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PNB scam: Mumbai court grants bail to Dhanesh Sheth, close aide of Choksi




A trial court here has granted bail to Dhanesh Vrajlal Sheth, the managing director of three firms accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and a close aide of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi.

Sheth’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal argued during the case hearing on Monday that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was trying to “fire from the shoulder of the judge”.

He said that in this matter a supplementary charge sheet was filed by the CBI, summons were issued by the court and cognizance was taken on June 15 this year.

He argued that summons were also issued by the court to Sheth, managing director of Nakshatra Brands Ltd. and pursuant to such summons he appeared and filed bail application before the court.

Aggarwal vehemently argued that the investigation was completed in the present case and a charge sheet has been filed without the arrest of the accused person, which depicts that there was no need for custodial interrogation of Sheth.

Aggarwal also brought light to the fact that a company cannot be represented till an application under section 305 CrPc is not filed.

He emphasised that ‘it has been three years since the accused persons have not been arrested, and now the CBI is trying to fire from the shoulder of the judge’.

Aggarwal said that the judge granted bail to the accused person on a surety of Rs one lakh.

This comes forth as another relief to the accused as Nitin Prem Shahi, Assistant Finance executive of Gitanjali Gems Ltd and Aniyath Shivraman Nair, AGM Gitanjali Jewels were also accused of being actively involved along with the main accused in getting LOU’s issued from PNB without having sanctions. They were granted bail in 2018, while Choksi continues to be in custody in Dominica.

Last month, the CBI, in its supplementary charge sheet in the PNB scam, charged Choksi with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and cheating.

Choksi is currently in the custody of the Dominican Police on charges of illegal entry into the Caribbean nation. He was granted bail by Dominica HC on Monday on medical grounds.

The CBI charge sheet also revealed that Choksi had told his associates that they might get into trouble with the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

This was two months before he fled India in January 2018, months before a case was registered against him and his nephew Nirav Modi.

It further stated that Choksi conspired with employees of the PNB for the issuance of 165 LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) and not 142 LoUs as alleged by the bank in its complaint, says the charge sheet.

The CBI charge sheet claimed that none of these LoUs were ever entered into the bank’s core system since bank employees were bribed by Choksi and his associates.

The CBI also found that 347 FLCs (foreign letters of credit) were issued to overseas banks on behalf of Mehul Choksi’s firms between 2014 and 2016.

The charge sheet pointed out that 88 of these FLCs were issued in 2014, followed by another 143 in 2015 and 116 in 2016.

The FLCs were issued in favour of Choksi’s firms Gili India Ltd, Gitanjali Exports Corporation Ltd, Nakshatra Brands Ltd and Asmi Jewellery India Ltd.


Kangna’s remarks against Sikhs blasphemous, plea in SC seeks censor on her social media posts





 A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to censor all future social media posts by Bollywood actress Kangna Ranaut.

The plea filed by advocate Sardar Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal sought direction to instruct all social media platforms to censor, modify or delete Ranaut’s posts before allowing its official release, if it results in law-and-order problems in India.

The plea said Kangna has made these utterances on a public platform of social media like Instagram. “This post on Instagram in short means and infers ‘Sikh farmers as Khalistani Terrorists, upholds the genocide of 1984’, means that Sikhs should be treated as a lower race like unwanted mosquitoes and they need a Guru like Mrs. Indira Gandhi when the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs is Guru Granth Sahibjee,” said the plea.

The plea contended that such statements develop a sense of racial discrimination, hate based on different faiths and could lead to a lot of heated arguments on social media and have to potency of even riots, provocation and have all ingredients of the offences that these statements commit.

“The remarks are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots, hurt religious sentiments, they are defamatory as well as portray Sikhs in a totally anti National manner. It also justifies the killing of innocent Sikhs. The remarks are totally against the unity of our country and the actress deserves a serious punishment at Law. They cannot be brushed aside or excused,” added the plea, filed through advocate Anil Kumar.

The plea seeks direction to the home ministry, IT ministry, TRAI and state police authorities of different states to take preventive action on Kangna’s social media posts.

The plea also sought a direction to transfer all the FIRs on the derogatory statements allegedly made by Kangna on Sikhs to the Khar police station in Mumbai.

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Koregaon-Bhima case: Bombay HC grants bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj




The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail by default to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the accused in the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima and Elgar Parishad caste violence case.

The court has directed that Bharadwaj should be produced before the Special NIA Court next Wednesday to finalise the bail conditions.

However, the court declined the applications of eight other co-accused in the same case including Dr. P. Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Advocate Surendra Gadling, Prof. Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.

All the accused were arrested from different parts of India in June-August 2018 in swoops by the Pune Police and later the case was taken over by the National Investigation Agency in Jan. 2020.

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3 killed in blast in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas




Three persons were killed and several others injured in a huge blast at a residential building in South 24 Parganas district’s Mohanpur village on Wednesday morning, police said.

According to the police, the owner of the house had stacked huge amounts of illegal explosives possibly for making firecrackers which resulted in the blast. The owner of the house — Ashim Mondal and two of his employees — were killed in the blast.

According to the local people, Mondal had been running an illegal firecracker factory in the locality for the last ten years. “This is a residential area and we had the fear that this kind of explosion could take place. We requested him several times and also informed the police, but nothing happened,” a local resident said.

According to the local people, the magnitude of the blast was so high that the window panes of some of the neighbouring houses broke and the bodies were thrown nearly 200 metres away from the blast site. According to the police, the blast took place on the roof and the concrete roof collapsed.

“The bodies have been sent for post-mortem and we have informed the forensic team. Once they give their report we will be able to understand the nature of the explosives and the exact location of the blast,” a senior police officer said.

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