Guns and criminal MP’s

PIC: TOI

It is bad enough that we have leaders with pending criminal charges against them. But what happens when the very same leaders get guns from the government.
The Association for Democratic Reforms has put out a report analysing the 82 MPs who have purchased guns from the government.
A total of 756 guns were sold to MPs and VIPs between 1987 and 2012. A total of 675 guns were sold between 1987 and 2001, 39 between 2001 and 2004, and 42 between 2005 and 2012.
Between 2001 and 2012, 82 MPs have purchased guns from the government. 18 of these 82 MPs who were sold guns have pending criminal cases against them, including charges of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping etc., at the time of sale.
Amongst the 82 MPs who have been allotted guns from the government, Atiq Ahmed from Uttar Pradesh has 44 criminal cases including charges of murder, attempt to murder etc., followed by Abu Asim Azmi from Maharashtra and Rakesh Sachan from Uttar Pradesh with 7 cases each.
These are guns seized by Customs and then sold to MPs and VIPs on a first come first served basis. In earlier years these guns were sold well below market price. Recently the price was hiked.

It was a birthday party not a RAVE

It appears as though the Hindu Jagran Vedike got their act wrong. They entered into a home stay and beat up women on the pretext that they were part of a rave party. However now the Karnataka police has rejected the version that there was a rave party on at the Home stay in Mangalore.
Bipin Gopalkrishna, Additional Director General of Police Law and Order informed that it was a birthday party and not some rave party that was on at the Home Stay Morning Mist in Mangalore. Our investigations have shown that there was a birthday party being celebrated. The party got over at 7 PM, he said. There were in all 8 boys and five girls at the party he also said.
The members of the HJV had claimed that there was a rave party going on. They barged into the party and mercilessely beat up the girls. This incident occured at around 745 PM yesterday.
The police say that the investigation is on and 8 persons have been arrested.

From religious divide to moral policing

Pub attack.
Pic: anti-caste.org

First it was the Shri Ram Sene then the Bajrang Dal and now the Hindu Jagran Vedike. While the Bajrang Dal which was responsible for the Church attacks took cover under the guise of conversions in Mangalore the other two outfits have donned the role of a moral police and have been responsible for several incidents in and around Mangalore.

Moral policing is not something new to Mangalore. While some term it as a publicity stunt the others feel that the influx from the Kerala border and also other states has beaten the image of Mangalore.

Incidents of moral policing have been on the rise since the year 2008. While the moral brigade claims that it needs to be done since we are losing our culture, there are a good number who feel that this is nothing but a publicity stunt.

The fact of the matter is that there has always been a religious clash in Mangalore and its surrounding areas since a very long time. The same persons who have been involved in religious clashes are now the moral police.

Mangalore has several sensitive areas thanks to an over sensitive border with Kerala. The general complaint has always been that youth from Kasaragod are luring innocent girls and hence the need to moral police has only become bigger. The concept called as Love Jihad was also something that was first found in the Mangalore area and there have been a series of protests due to this.

The Congress complains that all these outfits take umbrage under the BJP and the fact that there have been no prosecutions in such cases is an indicator that the government in Karnataka is very soft on them. However these groups argue that when the Congress was in power they let such incidents go by and this has done a great damage to the social fabric of society.

While the politics and the reasons behind such incidents go beyond the understanding of the common man, the fact is that Mangalore has always been in the news.

The first of the incidents dates back to November 2008 when a boy and girl from different communities were roughed up when they were having their food at a hotel in the Balmatta area.

The following month a college bus was stopped at the Pumpwell circle and all non Hindus on that bus were allegedly beaten up.

Another month later a hotel was attacked for serving beef and during the same month the infamous pub incident took place in which members of the Ram Sene beat up women.

A month later the daughter of an MLA was threatened when she was found travelling with a youth by the name Shabib. The activists said that she was travelling with a boy from another community. However this was later argued to be a case of political rivalry and the youth who had threatened her were CPM activists.

In the same month a 16 year old student committed suicide on the ground that a mob had threatened and also humiliated her for going out with a boy from another community.

In addition to this Mangalore and its surrounding areas have also seen violent incidents due to the Burqa issue. First a college in Buntwal had banned the use of the head scarf and then recently it was the St Aloysious college which imposed a similar rule. These incidents saw some violent protests by Muslim groups.

Mangalore, according to the locals and the police has had a big religious divide since long. Not only is the divide found in politics or among students unions, it has also spilt into the mafia as well. Take the case of Altaf, an accomplice of Chota Shakeel. He said that during the investigation that he was trying to target the members of the Chota Rajan gang. Police in Mangalore say that the fight has become Islamic Dons vs the Hindu dons. Around 16 years back the D Gang had good ground in Mangalore but with the advent of Ravi Poojary and also Chota Rajan, the D Gang soon started losing ground.

The other debating point regarding this sort of a divide in Mangalore has been due to the increasing clout of some terror groups in the neighbouring areas. The argument has been that there is an influx from Bhatkal and also Kasargod in Kerala which is leading to a lot of illegal activities.

French diplomat case reaches Facebook

A new facebook page titled- Pascal Mazurier is innocent,’ has led to another twist in the case of the French diplomat who is accused of raping his three year old daughter. The page which cropped up a couple of hours lambasts the lawyers, NGO’s and the media stating that it has unfairly sided with the mother of the victim before the real truth has come up.
The mother of the Victim Suja Jones who is also the complainant in this case has decided to file a complaint with the cyber cell. She has taken strong exception to the fact that the page also mentions her mobile phone number as a result of which she could several ugly calls.
The page states that the statements given by Suja to the media does not tally with the version written by her lawyer in the complaint. It further states that this entire case is the handiwork of publicity hungry lawyers and the NGOs. DNA tests take ages to come out and by that time the media would have forgotten about the case. At that time Suja would be alone as the media, lawyers and also the NGO would have dropped her like a hot potato leaving her alone to fend for her self. She should stop letting herself get brainwashed by these people the page also states.
Pramila Nesargi advocate for Suja says that this is a nischief played to divert the attention from a very strong case. We are going to the cyber police and will lodge a complaint with them. Moreoever there will also be protests against this act of mischied which threatens to derail justice duly deserved by the baby and her family.

French diplomat arrested- Finally!

After much debate and deliberations, Pascal Mazurier, the French diplomat who was accused of raping his 3 year old daughter has finally been arrested by the Bangalore police early this morning. He was taken directly to the government hospital where a series of tests are being conducted on him.
Among the various tests would also be a DNA test to ascertain his relation with the victim baby, police sources in Bangalore said.
The arrest had been delayed at least by five days due to issues regarding his diplomatic status. It was after deliberations between the officials of both countries that the Bangalore police were finally given a go ahead to take him into custody and subject him to a medical test.
Meanwhile the wife of the diplomat will move an application seeking to be present when the DNA test is being conducted.

French diplomat case- Of DNA and Immunity

20120618-233838.jpg

Even as the Bangalore police remain tight lipped about the final report conducted on the 3 year old girl who was allegedly raped by her father who is a French diplomat sources tell rediff.com that all medical tests indicate that the baby was raped.
The final test which was conducted by at the government hospital in Bangalore was handed over to the police, who have not revealed the contents of the same as there is still an issue over the next course of action to be taken against the diplomat. Pramila Nesargi, senior advocate who is representing the girl’s mother Suja Jones told rediff.com that there is a clear indication that the girl had been raped. I come to this conclusion as the Bangalore police have sought to conduct a DNA test on the accused. Had rape not been confirmed there was no reason for the police to seek a DNA test on the accused.
Pramila however added that she smells something fishy and hence will move an application before the Magistrates court, Bangalore stating that the mother and her family be present while the DNA sampling is done. We need to know what exactly transpires during the test and hence need to be present. We shall apply the principles in the N D Tiwary case, she added.

Immunity: there has been an uproar over the slow pace of the investigation into this case. However a source at the FRO says that whether there is immunity or not, the rule mandates that the country from where the person hails be taken into confidence before he or she is arrested.
In this case, Pascal who is of French origin is yet to be arrested. Although it is stated that he does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he still holds a diplomatic card.
Although India does have every right to prosecute him, the rule still mandates that the French government be taken into confidence before the accused is arrested.
This in fact explains the delay. Although the consulate has confirmed that Pascal enjoys no immunity, the Indian government is yet to receive a go ahed communication from France. Once this happens they would give the Bangalore police the green signal to go ahead and arrest the diplomat. Psacal currently is in Bangalore and under the custody of the French consulate. In an official communication they have assured of all support during the investigation.
(Pic- times of india)

The trauma of a 3 year old

Pascal Mazurier (face covered) being taken in an autorickshaw after a medical test at the Bowring Hospital in Bangalore. Photo courtesy: The Hindu

While confusion seems to loom large over the status of the French diplomat who had allegedly raped his three year old daughter at Bangalore, it appears to be a never ending ordeal of the child who has already undergone three medical tests so far.

The three year old daughter of Pascal Mazurie and Suja has probably faced the worst time of her life ever since the incident became public. On Wednesday before the mother reported the incident she was taken to the Baptist hospital for a medical test following which it was confirmed that she had been raped. A medico legal case had been registered following which the mother decided to file a complaint before the High Grounds police station in Bangalore the next day.

However after the lodging of the complaint, the police insisted that another test be conducted on the girl and she was then taken to the government hospital for a further test. The mother and the police waited nearly for the entire day at the hospital with the child. However this led to some more confusion and it was insisted that another test be conducted to verify whether the girl has HIV or not as a result of this incident, which legal experts say it is a routine procedure.

The question now is whether these tests have done any good to the case. Both the doctors and also the family members say that the girl was extremely uncomfortable and was often seen crying. Not only was there the media glare but even the trauma of the incident had affected her very badly.

It is clear that each one is thinking of the case from a sensational point of view while the mother of the child says that justice will be done only once her husband is tried in a court of law for this gruesome incident.

Pramila Nesargi, counsel for the complainant says that the child has clearly gone through an ordeal. The laws are often very cruel and it demands that several such tests are conducted in order to bring out the truth. However what I fail to understand is that despite so many tests being conducted why the doctors hesitant to give out the report despite the third test being conducted on Saturday itself. I smell something fishy she points out.

On inquiring at the hospital and also with the police, one does not get a clear picture as to why the test results are not out as yet. The hospital points out that it takes sometime before such results are out while the police add that they are waiting for the results.

However the fact of the matter is that the test results are ready, but this case has been embroiled in some sort of diplomatic problem considering the status of the accused. Pramila says that there have been conflicting views on the status of the accused. On one hand the police claim that he does enjoy diplomatic immunity while on the other the Ministry of External Affairs have given no such indication. The Bangalore police say that they will need a proper go ahead from the government of India before they can continue with the case. However they also add that this delay in confirming his status is no bar for them to continuing with the investigation, but the only issue that remains is pertaining to his arrest.

Diplomatic immunity: While the law does make it clear that persons who enjoy diplomatic immunity cannot be arrested and tried so easily, there is however a bar when it comes to offenses such as rape and murder. Legal experts would point out that a person with diplomatic immunity can very much be tried in India when there are non bailable cases against him or her, but it shall be done with the consent of the country of origin of the accused person.

The case on hand: The other issue surrounding this case is regarding the real job profile of this man Mazurie. Many in the establishment believe that there is a desperate attempt on to deport him quietly since he could have been spying here in Bangalore for his country. What was strange is that Mazurie’s bank details and his data on his hard disk were found to be wiped out hours before the police took over the case of rape. This appears to be suspicious, sources say and they are also trying to verify whether this man was spying here in India.

French man held for raping infant daughter

In a shocking and bizarre incident a 39 year old man working with the French consulate in Bangalore has been detained by the police for allegedly raping his 3 year old baby girl. The detention was made based on a complaint that was lodged by the wife of the man before the High Grounds police in Bangalore late today.
Pramila Nesargi counsel for the complainant informed that Pascal Mazurier, the 39 year old French national working as the Chief of Joint Chancellory at the French consulate, Palace grounds Bangalore was married to an Indian lady, Suja with whom he has two sons and a three year old daughter.
The complaint filed by Suja before the police states that she had a lurking doubt regarding the intentions of her husband towards her child. On June 13 ( Wednesday) she had ordered her maid to keep a watch on her husband when he came back home for lunch. The maid is said to have told her that he had spent nearly two hours with the 3 year old girl in a locked room.
Suja later took her daughter to the hospital for examination where it had been found that there was an attempted rape. The doctors who conducted the examination gave out this report at 6 PM yesterday while filing a medico legal case.
Based on these reports she filed a complaint alleging rape of a minor before the police. The police later took him into custody for questioning.
The accused diplomat was also sent for a medical test this evening and the details of that report is awaited. In addition to this a complaint has also been filed with the French Ambassador in New Delhi. Discussions are currently on regarding this subject. Pramila Nesargi says that they would ensure that the man in brought to justice.

Child sex offence bill vs the Indian Penal Code

Photo courtesy: rnw.nl

In the months to come the Parliament would pass a controversial bill- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill 2011. While there are many salient features in this Bill the most important point would be that no person below the age of 18 will have the legal capability to give consent for any sexual activity.

The above mentioned point is expected to be the most debated as it clashes directly with the provision enshrined in the Indian Penal Code which states that the consenting age for a girl would be 16 years.

The bill emerges mainly due to the high number of sexual assault cases against children. As per the report of the Ministry of Women and Child development there were an estimated 153 million gilrs and 73 million boys under the age of 18 who were subject to forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual violence.

Oscar Fernandes the Member of Parliament from Udupi who heads the committee which made these recommendations told rediff.com that the wider perspective has to be seen in order to protect children from sexual offences. However I would not like to get into any more details on this bill as we are still examining it thoroughly. A report to this effect will be submitted on June 15th and then it will be the Parliament which will decide on the matter. I am however confident that it would be passed in Parliament as it is a necessary yet sensitive issue. There are certain things that have been said in the government report on this issue and there will need to be a response on that, Fernandes also added.

However looking at the manner in which the issue is being debated it appears that there would be a rough ride ahead for this bill. The Delhi High Court had two days back sought on a review on the age limit that has been proposed by this bill. The government is expected to file its reply in this regard before the Delhi High Court.

The obvious clash in this bill is with regard to the age factor. Legal experts and activists say that it is bound to lead to a lot of confusion, but at the end of the day it would be the Bill that would prevail as it would be a special law.

Justice Santhosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India says that this is special law for a particular offence and as per the recommendation if any person below the age of 18 is seen indulging in any kind of sexual activity it could amount to rape. There is not likely to be a clash with the provisions of the Indian Penal Code as the bill will assume the status of a special law and this would over ride the provisions in the Indian Penal Code. There is a principle in law which states that a special law can prevail over a general law and hence a provision in the Indian Penal Code will not apply to any offence when a special law is in force in relation to the same offence.

Justice Hegde says that with regard to the age of consent there has been a lot of discussion in this regard. It is a social issue and different classes of people feel differently about it. There are a good number of people who also feel that no law should control such issues. On a personal level what I feel is that if it is a question of consent then it is the penal and not the special law which would be more appropriate. We are already burdened with many false cases of sexual harassment in this country and by reducing the age this problem could only worsen. One cannot jump to the conclusion that an adult is defined by her voting age and hence according to me 16 is an appropriate age. The bill once it becomes a law can be subject to scrutiny by the Supreme Court of India. However courts normally do not tend to interfere unless it finds that it is extraordinarily arbitrary in nature.

H S Chandramouli, state public prosecutor of Karnataka says that before getting into any detail it is extremely important that a child is defined under law properly. Under the juvenile offenders act a child is defined between the age of 16 and 18. Under the IPC the consenting age for a girl is 16 while under the new Bill it once again takes it back to 18. I have been arguing in almost all my  cases that the age for a juvenile should be between 14 and 16 as the times are changed as children have much more exposure.

On one hand the marriageable age in India for a woman has been fixed at 18 and on the other the IPC says that 16 is the consenting age. Before we set out making more laws there is an urgent need to codify the entire issue properly and bring out some clarity in it. It is clear that it would be the special law which will over ride the provisions of the IPC, but then again what happens to the Juvenile offender act? In such an event it would be both the IPC and the Juvenile Offenders Act which will require an immediate amendment failing which it would become very confusing. Moreover before making any such amendment I feel that the social issues need to be taken into consideration here as the situation that we faces in the villages and the cities are entirely different according to me.

According to Sonia Kaur, a student the consenting age should be 18 and it is the bill which should over ride the provisions in the IPC. One cannot always take into consideration education and exposure in a city to decide on the consenting age for a woman. A woman has a better understanding of what her mind and body needs only when she turns 18. There is a reason why the government has fixed 18 as the voting age as that person is capable of taking a decision. Some may argue that reaching puberty should be the age that should decide on the consenting factor. I however do not agree with it as there is mental maturity which is also needed.

What the Bill seeks to do?

The Bill seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, harassment and pornography. The bill defines any person below the age of 18 as a child. There are penal provisions for an offender who commits a sexual offence against anyone below the age of 18.

A person commits “sexual harassment” if he uses words or shows body parts to a child with sexual intent, shows pornography to a child or threatens to depict a child involved in sexual act through the media.

If a person  penetrates his penis into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a child or makes a child do the same or inserts any other object into the child’s body or applies his mouth to a child’s body parts it would constitute an offence

If the child is between 16 and 18 years, it shall be considered whether consent for the act was taken against his will or was taken by drugs, impersonation, fraud, undue influence and when the child was sleeping or unconscious.

Penetrative sexual assault shall be considered aggravated if it injures the sexual organs of the child or takes place during communal violence or the child becomes pregnant or gets any other threatening disease or is below 12 years.

There are penalties for storage of pornographic material and abetment of an offence.

Aarushi Talwar case, back to square one

The mystery surrounding the Aarushi Talwar case continues to haunt the Central Bureau of Investigation and today when one looks at it, it has come a full circle and is back to where the Noida police left it off.

The case commenced with the Noida police blaming the parents for the murder and when one looks at yesterdays court verdict it is again back to square one. There were various scientific tests conducted in this case and each one had a different version to give out.

However CBI officers investigating the case say that the biggest draw back was the missing weapon which till date has not been recovered. The investigators also claim that there were various versions to this case and hence they were unable to come to any conclusion.

Now with the court ordering that the parents of Aarushi be made accused in this case, the legal battle is sure going to be a long drawn one. The legal team of the Talwars say that they will surely challenge this order and also fight out the case. They further add that they cannot reveal much on this at the moment and still studying the order.

However the CBI which had initially said that there was no evidence against the Talwars have their battle cut out.

The first point of contention is the recovery of the weapon. Explains senior advocate, C V Nagesh who specializes in matters of crime, “ the non recovery of a weapon is not fatal to the case. In such an event one always has to rely upon circumstantial evidence. The prosecution and the investigating agency will now need to form a chain and the weapon is part of this. Now that the weapon has not been found it may have broken this chain but that is not sufficient to give anyone a clean chit.

The motive is something that needs to be proven. The prosecution will first have to explain to the court as to who had the motive. The next line of argument would be that the bodies were found inside the house and the second thing is that the blood stains were wiped out from the scene of the crime. The CBI will argue that no other person had access to the house since it was locked from inside and only the occupants were inside the house. At this point the accused will have to explain their stand and convince the court that the crime and the events leading up to it had taken place in their absence. The CBI will then have to put forth before the court that the events leading were within the exclusive knowledge of the accused persons who were present inside the house.

The CBI will need to build up this chain leading up to the event and then rely on the circumstantial evidence in order to unerringly prove the guilt of the accused persons.

Many a time the CBI has also towed the line of the Noida police in this case. There are many things mentioned by the CBI which point towards the parents which will now have to be argued before the court. At one point of time it was argued that there could have been a possible angle of rape in this case and the private parts and the vaginal swabs of the deceased persons had gone missing. The evidence was wiped out in order to save the family’s honour, the investigators had also claimed. The CBI claimed that the doubt was always towards the members of the family but they were finding it difficult to prove the motive behind this.

Confusion- While both the accused and the CBI gears up to face the court in this case, it may be pertinent to note the amount of confusion there is in this case. Before the court there are the confessional statements of the Talwars, Rajkumar and Shambu. Each one has had something diagonally opposite to say

The first of the scientific tests and the confessions was conducted on Rajkumar who was a domestic help at the the residence of Anita Durani, a family friend of the Talwars. In his confession he states the murder was due to revenge. He states that Krishna a compounder at Dr Talwar’s clinic was humiliated and hence he decided to take revenge by killing the doctor’s daughter.

I was invited by Krishna who stayed at a quarters in the Talwar household. We were drinking together and there was another person by the name Shambu. Krishna told us he was insulted by Talwar. Following that Shambu and Krishna went up to Aarushi’s room and killed her. Hemraj a domestic help at the Talwar house had witnessed this and hence they killed him too.

The next is the confessional statement of Shambu who also goes on to repeat what Krishna had said during the test.

Krishna in another version says that once Rajkumar reached Aarushi’s room he tried to force herself on her. She resisted and in the melee Krishna drew out a dagger and killed her. Hemraj witnessed this and they dragged him to the terrace and killed him.

During this Nupur Talwar was subject to a lie detector test in which she said that her husband had nothing to do with the killing. She was God’s gift to us and we didn’t or would even think of killing her.

Although in all these confessions, there is talk about a weapon, the fact is that till date the investigators have not been able to ascertain that it was the same weapon that was used in the murder. Krishna had even confessed that he had hidden the weapon near the scene of the crime, but the CBI was never able to find it. However a couple of months after the confession they did manage to find the weapon, but the forensics have not yet been able to ascertain that it was the same weapon used to murder Aarushi and Hemraj.