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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.

Indian group makes it to Guinness Book of World Records for longest underwater human chain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of 182 Indians from Pune have created a new world record for the longest underwater human chain, earning an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. The feat was achieved under the banner of Chrysalis Entrepreneur Forum (India) at Koh Tao in Thailand on Tuesday. The earlier record was held by a group of 173 Italians. Milind Shalgar representing the group said that Dr Manish Gupta had led the team and they had been preparing for the Guinness record for the last six months. The group had carried an 8X12 feet​ tri-color flag and sang the national anthem before beginning their effort to create the record. They also performed a prayer for Lord Ganesha to succeed in their effort. All the 182 people had to wear scuba-diving attire, masks and cylinders and had to abide by the rules of the instructors. Video footage was sent to the arbitrator who interviewed all the members and then announced that the Indian group had broken the previous record to create a new Guinness Book World Record of the longest underwater human chain.

No more ‘Jung’ as Anil Baijal becomes Delhi’s L-G

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former IAS official, Anil Baijal on Wednesday replaced Najeeb Jung as Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor. Jung resigned from the post last week.Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the decision was taken by President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday after he accepted Jung’s resignation.External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to congratulate Baijal. “I welcome Shri #AnilBaijal as the Lt.Governor of Delhi, (SIC)” Swaraj tweeted.Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, had previously served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and has held the several key positions in other ministries.Officials said that while Baijal’s name was recommended by the MHA, the papers reached the President’s office on Tuesday evening.Baijal had retired from service in 2006 as Secretary, Urban Development Ministry and has served as the former Vice-Chairman of Delhi Development Authority.He is also credited with the designing and roll-out of the Rs 60,000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) which was launched by the UPA government.Jung’s sudden resignation had come as a surprise to many including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “I spoke to Najeeb Jung over the phone and he said that he has resigned for personal reasons. We wish him all the best for future and look forward to working with the new L-G,” media reports quoted Kejriwal as saying.Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who was at loggerheads with Jung over a host of issues — including the foreign visits by AAP ministers, also met the outgoing LG on Wednesday.Jung became Delhi LG in July 2013, replacing Tajender Khanna, another IAS officer. A former IAS official of 1973 batch, he was initially posted in Madhya Pradesh and was last associated with Jamia Millia Islamia, where he was the vice-chancellor from 2009-2013.The former L-G had constantly been in the news for the past two years for his confrontation with the AAP’s Delhi Government and Chief Minister Kejriwal. He had also formed the committee chaired by VK Shunglu on August 30, to examine 400 files on decisions taken by the Kejriwal regime.

Ratan Tata-Cyrus Mistry spat: Here’s the timeline of biggest corporate battle of 2016 in a graphic

The Ratan TataCyrus Mistry boardroom battle was easily the biggest corporate spat of 2016. It started on 24 October, when Tata in a surprise and unexpected move, dismissed Mistry as the chairman of Tata Sons.

Mistry was appointed as the chairman of the Tata group holding company in December 2012.

Ever since the ouster, the Tatas and the Mistrys of the closely held Shapoorji Pallonji group have been sparring in the public. While the Tatas have said Mistry was ousted, as the board of the company lost its confidence in him, Mistry has maintained that the Tatas were afraid of his clean-up drive which resulted in his dismissal. Mistry has also raised various corporate governance issues in the Tata Group since his expulsion.

The Tatas also called up extraordinary general meetings of the shareholders of the listed group companies to oust Mistry from their boards. However, Mistry himself resigned from the boards after TCS and Tata Steel shareholders voted him out.

However, a day after resigning from the boards of six listed Tata firms, he took the legal route by filing a suit in the National Company Law Tribunal against Tata Sons.

In response, Tata Sons on Tuesday slapped a legal notice on Mistry, alleging breach of confidentiality by making public sensitive company documents including minutes of board meetings, financial information and data.

One thing is clear, there is no end in sight to the boardroom battle.

Here’s a time line of the developments in one single graphic:

NEW DELHI: RUMBLE IN BOMBAY HOUSE. PTI GRAPHICS(PTI12_28_2016_000005B)NEW DELHI: RUMBLE IN BOMBAY HOUSE. PTI GRAPHICS(PTI12_28_2016_000005B)

PTI graphic

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:33 IST

No political interference in Rama Mohana Rao’s matter, law to take its course: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dubbing as “irresponsible statements” the charges levelled by sacked Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao over the Income Tax raids against him, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday there was no political interference and the law will take its own course in the matter. “I do not want to react to irresponsible statements (made by Rao). He is known to me as well. I advise him not to make any unnecessary political statements and further complicate the issue,” he said.Naidu was responding to queries from reporters on the sidelines of the platinum jubilee celebrations of diversified business conglomerate KCP Ltd here. “If there is nothing found in his (Rao) house, law is there. He can take recourse to it. The Government of India has not removed him. I read in newspapers that somebody (Girija Vaidyanathan) has been appointed in his place. “Our interest is to see that the system functions. It is functioning. And if there is any problem, the chief minister will talk to the Centre,” said the Union Urban Development Minister.When asked about Rao’s remark that IT raids at his home and secretariat office were a Constitutional assault on the top office, Naidu shot back saying, “That does not require any response (from me) at all. Law will take its own course. The government has no role in this. There is no political interference.”
ALSO READ Removed after IT raids, Rama Mohana Rao says, I am Chief Secy of Tamil NaduAddressing a press conference here earlier in the day, Rao described the IT raids as a “Constitutional assault” on the top office and claimed that he was kept under “house arrest” by the CRPF during the raids last week. On demonetization and the problems being faced by the people due to the shortage of cash, Naidu said, “When there is a transformation in the system, there will be temporary pain. But, it will be a long-term gain. “When you are ill for a long time, you need to take a bitter pill. That is what is happening. Things will improve. After 50 days, they will start improving slowly,” he added.The pain of the honest would be “reduced” and that of those who have violated the law “will increase”, Naidu said in an indication of more steps against black money.

Duncan Road Minor’s Murder: Police probe reveals juveniles didn’t attend college after kidnapping girl

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 200 residents of Duncan Road gathered at JJ Marg police station on Tuesday and appealed to the police to try the arrested juvenile duo in the three-year-old’s murder case as adults. The family of 3.5-year-old Junera-Tabassum Fatema Khan, who was allegedly murdered by her neighbours for ransom, also told the police that they suspected that the family of one of the juveniles was involved in the incident. The residents also thanked the police for their swift action.The police have recorded the statements of around ten witnesses in the case.Mumtaz Khan, Junera’s father, said, “We want them to be tried as adults, we want their family also to be arrested. We are certain that the boys are adults and the JJ Marg police has told us that the will do tests for the same.”While speaking about the investigation of the case, an officer privy to the probe said, “We have collected circumstantial, forensic, technical, and scientific evidences against the two juveniles to make the case water tight. We have recorded the statements of 10-12 witnesses for the same.”While another senior police officer said, “We have sent our teams to the spots where we had traced the last location of the juveniles. Our team is collecting CCTV footage from the areas. We have also obtained Call Data Record and sent the (mobile) sim card as well as recordings for technical verification.”Earlier during the investigation, it was revealed that the first year Science students of Siddharth College had stolen chloroform from their college laboratory which was later used to kill the girl. The police is seeking a clarification from the college authorities for the same. During the investigation of the college authorities, it was revealed that “the accused hadn’t attended college since they had kidnapped the girl.”The police also suspects the involvement of other people in either manipulating evidence, or involvement in planning the murder or hiding facts, the officer added, “We are looking at all the angles. We have also spoken to a couple of peers of the accused and are investigating if there was any involvement (of other people) or if someone helped them to destroy the evidence.”

Demonetization: Workers laid off on refusing to accept salary in old notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Workers employed by a builder on Tuesday complained to police that their services were terminated after they refused to accept salary in demonetized currency notes.”On complaint of the workers, the builder has been called for questioning. If any illegality is found, action will be taken against him. Also, efforts will be made so that workers get salary through cheques,” DSP Arvind Yadav said.They also held a protest outside the builder’s office.A worker, Shesh Kumar, alleged, “The salary for October was paid in old currency notes which was accepted by the workers. Now, the builder is pressurizing us to accept November’s salary and that for December in advance in old currency notes.””When we refused, the builder informed us that our services have been terminated,” the worker alleged.

Islamic State confirms Kalyan boy Aman Tandel’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Islamic State has confirmed the death of Kalyan boy Aman Tandel who had joined the ranks of the terrorist organisation in Syria. The IS released a martyr tribute in the name of Abu Umar al Hindi’ — Tandel’s Arabic name — alongside his photograph on its official media channel Khilafah news on Tuesday.Last month Tandel’s family in the Mumbai suburb of Kalyan received an anonymous call about his death. There was no confirmation on the same by the Indian security agencies or the government.IS releases details of death of its foreign recruits and hails them as `martyrs’. Its release on Tandel said he died in Raqqa — the centre of Caliphate declared by IS in Syria.In a propaganda video released by IS earlier this year, Tandel along with other Indian recruits and friend Fahad Sheikh vowed to take revenge against atrocities unleashed against Muslims in India. Tandel along with three other youth from Kalyan fled to Iraq in the guise of conducting pilgrimage and joined the IS in May 2014.Among them, Areeb Majeed returned last year following a six month stint with the terror group. He is currently facing trial and is confined in Arthur road prison. Saheem Tanki was announced dead. Sheikh is the only member of the group alive and fighting with the IS in Syria now.

Agni V test firing: India’s nuke capabilities not targeted against any nation, says MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maintaining that its strategic capabilities were not targeted against any particular country, India on Tuesday said it abides by all applicable international obligations and expects others do the same, while responding to Chinese reaction to its test-firing of Agni V missile.”India’s strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all other do the same. “India’s strategic autonomy and growing engagement contributes to strategic stability,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.The Spokesperson’s remarks came after Chinese Foreign Ministry hoped that India’s test-firing of the nuclear-capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile that could cover all of China complied with UN Security Council rules and safeguarded South Asia’s strategic balance. Even as Beijing maintained that the two nations are “not rivals for competition but partners for cooperation”, it took exception to media reports that the successful test of Agni-V was meant to target China.Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in Beijing said,” We have noted reports on India’s test fire of Agni-5 ballistic missile. The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons”. “China always maintains that preserving the strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive to peace and prosperity of regional countries and beyond.” India had yesterday successfully test-fired Agni-V, the country’s most lethal nuclear-capable inter-continental ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 kms that covers entire China which may also pave the way for user trial of the weapons system and its eventual induction into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

BJP accuses Rama Mohana Rao of ‘doing politics’ by thanking Rahul and Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP on Tuesday lashed out at former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao over his critical remarks on Income Tax raids at his home and office and charged him with “doing politics” by thanking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Party’s state unit President Tamilisai Sounderrajan said no one is above the law and sought to know why Rao would talk about the state’s security when an elected Chief Minister was there to take care of it. “By thanking Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi, his intentions are clear. It is clear that he is brazenly doing politics,” she said in a statement. She asked if he was “challenging” the Chief Minister and Governor by his remarks.”Who is he to say that there is no security for the people of Tamil Nadu? Why is he bothered when there is an elected Chief Minister? (to take care of that),” she said. Further, the Income Tax department can carry out checks anywhere in connection with a probe, she said responding to Rao’s contention that the tax men’s search warrant did not have his name.Tamilisai also slammed Rao for claiming that he continued to be state Chief Secretary and termed it as “arrogant.” “Overall his remarks amount to impeding the peaceful situation in Tamil Nadu. The fact is he has become a wrong precedent by a wrong action (of talking to the media). It is amazing that an official does not have the patience to wait for law to take its own course,” she added.

‘Domicile certificates’ to West Pakistan refugees is unacceptable: Farooq Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the separatists, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said the move to grant ‘domicile certificates’ to West Pakistan Refugees is “unacceptable” and his party would oppose it.”The idea of issuing ‘domicile certificates’ to West Pakistan Refugees is unacceptable and National Conference won’t be a mute spectator to such extra-constitutional misadventures that aims at circumventing the state’s special constitutional status and character,” he told reporters here. Farooq said there was a clear effort to exploit the West Pakistan Refugee issue to further a traditional agenda of weakening the state’s special status and eroding the State Subject Law.He said the government’s “excuse” that certain certificates and documents were being issued to West Pakistan Refugees as proofs of identification were “absurd justifications”. “West Pakistan Refugees have already been given Adhaar cards and before that other proofs of identity that enable them to apply for Central government and other jobs. “Why the present government suddenly found the need to issue another form of an identity proof is incomprehensible,” said Farooq, a former Union Minister.He was commenting on the issue which has already become controversial with separatists slamming it and vowing to oppose it tooth and nail. “National Conference will do everything necessary to ensure such machinations to erode the state’s special status are defeated,” Farooq said. “These belated sympathisers of the West Pakistan Refugees have never done anything to help them in the pursuit of their day-to-day challenges and are exploiting this issue now only to serve their own political interests,” he added.”While we have always empathised with the refugees and will continue to do so, there is no denying the fact that they are not and cannot become the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir. Any efforts by the state government to the contrary will be unconstitutional and illegal,” he said.

Home Ministry cancels FCRA license of 20,000 NGOs

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

Congress worker shot at in Kashmir

Tue, 27 Dec 2016-10:58pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Militants shot at and injured a Congress worker in Bandipora district of Kashmir on Tuesday night, police said.The ultras shot Baahir Ahmad Shiekh (40) inside his residence at Ashtengoo at around 7.30 PM, a police official said. He said Shiekh was rushed to a local hospital where the doctors referred him to a hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.

Home ministry cancels FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs for violating norms

New Delhi: FCRA licences of around 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the government after they were found to be allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA, thus barring them from receiving foreign funds.

This was conveyed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a review of the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTIUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Giving a detailed presentation, home ministry officials said after cancellation of FCRA licences of around 20,000
NGOs, only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid now to receive foreign funds.

“The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago and the process is still continuing. The cancellation of the FCRA licences of the NGOs done over a period of one year,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

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

An additional 300 NGOs are currently under prior permission category but not registered under the FCRA.

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

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

A home ministry official said on Tuesday of the around 33,000 NGOs registered under the FCRA, 27,000 were due for renewal this year.

Of these 27,000 NGOs, around 19,000 NGOs have submitted applications for renewal under the FCRA.

And of the 19,000 NGOs, FCRA licences of 15,500 NGOs were renewed.

Among the total 27,000 NGOs, 8,000 have time till February for renewal of their licences under FCRA.

The official said just FCRA licences of just 222 NGOs were cancelled in recent past.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 22:44 IST

Rohit Deo is the full-time Advocate General of Maharashtra now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It took eight months and a strongly worded High court order for the Devendra Fadnavis government to finalise the name of Adv Rohit Deo as the advocate general of Maharashtra. Deo’s name has been recommended to the Governor on Tuesday by the cabinet. The government had told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it would appoint the AG by 30 December. Congress MLC Sanjay dutt had dragged the Fadnavis government to the court three months back over its prolonged indecision at the cost of state’s welfare. Deo is currently the acting advocate general and has been handling all cases of the government since Shreehari Aney quit in April this year following a controversial statement supporting separate VIdarbha state. Dutt said, “Even as Maharashtra Govt concedes to my demand & finally appoints Advocate General, CM needs to answer why he waited for 9 months to appoint acting AG as AG!” Dutt added that Maha CM owes apology to Maha People following HC order in my petition stating that the appointment of an Acting Advocate General is Not Constitutionally valid.HC order through my petition shall ensure that No Govt will falter on appointing Advocate-General as per Article 165 of Constitution of India.

India Goa crash: Twelve hurt as plane veers off runway

At least 12 passengers on an Indian airliner were hurt when it veered off the runway, officials say.

Army inks pact with IIT Gandhinagar to set up R&D cell

Ahmedabad: Indian Army on Tuesday signed an MoU with Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IITGN) to set up a Research and Development cell which would focus on the finding solutions for Army’s requirements.

Lt Gen Subrata Saha.Lt Gen Subrata Saha.

Lt Gen Subrata Saha.

“The cell will work with the faculty and research students to identify problems and possible solutions for the
Indian Army,” IITGN said in a release.

IITGN director Sudhir Jain and Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and System) Lt Gen Subrata Saha signed the MoU at the institute’s campus at Palaj in Gandhinagar district.

“The MoU will result in meaningful realisation and efficient transfer of research into customised solutions for
the Indian Army,” the release quoted Lt Gen Saha as saying.

The research cell will deal with Army’s requirements such as lighter and stronger bullet-proof jackets and materials to build bunkers, among other things.

“There is a whole lot of inventory even in the aircraft engines that can be done in India. We are very hopeful that this indigenous effort will take place at a fast pace through such MoUs,” Saha said.

Army will also work with the faculty members and students to find possibility of conducting short-term courses and lectures at the institute, the release said.

Speaking on the occasion, Jain said, “Indian Army, particularly those (personnel) posted in the harsh weather
conditions face diverse problems and we want to understand and address these problems. The plan is to have a Research Centre at IITGN through which our students and faculty can be in continuous touch with the Indian Army in researching and addressing these problems.”

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 21:12 IST

Home for reptiles: 70 snakes found from an apartment in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 70 snakes mostly deadly Russell’s vipers and cobras illegally kept for extracting venom have been seized from a residential apartment in Pune where a man was living with his wife and children. Ranjit Kharage (37) was arrested along with his alleged accomplice, identified as Dhananjay Belkute (30), for allegedly keeping the snakes in wooden boxes and gunny bags for extracting and selling venom, police said on Tuesday.The seizure was made on Monday from the rented apartment of Kharage, where he was living with his family. “We recovered 41 Russell’s vipers and 31 cobras from one of the rooms in the flat and investigations have revealed that the duo allegedly extracted venom from these reptiles and used to sell or smuggle it,” said a police inspector, attached to Chakan Police station.A case has been registered against the duo under relevant sections of Wildlife Protection Act, he said. According to police, they received a tip off on Sunday that snakes had been kept in a flat in the outskirts of Chakan, following which a team of police raided the place. “When we went there, Kharage was not at home. However, his wife and children were present. We found that the snakes were kept in wooden boxes and gunny bags in the flat and even children knew about it,” said the police officer.Since it was dark, the search team evicted the occupants, locked the house and the next morning all snakes were seized. “Investigations revealed that the duo used to get snakes from jungles and even from snake catchers in the area for venom extraction and smuggling,” he said.Police also found some venom stored in small bottles in the possession of the two. All the seized snakes would be handed over to forest officials, police added.

Demonetization: Sushil Modi attacks Lalu for his remarks against PM

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

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

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

Party poppers: No DJ, early deadline for Kochi hotels on New year’s eve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There will be no DJ parties in the city to usher in the new year with the police announcing stringent rules on Tuesday for hotels for organising special events on the night of December 31. Parties that can be enjoyed by people of all age groups, from children to elderly, will be permitted in hotels in Kochi on the new year’s eve, police said.After holding a meeting with representatives of hotels here, police said new year parties should be concluded by 12.30 AM in order to facilitate the safe journey of party-goers back home by 1 AM. According to a tough compliance list for party hosts, there will be police presence at the parties and events will be monitored through CCTV cameras.Abkari rules should be followed for serving liquor in the parties, police said. Tough measures have been taken to curb drug consumption and music accompanied by obscenity during the New Year parties, they added.

Kashmir security: Core group meets to chalk out strategy for winter

Srinagar: The core group on security in Kashmir on Tuesday reviewed the overall situation in the valley and chalked out security strategy for the winter months.

“The core group met on Tuesday at Badami Bagh Cantonment to review the overall situation and to draw the security strategy for the winters,” an army official said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said the meeting was co-chaired by Lt General J S Sandhu, GOC Chinar Corps, and Director General of Police K Rajender Kumar.

Top officials of all the constituents of the core group, including civil administration and security agencies, attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, Lt General Sandhu complimented the members and officials of the core group for the high-level of synergy among all the agencies in addressing the security concerns of Kashmir.

The DGP expressed similar sentiments and elaborated on the key security initiatives that have been put into place to manage the law and order situation in the valley.

“The members deliberated upon various issues to evolve a comprehensive strategy to respond to the various external and internal security challenges. Plans for maintaining a robust counter-infiltration and counter-terrorism grid were discussed,” the official said.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 18:13 IST

Tamil Nadu: CM should respond to Rama Mohana Rao’s claim that he is Chief Secretary, says DMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK on Tuesday demanded an explanation from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam over former Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao’s insistence that he continued to remain on the top post despite being replaced following Income Tax raids at his residence and office.DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader M K Stalin said he had sought an explanation from Panneerselvam when the raids were being carried out at Rao’s house and office last week.”If the former Chief Secretary is in a position to claim that he is the Chief Secretary, then only the Chief Minister has to respond to that,” Stalin told reporters here.Rama Mohana Rao, who is under I-T scanner, had earlier in the day said that the copy of the transfer order on his removal as Chief Secretary has not been handed over to him yet, and that therefore he continued as the topmost official of the state government.The state government had last week appointed Girija Vaidyanathan in his place, a day after I-T sleuths raided Rao’s Anna Nagar residence and chamber at the state Secretariat.Asked if the BJP government at the Centre was “behind” the raids, Stalin said it was up to the central government, BJP and I-T officials to clarify it.

Panchayat polls in Odisha to be held in five phases between 13-21 February

Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday announced dates for panchayat polls in Odisha.

The panchayat polls, which has been scheduled in five phases, will begin on 13 February, 2017, and end on 21 February, said a release.

With the announcement of poll dates, the model code of conduct came into effect in the state from Tuesday. It will be in force until the end of the last phase of the poll, it said.

Representative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

“The aspiring candidates can file nominations between 11 January and 17 January next year. The papers will be scrutinised on January 18 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is 21 January,” said State Election Commissioner R.N. Senapati.

The final list of contesting candidates will be declared on the same day.

The SEC has asked the district collectors to maintain law and order for smooth conduct of elections in their districts.

The elections will be held for the posts of 853 Zilla Parishad members, 6,802 Sarpanches, 6,801 Panchayat Samiti members and 92,052 ward members, in which 2,60,92,507 voters will exercise their franchise.

The state government has reserved 50 percent seats for women candidates in the panchayat elections.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:04 IST

Kerala: 38 students injured after bus overturns in Kozhikode

Tue, 27 Dec 2016-04:02pm , Kozhikode , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 38 people were injured after a private bus of Attingal Government College turned turtle in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Tuesday.The untoward incident took place in the wee hours when the students were returning to their college from Mysore.The injured students were rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Two students have sustained serious injuries and are reportedly in a critical condition.Further details are awaited.

Mumbai: Another city hospital facilitates its first cadaveric donation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the family of a 44-year-old male government employee agreed to donate his liver and two kidneys after he was pronounced brain dead, Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central became another hospital in the city to facilitate cadaveric donation. Thirty-two hospitals in the city are registered for organ donation out of which 20 have seen a cadaveric donation this year.The wife of the brain dead patient agreed to donate his liver and two kidneys after being counselled. “The patient suffered from a brain bleed and came to us on Sunday night by which time he was already brain dead,” said Dr Parag Rindani, head – Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.While one kidney went to a patient at the same hospital, the liver went to a patient at Global Hospital, Parel, and the other kidney to a patient at Jupiter Hospital, Thane.”The organ retrieval was done at around 3 am on Tuesday morning. It was a case of spontaneous brain bleed that those with a history of hypertension are prone to,” Dr Rindani explained. The patient who was complaining of a headache, was first taken to a government hospital in the area and later moved to a private hospital because he needed a ventilator. While the patient had filled a form for liver donation, his wife was initially hesitant but later gave consent to donate three organs.This is the 58th cadaveric donation in the city — it’s highest yet. While the Hiranandani kidney scam made live donor transplants difficult, organ donation from brain dead patients has continued without a glitch. In some cases, despite the availability of donors hospitals aren’t able to find matches in the waiting list thanks to fragmented registries that exist only in certain cities active in organ donation.

Jet Airways mishap: Prompt Navy response in evacuating on-board passengers helps avert ‘catastrophe’

Panaji: On Tuesday, Navy said its prompt response in rescuing passengers on-board the Mumbai-bound flight that veered off the runway at Dabolim Airport in Goa early on Tuesday morning, has averted the incident from turning into a “catastrophe”.

“The Navy responded within 15-20 minutes and all the passengers were evacuated safely out of the aircraft. It would have turned into a catastrophe had the Navy not acted promptly,” a Naval spokesperson said.

The incident took place at around 5 am when Jet Airways flight 9W 2374 that had arrived from Dubai and was bound for Mumbai, skidded off the runway while aligning for the take off.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Goa airport is located in Indian Navy’s facility, INS Hansa in Vasco town, nearly 25 km from Panaji.

As many as 15 passengers suffered “minor injuries and fractures” during the evacuation process, Navy sources said.

“Few guests have sustained minor injuries during the evacuation process and medical assistance is being coordinated by the Jet Airways team and the airport authorities,” the airlines said in a statement.

Beside 154 passengers, there were seven crew members on board.

Meanwhile, the runway was made available for flight operations at 9 am, hours before the initial deadline of 12.30 pm.

Soon after the incident, Navy officials had cordoned off the aircraft that had tilted towards its front end, while the passengers were being alighted.

“After the passengers were evacuated, the operation to rescue the aircraft started. The damage to the runway was also accessed by a team of Indian Navy and Airport Authority of India officials,” the spokesperson said.

“There was lot of muck on the runway as the flight was grounded on the sides of the runway,” he said.

During the rescue operation hours, a chartered flight was diverted to Bangalore, while an Oman Air flight that was scheduled to arrive in morning, was diverted to Mumbai, he said.

A total of seven scheduled flights that were to land at the airport were cancelled, while one scheduled flight and another chartered flight remained grounded. The two aircrafts will take off later during the day.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 11:43 IST

Norway authorities should return Indian child Aryan to natural parents: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: Ahead of its Ambassador’s meeting with authorities in Norway involving the custody of a child of a Indo-Norwegian family, on Tuesday India made it clear that it wants the five-and-a-half year boy united with his natural parents.

Taking a hard stance, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she refuses to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than natural parents.

In a series of tweets, Swaraj said, “Our Ambassador in Norway is meeting the Norwegian authorities today regarding Aryan. I refuse to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than the natural parents.

“The foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture and our food habits. We want restoration of Aryan to his natural parents.”

Sushma Swaraj. PTISushma Swaraj. PTI

Sushma Swaraj. PTI

Indian national Gurvinderjit Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that authorities in that country have taken away their son, also a Norwegian national, on a frivolous complaint of abuse.

Kaur had also written to the Ministry seeking help in getting back her son, who has been taken away by the Norway Child Welfare Services.

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway.

The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 11:07 IST

In Pictures | Jet Airways Goa-Mumbai flight veers off runway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Jet Airways flight with 161 people on board veered off the runway at Dabolim airport in Goa while aligning for take off to Mumbai early on Tuesday, with 15 passengers suffering “minor” injuries during evacuation.The incident took place at around 5 AM. Read The Full Report Here

RBI truck carrying new notes penalised by RTO for overloading

Mumbai: A container truck hired by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to carry demonetised currency notes from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh to Nagpur, was stopped at Deori border check-post in Gondia district and penalised for overloading, by the Regional Transport Office (RTO).

The action was taken on Tuesday night and Rs 30,000 fine was collected from the driver, an RTO official said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The container had the capacity to carry 16 tonnes of load, but we found that the it was carrying 21 tonnes. The vehicle was filled with scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination, which it was transporting to RBI’s currency chest in Nagpur,” Vijay Chavan, Deputy Regional Transport Officer of Gondia district told PTI on Friday.

The vehicle was stopped by local officials posted at Deori check-post.

“The vehicle papers and other necessary documents were verified. We received a communication from Transport Commissioner based in Nagpur that the vehicle can be released after the payment of fine,” Chavan said.

“As per the calculation, the driver was asked to pay a fine of Rs 30,000, as the container was carrying five tonnes above the permissible limit. The officials issued a receipt of the fine payment and the vehicle was let off,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:55 IST

Modi’s cash crackdown supporter Chandrababu Naidu shows unease as anger grows among citizens

A leading political ally of Narendra Modi has abruptly distanced himself from the Indian prime minister’s move to scrap high-value banknotes, as broad initial support for the radical monetary reform showed signs of crumbling.

The shift by N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, came six weeks after Modi announced to a stunned nation that he would scrap 86 percent of the cash in circulation.

While Modi remains by far India’s most popular politician, any crack in his authority could have negative implications in state elections next year that will set the tone for his expected bid for a second term in 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Naidu’s regional party is allied to Modi’s nationalists and he heads a central committee set up to find ways to soften the impact on ordinary people of the crackdown against tax evaders, racketeers and bribe takers who rely on so-called “black cash”.

“I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” Naidu told party workers on Tuesday in the city of Vijayawada.

Modi, announcing the reform on 8 November, cautioned that people would face temporary hardship. He promised to restore normalcy by the end of the year, when a deadline to deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes expires.

His announcement enjoyed popular support at first, with many people prepared to endure hardship as long as others are forced to give up their ill-gotten wealth or pay tax.

But continuing shortages of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes have caused tempers to rise as millions queue at banks and ATMs to draw money. With new Rs 500 notes, worth $7.50, in very short supply it is hard for people to buy necessities because of a shortage of change.

“Modi is now a one-man army, every political ally will blame him if the cash crisis does not come to an end in the next 10 days,” said P. Raja Rao, a political science professor in Hyderabad.

Furious over the lack of cash, mobs attacked six bank branches in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, forcing police to rescue bank staff.

The northern state, home to one in six Indians, is due to hold an election in early 2017 that is increasingly being viewed as a referendum on Modi’s demonetisation drive.

In the last 20 days, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won several local elections in western and northern states. Party officials said the wins were a clear endorsement of the new cash policy.

“Each and every Indian understands the genuine intention behind the bold move. They trust the prime minister and we hope our political allies put an end to their doubts,” said BJP spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 18:24 IST

Leopard mauls 4-year-old to death near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a leopard at Baradiya village in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, a top forest official said on Tuesday.”Victim Rashmita Tikhayabhai was dragged late last night by a leopard when she was sleeping at a farm along with her parents who are farm labourers from Madhya Pradesh,” said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Gir (West) division, Pradeep Singh.The victim’s body was found in the morning after which the forest officials were informed.The body was later sent for post mortem, Singh said.The family of the victim are migrant labourers from Mandva village in Alirajpur district of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.They were staying at the farm land where Rashmita was attacked and killed. Forest department officials have laid a trap to catch the leopard so that it can be shifted to jungles away from human settlement, Singh said.

College students’ arrest over graffiti kicks up row in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five students from Ernakulam’s Maharaja’s college, who were arrested for allegedly carrying out graffiti work on the college walls, have been remanded to judicial custody, police said on Wednesday.The students were produced before a magistrate court in Kochi on Tuesday and remanded to judicial custody, they said.The arrest of the students has created a political storm with Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, accusing the police under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of adopting a “brutal fascist policy” to silence the voices of students, artists and writers.The arrests were made based on a complaint by College principal, in which she had alleged that the students through their alleged graffiti work caused destruction to the public property, police said.All those who protested against the arrests including Chennithala, students and activists had alleged that action was taken against the students for simple wall writing of poems by eminent Malayalam poets. “The police controlled by Vijayan is implementing the agenda of the BJP,” Chennithala said in a release.

Gujarat liquor ban: Govt hopes to get Governor nod for new stringent rules

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Government on Tuesday said Governor OP Kohli has given a “positive” response to granting approval to an ordinance that seeks to tighten rules against sale and consumption of alcohol in the State and enhance punishment for offenders.

The ordinance, seeking to make necessary amendments in the Gujarat Prohibition Act, was approved by the Cabinet on December 15 and sent for the Governor’s nod. The decree proposes stringent action against bootleggers, tipplers and unscrupulous officials.

Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters at Gandhinagar that Raj Bhavan is very “positive” about the ordinance and it was likely to be signed and returned to the Government with approval by Wednesday.

“As the Government is keen to implement the new Act as early as possible, Raj Bhavan has shown a positive view on the ordinance and conveyed to us that the Governor would sign it and return to us by tomorrow.

“As soon as the ordinance gets approval, the new Act will come into force with immediate effect,” said Jadeja.

Some of its key provisions include a significant increase in the penalty as well as jail term for those involved in the purchase, sale and transportation of liquor in Gujarat, where total prohibition is in force.

Under the proposed law, accused in such cases would face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of Rs 5 lakh instead of the three-year punishment under the current Act, an official release said.

Similarly, the liquor den operators, as well as those helping them, would face imprisonment up to 10 years. In another major amendment, people who create ruckus or harass others in inebriated condition would face a jail term of not less than one year and up to three years.

Currently, the punishment for such behaviour is just one to three months in jail and a fine of Rs 200-Rs 500.

As per the ordinance, officials found guilty of helping bootleggers escape raids would attract a punishment of seven years in jail and Rs one lakh fine.

For effective implementation of the new Act, the Government would form a ‘Monitoring Cell’, which will have a toll free number.

Using that number, people can inform police about any illegal activities related to liquor trade or consumption, said Jadeja.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) MS Dagur along with DGP PP Pandey on Tuesday held a video conference with all District SPs and Range IGs to make them understand new provisions as well as powers given to police, said the release.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 13:55 IST

Delhi: 17-year-old girl allegedly shot dead by male friend in Najafgarh area

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 17-year-old girl was shot dead allegedly by one of her male friends in southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh area on Tuesday night.The victim and her two friends, Shubham and Yogesh had gone to Rajouri Garden to have lunch on Tuesday.”While coming back they stopped at Dwarka for shopping. The girl’s mother called her around 7:30 PM,” said a senior police officer.After reaching her place, one of her friends came out of the car while the victim and her friend Shubham were inside the car, he said.Her mother told police that she suddenly heard the sound of a bullet and saw her daughter lying in a pool of blood, he added.Shubham fled from the spot. The victim’s mother and her friend Yogesh took her to a hospital where she was declared brought dead, police said.The murder weapon has been recovered. Shubham and his family are absconding. Police is trying to ascertain the motive behind the murder.Further details are awaited.

Demonetisation: Chandrababu Naidu, first non-BJP leader to support, says it was ‘not our wish’

After coming out in support of demonetisation initially, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday did a volte face saying that this is not what they wished for and said the solution to problems arising out of the note ban still remained elusive even 40 days after the step. The U-turn is significant as Naidu was one of the first non-BJP leaders to support the Narendra Modi government’s move.

“Demonetisation was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetisation, there are still a lot of problems but yet there appears to be no solution,” Naidu said addressing a workshop of Telugu Desam MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

“It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,” Naidu observed.

“The people who are supposed to manage the crisis are incapable of doing anything. The RBI has not been able to do anything about it. It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,” he has been quoted as saying in media reports.

“I am spending two hours daily to review the situation and ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily, but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” said Naidu, who heads the 13-member central committee to look into demonetisation issues.

Naidu had been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 October reiterating his demand.

On 9 November, hours after the Prime Minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the Telugu Desam Party started claiming credit saying it was a “victory for Chandrababu” over his fight on corruption.

“This is a moral victory for the TDP,” it said on posts on Facebook and Twitter.

“Prime Minister Modi may have taken the decision now but Chandrababu had these thoughts even when he was in the opposition (2004-14). He had been fighting for scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes since then,” the TDP said in a Facebook post.

The party media cell dug out newspaper clippings dated back to 2013 June when Chandrababu raised the demand for the first time.

But as people started facing trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts, Chandrababu seemed to change his tone and started making critical remarks about the Centre’s move, particularly the introduction of Rs 2,000 notes.

“I am spending two hours daily to ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” the CM said on Tuesday.

“We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days but this (demonetisation) still persists,” he said.

He said banks were “not prepared” for a transition to digital economy. “They are unable to even register banking correspondents,” he added. Unless there were remedial measures, people’s woes would continue in the long-term, Chandrababu warned.

With PTI

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 08:00 IST

Naga group meets Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Manipur continues to witness violent clashes between warring groups of Meitei, Naga and Kuki on the issue of carving out seven new districts, a delegation from the United Naga Council (UNC), a powerful Naga group responsible for the economic blockade, met union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday and demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.The two-member delegation, vice president T S Warngam and speaker of UNC assembly affairs S Kho John, blamed Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh for orchestrating violence to scuttle the Naga peace process and win the 2017 assembly elections.Union Home Ministry sources said, Rajnath Singh has not given any assurance to the Naga group besides taking up the issue with Manipur Chief Minister. After burning its fingers in Arunachal Pradesh that witnessed strong reaction from the court, the Centre wants to be sure of its action, sources said.

1995 Tandoor murder case: Convict seeks parole, Delhi HC seeks response from govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi High Court sought the response of Delhi government on Tuesday, on a plea filed by former youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma, who is undergoing life term in the 1995 sensational Tandoor murder case, seeking parole for a period of six months to take care of his ailing parents.Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to the government and directed it to respond by January 25 on Sharma’s plea in which he has also challenged the November 28 order of Delhi government rejecting his application for regular parole. In his application, Sharma has claimed that his plea for regular parole was rejected by the government on “false and fictitious” ground and the authorities did not appreciate the fact that he was eligible for grant of parole.”Respondent (state) has failed to appreciate that the petitioner (Sharma) has already undergone more than 20 years in custody and six months have already elapsed from the date of termination of the previous parole,” the application, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, said.Sharma has said that his parole application should have been allowed by the authorities “considering the health and age of his parents” as he is the only son to look after them and has never misused the concession of parole or furlough granted to him earlier.Sharma had shot his wife Naina Sahni with his licensed revolver on the night of July 2, 1995, taken her body to a restaurant, chopped it into pieces and tried to burn them in the restaurant’s oven, leading the case to be popularly called the ‘Tandoor murder case’. The Supreme Court had commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to Sharma by a trial court in 2003 and upheld by the High Court in 2007, saying the murder was the outcome of “strained personal relationship” and the convict was “not a confirmed criminal”.While reducing the sentence awarded to him, the apex court had said that “life sentence is for the whole of remaining life of Sharma subject to remission granted by the appropriate government under the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

Government to check misuse of tax exemptions by political parties: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government plans to set a threshold criteria for political parties to enjoy tax exemptions to check money laundering by outfits that do not contest elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.He said the Revenue Secretary has been asked to look into the issue in the wake of Election Commission’s recommendations in this regard. Jaitley’s remarks at a Times Now event assume significance in the context of the Election Commission’s recommendations to the Government to amend laws to bar tax exemption to parties that do not contest elections and win seats in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and to ban anonymous donations above Rs 2,000 to political parties.”I can point out one is invisible donation which Election Commission says is anonymous and the second is when political parties got exemptions. There are about 40/50/60 political parties which effectively contest elections in Centre and the states, (but) you have a large number of political parties which got registered not for contesting election but for availing tax exemption. “Now this part is easier to tackle. I have already asked the Revenue Secretary to look into this and therefore we will have to put a threshold criteria so that we are able to eliminate those which are not real political parties but only for money conversion which have come in,” Jaitley said.He said many political parties do not contest elections but only accept donations and convert money. “I have already told the Revenue Department to look at them and therefore some threshold criteria could be fixed and number of these could be eliminated,” Jaitley added. Jaitley underlined the need for making political funding as transparent as possible, saying donations must be smaller in size but huge in number. “Political funding is necessary, it should be smaller in terms of denomination but larger in its spread. And therefore not creating a quid pro quo and it should be absolutely transparent,” he said.And eventually it may be worthwhile to try and make efforts only for genuine political parties to get those benefits then start moving towards donations predominantly in the manner, he said regretting that electoral reform initiated during Vajpayee Government were not followed up by the UPA. He further said that once the country transforms into a less cash economy, the donors of the political party won’t have the kind of money in future to donate. “And they are going to straight away tell the political parties you are the ones who brought this change and therefore don’t expect us to give any invisible funding. We will fund you but we will fund you by cheque. And that’s how it should be,” he said.

PM attributes Chandigarh civic poll win to ‘good governance’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attributed the victory of Akali Dal-BJP combine in Chandigarh municipal polls to “good governance” and thanked people and workers of the two parties for it.”Thank you to the people of Chandigarh for supporting @BJP4India & @Akali_Dal_. This shows the importance people attach to good governance,” he tweeted. “Congratulations to BJP & Akali Dal Karyakartas for working with remarkable determination on the ground and serving people. @BJP4Chandigarh,” Modi said. Akali Dal and BJP got a shot in the arm ahead of Punjab assembly polls as the alliance defeated Congress in the Chandigarh municipal corporation elections in which demonetisation had emerged as a key issue.BJP won in 20 wards out of 26, its ally SAD bagged one, four wards fell in the kitty of Congress and one ward was won by an Independent in the elections held on Sunday, an election office spokesman said.Congress had majority in the Municipal Corporation after the previous three elections. However, in the mayoral election in January this year, the BJP candidate had won. Today’s result is the biggest ever victory for any single political party in the body since its inception in 1996.

Restore India’s sovereignty on Katchatheevu to aid fishermen: Tamil Nadu CM to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send a “firm message” to Sri Lanka over continued apprehension of the state’s fishermen and said a permanent solution would be in restoring India’s sovereignty over Katchatheevu islet.Citing reports of arrest of seven fishermen and seizure of their two mechanised fishing boats, Panneerselvam in a letter to the PM said the boats and fishermen were reportedly taken to Karainagar in Sri Lanka and were remanded in custody.The apprehension of fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy continues “unabated” despite Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen level talks and Inter-Ministerial talks being held from time to time, he said. “It is the consistent stand of the government of Tamil Nadu that a permanent solution to this vexatious problem faced by our fishermen will be possible only by restoring India’s sovereignty over Katchatheevu by securing the right to fish in traditional waters,” he said.
ALSO READ Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan NavyThe right of the fishermen is continuously infringed upon by the Sri Lankan’s Navy “recurrent” actions of apprehension, the Chief minister said.Demanding that the Centre send a firm message to Sri Lanka on the issue, he said 109 boats, including the two boats apprehended on Tuesday, should be released by the island nation. “The Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing boats of our fishermen is causing great frustration among the fishermen of Tamil Nadu. Without their livelihood base, fishermen are in a state of despondency,” he said.Panneerselvam requested Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities to ensure immediate release of 22 fishermen and 109 boats.The Chief Minister’s letter comes a day after he met PM Modi in New Delhi seeking Rs 22,573 crore for relief and restoration works in Chennai and neighbouring districts following the devastation caused by cyclone Vardah.

JNU missing student case: Police concludes campus search, to quiz Nejeeb’s roommate

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday concluded its massive search in JNU campus without any success and will be conducting a lie-detector test on Najeeb Ahmed’s roommate Mohd Qasim on Wednesday as it stepped up efforts to get clues regarding the mysterious disappearance of the student since 15 October.

Police have so far served notices to six people, including family members of Najeeb as well as the students with whom he was allegedly involved in a brawl at his hostel a night before he vanished, said a senior police officer.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

The police, represented by senior standing counsel for Delhi government Rahul Mehra, had told Delhi High Court that four students, who are suspected of beating up Najeeb, would be put to lie-detector tests to get leads or clues about his disappearance and whereabouts.

“We have served notices to six people and after their consent, we will be carrying out the tests. Qasim gave his consent and he will be put to a lie-detector test tomorrow (Wednesday),” said the officer.

Many of the students have gone to their homes for vacations, which is hindering investigation, he said. Meanwhile, more than 600 Delhi Police personnel assisted by sniffer dogs concluded their search of the sprawling JNU campus but could not find any clues of the missing student.

Police team began its search around 9 AM today under the supervision of DCP (Crime Branch) G Ram Gopal Naik and finished by 3 PM. The search had begun yesterday and almost 60-70 percent of the campus was covered while the remaining campus was scanned on Tuesday.

All agencies of Delhi Police including Special Cell, Special Branch and the local police, pooling more than 600 personnel scanned the interiors and residential areas, the official said.

Najeeb has been missing since October 15 after an alleged scuffle at his hostel with ABVP students on the night of 14 October. A reward of Rs 10 lakh has been announced by Delhi Police on any information about Najeeb.

The massive search was mounted following a Delhi High Court order last week directing the police to scan the entire JNU campus including hostels, classrooms as well as rooftops of the buildings with help of sniffer dogs.

After scanning the campus, the police is likely to ask JNU administration to beef up its security.

“We have observed that the forest area is quite dense and students go there even late in the night. We will request JNU authorities to increase security inside the campus for the safety of students,” said an officer.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 21:54 IST

German police say arrested man may not be Christmas market attacker | Reuters

By Michelle Martin and Sabine Siebold
| BERLIN

BERLIN A Pakistani asylum-seeker arrested on suspicion of killing 12 people by mowing through a Berlin Christmas market in a truck may not be the attacker, and the real perpetrator could still be on the run, German police said on Tuesday.The truck smashed into wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, one of west Berlin’s most famous landmarks, at about 8 p.m. on Monday. Forty-eight people were injured, 18 severely.News of the arrest of the 23-year-old Pakistani led politicians in Germany and beyond to demand a crackdown on immigration.Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “There is much we still do not know with sufficient certainty but we must, as things stand now, assume it was a terrorist attack.”She added: “I know it would be especially hard for us all to bear if it were confirmed that the person who committed this act was someone who sought protection and asylum.”In a dramatic twist, police later said the suspect had denied the offence and might not be the right man. “According to my information it’s uncertain whether he was really the driver,” Police President Klaus Kandt told a news conference.Berlin police tweeted that they were “particularly alert” because of the denial. “Please be alert,” they added.Die Welt newspaper quoted an unnamed police chief as saying:”We have the wrong man. And therefore a new situation. The true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause fresh damage.”The truck belonged to a Polish freight company and its rightful driver was found dead in the vehicle. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said a pistol believed to have been used to kill him had not yet been found.German media said the arrested man had jumped out of the driver’s cab and run down the street towards the Tiergarten, a vast park in central Berlin. Several witnesses called police, including one who chased the suspect while on the phone, constantly updating officials on his whereabouts.”STATE OF WAR”
The attack fuelled immediate demands for a change to Merkel’s immigration policies, under which more than a million people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere have arrived in Germany this year and last.

“We must say that we are in a state of war, although some people, who always only want to see good, do not want to see this,” said Klaus Bouillon, interior minister of the state of Saarland and a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).Horst Seehofer, leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, said: “We owe it to the victims, to those affected and to the whole population to rethink our immigration and security policy and to change it.”The record influx has hit Merkel’s ratings as she prepares to run for a fourth term next year, and boosted support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD). Senior AfD member Marcus Pretzell blamed Merkel for the attack on Twitter.AfD leader Frauke Petry said Germany was no longer safe and “radical Islamic terrorism has struck in the heart of Germany”.The incident evoked memories of an attack in Nice, France in July when a Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people. That was claimed by Islamic State.EUROPE DIVIDED

The mass influx of migrants and refugees to the European Union has deeply divided its 28 members and fuelled the rise of populist anti-immigration movements that hope to capitalise on public concerns next year in elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands.Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico said the latest attack would change perceptions of migration. “I think that the cup of patience is beginning to spill over and Europe’s public will rightfully expect rather stronger measures,” he said.Nigel Farage of Britain’s UK Independence Party tweeted: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.”On Tuesday morning, investigators removed the black truck from the site for forensic examination. People left flowers at the scene and notes, one of which read: “Keep on living, Berliners!” One woman was crying as she stopped by the flowers.Bild newspaper cited security sources as saying the arrested man was Naved B. and had arrived in Germany a year ago. In legal cases German officials routinely withhold the full name of suspects, using only an initial.A security source told Reuters the suspect had been staying at a refugee centre in the now defunct Tempelhof airport.Die Welt said police special forces stormed a hangar at Tempelhof at around 4 a.m. (0300 GMT). A refugee there who gave his name only as Ahmed told Reuters security guards had told him there was a raid at around 4 a.m.Prosecutors declined to immediately comment on the report.

“FEAR OF EVIL”
Merkel and de Maiziere both stressed the need for Germans to remain uncowed by the attack.”We do not want to live paralysed by the fear of evil,” said the chancellor, who discussed the attack by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama and convened a meeting of her security cabinet.”Even if it is difficult in these hours, we will find the strength for the life we want to live in Germany – free, together and open.”Other European countries said they were reviewing security.Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said he had told the heads of regional police forces to intensify surveillance measures. He called for biometric and fingerprint checks to be introduced along the Balkan route travelled by many migrants arriving in Europe, in order to better control foreign jihadist fighters’ movements.London police said they were reviewing their plans for protecting public events over the festive period.Flags will be hung at half-mast around Germany on Tuesday and Berlin Christmas markets were closed for the day out of respect. The German soccer league announced a minute’s silence at all matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, at which players will wear black ribbons.Dresden tourist information service said authorities had erected concrete blocks around the Striezelmarkt, one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, to increase security.Festive markets selling ornate, often hand-crafted decorations, seasonal foods and hot spiced wine are a beloved tradition in Germany.Manfred Weber, head of the centre-right European People’s Party, said: “It’s not an attack on a country; it’s an attack on our way of life, on the free society in which we are allowed to live.” (Reporting by Michelle Martin, Caroline Copley, Joseph Nasr, Emma Thomasson, Paul Carrel, Madeline Chambers in Berlin; additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 19:54 IST

NIA team visits Poonch, looks into cross-LoC trade records

Tue, 20 Dec 2016-07:12pm , Jammu , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team visited the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and took the cross-LoC trade records from the Chakan- Da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre.”NIA has visited Poonch. They are looking into cross-LoC trade records”, Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, M H Malik said on Tuesday. They (NIA team) have taken records of Chakan-Da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) and are going through it.The team is looking into any suspicious activity under the grab of cross LoC trade.The NIA team is headed by IG rank officer is camping in Poonch. They have talked to several businessmen and cross LoC traders besides officials and officers of TFC.

DNA Evening Must Reads: From India’s win in Chennai Test to BJP-SAD’s victory in Chandigarh Municipal polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Ahead of Punjab elections, BJP-SAD alliance sweeps Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance on Tuesday attained clear majority in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls winning 20 out of the 26 wards. BJP won in 20 wards, rival Congress 4 and Independent one, an election office spokesman said. Read more here.2. Germany: Angela Merkel says Berlin Christmas market attack likely a ‘terror act’A man was arrested under suspicion of ploughing a seven-tonne truck through a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, killing 12, has been named as Naved B, a 23-year-old asylum seeker of Pakistani origin. Read what Merkel said here.3. RBI’s currency stock can last beyond December 30: Arun Jaitley”There was full preparedness. There was not a single day when RBI had not released adequate currency to banks. There was a certain level of currency that was to be released and there was full preparedness for it,” Jaitley told reporters. Read his full statement here.4. IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli and Co win Chennai Test, equal Sunil Gavaskar’s 3-decade-old recordRavindra Jadeja ripped the heart out of England’s batting order to bowl India to a thumping innings and 75-run victory in the fifth and final test on Tuesday. Read more here.5. EU accuses Facebook of giving misleading information during WhatsApp takeoverThe European Commission has charged Facebook Inc with providing misleading information during its takeover of the online messaging service WhatsApp, opening the company to a possible fine of 1 percent of its turnover. Read more here.

Chandrababu Naidu does a volte face, says solution to note ban woes elusive after 40 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After coming out in support of demonetization initially, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu appeared to do a volte face on Tuesday saying that this is not what they wished for and said the solution to problems arising out of the note ban still remained elusive even 40 days after the step. “Demonetization was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetization, there are still a lot of problems but yet there appears to be no solution,” Chandrababu said addressing a workshop of Telugu Desam MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders here on Tuesday.”It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,” Chandrababu — who heads the 13-member central committee to look into demonetization issues — observed.It was Chandrababu who had been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12 reiterating his demand. On November 9, hours after the Prime Minister came out with the demonetization announcement, the Telugu Desam Party started claiming credit saying it was a “victory for Chandrababu” over his fight on corruption. “This is a moral victory for the TDP,” it said on posts on Facebook and Twitter.”Prime Minister Modi may have taken the decision now but Chandrababu had these thoughts even when he was in the opposition (2004-14). He had been fighting for scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes since then,” the TDP said in a Facebook post.The party media cell dug out newspaper clippings dated back to June 2013 when Chandrababu raised the demand for the first time. But as people started facing trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts, Chandrababu seemed to change his tone and started making critical remarks about the Centre’s move, particularly the introduction of Rs 2000 notes. “I am spending two hours daily to ease the problems caused by demonetization. I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” the CM said on Tuesday. “We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days but this (demonetization) still persists,” he said. He said banks were “not prepared” for a transition to digital economy. “They are unable to even register banking correspondents,” he added. Unless there were remedial measures, people’s woes would continue in the long-term, Chandrababu warned.

Demonetisation: Solutions are still elusive, says Chandrababu

Vijayawada: After coming out in support of demonetisation initially, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday appeared to do a volte face saying that this is not what they wished for and said the solution to problems arising out of the note ban still remained elusive even 40 days after the step.

“Demonetisation was not our wish but it happened. More than 40 days after demonetisation, there are still a lot of problems but yet there appears to be no solution,” Chandrababu said addressing a workshop of Telugu Desam MPs, MLCs, MLAs and other leaders in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

“It still remains a sensitive and complicated problem,” Chandrababu — who heads the 13-member central committee to look into demonetisation issues — observed.

It was Chandrababu who had been a strong proponent of ban on high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. In fact, he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 October reiterating his demand.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

On 9 November, hours after the Prime Minister came out with the demonetisation announcement, the Telugu Desam Party started claiming credit saying it was a “victory for Chandrababu” over his fight on corruption.

“This is a moral victory for the TDP,” it said on posts on Facebook and Twitter.

“Prime Minister Modi may have taken the decision now but Chandrababu had these thoughts even when he was in the opposition (2004-14). He had been fighting for scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes since then,” the TDP said in a Facebook post.

The party media cell dug out newspaper clippings dated back to 2013 June when Chandrababu raised the demand for the first time.

But as people started facing trouble in exchanging the scrapped notes as well as in withdrawing cash from their savings accounts, Chandrababu seemed to change his tone and started making critical remarks about the Centre’s move, particularly the introduction of Rs 2,000 notes.

“I am spending two hours daily to ease the problems caused by demonetisation. I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” the CM said on Tuesday.

“We could resolve the ‘August crisis’ (an internal party coup dating back to 1984) in 30 days but this (demonetisation) still persists,” he said.

He said banks were “not prepared” for a transition to digital economy. “They are unable to even register banking correspondents,” he added. Unless there were remedial measures, people’s woes would continue in the long-term, Chandrababu warned.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 16:57 IST

India, Kyrgyzstan to work against terrorism and extremism: PM Modi

New Delhi: India and Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday pledged to work together to prevent youths from falling prey to the common challenges of terrorism and extremism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Modi was addressing a joint media conference with visiting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, who arrived in India on Sunday, leading a high-level delegation comprising of ministers, officials and business leaders.

Modi and Atambayev held talks at the Hyderabad House as the two countries signed a number of agreements to enhance their defence and economic ties.

PM Modi. PTIPM Modi. PTI

PM Modi. PTI

“We discussed how we could work together to secure our youth and society from common challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalism,” Modi said.

“We agreed on the need to overcome these challenges for the common benefit” of the two countries, Modi said.

Modi described Kyrgyzstan “a valuable partner in our common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity”.

The Prime Minister said the two countries would encourage better engagement in healthcare, tourism, IT and agriculture, mining and energy and build on bilateral cooperation, including “capacity building and training”.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:16 IST

Cannot ban all ‘Sharia courts’ that have legal existence: Haji Ali petitioner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Madras high Court put an end to the menace of illegal ‘Sharia courts’ functioning from various mosques across Tamil Nadu, the Haji Ali petitioner Noorjehan Safia Niaz on Tuesday cited a Supreme Court judgement which pronounced that one cannot ban all ‘Sharia courts’ that have a legal existence.”There is a Supreme Court judgement that says that you cannot ban all the Sharia courts that exist and have a legal existence. The Supreme Court has also said that any decision taken by the Sharia court will not be binding and they can be challenged in the regular court of law. But the fact that they are legal, the Supreme Court has already passed the judgment few years back,” Safia Niaz said.Directing the Tamil Nadu government to curb unauthorised ‘Sharia’ courts, the Madras High Court on Monday, declared all Sharia courts working out of mosques as illegal. The High Court made it clear that religious places are meant to be used only for religious purposes.The High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report within four weeks regarding the same.

Ahead of Punjab elections, BJP-SAD alliance sweeps Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance on Tuesday attained clear majority in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls winning 20 out of the 26 wards.BJP won in 20 wards, rival Congress 4 and Independent one, an election office spokesman said here.Prominent among those who won were BJP Mayor Arun Sood, and Congress stalwart Devinder Singh Babla.The overall polling percentage in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation election was 59.54 per cent.Election to 26 wards of the Municipal Corporation were seen as a litmus test for BJP and Congress post demonetization.Total 122 candidates, including 67 Independents, contested the polls.The total number of voters were 5,07,627, including 2,37,374 women voters.Both Congress and BJP contested all 26 wards, while BSP had also put up candidates in the fray from 17 wards.The Municipal Corporation has 36 members, of which 26 are elected councillors, nine are nominated councillors and one is an MP (ex-officio member of the House).In the last House, BJP has 15 councillors, Congress has nine, BSP has one and one is Independent.Congress had made demonetization a major issue in the polls, with its city unit leaders saying the move was implemented without any “application of mind” and had put the public to “great hardships”.

Demonetization: Cash-strapped people protest, vandalise banks in Uttar Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing shortage of cash after demonetization, a group of angered customers pelted stones at the SBI branch in Kakroli village in Muzaffarnagar, police said on Tuesday.The branch manager Chander Mohan lodged a complaint alleging that some persons pelted stones at the bank last evening and damaged property while they were protesting against the shortage of cash at the bank, SHO Anand Mishra said.Police has registered a case against unidentified persons in this connection, he said.In a similar incident at Fatehpur village in Shamli district, about 40 km from here, customers vandalised the branch of UP Gramin Bank on Monday after they were unable to get cash, police said.People blocked the Shahpur-Kandhla road after the bank in their area ran out of cash, police said.Police later intervened and cleared the road for traffic movement.In Jalalabad town of Shamli district, irate people blocked the Delhi-Saharanpur road as they were turned down by the PNB branch.Traffic movement was affected for several hours due the protests in these area.

Bhopal: IT officials raid office, residence of BJP leader Sushil Vaswani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Officials of the Income Tax Department on Tuesday conducted a raid at the office and residence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushil Vaswani in Bhopal.At least 12 IT officials conducted raids at his residence, office and hotel here at around 7 amA case of disproportionate assets has come up against Vaswani and the officials are also probing money laundering case against him post the November 8 demonetization drive.Vaswani, who is also the chairman of co-operative bank, had a few months ago bought large acres of land.As of now, the tax authorities are investigating the case and the proceedings are on.Raids are being carried out across the country by the Income Tax Department in the wake of the burgeoning fake currency racket post demonetization.

PM Narendra Modi to hold bilateral discussions with Kyrgyzstan President today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral discussions with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi on Tuesday.President Atambayev will be accorded an ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan today morning. Atambayev arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a four day state visit to India. He is leading a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and business leaders. This is his first visit to India as President.President Pranab Mukherjee will host a dinner banquet in his honour this evening.Bolstering existing defence cooperation, enhancing trade ties and exploring surface connectivity projects will be high on the agenda of talks between the two leaders.The Kyrgyz President’s visit comes after the successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the central Asian country in July last year.India and Kyrgyztan share excellent relations in all areas including defence, economy, commerce, education, human resource development, culture and tourism.The trade between the two countries was $27.99 million during the last fiscal, with India’s exports to Kyrgyzstan amounting to $26.20 million. Apparel and clothing, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, and tea are some of the important items in India’s export basket to the country.About 4500 Indian students are studying medicine in various medical institutions in Kyrgyzstan. President Atambayev’s visit is expected to further strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries. He is also scheduled to attend a Joint Business Forum tomorrow.

Mumbai: Fire breaks out in Air India building at Nariman Point

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire broke out in the Air India building at Nariman Point in Mumbai on Tuesday morning.According to initial reports, fire has broken out on the 22nd floor of the building. At least eight fire engines and 7 tankers have been rushed to the spot.The cause of the fire is not known yet.More details awaited.

Mumbai: Fire breaks out in Air India building in Nariman Point, no casualties reported

A fire broke out early morning on Tuesday at the Air India building in Nariman Point, according to reports.

When Firstpost contacted the Mumbai Fire Department, an official said that it received a call from the Air India building early on Tuesday morning. “We received a call at around 6.41 am that a fire had broken out on the 20th floor of the building,” he said.

The fire brigade has sent 10 fire tenders to the spot to douse the fire. “Rescue work is in progress,” he said.

Although, no known casualties have been reported so far, ambulances have also been sent to the spot. Given that it is a commercial building filled with offices, it is likely that there were very few people in the building at that hour.

The cause of the fire is not known yet, and investigations are own.

According to ABPLIVE, the 23-storey building used to serve as the corporate headquarters for Air India till 2013. The company had moved out of the building as part of an asset-monetisation drive. However, it retains the 21st, 22nd and 23rd floors in the building. Each floor has at least 10,800 square feet of space on each floor, it said.

Further details are awaited.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:21 IST

India v England: Karun Nair makes 300 in fifth Test in Chennai

Karun Nair makes a triple century to send India to their highest Test score of 759-7 declared and the highest amassed by any team against England.

Odisha: Woman dies after getting wrong blood type during transfusion in govt hospital

Keonjhar (Odisha): On Wednesday, a woman died allegedly after being given the wrong blood group at a government run hospital at Keonjhar in Odisha, triggering tension in the area and the dismissal of two employees.

Representational Image. AFP imageRepresentational Image. AFP image

Representational Image. AFP image

Angry over the incident that took place on Tuesday night, family members and relatives of the woman and local residents staged a road blockade near the district headquarters hospital and demanded action against the guilty and adequate compensation.

Sukanti Nayak (45) of Hadabandhasahi locality in old town area was admitted to the medicine ward of the district headquarters hospital on Tuesday afternoon. According to hospital sources, doctors advised one unit of blood be pumped into Nayak.

The patient’s husband Birendra went to fetch a unit of ‘O’ group blood from the blood bank in the hospital premises, but the laboratory technician allegedly handed over ‘A’ group blood. The staff nurse conducted the transfusion, and a short while later, the patient died.

Chief district medical officer (CDMO), Kabindra Prasad Sahu, said laboratory technician Bharati Mahanta and staff nurse Hemangini Mahanta were dismissed for gross negligence as per instruction of the district Collector.

A recommendation has also been made for action against a doctor for dereliction of duty.

Sahu said the fatal mix-up happened due to two requisitions being made under the same name — one from gynaecology and another from the medicine ward.

The blood meant for the patient in gynaecology ward was mistakenly handed over to Nayak who was admitted in the medicine ward, hospital sources said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 08:33 IST

Bengaluru: IT seizes Rs 2.89 cr from flat guarded by dogs, old woman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another startling catch, the Income Tax Department seized a total of Rs 3.57 crore cash on Wednesday, with Rs 2.93 crore in new notes, from Karnataka and Goa with a huge stash being recovered from a flat in Bengaluru which was guarded by two ferocious dogs and an old woman.Officials said the department sleuths got a tipoff that an apartment in the Yeshwanthpur locality had some cash but they could not execute the search on Tuesday as the old lady living in the flat refused to cooperate with the taxman and tie the two canines she had. Finally, the sleuths made an entry with the help of locals and police and found a room that was locked.It was also noticed by the I-T teams that a person visited the flat in the wee hours. “The locked room was opened and unexplained cash to the tune of Rs 2.89 crore, which includes Rs 2.25 crore of new Rs 2,000 notes, was found. “Entire cash has been seized and further investigation is in progress in this case,” the department said in a statement.In a separate case in Goa’s capital Panaji, the department seized Rs 67.98 lakh in new notes of Rs 2,000 from a person who met the sleuths who were acting as decoy customers in desperate need of cash. “The seizure was made from a place called Banda on the Maharashtra-Goa border,” they said.The department’s probe wings of Karnataka and Goa, post demonetization, have seized a total of Rs 29.86 crore, with Rs 20.22 crore in new notes, 41.6 kg bullion and 14 kg jewellery as part of investigative action to check profiteering in the wake of currency ban. The department said it has detected unaccounted income worth Rs 1,000 crore as part of 36 operations launched till now by it in these two states.

Bengaluru: Flat guarded by elderly woman yields Rs 2.89 crore in new Rs 2,000 notes

Bengaluru: On a tip-off, the investigation wing of the Income Tax (IT) department found and seized Rs 2.89 crore in unaccounted cash, mostly in new Rs 2,000 notes, from a flat in Bengaluru, an official said on Wednesday.

“Unexplained cash of Rs.2.89 crore, including Rs 2.25 crore in Rs 2,000 notes, was found during a search in a flat at Yeshwantpur (in the city’s northwest suburb) on Tuesday,” said Alex Mathew, spokesperson for the IT department, in a statement.

RS 2000 NEW NOTERS 2000 NEW NOTE

The new Rs 2,000 note. PTI

Though the IT sleuths got information on Monday that a huge amount of cash was lying in an apartment, occupied by an old woman and guarded by two fierce dogs, they could not enter the premise to search, she was not cooperative and refused to tie the dogs.

“We had to take the help of local police and other inmates in the building to enter the premises where one room was found locked. On opening the room, the cash was found stashed in boxes,” said Mathew.

When a survey operation revealed that a person was visiting the flat in the early hours, the sleuths summoned him and asked him about the cash source. As his claims were found to be incorrect, he admitted it was unaccounted income.

“We have been active and successful in the post-demonetisation investigations as evident from seizure of Rs 29.86 crore in cash, 41.6 kg of bullion and 14 kg of gold jewellery since November 9,” income tax commissioner Rati Menon told IANS.

Of the total cash haul, Rs 2.22 crore was in new currency of Rs.2,000 notes.

“In the process, the directorate general of IT (Investigation) in Karnataka and Goa has unearthed unaccounted income in excess of Rs 1,000 crore from 36 cases,” added Menon.

In another case in Goa, Rs 67.98 lakh in Rs 2,000 notes were seized from a person on Tuesday when IT sleuths approached him as decoy customers in desperate need of hard cash. “The seizure was made at a place called Banda on the Goa-Maharashtra border,” said Mathew.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 21:26 IST

Demonetisation impact: Arun Jaitley hints at tax rate cuts “at some stage”

New Delhi – Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday hinted at lower direct and indirect tax rates in the future as demonetisation results in higher tax revenues from unaccounted wealth coming into system.

He also warned of a “very heavy price” that unscrupulous elements will have to pay for amassing large amounts of cash unlawfully, saying agencies are keeping a close eye on cash accumulations.

The 8 November announcement by the government to demonetise high value notes has in one stroke junked 86 percent of the currency in circulation and holders of the discontinued notes can deposit them in banks before the end of the year and withdraw money in new currency.

Arun Jaitley. PTI file photoArun Jaitley. PTI file photo

Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo

The money being deposited has to be accounted for and taxes paid – 50 percent on voluntary disclosures of unaccounted money and 85 percent for any failures.

“So much money…operating as loose cash in the system has today come into the banking system,” he said. “It has to be accounted for. Where taxes have not been paid will now be recovered.”

Jaitley said future transactions would be substantially digital as India moves towards a less-cash society.

“Once they are substantially digital they get caught in tax net,” he said. “Therefore the future taxation level would be much higher than what is currently being collected. This would also enable the government at some stage to make taxes more reasonable which will apply to both direct and indirect taxes.”

Demonetisation together with other reforms, particularly the GST and the restrictions on cash spending subjected to PAN declaration, will bring down the levels of corruption in
society, he said.

“It is going to bring down cash transaction in society and it’s going to bring down levels of evasion as far as taxation is concerned,” he said.

Jaitley said it has come to the notice of the government that some unscrupulous people, including some in the banking system and others, have been trying to subvert the system once again and have accumulated large amounts of cash unlawfully.

“Obviously there is a breach of law in this and this is a step which hurts the economy. And therefore all agencies have an eye on this. They will investigate this matter and all those who are indulging in this malpractices will have to pay a very heavy price for what they are doing,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 08:43 IST

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