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LIVE! Country is under undeclared emergency: Yashwant Sinha

22:25  Death or injury while boarding or de-boarding train entitles passenger to compensation: SC:  

Death or injury while boarding or de-boarding a train is an “untoward incident” which entitles a passenger to compensation and will not be considered his negligence, the Supreme Court held today.


It also said that mere presence of a body on the railway premises would not be conclusive to hold that the injured or deceased was a “bona fide passenger” for seeking compensation.

The apex court, however, clarified that the absence of ticket will not negate the compensation and the onus will be on claimant to prove his case by providing requisite documents.

“We hold that death or injury in the course of boarding or de-boarding a train will be an ‘untoward incident’ entitling a victim to the compensation and will not fall under the proviso to Section 124A (suicide, self-inflicted injury) merely on the plea of negligence of the victim as a contributing factor,” a bench comprising justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Rohinton F Nariman said. 

“The initial burden will be on the claimant which can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and the burden will then shift on the railways and the issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances. This will have to be dealt with from case to case on the basis of facts found,” it said.

The judgement came on an appeal filed by the Centre which had approached the apex court against Patna High Court order awarding a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the wife of a person who fell down from a train due to rush of passengers and died on the spot on August 20, 2002.

The high court had set aside the railway tribunal’s order by taking into consideration the statement of an eye witness who had filed an affidavit stating that the deceased had purchased the ticket and had boarded the train. — PTI

22:24  9 killed in UP thunderstorm:  

At least nine people were killed and four others injured as a thunderstorm lashed parts of western Uttar Pradesh this evening.


Four deaths were reported from Etawah, three from Mathura and one from Agra in incidents related to the thunderstorm, Principal Secretary Information Avanish Awasthi said.

Another death was reported from Hathras where a 15-year-old boy was struck by lightning.

Today’s storm comes days after dust storms and thunderstorms lashed several areas in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. At least 80 people died then in Uttar Pradesh alone.

The earlier storm hit Agra, Aligarh, Mathura and Firozabad districts in UP. Agra was the worst hit. — PTI  

22:15  Country is under undeclared emergency: Yashwant Sinha:  

Launching another scathing attack on the Modi government, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha today said “tax terrorism” has become the “order of the day” under the current government and that the country was under an “undeclared emergency”.

He said the emergency imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress in 1975 was political in nature, contrary to the “current emergency” which is an undeclared one.

“…When we were in the opposition, we used to accuse the then UPA (government) of being involved in a tax terrorism. We had promised that if voted to power we will finish it,” Sinha said while addressing a group of intellectuals, Citizens for Democracy, on the topic ‘Indian economy and challenges before democracy’.

Sinha had last month announced that he was severing all ties with the BJP and preparing to launch a nationwide campaign to save democracy.

He said “tax terrorism” has become the “order of the day” in the current government.

“After demonetisation (in 2016), there are 20 lakh cases filed seeking explanation about the money deposited with banks during that period,” Sinha said.

He said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) regime, introduced by the current government, has landed lakhs of traders into trouble.

“Since the introduction of GST on July 1, 2017, there are 357 amendments made. This is a joke with the tax system in the country and everyone is troubled. The traders who are from the villages where there is no electricity are being told to file their tax online. How can he do that?” he asked.

Sinha said the country is currently going through an “emergency-like situation”, which is different from the emergency clamped in 1975 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

“Indira Gandhi’s Emergency was different from today’s emergency. One fine day, she announced emergency across the country and the people who were in opposition were jailed and media was censored. The step taken by her was a political one,” he said.

“The emergency which we witness currently is an undeclared one. It is a slow poison which is being injected into the body politic of this country,” Sinha added. — PTI


21:06  Rahul Gandhi day-dreaming, no PM vacancy till 2024: BJP:  

Terming Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s prime ministerial aspirations as day-dreaming, senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain today asserted that there was no vacancy for the top post till 2024 as Narendra Modi would

again assume it after next year’sgeneral elections.


“Now Rahulji is saying he is ready to become prime minister….he is day-dreaming and congratulations for his beautiful dreams. But there is no vacancy for the PM post till 2024,” he said.


“The countrymen chose Narendra Modiji for the prime minister’s post and after the 2019 elections also Narendra Modiji will become the country’s PM much more stronger… Congress leaders also know this”, Hussain told reporters.


He said after Rahul Gandhi became Congress vice president, his party lost 13 states and since taking over as party president, it has lost five. Karnataka, where elections will be held on May 12, would be the sixth one, he said.      

The BJP spokesperson further claimed that in order to prevent any rebellion within Congress after its “loss” in Karnataka and to ensure none questions his leadership, Rahul, in a “planned” manner, was himself saying he is ready to become the prime minister.


“Under Narendra Modi’s leadership BJP has been winning assembly elections though there may be a few exceptions to the results of some by-polls,” he said.


Hussain, who has been campaigning in Bidar and Kalaburagi districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka, said it was a certainty that BJP would win in Karnataka, “despite the efforts of Siddaramaiah government and Rahul Gandhi”. — PTI      

20:58  Light rain lashes several parts of Delhi:  

Delhiites witnessed a pleasant evening today after light rain lashed several parts of the city along with gusty winds at 35/36 km per hour, the MeT Department said.

The Safdarjung observatory, recording of which is considered the official figure for the city, received 0.8 mm rainfall while areas under Palam and Ridge recorded 3.2 mm and 1.6 mm rain respectively.

Lodhi Road and Aya Nagar recorded traces of rainfall, the MeT Department said.

The maximum temperature settled at 35.8 degrees Celsius, three notches below the season’s average while the minimum was recorded at 22.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the normal.

The humidity oscillated between 71 and 35 per cent.

The Met office has forecast overcast skies for tomorrow.

“The maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to hover at 38 and 23 degrees Celsius respectively,” the weatherman said.

Yesterday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 34.7 degrees Celsius, while the minimum stood at 22 degrees Celsius. — PTI

20:32  Karnataka polls: 1.5 lakh security personnel to be deployed:  

Nearly 1.5 lakh security personnel, including more than 50,000 from the central paramilitary forces, will be deployed during the assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12 to ensure free and fair polls, officials said today.

The Union home ministry has earmarked around 520 companies drawn from various paramilitary forces like the CRPF, BSF and ITBP to keep strict vigil and ensure peace during the polling process in the southern state.

The central security personnel will assist the nearly a lakh strong Karnataka Police, who will be deployed in every nook and corner of the state during the single-phase polling, a home ministry official said.

The number of the central forces personnel was finalised recently by the Election Commission after a meeting with senior officials of the home ministry.

A company of paramilitary forces comprises about 100 personnel.

Most of the central paramilitary personnel have already reached Karnataka and are on the process of reaching their designated places of deployment, another official said.

Voting for the 224-member Karnataka assembly will be held on May 12.

A total of around 4.96 crore registered voters will exercise their franchise in around 56,600 polling stations in Karnataka. — PTI

20:08  Trump move to re-impose sanctions on Iran to hit Indian economy: Assocham:  

President Donald Trump’s announcement of the United States pulling out from the Iran deal and his decision to re-impose sanctions on the key crude oil producer will exert pressure on fuel prices and affect the Indian economy on the downside, Assocham said today. 


“While there are other imponderables like Saudi Arabia trying to increase crude output along with major OPEC producers and the US allies like France not being on board, the global economy does face bouts of uncertainty and volatility. In the short term, it is not a good news for the Indian economy which meets bulk of its crude oil requirements from imports,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

Trump announced that he was withdrawing the US from what he called the “decaying and rotten” Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama regime in 2015, putting him on a collision course with America’s closest allies. 

Moments later he signed fresh set of sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran on its controversial nuclear weapons programme.

The nuclear deal was negotiated and agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany), granting Iran sanctions relief and returning frozen assets in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme and international inspections. — PTI


19:44  Situation conducive for regime change in country, says Sharad Pawar:  

The situation in the country indicates that the time is ripe for a regime change at the Centre, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said today, adding that it was too early to say how many seats the opposition will win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“Going by the current trends in the country, the situation is conducive for a change (of government). But as to where will we (opposition) reach and how many seats will we get, I do not have any observation on this.

“Whether we will win enough seats to form (the next) government, it is difficult to draw that conclusion today. But the trend now is favourable for a change (of government),” the former Union minister told reporters in Maharashtra’s Satara.

Pawar credited the Congress with leading the anti-BJP movement.

“One thing is true, the Congress is at the forefront among the parties willing to take on the BJP,” he said.

Asked about his recent meeting with Rahul Gandhi, the veteran leader said the Congress president had told him that he was willing to “work with us (NCP) in Maharashtra”. — PTI

19:42  Trump says Pompeo returning from North Korea with US detainees:  

Three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year have been released, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump also said that there had been a “good meeting with Kim Jong Un,” adding: “Date & Place set.

“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set,” Trump tweeted.

The president, who had been hinting about an imminent release, said he would greet them at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 am.

“Secretary Pompeo and his “guests” will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!,” he said in another tweet. 


19:02  Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through talks: India:  

India today reacted cautiously to United States President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying all the parties involved should engage constructively to resolve issues.


Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India has always been maintaining that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy.

Trump had yesterday announced  he was withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to significantly cut its stocks of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components required to develop nuclear weapons.

“India has always maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as also the international community’s strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” Kumar said.

Iran had struck the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) deal with the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany after years of negotiations.

Kumar said all parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arisen with respect to the JCPoA.

The MEA spokesperson was responding to queries by media on the US’ decision to withdraw from the Iran deal.

The US President’s decision to abandon the agreement has shocked the world, with America’s closest allies such as France, Germany and the UK expressing concern over it while Iran’s foes Israel and Saudi Arabia welcoming the move. — PTI

18:39  Trump threatens to ‘take away credentials’ of media organisations over negative stories:  

Expressing his anguish over the continued “negative” coverage of his administration, US President Donald Trump today threatened to revoke media credentials of news channels.

“The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91 per cent of the Network News about me is negative (Fake),” Trump rued in a tweet.

“Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?” Trump continued.

During the election campaign, Trump had denied credentials to some of the top media outlets including The Washington Post and Politico. They were later given access.

Trump routinely describes news outlets critical of him as “dishonest” and “fake”. However, his White House has never denied credentials to news outlets. In fact, more news outlets have been given White House media credentials after he came to power.  — PTI 


17:58  When a judge ka khana becomes talking point :   Justice J Chelameswar, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court who retires on June 22, has declined an invitation from the Supreme Court Bar Association for his farewell function citing personal reasons, SCBA office-bearers said.

Justice Chelameswar had recently courted controversy by holding a press conference along with other three senior most judges — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — on January 12, in which litany of allegations were made against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

SCBA president Vikas Singh said the bar body had met him last week to invite him for the farewell on May 18, which is the last working day of the Supreme Court before the summer vacation.

“He declined the invite for the farewell function,” Singh told PTI. He said the members of the executive committee of SCBA today once again tried to persuade him to attend the farewell function but the judge did not agree citing personal reasons. The judge also told the members of the bar that he had not accepted a farewell earlier when he was moving out of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to another high court. SCBA honorary secretary Vikrant Yadav said the senior most judge today met the members of the bar at his residence, had a chat with them but declined the invite for his farewell.

He said it is a tradition that when a judge is retiring during the vacation, a farewell is thrown on the last working day before the holidays. Justice Chelameswar today did not come to the apex court for judicial work.

As a result, he also missed the traditional Wednesday lunch of the judges when one of them takes a turn to bring ‘ghar ka khana’ (home food) from his or her home state. This was the third consecutive Wednesday when Justice Chelameswar did not attend court. PTI


17:37  BJP wins on corruption in Karnataka: Rahul:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi today said there was “no contest” between his party’s government in Karnataka and the previous BJP regime in the southern state as regards corruption, adding that the saffron party’s rule “wins hands down”.

Gandhi took to Twitter to draw a comparison between the Congress government in Karnataka and the previous BJP regime (2008-13) in the state, with the help of figures to show that his party’s rule was better on all counts.

“In Karnataka, when it comes to corruption, it’s a “No Contest” as this graphic shows. The BJP wins hands down! (sic),” he tweeted, along with two sets of graphics. The graphics claimed that the Congress was the “top job creator” in the country, the Anna Bhagya scheme of the party’s government in Karnataka was feeding four crore people, the Ramthal Marol, Asia’s largest drip irrigation project, and the world’s largest solar power park were built by the party and that it had also waived the loans of 22 lakh farmers, amounting to Rs 8,165 crore, in the southern state.

See the graphics for the details.

17:21  Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal to exit company by selling his 5.5 pc stake to Walmart; Binny Bansal to stay.

17:20  Walmart’s $16 bn Flipkart buy is biggest deal this year:  Update on the Flipkart report.

US retailer Walmart’s buying 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for USD 16 billion is the biggest acquisition by a company in India this year. This is also Walmart’s biggest acquisition which will help it compete with its US-based rival Amazon.

The biggest M&A deal in India however is the yet-to-be-completed merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to create India’s largest telecom operator, surpassing Bharti Airtel.

That deal, worth USD 23 billion, was announced last year.

In August last year, Rosneft and its partners completed a USD 12.9 billion acquisition of Essar Oil to gain control over a 20 million tonnes a year oil refinery and over 3,500 petrol pumps.

This is the largest FDI into the country till that date and also the largest outbound investment from Russia.  UK’s BP Plc in 2011 bought 30 per cent stake in 23 oil and gas blocks, including eastern offshore KG-D6, of Reliance Industries for USD 7.2 billion.


17:16  PIL to cap air fares: HC seeks Centre, DGCA reply:  The Delhi High Court today sought responses from the Centre and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on a PIL seeking capping of air fares charged by the various airlines in the country.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar sought the stand of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA on the plea by a consumer rights activist who has alleged that the authorities were acting as “silent spectators” to the “arbitrary” fixing of fares by the airlines.

The activist, Bejon K Misra, in his plea, has claimed that capping of air fares was necessary as airlines often charge more than 10 times the base rate when there is a shortage of seats. In support of his claim, he has referred to the recent incident of IndiGo airline cancelling a large number of its flights after some of its A320N aircraft were grounded due to engine trouble.

Misra has alleged that due to the cancellation of these flights, IndiGo passengers had to book tickets at the last minute on other airlines at “exorbitant prices”.

He has sought that airlines should not be allowed to charge more than a justified hike in the advance booking fare. The petitioner has said that capping of air fares or guidelines to regulate them are necessary to ensure “greater transparency and accountability” and “discourage profiteering and undue enrichment in the business of civil aviation”. The court will hear the matter next on August 8. — PTI

17:10  Justice J Chelameswar, retiring as Supreme Court judge on June 22, declines invite for his farewell by Supreme Court Bar Association: SCBA.

17:00  “Fake” voter I-card row hits Karnataka days ahead of poll:  A massive controversy has rocked Karnataka after nearly 10,000 “fake” voter ID cards were seized from a flat in Rajrajeshwari Assembly seat, prompting the BJP to demand countermanding of the election claiming

Congress was behind the racket, a charge dismissed by the latter as a “lie”. With just three days left before Karnataka goes to poll, the BJP and Congress, the two main contenders for power, went after each other’s jugular, each claiming the flat belonged to a woman associated with the rival party.

Addressing a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed Congress candidate and sitting MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the alleged racket, which was exposed by BJP worker Rakesh.

Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjawala hit right back, alleging that the flat owner Manjula Nanjamari and Rakesh had BJP connections and both contested Bengaluru Municipal Corporation elections on the tickets of the saffron party. — PTI

16:48  Girl set on fire after she refused to share her mobile number:  Enraged over a girl’s refusal to share her mobile number despite his repeated requests, a man allegedly set his minor Dalit neighbour on fire at her house in Fariha village in Azamgarh district, police said today. The incident took place yesterday when Mohammad Shai, also resident of the same village, went to the victim’s house and allegedly pressurised her to give her mobile number to him.

According to the police, when the girl refused to disclose her number, Shai allegedly thrashed her and set her on fire after sprinkling kerosene on her.

The neighbours, who gathered after hearing the girl’s cry, extinguished the fire, and nabbed the accused while he was trying to flee from the spot, they said. Rushed to a nearby Sadar hospital, the girl, after getting preliminary treatment, was referred to a government hospital in Varanasi where her condition is stated to be critical, a police official said.

The victim has sustained over 80 per cent burn injuries, the official said. The accused, who was earlier beaten up by the locals at the crime scene, was also admitted to the Sadar hospital, he added.

Police said a case has been registered against the accused under sections of the SC/ST Act, POCSO Act and IPC. In order to prevent any communal tension in the village, a large number of force has been deployed in the area, police said. PTI


16:35  Tremors in Delhi, Gurgaon after quake in Kabul :  Tremors were felt in Delhi and neighbouring Gurgaon this afternoon after an earthquake hit Afghanistan’s capital Kabul. Tremors were also felt in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, reported news agency. More details awaited. ANI 


15:01  Walmart is buying Flipkart, confirms SoftBank:  SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son confirms US-based Walmart buying India e-tailer Flipkart, reports PTI. The Walmart-Flipkart deal was sealed on Tuesday night (Japan Time), Son said on a conference call after SoftBank reported earnings, adding that its investment in the Indian online marketplace had almost doubled.

The deal, likely to value Flipkart roughly at $18-20 billion, is likely to be the US retail giant’s biggest acquisition, NDTV reports.

Google parent Alphabet Inc is likely to partner Walmart in the deal. Walmart is likely to own a roughly 60 per cent stake, while Alphabet will get about 15 per cent ownership of Flipkart, the report said, citing sources.

14:32  4 LeT militants behind Baramulla attack held:  Police today busted a Lashker-e-Taiba terror module in north Kashmir and arrested 10 people, including four militants who were allegedly responsible for gunning down three boys at Baramulla on April 30.

“We have ample evidence to suggest the hand of outlawed Lasher-e-Taiba group in instigating violence and killing innocent people in north Kashmir,” Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Swayam Prakash Pani told reporters.

He said besides the four militants, police had also arrested six over-ground workers who were allegedly active in providing shelter and transportation to the militants.

A police spokesman said two of the four militants held were involved in the killing of Haseeb Nabi Khan, Irfan Ahmad Sheikh and Mohammad Asgar Sheikh ‘” all residents of Baramulla, on April 30.

“Eyewitness accounts suggested that three to four terrorists were involved in commission of this heinous crime,” the spokesman said. “Out of the three civilians killed, names of two had figured in a threatening video issued by the LeT during the 2016 unrest in the Valley,” he said.

The police said multiple parties of police, Army and the Central Reserve Police Force were tasked to track the culprits. Two AK rifles, Chinese pistols, four hand grenades, 50 AK rounds, four AK magazine and two pistol magazines were found from the militants’ hideout, they said. — PTI

14:09  EC, law panel likely to discuss simultaneous polls next week:  The Election Commission and the Law Commission are likely to hold a brainstorming session next week on the road ahead for holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections together.

The poll panel has invited law panel chief Justice B S Chauhan (retd) and other top officials to discuss the issue on May 16. “Yes, we will discuss the issue of simultaneous polls with the EC as they are the one who are mandated to hold elections,” said a law panel official.

The planned meeting comes days after the Law Commission issued a working paper on simultaneous polls. The law panel said simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies could be held in two phases beginning 2019, provided at least two provisions of the Constitution were amended and ratified by a majority of the states.

The states which are recommended to be covered under phase I, with Assembly polls in 2021, include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.


13:49  Akbar makes a comeback after Rana Pratap is vanquished. 


13:27  SC pulls up ASI for failing to protect Taj Mahal:  The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Archeological Survey of India for its failure to take appropriate steps to protect and preserve of the iconic Taj Mahal. The apex court also expressed concern over Taj Mahal being infected by insects and asked the authorities, including the ASI, what steps they have taken to prevent this.

“This situation would not have arisen if the ASI would have done its job. We are surprised with the way the ASI is defending itself. You (Centre) please consider if the ASI is needed there or not,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Centre.

Meanwhile, Nadkarni told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests was considering the apex court’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of Taj Mahal.

The counsel for ASI told the court that the problem of insects was due to stagnation of water of river Yamuna.

In March this year, the apex court had asked Uttar Pradesh government to place before it a draft of vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj and the environment in the Taj Trapezium Zone, which is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

The top court has been monitoring developments in the area to protect the monument, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. — PTI


13:14  ‘Maharana Pratap Road’ pasted over Akbar Road :   The Akbar Road signboard in New Delhi near the India Gate circle has been pasted over with a poster, ‘Maharana Pratap Road’. Today is the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap. The Congress party, whose headquarters are on Akbar Road, earlier today paid tribute to the warrior king. 


13:11  Normalcy returns to Kashmir as separatists call off strike:  Normalcy returned to most parts of Kashmir Valley today as the separatists called off their three-day strike against the death of six civilians during clashes with security forces, in which eight militants were also killed.

A police official said there were no restrictions in most parts of the Srinagar today, with shops and other business establishments getting back to business.

He said public transport also resumed services. Similar reports were received from district headquarters of the Valley, except in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir, the official said.

He said markets in main towns of Pulwama and Shopian remained shut, while the public transport was also suspended. The official, however, said the situation remained peaceful in these areas.

The Joint Resistance Leadership, an amalgam of separatist groups spearheaded by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, had yesterday called off their three-day strike, and asked the people to resume normal activities.

“JRL has asked the people to resume normal activities from tomorrow (Wednesday), but at the same time people from all walks of life should hoist black flags and display black arm bands to show their commitment to the movement,” a spokesman of the separatist amalgam said in a statement yesterday.

Five Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including an assistant professor of the Kashmir University, were killed in an encounter in the valley on Sunday. Five civilians, who were protesting near the encounter site, also died during clashes with security forces.

Another civilian youth, who was injured in the clashes, succumbed to injuries yesterday. The police official said most of the colleges and higher secondary schools in various districts of the Valley continued to remain shut for the third consecutive day today as a precautionary measure.

He said the universities in Kashmir, however, resumed classes this morning, while most of the schools across the Valley also reopened. “But the restrictions continue in Pulwama and Shopian districts where the educational institutes remain shut,” the police official said. — PTI

Representational image


12:43  Lalu granted 5-day parole:  RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav has been granted a five-day parole to attend his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav’s wedding. Lalu Prasad Yadav is serving jail sentence after being convicted in fodder scam cases by a special CBI Court in Ranchi since December last year.

Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap will get married to Aishwarya Rai, eldest daughter of RJD leader Chandrika Prasad Rai, on May 12 in Patna.

Tej Pratap Yadav got engaged to, Aishwarya, at a posh hotel in Patna on April 18.

The RJD chief, who has been serving a jail term in Birsa Munda central jail, was admitted to AIIMS on March 29 for specialised treatment. — ANI

12:34  Parliamentary Committee reports can’t be challenged: SC :  Five-judge Constitution bench rules that parliamentary committee reports can’t be challenged or their validity questioned in courts. The SC says courts can refer to parliamentary reports for statutory interpretation in accordance with law and courts can take judicial notice of parliamentary committee reports but their validity can’t be challenged. Constitution bench verdict is unanimous in ruling on parliamentary reports but three judges give different opinions.

12:29  Fake voter ID: Siddaramaiah accuses BJP of misusing govt machinery:  Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday accused the the BJP of misusing government machinery. While addressing the media, the Chief Minister said that the Congress is constantly under surveillance of the BJP.

“This is the 12th time, I am fighting elections but for the first time, these raids are being conducted at the time of elections. They are misusing government machinery,” Siddaramaiah said.

He added, “It is the Election Commission’s job to investigate. I don’t have to say anything about it.”

Last night, 9,746 voter ID cards were found from a flat in SLV Park View Apartment in Bengaluru’s Jalahalli locality, and the Election Commission’s revelation of the same at midnight was followed by political sparring, as both BJP and Congress alleged the other’s links with the concerned flat.


12:07  Rajnandgaon: Two villagers shot dead by Naxals at around 7:30 pm in Gandai yesterday on suspicion that they were police informants. That’s the letter left behind by the Naxals as a warning to the villagers. 


12:01  PM on Rahul’s PM ambition: It’s an evidence of arrogance:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his rallies in Karnataka. The first one is at Bangarpet, followed by three more at Chikkaamagaluru, Belagavi and Bidar districts. Excerpts from the speech.

— Congress is affected with six diseases and makes those six diseases viral wherever it goes. They are – Congress culture, Communalism, Casteism, Crime, Corruption, Contractor system. These six Cs are destroying the future of Karnataka:

— Yesterday in Karnataka, someone made an important declaration. Ignoring those waiting in queue, those in alliances, those sitting with 40 years of experience & said, “I am going to be PM!”. Declaring oneself a Prime Minister like this, isn’t it an evidence of arrogance?

— To remove Modi, there are big meetings being held. How will the big leaders who attend these meetings react to this sudden announcement by one ‘Naamdaar’ that he is going to be Prime Minister.

— Congress is only interested in deals. I’m not saying this. It’s a Congress MP and former CM (Karnataka) Veerappa Moily who said this. When tickets were sold, he said that Congress will have to solve their ‘money problem’ & also blamed PWD Minister for deal-making.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also has his schedule planned in the poll bound state. He would be holding meetings in Hubali, at Rattihalli Ground and Sahakarnagar in the city.


11:37  Congress President Rahul Gandhi offers prayers at the Dodda Ganapathi temple in Bengaluru’s Basavanagudi, while PM Modi begins his first rally for the day at Bangarpet in Karnataka. 

11:10  SC to hear Muthalik’s plea tomorrow:  Supreme Court to hear the plea of the chief of Rashtriya Hindu Sena Pramod Muthalik on Karnataka assembly elections, tomorrow. Muthalik in his plea claimed that the Congress’s manifesto seeks vote in the name of religion and thus all Congress candidates should be disqualified from contesting the Karnataka assembly election.

11:08  PM: 4, Rahul: 4, Yogi: 2: Karnataka rally line-up today:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday will address four rallies in Karnataka’s Bangarpet, Chikkaamagaluru, Belagavi and Bidar districts.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also has his schedule planned in the poll bound state. He would be holding meetings in Hubali, at Rattihalli Ground and Sahakarnagar in the city.

Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi will also be holding meetings in Bengaluru. He would begin his day by visiting Dodda Ganapathi Temple in Basavanagudi in the morning and then hold public meetings at Krishna Nagar Industrial Area, Shivaji Nagar, Thippasandra Main Road and Hebbal.

Earlier in the day, the BJP has demanded to countermand of elections in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar constituency following the recovery of tens of thousands voters identity cards and empty packers of hard currency from a house.

The Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar has informed in a late night press conference yesterday that 9,746 voter identity cards were found in bundles in an apartment yesterday in Bengaluru.

These EPICS found to be genuine, belonged to people from the slums.Chief Electoral Officer further said that five laptops and a printer were also found in the place.

An FIR has been filed and an independent inquiry has been ordered.

A BJP delegation, led by Union Minister Sadanand Gowda, is meeting the CEO today on this issue.

The Congress has however said that the apartment belongs to a BJP leader and this whole drama is enacted by it for countermanding the election in this constituency.

The campaigning for assembly elections in Karnataka reached its peak as only two days have been left for canvassing.

Top leaders of different political parties are making their last-ditch efforts to woo the voters. — ANI


10:44  Anand lucky to have Sonam: Harshvardhan Kapoor :  As the dust settles over Sonam Kapoor’s big fat Bollywood wedding, a brother gets sentimental.

Actor Harshvardhan Kapoor wished happiness and love to his sibling and said his brother-in-law is a “lucky” man to have Sonam as his wife.

Harshvardhan shared a photograph of himself with the newly-married couple on Instagram and wrote: “Mush alert – Senior Sonam Kapoor… There is no one quite like you and no one with a bigger heart. You’re a lucky man Anand Ahuja, but remember I was here first! Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness and love.”

Sonam, who has earned the ‘fashionista’ tag in Bollywood with her experimental taste, chose a bright red lehenga with heavy jewellery for her wedding day. The groom too looked dapper in a a beige sherwani. He paired his sherwani with a beige and cream ‘saafa’ along with pearl and ruby strings.

Patisserie queen, Pooja Dhingra also took to Instagram to share a photograph of the quirky chocolate wedding cake, which features Sonam dragging Anand away from a basketball court.

From the film and fashion industry, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rani Mukerji, Swara Bhasker, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, designer Masaba Gupta and stylist Pernia Qureshi were present at the wedding ceremony.  — ANI


10:34  Trump-Xi discuss bilateral trade over phone call :   United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the bilateral trade talks with China must bring a beneficial outcome for the US businesses.

As per the official White House press release on Tuesday “President Trump affirmed his commitment to ensuring that the trade and investment relationship between the United States and China is balanced and benefits American businesses and workers.

“As reported by the South China Morning Post President Xi, in turn, called for a “mutually beneficial” result of talks in the backdrop of a volatile bilateral trade environment.

They further discussed the recent diplomatic engagements between the two countries, which were aimed at easing trade conflicts between the two. The talks came soon after the third California-China Business Summit that was held in China culminated on May 4.

As per the reports both sides have managed to reach some agreements over their bilateral trade.On the sidelines of the Business summit, China’s Vice Premier Liu He held a bilateral talk with United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

They agreed on resolving common concerns regarding economic and trade issues through dialogue and deliberation.They further discussed the issue of increasing US trade exports to China, bilateral trade service, two-way investment, protection of intellectual property rights and imbalanced tariff rates. — PTI

10:14  Sensex slips 82 points on weak global cues:  The BSE Sensex fell over 82 points in early trade today on weak global cues after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, fanning fears of an escalation in geopolitical tensions.

Crude oil prices zoomed past USD 76 per barrel mark amid foreign capital outflows and depreciating rupee. Asian shares ticked down as renewed US sanctions on Tehran were seen as disruptive for oil supplies.

The 30-share Sensex fell by 82.12 points, or 0.23 per cent to 35,134.20. Sectoral indices led by oil and gas, PSU, banking, realty, auto, capital goods and power declined by up to 0.83 per cent. — PTI


10:03  K’taka votes at 58,000 booths; 600 run by women, 10 by disabled:  As the Karnataka assembly elections loom, Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar on Tuesday dwelled upon the preparedness. A total of 58,000 booths have been set up out of which 600 will be fully run by women and 10 plus booths will be run by disabled people.

“Total 58,000 booths have been set up out of which 600 will be fully run by women and will be known as pink booths, 10 plus booths will be run by disabled people and 28 booths will have ethnic design,” Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told ANI.

“We will be using 80,000 Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with 80,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). More than Rs.70 Cr cash and liquor worth Rs.32 Cr has been seized. We’re prepared for elections on May 12,” Kumar added.

With the election to the 225-member Karnataka State Assembly edging closer, the state has become a battleground with public rallies being the primary form of warfare.

Both the BJP and Congress have extensively tried to undermine each other in a bid to woo the electorate of the state. Karnataka will go to polls on May 12 to elect representatives to their 225-seat assembly while the results will be declared on May 15. — ANI


09:48  Vijay Mallya loses over Rs 10,000 cr lawsuit in UK court :   Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya faced a major setback on Tuesday after he lost a lawsuit filed in London by a consortium of Indian banks seeking to collect the amount of Rs 10,000 crore amid allegations that he committed massive fraud.

A judge ruled that the consortium of lenders, including IDBI Bank, can impose an Indian court’s decision against Mallya, who was found to have willfully defaulted on $1.4 billion in debt taken by his now-defunct airline Kingfisher.

Judge Andrew Henshaw in London also refused to overturn a worldwide freeze placed on Mallya’s assets.

Mallya’s lawyers now have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the UK.62-year-old, Mallya is facing a trail in the UK Court, to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges for financial irregularities involving a total amount of Rs 9,000 crores, as well as money laundering cases.In April last year, Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant.

He is out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.Apart from this case, the High Court of London on February 12 ordered Mallya to pay an estimated USD 90 million to a Singapore-based aircraft leasing company in claims.

The case involves a number of aircraft leased by Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from BOC Aviation in 2014. He, however, denied the allegations against him and claimed they are “politically motivated”. — ANI


08:42  Nearly 10,000 voter IDs found in Bengaluru apartment, EC orders probe:  

Nearly 10,000 voters ID cards were found at a rented apartment of a Congress lawmaker in North Bangalores R R Nagar area late on Tuesday night, leading to a probe by the Election Commission. 

In the late night drama, 9,746 voter IDs and two trunks of ‘counter papers’ (similar to acknowledgement) were found at the apartment of Munirathna Congress MLA Manjula Nanjamari, following which Karnatakas Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar held a press conference and said that the the IDs appear to belong to slum-dwellers of the area.

An investigation is being conducted by the district electoral officer and three observers, Kumar said, adding that over one lakh chits that looked like counter foils of elections were found but not all are genuine. He said that the probe will ascertain the significance of the chits.

Highlighting the seriousness of the matter, the chief electoral officer further said that the number of voters in R R Nagar is “quite high” compared to the state average. “There are 4,35,439 voters in main rolls of RR Nagar. This poll has seen a rise of 44,837,” he said.

The late night revelation sent Congress into a huddle with party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addressing a press conference on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The Election Commission has clearly said that Congress legislator Manjula Nanjamari had rented the flat to her son Rakesh, who contested the 2015 BBMP elections on BJP ticket. As you can see in the this picture, BJP MLA candidate Muniraj Gowda is with BJP leader Rakesh — the man in whose flat voter IDs were recovered. BJP’s lies stand exposed,” Surjewala said.

As the matter escalated, former prime minister and JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda visited the place where the probe was being conducted and asked the chief electoral officer to take “suitable action”, while Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar demanded to postpone the election to R R Nagar seat. Kumar said that he also wants polls in Badami to be conducted under vigil of paramilitary forces as IT raids saw huge cash seizures in the area.


08:12  Withdrawal from Iranian nuclear deal a mistake, says Obama:  

Walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a mistake, former US President Barack Obama said, asserting that the deal negotiated by his administration had worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear programme.

“I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake,” Obama said in a rare statement issued yesterday after US President Donald Trump announced to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal and signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Iran.

The Iranian nuclear deal was a signature foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration. The former president said without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East.

Noting that all are aware of the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, he said it could embolden an already dangerous regime, threaten friends with destruction, pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region.

“If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear programme under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it,” he said.

In a dangerous world, Obama said, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure its country.

“We have been safer in the years since we achieved the JCPOA, thanks in part to the work of our diplomats, many members of Congress, and our allies. Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe,” he said.

In probably his first statement on foreign policy after he left the White House in January 2017, Obama said there were few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons or the potential for an even more destructive war in the Middle East. That’s why the United States negotiated the JCPOA in the first place, he said.

“The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current US secretary of defence,” the former president said. 

The JCPOA is in America’s interest it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear programme, he added.

“And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes with Iran the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans,” he said.

That is why the announcement is so misguided, Obama said, adding, “Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated.”



00:23  Politics is abode of ‘hypocrites’, says Nitin Gadkari:  

A candid Union minister Nitin Gadkari says politics is the abode of “hypocrites”.

Gadkari at a book launch event in Mumbai said, “If you want to see ‘dhongi’ (fraud) and hypocrites, which other field you have (them) than ours (politics).”

The veteran politician said the national capital is home to many such people and provides a lot of scope to write about them.

“And if you come to Delhi than (being in) Mumbai, there is a lot of scope to write (on such people),” the BJP leader said after releasing “Bin Chehryachi Manasa” (faceless people), a book written by journalist Atul Kulkarni.

Gadkari said politics is full of faceless people.

“When I was told that the title of the book is ‘Bin Chehryachi Manasa’, I thought the book is about people in politics, because you will get these people only in politics,” Gadkari maintained.

“Ek chehre pe kai chehre laga lete hai log (people put many faces on their face),” Gadkari said, quoting lines from a popular Hindi song.

“The number of such faces in Delhi is very large. They may fall to your feet one moment and pull the same feet the next moment,” he said.

The minister said appearance can be deceptive.

“I have met many big people so far, but I have observed that many people who we think are big are very small in reality and those we think are small turn out to be big,” he said.

Other speakers at the event included Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, his predecessor Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress and Vijay Darda and Rajendra Darda of Lokmat Group of newspapers.

The book, a compilation of short stories, has sketches by political journalist-turned-artist Prakash Bal Joshi and calligraphy by Achyut Palav. —  PTI


00:03  Trump announces withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal:  

United States President Donald Trump has announced that he is quitting the Iran nuclear deal.

“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said from the White House.

“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and cotton structure of the current agreement,” he said. 

“The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen,” he added.

In announcing his decision, Trump will initiate new sanctions to go forward, crippling the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor, according to a US official and a person familiar with the plan.

“The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” the President said.

“In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear breakout,” he said.

“Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie,” the president added.

Source: Rediff