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Karnataka’s Yeddyurappa Govt Seeks Judicial Probe Into Land Scams

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Under intense opposition pressure over alleged land scams, the BJP government in Karnataka has decided to order a judicial probe into denotification of land in the last 10 years.

Karnataka's Yeddyurappa Govt Seeks Judicial Probe Into Land ScamsThe probe will be conducted either by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

A cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa took the decision to order the probe into denotification of land by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board and Bangalore Development Authority in the last decade that covers the Congress and H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-BJP rule.

“If a retired Supreme Court judge is unavailable, then the inquiry will be headed by a retired High Court judge,” Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said.

The terms of reference would be decided later by Yeddyurappa, who is enmeshed in controversy over allotment of KIADB lands to his daughter and denotifying lands BDA acquired to favour his sons — B Y Raghavendra, B Y Vijendra and son-in-law Sohan Kumar.

Yeddyurappa, who had two days ago announced that he would elicit the opinion of opposition leaders on having a judicial probe, however dropped the consultation idea and decided to go in for the inquiry.

A belligerent JD(S) stepped up its pressure, filing a complaint against Yeddyurappa with the Lokayukta for denotifying lands, claiming it was a Rs 5,000-crore scam to favour his family members and others.

“We have filed a 580-page complaint before Lokayukta with specific allegations against the Chief Minister for denotifying valuable government land to favour members of his family, including his sons Raghavendra and Vijay Kumar and some others,” said JD(S) spokesperson Y S V Dutta.

Yeddyurappa came under opposition attack after he denotified about two acres acquired by BDA for the Arkavathy residential layout, allegedly favouring his sons and son-in-law.

He also faced allegations of allotting land for industrial purpose to his daughter Umadevi and in favour of some people including a mines owner, causing a major embarassment to the first ever BJP government in the South.

In the midst of the snowballing controversy, Yeddyurappa defended his action, asserting he had not done anything in violation of rules. The practice of denotification has been going on during the time of previous government as well.

-HT

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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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Temple

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