Online news channel!

Tag: bhushan

Currency transfer: CBI case against top Mumbai oncologist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials have registered a case against a Padma Bhushan awardee on Friday in the ongoing crackdown against black money. The accused, a resident of Mumbai, and five others have been booked in connection with a case of fraudulent transportation of demonetized currency worth Rs 10 crore.They have been identified as Yogesh B Shiroye, Dharam Raj Thigle, Krish, Gajanand Somnath, BM Shah and Dr Suresh Advani. Dr Advani, who is associated with the CIIGMA hospital in Aurangabad, is considered to be one of the top oncologists and is known for Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation procedures. He has received many awards, including the Padma Shri in 2002 and Padma Bhushan in 2012.DNA tried to contact Dr Advani on his personal mobile number. However, calls and messages sent to him went unanswered.When asked about the allegations faced by Dr Advani, a CBI spokesperson told DNA: “He is accused in the overall case of fraudulently transporting the money. His exact role will come out after an investigation.”As for the others, CBI officials say that, other than Yogesh, four of the accused are officials of the Vaidyanath Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd (VCUBL). It is also interesting to note the director of the co-operative bank is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pritam Munde, the daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde.CBI officials have claimed that three of the accused were transporting the demonetized cash in a car, when they were stopped by the police in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai.These individuals were detained and during interrogation, they said that they were bank officials and the Rs 10 crore being seized from them was being transported from the head office of Vaidyanath Cooperative Urban Bank in Maharashtra’s Beed region. This old money, the probe agency claimed, was being used for money- laundering.”Approximately Rs 15 crore was allegedly deposited with the Maharashtra State Urban Co-operative Bank and Rs 10 crore was being transported back to Beed, when they (the accused) were intercepted by the police on December 15,” a CBI spokesperson said on Friday.He said that others are also likely to be involved. “Among the other accused are unknown bank officials and individuals,” he said. He also confirmed that searches were being conducted at 11 places on Friday, which included the official and residential premises of the accused persons in Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Beed in Maharashtra.However, a senior bank official from the Vaidyanath Co-operative Urban Bank contested the CBI’s claim, saying that the probe agency was misinformed. Speaking to DNA, the official claimed that the Rs 10 crore was part of the Rs 25 crore that was intended to be deposited in the bank’s Ghatkopar branch.The official added that the branch could accept only Rs 15 crore, following Rs 10 crore was to be sent to the branch in Pimpri Chinchwad from where it would have been deposited in another co-operative bank. “The whole case is a result of CBI’s mismanagement,” he said.

D-day for politicians? SC to hear plea seeking cancellation of exemption to political parties under IT Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court said it would next month hear a plea seeking quashing of a provision of the Income Tax (IT) Act on tax exemption to political parties on receiving voluntary contributions. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and L Nageswara Rao said there was no urgency in hearing the plea as the law has been in force for over 50 years and added that it would take it up on January 11. “You are challenging a provision of the IT Act which is there since 1960s. What is the urgency? Let the matter come up before the court after vacations. This Act is going on for over 50 years,” the bench told petitioner advocate M L Sharma.Sharma urged the court to hear the matter today itself and claimed that on December 16, the government had declared that no investigation will be carried out against political parties’ accounts on deposit of old demonetised notes as per the tax exemption given under section 13A of the IT Act.He said old currency notes were being deposited in the accounts of political parties and “the problem is that they would withdraw the money”.The bench then said “what is going to happen in the next one week? Let the matter come up for hearing on January 11”.In his plea, the petitioner has claimed that political parties registered with Election Commission of India are 100 per cent exempt from paying income tax under section 13A of the IT Act, 1961, so long as they file their tax returns every assessment year along with their audited accounts, income or expenditure details and balance sheet.He has sought a direction to the CBI to register a case and investigate fundings and deposits in the accounts of political parties in demonetised currency notes.Besides, the petitioner has also sought quashing of a provision of the Representation of the People Act 1951 which relates to “special provisions in the case of certain elections”.

Dear Rahul Gandhi, it’s time for you to stop taking Indian democracy for granted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shakespearean Fool can get away with saying anything as he is not held to the same standards of probity as other characters. However, the Fool is unlikely to be the main plot point in any story because he’s there to provide the laughs. And sadly, for a lot of Indians, Rahul has become a meme rather than a leader who can be trusted to lead the nation. And this was evident, when speaking in Mehsana, Gujarat he claimed the PM had bribes from the Sahara and Birla groups when he was CM of Gujarat. The allegations stem from what has come to be known as the Sahara-Birla Diaries. Frankly, when Rahul promised an ‘earthquake’ and proof of PM Modi’s ‘personal corruption’ one had hoped for something better than allegations that were first hinted at by Arvind Kejriwal in the aftermath of the surgical strike and one that was repeated in the Delhi assembly on November 16.Now it’s true that in a post-truth world, elections can be won by casting aspersions and mud-slinging, hoping some of it sticks, but for that you need a solid ground to begin from and Rahul Gandhi’s earth-shattering revelations were based on documents that had already been dismissed by the SC as ‘zero, fictitious and not authentic’. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO Common Cause had demanded an investigation into these allegations. The SC bench consisting of Justice Khehar and Justice Mishra had pointed out that Sahara never had ‘genuine documents’ and the Birla computer entries were flaky because any kid with a computer and printer could type things on a piece of paper and demand a probe. At the next hearing, things spiralled out of control when Bhusan alleged that Khehar might be compromised since his ‘file for elevation as Chief Justice of India was pending with the government’. This led to a sharp reprimand from Khehar who pointed out that Bhushan hadn’t brought this up earlier during the hearing. He said: “It is very unfair of you to have appeared before us earlier and not pointed this out then, and bring it up now.” Justice Mishra rebuked Bhushan saying, “So, you think we can succumb to any force? You doubt the highest Constitutional court?”, while AG Rohtagi called it a ‘cheap tactic’.That Rahul Gandhi should give credence to these rumours, shows the lack of imagination and political ineptitude emanating from the Congress leader’s team. Not only can they not define themselves beyond criticising PM Modi, they are clutching at straws by borrowing wild allegations.It seems that the Congress, just doesn’t know how to crack the Modi code because the BJP has successfully managed to place him as an icon synonymous with India. In a simplified binary world, if you’re against the Prime Minister, you are deemed to be against the nation.Indian democracy has been waiting with bated breath since 2004 for Rahul to get his act together, but while the spirit has been willing from time to time, the voters have shown all the enthusiasm of a snail returning home from a funeral. Since the BJP came to power with its ginormous verdict in 2014, one could count the meaningful Rahul Gandhi moments on our fingers.There were some moments of Vipassana-enthused ‘Suit-Boot’ Sarkar jibes, some support for students of HCU and JNU and a ham-handed attempt to join the intolerance debate. There was the ill-advised ‘khoon ka dalali’ remark against the surgical strikes and finally the opposition to demonetization.Perhaps demonetization was a strong case to bolster one’s dissenting credentials but Rahul Gandhi failed to make a mark with contradictory remarks which have swung from claiming the BJP knew about demonetization beforehand to the allegations that the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was unaware, and that the entire move is an attack on the poor. He even claimed in Modi’s cashless India, 5-6% from every transaction would go to the rich! The real problem for Rahul, is that his family legacy is a poisoned chalice. Whatever crime he accuses the Modi govt of perpetuating, the Congress has been there and done that.Corruption? Coalgate, Commonwealth Games, Bofors, 2G scam. Intolerance? Hi Grandma. Riots against a particular religion? Sorry Dad. While argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy, in politics, like life, those who live in glass houses find it harder to cast stones. And when they accuse Modi of something, the accusation always comes back like a boomerang because it has been the Congress that has been in power for so long since independence. Rahul’s position as a serious campaigner has also taken a hit as his Khat Pe Charcha in UP, saw more enthusiasm for the khats than the charcha. Even master strategist Prashant Kishore seems to have given up on his product as an alliance with SP looms large on the horizon which is bad news for Congress’ UP CM face Sheila Dixit.The hallmark of a democracy is a strong opposition but the Congress seems ill-equipped to provide one as the BJP juggernaut rolls on. The strongest voices of the Opposition at this moment comes from non-Congress leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal, who are the complete antithesis of the Congress VP. While the former three have fought their way to the top, quite like PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi still bears the appearance of a man who doesn’t know what to do with his inheritance.And it’s harming the Congress party as well, because the focus on the first family, is preventing the rise of any charismatic leaders who could lead the party out of their moment of darkness. Perhaps it’s time for Rahul Gandhi to stop playing the role of a dilettante politician and move on, so that India’s Grand Old Party can rebuild itself before it gets consigned to the dustbin of history. Because the electorate, a brave and new impatient India, is making it abundantly clear, election after election, that it has no respect for a man or a family who can’t get their house in order. Or as PM Modi put it while speaking in Varanasi: “They have a youth leader; he is learning how to speak. Since the time he has learnt how to speak, I am the happiest. In 2009, you couldn’t even tell what is inside this packet. Now we are finding out. If he hadn’t spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years. Good he has started speaking… there is no chance of an earthquake now.”

VVIP chopper scam | CBI acting at Centre’s behest to divert attention from demonetization: Prashant Bhushan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to the arrest of former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi in the AugustaWestland deal, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Saturday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), is acting at the behest of the Centre and wants to divert attention from the demonetization”fiasco”.”All the facts relating to Air Chief Marshal Tyagi are known for more than two years, yet he was not arrested till now. Now, suddenly he has been arrested since this whole fiasco of demonetization,” Bhushan told ANI.Bhushan further said that had the CBI and the Centre been serious about weeding out corruption, then they should have launched an inquiry into the defence deals done by the Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand governments who have agreements with AugustaWestland. “If they are serious about (tackling) corruption, why have they not taken action in similar AugustaWestland purchases by the Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan governments?” he asked.Asserting that defence deals in India are notorious for corruption and over-pricing, Bhushan said, “Even now, in this Rafale deal, the price of the aircraft was increased more than double where the contract of Rs. 58000 crore was given to Rafale and half of that has been given to Anil Ambani’s company which has no experience in defence production.”Bhushan further alleged that the interim CBI director is acting on behest of the Centre who is a handpicked man of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah.The CBI on Friday arrested Tyagi in connection with the AgustaWestland scam, considered as one of the biggest defence scams after Bofors. Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer, and Sanjeev Tyagi, alias, Julie Tyagi, were also arrested by the CBI in this connection. The trio was arrested on the charges of accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt and illegal means during the deal.

Enrol JEE aspirants for Aadhaar on priority basis: UIDAI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Unique ID Authority of India has directed all registrars and enrolment agencies associated with it to enrol applicants of CBSE’s Joint Entrance Examination on priority basis.”UIDAI has directed all its Registrars and enrolment agencies to enrol JEE applicants on priority basis,” UIDAI Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a statement. CBSE has made Aadhaar card mandatory for JEE applicants. In its order dated November 26, CBSE said: “All the Indian citizen candidates should possess Aadhaar card issued by UIDAI. At the time of filling application form of JEE (Main) 2017, the candidates will have to enter their Aadhaar number, name, date of birth & gender which will be validated with the UIDAI’s data.”UIDAI has already issued more than 108.27 crore Aadhaar numbers to the residents of India. In the age group of 5-18 years, 24.3 crore Aadhaars (69.5 per cent) have been generated as of November 15, 2016. “In order to facilitate Aadhaar enrolment on priority basis to the JEE applicants, UIDAI has asked all its Regional Offices to make necessary arrangement of Aadhaar enrolment facility at all its Aadhaar enrolment Centres and also at the facilitation centres in each city of examination being set up by the CBSE till the last date of application,” Pandey said.No payment should be charged by these centres from the applicants for Aadhaar enrolment, he added.

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit shot at, family members thrashed over ‘stolen’ radish

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 30-year-old Dalit was shot at allegedly by a gram pradhan and three others who also thrashed the victim’s family members after accusing them of stealing a radish, police said.The incident took place on Sunday when the four accused, including gram pradhan Anil, his son Nishant and nephew Sarouttem, reached Sunil Kumar’s house in a car and started beating his family members, Circle Officer Bhushan Verma said.They accused the family of stealing a radish from the gram pradhan’s fields. When Kumar protested, the accused fired at him, the CO said.He was taken to the hospital in a serious condition, he said, adding that police have registered a case against the four accused who are absconding.Senior police officers have impounded the gram pradhan’s car. Security has been tightened and extra police has been deployed in the area, the official added.

Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo quits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo resigned on Friday, protesting changes made in university management without taking him into confidence.Yeo submitted his resignation letter to the Visitor, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, reported The Hindu. “I was neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand. With deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Visitor,” Yeo wrote.Yeo also said that when he took over from Professor Amartya Sen last year, he was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. “This appears not to be the case now.,” he added.“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and harmful to the University’s development,” Yeo said.Former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo was appointed Chancellor in July 2016, over two months after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature to the post for a second term.60-year-old Yeo, who was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2012, was serving as a member of the governing board of the prestigious university at Rajgir area of Bihar.In February, Sen withdrew his candidature as Chancellor for a second term saying that the Narendra Modi government did not want him to continue, a contention which was rejected by the government.Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, had blamed the absence of government’s approval for his re-nomination for the delay in the nod from President Pranab Mukherjee for his name.

Demonetization: UIDAI cautions citizens against misuse of Aadhaar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Aadhaar is being used widely by people in the wake of the demonetization exercise, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has cautioned the public to clearly indicate purpose of providing photocopies of their Aadhaar letter to prevent misuse of the same.”Photocopies of the Aadhaar letter are being submitted by the general public to banks. We urge them to clearly indicate the purpose for which they are submitting the same along with the date and time. This actually is a good practice whenever they submit photocopies of documents,” UIDAI Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a statement.He, however, noted that since Aadhaar is a digitally verifiable identity and can be authenticated anytime and anywhere, the chances of its misuse are limited. Following the decision to make old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 bank notes invalid, the government has allowed citizens to get currency of up to Rs 4500 per person changed in cash from bank branches and post offices. Along with the specified pro forma, citizens are also required to provide a proof of identity that includes Aadhaar, PAN card or voter ID card.UIDAI has also launched a revamped version of its toll- free helpline number – 1947 – to help residents get quick access to information about Aadhaar. The helpline will be available 24×7 throughout the year on IVRS mode, while call-centre agents will be available from 7am to 11pm (Monday to Saturday), on Sundays, agents will answer calls from 0800 HRS to 1700 HRS, it added.On an average, the helpline number handles about 1.5 lakh calls per day.”Our toll-free helpline 1947, which has been revamped to handle more incoming calls, brings Aadhaar closer to everyone. It can be accessed through mobile or landline and will be especially beneficial in these times when the Aadhaar number is being increasingly used in the banking sector to identify individuals,” Pandey said.The helpline will among other things, enable residents to locate an Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, know generation status of an Aadhaar number (after enrolment) and help retrieve Aadhaar details of any person who has lost his/her Aadhaar or hasn’t received it through post.

US Consulate’s election bash ticks the right boxes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US Consulate in Mumbai held a special live streaming of the election results at Worli’s Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday morning. There were people dressed up as Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty and Rosie The Riveter—an American icon representing women who worked in shipyards and factories during World War II—at the event.As the US election results filtered in, there was as much anticipation and enthusiasm as in the US. People participated in a mock voting process, clicked pictures at selfie corners, got their sketches done, and posed with life-size cut-outs of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Though Clinton lost the election, she won by a considerable margin when the results of the mock voting were announced. Although she emerged as the clear favourite at the event, Trump managed to emerge victorious in the US. “I expected Hillary to win. Although Trump had the lead, it was neck and neck throughout,” said Saloni Vyas, a law student who attended the event. “For us, it was a learning experience. I have a module on international relations in college, and the election helped shape my political views,” said Bhushan Thakore, a student of civics and politics at the University of Mumbai.The guest list also featured staff from the consulate, and members from other consulates. “This is a great opportunity for us to meet people from other consulates,” said Juergen Isenberg, Airline Liaison Officer at the German Consulate.When the dust settles on the election, the important question to ask is how much of a bearing will it have on US-India relations. “No matter who occupies the Oval office, US-India relations will forge ahead in terms of trade and security. We share values and interests. I am convinced that there will be continued interest,” said Thomas Vajda, US Consul General in Mumbai.

Sohrabuddin encounter case: SC rejects review plea against BJP President Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking review of its decision upholding the clean chit given by subordinate courts to BJP President Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.The apex court rejected the plea of activist Harsh Mander challenging the order by which it had dismissed the appeal against the discharge of the BJP leader in the case by the Bombay High Court upholding the trial court order. “We have perused the review petition and the connected papers. We do not find any error in the order impugned, much less an apparent error on the face of the record so as to call for its review.”The review petition is accordingly dismissed,” a bench of Justices S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said in its order of October 19. The apex court had on August 1 upheld the clean chit given by the High Court and the trial court to the BJP President in the encounter case and rejected the plea for its revival. While rejecting the appeal, the bench had questioned the locus standi of Mander, a former bureaucrat and social activist, in pursuing the case in which the victim’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh had preferred to withdraw the petition.Mander had challenged the Bombay High Court order which had upheld the discharge of the BJP president by the trial court. Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Shah, had cited various judgments of the apex court to support the contention that the former bureaucrat, as a third party, did not have the locus in the instant case.In the appeal, Mander had sought quashing of December 30, 2014 order of a Mumbai sessions court giving a clean chit to Shah in the case. The petitioner had questioned the findings of the sessions court which was endorsed by the high court while exonerating Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati killing case, holding that there existed “no case” against him and that he had been implicated for “political reasons”.Mander had petitioned the high court against the sessions court order which was dismissed by the Bombay High Court in March this year. Sohrabuddin, a gangster, was allegedly abducted with his wife Kausar Bi by Gujarat police when they were on way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra in 2005 and later killed. Tulsiram, an aide of the gangster and an eyewitness to the encounter, was also killed allegedly by the police in 2006.

SC seeks Mohammad Shahabuddin’s reply on pleas for shifting to Tihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from controversial RJD leader Shahabuddin, sent back to jail by the apex court, and Bihar government as to why he should not be shifted out of the state and kept in Tihar Jail from where trial in over 45 cases can be conducted through video conferencing.A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy granted four weeks to Shahabuddin and Bihar government to respond to two separate pleas filed by Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu whose three sons were killed in two incidents and Asha Ranjan, wife of slain journalist Rajdev Ranjan.Rejecting Shahabuddin’s plea for grant of more time to file his response, the bench said “the concept of fair trial is not one-sided. You should be fair to other side also.” Senior advocate Dushayant Dave, appearing for one of the petitioners, said Shahabuddin should give an undertaking that he would “not commit any crime” during his stay in Siwan jail. The counsel for Shahabuddin vehemently opposed the plea and said that adequate time be given to him for filing reply.Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Chandrakeshwar Prasad, said trials in over 45 cases against Shahabuddin have been stayed after he filed an application that he has no money and be provided legal aid.Against this, Bihar government went in appeal in the Patna High Court and consequently, the proceedings were stayed. This is bizarre, Bhushan said.The lawyers also including Kislay Panday, appearing for the widow of the slain scribe, referred to a previous apex court order by which another Bihar muscle-man politician, Pappu Yadav alias Rajesh Ranjan, was shifted out of Bihar and kept in Tihar Jail in Delhi from where trial proceeded through video conferencing.Shahabuddin’s bail was cancelled by the apex court last week setting aside the Patna High Court order granting him bail in a murder case, saying the discretion to release him must be applied in “judicious manner” and “not as a matter of course”.Chanda Babu, whose three sons were killed in two separate incidents, alleged in his plea that Shahabuddin’s “confinement to the prisons of Bihar has failed to deter him in any manner as he has been abusing the rules and regulations of jail with impunity in collusion with the jail administrations”.”The Petitioner is an eye witness to the murder of his third son who has also got killed by Respondent No. 3 (Shahabuddin) as he was an eye-witness to the murder of his two brothers. The trial in the murder of third son is still pending,” the plea said.Prasad was also the petitioner on whose petition the apex court had cancelled the bail of Shahabuddin. His plea was also supported by Bihar government which had filed separate plea against the Patna High Court order granting bail. The other plea, filed by Asha Ranjan, has sought the transfer of the RJD leader to the Delhi jail.Earlier, the court had transferred the murder probe in the case of Rajdev Ranjan to CBI and asked it to conclude the investigation in three months. Ranjan, 42, a senior journalist working with a vernacular daily, was shot dead on the evening of July 22 in Siwan town in Bihar.

Varun Gandhi denies ‘false and frivolous’ allegations of leaking defence secrets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Varun Gandhi refuted allegations of being “honey-trapped” into leaking defence secrets on Saturday. “I would like to point out the false and frivolous allegations and the claims made are wild and unsubstantiated,” Gandhi wrote in an open letter addressed to the “people of India”.Gandhi asserted, “I’ve never met Edmonds Allen who has written this letter containing these allegations, nor do I know him,” and added, “I’m taking legal recourse against those who have deliberately sought to tarnish my reputation and public standing.”Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had on Friday released a letter written by Edmonds Allen, a New York-based lawyer, to the PMO last month that Varun was “honey-trapped” and compromised by arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a charge the BJP MP has stoutly denied.Allen alleged that Verma “blackmailed” Varun, a member of Defence Consultative Committee, into sharing sensitive information on crucial arms matters. The seven-page letter goes on to say that the BJP MP stood “compromised” because of his pictures with foreign escorts and prostitutes. Varun has rejected these charges, saying he has not met Verma since 2004 and threatened to file a defamation suit against Bhushan and Yadav over the charges.On Friday, Yadav told ANI, “In the year 2005 under the Congress regime Submarine were purchased and all know that this deal was made in an unfair manner. The whole country knows that the wrong doing in this deal was camouflaged by the CBI and the then Congress government. The question is why this case has not been opened under the ANI, “In the year 2005 under the Congress regime Submarine were purchased and all know that this deal was made in an unfair manner. The whole country knows that the wrong doing in this deal was camouflaged by the CBI and the then Congress government. The question is why this case has not been opened under the BJP regime?””Why no action was taken against Abhishek Verma who was accused then. I guess the BJP did not take action because their own MP is involved and second if the saffron party would have taken action against in this case, then it would have not been able to strike the Rafale aircraft deal with the same company,” he added.With ANI/PTI inputs

Prashant Bhushan claims Varun Gandhi was ‘honey trapped’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court lawyer and founder of Swaraj India, Prashant Bhushan accused the Modi government of not taking any action against Varun Gandhi and senior defence officials for their alleged involvement in the dubious Scorpene submarine deal. Bhushan argued that their involvement compromised national security.Speaking at a press conference, Bhushan referred to the communications by one US based lawyer C Edmunds Allen, who fell apart with arms dealer Abhishek Verma in 2012, and said, “Shockingly, information about the murky deals has been in possession of office of the Prime Minister, NSA, Defence Minister and CBI for nearly two months, but they have not reopened the CBI investigations against the Scorpene deal, let alone take any action against the accused.”Allen’s secret letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi dated September 16, claims that Varun Gandhi, as a member of the defence consultative committee was ‘honey trapped’ and ‘compromised’ by the notorious arms dealer Abhishek Verma.In his letter, Allen is alleged to have also attached photographic evidence showing Varun Gandhi with escort women girls, said Bhushan. Bhushan added that they were not releasing these photos and other sensitive defence documents, as that would compromise national security.Rubbishing these claims as bogus and deliberate attempts to tarnish his image, Varun Gandhi said he would take legal action against Prashant Bhushan.”How can I respond to something so ridiculously nonsensical. Is there any proof of any of these allegations? I sue those who have tried to tarnish my image,” Gandhi said.Bushuan also claimed that one of the key revelations by Allen to PM Modi was that, “despite being tried in a sensitive and high profile case of leakage of defence information, Abhishek Verma continued to receive and pass on defence secrets till as late as 2011.””In another letter to the PM, Allen has given details of the role played by various retired Naval Officers in providing top secret information to Abhishek Verma. Moreover, Defence Minister conceded that the Government was aware about the payment of commission in Scorpene deal when he said “there was ‘dalali’ in 2006 submarines deal on October 10. The government should immediately act now,” said Bhushan.Bhushan has demanded that the government put the Rafael fighter jets deal on hold and make all its price negotiations from beginning till date public as M/s Thales—which was involved in corruption ridden Scorpene deal—is part of the Dassault company with which the government has signed a deal for 126 Rafael jets which are being purchased for more than double the cost of the same deal signed earlier.Yogendra Yadav, co-founder of Swaraj Abhiyan, said, “our other demands are that the government should register an FIR against Abhishek Verma and his associates as well as the officers of Navy and IAF named in these documents for leaking defence secrets including the details of Scorpene Submarines, blacklist and file an FIR against M/s Thales for payment of commission in Scorpene submarines deal.”Deal on holdPrashant Bhushan has demanded that the government put the Rafael fighter jets deal on hold and make all its price negotiations from beginning till date public as M/s Thales—which was involved in corruption ridden Scorpene deal—is part of the Dassault company with which the government has signed a deal for 126 Rafael jets which are being purchased for more than double the cost of the same deal signed earlier.

Parrikar rejects Swaraj Abhiyan charge, terms Rafale best deal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday asserted the recently-signed Euro 7.878 billion-deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets was the best ever offered to any country, rejecting Swaraj Abhiyan’s Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav’s allegation that India paid double the price.Parrikar, however, refused to comment on the duo’s allegation that BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi was “honey trapped” into leaking defence secrets, a charge stoutly denied by the leader. “How much does it cost to level allegation?” an angry Parrikar retorted when asked about the charge levelled by Swaraj Abhiyan. “Rafale is the best deal that we have managed. It was because Prime Minister of India and President of France agreed that we have this deal which has not been offered to any other country,” Parrikar said.Earlier in the day, Bhushan told a press conference, “… contrary to previous announcements of getting 126 aircraft, the government bought 36 aircraft, paying double the price for individual units. It certainly appears to be the case that something is fishy.” He said despite having knowledge of all these things, the BJP government did not blacklist Thales, the company that sold scam-tainted Scorpene submarines, as Dassault acquired it.Dassault Aviation has 25.3 per cent stake in Thales.Parrikar said nothing has been proved in the alleged Scorpene leak and hence the case for banning any firm does not arise. India recently signed a deal with Dassault for 36 Rafale aircraft. Varun has already denied the charge, saying he has not met middleman Abhishek Verma, to whom he has been accused of having leaked defence secrets, since 2004.He has threatened to file a defamation suit against Bhushan and Yadav over the charges.

Aadhar count crosses 106 crore; UIDAI launches ‘Challenge Drive’ to enrol leftover population

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has launched a drive to enrol any leftover population for Aadhaar in 22 states and UTs that have “statistically” hit 100 % coverage for adults. The ‘Challenge drive’ starts from October 15 for a month, a UIDAI statement said, adding that as of Friday, over 106.69 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated across the country.The latest drive is aimed at targeting the floating population, leftover residents and the infirm in these states and UTs, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Punjab that are statistically reflecting a full adult population coverage of Aadhaar. The idea is to ensure no person is left out in the enrolment.”This is in furtherance of our enrolment exercise to achieve universal coverage for Aadhaar across the country,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said. As part of the Challenge drive, the residents of these states/UTs who have not yet enrolled for the 12-digit resident identification number are being asked to register themselves at https://www.wenrol.uidai.gov.in, the statement said.It said those keen to register themselves will have to provide a mobile number as well as other demographic details. “The person will be then contacted and enrolled on a priority basis through special camps or at enrolment stations located near him/her,” it added.

Firms producing super-warming gas told to cut down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Thursday asked industries to incinerate the dangerous greenhouse gas trifluoromethane (HFC-23) that is released into the atmosphere during production of a refrigerant gas used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.HFC-23 is severely potent as it can warm the planet 14,800 times more than carbon dioxide. It is emitted as a by-product during the manufacture of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22).Environment minister Anil Dave announced this decision during the ongoing convention in Kigali, Rwanda, where countries are aiming to arrive at a deal to phase out HFCs. The order comes at a time when negotiations have entered the final stage and India is under pressure for an early phase-out of HFCs.According to climate observers and experts, India’s move is significant in two key ways. Firstly, it signals India’s proactive role in arresting and fighting climate change. Secondly, domestic industries will have to incinerate HFC-23 without financial assistance from the United Nations (UN). This will affect consumers in India as companies manufacturing HCFC-22 will pass on the additional cost to them.An official release issued by the Environment Ministry stated, “Dave clarified that companies have to internalise the cost of this environmental externality and create sufficient storage facility to take care of down time.”It is now hard for the teams from the countries that are producers of HCFC–22 to negotiate for funding from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) to create a facility for incineration or financial support to incinerate the gas, the release added. Even China is one of the countries that is seeking financial backing at the negotiations to eliminate HFC-23.Speaking on the ministry’s decision, Deputy Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Chandra Bhushan, said, “With this domestic legislation to control the emission of HFC-23, India is sending a strong signal to the world that it is serious about the climate change issue.”The government order will ensure that it will eliminate release of HFC-23 equivalent to about 100 million tonne of CO2 emissions in the next five years, a CSE release said.What is HFCHFCs are greenhouse gases used as coolants in air-conditioners and refrigeration industry and the emission of these gases accelerates global warming more than carbon dioxide. The negotiations at Kigali are aimed at arriving at a global legal pact that will banish HFCs by 2050 under the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which has been instrumental in healing ozone layer over the years.India has proposed separate baseline years for the developed and developing world to begin the phase-out of these gases. It has put forth a proposal that developing economies should have a baseline year of 2028-30, giving domestic manufacturing companies enough time to transition to cleaner but largely patented technologies.

UD Ministry becomes a defaulter inside CWG Village

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Possessing flats in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) village is burning holes in government’s pocket. The Urban Development (UD) Ministry, which has 368 flats inside the village, owes about Rs 10 crore to the village management committee for maintenance of the premise. These flats are occupied by senior bureaucrats, who refuse to pay the hefty amount of monthly maintenance fee, since the accommodation is a part of their allowance. In a fix, the ministry is mulling over options from where it can raise finances for the maintenance.The village has 1,168 flats. 460 flats are owned by individuals. Apart from private owners, UD Ministry has the second largest chunk of these flats. The ministry allots flats to government officers, bureaucrats and judges of High Court and Supreme Court who are eligible.Like any other housing society, the occupants of the CWG Village also pay a monthly management to the area’s CWG Village Allottees Association. The monthly maintenance of a flat inside the CWG village is fixed at Rs 3.50 per square feet. Depending on the size of the flat, the monthly maintenance of these houses, comes somewhere in between Rs 6,500 to Rs 9,500.While individual owners are responsible for paying their house charges, those who were allotted the flats by the government refuse to pay the maintenance as it was a part of their entitlement. Government employees living in accommodation provided by the authority do not pay a monthly maintenance in other places.“Some Public Sector Undertakings also have houses in the complex. They have been paying the fee. The problem is only with the ministry houses. We are pursuing the matter with relevant authorities. We have been assured that the payment will be released,” said Bhushan Narula, president of the welfare association. Over the years, the maintenance charge has piled up to about Rs 10 crore.“We have received a complaint from the RWA. We are looking at options how to pay the due,” said a senior officer of the ministry. “Never before have we been stuck in the situation like this. We have written to the Finance seeking its opinion on the matter,” added the minister. The ministry also agrees that, if it asks the occupants to pay a monthly maintenance, no government employee would want to move in into those flats. “We will have to work a way out, else these flats will remain vacant,” added the officer.

Paris climate deal: Ratifying isn’t enough, India should focus on implementation of action plan

By ratifying the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change on 2 October, India has joined the club of 62 countries responsible for almost 52 percent of greenhouse gas emission.

Expressing the nation’s commitment to mitigate climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet said, “Care & concern towards nature is integral to the Indian ethos. India is committed to doing everything possible to mitigate climate change.”

While India’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) pledge is estimated at a cost of $2.5 trillion for its climate action plan, is ratifying the agreement in enough for India?

Vikas Swarup while depositing the instrument of ratification on 2 October. Twitter@ MEAIndia

Vikas Swarup while depositing the instrument of ratification on 2 October. [email protected] MEAIndia

What’s next for India?

While the environmental experts have welcomed India’s move, they have expressed that India should strive to bring equity back into the climate agenda. India needs to play an instrumental role in the negotiation process on the issues related to adaptation, finance, loss and damage in the upcoming climate talks.

The experts are of the opinion that Paris Agreement is not enough to keep the global average temperature rise below 2.0 degree Celsius, as the developed countries have pledged very low emissions cut targets and consequently developing countries have also not been very ambitious.

“The Paris deal is weak and erases historical responsibility of the developed countries in addressing climate change. However, there is still enough scope for equity and ambition in the current framework of Paris Agreement. India should strive to bring equity back into the climate agenda,” says Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Adds Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, “By being in the club of early ratifiers, India has shown itself as a responsible and serious global player in the climate negotiations. But, India will have to play an important role in making Paris Agreement effective and equitable.”

Besides, Bhushan says, “India should play an important role in issues of adaptation, finance and loss and damage in the upcoming talks in Marrakech, Morocco as these issues are important for the poor and vulnerable

What India needs to focus upon?

Environmental experts feel while implementation of the INDC is the key, shifting of energy curve – from coal-based energy to renewable and non-fossil fuels is a big challenge before India.

“Shifting of energy curve – from coal-based energy to renewable energy will be a big challenge for India. We’re still one of the major emitters. India has to focus on the implementation of its action plan, besides there are issues related to adaptation,” says Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link.

In the renewable energy sector, India had shown a lot of interest in harnessing solar energy. During the 1980s and 90s, besides inviting investments in the solar energy sector, the government had tried to popularise solar cookers and roof-top heaters for domestic use, but nothing much could be gained. Solar cookers became a craze till big subsidy was offered but it gradually fizzled out.

Though India was interested in solar energy, unfortunately, it was not favourite with the investors. There is a lot of bottlenecks in the generation of solar power. It couldn’t be a household thing. There’s a need for a mix and match option in the renewable sector. Even vehicular emission is a big issue, adds Agarwal

India must focus on the implementation of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), revamping its energy policy and also on renewable and non-fossil fuels. Besides having a basic infrastructure in place, there should also be mix and match energy option with proper implementation of the action plan.

At the global level, India needs to push world’s major emitters and developed countries for a higher target to bring equity back into the climate agenda.

“India’s focus should be on implementation of INDC. There is a need to revamp nation’s energy policy with ample thrust on renewable and non-fossil fuels. Basic infrastructure and regulations have to be in place. India has pledged for 40 percent of its power to come from non-fossil fuel sources, which is an ambitious one. But, simultaneously, India needs to push major emitters in the world like the US, the EU and developed countries for higher emission cut targets,” says Vijeta Rattani, deputy programme manager, Climate Change division at CSE.

Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav form ‘Swaraj India’ party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav on Sunday announced the formation of a new political party called Swaraj India.In April last year, the AAP expelled senior leaders Bhushan and Yadav for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities. The decision to sack them from the party was taken by the AAP?s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).The duo co-founded then Swaraj Abhiyan, a socio-political body, to ‘take forward the anti-corruption movement.’Earlier, on Jul 31, addressing the concluding session of a two-day Abhiyan national convention here, Yadav had announced the launching of the new political party by October 2 to provide an “alternative political vehicle”. Later, a committee was formed to look into the details of the new political party.Yadav had said, “We were never secretive about going political. A decision to launch a political party was taken with nearly 93 per cent of the delegates at the convention overwhelmingly supporting it. Yadav, however, had clarified that Swaraj Abhiyan will continue to exist even after the new political party is launched and the two will function independently.It had parried questions on whether the new party will contest the Assembly elections in five states, including Punjab, which are going to polls next year. Yadav and Bhushan were sacked from Aam Aadmi Party in April last year for “anti-party” activities. They had hit out at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal questioning his “supremo style of working” and “lack of transparency” in the party.

Swaraj Abhiyan to launch political party on Sunday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan will announce the formation of their new political party on Sunday. “We had announced that we would be forming the party by October 2, so we will be doing that tomorrow. We will also announce the name of the party,” said a Swaraj Abhiyan leader.Earlier, on Jul 31, addressing the concluding session of a two-day Abhiyan national convention here, Yadav had announced the launching of the new political party by October 2 to provide an “alternative political vehicle”. Later, a committee was formed to look into the details of the new political party.Yadav had said, “We were never secretive about going political. A decision to launch a political party was taken with nearly 93 per cent of the delegates at the convention overwhelmingly supporting it. Yadav, however, had clarified that Swaraj Abhiyan will continue to exist even after the new political party is launched and the two will function independently.It had parried questions on whether the new party will contest the Assembly elections in five states, including Punjab, which are going to polls next year. Yadav and Bhushan were sacked from Aam Aadmi Party in April last year for “anti-party” activities. They had hit out at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal questioning his “supremo style of working” and “lack of transparency” in the party.

Supreme Court cancels ex-RJD MP Shahabuddin’s bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday cancelled the bail granted to former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin. The latter is facing criminal charges in around 50 cases.”He will be taken to jail forthwith,” said Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan .The top court directed Shahabuddin to surrender, and asked the Bihar government to take steps to take him into custody forthwith.The court also asked trial court to expeditiously conclude Rajiv Roshan murder case allegedly involving Shahabuddin.Bhushan, who has filed one of the petitions, had on Thursday argued before the apex court that Shahabuddin did not follow any rules and walked out of jail at will. Bhushan sought the cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail on the grounds that if he was at large on bail, then the life of the last witness, who was to testify in a case, would be in danger.Bhushan had earlier told the apex court that there were 45 cases against Shahabuddin, out of which nine are related to murder and ten are related to convictions.The Bihar government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin. The petition was filed by Bhushan on behalf of the victim’s family, who were upset to see Shahabuddin walk free.Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in the case of the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan.Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in court.

Shahabuddin case: SC to resume hearing on petition challenging ex-RJD parliamentarian bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court is set to continue its hearing over a petition demanding the cancellation of the bail granted to former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is facing criminal charges in around 50 cases.The argument, which was inconclusive yesterday in the apex court, will continue today, where a victim’s lawyer and the Bihar government have pleaded to the division bench to cancel his bail.Lawyer Prashant Bhushan had earlier on Monday told the apex court that there were 45 cases against Shahabuddin, out of which nine are related to murder and ten are related to convictions.Bhushan told a division bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, that Shahbuddin is a serious threat to society if his bail is not cancelled. Shahabuddin’s lawyer asked for more time to respond.The top court was hearing the petitions challenging a Patna High Court order to grant bail to Shahabuddin earlier this month.The top court had on September 19 issued a notice to Shahabuddin while hearing pleas of the Bihar Government and Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to him.The Bihar Government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin.The petition has been filed by Bhushan on behalf of the victim’s family, which was upset to see Shahabuddin walk free.Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan.Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in the court.

SC to hear Mohammad Shahabuddin bail cancellation plea tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred the hearing of a plea for the cancellation of bail of former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin. While hearing the matter, Lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the apex court that if Mohammad Shahabuddin would be out on bail then the witness’ life would be in danger.Bhushan had earlier on Monday told the apex court that there were 45 cases against Shahabuddin, out of which nine are related to murder and ten are related to convictions. Bhushan told a division bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, that Shahbuddin is a serious threat to society if his bail is not cancelled. Shahabuddin’s lawyer asked for more time to respond.The top court was hearing the petitions challenging a Patna High Court order to grant bail to Shahabuddin earlier this month. The top court had on September 19 issued a notice to Shahabuddin while hearing pleas of the Bihar Government and Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to him.The Bihar Government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin. The petition has been filed by Bhushan on behalf of the victim’s family, which was upset to see Shahabuddin walk free.Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan. Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in the court.

Bombay HC refuses parole to former don Arun Gawli

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court has refused parole to former don Arun Gawli for taking care of his wife during her surgery at a Mumbai hospital.A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Atul Chandurkar on Wednesday disposed of a petition in this regard filed by Gawli observing it was unclear whether she would need surgery at all.However, the bench allowed Gawli to approach the court again if a date for the surgery was fixed.The Maharashtra government opposed granting of parole to Gawli arguing that his wife was not very serious for which he had to visit Mumbai.Gawli had approached the high court after his plea for parole, citing his wife’s critical illness which required surgery, was recently rejected by Divisional Commissioner Anup Kumar.Before rejecting the plea, Kumar had sought opinion from Mumbai police.The Mumbai police informed that Gawli’s return to his residence in Dagadi Chawl might affect law and order in the state capital and this led to the rejection of his plea.Gawli is currently serving life imprisonment in Nagpur Central Prison here for murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamalakar Jamsandekar.The former don was brought to Nagpur Central Prison in March last year.

SC to today hear petitions challenging Md Shahabuddin’s bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will today hear the petitions of the Bihar Government and Siwan native Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to gangster-turned politician Mohammad Shahabuddin by the Patna High Court.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Bihar Government last week filed an appeal in the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order granting bail to Shahabuddin. Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan has also challenged the latest Bihar High Court order which recently granted bail to Mohammad Shahabuddin.The petition has been filed by Bhushan on behalf of victim’s family who was unhappy to see Shahabuddin walking out of the Bhagalpur jail. Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan.Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in the court.

AAP govt’s excise policy a political move, says Prashant Bhushan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Aam Aadmi Party member Prashant Bhushan and members of Swaraj Abhiyan on Sunday hit out at the Arvind Kejriwal government’s newly-announced liquor policy, stating that the policy came without introducing mohalla sabhas as promised by the party in its manifesto. Addressing the media at Noida, Bhushan said the existing mohalla sabhas had no legal sanction to close the sprouting liquor shops and alleged the AAP is misleading people of Delhi.”What is the legal sanction behind the CM’s declaration about the role of mohalla sabha in closure of existing liquor shops. The Delhi government has no interest in passing the Swaraj bill which would have mohalla sabhas a legal entity,” he said.According to the Delhi government’s liquor policy, there will no fresh liquor shops allowed in the city this year barring shopping malls. For the existing liquor shops, the mohalla sabhas gets the right to decide if they should be shut. A mohalla sabha taking such a decision should have at least 50% women.”Only those shops should be advertised which have sanction of mohalla sabhas,” Bhushan said.He also questioned the timing of the announcement of the policy and asked why opening of liquor vends has been suspended only for a year.”Why is the announcement of not opening any new liquor shops made by Arvind Kejriwal applicable only for one year? Does Kejriwal want to resume his anti-people liquor policy after elections in Punjab?” said Bhushan.He also demanded shutting down of those shops operating without the consent of the locals and asked if Kejriwal-led government would share the draft excise policy public’s suggestions before releasing it, since the formal policy declaration has already been delayed.Swaraj Abhiyan claimed that the Delhi government gave different figures for the number of new liquor shopped that came up under AAP government in four RTI replies and has sought explanation for for the varying figures.He said a public hearing will be held by Swaraj Abhiyan on August 23 at the liquor vend in Khajoori, Karawal Nagar.

Prashant Bhushan questions Kejriwal’s ‘anti-people’ liquor policy, say it has no legal sanction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Firing a fresh salvo at Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal over “anti-people” liquor policy, former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan asked on Sunday whether he will resume opening of liquor vends after one year when the MCD and Punjab elections are over. Questioning why opening of liquor vends has been suspended only for a year, he demanded shutting down of such shops which were opened without approval from local residents.The Swaraj Abhiyan founder said there was no legal sanction granted to Mohalla Sabhas to close the liquor vends and accused Kejriwal of misleading the people. “Why has Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement of not opening any new liquor shops been made only for one year. Does Kejriwal want to resume his anti-people liquor policy after the MCD elections in Delhi and Assembly elections in Punjab,” he said at press conference in Noida.Earlier, Abhiyan had alleged that 58 wine shops have opened up in Delhi ever since the AAP government came to power and had demanded closure of shops where people were opposing them. Announcing the new excise policy, the government had said no new liquor shop except in malls, will come up in Delhi in the current financial year and the mohalla sabhas will be empowered to shut existing neighbourhood vends if there are complaints of “nuisance”.”What is the legal sanction behind the CM’s declaration about the role of Mohalla Sabha in closure of existing liquor shops. The Delhi government has no interest in passing the Swaraj bill which would have granted the legal sanction to the units of Mohalla Sabha,” he said. “Why is the government trying to mislead by saying that Mohalla Sabhas will have the power to remove liquor vends when the fact remains that no such powers have been granted yet,” he said.”Further liquor shops should be allotted only after approval from Mohalla Sabhas, instead of shops being opened first and then closing or transferring them if Mohalla Sabhas oppose them. Only those shops should be advertised which have sanction of Mohalla Sabhas,” Bhushan said. He termed the recent newspaper advertisements and announcements regarding Mohalla Sabhas as “political rhetoric meant for media consumption”. He claimed that the Delhi government, in four RTI replies, gave different figures for the number of new liquor shops opened by AAP government since it came to power and asked the reason for the varying numbers. “The superficial exercise with no substantiative legislative step of forming Mohalla Sabhas in Delhi is being used as a cadre building exercise for upcoming MCD elections,” Bhushan said.Claiming that Kejriwal has made a sudden U-turn on the draft excise policy under pressure of Swaraj Abhiyan’s campaign, he asked if Delhi government would share the draft in public domain, for a week, for general public’s suggestions before releasing it, as the formal policy declaration has already been delayed. He said a public hearing will be held by Swaraj Abhiyan on August 23 at the liquor vend in Khajoori (Karawal Nagar) and demanded that at least 11 shops identified by Mohalla Sabhas be closed immediately.

SC to hear plea seeking water supply ban to Maharashtra breweries

The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a plea seeking a complete ban on water supply to distilleries and breweries in drought-hit regions of Maharashtra.A vacation bench of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Ashok Bhushan on May 16 agreed to hear the plea today after an advocate mentioned the matter before it, seeking this supply be instead made available for drinking purposes. The petitioner said that instead of curtailed water supply to the liquor industries, there should be no supply of water at all, as the entire region is facing acute water shortage.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The petitioner said that people are being deprived of drinking water, as it is being given to the liquor industries instead. The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court had recently asked the state government to curtail water supply to the liquor industry by 60 per cent from May 10, which would be operative till June 27.The plea assumes significance as the Supreme Court had earlier upheld the Bombay High Court order banning the hosting of IPL matches, including in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

Had Narsingh not got the quota? Delhi high court to Wrestling Federation of India

Wrestler Sushil Kumar’s dream of competing at the Rio Olympics appear to be all but over.The Delhi high court on Tuesday directed Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to hold a meeting with the grappler. However, the sports body said it is not keen on a trial in the men’s 74-kg category, as it believes it would set a wrong precedent and might “finish Indian wrestling”.Following the HC directive, WFI president Brij Bhushan decided to hold a meeting with the two-time Olympic medallist on Wednesday, along with the vice-president, the secretary and the chief coach. The four would try and sort out what has snowballed into a major controversy ahead of the mega event in August.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court has also sought the response of the sports ministry before its next hearing on May 27.Knowing well that WFI has all the valid reasons to send Narsingh Pancham Yadav to the Rio Games, Sushil’s counsel’s entire arguments was about not following the National Sports Code. However, it cut no ice inside the court room. Rather the court observed that “while we respect what Sushil has done for the country, we can’t belittle Narsingh’s performance”.”If he (Narsingh) would not have been there (at World Championships), India would not have got this Olympic quota at all,” observed justice Manmohan Singh.WFI clarified before the court that “it would not like to conduct a trial”.Bhushan had made the federation’s stand clear. “Till now, a wrestler believes that if he/she brings a quota, he/she will go to the Olympics. But the day it would become a norm that even if one athlete brings a quota but someone else may go to the Olympics, that day wrestling in India would be finished. No one would work hard to bring a quota as the wrestlers may not feel secure,” he said.However, considering Sushil’s achievements, the court took a lenient view in order to sort the matter amicably outside courtroom between the two sparring parties. Delhi HC has directed WFI to hold a meeting with Sushil to explain him “the reasoning behind its decision” in order to “treat him with respect and dignity”.When asked if WFI is under pressure to send Sushil, Bhushan said: “No. If people are blaming WFI, I want to ask what have we done? We have only forwarded the names of those who have bagged quota places. If forwarding their names is an offence, then, yes, I have committed that offence.”He, however, conceded that if things don’t get sorted out, WFI would accept the court’s decision. “If things don’t get sorted, ultimately whatever directive we get from the court, we will accept it,” he said.

VVIP Chopper scam: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh denies allegations made by Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday described as “baseless and politically motivated” the allegations of Swaraj Abhiyan leaders of floating a global tender in a “shady manner” to purchase a specific AgustaWestland helicopter by paying “over 30 per cent” commission without exploring options.”The allegations levelled by former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan are baseless and politically motivated. There was no irregularity in the helicopter deal. It was done through the global tendering process, maintaining full transparency,” the CM said at a press conference at his official residence here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said senior Congress leaders were facing heat over the AgustaWestland chopper deal scam involving corruption to the tune of several crores of rupees and these baseless charges against a BJP-ruled state was “an attempt to divert the attention”.”He (Bhushan) is trying to dilute the issue,” Singh said.Earlier in the day, Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav in Delhi accused the Raman Singh government of paying USD 1.57 million as “commission” to a company registered in tax-haven British Virginia Islands to procure the chopper.The two also sought to link Raman Singh’s son Abhishek to the controversy saying he formed a company called Quest Heights Ltd on July 3, 2008, almost six months after the bulk of the payment was made by the state government to Sharp Ocean, an agent company. When asked whether he will pursue legal action against Bhushan, Singh said he will consult his lawyers.”Procurement of the helicopter was done after taking consent from the technical committee constituted for the purpose in the state. Full transparency was maintained in the entire procurement process,” the CM said.The allegations were based on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report for the year ended March 31, 2011, but the report only pointed out that the delay in procurement of the chopper led to the extra expenditure of Rs 65 lakh, Singh said.Jharkhand had procured the same chopper in 2006, he said, adding the company increased the price for the Chhattisgarh government in 2007. Abhishek, the MP from Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha constituency, also denied his links to the deal. He also denied having offshore bank accounts.”I have nothing to do with it,” Abhishek said in a statement.”I am also being accused of working with Sarda Brothers company. But I want to clarify that Sarda Brothers had never been my employer. All allegations against me are politically motivated, just to malign my image,” he said.

Mumbai: 6 die, three injured as 100-year-old building collapses in Kamathipura

Six people lost their lives and three were critically injured when a ground-plus three-storey building on Forus Road in Kamathipura collapsed on Saturday afternoon.Gulmohar Building, popularly known as Patharwala Building, was more than 100 years old and was undergoing repair by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) for the last four days.Of the six who died, four are from the same family. Dr. Nisha Bhushan, chief medical officer at Nair Hospital, said: “Two of the deceased were severely hurt while those hurt suffered minor injuries. All the deceased, except the lone woman, have been identified.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It fell before I could understand anything. I was hit by a huge debris on my hand,” said Jigri Ahmed Ali (28). Ali is now sitting in a wheelchair in the ICU of Nair Hospital, still in a state of shock.It was a residential building with a restaurant on the ground floor. Residents and officials said that each floor had big units of Zari embroidery and handbag workshops.”I was walking towards my shop on the opposite side. I saw men getting crushed. I was lucky I was saved,” said one of the survivors at Nair Hospital with hand injuries.Nazirul Shaikh, Minrul Shaikh and Sachin Shetty echoed those words. All three worked in the same building, but left for lunch separately, just before the building collapsed. “Almighty’s grace is upon me. I have no words,” Nazirul said.Eight fire engines and three ambulances were pressed into rescue operation, according to a fire brigade official. All victims were rushed to nearby state-run J J Hospital and BMC-run Nair Hospital.Mhada executive engineer Sanjay Jadhav said that the building was undergoing minor repair. “The building was a composite structure of load-bearing walls and wooden columns and staircases. We had propped the building about a month ago and had issued a work order on April 28. We will launch a probe into the incident,” he said.Fearing structural damage to the adjacent buildings, residents have been evacuated and will be shifted to a transit camp.Chief fire officer Pratap Rahangdale said that since the building was are very old, rescuers had to be cautious. Cameras with sensors were used to locate survivors. “No time was wasted. We planned strategically and started the search operation first in the suspected area and then the other sides. This helped us rescue victims faster,” claimed Rahangdale.The state government has announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

AAP announces new National Executive, includes seven women

The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday announced its new National Executive (NE), the party’s second-highest decision making body, with 17 new names which include seven women, a departure from the past when it had no female representation.The 25-member restructured body also has several names from Punjab, which is going to polls in 2017, the party’s next big focus in the electoral arena. Apart from them, five state conveners became ex-officio members of NE. The members include party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai, Pankaj Gupta, Ashutosh and Kumar Vishwas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new entrants are Yamini Gomar, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Preeti Sharma Menon, Durgesh Pathak, Bhagwant Mann, Kanu Bhai Kalsaria, Harjot Bains, Baljinder Kaur, Raghav Chadha, Ashish Talwar, Atishi Marlena, Sadhu Singh, Dinesh Vaghela, Meera Sanyal, Bhawna Gaur, Rakhi Birla, Imran Hussain and Amanatullah Khan.The NE has undergone a major change over the last one-year due to a spate of expulsions and resignations which began with the fallout of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan with the party’s top leadership.Yadav and Bhushan were shown the door over allegations of anti-party activities.

Odd-even policy: Delhi govt terms response satisfactory, opposition not convinced

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi on Friday kicked off the second phase of its odd-even traffic scheme in the national capital. Delhiites and Twitterati generally endorsed the move aimed at battling pollution, but opposition parties slammed it.

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, who traveled on a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus to take stock of the situation, expressed satisfaction over the response to the second leg of the scheme.

The opposition parties, however, did not back the odd-even plan and demanded improvement in the existing public transport facilities.

Delhi has an estimated over 26 lakh registered cars as of 31 March, 2015. On Friday, the even numbered private cars went off the roads in compliance with the traffic restrictions for four-wheelers.

The first day of the second phase saw roads less crowded as the day also happened to be a public holiday owing to the Ram Navami festival.

Representational image. Tarique AnwarRepresentational image. Tarique Anwar

Representational image. Tarique Anwar

The Delhi Traffic Police challaned as many as 511 violators between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Separately, the Delhi government’s transport department challaned 427 violators through the day.

Those not abiding by the rule are to be fined Rs.2,000.

While the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress demanded immediate steps to improve public transport facilities in the city, former key member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Prashant Bhushan termed the odd-even exercise a “gimmick”.

“Citizens may offer better solutions for pollution, bike lanes, better public transport/BRT, than gimmicks like odd/even,” Bhushan posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

BJP’s Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyaya said the “unplanned” odd-even scheme was causing inconvenience to the citizens.

“It is the most unplanned scheme the government has come up with. The government has not worked on improving the public transportation system,” he said.

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said: “The AAP government was imposing its scheme on Delhiites without improving the condition of public transport.”

Around 4,000 civil defence volunteers, mostly young people, were stationed at major crossings. Sporting green umbrellas and holding placards calling for saving the environment, the volunteers held roses in their hands to present to violators.

Around 2,000 traffic police personnel and 400 ex-servicemen were also deployed to enforce the scheme that is aimed at tackling rising pollution in the city.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has proposed to make it a monthly affair, appealed to the people to make the second phase a success.

“Odd even starts today (Friday). Let’s all join hands and resolve to make it a success,” Kejriwal tweeted in the morning.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai said the public response to the second leg of the scheme was satisfactory.

“As we can see today people are following the odd-even rule voluntarily. I hope the second phase will also be a success like the first phase in January this year,” Rai told IANS.

Rai, who travelled in a DTC bus from the Delhi Secretariat to Pragati Maidan, India Gate, Connaught Place, Minto Road, Ramlila Maidan and other spots, hinted at the possibility of the odd-even scheme being made a feature every month if this phase proved successful.

“The first phase was during winters, and this is summer. We will collate the experiences from both the seasons. Therefore, this is the decisive phase. Depending on the feedback, the government may consider odd-even scheme every month for 15 days,” he said.

Rai had carpooled to office in an odd numbered car with Burari legislator Sanjeev Jha and Mehrauli legislator Naresh Yadav.

The Delhi government had held the first phase of the odd-even traffic scheme from 1 to 15 January this year. The city government’s inititives came after the Delhi High Court last year asked it to take urgent steps to curb worsening menace of Delhi’s pollution.

People on micro-blogging site Twitter mostly praised the odd-even move.

Abhishek Gupta, a cricketer who has played for the national under-19 team, posted: “##RRoads are so empty with young volunteers stand aside of the roads holding roses but finding only few offenders. #OddEvenBegins##.”

Chartered accountant Anurag Pandey said there were no traffic congestions on the roads.

The odd-even vehicle movement plan for four-wheelers will continue till 30 April between 8.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. except on Sundays.

Vehicles operated through compressed natural gas (CNG), two-wheelers, women motorists and several categories of VIPs and parents ferrying children to school are exempted from the restrictions.

Citizens can offer better solutions for pollution than odd-even: Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Friday termed the Delhi government’s odd-even traffic restriction scheme a “gimmick”.

Prashant Bhushan. PTI

Prashant Bhushan. PTI

Citizens could offer better solutions to pollution, suggested Bhushan, formerly a key member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and a close associate of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“Citizens may offer better solutions for pollution, bike lanes, better public transport/BRT, than gimmicks like odd/even,” the lawyer posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Delhi government’s second phase of odd-even traffic scheme which aims at reducing air pollution in the national capital started on Friday.

The scheme disallows private vehicles with even registration numbers to run on odd-numbered dates and vice versa, thus restricting the flow of traffic on roads.

I feel proud when I chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’: Anupam Kher

Asserting that there are some slogans that people should feel proud when chanting, veteran actor Anupam Kher today wondered why some issues, which were never discussed in the last 60 years, like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan issue, are being raked up and debated now.”There are some slogans with which we are born and we die and one should feel proud while raising these slogans,” Kher said amid chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. He was speaking at a global summit and trade fair, organised by Jain International Trade Orgnization ‘JITO Connect 2016’.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Do not pay attention to the people, who have been disputing over the issue and if they are on the TV channels, turn off the television or switch to Doordarshan, because they show real news,” the Padma Bhushan awardee said.”There are some issues which were never raised in the last 60 years, but now there are a few like chanting of “Bharat mata ki Jai” that are being raked up and debated,” he added.In a veiled attack on AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, he said, “Some people say that they will not chant the slogan as it is not written in the Constitution, but I feel proud when I raise these slogans.”The actor said, “I did not receive such respect while doing 498 movies, which I have been receiving in last few months through my speeches and this is because whatever I am speaking is coming from the bottom of my heart.”

AAP demands Supreme Court-monitored probe into Panama Paper leaks

The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into the cases of Indians named in the leaked ‘Panama papers’ saying the BJP-headed government at the Centre will not ensure a fair investigation.The party accused the government of “failing” to take any substantial action on the black money front in the last two years despite several such leaks and cited the ‘Swiss leaks’ and the HSBC-list to make its case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh claimed that the documents at the centre of the investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) “establishes” that people close to the government stashed black money abroad. “We demand a Supreme Court-monitored time-bound investigation into the case. It’s a straight case of black money. And any hope of a fair probe by the government is very low considering the names involved,” Singh told reporters. AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha hit out at the government for proposing changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. The proposed amendments are aimed at “saving BJP and Congress,” he said. “If the amendments are passed then foreign companies will flood the parties with funds and virtually dictate their agendas which will be against the country’s interest,” Chadha said. Chadha claimed that two low-level political functionaries reportedly named in the Panama Papers belonged to BJP.Meanwhile, Swaraj Abhiyan leader and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “Would people with legit funds hide them in secret companies registered in Tax Havens? Most must be illegal. Will it be pursued (sic).””Had told PM in 6/14 (June 2014) that owners of funds from Tax Haven Cos must be unmasked. Does PM want Make In India from laundered money?(sic)” Bhushan said in another tweet.

Bharat Mata slogan row: Is there any bigger crime subjecting Muslims to loyalty test, asks Mani Shankar Aiyar

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Sunday wondered if there was any “bigger crime” than asking Muslims who chose India during Partition as to whether they are loyal to the country or not.LIVE England vs West Indies final T20, ICC World T20Speaking on ‘Indian Muslims in democratic India’ at an event here, he hailed the country’s syncretic traditions, adding, “Islam can’t be thought of without India, and India can’t be imagined without Islam. Those who wan’t to break this relationship are anti-nationals. Muslims had the opportunity to leave and a large number of them stayed back.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Now, what can be the bigger crime than asking these Muslims who chose stay back whether they are loyal?…Those who insist on this loyalty test seem to forget that the name of the force that Subhash Chandra Bose had raised was Azad Hind Fauz and not swatantra bharat sena,” Aiyar said.Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who also spoke at the event held at the Constitution Club, echoed Aiyar’s views while adding that the meaning of nationalism is “not to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai”. “When a Muslim had opted for India, did he not automatically prove his loyalty to the country? The meaning of nationalism is not to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai. It means being sensible towards the people who live in India,” Bhushan said.

‘RAW spy’ arrested: Ex-Union Minister KV Thomas accuses Modi govt of ‘washing its hands off’ the issue

Accusing the Modi government of “washing its hands off” on the issue of arrest of a former Indian Navy officer in Pakistan, senior Congress MP and former Union minister K V Thomas on Saturday demanded that the Centre provide immediate consular access to him.Thomas, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, alleged that the speed at which MEA statement acknowledging identity of the arrested man, Kul Yadav Bhushan, was issued, indicated India had been given prior information about the detention.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Government of India has the obligation to protect our citizens, be they are part of government, military or civilian. Modi government is washing its hands off the issue by stating that Kul Yadav Bhushan is an Ex-Navy not a RAW member,” he said in a Facebook post.He said, “Yadav should be immediately given consular access. Even if Yadav is a RAW member, it should be read with the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, including the attacks on Pathankot, border skirmishes and many terrorist plots which originates from the other side of the border, all of which clearly has Pakistan Army or ISI support,” he said.”We should be taking all measures to protect our national interest as well as our citizens,” the former Union minister said.Citing instances like Union minister Prakash Javadekar representing the government at the Pakistan Day function at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi notwithstanding the invitation to hardline separatist Hurriyat leaders, Thomas said, “despite a clear intent to destabilise India, Modi government is seen to be bending down to Pakistan”.”Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif are traveling to Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit on March 31st with a possible unannounced meeting or even dropping by in Pakistan. All this at a time when BJP and Modi government is shedding crocodile tears in the name (of) nationalism and taking on students accusing them on abusing the nation and disrespecting the Armed Forces,” he said.He asked where is the Modi government “who stated we will not tolerate any strikes on India or Indians. We’ll always wield the initiative on either being friendly or engaging in aggressive action. We will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing.”

19-year-old girl dies after spurned lover sets her on fire in Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad: A girl was burnt alive by a spurned lover and his friend in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The shocking incident occurred in Chataparru village of Eluru mandal in West Godavari district.

Vicky and his friend Pedababu poured kerosene on 19-year-old Indumati and set her ablaze when she was alone in her house. The girl sustained 90 per cent burns and died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Eluru town.

Senior police officials, who rushed to the hospital, spoke to the girl and recorded her statement before she succumbed.

Vicky, a youth living in the same village, had been harassing her as she had rejected his advances. He along with few friends recently came to the house and picked up a fight with her parents. The girl’s family had lodged a complaint with police, which issued a strong warning to Vicky.

The elders from both sides were scheduled to meet on Sunday to sort out the issue but on Saturday the youth along with his friend burnt alive the girl.

Police booked a case against the accused under Nirbhaya Act and launched a hunt for them.
Women Empowerment Minister Peethala Sujatha spoke to district Superintendent of Police Bhaskar Bhushan and asked him to conduct a thorough investigation. IANS

8 Maoists killed in gunbattle on Telangana-Chhattisgarh border; weapons recovered

At least eight Maoists were killed in a gunbattle with police near the border of Telangana’s Khammam district and neighbouring Chhattisgarh state in the early hours on Tuesday, police said.The exchange of fire took place between a team of Greyhounds — Telangana’s anti-Naxal force — and the rebels in a forest area bordering Chhattisgarh, a senior Intelligence official from Telangana Police told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Telangana Maoist party Secretary Hari Bhushan and Divisional Commander Lachhanna were also neutralised in the encounter. An AK 47, two SLR and three 303 rifles were recovered from Putapadu near Cherla, reported ANI.Bodies have been recovered and the identification process is on, he said.Eight weapons have been recovered from the site, he said.Combing operation is on in the forest area, he added.

Judiciary playing crucial role in fight against corruption: Shanti Bhushan

Former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan on Saturday lauded the judiciary for playing crucial role in the fight against corruption and underscored need for having more crusaders locally to see the ill practice disappear from the country.Addressing a gathering at two-day ‘Act Now – National Convention on Corruption’ here, Bhushan stressed in forming a network with “good people” in each political party to see their influence within respective outfits grow and the fight against corruption is strengthened.”Judiciary has played crucial role in hurting corruption.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Before Constitution came into being, jurisdiction of judiciary was limited. But B R Ambedkar and those who fought for our freedom, they drafted such a Constitution that gave unlimited powers to judiciary through sections 226 and 32… these were used in the interest of people by judiciary,” he said.Bhushan hailed Justice PN Bhagwati for admitting public interest litigations (PIL) in court in 1984 by defining Article 226 and Article 32 of the Constitution. He also lauded his lawyer-son Prashant for using PILs to see probe is ordered in major corruption cases like coal-gate and spectrum auction and others.Bhushan showered praises on the Supreme Court bench which had in 2013 struck down as unconstitutional section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1952, which had allowed lawmakers to appeal before higher court and get a stay on their conviction. “The appeals would go on for years. But Justice AK Patnaik-led bench interpreted the law such and with support of article 14, they quashed the provision saying it would be discriminatory. This is the decision, because of which Lalu Prasad can’t contest polls,” he told.Bhushan further stressed on a need for identifying “good people” from each of the political parties and forming a network with them to fight corruption. Bhushan stated that primary job of political parties is to give solutions to problems faced by people and not winning polls.”Time has come for people of the country unite and stand against corruption. In each district, at least five people should do the job that Prashant Bhushan is doing. If there are five Prashant Bhushans in each district, then corruption will disappear from the country,” he added. The first day of the convention was also attended by Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan and other RTI activists and whistle blowers. Tomorrow, the convention is expected to be addressed by Yadav, Justice Santosh Hegde and AP Shah, social activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai and RTI activists and whistle blowers’ from various parts of the country.

Watch: An emotional Kanhaiya Kumar bares all; questions Delhi police’s lack of protection in court

In a CNN-IBN report, Kanhaiya Kumar recounts the incident of him being beaten up in the Patiala House Court by a bunch of ‘goon’ lawyers. Kanhaiya said that they threw him down, made him fall and when he tried to extricate himself, the ‘lawyers’ entered the gates, chased him and then one of them hit him.

One being challenged by the police, this man, recounts Kanhayia, brazenly questioned the police back and walked out without even a scratch.

“I told the police he was hitting me, they didn’t do anything. I told the judge I have full faith in the Constitution. These are highly politically motivated persons,” says Kanhaiya.

Main is desh ka naujawan hoon, main JNU mein PhD kar raha hoon, log keh rahe hain ki main desh drohi hoon, kuch media mera trial kar rahi hai (I am a youth of this country, I am doing my PhD in JNU and people are calling me an ‘anti-national’, a section of the media has put me on trial),” an emotional Kanhaiya said.

As the video makes it evident, the police have no clear answers. Officers are giving various contradictory versions. Sushil Kumar, SHO, Tilak Marg, said: “Mujhe nahi pata kaun aaya, (I don’t know who came)” while Virender Jain, SHO, Vasant Kunj said, “Hamein nahi pata maara ki nahi, yeh mujhe nahi pata. (I don’t know if he was hit)”.

While Jatin Narwal, DCP said that the attack had not taken place.

Subhash Chandran, one of Kanhaiya’s lawyers, said he had repeatedly appealed to the police for help but they did nothing.

“They were just watching and let the goons do what they want,” he says. Chandran had asked a Tilak Nagar police officer for help, but in turn he was asked as to why he was appearing for a “Pakistan agent”. Chandran adds that no FIR has been issued on his complaints even after he provided four names. Top lawyer Prashant Bhushan said police took no steps to stop the beating and it shows their complicity.

“SIT will investigate what happened in Patiala House, Delhi Police can’t be expected to do an honest and impartial investigation,” Bhushan said.

Security in Tihar has been increased as intelligence reports suggests that Kanhaiya could by attacked in the jail.

Kanhaiya’s brother Manikant Singh said that it was clear that the police was not helping his brother, “I’m certain my brother is in trouble. He stood up to ABVP and RSS and openly challenged them.”

Judicial scrutiny of intel agencies may dent national security: Supreme Court

Observing that “getting into the domain of intelligence agencies would dent the national security,” the Supreme Court on Tuesday junked a PIL seeking to make IB, RAW and NTRO accountable to Parliament,”We do not think the court should entertain such kinds of petition which deal with security of the country. We are not inclined to entertain this petition…Trying to get into the domain of intelligence may create dent in national security,” a bench headed by Justices Dipak Misra said while rejecting the PIL filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhushan claimed that in every advanced democracies like the UK and the US, such agencies are accountable to parliamentary panels as they spend tax- payers’ money.”What they do in the United Kingdom, we cannot practise in India,” the court said said, adding “They (Centre and Parliament) must be having some measures. It cannot be said that they do not have any mechanism. You need not legislate on all issues. You need to have some kind of caution also, otherwise, the very purpose will be lost.””We do not think the court should entertain such kinds of petitions which deal with security of the country,” it said.The bench said that irrespective of nature of the PIL, any plea that may dent national security, should not be entertained by courts.”As a student of History, Law and Literature, I do not think, any court should enter into this territory,” Justice Misra said.On the submission that this court had issued notice on the PIL way back in 2013 and it should not be dismissed like this, the bench asked Bhushan to give suggestions to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi instead.The apex court had in 2013 issued notice to the Centre asking to respond on the PIL seeking to bring the agencies under the oversight of Parliament and CAG.The NGO’s petition had sought directions from the court for parliamentary oversight and financial auditing of Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau, and National Technical Research Organisation by CAG like in several developed countries.The NGO had submitted that the agencies were being misused for political purposes and there was an urgent need to make these organisations accountable to Parliament.On February 1, 2013, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had submitted that India was the only democracy in the world whose intelligence agencies have no legitimacy in the eyes of the law and were not accountable to the people or Parliament.The bench had said it is a policy matter to be decided by the government, but had agreed to hear the plea after the petitioner contended that earlier too the court had passed directions on policy matters.”Former heads of these organisations have published books on how the money is misused and how the agencies are misused for political purposes,” the petition had said, adding that accountability is required as “more than rupees ten thousand crore is granted to these agencies out of the consolidated fund of India”.—With inputs from agencies

Putting IB, Raw and other intel agencies under judicial scrutiny may dent national security: Supreme Court

Putting intelligence agencies IB, RAW and NTRO under judicial scanner may “dent” national security, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said while rejecting a PIL seeking to make these bodies accountable to Parliament for their actions and expenditure.”We are not inclined to entertain this petition…Trying to get into the domain of intelligence may create dent in national security,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It rejected the plea of Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL which has filed the PIL, claiming that in every advanced democracies like the UK and the USA, such agencies are accountable to parliamentary panels as they spend tax- payers’ monies.”What they do in the United Kingdom, we cannot practice in India,” it said, adding “They (Centre and Parliament) must be having some measures. It cannot be said that they do not have any mechanism. You need not legislate on all issues. You need to have some kind of caution also, otherwise, the very purpose will be lost.””We do not think the court should entertain such kinds of petitions which deal with security of the country,” it said.The bench said that irrespective of nature of the PIL, any plea that may dent national security, should not be entertained by courts.”As a student of History, Law and Literature, I do not think, any court should enter into this territory,” Justice Misra, heading the bench, said.On the submission that this court had issued notice on the PIL way back in 2013 and it should not be dismissed like this, the bench asked Bhushan to give suggestions to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi instead.The apex court had in 2013 issued notice to the Centre asking to respond on the PIL seeking to bring the agencies under the oversight of Parliament and CAG.The NGO’s petition had sought directions from the court for parliamentary oversight and financial auditing of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) by CAG like in several developed countries. The NGO had submitted that the agencies were being misused for political purposes and there was an urgent need to make these organisations accountable to Parliament.On February 1, 2013, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had submitted that India was the only democracy in the world whose intelligence agencies have no legitimacy in the eyes of the law and were not accountable to the people or Parliament.The bench had said it is a policy matter to be decided by the government, but had agreed to hear the plea after the petitioner contended that earlier too the court had passed directions on policy matters.”Former heads of these organisations have published books on how the money is misused and how the agencies are misused for political purposes,” the petition had said, adding that accountability is required as “more than rupees ten thousand crore is granted to these agencies out of the consolidated fund of India”.

After fresh violence in Patiala House court, SC asks CP to ensure safety

Upset over brazen defiance of its orders by a bunch of rowdy lawyers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stepped in and issued a tough message to Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi to personally ensure the safety and security of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, journalists and others in Patiala House Court complex.The stern message came at the end of a day-long drama of violence and abuses hurled by men in black robes who took law in their hands for the second day this week when Kumar was brought for remand proceedings before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court had earlier in the day given a slew of directions and limited the entry of lawyers, journalists and others in the court premises in the wake of violence on Monday when scribes, teachers and students of JNU were thrashed by the lawyers.But the directions were of no consequence when some lawyers attacked Kumar and some journalists again on Wednesday. Senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal, Indira Jaising and advocate Prashant Bhushan, drew the attention of the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre to the “extra-ordinary” situation in Patiala House Court where the security and safety was under threat.The court then stepped in to rush a six-member panel of advocates appointed by it to Patiala House courts in the afternoon after it was apprised of fresh incidents of violence involving persons in black robes.The lawyers team gave an oral report mentioning that the situation at the Patiala House Court was “unprecedented” and there was an “atmosphere was of fear and terror” and that there was a total breakdown of law and order in which Kumar was “manhandled”. The bench then made it clear that “the responsibility is exclusively is that of the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to ensure the safety of the accused.”

77% people in Delhi think corruption hasn’t reduced under CM Kejriwal: Swaraj Abhiyan survey

About 77 per cent of people in the national capital believe that corruption has not gone down in government offices in Delhi while some 62 per cent said neither the electricity bills have come down nor are they getting 20,000 litres of free water every month as promised by the AAP government, a survey by Swaraj Abhiyan claimed. The survey was conducted between February 10 to 14, covering 10,000 Delhi residents in 70 assembly constituencies, was done by volunteers of Swaraj Abhiyan, an organisation formed by expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fight against corruption was a major plank on which AAP came to power in Delhi. Around 86 per cent of the people surveyed said the Janlokpal Bill was not the same which was promised at Ramlila Maidan by Kejriwal, while 74 per cent felt that there was no clamp down on corruption at ration shops.The study claimed that 63 per cent of people said their electricity bills have not come down while 62 per cent said they were not getting 20,000 litres of free water every month.Over 82 per cent said they did not get old-age pension, the survey claimed, while 80 per cent were of the opinion that women were unsafe in the city. 87 per cent respondents claimed that CCTV were yet to be installed in their areas.Some 85 per cent of the people claimed that the Primary Health Care (PHC) were yet to be opened in their areas.

Shamli firing incident: 200 persons booked, hunt on for others

Police have booked 200 persons in connection with the death of an eight-year-old boy in Shamli district in celebratory firing by SP workers and announced a cash reward for any information on five absconding accused.A case was registered against 200 unidentified persons under section 147 (rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 and 143 (unlawful assembly), and 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC in this connection yesterday, SP Vijay Bhushan said today.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A reward of Rs 5,000 will be given to those who provide information about any of the five accused – Gayyur (the husband of the newly-elected block pramukh), Saleem, Mumtaz, Mehtab and Nafis.Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the boy killed in firing, an official spokesman said here.He said that guilty will not be spared and strict action will be taken against them.Four other accused – Ehsan, Shadab, Raqib and Sadiq – were arrested yesterday in this connection on the basis of a video clip.The SP workers were celebrating the victory of party candidate Nafisa in the local body polls from the town last week when eight-year-old Sami, who was passing by Kairana area in a rickshaw, was killed in the firing.SP leader and Kairana MLA Nahid Hasan has been earlier booked along with 30 of his supporters for allegedly threatening the two journalists from a leading English news channel who had gone to cover the incident.Hasan had refuted allegations that he or his aides had attacked the two journalists and said it was an attempt by the opposition to tarnish the image of the ruling party.Hasan has been served a show-cause notice by his party, while the victorious block pramukh was expelled.The incident has invited sharp criticism with the BJP terming the Akhilesh Yadav government as a ‘Mughal sultanate’ that has issued licence to its “goons” to do what they want.

East UP terror clinic used to indoctrinate youngsters

UP Police and intelligence agencies are fervently hunting for a doctor absconding from the eastern UP district of Bahraich. It turns out that the doctor was using his clinic to indoctrinate youngsters into extremism. The doctor is reported to have developed a module of the banned SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India), and already recruited about 300 youngsters for this terror outfit from Bahraich, a district on the sensitive Indo-Nepal border, and adjoining areas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are investigating the matter,” is all that the Bahraich SP Salik Ram Verma told reporters when questioned on this count, refusing to share any details. Acting district SP Arvind Bhushan Pande said the police were looking for Dr MM Sheikh alias “Malik Baba” and two more people. One of them has been identified as Nizam, a native of Mahsi (Bahraich) where the clinic is located, and the other as an associate from Kanpur whose identity remains under wraps.According to sources in the UP Police, Dr Sheikh (30), a doctor of Unani medicine hailing from Aligarh, had come to Bahraich about a year ago, and taken a shop on rent for setting up his clinic.His landlord Mahfooz told the police that for the first three-four months, Sheikh attended to patients regularly, but later his working became erratic, with the clinic often remaining closed without any prior notice. He said Sheikh used to tour the countryside for purposes unknown to him.Police sources say Sheikh was recruiting youngsters to rejuvenate SIMI in east UP’s ‘terai’ area, a region marked as highly sensitive due to the proximity to the Nepal border and the high concentration of Muslim population.”He was charging Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 from youngsters as joining fee,” a senior official shared with dna, adding that Sheikh may already have recruited about 300 youngsters for his nefarious designs. “It’s going to be a tough task identifying the new recruits unless we get hold of Sheikh,” he said, with a hint of concern.

What’s the big deal, Anupam Kher? We too deny visas to Pakistanis

Pakistan and India routinely deny visas to people of either countries – both prominent and otherwise – and often it doesn’t make news. Indians who visit the Pakistan embassy in Delhi know how hard it’s to get hold of a visa and how hard it’s to deal with the immigration and police officials once you reach Pakistan.

Pakistanis, including those raised in the West, too have similar stories with some even vowing never to return again – it’s about reciprocity and that’s exactly how countries behave, whether they are friendly or not. India and Pakistan are not friends.

Anupam-Kher-PTIAnupam-Kher-PTI

Anupam Kher. PTI Image.

So we regularly deny visas to hoards of cross-border pilgrims and a lot of popular Pakistani artistes on both security and procedural grounds, and Pakistan too does the same from time-to-time. There’s no question of who started it first because it has been going on for ever. And that’s how foreign affairs work.

Some times, these security and procedural concerns are real, and some times political. Remember, when America introduced finger printing of overseas visitors, Brazil retaliated instantly by asking American tourists on Brazilian ports to queue up for a reciprocal procedure – they didn’t even have an electronic finger-printing machine and had to do with a finger-pad and paper.

So, what’s the big deal Anupam Kher?

You are one of the many Indians who happened to be on Pakistan’s radar now for reciprocal action. And just because you think you have some endowment owing to your proximity to the BJP, you feel outraged. Of course, they are making a point by singling you out. And that’s exactly how it works.

This is not the first time; and this will not be the last time either. And, it’s also not because you are with the BJP. In the past, Bollywood’s favourite poet Javed Akhtar was singled out from a group that was to visit Pakistan to raise money for 2005-earthquake victims during the Congress-led UPA rule.

He had no sympathy for saffron politics and was a strong advocate for religious tolerance – traits that Pakistan could have exploited in their favour. On another occasion, actor Feroz Khan was thrown out of the country because of his allegedly drunken anti-Pakistan tirades on Pakistan-TV.

India too had denied visas to a lot of prominent Pakistanis – mostly good looking actors and talented entertainers who had a following in India – Imran Abbas, who acted with Bipasha Basu; Humaima Malick, Emran Hashmi’s pair in one of his movies; Mahira Khan, Shah Rukh Khan’s reported pair in Raees; and may others including singers Arif Lohar, Javed Bashir, Imran Aziz Mian and Sahir Ali Bagga.

And most recently, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was deported from Hyderabad airport, immediately on arrival, on technical grounds – apparently Pakistanis can enter India only through the ports in the four metros. Even more bizarre bar on entry was on Ghazal king Ghulam Ali, on whom the government had no problem, but its alliance partners had. So a harrowed and amused Ali could sing only in West Bengal and Kerala, but not anywhere else.

Pakistanis too do the same thing. They deny visas to ordinary citizens and more prominent ones at will, and they do harass and restrict movement once Indians land on their soil. For instance, if you have a visa only for Islamabad, you will be chaperoned to a detention area for your connecting flight if you transit through Lahore.

So, why is Anupam Kher complaining?

Because he wants to make a bigger national hero out of himself – a man hounded by Pakistan because he is against Muslim terror in Kashmir, because he is a displaced Kashmiri Pandit and because he is a strong nationalist. And during the present times of hyper-jingoism, a lot of people will stand by him and bash others with alternative-opinions, including those who bat for track-two diplomacy and cricketing ties, and those who criticise human excesses in Kashmir.

One cannot blame Kher’s perpetual peeve of forceful displacement that many Kashmiri Pandits all over the world feel, but using it for political aggrandisement is not cool. When Javed Akhtar was singled out, he didn’t care; neither did Feroz Khan.

Every time a BJP-led government comes to power, it’s windfall time for people such as Anupam Kher because there aren’t too many A-listers in Bollywood who show open allegiance to partisan political ideologies. Most of the art-house film-makers are habitually Left and secular and hence openly oppose the BJP and its interventions in art, while the others keep a safe distance. It’s only people such as Kher, Gajendra Chauhan, Pahlaj Nihalani and Hema Malini who stick their neck out.

Obviously they do get rewarded. In the recent uproar over intolerance, while almost all the elites of the entertainment industry and the art-house crowd covertly and overtly criticised the Modi government, his party and proxies for their alleged intolerance, it was Kher who managed to parade a group in support, although comprising comparatively insignificant names. Coincidentally, he got a Padma Bhushan. Last time, more than ten years ago, his reward came in the form of a Padma Sri. The Padma Bhushan probably took longer because of the UPA- interregnum.

There’s no denying the fact that the actor is a household name for his prodigious volume of work in Bollywood, and some unforgettable performances; but it’s his pro-BJP politics that gets him the bigger stage and even bigger political profile. The Pakistan visa denial is just another opportunity to play up this political card and Hindu-nationalism.

Let him do that because he benefits from it, but the rest of the county should take it easy. There’s nothing new. India has detailed and even deported people of other nationalities for silly reasons. Denial of visas, selective scrutiny and bad behaviour at immigration counters because of the colour of your skin, language and passport, and restriction on your movements are the reality of the world. And India-Pakistan friendship is just a myth that we will continue to play for another 1000 years.

Pakistan refuses visa to Anupam Kher? Actor says he is saddened by the denial

Anupam Kher landed into another controversy on Tuesday after claiming that he was ‘denied’ a visa to go to Pakistan. But the actor later changed his statement and said it was not denied but delayed.

CNN-IBN on Tuesday reported that Kher, who was slated to attend the Karachi Literature Festival, was denied a visa. Out of 18 people, 17 were granted a visa except him, the actor was quoted as saying.

However, within hours, he changed his statement and said that his visa application was ‘delayed’ and not denied. Kher posted a message on Twitter saying:

The statement came after sources from the Pakistan High Commission were quoted by CNN-IBN who said that Anupam Kher had not even applied for a visa and that he seemed to be ‘unaware of the current process.’

Kher has been at the forefront of a campaign in support of the BJP-led union government, amid a raging debate on the perception of increased religion tension and intolerance in the country. Last week, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the government, leading to questions over whether the honour  was politically motivated. His wife Kirron Kher is a BJP member of Parliament (MP) from the constituency of Chandigarh.

Kher said that he was very saddened by the development as he was looking forward to participate in the festival and use the platform to dispel misunderstandings in the minds of people there.

As to why his visa has not been issued, the actor said, “I wish I knew. I am wondering if it is because I am a  Kashmiri Pandit or because of my views on the tolerance debate in India.”

With inputs from PTI

Pakistan denies visa to Anupam Kher to attend Karachi Literature Festival

Veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher has been denied a visa by Pakistan to attend the Karachi Literature Festival on 5 February.Kher has been invited by the organisers of the literary festival in Karachi as one of their guests.Speaking to ANI, Kher expressed his disappointment, saying, “I am very sad and disappointed. Out of 18 participants, 17 were given a visa and I was denied.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The actor also took to Twitter to express his disappointment.However, the Pakistan High Commission has responded saying they have received no Visa application from Anupam Kher.This is not the first time that Kher has been denied visa to Pakistan. Earlier in May 2015, he was denied visa when he was invited by an NGO for an event in Lahore.The Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) was launched in March 2010. Founded by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi and produced by Oxford University Press, it brings together authors writing in diverse languages and genres. This year it is scheduled to be held on 5 – 7 February at the Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan. Anupam Kher, who has been in the eye of controversy, was awarded the Padma Bhushan recently and also locked horns with Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor. The veteran Bollywood actor had also said in a recent TV interview that he was scared of openly proclaiming that he is a Hindu these days.

Padma Awards 2016: Should spiritual leaders accept awards from the government?

The Padma Awards for 2016 were announced recently and three Hindu spiritual leaders also made it to the list: 1) Padma Vibhushan to Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living, 2) Padma Bhushan to Swami Tejomayananda of Chinmaya Mission, 3) Padma Bhushan to Swami Dayananda Saraswathi (posthumously) of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>And immediately, questions arose all over social media – “Should spiritual leaders be getting awards from the Government?” and “Should they be accepting it?”Both the Bharat Ratna and the three categories of Padma Awards were established in 1954 to recognise distinguished and exceptional service/performance/achievement of high/highest order in any field of human endeavour. In trying to answer these questions, this description of service/achievement in the “field of human endeavour” is worth a second look. As I see it, human endeavour actually spans two worlds. The first of course is the immediate external world consisting of the physical and the material. This is the world which we see and experience. Here, we endlessly endeavour! Yes, we struggle, achieve, fail, love, hate, compete, perpetually search, and seek to belong, all on a journey to find one thing and one thing only – happiness. But strangely, those few who have truly succeeded in finding this happiness have been able to do it not tethered in the material world, but by changing their route and embarking on the deeper journey into the inner world of the spiritual realm. Anchored in this world of self-mastery, balance and centredness, they have been able to both connect with, as well as lead those of us in the physical world, on a positive path. Therefore, does spirituality deserve to be considered as a field of human endeavour? It most certainly does, and even more essentially. Furthermore, in asking the question of whether spiritual leaders should receive Awards, what we fail to understand is that, unlike in the case of an artist, movie star, scientist, writer or sports person, the Award given to spiritual leaders (at least in most cases) is actually in recognition of the services done by the entire organisation – all its volunteers, workers and members, not just in India, but all over the world. It is in that spirit that these Masters also accept it – as a representative of the organisation. Thus, when we comment negatively or question this choice, we are speaking from our own narrow egocentric point of view. “Aren’t they supposed to refuse it?” was also a question that was asked. Of course not! And they will never dare to do such a thing because spiritual leaders do not consider such recognitions as a personal award for themselves. For example, Swami Tejomayananda has always said (since 1993 when he became the head of the Chinmaya Mission after its Founder Swami Chinmayanada took Samadhi) that, “I am not in Gurudev’s shoes; I am at His feet”. He also tells all of us who work there, “simply keep doing your best and let the work do your talking”. In the case of the Chinmaya Mission, if one looks at the number of schools and colleges, ashrams, hospitals, research institutes, social service activities, publications, even a production wing that created an award winning 52-episode tele-serial on Doordarshan, that are guided by this one man, (and YES he is aware of and advised of each activity and project from its budgeting to its operation) it would be mind boggling to even comprehend. And we are poised to embark on yet another milestone – a Chinmaya University with focus on Indology and the Performing Arts. All these happen not for personal achievements, but guided by that motto “to give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time.” Now that deserves some kudos, does it not? But ultimately, it all comes down to this. None of these activities or projects or achievements really matter, because as Swamiji says, “Spirituality is not about DOING something special; it is about BEING your own true divine self”. A spiritual leader who not only lives this maxim but also inspires it in thousands of people all over the world deserves to be acknowledged by the Nation that he represents. For he most certainly has made an exceptional achievement of the highest order in the field of human endeavour.Ramaa Bharadvaj is an award-winning dancer, movement designer, educator, arts advisor and advocist. She currently guides the dance program at Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukul.

Gaali for taali: Many contradictions of the life and tolerant times of Padma Bhushan Anupam Kher

Kya aap ghar pe [email protected]#$ bol sakte hain?’

With this sanskari question began India’s latest Padma Bhushan, actor and tolerance activist Anupam Kher’s mann ki baat on freedom of speech and responsibilities at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday.

Freedom of speech is currently Kher’s favourite muse. Ever since he assigned to himself the role of the cheer-uncle of India-is-so-tolerant brigade, he is often baited by ideological opponents at public events and debates with provocative questions and counter arguments. And Kher always obliges them with a cultured soliloquy — the kind he exhibited in Jaipur — laced with nuanced arguments and restrained language, on how achche din have come for India’s liberal and tolerant values.

Nothing deters him. In October, Kher was booed by the audience at a Literature Festival in Mumbai when he lost his cool while debating, well, India’s tolerance.

Anupam Kher. PTIAnupam Kher. PTI

Anupam Kher. PTI

This is how news agency PTI described the interaction in Mumbai: ‘Soon after Kher rose to speak, he was booed when he recalled Shobha De’s (a co-panelist) past as an editor of a film magazine “which printed gossip about which film star slept with whom.”

As the booing continued, Kher said he had spoken to the festival organiser Anil Dharker in the morning and expressed his apprehensions of a paid audience at the debate. This infuriated several members of the audience who kept on booing the actor.

His wife Kirron Kher, a BJP MP, who was in the audience rose to his defence but the audience did not stop booing Kher who said being a theatre artist he was used to such booing.’

In Jaipur, to pre-empt the booing, Kher started wooing the audience. From the stage, he started exhorting the crowd to chant Modi, Modi, playing to literal perfection his role of a cheerleader.

The Padma award is, obviously, hard earned and well deserved.

The actor may be ecstatic that after a lifetime of being cast as a supporting actor, alternating between the image of a comedian, villain and the hero’s best friend, he has finally been offered the lead role of the Narendra Modi government’s knight-in-shining-armour, the go-to man every time its critics from the world of art and cinema are to be silenced, browbeaten into submission, and the brand ambassador of Incredibly Tolerant India.

But, with his politics of convenience and flip-flops, Kher has weakened the very basis of the raison d’être of his popularity: his track record as an actor. His impressive body of work alone would have entitled him to the country’s love, respect and top awards. But, Kher has undermined his own legacy and frittered away some of his own goodwill with his partisan philosophy and by turning into the voice of his political masters.

He will, as writer Ajaz Ashraf pointed out in a stirring critique, not be remembered as the actor who portrayed the angst of the common man in Saaransh but the husband who obliterated it for his wife’s benefactors and political patrons.

‘Judging from his political actions over the last few months, it wouldn’t be wrong to believe Kher might actually reprimand a woman undergoing in real life the sort of travails faced by the struggling actress of Saaransh.

It is likely he would tell her that there have been many instances in the past of powerful fathers mounting pressure on their son’s partner to abort; that she isn’t the first person whom the politician’s musclemen have terrorised; that her troubles do not indicate that the Indian state has drifted into wilful somnolence,’ Ashraf argued.

Some years ago, a Padma award to Kher would have been celebrated as recognition of his contribution to cinema and theatre. But its timing would never silence those pointing out that he got it because of his contribution to the BJP’s theatrics and drama of tolerance politics. And that he made an about-turn and accepted with folded hands what he had denounced in 2010 as a mockery of the system in one of his sour-grapes moment. Perhaps the presence of fellow actor Ajay Devgn, who vigorously campaigned for the BJP in the recent Bihar elections in the Padma list, must have convinced Kher that in Modi’s India the award is no longer a reward for political leanings.

The paradox of Kher’s life and politics is summed up best by his sanskari query–a pointer to the intellectual prowess of the rightwing poster boys– at the Jaipur Literature Festival. If it isn’t ironical enough that Kher used the very language in public– in front of a lawn full of men, women and children, from the stage of literature–that he doesn’t want people to use at home, to know the answer Kher should read the language the right-wing trolls and Hindutva bhakts use to attack those complaining against intolerance.

Yes, Mr Kher, you may have been awarded the Padma Bhushan for calling India tolerant, but there are many others who are called behen#@% for not agreeing with you and those you cheerlead.

(You can listen to his speech here.)

Top 5 stories for the evening: From Padma Awards to Mahatma’s statue defaced in Rajasthan

1.Padma awards 2016 declared: Anupam Kher, Rajinikanth, Vinod Rai, Sania Mirza honoured among others:The winners of the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards for the year 2016 have been announced by the government on Monday. The awards are conferred in three categories – Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Shri.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Anupam Kher, Singer Udit Narayan, sculptor Ram Sutar, Former CAG Vinod Rai and theatre personality Heisnam Kanhailal have also been selected for the Padma Bhushan. Read More 2. PM Modi and Hollande speak at interim Secretariat of International Solar AllianceIndia signed an inter-governmental agreement on Monday to buy 36 French-built Rafale fighter planes, but the leaders of both countries said there was still work to do to finalise financial terms after monthsof talks.But Hollande and Narendra Modi, both said further talks were needed to finalise terms of the government-to-government deal, which the Indian prime minister had announced when he visited France last spring. Read More3. Bomb threat to Kathmandu-bound Jet Airways flight; plane awaits security clearanceA bomb threat call on Monday forced Jet Airways to ground its Kathmandu-bound flight carrying 104 passengers just before it was to take off from the IGI Airport here.Officials said the plane has been taken to the isolation bay at the IGIA and all passengers de-boarded for a through anti-sabotage check. Read More 4. Australian Open: Milos Raonic stuns former champion Stan WawrinkaMilos Raonic fended off a spirited comeback from fourth seed Stan Wawrinka to send the 2014 champion tumbling out of the fourth round of the Australian Open 6-4 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-3 on Monday.The 25-year-old Canadian, who had never beaten the French Open champion in four previous meetings, fired 24 aces and hit 82 winners in the three hour, 44 minute contest to reach the quarter-finals for the second year in a row. Read More5. Mahatma Gandhi’s statue defaced in Rajasthan, ‘ISIS zindabad’ scribbled on itA statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Dudu area of Jaipur in Rajasthan was on Monday found defaced by some unknown miscreants, with a warning of possible ISIS attacks on the Republic Day. Read More

Padma awards 2016 declared: Anupam Kher, Rajinikanth, Vinod Rai, Sania Mirza honoured among others

The winners of the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards for the year 2016 have been announced by the government on Monday. The awards are conferred in three categories – Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Shri.Actor Anupam Kher, Singer Udit Narayan, sculptor Ram Sutar, Former CAG Vinod Rai and theatre personality Heisnam Kanhailal have also been selected for the Padma Bhushan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza and Indu Jain of Bennett, Coleman & Co are the other names decided for the Padma BhushanThe honour will also be awarded to Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Swami Tejomayananda, Professor NS Ramanuja Tatacharya and Professor D Nageshwar Reddy.Anupam Kher tweeted his pleasure at having been conferred the Padma Bhushan.Meanwhile, superstar Rajinikanth will be conferred the Padma Vibhushan. Yamini Krishnamurthi, Girija Devi, Ramoji Rao, Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr Viswanathan Shanta are the other Padma Vibhushan winners.The Padma Vibhushan has also been posthumously conferred upon Dhirubhai Ambani.Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra will be awarded the Padma Shri this year.The awards seek to recognise work of distinction and are given for distinguished and exceptional achievements, service in all fields of activities, disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.Nominations are sent in a prescribed proforma available in the website of the Home Ministry along with citation (maximum in 800 words). All persons, except government servants, without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.It is the usual practice to invite nominations every year from all state governments, Union territories, ministries, departments of the central government. Nominations can be made by Union ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors and Members of Parliament. A self nomination is also acceptable.The nominations are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister every year.Nominations may be sent to the Union Home Minister or Union Home Secretary to their offices in North Block in New Delhi.

Era of grace ended with Mrinalini Sarabhai’s death: President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee, sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Bharatnatyam exponent Geeta Chandran were among a host of personalities who condoled the death of noted classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai, calling her an epitome of “grace” and “beauty”.Popularly known as “Amma”, Sarabhai passed away in Ahmedabad due to age-related problems at the age of 97.”With the passing of the legendary Mrinalini Sarabhai an era of inordinate grace, humane-ness and beauty has ended. Also, a page of history has turned in the annals of Indian classical dance. RIP Amma,” Chandran posted on Facebook.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sarabhai, a Padma Bhushan recipient, was admitted to a hospital in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, but was brought to her home early today morning where she breathed her last.Paying tribute to the dancer, Khan wrote, “Veteran danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away this morning at -#Ahmedabad. Great loss.”President Mukherjee also condoled the death of the veteran dancer.”Demise of Mrinalini Sarabhai leaves a void in world of creativity & performing arts which will be difficult to fill,” he said.Born into the renowned Swaminadhan family of Chennai with roots in Kerala, Sarabhai, an exponent of classical dance forms of Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, was awarded Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree, apart from various other awards for her contribution to the field of dance.She had studied under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. After a brief stint with American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sarabhai returned to India and began training in Bharatanatyam.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Condolences to family and friends of Mrinalini Sarabhai who passed away today. She was a true pioneer in dance.”

dna must reads: From BSF shooting infiltrators in Pathankot to Raghuram Rajan allaying fears amid the stock market plunge

1. BSF shoots suspect crossing Indo-Pak border near PathankotA suspected intruder shot dead by BSF along the Indo-Pak border in Pathankot last night. Three infiltrators had attempted to cross the Indian border in Sehjra bulge area from Pakistan. The BSF shot down one, while two fled the scene. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. US offers Turkey technology to block Islamic State at Syria borderThe United States is accelerating efforts to help Turkey clamp down on its border with Syria, senior US officials said, and for the first time will offer technologies to Ankara to help it secure the frontier. Read more here3. Tennis: Andre Agassi says he never experienced match fixing during playing daysThe eight-time Grand Slam title winner, who retired from the sport in 2006, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that he never had any brush with the sort of corruption that was alleged in recent media reports and has been the main topic of conversation at the Australian Open. Read more here4.Here are top deals on Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm in pre-Republic Day salesWith Republic Day on the horizon, ecommerce giants Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm have launched their sales from Wednesday. These deals include huge discounts on electronics, smart-phones, appliances, fashion and household products. Read more here5. Danseuse and Padma Bhushan awardee Mrinalini Sarabhai passes away at the age of 97Legendary artiste and Padma Bhushan awardee Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away on Thursday at the age of 97. Read more here6. Markets will settle down, investors will look at India: Raghuram RajanReserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday sought to allay fears amid the stock market plunge and the rupee nearing its lowest-ever level, saying things will stabilise and people will look at stable emerging markets, including India. Read more here

Supreme Court seeks Centre’s reply on plea seeking law on whistleblowers

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said that the whistleblowers, exposing corruption in society, needed to be protected. Earlier, the Centre had said that a legislation on the subject was in the offing.

PTI
Info

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
Huawei shipment grows 44% to 108 million smartphones in 2015 <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaDelhi Police’s Special Cell constable dies of bullet injury from his own rifleIndiaSupreme Court seeks Centre’s reply on plea seeking law on whistleblowersIndiaPathankot terror attack: How Pakistan’s initial reaction saved Modi’s faceIndiaBJP MP’s plea on Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship “diversionary tactics”: CongressIndiaRPF cop unites Russian with his backpack a year after its lossIndiaSuspended BJP MP Kirti Azad likely to face strict action <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Delhi Police’s Special Cell constable dies of bullet injury from his own rifle<!– /.block –>Huawei shipment grows 44% to 108 million smartphones in 2015<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2016 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –><!– ExpCom CGP –>

Porous Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam to be sealed by 2016, says Rajnath Singh

Rajnath will inspect the Sonahat border outpost in Dhubri and take part in a sainik sammellan on Monday.

<!– –>

0
0
6

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
Donald Trump shrugs off jihadist video using his Muslim ban remarks <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaAlert issued in Mumbai after Pathankot terror attacksIndiaPM Modi chairs high-level meeting on Pathankot terror attackIndiaAsha Parekh lobbied for Padma Bhushan, accuses Union Minister Nitin GadkariIndiaPathankot attack: What happened to 56-inch govt, asks Sitaram YechuryIndiaHome Minister Rajnath Singh’s border visit violation of cooperative federalism: Tarun GogoiIndiaNepal to import additional 90 MW power from India by January-end <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Stethoscope is dead, says leading Indian-origin cardiologist <!– /.block –>Donald Trump shrugs off jihadist video using his Muslim ban remarks<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2016 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>
<!– ExpCom CGP –>