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  • SC reserves judgment on Teesta Setalvad anticipatory bail

    The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved judgement in an anticipatory bail plea for human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand.

     Setalvad had appealed a Gujarat high court order that denied her anticipatory bail on 12 February. Setalvad and Anand have been accused of embezzling funds collected through donations for the construction of a memorial for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims at Gulbarg Society.

    As a temporary relief, however, the apex court directed that no arrests would be made in relation to the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds through Setalvad’s two trusts—the Centre for Peace and Justice and Sabrang Trust.

     A bench of justices Dipak Misra and A.K. Goel heard arguments from the Gujarat government and Setalvad for nearly two hours. Judge Misra questioned the need for custodial interrogation in a case where there were allegations of embezzlement and possible irregularity in the accounts of the trusts.
    Lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, for the Gujarat state, who was also the special public prosecutor before the high court, said that they were asking for custodial interrogation because there had been “rank non-cooperation” and “tampering with witnesses” by Setalvad and Anand. He added that trust money, collected for the beneficiaries, here the riot victims, had been used for personal credit card payments.

    While refraining from making any observations to that extent, the court orally said that while some cases required custodial interrogation, this perhaps was not one of them.

     Lawyer Kapil Sibal, for Setalvad, agreed to furnish documents required by the Gujarat police in furtherance of the investigation. He also said that 11,000 pages of documents had been given to the high court, including cash vouchers.

    Swine flu claims 47 lives in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh

    At least 47 people have died due to swine flu in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh this year, health officials said here Thursday.

    While Punjab has reported 82 confirmed cases and another nearly 100 suspected cases, 120 cases have been reported in Haryana.

    In Punjab 26 people have died in recent days, while in Haryana 18 people have died. Three people have died in Chandigarh due to the H1N1 virus.
    Health officials in both states said that monitoring of people suspected to have symptoms of swine flu was being done and confirmed cases were being treated in isolation wards of hospitals. They said that adequate stocks of medicines were available and people were being made aware about the spread of the disease.

    "While some people are going in for preventive vaccination, a number of people were getting themselves tested for the disease," said Gagan Arora, a general practitioner.

    Vikas, Vishal Yadav get life term in Nitish Katara murder case

    The Delhi High Court on Friday enhanced the life imprisonment terms of Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav, convicted of the 2002 murder of Nitish Katara, to 25 years without remission but rejected a plea for them to be given the death sentence.

    A special bench of Justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha gave both men five more years in prison for destroying evidence. It also imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh each on Vikas, the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal for the murder.

    The court also increased the jail term of another convict in the case, Sukhdev Pehelwan, to 25 years. The judges said all the men will have to undergo rigorous imprisonment without any remission except for the additional five years.

    The bench turned down a plea by Katara's mother Neelam and Delhi Police seeking the death sentence for the three men.

    Neelam, who was in court when the judges announced their verdict, expressed disappointment at the rejection of her plea for the death penalty but said she was happy with the prison sentences of the trio being enhanced.

    "I will appeal against the order in the Supreme Court," she said. Neelam said she did not require the compensation awarded by the court as she believed no monetary value could be put on the life of her son.

    The judges, in their judgement running to more than 700 pages, said the time spent by Vikas in hospital (from October 10, 2011 to November 4, 2011) should not be counted as part of his prison term.

    They asked the central and Delhi governments to conduct an inquiry into the visits to hospital by Vikas and Vishal after they were sent to jail.
    Vikas, Vishal and Pehelwan are serving life terms for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and son of a railway officer, in February 2002. They killed him as Vikas was opposed to Katara's relationship with his sister Bharti because they belonged to different castes.

    Katara had fallen in love with Bharti while they were both studying at the Institute of Management Technology in Ghaziabad.

    The High Court had been hearing arguments on the punishment given to the three men since April last year. The convicts had sought leniency and exemption from the death sentence on the grounds that they could reform. They had also claimed their actions were not so brutal or gruesome that they deserved capital punishment.

    Neelam Katara and Delhi Police had demanded death for the trio, saying their offence was "the rarest of the rare".

    The High Court had in April 2014 upheld sentences awarded to the three men by a lower court and described Katara's murder as an "honour killing" stemming from a "deeply-entrenched belief" in the caste system.

    Rahul Gandhi: Modi put Jayanthi Natarajan against me

    Breaking his silence, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said his former party colleague Jayanthi Natarajan had been pitted against him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he had been fighting for the poor and other weaker sections of the society.

    "Ek din maine Modiji ke baare mein kuch kaha, agle din unhone Natrajan ko khada kiya (One day, I said something about Modi, the very next day, he put up Natarajan)," the Congress Vice President said at a rally here. This was his first reaction to Natarajan's allegation that he used to interfere in grant of green nods when she was Environment Minister before being forced out in December 2013. She resigned from the party on Saturday last, reported PTI.
    "I want to tell you that I have fought for the poor and the adivasis and I had told Jayanthi Natarajan that we should look into the welfare of the environment, poor and the adivasis. I will continue to fight for the poor, the hutsmen and the weaker sections," the Congress vice-president said at an election rally here. Alleging that the Prime Minister is working only to benefit his "industrial friends", he said he had joined politics to ensure welfare for the poor and the weaker sections of the society and not to benefit some businessmen.
     
    Natarajan had last Saturday resigned from the primary membership of Congress alleging that she was "vilified" for rejecting green nod to industrial projects during her tenure as Environment Minister, which she said she had done following communications by the Congress vice-president. She had also written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi a few months back alleging that she had received specific requests from Rahul on environmental clearances and consequently rejected big ticket projects, a contention she reaffirmed at the time of announcing her resignation.

    Shooting 'Jazbaa' with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is fab: Sanjay Gupta

    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has started shooting her comeback film 'Jazbaa', an action-thriller directed by Sanjay Gupta.

    The 'Guzaarish' star, who is returning to the silver screen after a gap of five years, will share the screen space with Irrfan, Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher.
    Gupta took to Twitter to share the picture of the 41-year-old actress from the sets and said shooting with the former Miss World is fabulous.

    Aishwaryashootsforjazbaa. She is back," he captioned the picture, adding, "I'm sure some of you wanna know what it was like to shoot with ARB (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). Putting it mildly, it was FAB. We're on a roll & it's a good one."

    Arvind Kejriwal correctly enrolled in voters' list: Election Commission

    AAP chief Arvind Kerjiwal is correctly enrolled in the voters' list for the upcoming Assembly polls in the national capital, the Election Commission told the Delhi High Court.

    The poll body made the submission before the bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru, which had on Monday sought its response on Congress leader Kiran Walia's plea seeking removal of Kerjiwal's name from the Delhi electoral rolls on the ground that he has illegally declared himself to be a resident of the national capital.

    "Arvind Kejriwal's name was correctly enrolled in the electoral rolls of Delhi. He is registered as a voter in New Delhi constituency from the address 87, Block K, BK Dutt Colony (Jor Bagh)," ECI told the bench.
    Arvind Kejriwal correctly enrolled in voters' list: Election Commission
    The poll panel also told the court that it has checked the latest electoral roll for Delhi and found Kejriwal's name in the voters' list from B K Dutt Colony.
    The court, however, asked the poll panel to produce the documents related to the decision taken by it while rejecting the representation made by Walia to delete entry of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader's name from the electoral roll.

    The poll panel also told the court that it has checked the latest electoral roll for Delhi and found Kejriwal's name in the voters' list from B K Dutt Colony.

    "Though he had briefly lived at Tilak Marg after taking over the post of Chief Minister last year, he had applied for a change of address just ahead of the polls, first to V P House on Rafi Marg and then to B K Dutt Colony," the panel said, adding that "now they cannot make changes as it was to be done only before filing of the nomination".

    The court, earlier, had issued notice to EC on Walia's plea, who is contesting the assembly election scheduled for February 7 from the New Delhi constituency, alleging that Kejriwal is not a resident of Delhi and had got his name entered in the electoral rolls by "manipulation, cheating and fraud".

    Xiaomi Mi 3 to Go on Sale Again on Republic Day

    Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi announced on Saturday that its popular Mi 3 flagship will go on sale in India on on Monday, or Republic Day. The company notes that limited units are available, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

    Part of the firm's Republic Day offers (which includes the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G being made available without registration this long holiday weekend - from January 24 to January 26), the Xiaomi Mi 3 will be available to customers who register their interest before 2pm IST on Monday.

    To purchase the Mi 3, customers are asked to like the Mi India Facebook announcement post and share it with at least 3 friends, and then visit the dedicated promotion page on the company's India site at 12pm IST on Monday, and then enter the email address associated with their Flipkart account to register.

    Users will have until 2pm IST on Monday to register with their Flipkart account's email address, and if they were fast enough (with only a limited number of Mi 3 smartphone units available), they will find the Mi 3 smartphone in their Flipkart cart at 5pm IST. Users can then proceed to check out the smartphone to complete the purchase.
    The company is calling the sale the last chance customers will have to purchase the Mi 3 in India. The last time Xiaomi made the Mi 3 available for purchase in India was back in October, with 25,000 units made available to those users who had registered for at least five of the six Mi 3 flash sales held by the firm in India, but were unable to purchase the handset.

    To be noted is that Xiaomi's 2014 flagship smartphone, the Mi 4, is scheduled to finally launch in India on Wednesday. For now, pricing and availability details of the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone in India are not known, however, following previous launches by the company, it is expected to be made available the following week on Tuesday - or February 3.

    To refresh your memory, the Xiaomi Mi 3 is priced at Rs. 13,999 and runs a highly tweaked version of Android 4.4 KitKat, with the company's MIUI 5 skin on top. It features a 5-inch full-HD LCD display (1080x1920 pixels) offering a pixel density of 441ppi; a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8274AB) processor; 2GB of RAM; Adreno 330 GPU; 16GB of inbuilt storage; a 13-megapixel rear camera; a 2-megapixel camera, and a 3050mAh battery.

    Eugenie Bouchard looking to finally get one up on childhood idol Maria Sharapova at Australian Open

    She was Eugenie Bouchard's childhood hero, but the Canadian will be out to ensure Maria Sharapova doesn't become her grand slam villain when the pair meet in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

    Bouchard, who progressed with a three-set victory over Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu on Sunday afternoon, has never beaten Sharapova. In what is being dubbed the battle of the glamour girls of women's tennis, Bouchard will have to overcome a 0-3 record against the Russian, which includes the semi-final heartache at last year's French Open.

    "I kind of just remember a grind," Bouchard said of the 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Sharapova at Roland Garros in 2014. "I didn't feel like I was playing great tennis the whole time. Sometimes here and there. But that's what it's about: trying to win and trying to always play better, get through it, even if you're not playing your best. I felt like I was close with her. She probably wasn't - we were both maybe a bit off. You're never really playing amazing. Maybe 10 per cent of the year. So I remember that, and I remember I had chances and stuff. I just remember a tough match. I was pretty disappointed after, so that's motivating."
    Bouchard has often been compared to Sharapova since her breakout performance at last year's Australian Open. Sharapova is one of the most marketable sportswomen in the world, and while Bouchard still has a long way to go before reaching such heights, it's believed she is on a similar path.

    However Sharapova, who was often compared to Anna Kournikova at the start of her career, said it was important to create your own identity. "I think we all want to go through our own paths ... when I was coming up, I was compared to Kournikova for many years in my career and still occasionally name always comes up in interviews and articles," Sharapova said. "That's just part of it, part of the game, part of the business. It's understandable. It is what it is. As I have said, I believe I was still a teenager, I don't want to be the next anyone. I want to be the first Maria Sharapova. And that's how I've been throughout my whole career. And we all want to create our own path and go through our own career. And we're all destined for some sort of thing. We work extremely hard at a sport, and that's what we want to be known for."

    In three meetings, Bouchard has only managed to take one set off Sharapova. The 20-year-old won just two games in their first encounter in Miami in 2013, and failed to take a set at the French Open later that year. She did manage to win the first set in the semi-final at Roland Garros last year, but the experienced Sharapova finished strong to topple Bouchard, going on to win the tournament with a victory over Simona Halep in the final. But Bouchard has welcomed the clash with the world No.2, admitting she was going to be aggressive in her approach to the quarter-final.

    Xiaomi vows to fight High Court order to resume India sales

    Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi says it will fully comply with the Delhi high Court order asking it to stop sales of its smatphones in the country, Manu Jain, head of the company's India operations, told ET. Xiaomi, the third largest smartphone maker in the world, had earlier suspended the upcoming flash sale of its Red Mi 1S and Red Mi Note smartphones.

    "We have not been served the notice till now, but we know about the issue. If the court has asked us not to do it, we won't do it," Jain said referring to the high court order barring Xiaomi from selling, importing or advertising mobile phones in India until February 5, the next date of hearing. "We would want to be 100% compliant with Indian rules and regulations."

    The order, which followed telecom equipment maker Ericsson's plea that Xiaomi was infringing on its patents, leaves its future flash sales and business prospects in ambiguity even as the fast growing smartphone maker is trying to work out legally to resolve this issue in a critical market for the company. "We will explore all options including legal options on what can be done. Our lawyers and legal teams are working on it but we don't know how this will proceed.
    We will communicate and explain very openly to our users about what the order says, once we get it," Jain added. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday had asked Xiaomi and its exclusive partner Flipkart to stop selling and importing phones in India until February 5 on Ericsson's allegations that Xiaomi infringed eight of its registered standard essential patents.

    Hugo Barra, head of international operations at Xiaomi, apologised to enthusiasts on Facebook on Thursday night while informing them about the company's decision to suspend sales. He added however, that the company 'firmly' intends to continue operations in India.

    India vs Australia, 1st Test: Fifties from Kohli, Vijay prop India

    India are battling hard on the fifth and final day of the opening Test in Adelaide on Saturday against a Nathan Lyon-led Australian bowling attack.

    Half-centuries from Murali Vijay and captain Virat Kohli have given India hope after opener Shikhar Dhawan was out for 9 and Cheteshwar Pujara for 21.

    Earlier, the hosts declared their second innings at 290/5, setting India a target of 364.

    India lost two wickets but were resisting Australia's bowlers well on the final day of the opening Adelaide Test on Saturday.

    Faced with an improbable 364 winning target off a minimum 98 overs after Australia declared on their overnight score of 290 for five, the tourists were 105 for two at lunch.

    Opener Murali Vijay was unbeaten on 47 with skipper Virat Kohli not out 25.

    In hot sunny conditions, the Indians lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the extended morning session, but Vijay and Kohli safely got their team through to lunch.
    India face an against-the-odds target with no team scoring more than 315 to win a Test match at the Adelaide Oval since Australia overhauled England at the ground in 1902.

    Dhawan appeared to get a bad call by umpire Ian Gould when he was given out caught behind off a Mitchell Johnson bouncer for nine in the day's fifth over.

    Replays indicated that the ball came off Dhawan's shoulder and not glove as wicketkeeper Brad Haddin took an athletic catch down the leg-side.

    Vijay survived a big shout on 24 for leg before wicket going back on his stumps off Lyon.

    Umpire Marais Erasmus turned down Lyon's vociferous appeal and replays showed the ball would have hit the stumps.

    Pujara was done by one that Lyon straightened and he edged to Haddin for 21 in the 20th over leaving the tourists at 57 for two.

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