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In suicide note, Arunachal CM Kalikho Pul alleges graft by SC judges, Congress

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Kalikho Pul

New Delhi, Feb 17 : Late Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul had named some sitting as well as former Supreme Court judges and senior Congress politicians in a 60-page suicide letter he left behind at the time of his death last August. His wife has demanded a CBI probe into the corruption charges levelled by Pul.

“We want a central investigation agency — the CBI or the National Investigation Agency — to investigate the case. Every politician and judge named in the letter should be brought into limelight and action taken against them for demanding bribe,” his wife Dangwimsai Pul told the media here.

The suicide note written by Kalikho Pul in Hindi mentions the names of several Congress politicians both at the Centre and in Arunachal Pradesh along with Supreme Court judges, including ex-Chief Justices of India H.L Dattu and Altamas Kabir, for demanding bribe.

Dangwimsai — the first wife of Pul — has demanded a new FIR in the case as the state government did not probe the death of Pul “properly”, despite an FIR by the family.

She alleged the current state government threatened her against demanding a CBI probe.

On being asked who was threatening them, Dangwimsai told IANS: “I can’t take the names, but certainly they are people close to the ministers in the current Arunachal government.”

In his 60-page suicide note, a copy of which is with IANS, Pul said H.L. Dattu was allegedly paid Rs 28 crore in 2012 to stay an order against the former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, despite the Gauhati High Court ordering a CBI inquiry against Tuki after finding him guilty.

Similarly, another ex CJI Altamas Kabir had given a decision in favour of Arunachal contractors regarding a Public Distribution System (PDS) scam. The Central government and Food Corporation of India termed the decision wrong, he alleged in the letter.

Pul also alleges that on the directions of former Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, he in 2009 had given Rs 6 crore to President Pranab Mukherjee, then Union Finance Minister. Mukherjee was paid the money after he cleared an advance loan of Rs 200 crore to Arunachal Pradesh.

“In 2008, I, on the directions of Dorjee Khandu, was compelled to give Rs 37 crore to Congress Treasurer Moti Lal Vora,” said the suicide note.

The suicide note which brings to light several irregularities and scams in Arunachal Pradesh also mentions that Pul was contacted by some (unidentified) people, demanding Rs 86 crore to give a SC ruling in his favour, an offer which Pul said he denied.

Pul had become Chief Minister on February 19, 2016, after he along with 29 (19 Congress and 11 BJP) MLAs defected to the People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) — a state outfit — to form a new government, bringing down the existing Congress government led by Chief Minister Tuki.

However, the Supreme Court reinstated the Tuki government on July 13, following which Pul and his supporters returned to the Congress and supported Pema Khandu as the Chief Minister.

According to the letter, Pul was contacted till 9 p.m on July 12, 2016, demanding an advance of Rs 9 crore to delay the hearing for one month. Pul was unseated from the chief ministership on July 13.

The 47-year-old leader was found hanging from a ceiling fan on August 9 in the official residence of the Chief Minister. He had yet to vacate the bungalow.

The Arunachal Police had found a 60-page letter written by Pul near his body, titled ‘Mere Vichar’ (My Views).

The letter also accuses two sitting judges of the Supreme Court of corruption.

“Virender Khehar (relative of a serving judge), had asked for Rs 49 crore from me. In another case Aditya Mishra (relative of another serving judge) had asked Rs 37 crore from me,” said the letter.

Mentioning extreme manipulations through money in the Supreme Court while giving important verdicts, Pul said he was contacted till July 25, 2016 — more than a week after the July 13 verdict — by the kin of a serving Supreme Court juge with an offer to change the decision of the Supreme Court in his favour for Rs 31 crore.

The suicide letter — which appears to be written over a period of a month and with his signature on each page — clearly expresses the frustration and helplessness of Pul towards the government and judiciary.

In the letter, Pul has accused Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu and ex-CM Nabam Tuki as being among the few people responsible for bringing the state into financial ruin.

The suicide note states that the entire expenses of Rs 90 crore for the case — to unseat him — in the Supreme Court was borne by former and current Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and Pema Khandu.

The letter also names Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and V. Narayanasamy as demanding money to resolve problems among the Congress legislators in Arunachal Pradesh.

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AAP withdraws petition in HC on disqualification of 20 MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Aam Aadmi Partys (AAP) disqualified MLAs on Monday withdrew from the Delhi High Court their plea seeking a stay on the Election Commission’s recommendation to the President to disqualify 20 MLAs in an office of profit case.

Justice Rekha Palli said the plea moved by six AAP legislators had become infructuous as the President has already issued a circular to disqualify all 20 MLAs.

The court’s decision came after it was informed by the EC that it had already sent its opinion to President Ram Nath Kovind on January 19, before the MLAs had moved the court.

EC also informed the court that the President issued the notification on January 20.

The court said: “What remains with the writ now, the final order has been passed by the President. The plea is dismissed as withdrawn.”

On Friday, the Election Commission recommended to the President for disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Following the President’s approval, the Union Law and Justice Ministry had issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act.

These 20 MLAs are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.

The counsels appearing for the disqualified MLAs said they wanted to withdraw the plea and will examine the EC’s order.

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Why the haste to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs, asks Shiv Sena

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Mumbai, Jan 22: The Shiv Sena on Monday raised questions over “the haste” with which 20 legislators of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi were disqualified for holding ‘office of profit’.

“This is an unprecedented incident in which so many elected legislators have been disqualified in a wholesale manner. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is facing a crisis, and that is because of the public campaign against corruption and injustice,” the Shiv Sena said.

Even President Ram Nath Kovind took cognizance and stamped his approval to the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s recommendations, the Sena said in a strong edit in the party mouthpieces, ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’.

There were similar complaints against legislators during the tenure of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, and even now in different states, but their positions have remained intact.

In the case of AAP’s 20 legislators, the EC has acted in haste, that is the opinion of even former ECI officials, and that too, without giving them an opportunity to present their case, it said.

“The EC gave its ruling on the complaints against these legislators without a hearing in the matter or giving the 20 AAP elected representatives a chance to explain themselves. This is wrong,” the Sena said.

It pointed to the ongoing war between the Delhi Chief Minister and Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, in which the latter doesn’t miss “a single opportunity” to create obstacles for Kejriwal and the AAP government.

“Instead of Kejriwal, if there was a Bharatiya Janata Party Chief Minister, would the Lt. Governor have dared to behave in such a fashion, or recommend to the EC to shunt 20 legislators home without giving them any opportunity to defend themselves. More than the Centre, the Lt. Governor appears to work like a BJP agent,” the Sena commented sharply.

The recent developments have raised a new debate on “what exactly is the meaning of ‘office of profit’ held by an elected representative since this incident is the first of its kind in the country”, it said.

According to the Constitution’s Section 102(1), it is illegal for an elected peoples’ representative to accept any other post which is paid for by the government, since as MPs or MLAs they are already getting remuneration.

“The charge against the 20 AAP legislators is that they accepted another office of profit – of ‘Parliamentary Secretary’ – and hence forfeited their posts as elected peoples’ representatives,” the Sena said.

The AAP was elected with 66 members in the 70-member Delhi legislature and there was a huge pressure on Kejriwal for ministerial berths, so many were offered the carrots of Parliamentary Secretary.

In the sparring over the ‘office of profit’ issue, the AAP and other political parties have accused the ECI of political vendetta and haste in its action of recommending their disqualification, said the Sena.

“It is alleged that the ECI has been used as a political weapon to disqualify the 20 AAP legislators. This has raised questions on the credibility of the ECI,” the Sena concluded.

IANS

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Veteran CPI-M leader of Bengal passes away

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Kolkata, Jan 22: Veteran CPI-M leader and former West Bengal legislator Nirmal Mukherjee has died at his residence following old age complications, party sources said.

Mukherjee, 82, died on Sunday night. He is survived by his two daughters.

Mukherjee was elected to the state assembly twice from Behala (West) constituency in 1991 and 2001.

Born in 1935, he became a member of the undivided Communist Party of India in 1957, and joined the CPI-M after the split in the CPI.

In 1985, he was elected as a councillor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation. He later served as a member of the Mayor-in-Council and was elected KMC chairman in 2005.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose and Communist Party of India-Marxist state Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra have condoled his death.

IANS

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