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Tuesday,26-October-2021

Crime

Praful Patel appears in ED office in Iqbal Mirchi case

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Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Monday arrived at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office here in connection with the Iqbal Mirchi money laundering case.

According to ED officials, the NCP leader came at the agency’s office here in the afternoon and left after some time.

Speaking to media, Patel said, “I had come to sign some papers at ED office with respect to Iqbal Mirchi case.”

Praful had earlier been questioned on several occasions by the ED in connection with the money laundering probe involving Mirchi, a close aide of Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

The ED registered money laundering case against Mirchi’s wife and others in September 2019.

A criminal case was filed against Mirchi, his family members and others for alleged illegal dealings in the purchase and sale of Ceejay House, Sahil Bungalow, Rabia Mansion, Marium Lodge, and Sea View properties in prime locations in Mumbai.

Ceejay House is located at Worli and Arun Chambers in Tardeo area of Mumbai, worth Rs 76 crore. Other properties are worth Rs 500 crore, including Sahil Bungalow, Rabia Mansion, Marium Lodge, and Sea View in Worli, three commercial shops in Crawford Market, and five acres of land in Lonawala.

The ED has so far arrested several accused, including Kapil Wadhawan, Dheeraj Wadhawan and Humayun Merchant. The agency filed a charge sheet in December 2019 in a Special PMLA court.

The ED till date has attached properties to the tune of Rs 798 crore in India and abroad under the PMLA provisions of Mirchi and his family members. A court here has declared Mirchi’s wife and two sons as “fugitive economic offenders” and also ordered the seizure of their properties in India and abroad in February this year.

Crime

Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Supreme Court seeks Uttar Pradesh govt reply in lynching FIR, directs protection of witnesses

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a separate report from the Uttar Pradesh Police on investigation in the second FIR in Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which four persons, including a journalist, were killed. The top court also ordered protection of witnesses in the case.

The widow of an accused-deceased told the top court that her husband’s killers were roaming free, and no action has been taken against them.

Senior advocate Arun Bhardwaj, representing Ruby Devi, widow of Shyam Sundar, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that there are three accused who are allegedly responsible for her husband’s death and the police have not taken any action against them.

Bhardwaj said ‘killers are roaming free and threatening his client’.

Another advocate representing the journalist, who was killed in the incident, also urged the court to direct the police to apprehend the accused involved.

The bench directed separate replies must be filed by Uttar Pradesh with respect to the counter-case of lynching of a person named Shyam Sundar, who was allegedly attacked after the car ploughed into farmers’ protest, and also killing of journalist Raman Kashyap.

In Sundar’s matter, Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted he was an accused who was also killed in the incident and the police are also probing it along with the death of the journalist, who was in the car.

Chief Justice told Salve to file a separate reply in the matter. The bench noted there are two complainants before the court — one by Ruby Devi and the other in connection with the death of a journalist. “State is directed to file separate replies in the case,” said the bench, fixing the matter for further hearing on November 8.

The bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also sought forensic labs, examining the digital evidence in the matter, to expedite the process of submitting evidence in the case.

The bench expressed surprise that out of a gathering of 4,000-5,000 people, only 23 people are eyewitnesses to the incident, where a car ploughed into the farmers’ protest.

Salve, at the outset submitted that out of 68, thirty witnesses have recorded their statements under 164 CrPC. Of these, 23 are eyewitnesses. Chief Justice queried that in a case where there were hundreds of farmers in a rally, only 23 people were there?

Salve replied that the government gave an advertisement and the people who saw the accused in the car are already there. “Digital media (large numbers) has been recovered. There are overlapping videos”, he added.

Salve further contended that there was also a person who was conducting videography of the event, and the digital evidence would be sent to labs so that they can be admitted as evidence in the case.

On the aspect of few eyewitnesses in the matter, Justice Kant pointed out that mostly local people were there at the spot and after the incident most of them have been agitating for an inquiry. He told Salve that accessibility and identification of such persons in the vehicle should not be a major issue.

Salve replied 164 statements can be submitted to the top court in a sealed cover and added that 16 accused have been identified. The bench, in its order, said: “Regarding witness protection, we direct the witnesses to be provided protection by the state. We further direct that 164 statements… to be recorded expeditiously.”

The top court had registered a petition based on a letter by two lawyers seeking a probe by the CBI in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

A total of eight people, including four farmers and a local journalist, apart from the two BJP men and their driver, were killed in the incident. Farmers were allegedly mowed down by a car of Ashish Misra, son of Union Minister of State Ajay Misra Teni.

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Crime

Aryan Khan drug case: Sameer Wankhede in Delhi to meet NCB chief

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 Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede, who is heading the probe into Mumbai’s high profile drugs case, on Tuesday reached the head office here to meet chief S.N. Pradhan.

Mumbai NCB arrested Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan in the cruise drug case investigation on October 2.

The official reached Delhi Monday night to meet the Director General of NCB in connection with bribery allegations.

According to reports, he may be questioned on the bribery allegations. When Wankhede reached the NCB office from second gate, some people had gathered there in his support.

However, while interacting with the media after reaching Delhi late on Monday night, Wankhede refuted the allegations against him as “baseless.”

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Crime

Did Sameer Wankhede use fake caste certificate for govt job?

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In another salvo, NCP Minister Nawab Malik on Monday questioned whether the Narcotics Control Bureau Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede submitted a fake caste certificate to get a government job.

The Nationalist Congress Party’s National Spokesperson Malik tweeted a purported birth certificate and marriage photo of the embattled Wankhede with telling captions: “Yahanse shuru hua farziwada (the fraud started here) and Pehchan Kaun (guess who)”.

The birth certificate shows the NCB chief’s name as ‘Sameer Dawood Wankhede’, and the picture is from his (Wankhede’s) first wedding with one Dr. Shabana Qureshi, and he later divorced her to get married with Marathi actress Kranti Redkar.

The NCP minister claimed that as per the birth certificate, Wankhede is a born Muslim but allegedly appeared for the civic services (UPSC) exams through a reserved category and became an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.

“He has forged the documents to get reservations in the (civil services) examinations and job,” Malik contended.

Vowing to reveal more dope with evidence, the NCP Minister reiterated that the entire cruise party raid is a fake and everything is being done to malign the Maharashtra government and terrorise Bollywood.

Wankhede has not yet reacted to the fresh revelations by Malik, but it is reliably learnt that he has been summoned to New Delhi by the NCB Director-General to provide an explanation into the stunning allegations levelled by a cruiser ship raid’s ‘panch-witness’ Prabhakar Sail on Sunday.

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