HT Advertisement Scandal : SC fixes July 29 next date for filing the Counter-Affidavit

New Delhi. The Supreme Court of India(New Delhi) has fixed July,29,13 the next date for filing the counter-affidavit in the Petition For Special Leave To Appeal(Criminal) No.1603 of 2013 (Shobhana Bharatia Vs State of Bihar) in connection with the 200 crore Dainik Hindustan Government Advertisement Scandal of Bihar.

On April,29, 2013, the Respondent No.02, Mantu Sharma appeared in person before the Supreme Court(the court of Registrar -II), New Delhi.The lawyer,ShriKrishna Prasad,from Munger(Bihar), while assisting the Respondent No.-02,Mantu Sharma, before the Hon'ble Supreme Court pleaded for granting enough time to file the counter-affidavit in the court in this instant case.

The Hon'ble Court of the Registrar-II(Supreme Court of India) was pleased to fix July,29,13 next date for filing the counter-affidavit in this case.

" My Lord, the Respondent No.-02,Mantu Sharma, belongs to Munger, a remote district of India in Bihar and I pray to the Hon'ble Court to give sufficient time for filing the Counter-Affidavit in this case,'' argued the lawyer ,ShriKrishna Prasad in the court of the Hon'ble Registrar-II on April,29 ,13 last.

"Who is the Respondent No.02 in the court ?' the Court asked.

"My Lord, I am Mantu Sharma,the Respondent No.02,"" the Respondent No.02,Mantu Sharma said in the court of the Registrar II in the Supreme Court of India on the very date.

It may be noted that the Hon'ble Mr. Justice H.L.Dattu and Mr. Justice Dipak Misra have on March, 05, 13, passd the following order in the Munger Kotwali P.S case No. 445/ 2011, dated 18-11-2011."

"There shall be interim stay of further proceedings in F.I.R No.-445/2011, dated 18-11-2011 under sections 8(B)/14/15 of The Press & Registraton of Books Act, 1867 read with sections 420/471/476 of The Indian Penal Code,1860 and the proceedings emanating thereto, until further orders.""

What is in the Munger (Bihar) F.I.R No.-445/2011?

All the named accused persons in the F.I.R No.-445/2011, allegedly started printing and publishing the Munger and the Bhagalpur editions of Dainik Hindustan from the Bhagalpur based new printing station(location) from August, 03,2001 to June,30,2011.The accused persons had to get the new Certificate of Registration" and "The Registration No." from the Press Registrar(New Delhi)for printing and publishing new Munger and Bhagalpur editions from the new printing press under the Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867. But, the accused persons didn't obtain 'the Certificate of Registration' and "The Registration Number' from the Press Registrar(New Delhi) and fraudulently published the Registration Number of the Patna edition of Dainik Hindustan(R.N.I No.44348 /1986) on the print-line of Dainik Hindustan of Munger and Bhagalpur editions in a bid to get the government advertisements of the Bihar government and the Union Government.

In this way, all the accused persons illegally printed and published the Munger and the Bhagalpur editions of Dainik Hindustan and caused a loss of about 200 crores to the government revenue by publishing the government advertisements from August 03, 2001 to June, 30,2011.

Accused persons in the Munger(Bihar) Kotwali P.S case No.445/2011, include (1) Shobhana Bharatia(Chairperson, The Hindustan Times Limited/Mess.H.T.Media Limited/Mess Hindustan Media Ventures Limited,New Delhi), (2) Shashi Shekhar( Chief Editor, Dainik Hindustan, New Delhi,(3) Aku Srivastawa(Regional Editor,Patna Edition,Dainik Hindustan), (4) Binod Bandhu( Regional Editor, Bhagalpur Edition, Dainik Hindustan,Bhagalpur), and (5) Amit Chopra(Printer and Publisher,Dainik Hindustan).

What happened in the Patna High Court?

The Hon'ble Justice of the Patna High Court ,Justice Anjana Prakash, on Dec. 17,2012, passed an order directing the Munger police to complete the police investigation within three months from the date of the judgement in the Munger Kotwali PS case No. 445/2011.

What is in the Enquiry Report of the then District Magistrate,Munger(Bihar), Kuldeep Narayan?

The then District Magistrate of Munger, Mr.Kuldeep Narayan, in his enquiry-report to the Patna High Court, ha s also exposed the scandal of printing and publishing the Munger,Lakhisarai and Bhagalpur and other district editions of Dainik Hindustan with totally different news and different advertisements ,thus being different newspapers,but publishing the same Registration Number. "All different newspapers of Dainik Hindustan should have different Registration Numbers," the D.M. opined in his enquiry -report to the Patna High Court.

What are in the Supervision -Reports?

The then Police Superintendent,P.Kannan and the Deputy Police Superintendent,A.K.Panchalar have found all allegations 'Prima-facie true' against all named accused persons under sections 8(B)/14/15 of the Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867 and sections 420/471/476 of the Indian Penal Code in the Munger(Bihar) Kotwali P.S Case No. 445/2011.

The Munger police ignores the Patna High Court order?

In the wake of the Patna High Court order, the Munger police had to complete the police investigation in the Munger(Bihar) Kotwali P.S case No. 445/2011 before the March,17, 2013. But, till reporting, the Munger Police have not honoured the order of the Patna High Court and have not completed the police invstigations so far.

Report by Kashi Prasad.

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