New Delhi: The cases whether the allocation of 15 per cent of Talabira II Coal Block to Hindalco by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was beyond the case covered under the coal block allocation scam would be decided by the coal bench of the Supreme Court, said the apex court on Wednesday.
A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the matter will be listed before the coal bench of Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice AK Sikri.
“The matter would be listed before the coal bench, you persuade then that it did not fall within the category of the coal scam cases,”Chief Justice Dattu told senior counsel Kapil Sibal as he sought hearing of the matter next week.
However, when senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for industrialist Kumarmangalam Birla and Hindalco told the court that these were batch matters and sought their hearing post-Diwali holidays, the chief justice asked both Salve and Sibal to decide the date among themselves and the matter will be heard accordingly.
Manmohan Singh and Birla have moved the apex court for quashing criminal proceedings against them for alleged wrongdoing in the allocation of the Talabira-II coal block in Odisha to Hindalco in 2005.
The apex court on April 1 had stayed the summons issued on March 11 against Manmohan Singh and Birla by the special court holding trial of coal scam cases. It had also stayed further proceedings in the matter.
The apex court, on April 1, had also stayed the summons to former coal secretary PC Parakh, D Bhattacharya and Hindalco.
Birla has challenged the constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The special court had summoned Manmohan Singh, Birla and others after it rejected two closure reports by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
New Delhi, October 18: The CBI on Wednesday said it will look into the facts and circumstances mentioned in an interview of Michael Hershman, the first secret Bofors investigator of the Fairfax Group deployed by the Indian government.
“The agency has learnt of the matter pertaining to Bofors aired on a certain TV Channel containing interview of Michael Hershman. Facts and circumstances as mentioned in the interview will be looked into as per the due process by the CBI,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said in a statement.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) move comes a day after Republic TV’s interview with Hershman, wherein he made several revelations regarding Bofors and named some powerful politicians in India linked with the deal signed between the then Rajiv Gandhi-led government and Swedish company Bofors in 1986.
The deal for 410 howitzers was completed in March 1986.
The alleged corruption in the Bofors guns deal had created a scandal in 1989, leading to the fall of Rajiv Gandhi government. Kickbacks were alleged, but no evidence was found.
In 1986, the then Finance Minister V.P. Singh ordered an investigation. To do so, Singh got in touch with private investigation group Fairfax.
Hershman, who first found the Bofors papers, was the secret investigator of the Fairfax Group, deployed by the Indian government.
Now, a six-member Public Accounts Committee’s sub-committee on defense, headed by Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, is looking into non-compliance of certain aspects of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report of 1986 on the deal. (IANS)
The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood by the CBI and ordered them to go by the law
When powerful MPs asked him to drop cases against Ram Rahim, then CBI chief Vijay Shanker refused to do so
The head Sadhvi would get an order from Gurmeet Ram Rahim- to send a Sadhvi to his bedroom
Bengaluru, August 30, 2017: M Narayanan, Chief Investigating Officer in the rape case of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has revealed how Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister resisted political pressure from Punjab and Haryana and supported Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in their investigation.
Narayanan hails from Kasaragod, Kerala and was in Mysore, the day Ram Rahim was finally jail sentenced for 20 years. He expressed satisfaction over the Dera Chief’s punishment and said that Ram Rahim should also be convicted for other pending cases- murdering two people in the past (Dera follower Ranjit Singh and journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati).
He revealed that Ram Rahim was very careful of his abominable deeds, he behaved like a seasoned criminal and who never used to leave any traces behind. The investigating officer said “He had a collection of condoms and contraceptives in his room. He was a maniac, a real beast.”
Manmohan Singh backed CBI
M Narayanan, who is now a retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CBI. He was the Chief Investigating Officer in Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s rape case. According to News 18 report, Narayanan said, “The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood by the CBI and ordered us to go by the law. He went through the statement made by 2 Sadhvis before a judge and did not succumb to the pressures from Punjab and Haryana MPs.”
Narayanan also spoke about what the former Prime Minister did, “After a lot of pressure from these MPs, Manmohan Singh had summoned the then CBI chief Vijay Shanker to his office to discuss the case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. After seeing the victim’s statements before a judge, Singh backed us.”
He lauded his boss Vijay Shanker for taking a stand for the right cause in spite of pressure from politicians of Punjab and Haryana. “When powerful MPs asked him to drop cases against Ram Rahim, Vijay Shanker refused to do so. He backed us fully,” said Narayanan.
Narayanan also talked about how he along with his team carried out the investigation and said, “The complaint was sent in 2002. But nothing had happened till 2007. Expressing serious concerns over the progress of the investigation, the Punjab & Haryana High Court enquired CBI. It had also summoned the Chief Vijay Shanker to court seeking an explanation. After that, he gave us Sadhvis letters, files of the murder of journalist Ramachandra Chatrapati and Dera volunteer Ranjit Singh. He ordered us to go ahead and complete the investigation in just 57 days as ordered by the High Court,” mentions News 18 report.
According to Narayanan, it was a tough task to accomplish as Sadhvis letters were anonymous. He said that they came to know that over 200 Sadhvis had left the Dera between 1999 and 2002, due to sexual harassment.But they could trace only 10 victims. Many of them were married and thus didn’t come forward to file a complaint. But, they were successful in persuading 2 victims to take an action against him and filed the charge sheet before a court in Ambala on the 56th day“.
He said that it was a tough job for them to even enter Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters, Sirsa as the CBI team was constantly threatened by Ram Rahim’s goons. They had to suffer a lot of hostility in the quest for justice.
Decoding King sized life of a Godmen
Narayanan said that Dera Chief Ram Rahim was living the life of a king in what he called an ashram, he would be in a cave like room, with Sadhvis around (who were made to be at his beck and call). It was a daily occurrence as on every night around 10 PM, the head Sadhvi would get an order from him- to send a Sadhvi to his bedroom and so, she used to force one of the Sadhvis chosen by him to sleep with the “pitaji“.
“Ranjit Singh was a prominent volunteer at the Dera. After his sister was raped by Ram Rahim, both of them had left Sirsa. A few days later an anonymous letter reached Punjab and Haryana High Court. Suspecting that Ranjit Singh was behind it, Dera chief ordered his men to murder him. It has been proved that the pistol used by his murderers belonged to Dera manager. They had also left a walkie-talkie at the scene of the crime. I am sure Ram Rahim will be convicted in these heinous cases too,” said Narayanan (he retired in 2009).
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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 Bankalong with other violations
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.
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