Court orders CBI to conduct probe against Bihar CM in shelter home case

A court here has directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior bureaucrats in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

The special POCSO court here passed the order on Friday on an application filed by an accused, Ashwani, a self-styled medical practitioner who allegedly used to inject the home’s inmates with sedatives before they were subjected to sexual abuse.

Ashwani had alleged in his petition that the CBI was “suppressing facts” in course of the investigation which would come to light if the roles of former DM, Muzaffarpur, Dharmendra Singh, senior IAS officer Atul Kumar Singh, former divisional commissioner of Muzaffarpur and currently principal secretary, the Social Welfare Department, and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were probed.

POCSO judge Manoj Kumar directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry against them.

The trial in the high-profile case was transferred vide order dated February 7 by the Supreme Court to the Special POCSO court at Saket in Delhi where hearing is likely to commence from next week, CBI sources said.

Malayalam actor granted conditional bail

Malayalam actor granted conditional bail
Malayalam actor granted conditional bail

Malayalam actor Sreejit Ravi, who was arrested after a complaint by school girls that he had behaved indecently, was today granted conditional bail by a court here.

Additional District Court judge K P Indira granted bail to the actor on the condition that he deposits Rs one lakh and two solvent surieties of the like amount, surrenders his passport and appears before the investigating officer every week.

Ravi was arrested under IPC Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of women) and POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual offences) Act from a film shooting location at Ottapalam here yesterday.

The action followed after girls complained to their principal that the actor had taken their photo in his mobile and allegedly made indecent gestures while they were on their way to school, police said.

The girls had noted the number of the car and it was found to be that of Ravi, who, however, has denied the allegations.

( Source – PTI )

Halt POSCO project, say UN rights experts

The construction of a mega steel plant in Odisha should be halted immediately, UN independent rights experts have urged, citing serious human rights concerns.

The project reportedly threatens to displace over 22,000 people in Jagatsinghpur district, and disrupt the livelihood of many thousands more in the surrounding area, a statement said.

“The construction of a massive steel plant and port in Odisha by multinational steel corporation POSCO must not proceed as planned without ensuring adequate safeguards and guaranteeing that the rights of the thousands of people are respected,” the group of eight experts stressed.

While India has the primary duty to protect the rights of those whose homes and livelihood are threatened by the project, the experts underlined that “POSCO also has a responsibility to respect human rights”.

They said that South Korea, where POSCO is based, “should also take measures to ensure that businesses based in its territory do not adversely impact human rights when operating abroad”.

“Forced evictions constitute gross violations of human rights,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik.

“(It) may only be carried out in exceptional circumstances and in a manner consistent with human rights law, including after a genuine consultation, without leaving people homeless or vulnerable to further human rights violations,” he said.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, warned that the forcible removal of people from their lands could be tantamount to depriving them of their means of subsistence.

“People who would be evicted for the POSCO project have relied on their lands for generations in order to obtain adequate food and sustain themselves and their families,” he said.

(Source: IANS)

SC sets aside Orissa HC order on iron ore licence to Posco

Orissa high court order has set aside by the Supreme Court which had quashed state government’s petition to allot iron ore licence to South Korean steel major Posco in Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district for a multi-crore steel plant.

A bench headed by Justice RM Lodha asked the Centre to consider all the objections raised by various parties pertaining to the mega steel plant and take a decision.

The court was hearing cross appeals filed by the state government and a mine and mineral company challenging the Orissa high court’s order on the issue of iron ore mines.

The state government of Orissa and Geomin Minerals & Marketing Limited had challenged the orders of the Orissa high court which has quashed the notification issuing iron ore mining in over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district in Orissa to Posco.

The high court, on July 14, 2010 on the petition of Geomin Minerals, had set aside the state government’s decision.

Geomin Minerals had contended before the high court that it had applied for the prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines much before Posco.

The high court had set aside the notification issued by the state government in 1962 reserving all mineral bearing land for exploitation within Orissa and take a fresh decision on it.

The high court had further said that all mineral bearing land reserved by the state government prior to 1987, without the approval of the central government would not be deemed to have never been reserved.

The Orissa government, which had moved the apex court, on October 29, 2010 on this issue, had contended that the high court could not have quashed the state government’s grant of licence to Posco as it was under section 11 (5) of Mines And Minerals (Development And Regulation) Act, 1957.

The Orissa government had further contended that Section 11 (5) gives power to the state government to “grant a reconnaissance permit, prospecting license or mining lease, as the case may be, to an applicant whose application was received later in preference to an application whose application was received earlier”.

The state government in January 2009 had recommended Posco to the central government for granting prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore reserves.

This was challenged by Geomin and later 16 other firms who have also applied for mining leases also intervened.

Geomin, in its petition, had submitted before the apex court that the high court “does not take into account the pleading made by it” and “has traversed beyond the pleadings and prayer made by it”.

Orissa moves Supreme Court over POSCO mining

Orissa Friday moved the Supreme Court against an Orissa High Court order that disapproved its grant of permission to South Korean steel major POSCO to mine iron ore in Sundergarh district, a state minister said.

‘The state government has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court today (Friday) against the high court order,’ Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty told IANS.

‘The state steel and mines department had recommended the Khandadhar mines in favour of POSCO as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. There was no violation,’ he said.

A bench of the Orissa High Court July 14 set aside the state government permission to POSCO for prospecting iron ore in over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in the state’s Sundergarh.