Rebel AAP lawmaker Kapil Mishra files another affidavit in disqualification case

Rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker Kapil Mishra, who recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in an additional affidavit in the Delhi High Court has linked his disqualification from the Assembly to his raising of “the corruption of the Chief Minister and other Ministers of Delhi government”.

Mishra said he had lodged complaints before various investigating authorities, highlighting corruption and irregularities by the Chief Minister and some Cabinet Ministers.

The Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel initiated anti-defection proceedings against Mishra on January 27 after he shared stage with some BJP leaders at an election event and disqualified him from the House through August 2 order.

Mishra in his affidavit said he visited BJP MP Vijay Goel”s residence where he met Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari. “Under no law, this visit of the petitioner can even remotely be equated to voluntarily resignation from the party,” he said and termed the allegations and conclusions drawn by the Delhi Speaker as illegal and unconstitutional.

Mishra, who joined the BJP on August 17, has sought quashing or setting aside of the August 2 order.

“The proceedings and the order is clearly in violation of law of natural justice and fair play, ultra vires to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution and being outside the purview of the ”Members of Delhi Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Grounds of Defection) Rules, 1996”,” read the petition.

The Delhi Speaker, Mishra said, behaved like the “head of a disciplinary committee of the AAP and took cognizance of a petition that has no relation with the power balance in the Assembly or with the stability of the government.”

Mishra has alleged he was not provided an opportunity to explain by the Speaker “his case on merits and also not permitted him to lead the evidence, did not allow him to summon the witnesses (list of which was submitted by petitioner), knowingly and deliberately in a clandestine manner avoided the cross-examination of MLA Saurav Bhardwaj by him.”

Mishra, who campaigned for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, was disqualified under the anti-defection law on a complaint by Bharadwaj.

The matter, earlier being heard by Justice Vibhu Bakhru, will now be listed before another Bench on September 4 as the roster of the high court changed with effect from August 23.



News portal files complaint against Meghalaya Police

Guwahati, Aug 16 Northeast Now, a Guwahati-based regional news portal, has filed a complaint against the Meghalaya Police”s move to gag the media, its spokesperson said here on Friday.

The spokesperson said the portal lodged the complaint with the Press Council of India, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, Indian Journalists Union, Editors” Guild of India, Digital News Publishers Association of India and the Journalist Association of Assam.

The complaint said that successive insistent communications from the Meghalaya Police have raised a serious question about their intentions to gag the media.

“We fear that a section of the police personnel are preparing grounds for the assault on the media with a political game-plan,” Northeast Now”s Editor-in-Chief of Anirban Roy said.

On Tuesday, MGT Sangma, a Special Superintendent of Police (CID) of the Meghalaya Police, had sent a notice under Section 91 CrPC to Northeast Now, asking the news portal to immediately remove a report and also to “provide the authenticity of the source of information” to the state police force.

On August 10, Northeast Now had reported that former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma might join the Bharatiya Janata Party, on the basis of credible information from unidentified sources.

Despite the pressure from Meghalaya Police, the portal stood by the report and did not remove it.

“There is no provision in the Constitution of India which authorises any police officer of the rank of SSP to force a media organisation for removal of a news report, and order journalists to reveal the source of information,” Roy said on Friday.

“To our surprise, on August 14, G.K. Iangrai, Assistant Inspector General (A) of Meghalaya police issued a press release, claiming that ”no journalistic privilege protects media organisations from disclosing their source of information as and when required”.”



ED files case against Bengaluru firm for Ponzi scheme

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a money laundering case against city-based IMA Jewels for operating an alleged Ponzi scheme and swindling crores of rupees from thousands of investors, an official said on Friday.

“We have filed an enforcement case information report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on a complaint the city police registered against IMA and its Managing Director Mohammed Mansoor Khan,” an ED official told IANS here.

Though police filed the case on June 11 under sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a Special Investigation Team (SIT) is probing scam as directed by the state government.

“We will collect a copy of the documents the SIT has seized from the IMA office in the city centre and also go through the petitions about 26,000 investors from across the state filed since June 11 against IMA and Khan for allegedly duping them of their savings,” the official said.

According to preliminary investigation and perusal of records at the city airport, Khan flew out of Bengaluru on June 8 night to Dubai with heavy luggage, three days after Eid-ul-Fitr.

“Hundreds of investors had no clue that Khan had left the country, as the IMA head office and its main showroom in the city centre were closed last week for the Eid holidays and were to reopen on Monday (June 10),”a police official told IANS.

On the basis of complaints, investments and deposits made by thousands of investors in the Ponzi scheme, an estimated Rs 1,250 crore is stuck with IMA.

“The SIT has seized documents, gold ornaments, jewellery, diamonds and cash from half-a-dozen IMA showrooms across the city after raiding them,” added the official.



Chowkidar remark; Congress President Rahul Gandhi files fresh affidavit

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed a fresh affidavit in response to a contempt notice against him over the ‘chowkidar’ jibe — for attributing his remarks to the top court.

He reiterated his stand that he had not offered any apology but had only expressed regret over attributing the comment to the apex court.

The court will hear the case on Tuesday.



Modi files nomination from Varanasi, NDA stands in support

Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on Friday.

Modi won the Varanasi seat in 2014 with a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes.

In an impressive show of strength, the entire top leadership of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was present at the nomination.

BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan and Piyush Goyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Assam Chief Minister Sarvanand Sonowal and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were among those present.

AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam were also present.

The Prime Minister, in a touching gesture, touched the feet of Akali Dal leader Prakash Singh Badal, one of the senior-most politicians in the country, and sought his blessings.

Union Minister Anupriya Patel said: “There is no doubt that the Modi government is returning to power with full force. The road show in Varanasi shows the kind of support that the Prime Minister has got from the people.”

Paswan also reiterated that the NDA would return to power with a greater majority and asserted that the elections were a mere formality.

Jagdish Chaudhary, a member of the Dom Raja family, which helps perform the last rites at Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghat, Subhash Gupta, a veteran BJP leader, and Nandita Shastri, the principal of a women’s college were among those who proposed Modi’s name.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister held a meeting with party workers in which he is said to have laid down the strategy for campaigning.

“All party workers must take it upon themselves to get the Modi app on the phones of all first time voters and ask them to look at the positive news surrounding our government,” he said.

“A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in country for the first time after independence. People across the nation are saying, ‘Fir ek baar.. Modi Sarkar’. Political pundits will analyze this pro-incumbency wave later,” he said.

He told party workers to respect all candidates contesting the elections as they are also part of the democratic process.

“Don’t get influenced by our fights in election rallies. No candidate is our enemy. They are all part of the democratic process. Respect them all,” he stated.

He added: “We need to break some records in Varanasi. I have always wished that a number of women voters’ turnout will be more than men. I couldn’t do this in Gujarat, but you can do it Varanasi. I have faith in you.

“Kashi has been won. Kashi was won by the party and party workers on Thursday night. Now, the polling booths are the only thing left to be won in Kashi.”

Modi then visited the Kaal Bhairav temple and offered prayers.

Varanasi will go to polls on May 19 in the last phase of elections.



Akhilesh Yadav files nomination from Azamgarh

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday filed his nomination papers from Azamgarh.

Akhilesh Yadav, who arrived here in the morning, reached the Collectorate Office at around 1.15 p.m. and then held a massive five-kilometre-long road show.

Traffic in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town came to a standstill as party workers thronged the streets.

Thousands of supporters carried placards of the SP chief and raised slogans like ‘Kaam bolta hai’. They also raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During his road show from the Collectorate Office to Bhatauli chauraha here, Akhilesh Yadav waved at the crowd and shook hands with many of the party supporters.

He will later address a public meeting here .

In 2014, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had won the seat.

The SP, which won five of the 80 seats from the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is contesting in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

The SP is contesting on 37 seats, the BSP on 38 and the RLD on three seats. The SP-BSP-RLD alliance has left the two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli for the Congress.

The seven-phased elections in the state are scheduled from April 11 to May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.





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.



ED files supplementary chargesheet against Michel

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a supplementary chargesheet against British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore Augusta Westland VVIP chopper deal case.

The chargesheet was filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar who has listed the matter for Saturday.

The agency has named three new entities in its supplementary chargesheet: David Syms, Global Services Ltd and Global Trading Ltd, which were Michel’s firms.

Michel had used the companies as a conduit for receiving money.

The ED said that the bribe from Augusta Westland was routed through Global Services and Global Trading.

The agency said that further investigation was going on over the role of politicians and bureaucrats involved in the case.

Michel was extradited to India on December 4, 2018 from the United Arab Emirates.



Enforcement Directorate files chargesheet against Gautam Khaitan

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed a chargesheet against lawyer Gautam Khaitan before a special Delhi court in a money laundering and black money case.

In its chargesheet filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, the agency named four persons, including Gautam Khaitan and his wife Ritu Khaitan.

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

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

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

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

He got bail in January 2015 and was re-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 Gautam Khaitan as the brain behind the AgustaWestland deal.



Owaisi files nomination for 4th term from Hyderabad

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday filed the nomination for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat.

A couple of hours after the poll process began with the issue of notification by election authorities, the outgoing MP from Hyderabad filed his papers before Returning Officer K. Manicka Raj, the Hyderabad District Collector.

Taking everyone by surprise, Owaisi along with his party’s senior leader and MLA Ahmed Pasha Khadri reached the District Collector’s office and filed his nomination.

“Alhamdulilah, filed my nomination papers today. Hyderabad Parliamentary Constituency has been the voice of India’s impoverished, oppressed and weak. Inshallah, it will continue to be so,” tweeted Owaisi.

The MIM leader is seeking re-election from Hyderabad for a fourth consecutive term. The parliamentary constituency has been a MIM stronghold for over three decades.

His father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi represented the constituency and was elected for six consecutive terms from 1984 to 2004.



ED files money laundering case against Pakistani terror group

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday registered a case against Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), a Pakistani terror group, for their involvement in money laundering through various hawala channels.

A senior ED official said that the case was registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in September 2018. 

The financial probe agency will try to establish money trail and to identify proceeds of crime that are suspected to be generated out of the criminal activities from the accused.

On September 26, 2018, the NIA has arrested Mohammad Salman from south Delhi’s Nizamuddin area who was in regular touch with a Dubai-based Pakistani national, who in turn was connected with the deputy chief of FIF, a front-end organisation of proscribed terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

According to the NIA case, Salman was alleged to have received funds from FIF operators through hawala channels.

The NIA in its FIR claimed that the accused and other persons reportedly received money illegally from various people in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and these funds were utilised to carry out terrorist activities and to create unrest in India.

The agency has recovered and seized cash amounting to Rs 1.56 lakh, Nepali currency worth Rs 43,000, 14 mobiles phones, five pen drives and other incriminating documents.

Besides Salman, the NIA has also arrested FIF hawala conduit Mohammad Salim aka Mama, a resident of central Delhi’s Daryaganj, and Srinagar-based hawala courier Sajjad Abdul Wani.

According to the NIA, FIF is a Lahore-based organisation established by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and acts as a front for the LeT.

It was founded in 1990 by Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.