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Army chief’s appointment: Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi breaks silence, says won’t resign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi finally broke silence on his resignation on Saturday. “I won’t resign. Extending all support to Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat,” Lt. Gen. Bakshi said, while addressing the officers of Eastern Command via teleconference.This statement by the Lt. Gen. Bakshi comes in the wake of rumours and speculations doing the rounds that he might resign after being superseded by Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat as the Army Chief.However, the Defence Ministry is yet to consider Lt. Gen. Bakshi’s name for the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) that could happen in the coming year.Lt. Gen. Bakshi is likely to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in January. Sources in the ministry say Lt. Gen. Bakshi could be offered an appointment outside of the military. Lt. Gen. Bakshi was to be leave till January 1. He joined office on Saturday at the Fort William, the army’s Eastern Command Headquarters.

TMC MP and actor Tapas Pal arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP from Krishnanagar constituency, Tapas Pal was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Rose Valley Chit Fund Scam for money laundering. Pal was arrested by CBI officials after four hours of questioning on Friday, when he appeared at the CBI office in CGO Complex of Kolkata. Sources in the CBI reveal that several inconsistencies had surfaced in his statements and he was not cooperating with the investigators. Officials are likely to take him to Bhubaneswar for further questioning. CBI had sent a notice to Pal on Tuesday to appear before them and give details of the transactions that took place when he was the director of the Films Division in the Rose Valley Group. He was also asked to produce documents of the transactions. Earlier, his accountant was also questioned by the CBI. Reacting to his arrest, Trinamool Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien said, “So now political atrocities against those opposed to #NoteBandi and with the movement. We will fight it out.” On the other hand, opposition parties welcomed the arrest of Pal and claimed that the noose will further tighten on other Trinamool Congress leaders. “Long awaited and much delayed arrest,” said CPI(M) leader Md.Salim.

Rift widens as Akhilesh meets supporters; objects to father’s list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The war games are likely to continue within the Yadav family, a day after Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav snubbed his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, by publicly announcing 325 candidates of the 403 assembly seats on Wednesday. The list which omitted names of candidates suggested by the UP CM, suggested that the party was in danger of splitting before the crucial polls in the state.Hectic political activities began on Thursday right from the morning as party leaders have been gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam and huge crowds assembled outside Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav’s residence. Sources close to the UP Chief Minister said that Akhilesh was likely to announce his own list of candidates for the state polls. They also said the candidates declared by him are likely to contest on different symbols as independent candidates.”Yes, Akhilesh Yadav is likely to announce his own list of candidates for UP polls,” said SP MLA Indal Singh. Singh’s remarks came after the CM’s meeting with those of whom who had been denied tickets.The UP CM who had just arrived from Bundelkhand, convened a meeting on Thursday of his supporters and legislators who had been denied tickets. He also met ministers who were denied tickets. Among them were Pawan Pandey, Ram Govind Chaudhary and Arvind Singh ‘Gop’. Sources close to him said that in the highly charged atmosphere, several of his loyalists had asked him to defy his father and uncle Shivpal Yadav, and go ahead with his own list of candidates.Later in the day, Akhilesh met his father Mulayam, and his uncle Shivpal was also present. But the talks did not seem to have yielded the desired results.The tension before the meeting was clear as an upset Akhilesh said,”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.” Since then the UP CM has remained incommunicado.Akhilesh’s supporter Uday Veer Singh said, “The Chief Minister has always fought for justice and he will continue to do so.” Singh however refused to comment on whether a new party would be formed.The list Mulayam unveiled on Wednesday, included 176 sitting MLAs. It not only left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, but also did not carry the names of over 50 sitting MLAs. On the other hand, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, who had been sacked by the Chief Minister, over the past few months, got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it had paid off.In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister had 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.Mulayam had also 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 that for murder. The list also included tainted minister Gayatri Prajapati, whose sacking and re-induction as minister exposed the factional infighting in the ruling party.The SP supremo also made clear his differences with Akhilesh on the issue of a pre-poll alliance by ruling out any pact for a grand alliance. He 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.A senior party leader said that by taking on political dons and criminals, Akhilesh was attempting to grow bigger than his party. The party leader also admitted that the chief minister’s image was getting bigger by the day but also added that the image was yet to grow as big as his father’s — who has the ability to turn political fortunes at the elections.

Tripura: BJP calls for band to protest against murder of party activist, life partially affected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life was partially disrupted during a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Dhalai district of Tripura on Wednesday called by BJP in protest against the recent murder of a party activist.Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained open and attendances in government offices, banks and financial institutions were normal, official sources said. Movement of vehicles was almost normal, but in some areas it came down to a trickle, the sources said. Shops kept open their shutters, but markets in a few places in remote areas were closed, the sources said.Ruling CPI-M has opposed the bandh. The BJP has claimed that their party activist Chanmohan Tripura, also a member of village committee of Dalapatipara, a remote tribal hamlet in Gandacherra sub-division of Dhalai district, was murdered on Monday afternoon, allegedly by one Biswada Tripura, a CPI-M member.However, officer-in-charge of Gandacherra police station, Babul Das said that Chanmohan Tripura was a priest who practised witchcraft, and was hit by a heavy object, allegedly by Biswada, when he went to his house to treat him. Biswada was arrested next day.

Gandhi vs Modi: Joint opposition meeting on Monday to discuss charges of ‘personal corruption’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress is striving for uniting the opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its President Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27. While there is no formal word from Congress about the initiative or the press conference, reports from Kolkata said West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be attending a joint opposition meeting on December 27. She is scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Monday. Leaders of Left parties said they have been approached by Congress but are not aware of the details. They also remained non-committal about their participation in the meeting. Sources said NCP, JD(U) and some other opposition parties have also been approached by Congress for the joint meeting to step up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.The sources said NCP leader Tariq Anwar, CPI leader D Raja and Mamata Banerjee have been approached, besides some other leaders. Congress is working towards projecting a united opposition to dispel the impression that cracks developed in the opposition ranks on the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament on December 16 when some parties backed out at the last minute from an opposition delegation to meet the President.Congress’ move comes close on the heels of Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister on his home turf of Mehsana in Gujarat last week in which he made the allegations against Modi. BJP leaders have dismissed the charges levelled by Rahul. The Prime Minister too had mocked Rahul, who in turn, hit back at Modi saying that the PM could make as much fun of him as he can but he should say whether the charge of corruption is correct or not. The Congress Vice President had also emphasised on an independent probe.A TMC leader said, “Our party supremo will go to Delhi tomorrow and will attend the meeting of opposition parties on December 27. In that meeting, the next line of action will be discussed.”Besides this, Banerjee is likely to hold a separate meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. She will also be meeting some other leaders. The just-concluded Parliament session had seen several opposition parties getting their act together as a united force by holding daily meetings to strategise their plans to target the government. This was for the first time that such meetings to strategise opposition plans took place since Modi took charge as the Prime Minister.Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, has raised doubts over the strategy, saying that the plan to step up attack on Modi might not hold ground as former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name has also allegedly figured in the same documents. She has junked the charges.

Najeeb resignation: Wanted to quit earlier but PM Modi asked me to continue, says Jung

New Delhi: Najeeb Jung on Friday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after springing a surprise by tendering resignation as Delhi’s Lt Governor even as he said that he had wanted to quit earlier but was asked by the PM to continue.

Jung reached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) at South Block here around 11.30 am and spent a little over an hour inside. Sources said it was a courtesy meeting. On Thursday, in his brief resignation statement, Jung had thanked Modi for his help and cooperation.

Rejecting speculation that he quit as pressure was mounting on him, Jung was quoted as saying by NDTV that there is no politics behind his decision and that he wanted to quit earlier as well.

“I had offered to resign as I had been appointed by the previous UPA government, but the PM asked me to carry on. After three years, I requested the PM to relieve me but he asked me to carry on,” he said.

“After three and a half years, I requested the PM again on Tuesday that I would like to resign on personal grounds,” Jung was quoted as saying. Jung also said that he would like to write a book.

File photo of former Delhi Governor Naseeb Jung. Reuters

File photo of former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. Reuters

Over the last two years, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has time and again taken on Jung over his perceived closeness to Modi.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had an hour-long meeting with Jung over breakfast during which the latter reminisced their nearly two-year-long association in governing the city besides discussing other issues.

The Delhi chief minister said he was invited by the Lt Governor for the breakfast meeting that came a day after Jung’s sudden resignation from the post. Sources said Jung and Kejriwal spoke about the bitter- sweet times and spent some light moments.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also called on Jung. Asked why Jung quit, Kejriwal said, “He resigned due to personal reasons.” Though publicly Kejriwal had made stinging attacks on Jung on many occasions, both of them are known to share a cordial relationship at personal level.

Asked about his meeting with Jung, Sisodia said, “We had a very good chat. He shared memories of the last two years and also of his days as a bureaucrat. He said that he was mulling quitting over the last one year.

“He wants to spend time with his family and focus on academics. He said that he could not quit due to things like chikungunya (outbreak                                                                                                              in the city).”

Sisodia said he shared a “good rapport” with Jung and thanked him for his cooperation especially in areas of education. “We will work for the people if Delhi irrespective of circumstances be that easy or tough.”

On who could be next LG of Delhi, the Deputy Chief Minister said many names are doing the rounds but nothing official has come up.

Sources close to Jung had said yesterday his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government over matters of jurisdiction and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. The Chief Minister was in Ranchi yesterday when the news of Jung’s resignation broke.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:09 IST

Kejriwal party do: Twitter reacts to Najeeb Jung’s resignation as Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sudden move, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung resigned today, ending a nearly three-and-half- year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government on a range of issues that virtually brought governance to a halt on many occasions. Without citing reasons for the decision, 65-year-old Jung, who had taken charge in July 2013, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help and cooperation and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “association”.In a brief statement, Jung’s office said he has submitted his resignation to the Government of India and that he would be returning back to academics, “his first love”. Sources close to him told PTI that his resignation has nothing to do with his acrimonious relationship with the AAP government and he was contemplating to quit for last few months. “His decision to quit was not at all related to his relationship with the AAP government. It was purely a personal decision which he was mulling over for quite some time,” they said. Reacting to Jung’s resignation, Kejriwal said the decision surprised him. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” he tweeted.

Hyderabad: Income Tax dept seizes Rs 66 lakh cash in new Rs 2000 notes 

Hyderabad: The Income Tax department has seized Rs 66 lakh cash, all in new Rs 2000 notes, as part of the anti-black money crackdown operations in Hyderabad.

The first incident, that occurred on the night of 16 December, was reported at the Telugu Academy in Himayatnagar when an I-T team intercepted few people who ran into a nearby apartment on seeing the team.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Search of the apartment led to recovery of Rs 36 lakh cash, all in Rs 2000 denomination. Sources of the cash are being probed into,” I-T sources said.

In the second incident in the same city on 17 December, department investigators along with police intercepted a speeding Honda Activa in the Tank Bund area.

“Cash of Rs 30 lakh in Rs 2000 denomination was found with two persons.The case is being probed,” they said.

The sources added that these two interceptions were made in the city as part of taxman’s anti-black money probe post demonetisation.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 11:33 IST

War on black money: Rs 10.50 crore assets seized from ‘chaiwala’ turned financier

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has seized alleged unaccounted assets worth Rs 10.50 crore from a tea seller-turned-financier after raids were conducted against him here as part of the anti-black money crackdown post currency scrap.The I-T department sleuths, who conducted the searches on Saturday at the premises of the tea seller, recovered cash of Rs 1.45 crore, with new currency being at 1.05 crore, bullion worth Rs 1.49 crore, gold jewellery valued at Rs 4.92 crore, other ornaments worth Rs 1.39 crore and silver ingots priced at Rs 1.28 crore.”The total value of the assets seized from the financier, who earlier worked as a ‘chaiwala’, is Rs 10.50 crore,” I-T sources said as they refused to reveal the identity of the person citing ongoing probe.They added that while 13 of his bank lockers have been opened till now, four more are in the process to be opened and the expected seizure of assets may increase.The sources added that the interception was made in the city as part of taxman’s anti-black money probe post demonetization.

Rs 66 lakh in new notes seized in Hyderabad, Rs 18 lakh in Noida, 3 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has seized Rs 66 lakh cash, all in new Rs 2000 notes, as part of the anti-black money crackdown operations in Hyderabad, while Rs 18 lakh in new currency notes were seized in Delhi.The first incident, that occurred in Hyderabad on the night of December 16, was reported at the Telugu Academy in Himayatnagar when an I-T team intercepted few people who ran into a nearby apartment on seeing the team.”Search of the apartment led to recovery of Rs 36 lakh cash, all in Rs 2000 denomination. Sources of the cash are being probed into,” I-T sources said.In the second incident in the same city on December 17, department investigators along with police intercepted a speeding Honda Activa in the Tank Bund area.”Cash of Rs 30 lakh in Rs 2000 denomination was found with two persons.The case is being probed,” they said.The three accused in Noida case –Vinay Kumar from Jind, and Mahendra Kumar and Praveen Kumar from Hisar–were arrested on Saturday evening by a team of Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorist Squad and Income Tax Department.”The arrests were made following a tip off that some people were carrying a huge amount of counterfeit currency in Bhishanpura village in Sector 57,” Deputy Superintendent of Police UP ATS (Western UP Wing) Anoop Singh said.The team searched the car of the accused following which Rs 18 lakh in new currency notes of Rs 2000 was found, he said.No counterfeit or old currency notes were found. The car has also been impounded, the DSP said.The team is interrogating the accused and more arrests and seizures are expected on basis of the information, he said.

Hawala operator arrested, Rs 5.70 crore in new currency seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Tuesday arrested an alleged hawala operator K V Veerendra in connection with seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency notes of Rs 2000 denomination from his premises in Karanataka.The agency sources said CBI has registered a case against officials of four banks–State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.They said Veerendra was produced before Special court in Bengaluru which has sent him to six days of CBI custody for questioning.The sources said during preliminary probe names of several persons have been taken by Veerendra and it is trying to gather material evidence linking the alleged hawala operator with them.The sources said during the six days of questioning CBI will confront him with documents recovered from his premises and will try to get the source of these funds which may unravel alleged involvement of senior bank officials in the case.

Cash still the preferred mode of payment at toll plazas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the government’s increasing push for digital payments, cash continued to remain the preferred mode of payment at the toll booths. Days after toll collection at national highways resumed after a 23-day hiatus post demonetization, more than 90 per cent of the commuters paid toll fee in cash. According to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) sources, almost 92 per cent of the vehicles preferred paying their toll fee using cash on December 6, of which around 78 per cent used notes of lower denominations.About 16 per cent of the commuters used the new Rs 2,000 notes and the old Rs 500 notes, a top official said, adding that the majority used the old notes. Similarly, on December 4 and 5, around 95 per cent of commuters paid the toll fee using cash, of which 84 per cent used lower denominations. Despite equipping the toll plazas in advance with multiple digital payment options, including 3,800 point of sale (PoS) machines, limited vehicles chose the mode, government officials said. Sources informed that only about 3.69 per cent of vehicles paid their toll fee using the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) facility, while about 2 per cent of the vehicles used debit/credit cards and other modes of e-payment to pay the toll fee. Even on December 4 and 5, only 3 per cent of the vehicles have paid the toll fee using the RFID facility and nearly the same percentage of commuters used debit/credit cards and other modes of e-payments. The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways is advising vehicle manufacturers to provide RFID facility in all new vehicles. With RFID tags on, vehicles can pass toll tax booths without having to stop. The toll amount is deducted from the RFID card, which can later be recharged. The government has already installed PoS machines in more than 95 per cent of the toll plazas. NHAI collects an average Rs 51.59 crore per day from the toll booths.

India counters Aziz’s allegations, says he was treated well

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Monday dismissed allegations that Pakistan PM’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was mistreated during his trip to Amritsar while attending the Heart of Asia conference.Official sources here said that India extended all facilities to Aziz and there was no reason to complain. Pakistan had claimed that restrictions were put on his movement of Pakistani delegation and they were not even allowed speak to media. Sources added that a rare exception was made to allow arrival and departure of Aziz by air at Amritsar which is not a designated port for entry and exit of Pakistani nationals, besides giving swift clearance despite a last-minute change in his scheduled arrival by a special flight.In a hurriedly called press conference after his return from Amritsar last night, Aziz had accused India of not treating the Pakistani media properly and said he was not allowed to have a press conference. “The attitude towards media was not good. I wanted to have press interaction with our own media. But we were not allowed,” he alleged. Pakistan had also claimed that Aziz was not allowed to visit the Golden Temple and speak to Pakistani media at the hotel where he was staying.“They have no reasons to complain. We were gracious hosts. Extended tarmac access, gave additional rooms, provided armoured cars (not given to every foreign minister) and other conveniences keeping special security requirements in view . This was done despite the last minute change of programme and advancing of arrival in Amritsar by special flight by more than 12 hours. Fresh flight clearance was issued within minutes,” the sources said. They said Aziz could be present in the official dinner and in the call on Prime Minister on the evening of October 3due to the last minute clearance given. “In addition, they were actively engaged in the Senior Officials Meeting and Ministerial and all other requests honoured. A rare exception was made to allow arrival and departure by air at Amritsar which is not a designated airport for entry and exit for Pakistani nationals,” they said.

Stay away from big weddings: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the aftermath of Prime Minister Modi’s demonetization declaration, the top brass of the BJP has issued a strict warning to its rank and file—on no account are they to attend large scale family and wedding functions which could attract the attention of the media. As a result, many BJP leaders are keeping a low profile. Many of those who have been invited to such functions are trying to find ways to politely decline. It has not been easy though. The mega-wedding of the daughter of mining baron and former BJP politician Janardhan Reddy, which is estimated to cost over Rs 500 crore was seen by politicians as a must attend.Today though, people are asking if Reddy will be brought under the lens of Income Tax department. Sources reveal that top politicians who did attend the functions have been pulled up by the top brass.It’s one thing to stay away, but it’s quite another thing if one is organising a wedding. Senior BJP leader Prakash Mehta, who is the Housing Minister in the Maharashtra government, had scheduled his son’s (Harsh) wedding on November 27. Sources say that initially the wedding was planned on a grand scale with invites issued to nearly 25,000 people. However, a family friend of Mehta’s reveals, that has now all changed. “After the warning from the top bosses, he (Mehta) has curtailed the opulence of the wedding. Earlier, he had printed 25,000 invitation cards but has decided to distribute now only 5000. So, from an estimated 25,000-30,000 guests, there will now be merely 5,000.” The family friend added that the Mehta family was naturally disappointed but he (Mehta) had no choice but to listen to the top brass. When contacted, Mehta was not available for comment. It’s not just Mehta alone. BJP leader and Maharashtra’s Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar has opted not to give his daughter an opulent wedding. Instead, the family has opted for a very low key marriage ceremony at their home district Buldhana in Maharashtra.When contacted, Akash Phundkar, BJP MLA and son of Pandurang Phundkar denied that the family had got any diktat from top BJP leaders. He did however confirm to DNA that his sister’s marriage would be on a very low scale.Asked to comment on the recent move by the party to scale down functions, a senior BJP leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was a good move. “If our own party leaders and ministers start spending huge money on weddings and family functions then it can invite public ire as well as contradict the prime minister’s stand,” he said.

Bansal suicide case, DIG Sanjeev Gautam relieves himself from case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sanjiv Gautam, who was posted with the Central Bureau of Investigation as an DIG, will not be probing the corruption case against deceased Corporate Affairs Director General B K Bansal. The senior bureaucrat had committed suicide along with his family alleging that he was tortured by the DIG Gautam and some members of the probe team that was investigating him. An internal inquiry was launched by the CBI following the suicide of Bansal against Gautam and the members of the probe team mentioned in the suicide note.The agency however on Thursday informed that DIG Gautam had recused himself from probing the case against Bansal after his tenure with the CBI formally ended on November 10.Official sources said Gautam is also part of 2G scam probe hence the agency will seek permission of competent court to relieve him. Sources also told DNA that its sleuths are about to complete the internal probe looking into allegations of torture against Gautam levelled by Bansal in the suicide note.In the suicide note, Bansal made serious allegations against Gautam and his team members for torturing his wife and daughter and also threatening action against him and his son.Bansal’ wife and daughter had ended their lives in July, nearly three days after he was arrested by CBI for allegedly taking bribe. the agency had said that Bansal was caught red handed. Two months later, Bansal who was released on bail took similar decision to commit suicide along with his son.

Demonetization: Politicians, babus and hoarders woo friends to turn black money into white

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the crackdown on black money post Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last Tuesday, panic-stricken hoarders of black money—mostly jewellers, traders, politicians and bureaucrats across the country—are desperately looking for innovative means to convert their unaccounted wealth to white money.There is good reason to worry. Investigative agencies have launched a crackdown and, so far, 400 jewellers across the country have been put under the scanner. The Central Excise Department has also sought details of all transactions by jewellers during the last four days.But despite this, innovative ways are being found by offenders to wriggle out of the situation. Hoarders are offering a share of their illegitimate wealth to friends, requesting them to convert it into white money by depositing it in their accounts. This money is then returned to the original person six months later after a 20-40 per cent cut for the service.A senior businessman confirmed the same to DNA. “Yesterday, one of my close friends who is a senior government official called me and offered to give Rs 30 lakh with a 20 per cent cut. He asked me to return Rs 24 lakh after six months in new currency. I had several accounts and the amount was a windfall for me. All of sudden my multiple bank accounts are flourishing with money.”A developer in Thane, Maharashtra confirms such transactions. He say that they are confidential and leave no scope for leaks. “If anyone leaks the information or give tips to the police, we will be in jail.”It’s not just transferring funds to friends that’s the modus operandi, there are other methods also. Sources in the IT department, who interrogated prominent traders after raids, told DNA that several businessmen have hired migrant labourers and workers, having identity proofs, to work for them on a temporary basis till December 31. This is the last day for exchanging old currency notes.”All these workers have to do is to stand in queue before the bank to get the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes changed. Once transaction is done, the labourers get between Rs 250 to Rs 500,” said an Income Tax official.Interestingly, many employers are believed to have even paid advance salaries for two to three months in old currency with the rider that they would return the same in white currency in the coming next two or three months. In one such case, a factory owner has brought at least 50 women in two tempos at a bank office located at Okhla and asked them to stand in a queue to get the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes changed.”These migrant labourers are being exploited by the businessmen,” Virjesh Upadhyay, president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, told DNA.Apart from bureaucrats, senior politicians too are under the spotlight. A senior politician whose total wealth is an estimated Rs 2,000 crore shared that he could not deposit all ill gotten wealth in official bank accounts.”Even if I decide to deposit this money in the bank, the value of showing and depositing this money is virtually zero. The government is charging 30 per cent plus 60 per cent penalty and other taxes so in return we are getting nothing. Besides, we unnecessarily end up disclosing our name as black money hoarders. So, it is better to give it to a close person who will also benefit and we also get something in return. It has a dual benefit,” a senior Congress leader said on request of anonymity.The Congress leader said that it is was not just politicians from one particular party that was responsible for holding unaccounted cash, there were people from across parties who were hoarders of black money.”In politics, no one can survive on white money and official transactions. During the elections, people demand money so we have to recover this money from some other sources when we are in power. We generally get the money in contract allotment and transfers. Currently, the ratio of this sweat deal is 80:20-to-60:40. The ratio depends upon the desperation and the relation of money holders,” he added requesting anonymity.

As BJP eyes youth, govt plans 20 job fairs in UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As political parties vie over promises of employment in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Modi government is planning a last minute drive to amplify its reach out to the youth. After ‘kaushal mahotsav’ (fair carnival) in Varanasi, it is now doing the ground work to hold ‘rozgar melas’ (job fairs) in around 20 districts across the state.According to sources, the Skill Development Ministry has set a target of ensuring employment to 90,000 to one lakh (5,000 per city) of youth trained under it, through the melas.With time running out as the model code of conduct would come into effect as soon as the Election Commission announces the dates for the assembly elections, the melas were likely to begin mid-November. The elections are expected to be announced in December.The decision was taken at a meeting of the Skill Development Ministry and related organisations on Thursday. The idea was to ensure that there is outreach in each of the six zones of the state, according to sources. The proposed locations for the fairs include cities in places like Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Meerut, Noida, Ghaziabad, Mirzapur, Moradabad and Sahranpur.The scramble for the votes of the youth is gaining momentum in UP, where polls are to be held early next year. In a bid to blunt the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) employment dole proposal, BSP supremo Mayawati has assured giving employment to the youth. The BJP, which had weaned the youth away from SP in Lok Sabha polls when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted the section and first time voters, is holding ‘yuva sammelans’ (youth conferences) in all six zones.Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, however, said the job fairs had nothing to do with elections. “We are creating India’s second-army—the country’s skill workforce, which is going to drive India’s growth in the next decade. This is one big step in the making of a new India, where the youth is empowered to earn a better livelihood for himself and his family… Lets not bring politics into it,” Rudy told DNA.He said the aim was to empower the youth by assessing the city youths’ skill sets acquired through working and learning over the years under the ministry programme. While recognising the contribution made by the industry, he said the ministry also made placement offers to youth certified under the Skill India programme.In Varanasi, 30 prominent companies had participated and 1,200 candidates skilled under the scheme were hired. Sources said the ministry was trying to rope in more companies in the forthcoming melas in UP. Placement offer letters were sent from companies like Aditya Birla Retail, TVS logistics, Tikona, Fusion Microfinance, Safexpres and TCI.For the BJP, the youth has been a crucial segment of its political roadmap. “The youth is the backbone of the country. Its important that the party and government cater to them. The Prime Minister and government have focused on schemes like Digital India, Skill India and Start Up India,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.More is inThe skill development ministry is hoping to reach out to nearly a lakh youth through the fairs which are to begin mid-November. In Varanasi, 30 prominent companies had participated and 1,200 candidates skilled under the scheme were hired. Sources said the ministry was trying to rope in more companies in the forthcoming melas in UP. Placement offer letters were sent from companies like Aditya Birla Retail, TVS logistics, Tikona, Fusion Microfinance, Safexpres and TCI.

SIMI operatives’ jailbreak: MP human rights commission to probe into security lapses

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) will conduct a probe into the circumstances surrounding the jailbreak, the lapses that led to the escape of prisoners which also caused the death of a jail security guard.

The rights body has said that it will look into all aspects of the jailbreak, especially, the laxity of the officials and how the prisoners managed to come out of the barracks and managed to get out of the high-security prison.

The organisation will also look into how many recommendations of the commission that were made in the past, were implemented in the Bhopal Central Jail, and what lapses led to the jailbreak.

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. PTI

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. PTI

A team comprising a principal secretary-level officer, an additional director general of police (ADG), registrar (law) and a deputy secretary would begin the probe, said MPHRC in an official statement. All these officers are from different departments, but are currently posted with the rights body.

The commission said that once the mandatory magisterial inquiry into the encounter is ordered, its report will be called from the collector.

Also, the MPHRC has sought a report from the Bhopal police regarding the encounter in which eight SIMI operatives were killed near Acharpura on the outskirts of Bhopal. “The inspector general of police of Bhopal has been asked to give the report,” said LR Sisodia, the MPHRC spokesperson.

The MPHRC alleged that the jail officials paid no attention to recommendations and has issued fresh recommendations to the prison authorities after the jailbreak. It has recommended that all CCTV cameras should remain functional and officials must conduct surprise checks in the jails.

The commission has said that vacancies in jails should be immediately filled and no such object should reach any prisoner which can be used as a weapon to inflict injury on himself or others.

“The recommendations are being made to principal secretary, prisons and director general prisons. The recommendations were made earlier also, but there was no improvement, which led to the unfortunate incident. Now, we hope that the recommendations are followed,” reads the MPHRC statement.

The MPHRC that was earlier headed by retired Supreme Court judge or a retired high court chief justice, now has a retired IPS officer VM Kanwar as its acting head.

CID inquiry likely to be ordered

Though no high-level probe has been ordered into the jailbreak as yet, a CID inquiry is likely to be ordered. Sources in the police headquarters said that it would be conducted, however, there may not be any deadline for submitting its report.

Yadav PariWar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh was expelled seven years ago, Uttar Pradesh strongman Mulayam Singh Yadav had been convinced that Singh wanted to wrest control of the party from old socialist loyalists and his trusted family members. It was then that Ram Gopal Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and other party loyalists who ensured that Singh was shown the door. Shivpal Yadav, however, reportedly stayed in touch with the ousted politician – who had brought Bollywood glamour to the usually dour Samajwadi Party – at a personal level.The peace, like many others in political families, was not meant to hold. Equations in the extended Yadav parivaar began to lose their balance.With the passing away of old loyalists and socialists like Janeshwar Mishra and Mohan Singh, aging of Revati Raman Singh and defection of Beni Prasad Verma to Congress during the UPA’s second five-year reign of power at the Centre, Mulayam’s dependence on his family only grew.The elections of 2012 brought a period of consolidation to the Yadav family. United around a massive electoral victory, areas of influence were divided between three party stalwarts. Ram Gopal Yadav , the Delhi face of the party, was given charge of NOIDA, Greater Noida and western UP, all of which had earlier been handled by Amar Singh. Shivpal Yadav took the lower Doab region and Azam Khan was allowed to have his writ run large in Rohilkhand region. Mulayam, who has long be rumoured to harbour prime ministerial ambitions. set his sights on Delhi.It was under this arrangement that Akhilesh Yadav started his stint as the chief minister of one of India’s most populous – and politically critical – states; what was lacking was the sweeping powers that an office such as this carries.The arrangement started to unravel in only two years. Things changed with 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Mulayam dreams of becoming Prime Minister were crushed under the Modi juggernaut as the SP crashed spectacularly in UP, its home turf. Added to this were legal cases which had been pending.Meanwhile, Akhilesh continued to induct young leaders as he headed the state unit. He introduced changes which were seen as alien to the functioning of the party. Buoyed with the idea of “Umeed ki Cycle”, Akhilesh worked around an administrative system appointed – and controlled – by his father. He introduced his laptop scheme, got advisors from abroad, and also opened a small war room for strategising. Sources close to the young CM admit that all Akhilesh could do was bide his time, knowing that top bureaucrats were direct appointees of Mulayam and Shivpal and that he couldn’t do much.Then came developments which irked the Akhilesh camp. Pratik Yadav, Mulayam Singh’s son from his second marriage to Sadhna Gupta, started acquiring a public profile. Sources close to the family say that Akhilesh had always been opposed to the idea of Pratik or his family being in the spotlight. The family’s proximity to Amar Singh and Shivpal Yadav further complicated matters. Then came the issue of Pratik’s wife Aparna getting into the spotlight in the political arena – she contested on the SP ticket in Lucknow; for Akhilesh, a Lakshman Rekha had been crossed.Mattes came to a head with the re-emergence of the Amar Singh-Shivpal Yadav axis and their continued support to Sadhna Gupta’s family. Largely unnoticed, Akhilesh moved into a separate bungalow allotted to himself next to his father’s official bungalow. Through his tenure he never shifted to the official CM’s residence but quietly shifted out of his father’s house in 2016. It was a quiet acknowledgement of discord within the Yadav parivar.Amar Singh’s re-induction into the party and nomination to Rajya Sabha didn’t help, either. What surprised Akhilesh was Singh’s elevation as General Secretary, since he hadn’t been kept in the loop. Around this time, Shivpal Yadav’s ambitions also soared; the perennial bridesmaid, say sources, felt that this was his only chance of becoming CM.These developments were further complicated by two things. One, that Mulayam became further obliged to Singh for his intervention in his legal matters – and which he admitted to in the recent party meeting. The second, according to party sources is that his memory was no longer what it was, and those close to Akhilesh felt that Shivpal faction was taking undue advantage of this.Sources close to Akhilesh say the tipping point came when Singh, in a private conversation with Mulayam and other senior leaders and bureaucrats, objected to the CM’s functioning. These sources add that Shivpal and other senior bureaucrats did not object to this but just carried along with the conversation.Akhilesh was convinced now that a vendetta campaign was being organised against him. Sources close to him say he resented being branded as an incompetent leader and decided to change that perception, even at the cost of the party’s unity. Meanwhile, Singh’s frustration is being attributed to him not getting work cleared by the CM’s office, an influence he enjoyed liberally during the party’s 2002-2007 stint in government.It was because of this purported conversation that Akhilesh brought the axe down on Shivpal, sacking his uncle and his loyalists from various ministerial and bureaucratic positions. This took Mulayam by surprise and, in turn, confirmed his suspicion that Akhilesh wanted to run the party without consulting him. Mulayam also suspected that Ram Gopal Yadav was acting as the brains behind Akhilesh’s decisions.The result: Akhilesh was sacked as the state party president. Though a truce was called, it remained fragile. Shivpal continued to sack people close to Akhilesh, while the latter became convinced that he needed to wrest control of the party to revive his faltering image.And then Akhilesh Yadav crossed the rubicon, sacking Shivpal and his associates from ministerial and other part posts . In retaliation, Ram Gopal Yadav was sacked by Shivpal.Since then it became a politics of brutal quid pro quo. Shivpal raised the stakes by sacking Pawan Pandey, a sitting minister in Akhilesh’s Cabinet on the grounds that he roughed up Ashu Mallik in the chief ministerial compound.Sources say it is now a naked fight for power and organisation between uncle and son, adding that Akhilesh wants to ease out Shivpal out of Lucknow. Shivpal, too, reportedly doesn’t want to go back to government and has started the process of shifting to his private bungalow.The only thing which remains civil in this uncivil PariWar is that both son and father have not escalated the matter beyond redemption. But if push comes to shove, the future of the Samajwadi Party is at stake.

Howitzer guns to boost military firepower on China border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ultra light Howitzer artillery guns used by US forces in Afghanistan will soon be used by the Indian Army to boost military capabilities to guard the China frontier. The first acquisition of artillery guns since Bofors 30 years back is expected to be a game-changer in securing India’s border in the tough mountainous terrains of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Army sources say a blueprint on deployment of the guns is being made and according to the plan most a high number will be used along the China border. The light weight guns can be transported by air unlike the Bofors that has to be carried to high altitude regions only by road.”There is an infrastructure void with little road connectivity along the China border making the transport of Bofors difficult. The Howitzer is a light gun that can be dismantled,” said an army source.Sources also add while they can be used to combat Pakistani forces as well but Chinese border is where the light guns can have a big impact. The gun has a range of 35- 40 kms. While the high mountainous regions along the western frontier has good roads the situation on the eastern border is different. “The Bofors gun can be transported by trucks to the Pakistan border. But that’s not the case with China border leaving critical gaps,” said a source.The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) led by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar cleared the acquisition of 145 guns that was stuck due to some technical issues. Sources say a nod from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is expected soon after which the acquisition process can begin. The cost of acquiring the 145 guns is more than Rs. 5,000 crore. The CCS clearance is mandatory for acquisitions over Rs. 1,000 crore.India had sent a Letter of Request to the US government showing interest in buying the guns and the US had responded with a Letter of Acceptance (LoA) and the Ministry of Defence had in June looked into the terms and conditions and approved it. While 25 guns will come t in a fly away condition, the rest will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra.

UP may have seven-phase polling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission has drawn up a tentative schedule for assembly polls in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand due early next year. But the commission will take a final call based on the inputs provided by security agencies and the state police. The calendar of examinations and local festivals are also a factor for deciding the schedule. Sources here said while the curial state of UP will witness a month-long exercise in seven phases beginning in February first week. Other states will go to polls on a single date between January 28 and 30.On the sidelines of an international conference on voter education, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the schedule will be finalised keeping in mind the weather and examination schedule. “We are trying to assess the requirement of security forces, climate and exam schedule — all these inputs are being taken into consideration,” he said. Officials in the Commission said they have already moved into an election mode with their teams recently visiting the state to review preparations. Sources in the EC said the UP assembly elections in 2012 were held in February-March and the first meeting of the legislative assembly was held on May 28. The Election Commission can hold elections any time prior to the first meeting of the House.The Home Ministry has assured to provide 80,000 Central forces to hold the elections in UP. The Commission is drafting state police personnel also for the election duty. The state will also witness the highest number of 1,28,112 polling booths.Zaidi further said an Election Commission team will visit Punjab next week and later on Uttarakhand and Goa to undertake ground level review of preparations. “EC had begun the preparations about six months in advance. And the Commission is working according to a very tight calendar of activities. There are more than 140 activities which we have to plan before we schedule the elections. And those activities are proceeding satisfactorily,” he said.The dates for polling in four states may clash with the budget session of Parliament as the government is planning to start it from January 23 or 24 to facilitate presentation of the Budget on February 1, instead of last day of February. In Uttar Pradesh, having the highest 403 seats in the assembly, the first phase of polling for 60 seats is tentatively fixed for first week of February. A total of 55 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase, followed by 59 in third phase, 36 in fourth phase, 56 in fifth phase, 49 in sixth phase, and remaining 68 in the seventh phase.

Jammu & Kashmir: Eight-fold surge in terror infiltrations across LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s been a tough year for Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, as they have been battling an eight-time jump in terrorist infiltrations. Apart from this shocking statistic, officials say that the rising number of cases of arson by raging mobs suggests a rise in local recruitment this year.According to officials, the good news is that ‘surgical strikes’ have brought cheer at a time when infiltration is at an all-time high with 87 cases reported this year, while the tally last year was 10.“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years… The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event in Ahmedabad on Monday. However, officials warn that the situation is only going to get worse from here with Pakistan-based terrorists planning retaliation. According to ground intelligence and intercepts, more men have been pumped in by terror groups to strike at Indian forces. This has kept the forces on its toes with the terrorists kills also doubling. Sources said with more infiltration, even the numbers of kills have increased. Last year, in the corresponding period, around 70 terrorists were gunned down, while the tally this year has reached 128. While the Army has killed 120 terrorists, the other operations were carried out by local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).Clearly, the surgical strikes destroying terror launchpads have not deterred Pakistani-based terrorists from planning more strikes. “The infiltration attempts are still continuing,” said a government official.Sources said a number of infiltrations have occurred along the LoC and it seems the terrorists are going back to the old routes used for penetrating into Indian territory. In 2013 and 2014, there had been increased infiltration from new routes along the International Border (IB).The assessment of infiltrations increasing is based on ground intelligence from civilians, intercepts and evidence of fence-cutting in some areas.The recent trend of the increasing cases of arson has been a cause of worry for the forces. Around 100 arms were looted by raging mobs protesting against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen local commander Burhan Wani.Sources said this is also an indication that local terrorist recruitment is happening as arms are needed for them.Since Wani’s killing in July, mass protests triggered turmoil in the state with over 80 deaths and thousands wounded over the last three months. Army sources said that since then operations in South Kashmir have taken a hit.Intelligence inputs also indicate that after India’s surgical strikes, the Pakistani Army has carried out “precautionary deployment” all along the LoC, as they fear another round of strikes from Indian forces.“Soon after our raids, they have increased deployment in areas they consider vulnerable. Precautionary deployment is roughly 25 percent of a full mobilisation aimed to plug the gaps,” said an intelligence officer.Fears of local recruitment by Pakistan-based terror groups, has also alarmed security forces. It is estimated that around 100 youths have gone missing in the last three months.

P Chidambaram’s brainchild counter-terror body may still see the light of day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Home Minister P Chidambaram’s controversial brainchild, the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), an overarching body to counter all kinds of terror threats in the country, is not out of favour yet and may still be revived by the Modi-led government.Incidentally, the BJP-ruled states, led by the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, had strongly opposed the constitution of NCTC during the Congress-led UPA-II government’s tenure. Sources said the Centre has not buried the NCTC yet and is trying to find out how it could be revived by making small changes, and how to bring the states on board.”The NCTC still exists on paper as it was passed by an executive order in February 2012 by the then home minister P Chidambaram. That order still exists as it has not been rescinded and can be put to use again,” sources said.They added that though no timeline has been fixed to revive the NCTC, the Centre is thinking about approaching the states on the issue again and is confident that they can be assured that the body will not be misused politically against their governments.In his speech at the Conference of Chief Ministers on NCTC, held on May 5, 2012, the then Gujarat CM Modi had termed the body a grievous assault on federalism. Hitting out at the executive order to create NCTC, Modi had said, “…the assertions and assumptions on which the NCTC order has been crafted casts the Central government in the role of the omnipresent, omniscient ruler, with the states portrayed as dependant vassals…”Sources in the security establishment, however, said that now in the chair of the Prime Minister, Modi seems to have understood the NCTC’s importance and role in preventing possible terror attacks with the help of analytics.Sources said the work on national intelligence grid (NatGrid), the other brainchild of Chidambaram, is going on as per the decision taken by the cabinet committee on security and it would complete its horizon 1 and 2 stage by September 2012.This means that NatGrid would start sharing seamless flow of information between 11 inquiring agencies, including IB, RAW, CBI, NTRO and so on, and 22 service provider agencies, such as banks, telephone services, airlines, railways, license issuing authorities etc.In its final stage named Horizon 4, the NatGrid is expected to connect with all possible sources having digital human interface that run close to 2,000 organisations, collate and analyse all the data and give the emerging threat scenarios to the NCTC.The subject of NCTC and other security-related issues, such as NatGrid, security of islands and coastal security was discussed in the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs on Friday. Chidambaram, who heads the committee, wanted to know whether there was any progress on NCTC or the government was planning to junk it.

India in no hurry to review Pakistan’s MFN status, Indus Water Treaty; keeps options open

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Be it the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan or the Indus waters treaty, India is treading slowly and cautiously on its terms of engagement with Pakistan. Highly placed government sources said while no decision had been taken on withdrawing either of these, New Delhi was keeping its options open.At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi just a few days ahead of the surgical strikes, commerce ministry officials placed all the facts before him on the MFN status given to Pakistan. The Prime Minister merely heard them, sources said. In the case of the Indus water treaty also, all the facts have been placed before him.The meeting was held at a time when India was pulling out all the stops to wage a psychological war against Pakistan, after the Uri attack which killed 18 Soldiers. From the “we will choose the time and place” for retaliation to MFN status and Indus water treaty, the message that New Delhi was sending to Islamabad was that it would not hesitate from taking any step that could hurt Pakistan.While there is acknowledgement in the government that withdrawing the MFN status would not hurt Pakistan much but at the same time push India to invoke a “security exception” clause in the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT), a final decision would be a political one. Sources said that if a decision is taken, then notwithstanding any international pressure, the government will go ahead with it. The Modi regime had exhibited its resolve to take a tough stand in the face of international pressure when it refused to sign the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2014, till it got assurances on its food security issues.”On the issue of withdrawal of MFN from Pakistan, strictly speaking, that has not yet been discussed,” news agencies quoted commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman as saying.The sources indicated that after the meeting with the Prime Minister on the MFN status with Pakistan, there was no major movement on the issue. They also added that all options were being kept open and the last word was yet to be said, a message that would keep Pakistan on tenterhooks.However, the clamour within the country for taking such steps as part of the exercise to isolate the neighbouring country has waned, particularly after the surgical strikes, which has been seen as a befitting reply to Pakistan.On the Wagah-Attari border, where Indian trucks went with perishable items like food items and vegetables besides coffee, tea, spices and cotton and Pakistani trucks came with goods like cement and copper articles, organic chemicals and sulphur the exchange of goods on the Wagah-Attari border is a painstaking manual process, making it difficult to transfer too many items in a day.While the official India-Pakistan bilateral trade figure stood at $2.6 billion in 2015-16, a lot of Indian items enter Pakistan via Dubai. This is another reason why the government is in no hurry to call off the MFN status to Pakistan.What has peeved India further is that two decades after India gave Pakistan MFN status, a non-discriminatory trade policy between countries giving specific advantages like reduced tariff on imported goods, the neighbouring country is yet to reciprocate.

Centre rubbishes report, says disability pension increased for most defence personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Monday night rubbished media reports which claimed the disability pension for armed forces has been reduced and said it has rather been “significantly increased” in the case of 90% of the armed forces personnel as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.The increase in disability pension ranges from around 14% to 30% among the personnel below officer rank/junior commissioned officers (PBORs/JCOs), sources said.”On the issue of disability pensions for the armed forces, there is a lot of negative reporting going around by the usual suspects,” the sources said, hours after the opposition Congress attacked the government quoting media reports.”There was a dramatised article in the media today describing how the pensions of army personnel who participated in the surgical strike get cut drastically if they got severely injured during the surgical strike. But the fact is, that the disability pensions for war injury cases for personnel who have been invalidated have not been touched, according to the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission,” they added.The sources said media reports have “tried to create an impression, by selective misquoting, that the disability pensions have been slashed.” “The truth is that the disability pension for non-battle cases has increased for majority of the personnel,” they insisted.The government has accepted recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission to ensure increase in the disability pensions for majority of the personnel, the sources said, adding the resolution based on the 7th pay commission recommendations has been passed. The details and the actual order are yet to be issued, they said.”The increase in disability pensions ranges from around 14 % to 30 % among the PBORs/JCOs. In fact the disability pension of almost 90 % of the armed forces personnel have been significantly increased,” the sources said.Giving an idea about how the disability pensions will “actually increase, once the recommendations of the 7th pay commission are implemented”, the sources said for Sepoy, it has increased from Rs 9282 to Rs 12,000, for Havildar, it has increased from Rs 10,542 to Rs 12,000 and for Naik, it has increased from Rs 9680 to Rs 12000.

250 active terrorists in Kashmir Valley plan to ‘avenge’ surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 250 terrorists belonging to three Pakistan-based terror groups were active in the Kashmir Valley, trying to target security forces to “avenge” the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian army in PoK.Quoting intelligence inputs, top government sources said, most of the 250 terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen had infiltrated before the surgical strikes on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, which caused significant damage to their outfits.The terrorists were given clear instructions by their handlers across the border to target security forces in Kashmir Valley to “avenge” the surgical strikes, sources said. The central government has asked security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain maximum level of alertness and take all precaution to foil any attempt by the militants to target them.Sources said even though vigil along the LoC as well as the International Border has been intensified, there are gaps in many places due to difficult topography of the region. All attempts are being made by the security forces to foil any fresh infiltration bids from across the border, sources said.There were intelligence reports that terrorists were planning to infiltrate India from various directions in Kashmir as well as Jammu region. Sources said Lashkar-e-Taiba suffered the maximum damage in the cross-LoC surgical strikes on terror launch pads carried out by Indian army with assessment reports of radio intercepts indicating that around 20 of its militants were killed.The assessment reports available from Indian army field units which included radio conversations between various Pakistani formations showed maximum damage was inflicted on LeT, a banned terror group, at Dudniyal launch pad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, opposite to Kupwara sector of North Kashmir, according to sources in the know of details of the recent surgical strikes.

Bhutan pulled out of SAARC meet considering India’s interests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhutan, which has pulled out of the SAARC Summit, is understood to have cited the “vitiated” atmosphere in the wake of the Uri terror attack and its support for India’s national interest while conveying the decision.Expressing solidarity with India, Bhutan is said to have conveyed to Nepal, the SAARC Chair, that “atmosphere had been vitiated and it was no longer conducive to hold the SAARC Summit under the present situation.””We also share concerns of Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan about deteriorating peace. We have also conveyed that as far as India’s national interest is concerned, we are very clear that we will support India where its national interest lies,” Thimpu is believed to have conveyed to Nepal.In 2003, Bhutan had destroyed military camps of ULFA, Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), all detrimental to Indian security concerns. The Himalayan nation had said that terrorism emanating from Pakistan was a matter of concern for South Asia and affected peace and stability in Bhutan as well, the sources said.The SAARC Summit, scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November, had to be postponed after five member states of the grouping, including India, Bangladesh and Bhutan, decided against attending the meet following the terrorist attack on an Indian army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in which 19 soldiers were killed.The sources said Bhutanese outposts on the China-Bhutan border often witness “seasonal incursions” from the Chinese side even though the ‘Himalayan Kingdom’ supports ‘One- China Policy’. The autonomy for Tibet is “more of a sentimental issue than realistic”, they said. The Bhutanese embassy in New Delhi registers protests following such incursions. Bhutan is one of the countries with which China still has territorial dispute.On the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement, the sources said that the Bhutanese government is working to get it ratified by its Parliament. Although the Lower House of the Bhutanese Parliament has given nod to ratify the agreement for regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic, various concerns have been raised by the Upper House. The sources said the Bhutanese government is trying to address the concerns raised by the Upper House so that the agreement could be ratified at the earliest.

All attempts being made for release of Indian soldier held captive in Pakistan: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All attempts are being made to secure the release of an Indian soldier, who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.Singh said the government has taken note of the reports which stated that an Indian soldier is in Pakistan’s captivity.”All attempts are being made to secure his release,” he told reporters here.The Home Minister also said that New Delhi will take up the matter with Islamabad for his early release.Indian Army sources had said yesterday that “one soldier from 37 RR with weapon has inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control. Pakistan has been informed by the DGMO on the hotline.”The sources had said that his crossing over was not related to the surgical strikes.”Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms,” they had said.The Indian Army had yesterday rejected as “false and baseless” reports in a section of Pakistani media that eight Indian soldiers were killed and one captured by Pakistani military in retaliatory fire.Indian Army sources said, “As regard (to the) report of killing of eight Indian Army personnel reported in sections of Pakistan media, the report is completely false and baseless.” Army’s reaction had came after Pakistan’s Dawn News reported that Pakistani military has claimed that it has killed eight Indian soldiers and captured one while retaliating to India’s firing at the first line of defence at the Line of Control (LoC) at Tatta Pani.India had carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.

dna exclusive: The inside tale of Indian Army’s daring surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Thursday crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and inflicted heavy casualties on terrorist launch pads based in Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK). A rare cross-border surgical strikes was carried out by the Indian Army’s elite Special Forces (SF), 11 days after Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) terrorists killed 18 Indian Army soldiers and amidst growing clamour within India for retaliation.Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh in a briefing said, “Based on specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to preempt infiltration by terrorists.”“I have been in touch with Pakistan Army DGMO and have informed him of our actions. It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region,” he said further.Though he did not share more operation details, reliable Army sources, both at the headquarters here and in Northern Command said that seven terrorist launch pads and camps were destroyed by the troops of 4 and 9 para special forces leading to 40 odd casualties on their side. Two Indian Army soldiers were also injured but safely brought back and are being treated at an army hospital.The entire operation went on from 12.30 AM to 4. 30 AM was a combination of heliborne and ground forces and no Indian chopper crossed over the LoC even as para troopers were air dropped at advanced pre decided locations near the LoC, sources said.Special Forces, divided into three groups went up to three kilometres inside PoK. They were divided in three groups and carried out the attack in Lepa valley, Tatta Pani and Bimber areas across LoC even as India fired heavy artillery guns to divert attention so that the SF troops could sneak in. Sources also told dna that while the three service chiefs met defence minister Manohar Parrikar hours before the operation. While the DGMO monitored the operation from the war room at South Block, at the tactical headquarters of Northern Command in Udhampur, live UAV footage of the operation was being monitored. Curiously, Muzaffarabad-based media- eportedly said that Pakistani Army, around midnight on Wednesday, minutes before the Indian Army assault, had issued an advisory to PoK residents through local media to stay inside. PoK-based media also reported that tourists are vacating the area and movement on road 50% less than on a routine day. They further claimed that besides Pakistani military installations, civilians also bore the brunt of artillery firing.

Uri effect: Parliamentary Panel on Home Affairs to review border security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Against the backdrop of Uri terror attack and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs on Wednesday decided to take up urgently the review of border security as well as internal security capabilities.The newly-reconstituted committee, headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram, which met here today for the first time, decided to have meetings on October 6 and 13 to discuss such subjects, sources told PTI here.On October 13, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi are expected to attend the meeting of the committee, the sources said. At the first meeting of the committee which was to decide on subjects to be taken up, opposition members pressed to discussing urgently the issues of border security and internal security in the country against the backdrop of Uri terror attack which has triggered tensions between India and Pakistan. “There are aspects which cannot wait,” a source said.The aspects to be reviewed include capacity of the paramilitary forces and police forces and status of the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID which were supposed to strengthen the internal security, the sources said. The opposition members, including Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), wanted to know about the proposal of police modernisation which has been hanging fire for long, the sources said. Chidambaram then told the meeting that the Finance Ministry had not released funds for it and thus the proposal was held up, the sources said.

Uri attack: Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs to review border, internal security

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Uri terror attack and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs on Wednesday decided to take up urgently the review of border security as well as internal security capabilities.

The Parliamentary Committee will be headed by P Chidambaram. PTI

The Parliamentary Committee will be headed by P Chidambaram. PTI

The newly-reconstituted committee, headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram, which met on Wednesday for the first time, decided to have meetings on 6 and 13 October to discuss such subjects, sources told PTI. On 13 October, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi are expected to attend the meeting of the committee, the sources said.

At the first meeting of the committee which was to decide on subjects to be taken up, opposition members pressed to discussing urgently the issues of border security and internal security in the country against the backdrop of Uri terror attack which has triggered tensions between India and Pakistan.

“There are aspects which cannot wait,” a source said. The aspects to be reviewed include capacity of the paramilitary forces and police forces and status of the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID which were supposed to strengthen the internal security, the sources said.

The opposition members, including Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), wanted to know about the proposal of police modernisation which has been hanging fire for long, the sources said. Chidambaram then told the meeting that the Finance Ministry had not released funds for it and thus the proposal was held up, the sources said.

China’s hold on Masood Azhar’s UN terror listing to lapse soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The six-month validity of the technical hold imposed by China on India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN will “lapse” soon and the Pathankot attack mastermind could be sanctioned if Beijing does not block the move again.On March 31 this year, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, had blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader under the Sanctions Committee of the Council. China was the sole member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.Sources have said that the six-month validity of the technical hold is set to “lapse” in about a week-10 days time and unless China again seeks to bloc or veto the resolution on some pretext, the resolution could stand passed automatically, designating Azhar as a terrorist. The other 14 UNSC members have already supported India’s bid and the lapse of the technical hold, coupled with no further objection from China, will essentially mean that there is no opposition to the demand to get Azhar listed under the sanctions committee.Sources said that in the current environment of “growing global crescendo against terrorism”, “can China still stand up alone” and block the designation of an individual who heads an organisation that was listed as a terrorist group by the UN in 2001″. They said a possibility could be that after the lapse of the technical hold, China could seek more time on Azhar’s application, in effect allowing the technical hold to continue. However, China could be questioned by other UNSC members on such an extension, sources said, adding that other member nations in the UNSC could ask as to why Beijing needs more time even after getting a six-month time frame due to its technical hold. Sources said India is not alone in its bid to get Azhar listed as the US, UK and France had “co-sponsored” the resolution seeking Azhar’s listing.During the current UN General Assembly session, over 140 nations that have addressed the General Debate have voiced strong condemnation for the growing scourge of terrorism and vowed to combat it. Sources said against this backdrop can a nation (China) decide to go against the “global consensus” on ramping up efforts to fight terrorism by still going ahead and blocking the bid to get Azhar designated.

Post Uri attack army recalibrates tactics along LoC

Mon, 26 Sep 2016-11:45pm , New Delhi , PTI

With the new strategy adopted by Army, it will allow them to exercise various “military options at a short notice”, according to defence sources. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army has recalibrated its tactics along the LoC over the past few days and has achieved a “dynamic” operational posture which will allow it to exercise various “military options at a short notice”, defence sources said on Monday.They said the Army is in high “operational readiness”, a development which comes in the wake of the deadly Uri attack in which 18 soldiers were killed. “We have achieved an operational posture which will allow us to exercise various military options at a short notice,” the sources said. Troop positions along the LoC have been reinforced and gun positions “moved”. The posture remains dynamic which means it keeps changing, the sources said.They said that various options have been looked at and discussed at the highest level.Pakistan has closed down its airspace over PoK without giving any reasons.

All eyes on PM Modi in Kozhikode as he makes first public speech since Uri attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 3,000 kms from Uri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be making his first public speech after the terror attack, on the Kozhikode beach on Saturday. Uri has cast a shadow over the BJP national council meet in this coastal city, which has an unfamiliar saffron hue lined with posters of senior party leaders and ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay.The national council meeting, which is generally held over two days, will be held only on Sunday and end with Modi launching the birth centenary celebrations of Upadhyay, from a dais which has been decorated with Kerala architecture in the backdrop and snake boats on either side in front. The party has made some last minute changes and there will be no national executive meeting. Sources said there was still uncertainty over the Prime Minister’s exact schedule, as it would depend on the tension on the border.Amidst a growing clamour within the party for a muscular response to Pakistan, BJP leaders are poring over the wording of the political resolution, which is expected to seek a tough stand against Pakistan. However, the BJP’s line will be in sync with that of the government’s approach in the aftermath of Uri, sources said.The party is treading cautiously as there is acknowledgment that there was no scope for overt action. At the same time, it is banking on the government to carry out some covert operations that will leave India’s stamp. The party leadership has already received views of various state units on the issue, the sources said.For a party, which came to power on the promise of zero tolerance to terrorism, pressure has mounted after the Uri attack. The resolution, which will also focus on Upadhyay’s philosophy of integral humanism and antyodaya, has to be approved by the national council.The BJP has included an evening devoted to nationalism after the Prime Minister’s rally with a musical play directed by Malayalam film director Ali Akbar on the theme of patriotism. The Party has already located around 500 people who were present at that 1967 session to invite them for a “smriti sandhya”, to go on a nostalgic journey.The focus of the BJP conclave was to pay tributes to Upadhyay, nearly five decades after he was elected Jan Sangh president here.Around 1700 party leaders will gather here for the meet, in which the BJP has planned to highlight pro-poor schemes of the Modi government.With UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand elections coming up early next year, the party leadership is expected to hold discussions with the state leaders on the sidelines.

FIR against DCW chief Swati Maliwal over ‘irregularities’ in appointments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on Tuesday filed an FIR against Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal over alleged irregularities in appointment of staff in the women’s panel. The FIR has been filed under Prevention of Corruption Act and comes after she was grilled by the ACB yesterday over the matter.Speaking to the media after being questioned, Maliwal said that they have asked her 27 questions and have given her a week to respond, adding that the questions pertain to how the DCW managed to make so many appointments. “In the past one year, we have handled 11,500 cases and attended 2.25 lakh calls. In the past eight years, the former chairperson managed only one case. What is troubling everyone is how we managed to do so much work. We will cooperate with the investigation,” Maliwal said. The DCW is under the ACB scanner for arbitrarily appointing 85 people in the past year.Around 90 per cent of contractual staff of the Delhi Commission for Women, led by Maliwal, are members of her party.Last month, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had warned that Maliwal will be arrested soon as there are numerous decisions of the AAP-led Delhi government which Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to be reversed through the LG. Quoting sources, the AAP Chief added that the LG was ‘hell bent’ on removing the team which made clinics and saved money on flyovers, adding that Maliwal was in danger too. “Increase min wages in Delhi. Is it illegal? Sources: Big cos met Modiji n opposed it. Now LG sitting on that file. LG hell bent on removing the team which made more clinics and saved money on flyovers. Sources-LG n PMO hell bent on removing Swati Maliwal 4 doing gud job. She’ll be arrested coming week n then removed,” he said.Earlier the ACB had raided Maliwal’s office following a complaint by Barkha Shukla Singh alleging that it was indulging in illegal practices of appointing its party associates to plum posts. However, Maliwal said she will be not “be scared or silenced,” and that the DCW will continue working for women.

Priyanka to head Congress campaign in UP

Congress has finally decide to draft Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (44) to head its election campaign for next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. After securing a nod from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the party in-charge and general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday is reported to have met Priyanka and formally proposed to her to take charge as chief campaigner. Sources said, she has agreed to the proposal. Her presence is seen to help in revival of party’s sagging fortunes in the politically significant state and also to add glamour to the campaign, where now the BJP will be also forced to find a face to counter her.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources in Priyanka Gandhi’s office said, she has been holding meetings with office bearers of UP and also with Azad to understand the ground situation. Azad last week had publicly stated that this time, she will not confine her campaign to Amethi and Rai Bareilly, which are parliamentary constituencies of Sonia and Rahul, as in the past. Azad, who had met her at least thrice last week had also called the state party leaders to Delhi to chalk out a range of programmes for her entry into politics. Her much awaited political launch is now just a matter of time, the party sources said.As per tentative programme being drafted, she may start campaigning from next month. Azad remained evasive on the exact role that Priyanka and if she will be projected as chief ministerial candidate. Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor, from his close door meetings with UP leaders had gathered that Priyanka would transform party’s fortunes. Azad, when asked Kishor’s role, said Congress will have two strategies in UP at the same time, one by the party and another by Kishor. Strategists can always tweak their campaign, he added.It is learnt, that a list of at least 120 constituencies in the state have been identified where Priyanka will campaign. So far she had participated in campaigns only in the family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli. Sources here said there are plans to hire an agency to promote her–like that party did during last general elections for the image make over of her brother Rahul Gandhi. But she has rejected the proposal. The party is also awaiting the Justice S N Dhingra committee report, which was appointed by the Haryana government to look into land deals by her husband Robert Vadra.Kishor, besides asking for Priyanka to join the campaign had also asked to project a Brahmin, Dalit or Muslim face as the chief ministerial candidate before the elections. There has been no consensus on the face as yet. The party sources said everyone was waiting for Rahul Gandhi’s return from abroad to first reconstitute the Pradesh Congress Committee with a new president in place of Nirmal Khatri.Awainting Rahul’s returnPoll strategist Prashant Kishor, besides asking for Priyanka to join the campaign had also asked to project a Brahmin, Dalit or Muslim face as the chief ministerial candidate before the elections. There has been no consensus on the face as yet. The party sources said everyone was waiting for Rahul Gandhi’s return from abroad to first reconstitute the Pradesh Congress Committee with a new president in place of Nirmal Khatri.

Defence firms under scanner for Sanjay Bhandari links

Some leading foreign defence firms, who are major players in the Indian market, have come under the scanner of investigating agencies for their alleged links with defence consultant Sanjay Bhandari who is being probe for alleged tax evasion. Sources said Bhandari’s call data records and documents seized from his premises during a recent IT search have allegedly showed that a number of officials from different foreign defence firms were in touch with him on a regular basis. He is said to have played a role in bagging contracts by the defence firms.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the companies claimed that they were touch with him and many Indian firms for offset obligations, investigating agencies believe there is more to it. Bhandari runs a company involved in carrying out offsets. During the searches carried out by the Income Tax department, papers of the Defence Ministry, including those related to a much-delayed proposal to buy mid-air refuellers, were allegedly found in his possession. Airbus, a contender for the contract, did not respond to emails sent by PTI asking if it was in touch with Bhandari. Investigators are now looking into how and why he got the documents.Another company under the scanner is French defence major Thales whose senior employees were in touch with Bhandari, the sources said, as per his call data records. “We understand from media reports that there is an ongoing investigation. We do not comment on the same,” Thales said in a statement said. “Bhandari is a key man linked to the world of defence deals. The current focus is to unravel his network,” one of the sources said, adding that some other companies too are being looked into.The Income Tax department had a few days ago carried out searches in half-a-dozen cities in connection with its probe into the alleged financial irregularities and suspected tax evasion in the DIAL-AAI deal relating to the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here. Premises of corporate consultant Deepak Talwar were also searched by the department. Talwar’s name has also come up during investigation into the Bhandari case. Officials remained tight-lipped about what else has come out in the raid on Bhandari and the exact involvement of defence firms. “It is a sensitive case and nothing more can be revealed as of now since a detailed probe into many aspects by various agencies is currently on,” another source said.

NSG forms informal panel for India’s bid; likely to meet again this year

Looks like all is not lost yet for India’s bid for NSG membership. According to NDTV, NSG will meet again this year to discuss the process to allow countries like India who have not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report says that Mexico suggested that another meeting should be held for considering India’s NSG bid. Sources said that Mexico’s suggestion was also opposed by China but it found support from a large number of countries including the US.The report adds that an informal panel has been set up by the NSG to focus on India’s membership and it will headed by Argentinian Ambassador Rafael Grossi.The United States on Friday had said that there is ‘a path forward’ for India to become a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of the year, hours after the group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition.”We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year,” a top Obama administration official said.”It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the official said on condition of anonymity.Vikas Swarup, spokersperson for Ministry of External Affairs said, “There are some processes which take longer,I’d evaluate the NSG membership process in that category. India to continue discussion with China on NSG issue. There is a possibility of India’s inclusion.”He said only China stood between Indi’s NSG bid. “Some countries did raise procedure-related issues but not a single country apart from that one country opposed India’s membership of NSG. There was only one country which persistently raised procedural hurdles as a result of which no decision could be arrived at.”Swarup said India had fulfilled all criteria to become a member of NSG. He said, “Our position on NPT is very well known. As far as NSG is concerned, NSG said implementation of NPT is important. As far as India is concerned we have already implemented all NPT provisions. To the extent that goal post remains implementation of NPT, we believe we have met criteria amd have all credentials to be NSG member.”With agency inputs.

Soon, Maharashtra govt will roll out mobile cyber vans to curb crime

In a first of its kind in the country, Maharashtra will now be equipped with mobile cyber forensic vehicles that will gather cyber-related evidence from the spot in cases of cyber crimes. The first batch of these vans is expected to be available by the end of this year. To begin with, the vans — which are part of the government’s Rs 800-crore cyber security project for the state — will be used for smaller towns or rural belts that do not have well-equipped cyber labs.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Each vehicle, expected to cost between Rs 20-50 lakh, will be equipped with equipment meant for data acquisition and analysis. “It will be as good as a physical cyber forensic lab. In most cases of cyber crimes, by the time computers are examined, it is often too late to follow many of the leads that are produced. These vans are expected to resolve the issue of unnecessary delays,” said a senior government officer.Also, in most cases, computer forensic examiners do not understand the investigations adequately enough, causing them to overlook relevant information and expend resources needlessly. The new vans will have policemen trained as computer forensic examiners for more efficient collection of data.Sources claim that as of now, a police men who is usually not a trained computer examiner seizes computers, digital media and electronic devices encountered during a search. Customarily, examinations are conducted later, in cyber labs, after the material is packaged and transported there. There are many anecdotes of investigators being forced to wait for years to see examination results. Plus, an examination sometimes produces more questions than answers for those conducting the investigation.This, however, is not the first attempt to improve cyber investigation in the state. Sources claimed a single van was acquired last year for the Gadchiroli region as a pilot project, but that failed to meet expectations due to its poor quality.”It was a makeshift arrangement, wherein the van and the equipment were bought separately and then fixed locally here to make the end product a low-cost one. However, this time, we are looking forward to buying highly-advanced vans designed only to be used as cyber vans,” the officer added.The cyber crime project is one of the most ambitious projects that the BJP-led government launched in 2015. The proposed project is expected to comprise three parts — cyber labs, a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a training centre. Once the plan is ready, the department aims to train at least 1,000 police personnel to crack cyber crime cases. The project is being studied by consultant company PwC.

AAP vs Jung: LG will register FIR against Sisodia over fictitious ad scam, claims Kejriwal

Turning up the heat against the LG, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday claimed Lt Governor Najeeb Jung “will” register an FIR against his deputy Manish Sisodia over some “fictitious” advertisement scam.”Sources- LG getting FIR registered in ACB against Manish Sisodia on some fictitious ad scam. We welcome LG to do that,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. Interestingly, Sisodia himself referred to a similar possibility during his intervention in the ongoing session of the Delhi Assembly. He also welcomed a CAG audit of the ads released by the AAP government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a series of tweets, Kejriwal added ACB will also summon Transport Minister Gopal Rai and went on to ask him to present himself before the concerned authority before summons are issued.”Sources – ACB will summon Gopal Rai. Gopal Rai ji, pl visit ACB urself on Mon rather than wait ACB summons. LG/ Modiji, we are strong people who tread on the path of truth.We are not scared of your cowardly threats,” he tweeted.The Delhi Assembly had on Thursday formed a nine-member special inquiry committee to probe alleged irregularities in “restoring” the license of a fair price shop in Santnagar of North Delhi’s Burari, including “serious” charges against Jung in connection with it.

New Delhi: Hospital guard arrested for beating patient for not following queue

A woman guard posted at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital was on Tuesday arrested for allegedly beating up a patient for not following the queue.According to a senior police official, one patient along with her daughter had come to the OPD. “As it was a long queue, the patient tried to jump and when the lady guard objected to it, they entered into an argument,” said a police officer. “The lady guard slapped the patient and later another lady guard started beating her. However, the matter was resolved only after the intervention of other people present in the area,” said police.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The guard was arrested under section 323 (assault), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 34 (common intention) and was later released on bail. A purported video depicting the incident surfaced which showed the guard slapping the patient and both pulling each other’s hair in the end. Sources said that a inquiry has been ordered in the incident.

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

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

HRD rejects three names suggested for IIM-A Chairman’s post; seeks more new names

The HRD ministry has rejected a panel of three names forwarded by IIM Ahmedabad administration for the position of the institute’s chairman and sought a list of new candidates. Sources said the process of searching for a new person for the post is set to begin.A three-member search committee, headed by former IIM-A chairman and L&T CMD Anil Naik, was learnt to have forwarded the three names to the Union HRD Ministry for the post. The names were chairman of the Board of Directors of Infosys R Seshasayee, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, and CMD of Hero MotoCorp Pawan Munjal, it is learnt. The HRD ministry has sought new names for the post, a source said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the Memorandum of Association between the IIM-A and HRD ministry, the latter selects from the names suggested by the search committee for the post.The post was lying vacant ever since Naik stepped down as the chairman of the board of governors on December 31 last, two years before the end of his tenure. Cadila Healthcare CMD Pankaj Patel was appointed as interim chairman by the board and search for new chariman was initiated.

Sahasrabuddhe, Ram Madhav, Sushil Modi in contention for Rajya Sabha

BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, general secretary Ram Madhav and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi are in contention of Rajya Sabha berths from BJP, party sources said. Elections to 57 Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled for June 11 and the last date of filing nomination is May 31. Sahasrabuddhe is in charge of a party-affiliated think tank while Madhav is credited with playing a key role in the party’s electoral success first in Jammu and Kashmir and recently in Assam assembly polls. Madhav is also a former RSS spokesperson. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said Sushil Modi is also being discussed as a probable candidate and his administrative experience and clean image are seen as positives. They said all the ministers, including M Venkaiah Naidu, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, Birender Singh and Suresh Prabhu, are virtually certain to get renomination.

Kejriwal attacks Modi government for overexpenditure on advertisements

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government for over expenditure on advertisements marking the completion of the central government’s two year in office.

“Modi government spend on ads for just one event 2 year bash? Sources- more than Rs.1,000 crore,” Kejriwal tweeted.

“All Delhi government departments total spend less than Rs.150 crore for full year,” he said in another tweet.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief has been on loggerheads with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the issue of overexpenditure on advertisements.

The AAP government had also faced flak from the opposition parties over printing advertisements during the second phase of the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme in the national capital between 15 to 30 April.

Maharahstra: Government may rope in resident doctors to improve prisoners’ health

The home department is working on the possibility of roping in MBBS resident doctors under an ongoing welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners programme to help improve the health conditions of prisoners. The plan will also focus on providing regular sanitary napkins to female prisoners for better hygiene.Besides that, the department is aiming at starting short-term certified/training programmes in giving first-aid and undertaking community health programmes to enhance the availability of emergency health services. Not just that, the courses will also help the inmates find livelihood avenues upon their release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are exploring the opportunity of incorporating ‘prison services’ in the bond of graduating MBBS students through the Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER). We are hopeful that it will work as a major step towards the improvement of overall health services of inmates,” said a senior officer from prison department.The department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tata trust, which is working on the implementation of the welfare programme. The programme will also focus on organising health awareness events in prisons in partnership with the health department and recognised NGOs and institutions. There will be a special emphasis on ‘mental health’ services and counselling within prisons after liasoning with relevant government departments with their consent.As of now, this scheme will only be implemented in five central prisons of Maharashtra and be implemented within the next three years. Besides, the department also has plans of hiring consultant dieticians to ensure that prisoners get exactly “2,100” calories a day.The dietician will also look into the qualitative aspect of the diet. The officer said the idea is to further improve the diet of the prisoners. “We are trying to make their diet better. The said quantity is scientifically calculated for an average adult,” Singh said.The department is also planning to introduce gymnasiums in prisons on a trial basis to help inmates stay fit. Sources claim that the decision was taken after there were reports of prisoners gaining too much weight. However, no survey has been conducted to confirm the reports. As of now, a prisoner is provided with two full meals in a day, besides two tea breaks.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: 10 new faces likely in Jaya’s cabinet

After J Jayalalithaa was elected as the leader of the AIADMK legislative party, she is expected to meet Tamil Nadu’s Governor K Rosaiah at his residence on Saturday evening.On Friday a meeting of the newly elected MLAs was conveyed where Amma was chosen unanimously chosen leader of the legislative party. The meeting took place in the party headquarters at Royapettah.According to party sources,amma will meet governor along with the probable list of ministers who are expected to take oath on Monday at the Centenary hall in Madras University. The entire auditorium is being given a new look as several Chief Ministers, industrialists and other senior officials are expected to attend the event<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources also said that several new faces will be part of the new cabinet that will be taking over on Monday. Candidates who have heavyweights, women leaders and workers who have come up the ranks will be part of the new cabinet. The cabinet is likely to have at least 25 ministers including 10 new faces. Jayalalithaa since becoming CM in 2011 has constantly reshuffled her cabinet and most of her ministers lost positions even before completion of their five year tenure. Out of 27 ministers who contested, 19 were re-elected. Sources indicate only 14 of them may be inducted in the cabinet. .

Supreme Court to get four new judges: Report

The Supreme Court has got four new judges with President Pranab Mukherjee signing their warrants of appointment tonight. Sources in the government said the file pertaining to the elevation of Justice A M Khanwilkar of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Justice D Y Chandrachud of Allahabad High Court, Justice Ashok Bhushan of Kerala High Court and senior lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao to the Supreme Court has been cleared by President Pranab Mukherjee. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They are likely to take oath on Friday, the sources said, adding the notification may be issued tomorrow by the Law Ministry. Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda confirmed their appointment in a series of tweets.The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended their elevation earlier this month, the first since a new law on appointment of judges to higher judiciary was struck down by the top court. These were the first set of recommendations made by the SC Collegium for appointment as judges of the apex court after the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act came into force on April 13 last. The new law which sought to scrap the collegium system was struck down by a Supreme Court bench on October 16 last.

Law Ministry’s views on Rafale deal to be considered: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the Law Ministry has made certain “observations” which will be “adequately taken into account” while finalising the Inter-Government Agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France.Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils Live Cricket Score, 31st T20, Indian Premier League 2016, May 3, 2016In two separate written replies in Rajya Sabha, he said negotiations on the terms and conditions of the supply, including total cost, actual delivery timelines and guarantee period have not been concluded. Parrikar said that the Indian negotiating team is carrying on its meetings with the French side.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Ministry of Law & Justice has made certain observations and the same will be adequately taken into account while finalising the IGA, which is still under negotiations,” he said without elaborating.Sources said the Law Ministry has cautioned the government that certain clauses in the draft inter- governmental agreement, including the one on material breach, are not in India’s interest. It has advised the Defence Ministry to reconsider certain clauses while finalising the deal.Sources said one of the issues flagged by the Department of Legal Affairs is that in case of material breach by French companies of their obligations under the supply protocol, the Indian side would first have to take legal recourse against them but cannot involve the French government. It also suggested that the liability clause should be more stringent and include the French government. The clause would come into force in case of any deficiency in completion of the deal by the companies.In case of a commercial dispute, the arbitration proceedings should take place in India and not Switzerland as suggested in the draft, the Law Ministry has opined. Sources have said that the differences between the two dies have narrowed down a lot. The final deal could be signed this month itself.

VVIP chopper scam: Parrikar papers on AgustaWestland not to spare even ‘clean’ Antony

Stage is set for next round of battle between the government and the Opposition Congress on the issue of AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal kickbacks, no holds barred.While the Congress announced that its leaders will march on Delhi streets and gherao Parliament on Friday, defence minister Manohar Parrikar will place records along with detailed chronology of the controversial deal before Parliament on Wednesday, when the issue comes up in Rajya Sabha for discussion. “I will place the detailed chronology…and how and when necessary clauses or provisions were relaxed to suit the company,” Parrikar told reporters in Goa.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anticipating further trouble, the government is now focusing on transaction of only the financial business, primarily related to the Union Budget, in Parliament next week, leaving out the Constitution Bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the next monsoon session. Parrikar, in the last few days, has been busy preparing a case with the help of top defence officials to put Sonia Gandhi and her aides, including former defence minister AK Antony, in the box for protecting AgustaWestland despite the alleged irregularities in the Rs 3,600-crore deal becoming public in 2012. These officials are scanning more than 40 files, running into several hundred pages, and also assisting the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in clarifying the technicalities involved in the defence procurement procedure.Government sources said that Parrikar has enough ammunition to question Congress on why the contract was not terminated in 2012, when the scam surfaced, instead of waiting till January 1, 2014. A dossier being prepared to nail Congress leaders also includes thorny questions for former defence minister AK Antony, over his role in delaying a CBI investigation. The matter was referred to the CBI only after the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, chief executive and chairman of Finmeccanica, the Italy-based parent company of AgustaWestland and not when the scam had actually surfaced. Sources here said that even the ED was brought into picture only after the change in government at the Centre. The ED is probing how the bribe money reached the bribe-takers in India since it must have involved money laundering.Ruling BJP sources said that while they have no doubt on the integrity of “Mr clean” AK Antony, the trail and timing of his actions do smack that he was under pressure from leaders of his party, the Congress, to overlook the wrong-doings. Sources said Antony had lost no time in February 2012 to raise a red flag over the alleged irregularities and hence Parrikar would question him why the “integrity clause” was not invoked immediately to cancel the deal and recover the money. He could have at least stopped the delivery of three helicopters by the company in November 2012.The group of officials has also identified many “waivers” and “favours”, as also bending of the terms of the contract, to ensure that it goes to AgustaWestland. The government is also treading carefully, not to mention any controversial decision leading to the contract signed in 2010, lest to cast any aspersion on President Pranab Mukherjee, who was the defence minister at that point of time. Parrikar has consulted finance minister Arun Jaitley and others as to whether he can at least refer to the irregularities committed by the defence ministry, without saying anything on the then political leadership of the ministry. Parrikar has again challenged the UPA leaders to show him the order blacklisting AgustaWestland. “Let them first answer why it was not banned. It was during our (NDA) government that we banned it,” he said. Stating that those who have received kickbacks would not have left behind the proof, Parrikar said: “It is for us to prove everything now. Since the issue would be placed in Parliament, I would not like to speak in detail to media now.”Meanwhile, sources in the ministry of parliamentary affairs said the government now has little hope of the Opposition support in the passage of GST and other legislations in this session. The controversies, first on the President’s rule in Uttarakhand and then on the judgment of Italy court on Agusta scam – that rocked both the Houses this week, have vitiated the atmosphere. Indications are that the session may be closed by Friday as demands for grants of various ministries are proposed to be guillotined on Thursday, while the last day will be utilised to pass the Appropriation and Finance Bills in the Lok Sabha.Listed before the Rajya Sabha are discussions on the working of the ministries of health, human resources, finance, external affairs and micro, small and medium enterprises and returning of the Railways’ second appropriation bill. Other government business included in the next week’s agenda includes consideration of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha and Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill and the Indian Trusts Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha that have been already passed by the lower house.Congress posers to Modi govt1. Why was the Modi government protecting Agusta for the last two years as CBI/ED probe has reached no conclusion?2. Why the company was permitted to be part of the PM’s Make-in-India and in the Aero India 2015 expo in Bengaluru3. Why the company was given permission by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board of Modi govt as recently vide PIB release of Oct 8, 2015, mentioning joint venture of Agusta at serial no.8?4. Instead of claiming that the UPA govt could recover only part of bank guarantee, will the BJP president verify whether the UPA govt had recovered Rs 2,068 crore from Agusta as against payment of Rs 1,620 crore, besides confiscating three helicopters and encashed bank guarantees close to Rs 240 crore (Euro 228 million) by moving and winning the case in the court at Milan, Italy?BJP posers to Sonia, Congress1. Only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can compete in the tender, but still Agusta was entertained. At whose instance violations in the tender conditions were allowed?2. The then defence minister had permitted change in the field evolution trial clause. At whose instance did he compromise with the trial?3. Why the govt did not put on hold the deal as soon as Italy media reported about the bribes instead of putting it hold only after arrests began in Italy? Who was responsible for this delay?4. The Congress claimed that the UPA govt had recovered back all the bank guarantees of the Agusta, but the truth is that only a part of the money could be recovered. Why peddling such a lie and to protect whom?

Another Heart of Asia conference spotlight on India-Pakistan

Successive Heart of Asia conferences, meant to discuss Afghanistan, boil down to provide spotlight on India and Pakistan engagements. Within a fortnight after its envoy characterised “peace process” as suspended, Pakistan announced sending its foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry to Delhi on Tuesday to take stock of bilateral relations.Though, Chaudhry is arriving here to participate in the 14-member Heart of Asia Conference also known as Istanbul Process to discuss issues related to Afghanistan, sources here said an informal bilateral meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Subramaniam Jaishankar was also on the cards.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan had earlier confirmed attendance of a junior level officer, but on Sunday night decided to send its foreign secretary to put dialogue process also back on rails. Just after his visit was announced in Islamabad, he along with National Security Advisor Nasir Janjua called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss a strategy. “The Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process will be held in New Delhi on 26 April 2016. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will lead Pakistan delegation to this meeting,” the Pakistan foreign office stated. Chaudhry will arrive on Tuesday morning and is scheduled to leave by evening.Official sources here said that India was looking forward to hear from the Pakistani delegation the progress of the investigations into the Pathankot airbase. Sources said both Delhi and Islamabad were working out the modalities for foreign secretary level talks over past fortnight, since Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit’s comments on the suspension of talks, which had created an unsavory diplomatic situation for both countries. “We need to look ahead and not think in terms foreclosing any options. Both sides are in contact with each other,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said in Islamabad. Sources in Delhi had pointed out that Basit is trying to align himself with hardliners in Pakistan.In Delhi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swaroop also made it clear that the dialogue process between the two neighbours was not suspended.Pakistan hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on December 9, 2015. On the initiative of Afghanistan, it was decided to hold next meeting in New Delhi later part of 2016.Significantly, it was at the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting in December last year, India and Pakistan had ended a two-year-long freeze in relations. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who travelled to Islamabad, announced the resumption of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD).But the bonhomie generated by these two engagements evaporated fast after the terrorists allegedly belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad stuck Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016. Since then, no date for talks between the foreign secretaries were decided, but both sides have been in touch regarding the matter.

India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim suffering from gangrene, might lose legs: Report

It appears that Dawood Ibrahim is suffering from an advanced stage of gangrene and is unlikely to be cured fully, reports News 18. Docs treating the underworld don believe that the reason behind gangrene is caused due to the loss of effective local blood supply due to high blood pressure and blood sugar. The report goes on to claim that his condition is life-threatening, and some of his body tissues in the legs are already dead. Sources added that he was under protection from Pakistan’s ISIS and he won’t be moved out of the city of Karachi.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report added that Army doctors will help out with his treatment. If Dawood’s condition worsens, and he dies in Pakistan, it will be a big loss for those waiting for him to be tried for the crimes he has committed including the 1993 blasts in Mumbai.The 66-year-old is wanted in connection with the 1993 serial blasts which led to 257 deaths and 717 injuries. While one of his associates, Yakub Memon was hanged in July 2015, his brother Tiger is still at loose.

MPs seek relief from odd-even scheme ahead of Parliament session

Problems arising out of Delhi’s Odd-Even scheme had their echo at an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, where an MP sought relief from the Speaker saying some members were facing inconvenience due to it.Raising the issue, TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy said even Parliamentarians like him were facing problems in commuting in Delhi due to the scheme as they had only one car here and only one sticker was issued to them by the Lok Sabha exempting them. Sources said some other members at the all-party meeting supported the issue raised by Reddy, while Bhartruhari Mahtab of BJD did not agree saying members should cooperate and agree to the scheme that was aimed at reducing pollution and decongestion of the national capital.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Speaker is the custodian of Parliament and it was important to bring this issue at the meeting of leaders of all parties,” the MP from Mahabubnagar in Telangana said.His request found some favour from the Speaker who later said that she has asked the Lok Sabha secretariat to work out ways so that MPs do not suffer while commuting.”A request had come from some members. I have asked the Lok Sabhba Secretariat and Secretary General that we will try that we provide vehicles to members properly as per odd-even scheme. We will try members should not suffer problems for coming to Parliament. Some members rightly said that some members can face problems as only one of their vehicle is allowed. Even Parliament can face problems, as half the vehicles can be used at a time and half will not. Let us see and we will try and find a solution,” Mahajan told reporters.Reddy also said, “We who come from Lok Sabha live in Delhi for maximum 75 to 100 days and Parliament provides a small falat to us. Senior-most MPs get a big house. For coming to Parliament, only one vehicle is there and only one pass is issued for the members. We have requested to the Speaker that during our stay in Parliament here.”

Odd-even 2.0: Compliance rate higher this time than first edition, says Delhi govt

The Delhi government on Sunday claimed that the rate of compliance in the second phase of odd-even car-rationing scheme was “higher” compared to its first round and 5,814 challans were issued in the first nine days.In the last edition of the scheme, 6,768 challans were issued in the corresponding period, it said. The AAP government is facing criticism from the opposition due to “increasing” volume of traffic on roads following which it recently asked PWD, Delhi Metro and DJB to carry out their construction and repair works at night to avoid traffic jams.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If we compare the data, rate of compliance is higher in second phase of odd-even scheme with issuance of 5,814 challans while in first phase, there were 6,768 challans issued by concerned authorities,” a senior government official said.Both Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department, which had been assigned with prosecution work in the first phase, and Delhi Traffic Police have been empowered to challan the errant drivers. Unlike during the first phase, sub-divisional magistrates are not prosecuting motorists for violating odd-even rules during the the fortnight-long scheme this time which came into force on April 15.As per data released by the government, enforcement wing and traffic police have issued 2,962 challans and 2,852 challans respectively to motorists so far, while traffic police, SDMs and enforcement wing had imposed a fine on 6768 violators in the January edition. Sources said that the numbers of challans may be less during the second phase of odd-even scheme as SDMs are not prosecuting the errant motorists this time for violating the rules.On the first day of second round of the road-rationing plan, transport department and Delhi traffic police had prosecuted 1,311 motorists while only 215 violators had been fined on first day of its first round implemented from January 1-15. On Saturday, Delhi government constituted a six-member committee to study traffic congestion during the ongoing odd-even scheme.

Another AAP v/s Lt Guv row: New Tihar DG appointed, Najeeb Jung terms it ‘null & void’

In yet another face off, AAP government on Tuesday appointed senior IPS officer J K Sharma as the Director General of Tihar Jail but Lt Governor Najeeb Jung declared the order “null and void”, saying the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation did not seek his prior approval.A 1982-batch IPS officer, Sharma, the Director General of Delhi Home Guardsm was, earlier in the day, given the additional charge of DG (Prisons) by the city government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An order issued by an Additional Secretary of Delhi government’s Home Department said, “DG (Home Guards) J K Sharma, IPS (AGMU 1982), will hold additional charge of Director General (Prisons) till further orders.”Sources said Delhi government did not send a file pertaining to the appointment of Sharma as Tihar Jail’s DG to the LG office for prior approval. However, “the Lt Governor has declared that the government’s order to appoint Sharma as the DG of Tihar Jail is ‘non est’ (does not exist),” a source in the LG Office said.Sharma has served Delhi in different posts and was investigated by central agencies over graft charges. The officer, after taking over the new post, visited the jail and held a meeting with senior prison officials.

Injunction filed by RK Pachauri against Vrinda Grover in sexual harassment case

RK Pachauri has filed an injunction suit against Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover and sought damages of Rs 1 crore. Three media houses have also been served an injunction notice by Pachauri’s counsel.A former analyst from the institute has accused ex-TERI chief Pachauri of sexual harassment. The charge sheet in this matter is up for consideration on April 23 at the Saket District court. Following the first complaint, since July 2015, two other complainants have stepped forward accusing Pachauri of sexually harassing them though no official complaint or FIR has been filed in these matters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Vrinda Grover is prejudicing our case by strategically releasing damning and unsubstantiated statements to the media,” Ashish Dixit, Pachauri’s counsel stated. “Grover refused to accept the summons from a court official when it was sent to her,” Dixit added.Responding to these allegations, Grover stated that she did not refuse any summons. “I was in a conference for another matter and was not around to receive the summons. The court official was requested by the neighbouring office-bearers to come at a later time or the next day,” Grover said.”It is unfortunate that lawyers start spouting half-truths to the media now,” Grover said. “Allegations against Pachauri are very serious and need to be addressed on the points. Grover, knows for her cases dealing with women’s issues and rights, commented, “Instead of making me the story, perhaps the lawyers should speak about the harsh facts about the case. Why make a tamasha.”Sources close to the defence stated that Grover and her “clients” have been strategically releasing damning statements to the media before crucial court dates. This, a source close to the defence believes, may prejudice the case before the trial even beings.Rubbishing claims that the statements are prejudicial, Prashant Mendriatta, advocate for the first complainant said, “Who is getting influenced by these statements? The court has not yet taken cognizance of the charge sheet and the trial has not even gone past the first stage.” Mendriatta’s client, a former research associate at The Energy and Research Institute (TERI), filed an FIR against Pachauri in February 2015.

Grounded: Waiting for fav woman co-pilot, Air India pilot delays flight by almost 3 hrs

New Delhi: As many as 110 passengers onboard an Air India aircraft were forced to sit in the plane for two and half hours today after its commander insisted for a “particular woman” co-pilot to operate the flight.

The incident happened at Air India’s flight to Male from Chennai via Thiruvananthapuram, sources said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

In between, the commander also complained of high blood pressure and was treated for the same, they said.

Interestingly, the Commander quit Air India last week and is serving a six-month notice period, the sources said.

According to the sources, the commander insisted roster section yesterday to schedule the woman flight officer along with him on flight AI 263/264 for today.

“Roster section, however, informed him that his demand can’t be met as she was already scheduled for a Delhi flight,” a source said.

Later the commander called up roster section and threatened to report sick, if the particular woman pilot was not assigned the duty with him.

“When the roster section did not oblige, he reported sick yesterday. But this morning when he turned up to operate the flight he again insisted for the same co-pilot, forcing the airline to arrange his favourite co-pilot,” one of the sources alleged.

But in the process, the flight was delayed as it departed at 9.13 am against its schedule time of 7 am, the sources said.

Airline spokesperson was not available for comments.

Air India pilot insists for particular woman co-pilot, delays flight

As many as 110 passengers onboard an Air India aircraft were forced to sit in the plane for two and half hours on Wednesday after its commander insisted for a “particular woman” co-pilot to operate the flight.The incident happened at Air India’s flight to Male from Chennai via Thirunanthapuram, sources said. In between, the commander also complained of high blood pressure and was treated for the same, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Interestingly, the Commander quit Air India last week and is serving a six-month notice period, the sources said. According to the sources, the commander insisted roster section yesterday to schedule the woman flight officer along with him on flight AI 263/264 for on Wednesday.”Roster section, however, informed him that his demand can’t be met as she was already scheduled for a Delhi flight,” a source said.Later the commander called up roster section and threatened to report sick, if the particular woman pilot was not assigned the duty with him.”When the roster section did not oblige, he reported sick yesterday. But this morning when he turned up to operate the flight he again insisted for the same co-pilot, forcing the airline to arrange his favourite co-pilot,” one of the sources alleged.But in the process, the flight was delayed as it departed at 9.13 am against its schedule time of 7 am, the sources said. Airline spokesperson was not available for comments.

LK Advani’s wife, Kamla, passes away

BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani’s wife Kamla Advani passed away of cardiac arrest on Wednesday. She was in her early eighties. Sources close to the family said she complained of uneasiness and breathlessness and was rushed to the AIIMS where doctors tried to revive her but in vain.”She suffered cardiac arrest,” they told PTI.Kamla Advani (83) leaves behind, besides her husband, a son and a daughter. She had been suffering from age-related problems for some time and was on wheelchair for the last few months.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Family sources said she was also suffering from memory loss.Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his condolences:Further details are awaited.

New Delhi: Ahead of Cabinet rejig, AAP to review its ministers’ performances

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will review performances of its ministers amid buzz of a Cabinet reshuffle to make way for new faces. Sources said the review will be done by both the Delhi government and the party.”The Cabinet reshuffle is on cards,” said an AAP leader, but did not give a specific time frame.”A review of performance of certain ministers was necessary. More importantly, the government has completed a year and this gives us an opportunity to have a performance check of ministers. Now that the Assembly session is over, we will start the process of reviewing the performance,” the leader said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the Cabinet reshuffle is necessitated due to the MCD polls in Delhi and Punjab Assembly polls as the party expects to do very well in both the elections.The party wants to bring in fresh faces ahead of these two crucial polls, they added. If the reshuffle takes place, it will be second rejig in a little more than a year.The AAP had earlier sacked Law Minister Jitendra Singh Tomar after his name cropped up in a fake degree case. Environment Minister Asim Ahmed Khan was sacked over graft charges.

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