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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee denies rioting in Dhulagarh, blames social media

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday denied any incident of rioting at Dhulagarh in Howrah district and alleged that “wrong information” was being given on social media.

“In the last 15 days, social media is running wrong information on an incident which did not take place at all,” Banerjee said at a programme in Kolkata, in an apparent refernce to the reports of violence in Dhulagarh, which is barely 20 km from the state secretariat.

“In order to break a news one must not act irresponsibly. If something has really happened then you (media) have every right to report but I think a field survey must be conducted,” she stated.

File photo of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

File photo of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

Her remarks came even as a senior government official had said on Thursday that strict actions were taken against those involved in the Dhulagarh violence and the process of giving compensation to the affected had started. The state government, Banerjee said on Friday, is the first to help a family when their home is damaged or they are affected.

“If there is an accident, we immediately take steps to help the family…. We do it on humanitarian grounds but we do not do any publicity.”

It was learnt from sources that the state government was paying compensation of around Rs 35,000 to families whose houses were damaged in the incident.

District police said inhabitants are wary of returning to their homes at Dhulagarh.

Delegations of BJP, CPI(M) and Congress were stopped from visiting the troubled areas of the district and police superintendent of Howrah (Rural) Sabyasachi Raman Mishra was transferred in the wake of violence in less than a fortnight of his appointment.

BJP has hit out at Banerjee over the Dhulagarh incident claiming that Hindus have been targeted in the violence. “This is height of the politics of appeasement. I want to ask those intellectuals, who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat and then intolerant India, that when are they going to Kolkata,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 16:52 IST

Govt fields senior ministers to highlight achievements, defend demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Congress chalking out a national agitation against the demonetization from next week, the government here on Thursday went all out to defend its note ban move, rolling out figures to prove that its drive to transition to a cashless economy had takers. The government fielded three senior ministers — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Ministry of Information Technology Ravi Shakar Prasad — to put forth an optimistic picture and highlight its achievements. Countering the opposition, the ruling BJP will also launch a massive political campaign to make people aware about digital economy.Jaitley said clear results from the notes ban were now coming in, tax collections were up, so was the life insurance business, petroleum consumption, tourism and investments in mutual funds. The minister countered naysayers who predicted that demonetization would have a severely adverse effect on the economy. “What was being predicted by the critics has to have a rationale with the revenue collections. Assessments can be unreal but revenue is real,” Jaitley said, adding that “in all the categories (of indirect tax) till November 30, there has been a significant increase in tax collection.” Till December 19, the income tax collection had gone up by 14.4%, he said.Giving a breakdown of central indirect tax collection, he said that the excise duty collection went up by 43.5%, service tax by 25.7% and customs duties by 5.6%. Even on a month-on-month basis, the tax collection this November was higher, he said.Prasad said, “Now the country is functioning at such a fast pace, but if the Congress party can’t see this, then it’s their loss.” He accused the main opposition party of being “the biggest patron of the corrupt and corruption”.Similarly, at a separate press conference, Naidu said that the note withdrawal was an effective Anti–Scam Vaccine to prevent scams taking place through corruption and black money generation. Attacking the Opposition, Naidu said that those rattled by the prospect of the government going after those who made illegitimate deposits in banks and bought benami properties were making such baseless allegations. “It is a cheap tactic to dilute the public perception about the potential benefits of note withdrawal. Government will not be retracted by such diversionary tactics,” he said.He further said that note withdrawal is a part of the grand anti-corruption strategy launched by the government in pursuit of the mandate give by the people in 2014 general elections but that some vested interested were questioning the initiatives against black money and corruption.Highlighting his government’s achievements, Naidu said his scandal-free governance, effective inflation management, increased Foreign Domestic Investments, enhanced pace of infrastructure creation, stepped up economic growth rate despite adversities, financial inclusion, transparent resource allocation, increased accountability and transparency in governance, positive macroeconomic parameters were among the achievements of the government in the past few years.Giving details about the tourism sector, he said that there had been notable growth in the comparative figures of Foreign Tourists Arrival (FTA) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) and online sale of e–tickets after demonetization. The Minister said that earnings from cashless ticketing in Railways has increased by 30% and the number of people booking reserved tickets online using credit and debit cards or online transactions was at 58% in November, but had now reached over 75%.He also said that more than 26 crore accounts were opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana as a step towards financial inclusion. The Make in India initiative ensured enhanced the partnership between the government and the industry, he said, and India’s ease of business ranking had improved from 142 to 130 in the world.Naidu said that about 3.09 crore farmers were covered under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in 2015-16 and 3.66 crores this year. He stated that over 19 lakh youth were trained in useful skills under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Under the Stand Up India scheme, Rs 500 crore had been allocated in 2016-17 budget. Over 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs had benefited from the scheme so far, Naidu said. He also said that 1.22 crore LPG connections had been provided to BPL households under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. On the soil health card scheme for farmers, he said that over 2.5 crore health cards had been distributed so far.Prasad too opined that the demonetization was a big success and said that digital payments had gone up by anywhere between 300% to 1500% following the move. At another press conference, Prasad, who is also the law minister, said that the government was taking every step to make digital payments foolproof. “We are reinforcing all cyber security walls,” Prasad said, adding that the IT ministry will come out with a detailed plan in this regard within a fortnight. Prasad further said that the government was also considering whether amendments were required in the Income-Tax Act to plug loopholes which may have provided tax evaders a legitimate way of legalising their black money.

BJP says PM Modi, Amit Shah have no links with tainted Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Thursday warned Congress of legal action over its “baseless and untrue” allegations, including that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its chief Amit Shah have links with Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah, who is being probed for declaring unaccounted income of Rs 13,860 crore.Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also rejected Congress’ charge against Amit Shah, who is one of the directors in a Gujarat bank in which deposits of over Rs 500 crore were made and asserted that the bank has over 200 branches and it will give explanation about the matter. In a reference to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Modi and BJP during his address at the party’s 132nd foundation day, he told reporters that the party leaders and spokespersons behave like “children” and “today’s Congress does not represent even a grain of its 132 year’s heritage”.”We want to make it clear that our Prime Minister and party president have no links whatsoever with the person by the name of Mahesh Sharma, against whom action is going on. If Congress has any proof, it should talk about it. Otherwise, we will consider taking legal action under the law dealing with levelling of baseless allegations,” the Law Minister said. Prasad was accompanied by Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the party’s treasurer, as they hit out at the opposition party.It has become the second nature of Congress to level “untrue and baseless” allegation, he said. Attacking it, Prasad said it was “rattled” by Modi’s continuous attack on those linked with black money and corruption and it thinks that its attack on him will “weaken” his fight. Action has been taken against those linked to BJP, he said, citing a case in Madhya Pradesh. “Congress is the biggest patron of the corrupt and corruption. If it thinks that its attack will have any impact on the government, it is wrong. The government will remain unfazed and continue to act against black money and corruption,” he said.The corrupt and those with black money have long been patronised by Congress, he alleged, adding that they now “cry” before its leadership to save them from the government’s action. “I want to ask Congress chief Sonia Gandhi if the childish behaviour of her son and more childish conduct of its spokespersons is being done at her behest,” he asked. Congress has learnt no lessons from its successive poll defeats while BJP has won everywhere after demonetisation, Prasad claimed, adding that its attack on the government showed its “affection for the corrupt and corruption”. He also targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over communal violence in Dhulagarh, alleging that “attempts of massacre” are being made and police is not taking action.”This is height of the politics of appeasement,” he said. “I want to ask those intellectuals, who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat and then intolerant India, that when are they going to Kolkata,” he said sarcastically. BJP has claimed that Hindus have been targeted in the violence. Prasad, who is also IT Minister, said digital payments have gone up by anywhere between 300 per cent and 1500 per cent following demonetisation which, he and Goyal said, have been a “big success”.Over 1.15 crore people against the target of 80 lakh have been trained in digital transactions, he claimed. The Law Minister also defended promulgation of ordinances by the government, saying it was left with no option after the opposition did not allow Parliament to function in the last session. Goyal also refuted the allegations that crores of rupees have been sent to BJP office in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, demanding that proof be given and warning of legal action.”We are getting indication for an historic support for BJP in UP,” he said, claiming that people have supported note ban despite hardships. “Things are fast returning to normalcy,” he said.

Year in Review 2016: E-commerce rode on mobility, digitisation, demography

Kolkata/Bengaluru: The increasing use of digital technologies in buying and selling merchandise for convenience and mobility pushed e-commerce in India to an inflection point in 2016.

The rapid growth of smartphones and internet connectivity across the country, especially in tier-II and III cities, has given greater access to virtual shopping and e-tailing for the tech-savvy generation and millennials.

Even as e-tail behemoths Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon vied for a greater pie of the growing e-commerce market, enterprises and businesses in diverse sectors have joined the bandwagon to hard-sell their products by leveraging digital technology.

“E-commerce in India is at an inflection point, thanks to robust growth in consumer demand. Mobile penetration and increasing use of smart phones have led to the emergence of m-commerce, which accounted for about 40 percent of the sector’s sales this year,” Tata CLiQ Chief Executive Officer Ashutosh Pandey told IANS.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

According to a study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), transition to mobile shopping is faster in India, which overtook the US this year in terms of active mobile users (220 million) and next only to China in user base.

The emergence of the Omni-channel model in e-tailing has also enabled netizens shop across e-portals, web sites, apps and in stores as per their convenience.

“As a result, e-commerce players are looking at seamless integration of online and offline stores to offer consumers a unique shopping experience in the virtual and real worlds,” Pandey asserted.

With digital payments increasing through multiple gateways for online and offline buying, the push for cashless transactions in the aftermath of the November 8 demonetisation has driven more and more consumers to e-shopping and m-shopping.

Greater use of cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence has made e-commerce players not only competitive and smart in retaining their mass user-base but also map shopping trends and predict purchasing patterns to consolidate their dominant position for sustaining growth.

“The sector, however, continues to face a trust-deficit and last-mile delivery issues persist despite having robust logistics networks and partners. Lack of trust in online transactions makes many shoppers prefer cash on delivery, which is risky and time consuming,” Pandey lamented.

The sector is also bedevilled by infrastructure woes across cities and towns, increasing operational cost for timely delivery and expanding the customer base.

Though demonetisation has impacted the retail sector due to the cash crunch, digital transactions have enabled e-commerce firms to weather the crisis.

Growing at about 40 percent cumulative average growth rate (CAGR), the country’s e-commerce market is projected to touch a whopping $38 billion this fiscal (2016-17), with the online travel segment alone accounting for 70 percent, followed by e-tailing, financial services, classifieds, job searches and matrimony.

“The key drivers of the sector’s growth have been increased internet penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and an increase in per capita income,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.

Favourable government policies and improving infrastructure have also contributed in connecting consumers and sellers across the country.

“The start-up ecosystem has gone through a phase of consolidation, indicating maturity in the sector for achieving scale, building capabilities and increasing the market share,” the spokesperson explained.

Given the demographics and rapid adoption of the internet, it’s advantage for all the stakeholders to grow and consolidate.

Global audit firm KMPG’s e-commerce partner Sreedhar Prasad said demonetisation had impacted the sector with a 30 percent dip in sales and, as a result, the annual growth may not show a big spike.

“The cost of business, including that of supply chains, remains a challenge. Unless the cost is regulated, profitability will be difficult in the sector,” Prasad added.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 13:04 IST

Hyderabad: Conmen rob finance firm of 40 kg gold after posing as CBI officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of four persons posing as CBI officials struck at a private finance firm branch in neighbouring Sangareddy district of Telangana and made away with huge amount of gold, police said.Around four persons entered the branch at RC Puram area at around 9.30 am and posing as CBI officials they told the staff they are checking money exchange and later threatened them on gun point and robbed gold before fleeing away in a four-wheeler, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Madhapur Zone) Vishwa Prasad said.Preliminary reports said around 40 kg gold was robbed from the finance branch. However, police said they are in the process of collecting more details from the staff.”We are verifying…the exact quantity has to be ascertained,” Cyberabad Joint Commissioner Stephen Raveendra said. Further probe is underway.

Demonetization | ‘Will pressure Modi to resign if fails to solve problems’: Rahul leads fractured Opposition to attack PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight Opposition parties under Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, joined hands against demonetization and launched an attack on Prime Minister Modi, accusing the party of “corruption.”Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had steered the Opposition’s unity, had invited 16 political parties, but in the end only eight turned up. Unexpectedly, no joint programme was announced, leaving it for parties to chalk out their own protest programmes on a common minimum agenda against demonetization. The Congress will launch its own nationwide protest from January 5.The press conference was attended by the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the DMK and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, while the JD-U, Samajwadi Party, BSP, CPI (M) and NCP decided to give it a miss. Ahead of the meeting, the leaders held a meeting at the Constitution Club. Sources said that Mrs Gandhi had carefully chosen the venue, so that it didn’t appear to look like a Congress sponsored programme.On the issue of demonetization though, Opposition party members however seemed to slightly differ in their demands. While Mamata demanded the resignation of Modi for “pushing India back by 20 years through demonetization,” Rahul had a different slightly viewpoint. Instead of endorsing Mamata’s call for Modi to resign, the Congress vice-president wanted the PM to explain clearly why he went in for demonetization, “instead of constantly changing the goalposts.”Rahul added, “We (Opposition) would certainly put pressure on him to resign if he neither justifies the move nor solves the problems of the people suffering from his arbitrary financial experiment.”The Congress leader also continuously referred to allegations that Modi had benefitted financially from the Sahara and Birla corporate houses, when he was Gujarat chief minister.In a counter attack on Rahul at a press conference at BJP headquarters in Delhi, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described him as “lacking maturity” as he kept making “baseless and shameless comments against the PM.” Prasad also pointed out that none of the Opposition leaders at the joint press conference had repeated Rahul’s allegations.He went on to accuse Rahul of “trying to save the corrupt” by demanding a disclosure in Parliament the names of account holders received from foreign banks.

Demonetization: Sushil Modi attacks Lalu for his remarks against PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a scathing attack on RJD supremo Lalu Prasad for his “chauraha” comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday said people would prosecute hoarders of black money at the public square after December 30.”People are standing solidly with the prime minister on his decision to scrap high value currencies and they are ready to prosecute hoarders of black money who would be unmasked at the public square after December 30,” he said in a statement. Prasad had asked Modi to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him on demonetization and December 30 marks the end of 50 days after the scrapping of high value notes when, according to the PM’s assurance, the situation would ease.Sushil Modi said the RJD dharna against demonetization here tomorrow would meet the same fate as that of Bharat bandh and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s dharna against it.”The deposit of Rs 104 crore in BSP bank account has exposed the reasons behind protests by Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Lalu Prasad against demonetization,” he said.”Does Lalu Prasad, who has been convicted by court in a corruption case due to which he has been debarred from contesting any election have the moral right to talk on black money to fight against which the PM took a decision to scrap Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes?” he asked. “Lalu Prasad is the first such leader of Bihar who has been sentenced to five year punishment by Supreme Court in the Rs 700 crore fodder scam, due to which he cannot even fight election for even a mukhiya post,” he added.

Demonetization: Rahul and Mamata slam Modi, BJP calls opposition meet a ‘flop show’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unfazed by the absence of leaders of the Left, JD(U), SP and BSP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties sought to put up a united face on Tuesday, raising the pitch against demonetization by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.After the eight-party meeting, the leaders also sought a probe into the issue of “personal corruption” of Modi with Gandhi insisting that a “free and fair” inquiry was needed to maintain the credibility of the Prime Minister’s post. Banerjee, whose presence rescued the Congress’ plan of replicating the opposition unity witnessed in Parliament recently on the note ban issue, virtually stole the show by placing the resignation demand, a position subsequently echoed by Gandhi.Both Gandhi and Banerjee spoke of a “common minimum agenda” being evolved to take the opposition unity forward even as he downplayed the absence of several other parties, including the Left, from Tuesday’s meet which preceded the press conference.
ALSO READ Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to revive Oppn unity coming a cropperEscalating the attack on Modi, Gandhi described the note ban as a “single arbitrary financial experiment in the history of the world that affected 1.3 billion people” and asked him to explain the “real” reason for implementing it and take responsibility for giving pain to people. He also raised the demand that Modi answer the charges of “personal corruption” made against him in the wake of his name allegedly figuring in the “Sahara and Birla diaries”. “Will you take responsibility over demonetization and resign. Will you resign from Prime Ministership,” Banerjee asked, as she termed demonetization as a “mega scam” in the name of “achhe din” (good days). The West Bengal Chief Minister said that 47 days are over and only three days are left in the 50-day period sought by Modi for return of normalcy post the note ban.
ALSO READ Incumbent upon Rahul to substantiate corruption charge against PM: NCP”He is not a magician to perform magic. No miracle will happen. You promised to bring ‘achhe din’. Are these ‘achhe din’? In the name of cashless, Modi government has become faceless and baseless. “Demonetization is not a small issue. If government becomes weak, the country is weakened,” she said.Asked what if the PM did not resign, Gandhi said, “If he does not resign, we will put pressure on him to resign.” The Congress leader said, “It was on the Prime Minister’s personal initiative that this arbitrary financial experiment was carried out for the first time in the world history that affected 1.3 billion people. Such an experiment was never done even during Mao’s reign in China.”
ALSO READ Demonetization: Problems will not end after December 30, says Rahul GandhiGandhi also claimed that demonetization has made no impact on black money and dubbed it as “an attack on financial independence” and poor people of the country. “PM should come out with the real aim of demonetization and answer who is responsible for the suffering of the poor and what is he doing for those who have been hit. The aim of demonetization has failed.””The Prime Minister says he is fighting corruption but he is not answering the questions raised about him. The Prime Minister should be the first person to say that since there are charges against him there should be a free and fair probe,” the Congress leader said.Asked about former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name figuring in the same documents, Gandhi replied, “Sheilaji herself is saying that she has no problem with an inquiry. Why Narendra Modiji is not saying that. While there are many names in ‘Sahara diaries’, his name appears clearly in the e-mail of Vice President of Aditya Birla group.”The parties whose representatives were present at Tuesday’s meeting were RJD, DMK, JD-S, JMM, IUML and AIUDF, besides the Congress and Trinamool Congress. In the just-concluded Parliament session, Gandhi brought together a total of 16 opposition parties on the note ban issue, some of which distanced themselves after his meeting with the Prime Minister on December 16 on farmers’ issues.Gandhi claimed that demonetization has “failed” on fronts like countering terrorism, counterfeit currency, black money and corruption – all stated objectives of the Prime Minister. With the Prime Minister alleging that only the corrupt are opposing the note ban, the Congress vice president said that Modi can take whatever action he wants against the leaders.At the same time, he said that the opposition would be one with government in any legislation to tackle corruption, including the one on Benami properties. He said he should make public the names of all those who have accounts abroad and bring back absconding businessmen Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.On the ‘Sahara-Birla’ matter, Gandhi sought to dismiss BJP’s claims that the Supreme Court has not found any merit in the allegations. Some observations might have come but the judgement is yet to come, he said. Singling out Modi, Banerjee said that the country was witnessing a “super emergency” under his rule without its formal declaration. All sections of society are being frightened by saying “Gabbar is coming, Gabbar is coming”, the West Bengal Chief Minister said suggesting that the country cannot be run through such threats and accused the PM of taking away people’s rights.She also accused the Centre of playing politics with non-BJP ruled states wondering as to why her state should not get what Assam gets. She also hit out at the Prime Minister “for not taking Parliament into confidence” on such a big decision as demonetization. “Not even a single line statement was laid on the table of the House. This is not only unethical, it is illegal and unconstitutional,” she said.Alleging that demonetization has wreaked havoc, she said that it has seen growth in unemployment and a collapse of the banking system. Making fun of the digital push by the Modi government in the wake of demonetization, Banerjee said that it was strange “given the fact that in 92% of the villages in the country, there are no bank branches”.She claimed that even in advanced countries like the US and Germany, the transactions are to the tune of 40%. RJD’s Jai Prakash Narain Yadav said note ban is an “anti-people” and “very painful” decision in which 130 people lost their lives.He held the Prime Minister responsible for it and said the rich had been benefited and the poor ‘looted’ and termed the situation as “very serious”. DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said “the country is facing a financial crisis” due to demonetization and people have been made to suffer as its implementation has been “ill conceived”. He said the initiative has turned out to be an “utter failure. Heroism is different from realty”. Banerjee said people have become “landless, cashless and voiceless” and “we have come together to lend voice to people, who have been suffering”.Meanwhile, CPI leader D Raja, whose party did not attend the opposition meet, said the December 30 deadline on demonetization has led to “a financial chaos and turmoil in the country, causing unimaginable misery and hardship to people. “The economy as a whole is affected which has led to loss of jobs. It has ruined the livelihood of common people. The Prime Minister should own up responsibility and tell the people what forced him to take such a decision,” Raja said, asking how could so many people be caught with huge amounts of new currency.BJP’s reactionMocking the Congress-led meet of eight parties against demonetization, BJP said it was Rahul Gandhi’s “flop show” and that the bubble of opposition unity had burst before it could even take off. Noting that only eight of the 16 parties which had joined hands in Parliament against the Modi government over note ban were present, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took potshots at Rahul, saying it was increasingly becoming clear that he lacked “maturity and gravitas” and that he would soon be left alone to “hurl abuses without substance”.Prasad told a press conference that the opposition’s exercise was “laughable” as, he said, those who were behind scams like 2G spectrum, Saradha chit fund and coal block allocations had come together to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We all saw Rahul Gandhi’s flop show today. Those who claimed about opposition unity could merely bring together eight of the 16 parties. Soon they will be reduced to four. Then Rahul Gandhi will be left on his own…to hurl abuses without substance. The bubble of opposition unity has burst before it could take off,” he said.The senior BJP leader kept Congress and Rahul Gandhi in his line of fire and skipped any mention of TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been a staunch critic of the government’s demonetization move and again attacked Modi.Noting that earlier parties would work together to put up a joint front against Congress, he said the opposition’s press conference was a victory for BJP and loss for Congress as it showed that as the saffron party has emerged as the centre of polity now.Rahul and his party have been the biggest patron of corruption, Prasad alleged, saying that he kept quiet during the UPA government when several scams happened. Attacking the Congress vice president over his charges against Modi, Prasad said these were “baseless and shameful comments”.”Everyday we get this indication that Rahul Gandhi lacks maturity. It is increasingly evident that his utterances are lacking in maturity and gravitas. Even today we saw that he made some baseless and shameful allegations against the Prime Minister which the leaders sitting beside him did not repeat. It itself makes clear how serious are his comments,” he said.The demonetization exercise, Prasad said, is aimed at turning the country honest and that the people have backed Modi. “The opposition’s press conference makes it clear that who have been the worst hit by this. Such parties were sitting together who are linked with biggest scams in independent India… We all know that severe action is being taken by the government daily. Why is Rahul Gandhi troubled?” he asked.The Law Minister also alleged that Gandhi wants to help those with suspect accounts in Swiss banks by demanding that the government disclose their names. Prasad said disclosing those names before these account holders were charge-sheeted will go against bilateral treaties with different countries and the Supreme Court has “appreciated” this stand.Asked about Gandhi’s demand for a probe into Birla and Sahara diaries details which, he has alleged, showed Modi’s “personal corruption”, Prasad hit back demanding his response to scams during the UPA government Gandhi played a role in scuttling the “honest probe” into the 2G scam by JPC, he alleged. Prasad also attacked AAP for “evading” questions on its donors and said it was doing so even after its “godfather and guru” Anna Hazare wrote a letter to party chief Arvin Kejriwal in this regard.

Talk to real people about demonetization, you will get beaten up: Lalu to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi over his remark that people can punish him for demonetization after the 50-day window, Lalu Prasad on Monday asked the Prime Minister to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him for triggering a chaotic situation in the country. “PM should chose his favourite ‘chauraha’ (roundabout) where people could punish him for leading the country to a chaotic condition in the name of demonetization to fight black money,” RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters after flagging off Rath to drum up support for party dharna across Bihar on December 28.Prasad was reminding the PM of his utterances at Goa where he had asked people to give him 50 days for fight against black money through scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Launching a scathing attack at the PM, the RJD chief said “Madari ka khel bana diye hain kabhi notebandi to khabi cashless economy (he is re-enacting play of monkeys in the name of demonetization and than cashless economy)”.Prasad said the PM was under “illusion” that people are appreciating him by chanting “Modi, Modi”. It’s a few RSS men who occupy front seats in his rallies and shout Modi, Modi which he is reading as voice of masses”. “If election is held in the country today BJP would draw a nought,” the RJD chief said.Prasad said that the saffron party would bite dust in Uttar Pradesh poll. “BJP ka koi ata-pata nahin rahega Uttar Pradesh ke chunav mein (BJP will be no nowhere in UP polls),” he said.The RJD chief predicted victory for Samajwadi Party in UP and said like in Bihar he and other leaders from the state would campaign for Mulayam Singh Yadav party to ensure its victory in UP. Asked if family feud in SP would mar his chances in the election, Prasad who is related to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, dismissed it and said minor fight happens in every family.

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.

Modi-Sahara bribery allegations: SC yet to probe documents, says Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has filed a petition in the apex court demanding a probe into bribery allegations against Narendra Modi from the time he was Gujarat chief minister, said the court has not yet examined many documents.

Prashant Bhushan. PTI file imagePrashant Bhushan. PTI file image

Prashant Bhushan. PTI file image

Rejecting the corruption charges levelled by Congress vice-president against Prime Minister Modi as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide”, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had said “even the Supreme Court has observed that these are no allegations”.

Reacting to these remarks, Bhushan said he has procured more documents following the the apex court observations to come up with “better material” to support the allegations.

“The douments recovered by the Income Tax department are a part of its appraisal report. The Supreme Court has not seen many documents presented by us. There are more documents that we have got subsequently,” Bhushan said.

Bhushan has filed a PIL in the apex court seeking a probe by an SIT into alleged recovery of documents by the IT department in connection with raids on two business houses here in 2013-14 which purportedly showed computerised inventories containing designations of top people allegedly having received money.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 20:58 IST

PM Modi pure as Ganga, no one takes Rahul seriously: BJP on Sahara-Birla bribe allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP strongly dismissed as “utterly baseless” and “shameful” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and said the Prime Minister is as “pure” as the Ganga.Hitting back at Gandhi, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations reflected the Congress leader’s frustration and were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up.”The allegations levelled against the Prime Minister are baseless, false, shameful and mala fide and they reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state,” he told a press conference at the BJP headquarters.Addressing a rally in Mehsana in Gujarat, Gandhi alleged that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry.Wondering why Gandhi did not raise voice against UPA government’s massive scams, Prasad said people of the country do not take the Congress Vice President seriously.”There is no expectation from Rahul Gandhi who has demonstrated himself as the biggest partner of corruption during the 10-year rule of the UPA… Why he did not utter a single word when crores of rupees were being looted during Congress rule,” asked Prasad.”Our Prime Minister is as pure as the river Ganga,” he said, adding even the Supreme Court had observed that there was no basis in the allegations. He was referring to the Supreme Court rejecting a plea for a probe by a special investigation team against Modi on allegations that two companies paid Rs 65 crore to him ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said Gandhi was immature and was just indulging in bluff and bluster because people are not taking him seriously.”People of India have stopped taking him seriously. Rahul Gandhi is just bluff and bluster. There is no substance in what he says. He is just showing his and his party’s incompetence,” he said. Reacting to Gandhi’s allegations, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi that the charges are “baseless, false, shameful and mala fide” and an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe as names of Congress leaders and the “family” are coming up.Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said Gandhi was immature and was just indulging in bluff and bluster because people are not taking him seriously.”People of India have stopped taking him seriously. Rahul Gandhi is just bluff and bluster. There is no substance in what he says. He is just showing his and his party’s incompetence,” he said.Gandhi said he was raising the issue on behalf of the country which needs answers over the questions raised against the Prime Minister.”PM Modi takes bribes and then shamelessly foists Demonetisation on Indians under the garb of ‘fighting Black Money,” Congress tweeted after the rally quoting its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.”Rahulji asks if Modiji received this money from Sahara or not? If this document is with Income Tax, will Modi now investigate it?,” tweeted party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. (MORENGO Common Cause had filed a PIL on the issue in theSupreme Court and a bench headed by CJI-designate Justice J S Khehar last week had refused to take up the matter saying there was no evidence but only allegations against the Prime Minister.The bench then asked lawyer Prashant Bhushan to provide evidence before it could decide on whether it could admit the petition.Gandhi alleged that the I-T records show Sahara officials’ claims of having paid Rs 40 crore to Modi on various dates between October, 2013 and February, 2014.”You (Modi) did not allow me to speak in Parliament. I did not know why you did not wanted to face me in the House. I tell you the reason. Any business entity keeps record of its transactions. On November 2014, Income Tax department conducted raids on Sahara, a very large corporate house,” he said.”During that raid, I-T department found some documents, which are on record. I want to share with you the contents of those documents. There were several entries in those documents, which I am reading out before you,” he said.He then alleged that another record suggests that Birla Group gave Rs 12 crore to ‘Gujarat Chief Minister’.”This record is with I-T department since last 2.5 years.I-T even recommended to conduct an inquiry in this issue. I want to ask you why no such inquiry was done? We want to know whether it is true that money was given to you nine times by Sahara?” Rahul asked.”You doubted the honesty of citizens, their hard-earned income, and made them stand in the queues. Now, on behalf of citizens, I am asking you whether the information is true or not. And if it is true, then when you will set up an inquiry,” said Gandhi.

Supreme Court to examine whether courts can add ‘rigorous’ to life terms

New Delhi: Can the word ‘rigorous’ be added by courts when they award life imprisonment? The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the question whether courts are statutorily empowered to make life imprisonments tougher for the convicts by adding “rigorous” (harsh) to life sentence as the law does not provide for this. A bench headed by Justice PC Ghose considered a submission which said that neither the penal provision dealing with the offence of murder, nor the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provide that the term “rigorous” can be added by courts while awarding life sentence to convicts.

Supreme Court Of India. AFPSupreme Court Of India. AFP

Supreme Court Of India. AFP

“Let notice be issued in the matter limited to the question whether life imprisonment could be coupled with the condition that such imprisonment has to be rigorous imprisonment, returnable after four weeks,” the bench, also comprising Justice UU Lalit, said.

Senior advocate Parmanand Katara, appearing for convict Ram Kumar Sivare, who has been awarded rigorous life term in a murder case, has contended that the judgement pronounced by the courts below was “unconstitutional and ultra-vires” as penal and procedural laws do not empower them to qualify the life sentence with the term “rigorous”.

“The award of rigorous life imprisonment by the lower court and the Chattisgarh High Court is violative of Article 21 (protection of life and liberty) and 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution,” the lawyer said. The apex court was hearing the appeal filed by Sivare, who is serving rigorous life term at a Chattisgarh jail, challenging the High Court verdict in a murder case.

The High Court had upheld the trial court judgement convicting and awarding life term to Sivare and Bhuneshwar Prasad for stabbing to death one Anil Bhoyar on 5 January, 2010 near a government hospital in Durg district of Chattisgarh following a tiff over a minor issue.

The trial court had acquitted the third accused Manoj, which was upheld by the High Court.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:32 IST

Demonetization will meet fate of Congress’ ‘Nasbandi’: Lalu Prasad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> RJD president Lalu Prasad on Saturday said demonetization would meet the fate of ‘Nasbandi’ of the Congress rule and announced protest across Bihar on December 28.During a day-long meeting of RJD MPs, ministers, legislators and office-bearers, Prasad and other leaders of the party highlighted people’s woes following the scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. Addressing the RJD leaders, Prasad criticised the move and said, “It will meet the fate of ‘nasbandi’ (forced sterilisation) during the Congress rule in the past.” Prasad and his party have been on the forefront of protest against the demonetization decision inside and outside Parliament.Several prominent RJD leaders had shared dais with TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamafta Banerjee during her demonstration against demonetization in Patna on November 30, though Prasad himself was not present. Asked how he saw Nitish Kumar getting praise from Centre on demonetization, Prasad, whose RJD is a partner in the grand alliance government, said, “Nitish Kumar’s approach is similar to our’s…all of us are standing together against hardship caused to masses due to high-value currency invalidation.” Nitish Kumar and his party JD(U), which has supported demonetization, had kept away from Banerjee’s demonstration.Economist Mohan Guruswamy, who was advisor in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was also invited to speak on adverse impact of demonetization. Guruswamy gave a detailed slide presentation with the help of data and charts to tell RJD leaders how demonetization would cause a drop of 2.5 per cent in the country’s GDP by the end of the current fiscal. In the meeting Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who is the finance minister in the Nitish Kumar government, and a host of senior leaders spke on the woes of poor people and farmers standing outside banks and ATMs for withdrawal of cash. Prasad said, “After the December-28 dharna, leaders of all the parties, national as well regional, would be invited to a rally later in Patna.” He said the date of the rally would be announced later.Making a scathing attack at the Prime Minister, the RJD chief said “after seeing that demonetization is failing, the PM has shifted the issue now and is talking about cashless, PayTm.” “On the one hand the PM talks of going ahead of China and on the another hand he is favouring a company (PayTm) in which the Chinese have a major share,” he said. During over half-an-hour of presentation, Guruswamy said though former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted a fall of two per cent in the GDP due to demonetization, his view is that the decline would amount to about 2.5 per cent by the end of the financial year.Guruswamy claimed, “22 crore daily workers have been adversely affected by the demonetization.” He said of the total amount of unaccounted money, only 4 per cent is in the form of cash while major chunk of 46 per cent is invested in land and building, 26 per cent in jewellery and 24 per cent is parked abroad. “Modi is after only this 4 per cent of the black money which is in the form of cash which could not bear any result other than causing miseries to common people, especially the daily wagers,” he added.”Approximately Rs 30 crore of black money is expected to be unearthed through the demonetization. A total of Rs 42,000 crore would be spent in reprinting this volume of scrapped notes,” Guruswamy, who taught Economics at Harvard University, said. Handing over a pamphlet with views of Guruswamy on note scrapping, Prasad told RJD workers to hold “jan jagran” (public awareness meeting) at grassroots level from December 20-26 to make them aware of truth of demonetization.

PM Modi should read history, will find out who betrayed nation: Congress hits back at jibe against Indira

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his party-first remark against it and said he should read history to know who puts the party before the nation. Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal told the Prime Minister that his party fought the freedom struggle which Modi’s party had “opposed” and instead “sided” with the British. “Modiji said the BJP is the only nationalist party and all others are anti-national. The trouble is, Modiji doesn’t know history and neither is he interested in knowing it. Modiji should remember what his ideological masters did in 1947. “When the Indian National Congress was fighting the freedom struggle, they were on the British side and opposed us. For them, the organisation is first, the nation second. For us, the nation is always first. Today, Modiji has forsaken both the nation and the party. He only wants to see his own image on television,” he said.Sibal suggested that Modi reads history and also that of his party leaders who “supported” the British. He also dubbed the demonetisation decision taken by him unilaterally as “anti-national and anti-people” and said he quotes Chanakya, who never said that the King should speak a lie.”Did Chanakya say that a ruler should lie? We want to ask which party has the most black money? Modi ji should ask himself that,” he asked.Sibal also lamented that it is the first time when the Prime Minister did not speak in Parliament and neither allowed the opposition to speak.Taking a dig at him, the Congress leader said, he also may have been a little worried fearing an expose from the Congress when Parliament is in session.”I don’t know how far the new policy will be able to affect the person for whom it is intended. One thing is clear a large number of people belonging to the middle and lower middle classes will be hit hard on account of the demonetisation. “While we Congressmen have no sympathy for profiteers and dealers in the black market, it is not right to penalise honest Indians, who in good faith have their savings in notes of demonetised value,” he said quoting Dr Rajendra Prasad.”Does Modi ji want to call Dr Rajendra Prasad a scamster? That he was anti-national?” Sibal asked. The Congress leader said if Modi wanted to fight black money, he should start from his own party.”We want to ask which party has the most black money? Modiji should ask himself that. If Modiji wants to fight black money, he should start from his own party. When talking about black money, Modiji should look at his own house.” Sibal asked “When Modi ji was giving speeches before 2014 (general elections), were people paying him in cheques? We want to ask, who was paying him in cheques? Which cheques are used to pay shakhas? In Jhandewalan (RSS’ Delhi headquarters), are all payments made through cheques?.”

Exclusive: Courts must see to cases, leave legislation to MPs, hints Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Law and Information Technology Minister, has an unenviable task cut out for him: To maintain a delicate balance at a time when the ‘Judiciary versus Executive’ debate has become sharper than ever.

In addition to this, Prasad, as one of the most articulate leaders in ruling BJP’s ranks, is also expected to pitch for the party to counter the Opposition’s narratives and to try and build a positive public opinion of the party.

In a free-wheeling chat with Firstpost’s Sanjay Singh, Prasad spoke on a wide array of subjects including demonetisation, judicial overreach, government’s conflict with the Judiciary over appointment of judges, triple talaq, and Rahul Gandhi‘s earthquake statement.

FP: The Supreme Court had asked the government whether it had a plan on demonetisation at all. Did the government anticipate that the apex court could take such a serious stand on the move?

RSP: The Attorney General is explaining the government’s position. It will not be proper for me to comment on the case, as it is still pending.

FP: Confrontations between the Judiciary and the Executive have become more frequent recently. How do you, as Law Minister of India, see it?

BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

RSP: Our (BJP’s) commitment to the independence of the Judiciary is complete and total. This government is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and there are four-five senior ministers in the government – Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad. More or less, all leaders, some senior in age while some juniors who were prominent student activists, have fought against the emergency in one form or another. I myself began with the Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) movement. In Bihar, we started the movement much earlier with JP. In the fight against emergency, we fought for three freedoms – individual, media and independence of the Judiciary.

FP: Judiciary is blasting the government on appointment…

(cuts across) RSP: I’m coming to that. Therefore, we belong to a government where we have suffered for the cause of independence of Judiciary. Now you must understand the broader framework…70 years down the line, India has become independent. Some constitutional issues have become well settled. India will always be governed by democracy and popular franchise. Elections have to be free and fair. People know that they can unseat any leader or any party at the Centre, howsoever popular.

Number two, individual freedom, media freedom, freedom of speech and expression are sacrosanct in the country, subject to limitations under the Constitution. Number three, the Judiciary has got the power of judicial review, which means that they can satisfy any government order, they can annul any law passed by the Legislature, and they can give any direction.

But, there is also an ethos of the Constitution, which I personally articulated on Constitution Day before the Supreme Court lecture by MN Venkatachaliah – Governance must be left in the realm of those elected by the people of India and legislation must be left to the realm of those elected to legislate by the people of India. These constitutional parameters are also well settled.

FP: This is a very loaded statement…do you mean that there is a settled parameter for the Judiciary and that it should understand that?

RSP: I’m not saying anything more than what I feel as a student of India’s Constitution.

FP: Recently, the Supreme Court asked high courts to not encroach in the domain of the Executive and Legislature. As a student of the Indian Constitution, and as the law minister of the country, do you think that judicial overreach in the Executive domain is creating tensions? 

RSP: No. The Supreme Court itself keeps cautioning about certain things; as you saw in the case of Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court said that ‘don’t go for judicial overreach seeking legislation’. I’ll leave it to them. We trust the Judiciary completely. But we also uphold the institution very dearly in the growth of Indian constitutional democracy.

And I speak because you know my background in the fight against the fodder scam, and in seeking accountability for loot of public money in the bitumen scam. I know the Supreme Court and have great respect for the Judiciary. But acknowledgement of the constitutional ecosystem is also required.

FP: If you recall the Chief Justice of India crying, choking with emotions over the appointment of judges…

(cuts across) RSP: I would not like to make any comment except for flagging two or three things. We passed the order in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) and it was unanimously passed in both Houses of Parliament, without a single dissenting point. It was also unanimously passed by 50 percent of state legislatures, without a single dissenting note. The Supreme Court chose to set it aside. We respected the judgment.

I have two comments on that. Since 1990, on an average, 80 judges are appointed every year. In the year 2016, we made about 125 appointments, the highest in a year. The previous high was 121 appointments, in the year 2013.

FP: Where is the problem then?

RSP: We have made four Supreme Court judges’ appointment, and 124 additional judges have been confirmed. Many high court chief justices have also been appointed and transferred. As of 30 June, 2016, there are about 5,000 vacancies in the district courts of India (4937 to be exact). The Centre or state governments have no role to play in the appointment of the subordinate Judiciary.

As a senior journalist, you would know that it is done by the high courts themselves, or on their recommendations by the public service commission. Of the 430 vacancies in high courts, names have not been given for 280 seats. When the high courts will give the names, we will recommend them…we’ll surely expedite.

The same Supreme Court judgment had also held that the Collegium system needs improvement, as it lacks transparency. There has to be fairness, objectivity, some degree of screening appraisal etc. It’s all part of the 15 December judgment. They had asked us to submit the Memorandum of procedure (MOP), which was to be decided by the Supreme Court chief justice, in consultation with the four-member Collegium unanimously.

The government’s stand is pending before the Supreme Court since 3 August. Therefore, if the judgment is binding on us, it is equally binding there, due to the mechanism. About 4,000 suggestions were requested by the people of India, as per the Supreme court and 1,200 were filtered by a community…so I think there is a need to improve the Collegium system as well. There is a judicial mandate and we have done our best.

FP: Now lets turn to the issue of triple talaq. The Allahabad High Court had called the practice ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘unfair to rights of Muslim women’. What are your views on the matter?

The Allahabad High Court had called the practice of triple talaq 'unconstitutional'. Reuters

The Allahabad High Court had called the practice of triple talaq ‘unconstitutional’. Reuters

RSP: The Supreme Court had asked the government of India to explain its position on triple talaq, in a pending case. Our stand is basically three-pronged. First and foremost, various parts of the Constitution, particularly the fundamental rights, highlight the abiding values of gender justice, gender equality and gender dignity. Our founding fathers chose to give the right to vote to women, the right to live with dignity, and the barrier against non-discrimination, even before other parts of the world thought of including these provisions.

Triple talaq squarely fails on the benchmark of gender justice. How can you, in a constitutional India, allow such a discriminatory practice to survive?

The second point is that we respect the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience. That’s a part of fundamental rights as well. But every undesirable or pernicious practice does not form the core of religion, or the right to freedom of conscience. Can anyone say that I can practice untouchability against the Dalits because my religion tells me to do that?

(cuts across) FP: Do you mean that the Allahabad High Court judge was right in his observation?

RSP: My affidavit has been filed earlier and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. I’m speaking on a larger issue. The third point is that about 20 Islamic countries have either regulated triple talaq or have completely prohibited it – like in Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The point is that if in acknowledged Islamic Republics or countries, regulation of triple talaq through state action has not been found to be in violation of Sharia law, then how can this argument be raised in a secular country like India?

FP: Why do you think triple talaq has become a huge political issue?

RSP: I think it is a question of redrawing the whole minority narrative in the country.

FP: Why, in your opinion, have Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party refrained from taking a position on triple talaq?

RSP: The minority are equally a part of India. The prime minister had said, quoting Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, in the BJP National Council Meeting that, “you neither over-patronise them, nor you over-ignore them. You just adopt them. Unko Apnao.

FP: Modi had come out strongly against triple talaq in a rally in Mahoba, Bundelkhand. Is the BJP trying to play triple talaq as an excuse to push for Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?

RSP: No. First of all, UCC covers a much larger canvas. UCC is being debated in the Law Commission and we have instructed that anyone should be allowed to weigh in on the subject. Once the debate and consultations are over, the government will see how to go about it.

FP: Are you going to ask Congress and other political parties for their position on UCC?

RSP: The Law Commission will enquire, not the government. Even the BJP may be required to explain its stand before the Law Commission. In our view, there should be a wide and open debate on the matter.

FP: When Rahul Gandhi said that the earth would shake if he was allowed to speak in Parliament, how did you respond. Are you not letting him speak? Are you, as Gandhi says, afraid of his speech?

Rahul Gandhi had recently said that the earth would shake if he was allowed to speak in Parliament. PTIRahul Gandhi had recently said that the earth would shake if he was allowed to speak in Parliament. PTI

Rahul Gandhi had recently said that the earth would shake if he was allowed to speak in Parliament. PTI

RSP: He (Rahul) has already shaken the roots of his party under his leadership. I think the more he speaks the more there will be earthquake in his own party. But I can understand his frustration. Since the day he took over the leadership of his party, there has been nothing for him to comment on; except for the 22 Vidhaan Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress is struggling pan-India, from Lok Sabha to state elections; even in Arunachal Pradesh BJP is winning…Assam we are winning. The people of India don’t find Congress worthy enough for even Municipality elections – as you saw in Maharashtra,Gujarat and Rajasthan.

FP: What do you make of it then when Gandhi says that Modi will be rendered speechless when he speaks?

RSP: I’m not supposed to sit in judgement over his arrogant self-certification. But I am very keen to hear him speak and I have said so publicly as well. Let him read his speech…no problem.

FP: Will you then give him an opportunity to speak?

RSP: The question is over the kind of language he uses in political discourse and in criticising the prime minister. Is he living up to the legacy he claims to represent with this kind of language?

FP: So does that mean that you will not let him speak?

RSP: Why not. But on the condition that he must also hear our reply. This can’t happen…

(cuts across) FP: Which means that you will not allow him to speak until a structured debate takes place?

RSP: It cannot be that you speak and when our turn comes, you start creating disorder in the House…not even heeding to sage advice of the honourable President. Let it be on record that when the 16 November debate had started, Anand Sharma, Sitaram Yechury, Ram Gopal Yadav, Mayawati…everybody had spoken. We even heard pearls of wisdom from former prime minister Manmohan Singh after a long time. And even though he didn’t take a single step against black money in his tenure and a series of scams had completely overpowered his government, he still spoke.

FP: Why do you think….

(cuts across) RSP: No, first listen to me. What happened thereafter? They said let the prime minister come; he came. They said let him come beyond the question hour; he came beyond the question hour. Then they again gharoed him. So who is running away from the debate? We are very clear…we have heard you. And in spite of the fact that you showered abuse on the prime minister, we will hear you again…but, be reasonable and hear our side as well.

FP: Why do you think all parties are against you on the issue of demonetisation?

RSP: Not everyone. The people are with us. Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik and some other chief ministers are also with us. The major issue here is that how the BJP is perceived, how Modi is perceived. He is seen as someone who is standing for the rights of the poor in the fight against black money and dishonesty. We have redefined the political architecture of the country. It used to be Congress versus the rest; now it’s BJP, plus the BJP allies, versus the rest.

Their opposition is a result of the great metamorphosis we have brought to the Indian polity. There were certain common factors that we used in our fight against the Congress; now they have gone to the Congress in their fight against the BJP. Good luck to them.

FP: Do you think that the cash flow restriction is going to hurt the BJP, as people are now getting agitated?

RSP: People are whole-heartedly supporting demonetisation. The prime minister had earlier said that there will be 50 days of inconvenience to implement an initiative of this magnitude. Even today, people are appreciating his move. I can assure you as the IT minister of India. I will talk to you separately about how India is making big strides towards becoming a cashless economy in detail.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 09:02 IST

Digital transactions have surged upto 1000% since Nov 8: Ravi Shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Digital transactions have surged in the range of 400-1,000% since November 8 when government announced discontinuation of old Rs 500/1000 notes, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. “Digital payments have increased in the range of 400 to 1,000% since November 8. This figure does not include transactions done through Master and Visa cards,” Prasad said while inauguration a new TV channel and a website to educate people about digital payments.The minister launched free-to-air channel DigiShala which will be available on Doordarshan’s DTH platform and ‘CashlessIndia’ website to educate people about digital transactions. “The Doorsdarshan platform is being used by over 2 crore people specially in rural India. Indian learn technology with passion and increased digital transactions reflect this. From this, it can be understood how fast digital transactions will grow if we educate people,” Prasad said.He said that transactions on e-wallets have increased from 17 lakh per day to 63 lakh per day and value of transactions has increased from Rs 52 crore to Rs 191 crore. The minister said that volume of transactions using Rupay card has increased from 3.85 lakh per day to 16 lakh per day and value from Rs 39.17 crore to Rs 236 crore, UPI transactions volume up from 3721 per day to 48000 per day and value Rs 1.93 crore to Rs 15 crore.”With digital transactions money will come into system, it will be accountable, generate tax and develop country’s economy. When money will come in to bank then government will be able to come up with better welfare schemes,” he said.

Bihar topper scam accused Diwakar Prasad found dead under mysterious circumstances

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar topper scam accused Diwakar Prasad was found dead on Thursday under mysterious circumstances. Prasad was lying dead on the road in front of his house in Panchwati Nagar which comes under the jurisdiction of Kotwali police station, says a Telegraph report. However, his family alleges that the police, who had come to arrest him, pushed him off the roof of the house. The police have denied the charges saying that he jumped from the roof after realising that the cops coming to arrest him. The Kotwali police have said that they had gone to arrest him over irregularities in floating tender for supply of answer sheets of the Intermediate examination to BSEB. His printing press in Patna City called the Smrit Printing Mill was raided by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj said that a case has been registered at the Bahadurpur police station based on Prasad’s family members’ complaint against a sub-inspector and five other policemen who had gone to arrest the Bihar topper scam accused. CCTV footage from buildings nearby has been obtained.

JS Khehar to succeed TS Thakur as the Chief Justice of India

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-07:19pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ball was set rolling on Tuesday for the appointment of Jagdish Singh Khehar as the next Chief Justice of India with the incumbent TS Thakur naming him his successor. As per the memorandum of procedure, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written to Justice Thakur to name his successor in November. Justice Thakur responded on Tuesday by naming his number two as the next CJI. While Justice Thakur will retire on January 3, 2017, Justice Khehar will have a brief eight-month tenure as the 44th CJI and would relinquish office on August 27, 2017.

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.

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.

Demonetisation: BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi asks Nitish Kumar to review ties with Congress, RJD

Patna: With the political pot on the boil in Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported the Centre’s demonetisation move despite protests by allies, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday asked him to review ties with RJD and Congress and said his party would consider any proposal of realignment from JD(U).

Reacting to Kumar’s comment on Monday that efforts were on for a long time to end his political career, Modi said it would “definitely” happen if he continued to stay with RJD and Congress.

“If you (Kumar) stay with Lalu Prasad and Congress you will definitely be killed politically,” he told reporters.

Hailing the JD(U) National President for supporting demonetisation, he said, “Any campaign against black money and corruption is not possible in the company of RJD and Congress.”

File photo of Sushil Kumar Modi. PTI

File photo of Sushil Kumar Modi. PTI

“RJD is known for its corrupt practices while the Congress rule was marred with scams,” said Modi, the Parliamentary board chief of Bihar unit of BJP.

He alleged that due to the alliance with RJD and Congress, Kumar’s effective step against corruption through Special Court Act which has provision for confiscation of property of a guilty has “slowed down”.

Asked if there is any chance of reunion of JD(U) and BJP, the Leader of Opposition in Bihar Legislative Council was quick to say: “If a proposal comes from JD(U), the party would consider.”

“After all Nitish Kumar stayed with BJP for 17 years and this was ‘golden period’ for Bihar,” Modi, who was the deputy chief minister during the NDA rule in the state, said and added Kumar’s image got a boost during the time.

“Politics is a game of possibilities…You never know when who goes with whom in politics,” he added.

He, however, feigned ignorance about media reports of Kumar meeting BJP President Amit Shah and talking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his support for demonetisation.

“These are high level issues to which I have no access,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi took a swipe at Sushil Modi for his comments.

“If (Sushil) Modi wants he can take Kumar home on his lap,” she told reporters emerging from the Legislative Council after it adjourned for the day.

Kumar had led JD(U) to severe ties with BJP in June 2013 after 17 years over elevation of Narendra Modi as PM candidate. He joined hands with RJD and Congress before the Bihar polls last year and romped back to power.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 16:57 IST

UP polls | No promise of tickets to turncoats: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to assuage party workers feeling threatened by turncoats joining BJP before the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya today said none has been promised party tickets.”All those who have joined BJP from parties like BSP and Samajwadi Party have not been promised party tickets for the coming poll…they have come expressing faith in the party’s policies and working of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Maurya said.”Names of winnable candidates will be taken into consideration but it is wrong to think that all those joining BJP will get tickets,” Maurya said.”I want to tell party workers that BJP will safeguard the honour of its core worker at all cost,” he said.Maurya said since his party is pro-worker, they have a lot of aspirations and expectations. “As we have true democracy in the party it is not expected that an MLA’s son will end up being an MLA or an MP’s son will become an MP,” he said, adding any worker can aspire to reach any of the posts in his party. “There are too many applications for tickets for the coming polls, but I believe that disciplined BJP workers will accept all decisions the day they are taken,” he said.To a question, Maurya said when he took over as the state unit chief, a target of 265 seats was set for the coming UP polls. “But it was concluded after meticulous calculations that we will win not less than 300 seats and now it is being coined as a slogan in the state, which has 403 Assembly seats,” he said.On demonetization, he said 98% people were happy with the decision but those who have harmed interests of farmers, labourers, future of the youth and aspirations of the aged are unhappy. “But we are concerned about the happiness of the majority …PM Modi’s decision is in national interest…it is against corruption and it is also against the enemy of the country – Pakistan,” he said.”Those who were planning to win the elections on money power are worried…the game is over for those dreaming of votes in return for notes,” he added.

Judges appointment row: Saddened by impasse, says Former Solicitor General Harish Salve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tensions between the judiciary and the government flared up once again on Saturday as both sides cautioned each other against crossing the “lakshman rekha” with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recalling that the Supreme Court had failed while the high courts had shown “great courage” during the Emergency.On Sunday, Former Solicitor General of India Harish Salve said he was saddened by the row. “As a stakeholder in system, I’m saddened that the issue of appointments of judges has reached this impasse,” Salve told ANI.Differences between the two sides first showed up when Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said at a function on Saturday morning that there is a shortage of judges in high courts and tribunals requiring government intervention, a view Ravi Shankar Prasad strongly disagreed with.Later, at another function in the Supreme Court lawns, the CJI cautioned that no organs of government should cross the “lakshman rekha” and stressed judiciary has been given the duty to watch that all remain within their limits. He was responding to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who in an apparent reference to the Emergency and other political scenarios, said, “The delicate balance of the Constitution was disturbed in 1970s. That balance must be restored.”Hours later, Rohatgi said at another Law Day function in the presence of CJI and his likely successor Justice JS Khehar that “all including judiciary must recognise there is ‘lakshman rekha’ and be ready for introspection.” While the CJI did not respond to it, Justice Khehar said, “Judiciary has always kept to lakshman rekha by upholding the Constitution.” “Emergency brought out strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution,” he said responding to the AG’s remarks.However, the Law Minister was very vocal in attacking the Judiciary by saying that the “Supreme Court failed us during the Emergency and all high courts showed great courage”. “Courts may quash the order of the government. Courts may set aside a legislation but the governance must remain with those who are elected to govern,” he said, adding handling of the issues relating to Emergency in the ADM Jabalpur case in which the apex court held that even Fundamental Rights can be suspended was a “monumental lapse”.He allayed apprehensions on curtailment of freedom by the present dispensation saying not only he but also the Prime Minister suffered during the Emergency and “it will preserve the freedom of all organs of the State”.Justice Khehar said, “Judiciary is mandated to shield all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike, against discrimination and abuse of State power. “Liberty, equality and dignity of citizen have flourished substantially in India due to the pro-active role of judiciary in the country,” he said adding that “a progressive civil society and a pulsating media have contributed to keep the constitutional values on track.”

E-commerce will touch Rs 1 lakh cr in 5 years: Ravi Shankar Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a sustained push by the government, and its digital drive, it is likely that the volume of trade in the e-commerce sector will touch Rs 1,00,000 crore in the coming five years, said Union minister for law, eletronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at the 111th Annual Session PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said that the government has already saved over Rs 36,000 crore by digitalising economic activities.”We have used payment methods like direct cash transfer for payment of subsidies and MGNREGA wages to the accounts of intended beneficiaries through aadhaar. With e-commerce facilities being made available to rural folk, we have successfully transferred wages for several social schemes into their accounts amounting to a savings of Rs 36,000 crore in the last year,” said Prasad.Prasad also said that close to 40 mobile units have come to India to manufacturer mobile devices, and 11 have already been approved. He further added that the digital drive is being extended to postal services, with banks like CitiBank, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays working on setting up payment kiosks in post offices.Among other who spoke on the occasion included Dr Mahesh Gupta, president of the PHD Chamber, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and union minister Harsh Vardhan among others. The gathering also saw the distribution of the PHD Chamber’s annual awards of excellence.While National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) bagged the Good Corporate Citizen Award, the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Social Welfare was taken away by Trident Limited. The Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award went to Narendra Bansal, chairman and managing director of Intex Technologies.Dr Jyotsna Suri, chairman and managing director of Bharat Hotels bagged the Outstanding Businesswoman Award and the Award for Excellence in Skill Development was conferred upon Jubilant Life Sciences. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to RK Saboo, chairman of KDDL Ltd.

Duty of judiciary to see that Govt organs don’t cross ‘Lakshman Rekha’: CJI Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chief Justice of India T S Thakur cautioned that no organs of government should cross the “lakshman rekha” and stressed judiciary has been given the duty to watch that all remain within its limit.Speaking at a function in the Supreme Court lawns to celebrate Constitution Day, earlier known as Law Day, he said judiciary has every right to set aside any law made by Parliament, if it is against the Constitution or beyond the limits granted by the statute book. “The Constitution tells us that what would be the works to be done by the government. It has fixed the duties and responsibilities for judiciary, executive and legislature. It has fixed their limits and ‘lakshman rekha’.”The judiciary has been given the duty to keep a watch that nobody crosses that limit. If Parliament has the power to make the laws, it should make only in the limits granted under the Constitution. If the State has the right to make laws, it should make only in the limits granted under the Constitution. “If they are making a law which is out of the limits granted under the Constitution or against the fundamental rights, the judiciary has every right to say that it was wrong.”Any order which is against the Constitution, judiciary can set it aside to maintain the rule of law,” CJI Thakur said. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there is a high respect across the globe for the Indian Constitution which does not distinguish between rich, big and poor.”People are convinced that they can unseat any political leader, howsoever big, from power. It can also replace any political party,” he said.Speaking on the occasion, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said “the delicate balance of the Constitution was disturbed in 70s. That balance must be restored.”The CJI also said that celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day was better than celebrating it as the Law Day.”The importance of this day is that the Constitution was adopted on this day. So, if we have to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution, it can only be celebrated as the Constitution Day. Celebrating it as Law Day was not important,” he said. Judiciary shouldn’t interfere with governance: Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said that judiciary must give directions to the executive but it should not interfere with the governance. ‘Court must give direction if executive fails, but governance must remain with those who are elected to govern. If those nuances are kept in mind then large number of problems that we encounter would be resolved,’ Prasad said. ‘I must remind that the Constitution has always given legislation with the legislature and that must be remain preserved with it,’ he added.Earlier in the day, stating he “respectfully” disagrees with Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, the Law Minister had said the government has so far appointed 120 High Court judges, adding this is the second highest number of appointments in the history of the country’s judicial system.”We have got the highest regard for the CJI, but we respectfully disagree with him. This year we have made 120 appointments. This is the second highest after 121 were appointed in 2013. Since 1990 there had only been 80 appointments,” Prasad, who was also present at the event, told the media later.Prasad also said that the Supreme Court has failed to make the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), a document to guide appointment of judges to higher judiciary, more transparent and reasonable despite repeated requests from the government.Responding to Justice Thakur’s claim that there is a lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the tribunals, Prasad said, “As far as infrastructure is concerned, it is a continuous process. So many tribunal courts are there. But we need to understand that every retired Supreme Court judge cannot be given the same bungalow of the same size, there is land constraint also.”Earlier, Justice Thakur had stated that there were 500 judges’ posts lying vacant in High Courts while adding that courtrooms are unable to function without judges.With inputs from agencies

‘500 posts are vacant’: CJI Thakur hits out at Centre over shortage of judges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Differences between judiciary and government continued to be aired in the open with Chief Justice of India T S Thakur saying there is shortage of judges in high courts and tribunals requiring government intervention, a view Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad strongly disagreed with. “500 judges posts are vacant in the high courts. They should be working today, but they are not. At present, there are several vacant courtrooms in India but no judges available. A large number of proposals are still pending and hope the government will intervene to end this crisis,” Justice Thakur said while addressing an All India Conference of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Disagreeing with the CJI, the Law Minister said the government has made 120 appointments this year which was the second highest since 1990. The highest number of appointments of 121 were made in 2013, Prasad said.”We respectfully disagree with him (CJI). This year we have made 120 appointments. The second highest of 121 is of 2013. Since 1990 there have been only 80 appointments. 5,000 vacancies are there in the lower judiciary in which the government of India has no role to play. That is something only for the judiciary to take care.”As far as infrastructure is concerned, that is a continuous process. Where the larger issue of appointment is concerned, there is a Supreme Court decision of making the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) more transparent, objective, reasonable, fair and the government stand is pending for the last more than three months and we are yet to hear from the Supreme Court,” he said.The CJI said that “manpower deficit” was also present in the tribunals which also faced the problem of lack of infrastructure leading to pendency of cases for five to seven years, apart from making apex court judges averse to heading such quasi-judicial bodies.”State of affairs in the tribunals is giving me the impression that you (tribunals) are no better. You are suffering from the same kind of deficit, manpower deficit. You cannot set up a tribunal, you cannot set up a bench at so many places because there are no members.””If the total strength of this tribunal is 65 and if you have 18 or 20 vacancies then it means that you are short by a large number. The working is going to be affected and that is why you have cases that are more than five years and seven years old,” he said adding “the least that you (government) must do is to ensure that these tribunals run with full strength.”The CJI also said the tribunals “are not equipped and are lying empty and today a situation has come that no retired Supreme Court judge wants to head the Tribunal. I am pained to send my retired colleagues there”.”Government is not ready to give proper facilities. Vacancy apart from infrastructure is a major concern for the Tribunal,” he added. During the conference, the CJI said there was a need to amend the rules for appointment of chairpersons and members of various tribunals so that the judges of the high courts can also be eligible for the posts.Speaking at the event, Prasad, who is also the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, said that the CAT has been a unique experience even amongst the tribunals since it is a successful blend of judicial and administrative excellence. He said CAT has rendered a “yeoman’s role in the evolution of service matters and framing of rules”.He said that the rising number of appeals against CAT judgements before high courts and the Supreme Court compounds the problem of pending litigations, and suggested exploring the idea of inter-court appeal as an alternative.Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameswar said that lack of precision in the law and judicial rulings favouring both the rival parties are the prime reasons for the mounting arrears in service-related litigations. PTI HMP RKS

Judges appointment row: Govt ‘respectfully’ disagrees with CJI, says its cleared 120 appointments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating he “respectfully” disagreed with Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said the government has so far appointed 120 High Court judges, adding this is the second highest number of appointments in the history of the country’s judicial system.”We have got the highest regard for the CJI, but we respectfully disagree with him. This year we have made 120 appointments. This is the second highest after 121 were appointed in 2013. Since 1990 there had only been 80 appointments,” Prasad told the media.Prasad also said that the Supreme Court has failed to make the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), a document to guide appointment of judges to higher judiciary, more transparent and reasonable despite repeated requests from the government. “But for the larger issue of appointment is concerned, there is a Supreme Court decision of making the MoP more transparent, objective, reasonable, fair and the government’s stand is pending for more than three months and we are yet to hear from the Supreme Court,” he said.Responding to Justice Thakur’s claim that there is a lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the tribunals, Prasad said, ?As far as infrastructure is concerned, it is a continuous process. So many tribunal courts are there. But we need to understand that every retired Supreme Court judge cannot be given the same bungalow of the same size, there is land constraint also.”Earlier, Justice Thakur stated that there were 500 judges’ posts lying vacant in High Courts while adding that courtrooms are unable to function without judges. He further said that in principle, the judiciary was not against the formation of Tribunals because it would relieve court duties, but the problem arose from the lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the Tribunals.”Tribunals are not equipped and are lying empty. Today a situation has come that when no retired Supreme Court judge wants to head the Tribunal. I am pained to send my retired colleagues there. Government is not ready to give proper facilities. Vacancy apart from infrastructure is a major concern for the Tribunal,” Thakur said.The Centre and the top court have been at war since the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, which was brought in to end more than 20-year-old practice of judges appointing judges under the collegium system, with government having no say in the process.Earlier, the Centre had conveyed to Supreme Court that it had returned to the collegium or its reconsideration of 43 of the 77 names recommended for the appointment of judges in various High Courts and that the remaining 34 have been appointed as judges.On October 28, the apex court had lashed out at the NDA government for failing to appoint judges in various High Courts despite the collegium clearing some of the names more than nine months ago, in which a livid Thakur told Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, “You can as well close down the courts. Close down justice.”

Demonetisation: Despite hardships, industry believes good days are ahead

Sandip Jat, who works in an apparel manufacturing company in Noida, is more than happy to receive Rs 36,000 as a three-month salary advance from his employer. Given his meagre salary, it would not have been possible to accumulate this amount in a short period of time. But, the note ban imposed by the Government of India has made it possible for him.

After the move to curb black money, it has become common to pay out advances in various forms, especially for those companies that have big amounts of cash stashed in their safes.

Bimal Jain of Punjab Haryana Delhi Chambers of Commerce says that loans and advances could be ways in which some people may try to get rid of old currency notes they had in their personal safes. Sandip is one of the beneficiaries of this largesse.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

He told Firstpost that his company sells apparel abroad. And so, the company is by no way affected by the cash crunch. “The purchase of raw materials has always been made through banks by our company. The old notes, that the company had in its possession, were paid to us as salary advance. So we are facing no cash crunch,” he said.

Industry experts say that the companies that have been regularly using cash transactions are worst-hit. “Most of our transactions are made in cheques but the cash payments we make for some expenditures have been temporarily stalled. Since we have a long standing with our suppliers they have agreed to it,” says Pramod Agarwal of Surinder Devi Creations.

Jain says that the move has not only affected businesses that are used to cash transactions but even those who deal in luxury goods.

Wakeel Ahmed, who works in a company that sales car batteries, says that sales have fallen by 90 percent after demonetisation.

“ The dealer who used to order 100 batteries a day, now, does not order even 10 of them. It seems that people have stalled purchase of batteries that are mainly used in car engines,” he says.

Fall in demand is largely attributed to lack of liquidity among the people by the industry, but it hopes that sales will recover as soon as the new currency comes in.

Even though former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s stated on Thursday that demonetisation will cause slowdown in the economy, the industry is optimistic that it will bear fruits for the economy in the future.

Pramod Agarwal, of  Surinder Devi Creations told Firstpost that the money that will be unearthed by this process will, in turn, enrich the economy.

Members of the industry also believe that demonetisation will result in a realistic pricing of various goods and commodities, which will strengthen the value of rupee.

“Once  foreign currency accumulation increases in the state coffers due to appreciation of  rupee, budget deficit will decrease. That will boost up the economy,” he adds.

In the same note Hari Prasad, proprietor of Manokamna Exports says, “For the last fifteen days I have been carrying a cheque of Rs 50,000 and not being able to encash it. Many of my workers are absent from work because they have to go to banks. Still, I am happy with the move and to make all transactions digital. It will make corruption difficult.”

Regarding the criticism that demonetisation has received, Prasad compares it with the advent of computerisation in accounting. He says that when computerisation was introduced in accounting processes, many people were wary that it will lead to loss of jobs. But now computers have become part of our daily lives. “The case is similar with demonetisation. Once people get accustomed to it, they will understand its good effects,” he says.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 12:26 IST

Indore-Patna Express derails: Bride-to-be searches for father after train mishap

Pukhraya (Kanpur Dehat): The whole world came crashing down around 20-year-old bride-to-be Ruby Gupta after the Indore-Patna Express derailed on Sunday as she is yet to trace her father.

Ruby, who was left with a fractured arm, was on her way to Mau in Azamagarh from Indore for her wedding scheduled on 1 December when the train derailed.

The eldest of her siblings, Ruby was travelling with sisters Archna (18), Khushi (16), brothers Abhishek and Vishal, and father Ram Prasad Gupta, who is missing.

Kanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTIKanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTI

Kanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTI

Also travelling with them was a family friend Ram Parmesh Singh.

“I cannot find my father and I have been looking everywhere for him. Some people told me to look in hospitals and in morgues but I am clueless as to what to do. I have a fractured arm and my sisters have also sustained injuries,”
she said.

“I do not know if my marriage, which was to be held on 1 December, will go as planned or not. I want to find my father now. I have tried calling everywhere, but I do not know what to do now,” she said.

Ruby also cannot trace the wedding clothes and jewellery she was carrying along.

She has not filed a complaint yet.

Though the cause of the derailment that has left 98 dead was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture.

However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 12:35 IST

War on black money: Rs 1 crore in scrapped Rs 1000 notes seized, 4 detained

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rs 1 crore, in demonetized Rs 1000 currency notes, was seized from a luxury car at Vashi in Navi Mumbai and four persons were detained in this connection, police said on Saturday.”Acting on a tip-off, police laid a trap. When the car came and halted near a housing complex at Sector 28 in Vashi last evening, the police team checked the vehicle and found two bags full of currency notes of Rs 1000 denomination,” an official release by Navi Mumbai Police said.The four occupants of the vehicle, Prasad R Patil (36), an estate agent from Uran in Raigad district, Harishchandra Shinde (60), builder from Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, Pramod Padle (43), property agent and Avinash Jail (31), a cloth merchant, both from Byculla in Mumbai, have been detained and are being interrogated, Inspector Ashok Rajput said.During interrogation, the accused said they had come to Vashi to get the old notes exchanged, but did not reveal the source of the cash and where they planned to get the notes exchanged, police claimed.”As the four persons did not provide any documentary evidence of the source of the cash, the Income Tax Department has been informed about it. Their car worth Rs 10 lakh has also been seized,” they added.A case has been registered at Vashi Police Station on Saturday and further probe is on, police added.

Give notice to Nandini Sundar before moving against her: SC tells Chhattisgarh govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tursday asked the Chhattisgarh government to give advanced notice of four weeks to social activist Nandini Sundar and others before proceeding against them in the case relating to the alleged murder of a tribal man in Naxal-affected areas of the state.The apex court also took on record the assurance given by the state government that Sundar and others, who have been booked for the alleged murder, will not be arrested or interrogated as of now. A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Adarsh Goel granted liberty to Sundar and others to approach the court if any notice of arrest or interrogation is served upon them. “ASG Tushar Mehta says that Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad, Vineet Tiwari and others will not be arrested or interrogated. State government is directed to give four weeks advance notice before proceeding in the case. Liberty to petitioners to approach court after the notice is served,” the bench said.The bench, however, refused to entertain Sundar’s plea that the state should first take permission from the court before arresting or interrogating her and other activists in the case.”No, they can’t be stopped perpetually. If there is a crime, they need to proceed. It is their statutory right. They will first give you notice and then they can proceed,” the bench said, adding that the activist can approach the court after the notice is served. The bench also did not take on record ASG Mehta’s statement, saying when a statement is already been made that they would not be arrested, then nothing else is required.”We don’t need to look at everything. You have made a statement. Now it is on record. You will have to give advance notice. As and when you want to proceed, show us the material,” the bench said.On November 7, Delhi University Professor Sundar, JNU professor Archana Prasad and others were booked on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. At the outset, senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for Sundar and other activists showed some newspaper clips and said that IG Bastar Range K Sivarama Prasad Kalluri has recently made a statement that Nandini Sundar and others will not be able to enter Bastar and people will stone them. He said this should not be allowed.Mehta countered the argument claiming whenever there is a hearing on the matter, there are news reports and if the court wants to take on record these materials, then it should also have a look at the records which the state government wants to submit to the court. The bench, however, disposed of the application filed by Sundar and said if any notice is issued, then they have the liberty to approach the court.The court had on November 11 taken on record the statement of Chhattisgarh government that no action will be taken against Sundar and others till November 15 and had asked the state to find a peaceful solution to the Naxal problem there and adopt a “pragmatic” approach towards life. Police had claimed that alleged armed Naxals had killed the villager, Shamnath Baghel, with sharp weapons on the night of November 4 at his residence in Nama village under Kumakoleng gram panchayat in Tongpal area, around 450 kms from Raipur. Baghel and some of others were spearheading protests against Naxal activities in their village since April.An FIR was lodged against Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (from Delhi-based Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI-M State Secretary) and others for the murder of Baghel based on the complaint of his wife, the state police had said. They were booked under section 120B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station.

BJP leader Sanjeev Kamboj to Firstpost: Only tweeted about new notes, not ban on Rs 500, Rs 1,000

In a fresh attack on the BJP government, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday alleged that BJP had informed its ‘friends’ beforehand about its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, to help them fix their black money.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Kejriwal claimed that “Sanjeev Kamboj, head BJP Legal Cell Punjab tweeted the picture of Rs 2,000 notes on 6 November.”

“How is it possible that these notes were in his possession before 8 November, the day when the prime minister made the announcement of banning the existing Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes?” asked Kejriwal

Firstpost spoke to Sanjeev Kamboj who rubbished the claims made by the Delhi Chief Minister saying, “I had only written that new notes would soon be introduced. But nowhere I had talked about or even mentioned banning of the old notes.”

“There were various news reports about the probable introduction of new notes. What was new in that?” Kamboj added.

A lawyer by profession, Kamboj said that he understands the legal consequences of doing any such thing. “I know I can land up in big trouble if I do something so foolish. What Kejriwal is doing is nothing more than dirty politics. He will see what will happen to him in Punjab.”

Kejriwal also added that it is being alleged that wads of same Rs 2,000 notes were seen in pictures taken during the wedding of the daughter of Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief, Keshav Prasad Maurya. “But let me tell you that Keshav Prasad Maurya, in fact, does not have any daughter. He only has two sons. This is all a deliberate attempt by AAP and other adversaries to create suspicion and mistrust,” said Kamboj.

Jalandhar-based Kamboj claims that Kejriwal is feeling frustrated as his black money has been blocked ahead of elections in Punjab.

Furthermore, Kambhoj denied that the image on Twitter belonged to him. He had received the photo as a forwarded message in the Whatsapp group. He was, however, tight-lipped when he was asked that it was the BJP person who was holding the bundle of Rs 2,000 notes. He said that it could possibly be an employee (bank) holding the note.

When asked that how does he react to Kejriwal’s allegation that those in BJP with black money had been informed beforehand and had managed to fix it, Kamboj said, “The government that is working under Modiji is doing great work and will never indulge in such activities. Whoever is wrong will be caught.”

He added that he has never met Modi or anyone else. “I think Kejriwal has now given me this opportunity, so hopefully I will be able to meet them,” said Kamboj.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 14:15 IST

No coercive action against DU professor ?Nandini Sundar, others till Nov 15: Chhattisgarh to SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chhattisgarh government told the Supreme Court that no coercive action will be taken till November 15 against DU professor ​Nandini Sundar and others accused in Shamnath Baghel murder case. The apex court told that the Centre and the state to find a peaceful solution to Naxal problems.The Delhi University Professor and JNU professor Archana Prasad and others along with Maoists were booked last week on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. “An FIR was lodged against DU Professor Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (from Delhi’s Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) State Secretary) and others along with Maoists for the murder of Baghel based on the complaint of his wife on Saturday,” said Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri.They were booked under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station, the IG said adding, “strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation”.Armed Naxals had allegedly killed the villager, Shamnath Baghel, with sharp weapons on late night on Friday (November 4) at his residence in Nama village under Kumakoleng gram panchayat in Tongpal area, around 450 kms away from here. Baghel and some of his associates were spearheading the protest against Naxal activities in their village since April this year.His wife has sought action against Sundar and others accusing them of murdering her husband, Kalluri added.”As per the complaint lodged by the victim’s wife, her husband had been getting threats from Maoists since he and other villagers had complained against Sundar in May this year. Even armed ultras were referring to that complaint and anti-Maoist demonstrations while attacking Baghel on Friday,” the IG said.

Delhi University Prof Nandini Sundar, Maoists booked for tribal man’s murder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi University Professor has been booked along with Maoists and others on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said on Monday.”An FIR was lodged against DU Professor Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (from Delhi’s Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) State Secretary) and others along with Maoists for the murder of Baghel based on the complaint of his wife on Saturday,” said Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri.They were booked under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station, the IG said adding, “strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation”.Though the case was registered on Saturday, the matter came to light late Monday evening.Armed Naxals had allegedly killed the villager, Shamnath Baghel, with sharp weapons on late night on Friday (November 4) at his residence in Nama village under Kumakoleng gram panchayat in Tongpal area, around 450 kms away from here.Baghel and some of his associates were spearheading the protest against Naxal activities in their village since April this year.”As per the complaint lodged by the victim’s wife, her husband had been getting threats from Maoists since he and other villagers had complained against Sundar in May this year. Even armed ultras were referring to that complaint and anti-Maoist demonstrations while attacking Baghel on Friday,” the IG said.His wife has sought action against Sundar and others accusing them of murdering her husband, Kalluri added.Notably, Baghel and other villagers of the region had earlier given a complaint with Tongpal police in May this year against Sundar, Prasad, Tiwari, Parate and an unidentified woman activist from Sukma for allegedly inciting innocent tribals against the government and seeking their support for Maoists.Villagers of Nama and the neighbouring Kumakoleng village (both under Kumakoleng village panchayat) had started a self-motivated protest against Maoist activities in their villages after forming its own security group named “Tangiya (axe) group” in April this year.”Following the development, according to villagers, Sundar and others went in the village to allegedly threaten them not to oppose the Maoists,” the IG said.Sundar had gone to the village with fake name Richa Keshav, he added.A letter was then written to the Vice Chancellors of both DU and JNU informing that Bastar police was conducting an inquiry against both the professors following complaint received against them, he added.

Even UPA banned FTV, AXN: BJP hits back at ‘second Emergency’ charges over NDTV ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The war of words over the one-day ban on Hindi news channel NDTV India by the Centre escalated with I and B minister Venkaiah Naidu saying it was in the interest of “country’s security” and the opposition asserting the action will lead to “second Emergency”. Naidu while denouncing references to the Emergency in the context of the order for blackout of the channel on November 9 over its coverage of Pathankot attack slammed the opposition parties for “politicisation” of such issues, noting that the Modi government has the highest regard for freedom of media. Listing out the names of some of the channels that were banned in the past, he said, “AXN was banned for two months. FTV was banned for two months. Enter10 for one day. ABN AndhraJyoti seven days. Al Jazeera was banned for five days for showing wrong map of India. “These are all done earlier. Now they are saying it is done for the first time, murder of democracy, Emergency reminiscent and all,” the Information and Broadcasting Minister noted. Official sources gave details of “warnings” issued by the previous UPA regime against the NDTV group over telecast of some of its programmes. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and fellow JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, DMK chief M Karunanidhi, BSP supremo Mayawati and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav hit out at the Centre, calling the ban an “insult to freedom of expression” and demanded its withdrawal. The CPI(M) politburo said it showed the “authoritarian” attitude of the Modi government. Justifying the government’s decision, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said NDTV India appeared to have violated the guidelines issued by the Centre over live coverage of an anti-terror operation.Addressing a press conference in Chennai, Naidu also slammed Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for “talking about the dark days of Emergency”.”I was surprised, aghast. Some people talked of Emergency-like situation. The action was taken in the interest of the country’s safety and security”, he said, adding, “Politicisation of such issues will affect the safety and security of the country.”Parrikar stressed that it was a security related issue and the channel appeared to have violated guidelines for coverage of terror attacks. “It is not a ban. They have been asked to put off the channel temporarily for a day,” Parrikar told reporters here in response to a query.”When you show the anti-terror operation live, the handlers of terrorists get the information…. It appears that these guidelines were violated by the channel during the Pathakot attack coverage. It appears like that,” he said.The minister added, “The guidelines on airing the live anti-terrorist operations were issued by the UPA government after the (26/11) 2008 Mumbai attack. In last five years, there were 21 such incidents wherein different channels violated the guidelines.””The Central government’s decision to ban NDTV India is condemnable. The decision tantamounts to controlling the freedom of media. It is quite necessary to have a free and impartial media in a country like India,” Nitish Kumar said in a statement in Patna.At a news conference in Lucknow, Mayawati accused the Modi government of throttling Freedom of Press. “If the Central government continues with such activities, it will lead to a second Emergency and those black days will be etched in the minds of people,” Karunanidhi said, adding the action reminded him of the Emergency days when his articles in party mouthpiece ‘Murasoli’ were ‘banned’ then.Lalu Prasad said the government action is an attack on democracy. “Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS is taking country toward emergency and dictatorship”, Lalu said while addressing Samajwadi Party(SP) celebrations in Lucknow.

Why All India Radio could not announce the death of Indira Gandhi till six in the evening

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The events of October 31, 1984 are still vivid in my memory. I was the head of the News Services Division of the All India Radio. As was my usual practice, I had just returned home after a visit to the newsroom to have a look at the morning 8 am. series of bulletins. I had just finished my breakfast, when the RAX telephone rang. At the other end was Sharada Prasad, the Information Advisor to the Prime Minister.Sharada Prasad told me: “Ramamohan, the Prime Minister has been shot by her security guards. The injury is serious and she has been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). For further information you will have to be in touch with the doctors.”I soon rushed to the newsroom of the All India Radio and deployed reporters at the AIIMS and at the official residence of the Prime Minister at 1, Safdarjang Road.In our bulletins, we stated that the Prime Minister has been shot at by security guards at her residence, the injury is serious and she has been shifted to the AIIMS. Sharada Prasad updated me saying that the doctors are trying to save her.In the newsroom, we were aware that the injuries suffered by Indira Gandhi were fatal and there was little chance of her survival.Being a public broadcaster, the All India Radio had to get the information confirmed by the government. Unfortunately, on that day, the President was out of the country, the Home Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and the Home Secretary were out of Delhi. The Prime Minister’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, was away in Calcutta.In a parliamentary democracy, the government automatically stands dissolved with the death of a Prime Minister.Looking back at the precedents, when the Prime Minister died, an interim Prime Minister was sworn in. Gulzarilal Nanda acted as Prime Minister on two occasions. There was speculation that someone may be sworn in till a regular Prime Minister was elected.Very soon, foreign broadcasting stations like the BBC were announcing that Indira Gandhi had been shot dead by her security guards in her house, but we in the All India Radio had to wait. I was told that in case of the death of the King of England, the news was not given out until the successor Prince, who was on a tour in South Africa, was informed.Meanwhile, All India Radio cancelled all of its programmes and was broadcasting devotional musicI was told that the President, who was on a foreign tour, was on his way back, and that Rajiv Gandhi was returning from Calcutta (now Kolkata) President Zail Singh went straight to the hospital after landing in Delhi, and so did Rajiv Gandhi.The All India Radio staff stationed at the AIIMS said that confabulations were going on and it was likely that there would not be an interim Prime Minister, and Rajiv Gandhi would be sworn in as the next Prime Minister of the country. But no one would confirm the information.I went to the Vice President R Venkataraman to seek his advice. I had known him closely when he was the Defence Minister and I was the spokesman for the Ministry and the armed forces. He told me that he would cross check the information. Soon he told me that Rajiv Gandhi would be sworn in at six in the evening. He also decided to come to the newsroom himself. He himself announced in our 6 pm bulletin that Rajiv Gandhi has been sworn in as the Prime Minister following the death of Indira Gandhi.Following reports that some persons had distributed sweets near the AIIMS after hearing of the death of Indira Gandhi, violence broke out in the area. My house was in West Kidwai Nagar, next to the AIIMS Safdarjang Hospital complex, and I told my family not to move out.Incidentally, in the All India Radio News Services Division we had a canteen. Following reports from our correspondents that there was tension in the city, I authorized the purchase of enough rations for nearly a week. Our canteen fed staff of the All India Radio for the next three days.Among the unsung heroes of the critical days that followed, were the All India Radio and Doordarshan correspondents, news readers and staff car drivers. They stayed in the office for three days to ensure uninterrupted service. Two engineers of the All India Radio were pulled out of their vehicles and set on fire. I remember virtually quarantining the Station Director of the All India Radio, MS Batra, for a night.For three days there was uncontrolled violence in parts of Delhi. The army had to be called to restore normalcy.One of the first steps taken by Rajiv Gandhi after he was sworn in as Prime Minister was to address the grievances of Sikhs, and he signed the Rajiv-Longowal Accord. But the controversy regarding the violence that followed the death of Indira Gandhi has not yet died down.The Government of India soon promulgated rules regarding the announcement of the death of senior ministers. And I as Principal Information Officer of the Government of India, had the misfortune to announce the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.Mr I Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India and can be reached on his e-mail: [email protected]

Samajwadi Party like feud brewing in Lalu Yadav’s family: Sushil Modi

Patna: Senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday claimed a Samajwadi Party-like feud is brewing within RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s family too which will “explode” any day.

“Lalu Prasad is trying to calm down the discontentment within his family. He has himself planted the seed of discontentment by breaking the age-old tradition as per which the eldest son is the successor to the throne…

RJD president Lalu Prasad. AFP.RJD president Lalu Prasad. AFP.

RJD president Lalu Prasad. AFP.

“But Lalu declared younger son Tejashwi as his heir by making him the Deputy Chief Minister over his eldest daughter (Misa Bharti) and elder son (Tej Pratap Yadav),” he claimed. “There is a cold war going on inside Prasad’s family at present. The discontentment in his family is not going to end and will explode any day,” Modi said.

He exhorted Lalu Prasad’s minister sons – Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav – to come out of their parents’ shadow and follow the path of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who stood against the merger of Mukhtar Ansari’s party Quami Ekta Dal into Samajwadi Party.

“Similarly, they (Tejashwi and Tej Pratap) should also oppose the presence of people like Mohammad Shahabuddin and Raj Ballabh Yadav, MLA charged with raping a minor girl, in RJD,” he said, adding, “This will help them in creating their own identities like Akhilesh Yadav.”

Lalu Prasad’s daughter is married to Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, the Mainpuri MP and the grandson of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Sushil Modi also claimed the two principal partners of the ruling grand secular alliance – JD(U) and RJD have “clashing interest” over the crisis within Samajwadi Party.

“JD(U) is happy over the incident in Uttar Pradesh as they want to see a split in Samajwadi Party. They are supporting Akhilesh Yadav indirectly so that they can have some kind of electoral adjustment there while RJD, the other partner of the grand alliance, is supporting Mulayam Singh Yadav,” the BJP leader claimed.

Some use army to get votes, some use them to ask for money: Lalu Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD President Lalu Prasad on Sunday accused “right-wing” elements of trying to use surgical strikes for “votes” and “money” and asked them not to “drag the army in “cheap politics”.Prasad, who had accused BJP of trying to reap political dividends on surgical strike, said, “Koi army ke naam pe vote maang raha hai to koi note (Someone is seeking votes while some others are seeking money in the name of Army).””Dakshinpanthiyon, sharm karo sharm. Gai aur Ram se pet nahi bhara kya? Sena ko to bakhsh do. (Shame on you right wings…shame. You people are not content with cow and Ram.) At least, spare the Army,” Prasad said in his tweet.Prasad’s tweet talked about Ram and cow, the issues which BJP, RSS and its affiliates have been raising while Raj-Thackeray led MNS has been criticised for asking film producers who have employed Pakistani artistes to donate to army welfare fund.Earlier, he had hailed the army for its surgical strikes but mocked the NDA-led Central government for “trying to take credit” for it. “The Army is known for its valour and it has given befitting reply to Pakistan’s attempts to push terrorists into the country and would do so in future as well. I am sure if the need arises, our brave Army would do a major surgery like this in future also,” the RJD supremo had stated.

SP crisis: Despite expulsion, party MLC Udayveer Singh hopeful of justice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Udayveer Singh, a Samajwadi Party MLC and one of the closest aides of Akhilesh Yadav, was on Saturday expelled from the party for “undignified” conduct days after he wrote to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav suggesting him to elevate the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as the party’s national president. The move is likely to further escalate the battle of attrition in the state’s ruling family in which Akhilesh Yadav is pitted against his uncle and state party chief Shivpal Yadav.A decision to expel Singh was taken after the inaugural meeting of the executive committee of SP’s Uttar Pradesh unit adopted a resolution seeking action against him for his “derogatory” comments against Mulayam.”Udayveer Singh has been expelled from the party for six years for his undignified and indisciplined behaviour,” state party spokesman Ambika Chaudhary said.”The party will not tolerate undignified behaviour and indiscipline. It has reached where it is in 25 years because of discipline,” Chaudhary said.In the four-page letter to the party supremo earlier this week, Singh had said, “SP state president Shivpal Yadav and other members of his family have misled you (Mulayam) and hatched a conspiracy against CM Akhilesh, who should be made party national president and given all the powers.”Singh, whose association with Akhilesh is over three decades hold, with both studying in school together, had reportedly also made some comments about Mulayam’s second wife and Chief Minister’s step mother, which angered the SP’s first family.Reacting to the development, Singh said he had only put before Mulayam his thoughts about the “conspiracy” against the Chief Minister. Asked to comment on his expulsion, he said, “I will give my version only after getting the letter.”Maintaining that he had no regrets about the points raised by him in the letter, Singh said,”Netaji is the patron of the party. I am confident that he will do justice to me and the chief minister.””Those who used foul language against the party chief are still in the party, but those who are the real well wishers and wrote letters are being expelled,” Singh said.Gaurav Bhatia, SP spokesman, said Singh had crossed the “Lakshman Rekha” in choosing the words he wrote in his letter to Mulayam which also hurt party workers.”Questioning the leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is an elected president of the party, was wrong. An MLC cannot dictate who the party president will be. Anybody committing an act of indiscipline has to be punished and this is what has happened,” he said.On Singh’s claim that a conspiracy has been hatched against Akhilesh, Bhatia said,” These are unsubstantiated allegations”.Reacting to the recent developments in the party, old war horse Beni Prasad Verma, who returned to the party fold from Congress recently, said,”Netaji (Mulayam) is deeply pained. What has happened (Singh’s letter to Mulayam) hurt Mulayam Singh’s prestige. I would request Akhilesh to get things sorted out. It is time to close ranks (with assembly polls just months away)… there is little time.”Singh’s explusion came a day after Akhilesh Yadav skipped a crucial meeting called by state party chief Shivpal Yadav to strategise for the assembly polls due early next year where the latter declared him the party’s chief ministerial face.Though Shivpal, the younger brother of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, had met Akhilesh to personally invite him to a meeting of SP district and city units presidents, the Chief Minister kept away, indicating all was not well in the party despite repeated claims by its senior leaders to the contrary. These delegates had later met Akhilesh separately.Akhilesh, with whom Shivpal is engaged in a running feud over the last few months, had recently made it clear in a letter to Mulayam that he would be proceeding on his ‘rath yatra’ on November 3 to highlight the development work done by his government, in a clear indication that he would skip that event too.With the tense stand-off between Akhilesh and Shivpal continuing, speculations about a possible split in the party are rife. As a crisis-like situation obtained in the party, several top leaders including Beni Prasad Verma, Naresh Agarwal and state Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey met Mulayam earlier in the day. They were later closeted with Akhilesh in order to bring about rapprochement in the SP’s first family.

Bihar deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav receives 44,000 Whatsapp proposals, wants arranged marriage instead

Patna: The 26-year-old, Tejaswi Yadav, who has become Bihar’s most eligible bachelor after receiving 44,000 marriage proposals on WhatsApp, has said he will marry the girl of parents’ choice.

“I will marry as per the wishes of my parents and the girl they select for me. I will simply prefer an arranged marriage decided by my parents,” Tejaswi said.

Tejaswi Yadav with his father Lalu Prasad Yadav. Getty ImagesTejaswi Yadav with his father Lalu Prasad Yadav. Getty Images

Tejaswi Yadav with his father Lalu Prasad Yadav. Getty Images

Tejaswi told IANS, his parents, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, would decide his marriage just like they decided his political career.

Mere mata-pita ki pasand hi meri bhi pasand hogi (My parents’ choice will be my choice, too),” he said.

With this statement, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister put an end to speculation and breaking many hearts, a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader close to him said.

Incidentally, all his seven sisters had arranged marriages.

Tejaswi received the marriage proposals on the WhatsApp contact number which he had provided for complaints over bad roads.

According to an official of road construction department, “Out of 47,000 messages received on the number, nearly 44,000 were personal messages proposing marriage to Tejaswi. Only 3,000 messages were related to road repair.”

He also said that most of the girls provided personal information, including figure statistics, skin colour and height to the young politician, who is also the Public Welfare Department minister.

The cricketer-turned-politician, who is also tech-savvy received the messages from “the young women who mistook the number provided by the ministry as his personal contact,” the official added.

Tejaswi joked that such personal messages could have landed him into deep trouble had he been married.

“Thank God, I am still single,” he said.

Tejaswi and his elder brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, who is also the Health Minister, are among the top most sought after bachelors in Bihar.

Business of Kidneys: Kerala priest facilitates domino transplants for over fifty patients

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A priest in Kerala is demonstrating how an alternate model may offer a solution to kidney patients who wait endlessly for donors, and often end up paying lakhs to scrupulous elements in the hope of finding a willing donor. DNA in its reports dated October 15 and 16 brought out the ugly face of Delhi’s kidney rackets where patients were duped into getting their kidneys removed.Nephrologists at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences estimate that five lakh people live with failed kidneys in India at a time. A Lancet study revealed that just 10 per cent of patients suffering from kidney failure have access to dialysis, and 70 per cent of those starting dialysis die or discontinue treatment within the first three months due to the high cost of the treatment.The Catholic priest in Kerala’s Thrissur district mooted a chain of kidney exchanges with a voluntary donor offering a kidney to a needy person, and a relative of this recipient in turn donating his/her kidney to another person, and so on. This system is known as ‘Domino Transplant’. In the last five years, 56 people have been part of such kidney exchange chains, linking disparate people from industrialists to truck drivers in a chain. Two hundred others have pledged to join the chains when compatible donor-recipient pairings are established. Fr Chiramel says the numbers could have been higher but for the poor medical infrastructure it could not.”Thousands of patients are in need of kidneys in Kerala alone. I am turning my attention to improving access to dialysis,” says Fr Chiramel. “Clinics and hospitals pay hefty commissions to doctors to refer dialysis patients to them. There are good doctors, but the scale of profiteering in health services scares me.”It’s not just infrastructure and a willing donor that start the work. Government hospitals are known to drive away voluntary donors to private hospitals and insist on relatives-as-donors. “They should be willing to accept unrelated donor-recipients who are recommended by eminent citizens,” says Fr Chiramel.For instance in 2011, a chance meeting with Fr Chiramel prompted Reetha Cherian, a 60-year-old widow, to offer to donate a kidney.”My daughters were livid that I was neglecting my health for another person. But I had read about the surgery and knew there was nothing to worry about,” says Cherian. By January 2012, Fr Chiramel had arranged a kidney chain of six people. “We had done all the paper work and the medical tests but the recipient, Ansamma, suddenly passed away. When she died, her husband, who was to donate his kidney to another person, lost interest. Ultimately, nobody in that chain benefitted.”Ansamma’s loss was AV Prasad’s gain. The 35-year-old daily wage labourer had been on dialysis for nine years. Prasad met Fr Chiramel who roped in Cherian as his donor in 2013. The surgery took place in January 2014 after several medical tests had been conducted and consent forms were signed in front of executive and judicial officers. Today, Prasad sells lottery tickets for a living. “I can’t do hard work but I am relieved to be off dialysis,” he says.(This is the last in the three-part series which explored the vulnerability of patients desperate to receive kidney)

Lalu Prasad hails Army, flays BJP on surgical strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD President Lalu Prasad on Monday hailed the Army for its ‘successful’ surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) but mocked the NDA-led Central government for “trying to take credit” for it. “BJP is falsely trying to take credit of brave acts of the Indian Army (for the successful surgical strikes on the launch pads of terrorists in PoK),” he told mediapersons outside his wife Rabri Devi’s residence at 10 Circular road here before leaving for the last rites of socialist leader Ram Iqbal Worsi in Bhojpur district. “The Army is known for its valour and it has given befitting reply to Pakistan’s attempts to push terrorists into the country and would do so in future as well. I am sure if the need arises, our brave Army would do a major surgery like this in future also,” the RJD supremo said. Prasad dismissed opposition’s allegations of “rift” between him and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying, “There is a strong bond between me and Nitish Kumar.” Prasad and Kumar are known as ‘Bade bhai’ and ‘Chote bhai’ respectively in the political circles in the state.”I extended Durga puja greetings to Nitish Kumar yesterday. BJP is trying to create a rift between us but it is not possible … The coalition government in Bihar will continue to run successfully like it is doing now,” the RJD supremo added.

Kashmir can never be ‘integral part of India’; dispute a ‘failure of the UN’, says Pak envoy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back at Pakistan for again raising the Kashmir issue at the UN, India termed the country as a “fly by-night operator” saying Islamabad “flagrantly” misuses the forum of the world body for its “territorial aggrandisement”. Exercising the Right of Reply, Minister in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Srinivas Prasad, strongly rejected remarks made by Pakistan’s envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, in which she had said that the non-implementation of UN Security Council resolutions for a plebiscite in Kashmir is the “most persistent” failure of the UN.”We are constrained to take the floor to exercise our Right of Reply because we have just heard one country Pakistan make reference to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in a rather self-serving and disingenuous attempt to bring an extraneous issue to this committee,” Prasad said during the General Debate of the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee here on Friday.Rejecting Lodhi’s comments entirely, Prasad said “Pakistan, acting like a fly by-night operator, has attempted to flagrantly misuse the forum provided by the Committee for its territorial aggrandisement”. He asserted that Kashmir is not on the agenda of the committee, which is focussed on decolonisation and “non-self governing territories”. Lodhi raking up the Kashmir issue in the committee that focuses on decolonisation reflects yet another failed attempt to bring the issue on the agenda of this Committee, he said. “The issue is rightly not on the agenda of the Committee which looks after the non-self governing territories,” Prasad said adding Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. He said “Pakistan will be well advised not to disrespect the intelligence of the Committee and abide by its agenda”.Raising the Kashmir issue again at the UN, Lodhi had said the decolonisation agenda of the UN will remain “incomplete” without resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which is among the oldest items on the UN’s agenda. She claimed for over six decades, the UN Security Council resolutions promising a plebiscite under UN auspices to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their destiny, have not been implemented. “This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations,” she said adding that generation after generation of Kashmiris has only seen “broken promises and brutal oppression”.Claiming that Jammu and Kashmir “never was and can never be” an integral part of India, she said it is a disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with resolutions of the UN Security Council.Lodhi claimed the Kashmiris have risen again in unison against occupation through the “ongoing indigenous uprising”. She alleged that Indian forces have injured thousands of Kashmiris, calling it “the worst form of state terrorism and a war crime, which India has perpetrated by its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir for decades”. Lodhi said the UN has a moral responsibility to people suffering under colonial domination and foreign occupation. “There is an urgent need to bring the work on this unfinished agenda to closure and eliminate the last remaining vestiges of colonialism. We hope that we will be able to achieve this shared goal sooner rather than later,” she said.

Battle royale as political parties spar furiously over surgical strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the political face-off over the surgical strikes got fiercer, the BJP has indicated that it will take the issue – “army’s achievements” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “political will”– to the people as key states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab head for elections early next year.The Opposition Congress is also gearing up to counter the BJP’s attempts to cash in on the strikes as an election plank. Three press conferences — those of Amit Shah, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad — were held in the capital with a gap of two hours between each one, as charges and counter-charges flew between the Congress and the BJP through the day.A day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s khoon ki dalali remarks, BJP chief Amit Shah held a press conference, where he pointed out that it was not the defence minister but the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) who had briefed reporters to keep the issue away from politics. He said all parties should refrain from politicising the issue.When asked if it would be an issue in the UP elections, Shah said: “We will go to the people with the issue because every responsible party should boost the morale of the army…the achievement is the army’s, but the determination and political intent is Prime Minister Modi’s.” Shah added that it showed the Modi government’s “zero tolerance” policy towards terrorism.The Opposition’s tirade seems to have given the BJP a plank to openly take up the issue with the electorate, breaking the silence of its leaders. Modi has repeatedly conveyed to his council of ministers to exercise restraint in making chest-thumping statements after the surgical strikes, but the issue could become a major plank for the party in the UP elections.Shah began his interaction with the media by condemning political parties which were questioning the surgical strikes saying they were insulting the army. He first took on Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying his doubts over the surgical strikes was trending on social media in Pakistan.Shah then retaliated to Rahul Gandhi’s comments. “By saying jawanon ki khoon ki dalali, he had crossed all limits. They are an insult not only to the brave armed forces and martyrs but the entire country. Is the blood of our soldiers something that you can trade?” he said.Shah said that using the word dalali for soldiers showed the Congress’ mindset. He added that the UPA government had done dalali from Bofors to the 2G scam. He also recalled the Congress’s earlier statements— maut ka saudagar and zeher ki kheti — saying both had backfired politically. Shah also sought an explanation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her son’s comments.Shah dismissed posters on the surgical strikes in UP saying “some zilla parishad” putting up posters should not be made an issue. This was in reference to some posters lauding the BJP for the strikes.Two hours after Shah’s press conference, Congress leader Kapil Sibal spoke to reporters and accused the BJP of distorting facts. Countering Shah’s claims that the Indian Army crossed the LoC for the first time since Independence, Sibal wondered if he (Shah) was ignorant of history or was he trying to rewrite it.”Was it Modi who crossed the LoC in 1965? Or, was it Manohar Parrikar or Amit Shah who crossed it? Who crossed the LoC in 1971? Does India’s history begin from 2014? What happened in 1999? Who crossed the LoC during Kargil?” Sibal said at a press conference at the AICC headquarters.Sibal also attacked the BJP on its Pakistan policy, claiming that the saffron party was responsible for the creation of the Jaish-e-Mohammed. “The Uri attacks would not have happened if Masood Azhar had not been released in 1999,” he said. The Congress leader also mentioned Modi’s flip-flop on Pakistan, and reminded reporters that Modi had paid a surprise visit to Pakistan for prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday last year.Replying to a comment about the BJP, saying that the prime minister has not uttered a single word as far as the surgical strike was concerned, Sibal said: “When he (Prime Minister) is in power, he will not utter a single word, but when he is not in power, he will blame the armed forces. On September 15, 2013, Narendra Modi tweeted and said: “We are facing many crises. All this is happening due to the weakness of the Army — This is what he said.”The Congress leader also said that the BJP needed to show more sensitivity towards the armed forces. Sibal said that that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar should have visited the families of the martyred soldiers instead of being felicitated in Agra at a rally.”Irresponsible statements and brandishing surgical strikes for political ends is not good for India and not good for democracy, not good for the security of the nation.”Later in the day, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held another press conference at the BJP headquarters to counter Sibal.”What does the Congress mean by saying that the BJP made Jaish-e-Mohammad? You know who will be happy with his comment — the ISI,” Prasad said. He said the words used by the Congress were “shameful, regrettable and full of venom.”Prasad added that Sibal’s statements showed that the Congress leaders’ loyalty towards Rahul Gandhi had overtaken their patriotism.

‘Khoon ka dalali’ | Kejriwal criticises Rahul Gandhi’s remark, Amit Shah slams them both

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Political temperature soared over Rahul Gandhi’s ‘dalali’ remarks, with BJP chief Amit Shah launching a blistering attack on him, saying he “crossed all limits” and “insulted” the army’s valour as Congress leader insisted he supported the military action but denounced “political propaganda” on the issue. The Congress vice president also came in for criticism from Arvind Kejriwal, who himself is facing flack over his remarks on the army’s surgical strikes across the LoC, with the Delhi Chief Minister urging political parties to set aside their differences and rally behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi.NCP too disapproved of Gandhi’s remarks about the Modi government “profiteering” from the blood spilt by the soldiers. “By making ‘khoon ki dalali’ remarks, Rahul Gandhi has crossed all limits. It was an extreme. By choosing such words, he insulted the bravery of our soldiers and 125 crore people of India,” Shah said.Suggesting that those casting doubts on the authenticity of surgical strikes are “anti-India” leaders, he said, “The whole country, BJP and its government are standing firmly behind the army. We do not believe in the comments of anti-India leaders. We believe in the army’s bullets.” On the backfoot after his barb, apparently aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress vice president said he “unequivocally” backed the army action.”I fully support the surgical strikes and I have said so unequivocally, but I will not support using the Indian Army in political posters and propaganda all across the country,” the Congress vice president said in a series of tweets.He had yesterday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of “hiding behind the blood of soldiers” and said that he was politically exploiting their sacrifices. “Jinhone Hindustan ke liye surgical strike kiye hain, unke khoon ke peeche aap chhupe hain. Unki aap dalali kar rahe ho. Yeh bilkul galat hai. You (Modi) are hiding behind the blood of soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and those who carried out the surgical strikes for India. You are exploiting their sacrifices, which is very wrong,” Rahul had said.Even as Shah insisted that the strikes should not be politicised, he made it clear that BJP will go to people over the issue to “boost the army’s morale” and that the military assault underlined the Modi government’s zero tolerance policy against terrorism as well as its strong political will to take tough decisions.Congress’ senior leader Kapil Sibal, who was fielded to defend Gandhi, said the party vice president had lauded the Prime Minister when he said “Modi finally acted like a true PM”.”We defend the strikes, but stop this propaganda. It is wrong to claim credit for the sacrifice made by the jawans,” he said and attacked Amit Shah for criticising Gandhi.”Those who were in jail, got externed, had murder cases against them are telling us that we are at fault,” Sibal said.Kejriwal, whose remarks on the surgical strikes were interpreted as questioning their veracity, was also critical of Gandhi.”Our soldiers valiantly carried out surgical strikes and demolished terror addresses. I have previously done so and want to congratulate the army once again for this. I strongly criticise Rahul Gandhi’s remarks wherein he said army’s sacrifices and bravery was ‘khoon ki dalali’,” he said. “I condemn the use of such words. I have told in the House as well as in a video message that right now there is tension at the border. The entire country should stand behind the army keeping aside political differences and support the Prime Minister’s steps pertaining to security. There should not be any politics over this issue,” Kejriwal said.However, Shah was unsparing in his criticism of even Kejriwal at his press conference, saying he was the first to cast doubts over the authenticity of surgical strikes and was trending on Twitter in Pakistan.”#PakStandsWithKejriwal was a top trend in Pakistan. It itself shows who are benefiting from his efforts,” he said.Raking up a number of alleged scams under the UPA government, he said wryly that ‘dalali’ word is on Gandhi’s mind as his party’s government did ‘dalali’ in Bofors, Embraer, 2G and coal block allocation deals but the strikes were not an occasion for using such a term.Rejecting the charge that BJP was using these strikes for political benefits, he said none of the top party leaders made any statement and it was the DGMO and not the Defence Minister who addressed a press conference to announce the army’s cross- border attacks.Asked if his party will make it an issue in the state elections, Shah treaded cautiously saying, “We do not want to politicise it but we will definitely take it to the people because boosting the army’s morale is the duty of every responsible political party.”These surgical strikes announce the Modi government’s zero tolerance policy against terrorism… The achievement is of the army. The strong political will is of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Dismissing claims of Congress leaders that such surgical strikes have happened earlier too, Shah said “for the first time since independence soldiers crossed the LoC to destroy launch pads of terrorists”.Former army officers have said it never happened earlier, he added.Targeting Gandhi, Shah said Congress and he in particular disliked Modi and recalled expressions like ‘maut ke saudagar’ (merchant of death) and ‘zahar ki kheti’ (sowing crop of poison) used by his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi against Modi.BJP won two-third majority in Gujarat after ‘maut ke saudagar’ remarks and got a majority after ‘zahar ki kheti’ comments, he said, wondering what will be the fallout of ‘khoon ki dalali’ barb. Meanwhile, the NCP, former Congress ally, too criticised Gandhi for his ‘dalali’ remarks and called the surgical strikes “historic”. “Rahul Gandhi is the leader of the principal opposition party, which is the perhaps the oldest organisation in the world. He should have refrained from using such words,” NCP MP D P Tripathi told reporters. He also hit out at Congress’ Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam for questioning the genuineness of the strikes, saying his comments were “anti-national” in nature. Asserting that the surgical strikes on terror camps were “historic” and a result of astute planning by the government and the army, the party said it was, however, against “chest thumping” and “drum beating” over the issue. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also attacked Gandhi and the Congress party on the issue. “Rahul Gandhi’s comments yesterday were not only regrettable but shameful. The justification today by the Congress crossed all limits of shameful conduct in the public life of the country,” Prasad said, assailing Sibal for his comments against Shah that criminal cases were pending against him. “Not even charges were framed against our party chief. The court said the entire case is a frame-up because of political conspiracy,” he said. “Devotion (in Congress) to Rahul Gandhi is more in order of priority than devotion to the country and defending Rahul is more important than defending the country,” Prasad said.

Surgi-chappal strike: AAP minister Satyender Jain attacked with a slipper after Kejriwal’s comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi minister Satyendar Jain and other AAP leaders were once again targeted in a slipper attack by a woman over Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks on cross-LoC anti-terror surgical strike by army. Bhavana Arora, who had staged an ink attack on Kejriwal in January, hurled a slipper at the AAP leaders’ car outside the Income Tax office here at around 3.15 PM. However, the slipper only hit the vehicle in which the Health Minister was travelling along with AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh as its windows were closed. Jain today appeared before I-T Department and was questioned by its investigating officers for over three hours in connection with a tax evasion probe against certain Kolkata-based firms. “How could the Aam Aadmi Party demand proof of surgical strikes from the Indian Army? Are they agents of Pakistan?,” Arora told reporters here after hurling her slipper at Jain’s vehicle. Arora belongs to Aam Aadmi Sena, a breakaway faction of the Aam Aadmi Party. However, she was not detained by the police after the incident. Arora had also thrown ink on Kejriwal in January this year while he was delivering a speech at a public meeting in Chhatrasal Stadium. Volunteers of the Sena had reached the Central Revenue Building at I P Estate where I-T Department office is located after they got to know about Jain appearing before the department. Jain was last week summoned by the IT to furnish personal financial details and ITRs for the last four years.Rejecting BJP’s criticism, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused it of playing politics over the anti-terror surgical strike and said why was the party “scared” when he had only asked the Prime Minister to counter the false propaganda by Pakistan. Maintaining that Aam Aadmi Party believes that surgical strikes did take place, Kejriwal said that in his video message yesterday he had only appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a befitting reply. In a rare gesture, Kejriwal has yesterday “saluted” Modi for the surgical strikes by the Army on terror launch pads across the LoC.At the same time, he had urged the Centre to counter the smear campaign by Pakistan and international media, but BJP alleged that Kejriwal had in the garb of his statement questioned the Army’s assertion on surgical strike and insulted the armed forces.”I have supported the Prime Minister, applauded the army. I only said that Pakistan is spreading false propaganda in the world that surgical strikes did not happen. We all believe that surgical strikes took place,” Kejriwal told reporters at the Jodhpur civil airport.”Pakistan is spreading the propaganda across the world and international media is running this that surgical strikes did not take place. I had only appealed to the PM that a befitting reply should be given to Pakistan.”If I said that we have to counter Pakistan’s false propaganda then why is the BJP so rattled and scared? We all have to counter Pakistan’s propaganda and we should all, irrespective of the party, strengthen PM’s hands in this,” Kejriwal said.Claiming that Kejriwal “sought proof” on the anti-terror operation, the BJP asked him not to belittle the armed forces by getting influenced by Pakistani “propaganda”. At a press conference today, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the AAP leader should answer whether he believed in the Indian Army or not. Kejriwal later retorted: “I am unhappy. Ravi Shankar ji is saying I am playing politics. Am I playing politics or they?””I and my party are with Narendra Modi in his every step against Pakistan and its mischiefs,” said Kejriwal. “It is time that all the citiznes and political parties are united and strengthen the hands of the prime minister against Pakistan,” he said. Kejriwal later headed to Bikaner by road to meet a party worker who had lost his mother. Senior AAP leader Ashutosh said Pakistan is insulting ‘Bharat Mata’ and Indian army through its propaganda, but BJP is settling score with Kejriwal. “I am amazed that Ravi Shankar Prasad instead of unmasking Pak Propaganda is questioning AK. Shows BJP’s bankruptcy of ideas,” Ashutosh tweeted.

Watch: Are you questioning our jawans? BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad slams Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ravi Shankar Prasad of BJP slammed Arvind Kejriwal slammed Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal for questioning the Indian Army’s surgical strikes. In a Facebook livestream on Tuesday, Prasad asked, “I want to ask Arvind Kejriwal whether or not he believes in the extraordinary valour of our Army in conducting. If yes, then why are you (Kejriwal) getting influenced by the false propaganda of Pakistan?”In a rare gesture, Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal “saluted” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for the surgical strikes carried out by the Army on terror launch pads across the LoC. In a video message on Twitter, Kejriwal urged the Centre to counter Pakistan’s smear campaign on the international stage.Kejriwal’s query came in light of the Pakistan’s government claiming that there have been no surgical strikes.Watch the video here:

SC reserves verdict on appeals to cancel Shahabuddin’s bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict for Friday on appeals challenging the grant of bail to controversial Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Shahabuddin in a murder case by Patna High Court.A bench comprising justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy reserved the order after lawyers representing Shahabuddin and others wrapped up their arguments in the case.Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Shahabuddin, opposed the appeals challenging the grant of bail and said right to life and liberty should not be curtailed in normal circumstances.The apex court had on Wednesday come down heavily on the Bihar government for not placing facts before the Patna High Court which granted bail to Shahabuddin in a murder case and asking the state “were you in slumber till he got bail?”The counsel for Nitish Kumar government, which has RJD as its coalition partner, faced searching questions in the apex court which rebuked it for not being serious in pursuing the case against Shahabuddin.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad whose three sons have been killed in two separate incidents, has sought cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail and said enlarging him on bail was “travesty of justice”.Naphade had said his client has been suffering from media trial and said the state government has to be fair and cannot play with the liberty of an individual.

Mohammad Shahabuddin’s bail: Supreme Court rebukes Bihar government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on Bihar government for not placing facts before the Patna High Court which granted bail to controversial RJD leader Mohd Shahabuddin in a murder case. The counsel for Nitish Kumar government, which has RJD as its coalition partner in the state, faced searching questions in the apex court which rebuked it for not being serious in pursuing the case against Shahabuddin.”Why have you approached the court only after his release? Were you in slumber till he got bail? This is a peculiar case. But the question is this peculiarity has been done at whose instance and who is behind this. Why you did not challenge bail granted to Shahabuddin in 45 cases? Why did you realise only when he came out of jail? If everything was fair, why would this case come to us,” a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said while clarifying that by peculiarity, it meant negligence.The observations came after senior advocate Dinesh Dwivedi, appearing for Bihar, sought cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail and said the decision to enlarge the RJD leader was improper as the High Court had ignored the relevant material in the case. He said the High Court could not have granted him bail unless there was any special reason or any medical urgency.The senior lawyer admitted there were “anomalies” by the state government in the case. To this, the bench said, “we can understand your difficulty and the only thing we can say is that we understand everything.”Dwivedi said “I admit the anomalies. I am not in any way justifying the actions of the state government. We were handicapped at that time. But my submission is that the relevant material has been ignored in the case.”The bench then asked him “Why should you be handicapped? You are the state. It was the duty of your lawyer to inform the High Court about the correct facts of the case. It was your duty to inform the High Court that a revision petition has been filed in the session court by Shahabuddin. Why didn’t you tell the High Court at that point of time? We are just trying to find out what kind of person he is by looking at the background and circumstances of the case. How many cases are pending against him, who is a four time Member of Parliament and two times MLA. We are just thinking what is the common man’s thought. There are so many cases against him and there are so many bail orders. You did challenge those bail orders,” the bench said.The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow.Dwivedi said Shahabuddin was first sent to jail in 2005 and since then he has been committing crimes from inside the prison. He said the RJD leader was acquitted in most of the cases as many witnesses refused to testify against him.”Shahabuddin’s remaining in jail has hardly made a difference as he has been committing crimes from inside the jail premises as well. And this is the reason that he was shifted to Bhagalpur from Siwan jail,” he said.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad whose three sons have been killed in two separate incidents, also sought cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail and said enlarging him on bail was “travesty of justice”. Bhushan said the High Court had erred in granting bail to a history-sheeter who has a criminal antecedents and termed him as a hardened criminal.Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Shahabuddin, said his client has been suffering from media trial and said the state government has to be fair and cannot play with the liberty of an individual. He said the state was “only cooking up stories” and causing prejudice to his client’s case as he had attained “notoriety”.”It has become a trend in Bihar that if any crime takes place, then it must be Shahabuddin. This has been a fashion now,” he said.Shahabuddin, who was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7, was released from Bhagalpur jail on September 10. He was in jail for 11 years in connection with dozens of cases against him. On September 19, the apex court had sought a response from Shahabuddin on a separate plea filed by Siwan resident Chandrakeshwar Prasad, challenging the bail granted to him by Patna High Court, in the murder case of his third son.The apex court is also hearing a separate plea filed by the widow of journalist Rajdev Ranjan, who was murdered in Siwan allegedly at the instance of Shahabuddin, seeking transfer of the case to Delhi.Kalawati Devi, wife of Chandrakeshwar Prasad and the mother of three youths who were brutally killed by henchmen of the controversial politician, had also moved the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of bail granted to him in the case in which he has already been sentenced to life.

SC begins hearing of plea against Shahabuddin’s bail, cops step up security of victim’s family

Patna: Security of Chandrakeshwar Prasad and his wife Kalavati Devi in Bihar’s Siwan was beefed up on Wednesday as the Supreme Court began hearing a plea by them and the state seeking cancellation of RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin’s bail.

The plaintiffs had sought the cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail on the ground that he would misuse his liberty to derail the trial and his release had created a sense of fear, police said.

File photo of Mohammed Shahabuddin. PTI

File photo of Mohammed Shahabuddin. PTI

“Security forces were deployed around Chandrakeshwar Prasad’s house in Siwan town after intelligence reports warned of possible law and order trouble if Shahabuddin’s bail was cancelled by the apex court,” a police officer said.

Earlier, Prasad, alias Chanda Babu, in his petition had alleged that he feared for his life after the release of Shahabuddin, who was convicted for the murder of his two sons.

Both Prasad and his wife said that they had faith in the justice of the apex court. “After God, we have our hopes pinned on the apex court for justice,” they said on Wednesday.

According to the district administration officials, additional security forces were deployed at all busy squares and sensitive places in Siwan.

“There is apprehension of trouble in case Shahabuddin’s bail was cancelled by the court,” a police officer said.

The Patna High Court had released Shahabuddin on 10 September, as the trial in the case of the murder of Prasad’s third son had not started.

Shahabuddin is the main accused in the murder.

Justice Jitendra Mohan Sharma of the Patna High Court had granted bail to Shahabuddin and he was released from Bhagalpur jail after spending 11 years in prison.

SC defers hearing of plea against RJD leader Mohd Shahabuddin’s bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday deferred for two days the hearing on two appeals challenging Patna High Court granting bail to controversial RJD leader Mohd Shahabuddin in a murder case, as noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani who would argue for him was not available.A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday saying it has to strike a balance between the interests of both the parties. One of the lawyers, representing Shahabuddin, urged that the matter be taken up on Friday as Jethmalani was not available and moreover voluminous case records needed to be studied for proper defence.”Since there are allegations and counter allegations being made in the case, we shall not pass any order without hearing both the sides. We are fixing it on Wednesday (September 28),” the bench said.Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, also appearing for Shahabuddin, said his client has been suffering from media trial and should be given adequate opportunity to present his case. Shahabuddin, who was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7, was released from Bhagalpur jail on September 10. He was in jail for 11 years in connection with dozens of cases against him.On September 19, the apex court had sought a response from Shahabuddin on a separate plea filed by Siwan resident Chandrakeshwar Prasad, challenging the bail granted to him by Patna High Court, in the murder case of his third son.The apex court is also hearing a separate plea filed by the widow of journalist Rajdev Ranjan, who was murdered in Siwan allegedly at the instance of Shahabuddin, seeking transfer of the case to Delhi. Kalawati Devi, wife of Chandrakeshwar Prasad and the mother of three youths who were brutally killed by henchmen of the controversial politician, had also moved the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of bail granted to him in the case in which he has already been sentenced to life. Devi, in her plea filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said her sons, Girish and Satish, were abducted by Shahabuddin’s henchmen. They were brutally assaulted and killed by acid poured on them and their bodies, packed in a sack full of salt, buried.The plea also alleged that Devi’s third son, Rajiv Roshan, was also abducted then but had managed to escape. He was an eye-witness to the killing of his two brothers. She claimed that during pendency of trial in the twin murder case, Roshan was killed in June 2014 allegedly at the behest of Shahabuddin who is facing trial in the case.In her plea, Devi had said that as per an affidavit filed by the Bihar government in the apex court, till November 2014, trials in at least 38 cases were pending against him in which he was facing alleged heinous charges of murder, attempt to murder, rioting with deadly weapon, extortion and others.

dna Evening Must Reads: PM Modi reviews Indus Waters treaty; Sushma Swaraj speaks at UNGA; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Blood and water cannot flow together: PM Modi on Indus Waters treaty with PakistanPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a meeting to review the Indus Waters treaty with Pakistan amidst heightened tension between two countries. It is reported that PM Modi hit back strongly at Pakistan and said ‘blood and water cannot flow together’. Read more. 2. Watch: After shoe attack, Rahul Gandhi blames BJP-RSS, says he is not afraidCongress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was attacked with a shoe on Monday during his road show in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh. Responding to the attack, Rahul Gandhi said, “Want to tell BJP, RSS people…throw as many shoes on me as you want, I don’t fear you”. Read more.3. Live Updates: Sushma Swaraj speaks at UNGAExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will today give a stinging response to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “tirade” on Kashmir at the UN General Assembly and attack the country for using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”. Catch the live updates here.4. 2008 Malegaon blast case: NIA court rejects bail plea of Lt Col Prasad PurohitThe special NIA court on Monday rejected the bail plea of Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast case. The September 29, 2008 blast had killed seven people. Read more.5. ‘Baahubali 2’ to wrap up by this November!The shoot of one of the most awaited movies of 2017 with some phenomenal action sequences is expected to finish sometime in November. The climax sequence is being shot right now. Read more.

SC to hear petitions challenging Shahabuddin’s bail on Sept 28

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear the cancellation of bail of former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Shahabuddin on September 28.Lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the apex court today that there were 45 cases against Shahabuddin, out of which nine are murder cases and 10 cases he had been convicted in. Bhushan told the division bench, headed by Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, that Shahbuddin is a serious threat to the society if his bail would not be cancelled. Shahabuddin’s lawyer asked for more time to respond in the matter.The top court was hearing the petitions challenging the Patna High Court’s order. The top court had on September 19 issued a notice to Shahabuddin while hearing pleas of the Bihar Government and Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to him. The Bihar Government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin.The petition has been filed by Bhushan on behalf of the victim’s family, which was upset to see Shahabuddin walk free. Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan. Shahabuddin’s release from jail evoked widespread criticism of the grand alliance in the state with the opposition accusing the government of paving way for his release by not opposing the bail strongly in the court.

Ram Jethmalani to represent RJD MLA Mohammad Shahabuddin in Supreme Court

Patna: Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani is set to represent criminal-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin in the Supreme Court on 26 September after the apex court on Monday issued notice to former RJD MP on a plea challenging grant of bail to him in a murder case.

File image of Mohammad Shahabuddin. CNN-News18

File image of Mohammad Shahabuddin. CNN-News18

“Jethmalani has accepted Shahabuddin’s request to appear in the Supreme Court on his behalf. Jethmalani is likely to file ‘wakalatnama’ on Saturday to argue in the apex court for Shahabuddin,” a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader close to Shahabuddin said on Thursday.

Jethmalani is a Rajya Sabha member of the RJD from Bihar and is considered close to RJD chief Lalu Prasad. The RJD is a partner in the ruling coalition in the state.

Lalu’s younger son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav told media that he was not aware that party MP Jethmalani is to argue for Shahabuddin in the apex court.

According to party leaders, Shahabuddin received the Supreme Court notice on Tuesday at his native village Pratappur in Siwan district, where he has been staying since September 10 when he was released from the Bhagalpur Central Jail after 11 years.

The bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy on Monday also issued notice on a plea that sought to put on hold the execution of the Patna High Court order granting bail to Shahabuddin.

The court order came on a plea of Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were allegedly killed by a henchman of Shahabuddin, and that of the Bihar government challenging the high court order granting bail.

The Bihar government had also sought issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant against Shahabuddin.

Earlier, Shahabuddin said he is ready to go back to jail if the apex court ordered it. He refused to comment on the apex court order which did not grant an interim stay on his bail.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and respect the court order. Earlier, I was sent to jail by the court and ten days ago I was released from jail after the court granted me bail. It is all for the court to decide,” Shahabuddin told the media in Siwan.

Opposition BJP has appealed to Jethmalani, who was earlier parliament member of that party, not to defend Shahabuddin in the apex court.

Relations will Pakistan will never be same: Ravi Shankar Prasad post Uri attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that no compromise will be made with regard to national security, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that relations with Pakistan will never be the same. Prasad told ANI, “After such a brutal attack, relations with Pakistan will never be same. The way our innocent jawans were cruelly killed, things will never be same. Pakistan’s involvement is evident, we have seized arms, and then, we have mobile phones with Pakistan signs on them. The DGMO has also said that the Jaish-e-Mohammad was behind this attack and this terrorist group is again backed by Pakistan. So for India’s security, the government will take the needed steps. A mature decision will be taken in this regard. No compromise will be made in regard to India’s security,” he added.After giving an assurance of going after the perpetrators of the deadly Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday gave the green signal to diplomatically isolate Pakistan at every international grouping. India is to present all actionable evidence against Pakistan to international bodies if required.Evidence of Pakistan’s hand in Uri attack, including GPS tracker movements that go back to starting point in Pakistan, Pashto literature and Pakistan Army marked arms will be given to Islamabad at the DGMO level, sources add. Sources said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will strongly emphasize on Pakistan’s involvement in the attack in her UNGA speech on September 26.This development comes after the Prime Minister yesterday chaired a high-level meeting at his official residence at 7 Race Course Road here.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Army Chief Dalbir Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other officials were present in the meeting. Pakistan has rejected New Delhi’s claims of Islamabad’s involvement in the Uri terror attack, saying the latter has a traditional tendency to point fingers at the former after each terror attack on Indian soil. “Pointing fingers at Pakistan has become a traditional tendency of India after each terrorist attack,” the Dawn quoted Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, as saying. “In the past many Indians were involved in the terrorist acts for which India had blamed Pakistan,” he asserted.Director General of Military operation Lt Ranbir Singh earlier this week said that the four terrorists, who attacked the military base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri, belonged to Pakistan’s banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Shahabuddin case: High alert sounded in Siwan ahead of Supreme Court’s hearing

Patna: A high alert was sounded in Bihar’s Siwan district, hours ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on Monday, on a plea by the state government seeking cancellation of RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin’s bail, officials said.

File photo of Mohammad Shahabuddin. PTIFile photo of Mohammad Shahabuddin. PTI

File photo of Mohammad Shahabuddin. PTI

The plea was filed by a resident of Siwan, along with the state, against the bail granted on 10 September to Shahabuddin as he might misuse his liberty to derail the trial in a case.

A district administration official said the high alert was declared and heavy deployment of security forces was made following an intelligence report that warned of possible law and order situation if Shahabuddin’s bail was cancelled.

“All eyes are on the apex court,” the official said.

The petitioner, Chandrakeshwar Prasad, alias Chanda Babu in his petition had alleged that his life was in danger following the release of Shahabuddin, who was earlier convicted for the murder of his two sons.

The Patna High Court had released Shahabuddin as the trial for the murder of Prasad’s third son had not yet started.

Prasad had alleged that all his three sons were murdered at the behest of the strongman-turned politician, who is also the main accused in the murder of the third son.

The Bihar government had also moved the apex court against the Patna High Court’s order granting bail to Shahabuddin, shortly after the apex court agreed to hear a plea by Prasad.

Justice Jitendra Mohan Sharma of the Patna High Court had on 7 September granted bail to Shahabuddin, who was released from Bhagalpur jail on 10 September after spending 11 years in prison.

Bihar floods: Victims hold protests demanding adequate relief, compensation

Patna: Flood victims on Monday held demonstrations across Bihar, expressing anger and impatience over the quality and quantity of government aid that has so far been provided to them.

Houses submerge in floodwater in Bihar. PTI

Houses submerge in floodwater in Bihar. PTI

With over one million people affected by floods and the situation remaining grim, district officials, particularly block development officers and circle officers, are facing the fury of victims complaining about inadequate relief supplies.

Hundreds of flood victims protested against the circle officer of Raghopur in Vaishali district, demanding adequate relief and compensation. Raghopur is not far from Patna and is represented by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav in the state assembly.

Raghopur is considered stronghold of Tejaswi’s father and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad. Earlier, former chief minister and wife of Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, also represented Raghopur in the state assembly.

Angry over lack of relief, the flood-hit people in Nathnagar in Bhagalpur district staged a protest demanding adequate relief and compensation. In Begusarai district, flood victims blocked roads for hours demanding adequate relief.

Similar reports are coming from other flood-affected districts like Patna, Samastipur, Bhojpur, Khagaria and Aurangabad.

“At some places, flood victims blocked roads to protest against inadequate relief,” an official of disaster management department said.

Hungry and homeless, the people also expressed anger over not being provided fodder for their cattle.

Ganga and other major rivers have submerged vast swathes of the state, forcing thousands from their homes.

The disaster has so far claimed 14 lives, including nine in Bhojpur district alone.

An official of the disaster management department said: “Rivers flowing above the danger mark are posing threat to the low-lying areas.”

Over a dozen teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the flood-hit districts.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered cancellation of leave of police, administrative officials and engineers.

Nitish Kumar also directed officials to speed up rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas. He asked the health department to arrange for medicines and DDT sprays to check outbreak of diseases once the floodwaters receded.

Officials said standing crops worth crore of rupees have been damaged and road communications at several places have been flooded.

2008 Malegaon blast: Congress demands immediate removal of NIA chief

Congress on Wednesday demanded immediate removal of NIA chief in the wake of an order of a special court in the Malegaon Blast case, alleging that it showed how the probe agency is being used to exonerate BJP and RSS sympathisers.”The latest pronouncement by the Court on the Malegaon blast case has again highlighted how NIA is being used to exonerate BJP/RSS sympathisers”, party spokesperson Shobha Oza told reporters underlining that the Court has observed that prima facie, Sadhvi Pragya remains an accused in the case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Insisting that doubts are being raised on the functioning of the NIA, she said that it is a cause for concern for the country.Demanding reinstatement of special prosecutor Rohini Salian who had accused the NIA of telling her to go soft on the BJP/RSS sympathisers, she claimed that the way the NIA is working to “weaken the case is worrisome”. She also accused the government of “tampering” with the chargesheet framed by the ATS in the Malegaon case.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh should explain to the country who in their Government is the ‘manipulative hand’ in this case and carrying out the miscarriage of justice, she said.On the Ishrat Jahan case, she wanted the government to release the B K Prasad committee report and refrain from resorting allegations against the opposition. On BJP Chief Amit Shah’s statement that a “large section” believes that Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s death was in fact “murder” , Oza asked whether any of their organization members had raised the question then.”Now the year 2016 is going on. Where was Atal Ji’s Government? Why did they not raise this question then and get the investigation done. It is their Government in both Centre and J&K now. They should answer rather than raising questions, even on Deen Dayal Upadhyay”.Party General Secretary C P Joshi attacked the government for providing a “meagre” outlay of Rs 94 crore for the Panchayat Raj Ministry despite the fact that it looked after the third tier of government.

BJP chief Amit Shah accuses Nehru of ‘historic blunder’ on Kashmir issue

BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday blamed late Jawaharlal Nehru accusing him of having committed a “historic blunder” on Kashmir and the criticised the then Congress leadership for the partition.Referring to the declaration of truce when Pakistan- backed tribal raiders in 1948 were being repulsed in Kashmir, he said if such a decision was not made, the Jammu and Kashmir problem would not have existed today.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Suddenly, without any reason….the reason is not known even today, truce was declared. Never has any leader of the country made such a historic blunder. If Jawaharlalji had not declared a ceasefire at that time, the Kashmir issue would not have existed,” Shah said speaking at an event in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) here.He claimed that this decision was taken to improve “one’s (Nehru’s) personal image,” and lamented that because of this a part of Kashmir is now with Pakistan.The event was to commemorate Bhartiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, where Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy gave a lecture.In his lecture, Roy also raised questions over the circumstances leading to Mookerjee’s death in Kashmir in 1953 where he had gone to participate in a protest and raised questions about Nehru’s handling of the events and the decision not to conduct an inquiry into it.Shah said that a “large section” believes that Mookerjee’s death was in fact “murder” and if a probe had been conducted, truth could have come out.Lauding the Jan Sangh founder’s role, Shah said that he had played a key role in raising the concerns of Hindus in Bengal and “If Kolkata is a part of India, and one person has to be given credit for it, it is Syama Prasad Mookerji.” Shah claimed that if the Congress leadership at the time of independence had not got into a hurry, the division of India could have been prevented.”When at the time of independence, the entire Congress leadership was anxious to become independent…. all of them were ageing, if it gets delayed was also worrying them. But at that time a young leader thought that a mistake should not happen and Bengal was saved,” Shah said.

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