign group International Justice Mission, said prostitution in India had become more covert.”Activity has moved from classical brothels to private places. In private networks too, unless a case is investigated or studied well, you are not sure if it is a case of sex trafficking,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The police say activities that earlier led them to traffickers have now moved online. Social media platforms are used to offer girls and many financial transactions are made online, making the crime virtually invisible. “Our investigation pattern is changing with these changes. We have busted online sex rackets,” said Pravin Patil, deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai, India’s financial hub.

“Earlier, brothels were at one place, but no longer so. It is not difficult (to monitor activities), but we have to keep changing our investigation plan,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.Cases filed under India’s Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act accounted for 38.4 percent of the total number of human trafficking cases in 2015. Cases of procuring minor girls made up another 44 percent. About 14 percent of cases related to the trafficking of people into slavery and the remaining cases involved the buying and selling of minors for prostitution. (Reporting by Roli Srivastava; Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 21:10 IST

ISIS-accused Abu Anas got Rs 80,000 scholarship from Dr Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There’s more trouble for Dr Zakir Naik as news emerged that ISIS-accused Abu Anas had received a scholarship of Rs 80,000 from his Islamic Research Foundation in 2015, said the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Abu Anas was arrested from Hyderabad. Earlier, the NIA raided the 17 premises of Naik. As per reports, the NIA will also raise the issue of suspension of videos on YouTube and Facebook pages with the U.S. since the servers are located there. NIA teams on Saturday seized incriminating documents/files, electronic storage devices and about Rs.12 lakh cash related to Naik and the IRF.A NIA spokesperson said in order to assist the search team, a team of I-T experts has been flown to Mumbai.The NIA had on Friday registered a case against Naik and others under sections 10 (Penalty for being member of an unlawful association) and 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities) and other various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), said the spokesperson.The Union Government had on Tuesday declared the IRF as an “outlawed organisation” under the anti-terror law for its alleged terror activities, following which the Maharashtra Government said it would keep a close eye on locals and organisations funding the IRF and would be treated as ‘anti-social elements’. However, the IRF said it would be arguing before a Central government tribunal against the validity of the ban imposed on it and invoking of the UAPA.With inputs from PTI and ANI

NIA unlikely to probe jailbreak in Bhopal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NIA is unlikely to probe the controversial jailbreak in Bhopal by eight SIMI activists saying too many investigations have been ordered into the incident.The National Investigation Agency is believed to have conveyed to the Home Ministry that the Madhya Pradesh government has already ordered several inquires into the incident, which generated controversy after all eight escapees were killed by police within hours of the jailbreak. There is no need to involve the NIA in the matter and the NIA conveyed this to the Home Ministry, official sources said.Soon after the November 1 incident, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Home Minister Bhoopendra Singh Thakur had announced that the NIA will be roped into to probe the jailbreak case, but the separate case of encounter will be judicially inquired into along with a state police criminal probe. The hands of the MP government were tied as the state police had invoked sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) while filing an FIR in connection with the incident.The NIA Act mandates that all state governments are duty-bound to inform the Union Home Ministry if any FIR under the UAPA is registered in their jurisdiction. The Home Ministry, in consultation with the NIA, decides whether the case can be probed by the state police or if the NIA should take over investigation depending upon the gravity of offence and interstate ramifications. The MP government, to fulfil the legal requirement under the UAPA, had sent the FIR to the Home Ministry with a copy to the NIA. But now, the NIA has communicated to the Home Ministry that it was not interested in probing the case, sources said.

Zakir Naik’s NGO gets ban notification

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai Police on Friday said it had served a notification on controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) at its Dongri office on Thursday following the order received from the Home Ministry declaring IRF an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967.The Centre had approved the proposal to declare IRF an unlawful association under UAPA on Tuesday and banned it for five years with immediate effect. The move came after investigation by the Home Ministry found that the NGO allegedly had dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism. As per the police, Naik has allegedly made many provocative speeches. Naik is alleged to have transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes.“Mumbai police have served the notification to the office bearers of IRF on Thursday after receiving the copy from the Ministry of Home Affairs. From now on, IRF cannot carry out any activity. The issued notification have said that it is unlawful. Action will be taken under the relevant section of UAPA, if any activity is found to be conducted at IRF,” said Mumbai Police Spokesperson and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe.Mubin Solkar, advocate representing IRF when contacted said, “IRF has been served with notification around 7 pm or so on Thursday. IRF will seize to carry out any activity based on that. We will have to comply with the notification. We will study the content of the notification and what has been the basis to declare IRF unlawful. After seeing the reasoning, we will take recourse to the remedies available under law. But the statutory provision is that the government has to now refer the notification to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Tribunal within 30 days of it being served on us.”“Even if the ban was with immediate affect, they have to refer it to the tribunal, and the tribunal will issue notices to us. A hearing will be held and only if the tribunal confirms, will it come into effect. If tribunal cancels it, then it will be scrapped. Merely issuing notification under section 3 of UAPA by the government is not sufficient. The government will have to follow section 4 also which talks about referring it to the tribunal and they will have to comply there.”According to a statement issued by IRF, “We’re studying the contents of the notification and the reasons cited for the ban and we will take recourse to all remedies available in law to get the ban revoked.”A person associated with IRF said that they will be challenging the ban and central government’s notification to declare it unlawful. “The ban and the notification will certainly be challenged. In a day or two, IRF’s strategy will be clear. We may come out with a press statement later during the day which may also have what Dr Naik has to say on it,” he said. “People were working till yesterday at the IRF though the atmosphere was very gloomy. Obviously things will change there now that the notification has been given,” he added.MINISTRY SPEAKSThe Home Ministry said Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups and inspiring Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.It said such a divisive ideology is against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India and thereby making it an unlawful activity.The Ministry found that the NGO allegedly had links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism.

Yasin Bhatkal’s cousin charged by NIA for channelising funds for conducting terror activities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NIA has charged an alleged key Indian Mujahideen operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa, who was arrested in Delhi in May this year, with channelising funds from Pakistan into India via Dubai for conducting terror activities in the country. The probe agency made the submission in its charge sheet filed before Special Judge Rakesh Pandit. “During investigation, the role and involvement of the accused has been established as a channeliser of the funds received from IM operatives in Pakistan via Dubai for use by IM operatives based in India for conducting terror activities,” the charge sheet said.It added that the money was also regularly sent to the IM operatives lodged in jails and their families besides its absconding activists. “Investigation has disclosed that the IM had extensively used Hawala channel for providing funds to its cadres in India,” it said.The charge sheet said, “From the probe, it is established that accused, as a member of proscribed terrorist organisation IM, entered into criminal conspiracy along with other co-operatives for commission of terror acts against Indian government, with intent to threaten unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India and with intent to strike terror in people of India by causing death and injuries of people, and loss, damage and destruction of property.” “The accused voluntarily and actively participated in the conspiracy and made efforts to wage terror activities with intent to support and strengthen the conspiracy hatched by IM operatives.”The accused assisted the terror activities by means of channelising the requisite funds meant for survival of the IM operatives and for the procurement of material required for affecting destruction with intent to strike terror in India, by causing death/injuries to persons and cause loss/damage to the property,” the final report said.32-year-old Siddibapa, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka and a cousin of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, was held at the IGI Airport here on May 20 after he landed from Dubai. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had earlier filed two charge sheets in the case against several other accused including Yasin Bhatkal. The final report also said that the accused was strongly radicalised and was of the “jihadi mind” as he used to support the subversive activities carried out by the IM operatives at different places in India. According to NIA’s FIR lodged in September 2012, members of IM, in association with their sleeper cells based in the country and outside, were conspiring to commit terror acts by making preparations for targeting various important places in India, especially in Delhi, by causing bomb blasts with the active aid and support from their Pakistan-based activists and associates which amounted to waging war against India.The court had on November 6, 2013, issued a non-bailable warrant against Siddibapa, which was extended from time to time to time, following which a Red Corner Notice was issued against him on December 3, 2013. The charge sheet was filed against him under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, read with several sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Will rehabilitate IRF students: Tawde

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Tuesday assured the students of a school run by Zakir Naik-promoted Islamic Research Foundation that the Centre’s decision to ban the NGO would not “adversely affect” them.”Ban on Islamic Research Foundation (#IRF) will not adversely affect students studying there. Measures for rehabilitation will be instated,” he said in a tweet.The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to declare IRF as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years.Naik, who heads the trust, runs Islamic International School that was founded in 2003 in Mazgaon area of Mumbai.

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 note ban: Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move a death knell to hawala trade

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s “shock-and-awe” move against black economy has hit it where it hurts the most. The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has broken the spine of “hawala” transactions that involve some of the biggest and most voluminous paperless money transactions in India.

According to market sources, the sudden demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has virtually crippled informal and illegal money transactions.

“Prime Minister’s move to curb fake currency circulation will also hit illegal trades like hawala trade and dabba trade because these are potential sources of black money,” a senior government official told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.

Modi’s action, a death knell to hawala

According to market sources, who are in the know of hawala activities say that government’s move has proved a “death knell” for the trade.

“PM Modi’s masterstroke of demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes has rendered the unaccounted cash lying with the hawala brokers useless. These are now mere papers. It’s an excellent step and by one stroke the PM has dealt with the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and Hawala traders,” said chartered accountant Abhishek Aneja.

The hawala trade has collapsed overnight due to the demonetisation of the currency, a Delhi-based businessman told Firstpost on the condition of anonymity. “Large volumes of cash lying with these brokers have now turned redundant, as it won’t be a part of the economy. It’s a big blow to those involved in hawala racket and it won’t revive in the next three months. Many traders are likely to go bankrupt. It needs to be seen how many traders will survive to carry on the trade in days to come. It’s also a big jolt to India’s film industry,” he added.

Agreed a Surat-based businessman. “Hawala trade and dabba trade are big in Gujarat and the PM’s announcement has completely routed it. It’s a big move. Next time one would think twice before venturing into it.”

However, Aneja says that the demonetisation move alone won’t be sufficient. “The government should also ensure the protection of honest taxpayers. While on one hand government wants to act tough against black money hoarders, on the other the proposed amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act speak differently,” he added.

Few facts on hawala trade

Though hawala trading has been in practice in India and other parts of the world for decades, it became popular amongst the masses in India due to the infamous Jain Hawala scandal and Bollywood.

The Jain Hawala scandal

The Jain Hawala scandal also known as Jain Hawala scam was a political scandal between 1988-91 involving payments allegedly sent by politicians (black money) through four hawala agents — the Jain brothers. It was a US $18 million bribery scandal that named some of the country’s prominent politicians. It was also alleged that payments were made to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir. The CBI during its investigation came to know about a “red diary” that allegedly had the names of politicians, bureaucrats and a few prominent others, who sought the service of Jain brothers.

Indian cinema industry and hawala trade

An Income Tax department’s report on Mumbai’s film industry (Bollywood) finds a significant use of hawala channels for funding films and transfer of money to Pakistan and other countries. It leads to a big quantum of tax evasion and black money generation. According to a recent newspaper report, hawala transactions of around Rs 2000 crore take place in Mumbai alone per day.

What is hawala trade?

Hawala literally means “trust based reference”. Hawala trade works outside the legal banking and financial systems. The remittance takes place on the basis of communication through a reference code between two hawala agents or brokers on behalf of their clients. “Hawala is an illegal channel and transaction through it is a crime. The channel is used to convert black money into white. Major hawala transactions are related to undisclosed money,” says

How does it operate?

A client (X) in India goes to a hawala agent (A1) and hands over to him an amount of cash, which he wants to be transferred to his friend (Y) in London. A1 gives a “code” to X and tells him to communicate the “code” to Y and also gives an address from where the latter can collect the amount. Meanwhile, A1 communicates his counterpart agent A2 in London. When Y reaches the destination communicated to him by X, he receives the amount in the currency of that country, say pound. In the process, A1 charges his commission from A1.

Characteristics of hawala trading

Hawala trading is based on trust, has no records or paper trail and legal enforcement, is fast, flexible, non-bureaucratic, and charges low commission rate, but it’s illegal. There is never a physical transfer of money in the process and the channel is always anonymous. In a hawala transaction, the money enters the hawala system in local currency (say Indian Rupee) and leaves as a foreign currency (US dollar if remitted in the US).

The dark side of hawala

Besides, transfer of money by businessmen and traders, there’s also a dark side of hawala trade. According to intelligence and security agencies, hawala route is used in funding by criminal and terrorist outfits. It has a potential role in money laundering as well.

Major centres

Almost every city in India has hawala traders, but major transactions take place in Mumbai, Gujarat and New Delhi.

What does Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report say on hawala trade?

An independent inter-governmental body, FATF in a 2013 report on the role of hawala has mentioned that the channel had been used for funding terror outfits. The report pointed out that “quite a few cases” in India shows how hawala funds from abroad entered the country to fund terrorist organisations.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 09:29 IST

Winter Session of Parliament: Surrogacy regulation and GST related bills to be introduced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as nine new bills, including three related to GST, and surrogacy regulation will be introduced in Parliament in upcoming Winter Session.The three GST related bills are — Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, Goods and Services Tax (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill will be introduced in the session.Winter Session of Parliament will begin from November 16. Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill will be introduced to constitute national surrogacy board, state surrogacy boards and appointment of appropriate authorities for regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.Besides these, six other bills will be introduced including IIM bill to confer Indian Institutes of Managements (IIM) statutory status and the competence to award degrees. While HIV AIDS Prevention and Control bill, Mental Health Care bill, Maternity Benefit Amendment bill, Prevention of Corruption (amendment) bill and Consumer Protection bill will be taken up for consideration and passing as these bills have already been introduced in the Parliament.Mental Health Care bill, Maternity Benefit Amendment bill were passed by Rajya Sabha and are pending in Lok Sabha.While, Consumer Protection bill, and HIV, AIDS Prevention and Control bill were referred to the standing committees and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) bill was referred to the select committee, according to Lok Sabha bulletin.

Give legal recognition to sex workers: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Supreme Court panel formed to look into the status of sex workers in the country has recommended that sex work be given legal recognition in India. The panel, formed in July 2011 after the Budhadev Karmaskar vs State of West Bengal case, was headed by advocate Pradip Ghosh. Panel members included advocate Jayant Bhushan, who was the co-chair, Dr Samarjit Jana of the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Bharti Dey of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, and Saima Hassan.“… The most apparent problem for sex workers was their lack of legal status in the country. As sex workers are criminalised, it is difficult for them to acquire proof of identity such as ration cards or voter ID cards, owing to lack of proof of residence. The local district authorities do not recognise the identities of sex workers and their children, even though every citizen of India is entitled to basic human and fundamental rights. Consequently, sex workers cannot access the schemes meant for their rehabilitation, even if they want to. Similarly, sex workers have no access to credit facilities offered by the state because of their inability to open bank accounts, due to lack of supporting documentation,” said the report, which submitted its report in the last week of September. Recommendations include that state authorities should issue ration cards to sex workers, that sex workers should be given voter identification cards, and that the children of sex workers should be given admission in government schools. The panel was appointed by the apex court in 2011 while dismissing a criminal appeal and affirming the conviction of the accused, Budhadev Karmaskar, for brutally murdering a sex worker in Calcutta in 1999. The appeal was converted into a public interest litigation to look into various aspects of sex workers’ rehabilitation and to provide them with a dignified life. The panels has prepared fifteen interim reports till now. The panel has also recommended that rehabilitation be made a right for those who seek it, and recommended that a scheme should be made to protect, rehabilitate, provide livelihood alternatives, and prevent re-trafficking of sex workers. The scheme should allow for monetary provisions of up to Rs50,000 for sex workers to eke out alternative work. “The Panel was quite surprised to learn that there existed no exclusive scheme for rehabilitation of sex workers who wish to leave sex work, either at the central and/or at the state levels,” said the report, noting that existing schemes, like Ujjwala, are mostly aimed at trafficking victims. The panel also noted that all rescued sex workers, irrespective of whether they seek help or not, are sent to state-run shelter homes, keeping them away from their families and friends. The panel has also called for recommendations to amend the existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act. This includes the recommended that section 7 of the Act be amended to include the clause that sex work will not be illegal if conducted near a public place like a temple, hospital, educational institution, etc., in cases where these public places have “come into existence subsequent to the prostitution has started.”Some of the other recommendations include changing the definition of brothel (section 2a), not penalising those living on the earnings of a sex worker (section 4), deletion of the section on soliciting (section 8), and the doing away of the section on the removal of a prostitute from any place (section 20), among others. The Pam Rajput Committee, too, in its report, submitted to the women and child ministry early this year, recommended for the decriminalisation of sex work.

Marathas hold massive ‘warm up’ bike rally in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking their agitation to the state capital, the Maratha community held a “warm up” bike rally protest on Sunday in the city to press for their various demands, ahead of their December morcha planned in Nagpur during the winter session of the state Legislature. Rajan Ghag, one of the event organisers, claimed that over 50,000 bikes participated in the rally, which commenced from KJ Somaiya ground in Sion at 10.00 am and culminated near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station after passing through Matunga, Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug and Byculla areas. “More than 50,000 bikes participated in our rally which would have made it amply clear to the government that the community is in no mood to rest till all their demands are met by the government,” Ghag told PTI. He said this was a “warm up” rally to convey to the government that it would have to face the biggest show of strength when the winter session of the state Legislature will be held next month in Nagpur.”There will be a ‘maha morcha’ held in Mumbai if the government fails to agree to our demands in the Legislature session where people from the farthest of zillas will participate,” he said. “In today’s ‘Janjagruti’ rally, we had formulated a code of conduct for each participant, who had to follow them very strictly. Among the rules set were that every rider wears a helmet and the pillion rider had to wear a turban. Also, all were instructed to strictly refrain from honking and not to jump signals,” he said. Meanwhile, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said the rally was held peacefully and that all rules and regulations were followed.The Maratha community, which is a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns of the state since last few months, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July. The community leaders have been pressing for scrapping of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, saying it is grossly misused, and have also raised other demands like quota in education and jobs.

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s father passes away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik”s father Abdul Karim Naik, a physician and educationist, passed away at his home here early this morning after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 87. “He suffered a cardiac arrest at 3.30 AM at his home in Mazgaon and could not recover from that. Abdul had been keeping unwell from sometime. He was laid to rest at a graveyard in the same area,” an associate of Zakir Naik said.Born in Ratnagiri in coastal Maharashtra, Abdul Naik, a doctor, served as the president of the Bombay Psychiatric Society, a private organisation of mental health professionals, in 1994-95. He had also been active in the field of education. Zakir Naik, who extended his stay abroad after running into controversy following allegations that some of those involved in the July terror attack in Dhaka drew inspiration from his speeches, is likely to visit the city soon to pay respects to his father, the associate said.Asked about Zakir Naik skipping the funeral, his aide said, “He wasn’t able to attend. It was too short a time. He will soon be here to pay respects to his father.” Zakir Naik”s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), too, is under the radar of security agencies and will be soon banned under the anti-terror law.According to an official source in the Union Home Ministry, IRF will be declared an ”unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act after investigations by the Home Ministry found it to be allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism.

Fadnavis boasts of ‘no-scam’ govt, confident Khadse will return to cabinet soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said his government has completed two years in office without a scam taint and expressed confidence that senior leader Eknath Khadse would return to the ministry soon.Fadnavis also said investment in agriculture and infrastructure development was his priority. “Drought management was a challenge that my government faced with. The long-term challenge is sustainable agriculture development and we are working on it,” Fadnavis told mediapersons during an informal get-together here. He said infrastructure projects worth Rs 75,000 crore have been initiated in Mumbai and other cities.”Infrastructure development is my government’s focus.””Opposition parties did not get an opportunity to target my government as there was no taint of scam. Unsubstantiated allegations were made against some colleagues. But, I have replied to all the charges with proof,” he said while replying to a query. When asked about senior party leader Eknath Khadse who had to resign earlier this year over a series of charges, including irregularities in a land deal, Fadnavis said, “There was a conflict of interest. A committee has been set up to probe the matter and the report would be ready soon. I am confident that Khadse would be acquitted and will be back in the Cabinet.”When asked about the performance of his ministers, he said, “The performance is good. I had prepared key result areas (KRA) when I took over and made the ministers and secretaries sit together and discuss how they can achieve the target. I take quarterly reviews and the feedback is good.” Fadnavis said his government’s endeavour was to improve governance and development. “The state has been described by a recent survey as the most innovative economy,” he said.When asked about the state’s financial position, the Chief Minister said, “Loans are taken for development purpose. The debt is well within the parameters. We have changed the deployment of loan taken. It is now used only for capital investment.” He said he was working to restore the state’s past glory in industrial development. When asked about the Maratha morchas being taken out across the state, Fadnavis said his government was positively working on solutions to address the grievances of the community. He denied that there was any caste tension in the state saying OBC, Dalit and Muslim morchas have been organised in different parts of Maharashtra. “No one is speaking against each other at the rallies.Even political leaders need to exercise caution,”he said. Fadnavis ruled out scrapping the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “We are taking a review of where the Act has been misused and the government stand regarding demand to amend the act to stop the misuse will be finalised later,” he said. To a question on why he has not heeded to Opposition’s demand for loan waiver to farmers, Fadnavis said loan waiver was a good option, but it was not the only one. “We are working to improve investment in agriculture.Farmers should be made credit worthy. It is not a matter of money, but principles. Loan waiver in 2008 helped the banks and not the farmers. If we use our resources well, then farmers will be benefited,” he added. The Chief Minister said in 2008 (during the Congress-NCP rule), the loan waiver was worth Rs 7,000 crore, but his government had provided Rs 10,000 crore to farmers.

Bengaluru steel flyover: NGT stay has bought us time to gear up for legal battle, say petitioners

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday restrained the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) from proceeding with the steel flyover project for four weeks because it had not got any environmental clearance. This has bought the campaigners and petitioners time to re-group and get their papers to gear up for the next legal and political phase of the battle.

The petition against the steel flyover was filed by the Citizens Action Forum (CAF), a decade-old non-profit civil society organisation, which has been bringing into notice several civic issues faced by Bengaluru.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The petition raised the point that the project has been implemented without obtaining environmental clearance under the EIA Notification, 2006; the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Furthermore, the project did not consult public which is mandatory. The state authorities, too, failed to address the concerns raised by the urban planning experts and concerned citizens.

The citizens’ campaign against the Rs 1,791-crore steel project gathered support from several citizens’ organisations, including CAF. Considered to be the longest flyover at a 6.72 km stretch, it was expected to be completed in 24 months. The project was given to Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Nagarjuna Ltd, with the BDA overseeing it. The BDA was to acquire around one acre for the project. The steel flyover would have involved the destruction of three flyovers, two skywalks and one magic box underpass and the chopping of 812 trees, intrinsic to the spirit of Bengaluru. The Karnataka government had given a go ahead for the project and the BDA had even issued a letter of acceptance to L&T on Wednesday, as they felt that highway projects did not need any environmental clearance.

Firstpost reached out to the founder president of CAF, NS Mukunda to gather further details on their petition and the NGT stay.

FP: What has the NGT stay benefited you?

Mukunda: We filed the petition a couple of days ago and our lawyers informed us that we had got a stay for one month. Now, we can sit across the table with the government and ask it to reconsider the project, talk technicalities and functionalities of the project and discuss alternate proposals. I don’t have the details yet, the NGT order will probably come after the Diwali holidays.

FP: Why do you think the government was so adamant to go ahead with the project despite so much opposition from the citizens?

Mukunda: It’s purely a political issue, it had become the Congress vs the others.

FP: Also, how did the BDA go ahead with the project without environmental clearance?

Mukunda: The BDA felt that highway projects don’t need environmental clearance, but now that NGT has ordered a stay they cannot wiggle out of this. They must acquire environmental clearance.

FP: What does this mean for the steel flyover “beda” campaign now? Where do you go from here?

Mukunda: It only strengthens our case. As far as the legal battle is concerned, we now have time to collect more documents and papers that have been written by Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and other bodies on traffic-related issues to support our case. The stay has also bought us time to work on the political front. Plus, we need to address the issues that the “Beku” group is raising with concrete ideas on why the steel flyover is a flop. They have genuine concerns – we need to create more awareness among them about the alternate solutions to their immediate traffic congestion issues.

We have to also form core groups to tackle the legal, technical and political fronts.

FP: Will you be reducing the public mobilisation campaign now?

Mukunda: No, we have already begun setting up social media groups with key volunteers in every area to channelise the ground-level support we got for this campaign. We need the participation of citizens in all major and key issues concerning the city in the future too.

FP: So, what are your alternative proposals to the steel flyover?

Mukunda: The steel flyover is not a long-term solution. Even after a year, we will be facing the same traffic congestion. Erecting the flyover would have only been a short-term solution at an astronomical cost of Rs 2,000 crores. There are enough studies to show that airport passenger traffic will cross 35 million in 10 to 12 years, from the 17 million today. This means that about 6.5 lakhs vehicles will be passing through the Kempegowda International Airport route on a daily basis. The steel flyover wouldn’t work in this situation.

One of the cost-effective and long-term alternative solutions can be to develop two alternate roads and revive the commuter rail links to the airport. Right now, 40 percent of the air traveller traffic comes from Krishnarajpuram, Whitefield and Hosekote. Another 30 percent comes from Electronic City and Athibele and the rest comes from Central Business District (CBD) and other areas in Bengaluru. All these converge on the Hebbal flyover, creating traffic congestion.

Part A of the alternate proposal is to segregate this traffic. Strengthening the existing alternate roads through road widening and improvements so that all commuters don’t have to use the Hebbal flyover. CBD and other areas can continue to use the Hebbal flyover, but travellers from the other two regions can use these two alternate roads.

Part B is to develop the commuter rail links. One circuit can run from Whitefield to Devanahalli KIA and another from E-city to Devanahalli. The rail link will ease 25 percent of the traffic. Unfortunately, unlike other countries, Indian air travellers prefer private vehicles over the rail link to reach the airport. That’s why the proposal allocates only 25 percent traffic to the rail link. But the other 75 percent traffic can be taken care of by the three roads.

Of course, all this will take two years, but the steel flyover would also have taken two years. Here we have a long-term solution which will cost only Rs 2,500 crores. It will have no environmental pollution and will not disrupt regular airport traffic as the steel flyover project would have done.

FP: What are the other issues undertaken by CAF?

Mukunda: We get involved with most problems concerning Bengaluru, be it water, traffic, building violations and garbage. Our motive is to get citizens involved in decisions that affect our day to day life in the city.

In 2008, we won the property tax petition where the government wanted to impose tax on capital value of a property, we got it done on the annual rental value of a building instead. This was our major victory.

We have also taken up the issue of Cauvery water supply to Bengaluru. We have research on our side to prove that we have enough water to cater to Bengaluru’s drinking water needs and we don’t need Cauvery water. We need to interconnect Arkavathy to all the lakes; revive 217 lakes in Bengaluru; and make all the catchment areas in these lakes work. We have enough rainwater, but most of it goes into stormwater drains and gets mixed with sewage. It is estimated, that every person needs 135 litres of water, but 65 litres of this precious Cauvery water that has been pumped up to Bengaluru gets flushed down the toilets. Through a four-pronged program, we can create enough water for the city and if we do this, Cauvery water can be used as a buffer.

Our fourth area of work is traffic issues and the steel flyover comes under this.

Writ Petition Steel Flyover by Firstpost on Scribd

Banning Zakir Naik’s India for maligning IRF is right decision: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Controversial Islamic-preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) maligning India, and therefore, it is correct to ban it, said Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affair Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday.”If any person tries to malign society, tries to divide it, create tension between the people and hamper peace in the country then the government and people always will take strict and sever action against them,” Naqvi told ANI.Naqvi said it has become important to restrict such kind of organisations or people and not provide them much freedom.The government is in the process of declaring the IRF unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2011. Naik came under the scanner after the Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ revealed that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook that said he was inspired by Naik to carry out the crime. Naik is banned in both the UK and Canada for his alleged hate speeches aimed against other religions.He is among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is also accused of radicalizing and attracting youth for terror acts and has come under the scanner of the security agencies.

Government all set to ban Zakir Naik’s NGO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has come a step closer to banning controversial Salafist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research foundation (IRF) by invoking provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.Union Home Ministry is ready with the draft note that may soon be sent for the final nod of the Cabinet. The Home Ministry has used inputs, containing irrefutable evidence, from both Maharashtra Police and the Intelligence Bureau to prepare the note, highly placed sources said.The note, sources said, invokes UAPA provisions against IRF and televangelist Naik on three counts — promoting enmity and hatred between different religions and motivating youth to commit terrorist acts through hate speeches; having dubious money dealings with Peace Television, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism; and Naik being implicated by Maharashtra Police in criminal cases for alleged involvement in radicalising youth.Action against Naik and IRF became pertinent after investigations revealed that Naik had also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes. Some of these programmes that were shot and made in India contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to become terrorists” through Peace TV, added sources.Investigators have found nearly 50 speeches of Naik highly objectionable for being provocative. Besides, there are about half-a-dozen criminal cases pending against him. The Mumbai-based preacher has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light after Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook quoting Naik.Two other educational trusts run by Naik have also come under the scanner of the Home Ministry and agencies have been asked to investigate into their activities. Proceedings against them are expected to begin soon, said sources.In lectures, aired on Peace TV, Naik had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” and even indirectly praised Osama bin Laden for “terrorising the terrorist, America.” The televangelist is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches, and is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.

KC Venugopal writes to PM Modi to ‘check’ Maneka Gandhi’s ‘unjustifiable, rigid stand’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MP and former Union Minister KC Venugopal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to “check” the “unjustifiable and rigid stand” taken by his cabinet colleague Maneka Gandhi in dealing with the growing stray dog menace in Kerala. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Alappuzha MP criticised the Union Women and Child Development Minister, who is stalling Kerala government’s move to kill “dangerous stray dogs, which create threat to the life of common people” calling it as “unlawful and unscientific”.A day after a 90-year-old man was killed in stray dog attack in the state, he urged the PM to “clarify” the stand of the Union government in the matter. He asked whether the Union government values human life or the dangerous animals which threatens humans. “I would request the government to clarify the stand of the central government in this issue and remove all confusions in this regard. The public in Kerala is in anger and they need a solution in this matter as soon as possible.”Venugopal said Maneka Gandhi has stated that Kerala Anti-Social (Prevention) Act (KAPA) should be used against those who kill stray dogs, “which has drawn wide criticism in the state where stray dogs have become a major menace.” “I would also request the Prime Minister to take a favourable stand in this matter and to check the unjustifiable and rigid stand taken by the union Minister of Women and Child development,” the letter said.He said repeated incidents of stray dog attacks in Kerala have created “utter panic and apprehension” among the people in the state. “The attack by dangerous stray dogs has been happening on a daily basis in various parts of the state.There are reported incidents of stray dogs’ attacks on infants, children, old age people and pets,” he said. He said following repeated stray dog attacks, there is strong demand from the public in the state to kill dangerous stray dogs.

Louis Berger case: Ex-CM Digambar Kamat among 7 listed in charge sheet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Thursday filed charge sheet in the Louis Berger pay-off scandal naming senior Congress leader and former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat as the “prime conspirator”.Six others, including the then PWD minister Churchill Alemao, were also listed in the charge sheet in the scam in which the US firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials to win two water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati. The charge sheet, running into around 1,000 pages, was filed by Crime Branch before special court.Police also named Louis Berger official James McClung, former India Vice-President of the company Satyakam Mohanty, head of (Japan International Cooperation Agency) JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder, suspected Hawala dealer Raychand Soni and former Margao municipal council chairperson Arthur D’Silva.The accused are charged under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, and under sections 7,8 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.On July 21, 2015, the Crime Branch had registered an FIR against unknown ministers of then Congress government of 2010.The alleged bribery had come to light after Louis Berger company admitted to the violations under US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay penalty of USD 17.1 million to resolve the charge that it had bribed foreign officials. The Rs 1,031-crore project, funded by JICA, was approved when the Digamber Kamat government was in power for augmenting water supply in south Goa and laying sewerage lines in the state’s major cities.Louis Berger was part of a consultancy consortium appointed by two Japanese firms and an Indian partner for managing USD 311 million Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project awarded in 2009. Crime branch had interrogated Kamat many times during the probe. He had secured anticipatory bail from local court on August 19, 2015.Alemao was arrested on August 5, 2015 after he was called by crime branch officials to record his statement. In the interim charge sheet filed on September 29 last year, police charged Alemao and others under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.Kamat’s name was not included in that charge sheet though he was shown as a suspect. In the charge sheet filed today, crime branch has termed Kamat as the prime conspirator.”Kamat was instrumental in aiding then PWD minister Churchill Alemao in formation of different committees by approving the same for JICA project, contrary to JICA guidelines. Prime conspirator Digambar Kamat is also the criminal conspirator in concealing the main noting file of awarding JICA consultancy in Goa in connivance with other co-accused Alemao in order to hide the notings in the main file which would put light on the misdeeds of accused Wachasunder,” the charge sheet stated.

Check Maneka Gandhi’s unjustifiable stand on dog menace: Kerala minister urges Narendra Modi

Kochi: Congress MP and former Union Minister K C Venugopal on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “check” the “unjustifiable and rigid stand” taken by his cabinet colleague Maneka Gandhi in dealing with the growing stray dog menace in Kerala.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Alappuzha MP criticised the Union Women and Child Development Minister, who is stalling Kerala government’s move to kill “dangerous stray dogs, which create threat to the life of common people” calling it as “unlawful and unscientific”.

A day after a 90-year-old man was killed in stray dog attack in the state, he urged the PM to “clarify” the stand of the Union government in the matter.

He asked whether the Union government values human life or the dangerous animals which threatens humans.


Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi. AFP

“I would request the government to clarify the stand of the central government in this issue and remove all confusions in this regard. The public in Kerala is in anger and they need a solution in this matter as soon as possible.”

Venugopal said Maneka Gandhi has stated that Kerala Anti-Social (Prevention) Act (KAPA) should be used against those who kill stray dogs, “which has drawn wide criticism in the state where stray dogs have become a major menace.”

“I would also request the Prime Minister to take a favourable stand in this matter and to check the unjustifiable and rigid stand taken by the union Minister of Women and Child development,” the letter said.

He said repeated incidents of stray dog attacks in Kerala have created “utter panic and apprehension” among the people in the state.

“The attack by dangerous stray dogs has been happening on a daily basis in various parts of the state.There are reported incidents of stray dogs’ attacks on infants, children, old age people and pets,” he said.

He said following repeated stray dog attacks, there is strong demand from the public in the state to kill dangerous stray dogs.

Will contribute constructively to India’s NSG bid:New Zealand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The New Zealand on Wednesday committed to contribute “constructively” to the process leading to India’s membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Even though the commitment, made by visiting Kiwi prime minister John Key, during his bilateral discussions with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi is here is seen as alteration in the New Zealand’s opposition to India’s entry into the club, but it is also seen not a firm assurance to help India’s bid to enter into the elite club so soon. At the last NSG plenary meeting, it had teamed up with China, South Africa, Ireland, Turkey and Austria, to oppose India, raising the issue of its not signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Official sources here said New Zealand showed understanding of India’s clean energy needs and the importance of predictability in global rules on nuclear commerce in enabling the expansion of nuclear energy in India. “There is a process underway within the NSG on the membership issue. New Zealand conveyed that it would be constructively engaged on India’s membership of the NSG and would work with the others in the NSG,” they said.Referring to the ongoing ODI series between the two countries, Modi said some cricketing terms were apt description of the progress made in the two countries’ bilateral ties. “In a little while from now, our cricket teams will take the field in Ranchi for the fourth one-day international. In many ways, some of the cricketing terminology reflects progress in our bilateral linkages. In our ties, we have moved from fielding at long off to taking a fresh guard at the batting pitch. Defensive play has given way to aggressive batting,” Modi said. Key quipped that he is thankful to Modi for not raising his country’s poor performance in the series so far. New Zealand were whitewashed 0-3 in the Test series and are trailing in the ongoing five-match ODI series as well. “You have spoken about the cricket taking place in India but gracious enough not to be talking about the fact that India has been triumphing over New Zealand,” Key said in a lighter vein.The two sides also inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues. On security and counter-terrorism ties, Modi said they have agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security.Identifying food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation, Modi said New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both the societies. India has been revising double taxation avoidance pacts with countries with a view to check tax evasion and bring them in line with OECD norms.

Yeddyurappa acquitted by court, Cong terms CBI ‘pet performing poodle’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress on Wednesday gave CBI the sobriquet “pet performing poodle” in the wake of a court acquitting former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa in a corruption case.”If there is or was or continues to be any open and shut case of corruption and misconduct, is the case pertaining to Yeddyurappa”, party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters Wondering as to what the court could do when the prosecution turns into defence, he said that it became so in the case of Yeddyurappa. “The alleged caged parrot of yesteryears has become the pet performing poodle of this Government”, he said attacking CBI and alluding to Supreme Court’s description sometime back of the probe agency as “caged parrot”.He expressed apprehension that the CBI would not even appeal against the decision. “I do not want to prophesise but it may turn out to be correct that the CBI may not even appeal the decision”, Tewari said.He claimed that in the case there is a “complete and absolute subversion of the instrumentalities of the Indian State.” A special CBI court in Bengaluru today acquitted Yeddyurappa, his two sons, son-in-law and nine others in a corruption case, giving a boost to the political fortunes of the BJP leader ahead of 2018 Assembly polls.In a major relief for B S Yeddyurappa, a special CBI Court today acquitted the former Karnataka Chief Minister, his two sons, son-in-law and nine others in a corruption case, giving a boost to the political fortunes of the BJP leader ahead of 2018 Assembly polls. The corruption case related to illegal mining in Bellary that allegedly involved a bribery amount of Rs 40 crore.Pronouncing the judgement in a jampacked court hall, Judge R B Dharmagouder exonerated all the 13 accused in the case, stating the prosecution had failed to establish their guilt under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code. The verdict has given an impetus to Yeddyurappa, who was appointed state BJP chief in April this year ahead of the assembly elections due in 2018.”The prosecution has become unsuccessful in establishing the guilt of the accused, not only the offences made under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, but also under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, and hence this court acquits all the accused in the case,” the judge held in his more than 400-page verdict. Apart from 73-year old Yeddyurappa, who was the prime accused, his sons B Y Raghavendra, an MLA, and B Y Vijayendra, as also son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar and former minister S.N. Krishnaia Setty and nine others were cleared of the charges. Yeddyurappa, who had led BJP to its first ever government in the south in the 2008 assembly polls, was forced to resign as chief minister in August 2011 following indictment by then Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde in the Bellary illegal mining case.CBI had filed a chargesheet in 2012 against Yeddyurappa, his sons and son-in-law, Prerana Trust, managed by Raghavendra, M/s South West Mining Company and Bellary-based M/s JSW Steel for alleged abuse of official position and corruption. The charges were framed invoking Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the India Penal Code, as also various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.The chargesheet had alleged involvement of Rs 40 crore kickbacks, including Rs 20 crore that was allegedly paid to Prerana for granting favours, including mining licenses, during Yeddyurappa’s chief ministership from 2008 to 2011.A smile writ large on the face of Yeddyurappa, who was present in the court when the verdict was pronounced with his overjoyed sons exchanging pleasantaries with Sohan Kumar while emerging out of the court hall. Outside the court premises, supporters of Yeddyurappa broke into celebrations, hailing the judgement as they raised slogans in his praise and burst crackers. Soon after the verdict, Yeddyurappa in a tweet expressed his happiness, saying “Satyameva Jayate. Justice is done. I stand vindicated.Later speaking to reporters, a hugely relieved Yeddyurappa said, “I am happy that false allegations and politically motivated charges have been dismissed.” He said the court verdict had also come as a relief to BJP workers and given him a “new fillip” to bring back the party to power in the 2018 state polls. “This pronouncement has come as a relief to lakhs of BJP workers and provided a new vigour to me. I have a task on my hand to bring back the party to power in the next assembly elections. To this end, I will be touring all the constituencies to gather support for the party,” he said.The accused had been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption, according to the CBI chargesheet. The case had also seen Yeddyurappa spending about three weeks in jail in October 2011 before being granted bail. The genesis of the case goes back to a report submitted in July, 2011 by the then Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde who had indicted Yeddyurappa in his findings on alleged illegal mining.This had caused political turbulence in the state, costing the Lingayat strongman the chief ministership. Yeddyurappa has been cleared of charges in most of the graft-related cases but is still battling some more.

Maneka Gandhi writes to DoNER Ministry to put ban on illegal dog meat trade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, requesting him to put an end to illegal trade and consumption of dog meat in the north-east region and has also sought the intervention of NIA in tracing these traders as they indulge in drugs and arms trafficking.The letter cites Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011 which doesn’t allow dogs, cats and other animals to be slaughtered for food. The letter adds that dog meat consumption, therefore, is “illegal” and “cruel”.”I am writing to request you to please look into the blatantly illegal dog meat trade in Nagaland and Mizoram,” starts the letter which was written earlier this month.The letter also describes the brutal treatment meted out to the dogs while they are being smuggled. “In Nagaland alone, more than 30,000 dogs are illegally smuggled from neighbouring states in jute sacks where they have their mouth either tied our stitched shut. These animals are starved with no food or water and brutally beaten to death before they are torched and sold as meat to consumers,” the letter said.The letter then talks about how the same set of smugglers also indulge in drugs and arms trafficking. “There is not only illegal smuggling and slaughter of dogs but also smuggling of arms and ammunition along with narcotic drugs, blatantly carried out by the same gangs.””This is a serious cause for concern for the security of the region and I suggest that agencies such as the NIA (National Investigation Agency) must be asked to establish the persons involved in this thoroughly organised racket,” Maneka wrote.Attached with the letter is a survey in Nagaland carried out by Humane Society International (HSI) which estimates that at least 40 dogs per day and 15,000 dogs per year are sold each in Kohima and Dimapur. One kg of dog meat costs Rs 200 here and the consumption peaks during Christmas, according to HSI.No such estimates are cited for Mizoram. However, the letter mentions how Mizoram government had issued orders in 2007 to stop illegal trade of dogs but that has not been implemented. Unlike in China or Korea, dogs are not farmed in Nagaland and are instead smuggled from neighbouring states.According to Section 428 and 429 of IPC killing or maiming of any animal is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years and under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 killing an animal or offering it for sale can invite a jail term of 3 months.

No satisfactory material to call Sanatan Sanstha a ‘terror outfit’: Bombay HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government informed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that till date it has not found any satisfactory material to declare right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha as a “terror outfit” under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and ban it. A division bench of Justices NH Patil and PD Naik was hearing a petition filed by one Vijay Rokade seeking a ban on the organisation, members of which are alleged to have carried out terror activities in Panvel and Thane.The petitioner informed the court that the Maharashtra government, based on a report and material submitted by the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), had forwarded a proposal to the Union government in 2012 recommending ban on the group. The Union government, however, has till date not taken any decision on the proposal.The Union government’s lawyer told the high court that it had verified the state government’s proposal but were not satisfied with the material submitted by it, and had hence, asked the state government to submit further material in support of its proposal. “Show us the communication between the Union and state governments. All this cannot be orally stated. Submit before us all the letters sent and received by the Union and state governments within four weeks,” the bench directed.The court also sought to know under which law or provision can the Union government ban an organisation or trust that is governed by a state government Act. The petitioner’s advocate said under the provisions of the UAPA, the Union government can recommend ban on any organisation or group.In April 2012, the state government had filed an affidavit in the case claiming that the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) had addressed a letter to the Director of Union Home Ministry informing it that three cases regarding bomb blasts has been registered against Sanatan Sanstha. “The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the affidavit had said.

Decision on India’s NSG bid to be taken soon: New Zealand PM John Key

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.After the “productive” talks between the two Prime Ministers, the two sides inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues. Asserting that they had detailed and productive discussions on all aspects of the bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation, Modi at a joint media event with Key said, “I am thankful to Prime Minister Key for New Zealand’s constructive approach to the consideration of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”There was no clear word of support on India’s entry into 48-nation NSG from the visiting leader, who only said, “New Zealand would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.” Noting that they had a “detailed” discussion on India’s NSG bid, Key also said, “New Zealand is committed to working with NSG members to reach a decision as soon as possible.” New Zealand acknowledged the “importance to India of it joining the NSG”, a joint statement issued after the talks said, adding that India stressed that this would provide the predictability necessary for meeting India’s clean energy goals in the context of the Paris agreements.New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in nuclear material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).On security and counter-terrorism ties, Modi said they have agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. According to the joint statement, the two Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation, bilaterally as well as in the framework of UN and especially in 1267 Committee, to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations.”They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism. Both sides called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would contribute to the further strengthening of the international counter-terrorism legal framework,” it added. Asserting that trade and investment ties were one of the key areas during the talks, Modi said they recognised the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in the global economy. It was agreed that expanding business and commercial ties should continue to be one of the priority items of the partnership, he said, adding that the large business delegation accompanying Prime MinisterKey will witness firsthand the investment opportunities on offer in India’s growth story. Identifying food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation, Modi said New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both the societies. “We also agreed that actions by both governments should also promote greater business connectivity, including through movement of skilled professionals, between our two economies and societies. “In this regard, we have agreed to continue to work closely towards an early conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” he said.He further added that along side extensive bilateral engagement, the bilateral cooperation also extends to the global arena. On regional issues, the two sides have agreed to enhance cooperation, including in the East Asia Summit process. Noting that reform of international governance institutions is a shared priority for both of them, Modi said, “We are thankful for New Zealand’s support to India joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. “As we make our own contribution to the developmental efforts of the Pacific Island countries, we will continue to consult closely with New Zealand to complement and supplement each other’s efforts.”Modi also said it was a particular pleasure to receive Prime Minister Key in India during the festive season given that it was now a regular feature for the New Zealand Parliament to celebrate the festival of Diwali and, Key has also participated in several of these festivities.

ED issues fresh summons to meat exporter Moin Qureshi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ED had issued fresh summons to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi for questioning in a money laundering case on Wednesday after he recently managed to go out of the country despite a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him by the agency. It has also issued fresh summons to his wife and daughter.Officials said the Enforcement Directorate has asked Qureshi to report before its Investigating Officer (IO) next week here in connection with a criminal case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).The agency wants to expedite action against him, even as it is understood that the businessman has not returned till now. The officials said while the ED has questioned him in the past, some more recording of his statement is to be done in the said case. Qureshi had managed to leave for Dubai recently after showing a court order obtained in an Income Tax case, and not in the case for which the ED has issued the LOC.The Delhi-based meat exporter was briefly detained at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, based on the ED’s LOC on October 15, and the Immigration department had informed the agency about it. He then presented a court order in which there was no restriction on his flying abroad. The immigration officer checked for the veracity of the order and allowed him to fly. When the ED team reached the airport to take the meat exporter into custody, they were informed he had been allowed to fly on the basis of the court order.Later, the immigration officer realised that the order was in connection with an Income Tax case and not in the ED matter, prompting the authorities to order an inquiry. The ED had registered a case against Qureshi under PMLA last year. He is under the scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

Retired air force officer, former Andhra MP booked by CBI in corruption case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have registered a case under Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act against a retired officer of the India Air Force and a former Member of Parliament who represented the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh. According to the probe agency the retired air force officials allegedly helped the former Parliamentarian to acquire agricultural land in south-west Delhi’s Najafgarh area which has recently seen a surge in land investments real estate development.The charges against the accused also include that the two men, with the help of a Delhi based bank manager, allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during 2007 to 2012. The total amount of money involved in the case is to the tune of approximately Rs12 crore.The Indian Air Force officer has been identified as Polu Sridhar, who retired as a Squadron leader. CBI sources said that the politician allegedly involved in the case is Balashowry Vallabhaneni who was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India and represented the Tenali constituency of Andhra Pradesh.The agency has also booked Manish Saxena who was the then branch manager of Axis Bank. The three have been booked under section 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 109 of the Indian Penal Code. The agency also conducted searches at three locations that include Guntur, Hyderabad and Noida.According to CBI sources, transactions worth Rs11.96 crore were made through Axis Bank’s Najafgarh branch between November 2007 to December 2012. “The transfers were allegedly made between Mr Polu Sridhar and Mr Balashowry Vallabhaneni in between the said period. Three suspected transactions that have come to fore are one running to the tune of Rs8.49 crores, Rs1.27 crore and more than two crores. The transactions include cash deposits as well,”said a CBI source.The source added that the transactions were made possible with the help of Saxena who has been accused of allegedly conniving with the senior air force official.According to officials, the accused will likely be questioned in the coming week. “We have already conducted searches at the premises belonging to those names in the case. Further action will depend on the direction which the probe against the accused takes,”said a CBI official.

Aircel-Maxis case: Dayanidhi Maran refutes claims of pressurising Sivasankaran to sell stakes

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran on Thursday refuted before a special court CBI’s claim that he had pressurised a Chennai-based telecom promoter to sell his stakes in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

While arguing on framing of charges against him in the Aircel-Maxis case, the former union minister claimed that during the time period in which the alleged crime was committed, as claimed by the CBI, Chennai-based businessman C Sivasankaran was in talks with several other companies to sell his stakes in Aircel.

File image of Dayanidhi maran. AFP

File image of Dayanidhi maran. AFP

“There is no reason why I would try to facilitate a business transaction, which may even attract criminal charge, which was not even embryonic at that time. “Allegations against me are that I am trying to help in Aircel and Maxis business. Am I facilitating a deal which was non-existent,” the ex-minister’s counsel argued before Special Judge OP Saini.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Dayanidhi, said there were initial talks in 2004 with regard to this business. “Then Aircel tried to do business with several other companies and it was only in October 2005, the business transaction between Aircel and Maxis was finalised,” the counsel said.

CBI has claimed that Dayanidhi pressurised Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Maxis Group.
The agency had also claimed that the politician had forced Sivasankaran to sell his three companies to Malaysia’s Maxis Communication Berhad, also an accused in the case. The arguments on the point of framing charges remained inconclusive.

The court had earlier held it had the jurisdiction to try the matter against Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi Maran and others as the Aircel- Maxis deal “fairly and squarely falls within the description of 2G scam”.

The court’s order on jurisdiction issue had come as it dismissed the pleas of the Maran brothers and other accused challenging jurisdiction of the special 2G court to try two cases filed by CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the Airce-Maxis deal, claiming that these matters did not directly or indirectly fall into the category of 2G spectrum cases.

CBI had filed charge sheet against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall, T Ananda Krishnan, M/s Sun Direct TV (P) Ltd, M/s Astro All Asia Networks Plc, UK, M/s Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, and M/s South Asia Entertainment Holdings Ltd, Malaysia and then Additional Secretary(Telecommunication) late Dr JS Sarma.

They were chargesheeted for the offences punishable under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. All the accused persons have also moved bail pleas which are pending before the court.

The court had on 24 September, issued open warrants of arrest against Krishnan and Marshall on CBI’s plea stating that summons issued to them could not be served. The court had also ordered that the trial against Maran brothers and two accused companies be segregated from that of those based in Malaysia – Krishnan, Marshall, and two firms, Astro All Asia Network PLC and Maxis Communication Berhad, saying their appearance may take a long time which may lead to a delay in the proceedings.

Mohali: Stray dog’s eyes gouged out; three men arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident, a 4-year-old stray dog was badly beaten up and some sharp-edged weapon was pierced into her eyes allegedly by three persons in Mohali, police said on Monday. The incident took place on October 11 at Raipur Kalan in Mohali, they said.Three persons, who were identified as Makhan Singh, Dassa Singh and Harmeet Singh, were arrested on Monday on the charge of cruelty to animal. In this horrifying incident of cruelty to the animal, one of the eyeballs was left hanging out, police said.Pardeep Singh, a local resident, complained that when he heard the dog’s cries, he went out to see and found accused mercilessly beating the dog and gouging her eyes out. He claimed when he objected to the act, they yelled at him.Harjot, who lives in the same area, said their was blood all over the dog’s face. “I then took her to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in sector 38 in Chandigarh,” he said.Rakesh Sharma, the supervisor of the SPCA, said the dog has now turned completely blind, though it is fine now. “We will now take care of her throughout her life,” he said, adding the canine was also pregnant.Veterinary doctor R S Bajwa, who initially treated the dog, said the canine has now no chance of getting its vision back in its lifetime. On the basis of the compalint, the three accused were arrested under section 428 (mischief by killing or maiming the animal) of the IPC, Police Inspector (Sohana) Rajeev Kumar said today.

Meat exporter Moin Qureshi detained at IGI Airport over PMLA case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meat exporter Moin Qureshi has been detained at IGI Airport following lookout circular issued by ED against him in a PMLA case. ED has taken custody of Qureshi for questioning in the money laundering case.Accused of laundering over $100 million across the world through various channels – most notably his Pakistani wife Nasreen’s blood relatives and business associates – Qureshi was booked by the Enforcement Directorate in 2015 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).The ED had extensively questioned Qureshi earlier this year on laundering of money through companies based in Dubai and Pakistan and had gathered substantial information following raids on his uber posh house in Delhi’s tony Chhatarpur locality.The road to slapping of PMLA charges against Qureshi has not been easy. He has been as slippery as an eel and had been reluctant to partake in ED’s probe. Qureshi had in fact slipped away citing an emergency while he was questioned by the ED earlier this year.ED officials are yet to confirm whether they will slap similar charges against his wife Nasreen and daughters Pernia and Sylvia Qureshi, all of whom are alleged to have been used by Qureshi to illegally transfer the dirty money of influential people to safe havens abroad. The ED is tightlipped about whether they will be questioning French architect Jean Louise Denoit, who is also suspected to have been a conduit for Qureshi’s hawala transactions.dna had reported in the past about Qureshi’s links to former CBI director Ranjit Sinha and former Interpol chief Ronald Noble. dna had accessed Blackberry messenger transcripts of Qureshi and his associates that figured Sinha and Noble in the conversations and several dealings discussed by the hawala trader in those messages.If the ED is able to establish charges against Qureshi, he could face a maximum of 10 years in prison. However, given Qureshi’s influential links with the who’s who of Indian politics and business, the ED faces a gargantuan task. A lot of big fish have been linked to Qureshi – including prominent politicians of the ruling dispensation.In April this year, Income tax department had handed over dossier to ED, giving details of his foreign accounts and his several hawala routes to amass wealth disproportionate to his income. The Income Tax authorities had raided Moin Qureshi February last year and had seized more than Rs 20 crore cash and huge quantity of jewellery from his seven vaults.

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