Citizens' Issues
Fresh claims on Bachchan in 'Panama Papers', equally fresh denial
New Delhi : Even as a fresh report on the "Panama Papers" alleged Amitabh Bachchan "participated" in board meetings of two off-shore companies "by telephone conference", the actor himself has said his name was "misused" and that nothing illegal has been attributed to him.
 
The Indian Express reported on Thursday that Sea Bulk Shipping and Tramp Shipping had passed a resolution each on December 12, 1994, in connection with a loan of $1.75 million from Dallah Albaraka Investment Company.
 
The loan was for Constellation Ship Management for the purchase of all the shares issued by Tramp Shipping and held by Sea Bulk Shipping. Besides Tramp and Sea Bulk, the paper had said Bachchan was managing director for two other offshore entities -- Lady Shipping and Treasure Shipping.
 
"Both resolutions recorded Bachchan’s participation in board meetings 'by telephone conference'. In their certificate of incumbency issued the same day, both companies also recorded Bachchan as director. The companies had the same directors, including Bachchan, and officers," it said.
 
In response, Bachchan's office sent a rejoinder, which was also posted on his twitter account.
 
"On Panama disclosures, I wish to state that queries continue to be sent to me by the media. I would humbly request them to kindly direct these to the GOI (Government of India) where I, as a law abiding citizen, have already sent, and shall continue to send, my responses," the post said.
 
"I stand by my earlier statement on the ‘misuse of my name’ in the matter and in any event the press reports do not disclose any illegal act committed by me."
 
The Indian Express, based on Mossack Fonseca records, said Umesh Sahai of Jersey-based corporate service provider City Management (now Minerva Trust) was one of the founder-directors of the four shipping companies and that he had appointed Bachchan as director and managing director in 1993.
 
"He (Sahai) also signed the board resolutions that recorded Bachchan’s participation in the December 12, 1994, meetings. Sahai did not respond to emails and phone calls seeking his comment on Bachchan’s statement denying any knowledge of the companies," the newspaper said.
 
Bachchan's name cropped up in the reports as part of a global expose of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and over 100 global media organisations, based on millions of leaked documents of the Panama law firm Mossak Fonseca.
 
A high-level probe team has been constituted, with members drawn from the various agencies of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) based on the orders issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian authorities have already said not all off-shore funds need be illegitimate.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Maharashtra developer apologises to PM, CM for misusing their names
Pune : The Maple Group here on Thursday tendered its "sincere and deepest apologies" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat for creating wrong perceptions through advertisements for cheap homes.
 
"We express sincere and deepest apologies for any harm/inconvenience, caused to them due to the wrong perception caused by the advertisement. If there are some inadvertent mistakes, we are willing to take necessary corrective action," group CMD Sachin Agarwal said in a statement.
 
Agarwal added that the company has started refunding the application money against receipts from their head office, the amount of Rs.1150 which earlier treated as non-refundable.
 
The group would also issue appropriate media advertisements and clarifications to reconfirm that its projects are self-developed but the benefits of the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme, available to beneficiaries under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY), can be available direct from financial institutions.
 
The development came four days after the PMAY and the Maharashtra government ordered a probe into the claims made by Maple Group offering one-bedroom-hall-kitchen (1BHK) for only Rs.500,000.
 
The ads carrying pictures of Modi, Fadnavis and Bapat conveyed an impression that it was a government-sponsored scheme under PMAY, though in a cleverly-worded disclaimer, the Group said "it's a Maple Shelters initiative aligned to the PMAY and not a government scheme".
 
The allotment of 10,000 flats at 14 locations in and around Pune - by a lottery system - was expected to take place on "Maharashtra Housing Day" on May 1. 
 
"Maple Group regrets the confusion caused regarding Maharashtra Housing Day, we will refund the application fees," Agarwal said, adding the company would fully cooperate with the authorities in their probe but remained passionate about providing affordable homes to the masses.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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The Lawyer as Juggler
Most readers will know that there are two types of ‘court cases’, commonly called civil and criminal matters. In one, the respondent is called a defendant, and in the other, the accused. Since cases of the latter type involve penal provisions, they are more feared. But, often, both types are invoked simultaneously. What then are the options available to the defendant, who is also the accused?
 
The author’s favourite example is the OJ Simpson case. It involved the gruesome killing of OJ’s wife, Nicole Browne, and her boyfriend. The end result was that OJ was acquitted of the murder charge in a criminal trial; thanks to some fancy footwork by his defence team. However, later, the civil court fined OJ four million US dollars. The civil matter had followed the completion of the criminal trial.
 
Different trials have different rules. In civil matters, the usual decision is a matter of establishing rights, the claim or the ‘hukk’ as we would put it in Hindi. It calls for one party, the plaintiff, to ask for his rights as against the other party, the defendant. These demands can be true, frivolous, exorbitant or downright crooked. The court decides in whose favour the balance should tilt, but not before giving the other side the opportunity to air its views. Both sides give evidence and can be cross-examined. This is crucial to us.
 
It is a bit different in criminal cases. The accused is allowed to keep his peace. It is for the accuser to prove everything, every little bit. No help is given by the man in the dock. A small gap, an error, a miss, and the accused is let off. It has to be a clean ‘yes’ or ‘no’. No maybes. It is either a conviction beyond any reasonable doubt, or being let-off.
 
If a man has both, a criminal and civil case against him and he comes to court asking for one trial to be stalled, or ‘stayed’, till the other is over, what would you do?
 
You be the judge. 
 
Would you allow one trial to stop? Which one would you allow first? And why? The OJ way? Or the Indian way?
 
This is where the lawyer’s brain is most tested. He has to play with many balls up in the air and not drop a single one. In India, the common application is for a stay on the criminal proceedings; till the civil court decides. Is it a solution? And is it the right one? Will it allow the responding party more relief than compulsory attendance in court? Will time lost make any difference? Remember, in the civil trial, the defendant has to reply to certain claims. Even silence will be construed adversely. AND THE SAME EVIDENCE WILL BE USED AGAINST HIM IN THE CRIMINAL MATTER. The law allows it and we do use this strategy.
 
The rules allow for the judge’s discretion. Usually, and backed by past judgements, the courts refuse a stay, thereby not stalling the criminal trial. Would the judge then be right in allowing the civil matter to be halted, because the man might be forced to ‘self-incriminate’ himself in the civil case? This is where the smart lawyer shows his true understanding of the issues and takes the tough, but right, decisions.
 
And this is what OJ’s lawyer did. Four million dollars as opposed to the wired chair. Sit tight in the criminal matter, sow doubts about the evidence (in this case, the testing of blood samples on the glove), obtain an acquittal. Then, who cares what happens in the civil proceedings?
   
But some lawyers think differently. Maybe they wish to prolong the civil trial as much as possible. Maybe it is no more than a knee-jerk decision, showing the persistent client that he is on the ball. Closer examination, and deeper reflection, may show that this tactic is counterproductive. 
Yet, it is best to let your lawyer do his job, unimpeded. Remember, you can run, but you cannot hide.

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COMMENTS

Bapoo Malcolm

1 year ago

Thanks, M Param. Hope you never have to go to court, except to appreciate the architecture. All the High Courts are great buildings. Except the Supreme Court. God, is it lousy in its design. And vaastushastra-wise, it has to be a disaster. A round building! Like the Houses of Parliament.

If you could not fathom the intricacies of the article, SORRY. Two reasons, a) I am a poor writer and b) The 600 word limit; I normally exceed that.

Will try to write a fuller article ....... some day!!! But there is so much more to write on and about. One opens any book, any page, and there's a story. That's the beauty of law. But will try. Pray for me.

REPLY

Param

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 1 year ago

dear sir, your writing is spot on... my limited understanding of the nuances of civil v/s criminal cases is thankfully due to no exposure to courts :)
fact is - competence, commitment & communication in any profession is hard to find. happy to see people like you around...
keep writing.

Param

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 1 year ago

dear sir, your writing is spot on... my limited understanding of the nuances of civil v/s criminal cases is thankfully due to no exposure to courts :)
fact is - competence, commitment & communication in any profession is hard to find. happy to see people like you around...
keep writing.

Param

1 year ago

i can't claim to have understood the nuances in the article, but i do know whom to call if i ever get into a court case :)

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