Wed, 02 August 2017
Dinakaran meets Sasikala in prison before resuming party work

Timeline  Refresh

23:26   Dinakaran meets Sasikala in prison before resuming party work
A day after announcing his return to active party work, sidelined AIADMK (Amma) Deputy General Secretary T T V Dinakaran today met his aunt and party chief V K Sasikala at the Parappana Agrahara central prison in Bengaluru.
Emerging out of the jail premises, Dinakaran said he enquired about Sasikala's health and discussed about party affairs with her.
Sasikala is serving four-year jail term in a disproportionate wealth case.
Dinakaran told reporters that he would work towards strengthening the party by touring across the state.
He had yesterday announced that he would resume party work from August 4 after a two-month hiatus and embark on a state-wide tour to facilitate efforts for merger of rival factions.
His comments assume significance as a camp led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had earlier kept him and Sasikala from the affairs of the party and government.
Though Dinakaran had then said that he would keep away from the party work, he later questioned the authority of the ministers to sideline him.
However, he said Sasikala had asked him to give two months time for the merger of the factions which would end on August 4.
23:21   Army to launch mobile app for soldiers
The Indian Army has developed a mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions, an army official said today.
Through the 'Humraaz' app, soldiers can also view their monthly salary slips and the Form 16 and also download them. The mobile app has been developed in-house by the army and will be launched in the second week of August for prompt communication of information to junior commissioner officers and other personnels.
For security reasons, the installation of the application has been linked to verification of Aadhar details.
The Aadhar details will be verified with the army database over (National Information Centre) NIC cloud and he will get a one-time-password on his registered mobile number.
Hence, to enable usage of this mobile application, the latest mobile number of individuals should be linked to his Aadhar number, the official added. 
22:43   Dilip Kumar hospitalized after complaining about dehydration
Legendary actor Dilip Kumar was today admitted to a private hospital in Mumbai after suffering from dehydration and urinary tract infection.
The 94-year-old thespian was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in suburban Bandra this morning, a relative said.
"He was admitted due to dehydration and urine (tract) infection. He is not in the ICU... He is in a normal room. He is fine now, there is nothing to worry," Kumar's nephew Rehan told PTI.
"He is under observation and expected to be in the hospital for two days," he said.
The renowned actor, whose real name is Mohammad Yusuf Khan, has acted in several superhit films during his six-decade long career such as 'Madhumati', 'Devdas', 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Ganga Jamuna', 'Ram Aur Shyam' and 'Karma'.
He was last seen on-screen in the 1998 film 'Qila'.
The veteran actor was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema, in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second-highest civilian award, in 2015.
Cabinet approves scrapping of no-detention policy in schools.
22:26   Goodbye India and thanks for everything: Abdul Basit
Former Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday thanked India as he bid adieu to the country after serving as envoy in New Delhi for four years. 
"Goodbye India and thanks for everything," he tweeted.
A spokesperson of the high commission said that Basit left Delhi late afternoon and has reached Pakistan.
Basit was appointed as the high commissioner to India in 2014. He will be succeeded by Sohail Mahmood, who is expected to take up his responsibilities around mid-August.
Recalling his stint in India, the High Commission's Spokesperson Khawaja Maaz said, "For me, personally, two of his qualities stood out, his composure and him not losing his nerves, even in the face of aggressive media."
"He is being remembered here for his warm personality. He always responded to people or mediapersons with a smile, even if they provoked him," he said.
Maaz said Basit took back home "fond memories" of India and the friends he made here.

After reaching Pakistan, Basit tweeted, "Just landed at Lahore airport. Thanks fellow Pakistanis for your support and encouragement. I am indebted. Pakistan zindabad".
At a recent event in New Delhi, in his capacity as the outgoing envoy, he had said that a dialogue between India and Pakistan was a "pre-requisite" and a "necessity" to mend relations between the neighbours, which might require "give and take" from both sides.
22:05   Soon, popular films, TV shows on demand on 1,300 trains
You can soon watch a film or catch up on your favourite TV show on smartphones, laptops or other devices during those boring train journeys.
Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain today said the ministry has sought proposals from interested parties to provide on-board entertainment on 1,300 select trains. 
"Under the content on demand policy, onboard entertainment through pre-loaded audio/video content on personal devices of passengers will be provided on 1,300 trains including Shatabdi, Rajdhani express trains for which
the request for proposal has been issued on July 6," Gohain said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
Once the system is in place, passengers will be able to watch an array of popular films, serials and sitcoms on their laptops, mobile phones and other devices.
However, the entertainment package will come at a price.
According to the Ministry of Railways the public transporter aims to monetise the service based on captive eyeballs at rail premises as part of its efforts to increase its non-fare revenue from the current 5 per cent to 10-20 per cent. 
21:55   'Smart fence' for India-Pak border soon: BSF chief
Sealing the Indian border with Pakistan is an immediate "priority" and a smart technology-aided fence will be in place along the Jammu sector by March next year, the Border Security Force chief said on Wednesday.
Border Security Force DG K K Sharma, in the same breath, added that as the country's relations with its eastern neighbour Bangladesh are "very good" at present, a similar plan to make the Indo-Bangla border impregnable would be taken up once the "resources" are available.
"My priority is Pakistan, as anything happens here (along the Indo-Pak border), it has grave consequences. We are working to ensure complete sealing of this border and make it more fortified," the Director General said on sidelines of an event to announce the 'BSF half marathon for martyrs' to be held in October this year.
"We are implementing a comprehensive integrated border management plan and are running a pilot project to make our international border along Pakistan secure," he said.

This project will be in place in the Jammu sector (of the IB) by March next year, Sharma said.

Asked if there were any similar plans for the 4,096-km long India-Bangladesh border, the DG replied "it is a question of priority".
Both the governments of India and Bangladesh have good relations and the ties between the BSF and its counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh are also at an all-time high, the DG said.
"We are also conducting simultaneous coordinated patrolling wit the BGB ... once we have the resources (after completing the border sealing task with Pakistan), we will do it on the eastern side," Sharma said.
He added that the project to create 'smart fencing' along the Indo-Bangla border has "not started" as of now along the eastern frontier.
The BSF DG's statement comes in variance with that of Union home minister Rajnath Singh who has earlier said that the Assam portion of the Indo-Bangla border (about 200kms) will be completely sealed by the first half of 2018. 
He added that the challenges of guarding these large borders on the two flanks of the country are very "dynamic" and hence the security requirements keep changing and nothing can be said to be adequate.
"We are modernising our equipments and the Indo-Pak border will be more fortified by the use of advanced technology. What we keep doing, I am sure, will have to be followed by my successor even," he said.
21:26   Border peace important for ties: India to China
In response to a question on Chinese MFA's document released on today on the Doklam issue, Ministry of External Affairs' official spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations.
"India's position on this issue and related facts have been articulated in our press statement of June 30, 2017. India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China," he said.

Earlier, China emphatically rejected India's interference in its ongoing boundary dispute with Bhutan in the Doklam area and again urged New Delhi to withdraw unconditionally and end the nearly two-month long stand-off.

"The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan's behalf," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

China alleged that India's intrusion into its territory under the pretext of defending Bhutan's territorial claims, has not only violated Beijing's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence.

Emphasizing that China and Bhutan are friendly neighbours, the foreign ministry said in its statement that Beijing has all along respected Bhutan's sovereignty and independence. It added that the border area between China and Bhutan has always enjoyed peace and tranquility due to the joint efforts of both sides.
20:45   Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia
United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the newest Russia sanctions bill into law, a White House official said.

The US Congress voted last week by overwhelming margins for sanctions to punish the Russian government over interference in the 2016 presidential election, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and other perceived violations of international norms.

Trump, who has made clear he wanted to improve relations with Russia, grudgingly accepted the new congressional sanctions, which also included Iran and North Korea. 

The bill had enough support in Congress to override a presidential veto.

Trump's signing of the bill followed some conflicting signals from the administration in recent days about the sanctions.
20:11   More IT raids underway at locations connected with K'taka Min

More raids are underway at various locations connected with Karnataka Minister for Energy, D K Shivakumar in a tax evasion case.

The Income Tax department has recovered a total amount of Rs. 10 crore, including Rs 2.23 crore at locations in the southern state.

The I-Tax on Wednesday conducted searches at 64 locations and properties linked to Shivakumar, who was overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near in Bengaluru.

I-T officials said about Rs 10 crore cash has been recovered during the raids at various properties linked to the minister, who was taken to his house in Bengaluru from the resort by the taxman.

A "good amount" of jewellery has also been recovered from a teacher's locker in a Bengaluru college.

About half-a-dozen note-counting machines have also been brought at two locations in Safdarjung Enclave in Delhi and in Hasan and Mysuru in Karnataka to count the cash.

Officials privy to the action said the department is investigating Shivakumar in a case of alleged tax evasion and huge undisclosed investments in real estate and other sectors.

Certain investments linked to him in Singapore and few other foreign locations are also under the scanner of the department, they said.

Some shell firms and their operatives allegedly linked to this case are also being probed, they added.
19:45   Adani story fell short of edit standards, so removed, says EPW publisher
Sameeksha Trust, which publishes the Economic and Political Weekly, clarified today that it took down an article related to a business house from its website as it "failed" to meet the standards of the journal and also did not go through its editorial review process.
In a statement, the trust asserted it will continue to critique all manner of policies and establishments of all political colours, like it has always done, while stressing that the instrument for criticism has to be evidence-based
research and analysis or commentary.
The Adani group had served a legal notice on Sameeksha, former EPW editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and three co-authors of the article published on the journal's website on June 17, threatening legal action against them.
Subsequently Guha Thakurta resigned as editor.
The trust said Guha Thakurta had unilaterally initiated legal proceedings over the notice, without informing its members, a charge which the veteran journalist acknowledged, while claiming that the "full picture" was not being shared.
Seeking to address concerns over the journal's current standing and future, the office-bearers said, in their view, the article was riddled with allegations based on information from anonymous sources, often just a single unnamed source.
"Several assertions were unsubstantiated by evidence; and there were insinuations of impropriety against several persons, not backed by any firm evidence," it said, adding that when asked for supporting evidence, Guha Thakurta was "unwilling" to provide it.
The trust's decision to remove the article from the EPW website was criticised by many academics, including Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, and sections of the media fraternity, who said the decision was against the principles of free speech.
"It is important to give authors of investigative articles a fair chance to respond before deciding how to deal with a threat of legal action. In India today, where liberty and freedom of expression are severely under attack, courage with critical judgement must have a hugely important role," Sen and Angus Deaton, also a Nobel winner, had written in a letter to the Indian Express newspaper.
Two Navy sailors awarded 12 to 15 years rigorous imprisonment by a military court for raping a minor girl.
19:15   75 defence personnel in Pakistan's custody: Govt
There are 75 missing Indian defence personnel, including 54 prisoners of war, who are believed to be in Pakistan's custody, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
However, presence of these missing Indians has not been acknowledged so far by Pakistan, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said in a written reply.
He also said that as of July 27, there are 417 fishermen in Pakistan's custody and 15 fishermen in Sri Lanka's custody, who are believed to be Indian nationals.
"In case of Pakistan, consular access is awaited and information about the states that they belong to is not available. In case of Sri Lanka, the 15 fishermen are believed to be from Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry," Singh said.
Replying to another question on the issue, he said, the government regularly takes up with Sri Lanka and Pakistan the matter of early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen and fishing boats. 
18:52   No decision yet on UN ban on Azhar, says China
China today said it will take "a decision in due course" about the pending application in the United Nations to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist when it comes for a review.
"The Chinese side will make the decision in due course," the foreign ministry said about the pending application proposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and France among others in the 1267 anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council.
Early this year, China had put a six-month technical hold on the application which is expected to come up for review shortly.
"We have stated China's position on the listing of the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council many times" in the past, the ministry said in a written response.
China has been blocking India's move stating that there is no consensus in the UNSC 1267 which enforces a global ban on terror groups and their leaders with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. JeM has already been in the banned list.
This is the second year China has blocked attempts to bring about a UN ban on Azhar which would force Pakistan to act against him.
18:05   Fadnavis, Sena leader hold meet to 'speed up' construction of Thackeray memorial
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting today to speed up the construction of the memorial to Shiv Sena chief, the late Bal Thackeray.

Tweeting this picture with Shiv Sena senior leader Subhash Desai, Fadnavis posted, "chaired a meeting to speed up process of construction of Late Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial. Minister @Subhash_Desai present."

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced the Thackeray memorial at the mayor's bungalow at Mumbai's Shivaji Park in November 2015. A committee led by the then chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya was constituted to look into sites for the memorial. After a preliminary study, the committee gave the nod for the bungalow as a suitable site. Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena president, heads the Bal Thackeray Memorial Public Trust with members such as Sena leader and Industries Minister Subhash Desai, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, Sena youth wing president Aaditya Thackeray, officials from the state government among others.
17:50   Holy cow! IIT-Delhi receives 50 proposals to study gau mutra
The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has received 50 proposals from different academic and research institutes to study the benefits of cow urine (gau mutra) and milk under the SVAROP programme, the government said today.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Y S Chowdary, the Minister of State in the Science and Technology Ministry, said that at a brainstorming-cum-consultative workshop held at the IIT, concept ideas/proposals related to the SVAROP programme, including the research and development (R&D) component on cow derivatives, were discussed.

SVAROP is acronym for Scientific Validation And Research On 'Panchgavya' (concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee). "Consequently, about 50 Research and Development (R&D) proposals have been received by IIT-D from various academic and research institutes besides voluntary organisations," the minister said. The government has constituted a national steering committee (NSC) to initiate the SVAROP programme.

The committee comprises secretaries of scientific departments, senior scientists and three members linked to the RSS and VHP. Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan is the chairman of the NSC and Vijay Bhatkar is the co-chairman. Known as an architect of the Param supercomputer series, Bhatkar is also linked to the RSS-affiliated Vijyan Bharti.
17:33   India, Pak to hold another round of talks in September
India and Pakistan will hold another round of talks in Washington next month on water issues, said the World Bank, which also issued a fact sheet giving its stated position on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) under which India is allowed to construct hydroelectric facilities on the shared Indo-Pak rivers.

The World Bank's statement came after India and Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks over the 1960 IWT this week, with the global lender maintaining that it was held in a spirit of "goodwill and cooperation".

"The parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington, DC," the World Bank said in a brief statement issued at the conclusion of the talks.
16:50   'Three musketeers' found guilty of plotting terror strikes in UK
Naweed Ali (29), Khobaib Hussain (25), and Mohibur Rahman (33), who called themselves the 'Three Musketeers' , were today found guilty of  plotting a terror attack on police or military targets in the UK, reports BBC.   

They were arrested last year following an undercover police operation that used a fake courier firm.    

A fourth man, Tahir Aziz (38), was also found guilty of the charges.
16:33   Gujarat Congress MLAS say BJP 'threatening' them
Congress MLAs from Gujarat on Wednesday alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party is threatening them.

The allegation came after the Income Tax officials on Wednesday morning raided Karnataka Power Minister D K Shivakumar's residence and at a private resort in Bengaluru where 44 Congress lawmakers from Gujarat are staying.

Gujarat MLA and national spokesperson AICC (All India Congress Committee) Shaktisinh Gohil said, "They are threatening our MLAs. Income Tax (IT) raids are not procedural, look at the timing. They have raided our minister D K Shivakumar, who has given shelter to us."

Speaking to the media here Gohil said, "Our morale has become strong now and our only plan is to vote for Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha election on August 8."

He has also urged Supreme Court to intervene.

"We are afraid, but we will not let democracy die. I urge Supreme Court to intervene," said Gohil.

"We are not enjoying or partying here, if we had to party we would have taken Rs. 15 crore as offered by the BJP," he added.

Refuting Congress Party's claim, IT department has denied that its raid at Shivakumar's residence and a private resort has anything to do with the Gujarat's Congress MLAs. -- ANI
16:05   Dinakaran reaches Bengaluru jail to meet Sasikala
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dinakaran, who is out on bail in a case of alleged bribery, isa at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru to meet his aunt and party chief VK Sasikala.

Dinakaran last met Sasikala on June 15. Sasikala was sentenced to a four-year jail term since February in a disproportionate assets case.

Dinakaran, who was arrested in the Election Commission bribery case, spent close to two months in Delhi's Tihar jail.

Dinakaran who was arrested on April 25 by the Delhi Police Crime Branch on allegations of attempting to bribe the Election Commission officials to get the two leaves symbol allotted illegally to his faction, has so far met Sasikala twice in jail.

File picture.
15:49   Rs 10 lakh reward for information on accused in Govind Pansare murder case
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of senior CPI (M) leader Govind Pansare announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for giving information about Sanatan Sanstha activists Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar. The SIT suspects both Akolkar and Pawar were involved in killing senior leftist leader in February 2015 when he was returning home along with his wife from morning walk near his home in Kolhapur.
The Consumer price index commonly referred to as retail inflation that the RBI tracks moderated sharply to 1.54 percent in June, the lowest since the index was re-based to 2012 in a new data series. The RBI and the government had set a retail inflation target of four percent for next five years with an upper tolerance level of six percent and lower limit of two percent.
15:12   Finance ministry unhappy, expected 50 BPS rate cut
RBI Governor Urjit Patel addressing a press conference immediately after the rate cut was announced said growth forecast remains unchanged at 7.3 per cent for the current fiscal. Inflation has fallen significantly in last three months due to implementation of GST and good monsoon. The RBI governor also credited the implementation of the GST with allowing policy change.

NDTV reports that the finance ministry is unhappy with the rate cut, saying it expected a much larger rate cut of 50 basis points.

The RBI today cut the repo rate or its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 6 per cent, a seven-year low. Forty of 56 economists polled by Reuters, reports NDTV, had expected the RBI to cut its repo rate by a quarter percentage point to 6 per cent on Wednesday. The interest at which banks borrow funds from RBI by selling their securities and bonds is called Repo Rate. Banks are expected to lower their lending rates, making loans cheaper.
14:49   RBI cuts repo rate to 6%, lowest since 2010
Just in: RBI cuts key repo rate by 0.25 per cent. The repo rate has been cut to 6 per cent.  The repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow money from the RBI.

The Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, announced the rate cut today after a two-day meeting. The repo rate is the lowest since November 2010.

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee's two-day deliberations lived up to expectations of a 0.25% cut in the key lending rate as inflation has cooled to record low levels.

Reverse repo rate under stands adjusted to 5.75 %, and the marginal standing facility rate and Bank Rate to 6.25 %. 
14:31   Let's shake on it, sir!
Economist Meghnad Desai met President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. Kovind assumed office on July 25. 
13:57   J-K police to tell Pakistan to take body of LeT terrorist
The Jammu and Kashmir police will approach the Pakistan High Commission via the Union home ministry to take the body of Abu Dujana, the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander gunned down in south Kashmir, a senior police official said today.

It will be the first time that the Pakistan High Commission is asked to claim the body of a militant killed in Kashmir Valley.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Munir Khan told PTI he would be writing a letter to his police headquarters, which in turn would approach the Union home ministry to take up the matter with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

"We will ask the Pakistan High Commission in India to take back the body of Abu Dujana, who was a Pakistani national," Khan said.

Dujana, believed to be in his late 20s, was killed yesterday in a well-planned operation by a joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army and CRPF in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. The inmates of the house where he was holed up had told police that he claimed to be from Karachi.

Image: Security forces in Kashmir have been engaged in sustained cordon and search operations based on specific intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists.
13:25   Are you a virgin? Govt institute wants to know
Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, asks employees to declare their virginity and number of wives in a marital status declaration form. Details awaited. 
13:20   Trump's choice Christopher Wray confirmed as new FBI director
The US Senate has overwhelmingly confirmed Christopher Wray as the new FBI director, replacing James Comey who was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump amid a probe into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia to influence the last year's presidential election. Wray, 50, received a bipartisan support of 92-5 votes on the Senate floor.
13:08   Case registered against 'Narmada Bachao Andolan' protestors
A case has been registered against the 'Narmada Bachao Andolan' workers here on Tuesday by the administration for keeping a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in captivity for three hours.

The people are protesting after the government had closed the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River, due to which houses of 40,000 families are facing submergence.

The administration has alleged that the workers protesting there held a team of NDRF under captivity for three hours.

Refuting the allegations Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar said, "The government is making false cases to defame the movement after the administration is has imposed a case."Patkar's health is deteriorating, who is been fasting from past seven days in protest on Narmada bank in Dhar district's Chikhalda village. -- ANI

File picture.
12:50   Mission 2019: Amit Shah on three-day Haryana visit
BJP president Amit Shah today began his Haryana visit from Bahadurgarh and is slated to hold a series of meetings and review works undertaken by the M L Khattar government during his three-day stay. Shah will be camping in Rohtak as the BJP is eyeing political gains from the district, which is considered as the nerve centre of the state's politics.
12:28   Tax raids on minister have nothing to do with Gujarat RS polls: Jaitley
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is now speaking in the Lok Sabha on the income tax raids on Karnataka Energy minister D K Shivakumar and his aides today.  

Jaitley reiterated what he said in the Upper House that no raids were conducted at the resort on anyone else staying there. "There were no raids on the Gujarat MLAs staying at the resort. Yes, there have been income tax raids on a Karnataka minister and his aides at 39 places across the country. The minister was at the resort when the raids were taking place across 39 locations in India. His room was searched and even torn bits of paper were seized by the department.

"Do not connect the raids with any polls in Gujarat, it has entirely to do with income tax fraud. None of the other MLAs or anyone else staying at the resort were raided," Jaitley told the Lok Sabha.

Shivkumar was taken away from the resort and taken to his residence in Bengaluru this morning by income tax officials.

To keep you abreast with the big story today, the income tax Department conducted searches at multiple locations in Karnataka and Delhi related to Karnataka Energy minister D K Shivakumar, who is hosting 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru, in connection with a tax evasion probe case.

I-T officials said Rs 5 crore cash was recovered from the Delhi residence of Shivakumar.

Earlier, officials privy to the early morning raids said a team of I-T sleuths has reached the Eagleton resort near Bengaluru to question the minister, who was staying at the resort for the night.

"The resort is not being raided," the officials said.

A total of 39 premises of the minister and his family are being raised by a team of about 120 Income Tax Department officials with the aid of central paramilitary forces, they said.

The department is also investigating charges of alleged role of money power and huge transfer of illegal funds for these polls.

Shivakumar, is hosting his party's MLAs from Gujarat who have been brought to the Bengaluru resort till the day of the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8.

Six of the 57 Congress MLAs in Gujarat, from where senior party leader Ahmed Patel is contesting for the Rajya Sabha, resigned from the party in the last few days with three joining the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday last ahead of the Rajya Sabha poll.

The party has apprehensions over Patel's election prospects, if more MLAs defect.

The BJP has fielded three members including party president Amit Shah, union minister Smriti Irani and a rebel Congress MLA for the election.

Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political adviser, is seeking re-election.

12:02   No MLA searched, raid only on one Karnataka minister: Jaitley
In the Rajya Sabha today, Opposition members storm the well of the House to protest against income tax raids on Karnataka energy Minister DK Shivakumar's residence in Kanakapura.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is present in the Lok Sabha today.

The Income Tax department conducted searches at multiple locations in Karnataka and Delhi related to the minister. who is hosting 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru.

The raids are being conducted in connection with a tax evasion probe case. I-T officials said Rs 5 crore cash was recovered from the Delhi residence of Shivakumar.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha, lashed out against the BJP saying it should conduct raids on residences of those people from the BJP who are offering Rs 15 crore.
Congress MP Anand Sharma said the Shivakumar and his brother, an elected representative, were coordinating the stay of the Gujarat MLAs and that is why it is a targeted timing. "It is now becoming a trend to blatantly misuse powers of the state," Sharma said.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley told the House, "No MLA was searched, only one particular Karnataka minister was searched."

Ahmed Patel accused the BJP of indulging in an unprecedented witch-hunt to win one Rajya Sabha seat. Patel, who is contesting the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat, said the I-T raids on the Congress minister, at whose guest house the Congress MLAs from Gujarat are staying, shows the utter desperation and frustration of BJP. Patel, who is also Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, is re-contesting the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat.

A statement by the income tax department said the timing of the search was decided well in advance and had nothing to do with the Gujarat MLAs staying at the resort. Astrologer Dwarakanath, the minister's brother have also been raided.

The Congress had rushed the lawmakers to Bengaluru late on Friday night after six MLAs quit the party in Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha election and the state polls later this year.

Image: I-T raids underway at Karnataka energy Minister DK Shivakumar's residence in Kanakapura, Sadashivanagar.
11:25   Gujarat Congress moves SC over NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls
The Gujarat unit of the Congress on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, challenging the None of the Above, or Nota, option being introduced for the Rajya Sabha elections in the state. The apex court is likely to hear the plea tomorrow.

The Election Commission had granted Gujarat MLAs the Nota provision on Tuesday as per a previous Supreme Court order.

After Congress MPs opposed the move in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed out that the top court verdict was passed several years before the NDA government came to power.

Congress MP Anand Sharma protested in the Upper House against the Nota option. It vitiates the election, he said. The Constitution has not been amended...The Representation of People Act has not been amended.

The bjp has fielded party National President Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput for the three seats to the Upper House from Gujarat. Ahmed Patel is going to contest the polls for a fifth term for the Congress.

Rajput was the Congress chief whip in the Gujarat Assembly. He had quit the party and joined the BJP on July 27.

11:02   ML-N leaders warn Shehbaz from contesting seat vacated by Nawaz
More news from Pakistan: Senior PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) leaders from Punjab are advising Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif against taking the 'risky decision' of contesting the seat left vacant by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, where he is likely to face a tough competition from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate.

Pakistan will hold polling on September 17 for the Lahore parliamentary seat in Punjab Province and the leaders believe that an adverse outcome of the by-election at NA-120 seat could damage the party position in the upcoming 2018 general elections, the Express Tribune reported.

Sharif's brother and Punjab Province Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been chosen by the PML-N party to contest from the NA-120 Constituency in Lahore, which fell vacant after the Prime Minister was disqualified on July 28. -- ANI
11:00   Pak lawmaker says Imran Khan has been sending her obscene texts
A former woman lawmaker of Pakistan's Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday accused party chief and former cricket captain Imran Khan of sending obscene text messages and harassing women leaders in the party. Ayesha Gulalai, who hails from South Waziristan tribal region, in a press conference alleged that the honour of women affiliated with the PTI was not safe.

Announcing her decision to quit the party, she said, My integrity matters to me the most and I cannot compromise when it comes to my honour and dignity. She also accused Khan of sending obscene text messages to women leaders of the party. She refused to share the messages but said that they were so mean that nobody can tolerate them.

Taking a jibe at Khan, she said he suffered from psychological problems and gets jealous of, people who are better than him. She also leveled charges of corruption against PTI government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its Chief Minister Pervez Khattak who she alleged was acting like mafia boss.

Gulalai was elected to the National Assembly on a reserved seat for women from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Khan. She resigned from both her party membership and NA seat.

She rejected reports that she was joining the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) of Nawaz Sharif but praised Sharif for respecting women.

No matter what the charges against him but Nawaz Sharif knows how to respect women, she said. Rejecting the allegations, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said that Gulalai had sold her soul to PMLN for money. -- PTI
10:38   Fire at Sheila Dixit's residence
Delhi: A fire broke out at the residence of former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit in Nizamuddin; two fire tenders on the spot. Details awaited.
10:32   Manmohan's former media advisor Sanjaya Baru is Ficci secretary-general
Sanjaya Baru, who had earlier been media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has become the new secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
He was confirmed to the position on Tuesday by the Ficci board. He will replace A Didar Singh, who had served in the role for 5 years.
While Baru would take charge from September 1, the current secretary-general, who wanted to take on a lighter responsibility, would continue at the body as a strategic advisor to the President of the organisation, Ficci President Pankaj Patel told Business Standard.
With A Dildar Singhs personal efforts, Ficci has shaped up extremely well in the past five years and has been extremely resilient in dealing with domestic and global challenges, as well as in supporting Indian industry in capitalising on new emerging opportunities, Patel added.

Baru had become Manmohan Singh's media advisor and chief spokesperson, a role in which he served from May 2004 until August 2008. In April 2014, his book The Accidental Prime Minister, a detailed memoir about his time serving the PM, was published by Penguin India. After taking up the role of the PM's media advisor, Baru was the Editor of Business Standard from January 2010 to October 2011.  -- Subhayan Chakraborty/Business Standard

Image: Sanjaya Baru (left) with former home minister P Chidambaram
10:22   BJP-Congress-RJD war of words over Nitish defection
BJP: Hitting out at RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for calling Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a 'turncoat', the BJP on Wednesday said that the former is frustrated as people of Bihar are supporting the Chief Minister.

"Lalu Yadav is letting out his frustration on Nitish Kumar. He is blaming Kumar for no reason. As the public is supporting Nitish Kumar, therefore Lalu is having problems with him," BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.

People of Bihar will always have faith in Nitish Kumar. He will take the state to new heights of developments," Hussain said.

Congress: Supporting RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's 'turncoat' remark on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Congress on Wednesday said that the sudden decision taken by the latter shows his opportunist behaviour.

"Whatever happened in Bihar in the last few weeks is unfortunate. Nitish Kumar along with Lalu Yadav and the Congress contested the election in Bihar and defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He broke an alliance on a baseless issue and within 12 hours, joined hands with the saffron party. This indicates nothing but Nitish Kumar's opportunist behaviour," Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam told ANI.
10:07   Apple CEO Tim Cook says he is bullish about India
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he is very "bullish" and "optimistic" about India, a market where the company is bringing all of its "energies" to expand footprint.

"We are investing in India...we've already launched an app accelerator center. That's on top of working with the channel and looking at expanding our go-to-market in general," Cook said during the company's third quarter earnings call yesterday.

In response to a question on the company's thoughts about India, Cook said Apple has begun to produce the iPhone SE in India during the quarter and "we're really happy with how that's going". 

"And so we're bringing all of our energies to bear there...And so I'm very, very bullish and very, very optimistic about India," he said.

Cook said he sees a lot of similarities between where the Indian market is now and where China was several years ago. Apple had in May said that it began initial production of a "small number" of iPhone SE in Bengaluru and would start shipping to domestic customers.

The Karnataka government had in February announced Apple Inc's proposal to commence initial manufacturing operations in Bengaluru. The phones will be manufactured by Wistron, a Taiwanese OEM for Apple.
10:02   RBI may announce rate cut at 2:30 pm, home loan rates may fall
The Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, is expected to announce a rate cut today. The RBI is expected to announce its decision at 2:30 pm today.

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee started two-day deliberations amid expectations of at least 0.25% cut in the key lending rate as inflation has cooled to record low levels.

Home loan takers may expect a fall in the home loan rates. Even though RBI had not cut the repo rate at its April meeting, few prominent lending institutions had reduced their home loan interest rates in May. If the repo rate is indeed cut, home loan rates are likely to fall as well.

Home loan rates are linked to bank's MCLR - marginal cost of funds based lending rate.

The meeting's outcome is being keenly awaited by all stakeholders including industry and stock markets.

Encouraged by significant price improvement, bankers expect the RBI to change its monetary stance and cut benchmark lending rate by at least 0.25%.

Some expect that the central bank may go for an even more aggressive rate cut as the retail inflation touched historic low of 1.54% in June.

The panel, in its previous bi-monthly review in June, had retained the repo rate at 6.25% for the fourth straight time citing risk to inflation.

"The MPC will meet on 1 and 2 August 2017 for the Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2017-18. The resolution of the MPC will be placed on the website at 2.30 pm on 2 August 2017," the central bank had said last month.

Commenting on the retail inflation data, chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian had said the "paradigm shift" in inflationary process has been missed by all, who have made "systematic inflation forecast error", apparently referring to the RBI.

In the last MPC, Patel had argued for avoiding "premature policy action" and waiting for more inflation data. "Incoming data is expected to provide greater clarity on the durability of recent food and non-food disinflation," he had opined.

One of the MPC members, Ravindra Dholakia, however, had advocated a 50 basis point cut in the repo rate, saying several noteworthy developments recently on prices and output fronts warrant a decisive policy action.

In a significant move, country's largest lender and market leader SBI had yesterday reduced interest rate on savings bank deposits by 50 basis points, a development which will have implications of the interest rate regime. -- PTI
09:39   Goods train derails in Bihar, affects train movements
At least 14 wagons of a goods train were derailed on Kaimur-Gaya Mughalsarai railway line on Wednesday.

The incident took place at 3:45 am.

The derailment has affected the movements of other trains on the route.

Any official statement about the cause of the derailment has not been released.

More details are awaited. -- ANI
09:29   Sensex hits new opening high
Just In: Sensex climbs to life high of 32,686.48 in opening trade; Nifty scales new peak at 10,137.85. 
09:09   IT Dept raids Bengaluru resort where Guj Congress MLAs staying
JUST IN: Income Tax Department raids Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar's residence and Eagleton Golf Resort where Gujarat Congress MLAs are staying.

The raids are underway at Shivakumar's residence in Kanakapura, Sadashivanagar and Congress MLAs rooms in Eagleton Golf Resort.

The raids began at 7 am on Wednesday. Shivakumar was in-charge of hospitality for Gujarat party MLAs in Bengaluru.

More details awaited. -- ANI
09:00   Indus treaty talks: India permitted to construct Kishanganga, Ratle projects
Under the Indus Waters Treaty, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions, the World Bank has said.

Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India, it said in a fact sheet issued yesterday at the conclusion of secretary-level talks between the two countries over the Indus Waters Treaty.

Noting that the two countries disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the treaty, the World Bank said the IWT designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the 'Western Rivers' to which Pakistan has unrestricted use.

'Among other uses, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the treaty,' the Bank said in its fact sheet as it noted that the secretary-level discussions between Indian and Pakistan on the technical issues of the IWT took place this week 'in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation'.

The parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington, DC, it said in a separate statement.

In the lengthy fact sheet, the World Bank said Pakistan asked it to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects.

On the other hand, India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issues, contending the concerns Pakistan raised were 'technical' ones.

The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.

The World Bank's role in relation to 'differences' and 'disputes' is limited to the designation of people to fulfill certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties, the fact sheet said.  -- PTI
08:47   One killed everyday in elephant, tiger attacks in last 3 yrs
Elephant and tiger attacks have claimed around 1,144 lives in the last three years, according to government data shared in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The figure, which is the summation of deaths between April 2014 and May 2017, means one person was killed per day.

Till May 18 this year, 13 deaths have occurred due to tiger attacks.

The corresponding figures for the year 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18 are 34, 31 and 14 respectively, the government said, replying to a written question.

There has been 245 cases of deaths caused by elephants in 2016-17, as per data available till February 9.

The corresponding figures were 392 and 415 in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.

Asked whether there has been any rise in human-wildlife conflicts during the last few years, the government replied: "The information available with the ministry indicates a fluctuating statistic in the incidences of human-wildlife conflict in the country."

Out of the 13 deaths caused by tigers this year so far, Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum at 7, followed by Maharashtra with four deaths.

At 69, Assam recorded the maximum number of fatalities caused by elephants in 2016-17, followed by Chhattisgarh with 67 and West Bengal with 65.

According to official statistics, India is house to 2,226 tigers and around 30,000 elephants.  -- PTI
08:02   Panagariya 'wise' to have quit before being proved wrong about Q4 growth: Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader and former union finance minister P Chidambaram took a dig at Arvind Panagariya, who earlier resigned as the NITI Aayog vice-chairman, saying his resignation was a 'wise decision' as it was taken well before he's proved wrong for predicting that growth in Q4 of 2017-18 will touch 8 per cent.

'After predicting that growth in Q4 of 2017-18 will touch 8%, Mr Panagariya has wisely resigned before proved wrong,' the Congress leader tweeted on late Tuesday night.

Panagariya resigned from his post on Tuesday, and will hand over charge of his office on August 31.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appointed him as the first vice-chairman of NITI Aayog on January 5, 2015.

He said that about two months ago he had expressed his desire to Prime Minister Modi to be relieved by August 31.

Panagariya had gained a prominence in the central government and is considered by some as the 'government's man'.

He had, many times, praised the Bharatiya Janata Party government for putting 'the economy back on track'.

The Indian American economist is reportedly returning to the United States to resume his academics. -- ANI
00:11   Over 11.44 lakh PANs deactivated, says MoS Finance
More than 11.44 lakh permanent account numbers or PAN cards were deleted or de-activated in cases where multiple PANs were found allotted to one person, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
This was informed by Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
"As on July 27, 11,44,211 PANs have been identified and deleted or de-activated in cases where multiple PANs were found allotted to one person," the minister said.     

PAN is the key identifier of taxable entity and aggregator of all financial transactions undertaken by one person.
"One PAN for one person is the guiding principle for allotment of PAN," Gangwar said.
He further said that as on July 27, 1,566 PANs have been identified as 'fake' which were allotted to either non- existent person or in the names of persons with false identities.
The facility to delete or de-activate the PAN is available with the Assessing Officer through application software.
During 2004 to 2007 also, an exercise for de-duplication of PAN was conducted in the tax department to identify probable duplicate PANs.
Replying to a question on recovery of undisclosed income post demonetisation, Gangwar said the Income Tax Department conducted searches in 900 groups of persons during November 2016 to March 2017, leading to seizure of Rs 900 crore and admission of undisclosed income of Rs 7,961 crore.
Besides, 8,239 surveys were conducted leading to detection of undisclosed income of Rs 6,745 crore.