No special hearing in BCCI CEO harassment case; SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused any special hearing in the sexual harassment case against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri.

Rashmi Nair, who claims to be a women issue activist, had filed the petition in the apex court and had insisted that there was every reason for BCCI Ombudsman D.K. Jain to revisit the case against Johri.

“Johri had a very colourful past in each and every organisation where he worked and he managed to get away with all allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by threat, coercion or greed,” the petition had said.

The petitioner also sought to know why the recently appointed ombudsman was not being handed the matter for investigation. Nair in her petition cited about three women who had raised the issue.

“The three women came for deposition but for some reason one woman did not depose and the other two deposed against Johri.

“After this team carried out the investigation, there was a difference of opinion between members — Justice (retd) Rakesh Sharma, Barkha Singh and Veena Gowda — and giving the benefit of doubt and clean chit despite one member (Gowda) found him guilty (sic).”

In the report of the independent inquiry by the committee, while Rakesh Sharma and Barkha Singh gave Johri a clean chit, Gowda had said that ‘the conduct of Rahul Johri at Birmingham, as a CEO of an institution such as BCCI is unprofessional and inappropriate which would adversely affect its reputation and the same has to be looked at by the concerned authorities’.

Johri had gone to the UK during the 2017 Champions Trophy.

A senior BCCI official had questioned the virtuousness of the Independent Committee itself as one of the members — Barkha Singh — was already a chairperson of Delhi and District Cricket Association’s (DDCA) internal complaints committee when appointed in the panel to look into allegations against Johri.

After the conclusion of the inquiry, the committee submitted its report to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and that was published on the BCCI’s website.

It read: “Since there is no consensus between the two members of the CoA regarding what action should be taken against Rahul Johri, the chairman stated that the natural consequence would be that Johri continues as the CEO of BCCI and is entitled to resume office.

“Diana Edulji (of the CoA) disagreed with this. However, the chairman reiterated that Rahul Johri should continue as the CEO of BCCI and resume his duties as a natural consequence.”

In her petition, Nair said there was every reason for Jain to revisit the case against Johri.



Ramalingam murder case; NIA conducts searches in TN

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday carried out searches in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli and Kumbakonam in connection with the murder of PMK functionary Ramalingam, officials said.

The NIA officials searched the office of Popular Front of India (PFI) in Tiruchirapalli and also the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district.

Ramalingam had questioned conversion attempts made by some Muslims in Thirubhuvanam locality in Thanjavur in February. He was later murdered by a gang.

The Tamil Nadu Police had registered a case, carried out a probe and arrested 11 persons. The probe was later transferred to the NIA.



CJI appears before probe panel in sexual harassment case

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday appeared before the in-house committee led by Justice S.A. Bobde, looking into allegations of sexual harassment against him by a former staffer of the Supreme Court, said an official source familiar with the proceedings.

The source said the committee had asked the Chief Justice Gogoi to appear for the in-camera proceedings. “He met the committee regarding the allegations leveled against him,” said the source.

The woman, who has alleged sexual harassment, withdrew from the proceedings of the committee on Tuesday. In a statement to the media, she expressed serious reservations over the panel, saying it was “an in-house committee of sitting judges junior to the CJI and not an external committee as I had requested.”

The committee comprises Justices S.A. Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The panel was re-constituted after the woman objected to the inclusion of Justice N.V. Ramana on the committee, as he was apparently a close friend of the Chief Justice. Justice Ramana immediately withdrew from the panel, and he was replaced by a woman judge.

In the three hearings scheduled until Tuesday, the woman said she felt “quite intimidated and nervous” in the presence of the three judges of the Supreme Court. The woman, in her statement to the media also said during the panel’s hearing on April 26, the judges told her that it was neither an in-house committee proceeding nor a proceeding under the Vishakha Guidelines and that it was an informal proceeding.

“I was asked to narrate my account which I did to the best of my ability even though I felt quite intimidated and nervous in the presence of three Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and without having a lawyer or support person with me,” said her statement.

The committee was formed after the woman levelled allegations against the Chief Justice reportedly in a letter to 22 judges of the Supreme Court.

After the allegations of sexual harassment surfaced on April 20, the CJI held an urgent hearing and he categorically denied the woman’s allegations.

The CJI termed it as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. “There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice,” he had said during the hearing.



Supreme Court acquits nine convicted in 1984 riots case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted nine persons convicted in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, giving them benefit of doubt for lack of evidence.

Those acquitted were convicted for fuelling riots in East Delhi’s Trilok Puri area.

In November last year, the Delhi High Court had upheld its verdict in the case following which the convicted persons appealed in the Supre Court.

“There was no evidence against these people and even eyewitnesses did not identify them directly,” the apex court said.

Those acquitted on Tuesday include Ganshenan, Ved Prakash, Tara Chand, Surendra Singh (Kalyan Puri), Habib, Ram Shiromani, Brahm Singh, Subbar Singh and Surendra Murti.



Court grants Kejriwal exemption in defamation case

A Delhi court on Tuesday granted exemption from personal appearance to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three others in a defamation complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajiv Babbar.

However, Additional Chief Metroplitan Magistrate Samar Vishal asked Kejriwal, Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Gupta, MLA Manoj Kumar and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Atishi to appear before the court on June 7, the next date fixed for hearing.

On March 15, the court issued summons to Kejriwal and the others to appear before it on April 30.

Advocate Mohd Irshad requested the court to grant exemption to all these political leaders as they are busy in political events in Delhi and Haryana.

The court was hearing the defamation case filed by Babbar, who has sought proceedings against Kejriwal and others for harming the reputation of the BJP by blaming the party for the deletion of names of “voters” from the electoral rolls in Delhi.

“All the accused made accusations against BJP in a calculated manner with the sole intention to portray a negative image of BJP in relation to the voters belonging to certain sections of society, namely, Bania, Poorvanchalis, Muslims, among others. The reputation of the complainant has been damaged beyond repair,” Babbar said.

Babbar has alleged that Kejriwal has not only defamed the BJP but also all the people who are associated with the party.

“The statement of the accused (Kejriwal) was made with ulterior motives to degrade the reputation of the BJP to gain cheap political mileage in the upcoming elections,” Babbar said in his plea.



CJI bench refuses to hear plea accusing Bhushan in Gogoi case

The Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation which claimed that noted advocate Prashant Bhushan had “admitted” that he was behind the sexual harassment allegation against the CJI.

When advocate M.L. Sharma metioned before CJI Gogoi that Bhushan has “admitted” his involvement in the case, Chief Justice Gogoi said: “Mention before some other bench, not this bench.”



Case filed against Delhi Minister for poll code breach

A case was filed against Delhi Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai for violating the Model Code of Conduct by distributing pamphlets without permission from the election authorities, a police officer said on Sunday.

“A case has been registered against Gopal Rai at Connaught Place Police Station based on complaint received from a flying squad of the Election Commission,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, Madhur Verma told IANS.

Rai was seen distributing the pamphlet without required clearance from the poll panel.



Delhi Police to file FIR against BJP Lok Sabha candidate Gambhir

Following the directives of the Election Commission (EC), the Delhi Police on Saturday registered a case against cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir for holding an election rally without taking permission, a police officer said on Saturday.

East Delhi Electoral Officer K. Mahesh on Saturday asked the police to take action against Gambhir for rallying in Jungpura on Friday without permission and violating the model code of conduct.

“We have registered Delhi Police (DP) Act against Gautam Gambhir and are taking action against him under Non Cognizable Report,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal said.

Atishi, tweeted, “”First, Discrepancies in nomination papers. Then, Criminal offence of having 2 voter IDs. Now, FIR for illegal rally. My question to @GautamGambhir: When you don’t know the rules, why play the game?


Now, Perambalur sexual abuse case post-Pollachi; Stalin

The DMK President M.K. Stalin on Friday said that even as the Pollachi sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case probe is yet to reach a conclusion, a similarly shocking incident in Perambalur district has come to light involving a leader of the ruling AIADMK party.

In a statement here, Stalin alleged that the new scandal involves innocent women being lured with the promise of job interviews to lodges where they were sexually abused and also forced to grant sexual favours to an AIADMK leader.

Referring to a complaint lodged by Advocate P. Arul with the Perambalur Police, Stalin said the victims were not voicing their trauma for fear of social repercussions.

Stalin said the police are trying to do a cover-up operation on the case lodged against the sexual predators.

The DMK leader demanded that the state government probe the sexual assault complaint and arrest the culprits.

Stalin also said that there would be change of government in the state after May 23, and the new aministration would investigate and take serious action against those officials who watered down the cases against the culprits in the Pollachi and Perambalur sexual abuse scandals.

By-elections to 22 state assembly constituencies are being held in Tamil Nadu along with the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

According to the complaint lodged by the advocate, a group of men would befriend housewives and college girls, lure them to lodges on the pretext of job interviews, and then sexually assault them.

The complaint also said the women victims were videographed and were blackmailed for further sexual favours.

The Perambalur All Women Police Station has registered a case in the matter against unknown persons.



CJI case; Justice Indu Malhotra second woman in panel

Justice Indu Malhotra will replace Justice N.V. Ramana on the three-member Supreme Court panel set up to look into allegations of sexual harassment, by a former court staffer, against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

The panel, comprising Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Indira Banerjee, was set up on Tuesday after a full-court meeting of all Supreme Court judges, except the Chief Justice.

The selection of judges for the panel was made by Justice Bobde, the number two judge as per seniority.

However, Justice Ramana recused himself on Thursday after the complainant raised objections on his inclusion, claiming he was a close friend of the CJI.

The complainant also sought appointment of women judges on the panel. In a letter to the earlier panel, she wrote: “Because of this I fear my affidavit and evidence will not receive an objective and fair hearing.”

In a letter recusing himself, Justice Ramana said: “I categorically reject these baseless and unfounded aspersions on my capacity to render impartial judgment in this matter.”

Clarifying his stand, he said his decision was based on “the intent to avoid any suspicion that this institution will not conduct itself in keeping with the highest standards of judicial propriety and wisdom”.

Justice Malhotra was a member of the Vishakha Committee that chalked out guidelines to address sexual harassment at workplace. She is also on the committee constituted to deal with in-house sexual harassment complaints in the court.

She is the second woman judge to be inducted in the apex court, after Justice R. Banumathi.



SC judge Ramana recuses from inquiry panel into CJI case

Supreme Court judge Justice N.V. Ramana has recused from a three-judge inquiry panel constituted to probe the allegations of sexual harassment made against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi by a former staffer of the top court.

The development came after the complainant wrote to the inquiry panel, objecting to Justice Ramana’s presence on the Committee. She alleged that Justice Ramana apparently shared a close friendship with the Chief Justice and that she apprehended that eventually she may not get a fair hearing.

The panel is headed by Supreme Court judge Justice S.A. Bobde and includes Justice Indira Banerjee besides Justice Ramana.

In her letter, the complainant said that Justice Ramana was apparently a frequent visitor to the residence of the Chief Justice and it appeared to her that the bond between the two is extremely strong and apparently the Justice Gogoi treats him like a family member.

She pointed out that on April 20, the day her affidavit was sent to the Supreme Court judges, Justice Ramana had dismissed her allegations while speaking in Hyderabad.

According to sources familiar with the matter, a new panel will be formed by the evening by drafting in a new Supreme Court judge into the Committee to inquire into the sexual harassment complaint against the Chief Justice.

The inquiry process will begin on Friday, the sources said, adding that the sudden recusal of Justice Ramana will not prejudice the process.



Delay in CBI probing Pollachi sex abuse case; Dhinakaran

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) General Secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran on Thursday questioned the inordinate delay in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Pollachi sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case.

In a statement here, Dhinakaran said more than 40 days had passed since the probe was transferred to the CBI from the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department (CBCID) and there appears to be no progress in the case.

He said that it is unclear whether the delay in the CBI probe has anything to do with the BJP and the AIADMK having sealed an electoral alliance.

Dhinakaran also said the state government should clearly specify which organisation is probing the Pollachi case, the current status of the investigation and clarify about the problems in transferring the case to the CBI.

On Wednesday, the CBCID told the Madras High Court that it has not heard from the CBI on the probe, and hence was constrained to continue with the investigation so that evidence is not lost.



Jairam Ramesh skips court in Doval defamation case

A Delhi court on Thursday asked Congress leader Jairam Ramesh to appear before it on May 9 after he skipped the hearing on Thursday in connection with a defamation case filed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s son Vivek Doval.

Jairam’s counsel moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance on Thursday before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who allowed his plea.

Jairam’s counsel told the court that he had to attend some rituals at his residence after his wife passed away some months ago.

The court directed him to appear on May 9.

Meanwhile, the court granted bail to The Caravan magazine Editor-in-Chief Paresh Nath and reporter Kaushal Shroff after they appeared before it in pursuance of summons issued against them.

In March, the court has summoned Ramesh and others in a defamation case, filed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s son Vivek Doval.

Observing that allegations made against Vivek Doval were “prima facie defamatory”, the court said there exists sufficient grounds to proceed against all the accused.

The court was hearing a defamation case filed against Ramesh and others by Vivek in connection with an article titled “The D-Companies”, published on January 16.



CJI case: SC asks IB, CBI, Delhi Police to look into evidence

The Supreme Court on Wednesday called the Directors of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Delhi Police Commissioner to look into the material furnished by advocate Utsav Bains in support of his allegations that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was framed in a false sexual harassment case.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman and Deepak Gupta will meet all the three officers.

Bains on Monday filed a sworn affidavit claiming that a conspiracy had been hatched against the Chief Justice. He blamed an airline founder, gangster Dawood Ibrahim and an alleged fixer and claimed that he was offered up to Rs 1.5 crore by one Ajay to level allegations against Chief Justice Gogoi.

The court asked Bains to appear in the court on Wednesday and produce materials in support of his claims. It also directed the Delhi Police to provide protection to Bains as he apprehended a threat to his life from the alleged conspirators.

After receiving the affidavit (submitted by Advocate Bains in a sealed cover), Justice Gupta said: “We are not disclosing anything about the affidavit. Very serious issues have been raised.”

Justice Mishra said: “It is something more than an inquiry, right now we are not on inquiry.”

When senior counsel Indira Jaising wanted to address the court on the harassment aspect of the “episode”, Justice Mishra said: “We should be more concerned with the contents of the affidavit than anything else.”

To Jaising’s argument that she was referring to a parallel inquiry and did not know the contents related to the conspiracy into the issue before the court, Justice Mishra said that the proceedings of the court were being disturbed.

Referring to a “very disturbing episode” where two court masters had to be sacked for changing the order of the court on the personal appearance of a corporate tycoon, Justice Mishra said: “This has been happening but no Chief Justice had the courage to take such action. But now action was being taken without fear.”

On finding that advocate Bains had not been provided with security as per its Tuesday order, the court directed that he be given security cover till further orders.

When Bains told the court that he wanted to file another affidavit on a critical piece of information that he was working on, Justice Mishra told him to write it in the affidavit with his hand or type it himself to ensure secrecy.




Modi surname; Case filed against Rahul Gandhi in Bihar

A case was filed against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a Bihar court for his reported statement that “all thieves have Modi as their surnames”.

A BJP leader Manoj Modi on Wednesday filed the case in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court in Purnea district.

The petitioner’s lawyer Delip Kumar Deepak said his client Manoj Modi was deeply hurt by Gandhi’s statement.

Last week Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi also filed a defamation case against Gandhi for the same reported statement.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had filed the case in the CJM court in Patna under Section 500 of the IPC. “Rahul defames and hurts the sentiments of everyone who has the Modi surname,” he had said.



Case against Union Minister Smriti Irani over degree controversy

A local Congress leader in Amethi has formally lodged a complaint with the Election Commission accusing Union Minister Smriti Irani of submitting wrong information about her educational qualifications in her affidavit.

In the affidavit accompanying her nomination papers filed on April 11, Irani had stated that her highest educational qualification was ‘Part 1 of Bachelor of Commerce from Delhi University in 1994′.

In a 2004 affidavit when she was contesting from the Chandni Chowk seat in Delhi, she had submitted that she did her BA in 1996 from the Delhi University (School of Correspondence).

In her 2011 affidavit alongside her Rajya Sabha nomination, she stated that her highest educational qualification was “B.Com. Part 1”.

Mohd Tauheed Siddiqui Najmi, head of Congress’ minority cell in Lucknow, alleged in his complaint that Irani, “in her affidavit, filed in 2014, had declared she had completed her graduation in commerce from DU. In her affidavit in 2019, she said B.Com part one was her highest qualification. How is that since 2004, Irani has shed her degree?”

The Congress leader has sought cancellation of the Minister’s candidature and registration of a case of forgery against her.



Sushil Modi files defamation case against Rahul

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday filed a defamation case against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his reported statement that “all thieves have Modi in their surnames”.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader told the media here that his lawyer filed the case in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court in Patna under Section 500 of the IPC.

He added that the court was likely to hear the case on April 22.

Sushil Modi had announced on Tuesday that he would be filing the case against Gandhi as it “it defames and hurts the sentiments of everyone who has the Modi surname”.

He has also objected to Gandhi’s ‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibe.



Poll code breach; Case lodged against Sidhu in Bihar

A case was lodged against cricketer-turned-politician and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for violating the Model Code of Conduct in Bihar’s Katihar district, police said.

According to district police officials, an FIR was lodged against Sidhu at Barsoi Police Station in Katihar based on the statement of a local magistrate.

The case was lodged in connection with Sidhu’s allgedly objectionable appeal to Muslims to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, while campaigning in Barsoi in Katihar parliamentary constituency.

Earlier in the day, Bihar BJP leaders had said they would make a complaint to the Election Commission against Sidhu.

Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC) Amit Kumar Pandey, who is the district’s nodal officer for Model Code of Conduct, took cognizance of Sidhu’s statement and asked the local administration to submit a CD of his speech at an election rally.

Pandey said if it was established that Sidhu made the appeal for vote on the basis of religion, the Election Commission would take appropriate action against him.

While canvassing support for veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Tariq Anwar, Sidhu urged Muslims to vote en bloc and defeat Modi.

Katihar is part of backward Seemanchal region having sizeable Muslim population, and their support or opposition could decide the outcome of polls.

Sidhu reportedly said: “Do not consider yourself as being in minority. You constitute the majority here. You are about 64 per cent. Do not fall into the trap laid by people like (Asaduddin) Owaisi (chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). They have been propped up by the BJP.

“Recognise your strength and vote en block to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Katigar will go to polls on April 18 in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.



The curious case of Chinese app TikTok rise in India

The rise of the Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok in India has been so spectacular over the past year that it is now nearly impossible for any social media user to not have come across its content.

These user-created videos that often contain memes, lip-syncing songs and sometimes sleazy posts regularly find ways to other popular social media sites including Facebook, WhatsApp and ShareChat. These are the platforms where most adult social media users are now getting introduced to TikTok.

For the young generation though, especially the teenagers and even younger kids, the app needs no introduction.

In fact, according to a new report from mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, out of the 18.8 crore new users that TikTok added globally in the first quarter of 2019, 8.86 crore were from India.

Globally, TikTok has far crossed 1.1 billion installs and in the first quarter of 2019, it emerged as the third most installed app in the world, ranking behind only Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, the analysis showed.

But how do you explain the dramatic rise of this app owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance?

“The rise of TikTok (formerly, highlights where the future of the Internet in India is: video,” leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy told IANS.

“Of the 500 million smartphone and mobile broadband users in India, well over 300 million consume predominantly or only video. And as we get the next 200 million online by 2020, the video-only share will rise to over 70 per cent,” he added, indicating the potential for further growth of video sharing apps in the country.

So far, the big drivers of Internet adoption in India have been WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook, with additional help from shopping and taxi apps, and some streaming services such as Hotstar.

“No other app before Tok really went to a video-only, and especially an interactive video platform. For instance, its ‘react’ feature lets users to film their reaction to a video and its ‘duet’ feature allows users to film a video aside another video,” Roy added.

Another reason for its growth is that the app allows people to express themselves even if they do not have the gift of the gab. So anyone who feel a little ostracized in platforms such as Facebook and Twitter may find solace on TikTok.

“TikTok caters to those who feel left out on other primarily-text platforms, either because of literacy or language inadequacy,” Roy pointed out.

However, the growth of TikTok has not been without its share of controversies.

Hearing a petition filed by an advocate, the Madras High Court earlier this month asked the Centre to ban the app, saying it “encourages pornography” and is spoiling the future of youths and the minds of children.

TikTok on Friday said as part of its commitment towards providing a positive in-app environment for its users in India, it had removed over six million videos that have violated its “Community Guidelines”.

TikTok also said it has stopped allowing users below 13 years to login and create an account on the platform.

“Unfortunately, social media has been an unsafe space and a platform like this (TikTok) which draws children in, and therefore possible predators, needs to be used with care,” Roy said.



Supreme Court closes Enron-Dabhol kickback case

The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted a plea by the Maharashtra government to end the Enron-Dabhol power project case.

Allegations had been made that kickbacks were received by politicians and bureaucrats to clinch the deal.

The case involved the alleged criminality in power purchase agreement between the Maharashtra State Electricity Board and the Dabhol Power Co on November 8, 1993.

Closing the case, the court observed that the case was long delayed.



SC denies bail to Lalu Prasad in fodder scam case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused bail to former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad in the multi-crore fodderscam case.

Kapil Sibal appearing for Lalu Prasad cited judgement of the Supreme Court where the court had in similar case granted bail to a petitioner. Sibal said Lalu Prasad has already served 22 months in the cases.

CJI replied that he has to serve the sentence in each case.

“There is no demand and recovery and this is a case of conspiracy,” Sibal said.

To which, the Chief Justice said: “I’don’t think we can grant you bail,” and dismissed the Special Leave Petition

The fodder scam, exposed in 1996, involved the embezzlement of around Rs 1,000 crore from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle in the early 1990s.

The RJD chief has been lodged in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Jail since a Central Bureau of Investigation court convicted him in three cases related to the scam. He already faces more than 13 years in jail.