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Excise policy case: Kejriwal & his courtroom battles with ED so far

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New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) In a high-stakes legal battle, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal finds himself embroiled in a fierce confrontation with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over a series of summonses pertaining to alleged non-compliance in connection with the money laundering case related to the excise policy case.

Kejriwal, who was arrested from his residence by the ED in connection with the excise policy case on Thursday evening, had earlier moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order denying him protection from any ‘coercive action’ by the ED. However, the top court refused to hold any urgent hearing in the matter on Thursday night.

Here’s a timeline of Kejriwal’s court battles:

In February, the ED moved a magisterial court, filing two complaints against Kejriwal over non-compliance with the agency’s summons. In response, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of the Rouse Avenue Court, Divya Malhotra, issued summons to Kejriwal.

Challenging the order, the Aam Aadmi Party supremo moved the sessions court against the two above-mentioned complaints filed by the ED. However, the sessions court on March 15 refused to grant a stay on the summons issued to Kejriwal by the ACMM.

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The ED’s second complaint pertained to “Kejriwal not abiding by the summons number 4 to 8”, a source said.

On March 20, the Chief Minister moved the Delhi High Court challenging the agency’s nine summonses issued to him in the case.

The court has listed the matter for hearing on April 22, besides directing the ED to reply on the maintainability of Kejriwal’s plea.

The court has asked the federal agency to file its reply within two weeks, as it granted Kejriwal one week to file a rejoinder.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, argued that Kejriwal’s petition is not maintainable, as he sought additional time to file a detailed response in the matter.

However, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, contended that one of the issues raised in the plea is whether a political party is covered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the same is not defined under its enactment.

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The court then orally asked Singhvi as to why doesn’t Kejriwal appear before the ED in response to its summons.

Singvi said that he (Kejriwal) is not running away and will appear (before the ED), provided he is granted protection and gets a “no coercive steps” order in his favour.

Addressing Singhvi’s concerns, the court noted that traditionally, the ED does not resort to arrests immediately, allowing individuals to present their case first.

Singhvi then cited the arrests of AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, citing the urgency and seriousness of Kejriwal’s request for protection.

Kejriwal’s plea also sought to declare Section (2) (s) of the PMLA as unconstitutional and arbitrary insofar as it is construed to include a political party within its ambit and sweep.

“The Enforcement Directorate cannot proceed on an assumption that a ‘political party’ would be covered under the expression ‘artificial juridical person’ occurring in Section 2(1)(s) in PMLA and, therefore, the issuance of summons in terms of Section 50 thereof to the office-bearers of a political party is non-est, blatantly illegal, arbitrary and cannot sustain the test of law or reasonableness,” the plea said.

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In its ninth summons, the ED had asked Kejriwal to appear before the agency on Thursday.

However, Kejriwal on Thursday moved a fresh plea in the Delhi High Court, seeking no coercive action by the probe agency against him.

However, the court refused to grant interim protection to Kejriwal in his plea seeking “no coercive action”.

–IANS

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'Hamar Kashi, Hamar Vikas' organised at Varanasi's NaMo ghat; over 1,500 artists participate

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) A one-of-its kind ‘Hamar Kashi, Hamar Vikas’ was organised at Varanasi’s NaMo ghat on Wednesday to motivate the locals and seek their participation and contribution in the ‘Viksit Kashi’ dream and also in the shared vision for developed India.

More than 1,500 participants, including more than 50 senior artists, art faculty, art students, professionals, first-time voters, women, and general attendees, came together to show their support for the initiative.

The workshop with the theme “Hamar Kashai Hamar Vikas” saw senior artists painting on easels and canvases, art faculty and students working on long-running canvas.

The event also featured a diverse array of folk artists from Varanasi, including dancers, musicians, potters, and sculptors, who showcased their unique talents.

Their art not only captured the essence of Viksit Kashi but also promoted the “Vocal for Local” initiative, highlighting the rich cultural heritage and local craftsmanship of the region.

The participants, enamoured with the vibrant program, pledged to contribute to the vision of Viksit Kashi through their artistic skills.

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Many of the participants spoke to IANS and shed light on the importance and the reason behind such a workshop.

Harsh Vardhan Sharma, a retired professor from Jammu said that the event provided a platform to the artists to showcase their vision of Viksit Bharat and how they could enthuse and encourage the younger lot and instil in them a curiosity and desire to work towards ‘Viksit Kashi and Viksit Bharat’.

“Many local artistes participated in the workshop and shared their experience of changes and transformation of their city by drawing painting on the canvas,” he said.

Claiming that he has been a regular visitor to Varanasi for the past 35 years, he said that never before he saw the city shining bright with such cleanliness and hygiene and credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation for the same.

“Earlier, Indians looked at the Western world with awe and astonishment, but today, the global powers are looking up to Bharat. This is just the beginning of Bharat’s rise,” he said.

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Adwait Gannayak, one of the organisers said that more than 7,000 artistes are likely to accumulate to showcase their vision of Viksit Bharat via their artworks.

He said that the purpose behind the event was to combine the strengths of traditional and contemporary artists and create a framework for robust growth, and added that Kashi will become the key centre of Vishwaguru, the role that the country has envisaged for itself and set to achieve in the near future.

The lively ambience at Namo Ghat and the active participation of artists and attendees indeed made for an impactful event on the journey towards Viksit Kashi.

–IANS

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Shut down temporary Trinamool, CPI-M offices near polling station, orders Calcutta HC

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Kolkata, May 29 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the immediate closure of temporary party offices of both the Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M, located within 200 metres radius of a polling station under Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.

Jadavpur is among the nine Lok Sabha constituencies in the state that will be going for polls in the seventh and last phase of the 2024 elections on June 1.

A vacation bench of Justice Rai Chattopadhyay gave this direction following a complaint by BJP leader Dhiman Kundu, which argued that since these temporary party offices are located within 200 metres radius of a polling station at Dinabandhu Andrews College in Garia area in southern Kolkata, there is every possibility of the polling process being influenced on the polling day.

During the hearing, Justice Chattopadhyay initially observed that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should immediately initiate the process to demolish these party offices. However, its counsel informed the court that the poll panel does not have the authority to demolish any construction and only the District Magistrate could do that.

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Thereafter, Justice Chattopadhyay ordered the closure of the two party offices and that this be done 48 hours before polling day.

–IANS

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Maha Congress leaders to tour drought-hit regions, submit report to govt

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Mumbai, May 29 (IANS) With massive water scarcity hitting large parts of the state, the Maharashtra Congress leaders will embark on an inspection tour of the worst-hit regions from Friday and submit ground reports to the government, state Congress chief Nana Patole said here on Wednesday.

Patole said that the drought situation in the state is so severe that in many parts people don’t have even drinking water for the past two-three weeks with nearly 75 per cent of the state facing alarming water shortages.

“The MahaYuti government is not concerned with the people’s problems despite the critical situation. Accordingly, Congress leaders shall go on a tour of all the seriously affected areas from May 31, assess the actual ground situation, and submit reports to the respective divisional commissioners,” Patole told mediapersons.

Adding to the drinking water woes is the problem of insufficient fodder for livestock that has hit the farming community owing to the government’s apathy and corruption, Patole claimed.

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“The tanker mafia is flourishing. The government says the water tankers are fitted with GPS, but the GPS is removed and fitted to motorcycles, and water doesn’t reach the targeted regions or the suffering masses,” Patole contended.

Challenging the government’s claims that the drought relief was hampered due to the model code of conduct, he pointed out that it can still be done after obtaining permission from the Election Commission of India.

Top Congress leaders will start the drought impact tours in different parts of the state, meet the people, the farmers, and other affected sections, and prepare detailed reports of the respective regions, which would be followed up by another tour in early June, he said.

Patole would helm the tours in the Marathwada region, Balasaheb Thorat in North Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan in Western Maharashtra, Vijay Wadettiwar and Yashomati Thakur in Vidarbha, while M. Arif Naseem Khan will tour the coastal Konkan region.

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–IANS

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Another human trafficking suspect arrested in Tripura

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Agartala, May 29 (IANS) The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Tripura has apprehended a wanted human trafficking suspect who is said to be involved in trafficking Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas through the bordering areas of the northeastern state, an official said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Tripura Police on May 19 arrested a human trafficking suspect who was on the ‘wanted list’ of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an official said.

The arrested individual was identified as Hannan Miah (41). He was detained in the Matinagar area of Tripura’s Sepahijala district

According to sources, Hannan Miah is notorious as an “infamous human trafficker”, and he was wanted in connection with a human trafficking case pursued by the NIA.

Meanwhile, Jalil Miah, also a resident of Tripura, was arrested by an NIA team on Tuesday.

The probe agency had in February declared a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to the arrest of the accused, who had been absconding in the case, in addition to nine others.

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Investigations revealed that Jalil was one of the main conspirators in the human trafficking racket and a close associate of another accused, Jiban Rudra Pal.

Though Jalil had managed to escape during the initial operation on November 8 last year, 29 accused were arrested.

Electronic devices and other incriminating documents seized from his residence had pointed to his complicity.

Pan India searches conducted by NIA in November last year have led to the seizure of a lot of incriminating data, including digital devices, along with foreign currency (Bangladeshi Taka and US Dollar), Aadhaar cards, PAN cards etc.

A subsequent crackdown on December 29 last year led to the arrest of another four accused in the case, exposing a massive network of human traffickers.

–IANS

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Delhi court issues production warrants for Kavitha, others in excise policy case

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) A court here on Wednesday issued production warrants for Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K. Kavitha and co-accused Chanpreet Singh in connection with the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) money laundering probe in the case related to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja took cognizance of the sixth supplementary charge sheet filed by the ED, stating that there was sufficient material to proceed against the accused.

The court directed Kavitha and Singh, currently in judicial custody, to be physically produced before the court.

Moreover, the court issued summons to the other accused – Arvind Singh, Damodar Sharma, and Prince Kumar – who were not arrested but were named in the charge sheet.

The probe agency had filed the sixth supplementary charge sheet on May 10, detailing further evidence and allegations against the accused in the case.

Official sources had said that the prosecution complaint has been filed under Sections 45 and 44 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and runs over 220 pages.

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A total of 18 people have been arrested in the case so far, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Deputy Delhi CM Manish Sisodia, several AAP leaders, Kavitha, and others.

–IANS

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