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NEW DELHI: Fast tracking the money laundering case against former finance minister P Chidambaram, a special Delhi court has asked the Enforcement Directorate to produce all documents in support of charges made against him and his son Karti in a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) filed recently in the INX Media case.

The special judge, who is hearing cases of corruption against MPs and MLAs, has fixed the next date of hearing on October 22. The ED, which has argued for taking cognisance of the complaint and start of trial, is set to produce the voluminous records before the designated court.

The prosecution complaint against Chidambaram was filed on June 1 using the court’s e-filing system. However, the court had then directed the agency to file a physical copy of the complaint once the court opened for normal proceedings once the lockdown was over.

On September 28, the special judge took up the matter for hearing and asked the ED to produce all documents and evidence in support of its claims made in the chargesheet against Chidambaram. The special judge indicated that if physical hearing of the case was not possible on October 22 for any reason, the matter would be taken up through virtual court but it would not be delayed further.

This is the first prosecution complaint in the INX Media money laundering case against Chidambaram and his son where the enforcement agency has made specific charges of shell companies operated by the accused in overseas tax jurisdictions for the sole purpose of laundering tainted money.

While opposing Chidambaram’s bail application before the Supreme Court when he was arrested in the INX Media case last year, the ED had claimed that it had collected documentary evidence related to shell companies controlled by Karti. The evidence included emails “exchanged between the co-conspirators on behalf of the appellant (Chidambaram) to indicate investment of laundered money in benami properties”. Chidambaram had got bail after spending 106 days in custody.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

PM greets Bengal on Durga Puja, calls for Covid caution

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NEW DELHI: Addressing the people of West Bengal on the sixth day of Durga Puja on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people once again to remain vigilant and not lower their guard in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Apnader sakalke janai Durga Puja o Kali Pujar shubhechha (Durga Puja and Deepavali greetings to all),” the PM said in Bengali while appealing to revellers to celebrate Puja with caution.

After recalling several measures towards women empowerment, he appealed to the people to adhere to social distancing norms (“do gaj ki doori”) and wear masks while taking part in festivities. “We are celebrating Durga Puja in times of Covid-19, all devotees have shown exemplary restraint. The number of people might be less but the grandeur and devotion are the same. This is the real Bengal,” he said while sharing his ‘Pujor Shubecha’ (Puja greetings) message.

BJP had made elaborate arrangements for live telecast of the PM’s virtual address from the national capital. It was televised live at over 78,000 polling booths across the state’s 294 assembly constituencies. After decades of limited presence in the state, BJP emerged as the main rival to Trinamool Congress (TMC), winning 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections.

Modi is the first PM to inaugurate Durga pujas in Kolkata, Howrah, Ranaghat, Barasat, Midnapore, Bankura, Malda and Siliguri that have already figured on the BJP’s political map eight months ahead of assembly polls, which may take place around April-May next year.

Combining the spiritual with present-day reality, Modi also urged people to respect girls and described the Mother Goddess as the source of power and peace. “We should respect girls because woman power has the potential to defeat all forces,” he said.

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INDIA

Opposition, internet activists slam Kerala ordinance

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government’s decision to introduce a new section (118A) in the Kerala Police Act to check increasing abuse in social media and cybercrime is “anti-democratic and fascist” as it will enable police to register cases against anyone, including the mainstream media, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said on Thursday.

“If the government goes ahead with the ordinance, it will be fought legally as well as politically,” he said.

Allaying fears, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The amendment is not intended to curb creative freedom or to intervene in the right to free speech. It is a known fact that there are attempts to defame persons widely and there are demands for an effective legal remedy.”

Internet rights activists said the amendment was more draconian than 66A of the IT Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court.

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INDIA

UP cop suspended for sporting beard

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MEERUT: A beard grown and kept “despite warnings” has led to the suspension of subinspector Intesar Ali in UP’s Baghpat. While SP Abhishek Singh said Ali did not have authorisation, as rules require, Ali insisted he had sought permission to keep his beard but hadn’t heard back from his seniors.

“I had applied for permission to my circle officer in November 2019. It was forwarded to senior officials,” Ali, posted at Ramala police station, told TOI on Thursday. “This is a matter of faith and a just demand. I will request my superiors to consider my request again.”

The 46-year-old has been serving with the police for the past 25 years and was posted at Ramala this March.

A statement from the local police said Ali had been “warned on several occasions and was served a notice over the dress code.” The Baghpat SP said, “UP police uniform rules are clear… He had been warned several times. A notice was served, but his indiscipline continued. A beard is allowed on a permanent basis only for followers of Sikhism. The armed forces also allow that because the beard is an integral part of their faith. It is not the case with Islam.”

Police uniform rules in India do not allow beard, though moustache is allowed.

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