Four weeks to end probe against Mumbai Congress chief: court

March 4th, 2011 - 12:32 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 3 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Thursday set a four-week deadline for investigating agencies to complete their probe against Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, whose name has been linked to Jharkhand’s multi-crore rupee money-laundering scam involving Madhu Koda.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah also gave two other specific directions to the Income Tax department, Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Enforcement Directorate to co-ordinate and share information in the probe and investigate the sources of the funds.

Earlier during the hearing, the bench came down heavily on the three investigating agencies for the tardy pace of the probe and ordered them to file their latest reports during the second half of the day.

The high court was hearing a public interest petition filed by social activist Sanjay Tiwari, who has demanded setting up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the assets of Kripashankar Singh, Congress legislator from Kalina and a former minister of state (MoS).

Koda, former chief minister of Jharkhand, is alleged to have made huge investments abroad and even bought mines in Liberia through his close confidants. In 2009, he was charged with laundering money worth over Rs.4,000 crore.

The arguments lasted for nearly one-and-a-half-hours with criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani and Mihir Desai arguing for Tiwari.

Jethmalani also raised the issue of 104 gun licences issued to Bombay Intelligence Security (BIS) company during Kripashankar Singh’s tenure as a minister of state, home.

Jethmalani raised the issue which Tiwari has pointed out in his rejoinder petition.

It was pointed out to the court that while Kripashankar Singh was a minister, as many as 450 gun licences. Out of thes 104 were given only to this particular security company.

“When there are hundreds of security agencies in Mumbai, how can so many licences be issued to one company,” he said.

The Congress leader’s counsel Janak Dwarkadas refuted the charge and said he would file a detailed affidavit in this regard soon.

Jethmalani alleged that Kripashankar Singh was a director in a company, Santosh Carewell Services (SCS) Pvt, which was an offshoot of the security company.

Kripashankar Singh’s wife Maltidevi Singh has acquired 258 acre land at Wadapeth in Ratnagiri district, whose market value is nearly Rs.25 crore.

The land was bought in the names of Ramniwas Satyanarayan Singh, Santosh Ramniwas Singh and Maltidevi Singh. Santosh Singh is also a director in the security company.

Raising questions on the links between BIS and SCS, Jethmalani urged that the investigating agencies must also look into this.

In his PIL, Tiwari demanded a probe into the educational qualification of Kripashankar Singh. The former minister allegedly cited different educational qualifications at different points of time.

He demanded that cheating cases be lodged against Kripashankar Singh under Indian Penal Code because in 1994 and 1999, he claimed he was a graduate in science but in 2004 and 2009, he declared his qualification as Class 12. The college where he studied has declared that he has not passed the Class 12 exam.

Tiwari said that in 2006 when the Congress leader was a party observer for Jharkhand, he was instrumental in installing Koda as the chief minister.

Besides Kripashankar Singh, the petition has made his wife Maltidevi Singh, his son Narendra Kumar Mohan Singh, his daughter-in-law Ankita Narendra Mohan Singh, his daughter Sunita Vijay Pratap Singh and his son-inlaw Vijaykumar Vijay Pratap Singh as respondents.

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