Sacked Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi counsel sought bail, claiming that his custody is no more required in the case as the CBI on 3rd November had informed the trial court that investigation is complete
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) response on the bail plea of sacked Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi in a Games-related scam case, who cited the Supreme Court ruling that bail should be the rule and jail an exception, reports PTI.
Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the probe agency and sought its reply on Kalmadi’s bail plea by 6th January.
Mr Kalmadi’s counsel sought bail, claiming that his custody is no more required in the case as the CBI on 3rd November had informed the trial court that investigation is complete.
Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for Mr Kalmadi, said that his client is in custody since 26th April and charge-sheet has also been filed. He said the trial would take a long time as a foreign firm, Swiss Timing Omega, is also an accused in the case and it has not yet appeared before the court.
The counsel sought that the court hear the bail plea in December, saying it need not go into the merits of the case basing on the Supreme Court ruling, while granting bail to five accused in the second generation (2G) case, that bail is the rule and jail is an exception.
However, justice Gupta, said, “Merits of each case have to be looked into” and fixed 6th January as the next date of hearing.
Mr Kalmadi was arrested on 26th April for his alleged role in awarding the contract for installing the Timing-Scoring-Result (TSR) system to Swiss Times Omega at an exorbitant cost of Rs141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs95 crore to the public exchequer.
The CBI had filed its first charge-sheet against Mr Kalmadi and ten others on 20th May, describing him as main accused in the corruption case, involving the award of TSR system contract to the Swiss firm.
The trial court had on 6th June dismissed Mr Kalmadi’s bail plea on the ground that gravity of offense is of very serious nature as it had caused loss to state exchequer and unlawful gain to a private vendor to the tune of over Rs95 crore.
Mr Kalmadi and eight other accused persons including officials of Organizing Committee (OC) are lodged in Tihar Jail and are currently in judicial custody.
The special CBI judge had also said that the accused might try to influence witnesses if enlarged on bail.
“Kalmadi is an influential person who was exercising full control over the OC as its chairman and most of the witnesses are his appointees or the employees of the CWG OC,” the trial court had said.
Earlier, the CBI had opposed Mr Kalmadi's bail plea before the trial court, saying his “conduct (in resorting to corruption in holding the 2010 mega sporting event) has tarnished the country's image”.
The agency had argued that Mr Kalmadi, as the head of the OC, had “supreme and overriding powers” and “any official of OC, who dared to protest against his illegal activities, was threatened, harassed and removed from their position or were forced to leave”.
Increased condom use among sex workers and their clients that have taken place as a result of preventive interventions, especially the targeted interventions seem to have contributed to the decline in HIV prevalence among young pregnant women in India
India has been able to avert three million HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections with World Bank support, along with the role of the government and NGOs (non-governmental organisations). The majority of the HIV infections are heterosexually transmitted, with unprotected paid sex being the major route of transmission. Besides being heterogeneous, the epidemic also has high prevalence in the high risk groups (HRGs): injection drug users (IDU) (7.2%), men who have sex with men (MSM) (7.4%), female sex workers (FSW) (5.1%) and people with sexually transmitted infections (STI) (3.6%). The epidemic seems to be stabilising as a decline in HIV has been observed in high HIV prevalence states of southern India (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu). This conclusion is based on a news release from the World Bank on the eve of World Aids Day 2011—which falls on 1st December.
The HIV epidemic in India has remained more contained than was initially predicted. It appears that increased condom use among sex workers and their clients that took place as a result of preventive interventions; especially the targeted interventions (TIs) seem to have contributed to the decline in HIV prevalence among young pregnant women.
In the high HIV prevalence southern states, the number of TI projects for FSWs increased from five to 310 between 1995 and 2008. In high TI intensity quartile districts, 186 condoms per FSW/year were distributed through TIs. This is in comparison to the 45 condoms/FSW/year in the low TI intensity districts. Behavioural surveillance indicated significant rise in condom use from 2001 to 2009. Among FSWs consistent condom use with last paying clients increased from 58.6% to 83.7%, and among men of reproductive age, the condom use during sex with non-regular partner increased from 51.7% to 68.6%. A significant decline in HIV and syphilis prevalence has occurred in high prevalence southern states among FSWs and young antenatal women. The drop in prevalence is associated with a significant increase in consistent condom use. Among the women seeking antenatal care in districts with high intensity of targeted interventions, HIV prevalence declined by more than 50% from 1.9% in 2001 to 0.8% in 2008 compared with low-intensity districts where the infection rate remained constant at 0.9% in both 2001 and 2008.
Despite these advances in prevention in India, human and financial costs of HIV/AIDS continue to increase, requiring continued diligence and support from the government and the international community. “AIDS remains a critical development issue that is reversing decades of human progress. With 34 million people living with HIV, AIDS continues to decimate communities, stymie economic growth, and orphan children,” said David Wilson, World Bank’s Global HIV/AIDS program director. “As one of the early leaders in the global response to the epidemic, the Bank remains committed to doing our part to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS, particularly in helping countries invest in proven, cost-effective prevention efforts.”
The World Bank supports developing countries (like India) in their strategic planning for HIV/AIDS response in a number of ways, including helping countries develop well-prioritised, evidence-based AIDS strategies and action plans; designing proven, cost-effective HIV prevention efforts; strengthening country health systems for more effective service delivery; and social protection for people affected by HIV. Since 1989, the Bank has committed nearly $4.6 billion in financing for HIV/AIDS-related activities in developing countries. Since the launch of the National AIDS Control Program in 1991, India has worked in close partnership with the World Bank and other development partners to focus on prevention among vulnerable populations at highest risk of contracting HIV.
“There has been a tremendous scale-up of prevention and treatment interventions under this program, which has led to an overall reduction in new infections and AIDS-related deaths in India,” said Sayan Chatterjee, secretary and director general of India’s National AIDS Control Organisation. “With expanding coverage of treatment, the program has to ensure that the treatment requirements are fully met without sacrificing the needs of prevention.”
The government has attributed the decline to the poor performance of manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors
Confirming the indications of an economic slowdown in the country, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.9% in the second quarter this fiscal in comparison to an 8.4% expansion in the same period last year. The government attributed the decline to the poor performance of the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors.
GDP growth in the first half of FY11-12 also moderated to 7.3% from 8.6% same period last year, as per the latest data released by the government today.
Given global and domestic issues, domestic growth expectations have come down from 9% to 7%, with growing doubts on whether even a 7% number can hold. Rohini Malkani, Economist, Citi India, said, "While India faces additional headwinds on account of its forex dependence, with inflation peaking, we expect the RBI to begin easing rates by first half of 2012. This, coupled with some determined decision-making from policymakers, could provide economic and investment gains and keep growth from falling below 7% levels."
"In our view, today’s GDP data and other leading indicators suggest that economic growth will remain weak in the next few quarters. High interest rates and the stalemate on the policy front are likely to put downward pressure on investments, while still elevated inflation will probably weigh on private consumption," said Nomura in a note.
The slowdown in the manufacturing sector and decline in mining and quarrying is likely to put further pressure on the government and the RBI at time when the economy is grappling with high interest rates.
India Inc has blamed the tight monetary policy, which has increased the cost of borrowings, for hindering fresh investment and slowing down industrial growth.
The RBI has hiked interest rates 13 times since March 2010 to tame demand and curb inflation. Headline inflation has been above the 9% mark since December last year.
The government and the RBI have accepted that high interest rates may hurt the country’s growth prospects, but the apex bank has underlined that bringing inflation under control is its major agenda.
During the three-month period ending 30 September 2011, growth in the manufacturing sector tumbled to 2.7% from 7.8% in the corresponding period of 2010-11. Farm output also reported a similar trend and expanded by just 3.2% during the reporting quarter compared to 5.4% growth in the corresponding period last fiscal.
Mining and quarrying production declined by 2.9% during the quarter under review against a growth of 8% in the July-September quarter of the previous fiscal. Growth in the construction sector also slowed to 4.3% during the quarter from 6.7% in the same period a year ago.
Furthermore, trade, hotels, transport and communications segments grew by 9.9% in the quarter under review from 10.2% expansion in the year-ago period.
Exhibiting a positive trend, electricity, gas and water supply grew by a robust 9.8% in the July-September period compared to 2.8% growth in the corresponding year-ago period.
The services sector, including insurance and real estate grew by 10.5% in the quarter ended September this year compared to 10% expansion in the corresponding period last year.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected that the Indian economy will grow 7.6% in 2011-12. It had earlier projected GDP growth in FY11-12 at 8%, but later revised the figure downward on account of the global slowdown and high domestic inflation. The Indian economy expanded by 8.5% in the 2010-11 fiscal.
As per government data released today, manufacturing growth slowed to 4.9% during the first half this fiscal compared to a healthy 9.1% expansion in the first half of 2010-11.
The mining and quarrying sector also declined by 0.5% during the April-September period compared to a growth of 7.7% in the same period last fiscal.
This apart, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector grew by 3.6% in the first half against 3.7% expansion in the first six months of 2010-11.
Growth of the construction sector stood at 2.7% during the first six months of 2011-12, compared to a decent 7.2% in the corresponding period last fiscal.