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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".

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