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CPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations

What happened now to make them talk about another alliance? They want to replicate the model of a civic body poll in the state Assembly election. It is a ridiculous proposition!” Chatterjee told reporters here.

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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: Car pooling for senior officers in Home MinistryIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations <!– /.block –>

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Kolkata Book Fair to pay tribute to Che Guevara & Vietnam War

The 12-day Book Fair beginning January 27 will have Bolivia as the focal theme country to signify 50 years of the struggle by Che Guevara against imperialism

Che Guevara

AFP
Bolivia would be the theme country at the Kolkata Book Fair next year and will pay tribute to Marxist revolutionary Che Guevera and 40 years of Vietnam War.The 12-day Book Fair beginning January 27 will have Bolivia as the focal theme country to signify 50 years of the struggle by Che Guevara against imperialism, organiser Tridib Chatterjee told reporters here today. Vietnam will participate as a special guest-of-honour with a 25-member team of writers, artists and publishers from that country, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Other countries like Guatemala, Norway, China, Bangladesh, UK, USA, France, Japan, Peru, Turkey and Latin American countries will also participate. Around 50 publishers from other Indian states would also set up stalls, he added. Coinciding with the book fair will be the third edition of the three-day Kolkata Literature Festival from February 4.

Three days too late: Bengal police files rape charges only after victim’s family protests, blocks traffic

Kolkata: Three days after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped and killed in West Bengal’s South 24-Paraganas district, police formally pressed charges of rape.

The police action came after family members and neighbours of the girl, a student of Class 10, on Sunday staged a demonstration and blockaded traffic, accusing police of refusing to register a rape case despite receiving a complaint.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We have pressed charges of the rape against a 24-year-man who has been arrested in this connection,” sub-divisional police officer Shib Prasad Patra said on Monday.

Patra said rape was included in the charges following the post-mortem examination report which indicted sexual assault on the victim.

The officer said rape was not included in the charges as the family members had not mentioned about the offence in the initial complaint.

The girl went missing on 20 November while returning home from her tuition classes. Her semi-naked body was found near a water body later in the night.

The incident has acquired political colour.

While a minister from the Trinamool Congress accused the opposition playing ‘politics over rape’, BJP leader Locket Chatterjee accused the administration of shielding the guilty.

IANS

Saradha scam: CBI to appeal against Madan Mitra’s bail

Mitra was granted bail by ACJM (in-charge) of Alipore District and Sessions Court Partha Das on condition that he would furnish a bond of Rs two lakh, cannot leave the state, submit his passport and cooperate with the investigation process

Madan Mitra

West Bengal minister Madan Mitra who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Saradha scam 10 months ago was on Saturday granted bail by a court, which the TMC said vindicated its stand that none of its members were involved in the scam while the investigation agency said it would move a higher court.Mitra was granted bail by ACJM (in-charge) of Alipore District and Sessions Court Partha Das on condition that he would furnish a bond of Rs two lakh, cannot leave the state, submit his passport and cooperate with the investigation process. Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee told a news conference that Mitra’s bail not only vindicated the party’s stand that none of its members were involved in the scam, but it brought a sense of relief as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”CBI had falsely implicated Mitra in the Saradha scam and his bail today is a testimony to that,” he said adding efforts to tarnish Trinamool Congress’ image would not fructify. On the other hand, CBI’s investigating officer dealing with the case told PTI that the agency would move a higher court next week seeking cancellation of Mitra’s bail.”The probe has reached an advanced stage and the bail may jeopardise the process”, the officer said. Mitra was named in the supplementary chargesheet submitted by CBI in court as a beneficiary. The minister was arrested in December 2014 and was in jail custody since then.

Jet Airways posts second consecutive quarterly profit | Reuters

MUMBAI Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd said on Wednesday its net profit in the September quarter rose by a quarter, its second consecutive quarterly profit after a string of losses, bolstered by sharply lower fuel cost.

Jet, India’s second largest carrier by market share, said net profit in the July-September period rose to 875.9 million rupees ($13.50 million) from 698.2 million rupees a year ago.

The airline’s fuel expenses dropped by nearly a third in the period, its fiscal second quarter. Total income from operations grew by 10 percent to 52.6 billion rupees aided by a 20 percent surge in passenger traffic, the company said in a statement.

Despite rapidly rising demand for air travel in India, Jet has not made an annual profit since 2007, dragged into the red by high operating costs and fierce competition for passenger fares.

Jet, 24 percent-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, said last year it expects to make a full-year profit in 2017.

The outlook for Indian airlines has improved due to a drop in fuel prices, which accounts for bulk of their operating expenses, and growing passenger numbers in one of the world’s fastest-growing yet fiercely competitive aviation markets.

Enthused by the earnings prospects, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, owner of Indian budget airline IndiGo, is raising as much as $464 million through an initial public offering of shares.

The IndiGo share sale has attracted strong investor demand, receiving bids for nearly 47 million shares, or 1.55 times the number of shares on offer by end of the trade on second day of bookbuilding. The offer closes on Thursday.

($1 = 64.8634 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Himank Sharma; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Adrian Croft)

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

Dog analogy: VK Singh shown black flags by Left front in West Bengal

Left Front supporters waved black flags and raised slogans against Singh as he arrived at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

Left Front supporters later burnt an effigy of Singh and demanded his resignation over his alleged anti-Dalit remarks at a protest at Esplanade in central Kolkata

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Amidst the outcry over his remarks on the Dalit burning issue, Union minister Gen (retd) VK Singh was on Sunday greeted with protests and shown black flags by Left Front supporters during a visit to the city here. A group of around 60 protesters waved black flags in front of the Raj Bhavan south gate and shouted slogans of “VK Singh go back” a short while before the Minister of State for External Affairs arrived there for a book release.Police said that 26 demonstrators were arrested following the protest, which took place a short time before the release programme of the book authored by Singh commenced at the West Bengal Governor’s residence. Earlier, in the morning,<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Left Front supporters waved black flags and raised slogans against Singh as he arrived at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. According to airport sources, Singh’s convoy got stuck on its way to the city due to the demonstration held by around 150 Left Front supporters. “At around 11.45 AM, as the Union minister came out of the airport, close to 150 Left Front supporters waved black flags at his convoy and shouted slogans of ‘VK Singh go back’,” they said, adding that police intervened to clear the way for the minister’s convoy.Left Front supporters later burnt an effigy of Singh and demanded his resignation over his alleged anti-Dalit remarks at a protest at Esplanade in central Kolkata, according to a CPI-M state committee member, Niranjan Chatterjee. That demonstration saw Chatterjee and another state committee member and former minister, Anadi Sahoo, slam the Mamata Banerjee government for not reacting to Singh’s remarks. They further alleged that the absence of a reaction showed that the ruling Trinamool Congress “was supporting the BJP government”.Singh found himself at the centre of a controversy following comments by him that the Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog in connection with the Faridabad Dalit burning incident in which two children were killed.

West Bengal: Civic poll marred by violence, over 70% cast votes

Rubbishing opposition allegations that ruling Trinamool Congress had used outsiders to unleash violence in Bidhannagar and Asansol, senior party leader and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said “The opposition parties have tried to create violence during the elections.

Image courtesy: ANI
Sporadic violence and assaults on journalists on Saturday marred elections to two municipal corporations in West Bengal as over 70 per cent people cast their votes.”The voter turnout till 5 pm in Bidhanngar and Asansol was 71%. We have received complaints of violence, rigging and malpractices from both places. We are looking into those complaints and will decide the course of action,” State Election Commissioner S R Upadhaya told PTI. The election to Bally under Howrah Municipal Corporation and Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad passed off peacefully, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rubbishing opposition allegations that ruling Trinamool Congress had used outsiders to unleash violence in Bidhannagar and Asansol, senior party leader and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said “The opposition parties have tried to create violence during the elections. As the ruling party why should we create violence? We want to categorically state that in Bengal rule of the law has been established under Mamata Banerjee.”As ruling party we will never want any breach of peace,” Chatterjee, also TMC secretary general, said and accused CPI(M) of trying to create disturbance during the polls.He said it is the duty of the State Election Commission to see that the elections are conducted peacefully. Several journalists of various media houses were assaulted while covering the elections in the Bidhannagar.Asked about it, Chatterjee condemned it and said “We feel that whoever has done this is wrong. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inquired into the incident. Those responsible for the attacks would be identified and the administration will deal with them.”Also Read: West Bengal municipality election: Widespread violence marks Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation pollsChatterjee while replying to a query on “outsiders” being brought by TMC to unleash violence, said “It is the job of the SEC to see who is an outsider and who is not. It is SEC who conducts the election,” S R Upadhaya when asked said, “The SEC has to work with the state machinery and the resources available from the state government.” Left Front chairman Biman Bose described the civic polls in Bidhannagaar and Asansol as “mere farce” and alleging massive rigging there demanded re-polling at some wards. Also Read: West Bengal Municipality Elections: Journalists attacked by mob led by TMC leaderPolice said a few motorcycles were burnt during a clash between supporters of two political parties at VIP Road during the polling. Senior CPI-M leader Gautam Deb announced that the Left Front has called a 12-hour bandh at Rajarhat-Bidhannagar area on Monday in protest against the alleged malpractices and violence. Alleging that the hoodlums belonged to ruling party and were aided by the administration and police, Bose said “We condemn this act where democracy has been attacked and the democratic rights of the people have been snatched in the name of elections.”He said besides the bandh, Left Front would hold rallies and demonstrations across the state on Monday in protest against the alleged rigging at several wards. West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury too condemned the violence during today’s poll and alleged that “TMC has turned the election in Bengal into a farce”.BJP and the Left Front workers staged a sit-in outside the SEC office against the alleged malpractices and violence during the polls. SEC officials and state police said there were reports of bombs being hurled at Jamuria in Asansol and Bidhanagar and people being stopped from the casting their votes.”We are taking stock of the situation,” they said. The polls are a precursor to next year’s assembly polls in Bengal when arch rivals Trinamool Congress and Left Front will be pitted against each other. Votes for the civic polls will be counted on October seven. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Press Club has strongly condemned the attack on journalists during the municipal elections and has demanded strict action against the culprits.”We note with immense concern that many of our fellow journalists and photo-journalists were either attacked or roughed up allegedly by ruling party members or hoodlums when they were discharging their duties during today’s election in Salt Lake, Rajarhat, as also in Bally and Asansol,” a statement from the Press Club said.”Mere words of condemnation are no single solution to such persistent acts of cowardice by the hoodlums, patronised by political parties. We demand strict action by the police authorities, including arrest of the guilty and exemplary punishment to them as an immediate measure,” the statement added.

FTII crisis: Director and Dean differ on ‘bouncers on campus’ issue

Pune: Under attack for deployment of bouncers at FTII, institute director Prashant Pathrabe on Saturday justified the decision saying it was taken in view of the “insecure atmosphere” on the campus after the students confined him to the cabin but its Acting Dean resented the step holding it gave the institute the “look of a military camp”.

FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe, who drew flak from various quarters for the step he had taken after the striking students resorted to “gherao” him, said scaling up the security was an “administrative decision” taken in view of the “insecure” atmosphere on the campus.

“I had not asked for extra security but it is true that I felt extremely insecure following my 11-hour ordeal during the gherao by the students in office cabin on Monday evening. The FTII administration took the decision on the extra security following the incident,” Pathrabe told PTI.

Taking a sharply critical stand, FTII’s Acting Dean Sandeep Chatterjee strongly disapproved of the deployment of bouncers on the campus as an extra security step and said it gave the look of a ‘military camp’ to the educational institution.

AFP image.AFP image.

AFP image.

The FTII students, faculty and alumni have reacted sharply against the measure arguing that it conveyed a wrong impression of the situation at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and projected the students as “criminals or terrorists”.

Even the three-member Information and Broadcasting Ministry team, which held talks with all stakeholders to find a solution to the 72-day old strike over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan, took a different view on the beefed up security in the form of “bouncers”.

The delegation leader S M Khan told reporters that he was of the opinion that the beefed up security was not required on the campus.

Pathrabe, however, maintained he was “tortured” by the students during the gherao and the footage circulated by them was a “selective leak” to camouflage the truth.

“The video footage being shown in the media is only of the initial stage of the 11-hour gherao and does not show my worsening ordeal during the confinement,” he added.

Khan said the team had a “fruitful discussion” with the students and other stake-holders and will submit its report to the I&B Ministry by Monday.

On I&B Ministry team’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said they showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders.

The student representatives, too, sounded positive about the approach of Ministry officials, saying they are hopeful of an early resolution to their demands, which includes removal of Chauhan.

Reacting to I&B ministry’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said the delegation members led by S M Khan showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, activists of pro-CPI(M) SFI and DYFI and Janwadi Mahila Samiti staged a demonstration before the FTII pledging support to the 72-day old students’ agitation seeking removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute’s chairmanship.

PTI

FTII crisis: Bouncers on campus make institute look like military camp, says Dean

It projected the students as “criminals or terrorists”, say students and faculty.

Prashant Pathrabe Saturday justified the decision saying it was taken in view of the “insecure atmosphere” on the campus

Under attack for deployment of bouncers at FTII, institute director Prashant Pathrabe Saturday justified the decision saying it was taken in view of the “insecure atmosphere” on the campus after the students confined him to the cabin but its Acting Dean resented the step holding it gave the institute the “look of a military camp”. FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe, who drew flak from various quarters for the step he had taken after the striking students resorted to “gherao” him, said scaling up the security was an “administrative decision” taken in view of the “insecure” atmosphere on the campus. “I had not asked for extra security but it is true that I felt extremely insecure following my 11-hour ordeal during the gherao by the students in office cabin on Monday evening. The FTII administration took the decision on the extra security following the incident,” Pathrabe said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a sharply critical stand, FTII’s Acting Dean Sandeep Chatterjee strongly disapproved of the deployment of bouncers on the campus as an extra security step and said it gave the look of a ‘military camp’ to the educational institution. The FTII students, faculty and alumni have reacted sharply against the measure arguing that it conveyed a wrong impression of the situation at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and projected the students as “criminals or terrorists”.Even the three-member Information and Broadcasting Ministry team, which held talks with all stakeholders to find a solution to the 72-day old strike over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan, took a different view on the beefed up security in the form of “bouncers”. The delegation leader SM Khan told reporters that he was of the opinion that the beefed up security was not required on the campus.Pathrabe, however, maintained he was “tortured” by the students during the gherao and the footage circulated by them was a “selective leak” to camouflage the truth. “The video footage being shown in the media is only of the initial stage of the 11-hour gherao and does not show my worsening ordeal during the confinement,” he added.Khan said the team had a “fruitful discussion” with the students and other stake-holders and will submit its report to the I&B Ministry by Monday.On I&B Ministry team’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said they showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders. The student representatives, too, sounded positive about the approach of Ministry officials, saying they are hopeful of an early resolution to their demands, which includes removal of Chauhan.Reacting to I&B ministry’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said the delegation members led by SM Khan showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders. Meanwhile, activists of pro-CPI(M) SFI and DYFI and Janwadi Mahila Samiti staged a demonstration before the FTII pledging support to the 72-day old students’ agitation seeking removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute’s chairmanship.

Mamata Banerjee shown black flags at Presidency University

In another rare show of students’ protest, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was shown black flags at the esteemed Presidency University during the convocation ceremony on Friday.

Mamata Banerjee

PTI photo
In another rare show of students’ protest, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was shown black flags at the esteemed Presidency University during the convocation ceremony on Friday.Students showing placards, black flags and shouting slogans like’ Presidency does not welcome you CM’ and ‘You are not welcome CM’ gheraoed the state education minister Partha Chatterjee for several minutes ahead of the Chief Minister’s arrival at the university.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chatterjee had to enter the venue of the event through the Derozio Building instead. The CM however entered amidst tight security and heavy deployment of police personnel.While she was leaving for another event in the neighbouring Calcutta University to attend their 125th anniversary celebration of Calcutta University Institute, she was again shown black flags.Agitators raised slogans like, ‘We have not forgotten what happened on April 2 and 10’ and ‘We want justice’.It was on April 2, 2013, when SFI leader Sudipta Gupta died allegedly in police custody after a protest rally. In the same year, on April 10, a procession led by Trinamool Congress supporters barged into the premises of the Presidency University and ransacked the laboratory.The agitating students demanded an impartial probe into the two cases.Later, the students started gheraoing the university vice chancellor Anuradha Lodhia till the last reports came in.

India expects state banks to raise $12.3 bln to boost balance sheets | Reuters

NEW DELHI The government expects public sector banks would be able to raise 800 billion rupees ($12.31 billion) from the markets to strengthen their balance sheets, Financial Services Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said on Friday.

Adhia also announced the appointment of new heads of five banks, including two from the private sector, as part of fresh measures to improve the performance of the state banks, which are struggling with rising bad loans.

Indian banks may need up to 1 trillion rupees to manage the risks from their exposure to debt-stressed firms, Fitch’s Indian unit said this month, on top of the tens of billions of dollars in capital they need to comply with global banking rules.

($1 = 64.9700 rupees)

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar and Nidhi Verma; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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

Bangladesh says arrests 2 Islamists over killing of secularist blogger | Reuters

DHAKA Bangladesh police said on Thursday they had arrested two members of a banned Islamist group for alleged involvement in the killing of a blogger, the latest attack on critics of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation.

Militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has tried to crack down on hardline Islamist groups seeking to make the South Asian nation of 160 million people a sharia-based state. Blogger Niloy Chatterjee, 40, an advocate of secularism, was killed by attackers armed with machetes in his flat in the capital Dhaka on Friday.

It was the fourth such killing of an online critic of religious extremism in less than six months, spurring calls by human rights groups for a swift and thorough investigation. Two suspected members of an outlawed Islamist group known as Ansarullah Bangla Team were arrested in Dhaka for links to the killing, senior police official Mahbub Alam said.

Chatterjee was also one of hundreds of bloggers driving a movement demanding the death penalty for Islamist leaders accused of atrocities in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence. (Reporting by Ruma Paul, editing by Mark Heinrich)(([email protected]; +8801713082356))

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

Government to sell 10 pct stake in Coal India | Reuters

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI India is aiming to sell a 10 percent stake valued at around $3.7 billion in top coal miner Coal India Ltd through a stock market auction, as part of the government’s drive to raise money from reducing its holdings in companies.

The government, which owns 78.65 percent of Coal India, has sought bids from banks by Sept. 2 to manage the share offering, according to a notice issued by the Department of Disinvestment, which oversees stake sales in state companies.

Five banks will be selected for the offering, it said. The notice did not mention the timetable for the share sale. (bit.ly/1L5Dwat)

New Delhi is seeking to raise as much as $11 billion by selling stakes in state-run companies this fiscal year, crucial to narrowing the fiscal deficit to a planned 3.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2015/16.

The government has missed its divestment target for the last five years in a row.

Last month, the government raised about $260 million from the sale of a 5 percent stake in Power Finance Corp Ltd, after the auction received bids for more than twice the number of shares on offer.

The announcement on Coal India came amid growing investor concerns about the fate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s reform agenda due to a political logjam in parliament.

Coal India, which the market values at about $36.5 billion,

on Wednesday reported a 6.6 percent fall in its June quarter net profit, missing analyst estimates.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Additional reporting by Aman Shah and Krishna N. Das; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Mark Potter)

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

Somnath Chatterjee to be back in CPI(M) soon

Seven years after his expulsion, veteran Marxist and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is likely to be reinducted into the CPI(M) shortly.

PTI photo
Seven years after his expulsion, veteran Marxist and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is likely to be reinducted into the CPI(M) shortly.The homecoming of the 86-year-old former MP, who had served 10 terms in Lok Sabha, is on the basis of a recommendation by the party’s West Bengal state unit, highly-placed sources in the party said.The recommendation was under the active consideration of the CPI(M)’s top leadership, they said.For the second time in three weeks, party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury will share dais with Chatterjee at his hometown Bolpur tomorrow at a Shantiniketan college function, where the former has spent over Rs one crore from his MPLAD funds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier this month, Chatterjee had joined Yechury and top West Bengal party leaders including Biman Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at a programme to mark the 102nd birth anniversary of party patriarch Jyoti Basu.The move to reinduct Chatterjee comes after the Kerala unit recommended bringing home another Marxist veteran KR Gowri Amma, who would rejoin the party at a function scheduled on August 19 at Alappuzha.94-year old Gowri Amma’s reinduction into the party fold also comes after Yechury has taken over the mantle of the CPI(M), which has decided that such cases should be decided and recommended by the respective state units.Chatterjee, who turns 86 on July 29, was expelled in July 2008 after he had refused to quit the post of the Speaker in the aftermath of the Left parties withdrawing support from the UPA-I government in protest over the Indo-US nuclear deal.Earlier, when Yechury was asked about the reinduction of Chatterjee, he had replied: “there are certain methodologies for such cases. Those methodologies are already taking place. You will get to know about it soon.”Chatterjee’s expulsion had come after he had decided to continue as Speaker, ignoring the party’s directive to resign, maintaining that as the Lok Sabha Speaker he was above party politics given the nature of the post.Gowri Amma is the only surviving member of the country’s first Communist government that came to power in Kerala in 1957 under the leadership of legendary EMS Nampoodiripad.The CPI(M) had sacked her in 1994, after which she had formed her own party, the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), and allied with the Congress-led UDF in Kerala. At the August 19 ceremony, JSS would also formally merge with the CPI(M).

No salary hike for MPs: Govt scraps recommendation by Parliamentary panel

A day after after a parliamentary panel pitched for almost a 100% salary hike for Members of Parliament, the government has reportedly scrapped the recommendation. The Indian Express on Friday reported that the committee will meet on 16 July again to decide on an Action Taken Report (ATR) and “no government representative will be present at that meeting.”

The parliamentary panel on Thursday had also recommended to hike pension for former MPs by almost 75%. Out of 65 recommendations of the panel, the government on Friday shot down 18 proposals and did not agree to 15. The IE report also said that the government will decide on 3 recommendations later “while in four cases, there is no need to change existing rules.”

The panel, headed by BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, has 15 members. “A hike has been long overdue. The salary at present is Rs.50,000 which is not a lot in present times,” a member of parliament told IANS on Thursday.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

Apart from 100% salary hike, other recommendations of the committee included: 50,000 free calls from an allotted landline phone, 50,000 units of free electricity and 4,000 kilo-litres of free water.

The Rs 2,000 daily allowance during sessions was recommended to be doubled to Rs 4,000. The panel had also suggested that the health benefits the lawmakers avail via the Central Government Health Scheme should be extended to their children and grandchildren as well.

Informed sources said some MPs submitted to the panel that while they were given a first class ticket to travel by train, their companions, even if it was the spouse, can travel only second class. The panel had also advocated first class tickets for companions and also suggested first class train tickets for ex-MPs and their spouses. Reportedly, the government has “not accepted” any of these recommendations.

Quoting sources, IE report said: “…recommendations “not agreed” included diplomatic passports for former MPs; First AC facility to an MP’s companion; local telephone when an MP is abroad; exemption from toll to former MPs; permission for former MPs to travel in First AC along with spouse or companion; providing canteen facility to MPs for purchase of items of daily needs.”

While th issue created outrage across media on Thursday, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday said that the issue should be addressed by an independent pay commission exclusively meant for MPs.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Chatterjee said, “After I became Lok Sabha Speaker, I had called a meeting of all parties on the issue and they agreed with my proposal that there should be a separate pay commission for MPs. Thereafter, I sent a note to the then PM (Manmohan Singh) accordingly saying that let it be done in a manner that nobody can raise a question about the MPs’ role in it.” But the suggestion remained just a suggestion, as the Cabinet finally did not agree to it.

Past data shows the last hike for Indian MPs increased their salaries by over three times. A bill passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010 hiked salaries of parliamentarians from Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000 per month, IANS reported.

According to data compiled by PRS Legislative Research, till 1985, the monthly salary was Rs 1,000, Rs 1,500 between 1985-1996, and Rs 4,000 per month between 1998-2001. The next hike was again steep, fixing the salary of parliamentarians at Rs 12,000 between 2001-2005. Between 2006-2008, the salary was Rs 16,000, before it was raised to Rs 50,000 between 2009-2013. At present, the highest paid government office is that of Chairman of Competition Commission of India at Rs 3.70 lakh per month.

The President of India gets a salary of Rs 1.5 lakh per month, vice president Rs 1.25 lakh per month and governors Rs 1.10 lakh per month. The prime minister gets the same salary as parliamentarians, but with additional perks.

With IANS inputs

Trinamool Congress raps CBI for sending notice seeking financial details

CBI had given a week’s notice to Trinamool Congress seeking details of their income and expenses. TMC is now accusing the bueraue of targetting the party.

TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee
File Photo

Trinamool Congress on Monday slammed CBI, which has resent a notice to the party seeking its income and expense details, saying the investigation agency is working at the behest of a “particular party”. “CBI is working under instructions of a particular party to put TMC in trouble,” party’s Secretary General Partha Chatterjee told reporters in Siliguri. He also questioned CBI’s competence.Chatterjee said TMC Bhavan in Kolkata received a lot of letters every day and treated all of them with importance.”The same importance would be accorded to CBI’s letter.” CBI in its notice has asked details of sources of income of the party during 2010-2013 and also the expenditure pattern.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI source told PTI that the party had been given a week’s time to respond to the notice and the investigating agency, after going through all the documents, would decide on whether to interrogate party’s all-India general secretary Subrata Bakshi and Mukul Roy, who earlier held the post.The notice was resent to Bakshi who is now holding the post after the recent exit of Roy, who fell out of favour with the party. Roy was earlier quizzed by CBI in the Saradha case, soon after which he had started to apparently disassociate himself from TMC.Before resending the notice to Bakshi, a CBI officer had called up the Trinamool Bhavan office asking for him, a move which had irked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Referring to the upcoming civic polls in the state, Chatterjee said TMC would fight on the plank of development under Banerjee’s leadership. The previous Congress-ruled board had failed to give any service to the people of Siliguri, while the CPI-M suffered from organisational shortcomings that cut it off from the people. TMC was the only organised party which would be in a position to be with the people, he claimed.

West Bengal: Dacoits gangrape 75-year-old year nun, Mamata orders CID probe

Ranaghat/Kolkata: A 75-year-old nun was allegedly gangraped by dacoits at Gangnapur in Nadia district early on Saturday triggering blockade of road and rail tracks as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered a CID probe into the incident.

District Magistrate P B Salim, who rushed to the spot, told PTI it was a heinous act and police were already on the lookout for the gang members.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. PTIWest Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. PTI

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. PTI

State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the Chief Minister has ordered a CID probe into the incident.

According to authorities of the local convent school in Ranaghat sub-division, the gang broke into the convent after 12:30 am and three-four of them raped the woman after gagging her.

The gang also decamped with Rs 12 lakh in the almirah locker after committing the crime.

The nun was taken to Ranaghat Hospital by the school hostel authorities on Saturday after the matter came to light.

“We are yet to get a full picture of the incident,” the DM said.

Aggrieved guardians of students began blocking the arterial NH 34 and Sealdah-Ranaghat rail tracks from 12 noon as the news spread like wildfire in the locality.

Condemning the incident Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that the people will not tolerate this.

The culprits will be given strictest punishment, he said.

Describing it as an “attack on humanity”, Hakim said that attempts were being made to inject religious fanaticism. “The culprits have to be identified and arrested immediately and given exemplary punishment,” he said.

PTI

Jadavpur University protest: 2 students hospitalised after indefinite hunger strike

Thirteen students of the university are on a hunger strike since January 5 with a five-point charter of demands including the resignation of the VC whom they held responsible for the police crackdown on them during a gherao on September 17 night.

Parents of those fasting will also hold a symbolic 12-hour hunger strike on the campus to support the students

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As another Jadavpur University student was on Saturday hospitalised while on an indefinite hunger strike demanding resignation of the vice-chancellor, the Governor asked the VC to take immediate action on a report relating to a molestation case.”The Governor has cautioned the Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Abhijit Chakrabarti, for the delay in taking action on the report relating to the molestation case and asked him to take immediate action as per law,” a statement from Raj Bhavan said.Governor KN Tripathi, who is the chancellor of the university, also asked the state’s education minister to take care of the health of the students who are on fast. “Governor KN Tripathi has expressed concern at the deterioration of health of some students of the university who are on fast and asked Partha Chatterjee, Minister for Education, to take care of the students’ health and afford all the necessary facilities in this connection,”
the statement said.Thirteen students of the university are on a hunger strike since January 5 with a five-point charter of demands including the resignation of the VC whom they held responsible for the police crackdown on them during a gherao on September 17 night.Two of them are now hospitalised. Third-Year engineering student Shivam Ghosh was admitted to a private hospital on Friday after his blood sugar and BP fell sharply while Avik Ghosh, post-graduate student of Bengali department, was hospitalised this morning with stomach ailments.On Monday, parents of those fasting will also hold a symbolic 12-hour hunger strike on the campus to support the students. The students have rejected all appeals from VC, Chancellor and the education minister to withdraw their hunger strike.The students had gheraoed the VC, registrar and others on the intervening night of September 16 and 17 demanding a fresh probe panel to investigate the alleged sexual harassment of a girl student on the campus on August 28.The VC had said he feared for his life and called the police who intervened to break the gherao and arrested 35 students. Many of the students alleged that they were brutally beaten up by police inside the campus at night.

Hunger Strike Day 4: Jadavpur students’ health takes a turn for the worse

Shibam Ghosh, a third-year Production Engineering student at Jadavpur University was admitted to the hospital on Friday, following his deteriorating health on the fourth day of the hunger strike.Around 7.30pm on Friday, Ghosh suddenly lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to the nearby KPC Medical College and Hospital.With the health of 12 other students of the university on a ‘fast unto death’ has also deteriorated over the past 24 hours, the demands for the resignation of University Vice Chancellor (VC) Abhijit Chakrabarti have got louder.A team of doctors who examined the students on Thursday, were concerned about their low blood sugar level, following the indefinite hunger strike.During the day, state education minister Partha Chatterjee met the VC of JUTA – the Left backed teachers’ association of the University as well as the students on hunger strike. But this failed to break any ice. The standoff still continues, with the students maintaining that they will continue their fast until the VC resigns.“I have requested the students to withdraw their agitation. We can reach a solution only through discussions. I’m trying very hard to solve this impasse. I am also going to inform Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about the entire incident,” Chatterjee said at Bikash Bhawan, after meeting the students on hunger strike.

Coal scam: CBI says waiting for Law Ministry nod to file appeal

The CBI on Thursday told a special court that it was waiting for the nod of the Law Ministry to file an appeal in a coalscam case in which the Delhi High Court had quashed charges framed against Prakash Industries Ltd (PIL) and its director.CBI said the file recommending an appeal against the High Court’s order was pending before the Ministry of Law and the agency was pursuing it expeditiously and was waiting for the report to proceed accordingly.Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, however, told CBI that it should pursue the matter with the Ministry so that it could be decided soon.”Senior Public Prosecutor V K Sharma submitted that the file whereby an appeal has been recommended against the order dated September 5, 2014 passed by High Court of Delhi is pending with the Ministry of Law and report from over there is still awaited,” the judge noted.”He, however, states that the matter is being pursued over there to have an expeditious report,” the court said. The High Court on September 5, 2014 had quashed charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy framed by the trial court against PIL and its director (Corporate Affairs) AK Chaturvedi.The other two accused — Goutam Kumar Basak and Soumen Chatterjee — have sought alteration of charges framed against them earlier in view of the High Court’s order. Executive Secretary Basak and Manager (F&A) Chatterjee of Ministry of Steel’s Joint Plant Committee, had told the court that it should alter the charges framed against them as the High Court had quashed charges against PIL and Chaturvedi.During the hearing on Thursday, the court heard part arguments on the plea filed by the two public servants and posted the matter for further proceeding on February 11. Basal and Chatterjee were earlier put on trial on the charges of cheating, forgery and other offences under IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly giving a misleading report regarding the production capacity of PIL.