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‘Godman’ Asaram’s Net Worth Estimated At $2 Billion

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'Godman' Asaram's Net Worth Estimated At $2 Billion

‘Godman’ Asaram’s Net Worth Estimated At $2 Billion

Surat: Self-styled ‘godman’ Asaram has accumulated wealth to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore and vast tracts of land across the country, the value of which is yet to be assessed, police said on Thursday.

 “The scrutiny of documents recovered during the raid has established that wealth of Asaram’s ashrams in the form of bank accounts and other investments including shares, debentures and government bonds (excluding land) is valued at Rs 9,000-Rs 10,000 crore,” city commissioner of police Rakesh Asthana told reporters on Thursday.

“The value of land has not been included in the assessment of Rs 10,000 crore,” he said, adding the figures can escalate as there are many more documents still to be retrieved.

 Accordingly, the city police has informed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Income Tax (IT) department and the Enforcement Directorate for further probe into the violations.

 Police raid at one of Asaram’s properties in Ahmedabad few months ago, unearthed thousands of documents detailing his financial transactions which was brought to the city in more than 40 big bags.

In Gujarat, they hold land at 45 places in 10 districts. Also, they own land at 33 places across eight districts in four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the CP said.

 “The CBDT, the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate have been informed about the transactions. They will assist us in investigation,” he said.

 These documents have been recovered from one place and it is not known whether they used to keep papers elsewhere too, Asthana said.

 Asaram and his son Narayan Sai are behind bars in connection with various rape cases.

 The raids were conducted following a complaint by two sisters against Sai and his father, accusing them of rape, sexual assault, illegal confinement and other charges.

Surat police had booked 40-year-old Sai under various sections including rape, unnatural sex, molestation, wrongful confinement, unlawful assembly, rioting armed with deadly weapon, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy under IPC.

In her complaint, the younger of the two sisters had accused Sai of repeated sexual assault between 2002 and 2005 when she was living at the Surat ashram.

The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The complaint against Asaram, which was initially lodged at Surat’s Jehangirpura police station, was transferred to city’s Chandkheda police station as the alleged incident took place here.

Asaram, 72, is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

A chargesheet was filed against Asaram in a court in Gandhinagar earlier this month accusing him of unnatural sex, rape and illegal confinement.

Sai was apprehended from Haryana-Delhi border earlier last month after evading arrest for nearly two months in the sexual assault case lodged against him by an inmate of his Surat-based ashram.

Sai had himself admitted on December 11, 2013 that he entered into physical relationship with eight of his female disciples.

SOUTH ASIA

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

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Nawaz sharif

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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SOUTH ASIA

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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SOUTH ASIA

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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