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Supreme Court restores corruption case against Tamil Nadu minister Balaji | Latest News India



Noting that corruption by public servants is an offence against the state and society at large, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered criminal charges to be restored against DMK leader and Tamil Nadu electricity minister Senthil Balaji in a cash-for-job case during his tenure as state transport minister between 2011 and 2015.

Setting aside the order of the Madras high court delivered on July 30, 2021 that quashed an FIR against Balaji following a compromise reached between the complainant victims (bribe givers) and Balaji (bribe taker), the top court directed the state police to proceed with the case investigation.

The apex court expressed shock over the glaring omission by the state to leave out provisions of the prevention of corruption act in the FIR when even a novice in law could make out that the case was of alleged corruption.

A bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian said, “It is needless to point out that corruption by a public servant is an offence against the state and the society at large. The court cannot deal with cases involving abuse of official position and adoption of corrupt practices, like suits of specific performance, where the refund of the money paid may also satisfy the agreement holder. We hold that the high court was completely in error in quashing the criminal complaint.”

With the minister, other accused and the complainant having arrived at a compromise, an NGO anti-corruption movement had challenged the HC order before a division bench of the Madras high court, claiming that the offences under which the minster was charged – Section 406 and 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), included non-compoundable offences as well.

The high court dismissed the NGO’s plea in March this year against which a separate appeal was moved by the NGO in the apex court.

Deciding the petition by the NGO as also some victims, who paid money but did not get job, the bench said, “The quality of public service rendered by persons who are selected and appointed to posts in the government/public corporations by adopting corrupt practices will be inversely proportionate to the corrupt practices adopted by them.”

Though the accused and the complainants objected to the NGO’s right to file a petition when both parties had compromised, the apex court dismissed their objections as it saw an inherent public interest behind their intervention.

Justice Ramasubramanian, writing the judgment for the bench, said, “The public, who are recipients of these services, also become victims, though indirectly, because the consequences of such appointments get reflected sooner or later in the work performed by the appointees.”

The court was informed that similar complaints filed by other people in the same cash-for-job recruitment in the transport department were stayed by separate orders passed by the high court.

The bench directed the state to take effective steps to vacate the stay. In the present case, the court directed the investigating officer to file the charge sheet and asked the concerned trial court to exercise its power under the code of criminal procedure in the event of any reluctance by the state.

The FIR was registered in August 2018 against Balaji, his brother Ashok Kumar and Shanmugam, his personal assistant among others. Upon investigation, allegations of bribery and cheating were made out. The police found that orders of appointment were issued to 2,209 candidates from the list prepared by the minister.

One of the accused Shanmugam approached the high court to quash the criminal case. The victim (complainant) Arulmani filed an affidavit claiming the case involved a money dispute and had since been settled outside court. He said due to political rivalry, he added more serious charges to his complaint. Later, 13 other victims also filed similar affidavits and this led to the July 30 order passed by the high court last year.

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Corruption watchdog to look into 83 reports of possible political promotion violations – Baltic News Network




Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has commenced 83 examinations of possible political promotion violations, as confirmed by the bureau.

KNAB has 12 administrative violation proceedings in the works. Seven of them are related to publication of political promotion materials, two involve possible hidden promotion, another two involve use of municipal resources on political promotion, and one more involves collection of donations in breach of Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties).

On Saturday, 14th Saeima elections, no political promotion is allowed in Latvia. Prohibition to distribute political materials came to force on Friday, 30 September.

This means no political promotion is allowed in the press, around the environment or electronic mass media.

It is also prohibited to publish paid promotion on social media and other internet websites.

KNAB suggests printed press that come out every week should pay special attention to this prohibition. If magazines and newspapers publish political advertisements, they are not allowed to be released on Election Day and the day prior.

Free political promotion on social networks is not limited across the entire pre-election political promotion period. This means the law does not prohibit publication and sharing of free content or make political views known on social networks and elsewhere on the internet on Election Day and the day prior.

Also read: 14th Saeima elections: 23.26% of Latvian citizens have voted so far

Political promotion materials are varied – advertisements, interviews, entries on social networks, etc. If residents find disallowed political promotion on days when no political promotion is permitted, they should report it to State Police or KNAB.

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Allahabad High Court denies anticipatory bail plea to ex-chief engineer Noida in corruption case




The Allahabad High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of former Noida Chief Engineer Yadav Singh.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Samit Gopa passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc anticipatory bail Application filed by Yadav Singh.

The anticipatory bail application U/S 438 CrPC has been filed with the following prayer:-

“It is therefore most respectfully prayed that the Court may kindly be pleased to release the applicant on anticipatory bail in Case Crime dated 30.07.2015 u/s 120-B IPC r/w 409, 420, 466, 467, 469, 471 IPC & Section 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of the PC Act, 1988 Police Station STF, CBI New Delhi.”

A first information report was lodged on 13.01.2012 against Yadav Singh & others as Case under Sections 120-B read with Section 409, 420, 466, 467, 469, 471 IPC, Sections 13 (1) (d) read with Section 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 at Police Station- Sector 39, Noida, Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P for the alleged corrupt practices of the executive engineer working therein between 14.12.2011 and 23.12.2011 while executing engineering work in which agreement bonds of Rs 954.38 crores were executed by Engineering Department of Noida.

The investigation concluded and the State police submitted its closure report which was accepted by the District and Sessions Judge, Gautam Budh Nagar on November 27, 2014.

Thereafter, a Division Bench of the Lucknow Bench of the Court passed an order on 16.07.2015 directing the C.B.I to conduct investigation in all the allegations of corruption and amassing of unaccounted money by Yadav Singh, the then Chief Engineer, Noida / Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Authority and other persons in regards to the transactions relating to the same.

The CBI took up the case and lodged a first information report as Case at Police Station STF, New Delhi on 30.07.2015. The investigation was handed over to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, CBI, STF, Delhi.

Counsel for the applicant argued that after lodging of the first information report the first charge-sheet dated 15.03.2016 was filed against the applicant. Subsequently a supplementary charge-sheet dated 31.05.2017 was filed by the CBI against the applicant.

It is argued that the applicant was then granted bail by the Apex Court in the charge-sheets dated 15.03.2016 and 31.05.2017 vide order dated 01.10.2019 passed in Special Leave to Appeal.

It is argued that subsequently the CBI registered a second first information report as Case under Sections 120-B IPC & Section 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, Police Station STF, CBI, New Delhi on 17.01.2018. The applicant was arrested in the second first information report dated 17.01.2018 on 10.02.2020 after which he was released in compliance with an order dated 08.07.2020.

It is further argued that the applicant has now come to know through news items published in Times of India dated 30.08.2019 and Jagran dated 02.07.2020 that sanction for prosecution of 09 officers is sought by CBI in Noida Cricket Stadium Project and as such he apprehends his arrest.

It is also argued that co accused Amar Chand Singh has been granted interim protection order dated 08.09.2020 passed in Criminal Misc Anticipatory Bail Application U/S 438 CrPC, S.K. Gupta, Rakesh Kumar Jain and Deepak Kumar challenged the sanction of prosecution granted against them before the Lucknow Bench of this Court in which vide order dated 08.07.2020 in their respective petitions, the Court ordered that no coercive action shall be taken against them and further Amar Chand had also preferred a writ petition before the Lucknow Bench of this Court in which vide order dated 27.01.2020 he has been granted an interim protection.

It is argued that the applicant is aged about 63 years and has superannuated as CME (Jal), Noida.

Per contra, counsel for the CBI vehemently prayed for anticipatory bail.

It is argued that as of now a charge-sheet dated 06.10.2021 under Sections 120-B, 420, 465, 471 IPC and Section 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has been filed against the applicant and 10 other persons and M/s Anand Buildtech Pvt Ltd (JV).

It is further argued that the case is related to one of the 1280 contracts of Rs 954.38 crores which were signed between 14.12.2011 and 23.12.2011 in Noida Authority in which investigation has been ordered by the Lucknow Bench of the Court order dated 16.07.2015.

It is argued that in the investigation it revealed that M/s STUP Consultant Pvt Ltd was appointed as consultant for the construction of Integrated Sports Complex including the cricket stadium project at Noida.

After having heard counsel for the parties and perusing the records, it is evident that the applicant was posted as the Chief Engineer, Nodia. He misused his official position and was involved in embezzlement of money from the State Exchequer. He is involved in two other cases. The same are different first information reports but the offences in them are separate and as such after investigation separate charge-sheets are being submitted by the investigating agency. The consideration of parameters for anticipatory bail in economic offences are all together different from other cases.

“The Apex Court while deciding a matter of economic offence at the stage of anticipatory bail has in paragraph nos’ 69, 72, 76, 77, 78, 80 and 81 in the case of P Chidambaram v Directorate of Enforcement : (2019) 9 SCC 24 has held that power under Section 438 CrPC is an extraordinary power and has to be exercised sparingly, it should be granted only in exceptional cases, nature and gravity of offence has to be seen and refusal to grant anticipatory bail would not amount to denial of the rights conferred upon the accused under Article 21 of the Constitution. It was further held that cases of economic offences stand as a different class as they affect the economic fabric of the society. It was observed that economic offence is committed with deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to the community”, the Court held.

“In view of the facts as stated above and the law on the subject as laid down by the Apex Court in the aforesaid case, the Court does not find any good ground to entertain the anticipatory bail application”, the Court observed, while rejecting the anticipatory bail application.

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Ivey-Soto spectacle reminds us state lawmakers can’t police themselves




The saga that humbled state senator Daniel Ivey-Soto this week is the kind of political theater that hypnotizes the chattering political class.

A mixture of sexual harassment allegations and an unsuccessful coup against Sen. President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, with whom he has clashed, led Ivey-Soto to resign Thursday as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee before his colleagues could remove him.

It was a very public drama that generated blaring headlines and gossipy conversations.

Beyond all the hot takes and salacious titillation, however, it’s important that we not forget the institutional weakness that got us to this point.

Skepticism has always swirled around lawmakers’ claim that they can police themselves. The Ivey-Soto episode is merely the latest reminder that they do a poor job at it and why investigations of lawmakers should be handed over to an outside agency.

First, some context. The state Senate empaneled a panel of Ivey-Soto’s peers — in this case, other state senators — earlier this year to review, with the help of an outside attorney, an allegation by a lobbyist that he had sexually harassed her. A month later, several other women accused the Albuquerque senator of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, allegations that were added to the inquiry.

The case proceeded in complete secrecy until a couple of weeks ago when the Albuquerque Journal published an op-ed by Ivey-Soto in which the third-term senator wrote the case against him had been closed. An official announcement that there had been no finding of probable cause to warrant a deeper investigation would not be made, he wrote.

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque

Except what he wrote was misleading, as the Santa Fe Reporter weekly newspaper pointed out shortly after Ivey-Soto’s op-ed ran in the Journal. Relying on the confidential report attorney Thomas Hnasko had prepared for the lawmakers reviewing the allegations against Ivey-Soto, the weekly newspaper reported Hnasko had written that “there was reason to believe Ivey-Soto violated the state’s anti-harassment policy twice, but not a third time.” 

Had the subcommittee voted to move forward, the case would have gone to the full ethics committee’s investigative subcommittee, the Reporter wrote, “which would have appointed a special counsel—typically a different attorney than the one who assists Senate leadership—to investigate.”

Even with Hnasko’s findings of probable cause, however, the case against Ivey-Soto didn’t proceed. It’s unclear why.

The irony in this case is that the legislative rules around such investigations allow the accused to go public to trumpet their innocence if they want, as Ivey-Soto did in his Journal op-ed. Meanwhile, those who accused Ivey-Soto were barred from speaking publicly — a situation that led the lobbyist who first accused Ivey-Soto of sexual harassment, Marianna Anaya, “to file a civil complaint in a Santa Fe state court, arguing that the statute that has kept everyone tight-lipped about the investigation violates the New Mexico Constitution,” the Reporter wrote.

Anaya’s attorney “criticized the law for allowing Ivey-Soto to publicly speak about the allegations against him while effectively silencing Anaya.”

The Ivey-Soto case provides yet another stunning reminder why state lawmakers should not be left to police themselves. Scandal has plagued New Mexico’s Legislature for decades. In recent years, a state senator has gone to prison and a state representative is under indictment on corruption charges — episodes that came as a shock to their colleagues in the Legislature. 

State lawmakers should abandon the star-chamber secrecy and hand investigations of legislators over to an outside agency like the state’s new independent Ethics Commission.

Perhaps doing so will help restore some of the public’s trust in the Legislature.

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