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Supreme Court convicts ex interim CBI Director Nageswara Rao for contempt of court



Nageswar Rao

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]CBI’s former interim director M Nageswara Rao was today (Tuesday, Feb 12) held guilty of violating Supreme Court orders by transferring CBI joint director officer Arun Sharma who was the lead investigator in Muzaffarpur Shelter Home case.

The court also held Rao’s legal officer, CBI’s Director of Prosecution S Bhasuran, guilty of contempt.

“It is not an error. It is wilful disobedience,” a livid Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. Rejecting their apology, the judges imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on Nageswara Rao and Bhasuran and told them to sit in a corner of the courtroom till the court rises for the day.

The Supreme Court had placed an embargo on transfers of all CBI officers involved with the investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of inmates at the shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.

On February 7, while hearing a petition filed in the shelter home case, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna was incensed to discover that CBI joint director AK Sharma who was leading the probe had been transferred without prior approval of the court.

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The bench had then been informed that the transfer made by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the advice of Rao, then interim CBI chief, while withholding information on the court-enforced embargo. The Chief Justice had pointedly told Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for Rao, that if a case of contempt of court was made out, the court would take the matter “very, very seriously.”

“You have played with our orders. God help you,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said during the last hearing.

Yesterday, Rao had filed an “unconditional apology” with the Supreme Court, admitting to having violated its order by transferring Sharma but insisting that the action “came to be made not with any deliberate or disobedient intent” and that it was “never my intention to undermine the majesty of this Hon’ble Court, or to flout or circumvent any direction of this Hon’ble Court.”

“I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I specially state I have not wilfully violated the order of this court as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing order of this court,” Rao said in his affidavit.

As the court took up the contempt case on Tuesday, Attorney General Venugopal appeared before the bench and said that the former interim CBI director “admits his mistake”.

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As arguments began, it became clear that the bench was unwilling to let Rao, who was present in the courtroom, off with just a simple apology. Chief Justice Gogoi asked the Attorney General, “what is it if not contempt” while pointing out that Sharma’s relieving order was passed without prior approval of the court and in violation of its express orders.  The interim CBI chief’s affidavit was also “an admission of contempt”, he said.

As Venugopal continued to plead that Rao may be excused owing to his unconditional apology, the bench wondered why the interim CBI chief had “kept silent for two weeks” after Sharma’s transfer was effected and not sought “post facto approval” of the court for his decision.

“We are not inclined to accept his apology… we are of the view that he should be held guilty of contempt,” the Chief Justice said, even as Venugopal prayed for leniency. The Chief Justice then asked the Attorney General: “should we hear you on the point of sentence or him (Rao)”.

The Attorney General sought to protect Rao from being penalised by trying to turn the blame for violation of the court’s orders on “junior law officers” of the government. Venugopal argued that Rao had recommended to the ACC to transfer Sharma after getting due legal advice from them and that the junior lawyers officers of the Central Law Agency failed to inform the court and get its approval on the transfer.

Unimpressed, the Chief Justice said: “his (Rao’s) attitude is, I have done what I think is best (sic).”

“I have not invoked contempt powers and punished anyone in the last 20 years,” Chief Justice Gogoi said: “but there has to be a first time to maintain the integrity… this (Rao’s action) is brazen.”

The bench then made it clear that it was holding Rao as well as Bhasuran guilty of contempt and said it would hear the former interim CBI chief on the quantum of sentence to be awarded.

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Attorney General Venugopal then pleaded that Rao be let off after being made to pay a fine. Accepting Venugopal’s plea, the court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Rao and legal officer Bhasuran, while directing the former interim CBI director to “sit in one corner” of the courtroom till the bench rises at the end of the day’s board.

However, the court, while holding Rao guilty of contempt, clarified that the transferred officer, AK Sharma, will not return to lead the shelter home probe and his transfer, made in violation of court orders, will not be rescinded.

Rao had taken over as interim CBI chief when the Centre and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) divested Alok Verma of his responsibilities as the agency’s director on October 23. The very next day, Rao had issued transfer orders for a slew of officers known for their proximity to Verma and those who were, at the point, part of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing the CBI’s then special director Rakesh Asthana in graft cases.

Verma had rescinded these transfer orders during the two days that he returned as CBI director (on January 8 and 9) following his conditional reinstatement by the Supreme Court. On January 10, when Verma was summarily sacked as CBI director by the selection panel mandated to appoint the agency’s chief, Rao returned as interim chief and re-issued the transfer orders.

The transfers were controversial to begin with as they appeared to be a move aimed at scuttling the probe against Asthana. Some of these transfers are also under challenge in the Supreme Court.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Villagers in MP village stunned as IAF Apache helicopter makes night landing | Watch

The aircraft was the much vaunted Apache attack helicopter of the Indian Air Force and had landed in a field in Bhind district, Madhya Pradesh around 9 pm.



Villagers in MP village stunned as IAF Apache helicopter makes night landing | Watch

The villagers of Jakhnauli has an unusual visitor last night. The villagers had possibly retired after a long hot Sunday when a helicopter made a precautionary landing following a technical error. Stunned villagers piled out of their homes towards the field where the chopper engines were raising bedlam.

The aircraft was the much vaunted Apache attack helicopter of the Indian Air Force and had landed in a field in Bhind district, Madhya Pradesh around 9 pm. A video uploaded online shows the villagers gathered around the chopper in the field. All IAF personnel in the Apache were safe.

The IAF tweeted that an Apache AH 64 helicopter had made a cautious landing and the craft and crew were secure. Another Apache had been flown in to help the chopper which had to land. The rectification party had arrived at the location, the tweet said.

The Apache AH-64 is said to be the most sophisticated multi-role combat helicopter in the world. The helicopter is a recent entrant into the Indian Air Force stable when India became the 16th country in the world to deploy it.

Touted as the best attack helicopter in the world, the Apache saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Iraq, it struck out the nodes of the air defence systems ahead of bombing raids by UAF jets. The helicopter has been also a favourite target of opponents with several Apaches being brought down in Iraq during the insurgency following the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime.

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Gruesome murder on camera: Man bludgeons minor girlfriend with cement slab five times in Shahbad Dairy, Kapil Mishra draws Kerala Story parallel

The CCTV clip shows the accused slamming a cement slab on the prone girl some five times, picking the slab up each time and throwing it on he over and over again. He then kicks the remains of the now dead minor



Gruesome murder on camera: Man bludgeons minor girlfriend with cement slab five times in Shahbad Dairy, Kapil Mishra draws Kerala Story parallel

Just over a year after the Shradhha Walkar murder in Mehrauli, Delhi has been shocked by the murder of a 16-year-old girl in the city’s Shahbad Dairy area near Rohini.

Police said the victim was a resident of the JJ Colony in Shahbad. She had been walking down the street to visit a friend when she was accosted by the accused and attacked. Police said the couple had had a quarrel on Saturday and the murder is said to be the after-effect of the quarrel.

The victim had been stabbed and bludgeoned dead by her boyfriend, who has since been arrested from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. The murder was caught on CCTV in the densely populated area and bystanders didn’t stop the murder. Reports said she was stabbed several times and the knife got stuck in her abdomen but the man wrenched it out and again stabbed her. The CCTV clip shows the accused slamming a cement slab on the prone girl some five times, picking the slab up each time and throwing it on he over and over again. He then walks away and returns to kick the remains of the now dead minor.

While the murder could have been avoided if anyone passing by had stopped the accused or called the police, the heartlessness of the bystanders brings to mind the December 2016 gangrape when the bus in which the victim was assaulted was driving around South West Delhi. Further, the incidents of couples quarrels’ ending up in murder was also seen in the Shraddha Walkar murder when her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawalla killed her and disposed of her parts over time while the body was kept in a large refrigerator.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the murder but was quick to point out that law and order was not in his government’s domain and called on Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena to act on ensuring better law and order.

Former AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, who is now in the BJP, called it a shameful incident. He said how many more such murders will be seen. Mishra said the girl was a Hindu and the accused was a Muslim and drew a parallel with the controversial film The Kerala Story and wondered how many such Kerala Stories will happen in each lane of the city. Mishra blamed the judiciary for not hanging Aaftab Poonawalla soon enough. The lack of punishment in the Walkar murder has emboldened criminals, Mishra said.

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Manipur violence: Over 80 killed ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah visit

The fresh violence has come after a fragile peace was imposed by the Army between Kuki and Meitei groups. Imphal Valley sees conflict.



Manipur violence: Over 80 killed ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah visit

Continuing ethnic confrontations have claimed 80 lives in Manipur, including a policeman, and 12 others injured, just ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit.  

After terrorists in Serou and Sugunu region set fire to numerous homes, there were reports of new acts of violence in various areas of the state. Yesterday, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said 40 terrorists, all of them Kukis, had been killed by gunfire in the previous few days.

The CM said the terrorists had been shooting at bystanders with sniper rifles and assault rifles such as the M-16 and AK-47. The army and other security forces had begun to take very aggressive action against them. The Chief Minister said the recent spike in violent attacks against citizens on the fringes of Imphal Valley were well-planned and condemned them.

Earlier, Home Minister Amit Shah had pleaded with the Kukis and Meiteis to not exacerbate violence and seek to restore normalcy. Shah had also met with representatives of the Meitei and Kuki groups as well as other parties to discuss steps taken to bring peace back to the state.

Army chief General Manoj Pande was in Manipur on Saturday to assess the state of law and order.

The Congress has condemned the failure of the Manipur government in curtailing the violence. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will lead the party delegation to meet President Droupadi Murmu on May 30 over the worsening situation in Manipur, said Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in-charge of communication. Ramesh said Manipur was seeing a complete breakdown of law and order.

In elections held last year in Manipur, the BJP won 32 seats in the 60-member Assembly.

The violence spiral hit Manipur after the Manipur High Court had ordered that the government should look at steps to include the Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribes list. The Kukis had protested against the Meitei community which would grant them reservation and access to forest areas, following which violence spread throughout the state. Tension over the displacement of Kuki people from reserve forest area had caused a number of smaller agitations which triggered the violence to break out.

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