Anand Grover, NGO booked by CBI, they say attempt to silence them

In its order cancelling the licence of Lawyers Collective on November 27, 2016, the MHA had said there were discrepancies in foreign contributions cited by the association in its returns filed with the Ministry.

Acting on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the CBI has registered an FIR against the Lawyers Collective, a rights issue NGO run by senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and criminal offences under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR, registered in Mumbai on June 13, also names Grover, unknown office bearers of Lawyers Collective and unknown private persons and public servants. Suspected offences listed include criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, false statement made in declaration and criminal misconduct.

Explained: What is the FCRA violation case against Indira Jaisingh’s NGO

In 2016, the MHA had cancelled the FCRA licence of Lawyers Collective for alleged violation of FCRA provisions after an inspection of its books of accounts and records. It had pointed out that the NGO “was registered for carrying out ‘social’ activities” and had “received foreign contribution amounting to Rs 32.39 crore” from 2006-07 to 2014-15, but money was used for “political purposes”.

The CBI FIR has attached the findings of the FCRA investigation conducted by the MHA.

In May this year, the Lawyers Collective was issued notice by the Supreme Court after a petition filed by another organisation called Lawyers Voice sought direction to the Centre to book Jaising, Grover and their NGO for alleged violation of rules related to receipt and use of foreign funds — the matter is to come up next month.

In a statement Tuesday, the Lawyers Collective expressed “shock and outrage at the action of the CBI” and said: “The Lawyers Collective believes that the FIR has no basis in fact and law. It is to target the Lawyers Collective and its office bearers, to silence them as they have taken up sensitive cases in the past, and continue to take them up. The Lawyers Collective is seeking competent advice and will defend themselves in accordance with law in every forum.”

“The LC has reason to believe that its officer bearers are personally being targeted for speaking up in defence of human rights, secularism and independence of the judiciary in all fora more particularly in their capacity as senior lawyers in court. The LC sees this as a blatant attack of the right to representation of all persons, particularly the marginalised and those who dissent in their views form the ruling party. It is also an attack in the right to free speech and expression and an attack on the legal profession as such,” the statement said.

In its order cancelling the licence of Lawyers Collective on November 27, 2016, the MHA had said there were discrepancies in foreign contributions cited by the association in its returns filed with the Ministry. The order also stated that Jaising, who was Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India under the previous UPA government, had violated FCRA norms by receiving foreign funds when she was a government servant.

The CBI FIR has attached the findings of the FCRA investigation conducted by the MHA. The findings observe: “Large amounts of foreign contributions were found to have been spent on air travel, boarding and lodging and local travel of trusts Sh Anand Grover and various contractual employees from different parts of the country for draft legislation meetings, dharnas and advocacy with MPs.”

These meetings, according to MHA, were conducted in connection with draft legislation of the HIV/AIDS Bill. “Spending foreign contribution on advocacy with media and MPs is in violation of the main spirit of FCRA,” the MHA said.

Lawyers Collective, according to MHA, used Rs 13 lakh foreign contribution in advocacy with MPs or the media to organise rallies/dharnas, draft legislation meetings in 2009, 2011 and 2014. The report said the NGO also organised a protest of 250 people at Rs 200/person outside the Law Ministry in 2009 for the HIV Bill.

“To hold paid dharnas by utilisation of foreign contribution is a violation of FCRA,” the MHA report said, adding that lobbying with MPs for a legislation was an attempt to interfere with the political process and Parliamentary institutions.

The MHA probe also held use of foreign contribution for travels of Grover after he was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur for Health in 2008 as violation of FCRA. In the Novartis case, the MHA said, foreign travels of Grover and Jaising were funded by foreign contributions even though Jaising was not associated with the case. Travels of other employees were also similarly funded, the MHA said.

It also mentioned a charity dinner organised by Lawyers Collective in New York in 2013 which was attended by Grover. The MHA said all these were violation of the FCRA.

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Callie & Mariana’s Relationship Might Have More Tension in Season Two on ‘Good Trouble’

Callie encourages Mariana to get up for the day with a little nudge in this still from tonight’s Good Trouble season two premiere.

The ep picks up right where we left off in the season one finale, and the outcome of the Jamal Thompson case is decided.

Cierra Ramirez spoke to EW about the season ahead and revealed that there will be tension between sisters Callie and Mariana.

“I think living with a roommate, regardless of who it is, there comes a time when you butt heads, especially when it’s your sister and they live in such close proximity to each other,” she shared. “One thing I loved is the fact that although it’s a different space, the beds are set up in the exact same layout as it was way in The Fosters.”

She adds, “It’s super cute, but that being said, they’ve gone off to college, they’ve had their own spaces and now they’re back to square one. That definitely is going to put some tension on them. Mariana can feel very left out of Callie’s life and feel like she’s not a priority so they’re definitely going to run into some roadblocks this season, one hundred percent.”

Good Trouble premieres TONIGHT, June 18th @ 8PM ET/PT on Freeform.
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Mumbai Police register rape, cheating case against son of Kerala CPM leader

The woman, hailing from Bihar, has alleged that Balakrishnan’s eldest son Binoy had sexually abused over several years by promising to marry her.

Mumbai Police have registered a rape and cheating case against the son of Kerala CPI(M) state secretary and polit buro member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The woman, hailing from Bihar, has alleged that Balakrishnan’s eldest son Binoy had sexually abused over several years by promising to marry her.

A case was re1gistered against Binoy at Mumbai’s Oshiwara police station on June 13 for rape, criminal intimidation, and cheating under the IPC, said senior inspector Shailesh Pasalwar.

The woman, who claimed to be a former bar dancer in Dubai, on Tuesday told the media in Mumbai that Binoy is the father of her eight-year-old child, and said that she is ready to undergo any test to prove her daughter’s paternity.

“We are verifying the complaint registered by the woman…,” said Pasalwar.

Binoy has rejected the allegations, accusing the woman of blackmailing him.

“She had sent me a notice in January claiming that I had married her. I had moved a police complaint against this notice… I had complained police in Kannur against the blackmailing of the woman,” he said.

Kannur SP Pratheesh Kumar said police have received a complaint from Binoy.

Balakrishnan has so far not responded to the scandal, and despite repeated attempts, he was not ready to answer calls.

However, CPI(M) polit buro member M A Baby rushed to defend Balakrishnan, saying, “Neither the party nor Balakrishnan has role in the issue. He (Binoy) is an adult. Now there is a complaint against him and certainly there would be probe into that. If the mature children or relatives of leaders are allegedly involved in any case, it is up to them to explain the case or face action…”

This is not the first scandal involving Binoy. In 2018, he had faced a financial fraud case in UAE, following which he faced a ban on traveling out of Dubai. It was alleged that Binoy cheated Hasan Ismaeel Abdulla Al Marzooqi, the director of Dubai-based Jaas Tourism LCC, of Rs 13 crore. —With inputs from ENS, Mumbai

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Bombay HC Chief Justice makes a point on environment protection, with a caricature

Chief Justice Nandrajog shared this hand-drawn image on a ruled paper with a battery of senior counsels representing various stakeholders in the PILs towards the close of the petitioners' counsel's arguments heard over three hours on Tuesday.

The arguments for and against the coastal road in Mumbai are long-drawn and expected to stretch over the week. At the end of the hearing in the case on Tuesday, however, the Bombay High Court sounded a word of caution for protection of the environment and Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said it with a caricature.

The image was that of a creature with a large head, detailed in pencil with several brain cells, small eyes, a long lose, short hands and legs drawn in blue ink. “You will need a large head…,” said Chief Justice Nandrajog, to make room for numerous brain cells but small eyes that may rarely move away from the computer screen. For the same reason he said, “Because you will always type, you will have small hands but long fingers. Short legs because you will not walk.” Explaining the creature’s long snout intricately inked on paper, he said, “The air will be so toxic and you will need a nose like this and food will be in capsules so you will need only a small stomach.”

Chief Justice Nandrajog shared this hand-drawn image on a ruled paper with a battery of senior counsels representing various stakeholders in the PILs towards the close of the petitioners’ counsel’s arguments heard over three hours on Tuesday.

Darius Khambata, counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), called it the theory of evolution. The Chief Justice then asked, “Is that what you would want to evolve into?… Is this what you want your future generation to be?” Adjourning the case for the day, the Chief Justice parted with the image after Janak Dwarkadas, counsel for the petitioners, had argued over faulty, inadequate clearances and environmental perils of a project like the Coastal Road.

On Monday, the High Court started the final hearing in a bunch of PILs challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Rs 14,000 crore coastal road project that will connect Nariman Point to Kandivali in two phases. The project was challenged by environmental groups, NGOs and activists including the Conservation Action Trust, Society for Improvement and Nature, architect Shweta Wagh and NGO Vanshakti and the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsyavyavsay Sahakari Society.

As senior counsels including Dwarkadas and Khambata studied the image drawn by the Chief Justice, he explained to them why the creature he had drawn looked the way it did. He said that this is what humans could evolve into “if we don’t care for our environment”.

The petitioners were seeking directions to quash and set aside the decision of the BMC to implement the project and the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance granted to it on May 2017 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. While yellow barricades for the coastal road were erected at South Mumbai’s seafronts at the beginning of the year, in April, the Bombay High Court had restrained the corporation from reclaiming new land for the project and ordered a status quo. In May, after the BMC moved the Supreme Court, the High Court’s order was modified, allowing the BMC to proceed with the work that was already underway but not to undertake any fresh works. The apex court had also asked the High Court to hear the cases finally.

The final hearing in the cases started before a division bench of Chief Justice Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar on Monday. The hearing in the case will continue on Wednesday.

The proposed coastal road, the court was informed, is a project along Mumbai’s western sea front that aims at connecting Nariman Point in the South to Kandivali in the North through a 35.6 km of complex transportation network of roads, roads on stilts, tunnels and road on reclaimed surface.

The first part in the South stretching from Princess Street flyover to Worli entails land reclamation of 78 hectares and the northern part stretching from the Bandra end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to Kandivali junction requires reclamation of about 78 hectares, the petitioners have submitted to the court. So far, the work only on the southern stretch of the road has begun.

The BMC, on the other hand, had said that in an affidavit filed in the court in May that there is a need for the south coastal road as the existing infrastructure is overburdened by increasing traffic and there is no possibility of broadening existing roads, which lead North Mumbai to South Mumbai.

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Waiter stabbed by colleague in Delhi

An argument over serving customers at a restaurant ended in a 22-year-old waiter being stabbed to death by his older colleague outside the eatery in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh on Monday night, the police said. A friend of the dead man was injured as well, but is out of danger, said Mandeep Singh Randhawa, DCP (central district).

The DCP said that the murder happened outside a restaurant located close to the Karol Bagh Metro station, around 11.30pm on Monday. “We have arrested the suspected killer, Kamal,” said the DCP.

When contacted for their comments on the murder, the restaurant’s management said that they weren’t aware of the details as the crime took place outside the eatery’s premises.

The police identified the dead man by his first name as Rahul, a waiter at the restaurant.Kamal,who hails from Nepal, was Rahul’s senior. “On Monday evening, Kamal questioned Rahul about the way he was serving customers. That led to a quarrel between the two of them. Kamal told us that Rahul responded by calling one of his friends, Pawan, who slapped him,” an investigator who didn’t want to be identified said.

When the workers were leaving, Rahul and Kamal quarrelled again. “A few minutes later, as Rahul stood with Pawan outside the restaurant, Kamal attacked them with a knife. He stabbed Rahul thrice. Pawan was injured while trying to save him,” said the officer. They were rushed to a nearby hospital, where Rahul was declared dead on arrival.

The police filed a murder case at Rajindra Nagar police station and nabbed Kamal later.

First Published:
Jun 19, 2019 01:39 IST

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Bhiwandi ‘doctors’ arrested for running clinic illegally

The Bhiwandi city police on Monday arrested two doctors who were on the run after being booked for allegedly running an allopathic clinic illegally.

The couple, Biju and Valsa Topil, came under the scanner last week after a social worker complained to the Bhiwandi Nizampura Municipal Corporation (BNMC) that they were running a clinic without having registered with the Maharashtra Medical Council.

“The couple had been running the clinic for the past 10 to 12 years in Nayi Basti, Bhiwandi. When the BNMC reported the case to us, we searched the clinic and found syringes indicating that they were providing allopathic treatment.

The couple only have degrees in naturopathy, which does not permit them to administer allopathic treatment,” police inspector Hanif Sheikh, Bhiwandi city police station, said.

The couple were allegedly on the run after being questioned by the police on Friday. They were picked up from their clinic after being noticed by a patrolling unit and arrested on Monday morning. Officers said they have been charged under the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961.

“We produced the accused in court on Tuesday and they were granted bail on condition that they would not practise allopathy. If they are found doing so, they will be arrested and stricter action, including police custody, will be taken against them and they will face imprisonment up to 10 years,” Mr. Sheikh said.

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All roads lead to Patkura in Odisha

Polling was adjourned twice — due to death of BJD nominee and Cyclone Fani

All roads now lead to the Patkura Assembly segment under the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency in coastal Odisha. Leaders of major political parties are regularly visiting the area as the Election Commission of India is likely to announce a new date for polling soon.

Polling in Patkura, which was initially scheduled to be held on April 29, was first adjourned due to the death of the Biju Janata Dal nominee. Then May 19 was fixed as the next date of polling, but it was adjourned again in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani that hit the State on May 3.

The Assembly segment continues to be in the grip of a poll fever for more than two months now. Be it the ruling BJD or the opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress, no party is leaving any stone unturned to make it big in Patkura.

While the BJD has assigned Ministers and legislators to continue canvassing for votes in favour of its nominee Savitri Agarwalla, BJP candidate Bijoy Mohapatra is also working hard to make a return to the Assembly after two decades.

Mr. Mohapatra conducted an impressive roadshow a few days ago in the constituency accompanied by Aparajita Sarangi, BJP’s newly-elected MP from Bhubaneswar. Mr. Mohapatra, one of the founder members of the BJD who was denied a party ticket in 2000, has been losing elections since then.

Women voters

The BJP has engaged Ms. Sarangi for campaigning with a view to shake the BJD’s support base among women voters. The party has also deployed Manmohan Samal in the constituency to improve the party’s vote base.

The Congress which has fielded Jayanta Mohanty for the seat is also trying hard to put up a strong fight. The party leaders have lost confidence since they were replaced as the main opposition by the BJP in the State in the recently held polls.

Winning Patkura has become a prestige issue for the ruling party as Mr. Mohapatra has been the bête noire of Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik for long. Mr. Patnaik, who has not gone to campaign in Patkura so far, visited the district headquarters town of Kendrapara on Monday.

Although Mr. Mohapatra is trying hard to win this time, the BJD stands a better chance as its nominee is likely to draw the sympathy vote since she is the widow of former Minister Bed Prakash Agarwalla who passed away days after filing his nomination for the seat.

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3 new cases of malaria confirmed; total number of patients at five

Three cases of malaria have been confirmed this month, according to the district health department, taking the total number of cases of the vector-borne disease to five so far this year. Two cases of malaria were confirmed by the health department in May.

According to health officials, all the reported cases were those of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, transmitted through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. However, no deaths were reported, as treatment was started within 24 hours of confirmation of each case, said officials.

Meanwhile, 25 suspected cases of the dengue hemorrhagic fever have been reported so far this year, as per health department data. A case of dengue is suspected, but not ‘confirmed’, when the blood slide of the patient can’t be tested through a specialised blood test, called the IgM-based ELISA test, by the health department. All suspected cases of dengue have to be confirmed by the department.

Officials said whenever a case of malaria is reported from an area, blood samples are collected from neighbouring houses and sent to the laboratory. “Moreover, fogging and anti-larval activities are carried out in the patient’s house,” said Dr Jai Bhagwan Jatain, district malaria officer, adding that this year, the number of workers in the surveillance team was increased by more than a dozen to 60. He added that mass awareness campaigns have begun in schools and village panchayats.

Experts said cases of dengue and malaria are expected to rise during the monsoon, and that people shouldn’t store water in pots and coolers to avoid breeding of mosquitoes.

First Published:
Jun 19, 2019 01:27 IST

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BEST steadies up, but may still need a push

MoU with BEST Workers’ Union, BMC help seen as beneficial, but a long-term plan is needed, say activists

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking finally appears to be steadying itself, months after its wobbly state of finances had a question mark on its very existence. The city’s iconic red buses may not be history, after all, with the undertaking’s administration signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BEST Workers’ Union, in which it promised to maintain a fleet of 3,337 buses and procure the remaining through a wet lease model. In return, the BEST Workers’ Union agreed to withdraw the case challenging the decision to wet lease the buses and managed to get a stay on court proceedings.

A day after the MoU was signed, the BEST issued work orders to procure 450 diesel buses, including 200 mini non-airconditioned (AC), 200 mini AC and 50 non-AC midi buses. The BEST is also getting 80 electric buses under the Central government’s faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles 1 (FAME 1) scheme. It is in the process of procuring 500 electric buses and 1,000 CNG small buses (midi and mini variants). “Small buses will open up several new routes and areas that large buses can’t access. Our idea is to create a network for the rail and Metro services. We are also examining how to restructure our operational network and simplify the fare collection,” Surendrakumar Bagde, BEST general manager, said.

BEST officials said they would be sending a proposal for the 500 electric buses to the Union government under the FAME 2 scheme and will put up a request for 1,000 buses in the next fortnight. The BEST’s aim is to increase its fleet strength to 10,000.

In a BEST Committee meeting held last week, Mr. Bagde had told the members they were working with the traffic department to identify sections of major arterial roads where the dedicated bus lanes could be implemented. A BEST official said this would not have been possible if they did not have adequate buses to run at a good frequency. “Dedicated bus lanes will be effective only if we can ensure buses arrive every few minutes. To achieve this frequency, we needed more buses,” the official said.

The bus service has cumulative losses of over ₹2,000 crore and was unable to service its working capital requirements of approximately ₹200 crore a month. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has agreed to provide a grant to service the undertaking’s operating expenses as and when required.

Fare reduction

The BMC has also asked the BEST to reduce the minimum fare of its mini bus services to ₹5 from the current ₹8. However, the move has been questioned. “Fare reduction is welcome, but it must be applied across the board, and not just on select routes. Also, we could introduce free rides for short trips, as that would bring more people to buses,” Hussain Indorewala, co-convenor of Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST, said.

BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya said reduction in fare will not have an impact on revenue even if it is successful in attracting more passengers. “Fare reduction is always a welcome step, but the BMC should give a clear statement that it is going to pay for the deficit in revenue,” he said.

Activists and corporators also questioned the direction in which the undertaking is headed. “The move by the BMC is welcome and it’s better late than never, but the municipal commissioner should also state that the BMC is largely to blame for the BEST’s current state of affairs,” Mr. Ganarcharya said. Had this help come a few years ago, the bus service would not have to be bailed out in this manner, he said.

Simply procuring buses will not solve anything as the existing fleet often faces congestion and is unable to complete its scheduled trips, Mr. Ganacharya said. “There should be a detailed study on what the city’s requirement is, and then the undertaking should proceed with its plan to procure buses.” Activists have said wet leasing is not in the commuters’ best interest as it will reduce service quality, and make profiteering the contractors’ primary objective. “They (contractors) may ask for subsidies or the most profitable routes to operate on. Moreover, the BEST has historically been an operator. Now, though, it will need to assume the role of a regulator and create new standards and processes,” Mr. Indorewala said.

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Vadodara: Garbage contractor fined for throwing waste in open

The VMC cameras had caught the garbage being dumped, which was already spilling over from the van belonging to Ward 7.

The solid waste management department of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on its contractor of the door-to-door garbage collection in the city, for throwing waste in the open. The incident, which was caught on CCTV cameras on Saturday, showed a van of the contractor dumping garbage outside Nizampura Atithi Gruh.

As part of its latest campaign under the Joint Enforcement Team, which has the Vadodara city police keeping a watch on people breaking rules, the VMC has decided to impose fines on those found dumping garbage, urinating or spitting in public. The VMC cameras had caught the garbage being dumped, which was already spilling over from the van belonging to Ward 7. The solid waste management department issued a show-cause notice to the contractor, Swachchta Corporation, and decided to impose the fine to create a deterrent.


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