Trial in nun rape case to commence on Sept 16, says court

Agencies
August 14, 2020

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Kochi, Aug 14: The Kottayam trial court hearing the nun rape case in Kerala read out the chargsheet against accused Bishop Franco Mullakal on Thursday. The date for commencement of trial has been set for September 16. 

The important points in the charge sheet that runs over a thousand pages were read out to him, which he flatly denied.

The charges against the rape accused Bishop are IPC section 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement), section 376 (c)(a) (sexual intercourse by person in authority or in a fiduciary relationship), 377 (Unnatural offences), 506 (1) (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 376 (2) (k) (commits persistant sexual assault), 376 (2) (n) (commits rape repeatedly on the same woman), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty). The charges were denied by the accused Bishop. 

It was last week that Kottayam Additional Sessions Court ordered him not to leave the city till the charge sheet is read out, after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by him seeking to discharge him in the Kerala nun rape case. He was granted a fresh bail in the nun rape case on August 7, Friday, by the Kottayam Additional Sessions court. This came after the trial court in July cancelled his bail as the accused had failed to present himself at all hearings in the case. 

After the accused turned up at court, he was granted a new bail with fresh sureties. 

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21, 2018 on rape charges, and he secured bail on October 16, 2018.

The charge sheet names 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and 22 nuns.

After the case came to light, Mulakkal was removed as head of the Jalandhar diocese.

On September 16, the survivor nun will be cross examined at court.

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Agencies
September 27,2020

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New Delhi/Madurai, Sept 27: The CBI has chargesheeted nine Tamil Nadu policemen for murder, conspiracy and other offences in the custodial death case of the father-son duo who were arrested on a "fake" charge of violating the lockdown and tortured in Sathankulam police station in June this year, officials said Saturday.

The policemen have also been accused of destruction of evidence in the charge sheet filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Madurai on Friday in the alleged torture and murder of shopkeepers J Benniks and his father RP Jeyaraj, who ran a mobile phone shop in Thoothukudi district.

The ghastly crime had triggered a massive outrage prompting the chief minister to seek a CBI probe in the matter.

In its charge sheet, the CBI has named the then Inspector and SHO S. Sridhar, Sub Inspectors K. Balakrishnan, P. Raghuganesh, Head Constables S. Murugan, A. Samadurai, and Constables M. Muthuraja,  S. Chelladurai, X. Thomas Francis and, S. Veilumuthu posted at the police station.

The CBI rushed to file the charge sheet as the three-month custody of the accused is getting over on September 30 making them eligible for bail, sources said.

The agency has alleged that after the torture of the two victims in the police station which led to their death, the police officials destroyed evidence and filed "fake" charges against them of violating the coronavirus lockdown by keeping their shops open beyond the permitted time, they said.

When asked what was the motive behind the incident, the officials said the probe is being kept open.

During the investigation, nine CBI officers contracted COVID-19 while one of the accused sub-inspector died.

All the remaining accused police personnel are under judicial custody, they said.

"A CBI team camped continuously at Madurai and worked untiringly in the cases, even through the odds of COVID 19 pandemic," CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.

"The CBI investigation revealed that the father-son duo were arrested in the evening of 19.06.2020 and allegedly tortured at the Sathankulam Police Station by the accused in the evening as well as in the intervening night, consequent to which both of them succumbed to the injuries and died in the intervening night of June 22, 2020 and June 23, 2020," he said.

After investigation, a combined charge sheet in both the cases has been filed, he said.

"Further investigation is continuing to look into the role of other persons in the case," he said.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Magistrate probing the incident had told the Madras High Court that the policemen thrashed the deceased father-son the whole night in the police station. "Lathis were used" for allegedly assaulting them and a table carrying bloodstains bears testimony to the grisly crime.

The findings were based on a statement of a woman police personnel attached to the police station where the alleged crime took place.

After the alleged torture, Jeyaraj and Benniks were sent to sub-jail under remand at around 2.30 AM on June 20 where they were kept as prisoner number 3636 and 3635 respectively.

In the morning at around 7.45 am, Benniks complained of a wheezing problem and was taken to Kovilpatti government hospital in an autorickshaw. The doctors declared at 9 AM that he could not survive, the FIR had alleged.

Two days later at around 10.20 PM on June 22, Jeyaraj complained of fever and was taken to the government hospital.

In the morning at around 5.40 AM the next day, doctors told the authorities that treatment failed and Jeyaraj too had died, it said.

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News Network
September 18,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 18: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain submissions by a lawyer pressing for a contempt against the editor of Sudarshan News for an alleged tweet against the court, which has stayed the broadcast of the subsequent five episodes of "UPSC Jihad". The top court had said the intent and purpose of the programme is to vilify the Muslim community.

Senior advocate Anoop G Chaudhary, representing the petitioner Firoz Iqbal, submitted that he wants to press for a contempt against the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News for his tweet after the court stopped the broadcast of a show on the news channel. Chaudhary contended before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and Indu Malhotra to initiate contempt proceedings for the "contemptuous" tweet against the top court. Justice Chandrachud replied: "If he has said something silly, we will ignore it."

The bench scheduled the matter for further hearing on Friday at 12 noon, which is subject to the administrative order of the Chief Justice, as this bench is not sitting tomorrow. Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Sudarshan TV, contended before the bench his client has filed a counter affidavit, where it provided details of the alleged foreign funding, by Zakat Foundation of India, to justify its programme alleging conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims into the Indian Civil Services. "I am doing investigative journalism. I feel it is my duty to awaken the citizens and the Government about anti-national and anti-social activities and the modus operandi", said Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News.

The editor in the affidavit said there is no statement or message in the four episodes broadcast that members of a particular community should not join the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He insisted that the UPSC is an open competitive examination and members of every community may participate in the entrance examination and qualify. "The thrust of the programme is that there appears to be a conspiracy which needs to be investigated by NIA or CBI", he added.

He submitted before the court that the word "UPSC Jehad" was used because it has come to the knowledge through various sources that Zakat Foundation has received funds from various terror-linked organisations. "It is not that all contributors to the Zakat Foundation are terror-linked. However, some of the contributors are linked to organisations or are organizations that fund extremist groups. The funds received by the Zakat Foundation, in turn, are used to support aspirants for IAS, IPS or UPSC", said the affidavit.

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News Network
September 28,2020
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New Delhi, Sept 28: India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 60-lakh mark with a spike of 82,170 new cases and 1,039 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Monday.

As per the Ministry, India's tally stands at 60,74,703 including 9,62,640 active cases.

The number of cured and discharged or migrated patients is currently at 50,16,521, apart from 95,542 deaths due to the disease.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected by the pandemic with 2,73,646 active cases, 10,30,015 cured and discharged cases and 35,571 deaths.

Karnataka with 1,04,743 active cases is the next in the list. While 4,62,241 patients have been cured in the State, the disease has claimed 8,582 lives so far.

Andhra Pradesh with 64,876 active cases is also severely affected, however, over six lakh patients have been cured in the State, while 5,708 deaths have occurred due to it.

Meanwhile, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 7,19,67,230 samples have been tested up to September 27 for COVID-19.

Out of these 7,09,394 samples were tested yesterday.

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