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Suspicion Hangs Over Suicide Of Raja’s Key Aide Sadiq Batcha

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Sadiq Batcha, the man who knew too much about the intricacies of the 2G Spectrum scam money trail into suspected front companies of former union telecom minister A Raja, allegedly committed suicide on Wednesday morning at his house in Central Chennai, shortly before he was to leave for Delhi for questioning by the CBI. According to Chennai police commissioner T Rajendran said Batcha is reported to have committed suicide. His family members found him hanging in his bed room of his house in Tenyampet area of Central Chennai, close to the DMK headquarters. A cloud of suspicion hangs over his alleged suicide as he was the closest and trusted aide of Raja and was in the know of all his transactions and activities, since his days as the minister of state for rural development in the Vajpayee council of ministers in 1999.

While Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, the applicant on 2G Spectrum scam in the Supreme Court raised questions about the suicide theory, political commentator Cho Ramaswamy said that there was no reason for him to commit suicide. “I am positive there is some foulplay,” he said commenting on the sudden death of the key link in the 2G spectrum scam. Asking the CBI to probe all angles, Subramanian Swamy hoped that all the witnesses and accused in the 2G scam be provided security as the reputation of several big names was involved.

The police, though tightlipped, do not rule out foul play and are awaiting the post-mortem report after Batcha’s body was shifted from Appolo Hospital to the Government hospital at Royapettah in the afternoon. The post-mortem report is expected late in the evening. Doctors at Appolo Hospital declared Batcha dead on arrival. Heavy police presence barricaded the hospital during the time his body was there. Batcha’s relatives were present inside the hospital.

Tamil Nadu government, sources said, was contemplating handing over investigations into Sadiq Batcha’s sudden death to the CBI. The sudden death of Batcha has come at a time when he was booked for an afternoon flight to Delhi to face CBI interrogation on Thursday amid reports that he might turn an approver.

Batcha, a longtime friend and associate of Raja, was mentioned by DB Realty managing director Shahid Balwa as his link to Raja, and is said to have known every activity. In fact, he was the managing director of a real estate company, Green House Promoters, in which Raja’s wife Parameswari was associated as one of the directors and later resigned. Raja’s brother A Kariyaperumal and his nephew A Parameswaran were also associated with the Green House Promoters, floated in 2007 with an initial investment of Rs 1 lakh and grew into a multi-crore company within few years. In the first year of operations alone, it reported a turnover of Rs 70 crore.

Batcha began his life as a door-to-door salesman of sarees in Perambulur, the hometown of Raja, and later associated with him and had graduated onto selling plots to people who found jobs in the Gulf. He came very close to Raja by 1998 when Raja became DMK district secretary and after he became a junior minister at the Centre in the BJP led NDA government his fortunes began to soar.

-HT

 

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SOUTH ASIA

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

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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

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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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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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