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‘Politically motivated’, Bilkis Bano case convict to SC on plea challenging release of accused

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A convict in the Bilkis Bano case has told the Supreme Court that the petition challenging Gujarat government’s remission order is “speculative and politically motivated”.

The plea filed by Radheysham Bhagwandas Shah said: “This court not only on the ground of locus and maintainability, but also on the ground of such speculative and politically motivated petition, should dismiss the said plea with heavy hand and impose an exemplary cost so that such politically motivated petition by strangers are not encouraged in the future.”

The plea cited a number of the top court judgments, including Janata Dal vs H.S. Chowdhary (1992), Simranjit Singh Mann vs UOI (1992) and Subramanian Swamy vs Raju (2013), in which it was consistently held in clear terms that a third party who is a total stranger to the prosecution has no ‘locus standi’ in criminal matters.

The convict also referred to the apex court judgment dated May 13, 2022 on the merits of the case, which after hearing all the parties came out with a categorical judgment that only the Gujarat government’s policy of premature release would be applicable, which prevailed at the time of conviction and not a subsequent policy at the time of consideration of remission.

Shah was challenging the plea filed by former CPI-M MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and professor Roop Rekha Verma against the release of 11 men convicted for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and multiple murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A similar plea was also filed by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

On September 9, the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to file all records, which formed the basis for granting remission to all the accused in the case. It directed the state government to file its response within two weeks and also asked advocate Rishi Malhotra, representing some of the accused, to file a response.

Shah’s plea contended that if such type of third-party petitions are entertained by the apex court, it would not only unsettle the settled position of law, but would also be an open invitation to any member of the public to jump in any criminal matter before a court of law.

Shah argued that the plea is nothing but a gross abuse of Article 32, as on one hand, the petitioners plead that they do not have the copy of the remission order and yet without ascertaining the reasons for grant of remission, the petitioners have sought quashing of the remission order.

It further argued that the apex court had categorically held that a total stranger in a criminal case cannot be permitted to question the correctness of a decision, and if that was to be permitted, any and every person could challenge a criminal prosecution/proceeding recorded day in and day out by courts even if the person convicted do not desire to do so and are inclined to acquiesce in the decision.

“Interestingly enough, neither the state nor the victim nor even the complainant has approached this court, and thus it is respectfully submitted that if such cases are sought to be entertained by this court, a settled position of law would certainly become an unsettled position of law,” Shah’s plea added.

National News

BJP slams Cong for abusing PM Modi

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the Congress for abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Taking potshots at the Congress, party’s National spokesperson Sambit Patra on Saturday said that Congress leaders have completed a century of abuses against Modi.

Addressing a press conference, Patra added, “The manner in which top leaders of the Congress party are repeatedly using language and abuses for PM Modi is being seen on TV every day. In such a situation, the Congress has established itself as a party of abusers. Congress leaders called Modi ji ‘lowly’, ‘Yamraj’ and what not. In this way, Congress leaders have completed 100 abuses. It reflects their thinking.”

“A Congress leader from Karnataka has called Modi ji ‘Bhasmasur’. Similarly, recently Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge called Modi ji ‘Ravan’. Sonia Gandhi even called Modi ji a ‘Merchant of Death’,” he said.

Urging the people of the country, Sambit added, “We call upon the people of Gujarat and the country to reject such Congress party in a democratic way by adopting the cycle of democracy.”

Condemning Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, he said, “Similarly Arvind Kejriwal tries to make a lie the truth. Just a few days back, Kejriwal said that Manish Sisodia has got a clean chit and the scam that has taken place in the Excise policy is not a scam, but he is not going to be saved.”

He also added, “From Manish Sisodia to many accused have changed mobile phones dozens of times in this case. From this you can guess whether the common man changes mobile phones so quickly.”

The BJP National Spokesperson said, “Large-scale destruction of digital evidence done by Ex-Excise Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia; 170 mobile phones destroyed by 36 accused in Delhi liquor scam including him. Manish Sisodia changed four mobile handsets in one day and 14 handsets in 2-3 months after CBI’s FIR against him. He might have consulted Delhi CM Kejriwal, AAP leader Vijay Nair, liquor scam accused Amit Arora and Sunny Marwah to destroy digital evidence. Sisodia has a huge hand in Excise policy scam, investigation is going on, no one can save him.”

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Crime

Shraddha murder case: Aaftab’s post-narco test concludes

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The post-narco test of Aaftab Amin Poonawalla, the accused in the ghastly murder of his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in Delhi’s Mehrauli area, concluded on Friday. His test was conducted inside the Tihar prison by the FSL officials.

As per sources, the team from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini had reached Tihar jail for the post-narco test at around 11.30 a.m.

“A four-member team had reached Tihar Jail No.-4 on Friday along with the investigating officer for a post-narco analysis session of Aaftab,” said a senior FSL official.

“The test started around 12. He was again asked similar questions and his answers will be matched with the questions from the previous narco analysis session,” said the sources.

If needed, the narco test will be done again, claimed the sources.

Further details were awaited.

Meanwhile, the prison authorities have also increased the security of his barrack after the police van was attacked by men, who were armed with swords.

Though his confessions in the narco test cannot be used in the court, yet it proved that the investigators were proceeding in the right direction.

Pertinent to mention here that the findings of both polygraph and narco test are not admissible in the court. These tests will only help the Delhi Police gather evidence, and thereby increase the possibility of prosecution of the guilty.

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National News

Warrants against 16 to thwart Hanuman Chalisa call at Shahi Eidgah in Mathura

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To thwart a call by a Hindu outfit to recite the Hanuman Chalisa inside Shahi Eidgah mosque on December 6, the Mathura city magistrate has issued bailable warrants against 16 people connected to the outfit.

Mathura Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Martand Prakash Singh said that no permission has been sought by any organisation and cases have already been registered against two people so far for attempting to gather a crowd for the event.

Last month, the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) had urged all its leaders and supporters to arrive at the mosque, adjacent to Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, on December 6 to recite the Hanuman Chalisa.

ABHM president Rajyashree Bose Chaudhary had said, “The event will take place on December 6. The peaceful recital of Hanuman Chalisa will be conducted at Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi between 12 and 12.30 p.m.”

Sanjay Kumar Pandey, SHO of the Govind Nagar police station said around three dozen people have already been bound by notices. Being bound by a notice is a situation wherein an executive magistrate serves a show cause notice with a surety bond to a person on the apprehension that he/she may disturb the peace.

“Those who failed to respond and fill the required surety bond have been issued bailable warrants by the court of the city magistrate. Sixteen people have been issued warrants,” he said.

Chaudhary, meanwhile, condemned the police action and said, “We have planned a peaceful event. As such, there is no reason for police to intervene because we will offer prayers at the site.”

The ongoing dispute involves ownership of 13.37 acres, which the petitioners claim belongs to the Lord Shri Krishna Virajman.

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