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Monday,17-May-2021

Crime

CBI questions Abhishek’s sister-in-law Menka in coal smuggling case

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Central-Bureau-of-Investigation

A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statement of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in connection with its probe into the illegal coal smuggling case.

According to CBI officials, an eight-member team of the CBI led by Investigation officer Umesh Kumar along with two women officers arrived at the residence of Gambhir and recorded her statement for over two and half hours.

CBI sources said that the agency questioned her about few banking transactions.

The development comes a day after CBI summoned Gambhir on Sunday to record her statement in the case, which it registered in November last year.

Meanwhile, Abhishek’s wife Rujira Banerjee, who was delivered a summon at her residence on Sunday afternoon also responded to the CBI and agreed to be question on Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at her residence.

Abhishek is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.

The CBI action comes ahead of the high octane Assembly polls scheduled later this year where the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are in a bitter contest.

Following the CBI action, Abhishek on Sunday said that he has full faith in the law of land, but asserted that he would not be cowed down.

“At 2 p.m. today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down,” he said in a tweet.

Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had said that there is nothing new in it as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying everything to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal.

“They are using central agencies to malign the image of Abhishek Banerjee ahead of the state Assembly elections. The CBI notice is just a step towards that,” he said.

The CBI had registered a case of illegal theft of coal last year in November. The agency had registered a case against coal mafia Anup Majhi alias Lala, his deputy J. Mondal, and other unidentified people, including some employees of the Eastern Coalfields Ltd. and of other Central government offices. It was alleged that Majhi was involved in coal theft from the leasehold mines of the ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas.

On November 28 last year, the CBI had conducted raids at 45 locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the coal smuggling racket.

On February 19, the CBI team carried out searches at 13 locations in four districts of West Bengal, including the premises of coal mafia Jaidev Mondal.

Crime

Over 3.26L new Covid cases, 3,890 deaths in India in 24 hrs

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Coronavirus

Witnessing a decline, India on Saturday reported 3,26,098 new Covid cases and 3,890 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

In the past 23 days India’s daily Covid tally has plateaued over the three-lakh-mark and over 3,000 casualties for 17 days.

On Wednesday, India recorded 4,205 fresh Covid deaths, the highest ever, while on May 7, the country had recorded its highest ever cases of 4,14,188.

India’s total tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,43,72,907 with 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths so far.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 3,53,299 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, with 2,04,32,898 being cured from Covid till date.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 18,04,57,579 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 11,03,625 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 31,30,17,193 samples have been tested up to May 14 for Covid-19. Of these 16,93,093 samples were tested on Friday.

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Crime

Jail warden in UP faces action for chaining nonagenarian

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jail

The Yogi Adityanath government has suspended the Etah jail warden Ashok Yadav after a video showed a 90-year-old prisoner chained to a hospital bed in the jail.

A departmental inquiry has also been ordered against him.

A photograph of the old man, who had been hospitalized after he complained of respiratory problem, had gone viral earlier in the day.

DG jails, Anand Kumar had sought a report from the supervisory officer.

Giving information about the action on the Twitter handle of DG prisons, Kumar said that no officer or employee will be spared.

The prisoner’s chains have been removed.

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Crime

Navneet Kalra denied anticipatory bail in O2 concentrator case

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Navneet-Kalra

A Delhi court on Thursday declined to grant anticipatory bail to businessman Navneet Kalra in connection with the oxygen concentrator black marketing case registered by Delhi Police.

Additional sessions judge, Saket court, Sandeep Garg passed the order rejecting anticipatory bail to Kalra.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, representing Kalra, had argued that his client had only carried out a legitimate transaction of import and customs authorities were activated, and the customs was aware of the transaction. “The GST was deposited with the government. Invoices were given and returns were filed,” Pahwa had contended before the court.

However, according to the prosecution, Kalra, along with other co-accused, hatched a conspiracy to wrongfully make money by inducing the public to buy oxygen concentrators from him at an “exorbitant rate”. Delhi police had opposed his anticipatory bail plea stating that the investigation was at a very early stage, and it required Kalra’s custodial interrogation to unearth his relationship with other parties.

Kalra’s counsel had argued that all rules were complied and the transactions of sale were through banking channels. He further added that oxygen concentrators are not cosmetic, not luxury, instead it was used when somebody is medically unfit. “When selling through banking channels, where is the offence”, Kalra’s counsel had submitted.

The prosecution had argued that no anticipatory bail could be granted to “influential persons” who could tamper with evidence. The prosecution further argued Kalra made a lot of money by inducing the needy public to believe that his oxygen concentrators were premium, and also cited a report from Sri Ram laboratory, that the sample of oxygen concentrator was of poor quality.

Kalra’s counsel had pointed out that there was no MRP fixed by the government till date, therefore the prosecution assertion that the price at which his client sold oxygen concentrator was exorbitant, was not correct. “We could not find a single notification, which fixes the price of oxygen concentrators”, said Kalra’s counsel.

He further added that his client was being “framed” based on social media content and he was being made a scapegoat to divert attention from more pressing issues. “It is being deliberately done. A campaign is going on against me”, added Kalra’s counsel.

Police have also alleged that through social media posts, it has come to notice that Kalra had collected advance payments from several persons who required oxygen concentrators, but he kept postponing the supply and increased the price.

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