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Mulayam reinstates Akhilesh Yadav: Amar Singh hails decision, says conspiracy to break party ‘failed’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh hailed SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s decision to revoke expulsion of his son Akhilesh Yadav and brother Ramgopal as the right thing and said the conspiracy to break the party and the family has “failed”.”Mulayam Singhji has done the right thing. He has given a message through his decision that he will not let either the Samajwadi Party or his family break till he is alive. The conspiracy of the people who wanted the party and the family to break has failed,” he said.Singh also clarified that he does not want to break the party.Congratulating Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav, he said, “Those who had this misconception that I will try to break the party, I would like to tell them that I am not here to break the party. instead I want to keep it united.””If somebody is still hurt due to me, I want to tell that I am ready to sacrifice myself to ensure unity in SP pariwar and the workers,” he said.”We have to fight the communal forces and ensure that secular front is victorious in the upcoming elections,” Singh added.Earlier in the day, when Amar Singh was asked about the crisis in the party after supremo Mulayam Singh expelled Akhilesh and Ramgopal for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday.Amar had said, “The foundation of this party was laid by Mulayam Singh with much dedication and hard work. I have said this earlier and will say it now, that Mulayam Singh is the chief of SP and the father of Akhilesh Yadav as well,” he said.Mulayam had yesterday said he had taken the action against Akhilesh and Ramgopal to save the party which he had built through hard efforts.”We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” he had said.He explained that the decision was taken after Ramgopal, in his capacity as general secretary, called an emergency meeting of the party on January 1 and Akhilesh “supported” it.Ramgopal called the meeting after a showcause notice was issued to him and Akhilesh by Mulayam for releasing a list of candidates, parallel to the one issued officially by Mulayam.

Mamata Banerjee extends support to Akhilesh Yadav, asks him to stay strong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Extending her support to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee has wished him well and asked him to stay strong. Sources said, Mamata spoke to Akhilesh last evening for about three minutes.The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo’s support comes in the wake of Akhilesh’s suspension from the Samajwadi Party for six years. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav yesterday expelled Akhilesh and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years over indiscipline.This move comes after Akhilesh had released a list of 235 candidates out of the total 403 seats for upcoming state assembly elections on Thursday, rejecting the list announced by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday. Akhilesh’s name did not figure in the first list. Mulayam said his son being the Chief Minister, can contest from any assembly seat he wishes to.

Scandal stirrers of 2016_Tabloid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twas a year for scandal, with fatal acts of passion, messy divorces, public spats and corporate soap-operas. All of India’s well-known faces decided to rumble with each other. And we had front row seats to the biggest shows of the year…Twist of the yearDecember 2016 threw in a twist in the Sheena Bora case: that her step-father, media baron Peter Mukerjea was allegedly a co-conspirator in her abduction and subsequent murder.The Sheena Bora murder case broke in August 2015, when her mother Indrani Mukerjea, stepfather Sanjeev Khanna and Mukerjea’s driver Shyamvar Pinturam Rai were arrested by the Mumbai Police for allegedly abducting and killing her and subsequently burning and dumping her corpse; and the case got murkier over the course of 2016.Mukerjea, whose son Rahul’s engagement to Sheena was supposed to have enraged Indrani, was assumed to be an innocent bystander. But public prosecutor Bharat Badami said Mukerjea played a “very crucial role” in the murder. He presented the long list of emails and messages exchanged within the family, especially between Peter and his son Rahul, and his calls to Indrani. Badami pointed out a pattern in the calls and messages between Indrani and Peter. “After a call to Sheena, Indrani immediately called Peter and they spoke. They spoke even when she reached and found a spot to dispose of the body. Similarly, she had exchanged messages at every step with Peter,” Badami told the court.A few months in prison seems to have served as a spiritual and personality cleanse. While Peter has already started penning his memoir, Indrani has been transformed by the suffering of her fellow inmates, and has plans to donate her organs and 75 per cent of her property. She has also said to have translated 700 shlokas from the Gita, while we hope for a good kiss-and-tell bestseller.Creative divorcesAshima and LeenaIn February, designer duo Ashima (above left) and Leena (above right), who wove magic for over 20 years for their eponymous label ‘Ashima Leena’, decided to part ways. While Ashima Singh was the creative force, Leena Singh handled the brand’s business and management of production cycle. However, the ladies managed the creative divorce with the elegance one associates with their clothes. Leena Singh retains and continues to work under the brand name ‘Ashima Leena’, while Ashima launched her own label, Ashima Singh. She chose a different retail route, to make sure her new label did not clash with her old one, launching her store at Visaya Hotel in Panchsheel Park in Delhi.Armaan-AimanIn March, another designer duo’s creative partnership hit the rocks. Fresh flavour of the indie-crowd, designers Armaan Randhawa (below left) and Aiman Agha (below right), who designed under Armaan Aiman, went kaput. The duo had only been together for barely three years, showing first at GenNext at Lakmé Fashion Week (Winter/Festive) in 2013. They soon gained entry into the cool and quirky crowd, and announced their split the millennial way—through social media.On March 1, their Facebook page announced that the label was now simply called ‘Aiman.’ Agha refused to comment on her departure, while Randhawa said the reasons were personal and they remain good friends. When Lakme Fashion Week came around in August, Randhawa was back with his solo collection, EKAM.Art arrestIn 2015, artist Chintan Upadhyay was arrested for murdering his estranged wife and her lawyer Haresh Bhambhani. He allegedly even dumped their bodies in a Kandivli drain. Understandably, the art world dropped a few fine brushes over the news.The arrest only enhanced the price of Chintan’s work outside prison. In May, one of Hema’s friends, Sanchu Menon, wrote to prison authorities questioning why Chintan was getting unwarranted privileges in jail. Apparently, not only was the artist getting home-cooked khana, he was also allowed to paint in his cell and then sell those paintings for a handsome sum outside. Menon alleged that not only was this illegal, but Chintan was using this money to help the main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar to stay in hiding.It was in Rajbhar’s art workshop that Hema and Bhambhani were allgedly murdered on December 11, 2015, and Vidyadhar, aka Gotu, remains an essential link in the case. It was reported in June 2016 that Rajbhar was working in a Chennai suburb.In August 2016, a 13-page confession was made before a magistrate by Pradeep Rajbhar, who used to work and live at the art workshop, Bansraj Art Company, where Hema and Harish were allegedly murdered. In his confession, Pradeep said he lured Hema at Chintan’s behest to the workshop with the promise of giving her a sex tape of Chintan with another woman. It was all allegedly part of a ruse to finish her off for filing a false complaint against him in court. In November, a sessions court in Dindoshi rejected Chintan’s second bail application.End of an affairFarhan Akhtar and Adhuna BhabaniMore than a little faith was shaken when Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna Bhabani parted ways after 16 years together. There were whispers that his co-star Aditi Rao Hydari’s presence could have caused a crack in the marriage as they grew close on the sets of Wazir.Their cool and unconventional marriage (Adhuna was older and more successful of the duo, and always maintained a non-star-wife identity) was surpassed only by the camaraderie with which they conducted their divorce.They filed for divorce on October 19, and both are attending the mandatory counselling sessions before it is finalised. There has been no mudslinging, allegation of affairs or fighting over their children (they have two girls together).They’ve concentrated on their careers. Adhuna’s B:Blunt launched a line of hair products and a funky ad promoting them using only bloggers; while Farhan starred in Wazir, Dil Dhadakne Do and Rock On 2.Farhan is also said to have moved on with Rock On co-actor (co-stars seems to be his dating pool. How’s that for minimal effort?) Shraddha Kapoor, with her allegedly moving into his bachelor pad in Bandra (until papa Shakti Kapoor apparently pulled her out and told her to take it slow).Though Adhuna still works on movie assignments, there seems to be an unwritten agreement that neither she nor anyone from her team will style Farhan for a while. In October, she apparently refused to style Farhan for a chat show after spotting his name on the guest list and requested that none from her team be asked to do so either.Jaidev Shroff and Poonam BhagatA couple that is not being elegant over the end of their association is art patron Poonam Bhagat (left) and industrialist husband Jaidev Shroff (inset). The two have hurled serious, criminal and even fantastical allegations at each other each other as they speed towards divorce.Shroff met Bhagat in 2000, when he was in the midst of divorce proceedings with first wife Romila, because of her alleged involvement with a Dubai-based businessman.The Shroff-Bhagat union was solemnised in 2005 and in October 2015, Shroff filed for divorce on grounds of “cruelty” towards him and his two daughters with Romila.In April, 2016, Shroff filed an FIR at Khar police station alleging that Bhagat performed black magic on him by administering a ‘magic potion’ in a glass of orange juice, allegedly obtained from a Bengali baba.In her application, Bhagat accused Shroff of domestic abuse for eleven years. She said he started hitting her within six months of their marriage and “giving her a black eye, and (breaking) her tooth by stuffing a mobile phone down her throat.” In 2008, Bhagat — then, pregnant — said she confronted Shroff about taking a former girlfriend to a family event.Bhagat says Shroff then slapped, pushed her to the ground and kicked her, which resulted in a miscarriage.If we were handing out an award for the messiest divorce of 2016, the Bhagat-Shroff saga would win hands down.Arbaaz-Malaika AroraThe Malaika Arora-Arbaaz Khan (impending) divorce has gained traction as the year ends. It served as a classic case of ‘are they-aren’t they’? Hints of the divorce started doing the rounds after Malaika dropped ‘Khan’ from her name at a dance reality show. Then they were spotted at the Bandra family court with their lawyers.Slowly, we heard of Malaika moving out of the house with son Arhaan and Salman trying to play ‘fixer’. But apparently bhai wasn’t able to forge a reunion, because they don’t share a close bond. Salman allegedly did not approve of her work, her clothes and her close circle of friends.The reasons for their split are supposedly more material than emotional. Sources say Malaika was not happy with Arbaaz’s unsuccessful career and did not like the fact that her husband “lived in the shadow of his superstar brother”. She is also said to have always felt like an outsider in the Khan family.Why do we feel this celebrity divorce may continue to make headlines in 2017?Best story spinnerIf Priyanka Chopra sneezed on the sets of Baywatch, we’d hear about it. The PR machinery for our export to Hollywood worked itself to exhaustion this year. When she had dinner with Gerard Butler, we heard they were dating. When she presented an award with actor Tom Hiddleston (above), she was said to have helped him get over his break-up with Taylor Swift. We hear Priyanka’s press agent has unrealistic expectations of her team, demanding a story about the star in the media every day. So don’t expect PeeCee, and her team, to slow down in 2017.Meltdown of the yearVikram Chatwal, a New York hotelier, came back on our gossip radar after he was accused of setting two dogs on fire outside his Manhattan home. Forty-four-year-old Chatwal, whose family owns a chain of hotels, has had a long turbulent history with drug abuse. He was admitted to rehab at Masina Hospital in Mumbai in 2009. In October 2016, Chatwal allegedly rushed out of his New York home to the street and attacked the two pups belonging to a passer-by saying, “They must die!” He then tried to set them on fire using a lighter and aerosol can.

Bihar jailbreak: 5 prisoners escape from Central Jail in Buxar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five prisoners escaped from Central Jail in Bihar’s Buxar late Friday night, ANI reported.More details are awaited.This is the third major prison escape this year. On November 27, Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist (KLF) Harminder Singh Mintoo had escaped from Punjab’s Nabha Jail along with five others.On October 30, eight SIMI operatives escaped from Bhopal Central Jail. They were gunned down in an encounter by the state police.

BJP reaches out to Mary Kom ahead of Manipur polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With barely a week for the poll dates in Manipur to be announced, BJP is trying to make inroads into the northeastern state by reaching out to world champion boxer Mary Kom to lead its campaign in the state election. Sources in the party said that the Olympian met party president Amit Shah last week.The meeting has sparked off speculation that the BJP was keen on Kom spearheading the party’s fight in the upcoming polls in the fragmented state. However, sources said the ball was now in her court.It was not known whether the BJP was considering her as its chief ministerial candidate. A close aide of the boxer, who is a Rajya Sabha member, said she had met some ministers in Delhi last week. “She is yet to join the party, and no decision on her future course of action has been taken yet,” said the aide. Kom was unavailable for comment.Manipur state BJP chief K Bhabananda Singh said that no directive has come from the Centre; but that he will support if any announcement to make Kom the CM candidate is made.With Mary belonging to the Kom tribe, it will be interesting to see how the party’s fortunes pan out in a state dominated mostly by the Meiteis. The absolute popularity that Mary enjoys outside the state needs to translate into votes for the BJP. Singh, however, says that he is ‘optimistic’ with the party’s great prospects.Yet, the stalemate between the Congress-led government and the United Naga Council is firmly in place, blocking the entry of essential goods.The other star face in the state, Irom Sharmila, who gave up her 16-year-long fast against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) early this year, caused a huge stir by announcing her plans to contest the elections. With an eroding popularity, Irom’s prospects will also be closely-watched.

Mulayam expels Akhilesh: Azam Khan hints at Amar Singh’s hand in Yadav feud, hopes BJP doesn’t capture power

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over bitter infighting in SP, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan said the bad blood between members of the ruling family will add a dark chapter to its history. Appealing to the “pivots” of the party to consider the consequences of the conflict, he said: “They should think how historians will depict the diminishing relationship between the father and the son.”Whatever is happening… the bad blood will add a dark chapter to the party’s history and paint a grim picture of it. I am in a state of extreme shock and pain.” In a veiled attack on Amar Singh, Khan said: “Who is responsible for this gloomy state of affairs? A single person’s conspiracy and nefarious intention have put the state up for auction.”He urged people to have faith in the SP and asked the “kingpins” of the party to ensure that the BJP does not capture power in the state. With SP staring at a possible split due to open rebellion by Akhilesh Yadav, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has called a meeting tomorrow of all those allotted tickets by him even as the Chief Minister’s camp remained adamant on contesting against the official candidates of the party.Hectic attempts were said to be underway today by Mulayam to avert a split after the crisis reached a flash point late last night when Akhilesh “circulated” his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections, parallel to the party’s official list of 393 nominees.Mulayam has convened a meeting here tomorrow of the 393 candidates who have been allotted tickets by him. Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.Party insiders see the meeting with immense significance as the SP chief was likely gauge the sentiments of the candidates and conduct a fresh review of the list amid fears that the battle for control in SP left the party cadres divided and highly confused at grassroots level.This morning, Shivpal Yadav, the warring uncle of Akhilesh, met his brother Mulayam for nearly an hour, but it was not immediately known what transpired at the meeting.Shivpal did not answer questions of reporters waiting outside Mulayam’s residence.Mulayam’s cousin and SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who is Akhilesh supporter, asserted that there was no question of going back on the list prepared by the Chief Minister.In an apparent attack on Shivpal, he said many in the party do not want to see Akhilesh as Chief Minister again.”But, the fact remains that people of the state want him back as CM,” he claimed.He said Mulayam had convened a meeting on January 1 to take a final call on ticket distribution, “but due to pressure (from Shivpal), he announced the list on December 28”.Akhilesh’s list, which did not carry any signature, was made available on social media last night by defiant party MLAs who failed to get a ticket in the official list.Party observers said since names of 170 to 180 candidates figured in both the lists, it would be interesting to watch if they attended the meeting convened by Mulayam or opted out.Akhilesh, who was present at an official function here this morning, did not take questions from media persons.Though Akhilesh loyalists were enthusiastic to fight the elections “in the name of and as the face of the CM”, it was still not clear as to whether they would fight as Independents or float a new party.Prominent among those figuring in the list of Akhilesh are his hardcore loyalists — ministers Arvind Singh Gope, Pawan Pandey and Ram Govind Chaudhary, who were denied ticket by Mulayam. khilesh has been unhappy over the declaration ofcandidates by Mulayam which included certain names to whose nomination the Chief Minister had strong reservation.Mulayam, along with his brother and state party unit chief Shivpal, had announced the names at a hurriedly-convened press conference here on Wednesday when Akhilesh was away on a tour of Bundelkhand.Possibilities of a rapprochement dimmed when Shivpal announced the second list of 68 candidates late last night, thereby blocking the scope for minor adjustments to avoid perhaps a showdown between father-son duo before the polls.As the SP grappled with the unprecedented crisis, senior leader and UP minister Azam Khan voiced deep distress over the developments and said, “Bad blood between relatives has damaged the future of the state.”He said the feud in SP was being “celebrated” by its political rivals, especially BJP.

Mulayam expels UP CM Akhilesh: Here’s a timeline of the Yadav clan Dangal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Samajawadi Party was on Friday on the precipice of a split with party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav expelling his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and cousin general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday. Ahead of the 2017 UP Elections, Mulayam’s announcement may have been sudden but the feud in the Yadav family have been taking a turn for the worse since the past few months. The latter half of this year has seen the family at constant loggerheads. Here’s a timeline chronicling the disintegration of the Uttar Pradesh’s Samajawadi Party:August 15: Samajwadi Party plans to merge with with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal(QED). As a result, brother Shivpal Yadav threatens to resign from the party, which is averted by Mulayam Singh Yadav in view of the UP elections.
ALSO READ Yadav vs Yadav Dangal: Mulayam Singh expels Akhilesh and Ram Gopal from SP for six years September 13: Akhilesh steps down from his position in the party as the UP unit chief and Mulayam appoints Shivpal as the Samajwadi Party’s State President. On the same day, Akhilesh strips uncle Shivpal Yadav of key portfolios.September 15: Ramgopal Yadav, another brother of Mulayam and Samajwadi Party general secretary says there is no ‘sankat’ (rift) in the party and it was a wrong decision to remove Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the Samajwadi Party. The day also sees Shivpal resign from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet and quit as the state unit president of Samajwadi Party. This was a result of Akhilesh deciding to sack two ministers from his cabinet – Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh over allegations of corruption. Both the leaders were considered close to Shivpal.September 17: Akhilesh Yadav announces that Shivpal will continue as the SP State President. Sacked Mines Minister, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati re-inducted in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.September 18: Shivpal Yadav expels Ramgopal Yadav and another leader for their alleged involvement in land grabbing. Additionally, Shivpal also expels party MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, who is a nephew of Ramgopal Yadav and former village head in Etawah.September 19: Shivpal’s firing of seven youth leaders result in a number of youth leaders close to Akhilesh Yadav quitting the party.October 14: “The Chief ministerial candidate will be decided by the elected party legislatures and parliamentary board. This is our job,” Mulayam snubs Akhilesh by saying that the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate will be decided by elected party legislatures after the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. October 17: With much hesitation, Akhilesh is endorsed by Mulayam as the presumptive chief ministerial candidate of the party ahead of state Elections.October 23: Akhilesh sacks Shivpal along with three other ministers from the government.December 25: Akhilesh submits his own list of 403 probable candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 28: Mulayam announces his own list of candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seat.December 29: Akhilesh revolts and releases his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 30: The Yadav feud reached its peak on Friday when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh along with cousin Ramgopal for anti-party activities. “We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” Mulayam said.(With agency inputs)

Indian politician Akhilesh Yadav sacked by his father Mulayam

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state is fired by the head of his party – his own father.

Mulayam should explain why he imposed Akhilesh on UP after 2012 polls: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People of Uttar Pradesh have already “expelled” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should now answer as to why he “betrayed” the state by imposing his son after 2012 polls, BJP said soon after Akhilesh was expelled for six years from the party.”Akhilesh Yadav has let down the people of Uttar Pradesh with the all-round failures of his government. He has not fulfilled any promise. People are feeling betrayed. Now Mulayam Singh Yadav has expelled him from the party. People have already expelled him due to his governance failures,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.”Mualayam Singh Yadav should answer as to why he imposed his son on the state and betrayed it,” he said.People had voted for SP in 2012 as they were angry with the Mayawati government over poor law and order and development but SP has also let them down, he said, blaming Yadav for “deteriorating law and order” as his portfolios includes the Home department.Voters will not fall in this trap this time, Sharma said, claiming that they have made up their mind to vote for BJP.”There is wave in our support,” he claimed. BJP governments in various states have brought development and ensured double digit growth, he said.

Demonetization broke the myth that powerful can’t be harmed: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the demonetization decision as “historic,” Madhya Pradesh CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with his “courageous” call broke the myth that powerful people can’t be harmed in the country.”India witnessed a historic decision on November 8, 2016. This day has given a meaningful reply to the queries raised by the people at large on the style of functioning of governments. “Often allegations are levelled against the governments that they can not take tough decisions under pressure. They fear to take decisions that could harm powerful people,” Chouhan said in his blog on the issue on Thursday evening.”Our PM has broken the myth with his courageous decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes,” he said. “The decision of demonetization is historic in a way that it surprised everyone and this is the distinct feature of it. India has seen decision of demonetization twice in the history of 100 years but those decisions gave ample time to the people having black money in the form of currency to change it.”Thus the main objective of the decision was partially met. This time, however the decision did not give any time to people with black money,” the Chief Minister said. Those criticising the decision say that it could have been taken with better planning and people should have been given ample time. It is beyond my comprehension as to whom these critics are referring to when they talk of giving time to people, he wrote in the blog.”Who are those about whom critics say time should have been given to them. It is obvious that they are favouring those who had black money in the form of currency,” Chouhan said. The decision of the Prime Minister to encourage cashless transaction is to transform the country from a developing nation to a developed one. All the aspects should be examined before criticising such a move, said Chouhan.

Demonetization: Cash crunch making some in BJP & allies fear poll prospects in several states

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cash shortages weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to abolish large currency notes is making allies and members of his ruling party anxious, with some distancing themselves from the move ahead of a series of state elections.Modi removed 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, worth around $7.50 and $15 respectively, on Nov. 8, billing it as an attempt to root out corruption, end terror financing and move the country into the age of digital payments.He promised to replace all old bills with enough new currency notes by the end of this month. But his government has struggled to do that, leading to long lines at banks and a slump in economy activity. Nearly 90 percent of transactions in India used to be in cash.
ALSO READ Demonetization broke the myth that powerful can’t be harmed: Shivraj Singh ChouhanInterviews with six lawmakers from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a senior leader of the party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), show his party cadre is starting to worry that the cash crunch could hurt their prospects in several states that go to the polls next year.Some parliamentarians said that while they thought Modi’s decision was good, its execution had been botched and they were faced with constituents who were increasingly upset.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Jaitley misleading people with his statements, says Congress”There is no doubt that it is difficult to convince voters that everything will be fine,” said Santosh Gangwar, the junior finance minister who is leading the BJP campaign in western Uttar Pradesh.”Every candidate who will be contesting polls is nervous because they feel people may not vote for the BJP … There is tension and we cannot deny it,” he said.
ALSO READ Demonetization: PM Modi criticises opposition for ‘openly protecting the dishonest’, slams Manmohan SinghOf the BJP’s 71 MPs from Uttar Pradesh, 28 have been to BJP President Amit Shah and the finance minister’s office to seek solutions for the cash crunch, said a senior finance ministry official.BJP EXPECTS “BIG VICTORY”BJP spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao said that despite temporary difficulties, the prime minister continued to enjoy overwhelming support.”Party cadres are highly enthused about a big victory in upcoming elections, and if a few are apprehensive, they will realise the reality soon,” Rao said.Disquiet within the BJP underscores how Modi’s unprecedented bet is turning into a test of popularity, and could go some way to determining his political future.It has become a central issue in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, where the outcome of elections early next year will be key for Modi’s expected bid for a second term in 2019.The opposition, led by the Congress party, has joined forces, mocking the government for being ill-prepared for so-called “demonetization” and blaming it for hardships faced by the poor as a result. It has called for Modi’s resignation.The senior RSS official said they had counselled Modi days before the move to take time to prepare the ground for such a massive exercise, including setting up two new mints and expanding the banking network, and to roll it out in phases.But the prime minister decided to press ahead, and he alone would bear responsibility for its failure or success, the official added.Earlier this month, N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of the southern state Andhra Pradesh and a political ally of Modi, abruptly distanced himself from the move.Modi and senior members of his cabinet defend demonetization. In an interview with India Today magazine on Thursday, Modi said it would give the economy a boost and provide long-term benefits, including forcing the country’s vast shadow economy into the open.”GRIM SITUATION”Modi’s announcement enjoyed popular support at first, with many people prepared to endure hardship as long as others were forced to give up ill-gotten wealth or pay tax.But shortages of new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes have caused tempers to rise as millions queue at banks and ATMs to draw money.Last week, more than three dozen BJP lawmakers, many of whom came from states that go to polls next year, met with Shah to demand that the government sends more cash to their constituencies, and quickly.The MPs told Shah about severe cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people, according to several lawmakers who attended the meeting.They told the BJP president that they did not have the courage to hold election rallies at a time when people still had to stand in line, sometimes for hours, to get money. Some said they had not started door-to-door campaigning.”The situation is grim, and we cannot ignore it,” Jagdambika Pal, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh who attended the meeting, told Reuters. “It is a challenge for every BJP lawmaker to manage the situation, but we cannot do anything if there is no money in the banks.”

Delhi Police battled controversies, cracked high-profile cases in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From arresting three JNU students on charges of sedition to booking of several AAP MLAs, 2016 saw Delhi Police battling a series of controversies even as it cracked a number of high-profile cases, nabbed wanted terrorists and busted an espionage ring involving a Pakistan High Commission staffer.Crime against women continued to rise and a number of brutal rape and assault cases kept the police on its toes though it managed to solve some of them in quick time.In June, a multi-city kidney racket involving doctors and touts was busted by Delhi Police while it arrested Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Singh Mintoo who had escaped from Nabha jail. A number of persons suspected to have links with ISIS and al Qaeda were also caught in the course of the year.Women safety in the national capital continued to be a cause of concern with 1,981 cases of rape being reported till November 30 even as police launched a number of initiatives to contain crime against women.The brutal stabbing of a 21-year-old girl in Burari in broad daylight in September by a man who was allegedly stalking her for several months, and the videos of the shocking incident left people horrified. In February, the arrest of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and two others on charges of sedition for allegedly organising an event against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, triggered a huge controversy with Opposition political parties slamming police for “working at the behest of ruling BJP”.The arrest of Kumar catapulted him to national fame and resulted in students protests across the country. The arrests also led to a nationwide debate on nationalism. Police had also come under severe criticism following attacks on journalists and students and teachers of JNU at the Patiala House court by some lawyers just before Kanhaiya was to be produced.In October, JNU student Najeeb Ahmed went missing, a day after he was allegedly involved in a brawl with some students including ABVP activists, leading to an agitation with students alleging police inaction in tracing him. The uneasy relationship between the AAP government and Delhi Police continued this year as police arrested nine AAP MLAs, drawing angry reaction from the party with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging the law enforcing agency was acting at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The MLAs arrested are Dinesh Mohaniya, Prakash Karwal, Gulab Singh, Amanatullah Khan, Somnath Bharti, Rituraj Govind, Naresh Balyan, Sharad Chauhan and Jagdeep Singh and the charges ranged from rioting, outraging the modesty of woman, sexual harassment, criminal intimidation and assault.Sandeep Kumar, who was sacked as Cabinet Minister over an “objectionable” CD, was arrested on rape charges on the complaint of the woman who purportedly figured in the CD.The Anti-Corruption headed by Mukesh Kumar Meena, was also involved in a tussle with the AAP dispensation over registration of cases and questioning of AAP ministers and MLAs, including deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Kapil Mishra, Gopal Rai, Amanatullah Khan.The brutal killing of a 23-year-old Congolese national by three youths following a brawl over hiring an auto-rickshaw in south Delhi in May made national headlines as the government rushed to assure the African community in India of their safety.Delhi Police’s Special Cell continued to clamp down on terror activities with the arrest of six people for suspected links with al Qaeda and ISIS.The year ended with them nabbing Mintoo, who had escaped from Nabha jail, from Nizamuddin railway station here.In October, the Crime Branch also busted an espionage ring with the arrest of four people who were allegedly sharing sensitive defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border with a Pakistan High Commission staffer.The staffer Mehmood Akhtar was later declared persona non-grata by the government and he had to leave the country.Following the demonetization of high-value currencies, police raided various areas across the city and recovered over Rs 17 crore in illegal cash.The year ended with a 20-year-old girl, who was on a job hunt, allegedly being raped in a car in South Delhi’s Moti Bagh area, a grim throwback to the horrific Delhi gangrape of a para-medic student in a moving bus four years ago.The alleged suicides by former Director General Corporate Affairs B K Bansal and his son in September, two months after his wife and daughter committed suicide, allegedly due to harassment by CBI, not only drew criticism for the premier investigating agency but also for police as it didn’t register any case despite the presence of purported suicide notes of Bansal and his son.The contentious case of Sunanda Pushkar didn’t see any headway for the second consecutive year even as police accepted that her death was not natural and questioned her husband Shashi Tharoor and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar in February.Some of the other developments in the case included the formation of a medical board to study the FBI report, sending reminders to Canada to send details of deleted chats from Tharoor and Sunanda’s Blackberry phones, and Enforcement Directorate being requested to investigate the financial irregularities related to now-defunct Kochi IPL franchise.Some of the high-profile cases being investigated by Delhi Police included hacking of Twitter and email accounts of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and missing files concerning Ishrat Jahan encounter from MHA.The Crime Branch cracked down on the notorious red light G B Road in the heart of the city in August dismantling a vast human trafficking and prostitution racket, arresting the kingpin couple and their several accomplices.The suicide by an ex-serviceman close to Ministry of Defence building over the OROP issue kept police busy with many politicians raising the issue and slamming Modi government.As many as 3,400 personnel of paramilitary and Delhi Police were deployed at banks and ATMs across the national capital after serpentine queues led to law-and-order problem in some areas.In the new year, police envisages to modernise its operations and reduce burden on its more than 80,000 personnel by mulling over the possibility of introducing eight-hour shifts on the lines of its Mumbai counterpart.Delhi Police will also be setting up a separate control room for handling calls on phone number 112, which will be India’s equivalent of 911 of the US’ all-in-one emergency services, that will be rolled out from January 1 and the closure of 100 that is the go-to solution for people in distress.

Yadav vs Yadav: Akhilesh puts ‘final’ stamp on his list, asks candidates to prepare for upcoming polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday confirmed the list announced by him as the final one.Akhilesh asked the candidates to go to their constituencies, prepare for the upcoming elections and mark their victory.The decision was announced at the Samajwadi Party core group meet held at Akhilesh’s residence earlier on Friday.On Thursday, Akhilesh released a list of 235 candidates out of a total of 403 seats for the upcoming state assembly elections, a day after his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had released the official list, hinting at a deepening crisis within the party.Intense political activities continued at the Samajwadi Party headquarters and at the official residence of the chief minister yesterday.Akhilesh met Mulayam Singh, but as per sources, the party chief refused to make changes in the list of 325 candidates issued by him on Wednesday.According to reports, Akhilesh has removed the name of his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav from the list of candidates that will contest next year?s state assembly polls.She was earlier given a ticket by Mulayam Singh Yadav to contest from the Lucknow Cantt seat.

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s office burgled: Documents, computers allegedly stolen

New Delhi: Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s office was burgled late night on Thursday, the city police said.

File photo. PTI

File photo of Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. PTI

“There was a robbery at the Patparganj office of Deputy CM late night on Thursday. The exact time is not yet known,” deputy commissioner of police (East) Omvir Singh said.

“The district forensic team has lifted finger-prints from the crime scene,” Singh said.

“The office was being shifted and most of the articles were already moved. However, some documents and two computers were stolen,” he added.

Aam Aadmi Party worker Pankaj Singh told IANS that the lock of the office was broken and some documents, including letterheads as well as CPUs of two computers, were missing.

“The burglers also turned away the CCTV cameras and took away the DVRs that had the recordings,” Upendra Kumar, who is in-charge of the party office, said. The police, along with a dog squad, came to Sisodia’s office on Friday morning to investigate the theft, he added.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 12:21 IST

Demonetisation not politically motivated, says PM Narendra Modi ahead of 50-day deadline

With just a day left for the 50-day deadline for demonetisation’s benefits to show, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed that the move has forced black money, whether belonging to corrupt politicians or bureaucrats, out in the open.

In an interview with India Today magazine, excerpts of which in text form were telecast by a group news channel, Modi said counterfeit Indian currency notes available with the enemies were instantly neutralised.

“Black money has been forced out into the open, whomsoever it may belong to, whether it is corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen or professionals,” said Modi on the outcome of his 8 November sudden move to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.

“Counterfeit notes, which our intelligence agencies have reported to be available in big volumes with our enemies, have been instantly neutralised. Similarly, cash held by terrorists, Maoists and other extremists has also been neutralised. There has been a crippling impact on dangerous and highly damaging illegal activities such as human trafficking and the narcotics trade as well,” he added.

PM Narendra Modi. File photo. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. File photo. PTI

“One must be able to distinguish between neeti (policy) and rann neeti (strategy) and not put them in the same basket. The decision of demonetisation, which reflects our neeti, is unequivocally clear, unwavering and categorical,” the prime minister said.

“Our rann neeti, however, needed to be different, aptly summarised by the age-old saying of tu daal daal, main paat paat. We must stay two steps ahead of the enemy. When problems are identified, we respond promptly and take necessary steps,” he added.

Modi said it speaks of the government’s “agility in responding quickly and keeping up with the evolving situation”.

“I know many will prefer if we issue one guideline and then allow them to walk roughshod over it. Let me assure them that no such thing will happen,” Modi said.

The prime minister also clarified that the objective behind the decision was to clean up the economy and curb the menace of black money.

“Our objective was to clean up the economy and society of the menace of black money, purging the distrust, artificial pressures and other ills that came with it,” he said.

“The revenue collected will be used for the welfare of the poor, downtrodden and the marginalised.”

Modi also urged citizens not to regard digital transactions as a short-term substitute for cash payments.

“Digital transactions should not be viewed as a short-term substitute for cash payments,” Modi told India Today magazine in an interview.

“Digital transactions facilitate formal accounting and sizing of the economy,” he said.

“They also deliver greater tax compliance,” he added.

On former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Modi said, “Regarding Manmohan Singh ji, it is interesting that the words ‘monumental mismanagement’ came from a leader who has been at the helm of India’s economic journey for around 45 years.”

“His reference to organised loot was perhaps a reference to the unending string of scams under his leadership… From the coal scam, to 2G and CWG scam. Demonetisation on the other hand is an unprecedented step to confiscate the loot of the corrupt,” he said.

“I pity a few of our opponents, especially the Congress leadership, for the desperation they have been exhibiting. Congress leaders are entirely preoccupied with only one thing — elections. There is nothing political in the demonetisation,” Modi said.

The prime minister said: “It was a tough decision taken to clean our economy and our society. If I were guided by short-term electoral politics, I would have never done so.”

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 21:32 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Arun Jaitley rubbishes critics of demonetization, PM Modi’s Dec 31 address, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Critical part of remonetization over, it will be much better, going forward: Arun JaitleyArun Jaitley said that critics have been proved wrong. Finance Minister quoted tax collection and several other statistics to emphasise that the situation is not as bad as it was predicted. Read more here UP Elections 2017: Akhilesh likely to announce his own list of candidates, says SP MLAThe feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. Read more hereScam-tainted Abhay Chautala ready to relinquish IOA Life President’s postScam-tainted former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Abhay Singh Chautala who was elevated to Life President’s post along with Suresh Kalmadi, was ready to relinquish the post, if International Olympic Committee (IOC) had reservations over it. Read more herePM Modi’s Dec 31 address to mark beginning of massive campaign to justify demonetizationPrime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to address the nation before New Year. Read more hereVirat Kohli and Anushka Sharma to get engaged on January 1?Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma usually avoid talking about the relationship because they feel it draws unnecessary attention towards their personal lives. But now, there are fresh speculations regarding the couple. Read more here

SP’s feud out in the open again, Akhilesh conveys displeasure to Mulayam over candidates list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Mulayam Singh Yadav’s public snub to his son in announcement of candidates’ list for UP polls leaving bitterness in the ruling camp, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday spoke to the SP supremo to convey his displeasure over the choice of names.The factional feud in the Samajwadi Party was again in the open, a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.A clearly upset Akhilesh met his supporters at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here and later spoke to his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants were missing, party sources said.Hectic political activities began right from the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd also assembled outside Shivpal’s residence.Party sources said the Chief Minister, before meeting Mulayam, met legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list of nominees.The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off.Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh who was away in Bundelkhand yesterday, had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.”The list does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and they should be given tickets,” an upset Akhilesh had said last night.In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.Soon after returning to the state capital from Bundelkhand yesterday, Akhilesh had decided to convene a meeting of party leaders to listen to their “grievances”.Mulayam clearly ignored Akhilesh’s objections to certain names, like Sigbatullah Ansari, brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who faces over 40 criminal cases including of murder.The list also included tainted minister Gayatri Prajapati, whose sacking and re-induction as minister exposed factional fight in the ruling party.The SP supremo also made very clear his differene with Akhilesh on the issue of pre-poll alliance by ruling out any pact for a gathbandhan or maha-gathbandhan and even refused to project a chief ministerial candidate, dealing a serious blow to his son at a time when polls are to be announced very soon.Out of the 325 names announced by Mulayam, 218 tally with the panel submitted by Akhilesh to the SP chief, but 107 names do not match with the list given by the chief minister, indicating their sharp differences.The list of candidates announced by Mulayam included those from 176 seats represented by SP in the outgoing Assembly, while 149 candidates were declared from constituencies where the party did not have an MLA.Candidates for the remaining 78 constituencies are to be announced later leaving a small window for some adjustments to avoid perhaps the final showdown between father-son duo before the elections, a party insider said.

AAP’s Jarnail Singh to fight polls against Punjab CM Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP on Wednesday announced its candidate, MLA Jarnail Singh, against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi constituency for the upcoming Assembly polls.Addressing a gathering at Badal’s home turf Lambi, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Singh’s candidature and asked the audience if he would be the right man to take the Akali leader head-on. He alleged that so far, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Badal, as per a “tactical understanding”, have been nominating “weak” candidates against each other, so that their opponents could secure easy wins. “However, this time, we will not allow Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh a walkover.That is why we are fielding our strongest candidates against the three and (Bikram) Majithia to give them a taste of political dust,” Kejriwal added. Notably, AAP has fielded MP Bhagwant Mann from the Jalalabad seat held by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, while the party’s legal cell head, Himmat Singh Shergill, has been nominated from the Majitha seat represented by state Revenue Minister Majithia. Listing instances of the “tactical understanding” between the Badals and Amarinder, Kejriwal claimed that the Congress’ nominee against Sukhbir from Jalalabad could not even save his deposit, adding that in a similar move, Amarinder had fielded a weak candidate against Majithia, who could only bag 7,000 votes in the 2017 Assembly polls.Both Amarinder and Badal not only “jointly contested polls to facilitate each other’s win”, but also “shared” business interests in sand and gravel, transport, liquor and above all, in “back-up candidates” who have been embroiled in the drug trade in Punjab, he alleged. Kejriwal cited the example of senior Akali leader Sarwan Singh Phillaur, who had to step down from the cabinet after his and his son’s names cropped up in the drug trade and was subsequently welcomed by Amarinder into the Congress-fold. Akali MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who was the right-hand man of Majithia, too was welcomed by the state Congress chief, he said, adding that this clearly showed that both Badal’s and Amarinder’s families had “joined hands to ruin Punjab turn-by-turn”.Jarnail Singh challenged Badal to an open debate on the “superficial” development of Punjab the Akali Dal has been talking about. “Thousands of farmers have committed suicide, youngsters are dying due to drugs…transport, liquor and cable businesses have been captured by the Badal family…is this the model of development the Badals are boasting of,” he said, adding that he will let the chief minister choose the venue and time of the debate. Others who spoke on the occasion included AAP MPs Sadhu Singh, Bhagwant Mann and senior leader Sanjay Singh.

FCRA licence of 20,000 NGO’s cancelled: Here is what the govt actually said

The government, on Wednesday, said that it has cancelled the FCRA licence of close to 20,000 of the 33,000 NGOs operating in the country after they were found to be flouting certain norms laid out in the Foreign Contributions Registrations Act, 2010.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

The FCRA or Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 is nothing but a regulatory act formed to keep a check on civil society bodies that may be receiving foreign funds in an illegal manner. Therefore, the cancellation of an FCRA licence means that the NGOs in question can no longer take funds from a foreign contributor but they can continue to work on donations given by Indian companies and individuals.

Home Ministry officials said after cancellation of the FCRA licences of around 20,000 NGOs, only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid now to receive foreign funds.

The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago and the process is still continuing, official sources said.

Among the 13,000 valid NGOs, around 3,000 have submitted applications for renewal while Ministry of Home Affairs received 2,000 new applications for registration under the FCRA for the first time.

An additional 300 NGOs are currently under prior permission category but not registered under the FCRA. This means that although these NGOs don’t hold a FCRA licence, they can accept funds from foreign sources by taking prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The FCRA licences of around 16 NGOs were renewed by the Home Ministry under the “automatic” route and all the cases were reviewed thoroughly and except in two cases, 14 NGOs have been put under the prior permission category, while papers of two other NGOs are under examination.

As per FCRA, if an NGO is put under prior permission category, it is barred to receive foreign funding from abroad without taking permission from the Home Ministry.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 19:12 IST

Punjab elections 2017: Amarinder Singh promises to bring special law to crack down on drug mafia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vowing to eradicate the drugs menace in Punjab within four weeks of coming to power, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh promised on Wednesday a special law to crack down on the drug mafia and asserted that all those found guilty would be jailed and their property confiscated.”All drugs cases would be dealt with on fast-track basis under the new law, which would be brought immediately after (government) formation if elected to power,” he said. “Nobody would be spared,” Amarinder said. In a statement issued in Delhi, the PCC chief said the proposed legislation – part of the 9-point action plan of Congress — would provide for deterrent punishment and confiscation of property of all those found guilty of ruining the lives of Punjab’s youth with drugs.Accusing the Badal government of “allowing unchecked proliferation of drugs in the state to further their own vested interests”, Amarinder said an entire generation of youth had been destroyed because of the “patronage” accorded to the drug mafia by the present dispensation in Punjab. He made it clear that all steps would be taken, on priority basis, to tackle the drugs cases and ensure strict, deterrent punishment for drug dealers, suppliers and distributors.He welcomed the Election Commission’s decision to appoint a special team of narcotics control officers to check flow of drugs in his state during the Assembly polls. “The EC move on drugs was a clear endorsement of the Congress stand that the drugs menace was rampant in Punjab under the Badal regime,” he said.

Demonetisation countdown to day 50: Banks want cash curbs to stay beyond 30 Dec

Banks have asked the government to extend the curbs on cash withdrawal beyond the deadline of 30 December as there is not enough currency notes in the system yet to meet the demand from customers.

After the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes 8 November, there has been a cash crunch in the country as printing of replacement notes at the government and RBI-owned presses have not been able to keep pace with the demand. The demonetisation had sucked out about 86 percent of the currency in circulation.

In order to help banks, the government had restricted the withdrawal at Rs 24,000 per account per week from the branch and Rs 2,500 per card at ATMs. According to a report in The Indian Express, now the banks want the curbs to stay until there is sufficient currency notes available in the system. The government had earlier indicated that the limits will be revoked after 30 December, when the deadline for depositing old currency notes with banks ends.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The report says there is a growing consensus among bankers that the restrictions would have to continue even in the New Year so as to maintain orderly working at the banks. According to a banker quoted in the report, these restrictions are necessary as otherwise the public might flock to the ATMs and banks to withdraw cash, while there is no currency notes available. “That will become a problem,” the banker has been quoted as saying in the report.

The Indian Banks’s Association (IBA), however, has said it has not given any written representation to the government on this.

Earlier PTI haad reported that the restrictions are likely to continue beyond 30 December.

Banks at many places are not in a position to disburse even the current limit of Rs 24,000 per week due to cash crunch and are rationing the valid currency depending on cash availability. If this limit is withdrawn for individual and businesses from 2 January, it is unlikely that banks would be able to disburse the higher demand for valid currencies given the current cash position.

“Most of us think that the withdrawal limit would not be completely withdrawn. It is a possibility that it could be relaxed if the cash situation improves,” said a senior public sector bank official.

At a time when banks are struggling to meet the demand of individual customers, it would be impossible to service MSME and big corporates which requires cash in large quantity, the official said, the practical way would be to relax it gradually.

Recently, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had also indicated that restriction on withdrawals cannot be lifted entirely unless more cash is made available to banks.

After the demonetisation of high value Rs. 500/1000 notes, the government has fixed a limit of Rs. 24,000 per week on withdrawal from bank accounts and Rs. 2,500 per day from ATMs in view of the currency crunch that followed.

The government and the RBI has not specified when the restrictions will be withdrawn. Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa had said the withdrawal cap would be will be reviewed after December 30.

Even bank unions are also of the opinion that the restrictions cannot be done away with in one go.

All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) General Secretary Harvinder Singh had also said that in all likelihood the restriction on withdrawal would continue for some more time in the best interest of banks as well as customers at large.

The situation of currency supply is known to everyone and it would be difficult to lift the limit from January 2, Singh said, adding that SME and small businesses are waiting for cap to go so that they can withdraw as per their requirement.

Reserve Bank of India has infused Rs. 5.92 lakh crore in the banking system between November 9 and December 19 against Rs. 15.4 lakh crore of scrapped notes.

According to RBI, banks had got deposits of Rs. 12.4 lakh crore defunct notes by December 10.

(With PTI)

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 10:03 IST

Bihar government gives nod to 50% quota in judicial services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bihar government on Tuesday gave its nod for implementation of 50% reservation in both subordinate and superior judicial services in the state.This means that 50 per cent quota would be implemented in appointment of both services conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) to fill the posts of Judicial Magistrates and Munsif Magistrates and appointments conducted by the Patna High Court to fill the posts of Additional District and Sessions Judges.”In the light of the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court on September 29 in the State of Bihar vs Dayanand Singh, the cabinet today gave its nod for implementation of 50 per cent of quota for direct appointment in both subordinate judicial services and superior judicial services after having due consultation with the Patna High Court and BPSC,” General Administration Department Principal Secretary Dharmendra Singh Gangwar told reporters here.Gangwar, who was accompanied by Cabinet Secretariat Department Principal Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra, said at present there was 27% reservation in the appointment of subordinate judicial services.But, with today’s decision, 50 per cent posts would be filled through reservation in both services with 21 per cent posts reserved for Extremely Backward Class (EBC), 12 per cent for Backward Class, 16 per cent for Scheduled Castes (SC) and one per cent for Scheduled Tribe (ST).Of the 27% reservation currently followed in the subordinate judicial services, EBC was getting 10 per cent, and SC and ST were getting 16 and one per cent respectively, he said.Gangwar said the cabinet decided to implement horizontal reservation in both services, where 35% reservation would be given to women in each category, besides one per cent post would be reserved for ortho-physically differently-abled persons.The BPSC had on August 13 conducted preliminary tests to fill the posts of 29th Bihar Judicial Services (Lower Division and Senior Division).

Home Ministry cancels FCRA license of 20,000 NGOs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> FCRA licences of around 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the government after they were found to be allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA, thus barring them from receiving foreign funds. This was conveyed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a review of the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.Giving a detailed presentation, Home Ministry officials said after cancellation of FCRA licences of around 20,000 NGOs, only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid now to receive foreign funds. “The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago and the process is still continuing. The cancellation of the FCRA licences of the NGOs done over a period of one year,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.Among the 13,000 valid NGOs, around 3,000 have submitted applications for renewal while Home Ministry received 2,000 new applications for registration under the FCRA for the first time. An additional 300 NGOs are currently under prior permission category but not registered under the FCRA. However, FCRA licences of around 16 NGOs were renewed by the Home Ministry under the “automatic” route and all the cases were reviewed thoroughly and except in two cases, 14 NGOs have been put under the prior permission category while papers of the two NGOs are under examination.As per FCRA, if an NGO is put under prior permission category, it is barred to receive foreign funding from abroad without taking permission from the Home Ministry. A Home Ministry official tonight said of the around 33,000 NGOs registered under the FCRA, 27,000 were due for renewal this year. Of these 27,000 NGOs, around 19,000 NGOs have submitted applications for renewal under the FCRA.And of the 19,000 NGOs, FCRA licences of 15,500 NGOs were renewed. Among the total 27,000 NGOs, 8,000 have time till February for renewal of their licences under FCRA. The official said just FCRA licences of just 222 NGOs were cancelled in recent past

Govt to advance budget date to 1 February to make funds available at start of fiscal year

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said advancing the date of budget presentation would help getting funds authorised for different sectors at the start of the financial year.

Addressing economists at Niti Aayog’s meeting on ‘Economic Policy – The Road Ahead’, he said that a change in the budget cycle would have an impact on the real economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Getty ImagesPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Getty Images

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Getty Images

“The date of budget presentation is being advanced so that expenditure is authorised by the time the new financial year begins,” the Prime Minister said.

The government is proposing to present the budget for 2017-18 on 1 February instead of the regular date of February 28. Also, there will be no separate railway budget for the next fiscal as the government has decided to merge it with the general budget.

Modi said under the existing budget calendar, the authorisation of expenditure comes with the onset of the monsoon which results in government programmes remaining relatively inactive in the productive pre-monsoon months.

Seeking views of the economists for the forthcoming budget on areas such job creation, agriculture, skill development and education, Modi underlined the need for engaging the youth for speeding up economic development.

During the meeting with the Prime Minister, economists shared their views on various themes such as agriculture, job creation, taxation, education, digital technology, housing, tourism, banking, governance reform, data driven policy and future steps for growth.

Farm sector experts suggested incentivising states to undertake market reforms, create corpus fund for promoting farm mechanisation and micro irrigation, and provide interest subvention for term loans, among others, to double farm income by 2022.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, and senior officers from the Union Government, among others.

The economists and experts who were present included Pravin Krishna, Sukhpal Singh, Vijay Paul Sharma, Neelkanth Mishra, Surjit Bhalla, Pulak Ghosh, Govinda Rao, Madhav Chavan, N K Singh, Vivek Dehejia, Pramath Sinha, Sumit Bose and TN Ninan.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 20:36 IST

US woman’s gangrape: Court sends four accused to 2-day custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four men, arrested for allegedly raping a US tourist in a 5-star hotel earlier this year, were today sent to two-day judicial custody by a city court.Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh sent the accused to Tihar Jail after Delhi Police moved an application seeking their judicial custody. Yesterday, the police had arrested a tour guide, a driver, a cleaner and a hotel staff in connection with the alleged gangrape of the woman in April this year.The US national arrived here a few days ago to join the probe and recorded her statement in front of a judicial magistrate where she reiterated that she was gangraped by five persons in a five-star hotel here. Four accused were arrested after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice to Delhi Police asking them why the Rape Crisis Cell of the women’s panel was not informed when the victim’s statement was recorded.Earlier, the complainant had said she was not “satisfied” with the probe and was ready to come to India to identify the accused. The woman had alleged that she was raped by the men for two days and also threatened with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody.She had also stated that the accused had made a video of the act and threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to anyone. She had also told the police that the accused had claimed to have sexually assaulted a couple of other female tourists as well. A team of psychologists and psychiatrists have been assisting the lady in recalling the details of the incident.The team is also working with the police in their investigation to tie up loose ends.

Manipur govt extends suspension of mobile data for another week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Centre has deployed additional 4,000 paramilitary forces in Manipur in a bid to reopen National Highway-2, the state government on Tuesday extended the suspension of mobile data services for another week.The United Naga Council has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the state.Curfew has been imposed in Imphal East district for the last fortnight after a mob torched and vandalised 22 passenger vehicles on the Imphal-Ukhrul road, while curfew in Imphal West district was imposed from evening to dawn.The Centre last week came down heavily on Manipur Government for failing to resolve the economic blockade on the National Highway-2, which has throttled the supply of essential goods.In a scathing letter to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the state government had taken no steps to ensure that the NH-2 is kept open or at least movement of convoy is made, despite MHA officials being in constant touch with state officials.”For the sake of people of Manipur, I call upon you to discharge these constitutional obligations with utmost promptness, while reiterating Government of India’s commitment to support your forces in keeping NH-2 open,” the letter read.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who visited Congress-ruled Manipur last week as a central emissary, said it is completely unacceptable to have such kinds of blockades in which thousands are suffering and both the Central and Manipur Governments will work together to end it.Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Ram Madhav yesterday alleged that the Congress Government in Manipur was not clearing the economic blockade in the state for political benefits, adding that the Manipur Chief Minister should have cleared the blockade.”The Manipur Chief Minister is playing games with lives of people of the valley. The government of India from day one asked him to avail all required support from Centre,” Madhav said.

Shelling-proof bunkers to protect civilians in Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is constructing underground bunkers in the border villages of Jammu as a life saving measure for the civilians to duck the Pakistani shelling.The move comes amid Pakistani forces’ new tactics of shelling in the civilian areas to instill fear among the local population. More than 12 civilians have been killed and over 80 others have been injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the border villages in the Jammu division since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29. Around 18 soldiers have also been killed by Pakistan army and Rangers along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir since surgical strikes.More than 87 critical villages have been identified along the LoC and the IB in Jammu district where the government has put the construction of the shelling-proof underground bunkers on fast track.”All the 87 critical villages have been given at least one bunker. We need at least five bunkers in one critical village. In the second round two more bunkers will be given to each critical village”, Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner, Jammu, told DNA.Constructed at the cost of Rs 4.5 crore under two different government projects, the underground bunkers are being built in such a manner that those could withstand the shells and mortars fired by Pakistani forces.”These are shelling proof bunkers constructed inside the villages. They have double RCC slab which is covered with lot of earth. Each bunker can accommodate 20 people. During the recent cross border shelling 80 people had taken shelter in one bunker,” said Singh.Jammu and Kashmir government has set January 20 deadline for the completion of the bunkers in the first phase. “Around 97 bunkers are to be constructed under two projects, of which 80 have been completed so far. Rest of the 17 bunkers will be completed by January 20”, said Singh.Figures reveal that there are 35,000 to 40,000 people living in the villages which are the worst affected by the shelling from Pakistan. “During shelling, some of the villagers flee their homes for safety. However, some stay back to look after their cattle and other property. Those who stay back can use these bunkers. It is a safety measure because their houses may not be shelling proof”, he said.

BJP not doing politics on religion but justice & honesty: Rajnath Singh in Assam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said people have accepted BJP as a party of their own by electing it to power at the Centre with thumping majority even though opposition parties had made allegations in the past that it practised politics over religion.”There was a big allegation that BJP used to do politics over religion or over communalism. Now that allegation has gone away. Had it been a party of doing politics over religion, then the 1.25 billion people of the country would not have elected to power with a clear majority,” he said addressing a meeting of the BJP’s Assam unit here. Singh, a senior BJP leader, said the party never practiced politics over religion nor did over communalism but on the issue of justice and honesty.”We are a party of doing politics over justice and honesty. We are a party which takes everyone along and wants to march forward with everyone’s cooperation,” he said. The Home Minister said BJP’s politics is centred around humanity – irrespective of whether someone is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or from any other religion. Describing Indo-Bangladesh agreement on land-swap as a very significant pact for bilateral relations, Singh said after the exchange of ‘enclaves’ along the border, Dhaka has been supporting India in every international forums.”Be is on terrorism or be it on any other issues, Bangladesh has been supporting India in every international forum ever since we have completed the process of exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.Singh said security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years. “We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” he said.The Home Minister said Bangladesh is a neighbouring country and India shares a good and warm relations and wants to continue and remain committed to in the future. The Home Minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said. Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon. Singh said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state. “If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he said.The Home Minister claimed people have supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “bold step” to demonetise high-value currency notes and his fight against black money and corruption. “The Prime Minister’s bold step of demonetization has been welcomed by the people of the country and we are grateful for that,” he said. The Prime Minister’s fight against black money and corruption was “beyond any doubt” and the people of the country have expressed their gratitude by supporting him despite facing initial difficulties, the home minister said.”People did face initial difficulties after demonetization was announced, but no one has questioned the intention of the Prime Minister. “People had to wait for hours in queues outside ATMs, but when told they were facing difficulties, many replied, ‘When our jawans our dying on the borders to protect our country against enemies, then why can’t we stand in queues for a few hours.’ This is the spirit of our people,” he said.Modi on November 8 had announced to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and said new notes of denominations Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 will be issued in their place, leading to a rush among people to exchange their notes at banks and withdraw new notes from ATMs.

AAP may field Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh against Punjab CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to field its Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh, an anti-Sikh riot activist, against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the upcoming state Assembly polls.The announcement is likely to be made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a couple of days at a rally at Lambi, a seat represented by Badal. “The rally should take place in a couple of days. Currently, the Akalis (Akali Dal) are creating hurdles to ensure that the rally does not take place,” a senior party leader said. The 43-year-old former scribe was sacked from the organisation for allegedly hurling a shoe at the then Home Minister P Chidambaram over the anti-Sikh riot issue.Singh, who is AAP legislator from Rajouri Garden, had also unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls from West Delhi on the party ticket. Early this year, the party has elevated Singh as co-in-charge of Punjab and its spokesperson in the state. When contacted Singh said he was ready to take “any challenge” that the party asks him to take up.The party has already fielded prominent candidates like its Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann from Jalalabad, a seat represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The party has also fielded Himmat Singh Shergill against Finance Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

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.

Manipur: BJP slams CM Okram Ibobi Singh, Centre rushes 4000 paramiltary personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ram Madhav, the National General Secretary of the BJP hit out at Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh over the blockade in Manipur by the United Naga Council. He was quoted by ANI: “Manipur CM was asked to take help from forces & clear blockade, but blockade apparently politically suited him, so didn’t do needful. Manipur CM playing games with lives of people of Valley, Govt of India from day one asked him to avail all required support from Centre.”Earlier, the BJP appealed the United Naga Council (UNC) to immediately withdraw the ongoing economic blockade on the highways of Manipur. BJP spokesperson N Biren appealed the UNC to withdraw the blockade which entered its 56th day today and sought “another forum” to achieve its demands.Biren was speaking to the reporters on his return from Delhi, where an eight-member BJP delegation met top central leaders including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. Biren said, “The ruling Congress government is answerable to the people of the state for the hardship faced by them”.He questioned whether it has made any formal effort at the Centre regarding the presence of NSCN(IM) camps in the Manipur, the number of its cadre present in the state.He also sought to know whether there have been any effort to demolish the NSCN(IM)’s designated camps in the state as the ceasefire agreement between NSCN(IM) and the Centre does not cover Manipur. Biren also asked whether the state government has made any move to identify the perpetrators of the twin ambush on Manipur police at Lokchao and Bongyang in Tengnoupal district which claimed the lives of three policemen earlier this month. If there has been any such move, BJP demanded that the documents be made public. He also said the BJP was for a neutral CBI or NIA inquiry into the attacks on Manipur police. Later, lone BJP MLA Bishwajit said BJP’s philosophy is nation first, party second and self last. Centre rushes 4000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur The Centre has rushed additional 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in its efforts to reopen a national highway which has blocked for nearly two months by a Naga group.With this, the total number of central security personnel deployed in the sensitive northeastern state for assisting the local administration for maintaining law and order has gone up to 17,500.”Our top priority is now to reopen the National Highway-2 connecting Manipur (to Nagaland). While the other highway (NH-37) is reopened, we want to reopen the NH-2 too as early as possible,” a senior Home Ministry official said.The security personnel were sent to the northeastern state keeping in view the security situation in the wake of violence following the economic blockade imposed by the Union Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways since November 1.The UNC has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked Manipur.Curfew has been clamped in Imphal East district for the last fortnight after a mob torched and vandalised 22 passenger vehicles on the Imphal-Ukhrul road, while curfew in Imphal West district was imposed from evening to dawn.In a stern message, the Centre had on Friday told the Manipur government that it can’t escape responsibility for the “humanitarian crisis” arising out of the 52-day economic blockade by a Naga group and must work to end it, while making it clear that nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of it.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who was on a day-long visit to Congress-ruled Manipur as a central emissary, said it is completely unacceptable to have such kinds of blockades in which thousands are suffering and both the central and Manipur governments will work together to end it.”The state government has not been able to end the blockade. It must end as soon as possible as law and order is the responsibility of the state government. Nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of a humanitarian crisis where common people are suffering,” he had said.

Indo-Bangla border to be completely sealed by mid 2018: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.”We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP workers here.”Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said. The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said. Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon. The Union minister said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state.”If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he added.

Domestic carriers not operating from T3 has hit airport Metro

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Domestic low-cost carriers not operating from Terminal 3 has been a “setback” for the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, DMRC chief Mangu Singh has said.Although the premium corridor has scripted a turnaround of sorts with daily ridership touching a high of 50,000 in August this year, Singh suggested that the numbers could have been more had things panned out as per plan.When the 23-km-long corridor was being contemplated, it was planned that complete flight operations, including domestic, will be from T3, he said, but “we do not know” why authorities decided to continue with Terminal 1. “This is really a setback because we believe that passengers of domestic carriers use public transport. T3 people mostly travel in their own vehicles. However, we are running a feeder service between the two terminals and that has helped to some extent,” Singh said.At the planning stage, it was also envisaged that property development would be a major source of revenue for the corridor but low ridership was coming in its way, which prompted metro to slash fares, he said. The idea was that when footfall increases property development will follow, Singh said.Fares were cut by up to 50% in September last year to popularise the relatively expensive line that connects New Delhi Railway Station to T3. The maximum fare has been reduced to Rs 60 from Rs 180 while the minimum is Rs 10 against Rs 50 in 2013.As metro already had a robust system in place, operating the Airport corridor was not much of a challenge when it took over the operations from a private concessionaire in July 2013. “We had one big advantage because we were already operating a system. There were many things that we could simply absorb. Control centre was shifted here, similarly maintenance staff was shared. We could bring in a lot of efficiency as per operational and maintenance cost is concerned,” he said.As per official data, the average daily ridership figure of July, 2013, was 10,069. It subsequently rose to around 12,000 in March 2014 and further to 19,466 a year later.On August 28, 2015, more than 32,000 people had taken the corridor, also known as Orange Line and a year later it recorded the highest-ever ridership of 50,000.

Jammu and Kashmir: Identity certificates for Pakistani refugees cause communal rift

The decision of the Jammu and Kashmir state government to issue identity certificates to thousands of refugees from Pakistan (who are settled in Jammu and Kashmir since Partition in 1947) to help them get jobs in Central government departments has divided the state on communal lines.

While the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir has objected to the move, which is seen by it as a ploy to settle down non-state subjects in Jammu and Kashmir to tilt the vote in favour of India on the event of any referendum on Kashmir, the National Conference has accused the PDP-BJP government of undermining the state subject laws. However, even as the PDP has chosen to stay away from the controversy stating that identity certificates will not confer state subject rights on West Pakistani refugees, BJP has demanded that refugees need to be given the rights to enable them to get jobs in the state.

File image of Mehbooba Mufti and Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Mehbooba Mufti and Rajnath Singh. PTI

Both the PDP and NC are trying to protect their respective votebanks in Kashmir, which remains a predominantly Muslim area, while the BJP is seeking to secure the large Hindu vote from the Jammu region. As per government figures, there are around 5,764 families who migrated from the then West Pakistan and are now living mainly in the Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu division. The West Pakistan Refugee Action Committee (WPRAC) has said that the number has now soared to 19,960 families comprising of near one lakh people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs. It was during the partition of Punjab in 1947 that Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan, and Muslims went from India to Pakistan.

The issue of granting any state subject rights to West Pakistani refugees has, however, not only divided the state on regional and religious lines, but has the potential to spur the ongoing unrest in Kashmir. Although the separatists have provided a relaxation to the shutdown for five days a week, they lodged protests against the government’s decision to issue identity certificates to refugees and a recent decision of the Supreme Court to extend the SARFESI Act to the state. Some legal experts have argued that the extension of the SARFESI Act to the state will enable external banks to take the ownership of the properties of local people in lieu of their due loans, which will violate the state subject laws.

On the move towards conferring state subject rights to West Pakistani refugees, separatists have termed it as against the interests of Kashmiri Muslims. “By settling refugees in Jammu and Kashmir, the historical and political reality of the Jammu and Kashmir will get jeopardised,” the statement said. The NC has toed a somewhat similar line stating that the PDP-BJP coalition “is working against the interest of majority Muslims”.

The National Panthers Party that corners a sizable amount of support in the Jammu region, has however accused the BJP of succumbing to the “pressure of separatist forces of Kashmir”. The Panther Party’s leader Harsh Dev Singh said that the “refugees of West Pakistan who had taken shelter in Jammu and Kashmir have been left in the lurch for the last 70 years or so”. He added, “The refugees are living in plight as they have not been granted PRCs, employment and other benefits.”

However, even as PDP leader and minister for education Naeem Akhtar has clarified that “an orchestrated and misleading campaign has been launched to create an impression that the government is changing the status of West Pakistani Refugees and they are being provided domicile certificates”, BJP leaders said that they are committed to providing the state subject rights to refugees. Senior BJP leader and party MLA from Samba, Devindar Manyal, in whose constituency a large number of West Pakistani Refugees live, said that the party was committed to safeguarding the rights of the people.

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

“We are in favour of granting refugees ownership rights. The BJP government both at the state and the Centre is committed to providing them the rights. We are in favour of giving them permanent resident certificates (PRCs),” said Manyal. Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and minister of state for relief and rehabilitation Ajay Nanda said that West Pakistani Refugees should have been granted state subject rights. “They have been settled in Jammu and Kashmir for a long time, but can’t get government jobs or vote in the Assembly elections, which is discriminatory,” he said.

President of the WPRAC, Labha Ram Gandhi, said that they had earlier brought to the notice of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh the fact that they are not getting state subject rights that deprive them of state government jobs. “An unnecessary controversy has been created over issuing identity certificates to us. These certificates only mention that we have come from Pakistan after 1947 and these have been issued for the past four months. These certificates are necessary for us to get government jobs,” said Gandhi.

However, even as the Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier directed that the voter ID cards that are used by the West Pakistani Refugees to cast the ballot in the parliamentary elections should be used as proof of identity for Central jobs, the state government has stoked a fresh controversy by issuing new identity cards to refugees for getting jobs in Central government departments, especially the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:44 IST

Watch: Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur joins BJP ahead of Punjab elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dalbir Kaur, the sister of Sarabjit Singh, who died in a Pakistan jail in 2013, joined the BJP on Sunday. “She joined the party in the presence of BJP MLA and Punjab Minister Surjit Jyani at a conference organised by the party’s Kisan Morcha here,” Punjab BJP Kisan Morcha general secretary Gurwinder Singh said in Fazilka.When asked by reporters, Kaur confirmed that she had joined the BJP. Kaur had grown close to the BJP even in 2005, during her struggle to get her brother out of jail, and there were reports of her joining the party.Sarabjit died following an attack on him by inmates of a Lahore prison in April 2013. He was convicted for terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court and sentenced to death in 1991. However, the government stayed his execution for an indefinite period in 2008. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh could not attend the Kisan Morcha’s conference because of inclement weather.

Punjab Elections 2017: Captain Amarinder slams Badals, promises to jail ‘drug mafia’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said if elected he would put behind bars those guilty of drug smuggling and “patronising” drug mafias, bringing to the fore the rampant drug abuse in the state, as he slammed the Badal family for failing to control the menace. He attacked the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its top leaders, including Bikramjit Singh Majithia, for allegedly misleading the people with their “disinformation” campaign.Capt Amarinder was talking to reporters after some Akali, Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Kamalji Singh Karwal and Yamini Gomar, officially joined Congress here.”From transport to drugs to sand, cable TV, liquor, there was nothing the Akalis had not seized control of to promote their interests,” the Congress chief alleged and vowed to eliminate “all these mafias” after coming to power in Punjab. He accused Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD and AAP of Arvind Kejriwal of a malicious campaign against Congress, rubbishing allegations his government during his tenure as chief minister from 2002 to 2007 had banned recruitments and appointments.He claimed the parties were doing it “deliberately”. The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief claimed his government had created job opportunities for 20 lakh youth and also recruited thousands of government employees.He said recruitments were kept in abeyance for some time as the treasury had no money when he began his tenure in 2002.”Had we not done so, Punjab would have plunged into an even deeper financial crisis than my government had inherited from the Akalis,” he said.He, however, said after the ban was lifted his government appointed more than 49,000 government employees and 12,000 teachers. “Neither the Badals nor AAP’s HS Phoolka have an iota of knowledge (about governance) and are simply talking out of their hat.” Promising to review only the “political appointments” made by the Badals, Capt Amarinder said no government employees’ jobs would be reviewed and his party was committed to provide employment to every family in the state.

Varanasi: Over 700 kg ganja, around Rs 9 lakh in cash seized, 5 held

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five persons have been arrested here and over 700 kg of ganja along with around Rs 9 lakh in cash were seized from them, police said.An ambulance was intercepted at Chaubeypur Police Station area. During the checking, 737 kg of ganja, in 134 packets, worth around Rs one crore in domestic market was recovered from the vehicle, police’s Special Task Force Inspector S K Singh said.Rs 9.42 lakh in cash, of which nearly Rs eight lakh was in new currency notes was also seized from the vehicle, the officer said.The five arrested have been identified as Triveni Gupta, Srinath Yadav, Bunty Gupta all from Azamgarh, and Jakir Hussain and Altaf Hussain both native of Assam, he said.They used to transport ganja from Assam to Uttar Pradesh and other states in the vehicle, Singh said.

DNA Morning Must Reads: PM kicks off development projects; Harjeet Singh talks hockey; Christmas 2016, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. PM Modi sounds BMC poll bugle with Mumbai growth pitch; kicks off projects worth Rs 1.06 lakh crEyeing ensuing elections, including the one to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday underlined the importance of development. Read more here2. From Saudi Arabia to Hyderabad, journey of ‘Army of the Caliph in South India’When 30-year-old Hyderabad youth Ibrahim Yazdani returned to his city from Saudi Arabia, he was convinced that ISIS was fighting a justifiable war against President Bashar Al Assad’s forces. Continue reading here3. Budget 2017: PM promises more difficult reforms; wants higher taxes from marketWith a little over two months left for the Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised more “sound and prudent economic policies.” Read more here4. For 10 days, 25 of us were a family. We played like one as well: Harjeet SinghIndia’s World Cup-winning junior hockey captain Harjeet Singh talks about secret to his team’s incredible journey to title, his belief in this bunch repeating their heroics for seniors and why he made cups of tea for his teammates. Read more here5. DNA After Hrs goes the Grinch way for Christmas, gifts stars naughty giftsHo, Ho, Ho! Here’s what our bad Santa wants to gift these stars. He doesn’t have a naughty-or-nice list. But they’re sure getting something from us. Read more here

Cong, AAP will withdraw subsidies and concessions if voted to power: Parkash Singh Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharpening attack on Congress and AAP, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the two parties have shown “stiff resistance” to “pro-people” policies of the Akali government and asserted that if re-elected to power he would review “people-friendly” decisions like regularisation of employees.”By announcing that they (opposition) will review the pro-people decisions taken by the state government like regularisation of employees and others, Amarinder Singh (of Congress) and AAP leaders have proved that if voted to power they will withdraw the subsidies and concessions like free power, Atta-Dal, Shagun and others being given to the people,” he said. The Chief Minister was addressing public gatherings in village Dhaler Kalan, Sandhaur, Sherwani Kot, Ferozepur Kothala and others during Sangat Darshan programme in Malerkotla assembly segment.Congress state unit chief Amarinder Singh had earlier said that he would review all decisions taken by the SAD-BJP state government in the last three months, if his party comes to power. Singh, however, yesterday clarified that his statement was twisted and affirmed that no government appointments would be subjected to any scrutiny. Badal said that in last ten years, the SAD-BJP alliance had given free power to farmers at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore annually. He said now in a historic initiative the state government has decided to regularise the services of 30,000 employees by passing the bill in the state assembly.Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance has ensured the welfare of every strata of society by taking several “path-breaking initiatives” for providing jobs, quality health and education facilities and by starting several pro-poor schemes. The veteran Akali leader said Punjabis can never forgive the Congress party for its “sins” against Punjab. “Congress has irrelevantly meddled in the social, political, economic and even religious affairs of the state,” he said, adding that the Congress governments at the Centre had deliberately denied the state of Punjabi speaking areas, its capital Chandigarh and even its legitimate share in river waters. He said “no true Punjabi” can ever forgive Congress for sins like Operation Blue Star and the killing of innocents in 1984 anti-Sikh carnage. On the sidelines of Sangat Darshan, the Chief Minister said he would contest the election from the seat which would be allocated to him by the party. He said in a democratic set up party was the supreme and he had always obeyed by the decision of his party.Flaying the shameful act of vandalisation of Gurdwara in Calgary (Canada), Badal said this incident has bruised the psyche of every human being in general and Sikhs in particular. He said this incident needs to be condemned in strongest words as it was a crime against the humanity as the Sikh Gurus have shown the way of peace, communal harmony and welfare of all to the entire humanity. He said the government of India must ensure the safety and security of the law abiding members of the Punjabi diaspora abroad, which have been living in across the globe for decades as most civilised and productive members of the local society.

Uttar Pradesh: 7-year-old boy killed by elder brother over property in Sitapur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A seven-year-old boy was pushed into a well by his elder brother to stake full claim over the family property in Bhawanipur village here, police said on Saturday.”The accused, Ankit (22) killed his brother Aditya by pushing him into a well,” Station House Officer DK Singh said.Aditya’s family searched for him yesterday when he did not return home, but by the time they found the well, he had died, Singh said.”The accused on interrogation confessed of committing the crime with the help of two others, in order to stake full claim over the parental property,” he said.”A case has been registered and efforts are on to arrest the other two accomplices,” Singh added.

Rajnath Singh expresses confidence about BJP sweeping UP polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday expressed confidence about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweeping the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year with an absolute majority.BJP will win the Uttar Pradesh election with an absolute majority, Singh said while en route to Lucknow.Singh, who will address parivartan rally in Lucknow, added, ‘BJP’s parivartan rally has laid the foundation of change in Uttar Pradesh and people of the state also believe that change is certain.”Speaking on demonetisation, Singh said the decision to impose a ban on Rs 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes should not be seen as an election issue.”Demonetization is not about electoral loss or victory. The demonetization decision has been taken keeping national interest in mind, and therefore, it should not be associated with the election,” Singh said, adding that the demonetization decision has been taken to curb corruption, black money and to strengthen the economy of the country.He further said that the demonetisation also helped fight terrorism as many accounts of the Naxalites have been seized post the announcement of the drive.

Not a government of Sonia Gandhi where institutions can be over ruled and subverted: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who sought to know whether the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was given sufficient time to hold deliberations on the government’s demonetization move, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said the present dispensation, unlike the UPA tenure, does not ‘subvert and over rule’ the institutions and perform their duties mandated by the constitution.”As far as institutions under the present dispensation is concerned, every regulator is performing their duty as mandated by the constitution and this is not the government of Sonia Gandhi where institutions can be over ruled and subverted,” BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said.Rao said Singh worked as a puppet in the hands of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and accused the former prime minister of subverting the institutions for political benefit.”Manmohan Singh himself had lacked authority as the prime minister even when Rahul Gandhi went on a rampage and tore ordinance papers that were cleared by Singh and he talks about institutions, I find it rather curious,” Rao added.During a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance on Thursday Singh suggested that the panel, which is looking into the demonetization decision, call government officials to depose before it hears RBI Governor Urjit Patel.The issue was being discussed in presence of independent experts, including economists Rajiv Kumar and Mahesh Vyas, former chief statistician Pronab Sen and Kavita Rao of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, who had been called to offer their views to the panel. Three of the experts were critical of the demonetization decision.RBI governor Patel will brief the panel on January 18 or 19 on demonetization and its implications, while government officials, mostly from the Finance Ministry, will be asked to depose before it on January 11 or 12.

Sanskari passport: Now sadhus can mention names of spiritual gurus instead of biological parents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sadhus and sanyasis can now mention names of their spiritual gurus instead of biological parents under new passport rules announced which also eliminate the mandatory requirement of the birth certificate as the proof of date of birth (DOB).The rules, which were announced by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, also provides a provision for government servants, who are not able to get “no objection certificate” from their respective ministries/departments.In order to streamline, liberalise and ease the process of issue of passport, the ministry has taken a number of steps in the realm of passport policy which is expected to benefit the citizens of India applying for a passport, Singh noted.In case of proof of DOB while filing application, it has now been decided that all applicants of passports can submit any one of the documents –transfer/School leaving/ Matriculation Certificate, PAN card, Aadhaar Card/E-Aadhaar having the DOB of applicant, copy of the extract of the service record of the applicant, driving licence, Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) or LIC policy bond.Birth Certificate issued by the Registrar of Births & Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority whosoever has been empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969 to register the birth of a child born in India can also be given as DOB proof.As per the extant statutory provisions of the Passport Rules, 1980, all the applicants born on or after January 26, 1989, had to mandatory submit the birth certificate as the DOB proof to get a passport.The government has also accepted the demand by the sadhus/sanyasis that they should be allowed to write names of their gurus instead of names of their parents, Singh said, adding but they have to provide at least one public document such as EPIC, PAN card, Adhaar Card, etc wherein the name of the guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s).In case of government servants, who are not able to obtain the Identity Certificate/ No-Objection Certificate from their employer concerned and intend to get the passport on urgent basis can now get the passport by submitting a self- declaration that he/she has given prior Intimation letter to his/her employer informing that he/she was applying for an ordinary passport.A report of a inter-ministerial committee with members from MEA and Women and Child Development ministry to examine issues pertaining to applications where mother/child has insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to children with single parent and to adopted children has also been accepted.Based on the report, policy changes have been made which include no mandatory requirement of a marriage certificate for married applicants as also provide name of the only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant. Under the new rules, total number of Annexes prescribed in the Passport Rule, 1980, has been brought down to 9 from the present 15 and all the annexes that are required to be given by the applicants would be self-declaration on plain paper. “No attestation/swearing by/before any Notary/Executive Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate would be henceforth necessary,” as per the new rules, which also do not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree. Orphaned children who do not have any proof of DOB such as Birth Certificate or the Matriculation Certificate or the declaratory court order, may now submit a declaration given by the Head of the Orphanage/Child Care Home on official letter head of the organisation confirming the DOB of the applicant.For children not born out of wedlock, the applicant should submit only self-declaration form while submitting the application and in case of issue of passport to in-country domestically-adopted children, submission of the registered adoption deed would no longer be required. Asked about the rules applicable to get a passport for a child born through surrogacy, Chief Passport Officer Arun K Chatterjee said there was a specific list of documents required as per the Indian Council For Medical Research regulations.Since the bill dealing with surrogacy is still pending before the Lok Sabha, changes can only be carried out after it is passed, he added.Singh also said the necessary notifications would soon be published in the Official Gazette to give effect to these changes. Instructions are also being issued to the Passport Issuing Authorities in India and abroad on these revised regulations.”MEA expects that the changes in the Passport Rules would further ease the process for passport applicants in getting their Passport.”At the same time, it would enable this Ministry to continue to deliver passport related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce,” Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.Singh also said the ministry was examining a pilot project under which the head post offices could be used to provide passport services. On when will the passport services like ‘Tatkal’ can become cashless, Chatterjee said they have done a tie-up with SBI and were getting machines to make the service totally cashless and expressed hope it will start functioning in next fortnight or so. He also mentioned that currently there were 89 passport seva kendras apart from 38 passport offices and seven passport centres in the country. Responding to a separate query on demonetization and the update on the recomendations of the inter-ministerial task force, Swarup said it was still under the preview of the Department of Economic Affairs.”We continue to pursue with them and we hope that very soon we will have some recommendations…Government will take a considered view in the matter,” he added.

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi ‘wants to destroy farmers’, says RLD chief Ajit Singh

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi ‘wants to destroy farmers’, says RLD chief Ajit Singh

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Muzaffarnagar: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh in a rally on Thursday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s motive behind the demonetisation decision was to destroy farmers.

File photo of RLD chief Ajit Singh. PTI

File photo of RLD chief Ajit Singh. PTI

“Demonetisation has created great problems for farmers and comman man. Modi’s policy is anti-farmers and he wants to destroy the farmers,” Singh said while addressing an election rally in Charthawal area of the district on Thursday evening.

Modi first failed to fulfill his promise of bringing black money from abroad and then came up with demonetisation. “And now has scrapped import duty on wheat to destroy the farmers,” he said.

Singh alleged, BJP was tring to divide farmers on communal lines and creating communal tension to get benefit in polls.

He appealed the people to beat BJP in UP assembly polls next year.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and K C Tyagi also addressed the rally and attacked the NDA government’s policies.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 14:46 IST

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Lunch pe charcha: When PM Modi brought his own tiffin to lunch with booth workers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday brought his own tiffin to lunch with BJP booth workers’ in Varanasi where he addressed a rally and shared his own experiences.”Everyone including PM Shri Narendra Modi brought their own tiffins and had discussion over a meal,” said BJP on Twitter.It also added that ‘such equality’ was possible only in BJP.The party said that Modi interacted and had lunch with more than 26,000 booth workers belonging to over 1700 booths in Varanasi.On his first visit to his Lok Sabha constituency since demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP cadres in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to tell people about the central government’s initiatives.Modi, who interacted with party cadres and had lunch with them, sought to enthuse them by sharing his own experiences and telling them how he rose through the ranks, according to Piysh Vardhan Singh Rajkumar, co-convener of the BJP’s IT cell for Kashi region.This was Modi’s first visit to his constituency Varanasi since announcing demonetization decision on November 8.(With PTI inputs)

Demonetisation: Was RBI given time at all to think? Manmohan’s question is pertinent

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a distinguished economist and former RBI governor, has raised one more pertinent question: Was the Reserve Bank of India given enough time to discuss the demonetisation before the announcement was made?

According to a report in The Indian Express, he has raised the question at a meeting of the parliamentary committee on finance, which is studying the government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes from 8 November.

The committee met on Thursday under the chairmanship of Congress leader M Veerappa Moily. Singh is a member of the panel.

The report quoting a panel member said Singh citing a note from the central bank said the government took the decision on 7 November and the RBI board on 8 November. Singh was of the opinion that the panel should be first listening to the government and then the RBI governor.

Manmohan Singh. PTI file photoManmohan Singh. PTI file photo

Manmohan Singh. PTI file photo

Governor Urjit Patel was to brief before the panel on 21 December. This was postponed and, according to a PTI report, the briefing will now happen on 19 January. The decision to postpone is probably in keeping with Singh’s advise.

Singh had earlier criticised the demonetisation in the Lok Sabha saying that demonetisation is “organised loot”, “legalised plunder” and “monumental failure”.

“It is no good that every day, the banking system modifies rules and conditions. This reflects poorly on the office of the PM, finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India. I am very sorry that the RBI has been exposed to this criticism,” Singh had said then.

His views assume significance in the backdrop of criticism that the RBI has failed in anticipating the problems that is likely to crop up after the note ban and also handling the situation effectively. Many experts are of the view that this has affected the credibility of a key democratic institution that has remained autonomous and largely escaped arm-twisting by the political class of the country.

The RBI and the finance ministry together have put out more than 60 notifications and orders in about 45 days of demonetisation. This in itself is a proof that the central bank was unprepared for a move with such large scale ramifications. The frequent rule change has not only put the banks in difficulty but has aggravated the pain of the common man.

However, even more shocking is Singh’s revelation at the panel meeting that the RBI was given just one day to take the decision on demonetisation. This claim raises many questions.

Does this mean the government took a hasty decision and forced the RBI to do so ? If that is so, it means the government or the RBI had not done any ground work before announcing the decision. Or was it just a last-minute hurry after taking most of the decisions earlier? When was the RBI first informed about the impending note ban? Was it kept in dark too about the decision until the end?

If it is so, it flies in the face of the government’s claim that it has been preparing for demonetisation for many months. In fact, prime minister Narendra Modi had in a speech (watch here) claimed that it started 10 months back and had to be kept a secret fearing the tax cheats would have found ways to whiten their ill-gotten wealth.

The public has been going through unprecedented difficulties due to the cash crunch, a direct consequence of the demonetisation. While the ban sucked out Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of currency notes in circulation, the government and the RBI have been able to pump only about one-third of the money back into the system. The public has a right to know why there is still a cash shortage. It is to be noted that the central bank or the government has not yet given a status report of the printing of notes, especially that of Rs 500.

If the RBI was given only a day to take a decision, as Singh has said before the panel, that probably explains why the authorities were not prepared for the move. The note from the RBI has to be made public at the earliest.

In fact, the government and the RBI should make public all documents and files related to the decision. It is all about transparency of governance, which PM Modi is committed to.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 10:31 IST

PM Modi is making light of serious allegations to divert attention: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MLA and leader of Opposition of the West Bengal Assembly, Abdul Mannan on Thursday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mocking of the party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.“It is sad to see that the country is being led by a person who needs to be institutionalised. We have had leaders in the past who, on a slight allegation of corruption have stepped down from their posts and waited till they were given a clean chit. But our PM is not only silent on the issue, but is making fun of those who are making the allegations, to divert the attention,” Mannan said. He said that it was unfortunate that someone who hardly understood the country’s economy was criticising globally reputed economists and qualified persons such as Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram.Referring to the demonetization policy he said, “It is clear that the PM’s decision is in favour of those who possess huge amounts of black money because the PM changes his stand on a daily basis. What would be his last decision, no one knows.”He said that the state Congress would build a movement in all the 294 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. “The AICC direction has been to put up protest programmes across the state against the past corrupt practices of the PM who had been putting up an front of being a symbol of truth. Teams will be formed and led by state Congress leaders and they will visit every district and every Lok Sabha constituency. Some of the AICC leaders are also expected to turn up here to address public meetings,” Mannan said.The message that would be sent out to people is that the Prime Minister wears suits worth Rs 10 lakh and talks about being with the poor, whereas he himself is up to his eyes with corruption.

PM likens Congress to Pakistan, says note ban will expose ‘kala dhan’ and ‘kala mann’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a scathing attack on opposition for stalling Parliament over demonetization, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged on Thursday that they were trying to “rescue the corrupt” like Pakistan gives cover fire to terrorists to cross border and said the note ban will expose the ‘kala dhan’ (black money) as well as ‘kale mann’ (ill-intentions) of many. “Many people say I had not taken account the consequences of this huge step. In fact, the only thing that I could not take into account was the brazenness with which many political parties and leaders will come to the rescue of the corrupt.But I am happy that this drive aimed at eliminating ‘kala dhan’ has exposed so many ‘kale mann’,” Modi said. The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking at a function organised inside the Benares Hindu University campus.Charging the opposition parties, who have been attacking the government over demonetization, with “brazenly standing in support of the corrupt and the dishonest”, Modi compared their stalling of parliamentary proceedings during the latest session to “firing at the borders by Pakistan in a bid to provide cover to infiltrators”.
ALSO READ After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’He also hit back at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and P Chidambaram, saying their argument that promoting cashless economy was futile due to poverty, illiteracy and electricity not reaching villages in the country “exposes” their own report card. Reacting to his predecessor Manmohan Singh’s assertion in the Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50% of people were poor, the Prime Minister said, “I wonder whether he was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation. After all, he has not just been the Prime Minister for two terms and a Finance Minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions”.Taking on former Finance Minister Chidambaram over his assertion that online transactions could not find wide acceptance in India since nearly half of its villages were not even electrified, Modi said “whose faults is he pointing at. Did I uproot electric poles or snap cables in villages which had electricity”.
ALSO READ Manmohan Singh exposing his own misdeeds, says PM ModiHe also took potshots at Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, “I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write. “He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party.”Calling himself “Kashi ka bachcha” (a child of Kashi), Modi said, “I am, nonetheless, delighted to see that the power of this holy land has made me work and forced detractors to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures”. Urging the people to have patience in the face of the inconveniences which have ensued demonetization, Modi said, making use of a metaphor, “The stench of a garbage heap becomes unbearable when a cleanliness drive starts. But if we persevere and remove every bit of filth, we can build a beautiful garden on the clean spot”.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi hits back at Modi, says mock me, but answer questionsReiterating the need to move towards a “cashless economy”, Modi said “once black money is eliminated from the system, it is essential to ensure that fresh black money is not generated. Net banking, mobile banking and payment through cards is the way forward”. Earlier, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stones for a cancer research centre and a super specialty hospital and stressed on the need for “not just health insurance but also health assurance wherein the poorest of the poor have access to the best possible treatment and medicines”.Modi, who also interacted with artistes performing a stage play “Chanakya”, hailed the political and economic thought of the ancient Indian strategist saying “so many ideas have come and gone but he remains as relevant as ever”. Offering words of appreciation for the ongoing “Rashtriya Sanskritik Mahotsav” (national cultural festival at BHU), Modi said, “Art must be a part of our life and artistes must get due respect since it is art alone that can prevent human beings from becoming like robots which have intelligence but no sensitivity.”The Prime Minister was speaking in the presence of Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma and Anupriya Patel.

After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A combative Rahul Gandhi hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mocking his speech wherein the Congress vice president had accused him of having taken money from corporate groups, saying he could make fun of him but needed to answer the charges of personal corruption levelled against him. At a ‘jan aakrosh rally’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Congress vice president told the Prime Minister that he could make fun of him as much as he can but should answer the questions raised by him. “The charges have not been levelled by me alone but by the youth of India who feel cheated as you had promised them jobs,” an aggressive Rahul said.Waving sheets of paper which purportedly contained details of charges against Modi having allegedly accepted money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister, the Congress vice president asked the Prime Minister to tell whether the documents were correct or not. Sticking to his guns, he alleged Modi as the Gujarat Chief Minister had taken Rs 40 crore from the Sahara group in nine instalments spread over six months in 2013 and 2014.Coming down hard against note ban, he insisted that the Prime Minister came out with the surprise decision not to help the poor but the “super rich 50 families of India”.Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Rahul dubbed him as a “super event planner” who had made “perfect planning” to take the money from the poor to help the rich who owe as much as Rs 8 lakh crore to the banks.”Suck the money from the poor and feed the rich. Take the money from 99 per cent and give it to one per cent,” he said adding that this was the essence of the note ban and not to weed out black money and help the poor as claimed by Modi.”I will repeat the same question to the PM…Congress wants to eradicate corruption and if the NDA initiates any step in this direction it will be extended full support but this note ban decision is not against corruption or black money.”Modiji said those standing in bank queues are thieves.Today, I saw people standing in front of the banks. Modiji they are not thieves but honest poor,” he said, adding that there was not a single rich or “suited, booted” person who is seen on the Prime Minister’s aircraft when he goes abroad, standing in the lines.Earlier, Rahul took to Twitter to attack the Prime Minister. “Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara,” the Congress Vice President tweeted in Hindi.Along with the tweet was posted a document purportedly with the Income Tax Department of nine entries from October 2013 to February 14 detailing “cash payments made to Modiji”.His comments came close on the heels of the Prime Minister, at a function in Varanasi, ridiculing Rahul’s remarks about creating an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him.Modi ridicules Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan SinghRidiculing Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about bringing an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he is happiest since the Congress leader has “learnt” to speak as he has unwittingly admitted the “failure” of his party’s reign.”They have a young leader who is just learning to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, there is no limit to my happiness. In 2009, you couldn’t even tell what is inside this packet and what is not. Now we are finding out,” Modi said without naming Gandhi.”He had been going around threatening that when he will speak, there will be an earthquake. If he hadn’t spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years.”There is no chance of an earthquake now that he has spoken. We can be rest assured that there is no danger of the natural calamity in sight,” the PM said, a day after Gandhi’s accusation against Modi of taking money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.BJP had rejected the Congress leader’s allegations as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide”.Accusing the Government of not allowing his to speak in Parliament, Gandhi had earlier said that “an earthquake will come” if he speaks and had gone on to claim that he had knowledge of “personal corruption” by Modi.The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking today at a function organised inside the Banaras Hindu University campus.He also took potshots at Gandhi’s assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, “I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write.”He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party,” the PM said adding his detractors have been forced “to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures”.He said a cleanliness campaign has been launched and the “stink” raised during cleaning of garbage which is scattered everywhere is the same that the country is feeling now.Modi said he is happy that note ban has “exposed the ‘kala dhan’ (black money) as well as ‘kale mann’ (ill-intentions) of many”.Taking a jibe a former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said poverty is his legacy adding Singh’s image is clean but a number of major scams had taken place during his tenure.Reacting to his predecessor’s assertion in Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50 per cent of people were poor, the Prime Minister said, “I wonder whether he (Singh) was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation.”After all, he has not just been the Prime Minister for two terms and a Finance Minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions.”

1984 riots case: Sajjan Kumar gets anticipatory bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was granted anticipatory bail in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Wednesday by a Delhi court which directed him to cooperate in the probe and not influence witnesses. Additional Session Judge Vikas Dhull, while granting relief to the former MP on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the like amount, also ordered that he will not leave the country without the court’s permission.The court had reserved its order on Wednesday after hearing the arguments of counsel for both the parties in two cases filed against Kumar falling in the jurisdiction of Janakpuri and Vikaspuri police stations in West Delhi. The complaint in Janakpuri pertains to the killing of two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh, on November 1, 1984 and in the other where a Sikh Gurcharan Singh was burnt on November 2, 1984 in the jurisdiction of Vikaspuri Police Station.As per the complaint, Gurcharan, who was half burnt, remained bed-ridden for 29 years. He died three years ago. Seeking anticipatory bail for Kumar, his counsel had argued that his name had appeared in this case after 32 years and the case was politically motivated.Opposing the plea, senior advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the complainants, had argued that the allegations against Kumar were very serious and he was a very influential person. The prosecutor, appearing for SIT, had also said that Kumar was not cooperating in the investigation and his custodial interrogation was required. The court was told that Kumar was summoned twice by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) but he had appeared only once.

BJP hits right electoral notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those who were surprised that despite long queues, there had been no popular backlash against demonetization may have received some answers from the results of the recent civic body elections. Held in Maharashtra and Chandigarh, the comfortable victories acquired by the BJP in these two places, and the hostile reception accorded to UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav by spectators, who had come to cheer the junior hockey team in Lucknow on Friday, summed up the positive mood amidst the public for the saffron party.The civic body elections are a shot in the arm for the BJP in the run up to the crucial assembly elections in UP and Punjab. Across the country, as DNA reporters have been finding out, despite inconveniences, people still believed PM Modi’s act would spark magic and rid the country of corruption.Speaking after the victory, BJP MP from Chandigarh and actor Kirron Kher, said demonetization was a “vote winner for her party and expected this perception to continue during the UP and Punjab polls.”These victories come at a welcome time as BJP MPs as well as its allies were getting apprehensive about the note ban. On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta had criticised his own government for changing its stance yet again on the depositing of old notes. Dasgupta was not alone. BJP ally and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, an early supporter of the move, expressed worry, saying there was no end in sight to the crisis brought about by the massive cash crunch.With Chandigarh having no assembly, the council elections are indicative of the urban mood. There were a total of 26 wards out of which BJP won 20 seats and its ally the Shrimoni Akali Dal (SAD) winning one seat. Congress’s presence was reduced to only four wards even as three former Congress mayors faced defeat. The BSP failed to make a mark and one seat was won by a BJP rebel who contested independently.Post the result, Prime Minister Modi tweeted to thank the people of Chandigarh for supporting the SAD-BJP alliance. “This shows the importance people attach to good governance,” he tweeted.Local issues had taken a back-seat in these polls, as demonetization had become the key poll plank for the parties. Congress tried to cash in on demonetization woes being faced by the people and called these elections a “litmus test for the BJP”, while the BJP highlighted how the move would help the common man by weeding out corruption.Setting the tone for these polls, BJP president Amit Shah had addressed a mega rally in Chandigarh in November where he had urged people “to vote in the name of Modi.” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur, BJP National Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain also addressed several rallies in different wards.The aggressive campaign executed by the BJP worked in its favour and the party upped the ante by inviting star campaigners including Bhojpuri singer-actor and North-East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari and Bhagat Singh Koshyari, singer Hans Raj Hans and former Uttarakhand CM to woo voters from all communities.In contrast, the Congress had registered its second poorest performance in the civic polls after 1996 when it won only one seat. Infighting in the party was also to blame as some leaders alleged that they had been sidelined. The rift came out in the open when Congress leader Manish Tiwari openly criticized former Chandigarh MP from Congress, Pawan Kumar Bansal. The manifesto was also released only a day before the election.Some 700 kms away in the ‘city of nawabs’, UP CM Akhelesh Singh, while presiding the award ceremony at the the most successful men’s Junior World Cup Hockey tournament, faced hostile crowds chanting “Modi, Modi”. It was a big embarrassment for Yadav who had spent as much as Rs 100 crore on building two world class hockey turfs.Earlier, the UP CM had decided to devote more than two hours to witness the final match between India and Belgium on Sunday evening. And his presence seemed to have boosted the morale of Indian colts, who went on to create history by reclaiming the trophy after a gap of 15 years.But what followed afterwards was a complete shocker to not only the organisers but also to the entire government machinery present there. As Akhilesh begun to speak, the 18,000-plus crowd started chanting “Modi, Modi”. Yadav got embarrassed for a moment but like a true politician, he didn’t let this affect his speech.The atmosphere did improve once Yadav distributed the prizes and the same crowd did appreciate his government’s successful organisation of the tournament with huge applause in between the announcements. But there was no denying that apart from the players, Modi was the star here too.

Personal attack by Rahul Gandhi on PM Modi will open pandora’s box: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at the Prime Minister once again, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday likened the repeated changes in the rules regarding deposit of old currency notes in banks to his changing of “clothes” and said the message going out was that the Prime Minister’s words are “hollow”.BJP responded by warning that such “personal attacks” by Gandhi on Modi will open a pandora’s box.”RBI is changing rules like the PM changes his clothes,” Gandhi tweeted, while posting an article on the RBI rules announced post demonetization. He was commenting on the new decision of the government under which an amount more than Rs 50,00 in scrapped currency can be deposited only once per account till December 30. Earlier, the Prime Minister, while announcing the demonetization decision on November 8, had said old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes could be deposited in banks till December 30 without any questions asked. “Prime Minister’s words should have weight. Prime Minister had promised the country that people can deposit their money in banks till December 30. Yesterday, Government had again changed the rules. This is 125th time rules were changed. Yesterday, the Government gave a message that words of Prime Minister are hollow,” Gandhi said.Noting that the Prime Minister had said money can be deposited in banks till December 30, the Congress leader said yesterday, however, the government said “no you cannot”. “The words of Narendra Modi are without any weight and are hollow. We will show how hollow they are,” he told ANI later. Reacting to the attack, BJP’s National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said it reflected the “DNA of Congress and Gandhi family” and he should desist from it. Singh warned that such personal attacks on Modi by Gandhi will open a pandora’s box.Gandhi’s attack came as the Congress leader is all set to take the battle over the issue of demonetization to the turf of the Prime Minister with a rally at Mehsana in Gujarat tomorrow. After Gujarat, Gandhi will be addressing rally at Bahraich in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on December 22 and at Almora in Uttarkhand the next day. Assembly polls in Uttarkhand are also scheduled early next year. On December 24, Gandhi will be addressing a rally at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

Punjab Elections 2017: After quiting BJP and flirting with AAP, Sidhu meets Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi amid speculation that the cricketer-turned politician would join the Congress sooner than later. Sidhu’s meeting with Gandhi lasted for more than 30 minutes and had come at a time when the Congress has finalised half of its candidates for the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. There was no official word as to what transpired at the meet, but it assumed significance as this was Sidhu’s first meeting with Gandhi after his wife Navjot Kaur joined the party late last month. Reports had it that the former cricketer, who left BJP over two months back, had met Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh. Amarinder had said that he does not think that Sidhu is interested in contesting Amritsar Lok Sabha by elections and is likely to campaign for the party. Sidhu’s entry into Congress has been speculated for a long time now. Sidhu was earlier in talks with AAP but it did not materialise leading to a split in his recently formed outfit Awaaz-E-Punjab. On being asked if her husband will join the party, Navjot Kaur had said, “Hum do shareer ek aatma hai, fir ek dusre ke bina kab tak reh paenge? (We are two bodies one soul how can we live separately)”. She later also said that Congress is the only platform for a stable government in Punjab.

Hindus being targeted by minorities in Bengal, Mamata must break ‘silence’: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of practising “appeasement politics”, BJP asked her to break her “silence” on communal violence at Dhulagarh in the state.BJP National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh told reporters that the minority wing leaders of Trinamool Congress were allegedly targeting Hindus, especially in six districts where BJP has shown growth, and said BJP will send a delegation of MPs there to look into the incident.The state unit has also been asked to move NHRC over it. “Hindus are being targeted by the minority wing… For over six days this dance of communalism is happening in Dhulagarh in Howrah district. You (Mamata) have not said anything. She must break her silence,” he said. 100 such communal incidents have happened since TMC came back to power this year, he alleged. He also referred to a fatwa issued by Shahi Imam of Kolkata s Tipu Sultan Masjid Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati in which a call to stone state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh to death was allegedly given. Singh said TMC’s minority wing head Idris Ali was with the Imam. The Imam moves around in the state in an unauthorised beacon car, he claimed. “This is a glowing example of her minority appeasement politics,” he said. While Banerjee address meetings in Delhi, Patna and Lucknow against note ban, she has kept quiet at the violence happening in her state, he said. Suggesting that the jan dhan accounts in the state were misused to deposit black money, he claimed about Rs 10000 crore were put in these accounts.On the one hand she says the state is full of poor farmers and on the other so much money has been deposited in these accounts, he said, asking her to explain this mismatch. “The reality is that all the black money TMC made has been rendered waste by demonetization,” he alleged. Referring to the incidents of artists and writers returning their award over “intolerance” issue, he said they should not keep silence now and speak up.

AAP’s victory in Delhi was an accident: Madhya Pradesh BJP chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s rally in Bhopal on Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh has said it doesn’t see any threat in increased activities of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state.”AAP’s victory in Delhi was an accident. Entire country has witnessed the poor show of Kejriwal government in Delhi. The people of Delhi have been suffering,” MP BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chouhan told reporters here last evening.Firing a salvo at Kejriwal’s ‘Parivartan Rally’ in Bhopal, Chouhan ruled out any possibility of the rise of ‘third force’ in the state, recalling that he had defeated Alok Agrawal, the convener of MP’s AAP unit, from Khandwa during last parliamentary elections.The MP BJP chief is a Lok Sabha member from Khandwa.”The next assembly election of the state would be contested under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister),” he said and ruled out any possibility of the MP CM shifting out of state politics.The MP BJP President also reiterated that the party would not field again the MLAs who performed poorly.”Only those with good performance would be given tickets in the next assembly polls,” he added.Polls in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled to be held in 2018.

JeM chief Masood Azhar, 3 others behind Pathankot airbase attack: NIA files chargesheet

New Delhi: Wrapping up investigations in the Pathankot airbase attack case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a chargesheet against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy of the January two audacious terror strike that left seven personnel dead and 37 others injured.

The chargesheet was filed in the NIA court at Panchkula in which all the four have been slapped with charges under Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Besides Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and two handlers — Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan — have been named in the exhaustive charge sheet. While Interpol Red Corner Notice against three has been issued, the same was pending against Jan, the NIA said.

The chargesheet will also put to rest speculation about the number of terrorists involved in the attack as the agency gave details of only four militants. There was confusion about the number of terrorists as Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had informed that the number was six.

The charge sheet also hinted of lax security at the strategic IAF base in Pathankot and said that the four terrorists — Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom — who were Pakistani nationals belonging to Jaish, had entered the premises at 0840 hours of January one and entrenched themselves in a drain and adjacent shed belonging to Military Engineering Services.

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

The terrorists were engaged in a gunfight only at 0320 hours of January two, 19 hours after they had entered the IAF base.

The charge sheet is likely to be used by India in advocating its case for imposing sanctions against Azhar, released in 1999 in exchange of IC-814 hijacked Indian Airlines Plane, under the United Nations anti-terror law, officials said.

The terror case saw an unusual move from India and Pakistan as Islamabad had sent its probe team to Pathankot. They were handed over all the documents and allowed to question everyone except security personnel involved in foiling the attempts of the terrorists.

However, the Pakistani team, upon their return, claimed that India neither shared much of evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.

Giving details about the infiltration and activities of the four terrorists, the NIA said in its charge sheet that all the four terrorists underwent extensive motivational, physical, military and tactical training and were radicalized to carry out terror strikes in India.

The four terrorists armed with ammunition and other logistical items illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost on 30 December. Empty food packets manufactured in Pakistan and other food articles from the neighbouring country were recovered from the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost, during investigation.

After infiltrating into the Indian side, these terrorists reached the road from Bhagwal village to Janial. On 31 December, at around 2130 hours, they hijacked a taxi bearing registration number PB06-G-0061, along with the driver, Ikagar Singh, who was going from village Bhagwal to Janial.

The terrorists snatched the mobile phone of Ikagar Singh and used the same to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, on three Pakistan mobile numbers 923453030479, 923213132786 and 923017775253. Their vehicle met with an accident at the Dhusi turn near the Ravi River Bridge after which the terrorists brutally killed Ikagar Singh and dumped his dead body in the nearby bushes.

Thereafter, the terrorists drove the damaged vehicle and abandoned it at a service station at Kolian Morh in Pathankot. During investigation, the DNA profiles recovered from the dagger, seized from the possession of one of the dead terrorists (Nisar), matched with that of Ikagar Singh, thereby conclusively establishing that he had killed Ikagar Singh.

Similarly, DNA profile of two terrorists was found on an energy drink can, recovered from the vehicle of Ikagar Singh. After abandoning the damaged vehicle of Ikagar Singh at Kolian Morh, the terrorists hid in the nearby sugarcane fields and waited for a vehicle to come.

They hijacked a Mahindra XUV bearing registration number PB02-BW-0313 of Salvinder Singh, Superintendent of Punjab Police, and moved towards the Air Force Station, Pathankot after taking control of the vehicle. They snatched the mobile phones of the victims and used them to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the JeM in Pakistan on the four Pakistan numbers — 923453030479, 923466746667, 923000957212 and 923024880619.

Pathankot air base. AFPPathankot air base. AFP

Pathankot air base. AFP

After some time, the terrorists tied, blindfolded and dumped Salvinder Singh and his cook Madan Gopal at an abandoned place in a forest area near village Gulpur Simli on way to the Air Force Station, Pathankot. However, they took the third occupant, Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, along with them.

Singh and his cook managed to untie themselves and rushed to the nearby Gulpur Simli village on foot for help, the charge sheet said, adding the terrorists, on learning later from Verma that Singh was a police officer, informed their handler who directed them to go back and look for him.

Since the duo had already left the spot, the terrorists resumed their journey to the Air Force Station. At around 0400 hrs on January one, the terrorists reached village Akalgarh near the Air Force Station in Pathankot and tied Rajesh Verma.

They slit his throat with an intention to kill him and abandoned him and the vehicle in the sugarcane fields at around 0400 hrs. Thereafter, they moved towards the IAF Station on foot.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Verma managed to untie himself and rushed to the Akalgarh village for help, the NIA said, adding as per the forensic report collected during investigation, the DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the energy drink can, recovered from the Mahindra XUV vehicle, matched with that of a deceased terrorist.

The DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the dagger recovered from the possession of another terrorist matched with that of the victims Verma and Ikagar Singh. Similarly, the profile of the trace DNA lifted from the handle of the dagger, matched with that of another terrorist. The seat belt of the Mahindra XUV was cut and used to tie one of the victims.

As per the forensic report, the seat belt pieces recovered from the forest area, where the terrorists had dumped Singh and his cook, matched with the remaining seat belt pieces of the Mahindra XUV vehicle.

One walkie-talkie set belonging to the terrorists and one slip written in English were recovered from the Mahindra vehicle. The terrorists had left the slip in which it was written, “Jaish E Muhamad Zindabad Tanghdar se le kar Samba Kathua Rajbagh Aur Delhi tak Afzal Guru Shadeed Kay Jan nisar Tum ko meltay rahege. Insha Allah. A.G.S. 25-12-15″.

The iPhone of Rajesh Verma, which was snatched by the terrorists, was recovered from the ‘nallah’ near the perimeter wall inside the IAF station where the terrorists had hidden before carrying out the attack.

Investigation showed that after abandoning the Mahindra XUV vehicle, the terrorists moved to the western side of the IAF station on foot and forced their entry after cutting the wire fencing over the western side of the perimeter wall before getting inside the airbase in the wee hours of January one.

As per the forensic analysis report, the marks of the cutting tool recovered from the terrorists, matched with the marks on the cut portion of the fencing wire. Also the climbing rope used by them and recovered from the perimeter wall matched with the rope recovered from the Mahindra XUV vehicle.

A glove and a woollen cap, similar to those recovered from the terrorists, were recovered entangled with the wire fencing over the perimeter wall. Further there were marks of climbing over the eucalyptus tree, just outside the perimeter wall panel and also on the other side of the perimeter wall.

After getting inside the IAF Station, the terrorists hid themselves inside the ‘nallah’ and the dilapidated MES Store sheds till the time they launched the assault.

As per the forensic report, the shoe imprints lifted from the ‘nallah’ matched with the shoes of a terrorist.

One of the four terrorists identified as Nasir made attempts to call a Pakistan telephone number 923466746667, belonging to one Khayam Bhatti who runs a merchandise shop in Sailkot, using the snatched Indian mobile number but could not converse.

He again made a call to a different Pakistani number 923000957212 and during this conversation, he disclosed the names of his other three associates as Major, Abu Bakar and Umar.

During the day, as they were hiding, he again called and expressed his desire to the person on the other side to talk to a woman whom he addressed as his mother and the call lasted for 18 minutes.

Nasir told the woman that they had infiltrated into the Indian territory at ‘do baje (0200 hours)’ on Wednesday (which was 30 December) and also told her that he had killed two persons referring to Ikagar Singh and the injured victim Rajesh Verma, whose throat was slit by the terrorist but he happened to survive.

He also spoke to his brother and cousin, who is referred to by the name Babar, and to another person whom he called Munna.

While speaking to the woman addressed as his mother, Nasir asked her to record his conversation on the mobile set. During his conversation with her, Nasir mentioned about one “Ustad” who was supposed to come to her with his “Wasihat” (will) after his death.

He also disclosed that they were hiding inside the IAF station (referred to as Camp in conversation) and waiting to carry out the terror attack.

The terrorists launched the attack early in the morning on 2 January and the gunfight between the Garud commandos and the terrorists started in the MES yard at about 0320 hrs.

The terrorists fired and lobbed grenades indiscriminately towards the Garud Commandos, while moving out of the yard, the NIA said, adding during the gunfight one Garud Commando was killed and two others were injured.

The terrorists also specifically targeted fuel tanks of the vehicles parked in the section setting them on fire, causing severe damage to the vehicles and the buildings, so as to cause panic.

The four terrorists then moved southwards firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades in which an IAF personnel
lost his life.

Thereafter they crossed the billets near the Peer Baba Mazar and kept on firing indiscriminately injuring one personnel, on the first floor verandah of the billet.

They then entered the mess area where they killed Hon Capt Fateh Singh and later two more IAF personnel, the NIA said, adding one of the terrorists was killed in the retaliatory fire by then.

The remaining terrorists hid in the thick dry vegetation near the DSC lawns and the NSG and Army units then cordoned off this area and, subsequently, neutralized these three terrorists on January two.

During the operation, seven persons were martyred and 37 persons were injured inside the IAF Station.

NIA investigators collected sufficient evidence in terms of statements of the witnesses to establish that the terrorists had been trained, motivated and radicalised by Maulana Masood Azhar and Mufti Abdul Rauf.

It has also been established through legal intercepts and statements of witnesses, that Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif had guided, equipped and launched the four terrorists, who carried out the terrorist attack at the IAF Station.

The recoveries from the scene of crime, material and documentary evidence, forensic reports and extensive call data analysis, conclusively establish the complicity of the terrorists of JeM, in the attack at the Airbase, the agency said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 12:05 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment by Modi government creates unease: Here’s why

Soon after coming to power in 2014, the Narendra Modi government decided to honour the outgoing UPA government’s announcement on Lieutenant-General Dalbir Suhag’s elevation as India’s army chief. There was much speculation as his predecessor, General VK Singh who had done everything under his power to stop Suhag from getting the top job, was now not only in the BJP, but had been elected to Parliament.

Putting all speculation to rest, Modi decided to honour the well-established convention of the senior-most officer getting the top job and appointed Suhag. But, when it came to the navy, the Modi government overlooked the claims of the senior-most officer — Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha — and instead appointed the vice-chief and his junior, RK Dhowan as the Chief of Naval Staff.
But the navy is a smaller arm when compared to the over one million strong Indian Army. Naval supersession did not evoke much comment.

However, two years later the decision to appoint Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat as the next army chief superceding two highly respected and competent officers, has come as a shock to many in the armed forces. Probably for the first time, two successive chiefs come from the same regiment — Gurkha Rifles.

Interestingly, Rawat’s appointment as army chief comes days after Pakistan appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as their new chief, both of them served in Congo as part of the UN Peacekeeping Force under General Bikram Singh, who later became India’s army chief.

File image of Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

File image of Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

Rawat’s appointment has bypassed two senior officers. Lieutenant-General Praveen Bakshi, commander-in-chief, Eastern Command — a highly respected officer, who was seen as a natural successor to Suhag. Across all ranks, the Indian Army looked forward to Bakshi’s appointment because of his exemplary credentials and the enormous respect he commands among both officers and men. The other officer superseded is commander-in-chief, Southern Command, Lieutenant-General PM Hariz, also held in high esteem.

Why did the government supersede two officers to appoint Rawat? The real reason will never be known and the explanation put forward by the government is far from convincing. The government explanation that Rawat has more experience in tackling counter-insurgency and of high altitude warfare sounds pretty facile. After all, no army chief leads formations to battle.

Bakshi, as C-in-C of the Eastern Command, is responsible for all counter-insurgency operations along the China border and in the North East region. He has served armoured brigades in Jammu and Kashmir and the western sector.

At a time when parochial interests dictate many decisions, the appointment of Rawat is bound to keep speculators busy for a long time.

There is media speculation that Bakshi might be in for a more coveted job, that of the CDS or Combined Defence Services Chief, a post which has been debated for several years but no political party has put its final stamp of approval. In a service where seniority was taken as a norm, the government announcement on Rawat is bound to stir regional and sectional interests a lot more. Senior officers are bound to use their regional and linguistic connections to play to the gallery and even lobby regional leaders.

The appointment of Rawat has already stirred a debate on the growing importance of officers from Uttarakhand in New Delhi. This tendency is not healthy for either the Indian Army or the nation to debate on.

Unlike Pakistan, in India, civilian control over the military has long been recognised and firmly established. Appointments and succession are decided by elected governments and accepted by the armed forces quietly. Even the supersession of Lieutenant-General SK Sinha by Indira Gandhi was quietly accepted, except by the general concerned who protested and resigned from the service.

Rawat’s elevation has become politically controversial

While the Opposition has every right to question the appointment the government is in no way expected to explain an executive prerogative. A privilege of the Executive, however, has to be handled with great care when dealing with sensitive appointments like that of the army chief. Historically, there has always been an undeclared war between infantry and armoured corps for supremacy.

In this battle, once again, the armoured corps represented by Bakshi was trounced by the infantry arm of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:48 IST

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi take battle to UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi took the political battle around demonitization to poll bound Uttar Pradesh (UP). In Kanpur, Modi attacked Opposition for not allowing Parliament to function.In Jaunpur, Gandhi alleged that the note ban had punished the poor with cash crunch. Modi hit back, saying the Opposition was defending the corrupt by opposing the ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes aimed at eliminating black money.In Delhi, the Congress lashed out at the government for its two recent orders, alleging that the banks have been turned into police stations.Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Modi government has conducted a dual surgical strike on the employees, industrial work force by reducing the interest rate from 8.8per cent to 8.65per cent for all Employee Provident Fund contributors, and also banning deposit of more than Rs 5,000 in demonetized notes. He said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had promised that anyone can deposit scrapped notes in banks up to December 30 and in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till March 31 by filling up a form.Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh wrote a strong letter to the PM amid a sense of disappointment among opposition leaders over Rahul Gandhi’s reluctance to reveal the information about “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister. Rahul made a scathing attack on the Prime Minister at his Jaunpur rally in Uttar Pradesh but avoided making any reference to his explosive threat In his letter, Singh confronted Prime Minister for his charge on the Opposition fighting to protect the corrupt. In a letter to the PM, he asked why it was soft on BJP leader Janardan Reddy who spent hundreds of crore on his daughter’s marriage? Why are you not acting swiftly on Lokpal, Whistle Blower Protection Act, Benami Properties etc?”The party also released a list of as many as 125 orders issued by the government since the demonetiszation. Surjewala said the government has really made everyone cashless, be it the people, banks or ATMs while only the e-wallet companies licensed by the Modi government in 2015 are flourishing under the PM’s call for digitisation of the economy.The e-wallet companies are making 2.5 to 5 per cent profit which means a 100-rupee note exchanged 20 times becomes zero as these companies make Rs 100 on 5 per cent commission they charge, the Congress spokesman explained.

Ajay Chautala seeks transfer of DA case to another court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>INLD leader Ajay Chautala, who is serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, on Monday approached a Delhi court seeking transfer of a disproportionate assets case against him to another court.Chautala claimed he apprehends he would not get a fair trial if his case is continued to be tried in the court presided by a special CBI judge, raising questions about the conduct of the presiding officer.District Judge Ravinder Kaur after hearing the arguments on the transfer petition fixed the matter for January 6, 2017. Advocate Vaibhavi Sharma, who appeared for Chautala, said “Reasonable apprehensions exists with the applicant/accused that he would not get a fair trial and a fair opportunity to defend himself and prove his innocence” incase the trial is continued in the present case before the special judge.A similar transfer plea of co-accused Abhimanyu Singh is also pending before the district judge.The court is currently recording evidence in the DA case in which Ajay, son of former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, are facing trial.Two other similar cases are pending before it against his brother Abhay and their father. The cases were filed on a complaint by Haryana Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.Ajay is serving 10-year imprisonment awarded in January 2013 by another CBI court in the 1999-2000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers recruitment scam.O P Chautala was also sent to 10 years in jail in the JBT case. The Supreme Court had dismissed the appeals of Chautala and Ajay and had upheld their jail term.CBI had chargesheeted Ajay in 2010 indicting him for possessing assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 per cent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore, but had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, it had alleged.All the charges have been denied by Chautala and his sons.

Malegaon blasts: NIA refutes allegations of investigations being conducted in pre-determined manner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency has refuted allegations of state Anti-Terrorism Squad that it conducted investigation in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts case in a pre-determined and calculated manner to negate the effects of earlier probe by ATS and CBI. The NIA filed its affidavit on Monday in response to a petition filed by Maharashtra ATS challenging the discharge of eight Muslim persons from the 2006 blasts case.In April this year, a sessions court had discharged the eight persons (accused by ATS and CBI) of all terror charges after the NIA submitted that a “Hindu Right Wing” organisation was behind the blasts. The ATS approached HC claiming that the sessions court order was “illegal, unjust and goes against evidence on record”. Its conclusion that “Muslims would not plant bombs inside a mosque was absolutely wrong, and had no legal basis,” the ATS claimed.In its affidavit, the NIA said it arrived at the conclusion that the blasts were carried out by Hindu group only after a thorough probe was carried out. “It is not correct to say NIA conducted investigation in a pre-determined and calculated manner to negate the effects of earlier probe by ATS and CBI,” the affidavit filed by NIA Superintendent of Police Vikram Khalate said.The affidavit further said that as per NIA probe, Manohar Narwaria, Ranjendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh Shiv Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sunil Joshi, Ramesh Mahalkar, Sandeep Dange and few others allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy between January and September 2006 to commit terrorist acts in Malegaon. “Training camps were organised in Indore where bombs were prepared and then transported to Malegaon. Narwaria, Chaudhary, Singh and Kalsangra planted the bombs in Malegaon.They (accused) wanted to set off the bomb in a Muslim dominated area so that it would result in communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in Malegaon,” the affidavit said. The affidavit further relied on a statement of Swami Assemanand, accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, in which he has said the Malegaon blast was handiwork of “his boys”.The NIA in its affidavit also said that the ATS’s claim that accused Mohammad Jahid Ansari had planted bomb in Malegaon on September 8, 2006 is wrong. “It is revealed in NIA probe that on the day of the blast, Ansari was in Yavatmal, which is about 400 kms from the blast site. Twelve witnesses have supported this,” it said. It further claimed that Shabbir Batterwala, who according to ATS had supplied explosives, was in judicial custody from August to September 2006 after he was arrested by Crime Branch Mumbai.

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