Tripura gets special courts for crimes against women

The Tripura High Court has constituted two fast track courts to deal with cases of crime against women following a request from the State government, an official said in Agartala on Friday.

A notification issued by the Tripura High Court’s Registrar General, Manik Chakraborty, said all pending cases of crimes against women will be transferred to these two courts.

“The Tripura High Court has declared the West Tripura Additional District and Session Judge Court and the first class judicial magistrate court in Agartala as two separate fast track courts,” Mr. Chakraborty said.

Tripura Law and School Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty said that after the December 16, 2012 rape incident in New Delhi, the Union Law Minister had requested Chief Ministers of all states to take steps to set up fast track courts for speedy trial of cases of crimes against women.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said the strength of women police personnel would be increased to 20 percent from the current eight percent of the total police personnel to deal with crimes against women.

“The Tripura government would set up all-women police stations in each of the eight districts in the state, and subsequently, in each of the 23 sub-divisions. Currently, three all-women police stations are working, another one would start soon in the state,” Mr. Sarkar said at a meeting on Thursday.

Mr. Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio, said there are special women desks in all the 67 police stations across Tripura to deal with cases of crimes against women.

Following an increase in incidents of crimes against women, the Tripura government had held an all-party meeting here June last and finalised multi-pronged strategies to check the menace.

(Source: IANS)

Pakistan court dismisses petition against ISI

A court in Pakistan has dismissed a petition filed by the civilian officials of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) over the agency’s slow and discriminatory promotion process, a media report said Friday.

Islamabad High Court’s Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi dismissed the plea Thursday, declaring it as non-maintainable and asked the petitioners to approach the Federal Services Tribunal to file their grievances, reported the News International.

Counsel for the petitioners said that the status of the ISI ivilian employees was not clear and there was only a one-liner budget for these employees, the report said.

ISI counsel presented a sealed confidential report before the court according to which the spy agency acquired the services of these employees.

ISI counsel also argued that promotion was not the right of these employees and rather based on the sole discretion of the authorities, the report added.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge dismissed the case.

Earlier, ISI’s 34 civilian inspectors filed a petition in June this year alleging that the spy agency’s “slow and discriminatory promotion process” had led to an uncertainty over their status.

During the last hearing of the case, the court directed ISI counsel to brief the court on the agency’s service structure so that the fate of the petitioners could be decided.

In its reply, the ISI said the service structure of the agency was a confidential matter and could not be disclosed.

The court, however, noted that the grievance of the petitioners could not be overlooked for the sake of confidentiality.

(Source: IANS)

13 get life term for terror camp hiring

An NIA special court on Friday sentenced 13 people to life imprisonment on charges of recruiting young men from Kerala for terrorist camps in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) special judge S. Vijayakumar had Tuesday held the 13 guilty of waging war against the nation but let off five others for lack of evidence.

Of the 13, four were handed out a double life term. They included T. Nazeer, the self-styled south India chief of the terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The case came to light in 2008 when four Kerala youths were shot dead by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Nazeer was arrested in 2009 close to the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya.

Nazeer is already serving a life sentence for the 2006 Kozhikode twin bomb blasts.
(Source: IANS)

Rajasthan minister rape case: Police submit progress report

A medical examination was conducted on Nagar by a team of doctors at SMS Hospital Saturday. The doctors took his blood and semen samples for a DNA test.

Police on Thursday submitted to court the progress report on the investigation conducted so far into the case of rape registered against former Rajasthan minister Babu Lal Nagar, a lawyer said.

The court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate (9) had sought the progress report when the 35-year-old woman who accused Nagar of rape approached it Oct 1 demanding a fresh medical examination of the former minister, said the woman’s lawyer Gyan Singh.

“In compliance with the directions, the criminal investigation department – crime branch today (Thursday) submitted the progress report. In the report, the investigation officer apprised the court of probe conducted so far including recording the statement of the complainant before a magistrate,” said Singh.

He added that the court has asked the investigation officer to submit another progress report on Oct 11.

“In the application, the rape victim has stated that she fears the blood samples taken during a medical examination may have been swapped in connivance with doctors,” the lawyer said.

A medical examination was conducted on Nagar by a team of doctors at SMS Hospital Saturday. The doctors took his blood and semen samples for a DNA test.

Gyan Singh said the woman has demanded that the medical examination be conducted again in the presence of a magistrate.

Nagar, who was minister of state for dairy and rural industries, was accused by the woman of raping her at his government bungalow here Sep 11. He resigned Sep 20.

(Source: IANS)

Compensate dead Rajasthan prisoner’s kin: NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Thursday asked Rajasthan government to pay monetary relief of Rs.2 lakh to the next of kin of a jail inmate, who committed suicide during judicial custody in Bikaner jail.

“The commission has also sought compliance report along with proof of payment within six weeks,” said a NHRC official.

“Earlier, in response to the commission’s notices, the additional chief secretary, home department of Rajasthan government confirmed the incident and accepted the lapse of jail staff,” he added.

He also said that the state government does not have any objection for payment of monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased, Suresh.

The Commission took cognizance of the incident on an intimation received from superintendent at central prison in Bikaner about the incident.

Suresh was serving sentence for life imprisonment for torturing and killing his wife. He was a resident of village Role in Bikaner, the official added.

(Source: IANS)

Sharif seeks stringent anti-terrorism laws

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday called for stringent anti-terror laws in the country so that those involved in such activities are punished.

Chairing a meeting of the Anti-Terrorism Legislation at PM House here, Sharif said that the lacunaes in the country’s anti-terror laws should be removed, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.

“There should be no gap and loophole in the anti-terrorism laws which allow the terrorists to get away with dreadful crimes,” Sharif said.

“We need strong, transparent but stringent laws to cope with the menace of terrorism. The required amendments must be finalised as soon as possible”, he added.

The prime minister underlined the need for amending the existing laws so that people involved in brutal and inhuman activities are bought to book and penalised under the laws of the land.

The meeting was also attended by Minister for Interior Chudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Parvaiz Rasheed, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and senior officials of the prime minister’s office.

(Source:IANS)

Cash-for-vote-scam: Order reserved on framing of charges

A Delhi court on Thursday reserved its order on framing of charges in the 2008 cash-for-vote-scam involving former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and two BJP MPs.

Special Judge Narottam Kaushal reserved for October 19 order on framing of charges “October 19 for orders,” the judge said.

During the arguments on framing of charges, Amar Singh had sought discharge from the case, saying there was no evidence to show that he had induced BJP MPs to cross vote in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008 in return for money.

The Delhi Police, in its first charge sheet filed in August 2011, had accused Mr. Singh and L K Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” the cast-for-vote scam to bribe some MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Besides Mr. Singh and Mr. Kulkarni, BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste and former MP Mahabir Singh Bhagora Sanjeev Saxena, Mr. Singh’s former aide and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani are accused in the case.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation by a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.

All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

During the arguments, police had rejected the claim of the accused that it was a whistleblowing operation or a sting and said that this plea was rejected by the Parliamentary inquiry committee.

Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora had earlier claimed it was a sting operation to highlight horse trading in Parliament ahead of the July 22, 2008 trust vote.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh was also made an accused in the case by the trial court which had said there was sufficient material to show that he was part of the alleged criminal conspiracy.

The Delhi High Court, however, had quashed the trial court’s order making Mr. Singh an accused in the case.

The order of the high court had come on Mr. Singh’s petition challenging the special court’s order making him an accused in the case and issuing summons against him despite a clean chit given to him by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

(Source:IANS)

Eight get life sentence in Hindu leader’s killing

Eight convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Phulbani additional district and session’s court in Kandhamal on Thursday for the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati.

The Additional District Judge (ADJ) Rajendra Kumar Tosh, pronounced the judgements.

The accused included the seven who had been convicted by the same court on Sept 30. On Oct 1, a Maoist from Andhra Pradesh had been convicted by the Phulbani additional district and session’s court, while one accused in the case had been acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The seven persons sentenced to life imprisonment were Duryodhan Sanamajhi, Munda Badamajhi, Sanatan Badmajhi, .Garnath Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Sanseth, Bhaskar Sunamajhi and Buddhadev Nayak. The convicted Maoist was Paluri Rama Rao alias Uday.

Speaking to The Hindu, the lawyer for prosecution, Anil Kumar Pradhan said the court had come to the conclusion that there was ample evidence against these convicts after examining forensic reports and cross-examining 52 witnesses. But the lawyer for defence, S.K.Padhi said there was not ample evidence against the convicts and hence they would go for an appeal.

As per the charge sheet, a total of 14 persons were involved in the murder of the VHP leader and his four associates at his Jalaspata ashram in Kandhamal district on the night of Aug. 23, 2008. The court has till date pronounced judgment regarding nine accused in the case. Another Maoist accused in the case, Azad alias D. Keshava Rao is now lodged in Nayagarh jail. Police are still searching for four other accused, including Sabyasachi Panda, the Odisha Maoist leader who has been expelled from the CPI (Maoist) organization in 2012.

The murder of the VHP leader and his associates led violent communal clashes in the district. At least 38 persons were killed and hundreds rendered homeless. Given the senstive nature of the verdict, security was tight in all communally senstive areas of Kandhamal, DIG of police, Amitabh Thakur said. Peace meetings with leaders of different communities had also been initiated in parts of Kandhamal district for maintenance of law and order.

(Source: IANS)

Court unhappy over less women in Delhi Police

The Delhi High Court Thursday expressed its anguish at the inadequate number of women police personnel and said that at least 50 percent posts should be filled by women.

A bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan said: “Knowing well that the incidents (relating to lack of safety of women) are happening in the city, at least 50 percent of the posts should be filled by women police personnel.”

Referring to a police report giving detail about the total number personnel in the force, the bench said: “To reach 30 percent reservation for women, it will take 10 years.”

Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan, appearing for police, admitted that the ratio of men to women in Delhi Police is “less than 6 percent”.
The court had earlier asked police to file an affidavit disclosing the number of vacancies of assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors and inspectors, including the number of women personnel.

Going by the affidavit of Delhi government, stating that the state-run forensic laboratory in Rohini gets a large number cases for examination and takes years to examine a case and send a report, the bench expressed its displeasure over the delay.

“If the forensic lab takes years to examine a case and send a report, how do you expect the courts to dispose of the criminal case,” the bench asked counsel appearing for the city government.

In its affidavit, the government said: “In view of pendency of case exhibits, at present a case for examination comes in 2 years in chemistry division, 3-4 years in DNA division and 5 years in documentation.”

As of Aug 31, 2013, a total number of 10,332 cases are pending but manpower, space and other infrastructure facilities have not increased proportionally, according to the affidavit.

The government has decided to establish three regional FSLs in view of large number of cases but the Delhi Development Authority is yet to sanction the land, the affidavit added.

The court also asked the lieutenant governor (LG), who is DDA chairman, to hold a meeting with other concerned departments to address the land issues and also shortage of staff and inadequate infrastructure.

The court had asked the central and Delhi governments to file affidavits disclosing the number of forensic laboratories in the city and the time taken by them in sending report in each case.

Taking suo-moto cognizance of the continued lack of safety of women in the city post-Dec 16 gang rape incident, the court also directed the central government to apprise it of the steps taken to sensitise the public on issues relating to women safety.
(Source: IANS)

Arguments begin on sentencing of Lalu Prasad

A special CBI court on Thursday will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, held guilty for illegal withdrawal of millions of rupees from the then undivided Bihar’s animal husbandry department in the early 1990s, in what is popularly known as the fodder scam.

The sentence will be pronounced through videoconferencing. Lalu Prasad is currently in Birsa Munda central jail in Ranchi.

Arguments on the quantum of punishment by defence lawyers Chitranjan Sinha and Pravash Kumar as well as the prosecutor’s counsel BMP Singh began around 11.30 pm. Special Judge Pravas Kumar Singh will pronounce the sentence at 2.30 pm.

On Monday, the court had brought to end one of India’s longest-running corruption cases when it convicted Lalu and 44 others for forgery, cheating, falsification of accounts and conspiracy, among other offences, and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.The former Bihar chief minister faces a maximum of seven-year jail.

Special Judge Pravas Kumar Singh will pronounce the quantum of sentence against Lalu Prasad and 37 convicts today. Eight convicts were sentenced on Monday itself.

Those convicted also included former chief minister Jagannath Mishra of the Congress and Janata Dal-United MP Jagdish Sharma, for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 377 million from the district treasury in Chaibasa, now in Jharkhand after the state’s division in 2000.

The case is related to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of money from the treasury during 1994-95 using forged letters and spurious bills, raised without the actual supply of medicines, instruments, maize and groundnut cake to the husbandry officer of Chaibasa, the CBI said.

The CBI registered the case on March 27, 1996 on the apex court’s direction and took over investigation in the case, earlier registered by Bihar Police at Chaibasa Police Station on February 02, 1996.

Lalu Prasad quit the chief minister’s post in 1997 when his name figured in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the scam.

Around 54 of the 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand from Bihar. Different CBI courts have passed judgments in more than 43 cases. Lalu Prasad and Mishra were named as accused in five cases.
(Source: IANS)