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Narendra Modi asks ministers to connect with people in two LS constituencies a month

An aggressive opposition, in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, has been accusing the government of witch-hunting in the wake of the National Herald case. The standoff overshadowed the Winter Session of Parliament. The ministers will now take the government’s side of the story to clear the perception about the government, sources said.Tell their story
An aggressive opposition, in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, has been accusing the government of witch-hunting in the wake of the National Herald case. The standoff overshadowed the Winter Session of Parliament. The ministers will now take the government’s side of the story to clear the perception about the government, sources said.

dna Correspondent

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Amidst Darbhanga MP Azad’s suspension, BJP veterans’ meet creates flutter

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Express concern over DDCA, National Herald controversies eclipsing other pressing issues

Kirti Azad
File Photo

A day after the BJP suspended its Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad, party veterans — LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar — went into a huddle creating a flutter, the second time in less than two months. The meeting held at Joshi’s residence, like last time, was not pre-planned, according to sources. While Kirti Azad’s suspension was not the primary purpose of the meeting, the leaders expressed concern over issues like DDCA row and the National Herald case eclipsing “major issues” like the Paris climate pact, the Nairobi WTO ministerial meeting and farmers’ problems in the Winter Session which ended on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> They noted that this was the second session in a row which was a washout, in the face of a government-opposition standoff, the sources said. The leaders were also worried that the DDCA row could spill over into the budget session, which begins around February 20. The defamation cases filed by finance minister Arun Jaitley against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over their DDCA allegations are likely to stretch into February. A leader said “all issues” were discussed. The meeting hogged the limelight as it came a day after Kirti Azad, who had responded saying he was suspended for fighting corruption, said the Marg Darshak Mandal should take cognisance of the issue. Two of the leaders — Advani and Joshi — belong to the BJP’s Marg DarshakMandal, which has never met or held consultations ever since it was set up in August last year. The other members of the Marg Darshak Mandal are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and home minister Rajnath Singh. Meanwhile, a BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has offered to help Azad in drafting his reply to the party, further bringing out the fault lines in the party. This time the mood of the four party elders appeared to be more of resignation than rebellion. Unlike last time the senior leaders did not come out with any statement. A leader said the party leadership was yet to react or address the concerns expressed in its statement issued on the eve of Diwali, in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle. The four leaders had said the party has been ’emasculated’ in the past year and that to say everyone was responsible for the defeat in Bihar was to ensure that no one was held responsible. The BJP hit back saying the party’s senior leaders had set the precedent of “collective responsibility”. Sources said the party elders appeared resigned to their ‘helplessness’ given their limited role. It was also not clear if they would raise their concerns at some party forum. According to sources, all four leaders were together only for half-an-hour as Advani reached at noon and Sinha had to leave by around 12.30 pm.

National Herald case: BJP blasts Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for ‘sermonising on corruption’

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“It’s amusing to learn that Rahul Gandhi is sermonising on corruption. He should be reminded of the fact that he along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi are out on bail, because of the very important fact that the court of this country has said that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi i.e., accused number one and accused number two, in fact had criminal intent in the National Herald case,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Reminding Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi that he and party president Sonia Gandhi are accused in the National Herald case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said they should not sermonise on the issue of corruption.”It’s amusing to learn that Rahul Gandhi is sermonising on corruption. He should be reminded of the fact that he along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi are out on bail, because of the very important fact that the court of this country has said that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi i.e., accused number one and accused number two, in fact had criminal intent in the National Herald case,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Those who amass the wealth of this country with criminal intent, and those who are out on bail should not sermonise on corruption. Rather than sermonising, they should be introspecting as to how they can self correct,” he added.Earlier, Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer on BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension who has been making public statements that there was corruption in the DDCA when Arun Jaitley was heading it. “Modi ji said “na khaunga na khaane dunga”, now his MP pointed out corruption and he has been suspended. Ab Modi ji jawaab de,” Gandhi told the media.The BJP on Wednesday suspended its Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad. The party issued a terse letter in the evening stating, “For anti-party activities, Shri Kirti Azad, MP, Darbhanga, is with immediate effect suspended from the party.”

Unfair to drag Sonia Gandhi in DDCA mess: P Chidambaram

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He said the probe by Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) into the DDCA affairs was referred by the then Sports Minister Ajay Maken on some complaints he had received.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said it was “unfair” to drag Congress president Sonia Gandhi in an alleged attempt to fix Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the UPA regime and accused the Modi government of acting with “ulterior motives” in the National Herald case.He said the probe by Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) into the DDCA affairs was referred by the then Sports Minister Ajay Maken on some complaints he had received. “I was told by Mr Ajay Maken that when Maken was the Sports Minister, complaints were received and those complaints were referred to the SFIO. “I have not read the SFIO report. Therefore I cannot comment. Seems a bit unfair to drag the name of Mrs Gandhi. Mr Maken is in the best place to explain who referred the matter to SFIO,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chidambaram was commenting on an interview given by Jaitley to a newspaper in which he had alleged that a BJP MP had met Sonia Gandhi during the UPA tenure “and they said they will fix Jaitley.” Though Jaitley did not name the MP, the newspaper suggested it was Kirti Azad, who has been running a campaign against alleged corruption in the Delhi cricket body DDCA. On the Congress charge of BJP and Modi government practising vendetta politics against the party, he said if Subramanian Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case was a private one “the government should have said we are completely neutral and we are completely indifferent to what happens to that complaint. BJP leaders and ministers should not have spoken on the matter.” But on the day the Delhi High Court pronounced the judgement, Chidambaram said “virtually every BJP leader jumped with both feet and started commenting freely.” As early as August of 2014, three months after they came to power, senior BJP ministers commented that there is prima facie case in the National Herald complaint. “Why should the BJP minister or BJP leaders comment on a case if it is a purely private complaint?,” he asked.Asked on the criticism about Jaitley’s facebook post on the case which critics said was a direction to the enforcement agencies, Chidambaram said “there is a very strong reason to believe that the government is acting with an ulterior motive.”Without naming Swamy, he said the private compliant wrote to Prime Minister on August 13, 2015 complaining against the then Enforcement Directorate head Rajan Katoch and five days later he “was virtually sacked.” “I am told that letter is in public domain,” he said. Asked who in the government was driving the probe in the National Herald case, he said “I cannot answer that question. I don’t know who is in and who is out. I can speak generally about government.”

Happy to make Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’: Subramanian Swamy

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While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, petitioner in the National Herald case, said he did not oppose bail for Congress president Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi. He also dismissed Congress allegations that it was a case of personal vendetta against the Gandhis or other Congress leaders, saying he had never met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take any directions from him. “No one has told me anything to either slow down or pursue the National Herald case. I do not want any support from BJP or from anyone. I didn’t get support from my party during 2G scam also. I don’t need it,” he said. “I did not oppose bail today, only opposed exemption. Thus, the accused all produced bail for Rs 50 000. No exemption. No bail boast?” Swamy said in a tweet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.”When Sonia and Rahul Gandhi came they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be, they were not allowed to sit,” he further said. Later, in an interview to a TV channel, Swamy also hit out at suggestions that he has been accorded Z category security and government bungalow as a reward for pursuing the case. “Congress persons may be purchasable. I am a sanyasi. I don’t need houses,” he shot back.Responding to Congress’s criticism over the extension of ‘Z’ category security to him, Swamy said it was during former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure that he was provided this protection, which was later curtailed by the UPA government.Speaking to reporters here, Swamy said that the Congress government led by Rao had provided ‘Z’ category security to him.That was later curtailed by the previous UPA government and made applicable only in a few states, he added.”When our (BJP) government came, they said this is injustice and again provided me the security that had been given to me during Rao’s tenure,” he said.”Now I don’t know if they (Congress) think Narasimha Rao was a BJP man,” he said.Swamy criticised the Congress for holding “processions and gatherings” ahead of Sonia and Rahul’s appearance in the court. “This taking out of processions, gathering of crowds… so many arrangements have to be made.With all this, a message would go out to the world that not all is equal in our country and democracy is not well-established.”I tell Congress, that is why your name is spoiled… you are losing this case, that is why you are doing all this. If you are winning, then go smiling to court,” Swamy said.—With agency inputs

Centre ‘vindictive’ against opposition parties: TMC

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TMC will play the role of “formidable opposition” against the vindictive politics of BJP, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.
File Photo
PTI
BJP-led central government is pursuing vindictive politics against opposition parties in the country and Trinamool Congress will oppose this, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on Saturday said.”It is well known that the BJP-led government at the Centre is pursuing a vindictive and vendetta politics against the opposition parties. I don’t want to mention any particular case, but this is a well known fact. We are against such tendency of the Centre in a federal and democratic structure,” Bandyopadhyay told PTI.TMC, he said, will play the role of “formidable opposition” against the vindictive politics of BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His comments were made on the day when Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi appeared in a Delhi court in connection with the National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and were granted unconditional bail.

National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul have got bail, not medal, says Prakash Javadekar

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Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”

Prakash Javadekar

Union Environment Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said the local court has granted bail, not medal, to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, and he failed to understand why the Congress was in a celebratory mood.”I don’t understand why the Congress is celebrating the bail given by court to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They have got bail, not a medal,” Javadekar told reporters here on the sidelines of an event here, adding that “The court has also found the offence cognisable.” Rahul and Sonia had sought and were granted bail in the National Herald case after the court in Delhi rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to relief for them on the ground that they are influential and can flee the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swamy had lodged a private criminal complaint against the mother and son for cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”
Seizing the opportunity, the Congress leadership has turned the legal battle into a political one accusing Modi of deliberatley targeting the Opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so.This was the first time that the Gandhis appeared before a court in pursuance of the summons issued to them on December 8.

National Herald Case: Here’s why Congress won day one

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It is very evident that the party will look to approach this matter with a two pronged approach

PTI
The hype was being built from the morning. Journalists waiting with their mikes and cameras, expectantly looking for a piece of trivia or breaking news in front of the Patiala Court, dishing out minute details of #SoniaRahulHazirHo. The Congress too had its fair share of preparation. Congress workers went through the motions as they displayed their solidarity across the length and breadth of the country. In the capital, the party had its battery of legal luminaries ready to bail out Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. With them in tow, was former PM Manmohan Singh to provide moral support. The process of granting of bail was done in just a matter of ten minutes, reminiscent of the time in May when Salman Khan got bail. But it is just the beginning of a possibly long legal tangle and judging by the reaction of the Congress party after suffering the initial shock of its party leaders under scanner, it is now prepared to slog this case out under the spotlight. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is very evident that the party will look to approach this matter with a two-pronged approach. On one hand, it will exhaust every legal option possible to save its two top leaders. On the other hand, Congress party will aggressively pursue the line where it accuses the Modi government of being vindictive. With the case unlikely to get over any time soon, it gives Congress enough fodder to keep the pot boiling against the Modi government for a significant period of time. The effects are manifold. Firstly, now it has a legitimate excuse to put a spanner in the government’s day-to-day functioning in Parliament by crying hoarse about political vendetta. It is a play Congress has learnt from the BJP’s book. Politics of obstructionism works in this country and the party will like to practice it fully to halt Modi’s developmental agenda. Secondly, at a time when the Congress is still trying to get out of the abysmal low of 2014 elections, the entire party is suddenly speaking in one voice to save the first family. The Gandhis are the glue which essentially keeps an ideologically directionless party like Congress together. Hence the leaders are more than eager to save the Gandhis and suddenly all the warts in the party setup is glossed over. It is not a full-proof strategy but certainly a workable one for a party looking to regroup after an electoral backlash. As for BJP, its challenge is to build a counter-narrative to call Congress’ bluff in front of the electorate. Today, the Patiala Court gave unconditional bail to the Gandhis. It also rejected Swami’s demand of putting restrictions on their foreign travels. According to PTI, “The accused are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee,” the Magistrate said.BJP so far has been eager to push the National Herald case as a matter between the Congress and Swamy. But with Congress repeatedly trying to invoke a Modi connection, can BJP shrug of the perception that there is some greater power pulling the string from behind. BJP will hope that the muck will stick to the Gandhis and it will like to believe that the fact that first family of Congress had to make a court appearance is sort of a political victory. But if nothing tangible comes out, Congress will play the victim card to the hilt. This is more of a political slugfest than the complicated legal and financial analysis of whether there was cheating and misappropriation of funds by Gandhis in acquiring ownership of National Herald. Congress by playing with a straight bat on a sticky wicket has been the smarter side so far. Can BJP take the cue and change the game? All bets are open till February 20.

#SoniaRahulHazirHo: Twitter has a field day as Congress leaders get bail

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Some of the tweets on the National Herald scam, that has pushed the #SoniaRahulHazirHo tag to the top.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi
File Photo
PTI
As of Saturday morning, the newest trend on Twitter was what has been leaving the Lok Sabha in a turmoil, turning it to an arena of blame game over the past few days. #SoniaRahulHazirHo is the top trend on Twitter. The case filed by Subramanian Swamy against the President and Vice-President of Congress, on the National Herald scam, has left a string of controversies with mudslinging from all ends.Here are some of the tweets that have attracted our attention:

National Herald Case: After getting bail, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi hit out at PM Modi

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Sonia and Rahul, who came straight to the AICC office from the court where they were granted bail in the National Herald case, asserted that they will continue to fight and “not bow down”.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.Sonia and Rahul, who came straight to the AICC office from the court where they were granted bail in the National Herald case, asserted that they will continue to fight and “not bow down”. “Today we had appeared before the court with a clean conscience. We did what any law-abiding citizen should do. The laws of the nation applies to everyone without any discrimination. I have no doubt that the truth will come out,” Sonia Gandhi told reporters.Coming down heavily on Modi government, the Congress President said, “The present government is deliberately targeting the opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so. Nobody is going to be scared from it. We will continue our fight.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Making a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modiji levels false allegations and thinks that the Opposition will bow down, I and Congress party will not succumb.” Referring to the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Sonia Gandhi said that she was totally aware of the intention of the people behind the case. “These people have been trying for long to target us.They will not succeed,” she asserted. Asserting that Congress will continue to fight for the poor, Rahul said, “We will not budge an inch.” The Gandhis were speaking after they were granted bail in the case based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Congress is united in support of Sonia and Rahul. “We will fight. We will give a determined fight,” he said asserting that Congress was a party that stood for certain values and it will not compromise on them.

Subramanian Swamy hits back at Congress, says got ‘Z’ security under Narasimha Rao govt

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Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Swamy, the complainant in the National Herald case, said that the Congress government led by Rao had provided ‘Z’ category security to him.

Reuters
Responding to Congress’s criticism over the extension of ‘Z’ category security to him, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said it was during former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure that he was provided this protection, which was later curtailed by the UPA government.Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Swamy, the complainant in the National Herald case, said that the Congress government led by Rao had provided ‘Z’ category security to him. That was later curtailed by the previous UPA government and made applicable only in a few states, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When our (BJP) government came, they said this is injustice and again provided me the security that had been given to me during Rao’s tenure,” he said.”Now I don’t know if they (Congress) think Narasimha Rao was a BJP man,” he said.Meanwhile, as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and others appeared in court today in the Herald case, Swamy criticised the party and claimed it is afraid that it is losing the case and, hence, there were the “processions and gatherings” of its workers.”This taking out of processions, gathering of crowds… so many arrangements have to be made. With all this, a message would go out to the world that not all is equal in our country and democracy is not well-established. I tell Congress, that is why your name is spoiled… you are losing this case, that is why you are doing all this. If you are winning, then go smiling to court,” Swamy said.

Sans GST, Opposition to say "ayes" to bills in RS; washout averted

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The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.Ansari’s last minute initiative to call an all-party meeting comes at the fag end of a frosty Winter Session ending on December 23. The Rajya Sabha, where the number crunch for the ruling NDA has come in the way of controversial bills, has faced frequent disruptions amidst a government-Congress face off, which intensified over the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The productivity of the House has been 47 per cent against 100 per cent in the Lok Sabha, according to latest PRS legislative research statistics. While legislative business in the Lower House recorded 27 per cent till December 17, it was 10 per cent in the Upper House.The fate of two crucial legislations–GST, which had been on the top of government’s agenda, and the real estates bill– are caught in the government-opposition standoff over them. Meanwhile, the Opposition has agreed to passage of SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, two Appropriation Bills, Anti Hijacking Bill, Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill during the next week, sources said.All opposition parties gave a word to Ansari to pass the bills after he conveyed that this was one of the “most unproductive sessions”.The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided. These are signs that government does not want house to function,” leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.However, on the issue of charges against finance minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA issue, there are indications that the Congress has dropped its aggressive stand and demand for his resignation.”We have not retracted from that issue. We are further examining papers related to it. We are studying the entire report. There is enough time,” Azad said.He stressed that the outcome of the National Herald case coming up in a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Saturday will not affect the Congress decision to cooperate in passage of the important Bills. The Opposition opted to drop all the issues in their armour for grilling the government after the Government conceded to debate intolerance.The government also agreed not to press for passage of two Bills – Whistleblower Amendment Bill and Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill– and send them to the Select Committee of the House for further scrutiny. The Opposition wants the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill also to go to the Select Committee.Jaitley unsuccessfully pleaded to include the GST Bill in the list of those agreed to be passed but he gave up after the Congress refused to budge until its conditions are met to modify it.Even if the GST bill had been passed by the Rajya Sabha next week as it has already cleared the Lok Sabha’s muster in the last session, it has now become impossible for the government to meet the next April deadline it had set to implement the tax reform.The Constitution Bill will have to be ratified by half the state legislatures and then Parliament will have to pass the GST Bill for levying the new single indirect tax and frame the rules to implement it. This is just not possible in a short time span of three months left and so the government is reconciled to push the Constitution Bill only in the budget session and plan GST from April 2017. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters that all have decided that the House should function and pass the pending government bills even by sitting late. Blame game The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul in the dock today, literally

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The duo will be fourth in Nehru-Gandhi generation to appear before any court of law after Motilal, Jawaharlal and Indira

Congress top brass are tight-lipped. Party’s supreme leaders – president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul – are all set to appear before the Patiala House district court here in connection with the National Herald case on Saturday. But they are not willing to reveal their cards fully, on whether Rahul will be applying for bail or will prefer to go to jail. The case, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, accuses the Gandhis and four others of forming a company with the intention of acquiring property belonging to the now defunct newspaper National Herald that was founded by Jawaharlal Nehru. The seventh entity summoned in the case is Young Indian, the company formed by them, in which the Gandhis own 76% shares.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Both the Gandhis have aggressively countered the allegations against them as political vendetta. It’s only after all efforts and appeals exhausted, Sonia and Rahul are appearing before the court. They will be the fourth-fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to appear before a court of law after Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Congress workers and MPs are all geared up for tomorrow’s showdown. Though the party has rubbished media reports that it would organise a ‘solidarity march’ to court on Saturday, all its MPs are staying back in the capital. Normally, MPs fly back to their constituencies during the weekend. Even a chief minister of a northeast state, who had arrived in the Capital on Thursday, was told to stay back, sources said. AICC general secretary and Congress MP Janardan Dwivedi, however, stated the Congress has no intentions to protest against judiciary and that’s why he has asked PCC chiefs not to come to the AICC headquarters. However, Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha say they have been asked to assemble at the party headquarters on 24, Akbar Road, by 1 pm. The court hearing on the case is scheduled at 3 pm. Party general secretary Digvijay Singh, said the party leadership will decide only Saturday morning if party MPs and office-bearers will march from AICC headquarters to Patiala House Court along with Sonia and Rahul. Tight security Under the aegis of the Special Protection Group, the Delhi police have been conducting thorough security checks inside and outside the court premises. The distance from 10, Janpath – Sonia Gandhi’s residence – to the court is a mere 3.3 kms – a journey that can be covered in under 10 minutes – though the route will see heavy police presence and almost 16 additional CCTV cameras. The setting of the courtroom drama is No.4, Judge Loveleen’s chambers – a room small enough to hold barely 10-15 people. According to confirmed sources, the venue or the courtroom will not change. “If there was a change, it would have been intimidated by now,” said a source on condition of anonymity. The room has seen security sweeps by various security apparatus for the last two days. To counter the anticipated media rush, passes were issued only to a few print media and agency reporters. “There was no hindrance during my time when we used to cover news. One could just walk into the court premises irrespective of who was standing trial,” veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar recalls as he reminisced his time as a reporter. Reacting to the news about the issue of passes to cover the trial, he quipped, “This is not definitely not like the emergency (imposed by Indira Gandhi), but such a tight control on the media definitely emphasises the politicising of the event. Courts are no more institutions; they have been reduced as a mere political tool.”

Congress plans grand show on eve of Rahul-Sonia appearance in court

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The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.

Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders after submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding removal of Arunachal governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

dna
The Congress is planning a grand show on Saturday, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five other leaders are appearing before a magistrate’s court here in the National Herald case. They party has summoned all its chief ministers, state party presidents and MPs to the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road here on Saturday for a likely march along with leaders to the Patiala Courts.The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, Rahul has decided not to offer bail or sign a security bond as he prefers to be sent to judicial custody. Though, earlier it was decided that Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health along with 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, party sources said, Congress president may also opt for jail to secure a sympathy for ‘victimisation by the ruling BJP and the Modi government’. They said Sonia and Rahul were taking a cue from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose political fortunes resurrected following her arrest in 1977 after losing the elections.

With GST plans in peril, BJP all set to target Congress on corruption issues

The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.

As the Modi government started losing hopes of passage of its key reforms Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill amid the political chill in the ongoing winter session, the BJP is rolling up its sleeves to make the National Herald case and other “corruption” issues key in its offensive against the Congress.The BJP alleged that Congress was holding the country’s development “hostage” to its “selfish” political goal. The government will make efforts to reach out the Congress on GST but if the session ends in a washout, the party will take to the streets to protest against the Congress’s approach in Parliament, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.The BJP, which distributed booklets titled ‘National Herald Case — Family Greed and National Blackmail’ to party MPs at its parliamentary party meeting, is planning to aggressively take on the Congress inside and outside Parliament. The booklet, which begins with finance minister Arun Jaitley’s article “Why the Congress is Wrong”, is a compilation of editorials and articles in various newspapers.The GST bill was the focal point of the session, which could be a washout like the previous monsoon session. The Congress, which has been alleging political vendetta in the National Herald case, is now up in arms alleging that the governor of Arunachal Pradesh has summoned a special session from Wednesday without consulting the state government.Sources said that in a bid to Congress on board on GST, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu will meet congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.”The parliamentary party expressed its concern over the negative politics of Congress and its attempt to obstruct the country’s development…Congress should see to it that the case does not overshadow national interest,” minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.The government and party will celebrate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth day on December 25 as ‘good governance day’ during which a host of events will be held, Naqvi said.On January 12, the birth anniversary of Vivekananda, several programmes on empowering youth and skill development will be launched in Lok Sabha constituencies.The party MPs also decided to contribute Rs 10,000 each for Chennai flood relief, he said.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar briefed MPs about the climate agreement in Paris and the members expressed their happiness over the outcome, Naqvi said.

A step back: India will discuss only Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at peace talks, says diplomat

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National Herald Case: Allegations against Sonia, Rahul are ‘deliberately orchestrated’, alleges Congress

Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process.
File picture
PTI
Amid the raging row over National Herald case, Congress on Sunday asserted that the allegations and “insinuations” against party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are “deliberately orchestrated”, “patently false” and “defamatory” as they have “not received a rupee”.Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process. “(There is) nothing wrong in this transaction. In fact, by putting a non-profit company as the dominant shareholder, we have ensured that not one rupee from the assets can go to any private beneficiary,” said Chidambaram said defending the move to transfer the shares of Associate Journalst Limited (AJL) to Young India, a company of which Sonia and Rahul are major shareholders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul have nothing to worry because “they have not received a rupee benefit”, the former Finance Minister said, while raising questions over Modi government’s role saying it had acted hastily on a “private complaint” to reopen a shut case. He claimed that the assets of AJL are now “doubly secure” as a non-profit company is the dominant shareholder.Kumar, in a statement here, said there are “incontrovertible facts” which make it obvious that “allegations and insinuations against the Congress leadership and others are deliberately orchestrated, are patently false and defamatory. All transactions in question are entirely legal.” In this context, he listed some details of the case as well as Delhi High Court’s judgement of December 7 which, according to him, “held that no question of criminality, even upon a prima facie basis arises at this stage”.He reproduced Para 36 of the judgement as saying: ‘ It needs no reiteration that this is not the stage to even prima facie opine that the ingredients of any of the alleged offences exist to justify putting petitioners on trial or not.Any observation made in this regard by the trial court or this court shall have no bearing when the case of the petitioners is considered at the charge state.’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been summoned by a Delhi court in connection with the case on December 19 after the High Court refused to agree to their plea for personal exemption. This issue led to stalling of Parliament for most of the last week with the Congress creating uproar, alleging “political vendetta”. “Congress respects the integrity of the judicial process and is confident that its leaders will be fully vindicated through the judicial process,” Kumar said. Chidambaram told CNN-IBN that Young India is a non-profit company, which means not one rupee from AJL can be given to any one or can be received by the non profit company. “Infact the AJL’s assets have been doubly secured today,” he said, adding there was “no illegality” as there was a need to secure the properties of AJL.When it was pointed out to him that in the Young India company majority of the shares are held by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, he said “it is again reflection of Congress party structure…. Congress party was lender, now it is a Congress party organisation is a lender. It is the same. The lender is a non-profit company. Much better.” Ashwani Kumar said the transaction in question dates back to November 2010 and was declared by the management of AJL and YI itself in the requisite filings before the competent authorities.”The fact of full public disclosure of the transaction itself demolishes any suggestion of criminality against Directors and shareholders of AGL and YI,” he insisted. The Congress leader said “in the current holding structure YI – a non profit Section 25 company is a major shareholder of AJL which further enhances the safeguards with regard to the use etc. of the properties of AJL. The Directors and shareholders of a non-profit Section 25 company are legally prohibited from deriving any financial benefit in any form whatsoever for themselves. Not a single paisa has been received by YI, its Directors or its shareholders.” He said the properties that belong to AJL continue to remain with AJL.”YI does not own a single real estate asset or immovable property. The majority of AJL properties are in the nature of government leases and according to the terms of the lease(s) the sale of the land under lease is prohibited. For this reason properties of AJL could not be liquidated or sold to clear its outstanding loans,” Kumar added. Insisting that “There is no restriction in law on political parties against advancing loans,” he said, “This was confirmed even by the Election Commission” in its order of November 2012 on a petition for de-recognition of the Congress moved by Subramanium Swamy.”It is a fundamental legal principle that acts lawfully done, as in the present case, cannot give rise to any criminality whatsoever,” the former Law Minister said. He said AJL has been closely associated with the Congress party since 1937 and has espoused its ideology throughout. “It was only natural for the Congress to financially support AJL over the last several decades. The loans advanced by the party to AJL were used to pay unpaid salaries, VRS, taxes, dues to civic agencies and to discharge statutory and other liabilities of AJL.” About the uproar created by Congress over the National Herald issue, Chidambaram said, “We are not criticising the judge but we are entitled to criticise the judgement and that’s what we are doing.” He said there is a summon and the Gandhis will appear “but that doesn’t mean they have lost their right to question the judgement.” The Congress leader criticised the Delhi High court judgement which rejected the plea of Rahul, Sonia and others against summons.”I am criticising the judgement on its own merits. The judgement says, somethings smack of criminality but (says)…. its no part of the exercise to even allude to which section is attracted. Now that’s incomprehensible judgement according to me,” he added. Chidambaram emphasised that the logjam in Parliament has nothing to do with the National Herald case but said the conduct of the government in the matter raised suspicions as “it allowed a closed enquiry to be re-opened at the instance of a private complainant” after sacking the Enforcement Director.”The private complainant’s letter is acted, haste poste haste, the ED is sacked and the enquiry is opened,” he said, adding “Doesn’t that raise suspicions in the minds of the people?”With regard to GST bill, he said Congress considers it a progressive measure provided its “legitimate concerns” are met by the government. He said the government is yet to respond to the concerns raised by Congress at the Prime Minister’s tea meeting.”The last I heard about the GST is that the Prime Minister called a meeting. We have given our concerns in very precise terms,” he said. The government, he said, had promised to come back with revised formulations which it has not done yet and the Congress is waiting for the response.”GST was our idea.. Gujarat and MP opposed it,” the former Finance Minister said, adding he is “happy that those who had held this Bill are now supporting it.” Chidambaram was asked about charges of vendetta levelled by Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament. To this, he said if there has to be criticism of the government, then Parliament is the place

Modi, Amit Shah fought legal battles with dignity, BJP never disrupted Parliament: Venkaiah Naidu

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had faced the charges against him and even “grilling by SIT” in a dignified manner and BJP had not disrupted Parliament then

Venkaiah Naidu

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday ridiculed Congress for dragging the Prime Minister’s office in the National Herald issue and accused the party of fighting a legal battle in Parliament.He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had faced the charges against him and even “grilling by SIT” in a dignified manner and BJP had not disrupted Parliament then. Dismissing Congress’ claims of political vendetta, he told reporters here that when Subramanian Swamy filed the case in 2012, he was not a member of BJP and UPA was in power and Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister. As Congress party was now claiming that the Prime Minister’s Office was behind it, he said “does it (Congress) mean to say that Dr Manmohan Singh had organised all this?” “Government is nowhere in the picture, let me make it very clear but Congress party is trying to fight a legal batle in Parliament instead of fighting it in court,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Enforcement Directorate has not isued any notice to them, income tax authorities will only follow their own procedure and the government has not passed any order whatsoever and has no role in this entire episode of National Herald,” he said. “We would like to know from Congress, are they fighting a legal battle in Parliament,” he said. On December 9, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had said the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO.”Naidu said “I don’t think anywhere in the country a politician (Modi) was grilled for eight hours.” “Modi had dignified handled the charges against him including questioning by the Special Investigation Team” over the 2002 riots when he was Gujarat Chief Minister. “He (Modi) had politely answered all questions by the SIT for eight hours. Court exonerated him, he never used parliamentary forum, he never mobilised people to demonstrate, had he given a call, lakhs of people would have followed him but he did not do it because we respect Constitution, judiciary and the system,” he said.Also, he referred to charges against BJP president Amit Shah, his imprisonment and how his party had not disrupted Parliament over all such issues. Stating that if at all Congress felt that it was a battle, Naidu said it has to be fought legally and it has to be taken up in court. “The issue has to be sorted out in courts not on the streets, not in Parliament, it has to be argued in courts.” He appealed to Congress and and its friends not to do now what they had done in the monsoon session “a washout” and listed key legislative businesses on wait including GST which would “bring prosperity to the country.”It was “surprising” that Congress members disrupted proceedings though their party chief had claimed that she was not disturbed by the court order (summons) on the issue. Seeking to draw a parallel between the protests after a court ruling against Indira Gandhi in 1975 by Congress following which the Emergency was clamped and now over the Herald case, he said “now Congress seems to be back to its old tricks.” Naidu will visit flood-hit areas tomorrow here and is scheduled to distribute welfare assistance.

No link between GST, National Herald issues: Rahul Gandhi

Congress has been protesting in Parliament on National Herald issue alleging political vendetta after the Delhi High Court refused to quash summonses to its leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. The disruption of Parliament proceedings has led to delay in taking up of Goods and Services Tax Bill that seeks to bring in a uniform indirect tax regime across the country.

Rahul Gandhi in Assam

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there was “no link” between the National Herald and the GST Bill issues and asserted that his party is for the tax reform measure if three differences are resolved.”In the media there is some sense that the National Herald and the GST are linked. I say to you here that there is absolutely no link between National Herald and GST. National Herald is a separate issue and the GST is a separate issue,” said Rahul while interacting with editors and senior journalists here. Congress has been protesting in Parliament on National Herald issue alleging political vendetta after the Delhi High Court refused to quash summonses to its leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. The disruption of Parliament proceedings has led to delay in taking up of Goods and Services Tax Bill that seeks to bring in a uniform indirect tax regime across the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Congress party had brought in the GST. Modiji and Jaitleyji had vehemently opposed it. They had called it all sorts of names. They rubbished it, said it cannot be done…it’s completely nonsense,” Rahul said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. “We on the other hand were trying to push GST. GST is important because it makes India less complicated. It allows goods to move. It removes red tapeism. We are hundred per cent proposers of GST,” the Congress leader said.The Congress had stalled passage of the GST Constitution Amendment Bill in the last session of Parliament over its demand that a revenue-neutral rate not higher than 18 per cent be mentioned in the Constitution Amendment bill. It is also opposed to states being given powers to levy additional 1 per cent tax on supply of goods over and above GST rate. “We have three differences with the BJP on the GST. You know what those are. There is that dispute mechanism where we feel that it should be effective. People who are involved with the dispute should not be the resolvers of the dispute,” Rahul said. “And the second issue is a cap on tax. We don’t want any government in this country to have an unlimited window of tax. We represent the poor people of this country. We represent the farmers. We represent the labourers. We do not want them to have a massive weight on top of them,” the Congress leader said.”We do not want government servants and others to have a huge tax burden. That is why we want to put a roof on it. We want to put a limit on it. They (BJP) don’t. That’s the difference,” Rahul said. “These are the three structural differences. If these differences are resolved the Congress party is for GST. Within this framework the Congress party is perfectly happy, we have already stated that, and happy to move GST forward,” he said.During his interaction with the editors and senior journalists here in the presence of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Rahul Gandhi off the record discussed with them the prevailing political scenario of the country, Assam and the North East region, the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh and India’s foreign policy. He was confident of the ruling Congress under Tarun Gogoi retaining power for the fourth consecutive term in the 2016 Assam Assembly election.

National Herald case: Smriti Irani calls Rahul Gandhi’s views an ‘insult’ to democracy

Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.”

Smriti Irani
File Photo

Smriti Irani hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remark that the National Herald case is a “hundred per cent vendetta coming out of PMO”, saying there cannot be a bigger “insult” to country’s democracy than his views on it.Speaking during a media conference here, Irani also targeted Congress leaders over disruption in functioning of Parliament. “There cannot be a bigger insult to country’s democracy and judiciary. If he thinks country’s judiciary functions at someone’s instructions, then there can’t be a bigger insult of country’s court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The kind of comments Rahulji is making, the only message nation is getting is that if country’s law and judiciary don’t kneel before Gandhi family the Parliament will not be allowed to work,” she alleged. Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.” On the issue of “intolerance”, Irani claimed, no one returned award if something went wrong during Congress’ regime.She added the foundation of the country’s democracy was in allowing one to express him/herself. “When someone asks me about tolerance, I say I am a Hindu woman, married to a Parsi. My children will not be Hindu, but Parsi. There can’t be bigger example I can give to the nation,” she said citing her own example. On another question, the minister maintained education will play an important role in curbing terrorism and said the government is taking efforts to see students from class IX to XII were exposed to socio-political happenings in the world.She also stressed the Centre is making efforts to increase standards of education imparted by government schools and also added that government is taking measures to strengthen base of country’s education system.Congress leaders, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned by a Delhi court on December 19 on a complaint by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy against them, for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct newspaper.Rahul Gandhi had on December 9 said that the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he had full faith in the judiciary. “One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta,” Gandhi had said.

National Herald: Case being ‘driven’ by Prime Minister’s office, says Rahul Gandhi

A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PTI
Asserting that National Herald is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the legal procedure in the case was “driven by the Prime Minister’s office”.”It is being driven by the Prime Minister’s office,” he claimed while responding to reporters’ questions whether the National Herald case was an outcome of vendetta politics.Rahul said, “We have faith in the legal system and we respect it. There is a legal provision. It (National Herald) is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out.” Asked if he would be applying for bail, he replied, “Let’s see what happens on December 19.” A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Congress protests which resulted in the stalling of proceedings in Parliament, Rahul said, “As far as the stalemate in Parliament is concerned, an impression is being given that we (Congress) are not interested on the GST issue. We have told the government that we have differences with them on three issues.”Confident about the ruling Congress returning to power for the fourth consecutive term in Assam in the 2016 Assembly polls, he said that the party will demonstrate who will win in Assam.”(Chief Minister) Tarun Gogoi and Congress will win. We have defeated opponents in Bihar,” he said.Asked if the Congress would forge a grand alliance in Assam on the Bihar line, Gandhi said, “Tarun Gogoi and Anjan Dutta (APCC president) are in charge and they will decide.”

National Herald case: BJP brings out booklet titled ‘Family Greed and National Blackmail’

The party will distribute the booklet, which is a compilation of a number of write-ups on the issue, among its MPs and leaders across the country to “inform” them on the issue and give them “talking points”, BJP parliamentary party office secretary Balasubrahmanyam Kamarsu said.

Sonia and Rahul

Escalating its attack on the Congress over the National Herald case, the BJP has brought out a booklet titled ‘Family Greed and National Blackmail’ that aims to “inform” its party leaders about the issue.The party will distribute the booklet, which is a compilation of a number of write-ups on the issue, among its MPs and leaders across the country to “inform” them on the issue and give them “talking points”, BJP parliamentary party office secretary Balasubrahmanyam Kamarsu said.”It will give our leaders basic information about the issue and help them in explaining the stand of party as well the government. It will also give our spokespersons and leaders various talking points so that they could highlight them in debates and discussion,” he said. The BJP has resorted to bringing out booklets on almost every major issue since it came to power in May 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress had accused the Central government of practising “vendetta politics” and has alleged that the National Herald case against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is part of the conspiracy. The party has brought out booklets on a host of issues, including Land Acquisition Bill, intolerance debate and the recent debate on Constitution.

RSS not ISI organisation, but a band of patriots: Nitin Gadkari

Asking Congress to indulge in politics within the limits of decency, Nitin Gadkari said the opposition was trying to portray Prime Minister Modi as a “villain”.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari
File Photo
PTI
RSS is no ISI but a band of patriots, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said as he hit out at the Congress for “behaving like a fish without water after being out of power”. Asking Congress to indulge in politics within the limits of decency, the former BJP chief said the opposition was trying to portray Prime Minister Modi as a “villain”.”I am a complete RSS worker. I have done struggle…I left studies .. went to jail for nation’s cause, PM has been pracharak of RSS….We are patriots… Is it a violation of Constitution or criminal procedure code if someone is of RSS,” Gadkari fumed after Congress leader and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar accused BJP of doing divisive politics in the country at the instance of RSS.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”RSS koi ISI organisation hai kya? (Is RSS an organisation like ISI?)…We take pride in it. Congress is behaving like a fish without water after being out of power,” the senior BJP leader said.Both Gadkari and Ashwani were speaking at the programme ‘Agenda Aaj Tak: Vikas ka Express Way’ here. Gadkari said the opposition was all out trying to portray the PM as a “villain” to fulfil their political aspirations. He said the Congress insulted the entire judicial system of the nation when its vice-president alleged that the court order in the National Herald case was due to pressure from PM.Asking to define the rationale behind stalling Parliament over National Herald case, Gadkari said the court decision was independent and politics should not stoop to such a level where PM is being dragged into the controversy.”Indulge in politics within the limits of decency…Allow Parliament to run,” he said, adding that the NDA government at the Centre was working for all sections of the society without any discrimination.”But the opposition is instilling fear among Muslims, minorities and Dalits to pursue its policy of appeasement. BJP has been targeted for incidents like Dadri and killing of a writer in Karnataka despite the fact that it is not in power in those states. Since we came to power we have not taken a single decision which was against any community or religion. PM Modi is working to make life better of all Indians and I urge all political parties to cooperate with us in pursing policies of progress and development,” he said.

Congress disrupts both houses of Parliament, third day running

Strap: Derogatory remarks in LS, National Herald case in RS lead to walkouts, multiple adjournments

Members protest in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing winter session of Parliament on Thursday

PTI
The Congress party continued to paralyse the workings of the Rajya Sabha for the third day in the row over the National Herald case. The House was adjourned six times on Thursday, as Congress members entered the Well of the House, every time the proceedings resumed. In the Lok Sabha where the BJP enjoys a majority, the debate on drought resumed after one adjournment when the Congress staged a walkout, followed by Trinamool Congress, demanding suspension of the BJP’sthree-time MP Virendra Singh for “derogatory remarks” against Congress leaders during the drought debate on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asserted that Virendra Singh’s personal attack on Rahul Gandhi and others had degraded the dignity of Parliament and exposed the ‘vendetta politics’ of the ruling dispensation. He took strong objection to the ministers supporting the BJP member. “If the government supports such people, we are not going to tolerate it. Unless you suspend him or there is an unconditional apology, it will affect the dignity of members,” Kharge said before leading a walkout against the “intolerant” conduct of the BJP MP.
In the Upper House, despite repeated appeals from the Chair to maintain discipline and with the BJP ready to discuss the Deccan Herald issue, the Congress refused to initiate any discussion and continued to raiseslogans against the Prime Minister. “Modi teri tanashahi, nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (Modi your dictatorship – will not work). No sooner did Congress members enter the Well of the House, than Union health minister JP Nadda said,”Sir we are ready for a discussion immediately.” Supporting Nadda’s view, deputy chairman PJ Kurien tooappealed to the Congress to participate in the debate. The Congress members however refused to break the ice, forcing an adjournment of the House. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs made a point of order appealing to chairman Hamid Ansari to take action against members for stalling the proceedings. “If the members don’t want to participate, they may be asked to leave. Some people cannot hold the House to ransom for personal gains. I appeal to the chair to take necessary action,” he said. When the Rajya Sabha was resumed for the third time post the lunch break, Congress members again entered the well of the House hooting and howling. Asking the members to maintain decorum in the House, deputychairman, PJ Kurien said, “You can raise slogans, please at least don’t howl.”

Rahul Gandhi prefers jail in National Herald case: Congress sources

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi talks to mediapersons at Parliament during the ongoing Winter session in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi prefers jail in the National Herald case and will not take bail or even sign a personal bond on December 19, say party sources.This strategy has been approved even by his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, a source said. She has given the go-ahead as the party believes that no crime has been committed and it would also create a sympathy wave and highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “vindictiveness” not only against the Congress but all his opponents.However, Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health. The five other accused, including 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, will also do so, said sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 19, Rahul, along with his mother, will appear before a metropolitan magistrate here.Soon after returning from Tamil Nadu, Rahul outlined his party’s strategy: to highlight the “political vendetta” of the government to garner sympathy. Coming out of Parliament on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said: “It’s 100% political vendetta coming out of the PM’s Office. It is their way of doing politics. We have full faith in the judiciary (to come clean in the National Herald case).”In a massive blow to Sonia and Rahul, the Delhi high court had on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging the summons issued to them in the National Herald case, in which they have to appear before the trial court. The court observed that the actions of Congress office-bearers named in the case “smack of criminality”.BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy had filed a criminal case of cheating and misappropriation against them in February last year for allegedly usurping the defunct English daily National Herald’s owner Associated Journals Limited’s (AJL) property worth crores of rupees by forming a company in the name of Young India Limited.Senior advocates and party leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal on Wednesday evening briefed the Congress MPs of both the Houses for an hour about the case in the Parliament House Annexe, assuring them not to be worried as there is “zero criminality” involved in the case since there has been “no cheating” as alleged by Dr Swamy because he has not shown who has been cheated.Asked by MPs why they did not rush to the Supreme Court after a single-judge bench of the Delhi high court dismissed the case, the duo said they would wait for the outcome of the first date in the trial court of the metropolitan magistrate and then move the apex court against the high court judgment, which is full of errors as the judge even went to endorse Dr Swamy’s reliance on a Bill still pending in Parliament for amending the Companies Act that proposes to change Section 8 to allow restructuring of companies.Singhvi said that even if a Section 25 charitable company is dissolved, its assets can only go to another Section 25 company and not to anybody else Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Congress group leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, made it clear that the Congress has “no grudge” against the judiciary, but was protesting against the government’s “policy of vindictiveness”.Kharge got the opportunity, after a lot of struggle with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, to lash out at the government for the “policy of suppression to harass the opposition leaders and frighten them”.Azad said that Dr Swamy, who had filed the case against the Gandhis, had also taken the matter to the Enforcement Directorate but its then chief was summarily removed after he gave a report to the government in August that there is no case of money-laundering.Rajan S Katoch (59), a 1979 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, who was given the third extension in June till to October was summarily removed after Dr Swamy alleged that he favoured Gandhis.

National Herald case: Sonia holds meeting with Congress leaders

The meeting came even as the issue has generated much heat in Parliament.

Sonia Gandhi

With the party agitated over the National Herald case, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday held a strategy session in the evening with party leaders, including senior lawyers. The meeting came even as the issue has generated much heat in Parliament. P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal were among the legal experts of the party at the meeting which was also attended by some of the Congress general secretaries. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and leader of the party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, along with chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, too, attended the meeting, party sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Later, Chidambaram and Sibal also held a meeting with party MPs to brief them about the various aspects of the case so that they can counter the government. Earlier in the day, Abhisek Singhvi, the senior advocate for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case, said that the court order in the matter was “unsustainable and erroneous”. He, however, said that does not mean that the party was casting any aspersions on the judiciary.

National Herald case: NDA to launch campaign against Congress after Winter session

Government has been attacking Congress for seeking “remedy from Parliament” for “something that happened during a judicial process” and has been suggesting that the main Opposition party was doing it to block the passage of key reform measures including GST

Venkaiah Naidu

With Congress disrupting Parliament over National Herald case, NDA plans to launch a massive campaign against it after Winter Session to take the message among people about the main Opposition party’s bid to “stall” key legislative measures in Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority.Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu held a meeting with MPs from Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir at his residence today in this regard where he told the members that the NDA partners will take up a campaign among the people to highlight this matter after the Winter session of Parliament, official sources said. There is a view in the government that Congress stands to gain nothing from the protest on the issue and the more it gets highlighted the more “discomfiture” it could create for the Opposition party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has been attacking Congress for seeking “remedy from Parliament” for “something that happened during a judicial process” and has been suggesting that the main Opposition party was doing it to block the passage of key reform measures including GST, they said. Naidu’s meeting is a part of series of meetings that 21 Ministers are holding with NDA MPs from different States and Union Territories on the matters relating to Parliament and development issues.Referring to the recent debate on redefining the role of Rajya Sabha in the context of the government’s legislative proposals not being allowed to be passed, Naidu alleged that Congress party “desperately seeking to stall” socio-economic development of the country with the objective of showing the NDA Government in poor light. Accusing Congress party of “placing hurdles” in Modi government’s functioning, he referred to the ongoing obstructionism in the upper house raised by some MPs.Naidu noted that “rattled” by the observations of Delhi High Court in the National Herald case, Congress is resorting to making Parliament “dysfunctional”. “And if this is persisted with, NDA partners will take up a campaign among the people after the Winter session of Parliament,” he said in the meeting, according to Government sources.MPs raised the issues relating to effective functioning of Parliament, allotting more time to members of NDA allies, political tactics of Congress including stalling Parliament, local issues of development and central government schemes. The NDA MPs said the introduction of GST significantly benefits the common man by streamlining taxes, promoting transparency and giving a boost to business and economic activities. They suggested that benefits of GST need to be explained to the people through informed debates in the media and direct communication.13 MPs from the two states, who attended the meeting included Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur and Jitendra Singh besides SAD MP Naresh Gujral. Speaking separately, Naidu said that instead of fighting in Parliament, Congress should take good advice of lawyers but advised it to “beware” its own party of lawyers.

Lok Sabha: Even as Congress protested on National Herald issue, govt manages to introduce key legislations

Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused treasury benches of bull-dozing the opposition and said it is not right to take up or pass any bill when the House is not in order.

The National Herald issue cast its shadow over Lok Sabha also with Congress members continuously creating uproar in the midst of which the House conducted some business, including passage of a bill and discussion on the drought situation.Even as the Congress members raised slogans in the Well and were supported by Trinamool Congress, the House took up the Question Hour, the Zero Hour and the legislative business like discussion and passage of The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2015. Amid the din, the House also took up the resumed discussion on the drought and farmers’ suicide in which a number of members from parties like Samajwadi Party, BJD, RJD, TRS, AIADMK, YSRCP besides BJP and its allies SAD, Shiv Sena and TDP participated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused treasury benches of bull-dozing the opposition and said it is not right to take up or pass any bill when the House is not in order.”Government is suppressing, depressing and disregarding the opposition. Such attitude is wrong. We want your (Chair) protection. The Bill should not be passed. Let them (Government) first take action against V K Singh, Rajasthan Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Kharge said.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, however, said Parliament cannot go on like this as the people of the country wanted legislation. Attacking Congress, he said, “30 people are not allowing the House to run. They want the democracy to fail. They are obstructing progress. They are exposed. They are frustrated.” He said Congress had not been able to come to terms with its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and BJP’s massive win under Modi.Referring to National Herald case, he said the case was filed when the UPA was in power. Earlier, Kharge also attacked Union Minister V K Singh, who was present in the House, over his “dog” remark.As Singh kept smiling, Kharge intensified his attack and demanded that the minister be immediately sacked for his “dog” remark after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana.Naidu defended his colleague, saying a court had also rejected the charge against him and insisted that the government was “proud” of all its ministers for doing an “excellent” job. Saugata Roy (TMC) used his time in Zero Hour to support Congress and target the government, inviting a sharp rebuke from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. “I fully support the contention of Congress that the government is behaving in a vincdictive way. The Prime Minister must respond,” he said. After the Speaker disallowed him from speaking, TMC members staged a walkout. As Congress members continued to raise slogans from the Well even after Kharge was allowed to speak, the Speaker said, “I have given full time to your leader to have his say. There is no issue before the House. They must go to their seats. I am giving you a warning.” At another point, she wondered if the Congress members were trying to “scare” the Chair.Both Sonia and Rahul were present in the House and the Congress chief was seen giving some suggestions to Kharge when he was speaking. The Prime Minister was present in the House for most of the Question Hour when Congress members stormed the Well but left before the Zero Hour at 12 pm.Citing corruption cases against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Kharge accused the government of indulging in “vendetta politics” and claiming that it applied one set of laws against its leaders and another for those from BJP. He, however, made no reference to the National Herald case in which Delhi High Court yesterday refused to give Sonia and Rahul Gandhi any relief from appearance before a local court.”There are two laws in this country — one for the opposition and another for the government. When we raised the issue of corruption involving Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh chief ministers, no action was taken.”But you raided the premises of our Gujarat leader Shankarsinh Vaghela. When a wedding was taking place in the house of Virbharda Singh, CBI raided his house. Nothing came out of this and then ED lodged a case against him. False CBI cases are being registered in Haryana but no action taken against BJP chief ministers involved in scams,” he said. He also raised the reported meeting of a Union Minister with a Muzaffarnagar riot accused in jail and his assurance of support to them.”You are adopting the politics of revenge, repression and tyranny against opposition leaders. This is happening not only with us but others like the TMC too. If people do not agree with you, then you try to harass them,” Kharge said amid support from TMC members. Seeking to dispel the impression that Congress was upset over the National Herald case, he said “we are not against judiciary. We are protesting against your policies of repression.”Rebutting strongly, Naidu raked up the arrest of BJP president Amit Shah and also enquiries against Modi during the UPA tenure and accused Congress of trying to see that the government fails.”A judicial order has come,” he said, referring to the National Herald case. “You are giving a warning to judiciary through Parliament. This is not in national interest.”The discussion on the drought situation, initiated byCongress member Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday, resumed today in the House amid uproar by Congress members leading to repeated adjournments. While Congress members did not participate in the discussion, the House saw a clash between the opposition leader Kharge and ruling party members over the issue of who has done more for the farmers.Kharge said the previous Congress-led government had given a waiver of Rs 72,000 crore to farmers and questioned what the present government had done. “We care for the farmers more than you. What have you done for farmers? And now they (the government) are becoming champions of farmers. If we are bad, then the government is worse,” he said. Responding to this, BJP member Virender Singh attacked Congress, particularly Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, saying they know nothing about agriculture and cannot even make distinction between bajra, jowar and wheat.He also attacked Rahul Gandhi for his “suit boot ki sarkar” remark, saying the Congress was not able to reconcile to the fact that a person from humble background like Narendra Modi can become the Prime Minister as the party believes the post is only for the Nehru-Gandhi family. “They (Rahul and Scindia) have known farmers through books and I have learnt about farmers by toiling in field. I have grown so much of foodgrains, which the seven generations of the Scindia’s must have not grown,” the MP from Badoi said.Targeting Scindia, he said he still is called as “maharaj” even though the world has changed. Participating in the discussion despite lot of noise created by Congress, Samajwadi Party member Tej Pratap Singh said Uttar Pradesh was one of the worst affected state. “Farmers are the ones who are suffering the most because of climate change. In the past there have been several discussions over the issue and suggestions have come from both the Opposition and the government. But the suggestions are not being implemented.”RJD member Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav, who had to halt his speech briefly because of the ruckus, demanded special status for Bihar and a central package in dealing with drought like situation in the state.Others who participated in the discussion and urged the central government to allocate more funds to help the farmers included Sanjay Haribhau Jadhav (Shiv Sena), K Ashok Kumar (AIADMK), Kristappa Nimmala (TDP), B B Patil (TRS) and Renuka Butta (YSRCP).In the midst of the debate, the protest by Congress intensified leading to brief adjournments. On resumption, Naidu said the decision to have a discussion on the issue of farmers was asked by the Congress and members from UP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar and Telangana wanted to raise the issue of it. At this, BJP members started shouting “Shame Shame”.”It is shame for MPs. If you have to protest over any issue, do it, but allow the debate to go on. This is unbecoming of members. I am surprised that how can a senior member like (Mallikarjun) Kharge allow this,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, adding “the entire country is watching”. Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) said if the Congress members have any issue, they should approach the Court. He went on to take a dig at Congress, saying he would even request the government to provide a lawyer to it to help them represent their case.”They should not disturb the people’s court”, he said, adding the members should be allowed to express their views and discuss the important issues concerning farmers. Recalling the way the Congress government had declared Emergency in June 1975 after a court case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said had the Congress been in power they would have imposed Emergency after the recent court ruling.He said this in apparent reference to the court summons to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Chandumajara demanded increase in the minimum support price (MSP) and fresh loan waiver scheme to provide relief to the distressed farmers. He suggested that the government should take tough stand at the upcoming ministerial meeting of the WTO at Nairobi to protect the interest of Indian farmers.BJP member B S Yeddyurappa said the whole country was watching how the Congress was disturbing the House when it was discussing important issues concerning agriculture and farmers’ suicide.He wanted the centre to instruct Karnataka government to effectively utilise the assistance for the welfare of farmers who were in distress because of worst drought being witnessed by the state in the last 40 years.The former Karnataka Chief Minister accused the state government of indulging in blame game instead of doing something to help the farmers.

National Herald case – Prove your charges against PMO: BJP to Rahul Gandhi

“He should come and give an explanation in the House, and should give the proof of what he is talking outside the House,” he added.

Taking strong exception to allegations levelled by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is oppressing the judiciary, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Wednesday asked Gandhi to ‘prove his claims’. “We would ask Rahul Gandhi, if he has courage enough; if he has a standing as a leader of his political party, he should come to Parliament and give the proof of the allegations that he has made against the judiciary, the government, and the PMO,” Rudy told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He should come and give an explanation in the House, and should give the proof of what he is talking outside the House,” he added.Criticising the Congress vice president for being ‘instrumental in disrupting the House’, Rudy said, “After the court has taken some cognisance against him and Sonia Gandhi, they are trying to become heroes out of their charge against them.””At the same time, they don’t have enough courage to come inside the House and say what they are speaking to the television media,” he added. “The friends of the Congress Party haven’t mustered enough courage to go down and speak in Parliament to place the issues,” he added. The Congress vice president termed the National Herald Case proceedings ‘political vendetta’. This is pure political vendetta coming out of the PMO. It is their way of doing politics… I have full faith in the legal system.”

National Herald Case: Second day of parliament wasted as Congress, TMC protest

He, however, made no reference to the National Herald case, seen as a trigger for the party’s protests in Parliament since yesterday after the High Court refused to give Sonia and Rahul Gandhi any relief.

File Photo

Congress found support from the TMC as it accused the government in the Lok Sabha of “repressing” opposition leaders, but the government hit back saying it was using Parliament to send a warning to the judiciary in the National Herald case. Citing corruption cases against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, party leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked the government over its “vendetta politics”, claiming that it applied one set of laws against its leaders and another for those from BJP.He, however, made no reference to the National Herald case, seen as a trigger for the party’s protests in Parliament since yesterday after the High Court refused to give Sonia and Rahul Gandhi any relief.Kharge raised the issue during the Zero Hour after Congress members kept up their protests in the Well for the second day today, accusing the Narendra Modi government of targeting those who are not in agreement with its policies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are two laws in this country — one for the opposition and another for the government. When we raised the issue of corruption involving Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh chief ministers, no action was taken.”But you raided the premises of our Gujarat leader Shankarsinh Vaghela. When a wedding was taking place in the house of Virbharda Singh, CBI raided his house. Nothing came out of this and then ED lodged a case against him. False CBI cases are being registered in Haryana but no action taken against BJP chief ministers involved in scams,” he said.He also raised the reported meeting of a Union Minister with a Muzaffarnagar riot accused in jail and his assurance of support to them.”You are adopting the politics of revenge, repression and tyranny against opposition leaders. This is happening not only with us but others like the TMC too. If people do not agree with you, then you try to harass them,” Kharge said amid support from TMC members.Seeking to dispel the impression that Congress was upset over the National Herald case, he said “we are not against judiciary. We are protesting against your policies of repression.”Rebutting strongly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu raked up the arrest of BJP president Amit Shah and also enquiries against Modi during the UPA tenure and accused Congress of trying to see that the government fails. “A judicial order has come,” he said, referring to the National Herald case. “You are giving a warning to judiciary through Parliament. This is not in national interest.”Congress chief was seen offering some suggestions to Kharge when he was speaking. The Prime Minister was present in the House for most of the Question Hour when Congress members stormed the Well but left before the Zero Hour at 12 pm. Naidu said Congress had not been able to come to terms with its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and BJP’s massive win under Modi. Attacking Congress, he said, “30 people are not allowing the House to run. They want the democracy to fail. They are obstructing progress. They are exposed. They are frustrated.” Referring to National Herald case, he said the case was filed when the UPA was in power.
Earlier, Kharge also attacked Union Minister V K Singh, who was present in the House, over his “dog” remark. As Singh kept smiling, Kharge intensified his attack and demanded that the minister be immediately sacked for his “dog” remark after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana. Naidu defended his colleague, saying a court had also rejected the charge against him and insisted that the government was “proud” of all its ministers for doing an “excellent” job. Saugata Roy (TMC) used his time in Zero Hour to support Congress and target the government, inviting a sharp rebuke from the Speaker. “I fully support the contention of Congress that the government is behaving in a vincdictive way. The Prime Minister must respond,” he said. After the Speaker disallowed him from speaking, TMC members staged a walkout. With Congress members continuing to raise slogans from the Well even after Kharge was allowed to speak, the Speaker issued warned them against doing so.”I have given full time to your leader to have his say. There is no issue before the House. They must go to their seats. I am giving you a warning,” she said. At another point, she wondered if the Congress members were trying to “scare” the Chair.

National Herald case: India not a ‘Banana Republic’ where media decide guilt or innocence, says Arun Jaitley

The Congress has alleged that there is political vendetta behind the National Herald Case.
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AFP photo
Lambasting Congress president Sonia Gandhi for leaving it to the media to judge whether the trial court’s summons to her and her son Rahul in the National Herald case was a ‘political vendetta’, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said India is not a banana republic where the media of Parliament will decide the guilt or innocence.”It’s only the court that will decide guilt or innocence. The private complaint is before the court, and it’s irrelevant to find who the complainant is and what his motives are,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Under the Indian law, if any citizen comes to know of a violation of law it’s his duty to inform the court or the investigative agencies. Any citizen can set the process of criminal law into motion, which the complainant in that case has set. Therefore, they have to go the court, face the court and answer the court,” he said.Earlier, Sonia Gandhi had said: “I’m daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I’m not scared of anything. Why should I be scared?”Criticising the Opposition for disrupting the parliamentary proceedings, Jaitley said, “Nobody enjoys immunity from the court proceedings in India and, therefore, they have to face the trial. They have a remedy to either challenge them further or go to the trial court. But how does Parliament feature in this?””Parliament, normally, doesn’t decide the guilt or innocence; this is to be determined by the court. To tell the media you decide whether it is vendetta or not; the media doesn’t decide the guilt or innocence; it is the court which do. You can’t use it for a collateral purpose to disrupt the parliamentary proceedings. And if the Congress party is so keen that this issue come up in Parliament, I am here, and now, challenging them,” he said, asking the Opposition to decide whether they want a debate in Parliament on the pattern of debates on corruption charges against a member.Elaborating upon the case, Jaitley, who is also a distinguished lawyer, said: “There is a court proceeding and the substance of the court proceedings a political party, i.e. the Congress Party, has collected funds for the political purpose. For that purpose, a political party gets a tax exemption. By a series of transactions, those funds have been transferred to a trust, and then to a company, which is closely held. That company today is owner of a real estate and getting large amount of wealth, which is certainly not for a political purpose. So, funds collected for a political purpose are being used for commercial activities.””The tax exemption was for a political purpose, and thus, a private complaint has been filed. The government doesn’t come into the private complaint at all. The court deemed it necessary to summon the accused. They have challenged the summons in the high court and the high court dismissed their petitions, saying a prima facie case has been made out, go and face trial,” the Finance Minister concluded.On 26 June, a trial court had issued summons to the Congress leaders on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint. Swamy has complained about ‘cheating’ and ‘breach of trusts’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited, the publisher of National Herald, by a company called Young Indian Limited, in which the Gandhis reportedly hold shares.Justice Sunil Gaur of the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the Gandhis’ pleas, which means they will have to appear before the trial court in the case.Following which, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also a renowned advocate, said: “We intend to not only challenge it on all legal recourses available at the appropriate forum which I am not going into detail as the matter is sub judice and we intend to seek a continuation of the exemption and stay, which has been continued for over a year when the matter was pending in the high court.”On the same day, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a caveat before the Supreme Court (SC), urging the apex court not to pass any order without hearing him.When asked would he oppose the bail petition, the BJP leader said he would be. “Among the accused two are foreigners, but not having foreign passports, which is a big question. Sam Pitroda is a US citizen, who can run away anytime. Therefore, they should not be granted bail until the trial is finished.”Apart from the Gandhis, the court also dismissed the pleas of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey and party leader Oscar Fernandes, who had moved the high court for a quashing of summons to them by a trial court.

National Herald case: Congress activists stage protest, try to march to PM residence

Activists of Delhi Congress and the party’s youth and women wings tried to march towards Prime Minister’s official residence on 7 Race Course Road, raising slogans in support of their leaders and slamming BJP, but were stopped by policemen, deployed there in large number.

Scores of Congress activists on Tuesday staged a protest and tried to take out a march from Teen Murti Bhavan to the Prime Minister’s official residence, accusing the BJP-led Centre of pursuing politics of “vendetta” in the National Herald case to “malign” the image of the party and its top leaders.Activists of Delhi Congress and the party’s youth and women wings tried to march towards Prime Minister’s official residence on 7 Race Course Road, raising slogans in support of their leaders and slamming BJP, but were stopped by policemen, deployed there in large number. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken accused the BJP-led NDA government of following “vendetta politics” to “scare” the party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Image Credit: PTI”The government is following a set pattern in targeting Congress leaders under its vendetta politics. Previously P Chidambaram and Virbhadra Singh were attacked and now they are trying to malign the image of our top leaders,” Maken said, adding the party will “resolutely” oppose such moves.”We will not allow BJP to pursue political vendetta. You will see a series of such protests throughout the country because the people will stand by the Congress as they know whatever BJP is doing is political vendetta,” said Shobha Oza, Mahila Congress president.
Image Credit: PTIYouth Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja said that “revenge politics” was being pursued by the BJP after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.”As soon as Narendra Modi became PM, they have targeted Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi. We are protesting against this vendetta politics,” Raja said.
Image Credit: PTIA local court on Tuesday gave Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and four others, accused in the National Herald case, exemption from personal appearance but asked them to be present on December 19 when the case will be heard. The Delhi High Court had yesterday dismissed the plea of the Gandhis and others for quashing of summons in the Herald case.In the wake of the development, Congress members on Tuesday paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged “vendetta politics” leading to repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha. Image Credit: PTI

Congress trying to divert attention, government has no role in Herald case: Union MInister Venkaiah Naidu

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu said it was “totally unethical, unfair and undemocratic on the part of the Congress party to obstruct Parliament’s functioning on account of the case which has been taken up by the judiciary, where the government has no role to play at all.”

Union MInister Venkaiah Naidu

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Hitting out at Congress for disrupting proceedings in Parliament, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, on Tuesday, said the government had no role to play at all in the National Herald case in which Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned to appear by the court.”They should contest it in court. How can you hold the government responsible? It is totally unfair and irresponsible to fix it on the government as they could not face the truth.They are now trying to blame the government,” he told reporters outside Parliament.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress members, upset over the National Herald case, on Tuesday, paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged “vendetta politics” leading to repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu said it was “totally unethical, unfair and undemocratic on the part of the Congress party to obstruct Parliament’s functioning on account of the case which has been taken up by the judiciary, where the government has no role to play at all.”He said there is no political vendetta on the part of the government and it is steadfast focussing its attention on the issues of development, repairing the economy, bringing back administration and providing good governance.Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the case was completely in the domain of the courts. By giving it the dimension that it is political vendetta, “Are they (Congress) suggesting that the courts are now playing politics? What a shame Congress party,” she said. Accusing the government of trying to malign his party, Congress leader Oscar Fernandez, one of the persons summoned by the court in the Herald case, said the case will be fought legally.”So many legal remedies are present before you. We will be legally fighting the case,” he said.Asked why Congress felt that there was political vendetta, Fernandez alleged that the government has not been able to fulfill any of the promises and the people were seeing failures.”They are scared of the public opinion going against them. We have seen the mandate in Bihar, Jhabua by-election and the results in Gujarat (local body polls). Fearing these things, they are trying to do everything possible to harm, to malign, to damage the Congress party but it is recoiling on them,” he said.Sitharaman said the matter related to money being allegedly collected for a political party which was used for commercial business which itself was violative of certain penal provisions.”If this has happened and if the courts find it fit that it has to be heard, it is completely in the domain of the courts.”A matured party cannot even by remote suggestion indicate that the courts are probably now playing politics. It does not go well for our country. I would rather think be you howsoever high, the law is above you,” she said.On Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Many Singhvi’s charge that the present case is a “proxy litigation”, used as a “political vendetta” by BJP to attack senior Congress persons, Sitharaman said he wants the public to believe that the courts were yielding to political pressure which is nonexistent.

National Herald case: Will Sonia Gandhi, Rahul appear before court today

Turning down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court – where it is listed for Tuesday – on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, justice Sunil Gaur said the gravity of the allegations levelled against them has a ” fraudulent flavor” involving a national political party and “serious imputations smacking of criminality”, and needs to be properly looked into.

In a big blow to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Monday rejected their pleas for quashing the summons issued by the trial court in the National Herald case, and made scathing observations on their “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication. Turning down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court – where it is listed for Tuesday – on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, justice Sunil Gaur said the gravity of the allegations levelled against them has a ” fraudulent flavor” involving a national political party and “serious imputations smacking of criminality”, and needs to be properly looked into.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress said it will move the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the high court order. “How does it become a case of cheating, we fail to understand…which is the challenge which led to the stay of over one year,” asked Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Other than Gandhis, those accused in the case are Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd. The judge, in his 27-page order, said: “After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.e. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly when the main persons in Congress party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent. Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage.” “In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined,” the order said, rejecting Gandhis’ argument that there was no illegality in Young India Ltd. (YIL) taking over Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, as per the Companies Act. On June 26, last year, the trial court had issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) by Young India Ltd. (YIL) – “a firm in which both Sonia and Rahul own 38% stake each”. Swamy had claimed that Sonia and Rahul, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs 50 lakh. At the time, AJL, which had Congress leader Motilal Vora as its chairman, claimed it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL. Narrating the facts of the case, the high court expressed its displeasure over the involvement of the Congress saying “considering the fact that AJL has sizeable assets of Rs 2,000 crore, it needs to be explained by the petitioners (accused persons) as to what was the need to assign the huge debt of Rs 90 crore when this debt could have been easily liquidated by AJL from its sizeable assets. Even writing off such a huge debt by the Congress party can legitimately attract allegations of cheating, fraud, etc…” Swamy files caveat in SCSubramanian Swamy on Monday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in the National Herald case. “I have filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that in case they file any petition, it should not be heard and no order be passed without giving me an opportunity or without hearing me,” he said.

National Herald Case: BJP hails Delhi HC order; says nobody can ‘hide’ from law

In a blow to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president and son Rahul Gandhi, the court earlier on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court on Tuesday.
File Photo
AFP photo
BJP on Monday welcomed the Delhi High Court order asking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul to appear before a lower court in the National Herald case, saying they cannot “hide” from law which was “taking its own course”.”This is what happens when you buy such a huge property for a pittance. Law is taking its own course. They (Gandhis) had also gone to the court. Law is equal to the common man and Sonia Gandhi. They cannot hide from it,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a blow to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president and son Rahul Gandhi, the court earlier on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court on Tuesday.Hussain also condemned the Assam Assembly Speaker’s decision to suspend all BJP MLAs from the House for the entire Winter Session, alleging they were punished for raising the voice of people against rising crime and corruption.”The Tarun Gogoi government there is covering up crime and corruption. BJP MLAs were thrown out because it did not want them to raise these issues. We respect the Speaker but the Congress had been planning it for a long time,” he said.Claiming that there was no rule of law in the state, which goes to the polls early next year, and that “jungle raj” prevailed there, he said BJP will go to the people to dethrone the Congress government. He also said BJP would not have any ties with AGP for the assembly polls.Assam is among the five states that would have assembly polls next year and is seen as the only state where the saffron party is in serious contention to capture power.

National Herald Case: Jolt to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul; High Court rejects pleas challenging trial court summons

The Gandhis and the other five accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–will have to appear in the trial court on Tuesday, before which the case will come up.

In a blow to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court tomorrow.”Petitions are dismissed,” Justice Sunil Gaur said in his judgement while also declining another of their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the lower court.The Gandhis and the other five accused- Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–will have to appear in the trial court on Tuesday, before which the case will come up.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also refused to extend the August 6, 2014 interim order by which the summons were stayed.”No,” Justice Gaur said in response to oral pleas by senior advocate Harin Raval, appearing for the accused, that either an exemption from personal appearance be granted or the August 6, 2014 order staying the summons be extended.The court, in its judgement, has also questioned the need for extending interest-free loan to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) the publishers of National Herald. “Where was need to extend interest free loan,” it said.The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned all the above accused to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on Swamy’s complaint.The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014, moved the high court which had stayed the summons on August 6 last year.Thereafter, on December 15, 2014, the court had stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions.The summons were issued on a criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald.

Karnataka: Spurned youth chops off girl’s fingers

Ravikumar apparently misbehaved with her six months back and the girl’s father warned him and then sacked him.

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dna Research & Archives
In Halenaganadoddi village, a youth attacked a 16-year-old girl as she allegedly spurned his love. A report in Deccan Herald states that Ravikumar, 21, attacked the victim with a sickle and ended up cutting off four of her fingers on her left hand. She has been admitted to a private hospital in Bangalore for treatment.The report states that Ravikumar was working in the victim’s house for the last three years as a tractor driver. He is said to have been in love with her, but she kept turning his down. Ravikumar apparently misbehaved with her six months back and the girl’s father warned him and then sacked him. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a fit of revenge on Saturday, the youth attacked the victim when she was coming home from college around 4 pm after she rejected him again. On hearing her screams people rushed to help her and caught Ravikumar who is now in police custody.

Karnataka Congressman G Parameshwara says he was humiliated for being a Dalit

Congressman G Parameshwara said that untouchability was still being practised in the state.

Congressman G Parameshwara

At a meeting organised to celebrate Congressman G Parameshwara’s five-year-run as Karnataka Congress president, the leader spoke of how he had been humiliated for being a Dalit while growing up, the Deccan Herald reports.He was trying to position himself as a Dalit leader when he recounted these experiences. He spoke of how he had not been allowed to drink water in a glass but had to drink from a bowl.His father was a Member of the Legislative Council but he wasn’t allowed to enter a saloon to cut his hair. The report adds that Parameshwara was emotional when he spoke of these instances.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congressman G Parameshwara also said that untouchability was still being practised in the state. He said he wanted to follow the footsteps of BR Ambedkar and bring dignity to the Dalits, adds the report.

Mysore Dasara to feature famous Hampi stone chariot recreated with 1.5 lakh roses

Interestingly, there will be a peacock, India’s national bird, made with capsicums on display as well.

Hampi Stone Chariot

Image source: Wiki
This year there will be a beautiful and rosy addition to the Mysore Dasara festivities. The famous Hampi stone chariot is all set to be recreated with roses!According to a report in Deccan Herald, the Hampi chariot will be recreated with roses at the annual Dasara flower show. Goddess Chamundeshwari, Nandi, Mahishasura and musical instruments will also be made with roses. Over two lakh roses will be used for these creations adds the report.The Hampi stone chariot will be of 16 ft x 12 ft x 26 ft and made with nearly 1.5 lakh roses. The report adds that Chamundeshwari, the Nandi at Chamundi Hills, Mahishasura and musical instruments will be recreated using 45,000 roses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Interestingly, there will be a peacock, India’s national bird, made with capsicums on display as well. The flower show will be open for 12 days from October 14 to 25 in Mysore. There will also be many vegetable and flower pots on display.

Bengaluru: Drunk Sudanese national beaten by public for alleged theft attempt

The public apparently chased him and beat him after a woman complained that he tried to steal her gold chain.

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On Thursday morning, a drunk Sudanese man, 20, was beaten by the public for allegedly trying to steal a woman’s gold chain. A report in Deccan Herald states that the Sudanese national was identified as Mohammed Hamid, a college student in Bengaluru. The public reportedly chased him and beat him after a woman complained that he tried to steal her gold chain. The police were then informed. Report adds that no one has filed a formal police complaint yet.Police officials have reportedly stated that he was drunk. According to the report, Mohammed Hamid claims he didn’t know how he ended up in that area. The police are said to be investigating his background.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Mysore’s famous Dasara festivities to be low-key this year

On the inaugural day of Navratri, the ‘Rajya Sangeeth Vidwan’ award will also be presented.

Mysore Palace. Image credit: Official website

The Nadda Habba Dasara in Mysore will be celebrated between October 14 and 23 during Navratri. However, the festivities will be low-key this year as the state government wants to keep it simple due to the farmers’ deaths in the state.A report in Deccan Herald, states that all cultural programmes will be restricted to the Mysore Palace and there will only be two cultural programmes a day. The Jamboo Savari (elephant savari) which is part of the grand finale of the festivities will be there this year too. There will also be a Hungarian folk dance in the cultural programme at the Palace. The troupe from Hungary will be performing on October 21 for free said the report. The show by the Hungarian troupe is said to be one of the highly anticipated ones this Dasara.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the inaugural day of Navratri, the ‘Rajya Sangeeth Vidwan’ award will also be presented, adds the report.

Karnataka: Ganesha idol procession turns violent; shops, vehicles and houses burnt down in Mudhol

Ten policemen were said to be injured in the riots and around 69 people have now been taken into custody.

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What was supposed to be a peaceful procession turned out to be a violent one in Mudhol, Karnataka. On Wednesday night, when a Ganesha idol procession was passing through Janata Colony in the city, some people threw stones at them. A rival community retaliated by throwing stones and bottles and soon a full-fledged riot started, reports Deccan Herald.Many areas of the city erupted in violence soon. Some vehicles were destroyed and more than 40 shops were burnt down. Ten policemen were said to be injured in the riots and around 69 people have now been taken into custody. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A textile shop on MG Road was burnt down and losses are said to be to the tune of Rs. one crore. Houses were stoned and tried to be set on fire. Police from nearby areas were called as reinforcement adds the report.Deccan Herald reports that prohibitory orders have been imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC according to Martin Marbaniang, Bagalkot Superintendent of Police. More than 300 police personnel have reportedly been stationed in the town to restore normalcy. All education institutions and shops were closed on Thursday.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah flooded with tobacco sachets sent by protesting students

The move was reportedly initiated by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing.

Students in Karnataka have found a unique strategy to wake the state government up to tobacco menace. They are sending Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gifts of tobacco sachets!According to a report in Deccan Herald, students from the Mysuru and Mandya area are sending the CM tobacco sachets wanting a ban on them. More than 5000 tobacco sachets are said to have reached his office already but the students are aiming to send one lakh satchets. This reportedly continue till January 2016.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The move was reportedly initiated by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing. More than 26 colleges have been roped in for this campaign says the report.Many students have also started to send postcards stating the harmful effects of chewing tobacco to the Chief Minister. 25,000 postcards have been sent to him and more are to follow says the report. The students state that chewing tobacco is harmful and a complete ban on tobacco sachets is required.

Karnataka: Teenage girl killed by parents for eloping with Dalit youth

The report states that when the girl’s parents found out about the affair they took her to the village.

dna Research & Archives
Parents of a 16-year-old girl in Ramanagara district allegedly poisoned her because she ran away with a Dalit boy. According to a report in Deccan Herald, the parents – Govindaraju and Jayalakshamma – gave the girl food mixed with poison. They have been arrested by the police.The Dalit boy, Manjunath, 21, has also been arrested by the Ramanagara police as the girl was a minor. The boy,a painter, was reportedly from Hubballi and was living with his sister in Sunkadakatte, Bengaluru.The report states that when the girl’s parents found out about the affair they took her to the village. Despite this, the girl and Manjunath kept meeting and finally on September 6, they eloped.First the girl’s parents filed a missing person’s report with the cops who traced them and brought them to Ramnagara. Cops sent the girl back with the parents and on Sunday morning, the neighbours called the police when they suspected something was wrong.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police have stated that the parents have admitted to the crime and stated it as an honour killing because the boy was from a lower caste.

Move over Agra, now Bengaluru has a Taj Mahal!

The artists has stated that he spend many days studying original Taj Mahal in order to recreate it.

Getty Images
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal has now come to Bengaluru. Malaysian artist Sekar decided to recreate the beautiful monument in the city and it now sits majestically on Bannerghatta Road. The Bengaluru Taj Mahal is 40 feet tall and 70 feet by 70 feet in width. It covers an area of 200 feet by 200 feet.The large replica is made of materials like wood, fibre plywood, silver wood and plaster of Paris. Sekar, 56, has built the Taj Mahal at a cost of nearly Rs 1 crore, according to a report in Deccan Herald.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The artists has stated that he spend many days studying original Taj Mahal in order to recreate it. Nearly 150 people worked on this structure in Bengaluru which took two months to build.This is not the first time Sekar has worked on recreating a monument. He has also worked on the red Fort and White House among others. The Bengaluru Taj Mahal will be on display till November 1 and can be viewed between 4pm to 9pm. It is located near Jayadeva Hospital on Bannerghatta Road.

ED likely to close National Herald case due to lack of evidence against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: In a huge relief to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to close the National Herald case.

The ED has decided to close the case due to lack of substantial evidences against both Congress leaders, sources said on Monday.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Both leaders were summoned by a trial court on 26 June, 2014, following Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint accusing both of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring the ownership of the now-defunct English daily National Herald.

Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, senior party leaders Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and telecom engineer Sam Pitroda were also summoned by the court on 7 August, 2014.

The party leaders had moved the high court on 30July, 2014, against the trial court order. On August 6, the high court stayed the summons issued against them.

Swamy alleged misappropriation of assets worth Rs 2,000 crore of the National Herald newspaper.

Reacting to the development, Swamy said, “There has been political influence from the Congress to close the National Herald case.”

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are principal shareholders in a company set up to relaunch National Herald, the Congress mouthpiece begun by Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1938.

A private non-profit company ‘Young Indian’ was formed in March 2011, with Sonia and Rahul holding 38 percent shares each, with the specific aim of taking over the liabilities of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the parent company which owned National Herald and its Urdu version, Qaumi Awaz, all with money spent from the Congress coffers.

The two newspapers folded up on 1 April, 2008. AJL’s liabilities of Rs 90.21 crore have been taken over by Young Indian for Rs.50 lakh, the entire amount paid by the Congress.

Another Rs 1 crore, it is learnt, has been spent by Young Indian in renovating the newspaper’s headquarters, Herald House, at 5A, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. This amount too has been funnelled by the Congress as loan.

IANS

Appoint full time ED Director soon, Subramanian Swamy tells PM Modi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is of the view that no case under the anti-money laundering law could be made out against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is of the view that no case under the anti-money laundering law could be made out against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.A senior official of the ED is understood to conveyed this stand to the Revenue Department recently stating that there is no predicate offence that could be made out against the two Congress leaders, a requisite for filing an FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who initiated the case through a private complaint in a local court, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appoint a full-time chief for ED to investigate the issue thoroughly under the PMLA.He said the ED has wrongfully arrived at the conclusion that no case under anti-money laundering laws is made out against the Congress leaders.

Real-estate worries prompting Congress to revive National Herald?

“National Herald is our product and we will be bringing it out soon,” Motilal Vora, party treasurer and a minor trustee of AJL, told dna. Vora however refused to share other details.

The fear of losing property in the commercial heart of the national capital could see the Congress revive two newspapers – National Herald and Quami Awaz – which had died a slow death seven years ago.At the centre of the party’s ‘media initiative’ are the Congress’ top two, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, and the four-floor Herald House in Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, often known as Delhi’s Fleet Street with the offices of several major newspapers. The building had been leased out to Associate Journals Ltd (AJL) – of which the Gandhis are majority shareholders – for the newspaper business alone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the papers going out of print in 2008, the urban development ministry has sought an explanation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son on why the lease should not be cancelled, an official told dna.Alarmed at the prospect, the Congress has started drawing plans and is likely to announce the revival of the two newspapers after the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session possibly next month. It will coincide with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi formally taking over as head of the 125-year-old party, insiders said.”National Herald is our product and we will be bringing it out soon,” Motilal Vora, party treasurer and a minor trustee of AJL, told dna. Vora however refused to share other details.National Herald was published as early as 1938 from Lucknow, but 5A, Herald House in Delhi had been allotted to AJL in early 1960s purely for publishing the newspaper from Delhi. Subsequently, AJL came out with Navjeevan in Hindi and Quami Awaz in Urdu. Closely associated with the party and specifically the Gandhis, Jawaharlal Nehru and later his son-in-law Feroze Gandhi were amongst the early editors of National Herald.Though the three newspapers ceased to exist in 2008, AJL, an entity of the Congress, continues to enjoy rights over the property, an official said. Last year, during a routine inspection of buildings, the Land and Development Office of the urban development ministry found there is no newspaper office on the premises. Instead, right now, the ground and the first floors house the Passport Seva Kendra of the ministry of external affairs. The other two floors have been rented out to Tata Consultancy Services. The fourth floor also has an office of Young Indian, another entity of the Congress. The building has about one lakh square feet of office space. With market rent at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg going at approximately Rs.100 per square feet, the building gets a rent of approximately Rs.1 crore a month by conservative estimate.Interestingly, real estate worries could see Patriot, another ‘heritage newspaper’ being revived. Housed in 3, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, the building was known as Link House till last year. It has now been renamed Patriot House. Patriot has an office on the ground floor of the building and a weekly newspaper is expected to start soon.An official said notices had been served to Patriot too, seeking an explanation. Aruna Asif Ali’s trust United Periodicals published Patriot till early 1990s.”Buildings 2 to 10 on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg were given to organisations that were bringing out newspapers. But in our recent inspection it was found that the newspapers have been shut down andthe building has been rented out,” said a ministry official. These properties were allotted in the 1960s for a period of 99 years.The owners had then paid a premium of Rs.2,000-5,000. National Herald House and Patriot House have rented out entire building for huge rent, while they pay pittance (around Rs 12000 to Rs 15000 per annum) to the ministry towards the building’s lease.

Leaving to take care of mother, not due to charges against wife, says Indian envoy in New Zealand

Wellington: India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar on Saturday said he was not leaving the country because of assault allegations against his wife but because he wanted to take care of his mother living in India.

Thapar’s wife has been accused of physically assaulting a domestic help at their residence. He has denied the allegations and said his wife was an “experienced diplomatic spouse” incapable of assaulting an “able-bodied man”.

Ravi Thapar. Ibnlive imageRavi Thapar. Ibnlive image

Ravi Thapar. Ibnlive image

“I’m going but to take care of my mum because my dad passed away last year. I cannot keep up 13,000 km away just talking to her on the phone,” The

New Zealand Herald

quoted him as saying.

Referring to the alleged assault charges, he said: “You must understand that people who are not exposed, people who are not educated, people who are sometimes first-timers abroad, who have heard of these will use this opportunity sometimes to get sympathy from other agencies.”

According to earlier media reports, a man spoke to the police through an interpreter on 9 May and alleged that he was physically assaulted by Thapar’s wife.

Police said the domestic help did not want to take the matter further and wanted to go home. The staff member left New Zealand on 28 May.

IANS

Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand posted back in Delhi after facing assault allegations

Image Courtesy: Facebook
Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand is set to leave the country after allegations that his wife had assaulted a staff member.High Commissioner Ravi Thapar was formally recalled and a vehicle was seen this morning at his Wellington address, media reports said on Saturday.NZ Radio website said that Police were declined to interview both Thapar and his wife Sharmila.Police said that the staff member who made the allegation of assault had returned to India in early May.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police further said that the victim did not want to press charges. They had since made welfare checks with the man, who said he was fine and happy to be home.The victim, believed to be a chef, had walked 20 kms one night from the diplomat’s residence to Wellington where he was found by member of a public in a distress state.He was then taken to police station and later spent several nights at Wellington Night Shelter. He alleged that he was kept in slavery and was assaulted by Sharmila.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is aware Thapar is preparing to leave New Zealand.”MFAT was aware a staff member raised with New Zealand police concerns about his treatment in the high commission,” a spokesman confirmed to the New Zealand Herald.”MFAT has been advised the individual concerned elected not to take the matter further. That staff member had independent legal representation and decided to return to India.”

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