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Shivani Murder Accused’s Acquittal Challenged




New Delhi: The Delhi Police Wednesday challenged in the Supreme Court the acquittal of R.K. Sharma, the main accused in the 1999 murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar by the Delhi High Court. Besides Sharma, two others Shri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash were also acquitted.

Sharma, a former Indian Police Service officer, was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by a trial court for his involvement in Bhatnagar’s murder.

The Delhi High Court acquitted Sharma in October 2011. The petition challenging the high court order said that the judgment acquitting Sharma was “contrary to law, evidence on record and the probabilities of the case”.

The petition said that the high court was not justified in acquitting Sharma, Shri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash of conspiracy charges, read with murder, on the ground that the prosecution failed to establish a linkage between them and accused Pradeep Sharma who actually committed the crime.

There was sufficient circumstantial evidence which clearly established that Sharma, Shri Bhagwan, Satya Prakash, Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved Prakash alias Kalu hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill Bhatnagar, the petition said.

Pradeep Sharma joined the conspiracy later and killed Bhatnagar, it said.

Faulting the high court verdict, the petition said that it “failed to consider that the accused were involved in the conspiracy to kill Bhatnagar and there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to connect the accused with the murder”.

”The circumstances relied upon by the prosecution give rise to conclusive inference of an agreement between the accused to commit the offence,” it said.

The petition said that the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution included that there was intimate relationship between Sharma and Bhatnagar. While accused Sharma, posted as officer on special duty in the prime minister’s office, had handed over several secret and classified documents to Bhatnagar for various news reports.

Later, Sharma started avoiding Bhatnagar. She threatened to expose him and ruin his career and he made up his mind to kill her, it said.

Sharma conspired with others and held a meeting at Ashoka Hotel here Jan 13, 1999 to the murder. Pradeep Sharma later went to Bhatnagar’s Navkunj Apartment in eas Delhi and killed her, the petition said.

All through the conspiracy, the accused were in touch on telephone, it said.

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



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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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.

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



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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