QBullet: CBI Gets Michel’s Custody; 3 Yrs in Jail for Ex-Coal Secy

1. CBI Gets Michel Custody: Need to Show Him Papers, Get Details of Money Trail

A day after he was extradited from the UAE to India in connection with the probe into the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, alleged middleman Christian Michel James was sent to CBI custody for five days by a Delhi special court on Wednesday, 5 December.

CBI Special Judge Arvind Kumar asked the CBI to produce Michel (57) on December 10 after the agency said it needed his custody to not only confront him with available evidence, but also to obtain details of the money trail and people involved in the deal which is being probed for alleged irregularities.

“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances, submissions made by the parties, I deem it fit to grant five days police (CBI) remand of accused,” the judge said. In his order, the judge said that the accused shall be entitled to assistance from his advocate during questioning.

(Source: The Indian Express)

2. Stepped in to Save CBI From ‘Kilkenny Cat Fight’: Govt

Attorney general KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 5 December, that the Centre had no option but to decisively intervene to stop the “Kilkenny cat fight” between CBI director Alok Kumar Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana, and protect the nation’s faith in the premier investigating agency.

According to Irish legend, a fight between two Kilkenny cats left both dead and all that remained were their tails.

The AG showed TV and newspaper reports since July about the public fight between the two and said, “The government was watching with amazement the director and his deputy fight like Kilkenny cats.”

(Source: The Times of India)

3. Cong Expels Youth Wing Member Who Appeared for Michel

A red-faced Congress expelled lawyer and Youth Congress member Aljo Joseph from the party after he appeared for AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel in a Delhi court on Wednesday, 5 December.

Announcing the expulsion after a row erupted over the issue, Congress joint secretary in charge of the youth outfit, Krishna Allavaru, said, “Joseph appeared in his personal capacity and did not consult Youth Congress before appearing in the case. IYC does not endorse such actions.”

IYC spokesman Amrish Pandey sought to downplay the row, saying Joseph was an ordinary member and it was regrettable that BJP had chosen to turn it into an issue. However, it was clear that Congress felt the heat of the controversy, especially with BJP stoking it ahead of polling in Rajasthan on Friday.

(Source: The Times of India)

4. Worst of NPA Crisis Likely Over: RBI Note

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) note based on unaudited financial statements of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) up to 30 September 2018, suggests that the worst of the non-performing assets (NPA) crisis facing India’s banks might be over and that credit growth may also be back.

The share of gross NPAs in total advances of banks, both in the public and private sector, peaked in March 2018, and has since declined – in both the June and September quarter of the current fiscal year.

The NPA crisis is more widespread in the public sector banks. The report also says that annualised slippage ratio – percentage of fresh NPAs as percentage of standard NPAs – has also shown a decline in the last two quarters.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

5. SHO’s Murder: Key Accused Cites Cow to Reopen Old Wounds

A long standing dispute over a mosque, simmering tension over the use of loudspeakers and the rise of the Bajrang Dal since Yogi Adityanath took charge as UP Chief Minister form the backdrop of the mob violence in which an Inspector was killed in Bulandshahr two days ago.

The manager of the Nayabans village mosque, Mohd Sarfuddin, was among four arrested Wednesday after they were named in a complaint of cow slaughter filed by Yogeshraj Singh, the main accused in the killing of Station House Officer Subodh Kumar Singh. Yogeshraj is on the run after police arrested four others Tuesday over the killing of the SHO.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. India Now Has a Witness Protection Programme in Place

Ending the country’s long wait for a programme to ensure safety of witnesses, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 5 December, approved a Witness Protection Scheme drawn up by the government and asked the Centre, states and Union Territories to “enforce” it “in letter and spirit”.

The court held that the right to life would include the right of witnesses to testify freely in courts.

Approving the Scheme, a bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer said: “The right to testify in courts in a free and fair manner without any pressure and threat whatsoever is under serious attack today. If one is unable to testify in courts due to threats or other pressures, then it is a clear violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. The right to life guaranteed to the people of this country also includes in its fold the right to live in a society, which is free from crime and fear, and the right of witnesses to testify in courts without fear or pressure.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. Ex-Coal Secy Given 3-Yr Jail Term, IAS Body to Back Legal Challengee

A Delhi court on Wednesday, 5 December, sentenced former coal secretary HC Gupta and two other government officials to three years’ imprisonment and awarded four-year jail terms to two company executives after finding all five guilty of wrongdoing in coal block allocations under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

After the sentences were pronounced, the IAS Officers Association said it has initiated steps to raise funds to provide legal assistance to the convicted civil servants.

“Conviction of honest IAS officers in Coal Scam is most unfortunate. A black letter day for bureaucracy – Convicting officers for bona fide decisions in the interest of administration. We stand by the officers in this time of distress. #HCGupta,” the association tweeted.

Special judge Bharat Parashar also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Gupta and the two other government officials – KS Kropha and KC Samria.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

8. Upper-Caste Share Is Down, More Marginal Groups Enter Campuses

While the proportion of upper-caste students in higher education institutions is still considerably higher than their share in the population, for the first time ever their “erstwhile near-monopoly” is being eroded with their percentage share falling to below 50 per cent over the last few years, according to a study.

All other groups, women, Other Backward Classes (OBC), Scheduled Castes (SC), and Tribes (ST), have increased their share though they still remain largely under-represented relative to their share in the population.

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. Mallya Says Ready to Pay Back 100%

Insisting that he is not a defaulter, controversial businessman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday, 5 December, repeated his offer to repay “100%” of the principal amount owed to Indian banks by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, wondering why the offer he has made since 2016 had been spurned.

Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya.

Mallya is facing extradition from the United Kingdom to India to face charges of financial irregularities running into thousands of crore. The judgement in the high-profile case is due in the Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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