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No death for Dara Singh in Staines case; SC upholds life term

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New Delhi, (PTI) In a setback to CBI, the SupremeCourt today dismissed its plea for death penalty to DaraSingh, convicted for burning alive Australian missionaryGraham Staines and his two minor sons in January 1999 whileupholding life sentence given to him by the Orissa High Court.

A bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan,while dismissing the agency”s plea for death penalty, said thepunishment can be imposed only in the “rarest of rare” casesdepending upon the facts and situation of each case.

In the present case, the apex court said, the offencecommitted by the convicts, though highly condemnable, does notfall in the category of rarest of rare to warrant deathsentence. (More) PTI RB RKS SDG SC

Dara Singh and Mahendra Hembrom were found guilty of burning to death Staines and his sons, who were sleepinginside a van outside a church, at Manoharpur village inKoenjhar district of Orissa on January 22, 1999.

The bench had on December 15 last year reserved itsjudgement after hearing at length the arguments of CBI”scounsel and Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha andcounsel for the convicts.

Senior counsel K T S Tulsi and Ratnakar Dash, besidescounsel

Sibo Shankara Mishra, appeared for the 12 convicts.

Appearing for CBI, Tankha had told the bench that DaraSingh deserves death sentence as the murders were committed ina most “diabolic and dastardly manner” which warrantedexemplary punishment.

Dara had filed an appeal challenging his convictionand the life sentence awarded to him. The appeals wereadmitted by the apex court in October 2005.

On May 19, 2005, the Orissa High Court had commuted tolife imprisonment the death penalty imposed by the sessionscourt on Dara Singh for the murder of Staines and his twominor sons — Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6. Along with Dara,another person Mahendra Hembram was convicted in the case.

However, the High Court had acquitted 11 others whowere awarded life terms by the trial court in the case.

The trial court in Khurda had in September 2003convicted all the 13 accused. While Dara Singh was awardeddeath sentence, others were given life imprisonment.

Police target top official in Delhi Games probe

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NEW DELHI – Indian police said Thursday they had registered a case against the director-general of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, the most senior organiser of the tainted event named in a widening graft probe.


The Games were marred by venue delays and chaotic organisation

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokeswoman Vineeta Thakur told AFP that police had registered a first information report against V.K. Verma, the first step in criminal proceedings against an accused.

Verma was director-general in the organising committee of the October 3-14 Games, headed by its chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, who was quizzed by federal CBI detectives for eight hours on Wednesday.

“Verma is named as the key accused in the case which we have registered against him and four companies,” she said, adding that the four Delhi-based firms were searched on Thursday.

Police said the case against Verma related to contracts, reportedly worth six billion rupees (133.3 million dollars), awarded for the refurbishing of various stadiums of the scandal-hit Games.

Verma and the companies are suspected of cheating, criminal conspiracy and violating India’s tough anti-corruption laws.

In addition to searches at the four companies named in the case, CBI detectives carried out searches at another 10 premises in New Delhi and its suburbs on Thursday, a CBI source told AFP.

Police have so far charged three lower-ranking officials who are now in jail awaiting trial, but attention is turning to top managers, including Kalmadi, for their role.

The Games, which were marred by venue delays and chaotic organisation, were also hit by claims of massive financial irregularities as the budget ballooned three times to an estimated six billion dollars.

The national anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), received complaints alleging up to 1.8 billion dollars of Games money was misappropriated.

A initial report by the CVC into the Games confirmed the use of sub-standard construction materials in a host of Games-related building contracts and deliberate cost overruns.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seen as “Mr Clean” in his corruption-ridden administration, set up a panel after the Games ended to investigate graft claims. It is expected to deliver its preliminary report later this month.

The Games brought together 6,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories, mostly from the former British empire.

Indian CBI finds evidence of forgery by army, civil officers

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NEW DELHI: The CBI has claimed to have found evidence of alleged forgery and manipulation of documents on part of some army officials and bureaucrats in the Adarsh society scam as it gears up to register an FIR in the case, reported Indian Express.

Highly-placed sources in the agency said that some of the documents seized by the CBI were indicative of some forgery having allegedly been committed by a few defence officials in criminal conspiracy with bureaucrats of Maharashtra government and private individuals. “The FIR in the case would be filed soon. We have a firm case now,” a senior CBI official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said a decision on registering the case under provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act would be taken once a clearance came from the legal department of the CBI. Coming under flak over alleged corruption and abuse of official position by senior defence officials, Defence Minister A K Antony had sought a CBI probe into the scam relating to Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in which some senior military officers, including former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C Vij and ex-naval chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh, had flats allotted in their names. daily times monitor