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Coal block allocation scam: Court adjourns the hearing to July 13

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New Delhi: A court here on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to supply deficient documents to the accused in a coal block allocation case against Jindal Steel and deferred the hearing to July 13.

After directing the probe agency to supply the documents, Special Judge Bharat Parashar posted the matter for July 13.

The court was hearing the case related to to the allocation of Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge.

Industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former Union Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and others have been named as accused in the case.

They have been charge-sheeted for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Prevention of Corruption Act. (IANS)

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The True Story behind Case against NDTV Founders: Read Here!

While the mainstream media has opinionated on the case against NDTV, here are some facts that paint the true picture

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Case against NDTV founders
Prannoy Roy, founder of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV). Twitter
  • After a case against NDTV founders had been registered, the CBI raided the residence
  • The raids prompted the NDTV to respond by alleging that the investigating agency is acting “under pressure” and further calling the fiasco a ‘witch-hunt’
  • The case has been registered by the Banking Fraud Division of the CBI alleging the NDTV founders for defrauding the ICICI Bank along with other violations 

The Background

So the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against NDTV founders – Prannoy Roy and wife Radhika Roy- on the 5th of June, 2017. Consequently, a day after, the investigative agency also raided the residences of Prannoy Roy and his wife, along with four other premises in Delhi and Dehradun belonging to promoters. Cases have been registered against their company RRPR Holding Ltd as well as ICICI Bank officials.

The FIR has been filed by Sanjay Dutt, a former consultant at NDTV. The NDTV is also being investigated by Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate when it was discovered that NDTV received funds from a foreign institution but settled the account at 80% less than the actual amount received.

The case comes as a consequence of an allegation against the founders for causing over Rs. 48 crore losses to ICICI bank. They are booked under the Indian Penal Code and Prevent of Corruption Act for criminal conspiracy, cheating, and criminal misconduct.

The ICICI had given the founders’ private holding company-RRPR Holding Private Ltd-a loan of Rs 366 crore. The Roys had guaranteed their NDTV shares at a price more than the prevailing price at Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The loan was closed within a year, however, the interest was waived off resulting in a loss of Rs 48 crores for the bank. The equivalent amount was moved out of the holding company’s bank account.

The FIR report explicitly states that NDTV as well as ICICI “entered into a criminal conspiracy to transfer ownership of a news company, i.e NDTV, to a shell company against banking rule and SEBI Act.”

On the basis of last year’s letter by the Enforcement Directorate to the CBI showcasing irregularities by the ICICI bank, a FIR was registered.

The NDTV responded by calling the whole incident a ‘witch-hunt’ after stating that the founders have not defaulted any loans. The media organization has called Dutt’s allegations false. The NDTV and its allies have countered this as an attack on free speech.

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

The Focus

The NDTV issued a statement calling this whole incident a ‘witch-hunt’ and a political attack on the freedom of speech. It also argued that the CBI has no jurisdiction to investigate such matters that concern the private banks and EVEN IF there has indeed been a loss incurred. CBI, in counter, has cited the example of ‘CBI vs Ramesh Gelli’ case which was ruled in the favor of the investigating agency. CBI has the right to investigate the matter.

It is worth noting that the CBI is not just investing the loan default case but violations of SEBI guidelines and RBI rules. NDTV’s decision to address the CBI as “acting under pressure” is shameful.

Dutt has also claimed that the collateral shares that the Roys had guaranteed were never notified to stock exchanges and SEBI. SEBI has also initiated a probe.

The priority of the investigation is to explore “wrongful gain” of Rs 48 crores to the Roys and their holding company. That clearly implies how NDTV’s claim that this whole fiasco is an “agenda” is simply not true.

NDTV and allies that have been questioning the investigations must understand deeper forms of suspicion that have surrounded the transactions.

Manisha Pande, from Newslaundry, has explained with the remarkable simplicity about the essential factor that investigations are to keep in mind. So RRPR, the holding company, received Rs. 403.85 crores from a shell company- Vishwapradhan Commercial Private Ltd. Now this shell company had received this same amount from Shinano Retail as a loan. The Shinano Retail is fully owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holding which received this same loan from the main source Reliance Ventures Ltd, subsidiary of Reliance Ltd.

Hence, Dutt urges to find out “who is the true owner of NDTV?” by calling it, what many would agree, a Hawala (money laundering) transaction.

Manisha Pande has thus rightly pointed out the “investigation cannot start and end at NDTV.” She continues “CBI would have to probe some other important people” especially since the trail points to other noticeable direction.

It is also worth noting how NDTV had been enjoying heavenly fortunes when the UPA came to power. The company raised $417 million in different parts of the world through 20 wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Therefore, while the mainstream media and Twitterites will continue to raise and justify political factors, continuing with their blame game and bargaining, at the end of the day it is the law which is over everything. The law and justice must prevail. None of the facts point to the CBI trying to “silence the media under pressure”.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

ALSO READ: Salil Gewali’s ‘Exclusive: Fall of the Draconian Roar of NDTV?’ on NewsGram

You can follow Manisha Pande and her views on her Twitter handle @MnshaP

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CBI demands Death penalty for four policemen convicted for Bhojpur Shootout in Ghaziabad

"The society demands that the policemen be hanged," the CBI prosecutor said

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Supreme Court of India, (Representational Image, Courtesy:Wikimedia)

Ghaziabad, Feb 22, 2017: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday demanded death penalty for four policemen who were involved in a more than two-decade-old staged shootout in Bhojpur, in Ghaziabad district.

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At a hearing, CBI prosecutor Rajan Dahiya, terming the incident rarest of rare, said the motive of the policemen was to get promotion in the garb of a daring shootout, and they committed cold-blooded murder of Jasbir Singh, Ashok Kumar, Pravesh and Jalalludin.

“The society demands that the policemen be hanged,” the CBI prosecutor said.

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Countering Dahiya, defence lawyer Shammi Sharma said the shootout was not rarest of rare and only the prescribed punishment — life imprisonment — be awarded to the four.

Earlier, the court convicted the then Station House Officer of Bhojpur police station Lal Singh, Sub Inspector Yogendra Singh and constables Ranvir Singh, Surya Bhan and Subhash for being involved in the staged shootout on November 8, 1996.

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Ranvir Singh died during the trial.

Lal Singh, Yogendra Singh, Surya Bhan and Subhash were sent to jail. (IANS)

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Coal scam: Court fixes March 4 for order on framing charges

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New Delhi: On Monday, a special court fixed March 4 for pronouncing its order on framing of charges in a coal scam case in which CBI had chargesheeted industrialist Naveen Jindal, ex-Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 13 others.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said that he will take some time to pass the order on charges in the case as he is going through the documents as well as the arguments advanced by CBI and the counsel for the accused.

 “I will take some time. Put up for March 4,” the judge said.

During arguments on framing of charges, CBI had alleged that ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, also accused in the case, had favoured Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL) — in the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

CBI had also claimed that the accused had conspired with each other to get the allocation of the coal block in favour of the two Jindal group firms. Opposing CBI’s contention, all the accused, including Jindal, Koda and Rao, had said that there was no evidence which showed that they were in any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.

They had also denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI in its charge sheet. Jindal, Rao, Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others were chargesheeted by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the coal block to JSPL and GSIPL.

Besides them, the other individual accused are — Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, Directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. These accused are currently out on bail.

Besides the ten accused, five firms — JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd — are also accused in the case.(IANS)