Salman trial hit, after statements case diaries vanish too

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Desk- Actor Salman Khan’s fresh trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case on Thursday looked set for further delay with the police informing the court that after most original statements of witnesses even the case diaries have gone missing.

The court has now directed the police to locate the documents by September 12. Police informed the court for the first time today that the case diaries have disappeared.

Earlier, they had told the court that only 7 of the 63 original statements of witnesses were traceable, although true copies were available.

Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade contended that as per law the original papers were required to be produced before the court for the trial to proceed, while the prosecution argued that in accordance with the established practice in Mumbai courts the trial can go on with the true copies.

Sessions judge D W Deshpande asked police to inform the court about their line of at the next hearing.

It would then verify what documents the prosecution and defence have and whether it will be appropriate to proceed with the trial on the basis of those. According to police, the original papers were kept in a magistrate’s court where the trial was held since 2001.

However, most of the original statements of the witnesses and case diaries could not be traced after the trial was shifted to the sessions court.

The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court as cases under that offence can only be tried by a higher court.

On December 5 last year, the sessions court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder which was invoked against the actor by the magisterial court midway through the hearing.

The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence, while the actor had earlier been tried by a magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence, which entails imprisonment of two years.

The judge also asked the then investigating officer Kishan Shengal, who has retired from service, to appear in person on September 12 to throw light on the missing papers.

Salman’s counsel said since the case was very sensitive and involved a serious offence, the original documents needed to be placed before the court as per the law and true copies would not suffice.

The court had on July 25 asked the Bandra police to produce, apart from the missing statements, the case diaries today, but was informed even those have disappeared.

On September 28, 2002, the actor’s car had run over a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery, killing one and injuring four.


Salman Khan

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Govt hikes import duty on sugar to 25%

News4u-Business Desk- Government on Friday hiked the import duty on both raw and refined sugar to 25 per cent from the existing 15 per cent.

The increase in duty would make imports unviable and may help revive the business of cash-starved mills who owe farmers around Rs 6,800 crore.

India has been importing sugar in small quantities taking advantage of lower global prices.

According to the notification issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs, import duty has been raised to 25 per cent on raw sugar and refined or white sugar.

The higher duty will also be applicable to bulk consumers who import raw sugar, the government said, adding that this has been done in public interest.

The Food Ministry had recommended increase in import duty on sugar to 40 per cent.

Currently, domestic sugar prices are ruling stable in the range of Rs 34-40 per kg in view of surplus stocks, as per the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Sugar mills are facing a cash crunch as domestic prices have slipped below the cost of production, hurting their profits.

Mills in Uttar Pradesh are selling sugar at Rs 30.50 per kg, while the cost of production remains at Rs 37 per kg.

Similarly, mills in Maharashtra are selling the commodity at Rs 28.50 per kg as against the cost of production of Rs 31.

Industry Body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) hailed the decision saying this will improve cash-flow of millers and help clear cane arrears.

The government has announced several measures to improve liquidity of millers.

Earlier this year, the government had rolled out a scheme of Rs 6,600 crore interest-free loan to mills for making cane payments to growers. It is also giving export subsidy.


Govt hikes import duty on sugar to 25%

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Israel, Palestinians trade fire; 2 killed in Gaza

News4u-News Desk- An Israeli airstrike on a Gaza farm killed two Palestinians on Friday, a Gaza health official said, as fighting continued for a third day after the collapse of Egyptian-led cease-fire talks.

The renewed exchanges have dashed hopes for a lasting truce after a month long war that has already killed over 2,000 people.

By mid morning Friday, Israel had launched about 20 airstrikes at Gaza, while Gaza militants fired two rockets at Israel, the Israeli military said.

Earlier this week, Hamas rejected an Egyptian truce proposal under which Israel would gradually ease its blockade of Gaza, without giving specific commitments.

Hamas demands a lifting of the border closure, imposed by Israel and Egypt after the militant group’s takeover of the coastal strip in 2007.

A quick resumption of indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo seems unlikely, particularly after Israel killed three top Hamas military leaders in an airstrike Thursday.

Responding to the killing of the three, senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said yesterday that his group would not budge from its demands.

“We will not accept anything less than an end to the (Israeli) aggression and an end to the blockade,” Haniyeh said in a statement posted by the Hamas-affiliated Al Rai news service.

“Anyone involved in cease-fire efforts must understand that our people will not accept anything less than this.”

Since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted on July 8, at least 2,086 Palestinians were killed, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

Nearly a quarter of the dead, 469, are children, according to the top UNICEF field officer in Gaza, Pernilla Ironside.

Of the more than 10,400 Palestinians wounded, nearly a third are children, according to UNICEF figures, while some 100,000 Gazans have been left homeless.


Israel, Palestinians trade fire; 2 killed in Gaza

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Activist Irom Sharmila re-arrested on charges of attempt to commit suicide

News4u-News Desk- Two days after she was released on court orders, civil rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila was on Friday re-arrested by the police on fresh charges of attempt to commit suicide and forcibly taken away to a city hospital from a makeshift shelter where she was continuing her fast.

“We have re-arrested her this morning and will produce her in the CJM court later in the day on charges of attempt to commit suicide (Section 309 of IPC),” Manipur ADG (Intelligence) Santosh Macherla said.

A local court in Imphal had on Tuesday absolved 42-year-old Sharmila of charges of attempt to commit suicide by means of fasting after which she walked out of a hospital-turned-prison on Wednesday.

“The court released her for her past act. Now she is again refusing to take food and water and resisting any medical check-up as well. Her health is deteriorating and now she will be kept at the same Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital ward where she was kept earlier,” Macherla said.

Her medical check-up will be done and she will be force fed once again through nose, he said.

Earlier in the day, she was forcibly taken away by the police to a city hospital from a makeshift shelter outside the hospital where she was continuing her fast after being released from detention.

Women police personnel took her to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Science and Hospital for a medical-check-up after she refused to eat or drink, the police said.

Before she was whisked away this morning, officials had said that her condition was deteriorating.

They said doctors tried to feed her through nose but she refused and her health was deteriorating very fast.

The activist had refused to take food even after being released. The hospital where she was taken had served as her make-shift prison in the last several years.

Sharmila is on fast for the last 14 years demanding the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers (Assam and Manipur) Act 1958.

After her release on Wednesday, Sharmila had begun her fast at a place near the hospital. Even after her release, the former journalist-cum-social activist had decided to keep her vow of neither entering her house nor meeting her mother till the government repeals AFSPA.

“I will continue to fast till my demand (withdrawal of AFSPA) is met. The order of the sessions court that I am not attempting to commit suicide (by launching fast to remove the controversial Act) is welcome,” she had said.

She had launched her fast unto death on November 2000 after Assam Rifles killed 10 persons at Malom area here in an alleged encounter with insurgents.

For the last many years, she was released from time to time and rearrested again and again under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide.


Irom Sharmila

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Health Min defends CVO, Chaturvedi’s removal

News4u-News Desk-Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday defended the removal of AIIMS Chief Vigilance Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi saying he was “not eligible” for the post.

“He was not at all eligible for the post that he was holding at AIIMS. We were informed that without the approval of the Central Vigilance Commission, nobody can be assigned the post of CVO anywhere.

“This was brought to our notice, we took cognizance of the same and removed him from the post,” Vardhan told reporters when asked about the sudden removal of Chaturvedi, who has the reputation of being a whistleblower.

Chaturvedi was removed from his post yesterday with the Health Ministry citing no reason for the decision. The charge of his office has been assigned to Joint Secretary and CVO of Union Health Ministry, Vishwas Mehta.

“With the approval of Health Minister it has been decided to assign the charge of CVO, AIIMS, New Delhi to Joint Secretary and CVO, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for a period of three months with immediate effect,” the Health Ministry order had said.

The tenure of Chaturvedi, a Haryana cadre forest service officer of 2002 batch, was fixed for four years and was to have lasted till June 2016.


Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

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Flood situation grim in parts of UP, Bihar

News4u-News Desk-The flood situation in some parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh continues to be grim on Friday with the rivers Ghagra and Rapti flowing in “High Flood Situation”.

The Ministry of Water Resources said the river Ghagra at Darauli at Siwan district of Bihar is now flowing in High Flood Situation.

At 06.00 hrs today, it was flowing at a level of 61.42 m with rising trend which is 0.60 m above its danger level of 60.82 mts.

It is 0.32 mts below its previous Highest Flood Level (HFL) of 61.74 mts recorded on 29-08-1998, the Ministry said in a release.

At Gangpur in Bihar, the river was flowing at a level of 57.85 mts with rising trend which is 0.81mts above its danger level of 57.04 mts and 0.16 mts below its previous of 58.01mts recorded in 1983.

The river Rapti at Balrampur in UP is also flowing in High Flood Situation.

At 06.00 hrs today, it was flowing at a level of 104.83 mts with rising trend which is 0.21mts above its danger level of 104.62 mts and 0.42 mts below its previous HFL of 105.25 mts on 11-09-2000, the release said.

Floods in UP have so far claimed 89 lives.


Flood situation grim in parts of UP, Bihar

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PM asks IITs to develop defence, health products

News4u-News Desk-Noting that India is dependent on imports in several sectors including defence and health, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked the IITs to take up the challenge of developing products in these critical fields.

He also asked these premier institutes to contribute towards user-friendly innovations in Indian Railways and fulfilling the vision for “housing for all” through technology that would enable rapid construction of economical, eco-friendly and structurally sound houses.

Addressing a conference of Chairmen of Boards of Governors and directors of IITs here, he asked the IITs to instill among bright young minds at various IITs a sense of “service” towards the nation.

Citing examples of a range of defence and health sector equipment and sensitive and security-related items like currency ink and tear gas which are imported, he said “I refuse to believe that India does not have the talent to make these things.”

Wanting the IITs to take up such challenges, Modi asked them to come out with projects that can provide innovative solutions to the common people in their day-to-day lives.

At the function presided over by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Modi calling upon IITs to bring about a “positive change” in the quality of life of the people in the country.

“Science is universal. Technology must be local,” he said, while describing IITians as a “great force”. He also asked IITs to adopt nearby engineering colleges to play a “mentoring” role and search for innovations developed by people.

Modi said IITs must encourage their alumni to interact with students so that their experience can be leveraged and sought their systemic mapping and grouping for optimum utilisation of their experience.

With ranking of the institutes being one of the agendas at the conference, Modi opined that while global rankings are important, “we should also set up our own parameters for rankings, which will serve as an in-built mechanism for change and improvement”.


PM asks IITs to develop defence, health products

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90 dead and missing in western Japan floods

News4u-News Desk-The number of those missing in the torrential rains lashing Hiroshima in western Japan this week rose to 51 on Friday while the death toll stood at 39.

Authorities fear the numbers will grow as rescue operations continued.

Around 3,000 policemen, firemen and troops of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) are searching for people swept away in rivers and canals, landslides or mud flows.

Rescue operations had to be suspended Thursday as heavy rain in the region threatened to cause more landslides.

Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has predicted further torrential rain and storms in the same area and other parts of the country between Friday and Saturday.

On Wednesday, Hiroshima received record rainfall, equivalent to precipitation for the entire month of August in the mountainous region.

The floods have destroyed 46 houses and caused serious damage to 139 others in the region, where a thousand people have already been evacuated, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Aerial photos of the region show the devastation caused by mud slides in 31 different areas of Hiroshima, where 20 people died in 1999 in similar torrential rains.


90 dead and missing in western Japan floods

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Supreme Court agrees to interpret LoP provision for Lokpal

News4u-News Desk- The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to interpret Leader of Opposition (LoP) provision for the purpose of appointment of Lokpal in which LoP is a selection committee member and asked the Centre to make its stand clear within two weeks, saying the legislation cannot be put in “cold storage”.

Emphasising the importance of the post, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said Leader of Opposition conveys the voice of a representative different from government in the House.

It said LoP is a very important component (under Lokpal law) and the issue needs objective consideration in view of current political situation where at present there is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The bench also observed that the issue of LoP is relevant not only in Lokpal law but also in other existing and incoming legislations.

It said the issue cannot be prolonged and the act cannot be put in cold storage, while posting case for final disposal for 9th September.

Congress, as the second largest party in the Lok Sabha with 44 seats, has been making a strong bid for the LoP post but the ruling BJP has not acceded, saying the opposition party does not have the requisite 10 per cent seats which meant it needed 55 to stake claim.


Supreme Court agrees to interpret LoP provision for Lokpal

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Debbie Reynolds to be honoured by Screen Actors Guild

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Veteran actress-singer Debbie Reynolds will receive the lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild.

The 82-year-old ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ star will be honoured at the Actors Guild ceremony on January 25 next year, reported BBC.

The award is the highest honour bestowed by the Actors Guild and is given out each year to an individual who represents ‘the highest ideals of the acting profession’.

“She is a tremendously talented performer with a diverse body of screen and stage work. Her generous spirit and unforgettable performances have entertained audiences across the globe, moving us all from laughter to tears and back again,” said Ken Howard, president of Screen Actors Guild.

Other figures who have received Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement honour over the years include Rita Moreno, Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor and James Cagney.


Debbie Reynolds

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