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National Herald: Swamy seeks to submit ‘fresh list’ of witnesses




New Delhi, April 22: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday sought more time to submit a fresh list of witnesses in the National Herald case.

The fresh list includes M. L. Bohra and Bhupender Singh Huda, who have been named as accused in a similar matter in which an FIR has been filed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate has already questioned them.

“I want to make an additional list of witnesses. There is another investigation going on about the land in question in my matter. ED has questioned Mr. Vohra and Mr. Hooda in the National Herald case. Seek time to argue the matter once I have filed the list of witnesses,” Swamy told the court.

However, the respondent said, “I strongly oppose this. He (Swamy) is now in history. We also want to be in history by cross examining him. Let him come into the witness box.”

Earlier also he (Swamy) said there are three probes here and there but they are not connected in any way to this case. Any development after 2014 is not relevant to this case. The only thing is that he doesn’t want to come in the witness box. Nothing else,” the respondent added.

Answering to which Swamy said, “If they are going to oppose then I should get an opportunity to oppose their opposition. Allow all the witnesses I’ve mentioned to be present. Allow me to argue.”

Earlier, all the accused in the case filed their reply in the court and opposed Swamy’s plea seeking summoning of witnesses.

Swamy’s counsel had submitted a list of witnesses and other evidences against the accused. The court had previously dismissed Swamy’s plea, seeking documents related to the case against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi along with other accused.

Swamy had earlier sought documents and ledger books maintained by the Congress and Associated Journals Limited (AJL). Swamy had filed an application in 2012, accusing Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others associated with the Congress of conspiring to cheat in a land deal.

In his complaint, Swamy had alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore to the AJL, owner of the National Herald newspaper, established by Jawaharlal Nehru, which was either not repaid or repaid in case, which was in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

In August, the court issued notices to Sonia, Rahul and five others on Swamy’s application seeking presentation of certain documents from Associated Journals Pvt. Ltd (AJL) and Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the National Herald case.



Office of profit case: Delhi HC sets aside disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs




New Delhi, March 23: In a massive relief for Arvind Kejriwal government, the Delhi high court on Friday restored membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs who were disqualified by the Election commission of India in connection with the office of profit case.

After delivery the judgement, the Court referred the case back to the poll panel citing the disqualification of AAP MLAs was bad in law.

In its verdict, the court said “the violation of oral hearing norms by EC and failure to communicate that  Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat after recusing had rejoined proceedings were the reasons to quash the January 19 order”.

The MLAs who had been engaged in the battle were 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 and Nitin Tyagi.

On January 19, the election commission sent its recommendation to the President for his assent to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi party MLAs for holding ‘office of profit’.

Following this, President Ram Nath Kovind disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding Office of Profit.

The poll panel was referring to the fact the MLAs had been appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015.

Challenging EC’s recommendation, then AAP MLAs approached the Delhi High Court.


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INX Media case: Delhi High Court grants bail to Karti Chidambaram



New Delhi, March 23: The High Court on Friday granted bail to former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media case. 

Earlier, the court had reserved order on the bail plea of Karti Chidambaram on March 16 after hearing arguments from prosecution as well as defence counsel.

Karti Chidambaram’s advocate had told the court that his client has been co-operative during the investigation.

Countering his claim, the Central Bureau of Investigation contended that he did not co-operate and has tried to influence witnesses in the case. However, the probe agency did not reveal the name of witnesses.

The special court March 12 sent Karti Chidambaram to judicial custody till March 24.

Karti Chidambaram was held in February for allegedly taking money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.


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Anna attacks Modi government on Lokpal, agrarian crisis



Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare begins fast for LokPal

New Delhi, March 23: Launching a fresh anti-corruption agitation with an indefinite fast here on Friday, social activist Anna Hazare said his efforts to communicate with the Modi government on issues of Lokpal and agrarian distress had yielded no result.

“I have written 43 letters to the Modi government in the last four years but did not get any reply,” he said soon after he began his hunger strike at the sprawling Ramlila Maidan here after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

“The farmers in the country are in distress as they are not getting remunerative prices and the government is not acting to ensure fair prices.”

Hazare has been pressing for setting up Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states to probe corruption cases, bring in new electoral reforms and implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report to address the agrarian crisis in the country.

He said he would hold discussions with the government during the agitation but his indefinite hunger strike, called ‘Satyagraha’, would continue “till the government comes out with a concrete action plan”.

The activist, who held a major agitation in 2011 against corruption catching the imagination of Indians, said Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and some ministers from Maharashtra met him on Thursday and gave certain assurances.

“But I said I don’t trust you. How many promises you have fulfilled so far? Nothing. So come with concrete action plan,” he said in his address to thousands of supporters gathered at the iconic ground in the heart of Delhi.

Hazare said the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), which decides prices for 23 crops, should be made autonomous for fair price fixation.

Currently, the Central government controls CACP and cuts the fair price rates suggested by states by 30-35 per cent, he said.

“I will prefer dying for the nation than by heart attack,” said the 80-year-old activist, whose 2011 agitation gave birth to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) now ruling in Delhi.

The agitation also contributed to the Congress-led UPA losing the 2014 general elections that brought the BJP to power at the Centre.

Last month, Hazare accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not being interested in the appointment of the Lokpal at the Centre.

The veteran activist said Modi was “never serious about Lokpal”.

The reason behind the delay, he said, in the appointment of a Lokpal was because the Prime Minister was afraid that once this became a reality, his office as well as that of his cabinet members would also come under its purview.


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