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Tuesday,03-August-2021

Crime

CBI books ex-IFFCO boss Awasthi, others in graft case

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In a massive action, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday said that it has registered a case against U.S. Awasthi, the then MD and CEO of IFFCO, Pravinder Singh Gahlaut, the then MD, Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) and several others in connection with a corruption case. The CBI also carried out searches at 12 locations across the country.

CBI spokesperson R.C. Joshi said, “The CBI has registered a case on the basis of references from Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizer and also on other information, against Awasthi, then MD and CEO, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Ltd (IFFCO), Gahlaut, then MD of IPL, Amol Awasthi and Anupam Awasthi, both sons of then IFFCO MD and CEO and also promoters of Catalyst Business Associates Pvt Ltd, Vivek Gahlaut, son of then MD of IPL Gahlaut, Pankaj Jain, Jyoti Group of Companies and Rare Earth Group, Dubai, Sanjay Jain, brother of Jain and also President of Jyoti Trading Corporation and beneficial owner of other entities of Jyoti Group, Amrinder Dhari Singh, Sr Vice President of Jyoti Trading Corporation, Dubai.”

Besides them, the CBI has also named Rajiv Saxena, a Chartered Accountant, Promoter, Midas Metal International LLC and other companies, Sushil Kumar Pachisia, employee of Pankaj Jain, unknown Directors of IFFCO and unknown others.

Joshi said that in the complaint it was alleged that IFFCO and IPL have been importing huge quantities of fertilizers running into several thousands of MTs and raw materials for fertilizers from various foreign suppliers.

He said that it has been stated that the fertilizers are supplied to the farmers in India and the Government of India has been providing subsidy on fertilizers to facilitate supply to the farmers at reasonable rates.

In the complaint, it was also alleged that in order to cheat government by claiming higher subsidy, these officials of IFFCO and IPL have been importing fertilizers and raw materials through Kisan International Trading FZE in Dubai, a subsidiary of IFFCO and other middlemen at highly inflated rates covering the commission meant for the accused including then MD of IFFCO and then MD of IPL, which was paid or transferred by the overseas suppliers to the accused officials through sham transactions involving the said accused.

Joshi said that searches are being carried out at the office and residential premises of accused in 12 locations including Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai etc.

Crime

Anil Deshmukh once again skips ED summons

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Former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh, who is being probed in an alleged money laundering case, skipped the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons for questioning once again on Monday.

“Deshmukh has skipped summons and has sent a two-page letter to the agency through his advocate,” an ED official related to the probe told IANS.

This is for the third time Deshmukh has skipped ED summons in connection with the case. The official said the financial probe agency had sent fresh summons to Deshmukh and his son Hrishikesh Deshmukh on Friday asking them to join the probe with the agency on Monday.

On Friday, the Supreme Court did not grant any protection from arrest to Deshmukh on his plea seeking protection from any “coercive action” in the money laundering case registered against him by the ED and scheduled the matter for hearing on August 3.

Deshmukh, who had skipped the previous summonses by the agency, had, in the plea to the top court, challenged these summonses and sought protection for both himself and his son.

Deshmukh has been accused of extortion from a bunch of Mumbai orchestra bars and money laundering, and the matter is being probed by the ED.

It has been alleged that Rs 4.7 crore was collected as “extortion” from the orchestra bars by the now-dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze allegedly on Deshmukh’s instructions.

Later, this amount was transferred to Deshmukh’s Nagpur-based educational trust by his son, Hrishikesh.

According to the allegation, the transaction was routed via two hawala operators and was showed as a “donation”.

The 71-year-old NCP leader is the president of the trust and his two sons, Salil and Hrishikesh, are trustees.

On May 11, a case was registered against the former minister and on June 25, the ED raided Deshmukh’s residences in Nagpur, Mumbai, and three other places.

In April, the CBI had conducted raids at four premises of Deshmukh after registering an FIR against him in connection with the case.

Param Bir Singh, former Commissioner of Mumbai Police, in his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleged that Deshmukh had indulged in “malpractices” and asked Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month.

Earlier this week, the top court had adjourned the matter for a hearing on Friday and asked Deshmukh’s legal counsel to provide a copy of the plea to the ED and the Maharashtra government.

The ED had earlier arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde after carrying out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur.

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Bollywood

Shilpa Shetty Kundra: We don’t deserve a media trial

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Actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra took to social media on Monday to issue a statement, saying she and her family do not deserve a media trial.

Shilpa’s statement comes at a time when her husband, businessman Raj Kundra has been granted judicial custody till August 10 in a case pertaining to alleged production and distribution of porn content.

The actress said she will not comment on the case as it is subjudice and also requested the media for some privacy saying the past few days have been challenging for her “on every front”.

Shilpa shared her statement on Instagram on Monday, which reads: “Yes! The past few days have been challenging, on every front. There have been a lot of rumours and accusations. A lot of unwarranted aspersions on me cast by the media and (not so) well wishers as well. A lot of trolling/questions posed…not only to me but also to my family.”

“MY STAND…I HAVE NOT COMMENTED YET and will continue to refrain from doing so on this case as it is subjudice, so please stop attributing false quotes on my behalf. Reiterating my philosophy of, as a celebrity ‘Never complain, never explain’. All I will say is, as it’s an ongoing investigation, I have full faith in the Mumbai Police & the Indian judiciary,” she added.

“As a family, we are taking recourse to all our available legal remedies. But, till then I humbly request you – especially as a MOTHER – to respect our privacy for my children’s sake and request you to refrain from commenting on half-baked information without verifying the veracity of the same,” Shilpa further wrote.

“I am a proud law-abiding Indian citizen and a hardworking professional for the last 29 years. People have put their faith in ME & I’ve never let anyone down. So, most importantly, I request you to respect my family’s and ‘my right’ to privacy in these times. We don’t deserve a media trial. Please let the law take its course. Satyamev Jayate!” she concluded.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s statement talking about her “right to privacy” comes just a few days after the Bombay High Court reportedly refused to restrict media and social media platforms from publishing reports which talk about her. The court reportedly told the Bollywood actress that she has chosen a public life.

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Crime

41,134 new Covid cases, 424 deaths in India in 24 hrs

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India on Monday reported 41,134 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours with 424 deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed.

India is registering less than 50,000 daily new cases for 36 continuous days. However, the country has registered marginal decline in fresh Covid cases than Sunday.

On Sunday, India had recorded 41,831 fresh cases of Covid-19. With 424 more Covid fatalities, India’s cumulative death toll now stands at 4,24,773.

India’s active caseload has crossed the four lakh mark and stands at 4,13,718. India’s recovery rate currently stands at 97.35 per cent, however, the active cases constitute 1.31 per cent of the total cases. The weekly positivity rate remains below 5 per cent and is currently at 2.30 per cent. The daily positivity rate continues to remain below 5 per cent for 55 continuous days and currently stands at 2.81 per cent.

The government has advised the states to restrict the gatherings in the districts reporting over 10 per cent positivity rate.

According to the government data, a total of 36,946 patients were discharged from hospitals and health centres in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured to 3,08,57,467 to date as the virus continues to infect less than one lakh people for the last 54 days.

The Health Ministry data said that a total of 17,06,598 Covid vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hrs taking total jab count to 47,22,23,639 so far.

In a tweet, Health Ministry on Sunday said that India had achieved landmark in vaccination drive against the Covid pandemic and has successfully jabbed over 47 crore people across the country.

The total number of samples tested so far has reached 46.96 crores as on Aug 2.

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