Trials in 2019: From child rapists to #MeToo and right wing terror
Significant developments are expected in the Indrani Mukerjea, Sanatan Sanstha, Punjab National Bank fraud and serial molester cases this year
Tanushree Vs Nana Patekar
The Oshiwara police probing the molestation case registered against actor Nana Patekar will record the statements of a few witnesses. Advocate Nitin Satpute, counsel for Tanushree Dutta, said Patekar is likely to be arrested after police record the statements of the remaining witnesses including the spot boys. Of late, assistant choreographer turned actress Daisy Shah recorded her statement in connection with the case. Actor Tanushree Dutta set the ball rolling for #MeToo in Bollywood.
The incident took place between March 23 and 26, 2008, on the sets of Horn 'Ok' Pleassss at Filmistan studio 3 in Goregaon West. Besides Patekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Samee Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang, have been booked in the molestation case. The Oshiwara police are now piecing together evidence in the case.
The trial in the child rapist case is set to begin as the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch has filed two charge sheets against paedophile Rehan Qureshi, 34, in the Thane Sessions Court, recently.
One of the cases was registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 4, 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at Koparkhairane police station in 2017, and the other was registered at Nerul police station this year under Section 363 of IPC and 8 of the POCSO Act.
Investigators say there could be more cases, but some parents are not willing to press charges as they don't want to traumatise their daughters again. So far, the police have registered three new cases against him at Goregaon, Bhoiwada and Tulinj, based on his confessions. During a search of his house, the cops also found a bail receipt from 2015, when he was first arrested in a molestation case.
Alok Nath Vs Vinta Nanda
Actor Alok Nath, who has been booked for raping screenwriter Vinta Nanda almost two decades ago, is untraceable and has now applied for anticipatory bail. Advocate Dhruti Kapadia, Nanda's counsel has sought time to file an intervention application in the matter and the next date of hearing is on December 20.
Amidst the ongoing #MeToo movement, 'without naming Alok Nath', Nanda accused him of raping her 19 years back. And the allegation was widely covered by the media. Alok Nath's wife Ashu filed a criminal defamation case against Nanda in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court in Andheri.
Sanatan Sanstha case
After the charge sheet was filed against 12 accused in the Palghar arms haul case, the special NIA court on December 13 issued a warrant against five accused who are at present lodged in prison. The counsel for Sanatan Sanstha, Sanjeev Punalekar, said the five accused, Amol Arvind Kale, Bharat Jayawant Kurne, Suchit Kumar Rangaswamy, Amit Ramchandra Baddi, Ganesh Dasharath Miskin, will be brought to Mumbai and produced before court for 'framing of charges'.
At present all the five accused are lodged in Bangalore Central jail, said Punalekar.Of late, the ATS Maharashtra has named 12 people in the charge sheet. As the probe continues, more names are expected to be revealed.
Sheena Bora murder case
Trial in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, where Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter are prime accused, is at the stage of examination of witnesses, said Sudeep Pasbola, counsel for Indrani.Until now, senior IPS officer Deven Bharti and Sheena's brother Mikhail Bora are among those who have deposed before the special court.
Sheena, 24, was allegedly killed by Indrani with the help of others in a car in April 2012. However, the incident came to light in August 2015 after Mukerjea's then driver Shyamvar Rai, who was arrested by police for possessing a firearm, disclosed it. Following this, the Mumbai Police arrested Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and Rai for allegedly killing Sheena. Later, Peter was also arrested for allegedly being part of the conspiracy. Indrani and Peter along with Indrani's former husband, have been made accused by the CBI. Her driver has been made approver in the case.
Rai, said when he was asked to be a part of the crime, he felt it was wrong, but Indrani assured him his role in the crime would only be of a driver. The trial is underway at the special CBI court in Mumbai.
Indrani and Peter filed a petition for divorce by mutual consent. The couple filed the petition in the Bandra family court. Indrani and Peter Mukerjea have happily signed consent terms for mutual separation in the family court. In November, Peter moved an application before the special CBI court, seeking permission to operate his bank locker.
The fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, through his lawyer, has challenged before the court that the cases, pending before Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, are liable to be tried jointly by one court to stave off 'facing multiple prosecutions and the dual agony of trial'. Advocate Vijay Agarwal, the counsel for Modi, said, "In the application, it was prayed to pass necessary orders and direction thereby staying the proceedings in the Special PMLA Court and the CBI court till the issue relating to jurisdiction is decided by the court."
"By virtue of the provisions of Section 44 r/w Section 43 PMLA the case pending before the Special PMLA Court and Special Judge, CBI are liable to be tried jointly by one court as is contemplated under Section 44 of the PMLA Act," he added Agarwal. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have been charge-sheeted both by CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the over USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud. Both left India before criminal cases were lodged against them.
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