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MM Khan murder case: Maheish Girri will resign if AAP proves he wrote letter to LG, claims BJP

The BJP on Friday said party MP Maheish Girri will “resign” if it is proved that he wrote any letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung regarding civic official MM Khan who was shot dead last month.Challenging AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to produce the letter purportedly written by Girri, Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay said, “On behalf of Maheish Girri, I am saying he will resign if he wrote any letter.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking Kejriwal over his “silence” over the death of party leader Santosh Koli and Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Chauhan, Upadhyay demanded Delhi Police expedite its investigation into suicide by the farmer in presence of AAP leaders including Kejriwal at Jantar Mantar in April last year.”I will write a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for speedy police probe in the death of AAP founder-leader Santosh Koli in Ghaziabad in 2013, in which role of Kejriwal is suspected as she might have known several secrets,” he alleged.Delhi BJP also raised several questions over the alleged Rs 400 crore Delhi Jal Board tanker “scam” being probed by the Anti Corruption Branch, demanding Kejriwal’s “arrest”.”I had earlier demanded Kejriwal’s resignation. Now I demand Delhi Police arrest Kejriwal for an impartial probe into the tanker scam,” the BJP leader said.He asked why the government “sat over” the fact-finding committee report on the “scam” for “11 months” and allegedly continued payments to the company concerned for “17 months”.Party MP Ramesh Bidhuri said BJP workers will soon launch an agitation and run a signature campaign to “expose” wrongdoings of the AAP government.

MM Khan murder case | Don’t give political colour to the case: Centre tells Kejriwal

The Centre on Thursday asked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to allow an “impartial” probe into the murder of an NDMC official to be completed and not “lower the dignity” of the office he is holding by giving “political colour” to it.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Delhi Police is investigating the murder case of M M Khan and it is making “good progress”. Khan was allegedly murdered for refusing to take bribe from Delhi hotelier Ramesh Kakkar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Delhi Police should be allowed to do an impartial probe. Let them complete the investigation. No political colour should be given to the case. People holding constitutional posts should not lower its dignity by making indecent comments,” he said.Rijiju’s comments comes after Kejriwal had accused BJP MP Maheish Girri of being allegedly involved in the murder of Khan. The minister denied putting political pressure on the Delhi Police with regard to Khan’s murder case.”There is no question of putting political pressure whatsoever from anyone. Let the truth come out and guilty should be punished,” he said.”AAP should not jump the gun in demanding the LG be made a co-accused in M M Khan murder case. The central government has full faith in LG and Delhi Police for a fair investigation into the case,” Rijiju said.The Aam Aadmi Party today alleged that Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s role in Khan case was “suspicious” and demanded he be arrested.”His (Jung’s) role is suspicious in the case. Why had he written to NDMC seeking action against Khan? We demand that the LG be arrested and sacked from his position,” AAP’s Delhi Unit Convener Dileep Pandey said at a press conference.Asked whether it was proper for Delhi government to give a large number of advertisements at the cost of public funds, Rijiju said it was not proper to give advertisement just to improve a government’s image.”If someone gives advertisements to publish government programmes in interests of people, that is acceptable,” he said.

MM Khan murder case: LG Najeeb Jung should be arrested, demands AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday demanded action against Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and alleged that he had a role to play in the murder of New Delhi Municipal Council official MM Khan. AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “The LG should resign immediately… Or the central government should sack him. He should also be arrested and investigated.” He further alleged that BJP’s Maheish Girri and Kanwar Singh Tanwar were linked to MM Khan’s murder. “They should be arrested,” Chadha told mediaspersons.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chadha said the hotelier, Ramesh Kakkar, wrote to Jung on May 10 complaining about Khan, saying he was acting in an “arbitrary, unjust and biased manner”. He had urged Jung to intervene. On May 11, Chadha said, Girri also wrote to the LG favouring the hotelier and demanded action against Khan.Khan was shot dead in Jamia Nagar a day before he was to clear the final order on the lease terms of hotel ‘The Connaught’ operating on a property of the civic body.Meanwhile, the LG office has clarified its stand and said that everyone understands that the claims by AAP are frivolous, and therefore, the attempt to draw political mileage from this tragedy is sad. The clarification comes just days after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s office sent Delhi hotelier Ramesh Kakkar’s petition against Khan to the NDMC asking for “action as per law” following reports that the official was allegedly murdered for refusing to take bribe from him.The statement issued by the Lieutenant Governor’s office said the Delhi Police arrested seven people within 24 hours, adding full recovery was made and further investigations are on.”Further, on receipt of a proposal from the Hon’ble Chief Minister, the Lt. Governor promptly approved a compensation of Rupees one crore to the family of the deceased officer,” the statement said.

NDMC murder case: Arvind Kejriwal rejects Maheish Girri’s open debate challenge

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday flatly refused BJP MP Maheish Girri’s demand of having an ‘open debate’ in the murder case of NDMC Officer MM Khan. He also used the occasion to train guns at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government at the Centre, saying the NDA regime’s criminal justice system allows a person to commit the crime and then sit in protest outside Kejriwal’s residence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Is there an open debate in a murder case? Is this the criminal justice system of the BJP wherein they allow the accused of a murder case to sit in protest in front of Kejriwal’s residence? I think this is the message of the Modi Government that anyone who commits a crime by killing a person should come and sit in protest in front of Kejriwal’s residence and then the big BJP leaders would come to support the accused,” Kejriwal said.”The police should arrest him (Maheish Girri) and should interrogate him as to what relations he had with the prime accused. It is the duty of the police to arrest and then start the investigation but they are unable to do that, because of the pressure from the BJP,” he said.The BJP lawmaker from East Delhi has been sitting on a hunger strike since Sunday with posters challenging Kejriwal for a debate.Girri earlier in the day said that his hunger strike would continue.”The hunger strike is going to continue. The Delhi Chief Minister has levelled baseless allegations of my involvement in NDMC official MM Khan’s murder,” he told ANI.”I will not even move from here till he comes out and I get justice,” he added.In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Kejriwal had accused the former of trying to “save” Girri and NDMC vice-chairman Karan Singh Tanwar in Khan’s murder case. Girri had asked Kejriwal for a public debate on his allegations.Khan was shot dead in Jamia Nagar on May 16, a day before he was scheduled to pass the final order on the lease terms of a hotel which was functioning on a property leased out by the civic body.

Arvind Kejriwal is scared of me; I have Subramanian Swamy’s support: Maheish Girri

The BJP has gone hammer and tongs against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for accusing BJP MP Maheish Girri of alleged involvement in the murder of NDMC’s legal officer MM Khan.

Protesting against the allegation, Girri has gone on a hunger strike in front of Kejriwal ‘s official residence at Civil Lines. In an interview with Debobrat Ghose of Firstpost, Girri speaks about the allegation, protest and what stand the BJP plans to take against the Delhi Chief Minister.


Q) Arvind Kejriwal has accused you of murder. What do you have to say on this?

A) I don’t know why he has levelled these allegations against me. Either Kejriwal should prove his allegations or should resign. It is a false allegation.

BJP MP Maheish Girri. Photo courtesy: Twitter @MaheishGirri

BJP MP Maheish Girri. Photo courtesy: Twitter @MaheishGirri

Q) Why is he targeting you?

A) Maybe Kejriwal is scared of me because he knows me from the days of India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, and because I also know several things about him.

Q) What is the truth behind this allegation?

A) I do not know. There may be some misunderstanding or it may be his modus operandi that he always adapts – of levelling charges against anyone and then running away (ye unki aadat hai ki aarop lagao aur bhag jao). This is his policy. Maybe he is using these tactics to divert the attention of the public from his failures. Kejriwal has blamed the President of India, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and others as agents of the central government or of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His tactic is to tell a lie hundred times and make it look like the truth.

Q) How long will you be on hunger-strike?

A) I am on hunger-strike since last afternoon, and would continue till Kejriwal comes out in public and proves his allegations or tenders his resignation.

Q) What stand BJP will take on this issue?

A) BJP President Amit Shah had called me and said that I have the party’s support. Senior leaders like Subramanian Swamy came here to express solidarity. I have the complete support of the party in this issue.

Q) AAP got embroiled in the controversy related to Parliamentary Secretary in which its 21 MLAs could get disqualified. What is your opinion on the issue?

A) AAP and its government is getting into controversies every day. Their MLAs are involved in corruption cases. To protect themselves, Kejriwal and company is levelling allegations against every other party.

Q) Are you going to take any legal action against Kejriwal?

A) I am in consultation with my lawyers to take legal action against Kejriwal. It may be in the form of a defamation suit as his allegations are baseless and false.

BJP vs Kejriwal: Swamy joins MP Mahesh Girri in protest against Delhi CM, calls him a ‘Naxalite’

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Monday joined party MP Mahesh Girri in a protest outside the residence of Arvind Kejriwal, demanding that the CM must prove his allegations regarding the murder of NDMC official MM Khan.Kejriwal, in a letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, had accused him of trying to ‘save’ Girri and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) vice-chairman Karan Singh Tanwar in Khan’s murder.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the media, Swamy said, “I have come here in support of Mahesh Giri because CM Kejriwal has levelled baseless allegations.””It is not at all surprising that Kejriwal and his people have levelled such baseless allegations. Kejriwal is influenced by Naxal ideology. He has been hiding this from the people. In his entire life, he has done frauds,” Swamy added.”I am sure Maheish Girri, who is an extremely religious man and has devoted his entire life to public service, will not do anything wrong,” he added.Girri had earlier asked Kejriwal for a public debate over his allegations. In a letter to Kejriwal on June 16, Girri had invited him to the Constitution Club to produce ‘evidence’ he had against him in the MM Khan murder case on Sunday.However, Kejriwal did not accept the challenge, following which, Girri, accompanied by his party supporters, reached the Chief Minister’s Flagstaff Road residence and sat on a hunger strike.The BJP MP has asked Kejriwal to either prove his charge against him or ‘resign’ from the post of Chief Minister.Khan, an estate officer of NDMC, was shot dead in Jamia Nagar on May 16, a day before he was scheduled to pass the final order on the lease terms of a hotel which was functioning on a property leased out by the civic body. (With agency inputs)

‘Anarchist’ Kejriwal liable for appointing 21 AAP MLAs: Congress

Coming down heavily on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Congress Party on Saturday said if bureaucrats had warned the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener of the situation where office of profit would be one of the issues, the former was responsible for deliberately appointing 21 party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.”When the bureaucrats have warned him of a situation where office of profit would be one of the issues involved, and essentially these were secretaries who were appointed to assists the ministers, whereas it is only meant for the Chief Minister as convention has had it. Now, the fact is that they were appointed to assist the ministers, but they were actually operating as Ministers of States, because they had overriding powers to enter into portfolios,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said wherever the 21 AAP MLAs went, they had additional empowerment and have been using the office, the Government of India telephones and a variety of facilities that were given to them.”This is a standard example of what an anarchist can do despite warnings coming in from bureaucracy. If he has done it, he is liable and his ministers and the parliamentary secretaries will have to pay a price for it,” he added.Amid ongoing furor over Kejriwal’s appointing 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal has admitted that he was ‘aware of the danger in which the MLAs were being put into’ and that is why ‘he had written to Kejriwal after his government issued a notification that the MLAs would be using staff cars’.”I did not warn Kejriwal, but it was a friendly kind of note, which I wrote to my IIT batch mate. I did not warn Kejriwal. When they declared that the 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, I did not apply my mind because the government had already applied its mind,” Saigal told ANI.”But when they issued another notification in newspapers that they would now use staff cars, then I did send a mail that it is not right, because I had earlier filed an application before the President, who had referred it to the Election Commission against one health minister, who was ex-official of AIIMS and he was also using this car,” he added.President Pranab Mukherjee refused his assent to a Delhi Government’s Bill seeking to exclude the post of parliamentary secretary from the office of profit, raising a question over the fate of 21 AAP MLAs, who have been appointed to the posts. The AAP Government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 through which it had sought ?retrospective? exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung forwarded the Bill to the Centre, which in turn was sent to the President with comments.

Was aware of Kejriwal putting 21 MLAs in ‘danger’: Former Delhi chief secy

Amid ongoing furor over Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appointing 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal has admitted that he was ‘aware of the danger in which the MLAs were being put into’ and that is why ‘he had written to Kejriwal after his government issued a notification that the MLAs would be using staff cars’.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to ANI, Saigal said he did not warn Kejriwal, but it was a ‘friendly kind of note’, which he wrote to his IIT batch mate. “I did not warn Kejriwal. When they declared that the 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, I did not apply my mind because the government had already applied its mind,” Saigal said. “But when they issued another notification in newspapers that they would now use staff cars, then I did send a mail that it is not right, because I had earlier filed an application before the President, who had referred it to the Election Commission against one health minister, who was ex-official of AIIMS and he was also using this car,” he added.The former chief secretary further said he knew that Kejriwal was putting his MLAs into danger. “So, I thought as an ex-Kharagpurian, it was my duty to send a warning kind of note. I don’t even know if it reached him, I didn’t pursue it. Frankly speaking, I don’t even remember it. I thought it was just a friendly advice,” he said.President Pranab Mukherjee refused his assent to a Delhi government’s Bill seeking to exclude the post of parliamentary secretary from the office of profit, raising a question over the fate of 21 AAP MLAs, who have been appointed to the posts.The AAP Government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 through which it had sought ‘retrospective’ exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung forwarded the Bill to the Centre, which in turn was sent to the President with comments.

Vijay Mallya case: Arun Jaitley says UK has slow extradition process

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said BJP does not want to “communalise or polarise” the UP elections, but the state government must address the issue if there is “even some evidence of migration” from Kairana.On why the government has not been able to bring back Vijay Mallya from the UK, Jaitley said, “Britain has one of the highest standards of civility in public life and therefore for Britain to become a heaven for any absconder out of India is something that I cannot fathom. “British government has taken a position that if you enter the Britain with a valid passport, then we are not going to deport a person, you come in by way of extradition. And conventionally they have been very slow and reluctant in extraditing people.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”And I think where you criticise the government of India, we can take all the steps but ultimately we can not physically lift an individual and bring him back. Well I only hope that the British government had realised that absconders in one jurisdiction can’t make a heaven in another jurisdiction. This is not civility. And this is not certainly British civility.” He further said that “a mistake in Mallya case took place years ago when he was given a second round of restructuring, when airline was bleeding, when he was not in position to serve interest…”Probably at that stage, somebody thought may be we give him a new lease of life. They never knew Mallya’s intention that one day he will disappear.” He also said that any agency must go through the entire transactions before filing any FIR or chargesheet and they go through possibility of any siphoning of money. “Create that evidence and then move the chargesheet or FIR, as without evidence they will end up with egg on their face. Therefore, what the agencies are doing is that they are independently investigating the matter, going through the entire records… Banks themselves have been running from pillar to post …””I think at the end of the day, the banking situation overall will retrieve. Mallya is a bad example because I think he has done more injustice to India’s private sector by making banks suspicious of borrowers. Banks should be enthusiastic in lending to borrowers,” he added.Jaitley also took on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, accusing his Aam Aadmi Party government of giving advertisements to only “friendly” media and not to the media houses that are critical. In an interview to Times Now, the senior BJP leader maintained that ‘Ram Mandir’ will not be made an electoral issue in UP, where assembly elections are due next year, and his party is not looking to polarise the state to win votes. A major controversy has erupted over alleged migration from Kairana in western UP, although the state administration has questioned any religion-specific migration there.”We don’t want in anyway to communalise or polarise the election, but if there is even some evidence of migration taking place from Kairana, it’s an important issue that the state government there must address it,” he said.Asked about the statements being made by some BJP leaders from the region, Jaitley said, “At the end of the day, whatever statements are made in public domain are in public domain. “But, I only tell you ultimately it is the party president who determines the stand of the party and therefore as far as electoral strategy of UP is concerned….”Even in earlier elections, even though BJP stands committed to build a temple in Ayodhya, we have always said that we are not going to make it an election issue. For us its much more than an election issue.” On another controversy surrounding the censor board and on whether its chief Pahlaj Nihalani would be sacked, Jaitley who also holds charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry said, “I am reasonably certain, that once we are able to announce those new guidelines (for Central Board of Film Certification), the roles of individuals will get diluted.”How to deal with the individuals, I think you should trust the government. The government will deal with them and advise restraint or take whatever appropriate action is required in the matter,” he said. He hinted that the new guidelines would be out in a couple of weeks. Asked about Kejriwal’s allegations that Delhi Lieutenant General Najeeb Jung was interfering in his work, Jaitley said Delhi was not a state but a union territory.”It is the seat of the central government… Can we have a Union Territory which says we will bypass LG? Senior bureaucrats are not willing to serve Delhi…It’s a historic opportunity for AAP to perform and govern…you have do your function through LG,” he said. He said, “There are several non-BJP state governments in the country but “one union territory behaves as if it has absolute power.I think what has happened in Delhi is constitutional monstrosity”.On Subramanian Swamy’s attack on RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, Jaitley said some people are “outspoken” but it has been more than adequately clarified this was not the party’s position. “Let me make it very clear that when this statement about the RBI Governor was made, I had publicly disagreed, Venkaiah Naidu made a statement publicly disagreeing with it and then the party president Amit Shah made a statement that this is not a party position. Now, some people are more outspoken and therefore speak their mind out. The others remain more conventional about it,” he said.

Water tanker scam: Sheila Dikshit says allegations ‘politically motivated’

Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who is under the scanner for her alleged role in the water tanker scam worth Rs. 400 crores, on Friday said the allegations being levelled against her are ‘politically motivated’.”I am absolutely clean, all due procedures were followed. These allegations are all politically motivated. They should find out the facts. Even today, those tankers are being used. It was for the service for the people of Delhi. Where does the question of scam come to picture? These allegations are all politically motivated,” Dikshit said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The decisions regarding Jal board are taken collectively, including the CEOs, BJP members, MCD members. Everyone took the decision collectively. And why was the report sent to the ACB, only the Lieutenant Governor and Kejriwal ji can answer this,” she added. The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) will probe the former Delhi chief minister for her alleged role in the water tanker scam. This came after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung forwarded the Delhi Government’s complaint of water tanker scam against Dikshit to the ACB on Thursday. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier this week demanded registration of a case against his predecessor. Addressing the Delhi Assembly on Monday, Kejriwal said: “Now that we have submitted a report on the scam to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lt Governor Najeeb jung, the former should ensure that Sheila Dikshit is sent to jail within two months.”Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party Government had in June last year constituted a fact-finding committee to probe the irregularities in hiring some 385 stainless steel water tankers by the Delhi Jal Board in 2012 during the Congress’ rule.

Kejriwal hits out at Modi, Congress over secretary issue

The Aam Aadmi Party government on Wednesday hit back at the BJP and Congress over their demand to disqualify the 21 AAP legislators appointed as parliamentary secretaries. Addressing the media, chief minister Arvind Kerjriwal appointment of MLAs to the post of parliamentary secretaries is ‘legal’ when they do it but ‘illegal’ when AAP does it.“When BJP used to have parliamentary secretaries, then its ‘legal’ but when we do it, its illegal said Kejriwal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kejriwal said that even during the Congress rule, the then chief minister Sheila Dixit appointed present Congress state unit chief Ajay Maken as a parliamentary secretary.However, the chief minister did not speak about his government’s decision to put forward the bill on the amendment to Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 as an ordinary bill, while in all likelihood, it is a money bill. According to constitutional experts, a money bill requires prior approval of the lieutenant governor before being presented at the Delhi assembly.“The difference between the AAP and the Congress in this respect was the erstwhile Sheila Dixit government had passed the bill for appointment of parliamentary secretaries as a money bill with the approval of the LG, since there were monetary expenses on emoluments. But the AAP government, in order to surpass the LG, had not presented this bill as a money bill, because of which the President refused his assent,” an expert said.However, Kejriwal in the case of former BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma, rightly pointed out that he appointed a legislator as his parliamentary secretary in 1997, without taking the money bill route, taking the opposition on his side. “It is okay when the BJP does it. But when AAP does it, it becomes unconstitutional,” Kejriwal said, adding his predecessor Sheila Dixit had also appointed Ajay Maken as her parliamentary secretary when she was the chief minister. He went on to request Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi with ‘folded hands’ to target him instead of making the people of Delhi suffer.“Want to request Modiji with folded hands that do whatever you want to me but don’t let the people of Delhi suffer,” said Kejriwal.Kejriwal praised his team of parliamentary secretaries for their work towards the completion of 8,000 new classrooms and mohalla clinics. The Aam Aadmi Party is currently embroiled in a controversy over the appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries after president Pranab Mukherjee rejected a draft bill proposing to exempt parliamentary secretary from “office of profit”.

After Pulgaon fire, Army Eastern Command reviews ammunitions depot

Close to a week after a massive fire broke out at one of Asia’s biggest ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon, the Army Eastern Command Headquarters reviewed security checks at its ammunition depot, said Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander on Monday.“One accident that could have been catastrophic was restricted. However, we lost two officers. It was restricted to one shed. It was accident which was beyond our control. We have done a quick review of our own, I will not mention where they are, but you are aware. All security checks have been done and they are absolutely safe. There is no such thing as unsafe. I would like to ensure all, that everything is safe,” said Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander on the sidelines of the veterans’ helpline launch at the Fort William, Eastern Command Headquarters on Monday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, a massive fire broke out at the ammunition depot of Maharashtra’s Pulgaon. As many as 18 people were reported dead, including two officers.

Kiran Bedi takes oath as Lt Governor of Puducherry

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi on Sunday assumed charge as the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. Senior judge of the Madras High Court Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh administered the oath of office and secrecy to 66-year-old Bedi at Raj Nivas.Bedi is the fourth woman Lt Governor of the Union Territory, a post which was under the additional charge of Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island for nearly two years. Chief Secretary to Puducherry government Manoj Parida earlier read out the her warrant of appointment issued by President Pranab Mukherjee.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister designate V Narayanasamy, former Chief Ministers N Rangasamy, R V Janakiraman and M D R Ramachandran, PCC president A Namassivayam, elected legislators, Member of Lok Sabha Radhakrishnan, N Gokulakrishnan (Rajya Sabha), French Consul General Philippe Janvier Kamiyama and former Ministers were among those who witnessed the ceremony.The LG’s post in the Union territory had been lying vacant after the Narendra Modi Government removed UPA nominee Virendra Kataria on July 12 barely a year after he had been appointed. Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island Lt Gen Ajay Singh had been given additional charge of Puducherry.Born on June 9, 1949, Bedi, the country’s first woman IPS officer, had led the BJP campaign in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections but had to face the worst defeat in her maiden political innings with Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP winning 67 of the 70 seats.An IPS officer of 1972 batch, Bedi had sought voluntary retirement from the service in 2007. She was then posted as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development. A sports lover and an author, Bedi is a recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award as well as UN Medal for outstanding service. She was one of the pioneers of anti-corruption movement in 2011 along with Anna Hazare and Kejriwal.Chandrawathi was the first woman Lt Governor and she held office for a short period from February to December 1990. The next woman LG was Rajendra Kumari Bajpai who held the office from 1995 to 1998 and she was followed by Rajani Rai from 1998 to 2002.

Congo student’s murder: VK Singh to meet heads of African Missions

In wake of the brutal murder of a Congolese youth in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj on May 20, the government has decided that Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK Singh would be meeting the African Heads of Missions every three months.According to sources, General (Retd.) Singh, who met the Dean and a few representatives of African HOMs on Thursday, strongly condemned the murder of the African student and assured them strongest legal action would be taken against the accused. Sources also said that both Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma are pursuing the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has also been decided that the Minister of State for External Affairs will also do an outreach event with the African students along with concerned Embassies to reassure them of safety. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier said that has asked her colleague in the MEA to meet the heads of missions of African countries in the national capital and assure them of the government’s commitment to safety and security of African nationals in India.
ALSO READ Congo student’s murder: African community seeks strong action; Swaraj says committed to their safetyEarlier on May 21, the Delhi Police detained one person in connection with the murder case. 23-year-old Olivia was on his was home when he got into an argument with three to four persons. The argument later led to a fight after which the African youth was chased and beaten with sticks and stones. He was then rushed to a nearby private hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
ALSO READ New Delhi: Police arrests another youth in Congolese national murder caseThe police have launched a probe into the matter and are trying to ascertain whether the attack was racially motivated, a fight turning ugly, a robbery attempt or a case of personal enmity. The cops are also looking for any CCTV footage that might have recorded this brutal act.

Toll Tales | Huge rise in number of exempted vehicles in just a year: IRB report

In the 130km stretch between Charoti and Boriach on the Dahisar-Surat highway, the number of vehicles being exempted from paying toll has only gone up, in some cases by a whopping 1,48,440%.As per the rules of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), vehicles exempted from paying toll tax include those of the president, vice-president, Central and state ministers, leaders of Opposition, MPs, speakers of Union and state legislatures, foreign dignitaries on state visit, lieutenant governors of Union territories, defence, police, emergency, and central and state government vehicles on duty, among others.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Maharashtra, the number of vehicles exempted from toll at the Khaniwade plaza has shot up tremendously. This was observed during a traffic count done between February 22 and March 20 in 2016. During the same period last year, only 20 vehicles were allowed to pass without paying toll. In 2016, however, the number swelled to an astonishing 29,708 – a rise of 1,48,440%.Also read: Toll Tales | Motorists argue and drive away without paying toll on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway: IRB reportAs per the data accessed by dna, between February 22 and March 20, 2015, a total of 3,672 vehicles were exempted from paying toll at Boraich plaza near Valsad in Gujarat. This number swelled to 13,100 this year – a rise of 256.75%.At Charoti plaza near Dahanu in Maharashtra, there was a 9.25% increase in the number of exempted vehicles in a year. Last year, 10,738 automobiles were given free access as compared to 10,738 vehicles between February 22 and March 20 this year.What is interesting to note is that the vehicles falling under the exempted category also include buses, trucks, light commercial vehicles and Multi-Axle Vehicles (MAV). For example, during the same spell of 28 days last year, only 25 MAVs were exempted as per the NHAI rules, but this year, the figure rose to 432. The movement of cars, too, increased manifold, from 3,054 last year to 11,368 light utility vehicles.The IRB Surat-Dahisar Tollway Private Limited is handling the data and toll management on the highway, and this period will expire on February 19, 2021. The agency has maintained silence over the subject of exempted vehicles.

Kiran Bedi appointed Lt Governor of Puducherry

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday appointed former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.Bedi will succeed Lieutenant General (Retd.) Ajay Kumar Singh, who was appointed in July 2013. He was given additional responsibility of the administration of Puducherry in July 2014.In the recently concluded assembly elections in Puducherry, the Congress won 15 and its ally DMK won two out of 30 seats. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bedi, who became the first woman to join the IPS in 1972, remained in service for 35 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2007 as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development.The former IPS officer was also the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2014 Delhi Assembly polls. Bedi contested from the Krishna Nagar seat in east Delhi, considered a BJP stronghold, but failed to win the elections.

Jayalalithaa to be sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM on 23 May

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah on Saturday invited Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to form the government after she apprised him of her election as leader of AIADMK Legislature Party.

She will be sworn in Chief Minister along with 28 others, including her trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister in the outgoing Cabinet O Panneerselvam, on 23 May in a function at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.

File photo of Jayalalitha. PTIFile photo of Jayalalitha. PTI

File photo of Jayalalitha. PTI

She called on Rosaiah at the Raj Bhavan and submitted a letter informing him of her election as Leader of the AIADMK legislature party. Later, Rosaiah congratulated her and gave a letter inviting her to form the government.

“Jayalalithaa furnished a list of persons to be appointed Ministers in her Cabinet which was approved by Governor Rosaiah,” an official release from the Raj Bhavan said.

Jayalalithaa will have portfolios of Home and All India Services including the IAS, public and general administration, stated the release.

Panneerselvam will be the Minister for Finance, Personnel and Administrative Reforms again, while former MP Dindigul Srinivasan will be the Minister for Forests. Several of the sitting Ministers have been named to hold offices again including P Thangamani (Electricity), S P Velumani (Municipal Administration and Rural Development), Edappadi K Palaniswami (Public Works), K T Rajenthra Bhalaji (Rural Industries), R B Udhayakumar (Revenue), S P Shanmuganathan (Milk and Dairy Development), and K C Veeramani (Commercial Taxes), the release said.

Including Jayalalithaa, there will be four women in the Cabinet besides three medical doctors. Deputy Mayor of Chennai Corporation P Benjamin, who won from Maduravoyal here amid tough competition from DMK, has been named Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare. M R Vijayabaskar will be Transport Minister. Edappadi K Palaniswami has been allocated Public Works in addition to the portfolios of Highways and Minor Ports, which he held in the outgoing Cabinet. Sellur K Raju will head Cooperation again besides Labour, it said.

2008 Malegaon blasts: Court of Inquiry papers will prove my husband’s innocence, Col Purohit’s wife

Aparna Purohit, the wife of Indian Army Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who is lodged in Mumbai’s Taloja central jail facing trial for his role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, has claimed that all the three Commanding Officers (COs), he worked under between 2005-08 has testified in his favour during the Court of Inquiry (CoI) proceedings.Speaking exclusively to dna, she said “Once the court goes through the entire CoI papers, it will prove that my husband was involved only up to the extent of gathering intelligence for the Army and his seniors were in constant loop. During the CoI, his superiors have admitted to this.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that filed a fresh charge sheet in the case in a Mumbai court while dropped charges against activist Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others accused in the case citing lack of evidence, it sought prosecution of Purohit and nine others. Purohit has been charged for criminal conspiracy and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and the Explosive substance Act but absolved of any charge under the stricter anti-terror law, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act or MCOCA.Pragya and Purohit have been called the face of saffron terror by the Congress.”CoI will prove key to his exoneration,” Aparna who recently got a copy of it after “approaching the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and courts for more than five years” said.”But a large part of the inquiry details have been blackened citing Official Secrets Act. It is these portions that hold the key for us,” she said.Army has told the court that it will provide it a fresh set of the document without blackening sensitive portions in a sealed envelope as and when the court would need it.”We know which part is blackened. Once the court gets the entire CoI document, we will plead to the judge to read those parts. It will prove that whatever he did was to gather intelligence keeping the army seniors in the loop. He did not do this in his individual capacity, something that we have been maintaining all along,” she said.On April 22, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that Purohit will be made available the documents he sought to prove his innocence in the blasts at the communally sensitive Maharashtra town that killed seven and injured 80 people.Purohit wrote to Parrikar on April 4, asking for his the documents to support his claims in court. In his letter, he claimed that “the meetings termed as conspiracy meetings were duly reported by me before, during and after their conduct.”In November 2008, Purohit, who formerly worked in military intelligence unit was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for his alleged role in the Malegaon blasts conspired purportedly by Hindu radicals in September the same year. Purohit allegedly came in contact with Upadhyay when posted at Deolali near Nashik in Maharashtra as a liaison unit officer.

Still recovering in AIIMS, Sushma Swaraj asks for report from Lt Guv in Delhi cab molestation case

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday sought a report from Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on the alleged molestation of a 23-year-old Belgian woman by a cab driver in Delhi on Sunday. Swaraj said the government was committed to the safety of all foreign nationals in the country.”I have asked Lt Governor Delhi for a report on the molestation of a Belgian girl by a cab driver,” the Minister said on Twitter. “We are committed to the safety and security of all foreign nationals in India,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>I have asked Lt Governor Delhi for a report on the molestation of a Belgian girl by a Cab driver. /1
May 8, 2016We are committed to the safety and security of all foreign nationals in India./2
May 8, 2016The Belgian woman was allegedly molested by an Ola cab driver in south east Delhi’s CR Park area last night with police arresting the accused hours later. The accused, Raj Singh, is a native of Rajasthan’s Alwar district. Ola has also terminated the driver from its platform.The woman, who identified herself as a translator, told police that she had booked the cab from Gurgaon on the outskirts of the city and during the journey the cab driver allegedly molested her. “The driver deliberately took the wrong route after Hauz Khas and when the woman told him that she will ask her friend, he took her phone and deleted all the records related to Ola,” a senior police official said. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, is being treated for pneumonia at AIIMS in Delhi. She is recovering and is likely to be discharged from the hospital soon.”Swaraj is recovering from pneumonia and her condition is stable. Her health condition is being monitored by a team of specialists and she is likely to be discharged soon,” said a senior doctor at AIIMS. The doctor said it is likely that she contracted the infection due to extreme temperatures during her travels.The 64-year-old Union minister was admitted to AIIMS on April 25 after she complained of chest congestion and fever. She is undergoing treatment in the Cardio-Neuro Centre of the hospital.

Samjhauta blast case: Supreme Court refuses Col Purohit’s plea, askes him to approach High Court

Refusing to entertain the plea of Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, who had challenged the framing of charges against him in the trial court, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the former to approach the High Court.NIA chief Sharad Kumar had last week said that Lieutenant Colonel Purohit was not involved in the Samjhauta express blast, adding that no evidence was found against him. Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, who is one of the main accused in the Samjhauta and Malegaon blasts cases, is presently in jail for over seven years. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He had written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on April 4 requesting restoration of his honour. In his letter, he claimed that he was falsely implicated and has been behind the bars for more than seven years now.
ALSO READ Enquiry paper validate some claims of Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Purohit: ReportThe case pertains to a criminal conspiracy, which resulted in bomb blasts in the Samjhauta Express train near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007. The blast and the consequent fire in the train resulted in the loss of 68 lives and injuries to 12 train passengers, including women and children.

AAP praises Lt Guv Najeeb Jung for his ‘courageous’ remark on Bharat Mata slogan row

The AAP, which is often at odds with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, on Tuesday praised him for his “courageous” comments that ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ debate was “manufactured and people cannot be forced to chant it”. AAP leaders led by Delhi Convener Dilip Pandey, along with party spokespersons Deepak Bajpai and Richa Pandey Mishra, and legislators Amanatullah (Okhla), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Sanjeev Jha (Burari) and Rajendra Gautam (Seemapuri) today went to meet Jung to “appreciate his public stand against the divisive politics” Pandey said irrespective of party’s differences with the Lieutenant Governor, AAP appreciates “the courage shown by Jung.” “The BJP and the RSS have unleashed it’s frontal organisations to create an atmosphere of fear and intolerance. In these circumstances, coming out and expressing his dissent against RSS-BJP’s politics of hatred is an act of unparalleled courage, especially for a person holding the office of Lieutenant Governor. It compelled us to appreciate his public stand,” Pandey said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bajpai said, “When BJP president Amit Shah is issuing open threats and issuing certificates of patriotism, LG came out and said that every Indian has a right to refuse to bow down under pressure.”
ALSO READ Bharat Mata slogan issue is manufactured, says Najeeb JungThe Lieutenant Governor had said in a television interview that the debate over ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ was “manufactured and no one can be forced to say anything.” Jung said there was a difference between raising slogans hailing the motherland and those praising the almighty, including ‘Allah’.”People are losing the nuances of the words. Saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is different from worshipping any deity or Allah or god. It’s a matter of pride for a person belonging to any country to love his country and, therefore, would be absolutely happy to say ‘madre-watan zindabad’, ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ or whatever,” he said.

Odd-even rule second phase: Women, cars carrying school children exempted

Delhi government on Monday issued a notification on the fortnight-long odd-even car-rationing scheme that comes into force from April 15, but there is still no clarity as to how parents would pick up their children from schools during the implementation period.The Arvind Kejriwal government has decided to exempt women and cars carrying school-children in uniform in the second round of the road-rationing plan. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that there are cases where a child may not be in the car on one side of the journey and it will cause a little trouble to parents.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kejriwal advised parents to explore the car-pooling option or “adjust” their children with neighbours as there will be just nine working days during the scheme.In the notification, the city government said violation of odd-even rules will attract a fine of Rs 2,000 in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 194 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Other exemptions include VIP and CNG cars, cases of medical emergency and cars carrying disabled persons.”Delhi has more than nine million registered vehicles and the vehicular pollution is a major source of air pollution in Delhi…The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on being satisfied that further steps are required to control vehicular pollution caused by non-transport four-wheeled vehicles (motor cars etc.), hereby orders in the interest of public safety that the following prohibitory/restrictive measures shall be in vogue in the area of National Capital Territory of Delhi,” the notification, issued in the name of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, said.”The notification shall come into force with effect from 15th April, 2016 and will remain in force till 30th April, 2016,” it said.On Saturday, Chief Minister Kejriwal had said that his government was “seriously” mulling a proposal to enforce the odd-even scheme for 15 days every month.Transport Minister Gopal Rai said Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) have geared up to tackle any extra rush as commuters turn to public conveyance during the period when the odd-even scheme is in force.”Metro will increase its trips to 3,248 per day and add 30 coaches. Extra security personnel would be deployed and number of ticket counters at metro stations would be increased,” he said.

Court reserves order on plea against Kejriwal over MCD claims

A city court on Thursday reserved order on a complaint seeking lodging of an FIR against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly misleading people by saying that municipal corporations are not under the AAP government’s control.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Munish Markan fixed July 2 for pronouncement of the order after hearing the complaint seeking direction to the SHO of Karawal Nagar police station in North East Delhi to register an FIR against Kejriwal under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC. The complaint, filed by Brijesh Shukla of Swaraj Janta Party, has claimed that Kejriwal had come out with a full-page advertisement in newspapers in October last saying there were misunderstandings regarding a strike by MCD employees and he wanted to make it clear that it was wrong to say that the corporations come under the Delhi government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In November 2015, I filed an RTI with Delhi government which in its reply has said that the corporations are under its control. Action should be initiated against him (Kejriwal) for misleading people and spending public money for spreading lies,” the complainant said.Shukla claimed he had also filed complaints to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Lieutenant Governor seeking lodging of FIR against Kejriwal for allegedly misappropriating public fund.He claimed that no action was taken by the police on his complaint.

‘Naxalite’ Kejriwal cannot be taken seriously: Subramanian Swamy

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday described Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as a ‘Naxalite’ who was supporting anti-national elements while accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of surrendering to Pakistan.BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told ANI here, “Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress, they are all opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party. That man (Arvind Kejriwal) is a Naxalite, he will say anything at any time. If we take a hard line on Pakistan, he will say, why have you taken a hard line?. If you take a soft line on Pakistan, he will say, they have invited Pakistan and all that? That man is a complete 420 (cheat). How can I take him seriously?”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Indian and Pakistan officials met at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in Delhi to take stock of the probe into the Pathankot attack, opposition parties slammed the government for giving the Pakistani team, ‘unfettered access’ to the Pathankot air base.The five-member Pakistani Joint Investigating team (JIT) is headed by Chief of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Tahir Rai and comprises Lahore’s Deputy Director General, Intelligence Bureau, Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Lieutenant-Colonel Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence official Lieutenant-Colonel Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer, Shahid Tanveer.Following inputs from the Ministry of Home Affairs about a possible threat to the JIT by the Islamic fundamentalist organizations based in Pakistan and their proxies in India, the Punjab Police made arrangements to provide 25 bulletproof cars to ferry them and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials in Pathankot and to areas close to the border.The note was sent after the JIT members arrived in India, sparking a political storm over whether they should be given access to the airbase.

Pathankot attack: Hafiz Saeed could be part of Pakistan probe team, says Shiv Sena

With the five-member Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan having reached Pathankot to begin probe into the terror attack on the Indian Air Force Base, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday slammed the Centre for ‘welcoming’ the team which also has a member from the ISI, saying that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed could also be a part of the team and no one would know.”This is exactly what will happen in our country. Those who have come from Pakistan, be it terrorists, cricketers or artists will always get security while our people keep getting killed. Our soldiers who are dying every day at the hands of Pakistan will never get any security. Everyone knows that Pakistan in involved in the Pathankot attack, even after that the JIT team gets special treatment, then it is an insult to the nation,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to the fact that an ISI officer was also part of the team, he added mockingly that Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar could come to India as part of the team and no one will ever know.”This is completely our failure that we have called them here. What will Pakistan do? They are the guilty party and they are going to investigate? The nation is laughing,” Raut added,Asserting that India has always been on the back foot when it came to Pakistan, the Shiv Sena leader said that the team’s very arrival in India was a security threat and asked if India would be allowed to go to Islamabad to carry out the same kind of probe.”Can our team go to Pakistan and probe? Will their security agencies allow India’s team to visit Kasab’s house and the terrorist camps? We have always been on the back foot when it has come to Pakistan. We make a lot of big talk but when it comes to work, we flake out,” Raut said.Meanwhile, the Pakistan team arrived at Pathankot to massive protests by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).Chanting slogans against the Centre and holding placards saying ‘Pak JIT go back’ the protestors also waved black flags and reached the gates of the Air Base, where defence personnel were seen trying to restrain them and stop them from entering the restricted area.”First they come here and attack on our soil bleeding us and they pretend that they are trying to get justice. Congress will never stand this farce,” Harinder Kaur, a protestor told ANI.The five-member Pakistani JIT is headed by Chief of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Tahir Rai and comprises Lahore’s Deputy Director General, Intelligence Bureau, Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Lieutenant-Colonel Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence official Lieutenant-Colonel Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer, Shahid Tanveer.

Pathankot attack: Meeting between Joint Investigation Team, NIA underway

The meeting between National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials and a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan, which arrived here yesterday to probe the deadly terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force Base, is currently underway at the NIA headquarter.According to sources, the JIT comprises of Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) AIG Rai Tahir as convener, Intelligence Bureau Lahore Deputy Director General Azim Arshad, Lt. Col Tanvir Ahmed of the ISI, Lt, Col Irfan Mirza of MI and Gujranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The team would visit Pathankot on March 29.The NIA investigators are expected to seek details on arrests in Pakistan and the action it has taken on the basis of intercepted telephone call records handed over by NSA Ajit Doval to his Pakistani counterpart, Lieutenant General Nasir Janjua.This is for the first time in over two -and- a- half decades that Pakistan will be joining investigations in a terror attack, which was executed by Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants.The Indian authorities are still working on modalities authorities. As of now, it is said that they will not go by road and will only fly to Pathankot.Reports state that the team’s movement would be restricted only to the area of the engagement between security forces and JeM terrorists.On January 2, terrorists attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.Four terrorists were killed and two security personnel were martyred in the gun battle.

Missing soldier’s body recovered from under snow in Ladakh

A day after a massive avalanche hit the army patrol; the rescuers recovered the body of a missing solider from under the huge mounds of snow in the Turtuk Sector in Ladakh region on Saturday.Rifleman Sunil Rai along with Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang were buried under huge mounds of snow when an avalanche swept away army patrol on March 25. Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang who was retrieved immediately succumbed to his injuries in the hospital on Friday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mortal remains of Rifleman Sunil Raj were recovered by rescue teams from deep under the snow on Saturday morning.”The mortal remains of the soldiers are being evacuated from the area of the avalanche. Later a wreath laying ceremony will be conducted to honour the martyrs. Thereafter, they will be transported by air to their native places where they will be accorded funerals with full military honours,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command.Hailing from Lopshu village in Darjeeling tehsil of West Bengal, Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang is survived by his wife, a six-year-old daughter and his parents.Rifleman Sunil Rai of Lower Sontook Lungbhung Algarah village of Darjeeling, West Bengal, is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.General Officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-in-C) Northern Command Lieutenant General DS Hooda expressed his deep condolences to the families of the martyrs. “The Indian Army fraternity stands shoulder to shoulder with the bereaved families in their hour of grief,” he said.This is second time in a week when an avalanche has hit the Indian Army troopers in the cold desert of Ladakh. On March 17 an avalanche hit the army post situated at the altitude of 17,500 feet in the Kargil sector. Two soldiers, who were on surveillance duty, were swept away by the avalanche. One of the soldiers was immediately rescued while the body of another was retrieved from under the snow three days later.

Now, Delhi Police raises safety, security concerns over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s cultural extravaganza

The Delhi Police has raised serious security concerns over the World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living foundation on the Yamuna floodplains.A DCP rank officer, who inspected the venue on March 1 along with his team, in a report submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development, Art of Living, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma raised serious question about the preparation and safety arrangements.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report said that only one pontoon bridge is being prepared as opposed to seven, as proposed earlier, and the work on second bridge was still on. A pontoon bridge can at best be used by 15, 000 people in an hour, but the number of people expected to turn up for the event is around 2.5 to three lakh people, the report added.
ALSO READ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival on Delhi floodplain riles environmentalist, worries policeThe report pointed out the absence of wire meshing on pontoon bridge, which is a key to prevent the people from falling in the event of a stampede.The report raised questions about inadequate parking arrangements and the uneven road leading to the parking bay.
ALSO READ Sri Sri extravaganza: NGT poses hard questions to Centre over World Culture Festival The report questions ‘structural stability’ of the main stage while stating that no structural stability certificate was given to the organizers by either the CPWD or the DDA.The report also raises serious concerns about the security arrangements near the main stage, where the VVIPS, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would be seated.Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) will today continue to hear the plea seeking to stop construction of temporary structure on the Yamuna floodplains for the event.A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swantanter Kumar had yesterday asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to file an affidavit today and tell why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures.Earlier, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had defended the event, saying not a single tree has been cut and the ecological stability has been maintained during the preparations.The World Culture Festival is scheduled to be held from March 11 to 13.

AMU minority status: VC hopeful of ‘positive action’ by PM Modi

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) vice chancellor Lieutenant General (retired) Zameer Uddin Shah, who led a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over questions being raised on varsity’s minority status, on Saturday expressed hope that the Prime Minister would take ‘positive action’ in the matter.Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Shah said that they apprised Prime Minister Modi of the role AMU is playing in the country. “I explained to PM that Janata govt of which BJP was part, in manifesto of 1980, had supported minority character of AMU. We told the Prime Minister that we’ve been trying to meet HRD Minister for one and a half years, there’s a meeting scheduled for March 10,”he said. “The Prime Minister has assured us that he will look into our requests and we have faith that he will take positive actions,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The delegation that met the Prime Minister also comprised of director of Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis Jasim Mohammad and Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had recently advised the government that Jamia Milia Islamia is not a minority institution, as it was created by an Act of Parliament.
ALSO READ BJP defends its position as lawyers and judges argue for AMU’s minority statusSeveral politicians from opposition parties had earlier issued a joint statement, condemning the Central Government’s questioning the minority status of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim Universities. The issue of restoration of minority character of AMU is at present pending with the Supreme Court but what has triggered off the protests is the Centre’s recent decision to reverse the UPA regime’s stand of supporting the university in the apex court on this issue.

Delegation led by Aligarh Muslim University VC to meet PM Modi today

A delegation led by Aligarh Muslim University vice chancellor Lieutenant General (retired) Zameer Uddin Shah and director of Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis Jasim Mohammad will on Saturday meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The delegation also comprises AMU’s Pro-V-Brig (retd) S.A Ali and Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq.The issues likely to be discussed in the meeting include restoration of minority character of the AMU which is at present pending before court.

Fate of Kanhaiya Kumar bail plea to be decided today

The High Court on Tuesday issued a notice and directed the Delhi Police to file its status report by today on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea. Kanhaiya has been arrested on charges of sedition in connection with a February 9 event where apparently anti-national slogans were raised.Justice Pratibha Rani who heard Kanhaiya’s bail plea also heard JNU students and fellow accused Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya’s plea for surrender.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interesting turn of events, a late night unofficial note (usually meant for inter-departmental communication according to the Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure) issued by the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung appointed advocate Additional Solicitor Generals Shailendra Babbar and Tushar Mehta as Special Public Prosecutor for this case. This was done despite the police having its own panel of notified lawyers led by Rahul Mehra, Delhi Government’s Senior Standing Counsel. “They (ASGs representing Delhi police) have crossed all ‘Lakshman Rekha’. As a standing counsel, I am not allowed to argue and they are here on LG’s unofficial order,” Mehra said.During the court proceedings for Kanhaiya’s bail application, Mehta stated that since it was a pre-charge sheet bail application, police should be allowed to filed the status report in a sealed cover. Justice Rani rejected these claims and said, “No sealed cover is required since it is just a bail application and an advanced copy must be supplied to the petitioners who have the right to know (why police has opposed the bail).”Mehra however, stated that since Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi had issued a statement saying Kanhaiya’s bail would not be opposed, “the status report should be filed by commissioner’s officer.”Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Rebecca John who appeared for Kanhaiya argued: “As far as Kanhaiya is concerned he is no longer in police custody since the investigation is over.” They went on to argue that Kanhaiya was merely the president of the student union not the organiser of the event in question and appeared on the scene only when he was informed about a ruckus by the security.After the court’s hearing, ASG Sanjay Jain told reporters that police will oppose Kanhaiya’s bail plea during Wednesday’s hearing.To prevent a repeat of the violence that has marred Kumar’s court appearances, police personnel beefed up security inside and outside the courtroom. Entry for the brief hearing that started at 10:30 am sharp and lasted less than ten minutes was restricted to lawyers of the case and six media persons.Khalid and Bhattacharya moved court seeking security and wished to surrender themselves before the High Court also requesting for direct judicial custody. Justice Rani who also heard this case denied safety to the students till they surrender, and declined the request to surrender in the high court.”Due procedure must be followed,” Justice Rani stated and On providing safety in police custody, she added: “It is for the trial court to decide.”After advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the students, told the court that students need safe passage to surrender, Justice Rani retorted: “What do you mean I should give you safe passage? Why this court (not trial court)? Let us go by the procedure. Everything can’t be at your whims and fancies.””Tell me where you want to surrender. Just give me the place (other than the high court) and time (details of which will be between petitioners’ advocate, and court),” the court said, adding that she (Justice Rani) will appoint an officer for their surrender.Lawyers representing Khalid and Bhattacharya provided the relevant details to Justice Rani, and the court then asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police Prem Nath, present there, about his views. Nath claimed he had reservations about the location provided by the petitioners and went on to add that the reasons for which would be given to the court in chambers.Justice Rani, Nath and counsel for the petitioners then briefly met in chambers for around 15 minutes. After the meeting, Justice Rani came out and stated that the case would be heard on Wednesday.Jaiswal sought safety passage to surrender and told the court that the students are constantly receiving “life threats” while the police did nothing to protect them.”Allow the petitioners to surrender before the high court and take them to judicial custody at this court,” the plea said, adding: “Direct police to ensure the petitioners’ safe passage from the JNU till the precincts of this court.”Jaiswal mentioned the violent incidents that took place during the remand proceedings of Kanhaiya Kumar, where lawyers attacked him, the journalists along with the JNU students and teachers.The Supreme Court had asked Bassi to personally look into the safety issue in the case though despite that order Kanhaiya was attacked, Jaiswal told the court.Khalid and Bhattacharya, along with three others, had gone missing from the JNU campus since February 12 when Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in the sedition case. The five resurfaced in the JNU campus late Sunday night.An anticipatory bail application has also been moved in the High Court by JNU student Rama Naga and two others who are also named in the FIR, however, the matter is yet to be listed.

David Headley’s testimony confirms close nexus between ISI & LeT: Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam

Pakistan’s spy agency ISI provides financial, moral as well as military support to terror outfits like the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, said David Coleman Headley while revealing more information in the Mumbai court with regard to the 26/11 terror attacks.Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who took the examination of the Pakistani-American terrorist, said, “David Headley has given certain sensitive revelations. Firstly, he disclosed his close association with the ISI and said that he was working for them also. He said that he knew Brigadier Riaz, Colonel Shah. He also said that he knew Lieutenant Colonel Hamza and Major Samar Ali,” Nikam added. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nikam further said Headley in his testimony confirmed that the ISI and LeT have a close nexus with each other. “I did ask him on what grounds he was saying that. He said the ISI provides financial, moral as well as military support to the LeT,” he said.The public prosecutor said that Headley, in his examination through video conferencing from an undisclosed location in the United States, said that during his continuous visit to Mumbai, he surveyed various places like the CST Railway Station as well as the Naval airbase, police headquarter building, Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi and Siddhivinayak Temple. “Clearing my query as to why did he video graph the second floor of Hotel Taj, he said that LeT wanted to attack on the particular day when the Indian Scientist Conference was going to be held,” Nikam said. He however, said that they were not successful in implementing their plan as they could not get the weapons in time. Continuing his deposition for the second consecutive day, Headley said that he was asked by the ISI to recruit Indian army men to spy for them. Headley said that he also advised the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, Hafiz Saeed, and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi to ‘legally challenge’ the US ban on Lashkar. Headley testified for over five hours yesterday and described the role of ISI officers in collaborating with the Lashkar for the terror attack, which left 166 people dead in Mumbai.In his first deposition yesterday, Headley said that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strike but failed both times. Describing himself as a ?true follower? of the LeT, he also admitted that he joined the ranks of LeT after getting ?influenced and motivated? by the speeches of Hafiz Saeed.

HC to hear AAP’s appeal against stay on scrapping of management quota in nursery admissions

Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear AAP government’s appeal against its single judge’s order partially staying a notification scrapping management quota and some other criteria in nursery admissions in private unaided schools.The Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) has in its appeal contended that its January 6 order scrapping various admission criteria and management quota “was validly and lawfully” issued to ensure that admissions to entry-level classes like nursery are made in a “fair and reasonable” manner.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its plea, listed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, the DoE has said the decision was taken “without any view to interfering in the autonomy of private unaided schools”.It has said the “objective was not to deprive private unaided schools of their autonomy, but to ensure that admission to entry level classes are made in a fair, reasonable, rational, transparent and non-exploitative manner.”The DoE said it was “fully empowered and competent in terms of Delhi Schools Education Act and Rules framed thereunder to issue” the January 6 order.Terming the practice of granting admissions under management quota as being allegedly “non-transparent and opaque”, DoE has said the intention behind the notification was to “prevent maladministration”.The single-judge by his February 4 order had stayed DoE’s January 6 order with regard to scrapping of management quota as well as 11 other admission criteria, saying it was issued “without any authority” and was in conflict with an earlier decision of the Lieutenant Governor.The 11 criteria include those relating to the proven track record of parents, their proficiency in music or sports, their empirical achievements, the gender of the child and whether the kid was the first born or adopted. The single-judge was of the prima facie view that Delhi government’s January 6 order, scrapping a total of 62 criteria and management quota, was “issued without any authority” and was in “direct conflict” with the LG’s 2007 order on nursery admissions in private unaided schools.The single-judge had also said the court was of the prima facie view “there is nothing in the 11 criteria which would show that they are unreasonable or based on whims and fancies and/or they can lead to maladministration.”On the issue of management quota, the court had said the high court-appointed Ganguly committee and the government had done a balancing act whereby the 100 per cent discretion enjoyed by private schools in admissions was minimised, but not abolished.”It is pertinent to mention that management quota had been recommended by expert Ganguly committee formed by a division bench and accepted and approved by the Government of Delhi in its order of 2007,” the court had said.The government, in its appeal, has said the issue of management quota “needs to be approached differently than as recommended by the Ganguly committee” in view of the “change in time and subsequent experiences”.The DoE has sought quashing of the February 4 order of the single judge who had observed that “promoters of a school who make investment at their own personal risk are entitled to full autonomy in administration including the right to admit students.””However, any alleged malpractice in utilisation of the management quota like sale of seats being actionable should be investigated and taken to its logical conclusion in accordance with law, but it cannot be a ground to abolish the quota itself. After all, vesting of discretion is not bad, but to misuse it, is illegal,” the single judge had added.The order had come on the pleas filed by Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education For All, seeking quashing of the DoE’s January 6 order.

MCD workers strike enters 13th day; Delhi suffers as garbage mounts on roads

The sanitation workers strike of Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) entered 13th day on Monday over the non- payment of salary and allowances.With garbage piling up in different areas, the strike is creating hardship to the people. “We should get all our dues from 2003. The temporary workers should be made permanent. The Delhi Government, had on October 23, 2015 said that the pending arrears would be cleared. But, it hasn’t been cleared even now. The government is misleading us and somewhere we are becoming the victims of politics,” said one of the protestors.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If any Talibani diktat is announced or if even a single employee of the MCD is removed, then we would make this protest very aggressive and the government would then have to pay its price,” he added.On Saturday, Municipal Corporation Teachers Association called off their indefinite strike after they received their pending salaries. Along with the teachers, MCD doctors and para-medical staff have also ended their strike.Earlier, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had also offered additional loan of Rs. 300 crore to East and North corporations to pay the salary of protesting workers. The Delhi Government had also released Rs.693 crores to the corporations in this regard but the protesters are demanding permanent solution of their salaries issue.

If salaries paid, why hold Delhi to ransom: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court strongly condemned the agitation by safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) who have been on a strike in the capital for the past fortnight. The Municipal Corporation Departments of the city were criticised for the strike and the two-bench division even threatened to invoke the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) against the sanitation workers.The bench observed that with the MCDs having paid the salaries, the sanitation workers cannot go on strike and hold the city to ransom. “If salaries have been paid, they cannot hold the city to ransom,” Chief Justice G Rohini said and asked the corporations and unions to respond to a public interest litigation filed to end the strike. The PIL filed by advocate Birendra Sangwan highlights the lack of sanitation around the city and the mounds of garbage piled on the roads.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the lawyers representing the MCDs, salaries of the workers have been cleared till January 31 following which 40% of the karamcharis from the south zone have resumed work. South MCD is contemplating action against those who are yet to rejoin work. “We are going to start marking the remainder 60% of the workers as absent. We have cleared salaries till January and have sent repeated notices seeking a cancellation of the strike,” said Mukesh Gupta, advocate for South MCD.”We are right now concerned about the third dimension, of hardship caused to citizens,” the bench noted and asked whether the Delhi government intended to enforce ESMA. However, the bench ruled that it would hear the striking unions before taking such a harsh decision. One of the lawyers representing the MCD relayed that the corporations would not be averse to such an action by the court.Notice has been issued to all the striking unions through their presidents across the city. Though East and North continue to suffer the most, South Delhi Municipal Corporation have outsourced the job of collecting garbage to private contractors.Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung separately met the three mayors of the corporations and announced an additional load of Rs 300 crore to East and North MCD from the Delhi Development Authority on Friday. The Delhi Government has released Rs 693 crore to help end the strike of which Rs 551 crore was a loan.Jung went on to assure those concerned that he would speak to the Aam Aadmi Party led government regarding the implementation of the fourth Finance Commission Report to find a long term solution.

MCD strike continues, workers say loan money offered by Arvind Kejriwal insufficient

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Rs551 crore loan money deal failed to cut ice with the civic bodies of Delhi, as the strike by municipal workers entered its ninth day, with a delegation of workers claiming that the funds offered by the Aam Aadmi Party government was insufficient.The protesting MCD workers refused to call off their strike, claiming that lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung has assured them of looking into their demands. Jung had met union home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday and had briefed him about the massive MCD strike. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Since the funds offered by the government is not sufficient to pay our dues, we will be continuing the strike,” a representative of one of the MCD workers’union said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had yesterday announced a loan of Rs 551 crore to two BJP-ruled civic bodies, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation, to pay salaries to their employees.Meanwhile, the mayors of three BJP-ruled MCDs today discussed the issue with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and claimed the Delhi government is likely to give Rs 307 crore more to pay their salaries. “Sisodia said he will talk to the Lt Governor and CM for the release of additional Rs 307 crore to North and East municipal corporations,” North Delhi Mayor Ravinder Gupta said, adding that releasing some money is not a permanent solution to the financial crisis of the civic bodies. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday, tweeted, “Met all 3 Mayors just now. They hv assured me that they are making all efforts to get the striking employees back to work.” Nearly 1,30,000 municipal employees have been on strike since last Wednesday in the city, bringing the capital to its knees. The strike has not only left Delhi stinking with piles of accumulated garbage, it has also caused massive traffic congestion during the peak morning hours with the MCD workers blocking major city roads. The strike has also crippled functioning of hospitals and schools run by civic bodies.

All 10 missing soldiers hit by avalanche confirmed dead at Siachen

Tragedy befell the Indian army on Thursday when all the 10 soldiers, who had gone missing after avalanche buried their post on the world’s highest battlefield of Siachen, were confirmed dead.A junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras regiment were swept away by a massive avalanche at the altitude of 19,600 feet on Wednesday.“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Lieutenant General DS Hooda, General Officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-in-C) Northern Command.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to the soldiers who died in the line of duty at Siachen glacier. “Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families”, he tweeted.Indian army said blocks of snow and ice had fallen on the post burying it very deep into the glaciated area. Heavy snow cutters and major equipment have been pressed into service to clear and cut the ice blocks.The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day.Indian Army and Air Force have flown specialised teams and equipment to help in the rescue mission on the glacier. Two days on, success eluded the rescuers at the world’s highest battlefield prompting the army authorities to finally confirm the death of all the 10 soldiers.“Operations by specialised teams of the Army and the Air Force have entered the second day today. Specialised equipment was flown in to Leh today morning to further boost the rescue efforts,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters.Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarefied atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. “It is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” said Colonel Goswami.Situated at the eastern tip of Ladakh, Siachen literally means the Land of Wild Roses. Famous as the highest battlefield in the world, Indian Army is holding posts at unimaginable heights across the largest non-polar glacier in the world. Indian Army has lost hundreds of soldiers to weather vagaries, including avalanches and frost bites, in the last 30 years.Pakistani army suffered humiliating defeat in 1987 when Indian Army led by Honorary Captain Bana Singh captured their “Quaid” post located at 21,153 feet which was later named “Bana” post.However, for the last 12 years, the 150 kilometer Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen, is witnessing calm following the border cease-fire in 2003. Before that the AGPL was a regular battlefield with both armies exchanging artillery and small arms fire to pin each other down.

War on terror: Over 200 militants operating in the valley

It is official, there are over 200 militants operating in the strife-torn Kashmir valley.”As far as the numbers are concerned, there are more than 200 militants operating in Kashmir. Whenever there are functions like January 26 security forces have dominated the entire area. Intelligence agencies and security forces have jointly ensured peaceful functions”, said Lieutenant General Satish Dua, general officer commanding (GoC) of 15 Corps.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Official sources said most of the militants operating in the valley are well educated local youth. Leading the flock is 22 year old Burhan Muzaffar Wani of Hizbul Mujhadeen who is operating from south Kashmir’s Tral area.Son of a school principal, Burhan, a tech-savvy youth who loves to be photographed and uses social media to the hilt, is one of the most wanted militant commanders in the valley. From policeman to highly educated youth, Burhan’s group is swelling as more and more people are joining him for “Jihad”.”There is almost zero exfilitration which means no youth is able to cross over to other side of LoC for arms training. The infiltrators are mostly Pakistanis who cross into the state for subversion. However the number of local militants is increasing because of the growing radicalisation”, said a senior police officer engaged in the counter terror operations.Two hundred militants are active in the valley despite the fact that 106 militants were killed by the security forces in different counter terror operations from January 1 to December 28, 2015. In the corresponding period of 2014 around 110 ultras were gunned down. Similarly around 67 militants were arrested from January 1 to December 28 2015 compared to 70 in the same period in 2014.What has send alarm bells ringing is that the number of militants is increasing despite the fact that there has been significant decrease in the infiltration from across the Line of Control last year.Official figures reveal that there were 222 infiltration attempts in 2014 in which 52 militants were killed and 105 returned back. Similarly, from January to September 2015 there were 92 infiltration attempts in which 37 militants were killed and one was arrested while 38 returned back.Experts say the reason for the decline in infiltration attempts was the army’s strong and multi-layered counter infiltration grid which hampers the ultras to cross in the valley from the other side of the Line of Control. “Our counter-Infiltration grid is robust and multi-tiered”, said Lieutenant General Dua.What is more worrying for the security agencies is the cross border fidayeen attacks which has taken heavy toll of the security forces in the state.Official figures reveal that there have been 12 cross border terror attacks since September 2013 to January 2016 in which 51 security forces personnel were killed and 15 others injured.

CBI starts discreet inquiry against Maj Generals for alleged disproportionate assets

New Delhi: CBI on Friday started an inquiry in connection with a defence ministry complaint seeking a probe into the alleged disproportionate assets amassed by two serving Major Generals of the army.

The agency received the reference from the ministry and immediately began a “discreet” inquiry (verification of facts) to ascertain whether the details given in the complaint should be taken up as preliminary enquiry or a regular case, the sources said.

Two Maj Gen under CBI scanner. AFPTwo Maj Gen under CBI scanner. AFP

Two Maj Gen under CBI scanner. AFP

The sources said the agency will look into the allegations and documents to determine future course of action, they said.

“As of now, only verification of facts is going on,” the source said.

The ministry had ordered a probe after receiving complaints against Maj Gen Ashok Kumar and Maj Gen SS Lamba,
both AVSM awardees.

The promotion of these officers to three-starred rank of Lieutenant General was stopped in September 2015 after
allegations of impropriety surfaced against them.

The Special Promotion Board of the Army was held for selecting three Lieutenant Generals, for which about 33
officers were considered including the two officers.

Once the recommendations were sent, the allegations of corruption started doing the rounds, which prompted Defence
Minister Manohar Parrikar to take note.

It was decided that a CBI inquiry be ordered against them, they said.


Republic Day: French soldiers, marching band ‘proud’ to represent their country at Rajpath

New Delhi: The idea of Atithi Devo Bhava, which underlines the significance India attaches to its guests, explains why French soldiers, who are one of the major attractions of this year’s Republic Day parade, get a prime slot in the ceremony. French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest at the ceremony.

The group of 130 soldiers from the French army (Armee de Terre) along with their band, rehearsed for a week to get in sync with Indian soldiers. Now they will be second in line at the parade.

“Indian troopers march a little faster than us. After rigorous practice for over a week, we have tried our best to synchronise,” Lieutenant Colonel P Bury, commanding officer of the 35th Infantry Regiment of the French Army, who is leading the troops, told Firstpost.

French soldiers march at Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi. APFrench soldiers march at Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi. AP

French soldiers march at Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi. AP

The French forces comprise soldiers from the 7th Armoured Brigade and 35th Infantry Regiment.

Asked how they felt about participating in an event where their president is the chief guest, he said, “We are excited. We are extremely happy and honoured to know that France is the first country to take part in this prestigious ceremony. We are very impressed by the parade. We are very proud to represent France and to be the first foreign unit to be invited to parade at Rajpath,” he said.

On 14 July, 2009, Indian troops had participated in the Bastille Day celebrations in France. The three wings of the Indian defence forces – the Army, the Navy and the Air Force – marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris along with the French Army. The event also witnessed participation of the Maratha light infantry, which is one of the oldest regiments of the Indian Army.

The French will not march the full 12.5-km route up to Red Fort for security reasons. Their march will end at Man Singh Road.

Asked whether they learnt any Hindi from Indian soldiers, he replied, “Not much…only a few like saavdhan (attention).” On what he liked the most in this country, he added, “India’s cultural diversity that is also evident in the forces here and tableau set to be demonstrated on 26 January.”

Other attractions of the 67th Republic Day parade

First all-women stunt contingent: So far, extreme motorcycle stunts performed by men of Indian Army Corps of Signals or Army Daredevils used to be the centre of attraction at the Republic Day parade. Sources reveal that in a departure from norm, an all-women contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force will enthral the audience with their dangerous riding skills.

“We have been preparing for the last two years to make a debut in the Republic Day parade. Finally, we got the chance to prove that women are not lagging behind in any walk of life, be it stunts or fighting for the nation,” said one of the soldiers of the Women Daredevils CRPF contingent. The unit comprises 120 troops.

Army dog squad: Thirty-six German Shepherds and Labradors of the Army, trained in explosive detection, mine detection, tracking, guarding and assault will march down the Rajpath after a gap of 26 years.

The Army dogs belonging to the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) have won one Shourya Chakra, six Sena Medals, 142 COAS Commendation Cards, six VCOAS Commendation Cards and 448 GOC-in-C Commendation Cards. The motto of the Corps is ‘Pashu Seva Ashmakam Dharm‘.

According to Major General Rajesh Sahai, chief of staff, Delhi area, the participation of the dog squad is a form of “recognition of the work done by the animal and its handler in counter-insurgency”. “Dogs have done a fantastic job in counter-insurgency tasks,” he added.

From Dhirubhai Ambani to Rajinikanth: Here are the 10 people who won the Padma Vibhushan

The government on the eve of Republic Day has announced the list of people who will be conferred with Padma Awards 2016. We focus on people who will be honoured with Padma Vibhushan this year.Here are the 10 people who will been conferred with Padma Vibhushan for 2016:1. Yamini Krishnamurthi: Mungara Yamini Krishnamurthy is an eminent dancer of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi forms of Indian classical dance. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born on 20 December 1940, Krishnamurthi belongs to Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh and was brought up in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. She has received Padma Shri in 1968 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and has released her autobiography, “A Passion For Dance” which was well received by the readers.2. Rajinikanth: ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth is going to be conferred with Padma Vibhushan for his service to Cinema industry. Popularly known as superstar of film industry, he works primarily in the Tamil film industry. Born in 1950, Rajinikanth is the most celebrated actors of his generations with fans giving him the status of a demi-god. 3. Girija Devi: Girija Devi is going to be conferred Padma Vibhushan for Classical (Vocal). She is an Indian classical singer of the Banaras gharana and it is she who has helped elevate the profile of thumri.Born in 1929, she was the GiMA Awards recipient of 2012 for Lifetime Achievement. She was also conferred with Mana Sangeet Samman Award in 2012.4. Ramoji Rao: Cherukuri Ramoji Rao popularly known as Ramoji Rao is going to be conferred with Padma Vibhushan Award for his service to Literature and Education. Head of the world’s largest film production facility Ramoji Group, he is well known as an Indian businessman, film producer and media entrepreneur. 5. Viswanathan Shanta: Viswanathan Shanta is being conferred with Padma Vibhushan for her services in the field of Medicine. Dr V Shanta is currently the Chairman and Executive Chairman of the Cancer Institure (WIA) in Chennai. Her entire medical life over 50 years has been dedicated to the mission of organising care of Cancer patients, the study of the disease, its prevention and control, the generation of specialists and scientists in different aspects of Oncologic Sciences.She was on WHO Advisory Committee on Cancer till March 2005 and also Convener of the State Advisory Board on Cancer.6. Shri Shri Ravi Shankar: An Indian spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Ravi Shankar is going to receive the Padma Vibhushan Award in the field of spiritualism. Born in 1956, Ravi Shankar is also referred to as Guruji or Gurudev. Apart from the Art of Living, he has established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development. 7. Shri Jagmohan: A retired civil servant, former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Goa and 5th Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Jagmohan has been conferred with Padma Vibhushan for the service in Public Affairs. Born in 1927, Jagmohan was also awarded Padma Bhushan in 1977 for his meticulous services to the country. Jagmohan has been conferred with Padma Vibhushan for the service in Public Affairs. Born in 1927, Jagmohan was also awarded Padma Bhushan in 1977 for his meticulous services to the country. 8. Dr. Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre: An Indian Scientist and former head of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr VK Aatre is going to be conferred with Padma Vibhushan for his service in Science and Engineering field. In 2000, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.In the NRI/OCI/PIO/Foreigners/Posthumous category two people are going to be awarded with Padma Vibhushan award:1. Dhirubhai Ambani: Late Dhirajlal Hirachand “Dhirubhai” Ambani is also going to be conferred with Padma Vibhushan for his service in Trade and Industry sector. Ambani who was an Indian business tycoon founded Reliance Industries in Mumbai. His family’s combined fortune made the Ambanis the third richest family in the world. Now, his sons Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani are taking care of the Reliance Industries.2. Avinash Dixit: Born in 1944, Avinash Dixit is an India-American economist and is currently John J. F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University. He is going to conferred with Padma Vibhushan award for his services in the field of Literature and Education.

PM Modi calls for lifestyle in tune with nature

Underlining the need to promote a lifestyle that is in sync with nature, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said this characteristic of India had resonated at the crucial Paris Climate Conference last month.Highlighting the connect between Indian festivals and the changing moods and requirements of nature, he further said that these were an attempt to connect the journey of life with nature. “Today, once again, the world is concerned about nature. World has become aware of it in its own way. How to connect with nature, how to balance life with nature is a major challenge before the world. Recently, the resolution passed at CoP-21 has this essence of Indian philosophy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is a message in that if environment has to be protected, the world will have to accept a lifestyle which is in tune with nature. We have been nurtured with this as a tradition for centuries,” Modi told a ‘Sankranti Milan’ event at the residence of Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu here. The function, which was attended by a large number of people from South India who reside in the national capital, also had a number of Union ministers, judges and BJP leaders, too, in attendance.Naidu’s family members carried out a traditional puja after Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the programme with the lighting of a lamp. Noting that ‘Makar Sankranti’ heralds a new year and announces the arrival of the new crop, Mahajan hoped that the sweets consumed during the festival will spread sweetness all around in the New Year. Naidu, famous for his one-liners, was at his humorous best as he engaged in brief conversations with the leaders present on the occasion.Thus, he told Mahajan that there was “more discipline” in this ‘local sabha’ than in Lok Sabha. Welcoming Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah, he jokingly said he had got himself adopted by her as she has a lot of property. Heptullah responded by saying ‘Venkaiahji is my adopted son’. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Harsh Vardhan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Narendra Singh Tomar, VK Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and a number of judges were present for the event.Also among the attendees was Chief Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary, whom Naidu hailed as one of the most upright officers. The Prime Minister and the Speaker also felicitated noted singer SP Balasubrahmanyam on the occasion, who dedicated a song for the Prime Minister’s pet programme, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Naidu spoke at length about the singer’s achievements. Rajnath called Naidu his elder brother as he joined his ministerial colleagues in thanking the senior BJP leader for organising the event.

India should clear its stand on Foreign S level talks: JD(U)

Reacting to the reported detention of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar in the Pathankot terrorist attack, Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi on Thursday said India should clear its stand on Foreign Secretary level talks, only after Pakistan clarifies whether the arrest of Azhar is temporary or permanent.”There has been no announcement from the Pakistan Government whether the arrest of Maulana Massood Azhar was temporary or permanent. Detaining and sending to jail are two different things. The Pakistan Government should clear its stand and after that only India should clear its stand on Foreign Secretary level talks,” Tyagi told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) late on Wednesday evening said there was no official confirmation from Islamabad on the arrest of Masood Azhar.”We have no official confirmation on the arrest of JeM chief Masood Azhar. We have seen the press release that has been put out by the Pakistani side, but we have no official confirmation on the arrest,” said Vikas Swarup, MEA Official Spokesperson.Earlier, Pakistan media reported that Masood Azhar had been detained.The Pakistan Government on Wednesday said it had arrested several members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group, which is suspected of being behind the Pathankot Air Base attack earlier this month.The Pakistan PMO in a statement said the government had made “considerable progress” in investigating the attack, and it wanted to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot Air Base.”Based on the initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to JeM have been apprehended,” the office of Prime Minister Sharif said.”The offices of the organisation are also being traced and sealed. Further investigations are underway,” it said.The statement was released after Prime Minister Sharif chaired a high-level civil-military meeting in Islamabad to discuss the regional security situation and the investigation into the Pathankot airbase terrorist attack.The meeting was attended by attended by top civilian and military leaders, including Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, and other senior officials.

Conference room of Delhi assembly to be the courtroom for DDCA commission of inquiry

The Aam Aadmi Party government has turned the conference room of the Delhi assembly into a full-fledged court for the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Commission of Inquiry proceedings, and this is where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be asked to give his testimony, if he agrees to come.The spacious room is usually used by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to address the media and other important meetings.While the AAP government is yet to decide on a date when the former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam-led probe panel will initiate the DDCA proceedings, sources say it may start in the next fortnight. The Union Home Ministry had recently declared the Commission of Inquiry as null and void.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The conference room, which can house nearly 70 people has been decked up with a judge’s chair on the raised platform, a witness box, and other chairs for those who will be attending the session. An adjoining room has also been given for the proceedings.Speaker of Delhi assembly Ram Niwas Goel gave the permission to the Delhi government to use the space as a courtroom for the DDCA proceedings, following a letter from deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on December 30.Sisodia, in his letter, had sought Goel’s permission to use the rooms in the assembly premises, for the DDCA Commission of Inquiry.The Centre, in its letter sent to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on January 8, has said that the Commission of Inquiry is invalid, as Delhi was not a full state.The Delhi government has sought the resignation of finance minister Arun Jaitley after several financial irregularities took place in the cricket body during his tenure.Jung had asked the Centre for its opinion on the Commission of Inquiry, following which the Centre replied on Thursday that it was null and void and Delhi government had no power to conduct such an inquiry.However, the AAP government has decided to continue with the Commission of Inquiry, with Kejriwal saying that only a court order can stop the commission’s work and that Centre’s opinion is not binding on the Delhi government. No court has been approached so far on the matter by any party.

Alert issued in Mumbai after Pathankot terror attacks

At least two more terrorists were discovered at the IAF base as security forces continued their operations for the second day with military casualties mounting to seven including a Lieutenant Colonel of the NSG who died on Sunday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Ex-servicemen meet Arun Jaitley, seek ‘corrections’ in OROP notification

Another veteran Lieutenant Kameshwar Pandey said, “we feel cheated as this is not the real OROP what government has promised. A proper parliamentary procedure must be followed to make any amendments. We just want the government to refrain from such manipulations”.


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Didn’t bother about vote bank for odd-even scheme: Arvind Kejriwal

The Chief Minister said, “The plan’s success has strengthened our confidence that if public is taken along even difficult tasks can be handled and public support is bigger than even the Lieutenant Governor and the Centre.” Kejriwal said that his government’s plan was to ensure that the odd-even scheme does not get reduced to a mere slogan.

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