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CBI registers disproportionate assets case against IAS officer

Trapped by CBI
Sanjay Pratap Singh, who was the principal secretary of Delhi government’s welfare department, was arrested by the probe agency on December 8, along with his PA, when he was caught red-handed in a trap laid by the CBI. This was after a complainant, who is apparently an AAP volunteer, approached the CBI and accused Singh of demanding a bribe from him.

Azaan Javaid

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Also ReadIndiaAAP govt to take a call on Badarpur power plant closure dateIndiaAfter 100 smart cities in 2015, 132 smart villages in 2016IndiaBMC has a New Year gift for Bhendi BazaarIndiaCentre takes the high road, clears coastal road projectIndiaGujarat: Patanjali products sent for testingIndiaAI plane hit by catering van at Newark airport in US <!– /.block –>

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AAP govt suspends 2 Home Dept officers; colleagues threaten to go on mass leave

Besides, former home secretary Dharampal was ‘sidelined’ for following Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s orders to remain at his post despite the government appointing Rajendra Kumar as the home secretary.

PTI
Info

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State governments likely to borrow up to Rs 1.05 lakh crore in last quarter: RBI <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi dismisses allegations of any IS link<!– /.block –>State governments likely to borrow up to Rs 1.05 lakh crore in last quarter: RBI<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Odd-even scheme: Why are women and two-wheelers exempt, asks High Court

Violators of the scheme would attract a penalty of Rs. 2,000. VIPs, women drivers, CNG-certified vehicles, two-wheelers and those carrying the differently-abled are among the 25 categories which will be exempted from the scheme.

dna Web Team

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No vehicle would be challaned during ‘dry run’: Delhi government <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even scheme: Why are women and two-wheelers exempt, asks High CourtIndiaNo vehicle would be challaned during ‘dry run’: Delhi governmentIndiaGovt to introduce two years’ ‘work from home’ option for women under Maternity Benefits ActIndiaDDCA row: Now, Kirti Azad targets BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, Scindia, Praful PatelIndiaJ&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed ill, on oxygen therapy, say AIIMS doctors IndiaChennai Floods: Over 195 crore contributed to CM’s public relief fund <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>2 crore people in flood-affected Tamil Nadu get a call from CM Jayalalithaa<!– /.block –>No vehicle would be challaned during ‘dry run’: Delhi government<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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BJP gleeful over articles in Congress mouthpiece slamming Nehru, Sonia; says truth hidden has come out

“Congress should give clarification and Gandhi too should offer some,” he said. As Congress sacked the content editor, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma mocked it, saying it showed the party’s “intolerance against truth” as most of what had appeared was a “matter of fact”.

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Tamil Nadu elections: DMK chief Karunanidhi extends hand of friendship to Congress for alliance <!– /.block –>
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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Centre contradicting own stand on DDCA probe: AAP<!– /.block –>Tamil Nadu elections: DMK chief Karunanidhi extends hand of friendship to Congress for alliance<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Maneka Gandhi launches ‘e-Office’

Gandhi urged that applications along with the necessary documents for important programmes of the Ministry like STEP should be received online and processed on the new system. WCD Secretary V. Somasundaran, DeitY Secretary J. S. Deepak, WCD Additional Secretary Nutan Guha Biwas and other senior officials of the WCD Ministry and NIC were present on the occasion.

ANI

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EPL 2015: Tottenham leapfrog Manchester City, Arnautovic sinks Everton <!– /.block –>
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7th Pay Commission: Five states ask Modi government to ‘go slow’ on salary hikes

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

Arun Jaitley and AK Mathur

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

Dawood Ibrahim’s green sedan set on fire, scrap to be used in toilet

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The green-coloured Hyundai Accent sedan was burnt by Swami Chakrapani and Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHMS) activists at Green Park farmhouse near Kanavani village culvert here in Indirapuram at around 2 PM with Dawood’s posters pasted on its windscreen.

PTI
A car which Dawood Ibrahim purportedly used in his heydays was on Wednesday set ablaze by a right wing outfit in Ghaziabad with a poster of the fugitive gangster pasted on its windscreen, a fortnight after the ramshackle vehicle was auctioned in Mumbai for Rs 32,000.The green-coloured Hyundai Accent sedan was burnt by Swami Chakrapani and Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHMS) activists at Green Park farmhouse near Kanavani village culvert here in Indirapuram at around 2 PM with Dawood’s posters pasted on its windscreen.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Image courtesy PTIThe car was won by Chakrapani at an open auction for Rs 32,000 on December 9 in Mumbai, All India secretary and UP incharge of ABHMS Sanjeev Saxena said. Addressing the workers, Chakrapani said that he wanted to convert the car into an ambulance but due to threats from the underworld, he decided to burn the car publicly.The car’s wreckage will be utilised to make toilet which will be stationed at Hindan river crematorium if the district authorities permit him, he said. Otherwise, it will be used as a mobile toilet for public usage to spread a message among the masses against terrorism, he added.District Ghaziabad police was present at the protest site but did not intervene into the matter as the farmhouse falls within jurisdiction of Gautam Buddha Nagar district.

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.

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

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

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

In Russia, Narendra Modi will regale 3,000 ‘friends of India’

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks aimed at further expanding the defence ties by signing $1 billion agreement to produce military helicopters in India and focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.

Determined to unveil mystery of the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is set to seek cooperation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to request access to secret Russian files to probe the missing link. Many authors have alleged that under the instructions of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Russian dictator Jospeh Stalin had confined Bose in Siberia’s Yakutsk city, some 6,000km away from Moscow and he could have been buried there.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks aimed at further expanding the defence ties by signing $1 billion agreement to produce military helicopters in India and focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two events, Modi has specifically included in his itinerary, are a detailed briefing at Emercom, Russia’s emergency response agency during disasters, to get an overview of tackling natural catastrophe, so frequent in India over past few years.The Emercom is world famous dynamic force, known in the field of humanitarian response and emergency relief operations. Further, while there is no significant Indian community in Moscow, to recreate the aura of New York’s Madison Square Garden, UK’s Wembly or Dubai’s cricket stadium buzz, ministry of external affairs has identified 3,000 Russians, whom they describe, ‘friends of India’ to listen to the Prime Minister at the Moscow exhibition ground. Weary about Russia warming up and even having agreed to supply military equipment to Pakistan, officials said the summit will provide an opportunity to both countries to look at regional and global issues. Russian ambassador in India few months ago had publicly expressed concern at India’s growing closeness with the United States and switching to alternative defence markets. But the foreign secretary S. Jaishankar said the envoy’s comments were in a context. “If the Russian ambassador does not promote Russian aircraft, whose aircraft he will promote? He is doing his job,” he said. Major challenge between the two countries is that despite being all-weather friends, trade has remained limited. Foreign Secretary said expanding economic ties would be a ‘very big priority’ Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the United States and China, has been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. India is also likely to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Zone and is sharing details of the study it conducted in this regard.Last week, the defence ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore. It will be Modi’s second summit with Putin who was in India last year for the 15th India Russia Summit.On Wednesday, Putin will host a private dinner for the prime minister and the two leaders will interact with a group of Indian and Russian chief executive officers in Kremlin on Thursday.After the summit talks last year, it was announced that Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors besides manufacturing advanced dual-use helicopters. The two countries had signed 20 agreements in oil, gas, defence, investment and other key sectors.

Gujarat HC asks state govt to ban ‘sky lanterns’ during kite-flying festival

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The bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by Mehsana resident Jivanbhai Rabari.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to ban manufacturing, sale and use of sky lanterns within two days, noting that these small hot-air balloons, launched during the kite-flying festival on the occasion of Uttarayan, are known to start fires.The bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by Mehsana resident Jivanbhai Rabari. The PIL said that last time 21 incidents of fire caused by sky lanterns were reported in Ahmedabad city alone. In an incident in Ramol area, three children were charred to death as several huts caught fire after a lantern landed on one of them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The petition was filed in February. In their affidavits, the state government and the police have admitted that sky lanterns are hazardous. As the final order of the HC is yet to come, the petitioner had sought an interim order as this year’s kite flying festival is approaching.The HC noted during the hearing that a majority of the victims of fires caused by sky lanterns are poor people. It directed the state Home Secretary to issue a notification announcing the ban in two days. The ban shall be in operation till January 31.

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

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

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

Jaitley row: Opposition latches on to Advani parallel

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Arun Jaitley

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

DDCA row: PM has signalled Arun Jaitley to resign, claims Yechury

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Noting that Advani had resigned after the Hawala scam, he said that Jaitley should understand that the Prime Minister has suddenly remembered the veteran leader when the Finance Minister was facing a problem.

Arun Jaitley

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signalled to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign in the wake of DDCA row by citing the example of L K Advani in the Hawala case.”By drawing a parallel with Advani, the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Arun Jaitley that he should resign, get himself cleared and come back. I read it as a signal to Jaitley that you also do the same thing”, he told reporters.Noting that Advani had resigned after the Hawala scam, he said that Jaitley should understand that the Prime Minister has suddenly remembered the veteran leader when the Finance Minister was facing a problem.He was asked for his reaction to the Prime Minister’s comments that Jaitley will come out “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in the same way L K Advani did in the Hawala case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about reports that bricks and pillars were being brought to Ayodhya for temple construction, he said that there has been consensus that there should be no further activity there and the BJP is also part of that consensus. “If they want to violate it, law should take its course”. On the Juvenile bill, he said that his party wanted the bill to be sent to select committee for threadbare discussion. Instead of the criterion of age, what is important is the type of crime. This was necessary in view of reports that the new recruits to ISIS are between 14 to 15 year old, he said.

Decoding the ISIS threat to India

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It is safe to say that the threat posed by ISIS today is real and requires due attention, as almost all nations in the world stand vulnerable to it.

ISIS militant
File Photo

During the annual meet of the Director General of Police and Inspectors General of Police in the arid yet spectacular Runn of Kutch in Gujarat, the Indian government has once again red flagged the growing global concerns on ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, Daesh etc).Home Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the fact that influence of ISIS has witnessed an increase in India’s neighbourhood, particularly Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Prior to this, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had stated that India would be willing to participate in anti-ISIS operations if the same were to be conducted under the flag of the United Nations. While India’s External Affairs ministry distanced this stance by Parrikar, saying the minister was only talking about a hypothetical situation, the fact that only a day later US Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a gateway UN resolution on talks to end the Syrian crisis was perhaps not so hypothetical, but a months long process by Washington and Moscow that India must have keenly followed via diplomatic channels (a detailed look at India’s stance on Syrian crisis is readable here). <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is safe to say that the threat posed by ISIS today is real and requires due attention as almost all nations in the world stand vulnerable to it. The reasons behind the ‘new’ nature of how ISIS works are witnessed in the manner with which the terror organization functions. As ISIS declared large swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria as part of its ‘Islamic State’ caliphate, the group has managed to create some of the most organized jihadist structures ever seen. How they have done this is a mixture of hierarchical discipline, experience of former Saddam regime Ba’athist generals in ISIS, organized economic traits such as black marketeering of oil, earning from local taxations, extortions from kidnappings and so on. The entire financial operation of ISIS today earns it an estimate $1.2 billion per year, providing teeth like no other terror organization has perhaps experienced before (UN is now moving to halt ISIS financial streams). Even though ISIS has managed to attract many foreign fighters, mainly from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Europe, there have not been too many known cases as of yet of Indian citizens travelling to fight in Iraq or Syria. While the case of the youths from Kalyan, which included Areeb Majeed who returned and surrendered, remains the most high profile and significant such case, it is also important to note here that very little data is available whether any Indians already residing in various countries in West Asia have joined ISIS. India’s measures to both understand and counter ISIS both in influence and practicality are still in the blueprint phase. This is not unexpected, as gauging and quantifying the ISIS threat is not easy and has many layers that require different counter-measures. For India, however, ISIS’s biggest threat comes through its effective and planned use of media propaganda through the Internet. For example, even though the case is still under investigation, the recent arrest of an Indian Oil employee in Jaipur for ‘Islamic State links’ claimed that the man was in possession ISIS’s glossy, well-produced propaganda magazine Dabiq. Prior to this, one of the most pro-ISIS Twitter accounts over the past few years, known as @ShamiWitness, was found to be run by Indian engineer named Mehdi Masoor Biswas in Bengaluru. Other cases where Indian citizens were stopped from travelling over their intentions to join ISIS had history of online communications with ISIS sympathisers and recruiters. This is where India needs to increase its vigilance urgently. The case of Biswas being behind the most popular pro-ISIS propaganda handle was not picked up by Indian intelligence agencies, but Channel 4 of Britain did the unmasking of the case. In another case that followed much later, one Salman Mohiuddin was arrested from Hyderabad over his plans to travel to Turkey and eventually make his way to fight for ISIS in Syria. The Americans were also observing for his online pro-ISIS activities, but Mohiuddin, a middle-class educated engineer seemed to have escaped the eyes of Indian intelligence. ISIS’s strategy of effectively using online propaganda is in today’s world as dangerous as traditional geographical conflict involving states and borders. In fact, the ability to rally support purely based on the idea of a caliphate (not necessarily so much so on sharia or jihad) around the world to some successful effect is worrisome. While India is, by all means, not at any significant direct threat from ISIS, its neighbourhood is providing two case studies of effects worth noting. Afghanistan: A country with vast pockets of governance vacuums with factionalism between tribes, the Taliban, the state, Kabul is facing the first signs of ISIS footprints. Pictures and videos of alleged ISIS training camps in Afghanistan have surfaced in the recent past, and recent reports also suggest pro-ISIS radio stations have come up in the country’s eastern Nangarhar province. The said station broadcasts in Pashto under the ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ badge. Kabul has said it is looking to trace the station’s roots and shut it down. The political state of Afghanistan is bound by a fragile government, built on a compromise and a military that is being kept afloat by the US in every sense of the word. Bangladesh: ISIS footprints in Bangladesh have surfaced in a completely different manner than seen in any other place. The targeting murders of secular bloggers in the country over the recent past have come with an accompanying ISIS badge. Blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in front of his wife in Dhaka earlier this year, was murdered allegedly by an Islamist group called Ansarullah Bangla Team to avenge America’s war on ISIS. Other cases like those of Roy have taken place in the country against secularists, and again often accompanied by ISIS justification. Whether this justification reflects directly to ISIS hierarchy in Iraq and Syria is still up for debate. Keeping the two above cases in mind, direct ISIS threat to India is an unlikely outcome from its borders with Pakistan, but slightly more likely from Bangladesh albeit in limited capacity. On Pakistan, the country’s own furnished terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani Network may not allow a rise of ISIS in the region. However, complacency here should also not be preempted. Jihadi fighters often work like any other careerists, they move from faction to faction looking for better positions in hierarchy, more money and more influence. In such moves often ideology is not fundamental, and examples of this can be seen in both ISIS held territories and in Afghanistan. For India, the immediate jihadi threat remains from its neighbourhood, specifically Pakistan and its state-sponsored terror groups. However, ISIS is a rising, untraditional Islamist force that has taken modern technological routes to propagate its influence much faster than states have been able to install counter-measures. For India at the moment, the real challenge remains in trying to be one step ahead in intelligence. Much of ISIS threat to India can be contained with a robust, effective chain of intelligence gathering and sharing where it does need to learn from other foreign agencies about prevailing threats posed by ISIS within its own borders.

DDCA row: AAP govt decides to set up inquiry commission

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

Arvind Kejriwal

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

CBI threatening Rajendra Kumar, want him to reveal names of DDCA officials, claims AAP govt

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Based on a note found in the Chief Minister’s office, CBI is questioning Rajendra Kumar.

Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar

PTI
The Delhi Government on Sunday alleged that the CBI officials are trying to cover the financial irregularities in DDCA under the helm of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley adding that the officials are threatening Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Rajendra Kumar and asking him to reveal the names of DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association) officials who met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.”They are threatening him to reveal information regarding meeting of DDCA officials. They are putting metal pressure on him to reveal the names of DDCA officials who gave the information. If they are trying to threaten the principal secretary in order to hide the corruption under DDCA, then Delhi Government will not accept this,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told a press conference in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Whatever is being asked by the CBI to Rajendra Kumar, it is clear that Arvind Kejriwal was the target and not Rajendra Kumar. The DDCA files which was kept in the office of Chief Minister had a note in which it was written that Arun Jaitley had a talk with the DDCA officials. The CBI officials are constantly asking Rajendra Kumar that who gave him that note,” Sisodia added.Related Read: DDCA scam: BJP MP Kirti Azad to hold press conference, ‘unmask the imposter’ todayRajendra Kumar who has been accused for criminal conspiracy and has a case registered against him is being questioned by the CBI.He has been accused of setting up various companies to give work contracts without tenders which has been a huge loss to the Delhi government.Kumar has been booked under Sections of IPC on charges of criminal conspiracy and under various Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007 to 2014.The CBI carried out searches at 14 places connected with Kumar in the national capital, including his residence, and various locations in Uttar Pradesh.The Delhi Government has accused Arun Jaitley of indulging in financial irregularities while he was at the helm of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). The party also exhorted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Jaitley from the union cabinet.Hitting back, Jaitley had said that Arvind Kejriwal seems to believe in untruth and defamation, delivered in a language that borders on hysteria.

RSS’s Muslim body to launch education trust

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According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, the share of Muslims in government services is just 4.4%.

Only 2.2% of Maharashtra Muslims complete education till graduation.

Getty Images
The RSS-affiliated Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) is planning to push the cause of education among Muslims by launching a trust to undertake educational and social activities. The trust will start educational institutions and ensure that Muslim students benefit from scholarships. The ‘Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Memorial Trust,’ will be named after freedom fighter and revolutionary Ashfaque Ullah Khan, who was sentenced to death with his close friend Pandit Ramprasad Bismil by the British in the 1925 Kakori conspiracy case. Like Bismil, who is known for his patriotic poem “Sarfaroshi ki Tammanna Ab Hamare Dil Mein Hai,” Khan too was an Urdu poet, and prominent member of the Hindustan Republican Association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The MRM is the only niche organisation in the Sangh Parivar for Muslims. “We will ensure that minority community students get scholarships, launch computer training and e-learning centres and start schools… and even management and architecture colleges,” the trust’s president Latif Magdum told dna. The trust will be formally inaugurated in Pune on December 21 by senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, who is the MRM’s chief patron, and the trust’s chief advisor. Ashfaq Ullah Khan, who shares his name with that of revolutionary poet-grandfather is also scheduled to attend along with former vice-chancellors SN Navalgundkar and SN Pathan. “Only MRM members can be members of the general body,” said Magdum, who has been associated with Pune’s Azam Campus as the secretary for around 30 decades. Magdum, a senior MRM functionary, was among those, who were invited for the swearing in of Narendra Modi as the prime minister last year. The trust will have Chhattisgarh Wakf Board chairman Muhammed Salim Ashrafi as the vice-president, Dr Tahir Hussain as the secretary, Abbas Ali Bohra as the treasurer, Dr Zakir Hussain and Jharkhand minority commission chairman Shahid Akhtar as joint secretaries. “As part of our social activities we will seek to bring the community into the national mainstream and organise programmes like Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations and commemorate 1857’s great war of Independence… and help those who are needy,” said Magdum, adding that the trust would start educational institutions with minority status. The trust also plans to construct a memorial of the revolutionary after whom it is named, in Delhi and state capitals, he added. In a bid to deepen its outreach among Muslims the MRM was established in 2002 at the behest of then RSS chief KS Sudarshan. It was initially called “Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah” and re-christened the MRM in 2005. Muslims form around 10.6% of Maharashtra’s 11.23 crore population. However, only 2.2% of the community has completed education till graduation and the proportion is at a lower 1.4% for women. According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, the share of Muslims in government services is just 4.4%. The community also suffers from regressive social practices like oral, triple talaq and low literacy and work participation of women. In September 2014, the body had held its first programme in Mumbai where Kumar, who was questioned by the CBI in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts at Hyderabad, addressed participants while making a strong pitch against cow slaughter and on the common ancestry between Hindus and Muslims.

Indian kids sets Guinness record with largest practical science lesson

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In the way forward the two organisations will now come together to reach out to school children by providing virtual platform for conducting new innovations.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of developing inter-ministerial coordination has yielded results, as Vijnana Bharti (VIBHA) attached to the ministry of science and technology and IIT Delhi under the aegis of the human resource development ministry have together entered the Guinness Book of World Record for largest practical science lesson, involving 2,000 school children. This is also the first time a scientific body in India has made to the world record.In the way forward the two organisations will now come together to reach out to school children by providing virtual platform for conducting new innovations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Breaking Ireland’s record where 1,339 students had together performed an experiment as a part of their chemistry lesson that focused on catalysts, in Delhi on December 7, 2,000 students participated in a 65- minutes experiment breaking this Irish record.The experiment was a part of a five day India International Science Festival (IISF) organized by VIBHA. VIBHA has been organizing science meetings but for the first time it had held this festival at the IIT.”We chose IIT because we wanted to give the young scientists a feeling of being at country’s one of the premium institutions. IIT Delhi graciously lent us the support,” said science and technology minister Dr Harshvardan. After the world record, science and technology ministry now hopes to scale up the festival to the next level. The minister said, “We will sit and review the positives and the lapses and will try to make plans to scale up the event.” Human resource development ministry pitched in the festival with its school children. “NCERT helped us in selecting forty schools that participated. Eighty teachers were trained and three rounds of mock tests were conducted by the students before the final day,” said Professor Kshitij Gupta, Director IIT, Delhi. The idea was conceptualized by Professor K Girish Kumar of Cochin University.Students from class nine to 12 participated in the exercise. A Jayakumar, Secretary General of VIBHA gave credit to the affinity and the smooth coordination between the ministries for the success of the program. While the festival was hosted by the science and technology ministry, HRD ministry gave the required co-operated. VIBHA is now looking at creating the first of its kind portal to bring the talented students together. “We will call upon all students interested in scientific innovations. These students can discuss their ideas on the portal. VIBHA will identify PhD scholars who will mentor these young students,” explained Jayakumar. Science and technology ministry plans to tie up with various technical institutions for the project. IIT Delhi is already on board with VIHBA on the project. “When the HRD minister visited the campus on the day we were to make the world record, she had expressed her desire that more such experiments involving students. We are keen to work on the project,” said Gupta, Director IIT.

Nirbhaya’s parents and 40 students released after short detention by Delhi Police

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the detention as “unacceptable” and said he has asked Chief Secretary KK Sharma to talk to Police Commissioner BS Bassi to secure the release of the victim’s parents.

ABVP activists along with Nirbhayas parents staging a protest against the release of juvenile delinquent in Nirbhaya Case, in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
Parents of the December 16 gangrape victim along with 40 DU and JNU students were detained by the police on Saturday as they staged a protest against the release of the juvenile convict in the case. The father of the victim said that they had gathered for a peaceful demonstration against the release of the juvenile convict but the police detained them.”Is there no justice in this country?” he asked.However, police said that the parents were “not detained” but just removed from the road “for their safety”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We detained around 40 youths who had blocked a stretch on the Outer Ring Road but the parents of the victim were not detained. They were removed from the road for their safety, put on a van and brought to the operation cell in Maurice Nagar and later we arranged for their transportation to be taken back home,” said DCP (North) Madhur Verma.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the detention as “unacceptable” and said he has asked Chief Secretary KK Sharma to talk to Police Commissioner BS Bassi to secure the release of the victim’s parents.However, the father of the victim accused the Delhi government of trying to shield the convict, who has now turned 20.The protesters staged the demonstration at the Outer Ring Road stretch near the correction home, where the juvenile convict was put up, and allegedly blocked the road causing traffic congestion in the area.Also read: DCW reaches out to SC as a last-ditch attempt to stop juvenile convict’s releaseMembers of Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) had earlier staged a protest at Jantar Mantar demanding the convict juvenile should not be released. Later, the students along with the victim’s parents held a protest outside the juvenile home and shouted slogans that the government should take immediate steps to stop his release.Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi today said, “Prime Minister travels the world, but there is no law for women here. Everyone promises change but nothing has been done.””We have been waiting for justice for three years. The government and judiciary have given up on us. Rapists have been given a report card that you can rape and you will give you machine and money and will protect you by forming a committee,” he said.

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

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

2015 review: Saradha scam fails to dent TMC’s electoral fortunes in Bengal

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TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength.

Mamata Banerjee after party’s victory in civic polls

PTI
The multi-crore Saradha scam continued to haunt the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal during 2015 but it had little impact on the party’s performance in municipal and panchayat elections and also bypolls as it registered emphatic wins.TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength. The year began with CBI’s action against several TMC leaders, which the party termed as “vendetta politics” by the Narendra Modi government. CBI arrested TMC leader and former transport minister Madan Mitra and also questioned former party general secretary Mukul Roy after which Roy, once a trusted lieutenant of party supremo Mamata Banerjee, distanced himself from TMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For BJP, which had garnered nearly 18 per cent votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the year did not bring much hope as it failed to put up a good show in successive elections to municipalities and panchayats. According to a senior state BJP leader, the notion that the central party leadership is going soft on Saradha scam and has entered into a deal with TMC in return of its support in Rajya Sabha, where BJP is in a minority, has further eroded the party’s credibility. Ahead of the Assembly polls, BJP appointed Dilip Ghosh, an old RSS hand as the new state president replacing incumbent Rahul Sinha.Left and Congress charged the Modi government with “having a deal with TMC” for its support in passing bills in the Upper House in return of CBI going slow on the Saradha scam. They argued that TMC did not raise its voice on issues such as Vyapam scam and Lalitgate when the Opposition protested against it. Allegations and counter-allegations apart, TMC cruised along to impressive victoriesThis prompted TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee to say, “The people of Bengal are with us. CPI(M), Congress and BJP are together in their fight. But the election results have shown that they have been rejected by the masses.” However, the year also saw certain cracks in TMC as the party’s once powerful General Secretary Mukul Roy’s wings were clipped and Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek virtually took over as number two of the party. Roy who was under CBI scanner, was stripped of the position of TMC all India general secretary as well as from the post of party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha. However, there were signs of his mending fences with the party as he met Mamata in Parliament and was invited to a dinner meeting.Political observers say that with Assembly poll only a few months away, TMC leadership’s strategy is to bring back the disgruntled partymen in its fold. The CPI-M, which slipped into a state of disarray after repeated electoral setbacks since the 2011 Assembly election in the state, has been trying to recapture some lost ground in the state which it had ruled for over three decades.In an attempt to make its presence felt, it organised some aggressive political programmes and continued rectification drive. The baton of the state party unit was passed on from septuagenarian Biman Bose to a relatively younger Surya Kanta Mishra.Notwithstanding its effort to stage a comeback, the Marxist party still have some deficiencies in terms of its strength which was admitted by former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “It is true that we are conducting rallies, meetings in various districts. But still there are some deficiencies in terms of strength,” Bhattacharjee recently said.The Marxists have undertaken a move to infuse new blood in the organisation replacing old faces to rejuvenate the party. More than 70 per cent chiefs of the party’s various units from district to local committee level were replaced in the organisational conferences held in the past few months. The party this time has changed secretaries in nine districts including Kolkata.Caught between TMC and CPI-M, Congress leadership was in two minds whether to contest the ensuing Assembly poll alone or to forge an alliance. The state Congress leadership is clearly divided on this issue with a section wanting to go with CPI-M while another group favoured tie-up with TMC with which it had contested the 2011 elections.

Nirbhaya’s parents detained, later released for protesting juvenile’s release; ‘shocked’ CM Kejriwal intervenes

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Nirbhaya’s parents were protesting outside the remand home against the release of the juvenile convict.

File photo of Nirbhaya’s parents.

PTI
December 16 gangrape victim’s parents and scores of other activists were detained by Delhi police on Saturday for protesting outside the remand home. They were released a few hours later. The juvenile convict in the case is scheduled to be released tomorrow from the correction home and Nirbhaya’s parents were protesting against it.Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday tweeted that this action by Delhi police is unacceptable and that he has spoken to the Chief Secretary of Delhi to talk to the Police commissioner and get them released.The juvenile convict on Saturday was shifted from the remand home to an undisclosed location amid concerns that there was threat to his life, and several agencies are keeping an eye on the matter, said a highly-placed source.Brushing aside the public outcry against his release, Delhi High court on Friday had said BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking stay on the release of juvenile convict cannot be allowed as the statutory and existing law was coming in its way.Nirbhaya’s parents have expressed disappointment in the Delhi HC’s judgement and said that justice was not meted out to them.”Crime has won and we have lost (jurm jeet gaya, hum haar gaye). Although we haven’t seen him, nor met him, but despite all our efforts, a criminal will walk free,” said a dejected Asha Devi, mother of the victim on Friday.The mother, who waited for the order alongwith her husband Badri Singh Pandey, in the court, said, “Despite all our efforts for three years, our government and our courts have released a criminal. The assurance we were given was that we will get justice but that has not been delivered. We are very disappointed,” she had said about the order of the Bench which also directed the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to interact with the convict, his parents and concerned officials of Department of Women and Child Development regarding his “rehabilitation and social mainstreaming”.Delhi government has said it had submitted a rehabilitation plan for the juvenile convict in December 16 gangrape case. The government said that as per the plan, a one-time financial grant of Rs 10,000 will be given to the youth and a sewing machine will be arranged for him so that he can rent a tailor shop.The convict, who is now 21, is to release on December 20 after his three years stay in the observation home as part of the sentence for the offence of rape.(With Agency Inputs)

National Herald case: Congress workers protest by burning effigy of PM Modi in Lucknow

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The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail by Patiala House district court on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
File Photo
PTI
Congress leaders and workers on Saturday burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took out a protest march here against the NDA government, accusing it of falsely implicating leaders of opposition parties including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri and AICC secretary assistant in-charge of state affairs Prakash Joshi, partymen took out a padyatra from the state party office to General Post Office here to lodge their protest against the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Youth Congress activists here burnt Modi’s effigy at the busy Hazratganj Crossing to mark the protest.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today sought and got bail in the National Herald case after a local court rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to the relief for them on the ground they are influential and can flee the country. The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

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.

State ACB goes on probe overdrive on Delhi government officials

The escalating war between the Centre and the AAP government took a new turn with the CBI raids at Delhi secretary at on Tuesday –but the worst hit in the months-old political crossfire has been the Delhi bureaucracy –more with allegations of the state anti-corruption branch (ACB) going on an investigation overdrive on officials placed with the Delhi government.According to sources, the situation has worsened in the last two months, with the Mukesh Meena-led ACB aggressively digging out age-old complaints against government officials, allegedly putting hundreds of other corruption complaints on the back burner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior government official claimed the Delhi-government’s anti-corruption helpline 1031 has forwarded more than 500 corruption complaints against Delhi as well as central government officials to the anti-graft body after carrying out preliminary investigations on them.“None of those complaints have been acted upon so far. The ACB has decided to investigate complaints only against Delhi government officials, that too those which it has received independently,” the official told dna.“They didn’t even register an FIR against a DDA (Delhi Development Authority) employee who was caught red-handed accepting bribe by our Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM),” the official said. DDA functions under the central government.The ACB’s alleged ‘selective’ investigation also resonates with a memo issued by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in September this year, where the bureaucrats of Delhi government were advised not to follow any ‘illegal orders’ of the Delhi government. The memo also warned the officials of disciplinary action if they chose to follow such orders of the government.The situation has now demoralised many Delhi government officials, many of whom fear they might be targeted just for working with the Kejriwal government.Sources say some are even contemplating seeking transfers elsewhere from the central government, to save themselves of uncalled troubles.An example is that of a case registered against the state’s principal secretary Chetan B Sanghi and other officials for converting 350 industrial sheds from leasehold to freehold in 2011-12, when he was heading the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (DSIIDC) – a step which has been taken both by those heading DSIIDC before and after Sanghi.The case was registered weeks after Sanghi submitted a probe report on the alleged complaints of irregularities in Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), on which the Delhi government was to set up a commission of inquiry, Kejriwal had revealed on Tuesday.While Sanghi has gone on a long leave and was not available for comments, another official said there is not much they can do if they are scheduled to be the next in the line of fire.“If they (ACB) choose to take up an empty case like that of the DSIIDC, they can slap any charge on us out of vindictiveness,” an official said.Similarly, secretary to CM Rajender Kumar who faced a lot of mud-slinging on Tuesday following the CBI raids in his office, was first interrogated by the ACB. He is also facing ACB investigations on a separate Rs100 crore CNG scam that took place during the Sheila Dixit regime. While the charges against him are yet to be proved by CBI, Kumar is still under the ACB net and has faced multiple interrogation sessions in the last few months. The anti-corruption branch is also probing deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, and has sent a notice to the government’s directorate of information and publicity (DIP) department for allegedly giving contracts of government advertisements to his relatives. A few officers from the department were interrogated by the ACB on Thursday.The anti-graft body has also initiated inquiries on an alleged scam regarding the procurement and disbursing of onions at a subsidised rate.Above all, ACB chief Meena had also ordered a probe into the helpline management of the AAP government’s anti-corruption helpline 1031 and an inquiry against the officials involved in setting it up.Talking to dna, an official from ACB said, “We are investigating the cases against Sanghi, Kumar and others and their details can’t be revealed as of now,” said an official. Meena remained unavailable for dna’s queries despite repeated calls and messages sent to him.A joint commissioner-ranked IPS officer, Meena was appointed in June this year by Jung against AAP government’s wishes. This was a first time that a joint commissioner ranked official was put at the helm of the anti-graft body; the post had earlier been occupied by an additional commissioner-ranked official since the start of the ACB.AAP had claimed that following the Delhi High Court’s order that allowed ACB to also act on corruption complaints against central government officials, the Centre had ‘taken over’ ACB from the Delhi government. However, the battle over the control of the anti-graft body continues.

AAP launches direct attack of corruption against Arun Jaitley

A CBI raid against a serving IAS officer in the Delhi government snowballed into a major duel between Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday. BJP MP Kirti Azad, further queered the pitch by relentlessly reiterating corruption charges against Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) during 13-year tenure of Jaitley as its president.Arun Jaitley, in a blog, promptly countered the charges politically and said Kejriwal seems to believe in “untruth and defamation delivered in language that borders on hysteria.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His reaction came after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gunned for Jaitley. Calling the irregularities a ‘Commonwealth Scam of Cricket’, AAP leaders alleged that crores of rupees were siphoned off through fake companies and there were huge irregularities in the team selection.AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said an additional expenditure of Rs 90 crore was incurred to renovate the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. “Payments were made to five companies whose registered addresses were same and were headed by same director,” he said. Chadha demanded that the PM ask Jaitley to resign so that there is a fair investigation. “Most of the investigating agencies are under finance ministry,” he said.DDCA’s working president Chetan Chauhan, soon held a counter presser and said Jaitley had in fact worked for the betterment of cricket in general and had made the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium into a world class facility. He also read out the break-up of expenses incurred during the renovation of Feroz Shah Kotla. “No embezzlement took place during Jaitley’s tenure. You can check SFIO report. There were only procedural lapses and we have compounded (paid fine) for those lapses,” he said.Jaitley, who had come prepared to answer any queries in Parliament, wrote a blog calling AAP’s charges “falsehood as free speech”. Refuting the allegations, Jaitley said even though he was not concerned with cricket administration since 2013, “an MP has been writing to various government bodies with regard to Delhi’s cricket affairs”.He said SFIO conducted enquiry against DDCA under the previous UPA government and the report did not find anything against him. “No personal allegation was ever made against me nor did I ever feel the need of contradicting it,” Jaitley said while referring to SFIO report.Jaitley slammed AAP leaders for making allegations of corruption in DDCA after the CBI raid at Delhi Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office, saying “does free speech include the right to speak only falsehood.”Jaitley said he could not be dragged into it by referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, when he had left the cricket administration in 2013.”There are fake allegations such as escalation of cost of construction of a stadium. When work expands, cost escalations are integral. A brand new 42,000-capacity world class stadium was constructed by the EPIL, a public sector body at a total cost of around Rs 114 crore. At the same time the UPA government renovated two stadia. The Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium was renovated at a cost of over Rs 900 crore and Dhyan Chand stadium was renovated at a cost of over Rs 600 crore,” Jaitley wrote.Soon after Jaitley’s denial, Kejriwal tweeted: “Can Jaitley ji’s denial in press be taken as gospel truth? V serious allegations against him. Why is he running away from investigations?”HRD minister Smriti Irani, meanwhile came out in Jaitley’s defence, saying AAP’s malicious intention is to deflect public attention from a corrupt official in Kejriwal’s office.”The CBI had come looking for documents that are not yet in public domain. The raids were carried out to intimidate the Delhi government,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged.Interestingly, the Congress did not raise the issue of DDCA and a JPC probe in Parliament on Thursday. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said their plate is full and the developments in Arunachal were “alarming” for democracy and security of country. “We have not given up on the DDCA issue,” he said.Sources in the party, however, admitted that there was a change in strategy. Though scotching speculations that cricket czars within Congress ranks like Rajiv Shukla had used their influence to force the party to drop the DDCA issue. I’m not gagged, says Kirti AzadEven as the BJP rejected the AAP’s allegations against finance minister Arun Jaitley, party MP Kirti Azad said he will hold a news conference on Sunday on “corruption” in DDCA.Earlier in the day, BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal met Azad, in what seemed like an apparent bid to refrain him from attacking Jaitley, whom the party is backing wholly.However, Azad tweeted later “don’t go by rumours that I have been gagged. My fight is against corruption in sports and it shall continue.”

Congress wins Jharkhand Assembly by-election; says people have lost faith in NDA

The by-poll, held on December 14, was necessitated following disqualification of AJSU leader Kamal Kishore Bhagat after he was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with an attack on a doctor in 1993. Niru Shanti is his wife.

Congress party workers celebrate after their victory of Lohardaga Assemby by-election at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Thursday.

PTI
The one-year-old BJP government in Jharkhand tasted its first defeat when its candidate Niru Shanti Bhagat lost to Congress aspirant Sukhdeo Bhagat by 23,228 votes in the Lohardaga Assembly by-election on Thursday. While Congress candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat, who is also the state PCC chief, polled 73,859 votes, Niru Shanti Bhagat of AJSU, an NDA constituent, bagged 50,571 votes. Former Jharkhand Minister Bandhu Tirkey of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) finished third with 16,551 votes, election commission officials said.The by-poll, held on December 14, was necessitated following disqualification of AJSU leader Kamal Kishore Bhagat after he was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with an attack on a doctor in 1993. Niru Shanti is his wife.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Secretary of Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) S R A Rizvi Chabban on Thursday expressed confidence that the victory of JPCC president Sukhdeo Bhagat in the Lohardaga (ST) Assembly by-election will help the party to improve its position in the state. In a statement issued, Chabban said the victory of Bhagat would help the party to improve its status in the state and also provide a right direction to the party.”The bypoll verdict has clearly indicated that the people of the state have lost faith in the one-year-old Raghubar Das-headed NDA government and want a change in the state,” he said.Taking a dig at former the Chief Minister Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Chabban said the Lohardaga result was a lesson for the JVM(P), which was direction less in the state, and it should rethink about its future policies for its survival.

Cyrus Mistry and KR Meera among Sahitya Akademi winners for 2015

The two works of fiction are among the four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs, that have won, the literary body said on Thursday.

Sahitya Akademi award

Playwright and novelist Cyrus Mistry’s English novel “Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer” and K R Meera’s “Aarachar” in Malayalam are among the works that have won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for this year. The two works of fiction are among the four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs, that have won, the literary body said on Thursday.”The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 23 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Akademi which met today under the Chairmanship of President, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari,” Akademi’s Secretary K Sreenivasarao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The award comprising an engraved plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh will be presented to the writers at a function on February 16 next year during Festival of Letters, the annual festival of the Akademi. The award in Bengali is to be announced at a later date.The Akademi also announced Bhasha Samman to writer and scholar Shrikant Bahulkar in recognition of his contribution to classical and medieval literature (western region). The announcement of the awards comes in the backdrop of 39 writers returning their awards in protest against the Akademi’s alleged silence on the murder of fellow writer and Sahitya Akademi board member M M Kalburgi as well as against the growing “communal atmosphere” following the Dadri lynching incident.”We have received cheques by 35 authors but the Akademi has decided not to deposit the cheques to establish its refusal to accept the return of awards,” Rao said.Stating that the Akademi has decided not to take back the awards returned by the writers, he said, “The Sahitya Akademi is an institute for the writers, by the writers and of the writers. They are respected writers and are like the family members of the Akademi. They can never be separated from the institution and the Akademi has decided that it will not take back the awards.”About the remaining four authors, the Akademi said Bengali Sahitya Puraskar winner Mandakranta Sen had approached it for its account details in order to return her prize money, but the Akademi did not divulge details.”Yuva Puraskar awardee Aman Sethi had come down to the Akademi office here to return the cheque, but the Akademi did not accept it,” Rao said.The secretary said, “No institute thinks about taking back awards while conferring them. If they do, then there is no point of giving them awards in the first place. Giving awards is a celebration.”

Rajendra Kumar at CBI headquarters for questioning

Facing ire of the Delhi Government for the raid conducted on the Delhi Secretariat, the CBI has said that it would be producing search cum seizure memo containing details of all seized items from Rajendra Kumar before the competent court.

Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister, Rajendra Kumar who has been accused for criminal conspiracy and has a case registered against him by the CBI reached the investigating agency’s headquarters here today morning for questioning.He has been accused of setting up various companies to give work contracts without tenders which has been a huge loss to the Delhi government.Facing ire of the Delhi Government for the raid conducted on the Delhi Secretariat, the CBI has said that it would be producing search cum seizure memo containing details of all seized items from Rajendra Kumar before the competent court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI has said that seizures during the searches at all 14 places were in the presence of independent witnesses as per procedure laid down by the law.Kumar was questioned by the CBI for about seven hours late last night after the probe agency sleuths raided his Delhi Secretariat office.Kumar has been booked under Sections of IPC on charges of criminal conspiracy and under various Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth 9.5 crore rupees during 2007 to 2014.The CBI carried out searches at 14 places connected with Kumar in the national capital, including his residence, and various locations in Uttar Pradesh.

Arvind Kejriwal says files on DDCA scrutinised, CBI refutes

Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in fresh allegations accused the investigating agency of seizing documents which were not related to its probe against principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.

A day after the CBI raided the third floor of the Delhi secretariat housing the chief minister and his secretary’s office, the Delhi government claimed it has seized files containing “cabinet decisions” during its day-long raid. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that a file relating to DDCA was scrutinised.Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in fresh allegations accused the investigating agency of seizing documents which were not related to its probe against principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chief minister also launched a fresh attack on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying he had “misled” Parliament by saying that the CBI did not raid the Chief Minister’s office.”CBI kept reading DDCA file in my office. They wud hv seized it. But after my media briefing, they left it. Not clear if they took a copy. Docs seized from my office. No relation to allegations being probed. Item 7-file movement register of last one month,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said he wonders why the CBI had allegedly seized “file movement register of November-December” and three files of transport department. “What is the connection? CBI also scrutinized files of DDCA. They even planned to seize them but did not do so after Chief Minister raised the issue,” Sisodia said.Meanwhile, AAP leader Ashutosh alleged that Jaitley lied on the floor of the House and this warrants a privilege motion against him and the government.”Since Jaitley has lied on the floor of the House and misled Parliament, this warrants privilege motion against him and the government.Earlier on Wednesday, the CBI officials said that they had “unearthed” bank balances of approx Rs 28 lakhs of Rajender Kumar. “Fixed deposits worth approx Rs 1.66 crore were also found at premises of co-accused A K Duggal former MD, ICSIL,” said Devpreet Singh, CBI spokesperson.”CBI seizures during the searches at 14 places, were in the presence of independent witnesses, as per procedure laid down by law. The search cum seizure memo containing details of all seized items will be produced before the competent court,” she added. CBI sources said that two other accused in the case were questioned by agency sleuths. The accused included A K Duggal and GK Nanda – both former directors of Intelligent Communication Systems India Ltd. (ICSIL) After verbal assault launched by various Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, the probe agency seemed to be in an aggressive mode in the evening. After claiming that CBI was acting at the behest of the Centre, AAP accused the agency of seizing documents not related to the probe against Kumar. AAP leaders also claimed that the money in bank accounts that the CBI had searched was Kumar’s life savings from his 27 years of service. “Blatant incorrect information is being spread by certain quarts since yesterday to discredit the agency with the intent to obstruct investigation. CBI categorically denies having seized any material during searches which are not relevant to the investigation,” the agency said in a statement. The agency also took a dig at the Delhi government by bringing up another Principal Secretary who arrested by the agency on charges of accepting bribes earlier this month. Following the arrest of IAS officer SP Singh, AAP held a conference stating that the complainant who informed CBI about the corrupt practices of Singh, was an AAP volunteer.Kejriwal had claimed the complainant approached CBI on the directions of AAP government. The agency today responded that no functionary of Delhi government ever contacted or was ever in touch with CBI. “The entire operation of laying the trap and arrest of SP Singh was conducted by the CBI on its own after receipt of complaint followed by independent verification.”

Rajender Kumar meets Arvind Kejriwal after being quizzed by CBI

On Tuesday, Phoolka had described CBI’s action against Kumar as “politically motivated” and said his client was being made a “scape goat”.

Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar

PTI
Hours after Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar was quizzed by CBI in a case of alleged corruption, he met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence in North Delhi’s Civil Line area on Tuesday night. Sources said that Kumar, along with senior lawyer H S Phoolka, who is associated with Aam Aadmi Party, reached the Chief Minister house situated on Flagstaff Road and apprised him about CBI’s action.”Rajendra Kumar had met Kejriwal last night after he was questioned by CBI officials. In the meeting, Kumar urged the CM not to defend him as he himself will handle the issue,” sources also said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting between Kumar and Kejriwal had lasted for around half an hour, they said. On Tuesday, Phoolka had described CBI’s action against Kumar as “politically motivated” and said his client was being made a “scape goat”.The Principal Secretary of the Delhi Chief Minister was today also quizzed by CBI sleuths in the corruption case. The probe agency’s action yesterday evoked sharp reaction from Kejriwal who accused it of searching files “unrelated” to the probe against Kumar and claimed that a file relating to DDCA was scrutinised by it.

CBI raids: AAP workers protest in Mumbai against ‘blatant misuse of CBI’

The raid by CBI on the office of Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar in connection with a corruption case had set off a bitter war of words between Kejriwal and the BJP.

Dismissing Arun Jaitley’s claim, Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday uploaded image of a document listing the files allegedly taken away by CBI from Delhi Secretariat.
File Photo
PTI
Aam Aadmi Party workers from Mumbai and neighbouring Thane district on Wednesday protested against the CBI raid at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office building in Delhi, calling it a “blatant misuse” of the agency by Centre. AAP workers gathered at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai and held a demonstration denouncing Tuesday’s raid, saying the action is akin to “unannounced emergency”.”It is clear now that (Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley misled Parliament saying that the CM’s (Kejriwal’s) office was not raided. However, it is seen today that the CM’s office was indeed raided, all files examined and many files taken away by CBI,” AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dismissing Jaitley’s claim, Kejriwal on Wednesday uploaded image of a document listing the files allegedly taken away by CBI from Delhi Secretariat. Menon said similar demonstrations were organised at various places in the city “to raise awareness on the conduct of the Central government”.The raid by CBI on the office of Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar in connection with a corruption case had set off a bitter war of words between Kejriwal and the BJP. The CBI has denied that Kejriwal’s office, located in secretariat, was searched.”This is a complete murder of democracy and the Aam Aadmi Party feels it is imperative for all persons who value their freedom to protest against this unannounced emergency,” Menon said. The protest was jointly led by Menon and Ashutosh Sengar, joint in-charge of the party’s Maharashtra unit.

Rajender Kumar, Principal Secy to Delhi CM Kejriwal, questioned for nine hours by CBI

Despite repeated queries on the alleged benefits, if at all, received by Kumar for purportedly favouring a software firm, CBI sources limited themselves to saying that the owners of the firm had worked with Kumar “at some point of time”.

Delhi Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar after being questioned by the officials at CBI Headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was subjected on Wednesday to a marathon nine-hour questioning along with two other accused as the agency tried to look for a quid pro quo in a corruption case against him.Despite repeated queries on the alleged benefits, if at all, received by Kumar for purportedly favouring a software firm, CBI sources limited themselves to saying that the owners of the firm had worked with Kumar “at some point of time”.Along with Kumar, CBI also examined owner of Endeavour Systems Private Limited Dinesh Gupta and Managing Director of Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited (ICSIL) R S Kaushik here at its headquarters. CBI sources claimed that Kumar has been providing information which was not given by him on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer arrived at the CBI headquarter at 9.40 AM for the questioning and left at around 6.45 PM in the evening. His lawyer H S Phoolka was also in the vehicle with him.Meanwhile, CBI, which is facing flak from Aam Admi Party and other opposition parties at Centre for its searches yesterday at the office of Kumar, a 1989-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, tried to defend itself saying it has not seized any material which is not relevant to the investigation.”CBI seizures during the searches at all 14 places, were in the presence of independent witnesses, as per the procedures laid down by the law. The search-cum-seizure memo containing details of all seized items will be produced before the competent court,” agency spokesperson Devpreet Singh said. She claimed that blatantly incorrect information is being spread by certain quarters since yesterday to discredit the agency with the intent to obstruct investigation.CBI neither prevented nor disallowed any person in their movement to the various offices in the Delhi Secretariat including the Chief Minister’s office except the Office Chamber of his Secretary, Rajendra Kumar and that of his Personal Assistant.”CBI has already clarified that the office of the Chief Minister Delhi was neither searches nor sealed,” she said.The agency’s action yesterday evoked sharp reaction from Kejriwal who accused it of searching files “unrelated” to the probe against Kumar and claimed that a file relating to DDCA was scrutinised by it.”CBI kept reading DDCA file in my office.They would have seized it. But after my media briefing, they left it. Not clear if they took a copy. Documents seized from my office.No relation to allegations being probed. Item 7-file movement register of last one month,” he said in a series of tweets.Jaitley had dismissed on Tuesday the allegations against him as “rubbish”. Kejriwal also uploaded image of a document listing the files allegedly taken away by CBI from Delhi Secretariat during its day-long raid yesterday.Agency sources claimed that it has recovered documents pertaining to bank balances of approximately Rs 28 lakh from Kumar who is facing probe for allegedly favouring a private firm in government contracts. The documents pertaining to fixed deposits worth Rs 1.66 crore were allegedly found from A K Duggal, former MD, ICSIL, CBI sources claimed.Kumar was questioned by the CBI for about seven hours late last night after the probe agency sleuths raided his Delhi Secretariat office, triggering a political storm between Delhi government and the Centre.The CBI said that it has registered a case against Kumar and others on allegations against the officer that he abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government departments”.Kumar has been booked under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company in five contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore during 2007-14.CBI carried out searches at 14 places connected with Kumar in the national capital, including his residence, and various locations in Uttar Pradesh. The agency has claimed to have recovered about Rs 16 lakh, including Rs 2.4 lakh in cash, foreign currency of the value of Rs 3 lakh from the residence of Kumar.”The allegations against Kumar were raised by Ashish Joshi, former Member Secretary, Delhi Dialogue Commission,” the CBI said.As opposition attacked the Centre over the CBI action, the agency went on an overdrive to convey that the raids were being undertaken after following a due a process of law which included getting a search warrant from the competent court. On Tuesday, Kejriwal had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “psychopath” and “coward” after the raids and targeted Jaitley over alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body under his watch.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar seeks proposal for drinking water, toilet to every home

Connecting every household with drinking water supply and constructing toilet in every home form part of Kumar’s “seven resolves” which has now been adopted by the grand secular alliance government.
File Photo
PTI
Expressing his commitment to provide drinking water and toilet to every household in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday instructed officials to prepare a proposal to this objective by January 15 next. Kumar gave his direction to official of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) while reviewing its functiong here, an official statement said.PHED minister Krishnandan Prasad Verma and Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh were present during the review meeting by the CM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Connecting every household with drinking water supply and constructing toilet in every home form part of Kumar’s “seven resolves” which has now been adopted by the grand secular alliance government. To counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore along with Rs 40,000 crore of previous schemes of the central government, Kumar had come forward with his “seven resolves” during elections at an estimated cost of Rs 2.70 lakh crore.Kumar directed officials to prepare a proposal to achieve the two objectives by January 15, 2016. He laid stress on involvement of masses to achieve the twin objectives. Kumar instructed officials to make people aware against misuse of water for proper use of drinking water.The CM said PHED department would construct toilet in houses which does not have the one at present through “Lohia Swachaha Bihar Abhiyan”.

No certainty of justice even after 3 years of Nirbhaya case: Activists

Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.
File Photo
Reuters
On the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case, activists on Wednesday said that women continue to face violence in every sphere of life and that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change and not the severity of punishment.”In the three years since December 2012, women continue to face violence in every space they occupy, including their own homes, public transport and at workplaces. There have been many attacks on women and girls, some accompanied by huge media coverage, but most taking place away from the public glare,” Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We stand today in hope with millions across the country -and indeed, the world – that justice will prevail in all cases, including the December 2012 case, according to the prevailing laws of the land. We reiterate our demand for certainty of justice and not severity of punishment,” she added.Krishnan is signatory to a statement endorsed by 108 women activists, students and faculty from DU, JNU and Ambedkar university and progressive leaders, issued on the third anniversary of the December 16 gang-rape case today.”The government is using issue of violence against women to push through regressive policies like death penalty, or lowering the age of juvenile — even though the Justice Verma Committee carefully considered and rejected these measures as counter– productive and against the interests of victims of gender violence,” the statement said.”If we turn to cases filed under the new amendments to the law against sexual assault that were passed in the wake of the movement in December 2012, the scene is dismal. Be it the women in Muzaffarnagar, Bhagana or Bastar, or the women employees of Tehelka or TERI, they all await justice. The police and the judicial system, not to mention society, the media and political powers that rule at states or the Centre, have mostly worked to subvert the law. Worryingly, even as women who file cases under the laws enacted to protect women are feeling betrayed and vulnerable, a growing clamour brands the laws against gender-based violence as ‘draconian,’ ‘biased against men’,” the statement added.Six persons including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gang-rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.The Centre had earlier this week asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free.Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions are being organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya. In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, are also marking the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

Paris deal frames climate ambition in ‘lens of equity’: India

The Paris climate change agreement is a victory for climate justice, India has said stressing that the multilateral deal preserves the development imperatives of developing countries and frames climate ambition in a “lens of equity”.

The Paris climate change agreement is a victory for climate justice, India has said stressing that the multilateral deal preserves the development imperatives of developing countries and frames climate ambition in a “lens of equity”.”India is happy with the outcome of the COP-21 in Paris.As our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) said, we are all winners in the Paris outcome. Climate Justice has won and the new Agreement marks a new push jointly by all nations for a greener future,” India’sDeputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi said at a briefing organised here yesterday by the President of General Assembly on the just concluded climate summit in Paris.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bishnoi said India participated in Paris in a spirit of openness, constructiveness and flexibility and India’s voice was a voice of developing countries.”Our call for climate justice was based on the centrality of equity, historical responsibilities and the right to development for the world’s poorest.”We are happy that the Paris Agreement acknowledges and preserves the development imperatives of India and other developing countries, framing climate ambition in a lens of equity,” he said.Noting that the agreement unequivocally acknowledges the imperative of climate justice, Bishnoi said the deal based itself on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.”We are also happy that the Agreement differentiates between the actions of developed and developing countries across its elements,” he said as he expressed appreciation for efforts of French President Francois Hollande climate envoy Laurence Tubing and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.”The Paris Agreement has given a new hope and direction to our collective effort to address climate change. The COP-21 in P aris has marked a high point in what has been a defining year in multilateralism,” Bishnoi said.He noted that the Paris Agreement complements the 2030 Development Agenda and taken together, both the outcomes mark a new beginning for international cooperation to protect the health of the planet and ensure a life of dignity to all people.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has termed the Paris Agreement “a health insurance policy for the planet”.

Three years after December 16 gangrape, activists say women’s safety has not improved in Delhi

“What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened?” activists asked.

Women activists say “nothing much has changed” when it comes to safety of women in the national capital since the tragic December 16 gangrape case three years ago which shook the nation and led to a massive public outcry, forcing Parliament to enact a new anti-rape law.”What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened? Have the convicts of brutal gangrape been hanged? Definitely, the Nirbhaya gangrape triggered a huge outcry, but where are the results,” said Ranjana Kumari, activist and Director, Centre for Social Research.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The nation is yet to see the ‘hanging’ of the convicts and to believe the fact that the ones contributing to violence against women will be severely punished and the situation ‘changed VS not changed’ will continue till strong examples are set that the accused will not be spared,” she added.Another activist Kavita Krishnan said, “The juvenile accused is likely to walk free, that speaks volumes about the ‘change’ in the past three years. Neither there is political will nor conviction of the accused”.”Law has been made, funds have been allocated, fast track court was to hear the case, but where is the implementation and where are the results that reflect a change in the society,” she added.Six persons, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, plunging the country into grief.Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gangrape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.The Centre had yesterday asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also issued conditional summons to the Delhi chief secretary, police commissioner and the Union home secretary on Tuesday following their “failure” to produce reports on the release of the juvenile convict.”Things have moved on paper, policy decisions are also being made. It is not that initiatives have not been taken but this passing of buck between the Centre and the state government is providing an edge to police as there is no accountability,” said Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW).Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions will be organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, will also mark the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

I am fittest person to become Prime Minister, says Azam Khan

Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” he said.

Claiming to be the “fittest” person to become the Prime Minister, senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said that he aspires to take up the top job and that “if Narendra Modi resigns and all MPs elect me the PM it will send a good message across the country and India will progress each passing day”.Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When reporters asked Khan about posters being put up in Lucknow demanding his elevation to the post of deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he said, “You are insulting me. I want to be become the Prime Minister and I deserve to hold the post. That’s why I have removed posters of me becoming deputy chief minister.”Reminded that UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had recently floated the idea of Mulayam as Prime Minister and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the deputy Prime Minister at an event in Delhi, Khan said, “I’m the fittest person to become the Prime Minister of the Country and I aspire to be the Prime Minister.”On the CBI raids at the office of Rajender Kumar, the Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Khan said, “The central government and the BJP have shown disrespect to political beliefs… Everyone knows that it’s a bias action… I think there should not be raids at office of any chief minister of the country without prior permission.”

CBI raids: Delhi CM Kejriwal trying to ‘hide something’ from CBI, says MoS PMO Jitendra Singh

Kejriwal on Tuesday vowed to continue the fight against the ruling dispensation till his last breath and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he was not at all scared of the CBI raid.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Taking on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his statement that the CBI raided his office looking for the DDCA files related to graft cases in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is involved, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (MoS PMO) Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said he suspect of the AAP convener trying to hide something from the investigating agency since he is making a big a hue and cry about it.”The raids which were conducted today at 14 different spots simultaneously, out of which two spots belong to officers working in the secretariat of the Chief Minister. If the Chief Minister is making such a big deal about it, one would rather suspect that it is he who has something to hide and when he says that they were fishing some files which would go against the members of the present government at the Centre,” said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I would rather suspect the other way round. May be he was afraid or still apprehensive that there are certain files, he needs to keep hidden and afraid of being let out. The CBI is an autonomous body. The Narendra Modi government have ensured the independence and autonomy of CBI,” he added.Kejriwal on Tuesday vowed to continue the fight against the ruling dispensation till his last breath and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he was not at all scared of the CBI raid.”The raid was conducted to look for the files of DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association) in which Jaitley is involved in graft cases. I want to tell Modi ji, you scared other people through CBI, but you have no idea what Kejriwal is made up of. I will keep fighting till my last breath for the country,” Kejriwal said.The CBI has registered a case against Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar for allegedly favouring a firm in getting contracts from Delhi Government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, hit back at Kejriwal for his unwarranted criticism of Prime Minister Modi following the CBI raid and alleged that a ‘nervous’ Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo is demeaning the PMO with his baseless allegation.Refuting Kejriwal’s allegation on the raid on Chief Minister’s office, the CBI has said that the raid was conducted on the Principal Secretary’s office following a warrant.

CBI raids: Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan condemns Arvind Kejriwal’s language

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AAP activists burnt effigies of Union Government at Indore, Gwalior, Rewa, Jabalpur, Guna, Vidisha, Sagar, Ujjain and Raghogarh among other places, a party release said.

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Madhya Pradesh Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday staged protests against the Centre over CBI’s raid at the office of the Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal even as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan decried the language used by Kejriwal against the Prime Minister.AAP activists burnt effigies of Union Government at Indore, Gwalior, Rewa, Jabalpur, Guna, Vidisha, Sagar, Ujjain and Raghogarh among other places, a party release said. AAP national spokesperson and state coordinator Alok Agrawal termed the raid as “vendetta politics”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, CM Chouhan, reacting to Kejriwal’s statement, tweeted without naming anyone that “we may have difference of opinion but maintaining decorum & mutual respect are pillars of democracy. Sanctity of language is 1st requisite.The office of Delhi Chief Minister’s principal secretary was today raided by CBI in a corruption case following which a furious Kejriwal lambasted the Centre and termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “coward” and “psychopath”.

CBI raids were based on former DDC official Ashish Joshi’s complaint

Ashish Joshi had in July registered complaints with CBI and Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government, accusing Kumar of indulging in corruption.

Delhi Secretariat building

Reuters
The CBI raids at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal Secretary Rajender Kumar at the Secretariat in New Delhi was based on a complaint filed by a former member secretary of Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Ashish Joshi.Joshi had in July registered complaints with CBI and Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Government, accusing Kumar of indulging in corruption. Joshi had been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation after he was sent back to the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, his parent cadre, in May.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his July 13 complaint to CBI, Joshi alleged that Kumar along with his friends had formed a company which he later had got empanelled with a public sector unit for doing work for departments without tenders.Meanwhile, DDC vice-chairman Ashish Khetan, and DDC chairman and Chief Minister Kejriwal sent a communication to the Communications and Information Technology Ministry stating that “on several occasions, he (Joshi) has been found smoking cigars and chewing tobacco within office premises”.

CBI raids: Centre will not be able to terrorise us, says AAP

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, after a high-level meeting attended by Kejriwal and all Cabinet Ministers, “openly challenged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dig out anything against the AAP ministers, saying there should not be any misconception that the Centre will be able to “terrorise us”.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
In the midst of its biggest face-off with the Modi dispensation yet, a combative AAP government rejected claims of CBI and the Centre that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not the target of today’s raid and insisted a room having “key” files and affidavits in his office were thoroghly examined by the agency.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, after a high-level meeting attended by Kejriwal and all Cabinet Ministers, “openly challenged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dig out anything against the AAP ministers, saying there should not be any misconception that the Centre will be able to “terrorise us”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an open challenge. Seek as many details as you want on any act of corruption that has been committed in the past and we will you provide you all the necessary files. But if you target Kejriwal under the excuse of probing his Secretary, then you will never succeed,” Sisodia told reporters.The Deputy Chief Minister said when the CBI did not get anything against Kejriwal, they started saying that his Principal Secretary was raided.Also read: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal protests CBI raids at his office, dubs PM Modi a ‘coward’ and ‘psychopath'”Why the files of the relevant departments allegedly complicit in the matter were not examined ? They should not have the misconception that they will be able to terrorise us. We won’t be scared by these tactics like other state governments do. We won’t spare those who are trying to threaten honest officials working with us,” said Sisodia.The CBI said it carried out searches at Kumar’s office at the Delhi Secretariat and not that of the Chief Minister. Kumar, like Kejriwal is an IIT alumnus, and has been accused by CBI of favouring private companies in awarding government contracts from 2007-2014.”All this while, from 2006 you did not act. Now all of a sudden your own official files a complaint to the ACB, not even to the CM, and you swing into action. CBI is spreading terror against an honest CM and a popularly elected government. The way Congress used to misuse CBI, BJP is doing the same. If you train your guns at the CM from an official’s shoulder, we will strongly protest,” said Sisodia.When asked about Kejriwal calling Modi a “coward and psychopath”, Sisodia said, “You seek apology for your karma and we will apologise for our words.”

Delhi minister calls Modi ‘psychopath’

Arvind Kejriwal blames Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a “raid” on his office, calling him a “coward and a psychopath”.

Man dies after limbs chopped off by ‘henchmen of liquor baron’; 14 booked

According to police, Bhim Sen and Gurjant Singh Janta were allegedly attacked by a group of men led by one Harpreet Harry after a heated exchange broke out between Sen and Harry on Friday night at a farm house in Abohar subdivision area.

A 27-year-old man was murdered and his limbs were chopped off by suspected henchmen of a liquor baron who is said to have political links.An arm and a leg of another were also severed in the attack which took place on Friday. 14 persons have booked for murder, police said today.According to police, Bhim Sen and Gurjant Singh Janta were allegedly attacked by a group of men led by one Harpreet Harry after a heated exchange broke out between Sen and Harry on Friday night at a farm house in Abohar subdivision area.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Both legs and arms of Sen were chopped off while an arm and a leg of Janta were severed,” a police official said, adding that both were rushed to a private hospital where Sen was declared brought dead.”Janta is in critical condition,” he added.The accused are suspected to be workers of liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, who is said to be member of a prominent political party in the state.”Harry, Raja, Radheyshyam, Wazir, Gulab, Chhajju, Simran, Happy and 6 unidentified persons have been booked under various sections, including Section 302 (murder), of the IPC in connection with murder of the youth,” police said.After the attack, villagers set several liquor shops belonging to Doda on fire and demanded that a murder case be registered against him and his nephew Amit as well.Senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar and BJP state secretary Sandeep Rinwa visited the hospital and expressed solidarity with the aggrieved community.Prayer meetings were held today in the memory of Sen.Meanwhile, heavy police force has been deployed in the town as the situation remained tense.Police said investigations in the case were going on.

Ruling Left Front wins landslide victory in Tripura civic polls

CPI(M) supporters celebrate their victory in civic polls in Dharmanagar, north Tripura on Saturday

PTI
The ruling Left Front in Tripura has won a landslide victory in the election to 20 civic bodies in the state, including the 49-member Agartala Municipal Corporation.The CPI-M-led LF bagged 45 out of the 49 wards of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) leaving only four to opposition Congress, member secretary to the state election commission, Tamal Mazumder said. In the civic polls held on December 9, the LF candidates secured absolute majority in 13 municipal councils and six nagar panchayats in the state, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Altogether, elections were held in 310 seats in 20 civic bodies in which Left Front candidates won 291 and the opposition Congress secured 13 seats and BJP just 4. The rest two were won by independent candidates.This was the first time that BJP won seats in civic bodies. Of the 291 seats won by LF candidates CPI-M won 279, CPI five, RSP 6 and Forward Bloc just one seat.Convener of Left Front Committee and CPI-M central committee member Khagen Das congratulated the people of the state for LF’s thumping majority. “It is people’s verdict for Left Front’s good governance and relentless endevour for peace, tranquility and development,” he said.Agartala Municipality was elevated to the status of Agartala Municipal Corporation two years back. The civic body was formed in princely Tripura state in 1871 during the reign of Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya.

Would do anything to bring 2008 Mumbai attackers to justice: US

When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.”

File Photo

The US on Saturday said it wants to see the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack brought to justice and will do anything to support India in this regard.”…we want to see the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack brought to justice and obviously continue to want to do anything we can to support Indian authorities in that task,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Friday when asked about David Headley turning approver after being pardoned by a Mumbai court. Headley is currently serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai terror attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.” “Again, we share an interest in seeing the Mumbai attackers being brought to justice a terrible, dastardly terrorist attack,” he said. Kirby said India is a very close friend and partner.”I think it’s self-evident in recent years that both our countries have fallen victim to terrorist attacks and continue to need to be on to be vigilant about terrorism perpetrated against our citizens, and so it makes perfect sense that we would look for ways to cooperate more closely and to improve the flow of information between our two countries,” he said.Asked if the State Department was playing any role in intelligence and information sharing on terrorists as mentioned by Indian defence minister Manohar Parikkar after his meeting with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, he said, “I can’t speak for the Defence Department. As for the State Department, we have we maintain good, strong relations with our counterparts in the Indian Government.”I won’t speak about intelligence matters, but I can tell you that that relationship remains strong, remains vibrant, and the Secretary s interest is very clear in making sure that the relationship continues to strengthen and grow going forward across a wide range of issues, not just security issues,” he added.

India, Japan committed to eliminate terrorist safe havens: Foreign Secretary Jaishankar

Expressing satisfaction at the direction of bilateral engagement, the two Prime Ministers resolved to transform the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, a key relationship with the largest potential for growth, into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership, which reflects a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic goals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe applaud as Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar exchanges documents with Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe have condemned all forms of terrorism and asserted their commitment to eliminate terrorist safe havens from their territories. “The two leaders have strongly condemned terrorism in all forms, underlining that they have zero tolerance. Calling upon all countries to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1267. Referring to the need for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and stopping cross border movement of terrorists and underlining the need for the countries to effectively deal with trans-national terrorism and eliminate from their territory,” Jaishankar told a press briefing after Prime Minister Modi signed several bilateral agreements with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Hyderabad House here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “There is also a specific mention of bringing the perpetrators of terrorist attacks including those of November, 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice,” he added. Expressing satisfaction at the direction of bilateral engagement, the two Prime Ministers resolved to transform the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, a key relationship with the largest potential for growth, into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership, which reflects a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic goals. The two Prime Ministers underlined the need for closer coordination and effective communication, bilaterally and with partners, to address existing and emerging challenges in spheres of security, stability and sustainable development. They underlined their determination to expand cooperation with other partners, to enhance connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region. The two leaders also assured that India and Japan will work to strengthen regional economic and security forums and coordinate their actions to tackle global challenges including the reform of the United Nations, climate change as well as terrorism.

India, Japan seal agreement for civil nuclear cooperation

The agreement, featuring broad contours of cooperation in the nuclear field, was signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held the ninth annual Indo-Japan summit talks in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during signing of agreements at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
Capping years of negotiations, India and Japan on Saturday sealed a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy with the final deal to be signed after certain technical and legal issues are thrashed out.Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will also make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.The agreement, featuring broad contours of cooperation in the nuclear field, was signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held the ninth annual Indo-Japan summit talks in New Delhi. Reflecting the importance of the nuclear pact, Modi said it was more than just an agreement and that it was a “shining symbol” of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership between the two countries towards the cause of a peaceful and secure world.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a joint media event with Modi, Abe said Japan’s cooperation with India in the nuclear field will be limited to peaceful objectives. There was political resistance in Japan to go ahead with a nuclear pact with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.The two Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement reached between the two Governments on the agreement between Japan and India for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and confirmed that this agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised, including those related to the necessary internal procedures, a joint statement issued after the talks, said”We have achieved substantial progress as the key part of the agreement has been done,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters. He said the pact will help Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to do nuclear business in India as both have Japanese investments.Asked whether it was a framework agreement, he said “we have concluded the negotiations” but added certain legal and technical issues will have to be thrashed out for the final pact. “It will need legal scrubbing and other technical details will have to be finalised.”Jaishankar said Japanese side was conveyed about the various aspects of India’s nuclear liability regime. On whether Japanese side raised the isue of tracking of spent fuel, the foreign secretary said India has addressed the issue with a host of countries and its “template” on the issue satisfied all of them.Asked about issues relating to reprocessing, he said any solution to the issue with Japan will be in consonance with India’s long-standing policy.”It is an important development, not complete development”, Jaishankar said when asked to comment on the nuclear pact”The two Prime Ministers, on the occasion of the 70th year since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. They called for an immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of Shannon Mandate,” said the joint statement.It said in this context, Abe stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which should lead to nuclear disarmament.”They also supported the strengthening of international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism,” it said.India and Japan had started negotiations for the nuclear cooperation in June 2010. It was halted after the mishap at Fukushima plant on March 11, 2011. A section in Japan was of the view that the pact should not be finalised as India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

Paris Climate talks hit roadblock, Javadekar says agreement depends on flexibility of developed countries

India stuck to its demand that developed countries like the US should shoulder more of the cost that countries face in adapting to the effects of climate change.

From L-R, Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India attend a news conference during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget

Reuters
Negotiations for a climate change deal hit a roadblock on Friday with countries like India and China refusing to yield their ground on emissions and funding, stretching the high-stakes talks by a day to wrap up a highly-elusive deal. Mounting hectic last-minute efforts, US Secretary of State John Kerry met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in the third interaction in as many days. Javadekar said the success of Paris agreement will depend on the spirit of accommodation and flexibility shown by developed countries. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India stuck to its demand that developed countries like the US should shoulder more of the cost that countries face in adapting to the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, China was resisting calls, led by the US and the European Union, for all nations to review and update their national plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions every five years and had also reasserted demands that developed nations do far more to curb greenhouse gas emissions, sources said. Diplomats from 195 countries attending the Conference of Parties (CoP) are grappling with how to resolve differences over crucial issues, which are very dear to the developing nations but could not reach a deal before the self-imposed deadline of tonight. Despite the apprehensions of a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit that failed miserably, hosts France struck an optimistic note, saying “we are nearly there”. “We are nearly there. I’m optimistic,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters accompanied by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I’ll present a text tomorrow at 0900 (1330 IST) to the parties that I’m sure will be adopted.” “We had a very constructive meeting. We made a lot of progress. Progress made last night, a long night, but there’s still a couple of very difficult issues we’re working on,” he said, after talks with summit host, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. A desperate UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to envoys to take a “final decision for humanity”. “This negotiation is complicated, most difficult but important for humanity.We have just very limited hours remaining.” He identified important questions including how to share the burden of cutting down greenhouse-gas emissions between rich and poor nations; how to finance the cost of climate change in developing countries and how ambitious to be in curbing planetary over-heating.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe arrives in India

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in India on a two-day visit where he is expected to announce a deal for India’s first bullet train.

India’s map on Pentagon site excludes PoK, Aksai Chin

There was no immediate comment from either the Pentagon or the Embassy.

File Photo

In an embarrassment, PoK and Aksai Chin were not shown as India’s territory in a map by the Pentagon website ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s press conference jointly with his American counterpart.The graphic was even tweeted by the Indian Embassy in Washington along with the message that the joint address by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Parrikar will begin at 10:50 AM. But this was removed later.The graphic had the Indian tricolour and a map that showed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin not as India’s territory. There was no immediate comment from either the Pentagon or the Embassy.Parrikar, on his maiden visit to the US, addressed the Pentagon correspondents, in a first such interaction by an Indian Defence Minister. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Manohar Parrikar holds talks with US Defence Secretary Carter at Pentagon

Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and his American counterpart Richard Verma were also present on the occasion.

Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday held talks with American counterpart Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on ways to deepen bilateral long-term strategic partnership. Earlier on his arrival at the Pentagon, Parrikar was given an enhanced honour cordon by the American military as he was welcomed by the US Defence Secretary. The meeting between the two leaders began soon thereafter. Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and his American counterpart Richard Verma were also present on the occasion along with other senior officials from both the sides. During the meeting, the two leaders are expected to discuss ways to deepen the long-term strategic partnership between the two countries, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On Wednesday, Carter hosted an informal dinner for Parrikar at the Pentagon. Soon after their meeting, the two leaders would hold a joint press conference, the first time that an Indian Defence Minister would address the Pentagon correspondents. Thereafter, Carter and Parrikar are scheduled to travel to Norfolk in Virginia where they will fly out to the USS Eisenhower and view flight operations on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Cook said.Parrikar also became the first Indian Defence Minister to visit the headquarters of the US Pacific Command in Hawaii. On Wednesday, Parrikar also held a meeting with the members of the American defense industry at an event organised by the US India Business Council (USIBC) during the leader’s maiden visit to the US. India is wooing American defence industry to establish their manufacturing units in India.

Bihar government provides sanitary napkins to girl students

The money for sanitary napkins has been made available under “Mukhyamantri Kishori Swasthya Karyakram”.

Sanitary napkins

Bihar government has started providing free sanitary napkins to adolescent girl students in government schools to help them maintain hygiene. State Education minister Ashok Choudhary told reporters that school girls from class VIII to X have been provided Rs 150 each for buying sanitary napkins for themselves. A sum of Rs 57.87 crore has been spent for the purpose that will benefit 36,46,114 girl students registered at schools, he said. The money for sanitary napkins has been made available under “Mukhyamantri Kishori Swasthya Karyakram”, the minister accompanied by Principal Secretary, Education, D S Gangwar, said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced providing sanitary napkins to girl students after assuming office in February 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The announcement had received kudos like his other initiatives of providing cycle and free uniform and books to students enrolled in government schools. Choudhary said, the issue of facilitating free wi-fi internet in colleges and universities and holding English speaking course, part of the CM’s “seven resolves” which now has been adopted by the new grand secular alliance government, would be discussed with the CM during review meeting of Education Department on December 18. “We will fulfill all the promises made to people of the state,” Choudhary said. The Education Minister said the issue whether to continue with contractual teachers at primary level failing to qualify eligibility test in two attempts would also be taken up during review meeting of the department with the CM. “Such teachers failing to qualify eligibility test would the threat to futures of students,” the minister said. Choudhary said sustained efforts have helped the state bring down its rate of out of school children in the age category of 6-14 to 1,91,538 which is 0.96% only now. Midday meal is provided to about 1,36,31,219 boys/girls of class I-VIII of government schools, those aided by the government, Madarsas and sanskrit schools, he added.

Ganga rejuvenation: NGT bans plastic from Gomukh to Haridwar

The Tribunal passed a slew of directions to keep the river pollution free. It held that if any hotel, dharamshala or ashram releases their domestic waste and sewage into Ganga or its tributaries then “it shall be liable to pay environmental compensation for causing pollution of the river at the rate of Rs 5,000 per day”.

There will be a complete ban on use of plastic of any kind from Gomukh to Haridwar along Ganga with effect from February 1, the National Green Tribunal directed on Thursday while slapping a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day on erring hotels, dharamshalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.The Tribunal passed a slew of directions to keep the river pollution free. It held that if any hotel, dharamshala or ashram releases their domestic waste and sewage into Ganga or its tributaries then “it shall be liable to pay environmental compensation for causing pollution of the river at the rate of Rs 5,000 per day”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The green panel divided the cleaning work of Ganga into different segments –Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal. Besides the plastic ban, the Tribunal also prohibited throwing of any municipal waste, construction and demolition wastes into Ganga and its tributaries while announcing that violators will have to pay an environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per incident.”There shall be complete prohibition on use of plastic i.e plastic carry bags/plastic plates, glasses, spoons, packages and allied items in all cities/towns falling on the river Ganga and its tributaries in Segment A Phase -1 (Gomukh to Haridwar). “Under no circumstances, plastic carry bags of any thickness whatsoever would be permitted. The procurement, storing and sale of such plastic bags, plates, glasses, spoons etc are hereby prohibited, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said adding,”these restrictions would become operative with effect from February 1, 2016.” The Tribunal, which did not pass any order with regard to nine hydro-power projects in Uttarakhand as the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, said that all the projects would build their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) and make them operational within three months.The green bench further held that all the seriously polluting industries which are operating without consent from Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board shall be closed with immediate effect.On the issue of mining on the river bed, the Tribunal said it shall be carried on in a highly regulated manner and under strict supervision. “No mechanised river bed mining would be permitted. No JCBs (mechanical excavator) would be permitted to operate on the river bed,” it said. The bench, also comprising Judicial member M S Nambiar and expert members D K Agrawal and B S Sajwan, directed Uttarakhand government (in coordination with Ministry of Textile) to provide bio-degradable materials including jute bags and such other items which can be permitted in the entire segment. “We direct the state government and public authorities to ensure that public facilities like toilets are provided on the appropriate places in colonies abutting river Ganga all along segment-A of phase 1. Toilets should be connected and linked to bio-digesters or STPs constructed for that purpose alone,” it said.The bench directed the state government to prepare an action plan to provide bio-toilets for pilgrims in Uttarakhand during the festive seasons. The Tribunal, in its 150-page judgement, also directed that at least 100 meters from middle of the river Ganga would be treated and dealt with as “eco-sensitive and prohibited zone”.”No activity whether permanent or temporary in nature will be permitted to be carried on in this zone including camping. The only exception would be points for picking up and dropping the guests who are doing rafting in river Ganga. “The area beyond 100 meters and less than 300 meters would be treated as regulatory zone in the hilly terrain. The area upto 200 meters shall be prohibited area in the plain terrain and more than 200 meters and less than 500 meters would be treated as regulatory zone,” the bench said.The green bench also held that there would be no throwing of any medical or bio-medical waste into the river on the river banks.”If any hospital is found throwing such waste anywhere on land, water bodies or other places, state pollution control board and municipal authorities would recover Rs 20,000 per violation,” it said.With regard to Rs 258 crores which was provided for Ganga cleaning project, the green panel noted that Rs 78 crore has been spent and directed Uttarakhand government and its various departments to divert remaining Rs 180 crore for carrying out its directions including setting up of STPs.The Tribunal further held that “no work in relation to sewer line network shall be carried out by Uttarakhand and/or any public authority/body except at Gangotri where the sewer line network has been completed and at Gopeshwar where 96 per cent work has already been completed and both are connected to the STP.”Wherever there is a town which is closer to the industrial clusters, it will be ensured that that the treated sewage water from the town is recycled for industrial purposes or other permissible purposes. However, on other places it should be used for agriculture and horticulture purposes. Every effort should be made not to discharge more than 25 per cent of the total release from the STPs into Ganga,” the bench said.It directed Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments to set up 15 STPs, 24 bio digesters in 6 months to reduce sewage discharge in Ganga.”There shall be a team constituted of senior officers from Uttarakhand Pey Jal Nigam, state pollution control board and representatives of the government from Department of Urban development. They shall submit quarterly reports to the Tribunal in regard to operation and management of STPs and bio-digestors,” it said.Observing that Ganga is not only sacred but lifeline of cities, the Tribunal also imposed massive fines ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore on industrial units along the river for discharging waste.With regard to work on stretch from Haridwar to Kanpur, the green panel has convened a meeting of officials including Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, secretary of water resources, MoEF secretary and others on December 22.

Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan’s condition still critical

CPI said its party headquarters has received “numerous” calls from its state unit leaders and other political parties from India and foreign fraternal outfits as the news about his hospitalisation spread.

The condition of veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan, who was admitted to a hospital here on Monday after he suffered a paralytic stroke, is “critical, but fighting”, the Left party said on Wednesday. “Senior leader AB Bardhan, a veteran of Left movement was admitted to GB Pant Hospital after he complained of breathlessness, is still critical but fighting. He had brain hemorrhage,” CPI said in a statement. CPI said its party headquarters has received “numerous” calls from its state unit leaders and other political parties from India and foreign fraternal outfits as the news about his hospitalisation spread.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP chief Sharad Pawar, ex-CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat and party politburo member Brinda Karat were amongst those who visited the hospital, besides CPI rank and file, to enquire about the senior leader’s health. His daughter Alka Barua is by his side and son Ashok is expected to reach the national capital this evening, CPI said. Earlier in the day, party national secretary D Raja had said the condition of Bardhan was “very critical”. 92-year-old Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan has been a leading figure of the trade union movement and Left politics in Maharashtra. He had won as an Independent candidate in the Maharashtra Assembly in 1957.He later rose to become the General Secretary and then the President of the All India Trade Union Congress, the oldest trade union in India. Bardhan moved to Delhi politics in the 1990s and became the Deputy General Secretary of the CPI. He succeeded Indrajit Gupta as the General Secretary of the party in 1996.

Good Samaritan comes to aid of woman whose hearing aid was stolen

Unable to cope with the sudden loss of hearing and also unable to mop up the required money for a replacement, Prerna was looking at a bleak time ahead. Thankfully that is about to change.

There is good news for Prerna Bamne (46), whose cochlear implant device’s sound processor, costing Rs 2.5 lakh, was stolen from her residence in a small chawl in Andheri on Friday. Unable to cope with the sudden loss of hearing and also unable to mop up the required money for a replacement, Prerna was looking at a bleak time ahead. Thankfully that is about to change. After reading dna report on Prerna’s predicament, and her husband registering an FIR over the issue with DN Nagar police station, a Good Samaritan has come forward to donate Rs 2.5 lakh to make good the stolen device.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prerna had lead a normal life till 2011. She suffered hearing loss in 2012, after which she started talking loudly with the family members. Repeated tests too failed to give any hope in reviving her condition. It was after running from pillar to post that some NGOs came forward to fund her cochlear implant surgery, which cost around Rs 5.8 lakh. But the theft in her house in April 2015 again left her deaf. She had kept the implant in dry box at night to get it rid of moisture. “I really admire Rustom Hormazdiyar, an 88-year-old retired general manager and company secretary of a chemical manufacturing company who has come forward to help Prerna,” said Prerna.

Muslim NGO cleans temples affected by Chennai rains

The people from the NGO have been cleaning mosques as well as temples in the flood-ravaged city of Chennai.

The Chennai floods have led people to come together to extend help to people in distress. One such example is how a non-governmental organisation called the Jammat E Islami Hind has been taking the work of cleaning places of worships in the city.The people from the NGO have been cleaning mosques as well as temples in the flood-ravaged city of Chennai. Since the last two-days, they cleaned two temples in some Kottupuram and Saidapet. “We find Hindus are unable to worship at temples in some areas because they have been severely affected owing to floods. So, we cleaned the mosques and temples and the streets badly damaged in the two areas. In the coming week, we will do similar work in other areas of the city,” Peer Mohammed, postgraduate in engineering and a student wing secretary (social service) of Jammat E Islami Hind, said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jalaludeen, secretary of the group said that the group took great care while cleaning temples in both areas. The official residence (Amir Mahal) of Mohammed Abdul Ali, prince of Arcot, had become a collecting point for relief material.

Was India made to talk Kashmir in Bangkok, asks Omar Abdullah

Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday asked BJP to answer if India was “made to talk Kashmir” during the meeting between the National Security Advisors of the two countries in Bangkok as there was no mention of it when their prime ministers had met in Ufa.”If Pakistan was made to talk terror, was India also made to talk Kashmir since J&K had found no mention in Ufa (sic)?” Omar wrote on Twitter. Abdullah was reacting to BJP’s statement in which the party had yesterday claimed: “The follow up of Ufa talks has happened. Pakistan has been made to talk terror, which they refused so far.” He asked BJP to make it clear as to what was discussed about Jammu and Kashmir during the talks in the Thai capital.”Perhaps now Mr (Nalin) Kohli will care to make his party’s position clear on what was discussed about J&K (sic),” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”. On the talks at various levels between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said it is “like cabs when it’s raining – don’t get one for ages and then suddenly 3-4 come around all at the same time.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at COP21 Summit in Paris last week, which was followed by the NSA and foreign secretary level talks in Bangkok yesterday. The foreign ministers of the two countries are expected to meet later this week in in Islamabad where Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to attend a conference on Afghanistan.

Sushma Swaraj to visit Pakistan for ‘Heart of Asia’ meeting, talks with Sartaj Aziz on cards

Swaraj’s visit comes two days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on Sunday in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.

During her visit, Sushma Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.

PTI
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel on Tuesday for a multilateral conference in Islamabad, where she will also hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, who said the focus would be on the resumption of composite dialogue process.”External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to lead Indian delegation for ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.Swaraj’s visit comes two days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on Sunday in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement. She will call on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and meet his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Aziz on the sidelines of the Afghan meet on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Islamabad, Aziz told reporters that Swaraj is arriving tomorrow to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference and during her visit she will also call on Sharif. Aziz said the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent.During his talks with Swaraj, Aziz said various matters with focus on resumption of composite dialogue process between the two countries will be discussed. Swaraj’s visit comes three years after former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna travelled to Islamabad in 2012 when the countries also inked a visa liberalisation pact.During her visit, Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.The joint statement after the meeting of NSAs said the talks were held pursuant to a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the climate meet in Paris, rejecting the version given by the Indian side then that it was a mere “exchange of courtesies” although Sharif had told Pakistani media that he had a “good meeting” and “doors of dialogue should open”.Before Paris, Modi and Sharif had held bilateral meeting in Russian city of Ufa where they decided that their NSAs would meet to discuss all “terror-related” issues. However, Pakistan had called-off Aziz’ visit after New Delhi had made it clear that he would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in the Indian capital.

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