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Kapil Sibal threatens to sue news channels making baseless allegations of him receiving money for CAA Protests

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Kapil Sibal Speech

New Delhi, Jan 27: Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal denied receiving any funds from the Popular Front of India in relation to protests against the newly-enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Addressing the press, he said that the sum of Rs. 77 lakh was paid to him for appearing in the Hadiya matter of 2017 in Supreme Court. He further said that if certain news channels fail to stop this disinformation campaign to defame him based on baseless allegations, he would sue them in a court of law.

Sibal’s remarks came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), here on Monday, said it had identified the PFI and the Rehab Foundation India (RFI) for providing over Rs 120 crore for the protests over the new citizenship law (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

According to the ED, Rs 77 lakh was paid to Sibal, Rs 4 lakh to senior advocate Indira Jaising, Rs 11 lakh to senior lawyer Dushyant Dave and Rs 3.10 lakh to person named Abdul Samad, who is also named in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charge-sheet.

Refuting the claims Sibal had said, “The ED has released a statement analysing the PFI’s bank accounts in which my name has been mentioned as a recipient for funding the anti-CAA agitations.”

Sibal said the CAA became law only in December, 2019. “In all matters in which I have appeared in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the CAA, I have not raised, till date, any invoice,” he said.

Accepting receiving Rs 77 lakh from the PFI, Sibal said, “The statement that I was paid Rs 77 lakh is with respect to a litigation in the special leave petition titled ‘Shafin Jahan versus Asokan K.M. and others. This is related to Hadiya’s marriage to Shafin Jahan, which was challenged right up to the Supreme Court with the NIA and the father of Hadiya being parties.”

In that, Sibal said he represented Hadiya, the wife, and ultimately the marriage was upheld and Hadiya was given the liberty to live with her husband Shafin. “For my appearances, I raised invoices and received payments thereon, through cheques from August 4, 2017 till March 8, 2018 from the PFI’s Syndicate Bank account in Kerala’s Kozhikode,” he said.

Sibal said he had raised the invoices on his advocate on record Haris Beerab for each of the appearances. Seven cheques were received in his office and were deposited in the bank by his staff, he added.

“I was paid for professional services rendered and for nothing else. Any insinuations made to besmirch my name and defame me will be taken seriously,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Sibal refuted receiving payments from the PFI. “I have never received any amount from any organisation except for litigation. I don’t even remember. Give me the dates of the receipt and I shall find out and let you know,” Sibal told IANS. “If I would have received the payment then it must be a cheque payment, as I don’t take cash,” the senior lawyer said.

“If this amount has come to me through bank transfer then I must have raised a bill. If that amount is paid for legal services then what’s wrong?” he said.

Sibal also said he never appeared for any one linked to the CAA protests. “I have not represented any of the PFI cases and also not of the CAA protesters. The PFI has never paid me,” he said.

An ED source told IANS, “While keeping a tab on the PFI, we identified 73 bank accounts. Following the money trail, we came to know about the RFI, which provided over Rs 120 crore for the CAA and the NRC protests.”

Stating that bank accounts with huge transactions were detected in the last two months, the source said, “The ED has been keeping a tab on the PFI’s 27 and the RFI’s nine bank accounts, and accounts of 37 individuals and entities in 17 different banks.”

“During the probe it was found the money transferred into these accounts were either cash deposits or made through NEFT/RTGS/IMPS. The amounts were withdrawn either the same day or within two-three days, leaving only minimal money in these accounts,” the source said.

From the PFI’s Syndicate Bank accounts in Nehru Place (New Delhi) and western UP districts, like Hapur, Shamli, Bahraich, Bijnor and Dasna, branches Rs 41.5 crore was deposited.

According to the source, Rs 27 crore cash was deposited in 27 bank accounts. Rs 1.04 crore was deposited in 15 bank accounts of the PFI in 10 banks and the RFI (five banks) between December 4, 2019 and January 6, 2020.

He said the deposits were in the forms of IMPS using mobile and amounts varied from Rs 5,000 to Rs 49,000. The deposit was kept below Rs 50,000 to prevent disclosure of the depositor’s identity.

According to the source, nine offices of the PFI and related organisations have been opened in the Shaheen Bagh area to fund the protests.

Reacting to the ED documents pertaining to payments for the CAA protests, PFI General Secretary Mohammed Ali Jinnah said, “The PFI strongly condemns the news reports broadcast by news channels regarding PFI’s financial links to instigate the CAA protest.

“First, the news channels have attributed the report to the ED through some ‘unnamed sources’, but the ED has not contacted our organisation, nor issued any official statement regarding allegations,” he said.

Stating that the PFI fully complied with the law of the land, Jinnah said, “the allegation of Rs 120 crore transferred from its accounts just before the CAA protest is baseless and the people who are levelling these allegations should prove these claims.”

He said few news channels were also broadcasting that funds transferred from the Kerala state PFI accounts were for advocates, like Sibal, Dave and Jaising.

“It exposes the intention of the vested interests who are keen to blame the PFI for everything that is happening in India. The truth is transfers were made in 2017 as lawyer fees in the Hadiya Case. Attributing a fee transfer in 2017 as a funding for 2019 CAA protest is absurd and exposes the intention to defame the PFI,” he said.

“We challenge the so-called unnamed sources to prove that there is any wing of the PFI working in Kashmir,” Jinnah said.

Cities

S N Shrivastava appointed Delhi Police Commissioner, replaces Amulya Patnaik

Shrivastava was drafted into the Delhi Police on Tuesday evening to bring the riot-hit areas of the northeast district under control.

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S N Shrivastava IPS

New Delhi, Feb 28 : The Centre on Friday gave additional charge of Delhi Police Commissioner to senior IPS officer S.N. Shrivastava with effect from March 1 and until further orders with incumbent Amulya Patnaik retiring on Saturday.

The government’s order to give Shrivastava additional charge of Delhi Police chief though raised concerns whether he would continue on the post or any other officer would be appointed to head the 84,000 strong force.

The 1985-batch officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, Srivastava, has been presently holding the charge of Special Commissioner of Delhi Police.

Shrivastava was drafted into the Delhi Police on Tuesday evening to bring the riot-hit areas of the northeast district under control.

A Home Ministry order issued on Friday mentioned that “with the approval of the competent authority, S.N. Shrivastava, IPS (AGMUT: 1985) presently posted with Delhi Police, as Special CP, is hereby given the additional charge of the post of the Commissioner of Police, Delhi with effect from March 1, 2020 and until further orders”.

Shrivastava was earlier posted as Special Director General (Training) with the Central Reserve Police Force. He was ADG (western zone) looking after Jammu and Kashmir at the peak of violence in 2016-17 when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was gunned down.

The Central Reserve Police Force, where Shrivastava was serving as the Special Director General (Training), issued his reliving order for his “premature repatriation” from the paramilitary force soon after Home Ministry’s direction.

Earlier, Shrivastava headed the Delhi Police Special Cell and was instrumental in the arrest of scores of Indian Mujahideen operatives. He has served the Delhi Police in various capacities in the past.

Shrivastava, who holds a B. Tech and LLB degree, was tipped to take over as the new Delhi Police chief after he was called back to the force at a time when Delhi was facing violent protests and riot that led to the death of 38 people and left over 200 injured in a span of four days since February 23.

Patnaik’s extended tenure ends on February 29. He is a 1985 batch IPS officer from Union Territories cadre, and was appointed as Delhi Police chief on January 30, 2017.

He retired from the post on January 31 but was given one month extension in view Delhi Assembly elections which concluded earlier this month.

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India

39 Dead in Delhi riots, No Big Incident In Last 36 Hours, says Centre

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Delhi Violence

New Delhi, Feb 28: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a review meeting to take stock of law and order situation in Delhi in view of the violence that engulfed the North-East district of the national capital. According to the ministry, no major untoward incident has been reported in the last 36 hours in any police station of North-East Delhi.

The meeting was attended by Home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, CP Delhi Amulya Patnaik, and Special CP, Law & Order SN Shrivastava.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 will be relaxed for a total of 10 hours tomorrow in view of the improvement of the situation.

“So far, 48 FIRs, pertaining to clashes, loss of lives/property, etc., have already been registered and further FIRs would be registered in due course. Police has detained/arrested 514 suspects for questioning so far. Further arrests would be effected in the course of the investigation,” Home Ministry said.

The Ministry claimed that 39 persons have lost their lives in these tragic incidents since February 24.

“Two Security personnel sacrificed their lives in the line of duty to restore law and order. Besides, nearly 70 Police personnel and senior officers have been injured in these unfortunate incidents. Adequate steps have been taken to ensure medical support to the injured,” MHA said in a press release.

Shah has appealed to citizens not to believe in rumours and fall prey to evil designs of miscreants and groups interested in precipitating communal tension.

“Only 12 Police Stations out of the 203 Police Stations in Delhi (about 4.2% of the geographical area) have been affected by these riots, while normalcy and communal harmony has prevailed elsewhere in the National Capital. Delhi Police is mandated and obligated to provide security to all sections of society irrespective of caste and religion,” the ministry said.

The home ministry claimed that East Delhi Municipal Corporation has already initiated steps to clean the streets and repair damaged public properties in riot-affected areas. Other civic agencies are also ensuring that civic amenities be restored as soon as possible.

The situation is slowly returning to normal. Movement of traffic on the highway and connecting roads is returning to normal, the ministry said.

MHA said that nearly 7,000 Central Para-Military Forces have been deployed in the affected areas of North-East District since February 24.

“Besides, Delhi Police has also deployed three Special CPs, six Joint CPs, one Additional CP, 22 DCPs, 20 ACPs, 60 Inspectors, 1,200 other ranks and 200 Lady Police under the overall supervision of Commissioner of Police to effectively guide and supervise Police response so as to contain and normalise the situation,” the ministry said.

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Ex-BJP MLA and Fadnavis aide booked for rape in Thane

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Devendra Fadnavis


Thane (Maharashtra), Feb 28 In a huge embarrassment to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, it’s former MLA from Mira Road Narendra Mehta was booked on charges of alleged rape levelled by a BJP woman municipal corporator, officials said here on Friday.

A close aide of Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mehta has been booked for offences of sexual assault by the Navghar Police on Friday after the complaint by his party female colleague and a civic lawmaker.

Known for his lavish lifestyle and influence, Mehta was considered a prominent figure of Mira-Bhayender towns of Thane, a BJP stronghold, around 10km to the northwest of Mumbai.

Besides IPC provisions, he has also been slapped with charges under Attrocities Act following the victim’s complaint.

There was huge speculation in political circles after Mehta suddenly quit all party posts a couple of days ago, followed by certain videos which went viral on social media networks.

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