Oil-for-food scam: No reprieve to Vipin Khanna

NRI businessman Vipin Khanna facing the heat in the Volcker scandal for allegedly receiving money in the oil-for-food deal today failed to get any reprieve from the Supreme Court which declined to concede his request to direct authorities to release his passport.

Vipin, Aditya Khanna's father, had requested the court to direct the investigative agency to release his passport, which had been impounded, saying he stood the risk of loosing his NRI status if he did not return to UK by September end.

This request was opposed by the Centre, which said that he was powerful enough to influence agencies around the world. For the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that during the probe, Enforcement Directorate had tried to collect some evidence from the Attorney General of Jersey, Channel Islanda. "However, these efforts by the ED were sought to be thwarted by the petitioner (Vipin) who in his communication to Islanda questioned the assistance being given to the investigation in India by the Attorney General of Jersey."

"This conduct of the petitioner clearly shows that he is capable of not only tampering with the documents but has actually hampered the investigations made by the ED," the ASG submitted.

It was also found that one of the firms from which Vipin allegedly received money in the oil-for-food scam, C L Law Trust Group, had been dealing in arms supply to Pakistan. Some of these remittances even raised serious concerns on national security and a probe had been ordered on this angle, he said, adding this was in addition to the Volcker-related investigations.

The ASG sought eight more weeks to wrap-up the probe.

Bharati petitions SC for video-conferencing

In a curious turn of events, Bharati Yadav, prime witness in the Nitish Katara murder case, approached the Supreme Court on Friday seeking permission to be examined via video-conferencing. In her petition, Bharati said she was not in a position to return to India at this point because of her exams and also because of the media hype. The petition will come up for hearing on September 22.

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