Jharkhand: CBI must probe ‘fake’ Naxal surrenders

Jharkhand: CBI must probe ‘fake’ Naxal surrenders

The Jharkhand government has asked for a CBI inquiry into reports that a former Military Intelligence (MI) official and some CRPF officers falsely projected at least 150 Adivasi youths as members of various Left Wing Extremist (LWE) organisations in 2011-12, making them “surrender” in a bid to boost statistics.

These youths were reportedly lured with the promise of jobs in the paramilitary forces. They were reportedly told that these jobs were being offered to surrendered members of LWE groups. Some of them were even made to pay as much as Rs 2 lakh.

After their “surrender” in late 2011, these youths were kept in the old Ranchi jail for up to a year, guarded by some personnel of the 203rd Battalion of the CRPF’s CoBRA. This jail was not in use since 2006, when a new jail was built on the outskirts of Ranchi.

State government sources said the “scam” was the result of an ambitious project of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that went wrong. The MHA had brought in former MI officer Ravi Bodra, now accused of being the “lynchpin”, after his work in Assam where he convinced some Bodo militants to surrender.

“Bodra was in the Army and served in Nagaland. He later became an MI officer and was effective in getting a number of extremists to surrender in Assam. He wanted to do the same in Jharkhand and was successful for a while in Khunti district,” said Ranchi SP Anup Birthare. However, he refused to divulge which agency had given Bodra, also known as Ravi Barla, the Jharkhand mission.

“The MHA decided to use him to boost the surrenders here. The CRPF as well as the police were kept in the loop about Bodra’s activities. Bodra also maintained good relations with Maoist leaders,” said sources. There was even a plan to present the youth en masse before a minister of the MHA.

An FIR registered at the Lower Bazaar police station on March 3 this year lists Bodra, Dinesh Prajapati, Caroline Kerketta and another individual as accused. Prajapati was the director of Dighdarshan Coaching Institute and Kerketta acted as an agent. “We have recorded statements of 18 students claiming that Prajapati and Bodra took Rs 55,000-1.5 lakh from each of them, promising jobs in the Army and paramilitary forces, and then made them pose as Maoists,” said Birthare.

However, it is not clear whether those responsible for the “scam”



High Court quashes case booked for pasting posters

High Court quashes case booked for pasting posters

The Madras High Court Bench here has quashed a police case registered against a village youth for having pasted posters announcing a one-day hunger strike demanding action against those responsible for the suspicious death of a government higher secondary school student during school hours at Pannaipuram in Theni district in December 2010.

Allowing a petition filed by the accused, M. Vijayakumar, Justice G.M. Akbar Ali held that the prosecution launched against him was an abuse of the process of law.

The judge quashed the criminal proceedings though it was represented that Kombai police in Theni district had already laid a charge sheet in the case before a Judicial Magistrate court in Bodinayakannur.

The police had booked the petitioner under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, based on a complaint lodged by a Village Administrative Officer.

They contended that the petitioner had not obtained prior permission for pasting the posters in the village and that he had condemned the State government in those posters. It was also the case of the prosecution that the posters did not contain the name and address of the press where they were printed and that the petitioner had not obtained the consent of the owners of the properties concerned before pasting the posters on their walls.

These acts amounted to commission of offences under various provisions of the 1959 Act, they claimed.

However, Mr. Justice Ali said a person could be prosecuted under Section 3 of the Act only if he had displayed ‘objectionable advertisement,’ a term which had been defined in the legislation itself to mean advertisements likely to incite violence, those intended to outrage religious feelings, grossly indecent or obscene or those which obstructed traffic.

The Act also categorically stated that an advertisement should not be deemed to be objectionable merely because it criticised a law or policy or administrative action of the government with a view to getting it altered or redressed through lawful means, the judge said. He also pointed out that every citizen enjoyed freedom of speech and expression subject to reasonable restrictions.



20 years on, high court clears way for colonel’s court martial

20 years on, high court clears way for colonel’s court martial

CHANDIGARH: Twenty years after a general court martial held Colonel RBS Bisht guilty of committing irregularities in local purchases during his posting as commandant of the ammunition deport near Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana high court finally paved the way for the Army chief to take a decision on his dismissal from service.

A division bench comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Fateh Deep Singh held that the HC cannot examine the maintainability of the court martial till the verdict is confirmed by the Chief of Army Staff. “The petitioner has the right to file a petition post confirmation and also the statutory rights of appeal before the Armed Forces Tribunal. Since the petitioner has effective alternative remedy, we do not wish to examine arguments raised at this stage,” held the bench, disposing of the petition in a July 10 order.

In his petition, Col (retd) Bisht challenged the court martial against him on the grounds that he cannot be made subject to the Army Act, 1950 in 1994, since he retired and was re-employed from January 15, 1993. The retired Colonel, who lives in Uttarakhand at present, has been accused of purchasing substandard stores at exorbitant rates and against requisite instructions during his posting as commandant of the ammunition depot at Dappar near Chandigarh in 1992.



High court issues guidelines on sexual harassment at work

High court issues guidelines on sexual harassment at work

NEW DELHI: Under its first woman chief justice, the Delhi high court issued guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment complaints at workplace.

In a public notice displayed on the HC website, the HC administration said Chief Justice G Rohini has appointed a nodal officer for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

The notice further clarifies that anonymous complaints levelling allegations of sexual harassment will not be entertained.

“Complaints under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 shall be addressed to D S Bhandari, officer on special duty (general administration), high court, in writing,” the notice says.

HC has also assured everyone that “All proceedings emanating from the complaints made under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 shall be treated and dealt with confidentially.”

The guidelines endorsed by the chief justice were recommended by the court’s committee against sexual harassment of women at workplace.

Last year, two lawyers had moved HC in a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking formation of a sexual harassment committee to contain harassment of women in court premises. It had pointed out that “till date no regulations have been notified to ensure the safe working of women and to combat the problem of sexual harassment in the precincts of the Delhi high court and various district courts of Delhi.”

The PIL also cited a Supreme Court order passed in April 2013, which directed all high courts to form regulations to combat the problem of sexual harassment in court precincts.

“The petition has been filed for providing a safe environment for women in the high court of Delhi and the district courts working under the jurisdiction of the honourable high court of Delhi,” the PIL had contended appealing to HC to direct the government and court administration to draft, notify and implement these regulations.

“It is the fundamental right of every woman to live her life with dignity as enshrined under Article 21 of the constitution of India,” the PIL had added.



Punjab police to have separate investigation wings

Punjab police to have separate investigation wings

CHANDIGARH: Punjab will soon have US-style policing system with separate investigation wings, working independent of personnel involved in law and order policing, in every district of Punjab from next month. The move comes as part of police reforms plan, which will also see cops moving out after every five years.

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal told Punjab assembly on Tuesday that under the new system, the investigation command will have separate staff till the rank of station house officer (SHO) so that they could work more efficiently.

However, not very convinced, Congress leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar said what was required was a change in mindset of police force so that general public doesn’t live in fear of them. “Segregation of law and order and investigation will not work until there is change in methodology of investigation. Police often ask complainants to organize for outstation raids to nab the accused. With the kind of resources they have, quality of investigation cannot improve,” he alleged.