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SC refuses to monitor CBI probe into Saradha chit fund scam

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New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Monday refused to monitor the ongoing CBI investigation into various chit fund scams, including the one involving Saradha Group of Companies.

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna did not allow the application filed by some investors saying that despite the apex court’s 2014 order directing the agency to probe the chit fund scam, the investigation has not attained finality.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for some investors who lost money to a ponzi scam, said the CBI probe has not led to any conclusion and the investors are still running from pillar to post for redressal.

“We are not inclined to set up a monitoring committee for the chit fund scam probe,” the bench said.

The apex court, on May 9, 2014, had ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore rupee chit-fund scam which had also revealed the involvement of politicians in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam.

Kunal Kumar Ghosh, Member of Parliament, was arrested on November 23, 2013, over the scam in which lakhs of people were cheated through several Ponzi schemes. Ghosh was a top official at Saradha Group of Companies.

The apex court had said that it would be virtually impossible for state police to carry out investigations into the scam having inter-state ramifications and unearth larger conspiracy involved into it.

Recently, the top court had on February 5 directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the agency and “faithfully” cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the chit fund scam, while it making it clear that he will not be arrested.

The CBI has alleged that Kumar, who was leading the SIT in the Saradha chit fund scam, destroyed and tampered with material evidence in the form of call detail records (CDRs) of the prime accused and potential accused.

The apex court had on February 4 taken strong note of allegations of tampering with evidence in the Saradha scam, saying, “If the police commissioner is even remotely trying to destroy evidence, we will come down so heavily on him that he will regret.”

The court had also directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the director general of police (DGP) and the Kolkata police commissioner to file replies to the statements made in the contempt petition filed against them by the CBI on or before February 18.

On February 3, the CBI officials had gone to Kumar’s residence in connection with the probe.

The agency also claimed that companies like Saradha, Rose Valley and Tower Group had given huge contributions to the Trinamool Congress.

Claiming that the SIT is under investigation as it was conniving with accused and potential accused to subvert the investigating process, the affidavit filed by CBI said there are a large number of hard discs and other material still in custody of Kumar which he had collected as an investigating officer, being the head of the SIT and being the functional head and day-to-day in-charge of SIT.

Politics

Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

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Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

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Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance

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Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

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