13:46 Navjot Sidhu told to shush : Yes, this is for real. Punjab’s Local Government, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been advised complete rest for three to five days as he was “on the brink of losing his voice.”
13:23 CBI vs CBI: Extraordinary situations need extraordinary remedies, CVC tells SC: Extraordinary situations need extraordinary remedies, the Central Vigilance Commission told the Supreme Court on Thursday during the hearing of CBI Director Alok Verma’s plea against the Centre’s decision to divest him of powers and send him on leave.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CVC, referred to the apex court judgements and laws governing the CBI and said the Commission’s superintendence (over the CBI) encompasses “surprise, extraordinary situations”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Attorney General K K Venugopal told it that circumstances culminating in the situation started in July.
Advocate Fali Nariman for CBI Director Alok Verma told the court, ‘In all circumstances they must consult the selection committee. Transfer in this case doesn’t mean transfer in service jurisprudence. Transfer doesn’t only mean one place to another.”
Nariman added, “There cant be an acting Chief Justice of India, there has to be a Chief Justice of India as per the constitution. Same situation here, they can’t have an acting director of CBI.”
CJI Ranjan Gogoi asks, “If there is an exigent issue situation can the Supreme Court appoint an acting director?” Nariman replied, “Yes, the Supreme Court can appoint because the final arbiter of the Constitution is the SC.”
The SC bench added that the essence of the government action must be in the interest of the institution. The top court said it was not that the fight between the CBI director and Special Director Rakesh Asthana emerged overnight, forcing the government to divest the director of powers without consulting the Selection Committee.
It further said the government has to be “fair” and asked what the difficulty was in consulting the Selection Committee before divesting the CBI director of his power.
The court was hearing the pleas of Verma, who is challenging the Centre’s decision against him, and the NGO Common Cause, seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Asthana. PTI
Image: CBI director Alok Verma with special director Rakesh Asthana. Pic courtesy: CBI.gov.in.
12:56 Sanathan Sanstha named in chargesheet in Maharashtra Arms Haul case : ‘The accused in the Maharashtra arms haul case were members of right-wing outfits like the Sanathan Sanstha and motivated to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, police said in its chargesheet filed in a special court in Mumbai Wednesday.
The state police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, which probed the case, submitted its chargesheet against 12 accused in the special NIA court presided over by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar.
The case relates to the seizure of arms and ammunition from different parts of the state in August this year.
“The accused were members of organisations such as the (Goa-headquartered) Sanathan Sanstha, (its affiliate) ‘Hindu Janjagruti’ and similar other smaller outfits,” the ATS said.
“They had drawn their motivation of making efforts towards establishment of so-called Hindu Rashtra as explained in the Marathi book ‘Kshatra Dharma Sadhana’, published by Sanathan Sanstha,” it said.
The accused had hatched a conspiracy to undermine security and sovereignty of the country, the investigating agency said.
“The accused had also conspired to form a terrorist gang of youths with similar mindset to work towards undermining unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of the country,” it said. — PTI
12:36 ‘Parrikar is living for Modi and Shah’: For 12 days, Goa-based RTI activist Rajan Ghate sat on a hunger strike, demanding that ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar transfer his portfolios to his other ministerial colleagues.
Parrikar manages the crucial portfolios of home, personnel and finance in the state government.
Parrikar has been recuperating at his home near Panaji since October 14 upon his return from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi where he underwent treatment for a pancreatic ailment.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained that the government it leds in the coastal state is stable and all allies are with the BJP.
“He is not transferring his power to other ministers because he doesn’t trust any of them,” Ghate, tells Rediff.com’s Hemant Waje.
Read the interview here.
12:32 Fitch slashes India growth forecast to 7.2 pc on reduced credit availability: Fitch Ratings Thursday slashed India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent for current fiscal, from 7.8 per cent projected in September, citing higher financing cost and reduced credit availability.
In its Global Economic Outlook released Thursday, Fitch estimated India’s GDP growth to be 7 per cent and 7.1 per cent in financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively. Indian economy grew 6.7 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal.
The 7.2 per cent GDP growth for current fiscal is substantially lower than 7.8 per cent and 7.4 per cent projections made by Fitch in September and June respectively. It is also lower than RBI’s 7.4 per cent growth estimates for this fiscal. — PTI
12:29 What Adityanath told slain Bulandshahr cop’s family today: This is what happened at the meeting between UP CM Yogi Adityanath and the family of the slain Bulandshahr cop Subodh Kumar Singh. Adityanath met Singh’s wife and two sons at his Kalidas Marg residence in Lucknow this morning.
UP DGP OP Singh, who was present at the meeting told reporters:
— The CM gave an assurance to the victim’s family that they will remain like a family and there would not any disturbance in their studies.
— The government would pay off the education loan that the family had taken.
— Adityanath had declared Monday a compensation of Rs 40 lakh for the wife, Rs 10 lakh for the parents and a government job for a member of his family.
The inspector was also an Investigating Officer (IO) in the 2015 Akhlaq lynching case. Singh and a 20-year-old man were killed in mob violence triggered by alleged slaughter of cows in Bulandshahr.
The chief minister had ordered a thorough probe and issued directions
to take strict action against those involved in the alleged cow
slaughter in the western UP district.
Adityanath had held a late night meeting in Lucknow with the chief secretary, the DGP, the principal secretary (home) and the additional director general of police (intelligence).
Image: IO Subodh Kumar Singh’s family at the UP CM’s residence this morning.
12:01 SC says govt action must be in interest of CBI: The Supreme Court, which is hearing CBI Director Alok Verma’s plea against the Centre’s decision to divest him of powers and send him on leave, on Thursday said the essence of government action must be in the interest of the institution.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Attorney General K K Venugopal told it that circumstances culminating in the situation started in July. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Vigilance Commission, referred to apex court judgements and laws governing the CBI.
The apex court said it was not that the fight between the CBI director and Special Director Rakesh Asthana emerged overnight, forcing the govt to divest the director of powers without consulting the Selection Committee.
The CBI director and the special director were fighting like “kilkenny cats”, exposing the country’s premier investigating agency to “public ridicule”, the government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday while justifying the decision to divest Verma of his duties.
Attorney General K K Venugopal also told the top court that the government was well “within its right to intervene” and send both officers on leave by divesting them of their powers.
The top law officer asserted that “only the God knows where and how this fight between the two top officers would have ended” if the government would not have taken the action which was aimed at restoring the public faith in the CBI.
The court was hearing pleas of Verma, who is challenging the Centre’s decision against him, and NGO Common Cause, seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Asthana. — PTI
11:53 U’khand govt sets up panel to examine objections about Kedarnath: The Uttarakhand government has constituted a panel headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj to look into objections being raised about upcoming film Kedarnath, a love story set against the backdrop of the 2013 deluge, an official release said.
Starring actor Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan the film directed by Ashish Kapoor releases tomorrow. Headed by Maharaj, the committee set up on Wednesday has Home Secretary Nitesh Jha, Information Secretary Dilip Jawalkar and DGP Anil Raturi as members, the release said.
The panel will examine the objections being raised about the movie and submit its report to the government. An appropriate decision on the screening of the movie across the state will be taken on basis of its report, it said.
A senior BJP leader from Uttarakhand had first raised objections against the film, accusing it of promoting “love jihad” by depicting a romantic love story between a Muslim porter and a Hindu pilgrim.
Demanding a ban on the release of the film, Ajendra Ajay had also said that despite being set against one of the worst human tragedies, the film made fun of Hindu sentiments. A PIL was also filed recently in the Uttarakhand High Court alleging that the film was an “ugly taint” on the Himalayan shrine. However, the makers of the film have appealed to people not to jump to conclusions about its content by just seeing its teaser or trailer. — PTI
11:42 Sean Penn reportedly working on Jamal Khashoggi documentary : Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Sean Penn was recently spotted outside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul as he is reportedly shooting for a documentary based on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The 58-year-old was accompanied by a crew of 10, including bodyguards, reports Al Jazeera.According to local media reports, Penn will also have meetings with Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz and a few others who were close to the journalist.
Washington Post columnist, Khashoggi – an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince – went missing on October 2, after stepping into the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul to collect documents that would allow him to marry fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate.
Cengiz raised an alarm after Khashoggi failed to re-emerge from the Saudi consulate.A few weeks after the October 2 incident, Saudi Arabia accepted the fact that the group of 15 Saudi agents were behind the murder of the former Washington Post journalist, leading to an international furore.
Actions have been taken against the Saudi nationals who have been arrested by the Kingdom’s authorities for their alleged involvement in the killing of Khashoggi. — ANI
11:35 AgustaWestland: British High Commission seeks access to Michel : The British High Commission has asked the Indian government for consular access to Christian Michel, sources said on Thursday. Michel is a British citizen and the alleged middleman in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland deal.
The Indian Government has not responded to the British High Commission’s latest request, the sources added.
Michel was extradited to Delhi from UAE on Tuesday night and a court here on Wednesday remanded him to five-day Central Bureau of Investigation custody.
During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Advocate DP Singh appeared for the CBI and asked for a 14-day custody of Michel for a thorough probe. Michel’s counsel Aljo K Joseph had opposed it and had also moved a bail plea for Michel.
The court kept the bail plea pending for next hearing and allowed Michel’s counsel one hour each in the morning and evening for consultancy.
According to CBI sources, Michel complained of anxiety during questioning by CBI and subsequently, he was given medicine.
On Tuesday, the CBI had issued a statement saying: “Wanted fugitive criminal Christian Michel James who has been avoiding criminal proceedings in India in AgustaWestland Case is being extradited by UAE Authorities to India.
Under the guidance of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor, the entire operation is being coordinated by Incharge Director/CBI M. Nageswara Rao. A team lead by A. Sai Manohar, Joint Director/CBI has been to Dubai for the purpose. — ANI
11:27 Thunder on chopper, silence on bomber: The frigid campaign for the winter Assembly polls ended on Wednesday with clatter over helicopters and silence on combat aircraft — both stemming from the very top of the political pyramid.Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday played up British arms agent Christian Michel’s extradition and referred to the “helicopter scandal’ but skirted the Rafale controversy while campaigning in Rajasthan. Read more
11:23 Ayodhya seers seek divine intervention for Ram temple on Babri anniversary: Seers in the temple town of Ayodhya will offer prayers and seek divine intervention for early construction of a Ram temple on Thursday, the 26th anniversary of Babri mosque demolition.
The mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by ‘karsevaks’ who had converged as part of a movement by the BJP and Hindu outfits for construction of a temple dedicated to Lord Ram at the disputed site. Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara told PTI that it will mark the day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (day of bravery), which has been a tradition for the last 25 years.
“We are celebrating ‘Shaurya Diwas’ and then there will be a grand ‘aarti’ at Naka Hanumangarhi. We will seek divine intervention from Lord Ram and urge him to help us build a grand temple for him,” he said.
“Now we want that the Ram temple should be built at the earliest,” he added. Meanwhile, Iqbal Ansari, a Muslim litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, said the community will observe ‘Yaum E Gham’ (day of sorrow) on Thursday.
There will be no protests or roadshows. “How long do we have to observe ‘Yaum E Gham’? Now we want that the court should decide (the case) and we will abide by its order,” he said.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal have announced that they will mark the day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’ and ‘Vijay Diwas’ (day of victory) and have asked the people to light earthen lamps as on Diwali. Muslim outfits have said they will observe ‘Yaum E Gham’ and ‘Yaum E Syah’ (black day).
Over 2,500 police personnel, besides Rapid Action Force and paramilitary CRPF, have been deployed as part of multi-layered security in Ayodhya including in and around the disputed site and several parts of Hanumangarhi area of the city, officials said. — PTI
Image: Security has been tightened in Ayodhya on the anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition.
10:57 Mamata asks people to uphold secular fabric of country: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said that India is incomplete without all communities, religions, castes, creed and gender and asked the people the uphold the secular fabric of the country.
She compared the country with the human body and said that December 6 is observed in West Bengal as “Sanhati Dibas” to mark the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
“Today is 6th December. We observe this day as Sanhati Dibas in #Bangla,” Banerjee tweeted. “Just like a human body is incomplete without all organs, India is incomplete without all communities, religions, castes, creed and gender. Let us pledge to uphold the secular fabric of India,” she added.
On this day in 1992, the 16th-century Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh was demolished by a large number of ‘kar sevaks’. — PTI
10:53 CM has assured us of justice: Cop’s son: Shrey Pratap Singh, the son of Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh on meeting UP CM Yogi Adityanath: “We met the Chief Minister and he has assured us that we will get justice.”
10:39 Kashmir: Under a hobnailed boot: Area domination is a term that comes with easy disconcert to folks in militarised, conflict-ridden zones — a daily, cloying intimacy, a shadow that won’t go away for any amount of shrugging. Kashmir is an area domination domain, probably, and wretchedly, our premier showcase of it — a sundered, splintered, plundered, barb-fenced, barrel-ridden, risked, fisted, rebuked, bludgeoned, bleeding, weeping geography trodden over by the hob-nailed heel of one ownership or another.
Kashmir, a possession so precious it has to be had to destruction. Area domination — that’s first, middle and last name for Kashmir, you might almost want to spell Kashmir that way.
Read Sankarshan Thakur’s column here.
10:24 Piyush Pandey to become only Indian Global CCO: India’s beloved ad-man Piyush Pandey was named Global CCO of Ogilvy effective January 1, 2019, on Wednesday. He becomes the first Indian to take up the role of a worldwide chief creative officer. Read the report here.
10:03 Yogi finally meets cop’s family three days after murder :
The family of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh who died after being attacked by a mob protesting over alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr meets UP CM Yogi Adityanath at his residence in Lucknow. The slain cop’s wife, his two sons, his sister. and other relatives, were at the meeting.
Yogi Adityanath has come under severe flak keeping the focus firmly on cow slaughter by ordering a probe on the matter but remaining silent on the cop’s murder.
The murdered cop’s sister has said the CM’s focus only remains on cows and has remained mum on her brother’s death.
Inspector Singh, who had probed the Akhlaq lynching case initially, and a 20-year-old local had died of gunshot injuries on Monday, December 3, as a rampaging mob protesting alleged cow slaughter torched a police post and clashed with the cops, according to police. The mob left more than five policemen wounded, burned down a police station and set several vehicles on fire. A local man was also shot dead in the violence.
09:38 Swamy backs VHP observing Babri Demolition Anniversary : BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Thursday asserted that there is nothing wrong with the Vishva Hindu Parishad observing the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque, and added that the same must be done peacefully.
Speaking to ANI on 26th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque, Swamy said, “The VHP has a right to observe the day as they have led the movement. Babri Masjid was an eyesore for everybody. After all, there was a temple and it is Ram Janamabhoomi. Babar comes here and his commander breaks the temple and builds a mosque on top of it. So many people have been protesting. Maybe 4000-5000 people have been killed. If VHP wants to observe the day, its fine but it should be peaceful.”
The VHP will be observe a ‘Shaurya Diwas’ today, days after it organised a Dharam Sabha in Ayodhya on November 25 to seek support for construction of a grand Ram temple.
Also on December 18, the VHP will celebrate Gita Jayanti. This day marks the day Lord Krishna ‘revealed’ the Bhagavad Gita to Arjun.
All this comes at a time when political parties and other organisations in favour of construction of Ram Temple have raised the pitch over the sensitive issue, demanding an early construction of the temple.
Notably, after the Supreme Court refused an early hearing, many outfits have urged the government to bring in an ordinance to facilitate construction of Ram temple at the site.
Thousands of security personnel have dotted the roads and bylanes of the holy city to avoid any untoward incident from taking place.
Reportedly, over 2,500 police personnel, besides Rapid Action Force and paramilitary CRPF, have been deployed as part of multi-layered security including in and around the disputed site and several parts of Hanumangarhi area of the temple town.The Babri mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by ‘karsevaks’. — ANI
09:30 When PM Narendra Modi Visited Court No 1 in the Supreme Court: Narendra Modi is big on claiming historic firsts, even if some do not survive a vigorous fact-check. On November 25, however, he is believed to have indulged in a genuine first ‘” visiting the Supreme Court, something no prime minister is known to have done in the 60 years since the court’s current premises were inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru. Then, according to people present, he took Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by surprise, and asked to see Court No. 1, over which the CJI presides.
Read the report here.
09:17 Chinese effort to impose its own Dalai Lama would be opposed: US:
The United States believes that the decision on picking the next Dalai Lama should be as per Tibet’s religious traditions and that it is not a role of the state, a top Trump Administration official has told lawmakers, hinting that it will oppose any move by China to impose its own Dalai Lama.
“The United States has a very clear position that religious decisions should be made within religious organisations and that this isn’t the role of the state,” Laura Stone, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy during a Congressional hearing.
Stone was responding to a question from Senator Cory Gardner.
“China has said that they will pick the next Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Policy, actually in 2002, mandated that American officials visit Tibet on a regular basis. I want to get into both of these. If China proceeds and tries to impose a Dalai Lama what will the US response be?” the senator had asked.
Gardner said it was clear that this Congress would not recognise a Chinese imposition.
Stone said the senator asking such a question was an important signal in itself to the Chinese government that this was the kind of issue that the United States was watching very closely and at very senior levels.
“I wouldn’t want to prejudge exactly how this, a future scenario, would roll out but I would like to lay a marker that that is the clear position of the United States government and, I think, widely supported within the American society, that those are the kinds of decisions that should be made by religious communities on their own and without outside interference,” she asserted.
In his remarks, Gardner said the crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region was intensifying while Beijing continued to refuse negotiations with the Central Tibetan Administration.
“Human rights defenders are routinely jailed, tortured, and otherwise deprived of liberty. A genuine freedom of speech and assembly are nonexistent. Corruption and abuse of power are rampant. The judicial system is a tool of the state and the party and not an impartial arbiter of legal disputes,” he said. — PTI
08:51 India 4th highest emitter of CO2: Study:
India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, accounting for 7 per cent of global emissions in 2017, a study said.
The top four emitters in 2017, which covered 58 per cent of global emissions, were China (27 per cent), the United States(15 per cent), the European Union (10 per cent) and India (7 per cent), according to the projection by the Global Carbon Project.
The rest of the world contributed 41 per cent last year, it said.
India’s emissions look set to continue their strong growth by an average of 6.3 per cent in 2018, with growth across all fuels — coal (7.1pc), oil (2.9pc) and gas (6.0pc), the study said.
The top 10 emitters were China, the US, the EU, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
The study also said that the Indian emissions were projected to grow 2 per cent in 2017, compared to 6 per cent per year averaged over the previous decade, due to significant government interventions in the economy.
In India, emissions are expected to grow by a solid 6.3 per cent in 2018, pushed by strong economic growth of around 8 per cent per year.
“Coal is still the mainstay of the Indian economy, and as in China, it will be a challenge for solar and wind to displace coal, given the strong growth in energy use,” it said.
It also said that although global coal use is still 3 per cent lower than its historical high, it is expected to grow in 2018, driven by growth in energy consumption in China and India. — PTI
08:20 ‘Can’t understand link’: Mallya on Christian Michel extradition:
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday rejected any links between his proposed settlement offer to banks or an upcoming court verdict on his extradition and that of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, who was brought back to India on Tuesday.
Mallya again appealed to banks to accept his offer to take back the principal loan amount he owes them.
“Respectfully to all commentators, I cannot understand how my extradition decision or the recent extradition from Dubai and my settlement offer are linked in any way. Wherever I am physically,my appeal is please take the money. I want to stop the narrative that I stole money,” Mallya tweeted.
The owner of the defunct Kingfisher airline in a series of Tweet on Wednesday offered to pay back 100 per cent of the public money to various Indian banks and even urged the government to accept his offer.
Mallya’s proposal comes days ahead of UK court’s decision on his plea not to extradite him to India.
The 62-year business tycoon is undergoing an extradition trail in a UK court over fraud and money laundering charges allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
00:04 UK seeks info from India on Michel’s extradition:
The United Kigdom government on Wednesday said it has sought urgent information from India on the circumstances surrounding the detention and extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case, who is facing allegations of bribery.
“Our staff continues to support the family of a British man following his detention in the UAE,” said a spokesperson for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
“We are in contact with his family and the Emirati authorities regarding his case, and are urgently seeking information from the Indian authorities on his circumstances,” the spokesperson said.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI. — PTI