World
Judge throws out murder charge in Mississippi foetal harm case
The ruling means that the woman whose drug use had her facing a possible life term can at most be charged with manslaughter in the death of her stillborn daughter 
 
A Mississippi judge has thrown out murder charges against a young woman in the 2006 death of her stillborn child, a significant setback for prosecutors in a controversial case that has been closely followed both by women's rights groups and those interested in establishing rights for the unborn.
 
Rennie Gibbs, who was 16 when she gave birth to her stillborn daughter Samiya, had been indicted for "depraved heart murder" after traces of a cocaine byproduct were found in the baby's blood. The charge — defined under Mississippi law as an act "eminently dangerous to others...regardless of human life" — carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
 
But Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens, in a two-page ruling held that under Mississippi law Gibbs could not be charged with murder. Kitchens made clear prosecutors could seek to re-file charges, but at most Gibbs could be charged under the state's manslaughter statutes. A conviction on such a charge would carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
 
"We are very pleased by the court's ruling and hope that it will put an end to a prosecution that has dragged on for seven years," said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a New York-based non-profit organization. "No woman, much less a teenager, who becomes pregnant should have to fear that if she seeks to continue her pregnancy to term but suffers a miscarriage or stillbirth, she will be arrested and charged with murder."
 
As reported by ProPublica last month, the case against Gibbs is one of a wave of so-called "fetal harm" prosecutions across the U.S. Hundreds of women have faced criminal charges for using drugs during pregnancy, even when their babies were born healthy. Supporters say the threat of punishment can deter mothers-to-be from putting their unborn children at risk. But reproductive rights advocates argue that prosecution only deters women from seeking help with addiction and prenatal care.
 
Those advocates see the cases — documented in this 2013 report by the National Advocates for Pregnant Women — as a part of a broader strategy by abortion opponents to employ the concept of fetal "personhood" to weaken women's ability to end their pregnancies.
 
Lowndes County Assistant District Attorney Mark Jackson said his office was "considering all options" as it contemplated what to do next.
"We haven't made a decision on what's going to happen going forward," Jackson said in an interview Friday with ProPublica.
 
Samiya was born a month premature, and never took a breath after being delivered in November 2006. Within days, Steven Hayne, a Mississippi medical examiner at the time, declared her death a homicide, caused by "cocaine toxicity."
 
In early 2007, a Lowndes County grand jury indicted Gibbs, who is African American, for having smoked crack during her pregnancy, declaring that she had "unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously" caused the death of her baby.
 
Since then, medical experts for the defense have said that Samiya's likely cause of death was not cocaine but the umbilical cord that was wrapped around her neck when she entered the world. The defense lawyers have challenged Hayne's conclusions, calling his autopsy findings "unreliable" and "inadmissible." They have also challenged the idea that cocaine use by pregnant mothers can actually cause stillbirths.
Jackson, the assistant district attorney, said if prosecutors sought new charges they would put some of the defense's material before the grand jury.
 
In his ruling, Kitchens said the Mississippi Supreme Court had in the years since Gibbs' indictment decided that murder charges in such cases were not appropriate. He did not decide anything related to the specific allegations and medical evidence in the Gibbs case.
 
The case has caused deep anxiety among advocates for low-income women in Mississippi. The state has one of has one of the worst records for maternal and infant health in the U.S., as well as some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Many of the factors that have been linked to prenatal and infant mortality — poverty, poor nutrition, lack of access to healthcare, pollution, smoking, stress — are rampant there, especially among black women, who suffer twice as many stillbirths as whites.
 
"The biggest threats to life, born and unborn, do not come from mommies but rather from poverty, barriers to health care, persistent racism, environmental hazards, and prosecutions like these," said Paltrow. "Every medical group, including the ones that focus on babies, say that these kinds of prosecutions frighten women away from necessary care to the detriment of children."
 
It is possible that prosecutors could try to indict Gibbs under the state's illegal abortion statute, a charge that would carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. But Jackson, the prosecutor, said that was unlikely.
 
"In our view, neither the law nor the evidence justify prosecuting this young woman, who was a teenager at the time, and we hope this is the end of it," said Robert McDuff, one of Gibbs' lawyers. "But if further charges are brought, we will return to court in her defense."
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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Was Sun Pharma's Valia betting big on Ranbaxy?
For months before Sun Pharma decided to buy Ranbaxy for $4 billion, Sudhir Valia, the ED of Sun Pharma, through a partnership firm, has been seen buying stake in Ranbaxy 
 
Sudhir V Valia, executive director of Sun Pharmaceutical, through his limited liability partnership (LLP) firm has been buying stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories. On Monday, Sun Pharma agreed to buy Ranbaxy for $4 billion. Following the announcement, Ranbaxy shares opened Monday 10% higher and hit its 52-week high at Rs505 on the BSE before ending lower. 
 
Incidentally, prior to this takeover, there was a sudden and suspicious rise in Ranbaxy’s volumes and prices over six trading days. (Read: Insider trading in Ranbaxy?)
 
Interstingly, Dilip Sanghvi, the billionaire promoter of Sun Pharma, is brother in law of Valia. A chartered accountant, Valia has been a full time director of Sun Pharma since April 1994. He is also on board of several companies associated with Sun Pharma.
 
According to information available on the BSE, Silverstreet Developers, a firm in which Valia is one of the partners, has been seen buying stake in Ranbaxy since December quarter. Silverstreet Developers LLP's stake in Ranbaxy was 1.41% as on December 2013 end. The stake increased to 1.64% at the end of March 2014. And days after this, Sun Pharma announced the big takeover. 
 
 
Japanese Daiichi Sankyo Company Ltd holds 63.41% in Ranbaxy Labs as of March 2014.
 
It is worthwhile to note that during the September 2013 quarter, Silverstreet Developers did not own a single share in the company, as per the information from BSE. 
 
 
In a report published on 10 January 2014, Business Standard, quoting market analysts had said, "Silverstreet Developers has acquired the stake in Ranbaxy over the past two or three months. Based on Ranbaxy’s closing price of Rs474.10 on Thursday (9 January 2014) and the current market cap of Rs20,089 crore, the stake acquired by Silverstreet is estimated to be valued at Rs280-Rs300 crore. Although it would not allow the investment firm any prominent visibility in Ranbaxy, it is being observed because of Valia’s interest."
 
“Ranbaxy is currently a lottery stock. The firm has a few product approvals pending in the US. If it manages those, the stock will bounce back giving its investors huge profits. On the other hand, if the company falters further, it will be a major loss. Given this situation, an interest from an investor such as Valia may indicate better future for Ranbaxy,” the report added quoting an industry source.
 
Well, Sun Pharma made the lottery turn into a winner for Valia. We send an email to Sun Pharma on Monday whether Valia is could be considered an insider for the purpose of this “lottery” investment. Sun Pharma has so far not responded to our email.
 
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COMMENTS

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

In India not single guilty paerson is punished therefore it is free for superiors in India.So such things are going to happen after a PAUSE.

Jose Koshy

3 years ago

G8 that you unearthed this, Brilliant research. Also the Delivery statistics for the 3 days will also throw up the inside trading angle, then you have the BTST with a 2 day settlement during the last few days. So hope the SEBI Software can unearth all these and get the Insiders to Books..Like the Rajat Gupta case in the US.

Anand

3 years ago

I think just Mr. Valia didn't appear on BSE website doesn't mean he didn't own even 1 share before December quarter. The list that you have put is only of those shareholders who have more than 1%. The BSE website doesn't have the details of all shareholders.

REPLY

Bosco Menezes

In Reply to Anand 3 years ago

Very true, Anand. I was going to point out the same.

However it would be worthwhile for SEBI to follow up on this, as it does raise questions.

Apurv

3 years ago

Please read Regulation 2(c), 2(e), 2(h), 3(i)and 3A of SEBI Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations, 1992 and you will get the answer.

Markets closed for ‘Ram Navmi’
Stock, forex and money markets as well as wholesale commodity markets are closed today for Ram Navmi
 
Indian bourses, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Stock Exchange (NSE), as well as forex and money markets are closed today (Tuesday) on account of ‘Ram Navmi’.
 
The wholesale commodity markets is also closed for the festival.
 
On Monday, the BSE 30-share Sensex and NSE 50-share Nifty, ended marginally in the red in the absence of any directional cues.
 
The 30-share BSE index Sensex closed Monday 0.07% down at 22,343.45 while the NSE Nifty ended the day 0.03% down at 6,692.65.  
 

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COMMENTS

Pravesh Pandya

3 years ago

Our markets enjoy too much of holidays. While in private sector government has enforced a minimum of 10 public holidays, NSE has 17 holidays in the calendar year. Most holidays are local or bit obscure for these days. I wonder what their leave structure is like.

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