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Jayalalithaa’s Bail Plea Rejected

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 Jayalalithaa's Bail Plea Rejected


Jayalalithaa’s Bail Plea Rejected

Bangalore/Chennai: The Karnataka High Court Tuesday rejected the bail plea of jailed former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, abruptly ending frenzied celebrations by her supporters after one of her lawyers earlier said she had got conditional bail.

Justice A.V. Chandrashekara, who heard Jayalalithaa’s petition, also declined to suspend her four-year jail term even after Special Public Prosecutor G. Bhavani Singh submitted he had no objection to her bail application.

The AIADMK leader was convicted and sentenced for four years and fined Rs.100 crore for corruption by a special court here Sep 27.

“No sufficient grounds for suspension of the sentence. The Supreme Court clearly indicated that corruption violates human rights and leads to economic imbalance,” the judge said in his interim order.

The judge also found no prime facie ground for granting bail to the 66-year-old Jayalalithaa.

Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani appeared for Jayalalithaa as defence counsel.

The bail petitions of Jayalalithaa’s associates – former close associate Sasikala Natarajan, estranged former foster son V.K. Sudhakaran and former aide J. Ilavarasi – were also rejected on the same grounds.

Earlier, in his 90-minute deposition, Jethmalani assured the judge that his client (Jayalalithaa) would abide by any condition put forth for bail, as she was a law abiding citizen and would not flee the country.

But this argument cut no ice with the judge.

A special court here Sep 27 convicted Jayalalithaa for corruption when she was chief minister in 1991-96 and jailed her for four years of simple imprisonment.

She was also fined Rs.100 crore under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The other three were also sentenced to four years in jail and fined Rs.10 crore each.

The bail petitions were posted for hearing by a regular bench Tuesday by a special bench of the high court Oct 1.

Meanwhile, fearing mass protests, police imposed a ban on the assembly of five or more people in a one-kilometer area around the high court here.

In Tamil Nadu, tens of thousands of Jayalalithaa supporters across the state erupted in joy after media outlets reported, on the strength of what an AIADMK lawyer had stated, that she had got conditional bail.

AIADMK members, legislators and MPs gathered in larger numbers at the party headquarters in Chennai and at AIADMK offices across the state danced, burst crackers and distributed sweets.

But the joyous scenes came to a grinding halt when it dawned that the “news” was wrong and that Jayalalithaa’s prayer for bail had actually been turned down.

The very same AIADMK activists — men and women — then turned emotive. Many women openly wailed. The celebrations turned into angry protests. Some were too stunned to speak.

As tensions rose, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvan urged people to maintain calm and not to resort to any protests that would hurt the interests of ordinary citizens.

He also said that protests held by Jayalalithaa supporters should not be linked to the AIADMK government headed by him since her jailing.

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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