Mon, 09 October 2017
No need for separate SIT to probe Panama papers leak: SC

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23:54   No need for separate SIT to probe Panama papers leak: SC
The Supreme Court today ruled out setting up of a separate Special Investigation Team to probe the alleged revelation of offshore accounts of Indians in Panama papers leak, saying the multi-agency group set up by the government was already looking into the matter.

A bench, comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit, said a multi-agency group, consisting officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes, Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate and Financial Intelligence Unit, was like an SIT itself.

"This multi-agency group is already like an SIT. What is the need to form a separate SIT," the bench asked.

Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, said the issue of probe into the offshore accounts of Indians was 'not ordinary' and 'very complicated' and the MAG constituted by the government was already looking into it.

He said the MAG was already investigating the matter and has started to submit its detailed reports as well.

Narasimha said that seven reports have already been filed in the apex court and a separate SIT on black money issue was already there.

He said the MAG was probing this matter in its entirety and progress in investigation was being made.

Opposing the plea seeking the setting up of an SIT to probe the alleged offshore accounts of Indians as revealed in Panama paper leaks, he said there was no need for it.

Advocate M L Sharma, the petitioner in the case, told the court that an SIT should be formed to have a fair probe in these matters as there was alleged violation of provisions of the RBI rules as well as the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

He claimed that despite seven reports having been filed in sealed cover in the apex court, no FIR has been lodged by the government in these cases.

The bench, which disposed of the plea, said that probe into these matters would continue.

The apex court had in April this year asked the Centre whether a SIT should be constituted to probe the matter.

It had on March 7 asked the Centre to place before it in a sealed cover all the six reports of MAG, prepared till then.

The Centre had sought dismissal of the PIL, saying MAG has already been set up to ensure 'speedy and coordinated' probe against Indians whose names have figured in the Panama papers.

It had said that the reports have already been submittedby the MAG to the apex court-appointed SIT on black money, led by Justice M B Shah (retd), as well as to the court itself.

The Centre had last year informed the court that Rs 8,186crore, illegally kept in offshore banks by Indians, has been brought under the tax ambit despite constraints like non-sharing of information by Swiss authorities.

Seeking dismissal of the PIL, it had said the SIT onblack money has been kept informed on a regular basis aboutthe development made in the probe.

Sharma in his PIL had sought a court-monitored independent probe into the Panama papers leak which containedan unprecedented amount of information, including more than 11million documents covering 2,10,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions.

The petition had alleged that Panama papers included the names of nearly 500 Indians, including celebrities and industrialists, who have allegedly parked funds in offshore accounts in transactions brokered by the law firm.  -- PTI
22:37   J&K Islamic body directs women not to go out without male companion
Muslim women should not go to public places without a male companion and they should minimise the use of mobile phones, according to the directives issued by an Islamic body in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district today.

These directives, among others, were issued by the 'Islamic Markazi Majlis e-Shoura' (Islamic central advisory council) in the district through a poster pasted at several places, including the main Jamia Masjid in the mountainous town, 230-km from Srinagar.

The poster, 'Islah-e-Mashra' in Urdu, threatened the possibility of social boycott of the families which organise dance and music shows at weddings, declaring that 'music is not permitted in Islam'.

The women are asked to desist from going to public places, including exhibitions and circus, without a male companion, it said.

The religious body asked people to give up the practice of engagement and prefer 'nikah' ceremonies directly as 'several ills have cropped up in the society because of the engagement ceremonies'.

It also asked the women, especially students, to limit the use of mobile phones as it gives rise to 'immoral activities' in the society.

The poster also asked youths to desist from moving unnecessarily in the markets and instead join the five prayers at the mosques for a better society.

The parents should give attention towards co-education in coaching centres, it said and appealed to teachers to hold separate classes for the boys and girls.

It asked the teaching staff to ensure such timing so that the girl students are not forced to move out of the house in the wee hours when it is still dark.

Describing drug abuse as 'alarming', it sought cooperation of the people in eradicating the menace.  -- PTI
21:39   Pradhyumn's father opposes extending bail to Ryan trustees
The father of seven-year-old boy Prdhyumn Thakur, who was found dead in Gurugram Ryan International School school, today moved the Supreme Court challenging the extension of the interim anticipatory bail granted to three trustees of the group in the case.

Barun Chandra Thakur assailed the Punjab and Haryana high court order staying the arrest of Ryan group CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents, Group's founding chairman Augustine Pinto and Managing Director Grace Pinto, in the murder case.

The appeal, filed through advocate Sushil Tekriwal, said the grant of interim protection against their possible arrest was illegal and unconstitutional and should be set aside.

The plea has made the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is currently probing the case, and the Haryana government as parties in the case.

It alleged that the September 28 order of the HC granting interim bail and October 7 of the HC order extending the relief was 'erroneous' and should be set aside.

The petition said that CBI's investigation was at a preliminary stage and granting interim bail to the respondents now 'frustrates the criminal justice delivery system'.

Ryan Pinto and his parents had approached the high court, seeking anticipatory bail in connection with the killing of the student, who was found with his throat slit in the washroom of a school run by their group in Gurugram on September 8.

School bus conductor Ashok Kumar was arrested in connection with the crime the same day.

On September 25, the HC had impleaded the CBI as a respondent in the petition seeking bail for the three Ryan group trustees.

The Haryana government had recommended a CBI probe in the matter following massive outrage.

The premier agency took over the probe on September 22.

The Pintos, who are based in Mumbai, had earlier approached the Bombay HC as they apprehended arrest in the case after the school was accused of negligence in the death of the seven-year-old.

The Bombay HC had rejected the transit anticipatory bail applications of the three trustees but granted them interim protection from arrest for a day to enable them to file an appeal.  -- PTI
20:18   Days after Rahul's visit, Shah to reach Amethi tomorrow
Three days after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's visit, the Amethi constituency is gearing up for another high-profile event as Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani will unveil a slew of projects in this Congress bastion tomorrow.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also be present, officials said.

Irani arrived in Amethi this afternoon while the BJP chief will arrive tomorrow, they said.

Schemes and projects are likely to be announced during Shah and Irani's visit, besides, beneficiaries of various schemes will be handed over certificates, the officials said.

Among other key events, Information and Broadcasting minister Irani will attend the launch of a FM station at Gauriganj and an initiative to save Gomti river near Pipri village.

She will also attend the inauguration of a tuberculosis unit at the district hospital and a primary health centre at Odari Tiloi.

Party sources said the visit of the senior BJP leaders was aimed at sending a clear message that the current dispensation believed in all-round development and was not meting out 'step-motherly treatment' to any area.

The Congress vice president had during his visit on October 5 accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh of re-inaugurating the projects launched by the previous United Progressive Alliance regime in the district and neglecting his constituency.  -- Arunav Sinha/PTI
20:14   Will quit RS on Wednesday, reveal reason for leaving TMC: Mukul Roy
Suspended Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy today said he will resign from his Rajya Sabha seat on October 11.

"Finally, I am going to hand over my resignation to the Vice President on October 11 and then I will tell the people of this country why I decided to end my long political innings with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party I founded with many others," Roy told reporters.

Though Roy has not yet divulged his future plans, but he is meeting leaders of various parties during his stay in Delhi.

He met the Bharatiya Janata Party's West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya at the residence of Rajya Sabha House Committee chairperson Om Mathur today.

Roy said that though the meeting with Vijayvargiya was not scheduled, the BJP leader did enquire about his future plans.

He also had a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday.

Incidentally, Roy also had a long meeting with the West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday.

Chowdhury said that Roy has not proposed to join the Congress now, but claimed that he had done so earlier.

"Rahul Gandhi himself had enquired about what Mukul is doing? I told him that he is a leader with potential," Chowdhury told PTI.

Chowdhury said that the Congress earlier had reservations on Roy joining the party because of the cases against him.

Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy was suspended for six years for 'anti-party activities' following his announcement on September 25 that he would resign from the party after Durga Puja.

The TMC had accused him of hobnobbing with the BJP.  -- PTI
19:49   UPDATE: Two terrorists killed in Shopian encounter
Shopian encounter update:

Two terrorists have been killed by security forces so far.

The encounter is underway.

More details awaited.

Photograph: ANI
19:17   Amit Shah's son files defamation case against 'The Wire'
Jay Shah, son of Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah, today filed a criminal defamation suit against news website 'The Wire' for alleging that Jay's company posted a massive turnover in 2015-16.

The charge was rejected by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shah's son, who termed the story 'false, derogatory and defamatory'.

Meanwhile, the Congress has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove Amit Shah as NJP president and demanded a probe into claims.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi pressed Modi to 'say something' on the issue. 

'Modiji, ...Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Please say something (sic),' Gandhi said on Twitter.  -- PTI
18:53   Anti-India forces want to weaken its economy: Rajnath Singh
Anti-India forces, unable to stomach its growing economic might, want to damage the country and weaken its strategic position, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.
Terrorism is a "big threat" today but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the issue strongly on the global stage, taking onboard most countries to address the issue, he said.
In his address after reviewing the passing out parade of the personnel of Central Industrial Security Force in Tamil Nadu's Arakkonam, Singh said the day is not far when India would become an economic power.
"Today, India is counted among the emerging economies of the world. It is emerging as the fastest growing (large) economy in the world. I can say that India is one among the top 10 economies of the world today," he said.
 The world has started "realising" the fact that the day is not far when by 2030 India will be among the top three economies of the world, he said.
The size of India's economy was approximately USD two trillion and it was likely to touch USD 5 trillion by 2030, he said.
"But anti-India forces basically don't like all these trends. They want to cause damage in those sensitive areas where its economic and strategic strength could be weakened," he added.
Terrorist organisations want to "inflict damage" on the country, he said, calling terrorism a "big threat" to many countries."
"Terrorism is a big threat...the 9/11 attacks in the US and the 26/11 incidents in India have shown that the impact of terror strikes can be felt for a long time," he said.
The home minister urged the CISF, tasked with guarding the country's vital strategic installations like airports and industrial units, to have "core competence" to tackle terrorism.
"So, the CISF should undertake regular security audit of every installation and use new technologies to strengthen the security of such installations," he added.
He termed cyber attacks as the "new face" of terrorism. -- PTI

Image: CISF women personnel taking selfie with Union Minister Rajnath Singh after a passing out parade at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu on Monday. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo
18:48   Don't use children for violence, says Satyarthi in Kashmir
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi today urged the children in Kashmir to stay away from violence.
Without naming separatists and militants, the social activist said children should not be used for violence.
Satyarthi, who is criss-crossing the country as part of his campaign to spread awareness about crime against children, was speaking at a gathering of students from schools in Kashmir, which was rocked by a spate of incidents of stone- pelting by children and youths.
"I will knock the doors of governments in Delhi and in Srinagar and tell them to allow the children to study and rise as high as they can.
"I will make appeals and prayers for you and need be, I will struggle too, provided you stay away from violence," Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for waging a peaceful struggle to protect children from being exploited as labour, said.
He said together "we will win this battle for safe childhood and a safe India".
Satyarthi made a strong appeal that children should not be used for violence and condemned the burning of schools.
"I have one request -- stay away from violence. Do not use children for violence. Do whatever you want, whichever way you want.... You will face the consequences or you may gain something. However, children are for moving ahead.
"They can achieve everything with education, he said, adding, "They are your children and our children too.
Satyarthi said violence has not solved any issue the world over as it only perpetuated more violence.
Apparently referring to burning of schools in Kashmir during last year's agitation, Satyarthi said such incidents saddened him.
"Whenever a school is set on fire anywhere in the world, and we had many such incidents, whoever might be behind those, dreams of hundreds of students go up in flames. Their future perishes.
"The power gained by education -- from books and computers -- is far more stronger than any chair one can occupy," he said.
The Nobel laureate said there was a need for an effective law to prevent child trafficking as eight children are kidnapped every hour for selling into slavery.
18:40   Petrol pumps to go on nationwide strike on October 13
The United Petroleum Front today announced a 24-hour closure of outlets by petroleum dealers nationwide from October 12 midnight to press the government on their demands, including rectification of trade anomalies.
The UPF has said that if the government does not relent, it would go for an indefinite closure of purchase and sale from October 27 till the trade anomalies are resolved.
Speaking to reporters, the president of All Karnataka  Front of Petroleum Traders B R Ravindranath said Oil Marketing Companies are not keen on resolving the issues and demands which they had earlier agreed on November 4 last year.
"OMCs had agreed to resolve issues pertaining to revision  on return of investment, revision of dealer margin every six months, revised manpower requirement,fresh study on petroleum product handling losses, product transportation issues and ethanol blending without proper equipment. Sadly none of them have been addressed," said Ravindranath.
The petroleum dealers said that the recent amendment in Marketing Discipline Guidelines to penalise dealers up to Rs 2 lakh is arbitrary and unjustified.
He was also critical about the zero tolerance policy, saying that manufacturers of the equipment themselves do not guarantee a 'zero tolerance' behaviour of their equipment.      

Ravindranath demanded that the daily price mechanism and the proposed 'home delivery' be reconsidered as it has not benefited the traders.
He said the UPF also demands implementation of the Goods and Services Tax on petroleum products.
"GST must be implemented on petroleum products so that 'one nation, one rate' can be fulfilled to benefit consumers," said Ravindranath. -- PTI
18:12   1 terrorist killed in encounter in Shopian
One Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist was killed during an encounter between security forces and terrorists in Shopian district of Kashmir.

According to media reports, two more terrorists have been holed up in the area. 

A gunbattle broke out this afternoon between terrorists and security forces in Shopian district of Kashmir, police said.             

The exchange of fire is going on between the two sides, a police spokesman said.             

He said further details of the incident are awaited.

Image used along with is used for representation purposes only
17:51   AIADMK MLAs' disqualification case adjourned to Nov 2
The Madras high court today adjourned the hearing on individual cases filed by 18 disqualified All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLAs to November 2.

Justice K Ravichandrabaabu deferred the hearing after Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami's lawyers sought time to file replies to the MLAs' additional affidavits and rejoinders.

Concurring with him, the judge told senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the disqualified MLAs, that it would be appropriate to hear the case only after all written pleadings were placed before the court. 

Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker Dhanapal had last month disqualified the 18 MLAs for defying the party. It meant that Chief Minister Palaniswami or EPS would find it easier to win a trust vote if he had to prove majority in the 234-member assembly, as the votes required to reach the halfway mark would come down.
17:26   Professors object to dropping 'H' from BHU & 'M' from AMU
The Banaras Hindu University and the Aligarh Muslim University have objected to the recent recommendation of the University Grants Commission panel to drop the words "Hindu" and "Muslim" from their names respectively.

"'Hindu' is the beauty of the Banaras Hindu University and likewise 'Muslim' is the beauty of the Aligarh Muslim University," Professor Rajendra Singh of BHU told ANI, adding it was not the case that Muslim and Hindu students were not enrolled in the BHU and the AMU, respectively.

Commenting that a shop's signboard cannot change the product it sells, Singh said the UGC, instead of doing major works like starting new courses and other facilities, is changing names.

He added that both universities are traditional and should remain in that context.

The professor also expressed doubts of a political motive behind the step.

Another professor, Devvrat Choubey, said, "The words Hindu and Muslim are age old. These universities are connected to our history and are renowned all over the world with this name."

Raising question on the need for and motive behind changing the name, Choubey said, "If there is tampering with the educational quality in the way that it promotes communalism or terror, then only can such suggestion be heeded to."

Meanwhile, the Public Relations committee of the Aligarh Muslim University has averred that the university has always been a secular institution, in contrary to the opinion of the UGC.

"The names, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University, do not mean that these universities are not secular. They have always been secular," committee member Mohammad Asim Siddiqui told ANI.

Siddiqui added that the university's admission policy is transparent, and based on merit. 
16:31   Rahul on Amit Shahs son: Modiji, did you act as a watchman?
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi pressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "say something' on claims in a media report that a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah's son saw a huge rise in its turnover after his party came to power in 2014.

"Modiji, 'Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Please say something,' Gandhi said on Twitter.In another broadside against the BJP, the Congress leader had said yesterday, "We finally found the only beneficiary of Demonetisation. It's not the RBI, the poor or the farmers. It's the Shah-in-Shah of Demo. Jai Amit.'

He had also tagged a copy of the news report on the issue in his tweet.

According to the report on a website, the turnover of Jay Amit Shah-owned Temple Enterprise zoomed by around 16,000 times during 2015-16 from around Rs 80 crore in the previous year. The charge was rejected by the BJP and Shah's son, who termed the story "false, derogatory and defamatory'.

-- PTI
16:28   Six Kolkata bound flights diverted to Bhubaneswar
At least six Kolkata bound flights were today diverted to Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIAP) in Bhubaneswar due to inclement weather conditions and heavy rains in West Bengal, official sources said. Other flights were diverted to Guwahati and other airports in the region and the number of diversions may increase.

The passengers are being provided with required facilities till departure of their flights, an official said. Several flights to Bhubaneswar from Kolkata were delayed as they could not take off from Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport due to inclement weather, the official added.  -- PTI
15:50   Economics Nobel goes to Richard Thaler, not Rajan
Just in: The Economic Nobel, last of the Nobel prizes to be awarded this year, goes to Richard H. Thaler (pictured) for his contributions to behavioural economics.

Dr Thaler has incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making, a media release by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

Dr Thaler's contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making. His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioural economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy, the release said.

Dr Thaler is a Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is the co-author (with Cass R. Sunstein) of the global best seller Nudge (2008) in which the concepts of behavioral economics are used to tackle many of society's major problems.

The Sveriges Riksbank (Swedish National Bank) Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was first awarded in 1969, nearly seven decades after the series of prestigious prizes that Nobel called for. '

Despite its provenance and carefully laborious name, it is broadly considered an equal to the other Nobel and the winner attends the famed presentation banquet. The winner will walk away with 9-million-kronor ($1.1-million) prize.
Chhattisgarh: Encounter erupts between security forces and Naxals in Dantewada; 3 IED bombs recovered from the site of the encounter.
14:36   Passengers at Jammu airport greets CRPF men with resounding applause
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, in a rare and heart-rending event, were welcomed by a thunderous applause by the waiting crowd at the Jammu Airport.

The moment happened when the CRPF personnel entered the terminal building of the Jammu Airport on October 10 and were welcomed in an unexpected way by the people present in the area.

People spontaneously got up from their seats and began clapping for the jawans.

"The entire force is overwhelmed with the gesture shown by the passengers at the Jammu Airport. It motivates the force, which is committed to the service of the nation," DG CRPF Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar told ANI.

He added, "This is all because of the way our force has been doing its service and also the sacrifices we have made."

The commanding officer of the 166 battallion, Ashish Kumar Jha, PRO CRPF, Jammu Sector, which oversees the transiting soldiers at Jammu, said that the soldiers want only such appreciation from the nation as this motivates and boosts the morale of the soldiers.

"We have four chartered flights in a week which takes our jawans from Jammu to Srinagar. It was during one such flight yesterday that while the CRPF jawans came to take their boarding passes that the people sitting in the waiting area started clapping for the jawans, many got up from their seats."

"This was a gesture which came naturally and overwhelmed us. We want only this from the nation as such things always boost our morale and motivate us" he added.
West Bengal: Departure of flights from Kolkata airport halted due to strong crosswinds. 23 domestic flights diverted.
14:27   Cong urges PM to speak on media report against Amit Shah's son
The Congress today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove Amit Shah as BJP president and demanded a probe into claims in a media report that a firm owned by Shah's son saw a huge rise in turnover after the party came to power in 2014.

While Congress leader Anand Sharma spoke in Delhi on the allegations of wrongdoing by the company owned by Jay Amit Shah, its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the BJP in Jaipur.

Sharma said Modi should "break his silence" on the claims. Hitting out at Union minister Piyush Goyal for defending Jay Amit Shah, he asked whether Goyal was a minister, a "spokesperson or business manager."

"The prime minister speaks on every issue... He speaks a lot... There should be a probe into it... Shah should give up his post until the probe is over, like L K Advaniji did, Nitin Gadkariji did when charges were levelled against them (in separate cases)," Sharma told reporters.

The BJP yesterday rejected the Congress' charge over the business transactions of Jay Amit Shah. Goyal had told reporters that the BJP was "confident" there was no wrongdoing and Jay Amit Shah's businesses were fully legitimate.

In Jaipur, Surjewala said Modi should relieve Amit Shah from the party president post and get the claims probed by a two-member commission of Supreme Court judges.

"It is a tough call for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Country is looking at him whether he will choose friendship and party politics or truth and morality," Surjewala said. He said there must be transparency and accountability. "Why shy away from probe if there's nothing wrong? There is no smoke without fire. The country was waiting for development... but 'Jai ka Vikas ho gaya'," he said. -- PTI
14:17   Top Jaish terrorist killed in Baramulla
In a breakthrough, a joint team of security forces today killed top Jaish-e-Mohammed militant commander Umer Khalid in Ladoora area of North Kashmir, police said. Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid said it was a major breakthrough for the security forces as the militant was involved in many attacks on security camps in North Kashmir as well as targeting policemen in particular.

"He was killed in a joint operation by the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Special Operation Group, local police, the CRPF and the Army," he said. Khalid, who is a Pakistani national, had been operational in the area for last two to three years and was also instrumental in arranging recruits for the terror outfit, police said.

He had recently carried out an attack on a Special Police Officer and his seven-year-old son at Handwara, they said and added that Khalid was a A++ category top ranking terrorist and carried a cash reward of nearly Rs 7 lakh. Giving details of the encounter, the police said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Ladoora area following information about the presence of militants in the area. The search operation turned into a gun battle when the militants opened fire on the search party, the police said, adding more troops were rushed to the area to prevent the militants from escaping.

The Jaish commander was killed in the encounter, they said. The police is also probing his role in the recent attack carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed on BSF battalion headquarters near high-security Srinagar airport and attack on the District Police Lines at Pulwama. It is expected that he was a part of the conspiracy behind these dastardly attacks, the police said.  -- PTI
13:16   Development in Gujarat has gone berserk hearing lies: Rahul
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP Government in Gujarat over the development achieved in the state, likening it to a person and saying it had gone berserk.

"Gujarat mein vikaas ko kya hua? Ye kaise pagal hua? Ye jhooth sun sun ke pagal ho gaya hai (What happened to the development in Gujarat? How did it go berserk? It did after listening to constant lies)," Rahul said, at a public meeting in Gujarat's Kheda.

He also said that Prime Minister Modi's Gujarat model is a complete failure and the state is aware about this.

The Congress vice-president further assured the people of Gujarat that if the party manages to form a government in upcoming elections, only then would the development be achieved.Further targetting Prime Minister Modi's monthly radio address 'Mann ki Baat', Rahul said, "Not only will we say our 'Mann ki Baat', we will also listen to yours."

Rahul's comments have come in the build up to the the much awaited assembly elections in Gujarat, which will be held towards the end of 2017 or January, 2018.

The dates will be announced officially by the Election Commission few months prior to it. -- ANI
12:24   Heavy rain, gusty wind affects flights, trains in WB
Heavy rain accompanied by gusty wind battered the southern districts of West Bengal since early today, as the Met department forecast more downpour and high wind till tomorrow. Incessant rain and squally wind affected normal life in the metropolis on the first working day of the week.

Waterlogging and uprooted trees blocked some thoroughfares of the city, delaying the morning rush hour traffic.

Many schools reopened today after the Durga Puja vacation and students were inconvenienced due to the heavy rain. Some schools declared a holiday owing to the inclement weather.

"A depression has formed over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining north Bay of Bengal and lay centred about 50 km southeast of Kolkata at 5.30 am today," the Met department said.

The system is very likely to move initially west-northwestwards and intensify into a deep depression during the next 24 hours, it said. Under its influence, rainfall will occur at most places over Gangetic West Bengal, north Odisha and east Jharkhand, with heavy to very heavy precipitation at isolated places in these areas, the Met department said in its forecast till Wednesday morning. Squally wind reaching a speed of 45 to 55 km per hour, gusting to 65 km per hour would prevail along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts, it said.

Strong wind speed reaching 30 to 40 km per hour gusting to 50 km per hour would prevail over the interior parts of Gangetic West Bengal. Sea condition would be rough in north Odisha and West Bengal till tomorrow.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea during the period. Train services in all the sections of Eastern Railway are normal till 11.00 am except for slight delay in the running of some EMU locals owing to the weather condition, ER spokesman R N Mahapatra said.  -- PTI

Representational image
12:22   Soldier killed in encounter
An Army soldier was killed in a brief encounter with militants in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. "The JCO was killed in a brief encounter with terrorists in Khag area of Budgam today," an Army official said. The slain soldier has been identified as Subedar Raj Kumar. -- PTI
11:59   SC refers to Const bench plea over conversion of Parsi woman
The Supreme Court today referred to a five-judge Constitution bench the question whether a Parsi woman automatically gets converted to Hinduism after marrying a Hindu man under the Special Marriage Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it will have to consider whether the five-judge bench judgement in the triple talaq matter can also have some bearing in the present case.

The bench also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the larger bench would examine the applicability of 'doctrine of culture' which provides that a woman assumes the religion of her husband after marriage.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Goolrokh Gupta challenging the Bombay High Court judgement that had held that a Parsi woman is deemed to be converted to Hinduism after marrying a Hindu man under the Special Marriage Act. -- PTI

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Landing and take-off of flights delayed due to heavy rain and strong winds at Kolkata airport since early morning; More details awaited.
11:29   Court rejects plea for acquittal
Update: The HC upholds the death sentence of 20 other convicts in the Godhra case and directs the government and railways to pay Rs 10 lakh each to families of those killed in the Godhra train burning case.

11:26   Godhra verdict: Death sentence of 11 commuted to life
Just in: The Gujarat High Court commutes the death sentence of 11 convicts to life terms. The convicts had challenged the convictions and acquittals by a special SIT court in the 2002 Godhra train coach burning case. The court rejected pleas for acquittals.

Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

The special SIT court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail.

Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.

The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution's contention that there was a conspiracy behindthe incident.

All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Those acquitted included the prime accused, Maulana Umarji, the then president of Godhra Municipality Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary of Gangapur, Uttar Pradesh.The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage, had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.

Image: Flowers are strewn on the burnt coach of the Sabarmati Express. Pic: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
11:17   SC bans sale of firecrackers in Delhi till Nov1
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld its earlier verdict banning the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region ahead of Diwali.  The top court has banned the sale of firecrackers till November 1.

A plea on the matter had sought restoration of the apex court's 2016 verdict putting a stop to the sale of firecrackers in the region.

A bench led by Justice AK Sikri had reserved the court's order on the same on October 6.On November 11 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of suspension of all licences "permitting sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail, within the territory of NCR'.

However, on September 12 this year, the ban was temporarily relaxed.

While the plea regarding the reimposition of the ban was being heard, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the court they were in support of the ban on firecrackers. 
10:51   Pothole on taxiway delays flight operations at Mumbai airport
A pothole created by heavy rainfall on one of the taxiways at the Mumbai airport delayed flight operations for the second time in less than a month.

According to sources, the heavy rainfall had led to a pothole on the taxiway, forcing airport authorities to shut down the main runway, resulting in delays in flight operations yesterday.

This was the second time in less than a month that the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), a GVK-led joint venture airport company, had to close the main runway, 009/27. The main runway was closed for operations for nearly 24 hours after a SpiceJet aircraft overshot the runway following heavy rainfall and got stuck in the mud on September 20.

Yesterday, the runway remained shut for over three hours. The flight operations were shifted to the capacity-constrained secondary runway - 14/32.

"As a result, both arrivals and departures were affected with the incoming flights reporting an average delay of two hours, while departures getting delayed by almost an hour till the afternoon," a source said. However, a spokesperson of the MIAL said the runway closure resulted in a delay of "half-an-hour".

Confirming the pothole on a taxiway, the spokesperson said the main runway was shut for operations at 6 am and the services were resumed at 10 am after the problem was fixed.

"Runway 009/27 was not available from 6 am due to a pothole between the N1 and N3 runways. Due to the repair work on the taxiway, the secondary runway was put into operations," the spokesperson added. The traffic at the main runway was finally restored at 10 am.  -- PTI
10:39   Chandigarh: 15 injured after gas balloon blast at an event
At least 15 people got injured in a gas balloon blast at a function in Chandigarh's Sector 34 last evening.

The annual function of the Allen Career Institute was underway when the incident took place.According to a preliminary investigation, the accident took place after the nitrogen balloons got stuck in the electric bulb and the instant heat led to the explosion of balloon.

Among those injured, most of them were former students of the institution and were invited for the event.The injured were immediately shifted to the nearby hospital and their situation is said to be stable.

However, the police is yet to ascertain the exact cause of incident. -- ANI

Representational image
10:19   Rahul will parrot written speech: BJP mocks Gujarat visit
The BJP on Monday mocked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his visit to Gujarat, stating that it is not going to make much of a difference. Speaking to ANI, BJP leader Syed Zafar Islam said, "Rahul Gandhi's tour is nothing but talks on development, which totally lacks in his party. Also, in many of his constituencies, we have seen his pictures on the missing list, this shows what kind of a minister he is and how much is being loved by his people. Whenever he goes out on any campaign he is handed a written speech which he learns it like a parrot without even understands the meaning. This time too the same is happening."

Echoing similar views, another BJP leader CK Bose said, "The Congress party is in complete disarray; the activist or leaders of the party are totally confused. No one is guided nor given guidance under Rahul Gandhi's leadership. If we go to see, he himself is confused so how would he direct or guide his party men. Also, him visiting Gujarat will not make much of a difference."

On October 4, Rahul Gandhi began his visit to his parliamentary constituency Uttar Pradesh's Amethi.

Rahul's trip triggered headlines after Amethi's district authorities suggested him to postpone his trip due to security concerns. -- ANI
J&K: Joint Hurriyat Leadership called for a shutdown today against braid chopping incidents in state.
09:53   Wait for PM sinks tradition
Visva-Bharati University is for the first time giving away its degree certificates without the customary convocation, breaking with a 66-year-old tradition and disappointing many of the recipients. University officials said a convocation required the presence of the chancellor --- a position held by the Prime Minister by virtue of his office ---- or some senior dignitary delegated by him to preside over the event. Read more  
09:44   The filth within
The prime minister had good reasons to preen on Gandhi Jayanti last week. Not only had he succeeded - in the space of just three years - in reducing the Father of the Nation to a mere mascot for his Swachh Bharat Mission, but the mission itself was proving to be a resounding success. Narendra Modi's other pet projects with exhortatory titles such as Make in India, Start-Up India, Stand-Up India et al may be floundering but Clean India has a lot to show for it.
Read more
09:27   90 lakh truckers begin India-wide chakka jam against GST
Over 90 lakh truckers will participate in a two-day nation-wide Chakka Jam from Monday to protest issues ranging from disruptive impact of the Goods and Services Tax to the extortion at RTO barriers in states.

Calling for a 36-hour nationwide strike starting 8 am today, truck owners and operators are protesting "disruptive policies" under the GST and are demanding the inclusion of diesel in the new indirect tax GST ambit.

"Transporters have decided to protest against the callous and indifferent attitude of government officials, GST, diesel price hike and corruption on roads by observing a token 'chakka jam' (strike) on October 9 and 10," AIMTC president SK Mittal told reporters ahead of the strike.

AIMTC, the top body of transporters, represents around 93 lakh truckers and around 50 lakhs bus and tourist operators across India.

Supplies of commodities including food are likely to be affected due to the token strike.

Mittal said that "contra laws" in the present GST regime has lead to coercive registration and unnecessary compliance by truckers and transporters. The sale of used business attracts GST, which leads to double taxation by the government, he added.
09:16   Lokpal stir from January: Anna Hazare
Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare on Sunday reiterated his resolve to launch an agitation to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modis failure to appoint a Lokpal even three years after he entered office.

Hazare, 80, made the announcement the third time in less than a week at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of his supporters at his native Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. 

He said he would start his agitation at the end of January or in early February in New Delhi.

But, Hazare, who has withdrawn or cancelled agitations against the Modi government in the past, was not clear about the date. This agitation has become imperative to make India corruption-free.
09:00   May defend Jay Shah in court, says top government lawyer
Government lawyer Tushar Mehta has told NDTV that he is likely to represent Jay Shah against 'The Wire' for the story against the BJP chief's son. 

Speaking to NDTV, Mehta, the additional solicitor general, said,"I have taken permission from the law ministry on October 6th for this issue. I am being consulted in this case. I may even appear for the case in court."

The Wire, a website, on Sunday in a report said that the BJP chief's son's fortunes had changed significantly from 2014 to 2015. 

The BJP has denied any wrongdoing by Jay Shah who is suing the website for Rs. 100 crore for defamation. The opposition Congress said the report points to crony capitalism and said it was inappropriate for a union minister to offer the defence of a private individual. 

Image: Jay Shah with his father Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his wedding. 
08:37   US Vice President Mike Pence walks out of NFL game
United States Vice-President Mike Pence walked out of a National Football League game after about a dozen San Francisco players knelt down during the playing of the national anthem.

Pence was attending the Indianapolis Colts versus the San Francisco 49ers.

He was asked by United States President Donald Trump to do so. 
Trump confirmed that the walkout was planned and said that he was "proud."

Trump acknowledged that he had asked Pence to leave the stadium if any players disrespected their country.

In a tweet, Trump said, " I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen."

Pence later justified his move on Twitter, saying, "I stand with @POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem."

In a statement, Pence said, "I left today's Colts game because the president and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."

"At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience now more than ever, we should rally around our flag and everything that unites us," statement added.

Protests of the anthem by the NFL players, almost all African American, began last year when the then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Last month, the protests touched acme post Trump's continuous attacks on the NFL.

Earlier, Trump had asked sports fans to never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country and demanded that the NFL should change policy.

JUST IN: Ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector late last night; exchange of fire continued for two hours
07:58   Godhra train burning case: HC likely to pronounce verdict today
The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on a set of appeals challenging convictions and acquittals by a special SIT court in the 2002 Godhra train coach burning case.

Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

The special SIT court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail.

Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.

The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution's contention that there was a conspiracy behind
the incident.

All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Those acquitted included the prime accused, Maulana Umarji, the then president of Godhra Municipality Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary of Gangapur, Uttar Pradesh.

The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage, had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.