The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Govt to challenge judge acquittal

Mumbai (PTI): The Maharashtra government has filed an appeal against a sessions court verdict acquitting dismissed judge J.W. Singh in a case of alleged extortion.

The appeal is expected to come up for hearing next week before a division bench of Bombay High Court.

A special court, on August 7, acquitted Singh of the charges of developing a nexus with Pakistan-based gangster Chhota Shakeel to recover his dues of Rs 40 lakh from a chit-fund operator. Singh was tried under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC. He was suspended from service and later dismissed.

Police alleged that he had “hired” Shakeel to recover the amount. They intercepted telephonic talk between Singh and Shakeel in this regard.

The trial court held that the identity of Singh’s voice in the alleged conversations was “doubtful”. It held that the police had not followed procedures under the crime Act and the Indian Telegraph Act to intercept telephonic talk on April 9 and 10, 1999.

On the conversation between Singh and Shakeel on cellphone on April 3, 1999, the court said it was not possible for the police to intercept such talk on mobile.

CBI probes J&K gun licences

Jammu (PTI): The CBI conducted a raid on the office of a deputy commissioner here and seized records on issuing of gun licences and official stamps of senior officers, official sources said.

The CBI recovered 163 gun licences, 623 files and three despatch registers for 1994-98. Some employees of the section dealing with gun licences were also questioned in this connection. However, no one was arrested, the sources said.

The team also seized 14 stamps of former additional deputy commissioners and 20 copies of gun licence application forms, they said, adding that some records were were also missing. The team took the records to New Delhi.

A many as 33,188 gun licences have been issued by the authorities during the last three years in Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said, adding that 26,803 gun licences were issued in six districts of the Jammu division, 2,275 in the Kashmir division and 104 in the Ladakh region. The state home department issued 4,016 licences.

Nearly 300 of these licences have fallen into the hands of gangsters, militants and criminals in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, the sources said.

As many as 4,937 fake gun licences have also been issued to non-residents, including some gangsters, in league with five city gun dealers and corrupt officials, they added.

Obscenity case against Bendre

Mumbai (PTI): A criminal case of alleged obscenity against actress Sonali Bendre and three others will come up for hearing on Monday.

A magistrate had indicated at the last hearing that he would frame charges against the accused. The actress had posed allegedly semi-nude on the cover of Showtime in March 1998. She was arrested on March 27, 2001. Bendre has secured exemption from appearance before the court.

Idol-export case

New Delhi (PTI): The CBI has registered a case against Institute of Road Traffic Education director Sharfuddin and a Sydney-based Indian, S.K. Lall, on charges of trying to illegally export rare antique idols of Ram, Shiva and Parvati to Australia. The idols were recovered in August from Lall’s house.

Mumbai flights

Mumbai (PTI): Flights to and out of Mumbai may be delayed from the end of January following the Airports Authority of India’s decision to go ahead with recarpeting work of the main runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji airport. The runway will be closed from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Extortion arrests

Mumbai (PTI): Two persons were arrested on charges of demanding Rs 50,000 as extortion money from the owner of a courier company. He was returning after collecting a parcel, when they demanded the money and directed him to arrive at a bar to deliver the first instalment of Rs 20,000. He informed police.

Desecration probe

Jaipur (PTI): A probe has been ordered into the desecration of a statue that has sparked caste tension in Rajasthan. Police have been put on alert in view of the proposed road blockade by the Rajput community on Monday.

Border tunnel

Ferozepur (PTI): A 20-metre tunnel close to the International Border with Pakistan has been discovered by the Border Security Force in Ferozepur district. The tunnel was found beneath sarkanda grass, which could not be set on fire in 2002 because of landmines in the area, a BSF spokesman said.

The Union home ministry will route Rs 32 crore through the National Crime Research Bureau for a three-phased computerisation of police stations in Punjab. Initially, all districts will be linked with the main control room in Chandigarh.

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