New Delhi : The Respondent No.02, Mantoo Sharma, in his Counter-Affidavit , to the Supreme Court of India, has accused the Chairperson of M/S The Hindustan Times Limited(New Delhi) of cunningly declaring the Munger and Bhagalpur publications/editions of Dainik Hindustan 'Registered ones',fraudulently printing the Registration Number -RNI No.44348/1986 (that is allocated to the Patna publication/edition of Dainik Hindustan by the Press Registrar, New Delhi) on the Print-lines of the publications/editions of Muner and Bhagalpur, publishing the government advertisements of the Union and the state governments and receiving the payment against the published government advertisements from the government treasury illegally, amounting to Rs.200 crore from August,03,2001 to June 30,2011( a period of nine years and eleven months approximately).
Besides, the Respondent No.02,Mantoo Sharma has told the Supreme Court that the petitioner,Shobhana Bharatia has done 'manipulation,' 'fraud,' and ' tampering of document' in the filing of the first 'Declaration' before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur as documentary evidences show.
The Respondent No.02, Mantoo Sharma, says in his Counter- Affidavit in his para no.02 ,
"That the petitioner in the S.L.P(Criminal) No. 1603 of 2013, in the para No. 02(a) and 2(b) has clearly admitted her offence that M/S Hindustan Times Limited (New Delhi) began printing a Hindi daily ' Hindustan' from Bhagalpur in Bihar from August ,03, 2001 and filedthe requisite Declarations on 12 October, 2001, 10 June,2010 and 30 June 2011. The petitioner has further annexed the letter of theDistrict Magistrate(Bhagalpur), addressed to the Director, Information & Public Rleations Department,Bihar,Patna, confirming the beginning of the printing of the Hindi daily ' Hindustan' from Bhagalpur from August ,03,2001 and the first 'Declaration' has been received in the office of the District Magistate,Bhagalpur on August, 02, 2001.But ,on perusal of the documents, submitted in the Supreme Court by the petitioner as Annexure -P1, the date of filing thesaid first 'Declaration' is ' Nil' and the date of authentication of the first ' Declaration' by the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur is
12 October, 2001.
The date of filing 'Declaration' ,being undated , before the District Magistrate, Bhagalpur raises several questions over its genuineness. Thus , there are sharp contradictions in the date of filing the first Declaration before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur as the petitioner herself, in her petition, says ' October, 12,2001' as the date of filing the first 'Declaration' before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur, while the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur , in the petitioner's Annexure -P2, mentions 'August ,02,2001' as the date of filing first' Declaration' and theannexed document of first 'Declaration' of the petitioner as Annexure -P1 is 'undated'.
As the petitioner has filed the first undated
'Declaration' after the start of the printing ofthe daily ' Hindustan' from the new printing press at Jeevan Sagar Times Private Limited, Lower Nath Nagar Road, Parbatti, Bhagalpur, it is in the total violation of the Section 5(3) and 5- (2-C) of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.Besides, filing the first undated' Declaration' raises the questions over its genuineness.
The Section 5 (2-C) of the Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867 clearly states :-
"A declaration in respect of a newspaper made under rule 5(2) and authenticated under section 06 shall be necessary before the newspaper can be published.'
Besides, the Section 5(3) of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 clearly states,
"As often as the place of printing or publication is changed, a new declaration shall be necessary."
(Annexure – B)
It means that the company should have got its Declaration authenticated by the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur before the start of the printing and publication of the Bhagalpur edition/publication ofthe daily' Hindustan' but it was not done ,thus violating the mandatory provisions of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
In this context, I will also like to mention the related
content of the Bihar CAC's Report No.-195/ 2005-06 in which the CAC"s report in the petitioner 's Annexure -P3 on page no. 53 in line 22,has mentioned "11-12-2003" as the date of filing the 'first Declaration'before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur .
All these contradictions in the date of filing the 'first Declaration' before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur clearly show 'manipulation,' 'fraud' and' tampering of document' by the petitioner in a bid to escape the jaws of law.
Moreover, only submission of the 'Declaration' before the District Magistrate,Bhagalpur, does now mean that the company M/S Hindustan Times Limited(New Delhi) has got ' the Certificate of Registration' under Section 19 -C of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 and " the Registration Number'' under Section 7(2) of the Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956 for the printing / publication of the existing daily' Hindustan' from the new printing press at Bhagalpur.
It is important to mention that till the receipt of the" Certificate of Registration" and the " Registration Number" from the office of the Press Registrar, Information & Broadcasting Ministry, New Delhi, the Company, M/S the Hindustan Times Limited, that prints and publishes the existing daily "
Hindustan" from the new printing station at Bhagalpur, was not legally entitled to declare its Bhagalpur edition/publication ' a Registered Newspaper' and to claim the publication of the Government Advertisements" from the Union Government and the Bihar Government as well. Besides, the Company , under the circumstances, should have printed " Applied For" at the place of the 'Registration Number' on the 'Print-line of the newspaper.
Here, it is also important to mention that the petitioner and others also print, publish and circulate " Munger Edition/Publication'' of the existing daily " Hindustan'' from the same Bhagalpur Printing Press for the readers of the Munger districtin the Munger district with more and more news of the different parts of the Munger district.But the petitioner and others cunningly declared theBhagalpur and Munger editions/publications of the daily 'Hindustan' ' Registered ones" , fraudulently printed the ''Registration Number -RNI No.-44348/1986'' ( that is allocated to the Patna edition of Hindustan) on the''Print-lines'' of the ''Bhagalpur and Munger editions/publications'' of the daily ' Hindustan" from August 03,2001 to June 30, 2011 (a period of nine years and eleven months approximately ) continuously and published the Government Advertisements of the Union Government and the Bihar Government and thus received payment from the government treasury, amounting to about rupees 200 crores.
Named accused persons in this world famous forgery and cheating case:
On the order of the Hon'ble Chief Judicial Magistrate, Munger, the Munger Kotwali police have lodged an F.I.R against (1) Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson, M/S Hindustan Publication Group,New Delhi,(2)Shashi Shekhar, Chief Editor, ,Dainik Hindustan, New Delhi, (3) Aaku Srivastawa, Acting Editor, Dainik Hindustan,Patna,(4) Binod Bandhu, Regional Editor, Dainik Hindustan,Bhagalpur edition under sections 420/471/476 of IPC and Sections 8(B)/14/15 of The Press & Registration of Books Act, 1867. They have been accused of using the wrong Registration Number and getting crores and crores of rupees in the "Advertisement -Head" after obtaining the govt. advertisements from the state as well as the union government by presenting forged documents of "Registration" before the Govt. Advertisement Releasing agencies.(EOM)
ShriKrishna Prasad, Advocate