CBI to oppose Lalu Prasad’s bail in fodder scam case

The CBI on Tuesday later will oppose the bail plea of RJD chief Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wants the court to dismiss Lalu Prasad’s plea that has been sought on medical grounds.

The agency said the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader wants to actively participate in political campaigning and activities related to the Lok Sabha elections starting April 11, and his medical reasons are just excuses.

The CBI advocate sought courts permission to file an affidavit opposing Lalu Prasad’s bail plea claiming that the former Bihar Chief Minister has in the garb of illness successfully managed to spend most of his jail time in a special hospital ward ever since his conviction in the case.

Many top level politicians have even visited him. The CBI said Lalu conducted political activities from the special ward in the hospital.



Lawyer Gautam Khaitan moves bail in black money case

Lawyer Gautam Khaitan on Tuesday moved his bail plea in a Delhi court in a money laundering and black money case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar sought the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) response on Khaitan’s plea and listed the matter for further hearing on April 9.

It is the second bail moved by Khaitan. On March 12, the court rejected Khaitan’s bail plea.

Currently in judicial custody, Khaitan was arrested on January 25, a week after the Income Tax department searched his offices and other properties in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

On March 25, the ED filed a chargesheet in the money laundering case.

The agency said Khaitan was “controlling” the modus operandi and was responsible for routing money, misusing his connections and clients, including the ones inherited from his father, to launder money through a variety of accounts in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore, Tunisia, Switzerland, the UK and India.

The ED officials said that the accounts included those belonging to his undisclosed shell companies outside India.

The ED had filed a money laundering case against Khaitan and others based on a case lodged by the Income Tax Department under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act.

Khaitan was earlier arrested in September 2014 for his alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

He got bail in January 2015 but was again arrested along with Sanjeev Tyagi, another accused in the case, on December 9, 2016, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He later secured bail.

The CBI chargesheet had described Khaitan as the brain behind the AgustaWestland deal.



Robert Vadra gets bail in money laundering case on Monday

A court here on Monday granted bail to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate, which questioned Vadra several time, had opposed the bail saying his custodial interrogation was necessary for the probe.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Vadra’s anticipatory bail in the case related to his ownership of overseas assets worth 1.9 million pounds to evade tax.

The court also allowed anticipatory bail for his aide Manoj Arora.

The court asked them to furnish a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh each and one surety of a similar amount each.

They have been ordered not to leave the country without permission and join the probe whenever required.

The court also ordered the accused not to tamper with the probe or try to influence witnesses in the case.


Business India

Deepak Talwar case; ED attaches Rs 120 cr Delhi hotel

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said it has provisionally attached Holiday Inn hotel worth Rs 120 crore in connection with a money laundering case against aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

The hotel is located at Aerocity in Delhi and valued at around Rs 120.20 crore, it said.

Investigation against Talwar was initiated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in August 2017 on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry, National Aviation Co of India Ltd, Air India and unknown private persons, the ED said in a statement.

“It has been revealed that Deepak Talwar illegally engaged in liasoning/lobbying with politicians, ministers, other public servants and officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation for airlines such as Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways for securing undue benefits for them.

“He illegally managed to secure favourable traffic rights for these airlines during 2008-09 at the cost of national carrier Air India,” the investigative agency said.

Investigations revealed that in lieu of securing favourable traffic rights, these airlines made payments to the tune of Rs 272 crore to Talwar in 2008-09, it added.

The ED alleged that Talwar created a web of entities owned by him and his family members in India and international offshore havens to launder the proceeds of crime.

“Part of these payments were made to a bank account in Bank of Singapore, belonging to a company – M/s Asiafield Ltd – registered in the British Virgin Islands and beneficially owned by Deepak Talwar.

“These proceeds of crime were layered through a series of international money transfers, to finally integrate in India in M/s Wave Hospitality Pvt Ltd, a company beneficially owned and controlled by Deepak Talwar and his family members in the name of his son Aditya Talwar,” it said.

“These proceeds of crime were then utilized in the construction of Holiday Inn in Aerocity, New Delhi,” it added.

Talwar fled the country in 2017 to avoid investigation. He was deported by immigration authority of Dubai on January 31 and arrested under PMLA. He is now in judicial custody.

The agency said that further investigation was in progress.



Delhi court asks DCP to appear in JNU sedition case

A Delhi court on Friday asked a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) to appear before it on Saturday in connection to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat’s direction came after the Delhi Police failed to explain the cause of delay in getting sanction to proceed with the case.

At its last hearing, the court questioned the police why it filed a chargesheet in haste without getting sanction from the Delhi government to initiate proceedings against the accused former student leaders.

The court had also told the Delhi government not to sit on the police file seeking sanction to proceed in the case.

The case involves a February 2016 event organised in the JNU campus against the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

The chargesheet was filed on January 14. It named former student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students as accused.



SC seeks CBI response on DA case against Mulayam, Akhilesh

The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the CBI on the steps taken by it in pursuance to its preliminary enquiry into alleged disproportionate assets (DA) of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Prateek Yadav.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) two weeks’ time to respond to the plea by the applicant Vishwanath Chaturvedi seeking to place before the top court the investigation report carried out in pursuance to the apex court’s March 1, 2017 and December 13, 2012 orders.

“Issue notice returnable in two weeks,” said the court order on Monday.

The top court had on March 1, 2007 directed the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry (PE) against the SP chief, his sons Akhilesh Yadav and Prateek Yadav, and Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav over the allegations of their possessing disproportionate assets.

The investigating agency, which had registered the PE on March 5, 2007, had by its October 26, 2007 status report said that on the basis of its PE, registration of a regular case under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is warranted against Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and others.

The top court by its December 13, 2012, order had declined the plea by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and his brother Prateek Yada, to revisit its March 1, 2007 order directing a CBI probe into the allegation of their possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

However, by its December 13, 20912 order, the top court had dropped probe against Dimple Yadav, saying that she was not holding any public office during the period the Yadavs allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.



No link with Pollachi sex case accused; Congress leader

In a twist in the Pollachi sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case, Tamil Nadu Congress leader Mayura Jayakumar on Thursday said that he had no links with main accused Thirunavukkarasu, but the latter might have visited him on the date of the crime as registered in the FIR.

Speaking to reporters here, Jayakumar, who said he was here on summons from the Crime Branch’s Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) to corroborate Thirunavukkarasu’s statement, said that he had come here on February 12, and many party leaders had come to wish him becoming the state Congress’s Working President.

Denying any previous links with Thirunavukkarasu, he said it was local Congress leader Rajasekhar who had brought some people from Pollachi during his visit and he had given a statement to this effect to CBCID.

On his part, Rajasekhar said about 20 people from Pollachi, including Thirunavukkarasu and his father Kanagaraj, had gone to Coimbatore on February 12 to greet Jayakumar at about 10 a.m. and started back at about 2.30 pm.

Thirunavukkarasu had told the CBCID that he was at the Congress party office here along with his father and others to wish Jayakumar on his elevation.

The Pollachi police had registered a FIR based on the complaint from a girl that she was sexually abused and robbed of gold chain by Thirunavukkarasu and his friends inside a car on February 12.

Four persons — Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar — all in their 20s, have been accused of sexually assaulting women in Pollachi and filming the act to blackmail them for money or for physical submission for over seven years.



Nine sentenced to life in Dinakaran arson attack case

The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench on Thursday sentenced, to life imprisonment, nine people convicted in the 2007 Dinakaran newspaper burning case which left three persons dead.

The court also sentenced seven other accused to five-year jail terms.

The High Court’s verdict came on an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the lower court acquitted all the accused.

The High Court also ordered the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 500,000 to the families of the three employees of Dinakaran daily – Gopinath, Vinod and Muthuramalingan – who were killed in the attack.

Amongst the accused sentenced for life is V.P. Pandi also known as `Attack Pandi’, a supporter of former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, who was expelled from the DMK some years back.

In 2007, the Dinakaran daily published a survey report on who would be the preferred successor for late DMK President M.Karunanidhi.

As per the survey, Alagiri was ranked below Stalin which angered the supporters of the former and they attacked the daily’s office in Madurai with petrol bombs, resulting in fire and death of three employees.



Pollachi abuse case; Shops, hotels shut in protest

Shops and hotels downed their shutters in Pollachi on Tuesday in protest against the sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case that hit the Tamil Nadu town.

“It is an apolitical protest demanding punishment to all the culprits. Almost all the shops have downed their shutters as people of the town are shocked at the sordid episode. There may be one or two shops open here and there,” K. Mahalingam, Taluk Secretary of the CPM told IANS from Pollachi.

He said permission for a rally slated for Tuesday was denied.

Mahalingam also demanded a fresh probe into the suicides of girls that happened during the last seven years.

Echoing him was R. Ganesh, District Secretary (South) of Pattali Makkal Katchi party.

“All the shops are shut except pharmacies. Couple of vegetable shops selling perishables are open but they too will be closed soon. Autorickshaws too are not plying.”

The picturesque Pollachi part of Coimbatore district is located about 543 km from here.

Four persons — Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar — all in their 20s, have been accused of sexually assaulting women in Pollachi and filming the act to blackmail them for money or for physical submission for over seven years.



Supreme Court moved for fair probe into Pollachi case

Delhi-based lawyer Rajarajan on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking “free, fair, impartial investigation” into Pollachi sexual assault case and protection to the victims and their family members.

Rajarajan has demanded that the report of the probe, now being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, is submitted to the Supreme Court.

Seeking protection and necessary safeguards for the victims and their immediate family members, the lawyer has sought direction that the trial of the case should be held outside Tamil Nadu.

Rajarajan has also sought initiation of departmental inquiry against Coimbatore Rural Superintendent of police R. Pandiarajan for revealing the identity of the victim.

The Pollachi sexual assault case has rocked the political corridors of Tamil Nadu as opposition’s DMK-led Secular Front has demanded a High Court-monitored CBI probe into the case.



Pollachi sex abuse case; Kamal Haasan hits out at Chief Minister

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) leader Kamal Haasan on Friday lashed out strongly at the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami for its silence on the Pollachi sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case.

In a video clip uploaded in his Twitter account, Kamal Haasan attacked the state government for its inaction and threatening the complainants/victims.

Kamal Haasan charged the government with revealing the name of the victim and scaring away the students who protested on the road by manhandling them.

The students who came to register their just anger in an honest manner were removed forcibly by the police. The students are asking whether this police force would ensure their safety, Kamal Haasan said.

“Don’t you hear Mr.CM?” Kamal Haasan said.

Recalling late Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa’s statement that sexual assault on women will be considered as a serious crime and will be probed by senior officials, Kamal Haasan said the government has not done anything to protect the victims.

He said the police officer investigating the case had revealed the name of the victim in a press meet. The current AIADMK claiming to run the government on the footsteps of Jayalalithaa has not taken any action and wondered how it can be so careless and lethargic in this regard.

Two days after that a video of the victim comes out and how, he wondered.

He also wondered why the government does not show the same alacrity in saying that the culprits will be punished as it does in saying that the accused in the sexual abuse case are not connected to the AIADMK.


Science & Technology

Huawei develops own operating systems (OS) in case of Android ban

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has confirmed that it has developed its own proprietary operating systems (OS) and is ready to implement those in case its legal battle with the US leads to a ban on the export of US-made products and services such as Android and Windows.

The world’s second-largest handset player by market share currently uses the Android OS for its handsets and Microsoft’s Windows for its laptops and tablets.

“Huawei has built its own operating system for smartphones and computers in case it is suddenly blocked from using US software from Microsoft and Google,” the CNBC reported on Friday.

Chinese technology giant Huawei filed a lawsuit against the US government last week as a “last resort” to get a federal ban on the use of its products lifted.

The lawsuit, filed in a US District Court in Texas challenges the constitutionality of Section 889 of the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed by President Donald Trump in August last year.

A Canadian court had earlier ruled that Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s initial extradition hearing will take place on May 8.

Wanzhou faces fraud charges in the US, where an indictment unveiled in January accused her of deceiving banks into approving transactions that may have violated unilateral US sanctions against Iran.



DMK Front for court-monitored probe into Pollachi case

The DMK-led Secular Front in Tamil Nadu on Friday demanded a High Court monitored CBI probe into the Pollachi serial sexual assault and blackmailing case.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of all the alliance partners headed by the DMK here.

It said the High Court should devote special attention as it is done in idol theft cases and ensure that none of the accused were allowed to go scot free.

Alleging that those belonging to the ruling AIADMK were involved in the crime, the resolution claimed that efforts were being made to hide the truth.

“The way Goondas Act was slapped on the four arrested accused, ordering of a CB-CID probe and then issuing a (order) transferring the case to CBI and subsequent steps only showed that efforts are being made to protect the accused,” it alleged.

“If justice has to prevail, a High Court monitored probe by the CBI is a must to ensure that all those involved are given stringent punishment,” it said.

Alleging that the crime had been on for the last seven years, the resolution also condemned the state government for releasing the name of the victim who had lodged a complaint and said it would prevent other victims from coming forward to lodge their complaints.

“Full justice will be ensured only if all those involved in this heinous crime are arrested and investigated,” it said.

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday issued an order transferring the probe in the case involving sexual assault and blackmailing of several women in Pollachi by a group of people to the CBI.

The order, transferring the case to the CBI, was issued two days after Director General of Police (DGP) T.K. Rajendran ordered a CB-CID probe after the incident created a furore.

The four accused, including mastermind Thirunavukarasu, were detained under the Goondas Act following a direction from Coimbatore District Collector K. Rajamani on recommendations from Coimbatore Rural Superintendent R. Pandiarajan.

The four, Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar, all in their 20s, were accused of sexually assaulting many young women in Pollachi over a period of time and filming the act.

The mobile phones seized from the accused had videos of at least 40 women who the accused had allegedly blackmailed for money and sexual favours.

The Thursday order said that DGP Rajendran, on a complaint from a college student on February 24 that she was physically and sexually harassed by a group of men inside a car, cases were registered at Pollachi East Police Station under Sec 354-A, 354-B and 392 of IPC (Central Act XLV of 1860) and Sec 66-E of IT Act, 2000 and Sec 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998 (Tamil Nadu Act 44 of 1998) against the four accused who were later arrested and sent to judicial custody.


India World

‘Vijay Mallya case a template for Nirav Modi extradition’

India’s securing of extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya offers “a template” for a similar outcome in the Nirav Modi case, a renowned London legal firm specialising in extradition cases said on Tuesday.

“Further to the Vijay Mallya case, India now has a template to refer to when dealing with the extradition procedure of Nirav Modi from the UK. The good news is that the UK’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid, has already set things in motion, by agreeing to the extradition request,” Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder and Senior Partner at Zaiwalla & Co. LLP, said in a statement.

Zaiwalla, a prominent lawyer of Indian descent, however, noted that the process could be delayed if the absconding diamantaire, who along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, fled India after defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,000 crore, has applied for asylum in Britain.

In this case, the extradition proceedings are not likely to begin until the asylum application has been rejected, he said.

Zaiwalla suggested that the Indian government’s next step should be to “make a formal written representation to the relevant asylum department at Home Office setting out the grounds why Nirav Modi should not be granted asylum” as he faces allegation of fraud in India.

The next steps after Nirav Modi’s asylum application is rejected will echo the Vijay Mallya case proceedings – starting from being directed to Westminster Magistrate, taken into provisional custody, applying for bail, and then the court will hear his plea, he said.

Once the court rules for his extradition, the Home Secretary will be expected to once again sign the order for compliance.

“At this stage, the case looks straight forward,” Zaiwalla said, but cautioned that complications can only arise if Nirav Modi has acquired any European or other international citizenship.

“In such cases, there might be a long battle ahead, subject to various international and extraterritorial legalities involved.”

On Nirav Modi now reportedly operating another diamond business from Soho in Central London, he said that this would imply the diamantaire had secured a National Insurance Number – a form of tax reference for operating a business/working in the UK.

Noting that this comes as there is an Interpol red notice – to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition – against him, Zaiwalla said that such notice is not an international arrest warrant, “but merely a provisional request to detain an individual” which is purely optional for the country concerned.




Delhi Police questioned over filing of JNU sedition case chargesheet

A Delhi court on Monday questioned the city police on why it filed a chargesheet in the JNU sedition case in haste without getting sanction from the state government to initiate proceedings against the accused former student leaders.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat’s question came after the public prosecutor informed him that it will take another two to three months for getting prosecution sanction from the competent authority.

Sherawat listed the matter for further hearing on March 29 and sought a report from the Delhi Police regarding the case.

In the last hearing, the court told the Delhi government not to sit on the police file seeking sanction to proceed in the case.

The case involves a February 2016 event organised in Jawaharlal Nehru University against the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

The chargesheet was filed on January 14. It named former JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students as accused in the case.

Both Kumar and Khalid have questioned the filing of the charge-sheet, saying it was “politically motivated” and a “diversionary ploy” by the Modi government ahead of the general elections.



The 3 mediators on Babri Masjid-Ayodhya title dispute

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered mediation to settle the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute case by a three-member panel.

The members comprise two legal eagles, both proponents of their field and a spiritual leader with a massive following. A brief look at the three who would be leading the mediation for the resolution of the case, which has been dragging on since 1992 and has kept the country on its toes with an anxious fervour.

Retired Judge Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla: The Supreme Court retired judge, who has been appointed to head the mediation committee, began his legal career in 1975 with law firm T.S. Gopalan & Co. He rose through the ranks to become a judge at the apex court in 2012, when he was sworn in by the then Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia. The Tamil Nadu born judge was made Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2011 after serving as acting Chief Justice for two months. Kalifulla retired from the profession in July 2016 .

Sriram Panchu: Panchu, also named to be a member of the committee, is a known and expert mediator who founded The Mediation Chambers in 2005. He is the president of the Association of Indian Mediators and a director on the board of the International Mediation Institute (IMI). He set up India’s first court-annexed mediation centre in 2005. Panchu was appointed by India’s Supreme Court to mediate a 500-square kilometre dispute between the states of Assam and Nagaland, and another public dispute involving the Parsi community in Bombay.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A noted spiritual leader known for his mediation skills in several social disputes.



Ayodhya temple dispute; SC reserves order on mediation in case

A five-judge Constitution Bench on Wednesday reserved its order on sending the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya title dispute case for mediation even as the Hindu parties including the state of Uttar Pradesh opposed the court’s suggestion. 

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the order on the matter as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Uttar Pradesh said, “It (mediation) will not be advisable and prudent to take this path.”

Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, who appeared on behalf of the deity Ram Lala, opposed the mediation and told the court that the birth place of Lord Ram was a matter of faith and belief and they cannot take a contrary view in the mediation.



Telangana Police intensify probe into data theft case against IT Grids

The Telangana Police on Tuesday intensified investigations into data theft allegations against IT Grids India Pvt Ltd, with four teams on the lookout for its Chief Executive Officer D. Ashok.

Cyberabad police officers investigating the case conducted further searches at the office of the IT firm in Madhapur, the IT hub here.

Police sources said Ashok, the main suspect, is suspected to be in Andhra Pradesh.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar’s had asked Ashok on Monday to surrender along with the data and other material. However, he did not appear before the investigators.

A case against IT Grids, which provides IT services to Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was filed on March 2 at Madhapur police station following a complaint by whistleblower T. Lokeswara Reddy.

The complainant alleged that the company used confidential data for ‘Sevamitra’, an app for TDP cadres for voter profiling, so that ‘anti-TDP’ voters can be deleted from voter list.

Sajjanar said they were investigating how the company got illegal access to private data of citizens of Andhra Pradesh.

Police had seized electronic gadgets, hard discs, mobile phones, documents and other material from their office.

A notice has been issued to Amazon Web Services for production of database relating to application and other data. “We are also writing to UIDAI and Election Commission for more details,” the police officer said.

Meanwhile, the two states continue to spar over the case. TDP and Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) traded allegations against each other.

The TDP government argued that Telangana Police have no power to investigate a case relating to Andhra Pradesh data while TRS defended the action against IT Grids saying the complaint was lodged in Hyderabad and the company was also based in the city.

TRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao on Tuesday took to Twitter to launch a fresh attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

“As per reports, there is enough evidence that a private organisation got hold of confidential data of 3.5 crore AP citizens without any consent of citizens. Is that why AP CM is getting jittery when Telangana Police are investigating the data theft case?,” asked Rama Rao.

“By obstructing Telangana Police and filing false petitions in courts, AP CM is only indirectly confirming his role in leaking personal information of crores of AP citizens to a private organisation,” said the TRS leader.


Business India

ICICI-Videocon case; ED raids Kochhar, Dhoot homes

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday carried simultaneous raids at the residences of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot in connection with an ongoing probe into alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of Rs 1,875 crore loan by the bank to the corporate group.

The agency searched Kochhar’s south Mumbai and Dhoot’s Aurangabad residence.

Earlier the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had searched Nupower Renewables and Dhoot’s office in Mumbai and Aurangabad.

This is the first time that the ED conducted a raid at the Kochhar residence.

The ED had registered a case of money laundering in February on the basis of a CBI FIR. In January, the CBI had raided four locations in Mumbai related to the case.

Kochhar is accused of “sanctioning loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat the ICICI Bank”.

The FIR followed a preliminary enquiry (PE) instituted on March 31, 2018, against Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine whether any wrongdoing was involved in the sanctioning of loan by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium.

In January, Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee that probed the allegations against Kochhar found that she violated the bank’s code of conduct in dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties in the case of loans to Videocon that had routed a part of the money to a company owned by her husband Deepak.



Kerala HC accepts plea for woman judge in actress abduction case trial

The Kerala High Court on Monday accepted the plea for a woman judge to try the infamous actress abduction case in which superstar Dileep is an accused.

Ruling in favour of the actress’s petition seeking a woman judge, the court picked Honey Varghese, presently a judge in the special court for Central Bureau of Investigation cases, for conducting the trial.

It directed that the trial should be completed in nine months time.

The court on Monday dismissed Dileep’s petition seeking to be made party in the hearing on the actress’s petition and also dismissed prime accused Pulsar Suni’s petition against a woman judge.

The young actress was allegedly abducted on February 17, 2017 while she was on way to Kochi from Thrissur. Suni drove her around for two hours around Kochi before she was dropped near the home of director-actor Lal, who informed the police.

Dileep was arrested after two rounds of questioning on July 10, 2017, for his alleged role in the conspiracy hatched for the abduction. He secured bail after being in jail for 85 days.

His former wife Manju Warrier is one of the witnesses in the case.



Akbar case; Journalist Priya Ramani gets bail on Monday

A Delhi court on Monday granted bail to journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted bail to Ramani asking her to furnish a personal bond and surety of Rs 10,000 each.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on April 10.

Ramani appeared before the court in pursuance of summons issued against her in the defamation case filed by the former Minister of State for External Affairs after Ramani named him in a case of misconduct.

She was the first in a long list of women journalists to accuse the former Minister and journalist-turned-politician of sexual harassment.

The allegations against Akbar, 68, dated back to his former career in journalism.

Ramani revealed in October 2018 that an article she wrote in 2017 about an unnamed editor’s predatory behaviour was in fact about M.J. Akbar.

She said he was as “talented a predator” as he was a writer. Several other women since have come forward with stories about him.

Akbar has denied the allegations made against him and said they were “false and imaginary”.

The statements of seven witnesses, including that of Akbar, who is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party, have been recorded in the defamation case.