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

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Bhadra Sinha and Satya Prakash let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ As­so­ci­ated Press ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­

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.

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