Mon, 10 September 2018
Modi rule worse than previous UPA govt: Raj Thackeray

Timeline  Refresh

23:43   Modi rule worse than previous UPA govt: Raj Thackeray
On a day his party supported the Congress' Bharat bandh against fuel price rise, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray Monday said the current Bharatiya Janata Party dispensation at the Centre is 'worse' than the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government.

The MNS supported the national shutdown along with other political parties in the state.

Addressing reporters in Mumbai, Thackeray also attacked the Shiv Sena which didn't support the bandh ignoring the Congress' request.

"The BJP dispensation at the Centre is worse than previous Congress government. Within this government the Modi-Shah duo (are worse)," he said.

Thackeray, the estranged cousin of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said the BJP's claim of the 'party with a difference' is false.

"It is the habit of the BJP to spread all kind of lies. The Maharashtra government claims that it has dug 1.20 lakh wells (to overcome water shortage) and made the state free of open defecation. These claims are false," he said.

Thackeray attacked Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad over his statement that prices of fuel are not in the hands of the government.

"Ravishankar Prasad says that the prices of fuel cannot be brought down. If that is so then how could the BJP government in Rajastan manage (to bring) them (down). If Prasad were right then why he and his party had been holding agitations (against fuel price hike) before 2014 polls," he asked.

He said the Narendra Modi government is levying heavy taxes on fuel to recover the losses.

Demonetisation exercise has failed and the economy is severely damaged, Thackeray said, adding that the BJP now has the sole agenda to 'fetch donations and win elections'.

In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes with twin objectives of bringing out black money and clamping down on terror financing.

In its report, the RBI recently said that 99 per cent of the currency in circulation at the time of note ban has returned in the banking system.

In a veiled attack on the prime minister, Thackeray said the head of the country should act like a king and not as a merchant.

On Sena's stand to not support Monday's bandh, Thackeray said, "Sena's stand is that if there works are stuck they oppose the BJP and get the work done. They have nothing to do with the suffering of the common people."   -- PTI
22:13   1st ever BIMSTEC military exercise begins near Pune
In a first such initiative, militaries of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member nations barring Nepal today began a week-long anti-terror exercise at Aundh near Pune to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region.

Indian Army officials said the exercise is focused on boosting inter-operability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror related activities.

The exercise is taking place nearly two weeks after leaders of the BIMSTEC countries, in their summit talks in Kathmandu, resolved to join hands to combat the scourge of terrorism effectively.

The Nepal government has decided against participating in the military drill.

The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.

The officials said special 'tactical level' anti-terror operations will be practiced in semi urban setting.

"It is the most significant military exercise in the region in recent years," Indian Army spokesperson Col Aman Anand said.

India has been pushing for making the BIMSTEC a vibrant form for regional collaboration as cooperation under  the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) framework was not moving forward.

Citing continuing support to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, India has been maintaining that it was difficult to proceed with SAARC initiative under current circumstances. BIMSTEC excludes Pakistan.

During the Kathmandu summit, the leaders deliberated on a range of issues including ways to effectively deal with terrorism and radicalisation.

India had organised the BIMSTEC Leaders' Retreat in Goa in October 2016 during which the grouping had endorsed New Delhi's effort to corner Pakistan on terror.  -- PTI
21:30   Arrest warrants against ex-Pak PM Abbasi
A Pakistan court on Monday issued bailable arrest warrants against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for skipping proceedings in a case seeking action against him for disclosing the minutes of a high-profile security meeting to his party leader Nawaz Sharif.

The petition also seeks action against Sharif under treason charges for claiming that those involved in the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attack belonged to Pakistan.

A Lahore high court's three-member bench headed by Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi again issued notices to Sharif and a Dawn journalist, who had interviewed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo.

The bench was annoyed when no one appeared before the court on behalf of the three respondents -- Sharif, Abbasi and the reporter.

"The LHC issued bailable arrest warrants against Abbasi, directing the authorities concerned to send notices to Nawaz Sharif through superintendent of Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi and the Dawn reporter through Senior Superintendent Police Operations Islamabad," a court official said.

Justice Naqvi observed that Abbasi should have attended the court as he was present during the previous hearing on June 29.

Petitioner's lawyer told the court that Abbasi was in Lahore to run his campaign for the by-poll on National Assembly seat NA-124 but he avoided the court hearing.

The petitioner said Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in July 2017 and subsequently jailed for 10 years in last July in Avenfield corruption case, in the interview to the Dawn reporter in May last made the remarks that those involved in the Mumbai attack case actually belonged to Pakistan thus committed treason.

The petitioner said the 'anti-state' statement of Sharif -- a three-time prime minister -- could be used against Pakistan by its enemies.

She said a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was held to discuss the 'misleading' statement of the disqualified premier and later the then prime minister Abbasi met Sharif and conveyed to him the concerns of the military leadership on his statement.

"The act of Abbasi was also a clear violation of his oath as he was bound not to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct," she said.

The court adjourned the hearing till September 24.  -- PTI
20:55   Now Digvijaya is 'looking forward' to undertake Mansarovar yatra
Seeking to follow in footsteps of his party chief Rahul Gandhi, senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday expressed his desire to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Singh tweeted a picture of lake Mansarovar stating that he might embark on the pilgrimage next year.

'Mansarovar, I also must do this Yatra, May be next year,' he tweeted.      

When reporters asked him in Bhopal about his wish to undertake the holy pilgrimage, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister replied, 'Inshallah (God willing), why not?'

The pilgrimage is known for its spiritual significance.

Besides Hidus, people from Jainism and Buddhism also embark on the annual yatra.

The pilgrimage is organised during June-September every year from two different routes in Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

Mansarovar is a high altitude freshwater lake fed by the Kailash Glaciers near Mount Kailash in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.

The Congress president, who had last year publicly proclaimed himself as a 'Shiv bhakt' (a devotee of Lord Shiva), completed his Mansarovar Yatra recently.

Digvijaya Singh, 70, along with his wife Amrita and some party colleagues, had completed the six-month-long Narmada Parikrama in April this year.  -- PTI
20:36   Explosion destroys TMC party office in Birbhum
A high intensity explosion destroyed a Trinamool Congress party office in Birbhum district Monday, police said.

The incident took place at Barrah village under Kankartala police station area.

It is yet to be ascertained if anyone has been injured in the explosion, police said.

The party office was locked from outside when the explosion occurred which damaged a big portion of the office, they said.

"The local people claimed that the office was locked at the time of explosion," Kunal Agarwal, Superintendent of Police, Birbhum, said, "To ensure the nature of explosion some more time is required. So far, no person has been arrested in this connection," he added.

Anubrata Mondal, the district TMC president, alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party-backed miscreants from Jharkhand attacked the party office with bombs.

District BJP president Ramkrishna Roy described Mondals allegation as 'ridiculous'. -- PTI
19:54   Bharat bandh: FIR against Rahul Gandhi in Assam
A human rights activist in Assam filed a police complaint Monday against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging harassment of common people in the state owing to a bandh sponsored by his party on the issue of rising fuel prices, following which a first information report has been registered, police said.

In his complaint at Morigaon Sadar police station, Raju Mahanta, the president of NGO Sahai, said Congress members violated the rights of the common people in Assam.

Even patients on their way to hospital faced obstructions on the road due to the bandh, Mahanta, whose NGO works for the rights of destitute, elderly people and underprivileged children, said in his complaint.

"On the basis of the complaint, an FIR has been registered against the president of the party," a senior police officer said.

The FIR was registered in the case referring to Gauhati high court's last year verdict, which declared all strikes in the state as 'illegal and unconstitutional', the officer said.

The Congress had called for Bharat Bandh Monday in protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government's inability to curb fuel prices or arrest the depreciation of rupee.

Normal life was affected in BJP-ruled Assam earlier in the day with bandh supporters attempting to stop movement of trains, blocking national highways and burning tyres.

Some protesters were also seen setting up bamboo barricades to prevent movement of public vehicles, causing inconvenience to students and office-goers, officials said.  -- PTI
18:59   NCW summons Kerala MLA for using abusive language against nun
The National Commission for Women has summoned Kerala MLA P C George on September 20 for using abusive language against a nun who has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a bishop.

George, the lone Independent MLA in the Kerala state assembly, had asked the reason behind the nun not reporting the incident earlier while making objectionable remarks against her on Saturday.

Terming the language used by the MLA as 'deeply disturbing', NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said the Commission seriously condemns 'such objectionable and derogatory statements made by a person who occupies responsible position in the society'.

'Considering the gravity of the matter, you are hereby required to provide explanation for making such irresponsible comments for which you are required to appear before the commission on Septemer 20,' she said in a letter to George.

Sharma had said Sunday that it is 'shameful' that people occupying position of power were using such language.

The NCW chief said she will also be writing to Kerala Director General Police Lokanath Behera to take action against such lawmakers.

In July this year, the nun filed a complaint with the Kottayam district police chief, alleging that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her and had unnatural sex with her multiple times at a small town near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.

The NCW chairperson said the nun was allegedly facing discrimination after levelling sexual assault charges and that she was not getting support from the church.  -- PTI
18:38   After poll-bound Rajasthan, Andhra announces Rs 2 cut in VAT on petrol, diesel
After poll-bound Rajasthan, the Andhra Pradesh government Monday announced a Rs 2 cut in VAT on petrol and diesel to check the mounting prices of these fuels.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced the reduction in Value Added Tax in the state assembly. He said the state government was currently levying Rs 4 per litre VAT on petrol and diesel.
"The central government has been imposing a heavy burden on people by steeply increasing the prices of petrol and diesel despite heavy income in the form of various levies and dividends.
"Though the state is faced with a deficit budget, we have decided to reduce the tax and ease the burden on people," he said.
The state would have to forego a revenue of Rs 1,120 crore due to the measure, he said.
A day before the opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh against rising fuel prices, poll-bound Rajasthan had on Sunday slashed the VAT on petrol and diesel.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced a 4 per cent reduction which brought the prices of the two commodities down by Rs 2.5 per litre. -- PTI 
18:27   2 get death in 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts case
Two operatives of banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, who were convicted last week for the 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts, were death by a special National Investigation Agency court today.

Aneeq Sayeed and Ismail Chaudhary were awarded death sentence, while another accused Tariq Anjum was sentenced to life imprisonment the court.

The court in Hyderabad had convicted the IM operatives of murder and terrorism for the 2007 blasts in the city where two powerful explosions ripped through a popular eatery and an open air theatre, killing 44 people and wounding 68.

More details awaited.   -- ANI, PTI
17:50   Govt rules out excise duty cut as petrol, diesel prices hit fresh high
A cut in taxes on petrol and diesel is ruled out for now as neither the central government nor some states have the appetite to stomach revenue loss from such a move, a top government official said Monday.

While a cut in excise duty that the central government levies will impact fiscal deficit, states like Bihar, Kerala, and Punjab are not in a position to cut sales tax (or VAT), the official, who wished not to be identified, said.

The government, he said, anticipates that international oil prices, which together with a drop in the value of rupee has been fuelling the fuel price rise to record levels, will moderate in coming days to take pressure off. The comments come on a day when opposition parties held nationwide protests against record high petrol and diesel prices.

Prices in Delhi, where rates are the cheapest among all metros and most state capitals because of lower VAT, saw petrol touch an all-time high of Rs 80.73 per litre Monday while diesel scaled to new high of Rs 72.83 a litre.

The official said consumers will have to pay for the fuel they use.

While Rajasthan on Sunday announced a 4 per cent cut in VAT on petrol and diesel, Andhra Pradesh Monday said fuel prices will be reduced by Rs 2 each from cut in sales tax.
17:26   No BJP role in our decision to stay away from bandh: Sena
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Monday dismissed talks of senior BJP leaders asking his party to stay away from the nationwide bandh called by the Congress to protest the rising prices of fuel. Raut asserted it was the Shiv Sena's own decision to not take part in the "Bharat Bandh" and its stand had nothing to do with the BJP.

Several opposition parties supported the bandh call. An editorial published Monday in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said the saffron outfit stayed away from the bandh to see how strongly opposition parties raise an
issue of public importance.  "No BJP leader has asked the Shiv Sena to stay away from the bandh. Its our own decision," he said.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit is part of the BJP- headed governments at the Centre and also in Maharashtra. There have been talks in political circles that the BJP, facing the opposition fire over the rising prices of fuel, had persuaded its bickering Maharashtra-based ally to stay away from the Congress-sponsored bandh. -- PTI

Image: CPI-M joined 20 other opposition parties to protest the escalating fuel prices in the country.
17:13   Only two MPs stood up for India's gays
"It would have been much more appropriate if a law such as this, which all of the civilised world has given up, was struck down through democratic politics rather than five individuals sitting in judgement," says Aakar Patel. Read the column here.
17:10   Smriti Irani had put DDs cash cow in the freezer. Its back now
The information and broadcasting ministry under Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is set to restart a successful, money-making DTH service that was controversially shut down by his predecessor, Smriti Irani.

Sales of Doordarshan's 'Free Dish', India's No.1 direct-to-home television service, was put on hold at Irani's behest in August 2017, and has since lost the public broadcaster about Rs 70 crore in revenue.

The decision, however, did not affect viewers who had bought the DTH service before August 2017 as they were allowed to continue accessing channels following the intervention of the sector regulator.  Read more
17:06   Next step after discussions with supporters: Alagiri
Amid the stoic silence of DMK on his wish to re-enter the party, expelled leader M K Alagiri Monday said he would decide his next course of action shortly.

Alagiri, whose Chennai rally last week, billed as a "massive show of strength" to press for his reinduction turned out to be a tame affair, said he would consult his supporters and take a decision on the future course of action.

The former union minister said a bronze statue of late DMK patriarch and his father M Karunanidhi would be installed soon.

Alagiri, expelled from the party by Karunanidhi in 2014 at the height of his tussle for supremacy with younger brother and now party chief M K Stalin, had organised the silent march to his father's mausoleum on the Marina beach on September 5. Though the rally was keenly watched, not a single DMK functionary was present. -- PTI
16:56   National Herald case: HC dismisses pleas of Sonia and Rahul in I-T case
The Delhi high court Monday dismissed the pleas of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi challenging reopening of their tax assessment for 2011-12.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla said, "The writ petitions have failed".
The bench also dismissed the petition of Congress leader Oscar Fernandes who too had challenged the reopening of his tax assessment for the same year (2011-12). -- PTI
16:09   PM to inaugurate Sardar Patel's statue on Oct 31
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a statue of Sardar Patel, described by the Gujarat government as the world's tallest, on the birth anniversary of India's first home minister on October 31, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said. 

The statue with a height of 182 metres will be a symbol of the country's unity and integrity. It has been called as statue of unity by the Gujarat government.

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu announces a reduction in petrol and diesel price by Rs 2 each. The new rates will come into effect from tomorrow morning.
15:39   Left corners Centre over fuel price rise
Distressed people are forcing opposition parties to come together against the "anti-people" government of the BJP at the Centre, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said Monday at a rally called by Left parties in Delhi against rising fuel prices. Seven Left parties, including CPI-M, CPI, RSP, Forward Block, CPI-ML, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and Communist Ghadar Party of India, staged a demonstration, alleging that the rise in fuel prices has a cascading inflationary effect. They said this effect is contributing to economic slowdown and reducing employment and new job opportunities.

The protest rally by Left parties was unrelated to the 'Bharat Bandh' being observed by Congress and other opposition parties. "Left parties call on people to join this protest in a big way to demonstrate people's rejection of the Modi government and its policies. Distressed people of the country are forcing opposition parties to come together against the anti-people BJP government at the Centre," Yechury told the people gathered at the rally.

The Left leaders were joined by members of the Aam Aadmi Party, which governs Delhi. The Left leaders said the BJP was not batting an eyelid over the miseries it has created for the people. The ruling party is "daydreaming" to be in power for 50 years, they said, referring to BJP chief Amit Shah's claim at the party's national executive meet in Delhi Sunday.

"They did not even mention about the fuel price hike, farmers' distress in their executive meet. It shows they are not worried about the people but only want to be in power. They are daydreaming. They will not come back to power in the coming 50 years," said CPI leader D Raja.

There will be more protest by a "united opposition" and that is why the Modi government is nervous, Yechury claimed. The Left parties blamed the central excise duty levied on fuel for the increasing prices and demanded steps to contain the rise in the prices.

"They (BJP leaders) boast of ruling 21 states so why can not their state governments reduce the price. It was the Left Front government in Kerala, which first reduced the fuel price by one rupee two months ago," Yechury said.

The Left parties also alleged that the BJP was trying to divert people's attention away from their "monumental failures" by spreading an atmosphere of hate, violence which the ruling party will not succeed. Left leaders, including Yechury and Raja, later courted arrest at Parliament Street police station. -- PTI

Image: CPI-M workers stage a rail roko in Durgapur, West Bengal. Pic courtesy: @cpimspeak
Maharashtra: Pune Police arrests six Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers who were trying to forcefully close shops in the city.
15:09   Girl did not die due to Bharat bandh: Official
Large-scale protests were seen in different parts of the country as senior leaders and party workers from 21 opposition parties took to roads as part of the Congress-led Bharat Bandh against the steep rise in petrol and diesel prices.

Normal life was hit in some states Monday with offices and educational institutes closed and vehicles off the roads during an opposition sponsored 'Bharat Bandh' which was largely peaceful, barring some incidents of violence.

A three-year-old girl died in Bihar's Jehanabad district which the BJP alleged was due to delay in find a vehicle to take her to the hospital. However, Sub-divisional officer Jehanabad, Paritosh Kumar said, "The death of the child is not related to bandh or traffic jam, the relatives had left late from their home."

The bandh was called by 21 opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. It was kickstarted at Rajghat where Gandhi offered holy water from his Kailash Mansarovar yatra. He then accompanied opposition leaders then marched to Ramlila Maidan from Rajghat.

In states like Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh life was hit by the shutdown, but Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram remained largely unaffected.

Rahul Gandhi alleged hatred was being spread and the country being divided under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said it was time for all opposition parties to shed their differences and move forward unitedly "to save" sovereignty and democracy.

The BJP dubbed the bandh as an attempt to spread rumour and confusion among the masses and said people will "puncture the grand alliance balloon" floated by the opposition party.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers in Mumbai forcefully shut down shops and establishments, include a famous fast food joint, at the Bharatmata Junction Naka in Parel, while Congress workers staged a 'Rail Roko' protest at Andheri railway station.

In Bihar, Jan Adhikar Party Loktantrik workers blocked railway tracks at Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station in Patna, while another set of workers vandalised vehicles in the state capital.

A group of Loktantrik Janata Dal workers in Patna was seen carrying a motorbike on their shoulders during a march to protest against the hike in fuel prices.

A similar situation was also seen in Delhi's Preet Vihar area, where Congress workers carried a motorcycle on a bullock cart during the protests.

Congress workers blocked a train at Odisha's Sambalpur while protesting along with other opposition parties in the morning.

In Telangana, Congress workers held protests in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district's Bhongir and Musheerabad bus depot in Hyderabad against the fuel price hike.  -- ANI and PTI

Image: Opposition leaders present a united front to protest rising fuel prices.
14:13   PDP to boycott panchayat, local body polls
PDP to boycott panchayat, local body, polls in Jammu and Kashmir scheduled from next month, says party chief Mehbooba Mufti. Holding a press conference this afternoon, Mufti said the centre must review its decision on holding the polls. She said the sword of 35A is hanging over our heads.

The National Conference has also decided to stay away from the local body polls, the Peoples Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti on Friday decided to boycott upcoming municipal and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The Supreme Court deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre urged the Court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.

Image: The statement released by the PDP.
13:52   SC seeks report from trial judge in Babri Masjid demolition case
The Supreme Court Monday sought a report from a sessions judge in a Lucknow court on how he intends to complete the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti within the April 2019 deadline.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra also sought the Uttar Pradesh government's response on a plea of trial court judge S K Yadav, whose promotion was stayed by the Allahabad High Court on the ground that the apex court had directed him to complete the trial. The court asked for the report from the judge in a sealed cover.

On April 19, 2017, the apex court had said BJP stalwarts Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti would be prosecuted for serious offence of criminal conspiracy in the politically- sensitive 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case and had ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years, that is April 19, 2019.

The apex court had dubbed the demolition of the medieval era monument a "crime" that had shaken the "secular fabric of the Constitution" and allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused.

"There shall be no de novo (fresh) trial. There shall be no transfer of the Judge conducting the trial until the entire trial concludes. The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the sessions court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date," the apex court had then said. There were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the leaders in a Rae Bareli court.   -- PTI
13:36   Sohrabuddin case: HC upholds discharge of Vanzara, 4 others
The Bombay High Court Monday upheld the discharge granted by a trial court to ex-Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara and four others, all of them police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan, in the case of encounter of suspected gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife and aide.

The court held that the applications challenging their discharge were devoid of merit. Justice A M Badar also granted discharge to Gujarat police officer Vipul Aggarwal, a co-accused in the case related to the 2005-06 encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausarbi and their aide Tulsiram Prajapati. Aggarwal's discharge plea was earlier rejected by the trial court and he had approached the HC seeking discharge on grounds of parity with Vanzara. Justice Badar had conducted detailed daily hearings for about two weeks in July on the five revision pleas challenging the discharge of these officers, and the plea filed by Aggarwal.

In granting relief to former IPS officers Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and N K Amin of the Gujarat police, and Dinesh M N and Dalpat Singh Rathod of the Rajasthan Police, Justice Badar held that the applications challenging their discharge were devoid of merit. Sohrabuddin Shaikh's brother Rubabuddin had challenged the discharge granted in the case by the trial court to Dinesh, Pandian and Vanzara. -- PTI

Image: Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
13:31   From driving licence to ration card, Delhiites to avail doorstep delivery of 40 services from today
The facility, which will be launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, was embroiled in controversy for several months as the AAP government had alleged that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal was stalling it. Read the report here.
13:30   Body of missing HDFC bank executive found
The body of the 39-year-old HDFC bank executive, who went missing five days ago, was found and a person has been arrested in connection with the death, which appears to be a fallout of professional rivalry, police said Monday.

A 20-year-old cab driver, Sarfaraz Shaikh alias Rais, a resident of Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai, was allegedly hired to kill Siddharth Sanghavi, a vice-president with the bank who went missing on September 5 evening, they said.

Shaikh has been arrested, while four other people, including a woman, have been detained in connection with the case, the police added.

The accused driver was initially detained by the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch and handed over to the Mumbai Police, which placed him under arrest, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Tushar Doshi said.

"We found his role in hatching the conspiracy, murder and destroying Sanghavi's body," he said. The car used in the crime was found parked near Shaikh's residence, he said.

Shaikh allegedly killed Sanghavi on Wednesday, the day he went missing, and dumped his body near the Haji Malang shrine at Kalyan in neighbouring Thane district, another official said.

According to initial investigation, the bank executive, who was promoted recently, was killed over professional rivalry, the official said. His body was recovered Sunday, he said.

During investigation, Shaikh, who also works as a fabricator, claimed he was hired by four people, including a woman, to kill Sanghavi, the official said.

"As of now, we have arrested one person and questioning is going on of few more," Senior Police Inspector of N M Joshi Marg police station, Pandit Thorat said. Sanghavi, a resident of upscale Malabar Hill area in South Mumbai, used to travel to Kamala Mills compound in Parel, Central Mumbai, where his office was located daily.

His family members lodged a missing person complaint at the N M Joshi Marg Police Station Central Mumbai when he did not return home. His car was found abandoned Friday at Koparkhairane in adjoining Navi Mumbai with blood stains on its rear seat, the police said earlier.

Sanghavi's phone was switched on for a few minutes in Navi Mumbai after he went missing, the official said, adding the phone has been found with Shaikh. Shaikh kept changing his statements after he was detained and questioned. He did not name the mastermind and tried to change the direction of the investigation by giving misleading information, the official added. -- PTI

Image: Siddharth Sanghavi was a vice-president at HDFC Bank
12:58   Bombay HC upholds Guj cops' discharge in Sohrabuddin case
The Bombay High Court upholds the discharge granted by a trial court to former Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara, four others in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh case. RK Pandian, NK Amin also discharged. 
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury and AAP's Aatishi Marlena join protests against fuel price hike. The picture was tweeted by @AamAadmiParty
12:44   When Imran Khan's sons visit Pakistan
Former Pakistan minister Pervaiz Rashid @PervaizRashid3 tweets: "British citizens Suleman & Qasim, sons of Imran Khan arrived in Islamabad today. 150 police officers were on duty, convoy of 13 bullet proofs cars from PM House was used, a helicopter flew above on route. 350 Rangers in Bani Gala. Why were they given this protocol? Naya Pakistan. "
Sensex plunges over 400 pts as rupee breaches 72.50 mark for first time ever; Nifty drops below 11,500.
12:25   Fuel price hike protests
Congress workers carry a motorcycle on a bullock cart in Delhi's Preet Vihar to observe the Bharath Bandh.
12:23   Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to succeed Jack Ma as chairman
Following chairman Jack Ma's retirement plan reports, Alibaba Group formally announced that the company will be headed by current CEO Daniel Zhang next year.Ma announced that he will be stepping down as chairman on September 10, 2019, and will continue to be part of the company's board until the annual general shareholders' meeting in 2020, TechCrunch reported.

The 54-year-old co-founded Alibaba in 1999 and turned it into one of the biggest e-commerce giants in the world.Ma downplayed the earlier reports which claimed that he will retire from the company for philanthropy in education. He said that he is instead planning on gradually reducing his role through a succession plan. -- ANI
12:18   Opposition frustrated: Yogi
UP CM Yogi Adityanath on the Bharat bandh: Frustrated opposition doesn't have any strategy and leadership, what else can be expected from them? I hope God gives them sense so they can differentiate between positive and negative otherwise in future they will even lose their position as Opposition. 
Western Railway @WesternRly tweeted to say, " WR suburban services are running normal @drmbct."

Service were affected for a short while when the Congress staged a rail roko at Andheri station.
12:11   Ceasefire violation by Pak
Nothing different in Imran Khan's promise of a naya Pakistan. Pakistani troops violate ceasefire by firing towards Indian post in Karnah area of Jammu and Kashmir.
12:10   BJP has increased fuel prices even on Bharat bandh day: Akhilesh
The Samajwadi Party has also joined the bandh. Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav said, "The BJP government is so proud of themselves that even today when the Opposition has called for a 'bandh' they have increased fuel price in some places. Government can even say that inflation will bring development."
12:08   A united opposition will get rid of BJP: Rahul@Bharat bandh
Congress president Rahul Gandhi holds forth on rising fuel prices at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. An united opposition will defeat the BJP in the next elections, the Congress chief said. "Narendra Modiji is silent, he has not spoken a word on rising prices of fuel, or the condition of farmers, neither on atrocities against women," Rahul said.

Soon after his return from the Kailash Mansarovar yatra, Rahul reached Rajghat and paid his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. The bandh began after Gandhi offered holy water from the pilgrimage there.

The Congress chief added, "Aaj poora vipaksh yahan ek saath baitha hai. Hum sab mil kar ek saath, BJP ko hatane ka kaam karenge. Taking on PM Modi, Rahul said, "PM is right,things that didn't happen in 70 years are happening now. BJP is making people, states fight against each other. Petrol prices have crossed the 80-figure mark. He's not been able to prove the objective of notebandi."

Leaders of various opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi kickstarted Monday the country-wide protest against rising fuel prices from Rajghat as part of the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the party.
11:38   It's an attempt to spread rumours: BJP@Bharat bandh
The BJP Monday dubbed the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the Congress and several other parties as an attempt to spread rumour and confusion among the masses and said people will "puncture the grand alliance balloon" floated by the main opposition party.

Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi took on the Congress, saying it has been a "history-sheeter" on the issue of price rise whenever it was in power and is now shedding crocodile tears.

Accusing the opposition party of tying to create a "negative atmosphere" in the country since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014, he wondered if some "invisible hand" gave "supari" (contract) to destroy the progress India has made.

"The Congress is a cruise of corruption and whichever party joins it will sink with it," he said, adding this is the reason several opposition parties have kept away from the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the opposition party.

"When Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in May 2014 inflation hovered around 11 per cent and he has now brought it down to around four per cent with his policies and honest work," Naqvi said, expressing the hope that it will come down further.

The Congress and several parties have given a call for 'Bharat Bandh' to protest the rise in the prices of petrol and diesel. "Through violence and anarchy it is trying to spread rumour and confusion among the masses," Naqvi said. -- PTI

Image: In Delhi, Congress party workers take to the streets to protest rising fuel prices.
11:08   Bharat bandh: Strong-arm tactics in Mumbai
Newton's 6th law: The success of a bandh is directly proportional to the intensity of enforcement. MNS workers in Mumbai forcibly shut down shops and establishments at Bharatmata Junction Naka, Parel.
11:06   Time to change this govt will come soon: Manmohan Singh@Bharat bandh
Speaking at Jantar Mantar at the site of the protests over the rise in fuel prices, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said the Modi government has done a number of things that were not in the interest of the nation and has now crossed all limits. "The time to change this government will come soon," Dr Singh said. 

 Leaders of various opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi kickstarted Monday's country-wide protest against rising fuel prices from Rajghat as part of the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the party. Singh also urged opposition parties to shed their differences and unite to save democracy in the country.
Again in Patna, Loktantrik Janata Dal workers carry a motorbike on their shoulders to protest against fuel price hike.
10:48   Bharat bandh: Vandalism in Patna
Jan Adhikar Party workers vandalise vehicles during the Bharat Bandh protests in Patna against fuel price hike.
10:46   Rahul leads opposition bandh against fuel price hike
If you've just joined us, here's an update of the big story today.

Leaders of various opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi kick-started Monday with the country-wide protest against rising fuel prices from Rajghat. Gandhi, soon after his return from the Kailash Mansarovar, reached Rajghat and paid his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. The Bharat bandh began after Gandhi offered holy water from the pilgrimage there.

Then the Congress president, accompanied by AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and other opposition leaders, started the march towards the Ramlila Maidan. Chief of Loktantrik Janata Dal party Sharad Yadav, Congress general secretary Ambika Soni and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also joined the march.

Azad said people across the country were joining hands to protest againt the rising prices of petrol and diesel. "In Delhi too we are getting together under one platform and are starting our protest from Rajghat," he said.

Twenty-one opposition parties are supporting the Bharat bandh, besides a number of chambers of commerce and traders' associations. The party has demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST, by which oil prices could drop by about Rs 15 to Rs 18. Petrol and diesel prices set new records Sunday. 

Image: Congress president Rahul Gandhi with former PM Dr Manmohan Singh at the protest site at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
10:37   Bharat bandh: What's happening around the country
Delhi: Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh join Congress-led opposition parties supported bandh protest against fuel price hike. Also in the image is (from L to R) NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and LJD's Sharad Yadav. Rahul cut short his Kailash Mansarovar yatra to participate in the Bharat bandh today called by the Congress and supported by 21 opposition parties to protest rising fuel prices.

Fuel prices continued its northward march on Monday with petrol and diesel being sold at Rs 80.73 and Rs 72.83 per litre in the national capital. The petrol and diesel prices saw a hike of 23 and 22 paise per litre respectively in Delhi. On the other hand, Mumbai is affected most with the hike as petrol and diesel are being sold at Rs 88.12 and Rs 77.32 per litre.

In Mumbai: Services on the city's lifeline, the suburban trains, were crippled in Andheri today with Congress workers staging a rail roko. 

In Odisha, Congress workers blocked a train at Sambalpur while protesting along with other opposition parties in the morning.

Karnataka: Bus services of North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation are not operational today due to the 'Bharat Bandh'.
The Karnataka government has declared a public holiday today for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a precautionary.

In Telangana also, Congress workers are holding protests in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district's Bhongir and Musheerabad bus depot in Hyderabad, against the fuel price hike.

The East Coast Railway Zone has cancelled 12 trains including the Bhubaneswar-Howrah Jan Shatabdi Express and Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam Inter City Express.

Security was heightened in various parts of Pune in view of the Bharat Bandh announced by the Congress Party against the hike in prices of petrol and diesel under the present dispensation. MNS workers have vandalised a city bus.

Commissioner Of Police, Pune City, Dr Venkatesham K. told ANI, "One SPRF company and 6000 police officials have been deployed in the city to prevent any unlawful action. Whoever tries to forcefully close the market will need to face the action by Pune Police."

He also took to his Twitter handle to inform about the extra deployment of forces across the city. He also wrote that firm action will be taken against miscreants who disobey the law.

20 other political parties, including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), have extended their support to the Congress party against the fuel price hike.

In the wake of the same, the Mumbai Police served a notice to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party (MNS) under section 149, which states that in case of any law and order situation in Mumbai, the party will be held responsible for the same.

10:34   AAP joins Congress-led Bharat bandh
AAP has joined the opposition-led bandh.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha were present at the protest at Jantar Mantar along with other opposition leaders.

Senior party leader Dilip Pandey said unrest against the Narendra Modi-led government is growing and the opposition cannot remain silent to the plight of common man affected by issues like fuel price hike, corruption and unemployment.

In Delhi, offices were opened on time and official work was not affected at the Delhi Secretariat due to Bharat Bandh, an official said.
10:26   Rail roko at Andheri station
Mumbai: Congress workers stage a rail roko at Andheri railway station against the fuel price hike. That's Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam in the picture. 
09:51   Rupee hits lifetime low of 72.18
The rupee on Monday slumped to a fresh record low of 72.18 by falling 45 paise against the US dollar on strong demand for the US currency from importers as the greenback strengthened against other currencies overseas on upbeat jobs data.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the local currency opened at record low of 72.15 a dollar from its previous close of 71.73 and slipped to hit a fresh low of 72.18, down by 45 paise. It had breached its previous record low of 72.11 hit on September 6.

Forex dealers said besides strong demand for the American currency, buying by importers, mainly oil refiners in view of surging crude oil prices and capital outflows, weighed on the domestic currency.

Furthermore, the dollar strength against its rival currencies overseas amid fears of a possible escalation in the US-China trade conflict too put pressure on the rupee, they said. The rupee on Friday staged a turnaround to close higher by 26 paise at 71.73 after heavy intervention by the Reserve Bank of India. Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex dropped by 85.01 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 38,304.81 in opening trade. -- PTI
09:51   Rupee hits lifetime low of 72.18
The rupee on Monday slumped to a fresh record low of 72.18 by falling 45 paise against the US dollar on strong demand for the US currency from importers as the greenback strengthened against other currencies overseas on upbeat jobs data.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the local currency opened at record low of 72.15 a dollar from its previous close of 71.73 and slipped to hit a fresh low of 72.18, down by 45 paise. It had breached its previous record low of 72.11 hit on September 6.

Forex dealers said besides strong demand for the American currency, buying by importers, mainly oil refiners in view of surging crude oil prices and capital outflows, weighed on the domestic currency.

Furthermore, the dollar strength against its rival currencies overseas amid fears of a possible escalation in the US-China trade conflict too put pressure on the rupee, they said. The rupee on Friday staged a turnaround to close higher by 26 paise at 71.73 after heavy intervention by the Reserve Bank of India. Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex dropped by 85.01 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 38,304.81 in opening trade. -- PTI
09:31   Rupee is 72.18 to a dollar
Bad news if you're planning a holiday abroad. The rupee has hit a new record low of 72.18, drops 45 paise against US dollar.
09:12   Shiv Sena to not participate in Bharat bandh, will look at protest 'neutrally'
In Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra Navanirman Sena have extended their support to the shutdown called by Congress. 

Maharashtra Congress had also requested BJP's ally Shiv Sena, but the latter has decided not to participate and will look at it "neutrally." 

"There is talk about petrol and diesel being brought under GST. We will appreciate that, but until it is implemented, we demand that central excise duty and other tax levied by the Central and state governments should be immediately reduced," Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said.

Security has been heightened in the state in the wake of the bandh call. "Extra deployment of forces has been done across the city today. Firm action will be taken on any miscreants taking the law into their hands," Dr Venkatesham, Commissioner Of Police, Pune City said.

Image: Protesters in Gujarat's Bharuch burn tyres and stop buses; traffic movement halted. Photograph: ANI/Twitter
08:49   Rahul joins Bharat Bandh protest, cuts short Kailash Mansarovar yatra
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has cut short his visit to Kailash Mansarovar and has returned to Delhi to join the Bharat Bandh protest. 

Rahul had left for Kailash Mansarovar on August 31 and was to return on September 12.

He, however, reached Nepal last night from Kailash Mansarovar and came back to Delhi.

Rahul reached Raj Ghat this morning before going ahead with the protest.

He was seen with senior Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Ghelot and Anand Sharma. 

He will soon visit a petrol pump nearby to support Bharat Bandh. 

Congress had called Bharat bandh from 9 am to 3 pm today.

-- Syed Firdaus Ashraf/
08:28   Alibaba chairman Jack Ma to step down in 2019
Alibaba co-founder and chairman Jack Ma will step down as head of the e-commerce giant on September 10, 2019, the company said on Monday.
Ma is staying on as executive chairman for 12 months to "ensure a smooth transition" before handing over his role to chief executive officer Daniel Zhang, Alibaba said in a statement.

"While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition," Ma said in the statement.

"Thereafter, I will stay on the Alibaba board of directors until our annual shareholders meeting in 2020." 

Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and building it into a multi-billion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world's richest men and a revered figure in his homeland.
The statement did not specify exactly what Ma planned to do after stepping down but it said he wants to "return to education". 
Ma has lately taken on educational initiatives as a pet project.
"As for myself, I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle," he said.
08:18   Bharat Bandh: Trains stopped in Odisha, bus services hit in Karnataka
Opposition parties have begun to protests in various cities in the backdrop of Bharat Bandh being called by the Congress party against the rising fuel prices across the country. According to the Congress, 21 Opposition parties are supporting the bandh.

While bus services were hit in Karnataka, Congress workers topped trains in Odishas Sambalpur.

Congress has also asked civil society groups and NGOs to join the nationwide protest.

Congress workers held protests in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district's Bhongir and Musheerabad bus depot in Hyderabad against fuel price hike.
07:55   7 injured in knife attack in Paris
Seven people including two British tourists were wounded in Paris after they were attacked by a man armed with a knife and an iron bar, according to police and other sources.

A source close to the inquiry said the suspect, believed to be an Afghan national, has been arrested.

"Nothing at this stage shows signs of a terrorist nature in these assaults," the source said, adding that the attacker had targeted "strangers in the street".

Of the seven wounded, four are in a critical condition, police said.

The incident took place just after 11:00 pm (local time)  on the banks of a canal in the northeast of the capital.

Image: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters