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Supreme Court refuses Chidambaram protection from arrest in ED case, says may hamper probe

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Chidambaram

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Congress leader and former union minister P Chidambaram suffered a setback today – Thursday, Sep 5 – as the Supreme Court on refused to intervene against a Delhi High Court order to protect former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing money laundering charges against him in the INX Media case.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna said anticipatory bail could not be expected as a matter of right, especially in economic offences. Courts had to provide anticipatory bail sparingly.

Calling economic offences “serious”, court said anticipatory bail has to be an exception in such cases. “The right to anticipatory bail can’t be a subject matter of fundamental right under Article 32,” the SC added.

Grant of anticipatory bail to Chidambaram at this stage will hamper the investigation, it said. In its decision, the apex court further upheld the investigating agency’s stand that an accused could not insist that he should be first confronted with the evidence placed in court to deny him anticipatory bail.

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The investigating agency has to be given sufficient freedom to conduct a probe into the case, the apex court said. It also rejected Chidambaram’s application for direction to the ED to produce transcripts of his questioning conducted by the agency on three dates.

The court said this may run the risk of exposing the evidence.

The ED had argued that the “art of investigation” did not oblige it to reveal to Chidambaram the entire gamut of evidence collected during investigation in the INX Media case.

After the dismissal of his plea in the ED case, Chidambaram chose to withdraw his appeal challenging his arrest and remand in the INX Media case by CBI as well.

Chidambaram, arrested by CBI on August 21, has been in CBI custody for 15 days and is due to be produced before the trial court for remand hearing. 

He has applied for regular bail in the CBI court. If that fails, chances are he may be sent to Tihar Jail in judicial custody. With this apex court order, the road is also clear for the ED to arrest him.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the ED, had told the Supreme Court that complete transparency towards an accused, especially one so high-profile like the senior Congress leader, would have been an open invitation for him to tamper with evidence of money laundering. A tell-all policy in favour of accused persons destroyed cases.

Mehta said it was “preposterous and absurd” for Chidambaram to claim that only evidence he was privy to should have been shown to the Delhi High Court. Such an approach, if adopted, would affect other sensitive investigations into the Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi, Neerav Modi, Sharda chit fund and terror funding cases.

“It will result in disastrous consequences,” Mehta submitted on August 29, when the case was reserved for orders.

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“The art of investigation is that we reveal only certain things. If we confront him with 15 money trails when he really has 30, he will do his best to wipe out the rest,” Mehta reasoned.

Chidambaram had argued that the Delhi High Court had refused him protection from arrest on August 20 solely on the basis of “material” handed over by the probe agency in a sealed cover “behind his back”.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said the case was a classic example of how “sealed covers seal the fate of a man’s liberty”.

Chidambaram’s lawyers had questioned why he was not confronted with this material when he was questioned thrice by the ED on December 19, 2018, January 7 and January 21, 2019. They sought a transcript of the interrogation sessions of the three days.

The ED has accused the Congress leader of money-laundering in the case, which is also being investigated by the CBI. CBI had lodged an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds worth Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, ED lodged a money laundering case in 2017.

The Delhi High Court had on August 20, rejected anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambaram in the INX media scam cases lodged by the CBI and ED. The high court held that he was “prima facie the kingpin” in the INX Media corruption and money laundering cases and “simply because he is a Member of Parliament would not justify the grant of pre-arrest bail to him”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Election Commission advises Bengal Governor to not visit Cooch Behar on voting day

The Election Commission advised the Bengal Governor to call off his proposed visit to Cooch Behar on April 19.

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West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose has been warned by the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to visit Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19, since the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls will begin with a silence period on Wednesday evening.

According to those familiar with the situation in the EC, the poll body informed the governor’s office that no local program could be planned for the governor on April 19 due to the Model Code of Conduct and the election day.

The poll body added that if they had to provide local security cover for this unexpected proposed visit without a imminently known requirement, the tour would be a diversion because the district administration and police force will be completely occupied with election management on April 18 and 19.

As a result, under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, campaigning is prohibited in Cooch Behar starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

In order to ensure a free and fair election process, the poll board has asked all district election officers and district police chiefs to make sure that all prominent individuals, campaigners, and political workers who are not local voters leave the polling area once the silence period begins.

The seven phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place between April to June. Polls will be conducted in seven phases: the first on April 19 and the seventh on June 1. On June 4, the results will be announced.

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Lamborghini Gallardo worth nearly Rs 1 crore set on fire over business dispute

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner.

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A person who deals in the sale and purchase of old luxury cars and a few others has allegedly burnt an old but expensive model of Lamborghini Gallardo on a road in Hyderabad over a dispute with its owner on Monday. The police said the owner of the Lamborghini Gallardo, Neeraj wanted to sell off the vehicle, estimated to be worth up to Rs 1 crore, and had informed some of his friends to look for a buyer.

The police added that the main accused Ahmed had called a friend of Neeraj and asked him to bring the car. The said friend of Neeraj was known to the Ahmed. When the luxury car was brought to Mamidipalli Road which is situated on the city outskirts Ahmed along with a few others, burnt the luxury car using petrol and claimed that Neeraj owed him money.

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner. By the time fire department vehicles arrived at the scene it was too late as the luxury car was engulfed in flames and badly damaged. A video of the burning Lamborghini Gallardo has been circulating on social media.

The incident is a proof to the lengths to which disputes can rise. An expert spoke about the car that got burnt and said it was the Gallardo Spyder. He pointed out that it is a substantially older gen model which can only be found in the resale market. The expert further added the car has a powerful 5-litre NA V10 engine that made 513 horse power and 510 Nm of peak torque.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

2024 Lok Sabha elections: TMC releases manifesto, Mamata Banerjee vows to scrap CAA, stop NRC

The Trinamool Congress has today released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections

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West Bengal CM Mamta Banarjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) today released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In its manifesto, the TMC pledged to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stop the development of a National Register of citizens and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and stop its implementation nationwide.

The manifesto was unveiled by Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien, West Bengal Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, and Amit Mitra, who is the Special Advisor to the Chief Minister. However, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was not present at the event.

As Derek O’Brien unveiled the manifesto, he said, this is what they will do when the TMC, as part of INDIA bloc, forms government.

The Citizenship Amendment Act has long been opposed by the Trinamool Congress. Five years after it was approved by Parliament, the central government finally put the CAA into effect last month.

The party led by Mamata Banerjee has also expressed resistance to the National Register of Citizens proposal, claiming that West Bengal will never adopt it. 

The manifesto titled Didi’s 10 sapaths, alludes to 10 oaths made by Mamata Banerjee, popularly known as Didi.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party additionally pledges to raise the daily allowance under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to Rs 400 per day in addition to the UCC and CAA. Everyone has also been offered pucca houses by the party.

A monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for people over 60, free home delivery of 5 kg of ration for every ration card user, 10 free LPG cylinders annually for families below the poverty line, and universal healthcare coverage worth Rs 10 lakh are among the other significant commitments made.

Additionally, the Trinamool Congress has pledged to establish a price stabilization fund in order to control the cost of gasoline and LPG.

The party has assured the youth that every student will receive a monthly stipend up until the age of 25. A student credit card of Rs. 10 lakh will be awarded to those who choose to continue their education.

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