Thu, 23 September 2021
Don't promote Paan Masala: NGO to Amitabh Bachchan

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23:22   'Rivaldo' can't be brought back to camp: Madras High Court
The Madras High Court on Thursday rejected a plea from an animal activist to bring 'Rivaldo', the elephant with serious injuries in its trunk, which was left in the wild two months ago, back to captivity.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu expressed its declination, when the PIL from S Muralidharan, founder-trustee of Indian Centre for Animal Rights and Education (INCARE), came up for further hearing, today.

The bench said the laws of nature may be cruel, but it may still be beyond human intelligence. There is a rule of the survival of the fittest and though endangered animals are sometimes taken into captivity to protect or feed them, animals are best left in the wild.

"For all we know, Rivaldo may be the first case in the country of an elephant kept in captivity for a long period of time for its treatment and released back into the wild. There is no doubt that Rivaldo would face difficulties in the wild. But one cannot be sure that Rivaldo prefers captivity than being left open in the wild and he may yet make attempts to make forays into human settlements; but he should always be encouraged to go back to the wild unless it is a question of his survival," the bench said.

In this case, there is no doubt that the petitioner has the best interest of the pachyderm in mind. There is also little doubt that the petitioner has feelings for animals and urges the court to take the elephant back into captivity so that he may survive longer than he may otherwise in the wild.

At the same time, the forest officials' expertise has also to be taken into account as they say that it is better for Rivaldo to acclimatise himself and ultimately learn to live with his deficiencies in the wild. The court has to yield to the greater expertise of the forest officials in such regard. At any rate, it does not appear that the authorities have no concern for the animal, or are attempting to shirk responsibility, or the view taken is arbitrary, the bench added.

The matter will appear eight weeks hence, the bench said and hoped that Rivaldo gets used to the life in the wild, though there is no doubt that the forest officials will keep a watch over him, as may the petitioner herein, in accordance with law. A further video on how Rivaldo is doing in the wild and managing his affairs should be presented when the matter appears next, focusing on his ability to graze, forage and drink. It would be best if the date or dates of the footage are apparent from the video itself, the judges added and posted the matter to December 7.

Meanwhile, the petitioner has also expressed apprehension that while the attention remains focused on Rivaldo, elephant corridors that had been restored pursuant to orders of this court are being permitted to be encroached once again.

"The forest officials should ensure that the elephant corridors are left free from human interference," the bench reiterated.
ANI Photo/Twitter
ANI Photo/Twitter
22:52   CDS Gen Rawat attends SCO military exercise in Russia
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has witnessed a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia's Orenburg region that has been organised under the aegis of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

India has sent a team of 200 personnel for the nearly-two-week-long "Exercise Peaceful Mission" that began on September 13.

Gen. Rawat is on a two-day visit to Russia and he attended the conference of the Chiefs of General Staff of the SCO member states in Orenburg.

"General Bipin Rawat #CDS witnessed the final validation exercise of Multi Nation Exercise #PeacefulMission2021 of #SCO Nations at Orenburg," the Army said in a tweet.

The exercise provided an opportunity to the armed forces of the SCO nations to train in counter-terrorism operations in an urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment, officials said.

The scope of the exercise included professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, establishment of joint command-and-control structures and elimination of terrorist threats, they added.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.
22:39   Don't promote Paan Masala: NGO to Amitabh Bachchan
The National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), an NGO, on Thursday appealed actor Amitabh Bachchan not to be part of advertisements which promote Paan Masala brands.

NOTE president Dr Shekhar Salkar said in an open letter that the actor should withdraw from "surrogate" Paan Masala (scented tobacco mix) advertisements and support the cause of anti-tobacco movement.

Medical research has shown that tobacco and Paan Masala consumption aggravates the risk of cancer, heart ailments and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, he said.

The actor's spokespersons were not available for comment.
21:35   BSP MLA Ansari fear poisoning in jail, asks for high-level security
BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari on Thursday requested a court to grant him a high-level security, fearing that he may be poisoned in the jail as the government is "unhappy" with him.

The BSP MLA is currently lodged in a Banda jail.

Ansari, according to his lawyer Randhir Singh Suman, made the request during a hearing through video-conferencing.

"The state government is unhappy with me. It can happen that I may be given poison in food," Ansari said, adding that if he is given a high-level security, his fear will end.

Mukhtar's lawyer Suman has given an application, demanding security for him as per the jail manual.

The court has fixed October 7 as the date for next hearing, Suman said, adding that Judge Kamal Kant Srivastava said he will give directions in this regard soon.

Earlier during a hearing in August, Mukhtar had alleged that a Rs 5 crore contract was given to kill him inside the jail.

Ansari was produced in the court in a case of forgery and cheating in the registration of a bulletproof ambulance used to ferry him between courts and jail in Punjab.

After having been brought from a Ropar jail in Punjab recently, Ansari was lodged in the Banda jail in a slew of criminal cases.
21:20   Caste census of backward classes difficult: Govt
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that caste Census of Backward Classes is "administratively difficult and cumbersome" and excluding such information from the purview of Census is a "conscious policy decision."
The Centre's stand assumes significance as recently, a 10-party delegation from Bihar, which was led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding caste Census.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the government has said that caste enumeration in Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 was "fraught" with mistakes and inaccuracies.

The affidavit was filed in the top court in response to a plea by Maharashtra seeking a direction to the Centre and other concerned authorities to disclose to the state the SECC 2011 raw caste data of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) which is not made available to them on "repeated demand".

The affidavit, filed by the secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, said the Centre has already issued a notification in January last year prescribing the series of information to be collected during Census 2021 and it covers many areas including the information relating to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes but does not refer to any other category of caste.

It said the exclusion of information regarding any other caste from the purview of Census is a "conscious policy decision" taken by the Central government.

It said enumeration of OBCs/BCCs (Backward Class of Citizens) has been always adjudged to be administratively "extremely complex" and even when Census of castes were taken in the pre-independence period, the data suffered in respect of completeness and accuracy.

"The issue has been examined at length in the past at different points of time. Each time, the view has consistently been that the caste Census of Backward Classes is administratively difficult and cumbersome; it has suffered and will suffer both on account of completeness and accuracy of the data, as also evident from the infirmities of the SCEE, 2011 data mentioned hereinabove making it unusable for any official purposes and cannot be mentioned as a source of information for population data in any official document," the affidavit said.

The government said that SECC 2011 survey was not on the OBC survey' as alleged, but a comprehensive exercise to enumerate the caste status of all households in the country, as per their statement.

It said socio-economic data of households, including their "deprivations" were used to identify the poor households based on the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and used in the implementation of the anti-poverty programmes by the Central Government ministries.

It said, "the caste data has not been disclosed and has been kept with the Office of the Registrar General, India (ORGI) for various reasons, but primarily for the technical flaws that were noticed in the raw caste/tribe SECC data which makes it unusable as explained hereinafter".

The matter came up for hearing on Thursday before a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar which posted it for October 26.

In the affidavit, the government has said that so far as caste data is concerned, a caste-wise enumeration in the Census has been given up as a matter of policy from 1951 onwards and thus, the castes other than the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have not been enumerated in any of the Census since 1951 till today.

It said demands from various sections, including members of Parliament, for enumeration of castes in Census 2011 was received during the year 2010 and the matter was discussed in Lok Sabha and subsequently, the government referred it to a Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by the then Union Finance Minister.

The affidavit said the Union Cabinet in 2011 decided to conduct the SECC 2011 wherein the caste of the household along with social-economic status on the identified parameters was directed to be collected.

It said as per the decision of the Cabinet, the data has been shared with the ministry of social justice and empowerment by the ORGI in a hard disk for taking the suitable decision on its use.

"Pertinently, due to several infirmities found in the aforesaid data as explained hereinafter, it was decided by the Cabinet to constitute an expert committee under the chairmanship of the then Vice-Chairman NITI Aayog Prof Arvind Panagariya," it said.

It said other members of the committee were not named and the panel never met.

"As a result, no action has been taken on the data in the past five years," it said.

The affidavit said as against more than 4.28 lakh castes which have been enumerated in the SECC 2011 in the state, the existing castes which are published in Maharashtra in SC, ST, and OBC categories are only 494.

"For the above referred various reasons either due to the mistakes committed by the enumerators, inherent flaws in the manner of conducting Census and several such other factors, there is no reliable or dependable castes based Census data available which can be the basis of any constitutional or statutory exercise like reservations in admission, promotion or local body elections," the affidavit said.

The government said that the population Census is not the "ideal instrument" for the collection of details on castes and the operational difficulties are so many that there is a grave danger that the basic integrity of the Census data may be compromised and the fundamental population count itself could get distorted.
21:16   Cong gears up to take on BJP in Goa assembly elections
The Congress on Thursday set up various committees ahead of Goa assembly polls with former chief minister Luizinho Falerio made the chairman of the election coordination committee.

Other members of this all-important panel are P Chidambaram, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Pratap Singh Rane and Eduardo Falerio, among others.

Three-time Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco has been made the chairperson of the campaign committee, while Sangita Parab will be the panel's co-chairperson.

Party leader Ramakant Khalap will be the chairman of the manifesto committee and Elvis Gomes will be its co-chairperson.

The publicity committee will be headed by Chandrakant Chodankar and Martha Saldhana will be its co-chairperson.

The panels constituted by party chief Sonia Gandhi come ahead of assembly elections in the state slated early next year.

The Congress is seeking to oust the BJP from the state in the upcoming elections.
20:43   Aveek Sarkar re-elected as PTI Chairman
Aveek Sarkar, the Editor Emeritus and Vice Chairman of the Ananda Bazar Group of Publications, was on Thursday re-elected Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI), the country's premier news agency.

Sarkar's re-election for a two-year-term was ratified by PTI's Board of Directors at their meeting.

K N Shanth Kumar, Director of The Printers (Mysore) Pvt. Ltd. which brings out Deccan Herald and Kannada language daily Prajavani, was elected as the Vice-Chairman.

Sarkar, 76, started training as a journalist while he was a student, just out of school. After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he went to Britain where he came under the tutelage of the legendary editor of The Sunday Times, Sir Harold Evans.

He was schooled in journalism by such iconic figures as Edwin Taylor in design and Ian Jack in sub-editing.

As chief editor of the Ananda Bazar Group, Sarkar was the moving force behind the transformation of the group's publications, which include Bengali language daily Anandabazar Patrika and English daily The Telegraph, both of which he personally edited.

In addition, the Kolkata-based group also runs six television news channels in various languages, of which the most prominent is the Hindi-language ABP News. The group also publishes a large number of magazines.

Sarkar is a man of varied interests and counts books, food, wine and art among his principal loves. He is a fitness fanatic and spends almost two hours every day on yoga, weights and rowing. He was captain of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) for 10 years.

Sarkar was the founding Managing Director of Penguin India, the Indian counterpart of Penguin Books, the founding Editor of Business Standard and also the pivotal figure behind the acquisition of STAR News by the ABP Group in 2003.

Besides Aveek Sarkar and Shanth Kumar, the PTI Board members are Vijay Kumar Chopra (Punjab Kesari), Vineet Jain (Times of India), N Ravi (The Hindu), Viveck Goenka (the Express Group), Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Dainik Jagran), Riyad Mathew (Malayala Manorama),  M V Shreyams Kumar (Mathrubhumi), R Lakshmipathy (Dinamalar), Hormusji N Cama (Bombay Samachar), Praveen Someshwar (Hindustan Times), eminent economist Prof Deepak Nayyar, former foreign secretary and NSA Shivshankar Menon, veteran journalist and former Chairman of Business Standard T N Ninan and former Executive Director of Tata Sons Ltd. R Gopalakrishnan.
Screen grab
Screen grab
20:29   UP ATS gets cleric's remand in conversion case
The Uttar Pradesh ATS on Thursday got a 10-day remand of Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who was arrested for running a "conversion syndicate".

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had arrested Siddiqui on Tuesday for illegal conversion of people to Islam.

Siddiqui was produced in a court on Wednesday and the ATS had sought a 10-day custody to probe the case, ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said.

The Special Additional District and Session Court (NIA/ATS) awarded the custody after going through evidence presented by the prosecution, the officer said.

The remand period will start at 10 am from September 24.

Maulana Siddiqui will be interrogated to get more information from him about his links, he said.

Siddiqui, a well-known Islamic scholar from Meerut, was arrested three months after Delhi's Jamia Nagar residents Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam were apprehended by the ATS.

Qasmi and Gautam were running Islamic Dawah Centre, an outfit allegedly working on the ISI funding for converting deaf-mute students to Islam, according to officials.

The ATS has so far arrested 10 people in connection with the conversion racket, Kumar said.

Those arrested were booked under relevant sections of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2020 and the Indian Penal Code, as per officials.
19:58   Kenya reopens borders for Indian tourists
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) on Thursday said the African nation has reopened its borders for Indian travellers, which were closed for a brief period due to the second wave of Covid-19.

The temporary ban of passenger flights from India was revoked after a brief period of suspension since May this year as a result of the spike of Covid-19 pandemic in the country, KTB said in a statement.

As per Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the flights from India to Kenya can now resume, which will give impetus to travels that have been curtailed by the Covid-19-pandemic, it added.

The travellers from India are exempted from quarantine given that they are in possession of negative PCR-based Covid-19 test results conducted 96 hours before travel, it added.

To enhance mitigation measures against the pandemic, the visa-application process will remain online.

Further, the statement stated that the yellow fever vaccine continues to be a mandate for each Indian visitor across all age groups, therefore, travellers would also need to possess a valid vaccine card upon their arrival into Kenya.

Kenya is currently one of the few long-haul destinations open for Indians and KTB has continued to keep travellers interested to visit the country through marketing programmes, including digital campaigns, radio contests and webinars among others during the year.

The flight schedule continues to be three direct flights from Mumbai to Nairobi each week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, it added. 
19:45   Maha horror, 15-year-old gang-raped for 8 months
A 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped multiple times over a period of eight months in Maharashtra's Thane district and the police have arrested 24 persons and detained two minors in the case, an official said on Thursday.

Based on the girl's complaint, the Manpada police in Dombivli registered a case on Wednesday night against 33 persons under IPC sections 376 (rape), 376 (n) (repeated rape), 376 (d) (gang-rape), 376 (3) (rape on a woman under sixteen years of age) and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, he said.

Additional Commissioner of Police (East region) Dattatray Karale told reporters that the alleged incidents took place between January 29 and September 22 this year.

The girl told a relative about the ordeal on Wednesday following which the complaint was registered, he added.

"It all started when the girl's boyfriend allegedly raped her in January and made a video. He then started blackmailing her. Subsequently his friends and acquaintances raped her on at least four or five occasions at different places in the district including Dombivli, Badlapur, Murbad and Rabale," Karale said.

A special investigation team (SIT) has been formed under Assistant Commissioner of Police Sonali Dhole to probe the case, he added.

"The victim has named 33 persons. Of them, 24 persons have been arrested and two minors detained. The girl's condition is said to be stable," Karale said, adding that search is on for the remaining accused.

The arrested men were produced before a court on Thursday and were remanded in police custody till September 29, said another police official.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis demanded that the Maharashtra government make special efforts to prevent such crimes.

"An atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the state. The increase in the number of such incidents is worrisome," the former chief minister said.

"Such an incident taking place in Dombivli which is known as a peaceful city is very shocking. We demand that the government immediately intervene," Fadnavis added.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena leader and deputy chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe said the incident should not be politicised.

The survivor should be protected, given counseling and rehabilitated, she said.

Earlier this month, the Shiv Sena-led state government had come under fire when a 34-year-old woman died after being brutally raped and assaulted inside a stationary tempo in Mumbai's Sakinaka area. One person was arrested in the case.
19:18   MAPPED: India's COVID-19 snapshot
This is how India fared on the Covid front.
Representational pic
Representational pic
18:54   Debt-ridden farmer, teen daughter die by suicide in MPs Shajapur
Burdened by debt, a farmer and 17-year-old daughter allegedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance at a village in Madhya Pradesh's Shajapur district on Thursday, police said.

Ishwar Singh Rajput (40) consumed sulphas and died at his home in Sapkheda village, about 50 km from the district headquarters, an official said.

On seeing him dead, Rajput's daughter Khushboo also consumed the poisonous substance and was rushed to a hospital, where she died during treatment, inspector Uday Singh Alawa of Kotwali police station said.

Preliminary probe has revealed that the farmer was in debt and was facing financial hardship, due to which he took the extreme step, the official said, adding that the bodies have been sent for post-mortem and a case has been registered.

The police are recording the statements of family members of the deceased to know how much debt he had incurred. 
18:48   LIVE! India, UK in talks over discriminatory quarantine
India believes the UK's decision of 10-day quarantine for those vaccinated with Covishield here is "discriminatory" and New Delhi do reserve the right to reciprocate in a similar manner, the government said Thursday, but hoped a quick resolution would be found.

Amid a growing outcry in the country over the UK's new travel rules, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press conference here both the countries are engaged in a dialogue on the matter.

"We believe that the dispensation that is proposed to be implemented from October 4 is a discriminatory practice. Both sides are in dialogue and we believe that a quick resolution will be found. We do reserve the right to reciprocate in a similar manner," Bhushan said, responding to a question.

British High Commissioner Alex Ellis Thursday said India and the UK held an "excellent" technical discussion on the issue of vaccine certification.

He tweeted on Thursday, "Excellent technical discussions with @rssharma3 @AyushmanNHA. Neither side raised technical concerns with each other's certification process. An important step forward in our joint aim to facilitate travel and fully protect public health of UK and India."

Ellis had said Wednesday there was no problem with Covishield vaccine but the main issue is the vaccine certification done through India's CoWIN portal.

Following India's strong criticism of the UK's refusal to recognise Covishield, London Wednesday amended its new guidelines to include the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine in its updated international travel advisory.

Notwithstanding the amendment, Indian travellers fully vaccinated with Covishield will still have to undergo 10-day quarantine, UK officials clarified on Wednesday, saying the inclusion of the vaccine will not make much of a difference.

"We're clear Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we're already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students," Ellis had said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the new rules, Indian travellers who received both doses of the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days.

In a strong reaction, India had Tuesday warned of "reciprocal measures" if the UK does not address New Delhi's concerns, with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla describing these norms as "discriminatory".
18:20   College girl stabbed to death in Chennai railway station
A 19-year-old college student was stabbed to death near the Tambaram railway station in Chennai on Thursday by a youth who later attempted to commit suicide, the police said. 

Seeing the grisly incident at about 1.30 pm today, passers-by informed the police who rushed to the spot to find the college student in a pool of blood. Her assailant was found unconscious. 

The police team immediately arranged for an ambulance and rushed the couple to the government hospital at Chromepet, where the doctors declared the girl as brought dead, the police said. 

The attacker, who was later identified as Ramachandran, is being hospitalised, a senior police official said and added that the motive is yet to be established. 

It appears that the man knew her. There was a conversation between the two and all of a sudden he whipped up a knife and stabbed her. Then, he tried to commit suicide by sitting his throat, the official said. 

Thursday's incident sent chills down the spine of locals, reminding them of the horrifying murder of a 24-year-old techie Swathi in the morning of June 24, 2016, at the Nungambakkam railway station in the city by a youth, Ramkumar, from Tirunelveli. Days after he was arrested Ramkumar allegedly killed himself in prison.
Pic: Reuters
Pic: Reuters
17:48   'PM-CARES stands apart from Indian laws'
On a day when the government has submitted before the Supreme Court that PM-CARES fund is not a government fund, it is instructive what Delhi-based lawyer Divyam Nandrajog wrote on the fund in last year. 

'To be eligible for foreign money, an entity must be active for three years, and there must be no cases pending against any trustee. The PM CARES Fund fails on both counts. The Fund has also not, despite govt claims, disclosed donors and donations, as the law requires, she said, here.
17:35   'No evidence of any new Covid variant in India'
There is no evidence of a new variant of SARS-CoV2 and presently there is no additional or public health concern regarding the Delta sub-lineages, the INSACOG, a genome sequencing consortium, has said. 

 In its latest bulletin dated September 20, the INSACOG said Delta continues to be the main variant of concern in India. 

 The second wave, driven by the Delta (variant), is continuing at low levels in some Indian states and there is no evidence of a new variant, it said.

 Hospitals were overwhelmed and health infrastructure was severely stressed during the second wave of coronavirus in the country between March to May. 

 There is a small but steady increase in AY.1 since June 2021, which is being monitored, the INSACOG noted. AY.4 is the most frequently seen Delta sub-lineage in recent sequences from India, as well as globally, it said. 

 Clinical characteristics of the AY.4 variant infections were very similar to B.1.617.2 infections in initial studies from Maharashtra. There is presently no additional clinical or public health concern regarding these sub-lineages. No new VOI or VOC are noted in India, the INSACOG said.
17:08   3 terrorists killed at Uri, 70 grenades recovered
The Indian Army eliminated 3 terrorists in Rampur sector near Uri on LoC. They had recently crossed over from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir into Indian side. 5 AK-47s, 8 pistols and 70 hand grenades recovered from the terrorists killed in the operation. 

A movement was observed in Hathlanga forest early this morning. The attempt was eliminated, with neutralization of 3 terrorists... A similar attempt was made on (September) 18, which was foiled, Lt Gen DP Pandey, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Srinagar's Chinar Corps(15 Corps), said. 
16:45   BJP netas queuing up at TMC: Abhishek Banerjee
Amid a series of defections from the BJP to the TMC in West Bengal, the national general secretary of the state's ruling party, Abhishek Banerjee, on Thursday said if his organisation keeps its door ajar, the saffron camp will collapse in no time. 

 Addressing a rally at Murshidabad district's Samserganj constituency, where polls are set to be held on September 30, Banerjee claimed that BJP leaders, mostly MLAs, have been queuing up before the TMC office, the doors of which are shut. 

 "We have kept the doors closed. If the doors are opened, the BJP will surely collapse," he said. 

 The Diamond Harbour MP further said that the Mamata Banerjee-led party, during the March-April Assembly polls, had driven "outsiders" away, and it would do so again in the upcoming polls. The TMC has often referred to the BJP as a "party of outsiders". 

 "These outsiders need to be taught a lesson again... The saffron party will be defeated in the upcoming elections. Wherever the BJP is in power, we will go there and dislodge the party," he asserted.
16:32   The top gainers in the markets today
Bajaj Finserv gained by 5.15 per cent.
16:14   Vaccinated pregnant women pass high level of antibodies to babies: Study
Women who receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, according to a study. 

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines lies in their ability to trigger the production of the right antibodies, blood proteins capable of protecting individuals from infection, researchers said. Whether this protection could pass from mothers to their infants before birth had remained a question, they said. 

 The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Maternal-Fetal Medicine on Wednesday, was conducted on 36 newborns whose mothers received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. 

 The research team led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine in the US found that 100 per cent of the infants had protective antibodies at birth. Antibodies can either be produced as part of the natural response to infection or triggered by vaccines. 

 Though the sample size is small, "it is encouraging that neonatal antibody levels are high if women are vaccinated," said Jennifer L Lighter, an associate professor at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone, and the study's senior author.
L&T was among the top gainers today
L&T was among the top gainers today
16:10   Market at fresh peak: Sensex skyrockets 958 pts
Equity benchmark Sensex zoomed 958 points to end at a fresh lifetime high on Thursday, tracking gains in index majors Reliance Industries, HDFC twins and ICICI Bank amid a positive trend in global markets. 

 Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty soared 276.30 points or 1.57 per cent to its new closing peak of 17,822.95. It touched an intra-day record of 17,843.90. 

 After scaling a new peak of 59,957.25 during the day, the 30-share Sensex settled 958.03 points or 1.63 per cent up at an all-time high of 59,885.36. Bajaj Finserv was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 4 per cent, followed by L&T, HDFC, Axis Bank, SBI, Reliance Industries and IndusInd Bank.

On the other hand, Dr Reddy's, ITC, Nestle and HUL were the laggards.
15:54   LIVE! 50K a joke: Cong demands Rs 5L for Covid kin
The Congress said that the amount of Rs 50,000 announced by the Centre as ex gratia to families of those who died of COVID-19 is a joke and Rs 5 lakh should be given to the kin, said party national spokesperson Supriya Shrinate on Thursday.

"Congress party demands Rs 5 lakh to the kin of those people who lost their lives die to COVID-19 because numerous children lost their parents and people have become jobless. So, the help of only Rs 50,000 per deceased person is only a joke," Shrinate told ANI. 

The Central government on Wednesday announced an amount of Rs 50,000 as ex gratia to families of those who died of COVID-19.
15:25   Jaishankar to join PM in Washington
External Affair Minister Dr S Jaishankar is in Washington DC to join PM Modi's delegation. During the last two days, EAM held series of bilateral and multilateral meetings in New York.
15:19   Terror alert in J-K before festive season
 Intelligence agencies have issued a terror alert regarding the cross-border movement of Afghan origin terrorists along with Pakistan-based terrorists in the Jammu and Kashmir region to execute terror activities in the country during the upcoming festive season.

According to Intelligence agencies, they have got the input regarding the movement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat ul-Ansar (HuA) and Hizbul Mujahideen. 

The Pakistan-based terror organisations are helping Afghan-origin terrorists to enter India.

 "After Taliban took over the government in Afghanistan, we have got the input regarding the movement of Afghanistan based terrorists entering India with the help of Pakistan-based terrorist organizations which are backed by ISI," said an official.

Agencies have got the input that around 40 such terrorists are stationed at a terror camp in the Nakyal sector of Pakistan near the Line of Control (LoC). They have been trained to enter Indian by crossing the Poonch River. They are trained to cross the river through tubes and snorkelling, added the official.
15:11   21 arrested for raping minor girl
A total of 21 accused have been arrested for allegedly raping a minor girl in Dombivli. A case was registered against 29 persons on the basis of minior's complaint: Thane Police.   According to the police, the accused were minior's friend.
14:45   Road contractors to face action for deaths due to potholes in Thane
Action will be taken against road contractors for the death of people due to potholes in Thane in Maharashtra, a senior police official has said. 

Roads in Kasheli, Anjurphata, Bhiwandi, Mankoli and other areas in Thane district were riddled with potholes, causing accidents and also leading to death of people at times, Narpoli police station's senior inspector Maloji Shinde said in a release on Thursday. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-II), Bhiwandi, Yogesh Chavan held a meeting with government officials and political leaders concerned on Wednesday. 

 In the meeting, Chavan said in case of death of people due to potholes, offences will be registered against the road contractors concerned, as per the release. 

 The senior police official also said he would soon meet the ministers and officials concerned to find out a solution to the problem of potholes and to ensure proper repair of bad roads. 

 During the meeting, an executive engineer of the Public Works Department said potholes were being filled on a daily basis, and a proposal was sent to the government for seeking its approval for the work of cementing such roads and to suspend toll collection on these roads. 

 Notably, a 23-year-old man was killed after his motorcycle hit a pothole near Gaimukh toll booth on Ghodbunder Road in Thane city on Tuesday, police earlier said.

 On September 16, a woman and her son died on the spot after their motorcycle hit a pothole at Mankoli Naka on Mumbai-Nashik highway while they were returning home after offering prayers at the residence a relative during the Ganpati festival, they said. PTI
14:34   Centre will convene meet of church heads: BJP MP
A day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the opposition suggestion for calling an all-party meeting to discuss the controversial 'narcotic jihad' remark by a Catholic bishop, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi on Thursday said the Centre would soon convene a meeting of church heads in the state to discuss their concerns. 

The actor-turned-politician said such a meeting was planned much earlier but it would be expedited in the current situation in the state. Reiterating his support to Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, whose 'narcotic and love jihad' remarks had triggered a widespread controversy in the southern state, Gopi said the bishop had not spoken ill of any community. 

 "The Centre will surely give a chance to the affected community (in the issue) to appraise their concerns. A two-day long programme, comprising meetings of church heads and seminars, was decided to be conducted in 2019 itself," he told reporters.

 When pointed out to the Chief Minister's statement that there was no factual basis for the propaganda regarding 'narcotic jihad', the Rajya Sabha member said no former DGPs, who had expressed concerns about the presence of extremist forces in the state, had so far rejected the matter raised by the Catholic priest. 

 The 'Kaliyattam' actor said though his stand was also not to annoy any community, as the Chief Minister said, a social evil could not be ignored for that.
14:29   Cong, BJP meet but it's not what you think
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and CLP leader Balasaheb Thorat met Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis at his official residence in Mumbai, over the upcoming Rajya Sabha bypolls
13:53   Some photos are harder to copy: Cong's dig at PM
The Congress party makes a dig at PM Narendra Modi's refusal to hold press conferences -- not a single one since 2014 -- with a picture of Dr Manmohan Singh holding a presser aboard Air India One. 

@INC tweeted the pictures alongside, writing, "Some photographs are harder to copy. Former PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing Press Conferences on board Air India One."

On his first trip abroad immediately after he assume office as PM in 2014, Modi took along representatives of Doordarshan, AIR and select news agencies.

However, he did not hold any press conferences on board the aircraft. The government now does not allow any private media organisation to accompany the PM on board Air India One during his foreign trips, a departure from every single PM in Indian history.  

The Congress party's dig at Modi and the BJP comes after the PM tweeted a picture last night going through files on board the flight to the US. Modi said, "A long flight also means opportunities to go through papers and some file work."

Political observers have pointed out that almost every single PM and there is photo evidence to prove it, work on board flights during their official visits abroad -- Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajiv Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh -- and it is therefore hardly unusual. 

13:30   PM Cares fund money doesn't go to GoI: HC told
The PM CARES Fund is not a Government of India fund and the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India, the Delhi High Court has been informed. 

 An affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) who is discharging his functions in the PM Cares Trust on honorary basis, has said the trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor -- a chartered accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition seeking a direction to declare the PM CARES Fund a 'State' under the Constitution to ensure transparency in its functioning. 

 A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Amit Bansal has fixed the matter for further hearing on September 27. 

 "To ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the trust along with the details of utilisation of funds received by the trust," says the affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary at the PMO. 

"I state that when the petitioner is claiming to be a public-spirited person and seeking to pray for various reliefs only for transparency, it does not matter whether PM Cares is a State' within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India," the officer said in the affidavit. 

"Irrespective of whether the trust is a State' or other authority within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution or whether it is a public authority' within the meaning of provisions of the Right to Information Act (RTI), it is not permissible to disclose third party information."

 It said that all donations received by the trust are received via online payments, cheques or Demand Drafts and the amount received is audited with the audited report and the expenditure of trust fund displayed on the website. 

 The trust functions on the principles of transparency and public good in larger public interest like any other charitable trust and, therefore, cannot have any objection in uploading all its resolutions on its website to ensure transparency, it said, while reiterating that the trust's fund is not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India.
Representational image
Representational image
13:04   SL navy damages boats of Indian fishermen
Boats and fishing nets of Indian fishermen from here were damaged in alleged attack by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Fisheries officials said on Thursday. 

 The incident happened late on Wednesday near Katchatheevu when Lankan Naval personnel, who came in about 10 patrol boats, hurled glass bottles and stones, they said. 

 While nobody sustained injuries, about 25 boats were damaged in the incident while the personnel damaged fishing nets in about 40 craft, officials said. The damaged boats were towed to the shore with the help of others.
Paralympics bronze medallist Sharad Kumar
Paralympics bronze medallist Sharad Kumar
13:00   Paralympic medallist diagnosed with heart swelling
Tokyo 2020 Paralympics bronze medallist Sharad Kumar has been diagnosed with swelling in the heart. He was recently admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. 

The high jumper was initially kept under observation after complaining of chest pain and underwent tests."I don't know what happened, but my reports show that there is swelling in my heart and I am in pain. I am fed up with the regular tests in hospital and I am at home now. But I do have to travel to the hospital for tests," he told ANI. After winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics in the men's high jump event, Sharad had revealed that he was battling through an injury on the eve of the event."It was very bad for me, I was crying the whole night. The fact that I landed on my meniscus, and that was dislocated. I did not even think that I will be able to participate, I spoke to my parents in the morning saying it is done and I am being punished for some sin that I have done."I do not know what it is, that is when my brother and few friends told me just go and participate, it does not matter," said Sharad while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference organised by Eurosport after the event.
12:49   COVID-19 may be linked to risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome: Study
Infection with the virus that causes Covid-19 may be associated with risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder in which a person's immune system attacks the nerves, causing muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis, according to a study published on Thursday. 

Besides the well-known severe respiratory signs, and the risk of long-term complications in COVID-19, researchers and public health officials have also reported neurological complications linked with the disease. 

Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which can last for weeks or several years, is relatively rare but can be severe. The condition is triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection. 

 "Our study shows that COVID-19 may precede Guillain-Barre syndrome in rare cases," said Bart C Jacobs from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in The Netherlands. 

 "But the existence of a true association or causal relation still needs to be established," said Jacobs, one of the paper's authors. 

 Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have reported over 90 Guillain-Barre diagnoses following a possible COVID-19 infection. However, whether COVID-19 is another potential infectious trigger or whether the reported cases are coincidental is unclear, the researchers said.
12:36   Infosys still working at tax portal glitches
IT major Infosys on Thursday acknowledged that some users continue to experience difficulties in accessing the income tax portal and assured that it is working expeditiously, in collaboration with the Income Tax Department, to further streamline end-user experience. 

 The Bengaluru-based company, which has drawn flak for glitches continuing months after the launch of the portal in June, said it has seen steady increase in usage over the last few weeks, and more than three crore taxpayers have logged into the portal and successfully completed various transactions. 

 "Even as the portal makes sustained progress with crores of taxpayers successfully performing transactions, the company acknowledges the difficulties some users continue to experience and is working expeditiously, in collaboration with the I-T Department, to further streamline end-user experience," Infosys said in a statement.

It added that over the last few weeks, the portal has seen steady increase in usage with "taxpayers' concerns being progressively addressed". So far, over three crore taxpayers have logged into the portal and successfully completed various transactions, it noted.
File pic
File pic
12:25   Class XII girls cycles 12 km every day to fetch water, writes to PM
Schoolgirl Toma Das, 15, cycles 12km every day to bring drinking water home in her North 24-Parganas village from a roadside PHE reservoir.

In the last week of July, Toma, who studies in Class X Hulorchar village of Hansnabad block, submitted an appeal through the Prime Minister's public grievance portal, saying that fetching water hampered her studies.

Read the report here. 
12:21   Modi, Kamala Harris to meet today
US Vice President Kamala Harris meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the White House on Thursday afternoon is a coming of age moment for the Indian diaspora, a prominent US newspaper in her home state has said on the eve of the historic meeting between the two leaders. 

 Harris, 56, is the first-ever Indian American to be elected as the vice president of the United States. 

 Harris is scheduled to meet Modi on Thursday, making history as the highest-ranking Indian-American to welcome the leader of a country that is becoming one of America's most important allies, The Los Angeles Times newspaper said. 

 This would be her first meeting with Modi, 71, whose government has not only championed the cause of the diaspora but also never been shy of speaking about their interest globally.

 The prime minister himself actively engages with the diaspora in all his overseas trips. 

"It (Modi-Harris meeting) does represent a coming of age' moment for the diaspora, which is now more than 4 million strong," Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the California-based newspaper. 

The meeting between the leaders comes as the Biden administration moves closer to India and other Asian and Pacific nations, continuing the Trump administration's focus on responding to China's growing power by building America's economic and military ties in the region, the daily reported. Harris spoke to Modi over the phone on June 3.
11:58   JLF London begins tomorrow
The much-awaited JLF London at the British Library opens virtually tomorrow with a stellar list of leading speakers from across the globe engaging in intellectual and literary discourse. 

Scheduled from 24th-26th September, 2021, the eighth edition of the annual Festival will explore an array of topics relevant to the contemporary world, maintaining the magnitude of programming as every year.

In the inaugural session, the audience will be addressed by Festival Co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple, Festival Producer Sanjoy K. Roy, and Head of Culture and Learning, British Library, Jamie Andrews.

To register for the event click here. 
11:54   SC to set up probe panel into Pegasus scandal
CJI NV Ramana says the Supreme Court is setting up a Technical Expert Committee to inquire into the alleged Pegasus snooping row. 

There will be an inquiry by a committee to be appointed by the Supreme Court on the Pegasus snooping. CJI tells Senior Advocate C U Singh that the order to constitute a committee will be passed sometime next week.

"We wanted to pass an order on the matter before this week... but some members we thought of considering for the (expert) committee (on Pegasus) ... for personal reasons they denied to be part of this committee. Hence the delay," the Chief Justice said.
11:54   SC to set up probe panel into Pegasus scandal
CJI NV Ramana says the Supreme Court is setting up a Technical Expert Committee to inquire into the alleged Pegasus snooping row. 

There will be an inquiry by a committee to be appointed by the Supreme Court on the Pegasus snooping. CJI tells Senior Advocate C U Singh that the order to constitute a committee will be passed sometime next week.

"We wanted to pass an order on the matter before this week... but some members we thought of considering for the (expert) committee (on Pegasus) ... for personal reasons they denied to be part of this committee. Hence the delay," the Chief Justice said.
11:45   Over 4.29 cr unutilized Covid vaccine doses available with states, UTs: Centre
More than 4.29 crore unutilized COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories to be administered, informed Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.

"More than 80.67crore (80,67,26,335) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through the Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category," the ministry said while mentioning that the Central government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country.

 It said that further, 64 lakh doses (64,00,000) are in the pipeline.
11:20   40% of Mumbai Coastal Road Project completed: BMC
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation announces that 40 per cent or 27 km of the Mumbai Coastal Road Project has reached completion. 

This includes the completion of the 1 km long, 40 feet diameter tunnel under Malabar Hill. Only a 900-metre length of the tunnel is to be completed. It is the first of its kind under-sea tunnel of 40 feet diameter in India

More details awaited. 
11:12   Delhi riots: Hearing in Umar Khalid's bail plea adjourned to Oct 9
A Delhi court on Thursday adjourned to October 9 hearing on the bail plea of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid in the 2020 Delhi riots conspiracy case. 

The hearing was adjourned to next month as Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat is on leave. 

This was informed to Khalid's counsels by the court staff through video conference. Khalid along with several others has been booked under the anti-terror law in the case. 

They are accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured. On September 6, Khalid had withdrawn his bail plea and filed a fresh one after the prosecution's objected to its maintainability.
11:10   Former Afghan woman mayor may settle in Switzerland
One of Afghanistan's first woman mayors, Zarifa Ghafari could settle in Switzerland, according to local media.

Efforts are underway to obtain a special permit for the political activist who fled Kabul last month after Taliban took control.

Ghafari is set to travel to Bern with her Swiss entourage to plead her case before several parliamentarians, the Swiss media reported. 

"It's not my government," the 29-year-old, who was mayor of Maydan Shahr from 2019 until June of this year, said in an interview with local media about Afghanistan's new rulers.

The Taliban spokesman on Tuesday unveiled a list of ministers of the new government of a restored Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

 The all male list includes a member of the Hazara minority and a significant absence in the Islamic Emirate is the ministry of women, which has not been renewed.
10:47   PM shares this picture on board flight to US
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday shared a photo from his flight to the United States where he has a packed schedule, including a Quad meeting and an address to the UN General Assembly. 

"A long flight also means opportunities to go through papers and some file work," the Prime Minister tweeted, posting a photo of himself at work onboard the Boeing 777-337 VVIP flight.

Several handles on Twitter were quick to point out that it was nothing unusual for a PM to catch up on work on board a flight and posted pictures of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Dr Manmohan Singh going through files when they were prime ministers. 

At the Joint Base Andrews in Washington DC, PM Modi was welcomed by a large crowd of Indian Americans, some chanting his name and waving the Indian flag amid light showers.
10:25   Equity indices trade gap up, realty stocks surge
 Equity indices traded gap up during early hours on Thursday with realty stocks witnessing handsome gains.

At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was up by 603 points or 1.02 per cent at 59,530 while the Nifty 50 gained by 175 points or 1 per cent to 17,721. 

All sectoral indices were in the green zone with Nifty realty advancing by 5.3 per cent, PSU bank by 1.8 per cent and metal by 1.3 per cent.

Among stocks, DLF Ltd jumped 9.1 per cent to Rs 403 per share while Godrej Properties moved up 8.1 per cent to Rs 2,108.65.

However, Titan, Tata Consultancy Services, UltraTech Cement and HDFC Life traded with a negative bias.
09:34   Daily Covid count up but active cases decrease
India reports 31,923 new COVID-19 cases, 31,990 recoveries, and 282 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Of these, Kerala reported 19,675 new infections and 142 deaths yesterday.

Active cases: 3,01,604 (lowest in 187 days)
Total recoveries: 3,28,15,731
Death toll: 4,46,050
Total vaccination: 83,39,90,049 ( 71,38,205 in last 24 hrs)

IMAGE: A health worker collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at Dadar Railway Station in Mumbai, on Wednesday. Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo
09:05   US rules out adding India, Japan to AUKUS
The United States has ruled out adding India or Japan to the recently created security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific popular as AUKUS.

On September 15, US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the trilateral security alliance AUKUS under which Australia would get a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

"The announcement of AUKUS last week was not meant to be an indication, and I think this is the message the President also sent to (French President Emmanuel) Macron, that there is no one else who will be involved in security in the Indo-Pacific," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday.

France had criticised its exclusion from the alliance, saying it reflects a lack of coherence when common challenges are being faced in the Indo-Pacific region.

"Of course, it's an important topic in conversations with the French, with a range of countries who have a direct interest in the region," she said.

Psaki was responding to a question if countries like India and Japan whose leaders would be in town this week for the Quad Summit would be made part of the security alliance.

The Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

The US is hosting the in-person Quad summit in Washington on September 24.

"On Friday you'll have the Australians there (for the Quad summit). But then you also have India and Japan. Would you envision for them a similar kind of military role that you've now defined for with the Australians?" a journalist asked.

"AUKUS? What would it become? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?" Psaki said in lighter moments before giving answer to the question.

The trilateral security alliance, seen as an effort to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, will allow the US and the UK to provide Australia with the technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.  

China has sharply criticised the trilateral alliance, saying such grouping has no future and will gravely undermine regional stability and aggravate the arms race and hurt international non-proliferation efforts.   -- PTI
08:34   Modi gets warm welcome by Indian diaspora
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has commended Indian Diaspora for distinguishing itself across the world as he received a warm welcome from the community on his arrival in Washington, DC.

He was greeted by groups of Indian Americans at the airport soon after his plane landed in Washington, DC, on Wednesday and later at the hotel where he had an interaction with the members of the community.

'Grateful to the Indian community in Washington, DC for the warm welcome. Our diaspora is our strength,' Modi said in a tweet along with a set of pictures of his interaction with the Indian American CEOs.

'It is commendable how the Indian diaspora has distinguished itself across the world,' Modi said.

One of the signature events of the Prime Minister's overseas visit has been his meetings with the diaspora community in large gatherings.

However, due to the current COVID-19 situation, the prime minister is unlikely to have a large gathering or meeting with the diaspora.

Modi has been popular among Indian Americans, who constitute more than 1.2 per cent of the country's population.   -- PTI
00:20   Yogi govt for CBI probe in Mahant Giri's death
The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a CBI probe in connection with the death of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri, the state's home department said on Wednesday.

The seer, who was the president of the largest organisation of sadhus in India, was found hanging by his disciples at the Baghambari Mutt in Allahabad on Monday.

"On the instructions of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a probe by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has been recommended in the incident pertaining to the sad death of chairman of Akhara Parishad Mahant Narendra Giri," the department said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had on Tuesday constituted an 18-member SIT to probe the death of the seer and detained a disciple of his in Haridwar.

A purported suicide note was also found, in which the seer had written that he was mentally disturbed and upset with one of his disciples, the police had said.

A panel of five doctors on Wednesday conducted a post-mortem examination.

After the autopsy, the body was taken to the Baghambri Gaddi Mutt. The seer was buried in a "bhoo samadhi" under a lemon tree around 3 pm.

There was heavy deployment of security personnel at the site where the autopsy was conducted.

Former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand had on Tuesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the death.