Speak Asia Court Case Roundup – Mon 12th Dec 2011
Today was a big day for Speak Asia related matters in court. With 5 separate cases to be heard across two courts, and winter holidays just around the corner it was hoped that today’s hearings would present some clarification on recent legal events surrounding the company.
We’re still waiting on updates on the two Supreme Court hearings, but thus far the results have come in for the Mumbai High Court hearings today.
AISPA President Melvin Crasto’s bail application
Having applied for bail since last Wednesday and with the EOW and Crasto’s lawyer(s) putting forth the arguments for and against bail, the court denied Crasto’s bail application and once again remanded him into custody.
At this stage I’m still not sure what the EOW have on him but obviously it’s serious enough that the courts feel releasing Crasto on bail is risky.
Update 14th December, 2011 – I received this update via email;
Police say Crasto has received 23 lakh ($43,217 USD) in his Bank account directly from Speak Asia
Police say Crasto is like a promoter of Speak Asia as he is one of the first panelists and certainly knew that there were no customers for the surveys.
This hasn’t been confirmed from another source yet but does seem damning enough for the EOW to get custody of Crasto for three weeks and the court to deny him bail.
All signs currently point to the EOW getting closer and closer to what’s left of the Indian management side of things. /end update
Speak Asia’s writs 3210 & 3211
Speak Asia had filed two writs, one seeking quash FIR’s lodged against it in the Raigad (writ 3210) and Thane (writ 3211) Districts.
Both cases were not heard today and once again were adjourned without a hearing until the 5th January, 2012.
Solomon James writ 383 in Supreme Court (Lahoti Committee)
Don’t have any specifics on the Lahoti hearing, but apparently once again the EOW et al didn’t show (not confirmed).
No surprises there seeing as the James writ is civil and they’re busy investigating and dealing with the criminal matters involving Speak Asia.
Update 16th December, 2011 – The court order for the 12th December hearing is up and is showing the following advocates for the respondents;
Ms. Jyoth Singh,Adv.
Mr. Vikas Mehta,Adv.
Ms. Aditi Bhat,Adv.
Mr. Vivek Singh,Adv.
Although the document doesn’t state who they are representing (the EOW or someone else?).
Regarding the order, this hearing was heard in chambers and it appears the judge has ordered it to be listed again for hearing in an actual court session;
List the application along with the main matter.
This chambers session was to hear an application for impleadment and ‘office report (from Lahoti?)… and if I didn’t know any better I’d say the party wishing to implead themselves (AISPA?) tried to weasel in through a chambers hearing. A judge seems to have knocked this back and ordered a proper court hearing for the impleadment application to be be heard instead.
It is curious that the main matter (the James writ petition itself) is listed for hearing on the same date. This would indicate the Lahoti Committee has run its course but there’s been no confirmation of this either way as of yet. /end update
Update 3rd January, 2011 – The mediation process is confirmed completed and Lahoti has handed in his mediation report according to the latest update from the Supreme Court.
In accordance with the last order stating that the Solomon James writ 383 be listed for hearing once this happens, the Supreme Court has listed the next hearing for next Monday, the 9th January 2012. /end update
Speak Asia vs CID Supreme Court Case
Regarding the Speak Asia vs CID case, from the looks of it it’s in shambles.
The CID didn’t even rock up, and that’s not because they were deliberately a no show, it’s because there’s a huge question mark over whether they were even served notice or not.
When Speak Asia’s lawyer was asked about whether or not the CID were even served notice to attend, he said
he is proxy counsel and he was simply informed that process fee is paid and therefore, he is unable to help the judicial process to see that how respondents can be served at the earliest, when it was inquired that who are unserved respondents and how to serve them at the earliest.
The use of the word ‘proxy counsel’ is interesting as it gives the lawyer no authorisation to act on Speak Asia’s behalf in legal matters. All a proxy lawyer can do is vote on matters (why do you need to vote in a court room?).
Apparently Speak Asia couldn’t afford a proper legal team for this case and just sent in the proxies… who subsequently were of no help when the judge asked why the CID had not been served notice to attend.
From the looks of it someone was served at the hearing itself, but Speak Asia needs to verify if this person ‘is an officer of the state or not‘.
Unfortunately due to only having proxy lawyers in court, Speak Asia’s present lawyers were ‘unable to help the judicial process‘.
So as it stands the serving of the CID may or may not be legitimate. Speak Asia will have to clarify this before the next hearing date.
Meanwhile the judge ridiculed Speak Asia over the serving of notice to respondent number two, identified as a ‘ private party and probably the original complainant‘ (original complainant = FIR, so we’re talking possibly Kkhosla I think?).
Given that this matter is currently being investigated by the CID, the judge reasoned that
it would be easy for the petitioner to confirm service upon unserved respondent No.2 at least through the Trial Court or through the Investigating Agency, where some proceedings are pending.
Speak Asia of course in their wisdom and despite hiring ‘the best lawyers in India’, had not served this notice. And so with neither the CID or the 2nd respondent being properly served, the whole hearing was a gigantic waste of time.
The judge has given Speak Asia additional time to serve both parties properly to ensure their attendance by the 7th of January 2012. If notices are properly served by this date the matter is to be listed for hearing on the 21st February, 2012.
February 2012? So much for stopping the CID and/or EOW from criminally investigating the company…
It’s interesting that the court wasn’t interested in hearing Speak Asia’s attempts to stop criminal proceedings in the High Court, I can only imagine a similar outcome occurred in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile a big question mark looms over what the EOW have on AISPA President Melvin Crasto. ‘Simple panelists’ are not held on evidence for 3 weeks in custody and repeatedly denied bail.
The Supreme Court hearing of Speak Asia vs. the CID, in which Speak Asia are seeking to stop the CID (and presumably other government authorities) from criminally investigating the company was appallingly handled. Despite being in the system for months, Speak Asia’s failed to even properly serve the involved parties when they filed their appeal.
With serving a party being a pretty simple and standard prerequisite for a court case, the quality of legal counsel Speak Asia are employing surely comes into question. Not withstanding them mention of proxy lawyers in the court room.
I mean really, what’s the point of having a proxy advocate at a hearing if they can’t legally act or make any decisions for you?