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Delhi gang-rape accused critical after attack in Tihar jail: Lawyer

NEW DELHI: A defendant on trial over the fatal gang-rape in New Delhi last December is critically ill after being attacked in prison, his lawyer said on Wednesday, weeks after the main accused Ram Singh died in the same jail.

Vinay Sharma was rushed to the state-run Lok Nayak Hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday with chest injuries after he was assaulted in Tihar jail, lawyer AP Singh told AFP, also alleging that his client's food had been poisoned.

"He was vomiting blood and running a very high fever. He was also suffering from chest pains. He is in a very critical condition," Singh said.

The chest pains came after Sharma, 20, was "beaten up and thrashed" by fellow inmates at the maximum-security jail, the lawyer added.

He said the vomiting had been caused by the "slow poisoning" of his food over a period of several weeks.

"He was being given food mixed with poison since the start of this month.

"He was first admitted to the clinic inside the jail but was later moved to a city hospital. He was shifted again to another hospital when his condition worsened" on Tuesday, Singh said.

The head of the hospital refused to comment on the case, while there was no immediate reaction from authorities at Tihar.

One of Sharma's co-defendants, bus driver Ram Singh, was found hanging in his cell under mysterious circumstances in the same prison in March. Although an inquest ruled he had committed suicide his lawyers allege that he was murdered.

Sharma is one of four adults still on trial for the murder and gang-rape of a 23-year-old student who was attacked on a bus on December 16.

The victim died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital 13 days later.

A fifth defendant, who is aged 17, is being tried in a juvenile court.

The defendants have all entered not-guilty pleas and their lawyers have accused police of torturing the defendants to obtain confessions.

Prosecutors say they have DNA evidence linking the defendants to the attack in which the student and a male companion were assaulted on a bus as it was driven around the city, having been picked up after a trip to the cinema.

The case led to months of soul-searching over widespread sexual crime in India, and resulted in tougher laws to punish rapists.

Singh said the judge hearing the case at a special fast-track court in the city had Tuesday dismissed his plea that Sharma be granted bail on "humanitarian grounds".

"The judge dismissed the bail application but he has allowed my client's family to visit him," Singh said.

Sharma, who worked as a helper at a gym prior to his arrest, has claimed that he was attending a musical function with two of his friends when the gang-rape took place.

The family of the 23-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has demanded the death penalty for all the accused. — AFPBack








1993 blasts case: Sanjay Dutt to surrender
before court tomorrow

MUMBAI: Actor Sanjay Dutt will surrender before a designated TADA court here on Thursday in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case after the court allowed him on Wednesday to withdraw his application seeking to give himself up before Yerwada jail authorities in Pune.

Dutt’s lawyer Subhash Jadhav told the special court this morning that the actor wanted to withdraw the application filed on Tuesday and that he would surrender before the court on Thursday. The court allowed the plea to be withdrawn.

53-year-old Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act and sentenced to five year jail term.

On May 10, the apex court had dismissed Dutt’s plea seeking review of its judgement on his conviction and five-year jail term.

Dutt was earlier granted four weeks more time to surrender to undergo the remaining jail term.

The Supreme Court, on March 21, had upheld his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which it said was engineered by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and others with the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI.

However, the apex court had reduced to five years the six-year jail term awarded to Dutt by a designated TADA court in 2006 while ruling out his release on probation, saying the “nature” of his offence was “serious“.

Dutt was convicted by the TADA court for illegally possessing a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle, which were part of a consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for coordinated serial blasts that killed 257 people and injured over 700 in 1993. — PTIBack








Gold demand may come down, says Rangarajan

NEW DELHI: Gold demand is likely to fall as easing of general inflation rate will make investment in financial products more attractive than the yellow metal, PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan said on Wednesday.

Also, the steps being taken to curb gold demand are expected to bring down the current account deficit (CAD) by 0.4-0.5 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal, he said.

“Some action has been taken by RBI in terms of controlling gold demand. To supplement these actions, as inflation comes down and returns on financial products become more attractive, it will be possible to contain gold demand,” Dr. Rangarajan said on the sidelines of gold summit organised by Assocham.

The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chief further said that “inflation is showing signs of coming down and therefore attraction of financial products will be greater“.

The overall inflation came down to over three year low to 4.89 per cent in April.

Expressing concern about higher gold imports in April, he said: “The imperative to contain gold import has become urgent. The recent surge in gold demand is however creating some distortions and need to be rolled back to boost growth by reversing the trend of declining financial savings and keeping CAD within prudent limit by contain gold demand.”

As a first step, gold demand in India — the world’s largest consumer — needs to bring down from the current level of 1,000 tonnes per year to 700 tonnes, which prevailed few years ago, he said.

Stating that taming inflation and enhancing the real rate of return on financial products are best ways to contain gold demand, Dr. Rangarajan suggested that the government must act on ensuring financial products from bank deposits to mutual funds give adequate returns so that investors shift to these products from gold.

Gold-elated schemes and inflation indexed bonds are also being presently contemplated as strong substitute to gold so as to reduce physical holding of the yellow metal, he added.

Asked if more curbs will be imposed in the coming days, Dr. Rangarajan said: “The approach of the government and RBI has been very cautious. ...Some fiscal and administrative actions such as the increase of import duty can be, and recently have been, taken to dampen demand.”

The country’s CAD has widened due to increased gold imports, which rose to 1017 tonnes in 2012-13 from 471 tonnes in 2000—01. Gold imports during last year accounted 72 per cent of the CAD. — PTIBack









Cong MLA gets life term for abduction, murder of niece's lover

RANCHI: Congress MLA Sawna Lakra and three others were on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment by a local court in a case of kidnapping and murder of a youth who was in love with Lakra's niece.

District and Sessions Judge S S Kazmi had convicted Lakra, his bodyguard Janak Mahato, driver Gopi Kashyap and his associate Dinesh Lakra in the abduction and murder case of Avinash Tiwari on Monday.

Kazmi pronounced the quantum of punishment on Wednesday.

Avinash, who was in love with Lakra's niece, had gone missing on way from Garhwa to Ranchi by train on April 24, 2011.

After his bullet-riddled body was recovered from a forest at Karra in Khunti district three days later, Avinash's father lodged an FIR against the MLA of Khijri and the other three.

Lakra was against the relationship between Avinash and his niece and their decision to marry.

The MLA surrendered to the court on May 24 that year after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him. — PTIBack








Manmohan files nomination papers for Rajya Sabha

GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday filed his nomination papers for his fifth Rajya Sabha term from Assam.

Dr. Singh, 80, submitted his papers before the Legislative Assembly Secretary G P Das in the Assembly premises.

The Prime Minister’s Upper House term expires on June 14 and polls for two Rajya Sabha seats from Assam will be held on May 30.

The notification for the elections was issued on Monday and the last date of filing nominations was May 20.

Prior to filing his nomination, he presided over a meeting of Congress Legislature Party in the Assembly.

Dr Singh was accompanied by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam Pradesh Congress President Bhubaneswar Kalita and ministers Pradyut Bordoloi, Rakibul Hussain, Neelmani Sen Deka and Himanta Biswa Sarma.

A protest was held by media persons outside the Assembly for not being allowed to enter the premises to cover the event.

As the media persons were protesting outside the Assembly gate, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, Kalita, Gogoi and several ministers came out to pacify them and asked them to go inside the premises as the Prime Minister had agreed to meet them.

The media personnel, however, refused to enter the gate following which the Prime Minister came out to address them. But when he began to speak, there was slogan-shouting and protests by them.

Dr Singh then left for the airport. — PTIBack








CBI grills Raja Bhaiya in DSP's murder case

PRATAPGARH (UP): Former Uttar Pradesh minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, was questioned by the CBI on Wednesday in connection with the murder of a village head and Kunda DSP Zia-UlHaq.

CBI sources said 44-year-old Raja Bhaiya appeared at the makeshift agency office for his questioning.

Last month, CBI had arrested one Bhulle Pal, a security guard with the then state minister Bhaiya, who allegedly led a mob, enraged by the killing of Balipur village head Nanhe Yadav, to kill the police officer.

Bhaiya has denied any association with Pal. CBI has also taken into custody Rajeev Singh and Guddu Singh who are considered close to the minister.

In the FIR filed on the basis of a complaint by the slain DSP's wife Parveen Azad, it has been alleged that "on the directions of Bhaiya, Nagar Panchayat chairman Gulshan Yadav, minister's representative Hari Om Srivastava, his driver Rohit Singh and supporter Guddu Singh first assaulted my husband with sticks and rods and later shot him dead."

The allegations have been denied by Bhaiya.

The CBI has so far arrested 11 persons in connection with the murders of Haq, Nanhe and his brother Suresh who were found dead on the evening of March 2 in Balipur village.

The CBI has also recovered the weapon, allegedly used in the killing of DSP. The CBI has registered four cases pertaining to the three murders and has booked Raja Bhaiya in one of them. — PTIBack








Mild tremors in J&K

Bhaderwah (J&K): Three moderate intensity tremors shook Bhaderwah valley and adjoining areas of Doda-Kishtwar belt of Jammu in the wee hours today, prompting authorities to once again shut schools in the region rattled by a series of quakes this month.

However, there was no immediate report of any casualty or damage.

The moderate intensity tremors of 4.8, 5.3 and 5.0 magnitude on the Richter Scale shook the area around 1.30 a.m. Met officials said.

The tremors were followed by aftershocks between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

A police spokesman said, “Units set up by the government to tackle any exigency have launched operations to assess any damage and conduct rescue operations, if needed“.

Schools and educational institutes, which reopened on Tuesday, have been closed once again due to the quake.

Authorities had closed all educational institutions after tremors shook Bhaderwah and adjoining areas of Doda district on May 1.

A total of 33 tremors have been recorded in the Bhaderwah-Doda-Kishtwar belt during the past fortnight with maximum 11 on May one. — PTI




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