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Counsel Tells Court Sanjay Dutt Not Linked To ’93 Mumbai Blasts

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                  Counsel Tells Court Sanjay Dutt Not Linked To '93 Mumbai Blasts   New Delhi: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt Tuesday told the Supreme Court that his offence of possessing a rifle and ammunition was not linked to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The blasts struck the city in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in Uttar Pradesh Dec 6, 1992.

Appearing for the actor, senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan that he came to possess the weapon in September 1992 when his father Sunil Dutt and sisters were facing threats as the senior Dutt’s help to Muslim victims annoyed some. “He had nothing to do with it (the 1993 Mumbai blasts) before, during and after the blasts,” Salve told the court.
“Crime has many facets. A crime is under Indian Penal Code but aimed to awe the society,” Salve told the court, adding that the conviction of Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act was in no way connected with the 1993 serial blasts.
Salve said that the only caveat in putting Sanjay Dutt to trial under an anti-terror law was if there was any “inextricable linkage” between his possessing arms with the serial bomb blasts.
He said that this was the least common denominator that could be used for seeing any such linkage. He said that there was no linkage between Dutt possessing a rifle and the 1993 bomb blasts.
The senior counsel said that a “disconnect” between Sanjay Dutt acquiring a rifle and some ammunition with the larger conspiracy took him out of the trial under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
The court was told that Dutt had never met blasts accused Tiger Memon and all that he knew about him was hearsay from Samir Hingora in whose under-production film “Sanam” he was playing a role. “This is what you say,” Justice Sathasivam told Salve and asked: “But what other accused say about you?”
Salve said that what other accused had said about him was contradictory. The senior counsel told this to the apex court hearing Sanjay Dutt’s appeal challenging his conviction under the Arms act and sentence of six years awarded to him. The cinestar’s appeal challenging his conviction was being heard by the apex court.
As Salve commenced the arguments, the court pointed out that there were objections that the “CBI filed appeal against all making an exception for Sanjay Dutt”.
The court was apparently referring to senior counsel Jaspal Singh casting shadows on the impartiality of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by not appealing against the TADA court verdict in Sanjay Dutt’s case.
Jaspal Singh, who appeared for accused Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, said that the CBI did not oppose the bail of Sanjay Dutt who had confessed his guilt and weapons were recovered from him.
The special bench of the apex court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by accused challenging their conviction and sentencing by the TADA court. The hearing commenced Nov 1, 2011.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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