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Arrested IAF official was honey-trapped by spy in guise of British journo

Ranjith KK, the 30-year-old Indian Air Force official who was dismissed from service and arrested from an airbase in Punjab earlier this week, had allegedly passed on official secrets to a suspected intelligence operative.According to Delhi police crime branch, the official had been compromised after falling prey to a honey trap set up by the suspected operative, Damini McNought, who posed as a journalist on Facebook.The arrest, made during a combined operation by Delhi police, military intelligence and Air Force liaisoning unit (LU), is being considered another major breakthrough after an ISI-backed espionage network was busted in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month.Ranjith was posted in Bhatinda as an LAC (Leading Air Craftsman) before being dismissed on Monday. Bhatinda serves as a front line airbase near Pakistan border and has a very important surveillance unit, according to the officials. He is married and has a kid as well, said police.”The accused joined IAF in 2010 and has served in other states as well. He was booked under official secrets act and produced in a city court which sent him to four-day police custody,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of Delhi police (Crime).Investigators told dna that Ranjith was contacted by Damini on Facebook nearly a year ago. Damini told Ranjith that she was working for a leading British magazine as a war correspondent and needed his help for a story she was working on.”The suspect offered to transfer money into a bank account under Ranjith’s name. We are looking into recent transactions made towards that account,” said a senior police official. In exchange, Ranjith sent official secrets that included Air Force deployments, exercises and troop movements, he added.Sources told dna that Rs30,000 transferred into the account of Ranjith from a foreign bank had tipped off the intelligence agencies. “Air Force had kept him under surveillance for nearly three months. He had passed on critical sensitive information including air field markings through VOIP calls,” said the source.The accused has disclosed that the alleged spy has a British accent, which was apparent in their conversations during later phase of their relationship, interrogators said.Ranjith’s relationship with the suspected operative took a turn after the duo cosied up to each other. By this time Ranjith had been frequently talking to the suspected spy over WhatsApp and Viber.”We cannot delve into the exact nature of the conversation. But it is believed that the alleged Intel operative had begun to blackmail the accused, threatening to publish the content he had sent her on social media,” an investigator told dna.Delhi police are now trying to pinpoint the location of Damini. Her Facebook profile shows Leeds, United Kingdom as present address and has some others with military background too in friends’ list.The Crime Branch had earlier busted a major espionage network involving officials of the armed forces. Five persons were arrested including personnel of Border Security Force and Rashtriya Rifles. With a second espionage case coming to fore, the Crime Branch is not ruling out the possibility of multiple espionage networks in Indian armed forces.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

The street children who run a newspaper in India

Street children in Delhi bring out a unique two-rupee newspaper chronicling their trials and tribulations.

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till January 11

CBI, while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of Sheena, had earlier said that Peter, during his interrogation, disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani and is expecting information from Interpol on the details of an account opened by Indrani in a bank in Hong Kong.

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Be wary of that imported scotch being offered for cheap! It may be fake

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Sources said a huge racket involved in this business exists in and around Mumbai.

Tempted by that offer of a bottle of premium scotch claimed to be sourced from a “duty-free” shop and being offered at a hefty discount for your New Year bash? Do not fall prey to the lure as there are chances that this bottle may be a cheap brand of liquor being passed off as the original.”With December 31 round the corner, bootleggers and counterfeiters are cashing in on the increased demand for liquor by trying to pass off duplicate liquor as the original brew for cheaper by claiming that it has been sourced from duty-free shops. For instance, a bottle of high-end whiskey which costs Rs 5,000 in a wine shop may be sold for around Rs 2,500 by these people with the bottle containing mid-range liquor,” said a senior state excise department official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier this month, the state excise flying squad raided a building in Andheri (West) and arrested six people involved in manufacturing and sale of duplicate Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). They also seized bottles of premium whiskey brands and raw material.The prime target of these rackets, which make a killing due to the margins involved, is the neo-rich class which seeks to shift from low quality liquor to premium brands but is unable to distinguish between original and duplicate versions.Liquor smugglers also try to cash in on the higher demand for liquor by bringing in duty-evaded alcohol from neighbouring states Goa and Daman, which have liberal excise duty regimes than Maharashtra, leading to cheaper goods.The flying squad also intercepted 500 boxes of duty-evaded IMFL and beer, which were brought into Maharashtra from Goa and Madhya Pradesh, and arrested two people. The stash, which is worth Rs18 lakh, includes 350 boxes of whiskey and 150 boxes of a popular brand of strong beer.Sources said a huge racket involved in this business exists in and around Mumbai. The kingpins and foot soldiers of this illegal business rent premises on a temporary basis in Bandra, Santa Cruz, Khar, Vile Parle, Andheri and Goregaon and prepare duplicate liquor.These counterfeiters purchase empty bottles from bhangar (scrap) shops or order original-looking replicas of bottles and caps from other countries which are then brought to Maharashtra via neighbouring states.Though it is mandatory for all retail outlets to smash bottles of premium imported brands, like scotch and single malts, and deface or remove labels from empty IMFL bottles to prevent their misuse, it is difficult to ensure that individual consumers followed suit.”It is necessary for people to purchase liquor from authorised wine shops because there are chances that bootleggers may be bottling cheap quality alcohol in bottles of premium brands and passing them off as originals. Such liquor may also be harmful for health,” said a senior state excise official.

When APJ Abdul Kalam ‘came to life’ in chocolate form

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It has been installed by Puducherry’s chocolate boutique “Zuka” at its premises here and has been attracting a large number of people.

Model of Kalam made in chocolate

Image Courtesy: Zuka’s Faceboook Page
Displaying the skill of sculpting delicate images, a chocolate boutique here has made a five feet 11 inches model of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in edible chocolate.The chocolate model of the missile man, weighing about 400 kg, is not for sale. It has been installed by Puducherry’s chocolate boutique “Zuka” at its premises here and has been attracting a large number of people.Srinath Balachandran, owner of the chocolate shop, said, “It took about 180 hours for him and chef Rajendran Thankarasu to make the chocolate image in a phased manner taking into account the various fine aspects and using edible chocolate materials. It would be on display till the first week of January.””It is our tribute to the former President. It was a virtual challenge for making the image in standing posture. However, the joy of doing the work was immense and thrilling”, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Srinath said Zuka created the life size statue of Kalam to celebrate the annual festival of the shop after conducting a survey to enlist the suggestion from various sections through Facebook. He said that most of the respondents voted that the shop make a chocolate statue of Abdul Kalam and this expectation had been translated into reality now.He said that on earlier occasions, chocolate images of Mahatma Gandhi, the statue of Liberty, Mickey Mouse, a vintage train and musical instruments were made. “Through such works we want to showcase Puducherry to outside the Union Territory and also to the world at large”, he said.Asserting that these images were not meant for sale, Srinath said managements of a number of schools have started fixing up times to bring their children to the shop to enable the kids to see the chocolate image of Kalam.Asked whether there was any plan to set up any museum to preserve the unique products, Srinath said that “it is indeed a dream and all logistical features would have to be considered”.

Open fire in Delhi court killing a constable and injuring main target

A gang of four persons were involved in an open firing in Delhi’s northeast district’s Karkardooma court injuring their main target — an undertrial named Chennu Pehelwan alias Irfan – and killing Ram Kumar Meena – the head constable who was accompanying Irfan on Wednesday. Irfan, originally from Meerut, is a history sheeter with more than 16 criminal cases lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. He was brought to court on Thursday in a firing case that took place earlier this year. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to eyewitness accounts and police reports, at 11:15 am, Irfan’s matter – item no. 27, in the court had just concluded in criminal court number 73 in front of Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Gupta. The judge had asked the defence lawyer Saquib Qureshi to present the plaintiff in court after lunch the same day. As the group, including constable Meena, the plaintiff and the defence lawyer, was exiting, two persons fired around eight rounds in an attempt to kill Irfan. People inside the courtroom, numbering more than 30, started ducking and diving behind cupboards to escape the bullets. While Irfan sustained injuries, Meena was hit by five bullets to the chest and was killed in the crossfire. According to unconfirmed reports, a court clerk was also injured, whereas the bullets whizzed past the judge’s head narrowly missing him. While the two shooters were caught instantly, two others, who were lying in wait outside Gupta’s courtroom no. 73 immediately attempted to flee. Along the way they threw their weapons by the main staircase near the toilets to avoid getting caught. However, people from the crowd and a few brave lawyers gave a chase and captured the absconders. “The four suspects — all suspected to be minors — are in police custody and undergoing interrogation,”said B Gujar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East). One of the minors is also suspected to be a history sheeter with a murder case pending against him. Had the president promulgated the Juvenile Justice Act which was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the four arrested would have been the first to be prosecuted under it. Meanwhile the Delhi government announced Rs1 crore compensation for the family of the constable who died in the firing.Bystanders present at the time recounted the events to this dna reporter as they unfolded. According to various sources inside the court, there were 62 matters before lunch in courtroom number 73 which mostly handles criminal matters. Hence, the court was filled with at least 20-25 people. “When the firing began, everybody started running helter-skelter. Some even barged in courtroom number 74 – which is exactly opposite the crime scene,” said a court clerk present at the time. “I was busy serving tea to four-five customer when I heard the shots echo, then immediately after, I saw a group of people charging down the stairs followed by police personnel,” says Chandan Pandey, a tea vendor who sits on the fourth floor. The firing took place on the fifth floor of the building. With the crime rate on the rise, and the question of juveniles and crime being a debated subject, the question of security is a matter of grave concern. When one visits the Karkardooma court, one must walk through a metal detector and get the bags scanned. Ironically, right next to the scanner, there is a huge signboard stating “No weapons or photography allowed inside the court premises.” Even the pat down and the frisking performed by security personnel at the main entrance is inept and ineffectual. According, to a police statement, the four suspects were able to sneak in their weapons since their entered from the gates closest to the lawyers parking lot, where the security is inadequate. The under trials brought to court – be it a petty offence, or a high risk prisoner like Irfan, constable merely escort them around by simply holding their hands. There are around 80 police personnel manning and securing the entire court premise where as on the fifth floor, one could count six CCTV cameras – one in the centre of the floor area while the rest were focused on the entrance at the main staircase. According to the police, Irfan and the four suspects belonged to rival gangs and the shootout was gang related.

CBI claims to have recovered five audio recordings from Kejriwal’s secretary Rajendra Kumar

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Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.

Rajendra Kumar

CBI has claimed to have recovered five voice recordings from the email account of Rajendra Kumar, Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, purportedly carrying his oral instructions to allegedly influence contracts in favour of Endeavour Systems.CBI sources on Wednesday said that Kumar who initially refused to share his email password to sleuths during his detailed examination had later provided the details. The sources claimed that scrutiny of his email account resulted in discovery of five audio recordings pertaining to the period of 2011-13 which carry his purported instructions to the officers handling tenders and contracts to allegedly manipulate and favour Endeavour Systems, which is also named in the FIR.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The voice samples of Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, have been taken as per legal procedures and matched forensically, the sources claimed adding that the said conversations could bring more people into scrutiny. The CBI said that it has registered a case against Kumar and others on allegations against the officer that he abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government departments”.Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.”The accused allegedly facilitated award of contracts worth Rs 9.50 crore(approx) to the said company through ICSIL and misused his official position as public servant. The accused were instrumental in award of projects to the said private company in Delhi Transco Ltd; Health and Family Welfare Department, GNCTD; Delhi Jal Board and Department of Trade and Taxes, GNCTD,” CBI had said in the statement after the registration of the case.

As Modi visits Russia, Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at PM’s foreign visits

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Rahul also addressed a few roadside meetings in his Lok Sabha constituency during which he intensified his attack on the Modi government over price rise, saying ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day Russia visit, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took a dig at his foreign tours, saying such trips would not benefit the country and sharpened his attack on the NDA government over price rise.”The PM is travelling abroad regularly, but people in those countries are very clever. These tours will not benefit India,” Rahul said during a meeting with Nyaya Panchayat chairpersons. He said Modi interacts with industrialists and these meetings had nothing to do with the common people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul also addressed a few roadside meetings in his Lok Sabha constituency during which he intensified his attack on the Modi government over price rise, saying ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.”The aam aadmi is groaning under unprecedented price rise. It is no achhe din (good times) for them. It is achhe din only for the Prime Minister,” he said on the first day of his two-day visit to Amethi. Rahul, who led the opposition attack against the NDA government within and outside Parliament, said only his party was fighting strongly against BJP on the price front.”BJP is responsible for the unprecedented price rise in the country,” he said, adding, “inflation is at its peak. Nothing has been done for farmers and the youth”. He alleged that wherever Modi went for election campaign, he tried to create Hindu-Muslim divide for the sake of votes.After Bihar assembly elections, he forgot as if no such state existed in the country.Addressing a few roadside meetings, including at Nigoha and Chatoh, he asked village heads to raise their voice against cancellation of food park and paper mill projects in Amethi and said Congress wanted all welfare schemes of the Centre and the state to be implemented through gram pradhans. At a meeting of newly elected village heads at Ramsapur village in Chatoh block, Rahul said, “We could have changed the face of Amethi through mega food park and Hindustan Paper Mill and these projects would have provided employment to 15,000-20,000 people. Land was given for these projects, but BJP doesn’t want that a food park or paper mill is set up.”He said 40 different factories were to be set up in the food park, which would have benefited farmers the most, but all hopes have been dashed.The Congress leader also alleged that the Centre was trying to close schemes like MNREGA and RTI. He said it was the responsibility of Congress to fight for MNREGA and his party workers could raise the matter in a big way during the 2017 UP assembly elections. He said if Congress came to power in UP, Amethi would be benefited and asked party workers to go to villages and tell people about the “failures” of the Centre and the state government.”We want the village heads to raise their voice against this. Besides, they should protest curtailment of their rights,” he said.Noting that the modern panchayati raj system was the brainchild of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul said Congress favoured more powers for village heads. He claimed various laws enacted by the previous Congress governments gave more powers to village heads, unlike the legislations brought by the Modi government.The Congress leader alleged the Modi government thrice tried to finish the land acquisition law brought by the UPA government but every time the move was blocked by his party.Rahul interacted with village heads on different issues, during which a gram pradhan asked him about the logic behind fixing minimum educational qualification by Haryana government for contesting panchayat elections. He appeared to be in agreement with the decision of Haryana’s BJP government when he said a village head should have some minimum educational qualification to bring about development of the village.Rahul also enquired about progress of MNREGA scheme, a pet project of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. Earlier at Nigoha, Rahul said that during the Lok Sabha election campaign Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every person’s account after bringing back the black money stashed away abroad. “Has it been deposited?” he asked sarcastically.Promising to carry on development work in his Lok Sabha constituency, he said, “We will complete development works in Amethi. We will fight unitedly as a single person cannot continue the struggle alone.”There was minor trouble during Rahul’s visit when Congress workers clashed with each other after one car hit another. Two people were injured in the clash.

‘Achhe din’ only for Modi, not aam aadmi: Rahul Gandhi in Amethi

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The Congress leader alleged the Modi government thrice tried to finish the land acquisition law brought by the UPA government but every time the move was blocked by his party.

Rahul Gandhi
File Photo

Intensifying his attack on the Modi government over price rise, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on said ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.”The aam aadmi is groaning under unprecedented price rise. It is no achhe din (good times) for them. It is achhe din only for the Prime Minister,” he said on the first day of his two-day visit to his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency. Rahul, who led the opposition attack against the NDA government within and outside Parliament, said only his party was fighting strongly against BJP on the price front.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”BJP is responsible for the unprecedented price rise in the country,” he said, adding, “inflation is at its peak. Nothing has been done for farmers and the youth”. Addressing a few roadside meetings, including at Nigoha and Chatoh, he asked village heads to raise their voice against cancellation of food park and paper mill projects in Amethi and said Congress wanted all welfare schemes of the Centre and the state to be implemented through gram pradhans.Later, at a meeting of newly elected village heads at Ramsapur village in Chatoh block, Rahul said, “We could have changed the face of Amethi through mega food park and Hindustan Paper Mill and these projects would have provided employment to 15,000-20,000 people. Land was given for these projects, but BJP doesn’t want that a food park or paper mill is set up here.” He said 40 different factories were to be set up in the food park, which would have benefited farmers the most, but all hopes have been dashed. “We want the village heads to raise their voice against this. Besides, they should protest curtailment of their rights,” he said.Noting that the modern panchayati raj system was the brainchild of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul said Congress favoured more powers for village heads. He claimed various laws enacted by the previous Congress governments gave more powers to village heads, unlike the legislations brought by the Modi government.The Congress leader alleged the Modi government thrice tried to finish the land acquisition law brought by the UPA government but every time the move was blocked by his party. Rahul interacted with village heads on different issues, during which a gram pradhan asked him about the logic behind fixing minimum educational qualification by Haryana government for contesting panchayat elections. The Congress leader appeared to be in agreement with the decision of Haryana’s BJP government when he said a village head should have some minimum educational qualification to bring about development of the village.He also enquired about progress of MNREGA scheme, another pet project of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. Earlier at Nigoha, Rahul said that during the Lok Sabha election campaign Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every person’s account after bringing back the black money stashed away abroad. “Has it been deposited?” he asked sarcastically.Promising to carry on development work in his Lok Sabha constituency, he said, “We will complete development works in Amethi. We will fight unitedly as a single person cannot continue the struggle alone.” There was minor trouble during Rahul’s visit when Congress workers clashed with each other after one car hit another. Two people were injured in the clash.

DDCA row: PM Modi backs FM Arun Jaitley, says he will pass ‘with flying colours’

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“Arun Jaitley will come through with flying colours in the same manner as L K Advani did in Hawala case,” the Prime Minister said at a weekly meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party.

Reacting to the District Cricket Administration (DDCA) controversy for the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told BJP lawmakers that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would “come through with flying colours,” from the controversy. “Arun Jaitley will come through with flying colours in the same manner as LK Advani did in Hawala case,” the Prime Minister said at a weekly meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party.The Prime Minister also said that the Congress is raking up manufactured allegations to defame the government, said Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, quoting Modi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has issued a notice to CM Arvind Kejriwal and five AAP leaders on a defamation suit filed by Jaitley against them. The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders of AAP for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy before a Delhi court which took cognisance on his plea.Escalating the issue, BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been indirectly cornering Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, late on Monday night called Jaitley a ‘napunsak’ in a tweet. However, later he claimed his Twitter account had been hacked.The one member Commission of Enquiry will be headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.Meanwhile, undeterred by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to slap civil defamation cases against Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP colleagues for allegedly defaming him in connection with the DDCA controversy, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday said it is neither ‘scared’ nor ‘threatened’.

DDCA row: Kirti Azad calls Arun Jaitley a ‘napunsak’, later claims Twitter account was hacked

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Finance minister Arun Jaitley arrives at Patiala House court in New Delhi on Monday to file a defamation case against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad, who has been raising the issue of corruption and irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Administration (DDCA), has once again targeted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter on Monday night Kirti Azad tweeted, “I was visited at home by so many agencies to take precaution against threat to my life. Dear @arunjaitley darta nahin hoon napunsako se.”However, Azad later tweeted, claiming that his Twitter account was hacked and it was not his post. “My A/C is hacked. Statement on @arunjaitley as napunsak is not my tweet,” he said. DDCA row: Ram Jethmalani to appear for Arvind Kejriwal in defamation case filed by Arun JaitleyA day ago, Kirti Azad had dared Arun Jaitley to file a defamation case against him too.While speaking to ANI, he said, “I am upset that the defamation suit is not against me. I wish the case was against me because I am the one who raised this issue.”The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders of AAP for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy before a Delhi court which took cognisance on his plea.Meanwhile, Congress has latched on to BJP MP Kirti Azad’s claim that the government had asked CBI in October this year to probe alleged financial irregularities in DDCA, to demand the immediate resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.The one member Commission of Enquiry will be headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.

No indication from government on Ram temple: VHP

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“We have not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple. Saints of Ayodhya and VHP have always maintained that the Parliament, through passage of a law, will pave the way for Ram Temple construction,” VHP international general secretary Champat Rai said in a statement.

The VHP on Monday said it had not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple construction, and was of the firm belief that the temple in Ayodhya will come up on the basis of a related legislation in Parliament.Describing the transport of construction materials including stones into Ayodhya as per certain media report as a “routine exercise” that has gone on for years, VHP said it respected the judicial verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.”We have not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple. Saints of Ayodhya and VHP have always maintained that the Parliament, through passage of a law, will pave the way for Ram Temple construction,” VHP international general secretary Champat Rai said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The VHP leader added that reports in a section of the media attributing statements to Swamy Nritya Gopal Das of Ayodhya are misleading and concocted.”Swamy Nritya Gopal Das is a venerated Saint of Ayodhya who respects the law. Stones have been brought into Ayodhya since 1990 and preserved at Ramsevak Dham. A large number of devotees visit Ayodhya and never has there been any law and order situation arisen on this count till today.”We believe that the Parliament will pave the way for temple construction by passing a law. Saints, VHP and Hindu community have always respected the judiciary and have full faith in it,” Rai said.

Nirbhaya case: Everyone has failed us, says victim’s dad as juvenile walks free

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Even as the 20-year-old convict in the 2012 gangrape and murder of a physiotherapy student was released from a juvenile home on Sunday, protestors, led by parents of the deceased victim, took to the streets of Delhi demanding a stay on his release. The parents, who headed a demonstration at India Gate late evening were detained by the police and taken to the Parliament Street police station along with dozens of supports. The detention took place after almost an hour of sloganeering by more than 150-200 protestors, some of whom demanded a renewed death sentence for the juvenile.

Nirbhaya’s parents Badrinath Singh and Asha Devi

PTI
Even as the 20-year-old convict in the 2012 gangrape and murder of a physiotherapy student was released from a juvenile home on Sunday, protestors, led by parents of the deceased victim, took to the streets of Delhi demanding a stay on his release. The parents, who headed a demonstration at India Gate late evening were detained by the police and taken to the Parliament Street police station along with dozens of supports. The detention took place after almost an hour of sloganeering by more than 150-200 protestors, some of whom demanded a renewed death sentence for the juvenile.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The day was marred with utter confusion as both Delhi police as well as Aam Aadmi Party government remained tight-lipped over the status of the juvenile who was supposed to be released on Sunday at 10 am. On Saturday night in a last-ditch attempt to stall his release, Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal filed a special leave petition (SLP) with the Supreme Court, challenging the High Court order that refused to restrain the convict’s release. The SLP was referred by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur to the vacation bench. The grounds which has been taken in the appeal against the High Court order says that no mental assessment of the state of mind of the juvenile offender has been taken into account for his release. The apex court in a late night hearing refused to stop the convict’s release, but agreed to hear the plea on Monday. Sources told dna that the Juvenile Justice Board processed the convicted 20-year-old as per the mandate under the law and the state’s women and child department as well as the CMO had been kept in the loop. While no government or police official was willing to be quoted on whether or not the juvenile was released, sources told dna that the juvenile had been released to an NGO based in Delhi and was no longer under the protection of the Delhi police. “JJ board officials and members of the NGO have taken him in. We cannot disclose where he is as of now,” said a senior police officer. The officer however added that there were chances that the juvenile would be taken to a village near to his native of Budaun in Uttar Pradesh. As per the norms his criminal record has to be expunged and his new identity will not be revealed. The development clearly did not go down well with the parents of Jyoti Singh, who told dna that all they wanted from the authorities to either delay the release of convicted juvenile or to reveal his identify as he poses a threat to the society. Badri Nath, father of Jyoti, told dna, “I have met everyone, from the Prime Minister to senior police officers to even the clerks working in that remand home. No one helped. The DCW also waited for the last moment to act.” Both Badri Nath and his wife Asha Devi were in the evening detained by police and released late in the night. Scores of ABVP activists and Congress workers were also detained when their sloganeering turned into a near confrontation with the local police. “Everyone has disappointed us,” said Badri Nath moments before his detention.

MPs unite to defeat Bill to amend Section 377

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Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.

While the Juvenile Justice Bill continues to languish in Rajya Sabha over a year now, Lok Sabha on Friday shot down an effort by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to legalise gay sex through a private member’s Bill at the introduction stage itself. The MPs prevented any discussion aimed at dropping Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860 that criminalises homosexuality. The ruling BJP members pressed for division to flung out the Bill and scored victory as its introduction was disallowed by a majority of 71 as against 24 voting for it. Tharoor tweeted: “Surprising to see such intolerance.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.Shashi Tharoor also said he was only fulfilling the Supreme Court’s wish in a ruling in December 2013, leaving it up to Parliament to remove the obnoxious Section from the statute. In a Twitter post, the former Union minister said: “Intro of Pvt. Member’s Bill 2 decriminalize consensual sex btwn consenting adults defeated in LS 71-24. Surprising to see such intolerance.” He said: “Notice of intent to oppose introduction of Bill came so late, there was no time 2 rally support.”In yet another tweet, he said: “We weren’t at passage. It was just “leave to introduce the bill” that was rejected by the intolerant. They couldn’t even debate!” He is, however, not dejected by defeat of his attempt as he tweeted further: “Will try again in future. We shall overcome!” Tharoor, however, found no resistance to two other private member’s Bills he introduced on Friday, one to amend the IPC to substitute a new section for Section 124A on sedition and another Asylum to protect refugees and asylum seekers and to determine their cases. In a landmark judgment in 2009, the Delhi High Court had stuck down Section 377 of the IPC as “unconstitutional” and decriminalised consensual sex among adult homosexual men. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the verdict on 12.12.2013 to re-legalise Section 377 while putting the ball in the government’s court, arguing that it was free to annul the law through legislation.Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences” and says “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with [imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.Rajesh Umadevi, director of Sangama said the retention of Section 377 was aimed at to harass and persecute sexual minorities, including transgender and various identities. “The insidious danger of Section 377 lies in the fact that it permeates different social settings including the medical establishment, family and the state. It also expressed the deep societal repugnance towards sexual minorities and provided the flag leaf of legitimacy for the harassment of sexual minorities,” he said.

Sheena Bora murder case: Court allows Peter Mukerjea’s plea for home food in jail

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Peter had requested that he be allowed to get home food as he is a “senior citizen with heart ailments and is on medication to lower his cholesterol”.
File Photo
PTI
A magistrate’s court on Friday allowed former media baron Peter Mukerjea, arrested in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case, to get home food in Arthur Road prison in Mumbai where he has been lodged.”Permission is granted to provide home food to accused (Peter) in jail under proper supervision of jail superintendent,” Magistrate R V Adone said while allowing the plea moved by Peter earlier this week through his lawyer Kushal Mor.Peter had requested that he be allowed to get home food as he is a “senior citizen with heart ailments and is on medication to lower his cholesterol”. Apart from CBI, the jail officials had also opposed Peter’s plea saying they can provide less spicy and less oily food for Peter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Peter (59), husband of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested on November 19 for his alleged role in the murder conspiracy and has been in CBI custody. Indrani (43), her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her ex-driver Shyamvar Rai were already chargesheeted in the case. Peter has been kept at the high-security jail where Khanna and Rai are also lodged.In 2012, Sheena (24), Indrani’s daughter from previous relationship, was allegedly strangled in a car by Indrani and Khann, and her body was burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 kms from Mumbai. CBI has maintained that the murder could be the fallout of some financial transactions.The agency had said that Peter, during his interrogation, disclosed investment of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani abroad. The agency is expecting information from Interpol on the details of an account opened by Indrani in a bank in Hong Kong.

BJP got donation of Rs 200 crore from beef exporter, alleges Azam Khan

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On the issue of cleaning Ganga river, Azam Khan said that Centre should tell in what time will it be cleaned.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan has alleged that the BJP has taken a “donation of Rs 200 crore” from a “beef exporter”, a charge denied by the party.”BJP plays politics on beef. Ironically, it has taken a donation of Rs 200 crore from a big beef exporter. The party should tell how much money was taken in black,” he said, while talking to reporters here last night.Hitting back at Khan, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak on Friday claimed he was making “baseless accusations” on his party.”He should first give account of money spent in (Mulayam Singh) Yadav’s birthday celebration in Rampur. Khan has himself said that the money came from Dawood,” he further claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pathak was referring to Khan’s remarks in Rampur last month when he was asked about the funding of the birthday celebrations there.”Why does it matter where the money for celebrations is coming from? Some have come from Taliban, some from Abu Salem, some from Dawood(Ibrahim), some from terrorist…,” he had said in an apparent sarcastic response.”BJP is the only party, which runs on principles and ideals and such allegations are signs of frustration of the SP leader,” he claimed.On the issue of cow slaughter, Khan said that “whether it’s cow or some other animal, there should be no slaughter”. Referring to the controversial Ram Temple issue, Khan said that BJP was only “doing politics” on the issue and asked the party to tell as to how much “donations” it had taken in its name.”The Ram Temple issue is being raked for political gains. There is a temple. The people have however understood this propaganda now,” he said.On the issue of cleaning Ganga river, Khan said that Centre should tell in what time will it be cleaned.”One year have passed and now four years are left. They should tell the time-frame for cleaning Ganga,”, he added.

Cyrus Mistry and KR Meera among Sahitya Akademi winners for 2015

The two works of fiction are among the four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs, that have won, the literary body said on Thursday.

Sahitya Akademi award

Playwright and novelist Cyrus Mistry’s English novel “Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer” and K R Meera’s “Aarachar” in Malayalam are among the works that have won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for this year. The two works of fiction are among the four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs, that have won, the literary body said on Thursday.”The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 23 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Akademi which met today under the Chairmanship of President, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari,” Akademi’s Secretary K Sreenivasarao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The award comprising an engraved plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh will be presented to the writers at a function on February 16 next year during Festival of Letters, the annual festival of the Akademi. The award in Bengali is to be announced at a later date.The Akademi also announced Bhasha Samman to writer and scholar Shrikant Bahulkar in recognition of his contribution to classical and medieval literature (western region). The announcement of the awards comes in the backdrop of 39 writers returning their awards in protest against the Akademi’s alleged silence on the murder of fellow writer and Sahitya Akademi board member M M Kalburgi as well as against the growing “communal atmosphere” following the Dadri lynching incident.”We have received cheques by 35 authors but the Akademi has decided not to deposit the cheques to establish its refusal to accept the return of awards,” Rao said.Stating that the Akademi has decided not to take back the awards returned by the writers, he said, “The Sahitya Akademi is an institute for the writers, by the writers and of the writers. They are respected writers and are like the family members of the Akademi. They can never be separated from the institution and the Akademi has decided that it will not take back the awards.”About the remaining four authors, the Akademi said Bengali Sahitya Puraskar winner Mandakranta Sen had approached it for its account details in order to return her prize money, but the Akademi did not divulge details.”Yuva Puraskar awardee Aman Sethi had come down to the Akademi office here to return the cheque, but the Akademi did not accept it,” Rao said.The secretary said, “No institute thinks about taking back awards while conferring them. If they do, then there is no point of giving them awards in the first place. Giving awards is a celebration.”

CBI raids: AAP defends Rajender Kumar; cites his ‘clean’ service record

Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, is facing probe for purportedly favouring a software firm in his capacity as a senior bureucrat in the Sheila Dikshit dispensation.

Rajender Kumar

PTI
The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday sprang to the defence of senior bureaucrat Rajender Kumar, who is facing a CBI probe over allegations of corruption, and virtually gave him a clean chit.AAP leader Sanjay Singh said Kumar, who serves as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary, has a clean service record that spans over 27 years, in which allegations of corruption were never made against him.”You are asking why Kejriwal kept a corrupt official like Rajendra Kumar. Kumar has served for 27 years. Has there ever been a probe over allegations of corruption against him? “In the last 27 years, there has not been a single allegation of corruption against Rajendra Kumar. The media should not distort facts. It is also showing that Rs 28 lakh was recovered from his salary account. Does a salary account contain unaccounted money?” Singh asked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh made the comments during a highly charged press conference, where the AAP attacked Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for alleged financial bunglings in DDCA. Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, is facing probe for purportedly favouring a software firm in his capacity as a senior bureucrat in the Sheila Dikshit dispensation.

ATM dispenses five times extra cash due to erroneous loading

An ATM of a private bank dispensed five times extra currency notes without deducting the additional amount from the card holder by mistake at Ajitgarh town of Sikar district.

An ATM of a private bank dispensed five times extra currency notes without deducting the additional amount from the card holder by mistake at Ajitgarh town of Sikar district.The Axis Bank ATM delivered five times extra cash without deducting it from the bank accounts following which several people gathered there to withdraw money, the bank spokesperson said in a statement.However, the ATM was closed after some time. The incident occurred on account of erroneous loading of currency notes by an agency to which the task was outsourced, the bank said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Neither the bank nor its customers will be required to bear any loss as a result of this incident,” the spokesperson said.However, the bank did not divulged details about how much extra money was delivered by the ATM machine and how it would be recovered.

Sheena Bora murder case: Jail officials oppose Peter Mukerjea’s plea seeking home-cooked food

Two days back, Peter, through Kushal Mor, had moved an application in a magistrate court seeking home food in jail as he is a “senior citizen having heart ailments and has been taking medicine to lower his cholesterol”.

Peter Mukerjea
File Photo
PTI
Officials of Arthur Road Jail , where former media baron Peter Mukerjea has been kept in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case, today opposed his plea for home-made food in prison, which he has sought citing ailments.”The jail officials said that they can make the food less spicy and less oily for Peter. However, they objected to our home food application,” said Peter’s lawyer Kushal Mor. The court is likely to pass an order on Peter’s application on Wednesday.Two days back, Peter, through Kushal Mor, had moved an application in a magistrate court seeking home food in jail as he is a “senior citizen having heart ailments and has been taking medicine to lower his cholesterol”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The same day his judicial custody was extended till December 28 by the court. CBI, which is investigating the case, had also opposed his home food application.Meanwhile, Indrani (43), her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her ex-driver Shyamvar Rai, who have been charge sheeted in the case, would be produced before the special CBI court tomorrow as the court had adjourned the case till December 17.Peter, 59, husband of the prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested on November 19 for his alleged role in the murder case and was in CBI custody. He has been kept at the high-security Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where other two accused in the case — Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai — are also lodged. He was later taken to Delhi by CBI for conducting a polygraph test on him and brought back to Mumbai by month-end.Sheena (24) was allegedly strangled in a car and then her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 kms from Mumbai. The victim was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier relationship.CBI, while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of Sheena, had earlier said that Peter, during his interrogation, disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani and is expecting information from Interpol on the details of an account opened by Indrani in a bank in Hong Kong.

It’s a daunting task, felt obliged: SC on improving collegium

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said that compilation of the written suggestions placed before it was in the nature of a summary prepared out of approximately 11,500 pages of views expressed.
File Photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it “felt obliged” while dealing with the daunting task of working for improvement of the judicial system of collegium for appointing judges in higher judiciary and termed it as a very challenging responsibility.A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said that compilation of the written suggestions placed before it was in the nature of a summary prepared out of approximately 11,500 pages of views expressed.The bench, which passed a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system to make it more transparent and accountable, took into account the suggestions received from stakeholders who had sent them on the website of the Ministry of Law and Justice.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Even though the task seemed to be daunting, we felt obliged to take up the responsibility, as it was after all, for an improvement of the judicial system and such an opportunity must not be lost,” the bench said.”We had a very challenging responsibility to embark upon and reflect, and thereafter, to sieve such of the suggestions as were likely to improve the ‘collegium system’. Only then would we be in a position to sponsor their introduction into the Memorandum of Procedure for the appointment of Judges of the higher judiciary,” it said.In its order, the apex court noted that a few suggestions, “though honestly and meaningfully expressed, contained diametrically opposite recommendations.””It was, therefore, felt that the suggestions received should be compiled in an orderly manner so as to enable all concerned stakeholders to have a bird’s eye view of the same, thereby possibly making the debate thereon more judicious,” it noted.The court also said that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had made an “impassioned submission, not in any obstructive manner, but as a matter of faithful assistance, suggesting that we should desist from pursuing the contemplated course of action.”

100 Indian railway stations to get wi-fi by 2016-end, says Sundar Pichai

“Our focus on bringing Internet access to everyone, making sure our products are working for them in a meaningful way and then ensure our platform allows them to add their voice to the Internet,” the India born CEO said.

Technology giant Google will bring Internet connectivity to 100 railway stations across the country by next year, its CEO Sundar Pichai said on Wednesday.This is part of the US-based firm’s focus on bringing Internet to everyone in India, which has the world’s second largest population.”100 stations will have wi-fi by December 2016. Mumbai Central (station) to go live by January. This is in partnership with RailTel,” Pichai said at a Google for India event.The telecom wing of the Indian Railway, RailTel, had signed an agreement with the subsidiary of Google India to provide wi-fi facilities at 400 stations across the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his two-day visit, Pichai will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also address students at a Delhi University college.”Our focus on bringing Internet access to everyone, making sure our products are working for them in a meaningful way and then ensure our platform allows them to add their voice to the Internet,” the India born CEO said.Pichai, who is on his maiden visit to India after taking over as the CEO of Google earlier this year, said the company is also expanding its headcount in India, especially in engineering operations.”Google is looking at hiring people for Bangalore and Hyderabad… We will also build huge new campus in Hyderabad to build capabilities,” he said.Pichai said as part of Google’s efforts to help women get online, the company is expanding bicycle for women programme nationally.”From a pilot, we will now expand the programme to cover three lakh villages in three years,” he said.

Vasundhara Raje should face CBI inquiry over graft charges: Ashok Gehlot

The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money.

Vasundhara Raje

Hitting out at Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje on the second anniversary of BJP government in the state, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said that she should step down from her post and face a CBI inquiry over the corruption charges levelled against her.The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money. “Corruption from top to bottom has become rampant in the state. Serious allegations have been made against Raje and she should come forward to face the charges and order a CBI inquiry. She has no moral right to continue as chief minister,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Raje showed that how black money could be brought and invested in her son’s company via Mauritius route. Now, the Centre should examine the ‘Vasundhara model’ to bring back black money because PM failed to fulfil the promise he had made,” Gehlot alleged at a press conference here. He claimed that the ‘Vasundhra model’ might prove fruitful for Modi government which is silent despite several scams in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and has not taken action against them.Gehlot also held Raje responsible for the death of former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra who died on November 3 during a dharna demanding a complete ban on liquor in the state. “The CM is the responsible for his death. She did not have a dialogue…to end his agitation which led to his death,” the former chief minister said.Gehlot also claimed that Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has no control over his department and officers and also demanded that he should step down. “Crime-rate has increased in the state and common man is suffering. Minor girls are being raped, dreaded criminals escape from police custody but the home minister is boosting police’s morale instead…,” he said. On BJP President Amit Shah’s remark in today’s public rally that there was no corruption and scam in the last two years, Gehlot said, “It seems that Raje is misguiding and hiding scams from Shah and not showing a clear picture.” On Raje questioning the objections being raised on the second anniversary celebrations, Gehlot said, “Rajasthan is not her personal estate that no one will ask for an account of the hard earned money of common people…What right do they have to misuse people’s money?” Expressing confidence that BJP will not be in power the next time, he warned corrupt officials of strict action. “I have already said that officials must work impartially. If they do so, there will be no issue but if they work in biased manner then we will not spare them,” he said.The former chief minister said that performance of the BJP government in two years in the state could not be analysed as “the government has done nothing.” “Farmers are suffering for fodder and seeds, compensation of crop damage due to excessive rains and hailstorm are pending, Barmer oil refinery is delayed for last two years which could had given employment to two lakh people and no progress on Dungarpur-Banswara-Ratlam rain line project are some of the examples of government’s working,” he said.He also criticised the recently held Resurgent Rajasthan summit, terming it as “just a get-together of industrialists”.

Lancet study puts India as the worst performing among BRICS nations on health indicators

Despite a certain amount of progress in the past decade or so, the report points out glaring gaps in healthcare infrastructure in the country — “low resource allocation, low emphasis on primary health care, poor utilisation of human resources,” as Professor K Srinath Reddy, one of the co-authors said.

Yet another report on India’s troubled health care system pointed out the country’s poor performance across health indicators, despite economic advantages. A report in the medical journal The Lancet — Assuring Health Coverage for all in India — by leading health researchers in the country put India as the worst performing country among the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and well behind its more impoverished neighbours such as Nepal and Bangladesh when it came to health.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite a certain amount of progress in the past decade or so, the report points out glaring gaps in healthcare infrastructure in the country — “low resource allocation, low emphasis on primary health care, poor utilisation of human resources,” as Professor K Srinath Reddy, one of the co-authors said.The report also talks about high out-of-pocket expenditure that drives millions to impoverishment and a disproportionate disease burden. As the report says, India has 20 percent of the global disease burden, marginally better than 21 percent in 2005 while expenditure has dropped from 4.5 percent of the GDP in 2004-05 to 4 percent in 2015.Speaking to dna, Professor Reddy said that idea behind this most recent analysis of data was to make a case for better investment in health care better financial allocation and governance and improved utilisation of all resources.There are certain positives; increase in life expectancy at birth, lowering of infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality ratio, containing the spread of HIV, being declared free of polio and maternal and neonatal tetanus by the WHO. However, “India accounts for 27 per cent of all the neonatal deaths and 21 per cent of all the child deaths (younger than 5 years) in the world. Diarrhoea, pneumonia, preterm birth complications, birth asphyxia, and neonatal sepsis account for 68 per cent of all deaths in children younger than 5 years in the country,” reads the study.The report calls for radical measures as the only way to assure the universal health targets that the country’s own draft National Health Policy endorses, by 2022. Suj measures start with building infrastructure for primary health care. This policy, according to Reddy, provides a sound roadmap and strategic components for the way forward. However, it’s been in cold storage for almost a year as the NITI Ayog differed from it.Earlier this year, media reports said that the Niti Ayog preferred more privatisation of health care as opposed to public spending.Expenditure on health care becomes the bone of contention. Though this government, as the report details, has launched several schemes to better healthcare across regions, ages, sexes caste and classes, it also slashed the annual health budget. Says Reddy that the argument is that resources are not used properly and often allocated money is returned. However, he advocates for more front end expenditure on human resources, drugs, technology, infrastructure.A day before The Lancet study, the Indian Health Report: Nutrition, too pointed out that India’s health indicators and its economic strength were not directly proportional. Stunting affects 38.7 percent of under five children pointing to widespread malnutrition. Both reports, importantly, highlighted that causes also lay in a range of socio-economic determinants, and “widespread inequities in health outcomes that are apparent in the large morbidity and mortality differentials across socio economic status, caste, class, sex, and geographic location”. “We’re doing poorly across the board according to aggregate indicators,” explained Reddy, however, results differed states from state, along caste and class lines. “We have to push to do better not only on aggregate indicators but also address these inequities and provide universal health access.

Sun sets on solar thermal plant projects in Rajasthan

3,404 acres of land remains unused for intended purpose in Rajasthan, according to CAG report

Pic for representation purpose only

According to a CAG report that was tabled in the parliament on December 8, five years since the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government leased almost 3,404 acres of land – mostly in Jaisalmer, at preferential rates to various developers for solar thermal plants remain unused for its intended purpose.According to the audit, in September 2008, the Rajasthan government also granted M/S Par Solar 375 acres of land at preferential rates under the Development Programme to build a 5 MW solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plant. For this entire project since a mere six acres would have sufficed, almost 345 acres of land were leased in excess of requirement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In January 2010, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), four companies M/S Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy Pvt Ltd., M/S Corporate Ispat Alloys Ltd., M/S Diwakar Solar Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/S KVK Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd. were granted land rights under preferential treatment. The land allotted was leased for a period of 30 years at 10% of the Collector Rate while two more companies – M/S Entegra Ltd. And M/S Dalmia Solar Power Ltd. were allotted land under the Migration scheme in October 2010.Rajasthan has high potential to contribute towards the nation’s climate change programme by developing and harnessing solar energy. The energy developed here could account up to 59% of the estimated national solar energy potential. The state has an estimated potential of 1,42,310 MW, though it has installed only 730.10 MW, merely 0.51% of its potential.When Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy Pvt. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Power, was awarded the concentrated solar project (CSP) in December 2010, it was the largest investment of its kind undertaken by any private sector entity in the country. The project, financed through debt by various multilateral agencies that included the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Export Import Bank of the United States, Financerings Maatschappu Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), the Netherlands, and Axis Bank, was expected to generate about 250 million kilowatt hours of green energy that was capable of supporting around 2.50 lakh households.This could potentially be a huge contribution towards India’s clean energy programme and reduce carbon emissions by 2.40 lakh tonnes a year. Since, India is a major participant in the Paris Climate talks and has emphasized the need to convert to alternate energy, this would prove to be a crucial thrust towards the programme.While the reasons for the six projects for taking off remain unknown, according to a reliable source at Diwakar Solar Projects Pvt. Ltd, the project, that has already seen an investment of Rs. 500 crores, needs to be reworked since they received wrong solar radiation date by the government agencies. “The data reading was 20% higher than the actual readings done by us because of which additional land is required,” sources said. The company which was initially allotted 978 acres requires 15-20% more land. “We have petitioned the concerned ministry for the same and await their response,” they added. High potential to produce solar energyRajasthan has high potential to contribute towards the nation’s climate change programme by developing and harnessing solar energy. The energy developed here could account up to 59% of the estimated national solar energy potential. The state has an estimated potential of 1,42,310 MW, though it has installed only 730.10 MW, merely 0.51% of its potential.

Indo-Pak Talks: Top Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir’s account hacked, makes bizarre comments about Sushma

He wrote on Twitter: “I have been receiving a lot of twitter password reset requests recently. Someone trying to hack me.I have changed my twitter email and recovered the password. Thank God.”

File Photo

On Tuesday, Hamid Mir, one of the top Pakistan’s journalist’s Twitter account seemed to have been hacked as whoever was handling his account made some rather mischievous comments. Mir wrote on Twitter that he had been receiving lots of password resets.He wrote on Twitter: “I have been receiving a lot of twitter password reset requests recently. Someone trying to hack me.I have changed my twitter email and recovered the password. Thank God.”The account before it was allegedly recovered made a host of bizarre comments including one which suggested India’s External Affair Minister was having an affair with PM Nawaz Sharif. His tweet read: “According to my sources, sushma swaraj is having secret relationship with PM Nawaz Sharif and she is here to have some fun :).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
There were other bizarre tweets as well, along with various emails from Hamid Mir’s personal account.This comes at a time when Sushma Swaraj is leading a delegation to improve bilateral ties with the country. She was quoted saying: “I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj, who is in Islamabad to lead the Indian delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday.She refused to share what she would be discussing with Pakistani leaders, but said, “What will happen during the talks will be known after meeting.””Heart of Asia conference is very important for India because it is associated with Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to participate. Since it is happening in Pakistan it is necessary and appropriate for me to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold talks with my counterpart Sartaz Aziz to talk about improving the bilateral ties and take them forward,” Swaraj said.

The controversy over a yoga guru’s noodle brand

A popular yoga guru-turned-noodlemaker has become the topic of a social media war over food safety allegations.

Tamil Nadu government on war footing to rescue survivors: Jayalalithaa

Jayalalithaa said despite her government’s preventive efforts, the state had suffered severe damage on account of the heavy rainfall during the Northeast monsoon.

Tamil Nadu government is providing massive relief and coordinating rescue operations with central forces in the flood-hit areas of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Kanchipuram districts, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said on Wednesday after conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas. State government authorities from various departments have been directed to take stock of the situation in the flood-affected districts of the state and provide immediate and necessary assistance to the affected people, she said in a statement. Jayalalithaa said despite her government’s preventive efforts, the state had suffered severe damage on account of the heavy rainfall during the Northeast monsoon. Thousands of stranded residents were rescued from various locations in the state, especially Chennai, by the Indian Air Force, NDRF and Navy using boats and helicopters. The people were shifted to relief camps, where they were provided food packets, baby food, water, mattresses and medicines, her statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Steps are being taken to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases. Officials of the state-run Aavin have been instructed to provide milk powder to people at relief camps, she said. Jayalalithaa had yesterday also detailed the various steps taken by the government to tackle the situation in Chennai and other flood-hit districts. Various ministers, including O Paneerselvam, have been deputed to take charge of the relief works in different districts. Senior IAS officials have also been tasked to ensure that relief reaches the people in the worst-affected Chennai and other districts.

Tolerance, ha! Vikram Sampath can express his opinion anywhere, except at the Bangalore LitFest he founded

The Bangalore Literature Festival, now in its third year, is under a cloud even before it has started. Its director, historian and author Vikram Sampath, has resigned from the festival’s organising committee. This is because a small number of “tolerant” writers said they would boycott the festival as they disagreed with Sampath’s opinion of the “award-wapsi” campaign and of Tipu Sultan. Leading the charge against Sampath are Dayanand TK and Arif Raja.

The latter referred to Sampath’s views against the award-wapsi brigade as “politically motivated and childish.” OL Nagabhushana Swamy and Malayalam poet and critic Satchidanandan also said they would boycott the festival.

Faced with a situation where the issue threatened to snowball, Sampath stepped down, but not without expressing anguish. He is one of the festival’s co-founders and, as such, is responsible for its continuing success. Last year, the event recorded an attendance of 20,000. He said, in a release, “In the interest of the organisation that I founded and nurtured, which is now being linked to my personal views and targeted, I have taken the painful decision of stepping away from all responsibility of organising the festival. The festival and the ideals it has stood for are far greater than me or any individual. It would be a shame if because of me, differing views go unheard.”

Vikram Sampath. Image courtesy: @vikramsampath/TwitterVikram Sampath. Image courtesy: @vikramsampath/Twitter

Vikram Sampath. Image courtesy: @vikramsampath/Twitter

So what transgression did Sampath commit that earned the wrath of the tolerant brigade? Sampath says there are two articles he had written. In one, he explained why he would not give up his own Sahitya Akademi award.

In another, he questioned if we need history and the characters of the past to create social harmony among communities today, and whether this harmony can be founded on falsehood. Sampath also signed a petition, along with a group of very eminent historians and archeologists, urging for recognition of multiple viewpoints and narratives in Indian historiography.

Speaking to Firstpost, Sampath defended his position on award-wapsi. He said, “The Sahitya Akademi is an independent body. The jury consists of writers like me. They decide and give these awards. Sahitya Akademi awards are not given by the government, like the Padma awards. My award was handed to me by eminent Bengali historical novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay. It will be insulting to him and the eminent people on the jury if I returned the award.”

In an article titled Why I Won’t Return My Akademi Award in The Mint, he criticised the award-wapsi brigade for their selective outrage: “It is intriguing that the writer community was largely silent when books were banned, authors attacked, and rationalists killed. Why the selective outrage, as though apocalypse has descended on us as far as freedom of expression is concerned? Intolerance and violence against a contrary opinion is not a sudden phenomenon in India.”

He explained to Firstpost: “The emergency was the most intolerant time in this country. That situation has not come now. Riots are part of the country’s fabric. The Shiva Sena has been running amuck even during Congress-NCP rule. The people who make outlandish statements have always been making it. The media is sensitive and highlights everything. But are these statements influencing legislation? To attribute all this to rising intolerance is incorrect.”

He continued, “Writers like me who disagree with this mode of protest and expressed our opinion on social media were at the receiving end of reverse “liberal trolls”, branded as communal, fascist, and bootlickers of the “despotic, intolerant and authoritarian” Modi regime. These epithets were hurled at us, ironically, in support of freedom of expression.”

Sampath’s stand on Tipu Sultan also seems to have angered the writers who withdrew from the Bangalore Literature Festival. Unlike the writers who base their admiration for Tipu on a fictional account by Bhagawan Gidwani titled The Sword of Tipu Sultan, Sampath is a PhD in history and has studied the history of Mysore in detail. His book Splendours of Royal Mysore is described as the definitive account of Mysore’s Wodeyar dynasty, the longest-running dynasty in India.

In an article titled Why We Love to Hate Tipu Sultan for The Mint, he pointed out, “Tipu is still hated in many parts of Kerala, Coorg, and Mangalore, where many remember his bigotry. (Girish) Karnad dismisses this as merely an 18th century reaction to an uprising. But these are facts of history that cannot be wished away, just as some of Tipu’s progressive measures are praiseworthy. The moot question is whether we need history and the characters of the past to create social harmony among communities today, and whether this harmony can be founded on falsehood.”

He said, “As someone who has researched the history of Mysore for over 15 years, I believe I am entitled to have an intellectual standpoint on a matter of historical debate. I stand by my article(s) written in the past. I am not apologetic about them in any manner and will continue to cherish the freedom that my country gives me to air my opinion fearlessly.” With his departure from the Bangalore Literary Festival, the irony is that Vikram Sampath can fearlessly express his opinion anywhere he likes, except at the Festival, which he helped create, thanks to the intolerance of the “tolerant.”

Facing harassment, female passenger seeks help on Twitter, Railway Ministry comes to the rescue

On 26 November, a woman travelling alone on a outstation bound train in Maharashtra took to twitter to seek help in a harassment related issue.

The woman tweeted:

NDTV reported that a senior officer, Ved Prakash took notice of the tweet and told the Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil to help the woman. Patil also replied to her tweet, seeking information about the train and she was also asked to contact the security helpline number 182. The Railway Ministry’s twitter account responded:

Patil is quoted in the website as saying, “the man had a wait-listed ticket and his behaviour and body language did not seem to be decent and since Mahajan was travelling alone, she felt terrified.”

The Times of India reported that as the train reached Bhusaval, she was helped by RPF Jawans. The male passenger was moved to another coach as he had a valid ticket to travel on the train.

Sheena Bora murder case: CBI to receive Indrani Mukerjea’s account details in Hong Kong bank

CBI informed this in a court in Mumbai where it produced Indrani’s husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea and got his custody extended by one more day.
File Photo

CBI is expected to receive information from Interpol on the details of an account opened by Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in Sheena Bora murder case, in a bank in Hong Kong. CBI informed this in a court in Mumbai where it produced Indrani’s husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea and got his custody extended by one more day.CBI’s counsel Bharat Badami told magistrate R V Adone that the Interpol information on the bank account opened by Indrani in Hong Kong is likely to be received by Monday evening or Tuesday morning.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking extension of Peter’s custody, CBI told the court that it needs to ascertain if he had made any ‘deceptive reply’ during the polygraph test conducted on him on Saturday and Sunday.”The custody (of Peter) is required to ascertain his version on the point of deceptive reply, if any, during the polygraph test and also to ascertain other relevant facts”, CBI said in its remand report.Peter, 59, husband of Indrani, was arrested on November 19 for his alleged role in the sensational murder case and has been in CBI custody since then. He was on Friday taken to Delhi by CBI for conducting a polygraph test on him and brought back to Mumbai today.”The custody of the accused is extended till December 1,” metropolitan magistrate R V Adone said.The probe agency also told the court that the report of polygraph test is likely to come by Tuesday.Sheena (24) was allegedly strangled in a car and then her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84km from Mumbai. Indrani (43), her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her ex-driver Shyamvar Rai have been chargesheeted in the murder case. The victim was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage.The CBI counsel also told the court that Peter has been confronted with many documents and transactions and an “investigation is necessary as the case is at a very crucial stage”. He said that from the financial transactions, it was revealed that a major portion of money was given to Vidhie (daughter of Indrani and Sanjeev Khanna) and some portion was also given to Sheena Bora, Indrani’s daughter by an earlier relationship.CBI, while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of 24-year-old Bora, had earlier said that Peter, during his interrogation, disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani.Meanwhile, Peter was heard saying a CBI officer, during the hearing, that “hold me as long as you want but I am not guilty of anything.”

A moderate Modi: Is the BJP finally planning to switch off its election mode?

PTI
When Narendra Modi started speaking in the Parliament on the Constitution on Friday, most expected the PM, armed with razor sharp wit and sarcasm, to attack the opposition. The stage was set with other senior leaders from the government already having taken potshots at the opposition. But what happened next shocked many. Modi played the role of a perfect statesman, invoked Nehru, paid tributes to all the past Prime Ministers and spoke about cohesion in governance. The PM also gave an account of his foreign trips on the floor of the Parliament.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shorty after that Modi greeted Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh for a session of ‘chai pe charcha’. According to reports, Sonia Gandhi did most of the talking and the PM and his ministers tried to assuage the Congress leadership about their doubts regarding the GST. On Sunday in his monthly radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’, PM Modi spoke about ‘EK Bharath Shreshta Bharat’ to promote inclusiveness amidst concerns about growing intolerance.Just a month ago, Modi steadfastly refused to mention Nehru in his speech at the India-Africa forum summit even though the African leaders were gratuitous in paying tribute to India’s first PM in cementing the relationship. So what changed in the interim? One suspects BJP’s defeat in the Bihar elections is one of the major reasons behind this change in tactics. The air of invincibility that Modi enjoyed, even after the Delhi debacle, is now gone. The BJP can’t just win elections by having Modi turn up and whip up a mass frenzy. What it will need is strong groundwork and the ability to show tangible results on the ground. For that BJP needs the Parliament to function so that crucial bills like the GST pass. But the BJP is currently a hopeless minority in the Rajya Sabha. So it needs the Congress’ help to get crucial bills through. PM Modi’s outreach can be looked at that context, as a way to mend fences with Congress.The BJP can also afford to tone down its rhetoric for some time as it doesn’t stand to gain much in the upcoming series of polls except in Assam. So till mid-2017, when Uttar Pradesh goes to polls, BJP can afford to lie low and focus on governance and finally gett out of poll mode. But will the opposition allow them to settle down? Having the government firefight peripheral issues helps the opposition.But can the BJP crack down on its fringes who make unsavoury statements from time to time and derail the governance agenda? That remains one big question mark. Sadly for BJP, it is easier to cut down on rhetoric but much more difficult to tame inherent bigotry.

Government tells Delhi HC it has no formal pact with Facebook, Twitter to use them

Delhi High Court has motioned towards the discourse of social media usage by the government, with only a standard agreement.

Representational Image (File Photo)

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The government has told the Delhi High Court that its media wing and IT departments are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter by entering into standard agreements and not any formal or separate deals.The government has submitted before the high court that the agreements are “accepted” in ‘click and wrap’ mode wherein assent to the terms and conditions is given by clicking on an ‘OK’ or ‘agree’ button on a dialog box or pop-up window.The submission has been made by Department of Electronics and Information Technology in an affidavit in which it has stated that the media wing of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms of social media for information dissemination.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”… The standard agreements for use of social media have been accepted in ‘click and wrap’ mode and no other formal or separate agreement was signed as a part of account creating process,” the department has said, while also placing before the court the current terms of service and privacy policy of YouTube.The government had earlier placed before the court the standard agreement that it has with Facebook.The department said it too uses social media in the same manner as MHA’s media wing by agreeing to the terms and conditions in ‘click and wrap’ mode.The affidavit has been filed in response to the court’s directions to place before it the contracts or agreements the government has with social media sites.The court had asked for the information while hearing a PIL filed by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya who has raised questions on social media usage by the government.Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for Govindacharya, had earlier told the court that as per contracts the government has with these companies, it is “transferring/surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded.Earlier, the court had observed it appeared that when anything was uploaded on social media sites, the websites got a licence to the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the content without paying any royalty and had asked the Centre whether it was aware of this.The court had also observed that when the government gives royalty-free licence to Facebook without anything in return, “it was akin to (giving) state largesse”.

Anonymous hackers target Iceland sites in whaling protest | Reuters

REYKJAVIK Activist hackers from the Anonymous collective have claimed responsibility for bringing down five government websites in Iceland in a protest against whale-hunting by the North Atlantic nation.

The sites, which included the prime minister’s official website and that of the environment and interior ministries, went offline on Friday and remained down until about midday (1200 GMT) on Saturday.

In an anti-whaling video posted on social media, activists called for people to hack websites linked to Iceland to protest persistent commercial hunting despite an international moratorium.

On a new Twitter account devoted to the campaign, screenshots showing the sites down were published late on Friday by activists who said they belonged to the loose Anonymous collective. The government made no comment about the outage.

Iceland is a member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an inter-governmental body which imposed a ban on all commercial whaling from 1986. The moratorium remains in place, but both Iceland and Norway continue to hunt whales.

Iceland has come under fire for whaling for decades, including in the 1970s and 1980s when activists from Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society tried to disrupt annual hunts using boats or by sabotaging hunting stations.

Isolated in the North Atlantic with only Greenland as its close neighbour, Iceland has relied on fishing and whaling as a key part of its economy. Icelanders argue whales reduce the stocks of the fish they hunt for.

Since its devastating financial meltdown in 2008 and a sharp currency devaluation, however, tourism has boomed and whale tours are increasingly popular.

(Reporting by Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir in Reykjavik and Sabina Zawadzki in Copenhagen; Editing by Helen Popper)

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

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea undergoes lie-detector test

New Delhi: Former media baron Peter Mukerjea underwent a lie-detector test on staurday in connection with the three-year old sensational murder of his step daughter Sheena Bora.

CBI sources said several questions about the crime, his conversations with his wife Indrani Mukerjea and his own statements were put to him during the test by CBI officials at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

They said there were some questions where there were indications of “deception”.

PTIPTI

PTI

The agency has received the nod from a special court here to subject Peter to polygraph tests.

The agency will have to produce Peter before a special court in Mumbai on Monday which has given it his custody.

CBI has subjected Mukerjea to intense questioning since 19 November when he was taken into custody which ranged from alleged siphoning off funds from the media house founded by him and Indrani, overseas account of Sheena Bora, relations between family members, missing details of Sheena and his conversations with his son Rahul.

The sources claimed that on many accounts his answers were purportedly not convincing and changing which prompted CBI to put him to polygraph test.

PTI

India first is only religion, Constitution only holy book: PM Modi

Prime Minister speaks in Lok Sabha during the second day of winter session on Friday

PTI
Skirting replying contentious issues raised by the Opposition during two-day special debate in the Lok Sabha on India’s Constitution to commemorate birth anniversary of its chief architect Dr B R Ambedkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected contention that his government was denying credit or was undermining the role of leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru.He sought to refute the Congress charge that all focus on Ambedkar was to undermine contributions of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and claim ownership over all achievements in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winding up his 63-minute long speech with slogans on “Idea of India” as Satyamev Jayate, Sarva Dharma Bhavo, etc., Modi talked of “India first” as the government’s “Dharma” and the Constitution as the “Dharma Granth” (religious book) but he padded up his “Idea of India” with quotes from the Hindu religious scriptures. Modi started with a clarification that his government’s resolve to celebrate November 26 as the Constitution Day should not be seen as an attempt to undermine January 26.Breaking the charge of rare appearance in Parliament, for the first time, since he was elected, he sat through the full-day debate in the Lok Sabha on Thursday and in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. He, however, disappointed those, expected him to break silence on growing intolerance in the country, the issue raised by Opposition benches led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.He regretted that there is too much stress on the rights guaranteed under the Constitution but not an equal stress on “duty” and gave a call for raising a sense of duty to help the nation grow. He also vowed to work for empowerment of those who did not rise in life for want of opportunity and referred to importance of grievance redressal and justice in this regard.Referring to the single most gift of Ambedkar to workers in terms of an 8-hour work a day, Modi listed some of the steps his government took to help the labour class like raising the minimum pension to Rs 1,000 per month and their provident fund (EPF) account moving with them wherever they go.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan steadfast refused anybody seek clarifications after the PM finished as the last participant in the debate and yet Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge could put in record that Rs 1,000 pension was the UPA government’s decision and portability of the PF office to let the worker’s PF account move with him was also its decision, first such office opened in Haryana.He even referred to the resolution Nehru had moved on December 13, 1946 and seconded by Dr Rajendra Prasad on what should be objective of the Constitution. Sonia had referred to this resolution. The PM also repeated her reference to Ambedkar on the Constitution being good or bad depends on those who administer it.Modi said he was not saying it today but he had declared from the Red Fort in his Independence Day speech that the nation has advanced because of the efforts of all past PMs and governments and none can say that the previous governments did nothing. However, last August during his trip to the UAE, while addressing investors, he said: I have inherited great amount of difficulties due to the legacy of my predecessors (UPA). I cannot run away from them.”The Congress leaders said Modi was still silent on the charge of promoting intolerance but they will pin down the government in the coming days by forcing a separate discussion on the growing intolerance in the country.They were, however, quite happy at the resolution moved by the Speaker and adopted by the House as it gave credit to not only Ambedkar but also Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad and other founding fathers of Constitution for their pioneering and monumental role and contribution to give the Constitution to ourselves.

FM Arun Jaitley to exporters: ‘Create an ecosystem to boost exports’

New Delhi: Concerned over slowing global demand and declining exports, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today underlined the need for creating an ecosystem to boost shipments to the markets overseas.

He asked exporters to produce quality products at competitive prices to meet the challenge of slowing demand in international markets. “One important factor, which our global experience now teaches us is that the world wants to buy good products, it wants to buy cheaper products and therefore you have to think ahead of the others, manufacture products which are cost and quality competitive.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTIUnion Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI

“This can actually enable you, even in adverse global circumstances, to find a bigger market. And we have to create in India an ecosystem which can actually facilitate that,” he said.

The minister was speaking at the closing ceremony of 14-day long India International Trade Fair here. Observing that trade helps in expanding economic activity, Jaitley said the “glaring challenge” is to step up shipments at a time when the world trade was getting compressed.

“The purchasing capacity of global buyer is contracting. Their ability to buy has been reduced and therefore suppliers are going to find it difficult (to get buyers),” he added. He further said that declining prices of oil, gas, metals, food products and other commodities in the global market has adversely impacted the value realisation from exports.

India’s exports have remained in the negative territory for the 11th month in a row by registering a dip of 17.53 per cent in October to USD 21.35 billion, mainly on account of slowing global demand.

Talking about trade fairs, Jaitley said they are going to help boost trade activities. This year, India International Trade Fair (IITF) witnessed about 17 lakh footfalls. The minister said IITF is a very prized location, and “many would want to shift this elsewhere but I’m told Mr (L C) Goyal (Chairman of India Trade Promotion Council) is determined not to move”. Exhorting Goyal for makeover of the Pragati Maidan, Jaitley said, “Don’t be satisfied with…your past bureaucratic experience, your resourcefulness should not only be limited to police.”

Goyal was Home Secretary prior to taking over the charge of Chairman ITPO. “Your energy and resourcefulness in fact, if it manages to re-develop, will probably leave a lasting asset for this country and leave behind a very good footprint,” the minister said.

PTI

Indrani Mukerjea’s secy forged Sheena Bora’s signature on resignation letter

Kajal also told CBI that Indrani’s driver Shyamvar Rai, who has also been arrested in the case, was very close to Indrani as he was working for her since very long.

Kajal Sharma, personal secretary of Indrani Mukerjea told CBI that she had refused to forge Sheena Bora’s signature in a resignation letter to Reliance’s Mumbai Metro but was forced to do so by her 43-year-old boss, who is the prime accused in the sensational murder case. Kajal was employed with Indrani’s INX company from 2002 to 2007 and then worked as her personal secretary from 2011. Kajal, in her statement, said in May 2012 Indrani had called her from London saying she has sent her an e-mail in the form of a resignation letter to Reliance on behalf of Sheena Bora. “Indrani instructed me to start practising Sheena’s signatures so that I can sign the resignation letter on behalf of Sheena and forward the same to Reliance Metro (where she was employed as an assistant manager at the time of her disappearance). Initially I did not agree and asked her as to why I have to forge Sheena’s signature. “To this Indrani said as Sheena is in US and she has no internet facility she cannot do the same and her office is pressurising her to send the resignation letter immediately,” Kajal said in her statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Since I had no option but to obey my boss’s orders I practiced Sheena’s signature in the resignation letter and couriered it to Mumbai Metro office. In August 2012, I created an email ID in the name of Sheena Bora and sent cancellation of rent agreement as instructed by Indrani,” the statement said. Kajal also told CBI that Indrani’s driver Shyamvar Rai, who has also been arrested in the case, was very close to Indrani as he was working for her since very long. “All confidential works were assigned to him (Rai) by Indrani Mukerjea, including personal works,” she said. “Although I used to book vehicles from travel agencies for Indrani, Shyamvar used to go to the concerned travel agency and bring the car. He himself used to drive the hired vehicle,” Kajal said. Kajal in her statement said after April 25, 2012, Indrani asked driver Shyamvar to quit his job as INX was not doing very well. “Indrani advised Shyamvar to join the company of an acquaintance Samir Budha but Rai straight away refused to accept the proposal,” she said. “Sometime in March 2012, Indrani, who was then in London, asked me to open a Skype account in the name of Shyamvar and teach him how to operate it. Since then whenever Indrani used to call Rai on the office laptop through Skype or when Rai expressed willingness to talk to Indrani, I and another employee Pradeep Waghmare used to leave the office so that they can talk privately as instructed by Indrani,” Kajal said.She added that in April 2012 on Indrani’s instructions Rs 1.25 lakh was given to Shyamvar. Kajal in her statement said she had never met Sheena and Mikhail Bora and that she was told by Indrani that they were her siblings.”Only after Indrani’s arrest, I came to know that they were her children,” she said.

Rs 900 cr allegedly siphoned from INX to Sheena Bora’s account that was being run by Indrani: CBI

Mumbai: Closing in on the financial trail in the Sheena Bora murder case, CBI told a court that former media baron Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea allegedly siphoned off funds to the tune of Rs 900 crore from their company 9X Media through a layer of nine companies.

The CBI made the submission while telling the court that it has sought Interpol’s help in seeking access to overseas bank accounts of the Mukerjeas even as it secured extension of of Peter’s custody till 30 November.

Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea in a file photo. IbnlivePeter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea in a file photo. Ibnlive

Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea in a file photo. IBNLive

Seeking Peter’s custody, CBI, which had claimed financial transaction as the motive behind Sheena’s murder, said investments of crores of rupees were made by the Mukerjea couple and that “Indrani and Peter had formed various companies during 2006-2007 and invested Rs 900 crore in them.”

CBI, represented by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, also told the court that the “money siphoned off from INX (in which Peter and Indrani were partners) dealings were routed to Sheena Bora’s HSBC account in Singapore.”

The court was informed that “CBI has written to Interpol seeking access to accounts of Mukerjeas including one in Sheena’s name at HSBC Bank, Singapore.” CBI also told the court that a woman named Gayatri Ahuja, working in DBS Bank Singapore, helped Indrani open an account in HSBC Singapore.

During investigations, Peter told CBI that accounts might have been opened in the name of Sheena Bora (by Indrani) in HSBC and other banks in Hongkong and Singapore.

According to CBI, the couple’s company 9X Media Pvt Ltd carried out its internal audit in which nine companies having shareholding as on March 2009 were found to have instances of alleged misallocation and siphoning of substanial amounts of funds by Peter and Indrani.

The reports of Serious Fraud Investigation Office and Income Tax and documents of chartered accountants substantiate the above facts, the CBI said while seeking Peter’s remand. Singh also told the court that Indrani and Peter had informed the police that whereabouts of Sheena were not known but later they told police that they have found her.

59-year-old Peter was taken to New Delhi for two days for questioning by senior CBI officials and experts on the financial trail in the sensational murder case before being brought to Mumbai this morning.
The central agency had claimed that it has come across some important information and documents which are very crucial for probe relating to the case.

Peter, husband of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested on November 19 and granted CBI custody till today, which was extended by four more days by Metropolitan Magistrate judge R V Adone.
Sheena (24), Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage, was allegedly killed by her mother, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai in April 2012.

PTI

Sheena Bora murder case: How Rs 900 crore ended up in her Singapore account

According to the CBI, the nine companies in dispute were co-founded and promoted by Peter and wife Indrani between 2000 and 2007 and around Rs 900 crore was invested in these firms. Peter was interrogated with reference to the investments made in these firms.

For the first time, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has linked the monetary dealings of companies of Peter Mukerjea with the murder of 24-year-old Sheena Bora. The CBI found that around Rs 900 crore was channelled from nine companies floated by Peter and Indrani to 9X company and from there to a Singapore-based bank account, believed to be that of Sheena. Interpol notice has been issued to gather more details of the Singapore account.According to the CBI, the nine companies in dispute were co-founded and promoted by Peter and wife Indrani between 2000 and 2007 and around Rs 900 crore was invested in these firms. Peter was interrogated with reference to the investments made in these firms.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“During the course of custodial interrogation, Peter revealed that Indrani might have opened an account in Sheena’s name in HSBC Bank, Singapore through her friend Gayatri Ahuja, a top-level executive there. We have issued a notice to Interpol asking them to find the account details and money deposited in the said account,” said a CBI official, requesting anonymity.The official, quoting reliable information, said the internal audit of M/s 9X Media Pvt Ltd – being run by Peter and Indrani with share holdings from the nine companies (as on March 31, 2009) – shows “instances of misallocation and siphoning off of substantial amount of funds” by the couple.As per the CBI, the money channelled from the nine firms to the 9X company might have found its way to the Singapore account and various other accounts.“The report of Serious Fraud & Investigation Office of IT department and chartered accountant documents substantiate the facts. We have collected the IT returns of Peter and Indrani. We want to probe the probability of siphoning off of the money and possibility of parking it in benami accounts in India and abroad,” said the official.The CBI sought Peter’s custody in the court on Thursday on the basis of the new revelations. However, Peter’s defence counsel said, “Peter was a successful businessman and has a lot of investments. Documents in this regard are available with the Income Tax and Registrar of Companies for which Peter’s further custody was not required.”After hearing both the sides, the court remanded Peter in CBI custody till November 30.

Maharashtra: ‘Oshito’ maker for Kumbh, wants MIT’s ‘Maker Space’ in Nashik

Viraj and his team of Parikshit Jadhav, Nilay Kulkarni and Hiren Panjwani had developed the Oshito — a crowd counting mat which was used during the three important days of holy bath.

Viraj Ranade, a third-year student of engineering, was one of the student representatives in the delegation that had gone from Nashik to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston to share their experiences of the Kumbh Mela. The delegation included senior government officials who presented how the Mela was successfully conducted. Viraj was part of Kumbhathon, the initiative held under the aegis of MIT in Nashik for a period of two years before the Kumbh Mela, to develop ideas and innovation that will help Nashik during the mega event as well as aid it in developing into a smart city. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Viraj and his team of Parikshit Jadhav, Nilay Kulkarni and Hiren Panjwani had developed the Oshito — a crowd counting mat which was used during the three important days of holy bath — to count the number of people entering a particular ghat. This real time counting was shared with the police machinery, which was responsible for crowd management. “Developing an innovative idea at Kumbhathon was a great experience as we developed something from an idea to the level of a product. We used a black rubber mat to get real time data and divert the crowd, if necessary, from one point to another. The process of developing the mat and using it was fantastic,” states Viraj. “The MIT experience has impressed me with its level of innovation,” added Viraj, who has missed his terms for engineering due to ill-health. “I feel that education in India needs to be more open, flexible and practically oriented. Due to my ill-health, I am unable to attend college regularly but as the Kumbhathon activity was flexible in time and open in its scope, I could work at home at my pace with my team mates,” opines Viraj.In November 2014, Viraj and his friends started a movement of innovation activities called ‘I Make’. According to Viraj, This provides space and opportunity for anyone to create anything.While in Boston, Viraj was interested in the Maker Space at the MIT Media Lab. “Maker Space should come to Nashik. There are resources like tools, infrastructure, material, equipment available and students explore ideas with almost anything like wood, electronics, crafts, language, science, etc. I would like to start a Maker Space in Nashik to promote this innovation culture. Such a space brings people with thought together and it is in itself is a great opportunity,” said Viraj.

Kerala journalist attacked over her Facebook post on child sexual abuse in madrasas

She also states that her Facebook account was blocked for a while then deactivated and activated again.

VP Rajeena (Image courtesy: Facebook)

VP Rajeena, a journalist from Kerala, has become the victim of threats and abuses after she alleged that her classmates had faced sexual harassment in a madrasa years ago. A report by The News Minute reports that in a Facebook post, Rajeena wrote about a teacher at a Sunni madarasa in Kozhikode, who would apparently ‘feel up’ her male classmates’ private parts. She went on to add that the young boys were asked to unzip their pants by the ‘Ustad’ or teacher and would touch them inappropriately. Another teacher aged over 60, would also allegedly sexually abuse minor girls. Rajeena says that she was aware of such incidents throughout her six years at the madarasa.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>കൃത്യമായ അജണ്ടകളോടെയുള്ള അരാഷ്ട്രീയ വൽക്കരണം വ്യക്തികൾക്ക് അകത്തും പുറത്തും ശക്തമായി സംഭവിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു. അത് ഏറ…
Posted by VP Rajeena on Friday, November 20, 2015As soon as Rajeena put up the post on Facebook, she started to receive innumerable threats and abuses on her page and in her message box. She refused to back down, saying she would remain fearless. Due to the overwhelming number of complaints filed against her, her Facebook account ended up being blocked for a while.ഒരു പത്തിരുപത് കൊല്ലം മുമ്പാണ് .പഠിച്ചത് സുന്നി മദ്രസയിലാണ്. അപ്പോ ഏത് സുന്നി എന്ന് ചോദിച്ച് അവിടെയും തർക്കിക്കാൻ ഓട്ട ന…
Posted by VP Rajeena on Saturday, November 21, 2015
Rajeena believes she is being targeted because people saw her as attacking her own religion of Islam. She told The Hindu, “In this case, their intolerance to my opinion is due to the fact that I am a woman from their community. They are scared of more women speaking out. Instead of targeting me, they should try to ensure that women from the community get justice. Being silent about issues is not the solution.”

Black money: BJP says legal action against Preneet Kaur and son likely

BJP spokesperson M J Akbar said whenever information is received on people having black money and illegal money stashed in swiss banks, “action will be initiated”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
As the government stepped up its efforts to curb the black money menace, BJP today said legal action would be initiated against former Congress minister Preneet Kaur and others stashing away unaccounted cash “if proper evidence is found”. BJP also hinted that some legislative measures were on the anvil in the upcoming parliament session against black money.”If proper evidence is found, which we feel we will get soon, legal action against them would be initiated,” BJP spokesperson M J Akbar said when asked about action against former Union minister Preneet Kaur and her son Raninder Singh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said, “Action is being initiated. For the first time there have been serious investigations being carried out (against black money). These names had come up during UPA (government). At that time, efforts were made to save them and they were successfully saved. But now, that era has ended.” He said whenever information is received on people having black money and illegal money stashed in swiss banks, “action will be initiated”.Akbar said, “I feel some more measures to curb black money are also on the anvil in the upcoming Parliament session.”Asked about the opposition move to discuss the issue of intolerance and get a resolution passed in Parliament, the BJP leader evaded a direct reply and expressed hoped that the winter session will run smoothly.”We shall reply forcefully and accurately against all canards. It is good that Parliament debates such issues. That is what Parliament is for. We hope you are also telling me that Parliament is not disrupted,” he said.On Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Modi government over its foreign policy, Akbar said, “If it is just criticism, one can reply. I think he should change his advisers.” India has sought assistance in the investigation into black money from the Swiss authorities into accounts allegedly held by former Congress minister Preneet Kaur and her son.Under the Swiss norms for ‘assistance’ in tax matters, which could involve sharing of account and other details, the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland also asked Kaur and Singh to file an appeal within 10 days for “exercise of the right to be heard”.

Congress leader Amarinder Singh questions govt’s motive in selective information from Swiss

Amarinder said despite his wife and son having already furnished all details and answers to questions raised by Income Tax department from time to time, the Government of India with an “obvious questionable motive” wanted to highlight this particular case.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh on Wednesday questioned the timing and motives of the Centre in seeking ‘selective information’ from Swiss authorities about the purported account details of his wife and former minister Preneet Kaur and son Raninder Singh.Amarinder said despite his wife and son having already furnished all details and answers to questions raised by Income Tax department from time to time, the Government of India with an “obvious questionable motive” wanted to highlight this particular case. He alleged that the information is aimed at stalling the proposed reshuffle of Punjab Congress due to which the ruling BJP-Akali alliance in the state is feeling “threatened” and that is why the Centre is using “dirty tricks” and central agencies to “harass” him and his family.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Amritsar MP is likely to lead Punjab Congress in the proposed reshuffle which is to be announced soon.”The matter of ‘foreign bank accounts’ is pending before Income Tax Authorities since 2011 where it has been clearly stated that neither my wife, nor my son or me have any foreign bank account,” he clarified and pointed out that the Swiss authorities in their notification have nowhere stated that Praneet Kaur and Raninder Singh have Swiss bank account(s).This notification is a matter of procedure to be followed in respect of individuals whose names are sent by Indian Government enquiring about accounts, he said. Amarinder alleged that it was clearly aimed by the BJP government at the Centre to help its beleaguered partner Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, which has been cornered in the recent past for multiple failures.”This is a desperate attempt of the Govt/BJP to malign my image before 2017 Punjab polls without any iota of truth in the allegations,” he said.The former Punjab Chief Minister pointed out that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who during the Lok Sabha election campaign had raised this issue and named him, in April 2014 at Barmer in Rajasthan, while addressing a poll rally. He said, at that time took, he (Modi) raised this baseless issue as the BJP had been cornered in Amritsar with the party finding its candidate Arun Jaitely, currently his finance minister, was trailing and was certain to lose, which he eventually did by a margin of over one lakh votes.Amarinder alleged that Jaitley still cannot come to terms with his defeat in Amritsar and is pursuing this matter with a “vindictive mindset”.”How come this issue of foreign accounts gains relevance or is brought into limelight before State Elections-first time in 2011 (before 2012 polls) now 2015 before 2017?,” he asked.Amarinder added that with the Congress proposing a reshuffle in the party in Punjab the Akali-BJP combine feels threatened by him and have resorted to their old habit and “dirty tricks” of “using” the income tax department and other central agencies against their political opponents.”No wonder all our opponents in Punjab, including the Akali Dal, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party are celebrating the selective leak, as if they have found us guilty of some grave offence,” he said, adding that he had reiterated time and again that his family did not hold any foreign account and relevant documents in form of evidence have been submitted before the Income Tax authorities.His statement comes a day after Swiss authorities said India has sought assistance in the investigation into accounts allegedly held by former Congress minister Preneet Kaur and her son Raninder Singh.Under the Swiss norms for ‘assistance’ in tax matters, which could involve sharing of account and other details, the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland also asked Kaur and Singh to file an appeal within 10 days for “exercise of the right to be heard”. Meanwhile, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday asked Amarinder Singh “to quit politics and face the law of the land as an ordinary criminal for misusing politics as a shield for amassing corrupt wealth.””A person and family facing such grave allegations of personal dishonesty have no right to be in public life. As Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder had been misusing the trust of the people to defraud them of their hard earned money,” SAD leaders said in a joint statement issued in Chandigarh.The leaders, including Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said their party “has asked the Centre to bring this money back to India and hand it over to the people of Punjab as it is their money looted during the tenure of Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister (2002-2007).”The SAD leaders further alleged that “it was shocking that Preneet Kaur held the high office of the Minister of State for External Affairs (in the erstwhile Cong government) while she was actually carrying out money siphoning activities on behalf of her husband.”

Peter Mukerjea’s custody extended, to be taken to Delhi: Here’s what happened in court on Monday

A special CBI court on Monday extended the custody on former Star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea to 26 November, reports suggested that he will be taken to Delhi for further questioning.

CBI sources remained tight lipped about reasons which triggered this sudden move but confirmed that Mukerjea will be further examined there.

One possible reason being speculated is that the agency might want to carry out a lie-detection test on Mukerjea which is available at Central Forensic Science Laboratory here in the wake of his apparent flip flop on various questions.

Mumbai also has a small scientific aid unit of CBI which also carries out polygraph test.

Peter was presented before a CBI court where the prosecution sought 10 days’ custody for Mukerjea, claiming he was not cooperating in the investigations into his step-daugther’s murder.

Peter Mukerjea. PTIPeter Mukerjea. PTI

Peter Mukerjea. PTI

According to reports by CNN-IBN, Mukerjea told the channel that he was unaware of Sheena’s murder.

Earlier, e-mail conversations between Peter and Rahul Mukerjea (Peter’s son) had revealed that Peter had told Rahul that Sheena was in the US. According to CNN-IBN the CBI told the court that Peter had not yet explained why he lied to his son.

The report also says that while the CBI told the court that they have managed to get more information from Peter, Sheena’s mobile phone, ATM card and purse have not been recovered.

Peter was arrested on Friday and remanded in three days’ custody, which ended on Monday.

“Investigation is necessary and hence the custody is extended till 26 November,” the magistrate Mahesh Natu said.

The CBI while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of 24-year-old Sheena said Peter during his interrogation disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani.

“Peter has disclosed that investments of crores of rupees were made by him and Indrani (his wife, prime accused in the case) in the form of fixed deposits in UK and India and some immovable properties were also acquired by them during 2010-2011, but he did not disclose the source of money for acquiring the said assets,” CBI’s custody extension application said.

The CBI had come across some important information and incriminating documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation, it said, adding that Peter had exclusive knowledge about the same, so he needed to be interrogated thoroughly.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for CBI, said when Indrani tried to access Sheena’s email account Peter was present with her.

Among other things, the CBI has contended that Mukerjea was aware of the killing of Sheena Bora, daughter of his Indrani Mukerjea from her previous marriage.

Earlier, news channels that accessed Rahul’s email to Peter, revealed that Rahul had mentioned that Sheena’s disappearance was strange.

No Facebook activity, she is usually very active leaving comments and post for her friends the 21st April. Then there are the dodgy (contradictory) texts I receive on the 25th April, but no confirmation,” the e-mail reads.

“It has been more than 1 month now and I am sure that your are aware that I have still not heard from Sheena herself. The text message that I receive from her cellphone on 25th April expressing her desire to discontinue our relationship.”

“I can deal with a break-up myself, but this seems more like a missing persons. There may be more trouble ahead,” the e-mail reads.

“In the past, Indrani has sent e-mails and texts from other people’s account or phone. In fact I received a text from you from other number,” he elaborates.

“I cannot fully accept as in the past there was instance where I had received text message from you pretending to be Pete (papa) while I was speaking to him on the phone.

“I have (sought) legal advice in this situation and have been advised that circumstances surrounding her disappearance are characteristic of something untoward,” the e-mail adds.

In the letter, Rahul warned Indrani to reveal the truth saying she has impersonated Sheena in the past. “If the report goes to public domain it will raise a lot of question for lot of people. I have sought legal advice, advised that circumstances surrounding her disappearance are characteristic of something untoward. Even Sheena’s work place believes signature on resignation letter forged,” warns Rahul.

In August, Mumbai police arrested Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamwar Rai in connection with the Sheena Bora murder.

They are in CBI custody till 3 December.

With agency inputs

Financial transaction motive behind Sheena Bora’s murder: CBI tells court

The CBI had come across some important information and incriminating documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation, it said.

The submissions were made by CBI while seeking the extension of Peter’s custody by 10 days to probe the financial angle of the sensational case.

Image Courtesy: Twitter
The CBI on Monday told a court that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of Sheena Bora in which her step-father Peter Mukerjea, a former media magnate, and her mother are among the four accused. The CBI also submitted that when Indrani tried to access Sheena’s email account Peter was present with her.The submissions were made by CBI while seeking the extension of Peter’s custody by 10 days to probe the financial angle of the sensational case. The court, however, gave CBI the custody of Peter, who was arrested on November 19, only till November 26, after observing there was nothing new in the agency’s arguments. “Investigation is necessary and hence the custody is extended till November 26,” the magistrate Mahesh Natu said. The CBI while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of 24-year-old Bora said Peter during his interrogation disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani. “Peter has disclosed that investments of crores of rupees were made by him and Indrani (his wife, prime accused in the case) in the form of fixed deposits in UK and India and some immovable properties were also acquired by them during 2010-2011, but he did not disclose the source of money for acquiring the said assets,” CBI’s custody extension application said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI had come across some important information and incriminating documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation, it said, adding that Peter had exclusive knowledge about the same, so he needed to be interrogated thoroughly. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for CBI, said when Indrani tried to access Sheena’s email account Peter was present with her. Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai are already chargesheeted in the case for the murder of Sheena Bora (24), Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage, in April.

Rahul Mukerjea had mailed Indrani, Peter over suspicion on Sheena’s disappearance

In his mail to Peter and Indrani, dated May 28, 2012, Rahul speaks about his suspicions over Sheena’s sudden disappearance after he dropped her on April 24, 2012 near Bandra’s National College.

Former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea’s son Rahul said to the CBI that he had suspicions about Sheena’s disappearance in a mail to his father and Indrani Mukerjea a month after Sheena Bora went missing in 2012, report India Today.In his mail to Peter and Indrani, dated May 28, 2012, Rahul speaks about his suspicions over Sheena’s sudden disappearance after he dropped her on April 24, 2012 near Bandra’s National College. He says that he was not convinced with the text messages from Sheena that said that she wanted to ‘discontinue our relationship’ etc as he had received messages from Indrani pretending to be Peter. He had got the texts the very next day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I cannot fully accept as in the past there was an instance where I had received a text message from you pretending you to be Pete (Papa) i.e. while I was speaking to him on the phone. I received an SMS from his other number. That was a bit of a giveaway as I am pretty sure that he wasn’t texting me an unpleasant message with one phone while I was speaking to him on the other!! That is the main reason why I cannot accept this SMS,” Rahul’s mail said.He pointed out that Indrani had treated Sheena poorly earlier when Sheena was given unnecessary sedatives and sent off to Bengaluru than Guwahati. Indrani and Sheena held a joint bank account in Bengaluru. Peter claimed that Sheena’s phone was discontinued to work repeatedly over there. “Thank God she had a few friends around in Bangalore at that time other than the chap you had sent her with,” the email said further.He said that things could be clear only when he was able to speak with Sheena. “Until I hear from Sheena herself, it is simply impossible to accept what you say with all this doubt in my mind. Unfortunately, said doubt is leading me to be somewhat suspicious as to the reasons why she will not, or is unable to, speak for herself,” Rahul said.Rahul said that he was told that Sheena would contact him in a new number in a week but a month had passed and he was still not contacted by her.

23.55% pay hike? Analysis shows it could well be just 14.29%

Congress spokesman Ajay Maken, whose political turf is New Delhi constituency – housing the largest number of central government staff, says the 7th Pay panel has even withdrawn other benefits enjoyed by low-paid employees.

Will the central government employees, who were looking forward to fatter pockets and heftier allowances in the New Year, really get the promised 23.55% pay hike? A careful analysis of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations makes out that since the dearness allowance (DA) has not been merged with the basic, the hike could be a mere 14.29%. Assuming that DA would be 125% then, considering the 2.57 fitment formula recommended by the commission chief Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, the actual enhancement will be way below the promised 23.55%. Before implementing the 5th and 6th Pay panel recommendations, set up in 1994 and 2006 respectively, the government had merged the DA with the basic salary, thereby taking the minimum hike to 40%.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While the last Pay Commission under Justice BN Srikrishna had recommended to reduce gap between the lowest paid and the highest paid employee from 1:12 to 1:8, the current Commission has increased it further to 1:14. A minimum pay of Rs 18,000 per month and a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh has been recommended by the commission. It has also restricted annual increment to 3%. Congress spokesman Ajay Maken, whose political turf is New Delhi constituency – housing the largest number of central government staff, says the 7th Pay panel has even withdrawn other benefits enjoyed by low-paid employees. For example, in the name of parity in the rank of assistants, between the field staff and headquarter staff, grade pay of Rs 4,600 of assistants of central secretariat service has been revised to Rs 4,200. It will apply to stenographers as well. Also two additional increments granted at the time of promotion to under-secretary level stand abolished. Also quantum of percentage-based allowances in the name of rationalisation has been reduced. For example, the house rent allowance which at present is 30, 20 and 10% in respect of class x, y and z category of cities will come down to 24, 16 and 8% respectively. Further, all non-interest bearing advances for festivals and marriages have been abolished. More interestingly, advances for purchasing car, scooter or cycle also stand abolished. Significantly, transport allowance, which is at present linked with DA, has been delinked, meaning it will not be raised with the increase in transport fares. The employees will also have to shell out exorbitant money every month towards insurance coverage. A class 10 and above employee, who had to shell out Rs 120, will now be giving Rs 5,000 from source. For class 1 to 5, the deduction is Rs 1,500 and for class 6 to 9 it is Rs 2,500. Though these recommendations will directly benefit 4.8 million staffers and 5.5 million pensioners, taking into consideration its cascading effects on state government and other sectors, nearly 20 million people get affected. Reacting to these figures, a senior government official here said, all these factors will be taken into account before implementation. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is setting up a group of secretaries to study the recommendations.

Delhi University students to get special discount on food, apparel, study material

The ISIC card will be in the form of a smart card which will serve the dual purpose of an identity card for a DU student and a discount card.

Delhi University

Delhi University students will be able to avail discounts on major national and international brands, study material, food and apparel by displaying a special student I-card provided to them.The I-card, called the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) endorsed by UNESCO was launched on Saturday and is being made available to the university students by Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU) and will be accepted worldwide.”An ISIC card is currently being used by students in around 130 countries. Once this card is made available to DU students they can avail discounts in Microsoft, British Council, IELTS, Lenskart, Pizza Hut and other popular brands,” said a DUSU member.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ISIC card will be in the form of a smart card which will serve the dual purpose of an identity card for a DU student and a discount card.DUSU is going to organise camps in various colleges starting in a few days to issue these cards to the students.”The cards will be issued to students only when they show their DU identity card. A nominal fee of Rs 250 will be charged from the students at the time of issuing of cards. It will come with a magnetic strap and a unique identification number like the smart cards and can be swiped at some places,” the member said.Some of the offers that will be available on the card include, a 90% discount on purchase of software from Microsoft, 20% discount on career planning workshops organised by Career Smart, a career counselling group, up to 50% discount on brands like Lakme and Pizza Hut outlets.

India’s digital ambition: Dream or reality?

Technology expert Mohit Rana does a reality check on India’s plan to expand its broadband net.

Sheena Bora case: Court records Indrani’s driver Shyam Rai’s statement

Earlier, Rai had written to the court and had said that he wanted to ‘reveal the truth’ about the case.

Sheena Bora

Shyamvar Rai, arrested driver of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea in connection with the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, has recorded his statement before a court in Mumbai.”The court recorded Rai’s statement under the provisions of Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code, which unlike a police statement is admissible in court,” a CBI official said on Thursday. The official added that the statement will be sent to the trial judge by the Magistrate who will unseal it and give copies to the lawyers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We don’t know the contents of the statement as it was recorded in-camera,” he said. Earlier, Rai had written to the court and had said that he wanted to ‘reveal the truth’ about the case. However, Magistrate RV Adone had then not recorded his statement saying that CBI had not followed proper procedures.43-year-old Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and Rai will be produced in the court tomorrow as their judicial custody expires even as CBI prepares to file the charge sheet against them. On October 31, the trio was remanded to judicial custody till November 7 which was further extended till November 20. On November 3, Indrani had given her consent for voice sample tests to be conducted on her.The CBI had earlier moved an application before the magistrate seeking her voice samples saying that it had got hold of some call recordings which purportedly featured her voice, and therefore a verification was needed.Indrani, Khanna and Rai were arrested in August on the charge of murdering Sheena and disposing off her body in a Raigad forest in April 2012, about 84 kms from Mumbai. 24-year-old Sheena was allegedly strangled in a car, then her body was burnt before being dumped in the forest.Indrani was recently hospitalised after her platelet count dipped drastically. However, doctors at JJ hospital had made it clear that she had not contracted dengue as suspected. On October 2, Indrani was taken to J J from Byculla womens’ prison in an unconscious state, fuelling speculation that she had overdosed on anti-depressant drugs. But the probe by Inspector General (prisons) ruled out the possibility of drug overdose, poisoning or suicide bid.Later, she was discharged and sent back to jail.

India committed in fight against corruption, black money menace, asserts PM Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the government has taken “significant steps to check corruption and menace of black money”.

“The government has taken significant steps to check corruption and menace of black money in a short span of time,” Modi said at the inauguration of sixth Global Focal Point Conference (GFPC) on Asset Recovery at Vigyan Bhavan, emphasising that it was essential to fight relentlessly against corruption and that the government was unsparing when it came to punishing the corrupt.

“Our government is committed to make bureaucracy more efficient, performance oriented and accountable,” said.

PM Narendra Modi. AFPPM Narendra Modi. AFP

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

Modi said India is currently in a crucial phase of nation building and the government’s mission is to build a prosperous India where farmers are capable, workers satisfied, women empowered and youth self-reliant.

“However, to achieve this objective, it is essential to fight relentlessly against corruption. India stands committed in its fight against corruption,” he said.

“The very day that we assumed office, we constituted a Special Investigation Team under the supervision of the Supreme Court to look into the issue. We have entered into agreements with many countries for exchanging real time information on black money,” he said.

Modi said India has signed the Inter Government Agreement with the United States to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. This Agreement enables Indian tax authorities to receive financial account information of Indians from foreign countries on an automatic basis.

“A comprehensive and deterrent law, the Black Money Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets and Imposition of Tax Act has been enacted. It provides for stringent penalties and prosecution.

“We have also introduced a provision under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for restitution of assets. This will enable millions of poor investors who have lost money in ponzi schemes to recover a part of their hard earned money,” he said.

Modi also spoke about how terrorists get funding from criminal activities such as bank robberies, vehicle thefts, fake currency and drug smuggling. The Paris attacks is a reminder of this, he said.

“The dastardly acts committed in Paris a few days ago are a grim reminder that terrorists have shown remarkable flexibility and adaptability in meeting their funding requirements.

“Disrupting fund flow constrains the capabilities of terrorists and reduces their ability to execute attacks.”

“This involves putting in place both systemic safeguards, and targeted economic sanctions based on credible counter-terrorism intelligence,” Modi told the gathering of investigators from 33 countries.

Some of the countries were unable to take part in the meet following cancellation of flights in the wake of Paris attacks, CBI officials said.

The Prime Minister said targeting proceeds of crime is an important elements in the fight against crime and sought international cooperation in this regard.

“There is an imperative need to focus our efforts to enhance international co-operation in the field of asset recovery for fighting crime, corruption and terrorism,” he said.

Globalisation of organised crime poses a major threat to economies throughout the world and it is a well known fact that dirty money drives out good money, he warned.

“Organised crime can hamper investment and economic growth. It can also infiltrate or control a large section of economy. Illicit funding promotes organised criminal activities like drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism,” he said.

Calling for a concerted efforts to clamp down on proceeds of crime, the Prime Minister said economic liberalism and globalisation have drastically increased the ability to park profits of crime anywhere in the world.

“Today proceeds of crime can be routed through dozens of countries within seconds. By a process of layering the money-trail can be concealed. Investigation agencies are limited by national boundaries.

“Our Government is committed to the implementation of a uniform global standard on Automatic Exchange of Information, on a fully reciprocal basis. This will facilitate exchange of information regarding persons who have concealed their money in offshore financial centres and tax havens,” he said.

With inputs from IANS and PTI

Tomato terror: As prices go north, govt pins hopes on new crops

New Delhi: After onions and pulses, tomato prices have now hit the roof with the rates rising by 50 percent in just about a month to Rs 62 a kg in New Delhi, even as the government said a moderation was likely soon with new crops.

While the tomato prices have gone up in other parts of the country as well, the food and consumer affairs ministry said in a statement that a high-level meeting has been scheduled tomorrow to review the availability and prices of essential commodities and consider measures to be taken.

Premium crop. Getty ImagesPremium crop. Getty Images

Premium crop. Getty Images

Tomato prices have increased to Rs 62 per kg in Delhi from Rs 41 per kg a month ago. Average prices of tomatoes across major cities have risen to Rs 50/kg from Rs 30 a month ago.

“Marginal increase in the prices of onions in the past week and in the prices of tomatoes is largely on account of disruption of supplies from southern States which have witnessed severe, unprecedented rainfall over the last one week.

“These increases are expected to be temporary and normal supplies should resume soon. The arrivals of the new crops of tomatoes are expected to ease prices”, an official statement said.

The Centre said it is closely monitoring the supply and prices of essential commodities in view of pressure on rates of essential food items due to supply-demand mismatch and adverse climatic conditions in last few days.

“There is a moderate increase in prices during September-December due to demand supply mismatch. The Government is working closely with State governments to ensure that quick action is taken to prevent any abnormal increase in prices and to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities”, the statement said.

The government said that onion prices have increased to Rs 37.52 per kg from Rs 36.82 a week ago.

Similarly, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 43.18 per kg from Rs 35.23 a week ago.

Among pulses, arhar dal prices have risen to Rs 151.67 per kg from Rs 149.91 while urad dal rates have gone up to Rs 141.47/kg from Rs 137.06 a week ago, the statement said.

“A high-level meeting to review the prices of essential commodities and their availability and measures required to be taken is scheduled on November 18,” the statement said.

The meeting would review the de-hoarding operations on pulses and steps taken by States to improve their availability at reasonable prices. It would also review the progress in the procurement of lentils aimed at building a buffer stock.

Some traders at Azadpur Mandi also expressed hope that the wholesale prices of tomato will decline soon after supplies pick up.

“Tomato supplies have come down sharply in the last week or so due to vacation during the festive season and as a result prices have shot up in the market,” said Subhash Chuk, a tomato trader at Azadpur mandi.

Chuk said the high quality tomatoes in the wholesale market were today selling at Rs 20-25 per kg, less than yesterday’s price of Rs 30-35 per kg.

“In the coming days, prices are expected to come down as supplies have improved,” Chuk added.

PTI

Rafale combat aircraft deal in final stages,confirms Manohar Parrikar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in April this year during his visit to France that India will acquire 36 Rafale planes in fly-away condition under a government-to- government contract.

Manohar Parrikar

The multi-billion dollar deal for purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft is in “final stages” of price negotiations, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.A new roadmap for the upgradation of the inventory in the Indian Air Force is being prepared with focus on ‘Make in India’ initiative, and any future acquisition will be based on it, he told PTI. The minister said that issues that came up in talks with the French on the Rafale fighter planes, like 50 per cent offset clause, have “almost been sorted out”. Refusing to put a timeline on when the final contract will be signed, Parrikar said, “It is in the final stages of price negotiations.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in April this year during his visit to France that India will acquire 36 Rafale planes in fly-away condition under a government-to- government contract. “As of now we are talking about 36 (planes). I am not saying that it means we are thinking of buying more. For our upgradation of the air force, we are preparing a roadmap. Once that roadmap is finalised and approved by the government, then we will go ahead as per the roadmap,” he said when asked if India will be going in more Rafale aircraft.Parrikar said that the roadmap will take into account the ‘Make in India’ initiative. “One option is the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas). In principle we have agreed to buy 20 LCAs in present form and another 100 with some improvements,” he said. On the offers made by global fighter jet plane makers to set up manufacturing bases in India, Parrikar said a decision would be taken as per the new policy. The Defence Ministry is expected to come out with a new Defence Procurement Procedure soon that will be in tune with the government’s initiative of ‘Make in India’. However, Parrikar made it clear that companies wanting to set up bases in the country will have to follow India’s export control policy.”Export also comes into play only once our order is finished. That will take 10-12 years. Even the best in the world can’t make more than 16-20 per year unless they have multiple plants. Production for our own orders will take 8-10 years,” he said.From Swedish firm Saab to US’ Lockheed Martin and France’s Dassault Aviation, most of the global aircraft manufacturers have offered their planes in line with the government’s push for ‘Make in India’. Indian Air Force had last month said it would need at least six squadrons comprising 108 Rafale or similar planes to shore up its capabilities.

When a night in Paris turned out to be an ISIS attack

The thought of spending the last few hours huddled in his apartment bang in the middle of a popular venue, instead of being out in the city of lights and love before heading back to New York the next day, dragged Porges out on the streets to grab a bite and drink, when he first saw a man crouched inside the building with a bleeding hand.

As the first of the bombs exploded in the vicinity of Place de la Republique — dotted with the chic Parisian cafes, restaurants and bars filled with crowd of young and old — Seth Porges was blissfully spending his last evening on the top floors of a rented apartment, unaware of the carnage that was unfolding as three teams of suicide bombers unloading their Kalashnikovs on people enjoying the Friday evening.The thought of spending the last few hours huddled in his apartment bang in the middle of a popular venue, instead of being out in the city of lights and love before heading back to New York the next day, dragged Porges out on the streets to grab a bite and drink, when he first saw a man crouched inside the building with a bleeding hand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My first reaction was this could be a street fight or that the man was injured because he smashed a window or something,” Porges says. A few steps later, he saw large numbers of camouflage-wearing military personal with rifles trying to take positions behind parked cars. Within seconds another two dozen firefighters descended at the intersection restaurant on Quai de Valmy by the canal.”That’s when I realised that I am in the middle of a scene ready for a shootout.” Porges, a freelance American journalist, underestimated the calm and sanctity of the panicked crowd who were too shocked to react as eight suicide bombers ran amok in the heart of Paris, striking at popular places.By this time, the football match at Stade de France had experienced more than three explosions, President François Hollande who was at the venue was hurriedly evacuated, 15 people were killed in the restaurants at Le Carillon, Le Petit Cambodge on 10th Arrondissement, five people were dead at La Bonne Bière, a bar in the 11th Arrondissement, another 19 were shot at the neighbouring La Belle Equipe, a suicide bomber detonated himself at Cafe Comptoir Voltaire and a team of three attackers blindly began shooting at the crowd in the Bataclan Concert Hall where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal were holding a music concert. All the spots are in the vicinity at a walking distance of 10 to 30 minutes from La Republique.This was not a shootout but a terrorist attack, later claimed by the menacing and barbaric Islamic State. It was only after 45 minutes after the attack that Porges began talking to the onlookers at La Republique when he was told that Kalashnikov armed men are in the vicinity. Stuck with fear that he is in the middle of something big, bigger than a street-fight or a gang war Porges started messaging his friends back in the US and using Twitter. “I saw blood on the sidewalks and I knew I had to get the hell out of here, into some place which was open area and safe.” Although six locations were attacked and scores of casualty inflicted, locals and tourists like Porges had no idea that Paris was hit by a co-ordinated near simultaneous terrorist attack. His tweets came into the notice of his journalist friends at CNN who immediately called him for a Live witness account.”Here I was on air Live, giving updates on what was happening on the spot, the injured men, the police, the firefighters and I could hear the feed from the other side on this being a terrorist attack. Until this movement, I didn’t think I was in the middle of a city wide ISIS attack. I rather felt like we are in traffic jam.” Porges’s was one of the first witness account in English which provided the outside world a view on what was happening in Paris.For the next three hours, he walked the streets to find the city on Friday evening eerily quiet and see Parisians with pale faces. “It was unreal to be out that night. There was no panic, at least around Place de la Republique.Everyone was calm and quiet.”As Porges tried to make his way back to the rented apartment, treading the tapes blockading the area, more than 129 people had died within the span of two hours.The next morning, his flight from Orly airport in Paris to New York was half empty. Porges had a lucky escape which got him out alive from the middle of the deadliest terror attack on the French soil. The end to the vacation, although tragic, was fortunate. “Will I go back? Of course, I am confident I will return back. Paris is beautiful and it will remain that way.”

PIL seeks action against website ‘glorifying’ Nathuram Godse

The petitioner said that the act of launching the website, amounted to committing the offence of waging war against the nation.

The petition said, the website’s home page claims to have revealed a true account of ‘Why he killed Gandhi’. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing in due course.

File Photo
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to Maharashtra government to register an offence against the persons behind a website “glorifying” Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was filed in the Bombay High Court today. The petition, filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, sought a direction to the state government and the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to register an offence against those behind the website under section 121 of IPC which pertains to waging war against nation.The petitioner said that the act of launching the website, amounted to committing the offence of waging war against the nation. The petition said, the website’s home page claims to have revealed a true account of ‘Why he killed Gandhi’. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing in due course.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Hindu Mahasabha had yesterday commemorated the 66th death anniversary of Godse as ‘Balidan Divas’ and launched a website on his life. Attacking attempts to glorify Gandhi’s assassins, Congress workers burnt an effigy at Thane.BJP and its ideological fountainhead RSS, however, distanced themselves from Hindu Mahasabha’s programme.

Rahul Gandhi is British: Congress rubbishes Subramanian Swamy’s claims

“From the day he was born, Shri Rahul Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such.” – Congress

File Photo

Hitting back at Subramanian Swamy’s claims that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen, the Indian National Congress released documents that showed Rahul Gandhi is an Indian citizen. A Congress press release claims that: “From the day he was born, Shri Rahul Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such.”The release also says that he never held any account in Pictet Bank, Zurich, nor has he ever been questioned or detained at Logan Airport, Boston with undeclared cash. This is a complete falsehood that Shri Swamy is in habit of falsely repeating for decades for his malicious political motives and to gain cheap publicity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Subramanian Swamy had earlier said: “While UK permits dual citizenship, India emphatically does not. Article 18 prohibits an Indian citizen from accepting even foreign titles. Hence, Mr Rahul Gandhi has, prima facie, committed an unconstitutional act and therefore liable to be stripped of his citizenship and membership of the Lok Sabha.” (Read: Subramanian Swamy’s shocking claim)

Jammu and Kashmir to get its first handicrafts museum

The Divisional Commissioner asked the tourism department to submit a concept plan within a week for converting the heritage building into the museum.

Representational Image of handicrafts

dna Research & Archives
Jammu and Kashmir would get its first handicrafts museum over one-and-a-half acres of land at the exhibition ground in the heart of summer capital Srinagar.Asgar Hassan Samoon, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has asked the concerned officials to devise a concept plan for converting old educational structure and adjacent land available at exhibition ground Srinagar into a handicrafts museum, an official spokesman said today.He said Samoon was addressing a meeting here to discuss usage of unused land and building near the exhibition ground, who also asked officials to keep into account the ambiance while devising the plan for the museum.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Divisional Commissioner asked the tourism department to submit a concept plan within a week for converting the heritage building into the museum, the spokesman said. Samoon also asked the officials to remove unauthorized mini-bus stand and vehicle parking from the area and demarcate the entire property.

Omar Abdullah slams critics,asks why can’t we praise PM’s excellent speech

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday took on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to British Parliamentarians asking “why cannot we take pride” in the excellent speech made by him.

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday took on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to British Parliamentarians asking “why cannot we take pride” in the excellent speech made by him.”The Indian PM made an excellent speech to British MPs in their Parliament. Why can’t we just take pride in that?,” Omar said in response to a tweet on a Twitter account which claims to be a handle for Congress volunteers.”PM didn’t address joint session of parliament, but a speech to MPs in the royal gallery. Yeh Jhoot bhi pakda gaya (this lie has also been caught),” the volunteer handle, @withCongress, had tweeted. The former Chief Minister remarked on some of the questions asked of the Prime Minister saying it would be safe to assume that the British press was not “advised” about the questions to be asked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I think we can safely assume that the British press was not ‘advised’ about what to ask & what not to. Some very hard hitting questions!,” he said. However, he made it clear that second part of the question asked by the British newspaper ‘Guardian’ was “disrespectful” towards the Prime Minister.”The second part of the @guardian question to PM Modi was rather disrespectful to say the least,” he said. The Guardian reporter had asked Modi about protests on the streets of London saying he did not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy given his record as Gujarat Chief Minister.

Modi In UK: Britain, India sign over 9 billion pounds in deals despite protests

Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritising other relationships.

Photo courtesy: PM Modi’s Twitter Account

Britain and India welcomed more than 9 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) in commercial deals during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but his arrival was overshadowed by protests over a perceived rise in intolerance back home.Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritising other relationships.For his part, Modi is seeking to restore his authority on the world stage after a defeat for his Hindu nationalist party in populous Bihar state on Sunday. He appealed to business to invest in a more transparent India in a speech at the Guildhall, a historic building in the heart of London’s financial district.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Cameron said he wanted to support Modi in his efforts to transform India with improved infrastructure, the Indian leader signalled he wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, saying the country was India’s gateway to Europe.”We want to become your number one partner for supporting the finance needed for this ambitious plan, making London the world’s centre for offshore rupee trading,” Cameron told him during a news conference, adding that plans were in place to issue more than 1 billion pounds in bonds.He later said in a statement: “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations, together worth more than £9 billion pounds.”The British government listed more than 20 deals and collaborations, including a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.98 billion) investment by Vodafone.The two prime ministers also welcomed a package to promote clean energy worth 3.2 billion pounds of commercial agreements, joint research programmes and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.Before the visit, diplomats said the Indian leader was keen to buy 20 more BAE Systems Hawk trainer aircraft to be made in Bengaluru.Cameron has visited India three times since taking office in 2010 to try to climb up the diplomatic pecking order, but Modi is the first Indian head of government to pay an official visit to Britain, the country’s former colonial ruler, in almost a decade.His visit comes at a time when a debate is raging in India over accusations that Modi is failing to rein in Hindu zealots trying to impose their values on all Indians.POMP AND PROTESTSAs Modi and Cameron shook hands for the cameras outside Number 10 Downing Street, a crowd of about 200 protesters could be heard shouting anti-Modi slogans nearby.”Our main concern is that minorities are not safe in India,” said Sikh protester Kuldip Singh.The demonstrators held up banners with messages such as “Modi you are killing Indian democracy” and “Stop religious persecution in India”.Asked about these concerns at his joint news conference with Cameron, Modi said India was a vibrant democracy in which individual rights were guaranteed by the constitution.”There is something that is deeply entrenched in our culture, in our traditions, which is that of not accepting anything that has to do with intolerance,” he said, adding that violent incidents would not be tolerated.Critics have accused Modi of remaining silent about incidents such as the recent deaths of four people attacked by Hindus enraged at reports of cows being slaughtered, smuggled or consumed, and the separate shootings of two prominent atheists.Before his arrival in Britain, more than 200 writers, including Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, signed an open letter to Cameron urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India during his talks with Modi.About 45 British members of parliament, including opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed a motion to debate India’s human rights record.The British government, however, rolled out the red carpet for Modi, who was greeted in the grand courtyard of the Treasury by a guard of honour wearing ceremonial bearskin headgear.Modi was due to have lunch with Queen Elizabeth on Friday, before the emotional high point of his visit, a mass rally at Wembley Stadium where Modi will address about 60,000 supporters from India’s 1.5 million-strong diaspora in Britain.($1 = 0.6572 pounds)

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