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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Crime

Coal scam: CBI interrogates Anup Majhi for sixth time

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Central-Bureau-of-Investigation

The CBI on Monday interrogated the alleged coal scam kingpin Anup Majhi alias Lala for the sixth time.

According to the probe body, Majhi appeared before the CBI at around 11 a.m.

A CBI official said that he was being questioned in connection with the scam and about his financial dealings and his properties in the state (West Bengal).

The investigation agency had earlier grilled Majhi for several hours on April 1, 6, 8 and 10, and on March 30 in connection with the scam.

The CBI has also summoned Bankura Superintendent of Police Koteswara Rao N on April 13 for questioning in connection with the illegal coal smuggling case.

Majhi’s close aide Ganesh Bavaria was questioned on April 3, and Birbhum’s former Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh on April 1. Besides, former Asanol Commissioner Laxmi Narayan Meena was also interrogated.

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

They 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 Congress and the BJP are engaged in a pitched battle.

Crime

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

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Supreme-Court

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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