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From NJAC to Yakub Memon: Top cases that rocked Supreme Court in 2015

It rejected pleas seeking death penalty for Vikas and Vishal Yadav, serving 30 years jail term for brutally killing Nitish Katara in 2002. It simultaneously dismissed appeals of Yadav against the conviction and agreed to hear the limited issue as to whether the jail-term awarded to them was fair or just.

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Modi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s Lahore visit ‘step in the right direction’, says J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Sayeed hoped that the meeting between the two leaders will provide the much-needed momentum to the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues between the two countries.
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Keep it up: PM Narendra Modi tells ITBP squad at Kabul Embassy in Afghanistan

A Christmas Miracle: Twitter reacts to Narendra Modi’s ‘impromptu’ Pakistan visit!

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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Modi in Pakistan Live: PM Narendra Modi departs for Lahore to meet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif

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Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday departed for Lahore for his surprise visit to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The two Prime Ministers would be meeting at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.Earlier, confirming the news, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif and wished him on his birthday. Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday. The two Prime Ministers had last met at the Paris Climate Summit COP21

Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

Thousands soak in Christmas celebrations in Kolkata

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Around 500 police personnel were deployed in the Park Street area only, the nerve-centre of Christmas revelry with officers of Deputy Commissioner rank overseeing the situation.

Park Street Christmas decorations (Image credit – Mamata Banerjee’s Twitter account)

Thousands of revellers in the city celebrated Christmas with most churches holding the traditional midnight mass tonight.Kolkata was all decked up with lights, balloons, Christmas trees and other decorations to welcome the occasion and witnessed a huge number of people taking to the streets to soak in the revelry.Starting from Park Street, Allen Park, Bow Barracks, St Paul’s Cathedral and other famous churches in and around the city to other major landmarks, revellers poured out in thousands with the evening slipping into midnight.Kolkata Police have tightened the security measures in the city and till midnight have arrested 50 persons for disorderly conduct, a senior officer of the force told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 500 police personnel were deployed in the Park Street area only, the nerve-centre of Christmas revelry with officers of Deputy Commissioner rank overseeing the situation.

7th Pay Commission: Five states ask Modi government to ‘go slow’ on salary hikes

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“Punjab’s finances are under stress and the burden of the Pay Commission’s recommendations will certainly have an impact… Our officials have informally taken up the matter with the Centre,” confirmed Punjab Finance Minister PS Dhindsa.

Arun Jaitley and AK Mathur

Five states have asked the Narendra Modi government to go slow on the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, says a report in Indian Express.The five states are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. These states have asked for more time before being able to absorb pay hikes as recommended by the Commission, due to their financially delicate situation.”There are several states who have approached the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretary and Niti Aayog, seeking more time in implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s report,” said a government official to Indian Express.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Seventh Pay Commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, submitted its report to the government last month, recommending 23.55% overall hike in pay, allowances and pensions of government employees with effect from January 1, 2016. This means the Centre’s salary bill will increase by Rs 1,02,100 crore in 2016-17.”Punjab’s finances are under stress and the burden of the Pay Commission’s recommendations will certainly have an impact… Our officials have informally taken up the matter with the Centre,” confirmed Punjab Finance Minister PS Dhindsa.”Normally they (states) adopt the Centre’s recommendations. This is the normal procedure, but it certainly depends upon their (states’) financial health. Some of the states have not even implemented the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendation,” Justice Mathur told The Indian Express.”Some of the states may have suggested (delayed implementation) to the government, but I don’t think the Government of India is in a bad position,” he said.When contacted, Odisha’s Additional Chief Secretary (Finance Department), R Balakrishnan said: “At this stage, we don’t want to comment on it.”The West Bengal government has set up its own Pay Commission to determine the hike. It is expected to be on the same lines as enumerated by the Centre.Meanwhile, the Union finance ministry has set up an implementation cell for processing and implementing accepted recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

Family had contacted ISIS suspect Sultan, begged him to return: Police

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As per Majid, a few days before Ayaz left home, he had told his mother that he wanted to open a computer shop on rent nearby and wanted Rs 2 lakh for it.

Islamic State militant

Family of Ayaz Sultan, who, security agencies suspect, left the country to join terror outfit Islamic State, had contacted him on Wednesday afternoon. The family members said they had contacted Ayaz on at least three occasions since he disappeared, but he did not respond to them. According to his brother-in-law Majid Shaikh, “Ayaz was online on WhatsApp on Wednesday, his last seen was 12.42pm. He was also online last Friday. We dropped him several messages and WhatsApp calls on his number, but he didn’t get back to us. Though his phone is switched off, he has internet access. His mother too pleaded with him to come back as the family is facing a lot of trouble because of his disappearance. We hope he replies to us soon.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As per Majid, a few days before Ayaz left home, he had told his mother that he wanted to open a computer shop on rent nearby and wanted Rs 2 lakh for it. She gave him Rs1 lakh and told him to arrange for the remaining money. He added that after a few days Ayaz told his family that he would be giving a job interview to secure work in Kuwait-based company soon. “On October 30 around 5.30am, Ayaz kept all his luggage outside the house, he was trying to give the impression that he was going for a short trip. So he started to leave carrying just a backpack, that’s when his mother woke up and asked him where was going. Ayaz said he was going to Pune for the job interview. He has not returned since,” said Majid. When there was no word from Ayaz and his phone was switched off, the family contacted Ayaz’s sister in Kuwait. She told them that Ayaz had not come there. That’s when they started getting worried and lodged a missing complaint with the Malwani police. Ayaz used to regularly hang out with Wajid Shaikh, Mohsin Shaikh and one Moin from the same locality. The family then started making inquiries with Wajid and Mohsin. “Mohsin told me that Ayaz had taken Rs10,000 from him. Wajid too was unaware of Ayaz’s whereabouts. We later learnt that on December 15 Wajid, Mohsin and one Noor Mohammed have left their homes. Ayaz never told me what he did with Rs1 lakh his mother gave him,” said Majid. “Ayaz was the only well-educated person in the family, knowledgeable about computer… His family told the police that they had noticed change in his behaviour, he used to stay isolated and would mostly stay out of the house. At home too, he would spend most of his time on his mobile phone, which had an internet connection. We are not ruling out his chances of having left the country,” said an officer from Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

How will he get the care he needs if he’s sent back to jail: GN Saibaba’s wife

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The 90% disabled, wheelchair-bound professor’s wife said that before his arrest Saibaba’s both hands were working properly.

Dr GN Saibaba
File Photo

A day after the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court cancelled the temporary bail of Delhi University professor Dr GN Saibaba, his wife on Thursday expressed her apprehension about the further deterioration of her husband’s health. The visibly bold-looking Vasantha could not control her emotions at a press conference in Delhi. She said her husband is in a better position today because of her sincere effort to provide him adequate treatment. The 90% disabled, wheelchair-bound professor’s wife said that before his arrest Saibaba’s both hands were working properly, but due to his over-14-month incarceration in the high security anda cell in Nagpur Central jail, his left hand is now barely functioning.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I would like to sue the people responsible for his worsening health… He needs absolute care and attention. How will that be possible if he goes back to jail?” she asked. She expressed her anguish over the high court order which ignored the English professor’s health and said that besides physiotherapy for his physical disability, Saibaba has been getting treatment for high blood pressure, heart ailment and also for the stones in both of his kidneys and the gall bladder. The family had to shift to Vasant Kunj near the Spinal Injury Centre for Saibaba’s frequent treatment for his spinal problem. Recounting the Maharashtra police raid at their house earlier, Vasantha said, “Raids were conducted at our house without any search warrant. My husband was fighting for the rights of poor tribals in Chhattisgarh, which has resulted him to be linked with Maoists.” On Wednesday, the high court rejected Saibaba’s plea for regular bail and directed him to surrender within 48 hours before the court concerned. Meanwhile, civil rights activists and eminent academicians from the Delhi University have criticised the court order terming it as “prejudice” and saying “the judiciary needs accountability for such type of orders”. Regarding the court’s notice to writer Arundhati Roy’s article over Saibaba’s arrest, they said, “It is an attack on the civil liberties.” Last June, the Mumbai police had arrested him for his alleged links with Maoists after questioning him more than four times at his residence. A division bench headed by Bombay High Court chief justice had granted him interim bail which was again extended in September till December.

Passengers travel with choked toilets on Kerala-bound WR train

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Among them was Thane-resident Valsarajan Nair, who called it the worst commuting experience of his life.

Representational Image
File Photo

Hundreds of passengers on the special 09310 Indore-Kochuveli Suvidha Express had a torrid time on Wednesday and Thursday as the train’s water supply played truant and its toilets started choking and then overflowing. To rub it in, the train was part of the Suvidha scheme, where the fare can go as high as three times the Tatkal fare for other trains on the same route. Several Mumbaikars who boarded the train from Panvel for their destination stations in Kerala, paid almost Rs3,000 for 3rd AC tickets. Among them was Thane-resident Valsarajan Nair, who called it the worst commuting experience of his life. Nair boarded the train at Panvel on Wednesday around 1.30pm. He, along with his wife and son and another relative, were booked in coach B3.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We soon realised that despite having charged us for catering, there was no food available. Then we realised that the water supply to toilets in coaches B3 and B4 had stopped. Soon, toilets were a mess and it was stinking inside the compartments. The air-conditioning and the lack of air circulation was making the stench even worse,” Nair told dna over phone.In fact, there was more commuting horrors in store as the railway staff on the train and at stations en route pleaded helplessness. “I filed a complaint with the Chiplun station manager when the train reached there in the evening. However, it was not of any help because the water supply to the washrooms did not get restored at all,” said Nair.By Thursday morning, the toilets of coach B1 had overflown, with some of the water flowing into the coach, said Nair. “It is unfortunate that the railways talks about giving passengers comfort, but is a total failure when a situation like this arises. Most want to pass the buck on to the other and the passenger is the loser,” said Nair.Repeated attempts to reach Western Railway officials was in vain. A message sent to Manoj Sharma, divisional railway manager (DRM) Ratlam, went unanswered. The train is run by the Ratlam division of WR.

Madras HC quashes order directing PIO activist to leave India

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Activist had received the order from the district Collector asking to leave the country within seven days with all his family members.

The Madras High Court on Thursday set aside an order of Udhagamandalam District Collector directing a lawyer activist attached to a US-based NGO and his family members, who are Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) holding US passports, to leave the country within seven days. In an urgent sitting on the petition by Gregory Omar Malstead, residing in the country since 2000, Justice K Kalyanasundaram quashed the December 14, 2015 order of the Collector and directed him to pass an appropriate order in accordance with law after giving a personal hearing to the petitioner as expeditiously as possible. While the petitioner contended that during his 15 years of stay in the country he had not violated any law or indulged in any objectionable activity, the central government submitted that Malstead was ‘propagating’ his religion under the guise of taking up the cause of exploitation of women and children. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defending the District Collector’s order, senior central government Standing Counsel Rabu Manohar submitted that the petitioner had been propagating his religion under the guise of social activities in Udhagamandalam, a hill resort town. The Judge directed the petitioner to co-operate with the inquiry. He also made clear that any adverse order against the petitioner shall not be implemented for a period of two weeks. According to Malstead, he, his wife Rebecca Ann Malstead and two children are overseas citizens of India holding US Passports as per a January 9, 2015 order of the government recognising all Persons of Indian Origin as OCIs. He is a member of American Bar Association and Georgia State Bar Association.Initially, he was residing in Mumbai and was a consultant with International Justice Mission (IJM) when the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, directed him to leave India immediately on the ground that his activities as a human rights activist amounted to alleged violation of visa rules.When he challenged it, the Mumbai High Court passed an order that he should be given personal hearing before passing any orders and the matter was put to rest thereafter. From March 2005, he was residing in Udagamandalam where he later become National Director of Freedom Firm, having registered office at Udagamandalam and a registered trust associated with the Freedom Firm, USA, a not-for-profit company involved in rescue of minors sold into the commercial sex trade, Malstead said.His children were studying in class 10 and 11 respectively in a school in the hill resort town. Whileso, he received the order from the district Collector asking to leave the country within seven days with all his family members.The petitioner claimed no opportunity was given to him before issuing the order and that he was completely unaware of the reasons for such a directive. He further contended his work for the social cause of exploited women was appreciated by authorities, including the District Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate of Udagamandalam. On receipt of the order, he met the Collector on December 22 and sought more time to leave India citing his children’s studies. But the Collector refused to grant any more time.Malstead claimed the order was passed on the basis that he was a foreigner. However, he was holder of a PIO card which is now deemed to be an OCI card and as such he has the status of a citizen of India and consequently cannot be termed a foreigner .

Arvind Kejriwal exploits simplicity for publicity: Manohar Parrikar

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Manohar Parrikar

Describing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as someone who tries to gain publicity out of his simple ways, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said success can go to a person’s head if he or she doesn’t have the capability to deal with failure.”When Arvind Kejriwal started making publicity of his simple ways, people started talking about my own simplicity. But I feel that simplicity should not be for publicity… “If a person wants to become successful, he should have the power to absorb failure. Else success tends to go to the head,” Parrikar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was speaking at the inaugural session of golden jubilee conference of the state unit of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), BJP’s student wing, here. In the last 15-20 years, barons who have turned education into business have mushroomed in Maharashtra, he noted.”This is the reason why students get only printed degrees (not real education)… People are studying further and further for jobs. I have seen students studying upto PhD level. The question then arises how do you find a groom for a PhD-holder bride,” he said in jest. He also said that India needs to become strong not to pick flaws of other countries, but to ensure that no country dares to cast “evil eye” at India.

TMC ministers get engaged in ugly verbal spat; cautioned by party

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Trouble for Mamata Banerjee ?

Two Trinamool Congress ministers were on Thursday allegedly locked in a verbal duel at a programme in Malda to distribute land rights, prompting party leadership to caution them.Minister of Refugee Rehabilitation Department Sabitri Mitra arranged the programme to distribute land rights (patta) to the refugees living at Old Malda and English Bazar sub-divisions. While the pattas were being distributed among the beneficiaries, Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, Minister for Food Processing, allegedly stormed on to the stage and asked the sub-divisional officers present there as to why the programme was convened without informing him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chowdhury said neither he nor the local councillor was informed about the programme and claimed pattas could not be distributed in this manner. Mitra however defended the move to distribute pattas and said Chowdhury was “apprised” of it. “He (Krishnendu Chowdhury) threatened the officers. Why did he have to do it? I had informed him”, she said.Later the programme resumed without distribution of land rights to the beneficiaries of the English Bazar municipality. As visuals of the verbal spat between the two ministers went viral on television and the Internet, the party top leadership took exception and asked MP Subhendu Adhikari, who is the observer for the district to talk to the two ministers and caution them.The recurring incidents of internal bickering in the Trinamool Congress had forced party chief Mamata Banerjee to caution leaders on December 12, asking them to focus instead on development programme.

Modi in Russia: PM Modi invites security partner Moscow to become partner in prosperity

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“The good news is that our trade and business relations are becoming vibrant. A number of Russian and Indian companies are working together,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is on a two-day visit to Russia for the 16th Annual Summit, on Thursday invited Moscow to become India’s partner in prosperity just as it has stayed a partner in security. Prime Minister Modi, who was addressing the CEO forum, said that Russia would always remain a vital partner of India, not only in energy and mineral resources, but in cutting edge technologies too. “I am here to invite our partner in security to become partner in prosperity also. Russia has and will always be a vital and long-term partner, not only in energy and mineral resources, but in cutting edge technologies too,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The good news is that our trade and business relations are becoming vibrant. A number of Russian and Indian companies are working together,” he added. Prime Minister Modi also said that from the cooperation between the two nations was moving ahead from hydrocarbons ‘to the hardest form of carbon- diamonds’. The Prime Minister also said that Russia had a huge scope of being a part of the Make in India campaign. Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that high tech, innovation, energy, aircraft building, pharma and diamonds were promising areas for India-Russia cooperation. The two leaders also agreed to institutionalise the CEO’s Forum with two meetings annually: one in India and one in Russia. After the talks, the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade. Earlier, the Prime Minister paid his tribute to the famed valour of Russia’s soldiers by laying wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During the day, Prime Minister Modi visited EMERCOM -the National Crisis Management Centre, NCMC, in Moscow. He was given an overview of the actual functioning and real-time monitoring operations of the Centre. He was also informed in detail about the coordination among various disaster-relief agencies, which is done by this Centre. The space monitoring and 3D modelling capabilities were also explained. The Prime Minister took keen interest in the disaster prevention and response activities being coordinated by the Centre, as well as its global outreach. He described the work being done by the Centre as a great service to humanity.

DDCA scam: Kirti Azad seeks PM Narendra Modi’s intervention

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A day after his suspension, defiant Azad maintained that his fight was only against ‘corruption’ in the DDCA and not against any individual.

Member of Parliament Kirti Azad, who was expelled from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his tirade against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in connection with irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervene into the matter. He said he would seek a court-monitored probe into the alleged DDCA irregularities. Speaking to reporters here, Azad said he would file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in his personal capacity on the DDCA issue, and warned that people ‘will be in trouble’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after his suspension, defiant Azad maintained that his fight was only against ‘corruption’ in the DDCA and not against any individual. He asked for ‘specific reasons’ for the disciplinary action against him by the party. Azad earlier said he would respond to the suspension notice today with the help of party leader Subramanian Swamy. “Have received notice, will respond to it. Subramanian Swamy has told me that he will help me in drafting reply to the notice,” Azad told the media here.Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has confirmed that he would assist Azad in replying to the notice. “I confirm this that I will assist Kirti Azad on the draft notice from the party. I know him since when he was a boy. I was a good friend of his father. Further, I will say he is still member of BJP. I have every right to assist him. I don’t think party should lose such a honest person like him,? swamy told ANI. The BJP had yesterday suspended its Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad.

Kirti Azad suspended: What happened to ‘Na khaoonga na khaney doonga’? Rahul Gandhi asks PM Modi

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Congress wondered whether suspending a party member who “exposed” corruption is the new meaning of promised “achche din”, a reference to PM’s poll slogan .

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday led Congress’ all out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension as it questioned the PM’s “silence” on alleged corruption in DDCA and accused him of “shielding” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The opposition party also hailed Azad as “whistleblower” ruing that instead of taking purposive action in the matter, the BJP leadership thought it fit to “shoot down the messenger”. It wondered whether suspending a party member who “exposed” corruption is the new meaning of promised “achche din”, a reference to PM’s poll slogan .<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pillorying the Prime Minister over his “na khaoonga na khaney doonga” election slogan, Gandhi said, “During election campaign, Modi spoke about scams and said he would not allow corruption. But now scams are taking place and the latest is the cricket scam, and the MP who raised it has been suspended (from the BJP).” “Modi used to say ‘na khaoonga, na khaney doonga’ (will not engage in corruption myself, nor will allow others). But today he is silent. People have started losing faith,” he said while returnig from his two-day visit to Amethi. At the AICC briefing in Delhi, former Law Minister Ashwini Kumar questioned the NDA government over its “benchmark on corruption” reminding the BJP that it used to make an issue of such incidents during the UPA regime.”Amidst expectations of a fair and credible probe into the DDCA scam and demands that the Prime Minister sack his Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ensure probity in public life, Modi has done the opposite. The Congress party is forced to ask as to why are the Prime Minister and BJP shielding, supporting and protecting perpetrators of corruption,” Kumar told reporters. Rahul said Modi should take action and conduct inquiry into affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association(DDCA)of which Jaitley was the president for 13 years till 2013. His remarks came a day after BJP cracked the whip and suspended cricketer-turned-MP Azad, charging him with indulging in anti-party activities and accusing him of “colluding” with Congress and AAP to bring it to “disrepute”. Under relentless attack from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leaders on alleged corruption in Delhi cricket body DDCA, Jaitley today accused him and AAP leaders of lowering the level of public discourse saying vulgarity is not a right available to people in positions.In a sharp retort, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said that while AAP has “lowered the dignity” in speech, the BJP has “lowered the dignity in action”. “Having cited the example of L K Advani, who had resigned from the Cabinet pending the High Court decision in the Hawala case, why is the Prime Minister not asking his Finance Minister to emulate the example of Advani. “Considering the benchmark established by the BJP during the UPA government for seeking the resignation of UPA Minister, why the double standards now,” Kumar said.

ULFA leader Anup Chetia released from jail

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Following his extradition on November 11, Chetia was arrested by CBI in Delhi in connection with a murder in Golaghat

Anup Chetia

ULFA general secretary Golap Baruah, alias Anup Chetia, was on Thursday released from the Guwahati Central Jail after obtaining bail in four cases registered against him.Chetia had on Wednesday got bail in the last of the four cases against him paving the way for his release from the jail Emerging from the jail, the ULFA leader told journalists that he will participate in the peace talks.Chetia said that he was in favour the ongoing peace talks between the central government and ULFA for restoring peace in Assam. “Many quarters have suspected that as in 1992 we will not continue with the talks with the government. I want to sincerely say that the political times then have changed today and have made us think afresh”, Chetia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will be a part of the ongoing tripartite talks among the ULFA, central and Assam governments to resolve the insurgency issue”, he said. On the role of his former colleague and now ULFA (Independent) ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah in the peace talks, Chetia said “the contributions of Paresh Baruah have to be acknowledged in taking forward our revolution during the last three decades. It is sad that he is not a part of the peace talks”.Following his extradition on November 11, Chetia was arrested by CBI in Delhi in connection with a murder in Golaghat. Chetia was handed over to India by Bangladesh where he was in jail since his arrest by the country’s police in 1997 on charges of cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.

Full text of Arun Jaitley’s Facebook post hitting out at Arvind Kejriwal and AAP

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Here’s the full text of Arun Jaitley’s Facebook post.

File Photo

On Thursday, Union Finance Minister launched an attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for his recent outbursts and called out Arvind Kejriwal for his unparliamentary language. Jaitley has also accused AAP govt and its supporters of lowering level of public discourse in the country. Jaitley’s attack comes at a time, when AAP has alleged him of being involved in DDCA scam and has even constituted an enquiry committee to probe the matter. BJP MP Kirti Azad has been suspended from the party for his harsh comments about Arun Jaitley.Here’s the full text of Arun Jaitley’s Facebook post: <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>STRAY THOUGHTS AFTER THE WINTER SESSIONThe Winter Session of Parliament has just concluded yesterday. The Winter Session gives rise to a few legitimate thoughts which I must share.On Parliamentary Democracy:Parliamentary Democracy has been India’s foremost strength. Different shades of political opinions, regions, States, communities, tribes, all find their way in the decision making process in Parliament. Parliamentary protests are not unheard of in India. In extreme cases there are precedents of disturbance in the past. But the last two sessions have witnessed a clear stand of the Congress Party that Parliament shall not be allowed to function. Most of the congress leaders, in private, have expressed helplessness over the decision of their leadership that Parliament must be disturbed continuously. The moot question which arises for the Congress Party is, ‘how does India legislate?’ The Standing Committee mechanism which worked exceedingly well since 1993, has been weakened in the Rajya Sabha, by the House repeatedly appointing Select Committees, questioning the opinions of the Standing Committee. If this tendency continues, a successful institution of Standing Committee could be hurt. The Government, therefore, has adopted an alternative option of a Joint Committee to consider the Bankruptcy Law. There are other options being suggested, such as to pass legislation without a Standing Committee or drafting laws in a manner to fit them into the definition of Money Bills. The latter two are not preferred options. The Congress Party leadership must seriously explore that its disproportionate and irrational approach in dealing with Parliament is hurting institutions. If Pandit Nehru can be credited in the initial years of our democracy of having laid down of healthy precedents being established, the current generation in control of the Congress Party will find a place in history of having weakened what their ancestors established. Has the country not lost out by delaying the GST since the last year’s Budget Session? How far is it desirable to pass important legislations on the last day without discussion? Statistically, we have passed a law. But has Parliament applied its mind to the law?Vulgarity:Is vulgarity the new norm of Indian politics? I hope not.Some months ago a few Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party made statements which were not appreciated even by the Party. The Party President cautioned them and advised them to refrain from making such statements. The result of the caution are visible.What about the statements made by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi about the Prime Minister and others, both inside and outside Delhi Assembly? If any functionary of the Government of India were to use such language, it would witness a nationwide outrage. People in positions are expected to act with restraint. They cannot be outlandish.Vulgarity is not a right available to them. The political discourse cannot be couched in vulgar language. Falsehood delivered with vulgar overtones is not a substitute of truth. Lumpenisation of public discourse can never be high point of politics. Functionaries of the Delhi Government and its supporters have lowered the level of political discourse. They rely heavily on general falsehood without ever stating the specifics. The Aam Aadmi Party’s success in Delhi seems to have misled the Congress Party that vulgarity brings votes. Indian public opinion has a sense of fairness. It is time that public opinion expresses its outrage against the lowering of the level of public discourse.

DDCA row: Subramanian Swamy raises questions over Kirti Azad’s suspension from BJP

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Azad has sought intervention of the ‘margdarshak mandal’, comprising Advani, Joshi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was formed by BJP president Amit Shah after he took over the party reins

Subramanian Swamy

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday appeared to question the party’s decision to suspend Kirti Azad for attacking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the DDCA row, asking whether cricket fell within the purview of party discipline.”Kirti issues are 1 — is cricket affair within the purview of party discipline. 2 — due to SC case on BCCI, is party decision amenable in court,” Swamy said on twitter. His tweet came as BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha went into a huddle over developments in the party in the wake of Azad’s suspension.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azad has sought intervention of the ‘margdarshak mandal’, comprising Advani, Joshi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was formed by BJP president Amit Shah after he took over the party reins. The four leaders, who had virtually revolted against the Modi-Shah team after BJP’s drubbing in Bihar Assembly election last month, are learnt to have discussed the situation arising out of Azad’s suspension.Cracking the whip, BJP had on Wednesday suspended its MP, who has been leading a campaign against Jaitley on alleged corruption in DDCA, charging him with indulging in anti-party activities and accusing him of “colluding” with Congress and AAP to bring it into “disrepute”.

DDCA row: BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar, Yashwant Sinha meet

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Sources said Advani drove down to Joshi’s residence and Shanta Kumar and Sinha joined them at noon for a meeting that lasted about an hour.

BJP patriarch LK Advani

BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha, who have been vocal against party leadership, on Thursday went into a huddle over developments in the party in the wake of MP Kirti Azad’s suspension after he attacked Arun Jaitley over DDCA issue.Azad has sought intervention of the ‘margdarshak mandal’, comprising Advani, Joshi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was formed by BJP president Amit Shah after he took over the party reins.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: DDCA row: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to help suspended MP Kirti AzadSources said Advani drove down to Joshi’s residence and Shanta Kumar and Sinha joined them at noon for a meeting that lasted about an hour. The four leaders, who had virtually revolted against the Modi-Shah team after BJP’s drubbing in Bihar Assembly election last month, are learnt to have discussed the situation arising out of Azad’s suspension.Related Read: DDCA row: Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi over Kirti Azad’s suspension, wants probeThey had made a strong public statement after the Bihar poll debacle, saying the party has been “emasculated” in the last one year and was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful”.Cracking the whip on Wednesday, BJP suspended Azad, who has been leading a campaign against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on alleged corruption in DDCA, charging him with anti-party activities and accusing him of “colluding” with Congress and AAP to bring it into “disrepute”.The action of the BJP Parliamentary Board to suspend him from the party’s primary membership with immediate effect came three days after his press conference attacking Jaitley and subsequent acts of defiance both inside and outside Parliament.

Car rationing to curb Delhi pollution

The local government in the Indian capital announces major restrictions on private cars to curb “alarming levels” of pollution.

DDCA row: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to help suspended MP Kirti Azad

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Making an emotional appeal, Swamy said that “I don’t think the party should lose an honest person like Azad”.

Subramanian Swamy and Kirti Azad

Controversial BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has said that he will help suspended party member Kirti Azad draft a reply to notice from the saffron party.According to ANI, Swamy seemingly backed Azad, saying that he was well within his rights to help the beleagured former cricketer and that the latter was still a member of BJP.Making an emotional appeal, Swamy said that “I don’t think the party should lose an honest person like Azad”.Speaking to the media on his suspension following allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA scam, Azad said, “I have received the (BJP) notice. I will respond to it. (But) I want to know if I have been suspended because I raised my voice against corruption in the DDCA.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have also spoken out against a lot of other corruption cases in the BCCI,” Azad said.Related Read: DDCA row: Kirti Azad suspended by BJP, defiant MP threatens to make ‘more revelations'”I am an MP, I raised some concerns and I have been suspended. But I demand that in 3 months the DDCA matter should be solved. I would want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into this and tell me what my fault is. I want specific answers,” said the former cricketer.”If speaking the truth is a crime, I will keep committing this crime. I also hope that the BJP’s Margdarshak Mandal looks into this,” Azad concluded.

Asaram Bapu case witness missing from Lucknow

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In the past, too, several witnesses have either been attacked or killed. Nine witnesses have been attacked so far and three of them have died.

Another witness in a rape case against self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu has been reported missing from the Thakurganj area of the state capital.In the past, too, several witnesses have either been attacked or killed. Nine witnesses have been attacked so far and three of them have died.The witness Rahul Sachan has been missing since November 26, station officer Samar Bahadur Yadav said, adding that a report in this regard had been lodged on the basis of a complaint by his security guard, constable Vijay Bahadur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Asaram has been in jail in Jodhpur since September 2013. Two months later, along with his son Narayan Sai, the self- styled godman was booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Surat. Talking about the missing witness, Yadav said that Sachan never shared his address and rarely took his security guard with him. The guard went to Sachan’s residence four days ago but was told by the former’s landlord that he had not come to his lodgings for many days. He said Sachan had been missing since November 26. Asaram is facing trial in three criminal cases. A sessions court in Jodhpur is trying a case against Asaram on the charge of raping a 16-year-old girl, of Shahjahanpur (UP) in his Jodhpur ashram in August 2013. Another case is being tried by a Gandhinagar court which relates to allegations of rape between 2001 and 2006 levelled by a Surat-based woman. In yet another case, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai have been accused by two sisters, also from Surat, of rape on October 6, 2013.

Grieving relatives of BSF plane crash confront Rajnath Singh

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Merely 24 hours after the crash, a wreath laying ceremony was held in the honour of nine Border Security Force and one Sashastra Seema Bal personnel, who became victims of a BSF air crash on Tuesday morning.However, the ceremony which was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung among others, proved to be an embarrassment for Singh since anger was a dominant emotion among the family members.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A sentiment which could further be aggravated. dna has learnt that the crashed Ranchi-bound aircraft personnel personnel, was a second hand carrier purchased from a United States based aircraft supplier company.According to documents accessed by dna, Aircraft Type Beech Super King Air B-200 with registration number VT-BSA, was previously owned by Rangeflyers Inc, an aircraft supplier company based in Wichita in US.According to its website, Range Flyers customers include the United States government, defense contractors, airline charter and business jet operators, aircraft manufacturers, dealers, brokers and individual aircraft owners. The BSF aircraft ( serial number BB1485) that was sold to the Union Home Ministry was de-registered in the U.S in 1995 after being used by the company for more than a year. The Home Ministry purchased the aircraft the same year and was being used ever since. An email sent to Rangeflyers Inc has so far went unanswered. The company has also not responded to phone calls made by dna. Meanwhile the inconsolable family members of the victims surrounded Singh and Rijiju at the ceremony demanding an explanation for the crashes that seem to routinely affect the air wing. Colleagues, and batch mates present at the ceremony also questioned the government, its administration and their apathy towards a soldiers life. “Why does the government even bother to hire people, if all they want to do is have them killed eventually,” an officer complained. “So much money is spent in their training, for what?,” he added. Sympathy and support was drowned by Saloni, Ravinder Kumar’s daughter as she was heard accusing Singh “why did you allow them to fly in antique planes? Why does a soldier’s family have to cry everytime?” The inconsolable family members surrounded Singh and Rijiju demanding an explanation for the crashes that seem to routinely affect the air wing. Rajendra Prasad Bhatt, elder brother of deceased Deputy Commandant Bhagwati Bhatt, had just one question on his mind “What will happen to the surviving family members?” He wondered how the government would compensate the families and ensure the financial security of their future. For a batch mate, Bhatt’s death brought back suppressed memories. According to the batch mate who wishes to remain unnamed, Bhatt is the second close friend he has lost to air crash related incidents. Four years ago in 2011, four persons died when a helicopter belonging to the Border Security Force crashed in the hills of Fatehpur village near Abu Road in Rajasthan. Among them was Bhatt’s batch mate and friend Deputy Commandant Vivek Chaudhary. There were two air crashes in 2011 alone.

It’s party time, but where’s the cheer?

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RINGING IN 2016 | Hospitality segment, hotels fear celebrations could be less than 30% this time

File picture (for illustrative purpose only)

It’s that time of the year when Mumbaikars get into celebrations. But look around, you will see the cheer missing. According to officials in the Entertainment Tax department, the dip in enthusiam could result in festivities coming down to around 30% this time.The officials point out that many organisers are backing out from organising big events this time. “Worried about the overall shortfall in revenue, we called a meeting on December 5 of all the organisers who had registered their events and parties with us last year. But almost all of them said they were not organising anything this year,” said a senior official. “If the world stops partying like this, how will we meet our target. Most years, we get nearly 60-65% of our revenues this season,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The scenario, it seems, is very bleak,” said Ravi Ranjan, brand manager of Bright Outdoors, a leading hoarding brand. “The market is very sluggish. Everybody’s unsure of what lies ahead and holding on to whatever money they have,” he told dna.“By November itself, we used to get huge New Year party ad bookings. This year, it’s almost third week of December and only three have approached,” Ranjan said adding “It is said that market follows a seven-year cycle of highs and lows. This low cycle began in 2008 and I hope it ends with 2015.”Even the organisers are trying to play it safe. Mumbai’s first ‘all-veg’ New Year party, ‘Limbo Neon Nights’, being organised by Milesahead Multimedia at Byke Suraj Plaza, is a case in study. Brushing off suggestions that he has taken the beef ban too strongly, Milesahead director Hira Bulani said, “See, I am a businessman. I will only plan something which is feasible and works for the guests.”According to him, since the Hindu holy month of Margashirsh has begun, even families which consume non-veg normally will be abstaining from it. “Also, fasts are observed on Thursdays to please Goddess Lakshmi. Why should I lose out on customers who want to observe Margashirsh and still party,” he asks.Bulani felt customers would be willing to come out and party if organizers thought out-of-the-box despite the tough market conditions. “We are taking the neon theme to another level. Like glasses which light up, glow-in-the-dark ice, etc. When you inject novelty into the theme it draws people in. The moment the hoardings went up inquiries for group bookings began pouring in en masse.”And the bookings are coming from vigilante vegetarian communities known for deep pockets. Bulani doesn’t see a problem with this though. “People who think that vegetarian and Jain food are not meant for party time, don’t know how to cook,” he said.

BJP sorts Kirti Azad out on DDCA’s ‘unplayable’ pitch

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Two days after the cricketer-turned-politician took on Jaitley on the floor of Lok Sabha, the BJP issued a one-line statement saying Azad was being suspended with immediate effect for “änti-party” activities.

Finally, the BJP has wielded the disciplinary rod suspending its MP Kirti Azad from the party’s primary membership after he publicly targeted finance minister Arun Jaitley while making corruption allegations in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Two days after the cricketer-turned-politician took on Jaitley on the floor of Lok Sabha, the BJP issued a one-line statement saying Azad was being suspended with immediate effect for “änti-party” activities. Party President Amit Shah issued a suspension order, at the end of a tumultuous winter session which witnessed a government-opposition standoff on various issues. The action was taken after consultations among the party’s parliamentary board.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “You have made several statements in the media which constitute anti-party activities and such unfounded statements and allegations were clearly intended to bring disrepute to the party and its office bearers. Your actions have also resulted in lowering the pressure of the party and its office bearers. You have deliberately embarrassed the party and its office bearers by raising these in public domain. You have acted and carried on propaganda against the decisions of the party,” Shah said in the suspension order. While Azad was not issued a show cause notice, the suspension order said he colluded with opposition parties, the Congress and AAP,. The order said he had defied party discipline inside and outside Parliament. The party dubbed his allegations as false propaganda and said the parliamentary board has suspended him from the party membership.Pressure was mounting on the BJP, which had refrained from taking any action or even reprimanding the MP, who on Sunday had gone ahead with his press conference defying the party on corruption in DDCA, which Jaitley had headed for 13 years. Azad took his battle with the high profile minister to another level when he took him on in Lok Sabha when the Opposition was demanding Jaitley’s resignation. Azad sought a SIT-monitored CBI probe into his allegations of corruption in DDCA between 2008 and 2013 and said “everyone knows who was the DDCA chief at that time.” Soon after his suspension, Azad made threatening noises saying “wait and watch my next move.” Azad has not yet been expelled from the party. “The issue I raised is old, havent teamed up with Congress or AAP. I worked honestly for the BJP but have been branded anti-party…. The one who worked honestly for the party is thrown out,” he said. When Azad met Shah and BJP general secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal, he was asked not to hold the press conference on the DDCA row as it would give ammunition to the Opposition. However, Azad went ahead. The BJP’s silence on Azad’s behaviour was threatening to spark off speculation on inner turmoil in the party. Party sources said taking action during the session would have given fuel to the Opposition. According to them, there was also pressure, particularly from the Bihar unit, to take some action against party MP Shatrughan Sinha who has been consistently tweeting against the party.

DDCA row: Kirti Azad suspended by BJP, defiant MP threatens to make ‘more revealations’

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erming the charges levelled against him as “laughable”, he rejected that he “colluded” with Opposition in attacking senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley and said it is the Opposition which has picked up the issues raised by him for the last nine years.

Kirti Azad

PTI
Suspended by BJP, Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad on Wednesday threatened to make “more revelations” in the coming days and said he didn’t expect the party “to stoop so low” by acting against him for “speaking against corruption”.”Wait and watch what I do next. Now I will tell everyone,” he said, adding he will move the party’s ‘margdarshak mandal’ which has party veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to ask if the party suspends someone for speaking against corruption in Delhi’s cricket body. “I am really very saddened. I never though that BJP would stoop to that level that a person who had joined them from an illustrious Congress family is suspended for fighting corruption,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will go to the ‘margdarshak mandal’ and ask them that if a person speaks against corruption does the party crucify such a person and suspend him,” Azad told PTI when asked about his next move. Questioning his suspension, he said the party did not follow the due process and also did not serve a show cause notice before taking such an action against a Member of Parliament.”The due process has not been followed. They did not serve a show cause notice. If you have to suspend an MP, you have to move the Parliamentary Board. Did you do that? How can they violate the very own laws that have been made by us,” he questioned. Terming the charges levelled against him as “laughable”, he rejected that he “colluded” with Opposition in attacking senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley and said it is the Opposition which has picked up the issues raised by him for the last nine years.”Who said I have teamed up? This issue I have been raising is very old, I haven’t teamed up with the Opposition. It is a matter of regret that Opposition has picked up the issue which I was raising,” he said.”Now you see and look at the Opposition, how they will have them. They will use my name and attack. My party gave it to them on the platter, not me,” he said, adding that those who have suspended him for raising a voice against corruption have “defamed” the Prime Minister.He added that he is yet to get any letter and asked, “Which letter? I have not received any letter yet. I have just reached Ahmedabad. I will see.” Azad said he felt “let down” by the party as the man against whom he raised charges did not put up a defamation case against him, but the party for which he has fought for all these years has served him a show cause. Asked about the charges that he was colluding with the Opposition, he said, “These people are telling me that I have colluded with AAP which is born only yesterday. What rubbish and ridiculous…”On whether Jaitley was behind his suspension, he claimed, “He was putting pressure, I knew it from everyone.” Claiming himself to be a man who honestly worked for the party and had an opportunity to become a Union minister when his father was the chief minister, who did not allow so, he said, “If party suspends me, it is unfortunate for the party.” He said he has been raising the issue of corruption in DDCA for nine years but “they did not listen to me. If anyone is responsible for this, it is the party itself”.”This is the reason why such a situation has risen. I have not said anything against the party. I have said that I support the Prime Minister on his statement that ‘na khaunga na khane dunga’ (Neither will I do corruption, not allow it to happen),” he said.

Delhi records its most polluted day of the year on December 23

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Although a definite conclusion could not be reached immediately, the experts attribute the spike to “open biomass burning”, mainly burning of dry leaves to fight cold, across the region for the “extraordinary rise” in the levels of the particulate matters.

Commuters travel on a polluted road near a bus terminus in the Anand Vihar District of New Delhi.

AFP photo
It was the most polluted day of the year in Delhi on Wednesday with the authorities recording the highest levels of suspended particulate matters PM 2.5 and PM 10, taking the air quality into the ‘severe’ category across the city.Although a definite conclusion could not be reached immediately, the experts attribute the spike to “open biomass burning”, mainly burning of dry leaves to fight cold, across the region for the “extraordinary rise” in the levels of the particulate matters.The air quality across Delhi had plunged into ‘severe’ level post Diwali, but pollutants had shown a steady fall earlier this month. The average of PM 2.5 (the tiniest and most damaging of all the particulate matters) and PM 10 were 295 and 470 micrograms per cubic metre respectively, which was multiple times above the corresponding safe limits of 60 and 100, centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Severe category air quality affects healthy persons and seriously impacts those with existing diseases. China’s capital Beijing has a system in place to alert citizens when pollution takes such hazardous turn, according to the National Air Quality Index.SAFAR’s Chief Project scientist Gufran Beig said the possible reasons for such a “huge jump”, include a rise in the quantity of pollutants from the Indo-Gangetic plains that ranges from Eastern part of the country to the West, and a substantial rise in open biomass in Delhi and its surrounding areas.”Medium range transport of pollutants from Indo-Gangetic Plains (rich in pollution) is highest at this time that brings pollution-rich air, which after reaching Delhi, gets downward and pollute Delhi surface. The IGP regions (Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Patna, etc.) has shown a huge increase in particulate matters,” Beig said.According to SAFAR’s forecast, there is no respite in sight as PM 2.5 is expected to remain in the same category over the next few days with a possible marginal fall on December 25 to 248 micrograms per cubic metre.”Now, if there is a huge open biomass burning in IGP region, the transported air will be even more dirty and make Delhi more polluted,” Beig said, adding that the kind of jump seen between December 21 and 23 “is unusual and meteorology cannot explain this jump.”World Health Organisation considers 25 to be the maximum safe level for PM 2.5 and as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution. Real time readings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) stations in Anand Vihar, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram put PM 2.5 readings at 408, 336, 389 and 366 around 7.30 PM.CPCB website, functional after almost two weeks, also displayed the ‘severe’ warning across its stations. ‘Very poor’ quality air signifies when PM 10 level is between 351 and 420, and PM 2.5 level is between 211 to 252 microgram per cubic metre. The ‘severe’ air quality is declared when PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross 253 and 421 microgram per cubic metres respectively.

India puts the brakes on Facebook

India’s telecoms regulator has put Facebook’s “free mobile data” scheme on hold following claims it breaches net neutrality principles.

Shashi Tharoor starts change.org petition to decriminalise homosexuality after setback in Parliament

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Tharoor took to Twitter to share the link to the petition where he requests everyone to sign the petition as the Parliament refused to discuss his proposed Bill.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
After Shashi Tharoor’s private member bill seeking to decriminalise homosexuality was voted out by Lok Sabha last week, the Congress MP has circulated a petition regarding the same.Tharoor took to Twitter to share the link to the petition where he requests everyone to sign the petition as the Parliament refused to discuss his proposed Bill.The petition has been directed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and makes several statements against Article 377 of IPC.”Your sexual preferences, sexuality, and partner should be your choice. Unfortunately Indian law doesn’t think so. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code gives the state the authority to investigate what’s happening in your bedroom,” is how the petition begins.It goes on to say that the Section 377 is a law that can be used to oppress and harass; it also states that Section 377 is an ‘outdated bill based on Victorian morals’. It asks the people to sign the petition to ‘show the Prime Minister that Indians want Section 377 to be amended.’On December 18, the introduction of the bill seeking to “substitute a new section for section 377 of the IPC” was objected to by BJP member Nishikant Dubey when Tharoor moved it for introduction. Tharoor, however, insisted on going ahead with the introduction of the Bill arguing that Dubey was quoting only “partially” from the Supreme Court judgement. Tharoor pressed for division of votes in which the motion was negated by 71 ‘Noes’ against 24 ‘yes’.The former Union Minister said he “will move the Bill again when the session is convened next to ensure individual privacy is possible”. The bulk of the votes opposing “even the introduction of the Bill” came from BJP, claimed Tharoor, although he also noted that there were “some members” of the ruling party who “seemed to have” voted to allow him to introduce it.

Kirti Azad suspended: Congress, AAP have no moral right to criticise us, says BJP

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Both the parties have slammed BJP for taking action against Azad.

Kirti Azad

BJP on Wednesday took on Congress and AAP after both the parties took a swipe at it over its decision to suspend party MP Kirti Azad, saying they have no “moral right” to comment on its internal matter and cited the example of how they “mistreated” their senior leaders.The party said Azad was suspended after he continued to target Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has maintained “impeccable standards” in public life and has “unblemished record”. “BJP is a democratic and disciplined organisation. One-man parties like Congress and AAP have no moral right to give us a lesson,” party secretary Shrikant Sharma said, noting that it was party’s Parliamentary Board which took the decision to suspend Azad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nobody can forget the way Congress denied former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s body to be brought to its headquarters and the way it threw out its chief Sitaram Kesri, who came from a deprive community, he said.”In our party, Parliamentary Board takes such a decision while in Congress and AAP one person decides such things. These parties should introspect and not try to teach BJP a lesson,” Sharma said.Taking on AAP, he said its leader and Delhi Chief Minister used “abusive” language against senior leaders like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav before axing them from the party. Revelling in the trouble in BJP, the Congress wondered if BJP can “suspend free speech, fair comment, exposure of irregularities and corruption”. “These are the questions the Prime Minister must answer,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “There is no democracy in BJP. Honest voices are muzzled to protect corruption.

BJP MP Tarun Vijay warns of ‘cyber war’, seeks setting up of Ministry for cyber security

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Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said cyber attacks have become a national security issue as cyber criminals were using social networking sites to target users in India

Tarun Vijay

Warning that the Third World War would be a ‘cyber war’, BJP member Tarun Vijay on Wednesday demanded setting up of a separate ministry for cyber security, saying India was the “second largest victim” of these attacks.Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said cyber attacks have become a national security issue as cyber criminals were using social networking sites to target users in India. Maintaining that the country has become the “second largest victim” of cyber attacks in the world, he said in the last five months 50,000 cyber attacks have been reported and nearly half of India’s internet population was being hit by cyber attackers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing a report by cyber security firm Norton, the BJP member said on an average, an affected individual loses about Rs 16,000 as a fallout of cyber crime. “This is a dreadful statistics for a country of a young population…I demand that there should be a separate ministy for cyber security in the country. We must take initiative. India must be the first counry to start a cyber security ministry,” Vijay said.He also stressed that for the success of ‘Digital India’ initiative, “we have to take care of cyber crimes”. He also made a case for cyber audits across industries, similar to that of telecom to banking sectors. The member suggested that all MLAs and MPs should be given training on various aspects of cyber security and demanded setting up of a proper cyber laboratory in the country. “India is a software capital of the world, but still we don’t have a state-of-the-art cyber lab in the country,” Vijay added.

Parliament passes bill to amend Atomic Energy Act

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The Atomic Energy Amendment Bill 2015, that was passed by Lok Sabha on December 14, got approval from the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the session without any discussion, evoking protests from some Opposition parties including Left.

Parliament

State-run NPCIL can now collaborate with other PSUs in the nuclear field, with Parliament on Wednesday passing a bill in this regard after government allayed fears that the step will allow FDI into the sector or enable participation of a private firm in atomic power production.The Atomic Energy Amendment Bill 2015, that was passed by Lok Sabha on December 14, got approval from the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the session without any discussion, evoking protests from some Opposition parties including Left. The law seeks to amend the 1962 Atomic Energy Act to change the definition of “government company” in the Act with a view to expand its scope by including such joint venture companies as may be formed between NPCIL and other PSUs, according to the statement of object and reasons.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, only two Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) — Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), which are under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy, operate nuclear power plants in the country. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh, who holds the portfolio of atomic energy, clarified that the Joint Venture is for public sector companies and not private sector ones.Jairam Ramesh (Congress) wanted to know whether private companies can also be permitted under the joint venture. The Bill was was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 7 and proposes to to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 that empowers the central government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy. While under the Act, a government company that is allowed to produce atomic energy is one in which at least 51 percent of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government. Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares.The amendments expand this definition to include companies where the whole of the paid up share capital is held by one or more government company and whose articles of association empower the central government to constitute its Board of Directors. This provision will allow for the formation of joint ventures between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and other government companies.Under the Act, a license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research. The Bill makes consequential amendments to state that such license will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of central government.

‘Tis the season! A Mumbaikar’s guide to food and wine this Christmas 2015

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If you are short of ideas for what to do this Christmas, here’s your complete guide to food, drinks, recipes and more to cheer up your festive season.

Christmas

If you are short of ideas for what to do this Christmas, here’s your complete guide to food, drinks, recipes and more to cheer up your festive season in Mumbai. Savour authentic festive goodies in Dadar With Christmas around the corner, how can the delicious cookies and baked goodies be far behind? Iamin caught up with Ann Dias, a Dadar resident who is famous for the Christmas treats she churns out in her kitchen. The 63-year-old has been making traditional Christmas delights since 1982. What started off as a passion, soon took an entrepreneurial turn, as Dias began selling her home-made sweets during the festive season. A big hit among residents, the word of her undertaking spread far and wide, making her a known name in the local circuit. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Read more… Head to Bandra’s Hearsch bakeryPeople with sweet-tooths in Mumbai can head to a famous bakery in Bandra’s Hill Road area.J. Hearsch Bakery has been one of the favourites among other sweer shops, during festive season, especially around Christmas.This year, the bakery is serving special items like Marzipan, milk cream, pink ice, walnut fudge, Christmas cupcakes, Christmas fruit and nut chocolate cake, and Snowman Lollipop. The range starts from Rs 130, which will hardly burn any hole in your pockets. Melvin D’sa who runs the bakery, said, “Like every year this time too we have started selling Christmas items from this week. I hope the sales increase this year.” Read more… American Express Bakery in Bandra’s Hill Road American Express Bakery in Bandra’s Hill Road, a favourite among pastry lovers was started a hundred years ago by a goan in Byculla. The bakery has entered the Christmas mode and has chalked out a schedule of special breads and items to be sold on particular days till December 25. These items include steak and kidney pie start, bread basket, Portuguese bread, Dundee Start and the most popular one – Stollen. Read more… Christmas Recipe: Snack on Vettu Cake, an easy South-Indian delicacyWith Christmas around the corner, Christian households are buzzing with activity. While most of the rooms are decked up with baubles, lights and red stocking for Santa, the kitchen becomes the hub of festive preparations as well. One such snack that is often dished out by Kerala Christians is Vettu Cake. Quite a misnomer, Vettu Cake recipe is not at all tedious and involves no baking it all. Quick, easy to make and long lasting, the fried snack is usually stored in air-tight containers, to serve guests who drop by home to offer Christmas wishes and to satiate the mid-afternoon hunger pangs of little kids swarming around the house. Read more… Try your hand making sweet diamond cuts Among the several traditional dishes laid out on the tray of goodies during Christmas, it is hard to miss the sweet and crispy diamond cut or Vettipori. For those accustomed to these delightful fried snacks during the festive season, the one memory that will flash through your mind will be of the ladies in Malayali households, getting together on a cold afternoon, kneading and rolling dough to cut them out into diamond shapes. Coated with sugary syrup, these sweet golden treats are stored in air-tight containers and can last up to a month.Read more… Savour popular Goan Baath Cake this festive seasonThe Baath Cake is typically a Goan dessert speciality that is made during Christmas and Easter. It is usually prepared as a part of the ‘Kuswar’ or set of goodies prepared specifically for the festive season by the Goan Catholic community. Its primary ingredients are semolina and coconut— both desiccated and fresh coconut can be used, but the dish must be consumed within three days if the latter is used. Since it is generally a soft, crumbly and moist cake, one needs to be careful about not over-baking it as it then, tends to become too dry. Read more… Try out Rose Cookies or Achappam One of Kerala’s authentic Christmas snacks is the Rose Cookies or Achappam, which are mildly sweet and extremely crunchy. Also hailed as the Indian version of the famous Scandinavian Rosette Cookies, this made using an Achu or iron-mould from which it derives its name. This is usually tricky for first-timers and getting perfectly-shaped cookies turns out to be quite a task, until you learn the knack of using the mould. However, preparing the batter is far from laborious and is a crunchy delight once off the stove and ready to be devoured. Read more… Try out Bohri-style lunch in MumbaiFood and festivities have always gone together so why should this Christmas be any different? If you are in Mumbai, then how about a Bohri home cooked meal to ring in the celebrations? The Bohri Kitchen, an experimental lunch concept has something special for their guests for this Saturday’s event – Bohri food with a twist. Read more… ​And here’s some help with winesWine is the flavour of this festive season. It is the safest bet, whether it is a party or a cozy couple dinner. For some, choosing wines that go hand-in-hand with relaxation and celebration can sometimes become intimidating, especially when hosting a group. Ajay Shetty, MD, Myra Vineyards lists three kinds of wines you should go for this season, and their right pairings. So go ahead and get the party started!Read more… For more such stories, visit Iamin.com

Punjab Health Minister now calls for a nationwide prohibition on alcohol

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The BJP minister had made the remarks on alcohol on Monday during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district.

Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani.
File Photo

Two days after stating that he did not consider liquor an “intoxicant”, Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani in a U-turn on Wednesday said that alcohol was the “root cause of all ills” and favoured a countrywide prohibition and the closure of all distilleries.After facing flak from various quarters over his bizzare remark that “I don’t think ‘sharab’ (liquor) is an intoxicant,” the senior BJP leader, sought to clarify the context in which he had made the statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked if he favours prohibition, the Minister addressing a press conference said, “There should be a ban. There should be a countrywide ban on alcohol. Today, I am saying in the media that ban alcohol and all distilleries should also be shut down.”When asked to comment on the controversy, the “teetotaller” minister said, “There has been a debate in the media quoting me as saying that alcohol is a good thing to have and that I don’t consider alcohol as an intoxicant. I have never said anything like that and have been quoted out of context as my statement was twisted”.”Let me clarify a few things, there is no bigger vice than alcohol. Alcohol is the root cause for all ills, for various problems, diseases, various crimes and it should not be consumed. When mediapersons had asked me a question about drug problem, I had said that I do not include people consuming alcohol in the addict category,” he said.Continuing further, he said, “For instance, (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi had said 70 per cent youths in Punjab are addicted to drugs, some others say 60 per cent have fallen prey to the menace. When I was talking to mediapersons, I said I don’t want to count alcohol as addiction, reasoning that government gives licenses and we have liquor vends and excise policy in place.”He even narrated an old tale to highlight his point that alcohol was the root cause of various ills.”But the media said that I have become ambassador of alcohol. I said I will not take it as a factor in counting when we refer to addicts. If we start to link alcohol to include those who drink it as addicts, then you will find its (alcohol’s) presence in all spheres of life, including it being served in parties, in the Army, even in the Press Club, alcohol is there. If we say anyone who consumes alcohol is an addict, then its like defaming all of them,” he said.Replying to a question, he said, “I dont drink alcohol, I say there can be no bad thing than alcohol.” The BJP minister had made the remarks on alcohol on Monday during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district.Jyani was holding the press conference here today on the works of his Department of Health and Family Welfare during 2015.

Govt wants primacy for Kannada at primary school level: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

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Siddaramaiah was speaking at the closing ceremony of the sesquicentennial (150 years) celebrations of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School here that was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Vajubhai Vala.

President Pranab Mukherjee is received by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala and CM Siddaramaiah on his arrival at HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

PTI
Stating that language of the land should get priority in early learning, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said government wants primacy to Kannada in education at the primary school level.”It is true that every language we learn is an asset for us. I believe that language should be a carrier of thought and should not become a barrier to be fought,” Siddaramaiah said.”But, the language of the land should be respected and it should get priority in early learning, as that can only make the life of the child comfortable,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our government and our people want primacy to Kannada in education at the primary school level,” he added.Siddaramaiah was speaking at the closing ceremony of the sesquicentennial (150 years) celebrations of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School here that was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Vajubhai Vala.Complimenting Bishop Cotton Boys’ School for high quality of its academics, Siddaramaiah said every school in the state and the country should impart quality education to their students.”No child should be denied education citing the economic backwardness of its family,” he added.Highlighting the primacy given by his government to the education sector, the Chief Minister said funds earmarked for primary and secondary education for the current year is Rs 16,204 crore, whereas for higher education, it is Rs 3896 crore.

BSF plane crash: Grieving relatives confront Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh

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A small 20-year-old BSF plane ferrying the force’s technical personnel to Ranchi crashed in Dwarka area on Tuesday and burst into flames just outside IGI airport shortly after take-off.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh extend his condolences to the family members of BSF plane crash victims at Safdarjung airport in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Tearful relatives of the victims of the BSF plane crash here that killed all 10 occupants confronted Union Minister Rajnath Singh today with a slew of questions including why “old aircraft” were being used and lives of troops put at risk.As Singh and mourning relatives bid adieu to victims amid grief and anger, the Border Security Force(BSF) chief D K Pathak maintained that its crashed Beechcraft Super King was completely “airworthy” and flying “very well” and rejected allegations about any possible defect in the 11-seater aircraft. A small 20-year-old BSF plane ferrying the force’s technical personnel to Ranchi crashed in Dwarka area on Tuesday and burst into flames just outside IGI airport shortly after take-off.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Why are old aircraft being used and lives of troops put at risk?” was one of the questions faced by Singh. A distraught and agitated daughter of Sub-Inspector Rabinder Kumar, who was among the 10 personnel killed in yesterday’s crash, asked Singh and BSF Director General D K Pathak to “address” these issues so that soldiers on the line of duty are not killed in such mishaps. “Jawab dijiye (give me an answer). Why only soldiers get killed in such accidents and it never happens to VIPs,” she asked as soon as Singh began meeting the families after paying tributes and placing floral wreaths on mortal remains of the victims.A composed and moist-eyed Home Minister consoled the young woman and assured that their grievances would be looked into as he said he would review each and every aspect that they have underlined. The silence of the foggy and wintry morning at the airstrip was broken when the family members, one by one, started wailing, and their screams rent the sombre air. The next of kin of other personnel who had come to pay their respects to their near and dear ones at the BSF hangar at Safdarjung airport here had more or less the same grievances and stories to tell.”My son-in-law told me that the planes in the BSF air wing are getting old and new ones are expected in sometime. I don’t know when will these new aircraft come but surely he will not be there to see them,” said the father-in-law of the co-pilot Rajesh Shivrain. The family members of another personnel said they were being told that the BSF fleet is growing old and new acquisition is stuck in “red tape”.”This is worrying, for us and everyone who is associated with this wing. We just want that a soldier’s life should not be put at stake by using old machines,” a family member of Assistant SI D P Chauhan said. BSF Director General D K Pathak said the ill-fated aircraft was 20 years old and in the aviation (domain) an aircraft has life till 40-45 years.He said the main probe into the crash is being done by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and that it would be “premature” to speculate on the possible reasons for the mishap. The BSF Chief said the plane B-200, registered as VT-BSA, was flying about 3-4 days in a week. “As I said, this aircraft has been flying very well…it had been flying three to four days in a week and there was absolutely no problem. Whenever any kind of a snag is reported it is promptly attended to and aircraft is not made airborne until it is certified by the technicians that it is worthy to fly,” he said.

Here is how you can help 2,000 women displaced in Mumbai’s Kandivali fire

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While food, clothes, water supply and even books for school children, as always a primary health aid for women – sanitarty napkin got ignored. An NGO working on the ground provided the pads for some time, but that did not prove to be enough.

The fire that engulfed Kandivali’s Damu Nagar and destroyed 2,000 homes has left the residents deprived of basic amenities. While the state government embarrassed itself by giving the victims a mere Rs 3,800, help from the public has come in droves. While food, clothes, water supply and even books for school children, as always a primary health aid for women – sanitary napkin got ignored. An NGO working on the ground provided the pads for some time, but that did not prove to be enough. Now, iamin.in along with Bridge India a Mumbai-based not-for-profit organisation have joined hands to raise funds to buy 4000 packets of sanitary pads which will help at least 2000 young girls and women. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read- Kandivali fire: Iamin raises funds for women and children of Damu Nagar slumThe sanitary napkins will be bought from social entrepreneurs who make them for the Damu Nagar slum community. Bridge India will distribute the napkins within the community while iamin.in will monitor, document and publish the utilisation of funds and distribution of aid and keep the contributors informed.Here is how you can chip in for the initiative.

Kerala Governor P Sathasivam not allowed to board Air India Flight as he reached late

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The delayed flight had yesterday reached Kochi airport at 10.58 PM and was to leave by 1140 PM.

Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam failed to board an Air India flight from Kochi to the state capital after the pilot reportedly refused to wait for the dignitary and took off.Raj Bhavan sources said the Governor reached Nedumbassery International airport about 10 minutes before the flight was to depart at 11:40 PM yesterday, but the “step ladder had been removed and the flight was pushing back”.According to the sources, the Governor was returning to the state capital after attending a function in Kozhikode.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They were informed by Air India officials that the Delhi-Kochi -Thiruvanthapuram A1048 flight will take off at 1140 PM.The delayed flight had yesterday reached Kochi airport at 10.58 PM and was to leave by 1140 PM.”We got a communication from the airport that the flight will take off at 11.40 PM. However, when the Governor, accompanied by his wife reached the airport at 11.28 PM to board the flight, we saw the step ladder had been removed and the flight was pushing back,” the sources told PTI.AI officials were waiting at the ladder point with the Governor’s boarding pass.The sources said though the Air India manager had informed the pilot that the Governor was arriving, he refused to wait for him and closed the door.When contacted, the airport sources said the Governor had reached the tarmac when the flight was at the “push back stage and the doors were closed”.Raj Bhavan sources said they would be taking up the matter with appropriate authorities even as Air India sources said they were looking into the matter.After an overnight stay at Kochi, the Governor reached the state capital by road this morning.Two years ago, the then Governor Nikhil Kumar had also faced a similar situation.

Monkey takes control of UPSRTC bus, drives off in Bareilly as driver sleeps in the back

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The monkey managed to start the vehicle with the key in the ignition. The bus started to move, waking up the driver.

Representational Image of a monkey

dna
In a bizarre incident, a monkey took control of a bus in Bareilly town of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, putting the vehicle into second gear and taking off before being scared away.According to a report in an English daily, the comic sequence of events began when the conductor of an Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) bus from Pilibhit left the vehicle at the old roadways station to look for passengers.With half an hour to go for departure, the driver dozed off in the back, providing the monkey with an opportunity for its mischief.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the driver reclined on the last row, the simian suddenly appeared and climbed inside the driver’s cabin. What’s more, it managed to start the vehicle with the key in the ignition. The bus started to move, waking up the driver. The driver then lunged at the monkey trying to shoo it away. Subsequently, the monkey got scared and shifted the engine into second gear before jumping out of the bus.Passengers at the bus station were petrified seeing a bus with no driver heading their way, and began to run helter skelter. The driver finally managed to bring the vehicle under control, but not before it had hit two other parked buses.”Monkeys have become a regular menace at bus stations and workshops, where they often fiddle with vehicles undergoing repair. They have also damaged CCTV cameras at stations. Three years ago we had taken the help of municipal authorities to get rid of them but they have returned,” said UPSRTC regional manager SK Sharma to the daily.The manager added that UPSRTC is holding talks with municipal authorities to hire am agency to catch the monkeys and shift them to an area where they cannot find any such vehicles to drive off in.

DDCA row | Shatrughan Sinha calls Kirti Azad a hero, says Jaitley should follow LK Advani’s example

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The BJP MP praised Kirti Azad for raising the issue of corruption and irregularities.

File Photo

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the District Cricket Administration (DDCA) controversy, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has said that Jaitley should follow come clean and follow LK Advani’s example. The BJP MP also praised Kirti Azad for raising the issue of corruption and irregularities.Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Sinha tweeted, “Kirti Azad-hero of the day. Humble appeal to friends. Avoid knee jerk reaction/coercive action against friend who’s fighting against corruption.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a series of tweets he said, “Have often quoted Newton’s 3rd Law. Feel that untimely action could boomerang. Sadly Party with a Difference has become Party with Differences.”He further added, “As for FM, issue should be fought politically not legally. As advised by our dashing dynamic PM, our FM could follow Advaniji’s eg & come clean.”Meanwhile, in a strong show of support for Jaitley, Modi had on Tuesday said the Finance Minister will come through “with flying colours” against the charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in the same way that L K Advani had in the Hawala case.LK Advani had resigned as MP in 1996 during the infamous Hawala scam and was later re-elected in 1998.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday escalated protest against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanding his resignation.The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday after Jaitley filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders.The one member Commission of Enquiry will be headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.

PM Modi optimistic about Russia visit; hopes to deepen economic, energy and security ties

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“My mind goes back to 2001. I had just assumed charge as Gujarat CM and had accompanied Atal ji to Russia. This was, perhaps, one of the first India-Russia annual Summits, a practice that goes on till date,”said Modi.

Ahead of his two-day Russia visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed hope that the visit would deepen bilateral ties between the two nations.”Today I will commence my visit to Russia, my first bilateral visit after we formed the Government. I am very optimistic about the outcome of this visit. History is witness to the close ties India and Russia have had over the decades. Russia remains one of India’s most valued friends in the world,” he said in his Facebook post.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My mind goes back to 2001. I had just assumed charge as Gujarat CM and had accompanied Atal ji to Russia. This was, perhaps, one of the first India-Russia annual Summits, a practice that goes on till date,”he added.He further asserted that his visit would deepen the cooperation between India and Russia in the economic, energy and security spheres.Also read: Here is PM Modi’s post on Russia visit”We also want to increase cooperation in science and technology, mining among other sectors. Trade ties between India and Russia can increase even further, to benefit not only our two nations but also the world,” he said.Prime Minister Modi pointed out that the visit would witness extensive deliberations with President Vladmir Putin.”There will be an interaction with Russian businesspersons to invite them to invest in India. I will also attend a ‘Friends of India’ programme. I am certain that this visit will substantially take forward the already strong people to people ties between our nations,” he said.Also read: In Russia, Narendra Modi will regale 3,000 ‘friends of India’Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks with President Vladimir Putin that is aimed at further expanding the special and privileged strategic ties with a particular focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.After the talks on Thursday, the two “time-tested” partners are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors including nuclear energy and defence. The talks between the two countries at the highest level have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including sthe ituation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.

India’s Modi to begin key Russia visit

Indian PM Narendra Modi is due to arrive in Moscow at the start of a two-day visit during which he will hold annual talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dawood’s offer to return to India and surrender wasn’t genuine: Former top cop

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“If any person wants to surrender, he wouldn’t put the conditions which he had put,” said Singh

Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh today rubbished the reported claim by the fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, one of the prime accused in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, that Indian authorities spurned his offer to return to India and surrender.Singh was speaking at a function here to launch a novel written by the veteran journalist Sheela Raval.”Dawood never seriously wanted to surrender when he offered his conditions for surrendering by speaking with the veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani,” Singh said.”If any person wants to surrender, he wouldn’t put the conditions which he had put,” said Singh, adding that the gangster only wanted to create a misleading picture that he wanted to return to India but the concerned authorities stopped him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Dawood is a gangster, but by definition he became a terrorist. He is a genius, who, despite being born in a dingy area of Dongri (in Mumbai), being uneducated and a son of a city police constable, is tagged as the 57th most powerful man on the earth who has accumulated around USD 6.7 billion by his illegitimate activities,” the former IPS officer said.Considering this, “Dawood could have returned back to the city, faced trial and led the life of a respected and rich businessman by converting all his illegitimate money into legitimate businesses here. Such things happen in other foreign countries,” said Singh, speaking with the media after the book launch.

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao to conduct Rs 7 crore religious ritual, even as farmers suffer

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Barely 10 kilometres from the venue lies the Pirlapally village, where farmer Nalla Kishtaiah had lost his crop on two successive seasons and was unable to face debtors or his own family. Therefore, he committed suicide.

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao has created controversy by holding a religious ceremony costing Rs 7 crores, even as farmers in the state continue to suffer.According to an NDTV report, the chief minister has admitted that the cost of the yagna will come to Rs 7 crore, but claimed that the state government will not foot the bill.”Some relatives and friends have come forward and I am spending from my account,” he said. “Not a single paise from the government is being spent. Even for generators and RTC bus, we are paying.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-day ritual is to be conducted near his farmhouse at Erravelli in Medak district. It will involve 108 yagna platforms and 1500 priests, says the report. What’s more, President Pranab Mukherjee and several other dignitaries will be part of the guest list, which numbers around 50,000 people.But some farmers are feeling terribly anguished at the actions of the CM.Barely 10 kilometres from the venue lies the Pirlapally village, where farmer Nalla Kishtaiah had lost his crop on two successive seasons and was unable to face debtors or his own family. Therefore, he committed suicide.His son, Raju, a student of Class 9, says he feels let down by the government.”As the chief minister, he should help families like us who are really suffering. Did he not promise homes and pensions? We have neither of that,” said the boy who has started working as a labourer to make the ends meet.”We live so close by. He must have come here so many times. He should come at least today and help us. Otherwise how will my children survive, how will I educate them?” said his mother Renuka. “Will he agree to see me if I go and tell him about the terrible situation in which I and my children are? Will they let me in?” she asks, in tears.

Children defenseless under new law, say experts

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Child rights lawyer Anant Asthana pointed at the implausibility of the children defending themselves who will be booked under the new law. “Till the time the case reaches the juvenile justice board, the child will be inside the jail. What defence will he or she have,” he said. “Apart from the FIR, the Bill does not mention any other material that the Board can refer to while making its decision.”

As the Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Bill, 2000 making it a law to punish children below 18 years committing heinous crimes as adults, experts pointed at the several fallouts of the newest law of the Indian Constitution.Child rights lawyer Anant Asthana pointed at the implausibility of the children defending themselves who will be booked under the new law. “Till the time the case reaches the juvenile justice board, the child will be inside the jail. What defence will he or she have,” he said. “Apart from the FIR, the Bill does not mention any other material that the Board can refer to while making its decision.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Experts also said that in cases of consensual sex involving children above 16, the child will now go to jail and not a child care facility. “When the parents of a girl press charges against a boy, usually the FIR has charges of rape and kidnapping,” added Asthana. Enakshi Ganguly of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights said that she was devastated. “The lynch mob mentality has won, and all these political parties have bought peace at the cost of our children,”she said. She added that it was unfortunate that the minister choose to ignore the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, recommendations of the Standing Committee, and two Supreme Court judgements. As per the new law, children who will be convicted will be disqualified for employment. And, a financial assistance will now be limited to once. Under the previous law, the state took responsibility of the child till he or she turns 21, with the state providing financial assistance more than once. “The state has totally abjugated its responsibility, and passed responsibility on the child. This is unfortunate,” he said.Lawyer Vrinda Grover said that with the passing of the law, India has given up its commitments to the several international treaties it is signatory to. “Scientific studies have time and again proved that the focus of juvenile justice should be on reform not punitive action. The ministry should come up with a committee and study the effects and publish it after a year of the law’s passing,” said Grover. Grover also added that the state does not have the resources to support the law. “The juvenile justice boards do not have the capacity to carry out the necessary actions. And the act of deciding whether a crime or situation should be pushed for punishment needs skilled people; it is open to abuse,” said Grover.

Government to start recovery process from May 22 next year

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Stating that there was corruption of Rs1,088 crore in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, minister for cooperation Chandrakant Patil announced that procedure for recovery from the involved directors, including several politicians would be started from May 22, 2016.Patil informed the House that there are 77 persons who are involved in the irregularities which have been proved to be worth Rs1,088 crore. “There are leaders, including Ajit Pawar, Vijay Vadettiwar, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, Prasad Tanpure, Ramprasad Bordika, Tukaram Dighole and others who are involved in the scam,” said Patil.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister was responding to call attention motion moved by BJP MLA Anil Gote who had raised the issue of corruption in the states apex bank. Gote had asked whether the cooperative department was not getting cooperation from the bank while conducting inquiry.While minister of state for cooperation Dada Bhuse informed that the action would be taken against bank employees who have not cooperated with the inquiry, Patil informed the state assembly that the inquiry was going on under Section 88 of the Cooperatives Act and the two-year limit of the inquiry is coming to an end on May 22, 2016.Patil informed that after May 22, 2016, the government would start the procedure of recovering the money by taking appropriate action against these individuals.

Act to check plastic waste menace, CPCB tells civic bodies

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In Maharashtra, the estimated plastic waste generation is 10950 tonnes/annum.

With the quantum of plastic waste mounting across urban India and civic bodies showing sluggishness to manage the menace, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued fresh directions asking civic bodies to make action plans within six months to plug environmental damage due to plastic waste. Stopping production of plastic bags less than 40 microns thickness, using biodegradable material in plastic bags and cracking down on illegal plastic bag producers were some of the recommendations CPCB issued in its fresh directions.Currently, The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, is the guiding regulation on management of plastic waste, but its implementation has been ineffective. The Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change has brought out a new Plastic Waste Rules this year but they are yet to come into effect. According to CPCB, most of plastic waste generated across urban India remains recycled and ends up in landfills. At landfills and in cities, open burning of plastic waste generates toxic emissions, such as; Carbon Monoxide, Chlorine, Hydrochloric Acid, Dioxin &Furans, Amines, Nitrides, Styrene, Benzene, and Acetaldehyde and pollute the environment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides, open burning, plastic also leaches into ground contaminating ground water and chokes rivers, streams along with marine ecosystems such as mangroves and estuaries. To address this issue, CPCB has urged urbaan local bodies and municipal corporations to establish within six months systems to collect, segregate and process plastic waste through recycling. CPCB’s latest assessment of plastic waste shows that 3,501 tonnes of plastic waste is generated per day across 60 major cities. In India, approximately 12 million tonnes plastic products are consumed every year , which is expected to rise further. It is also known that about 50-60% of its consumption is converted into waste.In Maharashtra, the estimated plastic waste generation is 10950 tonnes/annum.Main usage of plastics is in the form of carry bags, packaging films, wrapping materials, fluid containers, clothing, toys, household applications, industrial products, engineering applications and building materials.In other directions, CPCB has asked state pollution control boards to crack down on illegal factories producing sub-standard plastic bags which are less than 40 microns in thickness. “Secretaries-in-charge of municipal bodies in each state shall ensure that all municipal bodies ban stocking, selling and use of any carry bag (having handle or non-handle) having less than 40 micron thickness plastic material. Those found stocking/selling such carry bags shall be penalised by imposing a fine of Rs1 lakh,” the CPCB said.

Dawood’s offer to return wasn’t genuine: Former Mumbai Police Commissioner MN Singh

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Singh was speaking at a function here to launch a novel written by the veteran journalist Sheela Raval

Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh on Tuesday rubbished the reported claim by the fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, one of the prime accused in 1993Mumbai blasts case, that Indian authorities spurned his offer to return to India and surrender.Singh was speaking at a function here to launch a novel written by the veteran journalist Sheela Raval. “Dawood never seriously wanted to surrender when he offered his conditions for surrendering by speaking with the veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani,” Singh said. “If any person wants to surrender, he wouldn’t put the conditions which he had put,” said Singh, adding that the gangster only wanted to create a misleading picture that hewanted to return to India but the concerned authorities stopped him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Dawood is a gangster, but by definition he became a terrorist. He is a genius, who, despite being born in a dingy area of Dongri (in Mumbai), being uneducated and a son of a city police constable, is tagged as the 57th most powerful man on the earth who has accumulated around US$ 6.7 billion by his illegitimate activities,” the former IPS officer said.Considering this, “Dawood could have returned back to the city, faced trial and led the life of a respected and rich businessman by converting all his illegitimate money into legitimate businesses here. Such things happen in other foreign countries,” said Singh, speaking with the media afterthe book launch.

Delhi CM Kejriwal demands PM Modi resignation over ‘flop’ CBI raids

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Calling December 15, when CBI conducted the raid at the office of his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, a “black day”, Kejriwal tore into Modi and dared him to act against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
PTI
Mounting a fierce attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded his resignation over what he termed was a “flop raid” by the CBI at the Delhi Secretariat to “protect” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged DDCA scam.Calling December 15, when CBI conducted the raid at the office of his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, a “black day”, Kejriwal tore into Modi and dared him to act against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Kejriwal also defended Rajendra Kumar against allegations of graft committed in his official capacity under the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He’s being mentally harassed. CBI has got nothing against him in the last eight days. If I can remove my minister and babu for committing corruption, it is also my duty to protect honest officers,” he said participating in a discussion in the state Assembly on the situation arising out of the raid at the Delhi Secretariat and alleged corruption in Delhi and District Cricket Association under Jaitley’s watch.Kumar was seated in the officers’ gallery of the Assembly during the proceedings.”Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself” over the raids, Kejriwal said and went on to take a series of jibes at Modi over “Rs 10 lakh suit” and foreign trips.”He is fulfilling his dreams now as earlier he did not get a visa. Delhi is all right whenever he is out of the city.Whenever he’s back everything goes haywire,” Kejriwal said speaking during the one-day special session of the Assembly which passed a resolution to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA.”I seek the Prime Minister’s resignation for conducting such a flop raid and for misusing the CBI. If he uses the CBI to get any file then the country will have no democracy left. Tomorrow there can be raids on any Chief Minister. This is dangerous for the country’s federal structure,” Kejriwal said.The Chief Minister, against whom Jaitley has filed both civil and criminal defamation suits, further alleged that the CBI was specifically looking for a file “containing a note” with “incriminating” details.”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. He (Jaitley) said that he will ensure quashing of cases that come to Delhi police and, if AAP sets up a commission of inquiry, he will get it null and void through ‘our special man’ LG. It was written in that file,” Kejriwal claimed. Kejriwal claimed the Prime Minister was still not able to get over the “pain” of losing the Delhi Assembly elections. Delhi Assembly today passed a motion moved by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia against CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat, condeming the Centre for its alleged high handedness and adding it was in “violation of the federal structure” and the “spirit of the Constitution”.”We are constantly seeking PM’s cooperation and for this, I have met two-three times and told him we don’t need money, and instead, we want him not to put hurdles to our works..give us Delhi for a year and will fulfil your dreams,” Kejriwal said.The Delhi Chief Minister termed the CBI raid at his office as “dangerous” for the country’s federal structure. Kejriwal claimed it was within the government’s powers to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in the state’s cricket body.”We have the right to probe the irregularities in sports, player selection, stadium construction. Everyone is admitting that there was a scam…we have power to set up such Commission. In the past, we set up a Commission of Inquiry over the transport scam involving former CM and her officials, but MHA later declared it null and void as LG was getting implicated in it. MHA has no power to declare our Commission of Inquiry null and void,” he said.Refering to Jaitley’s lawsuit, Kejriwal said he was surprised as to how a lawyer (Jaitley) could hurt himself because the Union Minister will be crossed examine by our lawyers for almost one year.”Next pre-summoning evidence on January 5. We want the court to summon us. We will go and trial will begin. His (Jaitley) cross examinitauion will strtech for a year. By filing defamation case, he has hurt himself,” Kejriwal added.Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani will represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the civil and criminal defamation suits filed against him by Jaitley. Jaitley had on Tuesday 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 entail a punishment of upto two years in jail.

Dawood Ibrahim’s car, sold at auction, to be burnt tomorrow

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At an auction of Dawood’s properties held in Mumbai on December 9, Chakrapai bid successfully for the green Hyundai Accent car for a mere Rs 32,000.

Dawood Ibrahim

Swami Chakrapani, the right-wing Hindu leader who successfully bid for a car belonging to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim at an auction here earlier this month, today said it would be burnt publicly in Ghaziabad near Delhi on Wednesday.Speaking to PTI over telephone from Delhi, Chakrapani said, “Our organisation has decided to burn the car publicly at Indrapuram in Ghaziabad between 1 PM to 2 PM. “Burning the car would be symbolic of conducting the last rites of the terrorism that Dawood and his henchmen spread in the country, especially in Mumbai,” added Chakrapani, who claims to be the national president of ‘All India Hindu Mahasabha’ and is one of the petitioners in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At an auction of Dawood’s properties held in Mumbai on December 9, Chakrapai bid successfully for the green Hyundai Accent car for a mere Rs 32,000. “Earlier I wanted to covert the car into an ambulance, but when D-company’s (Dawood gang’s) henchmen threatened me to be ready to face the consequences, I decided to give a reply to him in his own language. I am going to torch it in full publicview,” he said.The car, which is in a battered condition, was transported to Delhi from Mumbai a few days ago. Chakrapani said he didn’t need any security as he was not afraid of threats, though he filed a complaint with Mandir Marg police in Delhi on December 11 after receiving the threat calls.

Jaitley row: Opposition latches on to Advani parallel

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Arun Jaitley

Reuters
Opposition on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signalled to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to quit in the wake of DDCA row by drawing a parallel with LK Advani in the Hawala case, a suggestion BJP rejected outright.”Today I heard Prime Minister saying that Jaitley will come out of this like L K Advani in the Jain Hawala case. I will remind Jaitley that Advani had then resigned and had not come back till he got clean chit from the Supreme Court”, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters. “So the Prime Minister seems to be telling Jaitley that he should not continue as Finance Minister till he gets cleared”, he said addressing a joint press conference with party leaders Anand Sharma and Randeep Surjewala.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Striking a similar note, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said by drawing a parallel with Advani, the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Arun Jaitley that he should resign, get himself cleared and come back.”I read it as a signal to Jaitley that you also do the same thing”, he said talking separately to reporters. In a strong show of support for Jaitley, Modi today said at BJP parliamentary party meet that he will come through “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in a same way Advani did in the Hawala case.Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also tweeted, “Modi: ‘I am sure Arun Jaitley would come out clean as Advaniji did in Hawala case’. But would Jaitley resign as Advaniji did ? No question!”The BJP was quick to dismiss such claims. “There is no parallel between charges against Advani and Jaitley. CBI had registered a case, launched a criminal investigation and Advani quit as an MP on moral grounds. There is no criminal probe against Jaitley. These are allegations levelled by opposition which are unsupported by evidence.”In fact, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office probe was carried out into these allegations when Congress was in power. It stated that there was no fraud or cheating. Due to political rivalry, Congress is ignoring its government’s inquiry. It has no moral right to level such a charge,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. BJP leaders noted that the SFIO probe was launched on the complaint of party MP Kirti Azad, who has again targeted Jaitley over the issue after AAP and Congress raked it up. First Congress disrupted Parliament over a case in which its leaders are accused of “grabbing” Rs 5000 cr assets by investing only Rs 50 lakh and now they have resorted to levelling false charges against Jaitley to do it, Sharma said.The AICC briefing saw the Congress leaders utilising to the hilt Kirti Azad’s assertions in the Lok Sabha on the issue yesterday, contending that none of the Ministers of party MPs present contested his charges. “It means all of them were agreeing to what Kirti Azad was saying”, the Leader of the Opposition said adding that the BJP member had also spoken of a CBI inquiry having been ordered into the DDCA. He sought to know from the government whether if such an inquiry has been ordered as Kirti Azad had said, at what stage it is now.The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also suggested that Jaitley’s opposition to the earlier UPA government’s plans to bring sports bodies under the RTI appeared to be linked to the DDCA affairs.He said that whether it is the Lalit Modi controversy or some other scandals, the sports bodies are there.Surjewala said that the Congress was ready to provide full cooperation to the government in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha if the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister bring a bill to bring sports bodies under RTI to address the issue of transparency. Seeking to drive home its demand for Jaitley’s resignation, Azad also noted that the Supreme Court in a judgement in January 2011 had held that office bearers of cricket associations are also public servants and all within the prevention of corruption act.

CBI raid was to check Delhi govt actions in DDCA affairs: Manish Sisodia

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Sisodia claimed that during the raid, enquiries were made by the probe agency’s officials about people who had visited Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and each and every file kept in a CMO room was looked into in the “garb” of investigating Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar

Manish Sisodia

The CBI raids in the Delhi Secretariat was “purely” aimed at scrutinising files related to alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday during the special session of the Delhi Assembly.Sisodia claimed that during the raid, enquiries were made by the probe agency’s officials about people who had visited Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and each and every file kept in a CMO room was looked into in the “garb” of investigating Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar. Incidentally, Kumar was seated in the visitors’ gallery of the Assembly during the proceedings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When her turn to speak came, AAP MLA Alka Lamba heaped praises on him, saying, “We are proud of an officer like you.” Amid protests by Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, Sisodia, flanked by Kejriwal, moved a resolution on the floor of the Assembly to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to probe the alleged corruption in DDCA. The Deputy Chief Minister said that internal committee of the Delhi Government, after talking to stakeholders, had prepared its report which “pointed fingers at Arun Jaitley”.The report of the government-constituted three-member committee “established Jaitley’s role” in the alleged DDCA irregularities, Sisodia said, adding, “There was massive corruption during Jaitley’s tenure and he tried to save those who committed those acts.” Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against 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 alleged graft in DDCA.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. “The raid was purely to check what action plan was being prepared against corruption in DDCA. When we started raising the issue in the media, former cricketers raised their voice and spoke against the leaders of their own party,” Sisodia said referring to BJP MP Kirti Azad, a former cricketer.Reiterating allegations that are being made by AAP since last week’s raid, Sisodia claimed that the CBI had particularly raided the room where “files signed by the Chief Minister, and those to be signed” are kept. “I want to state this with full responsibility that there’s no office of Principal Secretary as such. It comes under the CM’s office. And there would anyway be no old files in CM’s office. It was a shameful incident,” he said.Sisodia claimed that government has the requisite power to constitute such a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA “as sport falls in the state list”. The Kejriwal government had set up an inquiry committee to probe alleged irregularities in DDCA which had submitted its report.

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.

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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.

Real-life Gangs of Wasseypur: Man chops father’s killer’s body into 12 pieces!

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When he was captured by the police, he claimed that he had seen the man kill his father. Police SP Ram Suresh Yadav said that he confessed to the crime and showed no remorse.

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In a shocking murder that is reminiscent of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, the son of a murder victim has confessed to stabbing his killer’s father to death and chopped his father’s body into 12 pieces, one for every year of his father’s death. Alam Khan was 12 when he saw his father was murdered by a family friend in 2003, and he had secretly planned his revenge ever since. Recently, Alam Khan invited his father’s murderer over for a drink and after getting him drunk knifed him to death before using a hammer and hacksaw to dismember the body and chopped it into 12 pieces. He and an accomplice then threw the pieces of the body into the river. However, when the bags washed up on the river’s banks, police were able to recognise him because of a distinctive scar on his torso. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When he was captured by the police, he claimed that he had seen the man kill his father. Police SP Ram Suresh Yadav said that he confessed to the crime and showed no remorse.

Two absconding Indian Mujahideen members joined ISIS: Govt tells Lok Sabha

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Chaudhary said there are no intelligence inputs of members of SIMI seeking shelter in Nepal etc.

Two absconding members of the banned Indian Mujahideen have joined the dreaded terrorist group ISIS, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.”There are intelligence inputs of one or two members of the Indian Mujahideen, who were absconding from India since many years, having joined the ISIS/ISIL,” Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.Chaudhary said there are no intelligence inputs of members of SIMI seeking shelter in Nepal etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”However, the members of the Indian Mujahideen have been known to have hideouts in Nepal, the Gulf and in Pakistan,” he said.

VIDEO: Ten die in India plane crash

A light aircraft has crashed on take-off near the airport in the Indian capital, Delhi, killing 10 people.

PM Modi set to visit Russia for Annual Summit talks; major deals expected in defence, nuclear sectors

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He said expanding economic ties would be a “very big priority” as the two countries were aiming at enhancing annual bilateral trade to US $30 billion over the next 10 years from current US $10 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks with President Vladimir Putin that is aimed at further expanding the special and privileged strategic ties with a particular focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.After the talks on Thursday, the two “time-tested” partners are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors including nuclear energy and defence. The talks between the two countries at the highest level have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We expect to sign a number of agreements covering a very broad range of fields. Final touches are being given on some of them,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters.He said expanding economic ties would be a “very big priority” as the two countries were aiming at enhancing annual bilateral trade to US $30 billion over the next 10 years from current US $10 billion.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including sthe ituation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.”This would be definitely one of the most important engagements for us,” Jaishankar said.The Foreign Secretary said India was looking at deeper engagement in Russia’s oil and coal sector besides stepping up cooperation in some other areas like diamond trade and agro business.Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the US and China, has been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. Russia is one of the top oil producers globally and has huge reserves of natural gas.India is also likely to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Zone and is sharing details of study it conducted in this regard.Without giving specific details, Jaishankar said both Modi and Putin will deliberate on enhancing cooperation in defence and nuclear energy speheres.”Russia has been a very major military and strategic partner of India. There will be a lot of discussions on that,” he said.Last week, Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore.Asked whether Russia will strongly back India’s bid for a seat at the UN Security Council, he said “Two countries have great confidence and trust in each other. We do not at all doubt Russia’s commitment to see India as a permanent member of the UNSC.”On whether India will request Russia to share details on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, he said the issue had figured during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent visit to Moscow. “Let’s wait and see what happens.I do not prejudge the Russian response till we get it,” he said.

Sword-wielding youth attacks 22 people before being shot

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Following an altercation with his parents, Balvinder Singh attacked his parents and 22 other people, including passer-bys, fatally injuring a few.

Representational Image

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In a frenzied sword attack, a 28-year-old software engineer, on Tuesday, left 22 people including his parents and three constables injured before being fatally shot by police.The attacker’s parents and an auto driver are in a critical condition. The policemen, who suffered serious injuries as they tried to stop him, and the other wounded were also undergoing treatment at a local hospital.According to Karimnagar Deputy Superintendent of Police, J Rama Rao, the trouble began at 7 AM after Balvinder Singh alias Babloo (28), of Laxmi Nagar locality in Karimnagar town, entered into an altercation with his parents – Amruth Singh and Baby Kaur- and allegedly attacked them with a sword.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaving his parents lying unconscious in a pool of blood, Balvinder ran out of his house wielding the sword and began randomly attacking passers-by and people on the road, police alleged.It was a scary scene as an auto-driver and a dozen other victims were bleeding profusely, eyewitnesses said.As the police patrol team reached the spot, Balvinder attacked three constables and wounded them seriously.Subsequently, police opened fire.Balvinder was then taken into custody and shifted to Government District Head Quarters hospital in Karimnagar, where he died within three hours of being admitted, hospital sources said.Balvinder was working in a company in Bangalore.His parents and the injured auto driver Narayana, also admitted in the same hospital, are said to be in a critical condition.Further investigations are underway, the DSP said.

BSF’s Superking aircraft crashes in Delhi’s Dwarka; all 10 on board killed

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The accident happened at around 9.50 am when the plane crashed into the airport boundary wall and landed in a sewage treatment plant while returning back due to apparent technical problem five minutes after it took off for Ranchi.

ANI
Ten people were killed when a small Ranchi-bound BSF Superking aircraft with two pilots and eight technicians on board crashed near Dwarka in Delhi shortly after take-off.The accident happened at around 9.50 am when the plane crashed into the airport boundary wall and landed in a sewage treatment plant while returning back due to apparent technical problem five minutes after it took off for Ranchi.The aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Control, at 9.50 am, they said.”All 10 onboard BSF plane that crashed in Dwarka dead,” said Civil Aviation Minister Mahesh Sharma.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eyewitnesses said the plane hit a wall before bursting into flames and then crashed into a water body.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash and has rushed to the crash site.Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives in the BSF plane crash in Delhi.”The tragic news of BSF plane crash near IGI airport in New Delhi is extremely painful. Rushing to the crash site immediately,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweet.”We saw a plane spiralling down which crashed near the wall where work was going on. I could sport one body. A labourer who was working was also injured,” an eye witness Suraj told reporters.The area was engulfed in dense smoke and fire with pieces of aircraft spread around. Delhi Fire Service cheif A K Sharma said 15 tenders have rushed to the spot.An inquiry has been ordered by the Civil Aviation Ministry.(With agency inputs)

Rajya Sabha passes SC/ST Bill unanimously through voice vote

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After seeing several days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment bill in a matter of minutes and that too through a voice vote and without any debate.

After seeing several days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment bill in a matter of minutes and that too through a voice vote and without any debate.The BJP was keen to get the bill through, especially to undo the damage done by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks given during Bihar polls that were dubbed as anti-Dalit quota by the opposition. The party also thinks that the passage of the bill would improve its image among Dalits that in turn could brighten its prospects during the UP state assembly elections due in 2017.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Of late BJP has been taking lot of brickbats for being intolerant and insensitive towards Dalits, especially after union minister V K Singh’s remarks given on the purported killing of two Dalit girls in Haryana recently.Deputy Chairman P J Kurien took up the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015 that aims to prohibit the commission of offences against members of the SCs and STs and adds provisions for establishing special courts for the trial cases of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims, in the second half of day.The sudden change in the atmosphere of the upper house that until recently failed to transact any business because of frequent pandemonium, prompted the deputy chairman Kurien to observe, “There is perfect calm and tranquility. Everybody is cool. A cool breeze is blowing. I don’t know where this breeze is coming from.”The amended bill adds new categories of actions to be treated as offences committed by non SCs and STs and amends certain existing categories. Impeding certain activities related to voting especially vote or not vote for a particular candidate will also be considered an offence.The new offences include – Garlanding SCs and STs with footwear; Compelling to do manual scavenging or dispose carry animal or human carcasses; Abusing SCs/STs in public by caste name; Disrespecting any deceased SCs/STs person held in high esteem or attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs/STs and threatening or imposing economic and social boycott.The offences in case of sexual exploiting of SC or ST woman would include – Using acts, words or gestures of a sexual nature against SC/ST woman; Touching an SC/ST woman intentionally in a sexual manner without her consent; Practice of dedicating an SC/ST woman as a devadasi to a temple.Other actions that will be considered as an offence are Preventing SCs/STs using common property resources, entering any places of public worship that is open to the public, and entering an education or health institution.In case of any violation of any provisions mentioned in this act the courts will presume that the accused non SC/ST person was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim, unless it is proved.The bill also adds provision specifying duties of public servants which includes, registering a FIR or complaint, public servant must read out the information given oral complaint by SC/ST person before taking the signature of the victim and giving copy of this information to the victim. It should be noted that parent Act has provision mentioning that public servant (non SC/ST) neglecting his duties related to SCs/STs will be punished with imprisonment for a term of 6 months to 1 year.The Bill adds provision specifying establishment of exclusive Special Court and Special Court at the district level to try offences mentioned under this Act. Exclusive Public Prosecutor and Public Prosecutor will be appointed for every Exclusive Special Court and Special Court.A new chapter added to the bill dealing with the rights of victims and witness mentions that it shall be the duty of the state to make arrangements for the protection of victims and their dependents and the witnesses. It also mentions that state should specify a scheme to ensure the implementation of rights of victims and witnesses.

Delhi cabinet calls special assembly session to discuss DDCA; opposition cries political gimmick

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Delhi cabinet resolves to set up Commission of Enquiry on DDCA scam. Special session of assembly tomorrow to discuss DDCA scam and CBI raids on Delhi Secretariat, Kejriwal tweeted.

Taking ahead its fight against finance minister Arun Jaitley, the Delhi cabinet headed by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday decided to call a special session of Delhi Assembly on Tuesday to discuss alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and the CBI raid at the Delhi secretariat last week.The cabinet also approved setting up of a one member commission of inquiry under former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities in the DDCA during Jaitley’s 13-year tenure as its head. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi cabinet resolves to set up Commission of Enquiry on DDCA scam. Special session of assembly tomorrow to discuss DDCA scam and CBI raids on Delhi Secretariat,” Kejriwal tweeted.Meanwhile, the leader of opposition at the Delhi assembly alleged that the special session has been called by the government to malign the central government and Jaitley and has been ignoring other problems of Delhi.”We will present a resolution in the House to approve setting up of the Commission of Inquiry,” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.Following a CBI raid in Delhi secretariat, AAP has alleged that the CBI carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for DDCA’s file. The party has also demanded resignation of Jaitley from the Union cabinet.A month ago, an AAP government-appointed probe committee recommended immediate suspension of DDCA by the BCCI for alleged financial irregularities.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.BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body on Monday demanded an ED and DRI probe into the affairs of DDCA.

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