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Medallist swimmer dances for a living

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>27-years-old Vishwas KS raised his leg to turn the water tap. He is about to take the mandatory shower before entering the pool. For this young man who lives all by himself in Bengaluru, having no hands has never been a hindrance — whether it be winning medals at world swimming championships or performing his day-to-day chores.Yet this international-level swimmer has to perform at dance shows to earn his bread and butter, and pay for his training which costs Rs 1.5 lakh a year. Vishwas has won three medals in 2016 Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Championships held in Canada. He won two silver, each in breaststroke and backstroke as well as a bronze in butterfly, this after winning three silver medals at Belagavi’s National Level Para-swimming Championship.His trip to Canada was arranged by NGO Astha and although the championship fetched medals, it brought him no prize money. A sum promised by the Karnataka government on his return, is yet to see the light of day.Tough past, a tougher presentVishwas lost his father in a mishap, and in the same incident he lost both his limbs when he was 10-years-old. After the accident, his family moved to Bengaluru where he went on to complete his graduation and took up odd jobs to make ends meet.While swimming training continued, Vishwas took up dancing. As word spread, he started getting more and more offers to perform. This is his primary source of income today. The Rs 6,000 pension the family receives after his father’s death is divided among all siblings, leaving hardly anything for Vishwas.Apart from NGOs which offer financial help, Vishwas performs at shows and concerts to pay his rent. He performs in almost 15 to 20 shows a year, including participating in one episode in the famous Kannada show ‘Maza with Sruza.’ Every morning though, he goes back into the pool back to his passion. A run to the podium against all odds Tamil Vanan D, Vishwas’s coach claims that he has learnt a lot from Vishwas. “At one point of time, I was shocked to see him swim all over the place, lacking proper training and skills. Today, he teaches new moves to me. Students of every age group get inspired,” Tamil says.It was only after intensive training for three years that he was finally ready as a professional swimmer. Vishwas trains every morning, starting at 5 am and practises for four hours and for two hours in the evening at Vijayanagar Aquatic Centre, Bengaluru.This swimmer, who can beat any average abled person in the sport, dreams of participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. “It is my aim to get a chance to swim in Paralympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games,” concludes Vishwas.

Pune techie’s murder: Suspect arrested, police say he ‘smartly planned’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A youth from Bengaluru, who was detained in connection with the brutal murder of a young woman IT professional here, has been arrested, with police suspecting it to be a case of one-sided affair.Santosh Kumar (25) was arrested late last night, days after he was detained for questioning, police said today.”During investigation, it was revealed that Santosh Kumar had very smartly planned the murder. The accused claimed that he was present in Bengaluru on the day of the incident,” Additional Superintendent of Police Rajkumar Shinde said.Antara Das, 21, was attacked with a sharp weapon near Kanbay Chowk in Talawade on the outskirts of Pune on Friday night, barely 500 metres from her workplace. She was declared dead upon arrival in a hospital.Her parents had alleged that a youth was stalking and harassing her for some time.The ASP said it was found that Kumar, who hails from Bengaluru and is also an IT professional, had tasked someone to execute the attack.A search is on to nab that person, he said.”We have arrested Kumar under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy) and he will be produced before court today,” Shinde said.The accused had provided CCTV footage to the police, claiming that he was in Bengaluru on the day of the incident.Shinde said it was suspected to be a case of one-sided affair from Kumar’s side. The victim, however, treated him just as a friend.”There are messages between them which showed that Kumar was forcing her to have a relationship with him. However, she was non-responsive and even reprimanded him for harassing her. We are looking out for the other person in this connection and the manhunt has been intensified,” he said.

Year in Review 2016: E-commerce rode on mobility, digitisation, demography

Kolkata/Bengaluru: The increasing use of digital technologies in buying and selling merchandise for convenience and mobility pushed e-commerce in India to an inflection point in 2016.

The rapid growth of smartphones and internet connectivity across the country, especially in tier-II and III cities, has given greater access to virtual shopping and e-tailing for the tech-savvy generation and millennials.

Even as e-tail behemoths Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon vied for a greater pie of the growing e-commerce market, enterprises and businesses in diverse sectors have joined the bandwagon to hard-sell their products by leveraging digital technology.

“E-commerce in India is at an inflection point, thanks to robust growth in consumer demand. Mobile penetration and increasing use of smart phones have led to the emergence of m-commerce, which accounted for about 40 percent of the sector’s sales this year,” Tata CLiQ Chief Executive Officer Ashutosh Pandey told IANS.



According to a study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), transition to mobile shopping is faster in India, which overtook the US this year in terms of active mobile users (220 million) and next only to China in user base.

The emergence of the Omni-channel model in e-tailing has also enabled netizens shop across e-portals, web sites, apps and in stores as per their convenience.

“As a result, e-commerce players are looking at seamless integration of online and offline stores to offer consumers a unique shopping experience in the virtual and real worlds,” Pandey asserted.

With digital payments increasing through multiple gateways for online and offline buying, the push for cashless transactions in the aftermath of the November 8 demonetisation has driven more and more consumers to e-shopping and m-shopping.

Greater use of cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence has made e-commerce players not only competitive and smart in retaining their mass user-base but also map shopping trends and predict purchasing patterns to consolidate their dominant position for sustaining growth.

“The sector, however, continues to face a trust-deficit and last-mile delivery issues persist despite having robust logistics networks and partners. Lack of trust in online transactions makes many shoppers prefer cash on delivery, which is risky and time consuming,” Pandey lamented.

The sector is also bedevilled by infrastructure woes across cities and towns, increasing operational cost for timely delivery and expanding the customer base.

Though demonetisation has impacted the retail sector due to the cash crunch, digital transactions have enabled e-commerce firms to weather the crisis.

Growing at about 40 percent cumulative average growth rate (CAGR), the country’s e-commerce market is projected to touch a whopping $38 billion this fiscal (2016-17), with the online travel segment alone accounting for 70 percent, followed by e-tailing, financial services, classifieds, job searches and matrimony.

“The key drivers of the sector’s growth have been increased internet penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and an increase in per capita income,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.

Favourable government policies and improving infrastructure have also contributed in connecting consumers and sellers across the country.

“The start-up ecosystem has gone through a phase of consolidation, indicating maturity in the sector for achieving scale, building capabilities and increasing the market share,” the spokesperson explained.

Given the demographics and rapid adoption of the internet, it’s advantage for all the stakeholders to grow and consolidate.

Global audit firm KMPG’s e-commerce partner Sreedhar Prasad said demonetisation had impacted the sector with a 30 percent dip in sales and, as a result, the annual growth may not show a big spike.

“The cost of business, including that of supply chains, remains a challenge. Unless the cost is regulated, profitability will be difficult in the sector,” Prasad added.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 13:04 IST

I-T seizes Rs 48 cr worth undisclosed assets in Karnataka, Goa post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Undisclosed assets worth Rs 48 crore, including Rs 22 crores in new currency notes, had been unearthed during searches conducted by the Income Tax department in Karnataka and Goa since the Centre announced demonetization of high-value notes, a top official said on Wednesday.”We have seized an undisclosed amount of Rs 34 crores in cash and Rs 14 crores in bullion, and out of which Rs 22 crores were in new currency notes, post-demonetization,” Principal Chief Commissioner of I-T, Karnataka-Goa, Nutan Wodeyar told reporters in Bengaluru.Giving figures of seizures made by I-T this year so far, Wodeyar said the department conducted 48 searches and seized Rs 116 crores worth undisclosed assets compared to Rs 27 crores during the corresponding period in the previous year. “Compared to 14 searches conducted last year, this year 48 searches were made,” she said.The department also conducted 36 surveys as of Wednesday compared to 38 last year and found a concealment amount of Rs 393 crores compared to Rs 140 crores during last year.Replying to a query, Wodeyar said the department so far this year had initiated 15 prosecutions and expect the numbers to go up. She, however, declined to reveal the names of those facing prosecution.

Rainbow Christmas: Meet these Santas from the LGBT community who are making the world a little merrier

Since the past many years, I have been associated with many charitable organisations. And yes, wherever I go, I carry my identity of being gay with me. Because it is not two different people, my gay identity is a part of me. I am an animal welfare crusader, a women’s rights activist, a child rights activist, also a men’s rights activist and sometimes an environmentalist. I christened the term “equal rights activist” for myself when I found it really hard to confine myself to one category especially when journalists asked me ‘what do I call you’. I am not writing this to bask in the glory of my achievements alone. Of course, I am not modest about my achievements for myself and people and animals I love. This post is not about me, it is about the secret santas with rainbow caps who little by little change the world for all.

A photo posted by Harish Iyer (@iyerharish) on Dec 23, 2016 at 10:22pm PST

Let me introduce you to some who don’t wait for Christmas to play Santa but are Santa all the way.

Santa Robin Chaurasiya:

Robin Chaurasiya is a lesbian who was a part of the US military Air Force, until she refused to stay quiet about her sexuality. I believe we bring our whole selves to work. Gay is not detachable. It is not that you can leave your gay back home while you carry your mind and body to work. She was thrown out of the military, and US’s loss is India’s gain. This indore girl, came back to India to set up Kranti, a non profit for empowerment of girls in the redlight area of Mumbai, Kamathipura.

“I don’t think there is any reason for these girls to limit their dreams. They should never stop dreaming, and they should never stop believing in their dreams. And the onus is on us, as a society, to ensure that they achieve those dreams,” says Chaurasiya.

She is someone who walks the talk. Her girls have got more stamps on their passport than many others amongst us. Some are learning psychology, some are learning drums… and all have learnt to become truer and truer to their real selves with every passing day.

Robin Chaurasiya. idhisoom.com

Robin Chaurasiya. idhisoom.com

Santa Dhruv Ambegaonkar:

A doctor by profession, Dhruv is your sassy young gay  boy from Santacruz. He is not your average Doctor. He has piercings in possibly every visible part of his body. He is trendy in his clothes and is attractive enough that people will fall ill just to go to him for an injection.

That said, there is another side to him that not many know of. He, along with his family, fosters children until they get adopted.

“My family has been fostering newborn children who have been abandoned or put up for adoption by their mothers until they are adopted by a new family. We have 2 children with us currently. A 2-month-old boy and a 6 week old girl. Both are the cutest and so funny. It is a tough job, because it’s impossible not to get attached to the kids. I still miss the kids who have left us. It’s a heartache which never goes away. Because you know they are living happily with a new family and with no idea of who you are and how much you loved them,” says Ambegaonkar.

A photo posted by Dhruv (@ambezing) on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:17am PST

Santa Anand Pendharkar:

Anand Pendharkar used to operate with an alias at one time. I still remember, we had also planned to date. Somehow, we ended up becoming good friends instead.  Anand is an environmentalist and he runs an organisation called Sprouts.

“Gender and sexuality though a personal attribute are a part and parcel of a person. There are many misconceptions that people hold about LGBT people and there is a dire need of positive role models for youth, in every sector, irrespective of the adult’s sexual orientation and identity. I have always been honest and disciplined about my nature conservation work and I mentor youth to be skilled conservation leaders. Nature is a great educator and also one with great sexual diversity. So once they learn about all the gender variations and sexual patterns of creatures, then human sexuality falls easily within that spectrum of diversity. Deep Education is the key to making the young, accepting and inclusive humans,” says Pendharkar.

Read about him here.

Anand P

Anand Pendharkar. Sprouts website

Santa Yaariyan:

Yaariyan is the youth group of the Humsafar Trust. This year, they decided to visit an old age home in Anand Niketan, Lower Parel. I chatted up with my bisexual friend Koninika Roy from Yaariyan.

“Yaariyan decided that while we do a lot of work for our community, as an influential youth group we wanted to give to a cause because we felt like giving. As responsible young adults and LGBTQ we felt the need to say that while we care about our issues, we also care about our communities. This time we felt we would spread our love by spending a day with the wonderful people at the old age home. The response was so great that we want to do this every year,” says Roy.


Team Yaariyan at Anand Niketan. Pictaram

Santa Namma Pride Bangalore and Queer Azaadi Mumbai:

This year, Queer Azaadi Mumbai, the LGBTIQ collective that organises the Queer Pride Parade of Mumbai, donated money to the Chief Minister’s drought relief fund. In Bengaluru, the Namma Pride march was organised. which took extra efforts to ensure that the pride is accessible for disabled persons. Thank you Bengaluru for leading the way. We will try and follow the good practice in Mumbai.

Namma gay. Galaxy MagazineNamma gay. Galaxy Magazine

Namma Pride Bangalore. Galaxy Magazine

Santa Gaysi Family

Gaysifamily organises the super-awesome spoken word event called Dirty Talk. Dirty talk has always highlighted other social issues. We started with child sexual abuse, then acid attack survivors, then recently a de drug addiction group.  In between, we also saw an innovative campaign called #KissOfLove where they pledged to send ½ a kilo of rice for every kiss shared to a woman rights and rehabilitation NGO called Urja. The founder, Sakshi recently donated money for the treatment of a dog.

Agreed. Such is the vibrant LGBTIQ community. We are all about our cause… but also all beyond it.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 20:06 IST

Kerala: Over Rs 51 lakh in 2,000 denomination notes seized in Kannur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 51.86 lakh, almost all of them in Rs 2,000 denomination, was today seized by Kerala Excise officials from two passengers of a bus coming from Bengaluru at nearby Irrity, in the second major haul of currency in the last three days in the state.They found Rs 51.80 lakh in Rs 2,000 notes and Rs 100 notes for Rs 6,300 in the bags of Ranjith Salangi (24) and Rahul Adhik alias Rahul Ghatoo (22).The duo, in their early 20s and hailing from Maharashtra, were found carrying the cash without any supporting documents after which they were detained. The haul came just two days after police seized Rs 39.98 lakh in Rs 2,000 denomination at Tirur area in Malapuram district.Excise officials said today’s seizure was made when a special Excise squad, acting on a tip-off, intercepted the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus heading to nearby Payyanur around 3.30 AM.They were taken into custody and would be questioned by Income Tax officials here.Busting a currency exchange racket involving Rs 2,000 notes, police had on Friday seized Rs three lakh from Shoukath Ali, already facing a hawala case, and, based on information provided by him, recovered Rs 36.98 lakh from the residence of a businessman.

DRDO smart anti-airfield weapon test successful

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from a Jaguar fighter jet capable of hitting ground targets within a range of 100 km.This is the second time in the last seven months when such a test has been successful. The first test was done in May 2016 in Bengaluru; this one took place at Chandipur off the Odisha coast on Friday. SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed 120-kg smart weapon, developed by DRDO. It is considered a world class weapon system that can be launched from a Jaguar and a Sukhoi aircraft. It can be effectively used to target enemy bunkers and runways with precision hitting.DRDO said in a press release that the captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at the Integrated Test Range during the entire duration of the flight.The performance of all systems was satisfactory with all the mission objectives achieved.“Secretary, Department of Defence (R&D) and Chairman, DRDO, Dr S Christopher, congratulated DRDO and the IAF teams for the successful mission.Scientific Advisor to RM and DG (Missile and Strategic Systems), DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, lauded the scientific community of the DRDO for their efforts towards the design.

Wall Street recedes and Dow 20,000 slips further away | Reuters

By Noel Randewich

U.S. stocks fell on Thursday as investors stepped back from a recent rally fuelled by optimism that President-elect Donald Trump will invigorate economic growth.The dip pulled the Dow Jones industrial average further away from the 20,000 mark after it nearly breached the level this week for the first time. Following a sharp rally since the Nov. 8 U.S. election, the Dow is up about 14 percent for the year and the S&P 500 is 11 higher on bets that the economy will benefit from Trump’s plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending.Some investors believe that recent gains may have made stocks too expensive, and that Congress may water down or prevent major infrastructure spending or tax cuts proposed by Trump.”There are issues hanging over the market,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities in New York. “You need to digest these gains, and once he becomes president, we’ll see what is actually going to get passed.” Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, tapped by Trump on Wednesday as a special adviser for regulatory issues, said in an interview on CNBC that he was concerned about the stock market in the short term following its recent surge.

A report earlier showed that the U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, notching its best performance in two years. Gross domestic product increased at a 3.5 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 3.2 percent pace, the Commerce Department said.Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.2 percent in November, below the estimated 0.3 percent gain.The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was last down 0.07 percent at 19,928.76 points and the S&P 500 .SPX had lost 0.15 percent to 2,261.79. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.36 percent to 5,451.49.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer discretionary index’s .SPLRCD 0.94 percent fall leading the decliners. The discretionary sector was weighed by a 0.57 percent drop in Amazon (AMZN.O) shares.The S&P telecommunications index .SPLRCL led the gainers with a 1.08 percent rise.Apple (AAPL.O) fell 0.74 percent after Nokia (NOKIA.HE) said it had filed a number of lawsuits against the iPhone maker for patent infringement. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

ConAgra (CAG.N) rose 3.30 percent after the packaged foods maker’s quarterly profit beat estimates.Red Hat (RHT.N) slumped 12.6 percent after the Linux software distributor’s quarterly revenue missed estimates.Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored decliners.The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 100 new highs and 43 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 23:38 IST

CISF to get 37,000 more troops to boost airport, metro security

New Delhi: Augmenting the manpower of CISF guarding critical infrastructure like airports and
assets in the nuclear domain, the government has sanctioned raising the strength of the force with 37,000 more troops in order to bolster security at these facilities.

A CISF personnel. Reuters.A CISF personnel. Reuters.

A CISF personnel. Reuters.

The force has been seeking enhancement of its manpower, from the existing 1.45 lakh, for quite some time now as it is being increasingly entrusted with security duties like with the expansion of the Delhi Metro network in the national capital and transfer of more civil airports and private sector units under its cover.

The Union home ministry recently approved raising the strength of the force to 1.80 lakh, by having 35,000 more
personnel, with sanctions to raise two more battalions (about 2,000 personnel) once the new strength is achieved fully in about two years time.

“This has come as a shot in the arm for us. Our tasks are increasing gradually and the enhancement in our strength will act as a great boon to ensure better operational preparedness, faster promotions and effective supervisory control,” CISF Director General OP Singh told PTI while confirming the development.

He added the force will soon begin recruitments to fill up these sanctioned numbers.

“We are also going for a full cadre review of the force. The new strength will also help in undertaking a better
organisation of posts and services,” the DG said.

Central Industrial Security Force officials said that with the government making clear its intention of entrusting more and more civil airports to it and an increasing task in the domain of VVIP security, the force required more numbers.

While the CISF guards 59 civil airports in the country as of now, it also has an elite VVIP security wing under its command called the Special Security Group (SSG).

At least 3,000 personnel, they said, are only required to cater to the security needs of the transport lifeline of the national capital, the Delhi Metro, which is not only expanding its network but is also witnessing an increasing passenger load from the current about 27 lakh commuters per day.

Some manpower is also required to beef up security at sensitive aerospace and nuclear installations in the country and the new manpower when raised, will also be sent to these locations.

After it was tasked to secure vital infrastructure in the private domain post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the
forces’ role in this domain is also increasing with eight facilities already under it command and manpower for the ninth is set to be deployed soon.

Early this year, the government had ordered deployment of about 35 CISF personnel to guard Baba Ramdev‘s Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Private Limited in Haridwar.

The other seven private sector units being guarded by CISF are: Electronics City in Bengaluru and Infosys campuses in Bengaluru, Mysore and Pune, Reliance Refinery and Petrochemicals in Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd project executed by the Tata group in Mundra and the Tata Steel project based in Odisha’s Kalinganagar.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 22:27 IST

Bengaluru: Toxic lake froth propels citizens to rise against civic authorities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Residents of areas around Bengaluru’s Varthur and Bellandur lakes have complained of foul smell and pollution emanating from these frothing water bodies post-Cyclone Vardah.A local group has written to the civic authorities, saying the matter requires immediate attention, especially as the city is expecting a dry summer. “There is nothing new but now pollution has increased as the lake smells bad, which is going to be harmful and something should be done,” a resident said. “The lake stinks and causes diseases. Civic authorities are yet to take any action, but a few students are seen trying to clean the lakes sometimes,” a local resident said.The toxic froth is caused by allowing untreated sewage water to flow into the lakes. It has spilled over onto roads and into drains around the lakes in the last two days.This has also led to poor visibility on roads, and motorists risk skidding while riding. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board had sent a tanker to sprinkle water and bring down the froth’s intensity.A local group, ‘Whitefield Rising’, has written to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) to take cognizance of the issue. “This matter needs more attention, especially since we are looking at a dry summer,” a member of Whitefield Rising said. “Wasting a resource as precious as water and dealing with health and safety issues alongside is not good.”The lake must also be desilted and cleared of weeds like hyacinth to allow sun light to penetrate. The BBMP and BWSSB efforts to check frothing by spraying chemicals have failed.Municipal authorities need to install a sewerage treatment plant at Varthur Lake. The water body is supposed to be desilted every year, but the last time this was done was in 1970.

Bengaluru man with alleged ISIS links held in Kullu

Sat, 17 Dec 2016-08:30pm , Shimla , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A 23-year-old man from Bengaluru with alleged ISIS links was arrested on Saturday by team of NIA and local police from Banjar area in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.Abeed Khan was arrested from a church where he was staying with a fake identity for the past four-five months, police said. Confirming the arrest, Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar said that Khan is being interrogated by intelligence agencies. Sources said that the man was named by some of his accomplices during interrogation after they were arrested in Delhi.They said that Khan has admitted that he was influenced by the ideology of ISIS terror group. The NIA and police refused to divulge further details in this connection, saying that investigations are underway.

Man who travels on wheels is opening doors of hope for many

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2012, Nipun Malhotra was studying at the Delhi School of Economics, after graduating from St. Stephen’s College, when he appeared for campus placements. Despite a good academic record, he was not hired by any of the eight companies he applied to.His world came crashing down when he realised the stumbling block between his dreams and his abilities, had nothing to do with him and in a perverse way, everything to do with him. Nipun is born with a rare congenital condition, Arthrogryposis, which led to a lack of muscles in arms and legs, forcing him to commute with a wheelchair.“One recruiter told me that he did not think I could sit in a wheelchair and work for eight hours. Another told me that they did not have a disabled-friendly restroom. To the first, I responded that I have studied and commuted on my wheelchair all my life. To the second, I replied that I could hold my bladders for eight hours,” says Nipun, now 29, seated in his swank office at Gurgaon’s Park Centra. “My parents had given me all the best opportunities in life. I was a country topper in business studies. I thought all of that had gone waste. For three months after that I was very depressed. I stopped going to college,” says Nipun. He decided that it was futile to mull over the placements debacle and joined his family business, Nipman Fasteners, a company that manufactures automotive fasteners, where he is now executive director.He also founded the Nipman Foundation to work with persons with disabilities. And in a fitting reply to the companies which looked past his abilities, Nipun instituted the Nipman Foundation Equal Opportunities Awards, now in its third year, to recognise companies that employee persons with disabilities.The Nipman Foundation partnered with Ernst and Young who took care of the task of auditing the companies and the two entities set up an independent jury to vet the applicants. The application form asks questions like ratio of disabled employees in the company’s workforce, the challenges the company faced in employing disabled employees, and the metrics used to evaluate the success of the initiative like productivity level, career growth and attrition rate. 21 companies from across India applied for the 2016 awards and the winners were ANZ (Bengaluru hub), IBM (Bengaluru centre) and Sunrise Candles (Maharashtra).At ANZ, PwD staff was more than two per cent of the total workforce. All the 2,280 employees at Sunrise Candles, a Mahabaleshwar-based candle making company, were visually impaired individuals.An E&Y executive, who coordinated the application and audit process, said the auditor also conducted field visits to verify the claims made by the companies. She said that more and more companies were realising the importance of equal opportunity practices.“The companies I visited which have equal opportunity practices was an eyeopener. They treat the disabled employees as one among them. At one place, I met a man without both hands. He would use his leg to write but he had the most beautiful handwriting. All the company had to do to accommodate him was to arrange a shorter desk,” said the E&Y executive.Nipun credits his mother Priyanka Malhotra for driving him towards taking up the cause of persons with disabilities. Priyanka was a homemaker who was focused on ensuring that all of Nipun’s needs were taken care of.“Then as a child he asked me, ‘Mamma, what about all the other Nipuns in the world,” says Priyanka.That set her on the course of activism and she was a consultant with the Delhi Metro and the DTC on accessibility issues. “She would tell me to become so important that people inviting me for events will stage them only at those venues which are accessible to me,” says Nipun.The 29-year-old is also passionately involved in another project, “Wheels for Life”, which connects people willing to donate wheelchairs with those who need them.

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukherjea not allowed to attend niece’s wedding in Bengaluru

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special CBI court rejected the application of former media baron Peter Mukerjea on Wednesday, one of the accused in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, seeking permission for travel to Bengaluru for his niece’s wedding but allowed him to attend it through video conference.Special judge HS Mahajan rejected the application after the CBI told the court that he can even attend the marriage ceremony through a video link. “However, if Peter intends, in that circumstances, at the state’s cost, by the way of video conferencing and in the presence of jail officials, he be permitted to convey his blessing to his family members on the day and time (of wedding),” the judge said in the order.Meanwhile, the court also disposed of his another application seeking a laptop without internet connection, saying the jail authorities may make arrangements as per the jail manual. Peter had sought permission to use a laptop in jail as he wanted to write his autobiography.The court is likely to hear arguments on framing of charges in the Sheena Bora murder case on December 19. Peter’s wife Indrani, her former driver Shyamvar Rai (who has turned approver in the case) and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna are accused of killing her daughter Sheena inside a car in April 2012. Peter is accused of being party to the conspiracy.

Rahul Gandhi, Congress Twitter hacking: Delhi police seeks info from 5 nations

New Delhi: The Delhi police have sought information from five countries to help them trace the group which hacked into the Twitter accounts of the Congress party and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi's Twitter handle was hacked on 1 December. PTIRahul Gandhi's Twitter handle was hacked on 1 December. PTI

Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter handle was hacked on 1 December. PTI

The hacking group ‘Legion’, which claimed responsibility for the act, is still a mystery for internet service providers. The Delhi police is probing the case after it received a complaint from Congress members.

Accounts of two journalists — Barkha Dutt and Ravish Mishra, both from the NDTV group — were also hacked, but their complaint was yet to be received by the cyber cell.

During its preliminary enquiry, the police could trace IP addresses from five countries — Sweden, Romania, the US, Canada and Thailand — in the hacking job. Investigators want to know if the hackers used the servers in these countries from somewhere else, or if they were physically present there while breaking into the microblogging sites.

“We have got the IP logs from Twitter. The details of IP logs were sent to the internet service providers in five countries after a thorough examination. We are yet to get the details of hacker’s account and address,” deputy commissioner of police (cyber cell) Anyesh Roy told IANS.

Asked if the act was done by Legion, Roy said the group “is itself taking responsibility for hacking these microblogging sites but we don’t as yet have any information about the real hackers. The case is under investigation”. He said the police was also taking help of Twitter officials in Bengaluru to identify those responsible.

The cyber cell is probing the case after two FIRs under Section 66(c) of the Information Technology Act were filed. Randeep Singh Surjewala, a senior Congress leader, had filed a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police on 1 December after the two accounts were hacked and a string of abusive messages posted on their Twitter handles.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:56 IST

Massive IT raids across country: Rs 2.25 cr in new currency seized in Bengaluru, 68 lakh in Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raids are being carried out across the country by the Income Tax Department in the wake of the burgeoning fake currency racket post demonetization, as currencies both new and old have been seized in large amounts from Bengaluru, Panjim and Faridabad besides the national capital. Rs 2.25 crores has been seized in Bengaluru by the IT Department in new currency, while Rs 68 lakh has been seized in Panjim. In Faridabad, four were arrested with new currency of over Rs 25 lakh in the new Rs. 2000 notes.Meanwhile, in Delhi, yet another raid was carried out at a hotel in Karol Bagh following which the massive amount of Rs 3.25 crores was recovered in old notes. Upon interrogation it was found that the money belongs to some Bombay based hawala operators, who have hired packaging specialists who pack these notes in such a manner that it was even undetectable by airport scanning machines.These experts in packaging use a particular type of tape and wires which passes through X-ray also without being detected. The IT Department has seized the cash and is analyzing the mobile details which allegedly contain details of lot of other hawala operators.This recent raid comes in the wake of yet another raid carried out in the national capital, where in a joint raid conducted by the Income Tax Department and the Delhi Police, Rs. 10 crores was recovered from a law firm in Greater Kailash area.Acting on a tip-off, the police recovered Rs 2.5 crore in new currency notes and the balance Rs.7.5 crores in old currency notes from the T&T law firm owned by Rohit Tondon late on Saturday night.Following the massive raids on the premises of three Chennai-based businessmen, the Income Tax Department last Saturday confirmed seizing Rs 24 crores in new currency notes in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. During an investigation, the IT department found out that some cash was hidden in a car in Vellore, upon which it was discovered that all currency was in the form of Rs 2,000 notes in 12 boxes of Rs 2 crore each.Upon interrogation of those detained in Chennai, a breakthrough was made in the recovery of this cash wherein the IT sleuths laid a trap for the person transporting Rs 24 crores in Vellore and subsequently seized the currency. Interrogation is currently underway of those who were detained in Chennai which could lead to further recoveries.Following demonetization, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had carried out massive raids in 50 branches of 10 banks across the nation in an attempt to keep a tab on those account holders, who deposited huge amounts at one time.

JDS leader KC Veerendra held in connection with seizure of new notes

Bengaluru: CBI has arrested JDS leader and casino owner K C Veerendra in connection with seizure of Rs 5.7 crore in Rs 2000 denomination from his possession.

Agency sources said CBI has registered a case against officials of four banks — State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

“We have arrested K C Veerendra. He was arrested in Hubballi on December 10 and brought to Bengaluru the following day and produced before the CBI court. He is in our custody for six days,” a top CBI official told PTI on Tuesday.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

On 10 December, IT officials had raided 15 premises, including Veerendra’s house in Challakere and a casino owned by him in Goa. The officials seized Rs 5.7 crore in Rs 2,000 currency notes, besides Rs 90 lakh in Rs 100 and Rs 20 denominations in Hubballi district and in Challakere.

CBI sources said Veerendra allegedly connived with some bankers and middlemen to exchange demonetised currency with Rs 2,000 notes.

Earlier, Veerendra’s name had figured in a cricket betting case, the sources said. He was running a chit fund business and later forayed into casino and other ventures.

Veerendra, also a businessman from Challakere in Chitradurga district, is a former chairman of Primary Land Development Bank.

The sources said during preliminary probe names of several persons have been taken by Veerendra and it is trying to gather material evidence linking the alleged hawala operator with them.

The sources said during the six days of questioning CBI will confront him with documents recovered from his premises and will try to get the source of these funds which may unravel alleged involvement of senior bank officials in the case.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 13:13 IST

Hawala operator arrested, Rs 5.70 crore in new currency seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Tuesday arrested an alleged hawala operator K V Veerendra in connection with seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency notes of Rs 2000 denomination from his premises in Karanataka.The agency sources said CBI has registered a case against officials of four banks–State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.They said Veerendra was produced before Special court in Bengaluru which has sent him to six days of CBI custody for questioning.The sources said during preliminary probe names of several persons have been taken by Veerendra and it is trying to gather material evidence linking the alleged hawala operator with them.The sources said during the six days of questioning CBI will confront him with documents recovered from his premises and will try to get the source of these funds which may unravel alleged involvement of senior bank officials in the case.

Cyclone Vardah: Death toll rises to 10 in Tamil Nadu, more than 10,000 people rescued, schools to remain shut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 10,000 people were rescued and sheltered by the National Disaster Response Force in nearly 300 relief camps after very severe cyclonic storm ‘Vardah’, the most intense to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in two decades made a landfall.The cyclone flattened homes, snapped communication lines and threw into disarray rail, road and air traffic as it crossed the coast near the Tamil Nadu capital, pounding Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram with heavy rain and squall.Tamil Nadu government announced a solatium of Rs four lakh each to the next of the kin of their families.Govt aided schools, private schools, colleges & other educational institutions in Chennai, Kanchipuram & Tiruvallur to remain closed on Tuesday.The National Disaster Management Authority said that a total of 10,432 people were rescued by 19 NDRF teams in different parts of Tamil Nadu as the severe cyclone hit the state.As many as 296 relief camps were set up of which 97 have become become operational, the NDMA said in a statement.Altogether 11,857 food packets were also distributed by the NDRF. As many as 297 roads were blocked in Tamil Nadu after the cyclone’s landfall of which 89 were cleared so far.A total of 3,384 trees were fallen and 30 electric Transformers were also damaged. The NDMA said the cyclone will slow down by midnight and weaken by Tuesday.However, it asked people in cyclone-hit areas to remain indoors and not to venture out besides remaining calm. One NDRF team comprises of 35 personnel.The Southern Railway said the cyclone had caused severe impact to its infrastructure and prompted cancellation, diversion and suspension of rail services.”The intensity of the cyclone has had a severe impact on the infrastructure of Chennai Division, resulting in considerable damage. Overhead electrical lines have been damaged at several locations,” Anupam Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Southern Railway said.”As a result of disruption of overhead electrical lines, 16 trains have been held up in Jolarpettai Chennai Central section and four trains in Villupuram Chennai Egmore section.Several Chennai-bound trains have been regulated at various stations of Chennai division, he said.Although all efforts were being made to restore normalcy as early as possible, full assessment for restoration work was possible only after the cyclone has finally ebbed away, he added.Urgent steps were being taken to ensure movement of all Mail/Express trains which were held up mid-section. Passengers of all such trains were given maximum facilities so as to obviate the hardships to the extent possible, Sharma said.Operations at Chennai airport were suspended for the entire night, with nearly 170 services being disrupted through the day even as 10 flights were cancelled.A total of 44 international and 123 domestic services were affected as they were diverted to nearby airports like Bengaluru even as many stranded passengers were still waiting at domestic and international terminals. Steps were being taken to distribute food to them, they said. Departing flights to cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru were cancelled.Meanwhile, though no major loss of life or property has been reported from Andhra Pradesh so far, heavy rains lashed Chittoor and SPS Nellore district, affecting normal life. A report from Amravati said as many as 18 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who strayed into the Bay of Bengal yesterday despite warnings, were rescued from near the Sriharikota high altitude range in afternoon. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced in evening that Andhra Pradesh was ready to extend all necessary help to neighbouring Tamil Nadu that bore the brunt of ‘Vardah’. With forecast of heavy rains for the next 24 hours in Nellore, Chittoor, Prakasam and Anantapuramu districts, the official machinery has been asked to remain on alert, mostly to prevent breach of tanks. Over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal were evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rain.Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to take stock of the situation in the two states and promised all help.

Dogs have a field day at canine crèches

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“It used to be a task to feed Kian…,” says Vivek Singhal of the time when he and his wife Suraksha would have to goad their dog to eat. “That changed since his first month at the day care. Now he is always excited about meal times and gobbles his food within minutes.”The Singhals credit Pet Stepin, a half-acre retreat for dogs, cats, guinea pigs, birds and other pets, in the heart of Bengaluru, for this change in Kian. It was here that the rescued mongrel observed and learned from other dogs, who eat their meals with no fuss and perfect manners.Day care centres — places where pet owners can keep their dog for a few hours — as opposed to a kennel, are becoming a prefered choice for urban pet owners, who don’t have a dependable ward to help. A good doggie crèche also helps with behavioural issues, such as Kian’s fussy eating.The working couple, who became pet parents this August to the rescued pup with a missing paw, started dropping off Kian at Dr Nezhat Belgamvala’s facility for a few hours every day about two months ago. Given that Kian, now five months old, was still very young, they didn’t want to leave him alone but what really clinched the deal for Pet Stepin was the space and it’s friendly staff. “They also take care not to admit a dog, who may not be good for the rest of the dogs. “This bode well for Kian… since he was rescued, he’d get stressed with other dogs around,” says 29-year-old Singhal.Offering a space for urban pets to engage with others, is a the primary reason why Dr Belgamvala started Pet Stepin in 2009. “It is important for dogs to socialise with other dogs, humans and children,” says Dr Belgamvala, a practising vet. “When a dog first comes to us, he or she is gradually initiated into socialising, starting first with only half-an-hour interactions, before they are taken in for day care or boarding.”Modern-day crèches continue training programmes, and organise supervised play sessions that burn off excess energy. So instead of coming home to a bored dog, who has shredded the furniture and chewed on the shoes, the dog leaves for his/her day care with the parents and joins them after hours. Such attention has been a boon for Champ, who has been a regular day boarder at Pet Stepin for three years. “Champ was the first pet in our apartment complex when we brought him home four years ago. He had no one to mingle with,” says Sharath Keshava, one half of another working couple, with jobs that involve a lot of travel. After trying a few centres, the Keshavas felt Pet Stepin was a second home. “We’ve never had Champ throw a tantrum to not go there,” he says.Passion for poochThe convenience of day care also puts pressure on pet parents to raise well-behaved dogs. At Tail Magic in Gurugram, Pravin Kora runs parents and their wards through stringent assessment standards for attitude and behaviour to enter this ‘home stay/boarding for pooches’. Kora tries to retain the rules the pet has at home, though they have the run of his ground-plus-two-storied residence and backyard. “I try to replicate the experience the dog has at home,” he says. “If it is used to sleeping in bed at home, then s/he is allowed to come into the bed at my place, too.”The 39-year-old takes charge of everything — cooking the food, taking them for a walk, playing with them and engaging in what he calls “dawg talk”. “I don’t intervene when they play or are communicating among themselves” says Kora. One of his regulars is Cookie, who has been spend seven to eight hours at Tail Magic every day. “We first took him to Pravin when he was a pup, and we can see the difference,” says Antra Tyagi, who brought home the golden retriever two years ago. “He is well-balanced and friendly with other dogs and people, too. Unlike other dogs at the park, he doesn’t growl or have anxiety issues. He’s the kind of kid all the dog parents are fond of!”What to look for in a day careSurveillanceNearly all centers send pictures and videos of dogs engaged in games and activities via Whatsapp or Facebook to their parents. Some like Pet Stepin, and Shyamax Presswalla’s The Bark Club also share CCTV cameras feeds.Dietary PlanLook into their attention to dietary specifications. Dorothy Ghosh’s Chhaya Dog House in Chhatarpur, Delhi; Meera Thosar’s Happytails Boarding in Pune, and the about-to-open The Bark Club at Byculla in Mumbai, consider pet food preferences due to age or health conditions, and allgeriesVet-on-callAn on-call vet or a dedicated vehicle to take pets to veterinarians if needed

Income Tax raid: Rs 106 crore in cash and 127 kg of gold seized in Chennai

Chennai: The Income Tax department has seized at least Rs 106 crore in cash, including Rs 10 crore in new currency, and gold bars weighing 127 kg in searches at multiple locations in the city to check tax evasion post demonetization.

This is the largest seizure of new currency notes after the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were scrapped on 8 November. The I-T operation had been launched on Thursday here.

Officials said S Reddy, a contractor working with the state government, has claimed the entire money and the gold as his own and is being questioned.

“127 kg gold in 1 kg bars and Rs 96 crore in old currency and Rs 10 crore in Rs 2,000 notes have been seized by the sleuths after the operation,” top I-T department officials said, adding “this is an unprecedented amount that the tax department has seized in recent times”.

The department carried out the searches based on intelligence inputs about the activities of Reddy and few others for the last few days.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Officials said the agency was investigating how the new notes in such a large quantity were stashed by the individual. The bundles of the new Rs 2,000 had no banking slips on them.

They said the I-T teams had launched operations on at least eight locations of a “syndicate” involved in currency conversion.

The officials said a number of documents related to financial transactions, entries of gold sale and records of sale/purchase have also been seized by the tax sleuths.

At least three people of the alleged syndicate are being questioned while few others are under the radar, they said.

“He (Reddy) is a contractor working with the state government. He is claiming the entire cash and gold to be his own. Further probe is on,” they said.

The I-T department, they said, will share the case details with the Enforcement Directorate and CBI for further probe into money laundering and corruption angles. Some bank officials are also under the scanner of the taxman.

The tax department had made the largest seizure of Rs 5.7 crore cash in new notes in Bengaluru few days back after which two other central probe agencies, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, had taken over the cases to probe instances of corruption, money laundering and large-scale hawala transactions in the wake of the currency scrap on 8 November .

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 11:20 IST

Driver’s suicide note claims he knew how Janardhan Reddy laundered Rs 100 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Karnataka mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and Karnataka Administrative Service’s (KAS) officer of harassing him, a driver has allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday, reported CNN-News18. The driver, Ramesh Gowda, was working for Bengaluru land acquisition officer Bheema Nayak.Gowda claimed in his suicide note that he was receiving constant death threats as he knew how Reddy had converted his black money into white— the Rs 100 crore used for the opulent wedding of his daughter held recently.In exchange, Bheema Nayak is said to have received a 20% cut of that amount as well help to get a ticket to contest the 2018 Karnataka elections.The suicide note also claims that before the wedding, Reddy and BJP MP Sriramulu met Bheema Nayak several times in Bengaluru.After the “100-crore wedding”, the Income Tax department visited Janardhan Reddy’s house in Bellary and asked him to produce details of the income for the money spent on the wedding.

CBI arrests bank official, 2 bizmen for fraudulent exchange of old notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Wednesday arrested a senior manager of Central Bank of India and two owners of a firm in Bengaluru for allegedly violating RBI guidelines on scraping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.The agency had registered an FIR against senior manager and branch head of Central Bank of India’s Basavanagudi branch S Lakshimnarayana and Directors of Omkar Parimal Mandir — S Gopal and Ashwin G Sunkur — on Tuesday and carried out searches at various places.The three were called for questioning at the CBI office in Bengaluru this morning and placed under arrest after they allegedly failed to answer many of the questions, the CBI said here.The agency has booked them under sections of IPC dealing with criminal conspiracy and cheating as well as abuse of official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act.During the searches carried out yesterday at Bengaluru which included the residence of bank officials and private persons, the agency claimed to have recovered incriminating documents, including bank vouchers, counterfoils, DDs, property documents, hard disks and Rs 5,91,500 cash in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.In its FIR filed in the designated CBI court in Bengaluru, the CBI alleged that from November 15 to November 18, the bank manager had issued 149 demand drafts for amounts less than Rs 50,000 in favour of a Pune-based finance company in violation of RBI guidelines.The total value of the demand drafts was Rs 71 lakh which the branch manager accepted in demonetized notes from the owners of the company, the agency said.The amount was staggered and 149 DDs were issued for less than Rs 50,000 which was allegedly done by the accused fraudulently to convert the demonetized notes.The firm’s owners subsequently cancelled the drafts and encashed the amount thereby clandestinely converting old notes into valid bills, the CBI alleged.

Rs 71 lakh in new currency seized in Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Close on the heels of I-T sleuths confiscating over Rs five crore in Bengaluru, another Rs 71 lakh have been seized from the possession of three persons in Rs 2000 denomination, police said on Sunday.”Rs 71 lakh was seized from three persons who were arrested for carrying new Rs 2,000 notes in their car without any documents at Bailoor village,” Udupi Superintendent of Police K T Balakrishna said adding the police swung into action on a tip-off.Bailoor village is about 32kms from here.The three have been handed over to the Income Tax officials in Mangaluru for further investigation, he said.Police intercepted the car on December 1 and found the currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination totalling to Rs 71 lakh in a bag.The three occupants, Imran Hussain, Asif Umar and Deepak Shetty (driver), had failed to produce appropriate documents or provide explanation about the cash, Balakrishna said.They were travelling from Mangaluru to Kudremukh for a business payment, he said.Over 50 I-T sleuths and police personnel had searched premises in Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode (Tamil Nadu) as part of the country-wide operations, with the Department saying the seizure of cash in new currency was over Rs five crore.On December 2, IT officials said the cash found, after searches were launched on December 1, on the premises of two engineers and two contractors, has risen to Rs 5.7 crore and the notes were in the denomination of the new currency of Rs 2,000.”Total admission of unaccounted income by the group stands at Rs 152 crore. Investigations are on,” they had said in New Delhi.

Demonetisation: 27 public sector bank officials suspended over corrupt practices, 6 transferred

New Delhi: In a major crackdown on bank employees involved in irregularities post demonetisation, as many as 27 senior officials of various public sector banks have been suspended and six others transferred to check corrupt practices.

The suspensions comes amid reports of income tax authorities conducting search and seizure at many places, including one at Bengaluru where Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency notes was recovered from two businessmen.

Allahabad: Passengers gives 500 rupees for train ticket at a booking window at Alalhabad Railway station in Allahabad on Wednesday. PTI Photo(PTI11_9_2016_000066B)

PTI Photo.

Some cases have come to notice of officials involved in carrying out transactions which were irregular and violative of RBI’s instructions, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

“Action has been taken in such cases and 27 officials of various public sector banks have been placed under suspension and six officials have been transferred to non-sensitive posts,” it said.

It also cautioned that while all efforts are being made to facilitate genuine transactions, “illegalities will not be tolerated and appropriate action will be taken against individuals involved in irregular and unauthorised activities”.

Following the decision of the government to demonetise of old Rs 500/1000 notes from midnight of 8 November, 2016, people have been depositing the invalid notes into banks.

The Reserve Bank has put in cash withdrawal limits for individual as well as businessmen.

The ministry further said that banks have done commendable work by putting in long hours of untiring effort in managing banking transactions.

In the biggest-ever seizure of cash in new currency, over Rs 5 crore even as the Income Tax department said it detected unaccounted income worth Rs 152 crore after it conducted searches in a dozen premises in Bengaluru and other locations.

Earlier, RBI had asked banks to take action against erring officials to ensure cash availability for customers thronging banks.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 19:42 IST

Demonetisation Day 24: ‘Make in India’ innovator caught with fake notes; queues get longer at pumps

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) have urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to advise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to publicly announce the details of currency notes supplied to various banks.

In a joint letter to Jaitley, the two major unions pointed out that RBI’s repeated public statements that adequate cash is being supplied to banks, contrary to the reality, makes it seem to the public as if the RBI is supplying cash to banks and bank staff are deliberately not extending payments. The news updates from day 24 show their concerns to be quite valid.

Punjab innovator arrested with fake notes

A young engineer, whose innovation got appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, landed in the police net after he and his accomplices were caught with fake Rs 2,000 notes in Mohali town of Punjab.

Abhinav Verma had claimed to have created ‘Live Braille’, a wearable technology innovation that helped blind people to walk around without the aid of a walking stick last year. The device used sensors to guide blind people and was hailed as a success. It even got a mention from Modi in December last year at the Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru. The device was commercially launched this year, touted as an innovation under the ‘Make in India’ programme, and sold in India and over 15 countries.

The Punjab Police in Mohali, adjoining Chandigarh, recovered fake currency worth Rs 42 lakh in Rs 2,000 denomination and arrested Abhinav Verma, his cousin Vishakha Verma, and Ludhiana-based property dealer Suman Nagpal. The trio, along with two others, were duping people by exchanging the demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes for the fake Rs 2,000 notes. They were charging 30 percent commission for the exchange.

Heavy rush in banks, treasuries continues in Kerala

Banks and treasuries in Kerala are witnessing heavy rush and serpentine queues on Friday for the second consecutive day, with people queueing up to withdraw salaries and pensions.

The state government had asked RBI to release Rs 127 crore to meet the demand for distributing salaries and pensions, but received only Rs 57 crore till 11 am, official sources in Kerala said. As many as 50 treasuries are yet to receive any amount and the treasury employees are waiting at the banks to get the money released, they said.

Protesting the fund crunch in treasuries and difficulties faced by people, around 50 government employees, under the aegis of NGO association, took out a march to the district treasury in Thiruvananthapuram.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Cash seizure in new currency rises to Rs 5.7 crore

The biggest-ever seizure of cash in new currency on Friday grew to over Rs 5 crore even as the Income Tax department said it detected unaccounted income worth Rs 152 crore after it conducted searches in a dozen premises in Bengaluru and other locations.

I-T officials said the cash found after searches were launched, on Thursday, on the premises of two engineers, working with the state government, and two contractors have risen to Rs 5.7 crore and these notes are in the denomination of the newly introduced currency of Rs 2,000.

A team of over 50 I-T sleuths and police personnel had launched operations on Thursday and searched premises in Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode (Tamil Nadu). What had surprised the tax authorities is the sheer amount of new currency stashed by these individuals at a time when new notes are not available to the common public which is queuing up to withdraw even small amounts from their accounts.”Some entry operators and bankers are under the scanner. Such volume of new currency cannot be obtained without the connivance of bank officials,” a senior I-T department official said.

Queues get longer at pumps

As the new deadline allowing petrol pumps to accept scrapped high-denomination notes ends on Friday, long queues were witnessed at several fuel stations across the metropolis of Mumbai.

Besides the queues at petrol pumps, people lined up outside the banks and ATMs with many waiting to deposit old notes and withdraw money in Mumbai, as those who could not withdraw salary from banks on the first day post-demonetisation, queued up on Friday, struggling to withdraw cash to meet their monthly commitments. Many queues were especially for the senior citizens and pensioners. Also, non-functional and dried up ATMs worsened the situation prompting people to take to e-payments.

School children teach locals to make payments via mobile apps

Taking inspiration from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s appeal for making “Cashless India” in his Mann Ki Baat programme, school children in Khargone have started encouraging locals to use mobile transaction app for utility and other necessary payments.

The children are not only making people aware of mobile transaction apps but also teaching them how to use it for paying power, telephone and municipal taxes among other things. KK Convent School has also set up a helpline desk to raise awareness among the parents to go for cashless transactions or make payments through cheques.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 18:01 IST

Railways chug ahead, plans to sell wheels to South Africa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways is making plans to sell rail wheels to South Africa, a developed economy with a well-equipped railway system. Indian Railways is among the bigger suppliers of equipment including locomotives and coaches to smaller nations in Africa, such as Benin, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Senegal. The move towards South Africa is part of the Railways’ plans to get ambitious with its exports. In reply to a query from DNA, OP Agrawal, General Manager, Rail Wheel Factory, Bengaluru, confirmed: “In the past, the RWF has exported cast wheels a number of times to a number of countries. As of now, we are exploring new markets abroad. South Africa is one such market,” Agrawal replied. The exports of RWF, and several other production units of the Indian Railways, are managed by the Expotech division of the Railways’ consultancy firm RITES. RITES currently liaisons with about 55 countries in the world to sell products made by the Indian Railways. Puneet Kumar, executive director, Expotech, RITES said that the preliminary plan is being worked out.As reported by DNA in its July 11 edition, all production units have got orders to build capacity and capability to ensure that they can market at least 10 per cent of their products to firms or countries outside the ambit of the Indian Railways. The ministry has also asked its units to procure certifications like the Brussels-based International Rail Industry Standard so that markets like Europe and North America can be explored.Currently one of the biggest export orders is the construction of 120 LHB coaches for Bangladesh Railways. “It is a step in the right direction because the Indian Railways once was known for its cheap but effective technology,” said a senior railway official.

Demonetization: ED conducts searches across 40 locations; Rs 1.2 cr cash seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Enforcement Directorate conducted country-wide searches on Wednesday at about 40 locations and seized around Rs 1.2 crore cash as part of its crackdown to check black money held with currency exchanges and hawala dealers in the wake of the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.The agency has also filed a money laundering case against the officials of a private bank branch in Kashmere Gate area here, which was recently investigated by the Income Tax department on charges of alleged irregularities in converting the scrapped currencies. The I-T teams then had also conducted survey operations on the bank after the Delhi Police intercepted two people carrying Rs 3.5 crore cash in new currency.Officials said Enforcement Directorate teams seized about 20 lakh cash in old currency, about Rs 1 crore in new notes and transaction papers of about Rs 50 lakh foreign exchange at the end of operations. They said all the cash, documents and entry registers have been seized from the premises of hawala dealers and those currency exchanges who were indulging in illegal exchange of the old notes. “The cases are under investigation both for possible contravention of forex and money laundering laws,” they said.The searches were conducted by multiple teams of the agency in various cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Gandhinagar and Bengaluru among others. As many as 100 sleuths along with police personnel took part in the operation. In the eastern region, the agency searched at least 16 locations including six in Kolkata, two each in Bhubaneswar and Paradip (both in Odisha), Guwahati among others.The sleuths from the Kolkata zone of the ED seized Rs 10 lakh cash in new currency from the premises of a doctor in the West Bengal capital during the said operation, even as an assortment of foreign currency worth Rs 4 lakh has been seized from the same area.They said the agency launched the nationwide action as it was getting reports of instances of illegal exchange of old currency and stashing of new currency notes to perpetrate hawala and money laundering like activities.ED is the central agency to enforce two laws — the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Demonetization: Police nab van driver who escaped with Rs 1.37 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The van driver of a logistics agency who had allegedly fled with Rs 1.37 crore collected from banks was today apprehended but police are yet to trace the remaining Rs 12.92 lakh. “The driver, Dominic Selvaraj Roy, who had fled with the cash van, was arrested by Upparpet Police this morning near tin factory situated at K R Puram, but we are trying to trace the remaining Rs 12.92 lakh,” DCP West Anucheth told reporters.Police yesterday had nabbed his wife Evlin and recovered Rs 79.80 lakh from her possession.On November 24, a day after the heist, the van was found abandoned at Vasant Nagar and police recovered Rs 45 lakh of the Rs 1.37 crore, the police official said. Replying to a query, Anucheth said the accused had spent some part of the money on buying clothes, lodging, boarding and also to repay loans. Anucheth said after carrying out the heist between 12 noon to 1 pm on November 23, Dominic drove the van to Vasant Nagar.Since the other two trunks were large, he picked up a small trunk with Rs 92 lakh and abandoned the van at Vasant Nagar, Anucheth said. Dominic broke open the small trunk near Krishna Floor Mills at Banaswadi and stuffed Rs 92 lakh in a gunny bag and walked to his house, a km away, Anucheth said. After getting the money, Evlin and her son travelled to Vellore and proceeded to Chennai to visit her relative’s house, the police official said. From Chennai, Evlin and her son went to Coimbatore and from there to Chalakudy, a place near Thrissur, and travelled to Vijaywada, Anucheth said.From Vijaywada, they returned to Bengaluru on November 27, the official added. Anucheth said it was a planned heist.In a daring daylight heist on November 23, Dominic, who was hired by Logicash, an outsourcing agency, had driven away the van carrying the cash when two other employees had gone to a bank at the heart of the city to collect money. The accompanying security personnel had told police that they gone to attend to the nature’s call when the driver fled the spot.

Bengaluru: Cash van driver who fled with Rs 1.37 crore arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The driver of a logistic agency who had fled with the cash​ of Rs 1 crore 37 lakhs, was on Tuesday arrested from KR Puram in Bengaluru.In a daring daylight heist, Dominic had fled with a van laden with Rs 1.37 crore cash, collected from banks.Dominic’s wife Evelyn Mary Roy was arrested by the city police on Sunday night when she was heading to her cousin’s house. The cops recovered from her Rs 79.8 lakh, all in new Rs 2,000 currency notes, said reports. Dominic, hired by Logicash, an outsourcing agency, drove away the van with the cash when two other employees had gone to a bank in the heart of the city to collect money at around 1.30 pm on November 23.The accompanying security personnel had gone to attend the nature’s call when the driver fled the spot.

Note ban: India goes raving mad over new Rs 500 currency’s Houdini act

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi trashed the old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, the new Rs 2,000 note appeared pretty quickly like an angel that dropped from heaven to save India from its financial tribulations. But it created a turmoil of its own. The angel, however, turned into a phantom and very few wanted it. The new Rs 500 note took its own time to come. But come it did, at long last, though to make only a cameo appearance in some cities, reminding us how ephemeral life itself is. It appears, disappears, appears again and disappears again with a swiftness that would have put renowned illusionist Houdini out of business.

A file image of women arguing with a bank employee. Reuters

A file image of women arguing with a bank employee. Reuters

Reports of people going into rapturous joy over the brief sightings of the Rs 500 note have been pouring in from across India. Here is the story from Bengaluru.

Siddlaghatta Channabasappa was Bengaluru’s first citizen to set his lucky eyes on the transcendental beauty of the new Rs 500. As the 78-year-old erstwhile teacher watched his four notes flutter out of the ATM machine on Bharatma Road, he at once realised how Archimedes must have felt when he screamed Eureka after discovering whatever he discovered. Channabasappa went nuts. With a broad smile that smoothened a few wrinkles on his face, he held the new notes aloft in speechless wonder.

The members of the queue behind him forgot why they were there and milled around the old man, shouting in delirious joy: “Aidu nooru banthu (500 has come)”. Some patted Channabasappa on the shoulder, some hugged him and congratulated him on not only getting his own money but also in the shape of the Rs 500 which had hitherto been an elusive mirage.

A couple of able-bodied Kannadigas mounted Channabasappa on their shoulders and to the nearby Lakshmi temple, with others on their toes.

Once at the temple, they dropped the old man on the floor, sprinkled kumkuma and rice mixed with turmeric powder on the notes and, after placing them at the feet of the goddess, performed arathi. The priest marvelled at the proceedings, his greedy eyes not leaving the currency even for a moment.

After the pooja came speeches.

An English professor was the first to speak. He said: “How wondrously beautiful and utterly ravishing this new note is! Nothing on the planet except the Cauvery can rival its elegance and pristine beauty. I quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

 As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,

And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night

Well, it’s afternoon really, for it is now 3.40 pm. Thank you.”

A young boy with a smartphone in hand was the next to share his thrill: “IMO, this note is the cutest thing after Priyanka Chopra. It’s a kickass knockout! LOL. My father, mother, brother and I have been standing in queues in four shifts for god knows how many days. This is the first ATM that’s giving money and giving Rs 500s too! Narendra Modi is super-duper.”

“Yes, yes,” agreed a woman with a baby in her arm. Wiping tears with the end of her sari pallu, she said between joyous sobs: “Only Narendra Modi can do this. Giving us back our own money. He knew about our hassles with the Rs 2,000. So he’s giving us 500s. Modi is cleaning up India. He is like Lord Hanuman who carried the mountain of herbs for Lakshman’s medical treatment…”

A middle-aged man interrupted her. “What utter nonsense and poppycock is this!” he screamed, jumping up and down as if his shirt had caught fire. “It’s because of the Congress we’re blessed with 500s. Rahulji stood in a queue in Delhi and spoke about our inconveniences with Rs 2,000 and demanded Rs 500s. Apparently, he hadn’t heard of the Rs 100s. And then Soniaji told Manmohanji to tell Parliament what a monumental disaster this is! Stop singing paeans to Narendra Modi.”

A bearded youth with gold-framed Ray Ban glasses that dropped to the tip of his nose coughed loudly to get attention. Having got it, he said:  “I studied at JNU which trains the best of the humanity in subjects ranging from ideological intimidation to currency economics. This demonetisation is a devious scam typical of the bourgeois, a cold-blooded fraud on the proletariat. It’s so incredibly stupid that China is laughing at India. And releasing 500s at this juncture further aggravates the situation. Don’t ask me how. Study at JNU or watch NDTV. What Marx once said about currency shook the world …”

“Shake the tomb of Marx and yourself,” shouted a girl with a saffron dupatta.

Even as she was screaming at the JNU scholar, a second crowd gathered to watch the first crowd. They just stood staring, utterly uninterested in finding out what it was all about. Then a third crowd formed to gawk at the second one. Then a fourth one… It was only later that the second and the subsequent crowds found what the whole pooja was about.

Then there was a mad rush for the ATM. Four people died in the stampede. Channabaasappa was one of them.

The author wrote a weekly satire column called True Lies in The Times of India from 1996 to 2001. He tweets at @sprasadindia

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 15:17 IST

Vijay Mallya’s extradition request: CBI moves non-bailable warrant

New Delhi: CBI on Monday initiated an extradition request to bring back former liquor baron Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom through a Special Court in Mumbai.

File photo of Vijay Mallya. AFP

File photo of Vijay Mallya. AFP

The investigative agency secured a non-bailable warrant against Mallya, following it with an extradition request from the Special Court, to competent authorities in the United Kingdom, CBI sources said in New Delhi on Monday.

Mallya had left the country on 2 March and has not returned ever since, they said.

CBI, in its 16 October, 2015 request to issue a lookout circular, had said if Mallya tried to leave the country, he should be detained at the exit point.

Nearly a month later in November, the agency asked for a revised circular, where it asked the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) to only inform it about his departure and travel plans.

As per agency sources, the lookout circular depends on the issuing authority and unless they ask BoI to detain a person or stop him from boarding a plane, no action is taken.

They said after CBI changed the lookout notice, BoI did not make any attempt to stop him from travelling abroad, and every time he travelled the agency was duly informed about it.

Mallya is facing the CBI probe for defaulting on repayment of loans of Rs 900 crores taken from IDBI. In total, the former liquor baron owes several banks a total of as much as Rs 9,000 crores.

State Bank of India, which leads the consortium of 17 banks that lent money to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had moved Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru against the airlines chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000 crore of dues from him.

The CBI had registered a case against Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), Chief Financial Officer of the airlines A Raghunathan and unknown officials of IDBI Bank alleging that Rs 900 crores that IDBI sanctioned as a loan to Mallya was in “violation of norms to do with credit limits.”

The agency had later expanded the probe to include loan defaults of all other banks.

Clarifying his position regarding the loan owed by KFA, Mallya said in a recent statement after the closure of the airline, that since April, 2013, the banks and their assignees have recovered, in cash, an aggregate of Rs 1,244 crores from the sale of pledged shares.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 17:21 IST

Mining baron Janardhan Reddy’s offices raided by Income Tax sleuths post Rs 500 cr lavish wedding

Visit link:   Mining baron Janardhan Reddy’s offices raided by Income Tax sleuths post Rs 500 cr lavish wedding

Central panel recommends cap on surge pricing for Ola, Uber

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dynamic pricing, commonly dreaded as “surge” pricing in taxis can be allowed for taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola within a specified range, a central government panel has recommended.Officials from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said that dynamic pricing is important, but the same can’t be used to exploit people. “The guidelines will recommend allowing dynamic pricing but will put a cap on the maximum fare which can be charged,” a senior official said.The Union cabinet had, in August, decided to bring all app-based taxi services, under the regulatory framework which will allow state governments to fix a fare cap and check arbitrary charging.The panel, headed by highways secretary Sanjay Mitra, has also proposed waiving off the current cap on the number of taxis plying in the city.It also recommends allowing taxi aggregators to operate deluxe taxis, which will have a higher fare, sources said.The recommendations, which are likely to come out next week, will not be binding upon the state governments which may come out with their own set of rules. Karnataka, Delhi, and Maharashtra had framed rules for taxi aggregators.Uber had then taken the governments of Karnataka and Delhi to the high court over the rules, which had directed that the company should not charge surge from customers in Delhi and Bengaluru.The Delhi High Court in August banned surge pricing by taxi aggregators in the national capital region from August 22 and asked them to comply with the price caps notified by the Delhi government.Karnataka had, in March, cracked down on surge pricing by Ola and Uber, the practice of imposing a surcharge on fares when demand is high.A senior official said the ministry will largely support taxis, since they would reduce the number of personal cars on roads, thereby reducing the load on existing infrastructure.The guidelines will also state that the cabs should be compliant with the fuel requirement and measures for the safety and security of women commuting in the taxis.

Demonetisation: If this is a moral crusade, why wasn’t Janardhana Reddy shown his place?

Mining mafioso Janardhana Reddy is a typical example of hoarder of black money: he has, in his inimitable way, cocked a snook at the prime minister and has made it look as if Narendra Modi is not a great moral warrior against black money, but an astute political strategist who takes a pragmatic view of money, black or white.

When the Prime Minister delivered the nation-wide address to announce the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (8 November), he said that this was a move to bring the corrupt to book. He projected himself as an uncompromising crusader against corruption.

Barely a week later, when millions of Indian citizens were forming queues in front of the banks and ATMs to draw a few thousand rupees (as per the limits set by the government to ease the currency crunch situation), here is a politician, a former BJP minister and the biggest player amongst the mining mafia in Karnataka, making the most vulgar display of wealth to celebrate his daughter’s marriage at Bengaluru.

File image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTIFile image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTI

File image of G Janardhana Reddy. PTI

A report in The Indian Express (17 November) said: “The wedding venue was designed to look like a scene from the Vijayanagar empire, designed by a film art director on 35 acres of land at the Bangalore Palace grounds.”

The Hindu reported (November 17): “A dazzling array of diamonds, massive ornate replicas of elephants befitting grand Dasara celebrations and rows of luxury cars decorated with the priciest orchids waiting outside the main hall [sic].”

The invitation cards for the marriage were delivered in decorated boxes with an LCD screen inside it — the screen announcing the marriage, followed by a song and dance sequence by the Reddy family. Eight priests from the Tirumala temple in Tirupati were brought in to perform the wedding rituals (it must be noted that Reddy had donated a diamond-studded crown worth over Rs 40 crore to Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati in 2009).

Reddy had a guest list of over 50,000 people: seven helipads were created to facilitate the arrival of VIP guests in special jets, 3,000 bouncers were deployed to keep the hoi polloi under discipline.

“After the glittering ceremony, lunch for non-VIP guests was served in a separate hall… with a 50-item menu, while the VIPs had a more lavish spread of 100 items,” The Hindu reported, adding, “It was an expensive wedding in Bengaluru and it stood out in the present cash-strapped times.”

What needs to be stressed is that it was a vulgar display of black money. After all, where did Reddy get the money from? He is an accused in the mining scam, he was in jail for three-and-a-half years after the CBI chargesheet (he got bail in January 2015 after the Narendra Modi government came to power and the CBI withdrew its objection to Reddy’s bail application); his bank accounts remain still frozen. Obviously, he delved deep into the black money reserve to hold the function on such a grand scale.

But what is alarming is that he had no qualms about making such an ostentatious display of wealth (media reports suggest that the total estimate of the wedding expenses might have touched a staggering figure of Rs 500 crore), even though he is supposed to be a chargesheeted man, accused of illegal mining operations; during a CBI raid in his house in September 2011, the investigative agency had found Rs 3 crore cash and 30 kgs of gold.

That was clearly black money; this is the kind of black money that the prime minister wants to make a thing of the past. If it is a moral crusade with the prime minister, he would have ensured that Janardhana Reddys are shown their place. The party and the administration that he commands should have refused to touch him with a barge pole.

But what did we witness on 16 November? Vajubhai Vala, the governor, and BS Yeddyurappa, a former BJP chief minister of the state (who is again set to become the chief minister if the BJP comes to power in Karnataka in 2018 assembly elections) were there to rub shoulders with the mining mafia don at the wedding.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

The governor is supposed to be an independent functionary, but as we know today, most governors are political appointees and they carry out the diktat of the party in power at the Centre. And Vala, the incumbent governor, has been a Modi disciple for long years; Narendra Modi had made Vala the Speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly when he was the chief minister of the state.

Vala and Yeddyurappa would not have ventured to attend the vulgar show, if they would have felt that the prime minister would not take to it kindly especially when he has positioned himself as the commander-in-chief of the war against black money.

But, having been close political associates of Narendra Modi for decades, Vala and Yeddyurappa know our prime minister very well. They understand that if they are questioned about their presence in the glittering function in which black money is written all over in golden typeface, they would be able to convince the party leadership that Janardhana Reddy’s black money had played a stellar role in the BJP (Yeddyurappa) assuming power for the first time in Karnataka in 2008; and if they had taken the moral high ground and stayed away from the marriage function, then Reddy’s hundreds of crores would not reach them again in 2018 elections. And this explanation would settle the matter once and for all.

Yeddyurappas and Janardhana Reddys are there to stay in a cosy relationship to make Narendra Modi’s dream of conquering Karnataka again in 2018 come true.

It is not for nothing that Narendra Modi is known as an astute political strategist; one who can simultaneously wage a war against black money and look the other way when his minions make peace with a black money baron.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 11:01 IST

BJP, Congress ministers attend mining baron Janardhana Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding

Brazilian dancers, helium balloons featuring images of the family, lavish replicas of elephants, a 50-item menu for non-VIPs and a more extravagant spread of 100 items for VIPs served on a banana leaf… These were just some of the highlights at former BJP minister G Janardhana Reddy’s daughter Brahmani’s wedding, even as the rest of India lined up outside banks and ATMs to get their share of Rs 100 notes.

Indian mining tycoon, Gali Janardhan Reddy, (C) is seen on a big screen as he poses with his daughter Bramhani (2R) and son-in-law, Rajeev Reddy (2L) during their wedding at the Bangalore Palace Grounds in Bangalore. A controversial Indian mining tycoon has taken over a royal palace and flown in Brazilian dancers at a reported cost of 75 million dollars to celebrate his daughter's wedding, as the country reels from a cash crisis. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)Indian mining tycoon, Gali Janardhan Reddy, (C) is seen on a big screen as he poses with his daughter Bramhani (2R) and son-in-law, Rajeev Reddy (2L) during their wedding at the Bangalore Palace Grounds in Bangalore. A controversial Indian mining tycoon has taken over a royal palace and flown in Brazilian dancers at a reported cost of 75 million dollars to celebrate his daughter's wedding, as the country reels from a cash crisis. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Gali Janardhan Reddy, (C) is seen on the big screen with his daughter Bramhani (2R) and son-in-law, Rajeev Reddy (2L) during their wedding in Bengaluru. Getty Images

The former mining baron’s daughter’s five-day wedding to Rajiv Reddy took place at the sprawling Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on Wednesday. The wedding was held with such pomp and splendour with huge sets replicating the Vijaya Vitthala temple of Hampi, the seat of the glorious erstwhile Vijayanagara empire, and Tirumala Tirupati temple were erected at the venue, along with the replica of the homes of both of bride and the groom. The first glimpse of the garish and ornate wedding was seen when the invitation came in a box with an LCD screen playing a video, where Reddy and family were seen inviting guests, lip-syncing to a song.


The bride and the groom. YouTube/RVR PRO

Reddy and family dressed up as “royals” in gold and diamond had left no stone unturned for the wedding. Most utensils for the wedding rituals were either gold or silver and entire venue was equipped with air conditioners. While overflowing fountains added to the glitter, orchids and other ornamental flowers were arranged fancily.

Around 50,000 people had been invited for the wedding and people were also ferried from Reddy’s bastion, mine-rich Ballari. The who’s who of the Kannada and Telugu film industry attended the wedding ceremony and wished the newlyweds.


From the wedding ceremony. YouTube/RVR PRO

Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala, Home Minister G Parameshwara, Energy Minister DK Shiva Kumar, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa were among prominent leaders who attended. Congress ministers such as DK Shivakumar, HK Patil and Ramalinga Reddy, reports The Times of India, attended the ceremony, while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was conspicuous by his absence as he had reportedly fought a “political battle” against the Reddy brothers.

Reddy, 49, a former minister with BJP in Karnataka, spent three years in jail for his alleged involvement in a mining scam before he was released on bail last year.

The wedding is reported to have cost around Rs 550 crore.

A photo from the wedding ceremony. YouTubeA photo from the wedding ceremony. YouTube

A photo from the wedding ceremony. YouTube

“Reddy has hired about 3,000 bouncers and security guards to prevent media and activists like me from barging into the venue,” said Murthy, adding he had petitioned local tax authorities to investigate.

Amidst all this opulence, The Hindu reported that, some guests at the wedding were so “disappointed with the return gifts” — saplings of tulsi and sandalwood — that they picked up more than one bag to take home.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 12:28 IST

Twitter suspends accounts of some alt-right figures: USA Today | Reuters

Twitter suspends accounts of some alt-right figures: USA Today | Reuters

Updated: Nov 16, 2016 23:21 IST


Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right movement, a loosely organized group that embraces far-right ideologies including white nationalism, USA Today reported.The accounts suspended by Twitter, which has been criticized for not stopping abusive behavior on its platform, include that of Richard Spencer, who has said he wants blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Jews removed from the United States, the newspaper reported on Wednesday. (usat.ly/2fXyXDo)The alt-right movement came to the fore during the U.S. presidential campaign, especially after Republican nominee Donald Trump added Steve Bannon to his campaign team.Bannon, who has since been named Trump’s chief White House strategist, formerly headed Breitbart News, a website and voice for the alt-right movement.

“I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt-right,” Spencer, who has a verified Twitter account, said in a YouTube video entitled “Knight of the Long Knives” responding to the suspension.The move by the microblogging service, which did not immediately respond for requests for comment, followed its announcement on Tuesday that it would upgrade some features to better combat cyber-bullying.

USA Today said the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that tracks what it sees as hate groups and other extremists, had asked Twitter to remove more than 100 accounts of white supremacists who violated Twitter’s terms of service.

Others whose accounts have been suspended include Pax Dickinson, founder of alt-right site Wesearchr; an alt-right internet personality who goes by the fake name Ricky Vaughn; and blogger Paul Town, who describes himself as “the leading thoughtleader of alt-right,” CNN reported. (cnnmon.ie/2eGkAWe) (Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 23:21 IST

Twitter to upgrade some features to thwart cyber-bullying | Reuters

Twitter to upgrade some features to thwart cyber-bullying | Reuters

Updated: Nov 15, 2016 21:12 IST


Twitter, facing pressure for not doing enough to curb abusive behavior on its platform, said on Tuesday it would upgrade some features to better combat cyber-bullying.The company said it would expand the “mute” option to allow users to block tweets based on keywords, phrases and the content of conversations from a user’s notifications.The “mute” option currently allows users to block tweets from accounts.The change will be rolled out to all users in the coming days, Twitter said in a blog post. (bit.ly/2fVpQ6j)

Twitter, which has struggled to strike a balance between free expression and blocking violent and hateful speech, has come under increasing criticism following complaints from users that they have been the target of abuse.In July, Twitter permanently banned some user accounts for harassment after Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones left the site, saying she had faced severe harassment.

Twitter (TWTR.N) said it would provide “a more direct way” for users to flag abusive content, but didn’t give details.

The company also said it had improved internal controls to deal more effectively with abusive conduct reported by users. (Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 21:12 IST

Demonetisation: Charges on ATM transactions waived till 30 December

Mumbai: In yet another move to lessen woes of people facing cash crunch, the RBI on Monday directed banks to waive ATM charges on all transactions done by savings bank customers till 30 December.

The waiver will be applicable on transactions done by a customer through his or her own bank ATM as well those of other banks.

“It has been decided that banks shall waive levy of ATM charges for all transactions (inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions) by savings bank customers done at their own banks’ ATMs as well as at other banks’ ATMs, irrespective of the number of transactions during the month,” the central bank said in a late evening notification.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The waiver is applicable on transactions done at ATMs from 10 November till 30 December, 2016.

There are about 2 lakh ATMs of different banks across the country.

In August 2014, the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other banks’ ATMs was reduced to three transactions per month in the six metro centres (Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad).

A customer was permitted at least five free transactions per month for use of own bank ATMs.

Banks could charge up to Rs 20 (plus service tax, if any) beyond the permitted transactions.

The government’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from 9 November has lead to shortage of cash with the public.

Huge queues are being seen outside bank branches to exchange the old notes or withdraw money from ATMs across the country.

On Sunday, the withdrawal limit from ATMs (recalibrated machines) was raised to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,000.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 21:48 IST

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: It’s our turn to play soldier; present discomfort a small price to pay

If the India Today report on the selling of a set of printing presses from Nasik in an open auction with the dyes intact has even 10 percent truth in it, it’s is horrific.

Although the Rs 1,000 note went into service in 2000, the first report that the Indian currency was being printed across the border came in 2003 and the presses were activated under Al-Qaeda control, and it is said that as much as Rs 30,000 crores have been generated. Over Rs 3,000 crores were being used annually to finance terror operations against India.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

There were vague arrests and some investigations, but how was it okay to sell currency and a stamp paper printing system when dismantling and destroying it and throwing the pieces to the winds was the obvious thing to do. How could good quality currency be printed in massive numbers across the border without these machines and who helped in getting them there.

When you think of the possibility that for over a decade we have had the mickey taken out of us, this decision to make these two notes illegal tender is actually a war of the 21st century and each one of us is a soldier.

Suddenly, we have an army of 1.2 billion men, women and children, and with the confirmations coming in that much of the money was being used to kill our people and our soldiers, our present discomfort is really a small price to pay.

My whole thinking has transformed in a day.

We’ll manage for a week, two weeks, whatever it takes and only hope that the infirm, the elderly and the very young are not denied medical facilities.

Here is our turn to play that soldier seriously and help the neighbours.

But that emotional outburst aside, it is vital, nay mandatory, that the whole gut wrenching, sickening slimy trail of corruption that led to the sale of the printing presses is focused upon again and every individual who was party to it called upon to explain.

I know India signed a deal with Komori, a Japanese firm after its agreement with Russia cracked up and created the first surge of counterfeiting as a cottage industry, but I don’t believe many of us had any clue that older machines had been auctioned.

If so, we need to reopen this investigation on all fronts and ask why, for 13 years, this awareness that imitation Indian money was being funneled through diplomatic pouches, from Nepal and Bangladesh and was of such great quality being printed on our supposedly auctioned presses that it was tough to detect their flaws.

It is so mind boggling to even consider that between the bureaucrats at that time and the governments and their collective awareness they actually allowed presses to be sold and not destroyed.

It is alleged there is a guy in a Bengaluru jail called Abdul Karim Telgi, who was one of the midwives for these deliveries. Let’s wake him up and begin to follow the clues and no matter who gets caught in the net or which party he or she belongs to we deserve to know how these presses were sold.

First Published On : Nov 11, 2016 18:14 IST

Ebay lays off 100 staff at Bengaluru tech centre; is Trump victory already taking away jobs?

E-commerce major eBay has laid off about 100 employees at its technology centre in Bengaluru and is shifting work to other global centres.



In his run-up to presidential polls, president-elect Donald Trump had repeatedly remarked about how jobs were being taken up other countries. ““They are taking our jobs. China is taking our jobs. Japan is taking our jobs. India is taking our jobs. It is not going to happen anymore, folks!”

Trump told to thunderous applause from the audience. “Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sidelines, outside the workforce, and not part of our economy. It’s a silent nation of jobless Americans. Under this American System, every policy decision we make must pass a simple test: does it create more jobs and better wages for Americans?”

Is eBay’s decision a reaction to what Trump has been promising the electorate?

When contacted, an eBay India spokesperson said eBay regularly reviews its operational structure as a normal course of business. “Today, we announced some changes to our global product and technology team. As a result, we are reducing our overall technology workforce in Bangalore and shifting work to other global centres around the world,” the spokesperson said.

The Bengaluru centre will now focus on eBay India – dedicated product and development work, the spokesperson further said.

While the company did not disclose the number of people to be impacted by the decision, sources said about 100 people have been laid off. The centre had over 300 people.

“We remain committed to India and will continue to invest in core product and technology development for eBay India,” the spokesperson said adding that there is no other reductions plans in near future.

(With inputs from PTI)

GST portal goes live, software almost ready: GSTN Chairman Navin Kumar

New Delhi: A new and simpler portal for the incoming Goods and Services Tax regime went live today that will enable easy filing of returns and tax payments through credit/debit cards and other modes.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

As much as 60 per cent of the software needed to run GST is ready and GSTN – the company building the gigantic infrastructure and IT backbone for it, made the www.gst.gov.in portal live for migrating existing tax payers.

It will test the software for integrating a welter of state and central levies before the ‘one market, one rate’ tax model comes into being from April next year.

GSTN Chairman Navin Kumar said migrating more than 65 lakh VAT payers, about 20 lakh service tax payers and about 3-4 lakh central excise duty payers to a new portal has started. A provisional identification number, called GSTIN for the assesses who have moved to the new portal is being generated, Kumar told PTI.

New registrations under GST will start from April 2017. On the new portal, businessmen and traders who currently have to file separate returns for array of indirect taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT, will file a single monthly return and pay tax online through various payment cards, including credit and debit, he said.

GSTN is building a network that will not just integrate the assessees paying service tax, excise and other local levies, but will also help in building the IT backbone for online registration, refund, return filing and tax payment.

“Because we started work in November 2015, today we are in a happy position that 60 per cent of the software development has been completed; 40 per cent is balance and
that work is going on,” Kumar said.

The GSTN is building four data centres spread across Delhi and Bengaluru to ensure that the data is safe, secure and to ensure data recovery, whenever required.

Kumar said GSTN has started importing hardware and by December all equipment would be ready and testing would start.

“About 80 lakh tax payers will be migrated from the existing to GST regime. That migration we are starting now. We will generate a PAN-based provisional ID for each tax payer. By December, all the hardware equipment will be ready. Then, the software will be put on the data centre and then the testing will start,” he said.

Under the GST regime, taxes can be paid using debit, credit cards as well as through NEFT/RTGS transfers.

Delhi pollution: Paytm chief moves out temporarily; gives staff option to work from home

Delhi pollution: Paytm chief moves out temporarily; gives staff option to work from home

Updated: Nov 8, 2016 11:16 IST

#Delhi Pollution #Paytm #Vijay Shekhar Sharma


Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has left New Delhi to escape the pollution that has paralysed the normal life in the capital city, according to a report in The Economic Times.

He left on Sunday with family for Mumbai and plans to stay put there until the air clears in Delhi, says the report.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma. PTIVijay Shekhar Sharma. PTI

Vijay Shekhar Sharma. PTI file photo

“I couldn’t have waited till Monday. Air is really bad in Delhi and I’m allergic to dust,” he has been quoted as saying in the report.

In an indication that the pollution may be impacting the businesses, Sharma has also reportedly cancelled a slew of meetings that was scheduled to take place in the Noida office. He has even asked his staff to work from home if required.

As pollution levels worsened in Delhi, the government had two days back announced a raft of “emergency” measures, including shutting schools until Wednesday, banning construction and demolition activities for five days and temporary closure of Badarpur Power Plant.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also appealed to people to stay indoors and if possible work from home considering the situation, adding that strict action will be taken against those found burning garbage.

According to the ET report, Sharma had earlier too considered shifting the base to Bengaluru due to pollution issues. However, he decided to continue in Delhi due to the  better global connectivity the city offers.

Senior journalist Girish Nikam dies of heart attack

Mon, 7 Nov 2016-09:23pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior journalist and TV anchor Girish Nikam died in Delhi on Monday following a massive heart attack. Nikam, 59, complained of uneasiness after a programme shoot in the studios and was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he breathed his last, according to his associates.Nikam started his journalistic career with “Star of Mysore” in Mysuru and later shifted to Indian Express, Bengaluru. He had worked in other media organisations including India Today, Deccan Chronicle and News Today before doing programmes for Rajya Sabha TV.Nikam’s body is being taken to Bengaluru on Tuesday for the last rites. Prasar Bharati Chairman A Suryaprakash was among others who condoled the death of Nikam. Suryaprakash said Nikam was an extremely versatile mediaperson who traversed the worlds of print, television and social media.

India is one of Britain’s most important and closest friends: UK PM Theresa May

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing India as one of the UK’s “most important and closest” friends and a leading power in the world, Prime Minister Theresa May today said she will hold talks with counterpart Narendra Modi to bolster bilateral strategic ties in areas like defence, security and trade.Ahead of her visit to India – which is May’s first bilateral visit outside the UK, an article published in the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ quoted her as saying that she plans to “promote the best of Britain” during her three-day trade mission to New Delhi and Bengaluru.She writes: “One of our most important and closest friends has to be India a leading power in the world, with whom we share so much history, culture and so may values, and which is led by a Prime Minister who is undertaking a far-reaching programme of reform. “In other words, we are two countries with strong ties, a mature relationship and an opportunity to make that even deeper. That is why, today I will be travelling to India for my first bilateral visit outside Europe and first trade mission as Prime Minister, accompanied by a range of top British businesses, including some of our brightest small and medium enterprises.”We will be promoting the best of Britain, sending out the message that we are open for business, and making the most of the opportunities offered by Brexit as the world’s foremost champion of free trade.”May, who will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi tomorrow, said she will seek concrete steps to move the partnership forward during the meeting.”I will be using this visit to reaffirm the importance of the strategic partnership we already have, which delivers huge benefits for both our countries, and to work with Prime Minister Modi to agree to concrete steps to realise our shared vision of going even further in our cooperation across trade, investment, defence and security.”Building 100 new ‘Smart Cities’, encouraging firms to ‘Make in India’, getting the country online with ‘Digital India’, delivering better healthcare, infrastructure, skills and finance these form Prime Minister Modi’s vision, and with our world-class architects, lawyers, financiers, engineers, medics, academics and tech experts, Britain is the ideal partner to help achieve that, creating jobs and growth in both our countries.”Dismissing any talk of a free trade agreement (FTA), she said while an FTA cannot be signed until the official Brexit process, engagement with countries outside the EU can be stepped up. There is a great deal we can do right now to break down barriers to trade, open up new markets for British businesses and prepare the ground for ambitious free trade agreements once we have left the EU,” she said.”That’s why we are working with the Indians to strengthen intellectual property rights, enable the UK’s world-leading services sector to work in the India market, and offer support to Prime Minister Modi’s aim to make India an easier place to do business,” she said.”It is why we are introducing new British businesses to the opportunities on offer. And alongside this, while we will maintain our support for an EU-India free trade agreement, we will continue our dialogue with India about a future bilateral trade arrangement between our two countries,” she noted.She said her visit to India is about “collaboration” and highlighting the opportunities for new ways in which we can collaborate in future.”I want to encourage more Indian businesses to invest in Britain, I want to see more British firms doing business in India, and I want to work with Prime Minister Modi to deliver the ambitious visions we share for our countries.”Free trade and increased cooperation will make us all more secure and more prosperous. Take advantage of the opportunities before us, and I truly believe that this can be the partnership of the century,” she concluded.

Won’t go ahead with steel flyover now: Bengaluru Development Authority to Karnataka HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru Development Authority on Thursday gave an undertaking to the Karnataka High Court that it would not go ahead with construction of a steel flyover in Bengaluru “as of now” after the National Green Tribunal had granted an interim stay on the controversial project.The southern bench of NGT had recently restrained the BDA from proceeding with the project for four weeks and posted the matter to November 25 for further hearing.The tribunal had granted interim stay on petitions from Neelaiah, Citizen Action Forum and others, which opposed the project on environmental grounds.The Rs 1761 Cr project of BDA is to construct a 6.72-km-long, six-lane steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to decongest traffic, but it has run into rough weather as it involved felling of an estimated over 800 trees. Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) had filed a petition before the high court, seeking a stay on the construction after raising questions about the constitutionality of the project. NBF also claimed that the tender for the project was called in March, but a public consultation was held only in June.As protests mounted against the project, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George had dismissed it as a ‘political gimmick’ and said the government had taken the decision after consultations with experts and due diligence. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had defended the proposed construction of the steel flyover, calling it “totally transparent” and claimed the project was proposed in 2010 and announced in the 2014-15 budget.The project has also come in for resistance from social activists and several civic groups, mostly on environmental concerns.

Bengaluru steel flyover: BDA tells Karnataka High Court it will halt construction

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday put a hold on the steel flyover project in Bengaluru. According to reports, the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) gave an undertaking to the HC saying that it will not go ahead with the construction for now.

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had on Friday restrained the BDA from proceeding with the project for four weeks.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Granting an interim stay on the flyover proposal that kicked up controversies, the NGT had directed the BDA not to carry on with the project work for four weeks and posted the matter to 25 November for further hearing.

The tribunal granted interim stay on petitions from Neelaiah, Citizen Action Forum and others. The petitions opposed the project on environmental grounds.

The Rs 1,761-crore project of the BDA is to construct a 6.72 km long, six-lane steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to decongest traffic. However, the project faced opposition as it allegedly involved felling of over 800 trees. Farmers too had opposed the project. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium too had reportedly said that ramps may block the view of the sky.

As protests mounted against the project, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George had last week dismissed it as a “political gimmick” and it had taken the decision after consultations with experts and “due diligence”.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had defended the proposed construction of steel flyover calling it “totally transparent” and claimed the project was proposed in 2010 and announced in 2014-15 budget.

With inputs from PTI

Bengaluru steel flyover: NGT grants stay on project work for four weeks

Chennai: The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday restrained the Bengaluru
Development Authority (BDA) from proceeding with the steel flyover project for four weeks.

Granting an interim stay on the flyover proposal that kicked up controversies, the NGT directed the BDA not to carry on with the project work for four weeks and posted the matter to 25 November for further hearing.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The tribunal granted interim stay on petitions from Neelaiah, Citizen Action Forum and others. The petitions opposed the project on environmental grounds.

The Rs 1,761 crore project of the BDA is to construct a 6.72 km long, six-lane steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal to decongest traffic. However, the project faced opposition as it allegedly involved felling of over 800 trees. Farmers too had opposed the project. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium too had reportedly said that ramps may block the view of the sky.

As protests mounted against the project, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George had last week dismissed it as a “political gimmick” and it had taken the decision after consultations with experts and “due diligence”.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had defended the proposed construction of steel flyover calling it “totally transparent” and claimed the project was proposed in 2010 and announced in 2014-15 budget.

Bengaluru steel flyover row: NGT puts project on hold for four weeks

Fri, 28 Oct 2016-06:45pm , Bengaluru , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Bengalureans approached the green board over the construction of the steel flyover which requires the axing of almost 812 trees, the National Green Tribunal on Friday put the entire project on hold for four weeks.The tribunal has sought a detailed report from the state government on the environmental impact assessment before going ahead with the work.Earlier, citizens had met Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala seeking cancellation of the tender to Larsen & Toubro, who have been given the contract to construct the flyover.Meanwhile, the ‘tree vigil’ will commence from November, where citizen volunteers will hold regular day and night vigil on the stretch from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal to save the trees which are to be axed for the project.

Major Indian cities report decline in firecrackers sales, finds survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ban on import and sale of Chinese crackers has had little or no effect on domestically-made ones as traders across major cities report poor business owing to anti-cracker campaign run by schools, resident welfare associations and others, Assocham said on Friday.It is not just Chinese crackers, but multiple factors like growing environmental awareness, rising cost of living, growing tendency to save hard-earned money, paucity of time and traffic congestions have dented the business over the years. This is what a majority of the 250 traders surveyed said.There is a sharp sales decline of about 20% year-on-year from the past five years, which have also almost halved. “Banning Chinese firecrackers was a welcome move which was aimed at strengthening the domestic industry. However, growing criticism of bursting crackers and the negative publicity along with rising pollution have eventually faded the growth of firecracker industry,” said D S Rawat, Assocham Secretary General, while releasing the findings.”About hundreds of units in Sivakasi have shut their shop owing to intense campaigns and growing sales of China-made crackers over the years.”Costlier raw materials and inflation have also held back people from buying crackers, a trend for the past few years now, noted the survey. However, many traders nurse hope that last-minute purchase could save the day for them.The industry body interacted with wholesalers, retailers and traders spread across 10 cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai to gauge enthusiasm and demand for crackers together with the ban impact across India.

Kerala: Priest arrested for sexually assaulting seminary student

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 41-year-old Catholic priest has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 21-year-old seminary student here.Father James Thekemuriyil, a former Rector of the Deva Matha seminar at Pattaram in Iritty, had allegedly sexually assaulted the student in May, 2015, police said. Though the student had complained to the church, he was forced by him to withdraw his complaint, police said. The priest was later removed as Rector and was in Bengaluru.The student, who later left for Ranchi for higher studies, was physically assaulted by the priest and some others following which he personally appeared before police and filed a complaint. Based on the complaint, police took James into custody and brought him to Irrity and arrested him earlier this week.A case under sect 377 (unnatural offence), sect 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC had been registered against him, police said. He was produced before a local court which remanded him to judicial custody.

Solar case: Verdict to pay Rs 1.6 crores ‘unilateral’, says former Kerala CM Chandy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday described as “unilateral”, the verdict of a local court in Bengaluru, directing him and six others to pay an amount to a city businessman with 12% interest, saying he had “no role” in it.A local court in Bengaluru on Monday had directed six persons including Chandy and a firm to together pay Rs 1,60,85,700 to a Bengaluru-based businessman M K Kuruvilla, with 12% interest. It had held Chandy also jointly responsible for payback of the money to the petitioner in the case by a firm for a solar project which did not materialise.The former Chief Minister in a statement described the verdict as “unilateral”. He said that he was not given a chance to explain his stand or file an affidavit and that he would move the court to get the verdict nullified, once he receives a copy of the order. He said Kuruvilla had met him when he was the chief minister and complained that he had been duped by his relative Andrews and Personal Assistant Daljit.”I do not have a relative by name Andrews and PA Daljit as mentioned by Kuruvilla. Still the complaint was handed over to the DGP for a probe,” Chandy pointed out.”I did not know anything about the further stage of the case. I am confident that I will be able to convince the court that I did not have any direct or indirect role in the case,” Chandy said.Meanwhile, ruling CPI(M)-led LDF on Tuesday said the Front’s charges against Chandy in the case had been proved right. CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said on Tuesday that Chandy’s contention that his argument had not been heard was not proper and the general public was also not convinced about it.BJP General Secretary K Surendran demanded that Chandy resign his position as MLA and that he had ”failed” to explain his position before the court. “People of Kerala hope that Chandy”s conscience will accept at least the court verdict,” he said.Chandy had been under attack from LDF (while he was the CM) in connection with the solar scam case, where prime accused Saritha S Nair and her accomplice allegedly cheated some persons by offering solar panel solutions. The duo allegedly canvassed business by using high-level names, including that of Chandy, a charge denied by him.

Twitter plans to cut about 300 jobs: Bloomberg | Reuters

Twitter plans to cut about 300 jobs: Bloomberg | Reuters

Updated: Oct 25, 2016 06:06 IST


Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) may cut 8 percent of its workforce or about 300 people, Bloomberg said on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. The job cuts could be announced before the company reports third-quarter earnings on Thursday, and the number of jobs affected could change, Bloomberg said. bloom.bg/2dErHcFThe company could not be reached immediately for comment. Last year, Twitter announced plans to lay off up to 336 employees, or about 8 percent of its workforce, a week after Jack Dorsey, its co-founder who had been serving as interim chief executive, took over as permanent CEO.

Twitter, which last month hired bankers to field acquisition offers, faces an uncertain future after Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N), the last of the companies believed to be interested in buying the company, said it would not make a bid.With a market cap of about $12.76 billion and losses running at about $400 million a year, Twitter was likely judged too expensive by prospective buyers.

The company said in September it would lay off some employees and halt engineering work at one of its development centers in India’s technology hub Bengaluru.Twitter on Monday said it rescheduled the release of its third-quarter earnings to before the market open on Thursday to avoid conflicting with earnings announcements by other internet companies. It had originally planned to release results after the market close.

The company had 3,860 employees globally as of June. (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Rlys now berths 44 cr passengers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways, which is just days away from the Diwali passenger rush— among the densest anywhere in the world, has managed to keep some part of its promise of a confirmed ticket for every passenger by 2020. It has managed to increase the number of confirmed berths available annually on its trains from 37.1 crore in 2014 to 44.7 crore in 2016. This is a jump of over 20 per cent. To put matters into perspective, the 44.7 crore figure is bigger than the population of all countries in the world other than China and India.The huge jump in berths has come about because of the increase in number of trains run over the past couple of years. Statistics available with the railway ministry show that over the last two years, it ran a whopping 70,000 special trains. Moreover, during this period it introduced 308 new trains, extended 99 trains, increased the frequency per week (fpw) of 188 trains and permanently added 1,610 coaches to various trains. The Railways ran a little over 2.5 lakh extra coach trips in the past two years, ministry data shows.According to data from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report of June this year, between 2010 to 2015, the total number of passengers carried by the Railways was 3,054 crore of which 829 crore were non-suburban passengers. This comes to around 165.8 crore per year, though a sizable part of this number would be travelling in unreserved coaches, said officials.Good intentions apart, it is not going to be a smooth ride for the ‘confirmed seat on demand’ mission, agreed officials, because as the economy grows and along with it income, newer passengers would want to travel in higher—sleeper and air-conditioned—classes. A study of the passengers carried over one kilometre (called PKM in railway operation terminology) shows that for every 100 passengers carried over a kilometre, 25 passengers travel by sleeper class, and 65 per cent by unreserved coaches. The rest travel by higher classes like First or Executive chair car.Moreover, the recently-announced Regional Air-Connectivity Scheme (RACS), announced by the Civil Aviation Ministry could take over a decade before it starts reducing railway passenger numbers for the better. “The number of seats available on a daily basis on the Railways to the ‘Y’ cities is so much higher than what any regional connectivity airline can match at least in the next few years,” explained a railway official.Under government classifications, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad Hyderabad and Pune are ‘X’ cities, the rest divided into Y and smaller urban agglomerations into Z categories.

Bengaluru’s steel flyover is emblematic of the changes in the city’s green cover, way of life

This week, Bengaluru woke up to some bad news.

The 10,000 protestors who had lined Sankey Road on Sunday to say an emphatic “No” to the proposed steel bridge to the airport were dismayed by the government’s reaction.  Chief Minister Sidaramiah declared he would go through with the project come what may.

Bengaluru. Reuters/representational imageBengaluru. Reuters/representational image

Bengaluru. Reuters/representational image

Once upon a time, there was a pretty junction in Bangalore called Ringwood Circle. This was the converging point of roads coming from the Bangalore Race Course, the Golf Course and Cubbon park.  All the iconic lung spaces of central Bangalore.

Today Ringwood is just a distant memory.  Although officially named Basaveshwara Circle, most people refer to this junction as Chalukya Hotel Circle and it teems with the traffic pouring in through the half a dozen roads which lead into it. Offices, apartment complexes and eating places are crowded around the once wooded circle. On one side of the circle stands the image of the crusader Basaveshwara who fought against untouchability.

Further down the road is the junction originally known as High Grounds.  This is where the rather cute High Grounds Police Station once stood. It stood opposite the ornate colonial style Bangalore  waterworks and it had the lush green Golf Course on one side and Balabrooie, the iconic Government Guest House with its tree-filled garden on the other.  The High Grounds Circle was a sleepy place.  Cycling or walking down the pleasant uncluttered road adjacent to the golf course was a pleasure as the cool breeze coming across the open space would brush past gently wafting the perfume of flowers and leaves and newly mown grass.

Things have changed dramatically over the years.  Basaveshwara circle is now a busy junction with a constant stream of traffic.  The High Grounds police station has shifted. A pedestrian over bridge rises beside the water works compound.  And the golf course breeze has to squeeze through the nets which surround the once open space. The fresh perfumes of nature have been drowned by the smell of exhaust.  The only slender spark of remaining hope lies in some old trees which have stood along this road forever and continue to stand guard still, seeming to say all is not yet lost with this city.

But for how long?

Basaveshwara Circle is the starting point for the proposed controversial steel fly over which will loom its way along this stretch of road and snake further down peaking to a height over the railway over-bridge near Windsor Manor and Sankey House before it continues past Cauvery Theatre and Mekhri circle and ends abruptly at Hebbal.  It will without doubt mangle this beautiful road, taking in its wake hundreds of trees, bits and pieces of heritage buildings and stifle forever the remnants of the golf course breeze.

Justice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BMJustice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BM

Justice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BM

Fifty years ago, my grandfather lived in a palatial rented colonial house called “The Links”.  It stood on this stretch of road hardly half a kilometer away from the High Grounds circle. The Links stood at the intersection of Cunningham Road and Sankey Road with the Golf Course stretched out in front…where Le Méridien now stands.

The sprawling garden of The Links was full of the most exotic trees imaginable, planted by some unknown sahib who must have been quite passionate about his plants.  The most majestic of these trees were the three huge java figs with their large canopies and tiny red fruit which attracted an amazing variety of colourful birds.

In the laid-back 1950s and 60s, Bangalore was still a garden city, where every home, however small, had a tree — usually a “practical” fruit tree like mango or chikoo or custard apple.  Bigger gardens had more showy plants like a Christmas tree or a gulmohur along with the ubiquitous mango. The garden of The Links had all these and more.   There was even a weeping willow in a corner of the garden!

Sankey Road had hardly any traffic then and the open golf course served as a short cut for pedestrians to reach Crescent Road on the other side. We would sometimes run across the empty road before our house and play on the greens till the golfers chased us away. The tiny wooded copse in the center of the course was a secret haunt for lovers. Sometimes a crow mistaking a golf ball for an egg would carry it to a nest in a tree in our compound and later throw it down in disgust, much to our delight.

By the 1960s, the once empty stretch of land between The Links and Balabrooie had sprouted houses for ministers. Some trees were felled but the trees inside our compound still stood strong.

Further down the road, however, the area was still green and tree filled as it belonged then to the armed forces. And the Golf Course retained its greenery. Sankey Road sloped down past the Golf Course to a level crossing.  On the left the beautiful Sankey House stood at a height with its huge java fig and rain trees. Further down came the thickly wooded Palace Compound on the right. On the left were the Orchards belonging to the Palace.

Commercial Street, Bengaluru. Reuters/representational imageCommercial Street, Bengaluru. Reuters/representational image

Commercial Street, Bengaluru. Reuters/representational image

Changes started happening in the 1960s. First the Orchards went. They were razed to the ground to make way for a posh housing colony. Then the property owners along Sankey Road started selling and the gardens went.  The trees in the palace compound also started disappearing. The roads were widened sounding the death knell for more trees.

By the late 1960s my grandfather had moved out and the house owner had sold his property off piecemeal to different buyers. Every time I passed The Links I would anxiously look out to see how many of the favourite trees I had climbed as a child were still left standing.

Soon the golf course became out of bounds for the general public as huge nets came up to keep the wanderers out and the golf balls in. Sankey Road became a four lane highway which was totally pedestrian unfriendly. The level crossing had become an over bridge.  Humpbacked bridges and underpasses changed the nature of the road forever. The compound walls of the palace as well as Balabrooie got pushed back.

Today, the trees have dwindled dramatically. But they are still there. Whenever I pass Le Méridien I still look out for my familiar trees. I can spot one java fig, a rain tree and a peepul.  Most of the others are gone. Sankey House however has managed to keep its java figs and rain trees probably because the owners have retained the property.  And the huge trees in Balabrooie still stand.

In spite of all the changes, this stretch of road has managed to hold on to its special Bengalurean charm. A charm which the Steel Bridge can destroy forever.

The amazingly large turnout of concerned citizens who came to protest against the steel bridge on Sunday were protesting not just against the bridge but also against the systematic unravelling of the Bengaluru way of life, of the ravaging of its iconic structures and of the destruction of its green cover.  They were fighting to reclaim their roads and their lung spaces and their pride in their city.

And now with this setback, the battle has become tougher. Will the voice of the common Bengalureans be heard? Can they make an impact on a system which has been corrupted over decades by various land, timber and other mafias? Time alone will tell.

Gita Aravamudan is a journalist and author

National-level Kabaddi player Rohit Kumar arrested after wife’s suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National-level kabaddi player who also represents a franchise in the Pro-Kabaddi League, was on Friday arrested in connection with the suicide of his wife Lalita, who had accused in-laws of “mental and physical harassment,” reported ANI.Earlier this week, 27-year-old Lalita allegedly committed suicide and her body was found hanging at her home in Delhi’s Nangloi area.She had married Rohit Kumar, who represents Bengaluru Bulls in the Pro-Kabaddi League, on March 16. It was a love marriage and her second marriage. Her father-in-law used to taunt her about getting married for the second time, police had said.In a long video message and a suicide note, Lalita has accused her in-laws and husband of “mental and physical harassment” over several issues, including dowry and her past.She alleged that on October 15, Rohit told her that if she goes away from his life, he would be very happy. He dropped her halfway to her home and left, she alleged.The 26-year-old kabaddi player got into the Naval Forces in 2009 through the sports quota and was posted in Mumbai.

National-level Kabaddi player’s wife commits suicide; alleges harassment, dowry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wife of a national-level kabaddi player, who also represents a franchise in the Pro-Kabaddi League, allegedly committed suicide in Delhi’s Nangloi area accusing her husband and in-laws of “mental and physical harassment” in her suicide note.Police said 27-year-old Lalita’s body was found hanging at her home in Nangloi on Monday evening, police said.She had married Rohit Kumar, who represents Bengaluru Bulls in the Pro-Kabaddi League, on March 16, a senior police officer said.It was a love marriage and her second marriage. Her father-in-law used to taunt her about getting married for the second time, police said.In a long video message and a suicide note, Lalita has accused her in-laws and husband of “mental and physical harassment” over several issues, including dowry and her past.”She has made a number of allegations in her video message and her note. She alleged that her in-laws and Rohit used to mentally and physically harass her. They would even make dowry demands,” said a senior police officer.She alleged that on October 15, Rohit told her that if she goes away from his life, he would be very happy. He dropped her halfway to her home and left, she alleged.She also alleged that Rohit used to travel outside Delhi frequently leaving her alone which was upsetting for her.A senior police officer said her parents gave their statement in front of the SDM and alleged that their daughter was harassed by her husband and in-laws.”A case was registered under sections 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 304(B) (dowry death),” said the officer.Rohit’s family lives in Delhi’s Kanjhawla area but they are said to be absconding and since the incident and police are on the lookout for them.Lalita’s first marriage had also fallen apart because of dowry demands and she had to face similar situation in her second marriage too, which was depressing for her, said the senior police officer.Lalita was studying at a college where Rohit used to come for swimming practice and that is how they met and got into a relationship, said a senior police officer.The 26-year-old kabaddi player got into the Naval Forces in 2009 through the sports quota and was posted in Mumbai.Police are currently on the lookout for him so that they can question him in the matter.

Is environment education in India at odds with its development agenda?

One of the plenary speakers at a recently held conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Ahmedabad highlighted the need for Environment Education (EE) to be political. EE had been away from politics for long and this, she said, had rendered it weak. Participants were quick to raise questions on the risks this could pose of complicating the issue further, especially given the ability of the facilitators to deliberate on such topics.

The speaker’s response was unambiguous. On one hand, students today have access to most of the information – from the internet and other sources. On the other hand, the onus lies on the facilitators to upgrade their skills and communicate the issues responsibly in an apt manner.

In other words, not talking on the topics was neither an option nor a solution. To underscore her point, she stated how the Cauvery issue could have been discussed with students by talking of factors which had led to the current scenario. Be it the increase in area under ‘summer rice’ in Tamil Nadu, rise in the area cultivating sugarcane in Karnataka or an expanding Bengaluru not maintaining its lakes but seeking water from Cauvery.

Environment education in India. Representational image. ReutersEnvironment education in India. Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The other issue she raised was that EE was practiced in an unduly polite fashion. Dropping uncomfortable topics did not help EE. Students, who came in SUVs, for example, had to be told that they were not helping the environment. The pollution caused by their vehicles, which most of them did not even car pool in, had to be highlighted. These students, most of them from elite schools, were in a position to influence their parents on such decisions. The elite schools needed to know that, amongst schools, they were the worst polluters.

The session brought out the need to take risks and venture on fresh paths. These debates were the need of the hour for EE, which needs to reinvent itself and respond to the changing times. However, addressing these issues alone may not help unless we address the larger issue at hand.

We appear to be good at moving from old terms and settling, albeit temporarily, on the new ones. ESD has replaced EE by virtue of being more encompassing and holistic, while Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are considered to be more evolved and tuned in to today’s understanding than the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). However, is there any merit in jumping to fresh terms if we do not question the paradigm within which they operate? Terms which, as the discussions brought out, not many beyond the proverbial choir are bothered about!

Our alienation from nature, today, to a significant extent, is the consequence of an ‘education system’ that is factoid, data and information driven, devoid of attention to understanding the interconnectedness that is integral to all life forms. The primary goal of this ‘education system’ is to churn out ‘graduates’ who will fit into the economy (read contribute to ‘growth’ and ‘development’).

That we are failing even in this is a separate discussion. Given that EE or ESD is taught within the ambit of this system, the space they occupy and the scope they harbour will be dictated by the economy. The question then is that in an economy fuelled by ‘growth’ and ‘development’ what is the relevance and impact of EE or ESD? Especially when not only is the state’s own vision of ‘development’ myopic but also, for a large chunk of population, the term is synonymous with roads and jobs.

Firstpost asked one of the participants, after her presentation, whether her recommendations would make an impact given the larger system in place and if the system should be challenged. “They may not but we have to work within the system,” was her response.

Have we got tuned to not question the system? What then of the ‘critical enquiry’ within Environment Education? Are we unwilling to question our lifestyles as we fear the inconvenience it will bring upon us? After all that we have brought upon the planet do we expect an easy way out? Nothing comes for free, surely not a better future.

The SDG do not explicitly focus on ‘reducing consumption’ or question ‘growth’ and unless we do that the scenario appears bleak. In a perfect world it would be possible to have an increase in GDP, factory output and other positive indicators of growth on one hand and improved ecological conditions on the other. In the imperfect world, which we inhabit, history has taught us that this is anything but a realistic expectation.

The current scenario is akin to running on a track with the finish line moving further at a faster rate. By the time we will have achieved limited success (assuming we do) our actions, lifestyles, decisions will accentuate the threats and bring forth a scenario that warrants even more attention! We not only need to run but also ensure that the finish line remains static. Environment Education, in its current form, does not appear to be helping.

Cauvery panel submits report to SC, makes no mention of water to be released to Tamil Nadu

New Delhi: The Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC), which visited the Cauvery basin area of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for assessing the ground situation, on Monday submitted its report to the Supreme Court.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

The committee, however, did not make any recommendations with regard to the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu by Karnataka.

“The report only gives an assessment of the ground situation without making any recommendation about the release of water to Tamil Nadu,” said a lawyer dealing with the case on behalf of Tamil Nadu.

The committee – comprising Central Water Commission (CWC) Chairman GS Jha, CWC member S Masood Hussain, and Krishna and Godavari Basin Organisation Chief Engineer RK Gupta – visited the Cauvery basin area of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the 4 October direction of the apex court.

The three-member team headed by Jha was also accompanied by one representative each of the four riparian states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The report will come up for hearing on Tuesday before the bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

The Supreme Court, by its 4 October order, asked Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu every day for 12 days from 7 to 18 October, and asked the Cauvery Supervisory Committee to visit the Cauvery basin area of the two states for an assessment of the ground situation and report back to it by 17 October.

Upon reaching Bengaluru on 7 October, the CSC said it favoured judicious sharing of the scarce water resource between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu following deficit monsoon rains this year.

“Our aim is to ensure judicious distribution of the river water between the two states,” Jha said during his two-day visit to Cauvery basin areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

He told the media persons in Bengaluru that “we will submit a report to the Supreme Court with data on the live storage levels, inflows and outflows of water in the reservoirs in both the states for a fair distribution”.

Monica Ghurde murder: 21-year-old accused charged with rape, robbery

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after arrest of a 21-year-old man for the murder of perfume specialist Monica Ghurde, Goa police on Monday added charges of rape and robbery against him.”The accused, Rajkumar Singh, who was arrested in Bangalore on October 9, was initially booked only for murder. However, during the investigation he admitted to raping her too,” Police Inspector Rajesh Kumar, who is probing the case, told PTI.”Therefore, the accused has also been booked under IPC Sections 376 for rape and also 392 for robbery, as he had taken away two ATM cards and a mobile phone belonging to the deceased after killing her,” he said.The post-mortem conducted on the deceased soon after the incident had confirmed that she was smothered, although it was silent on the suspicion of rape as doctors at Goa Medical College and Hospital had sent the swab sample for serological test. That report is still awaited.Ghurde was found dead in her three-bedroom rented apartment in Sangolda village near here. The 39-year-old’s naked body was recovered on October 6, but investigation revealed she was killed a day earlier. The fashion designer-turned-perfumer had been living alone in the flat since July last.Police had earlier said that the accused had confessed to sexually abusing Monica after tying her to bed in her apartment and also forced her to watch porn clips. Singh, a 21-year-old native of Punjab, worked as a security guard. Singh was nabbed from a Bengaluru hotel on October 9. He was tracked on the basis of ATM transactions he made at different locations.Police had also said that the accused had tortured the deceased during the entire night before killing her. “He was upset with the deceased as he had lost the job and yet to get his pending salary owing to the complaint of theft registered by her (deceased) with the security agency which had employed him,” police had said.Meanwhile, the accused was today produced before a local court, which extended his police custody by another four days.

Patna station tops list of railway WiFi users searching for porn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Free WiFi at railway stations has proven to be a big hit and the reason for that won’t shock you. It seems like porn tops the list of searches and the station leading that particular race is Patna station.Up till now, 23 stations in the country have free WiFi. An official of RailTel, a state-run company in charge of broadband services told IANS: “More than any other railway station in the country, where free Wi-Fi service was launched, the Patna railway station is on the top in the country for using internet search, particularly serach for porn sites.”After Patna, the station second in the list is Jaipur, followed by Bengaluru and New Delhi. Patna is the first station in the state of Bihar to get WiFi and over 400 stations in the country are likely to get WiFi in the next three years. Two years ago, when the Bihar govt introduced free WiFi in the city of Patna, it was used mostly to download movies.

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