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Arun Jaitley running away from probe, misinterpreting report: AAP

“If BJP is so confident that he is clean then why is it running away from investigation? They should take it to a logical conclusion. Why is Jaitley running away from enquiry and investigation. Even the PM has said you should follow Advani and resign till he comes out clean. He should come forward and present an example before the nation. Earlier they rubbished the committee report, but now they are considering it as a sacred book…The report also states that there should be a Commission of Inquiry into the matter. A whistleblower had alerted the Delhi government well in advance that the formation of the Commission will be scuttled through the Lt Governor,” Ashutosh claimed.

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DDCA scam: AAP govt issues notification for Commission of Inquiry

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The government’s move, however, may trigger another round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Centre as the former had not sought approval from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for forming such a probe panel

Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi government has issued a notification for setting up of a Commission of Inquiry, headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, to probe alleged corruption in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) between 1992 and 2015, and asked it to submit its report within three months.The government’s move, however, may trigger another round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Centre as the former had not sought approval from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for forming such a probe panel. Yesterday, the Delhi Assembly had passed a resolution to constitute the Commission of Inquiry even as Kejriwal accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of getting the CBI raid conducted at his principal secretary’s office to protect Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged DDCA scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the notification, dated December 22, issued by the government’s Vigilance Department, the one-member Commission of Inquiry will identify any acts of omission and commission by DDCA and its office-bearers during the period between January 1, 1992 and November 30, 2015 and fix responsibility. The state cricket body had been headed by Jaitley for around 13 years from 1999 to 2013.”The terms of reference of the Commission shall be to conduct inquiry into working, management and administration (including alleged financial irregularities) of the DDCA and whether such practices have been conducive to the game of cricket,” it stated.A senior government official said that the Commission of Iquiry will also give recommendations to make DDCA an institution compatible with international standards and to make the state cricket body an effective and transparent body so that it could promote the glorious game of cricket and identify and nurture talent. Subramanium will be paid Re one for this assignment.Reacting to notification, sources in the LG’s office said that the Delhi government notified setting up of the Commission of Inquiry without the Lt Governor’s approval. “Government did not send any proposal to constitute such Commission to the LG office,” one of the sources said.Yesterday, Kejriwal had claimed that Delhi government has the authority to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA. He had also sought the Prime Minister’s resignation for conducting a “flop CBI raid” at CMO. On December 21, the Delhi Cabinet had approved setting up of the one-member Commission of Inquiry under Subramanium.

After Jailtley, Arvind Kejriwal calls for Narendra Modi’s resignation

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Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that the CBI raided his office to look for a note on the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). CBI has earlier denied that they had raided Kejriwal’s office.

Mounting a huge pressure on the top brass of BJP, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation a week after the CBI raided the Delhi secretariat.Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that the CBI raided his office to look for a note on the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). CBI has earlier denied that they had raided Kejriwal’s office.”I demand Prime Minister Modi’s resignation for the raid he ordered to save Arun Jaitley,” Kejriwal shouted to vigorous thumping of desks by other AAP members in the assembly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The memory of losing elections in Delhi still haunts the prime minister and his blood boils hearing my name,” Kejriwal said.Kejriwal also alleged in the 50 hours of interrogation that his secretary Rajendra Kumar had to go through in the last six days, Kumar was repeatedly asked about the DDCA’s file and which whistleblower from DDCA had come to meet Kejriwal.”I want to ask Modiji what did the CBI find out after interrogating Rajendra Kumar for so many hours?” he asked, adding that if Kumar is corrupt, he won’t be spared, but if he is honest, he will strongly stand by him. “He is being mentally tortured; his blood pressure has gone up,”said Kejriwal.Kejriwal also called for Jaitley’s resignation because of the alleged large scale financial irregularities reported during his tenure as its head, adding that if he is innocent, he should prove it to the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Delhi government. Jaitley had rubbished all allegations.A DDCA whistle blower used to meet me. That officer told me that there was a meeting of DDCA officials, where Jaitley had told them no not worry about SFIO as he will get it compounded.Kejriwal had accused Modi of constantly interfering in the functioning of the AAP government. “Earlier, he used to say he won’t take bribes and let anyone take bribes. Now it is like I won’t work and won’t let anyone work,”he thundered.He said he had urged Modi to let the AAP government work without interference but he did not agree. “When Modi is out travelling, things function smoothly in Delhi, when he is here, he keeps on interfering in Delhi government’s day-to-day functioning,”Kejriwal alleged.”The CBI said the chief minister was not raided. Only his principal secretary’s office was raided. But they they entered my office and kept on reading a DDCA file,” Kejriwal said. The AAP leader denied accusations that his party had earlier advocated independence for the CBI but had now they are abusing the investigating agency. “Even today we say that the CBI should be independent. And the day it becomes independent, it will not raid Rajendra Kumar… It will send a notice to Modi to ask where you got Rs.10 lakh to buy the suit,”Kejriwal said.The Delhi government also tabled a resolution to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Tabling the resolution, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said gross irregularities had taken place in the DDCA.

Kejriwal vs Jaitley: After Narendra Modi’s comment, Jethmalani claims LK Advani won because of him

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“Mr L K Advani had Ram Jethamalani (as his lawyer). Now Arun Jaitley is to be prosecuted by me. You take it,” he said.

File Photo

Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Monday said L K Advani won in the Hawala case because he had appeared for him but he will be prosecuting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the defamation case filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “Mr L K Advani had Ram Jethamalani (as his lawyer). Now Arun Jaitley is to be prosecuted by me. You take it,” he said.He was replying to a question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi comparing the charges of corruption against Jaitley with the Hawala case faced by Advani in the nineties, in which he had come clear at the end.”All people commit mistakes,” Jethmalani said when told that Jaitley, being a lawyer himself, has offered to be cross examined.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I don’t make secret of the fact that I don’t like Arun Jaitley. Asked whether he has got calls from BJP asking to keep away from the case, Jethmalani shot back, “what the hell do I care for BJP because at the instance of Arun Jaitley and his coterie I was expelled from the party. In spite of that, I helped Modi come to power.”To a query whether the Delhi government has powers to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of Delhi’s cricket body, DDCA, the noted lawyer said “I believe that sports and operations of the cricket body are completely within the jurisdiction of Delhi government,” he said.

DDCA row: Ram Jethmalani to appear for Delhi CM Kejriwal in defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley

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Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.

Ram Jethmalani
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani will represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the civil and criminal defamation suits filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.”Ram Jethmalani will appear before court for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” a senior official of the Chief Minister’s office told PTI. The official said Kejriwal will seek day-to-day hearing in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, a defiant Kejriwal asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party will not be scared by defamation suits against him and other AAP leaders by Jaitley and asked him to prove his innocence before the one-man Commission of Inquiry announced by Delhi Government to probe alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.The Chief Minister also slammed BJP for protecting the Finance Minister despite facing charges of alleged irregularities during his tenure as DDCA chief for around 13 years till 2013.”I would have taken resignation if there were so much evidence against any of my ministers as I had taken the resignation of Jitender Singh Tomar and Asim Khan. BJP is shamelessly defending Jaitley,” he said.The Chief Minister’s decision to brazen it out became clear last night itself as the other AAP leaders named by Jaitley in his defamation suit had stuck to their guns and continued to target the Finance Minister.”Setting aside his ministerial responsibilities, Jaitley ji is making the rounds of the courts. But we won’t let the matter get buried this time around. We will continue to hold him corrupt in DDCA affairs,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

DDCA row: Defamation cases will not scare AAP, says Arvind Kejriwal

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Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.

PTI
A defiant Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party will not be scared by civil and criminal defamation suits against him and five other AAP leaders by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and asked him to prove his innocence before the inquiry commission.Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.”Jaitley should not try to scare us by filing cases against us. Our battle against corruption shall continue. Jaitley ji should cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and prove his innocence there,” Kejriwal tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.The Chief Minister’s decision to brazen it out became clear last night itself as the other AAP leaders named by Jaitley in his defamation suit had stuck to their guns and continued to target the Finance Minister.”Setting aside his ministerial responsibilities, Jaitley ji is making the rounds of the courts. But we won’t let the matter get buried this time around. We will continue to hold him corrupt in DDCA affairs,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.Jaitley should not “threaten” us with jail and should instead focus on replying to the specific queries raised by us, Ashutosh said. The Finance Minister has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders have publicly been making allegations against Jaitley with regard to the DDCA affairs although some of the allegations have gone beyond that. Top leaders of the BJP hit back, accusing AAP of attempting to reduce the stature of Jaitley in public life and hailed the finance minister for maintaining an “impeccable standard of probity”.”AAP is using the route of defaming him (Jaitley) and his family members through namecalling in press conferences and the social media,” Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Jaitley’s junior in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said.Meanwhile, the Delhi Cabinet has approved setting up of one-member inquiry commission under former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities in DDCA. The Cabinet also decided to call a special session of Delhi Assembly tomorrow to discuss alleged irregularities in DDCA and last week’s CBI raid at the Delhi Secretariat.

DDCA row: AAP govt decides to set up inquiry commission

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The decision to form the commission of inquiry came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure its chief. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations.

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi government has decided to set up a commission of inquiry under chairmanship of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities including financial bunglings in the capital’s cricket body DDCA.The decision to form the commission of inquiry came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure its chief. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations. “The inquiry will begin very soon,” a Delhi Government spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet said “Gopal Subramaniam agrees to chair Commission of Enquiry on DDCA scam.”Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the Central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. The decision to appoint the committee came a month after an AAP government-appointed probe committee recommended immediate suspension of DDCA by the BCCI for alleged irregularities including financial bungling.The Delhi Government panel had suggested that an interim committee of professional cricketers should manage affairs of the game in the capital.The committee had also recommended to the government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Enquiries Act while mentioning about findings on DDCA’s alleged wrongdoings by various probe panels in the recent past including the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, today demanded an ED and DRI probe into the affairs of DDCA.

Create atmosphere for us to work in free, neutral manner: IAS officers to Delhi CM

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The officers demanded an “institutional mechanism” for dealing with bona fide policy decisions and administrative actions.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
In the wake of a CBI raid at the office of the Delhi chief minister’s secretary and the lodging of two FIRs against the Vigilance Secretary, an IAS officers’ body on Saturday met Arvind Kejriwal seeking a “conducive atmosphere” that would allow them to work in a “free and neutral manner”. The babus demanded an “institutional mechanism” for dealing with bona fide policy decisions and administrative actions. The association also sought an appointment with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and the Union Home Secretary to take up issues concerning bureaucrats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There has to be an institutional mechanism… The Chief Minister has assured us that he will create a conducive atmosphere for officers to work in a free and neutral manner,” said A Anbarasu, secretary of the AGMUT cadre IAS Officers’ Association.According to the association, the chief minister assured them that he would do all that is required to strengthen the institutional mechanisms. The officers claimed they were being victimised due to the tussle between the Centre and AAP government in Delhi. They added that they want to work in a free, fair and neutral manner.On December 17, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain had tweeted, “Centre now demoralised many Delhi government officials, many of whom fear they might be targeted just for working with the Kejriwal govt (sic).”On Wednesday, the IAS officers had also convened a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary KK Sharma at Delhi Secretariat, a few days after CBI raids at the office of Kejriwal’s secretary Rajendra Kumar and the registration of two FIRs against Vigilance Secretary Chetan B Sanghi in an alleged corruption case.Following the CBI raids, Kejriwal had slammed the Centre for targeting him and said that the investigation against Kumar was just an excuse. The Centre and Delhi government have been at loggerheads over several issues, including the transfer and posting of bureaucrats, Commission of Inquiry in alleged CNG fitness Scam, control of the Anti-Corruption Branch.

DDCA row: I cannot answer ‘vague’ charges, says Arun Jaitley

Congress and AAP are demanding Jaitley’s resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday reacted sharply to AAP and Congress’ demands for his resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA during his tenure, saying he cannot answer “vague” charges by the two parties which are trying to deflect the issue of corruption.”They can tell me what is the specific issue I can answer it. I can’t answer a vague allegation without any basis. Secondly a state government and a party which is the dock for having supported corruption and having interfered in an investigation in this manner can’t really deflect the issue without any basis,” Jailtey said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress and AAP are demanding Jaitley’s resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Wednesday indicated that he proposed to order a Commission of Inquiry into the report of the committee set up by his government to go into the DDCA affairs which implicated Jaitley. His party AAP, which is at loggerheads with the Centre over yesterday’s raid on the Chief Minister’s secretariat, also stepped up the attack on Jaitley and Jaitley’s demanded immediate resignation to ensure a free and fair probe into allegations of corruption in DDCA.

DDCA rubbishes allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made by CM Arvind Kejriwal

Hours after Congress and AAP targeted Jaitley and demanded his resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013, DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan held a press conference to rebut all the allegations.

DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
The Delhi and District Cricket Association on Wednesday strongly refuted allegations of “gross financial irregularities” against Finance Minister and its former president Arun Jaitley, saying that such charges were “absolutely rubbish”.Hours after Congress and AAP targeted Jaitley and demanded his resignation over alleged “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA when he headed it from 1999 to 2013, DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan held a press conference to rebut all the allegations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some allegations have been raised against DDCA and it needs clarification as everyone is stating their point. First thing is allegation of irregularities on stadium construction. Stadium is made of Rs 141 crore,” Chauhan said.”The reason for escalated costs was because capacity earlier was 26,000. But we demolished and then we renovated. It is recorded in ROC. It was given to EPIL, so I absolutely rubbish the charges,” he said.”I rubbish allegations against ex president (Jaitley). I would like to thank Jaitley ji for taking care of renovation and making this a state-of-the-art stadium,” he added.According to Chauhan, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) investigated the irregularities and nothing save a case of embezzlement was found.”Another irregularity was found and the case is sub judice. We organised a Test match for 5 days with 27,000 people on one day,” he said.”All tenders were carefully supervised during Test match. Another allegation of embezzlement against Bansal is after Jaitley left office in December 2013.”In a further escalation of the confrontation between the opposition party and the government, the Congress claimed that a committee constituted by Delhi government has found “gross financial irregularities” in the DDCA during that period.On his part, Jaitley dismissed the allegations as “vague” and said he cannot answer them unless they are specific. He also attacked the AAP and its government of trying to “deflect” attention from the issue of corruption and “interference” in the probe.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Wednesday indicated that he proposed to order a Commission of Inquiry into the report of the committee set up by his government to go into the DDCA affairs, which implicated Jaitley.

Coast Guard fires DIG who ‘blew up’ Pakistani boat

Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai.

File photo

Coast Guard deputy inspector general (DIG) B K Loshali, who ‘ordered’ the blowing up of a Pakistani boat on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, 2015, has been dismissed from service. “Court martial was carried out on Saturday evening as per the outcome of the Board of Inquiry that went on for over three months,” said an officer. Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai. A year ago, during New Year night, a Pakistani fishing boat with four occupants, suspected to be having terror links, went up in flames. This led to a diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, with India maintaining that the boat had suspected terrorists and they themselves blew up the boat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> But on February 15, Loshali, while addressing officers of the Coast Guard and a private company, claimed that he ordered that the boat be destroyed. “I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, ‘blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani'”, he said. This put India in an embarrassing spot. Soon after, the defence ministry removed him from the position of Chief of Staff, North West, and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters.

Bengal govt may have more Netaji files, say family and researchers

Netaji’s grand-nephew Chandra Bose and a researcher say some Netaji files might still be lying hidden inside the cupboards of government buildings.

Welcoming the release of cabinet papers on Netaji and allied issues from 1938 to 1947, his family and researchers today said the West Bengal government might have some more secret files in its possession, a contention denied by the Kolkata Police.”This is a very bold step and the family is very happy with her (Mamata Banerjee) decision. She is proving that her government is a transparent one,” Netaji’s grand-nephew Chandra Bose told PTI.However, Bose and a researcher say some Netaji files might still be lying hidden inside the cupboards of government buildings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am told that there are at least nine files which were given before the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry into the disappearance of Netaji which have not yet been made public. But we trust that if this comes to the notice of our chief minister, she will release it as she has nothing to lose,” he said.Researcher Dr Jayanto Chaudhuri of Netaji Chetna Manch said he even had file numbers of documents which were submitted before the Mukherjee Commission but are yet to be made public.”I have found that there are 12 files which are still not released. They belonged to the Intelligence Bureau under the state Home Department and talked about activities of revolutionaries between 1941-42,” Chaudhuri said.However, Kolkata Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha said all files related to Netaji had been released and nothing was kept on hold.”We have released each and every file related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his family. Nothing has been held back,” Purkayastha told PTI when asked if some files were “not released” as alleged by his family and researchers.Of the 64 files released on September 18, nine were with the state police while 55 were with Kolkata Police. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after the release of the files had said, “If I knew that the files were with us, I would have released them long back.The chief minister also released a CD containing information about the papers of 401 cabinet meetings during the crucial phase of 1938-47 which were witness to ‘Quit India’ movement, the great ‘Bengal Famine’ and the partition of Bengal.

Congress delegation meets President Pranab; demands CBI probe in 2013 Naxal attack

A delegation of Congress leaders on Monday met President Pranab Mukherjee to demand CBI probe in the 2013 naxal attack in Chhattisgarh in which nearly 30 of its leaders, including former Union Minister VC Shukla, were killed.

Congress leader VC Shukla, who was killed in the Naxal attack

dna
A delegation of Congress leaders on Monday met President Pranab Mukherjee to demand CBI probe in the 2013 naxal attack in Chhattisgarh in which nearly 30 of its leaders, including former Union Minister VC Shukla, were killed.In a memorandum, it alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, has completely ignored the alternative theories and has ruled out the possibility of any political conspiracy.Heavily-armed maoists had attacked a convoy of Congress party leaders on May 25, 2013 at the Jagdalpur-Sukma highway in Chhattisgarh when they were on a ‘Parivartan Yatra’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The NIA has even not compared and investigated the security arrangement on previous days i.e. May 23 and 24, 2013 in Bastar region where the Parivartan Yatra was provided with better security,” the memorandum said.The Judicial Commission of Inquiry which has been constituted in the incident does not have “probing conspiracy angle” in its term of reference, it said. It is necessary that CBI is asked to investigate any conspiracy angle or other security lapses that happened in the incident, the memorandum said.The delegation was led by party’s Treasurer and senior leader Motilal Vora and comprised Rajya Sabha MP from the state Mohsina Kidwai, Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly TS Singhdeo among others.

Najeeb Jung warns officers not to follow Kejriwal government’s ‘illegal orders’

In the memorandum issued by the LG’s Secretary, it was stated that officers would face strict action for non-compliance with the order. “Government of India has taken note of current constitutional position in Delhi and major instances of violation of the constitution, laws and rules, such as change in the pay structure of DANICS officers, the constitution of so-called Commission of Inquiry etc.

In a stern move, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday directed all officers, including IAS and DANICS, not to follow the Delhi Government orders which were declared by the Centre as “null and void”.In the memorandum issued by the LG’s Secretary, it was stated that officers would face strict action for non-compliance with the order. “Government of India has taken note of current constitutional position in Delhi and major instances of violation of the constitution, laws and rules, such as change in the pay structure of DANICS officers, the constitution of so-called Commission of Inquiry etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Government of India has declared these decisions of Government of NCT AAP as illegal and ab initio void,” the memorandum stated. It stated that the orders (of the AAP Government) declared by the Government of India as illegal should not be complied with.”Should any officer choose to do so, both disciplinary action for compliance of illegal orders, and recovery of financial loss caused to the Government as a result of such action, would follow,” it also stated. The memorandum stated that any officer placed with the Delhi government acts contrary to the orders/directions of Government of India and it’s delegates i.E Lt Governor and takes any action against the provisions of the Constitution, laws and rules to implement “illegal and ab initio void orders”, will be held responsible for such action and shall invite action.

Delhi High Court stays NBW issued against ACB Chief MK Meena till September 23

In a relief to ACB Chief MK Meena, a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him by a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) probing the CNG fitness scam was stayed on Tuesday by the Delhi High Court till September 23.

In a relief to ACB Chief MK Meena, a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him by a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) probing the CNG fitness scam was stayed on Tuesday by the Delhi High Court till September 23.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath passed the order while issuing notice to the AAP government and the CoI set up by it, seeking their responses on the Centre’s plea challenging constitutionality and the establishment of the panel.The bench listed the matter with two other writ petitions which also challenged the setting up of the panel and are slated to be heard on September 23.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Wait till September 23. Till then do not precipitate matters. Don’t take any coercive step,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said. “Pending further orders in the petition, proceedings with regard to September 11 order (of CoI) shall remain stayed,” the court said.The Ministry of Home Affairs in its petition has opposed the September 11 order of the CoI which had not only issued NBW against Anti-Corruption Branch Chief Mukesh Kumar Meena, but also directed attachment of 30 per cent of his salary till records pertaining to the inquiry conducted by the ACB into the scam were presented to the probe panel.Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, assisted by central government standing counsel Kirtiman Singh, argued that the September 11 order was passed “without jurisdiction and not in accordance with law”.They said there was an urgency in the matter as Meena had been ordered to produce the records before the commission today itself.The CoI, whose appointment was declared “invalid” by Union Home Ministry last month, had directed Delhi Police to execute the NBW and apprise it of the action taken by today.In August, the AAP government had appointed Justice (Retd) SN Agarwal, a former judge of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, to head the one-man probe panel under the Commission of Inquiry Act to probe the scam in which a number of officials of erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government were under the scanner.

Delhi govt sends chargesheet against ACB chief MK Meena to CVC

New Delhi: Delhi Government has sent a draft report of the chargesheet against its Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) chief Mukesh Kumar Meena to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to probe his role in the alleged curtain purchase scam.

MK Meena. IBNLive

MK Meena. IBNLive

Sources said that Chief Secretary Kewal Kumar Sharma has sent a draft report of the chargesheet, prepared by the government’s Vigilance Department, to the CVC.

In June this year, a retired inspector of Police Training College (PTC), Jharonda Kalan, Jawahar Lal had accused Meena of embezzling Rs 20 lakh in purchase of curtains and curtain rods as Principal of the college during the period from 11 May to 25 July, 2005.

“After the complaint, Chief Minister Kejriwal asked the vigilance department to probe the matter. During its investigation, the department found that forged bills to the tune of Rs 23 lakh were made to purchase curtain during Meena’s tenure as Principal of Police Training College,” sources said.

They claimed that Central Vigilance Commission can look into merits of case.

Meena was not available for comment despite phone calls and text messages.

Lal, in his complaint, had also alleged that Meena committed gross misconduct and conspiracy with some private firms to procure curtains and curtain rods worth Rs 20 lakh (approx) beyond his competence, without obtaining administrative approval and expenditure sanction of competent authority.

Last week, a non-bailable warrant was issued against the ACB chief by Commission of Inquiry appointed by AAP government to probe multi-crore CNG fitness scam and a 30 percent cut in his salary ordered for not responding to summons to appear before it and furnish details of the case.

Earlier today, the Delhi High Court stayed till 23 September the non-bailable warrant on the Centre’s plea seeking its quashing.

PTI

Non-bailable warrant issued against MK Meena by AAP govt-appointed Commission of Inquiry

New Delhi: A non-bailable warrant was on Friday issued against Anti-Corruption Branch chief Mukesh Kumar Meena by a Commission of Inquiry appointed by AAP government to probe multi-crore CNG fitness scam and a 30 percent cut in his salary ordered for not responding to summons to appear before it and furnish details of the case.

Delhi ACB chief MK Meena. IBNLive

Delhi ACB chief MK Meena. IBNLive

The Commission of Inquiry (CoI), whose appointment was declared “invalid” by Union Home Ministry last month, directed the Delhi Police to execute the NBW and apprise it of action taken by 15 September.

The Commission also issued direction to “attach” 30 percent of Meena’s salary till the time the records pertaining to the inquiry into the CNG fitness scam conducted by the ACB are presented to the probe panel.

Meena appointed by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has also probed the CNG fitness scam and filed a charge sheet in court last week.

The Commission said Meena “deliberately failed to produce the records pertaining to its inquiry”.

Meena did not respond to phone calls and text messages.

In August, the AAP government had appointed Justice (Retd) SN Agarwal, a former judge of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, to head the one-man probe panel, set up under Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 to probe the scam in which a number of officials of previous Sheila Dikshit government were under the scanner.

The AAP has been accusing the Lt Governor of trying to shield the officers found guilty by a CBI probe into the scam which as detected by Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch in 2012.

The Commission has asked the Station House Officer Civil Lines Police Station to execute the NBW by September 15 and in case he fails to execute it, then apprise the Commission the reasons behind it.

According to a senior officer, the Commission has powers of a civil court and can issue summons and non bailable arrest warrants.

On 3 September, the Commission had issued summons to Meena to appear before it as he had passed an order that “no information pertaining to the case will be shared with the Commission”.

After formation of Commission of Inquiry by the AAP government, Meena, also Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police had said, he “will not allow any interference in the ongoing investigation”.

The Union Home Ministry had called setting up of Commission by the Delhi government as “illegal”.

“The MHA terms the commission of inquiry constituted by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) as legally invalid and void ab initio,” it had said.

The CNG fitness scam surfaced in 2012 when ACB found that the Delhi government had lost over Rs 100 crore by awarding the contract to operate and maintain certification of CNG vehicles at the transport authority in Burari to ESP India Pvt Ltd instead of ESP USA.

The charge sheet was filed before Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry in the case in which several persons were arrested in 2013 for allegedly siphoning off crores of rupees in conducting fitness tests of commercial vehicles in the national capital in connivance with the transport department.

In June, when the AAP government had directed ACB to reopen the case, the LG’s office, rejecting crticism against him, had said the Justice Mudgal committee which had probed the case found no mala fide on the part of any government functionary.

PTI

It takes eight years to finalise major corruption case: CVC

The three-member committee which conducted the study said there are no reports which give the information sector-wise or as pertaining to Chief Vigilance Officers, who act as the distant arm of the CVC, for determining the delay at each stage of a case in totality.

An exceedingly protracted eight years is how long it takes on an average to finalise a major corruption case against any government employee, says a recent study by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on prolonged disciplinary cases.The anti-corruption watchdog tenders advice — First Stage Advice (FSA) on the investigation report and Second Stage Advice (SSA) before a final decision is taken at the conclusion of the proceedings — on approximately 5,000 vigilance cases every year.”On an average, it takes more than eight years for finalising a major vigilance case from the date of occurrence of irregularity, whereas detection of irregularity takes on an average more than two years,” the study said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is a delay on an average of about two years in conducting and finalising the preliminary investigation for the FSA, it said.Further, it is a matter of concern that implementation of FSA, appointment of Inquiry Officer, finalising of its report and sending the departmental comments for SSA altogether takes more than 2.6 years, the study said.There is an average delay of about five months in implementation or non-implementation (that is, final decision by the department) of the Commission’s advice, which further takes more than five months on an average in intimating the same to the Commission, it said.”Findings also reveal that the average delay on part of Inquiry Officers is significant and to the tune of about 1.3 years and, if this delay is clubbed with investigation at first stage, it goes up to 3.4 years. That clearly requires suitable interventions at the level of investigation both at first and second stage,” the study has pointed out.The three-member committee which conducted the study said there are no reports which give the information sector-wise or as pertaining to Chief Vigilance Officers, who act as the distant arm of the CVC, for determining the delay at each stage of a case in totality.”Therefore, there is a need to create additional report formats to study delays in cases,” it said.The committee also called for the timely disposal of disciplinary cases. “Disciplinary matters, perhaps, are among the most litigated branches in India. It is very important to emphasise the disposal of disciplinary cases in a timely manner so that neither an innocent official is penalised nor a guilty official allowed to go scot-free. Due to pendency and continuous delay in disciplinary action, cases remain undecided. This requires urgent attention,” the report said.It is felt that one of the factors responsible for the delay may be deployment of limited dedicated manpower, it said.By and large, the findings provide quantitative assessment with relative magnitude of the delay in vigilance proceedings at various stages and are expected to serve as a valuable input for aligning the existing intervention strategies by focusing more on areas requiring attention.Since the areas of concern have been identified, interventions can be more precise, the study added.

CNG fitness scam: AAP accuses L-G Jung of shielding culprits

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday accused Lt Governor Najeeb Jung of trying to “shield” real culprits by allegedly “forcing” the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) to file a “half-baked chargesheet” in the multi-crore CNG fitness scam.

“The AAP is of the categorical view that the LG, whose own role in this scam is suspect, is trying to shield the ministers of the then Congress government of Delhi and also its top officials, some of whom have since retired.”

Delhi LG Najeeb Jung. Image courtesy: Reuters

Delhi LG Najeeb Jung. Image courtesy: Reuters

“The Lt Governor of Delhi has misused his position by having forced the ACB to file a half-baked chargesheet in undue haste in the Rs 100 crore CNG fitness scam to save the real culprits who were behind this huge loss to the state exchequer,” the AAP said in a statement.

The ACB, last week, filed the chargesheet in the CNG fitness case, a move that has not gone well with the state government at a time when it had ordered a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to probe the matter.

Last month, Union Home Ministry had termed the set up of Commission of Inquiry by the Delhi government as “illegal, invalid.”

Accusing the LG of consistently “suppressing” the probe, the party said Jung needs to come clean on the issue.

“The LG, who first tried to unsuccessfully hide behind an inquiry committee set-up by him to deny the sanction to prosecute and question the officers involved in the scam, has now taken a complete U-turn by forcing the ACB to file a chargesheet against junior officers, in a desperate bid to deflect attention from his own dubious role and that of the real culprits involved in this mega scam,” it said.

The party said it is “intriguing” that the LG, who had issued a public statement on June 9 to justify his decision of having denied prosecution sanction to certain top officials, whom the ACB had wanted to prosecute, has now suddenly changed his stand.

PTI

Delhi govt attacks Najeeb Jung over ACB’s decision to file chargesheet in Rs.100 crore transport scam

In a letter to the vigilance department head, the deputy CM of Delhi has stated that he is surprised that within a few days after setting up the ‘commission of inquiry’, the ACB has decided to ‘close down the investigation by filing chargesheet’.

Aside from the routine skirmishes between Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government, a major showdown between the two may soon be in the offing. It was only two days ago that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had blamed Jung over the razing of hutments in Delhi’s Mehrauli area, without rehabilitating its residents, while Jung had complained to the chief justice of Delhi high court about the Delhi government’s delay in appointing the Lokayukta. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now, Kejriwal’s right hand man Manish Sisodia has sought a report from the anti-corruption branch, on why Delhi government was not kept in the loop on its recently-completed inquiry on the Rs.100 crore transport scam for which it will be filing a chargesheet in the next few days. In a letter to the vigilance department head, the deputy CM of Delhi has stated that he is surprised that within a few days after setting up the ‘commission of inquiry’, the ACB has decided to ‘close down the investigation by filing chargesheet’. “In the last few months, there has been a direct interference by Hon’ble Lt Governor in the functioning of the anti-corruption branch. CBI, in its report on 01.09.2014 had raised serious questions about the role of hon’ble Lt Governor in CNG scam,” Sisodia’s letter stated.Taking on Jung directly, he stated, “How could a person against whom there are direct allegations, sanction chargesheet? Was the chargesheet shown to Hon’ble Lt Governor? It is a settled position that no one can be the judge in his own case.”The Delhi government had recently set up a commission of inquiry to probe into the CNG scam fitness scam of 2012 which alleged involvement of several senior government officials as well as former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit. While Jung had declared the commission of inquiry null and void upon the union home ministry’s directions, Sisodia had said the commission will continue the probe.However, the ACB that is a war-zone between the Kejriwal government and Jung, had been carrying out an independent inquiry on Jung’s orders. It has recently completed the inquiry and will reportedly file a 1000-page chargesheet within the next two days. Sources said Jung has also sanctioned filing of the chargesheet.Sisodia demanded to know that if the chargesheet was actually shown to Jung, then why was Delhi government bypassed. He quoted the Government of NCT of Delhi (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1993 framed by the President of India u/s 44 of GNCTD Act, according to which ACB is a wing of vigilance department. “Then why was vigilance department bypassed?” he asked.In the letter, Sisodia has sought a report on the issue from SS Yadav and MK Meena, who are in charge of the ACB by September 7.While Yadav was appointed by the Delhi government as the ACB in-charge, Meena was appointed in June by Jung for the position of the ACB chief, against AAP’s wishes. For a long while, AAP refused to accept Meena’s appointment, following which the party was forced to soften its stand. The matter is sub-judice at present.The AAP has also attacked Jung over its recent letter to the chief justice on the delay in appointment of the Lokyukta on the Delhi government’s part. On Wednesday, Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted, “LG sir do you deliberately mark your letters to BJP leaders so that the onus of leaking privileged communication is not on you?”

Pakistani boat row: Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali to face court marshal

New Delhi: Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali, who had contradicted government’s version of events in connection with the interception of a Pakistani boat in January, will face court martial proceedings from September after being indicted by a Board of Inquiry.

The BoI was instituted in February after Coast Guard found “unsatisfactory” Loshali’s reply to the showcause notice issued to him over remarks that he had ordered the Pakistani boat to be blown up off the Porbandar coast.

Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali.Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali.

Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali.

The Board had submitted its report to the Coast Guard headquarters in late April after which it was studied at various levels.

“The BOI had called for strict action. The General Court Martial Proceedings against DIG B K Loshali will start in September,” a defence source said.

Asked about the content of the report, sources said unedited video showed that Loshali did make the assertion that he had ordered the boat to be blown up, contrary to the denial he made later.

They added “suitable action will be taken” and that he will face strict action.

Loshali had contradicted the government’s claim that the crew of the intruding Pakistani boat had themselves set the vessel ablaze, leading to an explosion that caused the vessel to sink.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Coast Guard have consistently maintained that the occupants of the boat had “self-destructed” after being chased by Coast Guard ships on the intervening night of 31 December and 1 January.

Notwithstanding Loshali’s claims, Parrikar had said his ministry stood by its version and even hinted at disciplinary action against him.

“Let me tell you. I hope you remember 31st December night. We blew off that Pakistan… We have blown them off. I was there at Gandhinagar and I told at night, blow the boat off.

We don’t want to serve them biryani,” Loshali had bragged in the video before backtracking and claiming that he was misquoted.

He was removed as the Chief of Staff in Northwest region and attached to Coast Guard’s zonal headquarters after the Board of Inquiry was constituted.

PTI

Supreme Court asks CVC about assistance in probe against ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that he will get back to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and whether his office can do the inquiry or not and then inform the court.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
SC ask The Supreme Court on Monday sought to know from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) about the assistance it could provide in the probe against former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha who was accused of scuttling investigations in the coal block allocation scam.”We want to know from the CVC, what assistance we can get from it in the probe,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said while posting the matter for September 7.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that he will get back to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and whether his office can do the inquiry or not and then inform the court. He said it was because of the fact that the nature of probe against Sinha would be like a police inquiry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior advocate Amarender Sharan, appearing for CBI, said instead of going into all this, it would be appropriate to look into the 14 regular cases, which were dealt by Sinha to ascertain any wrong doing on his part. However, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Common Cause, which has accused Sinha of scuttling the probe, submitted that it was a serious matter which cannot be investigated by either the CBI or the CVC and should be entrusted to people having experience in investigation like former apex court judge, Santosh Hegde or former Uttar Pradesh DGP Parkash Singh.The apex court has chosen former CBI Special Director M L Sharma who has given his consent to assist the CVC in its probe against Sinha. The Attorney General said Sharma’s remuneration and staff support has not yet been finalised. The former CBI officer has sought time to select the officers to assist him in the inquiry. Sharma had on July 6 emerged as the first choice of the Supreme Court to assist the CVC after the anti-corruption watchdog said it did not have its own investigating arm.The bench had on May 14 admonished Sinha for his “completely inappropriate” meetings with coal scam accused in the absence of investigating officers (IOs) and had said “further inquiry is necessary” to ascertain the fairness and impact of his conduct in the coal scam probe. The bench, which is monitoring the probe, had sought the CVC’s assistance to determine the methodology for conducting such an inquiry on whether his meetings with the accused had any impact on the investigations, the subsequent charge sheets or closure reports filed by the CBI.

CRPF jawan guns down officer, student in Assam; injures four

Nalbari, Assam: A CRPF jawan today allegedly opened indiscriminate fire at his colleagues when they were out on an operational task in the district, leaving his colleague and a Class IX student dead.

Ten others were injured in the firing that took place when the CRPF jawans were on duty at an agitation spot on the National Highway 31.

An injured CRPF jawan being brought to Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) for treatment after clashes between CRPF and protestors in Guwahati on Friday. PTIAn injured CRPF jawan being brought to Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) for treatment after clashes between CRPF and protestors in Guwahati on Friday. PTI

An injured CRPF jawan being brought to Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) for treatment after clashes between CRPF and protestors in Guwahati on Friday. PTI

A large number of people under the banner of the Tihu Sub-Division Demand Committee were blocking the NH-31 at Tihu.

“While on duty, a CRPF jawan suddenly started firing indiscriminately, mainly on his colleagues. Two persons were killed on the spot and several others were injured,” Nalbari deputy commissioner Om Prakash told reporters at Nalbari.

The havildar, identified as Amal Kumar Das, allegedly killed a CRPF assistant sub-inspector DR Bordoloi and Himangshu Tamuli, an agitator studying in Class IX, he said.

“Four more CRPF personnel and one agitator sustained bullet injuries and were treated at the Shahid Mukunda Kalita Civil Hospital. Later, they were shifted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital in A critical condition,” Prakash said.

The injured CRPF personnel were Janardan Mahal (33), Dayaram Boro (41), Diganta Kumar Baniya (34) and Nirmal Das (40), while the agitator has been identified as Brajen Baishya (21).

Besides, five more agitators were injured during the commotion on the spot and they were being treated at a local hospital at Tihu, the DC said.

“We are yet to get the details, but it appears that the CRPF jawan was mentally disturbed. It was not a firing on protesters,” Prakash said.

The DC praised the additional deputy commissioner Mrigesh Barua, who was on the spot to talk to agitators demanding creation of Tihu sub-division, for showing courage and snatching the rifle of the CRPF jawan.

“Barua’s courage have saved a few more lives. He snatched the rifle from the CRPF jawan and pulled him down to the ground,” Prakash said.

Senior officials of the paramilitary and local police have reached the spot even as CRPF has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the fratricidal incident.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi termed the incident as “unfortunate” and said this showed the level of frustration among the personnel of Central forces.

“Such incidents are happening more frequently these days. This is alarming. I request the Central government to do everything possible to improve the working and living condition of the jawans,” the chief minister said.

Gogoi said it was “not a fight with demonstrators, but firing by a CRPF jawan on his colleagues”.

PTI

Solar scam: Panel serves notice to Kerala CM, Ministers

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was on Friday served notice by a commission probing the solar panel scam which had rocked the state in 2013.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was on Friday served notice by a commission probing the solar panel scam which had rocked the state in 2013.Besides Chandy, the Justice Sivarajan Commission also issued notice to several politicians, including state ministers and legislators against whom several witnesses gave statements and submitted evidence during their examination. Notices have been issued on the basis of Section 8 (B) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, which says that persons likely to be prejudicially affected by the inquiry to be heard.However, there is no compulsion for the CM and others to appear before the Commission because of the notice as it was meant to give them a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the inquiry and to produce evidence in their defence. The commission, headed by retired High Court judge G Sivarajan, has examined several people, including politicians from the opposition on whether the government suffered any financial loss due to the alleged deals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The solar case relates to duping of several persons by the two prime accused Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan after promising to install solar power panels for them. While Saritha was granted bail after being behind bars for some nine months, Biju Radhakrishnan is still in jail. After the scam broke out, the opposition had demanded resignation of Chandy as the names of two of his personal staff had come up during the probe. PTI TGB

Will return to India when I feel safe, says writer Taslima Nasreen

She said, “I often go to USA to give lectures and to see my family. I havn’t left India permanently and Indian government always provides security.”

File photo

Outspoken writer and human rights activist Taslima Nasreen, who has been relocated to the US after death threats by Islamist radicals said that she will return to India when she feels safe.Countering immediate threats, a New York-based non-profit educational, advocacy and research organisation has relocated her to the United States.The step to relocate Nasrin has been taken in the wake of the murder of three secular bloggers, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das in Bangladesh.Taking to micro blogging site, Nasreen said she is not leaving India permanantly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She said, “I often go to USA to give lectures and to see my family. I havn’t left India permanently and Indian government always provides security.” Stating that she was threatened by Islamists who killed atheist bloggers in Bangladesh, she added, “I was worried and wanted to meet Government of India, but did not get the appointment. I will be back when feel safe.”The Center for Inquiry (CIF) was prompted to act after Nasrin was recently named as one of the next targets for murder by the extremists who killed the three bloggers. However, the group said that her safety was only temporary if she cannot remain in the US, adding that they had set up an emergency fund to help her with food, housing and means for her to be safely settled.Also Read: TMC MP questions Taslima Nasreen’s character, calls for ban on film based on her”Taslima is a truly international role model, as her work and her courage inspire people of all ages to question tradition, challenge dogma, and fight for human rights,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “We could not stand by while her life was in danger, nor will we turn our backs on the other brave freethinkers in fear for their lives. I know our community will make a strong show of solidarity and give generously to this emergency fund,” he added. The CFI has established an emergency fund to assist free thought activists whose lives are under threat by Islamic radicals linked to al Qaeda in countries such as Bangladesh, where three secular bloggers have been murdered since February. (With ANI inputs)

Sindhurakshak accident cannot be blamed on anyone: Govt tells Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said the explosion onboard submarine INS Sindhurakshak in 2013 that led to the death of 18 personnel was “probably induced” during the process of arming of the torpedoes and cannot be blamed on anyone.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a written reply to a question, told Rajya Sabha that the accident cannot be blamed on anyone since none of the officers or sailors present inside the submarines survived.

However, he said that disciplinary action against two officers in the chain of command has been initiated for individual lapses.

“Board of Inquiry (BoI) has concluded that the incident onboard INS Sindhurakshak in the night of 13/14 August 2013 was an accident probably induced during the process of arming of the torpedoes.

“Since none of the officers and sailors present inside the submarine survived, it has not been possible to attribute any blame to any individual for failure or negligence, if any,” he said.

He said that lessons learnt from the reports of BoI are implemented appropriately.

Corrective steps have been taken by Naval Headquarters with extensive checks on weapon-related safety systems and audit of Standard Operating Procedures on all operational naval units, he said.

“Safety procedures and professional checks have been re-emphasised. Incidents Study and Analysis Cells have been instituted at professional schools wherein lessons learnt are incorporated into professional training. Safety Audits of various units are being regularly conducted,” he said.

The INS Sindhurakshak accident is regarded as the worst submarine disaster for the Indian Navy and had led to the resignation of then Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi.

The Minister also gave details of accidents or incidents involving the Navy since 2014.

According to his figures, there were 12 accidents or incidents involving Navy vessels since January 2014.

PTI

BJP discussing the type of enquiry over Vadra issue

A day after CAG report pointed at grant of “undue favours” to builders, including Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality under previous Congress regime, BJP on Thursday said the party was internally discussing on what type of inquiry is to be set up regarding ‘Vadra’ issue.

A day after CAG report pointed at grant of “undue favours” to builders, including Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality under previous Congress regime, BJP on Thursday said the party was internally discussing on what type of inquiry is to be set up regarding ‘Vadra’ issue.”The party is discussing what type of inquiry is to be set up and when is to be set up regarding this (Vadra) issue.What will be the terms of reference of the inquiry…we are still discussing and no decision has been taken yet,” BJP National Secretary and Incharge of Haryana Anil Jain said.He was asked to response what type of action will be taken after CAG report pointed out “undue favours” to developers including Skylight Hospitality.CAG in its latest report which was tabled yesterday in the Haryana Assembly had pointed out “undue favours” to builders including Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality, by the Haryana Government during the Congress regime.
In its report for the year 2013-14, tabled in Haryana Assembly today, the official auditor has come down heavily on the Town and Country Planning Department.”…the department neither at the time of granting in-principle approval nor at the time of formal approval for transfer of licenses ensured that net profit beyond 15 per cent of the total cost accrues to public exchequer.”This enabled the developers to earn huge profits merely by selling the land while the government had to forego sizeable amount,” the CAG report had said.The BJP and other Congress rivals had trained their guns on the previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda government accusing it of showing favours to Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in his land deal with realty giant DLF.Though the report did not name Vadra, his company, Skylight Hospitality, was named. Skylight Hospitality, the report noted, sold a prime 3.5 acre piece of land in Manesar in Gurgaon district to DLF in 2008 for Rs 58 Crore.

Dornier Aircraft crash: Body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat found

Panaji: The body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat was today recovered from the fuselage of the ill-fated Dornier Aircraft of the Navy which had crashed during a flying sortie off the Goa coast even as another officer continues to be missing.

File photo of Lt Kiran ShekhawatFile photo of Lt Kiran Shekhawat

File photo of Lt Kiran Shekhawat

“The body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat has been recovered from the fuselage of the aircraft. They body is being taken to Goa,” Navy Spokesperson Captain DK Shamra said in New Delhi.

Shekhawat, an Observer, had taken part in the first all-women marching contingent of the Navy during the Republic Day parade.

INS Makar, a naval hydrographic vessel, had detected a large metallic object using its side-scan sonar at a depth of 50-60 metres.

Later on inspection, it was confirmed that the object was the fuselage of the Dornier aircraft.

The maritime surveillance aircraft had crashed south-west off Goa coast on Tuesday night at 2208 hours.

Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the aircraft and has 4,000 flying hours to his credit, was rescued about an hour after the crash by a fishing vessel.

Presently, there are 12 ships, including two of Indian Coast Guard, and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue operations.

A Board of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident.

PTI