QBullet: CBI Acquits 2G Scam Accused; 77.68% Turnout at RK Nagar
The Quint’s roundup of top headlines from national dailies.
1. 2G Case Verdict: CBI Court Acquits a Raja, Kanimozhi and All Other Accused
A special CBI court on Thursday acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK supremo Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and other accused of all charges in the 2G spectrum allocation cases — famously known as 2G ‘scam’ and often described as the biggest corruption scandal in India.
All the acquitted in the case have to, however, furnish a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh each to ensure their presence in a higher appellate court if the verdict is challenged.
The alleged scam came to light in 2010, when the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai alleged that 122 2G licences were given to telecom operators at throwaway prices without a free and fair bidding process, causing a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer. The trial in the case began next year.
The licences were scrapped by the Supreme Court on 2 February 2012.
2. US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital 'Null and Void': 128 Nations, Including India, Defy Trump at UN
The US faced complete isolation and humiliation in the UN General Assembly on Thursday as the world body took up for voting a draft resolution criticising President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, bucking an international consensus lasting decades.
The General Assembly adopted the resolution with 128 countries voting in favour, nine against and 35 abstaining.
Those who voted against Trump’s move also disregarded his threat of cutting aid to countries that backed the draft resolution and called out the US president for “bullying”.
Trump’s threat came a day after his ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US will be “taking names” as “we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us”. She had just vetoed to defeat a proposed resolution in the Security Council asking America to reverse its decision.
3. RK Nagar Records 77.68% Voter Turnout
As many as 1.76 lakh voters in Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency (RK Nagar) picked their choice of candidate during the bypoll held on Thursday, resulting in a 77.68 percent voter turnout.
There are a total of 2,28,234 voters in the constituency.
This was higher than the voter turnout recorded during the bypoll held in 2015, when former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa contested and won, following her acquittal in a disproportionate assets case. Jayalalithaa's victory saw 74.59 percent of RK Nagar residents turn up to vote.
While 84,195 male voters cast their votes, there were 92,862 women who had their index fingers inked. "The percentage of females who voted was 79.21 while for males it was 75.92," said district election officer D Karthikeyan.
4. Depositors' Money Safer Than Ever: Govt
The money of all depositors in public-sector banks will be protected and the level of protection will be “much higher than the level which existed till today,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Lok Sabha on Thursday. Talking about the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill 2017 during his reply to the debate on Supplementary Demand for Grants 2017-18, Jaitley said there was no need to create a fear psychosis.
When the [FRDI] Bill comes before the joint committee, please discuss this. There is 2011 G20 commitment when UPA was in power and that was offtake of 2008 global crisis when the Lehman Brothers collapsed.
The FRDI Bill 2017, introduced in Lok Sabha in August, has a “bail-in” clause, which some experts say brings potential harm to deposits in the form of savings accounts.
5. After 17 Years, TADA Convict to Go Home for a Week
After a wait of 17 years, Fazlur Rehman Sufi will go home. In the first such instance, the Rajasthan High Court on 18 December granted parole to Sufi, who was convicted under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in 2004 for his involvement in a series of blasts in trains in 1993.
Now 60, Sufi will walk out of the Jaipur Central Jail this Saturday for a seven-day parole to attend his son’s wedding.
It will be the first time in nearly two decades when he would meet his wife Aneesa, without an iron net between them. “They would give us 30 minutes at the most… if they were generous,” said Sufi’s brother Junaid Ahmad.
A father of three, Sufi missed weddings of both his daughters in 2006 and 2014 as his parole applications were rejected.
Sufi, a Mumbai resident, was an accountant before his arrest in 1994. Since then, he got permission to go home only once, in 2000, when he was still an undertrial and was given interim bail for 10 days.
Mujahid Ahmad, Counsel
The case in which Sufi was convicted pertained to blasts on five trains on the intervening night of 5-6 December, 1993. Sufi was convicted on 28 February 2004 by a TADA court in Ajmer.
6. 20-Year-Old Gangraped by 5 in Delhi
Five days after a teenager was raped by three youths in a park at Shalimar Bagh in northwest Delhi, a 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by five youths suspected to be juveniles near a municipal garbage dump (dhalao) in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday night. The survivor lodged a complaint at Jahangirpuri police station on Thursday afternoon.
In her statement, the survivor told police that she bumped into the youths near the garbage dump around 10pm.
The youths took her to a desolate spot behind the MCD apartments nearby and raped her in turns. They threatened to kill her if she shouted for help or mentioned the incident to anyone.
The accused reside in the same colony as the survivor and are known to her family. Cops said the youths are school dropouts and worked part time at the garbage dump. They will be produced before a magistrate if they are found to be adults.
7. Two HIV+ve Women to Get Engaged at Mass Wedding of 251 in Surat
As many as 251 women from across the state will get married at a mass wedding in Surat on Sunday along with the engagement ceremonies of two HIV +ve women. These women are the daughters single mothers. The event, organised by the PP Savani Education Trust, will start on Friday, with the mehendi and pithi ceremonies.
Five Muslim women and a Christian woman will also be married at the event for which both Muslim and Christian priests will be present to conduct the nikah and the wedding.
Owner of the trust, Mahesh Savani said that they conduct the mass marriage as part of their social responsibility. “I have taken the responsibility as their father. This time real estate developer Sanjay Movaliya is also helping us,” said Savani.
The trust, which runs a chain of schools in Surat, has been arranging such mass marriages of women with single parents since 2012. The expenses are borne by the Sawani trust and Movaliya family. So far, weddings of 2,123 women have been arranged. The girls will also be gifted household items during the marriage as is customary after a wedding.
8. Indian Science Congress Indefinitely Postponed over Law and Order Situation
The prestigious Indian Science Congress, scheduled to be held in Osmania University (OU) from 3 to 7 January, has been indefinitely postponed in the wake of ‘sensitive law and order situation’ prevailing in the campus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to inaugurate the 105th edition of the event at OU grounds on 3 January. More than 2,000 scientists from across the world, including 15 Nobel laureates in science from different countries, were invited to participate in the annual event.
The event has been postponed indefinitely due to security concerns in the wake of some unfortunate developments on the campus in the recent past. Though we have made all the arrangements for its successful conduct, the law and order situation is also very important. Hence, the Indian Science Congress Association had to take the decision to defer it.
Prof S Ramachandram, OU Vice-Chancellor to HT
9. Syringe Prices May Fall by Half or More in January 2018
The All India Syringes and Needles Manufacturers Association has issued a circular to its members to print the maximum retail price (MRP) on the basis of a maximum of 75 percent margin from 24 December, which is observed as Consumer Day, and to implement this latest by 26 January next year.
It also wrote to all foreign manufacturers of syringes, urging them to join the effort to self-regulate and "bring relief to patients".
Members of the association account for an estimated 85 percent of the market for syringes and needles in India. A voluntary cap by them would, therefore, put pressure on foreign manufacturers to follow suit.
Pushing implementation till the end of January was to allow manufacturers to clear current stocks to enable a “smooth transition”, the circular observed, adding that all syringes and needle categories, including disposable, auto disable, reuse prevention and insulin pen needle, will be covered by this decision.
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