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SC sets up Committee under Justice (Retd) Patnaik to probe alleged conspiracy against CJI

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former CJI Ranjan Gogoi

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The Supreme Court today (Thursday, April 25) set up a committee under Justice (retired) AK Patnaik to inquiry into advocate Utsav Bains’ allegations that there was a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in sexual harassment case.

The bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman and Sanjeev Khanna also directed CBI Director, Director of Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police Commissioner to assist Justice Patnaik in the probe.

The court, however, clarified that Justice Patnaik will not go into the issue of sexual harassment allegations against the CJI. The court has instituted an in-house inquiry committee of three sitting judges to look into the allegations of sexual harassment made against Chief Justice of India.

“This inquiry only focuses on the contents of affidavit and what is alleged therein,” the bench stated.

The next hearing will be held after Justice Patnaik submits the inquiry report, the bench said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1556195266657{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #c1c1c1 !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]Meanwhile, Justice NV Ramana, who is part of the 3-member inquiry panel headed by Justice SA Bobde, has opted out of the panel, PTI quoted sources as saying.

The development comes a day after a former apex court woman employee, who levelled the allegations against the CJI, wrote a letter to the panel expressing reservation over the inclusion of Justice Ramana.

The woman was supposed to appear before the panel on Friday.In a letter to Justice Bobde, she also raised questions over the presence of only one woman apex court judge — Indira Banerjee — in the panel to examine her allegations against the CJI which is not in accordance with the Vishaka Guidelines.

“I would humbly suggest that since I was posted in the CJI’s residence office, I know that Justice Ramana is a close friend of the CJI and is like a family member to him. Justice Ramana is a frequent visitor to the residence of the CJI.

Because of this I fear that my affidavit and evidence will not receive an objective and fair hearing,” she wrote in the letter, according to PTI. The woman had also asked the panel to allow her to appear before it along with a lawyer and the proceedings of the committee be video recorded so that there can be no dispute about what transpired in the inquiry.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the pre-lunch hearing, the bench hit out at what it said were “systematic” attempts to influence the course of justice delivery and said, “time has come when we have to tell the rich and powerful of this country – you cannot run this court”.

The remarks were made by Justice Mishra at the end of an hour-long hearing into an affidavit filed by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains that claimed he has proof of a powerful lobby of fixers, disgruntled employees and corporate figures at work to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Mr. Bains said he was approached by a person called ‘Ajay’, who enticed him with money. The man had claimed to be a relative of the former court staffer who has levelled sexual harassment allegation against the Chief Justice.

Also Read: Lawyer says top corporate behind conspiracy by two sacked SC employees to frame CJI, SC says will get to bottom of case

The special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it is anguished with the way the judiciary has been treated for the past three-four years. “The way this institution is treated in last few years we must say that we will not survive if this will happen,” the SC bench said.

“Don’t think Supreme Court can be run by any remote power from any corner of the earth, whether by political power or economic power,” Justice Mishra fumed. “This is a systematic game…So many things have not come out…People of this country must know the truth. The Supreme Court cannot be run by money power or political power. When somebody tries to clean up the system, he is killed or maligned. This will stop,” Justice Mishra said.

The court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta not to interfere when he sought a special investigation team probe into Bains’ allegations.

“Leave it to us… We want to tell the rich and the powerful of this country that you cannot play with fire… That you are playing with fire when you play with this court… What do the powerful of this country think? That they can run this court?” Justice Mishra said.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising voiced her apprehensions about leaving the probe into Bains’ allegations to the government.

“Don’t provoke us anymore… This is your institution, not ours. We, judges, come and go. This is the court made by the likes of Fali Nariman, Nani Palkhiwala and K. Parasaran… But every other day we hear of bench-fixing, every day wrong practices are made in the court… Whenever we start hearing a big case, letters are written… Whenever big cases or big persons are involved, this happens in this court… People are trying to this court, its registry with money power… So many things are going on,” Justice Mishra retorted, according to a report by The Hindu.

As a stakeholder in and officer of the court, Jaising urged the Bench to “probe the credentials of this person [Utsav Bains]”. “My Lords have to see if he has come to the court with clean hands,” she said.

Jaising also voiced her concern about whether the probe into the ‘larger conspiracy’ would consume the allegations raised by the woman against the CJI. Her allegations were being examined separately by a committee of three apex court judges. “Your Lordships cannot investigate her defence,” she submitted.

Justice Mishra responded, “This Bench will not enquire into her allegations. Our job is to find out if somebody approached Utsav Bains to file a false case; whether they are two former Supreme employees or others; whether there are fixers involved; whether a conspiracy was hatched after bench-fixing attempt failed.”

Justice Mishra, however, added that if the allegations against the woman were proved, then she would seem to have no defence. “Mr. Bains does not know this Ajay… He may not be a brother of the woman complainant… We do not know what will come out of all this, but we will find out the truth,” he said.

Bains had filed an affidavit following the unprecedented hearing on Saturday during which Justice Gogoi had said some “bigger force” was behind the sexual harassment allegations as they wanted to “deactivate” the CJI’s office.

On April 20, CJI Gogoi had convened an “extraordinary” sitting of the court following reports about sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former woman staffer against him. He had then termed the charges as unbelievable and an attempt by a “bigger force to undermine the independence of the judiciary and deactivate the office of the CJI.”

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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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