Wed, 03 April 2024
Cong expels Sanjay Nirupam for 6 yrs for indiscipline

Timeline  Refresh

23:56   MVA meeting fails to resolve deadlock over disputed Lok Sabha seats
A meeting of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the Shiv Sena-UBT, Congress and NCP-SP to resolve differences over a few remaining Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra remained inconclusive on Wednesday. 

The Congress was firm on getting Sangli, Bhiwandi and a couple of seats in Mumbai, state Congress chief Nana Patole told PTI after the meeting. 

The meeting at `Silver Oak', the residence of NCP-SP president Sharad Pawar here, did not yield any outcome, he conceded. 

Talks were still going on with the central leadership of his party, and a solution would likely emerge tomorrow, Patole said. 

Maharashtra sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha, second-highest after Uttar Pradesh. 

As per MVA leaders, only four or five seats are a sticking point and the three allies have agreed on most constituencies in the state. -- PTI
Sanjay Nirupam/File image
Sanjay Nirupam/File image
23:42   Cong expels Sanjay Nirupam for 6 yrs for indiscipline
The Congress on Wednesday expelled Maharashtra leader Sanjay Nirupam from the party for six years for indiscipline and making anti-party statements. 

The action against him came after the Maharashtra unit of the Congress initiated disciplinary action for his recent remarks targeting party ally and Maha Vikas Aghadi member Shiv Sena-UBT in the state. 

"Taking note of complaints of indiscipline and anti-party statements, Congress president (Mallikarjun Kharge) has approved the expulsion of Sanjay Nirupam from the party for six years with immediate effect," an official communication from the party said. 

The Congress has dropped the name of Nirupam, a former MP, as a star campaigner. 

The demand for action against Nirupam grew after he castigated the state leadership for "ceding" constituencies in Mumbai to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena during seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha elections. -- PTI
23:03   Court extends police remand of arrested IIT Guwahati student by five days
A court in Guwahati on Wednesday extended the police remand of IIT-Guwahati student, arrested for allegedly pledging allegiance to terror group ISIS, by another five days. 

The accused, Touseef Ali Farouqui, a fourth-year B Tech student of the Bioscience department was produced before the Kamrup(Metro) district and sessions judge Raktim Duara after the period of his nine-day police remand ended on Wednesday. 

Farouqui was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on March 24 and booked under sections related to being a member of an unlawful association and for advocating, abetting, advising and inciting unlawful activities. 

He was also booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for being a party to criminal conspiracy, conspiring to commit offences by waging or abetting to wage war and an act of concealing the existence of a desire to wage war against the nation. 

The prosecution on Wednesday sought an extension of his remand by another five days which was granted along with the request of adding two more sections under the UAPA against the accused. 

The two new sections relate to being a member of an unlawful association and committing the offence of giving support to a terrorist organisation. -- PTI
22:33   Raj govt teacher held for appearing as dummy candidate in recruitment exams
The Rajasthan police's Special Operations Group has arrested a government school teacher for allegedly appearing as a dummy candidate in recruitment exams, a top official said on Wednesday. 

Roshan Lal Meena -- posted at a government school in Dausa district -- had appeared as a dummy candidate in 16 state and four central government recruitment exams, deputy inspector general (Special Operations Group) Anil Paris Deshmukh said. 

The accused had appeared as a dummy candidate for more than 20 candidates, some of whom are currently serving in the government, he said. 

Deshmukh added that Meena appeared as a dummy candidate before getting into government service himself. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
22:18   Director, 3 killed in blast at Telangana pharma co
Four persons were killed and 16 others injured due to an explosion in a chemical reactor at a pharmaceutical company's plant in Sangareddy district of Telangana on Wednesday, the police and fire department officials said, adding that among the deceased is the firm's director. 

The blast occurred around 5 pm at the factory of SB Organics Ltd, located at Chandapur village of Hathnoora mandal of the district, and it led to a fire, they said. 

The plant is located about 40 km from Hyderabad International airport. 

The fire, which spread through the pharma unit's premises, was subsequently brought under control, the officials said. 

The deceased include the pharma firm's director and three workers, the police said, but further details about the deceased were not immediately available. 

"The reactor exploded at the pharma company and people around it were thrown away in its impact...Four people have died," a senior police official told PTI. 

Sixteen others who suffered injuries in the incident have been shifted to various hospitals for treatment. The condition of two persons among the injured is critical and they have been referred to a hospital in Hyderabad, the officials said. 

The victims belong to different states, they said, adding that the cause of the explosion is under investigation. 

Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, who held a meeting with officials, expressed anguish over the incident. He directed the district officials to provide the best medical care to those injured in the incident and expressed condolences to the families of those who died, an official release said. 

Telangana Governor C P Radhakrishnan expressed shock over the incident and instructed the state administration to mobilise its machinery to provide all necessary support to the victims. He conveyed his condolences to the families of those who died in the tragedy, a Raj Bhavan press communique said.
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File image
21:52   Cop, gangster killed in shootout at J-K medical college
A police sub-inspector and a wanted criminal were killed and a special police officer was injured in a gunfight on the Government Medical College hospital premises in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, officials said on Wednesday. 

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and director general of police RR Swain paid rich tributes to slain sub-inspector Deepak Sharma. 

The DGP pledged to go "hammer and tongs" against criminals, saying attempts are being made to set up a "Punjab-type" criminal syndicate in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Sharma (32), who was posted at the Ramgarh (Samba) police station, suffered head injuries during the encounter that broke out on Tuesday evening outside the main hospital building in Kathua and subsequently, succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital in Pathankot, the officials said, adding that special police officer Anil Kumar (40) also sustained injuries in the incident. 

Acting on a tip-off, a team of officials went after gangster Vasudev, a key accused in a murder case registered at the Ramgarh police station, leading to an exchange of fire near the GMC hospital around 10:30 pm on Tuesday, a police spokesperson said. 

Vasudev was killed in the encounter while one of his associates was injured, she added. 

Vasudev was the leader of the notorious Shunoo group, sources said. 

A wreath-laying ceremony for SI Sharma, who hailed from Sangoor village in Udhampur district, was held at the District Police Lines in Samba. 

It was led by the DGP, additional director general of police, Jammu Anand Jain and senior superintendent of police, Samba Vinay Sharma. -- PTI
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk/Stephen Lam/Reuters
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk/Stephen Lam/Reuters
21:50   Tesla to scout locations in India for $3 bn EV plant
Tesla Motors will send a team to scout locations in India this month for a proposed $2-3 billion electric car plant, Financial Times reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the electric vehicle company's plans. 

This development comes after India lowered tariffs on higher-priced imported EVs last month for companies that commit to making them in the country within three years. Notably, the tariff cut was a concession Tesla had been pushing for as a precondition for investing, according to FT. 

The team is expected to come from the US by late April to study sites for the plant, focusing on states with existing automotive hubs, including Maharashtra and Gujarat in the west and Tamil Nadu in the south, the report stated, citing people with knowledge of Tesla's plans. 

Some automakers have plants in the state of Haryana, neighbouring New Delhi, and one of the people said they thought Tesla might also scout potential sites around the capital. 

However, the second person said the focus of Elon Musk's company would be on the other three states because they had ports, making it easier to export cars. -- ANI
Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann/File image
Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann/File image
21:24   Bhagwant Mann seeks permission to meet Kejriwal in Tihar jail
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has written to the Tihar jail administration seeking permission to meet his Delhi counterpart and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, party sources said on Wednesday. 

The letter was sent by the Chief Minister's Office, they said. 

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case. 

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi government's excise policy 2021-22 that was later scrapped. Kejriwal is in judicial custody till April 15. 

The ED on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that Kejriwal was the "kingpin" and the "key conspirator" of the "excise scam" and there were "reasons to believe" on the basis of material in its possession that he was guilty of the offence of money laundering. -- PTI
Former MP Sanjay Nirupam
Former MP Sanjay Nirupam
20:52   Cong initiates action against ex-MP Sanjay Nirupam over anti-leadership remarks
The Congress on Wednesday said it has initiated disciplinary action against former MP Sanjay Nirupam for his recent remarks against the party leadership amid seat-sharing talks with ally Shiv Sena-UBT, and a decision about him will be taken in a day or two. 

The Congress has dropped Nirupam's name from the list of star campaigners, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole told reporters after attending a meeting of the party's campaign committee in Mumbai. 

"The party has dropped Nirupam's name from the list of star campaigners and disciplinary action has been initiated against him for his utterances against the party and the state unit leadership. A decision will be taken in a day or two," Patole said. 

A former MP from Mumbai North, Nirupam had hit out at the state leadership of Congress after the Shiv Sena-UBT led by Uddhav Thackeray declared its candidates for four out of six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai, including the Mumbai North West seat, which Nirupam is eyeing. 

Nirupam had said that the Congress leadership shouldn't allow itself to be arm-twisted by Shiv Sena-UBT. 

He also said that accepting the Shiv Sena-UBT's decision to unilaterally field candidates in Mumbai amounted to allowing the destruction of Congress. 

Meanwhile, speaking about the alleged dispute among Maha Vikas Aghadi allies in the sharing of seats, Patole said a meeting will be held in the evening to settle the issue. 

"Congress wants Sangli, Bhiwandi, and a couple of seats in Mumbai. We will work on getting them," he said when asked about the MVA meeting. -- PTI
20:42   AAP leader Sanjay Singh walks out of Tihar jail
A day after being granted bail by the Supreme Court in the Delhi excise policy case, AAP MP Sanjay Singh walked out of Tihar jail on Wednesday and said it was not a time to celebrate but struggle as scores of party workers gathered to greet him. 

Singh had been lodged in the high-security prison in the national capital since October 13, 2023. He came out through the gate number three. 

Jail officials said he was released after the completion of bail procedure. 

A large number of AAP supporters assembled outside the jail and raised the slogans of "dekho dekho kaun aaya, sher aaya, sher aaya" and "Sanjay Singh zinadabad". 

The Rajya Sabha member was garlanded amidst sloganeering by AAP workers. Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj and AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak were also present outside the jail. 

There was a heavy security presence outside the jail in view of his release. 

Singh climbed atop his vehicle as supporters jostled to greet him. 

"This is time for struggle. Arvind Kejriwal zindabad. Our jailed leaders will also come out soon. This is not time for celebration but time for struggle. Jail ke taale tutenge, hamare saare neta chhutenge (Jail locks will break and all our leaders will come out)," he said. 

After his release, Singh left for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence to meet his wife Sunita. 

Earlier, Singh was admitted to the ILBS Hospital in Vasant Kunj. Around 1.30 pm, after being discharged from the hospital, he was taken back to Tihar jail for completing the bail formalities. 

On Tuesday, Singh had gone to ILBS for a regular checkup but got admitted. He got the news of his bail when he was in the hospital. 

His wife Anita Singh has said that they will not celebrate his release as other leaders of the AAP, including Kejriwal, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and former minister Satyendar Jain, are still in jail.
File image
File image
20:26   9 Somalian pirates placed under arrest in Mumbai
The Mumbai police arrested nine pirates who were brought to India on Wednesday, days after the Navy caught them for hijacking an Iranian fishing vessel with 23 Pakistani crew members on board off the Somalia coast, an official said. 

The hijacking incident took place on March 29, he said. 

The Indian Navy rescued the hijacked Iranian fishing vessel and its crew after more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures as part of the anti-piracy operation. 

At the time of incident, the vessel was approximately 90 nm southwest of Socotra. 

"After the successful operation of the Indian Navy team, the pirates surrendered and the crew members were rescued. The pirates were then taken into custody by the Navy and after six days of journey, the pirates were brought to Mumbai," he said. 

The Navy then handed over the pirates to the city police, he added. 

The Mumbai police registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, the Passports Act and the Foreigners Act against the pirates and placed them under arrest, he said. 

The arrested pirates were identified as Gelie Jama Farah (50), Ahmed Bashir Omar (42), Abdikarin Mohmmad Shire (34), Adan Hasan Warmase (44), Mohammed Abdi Ahmed (34), Abdikadir Mohmmad Ali )(28), Aydid Mohmud Jimale (30), Said Yasin Adan (25) and Jama Said Elmi (18), the police said. -- PTI
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File image
20:19   Tiger trapped in well in Kerala, rescued
A tiger found trapped in a well in a residential area near Kalpetta in this district on Wednesday morning was rescued and is presently under observation, forest officials said. 

The tiger which was found trapped in the well early in the morning by locals was rescued from it around 2 pm after a several hours long operation, forest officials said. 

The young feline was shifted on to an elevated platform, covered with a net and after being pulled up nearly to the top, it was sedated and then brought out of the well, a forest official said, giving details of the operation. 

"It is presently under observation," the official said. 

A family living in the area found the tiger in the well when they went to check why water could not be pumped into the overhead tank from the well. -- PTI
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge/File image
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge/File image
20:15   AAP to support Congress LS candidate in Mizoram
The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday announced that it will support the candidate of its INDIA ally Congress in Mizoram's lone Lok Sabha seat.

Polling for the Lok Sabha seat will be held in the first phase on April 19.

Addressing a press conference in Aizawl, AAP's Mizoram unit president Andrew Lalremkima said his party has not fielded a candidate for the polls and will extend support to Congress nominee Lalbiakzama since both parties are members of the INDIA bloc.

He said AAP hopes that "democracy will be restored" if the INDIA bloc is voted to power at the Centre.

Andrew alleged that the BJP-led NDA government was suppressing opposition parties.

Referring to the arrest and imprisonment of AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and two other ministers, he said, "Their action shows the BJP is afraid of the AAP." -- PTI
19:51   Ambani tops Forbes' India rich list, ranks 9th globally
Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd head Mukesh Ambani continues to be the richest Indian and has now broken into the world's top 10 wealthiest persons in the latest Forbes 2024 Billionaire List. 

Ambani, 66, is ranked 9th on the list with a wealth of $116 billion, up from $83.4 billion in the 2023 ranking, according to Forbes. 

Gautam Adani is the second richest Indian and is ranked at No.17 on the global list. 

He is worth $84 billion, up from $47.2 billion in 2023 when his apples-to-airport conglomerate was rocked by a damning report by US short-seller Hindenburg Research. 

Adani group has denied all allegations in the report. 

Adani, 61, was worth $90 billion in 2022 ranking. 

The Forbes 2024 Billionaires List features 2,781 individuals, an increase of 141 names from last year's list. 

The billionaires, according to the list, are richer than ever, worth $14.2 trillion in aggregate, up by $2 trillion from 2023 and $1.1 trillion above the previous record, also set in 2021. 

Two-thirds of the list's members are worth more than a year ago; only one-fourth are poorer. -- PTI
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File image
19:38   Delhi Metro asks police to probe video of two women playing Holi on train
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation of a video in which two women are seen applying colours on each other inside a train, officials said on Wednesday.   

The video, which surfaced online ahead of Holi, had drawn criticism from a large section of commuters who had expressed their dissatisfaction on social media and other platforms. 

The corporation had written to the Delhi Police on Tuesday for the "thorough" probe into the matter.

"The DMRC has written to the Delhi Police requesting for thorough investigation of this incident involving two women shooting a reel inside the Delhi Metro before Holi. In a letter dated on April 2, the DMRC has requested police to thoroughly investigate the matter and take necessary legal action," DMRC principal executive director Anuj Dayal said. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
19:12   Radisson Hotel opens 212-key Riverfront Srinagar
Radisson Hotel Group on Wednesday announced the opening of 212-key Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, under its luxury lifestyle brand Radisson Collection. 

"With 212 rooms, the largest in Jammu and Kashmir region, Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, promises an unparalleled experience for our guests," Radisson Hotel Group managing director and area senior vice president, South Asia, Nikhil Sharma, said in a statement. 

With this opening, Radisson Hotel Group has over 165 hotels in operation and under development in India. -- PTI
Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis/File image
Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis/File image
18:50   Nobody can change Constitution: Fadnavis
Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday asserted that nobody can change the Constitution or curtail the rights provided to citizens. 

He noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached the top post owing to the rights given under the Constitution. 

Addressing a rally taken out before BJP nominee Anup Dhotre filed his nomination for the Akola Lok Sabha seat in eastern Maharashtra, Fadnavis noted the saffron outfit is often accused by its rivals of trying to change the Constitution, but this narrative has absolutely no basis. 

"No one can change the Constitution as long as the moon, sun, and stars are there," he emphasised. 

Fadnavis claimed the Congress never allowed social reformer Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar to get elected in polls and the national party will do the same now with his grandson, Prakash Ambedkar, who is the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi candidate from the Akola Lok Sabha seat. 

The BJP is seeking votes for PM Modi, during whose tenure 25 crore people have come out of poverty and India has become the world's fifth largest economy, he said. -- PTI
18:33   Smriti Irani becomes voter of Amethi Lok Sabha seat, fulfils promise to people
Fulfilling a promise made to the people here of establishing family ties with her constituency, Union minister Smriti Irani has become a voter of Amethi. 

According to the MP's representative Vijay Gupta, Irani applied for becoming a voter after getting a house for herself here in Medan Mawai village of Gauriganj. 

She is now a voter of the village, he said. Irani considers Amethi as her family. 

She has built his residence here to live among the Amethi family, he said. 

With the construction of the house, she had started the process of making herself a voter from Amethi. 

The formalities have been completed now, Gupta said. 

Irani, who is the Union women and child development and minority welfare minister, has become a voter of booth number 347 in Medan Mawai village of Gauriganj assembly seat which falls under the Amethi parliamentary constituency, he said. 

Irani entered her newly-constructed house in Maidan Mawai village on February 22, 2024. -- PTI
TN Chief Minister MK Stalin
TN Chief Minister MK Stalin
18:20   TN moves SC against Centre, seeks release of natural disaster relief fund
The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court by filing a lawsuit alleging that its funds for natural disasters are withheld by the Centre. 

The MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government has invoked Article 131 of the Constitution for filing an original suit against the Centre in the top court. 

The Supreme Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction over legal issues between states or between states or states and the union government or their instrumentalities. 

The state government urged the top court to direct the Centre to provide over Rs 37,000 crore in aid for damages caused by recent floods and cyclone Michaung. 

Besides seeking financial assistance of Rs 19,692.69 crore for the damage caused by cyclone Michaung in December last year, the Tamil Nadu government has sought money to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore for losses incurred due to unprecedented rains in southern districts of the state. 

The plea also seeks a direction to the Centre to release Rs 2000 crore as interim measure. 

Recently, the Karnataka government moved the top court alleging that the Centre was not giving financial assistance to it to meet the challenges faced over a drought situation. -- PTI
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File image
17:56   Vistara cancels 26 flights, holds meeting with pilots
Amid flight cancellations due to non-availability of crew, Vistara's top officials on Wednesday held a meeting with pilots where discussions were held on new contracts and rostering issues, according to sources. 

The Tata Group airline cancelled around 26 flights on Wednesday, the sources in the know said. 

With a section of pilots reporting sick to protest against the revised pay structure, Vistara cancelled over 100 flights in the last two days and aviation regulator DGCA has asked the carrier to submit a daily report on the cancellations and delays. 

The sources said top officials of Vistara, including CEO Vinod Kannan, held a virtual meeting with pilots to discuss their problems. 

Officials of human resources among other departments attended the meeting. 

There was no official statement from Vistara on the meeting with the pilots. 

Flight operations are returning to normalcy and the number of flights cancellations has come down, the sources said. 

On issues related to rostering and stretched working hours, the airline officials have assured the pilots that they will be sorted out by May, the sources said. -- PTI
Union Minister Santanu Thakur/File image
Union Minister Santanu Thakur/File image
17:45   Apply for citizenship under CAA without fear: Union Minister to Matuas
Union Minister Santanu Thakur, who is seeking re-election from Bongaon Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal, on Wednesday urged members of the Matua community, who migrated to India before 2014, to apply for citizenship under the CAA, even if they already possess voting rights. 

Addressing a meeting at his constituency which has a large population of Matuas, Thakur said he himself would apply for citizenship under Citizenship Amendment Act though he is already a bona fide resident of the country. 

"Applying for fresh citizenship under CAA will enable you to avail all benefits, including permanent residency proof which is necessary for passport and visa. Although I was born here and my grandfather had proof of residency after coming, I will still apply," Thakur said. 

Thakur, a strong votary of CAA since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, had asserted in the past that the Act would be enforced before the 2024 general elections. 

In response to a barrage of attacks from the TMC and other parties accusing the BJP of using the CAA as a divisive tactic to deport hundreds of thousands of legitimate citizens to camps and polarise society ahead of elections, Thakur had recently announced his intention to apply for citizenship under the Act. 

Thakur, a prominent member of the Matua community, seemingly took this step to dispel doubts among members of the Hindu community who migrated from Bangladesh or erstwhile East Pakistan after Independence due to the adverse situation there. 

In response to Thakur's move, TMC spokesperson Santanu Sen ridiculed him and accused the BJP of misleading Matuas and other migrant Hindus, who are already citizens of the country. -- PTI
17:21   My father may be released by 7 pm: Sanjay Singh's daughter
Eshita Singh on her father AAP MP Sanjay Singh getting bail: "We are all very happy. We will be able to celebrate when the rest of his friends also come out. We are awaiting their bail too. We hope they too get justice like my father did. We will go to Tihar jail now with the bail order... He might come out by 6-7 pm... It was a difficult time but it made us stronger and we were able to reach here. My father has been a very strong leader of the Opposition."
KBK Infographics
KBK Infographics
17:18   Modi interacts with BJP workers in UP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said opposition leaders develop cold feet seeing the enthusiasm of BJP workers, and asked them to work with a resolve to break all old poll records. Addressing a digital rally of Uttar Pradesh BJP workers at 22,648 booths in 10 Lok Sabha seats through the NaMo App, Modi said new records are being made in polls due to the hard work of BJP workers. 

 The "soul of victory in elections lies in the victory of the polling booth", he said while stressing that they "will have to work with a resolve to break all old records of the polling booths". 

 "Be it Lok Sabha elections or assembly polls, new records are being made due to your hard work. I am happy to see your enthusiasm but seeing your enthusiasm, other party leaders develop cold feet," he said.
17:16   Markets end lower amid profit booking
Equity benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty settled lower for the second straight session on Wednesday due to profit-booking in select banking and auto stocks amid mixed trends from the global markets and outflow of foreign funds. 

 The 30-share BSE Sensex declined by 27.09 points or 0.04 per cent to settle at 73,876.82. During the day, the index oscillated between the high of 74,151.21 and the low of 73,757.23. The broader NSE Nifty declined 18.65 points or 0.08 per cent to 22,434.65, with 30 components of the 50-share benchmark ending with losses. -- PTI
17:12   Why Congress rose to Kejriwal's defence
"The Congress now knows that it is the only force -- however weakened it might be -- that stands between the BJP and India's evolution into a single-party Republic.

"Because, once it is out of the way, the BJP could sort out the other regional powers: Co-opting some, demolishing others," asserts Shekhar Gupta.

Read the column here. 
Cyclone Michuang struck Tamil Nadu in December 2023
Cyclone Michuang struck Tamil Nadu in December 2023
17:00   TN govt moves SC against Centre, seeks release of flood relief fund
The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court by filing a lawsuit alleging that its funds for natural disasters are withheld by the Centre. 

 The MK Stalin-led DMK government has invoked Article 131 of the Constitution for filing an original suit against the Centre in the top court. The Supreme Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction over legal issues between states or between states or states and the union government or their instrumentalities. 

 The state government urged the top court to direct the Centre to provide over Rs 37,000 crore in aid for damages caused by recent floods and cyclone Michaung. Besides seeking financial assistance of Rs 19,692.69 crore for the damage caused by cyclone Michaung in December last year, the Tamil Nadu government has sought money to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore for losses incurred due to unprecedented rains in southern districts of the state. 

 The plea also seeks a direction to the Centre to release Rs 2000 crore as interim measure. Recently, the Karnataka government moved the top court alleging that the Centre was not giving financial assistance to it to meet the challenges faced over a drought situation. It had sought directions that funds be released from the National Disaster Response Fund. PTI
16:43   Delhi HC reserves order on Kejriwal's arrest
Delhi HC reserves verdict on CM Arvind Kejriwal's petition challenging arrest by ED in money-laundering case linked to excise policy "scam". 

Kejriwal was taken to jail on Monday afternoon after the conclusion of his Directorate of Enforcement custodial remand.

 The ED cast the Delhi Chief Minister as the "kingpin" in the alleged scam, and told the court the AAP leader had given "evasive replies" and concealed information relevant to the investigation.

 In the year 2014 too the AAP leader was lodged in Tihar jail after he refused to furnish a bail amount of Rs 10,000 in a defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
16:29   Mamata's chai pe charcha: CM makes, serves tea
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee prepares and serves tea at Jalpaiguri.

Banerjee who is campaigning in north Bengal said yesterday that the BJP-led Centre is a "Jumla" government and it has never stood by the people in times of need and disaster. 

 Speaking at the Mercy Fellowship Church in Jalpaiguri yesterday, the CM said that her government in the state doesn't do partiality with anyone. 

 "I thought I would not say it but this is a JUMLA government. Even yesterday, the Centre had a meeting with the RBI. Where is the impartiality here? Impartial election means that in a democracy, all must get justice. We don't do partiality with any kind of relief. Our government is humanitarian. How did the Prime Minister ask his workers to go and give money? I didn't ask my party workers to do anything of this sort. BJP has never stood by the people in times of need and disaster," she said.

 She further alleged that tea garden workers are facing problems as companies are no longer buying their tea leaves.

 "Today, I got to know that about 10,000 lakh workers, associated with the tea garden estates are facing issues as the companies are no longer buying their tea leaves, saying it has pesticides. This has been done just close to the elections. People might recall that last time PM Modi had said that he would inaugurate six tea estates. Is this happening right now?" CM Mamata said.

 "Since Model Code of Conduct is in place, I can't go into details of what we can do. However, I will ask the administration and convey the information to the right places to ensure that alternative arrangements are made for these workers. If someone is told that traces of pesticides were found on someone's land, the person should be given 2-3 months to try other occupations. They cannot be rendered unemployed. In any case, there are crores of educated and unemployed youth in the country," she added.

The West Bengal CM emphasised that violence cannot be an alternative to peace.
Arvind Kejriwal will remain in jail till April 15
Arvind Kejriwal will remain in jail till April 15
16:14   India bloc leaders half in jail, half on bail: BJP
The opposition INDIA bloc is an alliance of dynastic parties, half of whose leaders are in jail and half out on bail, BJP National President JP Nadda said on Wednesday. 

 Nadda made the remarks while addressing an election rally in Rajasthan's Jhalawar. The BJP has renominated Dushyant Singh from the Jhalawar-Baran Lok Sabha constituency. 

 "The INDI Alliance is a 'Bhrastachar Bachao Alliance (save corruption alliance)'. It has parties in which the president is from the family, the general secretary is from the family and ministers are also from the family. These are parties of the family," Nadda said. 

 He also alleged that the Congress had committed scams everywhere. He asked, "Is Rahul Gandhi out on bail or not? Are Sonia Gandhi, Chidambaram, (AAP Rajya Sabha MP) Sanjay Singh out on bail or not? Are Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia in jail or not?" 

 "Half the leaders of the INDI Alliance are in jail and half (out) on bail," he said. Nadda also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the country has progressed at a fast pace under his leadership. "Today, India's aspiration is that there should be a corruption-free government. There should be a development-oriented government. The country progressed at a fast pace under the leadership of Modi ji," Nadda said. 

"Through unimagined development, India should stand as a "developed country", he said. 

 The BJP leader also claimed the situation in villages has changed under Modi's leadership. There were 18,000 villages with no electricity, which became electrified after Modi became prime minister in 2014. Highlighting the development works done by the BJP-led Centre, Nadda said 3.5 lakh villages have been connected by paved roads.

 Eighty crore people are being given free ration, resulting in lifting 25 crore people above the poverty line. He said 55 crore people -- about 40 per cent of the population, including the poor, rickshaw-pullers, tea vendors, bus drivers, and cleaners -- have been given a yearly insurance facility of Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat for serious illnesses.
15:51   Rahul chose Wayanad due to minorities: BJP
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday charged former Congress president Rahul Gandhi with having "run away from Amethi", Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh after his defeat at the hands of Union minister Smriti Irani. 

 Gandhi lost to Irani in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Amethi constituency. Addressing a press conference in Patna, Prasad also alleged that Gandhi has shifted base to Wayanad, "because of heavy concentration of Muslims and Christians" in the Kerala constituency, but claimed, "he is in for a tough fight there too". 

 "Why has Rahul Gandhi run away from Amethi? He has won from there. Earlier, the seat had been represented by his father and late uncle Sanjay Gandhi. He should have had the courage to enter the fight", said the BJP leader. 

 Notably, while the BJP has announced that Irani will be seeking re-election from Amethi, the Congress is yet to declare its candidate for the seat, fuelling speculations that Gandhi might be reluctant this time, having tasted defeat in the 2019 general elections. 

 Prasad added, "You know why Rahul Gandhi chose Wayanad? It is because there is a heavy concentration of Muslims and Christians..... but there are surveys that suggest he is in for a tough fight this time". -- PTI
15:29   Less than 50% water stock left in three out of seven dams in Goa
The water stock in three out of total seven dams in Goa has dipped below the 50 per cent-mark, indicating that the situation may become difficult during the ongoing summer season. 

 The water level of two of these dams has gone below the 40 per cent-mark, as per the data released by the state Water Resources Department. 

 However, four other dams are well above the 50 per cent water stock mark with one of them currently holding more than 91 per cent stock, it said.

 Anjunem reservoir, which meets the water requirement of Sattari and parts of Bicholim taluka in North Goa, is filled with 62.6 per cent water, while Chapoli reservoir, which meets the water requirement of Canacona taluka, has 59.4 per cent stock, the statement said. Gaunem reservoir has 56.6 per cent stock left, while Tillari is filled with 91.1 per cent water storage, it said.
File pic
File pic
15:23   Sanjay Singh discharged from Delhi hospital
The Aam Aadmi Party's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was discharged from ILBS hospital on Wednesday, hospital officials said. Singh was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the liquor scam case on Tuesday. The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh bail in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy scam after the Enforcement Directorate said it had no objections. 

 "Singh was admitted to the hospital for a liver-related issue. He was at the hospital for 24 hours," a hospital official said. He will be released from jail after the process of the bail order is completed. "Singh had gone to ILBS for a regular checkup but got admitted. He got the news of his bail when he was in the hospital," a jail official had said. PTI
15:09   Boxer Vijender Singh switches from Congress to BJP
Vijender Singh, India's first Olympic medallist in boxing and a Congress leader, is set to join the BJP. Singh had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election unsuccessfully from the South Delhi constituency as a Congress candidate.

 His name was doings the rounds for the last few days as the party's nominee from Mathura, from where actor and incumbent MP Hema Malini is contesting again. Singh comes from the Jat community, which has political influence in a large number of seats in Haryana, the state he comes from, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. PTI
Atishi says the Delhi CM has lost 4.5 kilos in jail
Atishi says the Delhi CM has lost 4.5 kilos in jail
14:59   Tihar says Kejriwal's weight constant at 65 kilos
The Tihar jail authorities on Wednesday refuted allegations by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has lost weight ever since his arrest, saying that the Aam Aadmi Party chief's weight has remained constant at 65 kg.

Delhi Minister Atishi, however, hit back, saying that on the day the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) took him into custody, Kejriwal's weight was 69.5kg.

According to a press release from the Tihar Jail, on his arrival on April 1, 2024, the Delhi Chief Minister was examined by two doctors and all his vitals were normal.

Kejirwal's weight has remained constant at 65 kg since he arrived at Tihar jail and to date, the release said adding that home-cooked food is being provided as per the Court's order and all his medical parameters were found to be normal.

Countering the Tihar Jail authorities, Atishi said that Kejriwal weighed 69.5 kg before he was taken into custody and hence, as per current records, he has lost 4.5 kg in 12 days.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi Minister claimed that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who suffers from "severe diabetes," has lost 4.5 kg of weight ever since his arrest.

"Arvind Kejriwal suffers from severe diabetes. Despite health problems, he used to work 24 hours a day to serve the country. Since his arrest, Arvind Kejriwal has lost 4.5 kg of weight. This is very worrying," Atishi said in a post on 'X'.

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly conspiring to put Kejriwal in jail, Atishi added, "Today, the BJP is putting his health at risk by jailing him. If something happens to Arvind Kejriwal, forget about the entire country, even God will not forgive them."

Kejriwal was taken to jail on Monday afternoon after the conclusion of his Directorate of Enforcement custodial remand.
14:48   Punjab Kings batters to face different challenge against Gujarat Titans
Bruised by Mayank Yadav's scorching pace, Punjab Kings' batters will face an altogether different challenge when Gujarat Titans' bowling unit tries to take the pace off deliveries on a slightly tricky Motera track in their IPL match here on Thursday. 

 The Kings have lost their last two away games and another slip-up against Titans will lead to further loss of momentum which tends to shift very quickly due to lack of turnaround time. Titans, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad comprehensively by seven wickets in their last game.
Ashok Gehlot had called Sachin Pilot, 'nikamma'
Ashok Gehlot had called Sachin Pilot, 'nikamma'
14:25   Will 100% campaign for Gehlot's son: Sachin Pilot
Having buried the hatchet with former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader Sachin Pilot says moving on was in the best interest of the party and stressed he would "100 per cent" campaign for his senior colleague's son Vaibhav who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Jalore.

 In an interaction with PTI editors at the news agency's headquarters in New Delhi, the Congress general secretary said a redux of the 2004 election when the party won the polls despite the India Shining campaign of the NDA is very much on the cards. 

 "Repeat of 2004 is very much possible given the circumstances, given the unrest among most people. What you don't see in the media is the real sentiment on the ground. This politics of jumlas and overconfidence (by the BJP) has its limits," Pilot said earlier this week. 

 Asked how he has been able to shake off his past differences with Gehlot and the former Rajasthan CM's 'nikamma-nakara' jibe at him in 2020, Pilot said, "I saw no advantage in replying in the same coin, I refused to be provoked, chose dignity and grace over name-calling and, more importantly, decided to show a large heart and move on." 

 This, he said, was better for the party, better for his state and certainly better for him. I can look back and say with pride, I never used any words that are unbecoming of a public figure, I have never used language that is derogatory because the value system ingrained in me since childhood has taught me to show respect to elders no matter what the circumstances and I always maintained that," Pilot said. 

 Stressing on the mantra of forgive and forget, Pilot recalled the meeting in Delhi last year when he sat down with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi. "I was asked to forgive and forget and move on, which is exactly what I have done, that was the need of the hour for the party and the state." 

 On why he and Ashok Gehlot, two of the biggest names in Rajasthan Congress were not contesting elections, Pilot said the decision and that of not fielding state unit chief Govind Singh Dotasra was made by the CEC (central election committee) keeping in mind everyone's role in the elections. 

 "Final decision on candidate selection is with the CEC. The party took that decision. I have got responsibility for the state in Chhattisgarh... In an election campaign, the leadership allocates different responsibilities to various leaders," he said. 

 The best candidates who can win have been fielded in Rajasthan and in Chhattisgarh, he asserted. 

 "The party decides what role people have to play. The AICC decided that these are the best candidates. I am responsible for all our candidates. In the media sometimes it appears that he or she is of this faction or that faction, that is not the case at all. Every Congress candidate is our candidate, we have to work in a dedicated manner to ensure they win," Pilot said. 

 The Congress had not opened its account in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls or in the polls before that in Rajasthan, so the challenge is there before the party, he noted. Pilot said the feedback he has received is that the Congress will do "exceedingly well" this time in Rajasthan because the people are "fed up and want a change". 

 "People don't voice their opinion very freely these days but on voting day, they will vote for the Congress," he said.
14:13   NC prez Farooq Abdullah won't contest polls
National Conference president and sitting MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah would not contest the Lok Sabha polls owing to his heath, the party said on Wednesday.

 The announcement was made by his son and NC vice president Omar Abdullah at a party function in Rawalpora on the outskirts of Srinagar.

 "He (Farooq Abdullah) has taken permission from (party's general secretary) (Ali Mohammad) Sagar and other party members to not contest the polls this time because of his health," Omar Abdullah said. 

 He said it is now the party's responsibility to field the best candidate from the constituency. He hoped that the voters would help the NC candidate succeed so that he/she becomes a voice of the people of Srinagar in Delhi. In the 2002 Legislative Assembly elections, Omar Abdullah was chosen to lead the NC, while the 86-year-old Farooq Abdullah shifted base to the Centre. Farooq Abdullah was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2002 from Jammu and Kashmir and then re-elected in 2009. 

He resigned from the Rajya Sabha in May 2009 and won a seat in the Lok Sabha from Srinagar. Abdullah joined the United Progressive Alliance government as a Cabinet Minister of New and Renewable Energy. -- PTI
13:55   MHA revokes FCRA licenses of five notable NGOs
In a recent development, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has invalidated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) permits of five notable non-government organisations (NGOs) after undergoing a "due process", citing breaches like the misappropriation of international funding, among other infractions. 

 The affected NGOs are the CNI Synodical Board of Social Service (CNI-SBSS), Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFOI). The CNI-SBSS, affiliated with the Church of North India, has been actively engaged in social service activities, while VHAI has been advocating for public health policies and programs across India. 

IGSSS, known for its humanitarian efforts, has been working to empower marginalized communities, whereas CASA, the social development arm of the National Council of Churches in India, has been addressing various social issues. Additionally, EFI, an association of evangelical Christians, has been promoting Christian unity and social justice. -- ANI
13:51   LIVE! What is Cong's 'Panch Nyay' promise to voters?
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday launched the party's 'Ghar Ghar Guarantee' initiative under which it aims to reach out to crores of households across the country and make them aware of its "guarantees". 

Kharge launched the initiative from Usmanpur, Kaithwada, in the North East Delhi Parliamentary Constituency and distributed pamphlets on the party's 'Paanch Nyay Pachees Guarantee'. 

 "We are distributing this guarantee card to take our Panch Nyay Pachees Guarantee to people. All Congress leaders and workers will take this card to households across the counts and will tell people what our alliance government will do when it assumes power," he said while launching the initiative. 

 "We give a guarantee that our government has always worked for people and will always do so. PM Modi talks about Modi ki Guarantee but his guarantee never reaches the people," he said, adding that the prime minister talked about 2 crore jobs a year but people never got them. 

 The Congress' poll pitch is centred around 'Paanch Nyay' or five pillars of justice, namely 'Yuva Nyay', 'Naari Nyay', 'Kisaan Nyay', 'Shramik Nyay' and 'Hissedari Nyay' as well as the guarantees made by it to the people under these heads.

 The Congress will release its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi on April 5 with its top leaders addressing mega rallies in Jaipur and Hyderabad the next day. The party has already launched its new slogan #HaathBadlegaHalaat -- referring to the Congress' poll symbol of hand -- on social media platforms. PTI
13:46   It was an honour, Dr Singh: Deora
Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde bloc) shares this image. "Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh gracefully retires from the Rajya Sabha, leaving behind a legacy of dignity & commitment to national service. It was an honor to serve as a minister under his leadership. I will miss his invaluable wisdom & guidance inside Parliament," writes Deora. 

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha today.
13:36   Clock symbol: SC asks Ajit Pawar to give ad details
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party to furnish details of newspaper advertisements issued in compliance of its order which instructed the faction to run all publicity with disclaimer that allocation of 'clock' symbol to it is sub judice. 

 A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan asked senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the faction led by the Maharashtra deputy chief minister, to furnish the details of advertisements issued after Sharad Pawar alleged that they are not complying with the court's March 19 order. 

 The bench said, "Mr Rohatgi you have your instructions on how many advertisements were issued after this order. We might be required to take a view if he (Ajit Pawar) is behaving like this. Nobody has a right to deliberately misconstrue our order." 

 Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Sharad Pawar, said that on March 19, this court passed a reasoned order in which they (Ajit Pawar group) were asked to issue advertisements that the allocation of 'clock' symbol is sub judice before this court and they were permitted to use the same subject to final outcome of these proceedings. 

 "Now, they have not complied with the direction and advertisements are being issued by them without the disclaimer. They have even filed an application before this court, seeking relaxation of the reasoned order. This cannot be changed. We are in the middle period of the elections," Singhvi submitted. 

 He urged the court to not entertain any such application for review of the order saying they are in the midst of the election. "Elections are on, your lordships will not entertain such a review. This is nothing but a blatant review. It is a reasoned order. This cannot be changed, we are in the middle of the elections," Singhvi added. The bench asked Rohatgi about the application and whether it is listed or not. -- PTI
13:14   I treat you like my family: Rahul tells Wayanad
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that he is always with the people of Wayanad on all issues, including the human-animal conflict which has claimed many lives in this district. 

 Rahul, the sitting MP of Wayanad, also said that he was always ready to bring the issues being faced by the people of the hill constituency to the attention of the nation and the world. The Congress MP, who is contesting in the coming Lok Sabha polls from the Wayanad constituency, was speaking to the thousands, including party workers and supporters, who had gathered to be part of his roadshow held in Wayanad. 

"It has been an honour for me to be your member of Parliament. I don't treat you and think of you like an electorate. I treat you and think of you the same way I think of my little sister Priyanka. So in the houses of Wayanad, I have sisters, mothers, fathers and brothers. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that," Rahul Gandhi said.

He also said that Wayanad was his home, the people were his family and the land, with its beautiful history and traditions, his "guiding light". 

 "I am deeply grateful to the people of Wayanad for their unwavering support. As we step into a new era of 'Nyay', I want to reaffirm my dedication to serving each and every one of you to the best of my abilities," he said. 

 Thousands of people, including UDF leaders and workers, turned up at Kalpetta to welcome Rahul who arrived to file his nomination papers for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

 Accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul held a roadshow from Kalpetta to Civil Station. Thousands of people, including party workers and supporters, across all age groups carried party flags and placards with the Congress MP's photograph and balloons in the party colours and gathered on the roadsides to welcome him. 

 Rahul will be contesting against BJP state president K Surendran and CPI leader Annie Raja from the Wayanad LS constituency. He had won from the same seat in 2019 with a massive margin of over four lakh votes. 

 In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi won after polling 7,06,367 votes out of a total of 10,92,197 with his closest rival -- CPI's P P Suneer -- receiving only 2,74,597 votes. Voting in Kerala for the Lok Sabha polls this year will be on April 26. PTI
13:04   CPI scrapes for Rs 200 for Lok Sabha poll campaign in Kerala
The CPI is trying out every option to source funds to tide over a cash crunch to run the campaign for four Lok Sabha seats in Kerala. Part of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front, the CPI has requested its members to donate Rs 200 each to help the party's campaign although the alliance is pitching with its human resources. Read the report here. 
12:49   The alternative to Mr Narendra Modi is...
For those asking if not Modi then who, here's what Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has to say:
"Yet again a journalist has asked me to identify an individual who is the alternative to Mr Modi. The question is irrelevant in the Parliamentary system. We are not electing an individual (as In a presidential system), but a party, or coalition of parties, that represents a set of principles and convictions that are invaluable to preserve India's diversity, pluralism and inclusive growth. 
"The alternative to Mr Modi is a group of experienced, capable and diverse Indian leaders who will be responsive to people's problems and not driven by individual ego. Which specific person they will choose to be Prime Minister is a secondary consideration. Protecting our democracy and diversity comes first."
12:45   Bihar Dy CM says he has cancer, will skip polls
Bihar's former Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi reveals he's battling cancer, won't be part of Lok Sabha campaign. 

"Now I felt the time had come to tell people. Situation regarding my health was also shared with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Always grateful and dedicated to the country, Bihar and the Bharatiya Janata Party," he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Earlier, in February, when the BJP had announced its candidates from Bihar for the Rajya Sabha elections, the political circles were abuzz with speculations over Sushil Modi's missing name from the list.
Sanjay Singh. File pic
Sanjay Singh. File pic
12:25   Court tells Sanjay Singh not to tamper with evidence
A Delhi court on Wednesday directed AAP leader Sanjay Singh not to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses in the Excise "scam" case. Special Judge Kaveri Baweja passed the directions before passing an order to release Singh from Tihar central jail following bail granted to him by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

 The judge also directed Singh to submit passport, inform it about itinerary before leaving NCR, and to always keep his phone location on. During the brief hearing, Singh's counsel informed the court that the politician's wife would be surety for the accused in the matter. 

 "I (Singh) am the Member of Parliament. There is no flight risk," the counsel told the court. The judge directed the accused to submit a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and one surety of same amount. PTI
Mohammed Shahabuddin with Lalu Prasad Yadav. File pic
Mohammed Shahabuddin with Lalu Prasad Yadav. File pic
12:18   Shahabuddin's wife keen to contest from Siwan
Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Hena Sahab, the wife of Bihar's late bahubali (strongman), Mohammad Shahabuddin, targeted RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav today, alleging that she and her family were ignored by the party.

She is reportedly keen to contest elections as an independent candidate, from Siwan, once the stronghold of her husband.

"Mere pati Mohammad Shahabuddin ne jis party ko sichne ka kam liya, zameen se aasman tak pahuchane ka kam kiya, unke nahi rahne par aaj un logo ne mujhe ignore kar diya. My husband built the party and took it to great heights, but that very party is ignoring me," she said. 

She further said Siwan is her home and the land of her husband who worked for its people and development, a statement seen as a clear message to Lalu Prasad Yadav.

RJD got Siwan seat in the seat-sharing formula of the Opposition Mahagathbandhan. Sources in RJD said that Lalu is likely to nominate senior party leader and former Bihar Assembly Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary as the candidate from Siwan. 

Shahabuddin, a criminal-turned-politician, who succumbed to COVID-19 in May 1, 2021, was a former RJD MP from Siwan, and was serving a life sentence for murder at Tihar jail.

Hena Shahab has unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls thrice from Siwan after her husband was jailed. 

Most of the 63 criminal cases against Shahabuddin -- including murder, extortion and kidnapping -- were registered when RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi ruled Bihar. 

-- MI Khan/Patna
12:04   'Down, down Modi' greets Rahul in Wayanad
Thousands of people, including UDF leaders and workers, turned up on Wednesday at Kalpetta in Wayanad to welcome the incumbent MP Rahul Gandhi who arrived here to file his nomination papers for the coming Lok Sabha elections. 

 Accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul landed at around 10.45 am on a helicopter from Kannur. They were greeted by hundreds of party workers and supporters at the helipad at Muppainad, a village in the area. 

 From there he travelled by road to the new bus stand at Kalpetta, the starting point of his roadshow which began at 11.30 am. While hundreds of UDF workers lined up for the roadshow, several people across all age groups carried party flags and placards with the Congress MP's photograph and balloons in the party colours and gathered on the roadsides to welcome him. 

 Standing atop an open truck, Rahul was flanked by Priyanka and senior party leaders from Kerala as the roadshow moved towards the Civil Station locality.

 From his vehicle, the Congress MP waved to the thousands who thronged both sides of the road and shouted 'jai jai Rahul Gandhi' and 'down down Narendra Modi'. Hundreds of party workers and supporters walked in front, alongside and at the rear of the vehicle.
11:39   The formidable woman Rahul Gandhi will face in Wayanad
CPI candidate from Wayanad, Annie Raja files her nomination. She will face Congress party's sitting MP and candidate Rahul Gandhi from the constituency. 

Annie Raja says, "I am not here to examine whether Rahul Gandhi is afraid or UDF is afraid. I am here as a Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate to go to the people and understand what they expect from me. We have been doing this for more than a month. In my interaction with people, what I understand is that people are really disappointed because they are going through a very difficult situation because of the human-animal conflict or night travel curfew -- whatever may be... They are very disappointed with the performance of the sitting MP... With the interaction with the people, I understand that he has taken the people for granted."
The TN CM shared this picture with Dr Singh
The TN CM shared this picture with Dr Singh
11:25   I hope you will take pride in your contribution to India: Stalin to Dr Singh
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed gratitude to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remarkable service to the nation for 33 years, as the latter retired from Rajya Sabha.

CM Stalin in a post on X said, "On behalf of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and myself, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your remarkable service to the nation as a member of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) for 33 years."

Stalin added in his post: "Throughout your tenure, you have displayed a rare combination of humility, intellect, and statesmanship, earning respect and admiration from across the political spectrum. Your leadership, particularly during challenging times, has been a source of inspiration for many, including myself. 

 "As you transition into a new phase of your life, I hope you take pride in your immense contribution to Indian Union and its people," CM Stalin said. 

 Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wrote a letter to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In his letter to the former PM, the Congress chief said, "After having served for more than three decades, an era has come to an end." "I remember President Obama mentioning about you that whenever the Indian Prime Minister speaks, the whole world listens to him," Kharge said in the post.
11:20   Sanjay Singh's wife furnishes bail bond for Rs 2L
Delhi Excise policy case: Counsel for AAP MP Sanjay Singh said that he is an MP and there is no flight risk. Special counsel for the Enforcement Directorate said that there is a condition by the Supreme Court that Sanjay Singh will not speak to the media regarding this case. 

Counsel for AAP MP Sanjay Singh urged the court to not impose conditions of prior permission before leaving Delhi-NCR. He said that he is a political leader and it is election time. The court said that he would furnish his itinerary before leaving Delhi-NCR.

The Court granted bail to AAP MP Sanjay Singh on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 2 Lakh and one surety of the same amount. Sanjay Singh's wife has furnished the surety bond.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy irregularities case. The court order came after the ED chose not to oppose Sanjay Singh's bail plea. 

 After getting bail, the AAP leader was admitted to Delhi's Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences Hospital for a routine checkup. Singh's mother and son arrived at the hospital on Wednesday to meet him. 

 Talking to ANI, Singh's wife, Anita, said that there will be no celebration until the other AAP leaders were also released from jail.
Nalini Sriharan with Murugan
Nalini Sriharan with Murugan
11:04   Three ex-convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination return to Sri Lanka
Three ex-convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, all of them Sri Lankans, returned to their home country on Wednesday. Murugan alias Sriharan, Jayakumar and Robert Payas left by a Sri Lankan carrier, officials said. 

 They were among the seven convicts in the case freed by the Supreme Court in November 2022. Post their release, they were lodged in a special camp in Tiruchirappalli. They arrived in Chennai last night and left for Colombo today. 

 The Tamil Nadu government had earlier informed the Madras High Court they could travel back home once the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) issued a deportation order. The Sri Lankan High Commission here had earlier issued them travel documents to return home.
File pic
File pic
10:37   Day 2@Tihar: Kejriwal begins day sweeping cell
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been remanded to judicial custody in the liquor policy case, started Wednesday morning by sweeping his prison cell with a broom at Delhi's Tihar Jail, sources said.

Sources said that all under-trial prisoners at Tihar Jail have to clean their cells themselves.

According to Tihar sources, Kejriwal is absolutely healthy and jail doctors have not expressed any such concerns. Reportedly Aam Aadmi Party sources alleged that Kejriwal had lost a lot of weight since his arrest.

According to sources in Tihar jail, Kejriwal has also asked for a chair from the jail administration.On April 1, a Delhi court remanded the Delhi Chief Minister to 15-day judicial custody in the excise policy case and sent him to Tihar Jail till April 15.

The court has permitted him to have home-cooked meals and carry with him the prescribed medications for his diabetes.

According to the sources, the Delhi Chief Minister lodged in Jail Number 2 of the high security Tihar Jail was given an isolation room and was provided with a table and a chair to keep three books, as per the court's order.

"Kejriwal slept on his own bed, which was different from the regular one provided by the jail authority. Since the area was small, he could have faced difficulty but didn't complain about it," the sources in the Tihar jail said on Tuesday.
Sanjay Singh's wife says her husband is expected to be released by 3 pm
Sanjay Singh's wife says her husband is expected to be released by 3 pm
10:19   Sanjay Singh will visit temple after release: Wife
After Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh, his advocate Rishikesh Kumar said that they wanted Singh to be released today only but procedural things led to the delay. 

Kumar hoped for legal formalities to be completed by Wednesday morning. "We wanted him to be released today (Tuesday) but procedural things need to be completed...The Supreme Court order has not been uploaded yet. That order needs to be presented in the trial court...It appears that the procedure of submitting the surety will be completed at 10 am," said Kumar. 

Anita Singh, wife of the AAP MP says, "He (Sanjay Singh) was admitted to ILBS hospital yesterday for his routine checkup and yesterday we came to know that he has got bail, so today he will be discharged from the hospital. After that, he will go to Tihar. He will be released by 2-3 pm. After that, we will go to the temple to thank God. I also thank the judiciary for granting bail and hope that my elder brothers Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain will also get bail soon..." 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy irregularities case. The court order came after the ED chose not to oppose Sanjay Singh's bail plea. A bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the release of Sanjay Singh on bail during the pendency of trial in a money laundering case relating to excise policy irregularities. 

The Enforcement Directorate informed the SC that the agency has no objection to Sanjay Singh getting bail. The ED response came after the court sought to know from the investigating agency whether it needed further custody of AAP leader Sanjay Singh in the excise policy case. 

 The court observed that Sanjay Singh had spent six months in jail. The Supreme Court clarified that Sanjay Singh will be released on terms and conditions to be fixed by the trial court. The court also made it clear that concession shall not be cited as precedent.
10:01   Rahul to file nomination from Wayanad today
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi will arrive in Wayanad today to file his nomination papers for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

 He will also hold a roadshow in the constituency where he had won in the 2019 Parliament polls with a massive margin of over four lakh votes. Rahul will arrive by helicopter at Muppainad, a village in Wayanad, and will travel by road till Kalpetta, the party said. 

 At 11 am, he will hold a roadshow from Kalpetta in which he will be accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi and AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal and Deepa Das, AICC in-charge of the National Students' Union of India Kanhaiya Kumar as well as Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan and KPCC acting president M M Hassan, Congress said. 

 It said that thousands of party workers and supporters are likely to turn up for the roadshow. The roadshow will end near the Civil Station here at around noon after which Rahul will submit his nomination papers to the District Collector, the party said. 

 In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi won after polling 7,06,367 votes out of a total of 10,92,197 with his closest rival -- CPI's P P Suneer -- receiving only 2,74,597 votes. Voting in Kerala for the Lok Sabha polls this year will be on April 26. -- PTI
The charred remains of the shop
The charred remains of the shop
09:36   7 people suffocate to death after fire at shop
Seven persons died of suffocation after a fire broke out in a tailoring shop in Maharashtra's Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar city early Wednesday morning, a senior police official said. 

The incident took place at around 4 am in the shop located at Dana Bazar in Cantonment area. The tailoring shop and other commercial establishments were located on the ground floor of a building while people were residing on the upper floor, the official said. 

 "The shop suddenly caught fire at around 4 am. The police came to know about the incident at 4.15 am. Following the fire, smoke entered the first floor where a family was residing above the shop. Seven casualties have occurred due to suffocation," Police Commissioner Manoj Lohiya told reporters. 

 The deceased included three women, two men and two children, he said. The exact cause of the fire would be known after an inquiry, he added. PTI
Representational image
Representational image
09:26   3 more bodies of Naxalites found in Chhattisgarh; toll 13
Three more bodies of Naxalites were recovered on Wednesday morning in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district where a fierce encounter took place between security personnel and Naxalites the previous day, police said. 

 With this, the number of Naxalites killed in the gun battle on Tuesday has risen to 13, they said. Following the major anti-insurgency operation ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the police on Tuesday found bodies of 10 Naxalites, including a woman. 

 During the search operation still underway in the area, the bodies of three more Naxalites were recovered on Wednesday morning from a dense forest where the encounter took place, a senior police official said.

 "The identity of the dead Naxalites was yet to be ascertained but prima facie, it appears that they belonged to the PLGA (People's Liberation Guerrilla Army) company no. 2 of Maoists," the official said. 

 On Tuesday, the gunfight broke out between security forces and Naxalites at around 6 am in the forest between Lendra and Korcholi villages under the Gangaloor police station area, where a joint team of security personnel was out on an anti-Naxal operation. The intermittent firing lasted for a long time and the security forces continued search operations in the area.
09:24   AAP says Kejriwal unwell in jail, Tihar says 'no'
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in jail since two days, is unwell. He is  believed to have lost weight, reports say. 

However, Tihar jail authorities say Kejriwal is fine. 

Kejriwal, arrested in a money laundering case linked to Delhi's now-scrapped judicial custody, is in Tihar jail after a Delhi court remanded him in judicial custody till April 15.

Kejriwal was brought to Tihar jail at 4 pm on Monday and was medically examined before being sent to his cell where he is staying alone. His sugar level was below 50 at that time and medicines were given to him on the advice of doctors.
08:55   Goa police file chargesheet against CEO-mom accused of killing son
The Goa Police have filed a chargesheet in a court here against Suchana Seth, the CEO of an AI start-up, accused of killing her four-year-old son at an apartment in the coastal state, a senior official said.
Seth (39) was arrested from Chitradurga in neighbouring Karnataka on January 7 while she was travelling in a taxi with her son's body stuffed in a bag.
She left Goa on January 6 night after allegedly killing her child at an apartment in Candolim area of the state.
The Calangute police earlier this week filed a 642-page chargesheet against Seth in the Goa Children's Court, the official said on Tuesday.
The chargesheet mentioned that the child died as a result of shock and respiratory asphyxia caused by strangulation.        
Seth has been booked under Sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of office) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 8 of the Goa Children's Act, according to the chargesheet.
The Goa Police have named 59 witnesses in the case and also recorded the statement of the accused's husband, who has said that despite orders from a family court in Bengaluru, Seth did not allow him to meet their son.
The Goa Children's Court will hear the case on June 14, 2024, when charges would be framed against the accused, who is currently in judicial custody in the coastal state.
The police have also attached with the chargesheet a scribbled note written on a tissue paper using an eyeliner by the accused.
They have also attached the confirmation from handwriting experts who identified it as Seth's handwriting. -- PTI
08:38   Buildings tilt as powerful earthquake hits Taiwan
A powerful earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale rocked Taiwan's eastern shores on Wednesday, as confirmed by the US Geological Survey (USGS).
"Notable quake, preliminary info: M 6.5 -- 11 km NE of Hualien City, Taiwan," the USGS said in a post on X.
The tremor triggered tsunami alerts in southern Japan.

Tremors were felt across the island and preliminary damage has been reported, with visuals of tilted buildings and landslides emerging.
The epicentre of the temblor was located in the Pacific Ocean, 25.0 kilometres south-southeast of Hualien County Hall, at a depth of 15.5 km, according to the administration's Seismology Center, Central News Agency reported.
An intensity level of 5+ was reported in Yilan County in the northeast and in Miaoli County in the north, while 5- was reported in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City and Hsinchu County in the north, Taichung City, Changhua County and Nantou County in central Taiwan, the Central Weather Agency said.
Due to the temblor, metro systems in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung were suspended and the suspension is expected to last 40 to 60 minutes, CNA reported.
A tsunami warning has been declared for the coastal areas of southwestern Japan's Miyakojima and Yaeyama regions, as well as the main island of Okinawa in Okinawa Prefecture. Authorities have urged residents in these regions to promptly evacuate to higher ground or safe locations, NHK reported.
Reports indicate a 30-centimeter tsunami was recorded at Yonaguni Island around 9:18 am. Japan time on Wednesday. Forecasters anticipate tsunami waves reaching up to 3 meters in height in the affected area.
Supriya Sule
Supriya Sule
00:16   Ambedkar's VBA to support Sule in Baramati
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar on Tuesday announced former Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Vasant More as its candidate for the Pune Lok Sabha constituency.

The VBA, whose talks for seat-sharing with the opposition's Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra fell through last month, also declared candidates for Nanded (Avinash Bosikar), Parbhani (Babasaheb Ugle), Aurangabad (Afsar Khan) and Shirur (Mangaldas Bagul).

In Baramati, it will support the candidate of Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar), the VBA said.

The NCP-SP has fielded sitting MP and Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule from Baramati.

Vasant More, who recently quit the Raj Thackeray-led MNS, had met Ambedkar and expressed the wish to contest from Pune where the Bharatiya Janata Party's Murlidhar Mohol would be taking on the Congress's Ravindra Dhangekar.  -- PTI