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Congress MP Anand Sharma assures passage of GST after debate with govt

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Sharma said the Opposition have lent support to key bills in the Parliament adding that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together to fulfil the aspirations of the people.

Parliament

Congress MP and deputy leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Saturday said the Congress party is the real author of GST(Goods and Services Tax) Bill and assured that the country will have GST after debate with the government.”We have been the real authors of GST and we have put across some very genuine concerns. The Opposition is ready to debate with the Government on this. The country will have a GST and there is no doubt about that,” Sharma said while addressing FICCI’s 88th Annual General Meeting here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma said the Opposition have lent support to key bills in the Parliament adding that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together to fulfil the aspirations of the people.”We have lent our support for passage of some of the key bills in the Parliament recently. We feel that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together. And this is most imperative to assure that the aspirations of our young population are met. About two third of our population is below 35 years of age, which is a massive 800 million people. It is for this youth to dream and for us to work towards the fulfillment of their dreams,” he said.He said that at this juncture, there is a need for policies that reflect continuity, predictability and stability, which at present is being threatened.”Merely rebranding and repackaging of policies would not help the economy which at present is sputtering. The present Government needs to decentralise and delegate, in order to meet its claim of improving the governance situation,” he said.”There is a need to undertake a realistic appraisal of where we stand today in terms of our economic situation. If we look at the GDP number there has been only a marginal improvement in growth if go by the new base year numbers. Private investments remain weak and credit offtake has witnessed a significant decline,” he said.

Modi govt bereft of roadmap and strategy on how to deal with Pakistan: Congress

Anand Sharma

Congress on Monday sought to pick holes in the government’s Pakistan policy, wondering why the Narendra Modi dispensation was accommodating Islamabad so much and agreeing to move at a pace convenient to it.Reacting to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement in Parliament on her recent visit to Pakistan, senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma said it indicated that the Modi dispensation was “bereft of a roadmap and a strategy on how to deal with Pakistan”. “Why is India accommodating Pakistan so much? Why are we agreeing to move at a pace comfortable to them?” he asked while speaking to reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that it was a matter of concern that the government was dealing with Islamabad in “fits and starts”. Claiming that India seems to have accepted a position that it opposed in August, Sharma said there is a need to get some assurances from Islamabad. He faulted that there was no mention of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and the expeditious trial of the Mumbai terror attacks accused, and also took exception to the statement making no reference about either cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan or the three attacks on the Indian Mission there.While dealing with Pakistan, he said, India should also move at a pace comfortable to Afghanistan. “At the same time, Congress has always said that India and Pakistan must engage with each other. Dialogue is the only way forward,” he said. Rejecting any “flip flop”, Swaraj on Monday asserted that the decision to re-start talks with Pakistan was based on “trust” and said the intent would be to have an “uninterrupted” dialogue process despite provocations by the “saboteurs”, an apparent reference to terror groups.

Air quality of Delhi set to dip further in the next two days

Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, pollutants of microscopic sizes, were largely in the ‘very poor’ category in Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations.
Representational Image
Getty Images
Air quality of Delhi will dip further in the next two days with an expected rise in the level of PM 2.5, whose average was ‘very poor’ at 200 micrograms per cubic metre today, due to the influx of pollutants from the Indo-gangetic plains. Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, pollutants of microscopic sizes, were largely in the ‘very poor’ category in Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations.However, few CPCB stations like Anand Vihar, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh and R K Puram had air quality in the ‘severe’ category which has the potential to affect healthy people and “seriously impact” those with existing respiratory ailments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”24-hour average of PM 2.5 was 200 today. Yesterday it was 189 while tomorrow it is expected to touch 210. It is due to influx of pollutants from distant sources, mostly due to the north-easterlies from the Indo-gangetic plains, an area which stretches from Kolkata to Rajasthan,” Chief Project Scientist of SAFAR Gufran Beig told PTI.Beig pointed out that there has been no significant change in PM 10 levels, which are much coarser than PM 2.5 and cannot travel long distances, indicating that the spurt has not been caused by local factors.”Had the rise been due to local conditions, both PM 2.5 and PM 10 would have risen. On top of that there has been no drop in temperature either which also increases concentration of pollutants,” Beig said.Usual highly polluted spots such as Anand Vihar and Punjabi Bagh continued to have pollutants, five to 10 times above the prescribed limits. 541 and 1431 were the real time PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels of Anand Vihar at 7 PM while the corresponding figures were 454 and 182 at Punjabi Bagh.On prolonged exposure to ‘very poor’ quality air, which signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420, and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre respectively one can develop respiratory illness.Permissible levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. These particles, which are the major pollutants in the capital’s air, can harm the respiratory system as the particles embed themselves deep inside the lungs.

Chennai rains: This kid’s supreme sacrifice for stray animals will make PETA envious

Dhruv, Ramachandran’s son, gave up his wish to get an X-box to help save stray animals in the flood-hit city.

The Chennai floods may have brought people together to pool in money, and actively help in relief and rescue work, but a young boy’s gesture to help stray animals has showed the generous spirit of the city. Anand Ramachandran, a Bengaluru resident, who has been helping people with Chennai floods posted on Facebook saying that his son did something that totally blew him away. Dhruv, Ramachandran’s son, gave up his wish to get an X-box to help save stray animals in the flood-hit city. He had saved Rs 12.000 to buy an X-box. But instead will use the money to start a small fund to buy food and medicines for animal needs in the flood-affected regions of Chennai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anand has said that he has collaborated with Anoopa Anand, an animal rights worker in this work. My son Dhruv loves dogs. And today he did something that blew me away.He has his personal savings of about Rs.12000,…
Posted by Anand Ramachandran on Sunday, December 6, 2015

PM Modi’s best bet on GST is his predecessor; hopes Manmohan will be able to convince Congress leadership

PM hopes Manmohan will be able to convince Congress leaders and get the Bill passed

After the tea break, it’s time to read the tea leaves. Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi get the backing of the Congress in passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Parliament or not? Though Modi reached out to the Opposition over a cup of tea on Friday, the bad taste of politics still lingers. Modi, who is in Paris on Monday (today) for the Climate Summit, is betting on his predecessor Manmohan Singh to swing around the Congress and ensure the passage of the Bill.But the Congress is in no mood to forget the past. “He (Modi) has humiliated us on foreign soil. That was not prime ministerial…,” senior spokesman Anand Sharma said. During the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, finance minister Arun Jaitley is understood to have explained to Gandhi and Singh the government’s position on the three changes the Opposition was seeking. The Congress sought a week’s time to reply. Modi told Singh that the government was ready to talk anytime. And government sources said the ball is in the Congress court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Congress court, an intense debate has started. Some leaders, close to vice-president Rahul Gandhi, argue that there is no point in working out a compromise formula by sacrificing the party’s three non-negotiable issues. Modi is pinning his hopes on Singh as it was the latter who made the Friday meeting with Gandhi possible. Modi had sought the good offices of Singh at an event in the Rashtrapati Bhavan recently. The government expects that Singh’s equations with Gandhi and with consumer-states like Bihar and West Bengal, led by JD (U) and Trinamul Congress (TMC), respectively, backing the legislation, the Congress may ultimately fall in line. The government is also ready to explore some “face savers” for the Opposition party, provided the Congress shows some flexibility, sources said.Congress insiders say that much of the government’s conciliatory tones will be judged on Monday, when the issue of intolerance that dominated the two-day special debate on Constitution will be in focus again in the Lok Sabha. A call attention notice of CPI (M)’s P Karunakaran and Congress’ K C Venugopal has been listed for discussing “situation arising out of incidents of intolerance in the country.” A similar notice by CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechuri is awaiting admission in the Rajya Sabha, where Opposition parties are mulling to censure the government, through a resolution.The government has agreed for a discussion on intolerance, an issue dear to the Opposition. It appears that the Congress seems more interested in the “intolerance debate,” sources said. The government’s readiness to debate “intolerance” in both Houses of Parliament may prevent disruption, but the Congress says it hasn’t softened its stance on key issues. “We don’t call it intolerance. Our notice is to discuss the orchestrated campaign to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation and the assault on constitutional rights and also how senior ministers humiliated top intellectuals, historians and scientists of the country. That is not merely intolerance,” said a Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha. “We want the GST to be pro-industry, pro-trade and pro-consumer. We have also asked the government to discuss our proposals and get back to us. We hope there will be more structured meetings,” said another senior Congress leader. Asked if the Prime Minister’s speech in the Lok Sabha had helped reduced some bitterness, senior Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said that Modi had humiliated us on foreign soil. But he said that the PM has ultimately realised that parliamentary democracy “can’t be run by diktat and sermon, and, has therefore, tried to reach out”. The party says it will also watch Modi’s speeches in Paris. “He repeatedly said India received no respect before he came (to power) and that previous governments had done nothing. Yesterday, he turned his own speeches upside down and gave credit to previous governments. Does he really think people’s memory is that short?” said Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also questioned the Prime Minister’s memory. “He should either accept that he was trying to fool the people of India or he has a habit of telling lies,” he said.Looks like a tea break won’t break ice so fast. The Congress’ three demands 1. An 18% cap on GST in the constitutional amendment itself. (The government feels that this would restrict future flexibility in making changes as it would require the approval of both Houses of Parliament by a two-thirds majority. Also, in emergency situations, like war or other eventualities, it would create a problem). 2. Revoking of powers to states to impose a 1% tax on supply of goods, over and above the GST rate 3. An independent redressal mechanism to resolve issues that may arise between states or between the Centre and states

Despair over ban in India’s surrogacy hub

Despair in India’s surrogacy hub after ban

AAP sends invite to dissident Shanti Bhushan for National Council meet

Shanti Bhushan, once close to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, was also called as the party patron. However, Prashant, along with another founder member Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were sacked from the party after they questioned the leadership.
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dna Research & Archives
Ahead of AAP’s National Council meeting next week, the party has sent out an invite to dissident Shanti Bhushan even as his son Prashant claimed many leaders were being suspended before the event and questioned the transparency in the organisation.”AAP invites Shanti Bhushan for National Council meet, but mum when asked abt list of invitees. Many suspended 3 days before. #(Non)Transparency?!” Bhushan tweeted.National Council is the primary decision-making body of AAP. The decisions taken by the party’s top decision-making bodies–the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and the National Executive–are ratified by the National Council, which is a body of founder members. The NC meeting is scheduled to take place on November 23.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shanti and Prashant Bhushan were the founder members of the party. Shanti Bhushan, once close to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, was also called as the party patron. However, Prashant, along with another founder member Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were sacked from the party after they questioned the leadership.In the controversial last NC meeting held on March 28 this year, the four leaders were removed from the National Executive. After the meeting, Yadav and Bhushan accused Kejriwal of using unfair means including bringing goons at the meeting who allegedly beat up a number of NC members opposed to the resolution. Despite sacking Prashant and Yadav, the party took no action against Shanti and he still remains the founder member of the party.Meanwhile, Rajesh Pugalia, AAP member from Nagpur and National Council member was suspended for anti-party activity. Sources said the action was taken after he aligned with ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’, the group founded by Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. They added that suspension action has been taken against at least 2-4 members ahead of the NC meeting.

FDI in Defence: Congress unwilling to support Modi government’s decisions

Interacting with reporters here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We make it clear this will not be supported, there is no national consensus. We are for FDI, we are for FDI in defence also but we cannot have those checks removed in a sensitive sector like defence

Noting that “there is no national consensus” on easing of FDI norms in the defence sector, Congress on Friday said it would not support the move as “we cannot have those checks removed” in such a sensitive sector.Interacting with reporters here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We make it clear this will not be supported, there is no national consensus. We are for FDI, we are for FDI in defence also but we cannot have those checks removed in a sensitive sector like defence. We cannot have scrutiny and cabinet committee approval done away with.” He said the erstwhile UPA-II government had increased FDI in defence to 49% but there was a condition that there would be scrutiny by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) approval.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This government has dispensed with any FIPB scrutiny or CCS approval for FDI up to 49% and put it under automatic route,” Sharma said, adding that his party opposes this decision firmly. The government had on November 11 relaxed foreign direct investment norms in the defence sector by allowing FDI up to 49% under automatic route and beyond that through the FIPB’s approval. It had also done away with the earlier requirement of mandatory permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) beyond 49%.The Congress leader said that while an impression was being given that these are just executive decisions but the government is obliged to come to Parliament also. “Once the FDI policy decisions are made, it’s mandatory that RBI will come up with a FEMA notification, which the government is obliged to table in both Houses of Parliament. And Parliament alone would ratify those notifications, both Houses independently,” Sharma, who is the Congress’ deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, said.”We equally have concerns about the opening up of the media sector, particularly the news and current affairs. In raising the FDI, it shall be opposed. We don’t want to create monopolies, we don’t want foreign media moguls to come and control Indian media, particularly news and current affairs,” Sharma added. He said it was also perhaps the first time such decisions had been taken without cabinet approval, which would be acquired later. “After the achievements in Bihar election, and before going to London, the Prime Minister has taken these decisions, perhaps to demonstrate that he has vision,” Sharma said.

Wives of bahubalis strive to keep their political flames burning

Sheohar goes to the polls on November 1 in the fourth phase, which the BJP had swept winning 53 of 55 assembly segments in 2014 general election.

Exhausted from the heat and din of campaigning, Lovely Anand enters a house in Amba village, where lunch has been arranged for her and her supporters, and asks for water. “Unlike men, I cannot campaign late into the night,” she says, wiping sweat from her face, as the NDA’s election rath continues to blare.She has recently heard that her husband Anand Mohan, who was serving a sentence in Saharsa jail for the murder of G Krishnaiah the then district magistrate of Gopalganj in 1994, has been shifted to Behur jail in Patna. “We heard he was being kept with criminals accused in bomb blasts at Modi’s rally. When some people went with food, jail authorities told them he is on a hunger strike,” she said as dna caught up with her at the village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lovely, who is contesting from Sheohar as an NDA candidate from Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, is relying on “sympathy” for her husband and the “Modi wave” in the tough fight against JD-U’s Sharfuddin and Ajit Kumar Jha, who is fighting on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Ajit, the son of six-time Sheohar MLA Raghunath Jha, held the seat as RJD MLA before Sharfuddin. Like Lovely, Jha is also from the upper caste.Sheohar goes to the polls on November 1 in the fourth phase, which the BJP had swept winning 53 of 55 assembly segments in 2014 general election.According to Lovely, the charge against her husband was a political conspiracy. The villagers, several of them women, crowd around Lovely whose first priority would be to get her husband out of prison. Dressed in a simple black saree, she takes the blessings of the older women. “Then there are issues like law and order to be addressed. There are no schools, colleges for girls or hospitals here.”A graduate who never thought of entering politics, Lovely is fighting not just for her own political space but also to keep alive the memory of her husband, who had a Robin Hood-like image. “When my husband went underground, I took the lead in the campaign against Lalu Prasad Yadav,” she said.Lovely won the Lok Sabha election from Vaishali in 1994, the year Krishnaiah was killed. “Before becoming an MLA, I became an MP,” she laughs. But, in 1998, she lost the seat to Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. Anand was given life imprisonment. She had fought as SP candidate in Supaul in 2014 general election but lost.Over 100km away in Kosi belt some time ago Ranjeeta Ranjan had held the banner for her husband Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, when he was in jail for his alleged involvement in CPI-M leader Ajit Sarkar’s murder.Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party is now constesting 64 seats in the Kosi and Seemanchal belt, which goes to polls in the last phase, as part of Socialist Secular Morcha. After 14 years behind bars, he won last year’s Lok Sabha polls from Madhepura on a RJD ticket while his wife won as a Congress candidate from Supaul.It was Ranjeeta, who shouldered the responsibility of fighting legal cases for him, keeping his name alive in Madhepura and taking care of the children, when her husband was in jail.In 2009, Yadav put up his mother against BJP’s Uday Singh and managed the campaign from jail. However, Singh, who has fought several electoral battles with Yadav, won by the largest margin ever in Purnea.But, this time Yadav is seen as someone trying to play spoiler for RJD-JD (U) by cutting into its Yadav vote. The BJP, which along with allies had swept Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections, had failed to win any of the seven parliamentary seats in the Kosi and Seemanchal region.It is to be seen if Yadav succeeds in hurting the mahagathbandhan in a state where the politically conscious voter avoids wasting a vote.

Run for Unity: PM Modi not suitable for his post, says Congress

“They only speak and do not take any action and everyday they do politics. Narendra Modi is not suitable for his post, he lacks knowledge,” said Anand Sharma

Congress leader Anand Sharma

The Congress on Saturday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and said the former is not suitable for his post as he lacks knowledge.”They only speak and do not take any action and everyday they do politics. Narendra Modi is not suitable for his post, he lacks knowledge. He does not know how to maintain the decency of his post. If he would have maintained decency, then he would not have insulted those who have sacrificed their lives for the nation,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: PM Modi flags off unity run, honours Sardar Patel, says unity and harmony necessary”If he truly remembers Sardar Patel, then he should apologise first and clear it if he is sticking to the promise of undertaking of the RSS. He should also put the order of Sardar Patel beneath his statue in which he had ordered restrictions on the RSS. Then it will be a true respect to Sardar Patel,” he added.Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said that Sardar Patel has always belonged to the Congress and talking about his legacy is not right.”This family (Nehru-Gandhi) has sacrificed its lives for the nation. If he (Narendra Modi) wants to unite the nation, then it should be done with a pure heart,” Shukla told ANI.Honouring Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”s immeasurable efforts in uniting the nation, Prime Minister Modi on Saturday reminded the nation that the legacy left behind by a great leader like Sardar Patel and Indira Gandhi must be passed to future generations.The Prime Minister pitched the “Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat” programme, where every year two states will connect and learn about each other”s language and culture.

Crumbling times? Wall collapses at Amit Shah’s rally venue

Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar Singh said the mishap took place when many people, including children, climbed the wall to see the helicopter of Shah landing at Babui tola Sports Ground, the rally venue.

At least 10 persons, including four children, were injured on Thursday when a wall collapsed at the rally venue of BJP president Amit Shah in Bagha police district.Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar Singh said the mishap took place when many people, including children, climbed the wall to see the helicopter of Shah landing at Babui tola Sports Ground, the rally venue.The wall was old and had developed cracks which collapsed under the heavy load of people, the SP said. The accident made some people run helter skelter but the situation was brought under control by the police and civil officials.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The injured were taken to sub-divisional hospital at Bagha from where four have been sent to district hospital Bettiah, Station House Officer of Bagha police station Satyendra Ram said. Amit Shah expressed sympathy with those injured in the mishap. He later addressed the rally and appealed to the people to ensure victory of NDA in Bihar.

East Delhi Mayor visits 5-year-old rape victim at hospital

The five-year-old girl was raped by a co-tenant and two of his associates at a slum cluster in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area on Friday.

Members of All India Students Association (AISA) shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside police headquarters in New Delhi, October 18, 2015.

Reuters
Mayor of East Delhi Harshdeep Malhotra on Sunday visited the five-year-old girl who was allegedly gangraped recently in Anand Vihar area. The Mayor, along with senior officials of East Delhi Municipal Corporation, paid a visit to the girl at GTB Hospital and also met her parents. Malhotra said he had met the ACP of the area to know about the further course of action in the case.”All angles of crimes would be investigated and if involvement of any other person is suspected or established, he be also brought to books as per laws,” the Mayor was quoted as saying in a statement by EDMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Malhotra appealed to the police to ensure safety and security of all citizens specially women and girl child in the ongoing festive season as events like ramleelas and melas are being organised in almost every locality.The five-year-old girl was raped by a co-tenant and two of his associates at a slum cluster in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area on Friday. The girl’s parents are labourers and she was alone at home when the accused lured her to their accommodation just above the victim’s house and raped.

Rapist has not come from Mars, is one of us, says Special CP Deepak Mishra

Mishra also said that it is not possible for police to look after each and every house in the national capital which has a population of over 1.80 crore.
File Photo
ANI
Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra on Saturday said that society needs to recognise the deviant and psychopathic behaviour of people responsible for committing heinous crimes like rape and give proper moral education to such people, instead of pointing fingers at the police.”It’s a very unfortunate incident and equally easily to point fingers at the police. We are doing injustice to the entire police department by not recognising what the police has done. Who are the people who are committing this rape. Are they not part of this society. The rapist has not come from Mars, it is one of us. He has come from your locality only. You must have the heart to say that yes we are at fault. We need to give proper moral education to such people having psychopathic behaviour,?” Mishra told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Can you tell me any part of the world where there is no rape, no murder. I have the statistics of cities all over the world. I am sad to say that there is not a single place on this planet which is safe from any kind of violence against women. We cannot see India as an isolated humanity,” he added.Mishra also said that it is not possible for police to look after each and every house in the national capital which has a population of over 1.80 crore.”To expect that police will bang at your door step of every household is probably super hypothetical. Yes the onus is on us to transform our society into crimeless society which is a very arduous job. We are managing Delhi which is probably the cluster of countries in Europe,” he said.A week after the horrific rape and torture of a four-year-old girl in Delhi, two more cases of minor girls being gang-raped were reported from the capital on Saturday. Both the girls have suffered severe injuries and are recovering in hospital.All three accused have been sent to judicial custody in Anand Vihar case, however, no arrests have been made in the Nangloi rape case so far.

Congress dismisses PM Narendra Modi’s response on Dadri incident

Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said, “The responses from the RSS, senior BJP leaders and a senior minister like Arun Jaitley show they are not ready to digest dissent and differing views.”

The Congress on Thursday dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to the rising intolerance as “inadequate and insensitive”. The party said the world was getting worried about the political agenda of the government, alleging that India’s image was being damaged abroad by the incidents like Dadri and the government’s response to the protest by the intellectuals.Arguing that an atmosphere of fear was developing in the country because of the ‘political agenda’ of the ruling establishment, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said, “The government is not willing to discharge its constitutional duties. The responses from the RSS, senior BJP leaders and a senior minister like Arun Jaitley show they are not ready to digest dissent and differing views.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking strong objection to Jaitley’s charge that “the recipients of past patronage are now resorting to politics by other means and manufactured protest,” Sharma said, “Instead of taking action against the people who create conflict in the society, the finance minister chose to ridicule them.”On Modi’s reaction, he said, “The Prime Minister should have spoken upfront, without waiting for so many days. His words were insincere and inadequate. A planned conspiracy to create divisions in the society in furtherance of a diabolic agenda of the RSS and intimidate those who dissent cannot be described as a state’s law & order issue.”Earlier party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjiwala said the PM’s assertion that his government has ‘nothing to do’ with these motivated hate mongering incidents is even more painful and shameful. “We are constrained to ask as to why did the Prime Minister not take any action against his ministerial colleagues- Mahesh Sharma and Sanjeev Baliyan for making the provocative statements in Dadri and against BJP MPs and MLA- Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath, Tarun Vijay, Sangeet Som, Nawab Nagar, Harish Singh and Srichand Sharma?” he asked.

Why wait till January 23, why not declassify Netaji files today: Congress asks Centre

PM Modi met Netaji’s family on Wednesday and assured that the files will be unveiled on January 23, 2016.

Anand Sharma noted that there were years when Congress was not in power but still non-Congress governments including the one led by BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided not to make the documents public.
File Photo
PTI
Government should declassify the secret files relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on Thursday and not wait till January 23 next year, ahead of Assemly elections in West Bengal, to start the process, an unfazed Congress said today.The party said that Modi government was also raising an accusing finger against Atal Bihari Vajpayee if it is questioning the decision of previous governments not to declassify the files and alleged that the BJP was trying to appropriate the legacy of Congress leaders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Why is the government waiting till January 23, 2016 to make the documents public? Is it because of Bengal polls? They should do it today or tomorrow. Why to keep up the suspense?”, party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters.Throwing more than adequate hints that the exercise was being undertaken with an eye on Assembly polls, Sharma claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “had cried” during the recent visit to the US “targeting voters in Bihar”.”It is sad and unfortunate…but this is how his mind functions.The Prime Minister is a good event manager,” remarked Sharma when asked about the Prime Minister’s announcement that government will start unveiling the secret files related to Netaji from January 23 next year, raising hopes about solving the seven-decade-old mystery about his disappearance.Declaring that “there is no need to strangle history”, Modi told Netaji’s family members during a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday that he would also urge foreign governments to declassify files on Bose available with them by writing to them and personally taking up with their leaders, beginning with Russia in December.Also read: Country’s political discourse will change once Netaji files are unveiled: BJPSharma noted that there were years when Congress was not in power but still non-Congress governments including the one led by BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided not to make the documents public. He said any insinuation against previous governments on the issue also meant an attack on Vajpayee.”If an accusing finger is raised against the Indian National Congress, then it is also pointed towards Vajpayee who has been one of the most respectable leaders of the BJP”.Besides, he insisted, that the move is part of appropriating the legacy of the Congress stalwarts in the freedom struggle.”The Prime Minister is trying to appropriate the legacy of our leaders. They have tried it with Sardar Patel…They had nothing to do with the freedom struggle.”Successive governments have refused to make public these documents, arguing that India’s relations with foreign countries would be jeopardised. Modi’s office too had stated till August this year that the files cannot be declassified as it will adversely affect relations with foreign countries.The demands for declassification of secret files have been growing lately, especially after the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal recently declassified 64 files which were in its possession.

Congress accuses PM Modi of trying to ‘wash his hands of’ his responsibilities

The Congress on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement that the ‘Centre could not be held responsible’ for cases of growing intolerance, and accused him of trying to ‘wash his hands of’ his responsibilities while asserting that it was the government’s job to maintain peace across the nation.

The Congress on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement that the ‘Centre could not be held responsible’ for cases of growing intolerance, and accused him of trying to ‘wash his hands of’ his responsibilities while asserting that it was the government’s job to maintain peace across the nation.”It’s not appropriate to try to wash of your hands by saying that the Central Government has no role to play in such incidents. Look at what happened in Mumbai, it is the BJP government which is facing all sorts of issues from its own allies. You can’t have divisive forces become so strong that they over come ethos of our cultural heritage.” Congress leader Sachin Pilot told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that at the end of the day it is the BJP government and the BJP Chief Minister that were at the helm of all affairs in Mumbai and it were their own allies that were creating problems, so how could the Prime Minister say that the Centre was not morally obliged. Congress leader Rashid Alvi also trained his guns on the Prime Minister, saying that his statement would not be taken ‘seriously’ by the masses as he had clearly given his ministers the freedom to ‘spread hatred’.”Is Mahesh Sharma not from the BJP? Was any action taken on him or the Gorakhpur MP or Sadhvi Prachi? The Prime Minister says something, but has given his ministers open freedom to spread hatred. One who breaks law is guilty and the one who encourages them or helps them is also equally guilty,” Alvi told ANI here.He accused the BJP of trying to spread communalism said that the Shiv Sena creating troubles in Mumbai was the result of it. In an interview to the Anand Bazaar Patrika, Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced his opinion clearly for the first time over the Dadri lynching and the Ghulam Ali row saying that they were ‘unfortunate’ incidents indeed, but the Centre could not be blamed as these issues were related to law and order and the concern of the state governments.He also lashed out at the opposition accusing them of playing ‘politics of polarization’.

CBI raids 12 locations related to Yadav Singh

Sources told dna that CBI raided the Delhi residence of directors of NKG Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and JSP Constructions Ltd. Other locations to be searched were in Ghaziabad and Noida

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday conducted searches at 12 locations spread across Delhi and NCR in connection with a probe against former chief engineer Yadav Singh who is being investigated for an alleged scam worth Rs 950 crore.The probe agency said that teams of CBI officials searched both residences and offices of four firms in Ghaziabad and Noida and its directors. The directors, according to the agency, were allegedly involved in the execution of a project. In addition, search has also been conducted in the office of a hotel at NOIDA which is a joint venture of two firms.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to sources, the firms that were raided include NKG Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, Anand Builtech Pvt Ltd, Tirupati Constructions, JSP Constructions Ltd and a hotel in Noida named Gold Link Hospitality. The hotel is a joint venture of NKG Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and Anand Builtech Pvt Ltd.Sources told dna that CBI raided the Delhi residence of directors of NKG Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and JSP Constructions Ltd. Other locations to be searched were in Ghaziabad and Noida”The relevant files and documents of the case; laptops; iPads? and computers from the office premises recovered during searches, are being scrutinised,” said a CBI official.CBI had registered a case against the then chief engineer of Noida, Greater Noida and the Yamuna Expressway Authorities (UP) and unknown others under various sections of IPC and of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the allegations of executing engineering work between December 14 and December 23, 2011, in which agreement bonds for Rs 954.38 crore (approx) were executed by Engineering Department of NOIDA (UP).The Uttar Pradesh police has already registered an FIR against then chief engineer. The allegations levelled in the FIR were that the then chief engineer, NOIDA, Greater NOIDA and the Yamuna Expressway Authorities (UP) entered into criminal conspiracy with unknown private persons, firms and awarded various contracts without following the laid down procedures and thereby caused undue pecuniary gains to the tune of crores of rupees to private firms and to himself. After investigation, the local police submitted closure report which was accepted on April 27,2014 by the court of special judge, Gautam Budha Nagar (UP).

Gujarat HC reserves order on Teesta Setalvad’s plea for defreezing bank

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on petitions of activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand for defreezing their personal bank accounts as well as those of their NGOs, Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace.

Teesta Setalvad

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on petitions of activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand for defreezing their personal bank accounts as well as those of their NGOs, Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace.Justice GR Udhvani reserved the order after Setalvad’s lawyer Mihir Desai summed up his arguments against the action of Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police. Citing rulings of various high courts, Desai contended that the probe agency was required to give a notice before freezing the accounts, which was not done.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police should have allowed Setalvad to operate her account after obtaining a bond from her, which is the routine procedure in such cases, he said.”You could have frozen the accounts provided they are required to probe a crime which has been discovered. In this case they are running the probe in reverse gear,” Desai said.”Two of these accounts were FCRA accounts which cannot be frozen by the local police. (Union) Ministry of Home Affairs can do it, but the local police can’t,” he said.The Crime Branch froze the accounts last year soon after it started probing a case in which Setalvad and others are accused of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected to convert Gulberg Society — where 69 people were killed during the post-Godhra riots — into a museum for 2002 riots.A lower court had last November rejected their pleas seeking defreezing of the bank accounts, observing that the accused had not cooperated with the investigation. Setalvad and Anand have challenged this order before the high court. Setalvad, who pursued the cases related to the riots in various courts, has also sought anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court which has granted her temporary protection from arrest pending the hearing.

Bihar polls: EC show cause notice to Sushil Modi for poll code violation

Modi had allegedly made these promises to dalits and mahadalit voters on Monday during an address to an election meeting in favour of a candidate.

The Election Commission tonight issued a show cause notice to Sushil Modi for allegedly offering freebies to voters in Bihar and said in its opinion the BJP leader has violated the model code in force in the poll-bound state. An FIR has already been lodged on Monday against the former deputy chief minister of Bihar for allegedly inducing voters by promising colour TVs to ‘dalits’ and ‘mahadalits’, laptops to students and money to buy dhoti-saris to the poor.Sushil Modi had allegedly made these promises on Monday during an address to an election meeting in favour of BJP candidate Anand Bhusan Pandey. “Whereas the Commission is prima facie of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statement you have violated the above said provisions of Model Code of Conduct; Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement by 3 pm of October 6, 2015 failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice read.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The EC reminded him that giving any gift, offer or any promise to any person with an object of inducing to vote or refrain from voting at an election is an offense of bribery under section 171 (8)1171(E) of IPC and corrupt practice under section 123 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. In the notice, Sushil Modi has been referred to by the EC as a ‘star campaigner of BJP’.

Hyderabad: Two men set their friend on fire over money dispute

Apparently, the childhood friends had asked him for a loan of Rs one lakh and when he refused, they set him on fire.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
In what has turned out to be a case of dispute over money, two men set one of their friends on fire. The childhood friends reportedly had asked him for a loan of Rs. 1 lakh and when he refused, they set him on fire.A report in Deccan Chronicle says that the friend, Anand Kumar, who was set on fire suffered more than 60% burns and is in the hospital. The two men had been asking their friends for a loan for over two months but their friend said he didn’t have funds. On Saturday night, they got together and poured kerosene over Anand Kumar before setting him on fire.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two men have been identified as Rakesh and Babar. The report adds that the two friends were drunk when they arrived at Anand’s place on Saturday night. They took him out and again demanded that he arrange the money. When Anand Kumar said he couldn’t do it, Babar reportedly threw kerosene over him while Rakesh threw a lit match on him. The report adds that police have arrested Babar, while Rakesh is absconding.

Recorded meeting with CM Chouhan for defence, not blackmail: Vyapam whistleblower

Indore: Vyapam whistle blower Anand Rai on Friday denied that he had secretly recorded the meeting between him and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in order to blackmail the MP government.

“I recorded the conservation secretly not to blackmail the Madhya Pradesh state government but for my own defence in case the MP state government could have recorded my secret meeting with Chouhan and leak its selected portion to defame me later. If such a scenario arose, I would release the unedited version to save myself,” he told reporters in Indore.

The 38-year-old whistle blower claimed that he had recorded the conversation using a wristwatch built with a recorder and a camera.

Image courtesy: Vyapam website.

Image courtesy: Vyapam website.

He said that this meeting took place on August 11 at the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister’s official residence in the Shyamla Hills area from 9.45 pm to 10.50 pm.

When asked whether as whistle blower he will make public the recording of this secret meeting, “At present I don’t want to public this recording as it amounts to immorality.”

He said that by withdrawing his and his wife Gauri Rai’s transfer orders, the MP state government has “admitted its mistake”, adding that he would continue his fight against the Vyapam scam as before.

Earlier in the day the MP state government took a U-turn on the issue of transferring the physician couple and posted them back to Indore.

The MP state government also dismissed Rai’s allegations that MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had asked him not to name him (Chouhan) and his family members in the infamous Vyapam and DMAT scam in lieu of cancelling his (Rai’s) and his wife’s transfer orders.

PTI

Home Ministry suspends Teesta Setalvad’s NGO’s license for 6 months

New Delhi: In fresh crackdown on an NGO run by social activist Teesta Setalvad, the Home Ministry on Thursday suspended its registration for six months accusing the organisation of violating Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act that invites termination of its licence.

Teesta Setalvad. AFP

Teesta Setalvad. AFP

In an order, the Home Ministry said exercising the powers conferred under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, the registration of Sabrang Trust has been suspended for a period of 180 days with effect from 10 September, 2015.

The Sabrang Trust, run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, can make a representation against the order within 30 days. However, if the Home Ministry is not satisfied with the reply of the NGO, its registration will be cancelled.

Another NGO run by Teesta and her husband, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has already been put under prior permission category, thus making it mandatory for the organisation to take permission from the Home Ministry before accepting or utilising any foreign contribution.

Following a recommendation of the Home Ministry, CBI has registered a case and launched a probe against Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited, a commercial firm run by Teesta, for allegedly accepting and utilising foreign contribution in violation of FCRA.

Teesta has pursued the cases of post-Godhra riots victims in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of the state.

Today’s Home Ministry order said that during the course of inspection of records of Sabrang Trust, it was noticed that both Teesta and Javed Anand are chief functionary or trustee of the NGO.

Both are also working as directors, co-editors, printers and publisher in the company namely Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) and published a magazine called ‘Communalism Combat’. SCPPL had accepted contribution from foreign source, thus violating FCRA, it said.

On inspection of accounts of Sabrang Trust, it was noticed that the Association has received total donation of Rs 48.42 lakh and Rs 49.10 lakh in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively out of which they have spent Rs 30.97 lakh and Rs 27.07 lakh which comes to 64.23 per cent and 55.14 per cent respectively, on administrative expenses.

As per section 8 (1)(b) of FCRA 2010 requires approval of the Home Ministry before incurring expenses on administrative head exceeding 50 per cent limit. Thus, it is a violation of FCRA, the ministry said.

During the course of inspection of books and records of the NGO by the Home Ministry, it was noticed that payments of Rs 50 lakh were made by Sabrang Trust to Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt, Limited which seems to have been used for personal gain.

On review of vouchers of Sabrang Trust, it has been noticed that the Association has transferred Rs 2.46 lakh from foreign contribution designated account to Sabrang Trust’s domestic account without any logical reason.

This raises the suspicion of mixing of funds by the Association and it can be treated as non-utilisation of foreign contribution for the purpose for which it was received and mixing of foreign contribution with domestic contribution. This is violation of FCRA, the ministry contended.

On review of vouchers of the Association, it is found that Sabrang Trust has made direct payments of approximately Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit cards belonging to Teesta and Javed Anand respectively as payments.

The cards are issued in the name of individuals and the above mentioned payments appears that the foreign contribution has been used for personal gain and not authorised as per FCRA.

Sabrang Trust paid Rs 1,174 for purchasing an internal medical policy in favour of Anand for attending a conference in Lahore and Rs 4,227 was paid to Anand for purchasing books and travel expenses for attending the People Union for Civil Liberty meeting. The Home Ministry said that from the payments it appears that foreign contribution has been used for personal gain, thus violating FCRA provisions.

The Home Ministry said that during inspection of books and records of the NGO, it was noticed that payments of Rs 50 lakh were made by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which appears to have been used for personal gain. SCPPL is not registered under FCRA and not entitled to accept foreign contribution by any means.

On review of the registration certificate of Sabrang Trust, the Home Ministry has found that it was registered under FCRA under the nature of ‘Education and Social’. On scrutiny, it was noticed that the NGO received Rs 1.52 lakh as foreign contribution under the nature of ‘Cultural’.

Further, this amount has been reflected in annual filing of return in two different columns — Rs 1.02 lakh as under ‘Maintenance of place of historical and culture importance’ and Rs 50,000 under ‘Other expenses’.

The Home Ministry said this indicates that the NGO has received the foreign contribution for the purpose which is not permitted as per mandate of FCRA registration certificate of Sabrang Trust.

It has been noticed that the NGO has transferred Rs 2.46 lakh from its foreign contribution designated account to Sabrang Trust’s domestic account without any logical reason. This may be treated as non-utilisation of foreign contribution for the purpose for which it was received and mixing of foreign contribution with domestic contribution violating the provisions of FCRA, the Home Ministry said.

PTI

Amrita Rai confirms marriage with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh; speaks out about property issues

Last year, Singh had confirmed his relationship with Rai on Twitter. ​

Controversial Congress leader Digvijaya Singh married noted TV anchor Amrita Rai in Chennai late last month. Amrita on Sunday took to social networking site Facebook and confirmed the news.She said, “I would like to share with my friends that I and Digvijaya Singh have married in a solemn ceremony, as per the Hindu rites. We have also later registered our marriage.”She also added, “I have married Digvijaya Singh for love. Therefore, I have already requested him to transfer all his property and belongings to his son and daughters. I only want to embark on this new journey with him, working towards a dignified, professional career.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 68-year-old leader is currently in the US. Last year, Singh had confirmed his relationship with Rai on Twitter. ​Here is the full textI would like to share with my friends that I and Digvijaya Singh have married in a solemn ceremony, as per the Hindu rites. We have also later registered our marriage.On this occasion, I would like to thank all those who have stood by me through all the difficult times that I faced recently. Last one and a half years have been particularly stressful and traumatic. I was the victim of a cyber crime, but was treated as a criminal. I was trolled and abused in most derogatory language for no fault of mine. Those who themselves have no concept or belief in love and dignity tried to shame me on social media. But all during this period, I kept a dignified silence and went on with my work,believing in myself and my love for DIgvijaya.I know, question have been raised and will be raised on the age difference between us. But I sincerely feel that at my age I know what is good for me and I can take my decisions as per my own wisdom. We live in a modern, progressive India, and the constitutional and legal framework has empowered me to decide about my life and my life’s choices.I also know that motives can be attributed to my decision. Time is the only final arbitrator in such matters. I am a professional woman, who has worked hard throughout my career and have made a place and reputation for myself. I believe in my professional capabilities and like any other modern women, I have and will continue to shoulder my personal and family responsibilities on my own.I have married Digvijaya Singh for love. Therefore, I have already requested him to transfer all his property and belongings to his son and daughters. I only want to embark on this new journey with him, working towards a dignified, professional career.Once again, thank you all my friends, my office colleagues and well-wishers for everything.Amrita​Earlier, Amrita Rai’s erstwhile husband Anand Pradhan had put up a post on a social networking website clearing the air of doubt. He had mentioned how the couple had been going through a rough patch and it was their mutual decision to part ways amicably.

Vyapam scam: CM Chouhan asked me to stop campaign against him to reverse transfer order, says whistleblower Anand Rai

In an affidavit submitted to the High Court on Wednesday, Rai (38), who is a government doctor, stated that he was summoned by the CM to his official residence on August 11, 2015 through a common friend.

Anand Rai
File Photo
Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to file an affidavit before it on the Vyapam recruitment scam within a week.The development came after the MP High Court took note of key Vyapam scam whistleblower Anand Rai’s written submission that MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been mounting pressure on him to stop the campaign against him (Chouhan) and his family about the massive admission and recruitment racket. A division bench of the High Court, comprising Justice P K Jaiswal and Justice D K Paliwal, gave a week’s time to the state to file an affidavit after Additional Advocate General Sunil Jain sought time to do so.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an affidavit submitted to the High Court on Wednesday, Rai (38), who is a government doctor, stated that he was summoned by the CM to his official residence on August 11, 2015 through a common friend.”The meeting began at 9.45 pm and ended at 10.50 pm in the night,” Rai’s affidavit stated.”The Chief Minister assured me that if I stopped my campaign on Vyapam as well as Dental and Medical Admission Test (DMAT) state quota scam against him and his family, I and my wife will be allowed to remain at Indore and by transfer order will be cancelled,” Rai’s affidavit stated.”The Chief Minister also assured that he will instruct the Advocate General’s office to give this in writing before the High Court,” Rai’s sworn submission to the High Court stated.Rai has moved the High Court challenging his and his wife Gauri’s transfer out of Indore, alleging that it is a vindictive move by the Chief Minister. Rai had petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into an alleged scam in the Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal) admission to state government-run medical colleges and DMAT exam for admission to private medical colleges.The Supreme Court has already ordered a central agency probe into Vyapam scam while it is hearing the petition seeking an CBI probe into DMAT.

Monsoon locales overcast as revellers head for outside Maharashtra

Karan Anand, head – relationships, Cox and Kings, said, “The crowds at state’s most popular monsoon destinations have thinned, compared to the last few years. Only those who have done prior booking are holidaying in the state.”

Amit Bandre
dna
Those who are chasing the monsoon clouds are looking out of Maharashtra. The scanty and erratic rainfall in most parts of Maharashtra this year has pushed revellers out of the state’s monsoon tourism destinations, and a lot of them are travelling to other popular destinations outside the state.In some places like Lonavala, the most sought-after destination during monsoons, hoteliers are forced to reduce the average room rates this season by at least 25%. For Maharashtra, Lonavala along with Khandala, Malshej Ghat, Bhandardara, Alibaug and Mahabaleshwar are some of the famous monsoon gateways.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karan Anand, head – relationships, Cox and Kings, said, “The crowds at state’s most popular monsoon destinations have thinned, compared to the last few years. Only those who have done prior booking are holidaying in the state.”The recent landslides have also hit the prospects of Lonavala-Khandala. “The travel time has gone up due to this. Since the first landslide, there was a cancellation of 15% in bookings, with an overall drop in visitors by 35-40%. Tourists travelling with families are the ones mainly cancelling the bookings,” said Mrunal Soni, who runs Girivihar Holiday Club at Lonavala.He said most of the waterfalls in the area are overflowing. “So less rainfall is not the only issue.”Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com, told dna, “While some of the popular destinations such as Mahabaleshwar and a few smaller destinations in the state such as Murud-Janjira and Ganapatipule have picked up pretty well, the year-on-year growth is not as much as one would have expected.”Soni said hoteliers are forced to reduce the average room rates this season by at least 25% to attract visitors. Compared to an average rental of Rs 3,500-4,000 per night at Lonavala during the monsoon season, rooms are now available at Rs 2,500-3,000 per night this year.However, the overall monsoon travel trend has picked up in the past few years, thanks to lower airfares and cheaper hotel rates, said Dhall.”Generally, the monsoon months are considered to be lean season for travel. However, over the last few years, special monsoon fares by airlines have played a key role. We have witnessed a 72% year-on-year growth in the number of travellers heading out during the rainy season. Flash sales by some airlines are driving this trend further,” Dhall said, adding this year the airfares are lower by 20-25% compared to last year.Anand said the ‘monsoon revellers’ are mostly heading for Kerala, Goa and even Udaipur in Rajasthan. Destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Ooty and Goa are also favoured this season.Ranjeet Oak, chief business officer-holidays, MakeMyTrip, said, “One interesting travel trend that has picked up the last couple of years is off-season travel. The reason is the fantastic deals offered by star-rated hotels to boost lean season business. With airline flash sales too fuelling cheap travel, monsoons are no longer frowned upon by travellers.Anand feels experiencing monsoon in other than one’s own state is a fascinating experience for every traveller. “This year, we are observing this trend more significantly. The opportunity for cost savings is one of the greatest advantages of travelling during monsoon as travel companies come out with special offers.”Oak said this is the best time to travel for those looking for picturesque locales. “Kerala and Goa are at their lushest best, and the five-star properties and resorts offer very attractive rates. Monsoon travel to Kerala shot up by 20% in 2014 over the previous year. Shilong, Cherapunji Udaipur and Mount Abu in Rajasthan are also in great demand. People generally prefer destinations where rain is not non-stop. Also, a lot of people tend to book quality accommodation and enjoy activities within the resort itself, such as spa, ayurvedic treatments, fine dining, etc.,” he added.

Bombay HC grants anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand

In case of arrest Teesta and Javed can be released on a bail amount of Rs 20,000 and they are directed to cooperate with CBI during the investigation and make themselves available before the agency as and when required until the filing of chargesheet.

Teesta Setalvad

File Photo
Bombay High Court confirmed anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in a case of alleged embezzlement of foreign funding by them in 2004 to 2006.HC refusing custodial interrogation as sort by CBI noted that the act of misappropriation may prima facie amount to violation and subsequent prosecution but it does not affect the national/state security and safety. In case of arrest Teesta and Javed can be released on a bail amount of Rs 20,000 and they are directed to cooperate with CBI during the investigation and make themselves available before the agency as and when required until the filing of chargesheet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI had on July 8 registered a case against Teesta and Anand alleging that her firm Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) received around $2.9 lakh in foreign donations in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.According to the agency, SCPPL was not registered under FCRA for collecting money from abroad and the amount of nearly Rs1.8 crore ($2.9 lakh) was, therefore, received in violation of the Act as the organisation needed to seek prior approval from the Union Home Ministry.With agency inputs

Cops oppose Teesta Setalvad’s plea to de-freeze bank accounts

Investigating officer of Gulberg Society fund misuse case, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) K N Patel, filed an affidavit in the high court, reiterating their claims that Setalvad and Anand had misused the money

Teesta Setalvad

The city police, probing the alleged Gulberg Society fund misuse case, today opposed the pleas filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in the Gujarat High Court to de-freeze their and their two NGOs’ bank accounts.Investigating officer of Gulberg Society fund misuse case, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) K N Patel, filed an affidavit in the high court, reiterating their claims that Setalvad and Anand had misused the money, meant for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims, for their personal use. The bank accounts of Setalvad, Anand and their two NGOs Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace had been frozen by the city crime branch last year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The action came soon after it began investigating the case, in which Setalvad allegedly collected Rs 1.51 crore from national and international donors promising to convert Gulberg Society into a 2002 riots museum but later utilised that money for personal use. In an affidavit submitted before Justice Sonia Gokani of the high court, Patel said that Setalvad and Anand spent the riot-victims’ funds for their personal and luxury uses.Opposing the couple’s pleas, the state agency said both of them, as trustees of the two NGos, through diverse methods allegedly misappropriated the funds. “They have misused the funds meant for the rehabilitation and welfare of the unfortunate victims of riots in Gujarat and money collected for construction of the dream museum,” stated the affidavit filed by Patel.The agency said that the probe into the case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Gulberg society, which was devastated in the 2002 riots, revealed that expenses of very personal nature have been debited by them. The high court is likely to conduct hearing on the case on August 19. Setalvad, along with others, had filed the plea before the Gujarat High Court on June 24 to de-freeze their bank accounts.They had challenged the order of a city metropolitan court which had in November last year rejected their pleas to de-freeze the bank accounts observing it may affect the investigation into the case. The lower court had in its order also observed that the accused persons did not cooperate with the investigation into the case.One of the residents of Gulberg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed a complaint against Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in memory of those who were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots but not been utilised for the purpose.On January 5 last year, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy, section 406 (fraud) and section 420 (cheating) against Setalvad, Anand and others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore in the name of building a museum at Gulberg Society massacre site here. Setalvad has also filed an anticipatory bail plea in the Supreme Court, which is pending at present.

Louis Berger case: Former Goa CM Digambar Kamat granted interim bail

Panaji: Former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat, who is accused of accepting bribes from Louis Berger officials to implement a Rs.1,031 crore worth project, was on Wednesday granted interim bail until August 7 by a local court.

Former Goa CM Digambar Kamat. Image courtesy- ibnliveFormer Goa CM Digambar Kamat. Image courtesy- ibnlive

Former Goa CM Digambar Kamat. Image courtesy- ibnlive

Kamat had approached the court on Wednesday seeking anticipatory bail, even as media reports suggested that Anand Wachsundar, director of the project for which the bribe of $976,630 was allegedly paid by Louis Berger officials in 2010, could be made a government approver in the bribery case.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency.

Two people, including the director of the JICA-funded project Anand Wachasundar and former India head of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty have already been arrested, while Congress legislator Kamat, and then Public Works Department (PWD) minister Churchill Alemao, who served in Kamat cabinet at the time, have been questioned on more than one occasion.

IANS

No ‘happy ending’ to porn ban: BJP has conveniently passed the buck on to ISPs

Jai ho.

When @SuhelSeth said on Twitter “Glad that porn and Maggi have been declared safe on the same day!!!” @timukh quipped “What a day for engineering students!!”

But it might be a little premature to break out the champagne (or Old Monk).

A closer inspection of the letter that the government sent to ISPs rolling back the porn ban shows that it has effectively pushed the ball into their court.

MediaNama says that an ISP told them the letter from the government says “The intermediaries are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs which do not have child pornography.”

Reuters imageReuters image

Reuters image

Now that’s a double negative that can place the ISPs in a double bind.

This means that if anything is unblocked, and child porn happens to be found on that site, the ISP can be held liable for the content under Section 79(3)(b). “Can (an ISP) be expected to watch each and every video, and determine whether someone in the porn video is above or below the age of 18?” asks MediaNama. It’s a job some politicians like certain MLAs in Karnataka and Gujarat might be uniquely qualified for, but it’s hardly in any ISP’s interest to stick its neck out in the interest of what is, in the end, pornography.

Only time will tell how they decide to respond to the government’s reconsidered stand and it might vary from ISP to ISP. But either way what’s being hailed as a “partial lift of the ban” is clearly leaving the heavy lifting to the ISPs themselves. Columnist Rupa Subramanya tweets that this is “typical babu sol(ution): put onus on ISPs. Small ISPS won’t have the resources. Will just block to cover their ass.” And who can blame them?

The Congress is screaming Talibanization now but the whole affair reeks more of blundering than any well-thought out Talibanesque moral policing.

This is what seems to have happened.

Anti-porn crusader Kamlesh Vaswani, he who thinks porn is worse than Hitler, AIDS cancer, and nuclear holocaust, petitioned the Supreme Court to make watching pornography illegal. He came up with the master list of 857 after analyzing the traffic data of porn websites according to The New York Times.

The Supreme Court rejected his petition with Justice Dattu categorically saying that the court could not prevent someone from watching porn within the four walls of their room. But Vaswani gave his blacklist to Pinky Anand, a top lawyer with the BJP government. Ms Anand tells The New York Times she “did not instruct the ministry to block, but more specifically take appropriate action.”

One person’s “appropriate action” is another person’s “block” and it seems that one dogged activist and one over-vigilant lawyer is all it took to create an unnecessary mess.

It’s completely disingenuous of communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to now pass the buck as he did when he told ET, “This decision (to block), an interim measure, has been taken because of the Supreme Court observation in a case pending since 2013. Therefore, it is a legacy issue for us.” He is now claiming that this was “instant action” in “obedience to an observation of the Supreme Court where the court asked the department to take action on the list of alleged porn sites provided by the petitioner.”

Prasad uses the word “alleged” whereas the ministry seems to have taken the list, that too a list coming from a man who compares porn to Hitler, wholesale at face value. Anyway what Justice Dattu had said was “The Centre has to take a stand… let us see what stand the Centre will take” which is clearly not the same as directing the centre to block those 857 websites, a distinction that cannot escape Prasad.

For both Congress and BJP, to now jockey for the moral high ground in this story of online porn would be funny if it was not so hypocritical. Both have sticky fingers in this regard since the Congress, when in power, had banned the homegrown Savita Bhabhi website and more.

This government, once so sharply on message, cannot even get its storyline straight on this issue. Ravi Shankar Prasad is talking about how ISPs are free to disable anything that does not have “child porn content.” On the other hand his party colleague Shaina NC was on television defending the porn ban by

saying

that it is absolutely the “prerogative of the state” to ensure that young children do not have access to “this kind of pornography and that too for free.”

The government has to understand that children’s access to porn is not the same as child porn. Those are different conversations. And its ministers have to figure out which demon they are fighting if they are to stop confusing the matter even more.

Even with the ban itself the government ended up speaking in two voices. It banned the 857 websites terming their content “immoral and indecent”, which by the way, it cannot technically do since as Lawrence Liang explains in this piece on The Wire the grounds for blocking a website (under Section 69A) do not include “decency or morality”. But the ministry while de facto directing the ISPs to disable access to the website also reasoned, as reported by James Crabtree in the Financial Times, that “It isn’t that they are being banned lock, stock and barrel… these sites will continue to be accessible through the mechanism of a VPN.” This is truly a case of Incredible India where the same government that bans these porn websites also provides the workaround to access them along with a handy list of 857 XXX-sites for the curious to explore. This entire episode can pretty much be dubbed the Dummy’s Guide to Scrubbing Internet Porn.

After relentless social media flak Ravi Shankar Prasad must be hoping that the latest announcement about the partial “lifting” will turn the page on this sorry chapter. But it has just further exposed how a government that prided itself on being focused and decisive, as opposed to the flailing flabby UPA sarkar, keeps getting caught in its own vacillation. Online pornography might not be as pressing an issue for the national economy as the Land Bill or GST but by rushing into without thinking it through and then doing a wishy-washy half U-turn with a “lift” that’s not quite a “lift”, the government has ensured that this porn story will not have a happy ending for anyone.

Porn ban: Govt reviews blocking of websites; lifts ban on non-porn sites

In a damage control mode, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a high-level review meeting today, which was attended by IT Secretary RS Sharma and Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, among others. It was decided in the meeting that the ISPs would be immediately asked not to block those sites which do not contain pornographic material, including child pornography, Prasad said.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

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Facing flak over blocking of 857 websites, the government on Tuesday reviewed its order and decided to lift ban on those sites which did not contain pornographic material but had still faced action. The decision follows a review of the earlier order, wherein the Department of Telecom had asked Internet service providers (ISPs) to block a total of 857 websites, although some websites were found to be hosting jokes, memes and other humourous content without any pornography.The directive has sparked a raging debate on social media and other platforms with the government being accused of indulging into Internet censorship.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a damage control mode, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a high-level review meeting today, which was attended by IT Secretary RS Sharma and Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, among others. It was decided in the meeting that the ISPs would be immediately asked not to block those sites which do not contain pornographic material, including child pornography, Prasad said.Explaining the rationale behind the original directive, Prasad said, “The instant action is basically in obedience to the observation of the Supreme Court where the court asked the department to take action on the list of alleged porn sites provided by the petitioner.” The minister said that the government is committed for freedom of communication on the Internet. “The government compliments the dissemination of idea on the social media. We have launched the ‘mygov’ platform seeking views of people of India on developmental agenda and lakhs of people are participating on this platform,” he said.The government officials say that the ban is a temporary measure till the final orders are pronounced by the top court.Reacting to the outrage against the move, Prasad had said yesterday that the NDA government was committed towards freedom on social media and Internet. “I reject with contempt the charge that it is a Talibani government, as being said by some of the critics. Our government supports free media, respect communication on social media and has respected freedom of communication always,” he had said.

Hyderabad police enlists IT corridor in preparation against terror attacks

Keeping the recent Gurdaspur attack in mind, the Cyberabad police has decided to provide arms and licence to IT corridor companies in Hyderabad.

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The Hyderabad police has decided to provide arms and licencing to corporates in the IT corridor in wake of the Gurdaspur attack, a news daily reports. The move was made so that, in times of crisis, a private security company can handle the situation until police or other security arrive at the scene.According to the report, the police plans on providing a permit of two guns to each firm, a pistol and another more advanced weapon. “We need to prepare for any situation. Arming security personnel will help them in handling hostage situations, lone-wolf attacks or other crises. Otherwise, the unarmed security guards will be in a helpless situation when a crisis hits them. We will train the security guards in handling such weapons too,” Cyberabad police commissioner CV Anand told the newspaper.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So far, only Wipro has an armed security guard at its Gachibowli campus in Hyderabad while other companies are still contemplating the matter. The Cyberabad police has been working on the issue in tandem with the companies. It has asked IT companies to keep an eye on their employees for any relation to the Islamic State.

DCW chief pulls up BS Bassi on women’s safety

Maliwal shot off two letters to Bassi taking note of increasing crime rates against women, and asking for the status of safety measures.

Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal

With her position firmly consolidated as the new Delhi Commission for Women chief, Swati Maliwal hauled up Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on the issue of women’s safety in the capital, on Saturday. Maliwal shot off two letters to Bassi taking note of increasing crime rates against women, and asking for the status of safety measures. The catalysts for her actions seem to be the recent horrific, public murder of a 19 year old girl in Delhi’s Anand Parbat area, which went ripples of outrage and shock through the city, and the latest data by the National Crime Records Bureau that, according to Maliwal’s letter shows five cases of rape and twelve cases of molestation of women in Delhi, everyday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maliwal,a former RTI activist, has informed Bassi that Anand Parbat will be the pilot area in a study on crime against women, and to further this end she has sought details of such crimes from the locality’s police station. These details include whether an FIR was registered for the complaint, what you current status of the case is and what the duration of the trial was and whether the accused was convicted. In her second letter, Maliwal has expanded the scope of her enquiry, asking for similar data from all police stations, along with police protection provided to complainants, from 2012 onwards. She has sought to.know the strength of the police force in Delhi, out of which, rank wise how many are women. She has asked for the police stations with the highest number of complaints of crimes against women, spots with the highest cases of such crimes and their proximity to schools and colleges. This extensive data is purportedly for a comprehensive study on the status of such crimes in Delhi, one of the tasks Maliwal had promised to undertake upon her appointment. It remains to be seen how cooperative the Delhi police is in this exercise, given the history of animosity between Bassi’s force and any arm of the AAP led government, where both parties have sought to undermine and undo the other’s work.

For the first time, Supreme Court opens courtroom during midnight Rejects Yakub Memon’s

A group of civil rights activists and Memon’s counsel moved the top court with a fresh petition seeking 14 days’ time after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee late in the night.

Rapid Action Force men stand guard at a sensative area in Bhendi Bazar in Mumbai on Thursday before the last rites of Yakub Memon.
Salman Ansari
dna
For the first time in the history of the Supreme Court (SC), a courtroom was opened during midnight. It was to hear the final plea of the 1993 Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon, a few hours before his execution on Thursday morning. A group of civil rights activists and Memon’s counsel moved the top court with a fresh petition seeking 14 days’ time after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee late in the night. Courtroom no. 4 was opened at 2 am for the three-judge bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, to hear Memon’s plea, after his mercy pleas were rejected by the Maharashtra governor and President Pranab Mukherjee.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Security in the SC complex was tightened for the hearing of the case. Lawyers and media persons were allowed after thorough frisking. Opening of a courtroom in the midnight is unprecedented as judges hear any urgent matter at their residence after 4 pm. Many times, death row convicts approach the Chief Justice for the stay of execution and the Chief Justice himself can hear the case or mark it to a bench. Generally, such hearings take place at the residence of the seniormost judge of the bench. The hearing started around 3.15 am after the arrival of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the state of Maharashtra and the Centre. The hearing went on for about 90 minutes, and, finally, the bench rejected Memon’s plea just a few hours before the hanging took place at the Nagpur central jail before 7am. Memon’s lawyer Anand Grover argued that his client can’t be hanged for at least 14 days after his mercy plea was rejected. The counsel also argued that the Maharashtra prison manual says that there must be a seven-day gap between the rejection of a mercy petition and execution, which was not followed. In September last year, death row convict Surendra Koli in the Nithari case had moved the residence of the Chief Justice and got a stay on the execution, after a hearing, which took place at the judge’s residence at 1.30 am. Countering the arguments, the Attorney General said the provision is applicable in the case of first mercy plea but Memon’s mercy petition was rejected by the President in May 2014. The bench found substance in Rohatgi’s submission and rejected Memon’s arguments, saying ample opportunity had been given to him to file his petition after the mercy plea was first rejected in 2014. The high drama, which lasted the whole night, started around 10.30 pm on Wednesday night, soon after news came that both Maharashtra Governor V C Rao as well as President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s mercy plea. His lawyers immediately rushed to the apex court, with a plea that the death row convict should be given 14 days after the rejection of the mercy petition and sought an order to stay the execution, which was scheduled for Thursday morning. Due to scarcity of time in their hand, when they failed to get any quick response from the Registrar for hearing, Memon’s counsel Anand Grover, Yug Chaudhary, activist-lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Nitya Ramakrishnan moved to the Chief Justice’s residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg. Chief Justice H L Dattu set up a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Prafulla C Pant and Amitav Roy — the bench which had rejected Memon’s plea for quashing the death warrant after a marathon hearing in courtroom no. 4 earlier in the day. Immediately, the crowd shifted to Justice Misra’s residence at Tuglak Road after 12 am, where the lawyers were informed that the bench headed by Justice Misra will take up Memon’s plea at 2.30 am in courtroom no. 4 of the SC. Memon was convicted in 2007 for his role for financing the 1993 Bombay serial blasts. His brother, Tiger Memon, and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who masterminded the blasts, are at large.2

Abdul Kalam’s death ‘a great loss’ to nation: Prakash Padukone

Chess icon Viswanathan Anand, too, remembered the late leader as someone who a lot of people could relate to.
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AFP photo
Former Badminton ace Prakash Padukone on Tuesday said the passing away of former president APJ Abdul Kalam was a great loss to the nation.”I think it’s a great loss to the nation. I have read a lot and heard a lot about him. I’ve heard all his speeches,” Padukone told ANI.Chess icon Viswanathan Anand, too, remembered the late leader as someone who a lot of people could relate to.”I haven’t actually spent a lot of time with him but I do remember reading a lot about him and a lot of people seem to be able to relate to the late president,” Anand said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr. Kalam passed away in Shillong last evening. He collapsed after suffering a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong yesterday.The government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for Dr. Kalam, who played a stellar role in advancing India’s nuclear programme.Considered one of the most popular presidents of India, Kalam became the11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Bombay HC grants Teesta Setalvad interim relief from arrest till 10 August

Mumbai: In a breather to social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, the Bombay High Court on Friday granted the duo 17-day interim relief from arrest in a CBI case alleging that her company received Rs 1.8 crore from abroad without mandatory approval from Centre.

Teesta Setalvad. AFP

Teesta Setalvad. AFP

Justice Mridula Bhatkar, while granting Teesta and her husband Javed Anand interim protection from arrest till 10 August, said the duo was already given protection by the sessions court.

Teesta and Anand moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail after a special CBI court on Friday rejected their pre-arrest bail pleas and also refused to extend the interim relief granted to them earlier on 17 July.

“At this stage I do not want to go into merits. Is there any chance of the accused persons absconding? If no, then interim protection can be granted for a period of two weeks,” Justice Bhatkar said.

The court directed Teesta and her husband to appear before the office of Economic Offences Wing of CBI on 27 and 30 July and on 3 and 6 August for recording their statement from 12 pm to 3 pm.

The court refused to agree to the CBI’s demand to direct the duo to appear before the agency everyday.

“They (Teesta and Javed) have been appearing before you (CBI) from July 17. You must have done some investigation. Everyday appearance is not required,” Justice Bhatkar said.

Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde, appearing for CBI, argued that the offence was of a serious nature and custodial interrogation was required.

The court has posted their anticipatory bail petitions for final hearing on 10 August.

Soon after the sessions court rejected her bail pleas, Teesta told the court that she was shocked and aggrieved.

“I am shocked and aggrieved by the verdict as this is a petty offence. My sympathisers feel that this is an attempt (by the government) to intimidate and possibly eliminate us by the powers (sic),” she said.

The CBI had on 8 July registered a case against Teesta and Anand alleging that her firm Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) received around 2.9 lakh USD in foreign donations in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

PTI

RJD leader faints, dies at function attended by Lalu Prasad

RJD leader Anand Mohan Singh on Friday passed away after he fainted on stage during a function here. Singh, 60, a former Bihar minister, was attending a function of Nonia caste Mahasangh when he fainted on the dais.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
RJD leader Anand Mohan Singh on Friday passed away after he fainted on stage during a function here. Singh, 60, a former Bihar minister, was attending a function of Nonia caste Mahasangh when he fainted on the dais.He was rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) where he died, RJD sources said.State Minister for Food Shyam Rajak, who was present on the stage when the unfortunate incident occurred, said that Singh fainted all of a sudden and was rushed to PMCH in a private car since no ambulance was available at the venue.Superintendent of PMCH SN Sinha said Singh was rushed to the cardiology department where he died. He said prima facie the death seems to be because of brain hemorrhage or acute myocardial infarction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh, who hailed from Nokha is Rohtas district, was a minister in Lalu Prasad government in 1997. Prasad himself was present at the programme.

Teesta Setalvad’s NGO put under Prior Permission category by the Home Ministry

The NGO will have to take prior permission from the foreigners division of the Home Ministry before accepting or utilising the foreign contribution.

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Compounding activist Teesta Setalvad’s trouble, her NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has been put under Prior Permission category by the Home Ministry. The decision has been taken following an investigation by the Home Ministry which found alleged violation of various provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act by CJP.”The NGO will have to take prior permission from the foreigners division of the Home Ministry before accepting or utilising the foreign contribution,” an official said.CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to the notice, more than 80 per cent or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid. Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabarang Trust, run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served notices by the Home Ministry about two months ago asking the NGOs why their registration under FCRA would not be cancelled as on-site inspection of records and books of accounts of the two found “irregularities and financial misappropriation”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While CJP was registered for ‘Educational and Economic’ purposes, it received foreign contribution for activities such as ‘Legal Aid’ which is covered under purpose ‘Social’. Hence, it violated FCRA rules, the Home Ministry contended. “On review of vouchers of the Association, it was found that Sabrang Trust (another NGO of Teesta) have made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand.”This amounts to use of foreign contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010. Thus, the Association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010,” the Home Ministry notice had said.The Ministry’s investigation also found that Anand has taken international medical policy for visiting Lahore and debited the amount in the account of Sabrang Trust. Facing the notices, the two NGOs have conveyed to the Home Ministry that they have done no financial irregularities and no foreign contribution was misused by any of its office-bearer.

Foreign contribution case: CBI court rejects Teesta Setalvad’s anticipatory bail plea

The CBI had earlier conducted a raid at Setalvad’s residence on July 14 for her alleged involvement in misappropriation of funds from foreign donors for her non-governmental organisation.

A special CBI court here on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail application of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband filed in connection with a case registered by CBI alleging that her company received Rs 1.8 crore from abroad without mandatory approval from Centre.”The anticipatory bail application is rejected,” said Special judge Anis Khan while turning down the plea. Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand had moved the court for bail on July 17.Immediately after the order, Setalvad told the court that she was shocked. “I am shocked and aggrieved by the verdict as this is a petty offence. My sympathisers feel that this is an attempt (by the government) to intimidate and possibly eliminate us by the powers (sic).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI had on July 8 registered a case against Setalvad and Anand alleging that her firm Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) received around 2.9 lakh USD in foreign donations in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). According to the agency, SCPPL was not registered under FCRA for collecting money from abroad and the amount of nearly Rs 1.8 crore (2.9 lakh USD) was, therefore, received in violation of the Act as the organisation needed to seek prior approval from the Union Home Ministry.Teesta and her husband, through their lawyer, had told the court that they were innocent and were falsely implicated. Her advocate Mihir Desai told the court that the only reason why the agency wanted to arrest them is to humiliate them for their work in Gujarat.However, CBI in their reply, last Friday, had said that motive behind the transfer of foreign contribution to SCPPL reflected interference towards the internal security and activities of India. “Such act of foreign donor would prejudicially affect the security, strategic, scientific and economic interest of the state and also affect the harmony between religious, social, linguistic or regional groups, castes or communities”, the CBI had said in its reply while opposing her plea.The agency said the allegations against them (Setalvad and Anand) are serious in nature and it is proposed to unravel all the contours of the offence and the conspiracy during the investigation. Setalvad alleged that the FIR registered against her and her husband was for the purpose of harassing and torturing them, a charge rejected by CBI. “The applicants are deliberately mixing up the offences alleged against them with non-related issues in order to divert the attention from the serious charges against them,” the agency had said.The CBI had also told the court that when their premises were searched on July 14 this year there was total resistance and non-cooperation from their side. “During the search, an agreement dated September 22, 2006 between Ford Foundation and SCPPL were seized which clearly showed that the remittances were grants. There is no mention of any ‘consultancy’ therein,” the reply had said.

Activists extend support to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

On July 14, the CBI searched four places in Mumbai, including the premises of Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand as well as the office of her firm, Sabrang Communications and Publishing.

Teesta Setalvad

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Activists from Gujarat, including a former Gujarat chief minister, extended their support to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on Wednesday, alleging the recent CBI action against her was an “open misuse of power” by the Centre. “We, the undersigned, express our profound dismay and disquiet at the continued official harassment of human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand by the central government,” said a statement signed by rights activists from Gujarat, including former Gujarat Chief Minister Suresh Mehta.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After the BJP-led government was installed in Delhi in May 2014, the country has witnessed open official efforts to foist a large variety of charges of financial irregularities on them, in order to harass them, tarnish their reputations and to secure their arrests,” the statement said. “Fortunately, interventions by the higher judiciary have protected them so far. However, the latest raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on their home and offices in Mumbai on July 14, 2015 are signs of continuing open misuse of official bodies to harass these human rights defenders,” the statement said.On July 14, the CBI searched four places in Mumbai, including the premises of Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand as well as the office of her firm, Sabrang Communications and Publishing. On July 8, the CBI had registered a case against all of them under sections of the Indian Penal Code, which are related to criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B) along with provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 1976. “It is well known that Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand fought an unrelenting battle not only to bring criminals who committed gruesome hate crimes against Muslims during the 2002 carnage…,” the statement said.

Delhi Police bus tried to run over me, alleges AAP leader Dilip Pandey

Pandey alleged that the incident happened around 10.30 PM when he was talking to the media over police action on AAP volunteers at Anand Parbat earlier in the day.

Image Courtesy: ANI
Aam Aadmi Party”s Delhi chief Dilip Pandey on Tuesday alleged that a Delhi Police bus tried to run over him in front of Rajinder Nagar police station here.Pandey alleged that the incident happened around 10.30 PM when he was talking to the media over police action on AAP volunteers at Anand Parbat earlier in the day. “Since there were women volunteers who were detained, I went to the police station so that they could be released. At around 10.30 PM while I was talking to the media outside Rajinder Nagar station, a Delhi police bus tried to run over me but one volunteer pushed me aside,” Pandey said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pandey said that he has filed a written complaint with Rajinder Nagar police. “Hopefully they will file an FIR in the case.” “Shocked to see sad state of Delhi Police. A Police Bus tried to run over – kill me from behind while I was talking to media. Someone pushed… saved me!” Pandey tweeted.Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders will meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal later on Wednesday regarding party leader Dilip Pandey’s claims that a police vehicle allegedly tried to run him over.

BS Bassi meets CM Kejriwal; discusses steps being taken to improve women’s security

Amid AAP’s persistent demand to hand over control of the force to the state government, BS Bassi meets CM Kejriwal.

Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi on Monday met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and explained to him steps being taken to improve security for women, amid AAP government’s persistent demand to hand over control of the force to it.Kejriwal had summoned Bassi after the gruesome murder of a 19-year old girl in Anand Parbat area, holding that the law- and-order situation in the city has deteriorated significantly.”Police is always accountable towards the system and not to any individual. We are answerable to the government and through it to Parliament,” Bassi told reporters after meeting Jung.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further added, “Talks held in a coordial and positive atmosphere. We owe duty to rule of law, it’ll be unfortunate if police succumbs to public pressure. Any incident of crime, we take it as a challenge and responsibility to give justice to the victim. Any question of not being sensitive to this matter doesn’t arise. Immediately strenuous efforts were made, culprits were arrested.”Investigation hs been taken up in right earnest. Our investigation is continuing: BS Bassi on Anand Parbat incident Sources said the Chief Minister”s Office had asked Bassi to bring a list of pending cases of crime against woman, status of the cases filed as well as details of the SHOs who have not been transferred despite completing their terms. Bassi was also asked to bring a list of beat constables and list of inspectors who were never made SHOs.Ahead of the meeting with Kejriwal, Bassi called on Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.AAP has been at loggerheads with Delhi Police over a number of issues and the party has stepped up its attack against it after arrest of its two MLAs. It has been accusing Delhi Police of bias against it saying its MLAs are being targeted under political pressure.Bassi had on Sunday said he will try to dispel “misconceptions” about functioning of his force during his meeting with Kejriwal.

AAP protests over teen girl’s killing in Delhi: Key facts you need to know about the incident

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday held a protest against Delhi Police, holding it responsible for the stabbing of a 19-year-old girl in Anand Parbat locality three days ago, saying it has failed to provide security for women.

The protesters outside Delhi Police headquarters, some of whom climbed barricades set up by the police, were then sprayed with water cannons.

Few of the protesters were detained from the spot and later released.

The uproar in Delhi began when reports revealed that  a teenage girl had been stabbed to death for resisting sexual assault. Here are some key facts you need to know about the entire issue:

1) Girl stabbed 35 times for resisting molestation: A 19-year-old girl was allegedly stabbed to death by two youth in New Delhi in the Anand Parbat area, police had said on Friday. The Class 11 student, had been allegedly stabbed by Jai Prakash and his brother on Thursday, when she went to a market, a police officer had told IANS.

AAP workers being water cannoned while crossing the barricades during a protest against Delhi Police over the girl's death. PTI

AAP workers being water cannoned while crossing the barricades during a protest against Delhi Police over the girl’s death. PTI

Reports had also said that the victim was stabbed 35 times, including in the face, neck, back, chest and stomach. The girl had filed a molestation complaint against the attackers in 2013.

2) Both attackers arrested: While Jai Prakash, the main accused, had been arrested soon after the murder on Thursday, his brother Ajay Prakash was arrested late on Friday night and has been accused of helping his brother in the attack on the girl, reported The Times of India.

The victim’s family has also alleged that the mother of the attackers was also involved in the attack and said that she should be arrested. However, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on Sunday said, “We have not arrested the accused’s mother till now because we have not got any evidence which shows her as one of the culprits.”

3) Kejriwal announces Rs 5 lakh compensation, slams Delhi police: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday had announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim and ordered a magisterial probe into the case while slamming Delhi Police for the “deteriorating” law and order situation.

“The law and order situation is deteriorating in Delhi every day. Delhi Police comes under the Prime Minister. Either he should do something or Delhi Police should be handed over to the Delhi government,” Kejriwal had told reporters.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by his deputy Manish Sisodia, had visited the girl’s family and assured them of all possible help.

Making a strong pitch for handing over of Delhi Police to the city government, the CM had said, “If the police is not answerable to Delhi government then how will they be held accountable? Right now, Delhi police is a law unto itself.”

4) AAP government seeks report from Delhi police: Delhi Home Minister Satyender Jain had written a letter to Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi, seeking his explanation on why no FIR was registered against the accused despite repeated complaints from the victim.

“The family of the deceased girl had filed numerous complaints against the accused Jai Prakash since 2013 with the local police alleging that he used to stalk the deceased and traumatise her but no FIR was registered by the police,” Jain had claimed.

In his letter, Jain had also asked the police as to what change had been in the national capital after the 16 December gangrape case in 2012.

5) Hang the killers, says victim’s mother: The parents of the teenage girl demanded on Sunday that the culprits be hanged for killing the girl. “A compensation of Rs 5 lakh can’t bring my daughter back. I want justice. They should be hanged,” Hindustan Times quoted the mother as saying.

The victim’s father added that even though they had once complained to the police about his daughter being subjected to “abuse and vulgar comments” by the men, no action had been taken by the police. “They were arrested once by the police on our complaint at Kamla Market police station, after which they started venting their anger by showering abuses on her whenever they liked,” HT quoted the girl’s father as saying.

6) Kejriwal to meet Bassi on Monday: Kejriwal had asked the Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi to meet him on Monday to discuss the law and order situation in the national capital.

“CM office on Sunday wrote to the Police Commissioner stating that the Chief Minister wants to meet him to discuss Delhi’s law and order situation and other issues including Meenakshi murder case,” said a senior government official.

7) Will try to dispel misconceptions about Delhi Police, says Bassi: BS Bassi on Sunday said he will try to dispel “misconceptions” about functioning of his force during his meeting with Kejriwal.

“I will definitely go and meet him and will exchange our thoughts…There is a possibility of him telling something useful to us and maybe I will give him something which will make him informative towards policing because I have been working for 38 years in the department.

“As a professional police officer, it is my duty that I should remove any misconceptions about policing. I have a good opportunity with the meeting to clear misconception if any,” he told reporters.

On AAP’s demand for bringing Delhi Police under the city government, Bassi said there is no need for any changes in its current administrative structure. Currently Delhi Police functions directly under administrative control of Home Ministry.

“The mechanism at present is appropriate. This was no knee jerk reaction when the GD Khosla committee introduced the commissionerate system in Delhi after deliberation and examination of witnesses the Parliament Act of 1978 was formed. Any attempt to tickle with the mechanism will be injustice to Delhi residents and can be dangerous,” he said.

Bassi also said that he is open to criticism as that helps one to improve his work.

“It is the responsibility of the police to collaborate and work with the people of every class. For that we do not consider people belonging to any class, as separate from us. Now, because a request has been received from the Chief Minister’s office by the Principal Secretary, so I will definitely go and the exchange of ideas will take place,” Bassi said.

8) BJP says AAP trying to distract people by blaming Delhi Police and Centre: Reacting to Kejriwal’s remarks against the Delhi police and his demand that the Delhi government should get control of the police instead of the Centre, BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay said that AAP was trying to ‘distract’ the people.

“They are doing this to shield their failures…You (AAP) have raised VAT rates in Delhi, you are spending money in Delhi to benefit your leaders. Now that Delhi’s development has stopped, you are accusing Centre for that,” BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay told ANI.

“They are trying to mislead people, they are doing all this to distract the attention of the people from real issues,” he added.

9) Certain functions of Delhi police should come under the state, says Sheila Dikshit: In a surprising turn of events, former Delhi CM and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit backed Kejriwal’s demand of state control over the Delhi police. “Certain functions of the Delhi police should come under the state,” Dikshit was quoted as saying by CNN-IBN.

On the other hand, Congress slammed both AAP and BJP over the incident. “The crime against women has gone up by 30 percent, they just used women safety issue to win elections, both governments have failed to provide security to women. Both are insensitive towards crime against women,” Congress leader Shobha Oza told ANI.

(With agency inputs)

Anand Parbat case: Kejriwal to meet Bassi on Monday; AAP youth wing stages protest

AAP youth wing staged a protest on Sunday outside police headquarters in Delhi over the Anand Parbat case. Delhi police used water canon to take control of the situation.

ANI
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi to meet him on Monday to discuss law and order situation in the national capital, in the wake of the gruesome murder of 19-year-old girl in central Delhi.”CM office today wrote to the Police Commissioner stating that the Chief Minister wants to meet him to discuss Delhi’s law and order situation and other issues including Meenakshi murder case,” said a senior government official.”The Chief Minister and his deputy Manish Sisodia had yesterday visited Meenakashi’s residence where people told them that there is no police patrolling in the area and apparently some policemen were also involved,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP youth wing staged a protest on Sunday outside police headquarters in Delhi over the Anand Parbat case. Delhi police used water canon to take control of the situation.Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi invted the protesters for a meeting.Kejriwal had on Saturday announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of a girl who was stabbed to death in Anand Parbat locality and ordered a magisterial probe into the case while slamming Delhi Police for the “deteriorating” law and order situation.Meenakshi was allegedly stabbed to death on Thursday by two brothers living in her neighbourhood for protesting their verbal abuse.

BJP, AAP ‘insensitive’ towards crimes against women: Congress

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had attacked the Central Government over the Anand Parbat stabbing case.

Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo

The Congress party on Saturday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government at the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi have used the issue of ‘women safety’ to win elections but are insensitive towards crimes against women. “The crime against women has gone up by 30%, they just used women safety issue to win elections, both governments have failed to provide security to women. Both are insensitive towards crime against women,” Congress leader Shobha Oza said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier in the day attacked the Central Government over the Anand Parbat stabbing case and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should either set the law and order situation in the capital right or hand over the city police to the AAP Government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Kejriwal had also stated that he will summon Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi over the murder of the 19-year old girl. The AAP Government has also ordered a magisterial probe into the murder case.

Stabbed 35 times, teen girl brutally killed in Delhi for resisting molestation

A 19-year-old girl was allegedly stabbed to death by two youth in New Delhi in the Anand Parbat area, police said on Friday.

The Class 11 student, was allegedly stabbed by Jaiprakash and his brother on Thursday, when she went to a market, a police officer told IANS.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The girl was allegedly stabbed 35 times by the attackers, according to IBNLive. “That girl ran from them and landed in my gallery. They entered and stabbed her here too. She was unconscious by then. They used to irritate her a lot,” IBNLive quoted a witness as saying.

“The neighbours there did not help her. She could’ve been saved if they helped her. She entered a neighbour’s house as she was getting beaten. The neighbours whose house she entered, threw her out of their house, saying that they did not want to get involved in the matter. That is why they (the accused) got to assault her and they ran away after that,” the report quoted the victim’s sister as saying.

The girl’s mother was also injured while trying to save her, the police said. Both were taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where the girl died from her injuries.

Police said that both the attackers have been arrested, charged with murder. Investigation is now underway.

The report added that the victim was being eve-teased by the attackers. In 2013, the girl had filed a molestation complaint against the attackers.

NDTV reported that the teenage girl’s family alleged that she was killed by Jaiprakash, his brother and their mother because she had registered the complaint against the brothers.

(With inputs from IANS)

CBI raid at Teesta Setalvad’s house ‘vindictive’, say opposition MPs

Expressing their solidarity with activist Teesta Setalvad, several opposition MPs including Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress and Sharad Yadav of JD(U) on Thursday accused the Centre of “subjecting her to the worst kind of harassment” to silence voices of dissent.

Expressing their solidarity with activist Teesta Setalvad, several opposition MPs including Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress and Sharad Yadav of JD(U) on Thursday accused the Centre of “subjecting her to the worst kind of harassment” to silence voices of dissent.In a joint statement, the opposition leaders said the recent CBI recent raid at her residence was a “blatant misuse” of the central agency for “vindictive reasons”.Besides Yadav and Azad, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Motilal Vora of Congress, KC Tyagi of JD(U) and D P Tripathi of NCP endorsed the statement, which also bore signatures of Hannan Mollah of CPI(M) and Manoj Jha of RJD.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We express our solidarity with Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their colleagues who are being subjected to the worst kind of harassment by the (Narendra) Modi government,” they said. Setalvad has been severely critical of the BJP government in Gujarat over the 2002 riots and her NGO has been pursuing criminal cases against the accused. The state government has accused her of working at the behest of its political opponents and charged her with misappropriating money. Anand is also an activist and her husband. The leaders hailed Setalvad, saying she had been working courageously to expose the criminal involvement of BJP leaders in the Gujarat riots, in which mostly Muslims were killed, and asserted that they were determined to support her.They said it was no co-incidence that the raid occurred a day before the case involving former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, both convicted, was to come up in the Gujarat High Court. “The signatories are convinced that the Modi government is determined to silence voices of dissent like that of Teesta Setalvad… We appeal to it to end its vindictive actions,” they said.CBI had on July 13 carried out searches at premises of social activist Setalvad and her organisation in connection with a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in receiving funds from abroad without taking prior permission from the Home Ministry.

India’s fast-growing start-up scene

India’s fast-growing start-up scene

Class 9 student dies as protesters fight with cops in Imphal

Sapam was among a large number of students from leading schools of Imphal who joined the protesters to demand the introduction of a bill in the current assembly session, for Inner Line Permit system in the state.

Clash between Police personnel and students in Imphal over inner line permit issue.

Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
A class XI student was on Wednesday killed after school students demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit system in Manipur clashed with police, following which an indefinite curfew was clamped in Greater Imphal area.Sapam Robin Hood of Anand Singh Higher Secondary School was hit on his face by tear gas shells lobbed by the police to quell a protest in support of the movement this afternoon at Minuthong area in Imphal East district. He was rushed to the hospital where the boy succumbed to his injuries, hospital sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Imphal police control confirmed the student’s death.Sapam was among a large number of students from leading schools of Imphal who joined the protesters to demand the introduction of a bill in the current assembly session, for Inner Line Permit system in the state.The curfew was ordered separately by district magistrates of both Imphal West and East districts. The prohibitory order was clamped at 4 pm today and would continue till further notice, the directive said.The protests were a take off of the 19-hour general strike in the state by the Joint Committee on Inner Line System (JCILS) which ended last evening.JCILS is demanding scrapping of Manipur Regulation of Visitors Tenant and Migrant Workers Bill, 2015 and passing of a new one to “safeguard the interests of indigenous people and fulfil their aspirations”.The Bill, JCIL said, was passed during the budget session of the assembly without taking into consideration its suggestions and allowed migrants to work in the state. The government had “betrayed” the people of the state by passing the legislation, it said.The bill is yet to get the nod of the governor and JCILS had held frequent protests during the ongoing assembly session against it.Hospital authorities have claimed that about 37 students injured in the protest have sought treatment.Earlier in the day, women volunteers of JCILPS gheraoed the private residence of Speaker Th Lokeshwar Singh at Keishampet in Imphal West district to prevent him from attending the assembly.However, the Speaker was at his official residence and attended office. The gherao was later withdrawn, police said.

Temporary breather to Teesta Setalvad’s NGOs

Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notices nearly a month ago following an on-site inspection of their records and books of accounts carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year.

Government has given a temporary relief to social activist Teesta Setalvad’s two NGOs, which allegedly violated Foreign Currency Regulation Act, by allowing her more time to reply to its showcause notices.Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notices nearly a month ago following an on-site inspection of their records and books of accounts carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year. “Even after almost a month, no reply has come from the two NGOs. We have extended the deadline by a fortnight and asked them to reply by mid-July to our showcause notices. If the NGOs do not reply even then, we will have no option but to cancel their FCRA registration,” a Home Ministry official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the probe under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), Home Ministry officials found that Teesta and her husband were running a magazine “Communalism Combat” as co-editors as well as printer and publisher of their company Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) and allegedly received foreign contribution. Under FCRA, no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper.CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to the notice, more than 80 per cent or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid. While the entity was registered for ‘Educational and Economic’ purposes, it received foreign contribution for activities such as ‘Legal Aid’ which is covered under purpose ‘Social’. Hence, it violated FCRA rules, they contended.”On review of vouchers of the association, it was found that Sabrang Trust has made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA-designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand. “This amounts to use of foreign contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010. Thus, the association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010,” the Home Ministry notice said.

Government may cancel FCRA registration of Teesta Setalvad’s NGOs

Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notice nearly a month ago following an on-site inspection of records and books of accounts of the two NGOs carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year.

Government plans to cancel the registration of two NGOs of social activist Teesta Setalvad for alleged violations of Foreign Currency Regulation Act.Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notice nearly a month ago following an on-site inspection of records and books of accounts of the two NGOs carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year. “We had given them 15 days time to reply. Even after almost a month, no reply has come from the two NGOs. We will have no option but to cancel their FCRA registration soon,” a Home Ministry official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said that during the probe under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), it was found that they were running a magazine “Communalism Combat” as co-editors as well as printer and publisher of their company Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) and allegedly received foreign contribution.Under FCRA, no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper. CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to the notice, more than 80 per cent or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid.While the entity was registered for ‘Educational and Economic’ purposes, it received foreign contribution for activities such as ‘Legal Aid’ which is covered under purpose ‘Social’. Hence, it violated FCRA rules, they contended.”On review of vouchers of the Association, it was found that Sabrang Trust have made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand.”This amounts to use of foreign contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010. Thus, the Association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010,” the Home Ministry notice said.The Home Ministry investigation also found that Anand has taken international medical policy for visiting Lahore and debited the amount in the account of Sabrang Trust. Further, even book purchases and travel expenses incurred by him to attend meetings with People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) were debited in Sabrang Trust allegedly in violation of Section 8(1)(a) of FCRA.The Home Ministry’s inspection has also found that Rs 50 lakh was allegedly transferred by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which is not registered under FCRA. FCRA rules prohibit transfer of foreign contribution to non-FCRA account unless such entity is also registered and had been granted the certificate or obtained prior permission under this Act.The investigation also found various alleged irregularities like administrative expenditure exceeding more than 50 per cent. Besides, different figures towards expenses incurred on legal aid in the books of accounts and in the receipts of payment accounts, closing balance of the proceeding year was allegedly not reported as opening balance and even the funds received from United Nations were not found in the bank statement, the sources claimed.Government has already asked CBI to probe the receipt of over Rs 3 crore by Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited from foreign donors, including US-based Ford Foundation, in alleged violation of FCRA. Government had already frozen the bank account of the firm, located in Mumbai, as the Home Ministry claimed that it was not authorised to receive funds from abroad as it was not registered under FCRA.

Mathura: Journalist attacked for objecting to dumping of waste

A journalist was seriously injured in an attack by about half-a-dozen persons in Anand Puri Colony in Krishna Nagar area, police said on Sunday.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
A journalist was seriously injured in an attack by about half-a-dozen persons in Anand Puri Colony in Krishna Nagar area, police said on Sunday.The incident took place on Saturday evening when Arun Chaturvedi, who edits a Hindi weekly, objected to dumping of waste on roadside.He was attacked with spade and iron rod allegedly by dairy farm owner Madan and his four brothers.He was rushed to the district hospital in an unconscious state. Later, he was referred to SN Medical College in Agra, police said.”The assailants would not be spared for taking law in their hand. They have been booked under sections 307 ,147 and 148 of the IPC. They would be arrested shortly,” SSP Rakesh Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, another journalist and his family members were allegedly attacked by his neighbours who pelted stones and open fired at his house in Rafiqabad Colony under Mussoorie police station in Ghaziabad district today, police said.Hafiz Sayeedudin filed a complaint with police that some neighbours attacked his family this afternoon, pelted stones at their house and open fired too. An investigation was on into the case, police said, adding that efforts were on to nab the accused.

Gujarat court acquits three in 2002 riot case

Ayesha Vohra, Nuriben Vohra and Kaderbhai Vohra were killed in Malav Bhagol area of Ode village of Anand district in Gujarat by a ramapaging mob on March 1, 2002, in the aftermath of Godhra train burning incident.

The special trial court hearing the Ode village riot case of 2002 on Thursday acquitted three accused giving them benefit of doubt.Ayesha Vohra, Nuriben Vohra and Kaderbhai Vohra were killed in Malav Bhagol area of Ode village of Anand district in Gujarat by a ramapaging mob on March 1, 2002, in the aftermath of Godhra train burning incident. Ankur Shapurbhai Patel, Mohan alias Shashin Ramesh Patel and Nikul Ravji Patel were acquitted by Judge M S Bhatt. They had been charged with murder, unlawful assembly, rioting, arson, etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the court had convicted ten others in May, 2012 in the case, probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), and awarded life term to nine and a six-month jail terms to one. The trio had jumped the bail six years ago. Ankur was traced from Perth in Australia last year while Nikul was caught in England. Mohan was traced in Singapore. After they were brought back to India, the trial resumed. This is one of the nine riot cases from Gujarat probed by SIT.

Home ministry serves notice to two NGOs run by social activist Teesta Setalvad

New Delhi: Two NGOs run by social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband have been served notice by Home Ministry for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and asked to reply within 15 days.

Teesta Setalvad. AFP imageTeesta Setalvad. AFP image

Teesta Setalvad. AFP image

Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notice two days ago following an on-site inspection of records and books of accounts carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year.

Sources said during the probe it was found that they were running a magazine Communalism Combat as co-editors as well as printer and publisher of their company Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) and allegedly received foreign contribution.

Under the FCRA, no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper.

CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to notice, more than 80 per cent or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid.

While the entity was registered for ‘Educational and Economic’ purposes, it received foreign contribution for activities such as ‘Legal Aid’ which is covered under purpose ‘Social’. Hence, it violated the provisions of the FCRA rules, they contended.

“On review of vouchers of the association it was found that Sabrang Trust have made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand.

“This amounts to use of foreign contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010.

Thus association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010,” the Home Ministry notice said.

The Home Ministry investigation also found that Anand has taken international medical policy for visiting Lahore and debited the amount in the account of Sabrang Trust.

Further, even book purchases and travel expenses incurred by him to attend meetings with People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) were debited in Sabrang Trust allegedly in violation of Section 8(1)(a) of FCRA.

The Home Ministry’s inspection has also found that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly transferred by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which is not registered under FCRA. FCRA rules prohibit transfer of foreign contribution to non-FCRA account unless such entity is also registered and had been granted the certificate or obtained prior permission under this Act.

The investigation also found various alleged irregularities like administrative expenditure exceeding more than 50 per cent.

Besides, different figures towards expenses incurred on legal aid in the books of accounts and in the receipts of payment accounts, closing balance of the proceeding year was allegedly not reported as opening balance and even the funds received from United Nations not found in the bank statement, the sources claimed.

PTI

Manmohan Singh meets PM Modi, hours after slamming BJP’s achche din

New Delhi: Hours after slamming the NDA government, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two discussed issues related to the economy and foreign policy.

Singh, a senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member, went to the 7 Race Course Road residence of the Prime Minister to meet him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former PM Manmohan Singh. Image: PIBPrime Minister Narendra Modi with former PM Manmohan Singh. Image: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former PM Manmohan Singh. Image: PIB

“Very happy to meet Dr Manmohan Singh ji & welcome him back to 7RCR. We had a great meeting,” Modi tweeted later along with their photographs.

In a statement, Singh’s office said the former Prime Minister met Modi at the latter’s “invitation” and “they discussed the economic situation in the country and foreign policy issues.”

Sources close to Singh told PTI that Modi had sent a message on Tuesday morning, expressing his desire to meet his predecessor over tea sometime in the evening on Tuesday. This could not fructify and the meeting was scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Congress leader Anand Sharma also said that the meeting took place at the behest of the Prime Minister who wanted to discuss issues related to economy and foreign policy.

They discussed economic and foreign policy issues, he said about the meeting which took place at 6.30 pm.

Earlier in the day, Singh hit out at the Modi government saying the “very idea of India is now under systemic assault”.

In a scathing attack, Singh alleged that institutions of democracy are under threat and the entire edifice of the welfare state is being dismantled in the guise of promoting faster economic growth.

Asserting that India was the second fastest growing economy in the world during his tenure, the former Prime Minister said there was a “fragileness” in economic recovery under the current dispensation.

PTI

Jammu-bound train derails in Uttar Pradesh; 2 killed, 9 injured

Kaushambi (UP): Two people, including a woman, were on Monday killed and nine injured when 10 bogies of a Jammu-bound train went off the rails here, disrupting train traffic for hours on Allahabad-Kanpur route.

Earlier in the day, Railways officials in Delhi had said that three persons had lost their lives in the incident. An official statement from the Railway Ministry later put the number of the dead at two.

The Jammu-Tata Nagar Muri Express derails in Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh on Monday. PTI PhotoThe Jammu-Tata Nagar Muri Express derails in Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh on Monday. PTI Photo

The Jammu-Tata Nagar Muri Express derails in Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh on Monday. PTI Photo

The Muri Express, on way to Jammu Tawi, derailed between Sirathu and Atsarai railway stations and one of its bogies overturned, Chief PRO North Central Railway Vijay Kumar said.

The deceased have been identified as Mohini Sethi of Allahabad and Govind Ram of Jharkhand.

“9 injured in the incident have been rushed to a hospital, where condition of three was stated to be critical.” IG (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh in Lucknow said.

“The train was running about three hours behind schedule and the mishap took place about an hour after it had crossed the Allahabad Junction,” NCR PRO Amit Malviya said.

He said 20 ambulances from Allahabad and Fatehpur have been deployed for rescue operations and accurate information on deaths and injuries were awaited at the zonal headquarters.

Relief and medical teams have been rushed to the site. Senior officers of police, administration departments and railways have also reached there.

The Commissioner, Railway Safety, will conduct the inquiry to ascertain the cause of derailment, Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.

While Rs 2 lakh will be given to the kin of the passenger who died, Rs 50,000 will be given for serious injury and Rs 20,000 for minor injury, he said.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakhs for the deceased and directed Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan to make available all necessary help to the victims.

A train has been sent from Allahabad to ferry stranded passengers, he added.

The derailment affected train traffic. At least three trains were cancelled, a number of others diverted and 170 passenger and freight trains along the Allahabad-Kanpur route delayed.

“Both up and down lines have been affected by the derailment. As a result, the Allahabad-Kanpur Intercity Express and the Sangam Express, scheduled to leave for Meerut this evening, have been cancelled.

“Similarly, the Anand Vihar Terminus-Kolkata Express has also been cancelled,” Malaviya said.

PTI

Government about to appoint a ‘corrupt’ officer as CVC: Swaraj Abhiyan

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Bhushan announced that despite the government’s “lack of transparency” in appointing public officials, they had “fortuitously” come to know of the top contender for the post of the CVC, currently lying vacant.

Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav’s nascent movement, Swaraj Abhiyan, attacked the NDA government at the Centre, saying that it was about to appoint an officer to the post of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, who has many charges of corruption against him.Speaking to the media on Thursday, Bhushan announced that despite the government’s “lack of transparency” in appointing public officials, they had “fortuitously” come to know of the top contender for the post of the CVC, currently lying vacant. This person, who they refused to name as of yet, was completely unsuited to the position because of his own past, according to Bhushan. “I have written to the prime minister, the Leader of Opposition and the home minister about this,” Bhushan told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further warned the central government to not be too proud of the fact that there were no scams in its first year, saying that scams take time to brew and come out in the open. He pointed to the coal auctions as an example, saying that there was absolute lack of transparency there too.Bhushan, along with Yadav and Swaraj Abhiyan’s national convenor Anand Kumar spoke to the media at a press conference organised to announce their new 29-member working committee, the constitution and the vision document. Some of the key points of their constitution are to come under RTI, autonomy to state bodies, advisory council, freedom of expression, associate membership for other organizations and the Lokpal.The working committee comprises Ajit Jha, Prashant Bhushan and Anand Kumar looking after Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana respectively; former AAP National Executive members Vishal Sharma Lathe, Rakesh Sinha also after Uttar Pradesh, Maruti Bhapkar after Maharashtra and Christina Samy after Tamil Nadu.The leaders also refrained from committing to the formation of any new party, saying that while they were not averse to the idea, they were not eager for it, preferring to focus on the movement from now.Explaining the month gone by from the time of the Abhiyan’s announcement, they said that they had held Swaraj Samvads in different parts of the country, taking up local issues.They also announced their nationwide campaign for farmers, Jai Kisaan Yatra that will kick off around September-October. They promised to take up all issues and needs of farmers, including the controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance and all other problems. According to them, such needs of farmers and peasants have been so far ignored by all other parties.Only when reporters pressed them with specific questions, did Bhushan and Yadav talk about the Aam Aadmi Party, specifically the ongoing turf war between the chief minister and the lieutenant governor.The leaders said that the power to appoint its bureaucrats should be with Delhi’s elected government, as it was part of the struggle for full statehood, which they support. However, they added a note of caution saying that the way the current government was going about the issue was “immature”, “dangerous” and could prove counterproductive to achieving statehood.

Gujarat to initiate project to restore ecology of saline areas

Gujarat which comprises around 1.2 million hectares of arid area is planning to start a project to turn saline land into grassland and restore green cover of those areas.
File Photo

Gujarat, which possesses more than 1.2 million hectares of arid area due to salinity ingress, is planning to initiate a project to turn the vast tracks of saline land into grassland and restore green cover of those areas.In this regard, the Gujarat Ecology Commission of the state’s forest and environment department has taken up a pilot project in a village near Gulf of Khambhat and will subsequently implement in other areas also.”We have planned a project to convert vast saline area in to grassland and at present taken a pilot project at a village Tadan talav near Gulf of Khambhat in Anand district of state,” A K Saxena, member secretary of the Gujarat Ecology Commission, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This project was conceptualised around three years ago with a view to convert the arid lands due to salinity ingress into grass-land with vegetative cover and restore ecology of the area, said Saxena.According to sources in Gujarat Ecology commission (GEC), a study is being conducted in Tada Talav village to convert the saline area into green one.”We are conducting a study in Tada talav village near Gulf of Khambhat on converting saline land into grass-land and on the findings of that study, we will decide on the future of the project,” said an official associated with the project.”We will first grow grass in saline areas, as it can generate the organic matters in an arid land and after that we will grow other vegetation there, said official.”We can reduce the effect of saline tidal waters of the sea, which ingresses salinity in other areas by planting grass and ultimately ecology will be restored in saline areas,” he said.With the success of this project, there will be a positive impact over the state’s ecology which will ultimately help in progress of farming community, he added.Due to salinity, the land goes arid and barren which has no use for the farmers, said the sources.According to the website of Narmada Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpsar Department, coastal areas of Kutch and Saurashtra are saline which comprises around 1.2 million hectares.

Haven’t received any notice from AAP stating my expulsion: Yogendra Yadav

“I do want to put it on record that even after a week of the party’s announcement of our expulsion, I have yet not received any expulsion order,” said Yadav.

Ousted Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav on Wednesday said that he has still not received any official notice from the party over his expulsion.”I do want to put it on record that even after a week of the party’s announcement of our expulsion, I have yet not received any expulsion order,” said Yadav.”In the media there is a press release, which announces it. I haven’t received any communication which says I have been expelled, which gives reasons or even says it’s the National Disciplinary Committee’s order,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the AAP had expelled four of its rebel leaders, including founding-members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, for ‘anti-party activities’. AAP members Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were also asked to leave.

AAP not committed to any principle, interested in pure power: BJP

BJP says that AAP is only interested in power.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that the series of allegations that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders have been putting on each other indicates that the party is not committed to any principles, but only interested in having access to pure power. “Well, one thing that may emerge from all these allegations and counter allegations is that the true may come out. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has clearly shown that it is not committed to any principles. It is only interested in pure power,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “They are not interested in responsibility, they only like to do allegations and will remove anyone who stands in the way of Mr. Kejriwal’s power. That is what it appears,” he added. The AAP national disciplinary committee had earlier on Monday expelled Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha for ‘gross indiscipline’ and ‘anti-party activities’. Comprising of Pankaj Gupta, Ashish Khetan and Dinesh Vaghela, the disciplinary committee met at 6pm at 514, VP House and reached a unanimous decision to expel the four party rebels. “The AAP disciplinary committee has expelled Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Professor Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha from the party,” Pankaj Gupta told ANI. Reacting to his expulsion from the party Yogendra Yadav said such a move would only strengthen his and others resolve to move forward. He also said that the expulsion has given him some sense of peace. Meanwhile, according to reports, Bhushan made serious charges against Khetan saying that the latter had planted stories for Essar in Tehelka magazine where he used to work.

AAP crisis: Yogendra Yadav calls the show-cause notice a ‘joke’

Yadav said the AAP leadership ran a propaganda with these charges and even termed him and Prashant Bhushan as “traitor” and demanded an apology for running a “malicious campaign”.
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Rebel AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, who has been served a show-cause notice for allegedly working to ensure the party’s defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections, on Saturday called the notice a “joke” and claimed there was no reference to the charges of anti-party activities against him.Yadav said the AAP leadership ran a propaganda with these charges and even termed him and Prashant Bhushan as “traitor” and demanded an apology for running a “malicious campaign”. He also termed the show-cause notice, issued to him, Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, as a “joke”. The rebel camp is expected to respond to the notice by tomorrow.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yogendra Yadav AAP dissisdent “The show-cause notice does not even have a reference of what I have done to defeat the party in the elections. The notice does not even have any accusation against me of conspiring to replace Arvind Kejriwal as the party convener. These two points were being used against me for the last two months by the party in its propaganda against us. Attempts were being made to instigate the volunteers and to project us a traitors. And today when the time of probe arrived all the allegations have vanished. Where did the allegations go using which we were termed traitors in the National Council. If these allegations were lies then who will apologise?” Yadav said in a statement.He also questioned how the media knew the details of the show-cause notice before he received it and accused members of the disciplinary committee of “leaking” it.Yadav wondered as to how the national disciplinary committee took the step without keeping its Chairman Dinesh Waghela in the loop. He claimed that in a telephonic conversation Waghela, who was “not in Delhi”, had told him that the panel is yet to take up the matter.”Last evening I had spoked to Mr Waghela, the Chair of Disciplinary Committee. He said he was not in Delhi and had no idea of a possible show-cause notice to us except from TV news! As yet, nothing has been referred to him, he said,” Yadav said in a social media post. Yadav said Wagehla had promised him to look into this “violation of elementary principle of justice”.Yadav also sought to underline the irony of being served the notice for “leaking” sensitive information to the media, saying that he was apprised of the notice by the media itself.”By 10 PM, the media already knew the contents of all the four letters. Could anyone other than a committee member have leaked it?” he asked.”By 8 PM, media told us that the notice has finally been issued and was being hand delivered. I did not believe it, till we learnt that Prof. Anand Kumar’s notice was delivered at his home. Who is keeping the media informed at every stage, I wonder,” Yadav said.Inching closer to the final swoop on dissidents, AAP had yesterday served show-cause notices to four senior leaders Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, who were earlier expelled from the party echelons.Yadav also heaped scorn on members of the disciplinary committee, including Ashish Khetan and Pankaj Gupta, asking “ever heard of complainants and witnesses themselves becoming judges?”.”The Committee that has served the notice and will decide the matter includes Pankaj Gupta who had signed a written public statement accusing Prashant Bhushan and me of anti-party activities, the charge he is going to investigate now. The Committee also includes Ashish Khaitan who had last month made derogatory remarks against Prashant Bhushan and his family (which he had to apologise for and delete) and was the key source of ‘evidence’ of Prashant Bhushan’s anti-party activities during Delhi elections. He has liberally cursed both of us on TV,” he charged.Yadav demanded that the members recuse themselves from examining their case and the party reviews the show-cause notice. “Will the committee look into its own leaks before it sits down to examine someone else’s? Or will the joke continue? Or should I call it a farce?” Yadav said.

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