L A T E S T      N E W S

India votes against Sri Lanka at UNHRC

GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted a US-sponsored resolution on human rights violation in Sri Lanka with 25 countries, including India, voting in favour of the document in the 47-nation strong body.

While 13 countries, including Pakistan, voted against, eight member-states abstained from voting on the contentious resolution that saw political tremors in India with DMK pulling out of the UPA alliance and the government. Gabon, a member-country had voting rights issue.

The watered down resolution also saw India pushing for new elements through written amendments calling for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violation and other accountability measures to be accepted by Sri Lanka, according to sources.

During 'Intervention in the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka', India's permanent Representative Dilip Sinha said, "We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives".

"We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this Council in 2009. Further, we call on Sri Lanka to move forward on its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through full implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it," Sinha said.

However, sources said when India pushed for the written amendments, the sponsors of the resolution said the attempt was to make it "broadest-possible" and with tougher amendments, the purpose will be defeated. — PTIBack







1993 Mumbai blasts: Yakub Memon to die;
Sanjay Dutt gets 5 years in jail 

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld death sentence for Yakub Memon in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The apex court also commuted death sentence of 10 other convicts to life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court commuted death sentence on the ground that the convicts were behind bars for 20 years and their economic condition was weak. However, the court said life term convicts would remain in jail till their death. The life sentence of Ashrafur Rehman Azimulla was reduced to 10 years while that of Imtiyaz Yunusmiya Ghavte to jail term already undergone

The Supreme Court also said that the management and conspiracy of 1993 blasts were done by Dawood Ibrahim and others in Pakistan. The accused were trained in bomb making and to handle sophisticated weapons in Pakistan, the Supreme Court said in its ruling. It also stated that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was also involved in the 1993 blasts.

The Supreme Court asserted that the police, customs and coastal guards are also to be blamed for 1993 blasts. The training of convicts in Pakistan materialised in 1993 blasts, the apex court added and said Yakub Memon and all the absconding accused (Dawood Ibrahim and others) were “archers” and rest of the accused were “arrows” in their hands.

The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Sanjay Dutt under Arms Act in the case. However it reduced Dutt’s six year jail term given by TADA court to five years. The court ordered that convicts who were on bail, including Sanjay Dutt, would have to surrender within four weeks.

Upholding the evidence and materials perused by the TADA court in arriving at the decision against Dutt, The Supreme Court said the circumstances and nature of offence was so serious that Dutt could not be released on probation.

The court dismissed all appeals of the convicts except that of Mubina alias Baya Moosa Bhiwandiwala and that of Mulchand Sampatraj Shah. — PTI







Sanjay Dutt is strong man, has accepted SC decision: Lawyer

MUMBAI: Sanjay Dutt is a strong man, and has accepted the punishment awarded by the Supreme Court "as it is", the actor's lawyer Satishmane Shinde said Thursday.

Maneshinde, who represented Dutt at the trial in the 1993 blasts case in the TADA court, said he had spoken to the actor who will have to undergo three-and-a-half more years in jail.

"Sanjay Dutt told me I have accepted the judgement as it is. I have accepted it," Maneshinde said quoting the actor.

The lawyer said though they will pursue the legal course available, "I man not sure what relief he can claim".

"But Sanjay Dutt will abide by the apex court's order of undergoing the sentence of three-and-a-half years in letter and spirit. Three-and-a-half-years is not a long period," he said.

"We have prepared him (for sentence) from the very beginning. Sanjay Dutt is a strong man and will fight for himself," Maneshinde said.

The actor remained closeted with his family at his penthouse in Pali Hill in suburban Bandra.

A battery of media persons was present outside the building for the actor's comments but he has not obliged them so far. — PTIBack






Govt had no role in CBI action against Stalin: Manmohan

NEW DELHI: As a political controversy broke out over CBI action against DMK leader M K Stalin, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today distanced the government from it, saying it had "no role" in the development and was "upset" over it.

"We are all upset at these events. The government had no role in this that I am sure of. We will find out the details. This should not have...(happened). The timing of the raid is most unfortunate," Singh told reporters here.

The Prime Minister's remarks came even as the searches carried out just two days after DMK pulled out of UPA, triggered a political controversy over its timing with even top central ministers strongly disapproving of the action.

Congress ministers in UPA including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Kamal Nath strongly disapproved of the CBI searches, as the Centre distanced itself from the action, saying it was not aware of it.

DMK, which pulled out of UPA on Tuesday and withdrew its ministers yesterday, said the action was a "political vendetta" amid reports that the agency concluded its searches after the uproar broke out.

Searches were carried out at 19 places across Tamil Nadu, including at Stalin's residence in Chennai, this morning in a case of alleged tax evasion of imported cars.

Stalin (60), considered a political heir to 88-year-old Karunanidhi, dubbed the CBI raid as a 'political vendetta' and said he would face the case legally.

BJP said the CBI action is an example of "blatant" misuse of power by the UPA government for its survival and proves that it uses the probe agency to muffle allies who are walking out of the ruling coalition.

The issue was also raised in Parliament with BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu alleging that the party which withdrew the support to the UPA government was raided by CBI and said it meant the government "controlled" CBI. — PTIBack







Beni remarks: Samajwadi Party softens stand

NEW DELHI: In an apparent softening of stand on the remarks made by Beni Prasad Verma against Mulayam Singh Yadav, the SP parliamentary party slammed the Union Minister on Thursday, but decided to go slow on the issue following intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

At the same time, SP continued to keep the government on tenterhooks on its outside support by authorising Yadav to "take any decision on any issue at an appropriate time in the interest of the party".

The government requires the crucial support of SP, which has 22 MPs in Lok Sabha, in the backdrop of DMK pulling out of UPA.

During an hour-long meeting of the parliamentary party, several MPs slammed Verma for his remarks that Yadav takes commission to extend support to UPA.

But Yadav was of the view that since Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have personally intervened on the issue of Verma's remarks, the party should wait for the outcome.

It was also decided that the party would not create hurdles in the passage of the Appropriation Bill as well as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill.

"It is our duty also to get the Appropriation Bill passed," Yadav said after the meeting.

The SP chief decided to keep the cards close to the chest when he said that the MPs have authorised him to take any decision on various issues at an appropriate time.

"How can you decide on the time. I will take a decision on various issues when the time comes," Yadav said. — PTI







Interpol rejects Pak's request to arrest Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: The Interpol has turned down Pakistan's request to issue a red corner notice for the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for refusing to cooperate in the probe into Benazir Bhutto's assassination, days ahead of his homcoming from self-exile.

Musharraf has cleared the final hurdle to his plans to return to Pakistan as he no longer faces the possibility of arrest at the hands of Interpol, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

The 69-year-old former President, who went into self-exile in early 2009, has said he intends to return to Pakistan on March 24 to lead his party All-Pakistan Muslim League in upcoming polls.

Islamabad's request to issue a Red Corner Notice for Musharraf was rejected by the Interpol headquarters in a reply sent to Pakistani authorities, who had sought an arrest warrant for him as a suspect in Bhutto's assassination.

In its reply, Interpol said the possible arrest of Musharraf seems to be "politically motivated".

The agency said the case filed against Musharraf in Pakistan through Interpol channels constitutes a matter of a predominantly "political character".

This is the second time a request from the Federal Investigation Agency has been rejected by Interpol.

Last year, Interpol rejected the same request due to insufficient documents submitted by Pakistani authorities.

In response, Pakistani authorities sent a second request to the Interpol director with investigation reports, including copies of statements by former Inter-Services Intelligence counter-intelligence wing chief Javed Iqbal Cheema, former Intelligence Bureau chief Ejaz Shah, US-based journalist Marc Siegel's emails to Bhutto and copies of orders issued by an anti-terrorism court against Musharraf.

The anti-terrorism court had declared Musharraf a fugitive and issued arrest warrants for him after he refused to cooperate with investigators probing Bhutto's assassination.

In its latest reply, Interpol said that after having reviewed the data and documents and after having applied the "predominance test", it found the suits against Musharraf "engaged by Pakistan" have a "political character", even though he is sought for offences of ordinary law and not inherently political ones.

"In this political context, it was necessary to pay a particular attention to the quality of the elements provided to characterise the effective participation of Mr Musharraf in the acts he is accused of, and to the effective link between these elements and Benazir Bhutto's murder," the reply said.

On March 19, Musharraf requested the government to provide him security on his return to Pakistan. — PTI




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