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LIVE! ED finds over Rs.104 crore in BSP account post note ban

21:22  Army Chief visits forward positions of Kashmir, Leh:  

Outgoing Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag today paid a farewell visit to forward areas of Kashmir and Leh to meet the troops stationed there and encouraged them to continue to work with zeal and dedication to overcome the challenges posed by the terrorists and the “enemy”.

Gen Suhag, who will be retiring on December 31, commended the synergy between various security agencies and civil administration in terror-hit Jammu and Kashmir.

The Army Chief was accorded a warm farewell by officers and men during his visit to all the forward locations in Kashmir and Leh, said an army officer of Udhampur-based Northern Command.

While interacting with the soldiers, he complimented them for their professionalism, selfless commitment and loyalty.

He exhorted the troops to continue to work with zeal and dedication to overcome the challenges posted by weather, enemy and terrorism. 


21:05  Digital payments lottery: 15,000 lucky winners to get rewards:  

A total of 15,000 winners have been selected from eight crore digital transactions as part of the government’s efforts to incentivise and boost digital payments in the country.

“A total of 15,000 winners were selected under 4 broad categories from the 8 crore digital transactions that took place between November 9, 2016 to December 21, 2016,” a statement said.

With an eye on cashless economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled two schemes yesterday — Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana — for customers and traders alike to promote mobile banking and e-payments.

He had said as a Christmas gift, 15,000 people will get rewards through a draw system, whereby each of the 15,000 winners will have Rs 1,000 in their accounts.

“NPCI announced that the winners of the lucky draw will receive a message from their banks and the reward money will be credited into their bank accounts over the next 24 hours. 

Citizens may check if they have received the reward by logging on to:,” the statement said.

These categories include USSD (100 winners), UPI (1,500), Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) (1,500) and RuPay (11,900).

Of 125 crore people, 75 crore use credit and debit cards. Of these, 45 crore are active users.

With incentive schemes like Lucky Grahak Yojana and DigiDhan Vyapar Yojana, the government hopes to provide a fillip to uptake of digital payments. 

Winners of the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana will be selected on a daily and weekly basis respectively, leading up to a mega draw on April 14, 2017.

20:42  Income tax department unearth undisclosed income of Rs 169 crore in Bengaluru during search operations at premises of real estate developers, reports ANI

20:41  1 lakh paramilitary personnel to be deployed in polls in 5 states:  An estimated one lakh paramilitary personnel along with state police forces are likely to be deployed in the upcoming assembly elections in five states, including politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.

The Election Commission has asked the ministry of home affairs to make available 1,000 companies (100 personnel in each company) for the assembly elections expected to be held in next two months. 

The EC has made the request during a recent meeting with the top officials of the MHA which discussed various aspects of security during the polling, official sources said. 

In addition to the Central forces, police forces of all states will be deployed for the election duties.

Sources said that the MHA is expected to accede to the request of the EC and convey its decision to the poll body soon.

Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are expected to be held in single phase while in Uttar Pradesh it is likely to be multi-phased.  


20:09  Another 4,000 paramilitary personnel rush to Manipur:  

The Centre has rushed additional 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in its efforts to reopen a national highway which has blocked for nearly two months by a Naga group.

With this, the total number of central security personnel deployed in the sensitive northeastern state for assisting the local administration for maintaining law and order has gone up to 17,500.

“Our top priority is now to reopen the National Highway-2 connecting Manipur (to Nagaland). While the other highway (NH-37) is reopened, we want to reopen the NH-2 too as early as possible,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

The security personnel were sent to the northeastern state keeping in view the security situation in the wake of violence following the economic blockade imposed by the Union Naga Council on the National Highways since November 1.

The UNC has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked Manipur.

Curfew has been clamped in Imphal East district for the last fortnight after a mob torched and vandalised 22 passenger vehicles on the Imphal-Ukhrul road, while curfew in Imphal West district was imposed from evening to dawn.

In a stern message, the Centre had on Friday told the Manipur government that it can’t escape responsibility for the “humanitarian crisis” arising out of the 52-day economic blockade by a Naga group and must work to end it, while making it clear that nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of it.


19:33  Internet connectivity still out of reach for 950 mn Indians: Report:  

India may have the world’s second largest internet user base, but connectivity remains out of reach for nearly 950 million citizens, a report said today.

“Even with the internet data plans in India being among the cheapest in the world and the average retail price of smartphones steadily declining, connectivity is still out of the reach of nearly 950 million Indians,” according to the Assocham-Deloitte joint study

India currently has about 350 million internet users, second only to China.

Internet penetration is increasing in India and the access to affordable broadband, smart devices and monthly data packages are required to spread digital literacy to make their ends meet, the study titled ‘Strategic national measures to combat cybercrime’ said.

Existing government infrastructure assets should be further leveraged for provision of digital services at remote locations, it said.

The study added that digital literacy needs to be increased by providing institutional trainings in schools, colleges and universities. It pitched for accelerating partnerships with global technology leaders and using the workforce trained under Skill India to impart trainings.

An integrated approach between Digital India and Skill India needs to be constructed to design programmes and impart training, it said.

The report called for incentivising private sector players for developing infrastructure, providing services and promoting digital literacy as part of the Digital India programme.


18:59  Government plans ordinance on holding of old notes:  

The government is planning an ordinance or executive order to bring in a new law, which will have penal provisions in case one is caught possessing, transferring or receiving an amount over Rs. 10,000 in banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes, NDTV reported quoting sources.

The maximum number of banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes one is allowed to keep is 10.

The ordinance has to be issued before December 30, sources said.

The penal provisions, which are yet to be firmed up, will involve a fine of a minimum of Rs. 50,000 or 5 times the amount in question — whichever is higher. A municipal magistrate will hear cases involving violation and decide on penalty.

The ordinance includes the recommendations of the Central board of directors of the Reserve Bank of India. After December 30, banned notes have to be directly deposited in Reserve Bank and a grace period will be specified later.


18:11  Obama’s exit interview: Hope and change can still win elections:  

Arguing that Americans still subscribe to his vision of progressive change, US President Barack Obama asserted in an interview recently he could have succeeded in this year’s election if he was eligible to run.

“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilised a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told his former senior adviser David Axelrod in an interview for the “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Read full interview HERE

17:38  Wreckage of crashed Russian plane found in Black Sea:  The wreckage of the  Syrian-bound Russian military plane that crashed yesterday has been found today in the Black Sea. 

On Sunday, the Tu-154 model plane carrying 92 people on board, which belonged to the Russian defence ministry, crashed shortly after take-off from the southern city of Adler at 5.40 am (local time). There was no indication anyone survived. 

One body was recovered six kilometres off the coast of the resort city of Sochi. 

Earlier today, the Kremlin also ruled out that terrorism could be the reason behind the crash. 

A security source indicated the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction or a pilot error.

The plane had been on a routine flight to Russias Hmeimim airbase in western Syria, which has been used to launch air strikes in Moscows military campaign supporting its ally President Bashar al-Assad in the countrys devastating civil war. 


17:25  Tyagi’s arrest affects morale, says IAF chief Raha:  Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha said that the arrest of the former chief SP Tyagi had affected the morale of the air force and that it had dented the image of the forces. 

The present IAF chief added that he would be happy if Raha would be able to acquit himself in the AgustaWestland chopper scam. 

Earlier in the day, SP Tyagi, the former IAF chief, had been granted bail against Rs 2 lakh and was instructed by the court not to leave the national capital in the VVIP chopper scam.

17:17  Indo-Bangla border to be completely sealed by mid 2018: Rajnath:  

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.

“We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP

workers here.

“Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said.

The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

16:49  National Herald order perverse: Swamy:  National Herald case petitioner Subramanian Swamy calls the Delhi court’s decision to dismisses his petition seeking documents related to the case ‘perverse’. “It is a perverse Order and I shall appeal,” he said.

16:19  Unwell Mithun Chakraborty resigns from RS:   TMC MP Mithun Chakraborty resigns from the Rajya Sabha citing health issues. Party spokesperson Derek O’Brien said Chakraborty the TMC continues to share a warm relationship with him and his family and wishes him a speedy recovery.

Chakraborty was sent to Rajya Sabha by the Trinamool Congress in April 2014. He marked his presence in the House in his first two sessions — for two days in the 231st session, and a solitary day during the 232nd session.

16:13  AAP alleges its Goa face being victimised, BJP refutes:  AAP’s chief ministerial face for Goa, Elvis Gomes, today appeared before ACB in connection with an inquiry into an alleged land conversion ‘scam’,amid allegations by his party said he was being victimised, a charge which the ruling BJP rubbished. Gomes, who appeared before the anti-graft agency in connection with the case, has refuted the allegations against him, saying the timing of summoning him for the probe is “suspicious.”

A former IG (Prisons), 53-year-old Gomes had taken voluntary retirement from police service some time back and joined AAP, which is making a serious bid in the assembly polls in the coastal state due in early 2017.


15:33  Big relief for Rahul, Sonia: Court dismisses Swamy’s petition in Herald case :   Just in: National Herald Case: Delhi court dismisses Subramanian Swamy’s petition seeking documents related to National Herald, next hearing on Feb 10th. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed an application seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress Party and the Associated Journals Limited. Swamy in his petition alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through ‘dishonest means’ which pertains to ‘criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust’.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian Pvt Ltd are accused in the case filed by Swamy.

Swamy has accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associated Journals Pvt Ltd owed to the Congress party. All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by Swamy.

The court has said that the documents sought by Swamy will not be provided.


15:12  Why does the US stop short of imagining a female president? :  This year’s presidential poll in the United States of America was the closest fought contest since the one between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, was ahead of the surprise Republican nominee, Donald Trump, in terms of popular votes. The country’s Constitution, however, lays it down that it is the state-wise electoral votes that matter for deciding the president-elect. In this count, Trump edged out Hillary. The more obdurate among Hillary’s fans were unreconciled and demanded a recount in those states where the voting was very close. As expected, they drew a blank and Trump, currently busy choosing his White House team, will be sworn in as president in the third week of January. 
Read more

14:57  Extremely happy, says Dr Shah Rukh Khan:  The Badshaah of Bollywood is extremely happy and thankful to be conferred honorary doctorate at the sixth convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. At the event Shah Rukh Khan said, “Not sure if I deserve it but am extremely happy that you have bestowed this honour upon me. My parents would have been happier if they were alive.”

“My mother would have been glad as I am getting this honour in Hyderabad, her birthplace,” SRK added.

The university has earlier also awarded an honorary doctorate to actor Aamir Khan


14:38  They call him Khan. Dr Shah Rukh Khan :  The name’s Khan. Dr Shah Rukh Khan.

The Bollywood superstar received an honorary doctorate at the sixth convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Manuu) in Hyderabad on Monday.

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the degree. Along with the actor, Rekhta Foundation founder Rajiv Saraf will also be given an honorary doctorate for their extraordinary contribution in the promotion of Urdu language and the culture. Nearly 2,885 graduates and post-graduates as well as 276 MPhil and PhD students will be awarded degrees on the occasion.


14:28  ‘Chillai-Kalan’ grips Kashmir :  The night temperature across Kashmir dipped by several degrees as the cold wave strengthened. Also, the prevailing dry weather is expected to lead to further drop in the mercury. Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ considered to be the harshest period of winter, where chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

However, so far, the weather has remained dry, resulting in an increase in ailments like cough and common cold.

The Meteorological Department has forecast mainly dry weather for the rest of the year which could lead to a further drop in the night temperature.

‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and will end on January 31 next year. But the cold weather will continue even after that as the 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).Meanwhile, the night temperature across Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region dropped further below the freezing point on Sunday night.

Srinagar recorded a low of minus 5.1 degrees Celsius, a decrease of nearly three degrees from Saturday night’s minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, a MeT department official said.

He said the night temperature in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir, went dropped nearly five degrees from Saturday’s 0.3 degree Celsius to settle below the freezing point at a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.

The official said Kokernag, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 5.5 degrees Celsius.

The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius same as that of the Saturday night. Pahalgam hill resort, in south Kashmir, witnessed a low of minus 6.4 degrees Celsius, which is over three degrees lower from minus 2.9 degrees Celsius 24 hours earlier, the official said. He said Pahalgam was the coldest place in the Valley. Leh, in Ladakh region, was the coldest recorded place in the state as the night temperature there went down by over four degrees from Saturday night’s minus 9.4 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 13.9 degrees Celsius, the official said.

He said the nearby Kargil town recorded a low of minus 11.8 degrees Celsius a decrease of nearly two degrees from minus 9.9 degrees Celsius.


14:07  Is Vin Diesel headed to India in the new year?:  The Return of Xander Cage all set to hit theaters in January. You know that.

What you may not know is that Hollywood star Vin Diesel may be in India! That’s what the rumour mills say.

Indian audiences have been particularly excited about the upcoming movie because of Deepika Padukone’s presence. Earlier this year, the filmmakers released a special trailer that was only for Indian audiences, so it comes as no surprise that rumours about Vin Diesel coming to India have begun to surface.

Stay with us.


13:25  The Aussie who took on the British for Rani Laxmibai:  John Lang represented Rani Laxmibai in her legal battle against the East India Company to stop the annexation of her kingdom of Jhansi.’s Archana Masih profiles the maverick Aussie who spent 22 years in India and became a friend in its dark days of bondage. Read the fascinating story here.


13:21  Budget 2017 may provide tax gain for common people :  The Narendra Modi government’s fourth budget is likely to make a sweeping recast of direct taxes focusing on both corporate tax and personal income tax to give a boost to the economy that’s struggling in the wake of demonetisation. Finance minister Arun Jaitley will announce the budget on February 1, a month earlier than usual, reports the Times of India.

Read the full story here.


12:47  Dangal in Rs 100 cr club; claims biggest single-day earning:  Aamir Khan’s Dangal has collected above Rs 100 crores durgin the weekend, report trade analysts.

According to an NDTV report, Dangal‘s collections rose substantially day-wise and over the weekend, box office receipts totalled up to Rs 106.95 crore in India.

Dangal‘s Sunday collection alone was Rs 42.35 crore, which is reportedly the biggest single day collection of any film. Salman Khan’s Sultan held the previous record at Rs 39 crores.

12:03  India’s nuke missile Agni-5 test fired :   Just in: Agni-5, India’s intercontinental, nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of nearly 6,000 km, test fired off Odisha coast, says DRDO.

Agni-5, India’s longest range nuclear capable missile, was test fired at Kalam Island off the Odisha coast today by the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO.

The intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile, the latest in India’s “Agni” family of medium to intercontinental range missiles, has been through three trials before. The Agni 5 missile, with new technology for navigation and guidance, gives India the strategic depth it needs to contain its enemies, say scientists. After a few more trials, it will soon join India’s military arsenal.

The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system. The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory.


11:57  ‘Fans’ ask Mohammed Shami why his wife is not wearing a hijab:  Star Indian pacer Mohammed Shami was viciously attacked by a section of his ‘fans’ over a Facebook photo. The Indian cricketer shared a family photograph with wife Hasin Jahan and their daughter on Sunday. Soon after he was not just trolled but also abused over what his wife was wearing, reports NDTV.

Shami was reminded of his religion, with some even asking why Hasin Jahan was not wearing a hijab.

The 26-year-old, who is recovering from a knee injury, did not respond to all the negative comments from users on the social networking site.

Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif, however, came to Shami’s defence with this post on Twitter.  @MohammadKaif The comments are really really Shameful. Support Mohammed Shami fully. There are much bigger issues in this country. Hope sense prevails.

Image: Mohammed Shami posted this picture with his wife on Facebook, along with other pictures with his daughter, with the comment: Beautiful Moments. 


11:47  Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat refuses to appear before CBI:  Just in: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat ignores CBI summons in sting CD case, saying he will will not be able to appear for questioning.

The CBI has summoned the Uttarakhand chief minister to appear before it on December 26 in connection with the probe into the sting operation that purportedly features him.

Rawat had dismissed the video as being fake after it was released by rebel Congress MLAs but later admitted that he was in the clip.

CBI had registered the preliminary inquiry on April 29 to probe the video purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress MLas in exchange for their support in the assembly floor test.

The CBI had summoned the CM on May 9, 2016 but he had sought more time. After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet on May 15 withdrew the notification recommending a CBI probe and decided to set up a special investigation team to go into the case.


11:41  BJP mocks ‘mahabharat’ in first family of Samajwadi Party:  The BJP has said that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his bete noire uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying the first family of the Samajwadi Party should resolve the ‘mahabharat’ and focus on law and order, corruption and lack of administration in the politically crucial state.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also used the occasion to take a jibe at reports suggesting about the possibility of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ in the run up to next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

“However, in the first family of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh a ‘mahabharat’ is already on for quite some time. Now, it appears that there are multiple lists – one by the uncle, one by the nephew who is the Chief Minister and there are all sorts of disputes. They should resolve that,” Kohli told ANI.

“As far as the people of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, they are obviously going to vote on the track record of the Samajwadi Party. The substantial issues are law and order, corruption and the lack of administration,” he added.

The tussle in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family reignited yesterday after Akhilesh drew up his own list of poll candidates and submitted it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, bypassing his uncle and state president Shivpal Yadav.

The Chief Minister’s surprise move angered Shivpal, who is officially in-charge of ticket distribution in consultation with the party president.

Shivpal tweeted that ticket distribution would be decided by “victory potential”.


11:22  VVIP chopper scam: Ex-Air Chief Tyagi gets bail after 17 days in jail :   Agusta Westland chopper scam case accused former air force chief Air Chief Marshal (retired) SP Tyagi has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 2 lakh. Tyagi was in jail for just 17 days. The CBI has asked for more time to oppose his bail. Tyagi has been asked not to influence witnesses.

The CBI counsel earlier on December 23 requested the court not to disclose evidences to anyone saying that if the evidence gathered will be disclose, there would be implication on future investigation.

Two other accused still in jail, their bail hearing is on January 4.

Earlier, the CBI had moved the court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case.

11:12  Just in: Maoists kidnap eight villagers including a sarpanch in Dantewada.


11:07  Honorary Urdu doctorate for SRK :  Actor Shahrukh Khan will receive honorary doctorate at the sixth convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad on Monday.

President Pranab Mukherjee will confer him with the degree.

10:42  Hungarian priest brings migrants in from the cold:  “Save us before we die from the cold,” read the email in Father Zoltan Nemeth’s inbox. It was an appeal that this Hungarian priest could not ignore. The SOS was sent by an asylum-seeker, one of 14 relocated from a refugee camp earmarked for closure near Budapest to what they say are freezing military tents in Kormend close to the Austrian border. Nemeth, the Catholic parish priest in Kormend, a town of around 12,000 souls some 230 kilometres west of Budapest, quickly offered them shelter in the parish community hall. “I’m not a hero, it was simply my duty as a committed Christian to help,” the bespectacled and portly 61-year-old told AFP in the parish house next door where he lives.

10:19  Sabarimala stampede: Two critical, 25 injured :   As many as 25 persons were injured and two among them are critical in Sabarimala temple stampede that took place last night in Kerala.

All the injured persons have been admitted to a nearby hospital and are currently undergoing treatment.The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team responded immediately to the situation following the incident.

Strict regulations have been put in place for entry of pilgrims at the temple.

The shrine witnessed a heavy rush of devotees yesterday, the penultimate day before culmination of the 41-day mandala pooja.

The stampede occurred just as the holy ‘Thanga Angi’ procession carrying ornaments worn by Lord Ayyappa on yesterday’s Mandala pooja reached the temple.

A file pic of the 2011 stampede.


10:12  Why the Congress Party has abandoned Its UP campaign:  With less than two months to go for the 2017 assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh remains anybody’s game. “Anything can happen,” “hung assembly,” “khichdi,” “nothing is clear,” are the words you hear, no matter who you ask.

There is, however, one certainty — that the Congress party is not in the race, unless it succeeds in convincing ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party supremo, to ally with it. he Congress party office in Mall Avenue, the heart of the city, looks like a wedding venue all dressed up, but the bride has run away. The car park is full with cars that still wear outdated banners of Rahul Gandhi’s kisan yatra, or even before that, the Sheila Dikshit bus campaign across the state, ’27 saal, UP behaal’.

Twenty seven years the Congress hasn’t been in power, the message goes, leaving UP is in a mess.The Congress itself is in no mess. It’s in a near-coma. For all these rows of cars, where are its occupants? They have gone home, it would appear, waiting for the bride to return.  Read more


09:50  Dense fog envelops north India, trains, flights affected :  And another normal, cold, winter day in north India.

Dense fog continued to engulf northern India due to fall in temperature, several trains and flight services were affected on Monday morning.

As many as six international and five domestic flights arriving and departing from Delhi delayed due to foggy weather.

At least 37 trains were also delayed and six were rescheduled due to poor visibility.

Many trains were delayed at Kanpur Central railway station as fog enveloped different areas in Uttar Pradesh.

File pic

The meteorological department has predicted that the nation will witness an above normal winter this season while northern areas of India will likely have less of cold wave spells.

The cold wave conditions continue to prevail in Gurugram as well


09:41  What’s ahead today… :   * India is set to test its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5 from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast today. The three stage solid propellant missile is to be test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range. It will be fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the long range missile.

* A Delhi court will today pronounce its order in the National Herald case in which Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy filed an application seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress Party and the Associated Journals Limited. Swamy in his petition alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through ‘dishonest means’ which pertains to ‘criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust’.

* A Delhi court will today announce the order on bail plea of the three accused in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case, including former air force chief Air Chief Marshal (retired) S P Tyagi. The Central Bureau of Investigation counsel earlier on December 23 requested the court not to disclose evidences to anyone saying that if the evidence gathered will be disclose, there would be implication on future investigation. Commenting on the bail issued to all the three accused related to the scam, the investigating agency said they are on pre-charge sheet stage and a very crucial time of investigation is going on.

* Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will on Monday address a public gathering in Baran district of Rajasthan. His visit is said to be a part of the Congress’ nationwide campaign against the BJP government’s decisions including demonetisation. This will be Gandhi’s second visit to the state this year.

* With an aim to promote cashless transactions, the first ‘Digi Dhan’ mela (fair) will be organised in Gurugram, Haryana, today where customers will be able to purchase items only through digital modes of payment. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will inaugurate the event. An official release said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar and Union Minister for Planning, Urban Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation (Independent Charge) Rao Inderjit Singh will also be present. ‘This is the first such fair in the country since demonetisation for educating masses on how to use mobile phones for making purchases,’ the release said.


09:38  AgustaWestland scam: Will accused get bail today?:   A Delhi court will on Monday announce the order on bail plea of the three accused in the Agusta Westland chopper scam case, , including former air force chief Air Chief Marshal (retired) SP Tyagi.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel earlier on December 23 requested the court not to disclose evidences to anyone saying that if the evidence gathered will be disclose, there would be implication on future investigation.

Commenting on the bail issued to all the three accused related to the scam, the investigating agency said they are on pre-charge sheet stage and a very crucial time of investigation is going on.

Counter attacking the CBI’s plea, S.P. Tyagi’s counsel said, “CBI isn’t showing or telling evidence against him and if he (S.P. Tyagi) tries to prove his innocence, they will accuse him of non-cooperation since he’s not incriminating himself.

“Tyagi’s counsel also alleged that CBI in the last four years has never been able to establish any evidence against ex-air chief regarding receipt of any bribe.The Patiala House court had on December 17 remanded the trio to judicial custody till December 30 as their CBI custody ended.

Earlier, the CBI had moved the court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case.


09:05  Fresh feud in SP as Akhilesh unhappy over tickets given to ‘tainted’ netas:  In another case of tiff emerging within the ruling Samajwadi Party camp, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has raised apprehensions against party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav over the allocation of party seats.

According to sources, Akhilesh, while reviewing the list of candidates for 403 assembly seats, expressed concern over giving 181 party tickets to what he alleged as ‘tainted’ persons.

Samajwadi Party state chief Shivpal Yadav is officially in charge of ticket distribution in consultation with party president Mulayam Singh.

This is not the first time that Akhilesh and his uncle have clashed over tickets distribution.

Two weeks ago, the chief minister expressed his displeasure over the party’s decision to field alleged don-turned politicians Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibaqtullah Ansari for next year’s assembly elections.

The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Akhilesh. — ANI


08:23  British singer George Michael dies aged 53:  British pop singer George Michael, who rose to fame with the band ‘Wham!’ and sold more than 100 million albums in his career, has died aged 53, his publicist said today.

‘It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,’ his publicist said in a statement.

‘The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage,’ the publicist said.

Michael was due to release a documentary in 2017 after years of living as a virtual recluse in which he hit the headlines for a series of bizarre incidents linked to drugs.

‘2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to George Michael’s family, the band Duran Duran, which were 1980s contemporaries of ‘Wham!’, said on Twitter.

Former BBC Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn said: ‘Unbelievable, George Michael has died at the age of 53. RIP. This dreadful year goes on and on. So sad, a real talent.’

Several iconic British musicians have died in 2016 including David Bowie in January and Status Quo guitarist Rich Parfitt, who died in a Spanish hospital on Saturday. — AFP

Photograph: Reuters

Source: Rediff