Tue, 20 August 2019
Appear within 2 hours: CBI to Chidambaram
23:56 Appear within 2 hours: CBI to Chidambaram
The Central Bureau of Investigation has put up a notice outside the residence of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram to appear before them in the next two hours.
Hours after the Delhi high court refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram, a team of CBI officers landed at his posh Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi to locate him.
The CBI team left the premises after confirming that Chidambaram was not present at the address.
The team, which had some superintendent of police-rank officials, did not make clear if they had gone to his residence to arrest him for alleged irregularities in foreign investment clearance to INX media during his tenure as finance minister.
23:46 CBI action against PC 'political vendetta': Cong
The Congress on Tuesday questioned the actions of probe agencies against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram soon after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Delhi high court, and said what was the tearing hurry when the Supreme Court was slated to hear his appeal on Wednesday morning.
He also accused the government of targeting opposition leaders and termed the action of probe agencies against Chidambaram as "political vendetta".
Hours after the Delhi high court refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram, a team of CBI officers landed at his posh Jor Bagh residence to locate him, but left after not finding the former union minister there, officials said.
The HC on Tuesday refused to grant him anticipatory bail, saying he seems to be the "kingpin" and "key conspirator" in the INX media case of money laundering and he needs to be interrogated in custody for the investigation to be effective.
Holding that the INX media scam was a "classic case of money laundering", the court also said the twin facts which have weighed to deny pre-arrest bail to Chidambaram are "gravity" of the offence and "evasive" replies given by him to questions put to him while he was under protective cover extended to him by the court.
Reacting to the development, Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said, "We fail to understand what is going to happen in the night. Heavens are not going to open up. Mr Chidambaram is an eminent person and a law abiding citizen. What we have been witnessing in the last few years is selective targeting and politics of vendetta, mainly against the leaders of the opposition."
He said it is not the Congress leaders alone, as leaders of various non-BJP parties like the Trinamool Congress, RJD, SP, DMK and some others have been targeted.
"It is a long list. As if the BJP, when there were serious allegations against their own leaders, including its chief ministers, who are in office, the same agencies go silent on them," he said.
Sharma said some of the leaders belonging to non-BJP parties like Mukul Roy and Himanta Biswa Sharma, who were being investigated, "the moment they defected and joined the BJP there is not even a whisper".
"So there cannot be double standards, it is so glaring. This is not a good image for this country. Mr Chidambaram has been cooperating and joining the investigation as and when he was required. There has not been an occasion when he has not presented himself, so why this tearing hurry tonight. The government and the agencies should also respect the Supreme Court, have faith and wait for the hearing tomorrow," he said. -- PTI
23:42 Need to build trust between taxpayers and tax administrators: FM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday stressed on building trust between taxpayers and tax administrators.
"We should be working towards efficient dispute resolution processes in tax related matters," she said while addressing Tax Administrators Meet here.
This is the second meeting in a series of meetings to be held with tax officials and taxpayers across various cities over the next few weeks.
The first meeting was held in Ahemdabad last week as part of confidence building effort.
During the occasion, the minister launched the 'GST Sampark' mobile application here. The app aims to reduce the physical interface between tax officials and taxpayers. -- PTI
23:07 BJP's allies disagree with RSS chief on quota
Two Dalit ministers of the Union government on Tuesday waded into the row over Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat's pitch for a dialogue on reservation, saying there is no need for any debate even as Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the Hindutva organisation of having "dangerous intentions".
Priyanka Gandhi said the real target of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the RSS, the saffron party's ideological mentor, is social justice and that Bhagwat's advocacy of a debate on reservation is merely an "excuse".
"The confidence of the RSS is high and intentions are dangerous. At a time when the BJP government is throttling pro-people laws, the RSS has also raised the issue of debate on reservation," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Debate is just an excuse, the real target of the RSS-BJP is social justice," she said.
"Will you allow this to happen," the Congress general secretary asked the people of the country.
Replying to a question, Bhagwat had on Sunday said there should be a conversation in a harmonious atmosphere between those in favour of reservation and those against it, sparking a row as opposition parties said that it highlighted the Hindutva organisation's "anti-reservation" mindset.
On Tuesday, Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale, Dalit allies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, asserted that the matter of reservation is already settled and that there is no need for any debate on it.
However, both leaders defended the RSS, saying it has already clarified that it supports reservation.
"Whatever Mohan Bhagwatji had said, the RSS has clarified it. I want to assure the Dalits of this country that there is no question of a debate or rethinking on the issue of reservation.
"It is a constitutional right and no one can take it away from Dalits. The Narendra Modi government should not be perceived as anti-Dalit," Republican Party of India chief Athawale said at a press conference in Kolkata.
Echoing similar sentiments, Paswan told reporters in Delhi that there is no need for a debate on the matter.
"Reservation is a constitutional right and this right was the result of the Poona Pact between Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Thus, it is not a debatable issue," the Lok Janshakti Party president said. -- PTI
22:58 No need for debate on reservation: Athawale
Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday asserted that there is no need for a debate on reservation in the country and said the Narendra Modi government should not be perceived as anti-Dalit.
Athawale also appreciated the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal saying it has done a good job in protecting the rights of Dalits and minorities.
Commenting on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement on reservation on Sunday, the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said it has been provided by the constitution and no one can take it away from the backward sections of the society.
"Whatever Mohan Bhagwatji had said the RSS has clarified it. I want to assure the Dalits of this country that there is no question of debate or rethinking on the issue of reservation.
"It is a constitutional right and no one can take it away from the Dalits. The Narendra Modi government should not be perceived as anti-Dalit. The government stands with the Dalits and backward community of the country," Athawale said while addressing a press conference in Kolkata.
Bhagwat had said on Sunday that there should be conversation in harmonious atmosphere between those in favour of reservation and those against it.
The RSS on Monday dismissed as "needless" the row over Bhagwat's remarks, asserting that he merely stressed on the need for mutual talks in harmony within society to address any issue.
RSS' 'prachar pramukh' (publicity head) Arun Kumar said in a tweet that his organisation has made it clear time and again that it fully supports reservation for Dalits, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and those getting it on to economic grounds.
Referring to the attack on Dalits in the country, the minister, who is president of the NDA constituent Republican Party of India (Athawale), said the attacks are due to casteism that still exists in the society.
Athawale said he is in favour of a strong law in the country so that those involved in lynching of Dalits and minorities can be punished. -- PTI
22:54 Kohli a win away from equalling Dhoni's record
Virat Kohli is a win away from Mahendra Singh Dhoni's record of most victories as Indian Test captain.
Kohli will get the opportunity to draw level with Dhoni when India lock horn with West Indies in the opening Test, beginning here on Thursday.
Apart from leading India to the top of the Test rankings for the first time, Dhoni also led the team to 27 wins from 60 matches -- the most by any Indian captain till now.
While his successor, Kohli, has led India to 26 wins from 46 matches.
Kohli took over as captain of the Indian Test team when Dhoni retired from the longest format of the game during the tour of Australia in 2014.
He has since led India to victories over Australia, England and New Zealand at home and 2-1 and 4-1 losses in South Africa and England respectively.
In 2018, Kohli led India to their first ever series win in Australia.
The first Test against West Indies marks the two teams' entry into the ICC World Test Championship. -- PTI
22:10 Would love to play for Kerala Ranji team: Sreesanth
His life ban reduced to seven years, tainted pacer S Sreesanth on Tuesday expressed his desire to play for Kerala in Ranji Trophy, while harbouring a far-fetched dream to once again don the national jersey.
Sreesanth, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing during the 2013 IPL and was banned for life by the BCCI, challenged the punishment.
After the ban was overturned by the Supreme Court earlier this year, the BCCI referred the matter to its Ombudsman D K Jain, who, in turn, reduced it to seven years, the sanction period now ending in 2020.
"I am very happy with the decision. I would like to make a comeback to the Kerala Ranji team and contribute it to team's victory. I would start training from next month. Youngsters from Kerala are doing well and that's an inspiration," Sreesanth told reporters in Kochi.
However, his ambition to don the national colours seemed a bit impractical considering that Indian cricket has moved on since he last played international cricket eight years ago. By the time he is free to play, he will be well past 37 years.
"I hope I will be able to come back into the Indian Test team. I have taken 87 wickets in Test cricket. 13 more wickets are required to reach 100 wickets," he said. -- PTI
22:09 'Sunanda Pushkar was suffering from mental agony'
Sunanda Pushkar, who was allegedly driven to commit suicide, was suffering from mental agony due to strained relationship with her husband and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor with whom she had a scuffle resulting in various injury marks few days before her death, the Delhi Police on Tuesday told a court.
Police accused Tharoor of torturing his wife which abetted her to commit suicide.
The former Union minister, who is currently on bail in the case, was charged by the Delhi Police under Sections 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 ( abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
The probe agency told special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that according to the postmortem, the cause of Pushkar's death was poisoning and 15 injury marks were found on various parts of her body -- forearm, arms, leg, etc.
Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the court that the Pushkar was upset and suffering from mental agony due to the scuffle between the duo.
The submission was made while hearing arguments on framing of charges against Tharoor in the case related to Pushkar's death.
The prosecutor further told the court that Tharoor's relation with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar also added to Sunanda's mental agony.
The prosecutor also apprised the court about Pushkar's friend and journalist Nalini Singh's statement, which is part of the charge sheet, that the relation between the couple was tense and bad.
"I got a call from Sunanda who was crying and sobbing. I told her Mehr Tarar was nothing and she was everything. She wanted to take revenge from Tharoor and Terar. There was a lot of bad publicity in media. She told she helped Tharoor a lot in IPL matter. She had found some messages between Tarar and Tharoor. She refused to go to their house and instead went to Leela hotel. The relation between the couple was very bad," Singh had said in her statement.
The prosecutor also told the court that an e-mail written by Tharoor to Trar addressing her as "my darlingest" has also been found.
"Such type of language was used. There are various letter which shows how intimate Tharoor and Trar were to each other," he said. -- PTI
21:31 Balakot showed lethality of our forces: Rajnath
In a clear reference to the Balakot air strike in Pakistan, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that the offensive action against terrorists in the neighbourhood spoke volumes about the "reach and lethality" of the Indian armed forces.
"We are all aware that the Indian (Air) Force is a technologically advanced and extremely potent force. The recent offensive strikes against terrorist outfits in our neighbourhood speak volumes about the reach and lethality of the formidable arm of the Indian armed forces," Singh said in his address at a seminar at the IAF Auditorium in New Delhi.
The IAF had conducted air strikes in Pakistan's Balakot in February, days after the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy in which 40 personnel were killed.
In his address at the seminar on 'Modernisation and Indigenisation plans of the Indian Air Force', Singh announced that the Centre has approved a proposal for use of government test facilities by the private industry to meet the standards required for defence manufacturing.
He said the decision was taken after incorporating the comments of the stakeholders particularly, indigenous defence manufacturers.
"I sincerely hope the synergy between government's efforts and industry participation will help fulfil the long-cherished dream of making India a frontrunner in defence production," Singh said.
The defence minister emphasised the need to progressively reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers and indigenously develop comprehensive capabilities in the defence sector, -- PTI
21:09 Not correct to slam Rajiv for politics: Vadra
Robert Vadra, businessman and husband of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Tuesday said that it is very incorrect to slam his father-in-law and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for political benefits.
"It is very incorrect to slam Rajiv ji. He gave his life for the nation and hence people should exercise restraint while speaking about him," Robert Vadra told ANI.
The businessman, who visited a blind school on the 75th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, donated eight computers to the children.
"India is celebrating my late father-in-law, Rajiv Gandhi's birthday. Since my late father-in-law did a lot to bring information technology in the country, I donated computers to a blind school for the children," he said.
Earlier today, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders paid tribute to the late prime minister in the Parliament.
In May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. -- ANI
20:46 Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Delhi-Lucknow Tejas trains to be handed over to IRCTC
As part of its move to hand over certain trains to private players, the railways has decided that IRCTC will run the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express and the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express as test cases, sources said on Tuesday.
The fares of these trains will be flexible and will be decided by the IRCTC, they said.
According to a blueprint prepared by the Railway Board to hand over the two trains to the railways' tourism and catering arm for a period of three years as a pilot project, no concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed on these trains.
The railways also said on-board ticket checking will not be done by the railway staff on IRCTC trains.
However, it said the trains will be uniquely numbered and operated by the railways' operating staff -- loco, pilots, guards and station masters. The services of these two trains will be at par with Shatabdi Express trains and will be given a similar priority, the sources said.
Bringing in private train operators to provide world-class passenger service was a proposal mooted by the railways in its 100-day plan. Sources said handing over the two Tejas Express trains to IRCTC was a first step towards that. -- PTI
20:40 LS Secretariat bans use of plastics in parliament complex
The Lok Sabha Secretariat said it has banned the use of non-reusable plastic water bottles and other plastic items within the Parliament complex with effect from Tuesday.
All officers and staff of the Secretariat and other allied agencies working in the Parliament House Complex have been asked to comply with the directions, the secretariat said in a statement.
They have also been advised to use environment friendly biodegradable bags and other material, it added.
"This initiative by the Lok Sabha Secretariat is a step towards the call by the Prime Minister to the nation to make the country free from plastics," it said.
In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged citizens to abandon the use of single-use plastic and take significant steps to achieve this objective by October 2, when the country celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. -- PTI
20:29 After CBI, now ED at Chidambaram's residence
After a team of Central Bureau of Investigation officers visited former finance minister P Chidambaram's residence, Enforcement Directorate officials reached the senior Congress leader's house.
According to media reports, Chidambaram's is not at home in Jorbagh, New Delhi.
The CBI move comes just three hours after the Supreme Court registry told his legal team that Chidambaram would have to wait till tomorrow morning to approach the judges.
Earlier, the Delhi high court, which had heard his request for anticipatory bail in the INX media case, had rejected his request.
Image: Enforcement Directorate officials at the residence of Congress leader P Chidambaram during a raid in Jorbagh, New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo
20:03 K'taka govt orders CBI probe into IMA ponzi scheme
The Karnataka government on Tuesday entrusted the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the multi-crore ponzi scheme of Monetory Advisory (IMA) and its group entities which allegedly duped over a lakh
According sanction to the CBI, the government in its order said it would investigate all the FIRs registered against IMA and its group entities.
The premier probe agency will also enquire and investigate into all types of illegal activities of IMA
The CBI has also been asked to "identify and investigate persons involved in the illegal activities in connection with affairs of IMA, Bengaluru and its group entities."
The government directed officials of all the departments concerned to hand over data, information and records as and when required by the CBI and cooperate in the investigation.
Promising high returns, IMA operator Mohammed Mansoor Khan had allegedly duped over a lakh investors, mostly Muslims. -- PTI
19:43 Rajnath holds telephonic conversation with US Def Secretary
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with his United States counterpart Mark T Esper on Tuesday during which he raised the issue of cross-border terrorism directed against India, officials said.
Singh also conveyed to Esper that issues relating to abrogation of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution are internal matters of India.
"The US secretary of defence appreciated India's position that the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir are internal matter of India. He hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally," one of the officials said. -- PTI
19:37 Pak to take Kashmir issue to ICJ: Report
Pakistan said it will approach the International Court of Justice against India's move on Kashmir, reports Reuters quoting Pakistani media.
"We have decided to take Kashmir case to the International Court of Justice," foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told ARY News TV.
"The decision was taken after considering all legal aspects."
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
19:32 CBI team at Chidambaram's home
Hours after Delhi high court rejected senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's request for anticipatory bail, a team of Central Bureau of Investigation officers arrives at the residence of the former Union minister.
Earlier, The court said bail cannot be granted just because Chdambaram is a parliamentarian.
"Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case," the judge said.
The high court also declined interim protection from arrest to him for approaching the Supreme Court in the case.
Later, Chidambaram moved the Supreme Court against the HC order.
18:55 Malayalam actress, stranded in HP floods rescued
Malayalam superstar Manju Warrier who was trapped in a remote village in Himachal Pradesh along with her 30-member crew following rain and landslides, has been rescued and being brought to Manali, Union minister V Muraleedharan said on Tuesday.
Manju Warrier and her crew are among the over 127 people struck in Chhatru area of the tribal district of Lahaul Spiti, being brought to Manali, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur told reporters in Shimla today.
Meanwhile, minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan, who hails from Kerala said he had spoken to Thakur who assured him about the evacuation efforts of the actress and her film crew.
"Spoke to Shri @jairamthakurbjp ji, Hon'ble CM of Himachal Pradesh on the Malayalam film crew stuck in Chatru. Mandi district administration is in touch with the stranded crew members. Evacuation efforts are on to bring them back to Manali by today evening," Muraleedharan posted on his official twitter handle.
Manju was shooting for Malayalam film Kayyatam along with filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan in Chhatru and reportedly reached out to her brother after an access road to the Mandi-Leh highway collapsed due to landslip, leaving her and the crew stranded.
18:10 Spicejet to move Mumbai ops to T2 from Oct
A day after announcing shifting its operations to T3 in Delhi, budget carrier Spicejet on Tuesday said it will move its operations to the T2 in Mumbai from October to streamline its operations.
The airline currenyly operates 150 daily flights to and out of the city airport, most of which are from the old terminal called 1B.
In the past low-cost airlines were resisting the airport operator's demand to move to T2 citing higher slot charges and the resultant higher operational cost.
"From October 1, our entire operations at the Mumbai airport will be consolidated at T2. A single terminal operation would not just help us substantially cut down its costs but provide passengers a seamless and smooth travel experience," Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director said in a statement.
The city airport has at present two terminals--IB and T2. While terminal IB at Santacruz handles domestic flights, T2, which is at the Sahar side in Andheri, has both international as well as domestic operations.
Besides Air India and Vistara, which have their entire operations from T2, Spicejet and Indigo partially operate domestic flights from T2 as well in addition to their overseas operations.
Go Air has its entire domestic operations from terminal 1B and the international one from T2.
In the past four months, Spicejet has announced 78 new flights connecting Mumbai, the airline added. -- PTI
17:48 PC's bail plea ahead of Ayodhya hearing on Wed
Congress leader P Chidambaram was asked Tuesday to mention in the Supreme Court tomorrow his appeal for urgent hearing against the Delhi High Court order which dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scam.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that as Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will be sitting in the Constitution bench for hearing the Ayodhya case, the petition is to be mentioned at 10:30 am before the senior-most judge, who is not on the Constitution bench.
Chidambaram and a battery of his lawyers were in hectic discussions after the Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the INX media scam. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid rushed to the apex court following the high court order. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, who was arguing the case in the high court, also joined the discussions. Sibal said the team is yet to get copy of the Delhi Court judgement. He was asked by a Supreme Court official to place Chidambaram's petition before Registrar (judicial) who will take call on putting it before the Chief Justice of India. Sibal met Registrar (judicial) Surya Pratap Singh and explained to him the situation and explored as to what could be done.
The development took place minutes after the high court declined interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram for approaching the Supreme Court. -- PTI
17:42 Ready to contest against Mamata : Sovan Chatterjee
Sovan Chatterjee, the TMC leader who joined BJP recently, Tuesday said that he is ready to contest against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the next assembly polls if the saffron party wanted it. He dismissed allegations that he had switched over to the saffron camp to save himself from CBI interrogations into the Narada scam.
Chatterjee, who was once a trusted lieutenant of the TMC supremo, had in the past been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI in the Narada scam.
"When I was in TMC, I was a loyal soldier of that party. Now I have joined the BJP and will be its loyal soldier. I will do whatever my party asks me to do. If they ask me to contest against Mamata Banerjee in next election I will do so," he said at his first press conference at the state BJP headquarters. Chatterjee and his close aide Baisakhi Banerjee was felicitated by West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh at a function here on Tuesday.
Banerjee was the president of the Trinamool Congress Professors cell who had joined the saffron party along with him on August 14 in New Delhi. -- PTI
17:25 Azad stopped from entering J-K ... again
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was stopped at the Jammu airport on Tuesday and sent back to Delhi, a party leader said, the second time in a month the former chief minister was not allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir.
"Azad sahib had arrived from Delhi at around 2.45 pm and was not allowed to move out from the airport and forcibly sent back in a return flight to Delhi at 4.10 pm," state Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma told PTI.
The leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha was not allowed to go home or attend the party meeting at state Congress headquarters either, Azad's close aides said.
The Congress leader will return to Delhi in the evening through a GoAir flight.
Earlier on August 8, Azad was briefly detained and sent back from the Srinagar airport after the administration imposed restrictions following the Centre's move to scrap the state's special status and bifurcate it into Union territories.
"It is unfortunate that he (Azad) is not allowed into his home state in the past two weeks," Sharma said. "He is the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, member of Rajya Sabha from the state and leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha."
The Congress spokesperson said Azad just wanted to come and meet some people to know about the prevailing situation. "Denying him permission shows that how the mainstream national party is not being allowed to interact and discuss the current situation," he said, adding that the Congress and its leaders were not "trouble-makers" that the state was behaving like this. -- PTI
17:16 Army jawan killed as Pak violates ceasefire in Krishna Ghati sector
An Indian Army soldier on Tuesday lost his life as Pakistan violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in the Krishna Ghati sector.
The soldier has been identified as Naik Ravi Ranjan Kumar Singh, 36, a resident of Rohtas district in Bihar.
Paying tribute to the braveheart, Indian Army's Northern Command tweeted, "#LtGenRanbirSingh, #ArmyCdrNC and all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of Naik Ravi Ranjan Kumar Singh and offer deepest condolences to the family."
An official statement issued by PRO Defence reads, "He was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The Nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty."
The ceasefire violation was responded strongly and effectively by the Indian Army.
"Heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts and casualties to Pakistan soldiers have been inflicted by own troops," the statement read.
On August 17, Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa had lost his life in the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. -- ANI
17:10 HC judge withdraws observation against Christian educational institutes
Madras High Court judge Justice S Vaidyanathan on Tuesday withdrew his controversial observation that co-education in Christian institutes was "highly unsafe" for the future of girl children. The judge had made the observation recently when refusing to quash a show-cause notice issued to a Madras Christian College professor facing sexual harassment charge from at least 34 girl students pursuing third-year Zoology course at the college.
"There is a general feeling among parents of students, especially female students, that co-educational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children," Justice Vaidyanathan had said in his order dismissing the plea of Assistant Professor Samuel Tennyson.
The judge had also said that Christian missionaries always came under attack for one issue or the other. "In the present era, there are several accusations against them for indulging in compulsory conversion of people of other religions into Christianity... Though they impart good education, their preaching of morality will be a million dollar question," Justice Vaidyanathan had added.
Christian organisations, including the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council, and various sections of society had expressed concern over the observation of the Judge in the order.
When the case came up on Tuesday, a mention was made by John Jackria, counsel for the Madras Christian College, seeking withdrawal of the controversial observation. The judge, who acceded to the mention, said he was withdrawing para 32 of the order. -- PTI
17:07 'Housing for all' target to be achieved by 2020: Minister
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said the target of 'Housing for All' under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana will be achieved in 2020, two years before the deadline.
The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister said that under the PMAY(Urban), 24 lakh houses have so far been handed over to beneficiaries and the number will soon reach 50 lakh. There are 48 lakh houses which are currently grounded, but this number will also rise to 75 lakh, Puri told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
"We had decided to build one crore houses by 2022. We have already sanctioned around 84 lakh houses and I am fully confident that by the end of this year, the entire one crore houses will be sanctioned," the minister said. "We have also received additional assessment demand of constructing 12 lakh more houses...the target of 2022 will be achieved in in early 2020," he added. The minister exuded confidence that government will be able to fast track completion work of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). -- PTI
17:02 Chidambaram meets Sibal SC after anticipatory bail plea is turned down
Congress leader P Chidambaram Tuesday discussed with senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid the situation after the Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scam.
Sibal was asked by Supreme Court official to place Chidambaram's petition before Registrar (judicial) who will take call for putting it before the Chief Justice of India. Sibal met Registrar (judicial) Surya Pratap Singh and explained the situation and what could be done.
The senior lawyer told PTI that SC Registrar (judicial) has said he will inform him about development on Chidambaram's plea. Sibal, along with a team of lawyers, is currently exploring possibility of mentioning the appeal against the high court order in the Supreme Court.
The discussions are going on in the Supreme Court. The development came minutes after the high court declined interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram for approaching the Supreme Court. After the high court denied him relief, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Chidambaram, sought stay on the operation of the order for three days, which the court denied. -- PTI
16:49 Khayyam laid to rest with full state honours
Legendary music director-composer Khayyam was laid to rest with full state honours this afternoon. Mohammed Zahur 'Khayyam' Hashmi, who passed away at a hospital in Mumbai yesterday was famed for his compositions in films like 'Kabhie Kabhie' and 'Umrao Jaan' breathed his last at the age of 92 on Monday at a hospital in Mumbai.
The veteran breathed his last at 9:30 pm at the intensive care unit of Sujay Hospital in Juhu where he was in critical condition after being admitted with age-related illness a few days ago, informed Pritam Sharma, spokesperson for Khayyamji's Trust.
Tributes started to pour in as soon as news of the musician's demise came in.Calling his demise "saddening", Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to extend his heartfelt condolences and express grief over the music icon's death."India will remain grateful to Khayyam Sahab for giving us some of the most memorable compositions, which will be remembered forever. He will also be remembered for his humanitarian gestures to support upcoming artists. His demise is extremely saddening," he tweeted.
"Mahan sangeetkar Aur bahut nek dil insan Khayyam sahab aaj humare bich nahi rahe. Ye sunkar mujhe itna dukh hua hai jo main bayaa'n nahi kar sakti.Khayyam sahab ke saath sangeet ke ek yug ka anth hua hai.Main unko vinamra shraddhanjali arpan karti hun," Lata Mangeshkar tweeted.
Deeply saddened by the demise of Khayyam, music composer Salim Merchant took to his Twitter and wrote, "The Legend Khayyam saab passed away this eve at 9.28 pm. What a huge loss to the Music & Film world. I was by his side all day today with @TalatAziz2 bhai & Bina Aziz. May Allah bless his Soul. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un."
16:38 Rajiv case convict Nalini moves HC for parole extension
The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to file its reply to a plea by Nalini Sriharan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking extension of her ongoing parole by 30 days. Seeking the government's response, a bench comprising Justices M M Sundresh and M Nirmal Kumar posted a petition by Nalini to Thursday for further hearing.
The petitioner submitted that she had moved the court as the deputy inspector general of prisons, in a letter last Tuesday, had rejected her representation for extension of the leave for another 30 days, starting from Sunday.
Last month, the court had granted her 30 days ordinary leave for making arrangements for her daughter's marriage. After being released from the Vellore Central Prison on July 25, Nalini has been residing at Sathuvachari there. In her current petition, the convict said despite her "sincere efforts", she was not able to complete the arrangements for the marriage of her daughter within the leave period.
Lodged in prison for over 27 years, Nalini had originally sought a six-month leave to make arrangements for her daughter's marriage. During the hearing of Nalini's leave plea, the public prosecutor had submitted in the court that the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules provides for a maximum period of 30 days as ordinary leave (parole) for a convict at a point of time and hence, the court can consider granting leave within the maximum limit.
In its order, the court had noted that Rule 22 speaks about extension of 30 days' leave, but it can be exercised only after the initial grant.
Mumbai court awards eight years' rigorous imprisonment to gangster Chhota Rajan, five others in 2012 attempt to murder case.
15:44 Mood should remain positive, says RBI governor
Amid the challenges facing the Indian economy, Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday stressed the importance of "sentiment" and "mood", which he said were not sufficiently "positive" and "optimistic".
"The mood today ranges from existential angst to a positive attitude," said Das at FIBAC, a banking sector conclave organized by the Indian Banks' Association and industry body, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Read his speech in full here
15:41 RSS-BJP's real target is social justice: Priyanka
In the backdrop of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's remarks on reservation, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday alleged that the Modi government was throttling pro-people laws and the "real target" of the RSS-BJP was social justice.
"The confidence of the RSS is high and intentions are dangerous. At a time when the BJP government is throttling pro-people laws, the RSS has also raised the issue of debate on reservation," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Debate is just an excuse, the real target of the RSS-BJP is social justice," she said. "Will you allow this to happen," the Congress general secretary asked the people of the country.
On Sunday, Bhagwat had said there should be a conversation in a harmonious atmosphere between those in favour of reservation and those against it. A day later, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh dismissed the row over its chief's remarks on quota as "unnecessary" and asserted that Bhagwat had merely highlighted the importance of resolving all issues in the society through a cordial dialogue while asking everyone to exchange views on a sensitive issue like reservation. -- PTI
15:21 How India will consume in 2030: 10 mega trends
India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. By 2030, it is on course to witness a 4x growth in consumer spend. It will remain one of the youngest nations on the planet and will be home to more than one billion internet users. The new Indian consumer will be richer and more willing to spend, and unlike her predecessors, she will have very specific preferences.
The following 10 mega trends for India in 2030 can help businesses and policy leaders envision the India of the future. The trends draw upon the research and consumer survey conducted by the World Economic Forum and Bain for the Insight Report on the "Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Markets: India'. Read the report here
15:17 Chidambaram's anticipatory bail pleas dismissed
The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scandal. Justice Sunil Gaur denied relief to Chidambaram. CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. The ED had in 2018 lodged the money laundering case in this regard. PTI
15:14 IAF cautious, alert to Pak threats: Dhanoa
Amid tensions between India and Pakistan over the revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Tuesday said that the Air Force is "cautious and alert" to face any eventuality on the border.
"We have seen their deployment. Indian Air Force is always cautious. We are responsible for air defence and we are always alert," Dhanoa told media persons in New Delhi when asked about the situation at the Indo-Pak border.
He said that the Air Force is prepared "not only when any enemy fighter comes in but we also keep an eye on civilian aircraft so that incidents like Purulia airdrop do not happen".
Indian and Pakistani forces have exchanged heavy fire several times after the government repealed Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
There were also reports of military movement along the Line of Control in Pakistan. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had last week termed the movement as "normal".
"Everybody took precautionary deployments and movement of precautionary resources and one should not be too concerned about them as they were normal," Rawat had said.
Pakistan Prime Minister had earlier this month threatened India, saying "incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again and that Pakistan will fight till the last drop of blood if a war ensues". -- ANI
15:00 Gangster Chhota Rajan convicted in attempt-to-murder case
A special in Mumbai convicted gangster Chhota Rajan and five others on Tuesday in a 2012 attempt-to-murder and extortion case lodged against them by a Mumbai hotelier.
Arguments on the quantum of punishment will be held later in the day. Special court judge A T Wankhede convicted the six under various sections of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case of hotelier B R Shetty, who was shot at in suburban Andheri when he was going to meet his friend. Rajan is currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi after his deportation to India following his arrest in Indonesia in October 2015. PTI
14:57 CM visits rain-ravaged areas of Uttarkashi
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday visited the rain-ravaged Mori block of Uttarkashi to take stock of relief and rescue operations even as the death toll in rain-related incidents in the district rose to 13.
Search and rescue teams of the State Disaster Response Force found one more body in Makudi village. The body was identified as that of 60-year-old Lal Bahadur who hailed originally from Nepal, the SDRF said. Four others are still missing, it said.
Makudi is the worst-hit among the six villages where heavy rains caused a number of houses to collapse early on Sunday. So far seven bodies have been recovered from Makudi, four from Arakot and one each from Tikochi and Sanel.
The chief minister, who had sent his ministers to the disaster-hit areas of Uttarkashi on Monday, himself visited the affected areas on Tuesday for a first hand assessment of the situation. He also went to places where affected people have been put up temporarily and assured them of all possible help from the government, an official spokesman said.
IAF helicopters have taken food packets, blankets, medicines and clean drinking water to the affected people, official sources in Dehradun said. The rescue teams have left Arakot where a base camp was set up on Monday for Tikoch, Dochang, Makudi and Chiva whereas a medical team has also been ferried by a helicopter to the affected areas, they said.
The SDRF is putting up food camps in affected areas and alternative roads are being built in areas where roads are blocked by rubble of landslides.An alternative bridge is also being built in Chiva by SDRF personnel. -- PTI
14:52 PM hails ISRO for successful entry of Chandrayaan-2 into lunar orbit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated ISRO for Chandrayaan-2 successfully entering the lunar orbit, saying it is an important step in the landmark journey to the Moon. The Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre was completed successfully at 9.02 am as planned, using the on board propulsion system, India's space agency said in a statement. "Congratulations to Team @isro on #Chandrayaan2 entering the Moon's orbit. This is an important step in the landmark journey to the Moon," Modi tweeted. -- PTI
14:51 BJP top brass holds meeting with in-charges of poll-bound states
Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, BJP Working President JP Nadda, and BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santosh on Tuesday held a meeting with election in-charges of the states of Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Delhi.Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand are slated for later this year. Polls in Delhi are scheduled to take place in February next year.
After the last assembly elections, BJP sprung to power in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand whereas in Delhi the party was routed with only three candidates managing to score a victory out of total 70 seats. -- ANI
14:40 BJP MLA demands change of Nizamabad's name to 'Indur'
BJP lawmaker from Telangana's Nizamabad, Dharmapuri Arvind, has demanded that the name of the district be changed to Indur, claiming that the present one is "in-auspicious".
"People of the district are demanding to change the name of Nizamabad to Indur. People feel that the Nizamabad name is inauspicious for the district. People's sentiments are connected with Indur as it is related to Hindus and India. People are saying that changing the name will change the fate of the district," Arvind told ANI.
He also claimed that the actual name of Nizamabad district was Indur before 1905 and the same should be restored."The name was changed by Nizam in 1905 and he started a dam and factory here. There is no water in the dam since many years and the factory is also closed. The people are waiting for the correct time to change the name. I also want to see the sentiment of my constituency's residents is respected", the BJP lawmaker stated.
Endorsing his demands, Telangana BJP legislator from Goshamahal assembly constituency, Raja Singh said, "I welcome his statement as the name of Indur was changed to Nizamabad during Nizam's rule."
He also stated that not only Nizamabad but they will change the names of all districts which were altered by the Nizam during his rule."We will also include this in our manifesto in upcoming elections", Singh said.
14:08 Pak Army opens fire at villages at LoC in Poonch
The Pakistan Army on Tuesday targeted forward posts and villages along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir with mortars and firing from small arms, a defence spokesman said.
The firing from across the border in Krishna Ghati sector started around 1100 hours, drawing response from the Indian Army, the spokesman said.
He said the cross-border firing between the two sides was going on when last reports came in. However, there was no immediate report of any casualty in the Pakistani firing.
Last week, the Pakistan Army had opened fire in Nowshera sector of nearby Rajouri district leaving an Indian soldier dead. Pakistan also suffered a number of casualties in the retaliatory action, the spokesman said. -- PTI
14:00 Students flock to schools, life returning back on track in Jammu
After a few days of restrictions imposed post the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the state is getting back to normalcy as students here flocked to schools in large numbers on Tuesday.
"The schools here were shut for a few days but they have been re-opened now and I am really happy. While the schools remained closed, we completed the leftover syllabus at our home only. Now we will continue with the syllabus here in school," said a student while speaking to ANI.
"We are now covering up the left-over syllabus in school as our studies were hampered due to the restrictions imposed in the state. All other activities have started running smoothly in our school and everything is going well now," Neetu Kaur, a student told ANI.
According to the teachers, students are picking up the syllabus really fast and the faculty members are trying their best to fill up the gap in the syllabus.
"We'll try to cover up the syllabus as soon as possible. Classes are running regularly and on time. The strength of students is very satisfactory. We will conduct extra classes to cover up the syllabus if needed and we will give extra time and efforts to do so," a teacher told ANI.
Primary schools also re-opened in Srinagar and Rajouri districts on Monday, weeks after they were shut following the repeal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the high schools, higher secondary schools, and degree colleges will remain closed in Srinagar.
The government had on Sunday said that as many as 190 primary schools would be re-opened in Srinagar alone.The government has said that it would ease and lift the restrictions in a phased manner in Jammu and Kashmir.
13:53 Samsung eyes 65% share of India's smartphone mkt
Tech giant Samsung on Tuesday said it is confident of cornering 65 per cent market share in the premium smartphone segment (Rs 30,000 and above) with the launch of its flagship Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ in India.
The company, which competes with the likes of OnePlus and Apple, in this segment, said in the first half of 2019 (January-June), its market share was at 63 per cent in value terms in the premium category (as per GfK data).
"We had 52 per cent value market share in the premium segment in 2018. This rose to 63 per cent in H1 2019," Samsung India Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing, Mobile Business Ranjivjit Singh told PTI.
He added that by the year-end, the company is confident of expanding this share further to 65 per cent and above. "The premium category, estimated to be about Rs 15,000-20,000 crore, is growing at about 9-10 per cent. We are growing at strong double digits and expect to grow at over 20 per cent," he said.
Apart from the Note series, the company's lineup in the premium category includes Samsung Galaxy S series and A80. He said the Note 10 series has powerful flagship devices that will take the productivity and creativity of millennial users to the next level.
"For the first time ever, Galaxy Note10 comes in two sizes, so consumers can find the Note that's best for them. It has an enhanced S Pen that converts handwriting to digital text, and enhanced Samsung DeX for PC and link to Windows for all meeting productivity needs of the customers," Singh added. -- PTI
13:32 Rajnath chants swadeshi mantra for IAF
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that in order to modernize the Indian Air Force there is a need to develop indigenous technology in the defense sector and reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers.
While speaking at the seminar on 'Modernization and Indigenization Plans of Indian Air Force' in New Delhi, the Union Minister said, "There is a sizeable dependency on foreign equipment manufacturers for their subsystems and components. The need of the hour, therefore, is to progressively reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers and develop comprehensive capabilities ourselves."
He also stated that the defense firms of the country have a huge opportunity in contributing to the domestic market in addition to the exports. Singh also voiced Centre's desire to encourage private industry investment in the defense sector.
"For the participation of Indian companies in the defense sector, a slew of measures have been put in place for the investment by private players. Up to 49 per cent of investment is allowed through automatic route and 100 per cent via government route on case to case basis.
"Also, a number of policies have been introduced for the development of defense infrastructure and promote indigenous development. In pursuit of Make In India, M&M is the most preferred category for procurement and it is expected to promote indigenously designed products to bring significant development in defense, research and development," he added.
"We have just approved the proposal for providing test facilities of government entities to the private defense sector. A formal order on the same will soon be issued. This has removed various bottlenecks which used to come in way of using test facilities by private entities," Singh further stated.
The Union Home Minister also urged the original equipment manufacturers to establish manufacturing facilities for their products in India and invest in the country through Foreign Direct Investment, joint ventures or via defense offset route. -- ANI
Pakistan violated ceasefire in Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch at about 11 am today. Indian Army retaliating.
13:18 K'taka cabinet expansion: 17 ministers take oath of office
Update: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday expanded his cabinet for the first time since assuming office three weeks ago, inducting 17 ministers including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar.
Among others who took the oath of office and secrecy, administered by the Governor at the Raj Bhavan, were K S Eashwarappa, Govind Makthappa Karajol, C T Ravi, Basavaraj Bommai, Dr Ashwath Narayan C N, Laxman Sangappa Savadi, B Sreeramulu, S Suresh Kumar, V Somanna, Kota Shrinivas Poojari, J C Madhu Swamy, Chandrakantagouda Channappagouda Patil, H Ganesh, Prabhu Chauhan and Jolle Shashikala Annasaheb.
Srinivas Poojari, Member of Legislative Council, also took oath as Cabinet minister today.
For the last three weeks, Yediyurappa was the sole member of his council of ministers.In a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala on Monday, the Chief Minister, who drew Opposition's criticism for the delay in cabinet expansion proposed 17 names including former deputy chief ministers R Ashok and KS Eshwarappa.In the cabinet expansion, 50 per cent of ministers belong to the dominant Lingayat community.
Yediyurappa himself hails from the community. He took oath as Chief Minister on July 26 following the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. -- PTI
13:11 Trends of intolerance, disharmony can damage polity: Manmohan
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said "unpleasant trends" of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, and incidents of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups will damage our polity. Remembering former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, he said these trends are repugnant to promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony, which are cherished objectives enshrined in our Constitution.
"All of us need to reflect on how we can contribute to arresting these trends," he said. "We must continue our journey on the path shown by Rajiv ji by imbibing these words of Rajiv ji," Singh said. -- PTI
13:05 Heart nearly stopped: ISRO chief on lunar orbit
"Our heart was almost stopping", was how ISRO Chairman K Sivan described the tense moments when team Chadrayaan-2 attempted to inject the spacecraft into the lunar orbit on Tuesday. As ISRO scientists started firing Chandrayaan-2's onboard liquid engine to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon, Sivan said, "our heartbeat increased".
"For 30 minutes, our heart was almost stopping," he said after the Lunar Orbit Insertion maneuver was completed successfully at 0902 hours as planned, using the onboard propulsion system.
But Sivan said the proposed soft-landing on the Moon on September 7 is going to be a "terrifying" moment as it is something ISRO has not done before, whereas LOI maneuver had been carried out successfully during the Chandrayaan-1 mission also. "Now the tension has only increased, not reduced," he said while addressing a press conference. PTI
13:00 No fresh rainfall in flood-ravaged Punjab today
No fresh spell of rainfall was reported on Tuesday morning in Punjab and Haryana, though a flood-like situation prevailed in many parts of both the states after heavy rains over the past few days. Although the water-level has started receding in some of the affected areas, many villages in Ludhiana, Rupnagar and Jalandhar remained inundated because of breaches in earthen dams of the Sutlej river. There was no report of rainfall on Tuesday morning in any part of Punjab and Haryana. The weather was clear in most parts of both the states, an official of the Meteorological Department said today.
Following heavy rains in past few days and release of excess water from the Bhakra Dam, the swollen Sutlej river and its tributaries had inundated villages in several areas, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Rupnagar, causing extensive damage to crops, especially paddy, and houses in low-lying areas. Rescue operations were being carried out in the affected villages by teams of the National Disaster Relief Force, State Disaster Relief Force, which were assisted by district authorities in the affected areas, officials said.
In Jalandhar, the deputy commissioner along with senior superintendent of police took stock of the situation on Tuesday morning in Mandala village where people were being rescued with the help of the NDRF, they said, adding that boats were pressed into service to evacuate villagers from flood-hit areas. Due to breaches in earthen dams of the Sutlej river, Phillaur, Shahkot and Lohian Khas in Jalandhar were flooded. District authorities in the affected areas have set up relief camps in order to evacuate stranded villagers to safer places, the officials said. They said all arrangements, including food and water, have been made there. On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had announced Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures. The state government had also declared the flood situation in the affected villages as a natural calamity. The Bhakra Beas Management Board authorities on Monday had decided to increase the release of excess water through spillway gates from 19,000 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs after water level in the Bhakra Dam crossed its permissible limit of 1,680 feet.
Image: National Disaster Response Force and Punjab Police teams carry out rescue operations in the flood-hit village of Bholewal in Jalandhar district of Punjab.
12:47 Visa fees to India undergoes 'seasonal' change
India introduced a flexible e-tourist visa regime based on tourist footfall, with higher fee for July to March peak season and a considerably lower fee if the visit to the country falls during April to June lean period.
Speaking at the inauguration of a meeting with state government representatives on tourism on Tuesday, minister Prahlad Patel said the move was to encourage tourists to visit India.
"India to offer 30-day e-tourist visa with USD 10 fee during lean period April to June and USD 25 fee during peak tourism period from July to March," he said. A new five-year e-tourist visa will be introduced with USD 80 fee and a one year e-tourist visa with USD 40 fee, Patel said. "For Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, lean period visa fees is USD 10 and for e-visa of 30 days, 1 year and 5 years is USD 25," he said. -- PTI
12:46 SC to hear Facebook's plea for transfer of cases on Aadhar linking
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea of Facebook Inc for transfer of cases related to demands for linking of social media profiles of users with Aadhaar number, pending before the high courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh to the apex court.
The top court issued notice to the Centre, Google, Twitter, YouTube and others and sought their response by September 13.
A bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the notices to the unserved parties should be sent through e-mail. The bench said the hearing in cases related to linkage of social media use profiles with Aadhaar pending before the Madras High Court will continue but no final order will be passed.
Facebook Inc had said that it cannot share the Aadhaar number with a third party as the content on its instant messaging Whatsapp was end-to-end encrypted and even they do not have access to it. PTI
12:19 Two dead, several feared trapped in Chhattisgarh coal mine
Two workers were killed and a few others were feared trapped after a part of Jhilimili coal mines in Koriya district caved in on Tuesday. Police teams are present at the spot and rescue operation is underway. The debris is being removed in an effort to rescue the trapped workers. Officials and workers of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd have also reached the place of incident and are assisting in the rescue operations. More details awaited. - ANI
12:17 Remembering Rajiv Gandhi
Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and LK Advani, pay tribute to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary in the Parliament house. Subramanian Swamy, Ghulam Nabi Azad and other MPs also paid tribute.
12:10 Heard of caterpillar fungus? Chinese value it more than gold
Three Bhutan nationals were nabbed from India-Bhutan border town of Jaigaon in West Bengal's Alipurduar district and five kg "Keeda Jadi" or caterpillar fungus worth Rs 1 crore in the international market seized from them, a senior SSB officer said on Tuesday.
"Keeda Jadi", also called "Himalayan viagra", is a fungus that grows as a parasite on a species of caterpillar found only in certain regions of the Himalayan range. It is worth more than gold in China for its claimed medicinal benefits such as curing cancer, slowing ageing process and working as an aphrodisiac.
"Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) and forest officers of Hamiltonganj range nabbed Thimpu residents Chorten Namgyal, Dorjee Kheyang and Khombu Dorjee from Jaigaon on Monday night and seized 'Keeda Jadi' worth Rs 1 crore," SSB 53rd battalion commandant Arvind Kumar said. Kumar said the nabbed Bhutan nationals and the seized caterpillar fungus were handed over to the forest officials.
12:05 Water level in Yamuna rises even further
The Yamuna river in Delhi continued to swell on Tuesday and was flowing above the danger level, an official said. The river was flowing at 206 metres at 11 am. On Monday, the river breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres, the official said. More than 10,000 people living in low-lying areas along the Yamuna in the city were evacuated by government agencies as the river breached the danger mark on Monday evening.
In 1978, the water in the river had risen to its highest-ever level of 207.49 metres, causing a devastating flood in the national capital.
In view of the rising level of water, authorities in Delhi have shut the Old Iron Yamuna Bride for vehicular and rail traffic. On Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the water level in the river is likely to rise further with more discharge from the Hathnikund barrage by neighbouring Haryana. People living in the floodplain of the river have been moved to over 22,000 tents set up by various Delhi government agencies at safer places. -- PTI
12:03 Israel PM's wife demands to enter cockpit after missing welcome
The wife of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to enter a plane's cockpit in a fury after the pilot failed to welcome her in a loudspeaker announcement, reports say. Sara Netanyahu, who admitted earlier this year to misusing public funds, left her seat and angrily demanded to see the pilot, but was stopped by security guards on Sunday's flight to Ukraine, the Independent reported.
Following the incident, the captain reportedly made another loudspeaker announcement to welcome the 60-year-old, who is accompanying her husband on a trip to Kiev. Read the full report here
11:49 Jaishankar pays respects to Bangladesh's founding father
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday paid respects to Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhaka.
Jaishankar arrived in Bangladesh on Monday on a two-day visit. This is his first visit to Bangladesh after taking over the charge of External Affairs Minister.
"Deeply moved by the visit to Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. Paid respects to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation," Jaishankar tweeted.
The Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi area of Bangladesh's capital city was the personal residence of Mujibur Rahman where he was assassinated along with most of his family members in 1975.
His daughters -- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana -- survived as they were abroad at that time.
Jaishankar's visit to Bangladesh is the second high ministerial interaction between the two sides in less than a month. Earlier on August 7-8, Bangladesh's Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan held a bilateral meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. -- PTI
11:34 Zakir Naik banned from making public speeches in Malaysia
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been banned from giving pubic speeches anywhere in Malaysia, police said late night on Monday.
Authorities have been questioning Naik from last two days over his intent to provoke a peace breach by allegedly making remarks against Hindus and Chinese residing in Muslim-majority nation.
Naik, who is wanted in India, was granted permanent residency in Malaysia by the previous government. He is living in the country from the last three years.
Malaysia police have confirmed the ban, reported local media. The police said that the ban was imposed in the "interest of national security".
Recently, in response to calls for his own deportation, Naik -- during a religious talk titled "Executive Talk Bersama Dr Zakir Naik" -- had asked the Malaysian Chinese to "go back" first as they were the "old guests" of the country.
His speech at the same venue was also condemned by many parties after he compared the Hindus in Malaysia with Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights as compared to Muslims in India."We will need to take action to prevent him from making such speeches, which tend to pit races against each other," Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad had said on Friday.
On being asked whether Naik should issue a public apology for his statement, Mahathir said that he does not think the move would appease the public."I don't know about demanding a public apology. I don't think it will assuage the anger of many people," said Mahathir.
Mahathir had recently said that his country has the right not to extradite Naik, for similar reasons that Australia had turned down his country's request to extradite Sirul Azhar Umar in 2015. He also said that Naik believes that he would not be accorded justice in India.Muslims make up about 60 per cent of its 32 million people in Malaysia. The rest are mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Hindus.-- ANI
11:26 Maha: 8-yr-old boy gets stuck in lift, rescued
An eight-year-old boy was injured after his leg got stuck between the doors of an elevator at a residential building in Maharashtra's Thane city, an official said on Tuesday. He was later rescued by a fire brigade team and rushed to a hospital, regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said. The incident took place in the building located on the Eastern Express Highway in Thane on Monday evening when Ved Yevle, who was wearing his skating shoes, was returning home after playing with other children, he said.
As the boy stepped into the elevator, one of his legs got stuck between its doors when the lift was on the second floor, he said. When the boy raised an alarm, some residents immediately stopped the lift and called the fire brigade. The rescue team rushed to the spot and pulled out the boy from the elevator after about half-an-hour, Kadam said. The boy, who received injuries in his leg, was later admitted to a hospital where is condition was reported to be out of danger, he added. -- PTI
11:21 Ayodhya case: 'Temple destroyed to build mosque'
The Hindu temple in Ayodhya was destroyed to construct a mosque at the disputed site, said advocate for Ram Lalla Virajman, one of the parties in the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, on Tuesday while referring to an ASI report.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the deity, told the court that the ASI's report refers to figures of crocodiles and tortoise, which were alien to the Muslim culture.
The submissions were made during the eighth day hearing in the case before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The senior advocate is referring to other archaeological evidences from the ASI's report to buttress claims that the disputed area had a Hindu temple.
The hearing is underway before the bench also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer. -- PTI
10:58 Swearing-in of Karnataka cabinet begins
Karnataka cabinet is being sworn in. KS Eshwarappa (pictured), takes oath as Karnataka Cabinet Minister, in Bengaluru, followed by CN Ashwath Narayan and Govind M Karjol.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa received the go-ahead from BJP national president Amit Shah to undertake the exercise today. "The BJP legislative party meeting will be held on Tuesday 10 am at the Conference Hall, Vidhana Soudha. And the cabinet expansion will take place on the same day post noon," Yediyurappa tweeted yesterday. The chief minister further tweeted that mostly all the new ministers will be sworn in by noon on Tuesday.
News agency PTI had said that there was a possibility that 13 ministers would take the oath Tuesday against the approved strength of 34 and that the rest of the positions would be filled later.
10:49 Para-teachers should take classes instead of agitating: CM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has hit out at para-teachers for launching agitations demanding salary hike, instead of taking classes. Para-teachers, contractual educators in government and government-aided schools of the state, had recently staged a protest in Nadia's Kalyani demanding pay hike, following which they were allegedly caned by the police.
"Para-teachers should know, I have great respect for you. You educate the young generation. But should you stop taking classes for joining agitations and wear black badges?" Banerjee said at an administrative meeting in Howrah on Monday.
Mentioning that the para-teachers had been recruited by the previous Left Front regime, Banerjee claimed that after coming to power, her government had effected a substantial rise in their salary. "While they (para-teachers) were getting Rs 4,000 in 2011-2012, we increased it to more than double in 2018. Now just a year has passed and they are demanding another hike", she said. She regretted that para-teachers are even threatening to call a strike. Banerjee also announced regularisation of services of part-time and whole-time contractual college teachers. -- PTI
10:21 Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters lunar orbit
One more step closer to the moon.
India's Moon Mission, Chandrayaan-2 has successfully entered the lunar orbit today after nearly 30 days of journey in space. ISRO said today, "Lunar Orbit Insertion maneuver was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019) at 0902 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of maneuver was 1738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km."
Yesterday, ISRO Chairman K Sivan had called the step "challenging'. Lunar Orbit Insertion is believed to be one of the trickiest operations in the mission because if the satellite approaches the moon at a higher-than-expected velocity it will bounce off and get lost in deep space. But if it approached at a slow velocity, the Moon's gravity would pull the Chandrayaan-2 and it might crash into the surface.
If Chandrayaan-2 is successful, India will be the fourth country to soft land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, US and China. The last nation to attempt a soft landing on the moon, Israel, failed in its attempt earlier this year.
10:07 North India reels under floods
Updates on the floods in north India:
-- Uttarakhand: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is conducting a search and rescue operation in Tikochi and Arakot in Uttarkashi district on the banks of river Tons, following cloudburst in the area. One body recovered, 4 vehicles feared trapped under debris. (Pictured alongside)
-- An Indian Air Force chopper has taken off from Jollygrant for Mori block in Uttarkashi carrying food material.
-- In Himachal Pradesh: National Highway 3 (Manali-Leh) is blocked after a landslide occurred in Marhi near Rohtang, Kullu district. An oil tanker got stuck under a boulder following the landslide.
10:01 Rupee slips 23 paise to 71.66 vs USD in early trade
The rupee opened on a weak note and fell 23 paise to 71.66 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday amid rising crude oil prices and unabated foreign fund outflows.
On Monday, the rupee had tumbled 29 paise to close at an over six-month low of 71.43 against the US dollar amid growing worries over economic slump.
Forex traders said investors are awaiting government intervention to revive the slowing economy. There are expectations that the government would come out with sector-specific stimulus sometime soon. -- PTI
09:55 Delhi on alert as Yamuna crosses danger mark
The water level in the Yamuna river this morning crossed the "danger mark" as Haryana released more water from the Hathni Kund barrage. The river was flowing at 205.94 meters, 0.61 meters above the "danger mark" of 205.33 meters. The water level is expected to rise further as Haryana released 1.43 lakh cusec water on Monday evening.
The Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had chaired a high-level meeting of Cabinet ministers and officers of concerned departments to take stock of preparedness for any situation arising out of incoming excess water in the river.
After the meeting, he urged the people living on the Yamuna floodplains and low-lying areas to move to safer places.
As a precautionary measure, vehicular movement on 'Loha Pul', an old iron bridge over the river connecting East Delhi to Old Delhi, was closed in view of the increasing water level.
The Yamuna level is expectedly going to rise to 207 metres due to the latest discharge from the barrage as the highest amount of water -- 8,28,000 cusec -- was released in the history of Hathni Kund barrage on Sunday.
The Delhi government has set up 2120 tents for 23860 people who are expected to be affected due to the excess water resulting in Yamuna's overflow. -- ANI
09:39 Karnataka cabinet expansion: 17 ministers to take oath at 10.30 am
After forming the government on July 26 following the collapse of Congress-JD-S coalition, 17 ministers will take an oath of office at 10.30 am in the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's cabinet.
The CM, who drew Opposition's criticism for the delay in cabinet expansion, proposed names of 17 MLAs including K S Eshwarappa, Jagdish Shettar, C T Ravi and Basavaraj Bommai to Governor Vajubhai Vala on Monday.
MLAs including Govind Makthappa Karajol, Dr Ashwath Narayan C N, Laxman Sangappa Savadi, R Ashoka, B Sreeramulu, S Suresh Kumar, V Somanna, Kota Shrinivas Poojari, J C Madhu Swamy, Chandrakantagouda Channappagouda Patil, H Ganesh, Prabhu Chauhan and Jolle Shashikala Annasaheb will take oath today at Raj Bhavan.
09:23 Tough situation: Trump on calls with Modi, Imran
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to work towards reducing tensions in the region over Kashmir, describing the situation as "tough".
Trump asked Khan over phone on Monday to "moderate rhetoric" with India, soon after a 30-minute conversation with Modi, during which the Indian leader raised the issue of "extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence" by leaders of Pakistan.
"Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir," the US president said in a tweet.
"A tough situation, but good conversations!" he said.
Earlier this month, India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated the state into Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.
Continuing with his tirade against India over the Kashmir issue, Khan on Sunday called the Indian government "fascist" and "supremacist", alleging that it poses a threat to Pakistan as well as to the minorities in India.
Welcoming Trump's call to Modi and Khan, New York-based Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra said the US president, speaking for all Americans, essentially told "our dear friends" in the subcontinent to live terror-free, be good neighbours and give their citizens a better tomorrow with law and order.
"While speech is free and protected, hate-speech weaponises the citizenry, and leads to insurrection and civil unrest. America has had a love affair with India and Pakistan. It's time for a belated honeymoon on the subcontinent, even 73 years late," Batra said.
09:00 Uttarakhand to receive heavy rainfall for next 3 days: IMD
The India Meteorological Department on Tuesday said that heavy rainfall will continue to batter isolated places of Uttarakhand for the next three days.
In capital city Dehradun, the sky will generally be cloudy with minimum and maximum temperatures hovering around 24 degree Celsius and 32 degree Celsius.
It should be noted that flash floods in Mori region of Uttarakhand have wreaked havoc with several hundred hectares of agricultural land damaged along with dozens of cattle likely dead.
Apart from Uttarakhand, heavy rainfall is likely over Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Kerala for the next two days.
Strong winds, speed reaching 45-55 kmph, are very likely to prevail over southwest Bay of Bengal. The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into these areas for the next few days.
08:44 MP CM's nephew arrested in Rs 354-cr bank fraud
Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, was arrested this morning by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged Rs 354 crore bank fraud.
Ratul Puri is a former senior executive of electronics firm Moser Baer. He and four directors have been charged by the CBI in a complaint filed by state-run Central Bank of India, which alleged that the company had taken loans from various banks since 2009 and misused the money. The company's directors are accused of forging documents to extract funds and cheating the Central Bank of Rs 354 crore.
The CBI had filed a First Information Report in the alleged bank fraud case and had raided six locations on Monday.
Those charged include the company Moser Baer, its managing director Deepak Puri, and directors Nita Puri, Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma.
Moser Baer was involved in the manufacture of digital data storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices. The company shut down last year.
Puri has been the subject of a number of separate investigations in recent months ranging from tax fraud to the AgustaWestland chopper scam involving allegations of bribe to facilitate a Rs 3,600 crore deal for a dozen luxury helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders in 2007, when the Congress-led UPA-1 was in power. He maintains that he is innocent.
Yesterday, he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Agusta case and then told that he was being arrested in the bank fraud case.
The probe agency had told a Delhi court on Monday that Mr Puri has been evading investigation into an alleged money laundering case involving the chopper deal.
On Saturday last, Puri told a Delhi court he was willing to join the probe into the chopper scam, while seeking cancellation of a non-bailable warrant.
08:19 Remembering Rajiv
Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and her children -- Priyanka and Rahul -- along with Robert Vadra and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pay tributes to former PM Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary.
PM Narendra Modi also took to Twitter on the occasion and wrote, "Tributes to our former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary."
07:47 Crucial manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 today
In a significant milestone for India's Moon mission, ISRO will fire Chandrayaan2's liquid engine today o insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit.
"It's challenging," Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan said on the operation to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon.
Following this, there will be further four orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from Moon's surface, ISRO has said.
Subsequently, the Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency.
Two orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, ISRO said.
Chandrayaan-2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.
The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru.
All systems on board Chandrayaan2 spacecraft are performing normal, ISRO said on August 14.
According to ISRO, Chandrayaan2 India's second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored region of the Moon, its South Pole.
"This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface," the space agency has said.
00:22 Priyanka takes dig at Modi govt over RSS tweet
Taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party government, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday said either Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his dispensation no longer respect Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's views that all issues should be resolved through 'cordial dialogue' or they do not believe there is an 'issue' in Jammu and Kashmir.
She cited an RSS tweet mentioning that all issues in society should be resolved through cordial dialogue to attack the government over its actions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir was placed under an unprecedented security cover and curfew-like restrictions on August 4, a day before the Centre revoked the state's special status under Article 370 and divided it into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
'So the RSS has declared in a tweet that all 'issues in the society' should be resolved through cordial dialogue?' the Congress general secretary said in a tweet.
'I suppose either Modiji and his government no longer respect the RSS's views or they don't believe that there is an 'issue' in Jammu and Kashmir. Interesting... ,' Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.
The tweet by the RSS that Priyanka Gandhi cited was of a statement by RSS 'prachar pramukh' (publicity head) Arun Kumar on the organisation's chief Mohan Bhagwat's remarks on reservation.
Kumar said in the statement that Bhagwat highlighted the importance of resolving all issues in society through cordial dialogue and had called upon everyone to exchange views on a sensitive issue like reservation, he added. -- PTI