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Court rules Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea not maintainable

Later, Kumar’s counsel told reporters: “So we are where we were at the start of the day. We will discuss our legal strategy and decide.”

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Kolkata, Sep 17 : Senior IPS officer Rajeev Kumar – under the CBI scanner in connection with the Saradha ponzi scam – suffered a setback in his efforts to get judicial relief on Tuesday as a district sessions judge ordered as “not maintainable” the anticipatory bail plea moved by the former city police commissioner.

The judge after hearing arguments and counter-arguments from the lawyers representing Kumar and the respondent CBI said the case had been generated in the South 24 Parganas district while his court has jurisdiction over North 24 Parganas district

“The learned district sessions judge Barasat passed an order saying the case is not maintainable in his court. The judge said his court was the district sessions court in North 24 Parganas, while the case was generated in South 24 Parganas district. So he said it was not maintainable for hearing in the jurisdiction of his court,” Kumar’s counsel told reporters.

The counsel said the judge has “neither rejected it on merit, nor allowed it on merit”.

The CBI’s efforts to get a non-bailable arrest warrant against Kumar at the special court in Barasat also met the same fate, with the judge saying his court did not have the powers to issue non-bailable warrants.

The judge Sanjib Daruka said his court could only hold trials and had no magisterial powers to issue non-bailable warrants.

It was an action-packed day at Barasat as Kumar’s lawyers and CBI’s legal team fought dramatic court battles since the morning.

The day began with Kumar moving an anticipatory bail petition at the special court in Barasat, which returned the plea saying it had no jurisdiction to hear such cases.

“Kumar had moved a petition at the MP, MLA special court. But judge Sanjib Daruka after an academical discussion said he does not have jurisdiction for hearing under Section 438 (Direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest) in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Under the Supreme Court guidelines, he cannot hear this case under section 438,” said the CBI counsel.

Kumar’s lawyers then moved the petition at the North 24 Parganas District Sessions Court which admitted the matter and posted it for hearing after 2 pm.

Kumar’s counsels claimed during the hearing that he was being framed and accused the CBI of making false allegations against him.

They argued that on September 13 the CBI had sent notices to Kumar to appear as witness, but on Tuesday the agency had moved plea for issuing non-bailable warrant against him. They questioned the basis of the change in the CBI’s stand and wanted to know what fresh material it had found over the past four days.

Claiming that Kumar has always cooperated with the probe agency, the counsels said he was earlier questioned for almost 40 hours in Shillong in February.

They argued that the CBI had issued its first notice to Kumar (to appear as witness for questioning) in 2017, three years after taking over the case. During the intervening three years Kumar’s name did not figure in the chargesheet as also the seven supplementary chargesheets filed by the agency.

The CBI counsel, on the other hand, argued that Kumar – being the commissioner of Bidhananagar Commissionerate – knew every detail about the illegal fund collections by the Saradha group whose headquarters Midland Park was within the jurisdiction of the commissionerate. However, Kumar did not raid the office and also failed to carry out any investigation into the affairs of the Saradha group.

Oppsosing the anticipatory bail plea, the CBI counsel said Kumar headed the Special investigation Team constituted by the West Bengal government to probe the Saradha scam but took no action on the allegations of group head and prime accused Sudipto Sen about the influential persons involved in the matter.

The counsel said Congress MP Abi Hashem Khan Choudhury, the Prime Minister’s Office, the SEBI and the RoC had also made written complaints about the Group, which were all forwared to Kumar, but he took no action.

He said after taking over the probe in 2014, the CBI asked for the call detail records of six mobile phones used by Sen and his aide Debjani Mukherjee during their arrest from Srinagar, but it was never handed over to the agency by the SIT.

He said after the CBI procured the call records of the mobile phones from the telecom companies it found it contained the numbers of some influential people. That may be the reason the call record data was not handed over to CBI.

Reffering to the statement of Debjani Mukherjee, the CBI counsel said she had told the agency that the SIT had seized two diaries from the Midland Park office. To date, the diaries have not been handed over to the CBI or Enforcement Directorate.

The counsel claimed that Kumar was trying to save himself, and despite being a senior police officer, has become a lawbreaker.

Countering Kumar’s counsel, the CBI lawyer said even during the interrogation in Shillong, he was unwilling to cooperate.

Giving anticipatory bail to Kumar would be improper as his custodial interrogation was needed to zero in on the influential people involved in the scam.

On the issue of Kumar’s name not figuring in the chargesheets, the CBI said the case was under investigation and how could somebody’s name be there in chargesheet before the probe was completed about his role.

Later, Kumar’s counsel told reporters: “So we are where we were at the start of the day. We will discuss our legal strategy and decide.”

Sources said, Kumar is likely to approach the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, for relief.

Cities

Delhi records over 2,300 COVID-19 deaths in less than a month: Official data

The city reported 98 deaths on November 19, 118 on November 20, 111 on November 21, 121 each on November 22 and 23, and 109 fatalities on November 24, according to official data.

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Cremation ground Graveyards

New Delhi, Nov 26: The national capital has witnessed 2,364 deaths due to coronavirus since October 28, when the daily rise in infections breached the mark of 5,000 cases for the first time, according to official data.

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, 99 more fatalities on Wednesday pushed the city”s total death toll due to the disease to 8,720. It was after five days that Delhi recorded single-day deaths below 100.

The city reported 98 deaths on November 19, 118 on November 20, 111 on November 21, 121 each on November 22 and 23, and 109 fatalities on November 24, according to official data.

While 131 COVID-related deaths were recorded on November 18, the highest till date, Delhi registered its highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases on November 11.

On Thursday, Delhi had recorded 7,546 cases, followed by 6,608 on Friday, 5,879 on Saturday, 6,746 on Sunday, 4,454 on Monday, 6,224 on Tuesday and 5,246 on Wednesday, according to the government data.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi climbed to 5,45,787 on Wednesday, of which 4,98,780 have recovered from the virus, the data shows.

Late hospital admissions leading to COVID-19 cases turning critical, shortage of ICU beds, unfavourable weather and rising pollution are among the factors experts attribute to the spike in COVID-19 deaths in Delhi, health experts have said.

Going by the epidemiological trend, the severity of the disease is more in this phase of the pandemic compared to the last one and several factors, including weather and pollution, are contributing to it, a health ministry official said on Wednesday.

Amid a spurt in the infection tally in the city, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had Wednesday requested experts to audit COVID-19 death cases and suggest measures to reduce fatalities in the national capital.

Health Minister Satyender Jain on Wednesday claimed the national capital reported the “least fatality per million” population amongst all four metro cities in the country.

The National Centre for Disease Control in a report drafted recently had warned that Delhi needs to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh cases of COVID-19 per day taking into account the upcoming winter season-related respiratory problems, large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.

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Delhi ‘actively considering’ night curfew. ‘As active as Covid-19 cases,’ asks high court

Delhi high court on Thursday rapped the AAP government and asked it how the government is ensuring that the new wedding restrictions are not being flouted.

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Delhi High Court

The AAP government has informed the Delhi High Court that it is actively considering whether to impose night curfew or weekend restrictions to contain the Covid-19 situation of the Capital as a bench comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the government whether it will be take any specific measure like other states.

The court was hearing a plea seeking to ramp up Covid-19 testing facilities in Delhi.

Though the Capital is grappling with a resurgence of Covid-19 cases since the last week of October, the AAP government has not imposed movement restrictions. It has curtailed the number of guests allowed at weeding events from 200 to 50 and increased the penalty for not wearing masks from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has reiterated that lockdown is not a solution; as it only delays the spread of the infection. However, during Thursday’s hearing, the government told the court that it was actively considering imposing night curfew. “As active as Covid-19 cases?” the bench asked.

On being asked how it is spreading awareness about Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, the government said it held group meering with resident welfare associations (RWA). “Some viral videos suggest that thousands of people turned up for such meetings, please look at them and respond. These meetings can become Covid-19 spreaders. Also, you need to tell us how many market associations and RWAs you’ve reached out to and what’s the plan of engaging them in your Covid management strategy,” the court said.

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Cities

Cyclone Nivar: Andhra CM orders state machinery to be ready

By dusk on Tuesday, no rainfall was recorded in all the 16 monitored places in Andhra Pradesh while Kurnool recorded a maximum temperature of 33 degrees Celsius.

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Cyclone Storm Nisarga

Amaravati: In the light of severe cyclonic storm Nivar poised to strike Tamil Nadu and parts of his state, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy sounded an alert on Tuesday and instructed the state machinery to be prepared.

In a review meeting with District Collectors and Superintendents of Police, he asked them to be on high alert especially when Nivar makes landfall.

“Though the cyclone is not going to touch Andhra Pradesh directly, it would have an impact in areas closer to Tamil Nadu…. inclement weather would prevail on Tuesday and Wednesday and preparedness should be in place,” he said.

Reddy said parts of Kadapa, Kurnool and Anantapur districts and coastal areas of Prakasam are likely to receive 11-20 cm rainfall, while winds with up to speeds of 65 to 75 km per hour are expected.

He also instructed officials to set up relief and rehabilitation camps wherever required in Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam.

The Chief Minister also said crop protection measures should be taken, along with disemminating crucial information through the ‘rythu bharosa kendras’ (RBKs).

Officials have been directed to ensure that there is no loss of life in coastal areas, and fishermen do not venture into the sea.

“Utilise the services of village secretariat employees and volunteers and prepare NDRF and SDRF teams to be ready keep ready power poles for immediate restoration in case of power outage,” he said. Officials were also instructed to keep tools and equipment ready to remove uprooted trees.

Reddy also told officials to set up 24×7 control rooms at each district Collectorate, along with control rooms at mandal centres.

Noting that a booklet outlining the steps to be taken during a cyclone has been made available at all village secretariats, he asked them to make sure that information is shared with staff and the public.

Meanwhile, a Met Department official said Nivar is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram as a very severe cyclonic storm on late Wednesday evening.

By dusk on Tuesday, no rainfall was recorded in all the 16 monitored places in Andhra Pradesh while Kurnool recorded a maximum temperature of 33 degrees Celsius.

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