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Mohenjodaro’s ‘Dancing Girl’ is Parvati, Harappan civilisation worshipped Shiva: ICHR journal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new research paper published in Itihaas, the Hindi journal of the Indian Council of Historical Research has said that the famous of statue of the ‘Dancing Girl’ of the Mohenjodaro is Goddess Parvati, reports The Indian Express.In the research paper called ‘Vedic Sabhyata Ka Puratatva (Archaeology of Vedic Civilisation)’, retired professor Thakur Prasad Verma of the Banaras Hindu University claims the Dancing Girl being Hindu Goddess Parvati is evidence that the Harappan civilisation worshipped Shiva.The small, barely 10.5cm tall, bronze statue is estimated to be around 4,500 years old and has fascinated archaeologists and historians ever since she was found in Mohenjodaro in 1926. Verma says that other artefacts also point towards the civilisation worshipping Shiva. He also says that the ‘Seal 420’ ( a seal of a horned figure sitting in yogic posture and surrounded by animals) is proof to th argument. He adds that the trefoil pattern seen on the Priest King, another artefact from Mohendojaro, resembles Vilva or Bilva leaves used in Shiva’s worship. The article was published in the journal Itihaas’s first edition since YS Rao’s took over as ICHR chairman Rao’s appointment in 2014 by the BJP-led government ran into controversy with leading historians questioning his credentials for the post. They were concerned that they had appointed a little known historian to head the Indian Council of Historical Research.Eminent historian Romila Thapar says Rao’s work is “unfamiliar” to most in his profession. According to her, his research is little visible and the articles authored by him on the historicity of Indian epics have not been published in any peer reviewed journals. Before, taking over as ICHR chief, Rao was reported to be working on a project to “fix” the date of Mahabharata war. He had rebutted the argument of historians like DD Kosambi that Ramayana and Mahabharata have different versions added to them over almost a 1,000 years. He had certified the caste system as having “worked well in ancient India.”

RSS minority wing tries to tone down BJP MPs remark alluding Muslims won’t vote for ‘patriotic BJP’

Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary Indresh Kumar, said on Tuesday that Indian Muslims are patriotic like any other citizen of this country.

Kumar was speaking in the context of a controversial statement made by the BJP MP from West Delhi, Parvesh Verma.

Verma’s earlier comment that Muslims have never cast their vote for the BJP and never will “as it is a patriotic party”, has already stoked a row.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The opposition parties, especially the Congress have already launched a scathing attack on BJP stating that it would incite ‘communal violence’.

“I can’t say exactly in what context the BJP MP made that statement… may be in a casual manner or in a lighter vein, but Indian Muslims are patriotic, there is no doubt about it,” Indresh Kumar, national convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an RSS-affiliate body, told Firstpost.

On 17 December, during an interaction with the media, after addressing a gathering at Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, Verma had said, “Hum kisi vote bank ki chinta nahin karte. Muslim kabhi na humein vote kiya hai aur na karenge…Isliye ki BJP ek rashtrabhakt party hai. Hamein kisi samudai ki chinta nahi hai (We don’t care about any vote bank. Muslims have never voted for us and they never will… Because the BJP is a patriotic party, that’s why Muslims don’t vote for us. We don’t care about any particular community).”

Parvesh Verma is the son of former Delhi chief minister late Sahib Singh Verma.

“May be the MP had wanted to say that the Muslims should come out openly and support (BJP), and shouldn’t be under any fear. In this context I would like to emphasise that if a Muslim sings National Anthem or hoists the National Flag, it’s dubbed an act of ‘saffronisation or BJP-karan of Muslims’.” Kumar said.

Kumar also criticised the negative connotation that he alleged was commonly associated with patriotism and the BJP.

“This is ridiculous. Is the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ an exclusive right of BJP? Doesn’t other political parties like Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, etc have equal right on it? Why it’s not dubbed as ‘Congress-isation’ when they raised this slogan? Through this kind of negative perception-building, patriotism, nationalism and loyalty towards nation have been shifted to BJP camp with a negative connotation. This is wrong,” Kumar added.

MRM is an initiative of former RSS chief KS Sudarshan to allow the Sangh Parivar to reach out to Muslims, with an aim of bringing Hindu and Muslim communities in India closer together.
“Indian Muslims are patriotic. If any particular section among them hasn’t voted for BJP or stayed away from the party, it might have been due to ignorance, illiteracy, due to socio-political issues or poverty. Even a man doesn’t remember god, if he’s in dire hunger; here it’s about a political party,” said Girish Juyal, national organizing convener of MRM.

“The statement may be Verma’s personal view, which might have arisen due to his personal observation of the situation in his constituency. It can’t be universal. But now with Modiji’s leadership as a PM and Indreshji spearheading the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, the perception among Muslims has witnessed a change. Due to several initiatives undertaken by the central government, especially for the youth, the Muslim community has got more integrated and getting closer to BJP,” added Juyal.

Besides, MRM, the academicians and experts on Islamic studies have also strongly dismissed Verma’s statement against Muslim voters.

“99% of Muslims are nationalist and pro-India and identify themselves as Indians, but it’s also true that 99% of Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders believe only in Islamic globalization. At practical level, Indian Muslims are diverse in their life-style and identify themselves as patriots, whereas at theoretical level, they identify themselves with the homogenous global Islamic group. What the BJP MP has said is practically not true,” observed Tufail Ahmad, Executive Director at Open Source Institute, a Delhi-based think tank on Islamic studies.

However, Zafar Sareshwala, chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University is more scathing in his remarks.

“The statement shows the perverse mindset of the MP. He should learn from PM Narendra Modi and his party president Amit Shah, who have worked towards integration of the Muslim community in these two-and-half years period. The PM said in the Parliament that no one should either ask for or give certificate of nationalism. By making such a statement against the community, he has displayed his ignorance in public,” Sareshwala remarked.

Quoting the poll data from Modi’s native state Gujarat and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sareshwala added, “The skepticism about the Muslim community’s reservations about voting for the BJP was laid to rest during Gujarat polls in 2012, followed by the general election in 2014. In Gujarat assembly election, nearly 25% Muslims had voted for Modiji and he won for the third time. Similarly, in general election, more number of Muslims voted for BJP than ever. Given this fact, the BJP MP himself is damaging the ethos built-up by the BJP than anybody else.”

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 18:06 IST

FBI, US Dept of Justice officials named witness in NIA’s Pathankot charge sheet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six protected persons, a jailed terrorist and officials of Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Department of Justice figure as witnesses in the charge sheet filed by NIA in the January 2 Pathankot air base attack.The NIA, which named Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and three others as accused, submitted scientific, oral and technical evidences before the special NIA court at Panchkula in Chandigarh. Among the list of witnesses is Mohammed Sadeek alias Muviya, a resident of Ghalotiakalan in Pakistan’s Sialkot district and Abdul Rahman Mogul, a resident of Polas village of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir’s Poonch district. These two witnesses had helped in identifying voices and a couple of bodies of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists who had carried out attack at the strategic IAF base in which seven personnel were killed and 37 others injured.NIA has submitted statement of six witnesses in a sealed cover before the court and prayed before the court that the names of these people should be kept secret under section 44(3) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 17 of National Investigation Agency Act (Protection of witnesses). The list of witnesses also names a Special Agent of FBI and an official of US Department of Justice who had executed the Indian request sent under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for getting the details from Facebook and other websites on which Jaish had uploaded an audio file claiming responsibility for the attack.
ALSO READ Pathankot airbase attack: NIA files chargesheet, names Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood AzharBesides Azhar, the NIA has named his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asgar and two handlers of four terrorists — Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif in the charge sheet. There is no mention of Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, his cook Madan Gopal and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma in the list of witnesses. Their vehicle was hijacked by four terrorists. While Singh and Gopal were released in a jungle, the terrorists had slit the throat of Verma, who managed to get immediate medical aid after the four terrorists abandoned him.

Indo-US military logistics pact is ‘mundane’: Richard Verma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said the military logistics memorandum agreement signed with India was mundane in nature and was only limited to logistics.”The logistics memorandum agreement between India and the US is only limited to logistics and mundane in nature. There is no question of India compromising on its security by signing the pact,” Verma told reporters at thePress Club here. He said the agreement would enable both countries to share bases, fuel and food and was a good recognition of where the bilateral ties stood today. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had earlier demanded the contents of the military logistics pact between India and the US be made public. Verma, who had been in office in India for the last two years, said the defence ties with India “stand on its own.” “Defence relations with India stand on its own and is not a buyer-seller relation,” the Ambassador said.He said both countries had important defence deals in the past as well. “We have a special cell in the Pentagon that looks only after these matters and the US does not have this kind of arrangement with any other country,” he said. “US and India are the world’s largest two democracies with 1.6 billion people. If the two countries are close friends, then the world will be a safer and a prosperous place. There is a ripple effect,” Verma said. To a query on the US’ position on Pakistan as an “exporter of terrorism”, Verma said there has been condemnation of cross-border terrorism from their side. “The US has been speaking about condemnation of cross-border terrorism which has to end. We want to see that kind of unity in our relations with India. With Pakistan, it is complex, based on cross-border terrorism. With India it is on a different plane,” he said.Asked about the future of Indo-US relations under the new dispensation, he said, “In the coming years, US and India relations will continue as it is today.” “Relations between India and US is on an upward trajectory and irreversible. Indians settled in the US will continue be the natural bridge between the two countries,” Verma said. “We believe it is the strategic interest of the US to see a stronger India. We strongly believe in that,” he said.On the economic front, he said US was the largest trading partner of India with two-way trade hovering at USD 100 billion. There were 500 US companies in India and 100 Indian companies in the US, he said. Verma was in the city to attend a seminar on regional connectivity where participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand were present, besides USA and India. He also said US was ready to share its best practices on dealing with border security to help countries in protecting their citizens.

Congress guns for Rijiju over Rs 450-crore ‘scam’, minister says ‘I am not connected with the audio tape’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Setting the scene for a showdown with the Modi government in Parliament, the Congress on Tuesday demanded Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s resignation on account of an “audio proof” and documentary evidence which claimed that he facilitated a Rs 450-crore scam embedded in a huge hydro-electric project in his home state of Arunachal Pradesh.Congress alleged that Satish Verma, the Chief Vigilance Officer with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ld (NEEPCO), had said in a report that the government was in danger of being swindled of nearly Rs 450 crore because it was being presented with inflated and fictitious bills. These bills were for the removal of large stones and boulders in trucks for the construction of a dam in Rijiju’s constituency.Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that an audio recording of Verma’s conversation with the minister’s relative Goboi Rijiju revealed that the official is about to be promoted. In the audio tape, Goboi Rijiju also offered: “Sir, if there is anything that my brother can do, please do let me know.”
ALSO READ Not a crime to help poor tribals, all payments made during Congress regime, says under-fire Kiren Rijiju Coming back hard on the Congress for “malicious” intent, Rijiju reacted, “Those who are planting this news, if they come where we are, they will get hit with shoes. Is it corruption to try and help your people?”Backing Rijiju strongly, the BJP said, “Satish Verma is a charge-sheeted officer with a dubious track record and continues to work as a political fixer for the Congress party. The entire contract works were allotted when the Congress party was in power.Later, a much sober Rijiju told DNA, “It is the Congress that should apologise to the nation. I don’t have any brother. All works allotted and payments made were during Congress rule. I am not connected with the audio tape.”To bolster his claim that there was no wrong doing, Rijiju also posted on Twitter the letters he had written to Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, the latter’s reply to him and the representation by local residents of his constituency West Kameng bearing ten signatures.Besides, the ministry of power also came out with a long clarification on the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) website questioning the intent of wild allegations made in the media along with the copies of correspondence.Putting across the facts, the clarification said, “The letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorization of Shri Verma. NEEPCO is a Mini Ratna company and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. No instructions or directions by the Government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules.”Congress insiders from Arunachal Pradesh, however, conceded that allegations of corruption on Rijiju and demands for his resignation will not stick and the party is looking only for political gains.”Rijiju is a title of Miji tribe which has only 37,000 people spread out in the whole of Arunachal Pradesh. In West Kameng, the Miji population is much less and in Arunachal it is normal for a minister to get representation from people and forward it to ministry concerned with a request for expediting the work. Every minister writes such letters in hundreds. There is nothing extraordinary in Rijiju’s letter,” conceded a local Congress leader from Arunachal.

‘Kiren Rijiju did no wrong’, says Power Ministry, rushing to his defence

New Delhi: Springing to the defence of minister Kiran Rijiju, the Power Ministry has said payments to a contractor of power plant in Arunachal Pradesh were released even before the minister forwarded a representation for the same.

Kiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information BureauKiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information Bureau

Kiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information Bureau

Dubbing allegation of Rijiju using his influence to clear bills as “unsubstantiated, false and baseless”, the ministry said the vigilance officer SC Verma, who alleged corruption in the construction of two dams for NEEPCO’s 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, had himself authorised the release of substantial payments to the contractor.

The ministry in a statement said Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju had on 9 November, 2015, forwarded a representation of local inhabitants of his constituency, complaining about the stoppage of payments to the sub-contractor of Patel Engineering Ltd for transportation of boulders/sand.

“At no point did Shri Rijiju recommend that payment be released but only requested that ‘kindly get this petition considered in your Ministry sympathetically on priority’,” it said, making public the copy of the letter.

But as much as 60 percent of the payment due to PEL was released on 4 November, 2015, on instruction of Verma, much before the letter of Rijiju. “Hence, the letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorisation of Shri Verma,” the statement said.

NEEPCO, it said, is a Mini Ratna PSU and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. “No instructions or directions by the government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge-sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 22:58 IST

Not a crime to help poor tribals, all payments made during Congress regime, says under-fire Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Kiren Rijiju came under attack over allegations that he influenced Power Ministry to clear bills related to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh, with Congress demanding his sacking but the minister denied any wrongdoing.Alleging that it was a Rs 450-crore scam in the form of false and inflated transportation bills, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released an audio tape of a purported conversation of the minister’s cousin, a contractor in the 600 MW power project, and Rijiju’s letter recommending that held up payments be released.”Kiren Rijiju has no right to stay in office. He should either be dismissed by the Prime Minister or asked to resign till an independent probe is complete,” the Congress spokesman said.The opposition party also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat” as had happened with several other scandals in the past including Vyapam, Lalitgate and the Vijay Mallya issue. “Mr Modi’s claims of transparency ad honesty is now under question. People of India are looking at what action he takes on this issue,” Surjewala said.Hitting back, Rijiju, who is Minister of State for Home, said, “I have written the letter to the Power Minister after I received representations from some people in my constituency in Arunachal West regarding pending bills. I have done no wrong and there is no corruption.”Peeved at the allegations, the Minister said, “Those who planted the story will be beaten up with shoes when they will come to our area.”Rijiju also tweeted copies of the representation he received and the letter he had sent to the Power Minister. “Really cheap!… Is it a corruption helping poor Tribals?,” he said on twitter.Stating that the contracts were given and most of the payments made during the Congress rule, he asked the opposition party to apologise. Reports claimed that Rijiju, his cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU’s Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma that alleges corruption in construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.NEEPC comes under the Union Power Ministry. “I pity Congress party … I feel that Congress should apologise to the nation for creating an issue which is non-existent. If local people have approached me to tell me that bills are pending and the bills are of small amount and what they are saying of Rs 150 crores, it is not like that,” Rijiju said.”Small pending bills, pending since 2012, 2013, 2014 before we came to power, the contracts were awarded when we were not in the government, the payments were paid when we were not in the government. Only I was told that some 20-30 per cent of payments were remaining which NEEPCO is not releasing the money. So I wrote a letter to the Power Minister that just look into the matter, thats it,” the Minister said. Verma’s report was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year. It alleges an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, North East Power Corporation (NEPCO) officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore”. West Kameng, the site of the project, falls in Arunachal West which is the parliamentary constituency of Rijiju. The CBI has made two “surprise checks” but no FIR has been registered yet, reports said.Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report.Verma was also part of the three-member SIT set up to probe the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat in 2004 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.Verma had said Ishrat’s killing was a “premeditated murder”. Surjewala said, “This is a very serious issue. The Prime Minister should speak out on this issue…. “If PM has courage of conviction, he must either sack Kiren Rijiju or ask him to resign and conduct a fair and free probe so that truth comes out…Till then, Rijiju should be divested of his post.” “The Prime in the run up to elections used to say that he will neither do or allow corruption to happen. But there have been a series of charges of corruption that came to light in the Modi government,” he said.Payments were stopped after a letter by the Chief Vigilance Officer conducted a probe into the issue, he claimed.Targeting the CBI, Surjewala alleged that the premier investigation agency has become a “puppet” in the hands of the Modi government and has not even registered an FIR in the matter despite the report by the vigilance officer.Surjewala also played out a purported audio conversation between Goboi and Verma and the opposition party claimed it also had a mention of the goings on that led to pulling down of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.He claimed Rijiju’s relative was clearly attempting to influence the CVO in the 28-minute tape and was using his Minister brother’s name to seek his help in getting the bills cleared and was also enticing him with a promotion.”There seems to be a connection with making of these payments and were some of these payments used to buy and sell legislators is a matter that needs to be seriously probed,” he said.Alleging that “inflated” bills were put up for bringing boulders for the dam construction, he said some of the huge boulders were shown to be carried on scooters, motorcyles and cars by a single driver at the same time.

Kiren Rijiju dismisses hydro project scam allegations, says conspirators ‘will be beaten by shoes’

The Chief Vigilance Officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has alleged that the Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, his cousin Goboi Rijiju — a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh — and several top officials of NEEPCO are involved in a multi-crore scam in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

According to The Indian Express, in a 129-page report, CVO Satish Verma alleged an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore.” Rijiju had written a letter to Ministry of Power to release funds to the contractor and his cousin Goboi Rijiju, News18 reported.

Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report. The Indian Express quoted him as attributing the “absence” to his investigation.

Meanwhile, Rijiju said that those who “planted” the news that he has been named along with a few others in a vigilance report on corruption at NEEPCO will get beaten up with shoes if they come to Arunachal Pradesh. “Jhoothe khayenge hamare yahan,” ANI quoted him as saying reacting to the report that appeared in The Indian Express on Tuesday. According to the paper, Verma’s report alleges many fake and “inflated bills” by contractors to embezzle money “in the name of transporting rocks”.

Reacting to the news, a Congress member of Arunachal Pradesh said.

Rijiju represents Arunachal Pradesh in the Lok Sabha. CVO Verma is a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who assisted on the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, and in a petition to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) alleged that his role as a CVO was curtailed since he flagged off the multi-crore scam. “In the affidavit, Mr. Verma said that all his outstation visits were accounted for and were done to investigate the fraudulent activities,” The Hindu reported.

Speaking to The Hindu, Rijiju, however, said, “He (Goboi) is a distant cousin. Be it anyone, whether distant cousins or friends, will not tolerate if my name is used to get their works done. Anyway I will always ensure that my people don’t face hardship.”

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 13:54 IST

Delhi: Law firm raid yeilds Rs 13 crore, Agusta link

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The crime branch of the Delhi Police and the Income-Tax (I-T) department have exposed a coterie of lawyers, high-profile arms dealers and middlemen after raids on the residence and offices of a city-based lawyer Rohit Tandon on Saturday night. Tandon owns the Tandon and Tandon (T&T) law firm.Raids were going on T&T offices in the Shivalik area, Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash-1 at the time of going to press. So far, Rs 13.65 crore, including Rs 2.6 crore in new currency, have been seized.Crime branch officials said that Tandon has links with prominent arms dealer Abhishek Verma (currently out on bail), and senior lawyer Gautam Khaitan (arrested in the AgustaWestland scam).”This raid is linked to the one on October 6. I-T officials had then recorded the statements of associates and staffers at T&T’s Greater Kailash-1 office, after which unaccounted money of Rs 125 crore were disclosed. The tax department has evidence of Tandon’s investments in properties through shell companies,” sources said.Addressing the media on Sunday, Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP), Crime Branch, Ravinder Yadav, said: “He had been on our radar since October 6.” Though the JCP claimed that Tandon had gone underground and they were tracing him, Tandon spoke to the media. “It is absolute nonsense to link me with Abhishek Verma and the AgustaWestland suspects. I have never met them. Neither they nor I even recognise each other. I am not on the run. I am not in Delhi. I am on my way back and will cooperate with the I-T department,” he said.Tandon also claimed that he did not have any clue about the money recovered during the raids.Stacks of new and old currency were found in a cupboard and a duffel bag in T&T’s Greater Kailash office. “We also found a counting machine,” Yadav said. I-T officials said that every nook and cranny of the Greater Kailash office was covered with security cameras. “When we questioned the staffers, they said Tandon had installed a software in his mobile phone and would have been watching the live feed of raids and searches,” they added.Sources said that the investigating teams are now analysing Tandon’s client list. “He claims to be a corporate lawyer, specialising in mergers and acquisitions, but no big firm has hired him. I-T officials told us that he is more of a liaison… a fixer. We have seized his office computers and laptops. Clients don’t pay in cash to prominent lawyers,” said an investigating officer.”We are probing whether the seized money was parked by businessmen and lawyers,” an officer said. Teams are also questioning other partners of T&T, all of whom claimed that they had no clue about the money found at their offices.Police sources claimed that Tandon was in touch with some high-profile defence dealers and lawyers representing defence lobbyists. Tandon set up T&T in February 2014. He had ambitious plans to set up offices in Dubai and Hong Kong as well. He was, however, never seen in courts or arguing before the Bench.For nearly a decade starting 2005, he successfully ran a law firm called Zeus. Some of his Zeus colleagues later joined T&T. His brother-in-law still runs Zeus. A low-key person, Tandon is not seen in parties or high-profile gatherings, and prefers to meet and entertain clients at his plush farmhouse in Chattarpur.”While questioning his staffers, we came to know that his parties are understated, without any glamour or Page 3 celebrities, but he is well connected. It is interesting that he knows both Bhandari and Khaitan,” said a Crime Branch officer.”He came to the limelight when he bid and got the ownership of a 12,000-sq ft residence in Jor Bagh. The deal was worth Rs 100 crore. Once the deal went public, everyone wanted to know who he was,” he added. In July 2014, Tandon bought a bungalow from the Ruia family via a special purpose company called Devlin Corp, in which he and his son are co-directors. The Delhi Police have informed both ED and I-T Department about the raids and a report will be submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday.I-T notices to 1,200 people in SuratSurat: The I-T department in Surat has issued notices to 1,200 people who have deposited Rs1 crore and above in their bank accounts after November 8. The notice has 20 questions and the account-holders have to respond within a week.Interestingly, according to the I-T department, only 55 persons in the city have an annual income of Rs 1 crore and above. – DNA Correspondent

Jayalalithaa’s demise: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma condoles Tamil Nadu CM’s death

Jayalalithaa’s demise: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma condoles Tamil Nadu CM’s death

Chennai: US Ambassador to India, Richard R Verma, on Tuesday condoled the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.

File image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFPFile image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFP

File image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFP

“Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will be remembered for her years of public service to Tamil Nadu and as a supporter of closer ties between the United States and India. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu during this time of sorrow,” he said in a statement.

Jayalalithaa, hospitalised since 22 September and who had suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, passed away on Monday night at 11.30.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 08:09 IST

Demonetisation Day 24: ‘Make in India’ innovator caught with fake notes; queues get longer at pumps

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) have urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to advise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to publicly announce the details of currency notes supplied to various banks.

In a joint letter to Jaitley, the two major unions pointed out that RBI’s repeated public statements that adequate cash is being supplied to banks, contrary to the reality, makes it seem to the public as if the RBI is supplying cash to banks and bank staff are deliberately not extending payments. The news updates from day 24 show their concerns to be quite valid.

Punjab innovator arrested with fake notes

A young engineer, whose innovation got appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, landed in the police net after he and his accomplices were caught with fake Rs 2,000 notes in Mohali town of Punjab.

Abhinav Verma had claimed to have created ‘Live Braille’, a wearable technology innovation that helped blind people to walk around without the aid of a walking stick last year. The device used sensors to guide blind people and was hailed as a success. It even got a mention from Modi in December last year at the Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru. The device was commercially launched this year, touted as an innovation under the ‘Make in India’ programme, and sold in India and over 15 countries.

The Punjab Police in Mohali, adjoining Chandigarh, recovered fake currency worth Rs 42 lakh in Rs 2,000 denomination and arrested Abhinav Verma, his cousin Vishakha Verma, and Ludhiana-based property dealer Suman Nagpal. The trio, along with two others, were duping people by exchanging the demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes for the fake Rs 2,000 notes. They were charging 30 percent commission for the exchange.

Heavy rush in banks, treasuries continues in Kerala

Banks and treasuries in Kerala are witnessing heavy rush and serpentine queues on Friday for the second consecutive day, with people queueing up to withdraw salaries and pensions.

The state government had asked RBI to release Rs 127 crore to meet the demand for distributing salaries and pensions, but received only Rs 57 crore till 11 am, official sources in Kerala said. As many as 50 treasuries are yet to receive any amount and the treasury employees are waiting at the banks to get the money released, they said.

Protesting the fund crunch in treasuries and difficulties faced by people, around 50 government employees, under the aegis of NGO association, took out a march to the district treasury in Thiruvananthapuram.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Cash seizure in new currency rises to Rs 5.7 crore

The biggest-ever seizure of cash in new currency on Friday grew to over Rs 5 crore even as the Income Tax department said it detected unaccounted income worth Rs 152 crore after it conducted searches in a dozen premises in Bengaluru and other locations.

I-T officials said the cash found after searches were launched, on Thursday, on the premises of two engineers, working with the state government, and two contractors have risen to Rs 5.7 crore and these notes are in the denomination of the newly introduced currency of Rs 2,000.

A team of over 50 I-T sleuths and police personnel had launched operations on Thursday and searched premises in Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode (Tamil Nadu). What had surprised the tax authorities is the sheer amount of new currency stashed by these individuals at a time when new notes are not available to the common public which is queuing up to withdraw even small amounts from their accounts.”Some entry operators and bankers are under the scanner. Such volume of new currency cannot be obtained without the connivance of bank officials,” a senior I-T department official said.

Queues get longer at pumps

As the new deadline allowing petrol pumps to accept scrapped high-denomination notes ends on Friday, long queues were witnessed at several fuel stations across the metropolis of Mumbai.

Besides the queues at petrol pumps, people lined up outside the banks and ATMs with many waiting to deposit old notes and withdraw money in Mumbai, as those who could not withdraw salary from banks on the first day post-demonetisation, queued up on Friday, struggling to withdraw cash to meet their monthly commitments. Many queues were especially for the senior citizens and pensioners. Also, non-functional and dried up ATMs worsened the situation prompting people to take to e-payments.

School children teach locals to make payments via mobile apps

Taking inspiration from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s appeal for making “Cashless India” in his Mann Ki Baat programme, school children in Khargone have started encouraging locals to use mobile transaction app for utility and other necessary payments.

The children are not only making people aware of mobile transaction apps but also teaching them how to use it for paying power, telephone and municipal taxes among other things. KK Convent School has also set up a helpline desk to raise awareness among the parents to go for cashless transactions or make payments through cheques.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 18:01 IST

In Mohali, three held with fake Rs.2,000 notes to tune of Rs. 42 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the arrest of three persons, including a woman, the Mohali Police on Thursday claimed to have busted a gang of three miscreants and seized fake currency notes of Rs 2,000 to the tune of Rs. 42 lakh.Police have also impounded an Audi car with a red beacon from his possession. However, two members of the gang are still at large, said police.Police said the accused – Suman Nagpal, a property dealer, Abhinav Verma and his cousin Vishakha – were the mastermind, who had installed the equipment to print fake notes of Rs. 2000 as the people, as of now, are not much aware about the authenticity of the new notes.Mohali Superintendent of Police Parminder Singh Bhandal said, “What they used to do was that they used to take old currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 and keep 30 percent of it for themselves and give the rest of it in terms of fake currency notes of Rs. 2,000.”Police said a case was registered against them and they were taken in one-day police remand.Police will further appeal in the court for more remand.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Rescuers wrap operations, toll mounts to 143

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll mounted to 143 on Monday in the Indore-Patna Express derailment in Pukhrayan in Kanpur rural area as rescuers wrapped up their operation with little hope of finding any survivors after overnight efforts to pull out trapped passengers from the mangled bogies. All the 14 derailed coaches of the Patna-bound train 19321 have been removed from the tracks. Many distraught people were sifting through the luggage and other belongings piled up at the site to look for any clue about their missing loved ones. “I am looking for my brother. Who knows what has happened to him? He may have changed his seat… we have searched everywhere,” said Ramanand Tiwari.After seeing bodies of three of his family members, Nirmal Verma was inconsolable. “Whoever I tried to look for is dead. My brother, my elder sister-in-law, daughter…. I haven’t found my mother yet. I fear I will find her in the same condition,” said Verma who was to travel with his family to a wedding but couldn’t get leave from work and was supposed to join them later. “143 bodies have been found so far, out of which 110 have been identified,” according to IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad.While 120 bodies were pulled out till last night, some others were found as rescuers later cleared the wreckage. Chief Medical Officer Kanpur Ramayan Prasad said 105 bodies have been handed over to family members after postmortem and free ambulances were provided.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna express derailment: Survivors recount horror, say they ‘saw death whisk past us’24 bodies have been sent to Bihar, 25 to Madhya Pradesh and 56 in several districts of UP. 83 of the 202 injured passengers were admitted in hospitals of Kanpur and neighbouring Kanpur-Rural districts while rest of them have been released, Prasad said, adding 73 of them were seriously injured.Amid scenes of tragedy, a number of good Samaritans took it upon themselves to provide succour to the traumatised passengers and help out the rescuers and others on site and in hospitals by providing food and water. Volunteers from several NGOs, RSS, Sikh organisations and even from many political outfits remained at the accident site till late in the night as rescuers struggled to pull out passengers trapped in the mangled bogies.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna express derailment: Businessman rescued after 10 hours, son missingThe volunteers visited injured victims and the distraught families in the hospitals and distributed drinking water, tea, snacks and fruits among them. Coaches S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments. S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy.Railway personnel assisted by army, NDRF and state police carried out the search and rescue operation overnight under floodlights. Officials had said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. A high-level probe had been ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who promised on Monday “strictest possible action” against the guilty. Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, he said a separate investigation will be held aided by latest technical and forensic analysis.

Shifts for over-worked constabulary: top cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police department is working on a plan to put in place an eight-hour shift system for its staffers, on the lines adopted by the Mumbai police. At present, the constabulary in the national Capital works in inhumane conditions, putting in 18-24 working hours daily, and not getting any leaves for weeks in a row.On the directions of Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajiv Ranjan went to Mumbai for a week to study the functioning of their police department and to find out how successful the shift system was there. Ranjan returned recently and has been preparing a report that he will soon submit to Verma. Verma had proposed that the shift system should be implemented in the force within six months, as the Delhi Police constabulary was one of the most overworked forces in law enforcement, working under severe psychological and physical pressures.Earlier, a three-member committee headed by Joint Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak was also constituted. The committee carried out a survey across 168 police stations and prepared a proposal regarding the eight-hour shift system. Pathak had submitted the proposal to the Commissioner of Police for further study.On a trial basis, the new system has first been planned for two police stations — Dabri and Sangam Vihar. Senior police officers in the Capital have noticed that due to long working hours, the lower-rank officers suffer from various physiological disorders. They do not get leaves for weeks altogether and have very little time for their families. Almost 80 per cent of the police officers have no housing facilities and their salaries — Rs 22,000 for a constable and Rs 32,000 for a sub-inspector — are not enough to rent houses in decent areas.In addition, it is mandatory for beat officers to take accident victims and unclaimed corpses to hospitals and morgues, even though they are not paid enough to do so. Senior officers said that all these were the main reasons behind corruption. “If the force gets adequate number of personnel, a beat constable can work in three shifts under constant monitoring of senior officials. Their satisfaction level will also increase,” they said.There are nearly 41,000 constables and 19,000 head constables in Delhi, who form the backbone of the force. It is pertinent to mention that IPS officer Sanjay Beniwal, who is currently the Special Commissioner in Delhi Police, had recently prepared a 222-page report, Manpower Assessment of Delhi Police. The report claimed an acute manpower shortage, duty fatigue and desertion is almost all the police stations in the Capital.

Phone tapping allegation: Police writes to Kejriwal, Delhi CM puts onus on IB for proof

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said police should ask the Intelligence Bureau (IB) whether judges’ phones were tapped amid reports that Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma has written a letter to him regarding the matter.A letter, purportedly written by Verma to Kejriwal seeking details about his allegations that judges’ phones were being tapped, is doing the rounds on Twitter. Kejriwal tweeted his response to the letter: “Ask IB. They will tell u.” However, police didn’t confirm the authenticity of the letter.”It might be a confidential letter and not many people might be aware about it,” said a police source, without confirming the authenticity of the letter that is doing the rounds on Twitter. The letter says that it’s a serious matter that the chief minister is talking about.”As you are aware, phone tapping is an extremely serious matter and is not allowed without due authorisation after following strict procedures mandated under law. Therefore, your alluding to the matter raises serious concerns,” the letter reads.The letter asked the CM to inform them about the source on which he has based his allegations. “Under the circumstances, please let us know of any incident or case of phone tapping that you have referred to in the course of your speech. We would also appreciate if you could inform us the source on which you base your allegations so that appropriate action can be initiated in the matter,” it said.Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court on October 31 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India T S Thakur also participated, Kejriwal had claimed that during his meetings with judges he has “overheard them telling each other that they should not talk on phones because they could be tapped”.The Chief Minister claimed that when he told them the phones of judges cannot be tapped, “they retorted by saying that all phones could be tapped”.”I don’t know whether it is true or not but there is a widespread fear. If it is true that phones are tapped then judges can be influenced…,” he had said.

Uttar Pradesh: One arrested in gangrape case in Muzaffarnagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One person has been arrested in connection with a case in which a 45-year-old gangrape victim was allegedly shot at and seriously injured in Dabheri Khurd village in Shamli district, police said on Thursday.One accused was arrested on Wenesday while remaining two are still absconding, Circle Officer Bhushan Verma said.On October 15, the gangrape victim was allegedly shot at and seriously injured by the accused at Dabheri Khurd village in Shamli district.The woman sustained multiple bullet injuries and was admitted to a hospital here, where her condition was stated as serious.”The accused– Shamshad, Jamil and Dulla and Israr– shot at her when she was going to attend a village function. They had allegedly raped her two months ago at her house,” Verma had said.

India rejects China’s objection to US envoy’s Arunachal visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rebuffing China for objecting to US Ambassador Richard Verma’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India on Monday said there was “nothing unusual” about his trip to a state which is an integral part of the country.”The US Ambassador visited Arunachal Pradesh, a state which is an integral part of the country to which he is accredited. There is nothing unusual in it,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said here.Taking exception to the visit by Verma, China said it was firmly opposed to it and that any interference by Washington in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it “more complicated” and “disturb” hard won peace at the border.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also asked the US to desist from interfering in the India-China border dispute while referring to Verma’s October 22 tour to Tawang at the invitation of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.”We have also noted that the place visited by senior US diplomatic official is a disputed region between China and India. We are firmly opposed to his visit,” he said. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area. With ANI inputs

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets deaf-mute girl Geeta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday met Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired girl, who crossed over to Pakistan several years ago and returned to India in October 2015. The girl, is staying at an institute for hearing and speech impaired persons since her returning.Swaraj and Geeta spent nearly 45 minutes together in a hotel and exchanged gifts ahead of Diwali, the institute’s director Monika Punjabi Verma said.During the meeting, Swaraj hinted that Geeta would be helped to undertake the journey to search for her parents in places which she had indicated by sign language, she said. The minister did not disclose whether Geeta would be taken to those places by train or by other mode of transport, Verma said.There was a move to help Geeta to undertake rail journey to different places to search for her parents in June but possibly due to rainy season, the plan could not materialise, she said.Earlier, several couples had come forward claiming to be Geeta’s parents, but she did not recognise any of them and could not substantiate their claims. Geeta claims she knew the place where she was separated from her parents years ago. She is now learning Hindi, English and arithmetic.Sushma had met Geeta last December and assured her that the Centre is making every effort to trace her parents. Geeta was 7 or 8-years-old when she was found sitting alone in the Samjhauta Express at Lahore station by Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago. She was then adopted by Bilquis Edhi of Edhi Foundations. Her story came to light after the release of Salman Khan- starrer “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, in which the character essayed by Salman reunites a Pakistani girl with her mother.

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

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

Congress asks Modi govt to probe allegation of Varun Gandhi leaking defence secrets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Friday demanded a probe into the allegations against BJP MP Varun Gandhi that he had leaked defence secrets to middleman Abhishek Verma and arms manufacturers, and wondered as to why BJP chief Amit Shah was silent.Party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar told reporters that the charge needs to be probed as Varun is a senior MP of BJP. He also expressed surprise that there was no statement from BJP in the matter also party chief Amit Shah is silent.Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had yesterday released a letter written by Edmonds Allen, a New York-based lawyer, to the PMO last month that Varun was “honey-trapped” and compromised by Verma, a charge the BJP MP has stoutly denied. Allen alleged that Verma “blackmailed” Varun, a member of Defence Consultative Committee, into sharing sensitive information on crucial arms matters.Varun has rejected these charges, saying he has not met Verma since 2004 and threatened to file a defamation suit against Bhushan and Yadav over the charges. To a question on one year extension being given to NIA Director General, the Congress spokesperson alleged that BJP and RSS combined do not believe in the Rule of Law, as the Criminal Procedure Code says that a police officer can never be on a contract, he is an employee of the government.Kumar, himself a former IPS officer, said it is “shameful” that government is saying it cannot find somebody competent within the pool of IPS officers who can head the organisation. “The actual reason is that this government and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi wants somebody in the NIA who keeps giving clean chit to his friends and colleagues in various cases which are pending,” he claimed.

Prashant Bhushan claims Varun Gandhi was ‘honey trapped’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court lawyer and founder of Swaraj India, Prashant Bhushan accused the Modi government of not taking any action against Varun Gandhi and senior defence officials for their alleged involvement in the dubious Scorpene submarine deal. Bhushan argued that their involvement compromised national security.Speaking at a press conference, Bhushan referred to the communications by one US based lawyer C Edmunds Allen, who fell apart with arms dealer Abhishek Verma in 2012, and said, “Shockingly, information about the murky deals has been in possession of office of the Prime Minister, NSA, Defence Minister and CBI for nearly two months, but they have not reopened the CBI investigations against the Scorpene deal, let alone take any action against the accused.”Allen’s secret letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi dated September 16, claims that Varun Gandhi, as a member of the defence consultative committee was ‘honey trapped’ and ‘compromised’ by the notorious arms dealer Abhishek Verma.In his letter, Allen is alleged to have also attached photographic evidence showing Varun Gandhi with escort women girls, said Bhushan. Bhushan added that they were not releasing these photos and other sensitive defence documents, as that would compromise national security.Rubbishing these claims as bogus and deliberate attempts to tarnish his image, Varun Gandhi said he would take legal action against Prashant Bhushan.”How can I respond to something so ridiculously nonsensical. Is there any proof of any of these allegations? I sue those who have tried to tarnish my image,” Gandhi said.Bushuan also claimed that one of the key revelations by Allen to PM Modi was that, “despite being tried in a sensitive and high profile case of leakage of defence information, Abhishek Verma continued to receive and pass on defence secrets till as late as 2011.””In another letter to the PM, Allen has given details of the role played by various retired Naval Officers in providing top secret information to Abhishek Verma. Moreover, Defence Minister conceded that the Government was aware about the payment of commission in Scorpene deal when he said “there was ‘dalali’ in 2006 submarines deal on October 10. The government should immediately act now,” said Bhushan.Bhushan has demanded that the government put the Rafael fighter jets deal on hold and make all its price negotiations from beginning till date public as M/s Thales—which was involved in corruption ridden Scorpene deal—is part of the Dassault company with which the government has signed a deal for 126 Rafael jets which are being purchased for more than double the cost of the same deal signed earlier.Yogendra Yadav, co-founder of Swaraj Abhiyan, said, “our other demands are that the government should register an FIR against Abhishek Verma and his associates as well as the officers of Navy and IAF named in these documents for leaking defence secrets including the details of Scorpene Submarines, blacklist and file an FIR against M/s Thales for payment of commission in Scorpene submarines deal.”Deal on holdPrashant Bhushan has demanded that the government put the Rafael fighter jets deal on hold and make all its price negotiations from beginning till date public as M/s Thales—which was involved in corruption ridden Scorpene deal—is part of the Dassault company with which the government has signed a deal for 126 Rafael jets which are being purchased for more than double the cost of the same deal signed earlier.

Varun Gandhi leaked crucial defence information, alleges letter by Edmonds Allen to PMO

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s office, US-based lawyer C Edmonds Allen has reportedly claimed that BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi was honey trapped and leaked significant information about defence matters to arms manufacturers.

The letter is also marked to the defence minister and the national security advisor to help them identify members who might have compromised on sensitive information.

File image of Varun Gandhi. AFP

File image of Varun Gandhi. AFP

Gandhi was forced to compromise with the information after being blackmailed with pictures of him with foreign escorts and prostitutes, NDTV reported. The complaint is dated 16 September and alleges that arms dealer Abhishek Verma used Gandhi to disclose defence details to arms manufacturers looking to score contracts for India.

Gandhi used to be a member of the high-profile Defence Consultative Committee.

While speaking to India Today, Gandhi denied having a conversation with Verma since he joined politics and said, “I know Abhishek Verma. His parents were Rajya Sabha MPs from the Congress. I even attended his wedding when I was young. But I have had no interaction with Abhishek Verma ever since I came into public life.”

He also commented on Allen’s letter and said that the lawyer does not have a shred of evidence to back his charges. Members of the Defence Committee do not have access to any sensitive information, he said while denying all charges levied against him.

This was corroborated with statements by senior leaders in BJP carried by The Economic Times. They reiterated that documents or information of classified nature are not usually shared with members of the parliamentary committee.

Allen has also provided a CD with several photographs to the PMO. The report also quoted Gandhi as saying that the charges are “too ridiculous to comment on.”

Nevertheless, he also talked to NDTV as well and said that the allegations might be intended at preventing a role for him in the Uttar Pradesh election. According to reports, he is a favoured candidate for BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh.

He said that he had only met Verma while studying in London to ANI. He also said that he will file a demation lawsuit against Prashant Bhushan.

Interestingly, ex-AAP members and leaders of Swaraj Abhiyaan, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, alleged on Thursday that PMO was aware of the leak but took no action. They also said that despite having the information, the government of India went ahead and signed Rs 58,000 crore deal for procurement of 36 Rafale Aircrafts.

Allen had earlier also provided evidence against Verma in several cases after their partnership fell through in 2012.

Verma was arrested in the navy war room leak for trying to bribe defence officials but granted bail in 2008.

One epic, multiple tales

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trisha Das’s latest novel, Ms Draupadi Kuru, is a wacky take, which begins where the ancient epic ends, in heaven. Remember, the Pandavas and Draupadi go to heaven some years after the war ends? In Das’ imagining, Draupadi is bored with heaven’s monotonous perfection. And so she and her girl pals, Amba, Kunti and Gandhari, go down to Earth for a month, “just to see how things are”.They “appear” in modern-day Delhi — after all, this is where Indraprastha, the Pandav capital, used to be — where Draupadi finds work in a TV studio, Kunti takes a shine to a street urchin, Amba has an affair, and so on.Then there was Akshat Verma’s short film, Mama’s Boys, based on one of the best known passages in the epic — Arjun bringing Draupadi home and Kunti telling him to share her with his five brothers. How do the other Pandavas react to the idea of “sharing” a wife, how does Draupadi reconcile to having five husbands, and how does a jealous Arjun react — that’s the territory Verma covers. Mama’s Boys is a mish-mash — the characters wear garish costumes and jewellery like in TV mythologies, but they speak in Hinglish, drink from goblets, tease Kunti about her tinda ki sabzi, wear sunglasses and have TVs and refrigerators at home.The film raised the hackles of conservatives but Verma has said that he was exploring the possible psychological dimensions to the epic. “There are many possible motivations and desires within a situation. Mama’s Boys is one version of this,” Verma has said.While these are just a couple of examples of reinterpretation, and there are many more (see box), what is interesting is how Ved Vyasa’s epic continues to inspire writers, artists and filmmakers. “Vernacular Literature has long had a tradition of re-inventing and re-imagining the Mahabharata,” says Das. Her own treatment of the epic, she says, was inspired by Marie Phillips’s Gods Behaving Badly. “I loved the way she put the Greek gods in humorous situations on earth.” But what if readers take offence to seeing the gods in unconventional settings? “If you love something, you also need to keep an open mind about it, a sense of humour,” she says.Michel Danino, the French-origin Indologist who’s worked extensively on the Vedic civilisation,connects the spate of recent pop-culture adaptions of the Mahabharata to the fact that Hinduism has never been centralised or had a power structure.”There is an inherent organic freedom to change the texts (except for the shruti texts- Vedas and Upanishads), comment on them, expand them, etc. The Mahabharata and Ramayana not only have enthralling plots but great pathos. And they are not stories of good guys vs bad guys – the bad guys have their heroic sides, and the good guys considerable shortcomings and failings.”Kavita Kane, author of Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen, attributes the epic’s continued popularity to the “fortunate” fact that we have a “living’ mythology”. “It’s everywhere around us — art, music, our temples and dance,” says Kane. “They provide a creative and fascinating canvas and continue to have great spiritual and philosophical influence. Far from being ancient tales, they are a part of us.”Translator Arshia Sattar points out how the epic is full of possibilities. “The Mahabharata,” says Arshia Sattar, who has translated and written several books that take off from the Ramayana, “is a magnificent story that has everything — love, hate, revenge, greed, lust, doubt, god. These stories form the bedrock of majority culture in India — everyone knows them, everyone has an opinion about them, everyone has a favourite character. They’re the equivalent of comfort food. Writers and directors know that audiences and readers will respond instinctively to these stories.”The Mahabharata ReduxKarthika Nair’s Until the Lions, gives voice to minor characters from the epic — Vrishali, Karna’s wife; the Padavits footsoldiers who died by the thousands at Kurukshetra; Poorna, the maid Amba and Ambika send to have sex with Vyasa in their stead; Arjuna’s lovers — Ulupi and Chitrangada, and so on.
Gautam Chikermane’s The Tunnel of Varanavat, tells the story of the man who dug the tunnel from the house of lac, saving the lives of the Pandavas — a character so marginal few of us have ever thought of him.
Aditya Iyengar’s The Thirteenth Day, an account of three eventful days of the Kurukshetra war, culminating in Abhimanyu’s death, told by Yudhisthira, Karna and Abhimanyu.
Kavita Kane’s Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen, has Uruvi, Karna’s wife, telling the story of her husband’s life.
Chitra Banerji Dvakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions is a version of the Mahabharata told through Draupadi’s eyes
Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug
Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti
MF Husain’s Mahabharata series
Raja Ravi Varma depicted various characters from the epic

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung directs Delhi police to deploy more personnel at crowded places

New Delhi: Ahead of the festive season, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday held a meeting with top Delhi Police officers and directed the force to keep a close tab on the city’s crowded places by deploying sufficient security personnel and ensuring that CCTV cameras installed at these places are functional.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

In the wake of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the capital, Delhi Police has ramped up security at places that see high footfall. The meeting was attended by Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, Special Commissioners (Law & Order) and Joint Commissioners of Police (all ranges). The Lt Governor issued instructions to Delhi Police for strict compliance with these directions.

Jung asked the police personnel to be particularly vigilant and keep a close watch on major markets in the national capital with increased footfall during festive season. He also asked all police officers that ahead of the festive season, all CCTVs cameras installed in markets, malls and crowded places should be made fully functional. These CCTVs cameras will help the police keep an eye and help prevent any untoward incident.

In the meeting, Jung expressed concern at inadequate training of security personnel of private agencies manning malls, cinema, halls, etc. He directed Delhi Police to be extra careful in all such places.

The Lt Governor instructed that sufficient numbers of police personnel should be deployed for the safety of the citizens during Ramleela, Navratra and Muharram and other festivals and wherever there is large congregation of people. He also instructed that police personnel to ensure safety and security of sensitive installations in the capital.

Ahead of festive season, LG directs Delhi Police to deploy sufficient security personnel at crowded places

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the festive season, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday held a meeting with top Delhi Police officers and directed the force to keep a close tab on the city’s crowded places by deploying sufficient security personnel and ensuring that CCTV cameras installed at these places are functional. In the wake of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the capital, Delhi Police has ramped up security at places that see high footfall.The meeting was attended by Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, Special Commissioners (Law & Order) and Joint Commissioners of Police (all ranges). The Lt Governor issued instructions to Delhi Police for strict compliance with these directions.Jung asked the police personnel to be particularly vigilant and keep a close watch on major markets in the national capital with increased footfall during festive season. He also asked all police officers that ahead of the festive season, all CCTVs cameras installed in markets, malls and crowded places should be made fully functional. These CCTVs cameras will help the police keep an eye and help prevent any untoward incident.In the meeting, Jung expressed concern at inadequate training of security personnel of private agencies manning malls, cinema, halls, etc. He directed Delhi Police to be extra careful in all such places.The Lt Governor instructed that sufficient numbers of police personnel should be deployed for the safety of the citizens during Ramleela, Navratra and Muharram and other festivals and wherever there is large congregation of people. He also instructed that police personnel to ensure safety and security of sensitive installations in the capital.

2006 Naval War Room leak case: Court imposes Rs 5,000 penalty on CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special court has slapped a penalty of Rs 5,000 on CBI for causing an “infructuous” hearing in the 2006 Naval War Room leak case in which arms dealer Abhishek Verma and four former naval officers, including a Wing Commander, are facing trial. The court passed the order as no prosecution witness could be examined due to the unavailability of the special prosecutor who was said to be busy in Delhi High Court.”Witness (Retd) Commander Atul Nag is also present since morning. It is now stated by proxy counsel for Special PP for CBI, Rajiv Mohan, that he is held up in High Court in some matter and he will be coming around lunch time. However, other defence counsel submit that they are not willing to wait till that time, as they are waiting since morning and they have urgent matters in other courts to attend. Therefore, for rendering today’s purpose as infructuous and since the witness is present since morning and has to be discharged unexamined, costs of Rs 5,000 is imposed upon CBI,” Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal said.The court directed the CBI to depute another prosecutor by the next date of hearing after it was informed that prosecutor Mohan had written to the agency to relieve him of his duties as SPP from the future proceedings in the case. The court fixed the case for October 17 for recording of prosecution evidence.Former naval officer Kulbhushan Prashar, former commander Vijender Rana, sacked naval commander V K Jha, former IAF Wing Commander Sambha Jee L Surve and alleged arms dealer and Delhi-based businessman Abhishek Verma are facing trial in the case for the offence of criminal conspiracy under IPC and under various provisions of Official Secrets Act (OSA). While Prashar, Surve, Rana and Jha are on bail, Abhishek Verma is lodged in jail under judicial custody.Meanwhile, the court granted time to CBI and Verma to respond to a plea by Edmonds Allen, former business partner of Verma, seeking cancellation of bail of the alleged arms dealer. The 2006 Navy War Room leak case involves leakage of over 7000 pages of sensitive defence information from the Naval War Room and the Air Headquarters, having a direct bearing on national security.The court had earlier framed charges after the five accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. Prime accused Ravi Shankaran is still absconding and has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

Madhya Pradesh: 10 killed in jeep-truck collision in Ujjain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ten labourers, including four women and three children, were killed and 19 others injured in a jeep-truck collision early today on Dewas-Ujjain road, 15 kms from here, police said.The labourers were killed when the jeep carrying them collided with the truck coming from the opposite direction at Chandesara village, district Superintendent of Police (SP) Manohar Verma said. Four persons died on the spot while six succumbed to their injuries on way to a hospital, he added. He said that the 19 injured including the drivers of both the vehicles, have been admitted to the government district hospital.The SP said the deceased hailed from Banswara district in south Rajasthan and were on their way to Navgaon area of the district from the city to work when they met with the mishap. The truck laden with soyabean was coming from Dewas district to Ujjain, Verma added.Police have registered a case and further investigations are on.

People threatening to attack me: Delhi minister Kapil Mishra tells Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Monday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding action against “fake” social media accounts impersonating him and trying to incite “communal and caste-based” tensions. Mishra, who is known for his active social media presence, alleged that the way these fake accounts and posts are being promoted betrays a “systematic, professional and organised attempt” to incite violence.”Some posts are so…poisonous that people reading and spreading (them are) openly giving threats of attacking me,” Mishra’s letter to Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, said.Mishra listed ‘@kapilmishrapp and @JalMantri’ as the fake Twitter handles and ‘@unofficial KapilMishra and @KapilMishraG’ to be the fake Facebook accounts.”I am writing to you to ensure strict criminal action against such people as people running these accounts are causing a threat to communal harmony in an organised and criminal manner,” the AAP leader said.

India deserves to be in NSG, the US will work for it, says Ambassador Richard Verma

New Delhi: The US is “disappointed” that India was not admitted to NSG during its recent plenary in Seoul, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said on Monday but asserted that it will continue to work with all the members of 48-nation grouping on India’s accession in the months ahead.

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIBUS Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

Referring to Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation, he said the two sides have moved forward on a 15-year project to build six Westinghouse reactors producing power for some 60 million people.

“This is a deal that had been pending for 10 years, and we were pleased to see it move even closer to fruition,” he said.

Addressing the Atlantic Council US-India Trade Initiative workshop, Verma talked about the US’ strong support for India’s role in global institutions, like having a seat on a reformed UN security council.

“We continued to welcome India’s interest in APEC, and we strongly affirmed our support for India’s accession into the multi-lateral export control regimes,” he added.

“With regard to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), six years ago, President (Barack) Obama first expressed his support for India’s membership in the NSG. Since that time, we have worked closely with our Indian counterparts and NSG members to help advance India’s case for membership. India has a strong record, and deserves to be included in the NSG,” he said.

“That is why the Administration, including senior White House and State Department officials, made a concerted effort to secure India’s membership in the recent NSG plenary session held in Seoul. We were disappointed India was not admitted during this recent session, but we will continue to work constructively with India and all the NSG members on India’s accession in the months ahead,” the top US envoy said.

India faced stiff opposition from China and a few other countries and the fact that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was used for foiling India’s bid at the Seoul meeting despite the US’ strong backing.

Verma also said that the US’ designation of India as a Major Defence Partner will bring the militaries, industries, and defence ministries of the two countries even closer in the years ahead.

In climate and clean energy, US has launched several new clean energy financing programmes to support India’s 175 GW target for renewable power, he said noting that both Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were committed to full implementation of the historic Paris climate agreement.

“We are in this with India for the long-term in bringing clean reliable power to the 300 million Indians who lack it and simultaneously battling to keep the earth’s temperatures from rising to dangerous levels,” he added.

Referring to the recent meetings between Obama and Modi, who was in the US earlier this month, he said they helped to institutionalize the bilateral cooperation and put it on a long-term footing for close collaboration in several key areas.

“In short, the Prime Minister’s visit marked a new level of strategic convergence and consolidation in our partnership,” he said.

Gujarat HC declines to give copy of Ishrat Jahan charge sheet to IPS officer

The Gujarat High Court on Friday declined to give a copy of the first charge sheet filed in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case to IPS officer Satish Verma who was part of the team that had probed the 2004 episode.CBI, which probed the high-profile case, had appealed against a recent order of a special court that asked the central agency to give a copy of the document to Verma. Justice B N Karia allowed CBI’s criminal revision application and quashed the special CBI court’s order. The trial Court committed an error in allowing the prayer made by Verma, Karia said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Verma had sought a copy of the first charge sheet on the ground he was a member of the HC-appointed Special Investigation team (SIT) that had probed the Ishrat case and later assisted CBI in the investigation. He maintained even a private person had the right to seek the document. The HC has ordered not to give a copy of the charge sheet to my client Satish Verma, his lawyer Rahul Sharma said. CBI had sought a stay on the special court’s order on the ground Verma did not have a locus standi to seek the copy and also because the charge sheet was filed three years ago while Verma sought it only three months ago. The central agency argued that only an accused or a victim can get the copy.The lower court had recently rejected application of Verma to allow him to inspect the second charge sheet. The court said it was not in a position to provide the charge sheet as it had not taken cognisance of it yet. Verma had sought the supplementary charge sheet so he could initiate legal action against the accused named in it.The first charge sheet was filed in July 2013 and it named seven police officers, including IPS officers P P Pandey, D G Vanzara and G L Singhal. In the document, CBI had termed the encounter as “fake” and a joint operation between Gujarat Police and Intelligence Bureau (IB).In the second charge sheet filed in February 2014, the CBI had named Special Director of IB Rajendra Kumar and booked him under IPC Sections related to murder, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, wrongful confinement and also Arms Act. Besides Kumar, three other IB officers – P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede – were also charged. Both the charge sheets were filed in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate H S Kuthwad. However, CBI has not obtained permission of the Union Law Ministry to prosecute the four IB officers. So, the court has not yet taken cognisance of the second charge sheet. Ishrat (19), who hailed from Mumbai, and three others – Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar – were killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.Gujarat Police had then claimed the four had links with Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba and were on a mission to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

‘Modi Doctrine’ overcame ‘hesitations of history’: Top US official praises PM’s vision

Describing the just concluded US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “historic”, the Obama administration has christened his vision of Indo-US ties that has overcome the “hesitations of history” and working for the betterment of the global good as “Modi Doctrine”.”The most important outcome in my mind of the visit this week and of the years of effort that preceded it is the clear and compelling vision that was laid out by Prime Minister Modi before joint session of the US Congress,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said. “This vision which I have come to call The Modi Doctrine laid out a foreign policy that overcomes the hesitations of history and embraces the convergence between our two countries and our shared interests,” Biswal told a Washington audience.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Biswal, the Obama Administration’s point person for South and Central Asia, said this at a discussion on ‘Security and Strategic Outcomes from the Modi Visit’ organised yesterday here jointly by the Heritage Foundation – an American think- tank – and India Foundation, a New Delhi based think-tank. Modi, she said, in his speech furthered his bold vision of India-US partnership that can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa, from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and help ensure the security of the sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on the seas.”This Modi Doctrine notes that the absence of an agreed security architecture creates uncertainty in Asia and reiterates India’s adherence to and calls for others support for international laws and norms,” Biswal said.India, she said, is now key element of Obama Administration s rebalance to Asia, a strategy which recognizes that America s security and prosperity increasingly depend on the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific.”The joint strategic vision which was issued last year laid out our mutual goals and interests in the Indo-Pacific and across the global commons. We are now implementing a road map that sets out a path of co-operation to achieve those goals and protect those interests,” Biswal said.In his remarks, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said the US welcomes and shares the Prime Minister s vision. “We have made a clear and strategic choice to support India’s transition to become, as Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has articulated, a leading power. Our actions, as security partners in every sense of the word, speak to this endeavor,” he said.”We envision India as a leading power that can uphold international norms and support what Defence Secretary Carter called last week a ‘principled security network’ in Asia. A leading power that can grow its economy while at the same time demonstrating global leadership on clean energy and climate,” he said.”And a leading power that joins likeminded partners to safeguard the global commons. Realising this vision will require diligent work on part of the bureaucracies in both Washington and Delhi and resilience to overcome obstacles that may arise,” Verma said.

Mercedes hit-and-run case: Delhi Police welcomes JJB decision

Delhi Police on Saturday welcomed the Juvenile Justice Board’s order that allowed a teenager, who allegedly ran over a 32-year-old marketing executive while driving his father’s Mercedes, to be tried as an adult.”First ever judgement…In Mercedes Hit and Run case Juvenile offender will now face trial as an adult…A big victory for prosecution! (sic)” DCP (North) Madhur Verma tweeted after the Board passed an order on the application of Delhi Police which had sought transfer of the case to trial court to try as adult the accused who turned major just four days after the April 4 incident.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is the first of its kind case since the amendment in Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which allowed the Board to transfer cases of heinous offences by children to Sessions court.In initial stages, the family of the victim was dissatisfied with the investigation by the police. They had communicated the matter to Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma following which the investigating officer of the case was changed and stricter penal sections were added.The teenager was initially booked for the charge of rash driving and negligence causing death but later, considering his past record of rash and negligent driving (an act, which in itself in unlawful in case of a minor), police slapped the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.Under the new provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act implemented in January, minors in the 16-18 age group can be tried as adults in cases of heinous crimes.Last week, Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet in the Mercedes hit-and-run case and moved an application urging the Juvenile Justice Board to treat the 17-year-old accused like an adult under the new provisions of the law.His father, whose Mercedes he was driving, too was charged with abetting his son’s crime and his father’s driver who tried to mislead police, was also booked under relevant sections of IPC.

No end to frequent crimes against women in India? Teenage girl gang-raped, murdered in UP

Bahraich: A teenage girl was allegedly abducted, gang-raped and murdered in Nanpara area in Bahraich by three persons, police said on Sunday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Four constables have been suspended for dereliction of duty in this matter.

The incident took place on Friday when a 15-year-old girl went missing from her village and her body was later found outside the village on Saturday, they said.

An FIR has been registered on the complaint of victim’s father against Imran, Sarvjeet Yadav and Ghanshyam Maurya for abducting, raping and killing his daughter.

He alleged that the three had tried to abduct his daughter earlier also but could not succeed.

Superintendent of Police, Salik Ram Verma said that the body of victim has been sent for post-mortem and rape would be confirmed only after that.

Police arrested one of the three accused, Sarvejeet Yadav, on Saturday night and a manhunt has been launched to nab other two, who are absconding, he said.

UP Guv Ram Naik backs Bajrang Dal self-defence camp, says ‘no harm’ in it

Downplaying the furore over the annual self-defence camp organised by the Bajrang Dal in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya city, Governor Ram Naik on Tuesday said that there was nothing wrong in conducting such camps, adding it should be continued at all costs. Justifying his stand, Naik said such camps promote self-defence, which was a skill that should be imbibed by every individual. “There is no harm in self-defence camps, what’s important is to understand the intention behind them. All kinds of education teaching self defence is important and it should be continued at all costs. How can those who can’t defend themselves, defend the society? Self defence must be taught in schools and other institutions,” Naik told the media here. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the Congress has strongly condemned the defence camp and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of ‘polarizing’ the situation in the state going to polls next year. “There is no use of making this kind of environment in the nation. The people in BJP will now do these kinds of activities everyday to polarise the situation as the elections are round the corner in Uttar Pradesh,” Congress leader Meem Afzal told ANI.”Instead of trying to polarize the situation, they should work for betterment of the country,” he added. In the annual self-defence camp, the Bajrang Dal cadres are trained to use rifles, swords and sticks so that they can ‘protect the Hindus. Similar camps would be held till June 5 in Sultanpur, Gorakhpur, Pilibhit, Noida and Fatehpur cities in the state. The cadres can be seen killing men dressed as Muslims during the mock drill. Manoj Verma, the organizer, said the cadres are given a lot of boost during the camps. “We prepare them to boost their self-esteem. This training is of self-defence. They are taught to tackle different situations. This is about self-confidence,” Verma said. “This whole annual program is about boosting the self-confidence and morale of the cadres,” he added. Bajrang Dal, which is the youth wing of Vishva Hindu Parishad, has faced allegations of rioting and violence against religious minorities in the past.

UP elections 2017: Setback for Congress as Beni Prasad Verma quits party, goes back to Samajwadi Party

Former Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Friday quit Congress and rejoined Samajwadi Party, a move which is likely to shore up the SP’s prospects in the 2017 Assembly polls.The return of 75-year-old Kurmi leader in Uttar Pradesh to the SP fold assumes significance ahead of the Assembly polls as another Kurmi leader — Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar — is trying to make a dent in the SP votebank. Kurmi community is the second most dominant OBC caste and a major force to reckon with in the upcoming elections.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Beni, who met SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav at his residence in Lucknow this morning, made the announcement at a hurriedly convened press conference where Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was present along with some other senior party leaders.’Felt suffocated in Congress’: Beni Prasad”I was feeling suffocated in the Congress for the past two years. I thank Sonia and Rahulji, but I could not adjust myself in the party in the present scenario. I rejoined the party as I could not oppose Akhilesh Yadav in the coming assembly polls. This party (SP) has been formed by me also and I had named it as Samajwadi Party,” Beni said.Asked about his comments on Mulayam Singh on the issue of Babri mosque demolition, he said, “The time which has gone never comes back. I am not denying anything. For a new start, old things have to be forgotten. Now my objective is to make Akhilesh Chief Minister again.”Earlier, while in Congress, Beni had blamed Mulayam Singh for the demolition. Mulayam welcomes Beni Prasad to SPWelcoming him to the party fold, Mulayam said he did not feel good when Beni left the party.”His joining the party will strengthen it and boost morale of party workers. We have formed the party together,” Mulayam noted.The Chief Minister said old friends and old wine are always welcomed.”We will again come to power in 2017 with his (Beni) returning to party fold,” he said.Speculation is rife within the party that Beni might be SP’s candidate for Rajya Sabha elections in July when 11 members of the Upper House are retiring and on the basis of SP’s strength in the state assembly Samajwadi party can return six members.Azam Khan, who was present on the occasion, said when Beni left SP, it caused a lot of pain among party leaders.”His rejoining will give a good message to party workers and will help in strengthening the party before the Assembly elections,” he said.Once a bitter critic of Mulayam, the former Union Steel Minister, had been meeting the SP supremo quite often of late. His association with Mulayam spans over four decades but he had parted ways with him before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.His ‘Ghar Wapsi’ to Samajwadi Party is likely to have an impact on the electoral fortunes of the ruling party in at least 10 districts of east and central UP and also in Bundelkhand where the Kurmis are in sizeable numbers.Samajwadi party is also desperate to shore up its electoral support base among Kurmi and other OBCs ahead of the 2017 state assembly elections.In 2007 UP assembly elections, Verma had floated his own political party, but it failed to open account. In 2009, Verma formally joined Congress and contested the Lok Sabha election from Gonda Lok Sabha seat, but lost. He was said to be feeling “marginalized” in Congress after losing the May 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Man says in suicide note he lost Rs 13 crore in cricket betting

Thirty-nine-year-old Ramdayal Verma, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, was found hanging from a tree located between Rail Bhawan and the media parking centre near Vijay Chowk, close to Parliament early on Thursday morning. According to a 23-page suicide note found on his person, Verma allegedly committed as he lost money in cricket betting.In the suicide note, Verma allgedly stated that he did not want “to live in oblivion anymore” and he was killing himself “to give attention to his plight.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the note, Verma alleged that he was killing himself since he lost a lot of money in betting on cricket. He owed lakhs of rupees to various persons which totalled Rs 13 crore in all. “The suicide is being investigated and amount mentioned in the note is also being looked at,” said Jatin Narwal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi).Verma, who used to sell utensils and pottery items, is survived by his wife and two children. In the 23-page note, Verma hinted that perhaps, he had attempted suicide once before. Verma had apparently come to the capital in January though he did not attempt killing himself then. Verma stated that he owed varying amount of monies (in lakhs) to people like Manoj Gupta, Gadha, Pappu Gadha alias Nisan Ansari, Haseen Kabadi, Jugal Bansal, Babloo and perhaps maybe others.

Man commits suicide by hanging himself from tree near Parliament complex

A 39-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree near Parliament complex this morning.The deceased has been identified as Ram Dayal Verma, a native of Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh.The police have recovered a suicide note from his pocket, police said.It was around 7.15 AM that Verma’s body was found hanging from a tree located between Rail Bhawan and the media parking centre near Vijay Chowk, close to Parliament.An inquest has been initiated into the matter. Efforts are on to contact his relatives, police added.

Uttarakhand: Bail granted to professor who made objectionable Facebook post on Ambedkar

A professor, who was arrested in Uttarakhand recently for an alleged objectionable Facebook post on BR Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary, was granted bail on Wednesday.Chamoli District Judge Alok Kumar Verma granted bail to Professor Bhagwati Purohit after hearing the arguments of the police and the defence counsel.Purohit was arrested from Nainital on April 20 and sent to judicial custody. Purohit is an assistant professor of Political Science at Government Post Graduate College, Gopeshwar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was lodged against him at Gopeshwar police station under various sections of the IT Act, IPC and SC/ST Act.

Delhi hit-and-run case: Juvenile accused’s bail plea rejected, father gets bail

The father of the juvenile accused in the hit-an-run case has been given bail on a personal bail bond of Rs 1 lakh by a Delhi court on Sunday. The accused’s bail plea has been rejected and he has been sent to a juvenile justice officer.The Delhi Police on Saturday interrogated the Mercedes owner whose minor son allegedly knocked dead a 32-year-old man with the vehicle in north Delhi’s Civil Lines area after a city court remanded him in its custody.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The man, arrested under the charge of abetment to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, was produced at the court yesterday which sent him to one-day police remand, DCP (North) Madhur Verma said.
ALSO READ Video of Mercedes hit-and-run trends on eve of juvenile’s 18th birthdayThe businessman was confronted with a range of questions, mostly surrounding the mystery regarding the man who approached police on the day of the incident, claiming to be his driver, and took responsibility of the act but later retracted.More charges can be slapped on him depending upon the disclosures during interrogation, an official privy to the investigation said. Meanwhile, the investigating officer of the case was also changed yesterday after the victim Siddharth Sharma’s sister met Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma and urged him to take strict action against the perpetrators.Police are seeking legal counselling about going to a court and asking for the minor’s remand too as the charge in the case has been changed from IPC Section 304 A (causing death by negligence), which is bailable, to Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which is non bailable.The step was taken in view of the past record of negligent driving by the minor who is learnt to have turned 18 years yesterday.

Mathura: To shame open defecators, their pictures to be posted on social media

To deter the practice of open defecation, authorities here have resorted to naming and shaming offenders by posting their pictures on social media. District authorities on Saturday inspected several villages in Mathura under the Swachh Bharat initiative and took action against offenders. They even posted their pictures on WhatsApp to deter such habits.”A total of 18 villages were inspected and 36 officials have been assigned to this task,” Chief Development Officer Manish Kumar Verma said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Several persons were caught defecating in the open. Villagers were also made aware of the ills of this practice,” he said.The CDO said efforts are being made to make the villages free of open defecation by April 15, adding that they were looking to accomplish the same target with 150 villages of the district by August 15.

Teen charged with culpable homicide in Mercedes hit-and-run case is a repeat offender

The 17-year-old boy, who allegedly knocked a man dead with his father’s Mercedes in New Delhi’s Civil Lines area has now been charged with culpable homicide considering his past record of negligent driving, police said on Saturday. “On examination of CCTV footage, the possibility of knowledge to the accused juvenile offender that his extremely fast driving in a residential area can cause a death cannot be ruled out,” DCP (North) Madhur Verma said.

“Further, during investigation it emerged that it was not the first offence of rash and negligent driving by this accused juvenile. In the past too he was found driving in a rash and negligent way, thereby causing a road accident with another vehicle,” he said.

The police added that last year the minor was challaned thrice — for over-speeding in April and June and wrongfully parking his car in February.

“In view of these facts, the death of Siddharth Sharma is a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and, hence, Section 304 of IPC has been added in the FIR,” said Verma.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The last time Delhi Police booked someone under culpable homicide in such a matter was in the Sanjeev Nanda BMW case 17 years ago, a senior official said.

On 10 January, 1999, six persons, including three policemen, were killed by a speeding BMW car allegedly driven by Nanda in the wee hours in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area.

Similar stand was also taken by Mumbai Police in the Salman Khan case.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police on Friday arrested the juvenile’s father under Sections 109/304 (abetment to culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC, an Old Delhi-based businessman who lives with his family at a posh apartment in Civil lines area.

“There has not been a single step taken by the father of the accused in prohibiting him from taking the vehicle. This is an act of criminal omission, thereby abetting the crime of the said juvenile,” the official said.

Incidentally, the minor wouldn’t have gotten away this easily had the Delhi government’s proposed road transport and safety bill, which provides for stringent penalties for various traffic offences including a jail term, been in place.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, police have said that under the Motor Vehicles Act, the teenager’s father, if proven guilty, will spend three months in prison and will be fined a total of Rs 1,000.

Piloted by the road transport ministry, the proposed law is not likely to be introduced in Parliament when it recommences on 25 April, officials said. The crucial bill has been one of the top priorities for highways minister Nitin Gadkari since taking charge of the ministry in 2014.

The law will replace the 26-year-old Motor Vehicle act, last amended in 2001, and proposes stringent penalties that would get harsher as the gravity of the offence increases. A fine of Rs 1-lakh fine and not less than four years in jail for causing death by over-speeding, Rs 10,000 fine and impounding of vehicle if an unauthorised person is driving the vehicle, etc. will be some of the punishments.

Continuing to protest over several provisions of the bill, the ministry has now constituted a group of ministers comprising transport ministers of seven states to review the bill and thrash out the differences.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer of the case was also changed after the victim Siddharth Sharma’s sister met Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma on Friday and urged him to take strict action against the perpetrators.

The incident took place on Monday when Sharma was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in Civil Lines and the speeding Mercedes hit him.

The car was being driven at a speed of at least 80 km per hour and Sharma was flung several feet into the air by the impact of the crash and landed around 15 metres away from where he stood.

After the incident, a group of youths stepped out of the vehicle and fled the spot, abandoning the car there.

With inputs from agencies

Mercedes hit and run case: Father of minor culprit arrested

New Delhi: The father of a minor who killed a 33-year-old business consultant by hitting him with his speeding Mercedes car in Delhi three days ago was arrested on Friday, police said.

“Manoj Aggarwal has been arrested for abetting the crime of culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma.

Representational image. IBN LiveRepresentational image. IBN Live

Representational image. IBN Live

Sidhharth Sharma died after being hit by the overspeeding Mercedes car on Monday night while crossing Sham Nath Marg in north Delhi’s Civil Lines area to get some eatables from the nearby market.

Police had apprehended the minor offender on Tuesday but freed him on bail as he was only booked under charges of causing death by negligence of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

After an uproar followed by allegations by the victim’s family that police officers were going soft on the accused, police took a U-turn on Friday, not only changing the section mentioned in the FIR but also arrested Aggarwal.

In an official statement on Friday, police said: “On examination of CCTV footage during investigation of case FIR No. 118 being registered at Civil Lines police station, it was found that the juvenile offender was driving his car in extremely fast speed in a residential area which caused the death of Siddharth Sharma.”

“It was not the first offence of rash and negligent driving by the juvenile. In the past, he has also been found driving in such a way thereby causing a road accident with another vehicle.

“In view of above, the death of Siddharth Sharma is a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and hence section 304 of IPC has been added in place of section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of IPC,” said Verma.

The officer further said there had not been a single step taken by Aggarwal in prohibiting his son from taking the vehicle. “This is an act of criminal omission, thereby abetting the crime of the said juvenile. Therefore we arrested Aggarwal.”

Delhi hit-and-run case: Police charge ‘repeat offender’ minor with culpable homicide

The 17-year-old boy who allegedly knocked dead a man with his father’s Mercedes in Civil Lines here has now been charged with culpable homicide considering his past record of negligent driving, police said.”On examination of CCTV footage, the possibility of knowledge to the accused juvenile offender that his extremely fast driving in a residential area can cause a death cannot be ruled out,” DCP (North) Madhur Verma said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Further, during investigation it emerged that it was not the first offence of rash and negligent driving by this accused juvenile. In the past too he was found driving in a rash and negligent way, thereby causing a road accident with another vehicle,” he said.Last year, the minor was also challaned thrice — for over-speeding in April and June and wrong parking in February. “In view of these facts, the death of Siddharth Sharma is a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and, hence, section 304 of IPC has been added in the FIR,” said Verma.The last time Delhi Police booked someone under culpable homicide in such a matter was in the Sanjeev Nanda BMW case 17 years ago, a senior official said.On January 10, 1999, six persons, including three policemen, were killed by a speeding BMW car allegedly driven by Nanda in the wee hours in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area.Similar stand was also taken by Mumbai Police in the Salman Khan case.Delhi Police yesterday arrested the juvenile’s father, an Old Delhi-based businessman who lives with his family at a posh apartment in Civil lines area, under Sections 109/304 (abetment to culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC.”There has not been a single step taken by the father of the accused in prohibiting him from taking the vehicle. This is an act of criminal omission, thereby abetting the crime of the said juvenile,” the official said.Meanwhile, the investigating officer of the case was also changed after the victim Siddharth Sharma’s sister met Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma yesterday and urged him to take strict action against the perpetrators.The incident took place on Monday when Sharma was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in Civil Lines and the speeding Mercedes hit him.The car was being driven at a speed of at least 80 km per hour and Sharma was flung several feet into the air by the impact of the crash and landed around 15 metres away from where he stood.After the incident, a group of youths stepped out of the vehicle and fled the spot, abandoning the car there.

Pathankot probe: India says ‘stage-managed’ allegations are ‘double-speak’ by Pakistan

Pakistan media reports that the Pathankot terror attack was “stage-managed” by India are seen in New Delhi as “double-speak” by Pakistan’s security establishment.

“The report in a Pakistan pro-government daily only shows that ISI and Pakistan Army were doing double-speak. India has provided irrefutable evidence to Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) during their visit here regarding the involvement of Pak-based terrorists,” a government source said.

File image of the Pakistan investigative team. IBN Live

File image of the Pakistan investigative team. IBN Live

The news report in daily Pakistan Today quoted an unnamed JIT member as saying that the attack was nothing but “vicious propaganda” against Pakistan as Indian authorities did not have any evidence to back their claims.

Rebutting the report, another government source said the evidence provided to JIT can stand international scrutiny and expressed surprise over media reports emerging that the NIA had not provided enough evidence to the visiting team.

“The JIT was handed over whatever they asked for which included certified copies of statements of witnesses, DNA reports of four terrorists, memos of articles seized from them,” the source said.

Pakistan had made a request under section 188 of Criminal procedure Code of Pakistan for collecting the evidence from the NIA.

The call data records of the two phones snatched from Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma which were used by the terrorists to call a number in Pakistan were also shared with the JIT, the source said.

India also shared the conversation recorded between Nasir Hussain, one of the four terrorists who carried out the attack on IAF base during the intervening night of 1 and 2 January, with his mother Khayyam Babber. The NIA has asked for a DNA sample from Nasir’s family.

The agency has also handed over call recordings of terrorists holed up inside the IAF base with their handlers including Kashif Jaan, who has since been missing.

The Pakistani JIT had asked NIA to hand over swabs of four terrorists identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh).

However, the NIA handed over to the visitors the DNA report of the terrorists and asked them to match those with their family members, the sources said.

The Pakistani JIT headed by Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai and also including ISI’s Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, had recorded statements of 16 people.

The list for recording the witnesses was submitted to the NIA by the Pakistani team.

The 16 witnesses questioned in all included Singh, Verma and cook Madan Gopal. The three were kidnapped by the Pathankot attack perpetrators belonging to the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on the intervening night of 31 December, 2015 and 1 January, 2016.

The terrorists had allegedly dumped Verma after slitting his throat and continued their journey with Singh and Gopal before jettisoning them a few kilometres away from the strategic air base at Pathankot.

The terrorists entered the air base and mounted the brazen assault on the intervening night of 1 and 2 January. In the fierce encounter that ensued, seven security personnel besides four terrorists were killed.

What the Pakistani JIT report said

The JIT “says the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan,” according to a report in Pakistan Today. It further said that the JIT report, which will be submitted to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the next few days, has even concluded that Indian authorities had prior information about the terrorists.

The report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that the NIA officer’s murder on Saturday night in Uttar Pradesh showed that “Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps.”

The same source also told Pakistan Today that the JIT concluded that the standoff between the Indian army and “alleged” terrorists ended within hours after the attack, which apparently made it clear that the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan.

“The Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan,” Pakistan Today quoted the JIT report as saying.

The source also told Pakistan Today that no “major” damage was done to the base and that the perimeter lights at the airbase were not functional on the day of the attack, which apparently raises questions about whether India had prior information about the terrorists.

This is not the first time, though, that the Pakistani media and the JIT have made allegations of hiding evidence against India.

On 28 March, a report by Pakistani news channel Dunya News had said that Indian authorities showed “signs of reluctance” when the JIT asked them for information and evidence.

“Sketches of the attackers, footage of the closed-circuit television, duty registers of the Border Security Force (BSF), details of the bank accounts, service records, post-mortem report of the driver who died in the car accident at the time of the incident and the FIR of that car’s snatching have not been given to the Pakistani investigation team,” a report in Pakistani newspaper Daily Times had said.

The report had further said that post-mortem and DNA reports of the terrorists involved and phone records and information about the commander of Pathankot airbase had not been given to the JIT.

The Dunya News report had further claimed that the stances of the Indian government and BSF regarding the terror attack were contradicting each other.

Moreover, the report had said that while Indian authorities had said that terrorists had entered the Pathankot airbase after climbing ten-feet walls, no ropes were found as evidence.

These claims by the Pakistani media had come just a day after it was found that Pakistan’s electronic media regulatory body (PEMRA) on Sunday had released a statement for the Pakistani media, asking them to be “professional” and “responsible” when reporting on the Lahore attacks, unlike the Indian media.

What is truly surprising about the Pakistani JIT report’s claim is that it comes just days after the same JIT admitted that the terrorists were from Pakistan. Reports had, in fact, also suggested that Pakistan had enough evidence to link them to extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Moreover, during the beginning of the investigation, Indian investigators had said that the visiting officials did not “contradict” any of the evidence submitted by the NIA.

“The fact that they did not contradict or made any adverse comment or observation is a positive sign,” sources had told IANS.

(With inputs from agencies)

Pathankot probe: Suspended Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh to be quizzed by Pakistan JIT

New Delhi: Suspended Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh on Thursday arrived at the NIA headquarters here to be questioned by the Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan on the Pathankot terror attack.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Singh, his cook Madan Gopal and friend Rajesh Verma reached the NIA office where the JIT will question the three in the presence of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials, informed sources told IANS.

The three were questioned by the NIA on 26 March in the national capital and have been living under the agency’s supervision since then, the sources said.

Singh has claimed that he, Verma and cook Gopal were abducted by four or five heavily-armed terrorists near Punjab’s Kolia village on 2 January.

The terrorists later attacked the Pathankot Indian Air Force base in which seven security personnel were killed. The Pakistani terrorists were later killed in a shootout.

The Pakistani team is in India to probe the Pathankot attack, which New Delhi says was masterminded by Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

On Monday and Tuesday, the NIA submitted evidence to the five-member Pakistani team on the terror attack.

According to NIA sources, the evidence show that the Pathankot operation was planned by elements in Pakistan.

The visiting team comprises among others Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) official Lt. Colonel Tanvir Ahmed and military intelligence officer Lt. Colonel Irfan Mirza.

Now Joint CPs of Delhi police to do night patrol

Police officers up to the rank of Joint Commissioners will now have to do night duty to ensure maintenance of law and order in the national capital.The move comes within a week of Alok Kumar Verma taking over as the chief of Delhi Police.Initially, officers up to the rank of Assistant Commissioners (ACP) had to do periodic night patrolling duty, a rule whose ambit was later extended to cover Deputy Commissioners (DCP) and Additional Deputy Commissioners of the police districts, a senior official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Such officers are called night (gazetted officers) GOs and each police district has a mobile number assigned to the night GO so that a common man in distress can have direct access to the officer.At a meeting earlier this week, it was decided to extend the rule to cover Additional Commissioners (Additional CP) and even Joint Commissioners (Joint CP), the official said.The Joint CPs, who are in-charge of police ranges with around two DCP/Additional CP-rank officers under them, will be supervising their duties as night GOs. For this, the Joint CPs will have to be physically available and commit themselves to full-time night duty, as instructed by the new police chief.As per the rosters currently prepared in each district, ACP-rank officers are usually assigned night duty up to twice a week, depending upon the demographic factors in the areas under their jurisdiction, number of officials working under them and the crime rate.A DCP-rank officer may have to be on night patrol for up to twice a month, depending upon similar factors.”For Joint Commissioners, they will also have to do at least one full-time night patrolling in a month and prepare a report, as per the new order,” the official added.

India rejects the idea of joint maritime patrol with US

India on Friday rejected US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris’s suggestion for a four-nation joint maritime patrolling in the Asia Pacific region.Harris, earlier this week, invited India for joint patrolling with the navies of Japan, Australia and the US during a visit here to attend an event organised by a strategic think-tank in collaboration with the ministry of external affairs.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I don’t have to respond to what the US Admiral has said. Our viewpoint will come to you if we at all consider any such thing from our side,” defence minister Manohar Parrikar said here. “If we take any decision, the Ministry of Defence will brief you very clearly,” he emphasised.Parrikar said that while India will like to have joint exercises with other countries, joint patrolling was not an option as yet.India has maintained the policy of not forming a group with countries having territorial dispute with China.And has rejected the idea of a joint patrolling in South China Sea in the past too.Trade worth $ 5.3 trillion is carried out through the South China sea and the Indian Ocean and Harris had said that “We all have a vested interest in ensuring our region remain secure, stable, and prosperous,”even as he echoed US ambassador to India Richard Verma’s views recent views on a grouping for maritime patrol.Notably, during Harris’s visit, India accorded no guard of honour to him.

Ishrat Jahan case: Satish Verma to initiate legal action against persons mentioned in chargesheet

IPS officer Satish Verma who had probed the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case on Thursday said he would seek a copy of the second charge-sheet filed before the special CBI court in Ahmedabad so as to initiate legal action against the persons named in it. He was going to file an application through his lawyer Rahul Sharma for this in the special CBI court in Ahmedabad, he told PTI.The charge-sheet names four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials including Rajender Kumar. The Centre has not yet sanctioned the prosecution of these four officers. Verma said he will seek copy of the charge-sheet to initiate further legal action so that the case moves on.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ishrat (19) who hailed from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in a fake encounter with police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.Gujarat police had then claimed that Ishrat and others had links with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and had come to the city to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.The controversial encounter is once again in news with former Home Secretary G K Pillai alleging that reference to Ishrat Jahan being an LeT operative was removed from the second affidavit filed by the Home Ministry, when P Chidambaram was the Home Minister.Verma, a 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer, is now the Chief Vigilance Officer in North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong. He was a member of the SIT set up by the Gujarat High Court to probe the encounter.After the SIT said it was a fake encounter, the HC handed over the case to CBI. Former under-secretary in the home ministry R V S Mani recently alleged that Verma, as a member of SIT, `tortured’ him to toe the CBI’s line.

SIT officer told me that Parliament attack, 26/11 were state-sponsored: Former MHA official

New Delhi: RVS Mani, a former Home Ministry official, who had filed two affidavits in Gujarat High Court in the Ishrat Jahan case, had claimed that member of the SIT on the killings had told him that 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Parliament attack were “orchestrated by the Government in power”.

RVS Mani has claimed that an SIT officer told him that the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were state-sponsored. AFP

RVS Mani has claimed that an SIT officer told him that the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were state-sponsored. AFP

Mani, who filed the affidavits as Under Secretary in the Home Ministry in 2009, had told the then Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna on 21 June, 2013 about his deposition before the court-appointed SIT as he was posted in that Ministry at that time.

In his statement to Krishna, Mani had said that during the course of recording of the statement in Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat, the IG of the SIT Satish Chandra Verma had asked him many questions which he was not privy to or which officially were never in his domain during the tenure in the Home Ministry.

“He (Verma) started narrating as to how 13.12.2001 attack on Parliament of India and 26.11.2008 attacks are orchestrated by the government in power.

“He (Verma) stated that both these were the objective of strengthening the counter terrorist legislation. He narrated that December 13, 2001 was followed by POTA and November 26, 2008 was followed by amendment to UAPA wherein even Rs 10 in anybody’s pocket can be treated as proceeds of terrorism.

“I told him (Verma) that he is entitled to his view but such view is generally held as ISI’s view in the security establishment,” Mani wrote in his note to Krishna.

Mani had claimed that Verma “coerced” him to sign some papers “knowing fully well that this would tantamount falsely indicting my seniors at the extant time”.

“I declined to sign any statement. They have recorded some contents under the premise the Section 161 of CrPC does not require signature of the witness.

“In view of the above it is my request that, in future, I shall be willing to record the statements to CBI only in the presence of CVO or his authorised representatives of the Ministry as well as after contents have been duly vetted by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Mani said.

However, Verma denied the allegations against him.

He said that most of the officers who are talking in the matter have retired which includes Mani and G K Pillai, former Home Secretary.

And as far as allegations levelled by former Special Director of IB Rajinder Kumar are concerned, he is an accused.

“So the officers who are talking can afford to state certain things which are not backed by facts.

“I am in service and I was assisted by the CBI in the investigations. I have been a part of the investigation everywhere, that I say, will be backed up by evidence,” he said.

“There was no probe when he (Mani) said it first time and if two and a half years after somebody wants a probe — most welcome,” Verma said.

Meanwhile, an IPS officer, who had earlier worked with the NIA, jumped into the fray and claimed that American-born terrorist David Headley had named Ishrat as LeT operative during his questioning in 2010.

Loknath Behera, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, whose central deputation was unceremoniously cut short, said that he “did not remember exactly what Headley had spoken about Ishrat”. But when he recently heard about his video deposition before the Mumbai court, he could recall “the same things” Headley had told to an NIA team in 2010.

Headley, during his deposition before the Mumbai court, did not even remember the name of Ishrat and it was only when public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam prodded him with multiple choice answers that he could reply with deceased name.

According to earlier testimony before the NIA, Headley had reportedly claimed that when he was being introduced to Lashker’s top brass, there was a sarcastic remark about Ishrat when he was taken to Muzamil, who was in charge of the Kashmir operations of the terror group.

PTI

KVS Mani lying, wants to weaken Ishrat Jahan case: former SIT chief Satish Verma

IPS officer Satish Verma, who assisted the CBI probe into the alleged Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, on Thursday trashed the allegations levelled against by former under secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as ‘wrong and baseless’ and accused him of attempting to weaken the case in the prevailing atmosphere that has been created by some vested interests. Verma, who headed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Ishrat case, told ANI in an exclusive conversation that their purpose is to divert the attention from several CBI chargesheets pending in various CBI courts so as to diminish the authenticity of the chargesheets and also to declare that evidences produced in the support of the chargesheets wrong.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Countering Mani’s claim that he was pressurised and tortured, Verma said, “There is no evidence to support the charges. Second thing, when police records the statements of witnesses, they don’t take their signature. Mr. Mani was also a witness and thus there was no question of pressurising him to put his signature.””Further, Mr. Mani has spoken about physical torture by cigarette…; I must say the CBI never tortures anybody in such a way in any of their investigations. Suppose, I had done what Mr. Mani was claiming? it would be a big misconduct and perhaps it would be a crime under law. He was an officer of the Government of India, he must be aware of the fact that he could take legal action against me (for misconduct). Also, the highest investigating agency like the CBI, which doesn’t tolerate such misconducts, would also have taken some action. Hence, the charges are baseless,” he added.The senior IPS officer further said they are making personal attacks on those who have played a notable role in the CBI inquiry because they could not adopt any other means.Tearing into Mani’s claim that he had not filed the second affidavit, Verma said it is wrong. “He had filed two affidavits in 2009. But, those affidavits have no impact on the result of the investigation. Why had he changed the affidavit, he knew it, because he had done it. Now, he is saying that there were political reasons for it. As far as I know, in his first affidavit, he has written more than necessary things, and if the things were changed in the second affidavit, I believe those changes were right because in the first affidavit so many things were written in a way as if he was an investigating officer,” said Verma.”On the contrary, the role of the Government of India was limited to passing on intelligence inputs, which was said officially at that time. The Centre’s affidavit, which was prepared by Mr. Mani, should also have only those things (inputs), but he had supported the entire details of investigation, which was not his job,” he added.However, it has come out to the fore of late that only passing on intelligence was not their job, said Verma, adding that the Intelligence Bureau was deeply involved in this case.”The IB officials had kept them under unlawful custody, and thereafter, they were murdered executing a premeditated plan. That is why Mr. Mani had written all the details in the affidavit to prove/justify that the encounter was right, which were actually told by the IB,” said Verma.”Mr. Mani, however, submitted all these before us (CBI), but later found that he should have not told all those things to the CBI, and then he started levelling allegations against me,” he added.Rajendra Kumar, who is an IB officer and an accused in the case, is taking support of David Hadley’s statement, claimed Verma, adding it is also an irony that a senior IB officer like the former is taking the help from an attributed terrorist, and many people, including former home secretary, are coming out in his support.”But, their statements won’t make any impact, and the facts and evidences should be such that they could prove that Ishrat’s movement, activities and training were of a terrorist. And, in the CBI’s investigation, no such evidences were placed us,” he concluded. Mani had claimed that he was hauled up and harassed in 2013. He said he was tortured by CBI officer Satish Verma. He alleged that the CBI tried to make him say that he drafted the first affidavit under pressure from the Intelligence Bureau.

Former SIT member probing Ishrat Jahan case denies pressure from P Chidambaram, says killing was ‘fake encounter’

A top police official, who was part of a court-appointed SIT to go into the killing of Ishrat Jahan, on Thursday maintained that it was a fake encounter and rejected allegations that pressure was brought on them by former Home Minister P Chidamabram in this regard. IPS officer and SIT member Satish Verma also denied an allegation by RVS Mani, who had filed affidavits in the Gujarat High Court in the case on behalf of the Union Home Ministry, that he had tortured him by burning him with cigarette butts. “National security cannot become a defence for the pre-medidated murder of a 19-year-old girl and be branded it as collateral damage,” he told India Today TV. He was replying to a query whether he stood by the probe conducted by the three-member SIT that the encounter was fake.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is very unfortunate that national security was being used as a phrase to condone the extreme illegalities of the most serious crime in the book. It cannot happen. These raise concerns…,” said Verma, who is now Chief Vigilance Officer at Shillong-based NEEPCO.He also disputed the description of Ishrat as a LeT terrorist and a suicide bomber saying she was away from her home and family for only about 10 days after she came into contact with a Pakistani terrorist Javed Sheikh. “You would know how much time you take to train a LeT terrorist and a suicide bomber…this time (that she was away from home) was not enough,” he said.The 1986-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer also contradicted former Union Home Secretary G K Pillai’s claim of knowing the exact details of the case saying he was “no intelligence officer.”He said Mani’s affidavit filings were “curious” as they did not look like the Home Ministry’s version but that of the Gujarat police investigation.”Mr Mani had no direct knowledge of the case…,” he said adding that the allegations made by Mani against him were “old” and have been made by him earlier too.

First affidavit based on facts, don’t know about second one: RVS Mani

In a major revelation, former undersecretary for internal security at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) RVS Mani said on Wednesday that he had filed the first affidavit based on facts in the Ishrat Jahan case, adding that he does not know the cause of the second one being filed. “I filed the first affidavit, it was approved by the Home Ministry and then law secretary before it was filed. What was reason for the second affidavit, I don’t know. I signed the document because as per the conduct rule three, when an order is received on the file, I have to execute it because before an order is issued by a competent authority or a senior officer, I can put my view points,” Mani said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mani said after a decision is taken, it has to be executed and so he was authorized to sign the affidavit. “The Intelligence input conclusion is after the event occurs. I am absolutely neutral person, I have no agenda. The IB is working very hard, there is no margin of error. The home secretary is a very upright officer. Pillai is an excellent officer and a man of very high integrity. So, I have no reason to disbelieve what he has said,” he added.Putting Congress in a spot, Mani pointed out that in the first affidavit he had given every detail of Ishrat Jahan and none of the facts were denied. “He (P. Chidambaram) has only said that IB inputs are not conclusive. If they were not conclusive, he should have said. We have something else to the contrary,” he said.Mani also alleged of harassment by ex-SIT chief Satish Verma, adding that it is for Verma to answer whether he was working on someone’s direction. “Cigarette butts were put on my thighs and so many things happened. The interrogation started at around 9 a.m., then Satish Verma joined the interrogation at 10:30 a.m., went up to 2:30-3 p.m. in polite manner. After that he (Satish Verma) started narrating nonsense. He became physical after 4.00 pm. I informed the seniors. I have already put an affidavit in the Supreme Court,” he said.Mani further alleged that Verma forced him to take the name of former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar in bringing the affidavit. “I said that is not the truth, I am competent. I don’t require an IB Officer to walk in and say sign the affidavit. I did not give in to his (Satish Verma) pressures. At 5 p.m., I said this is not right, my wife will go to Chief Justice’s house and we have contacts there,” Mani added.The former undersecretary for internal security also said that his phone was snatched and he was threatened to taken into custody. “Pillai was not the home secretary. By then, the tenure had changed. RK Singh had come. The procedure is I had to report to the office where I am working. They will forward it to the concerned ministry. In this case, at that time, I was posted in Ministry of Urban Development. I recorded all these things. I put it up to my seniors. I believe that they must have forwarded it to the minister of home affairs,” he said.Mani also said that he expected the government to protect his interest. “I have seen the file, I will use the word cross fire not encounter. If inquiry into cross fire or encounter was the only mandate of the SIT, why was I called for the investigation. I was not posted in 2004 in MHA, I came in 2005 or so. Legal Attache in the US embassy Daniel had also written saying that it (Ishrat being a terrorist) is true” he said.In a startling revelation, Mani said earlier that he was coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case. The second affidavit is the one in which the references to the alleged links of Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were removed. Mani’s shocking claims come just a few days after former home secretary GK Pillai revealed that someone at the political level did not want the real picture to come out in the Ishrat Jahan case. Pillai had mentioned that two affidavits submitted by the home ministry in relation to the case were contradictory to each other. The former home secretary had said there was no doubt that those killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ishrat Jahan was one among four people killed in an alleged fake encounter case in 2004. Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai besides two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani, all alleged LeT terrorists, were also killed in the encounter.

Ishrat Jahan case – P Chidambaram knew about RVS Mani’s torture during probe: Lawyer

Former undersecretary for internal security at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) RVS Mani’s lawyer Kanwar BB Singh on Wednesday questioned the then home minister P Chidambaram’s silence in the Ishrat Jahan case, adding that the report of alleged abuse was informed during the UPA Government’s rule.”Mani had written to the senior officers about the torture by Satish Verma (CBI Officer) during investigation. It is not that these things have been revealed by Mani now. These were informed during the UPA Government’s rule. Why the then home minister kept mum on the affidavit issue. When we filed two affidavit he received two letters threatening his life,” Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In 2013, Mani came across all those controversies when he contacted me and told me that all these things are happening. Narender Kanti bhai Amin filed a writ in the Supreme Court regarding the questions of the proceeding against Mani. Mani was called for investigation in Ahmedabad. A CBI officer Satish Verma asked him so many questions and turned aggressive. Verma used abusive language for Mani, also called him names,” he added.Singh further stated that Mani prepared the first draft of the affidavit in August 2009 which went to the Law Ministry and was approved.”After 40 days of filing the first affidavit, Mani was asked to sign another affidavit and submit it before the court. Mani stands by his work that the inputs were fine. The Investigation Bureau had done a credible job he still stands by this,” he added.In a revelation that has the potential to spark a fresh political row and disrupt the Parliament functioning, Mani on Tuesday claimed that he did not draft the second affidavit and had been ordered to sign the file in the Ishrat Jahan case.His claims came days after former home secretary GK Pillai alleged that former home minister P Chidambaram bypassed him and rewrote the second affidavit submitted to a court in this connection.Last week, Pillai had said the Ishrat affidavit was changed at the political level. Chidambaram said on Monday said the revised affidavit was absolutely correct and as a minister he accepts full responsibility for the affidavit. Citing intelligence reports, Chidambaram as home minister had submitted an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court in August 2009, which referred to Ishrat’s alleged links with Lashkar-e-Taiba.However, a revised affidavit was filed within a month, in which all references to Ishrat’s alleged terror links were missing. Early on the morning of 15 June 2004, Ishrat Jahan (19), Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on the road leading to the Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.Police claimed that she was part of a plot to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

Ishrat Jahan case: Was forced to file second affidavit, burnt with cigarettes, says former under secy

In a startling revelation, RVS Mani, former under secretary in the home ministry on Tuesday told Times Now that he was coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case.

The second affidavit is the one in which the references to the alleged links of Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were removed.

Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

When he was asked whether he filed the second affidavit, Mani told Times Now, “No…I was given an order to file it. That was the order of the government. So, I went and signed it.”

Mani also hinted that the second affidavit had actually been filed on the directions of then home minister P Chidambaram.

“It was not drafted at my level,” he said. “If the home secretary did not file the affidavit, it is clear who filed it. The home secretary is the senior-most bureaucrat in the MHA. The conclusion is easily drawn,” he added.

On being asked whether it was correct to believe that there political interference in the Ishrat Jahan case, Mani said it was “perfectly okay” to believe that.

An even more disturbing claim which Mani made was that he was tortured by Satish Verma, the Indian Police Service officer who served as lead investigator in the Ishrat Jahan case. “What Satish Verma did to me was unprecedented…On 21 June 2013, Satish Verma burnt me with cigarettes,” he told Times Now.

“He was not collecting evidence, but engineering evidence,” he further said. “I was chased by so many officers and people,” he added.

“At one point of time, I thought I won’t be able to continue (as Under Secretary). Baseless cases were opened against me,” he said. He also alleged that a lady officer of the CBI had chased him once.

This is not the first time Mani has spoken out against Satish Verma. In 2013, he had alleged that Verma sought to coerce him into signing a statement unsupported by evidence, according to this Firstpost report.

Mani’s shocking claims come just a few days after former home secretary GK Pillai on Thursday had revealed that someone at the political level did not want the real picture to come out in the Ishrat Jahan case.

Pillai had mentioned that two affidavits submitted by the home ministry in relation to the case were contradictory to each other.

The former home secretary had said there was no doubt that those killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba. “They were LeT activists. She (Ishrat) knew that something was wrong. Otherwise an unmarried young Muslim woman would not have gone with some other men,” he had said.

Ishrat Jahan was one among four people killed in an alleged fake encounter case in 2004. Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai besides two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani, all alleged LeT terrorists, were also killed in the encounter. The case had been a major point of controversy.

With inputs from PTI

Just before Alok Kumar Verma takes over from BS Bassi, woman creates drama in Commissioner’s office

Minutes before Alok Kumar Verma took charge as Delhi Police chief, the Commissioner’s office on Monday witnessed high drama as a woman alleging corruption by police officials scurried into a lobby full of media representatives waiting for a briefing by the new top cop.The woman, carrying a two-month-old child in her lap, apparently unaware of what was going on in the police headquarters on Monday, made her way into the lobby outside the Police Commissioner’s office, screaming that her in-laws were trying to kill her and the child. She told security officials there that she wanted to meet the police chief and report how officials in southeast Delhi’s Jamia Nagar allegedly took bribe and gave a clean chit to her husband.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The woman, who identified herself as Arifa, is a native of Bangladesh and lives here with her in-laws in southeast Delhi’s Batla House area. She waved a police complaint as she screamed, alleging corruption by police officials. In no time, security officials whisked her away. She later approached the media and narrated her ordeal on camera.Around 12.15 PM, new commissioner Alok Kumar Verma and his predecessor Bhim Sain Bassi came to the lobby, where the latter addressed media persons and left the police headquarters with the entire top brass bidding him farewell near the front lawn.Special Commissioner of Police (General Administration) Vimla Mehra, who is Verma’s predecessor as DG Delhi Prisons, also retired today. She left the premises minutes before Bassi. In another 15 minutes, Verma chaired a meeting with the top brass of the force and the woman could not get a chance to meet the commissioner.

Sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan should not concern India, says United States

The US’ decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be a cause of concern for India as the regional security situation was taken into account at the time of sale, the Pentagon has said as it rejected India’s disappointment over the move.”We don’t think it should cause concern for India,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said when asked to comment on India’s reaction to Obama Administration’s decision to sell the sophisticated fighter jets to Pakistan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We think this is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counter-terrorism effort and we think that’s in the national security interests of the United States,” Cook said.The Obama Administration said on February 13 it had decided to sell eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets worth nearly USD 700 million to Pakistan despite mounting opposition from influential lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties.”This sale always took into account the regional security situation. We look at our relationship with Pakistan and our relationship with India as separate relationships. We think this is important capabilities for the Pakistanis to go after terrorists in that country,” Cook said.India summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey its “displeasure and disappointment” over the decision.India disagreed with the US’ rationale that such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism and believes the US military aid to Pakistan goes into anti-India activities.These additional F-16 aircraft will facilitate operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self- defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations, the Pentagon had said.

Sale of F-16s to Pakistan is part of legacy announcement: US envoy Richard Verma

Mumbai: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Sunday described the controversial sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan as “part of a legacy announcement”, saying America expects Islamabad to do ‘much more’ on eliminating terror safe havens there.

“It’s part of a bit of a legacy announcement that is made several years ago. There are technical processes like the Congressional ratification,” Verma said during an interaction at the CNN Asia Business Forum organised as part of the ongoing ‘Make in India Week’ in Mumbai.

“Our policy in Pakistan is to support the moderate elements, to support democracy.

F-16. AFPF-16. AFP

F-16. AFP

“There is a big counter-terrorism insurgency component as well. Over the years our assistance to Pakistan has been a mix of both civilian and military equipment,” he said.

Verma’s comments came a day after the Obama administration notified the US Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly USD 700 million.

Reacting strongly India on Saturday summoned Verma to convey its “displeasure and disappointment” over the Obama administration’s decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan.

“It will surprise people that two-thirds of our aid to Pakistan is civilian aid…for energy, education, infrastructure and public development,” he added.

“There are also dangerous groups operating in Pakistan and military tools are required. It is part and parcel of why this sale went through, to tackle…that kind of terrorism and insurgency capability”, the Envoy said.

The US envoy said Pakistan needs to act against terror groups on it’s soil.

“More action needs to be taken by Pakistan on terror groups. Safe havens need to be eliminated,” he added.

Meanwhile, lauding the Narendra Modi government, Verma said there has been ‘substantial progress’ in India in the last two years.

According to him, among the challenges before India were those of rapid urbanisation and that of tackling climate change.

George Yeo of Kerry Logistics Networks expressed optimism that any future India-China conflict will not go out of control.

“There may be scars of the 1962 war (with China) on Indian psyche but in China it is almost forgotten,” Yeo said.

PTI

MEA to summon US ambassador to express “displeasure” over sale of F-16s to Pakistan

New Delhi: India expressed disappointment over US administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagrees that such arms’ transfers will help combat terrorism. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will be summoning US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey India’s “displeasure”.

F-16 fighter airplane. AFP

F-16 fighter airplane. AFP

“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself. The US Ambassador will be summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs to convey our displeasure,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The Obama administration today notified the US Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly $700 million, notwithstanding American lawmakers’ demand for stopping the proposed sale.

The estimated cost of the sale is $699.4 million, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency — a wing of the Pentagon -said in a statement, adding that this proposed sale contributes to the US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.

PTI

Tamil Nadu: Three medical students found dead in a well, blame college in suicide note

Three female students of SVS Medical College of Yoga and Naturopathy and Research Institute have allegedly committed suicide due to lack of basic infrastructure in the institute, said sources.The three students, who belonged to the second year, jumped into a well near the college premises and held the college management responsible for their suicide in the suicide note.Sources also say that the students had been protesting for more than a month over the lack of infrastructure, but it was only in the last two weeks, that the protest had turned vigorous.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the police arrested the son of Institute Chairman, Shokkar Verma and have started an investigation in this matter.

Pathankot attack: SP Salwinder Singh given clean chit by NIA

Senior Punjab Police officer Salwinder Singh, who was being probed by the NIA in connection with Pathankot terror strike, was given a clean chit by NIA after the scientific tests including the lie-detector test found nothing adverse against him, according to official sources.Singh, an SP-rank officer who has been coming to the NIA headquarters for last fortnight, was subjected to several rounds of questioning besides scientific tests including lie-detector test. Searches at various places against him including his native place in Amritsar yielded nothing and documents recovered showed nothing incriminating against him, official sources said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NIA was trying to ascertain whether he had any role in the drug racket being run in the bordering districts of Pathankot and Gurudaspur.On the intervening night of December 31 and January one, Singh was kidnapped along with his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal by Pakistani terrorists who later attacked the Pathankot Air base. The kidnappers released Singh and the cook but slit the throat of Verma before dumping him on the road and speeding away.The terrorists carried out a 80-hour long terror strike at the IAF base from the intervening night of January 1 and 2 in which seven security personnel were killed. Four bodies of terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed group were killed in the attack.

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