‘Every rupee in my foundation awaiting its turn to save a life’: Sonu Sood after I-T raids

News Network
September 20, 2021

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, in his first statement after the Income Tax Department searches last week, said, "I have been busy attending to a few guests for the last four days."

"Every rupee in my foundation is awaiting its turn to save a life," said the 48-year-old actor who has been accused of evading tax of Rs 20 crore.

The CBDT on Saturday claimed that after the Income Tax Department raided him and a linked Lucknow-based infrastructure group, it was found that Sood routed his "unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities".

The CBDT said the charity foundation set up by the actor was incorporated on July 21, 2020, and has collected donations to the tune of Rs 18.94 crore from April 1, 2021, till date. Out of this, it said, the foundation has spent around Rs 1.9 crore for various relief works and the balance of Rs 17 crore has been found lying "unutilised" in its bank account.

It also accused Sood of violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) while raising donations from abroad.

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News Network
October 13,2021

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Mumbai, Oct 13: The Narcotics Control Bureau on Wednesday opposed the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, arrested in connection with the seizure of banned drugs on board a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast, saying the probe so far has revealed his role in the conspiracy and illicit procurement and consumption of drugs.

The NCB in its affidavit also said that Aryan Khan was in touch with some persons, who appear to be a part of an international drug network for procurement of drugs.

Further probe is on with regard to financial transactions done abroad, the agency said.

“During initial investigation, some international linkages pertinent to this applicant (Aryan Khan) have been unearthed which prima facie indicate towards illicit drug procurement. The investigation requires sufficient time so as to approach the foreign agency concerned,” the affidavit said.

The NCB also submitted in the affidavit that the case of each of the accused cannot be considered individually or separately, as prima facie investigation reveals that there is a close link/nexus among all the accused, including Aryan Khan, for conspiracy to commit offences.

“It is not feasible to dissect or separate each from the other. All ingredients of crime, that are preparation, intention, attempt and commission, are present for this applicant (Aryan Khan),” the affidavit said.

The NCB submitted its affidavit in response to the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan before special judge V V Patil, designated to hear matters related to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The judge is currently hearing the bail plea.

Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3 following a raid on the Goa-bound cruise ship and is presently in judicial custody.

He is lodged at the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai. He approached the special court seeking bail after a magistrate's court rejected the same last week.

“It is prima facie revealed that accused No 1 (Aryan Khan) used to procure contraband from accused No 2 (Arbaaz Merchant) and the sources connected to accused No 2, from whose conscious possession six grams of Charas was recovered,” the NCB said in its affidavit.

It further said the material collated during investigation primarily revealed that Aryan Khan has a role in illicit procurement and distribution of the contraband.

As per investigations carried out so far, accused Aachit Kumar and Shivraj Harijan had supplied Charas to Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant, the anti-drugs agency said.

“The role and involvement of this applicant (Aryan Khan) in the commission of grave and serious offences under the NDPS Act, including illicit drug trafficking, is apparent considering the nexus and connection of this applicant with the other accused in the case,” the NCB said.

All the accused are inextricably connected and hence, it is not possible to dissect the role of each accused from the other, it added.

Prima facie investigation reveals a close nexus between all the accused persons and their involvement in conspiracy to commit illegal acts cannot be ruled out, the agency further said.

“The case of each applicant cannot be considered in isolation. All these persons are an integral part of a common thread which cannot be separated or dissected from one another. In such a situation, the quantum of recovery (of drugs) from one accused becomes inconsequential,” the NCB said in the affidavit.

“Even though from some of the accused there is no recovery or less recovery of contraband, the participation by acts of such persons, who have acted in concert, conspiracy forms the basis of the investigation,” it said.

From the investigation, it is revealed that all the accused persons form a part of a "larger chain/nexus" and their involvement in the conspiracy to commit illegal acts and violations under Section 29 of the NDPS Act cannot be ruled out, the affidavit said.

Section 29 of the NDPS Act pertains to abetment to commit an offence or criminal conspiracy.

The NCB further said there have been several seizures of intermediary quantities of drugs from Aryan Khan's co-accused and there has also been seizure of commercial quantities of Mephedrone from one accused – Abdul Sheikh.

It said the allegations that the accused have been falsely implicated are untrue and misleading, as there is sufficient material in the form of WhatsApp chats and photographs which show the ingredients of conspiracy.

“Considering the influence that Aryan Khan holds in the society, it is very much possible that he may tamper with evidence and influence other witnesses whom he personally knows,” the affidavit said, adding there is also a possibility of the accused fleeing justice.

The court is also hearing the bail pleas filed by Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Satija, Aachit Kumar, Mohak Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer and Avin Sahu.

So far, 20 people have been arrested in the case. 

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News Network
October 19,2021

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, who retracted an "uncivil" tweet made by his party on Monday, has demanded an apology from his BJP counterpart Nalin Kumar Kateel for calling former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi a "drug addict and peddler". 

While speaking at an event in Hubballi, Kateel claimed his remarks on Rahul were based on media reports. Congress leaders, however, condemned the statement, asking the BJP to sack Kateel. 

"Yesterday I said I believe we should be civil and respectful in politics, even to our opponents. I hope the BJP agrees with me and will apologise for their state president’s abusive and unparliamentary remarks against Shri Rahul Gandhi," Shivakumar said in a tweet. 

Kateel's remarks came as an apparent strike against Congress for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi "#HebbettuGiraakiModi" which translates into the belittling Hindi expression ‘angootha chhaap’ for an illiterate person. 

Shivakumar regretted the tweet and said it was posted by a "novice social media manager". Shivakumar added that he always believed that civil and parliamentary language was non-negotiable in political discourse and that the tweet was "regretted and withdrawn."

Meanwhile, condemning Kateel's statement, AICC general secretary Dinesh Gundu Rao demanded that BJP remove Kateel from the post.

"Being a party president, he should not make such baseless statements and stoop to this level. It is shameful that a person with such a mentality is the state president of a national party," Rao said, calling Kateel "senseless" and as someone who had lost his "mental balance". 

Lashing out at the ruling party, Rao further alleged that BJP was a corrupt party both financially and morally. "They have no principles. They take God's name for ulterior political motives," he said. 

He urged Chief Minister Bommai to take control of what his party leaders were speaking. 

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News Network
October 12,2021

Kalaburagi, Oct 12: Two mild earthquakes of 3.5 and 2.8 magnitudes were reported from Chincholi taluk in Kalaburagi district of Karnataka within 10 minutes today. 

This is the seventh tremor people have witnessed in the region in a week. While two had occurred in Basavakalyan on October 1 and 5, four were recorded in Kalaburagi on October 9, 11 and 12. 

Panic-stricken people spent the night outdoors in Gadikeshwar and Kupnoor following the tremors. The walls of over 10 houses have collapsed and hundreds of houses developed cracks. In the absence of private vehicles, people are moving out of the village on their motorbikes. Around 100 families have left surrounding villages.

The Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority commissioner Manoj Rajan said that he has convened a meeting of the geologists to understand the phenomena. He added that the disaster management teams in the north Karnataka region has been put on alert. They have also been briefed about the do's and don'ts in the event of any major earthquake.

The KSNDMC said in a statement that the intensity observed on Monday night was "little higher than low intensity". "The earthquake might be felt up to a radial distance of 50 to 60 km or even more. These types of earthquakes do not create any harm or damage to the local community, although there will be vibrations felt up to a distance of 50 to 60 kms based on the local geology," it said. 

The earthquakes assume significance as the epicentres are in close proximity to Latur and Killari in Maharashtra, which had witnessed a massive earthquake in September 1993 killing a large number of people. 

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