Fri, 20 April 2018
Sengar's CBI remand extended till April 27

Timeline  Refresh

22:54   Sengar's CBI remand extended till April 27
A local court in Unnao extended the Central Bureau of Investigation remand of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Kuldip Singh Sengar, the main accused in the rape of the 18-year-old girl from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, till April 27, an official said today.

The CBI produced Sengar before the special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Act) court judge, Ashutosh Kumar who extended his remand till April 27, special public prosecutor Chandrika Prasad Bajpai said.

He was for the first time sent to CBI custody for seven days on April 14 after his arrest.

Facing flak over the delay in taking action against the MLA in the nearly year-old rape case, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had recommended CBI probe last week.  -- PTI
22:18   Modi leaves for Germany after wrapping up UK visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for Germany after wrapping up his visit to the United Kingdom where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and held a series of bilateral meetings.

Prime Minister Modi would meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a brief stopover in Berlin.

Modi had arrived in the UK on Tuesday night from Sweden on a four-day visit.

The prime minister, during his interventions at the executive session of the CHOGM here, had announced that India will double its contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation and vowed to provide tailor-made developmental assistance to small island states.

Besides attending the CHOGM, Modi held bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May.

He also held discussions with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Seychelles President Danny Faure and nearly a dozen other leaders on the sidelines of the multilateral CHOGM.

In Sweden, Modi held extensive talks with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, besides attending a India-Nordic Summit.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
21:15   China backs Pak over Modi's remarks
A day ahead of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit, China today put up a staunch defence of its all-weather ally Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the neighbouring country as a 'terror export factory'.

Swaraj will be arriving at Beijing tomorrow to attend the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, to be held on April 24.

She is due to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday.

"Terrorism is the enemy faced by all. The international community should work together to fight against it," foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a media briefing in Beijing, when asked about China's response to Modi terming Pakistan as a 'terror export factory' during a speech in London.

"We hope the international community could support the efforts made by Pakistan in counter terrorism and forge effective cooperation with it in that regard," Hua said putting up a strong defence for China's all-weather ally.

While speaking at the 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath' programme at the iconic Central Hall Westminster in London on Wednesday, warning Pakistan, Modi had said India will not tolerate those who export terror and will respond to them in the language they understand, referring to the 2016 surgical strikes conducted across the LoC.  -- PTI
20:48   Ordinance likely over death penalty for raping children up to 12 yrs
An ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of raping a child up to 12 years of age is likely to come up before the Union Cabinet tomorrow.

Against the backdrop of outrage over the incidents of rape of minors in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao and Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, the government plans to bring the ordinance to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, sources aware of the development said today.

According to the proposal, those convicted of committing rape on children up to 12 years can also be awarded death penalty.

As the POCSO law stands today, the maximum punishment for 'aggravated assault' is life in jail. The minimum sentence prescribed is seven years in jail.

After the Nirbhaya case in December 2012, when the criminal laws were amended, a provision of death penalty in case the woman either dies or is left in a 'vegetative state' after rape was introduced through an ordinance which later became the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

The government informed the Supreme Court today that it is actively considering amending the penal law to introduce death penalty to those convicted of sexually abusing children up to 12 years of age.

The assertion of the Centre assumes significance following the public outcry for award of death penalty to such sexual offenders, including the assaulters of an eight-year-old girl who was gang raped and killed at Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir recently.

A similar incident has been reported in Surat. Police had found the body of a nine-year-old near a cricket field in Bhestan with over 80 injuries, including some on her private parts.

Post-mortem has revealed she was raped for at least eight days before being strangled.

"An ordinance today is the best way to deal with the issue. An amendment bill will have to wait (till July) when the Monsoon session commences," said a law ministry official.  -- PTI
20:25   Mecca Masjid: 'Hostile witnesses, retracted confessions led to acquittal'
The National Investigation Agency prosecutor 'in the Mecca Masjid blast case' said today witnesses turning hostile and retraction of confessional statement by Hindu preacher Swami Aseemanand may have led to the acquittal of the five accused.

His comments come in the wake of an anti-terror court acquitting the accused belonging to right-wing organisations in the 2007 blast case.

The court, while setting them free, held that the prosecution had failed to prove 'even a single allegation' against them.

The prosecutor, N Harinath, said he was yet to receive a copy of the order from the court and a clear picture would emerge only after he gets it.

Harinath, who came attack from opposition parties following the judgement over his past association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's student outfit, said his former links to the Hindu right organisation had got nothing to do with his current profession and the duties he was supposed to discharge.

"Out of 226 witnesses (in the case) more than 66 witnesses turned hostile in the court. They said they were never examined by police and never stated anything before police.

"So a witness, who has given evidence in favour the prosecution at the time of filing of the charge sheet, comes to the court and says that he has never given the statement... what can a prosecutor do and what can prosecution do?" Harinath told PTI.

He also said Aseemanand, who had made a confessional statement under CrPC section 164 (to a magistrate), retracted it later in a Delhi court.

Under the section, any confession or statement can be made before a magistrate in the course of an investigation.

A massive blast had ripped through the over four centuries-old Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, during the Friday prayers, killing nine people and wounding 58.   -- PTI
19:41   NIA files charge sheet against Hizbul chief's son in terror funding case
The National Investigation Agency today filed a charge sheet against Syed Shahid Yusuf, son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, in a 2011 terror funding case.

District judge Poonam Bamba posted the matter for considering the charge sheet on May 4.

The 42-year-old Yusuf, who was posted as an agricultural assistant in central Kashmir's Budgam, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on October 24 last year.

Yusuf's bail plea was dismissed by the trial court on March 7. He is in judicial custody.

The NIA had earlier alleged that the accused was linked with banned terrorist organisations such as Hizbul Mujahideen.

It had said the case was registered on the basis of information that funds from Pakistan were sent to Jammu and Kashmir via Delhi through hawala channels to spread terrorism.

The NIA had in 2011 arrested a number of persons, including Ghulam Mohd Bhat, with Rs 21.2 lakh, alleging that Yusuf was 'one of the several Indian contacts of Bhat' who had been in touch with him for receiving money transfer codes.

It had alleged that Yusuf's involvement was found in collecting funds from a terrorist outfit in Saudi Arabia as well as from other accused on directions of his father Mohd Yousuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin, self-styled supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Syed Salahuddin was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US Department of State in June last year.

The NIA has claimed that Yousuf has received about Rs 4.5 lakh so far through eight international wire transfers. It had also registered two other cases related to terror funding -- one in November 2011 and the other in May 2017.

It had filed a charge sheet against 10 people including Salahuddin in the April 2011 case. In the recent case, the NIA arrested various people, including some close relatives and aides of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. -- PTI
19:05   BJP fields another Reddy brother in Karnataka
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Karunakar Reddy, one of the Reddy brothers -- tainted mining barons -- from Harapanahalli as it released its third list of 59 candidates today for the Karnataka assembly elections.

The party had in its second list fielded another of three Reddy brothers, Somashekhara Reddy, from Ballari.

Reddy brothers have been accused in the past of illegal mining.

Their political influence within the BJP seemed to have waned after the alleged scam erupted but it appears that they have made a comeback with the party rewarding them and their associates with tickets in a region they wield considerable influence.

With announcement of 59 more candidates, the BJP has declared its nominees for 213 seats for the elections to the 224-member state assembly.

It has fielded Gopal Rao from Chamundeshwari, from where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting on a Congress ticket.

The BJP also changed its candidate from Kolar Gold Field seat reserved for scheduled caste candidates.

S Ashwini will now be its nominee from the seat, the party said said.

The BJP has so far not announced its candidate from Varuna, the current constituency of Siddaramaiah from where the Congress has fielded his son.

B Y Vijayendra, son of its chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, is seen as the likely BJP candidate from there.  -- PTI
18:05   Naroda Patiya victim on acquittals: Did we kill our children?
The Gujarat high court on Friday acquitted former Bharatiya Janata Party minister Maya Kodnani and upheld the conviction of ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case in which 97 people were killed by a mob.

A woman who lost her family in the massacre said, "Eight members of our family were killed before our eyes. If they are innocent, did we kill our children? Maya Kodnani has been declared innocent, two  years later Babu Bajrangi will be acquitted."

A division bench of Justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya, while acquitting Kodnani, said she should be given the benefit of doubt due to inconsistency in statements of witnesses.

The HC upheld the conviction of Bajrangi and found him guilty of criminal conspiracy (IPC section 120B) along with two other convicts Prakash Rathod and Suresh Jhala.

The trial court had sentenced Bajrangi to life imprisonment till death. However, the HC on Friday reduced his sentence to 21-year rigorous imprisonment without remission. 
17:59   Former Delhi HC Rajinder Sachar passes away
Former chief justice and activist Rajinder Singh Sachar, who brought to fore the socio-economic and educational conditions of the Muslim community, passed away in New Delhi today at the age of 94, family sources said.

The Rajinder Sachar Committee was set up by former prime minister Manmohan Singh for preparing a report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims and was tabled in parliament in 2006. Sachar was admitted to the Fortis Hospital earlier this week. He passed away at around noon.

"He was a patient of Ischemic heart disease and was put on pacemaker a couple of months back and had undergone stenting for blocked vessels in the heart," a family friend said.

"He was admitted to the hospital earlier this week. He was not able to take food and was having recurrent vomiting. He developed pneumonia and later succumbed to it," he said.

The former chief justice of Delhi High Court will be cremated at the electric crematorium in Lodhi Road here this evening. Sachar was chief justice of the Delhi HC from August 6, 1985 to December 22, 1985. He was also associated with the rights group People's Union for Civil Liberties. PTI
17:52   Do you have any relative who has been raped, SC asks a lawyer
Do you have any relative who has been raped", an annoyed Supreme Court asked a lawyer today. The top court bench was annoyed as it asked the advocate, who had alleged that FIRs were not lodged by the police in rape cases involving powerful people like ministers, MPs or MLAs, what his locus standi was vis-a-vis the Unnao rape case. It questioned the locus of the advocate in filing the PIL, wondering how public interest litigation can be filed in criminal cases.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao asked advocate ML Sharma how he was aggrieved with the Unnao rape case and how was he connected to the case.

"The Allahabad High Court has already passed some orders in the case. Mr Sharma you are not an aggrieved person in the case. There cannot be a PIL in a criminal case," the bench observed.

Sharma alleged that in several rape cases involving former ministers or MLAs, no FIR were lodged by the police, wherever powerful people were involved.

"Who are you in these rapes cases? Don't be generic. Is any relative of a victim of rape before us for remedy? Do you have any relative who has been raped," Justice Bobde asked the lawyer. An uneasy calm prevailed among the lawyers in the courtroom after the bench's remarks. When Sharma persisted with his arguments, the bench dismissed his petition saying it cannot be entertained.

The apex court had on April 11 agreed to hear a plea for a CBI probe into the Unnao gangrape case allegedly involving a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh.

Sharma's plea has also alleged that the rape victim's father was tortured and killed in the police custody at the behest of the "ruling party" in the state.

He also sought the court's direction for a CBI probe into a case of kidnapping and rape of a minor girl last July allegedly involving a BJP legislator.

Alleging that the complaint had not named the legislator "under political pressure" and the state police would not carry out a "fair investigation under compulsion", it said the matter should be handed over to the CBI for independent investigation. The public interest petition had also sought protection and compensation to the victims' kin, as was provided in the Nirbhaya gangrape case. -- PTI
17:32   HC asks West Bengal EC to reschedule panchayat poll
The Calcutta High Court today quashed the State Election Commission's order cancelling the notification for extension of deadline for filing nomination for panchayat polls in West Bengal and directed it to allow nominations by issuing a fresh notification.

Justice Subrata Talukdar held that that petitions, filed by the BJP, CPI(M) and other opposition parties, challenging the cancellation of notification are maintainable and asked the poll panel to issue fresh notification extending the date for filing nominations.

The court directed the commission to reschedule the dates for panchayat election process and accordingly conduct the polls. The panchayat elections in West Bengal were to be held in three phases from May 1 to May 5 and the counting of votes was scheduled on May 8. -- PTI
17:21   Impeachment motion against CJI is 'revenge petition': Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday termed the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra a revenge petition by the Congress and an attempt to intimidate a Judge.

Jaitley linked the opposition parties' move to the Thursday order of the CJI-headed bench of the Supreme Court that dismissed the petitions seeking a Special Investigation Team-led probe into Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge B H Loya's death case.

'My preliminary reaction to the impeachment motion filed today is clear. It is a revenge petition after the falsehood of the Congress Party has been established in the Justice Loya death case. It is an attempt to intimidate a Judge and send a message to other Judges, that if you don't agree with us, fifty MP's are enough for a revenge action,' Jaitley wrote in a post on Facebook.

Stating that impeachment of a Judge of the Supreme Court is to be done only in the case of either his 'incapacity' or on 'proven misconduct', Jaitley commented, 'The Congress Party and its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool.'

Jaitley further said that the charges levelled against the CJI were issues that have been settled by judicial orders or by precedent, and some issues were stale, trivial and had nothing to do with judicial functions.In his attack, the Union minister also took lawyers and media into the fold, saying that some lawyers who pick up causes in public interest and pursue them, have graduated into 'Institution Disruptors', and have found strong allies in a section of the media and the Congress party.

'They pick-up even false causes and pursue the falsehood with a sense of deep commitment, indulge in intimidating advocacy, are shrill with their opposing colleagues, are rude and impolite with the judges. They firmly believe that every falsehood that they propound must be accepted as the gospel truth,' the post read.

'If intimidatory tactics of 'Institution Disruptors' and impeachment motion are threats to judicial independence, the single greatest threat is the divided court itself,' Jaitley remarked.

Referring to the four senior judges of the top court who spoke against the CJI's conduct, at a press conference in January, Jaitley questioned, 'Had they checked up the facts of Judge Loya case before commenting on it, even though only on a listing issue? Should anyone at all be commenting on pending case because many comments created an environment of prejudice and even added credibility to utter falsehood as they did in the present case? Is the impeachment motion filed today a direct result of the press conference? Does this impeachment set a precedent that political parties in India will use impeachment as an instrument to intimidate judges hearing controversial matters?'

Coming to the defence of BJP president Amit Shah who was alleged to have been involved in Justice Loya's death, Jaitley termed such allegations 'a deliberately generated fake news where falsehood was manufactured to generate a massive public controversy'.

'Never ever so blatantly in the past have national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost come out as conspirators,' he added.   -- ANI
16:20   PM, heads of state, arrive for CHOGM at Windsor Castle
London: PM Modi and other heads of Commonwealth countries, including British PM Theresa May, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina & Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, arrive for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Windsor Castle.
16:19   Loya won't be forgotten, millions can see the truth: Rahul
Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said India will not allow judge BH Loya to be forgotten and millions of Indians can see the truth. His remarks came as the Congress and six other opposition parties moved a notice for impeachment of the Chief Justice of India, a day after the apex court rejected pleas for a probe into the death of Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case.

"'There is no hope left, everything is managed' say Judge Loya's family. I want to tell them, there is hope. There is hope because millions of Indians can see the truth. India will not allow Judge Loya to be forgotten," he said on Twitter.

Gandhi tagged a news report that quoted the judge's family members as saying that "there is no hope left, everything seems managed".

Disagreeing with the Supreme Court verdict, the Congress had yesterday demanded a fair inquiry to address the "unanswered questions" regarding Loya's death. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had targeted BJP chief Amit Shah, saying "the truth has its own way of catching up with people like him".

Shah was among those discharged in the Sohrabuddin case. Loya had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. --  PTI
15:38   Manmohan Singh, 5 Cong leaders did not sign impeachment motion
In an unprecedented step, the Congress and six other opposition parties on Friday moved a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra, accusing him of five counts of "misbehaviour" and "misusing" authority.

Of the 64 MPs who signed the notice, six senior Congress leaders did not sign -- former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Salman Khurshid, P Chidambaram, Veerappa Moily and Manish Tewari.

The opposition parties met Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and handed over a notice for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India with signatures of 64 MPs of the Upper House.

Addressing a press conference on the impeachment motion, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the party did not involve Manmohan Singh intentionally as he is a former prime minister.

Salman Khursid said he was not party to or privy with discussions that have taken place between different parties on the issue. "For me to reflect specifically on whether the grounds are justified would be unfair. Impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with frivolously on the grounds of disagreement with any judgement or point of view of the Court."

No Chief Justice has ever been impeached in India and any decision on the notice by the Opposition parties against the CJI is likely to be taken by the vice president following legal consultations.

The impeachment notice comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a bunch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

15:11   DeMO led to highest fake currency, suspicious transactions
The country's banks received an all-time high amount of fake currency and also detected an over 480 per cent jump in suspicious transactions post demonetisation, a first-ever report on dubious deposits made in the wake of the 2016 notes ban has revealed.

The banks, including those in the private, public and cooperative sectors, and other financial institutions collectively generated 400 per cent more suspicious transaction reports at over 4.73 lakh such dossiers during 2016-17, the report said.

The Financial Intelligence Unit that analyses suspicious financial transactions pertaining to money laundering and terror financing as part of the Union Finance Ministry establishment, reported that counterfeit currency transactions in the banking and other economic channels witnessed an increase by over 3.22 lakh instances during 2016-17 as compared to the last year.

This, the report accessed by PTI said, had a link to demonetisaton of two high value currencies of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 which was declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of November 8, 2016.

"A noteworthy growth was also seen in the number of counterfeit currency reports (CCRs) which increased from more than 4.10 lakh in 2015-16 to over 7.33 lakh in 2016-17, which may also be attributed to the demonetisaton exercise," it said.

The latest figure is the highest ever since the CCRs were first generated in the year 2008-09. CCRs are "transaction based reports" and they are generated only when a fake Indian currency note is detected.

As per FIU's anti-money laundering rules, the banks and other financial bodies are required to report all cash transactions where forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank notes have been used as genuine or where any forgery of a valuable security or a document has taken place. 
-- PTI
15:00   Centre to amend POCSO Act to ensure death penalty in child rape till 12-year of age
The Central Government, in a letter, submitted to the Supreme Court on Friday, said that it has started the process to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to introduce death penalty for rape of minors till 12 year of age.

The Centre submitted its report while responding to a PIL filed by Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, seeking maximum sentence of death penalty to those offenders involved in the rape and brutal murder of children between the age group of 0 to 12.

The apex court three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, fixed the matter for further hearing to April 27.

In the wake of the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi had said that her ministry intends to amend the POCSO to make provision for death penalty in such cases.
14:37   Army discusses challenges faced by security forces along LoC
Senior Indian Army commanders today discussed the increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, the volatile situation in Kashmir Valley, and the challenges faced by security forces, particularly along the borders with China and Pakistan. During the Army Commanders Conference, which began on Monday and will conclude tomorrow, they also discussed the radicalisation of youth in the Valley, a senior Army official said.

The official said "considerable" time was devoted to "repriortising" existing requirements to ensure that resources allocated for force modernisation and capacity building were optimally utilised within the budgetary allocation.

The Army commanders will tomorrow discuss matters related exclusively to military operations.

Last month, the Army told a parliamentary panel it was reeling under severe fund crunch and struggling to even make emergency procurement when there was a real possibility of a two-front war and both China as well as Pakistan were carrying out modernisation of their defence forces in "full swing". 
14:25   FIR against BJP MLA for 'Hindu Vs Muslim' remark
An FIR was registered against Karnataka BJP MLA Sanjay Patil on Friday on charges of delivering a provocative speech in Belagavi.

Patil, while addressing a gathering in Karnataka's Belagavi yesterday, said that the upcoming elections in the state is not about roads, water or other issues but about Hindus vs Muslims, Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid.

The complainant has demanded disqualification of Patil's candidature for his communal speech and for violating model code of conduct. The FIR was registered in Marihal police station in Belgaum rural district under Sections 253a, 259A of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Karnataka will go to polls on May 12 to elect its representatives for the 225-member assembly. The results will be out on May 15. -- PTI
14:04   Seven parties submit notice to impeach CJI, a first in India's history
The Congress and other opposition parties submit a notice for impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. This is the first time in the history of India that a motion for the impeachment of a Chief Justice of India is being presented.

Over 64 MPs belonging to seven political parties have signed the notice for impeachment proceedings against the CJI. The parties include Congress, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, SP, BSP and Muslim League. The parties met Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and give notice for impeachment of the CJI.

Addressing a press conference thereafter senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "We have moved a motion for removal of Chief Justice of India under five grounds of misbehaviour: Ghulam Nabi Azad. Questions are being asked about the manner in which CJI has handled certain cases and was exercising powers.

"71 MPs signed the notice for impeachment but seven retired, so the number now is 64. Minimum requirement is 50 members in the Rajya Sabha.

"CJI Dipak Misra violated constitutional norms while exercising his powers. When the SC judges believe judiciary's independence is under threat, alluding to CJI's functioning, should we stand still and do nothing?

"We wish this day had never come in the fabric of our constitutional framework. Since the day he (Dipak Misra) was appointed as CJI there have been questions raised in the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases.

"There is no other way to protect the institution except the impeachment motion. We are doing so with a very heavy heart." 

PTI reported that the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, which were initially in favour of the impeachment against the CJI, are no longer part of it.

The impeachment notice comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a bunch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

The SC judgement was delivered by a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India.

An impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha has to be supported by a total of at least 50 MPs of the Upper House, while the number of MPs supporting such a motion in the Lok Sabha is 100.

Once the notice for an impeachment motion is submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman, he will ascertain whether there is merit or ground for moving such a motion.

In case he finds merit, then he may form a committee to look into it, else he can reject it.

The Supreme Court today termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on impeachment of judges.

"We are all very disturbed about it," a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said after the counsel appearing for the petitioner raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges.
13:44   BJP asks MPs to attack Rahul over Judge Loya verdict
A day after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a SIT probe into the death of Judge BH Loya, the BJP has asked its MPs to attack Congress President Rahul Gandhi for defaming party president Amit Shah.

The letter issued by the BJP Parliamentary party also provided the gist of what the party MPs should write in the campaign in their respective constituencies against Rahul Gandhi and the Congress.

The letter issued by Balasubrahmanyam Kamarsu,  Secretary, BJP Parliamentary Party office, asks MPs to give bytes to local TV channels demanding Rahul Gandhi's apology, issue press statements, hold press conferences  and tweet and retweet statements against the Congress president.

The matter that has to be sent out on the social media platforms has also been mentioned in the letter.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Thursday dismissed the PIL seeking the SIT probe into the death of Judge Loya in 2014 in Maharashtra's Nagpur.

Loya was heading the trial court that was holding a trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake shootout case in which Amit Shah is an accused.

Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala posted the letter on his twitter account, saying the effort was to stop an enquiry into the case.

"Lameduck efforts by a vile BJP to stop an enquiry into Judge Loya death reaches its zenith as copycats are regimented to toe the fascist line!," Surjewala said in a tweet.

Image: The letter issued by the BJP Parliamentary Party
12:34   Naroda Patiya riots case: Maya Kodnani acquitted
Update: The Gujarat high court has acquitted Bharatiya Janata Party former minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case in which 97 Muslims were massacred after the Godhra riots.

The division bench found no criminal conspiracy in the riots and observed that the none of the witnesses were reliable.  The court however found Babu Bajrangi guilty, and has upheld the conviction of the trial court.

Suresh Langado alias Richard Chhara has also been found guilty. Kodnani's personal assistant, Kirpal Singh Chabda, who was convicted by the trial court was also acquitted.

Out of the 32 convicts in the case, the Gujarat High court acquitted 17 people including Maya Kodnani. The conviction of 12 was upheld, verdict on two others awaited, 1 accused is dead.

A division bench of the court comprising justice Harsha Devani and justice AS Supehiya concluded the hearing and reserved the order in the case last August. In 2012, a special court for Special Investigation Team cases had sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment.
12:31   Centre begins process to amend POSCO Act
Centre, in its letter, submitted to the Supreme Court has started the process to amend the POCSO Act to ensure maximum punishment of death penalty in child rape cases between the age group of 0-12 ages. The Centre submitted its report while responding to a PIL. Further hearing on April 27.
12:08   Update on the Col Purohit case
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has said that Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Purohit's plea challenging the prosecution sanction for his trial under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act  will be heard at the time of framing of charges in the case. Col Purohit was granted bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in August last year.
12:05   SC terms public statements on impeachment of judges unfortunate
The Supreme Court today termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on impeachment of judges.

"We are all very disturbed about it," a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said after the counsel appearing for the petitioner raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges.

The apex court asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to assist it to deal with the plea, which has also sought a gag on the media from reporting such statements.

The development assumes significance as it comes on a day when the Congress and other opposition parties have decided to submit a notice to initiate impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The move comes a day after the SC ruling in the CBI Judge B H Loya case. However, during today's hearing, no reference of CJI was made during brief arguments.

The apex court, while asking the top law officer of the country to assist it in the matter, posted the case for hearing on May 7. It, however, refused to pass any order gagging the media, saying it would not do this without hearing the Attorney General. -- PTI
11:20   Loya verdict: 'Important facts remain unanswered'
On April 19, 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed pleas seeking an independent probe into the death of special Central Bureau of Investigation judge B H Loya, ruling that the judge died of natural causes and the petitions were a 'serious attempt to scandalise and obstruct the course of justice'.

The pleas in the case were filed after an investigative report published by Caravan magazine, which claimed that Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya's family suspected foul play in his death.

Despite the setback, Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor, Caravan, remains unfazed. "These are the signs that we are living in a democratic society," Bal tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf. Read the interview here.
11:06   Girl attending wedding raped, killed in Chhattisgarh
An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped and killed by a guest at a wedding in Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh, police said. Uttam Sahu, the 25-year-old accused, has been arrested, Lal Umed Singh, Superintendent of Police, told PTI.

The incident happened on Wednesday night in the district, about 120km from state capital Raipur.

Sahu lured the girl away from the village and then raped and killed her by smashing her head with a stone, Singh said.

The victim was related to the bridegroom, he said. After committing the crime, Sahu, a resident of nearby Rehauta village, returned and joined the wedding, he said. When the girl did not return home, a search was launched for her and it came to light that she was last seen with Sahu, the police official said.

The body was found near a canal yesterday after which police questioned Sahu, who admitted to the crime, Singh said. He has been arrested on charges of murder and rape, he added. PTI

Image: The ditch where the girl's body was dumped.  Pic: ANI
10:43   18 Rohingyas arrested in Tripura
Eighteen Rohingya refugees, including three children and four women, were arrested on Thursday in Tripura's Khowai district for entering the country illegally.

Based on specific information, the Rohingyas from Myanmar, who had illegally entered Tripura via Bangladesh, were arrested near Teliamura area.

According to police the Rohingyas entered the state and were trying to go to Delhi in search of jobs.

Sub-inspector of Tripura police Ranjit Debnath said, "Actually we had inputs that a few Muslim community people from outside, may be Rohingyas, were going to Guwahati in a bus, so we stopped that bus. During the search, we found 11 male, three women along with four children all from Myanmar. Six of them were able to show their identity cards (UNHCR) but rest could not show any identity card. The identity cards revealed that they are citizens of Myanmar and took refuge in India. Their movement was suspicious and so we are interrogating them."

One of the arrested Rohingya, Saifulla said, "I am here with my sister and I had come to India six months back and was staying in Delhi. Originally we are from Myanmar and came here in search of work. We had entered Agartala eight to 10 days back but I do not know through which border I entered."

The Rohingyas from Myanmar had illegally entered Tripura and a few other northeastern states via Bangladesh in the past in search of work. But, subsequently, they were pushed back following legal and security formalities.

On January 14 this year, six Rohingya refugees were arrested from Dharmanagar railway station in North Tripura district, 170 km from here.

Over 6,70,000 Rohingyas, a mainly Muslim minority living in Myanmar, had fled the northwestern province of Rakhine in August last year after a wave of persecution and violence that the United Nations described as an attempt at "ethnic cleansing". Efforts are on to repatriate them to their homeland in Myanmar. ANI
10:28   Gujarat HC to pronounce verdict on appeals in Naroda Patiya case today
The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on appeals in 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case in which 97 Muslims were massacred after Godhra riots.

A division bench of the court comprising justice Harsha Devani and justice AS Supehiya concluded the hearing and reserved the order in the case last August. In 2012, a special court for Special Investigation Team cases had sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment.

The convicts also included BJP minister Maya Kodnani who was awarded 28 years of imprisonment and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi who was sentenced to life imprisonment till death.

Apart from this, seven accused were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years and the remaining were given simple life imprisonment for 14 years. All the convicts had appealed against their conviction in the High Court.

Around 58 people lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.

Following the incident, on February 28 the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal declared Gujarat Bandh. A total of 97 people were killed by rioters in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area on this day. -- ANI

File pic: Maya Kodani and Babu Bajrangi were awarded life imprisonment in the Naroda Patiya case. Kodani is out on bail.
10:02   Rape-accused Unnao MLA's 'Y' category security withdrawn
The Centre withdraws 'Y' category security from Unnao MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar who is in jail in connection with the rape of a 17-year-old girl.

A CBI court has remanded Atul Singh, the brother of the the prime accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, and four other associates to a four-day police custody in connection with the Unnao rape case.

The rape survivor's family has alleged that BLP MLA Sengar's brother Atul Singh Sengar, along with his companions, had also raped the girl and thrashed the victim's father to death over his refusal to withdraw the FIR.  
09:54   PM double India's contribution to Commonwealth fund
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced the doubling of India's contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation and stressed the need to focus on providing developmental assistance to small island states, the External Affairs Ministry said today.

The prime minister, during his interventions at the executive session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here, also highlighted the need for capacity building of small states and small island developing states that are part of the Commonwealth.

India is going to help these small island states and coastal states in capacity building through training programmes at the National Institute Of Oceanography in Goa, Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters during a briefing.

The main issues discussed at today's session were strengthening democracy and the rule of law, the state of the international trading system, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate action, and security issues faced by the Commonwealth countries.

In his interventions, the prime minister highlighted a number of important issues, including the need for working together for achieving SDGs and cooperation on climate action, Ghanashyam said.

The main announcements made by the prime minister at the summit included doubling India's contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation, she said without giving any figures of India's current contribution.

The Prime Minister also said India would also take part in small projects for assisting Commonwealth countries through its permanent mission in New York. -- PTI
09:44   Pak singer accuses Ali Zafar of sexual harassment
Pakistani singer-actor Meesha Shafi has accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her, saying the decision to share her #MeToo story was difficult but she felt it was important to break the culture of silence.

Singer-actor Zafar, a well-known face in Bollywood, has "categorically denied all claims of harassment" and said that he "intends to take this through the courts of law". Shafi, who belongs to a family of actors, dropped the bombshell on Twitter where she posted a lengthy statement.

"Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo," she tweeted.

Shafi said she had been subjected to sexual harassment "of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague" on more than one occasion.

The actor-singer, who has produced a number of successful tracks and acted in high profile films such as Mira Nair's "Reluctant Fundamentalist" and Bollywood film "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", said it has been a traumatic experience for her and her family. Referring to the 'Me Too' campaign, which became a rallying cry of women across the globe to share their experiences in the wake of Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal in October 2017, Shafi said what concerned her the most was that she faced it despite being an "empowered" woman. -- PTI
08:56   No meeting between Modi, Pak PM Abbasi at CHOGM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not meet his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting  in London and no such meeting is planned today, the external affairs ministry said.
Prior to the prime minister's visit, the MEA had said last week that Modi was unlikely to have bilateral talks with the Pakistani premier at the summit.
"No meeting took place with the Pakistani prime minister. There is no plan to have any (meeting)," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question. -- PTI
08:38   Day after Loya verdict, Oppn to discuss CJI impeachment in key meet
The leaders of opposition parties will meet today in Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad's chamber in Parliament and are likely to discuss the issue of the Supreme Court verdict rejecting multiple pleas for an independent probe into the death of special Central Bureua of Investigation judge B H Loya, sources said.
The issue of moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is also likely to be discussed in the wake of the Loya case judgement.
The Opposition has been working on bringing various parties on board for a larger consensus on bringing the impeachment motion against the CJI.
While the Left parties, the NCP and the Congress are on board for moving the impeachment motion, some parties that have already signed the petition have backed out.
During the meeting convened by Azad, the sources say, the opposition parties will also discuss the idea of having a broader consensus on how to defeat the BJP in the upcoming assembly and Lok Sabha elections. -- PTI 
00:09   Kim Jong-un elevates wife to position of North Korea's first lady
North Koreas leader, Kim Jong-un, has given his wife the title of first lady in what analysts say is a major boost to her status ahead of back-to-back summits with South Korea and US. 

North Koreas state media referred to Ri Sol-ju as the respected first lady in its report on her weekend attendance of a Chinese ballet performance in Pyongyang, the first time the title has been used in more than 40 years.

North Koreas star anchorwoman Ri Chun-hee, who is often drafted in for major announcements, delivered the news of her attendance on television, further enhancing Ris standing.

Ri, a former star singer, emerged in 2012 and has been regarded as one of the most high-profile women in a deeply patriarchal nation, but with a limited role.

Analysts say her promotion is likely to be part of an effort to paint North Korea as a normal state as Kim prepares for summits with the South Korean and US presidents. It gives her a title matching that of Kim Jung-sook, South Koreas first lady, and Melania Trump.

The summit is being held as equals, so if Melania Trump attends, Ri will attend, said An Chan-il, a defector researcher.