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CBI gets 5-day custody of ex-minister’s wife Manoranjana in Saradha scam

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Kolkata: A city court on Thursday sent Manoranjana , the estranged wife of Congress leader Matang Sinh, to CBI custody for five day for her alleged involvement in the Saradha scam.

Manoranjana, along with Kolkata-based entrepreneur and chairman of the now-defunct Xenitis Group, Santanu Ghosh, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday for their alleged complicity in the multi-crore-rupee ponzi.

Rejecting their bail plea, the court sent the duo to CBI custody till October 13.

According to the CBI, they were “involved in a criminal conspiracy with Saradha group head and scam kingpin Sudipta Sen and misappropriated huge amounts running into crores of rupees”.

The CBI had arrested Matang Sinh in January and charge-sheeted him for several offenses including cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had since 2014 been grilling Manoranjana who, along with many other high-profile names, has been accused of complicity in the scam by Sudipta Sen in his 2013 tell-all letter to the CBI.

Manoranjana, a former journalist, had allegedly sold her shares in an audio-visual channel to the Saradha Group.

She had also purportedly taken Sen to the lawyer-wife of a former union minister for settling a deal, Sen claimed in the letter.

Santanu Ghosh, said to have made several business transactions with the tainted group, was arrested in June 2014 by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

He was subsequently granted bail in August last year by a city court.

(With inputs from IANS)

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CBI Unravels Wrongdoing in Atomic Minerals Mining Licensing

The Delhi High Court that it had taken a policy decision not to auction or re-grant the offshore blocks

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Coal, Mining, China, 5G
5G-powered tramcars went into service in a coal mine in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Pixabay

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has uncovered large-scale irregularities in the ownership pattern, financial resources and technical ability of five companies granted mining licences for offshore blocks bearing rare and atomic minerals.

The companies, while applying for mining licence in June 2010, had a common director, the Central government has told the Supreme Court.

The Centre has argued that the five companies were registered after the government called private parties for mining licences in June 2010, says a CBI document.

At that time, the government was unaware that these minerals had strategic and defence value.

CBI, Atomic Minerals, Mining
The companies, while applying for mining licence in June 2010, had a common director. Pixabay

The administering authority of these licences did not obtain mandatory clearances from various ministries, especially the Home Ministry, according to the CBI.

The Delhi High Court, in an order dated April 25, directed the Centre to execute the exploration licence of the companies as per the procedure within four weeks from the date of receipt of the order.

The verdict came even after the Centre, in an affidavit dated April 16, told the Delhi High Court that it had taken a policy decision not to auction or re-grant the offshore blocks, bearing atomic minerals, to private parties.

Moving the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling, the Centre accused the companies of not submitting the proper supporting documents on the basis of which the marking was done in the evaluation sheet.

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The companies were charged with not providing any document indicating the sanctioned line of credit from any financial institution or bank.

One of the companies approached a leading financial services company seeking finance to carry out mining.

“This document was accepted as a document in support of the financial capability of the applicant company. Accordingly, a MoU was signed on September 23, 2010, which was received by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) in October 2010, after the date of submission of application for grant of licences on September 14, 2010,” said an internal CBI document.

Therefore, the Centre believed that the company had not confirmed the sanctioned credit limit as per the revised guidelines.

CBI, Atomic Minerals, Mining
The Centre has argued that the five companies were registered after the government called private parties for mining licences in June 2010. Pixabay

“The above MoU was valid only till March 31, 2011. Thus, on the date of issue of grant order by IBM on April 5, 2011, the MoU was null and void,” said the document.

According to information from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the authorised share capital of this company and its sister concerns was Rs 25 lakh each whereas the paid up share capital of each of the companies was Rs 1 lakh.

The net worth was negative for each company during fiscal 2016-17. The companies, even as of now, are not financially capable of undertaking any activities or business operations, said the document.

The companies stated that they were sister companies of 12 other companies engaged in different business sectors.

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“The worth of the companies and their directors are more than Rs 300 crore. If the exploration licence is granted to the applicant companies, expenses up to Rs 50 crore can be spent easily and can be further increased up to Rs 100 crore, if required,” says a petition in the Supreme Court.

“However, this is not acceptable since the company has been incorporated as Limited Liability Company and therefore the financial commitments by the sister companies had no relevance in the absence of resolution passed by the Board of Directors of the sister companies,” it added.

Despite the inadequate documents in support of their financial strength, the companies got 25 marks by the screening committee which shortlisted applications for mining licence.

“These private companies failed to produce satisfactory documentation for the requisite technical ability and financial resources to undertake exploration operation”, said an officer familiar with the investigation.

The CBI has charge-sheeted the government officials who in November 2017 signed in haste two licence deeds with one of the companies without following the due process.

The CBI, which has started preliminary enquiry after a gap of six years following a go-ahead from the apex court, favours a full-fledged investigation against everyone linked to the grant of licences. (IANS)

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PM Modi Slammed for “Destroying” CBI: Congress on Alok Verma’s Case

The Congress on Tuesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Supreme Court reinstated Alok Verma as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, saying he has been exposed for "destroying" the premier investigating agency.

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narendra modi
Image: IANS

The Congress on Tuesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Supreme Court reinstated Alok Verma as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, saying he has been exposed for “destroying” the premier investigating agency.

“Modi adds another first to his list. After being the first Prime Minister to be exposed destroying the CBI before the Supreme Court, after having ruined the CVC’s (Central Vigilance Commission) credibility (requiring supervision by former SC judge), Modi has now become first Prime Minister to have his illegal orders set aside by the Supreme Court,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a series of tweets.

His remarks came soon after the Supreme Court judgment pronounced on a plea by Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government’s decision on the intervening night of October 23-24 to divest Verma of his charge as head of the investigating agency.

Reminding Modi that the government comes and goes but the integrity of the institutions survive, Surjewala hoped that the judgement would be a “lesson” to the Prime Minister about the strength of country’s democracy and the Constitution.

“Modiji please remember, governments have come and gone. Integrity of our institutions have survived. Let this be a lesson to you about the strength of our democracy and the Constitution. Let this be a lesson that howsoever despotic you may be, law catches up in the end,” he said.

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Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Wikimedia

Firing salvo at Prime Minister, the Congress leader said: “After making CBI Chief suffer the consequences of your illegal decision for three months, will you show the courage to return three months of lost tenure? Unless you are afraid of investigation into Rafale scam.

“Modi equals to ‘Muzzling of Democratic Institutions’. First, you lose four economic advisors in a row including two RBI Governors. Second, four Supreme Court judges go public on Judge (B.H.) Loya, then you destroy credibility and competence of the CBI and CVC. This is your model of ‘minimum governance, maximum government’,” he added.

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Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned the Supreme Court verdict asking what has changed now.

“Before the Supreme Court verdict; Alok Verma didn’t have powers of CBI Chief, couldn’t take any decision on policy or investigation. After Supreme Court verdict: Ditto,” Singhvi tweeted. (IANS)

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CBI Writes to Cambridge Analytica, Facebook And GSR Regarding Data Breach Cases

The CBI got the reference from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in July, to investigate the role of Cambride Analytica

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Case Against NDTV Founders
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Wikimedia

The CBI has written to UK-based Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research (GSR) and US-based Facebook, seeking information in connection with its probe into allegedly illegally obtaining social networking site data of Indians, sources said on Monday.

According to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sources, the agency has written to the Cambridge Analytica’s New York City office, GSR office in UK and Facebook’s US office.

The agency’s moves comes in the wake of a “Preliminary Enquiry (PE)” it registered against the firms after receiving a reference from the Centre to start a probe into the matter on August 8.

The CBI got the reference from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in July, to investigate the role of Cambride Analytica.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on July 26 had also told Parliament that the government has ordered the CBI to probe and find out if the British company had violated Indian laws.

Cambridge Analytica — a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer — declared bankruptcy this year following allegations that it used personal information harvested from 87 million Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential election.

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The firm is accused of mining personal information without authorisation in early 2014, to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. (IANS)