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Woman IAS Officer Sent To Jail In Illegal Mining Case

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Hyderabad: A special court Thursday sent Y. Srilakshmi, a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official in Andhra Pradesh, to jail in the illegal mining case involving Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) of former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy.
The special court dealing with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases also posted to Friday its orders on the bail petition of the officer. The CBI presented her in the court Thursday evening after her three-day custody ended.
The investigating agency, which had arrested Srilakshmi, the family welfare commissioner, on Nov 28, sought her custody again but the court remanded her to judicial custody till Dec 12.
The court rejected the appeal by the 1988-batch IAS officer that she be allowed to stay in the CBI office in view of her health problems. The CBI later shifted Srilakshmi to Chanchalgunda women’s prison, where she was lodged in barrack number nine and was allotted undertrial number 4322.
Srilakshmi, who is the fourth accused in the case, allegedly favoured OMC by granting iron ore licence as the secretary industries incharge of mines in the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy government.
It was on Tuesday that the court had remanded her to CBI custody for three days.
The state government Thursday suspended the official after CBI informed the government about her arrest. The CBI informed Chief Secretary Pankaj Dwivedi, who issued orders suspending her. As per the rules, a government employee is suspended if he or she spends 48 hours in detention.
Meanwhile, CBI opposed her bail petition. The CBI counsel told the court that she deleted word “captive mining” from the mining lease order under a criminal conspiracy, thus allowing to plunder iron ore.
The investigating agency also said it was not proper on Srilakshmi’s part to blame then mining minister Sabita Indra Reddy as it is the responsibility of the secretary to guide the minister in such matters.
Sabita Indra Reddy, who is now the home minister, was holding mines portfolio when OMC was granted iron ore mining lease. The CBI has already questioned her in the case.
The CBI also told the court that the IAS official was submitting false certificates to show that she is not well. It pointed out that government doctors who examined her found her healthy.
Srilakshmi, in her bail petition, blamed Sabita, saying the lease was issued after obtaining her approval. The IAS officer, who is wife of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer M. Gopalakrishna, is facing charges of criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy and cheating.
Janardhana Reddy and OMC managing director B.V. Srinivasa Reddy were arrested from Bellary in Karnataka on Sep 5. Former mines director V.D. Rajagopal was arrested on Nov 13. All the three were lodged in Chanchalguda Central Jail.
-IANS

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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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