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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Crime

ED attaches properties of ex-Home Minister Sushil Shinde’s daughter, son-in-law

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In a major embarrassment to the Congress, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth Rs 35.48 crore owned by former Union Home Minister and Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter and son-in-law, in connection with its probe into the Mack Star case.

An ED official here said that the financial probe agency attached the properties of Shinde’s daughter Priti Shroff and son-in-law Raj Shroff, owners of Jindal Combines Pvt. Ltd and Orlando Trading Pvt. Ltd, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the bank fraud case involving Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan, both promoters of HDIL and others, in the Mack Star case.

The official said that the attached properties are in the form of two commercial properties measuring 10,550 square feet area each in the Kaledonia building in Mumbai’s Andheri East.

The official said that the ED probe revealed that Wadhawans “illegally and fraudulently” transferred one commercial property of Mack Star located in Kaledonia building, Andheri East, Mumbai to Jindal Combines Pvt. Ltd at price of Rs 9.39 crore (having ready reckoner value of Rs 15.64 crore at that time) in 2014 and another one commercial property to Orlando Trading Pvt. Ltd, at the agreement value of Rs 18 crore (with ready reckoner value Rs 19.84 crore) in 2016.

“However, they paid only Rs 10 crore for the second property till date. The firms are receiving rent of Rs 1.76 crore and Rs 1.39 crore per annum for these two properties respectively,” the official said.

IANS tried to contact Raj Shroff for comment, but multiple calls and messages remained unanswered by the time of filing the story.

The ED had initiated the investigation on the basis of FIR registered by CBI (ACB), Mumbai against Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan Promoters of HDIL and others for siphoning off the loan to tune of Rs 200 Crore sanctioned by Yes Bank to Mack Star Marketing Pvt. Ltd., by showing it for fictitious purpose.

The officials said that both the companies are owned by Raj Shroff and his wife in a 50:50 partnership mode.

“Thus the Wadhawans cheated Mack Star Marketing Pvt Ltd by illegally selling above said properties without the consent of the majority shareholder (DE Shaw Group which holds 83.36 pc shares) of Mack Star Marketing Pvt. Ltd. at a very low price causing loss to Mack Star,” the official said.

Earlier ED has already initiated investigation under PMLA against Housing Development Infrastructures Ltd. (HDIL), Rakesh Wadhawan, Sarang Wadhawan, and Joy Thomas, CMD of PMC bank Ltd and others on the basis of FIR registered by Economic Offences wing of Mumbai Police for causing wrongful loss and corresponding gain to themselves prima facie to the tune of Rs 4,355 Crore to PMC Bank.

The ED has already attached properties worth Rs 366.3 crore along with seizure of Rs 63.78 crore value.

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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