Daily Archives: 3 December 2009

“Accused” Chawla is now “Investigator” Chawla

Ankur Chawla, the son of India Today editor Prabhu Chawla*, who was named in a bribery case concerning the Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala 10 days ago, has had a “status update”.

Chawla junior, a Supreme Court advocate, has now been inducted into the CBI team probing the bribery case involving the acting head of the company law board (CLB).

In other words, the accused has turned approver, with a difference—he will now probe the very case he was a part of.

Chawla had been named as a “middleman” in the CBI first information report (FIR) after the CLB chief R. Vasudevan was caught on the night of November 23 while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 7 lakh from Manoj Banthia, a company secretary of Amar Ujala, to settle a dispute in the family running the regional daily.

Ankur Chawla feigned innocence claiming he was “out of the country” but his house in New Delhi’s Defence Colony was raided and a file relating to the case was recovered “establishing his links with the case“.

Chawla’s name was also missing from the CBI press release.

The Hindu reported that CBI had registered a case against Vasudevan, Banthia and Ankur Chawla under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 (public servant taking bribe other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act), 8 (taking bribe, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) and other sections of the prevention of corruption Act.

Although The Times of India reports that Banthia “has all along maintained that it was Ankur Chawla who had allegedly handed over the cash to him asking him to further hand it over to Vasudevan,” a Delhi court was told a different story on November 30.

# “It is submitted that accused Ankur Chawla (the lawyer) joined investigation today,” additional sessions judge O.P. Saini noted, while entertaining a petition seeking policy remand of another accused Manoj Banthia for one more day, reports The Times of India.

# Press Trust of India reports that CBI wanted to quiz Ankur Chawla with the statements made by Banthia during his custodial interrogation but the judge allowed CBI to interrogate Banthia for one more day on the ground that Ankur Chawla had “joined the probe“.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Prabhu Chawla‘s son named in bribery case


Jailed journalist (finally) ordered to be freed

Laxman Choudhury, the Orissa journalist accused of Maoist links because the police recovered a letter addressed him from a bus conductor and jailed for two and a half months ago, has been ordered to be set free by the Orissa High Court.

Justice C.R. Das in his order:

“If he had any nexus with the Maoists, then he would not have opened the envelope before the police. There is no incriminating evidence on record to suggest that he has any nexus with Maoists.”

Also read: Campaign to free Laxman Choudhury

BBC journalists secure abducted cop’s release

There’s a new ism in town, Arnab-ism