Fri, 02 February 2018
Fire in Mumbai local disrupts suburban services

Timeline  Refresh

22:45   Fire in Mumbai local disrupts suburban services
Rail traffic was affected after fire broke out inside part of a local train at Dadar Railway Station in Mumbai.

The fire has now been doused.

Trains services on platfrom 1 and 2 are suspended till further notice.

Photograph: ANI
22:38   Padmaavat producer withdraws plea seeking police protection
In a sudden turn of events, the producer of Padmaavat today withdrew a petition from the Gujarat high court seeking a direction to the state government to provide police protection to theatres wanting to screen the movie.

Though the matter was not listed, Justice J B Pardiwala allowed an urgent hearing upon the request of lawyers of the petitioner -- Viacom 18 Media Private Limited. Pardiala allowed the petitioner to withdraw its plea during the brief hearing.

The high court also told the petitioner that the doors of the court were open if it wants to file a plea in the future in this regard. Yesterday, when the matter came up, Pardiwala had deferred the hearing until February 7 after the state government sought an adjournment till Wednesday to file its reply.

The film's producer had claimed that exhibitors were ready to screen the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed movie in Gujarat but feared violence from fringe groups.

A few fringe outfits, including the Karni Sena, have opposed the film based on the saga of the historic 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The groups allege that the film distorted history and showed Queen Padmavati, the central character in the film, in 'poor light'.

The filmmakers have denied the allegations.

The film released nationwide on January 25 after the Supreme Court stayed notifications and orders issued by Bharatiya Janata Party- led governments in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan prohibiting the exhibition of the film.

Following the Supreme Court order, some of the theatre owners in Gujarat had announced to screen the movie while some had refrained from screening the film, fearing violence on their premises.

A day ahead of the release of the film, agitators, claimed to be from Rajput community, staged violent protests outside three multiplexes in Ahmedabad and torched several vehicles.

Following this violent protests, the Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association then announced that no theatre or multiplex in the state would screen Padmaavat.  -- PTI
21:52   'No Confidence Motion' by Sensex on Modi's budget: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Budget, saying the stock market has given a 'no confidence motion' against it, after the Sensex fell by over 800 points.

'In Parliamentary language, the Sensex just placed a solid 800 point 'No Confidence Motion' against Modi's budget,' Gandhi tweeted.

He also used the hashtag 'BasEkAurSaal' along with his tweet while noting that only one more year of the Modi government is left.

Gandhi had yesterday alleged that in four years, the National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Modi had not provided any jobs and made several promises including those to farmers and youth.

'4 years gone; still promising FARMERS a fair price. 4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets. 4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go. #Budget2018,' he tweeted yesterday.

Benchmark Sensex of Bombay Stock Exchange suffered its worst rout in more than two years today as the Budget proposals on taxing equities torpedoed investor sentiment.

The 30-share sensitive index plummeted 840 points -- its biggest single-day slump since August 24, 2015 -- while the broader NSE Nifty tanked over 250 points to finish below the 10,800-mark.

Investors saw a wealth erosion of more than Rs 4.5 lakh crore as stocks went into a free-fall.

The Budget 2018-19 presented on Thursday imposed long- term capital gains tax of 10 per cent on equities.

Investors will also have to pay 10 per cent tax on distributed income from equity-oriented mutual funds.  -- PTI
21:36   NIA detains key accused in forced conversion of woman
A man accused of forcing a Gujarat-based woman to convert and attempting to sell her off to Islamic State terrorists in Syria has been taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency, an official of the agency said today.

"Muhammed Riyaz Rasheed was intercepted at the Chennai airport on his arrival from Jeddah and we are examining him at Chennai," the official said in Kochi.

The development comes days after the NIA said it has registered a case against nine people hailing from Kerala and Bengaluru for allegedly being involved in forcibly convertingthe 25-year-old woman, who hails from Pathanamthitta districtof Kerala and is settled in Gujarat.

They have also been accused of involvement in attempting to sell her off to IS terrorists in Syria.

Rasheed, who also hails from Kerala, is the main accusedin the case.

He is expected to be produced before the NIA special court in Kochi tomorrow after the agency records his arrest.

The central government informed the Kerala high court four days ago that the NIA has taken over the probe into the matter and registered a case against nine people.

The Centre has said that it suo motu entrusted the investigation into the case to NIA in view of the seriousness of the alleged offence.

The NIA has filed an FIR before the special court in Ernakulam against the nine people under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The nine have also been charged under various Indian Penal Code Sections for offences, including rape, forgery and forced religious conversion, the Centre has said.

The Centre's response was filed in an affidavit over a petition by the woman seeking an NIA probe into her alleged forced religious conversion and attempt to traffic her to Syria after marriage.  -- PTI
20:38   2 school officials, teacher held after girl ends life over 'humiliation'
Police arrested two officials and a teacher of a private school in Hyderabad today after a 14-year-old student allegedly committed suicide, apparently because she was not allowed to attend classes and sit for an exam for not paying fees.

K Sai Deepthi, a Class 9 student of the Jyothi Model School, hanged herself at her residence in the Malkajgiri area last evening, police said.

"We have taken three persons, including a teacher, into custody. They will be produced in the court shortly," Inspector Komraiah of the Malkajgiri police station told PTI.

Besides booking the three for abetment of suicide under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, the police also invoked the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against them as the girl belonged to a scheduled caste community, the inspector added.

The girl's father works as a building painter, while her mother works in a supermarket.

The girl had felt humiliated after she was asked to leave the class recently and not allowed to appear in a school examination for non-payment of fees, according to her family.

In her suicide note, she wrote, "Sorry mummy. The school did not allow me to write the exam," the inspector said.  -- PTI
20:11   Kupwara: At least 3 army personnel killed in avalanche
JUST IN: Three Army personnel lost their lives, while one is injured, after an avalanche hit an Army post in Kupwara's Machil Sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday evening.

More details awaited.

Image used only for representation.
18:58   Indrani Mukerjea to be taken to Delhi for money-laundering case
Indrani Mukerjea, Accused No 1 in the Sheena Bora murder trial, will be taken to Delhi by flight on February 5 in connection with the INX money-laundering case against her in which former finance minister P Chidambaram's son, Karti, is also being investigated, reports Savera Someshwar/   

Her custody, for this duration, will shift from the Mumbai CBI to the Delhi CBI. In this context, Indrani had requested permission for some additional clothes, which were delivered to her in a purple suitcase.   

Today's hearing, which began nearly 45 minutes late, looked at four applications filed by the defence.   

The court approved the production of the actual Karbonn brand phone used by the driver, Accused No 3 turned approver, Shyamwar Rai, whose long deposition and cross-examination was recently completed in this case.   Airtel's nodal officer, Manoj Patil, finally handed over Rai's Call Data Records in a CD. The CDRs have been a matter of contention, with the defence arguing that the records had been tampered with (See here).   

Two more applications, submitted at the last hearing, continue to remain pending before the court, as replies are awaited from the prosecution.   These include the defence's demand for the log book of the Sumo van driven by the cops who arrested Rai. The same van was used by the police to go to Pen, where Sheena Bora's remains were discovered.   

They also want access to the CDRs of the mobile phones used by Ganesh Dalvi, part of the police team which arrested Rai and the prosecution's first witness, and Dinesh Kadam, the investigating officer in the case.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/
18:49   Attack on bus by 'Padmaavat' protesters: Khattar visits school
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today paid an unscheduled visit to GD Goenka School, Sohna, a bus of which was recently pelted with stones by some miscreants protesting the release of the movie "Padmaavat".

Khattar interacted with teachers and students and lauded them for showing courage in the face of an adverse situation.

"Since I saw this incident on the television, what kept boggling my mind was why it should have happened to the little children. Though I am not feeling well, I decided to meet you all," he told the students.

When stones were being thrown at their bus, the children not only showed courage but also braved the situation with poise and calm, he said.

The chief minister assured the students that adequate arrangements would be made by the state government to prevent re-occurrence of such incidents.  

He said that in a democratic system, every citizen had the right to express his views but if a protest is to be registered, it should be done peacefully.

He lauded the teachers for acting sensibly during the incident and saving the students from being hurt.
18:27   Mufti says time not ripe to revoke AFSPA, defends Armys counter FIR in Shopian incident
Jammu-Kashmir Chief Minister Mehooba Mufti on Friday said that situation at present was not ripe for revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state. 

Mufti justified the registration of a counter FIR by army in Shopian incident, saying that it is intact version of the troops to its firing in which three civilians have been killed. It is part of the FIR registered against army on the first day, she said, adding that we have to listen to both the sides before taking any action.

We want to reduce footprints of police and security forces in the Valley, but can it happen in a situation when people in hundreds come out to attack security forces during encounters with militants, she asked while winding up up discussion on grants to Home Department in the Legislative Assembly. The footprints and powers of the police and security forces are increasing with the increase in bloodshed and violence in the state, she added.

She described Indian army as most displined force in the wold, saying that It made sacrifices creating a situation that we all have reached the assembly. She also called upon the mainstream political parties to reach out to the people for restoration of peace.
18:12   UP DG Homeguard 'pledges' to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya
An IPS officer of the director general of police rank has stirred a controversy by openly favouring the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya "at the earliest".

Surya Kumar Shukla, DG, Homeguard, not only participated in an event on Ram Mandir organised at Lucknow University two days ago, but was also captured on camera taking a pledge to build the Ram Mandir. Shukla is due to retire in August.

The video of the 1982-batch Indian Police Service officer taking the pledge went viral on social and electronic media today.

"We Ram-bhakts, today, as part of this programme, take this pledge that at the earliest, the Ram Mandir be constructed. Jai Shri Ram," the video showed him saying.

Many other people were also seen taking the pledge with him at the event, where slogans of "Jai Shri Ram" was raised.

Shukla, however, said he had done nothing wrong.

-- PTI
Graphical representation of how the markets performed. 
17:43   'ModiCare' to be implemented from October 2
The National health protection scheme announced in the Union Budget 2018-19 will be implemented from October 2.

Touted as ModiCare, the scheme is envisaged to provide medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40 per cent of total population. 

On Thursday, Jaitley in his Budget speech said, "We are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals. Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families. Present RSBY provide annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families." 

Several state governments have also implemented supplemented health protection schemes providing varying coverage, he had said in the Lok Sabha. 

The finance minister also advocated that the central and the state government can pool in resources for healthcare to achieve efficiency. 
17:27   Trump accuses FBI and Justice Department of favouring Democrats over Republicans
US President Donald Trump has accused senior leadership at the department investigating potential links between his presidential campaign and Russia of developing a bias against members of his party.

"The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicised the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans -- something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago," he wrote. "Rank & File are great people!"
17:03   Govt expects winning bidder for Air India by June-end: Sinha
The government is expecting to have the winning bidder for national carrier Air India by the end of June and the "legal closing" of the transaction by year-end, Union Minister Jayant Sinha said today.

To revive the fortune of the debt-laden carrier, the government has decided on a strategic disinvestment and a group of ministers is working on the modalities.

"We expect to have the winning bidder by the end of June," the minister of state for civil aviation said, adding that legal closing of the transaction is expected by the end of this year.

The information memorandum for the proposed disinvestment of the airline would be issued shortly, Sinha told reporters.

The debt-laden airline is staying afloat on taxpayers' money under a turnaround plan approved by the previous UPA regime in 2012.

As part of a turnaround plan, the national carrier is to receive up to Rs 30,231 crore from the government subject to meeting certain performance thresholds over a ten-year period, starting from 2012. 

-- PTI
16:42   Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Sikkim cancelled
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Sikkim next month stands cancelled on his doctors' advice to cut down on his travels in
view of his advancing age.

Tenzin Taklha, the Secretary at the office of the Dalai Lama, in a mail to Sikkim's Ecclesiastical Affairs Secretary Samten Dolma, yesterday said that the spiritual leader's proposed visit to the Himalayan state from March 20 to March 29 stands cancelled.

The Dalai Lama's doctors' have advised to him to cut down on his travels and not to exert himself, Dolma said.

It will be too much for him to undertake another visit too soon as he has been showing signs of exhaustion given his advanced age, he said.

The 82-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader had returned to Dharamshala on January 31 last after a two-month travel to various parts of the country. 

-- PTI
16:36   Kala Ghoda fest: HC says no cultural events at Mumbai's Cross Maidan till Feb 5
Lambasting the Maharashtra government for allowing events to be held at public properties free of cost and without any conditions imposed, the Bombay high court today refused permission for cultural events as part of the Kala Ghoda festival to be held at Cross Maidan in Mumbai till February 5.

The festival, which starts tomorrow, had Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain performance scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Cross Maidan.

Cultural events of the festival were shifted to Cross Maidan in the past few years after Kala Ghoda area in south Mumbai was declared as silence zone.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and P N Deshmukh was today hearing a petition filed by the Kala Ghoda Association and Organisation for Verdant Ambience and Land -- organisers of the Kala Ghoda festival, seeking permission to hold the cultural events.

As per earlier directives of the high court, for any event to be held at Cross Maidan, the organisers have to seek permission from it.

-- PTI
16:23   CBI moves SC against 12-yr-old HC order cancelling Bofors case
The CBI today filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging a 2005 order of the Delhi high court quashing all charges against the accused persons in the politically-sensitive Rs 64 crore Bofors pay-off case.
The agency filed the appeal against the May 31, 2005 decision of the high court by which all the accused persons including Europe-based industrialists Hinduja brothers were discharged from the case.
The filing of the appeal assumes significance as recently Attorney General K K Venugopal had advised against going for the petition after 12 years of delay.
However, sources said that the law officers after consultation were in favour of the appeal as the CBI placed some important documents and evidence to challenge the high court order. -- PTI 
16:16   UP DG Homeguard vows to build Ram Mandir, CM seeks clarification
Whipping up a controversy, an IPS officer of the director general of police rank has openly favoured the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya "at the earliest".
Surya Kumar Shukla, DG, Homeguard, not only participated in an event on Ram Mandir organised at Lucknow University two days ago, but was also captured on camera taking a pledge to build the Ram Mandir.
The video of the 1982-batch Indian Police Service officer taking the pledge went viral on social and electronic media today.
"We Ram-bhakts, today, as part of this programme, take this pledge that at the earliest, the Ram Mandir be constructed. Jai Shri Ram," the video showed him saying.
Many other people were also seen taking the pledge with him at the event, where slogans of "Jai Shri Ram" was raised.

Based on the reports, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath sought explanation from the DG Homeguard for defying service rules.
Shukla, however, said he had done nothing wrong.
"I was taking a pledge to create an atmosphere of harmony. The video that has gone viral is an edited version and portions have been deleted deliberately to create mischief," he said.
"It is misinterpretation... The matter related more to creating a peaceful environment for the construction of the temple rather than construction itself," he said.
Shukla said there was a discussion at the programme that if Hindus and Muslims talk of temple construction in Ayodhya and a mosque at a distance from there, then the dispute will end.
The Supreme Court has suggested that a way should be found through talks, he said.
Commenting on the video, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary termed it a violation of service rules by the IPS officer.
"Shukla is a public servant, and he is not supposed to take such a pledge at a public function," he said. -- PTI
UPDATE: Sensex crashes 839.91 points to end at 35,066.75; Nifty sinks 256.30 points to 10,760.60.
15:53   Manesar land case: CBI files chargesheet against Hooda
The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a chargesheet against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 34 others in the Manesar land deal case, officials said in New Delhi on Friday.
The agency has filed the chargesheet under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating, and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.
Former UPSC member Chattar Singh, who was a senior officer in the Haryana government at that time, has also been named in the charge sheet as an accused, they said.
The CBI has alleged in its FIR that land measuring about 400 acres, whose market value at that time was above Rs 4 crore per acre, was allegedly purchased by private builders and others from innocent land owners for only about Rs 100 crore in collusion with government officers.
The CBI had said that a loss of Rs 1,500 crore was allegedly caused to the land owners of Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages of Gurgaon.
The agency registered the case in September 2015 on allegations that private builders, in conspiracy with public servants of the Haryana government, had purchased the land at meagre rates showing the threat of acquisition by the government, during the period between August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007.
In this process, the Haryana government had initially issued a notification under the Land Acquisition Act for acquisition of land measuring about 912 acres for setting up of an industrial model township, it had said.
After the land had allegedly been grabbed from their owners by private builders under the threat of acquisition at meagre rates, the government issued a fresh notification in 2007 and put the land out of the acquisition process, the agency had said. -- PTI 
15:34   Kamala Mills director moves HC, seeks quashing of case
A director of Kamala Mills Ltd has approached the Bombay high court seeking to quash the culpable homicide case registered against him in connection with the December 29 fire in the Kamala Mills compound that claimed 14 lives.
Ravi Bhandari's petition was mentioned yesterday before a division bench of Justices B R Gavai and B P Colabawala and posted for hearing after two weeks.
The bench pointed out that pendency of the petition shall have no effect on the hearing of the bail plea filed by Bhandari before a sessions court.
Bhandari was arrested last month along with fire officer Rajendra Patil and one Utkarsh Pandey, who supplied hookahs to the pubs -- Mojo's Bistro and 1 Above -- where the fire started. All three are in judicial custody presently.
In his petition before the high court, Bhandari claimed that a serious charge of culpable homicide was not applicable to him. At the most it was a case of negligence, which was bailable, he said.
Fourteen persons were killed and several others injured when a fire broke out at the Mojo's Bistro and 1 Above pub at Kamala Mills in central Mumbai on December 29. -- PTI 
15:21   Sensex crashes over 800 points; Nifty slips below 10,800
The post-budget sell-off dragged the Sensex down by a whopping 800 points while the broader Nifty cracked the 10,800-mark on all-round selling
The long-term capital gains tax on equities and and 10 per cent tax on distributed income from equity-oriented mutual funds hit sentiments.
Market mood suffered another setback after Fitch Ratings today said high debt burden of the government constrains India's rating upgrade.
The flagship Sensex nosedived by 766.09 points to quote at 35,080 points in pre-close session with all the sectoral indices trading in the negative zone.
The 50-share NSE Nifty slumped 238.40 points, or 2.16 per cent to 10,778.50 points at 1500 hours.
Investors will have to pay 10 per cent tax on distributed income from equity-oriented mutual funds, as per the Budget proposals announced yesterday.
While unveiling the Budget proposals for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced 10 per cent tax on long-term capital gains from stock markets, exceeding Rs 1 lakh.
The finance minister also projected a fiscal deficit of 3.5 per cent of GDP for current fiscal against the earlier target of 3.2 per cent which also accelerated pace of selling by participants. -- PTI
15:18   Union Budget 'indifferent' towards middle classes: Kamal Haasan
Veteran actor Kamal Haasan, who has announced his foray into politics, today said the Union Budget showed that the Centre's attention has "slightly" turned towards farmers and rural areas.
This was a 'bit soothing,' he said.
However, the Centre seems to have been 'indifferent' to the middle classes, he said in his response to the budget presented yesterday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"As far I understand, their (Centre's) attention has slightly turned towards farmers and rural areas. This is a bit soothing," he told reporters when they sought his response to the budgetary announcements made by Jaitley.
"As far as the middle class is concerned, they seem to have been indifferent," to the latter, he added.
However, it was a matter of 'joy' that the Centre's attention has 'slightly' turned towards farmers and rural areas, Haasan added. -- PTI
14:26   Upset over Budget, TDP declares 'war' on ally BJP
The Telugu Desam Party has declared "war" on its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party over what it called a "raw deal" meted out to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget.

"We are going to declare war (on the BJP). We now have three options. One is to try and continue. The second is that our MPs resign and the third is breaking off this alliance. We will decide (our course of action) in a meeting with CM Naidu on Sunday," TG Venkatesh, TDP MP, said outside Parliament on Friday.

Yesterday, after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the budget, the TDP summoned an emergency meeting of the party MPs on February 4 to discuss the next course of action.
TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the budget with some senior ministers and also held a tele-conference with party MPs, a senior party leader said.
All the party leaders expressed "serious displeasure" over the Union Budget as it "gave nothing" to the state.
TDP MPs, who earlier met at the residence of Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary in New Delhi, flayed the Centre for handing out a raw deal to the southern state in the Budget.
Naidu also spoke with them through the teleconference.
A couple of MPs reportedly suggested that they would quit their posts in protest but the party supremo reportedly told them everything would be discussed at the TDP Parliamentary Party meeting on Sunday, according to the leader.
A few senior state ministers, who were closeted with the chief minister after the Budget presentation, noted that the Centre only "meted out injustice" by not honouring any of the promises made over the past four years.
13:53   Modicare will be cashless; will give more funds if required: FM
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the world's biggest health cover plan announced in the Budget will be cashless and not a reimbursement scheme, and promised more funds if required depending on the rollout
later next financial year.
The National Health Protection Scheme touted as Modicare envisaged to provide medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40 per cent of total population.
"It takes care of hospitalisation, the secondary and tertiary care. Obviously, it will involve various state hospitals and selected private hospitals. It can be on trust model, it can be on insurance model. It's not on  reimbursement model because too many complaints come on the reimbursement model," he said in New Delhi.
The model is now being worked out between NITI Aayog and Health Ministry, he said adding the date of implementation would be next financial year and sometime in the course of the year it will be worked out.
If assuming the model to be insurance led, the premium shrink with the increase in number of policy holders, he said at an event organised by Open magazine.
The scheme although appreciated by experts also raises apprehension about its implementation and the initial corpus of just Rs 2,000 crore.
Assuring that the scheme will be entirely state funded, Jaitley said initial funds of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated and whatever funds required, as the scheme rolls over, would be made available.
"In the coming year, I see more comfortable situation as far as revenues are concerned because the graphs as far as direct tax is concerned would move very fast," he said.
Following demonetisation and implementation of goods and services tax, the number of direct tax assesses have gone up ... once anti-evasion measures, I do expect a little bump up in the GST collection also. I don't see revenue going to be a major challenge in that," he said. -- PTI
13:30   Electoral bonds: SC seeks govt's reply on CPI-M's plea
The Supreme Court today sought the Centre's response on a plea by the Communist party of India-Marixst and its general secretary Sitaram Yechury challenging the government's decision on issuing electoral bonds.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice on the plea and said it will be tagged along with a pending petition.
Challenging the Centre's decision, the CPI-M said in its petition that the move undermined democracy and it would lead to greater political corruption.
Yechury said the party was left with no choice but to move the apex court.
He said they had taken up the matter in Parliament and sought amendments to the bill when the government moved the proposal.
"Using their majority in Lok Sabha, the government overturned the Rajya Sabha's recommendations. The no disclosure clause in electoral bonds will create opacity in funding and is bad for democracy," he claimed.
The NDA government had announced electoral bonds in the previous budget, claiming that the scheme would clean up political funding.

The move was resisted by opposition parties. The Election Commission also expressed its reservations initially.
It is rare for a political party to approach the Supreme Court in such matters. -- PTI
13:00   US not contemplating military action inside Pakistan: Pentagon
The United States is not contemplating military action inside Pakistan, the Pentagon has said, refuting such reports appearing in Pakistani newspapers.
Instead, the US seeks Pakistan's cooperation and assistance in various operations under its new South Asia strategy, Lt Gen Kenneth F McKenzie told reporters at a news conference yesterday.
"We actually don't contemplate military operations inside Pakistan. On the other hand, we recognise, because the strategy is inherently regional and Pakistan is geographically located at a critical nexus of a lot of different things, Pakistan is a fundamental part of the strategy," said McKenzie.
"Through a variety of measures, we look to gain Pakistani cooperation and assistance as we pursue operations in Afghanistan. But we're not planning to conduct military operations inside Pakistan," he told Pentagon reporters in response to a question.
Under the new South Asia strategy, Pakistan has an opportunity to be a partner in fight against terrorism, Pentagon's Chief Spokesperson Dana White said.
"It (Pakistan) has been a victim of terrorism, and it has supported terrorism. We are looking for Pakistan to actively join -- it can do the things we need them to do to confront terrorism," said White.
"So it's an inflection point, it's an opportunity, and we hope Pakistan will take it," she said in response to a question.
The US has recently suspended about USD 2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens
The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan came days after US President Donald Trump, in a New Year's Day tweet, accused the country of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.
White refuted impression that there is connection between the recent attacks in Kabul and the US' decision to suspend aid to Pakistan.
"The Taliban is desperate. They're murderous and they attack innocent civilians. As the general said, these were flashy but it shows their disparity," she said. -- PTI
12:58   Budget shows govt alarmed by Guj poll results: Shiv Sena
The focus on the rural sector in Budget 2018-19 was a clear indication that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was alarmed by the Gujarat poll result and realised that the rural population was moving away from it, the Shiv Sena said today.
The saffron party, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', also said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had had merely repackaged old schemes as new in his budget presentation yesterday.
"The government, which came to power by selling dreams to the nation, has once again offered a maze of dreams to the people. The budget presented by the finance minister consists of old dreams and old announcements. It seemed that the FM's speech was full of stress," the Sena said.
In the last three-four years, the party added, India's economy had slowed down and the policies of the government had further crippled it. This stress was visible in the budget speech, it said.
The common man does not understand technical terms such as fiscal deficit, import and export, but only wants to know if inflation will come down or not after the budget, the party said.
"However, the word 'mehengai' (inflation) was not even spoken about. The previous Congress-led government was defeated due to high inflation and people hoped the new government would make their lives better.
"However, nothing as such has happened. On top of it, after ruining the economy through demonetisation, the government has nothing left to offer to the people," it said.
The actual implementation of the budget would be a real test for the government, the Sena said.
"After the Gujarat polls, the ruling dispensation realised that the rural population has started moving away from it. It is clear that Gujarat results set the alarm bells ringing for the government and therefore emphasis was given on the rural population in this budget," it said.
The BJP won the Gujarat assembly polls with 99 seats, 16 less than 115 in the previous election. The Congress won 77 seats.
According to the budget, the government will spend Rs 14.34 lakh crore in rural areas in 2018-19 to generate employment of 321 crore person days and develop infrastructure. -- PTI
12:31   Jallikattu goes to Constitution bench
The Supreme Court today referred matters related to the bull-taming sport Jallikattu to a Constitution bench.   

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R F Nariman framed five questions to be adjudicated on by the Constitution bench.   

"We have formulated five questions for the Constitution bench," Justice Nariman said while pronouncing the order.   

The apex court had said on December 12 last year that it would refer to a five-judge Constitution bench a batch of pleas challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing Jallikattu and bullock cart races.   

The court, while reserving its order, had said the larger bench would decide whether states have the "legislative competence" to make such laws on grounds, including that 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart racing fell under the cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally.
12:26   Yogi government reshuffles IPS officers
In a major reshuffle, the Uttar Pradesh government today transferred 26 IPS officers, including ADG zone and IG range of the state capital.   

While ADG (Lucknow zone) Abhay Kumar Prasad has been sent to the Economic Office Wing (EOW), ADG, BR Ambedkar Police Academy Moradabad, Rajiv Krishan, was made the new ADG zone Lucknow, officials sources said here.   

IG range JN Singh was replaced by Sujit Pandey who was till now posted as IG (telecom), they said.   

Among those transferred were PV Ramashastri, who was made ADG (Varanasi zone) after being on waitlist; ADG CB-CID Dawa Sherpa, who was sent as ADG Gorakhpur zone; DK Thakur, who was made IG (Bareilly) after being on a waitlist; DIG PAC Praveen Kumar was made DIG (Law and Order), they said.   

The IG (Bareilly) SK Bhagat was made IG (Law and order). 
11:45   Budget impact: Sensex crashes over 500 points
The benchmark stock indices crashed in the morning trades after opening lower on Friday following the impact of Budget 2018 as Arun Jaitley introduced LTCG at 10% and raised the fiscal deficit target for the financial 2018-2019 at 3.3%. 

BSE Sensex traded lower by 566.96 points to 35,339.70, while the Nifty 50 fell 158.05 points to 10,858.85.

A weak trend in Asia also came as a dampener, traders said.

Shares of blue-chip companies such as HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, L&T, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Maruti Suzuki, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, SBI and ONGC contributed heavily to the Sensex declines.
11:26   What happens when a phone charger explodes on a plane
Ever wondered what happens when a phone charger explodes on a plane?   It's not often that we get footage of a portable phone charger suffering a similar malfunction, writes Chris Matyszczyk in

'However, someone flying with Aeroflot from Moscow to Volgograd, Russia, on January 30 captured the scene,' although Aeroflot said there was merely smoke but no fire.   

The footage, however, tells a different story.   

You can see it here.
11:11   BSF foils infiltration bid along IB in Samba
Border Security Force troops foiled an infiltration bid along the International Border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said today.
"Suspicious movement was seen close to the International Border in Samba sector late last night", a BSF officer said today.
Alert BSF troops fired upon the infiltrators forcing them to return, he said, adding that no more movement was not seen later. -- PTI
10:53   18 injured after minivan crashes into pedestrians in Shanghai
A minivan today crashed into pedestrians after veering onto a crowded sidewalk in China's financial hub Shanghai, injuring 18 people, three of them seriously, according to media reports.
Police, however, believe the crash was not intentional and it was an accident and not an attack, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The 40-year-old driver was identified by police as a man surnamed Chen. According to an initial investigation, he is thought to have been illegally transporting gas bottles and was smoking at the time of the crash.
The champagne-coloured minivan was moving from Xinchang Road to West Nanjing Road when it went out of control and crashed into the sidewalk, the report said.
The vehicle was on fire before crashing into the sidewalk in front of the cafe around the Shanghai People's Park, local media reported.
Eighteen people were injured in the incident. Three of those injured are said to be in a serious condition, the report said.
A video posted by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post showed the van was on fire and thick smoke emanated from it.
Photos posted on the Weibo, Chinese version of Twitter showed several people lying on the ground and fire fighters trying to put off the fire.
A witness, identified only by her surname Qian, said that immediately after the incident, some passers-by broke the vehicle window with stones to get to the driver, Shanghai-based news portal The Paper reported.
"I think the driver had passed out. People had to break the window to save him," Qian was quoted as saying by the Post.
Another witness, who was not identified, said: "There were gas bottles in the vehicle. The van was burning".
"There were six persons in the van. A woman whom rescuers pulled out was badly burnt," the witness said.
A passer-by wrote in a WeChat post that a few people were trapped under the van after the incident. -- K J M Varma/PTI 
10:27   Sensex, Nifty take a hit over LTCG jitters
The benchmark stock indices dropped nearly 1 per cent in morning trade due to selling in banking, auto, financial and telecom stocks after the budget proposal to impose a long-term capital gains tax on equity gains
of more than Rs 1 lakh.
The 30-share BSE Sensex dropped by 328.24 points or 0.91 per cent to 35,578.42 in morning trade as 25 of its constituents declined.
The NSE Nifty fell below the key 11,000-mark as 38 of its components dropped. The 50-issue Nifty was trading down by 96.35 or 0.87 per cent at 10,920.55 at 1000hrs.
Among major losers, private banks Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank Yes bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank fell up to 2.9 per cent.
Adani Ports, HDFC, L&T and Reliance Industries, Maruti, SBI, Bajaj Auto, M&M, Coal India and NTPC also declined up to 2 per cent.
IT major TCS and Infosys and drug makers Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's, however, posted gains of up to 1.20 per cent on a weaker rupee.
Sentiment took a hit after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday announced long-term capital gains tax of 10 per cent on stock market gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh.
A weak trend in Asia also came as a dampener, traders said.
With the Budget out of the way, the focus turns to RBI's monetary policy to be released later this month.
Japan's Nikkei was down 1.30 per cent while Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.40 per cent in early trade today. Hong Kong's Hang Seng, however, up 0.20 per cent.
Most of the US stock indices dropped overnight after concerns over political crisis and rising US Treasury yields. -- PTI
09:53   Woman's claim of being Jaya's daughter false: Amma's nephew
J Jayalalithaa's nephew J Deepak has termed "utter false" a woman's claim in the Madras high court that she is the biological daughter of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister.

In a counter affidavit on merits and on the maintainability of the petition filed by the woman, he alleged that she wanted to grab the properties of the late All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supremo.
Deepak is Jayalalithaa's brother Jayakumar's son.
The woman had claimed she is Jayalalithaa's daughter and the late leader's sister had adopted her.
She had sought a DNA test to establish her maternity by exhuming Jayalalithaas remains.
The petitioner had also sought directions to permit Jayalalithaas family to cremate her body on the grounds that the former TN chief minister was an Iyengar Brahmin.
Justice S Vaidyanathan had last month directed Deepak, his sister Deepa and the state government to file counter affidavits on the maintainability of the petition.
"It is a well fabricated story to snatch the properties of late chief minister J.Jayalalithaa. The petition is a bundle of lies and false statements," Deepak said in his counter affidavit.
The woman had earlier moved the Supreme Court with the same plea but it had refused to entertain the prayer.
The apex court, however, had said she was at liberty to approach the high court.
Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016 after prolonged hospitalisation. Her body was buried off the famous Marina Beach in Chennai. -- PTI 
09:41   Businessman arrested for stalking Zeenat Aman
A businessman has been arrested by Mumbai Police based on a complaint of stalking and criminal intimidation filed against him by veteran actress Zeenat Aman.

On January 30, Aman had filed a molestation and stalking complaint against the businessman, Mumbai Police had said.

The complaint was registered under sections 304 D (stalking) and 509 (insulting modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

The police said they both knew each other; however, the relationship had soured over some issues following which Aman had stopped talking to the businessman.

Nevertheless, the businessman allegedly kept calling and following her.

After failing to convince the person to stop stalking, the veteran actress sought the help of police and filed a complaint at Juhu police station. -- ANI
09:20   Elderly Indian American woman, son found shot dead at home
An Indian American woman and her son have been found shot dead at their home in a Virginia suburb of Washington, local police said.
The police have launched a manhunt to nab the alleged killers of Mala Manwani, 65, and her son Rishi Manwani, 32.
The police were notified by a caller on Wednesday that a co-worker who lives in the 25000 block of Tomey Court had not come to work this week.
"Deputies checked the residence and the adult in question and another adult were found deceased inside. Both appear to have died from gunshot wounds," said the Loudon County Sheriff Office.
"The case does not appear to be a random act and there is no indication of any threat to the public," police said.
The mother and son were the only ones living at the location. -- Lalit K Jha/PTI 
08:46   Castro's eldest son kills himself
Cuban government media reports that Dr Fidel Castro Diaz Balart, Fidel Castro's eldest son, has killed himself.

This photograph (left) has Dr Castro at then Indian ambassador Chintapally Rajasekhar's reception in then vice-president Hamid Ansari's honour in Havana on October 30, 2013.

As's Nikhil Lakshman reported: 'A dead ringer for his father, Dr Castro was speaking with Ali Chegini, the Iranian ambassador to Cuba and Rajasekhar's neighbour, when rather rudely interrupted the conversation, saying, "I had hoped to meet your father when I came to Cuba, but I am glad to meet you Sir."'

'Speaking in American-accented English, Dr Castro shook his head and said, "It is not the same thing," before turning to tell Ambassador Chegini that he had been to Tehran three times, ignoring the Indian reporters milling around him.'
08:41   Expect Pak to act against terrorist sanctuaries: US
The United States has made it clear that it expects Islamabad to take action against terrorists in sanctuaries inside Pakistan, a top American diplomat has said.
Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan, who recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan, said the US also expects Pakistan to contribute to a lasting and enduring peace in the region.
"That was certainly part of my conversations with the Afghan leadership," Sullivan said in a briefing with reporters on his return.
"We have made clear to the Pakistani government our expectations for them to take action against terrorists that are in sanctuaries in Pakistan, to reduce the pressure and the threat of violence in Afghanistan," he said.
The trip to Afghanistan, Sullivan said, was an important opportunity for him to reaffirm the US' commitment to strengthening its partnership with the country.
He met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani; Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah; Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and other government leaders during the visit.
"During each of these meetings, Afghanistan's leadership made it clear to me that despite the recent tragic events, the Afghan government will continue to work to create the necessary conditions to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, and establish an environment for a sustained piece," Sullivan said.
"We applaud this conviction, as the path to peace and reconciliation must be an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process, as we have laid out in the president's South Asian strategy," he said.
Sullivan rued that despite everyone wanting peace at this stage, the Taliban still seemed unwilling to come to the negotiation table.
"The Taliban's reprehensible attacks targeting innocent civilians demonstrate that they are not ready to enter into good faith peace negotiations," Sullivan said.
"The US will continue to support its Afghan partners to defeat the ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and deny them and their affiliates safe haven and material support," he said. -- Lalit k Jha/PTI
00:03   4 AAP MLAs booked for 'assaulting' Vijender Gupta, BJP mayors
Four Aam Aadmi Party MLAs have been booked for allegedly assaulting Leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta, two city mayors and others at the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The MLAs -- Jarnail Singh, Akhilesh Tripathi, Jitender Tomar and Sanjeev Jha -- have been named in the first information report, police said, adding the case was registered based on a complaint by Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party general-secretary Ravinder Gupta at the Civil Lines police station.

The Leader of Opposition had alleged that AAP leaders and workers 'misbehaved' with members of a BJP delegation at Kejriwal's residence.

They had gone there to discuss about the relief to traders hit by a sealing drive against illegal commercial establishments on January 30.

The complainant also alleged that woman mayors of BJP-ruled north and east civic bodies -- Preety Agarwal and Neema Bhagat, respectively -- along with LoP Gupta and his personal assistant were 'attacked' by the AAP MLAs, who were accompanied by bouncers.

The Delhi BJP today demanded immediate arrest of the AAP MLAs named in the FIR.  -- PTI

Photograph: PTI Photo