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LIVE! Cong to begin 'Pol Khol Abhiyan' against Kejriwal from Feb 23

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February 18, 2014

23:22  2011 Mumbai triple blasts case: Court extends Yasin, Akhtar's remand:   A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court on Tuesday extended till February 28 the remand of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar in connection with the July 2011 serial bomb blasts case.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court they have got some crucial information about the IM from the arrested accused and also wanted to know about other wanted members from the duo, now in in ATS custody.  

"The case is very vast and every aspect is required to be investigated," read the remand application. Accepting Nikam's contention, special judge A L Pansare extended the custody of Bhatkal and Akhtar.

Three powerful blasts which ripped through crowded areas in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, killing at least 21 people and injuring 141.
22:55  Cong to begin 'Pol Khol Abhiyan' against Kejriwal from Feb 23:  Training its guns against AAP,Delhi Congress today announced that it will start an"expose-all" campaign against former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whom it accused of "abandoning Delhi at the mercy of ureaucrats" to further his own "political ambitions".

"Arvind Kejriwal has abandoned people at the mercy ofgods and bureaucrats. He is a runaway and from February 23 we are launching a 'Poll Khol Abhiyan' against him to expose the lies he had been telling in the name of common man's welfare,"Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Arvinder Singh Lovely told reporters today.

Thousands of Congress workers will assemble at ConnaughtPlace's Central Park in the morning that day and a 20-footeffigy of "Kejriwal's falsehood" will also be burnt there,state unit leader Mukesh Sharma said at a press conference.

Lovely termed the Kejriwal-led 49-day AAP government as a"government of promises and no performances" and its suddendeparture as an "act of betrayal" to the people.
22:39  Legendary writer Mavis Gallant dead at age 91:  Montrealgazette reports: Mavis Gallant, the Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for much of her life, has died at age 91, her publisher says.

Read the full story here
22:06  King of Bahrain arrives in India:  The King of Bahrain has arrived in Delhi on his first State Visit to India.

Further details are awaited.
22:05  SC decision on Rajiv killing case very encouraging: Amnesty:  Rights group Amnesty International today termed as "very encouraging" the decision of the Supreme Court to commute the death sentence to life of three condemned prisoners in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

In a statement, Amnesty International India said the apex court ruling to commute death sentences of Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan "is a very encouraging decision, especially in light of the landmark ruling in January 2014 to commute 15 death sentences".
21:53  Congress will sweep LS polls in Telangana: Jaipal Reddy:'s Anita Katyal  spoke with Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy, who was happy that the Telangana Bill  was passed with an overwhelming majority, but admitted that the Congress will face some trouble in the Seema-Andhra region.

Reddy, who represents the Chevella Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh, and is considered a front runner for the post of chief minister of the country's 29th state of Telangana, was predictably extremely satisfied with the developments in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

At the same time, Reddy was equally quick to underline that the people of Seema-Andhra had nothing to fear as their concerns had been adequately addressed.

He told after the passage of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill,"We, the people of Telangana are supremely happy with the creation of the new state but I also want to take this opportunity to assert that no injustice has been done to the Seema-Andhra region."

"What has been done to address the concerns of Seemandhra is unprecedented. Hyderabad has been declared a common capital of the two states for 10 years. Mumbai or Chennai were not made common capitals when their respective states were reorganised," Reddy said.

 "Can anybody question the fact that the overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha backed the Bill," Reddy pointed out.

According to Reddy, the Congress will sweep in the Telangana region in the coming Lok Sabha elections but admitted that the party will face some trouble in the Seema-Andhra region.   At the same time, Reddy was confident that the situation will soon settle down.

"The Congerss will bounce back. Once Telangana is formed, there is no issue left to battle," Reddy maintained. Reddy was nonchalant about Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's act of defiance in opposing the creation of Telangana and his plans to leave the party.

"Kiran Kumar Reddy has been reduced to a minority. He is free to pursue his plans," Reddy said, adding that he would not be able to garner much support as most loyal Congress members from the Seema-Andhra region, who constitute a majority, will not desert the party.  
21:07  Hazare meets Mamata :  Social activist Anna Hazare today met Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, amid speculation that he will back the West Bengal chief minister as the prime ministerial candidate.        

Senior leader and party general secretary Mukul Roy came to New Maharashtra Sadan, where Hazare has put up, to escort the anti-graft leader to his residence, where the meeting between him and the West Bengal chief minister took place.     

However, Roy and Hazare refused to say what transpired at the meeting. 
21:01  Molestation case: Chief priest of Badrinath shrine sent to judicial custody:  A Delhi court today extended till March 3 the judicial custody of the chief priest of Badrinath shrine in Uttarakhand, Keshavan Namboodiri, who has been arrested for allegedly confining and molesting a woman in a hotel.       

Namboodiri and one of his associates Vishnu Prasad, also co-accused in the case, were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Shreya Arora Mehta, who remanded them in judicial custody till March 3 after police did not seek their custodial interrogation.        

The two were produced before the court after the expiry of their 14 days of remand.
20:57  MoS Defence visits Siachen Glacier; interacts with troops :  Union Minister of State of Defence Jitendra Singh today visited Siachen Glacier and interacted with the troops there.        

"The minister carried out an aerial survey of the entire area and also landed at two forward posts on the glacier. He interacted with the troops deployed there," a defence spokesman said.        

Upon his arrival at the Siachen Base Camp, Singh paid homage to the brave soldiers who laid down their life in the sector by laying a floral wreath at the Siachen War Memorial, the spokesman said.
20:56  Ambani's KG basin scam bigger than Bofors: AAP:  The Aam Aadmi Party today attacked Narendra Modi and BJP for keeping "mum" on the Reliance gas issue, in which Mukesh Ambani is among others named in an FIR filed by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government.     

The AAP also said it was not averse to accepting donations towards party fund from the corporate behemoth if there was "no quid pro quo" involved.        

"Ambani's KG basin scam is one of the biggest scams in the country's history and much bigger than the Bofors scam," AAP leader Yogendra Yadav alleged, adding, "It is surprising that Modi and BJP have kept mum on the issue."     
20:55  Uttarakhand govt survives no-trust vote :  The fledgling Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand today survived the opposition sponsored no-trust motion as it was defeated on the floor of the House.        

After holding a marathon six-hour debate on the no-confidence motion moved by the leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt, Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal put it to secret voting, with only the members present in the House.

40 members voted against the motion and 29 voted for it.        

In the 70-member state assembly, Congress has 33 MLAs and has the support of the seven-member PDF consisting of three BSP members, three Independents and one UKD member.
20:53  No defamatory comments against Ananth Kumar: Court to Kejriwal:  Vicky Nanjappa reports from Bangalore: The Bangalore city civil court has ordered Arvind Kejriwal not to make any defamatory comments against BJP leader Ananth Kumar.   

The BJP general secretary had filed a civil suit in the City Civil Court in Bangalore against Kejriwal for making defamatory statements against him during a meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party in New Delhi on January 31. 

He had accused Kumar of corruption charges.   

The court found a prima facie case of defamation and has granted a temporary injunction against Kejriwal. 

The court further restrained him from making any further defamatory statements against Kumar.
19:36  Bombay HC seeks rejoinder from Lata Mangeshkar :  The Bombay high court today asked singer Lata Mangeshkar to file a rejoinder to a Maharashtra government affidavit alleging that she had violated conditions imposed by authorities to regularise her scheme for reserving houses for people below poverty line on her land in Kolhapur.        

Mangeshkar denied allegations that she had violated conditions as stated by the government, following which the court asked her to file a rejoinder within a fortnight.        

The matter has been posted for hearing two weeks before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.  
19:34  This is the murder of democracy: Jagan Reddy on T-Bill:  YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy today termed the passage of the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha as a "murder" of democracy and called for a bandh in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday in protest.        

He claimed the government adopted various "undemocratic" norms in passing the legislation, undermining the will of the people of Andhra Pradesh and the resolution passed by the state assembly. 

"The way the proceedings took place, the way the ayes, the way the noes were called by the Speaker, all of them very clearly showed how democracy could be killed in broad daylight. It's a black day in the history of this country and we are declaring a bandh in Andhra Pradesh in protest," he told reporters outside Parliament.
19:03  After Telangana, GJM rakes up Gorkhaland demand:  With the passage of the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha today, the GJM, demanding Gorkhaland, today urged the Center to take an unilateral decision to create a separate state, despite objections from West Bengal.        

"We would now request the Centre to similarly consider the just and fair demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, which is among the oldest in the country," Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung said in a Facebook post.        

"Today's passage of the Telengana Bill makes it clear that state consent is not necessary for its bifurcation, a fact which we have been reiterating for a long time," he said.
18:44  Indian Ambassador Basant Kumar Gupta, who was summoned by the Foreign Ministry Segretary-General Michele Valensise, was told the case "shows an Indian desire to draw out the affair beyond all limits", Italian news agency ANSA reported.
18:40  Italy summons Indian envoy, recalls its envoy in India :   Italy has summoned the Indian envoy in Rome to protest against India's conduct in the marines case.

Earlier in the day, Italy recalled its envoy Daniele Mancini in protest saying there was unacceptable delay by the Supreme Court in the case against the two marines.

Ambassador Mancini will return to Italy with immediate effect. The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are staying at the Italian embassy in New Delhi, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates while guarding a cargo ship in 2012.

"Given India's evident incapacity in handling this case, Italy will continue and intensify action to defend its sovereign rights in line with international law," Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said.

A Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was immediately postponed because prosecutors are still waiting for the Indian justice ministry to decide which law to try the case under, according to Italian media. The next hearing will be on February 24.
18:33  Sushma Swaraj tweets: I am sorry to inform that Lok Sabha Sectt is not providing us the audio or video recording of my today's speech on Telangana Bill. I will raise this matter with the Speaker tomorrow.
18:29  Chidambaram: Kiran Kumar Reddy has crossed Lakshman Rekha :  Finance minister P Chidambaram in an interview to CNN IBN says Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has cross the Lakshman Rekha. "He has breached all propriety, but I cannot cant comment on disciplinary action against him," said Chidambaram.

Yesterday, Reddy relieved all officers and dismantled the CMO as well as cleared his chambers of all his personal belongings. He is expected to resign tomorrow. He will meet all Congress legislators and MLAs tomorrow.
18:14  AITC: Some news sources reporting that Trinamool walked out of LS on Telangana. Incorrect. We are opposed to the Bill, but did not walkout.

That's the official Trinamool Twitter handle.
18:03  The cartoon doing the rounds on social media on Penguin's decision to pulp Wendy Doniger's The Hindus, bowing to pressure from Hindu fundamentalist groups. 
18:01  Parl passes Interim Rly Budget without discussion amid din:   Parliament today passed the Interim Railway Budget for 2014-15 with Rajya Sabha returning it without discussion amid din over Telangana issue.

The Budget and related appropriation bills were passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday.

Amid uproar over the Telangana issue, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge moved the Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) 2013-14 and Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2014 for passage in the Upper House.
17:52  What happens after the bill goes to the Rajya Sabha:   In the bill, which will now go to Rajya Sabha for approval, the government has promised to set up an expert committee within 45 days of formation of Telangana to give suggestions for a new capital of residuary Andhra Pradesh.

It envisages that Hyderabad will be common capital of Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years which includes the existing area notified as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

The Centre also tried to address the grievances of Seemandhra region by promising to take appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives to the successor states, to promote industrialisation and economic growth in both states.
17:42  The path to a separate state of Telangana has seen the worst kind of politics perhaps India had ever witnessed. Read
17:36  Sushma: Cong playing a double game, not us :  Sushma Swaraj defends the BJP over its support of the bill. She said the BJP has always supported the Telangana Bill. "It is the Congress which is playing a double game, not us. The Congress sat on a promise made in 2009. Why was the bill brought in the last session of the UPA?" she said.  
17:24  Rajagopal: Tried my best to keep Andhra united :  L Rajagopal, the pepper spray MP, said he tried his best to keep the state united. If you divide states like this what will happen to India, he asks. There could be more demands for division of states. He said he quit Indian politics and quit as an MP because he thinks he can't fit in as a Parliamentarian.
17:15  Shinde on LS telecast blackout: Such things happen :  Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Speaker Meira Kumar's decision to blackout the Lok Sabha telecast: "Such things happen." 

The Lok Sabha passed the Telangana Bill after the Speaker blacked out the TV telecast.
17:12  'Credit should go to students, not politicians':  The students at the Osmania university who had become the face of the Telangana movement are overjoyed. Several of them had even been camping in New Delhi awaiting the passage of the Bill.

The Student's Joint Action Committee, which launched every protest from the Osmania university say they are thrilled that the bill was finally passed.

JAC leader, Dr Sangam Prithviraj, told, "It's a great day today but I will not give the credit to politicians. The credit should go to the students and all those who have lost their lives in this battle. It has been a continuous struggle but we have protested peacefully. The people of Telangana never took the life of others. They only took their own lives."
17:04  Dr Manmohan Singh bids farewell to retiring members of Rajya Sabha: I wish you God Speed and best for the future.
17:00  Top 10 facts about Telangana. Read
16:51   Pepper spray MP L Rajagopal sends in his resignation. The suspended MP was not allowed inside the house today.
16:45  Reactions to the Telangana Bill :  JDU's Sharad Yadav: "Na koi kuch keh raha hai na koi sun raha. Bolne ki koi gunjayish hi nahin..aisa batwara kabhe nahin dekha. Mere bardaash' ke bahar hai. I couldn't sit there... decided to walk.

The JDU staged a walkout before the bill was passed.

YSR Cong chief Jagan Reddy: This is a black day in history of the country. It shows how democracy could be killed in broad daylight. Doors were closed, bill was introduced without anyone agreeing or disagreeing. We  were were not let into the house. We are declaring a bandh tomorrow in Andhra pradesh. 
16:37  Asaduddin Owaisi, MP from Hyderabad, says passing the Telangana Bill amid a telecast blackout has created and unhealthy precedent.
16:35  At least 35 to 40 MPs protested in the well of the Lok Sabha during the Telangana vote.

Celebrations breakout in Hyderabad. Pic tweeted by ANI.
16:32  MPs cry murder of democracy as Telangana Bill passed amid TV blackout:   P Chidambaram leaves the house, a look of relief on his face. The bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha. In its final days before the country goes to vote, the Manmohan Singh government did get the Telangana bill passed in the Lok Sabha despite the threat of ministers and MPs from Seemandhra stoutly resisting the move.  
16:27  And so, the Telangana Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha by a voice vote.
16:26  Sonia Gandhi left the house at 4 pm. Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar touched her feet while she was leaving. 
16:24   Speaker Meira Kumar has helped the Congress to pass the bill. She is disregarding the CPI -M's loud protests in the well of the house. She has ordered a blackout of the chaos inside the house where 37 amendments to  AP reorganising bill are being taken up. BJP MPs are following the Congress in going along with the proceedings, reports Sheela Bhatt.
16:20  Telangana vote: TMC, JDU walkout of house :  The Telangana bill is about to be passed in Parliament in a few minutes from now, unless of course some violence breaks out. The Congress has forced the BJP to walk the talk.

TMC minister Dinesh Trivedi says the spirit of democracy has been killed.

TMC and JDU walk out of the house.
16:16  Telangana Bill passage should not send wrong message: Raju:  Holding that there are severe shortcomings in the current form of Telangana Bill, Union Minister M Pallam Raju today said it should not be passed in a manner that sends a wrong message and permanently hurt sentiments.

"As it is, a wrong message has gone to the Seemandhara people that the manner in which the Bill has proceeded is not proper. I hope that by passing the Bill in a din, another wrong message will not be given which will permanently hurt people's sentiment," Raju told reporters outside Parliament.
16:12  Chiranjeevi in the well of the house :  Union ministers Chiranjeevi and KS Rao also in the well of the house. Some time before the Telangana bill is passed. 
16:09  Heard from an MP: Nation got freedom at midnight: Telangana getting statehood in darkness!
16:02  Hyderabad will be joint capital of Telangana, Seemandhra :   Hyderabad will be joint capital of Telangana and Seemandhra. Amendent to make Hyderabad capital of Telangana has been defeated by a voice vote. 
15:57  Shocked that BJP leaders did not protest Speaker's order to stop LS telecast on T-bill & continued debate, tweets Minhaz Merchant. 
15:56   All doors and visitor galleries to Lok Sabha closed.
15:49  Telangana Bill: Celebrations break out in Hyderabad :  Celebrations have already broken out in the streets of Hyderabad as they are well aware that it is just a matter of a few minutes before the entire process is over and state of Telangana becomes a reality.

The BJP made its stand clear in Parliament when Sushma Swaraj told the House that they are in favour of Telangana, but they do not want any bloodshed. -- Vicky Nanjappa. 
15:47  Murder of democracy, cry MPs over Lok Sabha telecast blackout :  TDP MP YS Chaudhary says the Speaker is acting as agent of the Congress and calls the live telecast blackout a murder of democracy.  Ministers D Purandeshwari and JD Seelam are protesting at the floor of the house. 
15:44  Telangana Bill taken up clause by clause :  The Telangana Bill is being taken up clause by clause, since there are 62 amendments to it. MPs who have been protesting in the Well of the house will be deemed to not have participated.
15:40  LS all set to pass Telangana Bill :   BJP leaders had told home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday, that the government should make a specific commitment to compensate Seemandhra region for the loss of revenue because of the transfer of Hyderabad to Telangana, as well as that the legislation seeking the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh be treated as constitution amendment bill.

Today, Shinde announced that Seemandhra would receive a financial package. Following this, the BJP announced in the floor of the house, that it was ready to support the bill.
15:33  Voting on the amendments to the Telangana Bill are taking place in the Lok Sabha now. The BJP has said it will support the bill.
15:32  Excise notice to Modi for rallies :   The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence has sent a notice to BJP and Narendra Modi demanding payment of service tax for the latter's rallies.
15:20  LS discusses Telangana Bill, Speaker blanks out TV coverage :  The Telangana Bill is being discussed in the Lok Sabha but the Speaker has ordered the telecast to be stopped. This is Meira Kumar's way of ensuring that none of the MPs would us the TV coverage to cause chaos and drama.

Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde says he sincerely hopes the Telangana issue gets resolved. He said Seemandhra will get a financial package.

BJP's Sushma Swaraj says the party will support the bill.
15:07  Italy recalls envoy in protest over 'unacceptable delay' in marines' case:  Just in: Italy recalls its envoy Daniele Mancini in protest saying there was unacceptable delay by the Supreme Court in the case against the two marines. Ambassador Mancini will return to Italy with immediate effect.

The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are staying at the Italian embassy in New Delhi, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates while guarding a cargo ship in 2012.

"Given India's evident incapacity in handling this case, Italy will continue and intensify action to defend its sovereign rights in line with international law," Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said.

A Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was immediately postponed because prosecutors are still waiting for the Indian justice ministry to decide which law to try the case under, according to Italian media. The next hearing will be on February 24.
15:01  Foray into politics not easy at all: Medha Patkar:  While on AAP, social activist and Aam Aadmi Party candidate for upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai north-east seat, Medha Patkar today said her decision to enter the electoral fray was very tough.

"My decision and consent to become a candidate for the AAP in the Lok Sabha elections was very tough owing to a number of factors," the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader said.

Citing reasons for not taking the plunge earlier, Patkar said AAP itself was in initial stage although it had formed a short-lived government in New Delhi and apart from NBA, she is involved in several other agitations. The NBA activist is also a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner like Arvind Kejriwal.
14:53  Shazia Ilmi defends her statement :  Shazia ilmi has sought to clarify that she did not quote any report from the agency. "Whether it is Transparency International or Opacity International, the fact is that corruption has come down in Delhi. What is sad is that everyone is after AAP, instead of targeting corruption," Ilmi said.
"There has been a study, that will soon come out. Even if not done by Transperancy International," she said.
14:51  LIVE! Transparency International rubbishes AAP's claims of 'lesser corruption' in Delhi:  Transparency International stated that it has not carried out any studies to assess the levels of corruption for the period as yet.

On his part Transparency International's Executive Director Ashutosh Mishra said, "We are a bit surprised, there is no published or unpublished report. We have not done any survey.""We have not done any such survey on corruption, nor, do we have any such plan," Mishra said."AAP should clarify this, as our stand is very clear that we haven't carried any (such) survey," he added 
14:49  AAP clarifies on Shazia Ilmi's 'corruption has gone down in Delhi' remark:  AAP statement on Shazia Ilmi's tweet that corruption had gone down in Delhi during the party's governance.

"This is to clarify factual situation regarding recent controversy concerning a survey reportedly done by the Transparency International. Aam Admi party leader Shazia Ilmi learnt about a survey that showed a dramatic fall in the levels of corruption in Delhi after Aam Aadmi Party government came to power. Since the information came from someone who was an employee of Transparency International, she assumed that it was a Transparency International survey. Although she did not give a formal interview to media, she shared this information in public domain. This was reported by Hindustan Times. 

Based on this news report, Arvind Kejriwal also made some remarks. Since then we have come to know that the said survey had no connection with Transparency International and the source of Shazia Ilmi's information had quit Transparency International by then. We regret this error. The Aam Aadmi Party holds Transparency International in highest esteem and offers apologies for any embarrassment that this controversy may have caused to the organisation."
14:43  A Brief History of the Other:  Attitudes of Indians towards the Northeast are influenced by those of the State. Read
14:32  Exclusive! Kejriwal to Rediff: I will not contest LS polls:  Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, who appeared on the Rediff Chat to take questions from our readers on Tuesday, told's Sheela Bhatt that he will not be fighting the Lok Sabha elections. Read

And this is what AAP member Shazia Ilmi tweeted: Lack of corruption is good governance.  Promoting corruption is bad governance. Elementary Watson. Everyone in Delhi knows that corruption had come down . Ask the vendoera and the hawkers and those who visited sales tax  and govt depts.
14:27  Someone on Twitter called Dutt India's first freelance prisoner. He was right, tweets prempanicker.
14:23  Sanjay Dutt's parole extended till March 21:   Manyata is reported to be suffering from multiple ailments of the heart and liver and was admitted to Global Hospital in Parel, south-central Mumbai, in early January for treatment.

Prior to this, Dutt had been released on a fortnight long furlough, which was extended by another fortnight in Oct 2013.

A convict in the March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, Dutt had surrendered before a Mumbai special court in May 2013 after his conviction was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Since he had already served 18 months of his five-year sentence, Dutt returned to YCJ to serve the remaining 42 months of his conviction for illegal possession of weapons in 1993.
14:20  Days after actor Sanjay Dutt asked for a further extension on his parole, the court has allowed it, extending it to March 21. The Mumbai Police had submitted a favourable report to that end, citing Dutt's wife Maanayata's illness. 
14:14   Seemandhra minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao resigns from party and post in post protesting against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. 
14:11  Spit-test can predict risk of depression in teen boys:  Cambridge scientists have identified the first biomarker for clinical depression after they found that high levels of stress hormone in spit can indicate a serious risk of developing psychiatric disorders in teen boys.

Teenage boys with symptoms of depression and raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol are up to 14 times more likely to develop major depression than those without these traits, researchers found.
14:04  Delhi has been made a rape capital by Congress: Modi:  More of Modi in Karnataka:

-- Delhi has been made a rape capital by Congress.

-- When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, Congress ruled from panchayat to Parliament.

-- Centre's refusal to allow gates on Narmada Dam is unfortunate. Why play politics over Narmada Mata?

-- Corruption grows in the womb of Congress. Congress and corruption are twin sisters. Unless you dont drive out the Congress, you will have corruption.
13:51  Meanwhile, news comes in that Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy may resign tomorrow.
13:50  Cong is an epidemic that spreads and ruins India: Modi:   Narendra Modi holds forth in Karnataka. Excerpts from his speech...

-- Congress thinks poverty is a state of mind, BJP feels the poor must be worshipped.

-- Congress thinks India is a honeybee, BJP think India is our mother.

-- I will explain the thought process of BJP today.

-- Congress claims it has a thought process while others do not have any thought process, it needs to introspect.

-- Congress is an epidemic which spreads rapidly and ruins the country.

-- If the country has to be protected, then there's just one solution - Congress-free India.

-- There is no trace of democracy in Congress, it just doesn't believe in democracy.

-- A Congress leader who came to Karnataka claimed that his party has no high command, do you trust him?

-- Congress believes in divide and rule, we believe in uniting people and developing.
13:40  LIVE! Modi in K'taka: Rahul, Sonia have no time to visit Andhra Pradesh:  Narendra Modi who is addressing a rally in Davangere in Karnataka, where he is sharing the stage with BS Yeddyurppa, says, "A few days back, the boss of the Congress was in Karnataka, Congress president was also in South. Sonia and Rahul are addressing rallies in the South, but are not willing to go to Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh had brought Congress to the power in the Centre, but now when the state is in trouble, the Congress is avoiding them. The Congress is intoxicated with power."
13:27  A legislative history of the 15th Lok Sabha:  With 10 days to go before this Lok Sabha winds up, we're quite sure that you know by now that it hasn't got a lot done. This is sure to be the least deliberative full-term Lok Sabha in history, having passed just 165 Bills in all, something we also mentioned in our infographic on the issue in August 2013. Read
13:23  Don't want Class VIII debate with Modi: Chidambaram:  "I don't want to take the level of this debate to a Class 8 school boys' debate," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said dismissing criticism of his interim budget by Narendra Modi.

"What does he mean by a decade of decay? The fact is that we are delivering growth above the trend growth rate. I have pointed out that the growth rate in 1999-2004 was below the trend growth rate.

"In the last 33 years, the last decade (under UPA) has been the best decade for growth. Now these are facts. Now he (Modi) likes fake encounter with facts. I don't think the media should join and repeat his tweets," Chidambaram said.

He was asked about Modi's reaction to his interim budget yesterday calling it "a final act of misery after a decade of decay."

Yesterday, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate had tweeted: "The only solace one gets from the vote-on-account is that this was UPA's final act of misery after a decade of decay & policy paralysis."
13:17  Meanwhile, both houses of Parliament have been adjourned. Rajya Sabha till 2 pm, Lok Sabha till 3 pm. 
13:16  KPS Gill to a TV channel on Khalistani terrorist Bhullar's death penalty. "Bhullar's wife also asking his death penalty commuted as he has a mental health prob. Don't all terrorists have a mental problem."
13:12  Anthony Bourdain's favorite things:  "I got the piece of Moammar Gadhafi's house when we were shooting there forParts Unknown. We had a sort of friendly militia with us, and we bumped into a less friendly militia. Before we had to leave in a hurry, I got a nice chunk. The bronzed deer head Marco Pierre White gave me after I was hunting with him in rural England."

Celebrity chef (and a hottie at that) Anthony Bourdain on his favourite things. Read
12:27  Mission: Raj recipes :  Let there be a minute's silence for Empress Gaja. Once upon a time, it was a much loved sweet. Now the recipe can't be found --  at least not by those who have been looking for it. It's gone, along with the British.

But the Raj has left its legacy behind, which is being mined by Calcutta's food lovers. The faculty and students from the KPC School of Nutrition in the city, a few eateries, Kolkata Story Trails, a travel group, and the Kolkata Food Bloggers (KFB), a group of like-minded foodies, have come together to resurrect the old recipes.

Calcutta's food is intrinsically linked to its erstwhile rulers, and the time has come to reinforce the link, they say.  Read
12:21  Sushil Kumar Shinde moves Telangana Bill in LS :   Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde moves the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha for passing amid chaos. The government will try to pass the Telangana Bill without a discussion.
12:14  RS adjourned till 2 pm:  Eighteen minutes into the session, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm after ruckus over the Telangana issue. 
12:08  Is India's defence budget flawed?:  The most worrying aspect of defence budgeting is that the military's long-term equipment planning is based on fundamentally flawed fiscal assumptions. Ajai Shukla reports. Read
12:06  The cartoon on the Hindu on the interim finance bill tabled yesterday. 
12:03  Parliament resumes with ruckus in both houses:  Both houses of Parliament have resumed. Outside Parliament, police have removed Seemandhra protestors at Vijay Chowk.

In the Rajya Sabha, ruckus after MPs show placards in the well of the house.
12:01  Belated bounty for veterans in poll run-up:   The politics of reaching out to nearly three crore voters may have led to the announcement of "one rank, one pension' (OROP) for veteran soldiers but both the ex-servicemen and those serving in the forces feel the government still has a long way to go.

Finance minister P Chidambaram has proposed voting in Rs 500 crore for the scheme within this fiscal. This has made the possibility of veterans seeing enhanced amounts in their pension slips on April 1, probably days before they vote. Read more
11:53  Karuna: Release Rajiv's killers :  DMK chief Karunanidhi says he is happy with the SC verdict commuting the death sentence to life for Rajiv Gandhi's killers, but would be "doubly happy" if they are released. 
11:51  Airtel to buy Loop Mobile biz for Rs 700 cr:   Telecom major Bharti Airtel today announced to buy business and assets of Loop Mobile in Mumbai under a strategic agreement.

The company did not disclose the size of deal but sources close to the agreement said it is for about Rs 700 crore.

Under the agreement, Loop Mobile's 3 million subscribers in Mumbai will join Airtel's over 4 million subscribers, making it a largest network in the metropolitan city, according to a statement by Bharti Airtel.
11:43  No bail for rape accused Tarun Tejpal, in jail till March 4:   Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal's bail hearing today has been adjourned for till March 4. Tejpal who was chargesheeted yesterday by the Goa police for raping a female colleague in a lift in Goa said there was a political vendetta against him. "I am being victimised," he said.

Seventy nine days after arresting Tarun Tejpal, the Goa Police Crime Branch filed the chargesheet in the court of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Panaji, on Monday, accusing the former editor of Tehelka of rape under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, and several sections of the IPC.
11:35  UPA-IIs swan song:  The interim budget for the fiscal year 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram predictably did not contain any surprises. There has been limited leeway to announce spectacular measures either on the revenue side or the expenditure side. Read
11:21  Chat with Mr Arvind Kejriwal right now :  Did former Delhi CM Arvind CM have to sit on a dharna? Why did he grant a 50 per cent discount on electricity bill to those who defaulted on payments.
Ask him. Live! on right now. Go here.   
11:17  Kiran Reddy to resign today:  With the Centre appearing determined to go ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh despite strong opposition from integrationists, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is said to have decided to resign from his post as well as leave the Congress today.

Sources in the CM's camp said Kiran is expected to meet Governor E S L Narasimhan around 3 pm and submit his resignation.

Both houses of Parliament are now adjourned till noon.
10:59  Telangana Bill in Parliament today; unprecedented security in House :  The other big story today -- with only four days left of the last Parliament session before national elections due by May, a desperate government is now reportedly working out how to push the controversial Telangana plan to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh through the Lok Sabha today. Without a discussion if it has to.

Security outside the house is unprecedented with MPs being told to walk to the house. Read
10:55  Rajiv Gandhi killers were 'leading a disciplined life':  A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam, today granted them mercy, rejecting the Centre's view that the convicts did not deserve it.

The Centre's lawyer, Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati, had said there was "not a word of remorse" in the convicts' petition for mercy."

They were leading a disciplined life, entertaining and educating inmates, so there is no agony, torture or dehumanizing effect due to delay," he said.

The lawyer for the convicts argued that "agony and torture need not be physical injuries.

"On January 21, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, announcing that "inordinate and inexplicable" delays in carrying out executions were grounds for reducing their original punishment.

Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan were convicted in 1998 for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991.

Their mercy petition was sent to the President of India, the last stage in the process of appeals, in 2000 and was rejected 11 years later.

Their hanging was stayed in 2011 on the orders of the Madras High Court. -- NDTV
10:52  Vote bank politics over 'clemency':  Whether it is clemency for Rajiv Gandhi killers or Afzal guru or Bhullar; the motive behind this 'clemency' is same -- vote bank politics. The punishment whether life term, death sentence etc needs to be carried out, says Varad Varenya. Read
10:47  SC commutes death sentence for Rajiv Gandhi killers :   Just in: The Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence to life for the three death row convicts in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

The judgement was delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam.

The bench had reserved its verdict on the plea of three convicts -- Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan -- on February 4. Their plea was strongly opposed by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, who argued that it was not a fit case for the top court since there was "not a word of remorse" in the convicts' petition for mercy.
09:01  Rajiv Gandhi assassination: SC verdict on convicts' plea today:  The fate of three death row convicts in former PM Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case will be sealed today when the Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on their plea for commutation of their sentence to life imprisonment on ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea.

The judgement will be delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam. The bench had reserved its verdict on the plea of three convicts -- Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan -- on February 4. Their plea was strongly opposed by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, who argued that it was not a fit case for the top court since there was "not a word of remorse" in the convicts' petition for mercy.
08:37  7 Naxals killed in encounter in Gadchiroli:  Seven Naxals including two women were killed in an encounter in Gadchiroli near the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border last night.

The border areas of Chhattisgarh have been put on high alert.    
01:48  Schoolboys pelt stones at UP roadways bus; seven injured:  At least six passengers and the driver of an Uttar Pradesh roadways bus were injured today when a group of schoolboys allegedly pelted stones at the vehicle for being made to get off it for not buying tickets.

The bus was on its way to Meerut from Delhi when the students got into it at Modinagar bus stop. When the bus conductor asked them to buy tickets, they showed their monthly season tickets pass, the police said.

When told that the pass was not valid on the bus and they needed to buy the tickets, the boys refused. Following this, they were asked to get off the vehicle, the police added. The boys then started pelting stones at the bus. They fled the spot as soon as the police reached, an official said.

"As many as six passengers and the driver Shabir were injured. They were taken to a nearby hospital where they were given first-aid and later discharged," the official said. A complaint has been registered, he added.

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00:14  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Cong close to finalising candidates for 100 Lok Sabha seats
Amid talk of resignation, Kiran Reddy transfers key aides
'Govt can pass T-Bill in LS only amid noise and din'
Congress may not make substantial gains in Telangana
Jagan stages dharna for United AP in Delhi; courts arrest
Will AAP pit Shazia Ilmi against Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli?

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