L A T E S T      N E W S

SEBI can seize properties of Sahara group companies: SC

NEW DELHI: In fresh trouble to Sahara group, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that SEBI is free to freeze accounts and seize properties of its two companies for defying court orders by not refunding Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

The apex court also pulled up SEBI for not taking action against the companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC) — as per its August 31, 2012 order which had asked it to attach properties and freeze bank accounts of the companies.

It issued notice to the group to respond within four weeks why contempt action should not be initiated against the companies for not complying with its order.

“What steps are you taking? You are not taking any action. The judgement tells you what to do but you are doing it,” a Bench of justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar said.

The market regulator submitted that it is taking action and issued notice to the companies and approached civil court in Bombay for freezing bank accounts.

Not satisfied by its contention, the bench said that issuing notice is not enough and that SEBI has to follow its last year’s order.

“Why you gave notice and did not take action. You have to execute our order,” the Bench said.

The Bench also made it clear that the proceedings pending before it on contempt plea against the companies would not come in the way of SEBI taking action against the group.

The apex court had on August 31 last year directed the two companies to refund around Rs 24,000 crore to their investors within three months with 15 per cent interest per annum for raising the amount from its investors in violation of rules and regulations.

In stinging observations against the companies, the court had said that such economic offences must be dealt with “iron hand”. — PTI





Modi meets PM, seeks parity in gas pricing

NEW DELHI: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed his unhappiness over the Centre’s refusal to provide gas to the State at the same price at which it is given to Mumbai and Delhi.

“It was a very good meeting and we had a long discussion during, which several different issues came up. The Prime Minister gave his good wishes for the development of Gujarat and the success of the new government. I gave an assurance that Gujarat will give full support to all measures taken for the welfare of the people,” Modi said.

He was talking to reporters after a meeting with the Prime Minister at his residence.

In a memorandum submitted to Dr Singh, Modi demanded that Gujarat be provided gas at the same rate as places like Delhi and Mumbai.

“A legal battle is on between us and the Government of India. Gujarat is not given gas at the price at which Delhi and Mumbai get it. We had gone to court and won the case. Despite this the order was not implemented for six months and we filed a contempt petition,” Modi said.

“Instead of accepting this order, the Government of India went to the Supreme Court to delay the process. I have expressed my unhappiness to the Prime Minister over this,” he said.

Modi also flagged the issue of building a sluice gate on the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river. He requested the Prime Minister that clearance should be given to the long-pending project as early as possible. — PTI





Delhi gang-rape trial: Victim's friend cross-examined

NEW DELHI: Defence lawyers began cross-examining on Wednesday the male companion of a student who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi at the trial of five adults accused of her murder, the man's father said.

"The cross-examination has begun," said the father of the 28-year-old IT specialist, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

"Three defence lawyers will cross-examine and question him based on the statement that he gave to the police and the court," he added.

The cross-examination comes after the companion, who is the chief prosecution witness, had on Tuesday identified the bus on which the fatal attack took place on December 16. The bus had been brought to the court compound.

The five adult defendants have all denied murder, rape and robbery charges for which they are being tried at a special fast-track court in the Saket district of the Indian capital.

A sixth defendant is being tried separately as a juvenile.

The 23-year-old medical student died in a Singapore hospital on December 29 from massive internal injuries she sustained during the savage bus assault a fortnight earlier, which caused outrage across India.

She and her companion had spent the evening at the cinema and were lured onto the off-duty bus after failing to flag down an autorickshaw to take them home.

As well as taking turns to rape the woman and violating her with a rusty iron bar, the group attacked her companion so badly that he is still unable to walk properly. He again appeared at the court on Wednesday in a wheelchair.

The judge has banned all reporting of proceedings inside the courtroom and ordered lawyers not to speak to journalists. — AFP





LDF walkout over Suryanelli case

Thiruvananthapuram: Stepping up pressure on the UDF government over the Suryanelli rape case, CPI(M)-led LDF walked out of the Kerala Assembly on wednesday, demanding re-investigation into the charges levelled by the victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien.

The protest came even as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said government has an open mind on the issue and would take a decision on the opposition’s demand based on legal opinion.

“Government has sought legal opinion on whether it can reopen a case discharged by Supreme Court. Government is yet to get legal advice on it. A decision will be taken after getting that,” Radhakrishnan said replying to a submission on the issue moved by opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan.

Chandy, however, maintained that the charges against Kurien had already been examined by the High Court and Supreme court after a probe by three police teams.

“We are all committed to ensure protection for women and ensure stern action against people who indulge in violence against them. But it is very cruel to punish a person who has not done anything wrong,” Chandy said.

Earlier, CPI-M’s women’s wing All-India Democratic Women’s Federation (AIDWF) took out a march to the Assembly, demanding a fresh probe into the case. AIDWF workers, who tried to barge into the Assembly complex, were removed by police.

Addressing the marchers, AIDWF leaders T.N. Seema, MP, and K.K. Shylaja said government’s position amounted to ‘gross injustice’ to the victim and her family and all women. — PTI







Bikaner baby girl battered by father dies 

Jaipur: A five-month-old baby girl from Bikaner, whose father had bitten off parts of her lips, nose and cheek in a fit of rage, died at a government hospital in Jaipur on Wednesday.

“The condition of the baby deteriorated last night (Tuesday) after she was breastfed by her mother. The milk entered into her lungs, following which some complications developed and she was put on ventilator support but she died,” spokesperson of the Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital said.

The girl was operated upon on February 1.

Police said, Bahadur Singh, the baby’s father will be charged with murder.

The father had allegedly bitten off parts of her nose, lips and cheek in a fit of rage leaving her face damaged in Bikaner last month.

The accused was drunk when he reached his house in Siyana village and had a verbal spat with his wife over some domestic issue. During the quarrel, he had bitten off the upper lip, nose and cheek of the baby in a fit of rage, according to the police.

Deepak Kalra, Chairperson, Child Rights Commission said, “It is really very sad. She developed respiratory complications last night (Tuesday). She was put on ventilator and we were hoping that she would come out and fight like she was fighting for the last 10 days but unfortunately she succumbed to the complications.” — PTI





Acid attacks: SC asks Centre, states to address the menace

NEW DELHI: Viewing with concern incidents of acid attacks, the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to convene in six weeks a meeting of Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to address the menace and discuss framing of a law for treatment and compensation to victims.

Not satisfied with the steps taken by the Centre to regulate sale of acid and to curb its use for attacking women, a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha directed the Union Home Secretary to meet all the Chief Secretaries to formulate a policy to address the menace of the acid attacks.

The bench passed the order on a PIL filed in 2006 by Delhi-based victim Laxmi who was then a minor. Her arms, face and other body parts were disfigured in an acid attack.

In her plea, she had sought framing of a new law or amending of the existing criminal laws like IPC, Indian Evidence Act and CrPC for dealing with the offence, besides asking for compensation.

Laxmi was subjected to the acid attack by three youths near Tughlaq Road here as she had refused to marry one of them, according to the petition. The trial is going on for the offence of attempt to murder and two of the accused are out on bail.

In her petition, Laxmi had pleaded for a total ban on sale of acid as there were increasing number of incidents of such attacks on women in different states.

The petitioner had also submitted that even a small country like Bangladesh had taken measures to prevent such attacks.

On July 2, last year, the apex court had asked the Centre to apprise it of the measures to regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse as a weapon, particularly against women.

The court had asked the Union Home Ministry on April 29, last year to coordinate with the various states and Union Territories for formulation of an appropriate scheme.

The apex court had also sought responses of the Centre and the state governments on whether any suitable scheme can be prepared by them to provide adequate compensation to the victims for their treatment and rehabilitation.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that the report of the Law Commission on the issue was supplied to all parties concerned and the National Commission for Women had placed a draft legislation to make acid attack a serious offence. — PTI




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