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Three cops killed in Pak blast

Islamabad: Three security personnel were killed and six injured in a blast that targeted their vehicle in Balochistan province of Pakistan today.

The Dawn online reported the security personnel were on a routine patrol in Kalat district, when a remote controlled bomb targeted their vehicle. IANS

















SC verdict on death penalty commutation ‘patently illegal’: Centre
Review petition questions jurisdiction of the 3-judge bench

New Delhi: The Centre today moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict holding undue delay by the government in deciding mercy plea can be a ground to commute death sentence of a condemned prisoner.

The Centre submitted the January 21 judgement, by which 15 condemned prisoners were granted life and paved the way for similar relief for Rajiv Gandhi killers, was "patently illegal, suffers from errors apparent".

It said such an important issue should have been heard by a Constitution bench and the judgement passed by a three-judge bench was without "jurisdiction".

"It is respectfully submitted that the impugned judgement is patently illegal, suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record and flies in the face of well-established principles of law laid down by this Court and contained in the Constitution and other statutes," the review petition said.

"It is submitted that in the present case, the issue raised was that of the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay, which allegedly attracted Article 21 (right to life) in favour of the convicts.

"Therefore, it involved a substantial issue of interpretation of the Constitution and ought to have been heard by a bench of five Judges, as mandated under Article 145 of the Constitution," it said.

Referring to an earlier apex court order, according to which the nature of crime should be considered while commuting death sentence of a convict, the government said previous verdict "observed that there is a distinction between offences such as TADA and other offences".

"Thus, there is an error apparent on the face of the record, and the impugned judgement merits a review," it said.


















VK Singh joins BJP
Former Army chief calls it only nationalist party

New Delhi: Former Army chief Gen (retd)  VK Singh, who had been engaged in a long-drawn battle with the government over his age issue, joined the BJP today. He said the BJP was the only "nationalist" party and he wanted to see it in power.

General Singh, who joined the BJP along with a number of other ex-servicemen in presence of party president Rajnath Singh, said they should support it so that a "stable, strong and nationalist" government was formed.

"I saw only BJP as nationalist party," he said. "We, who have served on borders, should work with nationalist forces. So we have decided to move with the BJP to bring a government which is stable, strong and takes decisions in national interest,” added the 63-year-old general, who retired in May, 2012.

Welcoming him into the partyfold, Rajnath said if the BJP came to power, it would take good care of the armed forces.

The BJP chief, citing the recent mishaps involving the Navy, said the UPA government had not looked after the armed forces well. He also attacked the government over ceasefire violations by Pakistan, including the beheading of two Indian soldiers, and intrusions by China.

The general joined the BJP months after he shared dais with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at an ex-servicemen rally in Haryana.

















Lalu offers 11 seats to Cong, one to NCP

Patna: Putting pressure on Congress, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav today offered 11 seats to Congress and asked the party to give its acceptance by tomorrow, when his party's parliamentary board is scheduled to meet here.

RJD has also offered one out of the 40 seats in the state to the NCP, another Congress ally.

The development came after his old ally LJP walked over to the BJP camp.

Prasad, who returned here from Delhi last night, said he had told Congress general secretary and in-charge of Bihar CP Joshi about the offer. "I have asked him to communicate acceptance before RJD parliamentary board meeting in Patna tomorrow at 3 pm," Prasad told reporters.

He said the offer did not mean "everything is over" between the RJD and the Congress on the issue. "I have also told Joshi that if his party stakes claim for any other seat then he should convince me about the winning potential of his expected candidate," he said.

To questions on whether the RJD could decide to go it alone, he said, "Why are you presuming things? ...The party's parliamentary board will take some decisions tomorrow." He said for him and the RJD, the biggest challenge was to halt communal forces.

He said he had not meant any fight with the Congress, which was a media interpretation.

The RJD chief had said last night, "Now there will be lathbandhan (alliance of bamboos)", conveying the RJD would be taking on the Congress in the poll battle.

He, however, did not identify the 11 seats offered to the Congress and the one to the NCP. He also refused to comment on reports that RJD-Congress alliance was stuck due to conflicting claims between the two parties on Madhubani and some other seats.

While the Congress appears to be adamant about getting the Madhubani seat for its general secretary Shakeel Ahmad, RJD claiming it for its legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, is in no mood to relent.

The Congress and the RJD had fought separately in the 2009 polls and Siddiqui had secured second position after BJP's Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, while Ahmad had been at third position.

Congress has been asking for seats like Patliputra, Nawada and Bhagalpur, which are RJD favourites. Prasad is expected to field his eldest daughter Misa Bharti from Patliputra constituency against his friend-turned-enemy Ranjan Yadav.

Prasad said his erstwhile ally Ramvilas Paswan, who had now joined hands with the BJP, had compromised his ideology.


















Kejriwal launches 3-day road-show in UP

Ghaziabad: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal kick-started his three-day road-show in Uttar Pradesh today. His rally, which started from the AAP office in Kaushambi, will cover over 15 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

Kejriwal will address a rally in Kanpur tomorrow. The rally will cover Ghaziabad, Pilkhuwa, Hapur, Amroha, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Hardoi.

"UP is dominated by caste and religion politics and we want to replace it with politics of development. The state is backward and we intend to target other parties over a number of issues plaguing the state," said Manish Sisodia, a senior party leader accompanying Kejriwal in the road-show.

"Corruption, dynastic politics and criminalisation of politics are the main issues we will target in UP. Also, power is another important issue we intend to target as it is bigger problem in Uttar Pradesh," said another party leader and UP in-charge of the party Sanjay Singh.

The rally, second after the one in Rohtak in Haryana last week, is also a part of AAP’s national campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The party intends to target rival parties, especially the Congress and the BJP, over the Reliance gas issue.

The party has over 3.5 lakh workers and activists in Uttar Pradesh.

On March 2, the road-show will start from Hardoi and proceed to Unnao and reach Kanpur, where Kejriwal will address a rally. In Kanpur, Kejriwal will meet leaders from business community and social organisations.

On March 3, the road-show will head to Delhi, covering Auraiya, Etawah, Firozabad, Agra, Mathura and Palwal.

Kejriwal's road-show, comprising a fleet of 50-70 cars, led to a traffic jam in Kaushambi. PTI

















Five-year-old raped in M’rashtra; youth arrested

Thane: A five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a teenager, who was her neighbour in Janaki Pada area here.

The police said today the accused Janardhan Bind (19), who works in a local company, lured the girl with chocolates and took her to his house yesterday when her parents were not around.

The incident came to light when the girl told her mother about the sexual abuse.

The accused has been arrested and booked under Section 376 of the IPC and Sections 4 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual offences Act 2012. PTI




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