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Maharashtra courts: PNB scam, plastic ban, Sohrabuddin case made news

Mumbai | The multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case and the sensational Sheena Bora murder case made news in Maharashtra courts, while an order staying the state government’s plastic ban also hogged limelight during 2018.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed an application in a PMLA court here against diamond businessman Nirav Modi for his alleged involvement in the Rs 14,000 crore scam for cheating the PNB. Apart from Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and several officials of the bank are also accused in the case.

The ED also filed a plea in the PMLA court to declare liquor baron Vijay Mallya as a fugitive economic offender.

A UK court recently ordered the extradition of Mallya, who is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore. The court is hearing arguments in both the cases.

The high court in April declined to stay the implementation of the state government’s decision to ban plastic materials, saying it cannot overlook the adverse impact of plastic waste on the environment.

The Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) notification was issued in March, banning all kinds of plastic and thermocol products, including bags, dish, cups, plates, glasses, containers, small PET bottles, and decoration items. The notification was challenged by plastic and PET container manufacturers’ associations.

A Mumbai court in May awarded life sentence to gangster Chhota Rajan and shooter Satish Kaliya for killing journalist Jyotirmoy Dey in Mumbai in 2011. Journalist Jigna Vora, who was an accused in the case, was acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence.

In June, a court in Thane framed charges against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in an alleged defamation case filed against him by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte. Kunte had filed the complaint after watching Rahul Gandhi’s speech at an election rally in which he alleged that the RSS was behind the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. The Congress chief will now face trial in the case.

A special CBI court in commenced and completed trial in the alleged fake encounter case of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and associate Tulsi Prajapati in which 22 people, including policemen from Gujarat and Rajasthan police, are accused.

Shaikh and his wife were allegedly killed in 2005 by the Gujarat Police, while Prajapati was killed in another such encounter in 2006 in a joint operation by the Gujarat and Rajasthan Police.

The HC upheld the discharge granted to former Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara, Gujarat IPS officer Vipul Agarwal, and four others from Rajasthan and Gujarat Police in September. Later, in November, the HC dismissed a petition filed by the Bombay Lawyers Association questioning the CBI’s decision not to challenge the discharge granted to BJP chief Amit Shah in the case.

A sessions court also commenced trial against former media baron Indrani Mukerjea and her now estranged husband Peter Mukerjea for allegedly killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012. Also accused in the case is Indrani’s ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna.

After the trial began, the Mukerjeas filed a divorce petition in a family court here.

A special NIA court in November commenced trial in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case against Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and others.

The accused are facing trial under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian PenalCode for terror activities, criminal conspiracy and murder.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon town of Nashik on September 29, 2008.

In a case pertaining to the Shiv Sena’s Thackeray family, the HC in November permitted Jaidev Thackeray, the estranged son of Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray, to withdraw his suit challenging his father’s will. Jaidev had challenged his father’s will of December 13, 2011, in which the late Sena founder had not left a farthing for him. He later sought to close the matter.

After the #MeToo movement gained momentum, film director Vikas Bahl moved the HC seeking a direction to his former partners Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena to refrain from speaking to the media or posting on social media about the case in which a female employee alleged sexual harassment by Bahl in 2015. Bahl also filed a defamation suit against his former partners, seeking Rs 10 crore damages from them for ruining his reputation. The application is pending for hearing.

After the blaze at two eateries in the Kamala Mills Compound in Mumbai claimed 14 lives in December 2017, the high court in February appointed a three-member judicial committee to probe into the incident.

The committee submitted its report in September after which the court asked the government and the city civic body to look into the recommendations and implement the same.

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