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White fly attack: Swaraj Abhiyan to fight case legally for Punjab farmers

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Yadav said that in the past few months he had visited 10 states in India which were drought affected and which were struck with famine like conditions.

Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj Abhiyan has decided to fight the case of Punjab farmers whose crops were destroyed in white fly attack in courts, and claimed the government cannot shirk its responsibility in the supply of “spurious” pesticides to the cotton growers.Stating this here this evening, Swaraj Abhiyan leader and national convenor of Jai Kisan Andolan Yogendra Yadav and Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi said noted Supreme Court lawyer and Abhiyan’s national leader Prashant Bhushan will meet the affected farmers and hold a legal camp at Bathinda on December 27 in this regard. Jai Kisan Andolan is a Swaraj Abhiyan-led farmers movement. “Bhushan will fight this case like innumerable other such cases free of cost,” Yadav said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav said that in the past few months he had visited 10 states in India which were drought affected and which were struck with famine like conditions. “Swaraj Abhiyan after a detailed survey of these states had submitted memorandums to chief ministers of these states demanding immediate steps for the distressed. However, in the wake of inaction by these states, Parshant Bhushan ji knocked on the doors of Supreme Court on behalf of these drought affected farmers… “Now he will fight a case on behalf of the cotton farmers of Punjab and demand damages for massive loss to cotton crops in the state,” Yadav told reporters here.Both the leaders held the alleged anti-farmer policies and widespread corruption in the government machinery responsible for the white fly induced destruction of cotton crop in the state this year. “This is not a natural disaster. This is not a matter in which the government can extend some small relief measures to the farmers. This is a matter where the government is criminally culpable. Therefore, we have decided to take the matter of farmers crop loss to the court, not demand relief and compensation, but the damages which the government owes.”For this purpose, we have called a public hearing of the affected farmers in Bathinda on December 27, which Prashant Bhushan will attend. Here farmers will be invited and requested to join this petition and to file their cases to be taken to the court demanding damages,” Yadav said. Yadav, who was expelled from AAP, along with Bhushan, alleged, “This is a case involving criminal culpability of those in power. Therefore, we also demand that Agriculture Minister Tota Singh must resign because his continuing in power will seriously affect the nature of investigation in this case.” “This was not a natural disaster but a result of fake and spurious pesticides sold by the connivance of unscrupulous government officials, politicians and corporates,” Yadav said.A few days ago, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) held state-wide protests against the SAD-BJP regime, demanding resignation of Agriculture Minister Singh in connection with the pesticide scam. A top official of Punjab Agriculture Department had been arrested around two months ago for his alleged role in the supply of “spurious” pesticides to cotton growing farmers, whose crops was damaged in pest attack.The state government had also ordered a probe into the sale of “spurious” pesticides by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising three Inspector Generals of Police under the direct supervision of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Crime.

Jan Lokpal Bill: Corrupt to pay five times the losses incurred by Delhi government

Whistleblowers to be protected
opposition, expelled AAP members say bill will never become a law, selection and expulsion of Lokpal will turn political

Swaraj Abhiyan volunteers protest against Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2015 on Monday

PTI
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday tabled the anti-corruption legislation, the Jan Lokpal Bill, in the Delhi assembly. One of its prominent poll promise, the AAP emphasized the bill is similar to the original version of the bill of 2011.”I am proud to present the strong anti-corruption bill in the Delhi assembly, which people of this country had demanded” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, as he read out the provisions of the bill, amidst jubilant AAP members who shouted slogans and continued to thump their desks to express support for the bill. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Offering defenses to allegations made by expelled AAP founder members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, Sisodia said the bill aims at an anti-corruption ombudsman and that a prominent feature of the bill will be to punish the corrupt with a maximum sentence of a life term and a fine that will be five times the losses incurred by the Delhi government.“The biggest strength of the bill is that both investigations and prosecutions will be carried out in a time-bound manner,”Sisodia said, adding that the Lokpal will have a separate investigation and prosecution wings. The investigations will have to be carried out within six months and only for special cases will the time period be extended to a year.“There will be strong punishment for people occupying higher positions in the government if found to be corrupt,”Sisodia said.He said the Lokpal will also have the powers to protect whistleblowers by providing security to ensure a safety to their lives and other administrative retaliation. “Their identity will also be kept a secret,”he said. Talking about the selection process of the Lokpal, Sisodia said a four member committee, headed by Delhi high court chief justice, the chief minister of Delhi, the leader of opposition and the speaker of Delhi assembly –a major bone of contention between the Delhi government and the opposition, with the latter claiming that the committee has been made increasingly political.While the draft bill of 2015 states that no prosecution or legal proceedings can be initiated against the Jan Lokpal or against any staff member of the Jan Lokpal office, putting it above law, Sisodia said the process of impeachment will be applied for removal for removal of any member of the Lokpal.Sisodia was accompanied by Kejriwal while he tabled the bill, while none of the three BJP legislators were present in the house.While one of them, OP Sharma was recently suspended for the session for his alleged derogatory remarks against AAP MLA Alka Lamba, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who is leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, was today marshalled out of the House. BJP member Jagdish Pradhan also walked out of the House following Gupta’s eviction. Talking to dna, Gupta said many important sections of the original 2011 bill stands diluted in the current bill. “The selection process has been made political. Moreover, it is anti-whistleblower. If they imposing a Rs1 lakh fine or jail to the whistleblower for false information, no one would dare to come ahead with the complaint,”he said. Bhushan, on the other hand, said unlike the previous version of the Lokpal bill said all central government officers and state officers can be investigated, the latest draft says the Lokpal will have powers to inquire against all government officers and elected representatives, including ministers.“This means the Centre will not allow the passage of the Bill, and it can not become an act,”he said.According to them, in the 2011 bill, a Lokpal could be removed only after being found guilty of wrongdoing by courts and a presidential clearance. In the new version, two-thirds of the Delhi assembly can vote to remove the Lokpal, which makes it weak and dependent on politicians.However, a government official said even the 2011 Lokpal bill had the provision to probe central government officials and ministers. “Why didn’t Bhushan and Yadav oppose that provision at that time?” the official asked.The Bill has to be cleared by the Lieutenant Governor and the Centre before it becomes a law.

Prashant Bhushan steps up attack on AAP’s ‘mahajokepal’

New Delhi: Stepping up the attack on ruling AAP over the 2015 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, ousted party leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said that “contrary to the claims” made by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the proposed legislation is “completely” different from its previous 2014 version.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer claimed that the 2015 Bill increases the say of the government in the appointment and removal of the ombudsman and brings under its ambit Union government functionaries, among other “glaring” differences.

Prashant Bhushan. PTIPrashant Bhushan. PTI

Prashant Bhushan. PTI

In the wake of the claims by the Swaraj Abhiyan leader, AAP hit out at Bhushan and alleged that his attack goes on to prove the “collaboration” between him and BJP.

But Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP for “anti-party activities”, lashed out at the claim while likening Kejriwal to Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister under the infamous Hitler regime.

Bhushan also dared the Delhi chief minister to an open debate on the matter. The Delhi government will table the Bill on Monday.

Releasing a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna‘s Janlokpal draft, Bhushan said the Bill cleared by the current Delhi Cabinet was the “worst” of all.

“What do they (AAP) think? Is this why they have increased publicity budget to over Rs 500 crore? They should think of having a ministry of propaganda. It’s as if they have been trained by Joseph Goebbels. The new Bill is completely different from the one tabled in 2014,” charged Bhushan.

The Delhi government has not officially released copies of either version of the Bill. Rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar had yesterday made the 2015 Bill public, which he claimed to have got in his capacity as a member of the Delhi Assembly’s Business Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, functionaries in the AAP government, when contacted, refused to comment on the charges made by Bhushan at a press conference at his Noida residence.

Significantly, the 2015 Bill gives powers to the anti-graft ombdusman to inquire into and investigate allegations of corruption occurring anywhere in the “National Capital Territory of Delhi”, thus bringing Union government functionaries under its ambit.

The 2014 Bill, released by Bhushan, on the other hand, said that the Lokpal can investigate any matter either suo-motu or based on a complaint in respect of public servants.

It described public servant as someone who is serving in the connection with the affairs of the Delhi government and any such person whose services are “temporarily placed at the disposal of the Central government, the government of another state, the local authority or any other body.”

The 2014 Bill had also proposed to have under its ambit the Delhi Police, the DDA and four civic bodies as part of the public authority category. But the current Bill is more categorical in its phrasing, leaving no ambiguity as to its proposed purview, Bhushan said.

Nowhere in the 2015 Bill is there an explicit mention as to whether the Chief Minister, other Ministers shall be under its purview unlike the earlier proposed legislation.

Kejriwal had ended his first term as Delhi Chief Minister in February 2014 within 49 days of assuming office over his inability to pass that Bill.

Reacting to Bhushan’s allegations, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh questioned as to why Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, another expelled AAP leader, did not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not appointing Lokpal at the Centre.

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP. Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?” Ashutosh tweeted.

Bhushan, flanked by his father, former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, said AAP government has deliberately included the provision for initiating proceedings against Union Ministers and officials to stoke confrontation.

“I have nothing against the provision in principle. But the point is that it has been incorporated to play victim later as it is quite obvious that it won’t get the Centre’s approval.

“In the Jan Lokpal Bill 2.3, the final version of what the Team Anna produced, it was explicitly said that Central Lokpal will cover Union government whereas the state lokayuktas will have under their ambit state government functionaries, among others,” he said.

The government, after clearing the Bill, had repeatedly assured that it was similar to the one drafted by Team Anna and the one tabled in 2014.

In the 2014 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, the appointment of a seven-member Lokpal body was to be done by a ‘Selection Committee’ chaired by the Chief Minister and consisting of Leader of Opposition, two judges of the High Court and one previous chairperson of the Janlokpal, said Bhushan.

There was also a provision for a ‘Search Committee’ which would shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chairperson or members of the Janlokpal which, he added, is absent in the new Bill.

The 2015 Jan Lokpal Bill envisages a three-member body to be appointed by a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of High Court, the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Speaker.

More importantly, the removal clause has been changed completely with the onus now on the Legislature rather than the Judiciary. The removal of the Lokpal or its members can be effected by an order of the Lieutenant Governor passed with a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly.

It is to be noted that AAP has 67 MLAs in the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The 2014 Bill said that the chairperson or any other member of the Janlokpal shall only be removed by the President on recommendation from the High Court after an inquiry on a complaint against the official concerned.

Among other provisions of the previous Act, Bhushan said it had mentioned that the Janlokpal shall have its own investigating wing. The present Bill does not specify any such clause, he claimed.

The new version also rules out review of any of its orders, proceedings, decisions or reports by any court or tribunal. The earlier Bill said any orders passed by the Lokpal “shall be subject to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court”.

Bhushan senior, who had yesterday demanded Kejriwal’s resignation, wondered whether “Goebbels had taken rebirth in Delhi in the form of Kejriwal”.

“Stop this nonsense, stop deceiving the people of Delhi everyday,” he said.

PTI

Bhushan calls AAP’s janlokpal, ‘mahajokepal’: Party says Bhushans should join BJP

New Delhi: Hitting back at Shanti and Prashant Bhushan, AAP today claimed that they were opposing the Janlokpal Bill at the behest of BJP and asserted that the proposed legislation was similar to the one tabled by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his previous 49-day tenure.

Rejecting criticism by Bhushans who termed the anti-graft legislation as ‘Maha Jokepal’ and alleged that the provisions had been diluted and tweaked to “provoke” the Centre, the ruling party in Delhi said the father-son duo should now join the BJP.

Launching the counter-attack, AAP fielded its spokesperson Raghav Chadha, who had once hosted a Google
Hangout on Janlokpal Bill with Prashant’s father Shanti Bhushan one of the key faces during the Anna movement.

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“This is the same bill which was introduced by the AAP government (during its 49-day rule). Prashant ji was fine when the same bill was introduced during the AAP’s last government,” Chadha said

“Why did he not raise any issue at the time? Now that the BJP is in power, he does not want the Lokpal to investigate the Centre. He should join the BJP and also make public relations between (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley and the Bhushans.

“He should first ask his party (the BJP) to appoint a Lokpal at the Centre” he said, adding that it was (Prashant) Bhushan who had pushed for registering an anti-corruption case with the Delhi ACB against the then Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani.

AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj said by opposing to bring the Centre under Delhi’s Lokpal ambit, Bhushan was “batting for the BJP”.

Prashant Bhushan and Yogender Yadav both founder members of the AAP were sacked for “anti-party activities” after they fell out with the leadership. However, no action was taken against Shanti Bhushan.

In a news conference held today, Prasahant Bhushan accused Kejriwal of playing the “biggest fraud” on people by diluting the provisions of the Jan Lokpal draft of the Anna movement while Shanti Bhushan demanded the Delhi CM’s resignation.

Prashant read out certain provisions of the Janlokpal draft Bill, that is yet to be made public by the Delhi government. He claimed that Ministers and officials of the Center were put under the ambit of the proposed legislation “deliberately” to provoke confrontation with the Center.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused Bhushan of “misleading” people over the Janlokpal Bill. Another party leader Ashutosh said, “First he (Bhushan) tried to defeat the AAP at the behest of Arun Jaitley and now he has objections on Lokpal.”

Meanwhile, Chadha said that the Bill will be tabled in the Assembly on Monday.

PTI

AAP reacts to ‘Jokepal’ remark, says Prashant & Shanti Bhushan should join BJP

Rejecting criticism by Bhushans who termed the anti-graft legislation as ‘Maha Jokepal’ and alleged that the provisions had been diluted and tweaked to “provoke” the Centre,

Now that the BJP is in power, he does not want the Lokpal to investigate the Centre.

File Photo
Hitting back at Shanti and Prashant Bhushan, AAP on Saturday claimed that they were opposing the Janlokpal Bill at the behest of BJP and asserted that the proposed legislation was similar to the one tabled by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his previous 49-day tenure. Rejecting criticism by Bhushans who termed the anti-graft legislation as ‘Maha Jokepal’ and alleged that the provisions had been diluted and tweaked to “provoke” the Centre, the ruling party in Delhi said the father-son duo should now join the BJP.Launching the counter-attack, AAP fielded its spokesperson Raghav Chadha, who had once hosted a Google Hangout on Janlokpal Bill with Prashant’s father Shanti Bhushan — one of the key faces during the Anna movement. “This is the same bill which was introduced by the AAP government (during its 49-day rule). Prashant ji was fine when the same bill was introduced during the AAP’s last government,” Chadha said “Why did he not raise any issue at the time? Now that the BJP is in power, he does not want the Lokpal to investigate the Centre. He should join the BJP and also make public relations between (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley and the Bhushans. He should first ask his party (the BJP) to appoint a Lokpal at the Centre” he said, adding that it was (Prashant) Bhushan who had pushed for registering an anti-corruption case with the Delhi ACB against the then Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj said by opposing to bring the Centre under Delhi’s Lokpal ambit, Bhushan was “batting for the BJP”. Prashant Bhushan and Yogender Yadav—both founder members of the AAP—were sacked for “anti-party activities” after they fell out with the leadership. However, no action was taken against Shanti Bhushan. In a news conference held today, Prashant Bhushan accused Kejriwal of playing the “biggest fraud” on people by diluting the provisions of the Jan Lokpal draft of the Anna movement while Shanti Bhushan demanded the Delhi CM’s resignation.Prashant read out certain provisions of the Janlokpal draft Bill, that is yet to be made public by the Delhi government. He claimed that Ministers and officials of the Centre were put under the ambit of the proposed legislation “deliberately” to provoke confrontation with the Centre. AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused Bhushan of “misleading” people over the Janlokpal Bill. Another party leader Ashutosh said, “First he (Bhushan) tried to defeat the AAP at the behest of Arun Jaitley and now he has objections on Lokpal.” Meanwhile, Chadha said that the Bill will be tabled in the Assembly on Monday.

Arvind Kejriwal govt’s Janlokpal Bill ‘worse than a Jokepal’: Prashant Bhushan

Led by activist Anna Hazare, Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, Kiran Bedi were among the leading faces in the fight for a Lokpal.

Bhushan, a noted lawyer, said the bill “thrashes” all the principles of an independent Lokpal

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan on Friday claimed the Delhi government’s new Janlokpal Bill is different from what was drafted during the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement, as the appointment and removal of an independent ombudsman will now be done by the state government. Bhushan, a noted lawyer, said the bill “thrashes” all the principles of an independent Lokpal and it is “worse than a Jokepal” — a term used by the AAP after the Centre passed its Lokpal bill, and that it was designed to fail. “Delhi Lokpal bill trashes all principles of an independent Janlokpal that we had drafted: Appointment & removal not under government; Independent Investigating agency under Lokpal.Saw shockingly dishonest Delhi Lokpal bill: Appointment & removal by Delhi Government; No investigating agency under it; Empowered to investigate Government Of India as well; Designed to fail! (sic)” Bhushan said on Twitter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Led by activist Anna Hazare, Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, Kiran Bedi were among the leading faces in the fight for a Lokpal.Bhushan, who formed Swaraj Abhiyan after being expelled from AAP, said the appointment and removal of Lokpal by the government itself fails the whole purpose. “The Chief Minister, speaker, the Chief Justice of Delhi and the Leader of the Opposition will choose a Lokpal. This means of the four, three are from political class and two (the CM and the Speaker) are from the ruling party or the government. The dismal will be in the hands of the government as it prescribes removal by a two-third majority. Our fight was that the appointment and removal of Lokpal should be free from political interference,” Bhushan said.He said by bringing the Government of India under the ambit of Delhi Lokpal, itself means failing the legislation as the Centre will not give its consent for such a bill. Bhushan also accused the Kejriwal government of not making the contents of the bill public. “Kejriwal will table the bill on Monday, pass it and send it to the Centre. The Centre will obviously not pass it and the Delhi government will make hue and cry over the issue,” Bhushan added.He noted that under the original Lokpal draft there was a demand to bring the CBI under the Lokpal, but under the proposed legislation, the investigating agency will aided by the officers recommended by the Delhi government. The AAP and the government declined to comment on the issue.

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.

Not in race for 2019 Lok Sabha polls: Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal issued challenges to other political players, saying his government’s work in Delhi rivalled and outdid the work done by Congresswoman and former CM Sheila Dikshit in the city, and by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India.

Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday, said that his party was not looking at the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but that there would be an ‘opportunity’ in Punjab. Speaking at the first National Council meeting of the party since the dramatic one in March that saw expulsion of senior leadership, Kejriwal made comparisons between the situations in Delhi and in Punjab for the party.The council, a body of all the founding members of the party, had met to reconstitute the National Executive of the party, as the latter’s tenure is about to expire. The party also unanimously extended the tenure of it founding members. The executive had been running a few members short, as former leader Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were expelled at the council meet in March after a serious row with Kejriwal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kejriwal issued challenges to other political players, saying his government’s work in Delhi rivalled and outdid the work done by Congresswoman and former CM Sheila Dikshit in the city, and by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India.”We had two aims in the beginning – tackling corruption and bringing Jan Lokpal and Swaraj. In the last 10 months, we have worked so hard, I can challenge, Sheila (Dikshit) government did not do in 15 years. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had the entire nation at his disposal, even he did not do,” said Kejriwal.He added that his government had fought corruption by being the only one sack its own Minister, instead of “brushing corruption cases under the carpet”, referring to the public sacking of former minister Asim Ahmed Khan. He also pointed out how the government was saving crores on projects, instead of overspending.”We completed a flyover before deadline. Metro also completed its project ahead of deadline. But what is different is, we saved Rs100 crores on it.”Kejriwal further said that since the Modi-led central government would never allow the “idea of Swaraj” to be implemented via legislation, the AAP government was doing so through executive order.Kejriwal also talked about the Jan Lokpal Bill, the idea that had first won him popularity in during the Anna Andolan, won him his first election and had been the cause for him to quit his first government. The AAP government claimed to have cleared the Bill in a recent Cabinet meeting, and will table it in the upcoming Assembly session. Kejriwal said, “Lokpal is also going to be passed in this session. It’s the same old bill minus citizen charter and vigilance. We have implemented the vigilance aspect. Citizen charter is being tabled today. So BJP and Congress have no issue to protest against.If the council meeting was filled with all those happy with and loyal to Kejriwal, then outside the drama from March was spilling over, as a crowd of suspended party members protested the meeting. They had been recently suspended apparently for anti party activities such as supporting Bhushan and Yadav’s movement Swaraj Abhiyan. A day earlier, Shanti Bhushan, a founder member of AAP, had spoken out against the party’s “lack of transparency”. Though AAP had invited the senior Bhushan to attend, he refused to go as the list of invitees was not disclosed, and Prashant said that about 100 to 300 party members had not been invited.

Ensure attendance of staff in I-Day, R-Day functions: Kerala HC to government

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations.

The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the state government to ensure attendance of officers and staff during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations. The court asked the state to implement circular and directions issued by it regarding participation of government employees on national day celebrations in its true spirit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said if the directions were not implemented, appropriate penal measures should be taken. The state government informed the court that it had issued a circular on November 5, 2015 compelling the presence of government employees at their offices during the national day celebrations. The court said the directions will be applicable to government employees, educational institutions, including aided, and state public sector units.

AAP sends invite to dissident Shanti Bhushan for National Council meet

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

Forget eating, beef was ayurvedic medicine in ancient India, claims veteran scientist

“The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual labour.”

File Photo

Veteran scientist PM Bhargava, who returned his Padma Bhushan to protest rising intolerance in the country, had written a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee. In the letter, he said that ancient Indian scriptures didn’t prohibit beef eating and ayurveda itself prescribes beef as medicine. He quoted the Charaka Samita saying: “The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual labour.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhargava also hit out at the Modi government ‘the least knowledgeable and least concerned about science’. He said that the ‘climate of religious conservatism was a major obstacle in the functioning of science’.The history of cow slaughter is complicated. The perception that cow slaughter was introduced in India by Mughal rulers is fallacious. Early texts suggest that even our gods liked cattle meat. Indra liked bull’s meat while Agni preferred cow’s and bull’s meat, which explains why they were routinely sacrificed and even used as medicine. (Read Prof Ram Puniyani’s explanation in The Hindu about how beef-eating habits changed in ancient India)

AAP leader Mayank Gandhi resigns from party’s national executive

Gandhi has had several public disagreements with party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other members of the AAP.

AAP leader Mayank Gandhi

AAP leader Mayank Gandhi has resigned from his post in the party’s national executive, said an English news channel. Gandhi said his reason for doing so was, “I am losing interest in politics”.Gandhi has had several public disagreements with party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other members of the AAP. Last month, Gandhi had accused Kejriwal of playing “gutter politics” and destroying the party organisation, after the AAP disbanded its Maharashtra unit, of which Gandhi was a key member. Gandhi was earlier on the core committee of the India Against Corruption movement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mayank Gandhi had written blogs criticising AAP’s decision to oust Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. There was pressure on the state unit to act against Mayank Gandhi and it was not in favour of it. “Plus, the Mumbai unit is marred by factionalism with one section having the support of the party leadership in Delhi, while there is another section supporting Mayank,” a senior state party leader who requested anonymity had said in October. The leader also termed the decision as “unfortunate”.Reacting to the development, Gandhi alleged that Kejriwal was determined to finish the party whose members have “got overpowered by gutter politics”.”AAP people had entered politics by forming a party to clean the gutter, but unfortunately on the contrary, members got overpowered by the gutter politics,” Gandhi had told PTI in October.Gandhi, who contested the Lok Sabha polls from Northwest Mumbai constituency, took to twitter to express “sadness” over the development. “Beautifully functioning Maharashtra teams dissolved. Sad that politics has won!” he had tweeted.”Let the high command expel me from the party, but the truth is that the high command himself is hellbent to finish the party’s root in Maharashtra,” he said.Gandhi had strongly spoken against removal of founder members of AAP like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the PAC in March and had said he will continue to raise his voice.In a veiled reference to Kejriwal, Gandhi had said, “It is now true that AAP has only one voice in the party. Whosoever, puts different voice, not matching with high command, he is kicked out.””Two type of politics, one that works with the people on the ground and other that do chaplusi in Delhi. The second type has won. Jai ho.,” he tweeted.

PM Modi is ‘avatar of god’; greater than Mahatma, Marx, says new ICCR chief Lokesh Chandra

Chandra had earlier said that Modi will bring back India’s cultural reach what was prevalent during the times of Emperor Ashoka.

File Photo
Newly appointed chief of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), nation’s cultural diplomacy arm has professed his love and admiration to PM Narendra Modi in an interview to Indian Express.According to the former loyalist to Indira Gandhi with RSS leanings, PM Modi is an ‘avatar’ of god, and superior to Karl Marx and Mahatma Gandhi.Speaking to the IE, he said, that Modi is an incarnation of god to the poor. “Unke liye, woh bhagwan ke avtaar hain (for the poor, he is an incarnation of God)… Look at his Jan Dhan scheme. Karl Marx wrote so many volumes on poverty, but what was his real contribution?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his opinion, Modi ‘supercedes’ Gandhi when it came to the practical approach. He also said that Modi kept a fast for Navratri for nine days and that was admirable.Chandra had earlier said to ABP News that Modi will bring back India’s cultural reach what was prevalent during the times of Emperor Ashoka.A scholar in Tibetan identity has over 596 publications, Chandra is a Padma Bhushan awardee and has with fluent in 16 languages.

Prashant Bhushan slams AAP government for ‘senselessly chopping off’ syllabus

Without naming any state government, Bhushan also slammed the BJP-led dispensations for allegedly including material written by right-wing ideologue Dinanath Batra, and accused them of “spreading superstition” through text books.

Prashant Bhushan

Attacking the AAP government for “senselessly chopping off” school syllabus, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday claimed the move was hurting the education standards in Delhi schools and said it should hand over the task to them if it was unable to improve the quality.Without naming any state government, Bhushan also slammed the BJP-led dispensations for allegedly including material written by right-wing ideologue Dinanath Batra, and accused them of “spreading superstition” through text books. Training his guns on his former colleague, Bhushan, who was sacked from AAP in April this year, said, “Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s decision to chop off the school syllabus in senseless ways has led to reducing the quality of education further for children of poor and deprived classes.” Bhushan was speaking at ‘Swaraj Abhiyan Youth Summit, a day-long conference organised to discuss problems plauging the education system.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is unable to improve the standard of education in Delhi’s schools, he should hand the task over to Swaraj Abhiyan who will do a better job,” Bhushan said. In September, Sisodia had announced that students upto class eight studying in Delhi government schools will get a relief from carrying heavy bags to schools as the government has decided to reduce the syllabus by 25 per cent.The Swaraj Abhiyan Youth Summit also passed a resolution on different issues hurting the educational system. The resolution urged government to ensure equal and quality education to the entire student community irrespective of their social and economical status.After the summit, Swaraj Abhiyan activists also marched towards UGC office in solidarity with the protesting students against the UGC decision to scrap non-Net scholarships. Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, who was leading the march, said he will hold protest outside the UGC for a minimum 24 hours.

Rajnath Singh rubbishes writers, scientists protests as political conspiracy

Singh asked how can someone can blame the central government if some incidents have taken place in a state, like the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.

File Photo
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday came down on writers and some prominent persons returning their Padma and Sahitya Akademi awards terming it as a political conspiracy and wondered what these people were doing when there were communal riots during Congress rule. He questioned how can anyone say now that intolerance has been increasing as no big communal clash or tension has taken place anywhere in the country after the Narendra Modi government came to power. “Congress government was in power in India for a long time. In several states, communal riots had taken place then. 4000-5000 people have died even in a single state. No one gave their resignations at that time. Why is it happening now is beyond our understanding,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Home Minister said he could say with certainty that this (returning of awards) is happening because of political reasons. “If someone wants to protest, there are many ways to do it. If someone is given an honour which is a symbol of national pride, putting that on the line for protesting is something I fail to understand. As far as I can understand, it’s happening for political reasons,” he said. Singh asked how can someone can blame the central government if some incidents have taken place in a state, like the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. “Can’t people understand that law and order is a state subject? We cannot interfere even if we want to without the state’s permission. Somewhere there is a deep conspiracy which cannot be ruled out,” he told India Today TV.Historians today joined writers, filmmakers and scientists in growing protests against “climate of intolerance” over which top scientist P M Bhargava said he will return his Padma Bhushan award, alleging Modi government was trying to make India into a “Hindu religious autocracy”.

Arun Jaitley hits out at personalities returning awards, calls them ‘rabid anti-BJP elements’

Rejecting the charge that an atmosphere of intolerance was prevailing in the country, he said there was normalcy in the country and there was no atmosphere (of intolerance) for which the central government was responsible.

PTI
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hit out at those returning awards as “rabid anti-BJP elements” and said some of them had gone to Varanasi to campaign against Narendra Modi in the last general elections.”Those returning awards are playing politics by other means. They are rabid anti-BJP elements,” Jaitley, who also holds charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, told reporters here to a question on the returning of awards by writers and film-makers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that space of the Left has reduced, he claimed that those returning awards were in a way electioneering against the BJP in Bihar polls.Also read: Scientist PM Bhargava to return Padma Bhushan, says worried over India’s futureRejecting the charge that an atmosphere of intolerance was prevailing in the country, he said there was normalcy in the country and there was no atmosphere (of intolerance) for which the central government was responsible.He condemned all the incidents being dubbed as examples of intolerance and called for strict action against those responsible for it.The union minister, however, said there was a disproportionate political reaction to the incidents taking place in the country and asked those returning awards if their conscience had pricked when corruption and scams to the tune of lakhs and crores of rupees were taking place during the UPA rule.On the students of FTII withdrawing agitation and resuming academic activities in the campus, Jaitley welcomed the move and said the government wanted to make FTII an institution of excellence.

Did Arvind Kejriwal know about AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s alcohol problem?

AAP denied any such incident, with senior leader Sanjay Singh terming it as a conspiracy against the party.
File Photo
PTI
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann was at the receiving end of a crowd when he went to attend the ‘Bhog’ ceremony (ritual after death) of two Sikhs killed in police firing, forcing him to leave the venue. TV channels on Monday showed Mann facing an angry group of people who were heard accusing the MP of being in inebriated state at the ceremony in Punjab. Mann was not available for his reaction on the issue. He did not even respond to SMS.AAP denied any such incident, with senior leader Sanjay Singh terming it as a conspiracy against the party.”This a conspiracy against the party and there is no iota of evidence against him. There is no question of any disciplinary action against Mann. Show us one evidence and we will act. Our campaign against drugs will continue,” Sanjay Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai also refuted the charges, saying Mann did not want to confront anyone at the ‘Bhog’ ceremony or create any scene and that is why he left the venue. However, opponents attacked Mann.”Mann’s problem of alcoholism was well known to AAP PAC (Political Affairs Committee). He was not made the Leader of Parliament party, as he would often go to Parliament smelling of alcohol,” claimed expelled AAP leader Prashant Bhushan in a tweet.Another expelled AAP leader Yogendra Yadav wrote on his Facebook post: “I discovered it first in July 2014 when AAP had a meeting of all its Lok Sabha candidates. Mann was sitting next to me and was smelling of alcohol. I mentioned it to Arvind Kejriwal and he nodded. Around this time I heard rumours that Mann was going to the Lok Sabha sessions drunk. One of his fellow MPs confirmed it to me…This matter came up in a PAC (Political Affairs Committee) meeting when Prashant Bhushan and I spoke about it. We said this was not just against parliamentary norms and public ethics, but also went against our anti-drug campaign in Punjab.”BJP leader Tarun Chug accused Mann of showing disrespect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib by attending the ‘Bhog’ ceremony and demanded “exemplary action” against him by AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Chugh said if this was the kind of leadership Kejriwal was trying to provide to Punjab, then people of the state would have to think twice before responding to AAP chief’s calls and appeals.

NJACked! How Supreme Court has usurped powers it never had under the Constitution

The Supreme Court has run a coach-and-four over a key feature of our constitutional democracy: it has unilaterally upended the balance of power between the people, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. By overturning the 99th constitutional amendment for the setting up of a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to select and transfer judges in the higher judiciary, the court has effectively arrogated to itself the right to appoint judges.

In a 4-1 verdict on Friday (16 October), the five-judge bench headed by Justice JS Khehar restored its earlier – and fairly discredited – collegium system, a system it concocted in violation of the original scheme of the constitution where the president appoints judges after consulting the Chief Justice. The court was an interested party in the litigation, but it still went ahead and overturned the will of the people as represented in parliament and the legislatures which voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing the collegium system.

A file photo of Supreme Court of India. ReutersA file photo of Supreme Court of India. Reuters

A file photo of Supreme Court of India. Reuters

While Justices Khehar, MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph and AK Goel voted to strike down the NJAC, Justice J Chelmeswar upheld its constitutional validity. Justice Chelameswar is the only hero in the story. Soon, judges will resume appointing their brethren through the collegium, a system followed by almost no other country in the world.

The verdict is grossly wrong for the simple reason that the various arms of democracy derive their legitimacy from the people, directly or indirectly. The people elect legislatures, legislatures elect the head of the executive, the executive drafts laws which legislatures have to approve, and the judiciary has to interpret this law. It cannot make the law by itself. Judges in any free country are either appointed by the executive, by the legislature or an independent panel, but seldom are they appointed by the judiciary itself.

Of course, it can be argued that the NJAC system violates the spirit of judicial independence since it has a politician – the law minister – as one of its members. This would imply the possibility of political pressure. The cure for this incongruity is to read down the NJAC law to exclude the politician, while retaining its core independence. Throwing out the entire NJAC construct without even giving it a trial is simply wrong and a clear judicial usurpation of power that it was not given under the constitution.

In the constitution as it stood before the NJAC was legislated, there was no place for a collegium. Here is what article 124(2) says about how judges to the higher judiciary must be appointed:

“124 (2) Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the judges of the Supreme Court and of the high courts in the states as the President may deem necessary for the purpose and shall hold office until he attains the age of 65 years: Provided that in the case of appointment of a judge other than the chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India shall always be consulted.” (Italics mine)

Where does one find any mention of a collegium here or even judges having final say in appointing judges? Not only this. The constitution clearly places the onus on the government (ie, the President) to consult the CJI or other judges “as the President may deem necessary.”

In other words, the executive has to be a key player in the appointment of judges even if does not have the final say.

In fact, in a 1981 judgment, the Supreme Court had itself asserted that the power to appoint judges lay solely with the President (ie, the government), subject only to the proviso that it will effectively consult the judiciary.

However, as senior counsel TR Andhyarujina wrote in an article in The Indian Express last year, in two subsequent judgments, the court, “professing to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, reversed the first verdict and rewrote the constitutional provisions to hold that the primacy in the appointment of a judge of the Supreme Court was with the CJI, who would make his recommendation to the president after consultation with two of his senior judges.” In a later judgment, the court “diluted the primacy of the CJI and gave the power of appointment to a collegium of the CJI and four of his senior-most colleague.”

As I asked earlier, “can the Supreme Court overturn an explicit provision of the constitution and arrogate to itself the right to appoint judges without reference to the government? Can it interpret the law in a way where it is the beneficiary of the interpretation? Has not the Supreme Court itself breached the basic provisions of the constitution by doing so?”

By overturning the NJAC law and not even allowing the government to appeal against the five-judge bench’s order, the bench has effectively written a new law for the appointment of judges – just as it did in the 1990s. The mere offer to hold hearings to make the collegium system better does not give this verdict any greater legitimacy.

Perhaps the court was emboldened by the current political climate, where the parliamentary stalemate may make it tougher for the government to re-enact a different NJAC law. But that does not do it any credit. In this situation, one can be sure that a judiciary-executive conflict is inevitable.

It is also worth talking about the independence of the judiciary – since the bench talked a lot about it in its 1,030-page verdict. Independence comes from integrity, and not just by having the right to appoint your brethren.

The fact is judges in India can be influenced in many ways. According to allegations made in open court, former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan alleged that eight of 16 former CJIs were corrupt and he said he was willing to be in contempt of the court for this statement.

This is what legal portal Law Resource India had to say about this allegation: “After former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan alleged that eight of 16 former Chief Justices of India were corrupt, his advocate son, Prashant Bhushan, filed another affidavit in the Supreme Court listing alleged instances of corruption against six of them – Justice Ranganath Mishra, Justice KN Singh, Justice AM Ahmadi, Justice MM Punchi, Justice AS Anand and Justice YK Sabharwal.”

As for KG Balakrishnan, a former judge of the Kerala High Court, Justice PK Shamsuddin (1986-93), and a Gandhian and humanitarian who served with the former CJI, alleged that Balakrishnan must be probed because he (Shamsuddin) was once approached by a Bangalore-based person to act as an intermediary to a fix case in the Supreme Court.” (Read this Firstpost story on this case).

However, there are more subtle ways of influencing judges – by offering them post-retirement jobs or sinecures.

The system is compromised because many judges are promised jobs after retirement. According to this Indian Express report of July 2012, “Of the 21 judges to have retired from the Supreme Court since January 2008, 18 got jobs in different government commissions and tribunals. In many cases, judges accepted post-retirement appointments much before they formally demitted office – at least three of them when they still had many months of service left….In many cases, the names were recommended by the Chief Justice himself.”

One can understand using the experience of judges for running quasi-judicial organizations, but if there is no cooling off period between retirement and new postings, what is the guarantee these judges will be truly independent? Won’t they be beholden to the government that gave them these sinecures?

Independence is about integrity. It cannot be legislated or ensured by judges selecting themselves. The collegium is a sure way to ensure omerta on judicial appointments. The NJAC deserved a chance.

Prashant Bhushan flays Arvind Kejriwal’s claims of removing ‘corrupt’ minister

“Kejriwal has removed his second minister from cabinet on grounds of corruption. These were people, who came from the Congress Party. Asim Khan joined the AAP before the 2015 elections, he had not joined the party in 2012 when the party was formed, not joined before the 2013 elections also,” he added.

Civil Liberties activist and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Saturday flayed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s claims of removing Food Minister Asim Ahmed Khan on grounds of corruption, questioning why such defector were given ticket in the elections.”It is astounding that the credit is being given to Kejriwal for removing a corrupt minister who was appointed without any due diligence, despite being known as a defector. This is precisely the question that we were raising, over ticket distribution to political defectors and opportunists,” Bhushan told ANI here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kejriwal has removed his second minister from cabinet on grounds of corruption. These were people, who came from the Congress Party. Asim Khan joined the AAP before the 2015 elections, he had not joined the party in 2012 when the party was formed, not joined before the 2013 elections also,” he added.Bhushan further said that Kejriwal gave a ticket to such an opportunistic defaulter and then appointed him a cabinet minister without any due diligence.”Same thing had happened with Jitendra Tomar, when the high court had issued notice on his fake degrees, but despite any due diligence, without checking that his degrees were fake or not, he was madse the cabinet minister,” he added.Kejriwal had called a press conference yesterday to announce that he was sacking Food Minister Ahmad Khan minister who had been caught asking for a bribe.Khan had been accused of ‘nexus with a builder’, Kejriwal said, playing an audio recording of what he said was part of a one-hour conversation between the minister and the builder.Kejriwal also said that he would ask for a CBI inquiry in the case.

Law ministry gets fresh complaint about irregularities in Delhi Judicial Service exam

According to an e-mail, received by the ministry last month, the interview was conducted in an unfair manner as the profile of each candidate was disclosed to the board members instead of maintaining confidentiality.

The Union Law Ministry has received a fresh complaint about the irregularities committed during the interview of the Delhi Judicial Service (DJS) examination 2014 for appointment of higher judicial officers in various trial court in the city. According to an e-mail, received by the ministry last month, the interview was conducted in an unfair manner as the profile of each candidate was disclosed to the board members instead of maintaining confidentiality. In June, the ministry has already received complaint about the favouritism, corruption and nepotism in the selection process of judicial officers. Two children of sitting high court judges are among the only 15 candidates, it was alleged.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Out of 2161 advocates, who appeared in first objective-type exam, only 106 qualified for the main exam. The result was declared on December 19 last year in which only 39 candidates were shortlisted for interview for the DJS exam. The interview was held in May this year. As per the complaint, which dna has access to, “….The particulars as photo, name, religion, category and family background of the candidates were duly disclosed to the interview board, which are to be kept confidential in interview to rule out any possibility of favouratism.””The high court declared final result on July 20,2015, wherein there are quantum jumps, consequent losses of rank and total marks of some candidates, due to favouratism manipulation of interview marks, in original interview awards….,” the complaint also said claiming the detailed obtained through RTI application. To all these allegations, the high court chief justice has already denied any favouritism, corruption and nepotism before the Supreme Court, which is hearing a PIL filed for a thorough probe into the allegations and to scrap the selection process. Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed a PIL challenging the selection process and quashing of DJS examination 2014 on the ground that only the children of sitting judges have qualified the exam and not the meritorious candidates. Filing a petition through NGO-the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), Bhushan said in RTI reply it has been found that there is no set of criteria and no model answers were provided to the examiner….Because of this 70 trial court judges and rank holders in other states exam, LL.M. NET qualified law lecturers from DU etc have been failed.” Only 15, including daughters of two sitting judges, out of 614 candidates have qualified the exam, the plea said. In the last date of hearing the Apex court refused to stay the recruitment process and said the entire selection is subject to the outcome of the PIL, which is to be listed for hearing soon.

AAP disbands Maharashtra unit; Mayank Gandhi says Kejriwal destroying party

Reacting to the development, Gandhi alleged that Kejriwal was determined to finish the party whose members have “got overpowered by gutter politics”.

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday dissolved its Maharashtra unit, evoking a sharp reaction from its National Executive member Mayank Gandhi, who said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is “hell-bent on destroying” the organisation.The decision, posted on AAP website, said the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) has dissolved “all bodies in Maharashtra.”Party sources said the move followed the state unit’s reluctance to act against Gandhi, the organisation’s best known face in Maharashtra, who had taken on Kejriwal through his blogs when the Delhi Chief Minister was locked in a bitter feud with now expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. They said the leadership had still “not forgotten” it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was pressure on the state unit to act against Mayank (Gandhi) and it was not in favour of it. The party leaders in Delhi have still not forgotten about the blogs which Mayank had written.”Plus, the Mumbai unit is marred by factionalism with one section having the support of the party leadership in Delhi, while there is another section supporting Mayank,” said a senior state party leader who requested anonymity.The leader also termed the decision as “unfortunate”.Reacting to the development, Gandhi alleged that Kejriwal was determined to finish the party whose members have “got overpowered by gutter politics”.”AAP people had entered politics by forming a party to clean the gutter, but unfortunately on the contrary, members got overpowered by the gutter politics,” Gandhi told PTI.Gandhi, who contested the Lok Sabha polls from Northwest Mumbai constituency, took to twitter to express “sadness” over the development. “Beautifully functioning Maharashtra teams dissolved. Sad that politics has won!” he tweeted.”Let the high command expel me from the party, but the truth is that the high command himself is hellbent to finish the party’s root in Maharashtra,” he said.Gandhi had strongly spoken against removal of founder members of AAP like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the PAC in March and said he will continue to raise his voice.In a veiled reference to Kejriwal, Gandhi said, “It is now true that AAP has only one voice in the party. Whosoever, puts different voice, not matching with high command, he is kicked out.””Two type of politics, one that works with the people on the ground and other that do chaplusi in Delhi. The second type has won. Jai ho.,” he tweeted.

AAP disbands Maharashtra unit; Mayank Gandhi says Arvind Kejriwal destroying party

The party leaders in Delhi have still not forgotten about the blogs which Mayank had written.

Whosoever, puts different voice, not matching with high command, he is kicked out, said a party member

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday dissolved its Maharashtra unit, evoking a sharp reaction from its National Executive member Mayank Gandhi, who said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is “hell-bent on destroying” the organisation. The decision, posted on AAP website, said the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) has dissolved “all bodies in Maharashtra.”Party sources said the move followed the state unit’s reluctance to act against Gandhi, the organisation’s best known face in Maharashtra, who had taken on Kejriwal through his blogs when the Delhi Chief Minister was locked in a bitter feud with now expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. They said the leadership had still “not forgotten” it. “There was pressure on the state unit to act against Mayank (Gandhi) and it was not in favour of it. The party leaders in Delhi have still not forgotten about the blogs which Mayank had written.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Plus, the Mumbai unit is marred by factionalism with one section having the support of the party leadership in Delhi, while there is another section supporting Mayank,” said a senior state party leader who requested anonymity.The leader also termed the decision as “unfortunate”. Reacting to the development, Gandhi alleged that Kejriwal was determined to finish the party whose members have “got overpowered by gutter politics”. “AAP people had entered politics by forming a party to clean the gutter, but unfortunately on the contrary, members got overpowered by the gutter politics,” Gandhi said.Gandhi, who contested the Lok Sabha polls from Northwest Mumbai constituency, took to Twitter to express “sadness” over the development. “Beautifully functioning Maharashtra teams dissolved. Sad that politics has won!” he tweeted. “Let the high command expel me from the party, but the truth is that the high command himself is hellbent to finish the party’s root in Maharashtra,” he said. Gandhi had strongly spoken against removal of founder members of AAP like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the PAC in March and said he will continue to raise his voice.In a veiled reference to Kejriwal, Gandhi said, “It is now true that AAP has only one voice in the party. Whosoever, puts different voice, not matching with high command, he is kicked out.””Two type of politics, one that works with the people on the ground and other that do chaplusi in Delhi. The second type has won. Jai ho.,” (sic) he tweeted.According to the party, the decision to disband its state body is part of he process to restructure and strengthen the unit. “In ongoing process of strengthening the organisation in various states, the PAC has decided to dissolve all bodies in Maharashtra,” it said on its website. “National Secretary Pankaj Gupta will be in-charge of the state and under him a team will work on organisation building in the state. The new structure will take shape in a very short time. All party members are requested to cooperate with this team in organisation building,” it added.A state executive member, who did not want to be identified, said Kejriwal is interested only in building the party on his home turf Delhi and has no interest in helping it grow in other parts of the country.

SC calls upon Attorney-General in plea seeking CBI probe against former CJI K G Balakrishnan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the assistance of the Attorney General to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the alleged  amassing of wealth by the kith and kin of Justice K G Balakrishnan during his tenure as an apex court judge and as chairperson of the NHRC.

“Let the learned Attorney General appear and assist us,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said and fixed the PIL, filed by NGO Common Cause, for hearing on November 15.

During the brief hearing, the bench, which made it clear that it would not go into the allegations of ‘benami’ transactions, said the issue of alleged Income Tax violations could have been looked into. “It is the duty of the Income Tax officer to find out the
source of income. That action has not been taken,” it observed when Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, alleged that
around 21 properties have been acquired in the names of son, daughter and brother of the former CJI.

Image courtesy: AFPImage courtesy: AFP

Image courtesy: AFP

Moreover, the queries of the IT department on sources of income have not been sufficiently replied to, he said while referring to the reports of the tax authorities.

At the outset, Bhushan said the prayer seeking removal of Justice Balakrishnan as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has become infructuous as he has already demitted the office and blamed non-listing of his plea for hearing for a considerable time as the reason behind it.

“… sadly, the impression which is gaining ground is that the judiciary now ceases to be accountable and nothing can be done against it. This situation has very serious consequences,” he said.

To restore the faith of people in the judicial system, CBI should be asked to register a preliminary enquiry into the charges of disproportionate assets under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhushan said, adding that he has annexed copies of certain sale deeds pertaining to some properties.

Earlier, the court, on August 26, 2013, had asked the government to file its response to the PIL seeking initiation of removal process of Justice Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC Chairman for alleged “misbehaviour” and purchase of ‘benami’ properties.

The PIL had sought that the competent authority make a reference to the apex court to hold an inquiry against Balakrishnan.

It alleged that despite there being evidence indicating that Balakrishnan has been guilty of several acts of “grave misbehaviour”, the government had refused to initiate the process for his removal from the office of NHRC Chairperson.

PTI

Supreme Court seeks Attorney General’s help in hearing assets plea against ex-CJI KG Balakrishnan

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the assistance of the Attorney General to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into alleged amassing of wealth by the kith and kin of Justice K G Balakrishnan during his tenure as an apex court judge and Chairperson of the NHRC.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the assistance of the Attorney General to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into alleged amassing of wealth by the kith and kin of Justice K G Balakrishnan during his tenure as an apex court judge and Chairperson of the NHRC.”Let learned Attorney General appear and assist us,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said and fixed the PIL, filed by NGO Common Cause, for hearing on November 15.During the brief hearing, the bench, which made clear that it would not go into the allegations of ‘benami’ transactions, said the issue of alleged Income Tax violations could have been looked into.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is the duty of the Income Tax officer to find out the source of income. That action has not been taken,” it observed when Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, alleged that around 21 properties have been acquired in the names of son, daughter and brother of the former CJI.Moreover, the queries of the IT department on sources of income have not been sufficiently replied to, he said while referring to the reports of the tax authorities.At the outset, Bhushan said the prayer seeking removal of Justice Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has become infructuous as he has already demitted the office and blamed non-listing of his plea for hearing for a considerable time as the reason behind it.”… sadly, the impression which is gaining ground is that the judiciary now ceases to be accountable and nothing can be done against it. This situation has very serious consequences,” he said.To restore the faith of people in the judicial system, CBI should be asked to register a preliminary enquiry into the charges of disproportionate assets under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhushan said, adding that he has annexed copies of certain sale deeds pertaining to some properties.Earlier, the court, on August 26, 2013, had asked the government to file its response to the PIL seeking initiation of removal process of Justice Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC Chairman for alleged “misbehaviour” and purchase of ‘benami’ properties.The PIL had sought that the competent authority make a reference to the apex court to hold an inquiry against Balakrishnan.”The main allegation pertains to purchasing benami properties in the names of his daughters, sons-in-law and brother. The respondent no. 2 (Balakrishnan) and his kin continue to enjoy these properties or the profits earned from them even at present,” the petition claimed.It alleged that despite there being evidence indicating that Balakrishnan has been guilty of several acts of “grave misbehaviour”, the government had refused to initiate the process for his removal from the office of NHRC Chairperson.The PIL also sought a direction to the government to comply with the Supreme Court’s May 10, 2012 order by which it had asked the then President to take a decision on a complaint filed before her against Balakrishnan regarding his alleged misconduct during his tenure as a judge in the apex court.The apex court, however, had refused to direct the Centre to recommend a Presidential reference for removal of Balakrishnan as the chief of NHRC.

Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav take dig at AAP over defeat in DUSU polls

Bhushan said AAP resorted to “money and muscle power” which led to their defeat in the polls while Yadav said the party lost as it failed to present itself as a “genuine” alternative

Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on Saturday took a jibe at the AAP over its defeat in the Delhi University Students Polls (DUSU), saying the party met this fate as it had used “dirty tricks of old politics.”Bhushan said AAP resorted to “money and muscle power” which led to their defeat in the polls while Yadav said the party lost as it failed to present itself as a “genuine” alternative.” “DUSU lesson: Na Maya mili na Ram. This is what happens if new politics tries to follow dirty tricks of old politics,” Yadav tweeted. “DUSU lesson for AAP: When people vote for you for alternative politics and you descend to money and muscle power, you fall between 2 stools & lose,” Bhushan tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad on Saturday swept the DUSU elections by bagging all four positions while the AAP-led Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) which made its debut at the campus polls this year finished at third position. With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal personally backing the candidates, the battle had become a prestige issue for the party.”In DUSU polls, it was quite a naked display of the old formula of dirty politics. Money, caste calculations, state power was used. Old players can use it, but not the new player, who only has the honesty card to play.”Had AAP contested on the ground of probity, honest politics, it may not have won the election, but would have offered an alternative politics,” he said.Yadav also blamed the ABVP and Congress backed National Students Union of India (NSUI) for the “brazen” use of money power in the students polls. The former AAP leaders were expelled for “anti-party activities” in April this year after they questioned its leadership.

Centre asks Supreme Court to keep political parties out of RTI ambit

The petition was filed by an NGO–Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking an order to declare all the national political parties as public authorities.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Central Government on Monday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court seeking to keep political parties away from the Right to Information (RTI) ambit. The apex court in July sought a response from the Centre and six leading political parties on whether national political parties should be declared as “public authorities” so that they come under the ambit of RTI Act. The court issued notices to the government, election commission of India (ECI) and the BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) and NCP, and sought replies within six weeks.The petition was filed by an NGO–Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking an order to declare all the national political parties as public authorities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to ANI, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said, “Not surprising that the Central government wants to finish RTI act completely. Just as they are destroying all institutions of accountability whether its Lokpal, CVC or CBI, they want to destroy RTI act also.”Bhushan also contended that national parties are virtually funded by the state as they are exempted from filing income tax returns. Bhushan said they would have to deposit 35% of donation received by them had they not been exempted. He said that it shows that they are being funded by the government, making them liable to come under the RTI ActThe petition was filed after their refusal to comply with the Central Information Commission (CIC) order of June 3, 2013, declaring the national political parties to be public authority under Section 2(h) of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.According to the NGO’s plea, political parties receive huge sums of money in form of donations and contributions from corporates, trusts and individuals but do not disclose complete information about the source of such donations and they should mandatorily disclose details of their income as well as expenditure.(With Agency Inputs)

Why extra chance to only those who did not appear in 2011: Allahabad HC to UPSC

Many of those who did not appear in 2011 may have taken the tests in the subsequent years.

Many of those who did not appear in 2011 may have taken the tests in the subsequent years.

The Allahabad High Court on Friday asked Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to file its reply on a petition challenging the “extra chance” given this year to those civil services aspirants who could not appear in exams held in 2011 on account of the introduction of CSAT.A division bench, comprising Justice Arun Tandon and Justice Bharat Bhushan, asked UPSC to file its counter affidavit and fixed August 31 as the next date of hearing on the petition filed by advocate Animesh Singh and two others.The court asked UPSC to explain the rationale behind giving extra chance only to those who could not appear in 2011 when the agitation against CSAT, mainly by Hindi medium students, had been underway since 2010 and many of those who did not appear in 2011 may have taken the tests in the subsequent years. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The preliminary examinations for civil services are scheduled to be held on Sunday, August 23.The Central Administrative Tribunal had passed an order for giving an extra chance to those candidates who could not appear in 2011.

Swaraj Abhiyan attacks Arvind Kejriwal for supporting Nitish Kumar

Lashing out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for supporting his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, Swaraj Abhiyan on Thursday said offering support to the JD(U)-RJD alliance is a “gross betrayal” of the sentiments of the anti-graft Jan Lokpal movement.

Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan

Lashing out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for supporting his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, Swaraj Abhiyan on Thursday said offering support to the JD(U)-RJD alliance is a “gross betrayal” of the sentiments of the anti-graft Jan Lokpal movement.Attacking Kejriwal, Swaraj Abhiyan, formed by activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav after being expelled from AAP, said the leader of the party which used to paint the whole political system as “corrupt” now grants a certificate of honesty to a major player of that very political system.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The party which emerged out of an unprecedented nationwide anti-corruption movement is now on its way to becoming one more lug in the well-oiled machine of corrupt politics.”Citing Nitish Kumar’s personal honesty in support of this step is right out of the Congress playbook, when they used to try and hide the greatest scams on earth behind Manmohan Singh’s so-called personal honesty. The truth is that just as Manmohan Singh was the symbol of a corrupt government,” the Swaraj Abhiyan said in its statement.It said that Nitish Kumar is the face of an alliance in which the RJD of Lalu Yadav and the Congress are his principal partners. The RJD and JDU have divided 100-100 seats among themselves, with 40 for the Congress party.”Offering electoral support to such an alliance is a gross betrayal of the sentiments of the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal movement. Let us not forget that equal partner in this alliance, Lalu Yadav has been convicted and sentenced in the fodder scam.”And those citing secularism as their justification for supporting this corrupt combine would do well to remember that Nitish Kumar was a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government which failed to act against the 2002 riots in Gujarat,” the statement added.On Wednesday, Kejriwal extended full support to Kumar’s bid for another shot at power as the two leaders attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing a Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for the election-bound state.

So, he IS Maharashtra Bhushan

Purandare gifts Rs10 lakh award money, plus another Rs15 lakh to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital

Babasaheb Purandare was conferred with Maharashtra Bhushan award at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday
Fariha Farooqui
dna
Stating that history is an invaluable treasure which should never be insulted, Maharashtra Bhushan Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare on Wednesday said whether it was incidents or personalities, he always cross-checked facts before penning and taking the history to masses.Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, on Wednesday, felicitated Purandare with Maharashtra Bhushan award at a ceremony held at Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minister for Culture Vinod Tawde, Guardian Minister for Mumbai and Industries Minister Subhash Desai, local MP Arvind Savant, local MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar and secretary, department of Culture, Valsa Nair-Singh were present on the dais. The award function was held amidst tight security taking in to account opposition by various Maratha organisations and threats of protest demonstrations. The award comprised Rs10 lakh in cash, memento and citation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Announcing that he would add another Rs15 lakh to the award amount and return Rs25 lakh as donation to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital started by Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar for the treatment of cancer patients, Purandare said he was receiving the award on behalf of people of Maharashtra who are involved in carrying forward the legacy of Shiv Charitra directly or indirectly.Expressing the need for discussion, debate, critical analysis and evaluation while writing history, Purandare said he always remained in the boundaries of truth whether it was writing about historical incidents, events or personalities. He said when Sant Tukaram never worried as to whether his Gatha (literary work by poet saint Tukaram) would be thrown away in the river, why should he bother about criticism when he was true to history.Criticising those who opposed Purandare’s name for the award, Chief Minister Fadnavis said these people don’t understand Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and they should first learn what Shivaji Maharaj was. He said if at all Shivaji Maharaj would have been alive today, he would have issued death sentence to all these people. Fadnavis said the government would support initiatives like making a serial or film on unexplored aspects of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as management Guru who articulated planning of environment, forests as well as administration.

Decoding the controversy over awarding Maharashtra Bhushan to Babasaheb Purandare

The award ceremony is slated to be held today at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.

dna Research & Archives
The Maharashtra government decision to honour octogenarian historian Babasaheb Purandare with the prestigious ‘Maharashtra Bhushan award’ has created a political storm in the state. The decision led to sections of the Maratha community and former NCP minister Jitendra Awhad protesting against the move, asking the government to withdraw the award.However, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has slammed political parties for indulging in dirty politics and opposing the government’s decision. NCP Lok Sabha member from Satara, Udayanraje Bhosle, who is a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, has said the Maharashtra government should put off the award function due to the controversy surrounding Purandare. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The award ceremony is slated to be held on Wednesday (today) at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.Here is all you need to know about the controversy:Who is Babasaheb Purandare?Babasaheb Purandare is a well-known writer and theatre personality from Maharashtra, known for his ballads and writing on Maratha warrior Shivaji. He is well known for his popular play on Shivaji, Jaanta Raja. He is also known for his significant contribution to the Shiv Sena, along with Bal Thackeray, in the early 70s.What is the Maharashtra Bhushan award?Maharashtra Bhushan is the highest and prestigious award presented annually by the Maharashtra state government since 1996 for significant contribution in various fields.It was initially conferred in the fields of literature, science, arts and sports. Later, other fields such as social work, health services, journalism and public administration were included.The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh, a memento and citation.The winners are selected by a committee appointed by the state government. Why is there opposition to giving Purandare the award?Leaders of both the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress are opposing the government’s decision to award Babasaheb Purandare the Maharashtra Bhushan Award saying his portrayal of Shivaji is not based on facts and has presented a distorted picture, maligning the image of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Jijabai and Shahaji Raje.Some leaders also alleged that Purandare had distorted history and tarnished Chhatrapati Shivaji’s image by casting aspersions on his biological parentage in the context of the role played by his guru Dadaji Konddev. Some leaders are also accusing him of writing history through a Brahaminical prism.NCP leader Jitendra Awhad along with a delegation, met Governor Vidhyasagar Rao and demanded that the state government cancel the decision. Awhad has been at the forefront of criticism of Purandhare’s work. Also read: Devendra Fadnavis, not Babasaheb Purandare, the real issue: Raj ThackerayNCP Chief Sharad Pawar said that he has read Purandare’s work and respected his age, but did not agree with his derogatory writing. Pawar has also supported party leader saying Awhad has been doing nothing wrong by opposing the state decision.What did retired Supreme Court judge P B Sawant say?Former Press Council of India chairman and retired Supreme Court judge PB Sawant has opposed the decision to bestow its highest award on Purandare. Sawant says that the award is given on behalf of the people of Maharashtra and the person who insults Chhatrapati Shivaji and Jijau (mother of the Maratha warrior king) should not be given any award. Sawant believes that, therefore, if they are opposed to giving it to a person, the government should respect their opinion.Jnanpith award-winning author Bhalchandra Nemade​ slams decisionOpposing the decison, Jnanpith award-winning Marathi author Bhalchandra Nemade has accused Purandare of making derogatory references about Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji. Nemade feels that the portrayal of Shivaji in Purandare’s work is not in keeping with history. Nemade, who is known for his outspoken comments on various issues, also signed a letter sent to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis urging him to withdraw the award.Raj Thackeray supports Purandare, slams Pawar for indulging in dirty politicsSlamming NCP chief Sharad Pawar, MNS chief Raj Thackeray accused Pawar of indulging in ‘dirty politics’ over the issue. He is of the opinion that Babasaheb Purandare is being used as an excuse. He is doing so because a brahmin (Devendra Fadnavis) has now become chief minister of Maharashtra. Thackeray said that Pawar had felicitated Purandare on a few occasions. He also said that he did not think then that what Purandare had written was not right. Thackeray said that if anyone touches Purandare, he will create ‘tandav’ (havoc) in Maharashtra.Pune residents file PILA public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court by two Pune residents Padmakar Kamble and Rahul Pokale, through their advocate Shekhar Jagtap. The petitioners have claimed that the government has not given proper thought while deciding the granting of state’s highest honour. Petition also says that Purandare does not have any research, as per a clause, which is required to be felicitated and the book written by him is more of fiction than giving a true picture of Shivaji.Sambhaji Brigade vandalise minister’s office attackedSuspected members of hardline Maratha group Sambhaji Brigade vandalised Maharashtra minister Ram Shinde’s office in Ahmednagar district to protest the state government’s decision.The protesters, numbering over 12, pelted stones and damaged furniture and windows of Shinde’s newly built office in Ahmednagar, about 250 km from Mumbai. Sambhaji Brigade, in the past, has accused Purandare of “distorting” history and “defaming” the 17th century warrior king.

Salwa Judum movement making a comeback in Bastar, Chhattisgarh: Activists

New Delhi: A group of activists on Tuesday claimed that the Salwa Judum movement is “making a comeback” in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, and alleged that it was being done to drive away the tribal people from their land.

Activists say the Salwa Judum movement is on the rise in Bastar. AP

Activists say the Salwa Judum movement is making a comeback in Bastar. AP

Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, “Operation Green Hunt is making a comeback slowly and is a modified form of a low-intensity war. Salwa Judum is too making a comeback. Adivasis are officially made as SPOs (Special Police Officers) and killing the adivasis.”

“The only intention is to grab their land to make them disappear and do it in a way that the world should not know about it,” Bhushan said, addressing a news conference.

Salwa Judum was a militia mobilised and deployed as part of anti-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh, aimed at countering the Naxal violence in the region. In 2011, the Supreme Court declared it as illegal and ordered its disbanding.

However, Bhushan said efforts are being made to make a similar front like Salwa Judum. The earlier movement was led by the late Mahendra Karma while the new one, called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, is headed by his son Chhavindra.

He added that there were many cases of fake encounters, but the state lacked any proper redressal means.

“Guidelines laid by SC on encounters are not followed by judiciary there… After spending years and years as under-trails and upon acquittal they are not provided any compensation, their life is not rehabilitated, the police who is responsible for all this is not punished,” he said.

Tribal activist Lingaram Kodopi claimed that the return of Salwa Judum is leading to fleeing of villages by the adivasis. “Almost half the villages in Bijapur district are deserted now,” Kodopi said.

Tribal activist Soni Sori, who was also at the press conference, alleged that Bastar Range Inspector General SRP Kalluri was threatening her to leave the district. Earlier this month, Sori had also challenged her for allegedly calling her a “Maoist sympathiser”.

She further alleged that the police was terrorising her and claimed that the incidents of people surrounding claiming to be Naxals have risen dramatically.

Sori also highlighted the case of a tribal woman who was picked up by the police in February 2008 “on a false pretext” of killing 23 policemen. She was acquitted by the court in March 2015, but suffered with multiple ailments resulting from alleged police torture.

“There are many, almost all the incidents where police provide very distorted version of events,” she said, referring to the surrenders made by the Naxals.

“When we read the police version, and go to the village only to find out that entire episode is distorted. Whoever has surrendered is said that they will be provided with a gun,” Sori said.

“The same person goes around villages and threatens villagers and sometimes even kills. (Bastar Range IG) Kalluri is behind us. But, we will not leave the struggle. The terror being spread by the state is to snatch away lands from the tribal. There are many issues apart from Naxal issue. For them, the Naxal issue is an excuse to snatch away the lands of tribals,” Sori added.

Author Arundhati Roy demanded formation of a public tribunal to look into what all the alleged atrocities against tribal in Bastar.

Activist-lawyer Vrinda Grover claimed the number of under-trials languishing in the jails in the insurgency hit areas of Chhattisgarh was very high and the prisons were over-filled by 216 percent than its capacity.

“Most of the under-trials are tribal. However, despite this, a study done by me revealed that the Jagdalpur courts have a conviction rate of 3 per cent and other places have conviction rate of 1 percent,” Grover said.

PTI

Salwa Judum movement making a comeback in Bastar: Prashant Bhushan

A group of activists on Tuesday claimed that the Salwa Judum movement is “making a comeback” in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, and alleged that it was being done to drive away the tribal people from their land.

Prashant Bhushan

A group of activists on Tuesday claimed that the Salwa Judum movement is “making a comeback” in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, and alleged that it was being done to drive away the tribal people from their land.Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, “Operation Green Hunt is making a comeback slowly and is a modified form of a low-intensity war. Salwa Judum is too making a comeback. Adivasis are officially made as SPOs (Special Police Officers) and killing the adivasis.””The only intention is to grab their land to make them disappear and do it in a way that the world should not know about it,” Bhushan said, addressing a news conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Salwa Judum was a militia mobilised and deployed as part of anti-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh, aimed at countering the Naxal violence in the region. In 2011, the Supreme Court declared it as illegal and ordered its disbanding.However, Bhushan said efforts are being made to make a similar front like Salwa Judum. The earlier movement was led by the late Mahendra Karma while the new one, called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, is headed by his son Chhavindra.He added that there were many cases of fake encounters, but the state lacked any proper redressal means. “Guidelines laid by SC on encounters are not followed by judiciary there… After spending years and years as under-trails and upon acquittal they are not provided any compensation, their life is not rehabilitated, the police who is responsible for all this is not punished,” he said.Tribal activist Lingaram Kodopi claimed that the return of Salwa Judum is leading to fleeing of villages by the adivasis. “Almost half the villages in Bijapur district are deserted now,” Kodopi said.Tribal activist Soni Sori, who was also at the press conference, alleged that Bastar Range Inspector General SRP Kalluri was threatening her to leave the district. Earlier this month, Sori had also challenged her for allegedly calling her a “Maoist sympathiser”. She further alleged that the police was terrorising her and claimed that the incidents of people surrounding claiming to be Naxals have risen dramatically.

Delhi Police left red-faced after HC orders Yogendra Yadav’s release

New Delhi: The midnight arrest of former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav left the Delhi Police red-faced after a court ordered his release on Tuesday evening. The day’s drama saw Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rally behind his former colleague-turned-foe.

Yogendra Yadav alleged that police threatened to kill him. PTI

Yogendra Yadav alleged that police threatened to kill him. PTI

In a development that took the police by surprise, the Delhi High Court expressed displeasure after Yadav and other protesters were produced before a special executive magistrate in a police station several hours after being detained from Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi.

“Why have they been produced so late? Why are you producing them now?” the high court questioned the police officer after he said that 83 people were detained at 1 am.

During the hearing in the high court, at about 4.15 pm, police said all the protesters had been let off after being produced before the magistrate at the Mandir Marg police station.

The magistrate quashed the charges framed against Yadav and others.

Yadav, who was in police custody after being picked up for protesting against the land bill, accused the police of threatening to kill him, a charge they denied. He also alleged that he was first roughed up, then beaten up in the police station.

“I am happy we have been cleared of all the baseless charges,” an elated but hassled Yadav told the media after emerging from the police station in the evening.

“The SHO (station house officer) of Parliament Street police station threatened to kill us. He said ‘maar maar kar bharta bana doonga‘ (I will make mincemeat of you),” Yadav said.

Yadav and 82 activists were booked on charges such as breach of peace, disturbing public peace and unlawful assembly. Police officers also told the media that Yadav and his supporters were planning to march to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s residence.

They were demanding adequate compensation for farmers affected by the proposed land bill as well as those hit by crop loss.

Yadav’s colleague and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the arrest showed the “dictatorial tendencies” of Delhi Police, which he said was working at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal condemned Delhi Police for roughing up Yadav and urged union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene in the matter.

“I strongly condemn the treatment meted out to Yogendraji by Delhi Police,” Kejriwal said. “They were protesting peacefully. It is their fundamental right.”

It is the first time Kejriwal has come out publicly in support of Yadav since Yadav and Bhushan were ousted from the Aam Aadmi Party shortly after it took power in Delhi in February.

Bhushan welcomed Kejriwal’s support. Yadav added: “Whoever loves democracy and rule of law is with us.”

The sole AAP legislator from Delhi who remained with Yadav amid the drama was Pankaj Pushkar, who is known to be close to Yadav and Bhushan.

But Kejriwal loyalist Sanjay Singh was booed away by Yadav supporters when he went to the Parliament Street police station to express solidarity with the arrested men and women who included activsits from other states.

“I came to support Yadavji. But they (protesters) want us to go back, I am going back,” Singh told reporters.

Bhushan was scathing in his attack of the government.

“This (arrest) shows the dictatorial tendency of Delhi Police. It also shows that they are (taking orders from) top political bosses,” he added.

The eminent lawyer said the police did not explain why they were being arrested.

“I was not allowed to enter (the police station). It is our constitutional and fundamental right to meet a person who has been detained,” he said earlier.

Bhushan then filed a habeas corpus petition which, after Yadav’s release, was disposed off by judges Kailash Gambhir and PS Teji of the Delhi High Court.

Bhushan also sought an inquiry against the police personnel who arrested Yadav and his colleagues.

IANS

Delhi Police left red-faced after high court orders Yogendra Yadav’s release

New Delhi: The midnight arrest of former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav left the Delhi Police red-faced after a court ordered his release on Tuesday evening. The day’s drama saw Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rally behind his former colleague-turned-foe.

Yogendra Yadav alleged that police threatened to kill him. PTI

Yogendra Yadav alleged that police threatened to kill him. PTI

In a development that took the police by surprise, the Delhi High Court expressed displeasure after Yadav and other protesters were produced before a special executive magistrate in a police station several hours after being detained from Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi.

“Why have they been produced so late? Why are you producing them now?” the high court questioned the police officer after he said that 83 people were detained at 1 am.

During the hearing in the high court, at about 4.15 pm, police said all the protesters had been let off after being produced before the magistrate at the Mandir Marg police station.

The magistrate quashed the charges framed against Yadav and others.

Yadav, who was in police custody after being picked up for protesting against the land bill, accused the police of threatening to kill him, a charge they denied. He also alleged that he was first roughed up, then beaten up in the police station.

“I am happy we have been cleared of all the baseless charges,” an elated but hassled Yadav told the media after emerging from the police station in the evening.

“The SHO (station house officer) of Parliament Street police station threatened to kill us. He said ‘maar maar kar bharta bana doonga‘ (I will make mincemeat of you),” Yadav said.

Yadav and 82 activists were booked on charges such as breach of peace, disturbing public peace and unlawful assembly. Police officers also told the media that Yadav and his supporters were planning to march to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s residence.

They were demanding adequate compensation for farmers affected by the proposed land bill as well as those hit by crop loss.

Yadav’s colleague and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the arrest showed the “dictatorial tendencies” of Delhi Police, which he said was working at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal condemned Delhi Police for roughing up Yadav and urged union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene in the matter.

“I strongly condemn the treatment meted out to Yogendraji by Delhi Police,” Kejriwal said. “They were protesting peacefully. It is their fundamental right.”

It is the first time Kejriwal has come out publicly in support of Yadav since Yadav and Bhushan were ousted from the Aam Aadmi Party shortly after it took power in Delhi in February.

Bhushan welcomed Kejriwal’s support. Yadav added: “Whoever loves democracy and rule of law is with us.”

The sole AAP legislator from Delhi who remained with Yadav amid the drama was Pankaj Pushkar, who is known to be close to Yadav and Bhushan.

But Kejriwal loyalist Sanjay Singh was booed away by Yadav supporters when he went to the Parliament Street police station to express solidarity with the arrested men and women who included activsits from other states.

“I came to support Yadavji. But they (protesters) want us to go back, I am going back,” Singh told reporters.

Bhushan was scathing in his attack of the government.

“This (arrest) shows the dictatorial tendency of Delhi Police. It also shows that they are (taking orders from) top political bosses,” he added.

The eminent lawyer said the police did not explain why they were being arrested.

“I was not allowed to enter (the police station). It is our constitutional and fundamental right to meet a person who has been detained,” he said earlier.

Bhushan then filed a habeas corpus petition which, after Yadav’s release, was disposed off by judges Kailash Gambhir and PS Teji of the Delhi High Court.

Bhushan also sought an inquiry against the police personnel who arrested Yadav and his colleagues.

IANS

Yogendra Yadav detention: Prashant Bhushan files petition in Delhi HC

The ex-AAP leader was arrested by the Delhi Police after being detained during a farmers’ protest at Jantar Mantar last night.

Prashant Bhushan

File Photo
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against the detention of ex-Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav and several others, saying the act of detention was the violation of their fundamental rights. According to reports, the High Court is likely to hear this petition later today.The ex-AAP leader was arrested by the Delhi Police after being detained during a farmers’ protest at Jantar Mantar last night. Yadav was trying to march towards the Prime Minister’s official 7 Race Course Road residence, and has alleged that he was ‘brutally assaulted’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Activist Yogendra Yadav arrested, complains of being ‘beaten up’

Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and activist Yogendra Yadav was on Monday night arrested by Delhi Police, from the site of a farmers’ protest near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and activist Yogendra Yadav was on Monday night arrested by Delhi Police, from the site of a farmers’ protest near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.Taking to micro blogging site, Yadav said he had rushed to Jantar Mantar after he had learned that police were going to round up farmers who had gathered to protest there.In a series of tweets, Yadav said, “Now our fines are being snatched. They say we are being arrested and taken to jail. All of us, 96 in all, are now being arrested. But what’s the crime, I wonder.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav, founding member of the Swaraj Abhiyan also tweeted a picture of himself with a torn sleeve.Questioning if standing peacefully with a Hal an offence?, Yadav added, “We were not obstructing traffic, were willing to cooperate with any reasonable condition.”Senior lawyer and another member of the Swaraj Abhiyan, Prashant Bhushan, who rushed to the police station on hearing Yadav’s detention, claimed that he was stopped from meeting Yadav.”I have been stopped from entering PS police station. Gates of PS locked. No reason for arrest of YY and Ors. Can’t enter a PS in Modi Raj!I have been stopped from entering PS police station. Gates of PS locked. No reason for arrest of YY and Ors. Can’t enter a PS in Modi Raj!,” Bhushan tweeted.He further added, “Illegally detained for four hours, police not even allowing Yogendra Yadav to meet me as his lawyer, in violation of Supreme Court orders which mandates legal access.”According to Swaraj Abhiyan’s twitter handle, Delhi Police ACP told Prashant Bhushan that they feared kisan (farmers) would go to PM Modi’s residence. On Sunday evening, a clash broke out when police tried to disperse volunteers of Yogendra Yadav led Swaraj Abhiyan at Jantar Mantar, leaving nine persons, including three policemen injured.

Coal scam: Supreme Court asks if CVC could help CBI in probe against Ranjit Sinha

Former CBI special director M L Sharma, who has given his consent to head the enquiry team with the assistance from the CVC in its probe against Sinha, on Monday sought more time to select his team officers.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) if it could provide assistance to probe against former CBI director Ranjit Sinha who was accused of scuttling investigations in the coal block allocation scam. Former CBI special director M L Sharma, who has given his consent to head the enquiry team with the assistance from the CVC in its probe against Sinha, on Monday sought more time to select his team officers. “We want to know from the CVC, what assistance we can get from it in the probe,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri asked CVC and posted the matter for September 7.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Appearing for the CVC, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told the court that he will get back to the chief vigilance commissioner and whether his office can do the inquiry or not and then inform the court. He said it was because of the fact that the nature of probe against Sinha would be like a police inquiry. Senior advocate Amarender Sharan, appearing for CBI, said instead of going into all this, it would be appropriate to look into the 14 regular cases, which were dealt by Sinha to ascertain any wrong doing on his part. However, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Common Cause, which has accused Sinha of scuttling the probe, submitted that it was a serious matter which cannot be investigated by either the CBI or the CVC and should be entrusted to people having experience in investigation like former apex court judge, Santosh Hegde or former Uttar Pradesh DGP Parkash Singh. Earlier, the court, which has been monitoring the probe in coal blocks allocation, had chosen Sharma to lead the enquiry team against Sinha. The attorney general said Sharma’s remuneration and staff support has not yet been finalised. On May 14, indicting Sinha, the bench had held that it was completely “inappropriate” for him to have met coal case accused in the absence of any Investigating Officer (IO) and directed the CVC’s assistance. The bench had noted that Sinha met several accused including Rajya Sabha MP and industrialist Vijay Darda, said it was not necessary to examine whether the probe into the case of the Dardas was in any manner influenced by him at any point of time. However, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had informed the court that the corruption watchdog does not have its own investigating team to probe. The NGO Common Cause, which is the petitioner in the coal block allocation scam, through its advocate Prashant Bhushan, has filed a plea for a thorough probe against Sinha and sought for SIT probe. In an expose, dna, which had access to guests register of Sinha’s then official residence 2 Janpath in Delhi, had carried a series of stories on his meetings with several accused persons in the high profile cases including that of 2G spectrum scam, coal block allocation including a former union minister, an MP and also meeting with controversial meet exporter Moin Qureshi. Dna had highlighted that Qureshi is a friend of Sinha’s predecessor AP Singh and he is equally friendly with Sinha. The guests’ diary detail disclosed that Qureshi had visited Sinha’s residence at least 90 times. This is for the second time the court took exception to Snha’s meeting with accused persons. In November last year, the bench had restrained Sinha from interfering into the probe pertaining to the 2G cases. During the course of hearing Sinha, who retired from service on December 2 last year, had admitted meeting coal case accused while claiming that one of the jobs of a supervisory officer was to meet the accused and that his meetings were not illegal.”

PNB may take over steelmakers to recover debt | Reuters

NEW DELHI Punjab National Bank (PNB), India’s fourth-largest state lender by assets, could take control of some of the country’s most heavily indebted steel companies and sell them on as part of a restructuring backed by New Delhi, bank officials said.

PNB, a quarter of whose nearly $4 billion portfolio of steel loans is stressed, is considering taking charge of some companies over the next two years, changing their management and then selling stakes, Executive Director K.V. Brahmaji Rao said.

The bank is also talking to its lending partners about carrying out debt-for-equity swaps, which would dilute the stakes of existing shareholders and give creditors majority ownership, but nothing has been finalised.

“We are getting feelers from some local investors who are interested to buy stakes in these companies,” Rao told Reuters on Tuesday, declining to name the borrowers or the interested parties.

The issue has a broad significance in India, since banks, fearing more loans could go sour, have slowed financing to roads, ports and mining projects, strangling Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s efforts to revive the economy.

Total bad loans held by all banks are estimated to be at a decade-high of $49 billion. PNB, fellow government-controlled State Bank of India (SBI.NS) and other lenders are saddled with stressed loans of about $23 billion to the steel industry, which is struggling with weak prices and surging imports from an oversupplied China.

Among steel companies, debt-heavy Electrosteel Steels Ltd (ELES.NS) said on Monday its lenders would restructure its loans, while Bhushan Steel (BSSL.NS) is another big borrower.

Nittin Johari, finance head of Bhushan Steel which recently restructured its $5 billion debt, said he was not aware of any plans by lenders to seek control of any company.

The finance ministry is considering a rescue package for steel companies, including hiking India’s 10 percent import duty and injecting funds into companies deemed viable, a senior ministry source said.

A senior steel ministry official said raising the import duty was a priority.

($1 = 63.9400 rupees)

(Editing by David Holmes)

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

Government gathers might to muzzle Teesta, say activists

Early this month, the CBI registered a case against Teesta and her husband for violating funds and under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), and for criminal conspiracy.

Teesta Setalvad
File Photo

A group of activists, social workers, lawyers and eminent media personalities on Monday held a press conference to show their solidarity with activist Teesta Setalvad, and to pointedly raise questions to the government for digging up a 12-year-old issue, timing suspiciously with the hearing of the case filed by Zakia Jafri against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 59 others in the 2002 Godhra riots case.Social activist and writer Harsh Mander said that a state-sponsored pogrom like the Godhra riots need to be fought to ensure that this does not happen again. “If we allow state-sponsored violence to go unquestioned and unchecked, the idea of India will fall apart,” he said, citing how the victims of the 1983 Delhi riots, the 1993 Bombay riots and the 2002 Nellie massacre are still not compensated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Teesta Setalvad, and her husband Javed Anand have been working to ensure justice for 2002 Gujarat riots victims, and has been working on 68 cases, some at the trial courts, some at the High Court, while a few at the Supreme Court. So far, 120 accused have been convicted in these cases.Early this month, the CBI registered a case against Teesta and her husband for violating funds and under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), and for criminal conspiracy. After investigations, the CBI declared her a “threat to national security”. The High Court refused her an anticipatory bail, after which she moved Supreme Court, which gave her interim relief till July 10. Teesta has made public her documents since, and her statement to the court runs to 25,000 pages. The activists questioned the timing of the case, as it coincided with the hearing of the Zakia Jafri case, adjourned at the moment as the Gujarat government said it needed more time for a response.Writer-journalist Manoj Mitta, whose book The Fiction of The Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra raised several such questions said that had it not been for Teesta, there would not have been 120 convictions in the Gulberg massacre. “The kind of persecution she is facing should be fought,” he said. Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that Teesta is framed for specific reasons. “Today, the Central government is putting its might to ensure that those accused in the 2002 riots are either released or reinstated, some even in offices like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On the other hand, Teesta is hounded by being framed in a bogus case and without any proof, they want to have a custodial interrogation. The message is quite clear,” said Bhushan. CHARGES AGAINST TEESTAIn 2014, the Ahmedabad crime branch filed a case against Teesta Setalvad, Tanvir Jafri and others, on the behest of Feroze Khan Pathan, also a victim of Gulbarg massacre, for alleged fraud. They claimed that Teesta had collected Rs 1.51 crore to build a memorial for the 69 Gulbarga Society victims killed in the massacre. The HC pressed for her custodial interrogation, and Supreme Court in February this year stayed her arrest. In her reply, Teesta has showed that only Rs 4.6 lakh were collected for the memorial, and it remains untouched.Early this month, the CBI registered a case against Teesta and her husband for violating FCRA norms. The complaint said that she took funds from foreign bodies like the Ford Foundation without notifying the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that she did not have separate accounts for domestic and foreign funds. The complaint also said that as the editor of a monthly she wrote for other publications. Teesta’s reply, running into 25,000 pages, has made her dealings public, and she is currently under interim relief from a Supreme Court order.

Prashant Bhushan meets Anna Hazare to discuss land bill, One Rank One Pension issues

Swaraj Abhiyan (SA) leader Prashant Bhushan on Monday met social activist Anna Hazare to discuss the contentious Land Acquisition Bill and the One Rank One Pension issue.

Prashant Bhushan

Swaraj Abhiyan (SA) leader Prashant Bhushan on Monday met social activist Anna Hazare to discuss the contentious Land Acquisition Bill and the One Rank One Pension issue.”It was a courtesy call to thank Anna for the support he has extended to the Jai Kisan Andolan. Prashant Bhushan also invited Anna for the August 19 Jai Kisan Rally,” a SA leader said.Hazare has extended support to the Jai Kisan Andolan, which is being undertaken by Swaraj Abhiyan –an organisation founded by expelled AAP leaders Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Tyagi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhushan, along with his father Shanti and Kejriwal, were part of Hazare’s core team that undertook protests a Janlokpal Bill. The meeting between Bhushan and Hazare comes a day after the Gandhian activist met Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal and his Deputy Manish Sisodia.During the meeting yesterday, Hazare asked Kejriwal about the expulsion of Bhushan and Yadav and urged him to reconcile as they are “old colleagues”.

10 APJ Abdul Kalam tweets to live your life by

A poor Muslim boy, he didn’t let his surrounding or environment affect his education and drive. His interest in flying led to him studying aeronautical engineering, and he would eventually go on to supervise the development of India’s guided missile program.

File Photo

Teacher, scientist, genius, author, musician, long-hair enthusiast — there are many different hats that Dr APJ Abdul Kalam wore in his lifetime. In many ways, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was an embodiment of the Indian Deam. A poor Muslim boy, he didn’t let his surrounding or environment affect his education and drive. His interest in flying led to him studying aeronautical engineering, and he would eventually go on to supervise the development of India’s guided missile program. A former President, Bharat Ratna and Padma Bhushan winner, Kalam also had an inner child who loved interacting with children. And he was a prolific Twitter user, using the medium to stay in touch with fans and also inspire people. Here are ten inpsiring tweets by the Missile Man of India:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Anna Hazare meets Arvind Kejriwal; suggests patch up with Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav

Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and told him that Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav should not have been expelled from the party, suggesting that there should be reconciliation as the two are “old colleagues”.

PTI photo
Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and told him that Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav should not have been expelled from the party, suggesting that there should be reconciliation as the two are “old colleagues”.In a nearly 50-minute meeting here with the Gandhian activist, Kejriwal, along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, is understood to have briefed Hazare about the work done by his government in Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Anna (Hazare) raised the issue of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan’s expulsion with Kejriwal. He told them that they are old colleagues who have been a part of the anti-graft movement.”Kejriwal also briefed Anna about the work he has done in the past months — initiatives like the Aam Aadmi canteen, mobile clinic and the anti-graft work undertaken by the Delhi government,” a source close to Hazare said.Before the meeting, Hazare had told reporters that he would ask Kejriwal about the expulsion of the two former AAP members, besides raising the issue of not appointing a Lokpal.”We told Anna ji about the good work done by the Delhi government. We also briefed him about the work done by the Anti-Corruption Branch and how the Centre is creating impediments in its functioning,” Sisodia said.When asked about the appointment of Lokpal in Delhi, he said, “The Lokpal bill will be brought in the next session.” Bhushan and Yadav were expelled from the party in April for “anti-party” activities after they questioned the party leadership and functioning within the organisation.Bhushan, along with his father Shanti, was part of the core committee of Hazare’s Janlokpal movement.

Prashant Bhushan sends legal notice to Manish Sisodia

Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP earlier this year, said the Delhi government’s June 10 circular for “exclusive” regularisation of existing guest teachers was in contravention of a Supreme Court ruling.

Supreme Court lawyer and former AAP member, Prashant Bhushan has sent a legal notice to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia over the government’s alleged “backdoor” regularisation of contractual teachers.Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP earlier this year, said the Delhi government’s June 10 circular for “exclusive” regularisation of existing guest teachers was in contravention of a Supreme Court ruling. “Legal notice seeking fair opportunity to all eligible candidates to appear for DSSSB examination for recruitment in teacher positions irrespective of their previous engagement as contract/casual teachers in adherence to Supreme Court’s judgement,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Making guest/contract teachers regular without an opportunity to others for such appointments, amounts to back door entry and illegal says SC,” Bhushan said. The notice said “equality of opportunity” was the hallmark of public employment.

We were expelled due to Kejriwal’s ‘stubbornness’: Yogendra Yadav

AAP leader Mayank Gandhi had earlier in the day said that Yadav and Bhushan must set aside their egos and rejoin the party for betterment of the nation.

Yogendra Yadav
File Photo

Launching a tirade against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav on Saturday said he and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan were expelled from the party because of the former’s stubbornness. “When I heard this for the first time, I did not even feel that he was serious. Has Arvind ji forgotten that we did not leave the party, we were expelled, we were chased away….That too because of Arvind Kejriwal’s stubbornness,” Yadav said. “We were sacked because we had raised questions on party’ principles. We had said that party was moving in a wrong direction…We are still committed to same values which we had embraced in Jantar Mantar,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> AAP leader Mayank Gandhi had earlier in the day said that Yadav and Bhushan must set aside their egos and rejoin the party for betterment of the nation. His remark came after Kejriwal stated that he would be happy if the duo come back to the party fold. Also Read: Yogendra Yadav had ‘begged for graceful exit’ after being exposed: Ashutosh

Shivraj Singh Chouhan blinks on CBI probe, but opposition wants Supreme Court to monitor it

Currently, a three-member special investigation team (SIT), appointed in 2013 and headed by Justice Chandresh Bhushan, is investigating the scam, which has not only engulfed Chouhan government, but also queered the pitch for Modi government at the centre, which was already under attack for links of its various ministers with tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan talking to media in Bhopal on Monday.

Even as Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday gave in to the demand to hand over probe into the Vyapam exam scam to the CBI, the opposition refused to relent, saying only a Supreme Court-monitored probe will unearth the truth behind the multi-layered Munnabhai-style exam scam. Chouhan’s announcement coincided with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear petitions in this regard on Thursday.Currently, a three-member special investigation team (SIT), appointed in 2013 and headed by Justice Chandresh Bhushan, is investigating the scam, which has not only engulfed Chouhan government, but also queered the pitch for Modi government at the centre, which was already under attack for links of its various ministers with tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With 41 mysterious deaths and 1,800 arrests related to the irregularities in the Vyasvasayik Pareeksha Mandal (VYAPAM) or professional examination board (PEB), the case is turning into a macabre crime-thriller. At least five persons associated with Vyapam, including a TV reporter, have died under mysterious circumstances in the last one week. Nearly 200 suspects have filed petitions requesting protection as they fear for their life. Bigwigs whose names have been dragged so far into the spotlight include the Governor, the Chief Minister, a national spokesperson of the ruling BJP, and two senior RSS leaders.Incidentally, majority of deaths have been reported from the Chambal region and most of deceased were in the age group of 25-30. They were either students, who had fraudulently secured admission to medical colleges after paying hefty sums to touts of the PEB’s managers, or those who had secured jobs from the manipulation of recruitment tests. Among the high-profile deaths include that of Shailesh Yadav, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. The Governor was also named as an accused in a recruitment rigging matter in February this year but the High Court gave him relief a month later, saying he enjoys Constitutional immunity as long as he is in office.Both the Congress and the Left parties said Chouhan, a third-time CM, has enacted another farce by saying he will write to the High Court for a CBI probe. They said as per rules, instead he should be writing to the Union Home Minister for straightaway instituting the probe. They reiterated demand for a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe and reiterated that Chouhan must resign to ensure an independent probe into his role in the scam.”Chouhan has led from the front in first, effecting Vyapam scam; second, perpetrating it for four years even after it was uncovered in 2009 and third, he personally misled and stone-walled the investigations,” senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said, pointing out that the CM himself was the minister in-charge of medical education from 2008 to 2012. He told a news conference here how the CM had even hoodwinked the High Court through the farce mechanism of a pliant Special Task Force (STF) to catch only small fish and not the bigwigs, despite the fact that the scam involved many from ruling BJP, senior officials and businessmen.”Mysterious murders to shield financial beneficiaries and disrupt the investigations from reaching the kingpin of the scam are refusing to let up to an extent that a union cabinet minister (Uma Bharti) who is a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh is publicly saying she was scared of threat to her life and that of her supporters and even Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley finds weight in an independent inquiry,” Scindia said.Chouhan’s announcement of a CBI probe surprised many as Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Monday said the state government cannot order a CBI probe. The CM said, “I thought about the matter the whole night… The questions which have been raised need answers. It has become necessary now that CBI investigates the case.”The Vyapam scam surfaced in July 2013 when eight impersonators were arrested as they attempted to take a pre-medical test as proxies for registered candidates in Indore. These arrests were made possible by a tip-off from whistleblower Anand Rai. During the interrogations of the arrested individuals, the name of Dr Jagdish Sagar as the supposed kingpin of the racket surfaced.

Deaths in connection with Vyapam scam not mysterious, but abnormal: SIT chief

Bhopal: The series of deaths of those associated with the Vyapam scam do not look “mysterious” but come forth as “abnormal”, the chief of Special Investigation Team (SIT) monitoring the probe into the case said on Tuesday.

Justice (retired) Chandresh Bhushan told TV news channels that he has asked the Special Task Force (STF) constituted to probe the admission and recruitment scam to “inquire” into these cases and tell the SIT how “these fellows have died”.

Representational image. Image courtesy:  Vyapam websiteRepresentational image. Image courtesy:  Vyapam website

Representational image. Image courtesy: Vyapam website

“I would not like to use that word (mysterious). I will say there are certain deaths and those deaths are not normal deaths… So, if they have any connection… I am only interested in knowing if there is any connection with Vyapam scam… I will call them abnormal deaths,” he said.

Bhushan said that till now the STF has not reported “any connection” of these deaths with the scam. The opposition parties have claimed that as many as 45 persons have died in connection with the scam while the official figure is over 25 since the investigation began into the case a few years ago.

“The STF is not probing these deaths and these deaths are being investigated by the local police concerned,” he said.

“I have asked the STF to enquire into these deaths,” Bhushan said, adding that “if any connection can be traced, then we will ask STF to further investigate.”

The SIT chief, a retired Judge of the High Court, said he would not like to make any specific comment on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s latest announcement that the state government would request the MP High Court to order a CBI probe into the alleged scam.

“We are just monitoring the probe as per the orders of the High Court and if the High Court decides some other agency would do it, (then) there is no question of any feeling on my part. I am not disappointed by the CBI probe announcement,” he said when he was asked for his comments on the Chief Minister’s latest move.

The SIT chief said any police agency is “answerable” to some authority and hence, he would not agree with the version that the state police may not be able to probe the case freely and impartially.

Bhushan, when asked, said some officials of the STF had told him that they have received some “threats” related to their service career or otherwise.

“They (STF sleuths) have not communicated to me that they have received any telephone calls (of threats). They have only told me that they have received some information that they have some threats related to their career or otheriwse… I report these things to the court,” he said.

He, however, added he and his investigators have no pressure from any quarter.

“The STF has an absolutely free hand to investigate anything. There are no restrictions put on this team… There are no political pressures, absolutely not and there is no likelihood of it. We are not the persons who can be pressurised by any agency. Absolutely not,” he said.

The SIT chief added, barring some cases, there is no time limit or deadline to complete the probe.

“The STF will complete the probe subject to the resources (at its command). They will try to complete as many cases as as possible within the given time,” he said.

Appointed by and functioning under the MP High Court, The SIT was has investigators drawn from the state police.

PTI

dna Impact: SC backs probe into ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha’s meeting with coal-scam accused

The SC suggested the name of M L Sharma, the CBI’s ex-special director, to head the probe.

Ranjit Sinha

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday proposed a team of at least four officials to probe into former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha’s meeting with the accused persons in the illegal coal block allocation cases at his official residence at 2 Janpath to scuttle the probe. The SC suggested the name of M L Sharma, the CBI’s ex-special director, to head the probe. It asked attorney general Mukul Rohatgi to seek Sharma’s consent and inform the court by next Monday after Rohatgi, who appeared for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), told the court the corruption watchdog does not have its own team to probe the matter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Justice A K Sikri, who was also part of the bench, suggested Sharma’s name for his “impeccable integrity and good reputation”. He said Sharma can choose other members of his team – either serving or retired officers from CBI, Enforcement Directorate or any other agency – to assist the CVC. Rohatgi was asked to suggest a few names in case Sharma refused to take the assignment. Appearing for petitioner-NGO Common Cause, advocate Prashant Bhushan suggested the name of former apex court judge Santosh Hegde. On May 14, indicting Sinha, the bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, which is monitoring the case, had held that it was completely “inappropriate” for him to have met the coal-scam accused in the absence of any Investigating Officer and directed the CVC’s assistance. In an expose, dna, which had access to the guest register of Sinha’s then official residence 2 Janpath, had reported a series of stories about his meeting with several accused persons in high-profile cases like the 2G spectrum and coal block allocation scams. Sinha had met a former union minister, an MP and also controversial meet exporter Moin Qureshi. dna had highlighted that Qureshi is a friend of Sinha’s predecessor AP Singh and he is equally friendly with Sinha. The guest diary details disclosed that Qureshi had visited Sinha’s residence at least 90 times. This is the second time that the court was taking exception to Sinha’s meeting with the accused. In November last year, the bench had restrained Sinha from interfering in the probe into the 2G cases. During the course of hearing, Sinha, who retired from service on December 2 last year, had admitted meeting the coal-case accused, claiming “it was one of the jobs of a supervisory officer to meet the accused and his meeting is not illegal.” In yet another application filed by Bhushan, alleging the CBI’s failure to probe into the Aditya Birla Group’s alleged hawala transactions, which had cropped up in a diary during the CBI raid in the coal scam, the court issued a notice and sought the response of the CBI and the ED. Bhushan also sought a probe into the permission granted for allegedly diverting coal from the block allotted to Reliance ADAG’s Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh. Bhushan said the search operations conducted on October 15, 2013 by the CBI at the Aditya Birla Group’s corporate office in the capital allegedly led to the recovery of a huge stash of unaccounted cash worth Rs 25 crore, a diary and other incriminating documents. The Income-Tax department has gone into the diary and prepared an appraisal report but CBI has failed to further probe into it.

BJP showing no intent to pursue Vyapam scam, PM needs to break silence: Swaraj Abhiyan

New Delhi: Accusing the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre of showing “no intent” to go into the Vyapam scam, Swaraj Abhiyan, the group founded by expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, on Monday called for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the matter.

Yogendra Yadav (left) and Prashant Bhushan. IBNLive

Yogendra Yadav (left) and Prashant Bhushan. IBNLive

Expressing “shock” over the alleged indifference of the BJP-led Centre and the MP government, it said they were showing “no intent” to unearth the truth behind the scam pertaining to recruitments by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB).

The group demanded that an SIT be set up to inquire into the scam which should be supervised by Supreme Court.

Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the outfit’s co-founder, meanwhile, agreed to appear in Supreme Court for one of the whistleblowers seeking an independent investigation of the scam.

Noting that the STF investigating the scam was under the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, the group claimed that no independent investigation was possible as the “chief minister himself is allegedly involved”.

“Swaraj Abhiyan demands an independent inquiry by an SIT formed and supervised by Supreme Court so that the truth comes to the fore and the mystery of unnatural deaths can be uncovered.

“The Prime Minister, who is getting into an unwelcome habit of keeping mum on issues where his party is in question, needs to break his silence on the Vyapam scam,” it added in a statement here.

PTI

I am burdened by documents supplied to me by whistleblowers: Prashant Bhushan tells SC

New Delhi: Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Monday told the Supreme Court that he was “burdened” with all sorts of documents supplied to him by whistleblowers and sought creation of a “credible body” to safeguard their cause in public interest.

Prashant Bhushan told SC a separate body needs to be created for whistleblowers. PTI

Prashant Bhushan told SC a separate body needs to be created for whistleblowers. PTI

“Today I am burdened. People think I alone can do and they send me documents. It is not possible for me to do everything alone. There is a need for a credible body,” he submitted before a bench headed by Justice MB Lokur, which was hearing matters relating to coal block allocation scam.

He said there was a need to enlarge the domain for the whistleblowers by setting up a credible body of citizens where they could provide information.

Bhushan said despite the apex court’s decade-old directions on whistleblowers’ protection, nothing has moved and whenever any information is sent by them to the Central Vigilance Commission, it simply masks the identity and refers the issue back to the concerned departments.

PTI

Lalit Modi row: Prashant Bhushan calls for creation of ‘conflict of interest’ law

“This was, in my view, totally inappropriate. And, in fact there should be conflict of interest laws in this country which make it a offence for a person who is a public servant to do an official act in favour of a person from whom you or your family are receiving any benefit.”

In the aftermath of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj acknowledging the assistance provided by her office with regards to former IPL chairman Lalit Modi’s travel papers, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Monday called for her resignation while also urging the authorities to look into the creation of a ‘conflict of interest’ law.”Sushma Swaraj was the External Affairs Minister Lalit Modi at that time was an absconder from the law enforcement authorities of India. And, that is why on the instance of the Indian Government the British Government had imposed some restriction on his travel. So, she interceded on his behalf to remove that restriction. She interceded with the British government at a time when her daughter was his lawyer,” Bhushan told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This was, in my view, totally inappropriate. And, in fact there should be conflict of interest laws in this country which make it a offence for a person who is a public servant to do an official act in favour of a person from whom you or your family are receiving any benefit. Since her daughter was receiving some fees from him, therefore, it was inappropriate for her to act in her official capacity on his behalf,” he added.Swaraj on Sunday had said that she had taken a humanitarian view of Lalit Modi’s case since his wife was suffering from cancer.She further said that British MP Keith Vaz had spoken to her on the same, adding she believes that giving an Indian citizen ’emergency travel documents’ cannot spoil relations between India and the UK.Vaz, who is facing an inquiry in the UK over the role he played in Modi receiving his travel papers, said that he had checked with the Indian Government before taking any action and added that he had received a ‘no objection’ from New Delhi.

Prashant Bhushan raises objections to KV Choudhry’s appointment as CVC

Bhushan has filed a PIL before the Supreme Court seeking framing of guidelines due to lack of transparency in the CVC appointment. The court during the last hearing had permitted the government to go ahead with the selection of names but asked to place before it all the records pertaining to the appointment. The matter will come up for hearing in July.

A day after the Central government cleared the name for Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), noted advocate Prashant Bhushan has raised objection to former CBDT chairperson K V Choudhry’s selection for the post of CVC.Bhushan has filed a PIL before the Supreme Court seeking framing of guidelines due to lack of transparency in the CVC appointment. The court during the last hearing had permitted the government to go ahead with the selection of names but asked to place before it all the records pertaining to the appointment. The matter will come up for hearing in July.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The lawyer said that on May 20, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley not to select former Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) chief Choudhry alleging “his name figured four times in the list of persons who visited former CBI director Ranjit Sinha at his official residence (2 Janpath in Delhi).”He referred to the apex court’s May 14 order for investigation into Sinha’s meetings with various accused persons, including meat exporter-cum-hawala dealer Moin Quershi in 2G, illegal coal block allocations and other cases.”During the tenure of Sinha as CBI chief, Choudhry’s role was investigated by the agency in’stock guru” scam. Choudhry, who was chairman and member (investigation) of income tax, was apparently investigating hawala dealer Moin Qureshi who repeatedly visited Sinha,” Bhushan said.In addition, he alleged “Choudhry was the then DGIT, Delhi when the Radia tapes were intercepted and did not take any action on evidence available with him. It was the Supreme Court which had to intervene and order the CBI to investigate.”?Bhushan further accused Choudhry of delaying the probe in the black money case.”Chudhary was also in-charge of investigating HSBC account holders for almost three years. Until Supreme Court appointed the SIT, there were almost no progress in the income tax investigation under him. At the time SIT was formed, income tax department had not filed even a single prosecution case against HSBC account holders,” Bhushan alleged.”Choudhry wrongfully reduced the undeclared wealth of M/s Flora and Fauna, a company of businessman late Ponty Chadha by over Rs 200 crore. One of the HSBC account holders so protected was Ponty Chaddha’s son-in -law Gurdeep Kochar.” the lawyer alleged.?When approached by dna for his reactions on Bhushan’s allegations, Choudhary refused to comment saying, “It is not appropriate for me to comment anything at this moment.”The Central government had on Monday finalised the names for the chiefs of Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and is likely to announce the same after the approval of President, who will be back in Indian later this week.Senior-most Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma is tipped to be new Chief Information Commissioner and Choudary is expected to be the new CVC.

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

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

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

SC says ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha’s meetings with Coalgate, 2G accused needs to be probed

New Delhi: Terming as “inappropriate” the alleged meetings of former CBI Director Ranjit Kumar Sinha with the accused in coalgate and 2G cases, the Supreme Court today said the matter “needs to be investigated” and asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to assist it.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said there is merit in the allegations that Sinha met persons in the absence of investigating officers of the cases and asked the CVC to file a report on the entire issue on or before 6 July.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

“We see merits in the submission. It is inappropriate on the part of CBI Director to meet persons in the absence of IOs,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri.

It also dismissed Sinha’s plea seeking prosecution of lawyer Prashant Bhushan for alleged perjury.

Bhushan had filed the plea on behalf of an NGO seeking a probe by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) against Sinha for alleged abuse of position in scuttling a probe into a coal block allocation scam case.

In the plea, NGO Common Cause had alleged that entries in the visitors’ register of the former CBI Director’s residence had made it clear that he was meeting the high-profile accused and those associated with coal block allocation.

The plea had said there was a need for a court-monitored SIT investigation to ascertain “whether any consideration exchanged hands”.

The bench had reserved its judgement on 13 April in the matter, in which Sinha had claimed that a “hidden hand” was the “controlling mind” of Bhushan and had accused him of interfering and scuttling the probe into Coalgate.

The NGO, in its application, had submitted that since the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Delhi Police had not lodged an FIR on its 25 November, 2014 complaint, there was a need for a court-monitored probe for alleged abuse of authority by Sinha as the then director of CBI.

However, Sinha had rejected the NGO’s claim that he and a few other senior officers of the level of Joint Director repeatedly overruled the investigating officers (IOs) and forced them not to register FIRs/RCs in cases where Preliminary Enquiries had been registered and directed closure of the cases.

In the plea for perjury against the NGO and Bhushan, Sinha’s counsel had said “there is not a single case in which Sinha overruled the unanimous opinion of the officers working under him with regard to recommending closure in which they have recommended conversion to a regular case.

PTI

Intense lobbying for Padma awards, political influence counts: Baba Ramdev

New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev, who had declined the Padma Vibhushan award, on Saturday said that a lot of lobbying takes place behind the selection of Padma and even Nobel prize awardees and those with political influence succeed.

Baba RamdevBaba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev

“The entire world knows that all these awards like Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan or Padma Vibhushan and even Nobel prize are given to good people also, but there is intense lobbying and those having more political influence succeed in getting them,” the Yoga guru said in New Delhi.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by ASSOCHAM to spread awareness about yoga ahead of the first International Yoga Day which will be observed across the world on 21 June.

Ramdev was tipped to receive the Padma award this year but he wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh declining the honour, saying he was a ‘sanyasi’ (ascetic) and considered it his duty to serve the people and the country.

Speaking about the benefits of yoga, he told the gathering that 50 percent of people in India are forced into debts and mortgage their assets to avail treatment for various diseases.

“Diseases cannot be eliminated through medicines, rather it is the individual who is eliminated. About 50 percent of people in India are forced into debts and mortgage their assets to avail treatment for various diseases. Yoga is a way out of this quagmire. It would ensure that people of India lived a healthy life without medicines,” Ramdev said.

The yoga guru said that he will urge 1o crore families to participate in the International Yoga Day.

“We aim to reduce one crore kilo weight of obese Indians for which we will organise anti-obesity camps throughout the nation,” he said.

In his discourse laced with humour, Ramdev also justified charging money for providing Yoga courses and promoting ‘swadeshi’ line of products.

“Charging money for yoga classes is still better than charging for alcohol and drugs which are harmful to health. Yoga benefits both mind and body.

“And the herbal products that we offer are for the benefit of the people and not meant for cut throat business,” he said.

In a lighter vein, he also said that if “RSS promotes yoga, it will create controversy.”

Ramdev also exhibited several breathing exercises, Yoga techniques and asanas.

PTI

West Bengal’s AAP unit warns volunteers against attending Yogendra Yadav’s ‘Swaraj Samvaad’

West Bengal unit of AAP warned of dire consequences if volunteers were found attending the ‘Swaraj Samvaad’
Manit Balmiki
dna
The West Bengal unit of the Aam Aadmi Party warned of dire consequences if party volunteers were found attending the ‘Swaraj Samvaad’ meet chaired by dissent leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.Ahead of the crucial meet to be held in the city on Sunday, the party has sent bulk messages to volunteers, asking them to refrain from the attending the meet called by Yadav and Bhushan.”We have sent out messages to party volunteers informing them that the ‘Swaraj Samvaad’ is not a meet called by the AAP. Whoever is found attending the meet, will be liable for action against them,” said senior leader of AAP, West Bengal, Tauseef Rahman.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, close sources in the party reveal a major chunk of AAP volunteers across several districts of Bengal have already joined the Samvaad.

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

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

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

Kanimozhi, Tamil Nadu IPS officer face fresh CBI probe in 2G scam

Agency also includes Sharad Kumar, former MD of Kalaignar TV, in the probe for alleged cover-up

The 2G scam is coming back to haunt Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief M Karunanidhi; Sharad Kumar, former MD of Kalaignar TV; and, Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer Jaffer Sait.Of the three, Sait is the only one who is not an accused in the scam.On Monday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought the Supreme Court’s permission to register a fresh FIR (First Information Report) against the trio’s attempt to cover up the scam”.Without naming any accused, senior advocate K K Venugopal, the CBI counsel, submitted a status report in a sealed cover before the bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The agency has obtained audio tapes in which the conversations among the accused were recorded and its authenticity has been verified,” the counsel said.”All persons involved in the conversation are accused in the 2G case and several offences under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 193 (giving false evidence, 201 (destruction of evidence), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery in valuable security) are made out against them,” the senior counsel, who read a portion of the report, told the bench.”We want to lodge a new FIR for further investigation against the existing accused. The fresh FIR would be in addition to the offences already committed by the same persons,” he said.The status report was prepared apparently on the application filed by Prashant Bhushan, counsel for petitioner NGO – Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) – in the 2G case. He had alleged that recorded conversations exposed the role of Karunanidhi’s family and an IPS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre in the cover-up attempt.Bhushan relied upon the inquiry conducted by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and said the conversations were between Kanimozhi, then Tamil Nadu chief of Intelligence Jaffer Sait, Karunanidhi’s then secretary M Shanmuganathan, Sharad Kumar (a 2G accused and MD of Kalaignar TV between November 23, 2010, and February 16, 2011.According to the CBI’s April 25, 2011 charge sheet, Kalaignar TV (in which equities are held by Kanimozhi , Sharad Kumar and Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Amaal) received bribes of more than Rs 200 crore from Dynamix Realty (part of the DB Group) through a “circuitous route”.Shahid Balwa, whose company (Swan Telecom) eventually got some of the 2G spectrum licence, was behind DB Group as well.As a cover-up, the alleged bribe of more than Rs 200 crore was shown as unsecured loan in the books of Kalaignar TV, which started showing a refund of this amount with interest to Dynamix Realty through Cineyug Films and Kusegaon F&V.Bhushan alleged that the whole story of loan and its return was a dubious cover-up. Backdated documents were prepared by Sharad Kumar to show this loan. This so-called return of loan was arranged by getting illicit money from other companies, which was shown as advance advertising fee to Kalaignar TV and M Karunanidhi was fully in the know and involved in the cover-up, he alleged.In one of the conversations, Kumar had discussed with Sait as to how he had received information from Cineyug Films about the impending moves of the CBI to arrest people in connection with Kalaignar TV.They also discussed how Kumar manipulated records and antedated more than 100 pages of documents and continued to manipulate records in anticipation of CBI queries.Seeking a thorough investigation, Bhushan said that the acts of Kumar and Sait warrant a complete probe as to how documents were manipulated in the 2G scam to save Kalaignar TV and Karunanidhi’s family.The court has fixed April 30 for further hearing.

AAP disciplinary committee expels Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav

“The party’s national disciplinary committee has taken a decision to expel Prashant Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha. They were expelled for gross indiscipline, anti-party activities and violation of code of conduct of the party,” said party spokesperson Deepak Bajpai.

Cracking the whip, AAPon Monday night expelled rebel leaders Prashant Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav and two others for anti-party activities and “gross indiscipline”, two days after issuing a show cause notice to them.The decision to sack them from the party was taken by the national disciplinary committee which said as it was not satisfied with the response it got to the show-cause notice.”The party’s national disciplinary committee has taken a decision to expel Prashant Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha. They were expelled for gross indiscipline, anti-party activities and violation of code of conduct of the party,” said party spokesperson Deepak Bajpai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rebels were given show-cause notice on April 17 to explain the reason for organising ‘Swaraj Samwad’.Bhushan was charged with working for party’s defeat in the Delhi assembly polls. He was also charged with supporting AWAM, a break away group of the party.Three of them responded to the notice except Jha.In their response to the notice, the rebels today accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal of “gross violation” of its constitution and attacked two members of its disciplinary panel for allegedly doing a “planted” story and accepting donations from dubious firms.Responding to show-cause notices issued by AAP’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC), Bhushan and Yadav questioned its locus standi for seeking their reply, saying the panel was formed after the “illegal” and “unconstitutional” meeting of the party’s National Council on March 28.AAP said in a statement,”National Disciplinary Committee met on April 20 at VP House to decide on the complaints against Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha.”On the request of the respondents, the Committee had earlier extended the deadline for submitting their explanations by one day, that is, to 3 PM on April 20. “However, the committee received the responses of Yadav, Bhushan and Kumar while Jha failed to furnish his response within the prescribed time.”The Committee carefully considered responses furnished by Yadav, Bhushan and Kumar and found them “unsatisfactory”, the statement said. The party said that the rebels indulged in anti-party activities.”The Committee reached the unanimous conclusion that Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Anand Kumar had indulged in gross indiscipline and anti-party activities.”They have violated the Code of Conduct detailed in Article VI A (a) of Party’s Constitution. The Committee is of the view that Ajit Jha failed to furnish his response in stipulated time despite sufficient time to his disposal.”After examining the evidence put before it, the Committee is of unanimous view that Ajit Jha is also guilty of gross indiscipline and indulging into anti-party activities.”The Committee, therefore, has decided to expel all the four members from the party,” said the party statement.Bhushan and Yadav were removed from AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on March 4.Both the camps–one headed by Kejriwal and second by the rebel duo– resorted to talks, but the negotiations failed after which Bhushan, Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were removed from National Executive, AAP’s highest decision-making body.The rebel leaders had then organised Swaraj Samvad convention on April 17. Falling short of declaring a new political outfit, the rebel camp announced of starting of Swaraj Abhiyan across the country.Bhushan and Yadav were one of the founder leaders of the AAP.The activist-lawyer had raised several anti-corruption issues and was a key-aide of Kejriwal since its the Anna movement while Yadav went to become party’s chief spokesperson and had chalked out its policy on various issues.

Melinda Gates calls on Health Minister JP Nadda

The co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, called on Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda, here on Monday.

Melinda Gates and JP Nadda

PTI
The co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, called on Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda, here on Monday.Earlier on Sunday, Melinda visited a Maoist-hit village in Jharkhand’s Khunti district to see a women empowerment project run by the NGO Pradan.In recognition of their foundation’s philanthropic activities in India, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates had jointly received the country’s third highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan, in 2015. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Prashant Bhushan questions move to refer AAP rebels’ cases to disciplinary panel

Rebel AAP leader Prashant Bhushan on Thursday questioned the party’s move to referred the case involving him, Yogendra Yadav and two other dissidents to the Disciplinary Committee, saying the formation of the panel “was itself illegal in nature”.

Rebel AAP leader Prashant Bhushan on Thursday questioned the party’s move to referred the case involving him, Yogendra Yadav and two other dissidents to the Disciplinary Committee, saying the formation of the panel “was itself illegal in nature”.Bhushan said the decision of Political Affairs Committee (PAC) to refer the case to the disciplinary committee was illegal because “the formation of the national disciplinary committee by the National Executive was itself illegal in nature after the National Council meeting”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhushan, Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were dropped from top panels of the party at the National Council meeting last month. On Wednesday, in a step ahead towards their expulsion from the party, the PAC referred their names to the disciplinary committee.Bhushan had been heading the disciplinary committee until he was removed from the panel last month. The three-member committee is now headed by Dinesh Waghela and its other members are Pankaj Gupta and Ashish Khetan, all of them Kejriwal loyalists.Bhushan also questioned the role of Gupta and Khetan as they had levelled allegations against him and Yadav. “Pankaj Gupta had levelled allegations against me and had even issued a press release against me. Ashish Khetan too had levelled several allegations. How can these people listen to our cases?” Bhushan asked.AAP leader Ashutosh said that the disciplinary committee will start process and the rebel leaders will now be served show-cause notices.”They will be given enough time to put up their view points. The committee will decide whether their reply is satisfactory or not, if not, disciplinary action will be taken,” he said. Responding to the notice, Kumar said “certainly, we are loyal members of party. If party asks me to explain charges, I will do it, will respond effectively.”Asked about the move, Yadav said, “As and when the notice comes, will respond to it”.

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