Monday, March 30, 2015
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AAP removes Ramdas as Lokpal, Bhushan from disciplinary panel
NEW DELHI, Mar 29 (Agencies): Dissident AAP leader Prashant Bhushan was today removed from the party's disciplinary committee which was reconstituted and internal Lokpal Admiral (retd) L Ramdas shunted out, a day after Bhushan and senior leader Yogendra Yadav were expelled from the National Executive (NE) for "backstabbing" and "hatching conspiraces". At an "emergency" NE meeting here, the party removed Ramdas, a former navy chief, as internal Lokpal and set up a new Lokpal panel, comprising former IPS officers N Dilip Kumar and Rakesh Sinha besides educationist S P Verma. "All these people have given their consent to be part of the party's Lokpal panel," party's national secretary Pankaj Gupta said. The AAP National Executive, while sacking Bhushan from the disciplinary committee, dec...
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Cong asks AIADMK to oppose Land Bill in Rajya Sabha
CHENNAI, Mar 29 (Agencies): Rallying parties against Modi government's Land Acquisition Bill in its present form, Congress today asked Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK to "demonstrate" its commitment to farmers by opposing the legislation in Rajya Sabha though it had backed it in Lok Sabha. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters here that the BJP's controversial Land Acquisition Act was "dictatorial" in nature as it was brought in through an ordinance without discussion and had done away with many of the pro-farmer povisions made in a similar Act brought in by the Congress-led UPA in 2013. The amendments include removing the "no consent clause", doing away with social impact study, allowing the acquired land to remain unused for years together besides allowing land to be acquired outside p...
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82% of tribal rights entitlement cases quashed: RTI
NEW DELHI, Mar 29 (Agencies): Under the 2006 Forest Rights Act, providing land rights to forest-dwelling communities of the country, only 15 lakh complainants out of the 39,56,262 cases filed; were given the legal recognition to their property. Responding to an RTI query, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs stated that 39,56,262 complaints were filed under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 till November last year. 15,51,826 complainants were provided with the entitlement to their lands and other resources. Around 32,67,888 complaints or 82.6 per cent of the cases registered under the act were disposed off, they said. Providing information about the states' response to complaints under the act, the ministry said that Andhra P...
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Swine Flu claims 12 more lives, toll rises to 2,035
NEW DELHI, Mar 29 (Agencies): Swine flu claimed the lives of 12 more persons taking the toll across the country to 2,035 while the number of people affected by the H1N1 virus inched towards the 34,000-mark. Union Health Ministry data said that till yesterday, as many as 2,035 persons had perished in various states while the number of affected persons stood at 33,761. Meanwhile, two more persons succumbed to swine flu in Rajasthan, taking the toll of the disease-related deaths to 415 since January this year. One person each died of swine flu in Jaipur and Bhilwara yesterday, an official of the state Medical and Health Directorate said. Of the 6,559 people found positive for the virus in the state, 415 people have died, the official said. Meanwhile Union Health Ministry data said that ...
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Beef ban is nothing but diversion from core issues: Cong
MUMBAI, Mar 29 (Agencies): Terming the banning of beef in Maharashtra a diversion from core issues concerning people of the state, Congress today said the BJP-led government has shown its true colours after coming to power. AICC General Secretary Mohan Prakash said that at a time when farmers are reeling under severe debt due to crop loss in the state, the Devendra Fadnavis government is concentrating on playing "unnecessary appeasement politics". "Instead of addressing core issues, the government is trying to divert the minds of people by banning beef which will really not help the state economy in any way. Their agenda is not to address the real problems. They have shown (their) true colours after coming to power," Prakash said. He was addressing a gathering at the inauguration of Co...
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Nitish meets PM, seeks compensation for state's financial loses
NEW DELHI, Mar 26 (Agencies): Bihar Chief Nitish Kumar today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and contended that his state will lose Rs 50,000 crore due to implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations which he wanted to be compensated by the Centre. Kumar, who had snapped his party JD(U)'s 17-year-old alliance with BJP in 2013 after it projected Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 polls, met the Prime Minister for the first time. Emerging from the meeting, the Chief Minister said he raised the issue of implementation of the Finance Commission recommendations which he contended will lead to an "estimated Rs 50,000 crore loss" to the state. He said the Centre's share in Centrally-sponsored schemes has been decreased. "Altogether, it has been a loss to Biha...
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Ranaghat Nun Gang Rape : 2 B'deshi nationals arrested
MUMBAI, Mar 26 (Agencies): In a breakthrough, the CID today arrested two persons, both Bangladeshi nationals, one from West Bengal and the other from Mumbai, in connection with the gangrape of a 71-year-old nun at a convent school in Nadia district that caused a nation-wide outrage. The incident had taken place at Ranaghat in West Bengal 12 days ago. The first arrest was made in Mumbai when Sikander Sheikh alias Salim was picked up in the early hours, while Gopal Sarkar was taken into custody from Habra in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, IG, CID (Operations) Dilip Adak told reporters here. He said that Salim, who was arrested from Nagpada area in south Mumbai by the West Bengal police in coordination with their Mumbai counterpart, confessed during interrogation that he had b...
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Shailesh's family does not suspect any foul play in his death
LUCKNOW, Mar 26 (Agencies): An autopsy has failed to identify the cause of death of MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav's son Shailesh, an accused in the the multi-crore Vyapam scam in MP, according to UP police, even as his family today said they do not suspect any foul play. Police said viscera samples have been preserved. "The postmortem report says that cause of death could not be ascertained. Viscera and heart of Shailesh have been preserved," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Yashasvi Yadav said. Police had yesterday said that prima facie the death appeared to be due to brain haemorrhage or heart attack. The SSP today maintained that the death appeared to be "natural". The postmortem of Shailesh was conducted yesterday and its findings came last night. Shailesh Yadav, (50) was fo...
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3 booked under Maharashtra's new beef ban law
NASHIK, Mar 26 (Agencies): In the first case registered under the new beef ban law in Maharashtra, three persons have been booked for allegedly slaughtering calves in Malegaon town of the district and search is on to trace them. Acting on a tip-off, police raided a shack in Azad Nagar area, about 90 kms from here, and seized two heads of slaughtered calves and 150 kg of beef, assistant police inspector Shivaji Bantewad said today. The new Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks, was enforced by the BJP-led Government on March 4. Under the law, anyone found selling beef or possessing it can be jailed upto five years and fined Rs 10,000. Offences have been registered against the accused-- Rashid alias Pandya, Hamid alias Lendi and Asif Ta...
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Vindicated by CAG, I still suffer the stigma of charge-sheet: Khemka
CHANDIGARH, Mar 26 (Agencies): A senior IAS officer of Haryana Ashok Khemka today said that his action in Vadra-DLF land-license deal has been "vindicated in the CAG report but he continues to suffer the stigma of charge sheet." During the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government, the official had ordered the scrapping of the land deal between Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd (owned by Robert Vadra) and DLF, terming it as illegal. However, the previous Hooda government gave clean chit to Vadra in the land deal. "My action in VADRA-DLF land-license deal vindicated in CAG report, but continue to suffer the stigma of charge sheet," said Khemka in a tweet reacting to the CAG report. In another tweet he said, "Real culprits sit in judgement over me. My pain and suffering may help to detox ...
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UP CM deflects oppn attack on police recruitment
LUCKNOW, Mar 26 (Agencies): Seeking to deflect opposition's charges of irregularities in police recruitment in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said his government was only following the previous BSP government's policy. "You claim that recruitment done during your regime was hailed by then Union Home Minister...If that was the right procedure, we are only following the same. How can we be wrong?" he asked, winding up a debate on home department budget in the Assembly, which had witnessed pandemonium on March 24 with Opposition parties alleging grave irregularities in the recruitments and demanding a CBI or judicial probe. "How come your recruitment got medal and ours is being criticised?" the Chief Minister countered pointing at the BSP benches. Akhilesh said he was ...
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PM hopes for 'Concrete' outcomes from China visit
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): Prime Minister Narendra Modi was looking forward to his visit to China to interact with the top leadership, hoping it will have "concrete outcomes" and take the bilateral relationship to a new level. This was told by Modi to Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who called on the Prime Minister and conveyed the greetings of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Outlining his vision for closer India-China relations and its significance to the region and the world, Modi hoped that his visit to China will have "concrete outcomes and take the relationship to a new level," a PMO release said. During the meeting, the Prime Minister also recalled Xi's visit to India in September last as Yang briefed Modi on the preparations for his upcoming visit to China....
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V K Singh should quit instead of expressing disgust: Tewari
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): Congress leader Manish Tewari today targeted Union Minister V K Singh, asking him to quit instead of expressing his disgust after he represented the government at the Pakistan national day reception here. Tewari said in the past, ministers had refused to attend Pakistan events. "If Disgust is so disgusted with double standards of his govt on Pak he should quit? Other Ministers in past refused to attend PAK EVENTS!" Tewari tweeted. After attending the Pakistan National Day reception at the Pakistan High Commission yesterday, Singh had issued a series of tweets defining "disgust" and "duty", indicating that he may have been unhappy at being deputed to it. In the first of the five quick tweets, the former Army Chief had said, "To offend the moral sense, prin...
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SC strikes down Section 66A of IT Act, says it's unconstitutional
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): In a landmark judgement upholding freedom of expression, the Supreme Court today struck down a provision in the cyber law which provides power to arrest a person for posting allegedly "offensive" content on websites. Terming liberty of thought and expression as "cardinal", a bench of justices J Chelameswar and R F Nariman said, "The public's right to know is directly affected by section 66A of the Information Technology Act." Justice Nariman, who pronounced the verdict in a packed court room, also said that the provision "clearly affects" the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined under the Constitution. Elaborating the grounds for holding the provision as "unconstitutional", it said terms like "annoying", "inconvenient" and "gross...
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Gangrape Documentary: SC seeks reply from advocates of accused
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): The Supreme Court today sought response from two advocates, representing the December 16 gangrape convicts, against whom a women lawyers body has sought action for allegedly making derogatory remarks against women in a BBC documentary on the case. "We have heard the argument, pleadings and grievances urged in the petition. The matter requires consideration in view of the factual and legal submissions," a bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and C Nagappan said. The bench issued notices to the two advocates, M L Sharma and A P Singh, and sought their response in two weeks. The Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association, in its petition, had sought restriction on the entry of the two advocates in the apex court premises, alleging that their remarks in the c...
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SC reserves verdict on maintainability of petition against NJAC
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on maintainability of petitions challenging the validity of a constitutional amendment and the NJAC Act, meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges. A three-judge bench of justices A R Dave, J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur reserved the judgement after Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, wrapped up his rejoinder arguments saying that the pleas be dismissed as they were "premature" and "academic" in nature. Referring to various case laws, the AG said the power of Parliament to make law is "plenary" and hence, the methodology adopted by the legislature in clearing the law on the floor of the House cannot be "tested" by the court. He was responding to ...
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AAP govt, Centre indifferent to Delhi farmers' plight: Maken
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): Congress today accused the AAP government and the BJP-led Centre of being indifferent to the plight of farmers, whose crops were hit in the recent rain and hailstorm. Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken, accompanied by senior party leaders PC Chacko, Sajjan Kumar, Yoganand Shastri, today visited Bajitpur, Katewra and Kutubgarh villages at the Bawana area in outer Delhi here. "Sonia Gandhi while returning from her Haryana visit via a chopper saw the extensive damage to crops and asked us to visit the farmers, interact and assess the damages," Chacko said after the visit. Congress delegation inspected the crops on the road side during the visit, that lasted around two hours, and tasked the party's former Bawana MLA Surendra Kumar with preparing a detailed report...
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HC restrains court decision in defamation case against Tytler
NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): The Delhi High Court today restrained a trial court from taking any decision in the defamation case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on a complaint filed by a senior advocate representing the victims in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases. The trial court had framed charges against Tytler in the case on March 2, 2015 saying he had prime facie defamed senior advocate H S Phoolka, the complainant in the matter, by allegedly making imputations to harm his reputation. "Issue notice to respondents 1 (state) and 2 (H S Phoolka). Put up for further hearing on August 28. Till then the trial court is restrained from taking any decision," a single judge bench of Justice Sunil Gaur said on a plea filed by Tytler against the trial court order. The counsel appearing fo...
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Navy Commissions 3 immediate support vessels
VISAKHAPATNAM, Mar 24 (Agencies): Three Immediate Support Vessels (ISVs), armed with heavy machine guns and capable of enabling quick insertion and extraction of naval commandos in case of a threat to country's offshore assets, were today commissioned by the Indian Navy here. These ships are to enhance Navy's capability in furthering its mandate of maritime safety and security over the Offshore Developmental Areas on the Eastern seaboard. The induction and deployment of these ships will augment the ongoing efforts to bolster coastal security and provide protection to our offshore assets from asymmetric threats, the Navy said. The three ISVs are in addition to the first batch of ISVs commissioned last year on June 4 and will constitute the 84th Immediate Support Vessel Squadron based he...
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RSS, BJP leaders discuss J&K political situation
NEW DELHI, Mar 23 (Agencies): Top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) met in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the political situation, particularly in the wake of a row over the new land bill and controversies surrounding the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. Ways to strengthen the party’s base in various states like poll-bound Bihar and analysis of debacle in Delhi assembly polls were also on the agenda of the meeting that took place at the residence of transport minister Nitin Gadkari. The meeting was attended by BJP chief Amit Shah, party general-secretaries Ram Lal and Ram Madhav, besides Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Gadkari. From the RSS side, the Sangh’s second-in-command and general-secretary S...
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I will go to any extent for protection of minority: Rajnath
NEW DELHI, Mar 23 (Agencies): Pledging full protection to minorities, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today questioned the practice of conversions and advocated a debate on the need for an anti-conversion law. He also wanted to know whether people cannot be served without indulging in conversions. "There are sometimes rumours and controversies about 'Ghar Wapsi' and conversions. Why should there by any conversion at all? "In other countries it is the minorities which ask for anti-conversion law. Here, we are only saying that there should be an anti-conversion law. There should be debate over it. We must think on bringing anti-conversion law. I humbly request all of you to think over it," Singh said. He was addressing a conference of state minority commissions which was attended by represe...
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CBI probe ordered into IAS officer D. K. Ravi's death
BENGALURU, Mar 23 (Agencies): Facing rising public outcry and pressure from Opposition, the Siddaramaiah government today recommended a CBI probe into the mysterious death of upright IAS officer D K Ravi and asserted that it never intended to hush up the case or protect anyone. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the decision in the Assembly, saying it was being done "respecting the feelings of Ravi's parents and public". There have been state-wide protests demanding a CBI probe into the death of 35-year old D K Ravi with Opposition gunning for the Chief Minister and even the Congress central leadership nudging him. "I have understood the feeling of Ravi's parents. I have understood the feelings of people of this state. I respect the sentiments of the people and his parents...," said...
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6 arrested for vandalising Church in MP
JABALPUR, Mar 23 (Agencies): Six people belonging to a right-wing Hindu group were arrested in connection with the attack on a cathedral in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh even as a "political or foreign hand" was suspected by the government in neighbouring Maharashtra in a similar incident in Navi Mumbai. "We have arrested six persons involved in attacking the Catholic school and cathedral premises," Jabalpur's Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Isha Pant told PTI today. The six arrested persons were later granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 each, prompting Church authorities to lodge a strong protest with the police. Those arrested have been identified as Dharam Sena leader Yogesh Agrawal, and his associates Nitin Rajak, Prateek Pyasi, Anurag Choukse, Abhishek Choukse and ...
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Feeling 'unwell', Goa Guv leaves speech midway in assembly
PANAJI, Mar 23 (Agencies): Goa Governor Mridula Sinha took ill midway through her speech in the ongoing state Assembly session today. Sinha, who was addressing the first day of the Assembly session, began her speech at 11:30 am and started feeling "uneasy" at around noon. She drank water but could not continue reading the speech and later sat on the chair next to the Speaker. The governor was escorted out of the House by Speaker Rajendra Arlekar and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar along with other members, including Leader of Opposition Pratap Singh Rane. "It should be considered that entire speech of the Governor has been read," said Arlekar before tabling the copy. The House was later adjourned for lunch. "I think she could not continue because of her health. There were only tw...
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Meghalaya seeks exemption from Centre's mines and Mineral Act
SHILLONG, Mar 23 (Agencies): Meghalaya Assembly today passed a resolution seeking Presidential notification exempting the tribal state from the purview of the Government of India's Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, and Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. The resolution moved by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was supported by Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy and enjoyed a unanimous support of all members of the Opposition bench constituting regional parties and Independent legislators. Notwithstanding the National Green Tribunal ban on mining and transportation of coal due to the absence of scientific and environmental safeguards to prevent pollution, the Chief Minister said, "It is imperative to resolve the conflict between customary law, practices and rights a...
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