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10 killed as Somali forces end hotel siege in Mogadishu

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The death toll from Tuesday evening’s attack on a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has risen to 10 while 11 others were injured, police confirmed on Wednesday.

Zakia Hussein, deputy commissioner of the Somali Police Force, said security forces ended a seven-hour siege on popular SYL Hotel after killing all the five attackers.

“The attack was concluded and the five attackers were killed by the security forces,” Hussein said in a statement, adding that two soldiers and three civilians were killed in the attack.

She said two soldiers and nine civilians sustained injuries in the attack on the hotel, which is in a heavily guarded vicinity near the presidential palace.

Hussein said the security forces safely evacuated 82 people trapped inside the hotel, including some prominent figures. The hotel is frequented by government officials and high-profile business people.

Unconfirmed reports say a judge was among those killed in the attack.

Sources said guards and security forces thwarted attempts by the militants to gain entry into the hotel. Witnesses recounted the attack earlier to Xinhua, saying they heard a powerful blast followed by gunfire.

The Al-Shabab terror group, which has been trying to overthrow the government, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group, which has repeatedly staged similar attacks on government buildings and officials, said it attacked the hotel because it is close to the presidential palace.

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Crime

SC judge recuses from hearing Tejpal’s plea in sexual assault case

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Supreme Court judge Justice L. Nageswara Rao on Friday recused from hearing the plea by former editor of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal, against the Bombay High Court, which had declined to entertain his application for in-camera hearing of the appeal filed by the Goa government against his acquittal in sexual assault case.

The matter was listed before a bench of Justices Rao and B.R. Gavai. Justice Rao said that he had appeared for the Goa government as a lawyer in 2015. “Please list this before some other court,” he said.

Tejpal moved the top court on December 4, last year, challenging the dismissal of his application by the high court. He contended that every party has a right to place forth their case in the best possible manner. The plea argued that it would not be fair, if lawyers have to curtail their submissions in the backdrop that some publication may publish something, without exercising due care.

Citing a recent order by Bombay High Court, which passed directions for in-camera hearings in cases under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, Tejpal sought an in-camera proceeding in his matter too.

In May, last year, the trial court acquitted Tejpal of all charges levelled against him, including wrongful confinement, assault with intent to outrage modesty, sexual harassment, and rape against his female colleague. The Goa government filed an appeal challenging his acquittal by the trial court. Tejpal moved the high court with an application seeking in-camera hearing of the matter.

The appeal contended that trial court order was influenced by extraneous and inadmissible material and by testimonies and graphic details of the past sexual history of the victim, which is prohibited by law.

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Crime

Madras HC restrains filmmaker, singer from defaming Tamil director Susi Ganesan

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The Madras High Court has restrained filmmaker-cum-social activist Leena Manimekalai and singer Chinmayi Sripada from making defamatory statements against Tamil film director Susi Ganesan.

The court’s direction on Thursday came as a major reprieve for the beleaguered director who was charged with rape allegations by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai during the ‘Me Too’ movement.

A single bench of Justice Abdul Qudhoose also restrained certain social media platforms and online news portals from uploading any content pertaining to the allegations.

The court also said that both Manimekalai and Ganesan were injuncted from going to the press as the matter is sub judice.

The interim order was passed by the Madras High Court following a suit filed by Susi Ganesan seeking Rs 1.10 crore as compensation to him from the filmmaker and singer Chinmayi for making defamatory statements against him.

Susi Ganesan alleged that Leena Manimekalai had raised an allegation in 2017 that she was subjected to sexual harassment in 2005 recounting an incident without naming anyone.

Manimekalai under Chinmayi’s influence had in 2018 publicly stated that the person in question was him.

He said that this was a deliberate attempt to tarnish his image after a much thought out strategy at the insistence of the singer Chinmayi Sripada and that he wanted the court to restrain the duo from defaming him and to award him a compensation of Rs 1.10 crore for the damage inflicted on him and his family on a false allegation.

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Crime

Kerala HC defers actor Dileep’s anticipatory bail to Saturday

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The Kerala High Court posted for Saturday hearing in the Malayalam film actor Dileep’s anticipatory bail petition in the actress abduction case.

This is for the fourth time that the hearing in the case has been postponed.

Deferring the case on Friday, the court told both the sides that since there is a need for a detailed hearing, a special sitting will be held on Saturday despite it being a holiday.

Several twists and turns surfaced early this month after film director Balachandra Kumar made fresh revelations related to the case.

The trial, which was progressing smoothly for the accused, turned topsy turvy when Kumar made an appearance and spilled the beans saying that Dileep, soon after being released on bail, had seen the visuals of the beleaguered actress being assaulted by her abductors.

Until then, only the trial court had seen it. Besides, Kumar made more disclosures and testified before the police and a magistrate.

Based on the disclosures, the police probe team registered a fresh case and Dileep sensing that he might be arrested sought an anticipatory bail.

Dileep was arrested in 2017 and lodged in prison in a case related to a gang sexually assaulting a frontline heroine of South Indian movies and filming it.

After two months in jail, he was released on bail.

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