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ED attaches properties worth Rs 3 cr of Trinamool’s Ghosh, Satabdi Roy




Raising the political temperature in poll-bound West Bengal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said that it has attached properties worth Rs three crore in the Saradha chit fund case of Trinamool Congress leaders Kunal Ghosh and Lok Sabha MP Satabdi Roy and then director of the group Debajani Mukherjee.

An ED official said that the agency has attached properties in the form of movable and immovable assets worth Rs three crore pertaining to Ghosh, Roy and Mukherjee in the Saradha chit fund case.

The ED action comes a month after it questioned Ghosh on March 2 this year in connection with the case.

According to ED officials, Ghosh, who is a former Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress and was also the CEO of media group Saradha, had allegedly received funds from the Saradha group to head the media unit.

Ghosh was earlier interrogated by the agency in connection with the case in July 2019 and in October 2013.

Roy is a Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member from Birbhum parliamentary constituency and according to the ED she was brand ambassador in Saradha.

According to the ED, Mukherjee was a director in the Saradha Group of companies.

The official said that the ED has so far attached properties having a market value of more than Rs 600 crore during its money laundering probe.

The Saradha scam came to light in April 2013 and is estimated at over Rs 10,000 crore. The ED has filed a case on the basis of the CBI’s FIR.

The ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are engaged in a bitter war of words in West Bengal as the state heads for Assembly polls.

Polling for the 294-member House is scheduled in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Till date 60 assembly constituencies have voted in the first two phases. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.


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




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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Grenade attack on police party in Jammu and Kashmir




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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Tarun Tejpal rape trial: Judgement postponed due to lack of staff




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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