Wed, 25 January 2023
Ahmedabad cops receive bomb threat, 4 held
File image/ANI Photo
23:49 Ahmedabad cops receive bomb threat, 4 held
Four people have been detained after Ahmedabad police received a bomb blast threat ahead of Republic Day.
The threat letter mentions bomb blasts at Ahmedabad Railway Station and Geeta Mandir Bus Station.
Ahmedabad crime branch swung into action.
Over 8 different teams were made for the search operation and to identify the person who sent the threat letter.
According to police sources, the threat letter was sent to the Ahmedabad police commissioner's office, it also mentioned some numbers as well.
Apart from Ahmedabad railway station and Geeta Mandir bus station, two other places were mentioned in the letter by the person who sent the threat letter, informed Chaitanya Mandlik, DCP, Crime Branch.
Out of four, two were held in Ahmedabad and the other two were detained from Uttar Pradesh's Ballia. -- ANI
File image/PTI Photo
23:19 Halwa ceremony to be held on Thursday in presence of finance minister
The traditional 'halwa ceremony' to be held on Thursday in presence of finance minister Niramala Sitharaman to mark the beginning of compilation of budget documents.
"The halwa ceremony, marking the final stage of the Budget preparation process for Union Budget 2023-24, will be held tomorrow (Thursday) in the presence of Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. @nsitharaman, in the Budget Press situated inside North Block," the finance ministry said in a series of tweets.
This time the halwa ceremony coincides with the Republic Day.
Like the previous two Union Budgets, Union Budget 2023-24 will also be delivered in paperless form, it said.
Earlier, this ceremony used to kick-start the printing exercise for the Budget.
However, Budget 2021-22 was delivered in paperless form for the first time.
This was the first time since independent India's first Budget on November 26, 1947 that the documents were not physically printed.
The Union Budget 2023-24 is to be presented on February 1, 2023.
The Budget documents will be available on the 'Union Budget Mobile App' on both the Android and Apple OS platforms after the completion of the Budget speech by the finance minister in Parliament on February 1, 2023, it said. -- PTI
File image/Michaela Rehle/Reuters
23:03 2 killed, 5 hurt in knife attack in Germany; 1 held
The suspect behind the killing of two people in a knife attack on a train from Kiel to Hamburg in northern Germany, which also left five injured, was arrested, reported DW News.
Germany's federal police force said the man used a knife to attack several passengers shortly before the suburban train, travelling from Kiel to Hamburg, arrived at the Brokstedt station.
Interior Minister of Schleswig-Holstein state, Sabine Suetterlin-Waack confirmed the arrest, saying two people were killed and five were wounded in the attack which took place around 3 pm local time, reported German news agency dpa.
Meanwhile, Waack and the Bundespolizei both said a suspect had been arrested, reported DW News.
The police said the attack took place as the train was approaching the Brokstedt station, a small community of around 2,000 people north of Hamburg and south of Kiel.
A suspect was arrested when the train reached Brokstedt station.
The train station in Brokstedt was closed for several hours, the news agency said.
The police was investigating at the train station in Brokstedt, the German railway Deutsche Bahn said on Twitter, adding that some services between Hamburg and Kiel had been cancelled.
According to police, further details remained elusive even two hours after the attack. -- ANI
Sheikh Hasina with current President Abdul Hamid/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters
22:46 Bangladesh to hold presidential election on Feb 19
Bangladesh's election commission on Wednesday fixed February 19 for the polling to elect a new president.
The incumbent president Abdul Hamid cannot contest for another term as the country's constitution allows a maximum of two terms for a person in the post of president.
The tenure of President Hamid will end on April 23.
"The presidential election will be held on February 19 in line with the Article 123 of the Constitution," Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal told a news briefing at his office.
He said the voting to elect the country's 22nd president would be held between 2 pm and 5 pm in the Parliament Complex.
Lawmakers in Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) elect the president for a five-year term in Bangladesh's parliamentary form of government while one can serve as much as two consecutive terms as the head of the state.
According to the CEC, the commission set February 12 for submission of nomination papers, February 13 for scrutiny and February 14 for withdrawal.
The ruling Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has an absolute majority in the 350 members Parliament. -- PTI
Commando Mudasir Ahmed Sheikh
22:20 JK police's commando Mudasir Ahmed Sheikh awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously
Commando Mudasir Ahmed Sheikh, known as Bindaas to Indian Army officers and colleagues in the J&K police, has been conferred a Shaurya Chakra, posthumously.
Sheikh was killed in action in May last year during an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Three terrorists had killed in the encounter with the forces.
22:08 Kishore Biyani quits debt-ridden Future Retail
Kishore Biyani has stepped down as chairman of the suspended board of the debt-ridden Future Retail, which is currently facing insolvency proceedings.
Biyani has "tendered a letter of his resignation from the position of the 'executive chairman and director' of the company," said Future Retail in a regulatory filing.
His resignation "shall be placed before the Committee of Creditors, as per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016", the company added.
The resolution professional of Future Retail Ltd received intimation through an e-mail on January 24, 2023.
"Nothing herein should be construed as an acceptance of the contents of the resignation letter tendered by Mr Kishore Biyani, including in respect of his submissions in the resignation letter on information handover," it added.
FRL was dragged into insolvency proceedings by its lender Bank of India after it defaulted on loans. -- PTI
22:04 Sudha Murty, Kumar Mangalam Birla among 9 picked for Padma Bhushan
Sudha Murty, wife of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and Aditya Birla Group chief Kumar Mangalam Birla are among the nine awardees of Padma Bhushan this year.
Rakesh Radheshyam Jhunjhunwala (Posthumous), RRR movie composer MM Keeravaani, actress Raveena Ravi Tandon are among the 91 awardees of Padma Shri this year. -- ANI
Mulayam Singh Yadav
22:01 Mulayam, SM Krishna chosen for Padma Vibhushan
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is among six personalities chosen for this year's Padma Vibhushan.
The others are Zakir Hussain, SM Krishna, oral rehydration solution pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis, Srinivas Varadhan, and Balkrishna Doshi.
Among the nine Padma Bhushan awardees are Vani Jayram, Sudha Murthy, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Suman Kalyanpur.
25 other personalities across various walks of life to receive Padma Shri.
J P Nadda
21:26 BJP chief Nadda's son weds Jaipur girl
BJP president JP Nadda's son Harish is set to be married to Jaipur resident Riddhi at a hotel in the city on Wednesday night.
Nadda and family members and close relatives were in the city for the private event at Hotel Rajmahal Palace, party sources said.
A limited number of guests was invited to the wedding and a large reception will be held in New Delhi on February 5, they added.
Lt Gen Amardeep Singh Aujala/ANI
20:46 Chinar Corps commander Lt Gen Aujala awarded Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
Chinar Corps commander Lt Gen Amardeep Singh Aujala has been awarded the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal.
3 Corps Commander Lt Gen RK Tiwari and 14 Corps chief Lt Gen A Sengupta have also been awarded the UYSM. -- ANI
Kalinga Sena supporters tear a poster of the film 'Pathaan' in Bhubaneswar/ANI
20:37 FIR filed over objectionable slogans in 'Pathaan' stir
A first information report was registered against an unidentified person for allegedly raising an objectionable slogan during a protest held by a right-wing organisation in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on Wednesday against Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan, an official said.
The FIR was filed after some members of Muslim community objected to the slogan and staged an agitation.
Talking to PTI, Chhatripura police station in-charge Pawan Singhal said, "A protest was organised by an organisation in the premises of Kastur Talkies against Pathaan. During the protest, an unidentified person raised an objectionable slogan, following which some members of a community approached the police."
Based on the complaint lodged by the members of the community, a case was registered against an unidentified person under section 505 of the Indian Penal Code.
"The accused, who allegedly raised objectionable slogans, would be identified after the examination of a video that surfaced on social media. Further steps would be taken once the accused is identified," he said.
Before the FIR was registered at Chhatripura police station, the agitated members of the Muslim community staged a protest at Chandan Nagar police station against the alleged objectionable sloganeering in Kastur Talkies premises and demanded that an FIR be filed. -- PTI
20:25 Dogra Regiment's Major Shubhang awarded Kirti Chakra
Major Shubhang of the Dogra Regiment has been awarded the second highest peacetime gallantry medal Kirti Chakra for his gallant role in an operation in Budgam, Jammu-Kashmir.
In the operation, the officer killed a terrorist and safely evacuated his injured troops. -- ANI
20:15 Adityanath orders uninterrupted power supply in UP on R-Day
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday instructed officials to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the state on Republic Day.
In accordance with the chief minister's directives, the department is engaged in ensuring a 24-hour uninterrupted power supply in all metropolitan cities, according to an official statement.
Republic Day will be enthusiastically observed and the Uttar Pradesh government is committed to provide 24-hour electricity throughout the state, Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited chairman M Devraj said.
Necessary instructions have been issued to managing directors of power distribution corporations to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all areas, he said.
Officers and personnel engaged in distribution at the local level have been asked to exercise full vigilance, Devraj added.
Local issues should be fixed right away and availability of manpower and materials necessary for this should be ensured, he added. -- PTI
File image/PTI Photo
19:50 Oreva offers compensation to Morbi victims
The Gujarat high court agreed to the Oreva Group's offer on Wednesday to pay compensation to the victims of the Morbi bridge collapse that left 135 dead and several injured but said it will "not absolve it of any liability'.
Oreva Group (Ajanta Manufacturing Limited) was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the British-era suspension bridge on the Machchhu river that collapsed on October 30 last year, with a special investigation team formed by the state government citing several lapses on the part of the firm.
The company's lawyer Nirupam Nanavati told the division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri, which is hearing a suo motu plea on the tragedy, that it maintained the cable-stayed structure as part of its "philanthropic activities' and not a "commercial venture'.
The company, which was impleaded as a respondent in the case, offered to pay compensation to the families of the 135 deceased, 56 injured persons and seven orphaned children, to which the court directed it to file an affidavit and observed that such an act "would not absolve it of any liability, either directly or vicariously'.
The company "fairly admits that payment of such compensation should in no way prejudice the rights of any other parties', the court said.
"We make it clear that the payment of compensation even by the 7th respondent (Oreva) to the victims or relatives should not absolve it of any liability either directly or vicariously,' it said. -- PTI
19:26 Economy has shaken off pandemic effect: Murmu
Most sectors of the economy have shaken off the pandemic effect, President Droupadi Murmu said in her address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day. Timely and proactive interventions from government have made India one of fastest-growing major economies, she added.
Other points she made in her ongoing address are:
- Vision of Constitution makers has guided India transform from a largely poor and illiterate nation into a confident nation.
- Our founding document is inspired by humanistic philosophy of the oldest living civilisation as well as new ideas.
- India succeeded as a democratic republic because so many creeds and languages have not divided us, they have only united us.
- NEP makes our civilisational lessons relevant for contemporary life while also preparing learners for the 21st century challenges.
19:17 We celebrate on R Day what we have achieved: Prez
"When we celebrate Republic Day, we celebrate what we have achieved, together, as a nation," said President Droupadi Murmu in her maiden address to the nation on the eve of the 74th Republic Day.
"India will always remain grateful to Dr BR Ambedkar, who headed the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, and thus had a critical part in giving it the final shape," President Murmu said.
"We should also remember role of jurist BN Rau, who had prepared initial draft, and other experts and officers who helped in making of Constitution. We're proud of fact that members of that assembly represented all regions and communities of India and that they included 15 women too," President Murmu said in her address.
19:05 Half of Mumbai faces full water cut on Jan 30
Half of Mumbai city will not get water for 24 hours, from 10 am on January 30 to at 10 am on January 31, due to repair work. Dadar will get 25 percent less water on the same day. The water supply will be at low pressure from January 29 to February 4, reports Mid-Day newspaper.
Water supply will be completely cut off in nine wards in the city's western suburbs. The nine wards are -- K East, K West, P South, P North, R South, R Central, R North, H East, and H West. Water supply will also be completely cut off in many areas of S, N, and L wards in the eastern suburbs, the newspaper said quoting a press release from the Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation.
'In addition to the above, there will be a 25 per cent reduction in water supply in Mahim West, Dadar West, Prabhadevi, and Matunga West in 'G North' and 'G South' wards. Whereas in Dharavi area, where water supply is provided between 4 pm and 9 pm, water supply will be completely cut off on January 30. Due to these repair works, water supply will be under low pressure in the above-mentioned wards between January 29 and February 4,' Mid-Day reported, here.
The collapsed building in Lucknow/ANI Photo
18:49 SP MLA's son held for Lucknow building collapse
The son of a Samajwadi Party MLA was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the collapse of a multi-storey building in Lucknow in which two women were killed and several were injured.
Nawajish Shahid, the son of SP MLA and former minister Shahid Manzoor, was picked up from Meerut and arrested subsequently, a police officer said.
Nawajish Shahid is among the three people named in an FIR registered in connection with the case.
Mohammad Tariq and Fahad Yazdani are the other two.
Nawajish Shahid is alleged to be the owner of the land on which the building constructed by Yazdan Builders stood.
Shahid Manzoor is a senior SP leader in western Uttar Pradesh and currently represents Kithore in the assembly.
The FIR was registered at Hazratganj police station on Wednesday under IPC Sections 323 (voluntary causing hurt), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 420 (fraud) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
The five-storey Alaya Apartments in the Hazratganj area in the Uttar Pradesh capital collapsed Tuesday evening, trapping more than a dozen people under it.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abbas Haider's wife Uzma Haider, 30, and mother Begum Haider, 72, have died, while two more people are still feared trapped under the debris.
Fourteen have been pulled out of the debris so far and admitted to hospitals, an official said. -- PTI
18:42 Give details on disposing of Jayalalithaa's seized assets: Bengaluru court
A civil court in Bengaluru has set aside an order of the public information officer, who had refused to share information on disposing of the immovable assets of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
RTI activist T Narasimhamurthy had sought information on the special court's directions regarding the auctioning of the assets that were seized on December 11, 1996 from Jayalalithaa's residence in Chennai.
The disproportionate assets case against her and others was transferred to Karnataka by the Supreme Court in 2003 and the seized assets including sarees, shawls and footwear were shifted to Bengaluru.
The special court in Bengaluru held Jayalalithaa and the other accused in the case as guilty in 2014.
The material evidence in the case is still under custody.
Narasimhamurthy had sought auctioning of the assets.
The PIO had refused to provide him information regarding what the special court had ordered about disposing of the assets.
He then approached the principal city civil and sessions judge, which is also the first appellate authority for the RTI cases. -- PTI
18:20 7 of a family found dead in Pune river: 5 kin held for murder
An investigation into the death of seven members of a family, whose bodies were found in a riverbed in Pune, has indicated they were murdered allegedly by their relatives over a previous incident involving the death of the son of one of the accused, a police official said on Wednesday.
Mohan Pawar (45), his wife Sangita Mohan (40), their daughter Rani Fulware (24), son-in-law Shyam Fulware (28), and three children aged between three and seven years were found dead in the Bheema riverbed near Pargaon bridge in Duand tehsil of Maharashtra's Pune district between January 18 and January 24.
The police arrested five siblings -- Ashok Kalyan Pawar, Shyam Kalyan Pawar, Shankar Kalyan Pawar, Prakash Kalyan Pawar and Kantabai Sarjerao Jadhav -- who are cousins of the deceased Mohan Pawar, an official said.
Pune rural superintendent of police Ankit Goyal said during the investigation, some facts came to the fore which indicated all the deceased were murdered.
Prima-facie, it is understood that Dhananjay Pawar, son of accused Ashok Pawar, died a few months ago in an accident and a case related to it was registered in Pune city, he said.
"The prima-facie probe indicates Ashok was angry and held Mohan's son responsible for Dhananjay's death. To avenge the death of Ashok's son, these seven people were killed," Goyal said. -- PTI
18:01 Fliers to get reimbursement for ticket downgrades
Airlines will reimburse 75 per cent of the ticket costs to passengers whose domestic flight tickets have been downgraded, with aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation putting in place new norms.
For downgrade of international tickets, the reimbursement amount will vary from 30 per cent to 75 per cent of the ticket costs, including taxes, depending on the distance covered by the particular flight.
The new norms will be effective from February 15, a senior official at the DGCA said on Wednesday.
The regulator decided to amend the norms against the backdrop of complaints from air travellers about their tickets booked for a particular class being downgraded by airlines.
In December last year, DGCA had proposed that airlines should have to refund the full value of such tickets, including taxes, and also that affected passenger will be flown free of cost in the next available class.
However, those proposals have been modified now in line with international practices, the official said.
The watchdog has amended its civil aviation requirement pertaining to facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights. -- PTI
17:21 HC grants bail to Anil Deshmukh's former secretary in corruption case
The Bombay high court on Wednesday granted bail to Sanjeev Palande, former private secretary of NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, in a corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Former Maharashtra minister Deshmukh, also an accused in the case, is currently out on bail.
A single bench of Justice M S Karnik allowed Palande's bail plea after hearing arguments of the both sides.
He is likely to walk out of the jail on January 27, his lawyer Shekhar Jagtap said.
The HC had last month granted bail to Palande in a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
The ED had arrested Palande in June 2021 in connection with the money laundering case.
Later, the CBI took his custody in the corruption case in April 2022.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in March 2021 alleged that Deshmukh, who was then the home minister of Maharashtra, had given a target to police officers to collect Rs 100 crore per month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai. -- PTI
Cops patrol outside a theatre during first-day first show of 'Pathaan' in Guwahati/ANI
16:50 Protest against Pathaan in parts of MP hits shows
Some right-wing organisations held protests against the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan in parts of Madhya Pradesh on the day of the film's release on Wednesday, forcing some theatres in Indore and Bhopal to cancel the morning shows.
The film has been opposed by some segments who claim that its song called Besharam Rang hurts the sentiments of Hindus.
In Bhopal, Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest at Rangmahal Cinema Hall and forced the theatre owner to remove the poster of Pathaan.
The protesters also torn the film's posters.
When asked about the protests by the right-wing organisations outside the cinema halls, Bhopal's additional commissioner of police Sachin Kumar Atulkar told PTI that police force has been deployed at these establishments following the protests.
"No untoward incident was reported from anywhere. As per the information I have received, no show was cancelled, but we cannot say if the cinema hall owners have taken a decision to this effect on their own," he said.
Bhopal's Bajrang Dal joint-convenor Abhijeet Singh Rajput said the activists of his organisation staged protests at three to four cinema halls, including Rangmahal and Bharat in the city, and got the posters removed.
People were urged not to watch the movie, he said.
When asked, the owner of Rangmahal Cinema Hall, Ranveer Singh told PTI that the first show of Pathaan was cancelled due to the protest, while other shows are being held normally. -- PTI
16:26 India's trade with China risen by 50% despite aggression: Kejriwal
Despite Chinese aggression, India's trade with Beijing has increased by 50 per cent, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in an apparent swipe at the BJP-led Centre, and called for a boycott of China to send out a strong message.
Addressing a Republic Day function organised by the Delhi government at Chhatrasal Stadium, Kejriwal alleged that China is procuring more weapons to use against India with the very money it earns doing trade with us.
"A leading newspaper today reported that China has occupied some of our land. This is worrisome for every Indian. Our soldiers are bravely facing China at the border and it is our duty to support them in this fight.
"It is our duty to boycott China and send out a strong message," he said at the event.
The Chief Minister asked the central government what action it took against China's incursions into Indian territory and allegedly even occupying some of our land.
"On one hand China is occupying our land and on the other hand we are increasing our trade with China," he said, as he went on to list the items both countries traded in for billions of dollars.
"In 2020, we bought materials and products worth 65 billion dollars from China and in 2021 it increased to 95 billion dollars -- almost a 50 per cent increase. We are only making China richer and giving them more money. They are buying more weapons, recruiting more soldiers using our money to harm us," Kejriwal said.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader suggested India should set up manufacturing units for items it imports from China and boycott Chinese goods.
"We are purchasing items like slippers, figurines, and mattresses from China. Why cannot we manufacture these in India?" he asked, saying that the move will only create jobs for youths.
"If the Centre and state governments will provide all facilities to the businessmen, we can make all these things in India and give employment to lakhs of youths.
"But the country's system and agencies have forced the traders to an extent that in the last five years 12 lakh traders have left the country," he rued. -- PTI
16:20 ED arrests TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale
The Enforcement Directorate has arrested Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in a crowd funding initiative, official sources said Wednesday.
Gokhale was taken into custody under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Ahemdabad where he is lodged in judicial custody in a Gujarat Police case.
He will be produced by the federal agency before a local court there seeking his remand, they said.
The Gujarat Police arrested Gokhale from Delhi December 29 in its case of alleged misuse of money he had collected through crowd-funding.
Earlier in December, the Gujarat Police arrested him twice for allegedly spreading fake news regarding the cost incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Morbi town following a bridge collapse tragedy. -- PTI
16:11 Govt failed to curb terrorism in JK: Panun Kashmir
The Panun Kashmir, an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits, on Wednesday accused the government of failing to curb terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
"We state it unambiguously that...the Government of India has failed to defeat terrorism because it has relentlessly pursued a conscious policy of not recognising the religious nature of the war unleashed in Jammu and Kashmir," Panun Kashmir chairman Ajay Chrungoo told reporters in Jammu.
He referred to the killing of seven people in twin terror attacks in Dhangri village in Rajouri on January 1-2.
"We are all witness to a vicious policy of trivialisation of terror threat in Jammu and Kashmir," he alleged.
The Panun Kashmir appealed to the Government of India to recognise that the primary targets of terrorist violence in Kashmir as well as Jammu are minorities.
He demanded relocation of Kashmiri Pandit employees posted in Kashmiri Valley to Jammu in view of threat from terrorists.
As assembly and parliamentary elections draw close, the vulnerability of soft targets in Jammu and Kashmir will increase immensely, he claimed. PTI
15:58 4 students detained ahead of Modi docu screening at Delhi's Jamia
The Delhi Police Wednesday said they have detained four students after the Left-affiliated Students' Federation of India (SFI) announcement plan to screen a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Jamia Millia Islamia campus.
The university administration said the screening will not be allowed and that they are taking all measures to prevent people and organisations with a "vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university".
A Delhi Police official said four SFI members were detained, just hours before the screening planned for 6 pm by the student body.
The SFI's Jamia unit has released a poster informing the documentary will be screened at 6 pm at the MCRC lawn gate no 8.
The SFI issued a statement following the detention.
"In an atrocious manner, Azeez, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia and SFI Jamia Unit Secretary; Nivedya, a Jamia Student and SFI South Delhi Area Vice President; Abhiram and Tejas, both Jamia students and SFI Unit members have been detained by the Delhi Police prior to the screening of the documentary," the SFI said.
"The SFI Jamia Unit had decided to screen the BBC documentary today on the campus," it added.
The university administration also issued a statement, saying no permission has been sought for the screening of the documentary and it will not be allowed.
"It has come to the knowledge of the university administration that some students belonging to a political organisation have circulated a poster about screening of a controversial documentary film on the university campus today," the university said in a statement.
The university earlier issued a memorandum/circular reiterating that no meeting/gathering of students or screening of any film shall be allowed on the campus without the permission of the competent authority.
The varsity said strict disciplinary action shall be taken against organisers in case of any violation.
"The university is taking all possible measures to prevent people/organisations having a vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university," it said. -- PTI
15:49 CJI announces launch of service to provide verdicts in some scheduled languages
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud Wednesday said the electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project will now start providing apex court judgements in various Indian scheduled languages from Republic Day.
As soon as the bench assembled for the day, the CJI told the lawyers the apex court will operationalise the part of the E-SCR project on Thursday for providing verdicts in some local scheduled languages free of cost.
"Apart from the e-SCR, we also have now 1091 Supreme Court judgements in local languages which will be available on the Republic Day," he said.
There are of 22 languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. They include Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.
The apex court verdicts, as part the e-SCR project, will be available on the apex court website, its mobile app and on the judgment portal of the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG). -- PTI
15:40 After JNU, Jamia to hold screening of Modi docu
Left-affiliated Students' Federation of India Wednesday announced it will screen the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Jamia Millia Islamia campus at 6 pm.
The university administration, however, said no permission has been sought for the screening of the documentary and "we will not allow" it.
The SFI's Jamia unit has issued a poster informing the documentary will be screened at 6 pm at the MCRC lawn gate no 8.
When contacted, a Jamia official said, "They did not ask for a permission for the screening and we will not allow the screening. If students go out of their way to do something then strict action would be taken against them."
The screening at the Jamia campus comes a day after a similar screening was organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University during which students claimed that power and internet were suspended and stones were thrown at them. -- PTI
15:27 30 CBI officers get police medals on Republic Day eve
Thirty Central Bureau of Investigation officers, including those who supervised cases related to Child Sexual Abuse Material, the death of Mahant Narendra Giri and against Lalu Prasad, were awarded police medals on the eve of Republic Day on Wednesday.
Six officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation were awarded the President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service (PPMDS) while 24 were awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service (PMMS), a government statement said.
Joint Director Viplav Kumar Choudhary, a 1997-batch IPS officer, who is overseeing recent cases related to online peddling of Child Sexual Abuse Material and the death of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri in Prayagraj, among other special crime cases, was awarded the coveted PPMDS, it said.
His batchmate and another joint director in the central probe agency Sharad Agarwal, who supervised cases including the murder of a Class 2 student of a private school in Gurugram, alleged murder of a Jharkhand judge Uttam Anand and cases related to alleged corruption by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was also awarded the PPMDS, the statement said.
Deputy Inspector General Gagandeep Gambhir, a 2004-batch IPS officer, who supervised corruption cases related to the National Highways Authority of India, AgustaWestland chopper deal corruption case, Vijay Mallya case, alleged corruption case against former Allahabad High Court judge Justice S N Shukla among others was awarded the PMMS, it said.
Additional Superintendents of Police Satya Narayan Jat and Thanglian Mang M, and Head Constables Adu Ram and Goutam Chandra Das were also given the PPMDS.
Superintendent of Police Pravin Mandloi; Additional Superintendent of Police Kaushal Kishore Singh; Deputy Superintendents of Police Jagrup Singh, Darvin KJ, Bikash Chandra Chourasia, Javed Akhtar Ali, Kumar Abhishek, Manoj Kumar, Girish Soni, Jagadev Singh Yadav and Mukesh Kumar received the PMMS.
Other officers who received the PMMS include Inspectors Tejvir Singh, Munna Kumar Singh, Ganesh Shanker; Head Constables Jahar Lal Nayek, Echikkamandanath Vargese Paulose, Jagdish Choudhary, Bijoy Barua, Debdutta Mukherjee; Constable Satish Kumar; Officer Superintendent Anup Mathews; Stenographer Khokan Bhattacharjee and Senior Public Prosecutor Raj Mohan Chand. -- PTI
15:13 Kamal Haasan's party backs Congress in Erode East bypoll
Actor Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam on Wednesday extended unconditional support to Congress candidate EVKS Elangovan for the February 27 Erode East bypoll, saying it was a "moment of national importance" to fight for the common cause of joining hands against "communal forces."
Elangovan, senior Congress leader and former union minister, is the candidate of the DMK-led Secular Progressive Aliance (SPA). The bypoll was necessitated due to the recent death of sitting local legislator and his son Thirumahan Everaa.
Briefing reporters after chairing a meeting of the party's Administrative and Executive councils, Haasan said they unanimously decided to extend "unconditional support" to the DMK-led SPA candidate and "my friend" Elangovan.
"Myself and my partymen will extend whatever assistance is required for Elangovan's win," and ensure a big victory margin for the Congress leader, Haasan added.
This is the first time the actor-politician is extending support to a candidate of another party in the elections as MNM had faced the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 state Assembly elections by itself.
Asked about his supporting the DMK backed candidate, Haasan said he had joined hands to fight against communal forces and those that were trying to "intrude" into every aspect of people's life including food.
"When it comes to national importance, you have to rub off differences," he said, responding to a question but indicated any decision over possible alliance for the 2024 Parliamentary elections will be taken then.
Elangovan had earlier met Haasan. -- PTI
15:07 US activist investor alleges 'brazen' fraud by Adani
Well-known United States activist investor Hindenburg Research has alleged that Adani Group was "engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud", a charge the conglomerate described as malicious, unsubstantiated, one-sided, and having done with malafide intention to ruin its share-sale.
Hindenburg, a US-based investment research firm that specialises in activist short-selling, said its two-year investigation reveals that "the Rs 17.8 trillion (USD 218 billion) Indian conglomerate Adani Group has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades."
The report comes ahead of a Rs 20,000 crore follow-on share sale of Adani Group's flagship Adani Enterprises. Group representatives said a statement in response would be issued later.
The follow-on public offer (FPO) is slated to open on January 27 and close on January 31.
Adani Group said it was shocked to see the report that came out without any attempt to contact it to get the factual matrix.
"The report is a malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India's highest courts," the ports-to-energy conglomerate said in a statement.
It went on to question the timing of the report, saying its publication ahead of the FPO "clearly betrays a brazen, malafide intention to undermine Adani Group's reputation with the principal objective of damaging" the issue.
Adani Group stocks fell after the report but recouped some of the losses. Adani Enterprises fell 2.5 per cent but pared some losses after the statement to trade at 1.5 per cent lower at 1350 hrs. Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd, which was down 6.23 per cent at noon, too recovered some grounds and was down 5.1 per cent at 1350 hrs.
"Gautam Adani, founder and chairman of Adani Group, has amassed a net worth of roughly USD 120 billion, adding over USD 100 billion in the past 3 years largely through stock price appreciation in the group's seven key listed companies, which have spiked an average of 819 per cent in that period," the US researcher's report said.
The Hindenburg's report details a web of Adani-family controlled offshore shell entities in tax havens spanning the Caribbean and Mauritius to the United Arab Emirates, which it claims were used to facilitate corruption, money laundering and taxpayer theft, while siphoning off money from the group's listed companies.
"Our research involved speaking with dozens of individuals, including former senior executives of Adani Group, reviewing thousands of documents, and conducting diligence site visits in almost half a dozen countries," it said.
Hindenburg claimed to have uncovered "rudimentary efforts seemingly designed to mask the nature of some of the shell entities."
"Even if you ignore the findings of our investigation and take the financials of Adani Group at face value, its 7 key listed companies have 85 per cent downside purely on a fundamental basis owing to sky-high valuations," the report said adding key listed Adani companies have also taken on substantial debt, including pledging shares of their inflated stock for loans, putting the entire group on precarious financial footing.
Adani Group has repeatedly dismissed debt concerns. Its Chief Financial Officer Jugeshinder Singh on January 21 on a media call stated that "Nobody has raised debt concerns to us. No single investor has."
"The investor community has always reposed faith in Adani Group on the basis of detailed analysis and reports prepared by financial experts and leading national and international credit rating agencies," the group said on Wednesday.
"Our informed and knowledgable investors are not influenced by one-sided, motivated and unsubstantiated reports with vested interests."
The statement went on to state that the group is a diverse portfolio of market-leading businesses managed by CEOs of the highest professional calibre and overseen by experts in various fields for several decades.
14:53 Antony's views on BBC documentary 'immature': Tharoor
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday rejected the views of Anil Antony, son of party colleague and former defence minister A K Antony, on a controversial BBC documentary on Gujarat riots and termed as "immature" his argument that it was an infringement into India's sovereignty.
Anil had tweeted on Tuesday that placing the views of the British broadcaster over Indian institutions would undermine the sovereignty of the nation. He has since resigned from all posts he was holding in the Congress party, citing "intolerant calls" and "abuses" over the matter.
Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram said people of the country have the freedom to watch or not watch the BBC documentary on the 2002 riots and asked who can say the British broadcaster has no right to do a story on the topic.
The Constitution of the country guarantees all rights for us to watch a documentary, he added.
When asked about Anil's argument that placing the views of the BBC over Indian institutions would set a "dangerous precedence" and "undermine" our sovereignty, Tharoor said he cannot agree with it.
"I feel that this is an immature stand," he said.
"Because, the sovereignty of our country cannot be affected so easily... will it be affected if a foreign documentary is screened?....whether our national security and sovereignty are so fragile to be affected by a documentary?" he said.
The leader, however, said Anil, who had handled the digital communications of the grand old party for sometime, was a "good person" and he had not discussed the BBC documentary issue with him.
Anil, who is said to be close to Tharoor, specially thanked him for his support in the resignation letter which he sent to the party leadership on Wednesday quitting his roles in the Congress -- as the Convener of KPCC Digital Media, and as the National Co-coordinator of AICC Social Media and Digital Communications Cell."
Anil had on Tuesday tweeted that despite large differences with the BJP, those who support and place the views of the British broadcaster and of former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw, the "brain behind the Iraq war" (involving the US-led coalition in 2003) over Indian institutions are setting a dangerous precedent.
The two-part BBC documentary, which claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of that state, has been trashed by the Ministry of External Affairs as a "propaganda piece" that lacked objectivity and reflected a "colonial mindset". -- PTI
14:25 Kerala guv questions timing of BBC documentary on Modi
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday questioned the timing of the release of the controversial BBC documentary -- India: The Modi Question -- saying it came at a time when India assumed the presidency of the G20.
Khan, speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, also said that he is surprised that people are attaching more importance to the opinion of a foreign documentary maker, "that too our colonial masters", than the verdict of the highest court of the land.
"So many judicial verdicts, including that of the highest court of the land, the timing, all these things have to be taken into consideration. This is a time when India has assumed the G20 presidency.
"Why has this particular time been chosen to bring out this scurrilous material? You cannot ignore these things and particularly when it is coming from a source who ruled over us for over 200 years," the Governor said. -- PTI
14:12 Siraj becomes world number one bowler in ODIs
India pacer Mohammed Siraj on Wednesday became number one bowler in the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers, a testament to his rapid rise in international cricket.
Siraj went past New Zealand's Trent Boult and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to become the top-ranked ODI bowler for the very first time.
Not only has Siraj's form over the last 12 months been imperious, but his effort in the ODI series at home earlier this month against Sri Lanka and New Zealand has shown just how much the right-armer has improved in recent times.
India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey challenged Siraj to work on certain aspects of his game last year and the extra training the energetic quick has put in has paid off.
Siraj took nine wickets against Sri Lanka to be the leading wicket-taker for the three-game series and backed that up by claiming a four-wicket haul in the opening match of the recently-completed series against New Zealand.
It means Siraj jumps to the top of the ODI bowler rankings with 729 rating points, albeit narrowly, with his lead at the top over Hazlewood just two rating points higher than the Australian.
India captain Rohit Sharma was full of praise for Siraj when asked about the emerging pacer following the series whitewash over New Zealand.
"He has done really well, he understands what the team is expecting from him," Rohit said.
"To come and take the new ball, swing the ball, get early wickets. In the middle overs too, he's got so much skill. The more he plays, the better he gets," said the skipper.
Fellow India pacer Mohammed Shami has jumped 11 places to 32nd overall on the updated list for ODI bowlers, while there is plenty of movement at the top of the batter rankings following the completion of India's home series against the Kiwis.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam still enjoys a healthy lead at the top of the ODI batter rankings, but there is now a total of three India players inside the top 10 and chasing the highest accolade.
In-form opener Shubman Gill is the eye-catcher as the right-hander jumps a whopping 20 places to sixth overall following a brilliant double hundred and a century against New Zealand at home.
Gill rises in front of veteran Virat Kohli, who slipped to seventh following a quiet series against New Zealand, while Rohit jumped two places to equal eighth after his quickfire hundred against the Kiwis in Indore. -- PTI
14:11 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's helicopter makes emergency landing in TN
A helicopter carrying Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Wednesday made an emergency landing near Erode in Tamil Nadu due to inclement weather, the police said.
The chopper, reportedly flying from Bengaluru, made the landing in Sathyamangalam this morning due to foggy conditions, officials said.
The helicopter later proceeded to its destination after a brief halt, they said.
14:00 Modi holds talks with Egyptian President Sisi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held wide-ranging talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, focusing on ways to enhance bilateral ties in a range of areas, including agriculture, digital domain, culture and trade.
The 68-year-old influential Arab leader, who arrived in Delhi on Tuesday on a three-day visit, is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
"Deepening our bond with Egypt -- the natural bridge that connects Asia with Africa. PM @narendramodi and President @AlsisiOfficial hold talks adding momentum to the multifaceted India-Egypt relations marked by civilisational, cultural & economic linkages and deep-rooted P2P ties," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
The Egyptian president visited India in October 2015 to participate in the third India-Africa Forum Summit. This was followed by his state visit in September 2016.
This is the first time that the Egyptian president has been invited as the chief guest to India's Republic Day celebrations. A military contingent from the Egyptian Army will also participate in the Republic Day parade.
India is keen to further expand ties with Egypt, a key player in the politics of both the Arab world as well as Africa. It is also seen as a major gateway to markets in Africa and Europe. -- PTI
13:54 Outlook, Teams face major outage
Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday it was investigating an outage, which left thousands of users worldwide unable to access the website's multiple services including Teams and Outlook.
According to Downdetector.com, which tracks such outages, there have been more than 3,700 incidents of users reporting issues with Teams.
13:47 SRK's 'Pathaan' opens to big crowds amid boycott calls
The audiences queued up from early morning, some groggy eyed with lack of sleep, others bright and brimming with enthusiasm at the start of a new day -- and a new Shah Rukh Khan film that bested boycott calls for a record opening.
Pathaan released on Wednesday in 5,000 screens across India and to 6 am and 7 am shows in several cities, including Delhi-NCR and Mumbai, with industry insiders hoping that the film signals not just the return of SRK the hero after four years but also the good times for the battered Hindi film industry.
It appeared to be back to the glory days at the 6.55 am show at PVR Select Citywalk in Delhi with whistles, hooting and loud claps as the film unspooled.
Going by the decibel level at the almost full IMAX theatre, the superstar, who has had a string of flops with Zero, Fan and Jab Harry Met Sejal, is back.
"Simply Shah Rukh," exclaimed a young woman about why she skipped a few hours of sleep to catch the first show of the superstar's new movie even on a cold January morning.
She was among the hundreds of people gathered at the upscale South Delhi mall to watch the spy thriller. They waited patiently as their tickets were scanned at the counter.
Once inside, the wait continued for the film, directed by Siddharth Anand of War fame, to start. Many felt frustrated by the battery of advertisements screened before the main feature.
The first loud cheer came oddly when the CBFC certificate of Pathaan was displayed. And the celebratory mood continued for the next two hours and 26 minutes.
The Yash Raj Films production, which faced calls for a boycott over its song Besharam Rang, also stars Deepika Padukone as Rubina and John Abraham as Jim, the main antagonist.
John's first look was received with a roar. And it became even louder when Shah Rukh appeared, complete with stubble, flowing locks and a fresh-from-the-battle scars to complete the rugged look. A far cry from the dimpled, clean shaven Rahul of so many other romantic films.
His first dialogue, zinda hai was met with loud whistles.
An action scene followed, leaving audiences holding on to their seats and erupting in loud cheers when he spoke what appeared to be a punch line popularised during the trailer of the film, online promotional videos and public appearances. Apni kursi ke peti baandh lo, mausam bigadne wala hai (fasten your seatbelts, the weather is going to be turbulent.)
The story then follows Shah Rukh's titular spy as he goes on a globetrotting adventure to stop a terrorist group, called Outfit X, led by John's character Jim, from execute a deadly terror attack on the Indian soil.
Deepika comes in with the much discussed song Besharam Rang, which was at the centre of a huge controversy earlier this month over the actor's outfit in the tracks.
The film sustained its momentum till the interval when many viewers rushed out t to quickly grab their popcorn and snacks.
That Shah Rukh's contemporary and close friend Salman Khan also makes a grand entry as fellow spy Tiger led to hooting and loud claps.
The following high-octane action sequence, close to six to eight minutes, saw the two superstars beat the pulp out of the bad guys atop a train, all the while they engaged in healthy banter.
The roaring and cheering reached a crescendo towards the end of the film with Shah Rukh delivering another punchline, "Party Pathaan ke ghar rakhoge, to mehmaan nawazi ke liye Pathaan to aayega and patakhe bhi layega (If you have a party at Pathaan's house, he'll surely come to greet you as a host and will also bring fireworks)."
13:24 Giridhar Gamang quits BJP, may join Rao's BRS
Former Odisha chief minister Giridhar Gamang on Wednesday resigned from the BJP, alleging that he faced humiliation in the party.
Gamang is likely to join K Chandrasekhar Rao's Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), sources said.
Gamang's son Sishir also quit the saffron party.
I can tolerate insult, but not humiliation, Gamang told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
While thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their support, the veteran tribal leader said he was not given proper importance in the party and also in Koraput, from where he was elected to the Lok Sabha nine times.
Gamang said he has sent his resignation letter to BJP national president JP Nadda.
He had quit the Congress party and joined the BJP in 2015.
In the letter to Nadda, Gamang said he took the decision because of his inability to discharge political, social and moral duty towards the people of Odisha for the last several years under the saffron brigade.
Gamang and his son had also skipped the BJP's state executive meeting held on Sunday.
Recently, Gamang and his son had met Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and discussed various issues, including joining the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, the sources said.
13:20 Nothing has changed: Ex-Cong leaders as Anil Antony quits
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill on Wednesday seized on the resignation of Kerala leader Anil Antony from his posts in the Congress to take a swipe at his former party, claiming those who think for the nation's sovereignty and integrity can no longer remain there.
"Self-respecting individuals who think for the nation, for nation's sovereignty & integrity can no longer remain in the Congress. It's not 'mohabbat ki dukan' but 'chamchon ka durbar' which dominates Cong," he said, echoing Antony's charge of sycophancy in the party.
Shergill claimed that, "Speaking for Pak, China & propagandists is criterion to remain in Cong now."
Though he did not name Antony, the context was clear on a day the son of veteran Congress leader A K Antony resigned from all his party posts following widespread criticism of his tweet against the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots.
He said he was getting "intolerant calls" to retract his tweet against the documentary and the "wall of hate/abuses" on Facebook over the same issue have prompted him to take the decision.
Another former Congressman and the current BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said nothing has changed in the Congress since he was 'forced out' of the party for 'speaking against dynasty'.
Calling Anil a 'dear fried', Shehzad said it was a 'deja vu' moment for him.
"My dear friend Anil Antony's resignation from Congress is dejavu for me. Nothing has changed in Congress since I was forced out for speaking against dynasty. Congress has an emergency, intolerant mindset & it pretends to be a torchbearer of free speech! Pehle Congress Jodo," Poonawalla tweeted.
Anil Antony had on Tuesday tweeted that those who support and place the views of the British broadcaster and of former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw, the "brain behind the Iraq war" (involving the US-led coalition in 2003) over Indian institutions are setting a dangerous precedence.
12:38 Rahul's yatra cancelled today due to bad weather
Bad weather and landslides on Wednesday led to the cancellation of the second leg of Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra that was scheduled to start this afternoon in the nearby highway town of Banihal.
Amid incessant rains, Gandhi resumed the march from Ramban on Wednesday morning but inclement weather forced its suspension.
The march will now resume on Friday as tomorrow is a rest day.
The journey from Ramban to Banihal along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway -- the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country -- is the most challenging due to several problematic stretches, including Panthiyal, Mehar and Magerkote which are prone to shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the arterial road.
Traffic on the highway was suspended Wednesday morning after heavy rains triggered shooting of stones at a few places in Ramban district that left a truck driver dead and two others injured.
"Due to poor weather conditions and landslides in the area, the afternoon leg of#Bharat Jodo Yatra in Ramban & Banihal has been cancelled. Tomorrow is a rest day and the Yatra will resume day after, January 27th at 8 am, Congress General Secretary and in-charge communication Jairam Ramesh tweeted.
12:35 Now, classified docs found at Mike Pence's residence
A small number of classified documents have been found at the residence of former vice president Mike Pence, and have been handed over to the National Archive, his counsel revealed on Tuesday.
The revelation comes in the wake of classified documents found at the private office and residence of President Joe Biden from his term as vice president between 2009 and 2016.
In a letter to the National Archives, Greg Jacob, an attorney for Pence, wrote that these classified documents were found recently at his residence.
Pence, he said, was not aware of their existence, according to multiple media outlets.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents collected documents from Pence's Indiana home on January 19 at the request of the Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal reported, referring to the content of the second letter from Jacob to the National Archives dated January 22.
Pence agreed to the search, the financial daily cited the letter as saying. -- PTI
12:26 Unaccounted cash of over Rs 10 lakh seized in poll-bound Meghalaya
Unaccounted cash of over Rs 10 lakh has been seized from four people in poll-bound Meghalaya's in South West Garo Hills district, Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said.
The cash seizure was made by flying squad officials in the district, the CEO said, adding that so far unaccounted cash of over Rs 20 lakh was recovered in the state.
"Flying squads have seized Rs 10.35 lakh cash from the possession of four persons... ," the CEO said.
The seizure was made after the four people could not produce any valid document for carrying the cash, but "no one was arrested", he mentioned.
Their claims are "under investigation", he said.
Elections to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly will be held on February 27 and the model code of conduct is in force in the state.
The CEO had earlier said that at least 34 assembly constituencies in Meghalaya have been identified as "expenditure sensitive" and strict monitoring would be made in these segments. -- PTI
11:58 Imran Khan's party leader arrested from home
Pakistani authorities on Wednesday arrested Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party senior leader Fawad Chaudhry amidst raging political tension in the country.
PTI leader Farrukh Habib, Chaudhry was taken into custody from his residence in Lahore.
"This imported government has gone berserk," Habib tweeted.
An official PTI Twitter account also posted videos, showing a convoy of police vehicles which the party claimed was carrying Chaudhry after his arrest.
The arrest of Chaudhry, 52, came amidst rumours that the government may arrest PTI chief and former premier Imran Khan.
It prompted dozens of party workers to gather at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore to foil any attempt to take him in custody.
The arrest of Chaudhry further deepens political fault lines in Pakistan where the Khan-led opposition is demanding snap polls.
General elections in Pakistan are due after August. However, Khan is demanding snap polls. -- PTI
11:55 Delhi excise case: ED attaches Rs 76.54 cr worth assets
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached houses located in upscale localities of Delhi and Mumbai, restaurants, 50 vehicles and bank deposits worth Rs 76.54 crore in a money laundering case probe linked to the Delhi excise policy 'scam'.
The properties belong to arrested Aam Aadmi Party communications in-charge Vijay Nair, liquor businessman Sameer Mahandru, his wife and company Indospirit Group, businessman Dinesh Arora, Arun Pillai, Amit Arora, director of liquor company Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, and others, the agency said in a statement.
An order for the provisional attachment of the assets has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The money laundering stems from a CBI FIR. Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and other excise officials of the government were named as accused in the CBI and the ED complaints.
In its FIR, the CBI has alleged that Sisodia and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions pertaining to the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with "an intention to extend undue favours to the licensees post tender."
The ED, till now, has filed two charge sheets or prosecution complaints in this case and has arrested a total of six people. -- PTI
11:52 Tripura: Poll official suspended for 'defacing' Modi's photo
A sector officer of Sabroom assembly constituency in poll-bound Tripura has been suspended for allegedly "defacing" a poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a drive to remove hoardings and banners from public places, an official said.
The action was taken a day after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had urged the Election Commission to take steps against poll officials who "defaced" PM Modi's photograph in banners and hoardings put up in public places in the state, instead of removing them.
"It appears that the sector officer went beyond the model code of conduct and applied black colour on a poster inside a private shop. Therefore, it is decided that the officer shall be put under suspension and disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated against him as per the relevant rules," Additional Chief Electoral Officer UJ Mog said in a letter to the district magistrate of South Tripura on Tuesday.
State Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ratan Lal Nath said the Election Commission has taken the action after the BJP lodged the complaint.
"We want the poll panel to take action against those who were at fault in the Majlishpur incident of West Tripura on January 18. Issuing an advisory to the Congress is not enough. The party wants legal action against those who organised a bike rally at Majlishpur that had created a law and order problem there," he said.
The Congress had claimed that 15 party workers and functionaries, including AICC general secretary Ajay Kumar, were injured in the January 18 incident in the Jirania sub-division of West Tripura district.
Voicing concern over the attack on a BJP leader at Aralia under the Banamalipur assembly constituency in West Tripura, the state minister said, "We want the police to arrest all accused persons, including the main culprit immediately," he said.
BJP's Banamalipur Mandal president (SC Morcha) Suman Das was injured when a group of unknown miscreants attacked him with sharp weapons.
Chief Minister Manik Saha visited GBP hospital where the injured leader has been undergoing treatment and alleged that the Congress-backed goons had carried out the attack on Das. -- PTI
11:16 Lakhimpur case: Union minister's son gets bail
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted eight-week interim bail to Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence that had left eight people dead.
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J K Maheshwari directed that Ashish shall not stay either in Uttar Pradesh or in Delhi during the interim bail period.
On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district's Tikunia where violence erupted when farmers were protesting against the then deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR, four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in which Ashish was seated.
Following the incident, the driver of the SUV and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers. A journalist also died in the violence.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had on July 26 last year rejected the Ashish Mishra's bail plea.
He had challenged the high court's order in the apex court. -- PTI
11:08 Shinde's Davos visit cost state exchequer Rs 40 cr: Aaditya
Shiv Sena-UBT leader Aaditya Thackeray on Tuesday alleged Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's recent visit to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum cost Rs 30- 40 crore to the state exchequer.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, the former minister questioned whether the chief minister took his friends along for the trip.
"CM Shinde went to Davos for the World Economic Forum which cost Rs 30-40 crore to the state exchequer. Did he take his friends along with him? If yes, who bore the cost of their transportation and stay there? he asked.
Aaditya alleged the visit to Davos and signing of the memorandum of understandings for investments is a whitewash.
"Despite his visit being scheduled between January 16 and 20, the chief minister reached Davos late, he claimed.
"He had booked a chartered flight, but what is the use of it when it reached late? He wasted the whole day of January 16. If you consider Rs 10 crore expenditure on daily basis; did he take his friends with him? If yes, who paid for them?" he wondered.
Aaditya said even four days after the chief minister returned from Davos, the state government or the industry department has not issued any statement about the signing of the agreements or MoUs.
"Whatever MoUs have been signed at Davos, most of the companies are based here only. Why took the companies to Davos and sign contracts which were already finalised," he said. PTI
10:42 Sushma was not 'important' but hit it off with Jaishankar: Pompeo
Former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he never saw his counterpart Sushma Swaraj as an "important political player" but got along famously with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, hitting it off with him in their first meeting itself.
In his latest book Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love that hit the stores on Tuesday, Pompeo describes Swaraj somewhat disparagingly, using the American slang words "goofball" and "heartland political hack" for her.
Swaraj served as external affairs minister in the first Modi government from May 2014 to May 2019. She died in August 2019.
"On the Indian side, my original counterpart was not an important player on the Indian foreign policy team. Instead, I worked much more closely with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, a close and trusted confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," 59-year-old Pompeo writes in his book.
A confidant of then US president Donald Trump, Pompeo was the CIA Director in his administration from 2017 to 2018 and then served as the Secretary of State from 2018 to 2021.
"My second Indian counterpart was Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. In May 2019, we welcomed "J" as India's new foreign minister. I could not have asked for a better counterpart. I love this guy. English is one of the seven languages he speaks, and his is somewhat better than mine," writes the former top American diplomat, who is now exploring the possibility of a 2024 presidential run.
"Professional, rational, and a fierce defender of his boss and his country," is how Pompeo described Jaishankar.
"We hit it off immediately. In our first meeting, I was bemoaning, in very diplomatic speech, that his predecessor had not been particularly helpful," he said.
"He (Jaishankar) said that he could see why I had trouble with his predecessor, a goofball and a heartland political hack. "Careful, I'm a heartland political hack!" I replied in jest. He laughed, noting that if that were true, it would make me the first heartland political hack who had ever been an editor on the Harvard Law Review. Well played, J," Pompeo said. J here stands for Jaishankar.
Commenting on Pompeo's claims, Jaishankar told PTI, "I have seen a passage in Secretary Pompeo's book referring to Smt Sushma Swaraj ji. I always held her in great esteem and had an exceptionally close and warm relationship with her. I deplore the disrespectful colloquialism used for her."
In his book, Pompeo also says American neglect of India was a decades-long bipartisan failure.
"We are natural allies, as we share a history of democracy, a common language, and ties of people and technology. India is also a market with enormous demand for American intellectual property and products. These factors, plus its strategic location in South Asia, made India the fulcrum of my diplomacy to counteract Chinese aggression," he writes.
"In my mind, a counter-China bloc made up of the United States, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the European Union would have an economic weight at least three times that of China. I chose to devote serious quantities of time and effort to help make India the next great American ally," Pompeo says.
10:19 AK Antony's son quits Cong after slamming Modi documentary
Congress veteran AK Antony's son Anil K Antonysun has quit the party alleging "intolerant calls to retract a tweet", a day after he criticized a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi - India: The Modi Question.
"I have resigned from my roles in the Congress. Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for free speech. I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuses by ones supporting a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy thy name is! Life goes on," he wrote on Twitter.
In his resignation letter, he said he was made aware that 'the coterie around the leadership' is keen to work with a bunch of 'sycophants and chamchas'. "Sadly, we don't have much common ground," he wrote.
"I am sure that I have my own unique strengths which could have enabled me to contribute very effectively to the party in several ways. However, by now I have been made well aware that you, your colleagues and the coterie around the leadership are only keen to work with a bunch of sycophants and chamchas, who would unquestionably be at your beck and call. This has become the lone criterion of merit. Sadly, we don't have much common ground," his letter read.
Amid the raging controversy over the documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots, critical of then chief minister Narendra Modi, Anil Antony on Tuesday said he considers BBC as a state-sponsored channel with a long history of prejudices.
He called former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw -- who appeared in the first part of the documentary and told about the 'secret' investigation that the then UK government undertook -- the brain behind the Iraq war.
09:43 Expunge amendments to IT Rules: Editors Guild
The Editors Guild of India has written to Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, urging him to "expunge" the amendments to IT Rules that seek to direct social media platforms to take down news or information identified as "fake" by the PIB's Fact Checking Unit.
In a letter sent Vaishnaw on Tuesday, the Guild asked the ministry to initiate consultations with press bodies, media organisations and other stakeholders on the regulatory framework for digital media, so as to not undermine press freedom.
The Guild said it was "deeply concerned" by the proposed amendment giving sweeping powers to the Press Information Bureau (PIB).
"This new procedure basically serves to make it easier to muzzle the free press, and will give sweeping powers to the PIB, or any 'other agency authorised by the Central Government for fact checking', to force online intermediaries to take down content that the government may find problematic," it said.
The Guild noted that the role of the PIB was limited to disseminating information to news organisations on affairs of the government.
"By this proposed amendment, sweeping regulatory powers are sought to be given to this agency, which is patently illegal and unconstitutional," it said in the letter.
The Guild reiterated that regardless of the absence of procedures, the amendment was in itself an illegal move as the PIB has no constitutional authority to be a regulator of the press in any capacity. -- PTI
09:31 Chris Hipkins sworn in as new Prime Minister of New Zealand
Chris Hipkins, 44, has been sworn in as the 41st Prime Minister of New Zealand on Wednesday, reported New Zealand's public broadcaster RNZ.
After the formal handover of the power, Jacinda Ardern left Parliament as prime minister for the final time this morning, heading to Government House to officially tender her resignation and shift to the back benches.
Hipkins and incoming deputy prime minister Carmel Sepuloni arrived there about 11.20 am for the swearing-in ceremony, RNZ reported, adding that Hipkins has signalled tackling the "inflation pandemic" will be a top priority for his cabinet.
Hipkins was first elected to parliament in 2008 and was appointed minister for Covid-19 in November 2020.
He was the minister for police, education and public service.
Jacinda Ardern's surprise resignation sparked a Labour Party leadership contest.The shocking decision from Ardern comes after five and a half years of tenure leading New Zealand through the coronavirus pandemic.
Ardern said she knew what the prime minister's job took and believed she "no longer had enough in the tank to do it justice" but there were colleagues who could.
She said her Government had achieved a lot and she was not standing down because she did not believe Labour could win the next election, but because she thought it could. -- ANI
08:55 Air India tweaks alcohol policy after peeing episode
Amid recent incidents of unruly passenger behaviour, Air India has modified its in-flight alcohol service policy wherein cabin crew have been told to tactfully refuse further serving of alcohol if needed.
The Tata group-owned airline has been slapped with penalties in the last few days by Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the unruly behaviour of passengers onboard two international flights for reporting lapses.
The exact changes in the revised policy could not be immediately ascertained.
According to the revised policy, guests should not be permitted to drink alcohol unless served by the cabin crew and that the cabin crew be attentive to identifying guests that might be consuming their own alcohol.
"Service of alcoholic beverages must be carried out in a reasonable and safe manner. This includes tactfully refusing to (further) serve a guest alcohol," as per the policy.
In a statement, an Air India spokesperson said the airline has reviewed its existing in-flight alcohol service policy, taking reference from other carriers' practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association's guidelines.
"These were largely in line with Air India's existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity, and NRA's Traffic Light system included to help crew recognise and manage possible cases of intoxication.
"The new policy has now been promulgated to crew and included in training curricula. Air India remains committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers and cabin crew, including but not limited to the responsible service of alcohol," the spokesperson said. -- PTI
08:36 Late night drama at JNU over Modi documentary
Several students, who gathered at the Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union office for a screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, claimed the varsity administration cut power and internet to stop the event, and staged a protest after stones were thrown on them.
They claimed that they were attacked when they were watching the documentary on their mobile-phones as the screening could not be held. Some alleged that the attackers were members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a charge the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated student body denied.
Later in the night, raising slogans of "Inqlaab Zinadabad" and against the Jawaharlal Nehru University =administration, the protesting students marched to the Vasant Kunj police station to lodge a complaint against the "stone pelters".
On the power cut at the campus, a JNU administration official, requesting anonymity told PTI, "There is a major (power) line fault at the university. We are looking into it. The engineering department is saying it will be resolved at the earliest."
There was no immediate official response from the JNU administration to the allegations and claims of the students. It had on Monday in an advisory said that the union had not taken its permission for the event and it should be cancelled, warning of strict disciplinary action.
However, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union earlier in the day in a statement had said that there is no intention to create any form of disharmony through the screening of the documentary or movie.
It also sought a clarification from the administration regarding rules which mandate that prior permission is required for screening of any film or documentary on the university premises
JNU-All India Students Association (AISA) secretary Madhurima said, "Some students had seen ABVP activists pelting stones and recognised them."
She added that "also, a teacher had called sometime back (informing) that there were some goons, wearing masks, around the main gate and were talking about weapons."
The ABVP denied the allegation, saying they were not present at the spot. "We did not go the spot and no one from us (the students' body) was there. They are just taking our names to get more coverage," ABVP Delhi media convenor Ambuj told PTI.
On the screening not taking place, AISA national president N Sai Balaji, who was present at the spot, said, "They (the JNU administration) have cut off the power and internet."
He said students had downloaded the documentary on their mobile-phones through an application to watch and share it.
Asrar Ahmed, who had gone for the screening said, "We were watching the documentary peacefully (on our phones) but some people threw stones at us. As it was dark, the people who threw the stones could not be identified."
However, a senior police officer said that no stone pelting incident was reported to police.
"The JNUSU organised a screening of the documentary. However, the JNU administration said no prior information was given for the event. No such permission is required before such an event. They cut the power supply and stones were pelted on students who were watching the documentary on their phones," student activist Qasim said.
"There is an atmosphere of fear on the university campus. We tried to mobilise students towards the gate but goons were there too. So, we decided to march towards the police station demanding that electricity be restored," he said.
01:20 Over 60K expected to watch R-Day parade, permission for ticket holders only
About 60-65,000 people are expected to watch the Republic Day parade in Delhi's Kartavya Path on January 26 this year.
All the viewers are mandated to carry their tickets.
Only after scanning the QR code on their tickets, the entry would be allowed, informed officials.
This year, only pass or ticket holders would be able to enter the Republic Day parade ground.
Around six to seven thousand policemen have been deployed in security from the New Delhi district.
As many 24 help desks have been set up in the New Delhi area so that those watching the Republic Day parade do not face any problems.
Quick Response Teams, Mobile QRT, National Security Guard team, Anti-drone team, more than 150 CCTVs have been installed, and cameras for facial recognition have also been installed.
For managing the traffic, entry of heavy goods vehicles and light goods vehicles would be banned from 1 am on January 26.
More than 30,000 people will come by metro.
Delhi Metro has decided to give free rides to the invitees to the 74th Republic Day celebrations at Kartavya Path, exiting from Central Secretariat or Udyog Bhawan or Mandi House metro stations only to reach the venue, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said in a statement on Monday. -- ANI
00:27 Maha govt bans car-pooling in non-transport vehicles
The Maharashtra government has banned the use of non-transport vehicles for aggregation and ride-pooling (car-pooling), citing the safety and security of passengers.
As per a government resolution issued on January 19, non-transport vehicles including two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers are banned (for the ride pooling and aggregation) "in order to ensure road safety of the general public and passengers at large".
Currently, a few aggregators provide app-based bike, auto and car taxi services in major cities of Maharashtra.
Some of them provide mobile application-based aggregator service using vehicles, especially two-wheelers, registered under the non-transport category.
Non-transport vehicles are ones with white number plates and are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes.
On January 13, the Bombay high court pulled up bike-taxi aggregator Rapido for operating without procuring a licence from the Maharashtra government and directed it to suspend the services immediately.
The company has moved the Supreme Court against the HC order.
The GR said the use of non-transport vehicles as transport vehicles (commercial vehicles) is on the rise enormously, which raises serious practical and security concerns of the passengers and may cause serious threat to the road safety of the general public and passengers. -- PTI
File image/PTI Photo
00:12 Delhi police issues traffic advisory for R-Day
The Delhi police on Tuesday issued an advisory on traffic arrangements and restrictions put in place for the smooth conduct of Republic Day celebrations in the national capital.
According to the advisory, the Republic Day parade will start at 10.30 am from Vijay Chowk and proceed towards the Red Fort.
The parade will pass through Kartavyapath, C-Hexagon, the Subash Chandra Bose roundabout, Tilak Marg and Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and Red Fort, it said.
No traffic movement will be allowed on Kartvyapath from Vijay Chowk to India Gate from 6 pm on Wednesday till the parade is over, the advisory said.
No cross-traffic on Kartvyapath from 10 pm on Wednesday at Rafi Marg, Janpath, Man Singh Road till the parade is over, it added.
"C"-Hexagon-India Gate will be closed for traffic from 9.15 am on Thursday till the parade crosses Tilak Marg. From 10.30 am on Thursday, traffic on Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Subhash Marg will not be allowed on both the directions, it said.
Cross-traffic will only be allowed depending on the movement of the parade, the advisory stated.
The traffic advisory suggested alternative routes which motorists can follow.
To go towards Mandir Marg, commuters can take the route from Madarsa, Lodhi Road T-point via Aurobindo Marg, AIIMS Chowk, Ring Road-Dhaula Kaun Vande Matram Marg, Shankar Road, the advisory said. -- PTI