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LIVE! Mamata writes to Prez for urgent action against Justice Ganguly

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December 05, 2013

23:22  Mamata writes to Prez for urgent action against Justice Ganguly:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee asking him to take "appropriate action" urgently against the "grave misconduct" of former Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly accused by a young woman law intern of sexually harassing her.

"Today, I have already addressed a letter to the Hon'ble President of India for taking appropriate action urgently for the grave misconduct committed by Retd Justice A K Ganguly," Banerjee said in a Facebook post.

Banerjee's first comments on the issue came on a day when a Supreme Court committee of three judges indicted Ganguly for his "unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" towards the law intern and BJP and Trinamool Congress' demand for his resignation as chief of West Bengal Human Rights Commission grew louder.
22:55  Women may turn out to be game changer in Delhi polls:  With Delhi witnessing the highest-ever voter turnout, women may turn out to be game changer for political parties as they came out in large numbers to cast their ballots.

While in several constituencies, women voter turnout percentage was almost equal to men, it was higher than men in Kirari, Chattarpur, Sangam Vihar, Tughlaqabad, R K Puram, Ballimaran, Moti Nagar, Palam, Delhi Cantt and Rajendra Nagar.

The national capital registered its highest-ever voter turnout of 65.86 per cent in the keenly contested Assembly polls. As high as 65.17 per cent women (34.6 lakh) cast their ballot in the three-cornered contest among the Congress, the BJP and debutant Aam Aadmi Party, an increase of nine per cent from last Delhi assembly elections.
21:03  IAEA says Mexican public 'safe' after radioactive theft:  The UN atomic watchdog said today it believed the Mexican public was safe after a stolen medical device containing an "extremely dangerous" radioactive material was recovered in a field. 

"Based on the information available, the Mexican authorities and the IAEA believe the general public is safe and will remain safe," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.
20:55  Union Cabinet clears creation of Telangana state with 10 districts:   A parliamentary bill for creation of Telangana state having 10 districts has been cleared by the Union Cabinet tonight. 

The decision to include two districts of Rayalaseema has been scrapped. The original CWC decision of Telangana of 10 districts has been retained.

The common capital will be Hyderabad for a period not exceeding 10 years, said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. 

Shinde says it will have special status for both states under Article 371 D of Constitution for equitable opportunities. "We want the Bill to be tabled in winter session of Parliament," he said.
20:35  Geneva 2 must aim for free polls in Syria: Iran:  Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said today a peace conference on Syria slated for January should lay the groundwork for "absolutely free" elections. 

"The ground should be prepared for holding an absolutely free election with no preconditions," Rouhani told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the presidency website reported.
19:34  Centre makes Communal Violence Bill community neutral: report:  
CNN-IBN reports: Faced with a belligerent opposition, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has been forced to make several changes in the original draft of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013. 

CNN-IBN has accessed the draft copy of the contentious bill with sources saying the new draft proposes to be neutral between communities and there is no onus on the majority community.

Administrative and police officers will be held responsible in the event of failure to prevent riots, said sources. They also point out that after the chances there is no violation of federal structure and the Centre can take action only on the recommendation of the states.

Sources add that state governments were consulted by the Union Home Ministry before the changes were incorporated in the draft.

The opposition had targeted the Centre over the Communal Violence Bill with Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against bringing it in the Winter Session of Parliament.
19:25  Justice Ganguly's conduct is of sexual nature: SC panel:  
The three-judge committee of the Supreme Court has concluded that the statement of the law intern, who had complained against Justice A K Ganguly, prima facie discloses an "act of unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" on the part of the retired judge. 

The Supreme Court, however, made it clear that no further follow up action is required by it in view of the fact that Justice Ganguly had demitted office on the date of the incident--December 24 last year. 

"We have carefully scrutinized the statement (written as well as oral) of (the intern), the affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Justice (Retd) A K Ganguly. It appears to the Committee that in the evening on 24.12.2012, she had visited hotel Le Meridien where Justice (Retd) A K Ganguly was staying to assist him in his work. This fact is not denied by him in his statement.

 "Further, the Committee is of the considered view that the statement of (the intern) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Justice (Retd) A K Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on 24.12.2012 approximately between 8PM and 10.30PM," said the operative portion from the report.

19:16  VHP opposes Communal Violence Bill, threatens nation-wide stir:  
Rubbishing the proposed Communal Violence Bill as "complete mockery of natural justice" and an instance of "religious discrimination against Hindus", VHP today threatened to launch a nation-wide agitation if the Centre went ahead with the controversial legislation. 

"The basic principle of law is that it should be applicable to all. But the proposed bill only targets Hindus while remaining silent on acts of violence by Muslims against the majority community or other minority communities," Vishwa Hindu Parishad International Working President Pravin Togadia said in a statement.

He alleged that the bill "has in its premise that all Hindus are criminals and all Muslims are innocent victims" and
claimed that if it became a law, "the country will become unsafe for all non-Muslims".

"VHP appeals to all political parties to oppose the proposed bill tooth and nail as it not only targets Hindus but also interferes with the powers of state governments," he said.
19:10  Australian royal prank DJ settles lawsuit, resigns:  
An Australian DJ involved in a royal prank call to a premier London hospital that resulted in the death of an Indian-origin nurse has settled her lawsuit with the radio network and resigned. 

Southern Cross Austereo, the licensee for radio station 2Day FM, confirmed it had settled "amicably" a dispute brought by Mel Greig, one of the two DJs who made a prank call last December to the King Edward VIII hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness, The Australian reported.

Greig faced a global backlash after the death of hospital nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was found hanged three days after transferring the hoax call to staff caring for Prince William's pregnant wife Kate. 

Grieg had filed a claim against Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) with Fair Work Australia, accusing it of failing to maintain a safe workplace. 

The SCA said it had "at all times taken complete responsibility for the hoax call and the company maintains its view that the recording and broadcast of the call was not unlawful."
18:26  Justice Ganguly says he has not seen the report and would not comment on it. 
18:25  SC: Won't take action against AK Ganguly as he has retired :  The Supreme Court appointed panel that probed the alleged incident of sexual harassment of a law intern by recently retired judge AK Ganguly has said that the court will take no action against him.

The panel said the complainant's statement prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour by Ganguly and while the SC says it has scrutinised the statement of the law intern, it has no jurisdiction on either Ganguly or the intern.

The SC said the judge had retired and the law intern was not on the rolls of the SC, therefore no action would be taken on the judge.
18:15  Ashwini Kumar, who is the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Japan, was MIA during the Japanese Emperor visit to India. The reason apparantely is that the Ministry of External Affairs ensured that major tasks were undertaken by the Foreign Secretary and the Indian Ambassador to Japan. External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid apparently ensured that Ashwini Kumar does not come anywhere near the South Block.

Pic: Japan emperor Akihito and empress Michiko leave India.
18:02  Has Jethamalani been sent to the expelled MPs section?:  The BJP has demanded a new seat for Ram Jethmalani in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the winter session of Parliament today. Jethmalani took a seat next to Amar Singh, a section of the Rajya Sabha meant for expelled members. Some Congress MPs commented that Jethmalani has been banished to the expelled MPs section.
17:42  On day 1 of Parliament today, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh walked quickly through Central Hall of Parliament, but very few party MPs either approached or accompanied him. Senior Opposition members from the BJP and the CP-M were watching the glum face of the PM as he walked by. Symptomatic of the exit polls of the assembly elections?
17:34  BJP ignoring Ajit Singh:  Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has been sending feelers to the NDA, but the BJP does not want to encourage him as they are confident of winning over three MPs from his father, Choudhary Charan Singh's territory. Ajit Singh may not contest the polls, but wants no hindrance to get his son elected to the Lok Sabha. His son, Jayant Choudhary is a Lok Sabha MP from Mathura constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
17:30  No Lokpal Bill in winter session of Parliament:  Our sources in Delhi say that the Lokpal Bill will not be tabled in the winter session of Parliament. Satyavrat Chaturvedi's report is being awaited, it seems. Chaturvedi is the chairman of the select committee on Lok Pal. The government has expedite the clearance by the Cabinet after which it will take two weeks for the Bill to be re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha.The 12-day winter session of Parliament began today.
17:21  Lawyer refuses to confirm if Tejpal confessed in custody:   A lawyer for Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a woman colleague, has refused to comment on the police version that he has confessed to have committed the act while claiming it as "consensual".

"There are rumours about him confessing. We have no idea about it. The investigating officer takes statement under Section 161 of CrPC and we have no access to the statement," said a lawyer, who requested anonymity.

The remand application of Tejpal will come up before the Session's court tomorrow. He said that as a defence lawyer, he will come in the picture only after there is a chargesheet. The lawyer said that only after knowing the stand of the investigating agency tomorrow.
17:09  Govt panel on Telengana drops proposal to include 2 more districts:  The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and headed by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is said to have shelved the plan to include two districts of Rayal Telangana into Telangana.

The bill, slated to be introduced before the cabinet shortly, will only propose ten districts as stated by Congress Working Committee (CWC). The Cabinet is likely to meet in the evening and clear the formation, said sources. More
16:46  Q&A: Arundhati Roy on the Tarun Tejpal case:  Tarun Tejpal, the former editor of India's top news magazine Tehelka, has been arrested after allegations from a colleague that he sexually assaulted her.

Tejpal has not been formally charged yet and he denies the accusations against him. Booker Prize-winning author and activist Arundhati Roy, a long-time acquaintance of Tejpal, speaks to the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder about the case. Read
16:38  Yeddy's list of demands for BJP:  In September this year, we reported that Yeddyurappa, who had quit the BJP in a huff after he was forced to give up the Karnataka chief minister's post over charges of corruption, was planning to return to the saffron party.

Read his list of demands from the BJP.
16:28  LIVE! BJP to formally invite former Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa to rejoin party:  Just in: The BJP is set to formally invite BS Yeddyurappa to rejoin the party. The former Karnataka Chief Minister, formally severed his 40-year association with the BJP in Novmeber 2012 and gave up the primary membership of the party and resigned from the Legislative Assembly. He represented the Shikaripur constituency in Shimoga district.

BJP president Rajnath Singh met Ananth Kumar and Eashwarappan and informed them of the decision.

The Karnataka state BJP president Prahlad Joshi will hold a press conference at 5 pm on the issue.
16:17  Delhi Exit Polls: An analysis of 5 polls suggest the BJP maybe in for one hell of a surprise on counting day. Read
16:04  Eternal delay in judicial system:  The critics of the Aarushi murder case seem unable to see the wood for the trees. The focus of endless debate on the case has been on an inadequate appreciation of evidence and the role of the media in cases of this nature.

The main issue appears to have been missed -- the fact that the overcooked scrutiny is itself a result of the eternal delay in the judicial system. Read
16:01  Make milk adulteration punishable with life imprisonment: SC:   The Supreme Court Thursday urged the state governments to make necessary amendments to their laws to make production and marketing of adulterated milk, which is injurious to human consumption, an offence punishable with life imprisonment.  Read
15:56  How the Internet is killing the worlds languages:  Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist Andrs Kornai -- and the Internet may be helping the other 95 percent to their graves. Read
15:42  CPI(M) promoted chit funds during LF rule, alleges TMC:   Trinamool Congress today accused CPI(M) of having promote chit funds in West Bengal during the erstwhile Left Front rule and claimed that the Mamata Banerjee government was taking firm action against such ponzi firms to safeguard the interests of the people.

"100 per cent of irregular chit fund companies came into existence during the Left Front rule of 34 years. No new ponzi company has come into existence during our ongoing tenure led by Mamata Banerjee.
15:40  LIVE! Digvijaya warms to Modi: Even a tea vendor can become PM :  In unexpected comments, Congress leader Digvijay Singh, a known Narendra Modi baiter,today said the Gujarat CM was moving away from his "fanatic" ideology and that "even a chaiwallah can become the Prime Minister", which were promptly welcomed by BJP as praise for its PM candidate.

Singh said that he "welcomes that Modi is gradually distancing from his fanatic ideology and gravitating towards the ideology of Atal Bihari Vajpayee" and "it should be welcomed if Sangh and the BJP...are coming close to the ideology of Congress and (Jawaharlal) Nehru."

He, however, added that "Modi will not be acceptable to people of India" and he would prefer Sushma Swaraj to him "if god forbid BJP comes to power".

Responding to criticism that Congress is fine with the party being in the hands of a family and some special people calling the shots but does not like common workers rising as in the BJP, Singh said it was not true.

He said in a democracy "if a shepherd from Kerala can become President so also a tea-vendor (chaiwallah) can become Prime Minister", remarks which were seen as a reference to Modi's humble origins.

BJP leader Smriti Irani latched on to the comments saying "we had not thought that Digvijay Singh will say that even a chaiwallah can become Prime Minister...I am happy that Modi ji is being praised so much by Digvijay Singh ji."

At this, Singh said, "Nobody is untouchable in democracy irrespective of the family he is born in, whether it is poor or rich."
15:36  SC: Sportsmen, NOT businessmen should head sports bodies :   The Supreme Court has slammed sports administrators saying sportsmen should head sports bodies, not businessmen. Politics has taken the game of hockey to a abysmal low, the apex court said and added that the deteriorating standard of hockey in the country a matter of concern:   Details awaited. 

Hockey, incidentally, is our national sport. Not cricket
15:28  Sena, BJP slam govt for failure to protect 'Vikrant':  Opposition Shiv Sena and BJP have targeted the Congress-led government in Maharashtra and the Centre for "inability" to maintain the decommissioned aircraft carrier Indian Maritime Ship Vikrant.

"Earlier, what was needed to transform the ship to a maritime museum was just Rs 75 crore. But the state government could not make a provision for the same," Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said.

"If politicians in Maharashtra were to observe a 'corruption-free day', it could lead to savings of Rs 1,000 crore. Many a political bigwig in the state is worth at least Rs 5,000 crore," Uddhav said, in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana.

"Late Balasaheb Thackeray wanted to have Vikrant turned into a maritime museum so that it could inspire youth to serve and protect the country," he said.
15:11  So, who did Karat and Yechury vote for?:  Who did CPM top guns Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury vote for? Certainly not for their party. Neither the CPM nor any other Left parties fielded candidates in the New Delhi constituency, where Karat is a registered voter, or in Mehrauli where Yechury cast his vote, reports Indian Express
15:05  UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing Pound 314:  While the UK faced a food poverty "public health emergency", a ready meal company in west London has brought out what it says is the world's most expensive TV dinner. Made with vintage champagne, edible gold leaf and "topped' with a pair of lobster tails, the Swish Pie by Charlie Bigham will set you back 314.16.  Read
14:48  Photos show scale of North Korea's repressive prison camps -- Amnesty:  North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, with torture, starvation, rape and death a fact of life for tens of thousand of inmates, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
14:43  The rape case that changed India:  When I tell people outside India that I live in New Delhi, I'm almost always asked the now inevitable question: "Do you feel safe there?" or worse, "what's with the rape culture in India?"The December 16, 2012 gang rape of a student inside a moving bus has sadly become India's defining story of the past year.  Read

Also read: 'Those monsters ate her up alive, please hang them'
14:34  French torture mastermind Paul Aussaresses dies peacefully at 95. Read
14:28  Sexual assault case: Justice Ganguly on official leave for 'some personal need':  In the wake of the controversy over the allegations by a law intern, former Supreme Court judge Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly has gone on a two-day leave.

Justice Ganguly, who is currently serving as the chief of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, has officially gone on leave for "some personal need".

This comes two days after Justice Ganguly on Tuesday said he was "undecided" on his future course of action. "I have not decided. I am undecided...Time has not come to think about it," he said when asked about his future course of action in the wake of demands for his resignation as the Chairman of WBHRC.  Read more
14:23  Must read for those who use it: Decoding cosmetics claims: Skin Lightening Cream. See
14:09  Omar challenges Modi to debate Article 370, anywhere, anytime:   Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah challenges Narendra Modi for a debate on Article 370 anytime, anywhere.

Gujarat Chief Minister and the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had sought 'at least a debate' on Article 370 (that grants special status to J&K) and assured the people that the party would transform the 'separate State' into a 'super State,' even as he laid stress on development and integration. 
14:06  Nigella Lawson: I've taken cocaine:  If you've drooled over her cooking, read this: Celebrity TV chef and certifiable hottie, Nigella Lawson says she has a life problem, not a drug problem, and admits to taking cocaine with first husband and in 2010. Read
13:41  Shame! Time lists 'India's rape epidemic' as 9th top world story of 2013:   Time magazine has listed what it calls "India's Rape Epidemic" as the ninth top world news story of 2013. Read
13:25  Muzaffaranagar riots: Gang-rape victim deposes before court:  A riot victim living at a relief camp in Muzaffarnager, who was gang-raped by two youths deposed before a local court here and recorded her statement.

The 20-year-old victim has alleged that she was gang raped by two youths and threatened for life if she mentioned the incident to any one.

The victim's statement was recorded in Court, following which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) filed a charge sheet against the two accused.

The girl, whose family was displaced from their home at Fugana village, was allegedly raped on November 2.

The accused were arrested a day after, following a complaint lodged by her father. The duty magistrate had sent the two accused -- Sachin and Sunil Kumar to a 14 days judicial custody.

Representational picture.
13:22  A UPA-Led Employment Guarantee Scheme Could Be Hijacked By Others.  Read
13:21  Pakistan's next top general :  Omar Warraich's review of Pervez Kayani's years as Pakistan army chief. Read
13:14  So, who is the new Information Commissioner, Sushma Singh?:  Sushma Singh, the senior-most Information Commissioner, will be the next Chief Information Commissioner of India and will succeed Deepak Sandhu, who completes her term.

The decision on appointing Singh, a former IAS officer, as the next CIC was taken unanimously by a panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Law Minister Kapil Sibal. Singh will the second woman to become CIC after Sandhu, whose term comes to an end later this month.

Singh was the unanimous choice for the post of CIC, sources said. Sushma Singh became Information Commissioner on September 23, 2009 in the Central Information Commission. She had retired from IAS on May 31, 2009.
12:58  Information Commissioner Sushma Singh to be the next Chief Information Commissioner.
12:41  Salman wants earlier evidence to be disregarded:  Salman had requested that the earlier evidence presented in the case should be disregarded.

One person was killed and four others were injured when the Land Cruiser, allegedly driven by Salman Khan, crushed a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in the early hours on September 28, 2002.
12:40  LIVE! Fresh trial for Salman Khan in hit-and-run case from Dec 24:  Just in: The Mumbai High Court has ordered a fresh trial in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case. All evidence and witnesses will be reexamined and a fresh trial will begin on December 24.

On November 19, Khan pleaded for a fresh trial before a sessions court in the hit-and-run case, saying the evidence adduced earlier before a magistrate be discarded as he was now facing a more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Salman Khan's lawyer Srikant Shivade argued that the actor had not been given an opportunity in the magistrate's court to cross-examine witnesses vis-a-vis the additional charge of culpable homicide which was imposed on him recently.

The prosecution, however, opposed Salman Khan's plea saying "this was an attempt to delay the trial."

The magistrate had adduced evidence on the basis of the deposition given by the witnesses. Hence, this evidence cannot be discarded, the public prosecutor argued.

Salman Khan's lawyer pleaded that earlier it was a summary trial by the magistrate. However, as culpable homicide charge had been framed against the actor, the case was triable by a sessions court. "We should not be prejudiced because of want of cross examination of witnesses. Hence, a fresh trial may be conducted," he said.
12:31  LIVE! Cong core group meet on Telangana ends, problem areas Kurnool, Anantpur remain:  The Congress Core Group meeting on Telangana has ended, however the sticking points of Kurnool and Anantpur remain.

The GoM, set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is all set to recommend a special status to both the states under Article 371-D of the Constitution and examining a proposal to include two districts of Rayalseema in Telangana.
The proposal to reconstruct the boundaries of Telangana and include Kurnool and Anantapur districts as part of Telangana is believed to have been examined by the GoM.
If Kurnool and Anantapur are added to Telangana state, it will make the bifurcation equal in terms of Lok Sabha and assembly seats for both Telangana and Seemandhra with each having 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats each.
At present, Seemandhra region of the state has 153 MLAs as against 119 from Telangana. Congress is keen that the state assembly clears the draft bill for Telangana.
12:22  Sharpen the focus for communal violence bill :  With the communal violence bill to be tabled in Parrliament, here's what the Hindu says on the bill.

With its long history of communal violence, India certainly needs a specific law with a strong focus on preventing clashes between the majority community and minorities and providing reparations to the victims of such violence.

The present revised draft of the Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill seeks to address some of the problems associated with communal violence in India, and put in place an institutional mechanism for redress. Read more
12:14  The Profumo affair: Where is the redemption of Christine Keeler?:  A campaign is launched for the posthumous rehabilitation of Stephen Ward, whom we can only call the celebrity osteopath at the centre of the Profumo affair.

He introduced the 19-year-old Christine Keeler to both John Profumo, the secretary of state for war in Harold Macmillan's government, and the Russian naval attache, Yevgeny Ivanov, in 1961.

When it emerged that Keeler had slept with both men, Ward was charged with living off the immoral earnings of prostitutes.

He took an overdose and was found guilty while still in a coma. He died three days later. Profumo, who had lied to parliament about his involvement with Keeler, resigned. In 1964 the government fell.
Read more
12:08  Will Sheila eat her words on AAP? Delhi CM had said, 'Is that even a party?' :   As the year-old rookie, the Aam Aadmi Party, springs the coup of Elections 2013 with exit polls indicating an impressive debut by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, experts are now wondering how the Congress and the BJP failed in assessing the popular mood in Delhi.

Mr Kejriwal's party makes a strong debut with 17 seats - nearly a fourth of Delhi's 70 seats in the state Assembly - in a survey conducted by different agencies.

Throughout the campaign, both the BJP and the Congress dismissed Mr Kejriwal as an upstart with limited potential.  Read more
12:00  For the nation's sake, Cong deserves to give itself a second chance :  Unabated price rise, coupled with unending stories of venal acts at high places, has caused wide discontent across the nation.

The Congress, the principal constituent of the coalition government in New Delhi, has not escaped the opprobrium for all that has been happening.

It has reason to take alarm at reports streaming in concerning its prospects in the on-going polls in five states of the country, which are to be followed, in a short while, by general elections for the next Lok Sabha.

Publication of poll sample survey forecasts has been prohibited for the season by the Election Commission. That cannot, though, be much of a barrier to assessing the current mood of the electorate, particularly since inflationary forces persist with virulence. Read
11:57  The Tejpal case: Presenting the perpetrator as the victim:  What has Tehelka's greatness to do with an act of sexual assault by its editor-in-chief, asks Shivam Vij. Read
11:44  LIVE! SP, BJP keep their promise; Parliament adjourned for the day :   On a day Narendra Modi dubbed the communal violence bill as a "recipe for disaster", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said government will try to evolve a broadbased consensus on issues which are of "great" legislative importance.

In Parliament today, the BJP and the SP disrupted the session over the Communal Violence Bill. Both houses were adjourned for the day.

The Prime Minister said the government seeks the cooperation of all segments of Parliament to ensure smooth passage of the legislations.

While the BJP has voiced strong reservations against the communal violence bill, Samajwadi Party has threatened to disrupt Parliament if controversial bills like the one on Women's Reservation are taken up.

"It will be our effort to evolve a broadbased consensus on all the matters which are of great legislative importance," Singh told reporters outside Parliament House.

He was asked to comment on the BJP's prime ministerial candidate's opposition to the communal violence bill. The bill, which aims at protecting minorities from targeted attacks, is not on the government's agenda of legislative business to be transacted in the Winter session which began today. 
11:22  Rajya Sabha has also been adjourned for tomorrow. 
11:22  Narayan Rane called me, requested his son be released: Goa CM:  Maharashtra industries minister Narayan Rane had called him up requesting the release of his son Nitesh, said Goa CM Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday. Nitesh was arrested in Goa on Tuesday for vandalizing a toll booth at Dhargalim, near the border between the states, after a row. Read more
11:16  And so, it begins.  Lok Sabha has been adjourned till tomorrow.
11:14  Day ahead in Parliament:  Here's the schedule for the Parliament.

Lok Sabha
1. Obituary reference
2. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2013
3. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011. 4. Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2011.

Rajya Sabha
1. The Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment)Bill, 2013 to give effect to Indo-Bangla land boundary agreement
2. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2013
3 The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013.
11:12  Winter session promises to be stormy:  So far, neither house has been adjourned. But the winter session is likely to be a stormy with the Opposition stacking up a lot of ammunition to attack the government and it could be visible from day one.

The outcome of the assembly polls in five states -- Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram -- will set the tone for the winter session though the government has listed a heavy legislative agenda and opposition is demanding extension of the 12-day sitting.

The government plans to push bills like the Lokpal Bill and Women's Reservation Bill, which have been passed by one House and now await the other House's nod.

The BJP-led National Democrartic Alliance said on Wednesday that it will strongly demand that the Telangana Bill be brought in the winter session and press for debates on issues like internal security, violence against women and subversion of constitutional bodies like the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G scam.

"The NDA wants that the Telangana Bill should be brought in this session of Parliament. However, we feel that the inclusion of two new districts in the proposed Telangana state is not ethical," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after a meeting of NDA floor leaders in both Houses
11:10  Exit poll of polls shows extraordinary debut for Arvind Kejriwal:   Of all exit poll predictions, this one is the most breathtaking. Two post-poll surveys suggest CM Sheila Dikshit, who led Congress to three straight wins in the city, was trailing Arvind Kejriwal of AAP in New Delhi constituency, with BJP's Vijender Gupta snapping at her heels.

According to the exit poll done by ORG for India Today group, Kejriwal, with 36% vote share, was leading in the high-profile constituency. Dikshit, the face of Congress in Delhi, was in second spot with 31%, with BJP's Gupta bringing up the rear with 28% votes.

The ABP News-Nielsen poll, too, said Dikshit may lose to Kejriwal, as AAP was likely to bag all three seats in central Delhi.

The findings mirror the perceived groundswell for AAP as well as the debacle staring at Congress. If the results match the findings, New Delhi constituency will be a great upset for the CM.
11:02  Day 1 of the winter session of Parliament begins. 
10:59  Bangalore ATM attacker a history-sheeter, murdered his wife :   Vicky Nanjappa reports: After having identified the man who allegedly attacked a bank official at an ATM in Bangalore last month, the police say that his records indicate that he was a history-sheeter who murdered his wife in 2008. 

The man identified as Narayan Reddy has been absconding ever since he got bail in the murder case. The Andhra Pradesh police, who has a database on Reddy, say that there is enough evidence to indicate that he attacked the woman in Bangalore in mid November and also killed another at an ATM in Andhra.

That's the sketch of the assailant released by the police
10:58  Shinde ignores Modi, communal violence bill this session, he says:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reacts to Narendra Modi's statements on the communal violence bill. The PM says it is obligatory for political parties to get essential business of Parliament transacted speedily and smoothly. It will be our effort to evolve broad-based consensus on all matters of great legislative importance.

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde says the government will bring in the communal violence bill this session.  The winter session of Parliament begins today.

Modi called the bill a "recipe for disaster" driven by vote-bank politics ahead of the national election, due by May.  "The timing of the Communal Violence Bill is suspicious. Political considerations and vote-bank politics rather than genuine concerns are guiding it," the Gujarat Chief Minister said in a sharply worded letter to Dr Singh.
10:49  Rupee jumps to a one-month high :   Rupee jumps to fresh one-month high of 61.75, rising 30 paise against the dollar in early trade.
10:36  IAS officer Ashok Khemka served chargesheet by Haryana govt:   IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who questioned land deals involving Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate giant DLF, has been served a fresh chargesheet by the Haryana government, reports NDTV.

The state government has asked Mr Khemka to respond to the chargesheet, served last night and received by his son, within 15 days.
10:34  Asaram's son Narayan Sai brought to Surat:  Self-styled godman Asaram's son Narayan Sai, who is accused of sexually assaulting woman at his ashram from 2002-05, was today brought to Surat from Delhi, a senior police officer said.   

Sai and his aides will be produced in court later in the day for their custodial remand. "Narayan Sai, along with his associates taken intocustody, was brought to Surat this morning," Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
10:03  Protests in Andhra Pradesh over larger Telangana proposal:  Protests have begun in Andhra Pradesh against the Centre's plan to redraw boundaries of the proposed Telangana state to make it larger than originally planned.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi's K Chandrasekhara Rao has called for a total bandh in the state.

A group of ministers, looking into the bifurcation of Telangana, recommended after a meeting last night that two districts of Rayalaseema -- Kurnool and Anantpur -- be added to the 10 Telangana districts to create what could become 'Rayala Telangana.'  
09:52  Sensex touches 21000 as exit polls predict BJP win:   NDTV reports: The BSE Sensex surged over 450 points or 2 per cent today after exit polls predicted the Bharatiya Janata Party to emerge as the winner in four key state elections of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The 50-share Nifty jumped around 140 points to hit the key 6,300 levels, while the rupee also edged up to 61.76 per dollar.

As of 9.19 am., the Sensex traded at 21,147, while the Nifty traded 134 points higher at 6,295, the report said.

Read the full report here

09:24  Modi writes to PM on Communal Violence Bill, says it's 'ill-drafted':   Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the  Anti-Communal Violence Bill. It is "ill-conceived" and poor-drafted.

Modi tweeted this morning: Urged PM to seek wider consultation with the states and various stakeholders of the bill before proceeding any further on a Bill like this. If implemented, Communal Violence Bill would fragment society & increase violence. It will have results opposite of the stated objective.

Communal Violence Bill is in clear violation of India's federal structure. Centre is busy forming laws on matters that are in the State List. Timing of Communal Violence Bill is suspicious. Political considerations & vote bank politics rather than genuine concerns are guiding it.

09:10  Inquiry panel finds merit in sexual harrasment charge against Justice Ganguly:  A three-judge inquiry panel appointed to probe a law intern's allegations of sexual harassment against retired Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly has reportedly concluded that there is evidence to support her allegations, reports The Times of India.

A fact-finding committee comprising Justices R M Lodha, H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai, after examining statements of both the law graduate and the retired judge and going through evidence tendered by her, supports the complainant's version, the report said.

Read the full report here

08:19  Winter session begins today; Oppn to push for Telangana Bill:   The winter session of Parliament will be a stormy one, with the Bharatiya Janata Party making it clear at an all-party meeting yesterday that it will attack the government on a number of issues.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance said it will strongly demand that the Telangana Bill be brought in the winter session and press for debates on issueslike internal security, violence against women and subversion of constitutional bodies like JPC on 2G scam.

The government plans to push bills like the Lokpal Bill and Women's Reservation Bill which have been passed by one House and now await the other House's nod.
02:05  Fire breaks out on naval ship at Vizag dry dock:  A fire broke out on INS Konkan at the dry dock in Visakhapatnam on Navy Day today, but there was no loss of life.

The fire incident has come a day after Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi asserted that Navy's record was "not all that bad" in terms of accidents when compared to other navies in the world. Navy sources said five persons suffered injuries, but there was no loss of life.

The fire was doused before it could cause any damage, defence sources said.

The ship was in the dry dock for maintenance when the fire broke out this evening, they said, adding the cause of the fire was being investigated. In recent times there have been several mishaps involving naval warships.

Image for representation only
01:05  1.72 lakh people vote after 5 pm in Delhi:   Reflecting a strong enthusiasm among voters in Delhi assembly poll, an estimated 1.7 lakh people were in the queue after the deadline for voting ended at 5pm, following which the Election Commission decided to continue voting even if it goes till late in the evening.

The Election Commission said polling drew to a close at Okhla constituency at around 9.30 pm."1.72 lakh voters were in queue by 5 pm. So, we decided to allow all those who were in queue to vote even if it goes till late in the evening," an Election Commission Official said.

Delhi recorded the highest turount of around 66 per cent and the official said it may go up further as they were still compiling the data. So far, Delhi's highest voter turnout has been 61.75 per cent recorded in 1993 assembly election.

In 2003 and 2008 assembly polls, 53.42 per cent and 57.58 per cent polling were recorded respectively.
00:14  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Delhi witnesses RECORD turnout; 66% cast votes
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