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Dalai Lama, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar plant Anand Bodhi tree sapling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who was in Patna on Wednesday, called Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar an old and close friend, as the duo planted a sapling of ‘Anand Bodhi tree’ at the popular Buddha Smriti Park.The Dalai Lama, who is visiting Bihar for the Kalchakra Puja at Bodh Gaya, was received at the airport by the Bihar Chief Minister, who received blessings from the Dalai Lama as the two exchanged greetings.At the Buddha Smriti Park, which was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 2010 and houses saplings of the original Bodhi trees as well as several other Buddhist relics from across the world, the spiritual guru first offered prayers for world peace and harmony at the Patliputra K arun Stupa.After this, the Dalai Lama along with Nitish Kumar, prayed in front of Lord Buddha’s earth-touching posture statue, and planted the holy Anand Bodhi tree sapling there.Interacting with media persons, the Dalai Lama termed it a matter of pride to be visiting Bodh Gaya as a Buddhist monk. “Buddha’s teachings of non-violence and compassion are very much relevant today. Along with prayers, training of mind is also very important to avoid mental stress and anger,” he said.Referring to the Chief Minister as an old and close friend, he said, Nitish’s presence was commendable for him. He also stressed on love and harmony among Buddhists across the world.“India and I share a guru-shishya relationship. All our knowledge is from India and people should learn from the country’s history and philosophies,” he added.He also offered prayers at the Bodhi tree planted at the Bihar CM’s residence apart from participating at a luncheon there. He then left for Bodh Gaya, which is gearing up for the Kalchara Puja.THE SACRED TREEA very large and old sacred fig tree – the Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Bihar – is the tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, making it is the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti, Uttar Pradesh and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura – both are said to have been cultivated from the original tree.

Lalu calls Narendra Modi ‘Uncle Podger’, lends support to Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD chief Lalu Prasad demanded the Prime Minister reply to charges of alleged corruption against him levelled by Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, even as he compared Narendra Modi to ‘Uncle Podger’ for “messing up economy” by his demonetization move. Demanding the charges be probed under supervision of the Supreme Court, the RJD chief said, “The allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi of receiving huge money is even a bigger quake than talked about. He gave details of sum of money with dates on which payments were made.” “The Prime Minister should reply to the accusation and if the allegations are wrong why does not he file a defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi?” he said. “The Prime Minister should announce a high-level probe under supervision of the Supreme Court into the allegations,” he added.Launching a blistering attack on the Prime Minister for “ill-planned” demonetization, Prasad mockingly described Narendra Modi as ‘Uncle Podger’– a bumbling character from Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’– for “messing up economy” and “pushing it towards anarchy”. “Demonetization has flopped and those raising voice of people over anarchy caused by it are termed as traitors,” he said as a retort to PM’s comment on rivals at Varanasi.Prasad whose party has already announced a dharna against scrapping of notes in district headquarters of Bihar on December 28 said later a rally would be held at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He said he would tour the state before the rally.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJPPrasad claimed support of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said Kumar has also dismissed plea of converting the country into cashless society. “Nitish Kumar has said he would review demonetization after December 30…there is no difference in the grand alliance…we are strongly united,,” Prasad, whose party RJD is running coalition government with JD(U) and Congress in Bihar, said. He also supported Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertions that “only 5-6 big families close to PM are eating into the wealth of the country”. The RJD chief said the PM had sought 50 days from people for ending the problems caused after demonetization out of which only few days are left now. “This (demonetization) would also end up as ‘jumla’ like promise to give Rs 15-20 lakh to every citizen out of black money brought back home from abroad,” he said.

Nitish Kumar says his party will analyse "notebandi" effects post Dec 30

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar chief minister and JD (U) national president Nitish Kumar, among the few in Opposition who supported scrapping of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes by PM Narendra Modi, said on Monday that his party will hold a meeting post December 30 to analyse the effects, as well as the good and bad of demonetisation and then take any further stand on it.“My personal stand in known to everyone. I supported notebandi on November 9. But, I have also been saying that demonetisation alone is not sufficient to take on black money hoarders. The government should also attack on “benami” (proxy-owned) properties and enforce liquor prohibition if it is really serious about hitting on black money,” Nitish said while addressing a news conference in Patna on Monday.The Bihar CM said Prime Minister has asked for 50 days for the situation to improve and they will wait and watch till then. “It is a national issue. We will call a party meeting and take suggestions from everyone on it. They we’ll see what has to be done,” he said.The party spokespersons too have earlier said that the party will review its stand on demonetisation post December 30, when PM Modi’s 50 day time will end.It may be mentioned that Nitish has been among the few Opposition leaders who unequivocally supported demonetisation of big notes by even going against his alliance partners Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress.Reiterating that cashless economy will not work in India, Nitish said, “As per my information, even in the United States cashless transaction are limited to 40-45%. While cashless transactions in India too will increase, it is not going to happen suddenly, no matter how much you advertise about it,” he said.He also said the Centre should take an initiative to make it mandatory to disclose the name of those who make even 1 rupee donation to political parties. Nitish was referring to Election Commission of India’s recommendation to limit anonymous donations to Rs 2,000.

Nitish Kumar to address joint rally with Hardik in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar reservation aandolan leader Hardik Patel plans to join hands with the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. On Tuesday, he invited the Bihar Chief Minister to address a joint farmers’ rally in Gujarat in January, when his banishment from his home state, as ordered by the high court, will end.Nitish, also the Janta Dal (United) JD(U) president, has accepted his invite and the duo will address a Kisan sammelan in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state on January 28.The visiting Akhil Bharatiya Patel Navnirman Sena (ABPNS) members had a luncheon meet with Nitish and Hardik, who landed in the state capital in the afternoon, was accorded a VIP treatment with a red beacon fitted ambassador dropping him at the Chief Minister’s house. JD (U) national secretary general KC Tyagi also accompanied him.“We are thankful of Nitish ji for supporting our movement and called upon him to express our gratitude,” Akhilesh Katiyar, a member of the visiting group, told the DNA. He also lauded Nitish’s ‘development with justice’ agenda and said ‘the Bihar model should be emulated at the national level.’It may be recalled that Hardik had supported Nitish ahead of the Bihar assembly polls last year when the Bihar CM has sympathised with their cause demanding reservation in the state government jobs and admission in educational institutions.Sources said that leaders from other backward communities may also be invited to the January 28 rally. JD (U) functionaries said the Bihar CM has also been invited to some other states where the economically backward class (EBC) communities are demanding reservation.

Booze ban in Bihar: CM Nitish claims prohibition promoting communal harmony

Kisanganj: Terming prohibition as a “revolutionary step”, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday claimed that the move has promoted communal harmony in the state, with members of all religions supporting the liquor ban.

“The decision of liquor ban has further promoted communal harmony in Bihar as members of all religions are whole heartedly supporting booze ban, which is a revolutionary step,” he said addressing a ‘Chetna Sabha’ here as part of his ‘Nishchay Yatra’.

Accompanied by Excise and Prohibition Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan and Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, the CM highlighted “positive effects” of liquor ban.

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

“The road accidents have come down by 19 percent between April and November this year when compared to the same period last year,” Kumar said.

The booze ban has also substantially lowered rate of crimes like murder, kidnapping and riots in the state, he said.

“Cases of murder have gone down by 24 percent between April to November this year when compared to the same period last year. Likewise, incidents of loot came down by 16 percent, kidnapping for ransom by 48 percent and riots by 37 percent,” Kumar said.

As part of the Nishchay Yatra, the chief minister is taking feedback from people about prohibition.

He asserted that liquor ban had resulted in economic prosperity of the state, which is reflected by rise in the sale of cars and tractors, milk and sweets in the last seven months since prohibition came into force.

The JD(U) leader told the gathering about the human chain which would be formed by more than two crore citizens on 21 January  in favour of the ban, and urged people to participate in it.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 19:15 IST

Case against Shahabuddin: BJP questions Nitish Kumar government’s seriousness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi today questioned the Nitish Kumar government’s seriousness in pursuing the case against Mohammad Shahabuddin saying how can an additional standing counsel of the state in the Supreme Court assist the controversial RJD leader in the apex court.”How come Mohammad Shoib Alam, who is Additional Standing Counsel of the state in the Supreme Court, is AOR (Advocate on Record) of Mohammad Shahabuddin in the apex court?” Sushil Modi asked in a statement issued here.”How come Alam is opposing the state and assisting senior advocate Shekhar Nafde who is arguing for Shahabuddin in a case seeking his transfer to Tihar jail from Siwan where he is lodged at present?” he asked.Modi alleged that “on the one hand the state government is helping Shahabuddin and on the other hand it is enacting a drama in the Supreme Court by opposing the RJD strongman there”.He attributed this to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s “pressure” in favour of Shahabuddin, four times MP from that party in the past, on the grand alliance ministry in which his party is a major partner.Modi, who is a former deputy chief minister of the state, sought to know from Nitish why the state did not take any step by appealing for transfer of Shahabuddin to Tihar jail from Siwan and reopening hearing in cases stranded for past three years.

Nitish Kumar must seek details from Lalu on Rs 100 crore Rabri Bhawan: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting strongly to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s assertions that BJP should answer about land purchases before demonetization, the party has urged the CM to first ask ally Lalu Prasad about the source of construction of posh Rabri Bhawan in Delhi at a cost of Rs 100 crore.”Before raising questions over BJP’s land purchase, CM Nitish Kumar should ask ally Lalu Prasad about the source of funding behind construction of Rabri Bhawan in Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said in a statement here.”Nitish Kumar should tell where from the money needed to run his party comes from,” he said.He also criticised other parties and sought to know how come CPI(M) and BSP, which do not have any MLAs or CPI, which has only one MLA, have party offices in posh localities.Sushil said his party does not have its office in the capital despite being a national party and that the land purchase has no connection with demonetization.”BJP has paid the amount of the land fixed officially and made the payment as stamp duty determined by the Registrar,” Sushil Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister of the state, said.”BJP has account of every single penny and it files Income Tax returns annually as per law,” he added.

Nitish backs Modi’s decision, but party divided on the issue

“This ‘notebandi’ is a positive step which will lead to benefits. It will happen,” said Nitish while addressing a JD(U) meeting here. Terming corruption and black money as a big sin and a “festering wound” which must be eradicated, he said,
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday once again supported the demonetization process, calling it is a positive step, divisions within the his Janata Dal (United) came out in the open, with former party chief Sharad Yadav targeting the Central Government over the move. “This ‘notebandi’ is a positive step which will lead to benefits. It will happen,” said Nitish while addressing a JD(U) meeting here. Terming corruption and black money as a big sin and a “festering wound” which must be eradicated, he said,“Severe steps will have to be taken. That is why we offered our support to this (demonetization). It is a positive beginning.” He even refrained from any criticism on the implementation issue, which has been vociferously raised by Opposition parties. His only criticism of the Modi government’s decision was that mere demonetization will not end the problem of black money. Yadav has also called for a crackdown on benami properties and hoarders of gold and diamonds immediately. Immediately after his speech, Sharad Yadav alleged the decision is aimed at capitalising banks that were “sinking” due to the Rs 8.5 lakh crore burden of NPAs and that its goal is not to target black money.

Demonetization: In Patna, Mamata calls Nitish Kumar a traitor; says country in a state of ‘super emergency’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a ‘traitor’ for deserting the anti-demonetization camp. She alleged that the country was in a state of ‘super emergency’ due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of banning high currency notes. Mamata, who was addressing a rally in Patna to demand rollback of Centre’s decision on demonetization, said financial emergency is worse than any emergency in the country where the government has even snatched the basic “roti, kapda and makaan” from citizens. Apparently miffed at Nitish, who is also the JD (U) president, for not participating in the Opposition’s anti-demonetization protests, Mamata said, “It is better for all parties to fight together. Lekin jo gaddari karega, janata use maaf nahi karegi (those who betray the cause will not be forgiven by the people).” The Bihar CM has supported demonetization since the beginning saying it will help in tackling black money menace. He has asked his party workers to stay away from any protests against demonetizations.In contrast, JD (U)’s ally and senior alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Lalu Prasad has opposed the demonetization policy due to the ‘inconvenience being caused to common man.’ RJD’s support was appreciated by Mamata several times during her speech. “I respect Lalu ji, because his party is with us in this fight against demonetization. In UP too, Akhilesh and Mulayam ji were with us. This is people’s battle not my individual one,” she said Mamata said she was happy for those who were with her. “I won’t take names, but I feel unhappy about those who are not with us,” said Mamata.

Mamata flight hovers in sky, TMC claims conspiracy to kill Bengal CM for protesting against demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A private airline plane carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hovered for over half an hour in the Kolkata sky before landing at the NSCBI Airport here on Wednesday night, prompting Trinamool Congress to allege that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the party supremo.”The flight took off from Patna at 7.35 PM, an hour behind schedule, and landed here at shortly before 9 PM, after hovering over 30 minutes in the sky due to technical reasons,” airport officials said, adding that such incident was nothing new in any airport. Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight, however, took strong exception to “delayed permission from the ATC” for the flight to land and alleged that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM.Hakim claimed that even as the pilot announced 180 km away from Kolkata that the plane would land within five minutes, it ultimately touched down after over half an hour, “seriously inconveniencing the chief minister and other passengers”. “The pilot sought permission for landing from the ATC as the plane was flying short on fuel but the ATC kept the flight on hold,” he alleged. “This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill our chief minister as she has raised voice against demonetization and is touring the country to organise a mass movement against the anti-people decision,” Hakim said.When contacted, a senior ATC official said he was not aware of such incident. Mamata terms demonetization decision as ‘super Emergency’Stepping up her attack on the Centre over demonetization, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today dubbed the drive as “super Emergency” and vowed to agitate against it till a rollback of the decision.”The government has taken away the freedom from the people that they have been enjoying for the past 69 years. The government has snatched ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makan’ from the people… A people’s movement was started during the Emergency days… Today, the situation is even worse than Emergency, it can be termed as super Emergency,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.”People are facing difficulties and inconveniences.They (NDA Government) have sold the country. It is the duty of political parties to raise their voice for the people and we will continue with our agitation till the government takes a decision to roll back the demonetization move,” she said. Mamata was addressing a gathering here in the course of her party’s nationwide campaign against demonetization. Raising the the issue of funding of PM Modi’s public meetings in foreign countries, she asked “From where do they get money to hold such mega public meetings in foreign countries like the US?”.She also raised issue of registration of land by BJP in Bihar for opening offices in districts and displaying deed numbers of land purchased by the BJP, questioned the PM’s intentions as to how could BJP buy huge chunks of land in the month of September, a few weeks before the announcement of demonetization on November 8. Without naming anyone, Banerjee said, “If someone comes with us, then it is good. But, it certainly pains us if someone is not with us in the struggle for common people. This is people’s cause. People will not forgive ‘gaddars’ (betrayers).”Mamata, who arrived in the state capital yesterday, also met RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the latter’s residence. The ruling JD(U) has already made it clear that it would not be present at Banerjee’s agitation programme in the light of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s support to demonetization. Questioning Modi’s poll promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh to every individual’s bank account from money stashed away illegally, Banerjee said, “What happened to the promise? Not a single paise came to anyone’s account nor any single paise was brought from the Swiss bank.” Lalu Prasad and his RJD have also been from time and again questioning the fate of this promise.”Entire industry sector and economy are witnessing a slowdown due to demonetization as a result of which people, mostly from Bihar who have migrated everywhere in search of jobs, are not getting their payments, especially in the jute industry and tea gardens in Bengal,” Banerjee said. Displaying two new notes of Rs 500 denomination having some dissimilar features, she alleged it smacked of a “big scam”.”The prime minister painted everyone as having black money, even those who file IT returns and pay taxes,” she said adding “The PM also disrespected the ‘stree shakti’ (women power) and ‘stree-dhan’ (women wealth).” In order to buttress her point that majority of people still rely on cash transactions in the absence of banking facilities, the TMC chief gave figures of availability of bank branches saying, of the 8,400 gram panchayats in Bihar, 5,000 panchayats do not have branches of any bank.After the programme was over and Mamata left the venue, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told reporters, “Nitish Kumar should not have supported the Centre’s decision of demonetization. It creates doubt among the people whether everything was fine in the grand secular alliance.” “There is no unanimity in the JD(U) itself on demonetization as Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) president, is saying something different while Nitish is supporting demonetization,” he said.Singh and party state unit chief Ramchandra Purbe, a few leaders of the Bihar unit of Samajwadi Party and Jan Adikar Party of Pappu Yadav along with TMC’s senior leader Mukul Roy were present on the dais.

Demonetization: Sharad Yadav, Arun Jaitley exchange barbs in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday exchanged sharp barbs in the Rajya Sabha over the demonetization issue.The exchange happened when members of the Congress, TMC, BSP and SP were creating a ruckus over their demand that the House mourn the killing of 25 armymen since surgical strikes and deaths of 82 persons in post-demonetization hardships. Yadav said it was unprecedented that there was no obituary reference for the seven army personnel including two senior officers killed in terrorist attack at Nagrota armybase near Jammu yesterday.As he also raised death of “nearly 90 persons” in post-demonetization hardships, Jaitley retorted that he should first discuss demonetization within his party and find “if it is agreeable” with the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes or not.His remark was apparent reference to JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting demonetization. “We are not against demonetization. We are against the restrictions that have been placed (on withdrawals from own accounts),” Yadav shot back.The JD(U) leader then went on to ask if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him or not. “Is your Prime Minister with you? Is he listening to you,” he asked.

Bihar’s Mahagathbandhan will not last long; Nitish welscome to join NDA: Ram Vilas Paswan

New Delhi: Claiming that all was not well between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally Lalu Prasad, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tueaday said the coalition government in Bihar will not run for long.

Paswan, who thanked Kumar for welcoming the Centre’s demonetisation, said that the government in Bihar was “under pressure”.

File image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTIFile image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

File image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

“Any party, be it NDA or UPA, if someone joins, it strengthens the party. Whatever Nitish Kumar wants, it is his prerogative. To take him or not, it is up to the BJP.

“We are allies. I had said Nitish Kumar has welcomed the revolutionary step and I had thanked him. I had also said that he (Kumar) is under pressure in Bihar. And whoever, Lalu Yadav has gone with, has not been spared. That is why, this government (Bihar) will not run for long,” Paswan said.

Paswan had on Monday said he will welcome Kumar into the NDA and claimed that the JD(U) chief was apprehensive that his ally Lalu Prasad of the RJD would weaken his party.

The Union minister had also lauded Kumar for his support to the Centre’s demonetisation step, saying he had taken a “bold decision”.

Paswan’s Lok Jantantrik Party is part of the ruling NDA coalition at the Centre. Paswan had claimed that Kumar, whose party JD(U) was a former BJP ally and now a bitter rival, was working “under the pressure of Prasad” who had a “history of weakening his allies”.

Earlier, BJP chief Amit Shah had also praised Kumar, setting tongues wagging in the political circles.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 18:23 IST

Demonetization: First meeting of panel of CMs on December 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first meeting of the panel of Chief Ministers set up by the Centre to suggest measures to minimize the inconvenience to the people post the demonetization drive will be held on December 2 under the chairmanship of Andhra Pradesh’s N Chandrababu Naidu.Sources said the Chief Ministers of Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry and Bihar will also be present in the meeting. In order to blunt the opposition on note ban, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday held talks with Naidu and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The Central Government yesterday decided to form a sub-committee of Chief Ministers to deal with the demonetization issue.This come as a united opposition is leaving no stone unturned in taking potshots at the government post the decision. Demanding that this decision should be rolled back for not being implemented properly, the opposition parties have also alleged that this exposed the ‘anti-poor’ stand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government as the general public is the worst hit.So far, only two Chief Ministers Bihar’s Nitish Kumar and Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik – have voiced their support for the Centre. Nitish has said he supported the currency ban as he is ‘convinced’ that it would help in the fight against black money while Patnaik has praised the move as a bold step. The ruling BJP at the Centre is also facing the wrath of its alliance partners as the Shiv Sena has alleged that the implementation of demonetization has not been done in an appropriate manner and said it is not only ‘one party’s monopoly’ to end corruption.The government has recommended the use of cashless methods of payment not only to tide over the cash shortage being experienced by people due to demonetization but also to curb corruption and generation of black money in the future.

As Oppn protests, Government tries to rope in non-BJP CMs into panel on note ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day when the Opposition held nation-wide protests against ‘hardships’ caused to people in the aftermath of demonetization, the Government floated the idea of setting up a panel of Chief Ministers across party lines on the impact of the exercise.Finance minister Arun Jaitley called up Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday morning and proposed that the TDP leader, an ally of the BJP, head the committee of five chief ministers, sources said.The others whose names were in the reckoning were JD-U leader Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Congress’s V Narayanasamy (Puducherry), CPM’s Manik Sarkar (Tripura), BJD’s Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh).However, there was no confirmation on whether the non-BJP chief ministers had given their nod for the proposal. While Nitish Kumar had backed demonetization, Congress and CPM have opposed the way demonetization was handled by the government. Congress, JD-U and CPM sources said they had no confirmation yet on the proposal.The proposed panel may make suggestions to bail out states which fear decline in revenues. The panel may also study ways to improve digital transactions to minimize the inconvenience of cash curbs, the source added.Ever since demonetization, chief ministers have been raising the issue of cash crunch in their states. Naidu had demanded Rs10,000 crore cash inflow into banks in Andhra Pradesh, while Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted a report on the possible impact on state’s financials due to the cash curbs. Naidu too had expressed his fears and has been in constant touch with the Centre regarding the issue, the source said.Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah has asked his party leaders from across the country to sensitize people on the need for moving towards a digital economy. Shah, who went into a huddle with his party office bearers in a series of meetings through the day at the BJP headquarters, is understood to have acknowledged that people faced difficulties in the aftermath of demonetization but said the Modi government needed to take ‘tough’ decisions.While the Opposition has been accusing government of undertaking the exercise without factoring in its impact on the common man, the BJP has tried to send the message that the move was intended to help the common man by targeting the corrupt. Apparently concerned about the inconvenience caused to people, the BJP is now undertaking an exercise to reach out to them to counter the Opposition campaign.Shah, according to sources, said for a vibrant economy it was necessary to increase budgetary allocations and for this black money should be eradicated and the tax net widened. He said demonetization was one of the tough decisions taken by the Modi regime in the interest of the country.Later, at a meeting with party leaders, Shah said the sweep in the Maharashtra local bodies was a reflection of the mood over demonetization.

Nitish supports demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as allies Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress gear up for November 28 demonstrations against big note ban, Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) President Nitish Kumar remains vocal in his support for demonetization terming PM Narendra Modi’s ‘courageous’ move ‘in the interest of the nation’.Nitish has backed demonetization at various private and public events and on Saturday, the Bihar CM said his stand on the issue is a principled one. “I believe note ban has stopped several fraudulent practices. It is my personal view and I support any action against black money or corruption. This is also the opportune time for hitting at ‘benami properties’ to check black money and I request the PM to take quick action in the matter,” Nitish said.His statements, however, left his party colleagues in Delhi red faced, especially after former JD (U) president Sharad Yadav was seen rubbing shoulders with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee in the Parliament last week to oppose note ban decision.In Bihar too, Nitish’s party, which has distanced itself November 28 demonstrations against demonetization, stands divided from alliance partners RJD and Congress, both of which have scheduled large scale protests across the state on Monday. RJD president Lalu Prasad had termed the move “farjical strike” (fake strike) after it was being called a surgical strike on black money. Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Ashok Choudhary too has said his party was ready to withdraw from the coalition on the note ban issue if the high command ordered so.The Bihar CM is also unlikely to participate in Mamata’s November 30 demonstration in Patna though RJD supremo Lalu Prasad may share the dais.Political commentators feel Nitish’s pro-demonetization stand and “inclination” towards the BJP may be due to several reasons – “his difficult equations with majority partner RJD in Bihar, Mamata trying to project a pan-India leader image after her thumping return in West Bengal and Nitish’s unsuccessful efforts in forging any major anti-BJP front in Uttar Pradesh.”While Nitish’s recent support for PM Modi was being seen in the backdrop of reports of him meeting BJP president Amit Shah, the Bihar CM rubbished it as a figment of media’s imagination saying he has not met Shah as has been reported by a section of the media. Incidentally, Shah on Sunday welcomed Nitish’s support for demonetization and thanked him for standing by PM Modi in his fight against black money.”I always do what I feel is correct but people try to infer political meaning in it,” Nitish said. Replying to Mamata’s allegations that Nitish may be supporting demonetization under some “political compulsion”, he said, “What compulsions will I have? I had even supported Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for President when I was an NDA constituent.”

Demonetisation: Opposition’s criticism of Modi govt irrational, writes JDU MP Harivansh

The demonetisation divide is disturbing.

Sitting on the opposite side of the treasury bench, it becomes a normal impulse to oppose the government. But moving beyond partisan politics, a few decisions need to be seen in the context of both their end purpose and the means employed, without divorcing one from the other. The recent decision by the BJP government to demonetise requires one such analysis.

Today, India is facing countless challenges; both internal and external. Externally, a major challenge is posed by increasing assertiveness of China, a country that started its development journey with us but is now challenging the world’s biggest superpower, the USA. It cannot be disputed that it was only after it became an economic super power that China’s presence started being felt on the global high table.

File image of JDU MP Harivansh. Screen grab from YouTube

File image of JDU MP Harivansh. Screen grab from YouTube

On 13 November, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the operational activities of the strategic Gwadar Port, an important trade link between western China and the Arabian Sea. Gauging its strategic implications is not a tough job and is indeed a matter of concern for India. Fresh manoeuvring in the relationship of Bangladesh with China and Pakistan in the past few months compelled our defence minister to forge new ties with Bangladesh. The way India is being surrounded in the India Ocean also raises serious strategic concerns.

Without getting into the finer nuances of these issues, it is can be safely remarked that external challenges equal the internal ones, which are no less.

This country is of the youth. They are both our capital and strength. If we cannot provide employment to them, nation-building will not be possible. That is a categorical fact. The needs of our rapidly increasing population also need to be taken care of. Environment degradation is staring us in the face. We have mixed poison in the air and are inhaling it. Various reports have indicated how more people in India are dying than in China because of diseases caused by environmental degradation. It is not only impacting our health, it is impacting our society and our economy at large. If we don’t take strong steps in the economic realm, it is not very viable to expect the country to remain in its current shape.

Demonetisation and its desirability

Marx’s proposition that it is economic decisions that forge the historical narrative is so true and China is a living example of this. After Independence, the dream of making India great, a dream nurtured by the freedom fighters, was met with several roadblocks and the economic ones were the most gigantic among them.

To remove these roadblocks, it was only on two occasions that decisive steps — exuding full determination to bring a substantive change — were taken.

In 1969, the nationalisation of 14 banks by the Indira Gandhi government was a big step in regard to economic reforms. Also, the abolition of privy purses and nationalisation of coal mining in (1971-1973) was a decisive step that sent a very strong message to the people.

Again, decades of economic mismanagement pushed our economy to the wall compelling the PV Narasimha Rao government to initiate liberalisation and opening up of the economy in 1991.

The BJP government, while announcing the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, joined the same line of reforms. Its consequences will be judged in time, but it can be safely said that it would be beneficial for the economy at large, given that it is taken to its logical conclusion by initiating more reforms. It is the sheer misfortune of this country that a decision that provides a direction to the country and determines it destiny is seen through a political prism.

Politics has become a 24-hour vocation for almost all the political parties. Every step is evaluated in terms of personal and political gain.

Of course, there are exceptions like Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who chose to see it from a different perspective, not allowing myopic oppositional politics to colour his views. On the very next day after the demonetisation announcement, Nitish supported the move. The reason for his support was simple: Cleansing Indian polity of black influence.

I have earlier, in various discussions in Parliament talked about the Mumbai blasts of 1993. And I have also highlighted that in the same year the NN Vohra Committee submitted its report. The committee highlighted the problem of the criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. It showed how this nefarious syndicate is destroying this country. It pointed out that this syndicate draws its strength from black money. The report was completely forgotten. We should deliberate upon implementing its recommendations.

While we kept talking about curbing black money, a new power-broking class like Ponty Chadha, Matang Singh and Abhishek Verma and a host of political people who still hold important posts in different political parties, has emerged. Their sole interest is to generate black money on which to thrive. These power brokers have permeated defence deals, major policy decisions and even in the justice delivery system.

Demonetisation is an important but small step to check these trends. To take it to its logical conclusion, the government has to strike on benami property, where most of the black money is invested.

Tough economic decisions are required to strengthen democracy. Nitish’s decision to ban liquor — estimated to cause a revenue loss of thousands of crores — was to benefit the people at the bottom of the social pyramid. And when this happens it strengthens the democratic ethos of the country. In 2005, Bihar was written off by the leading publications of the world such as The Economist, TIME and Newsweek. It was declared as a hopeless case. But the same Economist magazine in 2010 talked about its transformation and turnaround. It was the result of some very strong legal and economic steps, like speedy trials — wherein 90,000 criminals where convicted in record time — and sounding the bugle against benami properties of corrupt government officials and politicians.

It is assumed that in a democracy, strong steps cannot be taken with decisiveness. And the long-held image of India as ‘soft state’ allows the corrupt and the thugs to turn audacious enough to openly endorse, support and perpetrate wrong.

Today top economists are arguing that the current demonetisation might be problematic in the short run but it will be beneficial in the long. Consider this: In Khairagarh, Chattisgarh, after 29 years, people came out in the open to pay up tax worth Rs 50 lakh. This is a story of a small district in Chattisgarh. In Ranchi, after demonetisation, Rs 1.16 crore was deposited as municipal tax in one week against Rs 20 lakh a week in normal times.

A Congress member asked in Parliament as to what was so great about demonetisation. It has happened earlier too. Now consider this: In 1945, of a total Rs 1,235 crore worth of currency, Rs 143 crore (11.57 percent) was demonetised. In 1978, out of Rs 9,512 crore, Rs 146 crore (1.53 percent) was demonetised. In the current exercise, of the Rs 16,41,500 crore currency, Rs 14, 21,539 crore (86.6 percent consisting of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations) has been demonetised.

This is huge and unprecedented. In terms of the value of the currency, it is a whopping 73.656 percent more than the 1978 exercise. In terms of the number of notes that need to be removed, it is even more mind-boggling. Against around 10,00,000 (give or take a few lakh) notes taken out in 1978, this time around 22,56,00,00,000 (two thousand two hundred and fifty-six crore) pieces of currency will have to be taken out. That is, this time, the effort is 22,56,000 percent larger.

Now the government should ascertain the impact of demonetisation on Naxal funding, insurgency in Kashmir and the North East. It needs to enquire as to what extent the reports of note-burning like the one reported from Kolkata are true and who these people are. Information regarding this will justify the government’s move. And in due course, all efforts should be made to ensure that if we want to move towards a cashless economy, the infrastructure to support this dream is put in place quickly.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

What the Opposition should be doing now
Now what should be the role of the Opposition in this case? I think it should be of constructive deliberation. Rather than blindly opposing demonetisation, it is a moment when the Opposition should initiate a debate as to why in the last several decades, in spite of all the serious talk on the issues of corruption and black money, we failed to take any decisive steps.

In 1962, Lal Bahadur Shastri formed the Santhanam Committee to suggest ways to tackle corruption. While one of its recommendations did result in the setting up of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), several other important recommendations were never debated seriously. In the following years, numerous committees were formed on the same issue and several reports on corruption and black money were submitted to the government, but without any substantive outcome.

Corruption and black money was once a big issue. But over the decades, instead of sharpening the fight against corruption, ironically it got normalised by the shameless acceptance of its inevitability. In Jawaharlal Nehru’s first Cabinet, a minister named Keshav Dev Malaviya had to resign because he was accused of taking Rs 10,000 donation in elections.

Sankar Das, in his biography of Nehru, writes that in April 1963, certain charges of a minor nature were brought against KD Malaviya — a Central minister. Nehru asked SR Das, a Supreme Court judge, to ascertain whether there was a prima facie case against Malaviya. Nehru otherwise liked Malaviya because he had done useful work in helping develop oil prospecting in India. Das’ enquiry was not conducted openly; it was held in camera. However, Das found that there was a prima facie case against Malaviya on two out of six charges. Malaviya resigned.

This sort of aversion to corrupt practices has dissipated largely. It is an indisputable fact that black money is the direct outcome of corruption and there is a symbiotic relation between the two.

In the past 40 years, since the time I started observing social and political developments, the base and impact of black money has increased manifold. As members of the Opposition we need to look up how many committees were formed to check corruption and black money in last few decades and question why no steps were taken to implement their recommendations.

We need to ask if the governments till now were only interested in forming committees.

The World Bank has put the extent of India’s parallel economy at roughly 20 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). The 2014 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections were evidently fought with black money. People like Baba Ramdev, Ram Jethmalani and Professor R Vaidyanathan were vocal about this. It can be nobody’s case that the host of social evils facilitated by black money can be allowed to remain. Now that the government has decided to demonetise currency, there is no point in irrationally criticising it.

Of course, some tough questions need to be asked of the government. But before that as an Opposition we should see that the government machinery ensures that people in the most distant places get the new notes in the shortest span of time.

Debate, dissect

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury speaks about demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha. PTI

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury speaks about demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha. PTI

Also, all the news that is emerging after demonetisation should be debated. A few days ago a leading financial paper reported that at the India-Bangladesh border, the fake currency racket has suffered a huge setback due to the demonetisation process. The same day Mint published a report headlined, ‘Hoarders woo friends to turn black money into white’. According to this report. big politicians and government officials are asking people to help them convert their black money into white for a commission.

Some other reports claimed that the government is monitoring the income of around 400 big jewellers. Given the fact that a 10-gram gold coin costs Rs 30,000, a briefcase full of such coins can hold black money worth crores. Another important concern is the way Jan Dhan accounts are being used to stash black money. According to a Times of India report, Rs 170 crore was deposited in these accounts in just three days. The government needs to probe all abnormal transactions in these accounts.

It is estimated that Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 crore of hawala money is with terrorist organisations. According to some estimates, terrorists funding in Kashmir rides on this money and following demonetisation, this has been severely affected.

All these news reports — both positive and negative — need to be debated and dissected by the Opposition to ensure the government follows through and taken demonetisation to its logical end. The extent of black money is vast. According to World Bank, it is around 20 percent of the total GDP.

The government estimates it at a far more conservative Rs 15-20 lakh crore which is less than 20 percent of GDP. What is the exact extent of this is tough to ascertain. Professor Arun Kumar, who has written a very important book on the subject, has, in his article published in Economic and Political Weekly (subscription required), put the figure at 62 percent of the GDP. That, too, in 2013.

It is true that farmers, small businessmen and traders, patients, passengers and common people are facing huge problems. But in a decision of this scale, it was bound to happen. An argument has been made that people should have been given some time before announcing demonetisation. It is common sense that if such a big decision had leaked even 15 minutes before earlier, it would have had the potential of destroying the economy. It is natural that with a population of around 1.3 billion, there will be challenges. The government needs to provide immediate succour to the people and move quickly to mitigate the adverse impact of this massive move.

This is a fight against organised corruption. Information regarding tax havens on foreign shores was given to this government time and again. In 2015, the Black Money Bill was introduced to bring back black money. But a measly Rs 2,500 crore was netted.

Then came the income declaration scheme. By September-end, only Rs 65,000 crore had been received. If the estimated black money is Rs 10-15 lakh crore and only Rs 65,000 crore is received, it surely calls for some serious steps.

All said and done, there is no denying the fact that demonetisation is an audaciously positive move. But it can reach its logical end only if it is accompanied by electoral reforms, confiscation of benami properties and stern action against those still in possession of wealth disproportionate to their known source of income. These objectives if attained substantially would set India on a different course. Politics can come later.

The author is a former editor of Prabhat Khabar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar and JDU spokesperson. Views are personal.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 10:32 IST

Nitish Kumar condoles UP train mishap deaths, cancels govt function

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of the Uttar Pradesh train derailment tragedy, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday cancelled a function to release a report card of his government on completion of one year in office and expressed grief over the mishap that claimed 96 lives and left 226 injured.In his condolence message, Kumar described the mishap as sad and expressed deep grief over the casaulties, praying to the almighty to provide strength to families of the bereaved to cope with the tragedy.The CM ordered cancellation of the state function to release the annual report card of his government marking completion of one year in office.”CM has cancelled the function to release report card of the government today on completion of one year in office,” a statement from Information and Public Relations Department said.All preparations had been made for the function and several officials and journalists had also arrived at the venue, but had to return the cancellation.The mishap took place in Kanpur Dehat district in the wee hours today.On assuming office in 2005, Kumar had started a practice of giving an account of developmental work of his government every year in the shape of an annual report card.Today was the date of issuance of the first report card of grand secular alliance government comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress in Bihar headed by Kumar.

NDA issues ‘report card’ on one-year of Nitish govt, calls it ‘big failure’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The BJP-led NDA on Saturday released a ‘report card’ on the completion of one year of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar and said the dispensation has proved to be a big “failure” on all fronts, especially so on law and order.Releasing the ‘report card’ titled ‘Ek Saal, Bura Haal’, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi launched a scathing attack on the maha-gathbandhan government saying it has been in news for “all wrong reasons” in the past one year. “The situation in Bihar has become worse in just one year… We (NDA leaders) have come out with a report card one day in advance, so that the Chief Minister can answer our questions,” Modi told reporters here.The Nitish-led government, in which Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress are allies, completes a year in office tomorrow and it would also present its report card showcasing its achievements. The practice of presenting report cards every year was started by Nitish Kumar in 2006 after he became Chief Minister in November 2005. The Chief Minister should present a report card of one year and not of 11 years as BJP was also the part of the government for around seven-and-half-year when the government earned laurels globally, while now this state government has earned name for all wrong reasons in the past one year, Sushil said.Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of State and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, Hindustani Awam Morcha(S) president and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and other senior BJP leaders including state BJP chief Mangal Pandey were also present on the occasion. Sushil Modi said had the Opposition not objected and raised the issues of bail granted to Shahabuddin, Raj Ballabh Yadav and Rocky Yadav, the state government would not have gone to the Supreme Court against them. “Why is agriculture, health, education and industries missing from the CM’s ‘Nischay’?” he asked, while seeking answers to what happened to the Rs 1.52 lakh crore ‘agriculture roadmap’, ‘Mission Manav Vikas’, ‘Mahadalit Vikas Mission’ and ‘Vision Document 2025′.Sushil also termed Kumar’s students’ credit card scheme a repackaging of the Centre’s scheme. Alleging that criminals have dominated the entire one year of the grand alliance government and the Chief Minister seemed helpless, the senior BJP leader said it was evident from the crime figures, which have “increased” after prohibition came into effect. Quoting figures from the website of the police department, he claimed the number of kidnappings for ransom has gone upto three in August this year from one in April this year. Similarly, rape incidents have increased to 103 in August 2016 from 61 in April.The number of murders have gone up to 228 in August from 192 in April, Sushil said, adding incidents of riots have increased to 1,017 in August from 809 in April. Taking potshots at the grand alliance government, Ramvilas Paswan said development has taken a back seat while cold warwas on among the allies. “The CM should issue a white paper on the numbers of Dalit and Mahadalit families and how many of them have got three decimals of land,” he said while predicting that the Nitish Kumar-government would fall in two-and-half years.Giving “negative marks” to the Nitish government, former CM Manjhi said, “The government did nothing in one year. Going by its performance, it will not even get a zero mark. It may even get negative marking.”

Nitish Kumar favours demonetization but attacks Modi govt for not doing ‘its homework’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday favoured demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and sought “action against benami property”, even as he slammed the Centre for “not doing its homework” before taking the step causing hardships to the poor.”I am in favour of the decision to demonetize Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes which will help end ‘2 number ka dhanda’ (illegal business),” he said addressing a ‘Chetna sabha’ here at the start of his second leg of ‘Nishchay yatra’.”I want an attack on benami properties earned through illegal means for more effective results against black money,” Kumar, who is also the JD(U) national president, said. Contradicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertions that the poor are “enjoying a sound sleep” after his decision, the Chief Minister claimed, “Farmers and common people toil hard in fields, but those involved in number illegal business buy benami property and enjoy deep sleep.”With reports of inconvenience to the masses standing in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs pouring in from across the country, Kumar demanded suitable arrangements so that the poor and women can change the demonetized high-value notes easily. Criticising the BJP-led government for “improper” arrangement for undertaking the demonetization exercise resulting in inconvenience to people, Kumar said he always executed programmes for people after meticulously going through minor details.By way of example he said youths going to district registration centres to enrol themselves for interest-free loans for higher studies and other facilities as part of his ‘seven resolves’, need not stand in long queues. Accusing BJP of turning its election promise on black money to ‘jumla’ (false promise), Kumar claimed, “We are not jumla baaz (practitioner of jumla). I make only those promises to people which can be executed.” During the second leg of his ‘Nishchay yatra’, Kumar informed the people about the programmes launched to realise his ‘seven resolves’ and also the “good results” prohibition is yielding.

50 lakh homes in Bihar to be provided free power connection by 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the aim of lighting up each and every household in the state, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday launched his ambitious “Har ghar bijli lagatar” scheme, under which about 50 lakh homes in Bihar will be provided free electricity connection by 2018.“Har ghar bijli lagatar” was the last among the seven resolves of Nitish Kumar to be implemented before he completes his first year in office on November 20.Inaugurating the scheme, Kumar said, “The per capita power consumption in Bihar has increased from 70 units in 2005 to 258 units at present. The peak demand also upped from 700MW to 3,769MW during the same period. We are fulfilling our promise of bettering power situation in the state.” He, however, rued the treatment meted to Bihar by the Centre saying the state was not getting optimum power from the central quota.The newly launched scheme will cover Bihar’s rural above poverty line (APL) families, about 50% of whom do not have power connectivity, as per a survey being conducted by the state energy department for the implementation of the project. The BPL families are already covered under Centre’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.While the new connection will be free, the consumer will have to pay the electricity bill based on the meter reading as usual. In case anyone does not want to take a power connection, he or she will have to give in writing, the reason for the same.It may be mentioned the PM Narendra Modi has also committed for round-the-clock power for all in the next few years.

‘Rasgulla’ sale rises by 16.25 percent since ban on liquor: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Motihari (Bihar): Counting virtues of prohibition, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said sale of “rasgulla” has increased by 16.25 percent in past seven months since ban on alcohol in the state.

“Sale of Rasgulla has increased by 16.25 percent in the past seven months since prohibition came into effect in Bihar,” Kumar said addressing a Chetna sabha as part of his “Nishchaya yatra” here in Bihar’s East Champaran district.

In addition, sale of healthy foods like Peda, paneer and Dahi Matha (product of curd) has also risen since ban on liquor was clamped in Bihar in April, he said.

Yesterday, the Chief Minister had reeled figure of hike in sale of milk in the wake of prohibition by 11 percent.

Kumar was addressing a rally here on his second stop of Nishchay yatra that started yesterday from Bettiah to take feedback from people on prohibition as well as on “seven resolves” which has been adopted by the government as “policy of governance” for next five years.

“Seven resolves” include civic amenities like drinking water, toilet, roads and electricity for every household.

Kumar read figures to claim a substantial drop in crime rate after banning liquor, spiced and domestic as well as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in the past seven months.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

With Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and state police chief P K Thakur present on the dias, Kumar claimed that heinous crimes have seen a slide.

Murder cases have dropped by 36 percent in between 1 April to 31 October, this year as compared to during same period in 2015, he said.

Likewise, dacoity decreased by 25 per cent, riots by 40 percent, kidnapping for ransom by 56 percent and road accidents by 21 percent, Kumar, who has taken the task of prohibition in a mission mode, said dwelling on impacts of liquor ban.

Kumar, who is also JD(U) chief, apparently hit at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the election promise (of bringing back black money and providing Rs 15 lakh out of it to every citizens) was not fullfilled and instead declared as “jumla” (euphism).

But, unlike those “hollow” promises his government has effected prohibition and started works on seven resolves of providing electricity, road, toilet, drinking water and sewage among others to every household before completion of one year of grand secular alliance government.

With Agriculture minister Ram Vichar Rai of RJD and Congress minister Madan Mohan Jha with him, Kumar slammed the Centre for permiting trial of GM Mustard and said Bihar would not allow genetically modified mustard in any case.

He also hit out at rival BJP for protesting his “Nishchay yatra” with an aim to find publicity in media.

People of Gujarat want prohibition laws like Bihar, says Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar chief minister, who has been championing the agenda of total prohibition across the country, said the state is becoming an example for effective enforcement of liquor ban in just seven months and even people in Gujarat, where the prohibition has been in place for decades, are demanding their government to amend the laws on the stricter lines of Bihar.Addressing a Chetna sabha on the first day of his Nishchai yatra in West Champaran on Wednesday, Nitish said, “There was a huge rally in Gujarat recently, in which the people demanded effective implementation of liquor ban. They demanded strictness in its enforcement like in Bihar. Even people in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Maharashtra have been demanding alcohol ban and have invited me there.”Nitish, also the JD (U) president, has embarked on several yatras such as Sampark yatra, Sankalp yatra, Nyay yatra etc in the past, and this time he is seeking feedback from the people on prohibition as well as the implementation of his Saat nishchai scheme. This has given a chance to his party to target PM Narendra Modi and posters reading Wo videsh bhraman par rehte hai aur hamare CM gaon gaon mein jakar logo se milte hai… Fark dikhta hai (One can see the difference when he (Narendra Modi) is always on foreign tours and our CM always visiting villages, meeting people) can be seen across the state capital and on social media platforms.The opposition, however, hit back asking CM to evaluate the promises made to people during his earlier yatras to justify the present one. The leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Prem Kumar said the BJP workers will stage protests wherever the CM goes as the yatra is just an eye wash for the people. “It is one year since the Mahagathbandhan got public mandate in Bihar but the government is just trying to fool the people,” he said.

Chhath Puja: Lakhs of people throng ghats across India to celebrate third day of festival

Patna: Lakhs of devotees on Sunday offered prayers to the Sun on the ghats of the Ganga and other rivers and water bodies across Bihar on the occasion of Chhath. In Patna, fasting men and women thronged the ghats of the Ganga and stood in waist-deep water to offer prayers to the setting Sun.

The state government made tight security arrangement for a smooth Chhath Puja on the third day of the four-day festival which began on Friday. Family members and relatives were seen assisting the ‘Vratis’- those offering ‘arghya’ (obeisance) to the deity with home-made ‘thekua’, fruits, sugarcane and coconuts.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, accompanied by ministers and senior officials, inspected the ghats and rode a motorboat in the Ganga from Nasriganj to Gaighat and sought blessings of the ‘Vratis’ for the well-being of the state, an official statement said.

Devotees worshiping on the occasion of the Chatt festival at Boat Club in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

Devotees worshiping on the occasion of the Chatt festival at Boat Club in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

Chhath Puja was held at 1, Aney Marg, official residence of the chief minister, where Nitish Kumar’s Bhabi did the puja, which was more or less a private affair. In a departure, the family of Kumar’s ally and RJD leader Lalu Prasad is not celebrating ‘Chhath’ at his 10 Circular Road residence, which used to be the centre of media attention every year.

A huge rush of devotees were seen on the banks of the Ganga during evening ‘Arghya’ in Patna. Similar scenes were witnessed in the districts, reports said. After completion of evening ‘arghya’, devotees would return tomorrow morning before sunrise to offer ‘arghya’.

Elaborate arrangements were made by the municipal authorities to spruce up ghats across the city and roads leading to them. The ghats were barricaded to enable the worshippers and their families offer prayers in an orderly manner, official sources said.

Out of the capital’s 101 ghats, 20 ghats have been declared ‘dangerous’ as various watch towers and CCTVs have been installed to keep a close vigil. “I am very happy to see the arrangement. Ghats are cleaned and have proper lighting. Temporary changing rooms have been made for devotees. Regular announcements are being made to remain alert,” said Abhishek Kumar, who came from Mumbai to his sister’s house in Patna to participate in the festival.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been posted at the ghats with boats and other equipment for rescue and relief operations, if needed, NDRF official sources said. Patna city has been decorated with lights for the occasion, especially the roads leading to ghats. Patna Electric Supply Undertaking has made special preparation for provding unhindered power supply.

Bihar government rethinking harsh provisions of new prohibition law, seeks suggestions from common public

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barely a month after the Bihar government enforced a harsher Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, labelled ‘Talibani’ by some sections of the society, the Nitish Kumar led Mahagathbandhan government seems to be rethinking the provisions of the new law and has issued a public notice asking people to pitch forth constructive suggestions for smoother implementation of the law.The new law, which came into effect on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, has provisions such as action against all adult members of the family if liquor is found on their premises or anyone is suspected to have consumed it, imposing collective fine, prosecuting the owner of liquor is stored on any premises and sanctioning Excise and police officials to enter any premises without warrants as well as sealing or confiscating properties.It may also be mentioned that all sections in the new Act are non-bailable. Such stringent provisions, along with CM Nitish Kumar himself championing the agenda, created nationwide interest in it.According to the notice issued by state excise commission, people have been asked to provide their suggestions on email id [email protected] or on cell number 9473400378, FAX number 0612-2205871 or by post to excise office, new secretariat, Patna. “While a lot has been talked and written about new law, with many questioning its provisions terming it very harsh, we invite solid measures which may help in better implementation of the law,” the notice reads. The last day for providing feedback is November 12.The state government has maintained that it has gone into the public domain to take suggestion from the common people, who matter the most in a democracy, the Opposition BJP has alleged that the Bihar government has done it an attempt to save its face before the Supreme Court, where the old Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016, quashed by Patna high court is being heard. Even the new law has been challenged in the Patna High Court.Sources said the state government may bring any amendments, is considered in the winter session of Bihar legislature, likely to commence in the last week of November.

Nitish Kumar announces Rs 11 lakh ex-gratia for BSF jawan’s family

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday announced Rs 11 ex-gratia to the next of kin of BSF head constable Jitendra Singh who was killed in Pakistan shelling at RS Pura sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.Expressing deep condolence at the martyrdom of the brave soldier from the state, Kumar said state honour was accorded to the martyred BSF man during his last rites today, he said. The jawan, a native of Raxual in East Champaran district, was killed in shelling from Pakistan in violation of ceasefire.The chief minister said in his condolence message that the country would always remember Singh’s martyrdom and that the entire state was with his family in this hour of grief. The last rites of the BSF personnel was held at his native Siswa village in Raxual along Indo-Nepal border.After arrival of his casket, the residents of Raxauls marched on the streets recalling the bravery of the BSF jawan and shouting slogans against Pakistan.

Bihar road rage case: Rocky Yadav surrenders before Gaya district court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rocky Yadav surrendered before the Gaya district court on Saturday, a day after the police could not trace him.The Supreme Court on Friday had stayed the bail granted by the Patna High Court on October 19 to Yadav in connection with the death of Aditya Sachdeva in the road rage incident, making it clear he will have to go back to jail.Rocky is accused of shooting and killing Aditya Sachdeva, a Class XII student who was driving his Maruti car, for overtaking his SUV on May 7 this year near Gaya.The Nitish Kumar government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the Patna High Court’s granting bail to Rocky Yadav.After the Supreme Court stayed his bail, the police launched a manhunt when Yadav could not be located. Raids were conducted at various places in order to put him back to jail, Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Malik told PTI. “As soon as the Supreme Court judgement reached us the police raided Rocky Yadav’s house in AP Colony, but did not find him there,” the SP said.The police filed an application in the court of Additional District Judge SP Mishra seeking non-bailable arrest warrant against Yadav to send him back to jail in accordance with the apex court judgement. Rocky Yadav’s lawyer also filed an affidavit in the court of the ADJ during the day stating that he was out of Gaya and would come before the court on Sunday.With PTI/ANI inputs

Bihar liquor ban: CM Nitish Kumar renews alcohol sale in defence canteens in ‘interest of soliders’

The Bihar Government on Tuesday decided to renew liquor licences of canteens in cantonment areas, military and air force stations for 2016-2017 in the “interest of soldiers”, The Telegraph reported on 25 October. 

Impositions such as mandatory holograms on liquor bottles (for sale in the canteen), and vehicles used for the transport of liquor to be strictly fitted with digital locks and GPS, have also been relaxed on the request of defence establishments, on the condition that it is consumed within the premises.

This comes after the historic move by the Nitish Kumar government in imposing a complete ban on sale of any kind of liquor in Bihar, making it the fourth dry state of the country after Nagaland, Manipur and Gujarat, in April, through a notification, reports IANS.

“Liquor will not be sold in any bar, pub or hotel from now onwards,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters in Patna, adding, “We are placing a complete ban on its sale in the state. Women and kids have created an environment in favour of this ban.”

File photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

File photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

The Bihar legislative assembly then formally passed the Bihar Excise and Prohibition Bill with voice vote amidst an opposition boycott. It was approved by Governor Ram Nath Kovind on 7 September. The law was touted as “draconian” by opposing parties, with stringent provisions such as arrest of all adult members of a family if liquor was found stored in any household.

However, ruling that section 19(4) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 was “ultra vires and unenforceable”, the Patna High Court had quashed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s pet initiative as “unreasonable and draconian” which “cannot be justified in a civilised society”.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta IANS: “As the notification has been struck down by the court, all the cases against persons will go now.” As many as 13,839 people were arrested for violating the liquor law between April and August, 2016.

Although even before the HC order came, the Bihar government had announced that it would enforce a new stringent law from 2 October, only to stay adamant on it after the order. The government had drafted a new law to keep from withdrawing the ban. “A special state cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister on Sunday formally approved the implementation of the new act in the state,” an official in CM’s Office said. According to the state’s Additional Advocate General, Lalit Kishore, the high court order did not impact the new act since it was passed by both houses of the Bihar legislature and formally approved by Governor Ram Nath Kovind, whereas the court order was related to an old rule.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other members of his Cabinet took a pledge that the government would continue with prohibition which is “ushering positive social change” in the state.

As per the new liquor law, those found indulging in unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale, intoxicant or liquor could attract a minimum 10 years of jail term which may extend to imprisonment for life besides a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh which may extend to Rs 10 lakh, says a report by PTI.

Later, on 7 October the Supreme Court stayed the Patna High Court order quashing the ban and directed the hearing of the matter after 10 weeks.

However, the government continues its arrests and around 1,000 cartons of India made foreign liquor (IMFL) were seized by excise department officials and six persons were arrested from a container truck in Fatuha Industrial Area of Patna district on 22 October, marking it one of the biggest seizures since the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016 was enforced on 2 October.

With inputs from agencies

In Bihar, Politics and Puja go hand in hand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During Durga Puja, while most of Bihar’s population is out on the roads, politicians in the state get a two-in-one opportunity as the ‘aam’ and ‘khaas’ go pandal hopping post ‘Saptami’, the seventh day of Navaratra.The political class are not just paying their respects to the deity, and seeking the choicest blessings of Ma Durga and her children, but it is also an opportune time for them to reconnect with their electorate on the ground without much hassle.Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was among the first to be seen at a popular Puja pandal near Dak Bungalow crossing in the state capital on Saptami. It is one of his regular pandals which he visits every year during Navaratra. A number of other ministers, and legislators, and Opposition leaders too were spotted at various Puja destinations across Bihar.Politicos, who weren’t out on Saptami, came out on Maha Ashtami and were once again led by the CM who visited traditional Devi temples in and around the capital seeking blessings. Kumar prayed at Ma Sheetla Devi Mandir at Agamkuan, and the popular Choti Patan Devi and Badi Patan Devi in Patna City, Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, and Bengali Akhada, which are thronged by hundreds of devotees during Navaratra. He also interacted with the people and asked about the festivities, sources said.The BJP brigade pandal visit was led by Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, both of whom prayed as well as interacted with the people at the pandal. They also posed for shutterbugs.Patnaites observed that this is the first time, after last year’s assembly polls that so many politicians are being seen among commoners, praying for the well being of the state.Former deputy CM Rabri Devi, and her son, and state health minister, Tej Pratap Yadav performed Navami Puja at their home in the presence of family members and friends.Interestingly, this year, some Puja pandals in Bihar have taken a leaf out of CM Nitish Kumar’s prohibition agenda and are trying to create public awareness against alcohol consumption through messages and cartoons.

Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav to visit Bihar on Oct 17

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is set to launch a movement against the ruling Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar when he will seek to mobilise farmers, labours and youngsters of the state at a ‘Kisan, majdoor, naujawan mahasabha panchayat’ in Bihar’s Madhubani district on October 17. Yadav’s Bihar visit is being seen as a move to counter Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s frequent visits to UP over the last few months. While Kumar has been championing his agenda of total prohibition in the neighbouring state, he has also been quite vocal about expanding his party Janata Dal (United)’s base there.In his ten-odd public meetings in UP, the Bihar CM has more often than not targeted the Samajwadi Party (SP) government indicating its plans to make a foray into the state’s electoral politics ahead of the crucial assembly polls next year. According to sources, with caste playing a major role in elections in the Hindi heartland, the JD (U) is not just banking on the Kurmi votes (Nitish Kumar’s castemen), but is also hoping for a portion of secular and non-Yadav OBC votes by forging alliances with smaller regional forces.On October 4, Kumar, also the national president of JD (U), shared the dais with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, while addressing a JD (U)-RLD joint rally in western UP’s Baghpat district.Incidentally, JD (U), which is raising the concerns of issues facing the marginal farmers in UP in a bid to revive farmers’ politics there, will get a taste of its own medicine when the UP CM raises problems relating to irrigation and rationalization of land revenue in Bihar.“Our party is observing Ram Manohar Lohia’s death anniversary week from October 12 to 18 and Akhilesh Yadav has consented to address Madhubani’s October 17 meeting. Public welfare issues will be taken up by him,” SP’s Bihar president and former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav said, adding, the party was requesting farmers and labourers to come in large numbers to Madhubani next Monday when their cause will be championed by the UP CM.SP sources said the party is also trying to expand its base in Bihar with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and has formed a working committee to look after the party’s reorganisation in the state.

SC stays Patna HC’s order quashing Bihar’s ban on sale and consumption of liquor

New Delhi: In a relief to the Nitish Kumar government, Supreme Court on Friday stayed the operation of Patna High Court judgement quashing the state’s law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor, saying liquor and fundamental rights “do not go together”.

File image of Supreme Court. AFP

File image of Supreme Court. AFP

A bench of justices Dipak Misra and UU lalit also issued notices to all the respondents including some liquor manufacturers, on whose plea the high court had held as illegal and unconstitutional Bihar government’s prohibition law and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.

“Liquor and fundamental rights do not go together,” was how the apex court observed before passing the interim order on the appeal against the high court’s verdict. “As an interim measure, it is directed that there shall be stay of operation of the judgement and order passed by the division bench of the Patna high court,” the bench said.

Bihar government has challenged the high court verdict of 30 September which had quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state. However, after the law was set aside, the Grand Secular Alliance government came out with a new law banning sale and consumption of liquor, which was notified on the Gandhi Jayanti day on 2 October.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, assisted by advocates Gopal Singh and Keshav Mohan, told the bench on behalf of the state government that after high court’s order, Bihar has notified a new law on 2 October which repealed the old legislation. “The new law is not under challenge. The high court judgement was in relation to the old law,” he said.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for one of the liquor manufacturers, said “this judgement (which is under challenge) is not operational. It is supplanted by a new law. Now, there is nothing to be stayed.” He was opposing the appeal of the state government by submitting that a new law has been notified on 2 October.

There were a battery of senior lawyers, including CS Vaidyanathan, Rajeev Dhawan and Balbir Singh, who appeared to oppose the Bihar government’s appeal raising the issue of fundamental right of equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.

Supreme Court stays Patna HC order quashing Bihar liquor ban law

Supreme Court stays Patna HC order quashing Bihar liquor ban law

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Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday stayed the operation of the Patna High Court judgement quashing the Bihar government’s law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor in the state.

A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit, issued notices to all respondents including some liquor manufacturers on whose plea the high court had held as illegal and unconstitutional the Nitish Kumar government’s prohibition law and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.

Bihar government has challenged the high court verdict of 30 September which had quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state.

However, after the law was set aside, the Nitish Kumar government came out with a new law banning the sale and consumption of liquor which was notified on the Gandhi Jayanti day on 2 October.

Bihar: Rape victim expresses fear over accused MLA’s release, state govt opposes bail

Patna: The minor girl, the victim in the alleged rape case in which suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav was released on bail recently, has expressed concern for her and her family’s safety even as the Bihar government on Wednesday appealed against the bail order in the Supreme Court.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. AFP

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. AFP

The girl has expressed her anxiety in a message to reporters, saying she and her family were “living in fear” after the release of Yadav.

“He (Yadav) is out of jail…I am scared and afraid for my family. What will happen to them? I am already dead after what happened to me. I have nothing more to lose,” said the Nalanda schoolgirl in a WhatsApp message to reporters.

She said she was scared that her family might be “eliminated”, along with her, after the Patna High Court granted bail to Yadav on 30 September.

The girl, who had cleared the matriculation examination earlier this year, was allegedly raped by Yadav, the RJD MLA from Nawada, and has been living in trauma since the sordid event.

She had appeared for the matriculation examination after the state school examination board facilitated her to write the papers at a secluded centre due to fear of humiliation.

She cleared the examination in first division.

Meanwhile, The Nitish Kumar government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to Yadav by the Patna High Court.

The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter on 7 October.

Yadav had surrendered before a local court in March in connection with the incident.

Bihar: Minor rape victim expresses fear over release of suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minor girl, the victim in the alleged rape case in which suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav was released on bail recently, has expressed concern for her and her family’s safety even as the Bihar government on Wednesday appealed against the bail order in the Supreme Court.The girl has expressed her anxiety in a message to reporters, saying she and her family were “living in fear” after the release of Yadav.”He (Yadav) is out of jail…I am scared and afraid for my family. What will happen to them? I am already dead after what happened to me. I have nothing more to lose,” said the Nalanda schoolgirl in a WhatsApp message to reporters.She said she was scared that her family might be “eliminated”, along with her, after the Patna High Court granted bail to Yadav on September 30.The girl, who had cleared the matriculation examination earlier this year, was allegedly raped by Yadav, the RJD MLA from Nawada, and has been living in trauma since the sordid event.She had appeared for the matriculation examination after the state school examination board facilitated her to write the papers at a secluded centre due to fear of humiliation.She cleared the examination in first division.Meanwhile, The Nitish Kumar government today moved the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to Yadav by the Patna High Court.The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter on October 7.Yadav had surrendered before a local court in March in connection with the incident.

Nitish Kumar lauds Centre’s decision to go for surgical strikes in PoK

Nitish Kumar lauds Centre’s decision to go for surgical strikes in PoK

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Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday hailed the Centre’s decision to go for surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads in PoK in the wake of Uri terror attack and said the entire country is united in the fight against the menace perpetrated from across the border.

A file photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

A file photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

“The decision of surgical strike taken by the Centre is successful,” Kumar told reporters emerging from a function on wild life week in Patna.

In reply to a question on terrorists making a bid to attack an army camp in Baramulla, the national president of JD(U) said “such activities keep happening on borders” and “there was no need to panic.”

Everybody knows that the Union Government is making foolproof arrangements to deal with such elements, he said.

“Our Army and Paramilitary personnel who are deployed at the borders have the strength to deal with such situation,” Kumar said.

“It is wrong to think that all terror activities will end, it is not possible. We should always remain alert to deal with such elements,” he said.

Nitish Kumar hails Centre’s decision for surgical strike in PoK, says whole nation united against terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday hailed the Centre’s decision to go for surgical strikes at launch pads in PoK in the wake of Uri terror attack and said the entire country is united to fight terrorism from across the border.”The decision of surgical strike taken by the Centre is successful,” Kumar told reporters emerging from a function on wild life week here. In reply to a question on terrorists making a bid to attack an army camp in Baramulla, the national president of JD(U) said “such activities keep happening on borders” and “there was no need to panic”.Everybody knows that the Union Government is making full-proof arrangements to deal with such elements, he said. “Our Army and Paramilitary personnel who are deployed at the borders have the strength to deal with such situation,” Kumar said.”It is wrong to think that all terror activities will end, it is not possible. We should always remain alert to deal with such elements,” he said. After Uri terror attack on September 18, Kumar had refused to trade charges on any political party and had asserted support to the Central Government to deal with terrorism.

Nitish Katara murder case: What you need to know about the 14-year-old case

Supreme Court on Monday awarded 25-year jail term each to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav for their role in the kidnapping and killing of Nitish Katara in 2002.

While upholding the 2014 Delhi High Court’s sentence of 25 years imposed on Vikas Yadav and two others, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C Nagappan said, “We have powers to impose such special sentences”.

The apex court ruled thus in a verdict while examining the question whether courts could impose special sentences which are not provided under the statute.

The apex court also handed down a 20-year jail sentence to their co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case. The bench modified the Delhi high court verdict that had said that seperate jail terms of 25-years and 5-years for the offences of murder and destruction of evidence would run consecutively against Vikas and Vishal.

In what was a shocking case of honour killing at the time, the duo had murdered Nitish on 17 February 2002 as they were opposed to his friendship with their sister and UP strongman DP Yadav’s daughter Bharti Yadav.

The court said both the jail terms would run concurrently that would effectively lead to the award of 25 years of imprisonment to the Yadavs.

Simultaneously, Pehalwan, who was granted 25-year jail term in the case by the high court, will now have to face 20-year imprisonment in the matter. The order came on the appeals filed by Vikas and Vishal against the Delhi high court order which had enhanced the life term to 25 years in jail without remission and an additional five years for destruction of evidence in the case, terming
Katara’s murder as “honour killing”.

The Yadavs’ acquaintance Sukhdev Yadav alias Pehelwan was then awarded an enhanced life sentence of 25 years without remission by the high court which had held that the crime fell in “rarest of rare category”, but saved them from the gallows saying possibility of their reformation and rehabilitation was not “unforseeably foreclosed”.

How the case unfolded

On the intervening night of 16-17 February, 2002, Vikas Yadav, the son of the tainted leader DP Yadav abducted Nitish from a wedding party of a friend in Ghaziabad who was known to Bharti, DP Yadav’s daughter as well. Katara was eventually battered to death with a hammer and his charred body was found near the Hapur crossing in a village Khurja in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh, according to The Indian Express. Meanwhile, Bharti Yadav left for the United Kingdom on the same day when Nitish’s body was discovered.

The deceased Nitish Katara. IBNThe deceased Nitish Katara. IBN

The deceased Nitish Katara. IBN

The Yadav family, clearly opposed the friendship of the two, had reportedly issued death threats to Nitish earlier too, but he and Bharti continued their friendship. According to a report in The Weekthe key witness in the case Ajay Katara, a passer by, was allegedly attacked shortly before a case hearing. Ajay, according to The Telegraphalleged that DP Yadav was trying to poison him to stop him from recording his statement.  “After he [Vikas Yadav] threatened to kill me I became even more determined to tell the truth. If I am going to die, I might as well tell the truth,” The Week quotes Ajay as saying.

According to another report in DNAthree UP police constables deputed for the security of Ajay also complained that some senior police officials were trying to bribe them for “not defending” him. The trial went on for almost six years before a trial court convicted Vikas and Vishal in 2008.

Recording the statement of another crucial witness in the case Bharti Yadav — who surprisingly left India the day Katara’s body was found — proved to be another roadblock in the case as it took several summons, warnings and in the end several non-bailable warrants against her to finally get her to come back to the country and record her statement, according to the Hindustan Times.

Nitish Katara’s mother Neelam Katara, had initially sought death penalty for her son’s murder but the Supreme Court had rejected the plea stating that while it was a murder and could even be pre-meditated, it certainly was not heinous or a matter of honour killing, according to IANS. However, in Monday’s verdict the court has observed that the case was indeed of honour killing

The Supreme Court in August 2015 upheld the Delhi High Court’s conviction of Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pahalwan, and said it would later examine the question of quantum of sentence. Earlier, the high court had held that the murder of Katara, who was in love with Vikas’s sister, was an “honour killing” which was done in a “very carefully planned and premeditated” manner with “extreme vengeance”. It had also enhanced the fines imposed on Vikas and Vishal by slapping an amount of Rs 54 lakh each on them.

Vikas (39), Vishal (37) and Sukhdev (40) were serving life term awarded by the lower court in May 2008 for abducting and killing Katara.

The high court had on 2 April, 2014, upheld the verdict of the lower court in the case by describing the offence as “honour killing” stemming from a “deeply-entrenched belief” in caste system.
Katara was abducted and killed by Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev as they did not approve of the victim’s affair with Bharti because they belonged to different castes, the lower court had said.

With inputs from agencies

Patna High Court strikes down Bihar govt’s Prohibition of Liquor Act, terms it ‘illegal’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major blow to Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar, the Patna High Court on Friday struck down the state’s Prohibition of Liquor Act. The court termed the act as ‘illegal’, reported ANI.On April 5, 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced a complete ban on alcohol in the state with immediate effect. Fulfilling a promise he had made to women before the assembly elections in the state, Nitish Kumar had on November 26, announced his plan to effect a liquor ban in the state.In June this year, Nitish Kumar had claimed that there has been a drastic decline in the percentage of crimes in the two months after complete prohibition was imposed in the state. “Heinous crimes have come down by 15% in last two months,” he had said.Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also dismissed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Upadhaya’s plea, seeking a complete ban on liquor across the nation.

Markandey Katju booked for sedition following his comments on Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the row over his remarks on Bihar raged on, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has been booked on sedition charge following a complaint by a JD(U) MLC against his online post that Kashmir should be offered to Pakistan on the condition that it takes Bihar too. Another complaint was also filed on Wednesday in the district court against Katju, who hit back at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his critical remarks and churned out more taunting posts.Reacting on the sedition charge, Katju on Facebook said ‘Hari Om!’Katju has been booked under 124-A (sedition) and other sections of IPC, according to SHO of Shashtrinagar police station Birendra Pratap. JD(U) MLC and its state spokesman Neeraj Kumar had last evening lodged a complaint in the police station here against Katju seeking his prosecution for alleged sedition .Meanwhile, lawyer, Arvind Kumar, filed a petition in the court of Patna Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Om Prakash against Katju. The complaint sought registration of a case under sections 124 (A) (sedition), 500 (Punishment for defemation), 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory and 505 (Statements conducting to public mischief) of IPC. The date for hearing the plea is yet to be decided.Katju’s comments on Facebook about Bihar have drawn sharp criticism. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ridiculed him for trying to become ‘Mai-Baap’ (guardian) of the state. His comments had also invited the wrath of Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and JD(U) leaders K C Tyagi and Shyam Rajak among others.Though Katju had sought to backtrack on Tuesday after a barrage of protests by writing on his Facebook account “I was only joking about Bihar” but today he again continued with his jibes on the social media. “I suggest Biharis should take their complaint against me to the UN. When ‘cheer haran’ of Draupadi was being done, she appealed to Lord Krishna to save her honour,” Katju wrote on his Facebook post today.”Nitish Kumar says that I regard myself as the ‘ mai baap’ of Bihar. No Nitishji, I am not the ‘mai baap’ of Biharis but their Shakuni Mama,” he wrote in an another post.

Justice Markandey Katju booked under sedition for remark offering Bihar to Pakistan

Patna: As the row over his remarks on Bihar raged on, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has been booked on sedition charge following a complaint by a JD(U) MLC against his online post that Kashmir should be offered to Pakistan on the condition that it takes Bihar too.

File image of Justice Markanday Katju. PTI

File image of Justice Markandey Katju. PTI

Another complaint was also filed on Wednesday in the district court against Katju, who hit back at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his critical remarks and churned out more taunting posts.

Katju has been booked under 124-A (sedition) and other sections of IPC, according to SHO of Shashtrinagar police station Birendra Pratap. JD(U) MLC and its state spokesman Neeraj Kumar had last evening lodged a complaint in the police station here against Katju seeking his prosecution for alleged sedition.

Meanwhile, lawyer, Arvind Kumar, filed a petition in the court of Patna against Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Om Prakash against Katju. The complaint sought registration of a case under sections 124 (A) (sedition), 500 (Punishment for defemation), 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory and 505 (Statements conducting to public mischief) of IPC.

The date for hearing the plea is yet to be decided. Katju’s comments on Facebook about Bihar have drawn sharp criticism. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ridiculed him for trying to become Mai-Baap (guardian) of the state. His comments had also invited the wrath of Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and JD(U) leaders K C Tyagi and Shyam Rajak among others.

Though Katju had sought to backtrack on Tuesday after a barrage of protests by writing on his Facebook account “I was only joking about Bihar” but on Wednesday, he again continued with his jibes on social media. “I suggest Biharis should take their complaint against me to the UN.

“When cheer haran of Draupadi was being done, she appealed to Lord Krishna to save her honour,” Katju wrote on his Facebook post on Wednesday. “Nitish Kumar says that I regard myself as the mai baap of Bihar. No Nitishji, I am not the mai baap of Biharis but their Shakuni Mama,” he wrote in an another post.

Nitish Kumar launches two key schemes of ‘seven resolves’, dismisses Smart City initiative

Patna: Launching two key schemes out of the “seven resolves”, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday pooh poohed the Centre’s ‘Smart City’ initiative and said implementation of these would make citizens of the state “smarter”.

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

Of his government’s ambitious “seven resolves” (Saat Nishchay), Kumar launched two schemes — ‘Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal’ (piped drinking water to every household) and ‘Shauchalay Nirman, Ghar Ka Sammaan’ (toilet to every household) in towns and villages of the state by the end of 2019.

While launching the schemes, Kumar said, “With the seven resolves schemes getting translated into reality, the people of Bihar, be it of villages or towns, would certainly become smarter citizens.”

Making light of the Centre’s ‘Smart City’ scheme, he said, “With people getting power and piped drinking water supply besides pucca road connectivity and drainage system, why would people come to towns … I don’t know when the smart city would be created.”

“My government has given Rs 300 crore as grants for the construction of toilets in cities alone. How can a city become a ‘smart city’ by spending Rs 500 crore on it. I don’t know whether a smart city can be created with annual expenditure of Rs 100 crore,” the Chief Minister said.

Kumar was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues Shravan Kumar, Maheshwar Hazari, Krishnandan Verma, Kapildeo Kamat, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Development Commissioner Shishir Sinha and other senior officers during the launch of the two schemes.

Stating that out of the seven resolves, the state government has already implemented its one resolve of providing 35 percent reservation for women in government jobs, Kumar said, adding that the implementation of these two schemes would fulfil people’s desire of getting better basic amenities.

On the eve of Bihar poll, Kumar had announced his “seven resolves”. The same was adopted by the grand secular alliance government as policy of governance for next five years.

Nitish Kumar ropes in 40 lakh JD(U) workers to counter anti-prohibition protests

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday roped in more than 40 lakh JD(U) workers to counter “falsehood” spread against prohibition by some “affected intellectuals deprived of quota of 1-2 pegs.”

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

File photo of Nitish Kumar. PTI

“A few intellectuals deprived of their quota of 1-2 pegs are spreading falsehoods regarding liquor ban in Bihar,” Kumar said at the one-day JD(U) state council meeting.

Kumar appealed to party workers to counter these falsehoods by vociferously speaking in favour of alcohol ban.

“In democracy power of speaking matters a lot…move your lips more strongly in favour of prohibition and other programmes of “sushashan” which should become voice of the nation,” the CM said.

Kumar, who is National President of JD(U) asked state party leadership to take out “prabhat pheri” and hold “sankalp sabha” on Gandhi Jayanti to promote “jan chetna” (peoples awareness) in favour of prohibition and “seven resolves”.

He also called for organising shivir (camp) and orientation programmes for more than 1.5 lakh active JD(U) workers for the same.

Newly re-elected Bihar JD(U) President Basisthan Narayan Singh promptly responded to CM’s call and announced the programmes for workers on 2 October.

Besides Singh, senior party leader Sharad Yadav and a host of state ministers, Members of Parliament, State Legislature and senior party office bearers were in attendance.

In the beginning of his speech, Kumar pointed to some media reports which claimed that there were negligible takers of CM’s offer of providing Sudha dairy outlets in place of closed liquor shops to protect livelihood of those employed there and said, “If they did not come to grab the offer what is my fault?”

“If anybody is really interested to make a reality check of prohibition visit any village in the state and see how happy the women and family are feeling,” he said highlighting merits of 5 April decision to declare Bihar a dry state.

Kumar has been facing criticism from opposition and also sections of civil society dubbing it as “talibani and draconian” in some media reports and discussions on TV channels on making liquor law more stringent by incorporating provisions of arrest of all adult members of a family in case of recovery of liquor from a home and community penalty against habitual violators of prohibition.

“Amendeded Liquor law will be notified from 2 October”, he said.

Nitish Katara murder case: SC to hear Vikas Yadav’s plea for reducing prison term

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear the plea of Vikas Yadav, who is serving a 25-year jail term without any remission for brutally murdering Nitish Katara in 2002. Yadav has appealed for his prison term to be reduced.Yadav had made the plea for leniency on Wednesday, and Senior Supreme Court advocate UR Lalit appearing for the convict who is the son of former parliamentarian, DP Yadav, told a division bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan, that his client had already served over 14 years of his jail sentence.He also said that his client has been serving his jail sentence without parole, despite both the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court granting him custodial parole several times.The division bench, which was hearing the case, then posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday to allow the state to argue its case.Senior counsel Dayan Krishnan will be appearing for the Delhi government before the apex court.The Delhi High Court had on February 6 rejected the plea for giving a death sentence or enhancing life imprisonment to Vikas and his cousin Vishal to 25 years in jail without any remission.The high court had then held that the murder of Katara, who was in love with Vikas’s sister Bharati, was an “honour killing”, which was done in a very “carefully planned and premeditated” manner with “extreme vengeance”.The high court had decided to enhance the sentence awarded by the trial court, saying “amplitude of the gravity of the offence”, “cries for the need” that they (the convicts) be “adequately punished”.

Bihar: At least 56 killed due to lightning; CM announces Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to families

At least 56 people were killed and several others sustained injuries due to lightning at different parts of Bihar late on Tuesday evening.While seven people were killed in Rohtas district, five each died in state capital Patna and Kaimur district. Disaster Management Minister Chandrashekhar said that the death toll had risen to 55-56 and is expected to rise as reports from the remote areas are yet to reach the state capital.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, Disaster Management Principal Secretary Vyas Jee asked the District Magistrates to send reports about the extent of damage in their districts due to lightning.”We got the information yesterday that several people were killed due to lightening. An eight feet pit has been created due to the lightning. I request all not to stay in open areas,” Vyas Jee told ANI.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex-gratia of four lakh rupees to the kin of those killed in the incident.Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon has further advanced in Bihar covering almost the entire state including the capital.

‘Unfit’ Amit Shah must practice Yoga first before preaching about it: JD(U)

Continuing their tirade against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government for playing politics over the sacred art of Yoga, the Janata Dal (United) took a shot at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah, saying his ‘body’ was proof that he did not practice yoga and added that he must inculcate the art in his personal life before preaching about its benefits across the nation.Speaking to ANI, JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar slammed former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for criticising Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for refusing to observe the World Yoga Day on June 21.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When Sushil Modi was with us, why didn’t he think of celebrating Yoga Day with such aplomb’ Now, when the trend of playing politics over yoga has been introduced by the BJP, he is swaying to their tune,” Kumar said.Asserting that Yoga was part of Bihar’s ancient tradition and embedded across the people there, he condemned the politics being played by BJP on the matter, saying that Yoga was sacred for their state.Rubbishing reports that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had refusing to observe World Yoga Day because he was averse to the ancient art form, Kumar said that Nitish practiced Yoga diligently every day, but instead of showing it off to the whole world, he did it for himself.”Amit Shah’s body shows that he does not practice yoga. And now he is going to Faridabad to preach about yoga. If you want to do yoga then do it every day at your home, don’t show off to the whole world,” he added.Earlier, slamming Nitish for falling for the ‘vote-bank politics of alliance partner Lalu Prasad’, Sushil Modi reminded him that he had taken a vow in front of J P Narayan’s statue during a function in Bhagalpur to promote natural medicine.Nitish had earlier advised Amit Shah to practice yoga regularly rather than do politics over it.”Has he seen his body whether it is suitable to do yoga? He should practise yoga silently at home everyday to stay fit. This will bring internal change in him too,” he said.Shah will take part in yoga day celebrations in Patna on June 21.

Modi government’s 56 flagship programmes would help country prosper: Giriraj Singh

The 56 flagship programmes taken up by the Narendra Modi government will make the country developed and prosperous, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said in Medininagar on Friday.”Work on 56 flagship programmes are going on, which will make the country developed and prosperous,” said the Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Addressing a meeting, he said focus was on MUDRA Yojana.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Without taking the name of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he said “Development was there in Bihar when BJP was there with the JD(U). Now with RJD, JD(U) is taking the state to destruction instead of development.”

Activists set to move Supreme Court seeking quashing of order to cull animals

Seeking to quash the orders of the Union environment ministry and state governments of Bihar, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on culling of animals, activists are set to move Supreme Court against it. Just last week, Union cabinet colleagues Maneka Gandhi and Prakash Javadekar were involved in a war of words on the environment ministry’s decision to declare Rhesus Macaque monkeys as vermins in Himachal Pradesh for a year, allowing to kill them for damaging crops and property. The ministry has already allowed culling of nilgai and wild boars in Uttarakhand and Bihar while proposals from Gujarat and Maharashtra are pending.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now, based on official documents and proposals sent to the Centre by the three states, activists said that no scientific study was done before allowing culling of animals, in contravention of the environment ministry’s own advisory dated December 24, 2014. The ministry’s 2014 advisory, encouraged state governments to seek central assistance in declaring wild animals such as Nilgai and wild boars as vermins. But, it had asked states to also specify the scientific basis for seeking vermin status for animals, in their proposals, which is found to be missing.”While our fundamental opposition is permission to cull animals for which we will move court, it has also come to light that state proposals were inadequate and lacking in data on crop damage, population studies and specific areas where the problem is acute. In the Uttarakhand proposal, senior officials have admitted themselves that no study or survey has been done,” said Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist. State proposals and related documents reviewed by dna confirmed Maulekhi’s claims.With the exception of Himachal Pradesh, who have provided some details on compensation paid to farmers, Uttarakhand and Bihar’s proposals find no mention of crop damage and monetary losses incurred. In fact, the Bihar wildlife board helmed by chief minister Nitish Kumar cleared the proposal to kill nilgai’s and boars without any deliberation during the meeting, minutes show.Maulekhi added that monoculture, encroachment of forest land, unregulated tourism, reduction of buffer zones and consequent fragmentation, mining and blasting are some of the key reasons for the rise in human-animal conflict, and these issues will be raised in court. “When the herbivores and smaller mammals don’t have water to drink and adequate vegetation to feed on, they are bound to stray into human habitations,” Maulekhi said.

Drastic decline in crimes in Bihar after prohibition, says Nitish Kumar

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday claimed there has been a drastic decline in percentage of crimes in the last two months after complete prohibition was imposed in the state.

“Heinous crimes have come down by 15 per cent in last two months,” he told a function in the temple town of Gaya.

Likewise, cases of murder have come down by 32 per cent in past two months in the wake of total prohibition since 5 April, dacoity by 45 per cent, kidnapping for ransom by 76 per cent and road accidents by 32 per cent during the period, he said quoting police figures.

File photo of Nitish Kumar. ReutersFile photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

File photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

Kumar said a research on prisoners has brought to light the fact that 41 per cent of crimes were committed by them under the influence of liquor.

He said there has been a social revolution by declaring Bihar a dry state. People were apprehensive on the success of prohibition in Bihar, but today 70 days have passed and the new rule has been successfully implemented in the state, he said.

Kumar, who was addressing a function of women self help groups, exhorted the women in particular to keep strict vigil on prohibition in future too.

He said the prohibition order was a tribute to the Father of the Nation when the state was celebrating 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi launching Champaran satyagraha in Bihar.

Latter, Kumar presided over a meeting of peoples’ representatives and took their suggestions for developmental works in the region

Bihar: BJP alleges stolen files were of fodder scam; seeks CBI probe

The BJP on Thursday refused to accept Bihar government’s claim that 500 odd stolen files of the state animal husbandry directorate were not connected with the fodder scam and alleged that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was trying to save RJD president Lalu Prasad and others accused in the over Rs 1000 crore scam.”More than 500 stolen files are related to fodder scam,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claimed in a statement and demanded CBI inquiry into the issue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Majority of the stolen files are related to cases under fodder scam in which hearing is pending in courts,” Modi, one of the petitioners in the Patna High Court in the scam in Animal Husbandry department during RJD rule, alleged.Besides, there are files linked to petitioners that included him (Sushil Modi), Rajeev Ranjan Singh Lallan and Prem Chandra Mishra, he alleged.”Lalu Prasad is a convict in a fodder scam case and is currently on bail. More than half-a-dozen other cases related to the fodder scam are pending against him,” he said and asked if theft of the files was part of a conspiracy to save the accused.”In a bid to save its face, the state government is arguing that files related to fodder scam have been handed over to CBI. The question is if these were dead files, why were they stolen?” he asked.Animal Husbandry Department Minister Awdesh Kumar Singh yesterday denied missing files were of fodder scam saying all such files related to that case have been handed over to the CBI which is investigating the scam.The minister said the missing files were related to retirement, pension and other departmental matters of employees from 1997 to 2011.Modi said the theft had been taken place on April 26 but the information regarding the theft was given four days later (April 30) and this proves it is a conspiracy.”Sixteen days after information about theft of files, an FIR was registered, and after 22 days of it an inspector did the formality of questioning about theft,” he claimed.”The fact is that Nitish Kumar wishes to save Lalu Prasad,” he alleged.”On one hand, Lalu Prasad ignored party workers and nominated noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who is arguing his case in fodder scam, to Rajya Sabha. On the other, a conspiracy was hatched to steal files related to fodder scam,” Modi said.

Bihar exam row: SIT to probe into matter, guilty won’t be spared, says JD(U)

With the FIR being registered against four students and the director of the Vishun Roy (VR) College following the ‘expose’ of toppers of 10+2 examinations conducted by the Bihar School Examination Board, the Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) would probe the matter and those guilty will not be spared. The JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is not going to bear any wrong doers. “So, the moment he got to know about this incident he ordered that an FIR be filed against the guilty besides asking for the formation of an SIT. He also said no one will be spared no matter how powerful that person is,” Rajak said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”And we have fresh examples of that, when very recently powerful people were sent to jail. Even in this case, no one will be spared. Nitish Kumarji will not succumb to any pressure,” he added. Following the furore over the Bihar Board examination toppers being unable to answer basic questions related to their stream eventually leading to a re-examination, the Chief Minister earlier on Sunday said the guilty won’t be spared, adding the investigation into this matter will done with a criminal angle. “I am going to seek more information on this and take action. A similar case had come to the fore even earlier and we re-examined all those whose names were in the top 10 list,” Nitish said. On Saturday, the BSEB had cancelled the results of two toppers, including Sourabh Shrestha, of the Intermediate (Science) examinations after they failed to prove their merits in a re-test.

Bihar exam row: FIR registered against four students, director of VR College

A FIR has been registered against four students and the director of the Vishun Roy (VR) College in connection with Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) results issue.The four students against whom the case has been registered are Sourabh Shrestha, Rahul Kumar, Ruby Rai and Shalini.Following the furore over the Bihar Board examination toppers being unable to answer basic questions related to their stream eventually leading to a re-examination, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on Sunday said the guilty won’t be spared, adding the investigation into this matter will done with a criminal angle.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am going to seek more information on this and take action. A similar case had come to the fore even earlier and we re-examined all those whose names were in the top 10 list,” Nitish said.Talking about a previous case, where images and video went viral of rampant cheating being conducted in the matriculation examinations, he added that his government had taken firm action then.
ALSO READ Bihar 12th Results 2016: Nitish Kumar dissolves BSEB probe committee, orders registration of FIR”The education department is looking into the matter and the state government will also intervene. Nobody will be spared. It is good that this issue came to light, as I am sure now that it won’t happen again after tough action,” the Chief Minister said.Emphasizing on the need to go to the root of the problem in order to solve it, Nitish said that cancelling results was not enough and added that a thorough probe was needed.
ALSO READ Political Science subject is about one’s cooking skills, says Bihar board topper”The probe can also take a criminal turn. Anyways, a probe is underway and I am confident that the education department will come through in its investigation,” he added.On Saturday, the BSEB had cancelled the results of two toppers, including Sourabh Shrestha, of the Intermediate (Science) examinations after they failed to prove their merits in a re-test.The board had on Friday asked Sourabh and his college mate Rahul Kumar, who were among the 13 toppers from the arts and science streams in the Class XII examinations, to reappear in a re-test following a controversy over their merits.Saurabh Shrestha from the Science stream, who had secured 485 out of 500, was caught on camera failing to answer basic questionsRuby Rai, the arts topper, from the same college failed to take the re-test on Friday citing health reasons.Rai had secured 444 marks out of 500 in the Arts stream. However, on camera she did not even appear to know the number of subjects in her course.

Bihar 12th Results 2016: Nitish Kumar dissolves BSEB probe committee, orders registration of FIR

Bihar government on Monday dissolved a committee constituted by Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) to probe into alleged irregularities in evaluation of marks in this year’s 10+2 examination.The decision to dissolve the committee was taken after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a meeting with Education minister Ashok Choudhary, Principal Secretary (Education) D S Gangwar and BSEB chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government has dissolved the committee,” Choudhary told reporters after the meeting and said it was decided to go for direct action into irregularities without any further delay by registering an FIR against education mafias.”It was discussed that the committee constituted by the Board would have taken time and arrived on a conclusion that irregularities have been committed, which prima facie has already been established. There is no point delaying action and hence, the state government decided to go for direct action by registering an FIR and initiating action against the culprits,” the minister said.Later, an official statement said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed the education department to lodge an FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in Vaishali in Intermediate exam for the current year.The CM ordered that the entire matter be probed by the police and stern action be initiated against those found guilty, the statement said.The CM instructed to make arrangements for continuous assessment of students in higher school levels, it added.Kumar had yesterday asserted that no one would be spared and action would be taken after fixing responsibility.The BSEB had yesterday constituted a four-member committee headed by Patna High Court Judge Justice (retd) Ghanshyam Prasad to probe the irregularities in the evaluation of marks for 10+2 Intermediate exam.The BSEB had on June 4 decided to cancel the results of topper Saurabh Shrestha and third topper in Science stream Rahul Kumar after they were found not up to mark during a re-test conducted by a team of experts on 13 toppers in Arts and Science streams of Intermediate level in the current year.Arts topper Ruby Rai, in an interview to media, had called Political Science as “Prodigal Science”, which according to her was about cooking, and has been directed to face experts on June 11.

Bihar Exam row: Guilty won’t be spared, matter will be investigated from ‘criminal’ angle, says Nitish Kumar

Following the furore over the Bihar Board examination toppers being unable to answer basic questions related to their stream eventually leading to a re-examination, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said the guilty won’t be spared, adding the investigation into this matter will done with a criminal angle.”I am going to seek more information on this and take action. A similar case had come to the fore even earlier and we re-examined all those whose names were in the top 10 list,” Nitish said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about a previous case, where images and video went viral of rampant cheating being conducted in the matriculation examinations, he added that his government had taken firm action then.”The education department is looking into the matter and the state government will also intervene. Nobody will be spared. It is good that this issue came to light, as I am sure now that it won’t happen again after tough action,” the Chief Minister said.Emphasizing on the need to go to the root of the problem in order to solve it, Nitish said that cancelling results was not enough and added that a thorough probe was needed.”The probe can also take a criminal turn. Anyways, a probe is underway and I am confident that the education department will come through in its investigation,” he added.Yesterday, the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) cancelled the results of two toppers, including Sourabh Shrestha, of the Intermediate (Science) examinations after they failed to prove their merits in a re-test.The board had on Friday asked Sourabh and his college mate Rahul Kumar, who were among the 13 toppers from the arts and science streams in the Class XII examinations, to reappear in a re-test following a controversy over their merits.Saurabh Shrestha from the Science stream, who had secured 485 out of 500, was caught on camera failing to answer basic questionsRuby Rai, the arts topper, from the same college failed to take the re-test on Friday citing health reasons.Rai had secured 444 marks out of 500 in the Arts stream. However, on camera she did not even appear to know the number of subjects in her course.

Bihar: LJP leader Sudesh Paswan murdered in Dumaria

Sudesh Paswan, a leader from Ram Vilas Paswan’s party LJP has been murdered in Dumaria in Bihar. “We condemn the murder of our leader Sudesh Paswan. President’s rule should be imposed in Bihar,” LJP said commented.In February, LJP leader Baijnathi Singh too was murdered and the incident drew a lot of attack towards CM Nitish Kumar’s governance.Bihar is making headlines since the news of Aditya Sachdeva’s murder, a businessman’s son and Class 12th student who was allegedly shot dead by Rocky Yadav, a JDU MLC’s son for overtaking his vehicle here on May 7. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajdeo Ranjan, district bureau head of a leading vernacular newspaper, was shot dead by unidentified men when he was going on his motorcycle near fruit market on station road under town police station area of Siwan on May 13 evening.Nitish Kumar and his mahagathbandhan are facing flak since the murders and their governance is being criticised as Jungle Raj II.

RJD show-causes MP Taslimuddin for remarks against Nitish Kumar

RJD on Sunday issued a show-cause notice to its Araria Lok Sabha MP Mohammad Taslimuddin for making statements against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.”The party has issued show cause notice to Taslimuddin,” RJD state unit president Ramchandra Purbe told PTI. Purbe, however, did not specify the time-frame within which Taslimuddin has to reply. He also refused to answer whether any show-cause notice has been given to senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who too has been critical of the Chief Minister.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD sources said the controversial statements were indirectly helping BJP. The party’s decision assumes significance in the backdrop of the fact that its ally JD(U) yesterday took strong exception to the statements made by Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Taslimuddin and demanded action against both leaders. “We have requested RJD boss Lalu Prasad jee to take action against both Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Mohammad Taslimuddin. Either these leaders should be kept under control or be suspended (from the party),” JD(U) chief spokesman Sanjay Singh had said.
ALSO READ Nitish not fit to be ‘mukhia’, want alliance to break today: RJD’s Taslimuddin Taslimuddin had trained his gun once again at the Nitish Kumar government yesterday, urging the RJD boss to snap ties with JD(U). He had said the chief minister should first set things in order in Bihar before undertaking a nation-wide campaign on prohibition.Soon after the meeting of the state and central parliamentary board of RJD here Friday, both Raghuvansh and Taslimuddin had attacked the Nitish Kumar government. Araria MP had said that Nitish Kumar should quit as he has failed to handle the law and order situation. On an earlier occasion as well, Taslimuddin had said Nitish Kumar was not “PM material” and was “daydreaming of becoming the prime minister”.

Why was RJD’s Shahabuddin getting ‘VIP facilities’: Sushil Modi asks Nitish

The controversy over RJD strongman Md Shahabuddin getting ‘VIP facilities’ while being shifted to Bhagalpur jail from Siwan to die down with BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi questioning Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on why a luxury vehicle was used in the process and why it took 12 hours to reach Bhagalpur. “How come a convicted prisoner like Md Shahabuddin get a luxury vehicle and why did it take 12 hours for the police to shift the RJD strongman to Bhagalpur amid reports that he met a minister and some RJD leaders at Muzaffarpur?” Modi asked in a statement.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former deputy Chief Minister also took the state government to task for reportedly allowing Shahabuddin to hold a ‘janata durbar’ at Siwan jail in violation of jail manual, which was found out by top district officials during inspection and the matter reported to IG, Prison Anand Kishore who subsequently issued a notification for the RJD strongman’s shifting to Bhagalpur jail at the earliest.Modi questioned the state government for lodging Shahabuddin in Siwan district jail when as per rules he should have been held at a central jail as he was convicted for more than five years by a court in a murder case. Alleging that Shahabuddin enjoyed “patronage of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad” who has nominated the former to his party’s national executive recently, Sushil urged the Chief Minister to take up the issue with Prasad.It may be mentioned that fingers have been raised at Shahabuddin in journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case in Siwan last week with his kins demanding security in view of threats from the convicted don.

Nitish Kumar pitches for prohibition in UP, draws flak from SP

After imposing liquor ban in his state, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday advocated total prohibition in Uttar Pradesh, drawing instant flak from the ruling Samajwadi Party, which accused him of making “negative comments against the state” and thereby “strengthening communal forces”.During his day-long visit here today, Kumar demanded that prohibition be imposed in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls early next year. His visit today and other recent tours of the state, however, did not go down well with ruling SP leaders. Kumar had visited Varanasi a few days back.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The manner in which Nitish Kumar has been targetting UP, coming here every now and then, his comments against the SP government will embolden communal forces against which the UP government is fighting,” SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said.He said Kumar has joined the “league” of MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who visit UP frequently and criticise the state government and the ruling party, which is fighting “communal forces”.By making “frequent trips” and “misleading” the people here, Nitish Kumar is “strengthening communal forces”, he said. Chaudhary said Kumar spoke of prohibition but did not say a word on development.”Don’t worry Akhileshji (the UP Chief Minister)…ensure total prohibition. When liquor was banned in Bihar, people had problems for a few days. But, subsequently there was no problem,” Kumar said addressing a farmers’ conclave. He urged his UP counterpart to ensure liquor is not available within a distance of five km from UP-Bihar border to discourage people from his state to consume alcohol.”I have written to the UP chief minister in this regard,” he said, adding he was awaiting a reply to his letter.Earlier, addressing a farmers’ conference in Lucknow, Kumar asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement total prohibition in all BJP-ruled states like in his home state Gujarat.The Bihar Chief Minister expressed hope that the liquor ban in his state would be replicated in other states with equal success. He said country liquor as well as Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) have been totally banned in Bihar, and to ensure its success, existing laws amended.Commenting on Kumar’s anti-liquor campaign, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, “It appears more of a case to divert attention from his failure on law and order front in Bihar.”During his day-long stay here, Kumar also visited Ambedkar Mahasabha, apparently to send out a message to Dalits, who constitute a sizeable vote bank in UP, where JD(U) is likely to filed candidates in Assembly polls scheduled next year.

Bihar: Nitish Kumar breaks silence on scribe’s murder, says guilty won’t be spared

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said he was saddened by the killing of a journalist in his state and promised swift action against the guilty. “Whatever is happening in Bihar has saddened me. I assure the people of state that whoever is guilty will not be spared,” Kumar told reporters here.Condemning the murder of Siwan bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, Rajdeo Ranjan (42), he said the probe would be expedited and Bihar Police will bring to book those responsible for the killing. During his day-long visit here, senior office bearers of some journalist unions met him and handed over a memorandum demanding immediate action against the guilty.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding Rs 25 lakh as compensation to the kin of the slain journalist, an Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) delegation said one of the family members should be given a government job. Kumar assured them of prompt action and promised that the guilty will be punished. Three persons have been detained for questioning in connection with the murder on May 13 night and preliminary probe suggested that the killers were disturbed by the news stories of Ranjan.

Bihar road rage: Tejaswai Yadav compares ‘jungle raj’ to Pathankot attack

Hitting out at the Opposition over the killing of Class 12 student in Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Wednesday said that if a road rage incident in Bihar is termed as ‘jungle raj’, then shouldn’t Delhi be called the same, considering the number of such incidents occurring in Delhi?

Deputy Bihar Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav

Deputy Bihar Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav

Comparing the lawless incidents being handled in other states, including the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, Yadav said: “Why is frequent waving of Pakistani flags on our land not called ‘jungle raj’? Slew of murders of witnesses in the Vyapam scam; terrorists infiltrating country’s most secure airbase… Why these incidents are not termed as ‘jungle raj’?”

“We condemn this incident, and we will see to it that the guilty is brought to book,” Tejaswi added.

On Tuesday, Yadav alleged that BJP and “BJP supported media” were targetting the state government through use of word like “jungle raj.”

“The BJP and media supported by the party are advertising the Gaya incident in a way as if it is a rare and first incident of road rage,” Tejaswi Yadav, the son of RJD president Lalu Prasad said in a statement as part of “Dil ki Baat” programme run by him.

“If a relative of any accused is member of a party (it) does not mean that the lawbreaker enjoys protection of the power that be,” he said.

The Deputy CM in the Nitish Kumar government and younger son of Lalu Prasad alleged that the saffron party has maximum numbers of people with criminal background who enjoy its patronage.

“In Madhya Pradesh, an officer was killed brutally by sand mafias… then this is not called a ‘jungle raj’,” he said.

“When an engineer was killed in Jharkhand neither conscience of BJP was pricked nor the BJP-supported media remembered ‘jungle raj’ jumla (euphism),” he added.

Tejaswi referred to violence during quota agitation in Gujarat and Haryana to hit at BJP.

The RJD leader came down heavily on a larger section of media, print as well electronic, “which is singing in tune with a particular party (BJP) after giving a go-bye to principles of journalism”.

Tejaswi Yadav said “our supporters neither express opinion by sending SMS to prime time channel nor air views on facebook and twitter. They give answer only by pressing EVM button at the time of election.”

He strongly defended the grand secular alliance government in the state and asserted rule of law prevails and would continue to be like that in future too.

With inputs from PTI

If road rage is Jungle Raj, then so was Pathankot terror attack: Tejaswi Yadav hits back at BJP

Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Wednesday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is yet not able to digest the splendid victory of the grand alliance, is making desperate attempts to gain political mileage of the Gaya road rage case by making unwarranted comments linking the same with return of ‘jungle raj’. Talking to the media, Tejaswi said the BJP is advertising the Gaya incident in a way as if it is an extremely rare and first incident. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav, hit back saying if the road rage was ‘jungle raj’, then so was the Pathankot terror attack. He was quoted saying by NDTV: “I would like to ask the PM: if terrorists attack the most secure air base in India, is that not jungle raj?” He continued: “The Haryana riots and the Pathankot attack are also Jungle Raj” ‘There are many such cases taking place in the national capital. Is there a ‘jungle raj’ here’ This is all being done to gain political mileage since the people of Bihar have given their mandate to the ‘mahagathbandhan’,’ Tejaswi told the media here. “If a relative of any accused is member of a party (it) does not mean that the lawbreaker enjoys protection of the power. The law is doing its work and you see within two days the accused has been arrested,’ he added while silencing all critics of the Nitish Kumar-led government.Tejaswi, who is the younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, alleged the BJP has never initiated decisive action against the perpetrators responsible for violence in their respective states.”In Madhya Pradesh, an officer was killed brutally by the sand mafia. In Vyapam scam, the witnesses were killed one after the other’A JMM leader was killed in Jharkhand. Such episodes are never tagged as ‘jungle raj’, but in Bihar they say it is ‘jungle raj’. This is being done just to defame the government because they have been ousted of power (in Bihar) till 2019,’ he said.Tejaswi also referred to violence during the quota agitation in Gujarat and Haryana to take potshots at the BJP.Rocky Yadav, the son of a ruling party legislator Manorama Devi, accused in killing of a teenager in Bihar’s Gaya town, was arrested yesterday.The 30-year-old, who was absconding after the incident, was arrested from Bodh Gaya, about 15 km from Gaya.Yadav is the son of legislative council member Manorama Devi of the ruling Janata Dal (United). Yadav allegedly shot dead Aditya Sachdeva, a teenager on Saturday night for overtaking his car on the Bodh Gaya-Gaya road.The police had earlier on Monday raided the house of Devi and had questioned her to find the whereabouts of her son.The Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Gaya City Superintendent of Police Awkash Kumar had gone to Manorama Devi’s house and after a three-hour long search, questioned her about the whereabouts of his son Rocky Yadav, absconding since the incident in Gaya. With inputs from ANI

Focus on reducing Bihar’s crime graph: BJP hits out at Nitish’s prohibition campaign in Jharkhand

A day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launch a campaign for ban on liquor in Jharkhand, BJP today said he should “focus on his state to reduce the crime graph there”.”The focus of Nitish Kumar should be Bihar to reduce crime graph there instead of focusing on Jharkhand,” state BJP spokesperson Pradip Sinha said here.On Kumar accusing the ruling BJP of “taking away” six Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) MLAs soon after the creation of the BJP-led NDA government in the state, Sinha said the Bihar Chief Minister should have known that the matter is sub judice.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Nitish Kumar should have known that the matter is in the Speaker’s court and some people have also approached the High Court. He should have waited till the verdict,” he said.Kumar in Bokaro yesterday had alleged that when Raghubar Das formed government in Jharkhand, he “took away JVM MLAs,which is immoral and illegal under anti-defection law”.In a separate meeting in Dhanbad, he launched a campaign for ban on sale of liquor which his government has imposed in Bihar in April this year. PTI PVR KK NSD SNP