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# Two IM men convicted in Hyderabad twin blasts case
Two others acquitted in the 2007 bombing case; sentencing on Monday
Two of the seven accused in the 2007 Hyderabad twin bombing case were convicted by a special court inside the Cherlapally Central Prison here on Tuesday. Forty-four persons were killed and 68 injured in the blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar on August 25, 2007.
Anik Shafique Syeed and Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chowdhari were pronounced guilty in the 11-year-old case by Judge T. Srinivas Rao of the Second Additional Metropolitan Sessions Court operating from Cherlapally prison. Two other accused — Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkash and Mohammed Sadiq Israr Ahmed Shaik — were acquitted for lack of evidence. All the four are natives of Maharashtra.
Three other accused — Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Amir Reza Khan — are absconding and believed to be in Pakistan.
The quantum of punishment as also the judgement on Tarik Anjum, accused of harbouring the perpetrators in New Delhi and other places, will be pronounced on Monday, said Special Public Prosecutor Challa Seshu Reddy, who represented the counter-intelligence wing of the Telangana Police that probed the case. The media were not allowed inside the courtroom.
Judge Srinivas Rao convicted Sayeed and Chowdhari under Sections 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 307 (attempt to murder) and other relevant provisions of the IPC and other sections of the Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in three different cases.
Mr. Reddy said the accused had planted three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) across the city, of which two went off. One unexploded bomb placed under a foot-over-bridge at Dilsukhnagar was recovered and defused by the police.
“While Anik (Sayeed) planted a bomb in Lumbini park, Riyaz (Bhatkal) and Akbar (Chowdhari) placed the explosives at Gokul Chat and Dilsuknagar,” the prosecution said.
Though Special public prosecutor K Surender maintained that Sayeed and Akbar were operatives of Indian Mujahideen, they were not found guilty under Section 20 of UAPA (member of terrorist gang or organisation), Gandham Gurumurthy, defence counsel, said.
“Investigation agency failed to prove that they were part of any terrorist gang or a terrorist organisation, which is involved in the terrorist act,” Mr Gurumurthy said.
The prosecution has now decided to seek capital punishment for the convicts. The detailed judgement is likely to be available in 2-3 days, said Mr. Reddy,
Political parties welcomed the verdict though both the BJP and Congress called for fast track courts to deal with such cases. “Justice to those killed in these blasts came many years later. These kind of terror cases need to be fast tracked and the guilty should be brought to book through quick trials,” Krishna Saagar Rao, spokesperson of BJP’s Telangana unit said.
Reacting to the verdict, victims of the blasts sought capital punishment for convicts. Chander Nayak, one of the victims who lost an eye in the blast, said he was disappointed with the acquittal of two accused and demanded that the State government appeal against the decision in the High Court.
B Anjaiah, who lost his daughter and two other close relatives, also wanted the death penalty. “It has been a nightmare for me…My daughter, who was just 14 then, and two of my close relatives lost their lives,” he said.
# 14 tribal school students admitted to hospital
Officials on high alert in fever-hit Saluru area
Fourteen students of the Kothavalasa Ashram School were admitted to the Saluru Community Hospital in Vizianagaram district on Tuesday with symptoms of drug allergy and high fever. Their condition is said to be stable. The district administration has been on high alert in Saluru where deaths of youngsters were being reported due to suspected dengue and viral fevers.
The students, who were suffering from mild fever, were reportedly administered chloroquine to prevent malaria, but a few of them allegedly had an allergic reaction and started throwing up. The warden and teachers informed ITDA-Parvatipuram Project Director G. Lakshmisha, who inspected the school, and inquired about the sanitation and food quality. He warned the staff that stern action would be taken if the health of children was neglected.
Later, Minister for Mines and Geology Sujay Krishna Rangarao visited the hospital and directed the officials concerned to keep all the children in a special ward for fast recovery.
“Fevers have become a major concern in 24 of the 34 mandals. In spite of staff shortage, we are trying to provide quick relief to all the patients. We are taking the help of nursing and medical colleges to overcome the shortage of staff. A 100-bed hospital will be constructed very soon in Saluru to meet the needs of people residing in and around the town,” the Minister added.
# Top priority to transparency, says Naidu
Response to ongoing survey on good governance positive: Chief Minister
Accusing the Congress governance in the previous unified Andhra Pradesh of scaling new heights in corruption, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday said people were fed up with the corrupt practices and that was why transparency was given top priority in the TDP’s rule. “The Congress leaders swindled Rs. 4,000 crore public money in the name of building 14 lakh houses. It was quite an irresponsible government and people were fed up with its misdeeds,” he said at a public meeting under the ‘Grama Darsini-Grama Vikasam’ programme at Boyagudem village near here.
Thanking the public for giving an opportunity to the TDP to serve them, Mr. Naidu said the government was committed to the welfare of all sections and keen on ensuring transparency in all transactions. “We have revised the salaries of almost all sections of the employees and they are very happy now. Similarly, we have implemented loan waiver to the farmers and members of self-help groups.” Promising a 100-bed hospital to Chintalapudi, the Chief Minister said civic amenities would be improved further and stringent action would be initiated against those who failed in fulfilling their responsibilities. “Of late, people are complaining of delay in the distribution of the monthly ration. In such cases, the ration dealer concerned will be held responsible and liable for action.”
Referring to the technology-based initiatives taken up by the State government, Mr. Naidu said that interactions with more than 15 lakh people were going on every day and response from the public to the survey on good governance was quite positive.
“There has been a steady increase in the satisfaction levels among the public. We will chalk out new programmes basing on the feedback to the interactive calls,” he said. Ministers K.S. Jawahar and Pithani Satyanarayana, MP Thota Seetha Ramalakshmi, Collector K. Bhaskar, officials and local elected representatives were present.
# Arif Alvi is Pak. President
Imran’s ally bags 212 of the 430 votes in secret ballot
Arif Alvi, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was elected as President of Pakistan on Tuesday, as the cricketer-turned-politician consolidated his grip on power.
The 69-year-old former dentist defeated Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz nominee Maulana Fazlur Rehman to become the 13th President.
Of the 430 votes cast through a secret ballot in the National Assembly and the Senate, Dr. Alvi received 212 votes, Mr. Rehman 131 and Mr. Ahsan 81. Six votes were rejected, DawnNews reported, citing unofficial results. Dr. Alvi secured 45 of the 60 votes cast by the Balochistan’s newly elected lawmakers, it said.
In the PPP-dominated Sindh Assembly, Mr. Ahsan got 100 votes, while Dr. Alvi bagged 56. Just a solitary vote was cast in the favour of Mr. Rehman.
In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Dr. Alvi received 78 of the total 109 votes, while Mr. Rehman and Mr. Ahsan got 26 and five votes respectively.
In Punjab, Dr. Alvi secured 186 votes, whereas Mr. Rehman and Mr. Ahsan received 141 and 6 votes. Eighteen votes were rejected.
‘A big responsibility’
In his speech, Dr. Alvi thanked Mr. Khan for nominating “me for such a big responsibility.”
The new President will take the oath of the office on September 9. The outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain’s five-year tenure ends on September 8.
Dr. Alvi is one of the founding members of PTI. He served as the party’s secretary-general from 2006 to 2013. He won the National Assembly elections from NA-247 (Karachi) during the July 25 election. He was also elected a member of the National Assembly in the 2013 general election.
# Google to help EC track political ads
IT giant will help ensure pre-certification of online ads, share expenditure details
With poll season round the corner, Google, which controls the lion’s share of the digital advertising market, will soon be helping the Election Commission (EC) keep tabs on online political advertising. The tech giant will develop a mechanism that will not only ensure pre-certification of political advertisements but also enable it to share with the authority, details about the expenditure incurred on its platforms.
Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat on Tuesday said that a Google representative met a committee that had been set up to explore possible modifications in Section 126 (election silence) and other provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 in view of the expansion and diversity of media platforms.
At the meeting, the representative told the Commission that the company would keep track of political advertisements and ensure that they are pre-certified by the EC’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committees. This would entail Google asking prospective clients, whenever an order is placed, whether they have been pre-certified. The Commission is the nodal body for pre-certification of advertisements of a political nature, released by either an individual or an organisation.
Google has also assured the committee that it would set up a mechanism for sharing information on the cost of the political advertisements. This would be of use to Returning Officers when it comes to calculating the election expenditure of individual candidates.
“As soon as someone is declared a candidate for any election, all the money spent by the person for campaigning gets added as election expenditure. The Commission also asks the candidates to declare their official social media accounts,” an Election Commission official said.
The EC’s committee had earlier held meetings with Facebook, which has also agreed to develop tools for removing any content pertaining to election matters during the 48-hour period when the ‘prohibition protocol’ is in place. It is working on ways to check fake news and share details of expenditure on poll-related advertisements.
During the Karnataka Assembly polls, Facebook tied up with the Indian fact-checking agency, Boom Live, which confirmed over 50 cases of “fake news.” Twitter representatives have also met the EC’s committee.
# Killers had planned 4 hits in one day: SIT
During its investigation into the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, who was killed outside her house exactly a year ago, on September 5, 2017, the Special Investigation Team found that the organisation that allegedly orchestrated not only her murder but also that of M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, and Narendra Dabholkar between 2013 and 2017, had intended to assassinate four rationalists and writers in Karnataka in one day, or in quick succession.
The Special Investigation Team not only seized a diary with a hit list of 34 rationalist and writers, but also a chit with four sets of code names and places in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mangaluru.
“The evidence we have seen so far indicates that intent was definitely there to target them if not on the same day at least in quick succession, as the hitmen were already identified,” said a senior Special Investigation Team official.
Forensic tests have reportedly matched the handwriting on the chit to that of Amol Kale’s, the alleged mastermind in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
Kale allegedly wanted to build several self-contained teams with arms, said a source.
Source:- The Hindu