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Demonetisation: Govt mulling ordinance to penalise those holding junked notes beyond 30 December

New Delh: The government is understood to be mulling an ordinance to impose penalties on anyone possessing the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes beyond 30 December when the deadline to deposit them in banks expires.

There was no official word on the move which is likely to come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday but sources said penalties may be imposed on anyone holding more than 10 notes each of the old currency after 30 December.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The ordinance may also extinguish the liability of the government and RBI towards the promise to pay the bearer of these notes their value because of a statutory requirement.

In 1978 a similar ordinance was issued to end the government’s liability after Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were demonetised by the Janata Party government under Morarji Desai.

The government had while announcing the demonetisation of the old currency allowed holders to either exchange them or deposit in bank and post office accounts. While the facility to exchange the old notes has since been withdrawn, depositors have time till Friday to deposit the holding in their accounts.

For those depositing any accounted funds, or black money, it has offered them an amnesty provided they paid 50 per cent of it as tax and penalties and parked a quarter of it in a zero-interest bearing deposit for four years. Reports said that there could be a cap of holding no more than 10 notes of each after December 30 and violation of the rule could draw a fine of a minimum of Rs 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher, but there was no confirmation.

Holders of such currency have an option to deposit them in RBI by March 31 but even that period may be curtailed, they said.

Out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation on November 8, close to Rs 13 lakh crore have been deposited in accounts or exchanged for valid currency.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:50 IST

Odisha: One student killed, 10 injured in bus accident

Mon, 26 Dec 2016-01:40pm , Nayagarh , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least one person was killed and 10 others injured on Monday after a picnic bus carrying students met with an accident near Maichheli village of Odisha’s Nayagarh district.The untoward incident took place in the wee hours on Monday when the students of Binapani coaching centre were going for a picnic.The injured students have been rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. As per the reports, three students, who were seriously injured were referred to Bhubaneswar.The deceased student has not been identified as yet.

Return of Islamic State-trained terrorists worrying: MEA official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Battle-hardened youths returning to their home countries to launch terror attacks after being trained and indoctrinated by IS was a major security concern and central Asian countries must act unitedly to combat the menace, a top External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.Secretary (West) of Ministry of External Affairs Sujata Mehta said the challenge for Central Asian countries was act to ensure that moderate views of assimilation and accommodation prevail amid an “onslaught of extremism”.”Reports suggest that those from Central Asia who have gone to fight for Da’esh (IS) are likely to return to their roots to pursue their sinister agenda back home; there are already signs of Da’esh fighters joining, coordinating and launching terrorist attacks having returned battle-hardened and indoctrinated.”The challenge for our Central Asian partners is to act to ensure that moderate views of assimilation and accommodation prevail amidst an onslaught of extremism,” she said.She was speaking at the Fourth India-Central Asia Dialogue organised by the Ministry of External Affairs.Mehta also said the rise of terror outfit IS has added another dimension to militancy in Central Asia, adding India’s vision for the future cooperation with the countries of the region is “ambitious and at the same time realistic”.”Today, Central Asia faces some persisting, and some new challenges. Regional security is a continuing concern. The situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, which shares a border with three Central Asian countries, is yet to stabilise.”Drug trafficking and associated criminal activities have been a bane for the people of this region. The rise of Da’esh (IS) has added another dimension to extremism and militancy in the region,” she said.The senior MEA official said the current scenario, regionally and internationally, presents immense challenges but also offers potential for India and Central Asia to qualitatively enhance their engagement.”Both India and Central Asia are factors of peace, stability, growth and development in the region and the world.Stronger relations between us will contribute to increased security and prosperity of these countries and the world.”The significance of this region in the foreign policy matrix of India cannot be overemphasised and we believe that the security, stability and prosperity of Central Asia is imperative for peace and economic development in India.”We are each other’s extended neighbourhood and the region has been a priority area of interest for Indian policymakers, practitioners and thinkers,” Mehta added.She said there was much that both sides can achieve in partnership and that this was a good moment to reflect on the major issues as Central Asian countries mark 25 years of their independence.”12 experts from Central Asian countries are participating in the dialogue. Overall, over 20 speakers, including those from India, will address different sessions over the two days,” a senior official said.

Chinese government reacts to WION expose

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China’s Defence Ministry has rejected accusations of military activity deep inside eastern Afghanistan, after a report by WION last month about regular patrols by Chinese security forces there.”Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts,” Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told the Reuters news agency.”In recent years, law enforcement bodies from China and Afghanistan, in accordance with a bilateral cooperation decision on strengthening border law enforcement, arranged to have joint law enforcement operations in border regions,” Yang added.Speaking to Reuters, an unidentified Afghan official in Kabul also denied the reports.Last month, WION obtained exclusive pictures showing Chinese-manufactured military vehicles in Little Pamir. The slim finger of Afghan territory borders China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and India’s Jammu and Kashmir state.International military analysts backed up the claims.”The pictures show Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Humvee-type vehicles. Both appear to be Chinese versions of common Western armoured vehicles,” Justin Bronk, a Senior Analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, told WION.From the photographs alone, analysts could not confirm whether the Chinese-manufactured vehicles belong to the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) itself.But sources in the area say the PLA enter Little Pamir twice a month through Tajikistan. The troops reportedly stay in a local school in Bozai Gumbaz and are barred from speaking to local Afghan citizens.The exact motivations behind the patrols are not known but Chinese firms hold key mining concessions across Afghanistan. Control over its western frontier is also a key security concern for the land-focused Chinese military.

Demonetisation: IT sleuths begin crackdown on ‘Pakistan money laundering model’

New Delhi: For the next one month, Income Tax and economic intelligence sleuths will be out in force across the country looking for real beneficiaries of around 771 accounts that they fear was hired from small depositors on monthly rent to wire unusually large sums following the government decision on 8 November, to withdraw high value currency notes to tackle black money.

Top sources said the inputs on Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs) and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) have detected sudden activities in 298 bank accounts from Uttar Pradesh, 137 from West Bengal and 121 from Bihar, besides some alleged ‘rented accounts’ in at least 11 more states. And, this brewing scandal to dodge demonetisation policy is just the tip of ‘rent an account’ iceberg.

It is a far reaching, organised scam, observed senior officials privy to the ongoing investigation. They suspect a deep rooted conspiracy is being hatched by a well-oiled network to pile huge unaccounted wealth in zero balance account to turn the illicit stash into legit. The transactions, officials said, are in fact shocking and as per the details provided by the reporting entities-banks- it definitely warrants additional scrutiny.

Since the announcement of demonetisation policy on 8 November, the government has directed all the public and private banks to detect and report all potentially illegal and suspicious transactions that may flow through zero balance and Jan-Dhan accounts, which officials believe is the most favoured tool for black money hoarders to deposit large amounts of cash.

A government source confirmed to Firstpost that the government recently launched manual transaction monitoring system, targeting specific types of transactions, conducted across the 371 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) and a letter was shot off on 15 November after reports that some cooperative banks accepted large amounts of cash, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the game-changer move at 8 pm.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We have asked for the two reports. One is specifically about deposits on 8 November till midnight and second report is on cash deposited during 10-14 November. All the cooperative banks have been told to file a daily report on cash deposits from 15 November. The direction is very clear not to harass farmers and genuine customers in the rural areas. The investigation will take up the cases only linked to hiring and misuse of someone’s account by black money hoarders,” he said further adding that similar instructions have been issued to regional rural banks and state-cooperative banks. However, the government direction is very clear. The whole exercise should not bring discomfiture to the farmers preparing for Rabi crop season.

Rent an account — Pakistan model of money laundering

For seasoned spies in external spy agency — Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) — and the domestic spy agency — Intelligence Bureau (IB), the hiring a bank account post Modi’s demonetisation, is a grim reminder of ‘Pakistan model of money laundering’ they had recently unearthed and had dismantled with the arrest of several key players.

A secret communication reviewed by Firstpost shows that a Pakistani named Akram was involved in creating and running an India based elaborate network that was involved in hiring bank accounts from poor account holders to carry out money laundering activities. Sources said the black money hoarders are perhaps using the similar pattern to dodge tax sleuths and now layering the money through bank accounts that hardly witness major financial transactions and thus not yet on the radar of central agencies.

The secret intelligence note gives out details of at least 3 cases that were unearthed by the agencies including one in July 2014 when Ranjit Kumar, a native of Rikhiya Village in Deoghar, Jharkhand was arrested for renting bank accounts from poor families in lieu of attractive returns. Similarly, in June 2014, three persons-Brajesh, Dharmedra Kumar Prajapati and Rajiv Patel were picked up from Bhopal and at least 37 bank account details with ATM cards were seized from them.

The biggest breakthrough to decode the Pakistan Model of hiring bank account was busted in Roorkee in February 2013, when Jai Prakash, a native of Shamli in Muzaffarnagar was caught with 132 bank account passbooks and debit cards of various banks. Maximum state owned banks were targeted by the network which used to hire bank accounts and their debit cards on rent from different individuals and subsequently provided the details to their Pakistani associates for laundering.

But, since the high value currency has been turned into mere piece of papers by the government now, the money being deposited by the black money hoarders in rented account, cannot escape the close scrutiny of bank and tax officials.

“We have already interrogated certain individuals, who allegedly allowed the use of their bank accounts by suspected black money hoarders. The notices under relevant sections have been issued for further probe,” senior government officials said.

The Income Tax notification on ‘hiring bank account’ to convert black money into white makes it amply clear that both-the account holder and tenant – will be punished as per the new law introduced in the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988. “The Benamidar, beneficial owner and any other person who abets or induces the benami transactions shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 1 year to 7 years and shall be liable to fine.”

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 14:01 IST

Fact vs Fiction: Here’s a comprehensive debunking of panic-creating rumours on demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One mega announcement, 9 days, and thousands of hours spent waiting in a gigantic queue later, the demonetization dust seemed to have settled a bit. And just when the Indian population was slowly and gradually accepting the inconvenience for that amorphous idea of the ‘greater good’, social media happened.While the common man was struggling to keep up with his demonetized currency notes, trying to exchange/deposit/withdraw – whatever seemed possible at the time – some gossip mongers were going around painting the town red with baseless rumours. These rumours soon gained a life of their own, metastasizing through various messaging and social media platforms, creating unprecedented panic among citizens.Some were more sinister than others. For example, a memo from the All India Motor Transport Congress that warned of distress in the transport sector started being shared as a call for a national strike by transporters that would cripple all distribution networks, particularly vegetables, fruit, milk, and similar essential goods. Another set off panic buying – and opportunistic profiteering – when it claimed that salt and sugar prices had risen multiple times their regular price. This, of course, led to long lines at kirana stores, some of whom decided to make the most of the opportunity. But as with all things, it is critical to separate the fact from fiction. Because no, your new lilac coloured Rs 2,000 currency note is not going to bleed pink or purple, and neither does it have a nano GPS chip to track in which part of the world it’ll be spent. DNA busts some more rumours and myths about the demonetization as well as the new currency note. File photo of traders holding packets of edible salt (Right) and a screen grab showing a Rs 2,000 note bleeding colour (left)Rumour: The new Rs 2,000 note is equipped with a trackable nano chip.Truth: The Reserve Bank of India dismissed these rumours on November 16, 2016. Alpana Killawala, spokesperson for the central bank, said: “Such a technology does not exist at the moment in the world, then how can we introduce such a feature?”Rumour: Many netizens took to Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp forwarding messages and posts about a nation-wide strike by the transport industry because of demonetization.Truth: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways clarified in a tweet dated November 12, 2016, saying, “No call for strike by AIMTC. Please do not believe in rumours.”Rumour: Some decided to spread a rumour about how the salt prices have increased due to demonetization, again largely via digital platforms.Truth: Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry tweeted on November 11, 2016: “No shortage in the supply of edible salt. Baseless rumours being spread. Salt Commissioner & Jt. Secretary Shri Raghavendra monitoring the situation. Asst. Salt Commissioners reporting from the field. No shortage. Monitoring will be on-going. Feedback maybe given #mociseva”Another clarification was issued by Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary, on November 15, 2016. “Have enough stock of salts; no reason for temporary surge in price or shortage; supply of essential commodities being closely monitored,” he said.On November 11, 2016, Delhi Police also issued an advisory for the same, stating, “Reports have been received regarding spread of rumours about shortage of salt and other essential food items in Delhi and adjoining states. These rumours are false and baseless. Citizens are advised to not fall for such rumours and discourage their spread. Action as per law will be taken against rumour mongers found indulging in such mischievous acts.”Rumour: After the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Prime Minister will again address the nation and declare Rs 50 and Rs 100 currency notes as demonetized.Truth: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) tweeted on November 16, 2016, saying, “This is baseless and there is no intention of cancelling the legal tender status of any other denomination of notes.” Rumour: The colour is rubbing off the new Rs 2,000 note and it is of poor quality.Truth: MIB, in a series of myth busting posts on Twitter on November 16, 2016, tweeted: “Currency notes have a security feature called intaglio printing. The first test for a genuine currency note is to rub it with a cloth which creates a turbo-electric effect, transferring the ink colour onto the cloth.” Rumour: Reports of violence outside banks and ATMsTruth: Sanjay Beniwal, Special Commissioner of Police (Operations) said, “We received over 4,000 calls today (before 6pm on November 12, 2016). There were sporadic incidents of violence reported from the city but there were no reports of any grievous injury.”Simultaneously, was another clarification was issued by Delhi Police on the same issue. “Delhi Police received a large number of PCR calls mostly informing about long queues, long wait, crowding, etc. at banks/ATMs.Adequate police arrangements in this regard were already in place at banks/ATMs. All these PCR calls were attended to promptly. It is clarified that almost none of these calls were regarding violence. In fact, there was only one instance of minor scuffle at a bank branch in Sabzi Mandi area of North Delhi.”Rumour: Certain corporates and party members were in the know.Truth: Another MIB tweet clarified: “Complete secrecy was maintained and there was no leakage of the government’s intention in any section.”Rumour: Many Indians believe that the end does not justify the means, referring to the inconvenience caused because of a sudden decision to discontinue the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Since Monday (November 9, 2016) morning, 12 hours after the announcement was made by the Prime Minister, people have been queuing up in front of banks and the ATMs to withdraw cash and get as many currency notes of Rs 100 as possible. Truth: “The parallel economy corrodes and eats into the vitals of the currency’s economy adversely affecting the poor and middle classes more than others,” MIB said in a statement.Rumour: Those dealing in black money will find other ways of doing so, therefore the demonetization drive is ultimately futile.Truth: MIB’s tweet said, “Necessary watch is being maintained by enforcement apart from amendments in the Benami Transactions Act, 1988 and information sharing agreements done with the foreign governments. Rumour: The next step to curtail dealings in black money will involve sealing bank lockers and freezing jewellery. Truth: MIB categorically rubbished such rumours. “This is baseless. There is no such proposal for sealing bank lockers or freezing jewellery,” it tweeted. Rumour: In Delhi, another very interesting rumour had made the rounds on social media. Individuals claimed that money could be withdrawn from RBI after getting the official stamp from the area DCP.Truth: Delhi Police had to issue an advisory to rubbish such rumours, saying “These rumours are false and baseless. It is advised that citizens should disregard such rumours. They are being spread by mischievous elements.Action as per law is being taken against such rumour mongering. Citizens should only rely and act upon information provided by authentic and verified government websites and press releases.Most importantly, though, those spreading such rumours are also at risk of facing legal action. Delhi Police issued an advisory on November 11, 2016, for such mischievous elements. “Those mischievous elements spreading baseless rumours are warned that their actions may lead to prosecution under Section 153 & 505 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with relevant sections of Information Technology Act. All citizens are advised to disregard such rumours and false information being spread over social media. Citizens are also advised to report to the police about any individual engaged in spreading rumours and causing fear & alarm in the general public.

Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 note ban: Theatrical action can’t substitute meaningful steps against black money

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the entire nation by surprise with his announcement of announcement of phasing out of the existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. A stunned nation admired the initiative as a landmark step for effacing the scourge of black money. I too joined the ranks of those who marvelled at the sheer audacity of the measure. But now that the initial euphoria is behind us, the massive chaos the move has spawned more clearly perceptible and being wiser from a more nuanced analysis, I feel obligated to make amends for my initial cheerleading of the move.

So here are important problems with the move that should make us all reconsider our exuberant celebration of it:

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Poor bleeding

The abrupt phasing-out has led to widespread panic as people are running helter-skelter to get rid of their stock of such notes. The worst victims of such panic are the poor and the marginalised.

First, taking advantage of their panic and information asymmetry, many unscrupulous elements are shortchanging them. Reports are pouring in how people are being fooled into exchanging Rs 1,000 notes for Rs 100 notes worth a much lower value as the demand of Rs 100 notes outstrips supply. I myself came across many such poor vendors in the market who had agreed to bad deals due to the panic.

Second, there are long lines at the banks with workers and daily labourers — who are losing out on their day’s wage — just waiting in these long lines to have their turn. Such an inconvenience is being faced most by those who are poor and lack any connections to avoid the queue whereas the powerful just have to tap into their connections. Since my father is a civil servant, I can tell from personal knowledge that in this circle, getting the notes changed is just a phone call’s work.

Third, those who live in remote places with no access to banking facilities and no bank accounts, have been the worst hit. Many of these places are so remote and disconnected that their residents will have to spend days worrying about getting rid of these notes.

Fourth, many poor people who have saved large amounts in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for events such as marriages are feeling trapped. Since the government has imposed restriction on amounts that can be changed in a day, they will now be forced to make multiple trips or be burdened with producing proofs of income (most people in informal employment have no income documentation).

Finally, the poorest of the poor, the most marginalised, who have no ID proof, will pay the highest price as they can’t exchange their lifelong savings in these notes through banks and thus are left high and dry.

The fact that the move was painful was also foreseen by Modi when he implored the public to bear the pain for the greater good.

But even the prime minister could not have predicted it would be this painful and part of the blame lies with him as he could have made the system better equipped to deal with the load and taken steps to address impact on financially excluded sections on the margins of the society.

But a number of shopkeepers, vegetables vendors and traders with whom I interacted, even while making the above observations, were actually appreciative of the step as they hoped that the hardships that they faced were worth it as the move may benefit the nation.

But even if the selfless poor of our nation are ready to bleed in the cause of common good, it does disconcert me that it is always the poor who are asked to suffer for the greater good.

Besides, even the belief that it serves the common good merits greater scrutiny.

Economic activity disrupted

The sensational style — characteristic of Modi — in which the announcement was made and then legends spun around it has had the adverse effect of generating chaos that has disrupted economic activity. 

First, the workforce, that is frittering its time in long ques at the banks, is an economic loss, as so many productive hours are lost and production adversely affected.

Secondly, the withdrawal of the the larger denominations has made transactions in the markets more difficult and adversely affected economic activity there.

Finally, it is a chapter from Economics 101 that stability, continuity and predictability in public policy facilitate economic growth. But when there is already so much uncertainty due to a fragile global environment, the government has injected more uncertainty through its decision. The prices of gold, commodities and real estate are swinging like crazy. Such wild fluctuations are detrimental to investment and growth, and will depress investments when we need them most.

Black money will be unaffected, may even prosper

Despite the economic cost as well as the burden falling most on the poor, the policy will fall far short in its touted aim of handing a deadly blow to black money due to multiple reasons.

First, most of the black money is with the top quartile of the population. They keep it in non-cash assets such as property, stock markets and real estate. Also the big fish have a substantial portion of their black money in foreign accounts which again won’t be affected by this.

Second, the small portion of black money that is in cash in these denominations can easily be converted to smaller denominations. For example, under the conditions imposed say one person converts Rs 2 lakh with a simple ID proof, to convert Rs 2 crore of black money, only 100 employees are needed.

Thirdly, many bureaucrats in the railways, postal services and other government departments, where the denotified currencies are allowed in their public dealings, are getting their currency changed from these offices without even requiring IDs.

Fourth, the panic that has spread is, in fact, allowing many of the bank employees to earn black money. For instance, they can simply adjust who is exchanging above the specified limit against others who have exchanged below the limit specified and demand a cut for doing so, thereby increasing black money generation.

Finally, the claim of the move reducing black money in the political economy suffers from serious flaw. Political parties don’t declare donations below Rs 20,000. So all they have to do to convert their larger denominations to show them as donations from smaller anonymous donors and then they can convert as much as they like, as it will become their legal money.

Lessons from the past

As a sum of all that has been discussed above, India’s three experiments with demonetisation in the past were giant failures. They had no significant impact on black money which continued to thrive.

It’s said those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it and thus our amnesia is making us embrace the same measure that has failed in the past.

The wise are not so forgetful. This is why former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has not joined the chorus of celebration around the move.

It is human nature to believe that things are improving and so, we are hoping that this chaotic move — which gives the appearance that at least something is being done to curb black money — will prove to be the panacea. But make-believe theatrical actions cannot become a substitute for real meaningful steps that tackle the root problem of black money generation.

The sooner we realise it, the faster we will attain the aim, that we are falsely assuming to be achieved through this decision.

Terror suspects at Beur clash with cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Suspected terrorists lodged at Bihar’s Beur Central jail, on Thursday, clashed with two police personnel on duty. After this, the jail administration has lodged an FIR in Beur police station against them on Friday.Sources said the incident took place when about 10 prisoners, charged with sedition for their alleged role in the bomb blasts at Patna and Bodhgaya in 2013, clashed with two security personnel over checking of food served to them. Senior police officers rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.The terror suspects, supposedly belonging to Indian Mujahideen terror outfit, had been nabbed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and have been accused of misbehaving and preventing security personnel from doing their duty, as mentioned in the FIR.Rupak Kumar, Superintendent of the Beur Central Jail, told dna, “They are lodged in a special cell but their food is prepared in the same jail kitchen and it’s a daily routine to check the food served to them when it reaches their cell. On Thursday too, the cops on duty were doing their job when the terror suspects engaged in a verbal duel with them. We have informed the NIA court and senior authorities about this as well.”Reports pouring in from Beur Central Jail stated that the terror suspects also raised anti-national slogans during the fight, however, Kumar denied any such thing. “Post Thursday’s incident, we have restricted the movement of the 10 terror suspects involved in the fight within their cell. The security around their cell has also been tightened,” Kumar said.Officials said a probe has also been ordered into the incident and the report is to be submitted within three-days. Sources said that such fights happened often as the suspected terrorists protested checking of food by the guards and the jail administration was mulling stricter action against them if they didn’t change their ways.

Tamil Nadu: Who is running the show in CM Jayalalithaa’s absence?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With little clarity on the malaise afflicting its supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa or any specific progress reports of her recovery, the AIADMK, as a party, is finding itself on the edge.Even as the Centre, BJP and Congress are monitoring the situation closely, a visible sense of uneasiness is growing among the AIADMK rank and file in the state. Rigidly a personality-centric party, the AIADMK has no second-rung leadership which can hold the party together, be it in Parliament, the state assembly or at the organisational level.So with Jayalalithaa in the infirmary for almost two weeks, who exactly is running the show in Tamil Nadu and the party?”We don’t answer such questions,” said AIADMK spokesperson V Maitreyan. “She is better and will be discharged after a few more days,” added Maitreyan.People close to the CM say that the party in her absence is being run by her confidante Sasikala Natrajan. “The AIADMK has no formal hierarchy in organisational structure. In her absence the party is run de facto by Sasikala and her loyalists. The party was being run when she was in prison and so it will be managed the same way now,” says political observer Gnani Sankaran.But there is a stark difference between a Jayalalithaa in control of the party from jail and the Jayalalithaa behind a curtain of medical ambiguity incommunicado with her party brass. Reports suggest that even the acting TN governor Vidyasagar Rao wasn’t allowed to meet her in hospital and had to contend with meeting her doctors instead. Sources revealed that the chairman of Apollo Hospitals, Dr Prathap Reddy, was personally involved in the treatment of Jayalalithaa’s “infection”.Meanwhile, there is a growing distrust of Sasikala in the party, with even leaders of her own Thevar community bearing a dislike towards her. In Jayalalithaa’s absence and with the local body polls scheduled on October 17 and 19, the cadre has been left without the leader on whom the party’s existence rests.The AIADMK, like its rival the DMK, has an organisational structure. But unlike the DMK, the AIADMK leaders do not harbor an opinion different from their leader. The other prominent faces of the party are former CM Paneerselvam and the party’s leader in Lok Sabha and the lower house’s deputy speaker, N Thambidurai. Paneerselvam has twice served as acting chief minister in Jayalalithaa’s absence – in 2001 and in 2014. In his second stint lasting over six months, Pannerselvam refused to shave or eat meat till Jayalalithaa was released from jail. Party observers revealed that both of them have little authority over Sasikala and her loyalists.This lack of clarity on where AIADMK stands minus Jayalalithaa is what has made the Centre anxious and the BJP and Congress curious. The Centre is worried about the impact on law and order in the absence of credible information on Jayalalithaa’s actual health parameters. Reports from across the state suggest that AIADMK cadre are running out of patience with the customary “responding well to treatment” bulletins being issued by the hospital. AIADMK cadre on the streets want to know just exactly what treatment is their leader responding to. The Centre fears that with little news on their leader’s health, AIADMK cadre may let their emotions get the better of them.The BJP is curious because apart from being PM Modi’s ‘friend’, the BJP’s top brass has earmarked TN among six other states (including the North-East), where the party wants to increase its vote share in the 2019 parliamentary elections. The Congress, the only non-Dravidian party to rule TN over four decades ago, is sensing an opportunity to revive its dormant fortunes in the state. With Sasikala now calling the shots in the AIADMK, the two national parties are playing a wait and watch game.BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, “There is no semblance of anyone capable of filling her shoes in the party. Her special friend Sasikala is not acceptable to other AIADMK leaders. In the absence of Jayalalithaa, I expect the AIADMK to break into pieces.”

Uttarakhand: No end to CM Harish Rawat’s woes as now his Cabinet colleague threatens to quit

The problems for Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, presently under the CBI scanner over the sting CD row, continues as his Cabinet colleague Yashpal Arya has threatened to quit the Congress if he is not nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Sources said Arya has threatened to leave the Congress and join BJP as he is annoyed for being ignored by the party over the Rajya Sabha berth. Several people from Haldwani have gone to meet Arya in past 24 hours, but he didn’t meet anyone. Sources further said Cabinet Minister Preetam Singh met a sulking Arya in Haldwani. The duo are presently en-route Dehradun. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress has given the Rajya Sabha ticket to Pradeep Tamta. Sources revealed that several Congress leaders are annoyed with the decision of giving the Rajya Sabha berth to Tamta as he is believed to be a close confidante of the Chief Minister. The people opposing Tamta’s nomination are of the view that he has been publicly critical of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Reports suggest that Uttarakhand’s Congress in-charge Ambika Soni had assured Arya of getting a nomination for the Rajya Sabha. Sources, however, said the decision was changed in the last moment and Tamta was nominated because of Rawat’s influence.

Megresults.nic.in & Mbose.in Class 10th SSLC Results 2016 Meghalaya Board MBOSE Tura announced

The students awaiting their Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination (SSCL) results can relax now SSLC Results 2016 are out.For the academic year 2014-2015, the Meghalaya SSLC result was declared on 25 May, 2015. Reports state that around 45,867 regular candidates appeared for the examination and 53.11% of these students passed the examination.Here are the steps to check MBOSE 10th Results 20161. Visit the websites: megresults.nic.in, mbose.in<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Click on ‘Class X 2016 Results’3. Enter your roll number, name and other credentials4. Click ‘Submit’5. Your result will be displayed on the screen6. Download your score and take a print out for future referenceStudents can also attain their results via SMS.All you have to do is follow the procedure mentioned below and send the SMS to 56263Example: MBOSE12A Roll Number to 56263

MPBSE.nic.in 12th HSSC Results 2016: MP Board Bhopal Class 12th (XII) HSSC exam results 2016 to be announced on May 12 on mpresults.nic.in

The Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education will announce the results for Class 12 exams tomorrow, ie, May 12, Thursday. Students will be able to check their results on the Board’s official website.The MPBSE held the exams for Class 12 from March 1-April 5, 2016. In 2015, the overall pass percentage for class 12 exams had been 63.98%. The pass percentage among girls was 69.42% while it was 63.3% among the boys.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reports suggest that the results for class 10 exam may also be announced this week.Students will be able to check their results using their roll on the official websites mpbse.nic.in and mpresults.nic.in.The Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education was formed in the year of 1965 and has several many private and government schools affiliated to it.

‘Declare drought as national emergency’: Kailash Satyarthi urges PM Modi

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately declare drought as a “national emergency”, saying it had badly hit children in rural areas.

Over 16.3 crore children were affected by the “severe drought situation”, Satyarthi said in a letter to Modi that was released to the media.

The child rights activist said the drought across 10 states had led to rampant child marriage, child labour and kidnapping of children.

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. ReutersChild rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Reuters

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Reuters

“Owning to this drought and the ongoing water crisis, children are becoming increasingly vulnerable,” Satyarthi said in the letter.

“Reports of children being forced into child labour, trafficking, child marriage and the Devadasi system are coming to light,” he added.

Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan put the figures of missing children in the country at 35,873, those abducted at 22,014 and those forced into child labour at 74,84,416.

“Hope the prime minister listens to the ‘Mann ki Baat’ of these 16.3 crore children,” Satyarthi said.

He said the figures he had produced were based on government records.

Jammu & Kashmir: One dead, three injured in firing by security forces in Kupwara

Four persons were injured, one of them critically, as security forces opened fire on Friday in Kupwara district of Kashmir to disperse protesters who were pelting stones on an army camp during a demonstration.Protests rocked many places in Kupwara and its adjoining areas to mark the fourth day of death of three persons who were killed in firing by security forces in Handwara town on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A police official said four persons were injured when security forces opened fire on a group of protestors who were pelting stones on an army camp at Kupwara’s Nathnusa area, about 100 kms from Srinagar. Among the injured, condition of one youth Arif Ahmad was stated to be critical, he said.The situation in the north Kashmir district has worsened following fresh casualties as more people are taking to streets against the killings. Reports of protests were also received from parts of south Kashmir and Srinagar city but there were no casualties in these incidents, the official said.So far four persons have been killed in Kashmir in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Cricketer Sreesanth says he’ll be aggressive in politics as well

Cricketer S Sreesanth who is the surprise BJP candidate in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday reportedly stated, “Aggression is one thing that I hope to bring to politics from the cricket pitch.”The cricketer also said he was not saying goodbye to cricket. As a candidate, he has said that he would woo youth to politics and focus on education. He reportedly said, “Many don’t even know who is ruling. I’m going to be aggressive in the elections.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When he returned from Delhi on Sunday he was greeted by BJP workers at the airport. Reports also state that he then spent 20 minutes offering prayers at the Pazhavangadi Bhagavathy Temple, and after that went to the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple. He also attended the launch of BJP’s campaign logo with the top state leaders of the party.There was talk that he would be fielded in either Ernakulam or Tripunithura but his sudden candidature in Thiruvananthapuram was a surprise. Reportedly, the state unit of the party had objected to this choice as well. The cricketer also said, ”It’s a great constituency. There’s nothing like contesting here.” He also added that he was learning about the problems related to the constituency.He also added that he had not given up cricket. ”Even today I’ll talk about getting back to cricket,” he was quoted as saying.

Kashmiri businessman hacked to death in Russia

Unidentified robbers hacked a young Kashmiri businessman to death and decamped with cash and his other belongings at Kazan province of Russia.Yasir Shirazi, 27, a businessman from Hassanabad in Srinagar, was returning to his hotel when some unidentified robbers hit him on his head with a rod causing serious wounds. He was rushed to the hospital where he slipped into coma. After battling for his life for few days, he was declared dead on Wednesday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, external affairs minister Shushma Swaraj took to Twitter to inform about the tragic death of Yasir. “I am pained to inform that Yasir – an Indian medical student from Srinagar has succumbed to injuries in Russia,” she Tweeted.Coming from a business family, Yasir was dealing in handicrafts particularly paper machie goods and was on a business trip when he was attacked.”He (Yasir) had gone to Russia for business purpose. Reports reaching here said the taxi had dropped him around 7pm and when he was walking on the road, somebody hit him on his head from behind. They took away his bag containing money, passport and other things,” said Tanvir Sadiq, neighbour of Yasir.Tanvir said Yasir was lying on the roadside for more than an hour before police arrived and took him to hospital. “He had talked to his father a day before the incident. On the fateful day he did not call and his father thought he might have been busy. But later they got perturbed and came to know about this incident, three days later,” he said.One of his relatives has reached Kazan and his body is yet to arrive in Srinagar. “Deeply saddened and shocked to hear that Yasir a Kashmiri student in Russia who was attacked by goons has succumbed to his injuries today, tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman.

Jat agitations: Reports emerge of massive gangrape on national highway, Haryana govt refutes claim

Commenting on the reports of rape during the Jat protests on the national highway, the Principal Secretary of Haryana, Devendra Singh said that their officials have talked to the locals and that no such incident has taken place.It was reported that women passengers were stopped on the national highway near Murthal on early Monday morning and were dragged to the surrounding fields and raped. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police, however, said that no such incident had occurred and called it a rumour but the eyewitnesses of the incident said that around 10 women were dragged out of the vehicles and then they were sexually assaulted, Tribune India reported. Reports also state that district officials told the victims and their families to not report the incident as it will affect their “honour”. It was said that around 30 goons attacked the commuters who were heading towards the National Capital Region (NCR). The commuters were made to get out of their vehicles as goons set the cars on fire, while some managed to run for shelter, some women could not escape. The women were then pulled out, stripped and raped, according to reports. After witnessing the incident, the nearby residents of Hassanpur and Kurad brought blankets and clothes for the victims who had not moved from the fields in shock. An eyewitness said, “Three women were taken to Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba and united with their families in the presence of senior police officers. They appeared lifeless. District officials who arrived there, instead of investigating the matter, persuaded the families to take the women home. Many were provided transport,” Tribune India reported.According to witnesses, “senior officers” persuaded the victims to not press charges as it would bring the rape victims a bad name. The officials also said that there was no point in talking about the incident because “what had happened could not be undone”, witnesses said.

India hockey captain Sardar Singh accused of ‘attempt to rape’, sexual harassment: Reports

An British hockey player of Indian origin has filed a police complaint against national team captain Sardar Singh alleging sexual harassment. The 21-year-old player has filed a written complaint with Ludhiana police.The woman filed a complaint at the Koom Kalan police station at Sri Bhaini Shaib in Ludhiana on Tuesday, reports The Hindustan Times.

The newspaper reports that, in the complaint, the woman has alleged that Sardar got her pregnant.

The Indian Express quotes Ludhiana police commissioner saying that the complaint is being verified and no FIR has yet been registered.

CNN IBN reports that ‘attempt to rape’ is another detail in the woman’s complaint against Sardar Singh.

“I and Sardar have been together for four years and I am his fiancee…now he is betraying me. He used to love me a lot earlier, but now I am heartbroken. We should have been married by now but he is now not even answering my messages or phone calls for three months,” the woman told ETV, says CNN IBN.

Indian-origin Fijian Islamic State recruiter killed in Syria: Reports

Melbourne: An Indian-origin Fijian who is Australia’s most wanted Islamic State terror recruiter has reportedly been killed in Syria, according to media reports today.

The report of Neil Prakash’s death, a Melbourne-born radical, was posted on secure communications app Telegram, quoting an IS member.

The IS claim Prakash, also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, has been “shahada” – the terror group’s description when a fighter is killed. No details have yet emerged of how or where he reportedly died, Herald Sun reported.

Islamic State. ReutersIslamic State. Reuters

Islamic State. Reuters

The terrorist, who allegedly had contact with some of those accused of plotting an Anzac Day terror attack in Victoria, flew to Syria in 2013, the report said. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

Until recently Prakash had used social media to groom potential terror recruits, but was forced to change his communication methods because of concerns he would be tracked by countries fighting IS. Federal Government and police sources were last night unable to confirm Prakash’s death, which would hurt the terror group’s international ­recruitment efforts, the report said.

However, one Government source has admitted that ­Prakash had “gone quiet” ­recently on his usual communication platforms. Reports of Prakash’s death have been communicated within IS groups. If Prakash’s death is eventually confirmed by anti-terror agencies, it would be likely to lead to an increase in security measures, with the Australian believed to have local supporters and sympathisers, the report said. Australian police last year issued a warrant for his arrest.

PTI

J&K CM Mohammed Mufti’s demise: Sonia Gandhi likely to visit Mehbooba in Kashmir tomorrow

Mir said the Congress president would visit the Gupkar residence of the Muftis in the afternoon and meet Mehbooba. However, she will not go to Bijbehara, Sayeed’s ancestral town where he was buried on Thursday, he said.

PTI
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Odd-even scheme will not be extended beyond January 15, says Gopal Rai

A total of 13,528 calls, including 395 complaints regarding buses, autos or traffic, have been received on two helpline numbers, he added.

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944 digital FIRs filed on first day of service launch

The newly launched initiative of the Maharashtra police – of recording First Information Reports (FIRs ) online – is getting a positive response.January 1, 2016, the day the service was launched, saw a total of 944 FIRs being registered online.The online registration is a part of the Crime and Criminal Networking and Systems (CCTNS) launched by the Maharashtra police in September last year.A complainant can now directly approach the CCTNS desk set-up at police stations to register an FIR. An officer will take down the FIR on the computer that would be connected with the CCTNS. After all details are filed, the FIR will be registered.The complainant will receive an SMS, confirming the registration of the FIR and later a copy of the FIR would be sent to him through WhatsApp. “The digital FIR service is implemented throughout the state and whenever complainants approach police stations, the FIRs will be recorded digitally and not on paper,” Director-General of Police (DGP) Pravin Dixit said.On the second day, 694 digital FIR were registered across Maharashtra . Satara police topped the second day with 61 digital FIRs. Solpaur (Rural) saw 60 digital FIRs till 12 pm on Saturday.Interestingly Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Nandurbar and Gadchiroli didn’t see a single digital FIRs being registered.”It’s a positive step forward towards enhancing policing in the state and it will help senior officers to monitor the case closely”,said a senior IPS officer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>