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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Crime

186 loans against spurious gold; ED attaches 5 properties

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached five Bengaluru-based immovable properties worth Rs 4.83 crore of S.K. Subramanya Reddy, the chairman of Shri Gokulam Educational Trust, and others in connection with a bank fraud case under probe since 2019.

The ED initiated investigation on the basis of First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against T.L. Praveen Kumar, the then Branch Manager of Bank of Baroda, Kengeri Branch in 2019.

Kumar, in collusion with Reddy and others, had sanctioned 186 gold loans against pledge of spurious gold ornaments to 57 borrowers to the tune of Rs 12 crore. All the borrowers were associated with Reddy and the loans were sanctioned between December 2017 and July 2018.

The ED’s money laundering investigation has revealed that Reddy used the loan money to settle his outstanding loans or overdraft facilities at Syndicate Bank.

Thus, the ED said, Reddy got his mortgaged properties released, and subsequently bought another property and paid EMI over other mortgaged properties and thereby projecting these properties as untainted.

Accordingly, identified assets to the tune of Rs 4.83 crore in the form of immovable properties have been provisionally attached under the PMLA. The loans benefitted 57 borrowers and caused a loss to the tune of Rs 10.68 crore to the bank.

The CBI FIR was based on a complaint filed by Lalit Tyagi, deputy general manager of Bank of Baroda.

In sanctioning the loans, the CBI FIR said that Kumar “exceeded and violated his discretionary lending power of Rs 10 lakh in as many as 44 accounts”.

Kumar is also accused of forging the signatures of the bank’s approved appraiser and joint custodian on the loan documents. The signatures are essential for sanctioning loans. He “abused his official position and sanctioned 186 gold loans against spurious gold ornaments with mala fide intention” and caused loss to the tune of Rs 10.68 crore to the bank for personal gain, the FIR added.

The accused have been booked for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, cheating,and forgery under various sections of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.

Crime

Bhima Koregaon case: SC dismisses activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha, who sought bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case of Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon.

Navlakha had challenged the Bombay High Court’s February 8 order, which declined to grant him bail, holding that the alleged illegal detention period cannot be considered to compute maximum 90 days’ time, which is mandatory to file charge sheet, or the accused could get statutory bail.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph dismissed Navlakha’s appeal. The top court on March 26 had reserved its verdict on Navlakha’s plea. Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Joseph said it is dismissing the appeal filed by Navlakha against the High Court order.

On March 3, the top court had sought reply from the NIA on Navlakha’s plea where he argued that the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period and hence, he was entitled for default bail. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Navlakha, had contended before the top court that his client should be released on default bail, as the charge sheet was filed after 93 days of his custody. Sibal had also submitted before the top court that two days period of transit from Delhi to Mumbai should also be counted in 90 days period.

The top court had on March 16 last year declined anticipatory bail to Navlakha and asked him to surrender within three weeks before the NIA. On April 8, last year, the top court gave Navlakha one more week to surrender in the case. The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and he surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year. Navlakha had spent 11 days in the NIA’s custody till April 25, and since then, he is in judicial custody.

The High Court on February 8 had dismissed Navlakha’s plea saying, “it sees no reason to interfere with a special court’s order”, which earlier rejected his bail plea.

Navlakha had moved the high court last year, against the special NIA court’s order of July 12, 2020, which rejected his plea for statutory bail.

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Crime

Grenade attack on police party in Jammu and Kashmir

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Unidentified persons hurled a grenade at a police party engaged in checking vehicles in J&K’s Samba district, which exploded without causing any damage.

Mukesh Singh, IGP (Jammu zone) confirmed to reporters that a grenade was hurled during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday in Nud area of Samba-Mansar road in Samba district.

Police said the grenade missed the target and exploded on the road without causing any damage.

Hurling a grenade at the security forces is an unusual incident in the Jammu division.

Police has started a manhunt to trace those responsible for the grenade attack.

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Crime

Tarun Tejpal rape trial: Judgement postponed due to lack of staff

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The judgement in the rape case filed against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal may now be pronounced on May 19, the defence counsel in the case said on Wednesday.

“The judgement has been postponed because the court is understaffed due to the new SOPs and the high rise in infections,” prosecution lawyer Francis Tavora told reporters.

The state is currently under a two-week Covid curfew.

The judgement was originally scheduled to be pronounced on April 27, but was adjourned to May 12.

The former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka investigative magazine was accused by a junior colleague of sexually assaulting her at a five star resort in Goa.

Tejpal has been booked under sections 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) 354A (sexual harassment) and 354B (criminal assault), of the Indian Penal Code.

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