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Archives for : CBI

Who is behind the CBI closure report in RTI activist Satish Shetty murder case?

VINITA DESHMUKH | 12/08/2014 12:16 PM |   

Sandeep Shetty alleges an invisible hand of a minister behind the filing ofclosure report in his brother and RTI activist Satish Shetty’s murder case. The case handled by CBI since last four years was coming to a nearconclusion when all of a sudden the agency filed closure report

 

In a suspicious and strange turn of events, after four years of investigations the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), suddenly filed a closure report in the Satish Shetty murder case on 11th August. CBI investigations led to a 10,000 page report; several trips abroad by the investigative agencies and almost zeroing on 13 culprits, which were giving an indication about solving the murder case of the Right to Information (RTI) activist. The CBI spokesperson on Monday told the media that the closure has been filed at the Wadgaon-Maval court as it could not find sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused persons.

Just to recall, the 13 accused persons were named by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty in a land grab case along the Pune-Mumbai expressway through forging of documents, in a first information report (FIR) lodged by him at the Talegaon police station in October 2009. The names included the high profile owner of Ideal Road Builders (IRB), Virendra Mhaiskar, who is close to several top notch politicians of Maharashtra, as well as a sub-registrar and others. It has been alleged that the subsequent brutal murder of Shetty on 13 February 2010, was closely linked to his lodging of his FIR of October 2009. In fact, the CBI stuck to this FIR as the motive for Satish Shetty’s murder for a good four years, until as recently as 8 August 2014 and then suddenly changed course in the last three days.

The High Court had suo motu taken cognizance of Satish Shetty murder in 2010 and directed the CBI to probe it, which was otherwise being investigated by the Pune Rural Police. It had again, on 8th August, allowed the CBI to open up the land scam case in which, Shetty had lodged an FIR. In fact, CBI itself had made this requisition to the High Court, stating that it (the land scam) might be linked to the Satish Shetty murder and hence needs to be re-investigated. The High Court on 8th August, directed the agencyto go ahead with the re-opening of the case and submit its report within four weeks. However, instead, the CBI submitted a closure report at Wadgaon–Maval court on the basis that there is no evidence against the 13 accused. All this in a matter of just three days, that is between 8th and 11th August 2014!

Moneylife spoke with Sandeep Shetty, brother of Satish Shetty who is doggedly pursuing the case to seek justice. Here are the excerpts from the interview…

Moneylife (ML): How do you react to CBI’s sudden closure of your brother, Satish Shetty’s murder case?

Sandeep Shetty (SS): It is very shocking that the CBI should have made a turnaround in three days flat. Where is justice left? Earlier, we thought the local police might be influenced by some higher-ups, but now the CBI too has bent backwards to please those in political power. It is impossible for the investigative agency to take action on its own, as the High Court has directed on 8th August that it should submit the report to it in four weeks time. Even if you say that suddenly no evidence was found, the CBI cannot file aclosure report; it should have submitted such a report to the High Court. This is clear case of contempt of Court and hence the closure report is invalid. In fact, the Wadgaon-Maval court has no powers to accept the report, which needs to be submitted to the DistrictCourt that in turn has to call me for hearing before accepting the report. I am going to contest it (the CBI action) and it will indeed be the biggest scandal if the District Court accepts the closure report. I’m also going to Wadgaon-Maval Court today to get the copy of the closure report. I am also going to file a petition to the High Court to re-investigate the case. I would be talking to my lawyer for advice.

ML: You have directly alleged that the closure is a result of political clout. Why do you say so?

SS: That’s because the CBI has been investigating the case since the last four years and on 20 December 2013 it specifically told the High Court that Satish’s murder is directly related to the FIR Satish has lodged against Mhaiskar and others in 2009. Again, a few days back, on 8 August 2014, the CBI told the High Court that prima facie Satish’s FIR is the basic motive for his murder. This gave me hope that the case was on its way to getting solved and the culprits would be booked and punished as per Law. However, what else can one derive when in three days flat the CBI completely changed its stance and said that there is no circumstantial evidence against the accused, who were very much the accused until 8 August 2014.

We all know Nitin Gadkari’s links with the the Ideal Road Builders-IRB group of companies and it’s all in the public domain wherein IRB had loaned large amounts of money to Gadkari’s controversial Purti group of industries. Hence, I strongly feel that Gadkari’s pressure on the CBI resulted in the latter doing a complete u-turn unlawfully.  Would you believe that any government agency can do such a startling and brazen turnaround on its own, especially when it was sticking to its ground for a good four years?

source- http://www.moneylife.in/article/who-is-behind-the-cbi-closure-report-in-satish-shetty-murder-case/38414.html?

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2G scam: CBI institutes inquiry against Tata over alleged illegal bidding

CNN-IBN
Aug 12, 2014 at 05:58pm IST

New Delhi: In a recent development in 2G scam, the CBI has instituted an inquiry against Tata for alleged illegal bidding by Tata-Unitech in the licence auctions. The Supreme Court of India had asked for CBI records of 2G Swan Telecom probe which is allegedly a front for Anil Ambani owned Reliance Telecom.

The CBI Director had asked for stay on trial against Reliance Telecom and Swan Telecom, one of the alleged beneficiaries of the 2G allotment by former telecom minister A Raja.

Earlier, the Corporate Affairs Ministry under the previous UPA government had given a clean chit to Swan Telecom.

2G scam: CBI institutes inquiry against Tata over alleged illegal bidding

The CBI has instituted an inquiry against Tata for alleged illegal bidding by Tata-Unitech in the licence auctions.

As a result, just two weeks after the then Telecom Minister0 Kapil Sibal dismissed the Comptroller Auditor General’s Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss figures, another violation pointed out by the CAG has fallen through.

CNN-IBN had got access to a report from the Corporate Affairs ministry, which had given a clean chit to Swan telecom, the company that was the first in the queue of successful applicants to be awarded a 2G license in January 2008.

The CAG report had said Swan Telecom, while applying for licenses in 13 service areas, was acting as a front company on behalf of Reliance Telecom.

As per the DoT eligibility rules for telecom licenses, no telecom services firm can hold more than 10 per cent equity in another telecom service firm in the same service area.

According to corporate affairs ministry sources, there had been no clean chit given to Swan, but the file notings show otherwise.

The clean chit had been given despite serious allegations of irregularities made against the company by the CAG’s report, giving more ammunition in the hands of the Center to disagree with the CAG’s findings.

Read mor where – http://ibnlive.in.com/news/2g-scam-cbi-institutes-inquiry-against-tata-over-alleged-illegal-bidding/491743-7.html

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CBI launches initial probe against Adani

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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad/New Delhi, July 24, 2014

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a preliminary inquiry (PE) against three companies promoted by billionaire Gautam Adani for allegedly overvaluing power equipment imports by Rs.5,500 crore.

The CBI has been brought in to probe the case after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which has been investigating the case for three years, reportedly found that the three firms — Adani Power Maharashtra, Adani Power Rajasthan and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company — had imported power equipment worth Rs. 3,580 crore for an inflated sum of Rs. 9,048 crore from China and South Korea.

The difference of Rs. 5,468 crore, the DRI contended, had been siphoned off by Electro Gen Infra, a UAE-based firm connected to the group.

The Adani Group declined to comment on the development and did not to respond to a questionnaire sent by HT.

In the run-up to the recent Lok Sabha election, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the Adani group chief was close to the then Gujarat chief minister (and now PM) Narendra Modi and had received undue favours from his government.

However, a source said, the PE may have been launched in May, before the results of the Lok Sabha polls were announced.

The allegedly over-valued equipment had been financed by the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Oriental Bank of Commerce, said the source.

On May 16, the DRI had slapped a Rs. 5,468-crore show cause notice to the group for allegedly over-invoicing imports. The show cause notice has been shared with the CBI.

The Ahmedabad-based conglomerate has interests in ports, energy, infrastructure and import and exports in India, Australia and Indonesia. The group is the largest coal importer in India, one of the largest power producers and also operates the largest private port in the country.

 

Read more here- http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cbi-files-preliminary-enquiry-against-adani-group/article1-1244093.aspx

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Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case – CBI chief partied with former IB boss he charged

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Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 25, 2014

Four months after the CBI brought charges of conspiracy against former senior Intelligence Bureau official Rajinder Kumar in the alleged Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, its director Ranjit Sinha and his deputy were at a party thrown by the ex-sleuth, HT has learnt.

Sinha and his deputy Anil Sinha’s presence at a function to celebrate Kumar’s son’s wedding showed collusion between the prosecuting agency and the accused, Vrinda Grover, the lawyer for Jahan’s mother Shamima Kauser, alleged.

“Ranjit Sinha by socialising with Kumar, whom the probe agency has charged in the Ishrat case with his apparent approval, has compromised the office of the CBI director,” Grover told HT. “He should be immediately removed.”

Ranjit Sinha declined comment, saying it was a private matter. “I don’t want to talk to you,” was Kumar’s response.

The trial is yet to begin in the sensational case as the home ministry is still to give the go-ahead to the CBI to prosecute Kumar, who retired from service last year.

The party was held on June 7 at an officers’ mess near the airport in the Capital, sources told HT. Many senior retired and serving government officials were present, sources who attended the function told HT.

The CBI chief’s deputy and agency’s special director Anil Sinha confirmed he was at the party but denied his presence amounted to a conflict of interest. The probe against Kumar has been completed, Sinha said.

The agency, Sinha said, had sent all the documents to the home ministry for the permission to prosecute Kumar.

“The CBI is not only an investigating agency but also a prosecuting agency and the trial in the case is yet to start,” Grover countered.

There was little hope for justice for Jahan as the CBI had compromised its institutional integrity, she said.

Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan, 19, and three others were killed allegedly in a staged gunfight on June 15, 2004 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The police claimed the four were Lashkar terrorists out to kill Narendra Modi, the then CM.

The encounter was fake and some 12 Gujarat Police officials planned and carried out the murders with four IB officials, including Rajinder Kumar, the CBI told the court in a February 7 charge sheet.

But the court hasn’t taken note of the charges against Kumar and three IB officials in the absence of the mandatory government sanction.

The CBI and home ministry, which administers IB, disagree over the documents required for the Centre’s go-ahead. The CBI has refused to share the case dairy with the ministry, which insists it cannot take a decision with going through it.

 

Read mor ehere- http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cbi-chief-partied-with-former-ib-boss-he-charged-in-ishrat-case/article1-1244303.aspx

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Did Cong loosen the CBI case against Modi for Nuclear Bill in 2010?

Nuclear issues have been a wild-card in the Indian politics in the recent years, affecting quite a few unexpected turns. Manmohan Singh who as a Finance Minister discouraged nuclear energy in the early 1990s for economic reasons, found merit in the same for political reason during his bonhomie with George W. Bush’s America.

The former PM got so obsessed with the nuclear deal that he put his government at the stake in 2008, and played a political maverick by shunning the Left allies and wooing the Samajwadi Party. This move surprised even his political mentor Sonia Gandhi as she maintained a distance from the UP satrap ever since Mulayam Singh ridiculing her during the 2004 campaign.

Modi congress deal for nuclear liability

Later, when the Nuclear Liability Bill came to an impasse’ in the parliament, the Congress party again had to make amends with the principal opposition, the BJP. The BJP then was strongly opposed to several provisions of the draft Bill, including the ridiculously low cap on the liability and the attempts to let of the foreign suppliers.  On that occasion, the Congress party allegedly struck a deal with the BJP to loosen the CBI hook on Narendra Modi who was then facing serious charges of abetting communal violence in Gujarat in 2002 and the Shohrabuddin fake encounter case. The allegations about a Cong-BJP deal were leveled by two prominent regional leaders who themselves faced such arm-twisting at several occasions by the Centre using the CBI.

During the whole discussion on the nuclear deal, Modi did not utter a word then. Now it seems to be pay back time for him, with his government’s u-turns on nuclear policy and his nuclear shopping spree. The Modi government is unceremoniously dumping the positions taken by BJP over last 10 years when it was in opposition, be it its reservations on the IAEA protocol, nuclear liability, its demand to review the green clearance for Jaitapur or its support of the issues raised by Koodankulam villagers as genuine and real.

It would not be surprising if Modi uses the nuclear wild-card and allow exemption for the US companies from the Nuclear Liability Act, to enhance his stature with the US and other international powers looking for a pie in India’s nuclear market.

 

Clean chit for Modi: BJP-Congress deal

AG Khan | September 2010

No, neither Afzal Guru is Congress’ son-in-law as Gadkari lambasted nor are minorities as Sudarshan bewailed. The VIP to claim such preference is none other than Narendra Modi who got a clean chit from CBI over Sohrabuddin encounter case as a quid pro quo for BJP’s support to the Congress’ pet project to offer immunity to the American suppliers of useless nuclear technology to India.

Almost all the opposition parties were stunned to see the new duet sung by the duo on the nuclear deal. Both the houses were paralysed when angry RJD and SP members stormed the wells of the two houses. “The Congress and the BJP are one,” accused Mulayam. Lalu declared, “They have struck a deal over the nuclear bill to bail out Modi.” The cordiality of the new “relationship” was seen at Shahnawaz’s iftar party where beaming Congressmen led by the prime minister himself were hugged by jubilant Saffronites.

For the Congress to seek BJP support was a priority. The nuclear bill has to be passed before Obama arrives next November. American firms supplying nuclear reactors will not be responsible for another Bhopal-like disaster. Indian life, we all know, is very cheap. The BJP, on the other hand, had to seek Congress “favour” as exposures involving RSS activists in bomb blasts across the country began upsetting them. The Bellary mining scam had been another thorn in their flesh as BSP and Andhra parties wanted the dismissal of the BJP government in Karnataka. For BJP, it was business as usual. Sushma tried to convince that they had agreed “with our point of view”. Arun Jaitley further said that the seven suggested changes incorporated now have made them join the bandwagon. So, Modi can relax. CBI is no longer “an extended arm of Congress”! The hand is out for Lotus friendship!

 

Read mor ehere-  http://www.dianuke.org/did-cong-loosen-the-cbi-case-against-modi-for-nuclear-bill-in-2010/

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Vanzara colluded with Chudasama to eliminate Sohrabuddin, says CBI

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | June 28, 2014
vanjara-LD G Vanzara. (Source: Express Photo)

SUMMARY

The CBI has also said Vanzara was part of the team who cremated and disposed off Kauserbi’s body near Illol village.

The CBI in the Bombay High Court (HC) has stressed at suspended Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara’s alleged collusion with another suspended IPS officer Abhaysinh Chudasama in “eliminating Sohrabuddin Sheikh”. Relying on a chart, the investigating agency has stressed on Vanzara’s complicity in fake encounters of Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi and eye-witness Tulsiram Prajapati, and opposed his bail plea.

The Supreme Court had on March 28 this year granted bail to Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian and former sub-inspector Ahmedabad Anti-Terrorism Squad B R Chaubey. On April 28, the Bombay HC, in light of the SC’s order, granted relief to three policemen, including former Gujarat SP Chudasama.

The CBI on Thursday mentioned excerpts from its chargesheets in its chart and used it to distinguish Vanzara’s role from those of the other accused granted relief of bail. CBI lawyer Hiten Venegaonkar told Justice A M Thipsay that the chart distinguished the role of Vanzara in the conspiracy. “D G Vanzara was the head of Gujarat ATS and he played a crucial role in the entire case,” said Venegaonkar.

“He (Vanzara) is in conspiracy with Abhay Chudasama and Amit Shah stage-managed Navrangpura firing incident and threatened Patel brothers to give statement against Sohrabuddin. They used the elimination of Sohrabuddin for extortion,” read CBI’s chart.

The CBI had arrived at this after recording the statements of witnesses, including Raman Patel and Dashrath Patel, who had contended that their Popular Builders’ office on December 8, 2004 was staged by senior Gujarat police officers and others to create a criminal record against Sheikh in the state and to extort money. The CBI has also said Vanzara was part of the team who cremated and disposed off Kauserbi’s body near Illol village. “Vanzara lit the match and burnt the pyre. Vanzara and Chudasama used Tulsiram Prajapati in tracking down Sohrabuddin,” the chart further read.

Vanzara, who has sought bail on parity grounds and completed seven years in prison on April 27, contended that Pandian was granted bail by the Supreme Court.  He argued in his bail plea, “There was prima facie evidence against Pandian proving his presence at the time of Sohrabuddin’s killing.” “It is necessary to consider that, the evidence shows that Pandian was involved in the abduction of Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi,” he said in support of his argument.

“Amit Anilchandra Shah is also prime and key conspirator and kingpin in the offence. The fact remains, Amit Shah is also enlarged on regular bail by the High Court of Gujarat,” Vanzara’s plea read.

While seeking the reprieve, he contended that though the CBI has filed a chargesheet, the trial has not seen the light of the day. Vanzara has also relied on the Bombay HC’s April order granting bail to the three policemen. Along with the suspended officer, two police officers associated with the Rajashthan police — Himanshu Singh and Shyansingh Charan — have sought the relief from Bombay HC.

Vanzara’s bail plea was earlier rejected by a Ahmedabad Sessions Court and Gujarat High Court.  Justice Thipsay has posted the matter for July 1.

 

Read more here – http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/vanzara-colluded-with-chudasama-to-eliminate-sohrabuddin-says-cbi/

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CBI initiates PEs against Chhattisgarh business groups for iron ore export

TNN | Jun 24, 2014,

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation has initiated 11 preliminary enquiries against nine Chhattisgarh business groups for allegedly exporting iron ore worth Rs 72 crore meant for consumption in domestic market.

CBI sources said the agency has started these inquiries for alleged duty evasion in the exports of 7.28 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore from Kolkata during 2008-11. Officials say that some customs officials are also under the scanner for conniving with these private companies.

The sources refused to share details of Chhattisgarh based business groups which have been named as it is still the initial stage and disclosure of the names could hamper further investigations.

The sources said rates of iron ore for consumption in domestic market are less because of relaxation in duty whereas for exports these are on higher side.

The agency alleged that these business houses claimed that iron ore was for domestic consumption but allegedly exported it to various countries from Kolkata port in collusion with customs officials.

Earlier as well, CBI has been probing cases of iron ore export in different states including Karnataka and West Bengal.

In 2012, a multi-disciplinary investigation including by CBI into iron ore export had revealed a massive fraud by several mining companies by showing transport of iron ore for exports through railways as movement for domestic consumption.

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CBI judge hearing Amit Shah’s case transferred #WTFnews

PTI | Jun 25, 2014, 07.23

CBI judge hearing Amit Shah's case transferred
Amit Shah, who was the-then Gujarat minister of state for home, was allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind alleged fake encounters of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in November 2005 and Tulsi Prajaptai in December 2006.
MUMBAI: The special CBI judge hearing the case of alleged fake-encounter cases of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajaptai was transferred on Wednesday following which the court adjourned the hearing on the Amit Shah’s discharge plea.

Special CBI judge JT Utpat was transferred to Pune, after which the court hearing was adjourned till July 2.

Incidentally, last week, judge Utpat had reprimanded Shah’s advocate for filing an exemption application without assigning any reason to it.

“Every time you are giving this exemption application without assigning any reason,” judge Utpat had said.

The court had on May 9 issued summonses to Shah and other accused in the case, which had been transferred from Gujarat.


Amit Shah.

The CBI had charged Shah and 18 others, including several police officers in the case, last September.

According to CBI, gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was claimed to have links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, and his wife Kauser Bi were kidnapped by Gujarat’s anti-terrorism squad when they were on way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra and were killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.


The spot where Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed.

Tulsiram Prajapati, an eyewitness to the encounter, was killed by police at Chapri village in Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 2006.

Shah, who was the-then Gujarat minister of state for home, was allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind both the incidents.


Tulsiram Prajapati.

Read more here – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/37197533.cms?intenttarget=no

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Will Ishrat Jahan Case will be the first casualty of Modi Regime ?

 

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CBI refuses to share ‘case dairy’ in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case with home ministry

,TNN | Jun 13, 2014, 04.54 AM IST

CBI refuses to share 'case dairy' in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case with home ministry
Top CBI sources said they will not give its “case diary” to home ministry at any cost and will abide by the procedures of CrPC, which allows them to only share it with the court.
NEW DELHI: With CBI unwilling to share its investigation document – ‘case dairy’ — with the home ministry, the prosecution sanction for former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar and three other officers in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case is likely to get stuck.

Top CBI sources said they will not give its “case diary” to home ministry at any cost and will abide by the procedures of CrPC, which allows them to only share it with the court.

READ ALSO: CBI clean chit for Amit Shah in Ishrat Jahan encounter case

CBI is also wary of sharing its ‘investigation details’ with the home ministry in the Ishrat case because it has faced the music in Supreme Court earlier, where a report meant for the court was shared with a minister. In the coal scam last year, CBI had shared its status report with former law minister Ashwani Kumar for which it was slammed by the apex court. Kumar lost his job because of the blunder.

Case diary is the record of investigation done on each day in a prescribed format, which is maintained by the investigating officer.

CBI also feels giving case dairy to the government (a ministry) would set a bad precedent as the Gujarat encounter cases are being monitored by courts. To consider prosecution sanction for IB officers Rajinder Kumar, P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede, home ministry has asked CBI to provide the “case dairy”.

It is believed that home ministry may now refuse to give prosecution sanction to CBI against the IB officers. CBI has already filed two charge-sheets in the case but trial is pending in the absence of prosecution sanction.

(​File photo: Ishrat Jahan’s mother Shamima Kauser (left) and sister Nusrat at a press conference in Mumbai on July 11, 2013. )

READ ALSO: Gujarat govt reinstates IPS officer GL Singhal, accused in Ishrat Jahan encounter case

CBI had last month, as first reported by TOI, had sought prosecution sanction from home ministry to prosecute four IB officers in connection with the fake encounter killing of college student Ishrat, in which the charge sheet was filed in February. For seeking sanction, agency had sent its SP (Superintendent of Police) report to the home ministry, a practice usually followed for sanctions. Home ministry last week wrote to agency back that it also wanted the case dairy of Ishrat case.

According to the law, a case diary which is maintained by the Investigating officer can be shared only with the court. Under section 173 of the CrPC, 1973 the investigating officer, after concluding its probe in a given matter, files it final report, including case diary before the competent magistrate only.

In the cases where sanction for prosecution of an official is sought from the government, CBI provides them with details of the case, evidence against the official and other details to help the authority come to a view. Case diaries can not be shared with any authorities other than competent courts.

While IB, which comes under MHA, believes Ishrat Jahan encounter, in which the 19-year old student along with three others were killed by Gujarat crime branch in Ahmedabad in June 2004, was a genuine counter-terror operation, CBI believes otherwise.

Read more here – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/CBI-refuses-to-share-case-dairy-in-Ishrat-Jahan-fake-encounter-case-with-home-ministry/articleshow/36456243.cms

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Oily Moily at it again, 45 files vanish from MoEF #WTFnews

Saturday, 3 May 2014
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
It’s transition time and predictably more documents are likely to disappear. Is anyone keeping a tab?

The government’s been left red-faced. At least 45 crucial files related to policy matters and industrial projects have gone missing from the environment ministry (MoEF).

Most of these files were processed when Jayanthi Natarajan and Veerappa Moily were environment ministers.

The missing files have also attracted the attention of the country’s premier investigating agency, the CBI. CBI officers met ministry officials at least twice last month. A source said the officers will again meet ministry officials this month.

Among the missing files is one on the Mundra Port of Gautam Adani-led Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Gujarat’s Kutch district.

The ministry is still to formally find out which or how many files are missing. Sources say if this is done the number would go up considerably.

“We came to know of these 45 missing files when we wanted to go through them for official reasons,” a senior ministry official said. He, however, went on the defensive saying the missing files would not affect any major policy decision or ministry’s action “for or against” any industrial group.

Also, the official stressed that the CBI did not inquire about the missing files. “They wanted to know about the delay in processing files, and the alleged corrupt practices prevalent in the ministry… They said they will come again, maybe after elections. But it seems they were not clear about what they actually wanted to know.”

A CBI source said the agency is likely to start a formal inquiry into the matter after the elections. It would mainly focus on files that have gone missing over the years from the ministry.

“There could be a deliberate attempt on part of some of the ministry officials to misplace or destroy files for various benefits,” a CBI officer said.

In Gautam Adani’s case, the ministry is left with a photocopy of the original file, which may not be considered authentic if any action is to be taken in the matter.

“We needed to look into Adani’s file in view of a complaint regarding some violation of rules at the Mundra project.

“But we could not take any action because the original file is missing,” another ministry official said. He, however, quickly added that the “violation was minor”. “We are now thinking of how to use the information available in the photocopy.”

As of April 2014, environmental and coastal regulatory zone clearances for one of the facilities proposed by APSEZ at the Mundra port have been withheld by the ministry’s experts appraisal committee. It has sought a detailed action plan.

In an attempt to control further damage, the ministry has started to digitise all its records to rid its traditional fifth floor store room of files at Paryavaran Bhavan.
But digitisation may also help the environment ministry to know how many more files have gone missing.

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