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China, India dealt with border differences properly: PLA

Both sides this year have focussed their dialogue on frequent “incursions” by the Chinese troops specially in the Ladakh sector, which caused tensions at the borders. Two of such incursions happened during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India in 2013 and President Xi Jinping in 2014. On both the occasions, the prolonged standoffs were resolved through hectic parlays at high levels.

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Australia, New Zealand welcome New Year 2016 with spectacular fireworks <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: Car pooling for senior officers in Home MinistryIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations <!– /.block –>

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IAS officer from SC community converts to Islam, takes VRS claiming ‘victimization’

According to reports, Vasundhara Raje was not too keen in making Salodia as the Chief Secreatry as he has only a few months to retire.

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

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Let’s inculcate to work towards creating an inclusive society where peace prevails: Pranab Mukherjee

In his New Year message, President Mukherjee said, “On the joyous occasion of New Year, I convey warm greetings and good wishes to all my fellow countrymen in India and abroad. I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.””May the New Year be an occasion to make a fresh beginning and renew our resolve for individual as well as collective growth. Let us inculcate in ourselves love, compassion, tolerance and work towards creating an inclusive society where peace and harmony prevails. This is the time to reinforce the civilizational values that bind together the complex diversity of modern-day India and promote them among our people and the world,” President Mukherjee added.”Let us resolve to make the year 2016 – a year in which the people of our country work towards preserving the symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Let us strive to make our country clean and green and the environment pollution free.” he added. ani<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Also ReadIndiaOnce accosted for her hijab, 22-year-old woman now teaches Muslim empowermentIndiaInterlinking roads key to India’s growth: PM ModiIndiaPM Modi attacks Congress, asks them to vow to allow Parliament to function in 2016IndiaNCP accuses Manohar Parrikar of ‘interference’ in Goa affairsIndia’Anarchist’ Kejriwal still running party, not government: BJPIndiaMercury settles at sub-zero temp in Kashmir; Leh coldest <!– /.block –>

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India in pictures in 2015

A selection of news photographs from India that define the year that was 2015.

Complete list of countries visited by PM Narendra Modi in 2015

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A Right to Information (RTI) filed by Delhi-based activist Lokesh Batra revealed that by mid-September India had spent Rs 41.1 crores over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits in the last one year.

PM Modi departing from Delhi on his tour
File Photo

A Right to Information (RTI) filed by Delhi-based activist Lokesh Batra revealed that by mid-September India had spent Rs 41.1 crores over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits in the last one year. As the year come to an end, he has made 27 trips and visited 25 nations in a year, while views and counter-views emerge right from Rahul Gandhi’s criticism to Arvind Kejriwal’s questions and social media potshots, some still believe that his visits would strengthen his vision of ‘Make in India’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Let’s have a look at the nations that Modi visited this year:SeychellesDates of visit: March 10-11Purpose: Met President James Alexis Michelin as a part of Indian Ocean outreach programme and discussed maritime ties and bilateral development and cooperation.MauritiusDates of visit: March 11-13Purpose: Modi was the chief Guest at the Independence Day celebrations in Mauritius on March 12. He poured Gangajal in a sacred pond in Port Louis and commissioned an India-built naval patrol vessel for Mauritius.Sri LankaDates of visit: March 13-14Purpose: Sri Lanka released 86 fisherman prior to Modi’s visit. It was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 28 years aimed at improving the relation with the island country after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. The visit was also to discuss increasing Chinese activities in Lanka.SingaporeDate of visit: March 29Purpose: In his first visit to Singapore, he attended the state funeral of first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, on the sidelines he also met several world leaders and Israeli President.FranceDates of visit: April 9-12 Purpose: To encourage French defence, civil nuclear power and food processing companies to participate in Make in India programme.GermanyDates of visit: April 12-14Purpose: To visit business leaders at Hannover Messe business fair. He also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hannover.CanadaDates of visit: April 14-16Purpose: To strengthen Indian- Canadian bilateral relations in various sectors including aerospace and defence, education, energy, mining, infrastructure, sustainable technologies, information and communication technology. He also met Indians in Canada and visited Laxminarayan temple and Gurudwara.ChinaDates of visit: May 14-16Purpose: The issues for discussion included long-pending border dispute, a widening trade imbalance in favour of China, stapled visas, China taking up large infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and economic matters.MongoliaDates of visit: May 16-17Purpose: Modi visited Mongolia to address Great Khural on May 17 and announced a line of credit of US $1 billion to Ulaanbaatar to develop institutions, infrastructure and human resources in Mongolia. He also gifted Mongolia a Bhabhatron for cancer treatment.South KoreaDates of visit: May 18-19Purpose: As a part of East Asia Policy, Modi upgraded the ties between two nations to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ and signed seven agreements including one on avoidance of double taxation.BangladeshDates of visit: June 6-7Purpose: There were 22 agreements signed between the two nations including 1974 Land Boundary Agreement. Other issues discussed include business of water from the Teesta river, issues between border forces and an equal treatment for Bangladesh.UzbekistanDate of visit: July 6Purpose: Three pacts were signed to boost cooperation between foreign offices in the field of culture and tourism. Enhanced strategic, economic and regional issues like the situation in war-torn Afghanistan also made it to the agenda.KazakhstanDate of visit: July 7Purpose: Key issues discussed included fight against terrorism and extremism. Five key agreements were inked, which included a defence pact to enhance military cooperation and a contract for supply of uranium. RussiaDates of visit: July 8-10Purpose: Attended BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ​(SCO) Summits.TurkmenistanDates of visit: July 10-11Purpose: PM Modi signed seven pacts with Turkmenistan, vowed to fight terrorism together and pitched for an early implementation of the US $10 billion TAPI pipeline project.KyrgyzstanDate of visit: July 12Purpose: Modi in Kyrgyzstan signed four agreements to boost defence cooperation and hold annual joint military exercises and discussed combating international terrorism and other crimes.TajikistanDates of visit: July 12-13Purpose: Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of poet Rabindranath Tagore in Dushanbe and discussed regional issues including Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with President Emomali Rahmon.United Arab EmiratesDates of visit: August 16-17Purpose: Modi’s visit to United Arab Emirates was aimed at reaching out to the Indian diaspora there, wherein he announced E-migrate portal, ‘MADAD’ for Indian migrants, counsellor camps for Indian workers among other measures. The talks also focussed on enhanced energy and trade cooperation. The last prime minister to visit UAE was Indira Gandhi.IrelandDate of visit: September 23Purpose: First Prime Minister to visit Ireland in 59 years, Modi discussed global challenges like terror and radicalisation with his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny. He also hoped for relaxed visa policies for Indian IT firms. They also spoke about India’s membership of UN Security Council and international export control regimes including NSG.United StatesDates of Visit: September 24-30Purpose: Modi’s US visit was focussed towards United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), large Indian diaspora and Silicon Valley honchos.United KingdomDates of Visit: November 12-14Purpose: India and the UK sealed deals worth 9-billion pound, a civil nuclear pact was signed and collaboration in the fields of defence and cyber security was decided upon, besides talks about railway rupee bond were launched.TurkeyDates of visit: November 15-16Purpose: Modi attended G20 summit which focussed on current state of the global economy, sustainable growth, development and climate change, investment, trade and energy.MalaysiaDates of visit: November 21-22Purpose: Modi inaugrated Torana Gate, attended ASEAN and East Asia Summit, discussed Ayurveda and defence cooperation in Malaysia.SingaporeDates of Visit: November 23-25Purpose: Commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, PM Modi and his Singapore counterpart signed the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership.FranceDates of visit: November 30 – December 1Purpose: Modi attended COP21 Environment Conference and laid down India’s stratergy on global warming.Russia
Dates of Visit: December 23-24Purpose: 16th India-Russia annual summit talks would focus on stepping up economic engagement and strategic ties. Deals over defence sector which includes joint manufacturing of 200 Kamov-226T helicopters and purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems also hold an important place apart from access to secret Russian files to unveil mystery of the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. AfghanistanDate of Visit: December 25Purpose: The Afghan Parliament constructed by India at the cost of US $ 90 million inaugrated by Modi.

Former IAF official arrested for ‘spying’ New Delhi

He added that Ranjith was roped in into the spy ring by an unidentified woman whom he had met over a social networking site. Ranjith’s arrest comes close on the heels of the cracking of an ISI-backed espionage racket by the Crime Branch in connection with which five persons — including a serving and a former army personnel and a serving BSF personnel — were arrested. However, the police haven’t yet been able to ascertain any specific link between Ranjith and the other racket, which was even found to have sources at the office of the Pakistan High Commission here, the official added.

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Also ReadIndiaIT dept conducts nationwide searches on pulses traders, othersIndiaMumbai Police Twitter handle gets over 10,0000 followers after 24 hrs of its launchIndiaMinor raped on train: Accused remanded to 4 days police custody, 2 armymen still at largeIndiaNo regrets: Arvind Kejriwal defends his ‘Modi is a coward and a psycopath’ comment IndiaGoof up in mouthpiece: Congress suspects handiwork of insiders IndiaEngineers’ murder – Those who challenged law & order during my rule doing it again: Lalu Prasad Yadav <!– /.block –>

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Why is Western media so biased against India?

Someone who doesn’t live in India or hasn’t experienced its diversity, will never understand exactly how people from such distinct backgrounds live together with such harmony. When one sees the Western world grapple with issues like immigration or diverse religious groups, it makes one realise just how flexible our cultural system is, to allow so many people of so many backgrounds live with each other peacefully.

Nirmalya Dutta

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Also ReadIndiaNew Indo-Nepal bus service beginsIndiaManeka Gandhi launches ‘e-Office’IndiaMangaluru: Bajrang Dal leader arrested for posting hate comments against social worker on FacebookIndiaFour prisoners escape from Kadapa Central jail in Andhra PradeshIndiaWhy is Western media so biased against India? IndiaArun Jaitley turns 63; PM Modi wishes him long life <!– /.block –>

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Arun Jaitley turns 63; PM Modi wishes him long life

BJP President Amit Shah also tweeted, “Wishing Shri @arunjaitley ji a very happy birthday. My prayers and wishes for your long and healthy life.” Those wishing him on his birthday also included union ministers Piyush Goyal, Ram Vilas Paswan and Jeetendra Singh, as also Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

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Easier funding, separate law needed to boost PPP: Kelkar panel <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaNew Indo-Nepal bus service beginsIndiaManeka Gandhi launches ‘e-Office’IndiaMangaluru: Bajrang Dal leader arrested for posting hate comments against social worker on FacebookIndiaFour prisoners escape from Kadapa Central jail in Andhra PradeshIndiaWhy is Western media so biased against India? IndiaArun Jaitley turns 63; PM Modi wishes him long life <!– /.block –>

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Country passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot

Before his address to party workers, the state Congress chief unfurled the party flag and greeted party leaders and workers on the foundation day of the party. Those who addressed the party workers on the occasion included state Congress vice president Gopal Singh Shekhawat and former Rajasthan Congress chiefs B D Kalla, Chandrabhan, and former Union Minister N N Meena.

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Microsoft to work with Telangana for startup push: Satya Nadella <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: CNG cars to be given exemption stickers starting tomorrowIndiaAAP leader murdered in New Delhi, body dumped near swampIndiaAfter Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’IndiaTreat citizens as your ‘boss’, Fadnavis tells policeIndiaDDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind KejriwalIndiaCountry passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Focus on mobile technology for last mile delivery: RBI panel to banks<!– /.block –>Microsoft to work with Telangana for startup push: Satya Nadella<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Trinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop show

“It is funny that those who killed democracy are now talking about it…It was the Left which led the state into a death trap,” the TMC leader said.

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<!– /.block –>Sri Lanka President Sirisena slams organisers and fans of Enrique concert for ‘uncivilised behaviour’ <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaTrinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop showIndiaHurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace processIndiaFormer Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sueIndiaGujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youthIndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt conducts trial run with 750 private busesIndiaHyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>’Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Crosses $1 Billion globally at record pace<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Fire breaks out at Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao’s controversial ritual

Sunday is the last day of the ritual. The ritual, which reportedly cost Rs 7 crores and is being attended by many dignitaries including President Pranab Mukherjee, has been heavily criticised at a time when the agrarian crisis in Telangana is severe and farmer suicides a major issue.

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Also ReadIndiaFire breaks out at Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao’s controversial ritualIndiaNHRC must comment on rights of rape victims: Nirbhaya’s parentsIndia’Akhand Bharat’ a cultural concept, not a political one: RSSIndiaRadhe Maa to Anupam Kher: 8 stars who ‘broke out’ in 2015IndiaGovernment committed to electrification of villages: PM ModiIndiaGovt’s plan to repeal over 1,000 obsolete laws stuck in Rajya Sabha <!– /.block –>

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TN Governor K Rosaiah, Sharad Pawar attend the ‘Rs 7 crore Yagam’ performed by Telangana CM KCR

However, opposition parties such as Congress, BJP and CPI(M) hit out at him for allegedly misusing government machinery. President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to attend the ‘yagam’ tomorrow, according to a release from Rao’s office. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu would also attend the event tomorrow.

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Uttar Pradesh: Minor gangraped, brutally killed; village tense after police fails to nab accused

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DIG, Aligarh Division, Govind Agarwal said that the station officer Ram Kumar Gupta has been removed from duty and sent to police lines, for negligence.

Tension prevailed at the village Gurusikhran in Harduganj area in the district after police failed to arrest the four unidentified persons who allegedly gangraped and killed a 17-year-old girl two days ago. All shops in the village remained closed today while agitating villagers staged dharna at the police station, last evening, demanding arrest of the accused. They were protesting against the “indifference and undue delay” by the police response in helping the victim’s family after her body was recovered.DIG, Aligarh Division, Govind Agarwal said that the station officer Ram Kumar Gupta has been removed from duty and sent to police lines, for negligence. Three separate police teams have been formed to nab the four unidentified culprits, he said, adding that over a dozen youth have been picked up so far for questioning.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, district BJP President Deoraj Singh, who visited the village yesterday, said that the incident showed the poor law and order situation in the state. He warned that his party would launch an agitation if the culprits were not nabbed soon.

DDCA scam: RSS unhappy with way BJP dealt with Kirti Azad vs Arun Jaitley row

The RSS is not happy with the way the BJP government handled the DDCA row where Kirti Azad targeted Arun Jaitley, says an India Today report. Citing sources, the report says that RSS is unhappy with Azad’s suspension over the matter and believes the government should not have dealt with the issue in such a haste.According to the source, RSS has said that the move to suspend Kirti Azad was a big political mistake on the part of BJP as the issue will give impetus to the Aam Aadmi Party which is gunning against the Centre and Jaitley over the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kirti Azad who was supposed to meet BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha will not meet them but instead will write to BJP President Amit Shah about the issue

PM Modi to inaugurate Afghanistan’s Parliament building built by India

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PM Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are expected to issue a joint statement after holding talks.

Narendra Modi and Ashraf Ghani

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kabul on Friday morning, a day after signing 16 major agreements in Russia. The Prime Minister will inaugurate Afghanistan’s Parliament building, which has been built by India.The PM’s day-long visit, his first to Afghanistan, since taking office – was not officially announced for security reasons, says NDTV, with several specific threats against Indian targets being received and some being foiled.Modi will address a joint session of the two Afghan Houses in the new Parliament complex.The Parliament building project was started by India in 2007 as a mark of friendship and cooperation to help rebuild Afghanistan after the wars. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are expected to issue a joint statement after holding talks. PM Modi is also expected to meet former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.India has invested around $2 billion in aid and reconstruction in Afghanistan and trained scores of officers.India delivered three of four Russian Mi-25 helicopter gunships to Afghanistan on Thursday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday wrapped up his two-day visit to Russia, during which the two countries signed 16 pacts to expand cooperation in various sectors, including nuclear and defence.It is learnt that Prime Minister Modi was heading towards the Afghan capital Kabul from Moscow. The Kabul visit has not been officially announced but Modi was expected to make a stop-over in Kabul on his way back home.In Kabul, he is expected to inaugurate the new building of the Afghan Parliament constructed by India at a cost of about $90 million. During his stay in Russia, Modi held annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin and underlined the need for the world to unite against terrorism “without distinction and discrimation between terrorist groups and target countries.”As part of the 16th annual India-Russia Summit, Modi and Putin held a one-on-one meeting before they were joined by their respective delegations. Earlier in the day, Modi laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial dedicated to Soviet soldiers killed in World War II, in Moscow.Last night, Modi was hosted for a private dinner and held a private tete-a-tete with Putin at the Kremlin. The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived in Moscow to a red carpet welcome.

Russia and India hail partnership

Russian and Indian leaders Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi stress the partnership between their two countries as they sign a series of deals.

Congress, NCP divided over compensation for Kandivali slum fire victims’ compensation

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However, Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir termed the amount as “meagre” and a “joke”.

While the city Congress on Thursday claimed that government increased the amount of compensation for the victims of December 7 fire at Damunagar slum in suburban Kandivali due to the party’s agitation, NCP termed the aid as a joke. Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said the party workers’ relay hunger strike forced the state government to hike the compensation from Rs 3,800 to Rs 25,000 per family. However, Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir termed the amount as “meagre” and a “joke”. In a statement, Nirupam said the devastating fire had rendered over 2,000 families homeless, but no BJP or Shiv Sena leader bothered to visit them. The relay hunger strike by Congress forced the government to increase the compensation to Rs 25,000 per family, he claimed, adding that the government also agreed to probe the cause of the fire and accepted Congress’s demand for rehabilitating the victims on the same site or nearby. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government should waive school fees of the children from affected families, he said. Ahir, on the other hand, termed Rs 25,000 aid as “meagre”. “This is like playing a cruel joke on the affected families. The government is trying to dodge the demand of on-site rehabilitation,” he alleged. Ahir demanded Rs five lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh to the injured, Rs 50,000 to the affected families and permanent houses for them. Congress-NCP regime had rehabilitated the affected slum dwellers of Nargis Dutt Nagar in Bandra on the same site, he claimed.

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.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gifts PM Modi handwritten page from Mahatma Gandhi’s dairy

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Russian President Vladmir Putin on Thursday gifted Prime Minister Narendra Modi a handwritten page from Mahatma Gandhi’s diary.

PM Narendra Modi and President Vladmir Putin

Reuters
Russian President Vladmir Putin on Thursday gifted Prime Minister Narendra Modi a handwritten page from Mahatma Gandhi’s diary.”President Putin gifted me a page from Gandhi ji’s diary containing Bapu’s handwritten notes,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted along with the photograph.”President Putin also gifted an 18th century sword from Bengal, featuring intricate silver artwork. I thank him for the gifts,” he said in another tweet.Prime Minister Modi and Russian President are set to hold the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit talks at Kremlin.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: PM Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks, sign pacts today on key areas​Prime Minister Modi and the Russian President are expected to discuss topical, global and regional issues and prospects for cooperation in multilateral organisations, primarily at the United Nations, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).According to TASS, following the talks, a number of bilateral agreements are expected to be inked, in particular on transport, trade, energy and reciprocal trips of the citizens. Economic cooperation will be the focus of the talks.The talks between the two countries, bound by special and privileged strategic ties, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.Besides bilateral issues, the two leaders are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.Prime Minister Modi on his second day of visit to Russia, will start the day by visiting Russian National Crisis Management Center (NCMC) and get an overview of its functioning and how it acts during natural disasters.Apart from the bilateral meetings and issuing a joint statement, the Prime minister will also address at a gathering of friends of India.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, received a red carpet welcome on his first bilateral visit to Russia.On Thursday, he will be greeted with twin cultural programmes Abhinandan and Abhivyakti.On the eve of veteran leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday, artists will perform musical enactment of Atal ji’s poem Geet Naya Gata Hoon rendered by Lata Mangeshkar. While Abhinandan will portray the assimilation of India’s performing arts traditions by Russian artistes, Abhivyakti will be an attempt to articulate and convey an authentic image of Indian traditions, history and culture by Russian artistes.

Political discourse becoming more vulgar: Arun Jaitley

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Jaitley is currently under attack from opposition over alleged involvment in the DDCA scam

Arun Jaitley

Amid frequent face offs between the government and opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said political discourse in the country has become “more vulgar”.”Though extremely popular to say, the anti-corruption law must be made more and more stringent and more and more unreasonable. That is the more popular way these days in politics, particularly when political discourse also tends to become more vulgar,” Jaitley, under fierce opposition attack over alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket body, said delivering the annual Intelligence Bureau lecture.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley’s comments came amidst the ongoing tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre over alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association where he was the president for about 13 years till 2013. Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad too alleged there were financial irregularities in the DDCA when Jaitley was at its helm.Jaitley has refuted the allegations and filed civil and criminal defamation cases against five AAP leaders, including Kejriwal. About “continuing mandamus”, Jaitley said the whole idea behind the move was to make sure that investigating agency does its job.”This process has gone on for two decades and you have cases of economic offences which are investigated by several agencies, state police, CBI and other agencies which requires an introspection and analytic view, a continuing mandamus alerts the investigation,” he said. Continuing Mandamus is a writ of Mandamus issued to a lower authority by the higher authority in general public interest asking the officer or the authority to perform its task expeditiously for an unstipulated period of time for preventing miscarriage of justice.The Finance Minister said there are not too many cases in which investigating agencies in a case involving continuing mandamus have ended investigation in favour of the accused. “The golden rule which most investigating agencies follow is that if a court is conducting a continuing mandamus, it is easier to file a charge sheet and let the court decide whether evidence exists or not,” he said.Therefore, Jaitley said, after 20 years of this experiment, a call has to be taken, including by the courts, whether the imbalance between a fair investigation and rights of the accused have been created by an institution of continuing mandamus.It is an instrument which can be used rarely in cases where there is reason to apprehend that an honest investigation is not being carried out. “To make continuing mandamus a regular practice, may have a tendency to create an imbalance in the criminal jurisprudence due to the reasoning adopted in the judgement of cases,” he said.

Black box of crashed BSF plane recovered

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According to reports, the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorders in the black boxes are being studied to know what transpired inside the cockpit and the passenger area before it crashed.

Investigators look at the remains of a small BSF plane that crashed outside the airport in New Delhi on Tuesday.

PTI
Black box of the Border Security Force (BSF) plane (B 200 Super King) which crashed through the boundary wall of the Delhi airport, was recovered in New Delhi, sources said.According to reports, the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorders in the black boxes are being studied to know what transpired inside the cockpit and the passenger area before it crashed. All the ten passengers onboard were killed after a Ranchi-bound BSF Superking aircraft crashed at Bagdola village in Sector 8, Dwarka here on Tuesday morning.Home Minister Rajnath Singh today paid tribute to BSF plane crash victims at the Safdarjung Airport. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung also paid tribute to the victims.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed grief and distress on Wednesday at the loss of lives in the plane crash in the national capital. Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also condoled the loss of lives.The BSF had announced on Tuesday Rs. 20 lakhs to the BSF family members from BSF’s internal insurance fund in addition to what the government will announce.

5 months after death, APJ Abdul Kalam’s grave still under ‘make-shift’ shelter

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Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015. He was the 11th President of India.
File Photo

Five months after the entire nation mourned the sudden demise of former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, his remains which were laid to rest at Pei Karumbu burial ground near his hometown Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, are still awaiting a proper memorial.Cats and dogs are seen defecating near the 1.5 acre-site with visitors sneaking through barricades and taking photographs near the grave. Aerospace and defence journalist Anantha Krishnan has started a Facebook campaign called “Justice4GuruKalam” seeking appropriate memorial for the people’s President.Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015. He was the 11th President of India. Before becoming the President, Dr. Kalam had spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the DRDO and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Stung by Modi govt’s ‘cold attitude’, VHP says Ram temple to be made by dharmacharyas, masses

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Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, two trucks of stones had arrived in the temple city earlier this week, even as police said it was monitoring the situation

AFP
Apparently miffed with the “cold attitude” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the Ram Mandir issue, VHP leaders in Ayodhya said that the temple will be constructed by the ‘dharmacharyas’ (holy men) and masses.”We don’t take directions from Modi. Dharmacharyas use their own wisdom,” Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas, who actively campaigned for the construction of Ram Mandir said. Das said that although they were hopeful that the temple construction work would pick up after the return of a Hindu party government, the NDA-led Centre “did not take any interest” in VHP’s Ayodhya movement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have thus decided to move forward with our agenda without any help,” he said. Another senior VHP leader Triloki Nath Pandey, seconded Das’s opinion. Pandey, who was awarded a part of Babri Masjid land by Allahabad High Court, said that the VHP never expected any help from the Prime Minister for the temple construction.The temple would be constructed by Dharmacharyas and Hindu masses, he added. Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, two trucks of stones had arrived in the temple city earlier this week, even as police said it was monitoring the situation.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: CM Nabam Tuki meets President Pranab Mukherjee

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Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Against the backdrop of a political crisis in his state due to a tussle between factions of the ruling Congress, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki met President Pranab Mukherjee in Hyderabad on Wednesday.”I called on him. I apprised him the situation. The matter is now sub-judice,” Tuki told PTI.Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to topple the Tuki government, but the saffron party has maintained that it has nothing to do with the dissidence in the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh. The President is here for his customary southern sojourn which concludes on December 31.

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.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunges her own remarks after Congress protests

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“I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said.

In a rare act, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Mond agreed to expunge her own “vested interest” remarks made yesterday against members protesting in the Well, after Congress expressed concern saying it was not right on part of the Chair to make such a remark. Soon after the House condoled the death of 10 people in a BSF plane crash yesterday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised concern over the Speaker’s remarks. Yesterday when Congress members were protesting in the Well, Mahajan had said they don’t have any national interest and they only have vested interest. Noting that she did not take the name of any party while making the remarks, Mahajan today said it was made when members were protesting in the Well of the House. “I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wondering what would happen tomorrow, Kharge said the Speaker’s remarks yesterday was unfortunate and it hurt them. “(The remarks) were not proper,” he noted. “We are bringing up issues on national interest” whether about Union Minister V K Singh or Arunachal Pradesh or any other matter, Kharge said, adding that whatever problems have happened, the government was responsible. Mahajan said “unko (Congress) bhi kisi baat ke liye dukh hua hai. Achchi baat hai ki woh sochen unki kise baat se doosre bhi aahat ho sakte hain (They are hurt for some reason. It would be good if they also think that for their actions some others might have also been hurt)”. Dissatisfied with the Speaker’s response when Congress members began to protest, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said such actions by the Opposition was not allowed in the House. “Nobody can question the conduct of the Speaker in the House,” the Minister said. Earlier when the House assembled and the Question Hour began, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans over Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s alleged role in the irregularities in the Delhi cricket body DDCA.Amid the protests, Jaitley and BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has also targeted the Finance Minister over the DDCA affairs, walked into the House. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were also present in the House.

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.

Obama, Modi have strong, productive relationship: US official

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“It was a quite extraordinary fact that within the space of four months there were two head of the state visits, one first to the United States in September of 2014 and then Prime Minister Modi invited the President to India just four months later in January,” the official said.

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have developed a strong and productive relationship between them, a top American climate change official has said.”President Obama and Prime Minister Modi have a very, strong and productive relationship, not just on climate change but broadly,” Todd Stern, the US Special Envoy on Climate Change said yesterday.”It was a quite extraordinary fact that within the space of four months there were two head of the state visits, one first to the United States in September of 2014 and then Prime Minister Modi invited the President to India just four months later in January,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thereafter the two leaders have been close communications with each other. “They met on the margins of the UNGA in New York and they met on the first day of the Paris meeting,” Stern said.According to Stern the meeting was a very warm and positive, cordial and detailed.”In fact, they talked so long that they were both supposed to go and did go finally, but they were a little bit late to the announcement of this big Mission Innovation idea on R&D that both well, the United States, India, China, many other countries ultimately were part of,” the US official said.”So I think, that the call later, sort of more towards the end, was a check-in call to see how we were doing and to urge us all on together toward a successful conclusion. And I think it was done in that spirit, not in the spirit that there was some specific thing that had to be done before the agreement could get completed,” Stern said.

Narendra Modi, BJP back Arun Jaitley, but silent on Kirti Azad

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on the DDCA row, describing finance minister Arun Jaitley to be as untainted as party veteran LK Advani was in the Hawala case.At the weekly BJP parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday morning, Modi backed Jaitley, who faces DDCA corruption charges levelled by party MP Kirti Azad. “Congress has made two mistakes. When it levelled allegations against Advaniji in the Hawala case, the whole nation stood by Advaniji against the Congress. Advaniji jitne pavitra hain, Jaitleyji bhi utne hi pavitra hain,” Modi said, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister said Jaitley will come out with “flying colours” the way Advani did in the Hawala case. He took on Congress saying its strategy was aimed at targeting capable ministers, and referred to its attack on external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “Once we understand this strategy, we have to be ready for a big fight,” he said. This would be done through connecting with people and holding press conferences in each constituency of the 280 party MPs plus one non-BJP constituency each. The MPs have been asked to stay overnight in their constituencies.While he stood by Jaitley, Modi was silent on Azad, who was not present in the meeting. However, later Azad said he had not boycotted the meeting but was away because of a prior engagement.Party president Amit Shah too had come out in support of Jaitley on Monday evening, but not said a word on Azad. Shah’s statement came on Monday evening after Azad had held a press conference on Sunday and a day later spoken against Jaitley in Lok Sabha and then tweeted. The party leadership’s silence had started raising eyebrows.However, the leadership has refrained from reprimanding or sending a show cause notice to Azad, who appeared to be testing the party’s patience.Sources reflect a dilemma in the party on the issue. The BJP had taken a similar approach towards its two other Bihar Mps — Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh — who have taken on the party leadership. The question is whether the party will take action against Azad, who has left the BJP red faced in waging a battle against one of the most high profile ministers in the Modi cabinet.On Monday, Azad had tweeted challenging Jaitley to sue him too along with other AAP leaders.The row has given ammunition to the Congress which asked Jaitely to follow Advani, who had set the tradition bowing out of public life, till he came out clean. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said Modi’s drawing comparison between Advani being absolved in the Jain Hawala case with allegations against Jaitley is significant. “He (Jaitley) should learn lessons from his leader Advani, who abdicated office and didn’t even contest election till he came out clean,” he said. The Congress was also demanding Jaitley to listen to his leader and conscience by quiting office, till investigations are over, he said.The finance minister has in the past been a crusader for accountability and has repeatedly invoked the dictum that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”.

Juvenile Justice Bill: As parents watch, Nirbhaya gives India what she didn’t get

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We are satisfied … but there is grief that our daughter Jyoti was denied justice, says victim’s mother after RS passes Juvenile Justice Bill

Rajya Sabha members on Tuesday bowed to an emotionally surcharged public pressure, debated for more than four hours, went against a UN convention, rejected amendments and opposition and passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill. In fact, with the 2012 Dehi gang-rape victim Jyoti Singh’s parents watching the proceedings from the gallery, two members even withdrew their motion for sending the Bill to a select committee first. “This is a nuanced Bill….It does not mean that a 16-year-old goes to jail at all,” said Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> What it prescribes is that if a child, between 16 and 18 years of age, commits a heinous crime, he will be sent to a Juvenile Justice Board. “The board, with the help of psychologists and experts, will decide whether the crime was committed with an adult’s mind or a child’s mind,” she explained. Several Opposition members wanted the Bill to be sent to the select committee first to crease out several anomalies, but withdrew their amendments for a smooth passage of the Bill. Even the Congress did not support the amendments moved by its own member Prof. M V Rajeev Gowda. The Left parties walked out in protest declaring that though they are in favour of the passage of the Bill, it should be referred to the select committee first as it deals with a very sensitive issue that should not be drowned in emotions because of public pressure. Many members also criticised the lowering of age as it went against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It mandates that all children under the age of 18 years be treated equal. India is a signatory to this convention. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May after including 11 out of the 13 recommendations by the parliamentary standing committee. It now needs the final assent of the President to become an Act. Incidentally, it was Maneka Gandhi who, as a minister in 2000, had increased the age of juvenile culpability from 16 years to 18 years. What is the incident?In December 2012, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh was beaten and gang-raped in a private bus by six persons in New Delhi, of which one was a juvenile, a few months short of 18 years. The juvenile walked free after serving the maximum sentence of three years’ confinement in a reform facility. One accused died in police custody, and the other four are on death row. The incident and the law on juvenile justice sparked a public outrage across the

Russian pilgrim sentenced to jail in Kashmir

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Luck, however, had other things in store for the mother of two as she was arrested by the police for entering into the valley without valid travel documents. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, has been sentenced to one year in jail by a trial court.

Faith transcended all boundaries for 40-year-old Russian Bonetekia Zoia when she embarked on a spiritual journey from Saint Petersburg to the abode of Lord Shiva at the Holy Amarnath cave in August this year.Luck, however, had other things in store for the mother of two as she was arrested by the police for entering into the valley without valid travel documents. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, has been sentenced to one year in jail by a trial court.As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a two-day Russia visit from Wednesday, the clamour is growing for pardoning or commuting the sentence of Zoia so that she could be reunited with her family at Saint Petersburg.Noted Supreme Court lawyer and chief patron of National Panthers Party Bhim Singh has written a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention for her release from prison.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”That India is a sovereign country and the tourists from Nepal may enter India. It appears that the Russian lady had no valid visa to visit India if it is so, it has to be ascertained how she was allowed to enter India without valid documents from Nepal. The immigration at the border is responsible for this goof-up and not the visiting tourist,” Singh said in his letter.Zoia was arrested by the police near Sonamarg on August 24 and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act since she was not carrying the travel documents. “She has entered India through Nepal to perform yatra.While performing yatra, she was trapped by the police in the catchment area of the holy cave,” Umar Rashid Wani, the counsel for Zoia, told dna.The Russian could not be bailed out because nobody in Kashmir came forward to give surety for her. “I did not have surety to present on her behalf. If nobody stands as surety, how can a person get bail? It was not possible for me to get a passport because she actually had lost it somewhere in Nepal. Therefore, I had to confess on her behalf. Accordingly, the court convicted and sentenced her to one year jail which otherwise could have been five years,” said Wani.Wani has now decided to approach the Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra seeking a pardon for the Russian visitor.”I will appeal the governor, who has the power, to pardon or commute her sentence. If she is pardoned it will be a good gesture. There are good relations between India and Russia since the dawn of civilisation. Plus, she had come with a purpose to seek peace across the globe. She was driven by faith and not having any ill intention,” he said.

Gujarat: Congress takes charge of 21 district and 124 taluka panchayats

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In the local bodies elections held in November, Congress had won 21 out of 31 district panchayats and BJP six. The remaining local bodies delivered a hung verdict.

Congress members on Tuesday took charge of 21 district panchayats and 124 taluka panchayats, elections for which were held in November.Similarly, the BJP members took up the post of president in 8 district panchayats and 86 taluka panchayats. “I congratulate our representatives who have taken charge as presidents in 21 district panchayats and 124 taluka panchayats,” state unit Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said. He said the party will deliver on electoral promises in the next five years.BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said the BJP had won six out of eight district panchayats with clear majority, its representatives won the post of president in eight district bodies on backing of independents. “In the same way, we got a clear majority in 61 taluka panchayats but our representatives have won the post of president in 86 panchayats due to support of independents and others,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the local bodies elections held in November, Congress had won 21 out of 31 district panchayats and BJP six. The remaining local bodies delivered a hung verdict. In 230 taluka panchayats that had gone to polls, the Congress won 124 and BJP 61 (However, BJP has presidents in 86 panchayats on support of independents and others).In some of the remaining 20 taluka panchayats, either independents or others came to power or in some cases election of chairman will be held in future, officials said today. Election of presidents in two district panchayats in Devbhoomi Dwarka and Dahod was postponed and will be held in near future, they said. In around 20 taluka panchayats (out of 230) where there was a tie between the Congress and BJP, the chairmanship was decided by draw as per the rules of State Election Commission.

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.

India toughens law for juvenile crimes

The Indian parliament passes a bill which allows juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age to be tried as adults for serious crimes like rape or murder.

AAP allegation, malicious and tarnishing Jaitley’s reputation, says his advocate

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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s advocate Manik Dogra on Tuesday said that all allegations made by the Aam Aadmi Party are baseless and malicious and aimed at tarnishing the reputation of his client.

PTI
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s advocate Manik Dogra on Tuesday said that all allegations made by the Aam Aadmi Party are baseless and malicious and aimed at tarnishing the reputation of his client. “Our argument was that all the allegations made by the AAP are wrong, baseless and malicious. This is only to tarnish the reputation. Mr. Jaitlety has filed a suit for damages seeking the damage of 10 crore against the defendant. We are very confident and hopeful for the success,” Dogra told the media here.He also added that all defendants individually and collectively have made themselves liable to compensate the plaintiff for a sum of Rs 10 crores.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders of AAP for allegedly defaming him in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy before a Delhi court which took cognizance on his plea.Jaitley’s action comes in the backdrop of attacks on him by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities and financial bunglings in Delhi’s cricket body, DDCA, of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.

PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi express grief over BSF aircraft crash

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over tragic aircraft crash and conveyed her condolences to bereaved families.

BSF Superking aircraft crash site in Dwarka

ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief and distress at the loss of lives in the Border Security Force (BSF) plane crash in the national capital.”Pained by the loss of lives in the BSF plane crash in Delhi. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over tragic aircraft crash and conveyed her condolences to bereaved families.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet, said, “Extremely sad to learn of the BSF plane crash near Delhi airport. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”In a tragic accident, all the ten passengers onboard were killed after a Ranchi-bound BSF Superking aircraft crashed at Bagdola village in Sector 8, Dwarka here in the national capital on Tuesday morning.Confirming the death toll, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said, “This is a very sad incident. All the passengers including the pilot have died in the crash. Investigation will be done to find the cause of the accident.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also reached the site where the plane had crashed.So far, four bodies have been recovered from the crash site.

Bottoms up! Alcohol not ‘intoxicant’, says Punjab health minister

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Jyani told journalists during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre in his constituency Badal.

Surjit Kumar Jyani

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Bizzare it may sound but Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani does not consider ‘sharab’ (booze) an intoxicant.”I don’t think ‘sharab’ (booze) is an intoxicant. You cannot call alcohol an intoxicant. It is (consumed) there in the army, parties. The government gives licences for manufacturing liquor, we auction liquor vends. As long as it is done, sharab cannot be called ‘nasha’ (intoxicant),” Jyani told journalists during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre in his constituency Badal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Punjab has been facing a problem of drug addiction, which once prompted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to claim 7 out of every 10 youth in the state were addicts.

PM Modi’s visit to Russia: Are India’s defence eggs still in the Russian basket?

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Since the early 1960s, Soviet Union/Russia has been India’s largest defence weapons supplier. At the height of the Cold war, 85% of Indian Navy, 75% of Indian Air Force and over 50% of Indian Army equipment were of Russian origin.

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi
File Photo

PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Russia on December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.In addition to inking agreements on furthering the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant beyond stage 1 & 2, they are likely to push forward a plan to assemble Russian Kamov-226T helicopters in India. It is a light multipurpose helicopter and is meant to replace Chetak and Cheetah. The helicopters will be built primarily for the Indian armed forces and also for exports. Russia has reportedly offered full manufacture in India. India’s Ministry of Defence is currently scouting to choose a public or private sector partner company from within India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the visit, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) also approved purchase of the very potent Russian S-400 air defence missile system with a range of 400 km. Five units would cost Rs 40,000 crores. Only preliminary discussions may take place at this stage. Since the early 1960s, Soviet Union/Russia has been India’s largest defence weapons supplier. At the height of the Cold War, 85% of Indian Navy, 75% of Indian Air Force and over 50% of Indian Army equipment were of Russian origin. Purchase of Jaguar and Mirage-2000 aircraft in 1970-80s was a major departure. There was always a strong desire to move to alternative sources. The rise of China and desire of USA and the West to move closer to India resulted in offers of modern weapons that were hitherto not available.In fact, Russia was somewhat upset when its MiG-35 lost to the French Dassault Rafale in the MMRCA contest; and also when IAF chose to buy the Boeing Chinook CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter over the only competitor Russian Mi-26; and the Boeing Apache-64 D won the attack helicopter competition against the Russian Mi-28 N Night Hunter. Six Airbus A330 tanker aircraft are being inducted in preference to Russian IL-78. Earlier, the India Navy chose the Boeing P-8I Poseidon to replace the ageing Russian TU-142. On the other hand, India was upset with Russia for reportedly agreeing to sell four Mi-35M – very modern attack helicopters – to Pakistan to strengthen their counter terror capability. The Indian Army’s armour has been dominated by Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks. The mechanised infantry uses Russian infantry combat vehicles. Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, the latest fighter aircraft MiG-29K, many of the frigates and most of its submarine fleet are of Russian origin.For years, our Navy has flown variants of Russian Kamov helicopters. BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is an Indo-Russian joint venture for the three services. Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon have all 272 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI already committed. More orders are likely. IAF recently upgraded MiG-29s. IL-76 and An-32 transport aircraft, the AEW&C and Air-refuelling aircraft are all Russian origin. Nearly 200 Russian Mi-17 helicopter variants will dominate IAF’s medium lift helicopter fleet for next two decades. It will also act as the VVIP helicopter till a new one is decided.Nearly 400 Kamov-226T will join the three armed forces. The surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles are mostly Russian. IAF is already committed to many future projects with Russians. A sum of Rs 40,000 crore is committed for just the design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). 214 aircrafts are planned to be inducted into IAF at a cost of Rs 670 crores a piece. There are already delays and cost escalation. A joint venture 20-tonne Medium-lift Transport Aircraft (MTA) will finally take-off early next year with both sides agreeing to commit funds. Is the balance still tilted heavily towards the Russians? India’s experience of the last five decades is that the Russian weapon systems are rugged and fairly good operationally. While they are initially relatively inexpensive, over the years, life-cycle costs work-out much higher than Western counterparts. Poor maintenance support often resulted in lower service abilities and sometimes, accidents. With so many defence projects already unfolding, it is an umbilical cord that will stay connected in the 21st century.

Veterinarian with alleged BJP affiliation among latest arrests in Dadri lynching

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday arrested five more persons who were allegedly part of the mob that lynched Mohamad Akhlaq in Dadri’s Bisara village in September. The number of arrested persons in the case has now risen to 15 with police looking for four more accused who were named by Shaista and Danish, children of Akhlaq.Among the latest arrested persons is the local veterinarian about whom dna had reported on December 4. Sources privy to investigation said that the veterinarian, identified as Arun Kumar, had affiliations with the local unit of Bhartiya Janata Party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The arrests were made today (on Monday). Name of the arrested persons are Arun, Hari, Ravin and Vinay,” said Anurag Singh, circle officer Dadri. “The fifth is a juvenile,”he added. The number of juveniles allegedly involved in the murder has now risen to two. When asked about the political affiliations of Arun, the officer said, “Finding political affiliations is not the focus of the investigation. We are arresting persons on the basis of their involvement in the crime,” Singh said.Laxmi Kant Bajpai, the state president of BJP Uttar Pradesh, when contacted by dna for a reaction said, “I am not aware of the latest development. I can only comment once I verify whether the said person has any affiliations with the party.”The 52-year-old Akhlaq was beaten to death by a mob on suspicions that his family had slaughtered a calf and consumed beef. Sources privy to the investigation had told dna Kumar had given his ‘expert view’ on whether the meat found by Vishal Rana, son a local BJP leader, was beef or mutton. The veterinarian was shown the meat allegedly thrown by Akhlaq on the roadside on the night of September 28. The same group of people, allegedly led by Vishal and his cousin Shivam, went on to declare from a temple loudspeaker that a calf had been slaughtered. The group appealed to the residents to gather outside Akhlaq’s home. The FIR had named 10 persons who were arrested by the police in September and October. Another five people were also mentioned in the FIR as unknown suspects. While Shaista, named six more people in her statement to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Danish named another three accused taking the number of accused to 19.

India to offer site in Andhra Pradesh to Russia for nuclear plants

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The two countries are likely to sign an agreement for the two units with provisions for involvement of India’s private sector in the project including in supply of various components.

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi
File Photo

India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant by Russia in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow this week. The two countries are likely to sign an agreement for the two units with provisions for involvement of India’s private sector in the project including in supply of various components. “We will follow principles of ‘localisation’ as per Make in India initiative for setting up Kudankulam nuclear power plant five and six,” sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> They said a site in Andhra Pradesh has been finalised for the project in line with government’s policy for ensuring optimum use of the available nuclear sites in various states to accommodate more atomic reactors. Incidentally, Centre has already shortlisted the Kovvada site to build a project with the assistance of US-based nuclear vendor, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Modi is scheduled to visit Russia from December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Russia has been a key partner of India in the civil nuclear energy sector. In the last summit between Modi and Putin, it was decided that Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors in India by 2035. In April last year, India and Russia had signed an agreement to build units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam project at a cost of Rs 33,000 crore. However, work on the ground is yet to start. The units 3 and 4 are be coming up in Tamil Nadu’s coastal district of Tirunelveli. Earlier this month, Nikolai Spasskiy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rosatom – the Russian counterpart of the India’s Department of Atomic Energy, visited India and he is believed have discussed with DAE brass about various aspect of the proposed pact for Kudankulam 5 and 6. Units 5 and 6 of VVER technology are expected to be of the same MW like units 1-4, but the cost details of the project are yet to be finalised. The government is constructing six reactors in new projects like Jaitapur (EPR 1000×6) in Maharashtra built with French technology, Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh (1000MW x 6) and Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat.

DDCA row: Sonia Gandhi rubbishes allegations by Arun Jaitley; asks if she is responsible for everything

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“Is Sonia Gandhi responsible for everything”? asked Congress chief.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday rubbished allegations by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of her involvement in ‘targeting’ the latter in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) row.”Is Sonia Gandhi responsible for everything”? asked Congress chief.In an interview to a National daily, Jaitley alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad had met the Congress president during the UPA tenure which instigated an investigation by the Serious Frauds Office.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley also said that the meeting of minds between the Congress leadership and Azad resulted in a plan to target him.”One member of Parliament wrote to the Congress government, he met Sonia Gandhi. He met Sonia Gandhi and they said we will fix Jaitley,” he said.Jaitley has been accused of corruption by the Delhi Government and former players including Kirti Azad and Bishan Singh Bedi during his tenure as president of DDCA till 2013.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress Party has demanded for the resignation of the Finance Minister from the union cabinet to enable an independent probe against him.Kirti Azad had even written letter to the SHO, IP Estate, alleging that rules were flouted during Arun Jaitley’s tenure as DDCA president. Azad had even requested Delhi Police to thoroughly investigate the matter against Jaitley.Taking cognisance of the demand of probe in the DDCA scam, Kejriwal formed a two-member committee to investigate the allegations. The Delhi government was preparing to set up a Commission of Inquiry over it when the CBI raided the Delhi Secretariat.Kejriwal had alleged that the CBI raid was conducted to take possession of the DDCA files which were kept in his office.Jaitley denied Kejriwal’s allegations as ‘utterly baseless’. He had earlier opposed former sports minister in the UPA government Ajay Maken’s proposal to make sports bodies like the DDCA more transparent and accountable.

VHP’s first lot of stones for Ram temple arrives in Ayodhya, police on alert

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“Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived today in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he said.

Indian activists of Hindu Bajrang Dal, along with Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) organizations, hold swords alongside a model of a Ram temple during a procession marking the 23rd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, in Amritsar on December 6, 2015

AFP
Almost six months after VHP announced its nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple here, two trucks of stones arrived in the temple city here today, even as police said it was monitoring the situation.”Two trucks of stones have been unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a VHP property in Ayodhya, and ‘Shila Pujan’ (praying of the stones) has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said.Meanwhile, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das told PTI that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be build “now”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived today in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he said.Reacting to the arrival of stones at VHP headquarters, Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police Mohit Gupta said that the police was monitoring the situation.”We are monitoring all the developments minutely. Stones have arrived and being kept in a private premises. Due to this development, if their was any breach in peace or communal harmony we will definitely take action,” he said.Asserting its resolve to build the Ram temple, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had in June announced a nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of the temple here and had also asked the Muslim community not to pose any hindrance.”About 2.25 lakhs cubic ft of stones are required for the construction of the Ram temple and about 1.25 lakh cubic ft of stones are ready at the VHP’s headquarter in Ayodhya. The rest one lakh cubic ft stones would be collected nationwide from Hindu devotees,” VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who died last month in Gurgaon, had said.The announcement had met with a quick reaction from the administration, which had said that it would oppose the move as the matter was sub judice.Principal Secretary (Home) Devashish Panda had said that the Uttar Pradesh government would not allow arrival of stones in Ayodhya for Ram Mandir.”Since the matter is sub judice, the government will not allow starting of any new tradition regarding Ayodhya issue,” he had said.

BJP’s Pawar play catches Shiv Sena, Congress off guard

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Assembly to recall contributions of NCP leader as state’s four-time chief minister on Monday.

Sharad Pawar

The BJP’s policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds has again caught its principal opposition party at the centre, Congress and its troublesome alliance partner in the state, Shiv Sena off guard. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared dais with NCP president Sharad Pawar on the occasion of the latter’s 75th birthday celebrations in Delhi – which kept Congress chief Sonia Gandhi undecided till the previous day of the function on whether to attend the function or not – both BJP and NCP have now come together to hold a separate session in the Assembly on Monday to recall the contributions by this Maharashtra’s four-time chief minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The business advisory committee, which met on December 16, decided to schedule subject of congratulating Pawar for completing 75 years as business of the House. The BAC has decided to take up the motion to congratulate Pawar for discussion on Monday and leaders from all the parties would recall contribution of the Maratha strongman in his five-decade long public life. One of the BJP leaders, on the condition of anonymity, said it is not a coincidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Lok Sabha speaker (who is also from BJP) attended the Delhi function, and the state assembly now deciding to take up a congratulatory motion. dna has learnt that NCP leader Ajit Pawar and chief minister Fadnavis have discussed the issue in the CM’s cabin more than once and the motion has been taken up for Monday. The BJP leader made it clear that it was well a strategy of the party. Underlining Pawar’s image of a wily politician, who is capable of changing strategies and loyalties, will help party keep its opponents – read Shiv Sena – in check. “No one knows what Pawar would do next,” he pointed out. The BJP leader pointed out that it was not without reason that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Baramati and lauded Pawar, saying he takes Pawar’s advice on state matters almost every month over phone. He recalled finance minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to the Baramati too, when the latter, praising Pawar, remarked that country needs to develop 100 cities on lines of Baramati. The leader pointed out that even chief minister Fadnavis, along with minister Girish Bapat, had visited Baramati and now state assembly would be congratulating Pawar.

DDCA row: Virat Kohli comes out in support of Arun Jaitley

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Earlier in the day, Kohli’s former India team-mates Gambhir and Sehwag had also supported Jaitley, saying that he had done a lot of good things for Delhi cricket and for the players.

Virat Kohli

Indian Test team captain Virat Kohli on Sunday came out strongly in support of Finance Minister and former DDCA President Arun Jaitley, who has been accused by AAP of turning a blind eye to the alleged financial irregularities during his tenure as head of the cricket body.Jaitley, who headed DDCA for 13 years till 2013, has been accused of not acting on the alleged corrupt activities in the DDCA during his tenure. The AAP government in Delhi has demanded that Jaitley should resign or be “removed” from the union cabinet to enable an independent probe. However, Kohli came out strongly in support of Jaitley.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Grateful to have @arunjaitley ji as the president of our association . He has always wanted to improve the game & help cricketers in everyway,” Kohli tweeted. Earlier in the day, Kohli’s former India team-mates Gambhir and Sehwag had also supported Jaitley, saying that he had done a lot of good things for Delhi cricket and for the players.

Kirti Azad accuses DDCA of giving contracts to fake companies

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Addressing a press conference here at the press club, the former cricketer said, “I’m a big fan of our Prime Minister and his campaign against corruption.”

Kirti Azad

ANI
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Kirti Azad on Sunday said that he is a big fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his campaign against corruption while ‘exposing’ corruption inside DDCA. Addressing a press conference here at the press club, the former cricketer said, “I’m a big fan of our Prime Minister and his campaign against corruption.” Azad, who held a press conference to expose biggest corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) also said that his fight was not against any individual but it was against corruption.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later a video presentation was shown produced by Wikileaks4India (not related to Wikileaks founded by Julian Assange) . The video claimed that DDCA gave contract worth crores of rupees to fake companies. It alleged that DDCA hired laptop and printer for Rs 16,000 and Rs 3,000 respectively per day. The video said that addresses furnished by the companies remained untraceable. Azad alleged that DDCA members inflated price of tenders, executive meetings were not held before passing bills. The DDCA came under scrutiny after Azad had raised the issue of financial irregularities within the association. On a complaint filed by former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi and other cricketers, the Delhi Government had ordered a probe into the issue. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier hit out hard at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged corruption during his tenure as DDCA President.Addressing the media, AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh collectively stated, “The main objective of CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat and taking control of ACB was to prevent alleged graft in DDCA during Arun Jaitley’s tenure coming to light.”They added that the scam included siphoning off money by creating fake companies between 1999 and 2013. Facing allegations of corruption, under-fire former Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Arun Jaitley today got the backing of the two biggest stars to emerge from the state– Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Finance Minister Jaitley, who headed DDCA for 13 years till 2013, has been accused of corruption by the Delhi Government during his tenure. The state government has demanded that Jaitley must resign or be “removed” from the union cabinet to enable an independent probe.However, Gambhir and Sehwag came out strongly in support of Jaitley.”Grossly inappropriate 2 blame @arunjaitley ji 4 corruption in DDCA. He was d one who got Delhi a proper stadium widout taxpayer’s money. Appalling to note some ex-players blame @arunjaitley ji for all that’s wrong in DDCA. Whereas dey enjoyed plum posts in DDCA coz of him,” tweeted Gambhir.Sehwag, on his part, lauded Jaitley for being there for players. The swashbuckling batsman, who switched loyalties to Haryana from Delhi and retired from international cricket earlier this year, steered clear of making any political claim but lauded Jaitley’s role in helping players.With Agency inputs

National Herald Case: Here’s what the magistrate said

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It was a historic day at Patiala House District Court complex, as members of India’s first political family stood accused before a Metropolitan Magistrate. The fourth and fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty walked into the court room amid media hype, hoopla and tight security.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul arrive at the court amid high security
Manit
dna
It was a historic day at Patiala House District Court complex, as members of India’s first political family stood accused before a Metropolitan Magistrate. The fourth and fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty walked into the court room amid media hype, hoopla and tight security.After a relatively short hearing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a pink saree, and her son party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, attired in white kurta-pyjama with black jacket, were granted unconditional bail by the Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court also granted bail to other Congress leaders and accused Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey. The sixth accused in this case Sam Pitroda was granted exemption since he was out of the city on a medical emergency.The court had summoned them based on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanium Swamy alleging financial irregularities.”Neither the offence is of that high magnitude nor the punishment of extreme magnitude….The accused have roots in the society and least possibility of tampering of evidence as they are documentary …They are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee,” the magistrate noted while granting them bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety each. He posted the case for further hearing at 2 pm on February 20, next year.In a show of solidarity with Gandhis, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a host of Congress leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Sheila Dikshit, Ashwini Kumar, Meira Kumar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ajay Maken, and A K Antony among others arrived at court room number 4, shortly before the hearing was to commence at 3 pm. A smiling Sonia closely followed by Rahul emerged out of the court after 15 minutes of proceedings.Among the first who arrived in the court room were Ahmed Patel, Sonia’s political adviser and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. A battery of Congress lawyers including Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi appeared on behalf of Gandhis.The accused Sonia, Rahul, 87 year-old Vohra and others were kept standing on the left side of the judge’s podium throughout the proceeding. Former PM Singh, Soni and Dikshit took the first row whereas Priyanka sat in the second row in the cramped court room.The summons was issued last year by the court and on December 8 the Delhi high court had rejected the plea of the accused challenging the summons.As the proceedings began counsel for the accused, Sibal placed the bail application and bonds while seeking bail. Swamy opposed the bail saying the offence are cognizable and the accused including Sonia and Rahul are “highly influential” people. Swamy requested their passports to be seized since they could flee the country. He also advised travel restrictions be imposed on them which the court rejected.During the proceedings, the aged Vohra was allowed to sit. Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the other lawyer representing the Gandhis, rose and argued that all the accused deserve bail in the case. Sibal questioned the summons, saying that “some documents should have been annexed with the summons, but they were not given to us.”The Patiala House District court located in the heart of national capital was under heavy security clampdown. The court premises were sanitised by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG).As the countdown for the hearing began, the first to arrive was BJP leader and complainant Swamy along with his wife Roxana who is also an advocate. While Congress leader Sibal and his advocate wife Promila were seen stepping out of their car just outside the main building, other Congress leaders including the Gandhi’s walked from Gate no. 2 to the entrance of the main building.Judge Lovleen entered the court at 2.50pm soon after accused arrived and the court proceedings began lasting till 3.05pm. The courtroom, perhaps the smallest in the entire court complex, was filled to the brim with politicians and the five lawyers representing them.The perimeter of the court premises were cleared of all traffic and the foot path was cordoned off. The security checks were so stringent that even the court clerks underwent a thorough frisking by personnel from the SPG.Since media presence inside the courtroom was limited to a few including dna, those media persons not allowed a chance to attend the hearing, impatiently waited outside the court premises as they valiantly fought to get a glimpse or a byte from the seasoned politicians. The constant tussle between the security apparatus and media personnel intensified as and when the politicians arrived. The security clampdown was such that only 10 cars carrying VIPs, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and complainant Subramanium Swamy, were allowed to enter the court premises. However, people or rather politicians had started coming to this small court room much earlier. The 13 media persons allowed inside the court were asked to stand near the entrance.At the Patiala House courts, a gate had been reserved for the VIP cars to drive in, however, both leaders made a political point by stopping their vehicles outside the court complex. They then walked into the court with smiles on their faces.In response to the court hearings, Congress party members staged a show of strength through the day with hundreds of leaders and workers crowding the party office since morning. In other cities, Congress workers protested against the Modi government.Congress sources said they were considering approaching the Supreme Court for the limited purpose pertaining to the remarks made by Delhi High Court. The High Court had earlier made scathing observations on the “questionable conduct” of Gandhis regarding how they took control of the publication. The judge Sunil Gaur was also of the view that “the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners (Sonia, Rahul and others) has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so, serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into.”On June 26, last year, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s allegations of “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) by Young India Ltd. (YIL) – a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake. Complainant Swamy had claimed that the Gandhis, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He also alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs 50 lakh. At the time, AJL, which had Vohra was its Chairman, claimed that it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL.For Sonia Gandhi, A K Antony stood as surety.
For Rahul, his sister Priyanka stood as surety
For Motilal Vohra-B K Hariprasad as surety
For Oscar Fernandes—Ghulam Nabui Azad
For Suman Dubey–Ajay Maken
Sam Pitroda is yet to obtain bail from court.
Here’s how the event unfoldedTill 1pm-Since morning heavy security personnel BSF, RPF and Delhi Police personnel were deployed converting the Patiala House Complex into like a fortress. The hearing was scheduled for 3pm.
1.10pm—the court room was opened for National Herald case hearing after the SGP personnel sanitised the court room completely and took over their position for full-proof security of Gandhis.
1.15pm- Only thirteen media persons, including DNA reporter were allowed the court building. The security personnel frisked the media persons and asked them not to carry even waterbottle inside.
2.20pm–Complainant Subramanium Swamy along with wife advocate Roxena Swamy reached the court.
2-25pm– Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal, R S Cheema and Heeran Rawal to appear for Congress leaders reached the court.
2.27pm–Sonia’s political adviser Ahmed Patel was the first one to reach the court to show loyality to the party’s President and Vice-President.
2.35 pm–Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrived court to stand as surety for bother Rahul.Senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra along with his counsel reached the court. Other leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, A K Antony, Ambica Sony, Sheila Dikshit and other leaders reached.
2.38 pm—Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and took the seat in the front row.
2.40 pm-Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha reached.
2.48 pm- Sonia with son Rahul walked into the court room.
2.50—3.05pm– Sibal placed bail application and continued his argument seeking bail.Swamy opposed the bail which was rejected by the court and granted bail to the accused persons.

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

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

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

Universities demand autonomy before accountability

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The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new.

As the government plans to fix accountability for universities in the New Education Policy (NEP), central and state level universities demand more autonomy for the universities before fixing accountability. In the North zone vice chancellors meet called by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in Delhi, academicians also raised concern over the rapid and unplanned expansion in the higher education sector.The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new. The universities hold the opinion that their autonomy should not be compromised in the quest for NEP. Making a reference to the government’s decision of introducing common syllabus across universities and painting them with the same brush, eminent legal scholar and former Delhi University VC Professor Upendra Baxi said, “Treating all universities as same violates the plural and the diverse character of the university system.” Baxi’s whose fight with the government over universities autonomy goes back to the time when late Arjun Singh was the HRD minister also added that if the government wants to make the universities accountable, it has to stop interfering with their autonomy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting that was attended by 70 VCs from central and state universities also raised concern over HRD ministry’s pace of expansion and making announcement for establishing new universities. It is expected by 2030 every one in four student will be a graduate from India. “We are not against expansion of higher education. But it has to be well thought and above political influences. Government has been making announcements and opening new universities. But these universities are lacking basic facilities,” said professor Ranbir Singh, vice chancellor of National Law University. Singh is also the president of the AIU.Singh also added that government’s endeavour to open universities at remote locations has been a failure since good teaching faculty does not want to relocate to these places. “Any teacher would want to relocate to a place where his children get a good school, his family gets adequate health care facilities and there is a smart lifestyle attached to the city,” says Singh.To link academia to industry, the house also proposed setting up a University-Industry Council. Absence of adequate sharing and coordination between the university and industry leads to shelving of the important research work.This was the fourth of the five regional meetings of the AIU to discuss the challenges of higher education. The association will submit its report to the HRD ministry after the fifth conference scheduled in Mumbai early next year.

A juvenile needs support system to lead normal life: Experts

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Youths protest against the release of juvenile in Nirbhaya case
Manit
dna
A day before the juvenile convicted in the December 16 gang-rape of a young paramedic Jyoti Singh, known as Nirbhaya, is to be released after three years in a remand home in New Delhi, a protest led by the victim’s parents erupted outside the home. It culminated, on Saturday evening, in the detention of Nirbhaya’s parents and others by the Delhi police, even as the former juvenile was shifted from his north Delhi correctional institute to an “undisclosed location” outside the capital. Sources said the juvenile has been kept under observation of an NGO under protection of Delhi Police amid concerns that there is threat to his life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal angrily tweeted that he was shocked at the police action and had asked the chief secretary to talk to the police commissioner. Later in the evening, Jyoti’s parents were released.The protest was another symptom of the anxiety gripping the capital over the juvenile’s release. A recent demonstration held by certain civil society groups and the Centre for Social Research spoke out strongly against his release, asking for proof that he had “reformed”. They also asked for protection for Jyoti’s parents.Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal wrote to the President Pranab Mukherjee, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur and the Principal Magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board, Murari Prasad Singh, asking for a stay on the boy’s release.Amidst this furore, there have been some voices asking people to give the justice system a chance, especially in the light of the after care provision where the boy would be monitored periodically for two years. This provision is for those who are recognised as no longer in conflict with the law but are in need of care and protection till they get back on their feet. A senior officer with one of the city’s remand homes told dna that this includes providing accommodation with a group of peers, certain financial support till the person in question is able to provide for themselves.The officer added, based on his experience of dealing with juveniles, that everything a child becomes is formed by the society they have grown up in, all what they have been exposed to. Whether they are in an observational home for a few days in judicial custody, or a remand home for a few years after conviction, no amount of counselling and intervention will help unless they have a support system when they go out.”Though we have engaged mental health experts to understand the children’s’ psyche, what they’re dealing with, they go back to same, unchanged, circumstances outside the institute,” said the officer. “They find that what they have been taught and counselled on doesn’t work in these communities. They and their parents need support systems, so they know who to turn to when they need help. Right now, they don’t have that, and their families have no resources to get them help.”Children don’t realise the consequence of the habits they pick up, till they turn into addictions, the officer added, or criminal behaviour. Often they are trapped by their circumstances. We can teach them, said the officer, to recognise their mistakes, and right from wrong, so that hopefully they will be able to choose their path outside.However, counselling has shown to help these juveniles settle into law-abiding lives after they leave these correctional facilities.Bharti Ali, co-founder of the NGO HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, said that with minimal counselling they had been able to reduce the rate of repeat offenses to half, in the cases they dealt with. This juvenile too, she added, had received counselling, but could have got more. “He was witness to something extremely brutal on 16 December, and he needed help getting over that,” she said.Both Ali and the officer refrained from commenting on what would happen to the former juvenile after his release. Ali did add that the society needed to have “faith” in the juvenile justice system, and in the state’s claim that it would monitor his mental health.

National Herald Case: Gandhis walk out, Subramanian Swamy drives away

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The Congress leaders leave after being granted bail

Agencies
Facing corruption charges, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul appeared before the trial court here on Saturday, and were granted bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each. Earlier, the Gandhis walked up to the court room, accompanied by Priyanka Vadra, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders as party workers outside the court shouted slogans in their support. The Gandhis are accused of illegally acquiring the assets of the parent company of the National Herald, a newspaper once run by their family. The summons were issued by the court on December 8 after the Delhi High Court the previous day refused to quash the summons issued to them earlier to appear as accused.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The hearing lasted only for a few minutes and the court scheduled the next hearing for February 2. The magistrate made it clear that no exemption from personal appearance will be granted to any accused for the next date of hearing. The judge, who held the proceedings in a closed room, asked Subramanian Swamy, petitioner in the case, to bring all relied upon documents in support of his complaint on the next date of hearing. In his reaction, Swamy said all their claims that they would not seek bail proved false. “They said they will not take bail. What happened now,” he told reporters. “I will win this case in 2016. Sonia, Rahul and others will be sent to prison,” he added. While AK Antony gave surety to Sonia, Priyanka stood surety for her brother. Swamy said he did not oppose bail for Sonia and Rahul and dismissed Congress allegations that it was a case of personal vendetta. “No one has told me anything to either slow down or pursue the National Herald case. I do not want any support from BJP or from anyone. I didn’t get support from my party during 2G scam also. I don’t need it,” he said. Taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders to walk to the law, he said: “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty.” “When Sonia and Rahul came they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be, they were not allowed to sit,” he further said. Later, in an interview to a TV channel, Swamy also hit out at suggestions that he has been accorded Z-category security and government bungalow as reward for pursuing the case. “Congress persons may be purchasable. I am a sanyasi. I don’t need houses” he shot back. Relieved with the bail granted, Sonia and Rahul later addressed media and said the government is misusing its agencies. “But none of us will be frightened as our struggle will continue,” Sonia said. Rahul said he will not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieve his dream of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’. “He thinks that the opposition will bow down. I want to tell the people of this country that myself and the Congress party will never bow down,” he said. The ruling BJP replied that corruption was synonymous with the Congress, whether in power or otherwise. “When we say Congress-mukt bharat, we mean corruption-mukt bharat. Unfortunately Congress and corruption are made for each other,” said parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Centre ‘vindictive’ against opposition parties: TMC

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

National Herald Case: We will continue the fight and not bow down, say the Gandhis

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Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case –Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey–sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrives at party office after attending a hearing in National Herald Case, in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
After a 10-minute hearing, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were on Saturday granted unconditional bail in the high-voltage National Herald case by a local court where they appeared along with a phalanx of top party leaders.Facing a private criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the transfer of shares of the defunct party newspaper Herald to a newly-created company, the two Gandhis, accompanied by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Priyanka Gandhi appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen at 2.50 PM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party’s legal eagles Kapil Sibal, Ashwini Kumar, both former Union Law Ministers, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as also top Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, Shiela Dikshit, Ambika Soni and Meira Kumar were at hand.Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case –Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey–sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each. One of the accused Sam Pitroda was not present as he was stated to be unwell. Swamy pressed the court to impose conditions on the foreign travel of the accused, which was not accepted by the court. He said later that he had not opposed the bail but had told the court that conditions should be imposed on the Gandhis’ travel abroad since they “were in the habit of running away from the country”.The magistrate fixed February 20 as the next date of hearing and the proceedings were over within minutes after which the Gandhis came out smiling. They had to navigate through jostling lawyers, journalists, security men and party workers to reach their cars.Later addressing the media at the party office, Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.”We will continue the fight and not bow down,” they said.”The accused are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee,” the Magistrate noted while granting them bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs.50,000 each and one surety.While Antony gave surety to Sonia, Priyanka stood surety for her brother. Congress leader B K Hariprasad gave surety for Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad for Fernandes and Ajay Maken for Dubey. In his reaction, Swamy said all their claims that they would not seek bail proved false. “They said they will not take bail. What happened now,” he told reporters after the short hearing.Sibal and Singhvi told the court that these are people who have deep roots in society and they hold high office and do not have any previous charge against them. The summons were issued by the court on Dec 8 after the Delhi High Court the previous day had refused to quash the summons issued to them earlier to appear as accused. Both Sibal and Singhvi told reporters after the proceedings that the court rejected Swamy’s plea and gave bail to the leaders.”It is most unfortunate that Swamy sought imposition of conditions including restrictions on travel abroad but the court granted unconditional bail,” Singhvi said.”I don’t see the slightest reason for dissatisfaction with the court order,” he added.Rejecting Congress criticism that he was doing vendetta politics at the behest of Congress, Swamy said look at the evidence in the case and not vendetta.”I have so many friends (in the BJP). I am a Jan Sanghi. I know them (BJP leaders) personally. I have not taken an appointment with the prime minister and spoken to him at all about the case,” he told reporters.The Magistrate made it clear that no exemption from personal appearance will be granted to any accused for the next date of hearing. The judge, who held the proceedings in a closed room, asked Swamy to bring all relied upon documents in support of his complaint on the next date of hearing.Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.The trial court had on June 26 last year asked them to appear before it on August 7, 2014 but the order was stayed on August 6, 2014 by the Delhi High Court which on December 7 this year vacated the stay by rejecting the plea to quash the complaint and the summons. On December 15, 2014, the court had further stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions.Swamy has accused them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of Herald. All of them were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company that was incorporated in 2010 and which took over the “debt” of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald.Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.Along with the Gandhis, five other accused — Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vora, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–had challenged the summons issued to them by trial court on Swamy’s complaint.

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

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

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

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

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

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

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

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

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

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

National Herald case: Congress’ drama giving nation a ‘bad name’, says Subramanian Swamy

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”They have got all the top lawyers’six of them who are the most high-priced lawyers. Why are they so scared to have the mob coming and making all this drama and all this abuse and so on’ Let the court process start today,” he added.

Dubbing the Congress protest across the country over the National Herald case as ‘drama’, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said it is giving a bad name to the nation.”Everybody should learn that we are all equal before the law. All this drama that is being done by the Congress that some people can be prosecuted and some people can’t be prosecuted is giving the country a bad name . It is a court matter and I am not the attorney general or the CBI Director’I am just an ordinary citizen. I have filed a private complaint. The court has accepted that there is prima facie evidence,’ Swamy told the media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They have got all the top lawyers’six of them who are the most high-priced lawyers. Why are they so scared to have the mob coming and making all this drama and all this abuse and so on’ Let the court process start today,” he added.Related Read: LIVE National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to appear in court; Manmohan, Ahmed Patel may give suretyCongress leaders and workers are protesting against the Centre and the BJP in the alleged National Herald corruption case.Massive protests have been organised across the country in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna, Nagpur, Kolkata and Coimbatore. On Saturday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi along with the other accused in the National Herald case will appear before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in response to summons issued against them. They have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law.Meanwhile, security has been beefed up outside the Patiala House court and the Congress headquarters in Delhi. 16 additional CCTV cameras have been installed in the premises where the hearing would be held.

National Herald case: Congress leaders attack BJP, workers protest throughout country

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It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

Trading guns at each other over the National Herald issue, Congress today alleged that the Modi government was indulging in political vendetta while BJP claimed that it is a legal matter and the opposition party has been trying to give a wrong impression to the people.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to appear before a magistrate today in connection with the National Herald case.Raising questions about the government’s action, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said if it was not indulging in “political vendetta” then why Subramanian Swamy, who was the complaintant in the case, has been given ‘Z’ category security and only on Friday, a “Cabinet minister’s house” in Delhi’s Lutyen’s Zone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: LIVE National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to appear in court; Congress meets at Azad’s houseHe also raised questions about statements made by senior BJP ministers on the issue to support his contention that the government was indulging in “political vendetta” and also referred to the removal of the previous Enforcement Directorate Chief.”It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.He, however, emphasised that his party and the leadership have complete faith in the judiciary, its processes and will fight the legal battle in court.”We will fight the legal battle in accordance with the law and we will fight the political battle with the Modi government both inside Parliament and also by being the voice of 125 crore people of this country,” Surjewala said.He said that since his party leadership has faith and respect the court processes, workers also have been advised not to gather outside the court in Delhi. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, meanwhile, said that initially the Congress party’s attempt was to build pressure and give an opinion to the people that this was some kind of administrative action or political vendetta by rivals.But the court order has “nailed all these absurd allegations. They have even tried to use or mortgage their political and parliamentary strength to get some kind of relief in the court of public opinion by building up political pressure. But the reality is, this is a legal case,” Rao said.

Congress MPs demand aggressive stand against Arun Jaitley

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At the Congress briefing, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad merely said that the party was studying the report in the case and would come to some conclusion in two-three days.

Demands of adopting aggressive stand against Arun Jaitley were on Friday made at a meeting of the strategy committee of the Congress here, in the wake of AAP’s allegation of financial irregularities against the Union Finance Minister.The meeting was presided by party chief Sonia Gandhi. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was also present in the meeting which saw some MPs take up the matter vigorously. Noting that AAP has been taking up the issue spiritedly, they pitched for raising it prominently by the party in Parliament next week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the Congress briefing, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad merely said that the party was studying the report in the case and would come to some conclusion in two-three days. Two days ago, Congress had targeted Jaitley demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the issue and resignation of the Finance Minister pending the inquiry. Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the Central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA, a charge refuted by the Modi government as also the CBI.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. The Aam Aadmi Party today posed five queries to Jaitley relating to alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA.Addressing a press conference, top AAP leaders dismissed Jaitley’s assertions of no wrongdoing as “vague” and “misleading” and instead sought to put the ball in his court by making a set of fresh charges.

Lt Guv Najeeb Jung appears to be sceptical about odd-even scheme

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As his comments left the audience in splits, Najeeb Jung promptly said a policy on the formula is yet to come.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday appeared to be sceptical about effective implementation of AAP government’s ambitious odd-even scheme to cut air pollution but asserted there was a need to make sacrifices.”I will restrict myself to the party line which is that environment is very bad, pollution is awful. We need to make sacrifices,” Jung said in a lighter vein, speaking at an interactive session at FICCI.As his comments left the audience in splits, Jung promptly said a policy on the formula is yet to come.”In any case a policy is yet to be firmed up and this experiment is for 15 days. They (government) may announce the policy by December 25. Moreover, they are looking for various exemptions including for women motorists. Now what happens to the husband sitting next to the lady, I do not know,” Jung said amid guffaws.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing in the same vein, he added, “Will a child be allowed, if so, at what age. Will a male child be allowed or a female child be allowed?”Jung’s comments prompted FICCI president Jyotsana Suri to come out with a comparison of the medieval era Sultan of Delhi Muhammad bi Tughlaq with the present dispensation regarding the odd-even formula.”I would like to say that Delhi has got a luck. Muhammad bin Tughlaq was then and now he has come,” she said without naming anyone.Further, she added that “our condition will be miserable in these 15 days.”Tughlaq who ruled Delhi in 14th century is considered as one of the most remarkable rulers of his time. In spite of his high qualification and knowledge, he was characterised to be suffering from hastiness and impatience that led to failure of his ambitious projects earning him a tag of an ‘ill starred idealist’.

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