Fri, 11 May 2018
2002 riots: Guj HC upholds conviction of 19 in Ode case, acquits 3

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23:37   2002 riots: Guj HC upholds conviction of 19 in Ode case, acquits 3
The Gujarat high court today upheld the conviction of 19 persons, 14 of whom were sentenced to life term, in the 2002 Ode riot case in which 23 Muslims were killed during the post-Godhra communal violence in Gujarat in 2002.

"Communal frenzy turns perfectly normal human beings momentarily into murderous monsters leaving nothing but trail of death and destruction for the victims and their own family alike," a division bench of justices Akil Kureshi and B N Karia , which also upheld the seven-year prison term to five of the convicts, observed.

It acquitted three accused convicted by the trial court on April 12, 2012. It also upheld the acquittal of 23 others.

One of the convicts, sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court, died during the hearing of appeals.

Twenty-three Muslims, including nine women and as many children, were burnt alive during a post-Godhra communal riot at Ode town in Anand district of Gujarat on March 1, 2002.

Dilip Patel, Lalji Patel and Natubhai Patel, sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court, were acquitted by the high court today.

The state government, in its appeal, had sought capital punishment for those who had got life imprisonment.

But the high court held that this was not a 'rarest of rare' case to be fit for awarding the death penalty.

The 'conspiracy theory' of the prosecution was 'correctly believed by the trial court', the bench said.

The high court lamented the 'senselessness of violence and loss of innocent human lives'.

"We cannot imagine the pain suffered by the victims who perished in the raging fire,"it said.

"We cannot judge the depth of sorrow and despair that the members of the families of the victims would have felt while helplessly watching their relatives being killed in front of their eyes in most gruesome manner.

"While we were hearing these appeals, we have also seen kind of doom and despair that such incidents bring on the members of the families of the accused.... This phenomenon which we often describe as communal frenzy turns perfectly normal human beings momentarily into murderous monsters leaving nothing but trail of death and destruction for the victims and their own family alike," it said.

The plight of the family members of the accused was reflected by 'old ladies, young housewives with children in tow standing before us with folded hands pleading for temporary release of their son, husband or father', the court said.

In April 2012, a court for cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) convicted 23 of the 47 accused. One of the 47 accused died during the trial.

It sentenced 18 persons to life in prison and five to a jail term of seven years.

The SIT, the state government and victims' relatives had sought death penalty for the convicts sentenced to life imprisonment, and enhanced sentences for others. They also challenged the acquittal of 23 others.

The victims had taken shelter in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area in Ode town when a mob attacked them and set the house on fire. The incident took place two days after the Godhra train fire incident which triggered riots across Gujarat.

This was one of the nine cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.  -- PTI
23:19   Woman molested by rickshaw-puller outside Delhi metro station
A woman alleged that she was molested by a rickshaw-puller in an inebriated state outside New Delhi metro station and claimed when she dragged him to the nearest 'police post', she did not find any policeman there to assist her for 45 minutes.

She also claimed that she had made a call to the New Delhi railway police station but had not got any response.

She posted about the incident on Twitter. Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma replied to her on Twitter, saying that the matter would be looked into.

Police has registered a case in the matter and two policemen -- an assistant sub-inspector and a head constable -- have been suspended for laxity in handling the matter.

The rickshaw-puller, identified as Khurshid, 50, has been arrested, police said.

They said that the room where the woman took the rickshaw-puller was the beat officer's room where they take rest in between patrolling.

The woman claimed that she had deboarded at the New Delhi metro station since she had to go Paharganj. She asked the rickshaw-puller whether he would drop her to Paharganj but he demanded Rs 180, the woman claimed.

She realised that he was drunk and started walking ahead but he came behind her and started asking her to come with him.

She hit him with a water bottle in her hand and with the help of locals, took him to the beat officer's room, she said.

She said that there was no policeman present at the post and when she called in helpline numbers, she was told that the force would be sent to help her but she claimed that no one came while she waited at the police post along with some locals and the accused.

She also claimed that the rickshaw-puller kept mocking her and saying that no one would come to her help.

In a reply to her post, Verma wrote, 'Have spoken to the complainant... Action is being taken on her complaint by the local police in Central district. With regard to the absence of staff in the police post, matter is being enquired. Strict action will be taken for the negligence.'  -- PTI
22:08   I-T dept chargesheets Chidambaram's wife, son under black money law
The Income Tax department today filed four chargesheets against former Union finance minister P Chidambaram's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and a firm under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing their foreign assets.

The chargesheets or prosecution complaints have been filed by the department before a special court in Chennai under Section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, officials said. Nalini Chidambaram, Karti and Srinidhi and a firm linked to Karti have been charged for allegedly not disclosing, either partly or fully,  immovable assets like the one at Barton, Cambridge in the United Kingdom worth Rs 5.37 crore, property worth Rs 80 lakh in the same country and assets worth Rs 3.28 crore in the United States, they said.

The chargesheets claimed that the Chidambarams as also the firm in which Karti is one of the Directors-- Chess Global Advisory-- 'did not disclose' these investments to the tax authority in violation of the black money law.

The Chidambarams and the firm, on April 27, had sent four separate replies to the specified Income Tax department authority in Chennai stating that they had not defaulted in disclosing these assets to the taxman, and in certain cases they had revised their Income Tax returns to reflect the said overseas properties.

'Omission, if any, in the original return under Section 139(1) was corrected in the revised return under Section 139(5) of the Income-tax Act. The original return and the  revised return were filed on the advice of her Chartered Accountant,' the reply by Karti's wife Srinidhi said.

All the four, including the firm, in more or less similar replies, told the department that there was 'no failure to disclose any information about the foreign assets, and certainly no wilful failure to disclose any information'.

'On the facts of the present case, it would be totally unreasonable and perverse to conclude there has been any wilful failure to disclose any information about the foreign assets. Hence, the present show cause notice deserves to be dropped,' they had said.

The case pertains to the assessment year 2016-17. The chargesheets are expected to be taken up by the court on June 11.

The black money law was brought by the Modi government in 2015 as part of its drive to prosecute Indians who have stashed illicit wealth abroad.

The department had also recently issued notices to Karti and his family members in the case which they had challenged before the Madras high court.

Karti had refused to join the probe stating that he had already submitted the details of the assets and related transactions undertaken last year to another tax authority, and that 'parallel proceedings' cannot take place against an individual under the same law.

The writ petition was later quashed by the high court. Officials said the charge sheet has been filed as the investigation of the case had reached its 'logical conclusion' and thus it could be presented before the court.

The income tax department had slapped the Black Money Act on Karti last year after it found that assets created by him abroad were in alleged violation of law.

The new anti-black money law deals with cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The new legislation has provisions for a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income, besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.  -- PTI
20:56   Ramdev meets Lalu, gives yoga tips to stay healthy
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev today called on Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to congratulate him on his son's marriage and advised the ailing leader to practise safe breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom Pranayama to maintain good health.

Ramdev, who is in Bihar since Tuesday last for holding training camps in districts like Nalanda and Gaya, called on the RJD chief at 10 Circular road residence of his wife Rabri Devi in Patna.

I met Lalu ji, conveyed my best wishes for the marriage of his son Tej Pratap, congratulated him on getting six-week bail and advised him to regularly practise Yoga to maintain good health, Ramdev told reporters emerging from Rabri's residence.

I have asked Lalu ji to practise safe breathing exercises like the Anulom Vilom Pranayama. He asked me to arrange for an instructor who could supervise his Yoga practice and correct him wherever it was necessary. I said I would do so, Ramdev said.

The Yoga guru, however, did not state clearly whether he would be attending tomorrow the wedding of Tej Pratap Yadav, Lalu's elder son, and merely said I have received the invitation.

I am also holding Yoga classes in Gaya tomorrow.

The septuagenarian RJD supremo was today granted six week provisional bail by Jharkhand high court in fodder scam cases on medical ground.

After arriving in Patna last evening from Ranchi on three day parole to attend his son's marriage, Lalu is stayed put at 10 Circular road home.  -- PTI
20:03   FB responds to govt on data breach; Cambridge Analytica's reply awaited
Facebook has responded to Indian government's latest notice over alleged data breach, outlining in detail the 'changes made' to protect users' information.

The United Kingdom-based Cambridge Analytica, however, is yet to send its formal response to government's second notice, an IT ministry official said, adding that a view will be taken once both the replies are in place and reviewed.

A spokesperson of the social media giant said Facebook is 'grateful to the Indian government for giving it an opportunity to address concerns'.

'We are committed to protecting people's information and safeguarding the integrity of elections in India,' a Facebook spokesperson said in an e-mail.

'We hope we have helped to answer important questions about the changes we have made to further protect users information as well as elections from abuse and exploitation including removing fake accounts, increasing ads transparency and reducing the spread of false news,' the spokesperson added.

The government had, in end-March, sent a notice to Facebook asking whether the personal data of Indian voters and users has been compromised by the UK-based Cambridge Analytica or any other downstream entity.

A similar notice was dispatched to Cambridge Analytica following media reports that it had misused data to profile users and influence elections.

The government had served second set of notices to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook over the data breach issue late last month after finding discrepancies between the previous responses given by the two companies.

The companies were asked to reply to the additional set of queries by May 10. Without giving details of the reply sent to government's latest notice, the spokersperson said Facebook is committed towards its role in protecting the integrity of the electoral process in India.

Facebook has been facing intense scrutiny from its users as well as governments across the globe after a data leak scandal hit about 87 million users.

British data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of millions of Facebook users illegally to help political campaigns and influence polls in several countries.

Earlier this month, however, Cambridge Analytica announced its closure in a statement on its website and claimed it had been 'vilified' for activities that are legal and considered a standard component of online advertising.

Indian officials familiar with the line of questioning and notices sent in the data leak matter have previously maintained that the shutting down of Cambridge will not impact its ongoing probe as the liability of the company existed prior to the closure announcement.  -- PTI
18:57   Himanshu Roy committed suicide as he had cancer, says police report
According to a statement released by Mumbai Police, senior IPS officer Himanshu Roy committed suicide as he was suffering from cancer.

The same has been mentioned in the suicide note recovered by the police.

"Unfortunately he was brought dead to the hospital. I knew him personally. He had lost lots of weight due to illness and didn't have the same personality as earlier," said Dr Gautam Bhansali, Consultant Physician, Bombay Hospital on Roy's suicide.  -- ANI
18:53   Karnataka: Polling deferred in area where cache of voter IDs was found
JUST IN: Polling in RR Nagar in Bengaluru has been deferred.

Earlier this week 9,746 voter IDs were seized from a flat in the area.

Polling to now be held on May 28 and counting on May 31.  -- ANI
18:26   IIP records 5-months low growth of 4.4 pc in March
Industrial output grew by 4.4 per cent in March, the slowest in five months, due to a fall in capital goods production and deceleration in mining activity, according to the official data.
Industrial growth measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in 2017-18 too decelerated to 4.3 per cent from  4.6 per cent in the previous fiscal.
The IIP grew by 4.4 per cent in March 2017, the same as in March this year, the data released by the Central Statistics Office showed today.
The previous low at 1.8 per cent was recorded in October 2017.
Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 77 per cent of the index, grew at 4.4  per cent in March as compared to  3.3 per cent in the same month a year ago.
The output of mining sector decelerated to 2.8 per cent during the month as compared to 10.1 per cent in March 2017.
Similarly, power generation too slowed down to 5.9 per cent as against 6.2 per cent in March 2017.
Capital goods output, however, declined by 1.8 per cent during March as compared to a growth of 9.4 per cent in the corresponding period last year.
Consumer durables output on the other hand showed an increase of 2.9 per cent as against decline of 0.6 per cent in March 2017.
The consumer non-durables segment showed an impressive growth of 10.9 per cent in March as against 7.5 per cent in corresponding month last year.
During 2017-18, the manufacturing sector recorded a growth of 4.5 per cent, marginally up from 4.4 per cent in 2016-17.
The mining sector as well as power generation reported deceleration to 2.3 per cent and 4.6 per cent from 5.3 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively in 2016-17. -- PTI 
18:25   India for safe, sustainable return of Rohingyas: Swaraj
India said today it was ready to help Myanmar for the "safe, speedy and sustainable" return of tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown, triggering one of the world's worst refugee crises.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed with Myanmar's top leadership, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the issues related to Rakhine State, where violence erupted in August 2016 when the military intensified crackdown against alleged militant outfits of Rohingya Muslims, sparking a mass exodus of refugees.
An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine State since the military crackdown, resulting in a major crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Swaraj, who arrived in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday on a two-day visit, reiterated India's readiness and commitment to help Myanmar in addressing issues related to Rakhine State, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
She welcomed Myanmar government's continued commitment to implementing the Rakhine Advisory Commission's recommendations and noted that under the aegis of the bilateral Rakhine State Development Programme, India was already in the implementation stages of various projects that would respond to the needs of different sections of the Rakhine State population, it said.
"The first major project is the construction of prefabricated housing in Rakhine State to meet the needs of displaced persons," the statement quoted her as saying.
"The Minister also underlined the need for safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons to Rakhine State," it said.
The UN and the US have said the violence against Rohingyas amounted to ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar authorities have said that military crackdown against the rebels was aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on the August 25.
According to the Red Cross estimates, only about 300,000 Rohingya remain in the entire state. -- PTI
18:01   SC collegium agrees to reiterate recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph
The Supreme Court collegium today unanimously agreed in principle to reiterate the recommendation for the elevation of Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the apex court, after his name was returned by the Centre.
The five-member collegium, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, after hour-long deliberation decided that Justice Joseph's name should be accompanied with the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court.
The collegium, in a resolution, said there was a need for further discussion on the issue of sending other names to the Centre and deferred its meeting till May 16.
"The Chief Justice and other members of the collegium have, on principle, unanimously agreed that the recommendation for appointment of Justice K M Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand high court [Parent high court: Kerala] as a Judge of the Supreme Court should be reiterated. 
"However, the said reiteration should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, for which detailed discussion is required," the resolution said.
"In view of the aforesaid, the meeting stands deferred for being held at 4.15 PM on Wednesday, May 16, 2018," it said. -- PTI 
17:28   Subramanian Swamy pitches for abolition of income tax

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy today pitched for abolition of income tax to ease the burden on the middle class and promote higher economic growth in the country.
He said it is essentially the middle class and young generation of startup entrepreneurs who suffer because of income tax, which amounts to "harassment" for them.

"So, who is paying (income tax) in India? a very small fraction. So, why should you impose this burden on this small fraction," Swamy asked.
Abolition of income tax would result in higher savings which in turn lead to increase in investment, he said.
"Therefore, abolishing it means, the rate of savings should go up. The rate of savings goes up, investment goes up and therefore growth goes up. Therefore, indirect taxes will give you more than you lose by abolishing it," Swamy told reporters.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a talk he delivered on 'Future of India in the Emerging World' at the 8th IEIA (Indian Exhibition Industry Association) Open Seminarthe Annual Conclave of the Indian Exhibition Industry.
On the loss of revenue due to the abolition of income tax, he said resources can be raised by auctioning natural resources like coal blocks and spectrum.
"That's why I said you auction 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, you got a long line waiting for you. You can auction coal blocks. All natural resources of government should be auctioned... there are ways of raising resources. These are all set methods," he said.
In his speech, Swamy said the country should grow at 10 per cent for 10 years to address problem of unemployment and poverty. -- PTI
16:48   Forensic team arrives at Himanshu Roy's home
Forensic team arrives at former Maharashtra ATS Chief Himanshu Roy's residence. Roy allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head at his residence in Mumbai this afternoon. The 1988-batch IPS officer, who was suffering from cancer, would have been 55 next month. Roy, the additional director general of police (housing), shot himself with his service revolver and was rushed to Bombay Hospital where he was declared dead, an official said.

Roy was considered a fitness enthusiast and had been on leave since 2016, undergoing treatment for cancer. The officer had served in elite groups of the Maharashtra Police, including as chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad and in the Crime Branch.
16:14   Amit Shah's convoy stoned by ex-ally TDP workers in K'taka
Tension prevailed at Alipiri in Tirupati today when TDP workers staged a demonstration against BJP president Amit Shah as he was proceeding to Renigunta airport from Tirumala hills and in the melee a stone was allegedly hurled at one of the vehicles in his convoy.

Shouting slogans, Telugu Desam Party activists demanded that the Centre immediately fulfill all promises made to Andhra Pradesh in the Reorganisation Act, 2014, and also accord special category status for the state.

On learning about the incident, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was holding a meeting of party leaders here, criticised the workers and warned them that such acts of indiscipline would not to be tolerated.

Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa told reporters that some "unidentified miscreants" hurled a stone that hit one of the vehicles in Shah's convoy. "No stone hit Shah's vehicle. The stone hit another vehicle behind Shah's car. We don't know yet if some miscreants posing as TDP workers resorted to this act," he said. A TDP statement, quoting the chief minister, said he asked the party leaders to ensure that such incidents did not recur.

The TDP had snapped its ties with the BJP alleging neglect of the southern state and failure of the Centre to grant special category state status for Andhra Pradesh. It has alleged that the Centre failed to fulfil its commitments toward Andhra Pradesh, after the state was bifurcated in 2014.  -- PTI
15:06   Himanshu Roy, the man who cracked cases
Update on ADG Himanshu Roy's death:

Himanshu Roy is believed to have shot himself at home this afternoon. He had a sterling career in which he has cracked several high-profile cases, handled important responsibilities.

Though he was not handling mainframe crime posting as Additional Director General of Police (housing), for nearly 10 years before that Roy handled two of the forces most important offices. He was joint commissioner, crime, from 2010 to 2014 and during this period Roy led the investigation into the IPL betting scandal and the murders of Laila Khan and five of her relatives at the familys Igatpuri house.

After the stint at the Crime Branch, Roy was transferred to the states Anti Terrorism Squad and arrested software engineer Anees Ansari for allegedly planning to blow up the American School at Bandra Kurla Complex.

Roy, who has seven years of service left, is also credited with setting up Mumbais first Cyber Crime Cell, devising effective anti-dacoity measures in rural Maharashtra and establishing a special cell to deal with crimes related to women.

His last major case was the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing case and he was responsible for arrest of Vindu Dara Singh was for alleged links to bookies in this spot fixing.
14:48   Mumbai top cop Himanshu Roy found dead with gunshot wound
Himanshu Roy, the Additional Director General of Police of Maharashtra, and former ATS Maharashtra Chief, has been found dead in his south Mumbai residence. Reports say he shot himself in the head at his residence today with his service revolver. He is believed to have died at 1:40 pm today.  He was under treatment for cancer. Roy was rushed to hospital but was declared brought dead. Details awaited. 

Image: A file pic of Himanshu Roy (in stripe shirt).

Ranchi: High Court grants six weeks provisional bail to former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav on medical grounds
13:55   Unnao rape case: Victim demands death penalty for BJP MLA
The Unnao gang-rape victim and her relatives on Friday demanded the death penalty for accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, after the CBI allegedly confirmed his role in the crime.

The victim said, "I demand the death penalty for Sengar, for raping me and for the murder of my father."

The victim's uncle said, "We demand protection for our family so that we can give our statement before the court fearlessly. We demand death penalty for Kuldeep Sengar."

According to reports, the CBI has already recorded the victim's statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ), in which she reiterated that Sengar raped her at his home in Uttar Pradesh's Makhi village on June 4 last year.

On May 8, Sengar, main accused in the Unnao rape case was shifted from the Unnao Jail to Sitapur Jail after an appeal was filed in the Allahabad High Court by the victim's family.

The Bangarmau MLA from Unnao district who till recently enjoyed 'Y' category security has three cases registered against him.The Uttar Pradesh Police has charged him under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (abduction of woman), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and handed over the case to the CBI. -- ANI
13:11   PM announces Ramayan Circuit between Nepal-India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India and Nepal will work towards building a 'Ramayan' circuit, which will act as the strong foundation for people-to-people contact between the two countries.

Addressing a civic reception at the Ram Janaki Temple in Janakpur, Prime Minister Modi said, "India and Nepal will work towards building 'Ramayan' circuit between both the countries. Janakpur and Ayodhya are being connected. This is a historic moment. This will act as the foundation for strong people to people contact between the two nations."

Touting close and similar cultural relations, the Prime Minister said that the two countries shared a strong bond with each other.

Thanking his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli for accompanying him to the temple in Janakpur, Prime Minister Modi referred to the latter as "bhai sahab" (My brother).

"I am glad to be here in Janakpur. I am here to pay my respects to King Janak and Mata Janaki. I thank the Prime Minister of Nepal Oli ji, my 'brother' for accompanying me during this visit to Janakpur," the Prime Minister added.Seeing the huge crowd gathered at the civic reception, Prime Minister Modi underscored that his welcome to the Himalayan nation showed the affection of the people of Nepal they have towards the people of India.

After the two Prime Ministers completed their address, they jointly inaugurated the Nepal-India Friendship Bus Service (Ramayan Circuit Bus Service) from Janakpur to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

Speaking about the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus transit route, the Prime Minister said, "Tourism is developing at a fast pace across the world. The Ramayan Circuit has immense potential."After flagging off the bus, the Province No. 2 government in the town will host Prime Minister Modi at the Bahrabigaha ground, where he will again address the public. -- ANI

Image: PM Modi at the Janki temple in Janakpur, Nepal
12:55   Separatist call for protest, restrictions imposed in parts of Srinagar
Restrictions have been imposed in parts of Srinagar in view of a protest called by Separatist today against civilian deaths in a clash between protestors and security forces after an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Sophian district. Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest this morning, a police official said.

Restrictions, under Section 144 of the CrPc, were imposed by authorities in five police station areas of the summer capital, the official said. The curbs are in force in the Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maharajgunj police station areas of Srinagar, he said.

The restrictions were imposed as a precautionary measure, to maintain law and order, and prevent any untoward incident, the official said.

On May 6, five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were killed in an encounter in Sophian, even as five civilians died during clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site.

Separatists, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership, which comprises Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, had asked people to hold peaceful protests against the recent civilian killings after congregational prayers today. The official said Malik is in police custody and Geelani continued to be under house detention. -- PTI

Image: Rafi Bhat, a 33-year-old, sociology professor who had joined the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in the encounter. 
PM Narendra Modi and Nepalese PM KP Sharma Oli flag off the Indo-Nepal bus service from Nepal's Janakpur to Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya.
A girl in Kerala who appeared for her NEET exam at Koppam in Palakkad district, filed a police complaint on May 8, alleging she was asked to remove her bra before entering the exam hall as it had metal hooks. She also alleged that invigilator kept staring at her and she couldn't complete her exam.
12:12   Sushma meets Aung San Suu Kyi
External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj meets Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar's Nay Pyi Taw. Yesterday, Swaraj met with President of Myanmar Win Myint.

Sushma Swaraj is in Myanmar as part of her two-day official visit to the country.

The visit is part of the ongoing high-level interaction between the governments of India and Myanmar, according to a Ministry of External Affairs statement.

During her visit, Swaraj will hold discussions with the Myanmar leadership on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest to both countries.

As per the MEA statement, the discussions are expected to review progress made on decisions taken during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar in September last year.

Several key agreements covering diverse aspects of India-Myanmar bilateral relations are expected to be signed during the visit.India has emerged as a key development aid partner for Myanmar. -- ANI
12:06   Hefty taxes may deter SoftBank from exiting Flipkart
Japan's SoftBank Group Corp has not yet decided to sell its 20-22 per cent stake in Flipkart to US retailer Walmart Inc, sources with direct knowledge of the development said. SoftBank's Masayoshi Son will take a call in the next 7-10 days on whether to exit India's biggest online retailer or say invested for some more time, they said.

Walmart had on Wednesday announced that it will pay about USD 16 billion to buy 77 per cent stake in Flipkart. A statement issued by Walmart that day identified Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp as the investors who would hold the remaining 23 per cent, implying SoftBank had agreed to sell its 20-22 per cent stake.

Sources, however, said SoftBank is yet to take a call on exiting Flipkart. The factors that hold key to the decision include the tax SoftBank has to pay on profits it would earn from such share sale.

SoftBank had invested USD 2.5 billion in Flipkart and exiting the company would fetch it up to USD 4.5 billion. The USD 2 billion profit would be taxed as per Indian law. Since the profit is made from shares that were held for more than two years, it would attract a long-term capital gains tax of 20 per cent plus surcharge and education cess, effectively wiping away a fourth of the profit.

Other deciding factors would be Son's relationship with Walmart and that SoftBank likes to be a long-term investor, sources said, adding the Japanese conglomerate is very bullish on India and sees immense opportunities for growth of investment.

When contacted, a SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment. Sources said Walmart had indeed courted SoftBank for buying its shares but the Japanese group has not yet taken a final call on the issue. -- PTI
11:51   SC dismisses plea for independent probe into Sridevi's death
Update: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking an independent probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sridevi. The actor had died on February 24 due to accidental drowning in her hotel bathtub in Dubai.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud dismissed the plea filed by one Sunil Singh who sought an independent investigation into the death of the actor.

He moved the apex court after the Delhi High Court had on March 9 refused to entertain his PIL to probe her death, saying authorities in India and Dubai had already looked into the incident. PTI
11:46   With tantra and mantra Modi begins Nepal visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today visited the famed 20th century Janaki temple in Janakpur in Nepal and offered special prayers. Modi, who arrived today on a two-day state visit to Nepal, directly went to the Janaki temple, dedicated to Sita, from the airport.

Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli welcomed his Indian counterpart upon his arival at the temple complex. Modi will spend around 45 minutes in the temple.

Modi took part in the Shodasopachara Pooja at the Janaki temple, local media reported. Devotional bhajans of Sita and Ram was played during the 10-minute long prayer performed by Modi at the temple.

Shodashopachara worship ceremony -- with 16 ritualistic services including tantric mantra recitation -- is carried out only by special guests at the Janaki temple. During the ritual, the idol of Hindu Goddess Sita is worshipped and decorated with clothes and jewels.

Visiting Indian Presidents Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Gyani Zail Singh and Pranab Mukherjee had performed such prayers during their visits to Nepal, temple's priest Ramatpeshwar Das Vaishnav said.

Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to hold such a ceremony at the temple. Thousands of people have gathered in the Janaki temple premises to welcome Modi. Janaki temple has got a new look as the temple was cleaned up and decorated with lights.

Janakpur is known as the birth place of Sita, the wife of Lord Rama. Janaki temple was built in memory of Sita in 1910. The three-storied structure made entirely of stone and marble is 50-metre high and spread over 4860 sq feet. --  PTI
The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking a probe into the death of actor Sridevi.
11:18   Pak firing kills man at wedding in J-K's Poonch
A 22-year-old man was killed today after Pakistani troops resorted to firing from small arms on Indian Army posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, a police officer said.

There was small arms firing by Pakistani troops along the LoC in the district's Gulpur-Bagyal Dhara belt, the police officer told PTI.  

The Pakistan Army initiated firing around 12:30 am on Indian Army posts in Baghal Dhara, he said. The Indian Army retaliated effectively, the officer said.

The deceased was identified as Mohammad Ikhlaq, a resident of Kalsan Malti Baghal Dhara. He suffered serious injuries and died on the spot, the officer said.

The man was killed during a marriage function in an area close to the LoC. A bullet fired by from across the border hit Ikhlaq, he said.

There has been a spurt in ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir this year, resulting in the death of 31 people, including 16 security personnel, in over 700 such incidents. -- PTI

Representational image.
10:55   PM arrives on a 2-day-visit to Nepal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Janakpur on a two-day visit to Nepal. Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at the Barbigha Ground in Janakpur. Heavy security has been deployed to manage crowds.

Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel and Province 2 Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut received Prime Minister Modi at the airport.

This is the third visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal and the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new Government in Nepal this year.

In Janakpur, Modi will visit the 20th century Janaki temple and offer special prayers. Later, Prime Minister Modi will be accorded a civic reception by the Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan City at Barhabigha ground.

Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has reached Janaki temple to welcome his Indian counterpart.Ahead of his visit, Modi said India would remain a steadfast partner of the Himalayan nation in its quest for growth and development.

Describing his trip to Nepal as a reflection of his government's commitment to "neighbourhood first" policy, Modi had said the Himalayan nation has entered a new era and India would continue to support it.

Modi will also flag off a tourist bus from Janakpuri to Ayodhya.  -- PTI
10:15   Modi congratulates Mahathir Mohamad on being sworn in as Malaysia PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated Mahathir Mohamad on being sworn in as the prime minister of Malaysia. "I look forward to working closely with Dr. Mahathir to further strengthen the mutually beneficial strategic partnership between our two countries...heartiest congratulations," Modi tweeted. Mahathir, 92, was yesterday sworn in as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia. He has become the world's oldest elected leader.
09:56   Tripura CM's latest gaffe: Tagore returned Nobel in protest
If not anything else, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb has been consistent about being a headline grabber. Not for initiating development projects in the BJP's newly-won bastion, but for his bloopers.

In a video being circulated on social media, the 46-year-old chief minister is seen telling his audience that "Rabindranath Tagore returned his Nobel Prize in protest against the British."

Deb made these remarks at a function to mark the birth anniversary of the poet.

Fact is Tagore accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 because it was bestowed by Sweden. However, he returned his Knighthood in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919.

Deb's gaffes have become an almost daily embarrassment for the BJP since he commented last month that "Internet and satellite communication existed during the Mahabharata era". He never retracted that statement.

He then questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997, saying she was "not an Indian beauty like Aishwarya Rai"=, but after the flak he faced, he apologised.

The Chief Minister also stated that mechanical engineers should not opt for civil services, but civil engineers should.

Then there was the one about how graduates shouldn't run after government jobs, but should start paan shop instead. Or how young men should breed cows and explore a career in dairy.

Reports had said that he had been summoned by prime minister telling him to zip his lip but clearly that hasn't worked.

Image: Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb at the Rabindra Jayanti celebrations at Agartala on May 8. Courtesy: @BjpBiplab
09:37   Trump to seek complete irreversible denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula: WH
In his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, US President Donald Trump would seek a complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, the White House has said.

Hours after Trump announced the location and date of what is being billed as the historic US-N Korea summit, the White House cautioned against any new provocative behaviour by Pyongyang.

Such a move might force the US to halt the meeting, a presidential spokesman said yesterday.

"Our policy is to ensure the complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. And that's what he's going to be seeking," White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters aboard the Air Force One travelling to Indiana.

"We have a month and several days. And there are a number of things -- provocative actions, for example, from North Korea would not be received well. All I'll say is that the meeting has been agreed to, but obviously it could be halted for any number of reasons," Shah said with a note of caution to the North Koreans.

Shah added that Singapore was selected as the venue for the historic meeting because it had political ties with both the countries. "Singapore has a relationship with both the United States and North Korea. They can ensure both the President's and Kim Jong-un's security, as well as provide neutrality," he added.

"Singaporeans have been gracious up until now and also in the past. In fact, on a historical note, the first meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan took place in Singapore some years back," Shah noted. As of now, only one day has been kept for the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, he said, adding that planning was still in progress. -- PTI
09:20   Jinnah was a 'mahapurush', contributed to India's freedom struggle: BJP MP
Bharatiya Janata Party Savitri Bai Phule, who has recently taken a rebellious stance against her party over various issues, today praised Muhammad Ali Jinnah, hailing him as a 'mahapurush' who had contributed in India's freedom struggle. 

"Jinnah was a great person who had contributed towards India's freedom struggle. He was great, he is and will remain so," the Bahraich MP said. 

Recently, Phule has made several remarks against the party line and has condemned the state and the Central government for the treatment of Dalits. Last week, she called politicians visit to Dalit households an "insult" to the people. Her comments came in the backdrop of a controversy over the recent visit to a Dalit home by a UP government minister belonging to her own party. Other saffron party leaders too have also visited Dalit households in recent past.

Her recent remarks come as a controversy erupted over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the Aligarh Muslim University campus. Aligarh MP Satish Gautam had written AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor, raising objection over Pakistan founder's picture on the walls of the AMU students union office.

08:53   PM Modi in Nepal today, to flag off bus from Sita's birthplace to Ayodhya
After weeks of hectic campaigning in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reach Nepal this morning for a two-day visit. 

This is his third visit to the country as Prime Minister. 

PM Modi will land in the temple town of Janakpur, 225 km from capital Kathmandu. He described his visit to the Himalayan nation as a reflection of his government's commitment to a "neighbourhood first" policy.

PM Modi's visit comes a month after Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visited India last month.

Today, PM Modi will flag off a tourist bus from Janakpuri to Ayodhya. Apart from holding meetings with the Nepal PM and other leaders, PM Modi will visit three Hindu pilgrimage centres on his two-day visit.
08:21   Did not pay North Koreans for release of prisoners: Trump
The United States did not pay any money to the North Koreans for the release of its citizens held as a prisoners, US President Donald Trump said as he slammed the previous Obama administration for paying $1.8 billion in cash after the Iranian nuclear deal.

"North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did a great service to himself and to his country by doing this. But those hostages came out with respect, we didn't pay for them," he said.

"We are going to set the table. We are going to make a great deal, for the world, for North Korea, for South Korea, for Japan, for China," he added.

The Obama administration had paid $1.8 billion for hostages, Trump claimed in an apparent reference to a January 2016 deal between the US and Iran in which the United States agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle a case related to the sale of military equipment before the Iranian revolution. Simultaneously, Iran had released five American prisoners. The then Obama White House strongly refuted reports that it was a ransom.

Trump said his meeting with Kim Jong-un would be a great success.

"I think it's going to be a very big success. But my attitude is: And if it isn't, it isn't," he told his supporters. 

"You have to have that because you don't know. We're not going to walk into an Iran deal," Trump added.

-- PTI
08:00   Crucial meeting of top judges today on Justice Joseph elevation
The Supreme Court collegium, or a group of five most-senior judges, is meeting at 1 pm today to take a call on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to the top court that was rejected by the government in April. 

This is the collegium's second meeting to firm up its response to the centre's decision that has set up a face-off between the judiciary and the executive and has been described as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. 

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad denies that the centre's decision had anything to do with the Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice's 2016 verdict cancelling President's rule in the state. 

Prasad calls it a legitimate exercise of the powers granted by the top court in several rulings.

At its meeting last week, the country's five top judges were learnt to have decided to draft a point-by-point rejoinder to the centre that questioned their choice. But it also discussed names of judges from three other high courts in view of what the court called, was the "concept of fair representation".
00:26   Voter ID case: FIR registered against Congress MLA
Two days after the discovery of a huge cache of Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) at an apartment in Bengaluru, police on Thursday registered a first information report naming sitting Congress MLA Munirathna as one of the accused.

Briefing reporters, the chief electoral officer of Karnataka Sanjeev Kumar said all the reports on the case had been submitted to the Election Commission of India.

Similarly, the deputy commissioner had visited the spot, gathered information and sent a report to headquarters.

He said the commission would take a decision soon whether to countermand the election in Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency where the seizures were made.

Declining to divulge more information, Kumar said, "Every detail of the FIR cannot be shared but what you are saying (about the sitting MLA being an accused) is a fact.."

Asked about the recommendation he has made to the ECI, Kumar said it was not something to be discussed as sharing the details would vitiate the process of decision making.

The CEO said about 800 EPICs found in the apartment were verified and they were found to be 100 per cent genuine and original.

"Some of them are as old as 2012, which cannot be manufactured overnight."

Kumar also clarified that the integrity of the electoral list was not compromised.

"That can becompletely ruled out because more than 800 have been thoroughly verified. There is no problem with the electoral roll," he said.

The CEO said the FIR was registered under various Indian Penal Code sections and the Representation of People Act-1951.

Explaining the modus operandi, Kumar said a systematic survey was carried out in the RR Nagar constituency of each household with photographs of voters and their houses.

Details like their names, cases and even requirements like widow pension card, old age pension card and ration card was done, he said.   -- PTI