<!– /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.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A few weeks ahead of the annual function, out come the violins, harmoniums, and tablas, which otherwise gather dust in schools’ music rooms, for this is one time in the year that students get a shot of the “Indian culture”. Delhi-based NGO Routes 2 Roots, however, is working towards plugging that gap through its programme Virsa, which is taking the Indian art and culture to students as far as the Tanga Valley.Virsa, meaning heritage in Punjabi, was conceptualised as a window to classical music-dance forms, and theatre for young students, who have been fed on a steady stream of pop numbers belted out by Honey Singhs and Lady Ga-Gas. With legendary names such as Birju Maharaj, Shovna Narayan, Dr L Subramaniam, and Kavita Krishnamurthy on its advisory panel, the NGO has set up a studio in RK Puram, from where lessons on Bharatnatyam, Kathak, violin and acting are streamed live to schools across the country.”During several exchange programmes in schools across India, we encountered the sad reality of how little this generation knows about our rich cultural reservoir. Their knowledge is limited to the tidbits they learn during annual school performances. We want them to be aware of the riches they have through Virsa,” said Tina Vachani, Co-founder, Routes 2 Roots.The NGO has collaborated with more than 80 schools, which receive the lessons through interactive sessions two hours a day, five days a week. Disciples handpicked by the likes of Maharaj and artists from the Delhi School of Music, Kathak Kendra, and Kala Hetu give lessons on dance, hindustani and carnatic vocals, instruments and so on.”Digital classes spell greater reach and are an ideal way to capture the imagination and attention of a generation that is hooked on to i-pads and mobile phones. We have installed LED screens in schools free of cost and are also paying for the Internet services,” Vachani said, adding that the students in the remote areas have shown “tremendous interest” in the programme.”Contrary to our apprehension that schools in the north east won’t be very forthcoming, we were surprised how keen the students were to learn Bharatnatyam and Hindustani music and dance forms. They are very proud of their Indian roots,” said a visibly pleased Vachani.
The issue of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is more about values existing within communities and not about their lifestyle and identities – is what Tufail Ahmad, executive director of Open Source Institute, a Delhi-based think tank, feels.
Ahmad, who proposed a draft UCC on Wednesday to initiate a public debate, told Firstpost: “This draft UCC is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion. It is necessary to emphasise that the issue of UCC is not about the lifestyles and identities of Indian citizens but to ensure that certain fundamental rights to equality and liberty are protected for them by the Indian state. It’s more about values existing within communities.”
It has been observed that UCC despite being a good idea, whenever a debate takes place on this issue, gets into a controversy and gets a religious colour as the focus is on Muslims. A section within the society feels that instead of making the debate Muslim-centric, the debate should first be within the communities and why it shouldn’t begin with Hindus.
“It’s a misleading argument. The move for UCC has predominantly been opposed by a section of Muslims, clerics and their institutions, and not by other religious communities. Other groups are open to change. Unlike a class of liberals which believes that this change comes from within, I strongly feel it comes from an external source. Like Raja Rammohan Roy opposed the practice of Sati and it was an outcome of his interactions with foreign scholars and ideas,” said Ahmad, a former journalist with BBC World Service.
Stating that his draft UCC is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion, Ahmad said, “At present, no draft UCC exists that could enlighten the people of India regarding the specifics that would constitute a code.”
“This UCC is drafted within a broader context of a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian citizen (Ubric). In the name of secularism, often a biased stand is taken. This discriminatory identity divides communities. Even the judiciary, including some judges of the Supreme Court, often fails to understand that Right to religion and beliefs is available to Indian citizens and not to communities and religious organisations. As a result, while hearing cases of individuals – say a case related to a Muslim woman, they allow Islamic institutions to be a party in it,” he pointed out.
Ahmad, the author of ‘Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim’, in his 12-clause document – a blueprint for the UCC – said, “The issue of UCC has emerged into India’s political discourse recently because many Muslim women, affected adversely by the personal laws have begun knocking on the doors of the Supreme Court to uphold their fundamental rights to equality and liberty, in keeping with constitutional provisions. Gradually, a realisation is gaining ground that UCC will protect the constitutional rights of Indian citizens.”
The 16 clauses in the draft UCC highlights the importance of fundamental right to education; religion and beliefs; unhindered freedom of thought and speech; application of rule of law to every citizen; any child born throughout the territory of India, including Gilgit Baltistan (which being the part of J&K) should have an automatic right to be citizen of India; use of words (like bhangi, chamar, kafir, etc) that describe an individual or groups in a discriminatory and hateful manner shall be a criminal offence; etc.
“We appeal to the members of Parliament to enact this Bill as Law in fulfilment of the objectives set out in the Preamble of the Constitution and in particular Article 44 that says — The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India,” added Ahmad.
First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 19:35 IST
By Tommy Wilkes and Suchitra Mohanty
| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Cinemas must play the national anthem before screening a film and the audience must stand and listen, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday in a ruling echoing growing nationalist sentiment under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The court ordered that an image of India’s national flag also be displayed on screens during the anthem, and it gave cinemas 10 days to comply, saying its decision would help “instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism”.”People must feel this is my country and this is my motherland,” the New Delhi court said in an interim order issued in response to a petition from a local retiree.”The time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism.”Nationalist fervour surged when Modi’s government said in September it had sent troops into territory controlled by bitter rival and neighbour Pakistan to strike at Islamist militants suspected of preparing to attack.
India’s wildly popular Bollywood film industry found itself caught up in the aftermath when a filmmakers’ body banned the hiring of Pakistani actors and some regional politicians said that those prepared to work with their neighbours were unpatriotic.Playing the national anthem in Indian cinemas was common in the 1960s, but the practise fell out of favour as fewer and fewer people paid attention. A few states had since made it compulsory for theatre halls and cinemas to broadcast the anthem, but there is no nationwide law mandating it.
Some commentators mocked the court’s ruling as idiotic. “The Supreme Court’s moral, constitutional and political idiocy in the national anthem order is truly breathtaking. More dark times ahead,” Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research think-tank said on Twitter.Thousands took to the streets early this year in India’s biggest nationwide student protests in 25 years after the arrest of a student accused of sedition, prompting accusations that Modi’s government was clamping down on freedom of expression.
To support his case in the court, petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey said the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act of 1971 had been breached, Indian media reported.The court also ruled that broadcasting a shortened version of the anthem would not suffice, and it prohibited playing the anthem at “undesirable” or “disgraceful” places. (Editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 23:44 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways and IRCTC have included “transgender as third gender” in the option alongside male and female in ticket reservation and cancellation forms.The decision which was taken on a representation made by a lawyer will include the facility for reservations and cancellations, both online as well offline.The Delhi-based lawyer had made the representation after the Delhi High Court in February had asked him to approach the Railway Ministry while disposing of his petition.The ministry in its circular referred to the direction of the apex court of April 2014, which had said that hijras, eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for protecting their rights.”Supreme Court (in the judgement) has directed that Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the parliament and the State Legislature.”It has, therefore, been decided to include the third gender/transgender option alongside male/female in reservation cancellation requisition form. This information will be captured by the system and tickets to transgender will be issued on full fare,” the circular stated.Advocate Jamshed Ansari in his PIL before the high court had alleged violation of Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), by non-inclusion of “transgender/third gender” as a gender option in its forms.He had also sought compliance of the apex court judgment in which it directed the Centre and the state governments to recognise transgender as the third sex, and to provide them with the benefits accorded to socially and economically backward classes. He had further demanded special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their “care and protection”.On which the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini had asked the ministry to look into the averments made in the writ petition.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police apprehended two men from outside Hazrat Nizammuddin railway station on Thursday who were allegedly carrying Rs 27 lakh in new currency notes which they received after exchanging old demonetised notes from some agents in Mumbai.The duo told Crime Branch sleuths about a Delhi-based man who has allegedly exchanged currency worth Rs 1.5 crores till now. On a tip-off from intelligence agencies, the Crime Branch team apprehended Ajit Pal Singh and Rajender Singh this evening, said a senior police officer.Singh and Rajender had returned from Mumbai after getting demonetised notes exchanged for new currency. During joint interrogation conducted by police, IT department officials and intelligence officials, they revealed that they were carrying money that belongs to one Sanjay Malik, who has a pharmaceutical company in Baddi. “We are on the lookout for Malik. It has emerged during investigation that he has got his money changed from Mumbai and he is taking commission from acquaintances for getting their old notes exchanged. He and his accomplices have so far brought Rs 1.5 crore of new currency from Mumbai,” said the officer.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Defunct notes of Rs 1.40 cr seized from builder in AhmedabadThe IT department has been informed and police might seek the help of their counterparts in Mumbai for further investigation, said another officer. “It looks as if some bank officials from Mumbai are involved in the racket. There is a well-oiled machinery of agents and sub-agents dealing in new currency and gold,” he said.Ajit Pal is involved with a firm that is engaged in the business of retail of medicine and is Malik’s friend. Rajender works under Malik. “They were travelling with new currency from Mumbai to Delhi by Sampark Kranti Express and had come out of the Nizammuddin railway station. They were in a car when their vehicle was intercepted outside the railway station by Delhi Police officials,” he said.
New Delhi: Police on Thursday apprehended two men from outside Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station who were allegedly carrying Rs 27 lakh in new currency notes which they received after exchanging old demonetised notes from some agents in Mumbai.
The duo told Crime Branch sleuths about a Delhi-based man who has allegedly exchanged currency worth Rs 1.5 crores till now.
On a tip-off from intelligence agencies, the Crime Branch team apprehended Ajit Pal Singh and Rajender Singh this evening, said a senior police officer.
Singh and Rajender had returned from Mumbai after getting demonetised notes exchanged for new currency. During joint interrogation conducted by police, I-T department officials and intelligence officials, they revealed that they were carrying money that belongs to one Sanjay Malik, who has a pharmaceutical company in Baddi.
“We are on the lookout for Malik. It has emerged during an investigation that he has got his money changed from Mumbai and he is taking commission from acquaintances for getting their old notes exchanged. He and his accomplices have so far brought Rs 1.5 crore of new currency from Mumbai,” said the officer.
The IT department has been informed and police might seek the help of their counterparts in Mumbai for further investigation, said another officer.
“It looks as if some bank officials from Mumbai are involved in the racket. There is a well-oiled machinery of agents and sub-agents dealing in new currency and gold,” he said.
Ajit Pal is involved with a firm that is engaged in the business of retail of medicine and is Malik’s friend. Rajender works under Malik.
“They were travelling with new currency from Mumbai to Delhi by Sampark Kranti Express and had come out of the Nizamuddin railway station. They were in a car when their vehicle was intercepted outside the railway station by Delhi Police officials,” he said.
First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 22:30 IST
Sandip Jat works in an apparel manufacturing company in Noida. He is more than happy to receive Rs 36,000 as three months’ advance salary from his employer. Given his meagre salary, it wouldn’t have been possible to accumulate such a big amount of money in a short period of time. But the note ban imposed by the central government has ensured he received the cash up front.
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of high value currency notes on 8 November, various companies are paying their employees advance salaries, using the big piles of currency they might have stashed away in safekeeping.
Bimal Jain of the Punjab Haryana Delhi Chambers of Commerce had said that loans and advance payments could be one of the many ways people might use to get rid of old currency notes. Sandip Jat is one of the many beneficiaries of the move.
Speaking to Firstpost, Jat said his company sells apparel abroad, and so has been unaffected by the cash crunch in India. “Our company has always purchased raw materials through banks. The company used up the old notes to pay our advance salary. So, there has been no cash crunch here,” he said.
Industry experts say companies that conducted a lot of cash-based transactions are the ones hit by demonetisation. “Most of our transactions are made in cheques, but we also make cash payments for some expenditures, which have all stalled temporarily. Since we have a long standing relationship with our suppliers, they have agreed to it,” said Pramod Agarwal of Surinder Devi Creations.
It’s not only the businesses that dealt in cash that are hit, but also the ones that deal with luxury goods, Jain had said.
Wakeel Ahmed works at a shop selling Exide batteries. He says sales have fallen by 90 percent since demonetisation. “Dealers who used to order 100 batteries a day don’t even order 10. It seems that people have stalled purchase of batteries, at least those batteries which are used in car engines,” he said.
While the reduced liquidity among people is directly responsible for the fall in demand, one hopes things will normalise once new currency comes in.
And though former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said the demonetisation move would impact the economy by over 2 percent, many in the industry hope things are more optimistic. Pramod Agarwal, who works with Delhi-based Surinder Devi Creations, told Firstpost that the money unearthed by this process could enrich the economy. He said the move by the government could also ensure goods and commodities are priced more realistically, which would then strengthen the Rupee.
“Our foreign currency accumulation increases in the coffers due to the appreciation of the Rupee. Because of this, our budget deficit will decrease and give a boost to the economy,” Agarwal said.
On the other hand, said Hari Prasad, proprietor of Manokamna Exports, said, “Since the last 15 days, I am carrying a cheque of Rs 50,000 and am unable to encash it. Many of my workers are absent from work, because they are spending entire days at the bank. But despite all this, I am happy with the move. It will make transactions digital and reduce corruption.”
Regarding the criticism coming in from various quarters, he likened it to computerisation of various services. “When computers were introduced, many people were wary it would result in loss of jobs. But computers have become part of our daily lives now. Similarly, people will also take time to get used to demonetisation and digital transactions. Once people get used to it, it would have good effects,” he said.
First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 22:21 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Modi’s war on black money and the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has shaken the nation. While the country seems split between deciding whether it’s a good or bad move, some entrepreneurial individuals are using this as a clever business opportunity. With many people forced to stand in line to either exchange their notes or deposit them a Delhi-based start-up called Book My Chotu is using it as an opportunity to provide some gainful employment and make some money as well.The Delhi-based start-up which describes itself as ‘first on-demand helper booking website’. A Facebook post from the company claimed: “Are you short of cash? Need a Helper to stand in Queue of the bank / atm till the time your turn comes?? www.bookmychotu.com First on demand helper booking service Hire Hourly Helpers @INR 90 per hr Available in DELHI NCR****Please note our boys will not go inside bank , they will just stand in the queue for our customers as we understand that there can be some emergency and our helpers can help you in the same by saving your valuable time . Also chotu is just a name , all our helpers are above 18yrs of age.Quite cleverly, the company is making sure they are on the right side of the law by not using their employees to go inside the bank and actually exchange the money. CEO and founder Satjeet Singh Bedi told Hindustan Times: “It started when my mother was ill and I needed immediately needed cash. I requested my teammates to stand in the queue in place of me and quickly replaced them when my turn came.”When asked if other people standing in the queues objected, Bedi said that it was already a common practice amongst family members and insisted that ‘chotus’ be treated with respect.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For Indian farmer Buddha Singh, who works a small plot of land in the village of Bajna south of New Delhi, the government’s decision to abolish 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes to crush the shadow economy could hardly have come at a worse time.He and millions of other farmers cannot get enough cash to buy the seeds and fertilisers they need for their winter crops, threatening production of key commodities and hurting rural communities only just recovering after two years of drought.”We can’t buy our full requirements of seeds, fertiliser and pesticides on credit. There is a limit,” said Singh, a turbaned man in his 50s, who tills a two-acre field near the highway running from the capital to the holy city of Mathura.”We’re running out of time as we’ve only 10-15 days more to plant crops like wheat, mustard and chickpeas,” he added, to murmurs of assent from around 30 fellow farmers sitting under a neem tree and discussing their predicament.India’s 263 million farmers mostly live in the cash economy, exposing them to the full impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock Nov. 8 announcement that larger denomination bank notes would immediately cease to be legal tender.Modi’s drive to purge “black cash” from the economy has, at a stroke, wiped out 86 percent of the money in circulation. Delays in printing new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes mean that money could be tight for weeks to come.While city dwellers are still queuing up to exchange or deposit old money at the bank, and to draw new funds, many villagers live miles from the nearest branch and have yet to see the new notes being rushed into circulation.DRAGGED DOWNDelays to the planting season that began last month threaten to dent India’s agricultural and overall economic growth, wiping out gains for farmers who this year cashed in on decent monsoon rains after being hit by drought in 2014 and 2015.Farmers who have already spent money on ploughing and irrigation to keep the soil moist can ill afford to leave their land fallow. Late sowing typically reduces yields and increases the risk that inclement spring weather could damage crops.”In all likelihood we’ll not be able to recover our cost of cultivation as the prime sowing time has nearly lapsed,” said Prakash Chandra Sharma, another local farmer.The farmers said they spent an average of 58,000 rupees ($855) per hectare to grow wheat, only to eke out an income of 70,000 rupees. That assumes a crop yield of about 3.2 tonnes per hectare.A drop in wheat output would boost local prices that are already near record highs. Stocks are at their lowest level for nearly a decade, and even before the latest cash crunch, private traders were expected to import around 3 million tonnes this year.Devinder Sharma, an independent food and trade policy analyst, said rural communities in particular would suffer from the demonetization move.”It’s a little early to hazard a guess about the extent of crop loss,” said Sharma. “But both rural income and demand will take a big hit before things start improving from April next year.”THANKS, BUT NO THANKSIn the latest in a series of ad hoc steps, the government on Thursday allowed farmers to withdraw up to 25,000 rupees ($368) a week against their crop loans to ensure that sowing of winter crops “takes place properly”.Shaktikanta Das, a top finance ministry official, also said a time limit for farmers to pay crop insurance premiums had been extended by 15 days.But that cuts little ice with farmers, who often rely for their cash not on banks but on money lenders charging annual interest of up to 40%.”Most farmers have already availed of their farm loan for the previous summer season and, for the handful who can still withdraw, the ceiling is too low,” said Tejinder Narang, a New-Delhi-based farm expert.After selling their rice crop last month, many are stuck with old 500 and 1,000 bills they can no longer spend.They are only allowed to exchange 2,000 rupees into new money, and the rest must be deposited before the notes cease to be accepted by banks after Dec. 30.”Four banks cater to 200 villages of about 2,000 people each. It’s not easy to get your old currency notes converted,” said Harbir Singh, another local farmer.MARKETS IDLEDThe breakdown in the cash economy is causing major disruptions to the supply of produce to India’s cities, with payment alternatives such as plastic cards or digital wallet apps on smartphones yet to gain widespread acceptance.At Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi, Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable wholesale market, traders said business was at a virtual standstill, and labourers who usually earn between $4 and $6 a day sat idle.”The bosses are giving us 500 rupee bills, but we are refusing to take those notes,” said porter Raju Kumar Rathore. “Then they are telling us to collect our money after a week or 10 days. For us that is a big problem.”
By Mayank Bhardwaj
| BAJNA, India
BAJNA, India For Indian farmer Buddha Singh, who works a small plot of land in the village of Bajna south of New Delhi, the government’s decision to abolish 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes to crush the shadow economy could hardly have come at a worse time.He and millions of other farmers cannot get enough cash to buy the seeds and fertilisers they need for their winter crops, threatening production of key commodities and hurting rural communities only just recovering after two years of drought.”We can’t buy our full requirements of seeds, fertiliser and pesticides on credit. There is a limit,” said Singh, a turbaned man in his 50s, who tills a two-acre field near the highway running from the capital to the holy city of Mathura.”We’re running out of time as we’ve only 10-15 days more to plant crops like wheat, mustard and chickpeas,” he added, to murmurs of assent from around 30 fellow farmers sitting under a neem tree and discussing their predicament.India’s 263 million farmers mostly live in the cash economy, exposing them to the full impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s shock Nov. 8 announcement that larger denomination bank notes would immediately cease to be legal tender.Modi’s drive to purge “black cash” from the economy has, at a stroke, wiped out 86 percent of the money in circulation. Delays in printing new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes mean that money could be tight for weeks to come.While city dwellers are still queuing up to exchange or deposit old money at the bank, and to draw new funds, many villagers live miles from the nearest branch and have yet to see the new notes being rushed into circulation.DRAGGED DOWN
Delays to the planting season that began last month threaten to dent India’s agricultural and overall economic growth, wiping out gains for farmers who this year cashed in on decent monsoon rains after being hit by drought in 2014 and 2015.Farmers who have already spent money on ploughing and irrigation to keep the soil moist can ill afford to leave their land fallow. Late sowing typically reduces yields and increases the risk that inclement spring weather could damage crops.
“In all likelihood we’ll not be able to recover our cost of cultivation as the prime sowing time has nearly lapsed,” said Prakash Chandra Sharma, another local farmer.The farmers said they spent an average of 58,000 rupees ($855) per hectare to grow wheat, only to eke out an income of 70,000 rupees. That assumes a crop yield of about 3.2 tonnes per hectare.A drop in wheat output would boost local prices that are already near record highs. Stocks are at their lowest level for nearly a decade, and even before the latest cash crunch, private traders were expected to import around 3 million tonnes this year.Devinder Sharma, an independent food and trade policy analyst, said rural communities in particular would suffer from the demonetisation move.”It’s a little early to hazard a guess about the extent of crop loss,” said Sharma. “But both rural income and demand will take a big hit before things start improving from April next year.”
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
In the latest in a series of ad hoc steps, the government on Thursday allowed farmers to withdraw up to 25,000 rupees ($368) a week against their crop loans to ensure that sowing of winter crops “takes place properly”.Shaktikanta Das, a top finance ministry official, also said a time limit for farmers to pay crop insurance premiums had been extended by 15 days.But that cuts little ice with farmers, who often rely for their cash not on banks but on money lenders charging annual interest of up to 40 percent.”Most farmers have already availed of their farm loan for the previous summer season and, for the handful who can still withdraw, the ceiling is too low,” said Tejinder Narang, a New-Delhi-based farm expert.After selling their rice crop last month, many are stuck with old 500 and 1,000 bills they can no longer spend.
They are only allowed to exchange 2,000 rupees into new money, and the rest must be deposited before the notes cease to be accepted by banks after Dec. 30.”Four banks cater to 200 villages of about 2,000 people each. It’s not easy to get your old currency notes converted,” said Harbir Singh, another local farmer.MARKETS IDLED
The breakdown in the cash economy is causing major disruptions to the supply of produce to India’s cities, with payment alternatives such as plastic cards or digital wallet apps on smartphones yet to gain widespread acceptance.At Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi, Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable wholesale market, traders said business was at a virtual standstill, and labourers who usually earn between $4 and $6 a day sat idle.”The bosses are giving us 500 rupee bills, but we are refusing to take those notes,” said porter Raju Kumar Rathore. “Then they are telling us to collect our money after a week or 10 days. For us that is a big problem.” ($1 = 67.79 rupees) (Additional reporting by Sunil Kataria in NEW DELHI and Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mike Collett-White)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 23:03 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of a petition calling for scrapping of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan till January.The plea has been filed by a Delhi-based lawyer M L Sharma, who has said that the treaty is unconstitutional.Sharma says the treaty is invalid as it was signed by Nehru and Khan, and that it should have been signed by the President of India.The treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan. It is one of the most liberal water-sharing pacts in the world.The agreement covers six rivers – the three eastern rivers of Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and their tributaries and the three western rivers of Indus, Jhelum, Chenab and their tributaries.Water from the eastern rivers has been allocated to India, and New Delhi is obligated to let 80 percent water from the western rivers flow to Pakistan. The treaty gives the lower riparian Pakistan more ‘than four times’ the water available to India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s “shock-and-awe” move against black economy has hit it where it hurts the most. The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has broken the spine of “hawala” transactions that involve some of the biggest and most voluminous paperless money transactions in India.
According to market sources, the sudden demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has virtually crippled informal and illegal money transactions.
“Prime Minister’s move to curb fake currency circulation will also hit illegal trades like hawala trade and dabba trade because these are potential sources of black money,” a senior government official told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.
Modi’s action, a death knell to hawala
According to market sources, who are in the know of hawala activities say that government’s move has proved a “death knell” for the trade.
“PM Modi’s masterstroke of demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes has rendered the unaccounted cash lying with the hawala brokers useless. These are now mere papers. It’s an excellent step and by one stroke the PM has dealt with the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and Hawala traders,” said chartered accountant Abhishek Aneja.
The hawala trade has collapsed overnight due to the demonetisation of the currency, a Delhi-based businessman told Firstpost on the condition of anonymity. “Large volumes of cash lying with these brokers have now turned redundant, as it won’t be a part of the economy. It’s a big blow to those involved in hawala racket and it won’t revive in the next three months. Many traders are likely to go bankrupt. It needs to be seen how many traders will survive to carry on the trade in days to come. It’s also a big jolt to India’s film industry,” he added.
Agreed a Surat-based businessman. “Hawala trade and dabba trade are big in Gujarat and the PM’s announcement has completely routed it. It’s a big move. Next time one would think twice before venturing into it.”
However, Aneja says that the demonetisation move alone won’t be sufficient. “The government should also ensure the protection of honest taxpayers. While on one hand government wants to act tough against black money hoarders, on the other the proposed amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act speak differently,” he added.
Few facts on hawala trade
Though hawala trading has been in practice in India and other parts of the world for decades, it became popular amongst the masses in India due to the infamous Jain Hawala scandal and Bollywood.
The Jain Hawala scandal
The Jain Hawala scandal also known as Jain Hawala scam was a political scandal between 1988-91 involving payments allegedly sent by politicians (black money) through four hawala agents — the Jain brothers. It was a US $18 million bribery scandal that named some of the country’s prominent politicians. It was also alleged that payments were made to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir. The CBI during its investigation came to know about a “red diary” that allegedly had the names of politicians, bureaucrats and a few prominent others, who sought the service of Jain brothers.
Indian cinema industry and hawala trade
An Income Tax department’s report on Mumbai’s film industry (Bollywood) finds a significant use of hawala channels for funding films and transfer of money to Pakistan and other countries. It leads to a big quantum of tax evasion and black money generation. According to a recent newspaper report, hawala transactions of around Rs 2000 crore take place in Mumbai alone per day.
What is hawala trade?
Hawala literally means “trust based reference”. Hawala trade works outside the legal banking and financial systems. The remittance takes place on the basis of communication through a reference code between two hawala agents or brokers on behalf of their clients. “Hawala is an illegal channel and transaction through it is a crime. The channel is used to convert black money into white. Major hawala transactions are related to undisclosed money,” says
How does it operate?
A client (X) in India goes to a hawala agent (A1) and hands over to him an amount of cash, which he wants to be transferred to his friend (Y) in London. A1 gives a “code” to X and tells him to communicate the “code” to Y and also gives an address from where the latter can collect the amount. Meanwhile, A1 communicates his counterpart agent A2 in London. When Y reaches the destination communicated to him by X, he receives the amount in the currency of that country, say pound. In the process, A1 charges his commission from A1.
Characteristics of hawala trading
Hawala trading is based on trust, has no records or paper trail and legal enforcement, is fast, flexible, non-bureaucratic, and charges low commission rate, but it’s illegal. There is never a physical transfer of money in the process and the channel is always anonymous. In a hawala transaction, the money enters the hawala system in local currency (say Indian Rupee) and leaves as a foreign currency (US dollar if remitted in the US).
The dark side of hawala
Besides, transfer of money by businessmen and traders, there’s also a dark side of hawala trade. According to intelligence and security agencies, hawala route is used in funding by criminal and terrorist outfits. It has a potential role in money laundering as well.
Almost every city in India has hawala traders, but major transactions take place in Mumbai, Gujarat and New Delhi.
What does Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report say on hawala trade?
An independent inter-governmental body, FATF in a 2013 report on the role of hawala has mentioned that the channel had been used for funding terror outfits. The report pointed out that “quite a few cases” in India shows how hawala funds from abroad entered the country to fund terrorist organisations.
First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 09:29 IST
New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that it be heard if the court entertains any petition on demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes even as the apex court indicated that it may hear on 15 November a plea challenging the government decision.
“Let it be listed on Tuesday if the petition gets numbered by the registry,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice AR Dave said when a lawyer on Thursday sought urgent hearing of his plea on the ground that demonetisation is causing a lot of problem to the common citizens.
The Modi government filed a caveat in the apex court registry saying that it be heard if the court entertains and passes some directions on the petitions.
The plea was mentioned by advocate Sangam Lal Pandey who has filed the PIL in his personal capacity.
He has sought quashing of the 8 November notification of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) of Finance Ministry on the grounds that the common public has not been granted sufficient time and as a result, they are facing a lot of hardship.
The PIL has also sought a direction to the Centre that sufficient time be given to the citizens for exchanging the demonetised currency notes.
Besides this petition, another plea was filed on Wednesday in the apex court seeking quashing of the decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes on grounds that it infringed on citizens’ right to life and to trade, among others.
The PIL filed by Delhi-based lawyer Vivek Narayan Sharma, which could be listed for hearing during the week, has termed the notification of DEA as “dictatorial” claiming it did not grant reasonable time to citizens for exchanging the specified bank notes to legitimate notes to avoid “large-scale mayhem, life threating difficulties”.
The plea has sought either quashing of the notification or a direction to the Centre for grant of “reasonable time frame” to citizens for exchanging the demonetised currency notes to avoid difficulties.
The Prime Minister, in a televised address to the nation on 8 November, had declared that high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 will not be legal tender from 8 November midnight. He had said that the government has declared a “decisive” war against black money and corruption.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 23-year-old youth, Jayanta Biswas, from West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district was sold as a slave in Saudi Arabia by travel agents who lured him with a job. Biswas, an automobile engineer by profession, was promised a job in Saudi Arabia’s automobile industry by his agent. However, when he landed in Riyadh on May 15, 2016, he was sold to a Saudi master, Naief Bookme. Since then, he has been made to take care of the master’s house, cut grass, feed ostriches while living on just one meal a day.Biswas’s sister, Ria told the media, “My brother was lured by a job offer in the automobile industry in Saudi. He had paid a Delhi-based agent, Muneer Ahmed of Al-Hamd Consultant Services Rs one lakh. He was later sent to Riyadh on a tourist visa.However, he was promised of a work visa after he completed three months at his new job. Instead, he was sold as a slave and all his documents were taken away from him.”A distressed Biswas tried to reach out to his family members in West Bengal and even told them that he had been sexually abused on several occasions by his master.A month down the line, on July 16, he made an attempt to escape, only to be foiled by his master. Later, when he finally managed to escape, he contacted the Indian mission in Saudi. The officials at Saudi opened a file in his name and sent him to an NGO till his return to India. As soon as Biswas’s master learnt of his escape, he filed a complaint with the police that Biswas had stolen 10,000 riyals from his house. He was immediately arrested from the NGO on August 9. His family members paid Rs 35,000 to his agent for his release. He was released from jail on October 27. However, he is still stuck in Riyadh with no travel documents to return to India. Biswas’ family members have approached External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her department to provide temporary travel documents, however, they are yet to hear from the ministry.
New Delhi: The ED has issued fresh summons to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi for questioning in a money laundering case after he recently managed to go out of the country despite a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him by the agency.
Officials said the Enforcement Directorate has asked Qureshi to report before its Investigating Officer (IO) next week in connection with a criminal case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The agency wants to expedite action against him, even as it is understood that the businessman has not returned till now. The officials said while the ED has questioned him in the past, some more recording of his statement is to be done in the said case.
Qureshi had managed to leave for Dubai recently after showing a court order obtained in an Income Tax case, and not in the case for which the ED has issued the LOC. The Delhi-based meat exporter was briefly detained at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, based on the ED’s LOC on 15 October, and the Immigration department had informed the agency about it.
He then presented a court order in which there was no restriction on his flying abroad. The immigration officer checked for the veracity of the order and allowed him to fly. When the ED team reached the airport to take the meat exporter into custody, they were informed he had been allowed to fly on the basis of the court order.
Later, the immigration officer realised that the order was in connection with an Income Tax case and not in the ED matter, prompting the authorities to order an inquiry. The ED had registered a case against Qureshi under PMLA last year. He is under the scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.
Bihar police saves Delhi businessman’s sons, arrests four for abduction
Patna: Bihar Police on Wednesday rescued two sons of a Delhi businessman who were kidnapped from Patna airport on Friday. They also arrested four persons connected to the crime, police said.
“Police rescued both sons of a Delhi-based businessman — Suresh Sharma and Kapil Sharma. They were rescued from a village under Karja police station of Lakhisarai on Tuesday night,” senior Superintendent of Police (SP) Manu Maharaj said.
The father, Babulal Sharma, deals in marble.
Majharaj said that the brothers, had arrived in Patna on business. They were kidnapped by Ranjit Don, alias Ranjit Mandal’s gang. The kidnappers had demanded Rs 4 crore as ransom.
According to the police, Suresh and Kapil were allegedly invited to Bihar by Mandal for a business deal.
Mandal had earlier kidnapped a Haryana-based businessman for ransom but the police had managed to rescue him, also.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special court has slapped a penalty of Rs 5,000 on CBI for causing an “infructuous” hearing in the 2006 Naval War Room leak case in which arms dealer Abhishek Verma and four former naval officers, including a Wing Commander, are facing trial. The court passed the order as no prosecution witness could be examined due to the unavailability of the special prosecutor who was said to be busy in Delhi High Court.”Witness (Retd) Commander Atul Nag is also present since morning. It is now stated by proxy counsel for Special PP for CBI, Rajiv Mohan, that he is held up in High Court in some matter and he will be coming around lunch time. However, other defence counsel submit that they are not willing to wait till that time, as they are waiting since morning and they have urgent matters in other courts to attend. Therefore, for rendering today’s purpose as infructuous and since the witness is present since morning and has to be discharged unexamined, costs of Rs 5,000 is imposed upon CBI,” Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal said.The court directed the CBI to depute another prosecutor by the next date of hearing after it was informed that prosecutor Mohan had written to the agency to relieve him of his duties as SPP from the future proceedings in the case. The court fixed the case for October 17 for recording of prosecution evidence.Former naval officer Kulbhushan Prashar, former commander Vijender Rana, sacked naval commander V K Jha, former IAF Wing Commander Sambha Jee L Surve and alleged arms dealer and Delhi-based businessman Abhishek Verma are facing trial in the case for the offence of criminal conspiracy under IPC and under various provisions of Official Secrets Act (OSA). While Prashar, Surve, Rana and Jha are on bail, Abhishek Verma is lodged in jail under judicial custody.Meanwhile, the court granted time to CBI and Verma to respond to a plea by Edmonds Allen, former business partner of Verma, seeking cancellation of bail of the alleged arms dealer. The 2006 Navy War Room leak case involves leakage of over 7000 pages of sensitive defence information from the Naval War Room and the Air Headquarters, having a direct bearing on national security.The court had earlier framed charges after the five accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. Prime accused Ravi Shankaran is still absconding and has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Certifying a person as a transgender is the responsibility of the state governments and Union territories, the Centre has told Delhi High Court. The submission was made by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in an affidavit placed before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva who is hearing pleas of two Delhi-based transgenders seeking change of their names and gender from male to female in the government records.The ministry has said that a committee set up by it in October 2013 to make an in-depth study of problems faced by the transgender community has recommended that a certificate that a person is a transgender should be issued by the respective states or Union territories. With the above submission, the ministry, represented by central government standing counsel Monika Arora, has sought dismissal of the pleas of the two transgenders.The ministry had earlier told the court that a bill has been introduced in Parliament on August 2 which takes care of all the prayers raised by the two in their plea. The petitioners have alleged discrimination by the authorities and sought “disciplinary enquiry” against them.In support of their claims, they have referred to a Supreme Court order holding that a person’s self-defined sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality and a person cannot be forced to undergo medical procedures, including SRS or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity.The two have claimed that they were MtF (male to female) trans-sexuals who, due to duality between their appearance, voice, mannerism, dressing style and their male IDs, faced discrimination in the society. The petitioners have contended that the department officials had refused to consider their applications for change of name without a certificate stating that they had undergone Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). They have sought quashing of any guideline of the publications department which mandates an SRS before changing the gender, as well as directions to the Centre “to constitute a board or committee for certifying the petitioner as a MtF transgender”. They have also contended that “the action of respondents in refusing to allow the name change infringes the petitioner’s fundamental right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution”.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when the Centre has yet to make its stand clear before the Supreme Court on the practice of triple talaq, a voluntary organisation — Muslim Women Welfare Organisation – on Tuesday filed a plea supporting the age-old practice.The Muslim Women’s Welfare Organisation, a Delhi-based organisation, filed the plea through advocate, M R Shamshad, saying so far as the divorce is concerned the Muslim women have equal right the way men have.Concurring the stand taken by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), it said that with regard to divorce, the Muslim women have much stronger rights than Muslim men which is called ‘Khula’.“The right of Muslim men to Triple Talaq is a balancing act to the right of Muslim women to Khula. If the Triple Talaq is struck down, it would affect the free will of Muslim women as well”. For polygamy, it said a woman can seek divorce under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act.Three women have already moved SC against triple talaq saying the practice is discriminatory and violates their fundamental rights.Referring to the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, the women’s organisation said so as far as practice of polygamy is concerned, Section 2 (viii) of the Act sufficient.A woman can make polygamy as a ground of divorce if husband does not treat her equitably in accordance with the injunctions of the Quran. “Thus, it is inappropriate to say that Muslim women are meted out with cruelty when their husbands bring second wife and they are left without any remedy. Further, the rights of Muslim women are protected by virtue of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.Earlier, the apex court had sought a reply from the government on the issue. The court is likely to hear the case some time next week.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of outer Delhi’s Rohini area on Sunday morning woke up to gun fire exchange between local cops and members of an alleged criminal gang. As a result of the encounter, a police constable and two members of the gang of five were injured in the shootout. According to Delhi police, the encounter took place when the gang was on the way to rob a Delhi-based businessman. Authorities told dna that the gang members have been arrested, including two, who were injured during the shootout. A constable was also injured in the firing.“The encounter between a police team and a group of criminals started at around 10.30 am at Rohini Sector 24. Constable Pradip sustained a bullet injury in the thigh while two criminals, identified as Sudhir and Vijay were also injured,” said Vikramjeet Singh, DCP (outer). The senior police officer added that all the injured men are at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital.Elaborating on the sequence of events, police officials told dna that the gang of five started in the area in a car to rob a builder. Officers in Sultanpuri police station were tipped-off and a team of local cops started to follow the criminals as soon as they were intercepted, police said. “As the gang left the Ring Road and entered a service road in Sector 24, police cars intercepted them. The car driver Sudhir tried to dodge the policemen and they exchanged fire. A bullet hit constable Pradeep’s thigh while a bullet fired by policemen grazed Sudhir’s neck and tore the cheek of his accomplice Vijay. Several rounds were fired from both sides,” the DCP said. Three other policemen also received simple injuries in apprehending the gang members who tried to escape.Police recovered two pistols and live rounds from the gang members who were wanted in several cases including bank and van robberies.
The University of Delhi has once again rejected right to information (RTI) query seeking details about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.Citing ‘privacy’ reasons, the University of Delhi (DU) has rejected the query, reported IANS. The RTI query was filed by Delhi-based lawyer Mohd Irsad.According to PTI, in its reply to the RTI query, the University reportedly said it has the right to maintain the privacy of every student and the information can only be disclosed to the student concerned.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The varsity said the applicant can approach the Appellate Authority of DU’s School of Open Learning within a month from the day the reply was issued.Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that media reports claiming DU has blocked an RTI query seeking details of Modi’s BA degree ‘deepen the mystery’ surrounding his educational qualifications.He contended DU ‘cannot reject’ information sought under the Right To Information Act by a city-based lawyer and the university should write to the Prime Minister to seek his permission for releasing the documents.”This deepens the mystery around PM’s degree. If DU feels that it is private info then under RTI Act, DU shud write to PM n seek his permission. DU can’t reject (sic),” he tweeted.Kejriwal also recalled BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had defended Modi when the controversy erupted over his alleged fake degrees, saying the documents were “genuine and anyone could take it from DU”.”What? But why? Didn’t Amit shah n Jaitley ji say that degree was genuine and anyone cud take it from DU?(sic)” he asked on Twitter. (With inputs from agency)
Reliance Industries Ltd, on Friday, took strong exception to media reports that suggested top honchos of the company were involved in arm-twisting for business gains as ‘revealed’ from tapped conversations.The allegations of tapping were made in a 29-page complaint submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal, who claims he represents Essar former employee who allegedly tapped the phones.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report, published in a leading daily and a news magazine, says the recorded conversations allegedly reveal how businessmen reach out to politicians to seek favours.The purported conversations reveal widespread peddling of influence in corridors of power, ‘corruption in the business milieu’, brokering of deals and blurring of lines between business and government.The reports have named a literal who’s who – Union ministers Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goel, serving and former bureaucrats NK Singh, Brajesh Mishra, Rajiv Mehrishi, Sahara chief Subroto Roy, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and veteran film actor Amitabh Bachchan, among others, whose phones were allegedly tapped.”We are shocked at reports which suggest that we have been victims of unauthorised and illegal tapping of our telephones. Conversations attributed to us are false and appear to have been doctored by someone who seeks to defame us,” a statement released by the RIL spokesperson read.The statement further noted that they had, at all times, abided by the law of the land, both in letter and in spirit in all our actions and business activities and any suggestion of any wrongdoing was plainly false.RIL demanded action against ‘malicious falsehoods’ and sought serious view of these alleged violations of their right to privacy if indeed there had been any illegal wire-tapping.RIL offered full cooperation to any authority in ascertaining the truth and said they were confident of demonstrating that the salacious allegations were false.The Congress on Friday demanded that the tapes be made public as the people would be the ‘best judge’ to discern its veracity.”The allegations are serious and multifaceted, but most importantly if those tapes exist, they need to be made public because the people need to know as to what is going on,” Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI.
Cash collections accounted for a whopping 63% of total funds or over Rs 2,100 crore garnered by various political parties during all state assembly polls between 2004 and 2015, a study showed today.The fund collection through cash was however relatively lower at 44 % (over Rs 1,000 crore) during three Lok Sabha elections held during this time period.The data collated by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a Delhi-based think tank working on poll reforms, showed the parties collected Rs 2107.80 crore during 71 state assembly elections in this period.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lok Sabha elections – Cheque paymentsDuring the Lok Sabha elections held in 2004, 2009 and 2014, cheque payments accounted for the highest collection at 55 % (nearly Rs 1,300 crore), while cash accounted for Rs 1039.06 crore.In case of state polls, fund collected through cheque payments was Rs 1244.86 crore between 2004 and 2015. The study did not take into account the recent polls in five states.ADR said the analysis is based on statements submitted by the national and regional parties to the Election Commission of India. These statements contain information of funds collected and spent between announcement and completion of elections.In terms of expenditure, the the three Lok Sabha polls saw 83 % of spending, or Rs 2044.67 crores, through cheque while this %age was 65 % during assembly polls.India transparent”India is the least transparent country when it comes to funding of political parties,” Professor Trilochan Sastry of IIM Bangalore, a founder-member of ADR, said at a press conference here to release the survey results.The survey, which details the fundings collected and expenditure incurred by regional parties, noted that SP, AAP, AIADMK, BJD and SAD together collected Rs 267.14 crore, 62 % of the total funds declared by all the regional parties, during Lok Sabha polls.Collection and Expenditure”SP topped the charts with Rs 118 crore as collection and Rs 90.09 crore as expenditure. Despite contesting only in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP came second in terms of collection by declaring Rs 51.83 crore. AIADMK is placed third with Rs 37.66 crore,” ADR said.SP, the ruling party in UP, trumped others in terms of amount collected and spent during the state polls as well. It collected Rs 186.8 crore and spent Rs 96.54 crore.AAP, which has contested two assembly elections till date, came second with Rs 38.54 crore as total funds collected and Rs 22.66 crore expenditure.ECI guidelinesAccording to the ECI guidelines, parties should not make any expenditure above Rs 20,000 in cash but there is no provision in the expenditure format for the parties to declare expenses below or above Rs 20,000, ADR said.”Hence, it appears that the parties are taking advantage of the opacity in the expenditure statements to collect and spend funds in cash,” the survey adds.It also consists a separate list of ‘defaulters’, listing parties who did not submit their expenditure statements between 2011-15.Among the national parties, statements of NCP and CPI are not available for two assembly elections held between 2011 and 2015.”The availability of election expenditure statements of regional parties is equally worrisome where the statements of JD(U) is unavailable for 15 assembly elections while that of SP is unavailable for 11 Assembly Elections,” it said.
A Delhi court on Monday sent to 14 days’ judicial custody a journalist for allegedly fabricating an RTI reply and publishing a news report claiming that the government had been discriminating against Muslims in their recruitment as yoga trainers in the Ayush Ministry. Pushp Sharma, who was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Ashok Kumar on expiry of his two-day judicial custody, was sent to Tihar Jail till May 30 in the case registered days after his report ‘We don’t recruit Muslims: Modi govt’s Ayush Ministry’ appeared on Milli Gazette, a fortnightly English language newspaper. The Delhi-based journalist was arrested on May 14 on charges of cheating, forgery and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc in the case registered a Kotla Mubarakpur Police Station here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior police officer had said that Sharma had been arrested in 2009 on the charge of extorting government officials by threatening sting operations on them. There were also allegations that Sharma even tried to extort police officers on one occasion.Sharma had claimed that he filed an RTI with the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) enquiring about the Muslim teachers and trainers recruited by the AYUSH Ministry for foreign assignments during the World Yoga Day last year.
The special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is likely to pronounce its verdict on the bail plea filed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal who has been arrested in a money laundering case in connection with the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam.The court had on Wednesday extended the judicial custody of Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal till May 25. Special Judge of the PMLA court, PR Bhavke heard the arguments of lawyers of Bhujbal and Enforcement Directorate before reserving the order.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate had last week arrested Chhagan Bhujbal’s associate and chartered accountant Sunil Naik in connection with the case. The special PMLA court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Naik, who was the CA at Bhujbal- owned Mumbai Education Trust (MET) at Bandra.
ALSO READ Chhagan Bhujbal’s journey from selling vegetables to owning properties worth Rs3,000 croreThe Enforcement Directorate is probing Bhujbal, his son Pankaj and nephew Sameer in the case concerning a contract the former allegedly gave a builder in 2005 without inviting tenders when he was the state’s PWD minister. Earlier, a special trial court issued a non-bailable warrant against Pankaj Bhujbal and 28 others accused in a Rs 800 crore money laundering case.The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau had earlier filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the PMLA to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
Hours after the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it would revoke President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said he hopes Prime Minister Narendra Modi learns a lesson from the developments in the hill state and not do similar misadventure in Delhi.”Hope Modi ji will learn a lesson from Uttarakhand and not do similar misadventure in Delhi by disqualifying our 21 MLAs,” he said in a tweet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kejriwal’s reaction comes a day after 21 AAP legislators, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the AAP Government last year, filed their replies to the Election Commission in response to a show-cause notice on why they should not be disqualified for occupying offices of profit in violation of the Constitution.The notice, which demanded their response on why they should not be disqualified, was issued on the basis of a petition filed by Delhi-based advocate Prashant Patel. The petition alleged that the said MLAs occupied offices of profit in violation of the Constitution of India.The High Court has asked the Delhi Government to reply to its notice by July 1, when the court hears the case next. But it has not stayed the appointments. An organisation called the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha has petitioned the Delhi High Court, contending that these 21 legislators enjoy the status and perks of ministers including office space and official cars, which is misuse of the taxpayer’s money.The PIL alleges that these appointments are “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction” and should be cancelled, pointing the Delhi Government can have a maximum of seven ministers. It contends that along with seven ministers in Kejriwal’s Cabinet, these 21 people with minister status far exceed that limit.When the Parliamentary Secretaries were appointed, the AAP Government had said that they would facilitate smooth government functioning, but made it clear they would not receive any remuneration or perk of any kind that would mean an extra burden on the exchequer.The order, however, permits them to use government transport for official purposes and has earmarked space in the ministers’ offices to help them in official work. The petition argues that the Chief Minister has “no power, jurisdiction or authority” to administer oath of office to the Parliamentary Secretaries. A petition has alleged that 21 legislators occupied offices of profit in violation of the Constitution.
The CBI has summoned the three Tyagi brothers and Gautam Khaitan tomorrow regarding the AgustaWestland deal scam.According to the CBI sources , Tyagi brothers have admitted property link with former IAF chief SP Tyagi. Sanjeev Tyagi has also admitted financial dealing with Agusta middlemen Haschke and Gerosa.The ED on Friday questioned former Air Force chief SP Tyagi for the second day in connection with the controversial Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was subjected to a marathon 10-hour questioning yesterday by Enforcement Directorate(ED) investigators.ED officials said Tyagi arrived at the zonal office of the agency today as he was required to be put through more questions and evidences collected in the case. Agency sources had yesterday said he was questioned about his role in the deal and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) yesterday.
ALSO READ VVIP Chopper scam: Eight Indian missions on AgustaWestland money trail; Tyagi, lawyer Khaitan grilledThe retired Air Chief Marshal was questioned in the same case by CBI for three days this week but this is for the first time he was being summoned by the ED.Agency sources had earlier indicated that Tyagi’s questioning was necessary in the light of a recent judgement of a Milan (Italy) court which had sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of the firm Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of a dozen AgustaWestland helicopters to India for VVIP use. Tyagi’s name cropped at various points in the said judgement. The allegation against the former Air chief is that he allegedly reduced the height of the VVIP helicopters so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids.He took over as the Indian Air Force chief on December 31, 2005 and retired from service in 2007.ED had registered a PMLA case in this regard in 2014 and named 21 people including Tyagi in its money laundering FIR. It had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan and had also filed a charge sheet last year.ED had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal. Tyagi, however, has denied any wrongdoing on his part.On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal. The central agency has also issued Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to ten countries in this case.
The Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) on Monday questioned former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi in connection with alleged corruption in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. Sources in the CBI said the focus of today’s questioning were bribery allegations and the Italy court’s judgement. The questioning will continue tomorrow.The top investigative agency has said that they are trying to figure out the purpose of Tyagi’s visit to Italy after retirement, adding that the former Air Force chief?s accounts and asset details are also being looked into. Sources say that the CBI would also call Tyagi’s cousins and alleged middle man in the case, Delhi-based business man, Gautam Khaitan, for questioning soon.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI had on Friday issued summons to Tyagi as part of its ongoing probe in the AgustaWestland choppers deal. The ex-IAF chief is accused of modifying the requirements in order to seal the deal with AgustaWestland. The investigating agency had quizzed former IAF Deputy Chief J.S Gujral on Saturday in the case.Both, Tyagi and Gujral were questioned at length in 2013 but the fresh round of questioning was necessitated after recent order of an Italian Court which indicated corruption in the deal.The court has given details of how alleged bribes were paid by helicopter maker Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland to Indian officials through middlemen to clinch the deal. The investigating agency had registered a case against Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen in the case.Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also issued summons to Tyagi. He has been summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. However, the date of hearing has not been revealed.
Madhya Pradesh forest department is considering a proposal to fell over 550 trees to make way for a tiger safari in its Pench national park, known as home to ‘Mowgli’, a fictional character and protagonist in English writer Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’.The forest department has started working on a project to create tiger safari in the park straddling Seoni and Chhindwara districts of the state. It has been proposed to erect a boundary wall which would require pruning of shrubs and felling of 556 trees, according to an order issued by Pench national park’s authorities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the plan has got stuck for want of permission of Delhi-based National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The decision to cut 556 has, however, been criticised by wildlife activists who termed it as a violation of rules.”We are against the creation of tiger safari inside Pench national park. There has been continuous cases of tiger deaths in Madhya Pradesh. The state government instead of taking steps towards protection of tigers is trying to reduce the green cover and increasing people’s activities. The NTCA must reject this plan,” said Ajay Dubey, on whose petition Supreme Court had in 2010 banned tourism inside tiger reserves. Pench national park or tiger reserve is known world over as home to ‘Mowgli’– a man-cub said to have been spotted there. The park, sprawling over 758 square kms, is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra.It has 299 sq kms core area of Indira Priyadarshini Pench national park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary. The remaining 464 sq km is the buffer area.There are six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh–Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay-Dubri and Pench– which have about 257 big cats. While the tiger population in the country was estimated at 1,706 in 2010, t had risen to 2,226 in 2014. Madhya Pradesh ranks third–after Karnataka and Uttarakhand–in tiger population in the country.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday met a group of students from unrest-hit NIT, Srinagar, who put forward various demands including the shifting of the campus but she rejected the plea for shift.Emerging from the over two-hour meeting which ended late this evening, students said that while the minister rejected their “primary” demand to shift the campus by saying that Kashmir is an integral part of India, she assured them of support in addressing academic issues. Irani also assured the group of 9-10 students that if any of the faculty or staff members of the institute has indulged in any wrong-doing, action would be taken as per the due process. “We spoke to the HRD Minister about the situation on the campus and she assured us to look into our demands. However, on the demand to shift the campus, she said Srinagar is an integral part of India, NIT won’t be shifted,” Ankit, a 3rd year NIT, Srinagar, student who was a part of the group that met the minister, said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NIT, Srinagar, has been at the centre of a row since April 1 when clashes had erupted out between outstation and local students on the campus following India’s defeat to West Indies in the World T20 Cup. The situation worsened on April 5 when outstation students tried to take out a march outside the campus but were stopped by the police, leading to violence including vandalism by students and lathicharge by police.The delegation of NIT Srinagar students was also accompanied by some Delhi-based ABVP student leaders including JNU student union joint secretary Saurabh Sharma and DU student union president Satender Awana. “About the issue of security on campus, the minister said that law and order is not under her purview but she will raise the matter with the Home Ministry. She also assured that a committee will be set up to inquire into allegations against the administration and those found guilty will not be spared,” said Sharma after the meeting.After hearing their concerns, Irani also promised that the placements from NITs Srinagar would be encouraged and that the process of appointing permanent faculty expedited, another student, who attended the meeting, said.Another demand flagged with the minister was about external evaluation of the students’ marksheets, one of the students told reporters after the meeting.Among other issues raised in the meeting were infrastructure of the institute, issue pertaining to the timings of girls’ hostels and lack of extra curricular activities on the campus, the students said.The group of NIT students earlier today staged a protest at Jantar Mantar here demanding shifting of their campus from Srinagar after clashes in the institute between local and outstation students.They also met Union Minister Jitendra Singh and apprised him of their demands
Activists in India have protested against a civil suit launched by the former head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) against a lawyer representing two women who have accused him of sexual harassment. Rajendra K Pachauri filed a civil suit last week against lawyer Vrinda Grover, seeking an injunction and Rs 10 million in damages on the ground that she was trying to prejudice the case against him. “The very public attack on Ms Grover is a matter of concern for all those who, like the signatories to this letter, are struggling to deliver substantive justice under the laws on sexual harassment in the workplace in India today,” said a letter released late on Monday, signed by 188 activists, academics, writers and journalists. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pachauri was formally charged with sexual harassment last month, a year after a 29-year-old woman filed a police report alleging he had harassed her via email, Whatsapp and text messaging when she worked at the Delhi-based Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), which Pachauri headed. She later quit the organisation, saying she had been treated in the “worst possible manner” after she complained about Pachauri’s behaviour. A second employee alleged harassment this year. Pachauri, 75, has denied the allegations.
ALSO READ Injunction filed by RK Pachauri against Vrinda Grover in sexual harassment caseHe went on indefinite leave from TERI in February, days after he was made executive vice chairman, amid growing outrage over his alleged behaviour. A third woman, who is not an Indian national, has since said she was also sexually harassed by Pachauri, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported last month. Pachauri’s suit against Grover “has implications that will have a chilling effect on complaints of sexual harassment, as it has all the characteristics of an instance of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP),” the letter released on Monday said. Pachauri, who had been chairman of the IPCC since 2002, stepped down last February. The IPCC was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2007, for their part in galvanising the international community to take action against climate change. Pachauri’s lawyer said his client was innocent. “Vrinda has damaged my client’s reputation. She is time and again talking to the media and damaging Pachauri’s prestige and reputation,” Ashish Dixit told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday.Grover said she was not worried about the suit. “This is a diversionary tactic on the part of the accused,” Grover said. “This is an attempt by Pachauri to intimidate the two women who have made their sexual harassment cases public,” she said. “This suit for damages has no merit. I find it very odd.”
India should have a “heart-to- heart” dialogue with China to win its support at the UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar, former external affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said”You cannot expect China to deliver unless we talk to them. This is not carrying a shopping list,” Khurshid said, days after China scuttled India’s bid at the UN to ban Azhar. “If we have to make friends and we cannot be selfish in your demeanour and we have to be accommodative and willing,” he told PTI during a business event in China’s Changsha city. “I am sure China will respond and support. You need to have heart-to-heart conversation,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has expressed disappointment over China putting a last minute technical hold over its move to ban Azhar in connection with his alleged involvement in the Pathankot terror attack. Jaish-e-Muhammad has already been listed as terrorist organisation by UN in 2001, besides US State Department and Pakistan government. Both Beijing and New Delhi said the issue is being discussed. Chinese officials say they have sought more details from India.The issue is expected to figure in the talks between the two countries as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar followed by National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval were scheduled to visit Beijing in the next few weeks.Parrikar’s visit is due to take place on April 18. About the Sino-India relations, Khurshid said, “My view is that we should not have unreasonable expectations. China is not easy to handle. They have their concern and priorities.” He said both sides have to find a “win-win path”.”I suspect enough has not happened. China has its concerns and we have ours,” he said. Khurshid took part in China-India Corporate Dialogue held by China’s Hu Nan Commerce Bureau in association with Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) of the Ministry of Commerce and co-sponsored by New Delhi-based Global Dialogue Review quarterly magazine.Over 150 Chinese business houses took part in the dialogue which focussed on a host of issues including dispute resolution in trade and business related matters.
A 33-year-old Delhi-based businesswoman was allegedly raped by a man whom she had met over lunch to discuss business dealings at a hotel in Connaught Place area on Friday afternoon.The police said that the accused was known to the victim as she claimed to have met him a few times earlier in Chandigarh. According to the police, the incident came to light when the woman, who resides in South Delhi’s Defence Colony area and owns a business enterprise, called up the police to report the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As told by the woman, she met the accused on Friday over lunch to discuss business matters. She said that the man, who is a businessman from Chandigarh, spiked her drink with sedatives and took her to a room in the hotel in the inner circle of Connaught Place, where he forced himself upon her. The woman said that she called up the police after she gained consciousness but by that time the accused had fled from the spot,? said a senior police official.”We got a PCR call at around 7:50 p.m. and a PCR van was rushed to the hotel. A CAT ambulance also reached the spot,” he added. Police have registered a case under Section 376 (for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They said that the incident is being verified and constant efforts to track the man are being made.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s judicial custody on Thursday has been extended till April 13.LIVE INDIA vs WEST INDIES 2nd semi final T20, ICC World T20Bhujbal, who is already in custody over his alleged involvement in the Maharashtra sadan scam, was on March 17 sent to judicial custody till March 31 by the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court.The former Maharashtra deputy chief minister was arrested on March 14 in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan scam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on February 1 arrested former lawmaker Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of Chhagan Bhujbal, in a money laundering case in Mumbai after the agency conducted multiple searches in connection with the probe against Bhujbals and others.The Maharashtra ACB had earlier filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
Senior NCP leader and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal was arrested on Monday night by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) here after 10 hours of questioning in connection with its probe in a money laundering case registered against him and others.According to an ED official, the arrest of the former PWD minister was effected under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he allegedly refused to cooperate during questioning. The agency also recorded his statement in the case. The official said Bhujbal was questioned for 10 hours before he was arrested and he will be produced before a court tomorrow.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agency has filed two FIRs against Bhujbal, his son and nephew and others under the provisions of PMLA, based on Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.NCP today described senior party leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s arrest as “vendetta politics” by BJP, and said there was no need to arrest him as he was cooperating with the Enforcement Directorate (ED). “This is vendetta politics by BJP. There was no need to arrest him as he was cooperating with ED,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told said. “ED could have filed the charge sheet even without the arrest. This shows the mindset of the BJP regime… NCP stands firmly behind Bhujbal,” he said.The senior NCP leader, accompanied by MLC Jitendra Awhad, earlier arrived at the ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai amid tight security around 11.30 AM. Speaking to reporters before entering the ED office, Bhujbal said, “It is political vendetta…truth shall prevail. I will cooperate with the ED.”A large number of party workers who had gathered outside the ED office raised slogans even as prohibitory orders were put in place to avoid any untoward incident. The ED had registered a PMLA case involving the Bhujbals and some of their associates and has already arrested the ex-minister’s nephew Samir last month in the case.Samir is currently lodged in the high security Arthur Road jail here. The ED had also questioned Bhujbal’s son Pankaj in the same case last month. It had also brought out orders for attachment of three properties with an estimated worth of over Rs 280 crore in the case under money laundering laws.ED had twice conducted searches at nine premises, including properties and offices, belonging to the senior Bhujbal, Pankaj, Samir and few others. NCP had then described the searches as “political vendetta”.The state Anti-Corruption Bureau has already filed a charge sheet against Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and 14 others in the Maharashtra Sadan scam case. The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.Before Bhujbal’s arrival, at least 30 NCP workers were briefly taken into preventive custody outside the ED office here. Police sources said that around 125 police personnel headed by DCP Zone-I, Manoj Kumar Sharma were present at the spot even as roads leading to the office were barricaded on both sides.
Former Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate here for questioning in connection with its probe in a money laundering case registered against him and others.The senior NCP leader, accompanied by MLC Jitendra Awhad, arrived at the ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai amid tight security around 11.30 AM.A large number of party workers who had gathered outside the ED office raised slogans even as prohibitory orders were put in place to avoid any untoward incident.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agency is expected to record his statement in the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).The ED had registered a PMLA case involving the Bhujbals and some of their associates and has already arrested the ex-minister’s nephew Samir last month in the case.Samir is currently lodged in the high security Arthur Road jail here.The ED had also questioned Bhujbal’s son Pankaj in the same case last month.The agency has filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of PMLA, based on Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.It had also brought out orders for attachment of three properties with an estimated worth of over Rs 280 crore in the case under money laundering laws.ED had twice conducted searches at nine premises, including properties and offices, belonging to the senior Bhujbal, Pankaj, Samir and few others.NCP had then described the searches as “political vendetta”.The state Anti-Corruption Bureau has already filed a charge sheet against Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and 14 others in the Maharashtra Sadan scam case.The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal is likely to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today for questioning in the money laundering case filed against his family related to Maharashtra Sadan scam.Speaking to ANI, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya said that Bhujbal’s questioning will now bring everything out in the open, particularly about the money laundering and the corrupt practices<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In January 2012, I had taken the initiative to explore the corruption against Chhagan Bhujbal and his family. He will now have to tell ED that how he generated the money. Everything is going to come out in the open now about the money launderuing and the corrupt practices,” Somaiya added.Last month, the ED questioned Chhagan’s son Pankaj Bhujbal in the case and also seized Pankaj’s passport to ensure he does not leave the country.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on February 1 arrested Sameer Bhujbal, the nephew of Chhagan Bhujbal, in a money laundering case in Mumbai after the agency conducted multiple searches in connection with its probe against Bhujbals and others.The Maharashtra ACB had earlier filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.Chhagan is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in several cases of money laundering.Series of raids have been conducted at the properties owned by Bhujbal and his family across Maharashtra in the last one and a half years.Investigating agencies are also looking into alleged corruption in the award of contracts during his tenure as Maharashtra’s PWD minister.
He had received a call from an unknown number from Delhi that he could win a Royal Enfield motorcycle, following which he paid Rs 1,17,000 to Kumar online. A Delhi-based man was arrested for allegedly cheating people by luring them with jackpot prizes, police said on Saturday. Chandigarh Cyber Crime Investigation Cell today said that Munish Kumar, resident of Delhi’s Dwarka area, was arrested after he was found running a portal www.saveinkart.com to dupe customers, police said.A complainant said that he had received a call from an unknown number from Delhi that he could win a Royal Enfield motorcycle, following which he paid Rs 1,17,000 to Kumar online, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Acting on a tip off, police conducted a raid at a residential complex in Mehrauli in Delhi and found a call centre being run from the house where fake invoices generated by the company were recovered, police said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday came down heavily on Union environment ministry, Union water resources ministry, the Delhi Development Authority, Uttar Pradesh government and even the Art of Living Foundation and asked if either of them “considered the impact of the (Art of Living) event on the River Yamuna’s environment, its floodplains or its biodiversity as it is not for just a few hours.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It asked the environment ministry and the water resources ministry if “it was not their responsibility to protect the fragile ecosystem of the River Yamuna.”During Tuesday’s hearing, Art of Living began its final arguments in the case and the NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar posed a series of uncomfortable questions to the NGO’s counsel. “Details in your application to the DDA were ambiguous and incomplete. You did not disclose the scale of the preparations,” Kumar said. While in all advertising material, AOL has publicized that 3.5 million people are going to attend the event, during the hearing they their counsel said that at any given point of time 3 lakh people will be present at the venue.The NGO also came under fire for using iron scaffolding to erect stage 30-feet tall as this was contrary to the DDA’s approval that had asked the NGO to only use eco-friendly material. The NGO’s counsel defended the decision arguing that the scaffolding was not dug into the ground. This prompted the chairperson to say, “It doesn’t stand to reason that a 30-feet tall structure can stand without holding on the ground. How is this eco-friendly structure?”The four-member chairperson bench headed by justice Swatanter Kumar was hearing the final arguments on Tuesday in an on-going matter against global NGO Art of Living Foundation. Delhi-based NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan has alleged that Art of Living’s three-day mega-event on Yamuna’s floodplains will permanently damage its fragile ecology. Besides, a four-member expert body of the NGT has already recommended that a fine of Rs.120 crore should be slapped against Art of Living Foundation for causing severe and extensive damage to the floodplains.The NGO has erected a stage spanning more than two acres, built pontoon bridges on the river with the help of the Army and visitors will be allowed to park on the river’s floodplains. The tribunal is likely to announce its verdict on Wednesday.
President Pranab Mukherjee has pulled out of the Art of Living Foundation’s ‘World Culture Festival’ where he was slated to preside over the valedictory function on March 13. The President’s secretariat confirmed the development when dna reached out for a comment. “The President will not attend the event due to unavoidable circumstances,” said an press officer from the President’s secretariat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked if the President’s decision was connected to the environment violations allegations against the NGO, the official said, “We do not have more information.”While the Prime Minister is slated to inaugurate the event, the President was invited as chief guest for the valedictory event and the NGO even issue advertisements on the event in Monday’s papers carrying the Prime Minister and President’s picture.When reached for a comment on the President’s decision to not attend the World Culture Festival, Saraswati Akshmana Nath, lawyer Art of Living foundation said, “We have been informed that the President will not attend because of his current schedule.”The NGO’s marquee event for celebrating its 35th anniversary between March 11-13 has come under intense scrutiny and environmental activists have alleged that they have damaged the Yamuna’s floodplains during the event’s preparations. Delhi-based NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan is also seeking cancellation of the event and a case is being heard before the National Green Tribunal’s principal bench.Pressure mounted on the Art of Living Foundation to cancel the event after an NGT appointed expert body found out that ‘severe and extensive’ damage to the Yamuna floodplains as a result of large-scale ground levelling, cutting of vegetation and filling up of natural ponds. As part of the massive preparations for the event, the NGO has built a stage stretching across seven acres and an estimated 3.5 million people are expected to attend the mega-event.
A trial court here granted British national Edward Lamont, the CEO of a popular fitness chain, bail on Thursday after he spent more than 15 days in judicial custody. Lamont was arrested on February 12 after he allegedly raped his girlfriend on the pretext of marrying her.Lamont was granted bail upon furnishing a bond of Rs 50,000 and he has been directed to present himself before the concerned officer on the first of every month.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the court, “there are several omission and contradictions in the case.” The case is one of the “promise to marry” and nowhere has it been alleged, “The complainant was forced in a relationship.”The complainant, a Delhi-based astronomer, met Lamont through the popular dating app Tinder and the two started corresponding thereafter. The complainant claimed that the two got into a physical relationship after he promised to marry her. According to the victim, Lamont even introduced her to his mother over the phone and promised to take the complainant for his brother’s wedding in June.However, the victim found several inconsistencies in Lamont’s stories and it was later discovered that he had at least two other relationships and was not legally divorced as he claimed.The case gets murky, as there are contradictions in the FIR copy and the final order of the court. According to the court, the relationship was on for merely “seven days,” whereas, the complainant claims she has was in a relationship with the accused for at least two months and has submitted Call Detail Records (CDR) and Whatsapp messages of at least 40 days to prove the same.The victim plans to appeal to a higher court to plead the cancellation of the bail as she considers the accused to be a flight risk.In a statement Ozone said, “Dr Lamont had joined us about four months back and we have terminated his services with immediate effect.”
NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The former chair of a U.N. panel of climate scientists, Rajendra K. Pachauri, was charged on Tuesday with stalking, intimidating and sexually harassing a woman who worked at a think-tank he headed for more than 30 years, police said.
Pachauri, 75, was accused in February last year of sexual harassment by a researcher working at Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) where Pachauri was director general.
Pachauri, who quit as the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a year ago, denies the charges.
After a year-long investigation into the allegations, which has been closely followed by the Indian media, police said they had sufficient evidence to file charges.
“A chargesheet was filed today in the Metropolitan Magistrate court of Shivani Chauhan in Saket,” said a senior Delhi police official connected to the investigation.
“Dr Pachauri has been charged with various misconduct and offences,” the official, who declined to be named, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The official said the charges included stalking, sexual harassment, “outraging the modesty of a woman” and criminal intimidation.
The most serious charges – sexual harassment and stalking – carry a maximum jail term of three years under Indian law.
The chargesheet ran to more than 1,000 pages and referred to SMS, Whatsapp and email correspondence between Pachauri and the researcher, who was 29 at the time the complaint was filed.
The chargesheet also included the testimonies of 25 witnesses, many of them past or present employees at TERI, the police official added.
Pachauri’s lawyer Ramesh Gupta said his client was being vilified. He said Pachauri could not be arrested because he had been granted anticipatory bail by a court which means police cannot take him into custody for now.
The court will convene on April 23 to decide whether to extend the anticipatory bail or withdraw it, Gupta said.
“My client is innocent in the case. He has not committed any offence. I have not seen the chargesheet. As soon as I will see it, I will decide the next course of action,” Gupta told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The woman claims Pachauri began harassing her via email, Whatsapp and text messaging soon after she joined the non-profit thinktank in September 2013. She said Pachauri persisted despite her requests that he stop.
An internal inquiry committee of TERI found Pachauri guilty of misconduct and the organisation has removed him as director general. Last month however he was appointed as the thinktank’s executive vice-chairman. The victim has resigned from TERI.
Pachauri, who quit IPCC over the allegation, has accused the complainant of using the media to sensationalise the case.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 on behalf of the IPCC for its scientific assessment of the risks and causes of climate change and was jointly awarded with former U.S. vice-president and environmental campaigner, Al Gore.
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty. Writing by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the party has no problem in reaching out to its two suspended MPs from Punjab provided they “realise their mistake”.Asked if AAP will reach out to its MPs from Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, suspended last year for alleged “anti-party” activities, Kejriwal said “let’s see, we will make an effort.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If they realise their mistake, we do not have any problem,” he told reporters.Asked if AAP fears that the two MPs may damage the party’s prospect in the 2017 assembly election in Punjab, he said, “nothing like that.”Reacting to Kejriwal’s remarks, Patiala MP Gandhi, who is close to Yogendra Yadav of ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’, said, “I have done no wrong. Rather Arvind Kejriwal needs to answer volunteers of the party and the people of Punjab and India as a whole whether he still holds on to the principles of transparency, accountability, Swaraj and inner-party democracy.””If my raising of issues related to these principles, and if upholding the respect of volunteers and their confidence in party ideals are a crime in the eyes and mind of party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, then he should reconsider the politically suicidal path he has chosen to undertake. I have already replied to the suspension notice served on me and the ‘Delhi high command’ is sitting pretty over it without taking a decision for over six months,” Gandhi said in a statement.He also accused the Delhi-based leadership of AAP of creating “confusion and division in the ranks of the party volunteers through deliberately putting burning political and economic issues of Punjab on back-burner and adopting arbitrary approach in appointments”.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Varun and Gaurav Bhatia on Thursday for their alleged involvement in a scam where Rs 6,172 crore in foreign exchange was transferred from a Bank of Baroda branch to their branch in Hong Kong. The brothers were produced before a CBI court here on Thursday and remanded to ED custody till March 1.In October, dna had first reported how money was transferred from one Delhi-based branch through 59 bank accounts to various companies in Hong Kong and Dubai. Documents accessed by dna show how money transferred had benami actors, not just in India, but spread across the globe. These actors came from the small bylanes of Nangloi, West Delhi to South Korean passport holders operating out of Mexico City to Nepalese citizens and residents of Hong Kong itself.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Arguing for custody, ED Prosecutor NK Matta stated that the Bhatias’ role in this scam needed to be ascertained and their involvement with various other individuals connected to this matter. Matta went on to add that, the Bhatias had been issued several summons by the ED to join the investigation. However, though Gaurav initially resisted, he eventually agreed to join the probe, whereas Varun continued to remain on the run.According to the remand application submitted by the ED, Varun and Gaurav’s name cropped up as alleged conspirators in statements given by employees of Bank of Baroda who were arrested in connection with this scam.Jainis Dubey, the head of Foreign Exchange at the Ashok Vihar branch where the money was laundered from, implicated Varun and Gaurav Bhatia in a statement upon his arrest. Dubey claimed that the Bhatias were owners or related to the 59 companies involved in the illegal transactions. Saurabh Bhatia, a cousin of the brothers, was also questioned and he implied that Varun and Gaurav were international hawala operators who transacted money and parked them in various companies abroad.In October 2015, the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate have arrested various persons in connection to the illegal remittance of money. While three are in judicial custody, one is out on bail.
The judicial custody of Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who was arrested from Mumbai in connection with a money laundering case, has been extended by the special Enforcement Directorate (ED) court till March 7.Sameer was arrested by the ED on February 1 after questioning him for six hours.Earlier, the ED conducted searches on at least nine properties held by Chhagan Bhujbal and his family members.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of 20 ED officers of the Mumbai zonal unit conducted the operation in connection with 11 different allegations of money laundering and land grabbing including the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
A Delhi-based journalist was questioned by the investigating team trailing JNU student Umer Khalid against whom a case of sedition was filed by the police last week.According to police, journalist Sadiq Naqvi, who was previously working with a news magazine, was friends with Khalid and had been his senior in Delhi’s Kirori Mal College.However, police refused to give details about the grounds on which he was being interrogated. Sadiq was questioned first on Friday at his home in UP’s Bijnour district and second time at Vasant Vihar police station after being summoned by South Delhi cops.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police claimed that Sadiq was in touch with Khalid but did not specify whether the journalist was speaking to Khalid after the registration of case against him.Sadiq was questioned for straight seven hours and was not available to make a comment following police quizzing. A friend of Sadiq who was present at the station with him said,”Sadiq has been cooperating with the police investigation. The investigators wanted to know about the possible whereabouts of one Safiq’s friends. He has said whatever he knew of the friend.”Senior police officers refused to comment on what was asked during Sadiq’s questioned but confirmed that he will be questioned on Sundayagain.
Like thousands around her, Anjali Gopalan remembers the night of February 1 as one of the most difficult. Neither sleep nor hunger could take her attention away from the anticipation of what could follow the day after. Gopalan is an equal rights activist who heads the Naz Foundation Trust, an NGO that fights against HIV/AIDS, which is one of the petitioners in the case.But moments after Supreme Court decided to allow a re-look into the case, she looked relieved and at peace. As she spoke to several people from the press who gathered around, a few of her friends were seen urging her to take some regular medicines that she had kept aside. “We have been continuing this fight for years; yet we were hoping against hope. This is unprecedented,” said Gopalan. She was surprised at the leniency and liberal overview of the court in the matter, and admitted that that, too, is unprecedented. “I think there is definitely a change in attitudes.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi-based queer activist Rituparna Borah says that for her the battle is already won. “The fact that the apex court has agreed to a hearing is momentous for us, we are happy with that. This is clearly a declaration that we are not wrong,” said a visibly-happy Borah, hugging a friend and obliging photographers at the lawns of the court.Manak Matiyani, a queer activist who is an integral part of the Delhi Queer Pride Committee, said that the SC decision makes him proud of being queer, adding that the struggle will continue, inside and outside the courts, irrespective of what happens hereafter. “I think this decision is highly commendable and I hope that the bench that sits on the case protects the rights guaranteed to all citizens without discrimination in the constitution,” he said.Prominent Mumbai-based gay rights activist Gautam Bhan said that he doesn’t let court decisions bother him too much. “We’ve been fighting out in the court for 15 years, and of course, we need to keep the legal battle alive, but I try and not pay too much attention to it,” he said, adding that the first pride march in India took place much before the courts decided to look into section 377. “It’s simple; now it is a validation that this is no longer an issue of ministerial minority, but a constitutional matter.”Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who introduced a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha to decriminalise homosexuality which was disallowed by several across party members and had also started an online petition, said that the SC decision has “essentially and implicitly accepted that this is the business of the judiciary”.”It’s time to get the government out of the bedrooms of Indians,” he said. About time.
A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested former MP Sameer Bhujbal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday defended Chhagan Bhujbal and accused the state government of misuse of power.Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday in a money laundering case in Mumbai, after the agency conducted multiple searches in connection with its probe against the Bhujbals and others.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the media for the first time since he was discharged from hospital, Pawar said, “The Bhujbal family is being targeted and the investigating agencies are being pressurised.” Stating that the person complaining in the case belongs to a political party, Pawar accused the state government of misusing power saying, “I have not seen such harassment before. It is a vindictive approach. The same family is raided again and again by the state agency and then national agency.”Pawar added that Chhagan Bhujbal’s decisions as PWD minister were that of the state Cabinet. He also asked the Bhujbal family to support the investigation agency and that they will provide all the details required.Meanwhile, reacting to Sameer’s arrest, Chhagan Bhujbal said, “We are being harassed without any reason. The arrest has been made without any evidence.”Sameer Bhujbal will be produced in court on Tuesday. The agency’s action came days after the Bombay High Court on January 28 sought progress reports from the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the ED in four weeks on their probe against Bhujbal and his family members.The agency has filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on earlier filed Mumbai police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
A High Court bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul on Wednesday quashed serious charges against Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, former deputy director of the Enforcement directorate, 18 years after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) first filed them. Aggarwal, who was first arrested by the CBI in 1999, was charged with amassing assets beyond his proportion and for allegedly framing Delhi-based jeweler Subhash Barjatya in a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (FERA) violation case.In pronouncing his judgment, Justice Mridul recited two couplets to back his reasoning. Mridul took inspiration from Kaif Bhopali’s “Janab-e-‘kaif’ yeh Dilli hai ‘Mir’ o ‘Ghalib’ ki, Yahan Kisi Ki Taraf-dariyan Nahin Chaltin” and legendary singer Bob Dylan’s lament “How many roads must a man walk down, Before you call him a man?” from his song Blowin’ in the wind.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The judgment copy, 127-pages long, observed that the charge against the petitioner was denuded and without any substance whatsoever. It went on to state that the original documents that were submitted are to be sealed and returned to Sonia Mathur advocate for the Department Of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. “If the sanction was valid, the factual relevant material was not submitted on time and hence the charges are quashed,” Justice Mridul was quoted as saying. “18 years have since collapsed and in my opinion, it would be unfair to keep him (Aggarwal) on trial again,” the judge went on to add.The judge further stated that the petitioner — Aggarwal, had suffered great prejudice since 1998 on account of the prolonged litigation against him and hence “no further proceedings will be taken against him.”Justice Mridul added that in normal circumstances, the case would have been remitted back to the sanctioning authority, however, citing the example of another case Mansukhlal Vithaldas Chauhan vs. State of Gujarat, he added that it would be unfair “to expose the petitioner to another round of litigation and keep him on trial for an indefinitely long period.”Ashok Kumar Aggarwal was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 24, 1999, from Sahranpur after being on the run for three weeks. Aggarwal and Abhishek Verma, son of a former Rajya Sabha member, were then considered to be the deadly duo who allegedly targeted various high profile businessmen and blackmailed them by threatening to frame false charges against them.
“The accounts of DDCA were always duly audited and were subsequently all approved by the Annual General Meeting of DDCA. These accounts were submitted before the taxation authorities and the balance sheets along with the annual report were filed with the Registrar of the Companies.”
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Delhi-based real estate companies booked for duping people of Rs 1.98 crore <!– /.block –>
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A second reported incident in less than six months, the ability of the Delhi police to ferry inmates is once again in the spotlight. “it is difficult to know individual cases of prisoner traveling together. Since resources are limited and there aren’t enough vans, we have to ferry prisoners in numbers,” a senior police official was quoted as saying.Sensational case
In a similar incident reported in August 2015, two inmates were allegedly beaten to death by seven others outside a prison van that was heading from Rohini, in outer Delhi to Tihar Jail. The case became sensational since it involved an infamous Delhi-based gangster and made known the lack of police resources.
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