1. ED Files Chargesheet Against Mehul Choksi
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) against Gitanjali Gems owner Mehul Choksiin the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai, in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
The probe agency also named 13 other entities – eight individuals and five companies, including three owned by Choksi namely Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brands – in the chargesheet filed under Section 4 of the PMLA Act, 2002.
According to the agency, Choksi’s firms not only secured fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LOUs) to the tune of Rs 3,011.39 crore, they also deceitfully enhanced their credit limits in the Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) to swindle almost Rs 3,086.24 crore.
The total proceeds of crime in the case amount to Rs 6,097.63 crore, the ED said.
Elaborating on the fraud, ED said the funds received through these LOUs were siphoned off through the alleged overseas suppliers of these companies, namely 4C’s Diamonds Distributors and Shanyang Gong SI in Hong Kong, Asian Diamonds and Jewellery FZE, Gitanjali Ventures DMCC in the UAE, and Abbeycrest (Thailand) in Thailand.
The ED’s chargesheet further explained that based on the forged FLCs, funds were disbursed by the bank to companies created by Choksi, who appointed his own employees as heads of these paper corporations.
(Source: Mumbai Mirror)
2. Close Shave: Workers Were Out For Lunch When Plane Crashed At Ghatkopar Construction Site
Residents of Ghatkopar (west), where a chartered plane crashed on Thursday afternoon, said they saw the plane coming down and were scared it would crash into their buildings.
The aircraft finally crashed into a construction site at Old Malik Estate, Jeev Daya Lane, near a telephone exchange, killing four people on board as well as a pedestrian who was walking by.
Officials at the construction site said the death toll would have been far higher had the plane crashed any earlier. The aircraft crashed around 1.15 pm, when the workers had stepped out for lunch. Work was expected to restart only at 3pm. “The lives of around 30 workers were saved because it was lunchtime,” said Jignesh Patel, a site official.
Anant Kandhor, a businessman who lives half a kilometre away, said he suspected something was amiss when he saw the plane flying considerably lower than other aircraft. “Then it went past my balcony, and it was so close I thought it would crash into my building.”
“The plane circled low over our locality and then crashed into the barricades around the construction site and a tree,” said Haribhai Patel, resident of a building near the crash site. “It looked like the pilot was looking for an empty plot to land. He may not have realised it was a construction site.”
At least 250 students were attending classes in a management institute just behind the site when the aircraft crashed.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
3. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare Murder Investigations: HC Raps Agencies For ‘Unsatisfactory’ Probe
Calling the probe into the killings of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare ‘unsatisfactory’, the Bombay High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the investigators for the ‘insincere’ probe. The court also summoned senior officials of the CBI and the Maharashtra government to the court for the next hearing.
A bench of justices SC Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre directed that the joint director of the CBI and the additional chief secretary of the state government to remain present in court on July 12.
The direction came after the court observed that progress reports submitted by the CBI and the state CID on Thursday into the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively, were “unsatisfactory”.
Pulling up the two agencies for failing to make any solid headway in the cases, while the Karnataka Police arrested an alleged accused in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh from Maharashtra, the bench observed: “The CBI and the CID have been maintaining that they are coordinating with the Karnataka Police that is probing the killings of writer MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. They have also been claiming that they are keeping a watch on certain ‘sansthas’ or organisations. Then how did the Karnataka authorities manage to make an arrest from Maharashtra?”
Earlier this month, a Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka Police had arrested Parshuram Waghmare from Maharashtra for allegedly killing Lankesh.
(Source: Mumbai Mirror)
4. Winsome Diamonds Bank Fraud Case: CBI Files Chargesheet Against Mehta, Former CMDs Of Canara Bank
The Jatin Mehta bank fraud case is back in the limelight with the CBI filing a chargesheet against the diamond merchant, his wife and two former chairmen-cum-managing directors (CMDs) of Canara Bank, among others, at a CBI special court in the city.
This particular case relates to loan default of Rs 146 crore by Mehta’s Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery (formerly Su Raj Diamonds), which was headquartered in Surat. The CBI also sought a Red Corner Notice against the absconding jeweller, who is believed to have set up home in St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean Islands after getting hold of a passport there. India does not have an extradition treaty with the island nation.
According to CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal, the chargesheet names 21 accused, including Mehta, his company, his wife and 15 public servants. Among them are former CMDs of Canara Bank Avinash Chander Mahajan and Sunder Rajan Raman, besides former executive director Archana Bhargava.
The chargesheet says that Winsome Diamonds had purchased gold from three bullion banks abroad — The Bank of Nova Scotia, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank — on the basis of guarantees provided by Canara Bank. The CBI claimed that the company then processed the gold and sent it to 13 buyers in the UAE, but failed to make the payment for the gold imported on the strength of guarantees.
(Source: Mumbai Mirror)
5. High-Rise ‘Whistleblower’ Warns Of More Disasters
Whistleblower Yeshwant Shenoy, 39, whose petition on high-rise obstacles around the Mumbai airport was disposed of by the Bombay High Courton technical grounds, on Thursday said the crash in Ghatkopar was a “teaser”. He warned of an imminent crash of a commercial plane in residential neighbourhoods if air safety violations are not taken seriously.
Shenoy, a lawyer who is based in Kochi, said, “I wasn’t surprised when the first reports of the crash came in. Either the pilot found the under-construction building an obstruction or if there was some technical snag, he didn’t enough time to manoeuvre and decided to land in open space. If the aviation authorities do not wake up, a commercial airliner could soon come down on highly populated areas around the airport, and then we won’t be able to count the toll.”
Shenoy said nowhere else in the world are approach areas of airports infringed upon. “The Mumbai airport approaches are surrounded by 450 buildings. An incoming flight’s alarms go off when they are landing in Mumbai. Singapore Airlines, for example, does not land in Mumbai if the main runway is not operational. If the airport is functioning on the secondary runway, it chooses to land at another airport as its flight systems warn it of obstacles around the runway,” he said.
(Source: Mumbai Mirror)
6. Maharashtra To Spend Additional ₹63 Crore To Make Shivaji Statue The World's Tallest Monument
The State government will spend an additional ₹63 crore to seize from the Chinese the honour of having the world’s tallest monument: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial. Another ₹18 crore will also be spent to safeguard the proposed structure in the Arabian Sea.
A committee headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday approved an increase of two metres in the height of the statue of King Shivaji, making it 212-metre tall, and two metres higher than the second tallest Spring Temple Buddha (210 metres) in China. The temple’s height was earlier 208 metres, but an addition of two metres by the Chinese authorities had prompted Maharashtra to make their own change.
Mr. Fadnavis had said in May that the design had to be revised owing to the change in the Chinese plans. “Spring Temple Buddha was proposed to be 208-metre tall, and our memorial was to be 210 metres. But the Chinese authorities made some construction at the statue’s base, taking the height to 210 metres. It prompted us to revise our design and increase the height to 212 meters,” the CM said.
The same month, the high power committee had awarded the contract to Larsen & Toubro for ₹2,500 crore. But an amendment was approved on Wednesday to add another ₹63 crore on account of the height increase and another ₹18 crore to put in place a comprehensive security plan prepared by the Mumbai Police.
“The final cost of the tender is now ₹2,581 crore,” a senior secretary said.
(Source: The Hindu)
7. Mumbai: Two Women Held For Selling Drugs
Navi Mumbai police on Thursday arrested two women for allegedly selling drugs. The women from Nigeria who lived in Kharghar, were selling Methaquanol or MD, police said. According to Taloja police, Happiness Agbonkhian (28) and Destiny Philip (32) were arrested on Thursday evening. “They had over 200gms of MD, a contraband, in their possession valued at 7 lakh,” a senior officer said. “We have booked them under NDPS Act and are investigating further,” he added.
(Source: Indian Express)
8. Mumbai: Four Seek Anticipatory Bail In BMC ‘File Tampering Case’
Four people, including a developer and his relatives, have approached the Mumbai city civil and sessions court earlier this week seeking anticipatory bail in an alleged file tampering case, which took place at the civic body’s headquarters last month.
Last month, the Azad Maidan Police had filed an FIR after it came to light that notings made by the BMC chief Ajoy Mehta were allegedly tampered with in the development plan department. A BMC clerk, Swapnil Puranik, who was the initial complainant in the case, was arrested. Following his interrogation, the police booked more people, including the four who have sought pre-arrest bail.
These four people include developer Gyanprakash Shukla, his two relatives — Nikhil and Prabhakar Shukla — and another person named Brahmadev Pandey. While initially the FIR was filed alleging cheating, other sections, including forgery and criminal conspiracy, had been added later.
(Source: Indian Express)
. Read more on India by The Quint.QMumbai: Chargesheet Against Choksi by ED; Shivaji Statue UpdateLatest News: Gunman Kills At Least 5 in Maryland Newsroom Shooting . Read more on India by The Quint.