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Death of Justice Loya needs to be probed at the highest level of the Supreme Court: Rahul

The judges, who are most-senior at the top court after the Chief Justice – said that “things are not in order” with what they described as “the administration of the Supreme Court”.



Rahul Gandhi

The Congress on Friday described the comments made by four Supreme Court judges as “extremely disturbing” and appealed to the Full Court of the Supreme Court to find solutions to preserve the independence of the judiciary even as party President Rahul Gandhi demanded that its senior-most judges should supervise an SIT probe into the mysterious death of Special CBI Judge B.H. Loya.

The Congress issued a statement after Gandhi met senior party leaders, including P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal who are also leading lawyers, and discussed the situation arising out of the press conference by four senior-most judges — Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur — who were critical of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The Congress and Gandhi demanded that the PIL concerning the death of Judge B.H. Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake shootout case, should be entrusted to the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court who should ensure a thorough and impartial investigation of the case by an independent SIT.

Gandhi, who made a brief statement to the media, said it was “a sensitive and important matter” and that “the points raised by the judges are extremely important”.

“The points that have been raised by the four judges are extremely important. They have mentioned that there is a threat to democracy. I think it needs to be looked into carefully.

“They have also made a point about Judge Loya’s case. I think that is also something that needs to be investigated properly. It needs to be looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court.”

He said the press conference by judges “never happened before”.

“It’s unprecedented. I think all citizens who love the idea of justice, who believe in the Supreme Court are looking at this issue.”

Calling it an “unprecedented development”, the Congress the observations made by the four judges and the issues raised by them in the press conference and in the letter to the Chief Justice were “extremely disturbing and have far reaching consequences for the values that we hold sacred: safeguarding democracy and preserving the independence of the judiciary”.

It said the judges have specifically highlighted two issues. “The long silence of the government of India to the Memorandum of Procedure that was finalised by the Supreme Court and the assignment of cases in the Supreme Court to what is described as ‘selectively to the benches of their preference without any rational basis for such assignment’.

“In answer to a question from the media, the judges referred to the PIL concerning the death of Judge Loya, which the family of Judge Loya believes was under suspicious circumstances.”

The statement said the judges in their letter have also hinted at other instances which they will raise later.

“The press conference and the letter followed a meeting of the four judges with the Chief Justice of India this morning which, apparently, failed to resolve the issues and obliged the four judges to address a press conference.

“The Congress party is deeply perturbed by these developments. The country holds the judiciary in the highest esteem and millions of people knock on the doors of the courts seeking justice. The non-finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure has left nearly 40 per cent of the sanctioned posts of the judges vacant, leading to delay in justice delivery.”

The statement earnestly appealed that the Full Court of the Supreme Court should take up the issues raised by the four judges and find solutions that are consistent with the traditions and conventions of the judiciary pointed out by them and that will preserve the independence of the judiciary.

“In the PIL concerning the death of Judge Loya, we believe that the matter must be entrusted to the senior most judges of the Supreme Court who should ensure that under their supervision there is a thorough and impartial investigation of the case by an independent SIT.

“In the matter of assignment of cases, the established conventions and traditions of the courts must be followed and the selective assignment of cases must be stopped forthwith. Cases that have far reaching implications to society and governance must be heard, in accordance with well established conventions, by the senior most judges of the Supreme Court.”


Sinha compares Modi to Tughlaq, says demonetisation has failed

Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday said demonetisation has “failed comprehensively”, as he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 14th century Delhi Sultanate ruler Muhammad bin Tughlaq.




New Delhi, March 19 : Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday said demonetisation has “failed comprehensively”, as he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 14th century Delhi Sultanate ruler Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

Speaking on the launch of renowned economist Arun Kumar’s book ‘Demonetization and the Black Economy”, Sinha also noted that the abolition of Rs 1,000 note, which was brought back by him in 2000, “pained” him.

“I felt pained personally. After 1978 demonetisation, I had brought back the Rs 1,000 note that was abolished. I felt as if my child has been killed. Apart from that, in order to clean up, you introduced Rs. 2,000 note?” he said.

The BJP leader, who has been vocally opposing demonetisation but continues to be a part of the party, said that he felt Modi was told demonetisation would fill government coffers.

“My own feeling is that someone told the Prime Minister that if he goes for demonetisation, Rs 3-4 lakh crore will come. It will be a bonanza for the government… that unfortunately did not happen,” he said.

Sinha questioned why the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not issue the final figures on the cash that has been collected post November 8, 2016 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

“After the 98.8 (per cent) figure, they have not told us the final figure. Maybe it would be thoroughly embarrassing if we admit that more money has come back,” he said.

He went ahead to compare Modi to Tughlaq, who had introduced token currency of copper and brass coins.

“There used to be a king, who shifted the capital to Daulatabad… He also did demonetisation. We have gone back five centuries to repeat the same mistake,” Sinha said.

While he did not name the king, the reference was unmistakable.

Sinha said “responsible people” in the government were not consulted before the decision was taken, but they had to defend it.

He also question the impact of demonetisation on black money, and questioned where the electoral fundings were coming from.

He also said that post demonetisation, “tax terror” is back.

The book says the unorganised sector, which functions largely on cash, has been “damaged irretrievably” and that government data does not reflect it because the data for the non-agricultural component of the unorganised sector is available with a time lag.

A note on the book said demonetisation was carried out on the “mistaken belief” that “black means cash”.

“Black cash is less than one percent of the black wealth so even if this cash could be squeezed out, it would hardly impact black wealth. Further, black income generation is a process which is not impacted by demonetisation,” it said.

It also argued that cash in an economy does not determine the level of corruption, and having a less cash economy would not determine the level of corruption in the country.

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JNU Students On March Demanding Arrest Of Professor Accused Of Harassment

Seven students registered a complaint against Professor Atul Johari, of JNU’s School of Life Sciences, on March 15. Later, two more students filed charges of sexual harassment.



JNU Protest Sexual Harassment

NEW DELHI: Demanding the immediate arrest of a professor who has been accused of sexual harassment, students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) today marched to the local police station.

Although a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against the professor, students complain that the university administration is protecting the accused by not taking immediate action against him.

Seven students registered a complaint against Professor Atul Johari, of JNU’s School of Life Sciences, on March 15. Later, two more students filed charges of sexual harassment.

Students have been demanding the professor’s suspension and arrest since then, but no action has been taken yet.

A student delegation that met authorities at the Vasant Kunj police station today said they were assured that nine FIRs will be filed and non-bailable charges like criminal intimidation added.

“The JNU Vice Chancellor is saying there are only a few complainants, tell us how many complaints you need to take action,” asked Preeti Uma Rao, a research scholar at the School of Life Sciences. “Even one complainant of sexual harassment is enough.”

Neither the JNU administration nor Prof Johari has made a statement. While the JNU teachers association has called for a fair probe, at least 55 professors of the university have written to the Delhi Police demanding that they register nine FIRs and prevent the accused professor from contacting and intimidating students.

“How will these students feel safe unless this professor is suspended?” said Aditya Mukherjee, a professor at JNU.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has backed the protest by students, asking why the accused has not been arrested.

“JNU matter of sexual assault of 9 girls is extremely shocking. The man appears to be a serial offender. Even more shocking is the fact that Delhi Police is yet to arrest the accused. DCW is issuing notices in the matter. We are in support of the brave complainants,” tweeted DCW chief Swati Jai Hind.

The present complaints appear to indicate a pattern of sexual assault, the commission said in a notice to the JNU administration, seeking to know what safeguards have been taken to ensure the safety & security of the complainants.

The commission has also sent a notice to the police, asking why the accused had not been arrested.

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ED moves Delhi HC over 2G spectrum acquittal




New Delhi, March 19: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday moved an appeal in the Delhi High Court challenging a special court order acquitting former Telecom Minister A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in 2G spectrum money laundering scam case.

The appeal against the December 21 judgement in based on a number of grounds, both factual and legal, an official said.

The ED, which is probing financial irregularities in the case and assisting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), questioned the special court’s verdict ignoring the findings of Supreme Court that has been keeping a regular tab on the investigation until the chargesheet was filed in the case.

As per the agency, the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is, among others, based on the term proceeds of crime which the special court failed to appreciate.

The court also failed on the point in which the crime is defined under Section 2(1)(u), which considers only the criminal activity instead of commission of an offence, the ED said, adding the acquittal by the court in PMLA prosecution by interpreting the term criminal activity to the extent of commission of an offence appeared to be “erroneous”.

While announcing the judgment, special judge O.P. Saini had said the CBI and the ED had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove the charges against 33 persons named in the case. The matter is belived to have contributed to the Congress-led UPA’s electoral loss in 2014.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV.

Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair were also acquitted in the case by the special court.

ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Rs 2 billion was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 309.84 billion to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012.

The special court, which was set up on March 14, 2011 for hearing 2G cases exclusively, had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.

The first case, prosecuted by the CBI, had 17 accused, while the second matter, pursued by the ED, had 19 undertrials. The third one had eight accused including Essar promoters.


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