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JNU missing student case: Record statements on threat by ABVP students: HC




New Delhi, April 21: Taking a stern ruling against failure of Delhi Police in cracking the missing JNU student from more than six months, Delhi High Court on Friday asked to record the statement of witnesses.

The court told Delhi police to record statements of all those who were present at the time of an altercation between JNU student Najeeb Ahmed and nine students of ABVP six months ago. The courts said it wants to know about the “nature of threat” given to him.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Deepa Sharma asked why the statements of witnesses were not recorded by Delhi Police after Ahmed went missing in October last year after the altercation.

What is the nature of threat? What words were used for threatening?,” asked the bench, directing the police to record statements of persons present during the altercation.

Ahmed had slapped one of the nine students during an altercation in the hostel and in return they allegedly threatened him.

Police also submitted two sealed cover analysis reports of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, regarding the contents of Ahmed’s laptop and mobile phone and of the nine students’ mobile phones.

The movement of the mobile phones of the nine students reveals nothing, said the police, adding that their mobile phones were shown to be in the hostels during the time of Ahmed’s disappearance, said the report.

Ahmed, 27, a first year M.Sc. student, went missing from his JNU hostel on the night of October 14-15, allegedly after an altercation with the members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s students wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

The court was hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by Ahmed’s mother Fatima Nafees that her son be produced by police and the Delhi government before the court.

The bench also sought response from the government on an application filed by the mother to disband Delhi Police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up in October on the Centre’s direction and constitute a fresh team of SIT.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who appeared for the student’s mother, said the history of the case shows their “collusion” with the nine accused students.

He also asked the court that police be directed for custodial interrogation of the nine students as they assaulted and threatened Ahmed before he went missing.

Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, said the nine students have neither given their consent nor refusal for a lie detector test in the case. He said the students should come forward and take the polygraph test.

To this, the bench said that the students can not be forced to undergo polygraph test. “They should agree but if they want to live with the needle of suspicion what can be done,” said the bench.

The bench posted the matter for May 12.

Wefornews Bureau (with IANS inputs)


Lok Sabha adjourned till noon



Parliament Of India

New Delhi, Dec 18: The Lok Sabha witnessed an adjournment minutes after it met on Monday amid an uproar, and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House till 12 noon.

While opposition members were seen standing at their seats and protesting, from the treasury benches — BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, who had the first question listed against his name, said the Bharatiya Janata Party was headed for victory in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

“Congress has lost Himachal Pradesh, and I want to thank the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) for the unprecedented victory in Gujarat,” Somaiya said.

The Speaker then adjourned the house till noon, amid ruckus from both the ruling and opposition benches.


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EC sets up panel on changes in election law, withdraws notice to Rahul



Himachal Pradesh election result

New Delhi, Dec 17: A day before counting in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the Election commission on Sunday decided to set up a committee having representation from three union ministries to examine provisions of Representation of People Act and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) about provisions relating to last 48 hours before polling in the wake of challenges posed by fast-changing technologies.

The poll panel also simultaneously withdrew its notice of December 13 to Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly giving election-related interviews to TV channels a day prior to the second phase of polling in Gujarat. It wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat to “abate” further action on its letter of December 13.

In letters to both Congress and BJP, the Election Commission told them about the committee it has decided to set up and advised them to not mention henceforth any election matter pertaining to area going for poll during the prohibited period of 48 hours.

The committee will have representation from the Election Commission, the Law, Information and Broadcasting and Electronics and Information Technology Ministries besides the National Broadcasters Association and Press Council of India to examine the relevant provisions in “the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes”.

The Election Commission said that the matter will be taken up with all stakeholders including political parties and media houses for their views to recommend appropriate modification in law and the commission’s instructions.

In its notice to Rahul Gandhi, the commission had said that it had received complaints that “on some TV channels interview given by you has been/is being displayed about elections” to Gujarat assembly. It had asked him to respond by December 18. It has also instructed the Gujarat CEO to lodge FIR against the TV channels that telecast his interview.

The Congress had on December 14 complained to the Election Commission about “a road show” undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he cast his vote here during the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls.

In its letters to the Congress and BJP, the poll panel said it believes that “due to multi-fold expansion of digital and electronic media, the extant Model Code of Conduct, Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 and other related provisions require revisiting to cater to the requirement and challenges of the present and emerging situations” and that it will seek suggestions for necessary modification in existing provisions.

The poll panel’s letter to the BJP referred to Congress allegations against Modi, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goel, BJP chief Amit Shah and party leader chief Jitu Baghnani for alleged violation of MCC. The commission noted that report of Gujarat CEO was obtained on the allegations and BJP leaders had also given point-wise reply.

It noted that there was no time limit in the MCC for release of election manifesto by political parties.


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EC yet to rule on complaints against Modi, BJP in Gujarat



Election Commission
Election Commission

Gandhinagar, Dec 17: The Gujarat election verdict will be delivered on Monday but the Election Commission is still looking into a plethora of complaints against the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress feels that little was happening to all its complaints against the Bharatiya Janata Party while things moved quickly when it came to grievances against others in the fray.

The stock reply of the Gujarat Chief Election Officer (CEO) to all queries is: “We are looking into it.” The CEO’s office could not tell IANS for two days the number of complaints it got for violation of the model code of conduct. The Congress has made 20 applications.

Since the announcement of the Gujarat elections on October 25, the code of conduct came into effect, preventing the government from making any policy announcements related to new schemes and preventing all parties from invoking communal and caste tensions.

The parties were also barred from using official machinery to influence voters.

The key instances of allegations of violation of the code of the conduct were against Modi.

The first was during a public meeting he addressed in Palitana in Bhavnagar district on November 29 where he allegedly incited hatred between the Patidar and Rajput communities over a conflict that occurred more than 30 years ago.

In 1982, three members of the Rajput community of Chomal village near Mangadh were killed and 19 Patels were charged with murder but were acquitted.

In an alleged reprisal in 1984, the Rajputs killed nine Patidars in Mangadh. After that, Mangadh village remained embroiled in caste conflict. But time healed matters and since then the area has seen peace.

But Modi stirred passions: “Gujarat cannot forget those days when (Patidar) farmers were looted by a handful of strongmen (Rajputs) who had the blessings of the Congress. Now it is for the people to decide whether they want those days back. Do you want to bless those who carried out murders of innocents in Mangadh?” He repeatedly asked these questions.

Through the Bhavnagar District Collector, the Gujarat Khedut Samaj filed a complaint against Modi and urged the poll panel that he be banned from campaigning further as he was inciting hatred.

Although Election Commission rules prohibit aggravating existing differences or creating mutual hatred or tension, Gujarat CEO B.B. Swain said: “We are looking into it.”

The rules also bar campaigners and candidates from appealing to caste or communal feelings. Mosques, churches, temples and other places of worship cannot be used for election propaganda.

But at an event at the Vadtal Swaminarayan sect temple on November 4, the chief administrator of the shrine, Maharaj Ghanshyam Prasad Das, appealed to the devotees to vote for the BJP — in the presence of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

Asked about this, Swain said: “The Commission is looking into it.”

But the Commission acted swiftly and issued a notice to the Archbishop of Gandhinagar through the District Collector, asking him to explain the intention and aim in writing a letter in which he asked Christians to organize prayer services so that those elected in Gujarat remain faithful to the Indian Constitution.

Chief Minister Rupani announced a ban on controversial film “Padmavati”. Asked if this not a violation of the code of conduct, Swain said: “The Commission is looking into it.”

The code of conduct clearly states that once elections are announced, ministers and other authorities shall not lay foundation stones of projects or schemes.

But on the last day of campaign on December 12, Modi flew off in a seaplane from the Sabarmati riverfront to Dharoi Dam reservoir to announce the launch of the seaplane service by the central government.

When pointed out that this was a clear violation of the code of conduct, Swain maintained: “The Commission is looking into it.”

In sharp contrast, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was swiftly slapped with a notice for giving interviews to Gujarati TV channels on the eve of polling for the second and last phase on December 14.

But on the day of polling, Modi, a voter from Ranip in Ahmedabad, while returning from the voting booth, openly displayed his finger during a veritable roadshow.

The Congress complained to the Election Commission. Swain said: “The Commission is looking into it.”

The code of conduct prohibits parties and candidates from canvassing within 100 metres of polling stations.

The Congress complained, backed by video evidence, that an outgoing BJP MLA paid money to voters coming out of a polling booth. Swain’s comment: “The Commission is looking into it.”

The Congress asked the Election Commission to bar three tainted officials from conducting poll duty. One of them, Mahendra Patel, had made personal comments against then Congress President Sonia Gandhi on his Facebook page.

And two police officials were involved in alleged controversial encounter killings and were out on bail — Rajkumar Pandian (and Abhay Chudasama.

Mohan Jha, the Additional Director General of Police and the nodal officer for the Election Commission’s police deployment plan, said: “Since there is no ongoing departmental inquiry against these officials, there is no breach or violation of any rules.”


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