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Coastal road clears major hurdle, Fadnavis thanks PM Modi

As first reported by dna, the 35.6-km coastal road project between Nariman Point and Kandivli has got a go-ahead from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as it issued a notification to implement this big-ticket project.On Wednesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Thank you @narendramodi ji & @PrakashJavdekar ji for issuing notification allowing Coastal Road construction. Its dream come true for Mumbaikars.”As per the notification issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change for amending Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification, 2011, reclamation may be permitted for “roads, mass rapid or multimodal transit system…”The project has been facing stiff opposition from environmentalists, resident groups and transport activists in Mumbai on various counts – right from damaging the environment, to the project being looked at as promoting ownership of private vehicles instead of diverting the same funds for improving public transportation systems in congested Mumbai.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will implement the project, pegged at Rs9,000 crore. Funds for this is already being collected by the civic body through Fungible Floor Space Index (FSI).The project, when ready, will considerably save travel time. Presently, it takes above two hours to travel between Kandivli and Nariman Point, but on the Coastal Freeway it will be well within 45 minutes.dna had on April 7 reported about the state government’s plan to scrap chain of sea-links on the western coast of Mumbai for Coastal Road.Meanwhile, chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya informed dna that the proposal for the planned Navi Mumbai International Airport would also receive sanctions from Union as well as State governments in the month of January.He added that the Cabinet note for the airport project is also ready and since it involved permissions from Civil Aviation department, it has been sent to the Union government for necessary approvals. “We are hopeful that the airport project would be cleared in the month of January after which works on phase one would commence,” said Kshatriya. The first phase, which involves building a capacity of 10 million passengers, would be created in three years’ time. Later, the capacity would be augmented to 60 million passengers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Indian-Canadian assaults woman attendant; flight sent back

A New Delhi-bound Air Canada flight was on Tuesday diverted back after a 47-year-old Indian- Canadian man allegedly assaulted a woman flight attendant on board the plane while it was over the Atlantic Ocean.Jaskaran Sidhu, who lives in Alberta, was arrested by the police upon the flight’s landing here at the Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Flight AC6006 was then rescheduled to take off later.Sidhu has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, endangering the safety of an aircraft and two counts of mischief, police said. Peel Regional police said the man allegedly assaulted the flight attendant, who needed medical attention for her injuries, around 12:42 AM local time when the flight was over the Atlantic Ocean, just off the east coast.The man was belligerent at the time, but police arrested him without any further incident when the plane landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The flight was initially scheduled to take off earlier yesterday but poor weather prompted Air Canada to postpone the flight shortly after the plane made it to the runway. Sidhu is scheduled to appear in a Brampton, Ontiaro, court later on Wednesday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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

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

Islamic State militant

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

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

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

Dr GN Saibaba
File Photo

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

5 Patel youths detained for bid to protest against Baba Ramdev

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As Ramdev was scheduled to visit Swaminarayan Gurukul on S G Highway area in the city, Patel community youths, associated with the quota agitation body Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), reached the site to protest against him

Five youths were on Thursday detained by police in Ahmedabad for trying to protest against Ramdev over his reported remarks against the Patel quota movement, even as the Yoga guru once again denied making any statement against the community.As Ramdev was scheduled to visit Swaminarayan Gurukul on S G Highway area in the city, Patel community youths, associated with the quota agitation body Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), reached the site to protest against him this evening. “We detained five Patel youths for trying to stage protests on the busy road, as Baba Ramdev was scheduled to arrive at the Gurukul this evening. We released them a couple of hours after Ramdev left,” Sola Police Inspector D V Rana said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday , Ramdev faced similar protests by the Patel youths, who stormed into his Yoga camp in Surat and shouted slogans against him for allegedly taking government’s side on quota issue.Ramde held a press conference in Surat yesterday and clarified that Patel youths got “misguided” due to some “false” media reports about his statement. The Yoga guru had been in Surat since the last four days to take part in the mass Yoga camp at Puna Gaam area of the city.Three days back, while addressing students at a different function in Surat, he had reportedly ‘advised’ the Patel youths, who are agitating for reservation, to think about the country before thinking about themselves.”Every citizen, be it Patidar (Patel), Kshatriya or Brahmin, should first think about his country, not about themselves,” he was quoted as saying in the report. Enraged over his reported comments, the Patel youths alleged that he was against the community’s demand for reservation under OBC quota and is taking government’s side.Following this, Ramdev held a meeting with the Patel members in Surat and told them that the media report was “false” and created “misunderstanding”. Today, on his arrival at the airport in Ahmedabad, he once again clarified that he has not said anything against the Patel community. “Due to some false media reports, they got angry. They met me yesterday on this issue and went satisfied. I never said anything against Patels. I have no differences with them,” Ramdev said.

Dadri lynching: Name of BJP leader’s son figures prominently in charge sheet, says police

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A murder case under section 302 of IPC was registered in connection with the lynching incident in which 51-year-old Akhlaq was dragged by a mob out of his house and beaten to death over rumours of beef storage in his house and consumption

Mohammad Akhlaq

The forensic lab report on the controversial meat whose consumption led to the Dadri lynching incident is yet to come and the name of the son of a local BJP leader “figures prominently” in the charge sheet filed on Wednesday, police said on Thursday.Greater Noida Superintendent of Police Sanjay Singh said the forensic report is yet to be received to ascertain whether the meat sample taken from the fridge of deceased Akhlaq s house at Bishada village was that of goat or cow. “The lab report hasn’t come. Whenever it comes, we will let you know,” he said. He said the name of Vishal Rana, son of BJP leader Sanjay Rana, “figures prominently” in the charge sheet while others named in the document “are involved in rioting.” The charge sheet in the case filed in a magistrate court here yesterday names 15 persons including Vishal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A murder case under section 302 of IPC was registered in connection with the lynching incident in which 51-year-old Akhlaq was dragged by a mob out of his house and beaten to death over rumours of beef storage in his house and consumption. His son Danish was seriously wounded in the attack. The victim’s advocate Yusuf Saifi said today that January 4 has been fixed for committing the case to a sessions judge for trial and other proceedings.”All the 15 accused will be produced before the court on that day and then the case will proceed further for evidence and other proceedings,” said Saifi. The charge sheet has been filed in the court by police on the basis of statement recorded by deceased s daughter Shaista and other investigations, he said. According to Saifi, in the accused list, two had claimed to be juveniles. “In one case, the age-proof certificate produced showed his age of 16 while his actual age was 20.Another accused s age proof is being further verified,” he added. Police have arrested two accused and the rest would be arrested soon by police, said Saifi adding Danish’s statement has been recorded by police but there is no need at present to produce it before the court.Meanwhile, notice was yet to be given by the court in the case relating to another BJP leader Sangeet Som who has been accused of violating prohibitory orders in Bishada village. Senior Prosecution Officer officer Daya Shankar Ram Tripathi said “notice is yet to be sent from the court.”

Another ‘missing’ Malwani youth suspected to have join ISIS returns home

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While Noor is back home, Wajid was tracked down by ATS sleuths near Pune and was brought to Mumbai on Wednesday and let off after interrogation

Wajid Shaikh

A day after Wajid Shaikh, one of the ‘missing’ youths suspected to have joined the Islamic State (IS), returned to Mumbai, another untraceable youth, Noor Mohammed, also from suburban Malwani, came back home on Thursday, police said.”Noor returned home himself this morning,” DCP (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni said. Now the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is probing reports that he, along with three others – Wajid Shaikh, Mohsin Sayyed and Ayaz Sultan – had left home to join the terror outfit. Noor was the fourth youth who disappeared from Malwani area, a western suburb of Mumbai, in mid-December to reportedly to join the IS.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Noor is back home, Wajid was tracked down by ATS sleuths near Pune and was brought to Mumbai on Wednesday and let off after interrogation. The whereabouts of two other youths (Sultan and Mohsin) are still not known, police said.Sultan went missing on October 30 and Wajid and Mohsin since December 16, a police official had said. According to police, Sultan left home on October 30 after telling his parents that he had to go to Pune in connection with a job offer he got from a Kuwait-based firm. Mohsin left home on December 16, saying he was going to attend a friend’s wedding. Wajid also left home the same day saying he had to get the name on his Aadhar card corrected, police had said.

Car rationing to curb Delhi pollution

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

Ambulance carrying heart patient made to wait for Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s convoy

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According to reports, Meherjan Begum, the heart patient, lay gasping for breath for 20 minutes.

Mamata Banerjee

An ambulance carrying a heart victim was held by the policemen waiting for the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s convoy on an expressway to Kolkata on Wednesday morning, and was not allowed to go even when the patient’s kin pleaded with folded hands.The West Bengal Chief Minister was scheduled to return from Digha in East Midnapore and police was not sure if she would fly back or come by road. But she eventually took a helicopter.According to reports, Meherjan Begum, the heart patient, lay gasping for breath for 20 minutes while her relative prayed she would cling on to life until they reached SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, a 20-minute drive away.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior officers, after learning about her plight, let the ambulance to go.

Chargesheet rules out conspiracy angle in Dadri murder

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It names names 15 of the total 19 accused identified by Akhlaq’s daughter Shaista and his son Danish Saifi

Uttar Pradesh police, while filing a chargesheet in Dadri lynching case, ruled out conspiracy angle into the murder of Mohamamad Akhlaq who was beaten to death in Dadri’s Bisara village on September 28 by a mob that accused him of eating beef.The move can prove it difficult for the victim’s counsel or prosecution to establish murder charges (302) against any specific person or persons as the chargesheet has not invoked conspiracy charges giving more precedence to charges of rioting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chargesheet names 15 of the total 19 accused identified by Akhlaq’s daughter Shaista and his son Danish Saifi, who was also injured grievously in the attack allegedly led by Vishan Rana, the son of a local BJP leader Sanjay Rana.Initially 10 persons were named in the first information report (FIR) which also listed another 5-6 unknown suspects. The accused were booked under section 323, 304, 506, 307, 427 and 458 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 302 (murder), section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons and 149 (unlawful assembly) were added to the FIR later leaving out an the important 120 A section which could have established criminal conspiracy.On the night of the incident Vishal and his cousin Shivam Rana, had allegedly asked Hindu residents of Bisara to ‘gather near the electric transformer, as remains of a slaughtered calf had been discovered’. A mob gathered outside Akhlaq’s residence and attacked his family with iron rods and sticks. While Akhlaq succumbed to his injuries, his son Danish survived the attack after receiving medical treatment for more than two months.In a statement to the police, a copy of which is with dna, Vishal was quoted as, “Some people informed us that (Mohamad) Akhlaq, a Muslim, had slaughtered a cow which is considered as mother in Hindu religion. Our feelings were provoked and after that we entered deceased Akhlaq’s home and injured Danish by beating him. We beat up deceased Akhlaq and dragged him towards the transformer and left him there.””I know the people who provoked us to take the step. I don’t know them by their name but I can recognise their faces and can identify them if police takes us to them” the document reads further.When asked why the police has ruled out criminal conspiracy a senior police officer said, “We have taken cognisance of the FIR and the case diary which does not indicate that there was a criminal conspiracy. There is no main accused in the case. In a riot and no one can be sure of the exact role of the accused”. The statement means that Vishal and Shivam, who allegedly instigated the mob, are also not being considered as prime accused.Furthermore while it was believed that there were two juveniles involved in the murder, it has come to fore that one of the juvenile has turned out to be above 18. This was after verifying his school documents.Two more persons, Puneet and Bhim, were arrested on Wednesday while two others, identified by Danish continue to be absconding indicating a chance of a supplementary chargesheet in the case. A total of 19 people are accused in the case.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts PM Modi for private tete-a-tete; to hold talks later today

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The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Wednesday hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a private tete-a-tete at Kremlin during which the two leaders touched upon issues of mutual interest for both countries. The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived here to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi.”Building Druzhba-Dosti over dinner. President Putin hosts a private tete-a-tete for PM,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders shaking hands.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi and Putin will hold 16th India-Russia annual summit talks on Thursday at the Kremlin following which the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised tomorrow. It is expected that both countries will seal a number of defence deals as well.Last week, India’s 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 and there may be an announcement of the deal tomorrow besides a few others.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism. It will be Modi’s second summit with Putin who had travelled to New last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.

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

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

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

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

India beef lynching suspects charged

Police in India file charges against 15 suspects, including a juvenile, over the lynching of a Muslim man accused by Hindus of eating beef.

Modi in Russia: Prime Minister gets red carpet welcome in Moscow; key deals to be sealed

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Stepping up economic engagement and further expanding ties in strategic areas are likely to be the centrepiece of the 16th India-Russia annual summit talks between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspecting a guard of honour on his arrival at Vnukovo-2 Airport in Moscow on Wednesday.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to a red carpet welcome on his first bilateral visit to Russia during which both countries are set to seal a raft of deals in key sectors like defence, nuclear energy and hydrocarbons to boost their robust and close partnership. On his arrival, the Prime Minister was accorded a guard of honour at the Vnukova II airport amid light drizzle and overcast conditions.”Reached Moscow. A series of programmes await in this short but very important visit,” Modi tweeted both in English and Russian.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stepping up economic engagement and further expanding ties in strategic areas are likely to be the centrepiece of the 16th India-Russia annual summit talks between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.The two leaders are set to deliberate on various global issues such as the situation in Syria and tackling the threat of terrorism as well. It is expected that a number of major pacts including to ramp up cooperation in defence and nuclear energy sectors will be finalised. Russia has been India’s biggest supplier of arms though New Delhi has started buying more military hardware from the US in the last few years.Last week, India’s 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 and there may be an announcement of the deal tomorrow besides a few others.In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised on Thursday.Setting the tone for the visit, the Prime Minister, before his departure for Moscow, said Russia remained one of India’s “most valued” friends in the world and that he was “very optimistic” about outcomes of the talks with Putin on Thursday.”Our relation with Russia is unique, covering almost every field of human endeavour,” Modi said.The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.”I am very optimistic about the outcome of this visit. History is witness to the close ties India and Russia have had over the decades. Russia remains one of India’s most valued friends in the world,” Modi said.He said, “My visit will deepen the cooperation between India and Russia in the economic, energy and security spheres.We also want to increase cooperation in science and technology, mining among other sectors. Trade ties between India and Russia can increase even further, to benefit not only our two nations but also the world.” Tomorrow Modi and Putin will interact with a group of Indian and Russian CEOs in Kremlin. With Russia’s economy badly hit by the Western sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Putin is keen to expand economic ties with India which, on the other hand, has been expressing keen interest in participating in oil and gas exploration projects in the Eurasian country.Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the US and China, has been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. Russia is one of the top oil producers globally and has huge reserves of natural gas. The volume of current bilateral trade between the two countries is around USD 10 billion and both sides are aiming to take it to USD 30 billion over the next 10 years. The Prime Minister’s engagement in Moscow also includes addressing a gathering of ‘Friends of India’ and around 3,000 people are expected to attend the event tomorrow.At the event, Modi will be greeted by cultural programmes, ‘Abhinandan’ and ‘Abhivyakti’. ‘Abhinandan’ envisages performance of Indian art forms by Russian artists. It will display the popularity of Indian cultural traditions in Russia and its importance of inter-cultural understanding.’Abhinandan’ will commence with a Shloka recital and a creative rendering of Vande Mataram by Russian Brahmakumaris, followed by continuing sequence of brief Kuchipudi, Kathak and Dandiya Raas. The programme will conclude with all artistes coming on stage for a musical enactment of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s poem ‘Geet Naya Gata Hoon’ rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.’Abhivyakti’ will be an attempt to articulate and convey an authentic image of Indian traditions, history and culture by Russian artistes and enthusiast. The event, organisers said, will be a reflection of the feeling of brotherhood and amity that exists between the people of India and Russia.The Prime Minister will visit Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) here tomorrow. The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism. It will be Modi’s second summit meeting with Putin who had travelled to New last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.India is also likely to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Zone and is sharing details of study it conducted in this regard. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, without giving specific details, had said yesterday that both Modi and Putin will deliberate on enhancing cooperation in defence and nuclear energy speheres.On whether India will request Russia to share details on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, he had said the issue had figured during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent visit to Moscow. “Let’s wait and see what happens. I do not prejudge the Russian response till we get it,” he said.

Arvind Kejriwal scoffs at BJP for suspending Kirti Azad

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“There is no democracy in BJP. Honest voices are muzzled to protect corruption,” he said in another tweet.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday ridiculed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for suspending its MP, Kirti Azad for raising voices against corruption. “Kirti Azad’s fault was that he raised his voice against corruption. This has left the BJP utterly exposed. BJP is neck deep in corruption,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.”There is no democracy in BJP. Honest voices are muzzled to protect corruption,” he said in another tweet. The BJP today suspended MP Kirti Azad, who was in the line of fire for his tirade against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the alleged scams in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). “Kirti Azad, Darbhanga MP, is suspended from party with immediate effect for his anti-party activities,” Arun Singh, BJP, National Secretary, said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azad had defied the party chief and went ahead with a press conference on Sunday highlighting corruption allegations linked to the DDCA of which Jaitley was the president for 13 years till 2013.

DDCA scam: Wait and watch my next move, says suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad

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He said that he had been raising this issue since past nine years and said that he had not teamed up with Congress or AAP.

After BJP MP Kirti Azad was suspended on Wednesday over his remarks about Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s alleged involvement in DDCA scam, he has come out saying that he was never anti-party. “I did not say anything against anyone personally,” Kirti Azad spoke about his suspension. He said that he had been raising this issue since past nine years and said that he had not teamed up with Congress or AAP. He said he had not said anything against the party. “What anti-party activity have I done? I have been raising this issue since 9 years, they must have taken cognizance of that before<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It’s great that I have been suspended from the party for highlighting corruption. It is party’s loss not mine,” Azad said.He said that he had worked honestly for BJP but was branded as anti-party.On being asked on about what was his next move, he replied saying, “Wait and watch.”

Punjab Health Minister now calls for a nationwide prohibition on alcohol

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

Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani.
File Photo

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

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

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

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

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

Delhi HC refuses to stay AAP’s Odd-Even formula for plying vehicles

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The bench further observed that the city government has called for representation from various stakeholders of the society and as of today they have not finalised any scheme.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to give interim stay on AAP government’s plan to impose the odd-even number plate formula for plying of private vehicles from January 1. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath declined the request made by one of the five petitioners that the court should at least grant stay on the implementation of the government’s idea till January 6, which has been fixed as the next date of hearing on the PILs. “Sorry. We do not know whether it (the odd-even formula) will be implemented or not. The Delhi government has not yet come out with any scheme on this issue,” the bench said, adding, “As of today we cannot grant such relief.” The bench further observed that the city government has called for representation from various stakeholders of the society and as of today they have not finalised any scheme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Additional Standing Counsel (ASC) Piyush Kalra, appearing for Delhi government, submitted before the court that as of now they have no notification for the proposed plan. The bench, meanwhile, has asked the government to consider representation of a physically challenged man Nipun Malhotra, one of the petitioners who has urged the court to allow such commuters to use their own vehicles as public transport is not disabled-friendly. It said, “We are concerned about this class (physically challenged) of people, so the Delhi government should consider them as well.” “What precaution you are taking with regard to disabled people?” the bench asked the government. The court was hearing five PILs filed by different individuals against AAP government’s plan to impose odd-even number plate formula.

442 people convicted for 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi: Government

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Chaudhary said the rehabilitation package of 2006 provided ex-gratia payment in case of death, injury, damaged residential properties and damaged uninsured commercial, industrial properties and other assistance to the victims of 1984 riots.

Representational image.

442 people have been convicted so far by various courts of Delhi in connection with the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said the Home Ministry has constituted a Special Investigation Team to re-investigate serious criminal cases which were filed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi in connection with the 1984 riots and have since been closed.SIT will examine the records of such cases afresh, he said.Chaudhary said the rehabilitation package of 2006 provided ex-gratia payment in case of death, injury, damaged residential properties and damaged uninsured commercial, industrial properties and other assistance to the victims of 1984 riots.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So far, the Home Ministry has reimbursed an amount of Rs 154.54 crore to the government of NCT of Delhi under this package, he said.The Minister said the central government has also sanctioned additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who were killed in the 1984 riots.The Government of NCT has reported that they have distributed an amount of Rs 73,53,24,000 to the families of victims, he said.

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

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

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

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.

ULFA gen secy Anup Chetia granted bail in TADA cases

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The Additional sessions judge granted Chetia bail on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties from two individuals.
File Photo
PTI
ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, extradited from Bangladesh last month, was granted bail on Tuesday by a local court on a personal bond of Rs one lakh. Chetia’s counsel Bijon Mahajan told journalists that the Assam government had given a “no objection” certificate in writing in the event of Chetia getting released on bail.The Additional sessions judge granted Chetia bail on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties from two individuals, Mahajan said. Chetia was arrested in connection with four cases. While he has been granted bail in two cases, one more will come up for hearing on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 17 the Designated Court here had allowed Chetia, now incarcerated in the Guwahati Central Jail, to go on bail in two TADA cases for facilitating his trial and participation in the ongoing peace process, he said.Chetia was handed over to India by Bangladesh where he was in jail since 1997 on charges of cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.

Online jihadis abuse girls who went on an army sponsored tour

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Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.

It is turning out to be redux of the Praagaash controversy in the strife torn Kashmir.Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.Unfazed by the abuses, the girls put up a brave face as they arrived after the 10 days of tour on Wednesday. From saluting to shouting loud Jai Hind to singing patriotic and Bollywood numbers, the girls’ message was loud and clear that they cannot be browbeaten to submission by online abusers and separatists.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 80 girls had signed in for the 10 days tour to different parts of the country. However the army pruned the list and selected 30 girls who were taken to Delhi, Agra and other places. During their tour, the girl students met President Pranab Mukherjee, HRD minister Smriti Irani and visited parliament.But back home, the girls and the parents had to face abuse where in the online `jihadis’ posted pictures and videos on social networking sites calling for social boycott of the families. “Third rate girls from third rate families”, reads one abusive post on the face book.Another netizen asked the society to boycott these girls and their families. One face book user even went to the extent asking boys not to marry these girls. “Kis besharam baap ki beti (daughter of shameless father)”, reads another abusive post.The abuse had an eerie similarity with Praagaash all girls rock band which was disbanded after Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir ud-din Ahmad issued fatwa calling music un-Islamic in 2013. This had followed abusive and hate messages posted on the social networking sites against the three girls of the band.Unperturbed by the abuse, the girl students said the tour has helped them to open up vistas and horizons. “It was a great experience for all of us. World opened before us”, said one of the girlsLieutenant General Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding (GoC) 15 corps, admitted that some of the comments were so low that he could not even mention it here. “It is up to the civil society to take stock and whether young girls should be subject to such trauma”, he said.The army commander said it was very voluntary tour with the assistance of schools, education department and with the consent of parents. “In fact we had the list of 80 students. But we had to prune it down. And those who could not tour were disappointed”, he said.Lieutenant General Dua said India is a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. “Social media even more so. Similarly the children and parents are entitled to their opinion and attitudes,” he said.

Air India engineer’s: Early report points to ‘human error’, failure in following standard operating procedure

The accident, as expected, has left a deep impact on the aviation industry, which can be gauged from an internal e-mail sent by Pradeep Singh Rawat, maintenance manager, Indigo, which was leaked.

Ravi Subramanian

A preliminary investigation into the death of an Air India maintenance engineer, after getting sucked into a departing plane’s engine fans here on Wednesday night, has allegedly blamed possible lapse on part of the pilot and ground staff in following the standard operating procedure (SOP) behind the ‘human error’. The accident, as expected, has left a deep impact on the aviation industry, which can be gauged from an internal e-mail sent by Pradeep Singh Rawat, maintenance manager, Indigo, which was leaked. Rawat, who gathered preliminary information about the accident from the colleagues of the deceased, has brought out four grey areas. The most important being that “no chocks were placed after the push back” and “no clearance signal taken from the engineer before taxing out the plane towards the runway”. The mail also blamed human factors like ‘lack of patience’ and ‘hurrying’, apart from lack of proper coordination between the pilot and ground staff.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Drawing the sequence of events, Rawat says that flight AI 319 parked on bay 28L was pushing back for departure to Hyderabad. After push back the technician instructed the helper to remove the tow bar. The helper (ET Shinde) removed the tow bar and in all this time the technician was facing the tow truck with his back towards the engine. “In the mean time, Captain Sharma got the taxi clearance from ATC and the same was informed to him by the co-pilot. The technician was still on headset and with his back facing the engines. With no chocks placed, the aircraft started moving and sucked the technician in. The helper witness to the incident immediately sat down and got saved.” Two engineers attached with Air India, whom dna spoke to, said it is also likely that the victim may have not heard the start of engine. “It is likely that since the flight was already late, the pilots and ground staff may have been in a hurry,” pointed out an engineer on condition of anonymity. In a related development, officials from Sahar police station, who have so far registered a case of accidental death, recorded statement of atleast three witnesses who were present at the scene of mishap. The pilots who have been grounded until the completion of investigation were also subjected to alcohol test, which has come negative. “We have also asked for the CCTV clippings,” said a police officer. A team of aviation regulator and Harpreet Singh, executive director and chief of flight safety, Corporate Safety and Emergency Response at Air India are also believed to have recorded the statement of pilots and others. The aircraft communication and surveillance system is also being studied, the sources said.

Air India pilot, co-pilot grounded after its staffer died by getting sucked into aircraft’s engine

The rare mishap had occurred during push back for departure when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 allegedly mistook a signal for starting the engine and Subramanian, who was standing close, got sucked into it at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport around 8.40 pm.

In a freak accident, an Air India technician (inset) Ravi Subramanian died after he got sucked into the live engine of an A-319 aircraft at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Wednesday evening.

The pilot and co-pilot of an Air India plane involved in Wednesday night’s freak accident at the Mumbai airport where a technician died after getting sucked into the engine have been grounded even as the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau launched a probe.Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, who rushed to Mumbai on Thursday morning for an on-the-spot inquiry, said, “initially it seems that there was some communication gap.” He, however, refused to go into the details of what could have possibly caused the mishap described as a “serious accident.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rare mishap had occurred during push back for departure when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 allegedly mistook a signal for starting the engine and Subramanian, who was standing close, got sucked into it at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport around 8.40 pm. The pilot and the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 plane have been derostered after the mishap, a senior Air India official said.Lohani announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh and a job in the airline to a family member of service engineer Ravi Subramanian.”This is a serious accident and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has taken up the probe,” a senior civil aviation ministry official said.AAIB, a dedicated entity to investigate accidents, functions under the Civil Aviation Ministry. Manned by employees from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the bureau was carved out of DGCA in 2012.An aircraft parked in a bay cannot reverse on its own and has to be pulled by a tow vehicle. It was during the push back that the engine of the plane got started, violently pulling into its innards Subramanian, who was standing dangerously close. His body was so badly mutiliated it could not be sent for post mortem examination.”We have lost a family member. An ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh has been given to the family. We have also offered a job to the family of the victim,” Lohani told reporters in Mumbai.Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said a three-member committee led by Lohani and top officials of DGCA had rushed to Mumbai.”It is very sad. We have lost a young engineer. A committee has been set up to investigate the incident and it has already started the probe,” Sharma said in Delhi.He, however, refused to elaborate further, saying that “it will be too premature to comment until the findings of the probe are out”.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to set up five new medical colleges in the state

The medical colleges would be opened as per specifications of MCI (Medical Council of India) and all of them would have nursing colleges, Kumar said while reviewing the functioning of the state health department.
File Photo
PTI
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday announced that five new medical colleges will be set up in Bihar as he worked to overhaul and strengthen health care infrastructure in the state.The medical colleges would be opened as per specifications of MCI (Medical Council of India) and all of them would have nursing colleges, Kumar said while reviewing the functioning of the state health department, according to an official statement.The Bihar government, which has prioritised health sector in its agenda, gave necessary directions to further streamline functioning of government hospitals across the state. The review meeting was attended by minister Tej Pratap Yadav, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and principal secretary R K Mahajan, among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chief minister directed that free medicines should be provided to the needy without any interruption in government hospitals. He ordered to transform four bed intensive units in government hospitals into 10-bedded Intensive Care Units, the statement quoting principal secretary, health, R K Mahajan said. Kumar further instructed that additional primary health centres in all districts should have facility of radiology and pathology.In a bid to enforce punctuality among doctors, he asked to constitute a state-level team to monitor attendance of doctors and para-medical staffs. Those found absent from duty should be dealt with severely, he said. Kumar directed to open an de-addiction centres in every district, which was considered important as the CM has already committed to ban liquor in the state from April 1, 2016.The Chief Minister ordered that landline telephone should be functional in every primary health centres and in-charge of PHCs would be held responsible in case of landline telephone connection found not functioning. Mahajan said the CM instructed that patients suffering from Kalazar should be paid 30 days wage at the rate of minimum wage rate. Besides, attendant accompanying Kalazar patients be provided two days of wage loss.

India pilots grounded over engine death

Air India suspends a pilot and co-pilot after a technician dies after being sucked into an aircraft engine in Mumbai.

Uttar Pradesh: Headless bodies of woman, daughter found near railway tracks

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The beheaded bodies were recovered on Wednesday and police had to rely on the victims’ mobile phone to identify the duo as Malti and Anita (18), residents of the Duhara area.

Headless bodies of woman, daughter found – Representational Image
File Photo

The headless bodies of a 48-year- old woman and her daughter were found near railway tracks in Basti, police said on Thursday.The beheaded bodies were recovered on Wednesday and police had to rely on the victims’ mobile phone to identify the duo as Malti and Anita (18), residents of the Duhara area. The bodies were found lying behind a sugar mill in the Purani Basti area here, police said.Inquiries are on into the matter, they said, adding that the bodies have been sent for a post-mortem.

PIL on suspending operations of liquor outlets in Tamil Nadu’s flooded areas

Change India’s Director A Narayanan submitted that when milk and water had become scarce and thousands of people were struggling in the flash floods, TASMAC outlets continued sales Stating that even though he was aware of the High Court’s position of non interference in government policy decisions, Narayanan said “extraordinary measures and situations warrant interference”.

Madras High Court on Wednesday disposed of a PIL seeking to suspend operations of state-run TASMAC liquor outlets for two to three months in flood affected districts, but asked the Tamil Nadu government to consider the suggestion made by an NGO to release the flood relief amount among women in those areas instead of men.The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, before which the PIL by NGO Change India came up, suggested the government to go through a research study by the petitioner in 2006 titled ‘Alcoholism before and after tsunami’ and to examine its representation on suspending operation of liquor shops in flood affected areas.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Change India’s Director A Narayanan submitted that when milk and water had become scarce and thousands of people were struggling in the flash floods, TASMAC outlets continued sales Stating that even though he was aware of the High Court’s position of non interference in government policy decisions, Narayanan said “extraordinary measures and situations warrant interference”.Narayanan, who appeared in person, expressed fears that the succour to be provided to affected people may get dissipated in consumption of liquor rather than rehabilitation.The bench then raised a query on what could be the methodology to ensure that such a thing does not happen, to which the petitioner suggested that the relief amount be released to the woman in the house rather than to the man.Narayanan submitted that he made a representation with relevant research material to the government on December 8, 2015 and prayed that his representation be considered.The bench after hearing the petitioner said, “This representation can thus be examined in terms of the research study or any other material.”

Bombay High Court gives Railways a month’s time to ensure women toilets on platforms

A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukhre, after going through a survey carried out by an NGO, Akshara, highlighting the lack of facilities at railway stations for women, said, “There can be overcrowding on trains and platforms. But for lack of basic amenities, Railways alone needs to be blamed.”

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Railways to ensure that women toilets on all railway stations be equipped with proper lighting, sanitation facilities and safety measures. The court has granted the Railways a month’s time to implement the same.A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukhre, after going through a survey carried out by an NGO, Akshara, highlighting the lack of facilities at railway stations for women, said, “There can be overcrowding on trains and platforms. But for lack of basic amenities, Railways alone needs to be blamed.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Advocate Rajeev Chavan, appearing for NGO Help Mumbai Foundation, said CCTV cameras are a must inside women compartments to ensure commuters’ safety.Asking the Railways to consider the same, Justice Patil said, “If government can consider running bullet trains with CCTV facilities, why can’t it implement the same in suburban trains.” It directed the divisional commissioner of Western and Central Railway to inform the problems faced by them in installing cameras during next hearing.The court also directed the Western/Central railways to provide proper signage, seating benches near woman compartments and to experiment seating spaces inside trains to reduce overcrowding at the footboard. It also suggested the railway to have non-slippery footboard pole to help passengers on crowded trains.

UP government stunned into silence

The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the appointment of the Lokayukta has delivered a devastating blow which has had the state government reeling under its impact.The judgment is unprecedented and has delivered a resounding rap on the knuckles to the Akhilesh Yadav regime which spent over two years dawdling over the matter despite the stern view of the apex court. On Wednesday, the government seemed to have been stunned into silence as no official reaction to the SC verdict was forthcoming till late evening.The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature. Opposition leaders have slammed the Akhilesh government for making a mockery of the Lokayukta institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UP Governor Ram Naik seemed to put the government in the dock as he expressed displeasure over its role in (not) appointing a new Lokayukta. “There has been an undue delay (in appointment). Despite all my efforts, the government did not take any decisive action. The (apex court) order is a lesson (for the government),” he told reporters.”This is a slap on the face for the state government which should now realize how it has circumvented the law to keep its pet incumbent in the Lokayukta office to gloss over the corruption cases of ruling party leaders and bureaucrats close to the powers that be,” said BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak.Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh seemed to agree as he said: “The state government has made a mockery of the Lokayukta’s institution. They wanted to force their choice which the (Allahabad HC) Chief Justice (CJ) rightly resisted.”The criticism is not without basis. The SP government wanted its chosen judge Justice (retd.) Ravindra Singh Yadav as the new Lokayukta. Both HC CJ DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition SP Maurya opposed this. Both are members of the panel, besides the CM, authorized under the UP Lokayukta Act to choose the Lokayukta. The Akhilesh government even took the unseemly step of passing a Bill in the UP Assembly to divest the CJ of this power. However, the Governor had refused to sanction this Bill. The government finally dropped the idea after the Governor had returned Justice Yadav’s file a record four times.

Amitabh Thakur will have to move govt first against his suspension: Allahabad HC

After the disposal of the appeal, in the event the petitioner was still aggrieved, then he would have an opportunity to avail the remedy before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in accordance with law, the court observed.
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PTI
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday said suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur will have first to approach the central government through the competent authority by filing an appropriate appeal against his suspension order. It said that in the event such an appeal was filed with in 15 days from today, the central government shall dispose of the it within three weeks.After the disposal of the appeal, in the event the petitioner was still aggrieved, then he would have an opportunity to avail the remedy before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in accordance with law, the court observed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A division bench of Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi passed the judgement while disposing of a writ petition filed by Thakur challenging his suspension order dated July 13 this year.The petitioner alleged that the continued suspension order on account of inaction of the respondent – state and the malafide alleged deserve to be interfered with and the court should invoke its writ jurisdiction for quashing the same. A preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the respondents with regard to the maintainability of the writ petition while referring to rulings of the apex court and opposed the petition. In response, the petitioner had drawn the attention of the court to the order passed by the CAT dated November 30.”The suspension order has to be viewed in the light of the allegations raised on the issue of jurisdiction, violation of rules and malafides, if any, and the Central Administrative Tribunal is not precluded from entertaining any such petition as has been observed in the order dated November 30,” the court observed.Thakur was suspended after he had accused Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, on July 10 of threatening him on phone. He alleged that Yadav was angry because his wife Nutan had filed a corruption case against a minister in the state government. However, the state government said that Thakur was suspended on charges of indiscipline and corruption.

CBI arrests Income Tax inspector for taking bribe

A mobile shop owner had complained to the CBI that Income Tax Inspector Mukesh Kumar Meena was demanding Rs 1 lakh from him for settlement of a tax matter, CBI sources said.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
An Income Tax inspector was on Wednesday caught red-handed by CBI while accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 from a mobile shop owner in Jodhpur. The CBI sleuths arrested him from the shop and recovered the money from him.A mobile shop owner had complained to the CBI that Income Tax Inspector Mukesh Kumar Meena was demanding Rs 1 lakh from him for settlement of a tax matter, CBI sources said.”The deal was finally settled on Rs 50,000, which was agreed to be taken by Meena in two instalments of Rs 25,000 each”, said CBI spokesperson R K Gaur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meena had visited the shop to collect first instalments of this evening when the CBI sleuths caught him. Gaur said that Meena will produced in the court tomorrow.

Obama phones PM Modi, thanks his leadership for ensuring success of climate summit

The phone call from the American President came three days after 195 countries reached a deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures.

Bacark Obama dn PM Narendra Modi
File Photo

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking him for his leadership, saying India played a “critical role” at the climate change summit in Paris which ensured the event was a “historic success.” During the telephone call, “The US President, Mr. Barack Obama, has thanked Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for his positive role and leadership in the successful outcome of COP 21,” the PMO said. Obama said “India played a critical role in making climate change Paris summit an historic success,” it said. The phone call from the American President came three days after 195 countries reached a deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Obama had met Modi on the sidelines of the summit in the French capital and also called him up on the PM’s return to Delhi in the midst of hard negotiations in Paris.

Critical for Pakistan to improve ties with India: US

Olson also said, “We hope the high-level talks between Indian and Pakistani officials will be used to increase ties between the two nations.”

India-Pakistan flags

It is critical for Pakistan to improve its relations with India, and the entire region will benefit substantially from increased economic cooperation between the two neighbours, a top Obama Administration official told lawmakers on Wednesday. “It is also critical that Pakistan improve relations with its other neighbour India,” Richard G. Olson, Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Pakistan. “We hope the recent high-level talks between Indian and Pakistani officials and the announcement of the resumption of formal dialogue will be used to reduce tensions and increase ties between the two nations,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “More broadly, the entire region stands to benefit substantially from increased economic integration,” Olson said in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The hearing on Pakistan was chaired by Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Francois Hollande’s visit will ‘follow on’ from Paris meet: France

Announcing Hollande’s visit, the Embassy here issued a release saying he will travel to India on January 26 on a state visit, where he will be the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations.

Francois Hollande

AFP
French President Francois Hollande’s visit next month as chief guest of Republic Day celebrations will also provide an opportunity for the two countries to “follow on” from the Paris climate meet, where India played a “decisive” role, the French Embassy said on Wednesday. Announcing Hollande’s visit, the Embassy here issued a release saying he will travel to India on January 26 on a state visit, where he will be the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations. “This visit will also follow on from the Paris Climate Conference, at which India played a decisive role in reaching an ambitious agreement,” the release said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The conference of parties (CoP21) which was held in Paris recently witnessed a “historic” agreement adopted by 196 nations to tackle the challenge of climate change after countries like India and China were persuaded by the developed countries including the US that their development interests have been taken care in the accord.

PM Modi congratulates ISRO scientists on successful launch of Singapore satellites

PSLV-C29 rocket carrying six Singapore satellites was launched from the spaceport of Sriharikota on Wednesday evening

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)s PSLV C 29 carrying six satellites of Singapore, lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Wednesday.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday congratulated the ISRO scientists for the successful launch of six satellites of Singapore.”Our scientists at @isro accomplish another momentous feat. Congrats to them on PSLV-C29 successfully launching 6 Singapore satellites,” he tweeted.”The launch, coming at a time when we mark 50 years of India-Singapore ties is significant. India cherishes strong relations with Singapore,” he added in another tweet.PSLV-C29 rocket carrying six Singapore satellites was launched from the spaceport of Sriharikota on Wednesday evening. The satellites were successfully put into orbit after a perfect launch of the polar rocket in the landmark 50th space mission.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The maiden launch from Sriharikota was on August 10, 1979 when the first experimental launch of Satellite Launch Vehicle SLV-3 with Rohini Technology Payload ended in failure as the satellite could not be placed in orbit. Since then, ISRO has undertaken 49 other missions onboard 32 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV), three Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), four Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles (ASLV), nine Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and one GSLV Mark -III, an ISRO official said.In today’s mission, PSLV in its ‘core-alone’ configuration sans solid strap-on motors, launched Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite designed and developed by ST Electronics and five other micro and nano satellites.Talking about the mission, P Kunhikrishnan, Director of SDAC, said in every sense it was a ‘golden launch’.”The launch was tough due to bad weather and rain. This year we have completed 17 launches for other countries. That reaffirms our strong commitment and potential to be a major player in the global space market,” he said.”We are proud to have got the opportunity to be the host of our partner from Singapore and I’m sure we have been able to provide them world class launch service from here.” He said the launch was a tough one owing to bad weather and heavy rainfall over the region recently.”It is the first ever campaign we have taken up in the month of November when the weather vagaries generally set up over here.” PSLV-C29 is a take-off for a sequence of monthly launches from here starting with three remaining missions of IRNSS Navigation satellites, he added.Mission Director B Jayakumar described the launch as ‘grand success and 100 per cent mission accomplishment’.”Vehicle has performed excellently well. The orbit achieved is very precise. Inclination is very close, on dot. We are nearing 100 satellites from PSLV. This is the sixth dedicated mission,” he said.The mission was also used by ISRO for the first time to carry out an experiment to reignite stage four of the rocket for four seconds from 67.25 minutes (after the lift-off).”After injecting all the satellites we are carrying out a major experiment to ignite once again PS4. This aspect is going to be a major mission flexibility for the Cecile to plan different orbital missions in a single launch,” an ISRO spokesperson said.Tang Kum Cheun, President, Communications and Sensor System Group, ST Electronics of Singapore, said, “This is of course a very meaningful launch for us being the 50th year of independence for Singapore and the 50th year of relationship between Singapore and India. So we are very happy.”TeLEOS-1, weighing 400 kg, is an electro-optical satellite for remote sensing applications. It comes with a mission life of five years. Besides, the TeLEOS-1, PSLV-C29 carried two micro and three nano-satellites, developed by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

My daughter’s name was Jyoti Singh and I am not ashamed to name her, says Nirbhaya’s mother

The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally sexually assaulted on the ill-fated night of December 16 three years ago, and died 13 days later, triggering a massive public outrage.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi addresses at a programme to observe the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case as Nirbhaya Chetna Divas at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
In a brave homage to her daughter, the mother of the December 16 gangrape victim on Tuesday took her name in public, and said people who commit heinous crimes like rape should hang their heads in shame and not the victims or their families.The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally sexually assaulted on the ill-fated night of December 16 three years ago, and died 13 days later, triggering a massive public outrage. Among many, her spirit continued to live, and in tribute she was given the name ‘Nirbhaya’ or brave heart. But, today on the third anniversary of the infamous incident that shocked the entire world, the victim’s mother Asha Devi, in a display of extraordinary courage, took her daughter’s name in public.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My daughter’s name was Jyoti Singh and I am not ashamed to name her. Those who commit heinous crimes like rape, their heads should hang in shame, not the victims or their families. You should take her name too,” she said at ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Diwas’ in New Delhi, a public event organised by women’s and citizens groups at the Jantar Mantar to mark the anniversary.The parents of the girl, Asha Devi and Badri Singh Pandey also demanded that juvenile convict, allegedly the most brutal” of the six offenders, and scheduled to be released on December 20, should not be released, citing he was a threat to the city.”On the third death anniversary of our death, we are seeing the release of the juvenile convict. Where is justice in that? I do not know whether he is 16 or 18. I only know that he has committed a brutal crime and there should be no age limit for punishment,” Asha said.She also put forth four demands from a public platform that the five accused including the juvenile convict should be sentenced to death, fast-track courts be set up in all the courts to offer speedy justice to sexual assault victims, amendments to the Juveniles Justice Act be passed and utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund for setting up high quality forensic labs in all states.Celebrities like Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee, and various women’s groups had gathered at the Jantar Mantar to pay homage to the girl and agreed that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change.The Jantar Mantar street after the incident had virtually turned into a public memorial for her, with people flocking in from all parts of the city to light up a candle or offer a prayer in her memory, with many moved to tears, recalling the brutality the young girl was subjected to. Today also, candle light vigils, prayer meetings and a series of other events marked three years of the heinous gangrape and death of the girl, that left the nation benumbed.

In-flight Messiah: Here’s how this doctor saved a co-passenger’s life

Dr Monik Mehta, an ex-Army cardiologist saved the life of Saurabh Sharma, who had a cardiac arrest in an IndiGo flight on Wednesday morning.

Saurabh Sharma (L) and Dr Monik Mehta (R)

Dr Monik Mehta was at the right place at the right time. On Wednesday, Saurabh Sharma’s co-passenger called the airhostess when Sharma collapsed. He had suffered what is known as cardiac rhythm arrest. Although it is not an experience to be had, but incidents like these are as rare as they are fatal, especially in a flight. Without immediate medical attention, chances of saving a patient is bleak.But it was a fortunate day for Saurabh. Following protocol, the flight crew made an announcement enquiring, if there was a doctor present amongst the passengers.Dr Monik Mehta, previously a cardiologist in the Indian Army, currently working at the Gurgaon-based hospital Artemis, responded to the call. What followed, probably did not change a life, but was definitely the reason why Saurabh did not succumb to the cardiac arrest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I saw this young-ish person sitting on the chair, but about to slump. I checked him out. He was not breathing or talking, or responding in any manner. To top that, he did not even have a pulse. So, with the help of the co-passengers, I made him lie down. Then we had to start CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation​) immediately,” Dr Monik Mehta told dna.Speaking about the crew, Dr Mehta added, “Fortunately, even the airline staff was very competent and helpful. They got an oxygen cylinder . So he was given CPR for about 15 minutes. They had a defibrillator as well. But the pulse started coming back. So, I told the airline staff to get him to a hospital immediately.””What I think is, there are real heroes. In times of need, when even money would not matter and your family cannot help you either, there are these people who help you out. Sometimes, saving lives. That was the feeling that I got,” Manish Sinha, one of the co-passengers said, reflecting upon the situation. He also said, Saurabh was stable when the flight landed.

Would like to see how far foolish govt will go in harassing Karti, says P Chidambaram

The son of the former finance minister also said that he was informed that investigation was on for three firms.
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dna Research & Archives
Karti Chidambaram, the son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, on Wednesday said that neither he nor any of his family members were shareholders or directors of any of the firms raided by the central agencies.”Some officers of the investigating agencies visited my offices today. I made it clear to the investigating officers what I had publicly stated earlier. Neither I nor any member of my family is a share holder or director of any of the said firm. We do not have any economic interest in the said firms,” Karti said.P Chidambaram in a statement said that the Government must target him directly, if they wish to do so. He also said that the government must not ‘harass friends of my son who carry on their own businesses and have nothing to do with politics.’ <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said, “Nothing was found in the ‘fishing and roving enquiry’. I would like to see how far a foolish government will go in harassing Karti. I still believe that the departments I left behind have many officers who will act according to law and their conscience.”The son of the former finance minister also said that he was informed that investigation was on for three firms.”Two of the firms belong to my friends. They are owned by professionals and managed by a competent board of directors, I am not aware of the third firm,” he said”I have no doubt that the two firms belonging to my friends will answer any question put to them and clear any allegation made against them,” he added.Karti also pointed out that nothing related to the said firms was found and taken from his office.”As far as I am concerned, I maintain that there was and is no basis for them (investigating agencies), to have visited or to make any enquiries in my office,” he added.A joint team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax (IT) department had searched the premises of companies allegedly connected to Karti Chidambaram. Former finance minister P. Chidambaram had earlier told ANI in an interview there was no wrongdoing in the said firms.”I don’t know what they (ED) did. They searched two firms and they leaked out to the media that these firms were linked to my son. I flatly denied it and I was furious. That evening, they put out a statement saying that no politician or any member of his family is a shareholder or a director in these two firms. The matter has ended there,” Chidambram told ANI.

Govt blocked 844 social media pages this year: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
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dna Research & Archives
The number of social media pages blocked by the government for carrying objectionable content rose to 844 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.Under Section 69A of IT Act, the government has power to block any information in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, national security, friendly relations with foreign states or for maintaining law and order.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A total of 136, 13 and 10 and 492 URLs of social media websites were blocked in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015, respectively under Section 69A through the Committee constituted under the rules therein,” Prasad said. The social media links that were blocked on court orders stood at 352.”Further, a total of 533, 432 and 352 URLs of social media websites were blocked in compliance with the directions of the competent courts of India in 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015,” Prasad said.The minister said that the government does not separately maintain data on web pages blocked for anti-religious content. He said that in 2014, a total of 4,192 cases were reported under Section 66A of IT Act which had provision of jail term for sending offensive messages online, but the section is no longer valid since Supreme Court annulled it in March 2015.As per data of 2014 shared by Prasad, 2,423 persons were arrested, out of which 1,125 were charge-sheeted and 42 were convicted under Section 66A of IT Act.

Coal scam: Court concludes recording of statements of accused

The court had earlier framed charges against RSPL and its three officials for the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy read with cheating under the IPC.

A special court on Wednesday concluded recording of statements of accused in a coal block allocation scam case in which firm Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL) and its three officials are facing trial.Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar has now fixed the case for January 13 next year for recording of defence evidence in the matter.During the recording of statements of the accused, the court asked 98 questions each from the firm RSPL and its three top officials – Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal Aggarwal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court had earlier framed charges against RSPL and its three officials for the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy read with cheating under the IPC.While framing charges against them, the court had observed that they had conspired and furnished wrong information to get coal block and misappropriated nationalised natural resources.The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to RSPL. All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI.The three accused were earlier granted bail after they had appeared before the court pursuant to the summons issued against them.CBI had chargesheeted RSPL and Udit Rathi only as an accused for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating.After considering the charge sheet, the court had issued summons to all the four accused, including Pradeep Rathi and Kushal Aggarwal.It had noted that these officials had appeared before the screening committee to make a representation and had submitted a feedback form on February 7, 2008 on behalf of RSPL.CBI had lodged an FIR against RSPL, its directors, Udit Rathi and members of the 36th screening committee and other unnamed persons for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating of IPC and under Prevention of Corruption Act.A charge sheet was later filed against RSPL and Udit Rathi only. Regarding other directors of RSPL or members of the 36th screening committee, CBI had said allegations against them could not be substantiated during the probe.

Indian rocket to land on moon in 2017; to launch solar mission

The Aditya L1 mission “is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the sun-earth lagrangian point (L-1) which is about 1.5 million km from earth. It will carry seven payloads including a coronagraph to observe the outermost layers of the sun, the corona. Aditya L1 will be launched during 2019-20 timeframe,” he said in his written response.

India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan II will land on moon in 2017 and the country’s first solar mission Aditya L1 is likely to be launched in 2019, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.Chandrayaan II will land on the surface of moon in 2017 and this second lunar mission will help explore the possibilities of signs of extra-terrestrial life, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour responding to supplementaries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aditya L1 mission “is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the sun-earth lagrangian point (L-1) which is about 1.5 million km from earth. It will carry seven payloads including a coronagraph to observe the outermost layers of the sun, the corona. Aditya L1 will be launched during 2019-20 timeframe,” he said in his written response.The “approved cost” of the solar mission is 378.53 crore.Responding to another question, Singh said India has entered the era of “space marketing” and the launch of six Singapore satellites today will earn India 26 million euros.So far, India has earned 15 million USD and 80 million euros by launching satellites of other countries, he said, adding that 5 million USD and 65 million euros are in the “pipeline”, while apparently referring to the launches proposed in the future.The minister said a budget of Rs 1420 crore has been approved by the government for realisation of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite (IRNSS) programme, including satellites and associated ground segment.

Arvind Kejriwal claims CBI read DDCA files in CM’s office, seized files unrelated to Rajender Kumar

Taking to micro-blogging site, Kejriwal tweeted, “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.”

PTI
A day after the office of Delhi Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary was raided by the CBI in a corruption case, Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that the CBI kept reading the DDCA files at his office, and that they were not related to the allegations being probed.”Triggering a political storm, Kejriwal on Tuesday spewed venom on Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling him a “psychopath” and “coward”. He also questioned if the CBI had actually come looking for the DDCA files in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is in the dock, and that the raid had nothing to do with Rajendra Kumar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday morning, taking to micro-blogging site, Kejriwal tweeted, “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.”Reiterating that the finance minister lied in the Parliament, he questioned, “Why is Jaitley ji so scared of DDCA probe? What is his role in DDCA scam?”The Delhi chief minister also posted images of the documents seized from his office and said, “No relation to allegations being probed. Item 7 – file movement register of last one month.” The CBI raids at the office of Rajendra Kumar at the Secretariat 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.On Tuesday, Kejriwal also dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he is not scared of the raid conducted and will continue to fight for the country till his last breath.”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.

ISRO’s PSLV rocket to launch six Singaporean satellites today

For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV rocket will on Wednesday launch six Singaporean satellites which would help the city-state gather information on disaster monitoring and urban planning.To be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the spaceport of Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota at 6.00 PM on Wednesday, the satellites will be put into orbit by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)- PSLV-C29 on reaching 550 kms from the earth’s surface.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The satellites would be launched one after another, 30 seconds apart, to avoid collision and set a distance of about 20 kilometres between them. The 59-hour-countdown for the PSLV-C29/TeLEOS-1 Mission began at 7.00 AM on Monday and was progressing normally, ISRO said.For the first time, the satellites will orbit around the equator and gather data that will benefit those in the equatorial region. The satellites will be put into a 550 kms circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator.”The satellites will be able to produce information at a much higher frequency. This will surely be very important when you use it for disaster monitoring in the region like Southeast Asia,” Project Director of the Satellite Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor Goh Cher Hiang said.”For urban planning, before you plan a township, you would want to take a look at the terrain, take a look at the area around it, see what you have there, what kind of obstacles you may face, where are the draining systems, main highway,” President of the Communication and Sensor Systems Group at ST Electronics Tang Kum Chuen said.”If we have our own Singapore-made satellites, we can customise the technology, the sensors and instruments to meet our own needs. For instance, we can monitor haze. We can get the information anywhere, any time,” Channel News Asia quoted Director of the Satellite Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Associate Professor Low Kay Soon as saying.The satellite can capture images of Singapore once every 100 minutes and tracks threats in the sea and air as well as natural disaster across the region. The satellites are made by NUS, NTU and engineering- commercial company ST Electronics.ISRO is using its trusted workhorse PSLV which is on its 32nd flight in ‘core-alone’ configuration without the use of solid strap-on motors.Of the six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kgs whereas the other five satellites include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites. TeLEOS-1 is the first Singapore commercial earth observation satellite. It would be launched into a low Earth orbit for “remote sensing” applications. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has provided launch services in PSLV for 51 customer satellites from 20 countries so far.

United opposition decries CBI raids, most parties distance themselves from Kejriwal’s accusations against PM Modi

In the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, where like Delhi Assembly the ruling party is enjoying 4/5th majority, it is alleged that Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa has summoned the state assembly on Wednesday to topple the Congress government.

Lucknow: Activists of Aam Admi Party stage a protest against the CBI raid at CM Arvind Kejriwals office, at GPO in Lucknow on Tuesday.

PTI
The political climate of the capital abruptly turned hot on Tuesday morning when a team of CBI officials swooped at Delhi government’s secretariat ostensibly on a complaint against principle secretary to the chief minister, Rajender Kumar. Also, the news of alleged horse-trading of MLAs in the far-off Arunachal Pradesh also faded the last hope of passage of important legislations in Rajya Sabha, which like its previous session is heading for an imminent washout.In the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, where like Delhi Assembly the ruling party is enjoying 4/5th majority, it is alleged that Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa has summoned the state assembly on Wednesday to topple the Congress government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s twitter messages of a CBI raid at his office starting at 10:18 a.m. immediately got support from almost the entire opposition and from the fraternity of non-BJP ruled states’ chief ministers.West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was among the first to show solidarity as she tweeted “Sealing of a Chief Minister’s office is unprecedented. I am shocked.”Retweeting her comment, Kejriwal replied, “Mamata Di, This is undeclared emergency.”Soon the issue was resonating strongly in the parliament with TMC leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien denouncing the raids at Delhi CM’s office demanded that the government should make its stand clear on the floor of the house.Leader of the house Arun Jaitley responded by saying that chief minister is not the target of CBI raids as they are being conducted at his principal secretary’s office in connection with an old case and simultaneously at 14 other places.But his defence had no impact on the shouting MPs. Soon Kejriwal in a tweet accused Jaitley of lying in the parliament saying that “My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajender is an excuse.”Hurling another blow at Jiatley, Kejriwal again tweeted, “Which file was CBI looking for in my office? DDCA files in which Arun Jaitley is in dock. I was about to order a commission of enquiry.”Showing unprecedented camaraderie Congress, which is at loggerheads with AAP in Delhi, joined the anti-BJP chorus that was also joined by the MPs of JD (U) and Left parties among others.Crying foul of CBI raids being done at the behest of the Centre, without keeping chief minister in loop and at a time when the parliament in session, a united opposition sharply criticised the move calling it an unprecedented attack on the federal structure of the country. As a result the parliament saw frequent and disrupting and ended without conducting any business.JD (U) leader, K C Tyagi described the CBI raids as “return of the emergency”.Joining the protest against CBI raids, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad raked up the issue of Modi government-appointed Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa arbitrarily convening the state assembly session from Wednesday for removal of the Speaker without consulting the elected government.Describing Arunachal governor “acting like a dictator to murder democracy with intentions to topple a duly elected government” Azad demanded his immediate dismissal.But while opposition parties unitedly fought in favour of Kejriwal, his terse comments against PM Modi, calling him a “coward” and a “psychopath” found little favour as most parties distanced from the undemocratic mannerism.BJP demanded an unconditional apology from Kejriwal for hurling wild accusations against PM Modi. The opposition parties too described the comments as taking the political discourse to a new low.Reflecting on day’s events, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the language used by the Delhi CM against PM Modi cannot be approved of but he blamed the BJP for setting the agenda outside Parliament so the House does not function.”When Parliament session is on, incidents which divert attention is not undertaken by the government normally…Whatever happened in Arunachal, Delhi CM office, are indications in this direction. But then what happened in Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, Lalit Modi issue in Rajasthan?” asked Yechury.Disapproving Kejriwal’s accusatory language, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also blamed PM Modi for starting such accusatory language. He said such language is taking the political discourse to low level and need corrective measures as such language has not been used earlier even at the height of political tensions.At the same Sighvi targeted Kejriwal for “hypocrisy” in his conduct.”Chickens are coming home to roost. Kejriwal would demand raids at the drop of hat,” Singhvi said.

Emergency meeting to select a new UP Lokayukta inconclusive

The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.

The Akhilesh Yadav Government was rapped by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for not having elected a Lokayukta.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The marathon meeting to appoint a new Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh remained inconclusive on Tuesday as the selection committee failed to reach a consensus.The three-member selection committee comprising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya could not hammer out a name and will meet on Wednesday again, a senior official said. The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The emergency meeting was held a day after the apex court pulled up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.The present ombudsman Justice N K Mehtrotra has already spent nine years in office.Pulling up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said, “Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?””We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said, fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.Earlier in the day, the Governor told reporters that the state will have a new ombudsman tonight as a meeting had been convened this evening to hammer out the issue. The last meeting of the selection committee held on September 27 to appointment new Lokayukta remained inconclusive with High Court Chief Justice questioning the validity of the process after a Bill was passed in the state assembly.HC Chief Justice Chandrachud was of the view that as a Bill was passed in the state assembly, deciding name of Lokayukta could amount to its contempt. He suggested to take a legal opinion for the same. The UP Assembly had passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker. Before this, the Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the government to suggest a name for new Lokayukta by August 23 after which the government finalised the name of former justice Raveendra Singh Yadav and sent it to the Raj Bhawan for the first time on August 5.The state government and the Governor have not been on the same page on Yadav’s nomination and the file recommending his name moved back and forth nearly half a dozen times between Raj Bhawan and the state government. The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh’s proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party.The bill is still awaiting the Governor’s assent. With no consensus over his name, Yadav had opted out of the race for the key post by sending a letter to the chief minister.

We failed to get justice for our daughter, says Nirbhaya’s father

The juvenile convict, allegedly “the most brutal” of the six accused, is scheduled to be released on December 20 after his term at the observation home ends.

The juvenile rapist in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
“We have failed. Now there is no hope for justice,” said the distraught parents of December 16, 2012 gangrape victim on the eve of the third anniversary of the incident that shook the nation as they appealed not to release the juvenile convict.”With each passing day her memories get more intense. But we are not even able to face the memories as we have failed to secure justice for her. And now there is no hope for justice!,” the 50-year-old father of the victim said in a choked voice.According to the father, it has been three years and yet the four culprits have not been hanged. The juvenile convict, allegedly “the most brutal” of the six accused, is scheduled to be released on December 20 after his term at the observation home ends. The father of the girl said the youth, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, should not be released as he is a “threat” to the society. They have also submitted representations to the Home Ministry and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanding the same.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For us he is the the killer of our daughter who is being set free despite his heinous crime. We demand that he should not be released,” the father said.But despondence enters his tone as he says, “We are small people. Who will listen to us? For the last three years we have knocked each and every door with the hope of getting justice, but all in vain,” he said.Meanwhile, the Centre had yesterday asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free. The father also stressed that it was important to assess the mental health of the boy before releasing him.”There is a need to assess his mindset to ensure that he does not attack another girl like he had attacked my daughter after being released,” he said.On Wednesday, in remembrance of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improve women’s safety, the parents of the December 16 victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, will mark the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

Indian-origin politician becomes South Africa’s Finance Minister

The presidency’s statement said Gordhan s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence”.

Pravin Gordhan

Reuters
Pravin Gordhan, a widely respected Indian-origin politician, has been appointed South Africa’s new Finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma, becoming the third finance chief of the country in a week amid a raging economic turmoil. Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene from the ministry on Wednesday and replaced him with the relatively unknown lawmaker David Rooyen, sparking a wave of criticism and financial turmoil. The removal of Nene sent the Rand currency to record lows, sparked a sell-off in bank stocks and sent yields in local and dollar-denominated debt soaring. Credit agency Fitch downgraded South Africa on December 4 December, leaving the continent s most sophisticated economy just one notch above junk status. The president came under intense criticism for the manner in which he replaced Nene. The announcement was initially made with no reasons given and it was seen as ill-timed given the intense pressure on the economy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The choice of Rooyen, an ANC whip in Parliament s standing committee of finance, was also questioned given his relative lack of experience in government. 66-year-old Gordhan’s appointment sent the Rand up almost 5% night, but failed to quell a tide of criticism of the president. Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa’s finance minister from 2009 until 2014. In a statement on Sunday, the president said that after replacing Nene he had “received many representations to reconsider my decision”. “As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” Zuma said. The presidency’s statement said Gordhan’s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence” and “working with the financial sector so that its stability is preserved”, Timeslive reported. It called for “adherence to the set expenditure ceiling while maintaining a stable trajectory of our debt portfolio, as set out in the February 2015 budget”. The statement called for “more inclusive growth and accelerated job creation while continuing the work of ensuring that our debt is stabilised over the medium term”.

Counting for civic polls in Tripura begins amid tight security

EVMs were used to conduct the elections that took place on last Wednesday and over five lakh- electors would decide the fate of a -record breaking candidates 886 of all major political parties in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and nineteen Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats.

Representational Image
File Photo

Amid tight security counting for the civic body elections began on Saturday. The counting started from 8 am at 22 centres across the state. EVMs were used to conduct the elections that took place on last Wednesday and over five lakh- electors would decide the fate of a -record breaking candidates 886 of all major political parties in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and nineteen Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats. A total of 886 candidates, including 429 women, are in fray for 290 wards, which is a record in the state’s electoral history. Meantime, as many as 20,027 voters would decide the fate of 48 candidates in the by-elections. The ruling Left Front has already won 10 seats uncontested after the opposition parties failed to put up candidates. Of the total polling stations, 378 polling booths have been identified as ‘A’, while 279 polling booths have been rated as ‘B’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The main fight in the poll will be between the ruling Left Front and the opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Till now results of two AMC seats have been declared, which the CPM has won, while the Congress is in the second position.

Former RJD MP Shahabuddin sentenced to life imprisonment in double murder case

Former RJD MP Md. Shahabuddin was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in connection with the murder case of two brothers 11 years ago in Siwan district of Bihar.

Former RJD MP Md. Shahabuddin was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in connection with the murder case of two brothers 11 years ago in Siwan district of Bihar.Shahabuddin and three other accused were held guilty by the court on Wednesday.According to the prosecution, three sons of one Chandrashekhar Prasad were abducted from their house at Goshala road by Rajkumar Sah, Sheikh Aslam and Arif Hussain on August 16, 2004 and taken to Pratappur village where acid was poured on Girish and Satish resulting in their death.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the sons, Rajeev Raushan, managed to escape.The bodies of the two brothers could not be recovered.The victims’ mother Kalawati Devi had lodged an FIR charging Shahabuddin’s three henchmen with the murder of her sons.The former RJD MP’s name had cropped up during probe and he too was made an accused for hatching conspiracy for kidnapping of the three siblings.The lone surviving brother appeared before the judge as an eyewitness in the case, but was subsequently murdered by unidentified assailants on June 16 last year.Shahabuddin is lodged in the Siwan central jail for the past several years in connection with several cases against him.(With PTI inputs)

CM Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi ministers to come under the ambit of odd-even scheme

The odd-even scheme will restrict plying of vehicles on alternate days from January 1.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
PTI
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleague will come under the ambit of odd- even scheme of plying of vehicles in the national capital while the Delhi government will leave the decision of Union ministers joining the scheme at the Centre’s discretion.”All Delhi ministers, including the Chief Minister and officers will come under odd-even formula, but the state government may leave inclusion of the central ministers in the scheme at their discretion,” a Delhi government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The odd-even scheme will restrict plying of vehicles on alternate days from January 1. The official said that the after finalising the blueprint of the scheme, government will send it to the Centre for its suggestions.”We will send the final draft of odd-even formula to the Centre. If central government wants the Union Ministers to come under ambit of the scheme, they would then be included in the scheme,” the official said.Arvind Kejriwal government, however, is yet to take a decision on exempting women driving alone or in the company of other women, from the restrictions of the odd-even traffic formula. On Wednesday, Kejriwal had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and sought the Centre’s cooperation on implementation of odd-even scheme for plying of private vehicles in the national capital.

How South Asian rivals resumed talks

India and Pakistan agree to resume high-level talks, but can they achieve lasting peace?

Former journalist buys Dawood Ibrahim’s property for Rs 4.28 crore

Hotel Raunak Afroz (original name) at Pakmodia Street in Mumbai that was auctioned on Wednesday. (left) S Balakrishnan
Salman Ansari
dna
Former journalist S Balakrishnan has won the final bidding of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s property (Hotel Raunak Afroz) at Pakmodia Street on Wednesday. Balakrishnan put in the highest bid of Rs 4.28 crore for the ground-plus-one structure. Balakrishnan, who runs an NGO, Desh Seva Samiti, wants to set up an education centre for poor children there.Pakmodia Street is still considered to be Dawood’s den, and the underworld don calls the shot there from across the border even now.The auction for Dawood’s property and six others were conducted at the Hotel Diplomat in Colaba on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna, Balakrishnan said: “The competent authority had seized seven listed properties of those accused in narcotics and Smugglers & Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act 1976 cases. One of the properties, Hotel Raunak Afroz, was of Dawood Ibrahim. These properties were then put up for auction.”The reserve price for the bidding of the hotel was Rs 1.18 crore and earnest deposit is Rs 30 lakh.According to Balakrishnan, around 11 am, the bidding started on the first floor of the hotel. The first bidding were for four agricultural properties of Nani Daman. The next one was for the Hyundai Accent lying at Ghatkopar. The third bidding was for the tenancy right of a room in Mahavir Building at Matunga and the last one was for the hotel.The winner was to be decided after open bidding, e-tender and sealed tender.“Apart from me, representatives from Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) were also present. While SBUT’s bid was Rs 4.27 crore, I bid Rs 1 lakh more and won the open bidding. “Someone had bid Rs 2.52 crore in the e-tender and SBUT had bid Rs 1.72 crore in the sealed tender for the hotel. Since my bid was the highest, it was approved. In one month, I need to pay the remaining money,” Balakrishan said.He said that he raised the earnest money deposit through the fixed deposit of his NGO. “Since the remaining money is huge, I will appeal to the public to give money for this cause. I have already raised Rs 1.10 lakh through public contribution,” he said.While the four agricultural lands in Nani Daman were won by three persons in the bid, the tenancy right of the room in the Matunga building was won by a businessman and the car was won by Swami Chakrapani for Rs 32,000.“The fact that I received a threat from Dawood’s aide Chhota Shakeel after I went for the bidding only confirms that the hotel was his property. In other cases, those who had come for the bidding had not received any threat,” said Balakrishnan.

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.

Former journo S Balakrishnan makes highest bid of Rs.4.28 crore for Dawood’s ‘Delhi Zaika’ Hotel

“We had made a bid of Rs.4.28 crores which is leading at the present. Burhani had made a bid of Rs.4.27 crores and then I extended the bid by one lakh,” Balakrishnan told the media.

Journalist-turned-activist S Balakrishnan on Wednesday made the highest bid of Rs. 4.28 crores in the public auction for the ‘Delhi Zaika’ Hotel, one of the seized properties of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The auction, which took place at Hotel Diplomat in Colaba under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (forfeiture of properties) Act, started with a reserve price of Rs 1.18 crore. “We had made a bid of Rs.4.28 crores which is leading at the present. Burhani had made a bid of Rs.4.27 crores and then I extended the bid by one lakh,” Balakrishnan told the media. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Seven properties were auctioned today. Four other properties located in Nani Dammanna Agricultural area were auctioned separately. Thereafter, A Hyundai Accent car located in Ghatkopar, was also auctioned,” he added. “We have already deposited Rs. 30 lakhs and rest amount would be paid within one month,” he said. He, however, insisted that the clear picture on the bidding process would be clear by today evening. The first bid for the property was made by Balakrishnan, who has alleged that he was threatened by Dawood’s top aide Chhota Shakeel to back out. When Dawood Ibrahim fled India, he left behind property worth crores, whose value has gone up significantly in the past few years.Balakrishnan, who runs an NGO, has participated in the auction this time as he wants to set up an education centre for poor at Pakmodia Street that was sealed in 2013.

Govt under pressure to have ‘pointless’ talks with Pakistan: Shiv Sena

“Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.

Maintaining their stand against Pakistan, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said that it was pointless to have talks with the hostile neighbour and alleged that the government was under duress to hold dialogues. “Have been saying from the start that it’s pointless to have talks with Pakistan is pointless. It seems as if the government is under pressure and is being forced to talk to them. Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. The Shiv Sena had earlier condemned the India-Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks happened in Bangkok, saying that having talks with the hostile neighbour was futile as their main goal was to destroy India by sponsoring terrorism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is in Islamabad attending the Heart of Asia Summit, called for a mature relationship between India and Pakistan in their trade relation and said that the world is rooting for change between the relations of the two hostile neighbours.Post the opening address at the Summit, Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is slated to hold bilateral talks with him and his adviser Sartaj Aziz later in the day.

Delhi High Court refuses to pass interim order on AAP’s vehicle plan

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath termed the PILs as “premature” and said, “The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it.”

AAP’s vehicle plan: HC refuses to pass interim order on PIL

PTI
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass any interim direction on the PILs filed against AAP government’s plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath termed the PILs as “premature” and said, “The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it.” “It’s just going to be implemented on trial basis. They have proposed an idea for which suggestions have also been called form various stakeholders of society. Meetings are being held in this regard. Let’s see what the stakeholders suggest,” the bench observed orally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It further said “also, no notification has been issued so far, let such notification come then we will see.” “We will take up the matter after two weeks, by when the suggestions may also reach to the government,” the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on December 23. The bench also said, “Don’t use these PILs to pressurise the respondent (Delhi governments).” The court’s oral observation came during hearing the PILs, filed by Shweta Kapoor and Sarvesh Singh, which sought directions for restraining implementation of the policy.Defending the Delhi government’s idea, its senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought dismissal of the PILs and imposing of a heavy cost on the petitioners. One of the petitioner has claimed that “imposition of such a policy/law would be contrary to public interest and has been imposed without any public debate or discussion and without understanding the situation and facts and circumstances in India”. It has also questioned whether the AAP government has the power to modify vehicular movement in the national capital.Terming the national capital’s public transportation system as “undeveloped and unsafe”, the petitioner has said that it would create problems for women who travel alone as well as differently-abled persons who use modified vehicles to commute.

Heart of Asia conference: Sushma Swaraj ‘extends a hand to Pakistan’, says we must display maturity in doing business

India on Wednesday extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying it was time the two countries display “maturity and self-confidence” to do business with each other as the world was rooting for a change and offered to move cooperation at a pace Pakistan is comfortable with.

India on Wednesday extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying it was time the two countries display “maturity and self-confidence” to do business with each other as the world was rooting for a change and offered to move cooperation at a pace Pakistan is comfortable with.Speaking at ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference, that began with an aim to intensify efforts for regional linkages and to promote peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan, Swaraj said, “India’s vision for Afghanistan is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes with the country as an important hub.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She further added, “Nothing can benefit Afghanistan more than full and direct overland access to India’s markets. India is willing to receive Afghan trucks at Attari. We are willing to join Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade & Transit Agreement.”Further stating that let me take this opportunity to extend our hand to Pakistan as well, she added, “It is time that we display the maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation. The entire world is waiting and rooting for a change. Let us not disappoint them.””For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with. But today, let us at least resolve to help Afghanistan – in the best traditions of good neighbourliness – through more effective transit arrangements,” she said.Swaraj also said that it is our collective duty to ensure that the forces of terrorism and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any name, form or manifestation.Earlier, Sharif, in his inaugural address, said, “Afghanistan is the heart of Asia and if there is trouble in the heart, the entire region will be turbulent.”He said peace was vital for development and extended full support for the elected government of Afghanistan, saying it was the “only representative of the Afghan people”.Sharif also called for a collective approach to combat the menace of extremism and terrorism.”Working for the achievement of a peaceful neighbourhood is a cardinal principal of Pakistan’s foreign policy. We firmly believe that peace is vital for development, and development is vital for durable peace.” he said.The Pakistan Prime Minister welcomed the delegates and promised full support to all efforts for increasing peace in the region with the emphasis on stabilising Afghanistan.

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