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Moral police fails to dampen New Year revelry in Kashmir

“There will be heightened security in Gulmarg on that day. We will make all arrangements. We will take all the precautionary measures, though there is nothing specific (threat). We will be taking enough security measures so that youth and visitors will participate in the New Year celebration,” Garib Das, deputy inspector general of police, North Kashmir range, told dna.

Ishfaq-ul-Hassan
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Only ‘expiry date’ for food items, not ‘best before’, says Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

Noting that the Association had held a “mela” in “Dilli Haat”, Paswan said such an initiative, whereby certain areas are earmarked for street food, should be implemented in other places in the country.

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Madras HC quashes order directing PIO activist to leave India

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Activist had received the order from the district Collector asking to leave the country within seven days with all his family members.

The Madras High Court on Thursday set aside an order of Udhagamandalam District Collector directing a lawyer activist attached to a US-based NGO and his family members, who are Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) holding US passports, to leave the country within seven days. In an urgent sitting on the petition by Gregory Omar Malstead, residing in the country since 2000, Justice K Kalyanasundaram quashed the December 14, 2015 order of the Collector and directed him to pass an appropriate order in accordance with law after giving a personal hearing to the petitioner as expeditiously as possible. While the petitioner contended that during his 15 years of stay in the country he had not violated any law or indulged in any objectionable activity, the central government submitted that Malstead was ‘propagating’ his religion under the guise of taking up the cause of exploitation of women and children. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defending the District Collector’s order, senior central government Standing Counsel Rabu Manohar submitted that the petitioner had been propagating his religion under the guise of social activities in Udhagamandalam, a hill resort town. The Judge directed the petitioner to co-operate with the inquiry. He also made clear that any adverse order against the petitioner shall not be implemented for a period of two weeks. According to Malstead, he, his wife Rebecca Ann Malstead and two children are overseas citizens of India holding US Passports as per a January 9, 2015 order of the government recognising all Persons of Indian Origin as OCIs. He is a member of American Bar Association and Georgia State Bar Association.Initially, he was residing in Mumbai and was a consultant with International Justice Mission (IJM) when the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, directed him to leave India immediately on the ground that his activities as a human rights activist amounted to alleged violation of visa rules.When he challenged it, the Mumbai High Court passed an order that he should be given personal hearing before passing any orders and the matter was put to rest thereafter. From March 2005, he was residing in Udagamandalam where he later become National Director of Freedom Firm, having registered office at Udagamandalam and a registered trust associated with the Freedom Firm, USA, a not-for-profit company involved in rescue of minors sold into the commercial sex trade, Malstead said.His children were studying in class 10 and 11 respectively in a school in the hill resort town. Whileso, he received the order from the district Collector asking to leave the country within seven days with all his family members.The petitioner claimed no opportunity was given to him before issuing the order and that he was completely unaware of the reasons for such a directive. He further contended his work for the social cause of exploited women was appreciated by authorities, including the District Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate of Udagamandalam. On receipt of the order, he met the Collector on December 22 and sought more time to leave India citing his children’s studies. But the Collector refused to grant any more time.Malstead claimed the order was passed on the basis that he was a foreigner. However, he was holder of a PIO card which is now deemed to be an OCI card and as such he has the status of a citizen of India and consequently cannot be termed a foreigner .

DDCA scam: Kirti Azad seeks PM Narendra Modi’s intervention

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A day after his suspension, defiant Azad maintained that his fight was only against ‘corruption’ in the DDCA and not against any individual.

Member of Parliament Kirti Azad, who was expelled from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his tirade against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in connection with irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervene into the matter. He said he would seek a court-monitored probe into the alleged DDCA irregularities. Speaking to reporters here, Azad said he would file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in his personal capacity on the DDCA issue, and warned that people ‘will be in trouble’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after his suspension, defiant Azad maintained that his fight was only against ‘corruption’ in the DDCA and not against any individual. He asked for ‘specific reasons’ for the disciplinary action against him by the party. Azad earlier said he would respond to the suspension notice today with the help of party leader Subramanian Swamy. “Have received notice, will respond to it. Subramanian Swamy has told me that he will help me in drafting reply to the notice,” Azad told the media here.Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has confirmed that he would assist Azad in replying to the notice. “I confirm this that I will assist Kirti Azad on the draft notice from the party. I know him since when he was a boy. I was a good friend of his father. Further, I will say he is still member of BJP. I have every right to assist him. I don’t think party should lose such a honest person like him,? swamy told ANI. The BJP had yesterday suspended its Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad.

DDCA row: Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi over Kirti Azad’s suspension, wants probe

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Rahul said Modi should take action and conduct inquiry into affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of which Jaitley was the president for 13 years till 2013.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pilloried Prime Minister Narendra Modi over suspension of BJP MP Kirti Azad who has been leading a campaign against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on alleged corruption in Delhi cricket body, reminding him of his “na khaoonga na khaney doonga” poll slogan.”During election campaign, Modi spoke about scams and said he would not allow corruption. But now scams are taking place and the latest is the cricket scam, and the MP who raised it has been suspended (from the BJP),” the Congress vice president told reporters on his way back to Delhi after a two-day visit to Amethi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tearing into the Prime Minister’s promise to root out corruption, the Congress leader said, “Modi used to say ‘na khaoonga, na khaney doonga’ (will not engage in corruption myself, nor will allow others). But today he is silent. People have started losing faith.”Related Read: DDCA row: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to help suspended MP Kirti AzadRahul said Modi should take action and conduct inquiry into affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of which Jaitley was the president for 13 years till 2013.His remarks came a day after BJP cracked the whip and suspended cricketer-turned-MP Azad, charging him with indulging in anti-party activities and accusing him of “colluding” with Congress and AAP to bring it to “disrepute”. A day after winter session of Parliament concluded, Rahul went full throttle against the NDA government and lashed out at the Prime Minister on the issue of unprecedented price rise and took a dig at his foreign tours, saying such trips would not benefit the country.During his stay in Amethi, he addressed some roadside meetings yesterday during which he intensified his attack on the Modi government over price rise, saying ‘achhe din’ have come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.”The aam aadmi is groaning under unprecedented price rise. It is no achhe din (good times) for them. It is achhe din only for the Prime Minister,” he said. Rahul, who led the opposition attack against the NDA government within and outside Parliament, said only his party was fighting strongly against BJP on the price front.”BJP is responsible for the unprecedented price rise in the country,” he said, adding, “inflation is at its peak. Nothing has been done for farmers and the youth”.He alleged that wherever Modi went for election campaign, he tried to create Hindu-Muslim divide for the sake of votes. Rahul also accused the Centre of meting out “step motherly” treatment to his constituency Amethi.He asked village heads to raise their voice against cancellation of food park and paper mill projects in Amethi and said Congress wanted all welfare schemes of the Centre and the state to be implemented through gram pradhans.He said that after 1989, governments were formed in Uttar Pradesh on caste and religious lines, due to which development took a backseat and the state became backward. “Congress will spring a surprise in the 2017 Assembly polls,” he added.

Political discourse becoming more vulgar: Arun Jaitley

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Jaitley is currently under attack from opposition over alleged involvment in the DDCA scam

Arun Jaitley

Amid frequent face offs between the government and opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said political discourse in the country has become “more vulgar”.”Though extremely popular to say, the anti-corruption law must be made more and more stringent and more and more unreasonable. That is the more popular way these days in politics, particularly when political discourse also tends to become more vulgar,” Jaitley, under fierce opposition attack over alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket body, said delivering the annual Intelligence Bureau lecture.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley’s comments came amidst the ongoing tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre over alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association where he was the president for about 13 years till 2013. Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad too alleged there were financial irregularities in the DDCA when Jaitley was at its helm.Jaitley has refuted the allegations and filed civil and criminal defamation cases against five AAP leaders, including Kejriwal. About “continuing mandamus”, Jaitley said the whole idea behind the move was to make sure that investigating agency does its job.”This process has gone on for two decades and you have cases of economic offences which are investigated by several agencies, state police, CBI and other agencies which requires an introspection and analytic view, a continuing mandamus alerts the investigation,” he said. Continuing Mandamus is a writ of Mandamus issued to a lower authority by the higher authority in general public interest asking the officer or the authority to perform its task expeditiously for an unstipulated period of time for preventing miscarriage of justice.The Finance Minister said there are not too many cases in which investigating agencies in a case involving continuing mandamus have ended investigation in favour of the accused. “The golden rule which most investigating agencies follow is that if a court is conducting a continuing mandamus, it is easier to file a charge sheet and let the court decide whether evidence exists or not,” he said.Therefore, Jaitley said, after 20 years of this experiment, a call has to be taken, including by the courts, whether the imbalance between a fair investigation and rights of the accused have been created by an institution of continuing mandamus.It is an instrument which can be used rarely in cases where there is reason to apprehend that an honest investigation is not being carried out. “To make continuing mandamus a regular practice, may have a tendency to create an imbalance in the criminal jurisprudence due to the reasoning adopted in the judgement of cases,” he said.

DDCA row: BJP MP Kirti Azad suspended from party

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He had targeted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Twitter.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday suspended MP Kirti Azad, who was in the line of fire for his tirade against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the alleged scams in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad, who has been raising the issue of corruption and irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Administration (DDCA), has been suspended from the party.Azad had targeted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Twitter. Taking to micro-blogging site on Monday night Kirti Azad tweeted, “I was visited at home by so many agencies to take precaution against threat to my life. Dear @arunjaitley darta nahin hoon napunsako se.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Azad later tweeted, claiming that his Twitter account was hacked and it was not his post. “My A/C is hacked. Statement on @arunjaitley as napunsak is not my tweet,” he said. The BJP had earlier said that action would be taken against Azad for embarrassing the party in connection with the alleged corruption prevailing in DDCA. “Party democracy doesn’t give you the right to slander and then get prodded by the opposition in Parliament. And then, you embarrass the government in Parliament. Through tweets, you provoke the leader and this entire episode amounts to gross indiscipline,” BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI. “It’s time for action. It is my feeling, because it’s not giving a good name to the party. Because, this indiscipline is not giving a good signal to the party cadre,” he added.

PM Modi ‘politically forced’ to support Arun Jaitley: Congress

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“If you want to read into the statement, it perhaps very clearly states that the Prime Minister may is forced politically to support Mr. Jaitley,” he added

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress Party on Wednesday said that the former is ‘politically forced’ to support Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is under the hammer for irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). “In the DDCA case some enquiries have been constituted. So we should all wait and let the enquiry come. It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister is making a statement like this. He never made a statement like this in the case of Sushma ji, Vasundhara Raje or Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you want to read into the statement, it perhaps very clearly states that the Prime Minister may is forced politically to support Mr. Jaitley,” he added. He asserted that there is a moral duty of the Finance Minister and it is up to him to take the call. Earlier, in a strong show of support for Jaitley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the former will come through “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the Opposition.

After Jailtley, Arvind Kejriwal calls for Narendra Modi’s resignation

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Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that the CBI raided his office to look for a note on the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). CBI has earlier denied that they had raided Kejriwal’s office.

Mounting a huge pressure on the top brass of BJP, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation a week after the CBI raided the Delhi secretariat.Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that the CBI raided his office to look for a note on the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). CBI has earlier denied that they had raided Kejriwal’s office.”I demand Prime Minister Modi’s resignation for the raid he ordered to save Arun Jaitley,” Kejriwal shouted to vigorous thumping of desks by other AAP members in the assembly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The memory of losing elections in Delhi still haunts the prime minister and his blood boils hearing my name,” Kejriwal said.Kejriwal also alleged in the 50 hours of interrogation that his secretary Rajendra Kumar had to go through in the last six days, Kumar was repeatedly asked about the DDCA’s file and which whistleblower from DDCA had come to meet Kejriwal.”I want to ask Modiji what did the CBI find out after interrogating Rajendra Kumar for so many hours?” he asked, adding that if Kumar is corrupt, he won’t be spared, but if he is honest, he will strongly stand by him. “He is being mentally tortured; his blood pressure has gone up,”said Kejriwal.Kejriwal also called for Jaitley’s resignation because of the alleged large scale financial irregularities reported during his tenure as its head, adding that if he is innocent, he should prove it to the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Delhi government. Jaitley had rubbished all allegations.A DDCA whistle blower used to meet me. That officer told me that there was a meeting of DDCA officials, where Jaitley had told them no not worry about SFIO as he will get it compounded.Kejriwal had accused Modi of constantly interfering in the functioning of the AAP government. “Earlier, he used to say he won’t take bribes and let anyone take bribes. Now it is like I won’t work and won’t let anyone work,”he thundered.He said he had urged Modi to let the AAP government work without interference but he did not agree. “When Modi is out travelling, things function smoothly in Delhi, when he is here, he keeps on interfering in Delhi government’s day-to-day functioning,”Kejriwal alleged.”The CBI said the chief minister was not raided. Only his principal secretary’s office was raided. But they they entered my office and kept on reading a DDCA file,” Kejriwal said. The AAP leader denied accusations that his party had earlier advocated independence for the CBI but had now they are abusing the investigating agency. “Even today we say that the CBI should be independent. And the day it becomes independent, it will not raid Rajendra Kumar… It will send a notice to Modi to ask where you got Rs.10 lakh to buy the suit,”Kejriwal said.The Delhi government also tabled a resolution to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Tabling the resolution, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said gross irregularities had taken place in the DDCA.

Congress, AAP making false allegations on Arun Jaitley to divert attention, says BJP

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Claiming that Arun Jaitley will come clean off the allegations made against him, BJP said, the mudslinging was just a tactic by Congress and AAP, to divert attention

Finance Minister Arun Jailtey

File Photo
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is a symbol of honesty and the Congress Party and the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) is trying to divert attention from their corruption cases by making false allegations against him in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) row.”Arun Jaitley is a honest minister. He is a symbol of transparency and honesty. The Congress party and the AAP are making false allegations on the BJP. Congress itself is involved in the National Herald case and is not able to digest the fact that the Government has got a mandate,”, said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Finance Minister Arun Jailtey will come out with flying colours in the DDCA row in a similar way as BJP veteran LK Advani was acquitted in the Jain Hawala case.Jaitley on Wednesday, filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders of AAP for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy before a Delhi court which took cognizance on his plea.Jaitley also filed a civil defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders.

DDCA row: AAP wants three weeks time to respond to Jaitley’s defamation suit

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“We have taken time, a very small time of just three weeks, to file the written statement, and the court has granted just two weeks time to Arun Jaitley to file the replication; that is a reply to our written statement,” he added.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday said that it has sought three weeks time from the Delhi High Court to respond to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley?s defamation suit with regard to accusations related to alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when the latter was its president.”Today, the suit filed by Arun Jaitley was listed for the first time in the court. All the defendants, including Kejriwal and other AAP leaders voluntarily appeared in the court, and we requested the court that the matter to be expedited,” senior lawyer HS Phoolka told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We have taken time, a very small time of just three weeks, to file the written statement, and the court has granted just two weeks time to Arun Jaitley to file the replication; that is a reply to our written statement,” he added.The court has fixed February 5 for the admission or denial of the admission of documents of both parties, Phoolka said.”This has been one of the fastest suits which have proceeded in the court, no suit has ever proceeded as fast as this” he added.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has filed a defamation suit in the Patiala House court against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders including Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpayee seeking damage (Rs 10 crore) for indulging in slander and baseless allegations against him.

I will conduct DDCA probe with a professional approach: Gopal Subramanium

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Subramanium said he would conduct the probe with a professional approach and charge Rs 1 for discharging his duties.

File photo

Former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium on Tuesday said he accepted Delhi Government’s request to head a Commission of Inquiry into affairs of DDCA as its purpose is “positive” and called Finance Minister Arun Jaitley a valued and distinguished colleague of his for almost 37 years.The Delhi Cabinet on Monday approved setting up of the one member Commission of Inquiry under Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which was headed by Jaitley for around 13 years till 2013.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I would accept the assignment on the understanding that the purpose of the Commission is positive in content and the Government should be benefited to take forward Cricket to better and higher levels .”It is only fair that I must mention that Shri Arun Jaitly whose name has figured in the news has been a valued and distinguished colleague of mine for almost 37 years,” Subramanium said in a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.He further said, “As I see that terms of reference are in relation to a larger public purpose, I would unhesitatingly accept the assignment.”Subramanium said he would conduct the probe with a professional approach and charge Rs 1 for discharging his duties.”I am a deeply interested cricket lover and wanted to be a full fledged cricket commentator on the Radio! “You may be assured of my professional approach to the terms of reference. I would , consistent with my standards in the past, charge Rs One for discharging my duties,” the noted lawyer said.The decision to form the Commission by Delhi government came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA under his watch.Around a month back, an AAP government-appointed probe committee recommended immediate suspension of DDCA by the BCCI for alleged irregularities including financial bungling.The Delhi Government panel had suggested that an interim committee of professional cricketers should manage affairs of the game in the capital.The committee had also recommended to the government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiries Act while mentioning about findings on DDCA’s alleged wrongdoings by various probe panels in the recent past including the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, yesterday had demanded an ED and DRI probe into the affairs of DDCA.

DDCA row: Ram Jethmalani to appear for Arvind Kejriwal in defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley

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“Ram Jethmalani will appear before court for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” a senior official of the Chief Minister’s office said. The official said Kejriwal will seek day-to-day hearing in the case.

Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani will represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the civil and criminal defamation suits filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.”Ram Jethmalani will appear before court for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” a senior official of the Chief Minister’s office told PTI. The official said Kejriwal will seek day-to-day hearing in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, a defiant Kejriwal asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party will not be scared by defamation suits against him and other AAP leaders by Jaitley and asked him to prove his innocence before the one-man Commission of Inquiry announced by Delhi Government to probe alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.The Chief Minister also slammed BJP for protecting the Finance Minister despite facing charges of alleged irregularities during his tenure as DDCA chief for around 13 years till 2013.”I would have taken resignation if there were so much evidence against any of my ministers as I had taken the resignation of Jitender Singh Tomar and Asim Khan. BJP is shamelessly defending Jaitley,” he said.The Chief Minister’s decision to brazen it out became clear last night itself as the other AAP leaders named by Jaitley in his defamation suit had stuck to their guns and continued to target the Finance Minister.”Setting aside his ministerial responsibilities, Jaitley ji is making the rounds of the courts. But we won’t let the matter get buried this time around. We will continue to hold him corrupt in DDCA affairs,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

DDCA row: Arun Jaitley files defamation case against Kejriwal, AAP leaders; seeks Rs 10 crore as damages

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The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed defamation case against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for accusing him of corruption in Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), which he headed for 13 years till 2013.

The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed defamation case against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for accusing him of corruption in Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), which he headed for 13 years till 2013.The BJP leader filed the defamation cases against AAP leaders at the Patliala House court.Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore damages from the AAP leaders for making “false” statements against him over alleged irregularities in DDCA. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports, the cases were filed against Kejriwal and four other AAP leaders including Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai.Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders have publicly been making allegations against Jaitley with regard to the DDCA affairs although some of the allegations have gone beyond that.Jaitley has accused them of issuing false and defamatory statements against him and his family members.He has also rubbished allegations against his family members, saying, “I have no family member who has even one paise interest in any form of business. Why should my family be part of a sports management business?Meanwhile, AAP is also set to file an FIR against Jaitley over alleged alleged financial bungling corruption in ​the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA)​BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in DDCA, had on Sunday addressed a press conference but did not take the name of Jaitley, under whose charge as president of DDCA he claimed there were financial bunglings.The footage also purportedly showed Jaitley defending the the DDCA office bearers who were being questioned by Azad on alleged financial bunglings.While on Monday morning, Azad dared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to file a defamation case against him.

Kirti Azad accuses DDCA of giving contracts to fake companies

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Addressing a press conference here at the press club, the former cricketer said, “I’m a big fan of our Prime Minister and his campaign against corruption.”

Kirti Azad

ANI
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad on Sunday said that he is a big fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his campaign against corruption while ‘exposing’ corruption inside DDCA. Addressing a press conference here at the press club, the former cricketer said, “I’m a big fan of our Prime Minister and his campaign against corruption.” Azad, who held a press conference to expose biggest corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) also said that his fight was not against any individual but it was against corruption.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later a video presentation was shown produced by Wikileaks4India (not related to Wikileaks founded by Julian Assange) . The video claimed that DDCA gave contract worth crores of rupees to fake companies. It alleged that DDCA hired laptop and printer for Rs 16,000 and Rs 3,000 respectively per day. The video said that addresses furnished by the companies remained untraceable. Azad alleged that DDCA members inflated price of tenders, executive meetings were not held before passing bills. The DDCA came under scrutiny after Azad had raised the issue of financial irregularities within the association. On a complaint filed by former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi and other cricketers, the Delhi Government had ordered a probe into the issue. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier hit out hard at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged corruption during his tenure as DDCA President.Addressing the media, AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh collectively stated, “The main objective of CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat and taking control of ACB was to prevent alleged graft in DDCA during Arun Jaitley’s tenure coming to light.”They added that the scam included siphoning off money by creating fake companies between 1999 and 2013. Facing allegations of corruption, under-fire former Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Arun Jaitley today got the backing of the two biggest stars to emerge from the state– Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Finance Minister Jaitley, who headed DDCA for 13 years till 2013, has been accused of corruption by the Delhi Government during his tenure. The state government has demanded that Jaitley must resign or be “removed” from the union cabinet to enable an independent probe.However, Gambhir and Sehwag came out strongly in support of Jaitley.”Grossly inappropriate 2 blame @arunjaitley ji 4 corruption in DDCA. He was d one who got Delhi a proper stadium widout taxpayer’s money. Appalling to note some ex-players blame @arunjaitley ji for all that’s wrong in DDCA. Whereas dey enjoyed plum posts in DDCA coz of him,” tweeted Gambhir.Sehwag, on his part, lauded Jaitley for being there for players. The swashbuckling batsman, who switched loyalties to Haryana from Delhi and retired from international cricket earlier this year, steered clear of making any political claim but lauded Jaitley’s role in helping players.With Agency inputs

Lokayukta should examine complaints against us before ACB or CBI: Delhi bureaucrats tell Kejriwal

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Disillusioned with the bitter state of affairs prevailing between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, and a nagging fear of getting victimised in the crossfire, a group of bureaucrats as part of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh -Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) IAS Officers Association met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday, requesting him to set up a mechanism for filtering complaints received against them.

Disillusioned with the bitter state of affairs prevailing between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, and a nagging fear of getting victimised in the crossfire, a group of bureaucrats as part of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh -Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) IAS Officers Association met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday, requesting him to set up a mechanism for filtering complaints received against them.Led by chief secretary KK Sharma, about 20 officers met Kejriwal, and asked him to put in place an institutional mechanism to sieve complaints received against them before forwarding them to the state anti-corruption branch (ACB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior officials present at the meeting informed that the officers suggested to the CM that a neutral institution such as the Lokayukta of Delhi should ideally look into the complaints first to see if they are malafide, bonafide or purely out of political vendetta and personal vindictiveness.Reva Khetrapal has recently taken charge as Delhi’s Lokayukta.The officials suggested that if not the state Lokayukta, the civil service board that was set up under the directions of the Supreme Court to look into officers’ transfers, or even the state vigilance department’s complaint handling authority should see the merit of the complaints first before forwarding them to the ACB.”Police officials have a tendency to register an FIR first. At times, there could be bonafide mistakes. To find a flaw in a policy decision and then treat it like a criminal complaint is unfair,” said an official, who was present at the meeting.The official said that while had most of the recent complaints registered against Delhi’s bureaucrats are likely to be a result of the political war between the state and the Centre, it should be ensured that officers should be spared of any unnecessary harassment.”We told the CM that if there is a political war between two parties, their MLAs and ministers should be attacked and not the officers. When an elected representative is blamed, everyone understands it is political. But when cases are registered against officials, it gives the world an impression that they are corrupt,” an official said, adding that it not only causes severe damage to their reputation, but also brings huge stress to them and their family.”Even before a conclusion is arrived at, people jump the gun and call the officer corrupt,”the official said.Another official said that lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung had earlier sent a directive that all complaints will have to be looked by the vigilance department first before being forwarded to the ACB.”However, in the current situation, the directive is not being followed and ACB is directly registering all complaints,” the official said.According to officials, since Delhi is not a state, setting up the institutional mechanism is the only option to protect bureaucrats from getting caught in the Delhi government-Centre war.According to sources, while Kejriwal told the officials that the Delhi government will support them if they are targeted, setting up an institutional mechanism will need the support of the Centre.”The CM said he can implement our suggestion, if the Centre agrees,” an official said.Since the ACB in Delhi is controlled by the Centre, the association will also meet the union home secretary and Jung next week with the suggestion.The move comes after the recent raids at secretary to Delhi Cm Rajendra Kumar’s office and home by the CBI and after a case was registered by the ACB against vigilance secretary Chetan B Sanghi, on old complaints.

Universities demand autonomy before accountability

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The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new.

As the government plans to fix accountability for universities in the New Education Policy (NEP), central and state level universities demand more autonomy for the universities before fixing accountability. In the North zone vice chancellors meet called by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in Delhi, academicians also raised concern over the rapid and unplanned expansion in the higher education sector.The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new. The universities hold the opinion that their autonomy should not be compromised in the quest for NEP. Making a reference to the government’s decision of introducing common syllabus across universities and painting them with the same brush, eminent legal scholar and former Delhi University VC Professor Upendra Baxi said, “Treating all universities as same violates the plural and the diverse character of the university system.” Baxi’s whose fight with the government over universities autonomy goes back to the time when late Arjun Singh was the HRD minister also added that if the government wants to make the universities accountable, it has to stop interfering with their autonomy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting that was attended by 70 VCs from central and state universities also raised concern over HRD ministry’s pace of expansion and making announcement for establishing new universities. It is expected by 2030 every one in four student will be a graduate from India. “We are not against expansion of higher education. But it has to be well thought and above political influences. Government has been making announcements and opening new universities. But these universities are lacking basic facilities,” said professor Ranbir Singh, vice chancellor of National Law University. Singh is also the president of the AIU.Singh also added that government’s endeavour to open universities at remote locations has been a failure since good teaching faculty does not want to relocate to these places. “Any teacher would want to relocate to a place where his children get a good school, his family gets adequate health care facilities and there is a smart lifestyle attached to the city,” says Singh.To link academia to industry, the house also proposed setting up a University-Industry Council. Absence of adequate sharing and coordination between the university and industry leads to shelving of the important research work.This was the fourth of the five regional meetings of the AIU to discuss the challenges of higher education. The association will submit its report to the HRD ministry after the fifth conference scheduled in Mumbai early next year.

DDCA spent crores on buying ‘free’ IPL tickets?

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Azad questioning Jaitley on ticketing mechanism, including that of international matches, revealed in documents accessed by dna

BJP MP Kirti Azad & Arun Jaitley

The day was April 21, 2013. Delhi Daredevils, playing on their home ground and chasing a target of 162 runs, had defeated Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets with 3 overs to spare, owing to a swashbuckling 95 runs off 55 balls by champion batsman Virender Sehwag. Sehwag, who had earlier lambasted the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) over its mismanagement and threatened to quit the state team, was however unaware of how the tickets for this match had been bought and sold by DDCA. Tickets for the match were purchased by DDCA from GMR Sports Pvt Ltd, the owners of the Delhi Daredevils franchise for double the price of what tickets for the same stands for other matches cost.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Documents, internal emails and audit reports in dna’s possession show that DDCA office-bearers, who stand accused of massive financial bunglings, were using the association’s funds to purchase tickets from GMR for various IPL matches held at Delhi despite being entitled to complimentary tickets. A tripartite agreement, a copy of which is with dna, states that DDCA was to be provided 15% of each category of tickets “free of charge” by GMR Sports Pvt Ltd. DDCA was entitled to 6,300 complimentary tickets from GMR for every match according to the contract. However, the functionaries of the association including its president Sneh Prakash Bansal, repeatedly asked GMR for tickets. The association’s funds were used to purchase the tickets. In an email on April 16, 2013, DDCA president SP Bansal wrote to P Phaneendra, the general manager of GMR Sports Pvt Ltd, “As per our telephonic talk, kindly give CK Bharadwaj all tickets on credit.” Bharadwaj was an employee of DDCA. Tickets were then sold by GMR to DDCA for three matches to be held at the Ferozeshah Kotla between April 18-23, 2013. On April 21, when Delhi Daredevils played Mumbai Indians, 1,560 tickets were sold to DDCA for a sum of Rs 20 lakh. A majority of these tickets were for the East Stand Second Floor and were sold for Rs 1,000 a piece. Around 60 tickets in the Old Clubhouse First Floor were sold for Rs 7,000 per ticket. Documents show that DDCA paid double the cost for the East Stand tickets for the Delhi-Mumbai match. The same ticket for the Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings match held a few days earlier on April 18 was purchased by DDCA from GMR at half the cost for Rs 500. On April 23, when Delhi played against Kings XI Punjab, the tickets were purchased for Rs 500. On May 7, 2013, TCA Jayant, a consultant with GMR Sports wrote to his colleagues asking for more tickets to be issued for the May 10 encounter between Delhi and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The email reads, “Please issue 10 Old Clubhouse tickets for Mr Bansal from DDCA.” A total of 2,200 tickets were sold to DDCA for the match for a sum of Rs 18 lakh. During the IPL 2013 season, the DDCA spent Rs 52 lakh for buying tickets for just four matches despite having also taken 25,000 complimentary tickets from GMR Sports. DDCA president SP Bansal did not respond to dna’s emails. HOW DDCA PAID GMR FOR THE TICKETS The trend of buying tickets by DDCA seemed to have continued for many years and this time the price paid by the association grew manifold. In an email on May 15, 2014 DDCA president Bansal wrote to GMR, “Äs discussed give instructions to deliver the following tickets on DDCA account on credit.” In the email, Bansal asked tickets for corporate boxes among other things. The tickets sought for by Bansal was for the match between Delhi and Kings XI Punjab held on May 19, 2014. Tickets were issued to Bansal with the West Side Corporate Box being sold at Rs 14,000 a ticket. DDCA also bought 10 tickets in the Super Hospitality Hill A box for Rs 21,000 a piece. For one match alone tickets worth Rs 20 lakh were bought on DDCA’s account by its president. While most of the tickets were being taken by BCCI functionaries on credit, GMR devised its own way billing DDCA for the same. In 2015, DDCA asked GMR Sports to pay Rs 1 crore as expenses for IPL 2014. In a letter dated July 21, 2015, Hemant Dua, the CEO of GMR Sports disputed DDCA’s claims. In the letter Dua told DDCA that GMR would be deducting Rs 22 lakh from the amount payable to DDCA for “tickets purchased for IPL 2014 authorised by the DDCA president.” Sunil Jain, a DDCA member says, “There was no need to buy tickets in the first place. Eventually, the money was deducted by GMR from DDCA’s dues. This caused loss of several crores over the years to the DDCA. No one knows what happened to the tickets that were bought.” GMR spokesperson defended the ticket sales, “Complimentary tickets given to DDCA were as per the contract. DDCA is also entitled to buy tickets whenever they have additional requirements over and above the complimentary tickets.” WHAT DID DDCA DO WITH THE TICKETS? Despite tickets worth several crores purchased by DDCA from GMR over many IPL seasons, no one knows what were the tickets used for. Sameer Bahadur of the NCT Cricket Association says, “Most of these tickets were sold in black by DDCA officials. Since none of them paid from it from their pockets, most ended up minting enormous money from its sale. Money was minted from tickets in every conceivable way.” In a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on September 13, 2015, BJP MP Kirti Azad raised the prospect of a ticketing scam not just involving the IPL but international matches as well. Azad pointed out that DDCA was earmarking thousands of tickets to be doled out for free and under-pricing the most coveted stands in the stadium to evade entertainment tax. In a direct attack on Jaitley, Azad wrote, “Ünderpricing tickets just to save entertainment tax was a great ploy to keep everyone happy. Even if it meant cheating the exchequer, you did not deem it proper to do a fair analysis of the entire costing process.” Emails accessed by dna point to possible diversion of coveted IPL tickets to bureaucrats and politicians. In an email on May 13, 2014 Bansal had demanded corporate box tickets costing several lakhs for the match between Delhi and Hyderabad Sunrisers. Curiously in the same email to GMR, Bansal wrote, “Älso send 4 to 5 car park for government officials.” ANOTHER IPL SCAM IN THE MAKING? A Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) report that was flashed by AAP to target Jaitley had also flagged dealings during the IPL between GMR and DDCA. The report observed that DDCA was incurring expenses in the IPL which should have been borne by GMR and that there were proprietary issues with most expenses incurred by DDCA. The SFIO also pointed out that DDCA had incurred several lakhs in expenses relating to security, tents, printing and tickets for VIPs. The report notes, “Vouchers have been generated for purchase of IPL tickets for staff. Whereas as per clause 2 of the agreement, GMR will provide complimentary tickets/passes to DDCA for external agencies, departments and VIPs.” DDCA replied to the Investigating Officer’s allegations by saying that it had paid GMR for the free tickets to ” to promote the game of cricket and maintain healthy relations with all parties.”

Delhi police draw flak in al Qaida case, families of accused claim innocence

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Time will tell: Special Cell on their part maintained that the matter was under investigation and more facts will be revealed with time

Mohamad Asif

Even though the Special Cell of Delhi police claimed that Mohamad Asif, an alleged operative of al Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), was given the responsibility of recruiting Indians, parents of the 41-year-old accused have come out in support of their son accusing the police of fabricating the case against him.Special Cell also received flak from Jamia Milia Islamia university after investigators had told dna that Asif had claimed he allegedly helped two youngsters (former Jamia students) to cross over to Af-Pak region, where they are currently fighting alongside al Qaida fighters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jamia management on Friday accused vested interests of giving a bad name to a ‘university which has been at the forefront of nation-building’. ” Several of our alumina have contributed greatly towards the development of our nation. It is preposterous that people have started raising fingers at a nationalist university from which thousands of students have proven to be instruments of change and progress,” said Dr Mukesh Ranjan, the media coordinator of Jamia. “Earlier this year some persons arrested for dacoity in Meerut told police were from Jamia. When we verified the same it turned out to be a fabrication,” Ranjan added.The cell on Thursday told dna that two boys, identified as Sharjeel and Rehan, from Sambhal and Delhi respectively, had joined al Qaida in 2013, as claimed by Asif during his custodial interrogation.Police had claimed Zaffar Maqsood, who was also arrested from Sambhal on charges of being part of the AQIS module, was Sharjeel’s uncle. Not only has Zaffar Maqsood’s wife, Intiqab Begum, denied that they have nephew by the name of Sharjeel, she also told dna that Zaffar was arrested by Special Cell when he had gone to attend a marriage function in Muradabad. Zaffar according to her, owns a private transport business and has four siblings who work in different parts of UP.The Special Cell on their part maintained that the matter was under investigation and more facts will be revealed with time. “Asif during his interrogation has told us that he had on multiple occasions spoken to the two youth about atrocities committed on Indian Muslims. This might have led to their radicalisation. We are trying to find more details about the two youth,”said a senior police officials of the Special Cell.He added that one of the youth, named Rehaan, belonged to Welcome area of Delhi. When local police was contacted to know more about the identity of Rehaan, officials said that they were not aware of anyone by that name gone missing since 2013. Special Cell had claimed that both Rehaan and Sharjeel were taken to North Waziristan in Pakistan via Iran by accused Asif.”The Special Cell has a notorious record of helping to stereotype a particular community and make them look suspicious in front of the world. Jamia students have been at the receiving end of the state police for decades now,” said Manisha Sethi of the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association. Her organisation had complied a report titled ‘Framed, Damned, Acquitted’, examines court documents and judgments 24 persons accused of terror related charges who were acquitted by court due to “fabricated” and “planted” evidence, procedural lapses and false cases.Receiving end “The Special Cell has a notorious record of helping to stereotype a particular community and make them look suspicious in front of the world. Jamia students have been at the receiving end of the state police for decades now,” said Manisha Sethi of the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association. Her organisation had complied a report titled ‘Framed, Damned, Acquitted’, examines court documents and judgments 24 persons accused of terror related charges who were acquitted by court due to “fabricated” and “planted” evidence, procedural lapses and false cases.

AAP v/s Jaitley: Smriti Irani slams AAP, says party running ‘blasphemous, preposterous’ campaign

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its allegations against Arun Jaitley, stating that the party was running a ‘blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria’.

Smriti Irani

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its allegations against Arun Jaitley, stating that the party was running a ‘blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria’.Slamming AAP, Irani said the report that AAP spokespersons had been citing on Thursday was not the result of an investigation by the party, but a report by the DDCA itself.”The BJP resolutely stands behind FM Arun Jaitley and condemns malicious attempt of AAP to deflect public attention from a corrupt officer,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier hit out at the Central government for not allowing a probe into the alleged Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) scam, and demanded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation. Related Read: AAP alleges corruption in Delhi cricket, demands Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignationAddressing a press conference at the Constitution Club, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas alleged that the main objective of CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat and taking control of ACB was to prevent alleged graft in DDCA during Arun Jaitley’s tenure coming to light.Meanwhile, Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Aam Aadmi Party Government has been exposed by the Transparency International, and is hence trying to slam Jaitley on the issue of an alleged scam in the Delhi District and Cricket Association (DDCA).The Centre has backed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying he won’t be resigning from his post, and added that there won’t be any Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe against him, after the Congress Party alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA during his tenure as president of that sports body.

Cricket is Arun Jaitley’s ‘private duty’, says Subramanian Swamy

Following a demand from the Congress for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign for his alleged role in a scam involving the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday said cricket is Jaitley’s private not public duty.

Following a demand from the Congress for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign for his alleged role in a scam involving the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday said cricket is Jaitley’s private not public duty.”It is a contempt of LS/RS for opposition to raise AJ’s DDCA alleged corruption in the two Houses since cricket is his private not public duty,” Swamy said in a tweet.Swamy further stressed on the fact that the issue is Jaitley’s personal matter and the party or the government has got nothing to do with it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Cricket is a not a part of our party. Only Jaitley can give answer on that. We do not need to intervene in this. Even Jaitley did not ask for support from us. I think it will be wrong to bring this issue up in Parliament. There’s a decorum and it should not be crossed,” he said.”How can they ask for resignation in the Parliament? They can demand for probe on it. Many a time, Kirti Azad has given statement on this. Jaitley should answer on this, we should not intervene in this. If they want his resignation, they can take to the roads and demand it. But there is no point asking for his resignation in the Parliament,” he added.The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has rejected the allegations of irregularities against Arun Jaitley, and said that such charges were absolutely rubbish.”Some allegations have been raised against the DDCA and it needs clarification as everyone is stating their point. First thing is allegation of irregularities on stadium construction. Stadium is made of Rs. 141 crores,” DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan told the press conference.Reacting to demands by the Congress Party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for his resignation, Jaitley said he could answer specific issue, but he could not answer “vague allegation” without any basis.”If they tell me what is the specific issue, I can answer it, but I can’t answer vague allegation without any basis,” he said.Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken, said “The DDCA irregularity is a very serious matter, and thus, serious examination should be done and serious action should be taken. The DDCA issue should not be diluted, and should not be marred into political controversy as grave irregularities have been committed.”Demanding Jaitley’s resignation, he said, “As long as Mr. Jaitley is the Finance Minister, and is the minister in-charge of corporate law affairs, how can you expect a fair trial to take place under his finance ministership?”Demanding his “resignation for a fair and impartial probe”, AAP Core Committee member Sanjay Singh told repoters: “Tomorrow (on Thursday), the AAP will divulge details of the DDCA irregularities, which will enable you to draw a complete picture of irregularities.”

DDCA rubbishes allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made by CM Arvind Kejriwal

Hours after Congress and AAP targeted Jaitley and demanded his resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013, DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan held a press conference to rebut all the allegations.

DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
The Delhi and District Cricket Association on Wednesday strongly refuted allegations of “gross financial irregularities” against Finance Minister and its former president Arun Jaitley, saying that such charges were “absolutely rubbish”.Hours after Congress and AAP targeted Jaitley and demanded his resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013, DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan held a press conference to rebut all the allegations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some allegations have been raised against DDCA and it needs clarification as everyone is stating their point. First thing is allegation of irregularities on stadium construction. Stadium is made of Rs 141 crore,” Chauhan said.”The reason for escalated costs was because capacity earlier was 26,000. But we demolished and then we renovated. It is recorded in ROC. It was given to EPIL, so I absolutely rubbish the charges,” he said.”I rubbish allegations against ex president (Jaitley). I would like to thank Jaitley ji for taking care of renovation and making this a state-of-the-art stadium,” he added.According to Chauhan, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) investigated the irregularities and nothing save a case of embezzlement was found.”Another irregularity was found and the case is sub judice. We organised a Test match for 5 days with 27,000 people on one day,” he said.”All tenders were carefully supervised during Test match. Another allegation of embezzlement against Bansal is after Jaitley left office in December 2013.”In a further escalation of the confrontation between the opposition party and the government, the Congress claimed that a committee constituted by Delhi government has found “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA during that period.On his part, Jaitley dismissed the allegations as “vague” and said he cannot answer them unless they are specific. He also attacked the AAP and its government of trying to “deflect” attention from the issue of corruption and “interference” in the probe.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Wednesday indicated that he proposed to order a Commission of Inquiry into the report of the committee set up by his government to go into the DDCA affairs, which implicated Jaitley.

ED conducts searches at Karti Chidambaram’s office

ED first conducted searches only at residences of those who are close to Karthi. But later, the team also raided Karti’s office in his presence.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted searches at former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram’s office. The matter relates to a case that ED is investigating foreign exchange violations by Advance Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd and Vasan Healthcare. ED first conducted searches only at residences of those who are close to Karthi. But later, the team also raided Karti’s office in his presence. A laptop recovered from his office has been taken under possession. ED South Zone is currently conducting the searches. The searches were reportedly conducted after Mohanan Rajesh, one of the directors of a company allegedly belonging to Karti, gave leads of important files present at the Office of Chess Global Advisory Services Pvt Ltd.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karti is a Tamil Nadu Congress leader. He is also the vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) and also the chairman of India’s only ATP tournament, the Chennai Open.

No certainty of justice even after 3 years of Nirbhaya case: Activists

Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.
File Photo
Reuters
On the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case, activists on Wednesday said that women continue to face violence in every sphere of life and that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change and not the severity of punishment.”In the three years since December 2012, women continue to face violence in every space they occupy, including their own homes, public transport and at workplaces. There have been many attacks on women and girls, some accompanied by huge media coverage, but most taking place away from the public glare,” Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We stand today in hope with millions across the country -and indeed, the world – that justice will prevail in all cases, including the December 2012 case, according to the prevailing laws of the land. We reiterate our demand for certainty of justice and not severity of punishment,” she added.Krishnan is signatory to a statement endorsed by 108 women activists, students and faculty from DU, JNU and Ambedkar university and progressive leaders, issued on the third anniversary of the December 16 gang-rape case today.”The government is using issue of violence against women to push through regressive policies like death penalty, or lowering the age of juvenile — even though the Justice Verma Committee carefully considered and rejected these measures as counter– productive and against the interests of victims of gender violence,” the statement said.”If we turn to cases filed under the new amendments to the law against sexual assault that were passed in the wake of the movement in December 2012, the scene is dismal. Be it the women in Muzaffarnagar, Bhagana or Bastar, or the women employees of Tehelka or TERI, they all await justice. The police and the judicial system, not to mention society, the media and political powers that rule at states or the Centre, have mostly worked to subvert the law. Worryingly, even as women who file cases under the laws enacted to protect women are feeling betrayed and vulnerable, a growing clamour brands the laws against gender-based violence as ‘draconian,’ ‘biased against men’,” the statement added.Six persons including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gang-rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.The Centre had earlier this week asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free.Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya. In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, are also marking the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

Mirwaiz Farooq welcomes decision to hold Indo-Pak talks

He said the Kashmir issue is accepted as a human and political issue at the international level

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday welcomed the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan on all issues including Kashmir, saying dialogue is the “most effective way” of resolution of contending issues.”Hurriyat has always stood for meaningful talks between the two countries and believes that dialogue is the most effective way of resolution of the contending issues,” he said. Addressing a seminar organised by the Jammu Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA) on International Human Rights Day here, the Mirwaiz urged the leadership of both the countries to involve the Kashmiri leadership in talks so that “a just, long-lasting and dignified solution to Kashmir dispute is arrived at while keeping the wishes and aspirations of the people in mind”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the Kashmir issue is accepted as a human and political issue at the international level. “Kashmir has a strong case at the international level and the international community realizes that the resolution of Kashmir is essential for a long-lasting peace in South Asia,” he said.Terming Kashmir as the core issue between India and Pakistan which had kept the two countries in a confrontation mode for the past over six decades, the Mirwaiz said other issues like Siachen and Sir Creek were the derivatives of this basic issue. Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan had yesterday announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.

Will UK’s healthcare services discriminate against Indians living there?

The UK government is preparing to introduce charges for non-EU national, including from countries like India, accessing doctor’s services in the country.

Narendra Modi and David Cameron

The UK government is preparing to introduce charges for non-EU national, including from countries like India, accessing doctor’s services in the country. It had been announced earlier this year that the government planned to charge for Accidents and Emergency (A&E) and ambulance care, but this has now been extended to some general practitioner (GP) services too. “We want to make sure that everyone makes a fair contribution to services, by extending charging to make sure visitors pay for the care they receive,” UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.”This government was the first to introduce tough measures to clamp down on migrants accessing the NHS and these changes will recover up to 500 million pounds per year to put back into frontline patient care,” he said.Under the proposals, refugees and asylum seekers would be exempt from charges, and no-one would be denied emergency care at the point of need, the government said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From April this year, non-European Union citizens settling in the UK for longer than six months are required to pay a “health surcharge” as part of their visa application which, according to the UK Department of Health, has already produced 100 million pounds in savings.The new proposed changes, expected to be enforced at the end of the consultation period in March 2016, would also see such patients charged for GP services such as blood tests, lung function tests, prescriptions, dental treatment and physiotherapy. They would also have to pay for care received by paramedics, ambulance transport costs, and A&E services such as X-rays, setting broken bones, treating wounds, draining fluids and, when needed, intensive care.The British Medical Association (BMA) has previously said doctors are meant to treat patients and “not to act as border guards”. “A doctor’s duty is to treat the patient in front of them, not to act as border guards. Any plans to charge migrants and short-term visitors need to be practical, economic and efficient,” a BMA spokesperson said.Visitors from EU countries must present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when using the NHS, so that the cost of their healthcare can be recouped from their government. PTI AK NSA

Airlines flight rates skyrocket due to Chennai floods

AFP
With the Chennai rains creating havoc in the Tamil Nadu capital, private air carriers have increased the air fare rates manifold. A round-trip ticket between Delhi to Bangalore, which is the closest major airport to Chennai and is now attracting a heavy influx of air traffic, now ranges anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.As the Chennai airport has been shut down due to the floods since November 30, passengers are opting for flights to Bangalore.A round-trip flight ticket between Delhi and Bangalore on GoAir ranges between Rs 34,000 to Rs 42,000. In Jet Airways, in the same sector, the flights cost anywhere between Rs 46,000 to Rs 75,000. Spice Jet flights in the same sector are between Rs 41,000 to Rs 56,000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chennai airport will resume operations today. It must be added that on ThursdayJet Airways announced that they will fully refund for cancelled tickets, and rescheduling of confirmed tickets will be free of charge on flights between December 1 and December 8, operating from Chennai.In August this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his concerns over the recent hikes in airfares, saying that a layperson will not be able to book tickets during an emergency. He held a meeting with aviation ministry officials and sought to address the issue of predatory pricing. “Airlines need to reduce fares and not hike them particularly when it comes to emergency travel like in medical emergency,” minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma had said then.It must also be added that early last month the Delhi government levied a 5% hike on the value added tax on jet fuel. After the hike, which became effective November 17, a kilolitre of jet fuel now costs Rs 44,846 per kilolitre, with a hike of Rs 1,795. Sudhakar Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) said that this rampant cheating of the public must be addressed.“There are sectors where the hike is above 300%. The airlines must not overcharge passengers during an emergency. One understands hikes during festivals, but during a natural calamity this is rampant cheating,” he said. A few private airlines I have spoken to have cited usual last moment hikes, which is not the case,” says Reddy.He said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is toothless in its demeanor and must act as an effective watchdog. Repeated attempts to get i touch with several officials at DGCA went in vain.

Costly ‘cleaner’ coal fights for space in emissions debate | Reuters

NEW DELHI/TOKYO The global coal industry is trumpeting “cleaner coal” technology to fight bubbling competition from renewable energy, but the high costs of greener plants are proving a major obstacle in selling them to power-hungry countries such as India.

The challenges are highlighted by the experience of Japan – despite a concerted push by Tokyo to take a lead in exporting the technology, only 7 percent of the power stations built or planned since 2010 with funds from Tokyo’s export credit agency were of the most energy-efficient type, according to data from a group of NGOs.

With world leaders due to meet in Paris from Monday to try to agree a deal to tackle climate change, the World Coal Association (WCA) is touting the use of very hot steam under extreme pressure to raise a power plant’s efficiency, which it says can cut the greenhouse gases emitted from burning coal by up to 30 percent.

For companies such as Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, a joint venture between Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, and the merged power business of General Electric and Alstom, Asia offers the best opportunities, as Europe and North America switch to cleaner sources of energy.

India should be one of the most promising markets – already the world’s third-biggest consumer, it is ramping up domestic production as it plans to more than double coal output to an annual 1.5 billion tonnes by the end of this decade.

More efficient use of its coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, could help New Delhi address accusations the world’s third biggest emitter of carbon dioxide is not doing enough to slow its greenhouse gas growth.

“Expanding efficient coal consumption will help address India’s energy trilemma of meeting demand, reducing energy poverty and actively participating in climate change commitments,” WCA CEO Benjamin Sporton said.

FOREIGN MONEY

India says foreign money and technology are crucial for the success of its climate change commitments, particularly as it is expected to almost triple its installed coal power capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2040.

There was a boost last week for exporters of high-end cleaner coal technology, when the OECD agreed to exempt the most energy efficient “ultra-supercritical” (USC) power plants from new restrictions on subsidies for exports.

That was a victory for Japan, whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has consistently touted cleaner coal technology as part of a push to triple infrastructure exports to about 30 trillion yen ($244 billion) by 2020 to help boost an anaemic economy.

Japan has been at the forefront of the development of the technology as it tries to manage the competing demands of cutting greenhouse gas emissions while burning coal at record levels after the Fukushima disaster shattered public confidence in the safety of nuclear power.

But Tokyo’s push to sell USC power plants overseas has a long way to go.

Of 23 coal stations funded since 2003 by Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the biggest public financer of coal stations after China, only one used USC technology, according to a study by Japanese NGOs JACSES, Kiko Network and international groups including the Sierra Club.

Using more recent figures to account for the emergence of USC technology, only 7 percent of JBIC funded stations were of that type, the study said.

A JBIC official said the number of USC deals was expected to rise in coming years.

Hirosuke Tai, an analyst at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo, said Japanese companies would need to cut costs to make USC more competitive, but added their technological lead would be an advantage if higher global environmental standards were agreed.

“Tighter regulations may bring more opportunities for Japanese companies,” he said.

CHEAPEST OPTION

USC plants can cost up to 40 percent more than conventional units, the WCA acknowledges, while many international lenders are turning their backs on financing new coal projects in favour of gas and renewable energy, where prices are falling fast.

Solar power prices in India, around 15 percent more expensive than coal today on a levelised basis, are expected to drop to about 10 percent below coal power prices by 2020 when all liftime costs are included, according to consultancy KPMG.

Even while coal remains cheaper, slumping prices – the cost of coal has fallen to multi-year lows as supply outpaces demand – are also eroding the cost benefits of more efficient plants.

And in emerging markets such as India, where many consumers regard cheap power as a right, producers still mostly go for the cheaper option.

GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd, which is developing a 540 megawatt coal-based plant in northwestern Punjab state, chose to use older sub-critical technology for that reason, said Chief Financial Officer Issac George.

The company would consider more efficient technologies for future plants, but George said that it depended on whether life-cycle costs came down significantly given the higher upfront capital outlay.

“If the government would give some sort of subsidy to reduce the capital cost… That’s how we can finance green technology,” George said.”

India’s largest power producer, state-run NTPC, runs more than 90 percent of its 34,400 MW of coal capacity on sub-critical technology, but most of its newer plants will be built using more up-to-date systems, the company said.

Some firms, such as Tata Power and Adani Power Ltd, which runs one of India’s largest coal plants, have installed mid-range super-critical generating units, but across India more than two-thirds of the power plants built since 2010 use sub-critical technology.

Asok Dasgupta, president of the Independent Power Producers Association of India, agreed more help was needed to push cleaner coal.

“Are you going to support the environmental guys or are you going to support power plants?” Dasgupta. “You will have to support both.”

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Tommy Wilkes in New Delhi and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Alex Richardson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Bar bribery scam: LDF holds protest in Kerala Assembly

Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

LDF protests in Kerala Assembly

ANI
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) staged a protest in the Kerala Assembly on Monday demanding the resignation of Excise Minister K. Babu for his alleged involvement in the bar bribery scam.There was a proposal to hike the bar license fee to Rs. 25 lakh but the fee was fixed at Rs. 23 lakh in a meeting chaired by Babu. Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

Lawyers should not go on strike: Supreme Court

The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers.

The Supreme Court on Friday said lawyers should not go on strike or give calls to boycott courts, while allowing a months time to the Bar bodies to convene a meeting to solve the problem “once and for all”. “My view is that the lawyers should not go on strike,” a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra said, adding that it’s like “Brahmastra” (weapon created by Brahma) one should use it in a difficult situation, but now a days this is being used frequently.The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers. “This is a very serious problem, it needs to worked out,” the bench said. The court’s oral observation was made during hearing of a PIL by NGO Common Cause through advocate Prashant Bhushan, which has approached the apex court against the recent strike of lawyers in the Delhi High Court and District Courts on the issue of pecuniary jurisdiction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the Bar, said “not to work is also a constitutional right…”. He, however, said that we can sit down in the family of lawyers and decide the issue. Responding to this, the bench said that in a months time meeting of the important sections of the Bar Associations be called to see if problem can be sorted out once and for all.The court also directed Chairman of Coordination Committee of District Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Association and Bar Council of India to reply to the notices issued to them as to why action for contempt of court should not be taken against them for willful violation of the constitution bench judgement.

Kerala: Govt orders restriction on employees’ creative works; does a re-think

On November 11, the Kerala government had issued an order that all state employees have to get first get permission and submit an affidavit that their creative work is not meant for profit before they pursue it. Once they get approval, they could go ahead.

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy

On November 11, the Kerala government had issued an order that all state employees have to get first get permission and submit an affidavit that their creative work is not meant for profit before they pursue it. Once they get approval, they could go ahead.This was applicable to “literary, creative, academic and cultural activities” and even appearing on TV talk shows. There were widespread protests against this order and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has now asked the state secretary to look into the matter. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to a report in The Indian Express, this order was related to Section 48 of Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules which allowed them to pursue creative activities with prior permission.However, since many employees were doing it without permission, this new order was passed states the report. The daily quoted CPM-affiliated Kerala Secretariat Employees Association general secretary M S Bijukuttan as saying, “We would strongly object to any move to curtail the literary and cultural activities of employees.”V S Achuthanandan, the Opposition leader, was quoted as saying that the order showed the ‘Fascist face’ of the state government. However, state Public Relations Minister K C Joseph has clarified that state employees could engage in “literary activities within the confines of service rules.”

India to host 18-nation mega Army joint exercise with ASEAN members and dialogue partners

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.

In what is slated to be the first-of-its-kind in scale, the Indian Army will hold a joint military exercise next year with 17 nations that include all the 10 member nations of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners — including India — of the regional strategic groupSenior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.The Field Training Exercise (FTX-2016) will be a week-long engagement among the armies of the 18 nations over coordination, primarily on de-mining, and the entire activity will be a part of the larger roadmap of military humanitarian understanding in the years to come between India and ASEAN members and affiliates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand are ASEAN member nations.Officials said that the dialogue partners apart from India, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, are being coordinated with over their participation.The army’s mega-exercise will follow a grand Naval exercise in February next, at Vishakapatnam, where close to 50 country’s navies will come together for a five-day-long display of prowess and maritime capabilities.The Indian Army, has recently concluded a joint ‘hand-in-hand’ exercise with the Chinese army at China’s Kunming Military Academy and a two-week-long joint training in counter-terrorism operations with the Russian army at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

Bar bribery scandal: Kerala HC disapproves of CM Chandy’s defence of KM Mani, to decide on transferring case to CBI

The court also posed a question on whether justice can be meted out if investigation is conducted by the Vigilance Department which is controlled by the state government.

“Chief Minister and others said no offence has been committed by the accused. If that is the view, can a subordinate authority investigate the case honestly,” Justice B Sudheendra Kumar said in oral observation

Kerala High Court on Saturday issued notice to former state Finance Minister KM Mani and others including Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director on whether the probe in bar bribery case should be handed over to CBI or any other agency even as it expressed displeasure over Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s remarks defending Mani. “Chief Minister and others said no offence has been committed by the accused. If that is the view, can a subordinate authority investigate the case honestly,” Justice B Sudheendra Kumar said in oral observations after admitting a revision petition filed by Sunny Mathew from Thodupuzha contesting the order of Vigilance Court, Thiruvananthapuram, for further probe into the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The High Court called for all records of the case from the Vigilance Court, Thiruvananthapuram. “In my view, this should be investigated by some other agency,” Justice Kumar said. “Can you expect justice if the investigation is conducted by this agency (Vigilance Bureau),” he said. The court, which also issued notice to the state government and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V S Achuthanandan in this regard, will decide the matter on December 2.During the consideration of the case, the High Court cautioned that if the authorities concerned make any comments on the merits of the case, they will be held responsible. It directed the investigation officials and superior authorities to show restraint while expressing anything on the merit of the case. The court said if comments are already made, they can submit affidavit explaining the circumstances. It orally observed that the case should be investigated by some other agencies as it has duty to see that public repose confidence on the investigation.The court also posed a question on whether justice can be meted out if investigation is conducted by the Vigilance Department which is controlled by the state government.On November 10, Mani, against whom an FIR had been registered in the bar bribery case, had resigned, a day after the High Court upheld a further probe into the case. He said his party would continue to support Chandy and ruling United Democratic Front. The case pertains to charges levelled by working president of Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners Association, Biju Ramesh, who had alleged in October 2014 that Mani had demanded Rs five crore as bribe from the Association and accepted Rs one crore for renewal of licenses of over 400 Indian made foreign liquor bars.

Supreme Court asks Centre, Gujarat whether birds have a right to fly

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.

Do birds enjoy a fundamental right to fly and not be kept in cages? The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre and the Gujarat government on pet lovers’ plea against a high court order for releasing 494 birds. The high court (HC) had said that the birds have a right to fly in the open sky. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Appearing for the association, senior advocate Salman Khurshid submitted that there are already laws in place to protect birds which can be domesticated. He said that the HC order that they have the fundamental right to fly is a “flawed one” and required to be struck down. The HC, in 2011, had held that the birds cannot be caged as they have the right to fly. The HC ordered the release of 494 birds and said that their confinement was a violation of their right to live freely. The HC ordered the release of not only birds like parrots, doves, pigeons and love birds, but also animals like rabbits and dogs. Earlier, the SC court had refused to entertain an appeal against the HC order on grounds of delay and had suggested to Khurshid to file a PIL instead. The HC had passed the order while dealing with a bunch of petitions by bird sellers of Surat, demanding custody of their caged birds, which were confiscated by the police under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and under Section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The HC had ordered the release of these birds and animals seized from Abdul Kadar Sheikh and others, and placed them with an NGO, running shelter for birds and animals. Taking the bird sellers to task, the court said that, prima facie, an offence of atrocity on birds and animals was made out against the bird sellers. “The only order which can be passed in such circumstances would be to set the birds free, and, if such an order is passed, it would be respecting the rights of birds,” the HC said in its order.

Relief to Ansal brothers in Uphaar fire case, SC declines plea challenging HC order

New Delhi: In a relief to real estate giants Ansal brothers — Sushil and Gopal, the Supreme Court on Friday declined a plea challenging the Delhi High Court order quashing the criminal proceedings against them for allegedly threatening the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy and her husband.

Uphaar cinema. Image courtesy: Reuters

Uphaar cinema. Image courtesy: Reuters

Declining to entertain the plea by Neelam Krishnamoorthy and upholding the Delhi High Court order quashing the summons against Ansals, the apex court bench comprising Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said: “We don’t find substance in the case.”

The high court while quashing the summons against Ansals had allowed proceedings against their two employees Deepak Kathpalia and Praveen Sharma.

Neelam Krishnamoorthy had contended that she and her husband were allegedly threatened by Kathpalia and Sharma while they were inside Patiala House court premises on May 10, 2007.

The trial court on 19 June, 2007, took cognizance against Ansal brothers and their employees Kathpalia and Sharma and issued summons against the four.

The trial court proceedings were stayed by the high court on 30 July, 2007 and the high court on 14 July, 2015, while allowing the prosecution of Kathpalia and Sharma, had quashed the summons against Ansal brothers.

The high court had held that Kathpalia and Sharma would be put on trial under section 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

IANS

Chennai rains: Citizens come to the rescue of rain-affected people

From making and distributing food and clothes to helping rescue people, they are doing everything they can along with NGOs and individually.

Rescue workers on a boat move people to safety amidst water-logged houses in a flooded suburb of Chennai

AFP
Despite the rains throwing normal life out of gear, many people in Chennai have been busy over the last few days. Instead of sitting at home and waiting for the rains to subside, several people decided to venture out and help those in need. From making and distributing food and clothes to helping in rescue efforts, citizens have been doing everything they can along with NGOs as well as individually.Also Read – Chennai: Firemen rescue over 5000 people in waterlogged areas<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NGO Eco-Kitchen along with the Rajasathan Youth Association and Chennai Food Bank has been instrumental in making and distributing food to residents who have been affected by waterlogging and floods. Eco-Kitchen has subsidised their food rates extensively to help out. The Rajasthan Youth Association has distributed more than 15000 packets of food (in bulk) across the city over the last few days. RCC Magnum (affiliated to the Rajasthan Cosmo Club) has also distributed around 4000 bulk packets of food in the city over the last few days. Some of the areas these groups have gone to are Perungalathur, Ennore and Chemmenssery. Also Read – Chennai: Post rains, fear of diseases and infections in the city Sri Arunodayam is another organisation that has preparing food for nearly 700 people on a daily basis and distributing it since Saturday. But waterlogging and lack of provisions has hampered their operations now. Chennai Volunteers is also involved in helping people. Some of their volunteers have been visiting slums to figure out what is required so that they can be collected and given to them. AID India is also involved in distributing food and other relief items. Also Read – Chennai: Schools to remain shut for another two days due to waterloggingThere have also been many volunteers from companies who have pooled together money to buy food in bulk and distribute it. Volunteers from Tata Consultancy Services pooled in money to buy food and distribute it in areas like Chetpet. If you wish to contribute, contact:Udhavum Ullangal Public charitable Trust, 77, First Main Road, CIT Nagar, NandanamChennai Volunteers, 49, Eldams Road, AlwarpetAID India office at 45, Pycrofts First Street, RoyapettahIyyappan Subramaniam, Sri Arunodayam Trust, 35, Sivananda Nagar, Kolathur, near Arya Bhavan Hotel – Mob: 9444915803

Naga newspapers protest against Assam Rifles with blank front pages

English dailies Morung Express, Eastern Mirror and Nagaland Page and vernacular papers Capi Daily (in Angami dialect) and Tir Yimyim (in Ao dialect) were published with their editorial spaces blank yesterday as a mark of protest.

Vibi Yhokha’s Facebook Page
Five newspapers in Nagaland were published with their editorial spaces blank to protest what they termed an effort by the Assam Rifles to suppress freedom of the media in the state. The Nagaland Press Association (NPA), a conglomerate of journalists and non-journalists, also extended support to the editors in their protest against the para-military force. English dailies Morung Express, Eastern Mirror and Nagaland Page and vernacular papers Capi Daily (in Angami dialect) and Tir Yimyim (in Ao dialect) were published with their editorial spaces blank yesterday as a mark of protest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
The Nagaland Post, meanwhile, carried an editorial opposing the Assam Rifles’ diktat. They were protesting against a letter purportedly sent by the Assam Rifles to the editors of all local dailies on October 24. The letter allegedly warned newspapers against carrying statements made by militant groups, specifically the NSCN(K), reminding them that the outfit had been declared an “unlawful association” by the Union Home Ministry. “Any article which projects the demands of NSCN(K) and gives it publicity is a violation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1957, and should not be published by your newspaper,” the letter had said. The NSCN(K) had abrogated the 14-year-old ceasefire with the Centre in April. Meanwhile, Nagaland Press Association president K Temjen Jamir today said, “The Assam Rifles is not here to govern, but only to perform their assigned duty. They are supposed to maintain peace and as media persons we are also trying to promote peace. We must work together,” he said. Apex students body in the state, Naga Students’ Federation also condemned the “malicious effort” of the Assam Rifles to curtail the freedom of press.

VIDEO: Breakdown firm enters Indian market

Cashing-in on India’s growing car ownership, the Automobile Association has gone into partnership with Indian recovery service TVS.

30-year-old woman gangraped in Bengaluru in Cubbon Park area

The Bengaluru police have detained two security guards in connection with the gang rape.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
A 30-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped in the heart of Bengaluru, inside the Cubbon Park area om Wednesday night, reports Newsminute.According to initial reports, the woman, who is from Tumkur, had gone to the Cubbon Park area to get a membership with the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association. The Bengaluru police have detained two security guards in connection with the gang rape. A case has been filed at Cubbon Park police station.

Technology comes to the aid of famed Kashmiri apples

Jammu and Kashmir government is starting a trial test of a US patented technology to increase the shelf life of the apples in the non-controlled room temperature environment.

Imagine Kashmiri apple with an American twist!Jammu and Kashmir government is starting a trial test of a US patented technology to increase the shelf life of the apples in the non-controlled room temperature environment.Known as 1-MCP (Methylcyclopropene), the low-cost high-result technology, is used in the US and Europe to maintain the freshness of the fruits for longer periods.Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST) has been entrusted with the job of conducting the trial tests to find out how useful 1-MCP will be in prolonging the shelf life of fruit, particularly apples, in Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Before we implement this technology, we need to see its ramifications through research,” said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Official figures reveal that of the total 16.5 lakh metric tonnes of apples produced in the state, only 35 per cent are of the export quality. In comparison, Europe exports nearly 80 per cent of its total apple produce.Use of I-MCP (Methylcyclopropene) is expected to give the fledgling fruit and vegetable industries of Jammu and Kashmir an opportunity to deliver consistently the high quality produce safely to the markets.Jammu and Kashmir is targeting to transform its Rs.3000 crore apple industry into a whopping Rs.15000 crore business over the next five years by rejuvenating orchards and adopting the high-density plantations.Experts say that the ambitious target could only be possible by using the benchmark technologies that ensure freshness of fruit once it reaches the retail markets.Prof Nazir Mir, a Kashmir-born scientist working in Rutgers University, New Jersey, who has done a pioneering research in 1-MCP, said given the volume of production, this technology is going to be very cost-effective.Jammu and Kashmir government said the technology, which is regulated by Environmental Protection Agency of the US, can only be allowed to be used after the registration with the owners of the patent.”New technology is a useful proposition which provides insulation to fruit against high temperatures”, said Mufti.Fruit growers have gone gaga over the government’s decision to implement the technology in Jammu and Kashmir after trials.”Our profits will soar by 30 per cent annually if this technology is put to use. Currently, the shelf life of apple in normal conditions is one to two months. Its life enhances to three to four months in cold storage. If we use the new technology, we can increase the shelf life of fruits considerably”, said Basheer Ahmad Basheer, president New Fruit Association, Kashmir.

Karnataka: BJP to boycott ‘fanatic’ Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary celebrations

Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, who was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company.

Tipu Sultan was a “fanatic” and “anti-Kannada”, said BJP

The Opposition BJP has announced the boycott of Karnataka government’s birth anniversary celebrations of the 18th century legendary king Tipu Sultan tomorrow, stating that the king was a “religious bigot”. “It’s a total boycott on our part, no public representative from our party at any level should participate in the official function,” state BJP President Prahlad Joshi said. Describing Tipu Sultan as a “fanatic” and “anti-Kannada”, he said, “….we have 44 legislators, and it is a practice that wherever such events are organised local legislator presides over it. We have instructed our legislators that they should not preside over this event, they should not go on the dais.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As the party state President, I’m giving this instruction to all our party public representatives through the media. We will also be sending this instruction through all our district presidents and zonal office bearers,” he told reporters at Hubballi in north Karnataka. Several organisations and individuals have opposed the state government’s move to celebrate ‘Tipu Sultan Jayanti’ on November 10, with a few threatening to disrupt the first-ever such government celebration. Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, who was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna against the British forces.Once again defending his government’s decision to organise ‘Tipu Jayanti’, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said RSS and “other communal forces” were opposing it. Speaking to reporters here, he said, “Tipu is a patriot, he fought against the British, in a sense freedom struggle began from three Mysore wars, he lost his life during the battle, and he had even pledged his son to British.” “RSS is unnecessarily trying to defame him, we will celebrate his Jayanti,” Siddaramaiah added.Recently Vishwesha Theertha Swami of Pejawar Mutt in Udupi had opposed government’s decision to celebrate Tipu’s birth anniversary, calling him a “controversial person”. Mangaluru United Christian Association had also protested against Tipu Jayanti celebration, alleging he was responsible for destruction of many churches in the coastal region and harassment to Christians during his rule.

West Bengal bids a teary adieu to ex- speaker Hashim Abdul Halim

West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury condoled the death of Halim who had the distinction of being the longest-serving Speaker in the country

Hashim Abdul Halim

Zee 24 Ghanta
Former West Bengal Assembly Speaker and CPI-M veteran Hashim Abdul Halim died on Monday after a cardiac arrest at a city nursing home, his family members said.He was 80 and is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter. West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury condoled the death of Halim who had the distinction of being the longest-serving Speaker in the country. Halim held the Speaker’s post in the state Assembly from 1982 to 2011 during the Left Front rule He had been suffering from cardiac problems for the last few years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Halim complained of chest pain after returning from a morning walk and was immediately shifted to a nursing home where he breathed his last at 10.10 am, his son Fuad said. West Bengal governor K N Tripathi in his condolence message recalled his long association with him. “I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Hasim Abdul Halim, a leader of the democratic movement and former Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. He was my friend, having worked together in several commonwealth parliamentary Association conferences. His death is a personal loss to me,” Tripathi said.Leaders cutting across political lines condoled Halim’s death and remembered him as a gentleman whose death, they said, created a vacuum in parliamentary democracy. Present West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee also paid his condolence to the veteran. Halim had also served as the chairman of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and president of World Federation of United Nations Association.CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury in a series of tweets said, “Lal Salaam…Comrade Hasim Abdul Halim. Served longest as Speaker of West Bengal Assembly. Remained strong pillar of support in maintaining communal harmony.” In another tweet, Yechury said, “Steered with statesmanship, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as Chairman of its executive committee.”Senior Congress leader Manas Bhunia said Halim had created an example of how a speaker should perform rising above the party line. Halim was elected as a CPI-M MLA for the first time in 1977, when the CPI(M) led Left Front came to power. He was elected to the state Assembly for seven consecutive terms till 2011. He also served as Judicial Affairs minister from 1977 to 1982, the year when he was elected the Speaker. His body was laid to rest on Tuesday. Thousands of people cutting across political lineage paid their last respects to Halim in the state Assembly building. Many fondly remembered how Halim reached out to people from all walk of life during his long stint as Speaker.

Supreme Court calls for suggestions on collegium system

The court put the responsibility on senior advocate Arvind Dattar (petitioner lawyer) and government’s counsel additional solicitor general (ASG) Pinky Anand to compile suggestions.

After receiving diverse suggestions from various quarters on the improvement of the collegium system, the supreme court on Tuesday said that “there can’t be wholesale change” in the system for the appointment of judges for high courts and supreme court. It asked parties involved to respond by Thursday on four points– transparency, minimum eligibility criteria, need for secretariat (office) and how to deal with complaints that come against prospective appointments.Commencing the hearing on reform in the collegium system, a constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said that the response the court had received was “tremendous” and “diverse in nature” after its October 16 verdict, which quashed the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “There are so many suggestions. They are so diverse in nature that we don’t know how to proceed in the matter. The diversity is tremendous, unimaginable…..It would be better if someone from both sides (petitioners who challenged the NJAC and the government) compiles these suggestions for us. The good minds may sit together and can come out with something final,” the bench said. The court put the responsibility on senior advocate Arvind Dattar (petitioner lawyer) and government’s counsel additional solicitor general (ASG) Pinky Anand to compile suggestions. Appearing for the Centre, attorney general (AG) Mukul Rohatgi emphasised on the need for greater transparency and accountability of the collegium system. Rohatgi argued for selection and rejection of candidature and also criteria for appointments and urged the bench put them in the public domain. However, he suggested different criteria for high courts as all 29 high courts are not at the same footing. The high courts in metros are different from other high courts. “You can’t compare apples and oranges…,”the AG said. Senior advocate Fali Nariman, on behalf of petitioner Advocate-on-record Association suggested that the secretariat for the collegium is functional all the time. “It would announce vacancies available. The secretariat will publish vacancies on its website…,” he said. The court took several suggestions of All India Bar Associations, Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association, which recommended the adequate representation of women lawyers from the bar to the bench. Noted advocates KK Venugopal, Anil Divan, Rajeev Dhawan, Arvind Dattar and Gopal Subramaniam have also asked for suggestions.

Awards Wapasi: Noted historian Shekhar Pathak from Uttarakhand returns Padma Shri

A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007.

A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007. (mussooriewriters.com)

Noted historian from Uttarakhand Shekhar Pathak on Monday announced his decision to return Padma Shri in protest against what they call the “atmosphere of growing intolerance” in the country. He is the second eminent personality from Uttarakhand to return his award after noted writer Nayantara Sahgal. Announcing the decision at the ongoing 4th Nainital Film Festival which got underway in the tourist town today, Pathak said his move was in “protest against the atmosphere of growing intolernace in the country and the neglect of the Himalayan region”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said being the son of the Himalayas returning the award was also his way of registering his protest against the “loot” of its resources. A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007. Also known for his concern for the environment, he founded “People’s Association for Himalaya Area Research (PAHAR), a Nainital-based a non-profit organization for research on Himalayan people, established in 1983. He also edits an annual journal published by it.In 2007, he took up a three-year project to study the Himalayan people along with Magsaysay Award winner, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, traversing the Himalayas, from Leh to Arunachal.

SC grants relief to Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma in land allotment case

New Delhi: In a relief to Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction to CBI to challenge the 2010 acquittal of the BJP leader in a 1997 case relating to allotment of land to his Kailash Hospital at Noida.

“We are sorry,” a bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said.

Mahesh Sharma. PTI

Mahesh Sharma. PTI

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who has been associated as amicus curiae with the 1997 PIL relating to land allotments made in Noida, raised the issue of “locus standi” and said that this issue now cannot be raised.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Neera Yadav has been facing various court cases relating to allotment of plots to persons as head of the Noida’s Development Authority.

One of the cases pertained to allotment of land to Kailash Hospital in Noida and Sharma, now a Minister in the NDA government, has been acquitted by the trial court.

The fresh plea, which was rejected on Monday, had sought a direction to CBI to file an appeal in the High Court against Sharma’s acquittal in 2010 in the land case.

A PIL was filed against Neera Yadav and others in 1997 by the Noida Entrepreneurs Association alleging bungling in the allotment of land in different sectors and in commercial Sector 18 in Noida during her tenure as head of Noida’s Development Authority.

PTI

Retired paramilitary personnel begin stir to press OROP demand

New Delhi: Retired personnel of various paramilitary forces on Monday began a three-day ‘dharna’ in new Delhi demanding one rank one pension (OROP) benefits and other privileges under the ex-servicemen category.

An association of former officials of forces like Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal began the sit-in at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to press their demands which they said should be conceded as they are undertaking similar rigours and hardships as the defence forces.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The dharna is to request and inform the government that its ex-paramilitary personnel are suffering. We have representatives of various states assembled here and they will continue the agitation till 4 November,” National General Secretary of All India Central Paramilitary Forces and Ex-servicemen Welfare Association P S Nair said.

“Our major demands to the government are the granting of OROP to paramilitary veterans like the military personnel, exemption of serving troops from contributory pension scheme and extending full benefits to these forces under the ex-servicemen category,” he said.

President of the Association R B Pathak said the agitation by the paramilitary veterans will “intensify” in the coming days and they will hold a big rally next year if there is no positive communication from the government.

Close to 300 of these veterans assembled at the protest site, very close to where a similar agitation is being held by the ex-servicemen of the armed forces for the prompt implementation of the OROP for them.

They said their ‘fight for right’ agitation has a ten-point charter which includes a demand for change in the their common identity name from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs).

The government has recently said it will soon come out with a notification for OROP implementation for the veterans of the armed forces.

The association of the paramilitary forces said it had sent a memorandum to the government in this regard and after having failed to get a reply it decided to hold the protest.

Veteran Ram Singh said the government was acting in a “discriminatory manner” with regard to paramilitary personnel and they will agitate in all those states which will go to polls.

“The country cannot sleep peacefully even for a day without the paramilitary forces. There is no proper rehabilitation ensured for these forces. We need the support of the government and public in bettering the lives of these men and women who are on job round-the-clock in hard working conditions,” Nair said quoting a statement.

He said that the defence and paramilitary forces should be kept on equal footing while granting service benefits.

The association claims to have support of state chapters in this regard and had met senior government leaders in connection with its demands.

The agitators also demanded that benefits of healthcare and canteen facilities should be extended to the families of both the serving and retired personnel.

There are about nine lakh personnel serving in these forces working under the Union Home Ministry while there are an equal number of retired personnel and their families in the country.

PTI

OROP: After military veterans, ex-paramilitary personnel protest at Jantar Mantar

After military veterans, retired paramilitary officials had decided to hold a ‘dharna’ in Delhi on Monday demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP) benefits and other privileges.

OROP protests

PTI
Ex-paramilitary personnel have begun a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Monday, demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP) under the ex-servicemen category, said India Today. After military veterans, retired paramilitary officials had decided to hold a ‘dharna’ in Delhi on Monday demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP) benefits and other privileges under the ex-servicemen category. An association of former officials of forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB had planned to hold the sit-in at Jantar Mantar for implementation of their demands which they say have been in the waiting for the last over a decade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our major demands to the government are the granting of OROP to paramilitary veterans like military personnel, exemption of serving troops from contributory pension scheme and extending full benefits to these forces under the ex-servicemen category.”The ‘dharna’ and protest began at 10 am on Monday at Jantar Mantar. The association has already sent a memorandum to the government in this regard and failing to get any reply they have decided to begin the protest here. “The country cannot sleep peacefully even for a day without the paramilitary forces. There is no proper rehabilitation ensured for these forces.We need the support of the government and public in bettering the lives of these men and women who are on job 24×7 in hard working conditions,” national general secretary of the All India Central Paramilitary Forces and Ex-servicemen Welfare Association PS Nair said, adding the defence and paramilitary forces should be kept on equal footing while granting service benefits.The association claims to have support of a maximum number of state chapters in this regard and has met senior government leadership in this context earlier. The agitators have also demanded that benefits of health care and canteen facilities should be extended to the families of both the serving and retired personnel. “The agitation beginning tomorrow will be held for three-four days and if the government does not listen to us we will begin a large action from March next year,” Nair said.There are about nine lakh personnel serving in these forces working under the Union Home Ministry while there are an equal number of retired personnel and their families in the country.honouring them,” he said.(With PTI inputs)

Racism Row: ‘No Indians please’ says an ad for flatmates in New Zealand

“The other thing is, the Indians in particular are quite arrogant…I don’t want to get people turning up and not being able to speak English, or people who cook curry every night. I don’t want to come home to a house that smells…”

File Photo

An advertisement stating “no Indians or Asians” for flatmates in New Zealand’s biggest online marketplace, sparked an outrage among the Indian community which said such “explicit discrimination” was concerning.The ad on TradeMe, New Zealand’s biggest online marketplace, by a man from Christchurch city who goes by the name Alistair was listed a week ago, and has been viewed hundreds of times.The man who listed the ad, which has been removed now, insisted that he was not racist “but did not want to live with people who cook curry every night or couldn’t speak English”, the New Zealand Herald reported. “The honest answer is that the majority of them either don’t speak English very well, and I’ve had problems with communication in the past, where I’ve tried to tell them that they’re doing something wrong and they don’t understand,” Alistair was quoted as saying by the daily. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The other thing is, the Indians in particular are quite arrogant…I don’t want to get people turning up and not being able to speak English, or people who cook curry every night. I don’t want to come home to a house that smells…” he said. The advertisement sparked an outrage among the Indian community in New Zealand.”It’s shocking to hear about this ad,” NZ Indian Central Association president Harshadbhai Patel said. “It’s not on. And we should not encourage these kinds of advertisements, especially targeting Asians and Indians,” he said.Patel said people were free to decide who they wanted to live with, but such explicit discrimination was concerning. “It’s disappointing that it happens in a country like New Zealand,” he said.Patel said ads of this nature were rare in New Zealand, but had the potential to damage race relations. He said he would raise the ad at the association’s executive committee meeting in Wellington on November 10. The ad was removed shortly after it triggered an outrage. A spokesman TradeMe said, “On the face of it, it sounds like this would have crossed the line.” “If anyone has concerns about a listing we encourage them to hit the Community watch button so our team can take a look,” the spokesman said. He said TradeMe would consider its legal position, based on the Human Rights Act, but would also “make a call based on the TradeMe community’s reaction.

Bar bribery case: KM Mani welcomes probe orders against himself by Vigilance Court

Putting up a brave face, 82-year-old Mani, supremo of Kerala Congress (M), third largest partner in the ruling UDF, welcomed the verdict and said he was ready to face further probe.

An FIR had been filed against Mani in the court last year after a ‘quick verification’ by the Vigilance Bureau on the allegations made by Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners’s Association working President Biju Ramesh.

In a blow to ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala ahead of next week’s civic polls, a special Vigilance Court on Thursday ordered further probe into the bar bribery case against state Finance Minister KM Mani, rejecting the investigating agency’s final report seeking closure of the case. Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge John K Illekadan declined to accept the final investigation report by Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau which had exonerated Mani stating there was no evidence to charge sheet him. Pronouncing the judgment, the court observed that the final report was “not acceptable” and the matter was “remitted back to investigation officer for further probe.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting up a brave face, 82-year-old Mani, supremo of Kerala Congress (M), third largest partner in the ruling UDF, and present chairman of Goods and Services Tax Empowered Committee, welcomed the verdict and said he was ready to face further probe.Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, “There is no need for Mani to resign. It is a usual legal process, it is not a final verdict.There is nothing unnatural in it.” However, slamming the UDF, CPI-M led LDF Opposition renewed their demand for Mani’s resignation in the wake of the verdict. CPI-M State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan said “Mani should not remain in power ever for a day.” The new twist in the case is all set to become a major campaign material for the LDF opposition for the civic polls to be held on November 2 and 5 and also for next year’s Assembly polls.An FIR had been filed against Mani in the court last year after a ‘quick verification’ by the Vigilance Bureau on the allegations made by Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners’s Association working President Biju Ramesh. Triggering a controversy, Ramesh in October last had alleged that Mani demanded Rs five crore as bribe from the Association and accepted Rs one crore as bribe for renewal of licence to 470 Indian made foreign liquor bars in 2014.However, both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mani have maintained that it was a politically motivated charge and had denied the allegations. The final report had also stated there was no evidence to corroborate the charges against Mani.

Refused to appear on Bigg Boss 9 to maintain dignity of my post at FTII: Gajendra Chauhan

According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, Chauhan has said that he didn’t want his job as the chairperson of FTII to be compromised by accepting Bigg Boss 9.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
FTII Chairperson Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment has been the most controversial, has said that he was approached to be on Bigg Boss 9 but he refused to appear to maintain dignity of his assigned job at FTII. The agitating FTII students called off their 139-days long strike on Wednesday, but insisted that the protest against Chauhan’s appointment will still continue. According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, Chauhan has said that he didn’t want his job as the chairperson of FTII to be compromised by accepting Bigg Boss 9. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I refused the offer to be on Bigg Boss just so that my job as the chairperson of the FTII won’t be compromised. I didn’t think twice before saying no to Bigg Boss. I am surprised that people within the film fraternity decided I was unfit for the job even without giving me a chance. I was appointed from June 9. The students’ agitation started on 12 June. I wish I was given an opportunity to prove myself,” said Chauhan while speaking to Deccan Chronicle. Chauhan has also said that he is looking forward to have a constructive discussion with the students so that he can understand their problems and try to help them overcome them. He further stated that if the government had asked him to resign from the post, he would have readily and immediately done so. The 139-days long strike that was called off on Wednesday was the seventh major and the longest such protest in the history of the Film and Television Institute of India, which is replete with stirs and agitations for various causes affecting the students.FTII Students Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs had said on Wednesday the students have taken a collective decision to go back to academics with “immediate effect” in the best interest of the fraternity. Referring to FSA’s talks with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which could not end the stalemate, Urs had said the ministry conveyed the impression that it had no mandate to take a decision in the matter.”Now, it goes beyond the five appointments (of Chauhan and four FTII society members) which we had questioned. The right wing attitude is exposed and we know who is running the country,” Urs said on Wednesday, apparently targeting BJP’s ideological mentor RSS.A series of talks between the agitating students and government’s representatives, including one with Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in New Delhi on October 20, had failed to break the deadlock as the agitators refused to budge from their main demand for removal of Chauhan, while the Ministry rejected it outright.​

‘Perfect Health Mela’ to be organised in Delhi

Organised by Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), the primary focus of this year’s event is to deliberate, debate and deliver a comprehensive strategy for the national management of new age health epidemics such as dengue and swine flu.
Representational Image

Keeping in view the outbreak of dengue and swine-flu in Delhi, this year’s ‘Perfect Health Mela’ will focus on creating health awareness among the people about the two deadly diseases.Organised by Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), the primary focus of this year’s event is to deliberate, debate and deliver a comprehensive strategy for the national management of new age health epidemics such as dengue and swine flu.Co-organized in collaboration with Ministry of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Textile and in association with Indian Medical Association (IMA), MTNL, Coke, MCD and NDMC, the Mela is scheduled to take place between November 4 and 8 at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-day event will showcase seminars, on-ground checkups, entertainment programs, lectures, workshops, and competitions all centered around preventive health issues of swine flu and dengue.”Over the past decade we have seen a drastic rise in the dengue and swine flu cases. Large-scale awareness generation is key to the national management of these new age epidemics. During the 22nd MTNL Perfect Health Mela, we will be taking out a white paper on the national strategy required for the management of diseases like dengue and swine flu in India. We will also be educating the public about respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and hand hygiene, which are one of the most prominent measures for ensuring immunity from the influenza virus,” said K K Aggarwal, President of HCFI and Secretary General of IMA.

VHP leader Pravin Togadia wants Modi govt to increase budget allocation for health

Known for his fiery speeches and hard-line stance on issues like cow slaughter, religious conversions and terrorism, Togadia refused to comment on any of the contentious issues.

VHP leader Pravin Togadia

VHP leader Pravin Togadia has urged the Centre to raise the country’s budget allocation for healthcare and claimed that a “poor country” like Bangladesh was spending more on this vital social sector than India.”There are nearly 40 crore people in the country whose monthly income is not more than Rs 1,000. For them access to private hospitals and diagnostic centres is obviously out of question.”The number of state-run health care centres is inadequate. The government ought to spend more on health. At present our budgetary allocation for health, percentage wise, is woefully inadequate. A poor country like Bangladesh is spending more on this vital social sector,” Togadia said in Allahabad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The VHP international working president was addressing a gathering of medical practitioners in the city late last night, where he introduced his initiative ‘India Health Line (IHL)’ which aims at making quality health care accessible “to the poorest of the poor”. Significantly, the Centre had slashed its budgetary allocation for health in the Union Budget for 2014-15 by more than 10%. Togadia, who is also a member of Indian Medical Association, said, “I would like that the demand for hiking the budgetary allocation for health should be raised by the IMA.””We need to rethink our concept of development. Attracting investments would be of no use if the same does not result in creation of adequate number of jobs. And a workforce which does not have access to basic health care will never be able to achieve the levels of productivity that may be expected,” Togadia, who arrived in the city on Saturday, said.Known for his fiery speeches and hard-line stance on issues like cow slaughter, religious conversions and terrorism, Togadia refused to comment on any of the contentious issues.”I want my two-day trip of the ancient city of Prayag to remain centred around IHL. There is an urgent need to spread awareness about the VHP’s social welfare initiatives,” he said.

Organ donation should be made a law: Indian Medical Association

Out of a demand of one lakh organ donations, only 25,000 undergo transplants out of which only 5,000 successful transplants take place.

Representational image

File Photo
Appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for highlighting the issue of organ donation during his “Mann ki Baat” programme, Indian Medical Association (IMA) Secretary General KK Aggarwal on Sunday said that organ donation should be made a law in India.”It is a welcome step and we feel that many more such innovative ideas must be spoken by him in “Mann ki Baat” programme. Out of a demand of one lakh organ donations, only 25,000 undergo transplants out of which only 5,000 successful transplants take place. That is the statistics that the Prime Minister gave to which we agree,” said Dr. Aggarwal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Organ donation should be made a law. As on today, for example I have to donate an organ if I pledge my organ that is not taken seriously at the time of death because the relatives have to agree. If I give my living will and in my will I have written that I pledge my organs then that should be made compulsory,” he added.”Government should also think that if anyone dies and his brain is dead and heart is living, his organs should be donated unless the relations should want. Instead of taking the consent, it should be an automatic consent unless they object,” he added.The Prime Minister earlier in the 13th edition of his “Mann ki Baat” programme praised Tamil Nadu for their leading endeavours in organ donation while lauding the other states for their initiatives towards the cause.”Organ donation is an important issue. The need for kidneys, heart and livers is high but less number of transplants takes place. Some states have taken a lead on organ donation and made processes simpler. Tamil Nadu has done well in this,” he said, adding that students from Kerala had asked him to talk about organ donation. Advocating strongly for organ donation, Prime Minister Modi said the government has established National Organ And Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) to promote organ transplant. He said a 24×7 helpline number 1800114770 is in service already.

PM Narendra Modi to lay stone of mobile hub in Tirupati

A number of Indian mobile vendors like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Celkon will set up their campuses at the 122-acre electronics manufacturing hub.

PM Modi will lay foundation to set up a dedicated mobile handset manufacturing facility in Tirupati tomorrow (File Photo)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of country’s first mobile manufacturing electronics cluster in Tirupati tomorrow. “The Prime Minister will lay foundation to set up a dedicated mobile handset manufacturing facility in Tirupati tomorrow. This will be another important milestone to leverage the Andhra Pradesh’s ability to attract further investments,” Indian Cellular Association (ICA) President Pankaj Mohindroo said in a statement.A number of Indian mobile vendors like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Celkon will set up their campuses at the 122-acre electronics manufacturing hub. Celkon will get 20 acres, Micromax 15 acres, Karbonn 15.28 acres and Lava 20 acres in this Hub. All the 4 companies together are targeted to produce more than 7 crore mobile handsets per annum, the statement said. Celkon in a release said that manufacturing companies have agreed to invest a total of over Rs 2,000 crore and the cluster will create over 45,000 direct and indirect jobs. “Celkon will hire 80 per cent people with 10th and higher secondary passed students for assembly lines,” Celkon Chairman MD Guru said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The company has set target to start production of mobile phones at this cluster within next six months. “We will hire 60 per cent women for assembling lines to empower rural women,” Guru said. Mohindroo said that the Hub at Tirupati will create more than 10,000 jobs within a year and expects this hub to contribute at least 5 per cent of all-India target of 15 lakh jobs by the year 2019 from mobile manufacturing activities. Foxconn has already started operations in Andhra Pradesh for manufacturing brands like Xiaomi, Gionee etc.

PIL filed in Bombay High Court seeking end to FTII strike

A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar Joshi on Monday issued notices returnable by two weeks to Union/State government and Vikas Urs, leader FTII students Association.

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A Public Interest Litigation filed in the Bombay High Court, has sought directions to the Union Government to frame transparent policies for appointment of heads and chairpersons of institutes like Film and Television Institute of India. Students of the premier institution in Pune are on strike opposing the appointment of its Chairman Gajendra Chauhan.The PIL filed by Advocate Vineet Dhanda, who in September had moved the Supreme Court on the same grounds came to be disposed off without any directions.In his petition Dhanda says directions are required to be given to the government to make a positive effort in ending the present crisis between the students of FTII and its faculty. Further directions are sort to the government of Maharashtra to protect the interest and security of those students who are willing to attend the classes but are being prevented from attending by the anti-social elements.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar Joshi on Monday issued notices returnable by two weeks to Union/State government and Vikas Urs, leader FTII students Association.The petition urges that students and government are not ending the crisis through dialogue and this is disturbing the entire nation and educational system. The right to education is an important fundamental right and government is duty bound to safeguard it, it says.The plea also says that government is duty bound to prevent such kind of strikes as the students are nowhere concerned with the politics of vendetta which in present situation is happening. The government is not able to control and few students are hell bent on destroying the esteemed institution like FTII which has brought laurels to our country.

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.

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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.

Sri Lankan navy men attack Tamil Nadu fishermen; four injured: Police

The Lankan naval men also snapped the fishing nets of more than 30 boats and damaged the vessels, Rameswaram Fishermen Association President Sahayaraj alleged.

Four Tamil Nadu fishermen were on Sunday injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan naval men with stones while fishing near Katchatheevu island.Police said Rameswaram fishermen, who had ventured into the sea in 641 boats, were stopped and attacked near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits allegedly by Lankan naval personnel who came in patrol boats and sea bikes.The Lankan naval men also snapped the fishing nets of more than 30 boats and damaged the vessels, Rameswaram Fishermen Association President Sahayaraj alleged.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The injured fishermen were treated as out-patients at the government hospital here. The other boats returned to shore following the attack.On October 13, Lankan naval personnel had arrested 24 fishermen from here and also chased away at gun point several others for allegedly fishing in Lankan waters near Katchatheevu.Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has expressed concern over increasing instances of arrest of Indian fishermen by the Lankan navy and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the matter at the highest political level.In a letter to Modi on October 14, she had said the number of those apprehended has now gone up to 87 besides 39 boats have been seized.

Superstar Rajinikanth and actor Vijay cast votes in SIAA polls

Superstar Rajinikanth and actor Vijay were among the early birds to cast their votes to elect various office-bearers including President for the South Indian Artistes’ Association in Chennai, as polling began amid tight security on Sunday.

Superstar Rajinikanth and actor Vijay were among the early birds to cast their votes to elect various office-bearers including President for the South Indian Artistes’ Association in Chennai, as polling began amid tight security on Sunday.Rajinikanth, who cast his vote at a private school where the elections are being held, said although the election was bitterly contested by two groups headed by incumbent R Sarath Kumar on one side and young hero Vishal Reddy on the other, the film fraternity was always a ‘family.’ He expressed his greetings to whoever wins the race but insisted that the winner should go the extra mile to fulfill the promises made.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If not, they should voluntarily resign and this would give them a great respect (among their colleagues),” he said.He also suggested that the SIAA be renamed as Tamil Nadu Film Association.Meanwhile, a galaxy of stars, including Vijay, Sarath Kumar, Vishal, Karthi and Radharavi also cast their votes.In arguably the most bitterly fought polls for SIAA, in the past headed by thespian actor Sivaji Ganesan among others, Vishal has propped up M Nasser for the post of President against Sarath Kumar, while he is contesting for the General Secretary post.Sarath Kumar, also an MLA, seeks a successive term.Allegations and counter allegations had marred the canvassing process, even as the top three stars of Tamil cinema–Rajinikanth, Ajith and Vijay– have not officially declared their support.Kamal Haasan, had endorsed Nasser’s candidature.Tight police security was in place as people thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of their favourite actors.

Hardik Patel warns of protest at India-SA match: Stadium fortified, mobile Internet blocked

Rajkot: Mobile internet services have been blocked in Rajkot in the wake of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel threatening to stage a protest at the venue of the third one-day international or ODI match between India and South Africa in the district today. The services were blocked on Saturday night and will remain suspended till Monday morning.

“We have decided to ban mobile internet services from 10 pm tonight till 8 am on October 19 to maintain peace, stop rumours and for the smooth conduct of the international cricket match”, District Collector Manisha Chandra said yesterday.

Image courtesy: CNN-IBNImage courtesy: CNN-IBN

Image courtesy: CNN-IBN

Mr Patel has urged people from his community to join the protest in large numbers to raise their demand for reservation under OBC quota for which they have been agitating over the last two months.

The 22-year-old leader, who is the convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), has also said that he and his supporters will not let the Indian and South African cricket teams enter the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) stadium.

In the wake of the threat and the violence that the state witnessed recently over the quota stir, police have fortified the stadium, located on the outskirts of Rajkot city at Khandheri village.

“Over two thousand policemen, three companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), one company of Rapid Action Force (RAF), and seven teams of quick response cells (QRC) and five Superintendents of Police (SPs) have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the match,” Rajkot Range IG DR Patel said.

“Besides, three drone cameras and 90 CCTVs have been installed at the stadium to closely monitor each and every movement of the viewers,” he said, adding that if any police personnel on duty is caught watching the match instead of monitoring the crowd, he will be punished.

Hardik’s aide Dinesh Patel said tickets have been purchased for PAAS conveners of Saurashtra region and other associates and warned that if they are stopped from entering the match venue, the state government “will have to face the wrath of the Patel community.”

When asked whether their stir will spoil the country’s image, he said, “We believe that the world should see how the Patel community is being harassed in the so-called development model of Gujarat”.

He also alleged that BJP workers would cause a disruption at the stadium and blame Patels for that.

“We have reports that BJP men will create a ruckus at the match venue and they will blame us for that. They are going to spoil the image of the country, we will never wish that,” he said.

PTI

Madras HC directs Tamil Nadu govt to destroy illegal Chinese crackers

The state government has to report to the Madras High Court on October 26 about the squads formed for this purpose.

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The Madras High Court in response to a petition has asked the Tamil Nadu government to form special teams to seize and destroy all Chinese firecrackers. A report in Deccan Chronicle says that the CBI has been investigating the import and sale of Chinese crackers which is illegal.M Shaik Abdulahhad, executive secretary of the Metro Fireworks Dealers Association, had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court against Chinese crackers. He stated that shops in Chennai had been selling Sivakasi crackers for more than a decade and they were now affected by cracker imported from China.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report adds that that the Madurai bench had already directed the central and state governments to prevent illegal import of Chinese crackers. The import from China was destroying the local cottage industries it opined.The state government has to report to the Madras High Court on October 26 about the squads formed for this purpose.

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