New Delhi: Former union minister Santosh Bagrodia was asked to appear before a special CBI court in coal block allocation case by the Supreme Court on September 8.
On Monday, a bench of Justice M.B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri said it will examine Bagrodia’s plea soon while declining him relief.
Santosh Bagrodia, a minister of state for coal in the Manmohan Singh ministry was summoned as an accused by the special court in a case concerning allocation of Maharashtra’s Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd. He had sought stay on the summons in the case on parity with the relief granted to Manmohan Singh in April this year.
Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the accused minister, claimed that Bagrodia was innocent and so he should be seen at par with the relief granted to Manmohan Singh in another coal block case.
The apex court on April 2 had stayed the trial court order summoning the former prime minister as accused in a case pertaining to grant of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco.
Meanwhile, CBI’s claim regarding an unaccounted cash worth Rs.25 crore seized from Hindalco’s corporate office having no connection with the coal block allocation case was brushed aside by the apex court.
The court further asked the central agency to inform it about the status of the probe into the incriminating documents and a diary which was also seized from the company’s Delhi office in October 15, 2013.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan was slammed by the Supreme Court (SC) after his offensive remarks against the Union Minister Prakash Javedkar who had earlier shared a picture of him watching the Hindu mythological show ‘Ramayana’ amid the nationwide lockdown.
The lawyer had tweeted: “As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!”
The SC replied to Bhushan by saying that people can watch whatever they wish to on television.
After Prashant Bhushan’s critical Anti-Hindu comments, Jaidev Rajnikant Joshi, a former army personnel from Rajasthan filed an FIR claiming that the lawyer has been insensitive with his comments and had hurt religious sentiments.
According to an OpIndia report, “The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to Advocate Prashant Bhushan in FIR registered against him by Gujarat police alleging hurting of religious sentiments. Posting the matter to be heard after two weeks, the court issued a notice to the Gujarat Government, ordering them to not take any coercive action against the defendant till the next day of the hearing.”
The question that arises in the minds of many is that why the lawyer has a problem with people watching Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. His words are equal to spitting venom on Hindus.
This isn’t the first time the lawyer has made such inconsiderate anti-Hindu comments. Let us have a look at some of his tweets that prove he is callous and insensitive.
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Dr. Munish Raizada from Chicago- who too had been part of anti-corruption party Aam Aadmi party along with Prashant Bhushan- says, “People have the right to practice the religion of their choice or be an atheist. That is fine! However, that does not give people the right to demean or mock people having religious or cultural faiths and preferences. There have been instances when these (Indian) communists and atheists have disrespected people of the Hindu religion but they seem to be blissfully blind when it comes to Islamic and Christian practices.”
According to Raizada, Prashant Bhushan isn’t the only hypocrite out there. There are many people like him with the same mindset. It is interesting to observe that AAP has been sheltering a bunch of left loonies right from the beginning in various shades. He points out that reflecting back, the very first National Executive committee of AAP has at least 50 % members as communists or a paler shades of that. Was it a trap in the name of anti-corruption? Bhushan is on records while being a part of AAP saying that if AAp comes to power, the industry would be under state control (typical communist economic mind set, where as it is well know that this economic theory has miserably failed).
Here are a few questions to reflect upon. Why don’t the leftists and communists speak about incidents when they are wrong? Why did they not speak up against the wrongdoings of the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat? Is this a conspiracy? What are these people trying to hide behind their Hindu-phobic words?
The Supreme Court, modifying its order on free coronavirus test at private labs, on Monday said that free testing for COVID-19 shall be available to persons eligible under Ayushman Bharat scheme as already implemented by Centre and any other category of economically weaker sections of the society as notified by the government for free testing.
The apex court insisted that it never intended to make testing free for those who can afford it and asked the government to issue rules to reimburse private labs for free tests.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Ravindra Bhat said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may consider as to whether any other categories of the weaker sections of the society e.g. workers belonging to low-income groups in the informal sectors, beneficiaries of Direct Benefit Transfer, etc. apart from those covered under Ayushman Bharat are also eligible for the benefit of free testing and issue appropriate guidelines in the above regard also within a period of one week.
“We further clarify that the order never intended to make testing free for those who can afford the payment of a testing fee fixed by the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) for COVID-19,” said the bench.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, contended that under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, about 10.7 crore poor and vulnerable families, which means approximately 50 crore beneficiaries, are covered under the scheme and they can avail the benefit of free of cost COVID-19 test even in the private labs. He submitted that beneficiaries under the scheme would get a cashless COVID-19 test in private labs.
The top court noted that the April 8 order intended to make testing in private labs of COVID-19 free for economically weaker sections of the society who were unable to afford the payment of testing fee as fixed by ICMR — Rs 1,500 for screening and Rs 3,000 for confirmative tests.
“Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may issue necessary guidelines for reimbursement of the cost of free testing of COVID-19 undertaken by private labs and necessary mechanism to defray expenses and reimbursement to the private labs,” said the court.
The court said the private labs can continue to charge the payment for testing of COVID-19 from persons who are able to pay the testing fee as fixed by ICMR.
The ICMR on Monday had urged the court to withdraw its free coronavirus test order, contending that the interim order passed on April 8, may work to the detriment of the cause the country is fighting.
The ICMR said the decision to involve private labs in the process of testing was taken after extensive deliberation with the national task force on all aspects. “The Central government, after elaborate and extensive discussions and deliberation with subject experts from various fields, took an administrative decision to involve private labs while imposing price cap for them to ensure that they do not charge more and cannot exploit the citizens,” it said in its affidavit.
“It is, therefore, submitted that final relief is incapable of being granted and only on this ground the ad-interim order deserves not to be continued,” the ICMR added, seeking dismissal of the petition seeking free tests for all citizens.
The apex body for the formulation and promotion of biomedical research insisted, while keeping factor of the resources not being unlimited as a pre-dominant factor, the government also considered the hardship which can be faced by the poor section of the country in the process of testing. ICMR informed the top court that unlike other routine tests being conducted in labs at the will and wish of the citizens, these tests would be conducted only after a qualified physician certifies need for such a test, and this protocol applies to both government and private labs.
The ICMR informed the court that some of the components which are essential parts of the kits like primer probes, master mix are patent protected products, and therefore, cannot be manufactured indigenously without importing these components. It contended the resources cannot be unlimited and the government is bound to prioritise the resources in public interest.
“In view of this position, our country will have to depend upon the import of all these components. This is the problem faced by most of the countries in the world and these patent components are manufactured by few countries only which are out of India”, said ICMR.
Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi had filed a plea in the court contending there are large sections of society who at present are unable to afford the payment of Rs of 4,500 for testing. He submitted that the government has to take responsibility for getting every person tested. In the event that one person in a family tests positive, the entire family requires testing. He submitted that government hospitals are overcrowded; hence, such persons may be permitted testing of Covid-19 in private labs free of cost. (IANS)
Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.
Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.
However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”
The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.
Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine? Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?
I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali