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Hyderabad bizman arrested over Rs 98 crore ‘black money’ deposits in banks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A city-based businessman was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly cheating and generating ‘fake and fictitious’ advance payment receipts to deposit “black money” to the tune of Rs 98 crore in banks following demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 tenders last month.Besides Kailash Chand Gupta (65), his kin and others have also been booked by the police under various sections of IPC for their alleged role in the “conspiracy”.Central Crime Station, a wing of Hyderabad Police, arrested Gupta for his alleged involvement in cheating and manipulation of records for illegal gain post demonetization.Another businessman Naredi Narender Kumar (59), MD of a private firm and brother-in-law of Gupta, was also arrested for abetment and hiding Gupta from police.Gupta runs three jewellery and bullion firms with his two sons, a daughter-in-law and another woman as directors.After demonetization, Gupta, along with his sons Nitin and Nikhil, daughter-in-law Neha and others, conspired and hatched a plan to convert their black money by depositing it with banks by generating fake and fabricated receipts for wrongful gains which caused loss to Government of India, stated a release from Hyderabad Police.Accordingly, the accused persons generated fake and fictitious advance payment receipts, purported to be acquired from about 3100 customers, for an amount of Rs 57.85 crore in name of their firm Musaddilal Gems and Jewelers Private Ltd.They also allegedly produced fictitious advance payment receipts for Rs 40 crore in name of another firm, Vaishnavi Bullion Private Ltd, claimed to be acquired from about 2100 customers, and issued computerised receipts for the same, police said.”All the said receipts were shown to have received between 9 PM and 12 midnight on November 8, and they subsequently got the amounts deposited at SBI, Panjagutta branch and Axis Bank, Banjara Hills branch respectively,” it said.

Hyderabad: Con men posing as CBI officials loot 40 kg gold from Muthoot Finance

Hyderabad: Posing as CBI officials, five unidentified persons looted 40 kg gold from a Muthoot Finance officer here on Wednesday, the city police said.

The con men escaped with gold ornaments valued at about Rs 10 crore after first gaining access through the CBI pretence and then threatening the staff with weapons at the Ramachandrapuram office of the company on the outskirts of the city.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sandeep Shandilya said they also looted Rs 1 lakh cash.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Initially police had stated that 46 kg gold was looted.

According to police, five persons came to Muthoot Finance branch in the morning and told the staff that they were Central Bureau of Investigation officials and wanted to check records and gold in the lockers as they were investigating a case of theft.

When the branch manager said he was not in a position to show the lockers without permission from top officials, the unidentified men threatened action against him for disobeying orders of CBI officials.

When the lockers were opened, the intruders started collecting the golden ornaments in their bags. As the employees raised objection, one of the men whipped out a gun, threatened the branch manager and other employees and locked them in a bathroom.

The robbers also took away the hard disk of CCTV cameras with them.

Police have launched a massive hunt for the robbers, who escaped in a black coloured Scorpio.

The police commissioner said 16 teams have been formed to track down the culprits. Police were trying to identify the con men by analysing the footage from CCTV cameras around Muthoot Finance branch.

The policemen were searching vehicles along Hyderabad-Mumbai highway from Ramachandrapuram to Zaheerabad town in Sangareddy district.

Meanwhile, dozens of account holders who had kept their gold in Muthoot Finance branch gathered outside and wanted to know from the officials as to when will they get back their gold.

The officials told the people that their gold was completely insured. They said nobody should be worried as Muthoot Finance has 160 tonnes of gold at 4,500 branches spread across the country.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:21 IST

JNU missing student: AMU students seek CBI probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AMU Students’ Union demanded a CBI inquiry on Wednesday into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 74 days. In a memorandum sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, the union alleged that instead of trying to trace Ahmed, police was harassing the family of the missing student and shielding criminals.Ahmed, an MSc Biotechnology student, went missing on October 15 after a scuffle, allegedly with ABVP affiliated students at his hostel inside the JNU campus. His mother Fatima Nafees and sister Sadaf were detained by police when they along with scores of agitating students tried to take out a protest march to India Gate in New Delhi on November 6. Fatima was virtually dragged into a bus by police along with other students.The memorandum said the same forces which had compelled Dalit student Rohit Vemula to commit suicide in Hyderabad earlier this year were behind Ahmed’s disappearance. AMU students led by their union president Faizul Hasan held a demonstration in Aligarh on Tuesday and threatened to intensify their stir if government did not fulfil their demand.Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has also asserted that they will continue with their protest on the issue. Delhi Police has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information about Ahmed, while the Crime Branch is trying to trace him without any success so far.

Rs 69 lakh seized from Mumbai airport in two separate cases, four arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai Customs sleuths on Wednesday seized cash totalling around Rs 69 lakh in two separate cases here, which included recovery of Rs 25 lakh in 2,000 rupee notes.The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs made these seizures at the international airport here in the wee hours and four persons were arrested in this connection.In the first case, foreign currency worth over Rs 43 lakh was recovered from three passengers — Shaikh Waheed Ali, Mohammed Sohail and Shaikh Pasha — who arrived here from Hyderabad.”A detailed examination of the baggage of Ali resulted in recovery of 1,39,000 Saudi Riyals, 5,65,000 UAE Dirhams and 14,000 Australian dollars,” said a Customs official, adding that the total value was Rs 43.97 lakhs.This money was found wrapped in newspapers and was concealed in their check-in baggage.The trio in their statement have said that they brought the foreign currency from Saudi Arabia during their visit last week but did not declare the money before the Customs.”They have also said that they came to Mumbai for conversion of the currency expecting good returns,” the official said.They were arrested after a case under Customs Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act was registered against them.In another case, one Arif Koyante who was departing to Dubai was arrested after Rs 25 lakh, in denominations of Rs 2000, was seized from him.Officials said a search of his baggage yielded 1,250 notes kept in 52 different envelopes made of white paper.”These envelopes containing currency were further placed inside layers of 13 cardboards on which ready made garments were neatly wrapped,” said the official adding that the currency was seized on the reasonable belief that it was attempted to be smuggled out of India.A case under Customs Act and FEMA has been registered against Arif and he has admitted to possession, carriage, concealment and recovery, the official said.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Hyderabad men’s allegiance to ISIS; PM pushes cashless economy; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Hyderabad men’s pledge shows close knowledge of Islamic State groupBayah known as the pledge of allegiance is a crucial evidence to prove accused were members of the dreaded terrorist organisation. Read more.2. PM Modi reiterates govt’s move to push cashless economy, unveiled two schemesLucky Grahak Yojana, Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana to benefit 15,000 people over next 100 days for making cashless payments. Read more.3. Mumbai: Two students abduct, murder 3-year-old girl for Rs 1 cr ransomAccused used chloroform on the victim, later strangulated her; For 20 days her body lay concealed in an adjacent building. Read more.4. Traffickers get life in prison in India for torturing & chopping off labourers’ handsEight human traffickers were found guilty and they have been awarded life prison sentences and hefty fines. Read more.5. British singer George Michael dies aged 53British pop singer George Michael no more. Read more.

Hyderabad: Five-year-old boy dies after falling in hot sambar vessel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A 5-year-old boy studying at a Government Primary School in Nalgonda district of Telangana died after falling in a vessel of hot sambar which was being prepared for mid-day meal, police said on Saturday.The incident occurred in Iduluru village on Saturday afternoon, when the boy, a first standard student, was standing in the queue along with other students when someone pushed him from behind and he fell into the hot sambar vessel, they said.”The boy, who suffered 70 per cent burns was initially taken to a government hospital in Nalgonda and later shifted to a state-run hospital in Hyderabad where he succumbed to his injuries around midnight,” Nakrekal Police Station Circle Inspector A Vishwaprasad told PTI over phone.Following a complaint by the grandfather of the deceased boy, a case of negligence was filed against three women cooks with Katangoor police station, the Inspector said.The District Collector visited the village and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh, a government job and a house site to the family members of the deceased boy, police official said, adding the Head Master of the school was suspended and probe is on.

From Saudi Arabia to Hyderabad, journey of ‘Army of the Caliph in South India’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When 30-year-old Hyderabad youth Ibrahim Yazdani returned to his city from Saudi Arabia, he was convinced that ISIS was fighting a justifiable war against President Bashar Al Assad’s forces. As soon as Ibrahim landed in India, he roped in his younger brother Illyas in a group that was later known as “Jhund Ul Khalifa al Hind Fl Bilad” or Army of the Caliph in South India.The group affiliated to the ISIS is now being considered by the NIA as the most dangerous of all modules that the probe agency busted in 2016. What did the Hyderabad module do for it to be perceived as such has now been elaborated in a chargesheet filed by the NIA last week.InceptionWhile the NIA cites their socio-religious background as one of the factors behind their decision to join ISIS, the journey to see the world as believers and non-believers actually started from trading company in Saudi Arabia when Ibrahim Yazdani, considered to be one of the main conspirators behind the module, met a Jordanian national by the name of Suhayb Al Abudi.MotivationOn his return to India, he tried multiple times to go to Syria through countries like Turkey or Greece, but was later directed by his handler to stay back in his country and do ” Allah’s work in India”. And thus the module was formed. In its analysis of the group, the NIA states the accused are followers of the pure Salafi sect of lslam, also known as the Ahle Hadeeth sect which teaches a puritanical form of lslam. ” Some of the accused are original Ahle Hadeeth followers whereas others got influenced and came in the fold of this sect. The followers of this sect believe that the Laws of the Shariah are the words of Allah and are immutable and, therefore, they want restoration of the Shariah Law. Some extreme radical followers of this sect preach a world view that the modern day democracy is against the tenets of lslam, since laws in a democracy are made by man. Such extreme radical ideologues of this sect see the world as divided between the believers and the non-believers. In their world view, even a fellow Muslim is an apostate, if he does not follow the pure Salafi interpretation of lslam”.Technology employed and the recruitment processSocial media remains the key factor for making the recruitment possible. In fact, in this particular case, NIA has listed the extent of how the module was well versed with applications to avoid getting exposed. Interestingly, the Baya’h (oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr Baghdadi) was written on a piece of paper, uploaded online and sent to an ISIS handler who in turn told the recruits to delete the same to avoid detection. Other than cloud-based instant messaging services like Telegram, the youth are claimed to have a good hold over other internet tools such as Tor browser, Amn AL Mujahid, Chat secure, Orbot, Orfox and Trillian applications.Allegiance to ISIS chief Abu Bakr BaghdadiThe loyalty towards the ISIS chief is showcased in the chargsheet at many instances during which the recruits were asked to owe their allegiance. In one instance a recruit, who is now classified as a protected witness, was told by accused Ataullah Rehman that “if he died without signing a Bay’ah, he would die the death of an ignorant (Jahiliyyat ki Maut)”.From chemicals to pellet gunsIn terms of collecting weapons, the Hyderabad module showed a lot of capability according to NIA. From travelling to Ajmer in Rajasthan to Nanded in Maharashtra. From acquiring weapons and chemicals to collecting funds, NIA has said the group was effective to acquire arms and ammunition to allegedly conduct large scale terror acts. Among the material allegedly recovered from the accused are chemicals such as Urea, 2-Chloro 9- Methyl Acridine, Methylene Chloride, Acetone, Hydrogen peroxide, Nitric Acid used to prepare explosives. Other recoveries include three knives, 17 live rounds, face masks, air guns and pellet guns which came to be known for their usage to quell anti-India protests in Kashmir.

Norway child ‘abuse’: India to provide help on boy’s mother’s request, says Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse.While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.
ALSO READ Sushma Swaraj seeks report on 5-year-old child taken from Indian couple in Norway”I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.”The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.” This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

President Mukherjee arrives in Hyderabad on ten-day southern sojourn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Hyderabad on Thursday on a ten-day, annual southern sojourn. Governor ESL Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his cabinet colleagues besides Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and senior officials received him at Hakimpet Airforce station.The President will stay at Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad, a former Nizam palace built in 1860 which stands on a sprawling 90 acres of grounds and now serves as a presidential retreat. Mukherjee will attend convocation at the Army College of Dental Sciences in Secunderabad on Friday. He will also address centenary celebrations of the Federation of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.On December 24, he will inaugurate Mahila Dakshata Samiti and Bansilal Malani College of Nursing in Hyderabad. The next day he will visit Bengaluru to inaugurate 89th annual conference of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan, an official release said.On December 26, the President will attend the convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University here and on December 29, he will inaugurate the 77th session of Indian History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram. He will then travel to Mysuru where he would inaugurate the 17th National Jamboree of Bharat Scout and Guides.On December 30, the President will inaugurate Sri Shankara National Centre for Cancer Prevention and Research and Adamya Chetana Seva Utsav-2017 in Bengaluru. He will also host `At Home’ reception at the Rashtrapati Nilayam for senior dignitaries of the state, Ministers, officials and journalists.

Sushma Swaraj seeks report on 5-year-old child taken from Indian couple in Norway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday sought a report from Indian Ambassador in Norway on the allegations made by an Indian couple that the Norwegian authorities have taken away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse.”I have asked Indian Ambassador in Norway to send me a report,” Swaraj tweeted.BJP leader Vijay Jolly had written to her and the Indian Ambassador in Norway after the couple sought his help in getting back the custody of their child.Meanwhile, MEA officials said, “Our Embassy officials in Oslo have spoken to the boy’s father Anil Kumar Sharma and extended full support. However, Sharma informed the mission that he has hired a lawyer to represent him in the case.” When contacted, Norwegian Embassy spokesperson said, “The Embassy became aware of this case yesterday evening. We have asked relevant authorities in Norway to provide us with further information, and are awaiting their response.” In his letter to Indian Ambassador Debraj Pradhan, Jolly had raised concern on “forcible custody” of the boy Aryan by Child Welfare Department of Norway on “baseless and fabricated complaint” in Oslo on December 13. Sharma is a member of ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’.Jolly said he has received a call from a senior MEA official saying that help will be given to the Indian couple.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years.Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Still awaiting reply from Guntur Collector on Rohit Vemula’s caste status: Cyberabad Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cyberabad Police on Wednesday said they are awaiting reply from Guntur Collector on the caste status of research scholar Rohit Vemula, who committed “suicide” on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus in Hyderabad on January 17, to enable them to finalise investigation in the case.”It (Vemula’s death) was unfortunate. To finalise investigation in the case (registered under) SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act…we need to have certificate/report from the Tahsildar or Collector with regard to the caste of the deceased (Vemula),” Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sandeep Shandilya said.”There is some problem in that regard…We (Cyberabad Police) have written several times to the Collector and that reply/report based on which we can proceed in this case that is not there. If the Collector gives reply to the letters we can finalise investigation into the case,” the Cyberabad Police chief said.
ALSO READ ‘I am a Dalit from Guntur’: New video of Rohith Vemula emerges after doubts raised over his casteShandilya said he had already met officials of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), who are also following this case. “As of now due to police…(investigations into) this case is not delayed,” he asserted.Vemula’s suicide on January 17 at the UoH had sparked massive nationwide protests, resulting in a fierce political slugfest, with a string of political parties and Dalit organisations siding with students and accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and varsity administration of being anti-Dalit.
ALSO READ Rohith Vemula suicide: Roopanwal commission submits report; says he was not DalitA group of students under Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which spearheaded the protests, had held UoH Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile responsible for the suicide of the research scholar.UoH, also known as Hyderabad Central University (HCU) had witnessed sporadic protests since Vemula’s death, with students demanding removal of Appa Rao from the VC’s post and had also been demanding his arrest.Earlier, Gachibowli Police under Cyberabad Commissionerate had registered case against Appa Rao, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and others under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and for abetment of Vemula’s suicide.The suicide of Vemula had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter.

2013 Hyderabad blasts: Yasin Bhatkal sent to gallows; verdict brings closure

The call went unanswered at the Siddibapa residence in Bhatkal town in coastal Karnataka on Monday evening. In any case, what does one even say. The family would have heard the news that one of theirs, Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal had moved one step closer to death.

Yasin was among the five accused sentenced to death by the NIA court in Hyderabad on Monday evening. This dreaded operative of the Indian Mujahideen has been in Hyderabad prison since he was arrested in August 2013, six months after he plotted the Dilsukhnagar blasts in Hyderabad that killed 18 people. The verdict is significant since it is the first concerning IM operatives.

The last time we had travelled to Bhatkal town, 140 km north of Mangaluru in coastal Karnataka, the annoyed voice of Rehana, Yasin’s mother had shooed us away. “Jao, Baat nahi karna hai (Go away, I don’t want to talk to you),” her voice came from inside the house in Maqdoom colony.

Police cordon off the blast area in Dilsukhnagar. File image. Wikimedia Commons

Police cordon off the blast area in Dilsukhnagar. File image. Wikimedia Commons

It was not a surprising reaction because for several years now, after every terror attack in which an IM hand was suspected, policemen and journalists sought out the Bhatkal connection. The family lives partly in denial, arguing that their son’s name is Ahmed, not Yasin.

The town too dislikes being in the news for the wrong reasons. Many locals tell you tales of eyebrows going up at the immigration counter at airports, the moment Bhatkal town is seen mentioned as the place of birth. They dislike Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal — the other two terror operatives – for having adopted the town name and tarred everyone with the same terror brush.

In Bhatkal, Yasin is a dangerous person to have known. One of his school classmates told us that he was picked up by the Mumbai ATS and then by the Bengaluru police to identify Yasin in different disguises. Everyone feels they are under the radar, 24 x 7.

Not that Bhatkal does not remember Yasin. Or Ahmed, as they choose to still call him. An acquaintance who chose not to be identified says the Ahmed he knew was a timid and god-fearing boy. Nissar Ahmed, a social worker in Bhatkal told us that Ahmed was not the aggressive type, as he is made out to be in the media. “He was patriotic. He would be there for all national holidays to hoist the flag,” said Nissar. Zareena Kola, who taught him at the Naunihal Public school claimed Ahmed always supported India during cricket matches. In today’s context of wearing your patriotism on your sleeve, the description sounds ironic.

In 2004, Ahmed left for Dubai, choosing not to continue his education. But with the family unwilling to sponsor his business plans in the Gulf, Ahmed left Dubai in 2007. That was the last, the family says, it saw Ahmed.

File image of Yasin Bhatkal. Image Courtesy: YoutubeFile image of Yasin Bhatkal. Image Courtesy: Youtube

File image of Yasin Bhatkal. Image Courtesy: Youtube

Newspaper stories revealed that Ahmed had become Yasin. Intelligence sleuths tracking the rise of Yasin Bhatkal in the terror world say he was radicalised by Iqbal Bhatkal with videos of Mumbai and Gujarat riots sometime in 2007. He is also believed to have been sent to Karachi for training by Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, with who Yasin forged a brotherhood of familiarity and hate. Around the same time, it is believed that ISI merged the Bhatkal network with Simi to form the Indian Mujahideen. The idea was to show that terror in India is homegrown and the Bhatkalis became their poster boys.

Yasin, when he was arrested, was a prize catch. He knew several languages including Kannada, Urdu, Hindi, English, and Bengali. He was a smart operator who knew how to cover his tracks. He never left any digital footprint behind by not using same SIM card or even email to communicate with his handlers in Pakistan. He was expert at acquiring and living with several false identities and assembling IEDs.

In the initial days of his trial in Hyderabad, Yasin was often brought to the court. On one occasion, he was seen holding a red rose and tried to speak to the waiting journalists there. On another occasion, he threw some papers which the accompanying escort police was quick to pounce on and take away. It was after that arrangements were made to conduct the trial through video conferencing.

It is not as if the 33-year-old would not have seen this coming. He and his accomplices have the option of going to the Supreme Court, which they will exercise. Yasin is also an important prisoner to guard at the central prison in Hyderabad, given reports that his friends across the border could do something daring to free him.

For the families of those who lost a dear one in Dilsukhnagar, the verdict brings some closure. But as far as his hometown is concerned, its residents want to have nothing to do with the Yasin who has been sentenced to the gallows. They will only tell you that Ahmed Siddibapa is missing.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:08 IST

Hyderabad blasts: ‘Rarest of the rare’ case says judge, gives death sentence to 5 IM operatives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five key operatives of Indian Mujahideen, including the banned terror outfit’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and a Pakistani national, were awarded death penalty on Sunday by a Special NIA Court here in the February 2013 Hyderabad bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives.Pronouncing the sentence, Judge T Srinivasa Rao described the case as the “rarest of the rare”. This is the first case where operatives of the home-grown group have been convicted in a terror case.NIA Special Public Prosecutor K Surender said the court, after going through their evidence, found that the case is based on facts. “As per investigation…evidence that is placed on record clearly reflects that the five IM members planned and executed the bomb blasts. We sought capital punishment (for the convicts) and accordingly the court gave death penalty to them,” he said.The prosecutor described the verdict as a “victory” for NIA’s investigation and the witnesses.The court, after hearing the arguments of prosecution and defence counsels on sentencing, awarded death penalty to the convicts and also varying jail terms on different counts including, waging war against the Government of India and commission of terrorist act. On December 13, the court had convicted the five operatives — IM co-founder Mohd Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahaseen Akhtar alias Monu and Ajaz Shaikh — who are at present in judicial custody and lodged in the Cherlapally Central Prison here.The IM convicts said they will go for an appeal, according to the NIA counsel.All relevant records will be submitted in the high court for confirmation of the death sentence, Surender said.Eighteen people were killed and 131 injured in two deadly explosions in Dilsukhnagar, a crowded shopping area in the city, on February 21, 2013. On November 7, the final arguments had concluded in the case before the special court. Since IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal, the prime accused in the case, is absconding, the trial was split up against him.The court convicted Yasin Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).According to NIA, Riyaz Bhatkal arranged for explosive substances and directed Asadullah Akhtar and Zia-ur-Rahman at Mangalore to receive the same. After receiving the explosive materials and the money sent by Riyaz through hawala (illegal channels) and other money transfer modes, Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and joined Tahseen Akhtar, who was already hiding there, NIA had said.Together they prepared two IEDs after procuring the other required material as well as two cycles for mounting the home-made bombs from Hyderabad, the anti-terror agency had said.After preparation of the IEDs on February 21, 2013, the accused mounted two bombs on the bicycles. They had planted them at separate places in Dilsukhnagar which resulted in powerful explosions, it had said. In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the mind of people and further the activities of the outfit. The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing material for the bombs, until the final escape, it said.They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity, it said. The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Asadullah Akhthar after the incident, was also unearthed by the NIA, the agency said. During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized. Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record, according to the agency.Meanwhile, the counsel for the IM operatives said he will file an appeal before the high court against the conviction of his clients after obtaining a certified copy of the judgement. “I have received instruction to file (an appeal) from them (the convicts) and their relatives,” defence counsel Mahadevan said.

Yasin Bhatkal sentenced to death: All you need to know about the Indian Mujahideen co-founder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yasin Bhatkal, born as Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa, and co-founder of banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen was on Monday awarded death penalty by a special NIA court in Hyderabad in the February 2013 Hyderabad blasts case. The simultaneous detonation of two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) near the Dilsukhnagar bus stop on February 21, 2013, had killed 21 and injured 107.Yasin Bhatkal figured very high on the list of India’s most wanted terrorists. In 2013, he was arrested by Indian agencies near the border in Nepal. Here’s all you need to know about Yasin Bhatkal:
ALSO READ Dilkhusnagar blasts: NIA court gives death penalty to IM founder Yasin Bhatkal and four others 1. Yasin was born in Bhatkal, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka in 1983. He was educated at Bhatkal’s AnjumanHami-e-Muslimeen school. He speaks English, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada and is believed to be an engineering graduate. 2. As a teenager, he left for Pune. He was later introduced to other members of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) as a trained engineer. This is in contradiction to the findings of the Pune police which found no documentation suggesting he ever studied in the city. Instead, investigators say, he spent much of his time with a hometown childhood friend, Unani medicine practitioner-turned-Islamist proselytiser Iqbal Ismail Shahbandri. Another theory suggests that he dropped out of class 10. 3. The Shahbandari brothers – Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, who were activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India, allegedly indoctrinated Bhatkal. They later launched the IM. 4. The 2013 Hyderabad attack is not the only terror attack that Bhatkal has been linked with. He has been involved in several terror attacks in the country and killings of hundreds of people. He allegedly played an important role in the 2010 German Bakery bomb blast in Pune. 5. Bhatkal is also believed to have played an important role in the 2011 bombings at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar, killing 26 people and injuring 130.6. 12 different states claim that Bhatkal planted bombs in at least 10 of the blasts that rocked the country since 2008. Ahmedabad (2008), Surat (2008), Jaipur (2008), New Delhi (2008), Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi (2010), Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru (2010), German Bakery in Pune (2011), Mumbai (2011), Hyderabad (2013) and Bengaluru (2013) are the various places where he is said to have carried out blasts. Chargesheets have been filed by anti-terror agencies from all these places.7. Yasin is also believed to be an expert bomb-maker.8. It is also said that the reason why it took so long to nab Bhatkal was because he was a master of disguises.9. Bhatkal is one of the few criminals who reportedly did not use email. He used to live in rural areas and changed his address regularly. Additionally, according to the ATS he would discard both his SIM card and phone, immediately after making a call.

Dilkhusnagar blasts: NIA court gives death penalty to IM founder Yasin Bhatkal and four others

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five Indian Mujahideen operatives have been sentenced to death for February 2013 Hyderabad blasts case by special NIA court in Hyderabad. IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman and 3 others have been given the maximum penalty. On Tuesday last week, in the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court in Hyderabad convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives.The NIA special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody. The alleged key conspirator Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on February 21, 2013 in which 18 people were killed and 131 injured others, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit. The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had allaged.After receiving the materials sent by Riyaz through an unknown person, and the money sent by him by way of hawala and other channels, Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and started working with Tahseen Akhthar alias Monu, who had already reached there and was living in a hideout in Abdullapurmet area, the NIA probe report claimed. The three of them prepared two IEDs while staying there. The other materials needed to make the bomb, including a pressure cooker and timers, were arranged in Hyderabad. After the bomb was made, on February 21, they mounted two IEDs on two bicycles (purchased by them for that purpose), and planted them in two separate places in Dilsukhnagar, it alleged.The NIA investigation has brought to evidence all the financial help received by the accused from abroad. The NIA also said it learnt that the miscreants, after procuring the explosive materials to Hyderabad, had conducted a test blast in a hillock near Abdullapurmet in Hyderabad.The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing materials for the bombs, until the final escape. They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity.The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Asadullah Akhthar after the incident, was also unearthed by the NIA, the agency said. During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized. Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record as evidence. With PTI inputs

Telangana: Car driver flees after accident with woman’s body on windshield

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-11:47am , Hyderabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman was killed and her husband critically injured after their two-wheeler was hit by a car in Mahabubnagar district in Telangana on Sunday, police said.The woman’s body landed on the windshield of the car due to the impact, but the driver kept driving for about two kms, according to police. The driver abandoned the vehicle along road and fled fearing that local people might chase him, police said, adding efforts are on to nab him.

AP official found in possession of assets worth Rs 5 crore, Rs 7 lakh in new notes seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior official of Excise and Prohibition Department has been allegedly found in possession of assets worth about Rs five crore and Rs seven lakh in Rs 2,000 notes were also seized from him, Anti Corruption Bureau sources said on Sunday.Raids on the properties of Additional Commissioner K Lakshman Bhaskar were conducted at 11 places in AP and Telangana on Saturday and Sunday that led to unearthing of huge assets worth about Rs five crore, they said.New currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination worth Rs seven lakh was also recovered from the accused.Several crucial documents relating to Bhaskar’s properties and his benamis were also seized during the raids, the ACB sources said.The sleuths are yet to open his lockers in various banks, which could reveal more treasure, they said.He was apprehended and taken to Visakhapatnam as part of investigation of the case, the sources said.Bhaskar, a native of Ramanapalem area in West Godavari, had worked in various Excise Department in Visakhapatnam.The raids were conducted in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Rajahmundry and his hometown Ramanapalem, they added.

Hyderabad: Income Tax dept seizes Rs 66 lakh cash in new Rs 2000 notes 

Hyderabad: The Income Tax department has seized Rs 66 lakh cash, all in new Rs 2000 notes, as part of the anti-black money crackdown operations in Hyderabad.

The first incident, that occurred on the night of 16 December, was reported at the Telugu Academy in Himayatnagar when an I-T team intercepted few people who ran into a nearby apartment on seeing the team.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Search of the apartment led to recovery of Rs 36 lakh cash, all in Rs 2000 denomination. Sources of the cash are being probed into,” I-T sources said.

In the second incident in the same city on 17 December, department investigators along with police intercepted a speeding Honda Activa in the Tank Bund area.

“Cash of Rs 30 lakh in Rs 2000 denomination was found with two persons.The case is being probed,” they said.

The sources added that these two interceptions were made in the city as part of taxman’s anti-black money probe post demonetisation.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 11:33 IST

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

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

RBI official held in new notes fraud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another sensational case of demonetization fraud, CBI officials nabbed an RBI official in Bengaluru on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the illegal exchange of currency notes. The official, identified asK Michael, had been posted as a Senior Special Assistant in the Issue Department of RBI’s regional office in Bengaluru.According to CBI sources, the accused had allegedly been involved in the conversion of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 6 lakh into Rs 100 notes at the State Bank of Mysore’s (SBM) Kollegal branch in Chamrajpet district.“Large amounts of new notes in Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 were kept with lower-value notes for distribution to the bank’s branches and state treasury offices in the district. Out of these amounts the accused exchanged over six lakh rupees,” a CBI official said.Michael had been sent from his regional office to Kollegal just a few days before the demonetization measures were announced by the Prime Minister on November 8. Sources said that he had been sent to Kollegal with Rs 66 lakh worth of cash that had to be filled in the bank chests and report back to his office. However, sources added, he was approached by a now arrested SBM official, identified as Parashivamurthy, who convinced him to commit the crime.Parashivamurthy worked as a cashier of the State Bank of Mysore in a branch in Chamarajnagar district. Last week he had been booked by the CBI for allegedly exchanging Rs. 1.51 crore of unaccounted money in demonetized notes with Rs. 100 notes.After interrogating the cashier and extracting his confession, CBI officials closed in on Michael and arrested him for his alleged complicity in the crime. The development comes even as the number of public officials arrested by the CBI for alleged fraud and corruption post-demonetization reached 16 this week.Those arrested include officials of banks and post offices located in Hyderabad and Bengaluru and have mostly been accused of illegally disbursing new currency notes to private individuals.RBI Deputy Governors R Gandhi and SS Mundra spoke about the arrested official during a press conference on Tuesday. They confirmed that Michael was a junior functionary of the RBI.Deputy Governor SS Mundra said, “There have been media reports about some of transactions noticed in various bank branches and the alleged involvement of bank staff. We have issued instructions to all bank management to do central data checking. Whenever any untoward transaction/action is noticed, due investigations will be carried out,” said Mundra.He added, “The concerned employee has been suspended, we have instituted a probe.”Meanwhile, the CBI on Tuesday said that it has registered a total of 10 cases related to crime committed after demonetization. So far the CBI has registered four cases in Karnataka, four in Hyderabad, one in Rajasthan, and one in Kolkata, in connection with the illegal conversion of currency.CBI sources said that the total amount of cash involved in these 10 cases is approximately Rs 19 crore, adding that a cashier working at the Bank of Baroda, Behala branch, Ranjit Kumar Bhattacharya had been booked for allegedly converting currency worth Rs 50 lakh in violation of laid down rules post-demonetization.Post the PM’s announcement, demonetization fraud has lead to the arrest of some senior functionaries. “A Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) leader was also arrested from Hubballi in Bengaluru on December 10 in connection with separate cases relating to alleged illegal conversion of currency post-demonetization,” said a CBI official.Besides the JD(S) leader, known as KC Veerendra, two middlemen identified as Thipeswamy and Venkatesh who are residents of the Chitradurga districts of Karnataka, and unknown officials of four banks — State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra have also been named in the FIR in this case.TUESDAY’S CATCHK Michael, a senior special assistant with the RBI: Helped convert Rs 6 lakh money
KC Veerendra, JD(S) leader: Rs 5.7 crore in Rs 2,000 notes found at his home; besides a Lamborghini, Volvo, MV Agusta, Ducati 749, multiple luxury apartments and a huge amount of gold.
SC Jayachandra, government engineer’s brother: Raids at his home revealed massive unexplained cash and wealth.

Post demonetization crackdown by CBI: 10 cases, 16 arrests and Rs 19 crore in questionable currency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As part of its ongoing countrywide operation, CBI lodged a case against a Bank of Baroda official in Kolkata for converting old currency in violation of rules, taking the number of such cases to 10 with 16 arrests and Rs 19 crore as currency in question. Cashier of Bank of Baroda, Behala branch, Ranjit Kumar Bhattacharya has been booked by CBI for allegedly converting currency worth Rs 50 lakh using fraudulent means in violation of laid down rules post demonetizationof Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8.Under its countrywide operation continuing for a few weeks, the agency has so far registered four such cases in Karnataka, four in Hyderabad, one in Rajasthan and one in Kolkata.CBI sources said so far it was probing currency conversion of Rs 19 crore, which might increase as the probe progresses and more FIRs are registered by it.The agency sources said it has made 16 arrests across the country which include public servants, middlemen and private persons.In Karnataka, CBI has arrested a JDS leader who is also a casino operator and an RBI official in separate cases of alleged illegal conversion of old currency.Reserve Bank official K Michael, posted in Bengaluru, was arrested by CBI while he was allegedly trying to convert Rs 1.51 crore of old currency notes.CBI sources said Michael, a senior special assistant at RBI, was arrested last week.The agency has also arrested Veerendra in a separate case relating to seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency from the bathroom of the casino owner by the Income Tax department.”We have arrested K C Veerendra. He was arrested in Hubballi on December 10 and brought to Bengaluru the following day and produced before the CBI court. He is in our custody for six days,” a top CBI official told PTI today.Besides Veerendra, middlemen Thipeswamy and Venkatesh, residents of Chitradurga districts of Karnataka, and unknown officials of four banks — State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra — have also been named in the FIR in this case.A case has been registered against an ATM servicing company and officials of Karnakata Bank and Dhanluxmi Bank. Another case has been registered against Central Bank of India officials and private persons for allegedly facilitating exchange of demonetised notes by issuing 149 Demand Drafts of Rs 70 lakh in the name of a private loan company.In Hyderabad, CBI had registered four cases related to conversion of currency by postal department officials with prime suspect named in the FIR being K Sudheer Reddy, an Indian Postal Service Officer.The agency has also registered an FIR against officials of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Dausa branch on similar charges.

Hyderabad twin blasts: NIA court convicts Yasin Bhatkal, four Indian Mujahideen members

Hyderabad: In the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court here convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives.

The NIA special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody.

File image of Hyderabad police. APFile image of Hyderabad police. AP

File image of Hyderabad police. AP

The alleged key conspirator Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.

The court will announce the sentences for all the accused on 19 December.

The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on 21 February, 2013 in which 18 people were killed and 131 injured others, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.

An elated Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said “it was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres.”

“We will be appealing for maximum punishment for the culprits,” Kumar said.

In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit.

The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had alleged.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 15:33 IST

Dilsukhnagar blasts: Yasin Bhatkal, 4 others convicted by Hyderabad court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the first conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadre, a special court for cases probed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Hyderabad on Tuesday convicted Yasin Bhatkal and four others in connection with the February 2013 Dilsukhnagar twin blasts case.The court had framed charges against Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahaseen Akhtar alias Monu and Aijaz Sheikh, who are at present lodged in the Cherlapally Prison.Indian Mujahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal, the prime accused in the case, is absconding. The case was split up against him.Eighteen people were killed and 131 injured in two deadly explosions near Konark and Venkatadiri theatres in Dilsukhnagar, a crowded shopping area in the city, on February 21, 2013.The accused were tried under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and other relevant acts including IPC.(With agency inputs)

Owaisi calls PM Modi ‘tyrant’, says banks, ATMs not running in Muslim areas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at the government over demonetization, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being a “tyrant” and alleged banks and ATMs in Muslim dominated areas in the city were not functioning.”Every family is in distress today…I cannot withdraw my money. Who made this law,” the Hyderabad MP said, addressing a public meeting on the occasion of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad ‘Milad-un-Nabi’. The Prime Minister should remember that those standing in queues now to withdraw their money would stand in queue again to vote against him (in the elections), Owaisi said. Talking about Modi’s ‘fakir’ remark, he asked whether a ‘fakir’ wears a “Rs 15 lakh suit”.”What type of a ‘fakir’ is he?…Would any ‘fakir’ give pain..You are not a ‘fakir’, you are a ‘zalim’ (tyrant),” he said. Modi should come to the old city of Hyderabad to see the suffering of the people as they cannot withdraw their money, said the AIMIM chief about the constituency he represents in Parliament which has large Muslim population. “Why cashless economy? We will not do cashless economy. Give me my money. Credit card, how many credit cards are there in India. I bet there won’t be even one or two per cent of credit cards with Muslims. Not with Dalits. “Banks are not open in our Muslim localities. If bank is open, it is declared ‘red zone’ and loans are not available.If ATM is installed, money is not coming out of them in our localities,” he alleged. Claiming that demonetization would not have any fruitful outcome, he said experts have estimated a loss of three per cent of GDP due to this decision. The NDA government has failed to check price rise and bringing back black money, Owaisi alleged. On December 3, the Prime Minister at his rally in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh had said he was being targeted for cracking down on those with black money. “I am being hounded as if I have committed some crime by waging a battle against graft. But, what can my opponents do to me? I am a fakir (hermit) jhola ley kar chaley jayenge (I will exit with my little belongings),” Modi had said.

PV Narasimha Rao’s son Rajeswara Rao passes away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s son and former MP PV Rajeswara Rao passed away in Hyderabad on Monday. He was 73. Rao had been suffering from heart-related complaint and he passed away at around 4 PM on Monday at a private hospital in Hyderabad, his nephew and Telangana BJP spokesperson NV Subhash said.Rajeswara Rao was Congress MP from Secunderabad here during the 1990s. He was also an accomplished singer and shuttle badminton player. Condoling the death of Rajeswara Rao, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao recalled his association with him.The departed leader had deep interest in public service, music and literature, the Chief Minister said, according to a release from his office. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also mourned Rajeswara Rao’s demise. Chandrababu, in a message, extended his condolences to the bereaved family.YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy too expressed grief over Rajeswara Rao’s death. “Rao was active in literary and cultural fields,” Jagan recalled in a statement.

American connection in Indian Islamic State modules

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An emerging American link has come to light in the investigation of the Islamic State inspired terror cases with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) identifying a key recruiterAbu Isa al Amriki–one of the planners of the terror group’s external operations division which planned and executed terror attacks in foreign countries– to have set his eyes on India for recruitment of young Muslims. NIA officials have found glaring similarities in the modus operandi employed by al Amriki in at least two instances, Hyderabad module involving five men and a case of a lone wolf in Kolkata where the suspects were ready to commit terror acts in the name of IS. It has now prompted the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to keep a close eye and coordinate with the NIA on the Indian IS related cases.A team of FBI officials arrived in Kolkata, last week, to interrogate IS suspect Mohammad Masiuddin alias Musa, who was instructed by his handler to target foreigners particularly US nationals, behead them with machete and make videos of the act. In December 2015, the FBI uncovered a plot involving American citizens to attack revellers on new year’s eve with machete and knives in the name of IS. The man who masterminded the new year plot, Amriki, is now found to have influenced Hyderabad resident Ibrahim Yazdani.“We are in touch with the FBI and American authorities on the investigation in the IS cases. They have refused to accept Amriki as an American national (he is described as Sudanese) but have charged him in the New York case,’’ a senior NIA official said. He added that Amriki was using the social media platforms to influence people worldwide including US and Indian nationals to join IS in Syria or make terror attacks in their home country.Killed in April this year in a US coalition forces airstrike outside his home in Aleppo, Syria, Amriki and his wife were prominent recruiters for the IS. In an FBI investigation, Amriki was indicted for his role in recruitment and indoctrination of a New York resident Emanuel Lutchman to plan an attack on US soil. Lutchman was also advised to make a video making a pledge of allegiance to IS before making the operation, so that IS can claim responsibility for the attack.Like in the Lutchman plot, Amriki encouraged Yazdani to leave the land of kuffar (infidels) and make a hijra (immigrate) to Syria to join the IS. When Yazdani failed to travel to Syria, Amriki gave him contact of another Urdu speaking fighter who directed him to recruit more `brothers’ and form a module to make terror attack in India.In neighbouring Bangladesh, IS in alliance with Jamatul Mujaheedin Bangladesh– a home-grown terrorist group banned since 2005–carried a series of attacks targeting foreign nationals and minority community with machetes including the deadly attack at Holey Cafe in Dhaka. According to Kolkata police and NIA investigation, Massiudin was recruited by Abu Suleiman–allegedly one of the top JMB leaders in Bangladesh to commit terror attack, which IS will announce as its India operation.The overlapping trajectories involving machetes and foreign nationals, prompted the US Embassy in New Delhi last month to issue a travel advisory to American citizens warning of increased threats of attacks by IS.FBI interrogates IS Suspect MusaA team of FBI officials arrived in Kolkata, last week, to interrogate IS suspect Mohammad Masiuddin alias Musa, who was instructed by his handler to target foreigners particularly US nationals, behead them with machete and make videos of the act. In December 2015, the FBI uncovered a plot involving American citizens to attack revellers on new year’s eve with machete and knives in the name of IS. The man who masterminded the new year plot, Amriki, is now found to have influenced Hyderabad resident Ibrahim Yazdani.

Hyderabad building collapse: Death toll rises to 11, rescue workers retrieve six bodies

Hyderabad: The death toll from a multi-storey under construction building collapse has risen to 11 with rescue workers retrieving six bodies on Friday night, officials said on Saturday.

The rescue work completed in the early hours of Saturday. A woman and a child were pulled out alive from the debris on Friday.

The seven-storey building in Nanakramguda area collapsed on Thursday night and it took nearly 36 hours for the rescue workers to clear the debris.

All the victims were construction workers and their family members who were sleeping in cellar when the building crumbled.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Nine of those killed were from Vijayanagaram district and one from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh. A construction worker from Chhattisgarh was also among the dead.

Those killed have been identified as A.N. Sambaiah, 45, N. Paidamma, 40, N. Gauri, 13, K. Polinaidu, 32, K. Lakshmi, 26, R. Shankar Rao, 18, P. Polinaidu, 35, P. Narayanamma, 28, P. Mohan, 3.

Durga Rao from Srikkaulam and Shiva from Chhattisgarh are the other two victims.

Telangana government has announced Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia each for the families of the dead.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been making arrangements to transport the bodies of the victims to their villages.

Rekha, a woman from Chhattisgarh, and her four-year-old son Deepak were pulled out alive from the rubble on Friday. They are undergoing treatment in a private hospital.

Municipal Administration Minister K. T. Rama Rao, who supervised the rescue work, said the police arrested builder Satyanarayana Singh in Kerala.

Police had booked a case of negligence and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against him for constructing the building without permission and in violation of all rules.

The government also suspended a deputy commissioner of GHMC and an assistant town planning officer.

It also constituted a committee headed by IAS officer Navin Mittal to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within 15 days. The panel will also suggest measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 11:17 IST

Hyderabad building collapse: 11 bodies retrieved, building owner arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven bodies were recovered from the debris of an under-construction building which collapsed in Hyderabad on Thursday night, while a woman and her son were rescued. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said that four bodies had been retrieved on Friday night.The rescue operation continued well into the night. ANI reported that the owner of the building was arrested by the police.The seven-storey building at Nanakramguda in the Cyberabad zone came crashing down on Thursday night. On Friday, Cyberabad police commissioner Sandeep Shandilya had told PTI that Rekha, around 35-year-old, and her son (4), who hailed from Chhattisgarh, were pulled out alive from the crash site. The woman and her son were admitted to a hospital for treatment, he said.All the victims of the tragedy are workers who lived in the basement of the building. Except one family, all others belonged to Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. The state government has arranged for sending the bodies and family members of the deceased to their native places in Andhra Pradesh through the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), the GHMC said. Telangana Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao visited the spot and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those killed. The state government would take tough action against the building owner for alleged violation of construction rules as well as the civic officials “who looked the other way”, he said. A family member of the building’s owner had been detained and two GHMC officials had been suspended, the Minister said.Andhra Pradesh Housing Minister K Mrinalini, who hails from Vizianagaram, also visited the site and spoke with K T Rama Rao and others. The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, has been asked to investigate the cause of the collapse. A preliminary report in this regard was expected tonight, the GHMC said.The state government has also requested the secretary of Municipal Administration Department to examine the relevant issues and suggest systemic improvements to prevent such incidents in future, it added.Meanwhile, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who was in Delhi and discussed the incident with him. Dattatreya also directed Labour Ministry officials in Hyderabad to provide necessary help to the victims, a release from the Union Minister said. Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and other party leaders visited the site.In an apparent reference to Rama Rao, Reddy said the “head of the department (Municipal Administration and Urban Development) should take the moral responsibility” for the tragedy and quit. NDRF personnel along with local civic workers handled the rescue operations which were difficult and time-consuming as the collapsed building was narrow.

Demonetization: Rise of the new ‘middleman’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As investigative agencies continue to crack down on the financial crimes across India, a new breed of middlemen has emerged after demonetization. These individuals— many of who do not have a criminal background—are targeting banks, and, more recently, post offices, making them a hub for illegal activities.One of the men on the CBI’s radar is K Sudheer Babu. Accused of masterminding illegal activities in the registered post offices in Hyderabad, Babu, who belongs to the 2011 cadre of the Indian Postal Service (IPS), was serving as the Senior Superintendent of Post Office, Hyderabad City Division, when his name popped up on the CBI’s radar.Four others working with him — Shaikh Abdul Ghani, G Ravi Teja, K Suresh Kumar and G Srinivas — have been arrested. Babu, however, is absconding. The modus operandi of Babu and his men was simple. Investigating officials revealed that old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, exceeding the limits announced by RBI, were brought into post offices and banks in Hyderabad for replacement and then fraudulently exchanged for new Rs 2,000 notes. Officials estimate that the total amount involved in illegal transactions from these post offices in Hyderabad was Rs 2.95 crore. “The criminal cases so far have been reported from Hyderabad city but investigators are keeping a close watch on post offices across India,” said a CBI source. Sources also added that searches have been conducted at 11 places so far which include residential/office premises of the accused persons in Hyderabad.They add that incriminating documents, laptops and mobile phones with cash worth Rs 17.02 lakh in new currency notes of Rs 2,000 denominations were seized.These middlemen carried out the crimes almost after the Prime Minister’s announcement on demonetization. CBI sources said that the first case was registered on November 24. In this case, an individual, yet to be identified, brought in Rs 36 lakh into the post office of Hyderabad City Division, when the CBI revealed that Babu instructed G Revathi, the Sub Post Master (SPM), Himayat Nagar branch, to falsify records that this money in new currency notes had been disbursed to multiple individuals. This however was not the case.Further investigations have revealed that apart from the four officials arrested, close to half a dozen post office officials are currently under the scanner of the CBI. In three fraud cases filed between November 24 and December 6, these officials are alleged to have involved in illegal activity, along with two office assistants.

Jayalalithaa’s assets: Without a will is a property war worth crores now in the offing?

Apart from the political legacy she left for posterity, former chief minister Jayalalithaa left behind a property worth Rs 90 crore and other assets worth Rs 80 crore at least.

According to a report in The Times of Indiathe AIADMK chief did not have a will announcing her apparent heir to her physical wealth.

The late chief minister and her mother Sandhya had purchased the Number 81 Veda Nilayam, Poes Garden property of 24,000 sqft area, in 1967 for an amount of Rs 1.32 lakh. But it is not yet clear if her political heir Sasikala Natrajan will continue to stay there, or niece Deepa Jayakumar and her brother Dipak may stake their claim on their grandmother’s property. Perhaps, like in the case of Jayalalithaa’s mentor MG Ramachandran whose house was stuck in legal disputes years after his death, the Chennai house too may be kept back, says the same report, even as MGR did leave a will, unlike Jayalalithaa, according to an Economic Times report.

Representational image. NewsToday

Representational image. NewsToday

In April 2015, the AIADMK supremo had declared assets worth Rs 113.73 crore, with movable assets worth Rs 41.63 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 72.09 crore. She declared an amount of Rs 41,000 as cash in hand, and 1,250 kg of silver articles valued at Rs 3,12,50,000, according to a Business Today article. She had declared commercial property and 14.5 acres of agricultural land in Hyderabad. And apart form this she had invested in five firms — Shri Jaya Publications, Sasi Enterprises, Kodanad Estate, Royal Valley Floritech Exports and Green T Estate, of which she was listed as a ‘partner.’ Furthermore, she declared that she had in possession two Toyota Prado SUVs, a Tempo Traveller, a Tempo Trax, a Mahindra Jeep, an Ambassador car of 1980 make, a Mahindra Bolero, a Swaraj Mazada Maxi, and a Contessa (1990 model), all this besides the gold that was seized in a disproportionate assets case against her.

The Times of India report has it that all of Jayalalithaa’s properties, barring her Poes Garden mansion and some inherited jewellery, could be attached to the case.

Her Chennai house was raided in 1996 by the income tax department, a year after she funded a lavish wedding for her foster son Sudhakaran, after declaring she would take a salary of only Re 1 as chief minister. The Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy had filed a disproportionate assets case against her based on the income tax report of having found 750 pairs of footwear, 10,000 sarees, 800 kg of silver, 28 kg of gold, 44 air conditioners and 91 watches at her home. Following this Jayalalithaa spent a month in jail and even vowed she would never wear jewellery again, a vow she kept up till 2011. In 2014, she was convicted again in a Karnataka court, according to a report by Economic Times.

Gold jewellery worth over Rs 6 crore continues to stay with the Karnataka treasury, and her shares in various investments also remain seized. Though the case against Jayalalithaa herself will abate, it would continue against Sasikala. “The case will have to be fought on merit, as a conviction against all accused was given in 2014, then overturned by another court in 2015, which we have now appealed against,” said former advocate general BV Acharya who represents the Karnataka government in the lawsuit. If it is proven that the property of the others accused in the case belonged to Jayalalithaa, they could be punished, and the assets seized, says a report by The Times of India.

Without a will, what follows under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is that her assets will be divided between heirs. According to intestate rules the second Class for inheritance based on matriarchal and patriarchal relations, shall directly inherit the property. Deepa was turned away from Apollo Hospitals when she sought to meet her ailing aunt, although Dipak, who was allowed to assist in performing the last rites, may stand to have a chance, according to an article by DNA. There is also the matter of once adopted son VN Sudhakaran, who was later disowned. However, Sasikala deemed ‘dear sister’ could have the upper hand, with all of the state government backing her.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 16:33 IST

Who will inherit Jayalalithaa’s Rs 120 crore assets?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the body of Jayalalithaa was laid to rest, a question crops up: who will inherit her property, especially the coveted Poes Garden residence in the heart of Chennai? After all, her assets total over Rs 120 crore, according to her affidavit before the Election Commission (EC).Jaya was never married, her parents are no more, and she even disowned her adopted son. It is said that she left no will, so what happens to her properties and income?The Poes Garden residence is worth Rs 43.96 crore, and is occupied by Jaya’s aide, Sasikala Natarajan, whom she once described as a “sister”. This house has also been shown as the address of several enterprises which Sasikala launched with some of her relatives, and some of them even have investment by Jaya herself.Jaya also owned commercial properties in Hyderabad and Chennai, besides some agricultural land in Hyderabad and Kancheepuram.If there is no will left behind by Jaya to specify who gets what, one must turn to the law. Under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which applies in this case, there are processes under which Classes and Schedules are created to divide the assets for heirs.According to legal experts who do not wish to be quoted, the “intestate” rules will apply with respect to Jaya’s properties and assets. Under the intestate rules, the first set of Class for inheritance doesn’t apply as she does not have a spouse, children or parents. The next set of Class is laid down according to which the next set of relatives could inherit some of the assets based on whether are they are heirs of her father or her mother.In this case, only two relatives of Jaya have been seen recently. The son and daughter of Jaya’s brother, Deepak and Deepa, could stake claim to her assets. Deepa was turned away from the Apollo Hospitals when she tried to meet her ailing aunt there.But Deepak may have a chance. What has come as a surprise is the way he was allowed to assist Sasikala in performing the last rites on the Marina. The Sasikala family, which had kept away Jaya’s relatives for more than three decades, suddenly brought him into the picture, perhaps as a bid to retain Jaya’s assets. If Deepak has a legitimate claim to the property, he could become a front for the family to continue to use the properties and income from various commercial buildings.There are two other questions: will Sasikala produce a will signed by Jaya, making her the owner of all assets? Since most of the assets are self-acquired by Jaya, she would be free to give them away to anyone of her choice, without any strong legal challenge. If there is no will, the ‘Deepak’ card may be enough.Does Sudharakan, the former adopted son, have a legal document in his favour? Legal experts say it is unlikely that Jaya made a written declaration stating that he was her adopted son. Therefore, disowning him would be easy. If Jaya gave it to him in writing, and did not amend it later through a will or a subsequent declaration, Sudhakaran could spring a surprise.If Sasikala cannot produce a will and if Sudhakaran does not have clear documentation in his favour, the intestate rules will apply, bringing into focus the relatives of Jaya. That could mark the beginning of an ugly and protracted legal battle, even within the Jaya family. For now though, Sasikala may have the upper hand, with Jaya’s nephew, Deepak, in tow, and the full weight of the state government behind her.

8 held with unaccounted cash of Rs 58 lakh in new Rs 2,000 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight persons were apprehended in Hyderabad and unaccounted money of Rs 58 lakh in new Rs 2,000 notes was seized from their possession, police said.The eight persons were apprehended after finding Rs 58 lakh in their possession during vehicle checking, a police release said. They belonged to different places in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.During the course of inquiry, they stated they collected the amounts from local people of their respective native places, villages on 8 to 10 per cent commission basis.”They came to Hyderabad with an intention to exchange the new currency of Rs 2,000 with old currency of Rs 1,000 or Rs 500 with commission of 25 to 30 per cent to make easy money. On further inquiry with them about the exchange of old currency, they stated that they will return to the people from whom they collected the amounts and again they will deposit in their respective accounts,” the release said.The apprehended persons, along with the seized unaccounted new currency and seizure report, would be sent to the Income Tax office for initiating appropriate action against them as per Income Tax Act, the release added.

Bengaluru-bound Jet Airways flight from Kolkata makes emergency landing in Hyderabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A Bengaluru-bound Jet Airways plane from Kolkata, with 147 passengers and eight crew members onboard, was today diverted to Hyderabad where it made an emergency landing after its pilot reported some technical problem. On landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, one of its tyres burst, however, all the passenger were deplaned safely, Hyderabad airport sources said.The aircraft remained struck at the runway, forcing the airport authorities to shut operations for a brief period. The Bengaluru-bound plane was diverted to Hyderabad after its pilot reported hydraulic failure, they said.”At about 2035 hours information was received about the diversion of the aircraft following which all emergency landing procedures were put in place. The aircraft made emergency landing at 2044 hours and on arrival one of the plane’s tyres turned flat. However, all 147 passengers were deplaned safely,” sources said. The operations remain suspended for about one-and-a-half hour as the aircraft was stuck at the runway, they said, adding following which four flights were diverted to other nearby airports. The aircraft was later towed away to a parking bay, after which the operations resumed at around 1015 hours, they added.

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi and K Chandrasekhar Rao’s new political friendship amid note ban

He may not found a place in the sub-committee of six chief ministers formed to suggest ways to move towards a digital economy but K Chandrasekhar Rao won’t lose sleep over it. In any case, being part of a committee under the chairmanship of bete noire Chandrababu Naidu would have been anathema to the Telangana chief minister.

KCR’s initial reaction after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes won’t be legal tender for the intervening night of 8-9 November, was one of dismay. He rushed to Raj Bhavan to reportedly tell Governor ESL Narasimhan that Telangana would face major financial pressure due to the demonetisation move. The loss of revenue was pegged at between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 crore every month. Add to this, the slowdown in the construction sector, in which a workforce of 10 lakh is engaged in and around Hyderabad. The chief minister says they have been left without work for ten days now. The poultry industry, where Telangana is the country leader, has seen business dropping by 70 percent as most of the chicken and egg business is cash-based.

Around the same time, opposition to the demonetisation decision started building up, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leading the charge. Some of the parties marched to Rashtrapathi Bhavan, others disrupted Parliament.

Sources say it was around that time that Modi reached out to KCR. The inference is that the prime minister was conscious that a larger group of chief ministers taking him on, won’t make for good optics.

KCR immediately flew to Delhi and a 40-minute audience with the prime minister followed, after which the chief minister decided he won’t be part of the opposition chorus against demonetisation. Now, KCR is not part of the NDA and therefore is under no compulsion to support every decision taken by the Modi sarkaar. The fact that he has chosen to cast his lot with Modi instead of the vocal opposition, is both political and administrative.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

KCR realises that it makes little sense for him to oppose Modi, if he is to get financial goodies from New Delhi for Telangana. He also has one eye on Amaravati to ensure political rival, Chandrababu Naidu does not out-manoeuvre him.

But the Delhi meeting was not the only time Modi and KCR met. Over the weekend, they met twice when the prime minister arrived in Hyderabad to attend the meeting of DGPs at the National Police Academy. No one missed his gesture of buttonholing the Telangana chief minister and Governor on the tarmac of the Hyderabad airport. The duo met again when the prime minister left for Delhi the next day.

Ever since the three meetings, KCR has been singing Modi’s tune. The fight against black money, corruption and cashless economy — the buzzwords are same, making people wonder if the BJP’s saffron and TRS’s pink lines are blurring.

In terms of profile, KCR has gained. Modi needs all the political support that he can within ‘Team India’ and the support of a non-NDA chief minister looks better than support from an NDA chief minister. In that sense, KCR is as valuable as a Nitish Kumar or a Naveen Patnaik.

Congress leaders believe both Naidu and KCR want Modi to help them in increasing the number of assembly constituencies in Andhra and Telangana. From 175 to 225 in Andhra and from 119 to 153 in Telangana. Was this part of the quid pro quo, they wonder. It is critical for KCR to have a larger pool of assembly seats as he can then accommodate all the turncoats from the TDP and Congress to contest the 2019 assembly election. Likewise with Naidu, who has admitted a whole lot of YSR Congress MLAs into the TDP.

It also suits KCR and Naidu to focus on how to make India go cashless. The battle against black money is no longer the main target, the goalpost has conveniently been shifted because politicians like KCR and Naidu know they can look good, projecting a modern outlook by ushering in a digital economy. KCR has taken the lead by announcing that Siddipet, the assembly constituency that he once represented and now has his nephew Harish Rao as the MLA, will be the first segment to go completely cashless.

The desire to be by the prime minister’s side is also governed by real politik. KCR sees no sense by being seen with a disjointed opposition, especially when the Congress is his principal foe in Telangana. The BJP in contrast, does not have the cadre to match up to either the Congress or even the TDP in Telangana.

Reports from rural Telangana are mixed. There is genuine anger at the misery those without bank accounts are being put to, especially among farmers who are not getting loans for their rabi crop. Many of them are having to trek long distances to access an ATM or a bank. The central team that toured different states also sent back a similar feedback to the PMO. KCR is a smart politician to realise that while the dissatisfaction will be directed at Modi, he can showcase himself as a chief minister who cares by trying to help sort out matters. KCR sees a win-win situation in this crisis.

Will this new-found friendship lead to TRS joining Modi’s cabinet? It is known that members of the TRS parliamentary party won’t be averse to joining the NDA. Modi does not need any extra support in terms of numbers but a lot could depend on how things pan out politically post the Uttar Pradesh elections.

So while it is fairly certain that something is cooking between Modi and KCR, nothing has been put on the table as yet.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 17:52 IST

National Anthem verdict: BJP, Congress welcome SC’s ruling, Omar Abdullah questions it

In an odd twist, the Supreme Court on Wednesday passed an order that the National Anthem must be played in cinema halls before every screening of a movie. This order comes with caveats — everyone in the theatre must stand up and show their respect, the National Flag must be displayed on the screen, the entry and exit doors have to ‘remain closed’ while the anthem is being played, the abridged version shall not be played, it cannot be commercially expropriated and that it cannot be printed on an ‘undesirable object’.

Naturally, reactions came in thick and fast.

Congress came out in support of the Supreme Court decision, but raised questions over the implementation. “The 130-year-old party has seen the bigger independence movement. Therefore, we have strongly supported all aspects of genuine nationalism. We support, in principle, everything that enhances the respect and dignity of this nation. Therefore, we support this in principle,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Representational image. GettyRepresentational image. Getty

Representational image. Getty

Singhvi also raised concerns over its implementation, that there shouldn’t be any disrespect “for any of the national icons, flag or anthem” and that “the remembrance to the nation whether by saluting the flag or by National Anthem is a noble virtue”.

The apex court, in its ruling, said that “love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag. A time has come when citizens of the country must realise that they live in a nation and are duty-bound to show respect to the National Anthem which is the symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality”.

Echoing the Supreme Court ruling, a happy Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the decision will “inculcate a sense of patriotism among people, particularly the younger generation”. BJP also welcomed the order saying that it will strengthen the spirit of nationalism and the idea of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. Spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the order is a reminder to people that they should have affection and duty towards national institutions and symbols. “Its a welcome order. Of late, there have been certain controversies. People are not standing up in cinema halls when national anthem is being played.”

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi welcomed the ruling, but also displayed doubts as to whether it would help boost patriotism. Owaisi, talking to the media on Wednesday, said the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and the Union Home Ministry’s advisory regarding the national anthem do not talk about citizens requiring to stand up when the anthem is being rendered, and suggested to the government to amend the law and revise the advisory. The act prohibits desecration of or insult to the Constitution, national anthem, flag and the country’s map. “What I believe [is that] children should be taught about (respecting the anthem) from very young age… The government needs to amend the 1971 act and correct the MHA advisory,” the Hyderabad MP said.

Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav too welcomed the ruling, “It is a good decision and I welcome it.”

Congress’ Manish Tewari questioned the criticism surrounding the ruling. “If Indians will not stand in respect for their own anthem who else will?”

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned this reaction by Tewari and wanted to know if “only movie goers need lesson in patriotism?”

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 13:09 IST

National Anthem SC verdict: Owaisi welcomes ruling, but questions will it boost patriotism

New Delhi: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi welcomed the Supreme Court’s direction on Wednesday that cinema halls across the country must play national anthem before the screening of a film, but wondered if it would help boost the feeling of patriotism.

A file photo of Asaduddin Owaisi. IBNLiveA file photo of Asaduddin Owaisi. IBNLive

A file photo of Asaduddin Owaisi. IBNLive

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Owaisi said the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and the Union Home Ministry’s advisory regarding the national anthem do not talk about citizens requiring to stand up when the anthem is being rendered, and suggested to the government to amend the law and revise the advisory.

The act prohibits desecration of or insult to the Constitution, national anthem, flag and the country’s map.

“It (the directive) is alright and it has to be followed. But the question is whether it requires people to stand up when the anthem is being rendered? Will this help see rise in patriotism or nationalism?” Owaisi asked.

Referring to a report about a disabled person being beaten up for allegedly not standing up while the national anthem was being played at a multiplex in Goa last month, Owaisi sought to know “what can be done in this regard”.

“What I believe (is that) children should be taught about (respecting anthem) from very young age… The government needs to amend the 1971 act and correct the MHA advisory,” the Hyderabad MP said, adding that he was for patriotism.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that cinema halls across the country must play the national anthem before the screening of a film and people should stand up as a mark of respect.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 18:05 IST

JNU missing student: Najeeb missing for over a month, police raises reward amount

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Police has raised to Rs 10 lakh the reward amount for anyone providing information that could help locate JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing for over a month now. Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma approved the increase in the reward amount from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, said a senior police officer.The Delhi Police’s Crime Branch team is investigating the case after it was transferred to them. Initially, the reward amount was Rs 50,000. Later on, it was increased to Rs 1 lakh and subsequently to Rs 2 lakh last month. Verma later raised the amount to Rs 5 lakh.The crime branch team was able to trace Najeeb’s movement on October 15 after they had found the auto driver who had ferried him to Jamia Millia Islamia that day. The police had also sent Jamia CCTV’s cameras to FSL Hyderabad to retrieve footage of the night and a report is awaited.Najeeb had gone missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with ABVP members the night before. Last month, an SIT was formed to trace the missing student following an instruction from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the Delhi Police Commissioner. The SIT, headed by Additional DCP-II(South) Manishi Chandra, could not to gain any actionable clue in the matter.The SIT was focusing on psychiatric angle in the probe after it was learnt Najeeb was allegedly suffering from OCD with depression. The team was also mulling to seek help of psychiatrists from AIIMS or RML to chalk out a plan for investigation. The Crime Branch has been investigating all probable angles.

Demonetisation: Jan Akrosh Diwas evokes partial respose in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad: The nation-wide shutdown called by the Left parties over demonetisation of high value currency notes evoked partial response in Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.

The services of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) was near normal in both the states.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The activists of the opposition parties staged protest at RTC depots at many places since early morning, however, the bus services by and large remained unaffected.

Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC depots. However, the employees union stayed away from the shutdown.

Main opposition YSR Congress and Congress clarified that they have not called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ but were only participating in protests against the people’s sufferings due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The Left parties exempted banks from the strike call.

Congress and CPI workers were arrested by the police at RTC bus depot in Kadapa town of Andhra Pradesh when they staged a sit-in and tried to prevent buses from plying.

YSR Congress Party leader Bhuma Karunakar Reddy and others were arrested when they held a protest demonstration at RTC depot in Tirupati. The left parties took out a rally in the temple town and raised slogans against the central government.

The activists of opposition parties also staged protests in Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and other towns in Andhra Pradesh, where TDP-BJP alliance is in power.

In Telangana, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was not participating in the shutdown.

The Left parties and Congress staged sit-in since morning at RTC depots at various places including Khammam, Karimnagar, Jagtiyal, Suryapet and Sircilla.

The Left parties plan to take out a rally in Hyderabad, while Congress, which is observing it as ‘Akrosh Diwas’ would be forming a human chain at the regional office of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Hyderabad to highlight the problems faced by the people.

Some schools in Hyderabad declared holiday as a precautionary measure. Osmania University, Kakatiya University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University (JNTU) postponed their examinations.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 11:52 IST

Zakir Naik denies misuse of funds by his NGO, says ban on IRF politically motivated

Mumbai: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Sunday claimed that there has been no misuse of funds by his banned NGO and rejected all allegations of involvement in terror-related activities.

Remaining non-committal on returning to India, where he has been booked for hate speech and under anti-terror law UAPA, the 51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, said he has repeatedly offered his cooperation to NIA.

Facing heat over charge of inspiring some of the Dhaka attackers through his speeches, he said the moment someone resorts to violence, he ceases to be Islamic and loses his support.

“It is wrong to imply that a few miscreants who joined terror groups were influenced by me. So if I was really spreading terror, wouldn’t I have made a few lakh terrorists by now? Not just a handful.

Zakir Naik. ReutersZakir Naik. Reuters

Zakir Naik. Reuters

“In a fan following of millions, there may be a handful of anti-social elements who will go astray and take up violence. But they are surely not following what I’ve told them. The moment they pick up senseless violence, they cease to be Islamic and they surely lose my support,” Naik told PTI in an e-mail interview.

Asked about the legal steps he would take to challenge the ban on his NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), he said his legal teams in Mumbai and Delhi were looking into the issue and would move the Court soon.

The Centre recently banned the IRF for five years and declared it as an unlawful association.

Naik said the ban on IRF was politically motivated.

On allegations of money laundering by IRF in the funds received from abroad, he said the Rs 47 crore in question came from his personal account in Dubai to his personal account in Mumbai in the last six plus years.

“It was duly declared by me in the returns and used for lawful activities, including giving gifts and loans to my family members. I don’t know where is the problem in that.

“IRF received about Rs 14 crore in the FCRA account over the past 15 years. Of this, about Rs 4 crore was from NRIs living abroad. Only about Rs 10 crore was received from foreign donors in the last about 15 years. All of this was duly declared to the MHA, including the amounts, the names and the addresses of the donors. So, where is the question of money laundering?” Naik asked.

Asked why was he not returning to India, Naik said he has repeatedly offered his co-operation to government agencies in their investigations but till date, no agency bothered to contact him, ask him questions, or send him any notice.

The physician-turned-preacher claimed he was invited twice before May 2014 to address IPS trainees at the National Police Academy in Hyderabad.

“Do you mean to say that this prestigious Institution invited a person who promotes terrorism to address the IPS officers?” he asked.

Naik said he was positive the NIA and other agencies, after doing thorough research for more than four months would have surely realised he was far away from promoting terrorism, but they have no choice but to give in to political pressures.

“More unfortunately, it is also indicative of the grim state of affairs existing in my beloved homeland since the Modi government took over two-and-a-half years ago,” he said.

“Till date there’s been no contact and only an FIR has been lodged against me. They (agencies) have not provided a single proof to substantiate their claims. That’s because none exist, and all that agencies are claiming are chatter and nothing else.

“What I’m doing now is the same work I’ve been doing for 25 years. Do you really think my so called “terrorist activities” would have been hidden from multiple intelligence agencies for so long?” he said.

Early this week, Naik released an open letter in which he said ban on his NGO was timed with the demonetisation move to avert resistance to action against the outfit and divert media attention, and alleged it was “an attack on Muslims, peace, democracy and justice”.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 19:56 IST

Nabha jailbreak: Rajnath Singh seeks report, directs Punjab CM to tighten security in prisons

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday spoke to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal about the Nabha jailbreak in which a hardcore Khalistani terrorist escaped along with five other prisoners and sought a detailed report from the state government.

The home minister, who was in Hyderabad, also asked the chief minister to take urgent steps to tighten security in all jails in Punjab, officials said.

During the 15-minute telephonic conversation, Badal briefed Singh about the incident and steps taken to nab the culprits.

Home minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Home minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“I have told the home secretary to get a report from the Punjab government immediately. If the Punjab government needs any assistance, we will provide it,” Singh said.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also spoke to the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and apprised him of the details of the incident. He updated the NSA on steps being taken to apprehend the culprits.

Concerned over the incident, Home Ministry asked the Punjab government to send the report as early as possible.

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also spoke to Director General of Punjab Police and asked him to ensure adequate security in all jails in Punjab.

In the sensational jailbreak, a group of armed men in police uniform attacked the high-security Nabha jail in Patiala and fled with six prisoners, including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.

The incident came two days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked security forces to guard against attempts to disturb peace through “vicious” political campaign or by external extremist forces during the election process in Punjab and four other states.

“We have to keep strict vigil against external extremist elements who may try to create disturbance in Punjab. There have been increased activities of the Sikh terrorists in recent months. Similarly in Manipur, we have to ensure peace keeping in mind the ethnic divide. In Uttar Pradesh too, there may be attempts to disturb law and order through vicious political campaigning. We have to keep strict vigil and take proper
steps to ensure peace during election,” he said at the DGPs conference in Hyderabad on Friday.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 16:55 IST

Hyderabad: CSIR-IICT hoists 100 ft national flag

Sat, 26 Nov 2016-11:41pm , Hyderabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 100ft national flag was hoisted on the occasion of Platinum Jubilee year of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology on Saturday, one of the premier research laboratory in the city. The flag stands tall at 100ft in the sprawling campus of CSIR-IICT. The tri-colour flag measures 30 X 20 ft, a release from IICT said.Girish Sahni, Director General of CSIR and Secretary, DSIR hoisted the tri-colour in the presence of IICT Director S Chandrasekhar and staff as part of the platinum jubilee celebrations of CSIR. As a mark of respect, a Guard of Honour was offered to Sahni by security personnel, IICT school children along with police band.

Note ban impact: Hyderabad’s famous chicken biryani industry hit, poultry farmers in state of crisis

Since 9 November, boards have been hung outside chicken and mutton shops of Hyderabad and other smaller towns of Telangana. These boards scream in Telugu – “No Change”.

In Hyderabad, customers of Bawarchi at RTC Cross Road and the famous Paradise restaurant in Secunderabad, renowned for their biryani and kebabs, were in for a shock. The managements of these hotels issued tokens instead of change. “Bring change for better service,” said boards at Paradise. These tokens could be exchanged at any of their outlets in Hyderabad itself. Other popular biryani restaurants – like Minerva, Shadab Bahar and Madina – soon followed suit with the token system.

“We used to sell over 1.5 lakh biryani packets on weekdays and about 2.5 lakhs on weekends, but since 8 November, our sales have gone down by over 50 percent,” lamented Mohammed Azeezuddin, owner of Bawarchi restaurant. “We are underpricing our products to meet the running costs,” he added. Bawarchi, which is usually open from 11.30am to 11.30pm, was open for only a few hours in the first few days following the announcement of demonetisation.

With buyers on the decline, poultry farmers put up their own retail stalls on highways and offered the meat at almost 50 percent of the market cost. Representational image. Reuters

With buyers on the decline, poultry farmers put up their own retail stalls on highways and offered the meat at almost 50 percent of the market cost. Representational image. Reuters

Poultry farmers on the roads

The sudden cash crunch and change crisis left many roadside enterprises wringing their hands. With buyers on the decline, poultry farmers put up their own retail stalls on highways and offered the meat at almost 50 percent of the market cost. “Just like the tomato glut scene in Andhra Pradesh, it was tragic that poultry farmers of Medak, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda, along with their families, lined up on highways to dispose of their stocks daily,” said Telangana Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav.

Demonetisation has been disastrous to the poultry industry whose products are perishable. Distress sales of their products across the Maharashtra – Chhattisgarh and Karnataka border has only led to high transport costs, but returns are minimal. There are no takers for eggs, even when offered at rock bottom prices of Rs 2.90 per egg as against the market rate of Rs 4.10 per egg since 8 November. Out of a daily production of 1.5 crore eggs in the state, only 50 lakhs were sold and the rest either thrown away or given away as charity to old age homes, orphanages and social welfare hostels to students. “For poultry, November to February is the peak demand season in view of festivals. The change crunch in this season has brought disaster. To reduce losses, the only way is to cull the birds which will impact on our investment and manpower,” said V Harshavardhan Reddy, vice-president of the Telangana Poultry Breeders Association.

“We have just sold one crore kilograms of chicken meat in the last 20 days as against our monthly sale of 3.5 crore kilograms,” said D Sudhakar,  Telangana Poultry Federation leader. Poultry farms are crucial to Telangana, a semi-arid area, where crops fail often and water is scarce. Chicken and eggs business here is a predominantly cash-driven enterprise, bringing in important parallel income for marginal and big farmers who raise only one crop a year.

Many farmers in Telangana take high-cost loans from microfinance companies to start small poultry businesses, mortgaging their dry lands in the hope of quick returns. “We ventured into poultry last year and made good profits until now, but the currency ban has hit us like a thunderbolt and is driving us to bankruptcy,” said Banti Mahipal, a small poultry farmer based in Govindapet, Armoor mandal of Nizamabad district.

It was nightmarish for us as almost 90 percent of our enterprise is made in cash and not through bank transactions,” said Sammaiah, a big egg and chicken dealer of Lakshminarayanpet in Jangoan district

The poultry industry, recently hit by high cost of finance and bird feed besides bird flu, had begun to show signs of coming out of the red in Telangana. The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government had, in 2015, given the poultry industry the much sought-after ‘agriculture’ recognition and thereby made it eligible for easy loans from cooperatives and banks and also made possible claims for input subsidies from the government. “By recognising poultry as an agricultural activity, KCR (Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao) had also given us relief from Income Tax issues,” said Errballi Pradeep Rao, president of Telangana Poultry Farmers’ Federation.

Poultry retailers take a hit

From the farmers, the crisis trickled down to the small vendors in Hyderabad city, the biggest market in Telangana for poultry products. Once the vendors refused to accept demonetised notes, the queues vanished. “We were losing Rs 41 for every kilo of chicken and 95 paisa on every egg we sold, but we had to keep selling even at these rates, as the product would be garbage by nightfall,” said Mohammed Osman of Osman Chicken Stalls at Yakutpura.

When demand dropped, vendors tried innovations. ‘Chicken Melas’ were organised in Old City  and Secunderabad, offering biryani, fried chicken, chicken kebabs and tangdi kebabs at very nominal rates. Prominent political leaders were invited to participate in these melas in order to get publicity. The NECC (National Egg Coordination Committee) also organised exhibition-cum–sale outlets across Hyderabad and Secunderabad, hoping to lure customers with omelettes, boiled egg, egg curry and grilled egg sandwiches. “Such gimmicks are good for a few days only but the daily chicken eater was still left high and dry,” said S Sailaja Rangachari, a school teacher of Nallakunta in Hyderabad.

Poultry: Crucial industry in Telangana

The Indian poultry industry employs over 25 million people and feeds millions more. Telangana’s 31 districts account for one-third of the Rs 95,000 crores industry in the country. Telangana has nearly 10,000 recognised poultry farms and along with the unrecognised small farms, accounts for almost 100 million broiler birds (70 million in the recognised sector). Poultry Federation sources said that almost 70 percent of the sector is dominated by small and medium farmers. Big corporate names in the poultry industry like Venkateswara Hatcheries, Sneha, Ram Reddy and Arunodaya have already diversified into the fast food retail market and put up agencies for poultry equipment. These big businesses, therefore, did not feel the pinch of the change crisis.

The high cost of soya and maize – bird feed – had hit the industry in 2013 but since 2015, after recognition of poultry as an agricultural activity, the state government has provided input subsidy as well as free power.

“We should also get all concessions in deposits and also withdrawals just like the farmers,” demanded Tirupati Verma, a poultry farmer in Ranga Reddy district who has 25,000 birds . He wants the Centre to also declare a moratorium on loans from microfinance groups and other NBFCs as well for the poultry sector in Telangana.

Poultry farmers and chicken retail vendors of Hyderabad say that normalcy would not return to their trade unless the new Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are issued. “We are having difficulty in giving change for Rs 2,000 notes as we do not have enough Rs 100 notes,” said Mohammed Shafiullah, another chicken and egg retailer at Masab tank in Hyderabad.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 15:27 IST

Hyderabad: 12 minors escape from juvenile home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twelve minors escaped from a juvenile home at Nagole in Hyderabad after allegedly pushing a watchman and injuring him, police said on Thursday.The incident occurred at around midnight on Wednesday when the inmates, aged between 15 and 17, managed to break the main door (grill) lock of the juvenile home run by an NGO.When the watchman tried to stop them, they pushed him aside and ran away, L B Nagar Police Inspector P Kasi Reddy said. “The watchman, who is an old man, suffered minor injuries during the incident,” Reddy said.Following a complaint, a case under IPC sections 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) was registered, police said. Further probe is on into the incident.

Chhattisgarh sterilisation deaths: No action taken against guilty, alleges Congress

Raipur: Congress on Monday tried to corner the BJP government in the Chhattisgarh Assembly over the deaths of 13 women after sterilisation surgeries in the Bilaspur district in 2014, alleging that no action has been taken against guilty officials.

A heated discussion took place on the last day of Winter Session on the judicial commission’s report on the deaths of women after sterilisation surgeries.

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13 women had died in Bilaspur in 2014 after sterilisation surgeries. PTI

The Leader of opposition TS Singhdeo alleged no action was taken against the guilty officials even after the judicial inquiry report came out.

The report had noted that negligence in following the standard operating procedure for tubectomy camps and poison-laced medicines led to the incident, he said.

Reports from laboratories and doctors had confirmed that medicines administered to victims had poisonous substances. Even the room where the operation was performed was not properly sterilised, he added.

Government ordered probe but never revealed the action taken on the report, he said.

Singhdeo also sought to know whether the action was taken against the drug manufacturer under Drug and Cosmetics Act.

Replying to the discussion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ajay Chandrakar said the state government was not trying to save anyone.

Doctors from Aiims Delhi, Apollo Hyderabad and other medical institutes were pressed into service for the treatment of affected women. Government ordered probe on next day of the incident, Chandrakar said, describing the incident as serious and unfortunate.

Compensation of Rs 4 lakh was given to the family members of each deceased woman while the government made arrangements for a better future of children of these women, he said.

The minister assured the House that as soon as the court cases are over, all necessary action will be taken for implementation of commission’s recommendations.

New guidelines have been issued, wherein, such camps can be held only at places which meet the norms fixed by the state government, he said.

Health facilities were expanded during the BJP regime in the state, he claimed.

While 12 women who were operated upon at the camp in Pendari village of Bilaspur on 8 November, 2014, died, a protected Baiga tribe woman was the lone casualty from the camps in Pendra block on 10 November, 2014.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 08:10 IST

Bhopal: Micro ATMs a hit to ease cash crunch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People have started withdrawing money from Micro Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) installed in Bhopal from Saturday.The concept of Micro ATM has been initiated by the government to ease the cash crunch situation and to beat the queues due to the demonetization move in the country. Banks have appointed agents to run a micro ATMs to help the people of rural and semi-urban areas, where the network of ATM is not strong. The banks today have allowed only senior citizens to withdraw or exchange cash. They can go to any bank branch to exchange notes which have ceased to exist as legal tender after government’s demonetization move.Senior citizens were noticed waiting outside a bank in Hyderabad and Moradabad to withdraw or exchange their money.Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) Chairman Rajeev Rishi said working hours at banks on Saturday would be devoted to their own customers and added that only senior citizens have been exempted with regard to the exchange of currency notes at various bank branches across the country. Rishi said, the decision is only for Saturday, and from Monday onwards, all customers will be allowed to exchange their notes at a branch of any bank.The IBA chairman also said, after using indelible ink, queues have substantially been reduced. Indelible ink is being used on the right hand index finger of customers to stop repeat money exchangers thronging banks with invalid currency notes.

Demonetisation: As tempers rise, India is running out of patience and currency

Poore desh ko line me khada kar diya Narendra Modi ne,” exclaimed the elderly man in the ATM queue in Hyderabad. A self-confessed Modi admirer, who had also served in the armed forces, he launched into a spiel about how the rest of India was doing what the soldiers had done all these years on the border.

“Did they fire at the enemy, standing in a queue?” mocked a 22-something, standing five places behind. The senior citizen, I think, heard the jibe, but chose to ignore it.

Over the past one week, India has been on the road. India, especially the highbrow part of the country, is upset because all along it condescendingly thought queues were meant only for ‘Bharat’. While India ran the marathons and the half-marathons, ‘Bharat’ would leave its footprint in queues at ration shops and bus stops. Modi’s 8 pm address has made India meet ‘Bharat’.

Former Finance minister P Chidambaram’s back-of-the-envelope calculation says 13 crore Indians are standing in line before banks and ATMs every day. But the queues are not just a real life version of Facebook, where friendships are forged. In some cases, they are also signing a death warrant. 47 people have reportedly died collapsing in queues outside banks and ATMs since demonetisation came into effect.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Minor inconvenience,” says the government. Try explaining “thodi si asufidha” to families who have lost near and dear ones.

In Marredpally area of Secunderabad, a senior citizen collapsed and died while waiting at the Andhra Bank branch this week. In a rather morbid turn of events, the bank released the money immediately to his body.

In Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, 48-year-old Saud-ur-Rahman died of a heart attack after having stood in a line for the third consecutive day. He had failed to withdraw money the previous two days and like earlier, had joined the line at 3 am on Wednesday. His health deteriorated around noon, when he was still waiting. He died in hospital.

Tempers ran high, with the ire directed at the bank officials. The Bank of India manager, 58-year-old Rajesh Kumar also broke down as he explained he is a cancer patient.

At another branch in Hyderabad, the manager says all he gets is Rs 2 lakh, which gets over in no time, leading to frayed tempers among those who don’t get it.

Panelists on TV and armchair commentators on social media deride anyone who highlights such tragedies, dismissing them as bleeding hearts. They talk of ushering in a cashless economy, a utopia. Tragedies like these show India is becoming a lifeless economy.

Opposition is troubled by the sight of Indians made to undergo this suffering. The empathy is touching. They, of course, never bothered when we commoners wait almost every other day for 15 to 20 minutes, and sometimes even more, for a VIP convoy to pass. How many times have ambulances got stuck in a VIP zone? Now, since being made to wait is the talk of the nation, why not ensure no traffic is stopped for the political VIPs?

India, I must admit, does not like to stand in queue. I observe the body language of people waiting in this queue at a nationalised bank. Unlike in the West, lines in India are a zigzag. Everyone is in “hum jahan khade hote hai, line wahi se shuru hoti hai” mode.

ATM queues are an education. Unlike great grandpa Jawaharlal Nehru who wrote The Discovery of India when he was imprisoned between 1942 and 1946 at the Ahmednagar Fort in Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi is discovering India in an ATM line. Chapter 1 was covered in New Delhi, Chapter 2 in Mumbai.

Bharat ek poor country hai. Hindustan ke people ki jeb mein ATM card to hai but there is no cash.”

When people can stand in queue to get a SIM card, a movie ticket or say get a two-second-long darshan of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala-Tirupati, why crib about doing something which is for the good of the nation. This argument comes to you courtesy several BJP bhakts. But since when has putting yourself through inconvenience, leading a hand-to-mouth existence has become the test of patriotism?

“Are we in war-like times that money is being rationed,” asks a person in the queue, visibly exhausted and irritated.

“All this is for the good of the country. Suffer a bit till 30 December. 2017 will see achhe din,” says another, trying to calm him down.

The jury is out on whether Modi’s financial surgical strike was a sensible or a foolish move. But as the situation sees no sign of improving dramatically, India is running out of both patience and cash.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 17:06 IST

Cockroach found in meal served on Air India Chicago- bound flight, probe on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A passenger travelling on an Air India flight to Chicago found a cockroach in the meal served onboard, prompting the airline to order a probe into the matter.Taking a serious note of the incident, the carrier has also served notice to the caterer concerned. The incident happened in the Chicago-bound flight from Hyderabad via New Delhi. A passenger tweeted about it along with a picture of the meals having a dead cockroach, following which Air India apologised for the inconvenience.When contacted, the airline’s senior manager for corporate communications Dhananjay Kumar said, “Air India took serious note of the incident and issued notice to the caterer concerned immediately. Further investigation is going on.” Earlier in the day, one Rahul Raghuvanshi tweeted the photo and said, “@airindiain now serves cockroach for vegetarian meals on AI127 #sicktomystomach #traumatised #cockroachinfood”.In response, Air India tendered apologies for any inconvenience caused. “We have a zero tolerance policy in this respect. Obligatory action is taking place,” the airline said in a tweet.

Hyderabad: Promising to exchange demonetised notes, 2 extort man of Rs 50L

Hyderabad: Two persons, one of them posing as a policeman, allegedly extorted Rs 50 lakh in demonetised currency notes from a man in Rajendra Nagar area in Hyderabad, police said on Wednesday.

The man from whom the money was looted is a friend of a businessman, police said. A middleman promised the complainant that he would arrange for exchange of Rs 50 lakh in old currency notes outside the banking system.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Police said that for the promised exchange, the middleman asked the complainant to take Rs 50 lakh in old currency notes in the latter’s four-wheeler from Secunderabad to Attapur area last night.

On the way, two persons on a motorbike followed the four-wheeler and once it reached at an isolated place, they overtook the car and stopped it.

“They demanded from him to show the ID proof, and questioned him on the huge amount of cash he was carrying,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Rajendra Nagar Division) K Ganga Reddy said.

“They further threatened him that 200 per cent penalty will be imposed on him. Besides, a case will be filed against him and asked him to give the cash bag to them and leave the place. When he resisted, the duo snatched away the bag and fled,” the ACP said based on the complaint.

“One of the bike-borne persons told the victim that he is a police constable and checked the four-wheeler and took away the cash bag,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shamshabad Zone) P V Padmaja told PTI.

A case under IPC section 384 (extortion) was filed and further investigation was on to nab the accused, she said.

The DCP appealed to the citizens not to fall into the trap of such rackets which claim of changing the old currency notes with new ones outside the banking system.

“If anyone has old currency notes in high value they should directly go and deposit in banks or post offices rather than going to the middlemen…and inform the police about such activities,” ACP Reddy said.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 17:39 IST

Demonetization: Currency ink, silver thread supplier same for Pakistan, claims Owaisi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday claimed that the supplier of ink and silver threads used in currency notes is the same for India and Pakistan, and sought to know what was government’s strategy to deal with it.”The ink and silver thread supplier is supplying the same thing to Pakistan as well. So, what is the government going to do about it ? (to end counterfeit menace),” the Hyderabad Lok Sabha member asked, while talking to PTI here. Maintaining that the demonetization move has caused “immense problems to every one”, Owaisi said the government should give ample time — at least a couple of months — for people to exchange old notes. He said if anyone deposits huge amount of money, it can certainly be tracked.He said ample time was given to the people when there such a move (demonetization) in the Philippines, as also in Europe when Euro was introduced. “This (giving ample time for people) has been the norm in various countries”. Owaisi said he would give a notice for adjournment motion in Lok Sabha, where winter session commences tomorrow, to discuss the demonetization move which, he said, has put farmers, rural and urban economies in distress.People are finding huge difficulty in usage of newly introduced Rs 2,000 note because “no one has change”, he claimed. “86 per cent of our currencies are in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. You (government) have not planned for it, you have not prepared for it. Re-calibration (of ATM machines) would take more than 100 days. The worst part is: my money is in the bank but I cannot take it out,” he said.

Banks to remain shut on 14 November on account of Gurupurab, ATMs will be functional

On account of Gurupurab, banks will be closed on 14 November. This bank holiday is in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India’s annual calendar.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), however, will be functional.

Banks will be closed in Belapur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Raipur and Ranchi.

This holiday is likely to cause more inconvenience to the public who have already been thronging banks and ATMs to get a hold of their money on account of the ban on old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The holiday will also pause the exchange of old notes, and deposit of money to the banks.

Bank ListBank List

Indian banks received Rs 2 lakh crore ($29.8 billion) of cash after the government’s 8 November surprise move to abolish high-denomination banknotes, as customers queued for hours to deposit or exchange the old bills and ATMs ran dry.

New Rs 500 notes have been introduced in Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal on Sunday. Some of the State Bank of India ATMs have been recalibrated and may start dispensing these new notes.

With the banned bills accounting for 86 percent of money out of circulation, there is tremendous pressure on the nation’s banking system to replenish the cash. More than 70 million transactions were recorded through midday 12 November, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement late Saturday.

First Published On : Nov 13, 2016 20:12 IST

Demonitisation: Nation fights for ‘change’ as Rs 2,000 notes pose fresh challenge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides the arduous task of battling snake-like queues outside ATMs to get their hands on the freshly minted 2000 and 500 Rupee notes, citizens are now besieged with the herculean task of wrangling for change, as shopkeepers and stores are demanding the exact amount from customers, stoking a war for change.”Nobody is accepting this Rs. 2,000 note and shopkeepers are saying that they don’t have change. Where will I keep it? They are still not accepting this note even if I buy groceries,” said an angry local.Another peeved local from Kanpur expressed frustration because his family is facing several difficulties for buy vegetables.”We get only Rs 2,000 to 4,000 and if in case, I have to go to for some medical check-up, then the entire Rs. 4,000 gets spent, and then I am left with no money to come back home. Initially, it was easy for public to withdraw Rs. 500, but now, we are left with no other option but Rs. 2,000, common people are facing a lot of difficulties,” he added.”From last three days the banks are closed and they are not giving us money. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they will work for 12 hours and would also open three to four extra counters, but everything is wage and not even a single extra counter is opened. There is only one counter. Some people are getting cash, while others are going cashless,” said another local, Ahmad from Hyderabad.Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a major step to check black money and announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes with effect from midnight, making these notes invalid in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.In his televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister said people holding notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 can deposit the same in their bank and post office accounts from November 10 till December 30.With the people facing trouble after the Centre’s move to scrap currency notes of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the government on Friday decided extended the existing exemptions on paying public utility bills till November 14.

Telangana: Two prisoners escape from Warangal jail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two prisoners escaped from Warangal Central Jail in the wee hours on Saturday, a senior official said.According to the DIG Kesava Naidu, Rajesh Yadav and Saink Singh escaped by using bedsheets as a rope.Rajesh Yadav and Saink Singh belong to Bihar. While Yadav was convicted in a murder case, Singh was in jail in connection with a court martial.They were shifted from Cherlapalli jail in Hyderabad to Warangal Central jail two months ago.Police is on hunt for them.

Theresa May becomes the second world leader after Obama to take a stroll in Hyderabad House gardens

Mon, 7 Nov 2016-08:07pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Theresa May became the second world leader to take a stroll with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House garden in Delhi. Modi received May at the Hyderabad House and the two leaders were seen talking to each other during the brief stroll. They stopped for while near a pond full of water lilies before continuing their walk towards the iconic main building, used mostly to hold high profile bilateral events with visiting foreign dignitaries.The high levels of pollution in Delhi air was not a deterrent for the two leaders. “A time for reflection; an occasion to forge a special connection. The Prime Ministers take a walk in the gardens of Hyderabad House,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.During his January, 2015 visit to India, Modi had hosted Obama for tea at the Hyderabad House gardens. The two leaders had taken a stroll under a warm wintry sun.

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

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

Ahead of NSG meet, China refuses to budge on India’s bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of this week’s NSG meet in Vienna, China stuck to its guns on Monday saying there was “no change” in its stand on India’s membership bid which it has indicated would be considered only after rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group. “This Friday in Vienna a plenary session of the NSG will be held. Our position is subject to no change as of date,” Lu Kang, Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a media briefing here. Referring to the November 4 meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and China in Hyderabad, Lu said China is in close contact with relevant parties including India and have been having constructive dialogue and coordination on this issue. NSA Ajit Doval had held talks with Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad during which the issue had reportedly figured.The talks were held ahead of the meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna on November 11-12, where according to media reports the group could discuss the two-stage process to admit new members who have not signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).India and Pakistan which have applied for NSG membership have not signed the NPT. Last week, China, after the second round talks with India on its entry into the NSG, had said that it will first seek a solution to admit all countries who have not signed NPT and then discuss India’s specific application. “On India’s accession to the NSG, I can tell you that China’s position is very clear and consistent” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had said. “We will seek a solution that applies to all Non-NPT countries and then we will discuss the specific application of relevant non-NPT country,” she had said. The issue had also been discussed in the talks here between Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun on October 31. That meeting was held ahead of Doval and Yang meeting in Hyderabad.China has also been holding simultaneous talks with Pakistan on its admission into the NSG. Officials say that the focus now shifts on the kind of modalities being worked out by NSG which can accommodate India, whose non-proliferation record is regarded positive by a majority of the group’s members contrary to Pakistan’s record in nuclear proliferation. About the outcome of Doval and Yang meeting at Hyderabad, Kang said the two officials exchanged views on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of common interest.Asked whether India’s concerns over China blocking UN ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar, Lu said they discussed issues that have “cropped up” in bilateral relations. They agreed to maintain contact, and control and manage relevant issues to ensure steady development of bilateral relations, he said.

Patna: Chhath festival ends peacefully with prayers and offerings to the morning sun

Patna: The four-day Chhath festival ended peacefully in Bihar on Monday morning with millions of people, mostly women, ignoring the morning chill and taking a dip in the river to offer prayers to the rising sun.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Devotees, known as ‘varti‘, ended their 36-hour fast by offering prayers and floating lighted earthen lamps in the river and other water bodies. They also sang traditional songs and distributed offerings among family members, relatives and neighbours.

The offerings comprised fruits, home-made sweets like thekuas, pedas, pakwan, chawal ke laddoo (sweets made of rice), raw vegetables and the first crop from the fields. All the sweets and offerings were arranged in baskets and trays made of bamboo.

Chhath passing off peacefully barring a few minor incidents is a big relief to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the state administration, which had made elaborate security arrangements.

The Sun, considered the god of energy and life force, is worshipped during Chhath for well being, prosperity and progress.

The devotees had been offering prayers to the rising and setting sun since Friday.

According to officials, more than five lakh people gathered on the banks of the Ganges and Punpur rivers in the last two days to offer prayers to the Sun God in Patna and neighbouring districts.

Large crowds were also seen in Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Purnea and other districts of the state.

The celebrations began with devotees taking a dip in the river, a tradition known as ‘nahai khai’. It was followed by the ritual of ‘kharna’ on Saturday when sweet dishes were prepared and distributed among relatives and friends.

The festival, once limited to Bihar, has become popular across the country due to the large scale migration of workers from the state.

Chhath was widely celebrated in metros like Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and states like Assam, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and even Tamil Nadu.

Art of war: Why India should not worry too much about Chinese incursion in Ladakh

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near,” or so said general Sun Tzu in his oft-quoted The Art of War.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

It may seem lazy analysis to keep going back to an ancient Chinese military treatise to explain the dragon’s myriad moves, but Sunzi’s work remains one of the key guiding principles of Chinese foreign policy even today. The face-off in Ladakh since Wednesday, where People’s Liberation Army crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and “forcefully” stopped the construction work of an irrigation canal, has been described in Indian media as yet another example of Chinese bullying.

But such an interpretation would be misleading.

The Ladakh incursion is neither an example of Chinese imperialism nor an indication of Beijing’s nervousness over a civil construction project, though that is exactly the impression China wants to cast. Rather it’s a disguised attempt to gain leverage points at the crucial National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks on Friday between Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad.

And that is also the reason why, despite reports emerging of an incursion and aggressive behaviour from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — around 55 of whom “took position” along the fuzzy LAC in Ladakh’s Demchok sector — the Indian army and the civil administration have sought to play down the incident.

The Chinese claim, that either side needs to take permission for construction work near the “disputed” border, is hogwash. Under the existing set of agreements and protocols nothing stops India from digging a canal and linking a hot spring to a nearby village under the rural employment scheme. New Delhi is also not obliged to share information with China over civil infrastructural projects.

The irony of China protesting against an alleged violation of agreement won’t be lost on anyone. From the “Nine-Dash Line” on South China Sea, construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to building a host of civil-military infrastructural projects on the Tibetan plateau, China has shown scant regard for international rules, laws and arbitration.

Daily Mail points out that China is building a railway line by 2020 from Chengdu (Sichuan) to Lhasa which will reach the Indian border. Another railway line to Kyirong and Nepal probably to be continued till Kathmandu and Lumbini is on anvil. A second international airport in Lhasa, a new airport in Nagchu, a four-lane highway between Lhasa and Nyingchi (Arunachal border) are also coming up. “And finally the improvement of NH 219 between Tibet and Xinjiang, cutting across Indian territory in the Aksai Chin area of Ladakh. All these projects have serious strategic implications for India, as the infrastructure built on the plateau has a dual use: civilian and military,” says the report.

India has not been sitting idle either. The government informed the Parliament last July that 73 roads of operational significance are being built along the Sino-Indian border by 2020. Chinese commentators writing for Indian publications have pointed out that Beijing is “worried” about India’s show of strength along the border that includes deployment of 120 tanks in Ladakh, conveniently forgetting China’s persistent and aggressive arms buildup over the years.

Hence we find a senior Army officer telling Times of India that there was “no Chinese incursion across LAC. The issues relating to construction projects on both sides of LAC are being resolved in border personnel meetings and flag meetings”.

Not just that, later in the day MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup denied having any information of any incursion with a caveat that were such a thing to happen, it will be handled through “established mechanism”. He urged the media not to “sensationalise it”.

What’s happening here? The crux of the territorial tango is that both powers are fully aware of each other’s moves and with the deftness of ballerinas, are playing along the script.

China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi (L) and India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Reuters

China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi (L) and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Reuters

But that doesn’t mean the incursion didn’t happen. It did. Therefore, the right question to ask is what leverages are the Chinese aiming for with such a manouvre? The answer lies in the recent quagmire that Sino-Indian relationship has fallen into, and the ongoing talks in Hyderabad between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi that are expected to address some of the fractious issues. Chinese reasoning is simple. If India raises contentious points it will be beneficial for China to hold as many cards as possible up its sleeves.

A series of measures and counter-measures has seen a loss of confidence between the two Asian giants to the extent that China recently removed the last fig leaf on blocking India’s NSG membership, making it quite clear that it won’t back New Delhi’s bid unless a rule to include other non-NPT members (read Pakistan) is formulated. It also remains adamant on not letting Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar be designated as a terrorist by the United Nations, a key Indian demand.

The Ladakh incursion is one move in the game of geopolitical chess that allows China the room to anticipate and blunt India’s points of dissidence. It also simultaneously escalates Beijing’s displeasure over India’s decision to allow The Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh and a popular movement in India to boycott Chinese goods.

When two nations as big and influential as China and India engage, the subtext is far more important than the printed lines.

Top Maoist leader Ramakrishna’s wife tells Hyderabad HC he is ‘safe’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Naxalite leader Ramakrishna’s wife on Friday informed the Hyderabad High Court that her husband is “safe” and sought the court’s permission for withdrawal of the habeas corpus petition she filed earlier in this regard.”We informed the high court that Ramakrishna is safe and said we got information last night that he is safe. We requested to permit us to withdraw the habeas corpus which is posted after two weeks,” Kandula Sirisha told the court through her counsel V Raghunath.As the matter was not posted for Friday, the high court asked the petitioner to make an application through Registrar (Judicial) seeking to withdraw the petition. The matter is likely to come up for listing on Monday (November 7) and the court will pass an order in view of request by the petitioner.In the wake of an exchange of fire on Andhra-Odisha border on October 24 in which 24 Maoists were killed, doubts were expressed by the wife of Ramakrishna alias RK and relatives and party comrades that he might be in police custody. In the habeas corpus petition, Sirisha sought directions to the Andhra Pradesh government to produce the outlaw before the court and to record his statement for appropriate action.Andhra Pradesh Police on Thursday informed the high court that RK is not in their custody and following submission from the state police, the court had asked the petitioner, to produce before it any material with regard to him and posted the matter after two weeks.A division bench of justices C V Nagarjuna Reddy and M S K Jaiswal had earlier directed the Andhra Pradesh government to file counter affidavit informing the court whether RK was in police custody or not, while hearing the habeas corpus plea filed last week by Sirisha.Responding to the petition, Visakhapatnam Rural District Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma filed an affidavit before the court that RK, who is a member of the banned Central Committee of CPI (ML), is not in the custody of police. The senior police officer further submitted that the incident of exchange of fire has occurred in the territory of Odisha state and requested the court to dismiss the petition.On Thursday night, in a dramatic turn of events, a frontal organisation of the Maoists, the Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA) announced that RK was “safe”, barely hours after Sirisha alleged in the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad that her husband was in police custody.RWA leader Varavara Rao called Telugu television news channels over phone and announced that RK was “safe” but did not give any details about his whereabouts or condition. The late night announcement brought to an end the 10-day- old suspense and anxiety over RK’s state as there were allegations from Maoists’ frontal organisations and civil liberties groups that he might have been killed by the police in the October 24 encounter on the Andhra-Odisha border. Subsequently, these organisations alleged that RK was being held captive by the police and expressed apprehension that he too might be bumped off in a false encounter.

Naxal leader Rama Krishna not in custody: Andhra Police tells HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top naxalite leader Rama Krishna is not in the custody of Andhra Pradesh Police, the Hyderabad High Court was, on Thursday, informed by the police.Following submission from the state police, the court asked the petitioner, who is Krishna alias RK’s wife, to produce before it any material with regard to him and gave her two weeks.A division bench of justices CV Nagarjuna Reddy and MSK Jaiswal had earlier directed the Andhra Pradesh government to file counter affidavit informing the court whether RK was in police custody or not, by Thursday while hearing a habeas corpus plea filed last week by RK’s wife Kandula Sirisha.In the wake of an exchange of fire on Andhra-Odisha border on October 24 in which 24 Maoists were killed, doubts were expressed by RK’s wife and relatives and party comrades that he might be in police custody.In the habeas corpus petition, RK s wife Sirisha sought directions to the state government to produce the outlaw before the court and to record his statement for appropriate action.Responding to the petition, Visakhapatnam Rural District Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma filed an affidavit before the court that the husband is not in the custody of police.”In fact the records reveal that the husband of the petitioner is a member of the Central Committee of CPI (ML), which is a banned Organisation and there are around 40 cases registered against RK at various police stations of Andhra Pradesh.”The police could not apprehend the husband of the petitioner till date in connection with those pending criminal cases,” the SP submitted.The senior police officer further submitted that the incident of exchange of fire has occurred in the territory of Odisha state and requested the court to dismiss the petition.Referring to the affidavit of AP Police that RK is not in their custody, the court told the petitioner, “In absence of material, if you (petitioner) have any material produce it,” after which the petitioner sought time to file reply.The court then posted the matter after two weeks to enable the petitioner to file material, if any with regard to RK.AP Police had on Wednesday informed the High Court that joint teams of AP and Odisha police had to “fire in self-defence”, which resulted in the death of 24 Maoists in Malkangiri district of Odisha area on October 24.

Major Indian cities report decline in firecrackers sales, finds survey

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