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Arrested last night, Chidambaram to be in CBI custody till August 26

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Arrested last night, Chidambaram to be in CBI custody till August 26

A Delhi Special Court today, Thursday Aug 22, remanded Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram to CBI custody for four days – till August 26 – in connection with charges of corruption in the INX Media case. 

The special judge said that Chidambaram will be allowed to meet his family everyday and shall also be medically examined from time to time.

Meanwhile, ANI reported that Supreme Court would hear P Chidambaram’s petition against the Enforcement Directorate on August 27, whereas his petition against the CBI would be heard tomorrow.

Arrested amid high drama last night, P Chidambaram was produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar in Rouse Avenue earlier today. 

The CBI had sought five days of custody, saying he was not cooperating in the investigation.

Chidambaram was produced before the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi where Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar heard the arguments.

The CBI told the court that Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth larger conspiracy in the INX Media case. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that grave offence was committed, and custodial interrogation was required to get answer of certain questions for effective probe.

The CBI told the court that the INX Media scam was a serious and monumental case of money laundering.

Chidambaram’s family members, including his wife Nalini and son Karti, were also in the courtroom along with other senior advocates including Dayan Krishnan. Heavy security arrangement had been made outside the courtroom.

On the CBI’s claims of Chidambaram being evasive in the investigation pertaining to the INX Media case, the former union minister said in court: “Please look at the questions and answers, there are no questions which I have not answered, please read the transcript. They asked if I have a bank account abroad, I said no, they asked if my son has an account abroad I said yes.”

His lawyer Kapil Sibal said Chidambaram was arrested last night, but interrogated only at 11 AM on Thursday. He argued that of the 12 questions put to the accused (Chidambaram), six were asked long back in June 2018.

Sibal said that the first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, chartered accountant of Karti, currently out on bail. Besides that, Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, also accused in the case, are also out on default bail as they are in jail in connection with another matter, he added.

The senior advocate contended that the grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty.

Sibal also told the court that Chidambaram never skipped interrogation. He argued that the former minister was summoned for questioning only on one occasion and he complied. “How can he be accused of non-cooperation,” Sibal said. 

“Investigation complete as draft chargesheet is ready. Sanction was sought. The FIPB approval is given by six government secretaries, none have been arrested. This is a case of documentary evidence. He (Chidambaram) has never skipped interrogation,” ANI quoted Sibal as saying.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for Mr. Chidambaram pointed out that the CBI did not take any action for the past 11-12 months. “Chidambaram has given only those replies to the CBI which he had, but not according to the wishes of the agency. It is terming this as non-cooperation by him,” he argued.

“This case is completely based on a case diary and a statement of another accused,” Singhvi said. Chidambaram, he said, was first called in June 2018, months after Indrani Mukerjea recorded her statement.

Indrani Mukerjea is the wife of former media baron Peter Mukerjea and the couple  owned INX media, the television company at the heart of the dispute. She and her husband have accused P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram’s of involvement in providing clearance of the foreign funds.

“For the last one year, no summons but now they (the CBI) want custody. Indrani has turned approver now based on her 2018 statement. To create a reason for custody of my client, she has been made approver stating new facts have emerged. Is approver an evidence? Can that be the basis for his arrest and now custody,” he said.

CBI’s argument

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, contesting the contention of defence lawyers, said all are equal before the law and Chidambaram’s son, Karti, was also taken into custody earlier. 

“Chidambaram has tremendous potential of not cooperating in probe since he is highly intelligent,” Mehta said. “Certain facts about the case cannot be narrated in open court,” he said as defence counsel claimed there was no new development in the case.

Mehta said “there is a reasonable ground for Chidambaram’s custody as he was evasive in his replies and chose to remain silent during the interrogation by the agency.” “This is a serious case, involving intelligent people like him (Chidambaram),” he said adding that if the custody is not given, the prosecuting agency will fail in its duty to reach at the root of the conspiracy.

Last year, in April, Chidambaram’s son and a co-accused in the INX Media case Karti Chidambaram spent 23 days in CBI and judicial custody.

CBI filed an FIR in May 2017 over alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of  Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister during the first term of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.

Chidambaram, whom the CBI and ED were hunting for after the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea, was arrested last night 90 minutes after he made a surprise appearance at a Congress press conference. All day, his lawyers and Congress colleagues Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi had tried without luck to get the Supreme Court to urgently hear his petition for interim protection from arrest. The court decided to take up the petition on Friday.

After the press conference, Chidambaram then to his home with Sibal and Singhvi, where CBI teams had made two visits already.

On his trail, the CBI first went to the Congress office and then to his home. Finding the gates to the building shut, CBI officials climbed a wall to gain access and then drove their car in.

Chaos erupted between CBI, police and Enforcement Directorate teams, the media contingent and a group of slogan-shouting Congress workers. Finally, Chidambaram was arrested amid the ruckus and driven to the CBI headquarters.

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Azam Khan lands in trouble for speaking against Election Commission and Police, FIR filed in Rampur

During a meeting in the Rampur by-election, Azam Khan made adverse remarks against the constitutional body, Election Commission and the police.

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Azam Khan lands in trouble for speaking against Election Commission and Police, FIR filed in Rampur

The troubles of senior SP leader Azam Khan are not coming to an end. He has been booked for his comment on Election Commission now. In the latest case, an FIR has been registered against him for targeting the Election Commission and the police.

The case has been registered against Azam Khan on the complaint of Sujesh Kumar in Rampur’s police station and they are is probing the matter. Sujesh Rampur is in charge of the team formed by the Election Commission for the by-election, who looks after the work of video surveillance.

According to the complaint given to the police, during a meeting in the Rampur by-election, Azam Khan made adverse remarks against the constitutional body, Election Commission and the police. He was addressing a gathering in support of SP candidate Asim Raza.

It is being told that Azam Khan in his address to the SP supported had said, “come here, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and give the certificate of MLA, we will also clap like fools. You can’t alone fool around, allow us too,” as quoted in the complaint.

Reportedly, he had further said that one cannot govern and fool around at the same time and a country cannot be run like that. It is being alleged in the complaint that Azam Khan has tried to disturb the public peace by creating and inciting hatred among the people present in the public meeting and has also violated the code of conduct.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav was also present at the public meet on Thursday. He had also addressed the gathering to garner support for the party’s nominee Asim Raza in Rampur Sadar constituency.

For the unversed, about a month ago, the court of Rampur had sentenced Azam Khan in a case of hate speech, which also made him lose his legislature. On the other hand, seems like he is on the hit list of BJP as the Yogi government is registering cases against him one after the other.

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Hyderabad University suspends professor accused of molesting foreign student, detained by Cyberabad Police

On Saturday, a large number of students raised slogans and also protested in the university campus.

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Hyderabad University suspends professor accused of molesting foreign student, detained by Cyberabad Police

A case of alleged molestation of an international student (of foreign origin) by a Hindi professor has come to light in the University of Hyderabad main campus. Hundred of Students have sat on protested in the University of Hyderabad campus on Saturday.

Cyberabad police have taken the professor into custody after the complaint was filed in the University and the outrage reached the internet. After the professor was detained, the Hyderabad University has condemned the incident and suspended the accused professor.

Earlier, Shilpavalli of Hyderabad Police’s DCP Madhapur told that the Cyberabad Police of Telangana has taken a professor of Hyderabad University into custody on charges of molesting a foreign student. The student is a resident of Thailand and is doing her graduation from the University of Hyderabad. The matter is being thoroughly investigated by the Telangana Police.

Accused professor has been suspended with immediate effect

The University of Hyderabad has also issued an official statement regarding the entire episode. The university administration said that the institution condemns the incident that took place on December 2 between Professor Ravi Ranjan, Department of Hindi, and the foreign student. Based on the criminal complaint and FIR, the accused professor has been placed under suspension with immediate effect.

There was anger among the students since this incident. On Saturday, a large number of students raised slogans and also protested in the university campus. Several pictures from the protest has reached the internet. And tweeple have not only expressed their grief towards the foreign student but have also condemned the professor for turning into a nightmare.

Several users tweeted in anger and wrote that in a society where teachers, who are said to be our morale guide and mentors will only turn into a horror, where will this society moving towards. Another user wrote that in times like these we realize why it is so important to have a better way to appoint teachers and have a regular check on them.


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Election Commission reacts to 63.3 percent voter turnout in Gujarat, blames apathy in cities

The counting of votes will take place on December 8. The first phase of polling was held on Thursday for 89 seats in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat.

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Election Commission reacts to 63.3 percent voter turnout in Gujarat, blames apathy in cities

The Election Commission on Monday made a special appeal to voters ahead of the second phase of Gujarat elections. EC urged to remove the apathy regarding the voting seen in the urban areas in the last phase.

In the first phase of Gujarat elections, the polling in Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar was lower than the state average of 63.3 per cent, as quoted by the the Election Commission in a statement. In the first phase of the 2017 elections in the state, the voter turnout was 66.75 percent.

The commission said that while the polling percentage increased in many constituencies, the average polling figure fell short of urban apathy in important districts. EC further said that even during the recent Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the urban assembly constituency of Shimla showed the lowest turnout. The voter turnout was recorded at 62.53 percent (down by 13 percent) against the state average of 75.6 percent.

The Election Commission further said that cities in Gujarat have shown a similar trend of urban apathy in the assembly elections from December 1 which has led to a lower turnout in the first phase.

The high-voltage campaign for the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly elections ended at 5 pm on Saturday. Over 800 candidates are in the fray in 93 constituencies spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Gandhinagar.

The counting of votes will take place on December 8. The first phase of polling was held on Thursday for 89 seats in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat. Prominent candidates in the second phase include Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodiya, Patidar leader Hardik Patel from Viramgam and Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South.

For the unversed, Hardik Patel and Thakor are both BJP candidates. The main contest in the election is between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

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