Archive for the ‘madras’ Category

CBI officers attacked, accused escaped and surrendered later: A struggle within government officials in tackling corruption!

April 16, 2016

CBI officers attacked, accused escaped and surrendered later: A struggle within government officials in tackling corruption!

Ashok Raja, the Sperintendent of Central Excise, who was caught by the CBI officers on April 8, 2016 night around 8 pm at Madurai.

How the issue started: Muruganandam of Nagamalai Pudukottai is engaged in the Cable TV operator service. Registering with the Service Tax (ST), he was paying Service Tax. However, during some verification, S. Ashok Raj, Superintendet of Central Excise raised some querries regarding non-payment of ST in certain cases. He said that either he had to pay the tax or give some amount to him to settle the issue. However, Muruganandam strongly felt that he need not pay. As he was getting calls fron Ashok Raj and Krishnan another officer, threatening and harassing, he decided to complain to CBI. When he informed, some CBI officials including Balachandran, Krishnan came to Madurai. They asked Muruganandam to go to the office of S. Ashok Raj to offer money so that they could catch him redhanded.

9 booked for attack on CBI sleuths The Hindu 10 April 2016

Friday (08-04-2016) evening – the CBI operation started: Accordingly, he went there on 08-04-2016 and started doing what CBI said. Thus, Ashok Raja and his colleague were ‘trapped’ by the CBI at the office of Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax at Bibikulam on Friday (08-04-2016) evening, while Muruganandam was offfering bribe-money. The sleuths reportedly caught him red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs. 75,000 from Muruganandam. Then, CB took them to their office for further enquiry, investigation and statement recording. As the CBI officials were recording their statements, an armed gang stormed the office and attacked the five-member team with wooden logs and iron rods. Different versions appeared in the media about the no. of persons, the nature of persons, the weapons used etc. Two CBI sleuths sustained injuries. The gang destroyed some of the evidence collected in connection with the bribery case, tearing the statement papers and took away the bribe money. The CBI sleuths had complained to the city police that they had found Rs. 2 lakh unaccounted cash in the office during the trap. Even that money was taken away by the gang while whisking away the two accused from the CBI custody.

In a filmi style, an armed gang attacked a team of CBI officials – The Hindu describes: In a filmi style, an armed gang attacked a team of CBI officials and rescued a Central Excise official who was reportedly trapped in a bribery charge at the Customs office in Madurai on Friday night (08-04-2016)[1]. The CBI sleuths, including Inspector Murugan, sustained bleeding injuries. The incident is said to have happened at around 8 p.m. at the office of the Commissioner of Customs Central Excise and Service Tax located at Bibikulam. According to police sources, the team of five CBI officials trapped the Superintendent at around 5 p.m. Even as the central investigating officials were recording the statements an armed gang barged into the office and started attacking the officials[2]. The gang also destroyed some of the papers and whisked away the excise official. The injured CBI officials were taken to a private hospital in the vicinity. A team of Madurai city police officials, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Bandi Gangadhar was probing the incident.

Involvement of office bearers of the CEOA School and police enquiry: The police said that the whole incident had occurred in the presence of two official witnesses during the trap. The city police was still on the lookout for the assailants of the daring attack on the sleuths. Senior officials of CBI from Chennai were camping in Madurai for the last two days. Meanwhile, a special team of the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch on Monday (11-04-2016) conducted a raid on the Central Excise Officers Association (CEOA) school in Madurai and seized documents relating to its financial transactions. Since the prime suspects were office bearers of the CEOA School, a search was conducted on their premises and school. The CBI’s Superintendent of Police met the Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise in Madurai to register strong protest against the attack and seek a detailed enquiry into alleged irregularities[3]. Many officials managed to remain in the same posting for several years which was one of the reasons for certain corrupt practices in the department, the official said[4]. Police yet to trace the official who was rescued away by gang during questioning.

Habeas corpus petitions filed for the wives of the accused and dismissed (10-04-2016 to 13-04-2016): Two habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here accusing Tallakulam police in the city of keeping in illegal custody the wives of two Central Excise employees accused of having absconded after assaulting Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials during a trap operation on Friday (08-04-2016)[5]. One of the two petitions had been filed by S. Mariyammal (63), mother of the prime accused S. Ashokraj, a Superintendent in the Central Excise Department. She claimed that the police had kept her daughter-in-law A. Suganya and the latter’s sister G. Vani, both serving as Managers in a nationalised bank here, in illegal custody since the incident[6]. In the other petition, C. Perumal (43) of Naganakulam here said that he was the brother-in-law of N. Krishnan, a Havildar in the Central Excise Department. He also accused Tallakulam police of having kept Krishnan’s wife K. Paju alias Panchavarnam in illegal custody and refusing to release her until her husband’s arrest or surrender. Both the petitions are expected to be listed for hearing on Tuesday (12-04-2016), dismissed subsequently, as they were released by the police after investigation.

The police registered a case and started investigation (10-04-2016): Deputy commissioner of police (law and order), Madurai city, Bandi Gangadhar said they were yet to make any progress in the case, three days after the incident[7]. They had formed nine special teams led by inspectors, which are closing in on the culprits, he said. The city police have filed attempt to murder and dacoity cases against central excise superintendent Ashok Raja, Krishnan and seven others, and are searching for them. The movements of family members, colleagues and other people who were in close contact with the accused are being closely monitored[8]. The police picked up a few of them and conducted inquiries in this connnection of the absconding officers[9]. Based on a complaint lodged by Mr. Murugan, the Tallakulam police had registered a case of rioting, criminal trespass, assaulting government official to deter him from discharging his duty, attempt to murder, dacoity and criminal intimidation[10]. The team of five CBI sleuths, comprising three Inspectors, were taken by surprise when the armed gang barged into the office room where the statements of “bribery case” accused were being recorded. Though the police claimed that the identity of the gang was yet to be established, a city police team enquired with the staff members of a school in the city in this connection. The police said that a key management person of the school was absconding. The city police said that the Central investigation team had not sought police security during the “trap”. The accused include two employees of Central Excise Department[11].

CBI officers attacked – one of the rare cases: A CBI official alleged that “….the gang of about 10 rowdies came to the office premises in four and two-wheelers and attacked them…..also tried to destroy the evidence collected against the official, but we were able to secure some of it. We believe that the attackers could have links with ‘Climax’ Raja, a retired Central Excise officer who is associated with the Central Excise Officers Association.” The local police, which are looking into the incident, believe that a private school is linked to the case as CBI officials have apprehended one of the school management-level officials. A total of 15 members have been picked up for interrogation, said police sources. Inspector general S Murugan and Deputy Commissioner of Police (law and order) Bandi Gangadhar visited the spot to conduct inquiry. A special team has been formed to investigate the incident. “This is one of the rare cases where CBI officials were attacked at a Central government office itself. This shows how deep rooted is corruption,” said a CBI official, unable to contain seething anger[12]. The CBI officials were unarmed as arms are usually not required during the trap proceedings. One of the injured CBI officials is recovering in the hospital, while the condition of other is stated to be stable.

The main accused S. Asok Raja surrendered on 13-04-2016 at Chennai: Meanwhile, Police sources here said that S. Ashokraj, the main accused in the case relating to the attack on Central Bureau of Investigation officials in Madurai on April 8.2016, and a Superintendent in Central Excise Department, surrendered before V Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Wednesday 13-04-2016 (after five days)[13]. From April.8 onwards, his whereabouts were not known and therefore, it is intriguing as to how he cxame over to Chennai from Madurai from 08-04-2016 to 13-04-2016. Definitely, he hasd been in contact with his close associates and others. The court remanded him in judicial custody till April 27[14]. Court officials informed the anti-corruption branch (ACB) of the CBI about his surrender[15]. After judicial formalities, he has been lodged in the Puzhal jail. The case is posted on 27-04-2016.

Totally 8 persons have been arrested by the Police so far (15-04-2016): Five persons wanted in connection with the April 8 attack on CBI officials surrendered before a court in Vadipatti here today (15-04-2016)[16].

  1. Kannan,
  2. Parthasathi,
  3. Subramani,
  4. Nagenthirakumar and
  5. Chellamuthu

surrendered before a court in Vadipatti, police said. They were remanded to 15 days judicial custody and later taken to the central prison in Madurai, police said[17].

Three persons, including another Superintendent of Central Excise Department were arrested on April 13.

  1. Samy, the Superintendent,
  2. Muthupandy – a driver and
  3. one Sararavanan, who were also remanded to 15 days judicial custody by a court.

About the surrender of Ashok Raj has already been mentioned. Krishnan is still absconding.

Last word: After the introduction of “assessees-friendly” Rules, most of the litigation is reportely reduced. Therefore, raising frivilous objections in interpretation etc., need not be resorted to by the officials. It is generally said that the “benefit of doubt” should be given to the assessees, the tax-payers. Under such circumstances, the happening of this type of incidences would create negative impact in improving economic scenario. Moreover, this type of violative, aggressive and belligerent reactio from the government service is totally unacceptable creating wrong impression among others. The responsible officers in question connected with one school and their wives working as Managers in Bank need not have resorted to such acts. As “moral values” are neglected and even made fun of, this type of tendencies have been on increase. Under corruption handling and management, more complication is created.

[1] The Hindu, Gang attacks CBI officials, frees ‘detained’ excise superintendent, Madurai, April.9, 2016, Updated: April 9, 2016 05:44 IST.

[2] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/gang-attacks-cbi-officials-frees-detained-excise-superintendent/article8453508.ece

[3] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/cbi-seizes-cash-jewels-from-excise-officials-house/article8463453.ece

[4] The Hindu, (With additional inputs from S. Vijay Kumar in Chennai).

[5] The Hindu, Habeas corpus petitions filed, Madurai edition, April 12, 2016; Updated: April 12, 2016 05:46 IST

[6] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/relatives-of-officials-file-habeas-corpus-petition/article8463451.ece

[7] Times of India, Three days after attack on CBI team, cops still clueless, TNN, Apr 12, 2016, 06.53 AM IST

[8] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/Three-days-after-attack-on-CBI-team-cops-still-clueless/articleshow/51787704.cms

[9] The Hindu, CBI seizes cash, jewels from Excise official’s house, Madurai, April.12, 2016; Updated: April 12, 2016 05:46 IST.

[10] The Hindu, 9 booked for attack on CBI sleuths, Madurai, April 10, 2016; Updated: April 10, 2016 05:45 IST

[11] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/9-booked-for-attack-on-cbi-sleuths/article8456657.ece

[12] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Thugs-Attack-CBI-Men-to-Save-Tainted-Babu/2016/04/10/article3372496.ece

[13] The Hindu, Attack on CBI officials: main accused surrenders, Madurai, April.15, 2016; Updated: April 15, 2016 05:42 IST

[14] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Central-excise-official-who-escaped-from-CBI-custody-surrenders-before-Chennai-court/articleshow/51828621.cms

[15] The Times of India, Central excise official who escaped from CBI custody surrenders before Chennai court, A Selvaraj,  TNN, Apr 14, 2016, 07.11 PM IST.

[16] PTI, Attack on CBI officials; 5 surrender in court, April.15, 2016: 21.50 Hrs.

[17] http://www.ptinews.com/news/7337822_Attack-on-CBI-officials–5-surrender-in-court.html

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Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul and Swami Nityananda: How Secularism handles the same issue differently!

June 17, 2015

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul and Swami Nityananda: How Secularism handles the same issue differently!

Arrested-Police in southern India have arrested Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, who is wanted in the U.S. on sexual assault charges

Arrested-Police in southern India have arrested Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, who is wanted in the U.S. on sexual assault charges

Swami Nityananda is now known to many in India, because of the media that spread the video and connected details off and on many times in India. However, Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, who has also been involved in a similar case, but more serious, has been played downed by the media in a casual way. Though only news has come out about Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, nothing is known to Indians.  Under the guise of attending his sick mother, he came to India, but did not return to US, so US asked for deportation. Ironically, now, he is deported to India, after neutralizing his prison term, though convicted for the sexual charges[1]. The defrocked priest admitted to sexually abusing a teenage girl and then fleeing the country to avoid prosecution, but he would not serve any jail sentence, as he settled a $750,000 civil suit with his sex-victim as a part of a plea deal with prosecutors[2]. In Tamil, there is a comedy strip shown frequently in vernacular TV channel about one ‘Minor Kunju’ who was involved in raping women, but used to pay the mandatory fine of Rs. 5,000/- in advance, so that he could go for raping another. So, the comedian reportedly shot his ‘kunju’ meaning penis!

nithyananda-ranjitha News cutting

nithyananda-ranjitha News cutting

Accused Priest and tight-lipped Catholic authority (June 2015): Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul accepted guilty on June 19th 2015 to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, in one of the two cases. The other case, in which he is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, was pending[3] in the case of molesting a girl in US in 2005. He faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for June 15, 2015. The case was dragged on for more than 10 years, because of the Catholic Church in India was obviously aiding and abetting with him. Even now, the Catholic Diocese to which priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, accused of sexually abusing a minor girl in the US, is attached, is tight-lipped about the developments[4]. “We are yet to receive any such information. We can comment on this only after we get proper information,” maintained Diocese PRO Selvanathan, speaking to “Indian Express” over phone and also refused to comment on the stand of the diocese on the charges[5]. Really, when this has become an international story and the Madras Bishop was responding to the Roseau County Courthouse authorities and the Vatican defrocked him, Selvanathan decided to play safe.

Kunju minor, Niyananda. Joseph

Kunju minor, Niyananda. Joseph

Frivolous petition, dragging case in Madras (2013): In 2013, when Jeyapaul was arrested and jailed in Tihar, her sister filed an petition in the Madras High court. The Court on June 28. 2013 (Thursday) dismissed a habeas corpus petition seeking the release of a parish priest, who had allegedly sexually-abused a 14-year-old girl in the US, and who was now lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi[6]. A Division Bench comprising Justices V. Dhanapalan and C.T. Selvam passed the order on a petition by one P. Pushpavathy, challenging an order of the Ministry of External Affairs, of March 8, 2011, requesting the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, to inquire into the request for extradition of the petitioner’s brother, Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, to the US. To facilitate the inquiry, an arrest warrant against Jeyapaul, who was wanted by the US authorities for alleged “criminal sexual conduct in the first degree”, under that country’s laws, was necessitated. The warrant was necessary as he was not available for the inquiry. The petitioner said Jeyapaul was incardinated to the Catholic Diocese of Ootacamund and was ordained a priest in May 1982. He served as Assistant Parish Priest in St. John De Britto Church, Sathyamangalam, Erode district, from 1982 to 1983 and became a parish priest in 1985.

Priesthood- Jeyapaul worked as a priest at Infant Jesus Church in India, but was banned from being around children

Priesthood- Jeyapaul worked as a priest at Infant Jesus Church in India, but was banned from being around children

On an invitation to serve at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush, Roseau Country for three years, he left for USA in August 2004 but returned to India in August 2005, as his mother was critically ill. Under these circumstances, the MEA issued the impugned order. Following that, an application was filed before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, for arresting Jeyapaul. The Interpol issued an alert after it was found that he was in India[7]. He was arrested on March 16, 2012 at Chimitahalli in Erode district and remanded to custody and lodged in Tihar Jail[8].

Captured- He was arrested in the Erode district, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu

Captured- He was arrested in the Erode district, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu

Hence, the present petition. Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said while the parish priest was in the US, he was alleged to have sexually-abused a 14-year-old girl. The fugitive accused had been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the magistrate. A reading of the MEA’s order made it clear that it was the Centre which made the request to the Additional CMM to inquire into the matter. The course adopted by the Ministry could not be termed ‘detention’, much less ‘illegal detention’. This was a matter which concerned countries under the treaty which provided for certain obligations on the extraditing country to look into, under the relevant provisions of the law. The procedure had been followed and the MEA’s order was in accordance with law, the Judge said.

Former parish- He had served at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Minnesota

Former parish- He had served at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Minnesota

The callous attitude of CBCI (2011-12): Father Babu Joseph of the CBCI said, “He (Jeyapaul) will certainly cooperate with the civil authorities (in US) inquiring into the matter in case there is further need for him to go to the US……We are taking the allegations against him (Jeyapaul) seriously…..already some administrative actions have been taken against him….He has not been assigned any parish or any pastor work. On the contrary he has been asked to stay in the Bishop’s house and help out in his office work… He has been kept away from children and people,” he added. Jeyapaul had fled to southern India in September 2005 after he was accused of molesting the girl. Wanted in the US on sexual assault charges, he was arrested by Indian Police in March 2012.

Alleged victim- Megan Peterson -right- now 22, claims she was sexually assaulted by Jeyapaul when she was 14, she is pictured with attorney Jeff Anderson

Alleged victim- Megan Peterson -right- now 22, claims she was sexually assaulted by Jeyapaul when she was 14, she is pictured with attorney Jeff Anderson

Madras Catholic Church helping Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul (2010): Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, facing charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Minnesota, United Sates, was on Tuesday (April.5 2010) asked by the Archbishop of Madras to return to the U.S. for further investigations. As the Diocese of Udhagamandalam, the home Diocese of Jeypaul, which oversees the priest of Indian origin, said it was probing the matter in detail. The Archbishop of Madras M. Chinnappa said he had spoken to the Bishop of Ootacamund on Tuesday to take action against the priest. Fr. Jeyapaul was currently staying in the hill town in Tamil Nadu. “I have asked the Bishop of Ooty to comply with the demands of the case. Jeyapaul must return to the U.S. if necessary for further investigations. He has to oblige. There is no way out,” Fr. Chinnappa said in Chennai. Prosecutors in Minnesota yesterday said they were trying to extradite 55-year-old Jeyapaul. Fr. Jeyapaul, however, had denied the sexual abuse allegations and reported to have said he has no plans to return to the U.S. to face the courts there[9]. Vatican officials recommended Jeyapaul’s removal from the priesthood, but the local Indian bishop instead sentenced him to a year in a monastery through a canonical trial[10].

Prosecuting- Attorney Jeff Anderson (left) speaks about Father Joseph Jeyapaul case in St. Paul

Prosecuting- Attorney Jeff Anderson (left) speaks about Father Joseph Jeyapaul case in St. Paul

USA requested extradition and India extradited (2007): In January 2007, a case was filed against him in the Roseau County Courthouse, Minnesota. Four years later, the US officials sent an extradition note to the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian government, which in turn asked the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Patiala House Courts, Delhi, to inquire the request and decide on its ‘extraditability’ based on the nature of offences. Based on a warrant issued by the Additional CMM, Jeyapaul was arrested from Erode district on March 16, 2012. His bail pleas and the habeas corpus petition filed by his sister Pushpavathy in the Madras High Court alleging ‘illegal detention’ were rejected, and Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul was extradited by the Indian Government to the US[11].

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul - different faces

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul – different faces

Wanted fugitive Bishop in Ooty enjoying life (2004-05): In a statement handed over to reporters, who had gone to meet Fr. Jeyapaul in Udhagamandalam, Bishop Fr. Amulraj of the Diocese said the matter had already been referred to the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the highest Catholic Organization in India for necessary direction. Fr. Amulraj earlier said Fr. Jeyapaul had gone to meet his advocate to Chennai regarding the cases, which came to limelight through the press. In the statement, Fr. Amulraj stated that it was true that the said priest was working in the Diocese of Crookstone in the State of Minnesota in the U.S. from September 2004 to August 2005. “Suddenly he had to rush back to India to see his ailing mother and he never returned to U.S. since then…………In the meantime some sexual abuse cases connected to Fr. Jeyapaul emerged and we conducted an enquiry into the matter……..As the above allegations could not be proved beyond doubt, he was placed under the direct supervision of the Bishop……..Now the same allegations have come up to limelight through the press, we are studying the matter in detail,” Amulraj said. People in and around the area are tight-lipped about the presence of Fr. Jeyapaul either in the Bishop’s house or in the Nilgiris, since he was instrumental in providing jobs, including temporary ones, to the poor and needy in 12 schools run by the Diocese, a worker in one of the schools said on the condition of anonymity[12]. The Vatican’s data clearly proves how the Ootacamund diocese behaved differently[13].

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul

[1] http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/06/15/priest-gets-time-served-faces-deportation-in-sex-abuse-case/

[2] http://www.wdaz.com/news/minnesota/3766918-former-priest-sentenced-soon-deported-india

[3] http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/region/3750979-former-crookston-priest-files-notice-plead-guilty-sex-crime

[4] Express News Service, Can’t React Without Info, Says Diocese, Published: 05th June 2015 06:00 AM; Last Updated: 05th June 2015 04:47 AM

[5] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Cant-React-Without-Info-Says-Diocese/2015/06/05/article2850049.ece

[6] The Hindu, High Court upholds arrest of parish priest in molestation case, Updated: June 28, 2013 03:16 IST

[7] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117651/Joseph-Jeyapaul-Fugitive-priest-arrested-India-7-years-run-sexually-assaulted-girl.html

[8] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/high-court-upholds-arrest-of-parish-priest-in-molestation-case/article4857554.ece?ref=relatedNews

[9] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/indian-priest-accused-of-sexual-abuse-to-face-probe-in-us/article389682.ece?ref=relatedNews

[10] http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/accused-priest-extradited-from-india-to-us/article6610874.ece?ref=relatedNews

[11] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Cant-React-Without-Info-Says-Diocese/2015/06/05/article2850049.ece

[12] The Hindu, Indian priest accused of sexual abuse to face probe in U.S., Updated: April 6, 2010 18:39 IST

[13] http://www.bishop-accountability.org/Vatican/Jeyapaul/