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Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani acquitted in 2017 rally case

A Gujarat sessions court, Wednesday, overturned a lower court sentence and conviction of Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and nine others in a case of unlawful assembly for taking out a public rally without the permission of the police in 2017.

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Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani

A Gujarat sessions court, Wednesday, overturned a lower court sentence and conviction of Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and nine others in a case of unlawful assembly for taking out a public rally without the permission of the police in 2017.

Setting aside the lower court judgement, a sessions court in Mehsana district observed that debates and bona fide criticism of government actions are essential for the existence of democracy while also quoting former US President Abraham Lincoln: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God, cannot long retain it.”

The sessions court in its judgement noted that the prosecution’s entire case was baseless and lacked any substance or evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge CM Pawar allowed the appeal of Jignesh Mevani, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Reshma Patel, and others against the May 2022 order of a judicial magistrate court which had convicted and sentenced them for three-months in jail under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In July 2017, an FIR was lodged against Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani and others at the Mehsana ‘A’ division police station for taking out an “Azadi march” in support of landless farmers of the area, without police permission, from Mehsana town to Dhanera in Banaskantha district.

Read Also: Stressed by exams, medical student jumps to death in Pune: Police

Mevani and other accused had sought permission from authorities to organise a rally under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch to air grievances of members of the Dalit community.

Jignesh Mevani—a prominent Dalit leader—is also a working president of the Gujarat Congress.

An executive magistrate via an order June 27, 2017 granted the permission for the rally, however, it was rescinded on July 7 of that year on grounds of public disorder but Mevani and others persisted and went ahead with their planned rally leading to an FIR against them for unlawful assembly under section 143 of the IPC.

Mevani, at the time, was an independent legislator from Banaskantha district’s Vadgam and was reelected from the same constituency on Congress ticket in the December 2022 elections.

Justice Pawar in his ruling observed that “deliberations, discussions, debates and bona fide dissent against policies of government and even bona fide criticism of action of government are essential for the existence of democracy in the nation.”

The sessions judge also highlighted the misuse of power and process of law by authorities for suppressing the voice of people, and noted showing “dominance of power” is not unknown even in a democratic set up.

The judge noted that in a democracy elected leaders meant to serve the people not to rule them, adding that a democratic nation is duty-bound to “protect the rights of citizens without any fear of criticism for survival of the ethos of democracy in the nation.”

He observed that right of freedom will be nullified in a democracy if dissent or peaceful protest is branded as an offence.

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Enforcement Directorate says Arvind Kejriwal is deliberately eating mangoes, sweets, taking sugar with tea to increase his blood sugar level and create ground for bail

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

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The Enforcement Directorate told the court on Thursday that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrested in liquor policy case, is taking high sugar intake like mangoes and sweets every day deliberately in spite of suffering from type 2 diabetes so that he can create grounds for medical bail. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

Kejriwal had moved court and also sought permission to consult his regular doctor via video conference because his sugar levels were fluctuating. The judge directed the authorities concerned to file the report by tomorrow, when the court will take up the matter again.

 Advocate Vivek Jain, counsel for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal responded to the ED’s argument and said this is an issue made by Enforcement Directorate so that home-cooked food should also be stopped. He said this would have a major impact on his health. Advocate Jain added that whatever Kejriwal is eating is as per his doctors prescribed dietary chart. He said the matter is sub judice and they do not have anything to say.

Advocate Vivek Jain objected to the Enforcement Directorate’s submission and said that the agency is making these allegations only for the media. He said that some toffee and other things are given to diabetic patients so that they can maintain their sugar levels. Jain added that Kejriwal is withdrawing his application and will file a better one later.

AAP minister Atishi Marlena said that Arvind Kejriwal had fallen ill and lost about 4.5 kg since his arrest on March 21. She addressed a press conference where the AAP leader said, Arvind Kejriwal is a severe diabetes patient but he never lets his health issue come as the way of his in the service to the nation.

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Enforcement Directorate seizes Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra’s properties worth Rs 97 crore

The Enforcement Directorate said in a statement that the Mumbai zonal office of ED has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties of Kundra under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

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The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday seized businessman Raj Kundra’s properties worth Rs 97.79 crore. The siezed properties include a residential flat in Mumbai’s Juhu, which is named after his wife and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty.  The Enforcement Directorate said the seized properties include another property which is a residential bungalow in Pune and Equity shares in the name of Raj Kundra.

The Enforcement Directorate said in a statement that the Mumbai zonal office of ED has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties of Kundra under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The Enforcement Directorate began the investigation on the basis of a number of FIRs which were registered by Delhi Police and Maharashtra Police. It is being said that Kundra collected large sums of money in the form of bitcoins which were worth Rs 6,600 crore in 2017 from the public with the false promises of 10 % monthly return in the form of bitcoins.

The ED said that it was planned that the collected bitcoins will be used for bitcoin mining and investors will get to get a large return in Crypto assets. But the promoters cheated the investors as they concealed the ill-gotten bitcoins in obscure online wallets. The Enforcement Directorate revealed in its investigation that Raj Kundra received 285 bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi Scam Amit Bhardwaj for setting up bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine.

The Enforcement Directorate in its statement said that the bitcoins were sourced out of proceeds of crime collected by Amit Bhardwaj from gullible investors. Since the deal did not go through, so Kundra is still in possession and enjoyment of 285 bitcoins which are valued at more than Rs 150 crore. Earlier a number of search operations were conducted in connection with this case, leading to the arrest of three people — Simpy Bhardwaj on December 17, 2023, Nitin Gaur on December 29, 2023, and Nikhil Mahajan on January 16, 2023.

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Religious outfit vandalises The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Telangana after teachers object to students wearing Hanuman Deeksha dress

The Religious group broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

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A religious group shouting Jai Shri Ram has vandalised a Catholic school and assaulted a priest in Telangana’s Mancherial district on Tuesday. The saffron mob staged protest and vandalised The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Kannepally village. They broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

The priest who is a member of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) said some of members of the mob even slapped and threw punches at him while others attacked him from behind. The religious outfit accused the school management of not allowing Hindu students to wear their religious costumes. The school authorities said the allegation made by the mob is misleading and has no truth in it.

Earlier, the students who wore religious costumes had informed the school principal that it was part of a 21-day special religious practice. The principal said he had only asked the students to bring their parents to school after noticing that they are not wearing the school uniform.

Later, members of the religious outfit started protesting outside the school. They demanded action should be taken against the management for stopping the students from entering the school and appearing for their annual examinations as they were wearing the Hanuman deeksha dress.

The priest said soon after the video started circulating on social media and became viral with hate messages against Christians. After this incident many Hindus reached the school and vandalized it. A complaint has been lodged at the local police station by the school management, but no arrests have been made so far. Instead of taking action against the miscreants, the police have filed a case against the school management for hurting religious sentiments of the local people.

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