15:59 Governor reaches Raj Bhavan: Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao reaches Raj Bhavan in Chennai. Two crucial meetings up ahead — at 5 pm with O Panneerselvam and and at 7:30 pm with Sasikala.
Image: Governor Vidyasagar Rao on board the flight to Chennai. He refused to comment on the ongoing crisis in Tamil Nadu.
15:46 OPS receives TN governor at Chennai aiport, meeting @ 5 pm : Just in: The man Sasikala and OPS have been waiting for has finally arrived. Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao lands in Chennai. O Panneerselvam is at the airport to receive him. The governor has asked for a meeting with OPS at 5 pm after which he will meet Sasikala at 7:30 pm. She will not be accompanied by her MLAs.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister got a valuable ally in the form of AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan who, in an indirect attack on general secretary Sasikala Natarajan, said the party “needed to be saved.”
Thanking him for his support, Panneerselvam said Madhusudhanan was a loyal party member since the MGR days and he had agreed to be CM only after he was told that Madhusudhanan would be the general secretary. Former Villivakkam MLA JCD Prabhakar has also extended support to Panneerselvam.
Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao will be meeting OPS first, at 5 pm, and then Sasikala at 7:30 pm. However, she will be meeting him alone, and not accompanied by her MLAs.
Meanwhile, OPS welcomes L Madhusudanan, the AIADMK Presidium’s Chairman, as he arrives at the CM’s home. Madhusudanan has said that OPS is the real leader.
OPS for his part says, “Our senior leader Madhusudan was threatened and pressurised, and despite that he stood alone to safeguard party. We welcome him.”
OPS says it is Sasikala who is doing dirty tricks to acquire the chair of CM, if she succeeds it will be a big blot on democracy.
Madusudhanan has alleged there is a mystery behind Jayalalithaa’s death and appeals to people to support OPS.
“I will protect MGR’s and Jayalalithaa’s legacy at all costs. When Amma was in hospital, after 24 days Sasikala told me she is fine. That was the first time she spoke to me,” OPS says.
“Only when they (Saiskala) said Madhusudhanan will become General Secretary, I agreed to become Chief Minister.”
15:20 Manmohan Singh cannot run away from scams taken place under his regime: Amit Shah : A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi passed ‘raincoat’ remark on his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Thursday said though the former prime minister never took responsibility of the scams that took place under the UPA regime, he can neither run away from it.
“Prime Minister Modi is speaking the truth that Manmohan Singh didn’t take responsibility of any of the scams. But he can neither run away from the various irregularities that took place during the UPA regime,” Shah said while addressing a election rally in Uttarakhand.
Backing Prime Minister Modi’s comment, Shah said that Dr. Manmohan Singh should be held accountable for the scams that took place during his regime.
Further taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi questioning the BJP-led NDA government’s accountability in two and a half years, Shah said, “In two and a half years we have accomplished one important thing. We gave a speaking Prime Minister to the country, but the Congress government on the other hand gave us a Prime Minister whose voice could only be heard by Rahul and his mother.”
Shah also attacked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and said that the holy land have never seen the kind of corruption in which the former is indulged in.
14:06 Top AIADMK leader backs OPS, says he is the real leader : Former Tamil Nadu minister E Madhusudanan has thrown in his lot with O Panneerselvam. He is the AIADMK Presidium Chairman and was a minister in the Jayalalithaa Cabinet from 1991 to 1996. Madhusudanan said OPS is the real leader.
VK Sasikala is waiting to take over as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and will meet Governor C Vidyasagar Rao at 5 pm today, after he lands in Chennai from Mumbai. O Panneerselvam is expected to meet the Governor as well.
Though Sasikala has complete support within the party, Panneerselvam says that many legislators are privately in touch with him and will support him if he is allowed to take a trust vote.
Yesterday, Sasikala herded all but three of her MLAs to a resort to keep them out of bounds from the DMK or for fear that they may switch allegience to OPS. Reports say they have not been allowed access to their phones.
In fact, a missing person complaint has been filed by a MLA’s husband who says he hasn’t been able to reach her! Another rumour that has surfaced is that an MLA sequestered at the Golden Sands resort escaped through the bathroom window.
13:31 Swamy condemns TN Guv’s ‘deplorable’ behaviour : Condemning Tamil Nadu Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao’s act of delaying an appropriate decision in the ongoing Tamil Nadu political crisis, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday said that the Congress is not attacking the governor so maybe they have influenced him for delaying swearing-in of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhaga General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan.said the former’s behaviour is deplorable in consistent with the Constitution.
Swamy while accusing the Congress Party for possibly influencing Rao, alleged that the latter is a central figure in the confusion going on in the state.
“The Governor’s behaviour is deplorable in consistent with the Constitution. Now he should forget all those who have influenced him and go entirely by the constitution and swear-in Sasikala,” Swamy said.
He further said that Rao should not think about the impact of judgment which is yet to be pronounced in the disproportionate assets case against AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan and should immediately sworn her as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
13:05 Akhilesh sacks UP minister for contesting on RLD ticket:
Uttar Pradesh Minister Sharda Pratap Shukla, who is contesting Assembly polls on a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) ticket, was today sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“Minister of State for Higher Education (Independent charge), Sharda Pratap Shukla, has been sacked by Governor Ram Naik on recommendations of the Chief Minister,” a Raj Bhawan officer said.
Shukla, a sitting MLA from Sarojni Nagar seat in the state capital, was denied SP ticket after which he filed nomination on RLD ticket.
SP has given ticket to Mulayam’s nephew Anurag Yadav from this seat.
Samajwadi Party chief Spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury, when contacted, said Shukla has also been expelled from the party for indulging in anti-party activities.
In yet another suspected act of sabotage within a fortnight, a six-foot long discarded overhead equipment was found lying on the rail tracks between Jasai and Dapoli stations near Uran in the wee hours yesterday, sending the Central Railway officials into a tizzy.
The incident took place around 3am on Wednesday when an alert driver of a JNPT bound goods train, coming from Ratlam in MP spotted it and applied the brakes resulting in a halt around 50 metres ahead of the abandoned rail piece, a railway official said.
Subsequently, a FIR against unknown persons was lodged with the Panvel City Police under relevant sections of IPC and Railway Act, said the official.
He said the operating staff was already on high alert following the Diva incident last month.
According to Sachin Balode, senior divisional security commissioner (RPF) of Mumbai Division of Central Railway, an investigation into the (current) incident is underway and “we are yet to ascertain whether it is an act of track sabotage.”
This is third such incident since January 24 when a 7-meter-long rail piece, weighing around 400 kg was found placed on the tracks near Diva station adjoining Mumbai. The alert train driver of Madgaon-Dadar Janshatabdi Express had then averted a mishap by applying emergency brakes.
13:01 Bombay HC rejects Jiah Khan’s mother’s plea for SIT probe: The Bombay high court on Thursday rejected the plea filed by late actress Jiah Khan’s mother, Rabia Khan, demanding a special investigation team to probe the former’s death case.
Rabia had, in February last year, filed a petition in the Bombay high court, seeking an SIT probe in the case.
Earlier, she had filed a petition in the high court against the Central Bureau of Investigation’s report categorising the actress’s death on June 3, 2013, as suicidal and not homicidal.
Jiah’s boyfriend-actor Sooraj Pancholi was arrested for abetting her suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the High Court granted him bail.
Jiah, image alongside, was found dead in her Juhu apartment in Mumbai on June 3, 2013.
This is what she told NDTV:
“The message given out today is, don’t come to the court if you want justice. You will get justice only if the media or the public demand it. I should have shot them myself and served a life term. I’m very disappointed. There were 23 children who died and this is the justice they have been given.
“Nitish Katara’s killers have been given 25 years. This is the acchhe din that the government talks about? I’m sorry I don’t what this acchhe din.
“I committed a cardinal sin by coming to the court. This is just not done. Legally, I can still file a curative petition. But we have been been let down by the courts, so don’t know whether it is worth it.
“Who is responsible for this delay? The victims are not responsible? Sushil Ansal was not old when the tragedy occurred, it is not the victims’ fault that the courts took 20 years to deliver justice and now he is in his seventies. There is no justice in this country.”
11:43 SC reviews Uphaar verdict, sends Gopal Ansal to 1-year jail : Just in: Uphaar cinema verdict review. Top court sends Gopal Ansal to one-year jail, he has four weeks to surrender. The other brother Sushil Ansal stays out of jail because of his age.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea to reconsider its own November 2015 judgment, where a hefty fine was imposed on the Ansal brothers in the 1997 Uphaar tragedy, in which 59 people died during a fire at the cinema hall in posh South Delhi.
In November 2015, the court had asked Sushil and Gopal Ansal, the owners of the Uphaar cinema hall, to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each. The court had accepted their argument that a jail term will be too harsh for them in view of their age and the fact that they had already served their sentence partially. While Sushil Ansal had spent over five months in prison, Gopal Ansal was in jail for over four months.
Both have already paid the fine.
But the Central Bureau of Investigation, which was investigating the case and the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, had petitioned the Supreme Court to review the verdict, saying a fine cannot be a substitute for the lives lost.
In its review plea, the association said the top court judgment had showed an “unwarranted leniency” on the men, whose conviction had been “upheld by all courts, including this court”. Their sentences, the petition said, had been substituted with fine “without assigning any reason”.
The petition also added that their sentences were “reduced to the period undergone without taking into account the gravity of their offence.”
“It was Pratap who won the battle, not Akbar. We have maintained all along that Maharana Pratap has not been accorded his due in history,” said Devnani who just a few weeks back and had publicly given cow the distinction of being the only animal which exhales oxygen, referring to a German research.
11:24 In Parl, Cong, Left, JDU want PM to apologise for raincoat remark : Row in Rajya Sabha over PM’s raincoat jibe at former PM Dr Manmohan Singh. Lok Sabha adjourned till 11.30 am after opposition uproar.
The Congress says the PM’s remarks are highly objectionable.
The Congress has started reaching out to other Opposition political parties as well, especially in the Rajya Sabha, to get their support on this issue and to condemn PM Modis remarks. The Left and JDU are with the Congress in condemning the PM’s remarks.
Replying to the Presidents address in the Upper House on Wednesday, PM Modi had defended his demonetisation drive, and he sought to rip apart Congresss criticism on note ban by targeting Manmohan Singh, who had earlier called the decision a monumental blunder.
“So many scams but not a stain on him. Only Manmohan Singh knows the art of bathing wearing a raincoat, Modi had quipped in his Rajya Sabha speech, alluding to his clean image despite the many scams that happened under his watch.
Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram immediately launched a scathing attack on Modi calling his comment harsh, ugly and in poor taste.
It is unbecoming of a PM to have such harsh, ugly statements about a former PM. We are very angry and expressed our protest by walking out. We could have rushed to the well and shouted down the PM, but that would have brought us down to the present PM’s level, he had said.
10:57 Owaisi slams PM for ‘raincoat’ remark, questions role in Gulbarg massacre : All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘raincoat’ remark on his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh and questioned the former’s role in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre when he was Gujarat’s chief minister.
Owaisi took to his twitter handle to condemn the Prime Minister for his comment.”If ex PM MMS was wearing raincoat in Bathroom may I ask PM Modi wht where you wearing CM Gujarat when Ehsan Jafri & others where butchered (sic),” Owaisi tweeted.
An outraged Congress on Wednesday staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha when Prime Minister Modi trained guns on Singh, accusing him of letting corruption run free under his nose but managing to steer clear of any charges.
“Dr. Manhmohan has played a significant role in the economic system of India. But during the most corrupt regime in the nation, there was not a single corruption charge against him. This art of taking bath wearing a raincoat must be learnt from Manmohan Singh,” the Prime Minister said, setting off cries of outrage by the Congress.
However, the former prime minister maintained his trademark calm and simply chose not to respond to questions over the Prime Minister’s statement.
10:52 Madonna ‘overjoyed’ following adoption of twin girls: Pop icon Madonna has confirmed that she has adopted twin girls from Malawi and the singer said “I am overjoyed that they are now part of our family.”
The 58-year-old star, who already has two children from the African country- David, adopted in 2006 and Mercy, adopted in 2009, appeared in court in Lilongwe last month after filing her application for the adoption of two little girls.
The “Vogue” hitmaker posted a picture on Instagram of the twin sisters, pointing out that the process is now complete and she is delighted to have them in her family. “I can officially confirm I have completed the process of adopting twin sisters from Malawi and am overjoyed that they are now part of our family.”
10:49 Storm after Trump slams Nordstrom from POTUS handle : Nordstrom luxury department store saw one of the ‘best days’ for business as its stock prices rose after President Donald Trump’s tweet that slammed the store for discontinuing his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line.
“Today was also Nordstrom’s 9th best day on the market in the last 5 years following Trump’s anti-Nordstrom tweet,” tweeted Mike Rosenberg a Seattle Times reporter.
“Nordstrom stock closed up more than 4% for the day after Trump’s tweet. It was their 6th best day on the market in 12 months,” he followed.
However, Josh Barro, Senior Editor at Business Insider argued that it was a good day for store stocks in general.”Note, today was an excellent day for department store stocks in general. Macy’s up 2.5%, Kohl’s up 4.3%, JCP up 5.1%,” tweeted Barro.Nordstrom announced last week that it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories. Nordstrom said that it decided to part ways with her products “based on the brand’s performance.
“The President went on Twitter to defend his daughter who is also a White House advisor.”My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person, always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” he tweeted.
The tweet lit a fire under the President’s critics who criticised his refusal to satisfy ethics experts by completely separating himself from his business dealings. While ethicists say he needed to sell off his companies in order to ensure he won’t financially benefit from his presidency, Trump has left control of the Trump Organization to his two sons, Eric and Donald Jr.
Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization of election law experts, said Trump’s tweet was “totally out of line.”
“He should not be promoting his daughter’s line, he should not be attacking a company that has business dealings with his daughter, and it just shows the massive amount of problems we have with his business holdings and his family’s business holdings,” Noble said.It was later determined that Trump had used his @ POTUS to retweet the Nordstrom slam.
10:26 Governor to meet Sasikala, MLAs immediately after reaching Chennai today: Just in: Governor Vidyasagar Rao is boarding a 1:30 pm flight to Chennai. Immediately after he reaches Chennai, he will meet AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and party MLAs.
Yesterday, Sasikala herded 131 MLAs into a bus and corralled them in a resort to prevent them from being poached. The MLAs were supposed to have been taken to New Delhi today to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and seek his intervention in the event that the Tamil Nadu Governor did not return to the state. Rao is in Mumbai over the last couple of days.
Sasikala alleged on Wednesday that her swearing-in as chief minister was being deliberately delayed by the governor.
TN CM O Panneerselvam has meanwhile told banks to block AIADMK funds as he is still the treasurer of the party.
09:58 2 bureaucrats suspended by Jaya are back!:
ANI reports: Tamil Nadu government has revoked the suspension of former Tamil Nadu chief secretary Gnanadesikan and Atul Anand, IAS.
The two senior bureaucrats had been suspended from service by Jayalalithaa’s administration in August 2016 on charges of alleged irregularities.
Anand was commissioner, Geology and Mining, and MD, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalithaa had reportedly issued the suspension order after certain files on power and mining sectors — decisions ostensibly taken when the two officers were in charge — came under scrutiny.
Sources said Ganandesikan’s suspension was a result of certain decisions on power tenders and contracts during his tenure as the Chief Secretary in the previous regime.
According to sources, Anand was suspended for alleged violations and flaws in clearances given by the Geology and Mining Department to a leading mining baron in southern Tamil Nadu.
09:52 Commodity Online ties up with Federal Bank, to start agri-financing platform: Leading online data and information portal Commodity Online has tied up with Federal Bank for the nationwide distribution of loans against warehouse receipts and collateral management services.
Announcing the tieup, George Iype, managing director of Commodity Online, said it will help farmers and traders track spot market prices of all commodities live, and to check on warehouses that are available, as well as track research insights from each commodity market across India.
As part of this tieup, Commodity Online will start an agri-commodity financing platform via its website www.commodityonline.com for farmers and traders to track commodity markets and warehouses online. It will also facilitate them getting quick financing for commodities.
09:33 CBI court orders attachment of property of former minister Baburam Kushwaha and three others in NRHM case in Ghaziabad, reports ANI
08:30 Service Tax Dept summons Sania Mirza:
Tennis player Sania Mirza has been issued notice by the Service Tax department in connection with alleged non-payment or evasion of Service Tax.
Principal Commissioner of Service Tax office in Hyderabad issued the summons to the tennis star on February 6 and appear before it in person or by an authorised agent on February 16.
The notice says “Whereas an investigation against you about non-payment/evasion of Service Tax/contravention of provisions of Finance Act 1994 and Rules made there under is being inquired. I have reasons to believe you are in possession of facts or/and documents and things which are relevant to the inquiry.”
“You are hereby summoned under Central Excise Act, 1944 made applicable to service Tax matters under Finance Act, 1994 to appear before the Office in person or by an authorised agent on February 16 to give evidence truthfully on such matters concerning the enquiry as you may be asked to produce the documents and things,” said the summons, which does not specify the case in which she has been asked to appear.
If you fail to comply with this summons and intentionally avoid to attend or to give evidence and to produce the documents and things, without a lawful excuse, you will be liable to be punished under the relevant provisions of IPC, it said.
08:28 TN Governor Rao to be back in Chennai today:
Amidst a intense political battle being waged in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao will be flying into the city on Thursday.
AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala alleged on Wednesday that her swearing-in as chief minister was being deliberately delayed by the governor.
Ministers and MLAs who were to leave for New Delhi to seek President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention have been told to drop their plan at the eleventh hour after they were informed that the governor was scheduled to arrive in the city by noon on Thursday.
However, party MPs have arrived in Delhi, apparently to attend the last day of the Parliament session.
The Governor had been in Mumbai, since his return from Delhi on Monday night. On Wednesday evening, he attended a scheduled event in Mumbai.
08:11 I did not see Amma even once in hospital; wasn’t allowed: OPS:
O Panneerselvam made an explosive and starting revelation to the News Minute: He said he wasn’t allowed to meet late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa even once during her 75-day hospitalisation.
Asked why OPS was calling for an inquiry commission into Jayalalithaa’s treatment when he was at Apollo Hospital throughout, he responded with the startling revelation that, “I was at the hospital every day, but I did not see Amma at all, not even once.”
OPS added that all the information that he received about Jayalalithaa was second hand. “I only received information from doctors and others who were there, and this was the same information that I gave to others who asked me.”
“On Amma’s health and treatment, it was only day before yesterday that the doctors gave a press conference in which they clarified the details of the treatment procedure. Even then, we are in a situation where Tamil Nadu’s people are raising doubts, asking questions about all of it. Therefore, if there is an inquiry commission, and a full investigation is conducted, then the state’s people might finally get some definitive answers. This is why I said that there should be an inquiry commission,” he said.
India and US have agreed to “sustain the momentum on key bilateral defence efforts” after Defence Secretary James Mattis called his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and expressed commitment to build upon the tremendous progress made in bilateral defence cooperation.
This was the first conversation between the two leaders after Mattis was sworn in as the Defense Secretary of the US President Donald Trump last month.
“In their first conversation, Secretary Mattis committed to build upon the tremendous progress in bilateral defense cooperation made in recent years, underscoring the strategic importance of the US-India relationship and India’s role in advancing global peace and security,” the Pentagon Press Secretary Capt Jeff Davis said.
“Secretary Mattis and Minister Parrikar affirmed their commitment to sustain the momentum on key bilateral defense efforts to include the defense technology and trade initiative,” Davis said after the phone call between the two leaders which took place yesterday.
The White House said that any criticism of a US special forces raid in Yemen in which civilians were killed is an insult to the memory of the Navy Seal who died.
Spokesman Sean Spicer yesterday defended last month’s raid that resulted in the death of around 14 suspected Al Qaeda operatives, several civilians including children and Navy SEAL William Owens.
The January 29 raid — the first major counterterror operation of Trump’s presidency — also has prompted Yemen to rethink its cooperation with Washington.
“It’s absolutely a success and anyone who suggests it’s not does a disservice to Ryan Owens,” said Spicer.
Questions have been raised about whether the Trump administration adequately planned the raid — with the president reportedly approving the action over dinner.
Senator John McCain, a member of Trump’s Republican party, has called the raid a “failure.”
“The action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success,” said Spicer. “American lives will be saved because of it… future attacks will be prevented.”
“I think any suggestion otherwise, is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took, full stop.”
00:46 Europeans favour Trump-style travel ban: UK survey:
Majority of Europeans favour controls over immigration from Muslim countries, similar to US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, a new UK survey has found.
As many as 55 per cent of people across 10 European countries think immigration from mostly-Muslim nations should stop, the Royal Institute of International Affairs found in its research.
“Our results are striking and sobering. They suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trumps electorate in the US but is fairly widespread,” said the authors of the report ‘What do Europeans think about Muslim immigration?’.
In the survey, carried out before Trump’s executive order was announced, around 10,000 respondents were given the following statement: “All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped”.
They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement.
Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55 per cent agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed and 20 per cent disagreed.
Majorities in most of the 10 states agreed, ranging from 71 per cent in Poland, 65 per cent in Austria, 53 per cent in Germany and 51 per cent in Italy to 47 per cent in the United Kingdom and 41 per cent in Spain.
In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32 per cent.