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Excise policy case: Delhi court denies bail to K. Kavitha noting 'gravity & seriousness of offence' (Ld)

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New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) A Delhi court on Monday denied regular bail to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K. Kavitha in the excise policy case, noting the gravity and seriousness of the offence, nature of the allegations against her, and the offences invoked in the case.

Currently, Kavitha, the daughter of BRS chief and former Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, is in judicial custody till May 7.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court presided over the money laundering cases being probed by the CBI and the ED related to the alleged excise policy scam in Delhi.

The court noted that the investigation is in a very crucial stage on certain key aspects, including the involvement of public servants and private persons and to ascertain the flow of ill-gotten money (proceeds of crime).

The judge noted that prima facie, Kavitha appears to be the key conspirator of the criminal conspiracy hatched for the purpose of collection and payment of upfront money to the Aam Aadmi Party through the co-accused for getting favourable provisions in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

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“Her role in demanding upfront money and the alleged payment thereof for favourable provisions in the excise policy has also been highlighted in the course of the arguments,” the court noted.

The CBI submitted that though Kavitha is not named in the FIR, her role in the case emerged during the investigation, from the statements of witnesses and approvers, WhatsApp chats, and from the documents recovered during the probe pertaining to the transaction of money in the guise of a land deal.

“The said documents/materials are stated to reveal the role of the accused/applicant as one of the key conspirators in the case,” the CBI argued while opposing the bail plea.

Kavitha had cited hypertension as a reason for bail, stressing the need for medical care after her arrest by the ED.

On this, the judge noted that the documents relied upon were found to be old medical records, i.e., from the year 2013 onwards, and her complaints have apparently been addressed.

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“Moreover, other ailments from which the accused/applicant (Kavitha) is stated to be affected currently, as claimed, are not so serious or severe to direct her release on bail, either regular or interim,” the judge noted.

It was submitted before that court that appropriate medical attention is being provided to her by the jail dispensary.

The CBI also took objection to the accused’s bail plea saying that being a prominent politician and an influential person, Kavitha is likely to influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence if released on bail, and may hamper the ongoing probe.

Kavitha was first arrested by the ED and later by the CBI on April 11 while she was in Tihar Jail.

Judge Baweja had then sent her to CBI custody, noting that a “detailed and sustained interrogation” of the accused is necessary.

Now, she is in judicial custody in the case being probed by both the agencies.

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–IANS

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Smartphone theft, smuggling gang busted in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Hyderabad Police have busted an international smartphone theft and smuggling gang and apprehended 31 accused including a Sudanese national.

The sleuths of Commissioner’s Task Force, South, East and South-East Zone Teams along with local police seized 713 smartphones, an autorickshaw, two computers and one laptop, total worth Rs 2 crore.

According to S. Rashmi Perumal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Commissioner’s Task Force, Hyderabad, a spate of mobile phone snatchings has been seen in recent days in the process of which robberies, extortions and even a murder have taken place. While investigating this, it was discovered that a major criminal network has been operating in the city involving cell phone theft offenders, host of receivers of these stolen cell phones (both national and international) who are in the business of unlawful transport of these cell phones out of the country to sell them for illegal profits.

Police found that several stolen cell phones are being dismantled in niche markets, their IMEI numbers being changed and the resultant components such as mobile screens, cameras, and speakers are subsequently being used as replacement parts for existing damaged mobiles received from customers at a fraction of price in comparison to original company rates. A few weeks back, a similar major network of stolen cell phone racket was busted by the Task Force and several persons were arrested.

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In the latest case, the Task Force arrested 15 offenders/snatchers, nine receivers and four mobile phone technicians who were unlocking stolen handsets and tampering with their IMEI numbers.

An international end receiver of stolen mobiles has also been arrested. He is identified as Mohamed Musa Hassan Gamaralanbia (26), who is into the phone accessories business. The Sudanese national was residing in the Nanal Nagar area in Hyderabad.

The foreign national was illegally exporting the cell phones via sea route.

The seized mobile phones relate to 27 cases booked at various police stations in Hyderabad. The accused cell phone offenders were committing thefts/extortion of cell phones in crowded areas like buses/bus stations, wine shops and public meetings.

All the accused (except one Sudanese national) are natives of Hyderabad and are common friends. With desires to lead a lavish life and finding their earnings insufficient, they collectively hatched a plan to commit theft/snatching of cell phones and further sell these stolen cell phones to receivers to earn money illegally.

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The DCP has advised citizens to be vigilant when moving in crowded places and to report any snatching/theft incidents to the police at the earliest. She also cautioned mobile shop owners in the city to refrain from purchasing/selling of stolen cell phones or engaging in illegal activities such as tampering with IMEI numbers as strict legal action will be taken against them.

–IANS

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Purvanchal will punish those who blocked development in region with a motive: PM Modi

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing back-to-back rallies in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, hit out at INDIA bloc for their appeasement politics and for prioritising vote bank over developmental works.

Addressing a public gathering in Bansgaon, PM Modi said that Samajwadi Party kept the Purvanchal region backward as part of a conspiracy.

He said: “Purvanchal will punish such people again and again. It will never allow such people to set foot in the region.”

PM went on to ask the people of Purvanchal to make sure that those who have opposed the Ram temple, should not get a single seat in Purvanchal.

Prime Minister also spoke about the 2012 manifesto of Samajwadi Party and asked first-time voters whether they were aware of its religion-driven reservation.

“SP had clearly written in its manifesto that the reservation that was given to Dalits would be diverted to Muslims. This is against the spirit of the Constitution but the INDIA bloc people didn’t care about it,” PM Modi told the gathering.

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Addressing the rally, the PM said further: “Do you want Congress that works for commission? They want foreign deals so that they can get commission like Bofors. Many countries wanted to buy arms from India but Congress created obstacles. Now UP will soon start making BrahMos.”

He added that people in Pakistan are praying that INDIA bloc comes to power and are appealing for vote jihad. “They want to take the country back. They say they will reimpose Article 370 in Kashmir and scrap CAA. They are implementing the agenda of anti-national forces,” he said.

He reminded people of the development done by the BJP government in Purvanchal—from making expressways to a new AIIMS.

“This is just the trailer, so imagine what will happen in the next five years,” he concluded.

–IANS

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5.47 kg heroin seized in Punjab, seven arrested

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Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) An international narcotics racket has been busted with the seizure of 5.47 kg of heroin in Punjab and the arrest of seven persons, police said on Sunday.

“In a major breakthrough against trans-border narcotic smuggling networks, Punjab Police in a joint operation with Border Security Force (BSF) have busted an international narco smuggling module with the arrest of seven drug smugglers after recovering 5.47 kg heroin and Rs 1.07 lakh drug money from their possession,” said Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav.

Those arrested have been identified as Baljinder Singh, Sukhchain Singh, Solav Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Karandeep Singh, Daljit Singh and Kamaldeep Singh.

Accused Kamaldeep Singh has a criminal background and has already been facing two cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in Kapurthala.

Apart from recovering heroin and drug money, police teams have also recovered 40 cartridges, six mobile phones, 8.4 grams gold and 68.97 grams silver from their possession, besides, impounding a Hyundai Verna car and three motorcycles.

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DGP Yadav said preliminary investigations have revealed most of the accused, who are in their teens, are students and were preparing for the Army recruitment when they got acquainted with Kapurthala-based drug smuggler Kamaldeep Singh and started smuggling heroin from across the border.

The accused were in touch with a Pakistan-based smuggler and getting drug consignments via drones, he added.

He said that investigations are ongoing to establish backward and forward linkages and identify the Pakistan-based drug smuggler.

–IANS

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Forced to sell kidney, tribal woman files complaint against husband & middleman in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 26 (IANS) A tribal woman from Kelakam in Kannur district of Kerala approached the police, stating that her husband and a middleman were forcing her to sell her kidney. In her complaint, she said that she was offered Rs 9 lakh for selling her kidney.

The woman said that her husband and the middleman named Benni had both donated their kidneys earlier and are now acting as middlemen.

She said that a few days ago, Benni had tried to force her to sell her kidney after calling her to Kochi, saying that her husband was admitted to the hospital and was in serious condition.

The woman said that Benni has lured several tribal people of Kannur into organ trade and that he was giving a pittance to the donors while he was taking a large chunk of the money.

With the arrest of Sabith Nasar in Kochi on May 19, the kidney racket in Kerala is getting exposed with complaints of kidney sales coming from different parts of the state.

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Peravoor DSP Ashraf Thengalakkandiyil, while speaking to IANS, said: “Police have recorded the statement of the woman and are conducting a detailed probe on the basis of her complaint.”

–IANS

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TN govt cautions people against fake international job offers

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Chennai, May 26 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government has cautioned people against fake international job offers and also warned recruitment agencies against sending people abroad for fake jobs.

The Non-Resident Tamils Welfare Department has said that stringent legal action would be taken against such agencies.

The department said that there were reports of several people being sent to Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar on tourist visas under the guise of IT and software jobs. The department cautioned the people that these people are being employed for illegal online activities.

The department said that people, after reaching these countries, who refuse to do illegal online work are subjected to torture including administering electric shocks.

The department said that it had already rescued 83 Tamil people from the racket after receiving complaints.

It added that these fake jobs are mostly in digital sales and customer support services. “Many dubious companies are duping people in the name of crypto-currency. Mostly call centres are behind these fake jobs,” the department said.

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The department said that agents based in Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and India are recruiting people from across the country.

“Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos and Thailand is one of the major hubs of such illegal and fraudulent companies. Some recruits were even taken as hostages and forced to work under tough mental and physical conditions,” the department said.

The department said that those convicted of human trafficking crimes have been sentenced upto 18 years in Laos.

“Tamil people are requested to be extremely cautious and verify the recruiting agents as well as of any company before taking up the job offer,” the department said.

–IANS

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