Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Tuesday reserved its judgment on petitions filed by two convicts in the 2007 Pune BPO gang rape and murder case seeking stay on the execution of their death warrant. Convicts Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade were to be executed on June 24. The HC last week, however, said the execution shall not take place as scheduled until further orders. In their petitions filed last month, the duo sought a stay on the ground that there has been an inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions by the Maharashtra Governor and the President, as well as in issuance of the warrants for execution of the death penalty. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana They also sought for the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment. A division bench headed by Justice B P Dharmadhikari Tuesday reserved judgment after hearing counsels of both the petitioners and the state and union governments. The state government, seeking dismissal of the petitions, said while considering the rights of the convicts, the rights of the victim’s family and the collective conscience of the society will also have to be kept in mind. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah The convicts’ petitions have claimed the “inordinate delay” in executing them violated their fundamental rights. “Excessive and unexplained delay of over four years (1509 days) in execution of the sentence of death causes unnecessary and unavoidable pain, suffering and mental torment that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment violative of Article 21 (Right to Life),” the duo said in the petitions. A sessions court in Pune had on April 10 this year issued warrants setting June 24 as the date of execution. In March 2012, the duo was convicted and awarded death penalty by a Pune sessions court for kidnapping, raping and murdering a BPO employee in 2007. The victim, a Wipro BPO employee, got into the regular cab contracted by the company to report for her night duty on November 1, 2007 in a Pune suburb. Cab driver Borate, accompanied by his friend Kokade, changed the route and took her to a remote place where she was raped and killed by the two, and her face disfigured to conceal her identity. In September 2012, the High Court confirmed the punishment and the verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2015. The Governor rejected their mercy petitions in April 2016 and the President in May 2017.
Dozens of fake degree certificate websites have been shut down as part of a major crackdown on fraudulent university awards.It comes as the head of an investigatory body warns of the danger of “degree selfies”.Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) has identified 220 bogus higher education institutions universities which sell fake degree certificates and non-existent courses.Jayne Rowley, deputy chief executive of Prospects, said they are particularly concerned by what she termed the “Twitter selfie problem”. Graduates at Birmingham University line up for their group photograph to be takenCredit:Andrew Fox Student receives degree at Newcastle UniversityCredit:Newcastle University Any potentially illegal activity is referred on to Trading Standards or the police, if it is based in the UK. For overseas outfits, Hedd alerts the relevant authority in that particular country.Ms Rowley said: “Some are copycat websites, where they have a similar name to an existing universities, like Cambridgeshire University or Manchester Open University.“Some advertise ‘distance learning’ courses and send fake coursework assignments by email. People are being conned out of thousands, thinking they are actually studying.”While fake university sites in the UK tend to be individuals running them out of their homes, there are far more sophisticated operations overseas and in some cases are multi-million pound businesses.Last year a company based in Pakistan was shut down after allegedly making millions of pounds from selling fake university degrees. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “This plays into the hands of fraudsters,” Ms Rowley told The Telegraph. “If someone wants to copy the certificate, they will be able to tell what colour the certificate is, what it looks like, the Vice Chancellor’s signature and so on.”“In the summer we spent a lot of time contacting universities to tell students not to pose with their certificates and then put the pictures of social media.”Hedd, which was has received funding from the Department for Education since June 2015 to monitor and investigate potentially fraudulent operations, has so far been responsible for 40 bogus websites being shut down.