QBullet: 5 Acquitted in Mecca Masjid Case; Normal Monsoon in 2018
1. Mecca Masjid Blast Case: 5 Including Aseemanand Acquitted, Judge Who Delivered Verdict Resigns
Eleven years after a blast at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad killed eight persons and injured 58 — five others were shot dead by police during a riot that followed — an NIA court Monday acquitted five main accused, including Swami Aseemanand. Lawyers said special judge Ravinder Reddy noted that “the prosecution could not prove its case” because “no evidence was presented to prove the conspiracy”.
Hours after he delivered the verdict, judge Reddy, who was also the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge, put in his papers. In a letter to the metropolitan sessions judge and the chief justice of the high court, Reddy said he was resigning due to personal reasons.
The NIA had accused Aseemanand and others of conspiracy to target Muslim places of worship. The chargesheet stated that between 2005 and 2007 all planned to commit the acts including the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid on 18 May 2007.
2. In an Election Year, IMD Forecast of Normal Monsoon May Temper Economic, Political Risks
India’s June-September monsoon, the lifeblood of the world’s third-largest economy, will be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. The prediction will likely boost economic growth and farm output in the run-up to a general election next year.
“India will get its third consecutive normal monsoon this year at 97 percent of the long-period average. We see very less probability of a deficient monsoon being experienced by the country,” KJ Ramesh, the IMD’s chief said.
According to the Met’s classification, the monsoon is considered normal if the rains are between 96-104 percent of the 50-year average of 89 cm.
3. SC Says Protect Kathua Victim’s Family; Accused Plead Not Guilty
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered protection to the Kathua rape victim’s family and their lawyer as it asked the Jammu and Kashmir government for its response to a plea for transferring of the trial in the case to Chandigarh.
The court’s orders came on a day eight people accused of raping and killing the eight-year-old girl in Jammu pleaded not guilty on the first day of trial in a Kathua court and asked for a narco test to be conducted on them.
The child, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic community, was allegedly held in captivity in a village temple for a week in January and raped before being bludgeoned to death.
4. Three BJP States Enforce New SC/ST Law While Centre Seeks its Recall
While the Centre seeks recall of the Supreme Court’s 20 March order that forbids arrest under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act without prior sanction, at least three BJP-ruled states have already directed their police to strictly implement the order which, Dalits say, dilutes the law.
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have issued formal orders, instructing police chiefs to strictly implement the Supreme Court order. Himachal Pradesh has circulated the order informally among police officers while Haryana has sought legal advice.
5. Lump it, Wait Until CJI Dipak Misra Retires: Fali Nariman Advice on Row in SC
There is complete breakdown in confidence between the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his fellow judges, giving rise to lack of accommodation between them but the fact remains that the Chief Justice is the master of the roster and that cannot be changed, senior jurist Fali Nariman has said.
“This has never happened before in all the 67 years I have practised as an advocate. Levels of tolerance have gone down. Lawyers, judges, everybody. The spirit of collegiality which is essential in a Bench as well as in a court has broken down. Upto now, judges by and large followed it. Since I came to Delhi in 1972, I have seen 32 Chief Justices, but I have never seen this before,” Nariman told The Indian Express in his first remarks in several months after recovering from a surgery.
6. Missing Army Jawan Joins Hizb in J&K
In the first such case that has come to light, a soldier who had been missing since last week has joined Hizbul Mujahideen, J&K police said on Monday.
The soldier, identified as Sepoy Idrees Mir, was posted with the 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in Bihar. He joined Hizb along with two others on Sunday, police said.
Mir had arrived in his village in Shopian on 12 April and had been missing since Saturday night. A photograph of Mir with an AK-47 went viral. Mir was to be posted to Jharkhand and was unhappy about the move.
7. CBI Charges Lalu, Rabri and 11 Others in IRCTC Case
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday filed a charge-sheet against RJD leader Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi as well as his younger son and successor-designate Tejashwi Yadav along with 11 others, including senior railway officials, in the alleged IRCTC corruption case.
This is the first time that Tejashwi, leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, has landed in the crosshairs of CBI which has so far secured four convictions of his father in the sprawling fodder scam.
The agency has accused Lalu Prasad of abusing his role as railway minister in the UPA government to award the contract for running two railway hotels —BNR Ranchi and BNR Puri — to Sujata Hotels in exchange for a plot of prime land in Patna.
8. India Summons Pak Envoy Over ‘Attempts’ to Stir up Khalistan Issue
India’s external affairs ministry summoned Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haidar Shah on Monday and lodged a strong protest at attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Sikh pilgrims from India to Pakistan to raise the issue of “Khalistan”, according to an official statement.
Pakistan’s action, and the ministry’s complaint, are likely to strain the already poor relationship between the two countries.
Pakistan was called upon to “immediately stop all such activities that were aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and incitement of disharmony in India”, the statement said. India raised the issue of Sikh pilgrims being exposed to inflammatory statements and posters at pilgrimage centres.
9. New Gurugram-Mumbai Expressway to be Ready in Three Years: Nitin Gadkari
The government will build a new expressway connecting Gurugram with Mumbai passing through the country’s two most backward districts — Mewat in Haryana and Dahod in Gujarat — in the next three years, highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. The project would cost about Rs 60,000 crore, sources said.
The expressway will reduce the existing distance of 1,450 km by road to about 1,250 km and will bring down the travel time to about 12 hours. Currently, it takes at least 24 hours to cover the stretch between Delhi and Mumbai through NH-8. Gadkari said the work on this stretch will start by December and will be completed in the next three years.