Major News and Events of 13 March 2014
What Happened on 13 March 2014
Removal of visa fraud charges against Devyani Khobragade
Salman Khurshid questions the role of SC and EC
CBI raids 15 offices of NSEL in India
Anyone indulging in match fixing will be banned for life: Rajeev Shukla
Research explains how South India originated
The death penalty for all four convicts of the Delhi gangrape case on December 16 was upheld by the Delhi High Court. Death sentence was awarded to the convicts on September 2013 for brutal rape and murder a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern. The defence counsel has stated they will now appeal in the Supreme Court. The High Court was moved by the prosecution as soon as the death penalty was confirmed by the trial court. The convicts too had pleaded innocence and had moved the High Court. Each of the death penalty case of the convicts was referred by the trial court to the high court for confirmation. The main accused Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell while the juvenile accused was awarded three years in a reform home by the juvenile board.
The visa fraud charges against Devyani Khobragade, senior Indian Diplomat was removed by a US federal court. Her arrest and strip search last year on these charges had snowballed into a diplomatic row between India and the US. US District Judge Shira Scheindlin gave verdict that since Khobragade was a diplomat and was thus immune from the jurisdiction of the court no further proceeding in this matter by the US government can be heard. On Khobragade charges of visa fraud and anomalies in paying her maid, Sangeeta Richard was imposed. Judge Sheindlin opined that Khobragade’s status was changed to full immunity by the government of India and this was done on January 8 a day prior to her indictment which made the same invalid. At the same time the court ruled that if the prosecution wanted she can be re-indicted. Khobragade now holds a position in the external affairs ministry in New Delhi.
Salman Khurshid, the External Affairs Minister has raised question regarding the Supreme Court and the Election Commission’s role and in fact mocked about them. With reference to Supreme Court’s verdict wherein it had stated that a lawmaker who was convicted will be disqualified, Khurshid stated that this law was made by a judge. Secondly regarding Election Commission’s guidelines the External Affairs Minister said it meant one was not allowed to do anything which would help one win. He specified that the Model Code of Conduct made it really tough for the parties to win elections. He cited an example where it was stated that building of roads cannot be stated as it hampers the decision-making in democracy. Referring to this he said that means one should not offer drinking water by the same rule as it may affect decision making. It entailed to doing one’s best not to win the elections. At the same time he appreciated the Election Commission for cleaning up the process of elections. Regarding the Supreme Court he specified that courts were taking decisions in areas where Parliament or the government has the responsibility.
The CBI raided 15 premises in the country that included offices of National Spot Exchange Limited in Mumbai. This was related to a case where irregularities in investments have been alleged by state-run trading company PEC and a loss of Rs 120 crore was incurred. Searches were done when CBI reported a case of alleged criminal conspiracy where PEC was cheated when fake contracts were floated for trade of agro commodity on NSEL platform, without any real trade being done. This resulted in a loss of Rs 120 crore (approx) to the government. A case of cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery has been registered by the CBI under Prevention of Corruption Act. Four offices in Mumbai, nine in Delhi and two in Karnal were searched. Residences of five PEC officials and two of NSEL officials were also searched. NSEL is mired in crisis when its trade was suspended due to a government directive. This has created apprehensions about 13000 investors money worth Rs 5600 crore getting defaulted. Rs 343 crore of MMTC and PEC is also stuck with NSEL.
Senior VP of BCCI, Rajeev Shukla has issued a warning specifying that the BCCI will show zero-tolerance regarding match-fixing. If anyone was found engaged in such activities in IPL-7 which tarnish the game, the person will be banned for life. He said that the IPL governing body and the BCCI are on alert since the last edition of the tournament had such instances of spot fixing. So in the 7th edition all the matches will be closely observed. If there are any complaint to Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) it will be strictly handled. UAE will host the matches of the IPL from April 16 to 30 while some matches may be played in Bangladesh from May 1-12 if the union home ministry does not give approval to the BCCI to hold the matches in the counting phase of the polls. Matches in India will be played from May 13 to June 1.
Science and Technology
The origin of Southern India has been explained through a new research. The earth’s evolution has been a topic of interest for the geologists who have been since long studied the pattern of continental plates, how they merged and moved away, the continental drift and so on as well as how life emerged on earth. As per the research 550 million years ago there was a huge ocean, the Mozambique Ocean located between the Indian craton and the continental plates which now comprise Madagascar and East Africa. When the plates moved towards each other and the Mozambique Ocean disappeared it formed the Himalayan-scale orogen (the East African Orogen), the elements of which are now visible in Madagascar, South India, East Africa, Sri Lanka as well as in Antarctica. In fact the orogen exists at the southernmost point of India. The rock structure on both sides of the lithosphere was analyzed and that was found similar which conclusively proves the evolution of the supercontinent Gondwana.