Blore arrests- How a new assasination module was developing?

The plotting station? (Pic-daiji world.com)

The arrest of the 11 youth from Karnataka is just a tip of the ice berg of something big that was in store. Although the police have been associating the name of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami with these youth, the investigations so far would go on to show that this was an independent group which had a single point agenda and that was to protect Islam and eliminate all those who appeared to be a threat to the religion.

While the news regarding the Journalist and the Scientist made it to all the headlines, the more important person in this network was a person by the name Akram who goes by the alias Yusuf. If one looks at the background of this man, the HuJI link does surface since he was said to be a close associate of Shahid Bilal, the HuJI commander from Hyderabad who was killed a year after the Hyderabad twin blasts.

Akram whose information was passed on by the Andhra Pradesh intelligence wing is considered to be the leader of this gang and his job according to investigators was to marshal the youth who believed strongly that the religion was under threat. Akram had links with Shahid Bilal since the year 2004 and they had met a couple of times in Saudi Arabia.

While the Bangalore police claimed that the plot was to eliminate journalists and politicians in Karnataka, the bigger news is that there have been several calls found on Akram’s phone which gives the indication that it was a nation wide operation. During the investigation it was revealed that he was upset with the manner in which some persons were depicting the religion. He wanted to target those persons who had shown Prophet Mohammad in poor light and there was also an incident which upset him a great deal and that was the wrong depiction of the Kaba stone.

Akram according to the intelligence received funding from the underworld and he had decided to set up forces in every state and target those tarnishing their religion. They worked in a closed network while identifying like minded persons who felt strongly about such issues. Even the hard disks that have been seized by the police have a lot of material regarding atrocities against Muslims and some of the youth who have been arrested spoke very often to colleagues about how the community and religion were always under threat.

While Akram sought to carry out the executions with the help of the underworld, some of the youth who were working in high profile positions were tasked with the job of providing data. While the data regarding some politicians and journalists were provided, the final plan of assassination was not drawn up as yet. They were zeroing down on the targets and were to decide as to who had to be eliminated.

Akram will now be quizzed by the central agencies in order to find out whether he has set up similar groups in other states as well. We have managed to bust the Karnataka module, but his call records are indicative that there were more such operations that were being planned in other parts of the country as well.

Sources say that this groups cannot be directly linked to any terrorist group and were working individually. They had a handler in Saudi Arabia with whom they used to liaison with and also seek funds as and when it was required. The police say that they have been getting funds especially from the underworld apart from arms and ammunition to carry out their operation. While looking at the pistols that were seized they were of very high quality and was not picked up from a local market. However the only ammunition that has been found on them so far are the pistols thus giving a clear indication they were only about assassinations.

This group had it not been nipped so early could have grown stronger. They were in the process of setting up more such groups and identifying targets. They worked independent of terrorist groups since they felt that there would be no heat on them. Moreover many of them especially Akram believed that some wrong which was happening to the religion in the aftermath of the investigations into the terror cases were the handiwork of some politicians and also journalists. They felt that by carrying out a series of assassinations in various parts of the country, they could create a fear which in turn would prompt many to be more careful while speaking about their religion.

However this group was careful to chose their targets and have not included any police official in their list. They have only picked a handful of journalists who they believe were anti Islam and also a couple of politicians who have been speaking their mind off against their community.

This is just the beginning of the investigation and there is more to find out. We believe that similar persons have been identified in the Northern states as well. We are keeping a close watch of the kind of information that is being leaked out to such persons and are also ascertaining the content that many have stored in their computers and also the exact reasons behind it, sources in the investigating agency also pointed out.

Considering the strong links that Akram had with Bilal and the fact that they are from Hyderabad it has also increased the interest of the Andhra Pradesh police to find out if a similar group was functioning in their state as well. It is a relatively tough operation says an officer since there are many unassuming persons who are part of this plot. Investigations are on and we are scrutinising those who could be part of it, an AP police official informed.

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A scribe, research scientist and the deadly plot

The probe being conducted by the Bangalore police in coordination with the special cell of the Delhi police has revealed that the team of ten persons from the HuJI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had split into two groups to carry out a series of operations in Karnataka.

The journalist, Muthiur Rehman, Ejaz Mirza, a research scientist at DRDO and three others were assigned with the task of killing a few journalists in Bangalore. The other five who were arrested from Hubli were tasked with the job of killing politicians in Karnataka.
At Bangalore, the police have seized a 9 MM pistol and a hard disk. The hard disk is said to contain some important material and belongs to the journalist. However the police are still examining the hard disk.
Sources say that the entire operation was being looked into by handlers in Saudi Arabia and these persons were in constant touch with them regarding the operation. Although their operation looks very Karnataka specific at the moment, the police want to find out if this group had connections outside the state as well. The Delhi police is likely to seek a transit remand of these persons and take them to Delhi for questioning.
Although the police have said that they have been arrested in connection with these assasination plots, they are also looking tom find out if this group had planned more subversive activities in other parts of the state of Karnataka and also the country.
The police say that they were targeting personalities including journalists who they perceived to be anti Islam. Material was regularly being collected against these persons, their speeches and articles were being monitored and only after this a hit list had been drawn out.
The police will also look for clues with regard to the recent panic SMS campaign after the Assam riots. A police official said that this group has been in Karnataka for a long time and hence we would like to get more details of their activities.
However what has made the police sit up and take up notice is the profile of some of the persons arrested. A journalist and a research scientist indicate that they wanted educated persons in the plot as they wanted to ensure that the operation was fool proof and deadly.

Journo and others were from HuJI, LeT

The Bangalore police have claimed to have bust a major module of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihadi- Islami today. In all 11 persons, five from Bangalore and six from Hubli have been detained and one of them is a journalist with a leading daily in Karnataka.
The DGP told the media that they had planned a state wide operation in which they were targetting Members of Parliament and MLAs of the BJP. They had also planned on attacking prominent hindu leaders and also a journalist, the police chief informed.
Further the police said that they had their handlers in Saudi Arabia and were reporting to them. Also among them was a trained operative of the Indian Mujhaideen who is also being probed for the Chinnaswamy blasts case.
The police claim this to be a major breakthrough and had even coordinated with the police teams from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
However the police did not let out more information on the investigation. Every procedure is being followed and we will provide you more details regarding the journalist in some time, the police also added.

Rahul Gandhi-24 days 1 debate 0 questions

Pic: liveindia.tv

Rahul Gandhi is being groomed by the Congress to be the next Prime Minister of the country. However here are two statistics which would clearly indicate that he needs to take part more in Parliament. Firstly he is among those MPs with a low attendance. He has attended only 24 days out of the 85 days that Parliament was in session.  His attendance percentage is just 42 per cent. In addition to this he has raised one debate and asked zero questions during the days he spent in the Parliament.
However it was Navjoth Singh Siddhu the actor turned cricketer who has the lowest attendance. He attended just 16 days of Parliament. However during his presence he has initiated 3 debates and asked 99 questions.
The others in this list are H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(s) and Akhilesh Yadav of the SP. Kumaraswamy shares the space with Siddhu and has attended just 16 days in Parliament. His attendance percentage is just 40 per cent and he has raised 2 debates and asked no questions. His father on the other hand H D Deve Gowda has a 68 per cent attendance and has raised 21 debates but has asked no questions.
While these are the regulars there were others like A Raja who had  lower attendance as he spent a large time in jail.. Raja attended four days while Kalmadi who also did a stint in jail had spent 30 days in Parliament.
While these were the ones with a weak attendance, BJP’s strong man and veteran L K Advani had a track record with 100 per cent attendance. During his presence in parliament he initiated 30 debates. The others with a high attendance percentage were Congress MPs Nirmal Khatri, P L Punia and J P Agarwal and AIADMK member M Thambidurai.
Sonia Gandhi on the other hand attended 34 days of Parliament, initiated one debate but asked no questions.
The report Representatives at Work states that the biggest protests seen in Parliament were during the price rise issue, CAG report, FDI among other issues which also included the resignation issue of Chidambaram and the Lokpal bill.

Journo, 9 others detained for IPL blasts

Pic: newindianexpress.com

A journalist from Bangalore and nine others have been picked up by the Bangalore police in connection with the Chinnaswamy blasts case. A special team from Delhi which is also here is coordinating with the Bangalore City Crime Branch which carried out the arrests late last night.
The journalist was one of the five picked up from Bangalore while others were brought down to the city from Hubli for questioning.
The police are tight lipped about the operation and say that the matter is at a very preliminary stage. Questioning is on and we are trying to ascertain each ones links, sources in the police said. The operation took place in the wake of more evidence that came up during the probe. The Delhi police too has been passing on information in this case since the modules which carried out the attacks in Delhi and Bangalore are the same.

Fahim, Saba to sue ATS

The Maharashtrac ATS has failed on three occasions to get Sabhahuddin and Fahim Ansari a conviction in the 26/11 case. For the third time (sessions court, Bombay High Court and now the Supreme Court) the investigating agency was told that there is no proof what so ever and there is nothing that has been done to corroborate the evidence against the duo.

Ejaz Naqvi

Advocate Ejaz Naqvi who represented Sabahuddin was elated at the verdict, but also added that the next legal step they are about to embark upon is a compensation suit. My client has been harassed and the time he has spent in jail for a false case that the ATS booked against him and Fahim ensured that they remained in jail for so long for no fault of theirs’. We will seek compensation.
The ATS immediately after the 26/11 attack picked up these two men and claimed that they were the ones who carried out the survey of the city which facilitated the attackers. During the trial they produced some vague evidence and most hilarious of all the evidence was the map which they claimed was found on the duo. Interestingly the map had a vague diagram and did not have even a single crease on it and looked brand new. Moreover there was a confession statement of the duo which they relied heavily on in which they did speak about an attack of this nature. However these confessions were considered to be made under duress and it was never accepted by the court. The ATS was also unable to prove the guilt of the two persons and were never able to establish if they were in contact with any of the planners during the attack. Moreover the case became weaker when the David Headley revelation came to light.

Not to walk free as yet:
However both Fahim and Sababhuddin will not be able to walk free following today’s verdict. When one looks at both the cases, the road ahead for Fahim appears to be easier when compared to Sabahuddin.  Fahim and Sabahuddin are both accused in the CRPF Rampur attack case. However there are charges under Sections 420, 469 and 471 against Fahim Ansari. These charges against him deal with a passport forgery case. His offences amount to impersonation, cheating and forgery. The investigators are yet to file a charge under terrorism against him.
However Sabahuddin apart from charges of terrorism in the CRPF case is also the main accused in the IISC attack case at Bangalore. The trial in both the IISC case is yet to commence and he will have to remain in jail until the trial is complete.
In so far as the Rampur case, both will have to stand trial for quite some time since the court has just completed recording the evidence. There has been a bit of a delay with the defence arguing that all the witnesses in the case are that of the police and there are no independent witnesses in this case.
In so far as the IISC case, we had written two years back that the trial would commence soon, but the fact is that it is yet to start off. There is some more problem in this case regarding another accused, Abu Hamza.  Earlier it was said that they need more information since Hamza is hiding in Pakistan. Hamza who was also a handler in the 26/11 attack case was named by Kasab too during his interrogation. But during the investigation of Abu Jundal, the police were told that Hamza had died two years back. This claim is however disputed by the intelligence agencies who feel that he is saying this to divert their attention.

Kasab hanging- More legalities remain

Pic: Tribune

While the Supreme Court of India confirmed the death sentence awarded to Ajmal Kasab, the fact is that the legal process has not come to an end just as yet. Kasab has the last right of appeal and that is before the president of India in the form of a mercy petition.
The President of India has nearly 20 mercy petitions pending before him and the most famous one is that of Afzal Guru who was convicted in the Parliament attack.
Once Kasab files his mercy petition, the rule demands that he waits until the rest of the petitions are taken up and disposed off. However the President of India reserves the right to fast track a case, provided he is convinced that there is an extraordinary circumstance concerning this case and hence it must be taken out of turn.  Public sentiment is also another factor that the president of India can take into consideration. However the convict also has the right to go back to the Supreme Court if he feels that his mercy petition is taking too long to dispose and the court in such matters could remind the president about the delay.
While deciding on a mercy petition the following factors are to be considered by the President of India.
Personality of the convict
Whether the convict is suffering from a mental disorder when committing the offence?
Had the court expressed any doubt regarding the evidence when handing out the sentence?
Has any fresh evidence cropped up to substantiate the claim of the appellant?
Was evidence considered before the sentence was handed out?
Was the death sentence given after a long delay in the trial and investigation?
Once Kasab files his mercy plea, the President of India would have 21 mercy petitions pending. The petitions that are pending which deserve a mention are that of Rajaona, convicted for the murder of Beant Singh and Afzal Guru, the Parliament attacker. The biggest debating point was that of Afzal Guru. He was ordered to be hanged on October 20 2006, but his wife filed the mercy plea and it has been in abeyance ever since.
This issue of mercy petitions was viewed very seriously by the Supreme Court of India and in the month of April it had sought details of the mercy petitions pending before the President of India. There was a debate that some of the state governments had opposed the death sentence stating that there would be trouble, but the Supreme Court stated that while the role of the state is advisory in nature, the final decision will lie with the President of the country.

Will Kasab be number 52?

Pic: virteacon.com

With the Supreme Court today confirming the death sentence awarded to Ajmal Kasab, he becomes one of the 309th prisoners on the death row in India. If executed, he will be the 52nd person to be hanged since independence.
India has in all 309 death row convicts while the state of Maharashtra where Kasab is lodged has 39 such convicts. The state that tops this list is Bhar with 80 death row convicts while  Uttar Pradesh comes next with 72.
Kasab will in all probability be hanged at the Yerawada jail in Pune. There are two gallows in Maharashtra one at Yerawada while the other is at Nagpur. The state may however chose the Yerawada jail for this hanging since it is closer to the place where Kasab is lodged and this would reduce the risk while transporting him to the gallows.
The last of the hangmen that Maharashtra had was Jhadhav but he retired in the year 1995. However the state may recall such a person in case they do not find any one else. In this case the state may prefer someone from outside the state as the whereabouts of Jhadhav are not known. The only hangman that is available today is the son of Nata Mullick who had carried out the execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee. His son Prabhat who has been trained by his father has expressed willingness to take up after his father.
The state government would have to fix the date for the hanging and the suprintendent of the jail in which he would be hanged would have to first inform the relatives of the convict. Kasab before the hanging would also be given a right to prepare a will. The time of the execution will be at sunrise as jail authorities would not like to invite any publicity.
On the day of the execution the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent in charge and Medical Officer shall be present. An Executive Magistrate deputed by the District Magistrate shall attend the execution and countersign the warrant. If the prisoner so desires, a priest of his faith may be allowed, at the discretion of the Superintendent, to be present at the place of execution, subject to the requirements of security and prison discipline.The relatives of the prisoner and other prisoners shall not be allowed to witness the execution. The Superintendent may, however, permit social scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. who are conducting research to be present.
At the time of the execution prisoners of all categories shall be kept locked up until the execution is over.
The night before the execution the prisoner shall be provided with the food of his choice. The next day two hours before the execution he shall be woken up and ordered to take a bath. A fresh set of clothes are then provided to him and the moment is he is out of the cell, his face shall be hooded and hands tied behind and under no circumstance shall be allowed to see the gallows. The prisoner will be made to walk through the passageway which is around 20 metres and is covered in less than a minute.
Once the execution is carried out, the body shall remain suspended for half an hour and will be taken down only once the medical officer has certified the prisoner as dead. The body will be disposed off according to religious requirements. In case the family members of the family make a request in writing, the superintendent may hand over the body on the condition that no public display is made when the cremation or the burial takes place.
The noose:
If the prisoner weighs less than 100 lbs. or 45 kgs, he should be given a drop of 8 feet or 2.5 mtrs.
If the prisoner weighs from 100 to 133 lbs. or 45 to 60 kgs, he should be given a drop of 7 feet 8 inches or 2.3 mtrs.
If the prisoner weighs more than 133 lbs. or 60 kgs, but not more than 166 lbs. or 75 kgs, he should be given a drop of 7 feet or 2.2 mtrs.
If the prisoner weighs more than 166 lbs. or 75 kgs. but not more than 200 lbs. or 91 kgs, he should be given a drop of 6 feet 6 inches or 2 mtrs.
If the prisoner weighs more than 200 lbs. or 91 kgs, he should be given a drop of 6 feet 1.83 mtrs.

Political donations and the coal scam!

After the mining and 2 scam came the multi crore coal scam which has raised many eye brows and even threatens to dislodge Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. In all a total of 25 companies have been named in the report in the CAG report and one among them is the Hindalco Industries, the flagship subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group. The other name mentioned in the CAG report was that of Tata Power which has also made political donations through its electoral trust.

The reason why this flagship group of the Aditya Birla group needs to be pointed out here is because it is one of the biggest donors to political parties through its General Electoral Trust. Interestingly the contribution to political parties by the Aditya Birla Group increased to Rs 30.5 crore in the year 2009-1010.

In the year 2007-08 the General Electoral Trust donated Rs 5 crore to the BJP. It was in the year 2009-2010 that the donation from this trust went up. During this period the General Electoral Trust donated Rs 13.95 crore to the Congress while Rs 16.60 crore was given to the BJP.

The other major donor to political parties is the Electoral Trust established by the Tatas which has donated Rs 9.79 crore. The Congress was given Rs 5.64 crore while the BJP got Rs 4.14 crore. The CAG on the coal scam had named Tata Power to be one of the beneficiaries in the coal scam.

This manner of donating money to political parties was formulated in Germany first. It was first adopted by the Tatas who floated their electoral trust in the year 1996 and it was followed up by the Birlas a few years later. Since then money by the company has been routed through this trust and these companies felt that this was a good way to participate in the electoral process. The General Electoral Trust believes in funding parties and even independent candidates only in those constituencies where the company or its group is located.

The CAG report which has created a storm in Parliament had termed the loss at Rs 1.86 lakh crore. It had also named Jindal Steel, Tata Power and Hindalco among the firms that got the blocks.

The big question is whether these firms which have been making donations have benefitted from the same. The National Election Watch which has gone through a tedious process to get the names of these firms which have made political donations says that it needs to be looked into. There needs to be a proper investigation into the matter although it is very difficult to pin point whether these donations have led to any favours.

Anil Bariwal, the convenor of the National Election Watch says that they have found that most of the companies and large corporations have been funding irrespective of which party is in power. One cannot also be sure if most of the funding which has been shown is the real picture. We feel that only the smaller contributions are shown on paper while the bigger amounts are not declared. I am not sure what we can draw out of this. One needs to look into this and also find out whether these contributions are leading to any favours.

The National Election Watch says that the process ahead is very difficult and in order to pin point various facts such as favours obtained and also donations that were not declared will take a lot of work. Even the first time they sought the details of the political donations, both the Congress and the CPM stated that they were not public authorities defined under the Right to Information Act and hence were not compelled to reveal the details. The NCP on the other hand told them it did not have people to compile data while the BJP and BSP failed to respond which prompted them to approach the Chief Information Commissioner and argue their case.

Pol donations- Vedanta’s Sesa Goa and the mining scam

While corporate donations given to political parties is a hot debating topic, the recent disclosure of mining group Vedanata Resources that it paid Rs 28 crore in the past three years to political parties in India is interesting.

The mining group says in its annual report that it had paid dollars 5.69 million to political parties in the past three years. It also goes on to state that dollars 2.01 million was paid to political parties in the year 2011-12. Further the break up also states that dollars 3.66 million had been paid in the year 2009-10.

The most important aspect is that Vedanta is listed on the London stock exchange. The year of the listing was 2003-04, the same year it started donating to political parties in India. Although political donations are always looked at with suspect, this company believes that such contributions are made to strengthen the democratic process in India.

The interesting aspect to this donation is that a company which is not listed in India is not allowed to make political donations of any sort to a political party. Although political donations from Indian companies are allowed as long as they are declared, funds from outside are not permissible under the Companies Act of 1966 since it is believed that MNCs may try and run the country.

The Vedanta group has been under the scanner in the illegal mining scam in India through one of its Indian subsidiaries, Sesa Goa. The 464 page report on illegal mining had alleged that the Vedanta group firm, Sesa Goa had exported iron ore from the Krishnapatnam port after the State Government had a ban on its transportation. This claim was however denied by Sesa Goa.

Further the name of Sesa Goa had also cropped up in the Shah Commission of Inquiry which probed the illegal mining scam in Goa. It had said in its report that Sesa Goa in its mines, TC No 6/55 had not obtained environment clearance as well yet extracted 745,562 tonnes in 2008-09, 665,976 tonnes 2009-10 and 512,378 tons 2010-2011 (up to January). The cost: Rs Rs 769 crore. In its mine in TC No 28/51 the company extracted 26,732 tonnes above the environmental clearance quantity capping which amounts to over Rs 10 crore. Further there were also allegations that the firm had paid every political party in Goa to further its business, a claim that has been rejected outright by the company.

Now coming back to the contributions made by the Vedanta group, it is interesting to note that there is just a declaration of the amount which has been made as form of a donation. The names of the political parties are not mentioned. Further it does not also state clearly if the donation was made through one of its subsidiaries, Sesa Goa, Sterlite Indusries, Cairn India or Hindustan Zinc.

Even when one goes through the list of corporate donors in India, the names of these companies do not figure. Political parties are rule bound to declare the names of the donors and in the list before the Election Commission of India, these are the names that crop up.

BJP- General Electoral Trust- Rs 5 crore, Videocon Industries- Rs 2.5 crore, Punj Lloyd- Rs 1 crore

CPI(M)- Gayatri Projects Ltd- Rs 5 lakh, Sew Constructions- Rs 5 lakh, Saimagdha Real- Rs 5 lakh

Congress-

Bharti Electoral Trust- Rs 10 crore, Torrent Power Ltd- Rs 2.5 crore, Crompton Greaves Ltd- Rs 1.5 crore

2008-09

BJP-

Bharti Electoral Trust- Rs 3 crore, M/s Torrent Power Ltd- Rs 2.5 crore, Bharti Electoral Trust- Rs- Rs 2 crore

CPI(M)-

Sew Infrastructure Ltd- Rs 25 lakh, SEW- Rs 25 lakh, GKC Projects- Rs 3 lakh.

2009-2010

Congress-

General Electoral Trust- Rs 13.95 crore, Electoral Trust- Rs 5.64 crore, Infrastructure Development & Consultant- Rs 5.50 crore

BJP-

General Electoral Trust- Rs 16.60 crore, Asianet Holding- Rs 10 crore, Torrent Power Limited- Rs 5.50

CPI(M)

Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd- Rs 10 lakh, Hetero Drugs- Rs 6 lakh, AMR Construction Ltd- Rs 2 lakh.

While it could be debated that there could be many companies which have paid money in black, the more important thing in the Vedanta issue is that there is no declaration what so
ever.

Anil Bariwal, convenor of the National Election Watch which does the data analysis of such issues points out that for starters, Vedanta is listed in the UK. It does have Indian subsidiaries.
The more important issue is that political parties cannot accept a funding from a foreign firm. The annual report which we have gone through does not say anything about who the money was donated to and through whom. Another thing that we are trying to find out is through which trust was this donation made. The annual report suggests that such political donations were made through a trust.

The Companies Act of 1956 makes it very clear that any company which donates any money to a political party should seek the approval of the board and its share holders and also declare the same clearly. If it is not then they are liable for fine and also a jail term. The question here is why has this company not declared the names of the political parties. It is necessary to get into the crux of this matter since if political donations are coming in from foreign funds then these firms could control the country.