23:59 10-year-old girl sexually assaulted in Delhi:
A 10-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a man in east Delhi's New Ashok Nagar area, police said on Friday, adding the accused was arrested.
The incident took place on Thursday at around 8 pm when the girl was playing outside her home, Deputy Commissioner of Police (east) Pankaj Singh said.
During investigation, it was revealed that the victim's family had come here from eastern Uttar Pradesh in search of work.
Her parents are labourers and do not have a permanent residence in New Delhi, Singh said.
The victim was referred to AIIMS, the police said, adding that her condition was stated to be stable.
The accused, Manickam, was arrested.
He is a resident of Khora town in Ghaziabad district, the police said.
Police said the accused was a school dropout and an alcoholic. -- PTI
23:16 Nehru's statue removed from road in Allahabad:
A statue of Jawaharlal Nehru was removed from an intersection in Allahabad as part of a road-widening project, triggering a protest by the Congress.
According to the Allahabad Development Authority (ADA), the statue near Anand Bhavan was removed on Thursday from Balsan Chauraha in Allahabad, ahead of Kumbh Mela which will be held in January 2019.
PCC member Kishor Vashney termed it an insult of the country's first prime minister.
He also questioned the move, saying why was a statue of Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay, which is on the same road, remains untouched.
The ADA, however, issued a clarification, saying the designing of the road is being done by a private company and the statue was placed in a park on the same road. -- PTI
22:50 Inmates of shelter home for disabled in Bhopal allege sexual abuse:
Inmates of a privately run residential facility for disabled children in Bhopal on Friday accused its founder of sexually abusing two girls and three boys.
Opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh latched onto the issue, alleging that government authorities had ignored a complaint filed in the past against the shelter home's founder who is also its director.
The alleged victims and other inmates of the shelter home, which is located in the Bairagarh area of Bhopal and had a branch in Hoshangabad district until last year, submitted a complaint to police Friday evening.
Earlier in the day, nearly 40 inmates of the shelter home visited the Congress office here, where the party's state media cell chief Shobha Oza held a press conference.
"A girl had complained about sexual harassment by the director to the Hoshangabad collector in February 2017. The complaint was found to be correct but no FIR was registered," Oza alleged.
However, the Hoshangabad branch was closed following the complaint, Oza said.
Afterwards, another physically challenged girl and three boys were allegedly sexually abused by the director, the Congress leader claimed.
The victims filed a complaint with the Director of the Social Justice Department of the state government Friday.
Later in the evening, the victims along with Congress leaders reached the TT Nagar Police Station here to file a complaint.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Dharmendra Choudhary said police have received the complaint, and a probe is being conducted.
No FIR has been registered yet, another police officer said. -- PTI
22:34 CBI arrests Ayush Ministry's under secy on bribery charges:
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested an under secretary in the Ayush Ministry for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 10 lakh, officials said.
R K Khatri, holding the additional charge of the post of managing director of Indian Medicine and Pharmaceutical Corporation under the ministry, was nabbed while allegedly accepting the bribe from a clearing and forwarding agent, they said.
The agent had approached the CBI with a complaint, alleging that Khatri had demanded the bribe for clearing his pending bills and allowing him to continue with his work, they said.
The agency is carrying out searches at the office and residential premises of the officer, they said. -- PTI
22:15 Govt unveils measures to check falling rupee widening CAD:
The government Friday decided to relax norms for raising overseas borrowing and impose restrictions on the non-essential imports as part of efforts to check rising current account deficit amid falling rupee.
These decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the state of the economy.
Modi was briefed by Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel and officials of the Finance Ministry, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here after the meeting.
The decisions are aimed at checking the CAD and increase foreign exchange inflows, Jaitley said.
The government would also take steps to promote exporters and restrict non-essential imports, he added.
Jaitley, however, did not disclose items on which import restrictions would be imposed.
"To address the issue of expanding CAD, the government will take necessary steps to cut down non-essential imports and increase exports. The commodities of which imports will be cut down will be decided after consultations with concerned ministries and will be WTO-compliant," he said.
The rupee touched an all-time low of 72.91 against the US dollar on September 12 and it closed at 71.84.
The domestic currency has declined around 6 per cent since August and touched an all-time low of 72 level this week.
Petrol and diesel prices have also touched record highs. -- PTI
21:53 PM takes stock of economy; falling rupee, fuel prices discussed:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday began a two-day review of prevailing economic issues including fall in the rupee, rising fuel prices and reforms measures needed to boost growth, official sources said.
Modi met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel and other key officials involved in economic policymaking.
The deliberations will continue tomorrow, the sources said.
Issues facing the economy like depreciation in the rupee and rising fuel prices are being discussed in the meeting.
Measures to boost exports as well as raising interest rate to shore up the rupee, that hit a fresh lifetime low earlier this week, are also being talked about in some quarters.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of the Indian currency falling around 6 per cent since August to touch an all-time low of 72 level this week. Petrol and diesel prices have also touched record highs.
The government has been under pressure from the opposition to stem the rupee fall and cut taxes to check surging fuel prices.
The finance ministry has ruled out any cut in taxes to ease the burden on consumers, saying it does not have the bandwidth to lose any revenue without developmental spending being cut. The government can ill-afford this in an election year.
Petrol price Friday climbed to an all-time high of Rs 81.28 per litre in Delhi, while in Mumbai it inched up to Rs 88.67. A litre of diesel in the national capital was priced at Rs 73.30 and Rs 77.82 in Mumbai.
Every Rs 2 cut in the price of petrol and diesel would lead to a revenue loss of around Rs 30,000 crore, as per ministry estimates.
The government has so far maintained that it would not take any knee-jerk action as a response to the fall in rupee or spike in fuel prices.
Data from the Commerce Ministry has shown better than expected trade deficit at $17.40 billion in August, down from $18.02 billion a month ago.
Exports grew 19.21 per cent to $27.84 billion while imports rose 25.41 per cent to $45.24 billion.
Also, boosting the government was retail inflation rate easing to a 10-month low of 3.69 per cent and wholesale inflation to 4 month low of 4.53 per cent in August. -- PTI
21:19 IAF to be involved in selection of humans to space mission:
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Friday said the Indian Air Force would be involved in the selection process to send humans on a space mission and expressed confidence of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2022 deadline for the exercise.
"The Institute of Aerospace Medicine was actively involved in selection of astronauts earlier. We will be involved now. I am sure we will be able to doit in a very short notice," he said at an event in Bengaluru.
The Air Chief Marshal said this in his inaugural speechat the three-day 57th Annual Conference of Indian Society ofAerospace Medicine (ISAM) at IAM in Bengaluru.
Dhanoa also said that an Aerospace Medicine specialist is the best friend of the air crew in the field.
Modi, in his Independence Day address, had said an Indian astronaut would go on a space odyssey by 2022 on board Gaganyaan.
Speaking on the same issue, IAM Commandant Air Commodore Anupam Agarwal said they would require 12 to 14 months toselect astronauts.
He also said that it would be a great challenge for IAM to prepare astronauts for space travel.
Agarwal said even the slightest of difference in physiological and psychological issues of astronauts travelling in a space capsule would lead to isolation issues.
"Even small issues like an astronaut picking his nose can lead to problems. Therefore even small nuances must be takencare of," he said.
Agarwal also said India would be the first country to send humans, instead of animals, as part of the first mission to return with knowledge from space.
"Other countries sent animals into the space that brought back some learning," he added. -- PTI
20:43 Rising Hindu nationalism eroding India's secular nature: US report:
Hindu nationalism has been a rising political force in India in recent decades, 'eroding' its secular nature, a United States Congressional report has claimed, as it warned that social media platforms provide 'both tacit and overt sanction' for rising incidents of 'majoritarian violence' in the country.
In its report, the Congressional Research Service -- an independent and bi-partisan research wing of US Congress -- mentioned specific areas of alleged religiously-motivated repression and violence, including state-level anti-conversion laws, cow protection vigilantism and perceived assaults on freedom of expression and operations by non-governmental organisations that are seen as harmful to India's secular traditions.
The CRS' reports are neither an official report of the US Congress nor reflect the view of Congressmen. They are prepared by independent experts for the lawmakers to take informed decisions.
The report titled 'India: Religious Freedom issues', said, "Religious freedom is explicitly protected under its Constitution. Hindus account for a vast majority (nearly four-fifths) of the country's populace. Hindu nationalism has been a rising political force in recent decades, by many accounts eroding India's secular nature and leading to new assaults on the country's religious freedom."
A copy of the report dated August 30 was made available to PTI on Thursday.
Authored by South Asian Specialist Alan Kronstadt, the report was prepared for members of the US Congress ahead of the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi on September 6.
Several lawmakers had urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to raise the issue of religious freedom with Indian leaders during the 2+2 talks. Running into more than 20 pages, the report warned that India's social media platforms provide 'both tacit and overt sanction' for rising incidents of majoritarian violence in the country.
The report said the 2014 national election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party brought newly-acute attention to the issue of religious freedom in India.
The BJP has since gone on to win control of numerous state governments, including in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state with more than 200 million residents, one-fifth of them Muslim, it said.
The CRS report said perceived 'abuses' have produced friction in the US-India relationship, including within the US Congress. -- PTI
20:21 'ABVP posters' promise ban on short dress in JNU:
Posters promising to ban short dresses for women in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, protect the university from 'anti-national comrades' and close eateries serving non-vegetarian food have come up on its campus, purportedly posted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, which has denied issuing them categorically.
ABVP's Saurabh Sharma, however, said, "Left parties are scared of us and hence, this is propaganda against us. We have not issued any such poster."
The posters, which have also gone viral on social media, come on a day when the polls for crucial posts of JNU students' union are underway on the politically active campus.
'Reduction of opening hours of central library for girls at night, no extra short dresses and only Indian clothes, no entry of girls in boys' hostel and no birthday celebrations. We will ensure all of this to avoid cases of sexual harassment and molestation,' the poster read.
Other poll promises cited in the poster include 'preserving JNU from terrorists and anti-national comrades', restriction on serving of non-vegetarian food on JNU campus and restriction on timings of Ganga dhabha (an eatery on the campus) which the manifesto described as 'adda of leftists and molesters'.
The ABVP is contesting on the four posts and pitted against the united Left front -- an alliance of all the Left parties (All India Students Association, All India Students Federation, Democratic Students Federation and Students' Federation of India) on campus.
The counting of votes will begin tonight and the results are likely to be announced on Sunday morning. -- PTI
19:51 Vigilantes detain train for 4 hours alleging cow smuggling:
Cow vigilantes forced a Howrah-bound express to stop at Balasore station for over four hours on Thursday night claiming that cows were being smuggled in the train, railways officials said.
Altogether 17 cattle were being transported legally to Kolkata in a bogey that was attached to the Pondicherry-Howrah Express, the officials said on Friday.
Members of Go Surakshya Samiti agitated at the station on Thursday night delaying the train for around four hours.
The station manager of Balasore and police officers showed relevant papers for the transportation of cattle to the agitators and then the train was allowed to leave, an official said.
The Puducherry-Howrah Express was stranded at the Balasore station between 8.12 pm and 12.35 am, station manager Bhagabat Das said. -- PTI
19:10 Jolt to Congress before polls: Mizoram home minister quits:
Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana on Friday resigned from the Lal Thanhawla cabinet, sources in the Chief Minister's Office said.
Lalzirliana accompanied by his supporters arrived at the chief minister's office-cum-residence to put in his papers but Lal Thanhawla is out of town, the sources said.
The development has come as a setback for the Congress in Mizoram, where elections are due in December.
He then handed over his resignation papers to Lalramthanga, the principal secretary to the chief minister, they added.
Lalzirliana, who is also the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president, was served a show cause notice by the MPCC disciplinary committee on September 11 accusing him of confusing party workers.
There were reports that he would join a rival party. -- PTI
18:22 West Bengal govt to demolish Majerhat bridge, construct new one:
The Majerhat bridge, a portion of which collapsed last week, will be demolished and a new bridge will be constructed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday.
She said there was negligence on the part of PWD officials in the bridge collapse.
"They cannot avoid responsibilities," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
She said the new bridge would come up in a year's time.
A section of the over 50-year-old bridge on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in south Kolkata collapsed on September 4 in which 3 persons lost their lives. -- PTI
18:12 No explanation to Oppn on Rafale, they don't deserve it: Sitharaman:
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has ruled out any engagement with the Opposition on issues relating to the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, saying they do not deserve to be involved after throwing muck on a very sensitive issue concerning India's defence preparedness.
Sitharaman said the government decided to go for procuring only two squadrons of Rafale jets as an emergency measure in the wake of China and Pakistan significantly ramping up their air power by inducting stealth fighters.
"Is there any point of calling them and explaining? They are misleading the country with something which was not even agreed to during the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government.
"You are throwing an allegation saying there is a fraud. You did not care for operational preparedness of the air force," she told PTI in an interview.
The defence minister was asked whether the government will engage with opposition parties the way the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 had taken the Opposition into confidence and addressed their apprehensions to pave way for finalising the nuclear deal with the United States.
"It (Rafale deal) is an inter-governmental agreement. You (Opposition) have asked us questions and I have given answers to them in Parliament. Then what am I calling them for? What am I going to tell them when I call them?" she said.
The defence minister also asserted that the Rafale deal cannot be equated with the Bofors issue at all as was being attempted by the Opposition, as she has rid the defence ministry from middlemen entirely.
Sitharaman said the weapon systems, avionics and other key add-ons to the Rafale aircraft will be 'much superior' in comparison to what was negotiated by the UPA.
Asked whether the controversy surrounding Rafale will hit flow of foreign funds into the defence sector, she said it will not have any impact as it is very clear that allegations are baseless.
Sitharaman also rejected the Opposition charge that the government was trying to benefit Reliance Defence Ltd from the deal under the offset requirement, saying the government has no role in selecting an offset partner of Dassault Aviation, the maker of Rafale.
Under India's offset policy, foreign defence entities are mandated to spend at least 30 per cent of the total contract value in India through procurement of components or setting up of research and development facilities.
Sitharaman said, officially, she does not know which company Dassault Aviation is partnering with to execute the offset obligations.
"I have not got to know who is Dassault's offset partner.. It is a commercial decision. There are laid down procedure to check the process of fulfilment of offset obligations. Neither I can accept, nor I can suggest, nor I can reject anybody from going with anybody," she said.
On October 27, last year, Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence laid the foundation for manufacturing facility near Nagpur to manufacture aerospace components and fulfil offset obligation connected to the Rafale deal.
The Opposition has been asking how RDL, with no experience in aerospace sector, can be chosen as an offset partner while the government has been maintaining that it was officially ignorant of the fact that Dassault has joined hands with RDL to execute offset obligations.
Rejecting charges of corruption in the Rafale deal, the defence minister said the people of the country have put a closure on this 'non-issue' as they have trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. -- PTI
17:23 Cop's son arrested after video of him thrashing woman goes viral:
A Delhi policeman's son, who is seen brutally thrashing a woman in a video that has gone viral, has been arrested on charges of rape after he allegedly assaulted her in his friend's office in Dwarka, police said Friday.
The woman, seen in the video shared widely on social media and shown on TV channels, told the police that the accused, Rohit Tomar, called her to his friend's office in Uttam Nagar and sexually assaulted her, said Anto Alphonse, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka).
The woman alleged that the accused started beating her when she told him that she will file a complaint with the police, he said. The incident took place on September 2 in Uttam Nagar, Alphonse said.
The arrest took place hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh directed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take necessary action. Singh tweeted,"I have taken note of a video where a youth has been seen severely beating a woman. I have spoken to the Delhi Police Commissioner over the phone and directed him to take necessary action in this regard."
In the video, Tomar is seen dragging the woman and brutally assaulting her. Another complaint was received from a woman alleging that her male friend, Tomar, showed the video to her -- in which he was seen assaulting the woman -- and threatened her that she will meet the same consequences if she did not listen to him, said a senior police officer.
Subsequently, the woman approached the police on Thursday and a case was registered at Tilak Nagar police station in west Delhi against Tomar, said Monika Bharadwaj, DCP (West). -- PTI
16:17 SBI denies any laxity in dealing with fugitive Vijay Mallya case:
India's biggest lender SBI said Friday there was no laxity on its part in dealing with loan default by now defunct Kingfisher Airlines of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
The comments by State Bank of India came after reports suggested that the bank, which was the lead lender to Kingfisher Airlines, was in February 2016 advised to move the Supreme Court to stop Mallya from fleeing the nation but the lenders moved the apex court only after the tycoon had left the country four days later.
Mallya left the country on March 2, 2016 while 13 banks moved the apex court four days later seeking its intervention to prevent the businessman from leaving the country.
"State Bank of India denies that there has been any laxity on its part or its officials in dealing with loan default cases, including kingfisher Airlines. Bank has been taking proactive and strong measures to recover the defaulted amounts," the lead bank said in a statement.
Mallya has been facing legal proceedings for defaulting on loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore from a consortium of 17 banks.
However, Mallya, in an open letter, had defended himself and said the SBI and other banks had lent him money despite knowing about his company's financial situation. He claimed he was being made the poster boy for bank defaults, though the banks were also culpable.
15:52 Framing of charges against ex-Teri chief Pachauri on Oct 20:
Delhi's Saket Court orders framing of charges against environmentalist RK Pachauri in a sexual harassment case. Next hearing of the matter is on October 20. An FIR was registered against Pachauri by a colleague in 2015, after which more women levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him in the months that followed.
The Metropolitan Magistrate Charu Gupta ordered framing of charges under sections 354 (outraging her modesty), 354 A (making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually coloured remark) and section 509 (teasing and using vulgar gesture and actions) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court, however, discharged him of certain other sections and said that it will formally frame the charges on October 20.
On February 13, 2015 an FIR was registered against him and he was granted anticipatory bail in the case on March 21.Pachauri is on bail since 2016.
15:14 Nikah halala petitioner seeks protection from SC after acid attack:
The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear on September 17 a plea filed by a petitioner in nikah halala and triple talaq case, seeking protection after facing acid attack yesterday at Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwikar and D Y Chandrachud considered the plea of Shabnam Rani, who was attacked allegedly by her brother-in-law and has been hospitalised. She has also sought better health care.
The court asked advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, counsel for Rani, to submit a copy of the petition to the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government.
Numerous petitions have been filed in the apex court challenging the prevalent practices of nikah halala and polygamy among Muslims saying it was violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, 'nikah halala' deals with the process in which a Muslim woman, who wants to re-marry her husband after divorce, has to first marry another person and get a divorce from the second person after the consummation.
In her plea against nikah halala and polygamy, Rani had alleged that her husband divorced giving her triple talaq and forced to perform nikah hala with her brother-in-law. PTI
14:49 Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the alleged gang-rape of a CBSE topper: "The law will take its own course and whoever is found guilty will be punished."
Chennai: An idol of Lord Ganesha has been made using around 7000 banana flowers in Kolathur.
14:17 Gang-raped CBSE topper's mother calls out PM's Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao:
A 19-year-old CBSE topper from the Kosli area in Haryana's Rewari district was allegedly kidnapped and gang-raped after being drugged on Wednesday.
The victim, who was felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind after she topped the CBSE board exam in the state, was going to her coaching centre in Mahendragarh in the morning when two people came to meet her at a bus stand and later gave her water to drink. Soon after, the girl lost consciousness, according to an FIR registered at Kanina police station.
Three people - Pankaj, Manish and Nishu - have been named as the accused in the FIR.
The girl alleged that Pankaj and Manish drugged her and later took her near a well in a car where she recognised Nishu on gaining consciousness.
However, the victim was again drugged and gang-raped, the FIR stated.It added that the accused later called the victim's family and informed them to take her from the bus stand in Kanina.
"The girl lives in Rewari district and the incident took place in adjoining Narnaul (Mahendragarh district). Later in the night, the police registered a zero FIR. Police are taking relevant efforts to arrest the three people accused. I hope that they will be in police custody soon," AS Chawla, ADGP Operations, Haryana, told ANI.
The victim's mother has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure justice for the young girl. "Prime Minister Modi says 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao,' but how? Please help my daughter get justice. My daughter was honoured on Republic Day after she topped Haryana. Now, what should we do? Why is he (Prime Minister Modi) not listening to us today? Where is he? The accused are threatening my daughter and saying that they will kill her if we will tell this to anybody. The village is not speaking anything in front of these goons. Police are also making us go from pillar to post, while the accused are roaming freely. Both the police and the government are not listening to us. It's been 15-16 hours now, but nothing has been done yet," the victim's mother told ANI.
Image: The girl's mother asks the PM why her complaints were not being heard.
13:43 Nehru statue removed in Allahabad for Kumbh 'beautification drive':
The statue of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was on Thursday removed from Balsan Chauraha in Allahabad. Authorities said that the statue has been removed in view of the beautification work that is being held in the city for the upcoming Kumbh mela that is due to be held in January 2019. The Congress, however, is enraged at the move and is calling it an insult to the former prime minister. Read more
13:22 CBI would not change Mallya lookout notice without PM's nod: Rahul:
Congress president Rahul Gandhi continues his attack on the BJP over Vijay Mallya. @RahulGandhi tweets: "Mallya's Great Escape was aided by the CBI quietly changing the "Detain' notice for him, to "Inform'. The CBI reports directly to the PM. It is inconceivable that the CBI, in such a high profile, controversial case, would change a lookout notice without the approval of the PM."
Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP-led Central Government of providing Vijay Mallya a "free passage" to "run away" from India.
"The government is lying on Vijay Mallya. He was given a free passage out of the country by the Finance Minister," he said while addressing media, adding, "The Finance Minister has colluded in a criminal running away from the country."
On Wednesday, fugitive liquor baron Mallya claimed that he met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country in March 2016.
"I met the Finance Minister before I left," Mallya said on Wednesday outside Westminster Magistrates' Court where his extradition case is being heard.
Alleging that Mallya was allowed to escape by changing the 'arrest notice' to 'inform notice', the Congress president hinted that the CBI could have been involved in the matter.
"Finance Minister talks to an absconder, absconder tells him that he going to London. Finance Minister does not tell this to the CBI, ED or police. Why? The arrest notice was changed to inform notice. This can be done only by the one who controls CBI," he said.
Rebutting Mallya's claims, Jaitley had told ANI, "I have seen the statement of Vijay Mallya where he claims to have met me with an offer of settlement. Nothing could be further from truth. I never gave him (Mallya) an appointment, never at my office, never at my residence. Nor I was ever offered to meet him."
12:57 Asiad gold medallist Swapna to get customised Adidas shoes:
Asian Games gold-medallist Swapna Barman will have customised shoes for her 12-toed feet soon as the Sports Authority of India has tied up with footwear company Adidas to ensure specially-designed gear for the heptathlete.
"After coming to know about Swapna's case, the Sports Minister immediately directed us from Jakarta to get customised shoes made for her. We have taken up the matter with Adidas and they have agreed to provide the footwear," SAI Director General Neelam Kapur told PTI.
Born with six toes in both her feet, Swapna's plight came to light only after she became the first Indian athlete to win an Asiad gold in heptathlon with a career-best performance in the 18th edition of the Games in Jakarta last month.
After her victory, the athlete made an emotional appeal for customised shoes and the SAI immediately sprung into action after Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore directed the concerned authorities to take up the matter on an urgent basis. The SAI has already sent a communication to Swapna's coach Subash Sarkar at its Centre of Excellence in Kolkata, asking for specifications, such as size, pressure points and drawings for the customised spikes.
Barman confirmed that he got a mail from the SAI headquarters in New Delhi On Thursday, seeking the necessary details required for the shoes. "Yes, I got a communication from SAI, Delhi asking for specification to prepare Swapna's customised shoes. I am yet to meet Swapna as she is injured but I will provide the details soon once I meet her," Sarkar said from Kolkata.
Sarkar said he had told SAI officials about the need for customised shoes for Swapna just before the Asian Games but the matter gained importance only after her victory in Jakarta. "Once I informally told a SAI official about the shoe issue but I never took up the matter seriously. Actually I didn't want her to alter things just before the Asian Games as she got adjusted to the regular shoes and was doing fine. Trying a new shoe just before the Games could have been adverse," he said.
"And she hadn't gained fame at that time. Now after winning the gold, she has become a celebrity and every company is trying to get mileage out of her." Swapna was identified in 2012 and since then she has been training at the SAI Centre of Excellence in Kolkata. Swapna was inducted in the Government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme in September last year. -- PTI
12:51 DMK President MK Stalin appoints senior DMK leader TR Baalu as party's Principal Secretary.
12:42 WPI inflation drops to 4-month low of 4.53 pc in Aug:
Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to a four-month low of 4.53 per cent in August on softening of prices of food articles, especially vegetables.
The Wholesale Price Index based inflation stood at 5.09 per cent in July and 3.24 per cent in August last year. According to the government data released Friday, food articles registered deflation at 4.04 per cent in August 2018.
Last month, deflation in this category was 2.16 per cent. Deflation in vegetables was 20.18 per cent in August, as against 14.07 per cent in the previous month.
Deflationary trend in food articles offset the double-digit inflation in 'fuel and power' basket in August. Inflation in this category was 17.73 per cent as prices of domestic fuel increased during the month, in line with high global crude oil rates. -- PTI
12:28 PM's Muslim outreach in Indore :
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community felicitates Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Saifee Mosque in Indore.
Modi said that the Ayushman Yojana has come as a savior for about 50 crore poor people of the country since it will ensure free medical treatment worth Rs 5 lakhs in one year. The trial of this scheme is underway.
Praising the Bohra community, the PM said he had an old relationship with the community. "Main ek prakaar se samaaj ka sadasya ban gaya hoon. Aaj bhi mere darwaaze aapke parivaar jaanon ke liye khule hain. My doors are still open for you."
12:00 SC issues slew of directions to Centre, states for rehabilitation of leprosy patients :
The Supreme Court Friday directed the Centre to consider framing separate rules for granting disability certificates to leprosy patients for availing reservation and various welfare benefits. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued a slew of directions to the Centre and all states for eradication of leprosy and rehabilitation of those suffering from it.
"Medical staff in private and government hospitals be sensitised to ensure that leprosy patients do not face discrimination," the bench said.
The apex court further said that awareness campaign should be launched so that leprosy patients are not isolated and allowed to lead a normal married life. The court also asked the Centre and states to frame rules that public and private schools do not discriminate against children from leprosy affected families. -- PTI
11:42 PM addresses Bohra Muslims: I feel a part of your community:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Saifee Mosque in Indore to attend the Ashara Mubaraka -- the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain -- organized by the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj S Chouhan at the Saifee Mosque: "Aisa apne mulk se mohabaat karne wala, dusron ki madad karne wala aur anushasit agar koi samaj hai toh woh Bohra Samaj hai."
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community responds: "May you get success in all that you do for the country."
PM Modi speaking now, says the Bohra community always follows the Prophet's guidance and that it was an honour for him to address the community. "I feel like a member of the Bohra community," the PM said. He says everyone should unite to work for the greater good of the country. "Unity makes us unique from other nations," he said.
11:22 USD 52,701 spent on curtains for Nikki Haley's residence: Report :
The US State Department spent about USD 52,701 last year on customised and mechanised curtains for the official residence of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at a time when the department was undergoing deep budget cuts and had frozen hiring, according to a media report.
The report in The New York Times said Haley is the first US ambassador to live in the residence, located in a new building just blocks away from the UN headquarters in New York.
A spokesman for Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration and that Haley had no say in the purchase. The curtains themselves cost USD 29,900, while the motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost USD 22,801, the report said, citing contracts. Installation took place from March to August last year, during Haley's tenure as ambassador.
The NYT report said that Haley's curtains are more expensive than the USD 31,000 dining room set purchased for the office of Ben Carson, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. -- PTI
11:18 SC awards RS 50 lakh compensation to scientist in ISRO spy case :
The verdict on another key case by CJI Dipak Misra before he demits office. A three-judge Supreme Court bench held that ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan was unnecessarily arrested, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty in the ISRO spy case. The court awards Rs 50 lakh compensation to the scientist and sets up a three-member panel headed by its former judge D K Jain to probe the framing of Narayanan in the case.
The court said that the arrest of the ISRO scientist was 'needless and unnecessary'.
In July, this year, the apex court reserved the case for judgment, when the CBI had said it had nothing to hide. The agency, which took over the probe from the State Police and filed a closure report in 1996, even invited the court to launch a probe into the its conduct in the case.
Narayanan has accused the Kerala Police and the IB of torturing and extracting statements from him. The State of Kerala had filed an affidavit saying it was willing to unconditionally abide by whatever the apex court orders.
11:00 Maha court issues arrest warrant against AP CM, others in 2010 case:
A court in Maharashtra has issued an arrest warrant against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in a 2010 case related to an agitation staged by them over the Babli project across the Godavari river.
Judicial Magistrate First Class of Dharmabad in Nanded district N R Gajbhiye issued the order, directing the police to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court by September 21.
Naidu and others, then in the opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh, were arrested and lodged in a Pune jail in connection with the agitation staged by them near the Babli project site in Maharashtra, opposing it on the ground that it would affect the people downstream. All of them were released later, though they had not sought bail. -- PTI
10:50 Five-time Meghalaya CM writes bitter letter to Rahul, quits Congress :
In a major setback to the Congress party, senior leader and five-time Meghalaya CM DD Lapang says he has quit the party.
Writing to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Lapang questioned the All India Congress Committee's policy of phasing out elderly leaders from the party in order to infuse new blood.
"In my opinion it means that the service and contribution of senior and elderly people is no longer useful to the party. Since the spirit and enthusiasm to work for the people is still burning inside me, this restriction made me frustrated and compelled me to be no longer comfortable to be in the party," the 84-year old wrote.
In his resignation letter Lapang added, "I am glad that I have had the privilege to be in the Congress for the last four decades as an eminent member."
Lapang was first elected to the state assembly in 1972 from the Nongpoh assembly seat as an independent candidate.
He was removed as the Pradesh Congress president last December after five lawmakers resigned from the assembly to join the ruling National People's Party, an NDA ally.
And another picture of Omar with his parents, likely at Srinagar's famed tulip garden.
10:32 It's Farooq Abdullah's marriage anniversary today:
It's former J-K CM and National Conference party chief Dr Farooq Abdullah's golden wedding anniversary, his son, also a former CM of J-K tells us on Twitter. Omar, posts this throwback picture of his parents, saying, @OmarAbdullah "My mum will murder me for this but if not today then when!! Happy 50th wedding anniversary to my parents. Love you both xx."
Dr Abdullah is married to Molly, a nurse of British origin. They have three children -- Omar, and three daughters, Safia, Hinna, and Sara. Sara is married to Congress MP Sachin Pilot.
10:14 Sensex climbs 300 pts on positive economic data, rupee recovery:
The BSE benchmark Sensex reclaimed the 38,000-mark by surging over 300 points in opening trade Friday on heavy buying by domestic institutional investors as the industrial production grew at 6.6 per cent in July and retail inflation cooled to a 10-month low.
The 30-share barometer pushed higher by 318.85 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 38,036.81. The gauge had risen 304.83 points in the previous session on Wednesday.
Sectoral indices were green across the board, with metal, power, PSU, realty and oil & gas stocks posting sizeable gains of up to 1.66 per cent. The NSE index Nifty was trading above the 11,400-mark, up 84.90 points, or 0.75 per cent, at 11,454.80. -- PTI
10:04 Food for the gods:
A 126 kilo modak to be offered to Lord Ganesha at Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. The modak has been made using dry fruits and silver leaf.
09:56 Rupee strengthens by 50 paise against dollar in early trade:
Continuing its recovery, the rupee Friday strengthened by 50 paise to 71.68 against the dollar in early trade in the forex market on the government's assurance that all steps would be taken to ensure the domestic currency does not depreciate to unreasonable levels.
Besides, dollar selling by exporters and banks, the greenback's weakness against other currencies overseas, helped the domestic currency recover, forex dealers said. They said a higher opening in the equity market and positive macro data released on Wednesday also supported the rupee's recovery, they added.-- PTI
09:54 7 Kolkata bridges identified as 'most vulnerable':
In the wake of the Majerhat bridge collapse on September 4, the West Bengal public works department has identified seven bridges in the city as "most vulnerable" requiring urgent repairs, a senior official of the department said.
The seven bridges are out of the 20, which, the PWD has classified as "distressed" structures. The seven bridges labelled as "most vulnerable" are Bijon setu, Gouribari Aurobindo Setu, Belgachhia bridge, Tollygunge Circular Road bridge, Dhakuria bridge, Tallah bridge and Santragachi bridge, the PWD official told PTI.
"Load-bearing capacities of these bridges were carried out and depending on that report, we have suggested to the police to impose restriction on goods-carrying vehicles to prevent further deterioration of the condition of the distressed structures," he said.
The Kolkata Police has already banned movement of all goods vehicles on the first four bridges and is exploring the possibility whether a similar decision can be taken for the remaining ones, a senior officer of Kolkata Traffic Police said.
Image: Three persons were killed and 24 injured in the September 4 collapse of a portion of Majerhat bridge.
09:51 Penalty imposed on US company for paying low wages to H-1B employees:
A Redmond-based information technology staffing company was asked to pay over USD 300,000 to its 12 H-1B employees for paying them far below their salary and has been imposed a penalty of over USD 45,000 for violating the labour provisions.
The US Department of Labour Wage and Hour Division during an investigation found the company, which has offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, violated the labour provisions of the H-1B visa programme by paying its guest workers far below the required wages, a media release said Thursday.
As a result, People Tech Group Inc has been asked to pay its 12 employees USD 309,914 and has been slapped with a penalty of USD 45,564, it said. Investigators found that the company paid entry-level wages to H-1B computer analysts and computer programmers who performed the work of much more experienced employees and should have received higher prevailing rates, the Department of Labour said. -- PTI
09:40 Stupid of Pranab Mukherjee to have attended RSS event: Owaisi:
Taking his criticism for RSS, a step further, the AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday slammed former President Pranab Mukherjee for attending an RSS event in the past.
"After understanding RSS ideology we have been fighting against it. If anyone else wants to repeat the stupidity and immaturity that Pranab Mukherjee has done by going there, they will bring ruin on themselves. RSS believes in Hindu nationalism and the majority of this country has faith in Indian nationalism. If anyone wants to understand RSS they must read books by their prominent leaders. As much as I am concerned, no such question arises. I have always been against RSS and its ideology and will always be," he said.
The former President in June this year attended the Third Year Sangha Shiksha Varga event organised at RSS headquarters in Nagpur and addressed the RSS workers.
09:30 Parrikar admitted to hospital in Goa :
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was admitted to a hospital in Candolim on Thursday afternoon. Speaking to ANI, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said, "Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has been admitted to the hospital today afternoon in Candolim and is undergoing treatment."
Parrikar, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, flew to the US earlier this year for treatment. He returned to the country in June, after two-and-half months. Last month, he went there again for a follow-up. - ANI
Image: File pic of Goa CM Manohar Parrikar
09:13 Fuel prices continue northward march:
Fuel prices jumped to an all-time high on Friday, with petrol being sold at Rs 81.28 per litre and diesel at Rs 73.30 per litre in the national capital.
Petrol prices increased by 28 paise per litre, while diesel saw a hike of 22 paise per litre in the national capital, informed the Indian Oil Corporation.
On the other hand, the price of petrol rose to Rs 88.67 per litre in Mumbai, while diesel is being sold at 77.82 per litre.
The continuous hike in the fuel price is being witnessed from past few days, causing much trouble to the common people.
Speaking about the soaring fuel price, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier said that the hike in fuel price in the country is due to international factors, and not under the Centre's control.
08:57 Kerala govt not taking proper action against bishop: Nun's family:
The brother of the Kerala nun who has accused the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal of allegedly raping her on several occasions between 2014 and 2016 on, Thursday blamed the state government for not taking any action into the matter in view of the state elections.
The nun's brother claimed that Kerala police have not done anything so far and added that some influential politicians are supporting the Bishop.
"Kerala government is not taking any action as they do not want to break the cordiality between the church and the authorities as elections are approaching. Police have not done anything in 78 days. Influential politicians are supporting him," he said.
Meanwhile, Jalandhar Police Commissioner Praveen Kumar Sinha said that Kerala Police is already looking into the matter and that they would help the latter if they need any assistance.
"According to the Supreme Court, in one case, there cannot be trials at two different places at the same time. The nuns have preferred to serve a complaint in Kerala. Whatever helps Kerala police needs, we will provide them," Sinha said.
Commenting on the matter, Bishop's counsel said that his client is being framed. "We have not got any summons yet, when we get then will see what to do. The Bishop is being framed. What if tomorrow its proved that bishop is innocent, then who will be held responsible for his character assassination?" Mandeep Singh said.
08:27 10 inured in fires in multiple US towns near Boston:
Mass evacuations from US towns north of Boston were underway after dozens of fires and suspected gas explosions erupted, police said, leaving at least 10 residents injured, one critically.
Massachusetts State Police said they had responded to 70 reports of fires, explosions and the smell of gas in a widespread zone encompassing the east coast towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
"Gas lines are currently being depressurised," police tweeted, adding that "it will take some time."
"Numerous evacuations of neighbourhoods where there are gas odors are underway," police said. "Far too early to speculate on cause. Joint investigation will be conducted when situation is stabilised."
Authorities were to cut power to thousands of metres, police said, and residents in all three towns with utilities service from Columbia Gas had been asked to evacuate immediately.
The mayor of Lawrence requested that all those living in the southern zone of his town leave their homes ahead of the planned power shutdown.
07:50 Changing Look Out Circular against Mallya was error of judgement: CBI:
The CBI said the change in a 2015 Look Out Circular against liquor baron Vijay Mallya from "detain" to merely informing about his movements was an "error" in judgement because he was cooperating in the probe and there was no warrant against him.
Three years later as the controversy surfaced again, the CBI sources said when the first Lookout Circular was issued on October 12, 2015, Mallya was already abroad.
Upon his return the agency was asked by the Bureau of Immigration, if Mallya should be detained as sought in the LoC to which the CBI said there was no need to arrest or detain him as he was a sitting MP and there was no warrant against him, they said.
It said the agency only wanted information on his movements, they said.
Besides, the probe was in an initial stage and the CBI was collecting documents from the IDBI in the Rs 900 crore loan default case, they said.
The CBI issued a fresh LoC against Mallya in the last week of November, 2015 asking airport authorities across the country to "inform" it about Mallya's movements, thus replacing its previous circular which had sought detention of the businessman if he attempted to leave the country, they said.
The LoC depends on the issuing authority and, unless it asks the BoI to detain a person or to stop him from boarding a plane, no action is taken.
The sources said Mallya travelled abroad in October and returned in November, then made two trips in first and last week of December and also a trip in January, 2016.
In between, he had appeared for questioning thrice since the lookout notices were issued -- once in New Delhi and twice in Mumbai between December 9 and 12, 2015.
The said the change in the notice was an error in judgement and since he had been cooperating, there was no reason to stop him from moving abroad.
On March 2, 2016, Mallya left the country and has been in the United Kingdom where he has been fighting the extradition case.