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I am sure by tomorrow, the entire issue would be resolved: Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal

The government’s top legal officer KK Venugopal says, “I am sure that the judges, including the CJI, will rise to the occasion.”



KK Venugopal

NEW DELHI: Attorney General K K Venugopal today said the unprecedented move by the four senior Supreme Court judges in holding a press conference “could have been avoided” and the judges would now have to act in “statesmanship” to ensure complete harmony.

Venugopal, who had a meeting with Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra after the press conference, spoke to PTI on much persuation and expressed hope that all judges, including the CJI, would rise to the occasion and “wholy neutralise” the “divisiveness”.

“What has happened today could have been avoided. The judges will now have to act in statesmanship and ensure that the divisiveness is wholly neutralised and total harmony and mutual understanding will prevail in future,” he said. “This is what all of us at the bar want and I am sure that the judges, including the CJI, will rise to the occasion,” he said, but declined to come out with details of his deliberations with the CJI and others. “I had promised to the judges that I would not speak to the media,” Venugopal said.

Sources said judges, other than the four senior most ones, also held a meeting during the recess and were concerned about the unprecedented development. Repeated attempts to reach out to the CJI and his office to get his comments on the development did not fructify.


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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