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Firstpost Ground Report: A region obsessed with sugarcane is schooled in water conservation, and switching crop patterns

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A legend is no more: Marathi poet Mangesh Padgaonkar passes away

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‘Why should police station be the only place we meet?’: Mumbai cops launch Twitter handle

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Firstpost Ground Report: Why Devendra Fadnavis’ bold gambit to tackle drought in Maharashtra is working

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From January 1, you can file online FIR at Maharashtra police stations: CM Devendra Fadnavis

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The government has planned to make every smart city should be safe. All cities will be covered with CCTV surveillance in phase manner.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

From January 1, all police stations in the state will register first information report (FIR) online and complainant will receive a SMS and a copy of complaint on the Whatsapp, announced Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the last day of the winter session.The government has planned to make every smart city should be safe. All cities will be covered with CCTV surveillance in phase manner. “Every police station will be online, paperless and every police station should register FIR electronically, as per the guidelines of the central government. Not a single state has done it. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP government has initiated the process and completed the project. Every police station has the provision of registering online FIR, though they first registered manually and later put online because of lack of experience. The complainant will receive a SMS and a copy of FIR through Whatsapp, from January 1, There will be surprise check and the government will take a note of police station who will not go for online,” said Fadnavis.The CM also announced that all police stations be part of citizen’s portal and all permissions will be issued through portal including Ganesh pandal permissions.

2002 hit-and-run case: Maha govt studying HC verdict on Salman Khan, says Fadnavis

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Dry day dilemma: CM Fadnavis in a spot after Muslim MLAs demand ‘no alcohol day’ on 24 Dec

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Puraskar wapasi suddenly stopped after Bihar poll results: Devendra Fadnavis

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He questioned why no awards were returned when a tribal family was burnt alive in Bhandara district a few years ago?

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

PTI
Making his stand on intolerance debate and puraskar wapasi public for the first time, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday hit back at Congress by saying people of the country were always tolerant and even assimilated invaders. He added that the returning of awards stopped after the Bihar election results. He also questioned why no awards were returned when a tribal family was burnt alive in Bhandara district a few years ago? The CM was talking during a discussion in the state assembly on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Constitution, held to commemorate the father of Indian Constitution’s 125th birth anniversary. The event witnessed political one-upmanship and trading of allegations. Expressing his displeasure, Fadnavis said the discussion could not attain the height it deserved because his predecessor Prithviraj Chavan used the platform for political purpose.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Citing the example of emergency, Fadnavis said when lakhs of people were put behind the bars, it was courts that provided relief to the Indian democracy. He cited the famous Keshavanand Bharati case and said the allegations that the present central government has changed the Preamble were baseless, since Constitution formed the Parliament, and the Parliament did not have any right to change the very foundation of the Constitution. He said it was strange to see that those who used emergency to silence the Opposition are now citing the misuse of the central bureau of investigation (CBI). A pin-drop silence prevailed during the CM’s 45-minute speech, in which he the underlined importance of Samrasata– the ethos of the Indian society. He said former RSS chief Balasaheb Devras had explained Samrasata during his spring lecture series in Pune, and it meant surrendering one’s identity for the larger national interest. He said there was no need for the Indian society to take any lessons about tolerance, since the real country and its people assimilated even invaders such as Shaks and Hoons. He also pointed out that no one returned any award when a Tribal famil was burnt alive in Bhandara a few years ago, and the award returning spree suddenly stopped after the Bihar election results. Earlier, starting the discussion, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan criticised the Narendra Modi-led central government and said it was misusing CBI against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. He added that the government has a vindictive approach towards the Congress leaders. Chavan said it was Atal Behari Vajpayee who tried to bring in the word Samrasata in the Constitution. He, however, failed because the word is used by RSS, said Chavan. He questioned as to whether surrender by all leaders for a single leader was the meaning of Samrasata. He cautioned that this kind of unilateralism would usher in an autocratic rule, posing danger to the Constitution, plurality, diversity and rich heritage of the country. Chavan also cited Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statement, saying howsoever good was the Constitution, it depended upon the quality of people for whom it was made. If people are bad, the Constitution would prove to be futile in ushering in the welfare state, he said. To that Fadnavis replied why were the fundamental issues of poverty and illiteracy not solved when the Constitution was in the hands of good people of Congress for almost six decades?

Activist writes to CM opposing ‘early release’ for Sanjay Dutt

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Maharashtra: Sharad Pawar’s birthday stalls proceedings at the House

It was after NCP delegation of senior leaders, including former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, leader of opposition in legislative council Dhananjay Munde and leader in assembly Jayant Patil met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday afternoon after both the Houses were adjourned for the entire day.

Congress and Nationalist Congress Party MLAs protest against the Maharashtra government on the third day of the winter session of state assembly in Nagpur on Wednesday

Rahul More
For enabling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders to attend NCP president Sharad Pawar’s birthday function at New Delhi on Thursday, the state government has decided to alter its scheduled business and to take up non-government business on Thursday. It was after NCP delegation of senior leaders, including former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, leader of opposition in legislative council Dhananjay Munde and leader in assembly Jayant Patil met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday afternoon after both the Houses were adjourned for the entire day. The non-government business or private member’s bills are generally taken up on Friday so that only those members who have proposed bills can remain present and others can leave for their constituencies on Friday afternoon.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ajit Pawar, after the meeting with CM, informed dna that he has requested the CM to take up non-government business on Thursday instead of Friday since most of the NCP leaders would be leaving for New Delhi to attend function at New Delhi. NCP president Sharad Pawar would be celebrating his 75th birthday on December 12 and there would be three functions to mark his birthday, including the first in New Delhi on December 10, the second in Mumbai on December 12 and the third one in Pune on December 20. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis when asked about his meeting with NCP leaders said that they had met him for a few development works in Late RR Patil’s constituency. Even Ajit Pawar had maintained the same that he accompanied MLA Suman Patil (wife of Late RR Patil) for sanctioning of few development works in her constituency. Parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat confirmed that the legislative business for Thursday has been altered and non-governmental bills would be taken up on Thursday.

Devendra Fadnavis asks opposition not to politicise drought situation

Turning the table on the Opposition over boycotting the customary tea with the Chief Minister at his official camp residence, Fadnavis said in the hour of crisis when the state was facing severe drought in 14 districts, the Government was expecting the Opposition to sit across the table over tea and discuss the issues seriously.

Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday asked the opposition parties not to politicise the drought situation in the state and said his government stood firmly behind the crisis. He dismissed criticism over inept handling of drought-like situation in the state.”Out rightly denying the charges that government was doing nothing to handle the drought like situation,” Fadnavis told reporters here on the eve of commencement of Winter Session of State Legislature from Monday.He said his government had already initiated measure to tackle the worst ever drought.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”About 800 tankers are plying with drinking water in the affected zone, work in the employment guarantee scheme was in full swing and the ‘Jalyukta Shivar’, a water conservation scheme launched earlier was helping the farmers to overcome the drought,” Fadnavis said. “As per normal practise the Central team visited in December to assess the drought situation but the state has already submitted a detailed report of situation well in time to the Centre and was expecting relief soon,” he added.Turning the table on the Opposition over boycotting the customary tea with the Chief Minister at his official camp residence, Fadnavis said in the hour of crisis when the state was facing severe drought in 14 districts, the Government was expecting the Opposition to sit across the table over tea and discuss the issues seriously.”But the Opposition preferred to boycott. It was time for all parties to come together and sympathise with the distressed farmers in overcoming the crisis and help the state to tackle the drought more effectively,” he added.Fadnavis denied allegations of Rs 4,000 crore pulses scam and said the Opposition should have explained the magic figure of Rs 4,000 crore. “How could they derive at this figure,” he quipped.Ridiculing the opposition, Fadnavis said the Government will expose them on the floor of the House and decode the scam figure. To a question on proposed Cabinet expansion, the Chief Minister said it will now be after the end of Assembly and Parliament session.The Winter session of both the Maharashtra Assembly and Parliament ends on December 23. Meanwhile, distancing himself from the controversy over referendum remarks by Maharashtra Advocate General Shihari Aney on separate Vidarbha, Fadnavis said he has not heard the comments made on Saturday but today heard Aney saying he will protect the interest of Maharashtra in his capacity as state AG.

Vada pav seller donates Rs 20,000 to CM Devendra Fadnavis’ relief fund for farmers

Mangesh Ahiwale, a vada pav seller from Mumbai has donated Rs 20,000 to CM Relief Fund.

Mangesh Ahiwale

YouTube Screen Grab
A Vada Pav seller in Mumbai has donated Rs 20,000 to the Chief Ministers Relief Fund for drought-hit farmers in Maharashtra.CM Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday praised the gesture of Mangesh Ahiwale.”In a great gesture of humanity, a Vada Pav seller Mangesh met me and contributed Rs 20,000 for the CM Relief Fund,” the CM tweeted.”On 11th October, he announced he will donate all earnings from the day to relief measures for drought-hit farmers…he sold Vada Pav for Rs 5 instead of Rs 12 that day…,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Maharashtra sets up panel to review pay disparity between cops, jailers

The jail constables are not paid for working on an off day whereas police constables are given a full day’s salary. “There are several parameters where standards differ for the two forces despite being under the same department.

The home department has set up a committee to review and find solutions to existing disparity between the salaries and perks of jail officials as compared to police officials. As of today constables, head constables, and even senior officials of the jail department draw less pay and do not get same perks as given to police department officials. For instance there is no medical insurance cover for constables employed with the jail department. Also, the uniform allowance to police constables is given twice a year, but jail department constables get it once in two years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The jail constables are not paid for working on an off day whereas police constables are given a full day’s salary. “There are several parameters where standards differ for the two forces despite being under the same department.Therefore, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is of the view that we should bring them at par,” said KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary, home department. However, the move will add an additional burden of Rs10-12 crore on the department. Fadnavis, who also holds additional charge of home department, promised several police reforms even before coming to power. The most prominent one was to provide housing to 25 lakh police personnel. “My government has accorded the highest priority to improving the living standards of police personnel. The first project I approved of after taking charge of the home ministry was police housing. I have given permission for Floor Space Index up to 4 for police housing projects in Mumbai. In the rest of the state also police housing has been given priority,” Fadnavis had said earlier.Secondly, Fadnavis has enhanced the allowances for police personnel manifold. From Rs68 to Rs105 varying on the rank ranging from constable to police inspector the hike effected from April 1 is Rs 490 to Rs 902. It has benefited 2.06 lakh police personnel.

Draft on education policy, not policy, scrapped: CM Devendra Fadnavis

The chief minister’s as well as the education minister’s offices swung into fire-fighting mode after MLC Kapil Patil claimed that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had scrapped the proposed draft of the report on new National Educational Policy.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis

The chief minister’s as well as the education minister’s offices swung into fire-fighting mode after MLC Kapil Patil claimed that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had scrapped the proposed draft of the report on new National Educational Policy. The government made it clear that it was at the insistence of two MLCs and an ex-MLC that the chief minister decided to scrap the proposed draft from the government website. Patil, in a press release on Wednesday, said that after he had tweeted, ‘Chief Minister, please intervene and control the education minister’, Fadnavis called him up and spoke to him over phone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Patil says he has also written a letter to Fadnavis and objected to proposals like 8-hour school instead of six hours and scrapping facilities to Dalit, tribal and special children. Patil, in his press release, said that the chief minister told him over phone that he will give instructions to withdraw the entire proposal. After news channels flashed the news about Patil’s claim that Fadnavis has scrapped education minister Vinod Tawde’s draft, the government indulged in some fire-fighting. Tawde’s office was asked to put out a detailed clarification. Meanwhile, ex-MLC Bhagwanrao Salunkhe, along with MLCs N G Ganar and Ramnath Mote, called on Fadnavis and pointed out that whatever draft is uploaded on the website for suggestions and objections was creating confusion and requested the chief minister to withdraw the same. Officials from the chief minister’s office kept on maintaining that it was neither a policy nor a draft policy but a draft for the proposed report, kept open for suggestions and objections. The CMO also maintained that it was not the report of the education department as claimed by Kapil Patil but it was a proposed report of the state government. Tawde’s office has issued a clarification, which made it clear that it was not a draft by Tawde but a compilation of suggestions by experts, NGOs and other stakeholders. He said that, it was for the first time in 30 years, public consultation was held. Tawde said that it was uploaded on the website for transparency as there was an effort to politicise the issue by elected representatives. Tawde said that the final draft of the report would be prepared after consulting experts.

BJP’s saffron allies seek berths in Maharashtra cabinet and at Centre

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis

The Maharashtra cabinet is likely to be expanded soon by giving additional ministerial berths to the Shiv Sena and other allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), like the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Mahadev Jankar’s Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram that is headed by Vinayak Mete. Talking to reporters on the eve of Diwali, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had confirmed that the cabinet expansion will take place after his London tour. Since then, many names have been doing the rounds and there has been heavy lobbying at the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> However, leaders of many BJP allies are not members of either House in the state. They have to get elected within six months once they become ministers. BJP sources said that those who are neither MLAs nor MLCs can wait. Those who are already members will have to be given preference, they argue. There are a few prominent names doing the rounds. BJP MLAs Ashish Shelar from Bandra, Jaykumar Rawal from Shindkheda in Dhule district, and Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil from Jalgaon are three of those. Independent MLAs are also asking their share of the pie in return to their support to the government. Sena has been seeking a few important portfolios to have a better say in the government. MLC Vinayak Mete has been eyeing a ministerial berth for a long time. In fact, before the Assembly elections, Mete left the NCP, nursing ministerial ambitions. Mahadev Jankar, who won a lot of his community votes for the BJP in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, is also hoping to be rewarded in the cabinet expansion. RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athawale is another contender. In fact, Athawale has been demanding a share in power at the Centre as well. On Sunday, he said his party wants two ministerial berths at the Centre. Athawale’s spouse Seema is a frontrunner. “If we postpone the cabinet expansion again, the Sena and other allies who helped us come to power will feel jilted. That will lead to a trust deficit and we may face problems in running the government. If chief minister Fadnavis has received the green signal from BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is no point in delaying it,” a senior BJP leader said.

Shiv Sena pushes for Mayor bungalow as site for Bal Thackeray memorial

Ministers in Maharashtra are likely to raise the memorial site issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

The scenic bungalow offers an uninterrupted view of Dadar Chowpatty and has been the official residence of Mayor for more than four decades now.

As the Shiv Sena gets ready to observe the death anniversary of its founder Bal Thackeray tomorrow, the party is reportedly pushing for the city Mayor’s bungalow as the site for the late leader’s grand memorial. The sea-side bungalow is located across Shivaji Park in Dadar, where Thackeray established the Shiv Sena in 1966 and also addressed the annual Dussehra rallies. A senior Sena leader, requesting anonymity, today said party Ministers in Maharashtra are likely to raise the memorial site issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow. The Government has set up a committee, headed by Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, to suggest sites for the grand memorial.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A government official said the panel has submitted its report. “The final decision is to be taken by the Chief Minister who also holds Urban Development portfolio,” he said. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Sena leader said the party is sticking to the choice of Mayor’s residence and is averse to raising the memorial at Wadala (one of the suggested sites) as it is too far away from Shivaji Park and nearby Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters. “The Sena has made elaborate arrangements to announce the selection of the memorial site once the Chief Minister approves the proposal” he added.Thackeray, who died on November 17, 2012, was cremated at the Shivaji Park, the sprawling ground which currently houses a small memorial for him in a corner. The Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has constructed a landscaped garden at the cremation site, where Shiv Sainiks visit regularly to pay their respect to the late leader. “During his lifetime, Balasaheb had hosted several top political leaders and held important meetings at the Mayor’s bungalow,” he said.The scenic bungalow offers an uninterrupted view of Dadar Chowpatty and has been the official residence of Mayor for more than four decades now. A piece of land adjacent to the residence may have to be acquired for the memorial, the Sena leader said. “Both the adjacent land and Mayor’s bungalow belong to the BMC and hence there will not be much of a problem.” Meanwhile, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, accompanied by historian Babasaheb Purandare, today visited Nashik to conceptualise and finalise a site for another memorial for his late uncle in the city, about 200 km from Mumbai.

Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis likely to expand his Council of Ministers before winter session

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to expand his Council of Ministers before the winter session of the state legislature, scheduled from 7 December in Nagpur.

“There are 12 vacancies at present in the Council of Ministers. Out of the 12 vacancies, two will go to Shiv Sena and four to the smaller allies. The chief minister will take a call on whether to fill up all the six vacancies from the BJP quota or keep two pending,” state PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil told PTI.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTIMaharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

“The expansion may happen before the Winter Session of the legislature,” he said.

Fadnavis took oath as the chief minister on 31 October, last year with seven Cabinet and two Ministers of State.

When Shiv Sena later joined the government, the strength of the ministry was increased from 10, including chief minister, to 30.

At present, there are 20 ministers from BJP and 10 from Sena.

Rashtriya Samaj Party MLC Mahadev Jankar, Republican Party of India’s Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athavale, Swabhimani Party’s Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti and Shiv Sangram MLC Vinayak Mete are seeking that their parties get ministerial slots.

As per the constitutional provisions, the Maharashtra Assembly, which has 288 MLAs, can have 42 ministers which is 15 per cent of the total strength.

PTI

Maharashtra proposes drastic reduction in ecologically sensitive area of Western Ghats

Maharashtra government submitted its report on September 8 and state forest minister of Maharashtra Sudhir Mungantiwar told the daily that the state had recommended 6,714 sq km of land in 1,254 villages should be included in the ESA.

Maharashtra government has submitted a report to the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF) which, according to a report by a leading daily, suggests that ecologically sensitive area (ESA) of the Western Ghats has been reduced from 17,340 square km to 6,719 sq km. The news report also noted that the number of villages falling under ESA in the state government’s report has been reduced from 2,133 (as per the draft notification) to 1,254. There is also a significant drop in the number of villages included in the ESA, from 2,133 in the draft notification to 1,254 in the report submitted to MoEF.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In March 2014, the environment ministry had issued a draft notification, identifying 60,000 sq km of area in Ghats as ecologically sensitive and the ministry had to finalise the draft in 500 days by September 9. Maharashtra along with Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were to submit their ground assessment of the notification, that was based on recommendations of the K Kasturirangan-led high-level working group. To carry out the ground assessment, the state government had decided to form local committees comprising forest officers, revenue officials and gram panchayat members.Maharashtra government submitted its report on September 8 and state forest minister of Maharashtra Sudhir Mungantiwar told the daily that the state had recommended 6,714 sq km of land in 1,254 villages should be included in the ESA. “This has been done on the basis of an extensive ground-level exercise that was carried out in all villages,” he said.There was a meeting on Wednesday between chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the union minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar where discussion on Western Ghats ESA was one of the key element, reported the leading daily.

Suresh Prabhu, Devendra Fadnavis meet to boost Maharashtra railways, state to get Rs 4400 crore this year

Maharashtra will get Rs 4400 crores this financial year against the allocation of Rs 1560 crores during the 2014-15 period for railway projects falling fully or partly in Maharashtra. The announcement was made during a meeting between railway minister Suresh Prabhu and state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Maharashtra will get Rs 4400 crores this financial year against the allocation of Rs 1560 crores during the 2014-15 period for railway projects falling fully or partly in Maharashtra. The announcement was made during a meeting between railway minister Suresh Prabhu and state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.Railway officials told Fadnavis that a total of 127 kilometres of new track would be commissioned by the end of financial year 2015-16. These include 86 km on Udhna-Jalgaon route, 26 km of Kasu-Roha section, 6 km on Godhani-Kolumna and 9 km on Hotgi-Tilati sections. The railways had commissioned 50 kms of new track in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another important project, Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli New Line (261 km) project has been taken up on 50:50 cost sharing basis with the state government. The railways requested Fadnavis to release the Rs 160 crores (part of the state’s share) for the current year for the project.The railways also asked the state government to prevail upon CIDCO to ensure that the latter gives land for the Dedicated Freight Corridor’s western leg between JNPT Port and Dadri-Noida at market prices. CIDCO, according to railway officials, is charging three times the prevailing marker rates which is making the economics of the project ‘tough’. The DFC, whose target was revised to 2018- from the previous 2019, is the game-changer for the railways with targets of higher freight revenue than current levels.The meeting also gave a boost to the Wadsa-Gadchiroli (50 km) new line project falling in a part of the state severely affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The line, taken up by Railways at a cost of Rs 470 crore with 50% cost sharing by the State Government, will soon be declared a Special Railway Project. The railways would be approaching the Union home ministry for approval of the special mechanism under which such projects falling in areas affected by LWE are funded.

Mumbai Police yet to get information from CBI on Chhota Rajan’s deportation

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had confirmed that Rajan would be brought to Mumbai without divulging any further details.

Picture Credit: NCB Interpol

With decks being cleared for deportation of underworld don Chhota Rajan to India, Mumbai police on Tuesday said they were yet to receive any official communication on when the arrested gangster will be brought back.”We have no official information from the CBI on bringing back Rajan,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmed Javed said. He, however, said Mumbai Police has put in place all the arrangements for the safe custody of the 55-year-old don, when he shall be deported from Bali to the metropolis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have examined two to three places in the city to keep the don safely while in custody,” he said.On allegations levelled by the gangster that a section of Mumbai police has been supporting his once-time boss and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, Javed said, “I wouldn’t like to say anything on such allegations by a gangster except that the security arrangements to keep him are appropriately made and police will follow all the rules and regulations.”Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had confirmed that Rajan would be brought to Mumbai without divulging any further details. He said that all security arrangements are in place for Rajan to be brought to the metropolis. Rajan, who was arrested at Bali airport on his arrival from Australia on October 25, is expected to be produced soon before an Indonesian court where the police there will submit details of the cases for which he is wanted in India. He is likely to be deported to India soon.”The entire process is likely to be completed in next two-three days,” an Indian official had said on Monday.”The government can keep me anywhere — Delhi or Mumbai. But there should be no injustice done to me. All cases against me are false,” Rajan, who is wanted in over 75 heinous crimes ranging from murder, extortion to smuggling and drug trafficking, told reporters in Bali when asked whether he was afraid of returning to Mumbai.The Indian team, comprising officers from CBI, Mumbai and Delhi police, arrived in Bali on Sunday. The team is carrying a detailed dossier on Rajan and his involvement in various crimes in India. The team for the first time questioned him yesterday in the presence of Indonesian police at the detention centre where he has been lodged for the last 10 days.Mumbai Police has registered 20 murder cases against Rajan, four under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), one under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and over 20 cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Delhi Police has got six cases against him.Rajan, whose original name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje, was arrested in Bali on the basis of a Red Corner Notice from Interpol and following a tip off by Australian authorities to the police in Indonesia.In a related development, Mumbai Police today arrested Rajan’s ‘right-hand man’ Nilesh Dinkar Paradkar alias Shatlya Paradkar and another gangster Raghu Shetty, both associated with Rajan, had allegedly demanded Rs 15 crore from a suburban Bhandup-based Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) developer, police claimed.

Will seek handover of Chhota Rajan, says Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Chhota Rajan, one of India’s most wanted gangsters, was arrested in the tourist town of Bali, Indonesia on a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol after eluding law enforcement agencies for over two decades.

Picture Courtesy: NCB Interpol Indonesia

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the state government will seek handover of Chhota Rajan once he is deported to India.Chhota Rajan, one of India’s most wanted gangsters, was arrested in the tourist town of Bali, Indonesia on a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol after eluding law enforcement agencies for over two decades.”We will request the authorities to handover Chhota Rajan to Maharashtra,” said the Chief Minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Chhota Rajan committed many crimes in Maharashtra. We will provide evidence against him,” he said.Fadnavis made it clear that Chhota Rajan will face trial in the state. “We will find some important information on Chhota Rajan,” he added. Also read- Chhota Rajan: A petty criminal who went on to rule underworld”Chhota Rajan is wanted in several cases in the state. Once he is deported and central investigation agencies are done investigating him, we will request the Centre to first send him here so that we can extract information from him in the cases for which he is wanted here,” Maharashtra minister of state for home (rural) Ram Shinde said. A senior IPS official, meanwhile, said that among other things, Rajan’s interrogation can “reveal new facts” about the 1993 Mumbai blasts. It was due to the blasts that Rajan fell out with Dawood Ibrahim and established himself as a “Hindu don” by eliminating several accused in the blasts case, he said.

Relationship status: It’s complicated, as Shiv Sena continues to take potshots at ally BJP

The Shiv Sena may well have become a part of the government in Maharashtra despite apparently splitting with the BJP ahead of Assembly elections in the state last year. However, it seems to be bent on giving the BJP-led government, both at the state and Central level, a hard time.

In the latest attack on its ally, the Sena has criticised the rising prices of dal, the controversial statements by ministers and the BJP’s alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. This comes even as the government in Maharashtra, of which it is a part, completes a year in office.

Image courtesy: PTIImage courtesy: PTI

Image courtesy: PTI

Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana has said that a situation exists where the price of tur dal has reached Rs 200, and prices of essential commodities have increased, and asked, “What can be done about those who say that things are going well in the country and the state?”

The Shiv Sena, not exactly known for its measured or restrained statements, has said, “Ministers and politicians need to speak with caution. This is not seen to be happening at present.” The Sena mouthpiece has taken note of VK Singh’s controversial remarks on attacks on Dalits and Kiren Rijiju’s remarks about rule-breaking behavior among north Indians.

Saying that the BJP has entered into a ‘nikaah’ with the ‘Article 370-loving’ Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Raut has said in the article that the Shiv Sena’s politics of opposing Pakistan is of a nationalist nature.

With civic polls coming up in Kalyan-Dombivli near Mumbai, the poll advertisements of the two parties had become another point of acrimony. The Shiv Sena has accused the BJP of ‘copyright infringement’ by adding a voiceover to an advertisement in which a senior citizen was shown praising Bal Thackeray, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The BJP, however, is reported to have claimed that it is not an official advertisement of the party and that it was probably circulated to defame the party.

According to a Firstpost article by Vishwas Waghmode, the Sena will decide on the future course of action on its alliance with the BJP after the Kalyan-Dombivli civic polls. The party is said to be waiting for the outcome of the Bihar polls, with a functionary being quoted as saying, “We hope the BJP fares badly. We want to see whether the Modi wave has died down or not.”

With the results of both the Bihar elections and the Kalyan-Dombivli civic polls due to be out early next month, the fate of Maharashtra politics’ frenemies hangs in a delicate balance.

Congress, NCP attack Devendra Fadnavis over CM Relief Fund issue

The attack came even as the Chief Minister’s Office denied any wrongdoing.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

PTI
Opposition Congress and NCP on Saturday attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over sanction of funds from CM Relief Fund to a dance troupe, demanding his resignation and apology for the “travesty”.”Money meant for relief fund or relief for a particular unforeseen situation is used for all kinds of picadillo in Bangkok. What could be a greater travesty. “This calls for the resignation of the Chief Minister.The relief fund is administered by the chief minister directly. If money has been misappropriated for a cause for which the money has not been collected, it is a very serious issue. The CM should resign or the opposition parties together must insist on his resignation,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The attack came even as the Chief Minister’s Office denied any wrongdoing and said that the dance troupe comprising government employees was allocated the funds meant for such activities. An RTI query filed by activist Anil Galgali found that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis approved Rs 8 lakh for a government employees dance troupe to participate in a competition in Bangkok in December. He sanctioned the sum that was transferred to Sachivalaya Gymkhana for the dance contest.Related Read: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ office defends use of relief funds for dance contestThe issue has sparked a row with the opposition questioning the BJP-led government’s “priorities” at a time when the state is reeling under severe drought.”Maharashtra is facing severe drought and thousands of farmers are committing suicide. Thousands of application are pending before CM. People are seeking relief for chronic diseases like cancer and heart attack. He has no time to take the decision to distribute Rs 5000-10,000 to needy people.”Despite that he diverted this fund to Sachivalaya Gymkhana for foreign tour for their own enjoyment. This cannot be tolerated. He should apologise for his shameful act. The money should be recovered from the people who have enjoyed. If not, Fadnavis should pay from his own pocket,” NCP leader Nawab Malik said.BJP leader Sania NC said leveling “baseless” allegations was wrong. She said Fadnavis’ “fight against corruption, his credibility, his accountability is being talked about all over the country”. She said complete information should be put in public domain.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sanatan Sanstha’s hit list, claims rationalist

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis is on the radical organisation Sanatan Sanstha hit list (File Photo)

PTI
Shyam Manav, who is associated with a rationalist group said on Sunday that Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis is on the radical organisation Sanatan Sanstha hit list, reports a leading Marathi daily.Manav said that his earlier claims that rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed by an extremist group such as the Sanatan Sanstha turned true, especially after leftist leader Govind Pansare and researcher MM Kalburgi were killed in similar fashion.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Sanatan Sanstha rubbishes allegations of use of hypnotism for violenceManav had earlier claimed that the Sanstha’s founder would hypnotise its members to commit crimes such as murder. He had also demanded a ban on the institution saying that it created human bombs and robots through brainwashing via hypnotism.Manav is the National Coordinator ​Akhil Bharatiya Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti.Also Read: Shiv Sena comes out in support of Sanatan Sanstha

No threat to Maharashtra govt, cabinet expansion likely after Bihar polls: Fadnavis

New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday night said he plans to carry out expansion of the state cabinet after Bihar assembly polls, sending a strong message that there was “no threat” to his year-old government despite the bickering with ally Shiv Sena.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Projecting a picture of “all is well” in the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the chief minister made a direct attack on Sena leader Sanjay Raut, the Executive Editor of party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, which has been highly critical of the BJP, and especially the chief minister.

With the Sena-BJP severing ties for the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation polls, Fadnavis said the saffron alliance will contest the prestigious BMC polls together.

“There is no threat to my government… Cabinet expansion may take place after Bihar assembly polls. We will also contest the BMC polls in 2017 together as an alliance,” the chief minister said.

Seeking to drive home the point that everything is fine in the alliance, he said the fact that the decisions at the Cabinet meeting as late as yesterday were taken in unanimity without any bickering or tension.

Singling out Raut for attack, the chief minster said, “We go by the what party leadership says, and not the newspaper (‘Saamana’). It is the habit of Sanjay Raut (of attacking the government). Party view is what the party leadership says. No party speaks through editorial.”

“You cannot take a different stand now. During the UPA’s regime you (Raut) visit Pakistan and accept their hospitality. And now you cannot change your stand,” he said, debunking the Sena leaders attack on the government for allowing release of Mahmood Kasuri’s book.

“We will give appropriate response at an appropriate time,” the Chief Minister said when asked about Raut’s attack on the Prime Minister in which he had said that Narendra Modi was known for Godhra riots.

Despite the Supreme Court vacating the stay on an act banning the dance bars, the Chief Minister said that the state government has a “good case” and all political parties have always been together on the issue.

“It is not that since the stay has been vacated on the operation of the Act, the dance bars will start operating from tomorrow. We have a good case. We have a lot of scope and the government can regulate (them),” he said.

He brushed aside questions on the issue of formation of a separate state of Vidarbha when asked whether Maharashtra would be bifurcated, a year ahead of the assembly polls in the state.

He said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s controversial statement on the reservation issue has been wrongly interpreted.

“We still need reservation as we have not attained the equity and equality so that we can do without it. Conditions are still not suited to rethink on the policy of reservation,” he said.

The Chief Minister, whose government will complete one year on October 31, said that his government planned “no celebration”, but “there will be communication”.

He also brushed aside a question on whether NCP of Sharad Pawar was his “stress reliever” in the wake of constant pinpricks by the Shiv Sena.

PTI

Maharashtra: Privileges Committee to seek clarification from Shobhaa De over tweets

The breach of privilege motion against De has been admitted by the state legislature

Shobhaa De

With the Supreme Court asking author Shobhaa De to respond to the breach of privilege notice issued by Maharashtra Assembly against her, minister Girish Bapat said the state legislature’s Privileges Committee will seek clarification from her over tweets on screening of Marathi films.Bapat, however, clarified that “no coercive action will be taken against her”. The breach of privilege motion against De has been admitted by the state legislature, he said. As per rules of business of the legislature committee, a notice is served to the person and a due clarification is sought, after which the legislature committee decides on the future course of action, the state Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The committee will take action if no clarification is received from De within the stipulated deadline. But there will be no coercive action against her,” he said. Bapat pointed out that the Supreme Court, in its judgement in the Uttar Pradesh versus Keshav Singh case of 1965, had observed that courts should not interfere in the functioning of Parliament and Legislature, while the latter should also not interfere in the functioning of the courts.The apex court had yesterday asked the author to respond to the breach of privilege notice issued by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly against her within a fortnight to clarify that her tweets on Marathi movies have nothing remotely to do with the conduct of the House.The court had earlier stayed the breach of privilege notice issued against De by Maharashtra Assembly Speaker for her tweets on the state government’s decision to make it mandatory for multiplexes to screen Marathi movies during prime time in April this year. The author had moved the SC against the notice issued by the Assembly Speaker following a complaint against her by a Shiv Sena lawmaker alleging that the series of tweets by her insulted Marathi language and Marathi-speaking people.The columnist had earlier tweeted, “Devendra ‘Diktatwala’ Fadnavis is at it again!!! From beef to movies. This is not the Maharashtra we all love! Nako!Nako! Yeh sab roko!(sic).” “I love Marathi movies. Let me decide when and where to watch them, Devendra Fadnavis. This is nothing but Dadagiri,” she had tweeted. Reacting to the tweets, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik had moved a breach of privilege motion against De for allegedly “insulting CM Devendra Fadnavis and sentiments of Marathi-speaking people”.

SC clears path for dance bars to re-open in Maharashtra, but tells cops to ensure ‘no obscenity’

New Delhi: Potentially clearing the path for outlawed dance bars in the state, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the operation of Maharashtra Police Act that prohibited dance performances at eating places, beer bars and restaurants.

The apex court, while ordering the stay, said that the Maharashtra police would ensure that women’s dignity was not affected by the working of the dance bars, NDTV reported.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ReutersRepresentational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Noting that the provision was brought back in the Maharashtra Police Act in 2014 after being held ultra vires in 2013 by the apex court, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said that it is “appropriate to stay the provision” that prohibits the dance performances.

However, the court made it clear that the dance performances should not be remotely explicit or have kind of obscenity.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, said the government would abide by the court’s decision.

“The state government believes that the law it had passed on dance bars was appropriate,” he said.

In 2009, the Supreme Court had struck down a similar law, after which the state government passed a fresh law in 2014, the Times of India reported.

While setting aside the ban on dance bars, the Supreme Court had questioned why the state government did not consider it indecent for women to be working as receptionists or bartenders at such bars, the Hindustan Times reported.

With inputs from IANS

BJP high-level meeting to discuss strained ties with Sena

A senior minister confirmed the development and said, “All is not well within the government as far as relations with Sena ministers are concerned, but I do not think that their Sena counterparts would go to the extent of resigning from the government.”

Taking into account the latest war of words after the launch of a book by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the BJP has called an urgent meeting on Thursday to discuss its strained relationship with the Shiv Sena. Senior ministers and BJP state unit office-bearers will attend the meeting.BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve came to the BJP headquarters on Tuesday afternoon and spoke over the phone with senior leaders, including chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Taking into account the statements and counter-statements from both sides, which have impacted the image of the state government and the party, it was decided to discuss the issue at length during a meeting of senior leaders and ministers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior minister confirmed the development and said, “All is not well within the government as far as relations with Sena ministers are concerned, but I do not think that their Sena counterparts would go to the extent of resigning from the government.”He added that party president Raosaheb Danve and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis both would attend the meeting to be held on Thursday. “Let’s hope that good sense prevails,” he said.A senior BJP leader, on the other hand, said the BJP was fed up with Sena’s double standards of enjoying the benefits as part of the government and criticising the same government on a daily basis. He added that it was after pressure from senior leaders that the meeting was scheduled, and a strong message could be sent to the Sena to force it to fall in line.While media persons tried to meet Fadnavis on Tuesday against the backdrop of political developments and speculations that Sena ministers could quit the government, the Chief Minister’s Office issued a press release showing Sena minister Dr Deepak Savant and Fadnavis in a meeting. This meeting was to review health department issues, with the CMO making it a point to convey that it was “like any other day”.

Shiv Sena set to pull out of saffron alliance in Maharashtra?

On Monday, CM Devendra Fadnavis disapproved Shiv Sena’s protests saying the issue has brought disrepute to the state.

The differences between BJP and Shiv Sena seems to have widened after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis chided the latter for bringing the state a bad name due to the protests against former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai.According to reports, the Sena may consider quitting the state government as the party chief is reportedly peeved with Fadnavis on several issues. A leading daily, quoted Sena leader, who wished not to be named, saying, “Yes, it is very, very likely that we may sever ties with the BJP.” In fact it may even consider completely pulling out of the alliance which may potentially jeopardise the fate of Fadnavis government. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report added that Sena is of the view that it may have to pay heavy price in the future, as it believes BJP is rapidly losing popularity in Maharashtra. On Monday, Fadnavis disapproved Shiv Sena’s protests saying the issue has brought disrepute to the state. He said, “We may not agree with views of somebody, but when a foreign dignitary or a diplomat arrives on a valid visa and holds a programme, which is not illegal, it’s the duty of a state to provide protection.”Accusing Sudheendra Kulkarni of being a “Pakistani agent”, Sena leader Raut had said that blackening of Kulkarni s face was a mild protest.” Though the Sena and BJP patched up after their alliance fell apart before the polls, both the parties have been opposing each other on several issues.Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has decided to go it alone in the forthcoming Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation election and not have any tie-up with the BJP. The decision was taken last night at a meeting of senior Sena leaders here, a Sena leader said.

PM Modi lays foundation stone Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of an ambitious project which will more than double the capacity of the country’s largest container port JNPT in next two years.

Modi laid the foundation stone at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), situated off the financial capital’s eastern seafront, for the Rs 7,900 crore fourth terminal project to be carried out in two phases.

Narendra Modi. ReutersNarendra Modi. Reuters

Narendra Modi. Reuters

He was accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The port aspires to be among the top 15 of the world with the implementation of several infrastructure projects, including the fourth terminal. At present it is ranked 31st.

The terminal will help the exim trade, and comes at a time when the country is aspiring to be a manufacturing powerhouse which is clear through the government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The fourth terminal project is being executed by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Port of Singapore, on a design, built, fund, operate and transfer basis under which JNPT will get a 35.9 per cent share in revenues.

With the two-phased project, the overall container handling capacity of JNPT will more than double to 10 million standard units from the present 4.5 million, Union Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar had said yesterday.

Work on the project has been divided into two phases, entailing an investment of Rs 4,719 crore and Rs 3,196 crore, respectively, and work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

The project involves construction of two berths of one km in each of the two phases and land acquisition is also minimal as 70 hectares of land will be reclaimed from the sea for each of the berths.

At present, JNPT operates one of the three terminals at the port while the other two are done by DP World and APM Terminals, Kumar had said, adding that addition of the fourth terminal will mean three of the biggest port operators being present at the port.

A corporate film tracing growth of JNPT into the 31st biggest container port globally and projects being undertaken to increase capacity, including a standalone berth and a Special Economic Zone, was shown at the ceremony.

Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the financial capital which includes a public meeting, did not speak at the event.

The event comes amid a growing trend of state-run major ports losing market share to the privately run non-major ports, which has resulted in Gautam Adani-led Mundra Port to emerge as the largest port by cargo handled.

PTI

Now, Shiv Sena threatens to disrupt former Pak foreign minister’s book launch event

Mumbai: After forcing the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena has now set its eyes on a book release event involving a former Pakistani foreign minister.

Former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. ReutersFormer Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. Reuters

Former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. Reuters

The Observer Research Foundation, along with Nehru Centre and Penguin Books India, has organised a book launch event at the Nehru Centre in Worli on Monday. The book, titled Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy is written by Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the foreign minister of Pakistan during General Pervez Musharraf ‘s rule.

The launch of the book will be accompanied by a panel discussion and key speakers include AG Noorani, eminent jurist and author; Naseeruddin Shah, renowned film and theatre personality; and Dileep Padgaonkar, eminent journalist and columnist.

On Saturday, the Shiv Sena leaders handed over a letter to the chief executive officer of Nehru Centre asking him to cancel the event. “If the event is not cancelled, we will disrupt the programme and will protest in our style. If something happens, the centre’s administration will be responsible for it. Even if you use a huge force, we will disrupt the programme in anyway,” reads the letter signed by two Sena MLAs and other senior leaders.

“It is completely ridiculous because Pakistan has not taken any action against the perpetrators of 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. Then how we can have an event and discuss its foreign policy? They should first act against the perpetrators 26/11 terror attack and should stop killing our jawans on the border,” Ashish Chemburkar, a local senior leader told Firstpsot.

Chemburkar added that they would wait till Monday morning. “If the programme is not canceled, then we will prepare our strategy to disrupt it. It does not matter if a police case is registered against me as there are already fourteen police cases registered against me,” he said, adding that “we have always opposed the performance of Pakistani artistes in India to protest its ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).”

On Friday, Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of ORF (Mumbai), had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmed Javed urging them to provide foolproof security for the event and to take strict action against those who indulge in unlawful activity.

“Shiv Sena has every right to protest peacefully at the event but has no right to disrupt the event. We are not doing anything unlawful. Only four days back, a book release event of this book was held in Delhi which was attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former deputy prime minister LK Advani. So, does it mean that they are supporters of terrorism? We oppose cross-border terrorism. This book release event is an attempt to create a better relation between India and Pakistan. We will hold the event,” Kulkarni told Firstpost.

He hoped that the state government would provide adequate security to the event and to an eminent Pakistani dignitary like Kasuri.

Earlier this week, following Sena’s threat Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s scheduled concert on 9 Ocotober was cancelled by the organizers. The concert was a tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary and had been brought to India through ‘Ek Ehsaas’ concerts. Despite the assurance from the chief minister on adequate security cover, the concert was called off.

Now AAP govt invites Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali to perform in Delhi, says ‘music has no boundaries’

New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government on Thursday invited Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali to perform in the national capital after his concert in Mumbai was cancelled due to the Shiv Sena threatening to disrupt it. The AAP government justified the move saying “music has no boundaries”.

Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra tweeted that the Pakistani singer is welcome to come to Delhi to perform.

Ali’s concert in Mumbai was cancelled on Wednesday after Shiv Sena, which is part of the ruling alliance in the state, threatened to disrupt it. The party said that no artiste from Pakistan will be allowed to perform in the city till terror emanating from across the border is stopped.

File photo of Ghulam Ali. Getty ImagesFile photo of Ghulam Ali. Getty Images

File photo of Ghulam Ali. Getty Images

“We are completely against any form of cultural ties with Pakistan. The country is against us and kills our soldiers, so there’s no point why we should let their singer perform here. If the concert is not called off, we will protest in our own style,” said Akshay Badrapurkar, general secretary of Chitrapat Sena.

Another Sena leader said though his party was in the government, it would not allow the concert in Mumbai. “We have always opposed the performance of Pakistani artists in India to protest its ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC),” said Mangesh Satamkar, senior Sena leader.

Organisers of the event had announced the cancellation after a meeting with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.  A source close to Thackeray told PTI that the Sena president asked the organisers to refrain from having any Pakistani artiste perform at such programmes.

“Ghulam Ali’s programme has been cancelled. Neither Ghulam Ali nor any Pakistani artiste will be performing at the 9 October event,” organiser Randhir Roy had said.

Justifying the cancellation, Roy had said, “Since the situation on the border is not conducive, it is not correct to call and promote any Pakistani singer”.

The concert was a tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary.

The decision was taken despite a Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying adequate protection would be provided to Ali and that the concert, organised in memory of late ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, would be held according to schedule.

Reacting to the development, Ali had said the concert was not cancelled from his end. “Atmosphere is not conducive for me to perform,” he had said, adding, he wants Indo-Pakistan ties to improve.

“I’m not angry, but I’m a bit hurt and sad. But there are can be sad moments in love as well. I don’t know why such situations and conflicts arise. We have performed in Mumbai on several occasion before and people have always showered their love on us. Whenever such news come out, it causes commotion in society,” the veteran told NDTV.

He further said that whenever his fans call him with love, he goes and performs.

“I would like to tell Indians to remain in ‘sur’, love each other and keep listening to us, be it live or recorded,” he added.

Describing Jagjit Singh as his “good brother”, Ali said wherever they met and performed, “we were one”.

“The programme was important for me as it marked Jagjit’s death anniversary. And that’s why I got tense and thought that the move was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened. Jagjit was like a brother to me and whenever I met him we looked like one, not from India or Pakistan,” Ali said.

The concert in Mumbai was scheduled to be held at the iconic Shanmukhananda Hall, a favourite venue for Shiv Sena functions for several decades.

(With agency inputs) 

None involved in irrigation scam will be spared: Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis

During his first television interview on completion of one year in office, Fadnavis said that there was no question of any political settlement in this regard since this dispensation was not the one which would go in for any kind of settlement. He was interviewed by Zee 24 Taas and dna Editor-in-Chief Dr Uday Nirgudkar along with the editorial team comprising Deepak Bhatuse, Amit Joshi and Shailendra Paranjpe during the special programme ‘Rokhthok Fadnavis’.

CM Devendra Fadnavis during the interview with Zee 24 Taas and dna team

Asserting that no one would be spared in the irrigation scam, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday stated that the probe into the scam would lead to the arrest of the last man who had signed the files. During his first television interview on completion of one year in office, Fadnavis said that there was no question of any political settlement in this regard since this dispensation was not the one which would go in for any kind of settlement. He was interviewed by Zee 24 Taas and dna Editor-in-Chief Dr Uday Nirgudkar along with the editorial team comprising Deepak Bhatuse, Amit Joshi and Shailendra Paranjpe during the special programme ‘Rokhthok Fadnavis’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Fadnavis was responding to Dr Nirgudkar’s question that when he was in the Opposition, he had promised time and again that if voted to power his government would put behind bars all the ministers involved in the scams, but when it comes to irrigation scam, the former ministers are not even turning up for the inquiry. Fadnavis said that none of those involved in the irrigation scam will be spared and added that he has already earmarked the place they deserve. Refuting allegations of violation of code of conduct during his speech at Dombivli, the chief minister categorically stated that he did not announce anything new there. He said that he just gave details of various allocations for Dombivli which were already in public domain, and made no fresh announcements. Fadnavis said that if the state election commission seeks any explanation, he would present his side. Describing the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan as the biggest and most important achievement of his government in the last one year, Fadnavis said that under this campaign, which was started six months ago, the additional 24 TMC water storage capacity has been added in a decentralised manner. It would provide added irrigation capacity. Moreover, the capacity addition has been achieved by spending just Rs 1,400 crore and in a matter of six months. The chief minister said that there has been a public participation to the tune of Rs 300 crore in this campaign and the previous government would have taken more than three-and-a-half years to create 24 TMC storage capacity. He said that his government has achieved it in less than 50 per cent of the previous government’s spending without taking into consideration the delays in projects thus escalating prices of all the projects. Fadnavis said that the biggest failure of his government was that it could not effectively convey to the people of Maharashtra the work done in the last one year. Making it clear that the state government would not ban Sanatan Sanstha under the pressure of so-called and self-proclaimed secularists, Fadnavis said his government had taken oath of not treating anyone with enmity or favour. He said the Sanatan Sanstha would neither be spared if found guilty nor would it be punished because of pressure from so-called secularists. (Detailed interview will appear in Friday’s edition)

Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra govt not to act on sedition circular, state says its lost in translation

Mumbai: In a setback to the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed it not to implement its controversial circular on sedition till October 20 even as the administration said the letter got lost in translation and promised to bring a revised version.

The circular has triggered a row for ostensibly trying to invoke sedition charges for criticising the political establishment.

In its order, the division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade asked the state to file a reply to two petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the circular issued on August 27.

The bench said if the state fails to file its reply by October 20, the court would treat these petitions, one filed by famous cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and three others while the other one by advocate Narendra Sharma, as uncontroverted and decide them at the admission stage itself.

Bombay High Court. Image courtesy: IBNLiveBombay High Court. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Bombay High Court. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Close on the heels of the court’s order, the government said that the circular got lost in translation and promised to bring a revised version.

“Our view is that the Law and Judiciary department got confused with certain sentences of the order while translating it in Marathi. The Law and Judiciary department has now suggested corrections and soon the revised version of the circular will be presented before the court,” said Additional Chief Secretary K P Bakshi.

Explaining the circumstances behind issuing the circular, the bureaucrat said, “the circular that we had issued pertaining to sedition charges was based on the judgement of the (high) court (delivered) in English. But we were then accused of curtailing the freedom of people. We have read the circular and the Home department has nothing to do with the translation. It was translated by the Law and Judiciary department”.

He was referring to the high court order earlier Trivedi who was arrested on September 8, 2012, on the basis of an FIR under section 124A and other provisions of IPC for cartoons published on “India Against Corruption” website, and later granted bail. The government later dropped the sedition charge against Trivedi.

The circular, which has sparked a row, has laid down certain conditions required to be considered for initiating action against a person under section 124 A of IPC which deals with sedition.

Trivedi and others contended that clause 1 and 2 of the circular does not mention the basic ingredients of sedition i.e words (spoken or written), signs or representations must be made with object to overthrow or subvert the government (central or state) established by law by “violent means”, by creating feeling of contempt or hatred or disaffection against it or by bringing or attempting to bring into hatred or contempt towards it or by exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards it.

PTI

Double whammy: After Devendra Fadnavis slams Rajdeep Sardesai in open letter, Twitter mocks senior journo

While this could be the first time a major politician replied civilly to criticism, Twitteratis, majority of those supporting the BJP took the opportunity to bash Sardesai.

Days after senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote a open letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis criticising the recent meat ban and transfer of Mumbai CP Rakesh Maria, the BJP politician replied to him slamming his ‘biased’ views. While this could be the first time a major politician replied civilly to criticism, Twitteratis, majority of those supporting the BJP took the opportunity to bash Sardesai and led the hashtag ​#DevendraSlapsRajdeep totrend.Another senior journalist rightly explained the latest buzz on the micro-blogging site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP on the other hand had a hearty laugh trolling Sardesai.The rest were having a day going after SardesaiDespite the Twitter jibe, Sardesai had a few supporters, handful of them

CM Fadnavis reviews security for Ganesh festival, Eid

At a meeting in south Mumbai, Fadnavis said efforts should be made to ensure religious and social harmony and peace during the Ganesh festival beginning tomorrow and Bakri Eid.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday reviewed security situation for forthcoming festive season here.At a meeting in south Mumbai, Fadnavis said efforts should be made to ensure religious and social harmony and peace during the Ganesh festival beginning tomorrow and Bakri Eid.Leaders of various parties and senior officials attended the meeting.Legislators present in the meeting said that the transportation of lambs for sacrifice during Bakri Eid should be streamlined and the civic authorities should ensure adequate water supply during this period.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Maharashtra does it again: Now, only Marathi-speaking people can get autorickshaw permits in Mumbai

Amid raging controversy over banning sale of meat in Mumbai for four days during a Jain fasting season, the Maharashtra government’s new order could ruffle a few more feathers. The state government on Tuesday issued an order making Marathi mandatory for those seeking permit to ride an autorickshaw in Maharashtra.

State transport minister Diwakar Raote said that one lakh new auto permits for Mumbai Metropolitan Region have been announced but added that these permits would be given only to Marathi-speaking applicants. The Hindustan Times report quoted Raote as saying, “New permits will be issued by November and applicants must submit domicile certificate and should know Marathi language. Those who don’t know Marathi language will not get the permits.”

Raote added that the applicant should submit a domicile certificate as a proof that he or she has been a resident of the state for the past 15 years. The rule, that a permit-holder should know the local language has always been in place but never before was it imposed.  According to the report in HT, Raote, a senior Shiv Sena leader, is known for insisting on using Marathi for official purpose.

Autorickshaw1Autorickshaw1Last permits were issued in 1997. Now for the MMR region 1 lakh and for few other cities such as Solapur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad around 7,500 permits will be issued, The Times of India reported.

At the same time, the Maharashtra government has decided to regularise over 1.4 lakh autorickshaw’s across the state, who have not renewed permits or cancelled since last few years. The fees to renew permits will be Rs 20,000 for MMR region and Rs 15,000 for the rest of the state, the report further added.

The move by the state government is sure to kick the hornet’s nest as Maharashtra houses millions of migrant workers. By putting down these pre-requisites, the state government has almost ensured that migrants from other parts of India, who want to work in the state, also learn Marathi. According to IndiaTV, after the BJP came to power in Maharashtra last year, the Devendra Fadnavis government conducted a survey and found that around 70 percent of auto drivers in the state are non-Marathis.

A few members of the Opposition party called the move politically motivated as the civic body elections are round the corner. Sanjay Nirupam, Mumbai Congress chief said, “We condemn it and demand that such policy should be withdrawn as early as possible. We will not tolerate such divisive politics on language, caste and creed.”

In 2012, the Congress-NCP combine government in the state also mooted the idea of giving autorickshaw licences to only Marathi-speaking applicants.

Real reason why Rakesh Maria was axed: Mumbai Crime Branch was miffed that he hijacked their case

Rakesh Maria’s sudden and swift removal from the post of police commissioner of Mumbai in the garb of his promotion as the Director General of Home Guards, raised more questions than answers on Tuesday.

But one key reason for the ouster seems to be Maria’s overzealous and overprotective investigation that rubbed the Mumbai Crime Branch on the wrong side. According to sources, joint commissioner of police, Crime Branch, Atul Kulkarni, was miffed at being left out of what would have been a bread-and-butter case for his team.

Former Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. PTIFormer Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. PTI

Former Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. PTI

This disaffection in the crack investigation arm of the city police, apparently led Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to order a discreet enquiry by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Bakshi. The Crime Branch expressed its surprised over the way the case was literally hijacked by the chief’s. In normal course, this case would have landed up in Kulkarni’s lap within a few days. This is done to keep the police stations free from the burden of intricate investigations so as to look after normal law and order duties.

This convention was clearly violated in the Sheena Bora murder case.

Instead, Maria took personal interest in interrogating the prime accused at the Khar police station thrice. Bakshi briefed the CM over the ongoing investigation in the Sheena Bora case and the day-to-day involvement of the police commissioner.

Following the discreet enquiry, which need not have been discreet at all considering that Maria was making no bones of the fact that he had taken over this case, the chief minister chided Maria, in a roundabout way, of course, that he wished the police took such interest in solving all crimes. His exact words: “Police have shown a lot of involvement and attention in a case which is in the media spotlight. It should pay similar attention to other cases which do not get media focus,” Fadnavis had told the media.

Such was the level of disappointment at the top echelons of the government that the Chief Minister decided to upgrade the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner to the rank of Director General from that of Additional Director General. This was necessary to bring in Ahmed Javed, already a DGP, to replace Maria, who himself was promoted to the rank of DG to facilitate his transfer to DG Home Guards. Through all this churn, Maria was unaware of the coming storm. He got to know only when the CM signed the orders, as reported by The Quint, just before leaving for Japan on Tuesday morning.

Maria, had taken undue and acute interest in the Sheena Bora case, and had himself interrogated the accused including Indrani Mukerjea and Sanjeev Khanna, which was unusual. As NDTV report said, Maria was also regularly holding press conferences about the case despite not having given any interview since he was made Mumbai Police chief.

Maria was anyway supposed to be promoted and sent out of Mumbai on September 30. Curtailing his term just 22 days before completion was a dead give-away that it had everything to do with the way he handled the Sheena Bora case.

But having felled Maria in one quick sweep, there were some poor attempts at damage control. Late in the evening, Additional Secretary Bakshi said: “There was no hurry in transferring Maria. It would have been inappropriate to transfer him on 30 September, in the middle of the festive season as Ganapati festival, a very important event in Maharashtra would be on at that time. Therefore, we decided to advance the promotion of Maria,” he said.

Not just poor, but also ridiculous when Bakshi said that Maria would continue to head the Sheena Bora probe irrespective of the transfer.

Maharastra CM Devendra Fadnavis embarks on four-day Japan tour

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday embarked on a four-day visit to Japan where he will inaugurate a memorial and statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and also hold consultations with captains of Japanese trade and commerce for investment opportunities back home.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday embarked on a four-day visit to Japan where he will inaugurate a memorial and statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and also hold consultations with captains of Japanese trade and commerce for investment opportunities back home.Fadnavis is accompanied by top officials of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as well as Industries Minister Subhash Desai, on the trip.State Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole and RPI(A) president Ramdas Athawale will participate in the function to inaugurate the Ambedkar statue at Koyasan University, in Mount Koya, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, on September 10.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They will also be present during the signing of an MoU between Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University and the Koyasan University.Fadnavis is also scheduled to meet leaders and businessmen in Tokyo and Osaka where he will pitch for Japanese investments in India.A Maharashtra state investment promotion seminar will also be organised by MIDC and Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro).

Maharashtra government may ban sugarcane sowing in drought-hit Marathwada

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promises to provide water through railways. Some experts wonder why beer distilleries are not affected

Maharashtra government to ban sugarcane farming in drought-hit Marathwada as it requires maximum water.

The Marathwada region is facing the worst-ever drought, and the state government will have to reserve all water sources – only for drinking.Drying-up dams, poor rainfall for the fourth year in succession, depletion in groundwater levels due to more and more bore-wells and urbanisation scuttling equitable water distribution are the macro reasons being cited. While people of the Marathwada region bear the brunt, some experts say that this scarcity has come as a big blessing to some quarters. But more of that later.The government is likely to ban sugarcane-sowing, at least for the ensuing kharif and rabi seasons, before the onset of monsoon in 2016. Sugarcane farming requires maximum water. Experts say that the government has realised that it would be encountering a drought situation worse than that in 1972. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis would be completing a week-long tour, covering Marathwada as well as the scarcity-hit regions of Solapur and Ahmednagar in western Maharashtra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now, for those who gain from water scarcity. According to water expert Pradeep Purandare, if you visit Latur or Jalna, you would find water jars with 20- to 40-litre capacity inside houses. Purandare says people in Jalna are used to buying water for 20 years now, and he raises a question which is that “is this water scarcity in Marathwada region for helping bottling plants?” Most bottling plants, he says, are owned by politicians and water scarcity in Marathwada serves them well. Of course, there are steel plants, which also require large amount of water, he adds.The Marathwada region is facing the fourth consecutive year of a drought-like situation. In addition to sugarcane, farmers have gone for sweet lemon and soya bean. Activists blame lack of judicious water usage and the distilleries and breweries as other factors. But what is intriguing, they say, is that water scarcity has not hit beer production in Aurangabad.Purandare, who has served as an expert member on the Marathwada Statutory Development Board, said that there an immediate ban on cane cultivation is the need of the hour. “What’s the need for new sowing when we are converting standing cane crop into fodder, he asks. Is it necessary to use water for growing fodder when drinking water crisis is going to be unprecedented?” Purandare says. “For equitable distribution and usage of water from the Godavari basin, Nashik and Ahmednagar should provide water to Marathwada region and the state government has to take such a decision as early as possible,” he added.Lok Sabha MP and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana president Raju Shetti said that the government must ban distilleries in Marathwada. When there’s a drinking water crisis, how can we promote beer production and distilleries which require huge amount of water, he asks.NCP president Sharad Pawar termed it is as one of the most severe droughts he has witnessed in his five decade-long public life. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has said that Marathwada is facing a drought situation worse than that in 1972. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the government would provide water through railways and would avail of loans, if needed.

Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray pulls up Shiv Sena ministers, asks them to visit drought-hit areas

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is on a tour of Marathwada and is visiting drought-affected villages. He had also announced holding of a Cabinet meeting at Aurangabad this month, but the date is yet to be finalised.

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has pulled up his party ministers for “not doing enough to help” people affected by water crisis in Marathwada region and asked them to “gear up” by visiting the drought-hit areas.According to a senior Sena leader, Thackeray “fired” his party ministers at his residence ‘Matoshree’ on Tuesday for “not doing enough to help people affected by water crisis.” “Uddhavji has instructed party leaders to push Shiv Jal Kranti Yojana (Water Revolution Scheme) across the Marathwada region and has also decided to tour the region in the second week of this month,” the leader said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is on a tour of Marathwada and is visiting drought-affected villages. He had also announced holding of a Cabinet meeting at Aurangabad this month, but the date is yet to be finalised.Other BJP ministers, including Pankaja Munde and Babanrao Lonikar, have accompanied the CM on his visit to Aurangabad, Beed and Osmanabad districts.Reportedly upset with the absence of party ministers in the drought-hit regions of the state, Thackeray had called Sena ministers to ‘Matoshree’ on Tuesday late evening.”We have worked much more in the Marathwada region. But, today an image has been created that the Sena has ignored farmers,” the leader said.Meanwhile, senior Sena leader and state Industries Minister Subhash Desai said that all works being implemented in the drought-hit regions, including the ‘Jalyukt Shivar’, were schemes of the state government.”In the meeting with Uddhavji, it was decided to implement the party’s own Shiv Jal Kranti scheme in Aurangabad and Jalna in the first phase. In the second phase, we will cover all eight districts of Marathwada region,” Desai said.Santosh Bhambare, former Sena legislator from Jalna district, created more than 30 bandharas (small dams) last year, which held water till February this year, he said.Sitting party legislator Arjun Khotkar too is creating around 80 bandharas in his constituency in the same district, he said.”Both experiments have been so successful, that while Jalna was facing acute water crises in April-May, farmers are now fetching water from wells and hand pumps in villages where dams have been created,” he said.Desai said that the Sena chief has donated Rs 2 crore for Shiv Jal Kranti scheme from the money earned by selling his photographs.”The corporate sector is ready to donate huge sums and legislators will use their funds for the purpose,” he said.”We have chosen villages where state’s Jal Yukt Shivar is not being implemented,” the minister said.Thackeray is scheduled to visit villages in Aurangabad and Beed districts on September 11 and 12 respectively, the party said.

Maharashtra government would not wait for Union government’s drought-prone areas

The state Cabinet on Tuesday reviewed the drought situation in the state after which the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis left for a 3-day tour to drought-affected areas in Marathwada region.

Stating that the state government would not wait for Union government’s help for helping drought-prone areas, minister for finance Sudhir Mungantiwar on Tuesday said that the state government would not hesitate availing loan while mitigating the drought situation in the state if need arises. The state Cabinet on Tuesday reviewed the drought situation in the state after which the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis left for a 3-day tour to drought-affected areas in Marathwada region. He would be visiting four districts in Marathwada in first phase of drought hit areas tour. He would be visiting Solapur and Ahmednagar on September 6 and 7, 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Replying to a question Mungantiwar said that it was true that fodder camps were not started yet but the government was yet to decide as to whether the fodder camp should have started or the fodder should be provided at the door-step of the farmers. He said that it was a huge task and government would not wait Union government’s help while mitigating the drought situation in the state. He said that if required the government would not hesitate availing loan while helping the farmers of the state, who are hit by the worst ever drought-situation in the state in last many years. BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve on Tuesday said that both the governments including Union government and the state government were capable of mitigating the drought-like situation in the state. He said that the state unit of the party would be making an arrangement in next two days which would ensure that all the MLAs would reach out to villages and ministers would monitor the drought mitigation at taluka level. He said that the chief minister is reaching out to district places and reviewing the drought mitigation plans while government has already started providing food-grains including rice and wheat at Rs 2 and 3 per Kg in 17 districts in the drought-hit areas of the state.

BJP trying to replace Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, alleges NCP

Ahir termed CM’s absence as “unfortunate” and accused the government of trying to replace Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology with its own. “It is unfortunate. This only means they want to leave Gandhiji’s thoughts behind and bring their own ideology forward. Even Vajpayeeji had visited the Maidan on the 50th year,” he said.

Devendra Fadnavis

PTI
A controversy erupted today with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis failing to visit the historic ‘August Kranti Maidan’ here on the occasion of the ‘Kranti Din’ and instead attending a similar function at Nagpur, with the NCP accusing the BJP of trying to replace Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology with its own. “Chief Ministers, irrespective of their political affiliations, have been visiting the August Kranti Maidan here to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the freedom movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. This time, the CM did not pay the visit,” NCP Mumbai Unit President Sachin Ahir said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahir termed CM’s absence as “unfortunate” and accused the government of trying to replace Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology with its own. “It is unfortunate. This only means they want to leave Gandhiji’s thoughts behind and bring their own ideology forward. Even Vajpayeeji had visited the Maidan on the 50th year,” he said. Fadnavis, who was in Nagpur to unveil a martyrs’ memorial, hit back at the opposition saying they are trading ‘baseless’ charges against him. “I am in Nagpur today and busy inaugurating a new ‘Shaheed Smarak’ to commemorate the Kranti Divas. Opposition’s claims are untrue and devoid of facts. They have no other constructive work to do, and hence, are indulging in baseless allegations,” Fadnavis said.Meanwhile, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam demanded that both the Centre and the state government should come forward and build a world class museum at the August Kranti Maidan, depicting the journey of the Indian freedom movement. “Gowalia Tank ground is a historic ground where 73 years back Quit India Movement began. There is no museum in India that depicts a comprehensive journey of our 90 years struggle. Thus, we should set up a world class museum here. Congress will soon start a campaign in this regard,” he said.He also alleged that Communists, RSS, and the Hindu Mahasabha had opposed the Quit India movement then.

Implement Srikrishna panel report on 1992-93 Mumbai riots: Abu Azmi

In the wake of the execution of 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon last week, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding “swift action” on the findings of the Srikrishna Commission.

Abu Azmi

In the wake of the execution of 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon last week, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding “swift action” on the findings of the Srikrishna Commission.”The decision to hang Yakub for his involvement in the Mumbai bomb blasts was taken by the Supreme Court and we respect its decision,” Azmi, Maharashtra unit chief of SP, said in the letter.”Just as the Maharashtra government was swift in implementing the SC’s decision, it should act fast in giving justice to the victims of the Mumbai communal riots (between December 1992 and January 1993) as well. We expect the government to take swift action on the findings of Justice B N Srikrishna in his report,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Quoting the Srikrishna panel report, Azmi said that around 900 people had lost their lives in the communal clashes and most of them were from the minority community.”Page number 47 of the report of Justice Srikrishna commission clearly states that a senior IPS officer had then admitted that the communal riots of 1992-93 were a result of the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya.”Thus, if the perpetrator of the 1993 bomb blasts is given a death sentence, and those responsible for the communal riots are not punished, people whose families have lost their lives in the communal riots and whose properties were destroyed, feel that the government is doing injustice to them,” the letter stated.He further stated that the “publicity” and the “marketing gimmicks” of the Centre and the state government in the hanging of Memon has reopened old wounds of those affected by communal riots, as thousands were killed and property worth crores (of rupees) was destroyed.”The Samajwadi Party believes that the previous Congress-NCP government is responsible for not implementing the findings of the Srikrishna report. But even your government has not taken any steps towards the implementation of the findings,” Azmi stated.The Srikrishna Commission was set up by the state government to probe incidents of widespread rioting between December 1992 and January 1993 and damage and loss to the city during that period. One of the terms of reference for the Commission was to see if the riots and the blasts were linked.

Yakub Memon had exhausted all legal and constitutional options: Maharashtra CM Fadnavis

Mumbai: The death warrant of 1993 serial blasts convict Yakub Memon was executed after completing necessary judicial procedures and he had exhausted all available legal and constitutional remedies, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Assembly on Thursday.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Making a statement in the House on the hanging of Yakub, Fadnavis said the execution was done after completing all judicial procedures and the convict had exhausted all legal and constitutional remedies.

The 53-year-old blasts conspirator was hanged in Nagpur Central Jail at 7 am, the Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, informed the Lower House.

Fadnavis said the government took utmost care to ensure there was no tension in the state, especially Mumbai, the hometown of Memons following the execution.

Adequate security arrangements were made in Mumbai, Nagpur and other parts of the state to maintain law and order and social media platforms were also kept under watch, he said.

“Close watch was kept on developments on Internet and social media. The state was peaceful. I appeal to all to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state,” Fadnavis said.

He said Yakub’s family was informed about the death warrant issued by Special TADA Court 14 days ago and his body handed over to the family after completing all legal formalities.

The body of Yakub, brought to Mumbai from Nagpur earlier in the day, was buried at Bada Kabristan graveyard in Chandanwadi, Fadnavis said.

Yakub, a chartered accountant by profession, was sentenced to death for his role in the serial bombings on 12 March, 1993 which left 257 dead and 713 injured.

He was found guilty of conspiracy (under IPC Section 120-B) and financing terror operations by arranging for tickets of accused who were sent to Pakistan from Mumbai via Dubai for arms training.

PTI

Soon, Maharashtra’s graft-accused babus may have property confiscated

Political leaders in Maharashtra are often heard making railing shrilly against lawlessness in Bihar. However, in this case, its government appears to be considering whether to emulate the latter state. What is perhaps more surprising is that the issue at hand is a stringent anti-corruption measure enacted by Bihar, a state that has acquired a reputation for widespread graft.

Devendra Fadnavis. Image courtesy: PTIDevendra Fadnavis. Image courtesy: PTI

Devendra Fadnavis. Image courtesy: PTI

DNA reported on Thursday that Maharashtra is in the process of bringing about a law providing for confiscation and attachment of property belonging to government officers booked in criminal cases. Earlier, a government resolution was said to have been issued asking government officers to submit details of their assets. However, in a statement in the legislative council, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is reported to have said, “The response to this decision has been lukewarm. Government employees are reluctant to declare their assets. Also, most officials indulge in correct practices, and the existing law is not effective to punish the guilty. Therefore on the lines of Bihar, we have decided to table a bill in the next winter session.”

At present, government officials accused of corrupt practices are booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 or the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Under the proposed law, the government will get the powers to attach the property of the accused pending trial. If the court convicts the person, the property can be forfeited.

In March 2009, the state legislature in Bihar passed the Bihar Special Court Bill, 2009, on which the Maharashtra government is seeking to base its law. Apart from a provision for attachment of property, the law also provides for the creation of special courts and a time-frame for the disposal of cases. More details about the law are available in this report by the The Economic Times. After the bill was passed, some of the accused who had been booked under the new law moved the Patna High Court to challenge its validity. The High Court, however, upheld the legislation, after which the apex court also declined to impose a stay, as reported by The Hindu.

Yakub Memon, 1993 Mumbai blasts convict, hanged at Nagpur jail

Nagpur: Yakub Memon, the lone 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict facing gallows, was hanged to death on Thursday after his last ditch attempts to get a reprieve failed early this morning in the Supreme Court. Memon was hanged shortly before 7 am at the central jail here, top official sources said.

The execution was carried out about two hours after his lawyers last-gasp plea to get the death warrant stayed was dismissed by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented hearing that began in the wee hours and ended at dawn. The body of Memon, who would have turned 53 today, would be handed over to his relatives who have been camping here in a hotel after completion of formalities.

Image courtesy: IBNLiveImage courtesy: IBNLive

Image courtesy: IBNLive

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to make a statement on the issue in the state Assembly today.

The Supreme Court decision came after a day of fast-paced developments on Wednesday when the court had upheld the death warrant and the President rejected Memon’s mercy petition a little before 11 pm on the advice of the government.

“Stay of death warrant would be a travesty of justice. The plea is dismissed,” said Justice Dipak Misra, heading a three-judge bench, delivering the order in Court Room 4 which sealed Memon’s fate.

In a late night move, Memon’s lawyer mounted a last-ditch effort to save him from the gallows when they rushed to the residence of Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and petitioned him for an urgent hearing to stay the hanging on the ground that 14 days’ time needed to be given to a death row convict to enable him challenge the rejection of his plea and for other purposes.

After consultations, the CJI constituted the same three-judge bench that had earlier decided on the death warrant issue to go into the late night plea.

Memon’s senior counsels Anand Grover and Yug Chowdhury said the authorities were “hell bent” on executing him without giving him the right to challenge the rejection of his mercy petition by the President as right to life of a condemned prisoner lasts till his last breath. Grover said a death row convict is entitled to 14 days reprieve after rejection of mercy plea for various purposes.

Opposing Memon’s plea, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi contended his fresh petition amounted to abusing the system. A death warrant upheld just 10 hours ago by three judges cannot be quashed, he said, adding the whole attempt appeared intended to prolong his stay in jail and get the sentence commuted.

PTI

CM Fadnavis likely to make statement on Memon’s execution in Maharashtra Assembly

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to make a statement in the state assembly at 11 am on 1993 Mumbai terror blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged in Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday morning.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to make a statement in the state assembly at 11 am on 1993 Mumbai terror blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged in Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday morning.Yakub Memon, the lone 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict facing gallows, was hanged to death on Thursday morning after his last ditch attempts to get a reprieve failed early this morning in the Supreme Court.Memon was hanged shortly before 7 am at the Central Jail in Nagpur. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Memon’s second mercy plea before President Pranab Mukherjee was rejected late last night.In an unprecedented move, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court presided over a fresh hearing of the case throughout the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday before dismissing the final appeal for mercy by Yakub, the only person to be sentenced to death for the series of bombings in Mumbai.While Yakub Memon’s lawyer Anand Grover had sought a reprieve of 14 days to challenge rejection of mercy plea by the President, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi maintained that if mercy petitions are filed over and over again, death warrants will never be executed.The apex court had on Wednesday also dismissed the curative petition of Yakub, saying proper procedure was followed in disposing of Yakub’s curative petition.Memon was convicted for being the “driving spirit” behind the blasts that killed at least 257 people at separate landmarks in the financial capital, including the Bombay Stock Exchange and two crowded markets.

No funeral procession for Yakub Memon family

According to government sources, while the jailor can decide whether to hand over the body of to his family, the state government’s order in the matter will be binding on him.

Yakub Memon’s brother Suleman outside the Nagpur Central Prison on Wednesday

AFP
The body of Yakub Memon, who was to be hanged at the Nagpur Central Prison on Thursday morning, will most likely be handed over to his family. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, sources said on Wednesday, had decided to allow Memon’s family to claim his body. According to government sources, while the jailor can decide whether to hand over the body of to his family, the state government’s order in the matter will be binding on him. However, in case they claim Memon’s body, they will in all likelihood, the family won’t be allowed take out a funeral procession.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On the eve of Yakub Memon’s scheduled execution, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a series of meeting with top police officials about the state’s preparedness of the fallout of the hanging. Addressing the media, Fadnavis expressed the need for keeping a restrain from all the sections of society. In what could have been the toughest 12 hours of his life, Yakub Memon spent Wednesday evening as any other day in his high security cell in Nagpur Central Jail. However according to jail sources the dawn of July 30 would be completely different. Sources on Wednesday said Memon would be woken up at least a couple of hours before he walks to the gallows. He would be asked to take a bath, after which, he would be will be allowed to offer his prayers. The prison official will also ask him whether he wants to have breakfast or tea. The convict would then be taken for a medical check-up. If found fit, officials will take him to the Fansi Yard (place for hanging), said a source, adding that Memon had never seen the place. “The jail manual is very clear on the procedure for capital punishment. It’s just a normal day for the convict and he is not given any special treatment,” said a senior police officer. He added, “The last 24 hours is the toughest as the convict relives every moment of his life and feels helpless.” Chief judicial magistrate MM Deshpande, jailor, jail superintendent, few senior police officers, six jail staffer, a doctor, a maulvi and the hangman will witness the execution. After the hangman pulls the lever, as per the manual, the body should be kept for hanging for half an hour. An autopsy would be conducted in the jail itself.

MPISA, Maharashtra government’s own internal security act, in offing; draft ready

According to highly-placed sources, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also handles Home portfolio, has already given the go-ahead to the draft on Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA), which was prepared by the department after thorough deliberations in the last 13 months.

What are the roles to be played by state’s multiple agencies in times of a crisis situation? A new internal security Act, envisaged by the state’s police department, is expected to put this in black and white, thereby bridging the gap and plugging loopholes in the existing security arrangements. Once enacted, Maharashtra will be the first state in the country to have its own internal security Act.According to highly-placed sources, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also handles Home portfolio, has already given the go-ahead to the draft on Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA), which was prepared by the department after thorough deliberations in the last 13 months. “Through this Act we will be aiming to eliminate the existing loopholes in the present system. It will deal with serious offences. In future, in case of a terror attack, the accused would also be booked under the MPISA,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The draft covers various aspects including security of government and non-government establishments, coastal security, security audits, and target hardening,”The department has already presented the 50-page draft before the state government. The CM has already been briefed and he is looking forward to get the Bill enacted. Also, the Home department is keen on successful implementation of this Act and has listed it under its ‘key result area’,” said the official.According to him, the Act will help the state deal with internal security in a comprehensive manner. “As of now, neither the states nor the Centre has such an elaborated Act on internal security,” the official claimed.”The draft defines the role each stakeholder – including civic bodies like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Housing department, road bodies and power entities. There will be coding of threats and alerts received, security audits and target hardening,” an official said.”The draft speaks of Standard Operating Procedures in case of an emergency and what roles stakeholders would play, in an elaborated manner. It also recommends that ‘internal security’ be made part of curriculum in schools and colleges to make youth aware of the possible threats,” he said.Another key element of the draft is that it has laid down the punishment to be awarded and the fine component on those found guilty under this Act. It also speaks on the medical and insurance benefits to be awarded to the victims. MCOCA broke backbone of underworld dons, terror operativesEarlier, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999 had helped state combat underworld dons and terror groups. MCOCA, with stringent provisions, came down heavily on those associated with organised crime syndicate and terror. Soon, Gujarat and Delhi followed Maharashtra in coming out with similar Acts.

Opposition charges see Devendra Fadnavis firing on all cylinders for 114 minutes

In his 114-minute address in the state assembly, Fadnavis countered the allegations by every opposition leader point-by-point.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was at his aggressive best on Monday, and lambasted the opposition on many counts.He blamed the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government for the miseries of the farmers in the state and the rising number of suicides.In his 114-minute address in the state assembly, Fadnavis countered the allegations by every opposition leader point-by-point.He said his government would go for long-term measures and not for band- aid solutions like loan waivers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress-NCP government had appointed four committees and they suggested permanent measures like institutional credits, power connections, irrigation facilities, food security, health facilities, fair price to produce and some additional income through small agri-related business, but the government went ahead with loan waivers, the chief minister charged.The Congress-NCP swallowed 8-9 cooperative banks and used the loan waiver package to get rid of the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of these banks, he said.Reacting to Ajit Pawar’s criticism that Fadnavis is urban and can’t understand the problems of farmers, he said: “I hail from a farmer’s family which has been into agriculture for the last five generations. I don’t have land in my name today, but I can milk a cow – even though it takes time for me to sit down.”When NCP MLA Jayant Patil criticised the BJP manifesto, the chief minister said that if Patil would have read the NCP manifesto carefully, he would not have been in opposition today.To the mention of the Swaminathan report by Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis said Pawar selectively quoted the report. The Swaminathan report never advised loan waiver without providing for other solutions to the farmers’ problems, he pointed out.Fadnavis also ridiculed Pawar when the latter gave the example of Telangana, saying though Telangana announced a loan waiver, it could not fulfill it. Telangana, Fadnavis said, brought it down to this year’s loan after being criticised by the Reserve Bank of India, and in reality did not waive any loan. The previous government surveyed 18,000 farm wells and despite a Rs 2.20 lakh crore budget, it could not provide any relief to the applicant-farmers, the chief minister said.In the last six months, this government has completed work on 4,000 wells and the remaining would be completed this year itself, Fadnavis said. Referring to irrigation projects, Fadnavis said it is in such a mess that officials say the previous government gave permissions in such a way that had they implements them, they would have been jailed.Fadnavis warned banks that if they do not provide loans to farmers, his government would file FIRs against them, in line with RBI directions.

Man booked under IT Act for defamatory tweet against Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis

The complainant has said that the photo was up on the family’s social media account and its use has been made to damage the CM’s image.

Devendra Fadnavis

File Photo
A man has been booked under the Section 67 (A) of the IT Act by the Oshiwara police for posting defamatory tweet about the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with a picture of him with his family on a yacht., reports an English daily. The photo is from 2012-2013 when Fadnavis was on a family vacation trip to the US.The man has been identified as Ajay Hatewar and he is believed to be from Nagpur. The tweet was sent from the Twitter handle Twitter handle (@AjayHatewar at 8.36 am on July 2.Senior inspector Subhash Khanvilkar has said that details about Hatewar have been sought from the cyber branch and investigations are still on.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The complaint against Hatewar was lodged by Sanjay Pandey who got the link to the tweet through a WhatsApp message from a friend. Pandey who resides in Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri West is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker. “The tweet has linked the CM’s old photograph with his recent official visit to the US for investment, and the man who has posted it has said the CM was enjoying there. This is a defamatory statement made to malign the CM’s image,” Pandey said.Another BJP leader Dharampal Meshram who hails from Nagpur also filed a complaint against Hatewar earlier this week at local Nandavan police station against the same statements through the use of the same photo.The complainant has said that the photo was up on the family’s social media account and its use has been made to damage the CM’s image.Meanwhile, BJP leaders across the state have lodged complaints against the statement across Maharashtra.

CM Devendra Fadnavis’s plan for 400-sq.ft Dharavi houses found not feasible

The erstwhile government had promised Dharavi residents 300 sq.ft houses and as per that the DRA had prepared a detailed architectural plan for 260 hectares of Dharavi locality.

It seems Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to junk his promise to Dharavi residents, offering bigger houses of 400 sq.ft against the existing 300 sq.ft. For, the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) has termed 400 sq.ft houses unfeasible, thanks to restriction on height and non-use of transfer of development right (TDR).The erstwhile government had promised Dharavi residents 300 sq.ft houses and as per that the DRA had prepared a detailed architectural plan for 260 hectares of Dharavi locality. As part of it, the pilot project has been also started. “Since 2006, we have constructed almost 9,000 housing units in Dharavi. But there was always dilly-dallying on part of the government and no clear guidelines on the number of houses to be constructed and the time period. So, we too had to accept a wait-and-watch policy,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further said the guidelines permit only 21-storeyed towers. “For providing 400 sq.ft houses as promised by CM Fadnavis, we need to either have more land – an option already ruled out – or we need to increase the tower height. However, the civil aviation rules do not allow more than 21 floors,” the official said.”The buildings should then be 32-storeyed, for which we need civil aviation ministry permission. Moreover, we need to amend the development control rules (DCR), which again will be time consuming,” pointed out another official adding that these steps “would virtually put the Dharavi redevelopment project on hold for an uncertain period.””We have already informed the CM and made him aware about these intricacies and nitty-gritty. We are ready with a plan based on the prevailing rules. The e-tendering for this project will be done any moment once we get a nod from the CM’s office,” he said requesting anonymity.According to a political observer, Dharavi is a solid case on how an ambitious redevelopment project can be spoiled due to the greediness of the residents and tall promises of politicians. “If the BJP had not made the tall promise during the assembly elections, this project would not have halted. ‘Politics’ in development is making people and city suffer, with no development taking place,” he said.

Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis sparks controversy, delays Air India flight to US by an hour

With two of his ministers already facing flak, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis landed himself in a controversy when he delayed an Air India flight to the US by around an hour, according to reports.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis delayed a flight by around an hour. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis delayed a flight by around an hour. PTI

The flight, which was carrying around 250 passengers, was delayed because Fadnavis’ principal secretary got his old passport to the airport, according to CNN-IBN.

CM Fadnavis, however, denied the allegations against him. “The allegation that I forced delay of the flight to Newark is false and misleading,” he said.

Air India said in a statement, ‪”The flight, AI 191 of 29th June, 2015 was delayed by a total of 57 minutes. The delay was partly due to technical/operational reasons, and also the ATC.”

An Air India spokesperson also said that the flight AI-191 in which Fadnavis was to travel was delayed by 57 minutes for a mix of reasons.

“The flight was delayed by 57 minutes and that too because of operational, technical reasons. Besides, some delay also occurred on account of the ATC,” the spokesperson claimed in response to questions.

The incident took place on Tuesday when Fadnavis was leaving on a week-long visit to the US along with his industries Minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secratary Swadheen Kshatriya and Principal Secretary Pravin Pardeshi besides other delegation members.

According to sources, Pardeshi was cleared at the check-in but was held back before boarding as the passport he was carrying did not have the valid US visa.

Sources said that Pardeshi had got a valid US visa in his old passport but this was not reflected in the new one which he was carrying. He quickly arranged to bring his old passport which had valid US visa stamp after which he was allowed to proceed to the aircraft, they said.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded an inquiry into the delay of the flight to US.

Chavan also trained his guns on authorities, saying, “Air India officials have flouted rules under pressure.”

“The PM must take action. I don’t know if he will act against Fadnavis,” Chavan said. “The PM or civil aviation minister must order an inquiry into the whole affair. The reputation of the country is at stake,” he added.

MPCC president Ashok Chavan said, “The issue is very serious. Over one and a half hours were wasted just because an officer forgot to bring his passport. There should be an in depth inquiry and action should be taken against the guilty.”

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil reacted to this news and said, “If the flight was held up for a particular person, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t a very good thing on the part of the honourable CM. If this has happened, it is unfortunate.”

Fadnavis on Monday had left for a week-long official trip to US where a series of meetings with trade, commerce and industry houses are lined up, reported PTI.

According to an official from the Chief Minister’s Office, a delegation led by Fadnavis includes Industries Minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya, Principal Secretary in Chief Minister’s office Pravin Pardeshi among others.

This is not the first time Fadnavis has sparked a row with respect to special treatment given to VVIPs.

In March, traffic policemen at the NSCI Club in central Mumbai’s Worli had stopped private vehicles to make way for the Chief Minister’s convoy and video footage had showed them grappling with some of the club members, including an elderly person.

The issue had triggered an outrage over people being inconvenienced during movement of VVIPs and Opposition parties had attacked Fadnavis on the issue.

Fadnavis, who enjoys Z plus security, had apologised for the melee.

“My sincere apologies to those who were stopped by the police unnecessarily. People in the state have always seen me stopping at traffic signals. I don’t believe in VIP culture,” he had tweeted.

(With inputs from PTI)

Fadnavis aide’s passport goof up delays flight; Air India cites ‘technical reasons’

Fadnavis was flying from Mumbai to New York with his entourage.

An Air India flight was delayed by an hour after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s aide brought an old passport to the airport, reports NDTV. Air India has iissued a clarification saying the delay was due to technical reasons.Fadnavis was flying from Mumbai to New York with his entourage.According to the NDTV report, when Fadnavis’ aide Praveen Pardeshi mistakenly brought his old passport to the airport, the flight was delayed by 50 minutes as they waited for the new passport to be brought to them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Air India official gave a clarification regarding the incident. “The flight, AI 191 of 29th June, 2015 was delayed by a total of 57 minutes. The delay was partly due to technical/operational reasons, and also the ATC,” he said.This is just another incident of VIP privilege. In February, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury held up an Air India flight for 45 minutes.

Maharashtra Governor, Fadnavis hold closed-door meet at Raj Bhawan

Sources told dna that the governor expressed concern over issues being raised in the media about the government every other day

PTI
On the backdrop of the alleged chikki scam, MLA Raj Purohit’s revelations and the Malvani hooch tragedy, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had a meeting with governor C Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan on Sunday.Sources in the chief minister’s office and Raj Bhavan told dna that the meeting did not have any single agenda but was held to review the situation in the state. The chief minister is believed to have apprised the governor of almost all the issues, especially the allegations made by the Opposition against BJP ministers as well as the hooch tragedy and the recent water logging in Mumbai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis went to Raj Bhavan and met Rao between 1pm and 2.30pm. However, the chief minister’s secretaries, including Praveen Singh Pardeshi, were not part of the meeting. Even the governor’s staff was out of the room where two heads of the state held the meeting for almost 90 minutes.Their meeting paved way for speculations and sources told dna that the governor expressed concern over issues being raised in the media about the government every other day. Chief minister Fadnavis is believed to have explained the government’s position and expressed resolve that he would not yield to politically motivated campaign against his ministers. Anna’s concernMeanwhile, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has said that if the chikkis served to Aanganwadis as nutrition diet is found to be adulterated, then there should be an inquiry and action should be taken on the contractor who supplied the product. Hazare was speaking to a few media persons at his village in Ahmednagar district.

Ready to probe charges against Pankaja Munde if Oppn gives evidence: CM Fadnavis

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said the government is ready to conduct a probe into allegations that Women and Child Welfare Department under Pankaja Munde had awarded contracts to the tune of Rs 206 crore without inviting tenders, if Opposition furnishes evidence of violation of norms.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

“If the Opposition (Congress and NCP) points out, with evidence, that norms have been flouted, we are ready to conduct an inquiry into the purchases,” Fadnavis told PTI.

However, hitting out at the Opposition, he said while they were in power, purchases were made through similar rate contract system (in which material is purchased after negotiations on its rate) and they should also give an explanation for it.

“If the Opposition is alleging that tenders were not issued and norms were flouted, they should remember that our Government Resolution was issued in April while the purchases were cleared before that. Also, while they were in power, a similar rate contract system was being used by them. They should also give an explanation into their purchases. Their double standards will be out then,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the government had taken decision to purchase items worth more than Rs one crore by e-tender on 17 April, 2015, but the purchases under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was for the year 2014-15.

“The previous government had given purchase order of Rs 164 crore during 2012-13, Rs 127 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 56 crore in June-July 2014 by the same rate contract,” he said.

The ICDS had approved purchase orders to registered contractors only, he said.

“If ICDS had not taken the decision, it would not have been possible to use the grants available before March 31, 2015, and it would have got lapsed, thereby adversely affecting the beneficiaries,” Fadnavis said.

He further said that the purchases under the ICDS were to provide nutritious food to anganwadis.

The purchases by ICDS are based on the rate contract finalised by Director General of Supply and Disposal.

The Fadnavis government has been hit by first major allegation of a ‘scam’ after Congress accused Pankaja, daughter of BJP stalwart late Gopinath Munde, of clearing purchases worth Rs 206 crore on 13 February through 24 Government Resolutions.

A host of items including snacks, mats, dishes, water filters, medicines and books for children were purchased under the Integrated Child Development Services by the Women and Child Development Ministry.

Congress leader Sachin Sawant had filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the issue and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had even sought a CBI probe.

Sawant today claimed that he received threatening calls after he filed a complaint with the ACB.

PTI

AAP demands Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde’s resignation over Rs 206 crore ‘scam’

Mumbai: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demanded resignation of Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde following charges that she cleared purchases worth Rs 206 crore through 24 Government Resolutions (GR) on a single day instead of inviting tenders.

“24 GRs were passed in a single day without following the due procedure. We demand an independent enquiry into this scam and Pankaja Munde must resign as a minister immediately,” Maharashtra AAP convenor Subhash Ware said.

Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde. IBNLiveMaharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde. IBNLive

Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde. IBNLive

Targetting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue, the AAP leader asked, “Is the Maharashtra CM so incompetent that he did not know the illegality involved or is he so weak that he couldn’t act against his cabinet colleague for indulging in illegal action?”

“Fadnavis must come clean on this issue, especially as the state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has given clear instructions that any purchases above Rs three lakh has to done through e-tendering process,” Ware said.

The alleged scam came to light on June 15, when the office of Pankaja Munde, state Women and Child Development Minister, received a letter from Ahmednagar Zilha Parishad president Manjushree Gund complaining about the quality of chikki (a popular snack) distributed to tribal students under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Gund said the chikki was contaminated with clay.

All the purchases had been cleared by Munde, daughter of late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde, on a single day on February 13 through 24 Government Resolutions (GR).

As per norms, any government purchase above Rs 3 lakh has to be done through e-tendering.

PTI

Lalit Modi row: CM Devendra Fadnavis yet to take final call on Rakesh Maria

However, early in the day the department issued a communication denying speculations of Maria tendering his resignation on the issue.

Maria with Lalit Modi in UK

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to take the final call on the top cop Rakesh Maria and former IPL chairman Lalit Modi controversy in a day or two after going through the report filed by the home department on Tuesday evening. In response to an explanation sought by the CM, Maria had submitted a report before the additional chief secretary K P Bakshi on Monday. Top sources in the home department, however, confirmed that Bakshi has sent the report with his observation. “The file has been sent to the CM after a thorough examination of the inputs and rules. The CM will take the final stand,” said a senior official from the home department.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> However, early in the day the department issued a communication denying speculations of Maria tendering his resignation on the issue. Meanwhile, sources say that Maria is likely to walk out clean from the row, much like external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.

Hooch tragedy: CM Devendra Fadnavis favours capital punishment for accused

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis favours capital punishment for those responsible for the hooch tragedy in the metropolis which has claimed 102 lives so far.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTIMaharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

“I want to see most severe punishment for the culprits (behind the hooch tragedy). They should be hanged,” an official of Chief Minister Office’s quoted Fadnavis as saying at a meeting of senior police officials in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Crime Branch officials met Fadnavis to brief him about the ongoing investigation in the hooch tragedy in suburban Malwani, he said.

The Chief Minister asked the authorities to build a water-tight case in the spurious liquor case, the worst such tragedy in the financial capital, the CMO official said.

“The charge sheet should be strong with tough sections (under relevant laws) invoked against the accused. Public Prosecutor should demand severest possible punishment for the accused,” Fadnavis reportedly said in the meeting.

Later, a meeting on internal security also took place in which Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi, among others, were present. The meeting was presided by Fadnavis.

PTI

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