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Tuesday,22-June-2021

Crime

Anup Majhi appears before CBI in illegal coal smuggling case

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Anup Majhi a.k.a. Lala the alleged kingpin of the illegal coal smuggling case once again appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday for questioning for the fourth time.

According to CBI officials, Majhi appeared before the CBI around 11 a.m.

A CBI official said that he is being questioned in connection with the case and about his financial dealings.

The CBI had earlier grilled Majhi for several hours on April 1 and 6 and on March 30 in connection with the case.

Majhi’s close aide Ganesh Bavaria was questioned on April 3, and Birbhum’s former Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh on April 1. The CBI had also questioned former Asanol Commissioner, Laxmi Narayan Meena in connection with the case.

On April 5, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the money laundering part, attached Majhi’s immovable assets to the tune of Rs 165.86 crore.

The attached assets include land, factory premises, plant machinery and other assets of two companies — Ispat Damodar Private Ltd and Sonic Thermal Private Ltd. The manufacturing plants of both these companies are situated in West Bengal’s Purulia and Bankura.

Majhi, the director of a company engaged in the purchase and sale of dry fuel, is accused of alleged illegal coal trading in the Asansol-Raniganj belt of West Bengal.

The CBI had registered a case involving alleged illegal coal pilferage in November last year, naming Majhi, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL chief of security Tan Das, area security inspector Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai, and SSI and security in-charge Kajora area Debashish Mukherjee.

It had also recorded the statement of Rujira Banerjee, wife of Trinamool Congress MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in the last week of February.

The agency has recently carried out searches at several locations in the state, including at the premises of Amit Agarwal, a close aide of Majhi, raising the heat in poll-bound West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool and the BJP are engaged in a pitched battle.

Crime

Unearth fake vaccination racket, Bombay HC to Maharashtra government

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Taking serious cognizance of the Covid vaccination frauds that recently shocked Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to catch the kingpins and unearth the entire racket.

Hearing the PIL filed by a social activist, advocate Siddharth Chandrashekhar, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni asked the Mumbai Police to submit the status report of its investigations into the scams by Thursday.

Suggesting that the government and the civic body could form a policy on priority to ensure no innocents suffer, the court wanted to know whether a system could be created to keep track of the doses which are released to the organisers of private inoculation camps in housing societies, corporate houses or educational institutions.

Stressing on the urgent need to form relevant guidelines, the court said that the frauds are taking place mostly in the western suburbs (of Mumbai) and said the racket must be unearthed to find out the kingpin defrauding people in such a ‘novel’ way.

“It is unimaginable that during this time of crisis when the entire humanity is suffering, people are committing such frauds,” the judges noted.

The court further asked the state and the BMC to inform them about the procedures that can be adopted by the housing societies to prevent such fake inoculation camps and said they should invoke the provisions of the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act against the culprits.

The BMC’s counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, informed the court that the Mumbai Police are already investigating the issue and the civic body has also initiated the necessary measures.

“Imagine the plight of the person vaccinated with water. His state of mind is unimaginable,” the court said while hearing the petitioner’s lawyer Anita Castellino on the fraudulent vaccination drive on 390 members and others in the posh Hiranandani Heritage Society in Kandivali west last month.

Later, other instances also came to light, including at the Aditya College in Borivali and the Tips Industries Ltd in Andheri, even as the police swooped and nabbed five persons in connection with the fraud last week.

In most of these #VToo scams that have emerged, there are several common points like the vaccination data not uploaded on the CoWIN portal, the Covid Vaccination Certificate (CVCs) not issued or delayed and coming from different hospitals with many errors, people not experiencing the possible side-effects post-dose, exorbitant charges for vaccines which the government has now started giving for free, the vaccine vials were not sealed or stamped ‘Not For Sale’ etc.

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Crime

Bihar: 3 blasts in 15 days, police suspect conspiracy in Darbhanga case

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Three blasts in different districts of Bihar in just a fortnight have put the state police on high alert. Though an investigation is going on in all these blasts, the police have unearthed a conspiracy angle in the bomb blast that took place at Darbhanga railway station.

On June 8, a blast took place in a madrasa behind a mosque in Bihar’s Banka district. While, it was still under investigation, another blast took place on June 17 in the parcel van at Darbhanga railway station. National investigation agencies have also become alert with regard to the blast in Darbhanga. They are sensing a big conspiracy behind this.

According to police sources, the role of four suspects in the case has emerged.

A probe team led by GRP Darbhanga officer-in-charge went to Secunderabad to identify the person who booked the parcel that exploded later.

The police team investigating the case in Secunderabad has found the address of suspect Mohammad Sufiyan, who booked a parcel in the Secunderabad-Darbhanga Express train.

The explosion had taken place in a bale of cloth at Darbhanga Junction. The bale of cloth in which the blast took place was booked by Mohammad Sufiyan from Secunderabad to Darbhanga. Now the police are looking for this suspect.

Sources reveal that the investigation of this case is being carried out by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Telangana and Uttar Pradesh along with Bihar ATS.

According to the sources, the investigating agencies have got important clues in this case and have named four suspects.

A vial was also found in the parcel in which the explosion took place. It is being said that there was some chemical substance in it.

After Darbhanga, the police were shocked by another blast, this time in Hussainganj police station area of Siwan.

A police officer said that when Vinod Manjhi was going to the shop with his child, a young man named Sagir gave him a bag with a bomb to keep. Shortly after, the bomb in the bag exploded.

The third blast in a fortnight is keeping the police on its toes.

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Crime

Caste certificate cancellation: SC stays HC order in MP Navneet Kaur Rana’s case

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In a relief for Navneet Kaur Rana, first-time MP from Maharashtra’s Amaravati, the Supreme Court has stayed a High Court order cancelling her Scheduled Caste certificate.

A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari stayed the operation of the Bombay High Court order and issued notice on her petition against the HC order. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Rana, submitted that the terms Mochi and Chamar are synonymous, and the scrutiny committee had decided her caste status based on original records produced before it. He said the genuineness of the documents was not contested; however, the High Court reversed the scrutiny committee’s decision in a writ petition.

Rana had successfully contested the Amaravati Lok Sabha seat, reserved for Scheduled Castes. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners who approached the High Court challenging Rana’s caste certificate, submitted before the bench that the vigilance committee had found that the documents were fabricated. Sibal said the stay cannot be granted without hearing him and cited the findings of the vigilance cell relating to fabrication of documents. The bench asked Sibal to file a counter-affidavit in the matter.

The bench noted that if the High Court was dissatisfied with the findings of the scrutiny committee, it should have sent the matter back to the committee for fresh consideration. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court stayed the High Court order.

Rana had moved the top court challenging the High Court order, which cancelled her caste certificate saying it was obtained using fabricated documents. The MP would have lost her Lok Sabha seat if the court order was not put on hold.

On June 8, the High Court had also imposed a cost of Rs 2 lakh, which she was to deposit with the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority within two weeks.

“In our view, it was systematic fraud committed by the respondent no.3 (Rana) with the assistance of her father to obtain the caste certificate Mochi by fabricating the records to enable her to contest the election for Member of Parliament in the Constituency reserved for reserved category candidate and other benefits available to such caste under Constitution of India,” the High Court had said.

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