Sun, 26 June 2022
Uddhav to act against rebels, says Pawar
22:04 Uddhav to act against rebels, says Pawar
Cracking the whip, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is set to sack ministers who have joined rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde in Guwahati, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar said in New Delhi on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference here, Pawar said the MVA partners have authorised Thackeray to take action against the rebels and steps will be taken in a day or two.
"This comes within the purview of the chief minister. He will take action in a day or two," Pawar said to questions on sacking of ministers in the state government who have joined ranks with rebel leader Shinde.
The NCP chief ruled out the possibility of imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra.
"Those who have rebelled want an alternative government in Maharashtra. What is the point of herding so many MLAs from one place to another if you have to impose President's Rule. According to my understanding, there is no possibility of President's Rule. If it happens, there will be elections," Pawar said.
The NCP chief also dared the rebels to come to Mumbai and prove the numbers in a democratic set-up.
"They claim to have numbers. If they have the numbers, why are they sitting there in Guwahati? Come to Mumbai and prove the numbers in a democratic set-up," he said.
The NCP chief said the MVA partners have complete faith in the leadership of Thackeray and will continue to support him till the end.
"Our policy is clear that we have formed a coalition government and we will support it fully. We will support Uddhav Thackeray till the end. Our commitment is towards a Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray," Pawar said.
Pawar said, "The Shiv Sena cadre will never digest a different view taken by 40-50 leaders and will stand by Thackeray. The Shiv Sena I know will never digest any rebellion."
"Shiv Sainiks have immense strength and have built the organisation through a lot of efforts. This will have no impact on the organisation. Uddhav Thakceray will emerge victorious," Pawar said. -- PTI
20:49 Shinde moves SC against disqualification notice
Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA and minister Eknath Shinde Sunday moved the Supreme Court against the disqualification notice issued by the deputy speaker against 16 rebel legislators.
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala is likely to hear Shinde's plea on Monday.
The rebel MLAs have raised a banner of revolt against the MVA government in the state, threatening to bring it down. -- PTI
19:54 29 China warplanes in Taiwan's air defence zone
China has sent 29 warplanes into Taiwan's air defence zone, according to media reports, marking the third-largest fly-by in the country this year.
The warplanes, which include 17 fighter jets, six bombers and other supporting aircraft, have entered the island's air defence identification zone on Tuesday from the southwest, The Star newspaper reported citing the island's defence ministry.
'In response, the air force scrambled jets, issued radio warnings and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activities,' the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flew over the Taiwan Strait.
The flyover of surveillance plane over the Taiwan Strait was a demonstration of the US 'commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific', amid recurrent Chinese incursion in Taiwan's ADIZ, US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
The issue of Taiwan has been at the forefront of US-China relations in recent months.
Tensions between Washington, which is committed to supporting the island's self-defence, and Beijing over Taiwan were in the open earlier this month when their respective defense chiefs met at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference in Singapore.
Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since the defeated Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war more than 70 years ago.
But China's ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) views the self-ruled island as part of its territory -- despite having never controlled it.
Beijing has not ruled out military force to take Taiwan and has kept pressure on the democratic island over the past few years with frequent warplane flights into the island's ADIZ.
An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory's shoreline. -- ANI
19:20 IAF receives 56,960 applications under Agnipath
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received 56,960 applications under the Agnipath recruitment scheme till Sunday, within three days of the registration process getting under way on Friday, a week after violent protests against it rocked several states.
'56960! That's the total number of applications received till date from future Agniveers in response to the Agnipath recruitment application process on https://agnipathvayu.cdac.in. Registration closes on July 5,' the IAF stated on Twitter on Sunday.
Unveiling the Agnipath scheme on June 14, the government had said youth between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure, while 25 per cent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.
Several parts of the country had witnessed violent protests against the scheme.
The government had on June 16 increased the upper age limit for recruitment under the scheme to 23 years from 21 for the year 2022, and subsequently announced a slew of placatory steps like preference for them in central paramilitary forces and defence public sector undertakings upon their retirement.
Many Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states also declared the 'Agniveers', as the soldiers will be known, will be accorded priority in induction into state police forces.
The armed forces have, however, made it clear those who had indulged in violent protests and arson against the new recruitment scheme will not be inducted. -- PTI
18:27 No info on arrival of rebel MLAs: Mumbai Police
Mumbai police has no information on when the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs will arrive in the metropolis from Guwahati in Assam, but preparations, including alerting airports, are underway, an official said on Sunday.
A sizable number of MLAs, led by the party's Thane strongman Eknath Shinde, had rebelled against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 21 and had moved first to Surat in neighbouring Gujarat and then to Assam, both Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.
"We have alerted airports and have deployed personnel (bandobast). We have no idea, however, on when these MLAs will arrive here. The MLAs have asked the hotel management there (Guwahati) to extend their stay till June 28," the official said.
Meanwhile, Sena workers loyal to Thackeray held rallies and protests in several parts the state.
They organised a motorcycle rally from the office of party mouthpiece Saamana in Prabhadevi to Dadar, while the effigy of Yavatmal MLA Sanjay Rathod was burnt.
Officials said some Sena workers tried to attack the house of Osmanabad MLA Balaji Kalyankar.
Meanwhile, rallies in support of Shinde were held as well, mostly in Thane and adjoining areas in Palghar and Raigad.
Officials said Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) protection has been given to the homes of 16 rebel MLAs who were sent notices by Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal seeking their explanation on the Sena's application for their disqualification. -- PTI
17:32 Sena initiates 'legal action' against rebels
Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra triggered by a rebellion by a large section of Shiv Sena MLAs, who are currently camping in Assam, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Sunday informed that the party has initiated legal action and served notices to concerned MLAs.
Addressing the reporters today, Sawant said, "Political turbulence is going on in Maharashtra, many MLAs defected and have gone to Assam. We have initiated legal action against them and notice has been served to 16 MLAs till now."
Advocate Devdutta Kamat, Shiv Sena's Senior Counsel also said to reporters, "Proceedings have been initiated by Shiv Sena against 16 MLAs, under the provision in the Constitution which says that if a person gives up the membership of a party then he's eligible for disqualification."
"There were several meetings that were called by Shiv Sena at different times, none of which were attended by them. Visiting BJP-ruled states, meeting BJP leaders, and attempting to topple government amounts to a violation by rebels," Advocate Devdutta Kamat said.
Kamat said the concept of 2-3rd (to surpass anti-defection law) applies only if there is a merger.
"Until the MLAs, don't merge with another party, disqualification applies. Till today there's no merger, they have voluntarily given up membership," Adv Devdutta Kamat said.
Notably, the national executive meeting of the Shiv Sena on June 25 passed six resolutions giving absolute rights to Maharashtra Chief Minister and party president Uddhav Thackeray to take action against the rebels to bring the revolt within party under control.
The meeting was called in the wake of Sena MLA Eknath Shinde's rebellion, which has not only destabilised the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government in the State but also poses a risk of the Thackerays losing control of the party.
The advocate said that under the constitution, the deputy speaker has the power of the speaker in the latter's absence and can adjudicate on such matters.
"No confidence motion was sent through an unauthorised email address by rebels," he said.
Amid the ongoing power tussle in Maharashtra, two MLAs on June 26 called for the removal of the Maharashtra Deputy Speaker, who could be the key decision-maker about the disqualification of the rebel MLAs.
Mahesh Baldi and Vinod Agarwal, both independent MLAs and said to be close to the BJP, have moved for the removal of Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, who is from Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party.
Independent MLA Mahesh Baldi from Uran assembly constituency reached Vidhan Bhavan today and submitted a letter to the office Deputy speaker saying that he cannot disqualify the 12 MLAs.
In his letter, he has cited several judgements of the Supreme Court.
"The entire Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government doesn't have the majority and they can't disqualify any MLA. I am against Congress and NCP and if the MLAs are disqualified, we will also go to the Court," he said.
Notably, the Maharashtra assembly doesn't have a Speaker since February 2021.
Also, the Deputy Speaker also approved the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as leader of the ruling party Shiv Sena in the assembly in place of Eknath Shinde.
Eknath Shinde has called the appointment illegal as Chaudhary's name was proposed by the 'minority faction' as he represents the 'real Sena'.
Shinde, who has been replaced by Ajay Chaudhary as Shiv Sena's legislature party leader on Friday, is currently camping with over 40 rebel MLAs in Guwahati.
In a jolt to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, senior Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde and other rebel MLAs revolted against the party on Monday night and camped in Surat.
The rebel MLAs have shifted base to a hotel in Guwahati.
On Friday, in his virtual address to the party's district unit chiefs and 'sampark pramukhs', CM Uddhav Thackeray said 'despite the rebellions that the party has faced earlier, it came to power twice. I may have left 'Varsha', the Chief Minister's official residence, but not my determination'.
Meanwhile, party MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said the Sena is ready to quit the MVA government if the group of rebel legislators camping in Assam returns to Mumbai in 24 hours and discusses the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
"You say you are real Shiv Sainiks and will not quit the party. We are ready to consider your demand provided you come back to Mumbai in 24 hours and discuss the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray. Your demand will be considered positively. Don't write letters on Twitter and WhatsApp," Raut told reporters. -- ANI
16:15 MVA govt will last 2-3 days: Union minister
Union minister Raosaheb Danve on Sunday said the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra, racked by rebellion in main constituent Shiv Sena, will last 'two to three days'.
Speaking at the inaugural function of an agriculture department building in Jalna in the presence of state Nationalist Congress Party minister Rajesh Tope, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the MVA should complete remaining development works at the earliest as 'we (BJP) will be in opposition only for two to three days'.
"Time is running out. This government will last for two to three days. The BJP has nothing to do with this rebellion. Shiv Sena rebels have resentment towards Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as development funds were diverted by NCP and Congress," the Union Minister of State for Railway, Coal and Mines said.
Queried on the possibility of the Eknath Shinde-led group merging with the BJP, Danve, himself a former state unit chief, said there was no such proposal and if one comes then the senior leadership would take a call.
He also said there was no chance of President's Rule being imposed in the state. -- PTI
15:20 Bypoll: BJP wrests Samajwadi bastion of Rampur
Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Ghanshyam Lodhi on Sunday wrested the Rampur parliamentary seat from the Samajwadi Party, defeating his nearest rival by over 42,000 votes in a bypoll.
"Lodhi has won by over 42,000 votes," Rampur District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar told reporters after giving the winning certificate to Lodhi.
Lodhi defeated SP candidate Mohd Asim Raja, considered close to party leader Mohd Azam Khan, who had won from the constituency in 2019.
The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Azam Khan following his election to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
"This is a victory of the people of Rampur," Lodhi said, adding that he would now work as their 'chowkidar'. -- PTI
14:24 Assam BJP minister meets Sena rebels in Guwahati
Assam Minister Ashok Singhal visited the luxury hotel in Guwahati, where dissident Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde is camping with other MLAs from Maharashtra, and held a discussion with them, sources said on Sunday.
A source close to the development told PTI that the Housing and Urban Affairs of Assam went to the hotel late Saturday night and held discussions with Shinde and the other rebel MLAs.
It is, however, not immediately known what Singhal discussed with the rebel Shiv Sena legislators and Independent MLAs from the western state.
When contacted, Singhal confirmed that he had gone to the hotel, but declined to share details.
However, a close associate of the minister told PTI, "He went there to meet an MLA whom he knew. He was there for some time and had a cup of tea."
It is significant that the meeting took place just hours after 16 dissident MLAs were sent disqualification notices.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which once had an alliance with the Shiv Sena, has so far brushed its hands off from the present political turmoil in Maharashtra.
Despite sending a party MP and one MLA to receive the legislators at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport in Guwahati on June 22, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that dissidents came as guests on their own to the state.
The Assam Police has taken over the security from the private guards of the hotel and is not allowing anyone to enter the premises.
The Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat on Saturday issued 'summons' to 16 of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.
After receiving the summons, the Shiv Sena MLAs have been huddling inside the hotel Since Sunday morning, sources said.
"They are discussing various options to respond to the notices. The current political situation is being deliberated in the meeting," the source said.
In what seems to be an apparent bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government (MVA) in Maharashtra, dissident legislators of Shiv Sena, which heads the ruling coalition, are camping in Guwahati, around 2,700 km away. -- PTI
IMAGE: Security personnel keep vigil outside the hotel where rebel Shiv Sena MLAs are staying, in Guwahati. Photograph: PTI Photo
13:50 Centre grants Y-plus security to 15 Sena rebels
The Centre on Sunday extended Y-plus security cover of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandos to at least 15 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, officials said.
Those who were provided the security cover include Ramesh Bornare, Mangesh Kudalkar, Sanjay Shirsat, Latabai Sonawane, Prakas Surve and 10 others.
Their families living in Maharashtra too will be secured as the security blanket entails house protection teams, they said.
Officials said the security has been sanctioned to the legislators following a recommendation made by central security agencies to the Ministry of Home Affairs, stating they and their families faced potential threats to their physical security owing to the current political scenario in Maharashtra.
About four to five CRPF commandos, in shifts, will be securing each MLA once they are in Maharashtra, they added. -- PTI
12:51 Maha Governor recovers from Covid, discharged
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was discharged from a hospital in Mumbai on Sunday after recovering from COVID-19, authorities said.
Koshyari, 80, was admitted to the private hospital in south Mumbai on Wednesday after testing positive for the infection.
A statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said the Governor returned to his official residence after remaining hospitalised for four days.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the governor had said, 'I have tested positive for COVID-19. There are only mild symptoms. However I have been admitted to a Hospital as a precautionary measure.'
A day before that, Shiv Sena's cabinet minister Eknath Shinde had launched a rebellion against his own party, setting off hectic political activities in the state.
Majority of the Sena legislators have supported Shinde and joined him in Guwahati, where all of them are currently camping.
Their rebellion has pushed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to the brink of collapse. - -ANI
12:09 Teesta Setalvad undergoes medical checkup
The Gujarat Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) is scheduled to produce Teesta Setalvad before the magistrate's court today as the medical checkup of Teesta Setalvad was done on Sunday at Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.
"They have done my medical. I have a big bruise on my hand, this is what the ATS did to me. They are taking me to the magistrate's court," said Teesta Setalvad.
Earlier on Saturday, Gujarat Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) team detained Setalvad from Mumbai in connection with a case on her NGO and later in the night she was taken to Ahmedabad.
The Gujarat ATS team took Teesta Setalvad to the Santacruz police station yesterday.
The action came after Union Minister Amit Shah in an interview with ANI said that Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police. -- ANI
12:07 Yogi's helicopter emergency landed in Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's helicopter had to make an emergency landing in Varanasi after it hit a bird on Sunday, officials said.
A bird hit the CM's helicopter after it took off from police lines here (Varanasi) for Lucknow, after which it had to land in Varanasi, District Magistrate Kaushalraj Sharma said.
The CM returned to the circuit house after the incident and later reached airport and left for Lucknow from a state plane, he said.
The CM had come to Varanasi on Saturday and had paid obeisance at Kashi Vishwanath temple, besides holding a review meeting. -- PTI
11:06 Adityanath's helicopter makes emergency landing in Varanasi after bird hit
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's helicopter had to make an emergency landing in Varanasi after it hit a bird on Sunday, officials said.
A bird hit the CM's helicopter after it took off from here (Varanasi) for Lucknow, after which it had to land in Varanasi, district magistrate Kaushalraj Sharma said.
The CM had come to Varanasi on Saturday and had paid obeisance at Kashi Vishwanath temple, besides holding a review meeting. -- PTI
10:58 Shinde calls meeting of rebel Sena MLAs today
Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has called a meeting of MLAs camping with him at a hotel in Assam's Guwahati on Sunday to discuss the strategy ahead.
The political turbulence in Maharashtra was triggered by the faction war in Shiv Sena after Minister Eknath Shinde flew to Surat with some MLAs and then to Guwahati where he claims of having the support of 38 MLAs of the 55 Shiv Sena legislators, which is more than two-thirds of the party's strength in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
It means that they can either leave and form another political party or merge with another without being disqualified from the state assembly.
According to sources, Maharashtra deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal has sent notices to the 16 Shiv Sena rebel MLAs.
The MLAs have to be present in Mumbai on Monday for the hearing of disqualification. Notably, Zirwal has earlier approved the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader, replacing Shinde, the state cabinet minister who rebelled against the Shiv Sena leadership.
Zirwal also turned down the Shinde camp's suggestion to appoint rebel Shiv Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip of the legislature party in place of Sunil Prabhu. Interestingly, the Shinde faction named their group as 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'.
The naming of the group after the name of the Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray attracted sharp reactions from the Uddhav faction as the Chief Minister said that those who left the party should not seek votes in the name of the party founder. -- ANI
10:38 Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur passes away
Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who was sentenced to death for spying by a Pakistan court in 1991 and passed away in 2013 in Lahore, has died on Saturday night.
Her last rites will be conducted on Sunday at Bhikhiwind in Punjab.
Sarbjit Singh was a farmer from Bhikhiwind in Punjab near the India-Pakistan border, who mistakenly crossed over the border after having a couple of drinks.
However, he was sentenced to death by a Pakistan court in 1991.
Singh was kept in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore for 22 years and after that, he was beaten up by his inmates and was taken to hospital.
Singh was declared dead by doctors at Lahore's Jinnah Hospital after being comatose for five days due to severe injuries in the head after an attack on him on the jail premises in 2013.
During his 22 years in jail, his older sister Dalbir Kaur had fought against the system to release her brother. -- ANI
10:28 Sangrur bypoll: Early trends show SAD (Amritsar) leader Mann leading
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief and candidate Simranjit Singh Mann is leading from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, for which counting began on Sunday morning, according to initial trends.
Mann, a former MP, is leading by a margin of 856 votes from his nearest rival and AAP candidate Gurmail Singh, the trends indicated.
Counting of votes for the bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab began Sunday morning amid tight security arrangements. -- PTI
10:14 Bypolls: SP candidate leading in Rampur, BJP ahead in Azamgarh
The Samajwadi Party candidate was leading in the Rampur Lok Sabha seat while the Bharatiya Janata Party nominee was ahead in Azamgarh, counting for which began Sunday morning.
According to available trends, SP candidate Mohd Asim Raja is leading by over 767 votes in Rampur while BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' is leading by a margin of 2,117 votes from BSP's Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali.
The SP's Dharmendra Yadav is at the third spot. -- PTI
10:10 Setalvad handed over to Ahmedabad crime branch
A day after detaining social activist Teesta Setalvad in Mumbai, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad handed her over to the Ahmedabad crime branch early on Sunday in connection with a fresh case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and insulting criminal proceedings to cause injury registered against her.
Setalvad was detained from her house in Juhu area of Mumbai on Saturday afternoon after an FIR was registered against her at the Ahmedabad crime branch earlier in the day based on a complaint lodged by a crime branch inspector D B Barad.
"After being brought here, Setalvad was handed over to the city crime branch on Sunday morning. She will soon be placed under arrest," a crime branch source said.
After her detention on Saturday, she had been taken to the Santacruz police station in Mumbai for informing the local police about her detention.
From there, the Gujarat police squad brought her to Ahmedabad by road, where they reached in the early hours. PTI
09:52 Four firefighters hospitalised after blaze at multiplex cafetaria in Thane
Four firefighters were hospitalised after most of them complained of breathing trouble during an operation to douse a fire that broke out at a cafeteria of a multiplex inside a mall in Maharashtra's Thane city, civic officials said on Sunday.
The incident occurred during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, they said.
Chief of the Thane civic body's regional disaster management cell, Avinash Sawant, said the fire broke out at the cafeteria of the multiplex located on the third floor of the building around 11.20 pm on Saturday.
"The fire spread to the adjoining area and panic spread in the multiplex, where the spectators rushed out to safety. Two fire engines along with the teams of fire brigade and the RDMC reached the spot and began the firefighting operation. The fire was finally doused after nearly five hours," he said, adding that some nearby shops suffered major damages.
During the operation, three firefighters complained of breathing problem, while another one suffered injuries due to some broken glass pieces at the site, he said.
"All of them were admitted to a civic-run hospital, where they are currently being treated," Sawant said. The cause of the fire is being probed, he said. -- PTI
09:38 India's active Covid cases rise to 92,576; 25 more deaths
India logged 11,739 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,33,89,973, while the active cases rose to 92,576, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll climbed to 5,24,999 with 25 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.
The active cases comprise 0.21 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was 98.58 per cent, the ministry said.
An increase of 797 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.
The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.59 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 3.25 per cent, according to the ministry.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,27,72,398 while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.21 per cent. -- PTI
09:17 Modi arrives in Germany to attend G7 summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday arrived here on a two-day visit to Germany during which he will attend the G7 summit and discuss issues like energy, food security, counter-terrorism, environment and democracy with the leaders of the powerful bloc and its partner countries.
Prime Minister Modi is attending the G7 summit, to be held on June 26 and 27, following an invitation by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The summit is being hosted by Germany in its capacity as the chair of G7, a grouping of the world's seven richest nations.
The G7 leaders are expected to focus on the Ukraine crisis that has triggered geopolitical turmoil besides fuelling a global food and energy crisis.
"During the sessions of the Summit, I will be exchanging views with the G7 counties, G7 partner countries and guest International Organisations on topical issues such as environment, energy, climate, food security, health, counter-terrorism, gender equality and democracy," Modi said in a statement ahead of his visit.
Foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said on Friday that Modi will hold bilateral meetings and discussions with the leaders of the G7 and also the guest countries on the sidelines of the G7 summit. -- PTI
08:29 J-K sub-inspector murder: Officer's nephew among 3 held
Three people, including a relative, have been arrested in connection with the killing of a police officer in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district earlier this month, a spokesperson said here on Saturday.
Sub-inspector Farooq Ahmad was shot dead near his home in Pulwama district on the intervening night of June 16 and 17.
His body was found in a paddy field.
Accused Arsalaan Bashir alias Faisal, Tawkeer Manzoor and Owais Mushtaq, all residents of Samboora Pampore, are the officer's neighbours.
In fact, Manzoor is his nephew, the spokesperson said.
They allegedly killed Ahmad at the behest of terrorist Majid Nazir Wani of Ladhoo, who was killed in the Tujjan Pulwama encounter on June 21, the spokesperson added.
During the course of investigation, several suspects were called for questioning and the three suspects were zeroed in on.
Their role in the killing was proved, he said.
Incriminating materials, a pistol and ammunition have been recovered from their possession and further investigation is underway, he said.
Kashmir inspector general of police Vijay Kumar has appreciated the police team that solved the case, the spokesperson said. -- PTI
Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh
08:18 Modi speaks to Amarinder Singh to enquire about his health
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh to enquire about his health, official sources said on Sunday.
Singh underwent a successful spinal surgery in a London hospital on Saturday.
He had gone to London recently.
The former chief minister heads the Punjab Lok Congress outfit, which was an ally of the BJP in the recent state assembly polls. -- PTI
08:15 Counting of votes begins for Sangrur LS bypolls
Counting of votes for the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls got underway at 8 am Sunday amid tight security arrangements.
The Lok Sabha seat had gone to poll on June 23, recording a low turnout of 45.30 per cent.
The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha after he was elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year.
Mann, who is the state's chief minister now, had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party is facing its first test of popularity after its impressive performance in the assembly polls.
The bypoll came at a time when the AAP is facing Opposition heat over the law-and-order scenario in the state and the killing of singer Sidhu Moosewala.
The AAP has fielded Gurmail Singh, the party's Sangrur district in-charge. -- PTI