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PM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech at 7:30 PM | Live streaming and where to watch in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting media reports that the PM’s address to the nation at 7:30 PM on December 31, the BJP said that that the speech would go ahead as planned. The BJP Twitter handle tweeted: “Narendra Modi live address to the nation at 7:30 PM on Dec 31: Live streaming and where to watch in India.”Here’s how you can watch PM Modi’s address:Time: 7:30 PM IST on December 31, 2017Watch it on Facebook live on BJP’s pageWatch the live stream on YouTubeCheck it on the BJP websiteYou can also watch the speech on PM Modi’s website​The speech will also be broadcast on all TV channels including Zee News. ​DNA will add the links when the PM speaks. What we know so far? The BJP-led NDA Government, which has come under sharp criticism post the November 8 demonetization drive, will roll out a massive canvassing campaign beginning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on December 31.Sources said all Central Ministers have been asked to visit at least 10 places and hold rallies and mass contact event so as to convince the masses about the decision to demonetize high-value currency notes.As many as 10 towns visited by each minister will be mix of rural and urban places and more focus will be on poll-bound states as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and especially rural areas.In the wake of the realisation in the government that demonetization related problems will continue for some time, a detailed dossier on demonetization issue has been given to all Central Ministers explaining need of the drive to various milestones achieved along with its success stories.All mass media platforms from radio, TV to field publicity will be used.Sources disclosed that around 60-page documents have been distributed to all ministers by the Finance Ministry in which every aspect of demonetization has been described point by point.The Finance Minister in the document has described the need for initiating such a step, future action plan and impact on major policies.Prime Minister Modi had earlier urged the nation to give him 50 days post the demonetization decision to get things back on track. After demonetization, the government has taken a number of steps to ensure that no hardship is faced by tourists and the industry is not affected.Till date, the government has made several changes to the norms.The demonetization decision has also taken a toll on the common man, with reports of some dying while standing in queues to collect money.In between all this, Prime Minister Modi has continued to address the nation at various public gatherings and his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme.

Bihar jailbreak: 5 prisoners escape from Central Jail in Buxar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five prisoners escaped from Central Jail in Bihar’s Buxar late Friday night, ANI reported.More details are awaited.This is the third major prison escape this year. On November 27, Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist (KLF) Harminder Singh Mintoo had escaped from Punjab’s Nabha Jail along with five others.On October 30, eight SIMI operatives escaped from Bhopal Central Jail. They were gunned down in an encounter by the state police.

Pune: CBI arrests income tax officer for accepting bribe of Rs 1 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested an Income Tax Officer from Pune for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from the complainant.A case was registered under section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on a complaint against Income Tax Officer (ITO), Ward 2(2), Income Tax Office, Swargate, Pune.It was alleged that the ITO, demanded bribe of Rs 2 lakh from the complainant to pass favourable orders in connection with his tax liability.The CBI laid a trap and caught the ITO red handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from the complainant.Searches have been conducted at the office and residential premises of the accused which led to recovery of incriminating documents relating to tax assessment of the complainant; cash of Rs. 5,04,030/-(approx); jewellery i.e 4 Gold biscuits weighing total 350 grams (approx); two flats in Pune and 4 acres land at Solapur, 9 Bank accounts and one bank locker (yet to be operated).The arrested accused is being produced on Friday before the Court of Special Judge, CBI Cases, Pune.

Demonetization failed to check black money: Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said Centre’s demonetization move has failed to curb black money in country and questioned the “real reason” behind its roll out.”Rural economy is collapsed. Farmers and cooperative movement are affected due to denomination. The move has failed to curb black money. Rs 14.38 lakh crore out of Rs 15.42 lakh crore are deposited in banks till date. If this is the outcome of this major decision then what was the real reason behind it?” he said.Pawar appealed to people to come on streets in a peaceful manner to protest against “hypocrisy” of the BJP-led Central government.He was speaking after inaugurating refurbished YB Chavan auditorium at a cooperative bank here.”Common people are standing in queues since last 50 days, but no black money-holder is seen standing there. The farmers have lost the hope due to fallen prices of agri products. All the sensible and common citizens are now worried about future,” he said.

Outgoing Delhi L-G seeks CBI probe into AAP appointment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing Lieutanant-Governor (L-G) of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the appointment of Soumya Jain, daughter of state health minister Satyendar Jain, as advisor to the mission director of the Delhi State Health Mission. Jung alleged that it was a case of “nepotism” saying that she came from an architectural background and had no experience in the health sector.The letter, accessed by DNA, was written to the CBI by the vigilance department of the Delhi government on December 22, the day Jung resigned. It states that the L-G has directed the matter to be referred to CBI for a detailed investigation into the irregularities in the appointment of Soumya Jain.Incidentally, Soumya, 26, was at helm of AAP’s mohalla clinic project in Delhi and was also allegedly given a huge office and staff in the Delhi secretariat.”The selection process in the government cannot be reduced to favouritism and it must offer opportunity to all concerned to apply and compete so as to attract the best talent around. The recruitment process in the government or government owned/controlled bodies must be with the tune with Article 14 of the Constitution,” the letter stated.The development is expected to further escalate confrontation between the Delhi and central governments.Satyendar Jain has defended Soumya’s appointment. When she resigned in July, the health minister had said that her daughter was not being paid any money for the job. He also stated that she had skipped her admission to IIM Indore earlier this year and chosen to work for the Delhi government instead.The letter further states that an “advisor can influence the decision of the government with the consequential bearing on finances and hence the selection process needs to be neutral”.During an inquiry, the L-G’s office found that Soumya’s appointment was in response to her request and not as a result of selection through an open and transparent process. “She offered her services without any financial consideration. The information furnished by the administrative department, however, reveals that an amount of Rs 1.15 lakh was spent on her tour and training,” the preliminary inquiry stated.Soumya had participated in a state-sponsored leadership development programme for senior management in the health sector conducted at IIM-Ahmedabad in June this year. She was the only non-medico who participated in the programme aimed at improving management efficiency in Delhi government hospitals. The rest were all doctors, who head different medical institutions run by the government.The letter also states that the proposal regarding “her appointment is silent about the existence of the post of the advisor to Mission Director at the relevant time”. Soumya was appointed on April 18, 2016, in response to her application dated April 1, 2016. Interestingly, the mission director gave approval on May 10, 2016. She had resigned in mid-July this year after allegations of nepotism in her appointment were levelled against the AAP government.

RBI refuses to give reasons behind demonetisation

New Delhi: Why were Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes demonetised by the government? Fifty days after the government announced that these notes would cease to be legal tender, Reserve Bank of India feels that the reasons behind the sudden announcement cannot be made public.

The monetary policy regulator also refused to give any details about the time it will take to replenish the currency notes.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI). ReutersReserve Bank of India (RBI). Reuters

Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Reuters

“The query is in the nature of seeking future date of an event which is not defined as information as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act,” RBI said in response to an RTI query. The Bankers’ Bank refused to disclose reasons behind the demonetisation of about Rs 20 lakh crore of currency in the country citing Section 8(1)(a) of the Right to Information Act.

The section states, “Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.”

Denying the information sought in the RTI application, the RBI did not give any reasons as to how exemption would apply in the given case
as the decision was already taken and there was no way that disclosure of information would have fit in any of the reasons cited in section
8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.

“The clause of public interest would apply where exemption clause applies on the information sought by an applicant. In the present case,
the information sought does not attract any exemption clause,” former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi told PTI.

He said law is very clear that when a public authority rejects to disclose an information it must give clear reasons as to how the exemption clause would apply in the given case.

Recently, it had refused to allow access to minutes of meetings held to decide on the issue of demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500
notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.

Responding to an RTI application filed by activist Venkatesh Nayak, the Banker’s Bank refused to disclose the minutes of the crucial
meetings of Central Board of Directors on the issue of demonetisation citing section 8(1)(a) of the transparency law.

Nayak said he will appeal against the decision, adding, while confidentiality prior to the making of the demonetisation decision is
understandable, continued secrecy after the implementation of the decision is difficult to understand when crores of Indians are facing
difficulties due to the shortage of cash in the economy.

He said the refusal to disclose the minutes of the board meeting where the decision was taken is perplexing to say the very least.
Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi also underlined that RBI has created an in­house “disclosure policy” which is against
the letter and spirit of the RTI Act.

Gandhi has also filed a complaint before Central Information Commission against RBI for adopting the policy.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 20:03 IST

VVIP Chopper scam: CBI receives response from all eight countries, to begin fresh questioning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday received reply from all the eight countries to its Letter Rogatory in connection with the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case.Sources said the information provided by UAE and Singapore is of crucial importance to the CBI.”Both countries were recently approached through diplomatic channels for execution of the CBI’s letters rogatory (LRs) or judicial requests at the earliest. Now the agency has received responses to the LRs it sent to eight countries for establishing money trail in the Rs. 3,767 crore Agusta Westland VVIP helicopter deal case,” said sources.Mauritius, Tunisia, Italy, British Virgin Island, the UK and Switzerland are the other six countries where Letter Rogatory (a letter of formal request from court to a foreign court) was sent by the CBI, seeking assistance in probe and collection of documents in connection with this case.The CBI will very soon start a fresh round of questioning.Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) S. P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were arrested on December 10 in connection with this case. The court had on December 17 sent all the three accused to judicial custody till December 30.The former Air Chief was yesterday granted bail on the condition that he will not leave Delhi or try to contact any witness in the case.Air Marshal (Retd.) Tyagi, who headed the Indian Air Force between 2004 and 2007, has been accused of abusing his official position to help AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italy based Finmeccanica, win the deal to supply a dozen helicopters meant for the country’s top politicians.

Kurla-Ambernath train derails near Kalyan, no reports of injury

Five coaches of an Amarnath-bound local from Kurla derailed near Kalyan on the Central line of the Mumbai suburban railways on Thursday morning, reports said.

The derailment took place between Kalyan and Vithalwadi station at 5.53 am, The Financial Express reported. However, no one is reported to have been injured.

Local train services on the Kalyan-Karjat route on the Central lines have been temporarily suspended and restoration work has already begun, various reports said.

AN NDTV report said that local train services between Ambernath and Karjat have been restored, and the Central Railway has requested the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal corporation to run extra buses between Kalyan and Ambarnath and CST-Kalyan to facilitate commuters during the peak hours.

The Central line of the Mumbai suburban railways has been struggling to match up with the increasing number of passengers with trains more than often running over capacity. The Central line had been in news recently, when on 7 December, commuters staged a rail roko at Titwala station protesting against a delay in the arrival of a train. A similar protest had been staged at Badlapur, another station on the Central line in August, The Times of India reported.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 08:52 IST

Suspended MP Sasikala Pushpa has no right to enter party office: AIADMK

Wed, 28 Dec 2016-06:47pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Wednesday said that suspended MP Sasikala Pushpa is not a member of their party and has no right to enter its office.”She (Sasikala Pushpa) is no more in AIADMK. What right does she have to come to the party office?” said AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi.Earlier in the day, Pushpa’s lawyer was attacked by party cadre.The incident took place when four lawyers of Pushpa’s team had gone to the AIADMK headquarters to submit a letter.Pushpa who filed a petition in Supreme Court, demanding a probe into the death of J Jayalalithaa, had earlier said that A proper inquiry should be done as the people of the state want to know the actual reason behind the death of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister.
ALSO READ Watch: Suspended AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa’s lawyer attacked outside party officePushpa filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court earlier on Sunday, urging it to order for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death.

91% pickpockets in Delhi metro are women

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing the trend witnessed over the past few years, women constitute over 91% of pickpockets apprehended by the CISF in the Delhi Metro network in the national capital region. The force, that is tasked to provide armed security to Delhi Metro operations, apprehended a total of 479 pickpockets, out of which an overwhelming 438 were women, according to official data.The full-year data, updated till the middle of December, states that the security force undertook a little over 100 operations to check pick pocketing in the rapid rail lifeline of Delhi and its adjoining areas, that carries an estimated 26 lakh commuters every day. The overwhelming number of women indulging in these crimes has shown a constant trend over the last few years and the Central Industrial Security Force, after apprehending these women, hands them over to the Delhi Police for legal action under law.Recently, the CISF had unearthed a notorious gang of such women who had robbed a US-based Indian lady of her jewels and valuables while she was travelling in the Delhi Metro with her husband. “The figures state that women constitute over 91%(of the total pickpockets) in pick pocketing crimes in the Delhi Metro. “It has been found that the modus operandi of these women is to either carry a child or travel in a group to con and pick a purse or other valuables of a traveller, be it a man or a woman,” a senior official said.In order to check these crimes, the force regularly undertakes special operations and deploys women and men personnel in plain-clothes to keep an eye on trouble makers. Last year, 93%of the total number of pickpockets apprehended by the CISF in the Delhi Metro were women.In 2014, over 300 women were intercepted for these crimes making them about 94% of those held, while in 2013, of the total 466 pickpockets held across various stations of the Delhi Metro, 421 were women and the rest were men. This year, during the same time period till mid-December, the force also found 106 missing children and handed them over to their guardians or the station controlling authorities.

Manipur govt extends suspension of mobile data for another week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Centre has deployed additional 4,000 paramilitary forces in Manipur in a bid to reopen National Highway-2, the state government on Tuesday extended the suspension of mobile data services for another week.The United Naga Council has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the state.Curfew has been imposed in Imphal East district for the last fortnight after a mob torched and vandalised 22 passenger vehicles on the Imphal-Ukhrul road, while curfew in Imphal West district was imposed from evening to dawn.The Centre last week came down heavily on Manipur Government for failing to resolve the economic blockade on the National Highway-2, which has throttled the supply of essential goods.In a scathing letter to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the state government had taken no steps to ensure that the NH-2 is kept open or at least movement of convoy is made, despite MHA officials being in constant touch with state officials.”For the sake of people of Manipur, I call upon you to discharge these constitutional obligations with utmost promptness, while reiterating Government of India’s commitment to support your forces in keeping NH-2 open,” the letter read.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who visited Congress-ruled Manipur last week as a central emissary, said it is completely unacceptable to have such kinds of blockades in which thousands are suffering and both the Central and Manipur Governments will work together to end it.Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Ram Madhav yesterday alleged that the Congress Government in Manipur was not clearing the economic blockade in the state for political benefits, adding that the Manipur Chief Minister should have cleared the blockade.”The Manipur Chief Minister is playing games with lives of people of the valley. The government of India from day one asked him to avail all required support from Centre,” Madhav said.

Breather for Tyagi as court grants bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major setback to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Delhi sessions court granted bail to former Air Force chief SP Tyagi on Monday. Tyagi was directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and one surety for a like amount.Sanjeev Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan, the co-accused, were denied bail and will remain in judicial custody till December 30.Tyagi and the other two allegedly received kickbacks while buying a dozen AW-101 VVIP helicopters from the UK-based AgustaWestland company. Tyagi, who was held on December 9, is the first chief from any wing of the armed forces to be arrested.The CBI arrested the accused more than three years after registering the FIR.”During the arguments, the CBI failed to state as to how much cash was paid to the accused and when it was paid,” Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar noted. The additional sessions judge gave his order after hearing arguments from the defence and the CBI last week.Representing the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on Friday, submitted that, if released, the former air chief would influence the witness and tamper with the investigation. However, the court found these charges to be “unfounded” and “without any bias.”The court forbade Tyagi from tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses. It directed him to join the investigation as and when called by the CBI. Tyagi also cannot leave the NCR region without court permission.The former air chief’s bail was hailed by veterans who have been supporting him throughout his incarceration. Shortly after receiving bail, IAF Chief Arup Raha made a statement to the media saying that Tyagi’s arrest had affected the morale of the Air Force and dented the image of the forces. Raha also added that Tyagi should not be treated like a common criminal.Such sentiments were echoed by Tyagi’s supporters — retired Air Marshals and Air Vice Marshals who thronged the courtroom to stand beside their chief. The community, who was incensed over Tyagi’s arrest and incarceration, had even come out with a petition seeking his release. The petition garnered over 2,000 signatures.Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, better known as Julie, and Khaitan were arrested by the CBI on December 9 in an illegal graft case. The FIR, which the CBI had filed close to four years ago, stated that Tyagi had granted approval for reduction of the service ceiling (height of flying capability) of the choppers from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres. This, the CBI alleged, was instrumental in making AgustaWestland eligible to participate in a bid to supply helicopters.The probe agency further alleged that Italian middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlos Gerosa had given Tyagi cash, camouflaged in the form of consultancy fees, to alter the operational requirements.Representing the defence, Menaka Guruswamy refuted all charges levelled against her client. In her arguments for bail submitted last week, Guruswamy stressed that the charges against Tyagi were economic in nature, for which the documents had already been investigated by the CBI. She claimed that the only charge against her client was vague and that the CBI had based their allegations on the judgment from an Italian court of appeals.Incidentally, the Italian Supreme Court accepted the plea and ordered a re-trial of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. The two were then convicted for bribing Indian government officials for a 560 million Euro deal involving the sale of 12 helicopters.

Harish Rawat bribery case: Unfortunate the way Centre treats CBI, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress party on Saturday accused the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his government of misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to corner Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat on alleged and unproven bribery charges.’There is some role of the institutions in a democracy, but it is wrong to misuse it. They (Centre) are just perturbed by the allegation put forth by Rahul ji,’ said Congress leader, Husain Dalwai. ‘It is unfortunate the way CBI has been treated’, he added.CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.
ALSO READ CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat again in sting CD caseThe CBI had registered the preliminary enquiry on April 29 to probe a sting operation that purportedly showed Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly​ (MLAs) to support him during the floor test. The agency had summoned Rawat for examination on May 9, but he had sought more time.The case was handed over to the CBI​ when President’s Rule was imposed in the state. The notification was withdrawn immediately after Rawat proved his majority in the assembly and his government was restored.

Top municipal and state officials will face prosecution for violating waste rules: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant order on municipal solid waste rules (MSW), 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) principal bench has said that top officials of state governments and municipal bodies shall be liable for prosecution if they violate the rules and orders of the Tribunal on its enforcement.It has also asked all state governments and union territories to prepare an action plan within a month, to enforce the new MSW Rules, 2016 and directed environment ministry to consider phase out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic used in packaging.The NGT’s detailed 89-page judgment of a four-member bench, headed by justice Swatanter Kumar, was passed on Thursday while hearing the petition of Bengaluru-based veteran environment conservationist Almitra Patel, who had sought directions on effective management of solid waste across the country. The Tribunal’s judgment brought down curtains on a 20-year-old petition, that was initially filed as writ in the Supreme Court and was later transferred to the Tribunal in 2014.Patel’s petition led to the formulation of the first Municipal Solid Waste Rules in 2000 that were overhauled in 2016 by the environment ministry. Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “I am happy that they are finally planning on directing phase out of short life PVC’s, stationary, flex-banners etc, which ends up burning on the footpath or in the landfills. Burning them releases dioxins.”She added, “The country needs political and administrative will that has been lacking for 16 years since the 2000 Rules. So, I am waiting to see if the threat of contempt makes any impact.”The Tribunal’s verdict revealed that no municipal corporation has ever physically verified the quantum and quality of waste generated in any district of any state or even a city. “They have proceeded with a presumptive figure that per-capita generation of MSW is nearly 450 grams per day in major towns while per capita MSW generated from small towns is 200-300 grams per day,” it said.It added, “The Central Pollution Control Board report for the year 2014- 15 has revealed that out of 7935 urban local bodies (ULBs), as per 2011 census only 389 ULBs have established compost, vermi-compost sites.” This means that 92 per cent of ULBs are dumping its solid waste in open areas without treatment.On the issue of the piles of waste accumulating at landfills, the Tribunal has directed that landfills should be subjected to ‘bio-stabilisation’, which means that the mounds of waste have to be upturned at regular intervals for composting.It also attempted to deal with the contentious issue of tipping fees, which are paid to contractors who collect and transport waste in cities. It said that tipping fee paid to the operator of the landfill facilities or contractors should also be based on the functioning of waste treatment along with the weight of the solid waste.

ED conducts inquiries against co-op banks, jewellers in WB, irregularities detected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate on Friday conducted multiple enquiry operations at cooperative banks in three districts of West Bengal and detected alleged irregularities in deposits worth crores.In the first instance in the Hooghly district, a four-member team of the agency visited the Chinsurah Central Cooperative Bank and asked bank authorities to send them the identities of some account holders.Official sources said the agency suspects irregularities in various accounts and it also examined papers of the bank’s 19 branches in the said district. Later, the officials asked the bank to send them the Know Your Customer (KYC) details of account holders, who had deposited at least Rs 49 crore.The Chinsurah Central Cooperative Bank has no elected chairman for the past two years. Similar operations were carried out by the agency in the Howrah and Nadia districts in order to check activities in suspected accounts including those which have been dormant for sometime now. The sleuths also also visited at least half-a-dozen jewellers in the state capital yesterday and recovered some documents from these traders, especially of sales just before and after November 8 when the note scrap was announced by the government.”Records of the jewellers show some back dated sales were made and even entries of sale and purchase was made in the name of fictitious customers. The investigations are going on,” they said.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) along with the I-T department and other agencies has been carrying out operations against black money hoarders in the wake of the demonetization of two high value currencies of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500.

Centre vs Mamata: Now, Bengal CM calls CRPF deployment for IT raids unconstitutional & illegal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Weeks after West Bengal Chief Minister termed the army exercise in the state as an attack on federal structure, Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that the deployment of 15 CRPF personnel to provide security to income tax officers during raids is unconstitutional and illegal.Banerjee, in a letter addressed to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “It has come to our notice that the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to make available 15 personnel of the CRPF for apparently providing ‘security’ to Income Tax officials and staff deputed for operations in West Bengal. No communication in this regard has been received by the state government.””The State Government objects strongly to this decision, which is blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and against all principles of cooperative federalism,” the letter reads.Stating that the deployment of any Central Police Force of the Union to any State can only be done at the request of the state government, letter said, “The decision must be immediately revoked. The Chief Minister also said that the state government at its police forces will provide all necessary help and protection.”On the other hand, an advisory by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the CBDT, dated December 20, mentioned that 15 CRPF personnel would be deployed in the state.“The matter has been considered in this Ministry and it has been decided that CRPF shall make available 15 personnel to Income Tax Department, Kolkata for providing security to officers and staff deputed for search and seizure operations to be carried out by the Income Tax Directorate,” the advisory read.However, when contacted, CRPF officials remained tight lipped. They refused to give information whether the deployment plan was shared with the state government or not.

Maharashtra: 8 more handsets seized from Nashik prison, 3 officers suspended

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight more mobile phones have been recovered from barracks in the Nashik Central jail, days after some prisoners were shifted out following recovery of such gadgets, prison authorities said on Friday.Three jail officers have been suspended today in this connection by Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Rajendra Dhamane, they said. With this, total 16 phones have been recovered from the prisoners’ barracks inside the jail in two weeks. During a search operation yesterday, eight mobile phones were found hidden at various places, including a washroom. However, the phones did not have the SIM cards, an official from Nashik Central Jail said.The jail authorities suspect that the prisoners used to talk on the phones. During the search carried out by senior jail officer Pramod Wagh and other staff, three mobile handsets were found hidden inside a wall while the other phones were recovered from a toilet and lofts in the barracks, officials said.Based on a complaint by a jail officer, the Nashik Road police late last night registered offences under relevant sections.Earlier, as many as 11 prisoners serving life sentence in the Nashik Central Jail were shifted to prisons in Pune and Navi Mumbai after mobile phones were found in some of their barracks.Following suspicion, a through search was carried out last week during which eight mobile phones were found in different barracks of the jail, an official had earlier said.

After Pak General, Chinese media suggests India to join CPEC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China will strongly oppose any attempt to label Pakistan as “supporting terrorism”, Chinese official media said on Friday and suggested India to accept the “olive branch” extended by a top Pakistani military General to participate in the $46 billion economic corridor. “Surprise aside (over General’s call), New Delhi should consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended in a bid to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said an article in the state-run Global Times.The comments came after Lt Gen Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, this week reportedly said India should “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the $46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.”Such an opportunity could be transient. There is a possibility that the open attitude toward India joining the CPEC will quickly be overwhelmed by opposition voices from Pakistan if New Delhi does not respond in a timely manner to the General’s overture,” the article said. “The best way to reduce hostilities is by establishing economic cooperation based on mutual benefits to put aside what cannot be reached by a consensus,” it said.
ALSO READ India should ‘shun enmity’ and join CPEC: Top Pakistan GeneralIt said that India could boost its exports and slash its trade deficit with China via new trade routes that would be opened up by the CPEC. In addition, the northern part of India bordering Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir will gain more economic growth momentum if India joins the project, it said.Another article in the same daily said “Riaz’s invitation, which came as a surprise to New Delhi, is mainly intended as a gesture. While he hinted at India’s intervention in the CPEC, he welcomed India’s participation in the project, demonstrating Pakistan does not want to exclude India.” At the same time, it said, “if any country wants to label Pakistan as ‘supporting terrorism’ and discredit the country, then China and other countries who uphold justice will oppose such behaviour strongly”.The article said that since President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April, 2015, the CPEC has advanced considerably. “However, some international forces, and India in particular, are accustomed to look at the CPEC and the One Belt and One Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective.On one side, this is relevant to the geopolitical competition mindset they insist on, on the other, this is because of their excessive speculation on the strategic implications of the CPEC and the Belt and Road,” it said. “To ensure the smooth advancement of the CPEC, it is necessary for Pakistan to have a stable and peaceful domestic and periphery environment and a favourable profile,” it said.On anti-terrorism, the Afghanistan peace process, and the peace and stability of Kashmir, Pakistan is making efforts to show international society its wish to pursue peace, it said. “The CPEC is not only a bilateral cooperation, but also a multilateral project in the long-run, which aims at regional economic integration. So it’s open and inclusive, and China and Pakistan hope India, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries can participate and become stakeholders,” it added.

China urges India to accept Pakistan’s ‘olive branch’, join CPEC

Beijing: China will strongly oppose any attempt to label Pakistan as “supporting terrorism”, Chinese official media said on Friday and suggested India to accept the “olive branch” extended by a top Pakistani military General to participate in the $46 billion economic corridor.

“Surprise aside (over General’s call), New Delhi should consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended in a bid to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said an article in the state-run Global Times.

The comments came after Lt Gen Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, this week reportedly said India should “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the $46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Such an opportunity could be transient. There is a possibility that the open attitude toward India joining the CPEC will quickly be overwhelmed by opposition voices from Pakistan if New Delhi does not respond in a timely manner to the General’s overture,” the article said.

“The best way to reduce hostilities is by establishing economic cooperation based on mutual benefits to put aside what cannot be reached by a consensus,” it said.

It said that India could boost its exports and slash its trade deficit with China via new trade routes that would be opened up by the CPEC. In addition, the northern part of India bordering Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir will gain more economic growth momentum if India joins the project, it said.

Another article in the same daily said “Riaz’s invitation, which came as a surprise to New Delhi, is mainly intended as a gesture. While he hinted at India’s intervention in the CPEC, he welcomed India’s participation in the project, demonstrating Pakistan does not want to exclude India.”

At the same time, it said, “if any country wants to label Pakistan as ‘supporting terrorism’ and discredit the country, then China and other countries who uphold justice will oppose such behaviour strongly”.

The article said that since President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April, 2015, the CPEC has advanced considerably.

“However, some international forces, and India in particular, are accustomed to look at the CPEC and the One Belt and One Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective.

On one side, this is relevant to the geopolitical competition mindset they insist on, on the other, this is because of their excessive speculation on the strategic implications of the CPEC and the Belt and Road,” it said.

“To ensure the smooth advancement of the CPEC, it is necessary for Pakistan to have a stable and peaceful domestic and periphery environment and a favourable profile,” it said.

On anti-terrorism, the Afghanistan peace process, and the peace and stability of Kashmir, Pakistan is making efforts to show international society its wish to pursue peace, it said.

“The CPEC is not only a bilateral cooperation, but also a multilateral project in the long-run, which aims at regional economic integration. So it’s open and inclusive, and China and Pakistan hope India, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries can participate and become stakeholders,” it added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:32 IST

Exclusive: After demonetisation, Narendra Modi sets sights on benami properties, deals

It may not be a happy new year for benami property holders. Come 2017 and Income Tax (I-T) sleuths may be knocking at their doors. And if proved a “benamidar” (benami property holder), one is likely to face rigorous imprisonment from one year up to seven years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given enough indications on various occasions about his intention to combat the black money menace in India by adopting stringent actions against people involved in benami properties and transactions.

And, to make it successful, unlike in the past, the Modi government has already cleared the ground making amendments in the original Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The provisions of the amended act came into force on 1 November 2016. It has given more teeth to the I-T Department to get cracking on benami properties and transactions, with a comprehensive tracking, identifying and finally taking stringent action against offenders.

Looking back at the Benami Transaction Act

More than two decades ago, in 1993-94 and 1994-95, two alternative budgets were presented by Delhi-based Citizens’ Parliament comprising 230 eminent citizens, including politicians from diverse political parties barring the Congress and the BJP.

The author of the two budgets was Professor Arun Kumar, a noted economist who holds authority on black money. The former professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had suggested levying wealth tax and property tax on all properties.

“Nothing much has happened in taking action against benami property holders since 1988, when the Benami Transaction Act came into being. We had suggested in our alternative budget to levy wealth tax and property tax on all properties above 25 square yard (20.9 square metres). This will bring every property under the tax net,” Kumar told Firstpost.

“According to my estimate, 62 percent of our GDP — that is Rs 93 lakh crore is the black economy. Given the situation, identifying the benami property holders is a tough job. Will the tax department be able to do it?” said Kumar.

Amended Benami Transaction Act

The legal framework for dealing with benami transactions in the old Benami Transactions Act was weak and nothing much was achieved. Now, the amended act empowers the I-T Department to inquire into any person, place, documents or property during an investigation into any matter related to a benami property transaction.

“The amendments have made the act stricter. Apart from imprisonment and penalty up to 25 percent, the benami property will be confiscated. The property rights would go directly to the Centre, and the government can make use of the property as it wishes purportedly to help rural development plans. Now action will be taken against both the actual owner and the property holder under a bogus name,” a senior I-T official said.

The benamidars invest black money in buying land and houses through multiple channels and use bank accounts of different people. The real owner always remains unidentified. From politicians to bureaucrats — properties like land and flats are bought by floating bogus companies in the name of other people while the actual face behind benami transactions get away unnoticed, untracked.

“It was not easy to track the unknown entities in the past. But after the introduction of permanent account number (PAN) and filing of I-T Returns, the tax department has been able to collect information. Now, information from property registration office, online registration records, Annual Information Report filed with the tax department, the municipal corporation record, etc, have made tracking easy. The amended Benami Transactions Act will make escaping tougher for offenders. Punishment is now stringent,” said chartered accountant Abhishek Aneja.

What is an offence under the new Benami Transactions Act?

Any transaction made under a fictitious name; transaction made without the knowledge of the owner; person who owns the property is not traceable; amount paid to buy property from an unknown source; on records the owner is another person, whereas benefits go to the one who paid for the property yet doesn’t show up in the record of the purchase will be considered a benami.

Benami transactions could be a property or any other asset — movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents. Gold or finance securities, stocks and shares can also fall under benami transaction if the requirements mentioned in the act are not met.

However, property held in the name of spouse or children, paid from known source or joint ownership of property with siblings or relatives, paid from known source — are exempted.

Tracking mechanism to be used
According to sources at the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), increasingly it’ll be immensely difficult for those having benami properties or going for benami transactions to escape from I-T radar.

The tax authority now has new tools to track benami property holders. Besides, 360-degree profiling of people who file tax returns, the Intelligence and Criminal Investigation wing of the Income Tax at CBDT receives information from multiple sources such as Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), banks, Registrar of properties, annual information report (AIR) from banks, hotels, grand weddings, tours and travel agencies, high-value purchases like house, cars, jewellery, consumer durables, payments made through cards, and from transactions that attract tax collected at source (TCS) and tax deducted at source (TDS).

The database prepared from the information gathered by collating manual and electronic intelligence goes to the data warehouse unit for analysis. A new Non-Filers Management System (NMS) matches the data being obtained from various sources.

“The non-intrusive surveillance capabilities of the I-T Department have been enhanced. There is a huge database with the I-T Department. Parameters have been set to select cases automatically. Based on it, the creditworthiness of the owner of a property is also matched with the I-T returns. The crackdown will be on all those who have been avoiding paying taxes and show their actual income,” a CBDT source said.

“Though it’s tough and challenging for the I-T Department to determine legal and illegal holdings, it’s not impossible now, unlike in the past. The government might also come up with a scheme giving the benami property holders a chance to voluntary declare their hidden assets. In case that happens, and a person doesn’t comply and is caught later, he/she will face stringent punishment,” the source added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 08:35 IST

Close to 70 lakh income tax non-filers for 2014-15 identified by authorities

The Income Tax Department has identified an additional 67.54 lakh potential non-filers who carried out high value transactions in 2014-15 but did not file return of income.

The Non-Filers Monitoring System (NMS) was initiated by CBDT, the policy making body of I-T Department, for identification of non-filers with potential tax liabilities.

“The Income Tax Department has conducted the fifth cycle of data matching which has identified an additional 67.54 lakh potential non-filers who have carried out high value transactions in the financial year 2014-15 but did not file return of income for the relevant assessment year i.e. AY 2015-16,” CBDT said in a statement.



Non-filers have been identified based on data analytics carried out by the Systems Directorate of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) about whom specific information is available in the Annual Information Return (AIR), Central Information Branch (CIB) and TDS/TCS databases.

“While the government urges all tax payers to disclose their true income and pay taxes accordingly, the Department would continue to pursue the non-filers vigorously till all the high potential non-filers are covered,” the statement said.

CBDT has made available in the ‘Compliance Module’ on the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department the information relating to the identified non-filers.

The information will be visible only to the specific PAN holder when they log into the e-filing portal at https.//

“The PAN holder will be able to respond electronically and retain a copy of the submitted response for record purpose,” CBDT added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 08:25 IST

25 Punjab villages won’t vote over water pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when river water-sharing agreement with Haryana has become an emotive issue for political parties in poll-bound Punjab, but remain silent on water-pollution, residents of villages in Jalandhar and Kapurthala have united to raise the issue of polluted river waters of the state.Residents of as many as 25 villages in Jalandhar which lie along the banks on Kala Sanghia drain which flows in the region have asserted that they will not vote in the Assembly elections until the problem is addressed.One of the major tributaries of Satluj river, Kala Sanghia drain merges with Satluj through Chitti Bein. It then goes to Harike, from where drinking water is supplied to Malwa region.“It has been 10 years since residents are bearing the brunt even as effluents from tanneries, electroplating industries are being continuously discharged into the drains. At least one person in every family is suffering from some disease due to this,” said Punjab’s noted environmentalist, Balbir Singh Seechewal who has been spearheading the campaign with residents.Apart from the stench that remains hung in air all through the day, the industrial discharge has also polluted the groundwater in the region. Ludhiana being the industrial hub, the effluent from all the major industries, including leather industries, electroplating is all discharged into the rivulets and drains.Pressing upon the urgency of the issue, Seechewal said, “The government has raised alarm about depleting water-levels, but nothing is being done to prevent the existing water bodies from poisons. The manifestos of the political parties are silent on this issue, but this time, we have vowed to make it a poll agenda.”As per the environmental water quality index prepared by Central Pollution Control Board, water in 58.8 per cent of water sources in the state are not satisfactory. Ecologists highlight that presence of heavy metal is also leading to Cancer, skin diseases, birth defects and other deficiencies.“It is an issue of grave concern, especially for villages situated along the river banks. Various scientific studies have proved the presence of heavy metals, including lead and chromium, beyond permissible limits. The solution is not only setting up of more sewage treatment plants, but effective functioning of the existing ones,” said Professor V K Garg, Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, Central University of Punjab.

Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sudden resignation of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung seems to have caught the Home Ministry unaware with Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi saying Jung had given no indication two days ago when he had a meeting with him. “The LG met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the LG is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday)… I have come to know about his resignation only from the media,” Mehrishi told reporters as soon as the news flashed in TV channels.Delhi being a Union Territory, the LG looks after the Delhi Police and he reports to the Union Home Ministry. Jung regularly meets senior Home Ministry officials for various official works and in his recent interactions he had given no clue about his impending resignation from the post. Official sources said whenever the political leadership of the Central government wants to remove a Governor or LG, the onus of conveying the message, asking the incumbents to put in their papers, usually rests with the Union Home Secretary.In the case of Jung, Mehrishi had not conveyed any such message, sources said. It came as a surprise for the Home Ministry officials that Jung has decided to put in his papers without giving any hint in advance. In fact, sources said the LG had intimated the Home Secretary that from December 25 to January 1 he will be visiting Goa on a private tour.
ALSO READ Despite bitter-sweet experiences, we did a good job in Delhi with Najeeb Jung: Manish Sisodia Sources said there is no fixed tenure for a LG of any of the Union Territories even though a Governor is normally appointed for a period of five year or till further order “whichever is earlier”. The LG is appointed without specifying any tenure, sources said.

GST Council to discuss crucial issue of dual control on Friday

New Delhi: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will on Friday, the second day of its ongoing seventh meet, discuss the vexed issue of cross empowerment or dual control of assessee jurisdiction under the pan-India indirect tax regime, said informed sources.

GST web portal screengrabGST web portal screengrab

GST web portal screengrab

“The issue of dual control is laid out in the agenda of this ongoing seventh Council meet. It will be discussed tomorrow (day-two),” Finance Ministry sources told IANS.

The solution to the critical issue has eluded consensus over six previous meetings of the GST Council.

Day one of the two-day Council meet ended on Thursday with no discussion on dual control but discussed the GST bills, the source added.

The three GST bills – Central GST (cGST), Integrated GST and State Compensation Law – need to be approved by the Council before they can be tabled in the Parliament.

The deadlock on the issue in the GST Council has raised questions on the targeted implementation date of 1 April, 2017 for the indirect tax regime.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been emphasising that the luxury of time is not available for the GST implementation for the reason that if 1 April, 2017, is the first possible day it can be implemented, then the last date also is constitutionally defined as 16 September, 2017.

“So the discretion as to when to implement is only five months and 16 days and that’s why we don’t have the luxury of time because after five months, the curtains will come down on the old taxation powers,” Jaitley had said earlier.

With a serious question mark over the April 1 target, now that the legislations could not be tabled in the winter session, the plan appears to be to have GST come into force by default when the time given by the constitutional amendment will automatically expire for roll out of the new indirect tax regime.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 19:41 IST

Govt neglected backward castes for 5 years, adding them to SC list is ‘mere drama’: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the Akhilesh Yadav government’s assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the SC list as a “mere drama”, BSP supremo Mayawati said on Thursday the decision is both “unfortunate and condemnable” and aimed at deceiving these communities. “After having neglected all the backward castes barring one in the past five years of its rule, the SP government is out to mislead them in the same vein as was done by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government,” she said in a statement.UP Cabinet’s assent for inclusion of 17 OBCs in SC list is a mere drama played just before the Assembly elections in the state, Mayawati said, adding this decision is both unfortunate and condemnable, aimed at deceiving these castes. This decision is against the law as it is only the Central government which can include any caste in the SC list, she said, adding after Mulayam government’s decision on this issue, these castes were left in the lurch for they then belonged neither in the OBC nor in the SC list.She claimed that it was the BSP government that succeeded the Mulayam Singh Yadav government which reverted the decision bringing the castes back in the backward list and sent a proposal to the Centre for inclusion only on condition of increasing the quota of the SC. This decision has been taken in perhaps the last Cabinet meeting of this government, Mayawati remarked.
ALSO READ Ahead of elections, UP govt gives assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in SCA Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav this morning cleared the proposal to include Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua sub-castes in the Scheduled Caste category.

A world of highs, and terrible lows

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Aye maalik tere bande hum,aise ho hamaare karam,neki par chalein, aur badee se tale,taaki hanste hue nikale dam”The plaintive notes echo in the winter night as Hasina sings softly. Dressed in nothing but a torn kurta and salwar in Delhi’s Kashmere Gate, she sniffs a rag soaked in ‘solution’, a substance that drives her life and leaves her doubled up in painful abdominal cramps when she doesn’t get it.Hasina, one of thousands of homeless drug addicts in the national capital, is only 15. Her story ­is a tragic pointer to the alarming fact that 20 per cent of addicts in India are under 21, according to government estimates, and that urgent interventions are needed to help them save their lives.Originally from Bawana district in Uttar Pradesh, Hasina is the third of six siblings, all of whom still live in the village with her mother. Four years ago, when she was only 11, Hasina boarded a train with her ‘best friend’ and came to Delhi. Both lived on the streets for a couple of days before her friend disappeared.Her companion these days is her husband Vishnu, a labourer with wedding contractors who she had confided in when she found herself alone. The couple wants to have children but Hasina, still a child herself, knows that she has a drug problem and that it’s just not possible.She says she can go without food, but not without her daily dose of ‘solution’. She was introduced to drugs by her friends on the streets and has been sniffing ever since she found the ‘magical’ (‘jadui’ as she puts it) world of high.‘Solution’ is a chemical vulcanising fluid used to repair tyre-tube patches. The tube declares clearly, “avoid prolonged or repeated contact with skin or breathing of vapour”, and warns that it should be sold in bulk. But it is readily available and is much in demand amongst children who cannot afford more serious drugs. A tube costs Rs 50 and a cloth piece soaked in ‘solution’ from another kid costs only Rs 10 — just what we give them when they beg at red-lights.Many stories“Ismein itna dum hai, poora tent jalaa sakta hai (This stuff is so powerful that it can burn the entire tent),” pipes in another child at Loha Pul, Kashmere Gate, as he breathes into a cloth in his hand. Of the estimated 4,500 addicts in the area, 100 are children.Seven-year-old Hajikul can’t remember the last time he was sober. He ran away from his home in Delhi’s JJ Colony. “Gham hai to pee raha hun,” (I take drugs because I’m depressed),” he says with the philosophical air of someone thrice his age. He has been sent to a drug-rehabilitation centre twice, but the pain and nightmares of the withdrawal process make him leave the place every time.Nightmares are common among drug users. In Freud’s theory of dreams, dreams/nightmares are the fulfilment of unacceptable wish. Thus, it can be that these nightmares are hints which may prompt an increased desire to drugs. Kids are more prone to these nightmares and scared, they go back to using drugs.Hajikul and his partner, Salman, go home every time they feel the need to stay away from drugs. But the crippling stomach pains, loose-motions, dizziness and vomiting bring them back to the life they have now come to terms with.Cold turkeyCold turkey is the abrupt termination of substance dependence and the resulting painful experience. In his book Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts, impressively describes ‘cold turkey’, a process Hajikul, Salman and a few have tried, but failed.“Think about every time in your life that you’ve ever been afraid, really afraid. Someone sneaks up behind you when you think you’re alone, and shouts to frighten you. The gang of thugs closes in around you. You fall from a great height in a dream, or you stand on the very edge of a steep cliff. Someone holds you under water and you feel the breath gone, and you scramble, fight, and claw your way to the surface. You lose control of the car and see the wall rushing into your soundless shout. Then add them all up, all those chest-tightening terrors, and feel them all at once, all at the same time, hour after hour, and day after day. And think of every pain you’ve ever known, the burn with hot oil, the sharp sliver of glass, the broken bone, the gravel rash when you fell on the rough road in winter, the headache and the earache and the toothache. Then add them all up, all those groin-squeezing, stomach-tensing shrieks of pain, and feel them all at once, hour after hour and day after day. Then think of every anguish you’ve ever known. Remember death of a loved one. Remember a lover’s rejection. Recall your feelings of failure and shame and unspeakably bitter remorse. And add them all up, all the heart-stabbing griefs and miseries, and feel them all at once hour after hour, and day after day. That’s cold turkey.”Injectable tooIf some like Hasina and Hajikul sniff their way into oblivion, others like 12-year-old Mohammad Qasim inject themselves. Wearing a jacket double his size, he sits stroking his hand to inject a needle in his veins. He was introduced to Amvil injection by a fellow addict to ease the pain after he developed painful sores on his legs. He has been injecting himself since he was seven. Both his arms have needle marks.Qasim has seen people his age and older die here in the streets. “Mera dost Akash mar gaya injection lagate hue. Maine uske syringe se injection lagaya (My friend Akash died while putting an injection. I have used his syringe for an injection)”, says Qasim, who does not mind stealing injections from or near dead-bodies who die of overdose. Drug overdose is common and one or two unidentified bodies are found in the area each day.Not surprisingly, several people have acquired HIV. ‘Addnok’ tablets, distributed by NGOs to stop the urge to get high, are crushed and mixed with the Amvil ‘solution’ and taken as a strong intravenous drug. The used syringes have led to an increased risk of HIV among adults as well as children. For better effect, some of them have started to inject needles in their genitals.“We manage to send children to rehab centres after a lot of effort but they run away from there. The problem is not making them leave drugs for a few days, the problem is what to do afterwards? Their families don’t accept them and their life on the streets makes them go back to drugs,” said Gurfran who works with the NGO Aman Biradri. “We receive HIV cases too. These are passed on to the NACO (National Aids Control Organisation). I’ve seen kids as young as four years addicted to ‘solution’ and injections. In most cases, their parents make them sniff ‘solution’ in order to use them for begging (so they can carry the high/sleeping child in their laps)”Cops in the area do not go near these addicts, an official admitted. “They are in huge numbers and we know about their diseases. Sometimes, they use syringes as their weapons.”In his child rights petition filed in 2014, Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi asked the government to act on the issue of child drug abuse. Moving on the petition, the Supreme Court on December 14 ordered the Central government to come up with a national action plan to control drug abuse among people under 21 in the next six months. While the government thinks of a plan to deal with the problem, the young minds of India are busy finding ways to get high.“Ye andhera ghanaa cha raha, tera insaan ghabara raha.” Hasina’s singing haunts. But are the authorities listening?

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in I-T net, dept recovers Rs 48 lakh in new currency notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was surprised by Income-Tax (I-T) officials who stormed into his residence, 17/184, Anna Nagar, at 5.30 am on Wednesday, seizing a massive amount of black money and gold. Speaking to DNA, sources said that the search of Rao’s home unearthed an estimated Rs 18 lakh in cash and gold bars. Investigators have so far recovered Rs 48 lakh in new currency notes and 17 kg gold from the premises of Rao and his relatives.Investigating sources said that the powerful and well connected bureaucrat of the 1985 batch was thick with sand-mining baron and PWD contractor Sekar Reddy, whose home has also been recently raided by the I-T, the CBI and the ED. I-T officials questioned Mohana Rao about the seized assets from the house of Sekar Reddy and their links.A team of about 100 tax sleuths, aided by a platoon (about 35 personnel) of the Central Reserve Police Force, raided at least 15 premises in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as part of the tax evasion probe.TurnSources said that the department has found Rao’s name on seized documents taken from Reddy’s home. Allegedly, Rao was indulging in the conversion of old notes into gold.About 100 tax officials are still raiding 13 places belonging to Rao, his son, relatives, and other associates in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Chittoor. The raids, top I-T sources said, were launched against Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty and his relatives.Around Rs 18 lakh in new notes and two gold bars of 1 kg each were seized from the premises of Papisetty’s father-in-law based in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. I-T Department sources said on Wednesday that the raids had been going on in Badrinariyan’s house since 5.30 am. Badrinariyan is a close relative of Chittoor MLA DA Sathya Prabha, brother of former MP Adikesavulu. I-T officials also said that the raids are also linked to a tax evasion investigation against Rao’s son Vikram Rao. Earlier this month, taxmen had found over 100 kg of gold, Rs 96 crore in banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and Rs 34 crore in new currency notes in raids at the homes of three Tamil Nadu businessmen, one of whom, J Shekar Reddy, allegedly has business links with the chief secretary’s son.Rao is one of Tamil Nadu’s most powerful bureaucrats. He is said to have played a key role in J Jayalalithaa’s companion Sasikala Natarajan coming to the forefront of politics in the state after the former chief minister died in hospital earlier this month.Meanwhile, sand mining baron Reddy was arrested on Wednesday. This comes a day after the ED registered a case against him and his associates on Tuesday. A CBI official said a case against the accused has been registered.Reddy was taken into custody after several hours of questioning by the CBI and has been sent to custody till January 3, 2017.Reddy’s arrest made headlines after I-T searches at his residence and office resulted in the seizure of Rs 131 crore and 127 kg of gold. The Rs 131 crore included newly introduced notes of Rs 2,000 worth Rs 34 crore (seized on two different occasions) besides 127 kg of gold found from him and his associates Srinivasa Reddy and Prem Kumar, whose homes were also raided.

Ex-IAF chief Tyagi sent to judicial custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Submitting that the investigation was at a crucial stage and more than two lakh records needed to be perused, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought time till Friday to present his arguments opposing former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi’s bail. Mehta further added that from what he had already read, a serious case was emerging in the pre-chargesheet stage.The former ACM, his cousin Sanjeev aka Julie, and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who were arrested in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper scam, were remanded to judicial custody till December 30 on Saturday.However, despite the CBI’s reluctance to continue the trial, special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar at the Patiala House court allowed the defence counsels to present their arguments for bail. Over the course of the afternoon, the defence team made its arguments in front of a full court.Right off the bat, Menaka Guruswamy, representing the former air chief, submitted that given the chargesheet was supposed to be filed sometime this year, the CBI was inconsistent in its statements, and her client was languishing in jail over an unwarranted arrest.Guruswamy stressed that the charges were economic in nature, the documents had already been investigated by the CBI. She claimed that the only charge against her client was vague, and that the CBI had based their allegations on the judgment from an Italian court of appeals. Incidentally, the Italian Supreme Court accepted the plea and ordered a re-trial of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, who were convicted for bribing Indian government officials for a 560 million Euro deal involving the sale of 12 helicopters.Pleading for release, Guruswamy informed the court that, “All evidence in the nature of bank and account statements which are documentary, have been seized by the CBI. My client’s bank accounts have been frozen by the CBI. He has never evaded summons of the CBI, nor has the agency alleged non-cooperation.” Alleging that there is no more evidence to be given by SP Tyagi, she concluded her submission by saying “Please let me go home.”Tyagi’s counsel also acknowledged the veterans who had come to support Tyagi, Guruswamy said “Colleagues have come for each of the hearings and they have also signed a petition expressing their anguish and demanded his (SP Tyagi’s) release.”PK Dubey, representing Khaitan, similarly sought for compassion for his client.In his defence, Manav Gupta, Julie Tyagi’s lawyer, attempted to prove that CBI’s claim stating that the money his client got was the only consultancy fee he had ever received was wrong. “I will prove that there are at least 16 other clients over the years who have paid me more money than the Italian national as consultancy fees,” Gupta submitted for Julie.Despite what can only be perceived as stalling tactics by the CBI, support for ACM Tyagi has increased. An online petition, that includes an open letter to the prime minister and also demanding Tyagi’s release, has already garnered more than 1500 signatories in 24 hours. Many among the veteran community believe that Tyagi is a fall guy, a scape goat, and also perhaps a political diversion for reasons best known to the government. “The current procedures are so complicated and cumbersome that it is all but impossible for ACM Tyagi to have influenced any kind of deal,” a veteran said. “Deals of these kinds are hardly ever done by sitting high-level officers and it is often carried out by the bureaucracy,” he added.

Demonetization: Mamata dares PM Modi to ‘arrest her’, BJP dubs her ‘queen of corruption’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ramping up her voice against the Centre, Mamata Banerjee looked to strike an emotional pitch as she asked the Centre to ‘arrest her’. She said at a public meeting: “You (PM Modi) don’t have to touch anybody. You arrest me. I challenge you, if you have the guts you arrest all of us, nothing will deter us from raising out voice against demonetisation. Demonetisation is a big scam. We want to know what is the deal. We will say it thousand times.””We must win the battle as people are with us. As long as I live, I shall fight alone if required,” she said. Meanwhile, the BJP hit back by dubbing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as “queen of corruption” after she criticised the I-T raid at the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary’s residence, BJP alleged that the TMC supremo was not interested in fighting corruption but shielding it and asked her to not undermine the process of law.Taking a dig at her, BJP National Secretary and the state’s co-incharge Sidharth Nath Singh said the TMC chief seemed too “worried” and wondered if she wanted to shield her own officer as he raked up corruption cases involving TMC leaders.Singh also accused her of “misleading” the people by referring to only non-BJP ruled states where Central agencies had acted against officers, noting that a senior Rajasthan officer, where BJP is in power, was acted against by CBI as well.”She is queen of corruption. She needs to answer on Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley scams. She is trying to undermine the process of law by politicising the I-T raid.Being in the constitutional process, she should understand the law. She is not interested in fighting corruption but is shielding it,” he told reporters.Banerjee today criticised the I-T raid at the residence of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, saying such a “vindictive and unethical” act by the central agencies devalues the institution of head of the civil service.The Income Tax Department today carried out searches at over dozen places in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh against the son and some relatives of P Rama Mohana Rao during which they claimed to have seized Rs 18 lakh cash and gold bars.The I-T action was conducted in connection with the case related to biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetisation after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu here.Asked about her comments as to why such raids were not being carried out against BJP chief Amit Shah, Singh said such a “irrelevant” question coming from the “queen of corruption” did not merit a reply.With inputs from agencies

Nagaland CM seeks Centre’s intervention to help Nagas in Manipur

Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has sought the intervention of both the Centre and Manipur government in securing the lives and property of Naga people in the Imphal valley of Manipur.

Zeliang in separate letters to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh on Monday drew their attention to the plight of hundreds of Nagas who are stranded in the Imphal valley and claimed that they were prevented from proceeding to their respective villages in the hills after threats to their lives by some valley based organisations.

“It is reported that several buses and other vehicles carrying Nagas have been stopped and torched. It appears that the law enforcing authorities in Imphal are not in a position to check or stop such lawless and violent activities which is endangering the lives of the Nagas in Manipur,” Zeliang wrote in a letter to the Union home minister.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Seeking immediate intervention of the Union home minister to ensure that the lives and property of the Nagas in the Imphal valley are secured, Zeliang assured that all steps were being taken by his government to safeguard the safety of the Meiteis residing in or travelling through Nagaland.

In a separate letter to the prime minister on Monday, lone Lok Sabha MP from Nagaland Neiphiu Rio alleged that the Naga community had been specifically targeted and there was obvious political motivation behind the well-planned attacks on the Nagas in Manipur where communal riots, arson, looting and serious human rights abuses were taking place.

Stating that thousands of people including students who are returning home for the festive season have been impacted,he regretted that even women and children were not spared.

Unfortunately, there was no semblance of law and order or presence of any law enforcing agencies to protect the innocents from the unlawful and anti-social elements, he alleged.

The urgent need of the hour was direct intervention of the Central government to ensure maintenance of law and order and security for the innocent public, Rio said.

Stating that the Central government can no longer remain a silent spectator, Rio demanded that a “high-level investigation team by an appropriate agency should be formed so that the spirit of democracy was retained and the culprits were punished as per laws of the land.”

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 18:23 IST

CBI files charge-sheet against Kejriwal’s ex-principal secretary Rajendra Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, reported PTI sources. CBI had registered a case against Kumar and others in December last year alleging that the officer had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders of Delhi government departments”.The accused have been charged under section 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to criminal misconduct for allegedly favouring ESPL in bagging of five contracts.CBI has alleged that the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015, and claimed that the officials had taken “undue benefit” of over Rs three crore while awarding the contracts. This is the same case in which the agency had come under scathing criticism from court which had directed it to return documents sought by Delhi government seized during December 15, 2015 search of Kejriwal’s office.Arrest of the top state government official had triggered a political storm with the Delhi government accusing Centre of indulging in “political vendetta” and “paralysing” governance.With inputs from PTI

Less tax for small traders on digital transactions: Govt

New Delhi: In a bid to promote less cash economy, the government today said small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore will pay less tax if they accept payments through banking and digital means.

A customer performs a transaction on an ATM at a branch of Hungary's largest lender OTP Bank in central Budapest July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh (HUNGARY - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTX11X2YA customer performs a transaction on an ATM at a branch of Hungary's largest lender OTP Bank in central Budapest July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh (HUNGARY - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTX11X2Y


Under the existing Section 44AD of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, in case of certain assesses (an individual, HUF or a partnership firm other than LLP) carrying on any business having a turnover of Rs 2 crore or less, the profit is deemed to be 8 percent of the total turnover for taxation.

“…it has been decided to reduce the existing rate of deemed profit of 8 per cent under section 44AD of the Act to 6 percent in respect of the amount of total turnover or gross receipts received through banking channel/digital means for the financial year 2016-17,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a communication.

The decision has been taken to achieve the government’s mission of moving towards a less cash economy and to incentivise small traders/businesses to proactively accept
payments by digital means, it said.

“However, the existing rate of deemed profit of 8 percent referred to in section 44AD of the Act, shall continue to apply in respect of total turnover or gross receipts received in cash,” the tax department added.

Legislative amendment in this regard would be carried out through the Finance Bill, 2017, the CBDT added.

Following decision to demonetise old Rs 500/1000 notes, the government has taken several measures to encourage digital payments to promote less cash economy.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 17:37 IST

Army chief Bipin Rawat appointment: Opposition corners govt, BJP says don’t politicise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A political slugfest broke out on Sunday over the new army chief’s appointment by superseding two officers with Congress asking the Prime Minister to spell out the “compelling reasons” for it and the Left questioning the move even as BJP hit back saying they should not politicise an issue related to defence forces.Congress leader Manish Tewari slammed the government for “playing with institutions” and doing politics in the army even as he wondered if it was “whimsical cherry picking”. His comments came a day after the government appointed Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new army chief superseding his two senior officers — Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen P M Hariz.CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments whether in the army, judiciary or those of CVC, acting CBI director and to Central Information Commission have become controversial.Commenting on the matter, JD(U) MP Pavan Varma said, “Every question that is being raised is not about politicising an issue but about seeking a clarification for an answer.” BJP condemned Congress for its attack on the government over the army chief’s appointment, saying there should be no politics on defence forces and asserted that Lt Gen Rawat has been elevated keeping in mind the current security scenario.BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said the new army chief was picked up from a pool of five senior-most officers, who are all competent, and Lt Gen Rawat’s appointment should not be seen as a negative against others.Lashing out at the opposition party, Sharma said Congress by “politicising” the appointment of the army chief was showing its “frustration” after it has been pushed to the “margins” of national politics following successive electoral defeats. Tewari said, “While Lt Gen Rawat, who is being appointed the COAS, may perhaps have all the requisite credentials but the fact remains that in a hierarchy conscious organisation where the principle of seniority is almost sacrosanct, the supersession of three senior officers, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Lt P M Hariz, and perhaps even Lt Gen B S Negi, raises extremely serious and critical questions of institutional integrity.”However, senior army officials said that Lt Gen Rawat has only superseded Lt Gen Bakshi, the seniormost army commander and Lt Gen Hariz.Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself should spell out the “compelling reasons” behind this supersession, Tewari told reporters at the party office here. “Why the principle of seniority which has held the field for two decades now not respected by the government. Is it that these officers who were superseded unqualified in any manner? Or is it whimsical cherry picking which has been done by the BJP-led NDA government,” he said.”Why does the army have to go through unnecessary bloodletting at the top? If it has been done, then reasons need to be put out in the public domain,” he said.Raja said, “Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVC, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial.”

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as next Army chief: Congress, Left hit out at Modi govt

Congress party on Sunday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for what it termed as “whimsical cherry-picking” in the appointment of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Sunday questioned as to why the government was avoiding a clarification on this “unprecedented action.”

Slamming the government, Tewari said that this supersession could be politically motivated. Tewari also said that undermining the set procedure is not a new thing for the present government.

The Opposition party’s comments came just a day after the government appointed Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief superseding his two Lieutenant Generals. Customarily, the senior most army officer is accorded the position but in this case, as the Congress party claimed, Lt Gen Rawat superseded three senior officers in his appointment as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Tewari also lashed out at Modi over the appointment. “Our current prime minister behaves as if he’s not answerable to anyone… what compelled the government to take this unprecedented action, don’t the people have a right to know,” Tewari asked.

Hitting out at the government for dodging questions over the Army Chief’s appointment, Tewari alleged, “This government believes that anybody who questions them is anti-national and even questions on the Army Chief’s appointment are termed seditious.”

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpiLt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

Earlier, Tewari had said that every institution has its own dynamics, hierarchy and seniority which is the overriding dynamic of the armed forces not only in India but everywhere in the world.

“With all due respect to Lt Gen Rawat’s professionalism and no personal animus towards anybody, there is a legitimate question that why has that supersession taken place,” he said.

Arguing that even though three other senior officials, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen PM Hariz and Lt Gen BS Negi, Army commander Central Command are senior to Lt Gen Rawat, Tewari questioned shouldn’t people of the country ask as to what compelled the government to take this decision.

He said now the argument the government will give that Congress did supersession in the 80s and, therefore it has the right to do so is “complete nonsense”.

“Every situation has its own context and, therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify a supersession. Therefore, the government needs to answer this legitimate question as to why these senior army commanders were superseded,” he said.

“Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason and I guess the Army being a public institution, the country deserves those answers,” Tewari said.

Meanwhile, Left parties also raised questions over the appointment. CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments have become controversial.

“Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVCs, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial,” he said.

Terming this as “very unfortunate”, Raja said it is not in the interest of democracy and the country.

He said there should be transparency and transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise questions. “But now questions are being raised,” he added.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 15:21 IST

AgustaWestland scam: Veterans in court to support Air Chief SP Tyagi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, one of the accused in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, maintained a cheerful persona even as his family broke down when he was remanded in judicial custody till December 30. Two others—cousin Sanjeev, aka Julie, and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan—were also remanded in judicial custody a week after they were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).Tyagi, who tried to raise the morale of his supporters—retired Air Marshals, including a retired Chief of Army—was overheard joking with his former mates that he hoped to be sent to Tihar Jail and assigned the same cell that Rajya Sabha MP K Kanimozhi was in when she was arrested in connection with the 2G scam.Tyagi’s remand in judicial custody came a day after Italy’s highest court of appeal ordered a re-trial of Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. The duo was convicted for bribing Indian government officials a 560 million Euro deal involving the sale of 12 helicopters.When Tyagi entered the tiny courtroom presided by Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar, all stood up. The crowd of about 30 that included family members, and former air marshals—almost all beyond the age of 70, stayed there right through the proceedings.Hours after the hearing concluded, the veterans stayed back till the accused were ferried to jail in a separate van—as requested by the defence councils. Words of encouragement flowed as they tried to speak to Tyagi through a mesh outside the lock-up facility in Patiala House Court. Steaming cups of tea could not keep out the chill that they felt at how the system was treating a member of their fraternity who had once held the highest post in the Indian Air Force.Former Air Marshal Denzel Keelor, one of the first to arrive, was furious. “Is this how an officer of his (SP Tyagi) stature should be treated,” Keelor fumed. “We are all demoralized and are present here because in the Air Force we all fight together,” he added.Keelor—a war hero who shot down a Sabre jet during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, and many others including retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak who were present in the courtroom today, were disturbed at the turn of events. Kak’s face crumpled when he realized his junior was being sent to jail after all. “I am viewing these turn of events with great despair and disappointment. SP Tyagi is not ordinary, the investigation must have had proof beyond question to take such a drastic step,” Kak said.Many veterans in the Air Force questioned the arrest and all seemed to agree that it appeared to be politically motivated. “We are easy pickings because we don’t say anything,” a retired Air Marshal was heard saying.”Anybody who knows the system and the procedure will know that Tyagi would have been unable to influence the tweaking of the operational requirements (a charge he has been accused of) a retired Air Marshal said on condition of anonymity.The former Indian Air Force chief—the first chief from any wing of the armed forces to be arrestedand the others who were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of the VVIP helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland were first arrested by the CBI on December 9, more than three years after registering the FIR.According to the March 2013 FIR, the CBI stated that in 2005 Tyagi abused his official position to change the consistent stand of the IAF on the service ceiling of VVIP choppers from 6000 mts to 4500 mts. The CBI stressed that without changing the operational requirements, AgustaWestland would have been unable to compete in the bid.All the accused, including the companies, were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Three soldiers killed in militant attack on Army convoy in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Militants sent a chilling reminder to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government on Saturday when they attacked an Army convoy on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Kadlabal, Pampore, in south Kashmir, leaving at least three army men dead.The attack follows the killing of the north and south chiefs of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) 10 days ago.The incident occurred at Kadlabal-Pampore between 3 and 3.15 pm when the convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. Militants fired indiscriminately on the convoy before escaping through the maze of lanes and by-lanes in the area.Three soldiers were injured in the incident. They succumbed to the injuries later. Security forces immediately retaliated and tried to chase the militants away, but to no avail. However, they recovered a magazine of a gun from a nearby lane. The entire area was cordoned off and massive search operations have been launched to track down the militants.Army and security forces retaliated and the terrorists were forced to runaway. “The area was crowded, so we could not fire openly. We always remain alert on the National Highway,” said Zulfikar Hassan, Inspector-General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), operations.Panic gripped the area after the firing, with people running helter-skelter.”I was parking my vehicle when I heard the gunshots. When I came out, I saw people running helter-skelter. Later on, the Army came in and started search operations,” said a local resident of Kadlabal.Police said the militants came in a minibus to attack the convoy on the highway. “Militants came in a minibus and fled in the same vehicle after attacking the convoy”, said Dr SP Vaid, Special Director General of Police (law and order).Sources said an internal report prepared by another security agency suggested that two militants on a bike started chasing the army bus in the general area Pampore. Near Kadlabal Chowk the bus slowed down a little and the bike rider applied break to stop but the bike skidded. Then the pillion rider got down and ran towards the bus. He was carrying two weapons. He fired both on the bus from the side purposely keeping fire above glass level. With the result three soldiers died, sources said.This is the second major attack after the November 29 Nagrota terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. On November 29, a group of heavily armed fidayeens (suicide bombers) donning police uniforms stormed into in the highly fortified camp of 166 field regiment and killed seven soldiers, including two majors, at Nagrota on the Jammu-Srinagar highway,Three militants were later neutralised in the day-long gunfight. Sixteen hostages, including two soldiers, two women and two children, were rescued.

VVIP Chopper scam: Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi to be produced before Delhi Court today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi along with other accused in the AgustaWestland chopper case will be produced before the Patiala House court on Saturday as their Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody ends.Earlier, the CBI had moved court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case. Last Friday, the CBI had arrested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev and lawyer Gautam Khaitan.The Rs 3600-crore deal to supply 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after Italian authorities claimed that the company paid bribes. Tyagi has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland during his tenure as the IAF chief, however, he has repeatedly denied the allegations. CBI said that they have received ‘incriminating documents’ from Italy and Mauritius against the former IAF chief.

Government opens another come-clean account

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has offered black-money holders three more months, starting from Saturday (today). The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), which was announced earlier, will formally open on Saturday and close on March 31, 2017. The Centre also created an email id –[email protected] – which can be used to report information on black money.The PMGKY will be the last chance to black-money holders to come clean, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sudhir Chandra.The scheme came into force with the notification of the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016, and the Taxation and Investment Regime for PMGKY, 2016, on Thursday (or Friday?)A Finance ministry note clarified that the income declared under the scheme would not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income-Tax (I-T) Act for any assessment year. It would also not be admitted as evidence under any other Act like the Central Excise Act, Wealth Tax Act, Companies Act, etc. However, it offers no relief from criminal proceedings.Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Friday said that the government did not want to resort to “inspector Raj” and would prefer black money depositors to voluntarily reveal their unaccounted incomes that have found their way into the system.”We have information from FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) on how much deposits have been made in dormant accounts, Jan Dhan accounts, urban cooperative banks, and how much loan repayments have been made in cash, and RTGS transfers and also on withdrawals,” he said.The government has seized Rs 393 crore in cash and jewellery in the recent raids throughout the country.In a clear warning to tax-evaders, Adhia said: “Mere depositing of money in bank accounts do not make it white. People should not make the mistake of thinking cash deposited in bank is white”.CBDT Chairman Sudhir Chandra cautioned black-money holders that the government had its hawk eye trained on them. “Everybody should be very clear that their deposits are being monitored and we are working on this data. Therefore, they should come very very clean under this scheme, which is the last window available for any taxpayer”.Tax experts feel that the scheme could have come as a second thought by the government after its hopes of around Rs 3-4 lakh crore of the Rs 14.80 lakh crore of demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 not returning to circulation were dashed.”That expectation has turned out to be incorrect because, until two days back, Rs 12.5 lakh crore has come back as deposits in banks. Now, the government is expects the entire money will to return. If that happens, it will not benefit the country. Therefore, they are now proposing to tax the income that people may have already deposited to get some gains from demonetization,” said a tax expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity.Shailesh Kumar, Director (direct taxation, Nangia & Co), said that the scheme emphasised the government’s aim to widen its tax base. Rakesh Bhargava, Director, Taxmann, said that PMGKY is the only option left now for tax-evaders. Any detection of unaccounted income thereafter would attract tax ranging from 83.25 per cent to 137.25 per cent.How PMGKY worksBlack-money holders have been offered confidentiality and immunity from prosecution if they declare their unexplained bank deposits of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and pay 49.90 per cent tax, surcharge and penalty (30 per cent tax on undisclosed income, 33 per cent surcharge on tax and a 10 per cent penalty on income) during the specified window.Besides the levies, the declarant would have to mandatorily put 25 per cent of the undisclosed income in the PMGKY Deposit Scheme 2016, which is interest-free and has a lock-in period of four years.Those who would miss this opportunity to come out into the open with their undeclared incomes would be liable to tax, surcharge and cess of 77.25 per cent of the income, if declared in income tax returns.And, if it went undeclared even in the tax returns then there would be a further penalty 10 per cent on tax, “followed by prosecution”.This scheme has come into force with the notification of the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 and the Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (the Scheme) on Thursday.

Maoists observe fast in Coimbatore jail to protest Nilambur encounter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three of five Maoists lodged in the Central jail in Coimbatore observed a day-long fast today to condemn the ‘encounter’ killing of two Maoist leaders near Nilambur in Kerala.The three inmates, Roopesh, Anoop and Veeramani refused to take breakfast and lunch to protest the killings, which they termed as a “planned encounter,” jail sources said.However, two others, Shyna, wife of Roopesh and Kannan, who were arrested 18 months ago from Karumathampatti on the outskirts, did not not participate in the hunger strike, they said.Two Maoists, Kuppuswamy Devaraj (65), a central committee member of the outlawed maoist outfit and Ajitha (45), were killed in an encounter with the police in Nilambur forests in Malappuram district, Kerala, on November 24 during a combing operation.

BJP leaders arrested forts against fatwa by Muslim cleric

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protesting against the ‘fatwa’ issued by Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, state BJP leaders had organised a protest rally from party state headquarters at 6 Muralidhar Sen Lane in north Kolkata to Tipu Sultan Masjid in Esplanade area of Central Kolkata but police stopped protestors near their party office itself.There had been a huge police posting since morning near the BJP office and the entire proposed length of the rally. Protestors tried to break police barricade and a scuffle between them and police officials followed. When BJP workers tried to put up a blockade on the second lane of CR Avenue where they were stopped, police opened a lathi charge to disperse protestors.As many as 48 BJP supporters including party MLA Swadhin Sarkar and senior state party leaders such as Krishna Bhattacharya, Locket Chatterjee and Amitava Roy were arrested. An effigy of Barkati was also burnt.”Police are acting as the cadre of TMC. On the behest of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, police had hit our people who were protesting peacefully. We will fight it to the finish,” Chatterjee said as she was taken to the prison van.State BJP vice president Jayprakash Majumder said, “Mamata is the Chief Minister of a state which comprises 72 per cent Hindus and yet it is sad to see that she has to take refuge behind a Muslim cleric.”Later at a press conference, party state president Dilip Ghosh said that what police had done was undemocratic. “Section 144 has been imposed at the Reserve Bank of India area and TMC leaders have been protesting there for the last two days. No police action has been taken there. Our supporters had taken out a peaceful rally police rained sticks on them injuring at least eight who had been sent to the hospital. It is highly undemocratic,” Ghosh said.Coming down on Mamata he said, “She is the Chief Minister of West Bengal but it seems Barkati is calling the shots. What authority does he have to issue a ‘fatwa’ against me?”On December 12, Barkati had said that he had issued a fatwa according to which stones should be pelted at Ghosh wherever he is sighted and that he should be thrown out of Bengal.It was found out that state BJP would put up protest demonstrations across the state till December 21 when it culminate into a bigger protest movement. “On December 21 we will put up sit in demonstrations in front of all district magistrate and superintendent of police’s offices across the state,” he said.

SC downs shutters on liquor stores along highways

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move to curb the menace of drunken driving, the Supreme Court banned liquor shops along national and state highways on Thursday. Stressing the importance and the need to improve road safety, a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur further ordered that no liquor shops can operate or been seen within 500 metres of the highways.Liquor shops that are functional have been allowed to operate till April 1, 2017, however, licenses will be not be renewed or issued post March 31, 2017. The bench has ordered the chief secretaries of all the states to chalk out a plan to enforce the ban in consultation with excise and municipal officials.The SC gave this directive in response to a PIL filed by the NGO Arrive Safe. According to the NGO, around 1.42 lakh people were killed in road accidents, a majority of which were caused by drunk driving. The NGO claimed that the easy availability of liquor along highways was one of the main reasons for the road accidents.While reserving its order on December 7, the apex court had then expressed its concern over the fatalities reported every year in road mishaps, and indicated that it may direct the closure of liquor vends on national and state highways across the nation. The bench had also stated that it would direct the removal of the signages indicating their location. This move, the bench said was for the safety and security of the commuters on the highways who got “distracted” by seeing the shops and causing accidents.Expressed his unhappiness at the states’ inaction to curb the rising number of shops, Justice Thakur said, “We would not like any vends on national highways, state highways, advertisements, or signage about the availability of liquor shops. We will direct all highway authorities to remove all sign boards. It should be absolutely free from any distraction or attractions. It should not be visible. Visibility is the first temptation.”The bench pointed out that instead of curbing the number of shops, states had increased the number of licenses issued. Lashing out at the Central government for not doing anything concrete for the last 10 years, the court said it was forced to “step in.”The ban order came when the apex court was hearing petitions challenging various high court orders that disapproved the sale of liquor on highways. However, not all states were in the favour of the ban. Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab were in the forefront of voicing their opposition to the ban.The court heavily came down on the Punjab government for seeking relaxation and permitting liquor shops near highways if they are “elevated” ones and the vends are under or near it. “Look at the number of licences you (Punjab) have given. Because the liquor lobby is so powerful, everyone is happy. The excise department is happy, the excise minister is happy and the state government is also happy that they are making money. If a person dies due to this, you give Rs one or 1.5 lakh. That is it. You should take a stand which is helpful for the society,” the bench had said.The court also criticised Punjab for defending the interest of the liquor lobby saying, “You are acting like a mouthpiece for the liquor lobby by defending the policy.” The advocate representing Punjab appealed to the bench that also comprised of the CJI along with Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao, that the ban should be made effective from April 1, 2017 to avoid a loss of Rs. 1,000 crore to the exchequer.To the Jammu and Kashmir government, the apex court had said “You can start a door delivery of liquor,” in response to their argument that if the vends are away from the highway, people would have problems accessing them due to the terrains.Dry states (and union territories) in IndiaGujaratBiharNagalandLakhswadeepKerela (partial ban)State Actions against AlcoholRecently deceased Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha shut down 500 liquor stores on May 23, the first day of her fourth term as Chief Minister.In Bihar, the government issued a notification where those consuming alcohol could be jailed for up to seven years and fined by Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, two days after the Patna High Court quashed its order on banning alcohol consumption.

Mamata remarks: BJP leaders arrested for taking out rally protesting fatwa against Dilip Ghosh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Several top BJP leaders were arrested by Kolkata Police while taking out a rally to condemn the comments of a Muslim cleric who had issued a “fatwa” against state party president Dilip Ghosh. The rally was organised against the fatwa issued by Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, Maulauna Noor-ur Rahman Barkati, against Ghosh for his comments against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The rally started from Central Avenue near BJP state office and was scheduled to reach Tipu Sultan Mosque in Esplanade area in the heart of the city. Police cordoned off Central Avenue and asked BJP workers not to proceed but when they tried to move ahead, police used force to stop them from crossing the barricade.”Some of the BJP leaders and workers have been arrested. We tried to stop them but they tried to force their way, so we had to arrest them. But at this moment we can’t give the figures and names,” a Kolkata police official said.BJP claimed that Ghosh was injured during a scuffle with police when it tried to stop the rally. It also said senior leaders, including MLA Swadhin Kumar Sarkar and state BJP general secretary Deboshree Chowdhary, were arrested. Ghosh said, “This is inhuman and undemocratic. We are not being allowed to take out a rally peacefully. We condemn this autocratic rule of TMC. They (TMC) are so much busy with appeasement politics, that we are not allowed to take out a rally.” The Imam had on Monday issued a fatwa against Ghosh for making “filthy comments” against the chief minister.”From where does he (Ghosh) get such audacity to make filthy comments against our beloved chief minister who is the most secular leader of our country? I issued the fatwa which states that he should be pelted with stones and then kicked out of Bengal. He does not deserve to stay in Bengal,” Barkati had said while issuing the fatwa.Reacting to the charges, Ghosh lashed out at Barkati and said this country is neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh that he could issue a fatwa and go scot-free.”What does Barkati think? Is this Bangladesh or Pakistan that he will issue a fatwa against me? He can issue a fatwa against TMC, they will listen to him, but not BJP. It seems that Barkati no longer wishes to stay in Bengal or India. I think he is planning to migrate to Pakistan or Bangladesh,” Ghosh had hit back.

Hand baggage tags not necessary in airports; CISF does away with security feature

Mumbai: It has been announced that hand baggage will not need tags at seven airports — four metro cities, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad — from Thursday as part of trials to scrap security stamping procedure.

The move follows a decision by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which handles the security at airports, to do away with stamping of cabin baggage tags. “We have taken a conscious decision of doing away with the process of stamping handbag tags from Thursday. We have this system of stamping boarding pass and hand baggages (since 1992). This is an unique system only in India,” director general of CISF OP Singh told reporters.

The security stamping indicates that the baggage was thoroughly checked and is safe to be carried into the aircraft cabin.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Aviation sector is expanding and we are set to become the third largest in aviation by 2020 and may be the largest in 2030. So in order to make it more hassle free and convenient for passengers and without compromising on security, we will have a trial run for a week or ten days, at six metro airports and Ahmedabad,” Singh said.

Besides Ahmedabad, the other airports where the trial will be conducted are Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Singh, who was in the city for the first time after becoming CISF DG, said, “If the experiment is successful, we will go in for the second phase and do away with the system of stamping boarding pass as well.” “We are protecting vital installations whether it is shipping sector or coal sector or aviation. Only yesterday the government has sanctioned 35,000 more personnel for the agency,” he said, adding, two new battalions have also been sanctioned by the government.

The official said CISF is undertaking various steps to make airport security fool-proof and one such step is installation of full body scanner at Delhi airport. “We have installed a full body scanner at Delhi airport. However, since there can be questions related to privacy we are doing it on a voluntary basis. Over 3,000 people have been subjected to the full body scan as of now,” he said. “You don’t have to go through exhaustive check. It just takes four seconds to scan the body. This is a parameter of international security standards,” the DG added.

“One issue that we have deliberated upon, but haven’t come to conclusion is implementation of one person, one hand baggage rule. I am not committing, but in due course of time we may have to go for that, looking at the volume of traffic that airport handles,” he explained.

Singh said CISF also provides services to eight establishments in private sector and have received over Rs 132 crore in this regard. “Right now, we are giving security to eight private sector undertakings, including Reliance and Infosys. We have got over Rs 132 crore for services provided to them,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 11:14 IST

Major airports across the country to go ‘tag free’ for hand baggage from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you happen to be flying from any of the major airports on Wednesday, the hand baggage you are carrying will not be stamped after security check and you can just pick it up and move towards the boarding area in quicker time or spend some extra time on shopping or eating around.The reason being that Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is mandated with securing the civil aviation airports in the country is carrying out a pilot project at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for a week starting Thursday wherein passenger need not have to take security check stamp on their hand baggage tag. The decision has been taken after various stakeholders including airlines, passengers associations, airport operators have been requesting the Ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) for the same since years. If successful, the new initiative will be made permanent and extended to other airports. “ This measure is expected to de-congest the pre-embarkation security check area and to make entire security check process convenient for the passengers ” said OP Singh, DG, CISF.The officials said that this will also free some of the CISF personnel who can then be used for closer monitoring of passengers for profiling at the security areas. The present system of stamping is made for fixing the accountability of screeners in case of any lapse and also for an authentication of being security checked. However, with a robust CCTV setup the accountability could be fixed electronically and that is the reason why the stamping system has been done away by airports across the world years back.The development seems significant that India is poised to become a third largest aviation market by 2026 displacing UK, as per a forecast prepared by airline trade body IATA. At present India is 9th largest aviation market in the world.Commenting on further plans Singh, said that there are plans to do away with stamping on boarding passes carried by the passengers in the second phase. Further, also a compulsion will be made in future whereby a passenger will not be able to carry more than one hand baggage. “ At one airport, I saw a passenger carrying 22 items. Carrying more number of hand baggages not only causes inconvenience to the passenger herself/himself but also to others. It also increasing the time taken for security checks.” Singh continued.Similarly, a full body scanner which is being tested at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on trial basis will also be extended to the other airports if it gains acceptance. At present passengers can voluntarily go through it. “It will take just 4 seconds per passenger for screening through full body scanners” further added Singh.

Income tax department warns of penal action if I-T returns ‘drastically’ changed

New Delhi: In a stern warning to assessees trying to misuse the provision of revising I-T returns, CBDT today said those “drastically” altering the forms to revise income will face scrutiny and penal action.

income taxincome taxIt said that post demonetisation announced on 8 November, some taxpayers may misuse this provision to revise the return filed by them for the earlier assessment year for manipulating income with an intention to show the current year’s undisclosed earnings in the earlier filing.

“The provision to file a revised return… has been stipulated for revising any omission or wrong statement made in the original return of income and not for resorting to make changes in the income initially declared so as to drastically alter the form, substance and quantum of the earlier disclosed income,” CBDT said in a statement.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy making body of the income tax department, further said if the department notices any manipulation in income in previous year’s ITR (income tax return), it will conduct scrutiny.

“Any instance coming to the notice of the I-T department which reflects manipulation in the amount of income, cash-in-hand, profits etc and fudging of accounts may
necessitate scrutiny of such cases so as to ascertain the correct income of the year and may also attract penalty and prosecution in appropriate cases as per provision of law,” it said.

Under the Section 139(5) of the I-T Act, a revised ITR can only be filed if any person who has filed a return discovers any omission or any wrong statement therein.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 16:28 IST

Amidst demonetization row, Mamata Banerjee likely to meet Urjit Patel on Thursday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who recently criticised RBI Governor Urjit Patel for being silent on people’s suffering due to Centre’s demonetization move, is likely to meet him in Kolkata on Thursday.Patel will arrive in the city on Wednesday for some official engagements and his meeting with Banerjee is likely to take place on Thursday afternoon, a top official of the Chief Minister’s Office told PTI today.State Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee will meet Patel and take him to the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ where the meeting will be held, the official said. The meeting assumes significance as Banerjee had criticised Patel on December 8 questioning his ‘silence’ on the suffering of the common people following demonetization.It is a custom for the RBI Governor to meet the Chief Minister whenever he visits a state and there was a formal request from Patel’s office for an appointment of Banerjee. On being asked why Banerjee agreed to meet the RBI boss when she was critical of him, the official said this was an opportunity for the state government to place its views on issues related to demonetization directly before Patel.So, the problems faced by common people of the state would come up for discussion during the meeting, he said.Banerjee is one of the most vocal opposition leaders against demonetization since it was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8. Patel will be here to attend the Central Board meeting of the RBI tomorrow. He will also meet bankers and industry leaders during the visit.

Banks take back $184 billion of old notes, RBI says | Reuters

By Suvashree Choudhury

MUMBAI Indian banks have taken back 12.44 trillion rupees ($184.24 billion) of high-value currency that the government abruptly abolished last month, Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor R Gandhi said on Tuesday.That represents about 80 percent of the 15.44 trillion rupees in 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that were circulating before Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished them on Nov. 8, in a surprise move targeting counterfeiters and people holding undeclared wealth. Analysts had estimated that only about 13 trillion of those abolished notes would be deposited at banks, because people with undeclared cash would be wary of attracting the scrutiny of tax authorities.Indians have until Dec. 31 to turn in their old notes.Economists said total deposits were likely to reach about 13 trillion to 13.5 trillion rupees by the end of the year, in line with the estimates.”The old notes of 500 and 1000 rupees which have been returned back to the Reserve Bank and the currency chest amounted to 12.44 trillion rupees as of Dec. 10, 2016,” Gandhi said in a short news briefing.

The RBI has printed some 1.7 billion new 500- and 2,000-rupee notes, which will replace the abolished notes, Gandhi said. That is a fraction of the 24 billion individual notes that were withdrawn. Modi’s action has created a widespread cash shortage that has hit many aspects of the economy, from manufacturing to consumer demand.But Modi says it was necessary to crack down on India’s shadow economy, although Indians have resorted to ingenious ways to try to deposit their undeclared assets, such as splitting up their money and paying others to temporarily park it in their bank accounts.

The government and the RBI have vowed strict action against those believed to be trying to deposit undeclared assets, including tougher scrutiny of all deposits of more than 250,000 rupees.The RBI on Tuesday also asked banks to keep all CCTV footage from Nov. 8, in another bid to scrutinise depositors.A source at the Central Bureau of Investigation told Reuters on Tuesday it had arrested an RBI officer in Bengaluru for “unauthorised changing” of 600,000 rupees in old 500- and 1,000-rupees notes.

RBI Deputy Governor S.S. Mundra, at the same news briefing, said a junior central bank official had been “suspended” because “he was recorded to be present in a bank branch where some suspected transaction was happening.” “We have instituted investigation and due action would be taken once the details are ascertained,” Mundra said.($1 = 67.5199 Indian rupees) (Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy, Devidutta Tripathy in MUMBAI and Aditya Kalra in NEW DELHI; Editing by Rafael Nam, Larry King)

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

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 19:49 IST

Demonetisation: Senior RBI official arrested for illegal exchange of old notes

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a senior special assistant of the Reserve Bank of India in Bengaluru for alleged involvement in a currency exchange racket, according to news agency ANI.

Media reports said nine men were arrested in connection with alleged exchange of Rs 1.50 crore worth of banned currency notes.



The government had on 24 November stopped over-the-counter exchange of old currency notes at bank counters, but continues the facility at RBI windows until 30 December.

There have been suspicion that old notes are being exchanged at a premium, helping the black money holders to whiten their ill-gotten wealth.

A report in The Times of India said the arrested RBI official and others were exchanging the notes at a 15-30 percent commission for exchanging the notes.

The Bangalore incident is another proof that illegal exchange of old notes is rampant despite the government and its investigative agencies keeping a hawk’s eye on all such activities after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November.

A report in The Economic Times today, however, said the premium for such illegal exchange of old notes have fallen drastically now and the money changers are even ready to pay an interest to black money holders in return for a one-year lock-in.

This reversal of trend, according to an economist quoted in the report, indicates that the black money has already entered into the system. Another reason being spoken about is that holders have found new ways to convert their black money into white.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 14:57 IST

PM Modi pays tribute to martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack

Tue, 13 Dec 2016-01:35pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to those who died in the terror attack on Parliament on this day in 2001 on Tuesday. He placed a wreath at the photos of the deceased in Parliament House complex.”Salutations to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the 2001 Parliament attack. Their bravery will never be forgotten,” he tweeted later.Five heavily-armed terrorists had stormed Parliament House complex on this day 15 years back but they were killed before they could enter the main building.Five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official, two Parliament watch and ward staff, and a gardener were among those who lost their lives in the attack.

VVIP chopper scam: There must be neutral and unbiased investigation, says D Raja

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja on Tuesday said that the AugustaWestland chopper scam case should be pursued in an unbiased and neutral manner.”This is an issue which has been raised many times and now investigation is on. It is for the law enforcing authorities to pursue the matter in a manner which should not give any apprehension of targeting some particular bureaucrats, appointed by the previous government,” he said. Raja further said that the case should be pursued keeping in view, the country’s interest.”Neutral approach must be there in pursuing and investigating the case because, the way it is pursued, can lead to apprehension of political vendetta and such an impression should not be created. Law must take its course and there must be very neutral and unbiased investigation.” he said.Former Air Chief Marshal (retired) S P Tyagi was arrested on Friday over committing alleged irregularities in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland deal to acquire a dozen VVIP choppers.Tyagi, who headed the Indian Air Force between 2005 and 2007, has been accused by investigators in Italy and India of abusing his official position to swing the contract in favour of Finnmeccanica, the parent company of UK-based helicopter maker AgustaWestland by tailoring specifications of the tender at the instance of his cousins.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the matter.

Mehbooba wants Modi govt to take Vajpayee line on Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Insisting that dialogue is the only way for peace between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday suggested that the Modi government should adopt the policy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had exercised “patience” despite Kargil aggression and attack on Parliament.She also hit out at Pakistan for “forgetting” its promise to Vajpayee about not allowing its territory to be used for terrorism against India. Underlining that war is no option to any problem, she said, “How long you can be in the mode of war? Dialogue is the only solution to bring peace.” Referring to Vajpayee’s steps, Mehbooba said the former Prime Minister had all the reasons to fight a big war after Kargil aggression by Pakistan happened in 1999, but he did not do it.”It was followed by Parliament attack but even then he opted for patience and said ‘friends can be changed but not neighbours’,” the Chief Minister said addressing a gathering of refugees of 1947 while distributing cheques relating to compensation at a function here. It was only after that the then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf announced that Pakistani soil cannot be used for terrorism against India and the result was reduced militancy in J and K, she noted.”The Central government should also think on the lines to bring Pakistan to a level which we witnessed during the period of Vajpayee,” she said. In an apparent reference to the Kashmir issue, she said once the “big knot” is untied, all other “knots” will be automatically removed. Her comments came amid intense chill in the India- Pakistan relations.

Security forces in Kashmir Valley targeted using Naxal-style IED

New Delhi: For the first time in the decades-old militancy in Kashmir Valley, security forces have been targeted by a Naxal-style IED attack prompting agencies to brace up against the menace that has claimed numerous lives and maimed several troops in Left Wing Extremism hit areas.

Taking the development seriously, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), mainstay for anti-Maoist operations in the country, has rushed a team of its counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) experts to train and sensitise its troops, those of the BSF, Jammu and Kashmir Police and others against such blasts trigerred by the notorious ‘command-wire’ technique.

“This is for the first time…There have been IED attacks against security forces and their convoys in the past but using the command-wire technique was unheard and unseen here.

“This technique till now has been used by Naxals to target security forces in the LWE affected areas,” CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad told PTI.

Taking cognisance of the incident, he has asked a team of IED experts, based at the exclusive Institute of IED Management (IIM) in Pune, to rush to the Kashmir Valley and sensitise the troops as to how to be alert against such deadly attacks.

The first of its kind command-wire IED blast was reported about a month back on the night of 4 November when militants targeted a police bullet-proof ‘Rakshak’ jeep under the Dadasara Police Station area in Awantipora of Pulwama district, which led to injuries to three police officials.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The police team was rushing to a nearby spot after some gunshots were heard but as they were targeted by the blast, they had to be evacuated and rushed to a nearby hospital.

The blast was trigerred by joining the wires drawn from the IED and when the jeep, plying on the normal ‘pucca’ road, went over it, the blast severely damaged the entire front and engine portion of the four-wheeler.

“It could have been bad had the blast took place just behind the engine area.This is something new we witnessed. Taking no chances, we have asked all our units in the Kashmir Valley to prepare and plan against command-wire IEDs now,” Prasad said.

The DG said it was part of further investigations to find out how the suspected militants active in Kashmir adopted this much-abused technique of trigerring hidden blasts on security forces and their convoys.

Till now security forces in the valley have been attacked in gunfire ambushes and attacks, grenade lobbing and fidayeen attackers.

A command-wire ID blasts ensure that the electric cable connected to the IED allows the user complete control over the bomb right up until the moment of initiation and Naxals have been found to lay several hundred metres of wire from the main road into the fields to                                                                                                                 trigger it without getting noticed and ensuring fatal casualities on the trapped men, by virtue of accurate timing of its detonation.

The command-wire IED blasts in Naxal violence affected areas has not only claimed lives of hundreds of security forces personnel, largely amongst the CRPF, even as it has severely maimed numerous troops rendering them without limbs.

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 15:56 IST

Naxal-style IED detected for first time in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time in the decades-old militancy in Kashmir Valley, security forces have been targeted by a Naxal-style IED attack prompting agencies to brace up against the menace that has claimed numerous lives and maimed several troops in Left Wing Extremism hit areas.Taking the development seriously, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), mainstay for anti-Maoist operations in the country, has rushed a team of its counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) experts to train and sensitise its troops, those of the BSF, Jammu and Kashmir Police and others against such blasts trigerred by the notorious ‘command-wire’ technique.”This is for the first time…There have been IED attacks against security forces and their convoys in the past but using the command-wire technique was unheard and unseen here. This technique till now has been used by Naxals to target security forces in the LWE affected areas,” CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad.Taking cognisance of the incident, he has asked a team of IED experts, based at the exclusive Institute of IED Management (IIM) in Pune, to rush to the Kashmir Valley and sensitise the troops as to how to be alert against such deadly attacks.The first of its kind command-wire IED blast was reported about a month back on the night of November 4 when militants targeted a police bullet-proof ‘Rakshak’ jeep under the Dadasara Police Station area in Awantipora of Pulwama district, which led to injuries to three police officials.The police team was rushing to a nearby spot after some gunshots were heard but as they were targeted by the blast, they had to be evacuated and rushed to a nearby hospital.The blast was trigerred by joining the wires drawn from the IED and when the jeep, plying on the normal ‘pucca’ road, went over it, the blast severely damaged the entire front and engine portion of the four-wheeler.”It could have been bad had the blast took place just behind the engine area.This is something new we witnessed. Taking no chances, we have asked all our units in the Kashmir Valley to prepare and plan against command-wire IEDs now,” Prasad said.

VVIP chopper scam | Not just SP TYagi, other bureaucrats, politicos involved must come under CBI radar: Defence expert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence expert Nitin Gokhale on Saturday said that former air chief SP Tyagi is not the last person to be arrested in the AgustaWestland case, adding that other high-profile officials, bureaucrats and politicians should come also be brought under the CBI scanner.”The former air chief SP Tyagi being arrested is indeed a big news and it has taken almost four years for the CBI to make a first high profile arrest. But I believe that SP Tyagi is not the last person who will be arrested because he did not take an individual decision in the AgustaWestland case. There were many other high profile and high post people were also involved in the decision making,” Gokhale told ANI. “So, just to pick out Air Chief Marshal (Retired) SP Tyagi will be unfair. So, therefore, my view is that even they should be not just interrogated, but they should be looked at very closely and if necessary also go after them,” he added.He further said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will do well to look at all those involved in that decision making process. “Otherwise, it will be seen as victimising a service personnel and allowing bureaucrats, and may be some politicians to get away from this crime. This entire deal was handled not just by Air Head Quarters, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was involved and so was the Prime Minister’s Office. Two PMs offices that is the previous NDA government and Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Prime Minister’s Offices were involved. The special protection group which protects the Prime Minister was also involved.” he added.The CBI will produce Tyagi in court on Saturday and will seek his remand after he was arrested in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal case. Delhi based lawyer Gautam Khaitan and Sanjeev Tyagi were also arrested in the case.The deal is related to purchase of twelve helicopters for VVIPs from Italian manufacturer Finmeccanica in 2010 during UPA-2 government’s rule. Tyagi, 71,who retired in 2007, was called for questioning to the CBI headquarters along with Khaitan and Sanjeev Tyagi. These are the first arrests by CBI which came after it registered a case in 2013.

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.

DNA Evening Must Reads: CBI arrests SP Tyagi in VVIP Chopper scam, industrial output contracts by 1.9% in Oct, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VVIP Chopper scam: CBI arrests former IAF Chief SP Tyagi, 2 othersThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi in connection with the AgustaWestland scam, considered as one of the biggest defence scam after Bofors. Read more here.SC frames 9 questions to help decide if demonetization is unconstitutional or notThe Supreme Court asked the Centre, “When you made the policy on demonetization, was it confidential?” Chief Justice of India TS Thakur also asked the Centre as to why the order of granting limit of Rs 24,000 per day to a person had not been complied with. Read more here.Demonetization: IT dept raids Chandni Chowk Axis Bank, finds Rs 450 crore in fake accountsIn a raid conducted by the Income Tax department at Chandni Chowk’s Axis Bank branch on Friday, 15 fake accounts were discovered. According to ANI, an official said that over Rs 450 crores were found in these fake accounts. Read more here.Industrial output in red, contracts 1.9% in OctoberIndustrial output slipped into the negative territory again with a contraction of 1.9% in October mainly due to sharp decline in production of capital goods and poor performance of manufacturing sector. Read more here.India v/s England: Vijay, Pujara lead hosts’ strong reply to England’s 400Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara shared a century stand as India made a strong start in their reply to England’s total of 400 on the second day of the fourth test at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday. Read more here. Adira turns 1: Rani Mukerji shares first picture and pens an emotional letter for her baby!Last year, on December 9, Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra were blessed with their first kid Adira Chopra. One year has passed and on the eve of Adira’s birthday, Rani has finally put out the first picture with her baby on social media. Not just that, Rani has also penned an emotional letter for her baby. Read the letter here.

Was it confidential when you made demonetization policy? SC asks Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday began hearing a batch of petitions and public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the demonetization policy of the Central government, which came into effect on the midnight of November 8.Arguing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the government had taken all the necessary steps to ease inconveniences of the general public.The Supreme Court asked the Centre, “When you made the policy on demonetization, was it confidential?” Chief Justice of India TS Thakur also asked the Centre as to why the order of granting limit of Rs 24,000 per day to a person had not been complied with. The apex court will resume hearing the demonetization matter on December 14. The hearing had been adjourned on Monday and moved to Friday as CJI TS Thakur was on leave. Several petitions were filed, including one by Vivek Narayan Sharma, against the policy that has caused massive upheavals across the nation. The petitioners have questioned the government’s rationale and modus operandi behind the implementation of the policy, as it has reportedly caused inconvenience to the general public.

Bengal govt bars state univ VCs from attending Javadekar’s conference, BJP lashes out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Thursday accused the TMC-led West Bengal government of trying to “subvert federal structure” of the country after Vice Chancellors of the state universities were barred from attending a video-conference by Union HRD minister on digital economy.”They (Bengal government) behave as constitutional experts, while giving lectures on federal structure. But when it comes to preaching what they say, they are the first to back out,” BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha told PTI. “By preventing the VCs to attend the conference on digital economy held by Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, they are trying to subvert the federal structure of the country. While the TMC themselves will not respect the federal structure, they will not hesitate lecturing others,” he said.”The country has given a mandate to BJP for five years. The TMC government has to follow the rules of the federal structure where the Central government is the pivot holding the entire country. Thus, TMC should not behave as a separate country or entity,” Sinha said. In the wake of the Centre’s demonetization move, the HRD Ministry is planning a month-long campaign, beginning December 12, to spread awareness about digital transactions among university students and teachers across the country.The Union HRD Minister today held a meeting through video conferencing with nearly 670 Vice Chancellors and senior officials dealing with higher education in states. The VCs from West Bengal gave it a miss after state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee yesterday directed them not to attend the programme, citing the ongoing examinations and preparations of students elections in state universities.

Ayurvedic hospital patients can seek health cover, says govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patients subscribing to ayurveda for treatment will also be able to seek health cover as the Centre has issued guidelines to insurance companies to this effect, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.Patients at Central and state government hospitals, ayurvedic hospitals accredited by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) or registered with a government authority will be eligible for health cover, MoS for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik said in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.The guidelines specify 20 different kinds of ailments that can be included in a health insurance scheme. It also lists the cost of different kinds of therapies in order to provide benchmarks for calculating treatment expenditure to settle an insurance claim.According to the ministry, these guidelines are the outcome of consultations among Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), Ayurvedic Hospitals Association and Insurance Companies.Similar guidelines will be issued “soon” for Unani, Siddha, Yoga, Naturopathy and Homeopathy, the AYUSH ministry said.

Jayalalithaa’s legacy could help Panneerselvam prevent an AIADMK meltdown

Do leaders matter in politics? This is a question that plagues the minds whenever a powerful leader, having his or her distinct personalised (autocratic) style of functioning, dies while in office. It is only natural then, that many are interested in knowing the fate of Tamil Nadu politics, economy and social equations in the wake of the demise of its celebrated chief minister Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa was not an ordinary leader. She was governing a state where the cult of personality politics has been an accepted phenomenon. It may be a little harsh to describe her as autocratic, but not many will dispute the fact that her style of governance was a little imperious. In that regard, speculations on the future of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime in the aftermath of the death of its topmost leader is perfectly understandable.

Of course, there cannot be any satisfactory answer to a question on the degree of relevance of leaders in human history. In itself, this question has always been ‘unsettled’. On one hand, we have thinkers like Karl Marx, who argued that leaders can merely choose from options that are strictly limited by factors far beyond their control and philosophers like Tolstoy, for whom leaders are merely artefacts to “explain events completely beyond their influence.”

Thousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa's funeral on Tuesday. PTIThousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa's funeral on Tuesday. PTI

Thousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s funeral on Tuesday. PTI

Whatever be the case, in genuine democracies, leadership transition is not a big issue as executive influence is typically moderated by independent legislative and judicial powers. On the other hand, however, there are stories of how leaders like Lenin, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Deng changed the history of mankind.

Be that as it may, there have been many scholarly works explaining what happens to a country when a strong leader dies. Of course, most of these studies deal with leaders who ruled a country; not a state or province as was the case with Jayalalithaa. However, lessons emerging from these studies are no less relevant in understanding the present scenario in Tamil Nadu in the aftermath of her death.

According to these studies, the consequences on the polity and economy depend on many related factors: The tenure of power of the departed leader and its stability (or lack of it); the manner of his or her coming to power (democratic elections, coup d’etat, or inherited position); the succession plan (or its absence); the resources (of the state or the country – rich or poor) and who controlled them (state-run interests, by oligarchs or by a small number of investors).

In their review of 79 authoritarian leaders (dictators) who have died in office from 1946 to 2014, Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Erica Frantiz found that a majority of the regimes persisted after the autocrats’ death. Research by Benjamin F Jones and Benjamin A Olken – spanning 1,108 different leaders from 130 countries, covering essentially every nation from 1945 to 2000 (Cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and deaths by other natural causes took sixty-five of those leaders while in office. Another twelve died in accidents fiery, watery, and even equestrian) – also led to the same conclusion. Some features of their findings are worth noting.

If an autocratic or strong leader had been in power for long, he or she leaves behind a group of trusted colleagues or inner circle elites who enjoyed power along with the leader. These old guards have vested interests, in the aftermath of the death of the leader, to coalesce around a new successor rather than engage in political bickering and infighting. Failure to do so endangers their privileged access to power. In fact, since they were long used to run the system during the rule of the departed leader, they know how to maintain the status quo and add to the resilience of the regime.

On the other hand, whoever emerges as the new leader would not like to provoke resistance from the “old guard”, because these elements know how to maintain control over the levers of power and carry on the status quo or the legacy of the departed leader by distributing benefits to citizens (populist subsidies) and promoting the party’s ideology. All told, many personalised regimes rule with the aid of a political party. The new leader, therefore, is invariably encouraged by the old guard to co-opt people from the rival parties or groups by incentivising them to participate in the system.

In more senses than one, these features are very much visible in Tamil Nadu today. Belying all sorts of apprehension, there has been a smooth succession of power. New Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was one of the prominent inner-circle elites of Jayalalithaa and he is unlikely to disturb the “old guard” or deprive them of sharing the power in a state which is quite unlike Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. Tamil Nadu’s reputation is that of a state where populism, autocratic administrations and widespread corruption (common to both the DMK and AIDMK governments) have coexisted with economic growth and human development.

All told, Tamil Nadu is one of India’s richer and better-governed states, along with Maharashtra and Gujarat. So sharing power and privilege (inequitably though) along with the leader has never been an issue. Ironically, Tamil Nadu’s economic growth and development has been greatly facilitated by its autocratic or imperious leadership (in this DMK supremo Karunanidhi is not far behind the late MG Ramachandranor or Jayalalithaa).

The ‘near-deity’ status of the leader in Tamil Nadu has resulted in a streamlined decision-making process, leading to political stability and economic progress. And as has been consistent with a body of research, a country or state with political stability and growing economy rarely finds any problem or discontent during a leadership transition. Besides, as a constituent of democratic India, Tamil Nadu’s executive head is also under some limitations imposed by an independent judiciary, let alone a vibrant media.

The moral of the story is thus clear. The risk posed by a sudden vacancy in the leadership in Tamil Nadu does not mean that it is guaranteed to see a period of instability or that it won’t improve under new leadership. Therefore, various speculations suggesting that the AIADMK will disintegrate; that the opposition DMK will form a new government with one of the breakaway factions of the ruling party; that Sasikala, the departed leader’s long-standing friend, will not allow Panneerselvam smooth functioning; and that Panneerselvam can only survive through the Central government’s support by becoming a ‘yes-man’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, may well prove to be premature.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 21:36 IST