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Narendra Modi not disclosing marital status an offence: court

Ahmedabad, June 30, 2014
 Modi chalisarendra

A court in Ahmedabad on Monday held that Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed an offence by not disclosing his marital status in an affidavit filed with his nomination during the 2012 Gujarat assembly polls but the judge ruled out an FIR against him on the ground of time bar prescribed for such cases.“An offence is committed under section 125(A) (3) of Representation of People (RP) Act by not disclosing facts,” additional chief judicial magistrate MM Sheikh held, adding, “as per CrPC section 468(2) (B), the complaint for the offence has to be made within one year in cases related to the violation of section 125(A) (3) of the RP Act.

A petition seeking an FIR against Modi was filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Nishant Verma, who contended that Modi had “hidden important fact of his marital status in the affidavit filed before the election authorities in 2012.”

As the complaint was submitted after a year and four months of alleged offence, “cognizance of complaint cannot be taken and an FIR cannot be lodged now”, the court observed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi disclosed his marital status and the name of his wife Jashodaben for the first time in the affidavit he submitted while filing his nomination for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat during the parliamentary polls this year.

Earlier, he used to leave the column relating to the spouse blank while contesting Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Meanwhile, Verma’s counsel KR Koshti said his client may challenge the order in the Supreme Court.

Govt extends term of commissions

The Gujarat government on Monday extended by two months the term of Justice Nanavati and Mehta commission  dealing with the post Godhra communal riots in the state. A two member inquiry commission probing the snoopgate scandal, headed by retired Gujarat high court judge Sugnyaben Bhatt, has been given three months’ extension.

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Teesta rebuts state cops’ embezzlement charge

Ahmedabad:
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Social activist Teesta Setalvad on Thuursday [i.e. 19 06 2014] rubbished claims of the city crime branch regarding the audit of NGOs she is associated with and filed an affidavit in Gujarat high court in response to the government’s contentions on charges of embezzlement of funds for a proposed Gulbarg Society museum.The social activist filed the affidavit in the HC during proceeding on anticipatory bail applications filed by her and four other persons.

To counter crime branch’s allegations that Setalvad’s NGOs, Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust, did not submit audited accounts to the charity commissioner for years together, her 96-page affidavit furnished detailed records from audited accounts and bank statements and said that the cops’ claims were completely baseless.

Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, who is also an accused in this alleged fraud case along with three former residents of the society, have maintained that Gujarat Police have leveled fresh allegations in a malicious bid to

arrest them on trumped-up charges.Police had said on June 13 that the auditors of both trusts connived with the trusts in “manipulation of accounts”.

Setalvad said that the cops “clearly have no qualms in affirming falsehoods on affidavits before the courts, sullying reputations and spreading canards without a shred of evidence”.

She also annexed account details and auditors’ comments, saying that the investigating officer’s allegations that funds meant for the NGOs were used for personal expenses and on wine, groceries and film tickets, were false.

The HC has scheduled a further hearing on July 9, and extended the stay on their arrest.

 

Read more here – http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31805&articlexml=Teesta-rebuts-state-cops-embezzlement-charge-20062014004051

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#India – Around 90 MPs of Lok Sabha are facing rioting charges in courts #WTFnews

16 Jun 2014 09:06 PM, IST

Around 90 MPs of Lok Sabha are facing rioting charges in courts

Parliament House of India

 

By Abu Zafar, India Tomorrow,

 

New Delhi, 16 June 2014: In the newly elected 16th Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Indian Parliament, there are 87 Members who are facing rioting charges in different courts of the country. At least 13 of them are facing charges related to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden speech in Parliament this past Wednesday talked about genuine welfare and inclusive growth of minorities, it is a fact that 10 out of the 13 MPs facing charges of communal rioting are from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
As per candidates’ affidavits with the Election Commission, there are 185 MPs (34% of the total strength of Lok Sabha) who have criminal cases pending against them. Some 111 of them have serious criminal cases.
Out of 185, there are 87 MPs (16.02% of the total strength of Lok Sabha) who are facing rioting charges under Sections 147, 148, 153A of Indian Penal Code.
Party-wise, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has the largest share of such MPs who are facing rioting charges. Out of 87 such MPs, 41 are from BJP, 8 from its ally Shiv Sena, 5 from Trinamool Congress and 3 from Congress party.

As for states, Maharashtra leads with 18 such MPs. With 15 MPs, Uttar Pradesh is at No. 2 followed by Andhra Pradesh and Bihar each with 8 MPs.

Read mor ehere – http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/around-90-mps-of-lok-sabha-are-facing-rioting-charges-in-various-courts

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Indian court asked to rule on whether Hindu guru dead or meditating

Indian court has been asked to rule on whether a revered Hindu guru is dead or alive – and whether it is a matter of religious faith or scientific fact

His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj is thought to have died of a heart attack in January

His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj is thought to have died of a heart attack in January Photo: ALAMY
Dean Nelson

By , New Delhi

The family and followers of one of India’s wealthiest Hindu spiritual leaders are fighting a legal battle over whether he is dead or simply in a deep state of meditation.

His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order with a property estate worth an estimated £100 million, died in January, according to his wife and son.

However, his disciples at his Ashram have refused to let the family take his body for cremation because they claim he is still alive.

According to his followers, based in the Punjab city of Jalandhar, he simply went into a deep Samadhi or meditation and they have frozen his body to preserve it for when he wakes from it.

His body is currently contained in a commercial freezer at their Ashram.

Today the group has thousands of followers around the world and owns dozens of large properties throughout India, the United States, South America, Australia, the Middle East and Europe, including its British headquarters in Hayes, Middlesex.

While he is thought to have died from a heart attack, his devotees believe he has simply drifted into a deeper form of the meditation he promotes as a pathway to self-realisation.

A statement on the group’s website reads: “His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj ji has been in deep meditative state (Samadhi) since 29th January 2014.”

According to one of his aides, who asked not to be named, “Maharaj has been in deep meditation. He has spent many years meditating in sub-zero temperatures in the Himalayas, there is nothing unusual in it. He will return to life as soon as he feels and we will ensure his body is preserved until then”, he said.

His body is held in a guarded room in a deep freezer on his 100 acre retreat in Nurmahal, Jalandhar, where only a few elders and sect doctorsare allowed to enter.

Although Punjab Police initially confirmed his death, the Punjab High Court later dismissed its status report and local governmental officials said it was a spiritual matter and that the guru’s followers cannot be forced to believe he is dead.

Now his wife and son have filed a court application calling for an investigation into the circumstances of his death and for his body to be released for cremation.

His son Dilip Jha, 40, claims his late father’s followers are refusing to release his body as a means of retaining control of his vast financial empire.

 

Read more here –  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10860998/Indian-court-asked-to-rule-on-whether-Hindu-guru-dead-or-meditating.html?

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A nun-lawyer’s habit starts court dress code debate in Delhi #Womenrights

Mrs. Mary Ann Starr, "I felt very uncomfo...

Mrs. Mary Ann Starr, “I felt very uncomfortable.” (Photo credit: CCNY Libraries)

 

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | April 18, 2014 2:37 am

 

 

Can’t a habit-wearing nun appear in court as a lawyer? That’s what Sister Jasmine wants to know.

On Thursday, when she appeared in a domestic violence case in a mahila court in the Karkardooma complex here, lawyers present in the court room objected to her attire saying it was a “violation of the court’s dress code”.

“I was wearing a black coat and a white band over my habit but they objected, saying I had violated the dress code. They said, ‘all sanyasis do LL.B and come here (courts). They then started protesting,” Sister Jasmine, who has been practicing in Delhi since 2000, told The Indian Express.

She said neither the Constitution of India nor her “own constitution” (the congregation) barred her from working as a lawyer. Her bar council registration and identity card show her dressed in a habit.

“If wearing a habit is in violation of the court’s dress code, how did they let me wear it for my identity card picture? You allow Sikhs to come to court wearing turbans. So, how is my habit a problem?” she asked.

Sister Jasmine, who works with the Human Rights Law Network, said she plans to file a complaint after discussing the matter with
HRLN members.

The lawyers who objected to her attire too said they would file a complaint with the bar council.

When his views were sought,  Bar Council of India chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said: “There is a prescribed dress code for courts. No deviation can be allowed regarding that… The turban is not a problem. It can be allowed but not a habit.”

But retired judge S N Dhingra countered that wearing a habit is not a violation of the dress code, provided a nun wears a black coat and a white band.

“These two components form the uniform of lawyers and have become a ritual as they help the judge in distinguishing the counsel from litigants. Just as turbans and other religious markers are allowed in court, a habit is also not a violation,” Dhingra said.

 

Read more here — http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/a-nun-lawyers-habit-starts-court-dress-code-debate-in-delhi/

 

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Mumbai court conduct speedy 20 day molestation trial #Vaw #Justice

Sunday, 30 March 2014 – 8:30am IST | Agency: DNA

In one of the speediest justice delivered, a metropolitan magistrate court on Saturday completed the trial in a molestation case within 20 days. The court, presided over by additional metropolitan magistrate Subhash Gulhane, convicted the accused, a 32-year-old salesman, and sentenced him to two years of simple imprisonment for having molested a 40-year old Belgium national on March 8, 2014.

According to the prosecution, the sole testimony of the victim was enough for the court to convict the accused under the newly-amended law that came into existence after the ‘Nirbhaya case’.

Public prosecutor Wajeed Sheikh, who spoke to dna said: “On March 8, the victim visited Cottage Industries Exposition Limited in Colaba, a shop dealing with antique material and jewellery, to exchange jewellery.

She was being helped by a salesman, Iliaas Shahinda, when the accused, Mehraj Ahmed, another salesman, came and sat next to her. Ahmed then started touching her inappropriately. Angered, the victim kicked him and fled. On March 10, she approached the Colaba police and registered a complaint.”

The police arrested Ahmed on the same day. During the investigation, it was revealed that the accused was originally from Kashmir, and was working in Mumbai.

“The police were very quick with their investigation. The charge sheet was filed on March 21, and the accused was booked under the newly-amended section, 354 (A) IPC (molestation).

“We examined four witnesses, of which one turned hostile. However, the testimony of the victim was strong enough to prove the charges against the accused,” said Sheikh.

When dna contacted the victim, she said: “I am a Belgium, and am visiting India for the second time. I am preparing to set up a company dealing with diamonds, gemstones, pearls and designed jewellery in Mumbai. I have just won a court case against sexual harassment that took place in a Mumbai store, which belongs to a company based in Delhi. The case was decided very fast with the active help and perseverance of the Mumbai police (Colaba district) and the state prosecutor. This is a very encouraging story after the 2012 December Delhi-gang-rape affair and several incidents of foreign women being raped and sexually abused in India. Although my case was not a rape case, the way it was dealt with is really a positive example of how India is now going about protecting the rights and dignity of women in society. I hope this story will light up the hope of all Indian women who have been hurt in similar fashion. Now that I have faith in Mumbai, I will set up my company in Colaba. After this September, I will move to Mumbai.”

 

Read more here — http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-mumbai-court-conduct-speedy-20-day-molestation-trial-1973442

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#TehelkaRape – Tejpal Tapes – What The Elevator Saw #Vaw

MANU JOSEPH, The Outlook
tarun

The unhappy young girl in the tiny Goan cafe comes to life when she hears someone say, “he has arrived”. Cara, who is 23, rushes out into the street. At a distance, a lanky man flanked by two cops is walking in her direction. The police van that has brought him to Panjim from the Sada sub-jail in Vasco is too large for the narrow lane and has to be parked about 200 metres away. He takes a moment to recognise her and when he does his face is lit by a smile. She quickens her pace and they walk with brisk strides towards each other until the man reaches the dark entrance of a building that houses a fast-track court, and he knows he cannot walk any further down the street. The rape accused waits for his daughter to reach him. They hug, he tells her he loves her, kisses her wrist, holds her hand, and they walk towards an elevator in a small swarm of family relations, and two cops. She is carrying with her, in a discreet way probably, a steel box that has some food. There are just a handful of photographers today. The story of Tarun Tejpal and the rape he is alleged to have committed in an elevator has lost much of its impassioned attention. In the anteroom of the court, Tejpal sits with Cara, other family members and lawyers. His wife, Geetan, sister Neena and older daughter Tiya, who had gifted him the novel Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut days after he was jailed, are in Delhi preparing to approach the Supreme Court for his bail plea, their only recourse now. Tejpal tells his family what he has probably said many times after his arrest. He has the appearance of a man who is now talking to himself:

It was consensual, that was what it was. I had apologised to her out of honour, out of respect for someone who worked for me and who wanted me to apologise for what I thought was consensual. I have never admitted to rape, why are they saying I have admitted?

She may not have intended to but what she has done is that she has delivered me to the right wing. That’s what she has done.

From the moment the whole thing began, one thing I have asked for was “give me the CCTV footage, give me the CCTV footage”. Why was the prosecution so reluctant to part with the footage? Anyone who sees the footage will know the truth. That was one thing I was terrified about—what if they destroyed the footage. I was terrified about that.

Cara asks her father to “relax, just relax”. He retorts, “What now, I am not supposed to talk even, is that it?”

She says, “Yell at me if you want but relax. That’s what I am going to say.”

Moments later, he tells her, holding her hand, “Sorry.”

For most of his adult life, Tejpal was celebrated as a journalist and a writer by a network of Delhi’s influential cultural elite who transmitted that sentiment to the vast public. What he was at his core was a gifted entrepreneur in search of one goldmine enterprise that always seemed just within his grasp. Then, in mid-November, a Young Woman, a journalist with much promise, claimed that he had confined her in an elevator and penetrated her with his finger and hence, by law, raped her. And that, the next day, in another elevator, he had behaved in a manner that she construed as sexual assault. The accusation and his arrest on November 30 have destroyed Tejpal.

 

Tarun kept the lift in circuit by pressing buttons, says the Young Woman. But only the close button can do so.

The extraordinary media attention that followed the rape accusation has cast him as a rapist in public perception. He still has a stake in the company that holds the Tehelkamagazine but neither he nor his family has any operational role in it anymore. His family has been evicted from their rented home in Delhi where they had lived for eight years because the owner grew nervous of news media reports that referred to the house as his “ancestral home”. Geetan Tejpal, who faces the indignity of having to reach out to whoever would listen to her that her husband had indulged in a consensual relationship with the Young Woman and not raped her, has shi­fted to a home in Gurgaon. He has four months in a perpetually-lit basement cell that contains a corner toilet which he shares with half-a-dozen other inmates, some of whom, the prosecution has said, not in jest, he has helped plan an escape.

The Young Woman is in a delicate mental state. She is consumed by the intense fear that the noise of the nameless public might turn against her, and of the inevitability that what will soon be on trial would be her way of life, her “character”, as it is known. Details of her past are already in the air. According to a person who is close to the Young Woman’s father, the man, who has a medical condition, knows that Tarun Tejpal has raped a young woman, but he does not know that the young woman is his daughter.

Tejpal is in the fast-track court in Panjim to impress upon it that contrary to the claims of the prosecution, his agents are not the ones who are defaming the Young Woman. And, he wants pens and scribbling pads.

Also, he wants 48 hours of footage of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings that would reveal what exactly happened in the elevator landings of Block Seven of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Goa on November 7 and 8..

Tejpal mutters to someone, or probably everyone in the room:

The video will exonerate me. What kind of a rapist will ask for video footage?

“A man who knows there is nothing in the footage outside the lift,” says a person from the prosecution side, who does not want to be named. “Did you know that in the beginning he demanded the footage of the CCTV inside the elevators? Why? Because he knew there was no such footage.”

Yet, the few minutes of the footage of the elevator landings that have been given to him, according to several people with direct knowledge of the material, have somewhat complicated a story that was already complex.

***

The two incidents that have landed Tejpal in jail occurred on the nights of November 7 and 8 last year during the annual ‘Think’ festival in Goa, the jewel event of the Tehelka magazine, which is partially owned by Tejpal. The festival was set in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The event’s cynosure was the actor Robert De Niro, and the Young Woman was his assigned handler. The hotel is chiefly a cluster of two-storeyed blocks with sloping red roofs. De Niro stayed in a second-floor suite in one such block—Block 7. The ground floor of this block was also the heart of the festival. Block 7 has two facing elevators. The landing area just outside the elevators on the ground floor and the second floor is covered by CCTV cameras. At the time of the festival, the first floor camera did not work. There are no cameras inside any of the elevators in the hotel.

In mid-November, the Young Woman wrote a complaint to Shoma Chaudhury, then the managing editor of Tehelka magazine. In the complaint, which became a part of the first information report, the Young Woman said that on November 7, “as we (Tejpal and her) made our way out of the elevator of Block 7 at the Grand Hyatt, Mr Tejpal held my arm and pulled me back into the lift. He said—‘Let’s go wake up Bob’ (Mr De Niro) and I asked him why he wanted to do that….”


The Young Woman has said that when she and Tarun Tejpal were exiting an elevator, he pulled her back into the lift. The CCTV footage shows that Tejpal is leading her by her hand into the lift. A counsel from the prosecution side says that the Young Woman remembers the leading by hand as ‘pulling’.

According to the CCTV footage, at around 11:20 pm (the clock on the footage has a time lag of 50 minutes), Tejpal and the Young Woman are seen walking towards an elevator on the second floor. Tejpal’s hand is on the shoulder of the Young Woman. She is not holding any part of Tejpal. They take the lift to the ground floor. It takes about 14 seconds for the lift to go down from the second floor to the ground floor if it does not stop on the first floor. Tejpal and the Young Woman emerge at the ground floor about 14 seconds after taking the lift from the second floor. They head towards the lawns. They disappear from the footage. After about five minutes, they return to the ground floor elevator landing area. In these five minutes, according to Tejpal, they had a sexually potent conversation, and that when they returned to take the elevator he presumed there was a consensus between them on what they were about to do. Nothing about the Young Woman’s body language indicates this. What is apparent is that Tejpal is leading her by her hand and they head unmistakably towards the elevator. They are not walking hand in hand, rather Tejpal is leading her and she is following him. They take the elevator that is to the left of the camera, whose entrance is not covered by the camera. It is a small patch of floor that is a blind spot.

Her complaint further states:

“I then realised that Mr Tejpal was simply pressing buttons on the lift’s panel to make the elevator stay in circuit, preventing it from stopping anywhere, and for the doors to open. At this point, he began to kiss me—from the first moment of his doing so, I asked him to stop, citing several reasons…. It was like talking to a deaf person. Mr Tejpal lifted my dress up, went down on his knees and pulled my underwear down. He attempted to perform oral sex on me as I continued to struggle and hysterically asked him to stop. At that moment he began to try and penetrate me with his fingers, I became scared and pushed him hard and asked him to stop the lift. He would not listen.”


Illustration by Sorit

Some 100 seconds later, the time of the alleged rape-assault, the Young Woman said that when the lift door opened, she walked out hurriedly. The CCTV shows her following Tejpal at leisurely pace. A counsel from the prosecution says she had just pulled up her panties and was walking with the constraint of a woman putting herself in order

This is the heart of the complaint, the moments when the alleged rape occurred. As there is no camera inside the lift, there is naturally no footage of these mom­ents. The plain facts, assuming the technical details of the elevator have not changed since November last year, are that when any number is pressed—‘0, 1 or 2’—the lift door would open upon reaching the destination even if another key has been immediately or simultaneously pressed. So the lift cannot be kept “in circuit” purely by pressing these numbers but can be if the ‘close’ button is kept pressed. If the Young Woman’s version is true, Mr Tejpal, who was wearing a black hat, kept a finger on the close button, and with his other hand managed the disrobing, the oral sex and the rape. Or, he took occasional gambles with the lift doors when he was forcing himself on the protesting Young Woman.

They emerge from the lift about a 100 seconds after they entered it.

She further stated:

“The lift stopped on the ground floor as Mr Tejpal’s hands were on me and could not press the button for yet another floor to keep it in circuit. As soon as the doors opened, I picked up my underwear and began walking out of the elevator rapidly—he was still following me, asking me what the matter was.”


Illustration by Sorit

The Young Woman has said that when the lift door opened on the second floor, Tejpal pulled her in. The footage shows Tejpal in the lift and the Young Woman jogging back into the lift. A counsel from the prosecution side says that the Young Woman had confused a November 7 incident with the November 8 one.

In actuality, they do not get off on the ground floor. They emerge on the second floor. They walk towards the staircase at a leisurely pace—she arranging her dress and Tejpal following. She is holding nothing in her hands.

Days after her first written complaint, in a testimony given to a magistrate after she saw the video footage, she changed “I picked up my underwear and began walking out of the elevator rapidly…” to “I pulled my panties and walked hurriedly out of the lift blinking back tears.”

A person who is highly relevant to the case but who did not wish to be quoted says that the Young Woman “remembered the traumatic night differently when she sent her first complaint. When she saw the CCTV footage she saw that night with greater clarity”. Moments after the lift doors open, Tej­pal and the Young Woman are in the camera’s blind spot. Here, according to the person, “the Young Woman’s panties were at her ankles before she pulls them up. She is still somehow discreetly pulling them up as she walks. That is why she is walking at that pace though in her mind she thinks she is fleeing.”

According to the footage, when they emerge from the second floor lift, they walk towards the stairs. There are no cameras over the sta­irs. They emerge on the ground floor in 40 seconds, which indicates a normal pace of walking down the stairs. In fact, they amble out of Block 7, and as they do, the Young Woman bunches up her hair and ties it in a ponytail. They disappear from the footage.


Family and friends leave Goa sessions court after a hearing. (Photograph by Getty Images, From Outlook 07 April 2014)

A counsel from the prosecution team says, “Much is usually made out of simple inconsistencies in the statements of a rape victim. This is classic in rape cases. Yes, she said they got off on the ground floor when they had got off on the second floor. What does she gain from saying ‘ground floor’ instead of ‘second floor’? This, in fact, supports the view that any person’s recounting of events will have some inaccuracies which need not be deemed as lies.”

 

As they amble out of Block 7, the Young Woman bunches up her hair and ties it in a ponytail.

Also, the person implied, the act of a woman bunching up her hair and tying it might be a visual icon that the society associates with calm and normality, but the act need not essentially mean that. “It is not uncommon for victims of sexual violence to retain total composure after the act. As a society, it appears that we are moved only by violence. We want a girl’s intestines to come out for us to accept that she has been raped. In the recent Bombay gangrape case, the photojournalist who was brutally attacked walked back to the road and bought a bottle of mineral water and discussed with her male friend which train they must take.”

In the footage, Tejpal is seen wiping his mouth. “He is wiping his mouth because of what he has just done,” says the counsel from the prosecution side.

“Bearded men do appear to wipe their mouths frequently,” says a family member of Tejpal, “but they are just petting their facial hair.”

Tejpal and the Young Woman depart at Block 7 and part ways. The woman meets several people on the lawn of the hotel, including at least two close friends. She maintains her composure. But, about 90 minutes later, when she reaches International Centre Goa, where she stays, she would completely lose it.

When she reaches the hotel, she does not go to her room, which she shares with her colleague Sunaina Kumar; she would instead walk into the room shared by three colleagues—Shougat Dasgupta, Ishan Tankha and G. Vishnu. Dasgupta and Tankha would later tell me that the moment they saw the Young Woman they knew something was wrong.

She tells them that Tejpal molested her in the elevator. They have a sombre chat well into the night. A few minutes after one, when she is still in their room, she gets a text message from Tejpal. The message says, “The fingertips.” She shares this message with the two friends. Both Shougat and Tankha would tell me later, she appears to be disgusted and upset.

His message—“the fingertips”—would turn out to be the most destructive message an Indian public figure has sent in recent times. Not only did it contribute to public outrage, it also served to strengthen the Young Woman’s claim, which was, at first, that he had tried to penetrate her with his finger, and later that he did penetrate—an act that qualifies as rape according to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. The message was either sent by a foolish rapist who, after his crime, was implicating himself through an SMS to a competent journalist whose area of special interest was the interaction between society, law and rape. Or, it was sent by a drunken man who thought he was flirting.

According to Tejpal, he had used “the fingertips” in the context of a sexually laced conversation he and the Young Woman had in those five minutes when they were chatting on the night of November 7, moments before they would take the lift ride that would destroy him.

***

Late evening, on November 8, according to the Young Woman’s complaint, “…as I was walking into the Grand Club at Block 7, Mr Tejpal was coming out of the lounge. He pointed at me asking me to stop. I was already worried that I was late and that Mr De Niro had asked for me. Mr Tejpal came to me and said, ‘Come up with me, we have to get something from Bob’s room.’ I was frightened that this would lead to a repeat of the previous night and so I said, ‘What does he need? I’ll go get it.’ I was scared of getting into the lift with him again, and more terrified that he was going to try and take me into a room this time. By this time he was holding me by the wrist and had taken me into the lift (which is barely a few steps away from the lobby of Block 7 where he had asked me to wait).”

According to the footage, at about nine in the evening, the Young Woman appears on the ground floor lift landing but proceeds in the direction of the festival lounge and disappears. In a few seconds, she appears again in the lift lobby confirming exactly what she has mentioned in the complaint—that Tejpal spotted her as soon as she arrived and asked her to take the lift with him to go to De Niro’s room. But he is not holding her by her wrist. He is standing with her waiting for the elevator that is to the left of the camera. Photo­grapher Rohit Chawla appears and Tejpal has a conversation with him. She stands waiting for the conversation to finish. Then the doors of the lift to the right of the camera open and Tejpal, still finishing the conversation with the photographer, enters the lift. She follows him inside.

 

“The fingertips.” The message was sent either by a foolish rapist or a drunken man who thought he was flirting.

A person who is central to the case and is aware of the Young Woman’s interpretation says, requesting anonymity so that she is not at any disadvantage when the trial begins, that the Young Woman had no recollection at all of what had transpired when she was waiting with Tejpal for the lift until she saw the CCTV footage. The person says that the Young Woman was already under enormous work pressure. And, she was assaulted the previous day by her boss. And, as she was waiting for the lift, she just wanted to be done with the task and be far away from Tejpal. As a result, “she did not register many things”.

Yet, she remembers being held by the wrist and taken into the lift when nothing of that sort happened?

The counsel from the prosecution team says, “She believed she was pulled into the lift on November 7, and she thought it had happened on November 8 too. She got confused about the details. It happens.”

Her complaint further states:

“When the doors closed, he started to try and kiss me again. I said, ‘Tarun, please, no, just stop,’ he pulled away, smiled, patted my cheek and said ‘Why? Ok. I’ll stop.’ I said again, ‘This just isn’t right. Tiya is my best friend. I had lunch with Geetan today.’ He smiled again and just for a moment I thought I had appealed to his better sense. I turned away from him, desperately waiting for the door to open…. Within seconds of my turning around, he started to lift up my dress. He lifted it all the way up and said, ‘You’re unbelievable.’ The door opened on the second floor, on Mr De Niro’s floor—and he said again—‘The universe is telling us something’—to which I said, ‘I’m taking the stairs’, and started to walk out. He pulled me back in….”

According to the footage, when the lift door opens, the Young Woman walks out looking clearly unhappy about something. Tejpal follows. But then he goes back into the lift. She jogs back inside. The doors shut.

Her complaint further states:

“…sensing that I was on the verge of hysteria—by this point, he was totally comfortable physically manhandling me, but sensing my sheer panic, he did not touch me until the lift reached the ground floor. Right as the doors were about to open, he patted my behind once more.”

According to the footage, the lift reaches the ground floor in about 14 seconds. When the lift door opens, Tejpal is standing at the extreme right of the lift and the Young Woman on the extreme left. To be precise, they are separated by the whole width of the lift, which is about five feet. There is an unhappy tension between them as they walk out.

Soon after this, the Young Woman tells Tejpal’s older daughter Tiya that her father had molested her, inadvertently setting in motion a chain of events that would lead Tejpal to a basement in Vasco.

The counsel on the prosecution side says, “So, according to Tejpal, they had a consensual making-out and the girl immediately became a bitch, went to his daughter and accused him of her molesting her?”

***

It is possible that the inconsistencies between the Young Woman’s statements and the hard truth of the video footage are consequences of lapses in memory. When I tried to recount my recent actions for which there were video recordings and when I checked the actual footage, there were surprising inconsistencies between the facts and how I remembered the facts. Also, there is not a moment in the footage that shows the Young Woman exhibiting anything resembling physical affection for Tejpal. But then her memory of Tejpal pulling her into the elevator on three occasions, when he clearly did no such thing, have in no small measure contributed to serious charges against him.

The fast-track court has refused to intervene in Tejpal’s request for pens and scribbling pads. The court leaves it to the discretion of the Sada sub-jail, which eventually grants him his request. These are the triumphs in Tejpal’s life these days as he faces at least 10 years in prison if found guilty.

***

L’affaire Tarun J. Tejpal

The sequence of events from the day the Young Woman first brought the issue to the notice

November ’13

  • 18 A junior woman colleague writes to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, alleging sexual assault by editor Tarun Tejpal in the elevator of a 5-star hotel in Goa on November 7 and 8, when the magazine was holding its annual ‘Think’ festival
  • 20 In a letter to Chaudhury, which finds its way to social media almost immediately, Tejpal admits to “a bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation” that led to “an unfortunate incident”. Steps down as editor for 6 months, to “do the penance that lacerates me”
  • 21-22 – Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar announces police inquiry. Police fire an FIR, book Tejpal for rape. Tejpal contends it was consensual sex.
  • 23 The Young Woman says Tejpal family trying to intimidate and harass her and her family; Goa police confiscate computers and servers from Tehelka office for investigation
  • 25 “Traumatised by lack of support”, the Young Woman quits Tehelka. Tejpal says BJP behind entire controversy; says victim “continued to party” even after the incident.
  • 26 Shoma Chaudhury quoted as saying that a back-stabbing lawyer friend was behind Tarun Tejpal’s unconditional apology
  • 26-27 Goa police issue flight alert on Tejpal. The Young Woman records her statement before a magistrate in Panjim.
  • 28 Shoma apologises to the National Commission for Women for not acting according to Vishakha guidelines; resigns. The Young Woman says what Tejpal did falls within legal definition of rape.
  • 29-30 Goa police reaches Tejpal’s residence in Delhi with arrest warrants but doesn’t find him at home. After day-long drama, Tejpal surfaces at Delhi airport, says: “I don’t know why the hysteria.”
  • 30 Goa police crime branch arrest Tejpal after the principal district and sessions court rejects his petition for anticipatory bail.

December ’13

  • 1 Tejpal remanded in police custody for 6 days
  • 2. Undergoes potency, blood tests
  • 3. Is taken to Grand Hyatt hotel in Bambolim to reconstruct scene of alleged crime
  • 5 Goa CM Parrikar says Tejpal case to be tried in fast-track court. The 3 journalist colleagues the Young Woman had confided in after the incident depose in court
  • 7 Tejpal’s remand in police custody extended by 4 days
  • Goa police slaps fresh charges with two additional sections of IPC (341, wrongful restraint; 342, wrongful confinement)
  • 11 Tejpal sent to 12 days judicial custody
  • 15 Goa police seeks new witnesses in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore
  • 23 Tejpal custody extended by 12 days

January ’14

  • 27 Tejpal says he is being denied bail because of false claims by Goa police
  • 29 Case against Tejpal for allegedly intimidating investigating officer Sunita Sawant

February ’14

  • 17 Goa police file chargesheet, charge Tejpal with rape
  • 23-25 Jail authorities seize mobile phone from his cell; book him for illegal possession of phone

March ’14

  • 14 Goa bench of Bombay High Court rejects Tarun bail plea; grants him permission to meet his ailing mother
  • 25 Tarun is allowed to use a scribbling pad and pen during his stay in jailof Tehelka’s managing editor

Read mor ehere — http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?289993

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#Goodnews- No time limit to move court against builders

TNN | Feb 24, 2014,

The national commission’s interpretation of cause of action makes builders accountable

Background: Law provides a period of limitation for filing of legal proceedings for enforcement of rights. Under the Consumer Protection Act, the period prescribed is two years from the date of “cause of action”. If action is not taken in the stipulated time, the case would be considered to be time-barred, so the litigant would lose the right to get his grievance redressed.

In the case of housing construction, there are often enormous delays in carrying out construction, during which time consumers keep waiting for their dream homes. Only when the hope is dashed do the consumers contemplate legal action. In such circumstances, how is the limitation period to be computed? This question has been decided by theMaharashtra state commission in favour of the consumer and upheld by the national commission in the Ravi Developers and its partners v/s Jayantibhai Ranka & Anr case.

Case study: Jayantibhai Ranka and Arunaben Kapadia had jointly booked and contributed monies for a bungalow in “Gaurav Enclave” project launched by Ravi Developers. An allotment letter dated January 20, 1995, was issued on paying an advance amount. But the agreement for sale was not executed. Whenever the flat purchasers inquired about the project status, vague answers were given without disclosing that a technical objection had been raised by the local authorities.

In 2002, the builder refunded Rs 1 lakh to Arunaben. Later, when Jayantibhai came to know about this, he issued a legal notice to the builder, who replied that the deal had been cancelled and the allotment terminated by a letter dated March 23, 1996. This was surprising as certain instalments had been accepted by the builder even after the purported date of cancellation.

The flat purchasers then filed a complaint before the Maharashtra state commission stating that they had not received the cancellation letter, and sought a direction to the builder to hand over possession of the booked bungalow which had been booked, or any other suitable bungalow/flat in the same area. Alternatively, they claimed that the amount of Rs 3,32,000 paid by them should be refunded with 24% interest.

Since the complaint was filed in 2013, the flat buyers applied for condoning the delay of 6,019 days (over 16 years) in filing the complaint. The builder opposed this application on the ground that the allotment had been cancelled on March 23, 1996, for default in making balance payment and the complaint filed in 2013 was grossly time-barred.

The state commission observed that the builder had accepted various instalments from time to time. The cause of action would be a continuing one as possession of the bungalow had not been given. Hence, it held that the complaint seeking possession was within limitation.

The builder challenged this order in a revision petition. The national commission observed that the allotment letter stated the total consideration to be Rs 11,26,250, of which the advance was Rs 31,000, and the balance was payable after execution of the agreement. It noted that the builder had failed to explain why a regular sale agreement hadn’t been executed and why the bungalow had not been allotted. Also, there was no explanation on why further instalments had been accepted after the date of the purported cancellation. The panel concluded that the builder had acted in a malafide manner.

Relying on earlier decisions, the commission interpreted that the cause of action would continue either till allotment of the site, or refund of money on refusal to allot. Accordingly,

In its February 18 judgment, delivered by Justice V B Gupta for the bench along with Rekha Gupta, the national commission held that the complaint was in time as Ravi Developes had neither handed over possession nor refunded the money.

Impact: Flat buyers waiting for years for their house can now get justice in old disputes where the builder has neither given possession nor refunded money.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the government of India’s national youth award for consumer protection. His email address is [email protected]))

Read more here – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/No-time-limit-to-move-court-against-builders/articleshow/30922945.cms
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#India – Court: Probe BJP, Cong for receiving foreign funds

Court: Probe BJP, Cong for receiving foreign funds

TNN | Jan 18, 2014,

PANAJI: In two separate orders, the Panaji judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) has directed the Panaji police inspector to file FIRs against the state units of the BJP and Congress for allegedly receiving illegal foreign funds amounting to 5 crore each from UK-based mining company Vedanta Resources PLC.

Based on a complaint filed by Ribandar resident Kashinath Shetye, the JMFC issued two separate orders on Wednesday, noting that the two political parties apparently received funding from Sesa Goa Limited which is a subsidiary of Vedanta, with its head office in UK (England).

The JMFC order states, “Prima facie, even the Election Commission of India has found this to be violative of the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 and the Foreigner Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 as replaced by Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.”

The JMFC has directed the Panaji police inspector to file the FIRs against the two political parties within seven days of receiving its order and to report compliance.

Shetye had filed two separate complaints against BJP and Congress in December 2013.

He had prayed that the JMFC direct the Panaji police to register the FIR and investigate the matter properly.

In his complaint against BJP, he named chief minister Manohar Parrikar, past and present BJP presidents Laximikant Parsekar and Vinay Tendulkar, MP Shripad Naik, office bearers including central BJP leaders for receiving “donation of Rs 5-crore from Vedanta group subsidiaries like Sterlite industries and Sesa Goa in 2012 of illegal mining money to regularize their illegal mining in Goa and also money received from other Portuguese citizens…”

In his complaint against the Congress, Shetye not only named past state presidents Francisco Sardinha and Subhash Shirodkar and other local functionaries, but also Congress national president and vice-president Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and also Union finance minister P Chidambaram. The complaint said that the Congress also received donation of Rs 5-crore in 2003 and 2004 from Vedanta to regularize the company’s illegal mining in Goa.

Shetye informed the JMFC that police were turning a blind eye to the illegalities due to heavy political pressure in connivance and in criminal conspiracy with high government officials. tnn

The allegations

Section 2(1)g(ii) of The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 says subsidiary of a foreign company is treated as foreign company

Vedanta Resources, incorporated in UK, has subsidiary companies in India including Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco

Section 3 of the FCRA prohibits financial contribution from foreign source or company to a political party registered in India

 

  • #India – Vedanta, a major player in Goa’s illegal mining syndicate #NDTV (kractivist.org)

 

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Press Release- PUCL on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case #Vaw

                  02.12.2013

For favour of publication

 stink2

Press Statement on the Tehelka Sexual Assault Case:

 

The PUCL

  • Expresses Solidarity with the struggle of the Tehelka Journalist who raised her voice against Rape and Intimidation by the Ex-Editor Tarun Tejpal.
  • Demands fair investigation and early charge sheet into the matter, from the Goa Police.
  • Considers Six Day of Custodial interrogation of Tarun Tejpal granted by the Goa Judicial Magistrate Court unnecessary and invidious.
  • Appeals that police custody and the case not become a tool in the hands of BJP administered Goa police to settle scores with Tejpal.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties from the very beginning has supported the complaint of the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine who accused the editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, of rape and sexual assault. PUCL salutes her courage for breaking the silence on rape and sexual intimidation carried out by her senior colleague and editor. We have also admired the consistent and principled manner in which the young girl stated her case, initially via internal emails within Tehelka, and later on to the media, neither allowing vituperation or anger at the blatant violation of her body to sensationalise her case or to prevaricate about the fact of the offence having been committed. Through her dignified stand she stands as a model to all women who suffer similar sexual violence, that the dignity of a woman’s body cannot be a plaything for anybody howsoever influential and powerful they be. By the same token, we also denounce the vilification campaign carried out by Tarun Tejpal and his lawyers against the complainant by seeking to impute that the entire crime was actually a `consensual’ act or at trying to trivialise the crime by calling it “light hearted banter”.

 

PUCL wishes to point out that Tehelka, which has extensively covered cases of sexual harassment in the work place and sexual violence, has itself not constituted an independent internal complaints committee as mandated by the Vishakha Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court to look into allegations of sexual harassment in the work place. This is most unfortunate and unacceptable. We especially note with concern the response of the Managing Editor, Shoma Choudhury whom the woman journalist first approached with her complaint of rape and sexual assault by Tarun Tejpal. As the Managing Editor, Shoma Choudhury, had an institutional responsibility under the criminal laws as also under the Visakha guidelines to report the crime forthwith; instead the response was one of diverting, diluting and covering up the incident. Such a response akin to how most male dominated institutions respond to such accusations, is not just unfortunate but also unacceptable and to be denounced.

We therefore once again raise our voice in support of the demand for the implementation of Vishakha Guidelines which are an effort towards enforcing sexual harassment free workplace norms for all women, particularly for women in the media.

 

Six Days Custodial Interrogation : Unnecessary and a tool to harass Tejpal?

 

While we support the prosecution of Tarun Tejpal, we at the same time would like to express our concern over the granting of six days police custody of the accused by the Judicial Magistrate to the Goa State police. The grant of PC has to be seen in the background of the complainant having recorded a sec. 164 Criminal Procedure Code statement before the local Magistrate and the police having seized all the relevant emails and other records including CC Video tapes form the hotel. The accused, Tarun Tejpal, has already been questioned by the police.

 

Considering the very limited frame of reference of the complainant’s case, the legality of granting  days PC is questionable. What causes concern is that some papers report that the 6-days are required to extract a confession out of Tarun Tejpal. Whatever the veracity of this, we are concerned that force may be used to extract an involuntary  confession This is totally against the law and unacceptable.

 

It is also difficult not to ignore the allegation that the prosecution is using the judicial process as a tool to humiliate and harass the accused. We clarify that in the present  case the evidence that needs to be collected could have been gathered in a day and the accused ought to have been sent into judicial custody. In any case, we hope that no further extension of Police custody is granted at the end of the current remand period. We also call upon the Goa police not to indulge in torture or in any way, maltreatment of the accused Tarun Tejpal.

 

PUCL would like to stress that the criminal justice system, and the police who are its administrators, are under a constitutional obligation to remain unbiased, independent and committed to the truth. The police are also under a constitutional duty to implement the law without fear or favour of the ruling government. Unfortunately, in the current case, we cannot lose sight of the conflict-ridden and acrimonious relations between the ruling BJP government and the Tehelka magazine.  We are concerned that this specific case of sexual violence and assault on a woman journalist may become politicized and become the basis for settling scores by the ruling BJP government against Tarun Tejpal. If this were to happen, it will seriously weaken the case of the woman journalist, divert attention from the serious nature of such sexual assaults and in the end denigrate the entire criminal justice system.

 

PUCL condemns and expresses concern over the vandalisation of residence of Shoma Choudhary, former Executive Editor of Tehelka by some members of the BJP last week. This is unacceptable and anti-democratic act.

 

In conclusion, PUCL calls upon all political parties, organisations and other groups to respect the sensitivities of the victims and the serious nature of the rape case and to desist from creating further controversies.

 

 

                                                            

Prof. Prabhakar Sinha                      Kavita Srivastava                             Dr. V Suresh                                                                                            

President                                       National Secretary                          General Secretary

 

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