Court Notice To CBI On Maran Probe
New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the CBI, seeking its response to an application by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleging that the agency slowed down the probe against the former Telecom Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, after it had filed the First Information Report in the 2G spectrum scam case.
After hearing Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the CPIL, a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly also sought the CBI’s response to the allegation that the agency had diluted the third supplementary charge sheet against Loop Telecom owing to the interference of Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed and two top functionaries in the CBI.
The Bench directed that the matter be listed for further hearing on January 20.
In its application, the CPIL drew the court’s attention to the fact that the CBI did not file the charge sheet against Mr. Maran after the FIR was filed. “The CBI is deliberately going slow in the case and has not made any arrest. This was the most clear-cut case of corruption and quid pro quo, and is being made weak by the CBI. [A] charge sheet should have been filed… several months back.”
Mr. Bhushan alleged that the CBI, in the third charge sheet against Loop Telecom, had booked the accused under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. However, the charge sheet “does not include any charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and leaves out the role of public servants. There is a possibility of this case being taken away from the Special Judge dealing with the 2G cases, as [a] case of cheating is triable by a magistrate. Such an event would be a complete misreading of this court’s order designating the Special Court to deal with all 2G cases.”
He said: “The investigation officers dealing … in the case had found strong evidences… and had apparently/reportedly proposed charges even under the Prevention of Corruption Act. This was apprised to this court in the status reports. However, CBI Director of Prosecution Abdul Aziz overruled the report of the investigating officers and said no criminal case was made out… Giving a clean chit to the companies, he said this was merely a contractual violation.”
Furthermore, “CBI Director A.P. Singh partially differed with the observations of Mr. Aziz and observed that a case of cheating and conspiracy is made out against the companies, their promoters and private people. But he agreed with Mr. Aziz that no case is made out under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and against public servants. Mr. Singh justified this on the ground that the Department of Telecom officers concerned at the time of issue of LoIs [Letters of Intent] did not know that Loop Telecom was controlled by the Essar Group through a web of companies. Though the issue was referred to Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati for his opinion, this aspect was not addressed by him.”
Mr. Bhushan said: “The interference of Law Minister Salman Khursheed is evident. He is publicly giving clean chit to Essar/Loop. It is to be noted that this case is similar to that of Swan-Reliance, wherein the CBI has already filed charge sheets against officials of Swan and Reliance and also the public officials. The charge sheet includes charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act. These developments are likely to weaken the prosecution case in the matter of Swan-Reliance as well.”
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
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.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
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.
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.
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.