Tue, 30 January 2018
Gandhi murder trial did not attain legal finality: SC told

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23:07   Gandhi murder trial did not attain legal finality: SC told
As the nation observed the 70th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi today, a claim was made in the Supreme Court that the conspirators were hanged even before the murder trial had attained legal finality from the top court.

The apex court, which is seized of a public interest litigation seeking re-investigation into Gandhi's assassination, has been told that the two conspirators -- Nathuram Godse and Narayan Dattatraya Apte -- were hanged on November 15, 1949, 71 days before the Supreme Court of India came into existence on January 26, 1950.

In an affidavit, Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis, a trustee of charitable trust Abhinav Bharat, has countered the report of senior advocate Amarender Sharan, who is an amicus curiae in the matter, has not supported his plea to reopen the investigation into Gandhi's death.

Gandhi was shot dead on January 30, 1948 at Birla House in Lutyens' Delhi.

The petitioner said both Godse and Apte were hanged after the high court of East Punjab confirmed their death sentences on June 21, 1949.

But the privy council did not grant permission to their families to file an appeal on the ground that it would not have been decided before January 26, 1950 when the Indian Supreme Court was to be born, he claimed.

Phadnis, in his reply to the report of the amicus curiae, referred to lawyer Rajan Jayakar, who studied the original records of the trial while curating an exhibition to mark the Supreme Court of India's golden jubilee in 2000.

During the British rule, Privy Council was the highest court of appeal in India, which was later known as the Federal Court of Appeal.

Phadnis said 'on October 26, 1949, the Privy Council did not grant leave (permission to file the petition) to the families of the accused, including Godse, who had filed the SLP.

Thus, the Mumbai-based researcher claimed that 'Gandhi murder trial has not yet attained legal finality'.  -- PTI
22:01   5 things to watch at Trump's 2018 State of the Union
The president will head to the Capitol to make the case for his immigration and infrastructure agenda ahead of the 2018 midterms. READ the report by Nancy Cook.
21:59   Lt Gen Anil Chouhan takes charge as new DGMO
Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan, who has vast experience in counter-insurgency operations, today took charge as the new Director General of Military Operations(DGMO) of the Indian Army.

He succeeds Lt General A K Bhatt who will assume charge of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps.

Lt Gen Chauhan has held several important posts in the Army and is known for his expertise in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

He was earlier commander of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps.

Lt Gen Chouhan had also served as military observer for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Angola.

As DGMO, Lt Gen Chouhan will oversee various operations of the Indian Army including along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
21:39   Pak must not misinterpret India's 'decency': Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today slammed Pakistan for continuously violating the ceasefire agreement with India despite giving assurance not to do so, saying Islamabad should not misinterpret 'powerful' India's 'decency'.

Pakistani shelling along the border in Jammu and Kashmir has increased over the past two weeks.

Fourteen people,including eight civilians, have been killed in the shelling since January 18, according to the state police.

Today, Pakistani troops opened fire and lobbed mortars on forward and civilian areas along the Line of Control in Rajouri district.

No casualties have been reported.

"Three-four days ago, Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting with our BSF DG. (The Rangers) assured that the ceasefire violation would not take place. But despite this, Pakistan has been violating ceasefire," Singh said.

"Not saying much, I just want to say our politeness and decency has a limit and we want to maintain good relations with all and also with our neighbours. But our decency should not be wrongly interpreted," he said.

"India is no more a weak country. India has now become a powerful country."

Singh said Pakistan, being a neighbour, should have a friendly attitude towards India, but added that the fencing of the Indo-Pak border was underway at a rapid pace.

Singh was in Chandigarh to address members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.

He was accompanied by Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher and Chandigarh Bharatiya Janata Party unit chief Sanjay Tandon.

Asked about the case registered against Army personnel following the death of two civilians in firing in Kashmir's Shopian district last week, the minister praised the Army.

"I can say that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has turned far normal compared to what it was. Our security forces and Army personnel were working effectively. J&K is ours, it will always be ours and people of J&K are also ours," he said.  -- PTI
21:16   Have enough evidence to file petition: CBI on Bofors case
Central Bureau of Investigation officials today told a parliamentary panel looking into the Bofors deal that they have enough evidence to file a special leave petition before the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to the defence deal.

CBI's submission came even as Attorney General K K Venugopal had advised the government that the investigating agency should not file an SLP in a case related to the Bofors gun payoff as it is likely to be dismissed.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is scheduled to hear a case on February 2, on the plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ajay Aggarwal.

Aggarwal had filed the plea in his personal capacity, against a Delhi high court order of 2005 quashing charges against the Hinduja brothers in the Bofors pay-off case.

CBI Director Alok Verma, additional director Rakesh Asthana along with Department of Personnel and Training Secretary Ajay Mittal today deposed before the PAC's sub-committee on defence looking into the non-compliance of certain aspects of a Comptroller and Auditor General report on the Bofors Howitzer gun deal.

CBI officials said they have enough evidence to file the SLP while Secretary DoPT ensured the panel that the investigating agency is free to take its decision, a member in the panel said.

During the discussions, BJP MP and a member of the panel Nishikant Dubey suggested that the CBI can file SLP on the basis of income tax tribunal order in the case filed by the son of the late Win Chadha, who was accused in the case, a source who was present in the meeting said.

Dubey also suggested that the details available in the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee enquiring into Bofors deal can also be used for filing SLP.

The panel, headed by BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, is likely to give its report on the Bofors gun deal during this budget session.  -- PTI
20:41   SC, HC judges get nearly two-fold salary hike
Supreme Court and high court judges have got a nearly two-fold salary hike with President Ram Nath Kovind giving nod to a bill passed by Parliament in this regard.

The Chief Justice of India will now get a monthly salary of Rs 2.80 lakh, up from the present Rs one lakh.

Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court and chief justices of high courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs 2.50 lakh, up from the current Rs 90,000, according to the Act notified by the law ministry.

The judges of high courts, who get Rs 80,000 per month now, will get Rs 2.25 lakh per month, the bill states.

The salary hike, which is in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services, will come into force retrospectively from January 1, 2016.

The high court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Act, 2018 will also revise the rates of house rent allowance with effect from July 1, 2017 and the rates of sumptuary allowance with effect from September 22, 2017.

In 2016, then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government seeking a hike in the salaries of Supreme Court and high court judges.

As against the approved strength of 31, the Supreme Court today has 25 judges.

The 24 high courts have an approved strength of 1,079, but 682 judges are handling work currently.

The move will also benefit 2,500 retired judges.

Now, the salary of judges will be at par with those of the bureaucrats following the implementation of the recommendations of the 7th pay panel.  -- PTI
20:22   Jiah Khan case: Sooraj Pancholi charged with abetment to suicide
A sessions court in Mumbai today framed charges against Bollywood actor Sooraj Pancholi for allegedly abetting actress Jiah Khan's suicide.

Judge K D Shirbhate framed charges against the 27-year-old actor under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code, to which he pleaded not guilty.

"Sooraj pleaded innocence and the examination of witnesses will start from February 14," his lawyer Prashant Patil said.

According to the chargesheet, Khan, best known for her performance in film Nishabd starring Amitabh Bachchan, was found hanging at her residence on June 3, 2013 by her mother Rabiya.

She had left the house of Sooraj Pancholi, where she had been staying for the last two days, in the morning the same day, it said.

According to the CBI, Pancholi had 'hidden facts and fabricated information' during questioning. Sooraj Pancholi, the son of Bollywood couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, had refused to undergo polygraph or brain-mapping tests which the agency wanted to conduct to get to the bottom of his alleged role in the incident.

The CBI said a three-page note seized by the Mumbai Police, which earlier probed the case, on June 10, 2013, was written by Khan which narrated her 'intimate relationship, physical abuse and mental and physical torture' allegedly at the hands of Pancholi which led her to commit suicide.

It said the letter was not signed and even not addressed to Sooraj Pancholi but it incriminated him.

In October 2013, Rabiya Khan had moved the Bombay high court alleging that her daughter had been murdered and sought a CBI probe, which was granted.  -- PTI
20:03   No orange colour passport, Centre scraps plan
The government has scrapped its decision to come out with an orange colour passport for those who have not passed their Class 10 examination.

'Have decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders,' the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

More details awaited.
19:55   NIA books 9 for forcible conversion of woman, bid to sell her off to IS
The National Investigation Agency today said it has registered a case against nine people hailing from Kerala and Bengaluru for allegedly being involved in forcible conversion of a Gujarat-based woman and attempting to sell her off to Islamic State terrorists in Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman of the NIA said in a statement that the case was registered against the nine people following a complaint from the 25-year-old woman who alleged that Muhammed Riyas Rasheed had lured her and taken objectionable pictures of her, besides illegally confining her.

According to the NIA spokesman, the complainant also mentioned that the accused had married her through deceit by forging documents and 'forcibly converted her to Islam'.

Rasheed, according to the NIA, had illegally confined and threatened her in Kerala before taking her to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in August, 2017 for joining terror group IS.

Besides Rasheed, Nahas Abdulkhader of Kannur (Kerala), Muhammed Nazish T K of Perigadi, Abdul Muhasin K of Kannur, Danish Najeeb of Bengaluru, Gazila of Bengaluru, Fawas Jamal of Peruvaram, Moin Patel of Bengaluru and Iliyas Mohammed of Bengaluru have been named in the first information report.

The case was originally registered in Ernakulam district of Kerala for criminal conspiracy and pursuant unlawful activities prejudicial to the maintenance of communal harmony besides wrongful confinement, extortion, rape, forgery and forceful religious conversion with the common intention of recruitment to the terrorist organisation IS.

The complaint of the woman, which forms the base of the NIA case, also alleged that the accused had coerced her to become disciple of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who has been on the run after his name surfaced during an investigation into a bomb blast case in Bangladesh.  -- PTI
19:17   UP minister: More corruption in Yogi rule than previous SP, BSP govts
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh was left red-faced today as one of its cabinet ministers, Om Prakash Rajbhar, claimed that corruption had increased under the present dispensation.

Rajbhar, who leads Bharatiya Janata Party ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, also said that his party was not getting the due respect under the present government.

"There is more corruption prevailing under the BJP regime as compared to the previous SP (Samajwadi Party) and the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) regimes. Though I am part of this government, this is not my government...We have an alliance with the BJP," Rajbhar told PTI over the phone.

The SBSP is not getting due honour in the BJP regime, he added.

"I have talked to the chief minister on these issues," he said.

Asked whether his party would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the BJP, Rajbhar said it depended on the saffron party.

"It depends on the BJP whether it wants an alliance with us or not. Like local body polls, if the BJP does not forge an alliance with us, we will contest the Lok Sabha polls alone," he said.

On the violence in Kasganj, Rajbhar said the incident was unfortunate and claimed some officers were defaming the government.

The minister had recently waded into controversy by issuing a warning that parents who fail to send their wards to schools will be locked up in police stations without food and water.

The SBSP, which has four MLAs in the 403-member UP assembly, had contested the Uttar Pradesh civic polls separately.

It had even contested a few seats in the Gujarat assembly elections on its own, asserting that its alliance with the BJP was not at the national level.  -- PTI
18:33   BJP to hold 24-hr yagna in Bengaluru to highlight importance of cow
Seeking to create awareness among people on the 'multi dimensional' importance of the cow and need to protect cattle population in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party will organise a 24 hour 'Go Raksha Asthayama Yagna' in Bengaluru on February 2.

"The Yagna has been organised to create awareness among people about the multi-dimensional importance of the cow and the need to protect the cattle population to strengthen the rural economy at the grass root level, state convenor of BJP's Cow Protection Cell Siddhartha Goenka said in a press release.

This would be followed by 'Akhanda Ramayana' for 24 hours, he said.

A special theatre troupe from Janakapuri, the birth place of Goddess Sita, will perform a special dance programme titled 'Sri Rama's Wedding', Goenka said.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa, Union minister Ananthkumar and others will attend the closing ceremony on February 3, he added.  -- PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 70th death anniversary at Gandhi Smriti on.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and former PM Manmohan Singh also present.

Photograph: ANI
17:46   Kuchibhotla's wife to attend Trump's 1st State of the Union address
Building on the theme of a safe, strong and proud America, President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress tomorrow, which among others would be attended by Sunayana Dumala, the widow of an Indian engineer who was shot dead in a hate crime.

The State of the Union address is a traditional annual speech of the United States President to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country.

President Trump yesterday said he will focus largely on trade and immigration during his first speech.

"It's a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration," Trump said.

"We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the theme of the address is, 'Building a safe, strong, and proud America,' which is exactly what the President has worked to do during his first year in office.

Ahead of the event, several Democratic lawmakers have said that they will not be attending the address in protest of Trump's recent alleged comments on certain communities and countries.

Trump and the White House have denied making those comments.

Prominent among not to attend the State of the Union address include Indian-American Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal.

"With other members of Congress, she will stand in solidarity with immigrants and reject the White House's racism, sexism, and hatred. Together, they'll honour grassroots leaders and lift up a common-sense progressive agenda that will serve all Americans," her campaign said yesterday.

However, the number of such lawmakers are not more than a dozen yet. A large number of Congressmen have invited guests from across the country to attend the event.

Sunayana Dumala, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was shot dead in the hate crime by an American navy veteran at a bar in Olathe city last year, would be among those attending the event.

She has been invited by Congressman Kevin Yoder.

'Each year, I have the privilege of inviting one guest to attend the President's State of the Union address. This year, I have invited Sunayana Dumala, widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian immigrant who was tragically killed in the hate crime shooting last year at in Olathe,' Yoder tweeted.

The Indian-American community has welcomed the move. -- PTI
17:33   PIO doctor helps deliver baby on board Paris-New York flight
An off-duty Indian-origin doctor had an 'oh boy' story when he helped deliver a healthy baby boy while on a trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to New York at 35,000 feet, according to media reports.

Dr Sij Hemal, 27 a second-year urology resident at Cleveland  Clinic's Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, immediately went into doctor mode when Air France flight attendants asked if there were any doctors on the flight to a 41-year-old who had gone into labor a week early, Cleveland 19 News reported.

Hemal started in New Delhi, stopped in Paris and was heading to New York, where he would catch a connecting flight to Cleveland -- his final destination.

Urologist Hemal was hoping to drink a glass of champagne and take a nap on a plane from Paris to New York on December 17, but instead helped deliver a healthy baby boy named Jake during the flight, the report said.

Together with Dr Stefanie Ortolan, a pediatrician from France, the pair managed to deliver baby Jake after just 30 minutes of pushing, Hemal said.

He did not know that she was pregnant. He said the mom's bump was covered with a blanket.

"As a urologist, I was excited. I thought it was kidney stones, but later found out that she was 39 weeks pregnant," he said.

Hemal said there was no time to land the plane and the best decision was to deliver the baby in the air.

Hemal used a shoestring to tie and cut the umbilical cord for baby Jake.

"This has been a team effort and certainly a flight I will never forget," he said.

Although Hemal's practice area is urology, he delivered seven babies during medical school -- although never on the floor of a jetliner.

"We're trained to stay calm and think clearly in emergency situations," he adds.

"I just tried to think ahead to what might go wrong, and come up with a creative solution."

After Jake arrived, Hemal said he FaceTimed his parents.

"'Look I'm flying first class,'" he told his parents. "I wanted to surprise them and tell them I was flying first class.

"I'd never flown first class before. And ... umm ... by the way I also just delivered a baby! It was one of those moments I'll never forget," he said.

For his efforts, Air France delivered a travel voucher and a bottle of champagne to Hemal.  -- PTI

Image used only for representation.
16:52   Time to see if IPL is in interest of cricket: Bombay HC
The Bombay high court today said the Indian Premier League has made people familiar with phrases like 'betting and fixing' and in view of the alleged violations of foreign exchange rules it was time to see if the tournament was in interest of the game of cricket.

The scathing remarks were made by a division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre while passing its order on a petition filed by former IPL chairman Lalit Modi challenging a July 2015 order of the adjudicating authority of the Enforcement Directorate refusing him the permission to cross-examine witnesses in a Foreign Exchange Management Act case.

The ED has alleged violations of foreign exchange rules during the 2009 edition of the IPL held in South Africa.

The court allowed Modi's petition and permitted his legal counsels to cross-examine the witnesses but made strong observations on the tournament.

"If IPL has led to serious violations then it is high time the organisers realise whether what has been achieved by conducting the tournament since the past ten years can be termed as a sport or game...for it is full of illegalities and breaches of law," the court said.

'IPL has made us familiar with phrases like betting and fixing of matches. It is for the central government, RBI and organisers to now consider if conducting IPL is in interest of the game/sport,' the court said in its order.

The bench while allowing Modi's petition said the impugned order grossly violates the principles of natural justice as the adjudicating authority was going to rely on the statements of the witnesses against Modi.

The court also noted that the proceedings have been dragged for too long now.

"We direct the adjudicating authority to issue summons to the witnesses to appear before it on March 2. The cross- examination shall be concluded positively by March 13. The proceedings shall be completed by May 31," the court directed.

In 2013, the ED initiated adjudication proceedings against Modi under FEMA regarding a bank account opened by the Board for Control of Cricket in India and IPL authorities in South Africa ahead of the 2009 edition of the IPL.  -- PTI
16:46   Never said 'Hey Ram' weren't Bapu's last words: Mahatma's PA
Over a decade after he shocked the country claiming Mahatma Gandhi did not utter the words 'Hey Ram' when he was assassinated 70 years ago, his nonagenarian personal attendant today said he was misquoted earlier.

Venkita Kalyanam, who was Bapu's personal secretary between 1943 and 1948, told PTI: "I never said Gandhiji did not say 'Hey Ram' at all. What I had said was I did not hear him saying 'Hey Ram'... Mahatma may have said that... I do not know."

The 96-year-old, who claims to be a witness to the horrific event on January 30, 1948, said he 'could not hear anything due to the commotion after the incident'.

"Everybody was shouting when the Mahatma was shot. I could not hear anything in the din. He may have uttered 'Hey Ram'. I do not know," Kalyanam said.

He had stunned the country in 2006 when he told a press conference in Kollam Bapu did not say 'Hey Ram' when he fell to the bullets of Nathuram Godse.

Mahatma's great grandson Tushar Gandhi had rubbished the remark then.

Citing Sardar Gurbachan Singh's testimony in the assassination trial, Tushar Gandhi had said that after being gunned down, Bapu had folded hands and uttered the words 'Hey Ram'.

Kalyanam added Godse killed Gandhiji only once, but political parties were doing it everyday by not following his teachings.  -- PTI
16:36   Midday meal staffer throws hot 'dal' on Class 1 boy who asked for more
A student in Ludra village in Madhya Pradesh was allegedly burnt after a mid-day meal serving staffer threw hot 'dal' (a cooked lentil) on him.

Prince, a Class 1 student, had requested for some extra 'dal' when the staffer poured it on him.

Prince's face, throat, chest and back has been severely burnt.

He is out of danger now and recovering in a hospital.

A case has been registered against the staffer and action will be taken, a police said.   -- ANI

Image only for representation.
16:05   Probe ordered into Kasganj violence; Yogi warns of strict action
Those spreading anarchy will not be spared, warns Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath in the wake of the Kasganj communal violence.   

Strict action will be taken against the perpetrators of violence, the chief minister added.   

Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered to probe the violence that erupted in Kasganj last week, the police said on Tuesday.   

A Special Investigation Team has also been constituted to probe the incidents, said Sanjeev Kumar, inspector general of Aligarh.   

One person was killed and two others injured after a clash broke out between two groups during the 'Tiranga Yatra' in Kasganj city on Republic day.   

Both the groups reportedly pelted stones at each other and also fired gunshots.   

As of now, 32 people have been arrested on charges of murder in connection with the case.   

"32 people have been sent to jail so far under charges of murder. Besides them, 51 people have been detained", said the IG.
15:54   Sonia continues to be UPA chairperson: Moily
Sonia Gandhi continues to be the UNited Progressive Allaince chairperson because of her ability to pull the allies together, Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said today, amid attempts at building a united opposition to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party.
There were speculations on whether Rahul Gandhi would step into the position after he recently became the Congress president, a post held by his mother Sonia Gandhi for 19 years.
"Sonia Gandhi continues to be UPA chairperson... because she can pull people (UPA allies) together. She has demonstrated (this) in 2004 and 2009," Moily told PTI.
Asked if he was "surprised" by the "active interest" shown in recent times by NCP chief Sharad Pawar towards bringing opposition parties together, the Congress leader said he was not.
Pawar and leaders of some political parties held a march on January 26 in Mumbai to "save" the Constitution, which they said was under "assault".
Opposition parties, including the Congress, met at Pawar's residence in New Delhi yesterday and discussed various crucial issues on which a united strategy was sought.
"We are not surprised, he (Pawar) has been part of both the UPA (governments). The UPA is still intact. No one has walked out of the UPA. Both in 2009 and 2004, he (Pawar) has been part of our alliance. It's not a surprise", he said.
Moily also said political parties opposed to the BJP should forge a broad alliance to derive "national strength" to fight against the Amit Shah-led party.
The former Karnataka Chief Minister said all opposing parties are planning a possible alliance "now that it is very clear that the target of the BJP is to demolish constitutional aspirations".
He alleged that the BJP has no faith in the Constitution, secularism, socialism and inclusive politics and gives only lip service to B R Ambedkar. -- PTI
15:32   American tourist molested by bike driver in Goa
An American national from Manchester, Connecticut, was allegedly sexually molested at the Arpora night market in North Goa.   

The accused, who was the victim's motorcycle pilot, molested her while dropping her on the way back.   

The police said that they will carry out a parallel investigation on the basis of the woman's Facebook post.   

However, no complaint has been filed in this regard, said Chandan Chaudhary, superintendent of police, North Goa.   

"A parallel investigation will be carried out, based on the woman's Facebook post. We will investigate the matter once the victim files a complaint," the SP told ANI.
15:04   Kasganj violence: MHA seeks report from UP govt
The ministry of home affairs today sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh governemtn on Kasganj communal clashes.
At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after a youth was killed in clashes following stone-pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate Republic Day.
Volunteers of organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Hindu Mahasabha and ABVP had taken out the rally -- Tiranga Yatra. 

After passing through the Kotwali area, they were about to pass through a Muslim dominated area when some people objected to its passage.
This resulted in heated exchange of words and eventually escalated to firing in which Gupta lost his life, according to officials.

As many as 118 people have been arrested in connection with the violence following which security forces are maintaining strict vigil. 

Image: Security personnel keep a tight vigil in Kasganj: Photograph: PTI Photo
14:46   Pujara to prepare for England tour with second Yorkshire stint
Unsold in IPL players' auction, Cheteshwar Pujara will warm up for India's Test series in England by playing county cricket as Yorkshire has signed him for his second stint with the club.
The 29-year-old Pujara, who will share overseas duties with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, is set to arrive in the United Kingdom just in time for the Leeds Bradford MCCU fixture on April 7.
Pujara is returning to Yorkshire for his second stint with the club after turning out during 2015, a County Championship winning year.
Despite a deal for the Rajkot-born right-hander being struck several weeks ago, the club's announcement has been purposely delayed until after the Indian Premier League auction.
During that time, the BCCI has scheduled a one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru, from June 14-18, and Pujara is set to depart for his home country after the Royal London 50-Over clash at Lancashire.
Yorkshire is hoping Pujara will return in time for an away trip to Hampshire, in the Specsavers County Championship, on June 20. The club also said that Pujara may stay on after India's five-match Test tour of England between August 1 and September 11.
"There is also potential for Pujara to stay on after the India's summer Test tour to play the final home fixture against Hampshire (Sep 18) followed by the trip to New Road to face Worcestershire (Sep 24)," the club said in its website. 

The addition of a second overseas batsman means Yorkshire will have three of the top six Test batsmen on their staff in 2018, with Root (three), Williamson (four) and Pujara (six).

"I'm really excited to be able to have the opportunity to represent Yorkshire once again," Pujara said.
"It's always nice to be able to come over here and play some County Cricket and I'm just as excited as I was last time to represent the Club. I love the passion the people of Yorkshire have for the game and they made me feel very welcome. I know quite a few of the players, so I'll just try to play my natural game and score plenty of runs for the Club," Pujara said.
"It's an honour for me to play for the same county as Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar and each time I've played county cricket it has improved me as a player. That's the plan again in 2018. I just want to score as many runs as possible for Yorkshire and soak up as much as I can from the whole experience."
Pujara, who delivered a record-breaking 12th double century of his 12-year career towards the end of 2017, averages 56.68 in first-class cricket. His County Championship record stands at 816 runs with three fifties and as many hundreds. One of each came in Yorkshire colours in the early stages of the Clubs second successive Championship winning year. -- PTI
14:32   Budget presentation unlikely to be affected due to BJP MP's demise
Senior BJP MP from Maharashtra Chintaman Wanaga passed away here today, said doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. He was 67.
The presentation of the Union Budget on February 1 is unlikely to be affected by Wanaga's death, sources in the parliamentary affairs ministry said.
An obituary reference would be read out by the speaker on February 1 when the House meets. There are no sittings of Parliament today and tomorrow.
Last year, the government went ahead with the budget presentation despite the demise of former Union minister and IUML leader E Ahamed, who had collapsed during the president's address to the joint sitting of the two Houses. The House did not meet the next day as a mark of respect.
Wanaga, a three-time MP, was brought dead to the hospital around 11.15 am after collapsing his Ferozeshah Road residence in New Delhi.
"He was brought to RML hospital around 11.15 am. We tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes but he could not be revived. He was declared brought dead at around 11.45 am," the hospital's medical superintendent Dr V K Tiwary told PTI.
The cause of the death is being investigated, sources added.
Wanaga, who was born on June 1, 1950, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Palghar in Maharashtra. He was a member of the 11th and the 13th Lok Sabha as well.
An advocate by profession, he was the Thane district president of the BJP. He was a member of the parliamentary standing committee on rural development and the committee on welfare of SCs and STs.
Condoling his death, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said Wanaga was a very good functionary of the party and did a good job in the tribal belt of Thane district.
"He took whatever role the party gave him and worked for the party even during hostile conditions. His demise is very sad and condolences on behalf of the party and the government," he said.
He added that Wanaga had appeared unwell the past few days. -- PTI 
14:04   Pro-Pakistan agitators incited violence in Kasganj: BJP MP
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vinay Katiyar today courted controversy with his claim that pro-Pakistan demonstrators had incited the Kasganj violence last week that ultimately led to the death of 22-year-old,

Speaking to news agency ANI, Katiyar said, The Kasganj incident is extremely unfortunate. There were no communal clashes in the district in the past as all communities lived in harmony. But some miscreants have come into light who support Pakistan and will go to any extent to defy the tricolour. They need to be dealt with strictly.
He stated that these miscreants are the ones who raise pro-Pakistan slogans and added that the Uttar Pradesh government will take stringent action against the culprits so that such incidences do not take place in future.

The BJP leader added that this is a first such incident to have taken place after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came into power.

"Nothing like this had happened in the state under Yogi Adityanath's government. This is a first such incident which has taken place," Katiyar asserted.

Earlier on Monday, a Muslim shopkeeper's store was burnt down in the communal violence-hit Kasganj.

The shop owner said even though he was the only Muslim shopkeeper in the area, he never had issues with anyone.

"I have been living and working here for the past 20 years. Even though I am the only Muslim among a Hindu majority, we never had any problems," he added.

The police have begun its investigation into the matter.

One person, identified as Chandan Gupta, died and two others were injured in the Kasganj violence that broke out on Saturday after a youth died during a clash on Friday.

As many as 118 people have been arrested so far and security forces maintained a strict vigil. -- ANI
13:48   Kabul hotel attacker trained by Pak's ISI: Afghanistan's UN envoy
Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, trained a terrorist involved in the attack on Kabul's iconic Intercontinental Hotel in which over 20 people were killed, a top Afghanistan envoy has alleged.
Afghanistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mahmoud Saikal, made the serious allegation against the ISI in a tweet yesterday.
"Abdul Qahar, father of one of the terrorists involved in last week attack on #Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, concedes his son was trained in Chaman of #Balochistan Province of #Pakistan by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. Qahar is currently in custody of Afg authorities," Saikal tweeted.
On January 20, Taliban men armed with Kalashnikovs and suicide vests attacked the landmark Intercontinental Hotel and killed around 25 people, going from room to room searching for foreigners during the more than 12-hour ordeal.
A mid-level diplomat at the Afghan embassy in the United States has alleged that the attack was planned by Pakistan.
"A clear proof that the attack on Kabul's Inter (Con) Hotel was planned in a madrasa, on Pakistan's soil. Abdul Qahar, the father of one of the suicide attackers is an eyewitness of the story," tweeted Majeed Qarar, Cultural
Attache at the Embassy of Afghanistan.
"The night vision goggles found with Taliban attackers in maiwand's ANA base were military grade goggles (not sold to public) procured by Pak army from a British company & supplied 2 Lashkar-e-Tayyeba in Kashmir & Taliban in Afghanistan. Lashkar-e-Tayyeba is an int'l terrorist org," he said in another tweet.
The Afghan Ambassador to the US, Hamidullah Mohib, did not respond to questions on the tweet by one of his cultural attaches.
The hotel attack was followed by a Taliban-claimed ambulance bombing on January 27 in the Afghan capital that claimed over 100 lives.
The continued attacks in Afghanistan by the Taliban prompted severe condemnation from the US as well as the UN Security Council, which have sought to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack.
US President Donald Trump also asked all countries to take decisive action against the Taliban and the terrorist infrastructure that supported them. -- Lalit K Jha/PTI
13:13   Days before Winter Olympics, Shiv Keshavan gets a sponsor boost
Just days before featuring in his sixth Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, India's top luger Shiva Keshavan has got a morale booster as he has got assurance from his sponsors of their continued support which will help him prepare for the Games.   

Hero Electronix and Hero FinCorp, part of the USD 10 billion Hero Group, said they would continue to sponsor Keshavan during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.   

Hero Electronix and Hero FinCorp have been supporting Shiva for the last couple of years as he participated and won several medals at the international level. They have decided to continue to support Keshavan during the Winter Olympics, which will be held from February 9 to 25.
Palghar (Maharashtra) MP Chintaman Wanga dies of cardiac stroke in Delhi.
12:49   AAP disqualifications: HC seeks facts from poll panel
The Delhi high court today asked the Election Commission to state the factual aspects behind its decision to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit by filing an affidavit.   

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar asked the poll panel to file the affidavit after the EC said it wanted to respond to some of the allegations made in the MLAs' pleas challenging their disqualification from the Delhi assembly.   

The commission also told the court that it would rely upon its opinion given to the President to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries.   

After the brief proceedings, the court listed the matter for further hearing on February 7 by when the MLAs have to file their responses to the EC affidavit.   

The court also extended till then the January 24 interim order of the single judge restraining the EC from issuing any notification announcing bye-elections to fill the vacancies of the 20 assembly seats whose legislators have been disqualified.   

The matter was transferred to a division bench yesterday after advocate Prashant Patel, on whose plea the EC had recommended the MLAs disqualification which received the presidential nod, moved an application for transfer of the matter to a division bench. 
12:45   Philips team to inspect MRI machine following death at Mumbai hospital
A team from Philips will inspect the MRI machine in Mumbai's Nair Hospital as part of the probe into the death of a man who died after being sucked into the machine, hospital authorities said today.   

Rajesh Maru, 32, who was carrying a liquid oxygen cylinder, was killed in the hospital on Saturday evening.   

"A team from Philips, the manufacturer of the MRI machine, will visit Nair hospital today following the fatal accident a couple of days back," Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of B Y L Nair charitable hospital, told PTI.  

"The company's engineering team will inspect the machine and submit a report as part of the ongoing inquiry," Bharmal said.   

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has set up a committee to inquire into the incident. The police have booked three staffers of the civic-run hospital for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and arrested a doctor and a ward boy.   

Maru was killed after he was allegedly sucked into the MRI machine and inhaled the liquid oxygen that leaked out of the container.   

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients and radio waves to generate images of organs in the body. Metallic objects are not allowed in MRI rooms. 
12:43   I'm fine, says man rumoured to be killed in Kasganj violence
A day after Uttar Pradesh Police stated that Rahul Upadhyay, whose death aggravated the rampant violence across Kasganj district is alive, now the man himself has spoken up.

"One of my friends informed me about rumours on the social media about me getting killed during the Kasganj violenc. But I was not present in Kasganj at the time of riots. I had gone to my village and I am absolutely fine," Upadhyay told ANI.

Earlier on Monday, Inspector General - Aligarh Range, Sanjeev Gupta said Upadhyay is alive.

He confirmed that four people have been arrested for spreading rumours about his death.

Gupta told ANI, "Contrary to rumours spread on social media, Rahul Upadhyay is alive. We have arrested four people for spreading false rumours."

Upadhyay was earlier said to have died along with another person named Chandan Gupta in the clashes which broke out in Kasganj on the Republic Day.

Angered by the false rumours of Upadhyay's death, the mob got indulged in violence over the next three days.

At least 112 people have been arrested in connection with the violence that erupted in the vicinity. -- ANI
11:41   Pakistan violates ceasefire, shells border areas in Rajouri
Pakistani troops today opened fire and lobbed mortars on forward and civilian areas along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district, drawing retaliation from the Indian Army.
No casualties have been reported so far.
The firing and shelling along the LoC in Noushera sector of Rajouri district started at 7 am, Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, told PTI.
He said the heavy shelling is going on targeting five villages in areas of Jhangar, Dhamaka and Kalal belts.
 Schools in border areas have been closed. -- PTI
11:00   No talks with Taliban after string of attacks: Trump
United States President Donald Trump has ruled out talks with the Taliban and vowed to "finish" them following a wave of deadly attacks in Afghanistan.
Meeting a delegation of United Nations Security Council ambassadors at the White House yesterday, he said, "We do not want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time, but it's going to be a long time."
The luncheon meeting with the members of the UNSC was taking place in the backdrop of two deadly terrorist attacks by the Taliban in Kabul recently, including the use of an ambulance by a suicide bomber that killed more than 100 people.
"They are killing people left and right. Innocent people are being killed left and right, bombing in the middle of children, in the middle of families, bombing, killing all over Afghanistan, Trump said.
Trump did not specify what he has in mind, but suggested that a stronger military response is imminent.
"What nobody else has been able to finish were going to be able to do it," he said.
The militants have stepped up attacks on Afghan troops and police in recent months.
Islamic State militants yesterday attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul killing at least 11 troops and wounding 16.
On January 20, Taliban militants stormed Kabul's landmark Intercontinental hotel and killed at least 25 people, mostly foreigners.
In the meeting with the members of the UNSC, Trump said the group would discuss a range of security challenges, including the "de-nuking" of North Korea, countering Iran's destabilisation activities in the Middle East, ending the Syrian conflict and confronting terrorism. -- PTI 
10:46   Remembering Bapu... bow to all martyrs, tweets PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 70th death anniversary by recalling sacrifices made by martyrs who laid down their lives for the country.   

"Remembering Bapu on his Punya Tithi," he said in a tweet.   

"We bow to all those martyrs who have sacrificed themselves in service of our nation. We will always remember their courage as well as dedication towards the nation", the PM said.
10:21   Zeenat Aman files molestation case against businessman
Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman has filed a molestation case against a businessman at the Juhu police station in Mumbai.   

In her complaint, the actor stated that the businessman allegedly molested her over the last few months, reports quoting ANI.   

The complaint has been lodged under IPC Sections 304D (stalking) and 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman.   

ANI had tweeted that the businessman is absconding, and the Mumbai police have begun their investigations into Aman's complaint.   

'The police said the two had known each other for a while; 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,' reports, adding, 'After failing to convince the person to stop stalking, the veteran actress approached the police and filed the complaint at Juhu police station.'
09:55   Ola goes international, announces entry into Australia
Indian cab aggregator Ola is set to go international with the launch of its operations in Australia in the coming weeks, a move that will further intensify its battle with United States-based rival Uber.
The SoftBank-backed firm is now onboarding private hire vehicle owners onto its platform in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Ola said in a statement.
Ola plans to launch its services in Australia in early 2018, it added.
It will share further details of the commencement of commercial operations -- subject to necessary regulatory approvals -- later.
"We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation," Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said.
He added that the company aims to "create a high-quality and affordable travel experience for citizens" with a "strong focus on driver-partners and the community at large".
Ola's primary competitor in the Australian market would be US-based Uber. The companies are already locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market.
Uber launched its operations in Australia in 2012 and currently operates in 19 Australian cities including the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
Founded in 2011, Ola has over 125 million users and more than one million driver-partners across 110 cities on its platform in India.
On an aggregate basis, the Bengaluru-based company serves as many as a billion rides annually, through its platform. -- PTI 
09:52   Will not be cowed down by death threats: India's first woman Imam
A woman facing death threats for leading the Friday prayers last week says she will not be cowed down by the intimidation and will continue to lead the 'Jumu'ah' congregation.
Jamitha, 34, general secretary of the Quran Sunnat Society, had conducted the Jumu'ah, the Muslim Friday prayer service, at the Society's office in Malappuram district's Wandoor village last Friday.
Jumu'ah prayers, held every Friday, are usually led by men.
"Comments and threats have been posted on social media saying I should not be allowed to live... that I should be burnt alive as I am destroying Islam," Jamitha told PTI.
The woman, who broke gender stereotypes when she led the prayers, said she had been receiving death threats on WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube but was not afraid.
She said she would not be cowed down by the threats and would continue to lead the prayers.
"Those who are attacking me through social media are cowards," she said, adding that she had not filed a police complaint.
Popularly known as 'Jamitha teacher' in the area, she said the Quran does not discriminate between men and women and Islam doesn't stop women from becoming imams.
About 80 people, including women, had attended the prayers, led by the woman 'Imam', Society sources had said. -- PTI
09:26   Techie from Telangana found dead in US
A 30-year-old Indian-origin software engineer was found dead in the US state of Texas, according to officials, reports Seema Kachru for PTI.  

Venkannagari Krishna Chaitanya, who moved to the US three years ago, was living as a paying guest in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas in Texas, sources at the Indian consulate said.   

When Chaitanya did not came out of his room for a long time, his landlord broke in and found his body.   

Chaitanya was working in Cognizant Technologies on a Southeast Airlines project.   

The authorities in the US have informed Chaitanya's family in Telangana about his death.   

"We are in touch with the family in India and coordinating transportation of the mortal remains to India as soon as possible," Houston consulate general Anupam Ray's office sources told PTI.   

The cause of Chaitanya's death is "not known", sources at the Houston consulate said, adding that his body has been sent for post-mortem.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Smriti on his 70th death anniversary. 
08:44   US lifts ban on refugees from 11 'high-risk' countries
The United States has lifted ban on refugees from 11 "high-risk" countries, but said those seeking to enter the US would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past.
Applicants from 11 countries, unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslim-majority nations plus North Korea, will face tougher "risk-based" assessments to be accepted.
The 11 countries, hit with a ban in October in the Trump administration's revised refugee policy, have not been identified officially.
But refugee groups say they comprise Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Speaking anonymously, a senior administration official told mediapersons that the policy of enhanced security assessments for the 11 countries was not designed to target Muslims.
"Our admissions have nothing to do with religion," the official said, adding that there is "nothing especially novel" about tougher screening for countries deemed to have a higher level of risk.
Donald Trump has pursued a much tougher stance on immigrants and refugees from all countries since becoming president one year ago. 
00:29   28-yr-old cousin rapes 8-month-old baby in Delhi
An eight-month-old baby girl was raped allegedly by her cousin in northwest Delhi's Netaji Subhash Place, police said on Monday.

The accused has been arrested, they said.

The 28-year-old confessed to raping the baby on Sunday under the influence of alcohol, said a senior police officer.

The girl's parents used to go out for work and leave their daughter in the custody of their sister-in-law.

Since it was a Sunday, their sister-in-law's son was at home, he said.

When he saw that his mother was not around, the accused allegedly forced himself on the baby, police said.

When the girl's mother, who works as a maid, returned home at around 12.30 pm, she saw blood stains on her daughter's clothes and informed her husband.

The baby was rushed to a hospital where it was found that she had been sexually assaulted, police said.

Subsequently, the police were informed and a case was registered.

The baby underwent a surgery today and her condition is stable, they added.  -- PTI