Govt withdraws SC plea, says AMU not minority institution Messi gets 21 months for tax fraud; won’t go to jail THE TAX FRAUD CASE IN SPAIN
AHEAD OF UP ELECTIONS Move may help pave way for varsity to reserve seats for SC, ST and OBC
The Centre withdrew on Wednesday an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the previous Congress-led government that had sought to retain the minority tag for the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
The Narendra Modi government also withdrew all letters issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) under the UPA regime allowing the AMU to reserve 50% of its seats for Muslims in the faculty of medicine.
“This letter along with any other letter issued from the MHRD supporting the minority status of the AMU may be treated as withdrawn,” read a government affidavit filed in the top court.
The university’s identity is a contentious political issue in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is seeking to project it as an example of Muslim appeasement at the cost of the rights of scheduled castes, tribes and backward classes. The institution doesn’t offer quotas to these communities.
A formal abrogation of the minority status for the university by the courts could help the BJP in its outreach to SC/STs and OBCs in the state which goes to polls early next year.
The outcome of the case could also set a judicial precedent for a similar legal battle in the Delhi high court over the status for the Jamia Milia Islamia University, which was declared a minority institution during the UPA government in 2011.
The BJP-led government argues that granting AMU minority status is in violation of the constitution which does not permit a secular India to set up and fund institutions on religious lines.
The BJP’s stand on the university is only the latest in a string of controversial moves that many see as polarising, including a campaign that claimed Hindu families were being forced out of Muslimmajority Kairana town in western Uttar Pradesh.
A Barcelona court on Wednesday sentenced Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, with both sentences likely to be suspended.
The court found the Barcelona star and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, each guilty of three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million).
In Spain, sentences of less than two years for first offences are usually suspended, meaning neither man would go to jail. That decision, however, rests with the court. The court also fined Messi 2 million euros and his father 1.5 million euros.
During the four-day trial last month, Messi and his father denied any wrongdoing. Both said the player was unaware of the tax issues that led to the fraud charges. But the court agreed with the state prosecutor that Messi and his father did have at least some knowledge of the corporate structures created to lower his tax burden in Spain.