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Mumbai resident approaches SC again seeking reinvestigation in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination

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Mahatma Gandhi

New Delhi | A Mumbai resident, who has been knocking at judiciary’s doors with his plea for an inquiry into the alleged “larger conspiracy leading to” the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, has once again approached the Supreme Court with “fresh” documents and evidence to claim that a re-investigation was needed to clear the air in the matter.

Dr. Pankaj Phadnis has filed a petition asking the apex court to peruse some books and a forensic report of the photographs of wounds on the body of Gandhi to decide the need for fresh probe into his killing. The Supreme Court had rejected his earlier plea for re-investigation into the assassination in March this year.

In the fresh plea, he has given reference from two book — Who Killed Gandhi by Lourenco de Salvador written in 1963 and India Remembered by Pamella Mountbatten, daughter of then Governor General Lord L. Mountbatten.

He claimed that examination of the two books would lead to conclusion that the person/persons in the highest echelons of power, were “complicit” in the murder of Mahatma.

In the plea, he claimed he had obtained a report of a well known expert in the United States who has categorically confirmed that four wounds were visible on the chest of the Mahatma in the photograph obtained by him from the National Gandhi Museum, Delhi and which had been published on January 31, 1948 by a prominent newspaper and has been on display for last 70 years in the Museum.

The Mumbai-based researcher, Pankaj Phadnis, who is also the trustee of Abhinav Bharat Charitable Trust, filed the petition seeking recall of the March 28 verdict by which the apex court had rejected his attempt to get the probe into Mahatma’s death reopened, saying it would be an exercise in futile.

However, in his review petition, Phadnis claimed the apex court did not have the opportunity to examine the material which he had secured and further some of the facts he brought in the rejoinder affidavit were not considered.

The petitioner claimed that the apex court only relied on the submission of a senior advocate, who was appointed as amicus curiae in the matter and his reply to the amicus’ report was not taken into account.

He claimed that during the course of proceedings, he learnt of a book Who Killed Gandhi published in or about 1963 which alleged the involvement of people in the “highest echelons of power” being “complicit” in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

As the book is banned for import in India, he filed a PIL in 2018 in the Bombay High Court for production of the book before the apex court as it contained information material relating to the case.

The PIL in the High Court could not be heard which resulted in apex court not having full and complete information germane to the matter before it, when it came to decide the matter on March 28, 2018, he contended.

Phadnis said that on further research he recovered a transcript of BBC broadcast after the shooting of the Mahatma but before his death was announced which corroborates the information given in the book Who Killed Gandhi and also contradicts the six eyewitnesses on the vital aspect of who caught Nathuram Godse after he shot the Mahatma.

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 and nine accused were tried for the conspiracy and murder. A trial court on February 10, 1949 convicted seven accused and acquitted one. Godse and Narayan Apte were sentenced to death.

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For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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