Sat, 13 April 2024
HP: Cong pits Vikramaditya Singh against Kangana

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/File image
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/File image
22:47   Canadian PM Trudeau extends Baisakhi, Puthandu greetings
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday greeted Sikhs on Baisakhi and Tamils on Puthandu, renewing his government's commitment to building a "better, fairer, and more inclusive country for everyone". 

In separate statements issued by his office, Trudeau wished the Sikhs on the celebration of their harvest festival and the Tamils on their New Year. 

"Today, Sikhs in Canada and around the world will come together to celebrate Baisakhi, one of the holiest days of the Sikh calendar," he said. 

"Baisakhi commemorates the creation of the Khalsa and is also a celebration of the spring harvest festival," Trudeau said. 

Asserting that it is a time of reflection, gratitude, and renewal, symbolising unity and community, he said that as part of the celebrations, "Sikhs will gather at their local Gurdwaras, participate in vibrant and colourful parades known as Nagar Kirtans, and celebrate their rich diversity and heritage." 

Trudeau pointed out Canada marks its fifth annual celebration of Sikh Heritage Month this April and said, "Vaisakhi offers another opportunity for all of us to recognise the invaluable and ongoing contributions that Canadians of Sikh faith bring our communities." 

"This is especially evident in their countless acts of selfless service -- or seva -- which exemplify the values of generosity and compassion at the heart of their faith and encourage us to be better," he said. -- PTI
22:12   BJP to release its poll manifesto on Sunday
The BJP will release its manifesto -- Sankalp Patra -- for the Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, with its planks of welfare and development besides a roadmap for 'viksit Bharat' expected to figure prominently in its election agenda. 

The party said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its other senior leaders will attend the unveiling of the manifesto at the party headquarters that coincides with the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, a towering leader from the Dalit community and an architect of the Indian Constitution. 

As the BJP government has fulfilled most of its core ideological promises, including the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the repeal of Article 370, all eyes will be on how the ruling party's larger cultural and Hindutva agenda figures in the manifesto. 

Party sources said measures for the youth, women, farmers and the poor -- four "castes" Modi has often spoken about -- will be among the highlights of its poll pledges. 

The BJP had appointed a 27-member manifesto committee headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that met twice to deliberate on its contents after the party had launched multiple exercises, including vans sent across the country and social media campaigns, to seek people's suggestions. -- PTI
Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh/File image
Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh/File image
21:44   Cong pits Vikramaditya Singh against Kangana in HP
The Congress on Saturday announced a list of 16 more candidates for the Lok Sabha polls and fielded former Union minister Manish Tewari from the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency. 

The party also pitted Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh against BJP candidate and Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut in the state's Mandi Lok Sabha seat. 

Vikramaditya Singh is the son of the Congress' Himachal Pradesh unit chief Pratibha Singh. 

The candidates were announced during a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee here on Saturday evening. -- PTI
Ashfaq Karim/Facebook
Ashfaq Karim/Facebook
21:22   Disgruntled RJD leader Ashfaq Karim joins JD-U
Disgruntled Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Ashfaq Karim on Saturday joined the Janata Dal-United headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, alleging "discrimination against Muslims" in the party headed by the latter's arch-rival Lalu Prasad. 

Karim, who was denied a second term in Rajya Sabha in March this year, and whose hopes of a Lok Sabha ticket from Katihar came a cropper, was inducted into the JD-U in the presence of national general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha, state president Umesh Kushwaha and senior minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary. 

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Karim, who quit the RJD late Friday, rued that "only two" Muslims figured in the list of 22 candidates made public by the RJD earlier this week. 

"So much for the RJD's promise of proportionate representation to all sections of the society when the caste survey findings came out", said Karim, who runs a private university in Katihar and has been, in the past, associated with many parties, including late Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party. 

Karim was understood to have been assured an RJD ticket by Lalu Prasad from Katihar but the seat went to ally Congress which has fielded former Union minister Tariq Anwar. -- PTI
20:55   Farmers' loans will be waived after Cong comes to power, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said loans of farmers will be waived if his party comes to power at the Centre. 

Addressing a rally in Sakoli in Maharashtra's Bhandara district, he said the main issues plaguing the people of the country were unemployment and inflation, though these were ignored by the media, which concentrated on programmes of the prime minister and celebrities. 

"Loans of farmers will be waived if the Congress comes to power. People are distressed due to unemployment and inflation. The situation is such that people earning just thousands and those making crores are paying the same GST," he said while attacking the NDA government at the Centre. 

Gandhi said farmers asked him during his Bharat Jodo and Bharat Jodo Nyay yatras about why they were not getting the benefit of loan waivers like billionaire industrialists or MSP (minimum support price) for farm produce. 

"We will also give legal guarantee for MSP," he said. 

Gandhi said his party would conduct a caste census after attaining power since it is important for the future of the country. 

"No one knows the percentage of backward groups in the country. Dalits, tribals and OBCs do not have representation in government jobs, bureaucracy, media, top 200 companies as per their proportion in the population," he said. -- PTI
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20:36   Remove Bournvita from health drinks category: Govt
The government has asked all the e-commerce companies to remove drinks and beverages, including Bournvita, from the health drinks category from their portals. 

"National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a statutory body constituted under section (3) of the Commission of Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CRPC Act 2005 concluded that there is no 'health drink' defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd," the commerce and industry ministry said in an advisory to all e-commerce companies. 

The order is dated April 10, 2024. 

It said that all e-commerce companies/portals are advised to remove drinks and beverages, including Bournvita, from the category of health drinks from their platforms/sites. 

On April 2, food safety standards regulator FSSAI directed all e-commerce food business operators to ensure appropriate categorisation of food products being sold on their websites. -- PTI
20:22   Kashmiri Pandit outfit merges with Congress in Jammu
A Kashmiri Pandit outfit, All India Kashmiri Hindu Forum, merged with the Congress at the party headquarters in Jammu on Saturday. 

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani welcomed AIKHF chairman Rattan Lal Bhan and other office bearers into the party fold. 

The AIKHF was formed in 1998. 

Hundreds of its members joining the Congress is a big boost for the party, Wani told reporters. 

He also called on all Kashmiri Pandit organisations to join the party and accused the BJP-led central government of "fooling" the community for the past 10 years. 

"The BJP sold (their plight) across the country to come to power and assured the community that they will do a lot for their rehabilitation, giving them hope. 

"The BJP has been in power for the last 10 years but failed to do any work worth even 10 paise for them," Wani said. "I appeal to other Kashmiri Pandit groups to come back to the Congress as the BJP is only fooling them for the last 10 years. The Nehru family originally belongs to Kashmir and has a lot of sympathy for the displaced pandits and so does the Congress party as a whole," he added. Bhan said he decided to merge his outfit with the Congress as the former prime minister Manmohan Singh-led government had done a lot for Kashmiri Pandits.
AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami
AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami
19:50   AIMIM, AIADMK seal deal in TN for LS polls, pact to continue for assembly elections too
The AIMIM on Saturday announced its support to the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK in Tamil Nadu for the April 19 Lok Sabha elections. 

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said on 'X' that the "alliance would also continue for the Assembly elections" in Tamil Nadu, apparently referring to the 2026 state polls. 

"AIADMK has refused to ally with BJP and has committed to never allying with it in the future. It has also assured that it will oppose CAA, NPR & NRC. Therefore, AIMIM extends its support to AIADMK in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Our alliance will also continue for the Assembly elections," Owaisi said. 

Incidentally, AIMIM had allied with TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu for the 2021 assembly polls and contested from three seats. 

The AIADMK was part of the BJP-led NDA then. 

AMMK is a now constituent of the BJP-led bloc in the state for the upcoming election. -- PTI
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Representational image
19:38   17 Indian sailors onboard ship seized by Iran
Seventeen Indians are on board an Israeli-linked container ship that has been seized by the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel. 

Official sources said India is in touch with Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure the welfare and early release of the Indian nationals. 

The Iranian action came amid increasing fears that Tehran may launch an attack on Israeli soil in retaliation to a strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria 12 days ago. 

"We are aware that a cargo ship 'MSC Aries' has been taken control by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard," said a source. 

"We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals," it said. -- PTI
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19:10   Rains in parts of Delhi-NCR bring respite from heat, more likely on Sunday
Rains hit parts of Delhi-NCR on Saturday evening, bringing respite from the heat. 

The India meteorological department attributed the rains to an active western disturbance over northwest India. 

It has also forecast light rain accompanied by gusty winds on Sunday. 

The maximum temperature in the national capital was recorded at 39 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season's average, the IMD said. 

"The temperature in the capital will drop by nearly 33 per cent, with overcast skies and winds reaching speeds of 30 to 40 kmph due to an active western disturbance that hit northwest India on April 12," said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist and head of the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre. 

The effects of the western disturbance will be felt until April 18-19. 

The temperature will not reach 40 degrees Celsius until then. 

After April 18, the temperature will begin to increase day by day, he said. -- PTI
18:57   CBI books Megha Engg, officials in Rs 315-cr bribery case
The CBI has registered an FIR against Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd, which was the second-biggest buyer of electoral bonds worth Rs 966 crore, in an alleged bribery case. 

Eight officials of the NISP and NMDC and two officials of MECON were also named in the FIR for receiving alleged bribe of around Rs 78 lakh in clearing bills of Rs 174 crore of Megha Engineering in connection with works related to Jagdalpur integrated steel plant, officials said Saturday. 

Megha Engineering had emerged as the second-biggest buyer of electoral bonds and donated the highest amount of about Rs 586 crore to the BJP, according to the data released by the Election Commission on March 21. 

The company also donated Rs 195 crore to BRS, Rs 85 crore to DMK, and Rs 37 crore to YSRCP. 

The TDP got about Rs 25 crore from the company, while the Congress got Rs 17 crore. 

The JD-S, Jana Sena Party and the JD-U got smaller sums ranging from Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore. 

According to the FIR made public on Saturday, the CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry on August 10, 2023 about the alleged bribery in Rs 315 crore project related to works of intake well and pump house and cross-country pipeline at the integrated steel plant Jagdalpur which was awarded to the company. 

Based on the findings of the preliminary enquiry, a recommendation was made on March 18 to register a regular case into the alleged bribery which was filed on March 31. -- PTI
18:40   Won't withdraw nomination papers, says rebel BJP leader Eshwarappa
Rebel BJP leader and former Karnataka deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa on Saturday dismissed reports that he would withdraw his candidature for the Lok Sabha elections. 

Eshwarappa on Friday filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate from Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency. 

He will be contesting against BJP's sitting MP and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's elder son B Y Raghavendra and Congress candidate Geetha Shivarajkumar. 

The rebel leader said his aim is to "strengthen" Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

"Some people are spreading rumours that I will withdraw my nomination papers. Those who rally behind me, I would like to say, I will never betray and remain in the fray," Eshwarappa said addressing a press conference. 

Eshwarappa said he demonstrated on Friday that youth power, women's power and farmers' power were with him. 

The former deputy CM who had served as BJP state president has rebelled against the party after the denial of a ticket to his son K E Kantesh from Haveri Lok Sabha constituency. 

He has trained his guns on Yediyurappa and his son Raghavendra and BJP state president and Shikaripura MLA B Y Vijayendra, accusing them of indulging in dynastic politics. -- PTI
NIA produces Rameshwaram café blast accused at a session court in Kolkata on Friday, April 12, 2024/ANI Photo
NIA produces Rameshwaram café blast accused at a session court in Kolkata on Friday, April 12, 2024/ANI Photo
18:17   Bengaluru blast accused sent to 10-day NIA custody
A special NIA court in Bengaluru on Saturday granted the national agency 10 days custody of two accused in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case for further investigation. 

Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Adbul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa were produced before a National Investigation Agency special court judge on Saturday. 

The accused were brought to the state capital from Kolkata on transit remand, for their alleged role in March 1 blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru, which left 10 people injured. 

According to NIA, Shazib placed the Improvised Explosive Device at the cafe and Taahaa was the mastermind. 

Last month, the NIA announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for those providing information leading to the arrest of these two accused. -- PTI
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17:58   Crane collapses at road construction site in Maha's Thane; no injuries
A crane engaged in the construction of an expressway collapsed in Maharashtra's Thane district on Saturday, an official said.

No one was injured in the accident on the Mumbai-Vadodara expressway site at Chamtoli area in Ambernath taluka, the official said.

Ambernath Tehsildar Prashanti Mane said the crane driver jumped off just in time to save himself.

Efforts are on to put the crane in the upright position, she added. -- PTI
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi/File image
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi/File image
17:38   Iran seizes Israel-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy seized the Israel-linked MSC ARIES container ship near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, The Times of Israel reported, citing Iranian news agency.  

The ship in question was the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship owned by Zodiac Maritime, based in London. 

Zodiac Maritime is a division of Zodiac Group, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.  

The MSC Aries was last seen on Friday, sailing towards the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Dubai, according to The Times of Israel

The ship is currently sailing through the Persian Gulf, according to ship tracking site, Marine Traffic.  

Tensions escalated between Iran and the West amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.  

Amid fears of the ongoing hostilities in Gaza devolving into a larger Middle-Eastern conflict, US President Joe Biden said earlier today that he expects Iran to attack Israel 'sooner than later'.  

"I don't want to get into secure information but my expectation is sooner than later," Biden told reporters when asked how imminent an Iranian attack on Israel would be.  

As has been reported globally, Tehran vowed revenge after Israel launched airstrikes on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, taking out three top military generals. -- ANI
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Representational image
17:24   Odisha woman school teacher suspended for attending poll rally
A woman teacher of a government school in Odisha's Boudh has been suspended by the district election officer-cum-district collector for allegedly attending an election rally and procession, an official notification said on Saturday.

The woman teacher of Government Nodal High School at Dahya had allegedly participated in a political rally from Palaspat to Ambagaon in Kantamal assembly constituency two days ago in violation of ECI rules, it said.

As per an ECI order dated March 15, 2024, and Odisha Government Servant's Conduct Rules, 1959, no government servant shall be a member of or be otherwise associated with any political or communal party or any organisation which takes part in politics or communal activities, nor shall he/she take part or subscribe in aid of assist in any other manner, any political or communal movement or activity.

Her suspension comes into effect immediately, the notification issued by Boudh District Election Officer-cum-District Collector J Sonal said. -- PTI
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17:05   Farmer injured in tiger attack in Karnataka
A 22-year-old man was injured after he was attacked allegedly by a tiger at a village in Chamarajanagara district, the forest department said on Saturday. 

Mannu suffered injuries on his neck and hands. 

He is said to be in a stable condition and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mysuru. 

According to forest department officials, the incident occurred on Friday at around 6.30 pm in Honakanahalli village. 

The tiger, which is about two-years-old, pounced and attacked Mannu when a group of people approached the animal which had taken refuge in a farm. 

"... we tried to dart it but it escaped and entered another farm. People tried to chase the tiger away and it leapt on Mannu and attacked on his neck and hands. Later, it escaped into the forest area," a senior forest official said. -- PTI
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16:40   NIA charges 2 accused in Manipur car blast case
The National Investigation Agency has filed a charge sheet against two accused, including the key conspirator, in last year's Manipur car bomb blast case in which three people were injured, an official statement issued on Saturday said. 

The agency filed the chargesheet before a special NIA court in Manipur's Bishnupur on Friday, it said. 

The explosion, triggered by a bomb planted in a Mahindra Scorpio, took place on a bridge adjoining Phougakchao Ikhai Awang Leikai and Kwakta area, along Tiddim road (NH-02), in Kwakta ward no. 07 (KMC), Bishnupur on June 21, 2023. 

Three people were injured in the blast which damaged the bridge, an electric pole, electrical assets and surrounding houses. 

Mohammed Noor Hussain alias Tomba alias Mohammed Nur Hasan and Seiminlun Gangte alias Minlun, who was identified as the key conspirator, were arrested in connection with the blast. 

"The NIA on Friday charge-sheeted two accused, including the main conspirator, in the June 2023 Kwatka (Manipur) vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device blast case, in which three persons were injured and several public and private properties were damaged," the statement said. -- PTI
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal
16:29   LS polls: SAD announces first list of 7 candidates for Punjab
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday announced its first list of seven candidates, fielding senior party leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra from Anandpur Sahib and Daljit Singh Cheema from Gurdaspur. 

Besides, the SAD also named former MLA N K Sharma from Patiala, former minister Anil Joshi from Amritsar, Bikramjit Singh Khalsa from Fatehgarh Sahib, Rajwinder Singh from Faridkot and Iqbal Singh Jhoonda from Sangrur seat. 

The list of candidates was announced by party leader Daljit Singh Cheema in a post on X. 

Polling for 13 Lok Sabha seats will be held in the last phase on June 1. -- PTI
16:04   No Malayalam film will be given to PVR screens: FEFKA
The Film Employees Federation of Kerala on Saturday said that no Malayalam film will be given to any PVR owned screen or theatre till it compensates producers from the southern state for the loss suffered by them due to the multiplex company not showing films made by them across India. 

FEFKA general secretary Unnikrishnan B announced the decision at a press conference held here where noted producers like Blessy Ipe Thomas and Vineeth Sreenivasan were also present. 

Unnikrishnan said that there was an ongoing dispute between PVR and the film producer's association on the issue of virtual print fee charged by the multiplex company. 

The producers' association decided not to give any films to PVR's new screen at Forum Mall till the dispute was resolved, he said. 

"As a countermeasure, PVR, with a cartel-like strategy, decided not to show any Malayalam film on any of the theatres or screens owned by them across India. This has caused a significant financial loss as well as mental pressure to producers, including Blessy," he said. 

He said that PVR does not have the courage to take such a stand in the other south Indian states, but was taking unfair advantage of the Malayalam film industry's view of resolving issues democratically. -- PTI
Ex-DMK functionary Jaffer Sadiq in NCB custody/ANI Photo
Ex-DMK functionary Jaffer Sadiq in NCB custody/ANI Photo
16:02   Ex-DMK man invested Rs 40-cr drug money in films: ED
More than Rs 40 crore allegedly earned from drug trafficking was "injected" by now-sacked Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionary Jaffer Sadiq and his linked entities into sectors like film production, hospitality and real estate, the ED alleged on Saturday. 

The Enforcement Directorate made these claims in an official statement issued by the federal agency following its raids in this case at Chennai, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli on April 9. 

Sadiq, 36, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau last month for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of about 3,500 kg of pseudoephedrine with a street value of more than Rs 2,000 crore. 

He was expelled by the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu in February after his name and purported links to the drugs network were mentioned by the NCB. 

The money laundering case stems from separate NCB and Customs department complaints filed against Sadiq and his partners on charges of indulging in "cross-border illegal trade of narcotics substances". 

Sadiq, purportedly the mastermind behind an international drug trafficking syndicate, stands accused of smuggling pseudoephedrine camouflaged as health-mix powder and desiccated coconut to Australia and New Zealand, the ED said. -- PTI
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15:52   Around 200 people booked for causing traffic congestion on Eid in UP city
Two hundred people were booked for allegedly causing traffic congestion by offering namaaz on a road in Meerut, the police said on Saturday. 

The crowd moved to the road to offer Eid namaaz as the space inside the nearby mosque was filled. 

They allegedly had an altercation with the police when they prevented them from offering namaaz on the road, the police said. 

The sub-inspector of the Railway Road police station filed a complaint on Friday alleging that over 100 to 200 people offered Eid namaaz on Thursday on the road which led to severe traffic congestion, senior superintendent of police Rohit Singh Sajwan said. 

Based on the complaint police have lodged an FIR under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of duty) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code, Sajwan said. 

"The FIR has been lodged against unidentified persons. Our teams are making efforts to identify the accused with the help of CCTV footage in the area," he added. -- PTI 
15:06   MLA injured as car collides with another vehicle in Arunachal
Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering received minor injuries when his car collided with another vehicle in Arunachal Pradesh's East Siang district, a police officer said on Sunday. 

The MLA's car collided with another vehicle near Sille village in East Siang district on Saturday, Pasighat sub-divisional police officer Ayup Boko said. 

The SDPO said a vehicle suddenly came out from the BJP party office in Sille and hit the MLA's vehicle and both the vehicles turned upside down. 

The MLA and other occupants of the vehicle received minor injuries, the officer added. -- PTI
Monson Mavunkal
Monson Mavunkal
14:43   Kerala HC rejects Mavunkal plea to suspend life sentence in rape case
The Kerala high court has dismissed a petition filed by controversial self-styled antiques dealer Monson Mavunkal seeking suspension of the life sentence given to him for repeatedly raping a minor girl, saying that the "heinous nature" of the offence committed by him "cannot be ignored". 

The high court said it can proceed with the suspension of sentence only if the evidence is found to be prima facie unreliable and no other materials and circumstances proving the complicity of the accused are available. 

A bench of Justices PB Suresh Kumar and S Manu said that in the instant case, the evidence of the victim was prima facie sufficient to support the findings and conclusions arrived at by the trial court. 

The high court further said that there were other materials also against Mavunkal and therefore, his plea for suspension of sentence was liable to be rejected. 

"It is to be noted that the petitioner has been awarded the imprisonment for life on three different counts by the additional sessions judge. 

Suspending the sentence for life imprisonment can be resorted only in exceptional cases. -- PTI
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14:18   4 killed, several hurt in multiple stabbing-shooting in Sydney mall
At least four people were reported to be dead after a man entered a mall in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Saturday afternoon and began randomly shooting and stabbing people, local media reported.  

The toll of casualties at Bondi Junction's Westfield shopping centre may extend further, with eight people, including a child, rushed to hospitals in Sydney, their conditions yet to be disclosed, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.  

Chaos erupted around 4 pm (local time) with reports of multiple stabbings within the bustling shopping complex. 

Witnesses describe scenes of sheer terror as a man, reportedly armed with a knife, ran amok, leaving bystanders in a state of shock and confusion.  

"We didn't really know where to go. We tried to go back in the other building but there were people running down that direction," recounted Hannah Bodrozic, who was shopping in Country Road at the time. 

"Then we heard three gunshots and everyone just started screaming."  

In a swift response, heavily armed tactical operations police descended upon the scene "Heavily armed tactical operations police responded and shot a male offender," as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.  

"Police responded to reports of multiple people stabbed at Bondi Westfield just before 4 pm," reported authorities. -- ANI 
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh
14:09   Himanta would have been nowhere without Congress: Jairam Ramesh
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed that Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma "would have been nowhere" without the grand old party which had given him "identity and position" during its rule in the state. 

The Congress general secretary, in an interview with PTI in Guwahati, claimed that Sarma was among the first to quit the grand old party when it lost power and join the "washing machine of BJP". 

"The Congress gave him identity and position, along with authority and responsibility, during the tenure of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi but he chose to betray the party when it was not in power. It is a matter of great sorrow that those given a responsible position turn out to be opportunists. But that has not shattered our self-confidence," he said. 

"Opportunists" leaving the Congress actually work in the party's favour, making way for ideologically committed youngsters, the Rajya Sabha MP said. 

Terming Sarma's claim that Congressmen are quitting the party in hordes to join the BJP a "psychological game", Ramesh said the party's state unit chief Bhupen Kumar Borah has given him a "reply in the strongest possible language". 

Borah has filed a defamation case against Sarma for claiming that he would join the BJP soon. 

Ramesh claimed that if the Congress returns to power at the Centre, "all regional parties and so-called regional satraps will return to our fold". 

"I can assure you that there will be a reverse migration '" whether in Assam, Nagaland or Manipur. They will all return once the Congress-led INDIA government comes to power in Delhi," he claimed. -- PTI
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13:52   Borewell accident: Efforts to rescue 6-year-old boy continue for 20 hrs in MP
Efforts to rescue the six-year-old boy from a borewell in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa district continued for more than 20 hours on Saturday, with a team from the State Disaster Emergency Response Force and local administration working overnight, an official said.

Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said he was monitoring the situation and is in constant touch with the local authorities.

According to officials, the incident occurred at Manika village near the Uttar Pradesh border around 3 pm on Friday, when the boy was playing near the open borewell.

The news of an innocent child falling into a borewell in Manika village of Rewa district was unfortunate, Yadav said in a post on X.

"An SDERF team and district administration were trying to get the child out safely. I am also in constant touch with the local administration," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Rajendra Shukla has been instructed to visit the site, he added.

The rescue operation continued throughout Friday night, an official said.

Pits about 35 feet wide have been dug on both sides of the borewell, through which the team is trying to bring the boy out, he said. -- PTI
Women of Sandeshkhali welcome BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari/ANI Photo
Women of Sandeshkhali welcome BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari/ANI Photo
13:41   Sandeshkhali probe points to rights violation: NHRC
In a spot inquiry into the Sandeshkhali case in West Bengal, the NHRC has flagged "several instances of atrocities", saying it indicates that there was a "violation of human rights" due to "negligence" in the prevention of such incidents. 

The National Human Rights Commission, in its report, also observed that the "pervasive fear of reprisal, coupled with the power dynamics at play, acted as a formidable barrier", preventing individuals from voicing their grievances. 

The rights panel has made several recommendations and sought an action taken report within eight weeks on each of the recommendations made therein from the government of West Bengal, the NHRC said in a statement on Saturday. 

"The Commission's spot inquiry has revealed several instances of atrocities inflicted upon the victims, which clearly demonstrate, prima facie, that there was a violation of human rights due to negligence in the prevention of such violation or abatement thereof by the public servant," it said. 

The report has been uploaded on the NHRC website for "wider dissemination of information," the statement said. 

The Commission has sent its spot inquiry report to the chief secretary and DGP, West Bengal for submitting the ATR. -- PTI
13:10   Akshay and Tiger's 'Bade Miyan Chote Miyan' mints Rs 55 cr globally in 2 days
Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, headlined by Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, has grossed Rs 55.14 crore at the worldwide box office in two days, the makers said on Saturday.

The Hindi-language action film, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar of Sultan and Bharat fame, was released in theatres on Thursday on the occasion of Eid.

Production banner Pooja Entertainment, which has backed the movie in association with AAZ, shared the film's day one box numbers in a press note and also through a poster on its social media handles.

"Bade Miyan Chote Miyan wins hearts, audience applaud action entertainer. Total collection hits Rs 55.14 cr gross worldwide," the studio said.

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan features Akshay and Tiger performing death-defying stunts and high-octane action sequences. 

They play two elite soldiers who embark on a mission to recover a stolen AI weapon.

Actor Prithiviraj Sukumaran plays the role of the antagonist Kabir in the movie. It also features Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F and Sonakshi Sinha. -- PTI
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
12:42   Siddaramaiah thanks NIA, Karnataka police for arresting cafe blast accused
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday thanked the National Investigation Agency and the state police over the arrest of the accused in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case. 

He maintained that the truth would come out after interrogation. "I thank the NIA and the Karnataka police. They were able to trace the accused persons and arrest them in Kolkata," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysore. 

The chief minister said the accused have been brought to Bengaluru on transit remand. 

"After interrogation, we will get to know what had happened," he said. 

The NIA arrested Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Adbul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa from Kolkata for their alleged role in March 1 blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru, which left 10 people injured. -- PTI
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal being brought to Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi/ANI Photo
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal being brought to Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi/ANI Photo
12:30   Kejriwal denied to meet family in Tihar: Sanjay Singh
Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Saturday claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not being allowed to meet his family at mulakat jangla' in Tihar jail. 

Addressing a press conference, Singh said, "There is an attempt to break the morale of CM Kejriwal. His family has not been allowed in-person meetings with him. They are only allowed to meet him through the jangla. This is inhuman. Even hardcore criminals are allowed in-person meetings," the AAP leader said. 

The 'mulakat jangla' is an iron mesh which separates the inmate from the visitor in a room inside the jail. 

A visitor and an inmate can talk to each other by sitting on different sides of the mesh. 

There was no immediate reaction from the Tihar administration. 

On Friday, the jail authorities scheduled Kejriwal's meeting with his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann for April 15, saying that he can meet the AAP convener, but as a normal visitor in the 'mulakat jangla'. -- PTI
Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh
Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh
12:05   BJP and AIMIM working hand in glove, alleges Digvijaya
Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has accused the BJP and the AIMIM of being hand in glove with each other, and sought to know the source of funding of Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. 

He alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party instigates Hindus, while the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, headed by Owaisi, provokes Muslims, but they complement each other and work in tandem. 

Singh was addressing a gathering on Friday night at Susner under Agar Malwa district, falling under Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat. 

Singh is a Congress nominee from this seat. 

"Owaisi openly provokes Muslims in Hyderabad, the BJP provokes Hindus here. But I ask you where does the money come from to field Owaisi to cut the votes of Muslims? They always do politics together...They complement each other," Singh alleged. 

Singh alleged that democracy has been murdered in the country and people are being sent to jails. 

He said that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee rightly said the BJP has become a washing machine to clean up tainted politicians. -- PTI
11:38   Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli passes away at 83
Known for his flamboyant style, veteran Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has passed away. He was 83. 
The famous fashion designer had been ill for a long time, leaving and entering the hospital more and more often for ritual checkups, his family told The Hollywood Reporter.
Cavalli's company also issued a statement on social media, announcing the demise of Cavalli.
"Roberto succeeded in becoming a globally recognised name loved and respected by all. Naturally talented and creative, Roberto believed that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves," the post read.
In 1970s, Cavalli became popular in the early 1970s for his animal prints. He imagined the women who wore his clothes as wild creatures: lionesses, panthers, and tigers, charming and wild. In the mid-1990s, Cavalli revolutionised the world of denim with a number of innovations, among them stretch jeans, which he invented by adding Lycra to the fabric, and a process for sand-blasting denim pieces that gave them a lived-in effect.
The designer opened his first boutique in St. Tropez, France, the most exclusive vacation destination for VIPs, in 1972.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar/File image
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar/File image
11:34   Terrorists don't play by rules, so...: Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that India was committed to respond to any act of terrorism perpetrated from across the borders, and asserted that since terrorists do not play by rules, there cannot be any rules in the country's answer to them. 

Attacking the United Progressive Alliance dispensation over its response to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, he said that after a lot of deliberation at the government level, nothing fruitful came out at that time as it was felt that the cost of attacking Pakistan was more than not attacking it. Interacting with youth on Friday at an event titled Why Bharat Matters: Opportunity for youth and participation in global scenario in Pune, he asked that if a similar attack happens now and one does not react to it, how can the next such attacks be prevented. 

Jaishankar also said that the country's foreign policy has undergone a change since 2014 and it is the way terrorism is dealt with. 

When asked about countries with which India finds it challenging to maintain relationships, Jaishankar said India should question whether it should maintain any relationship with certain countries. 

"Well, one is just next to us. Let us be honest, the one country that is very, very difficult is Pakistan, and for that, we should only introspect why. One reason for this is us," he said. -- PTI 
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11:23   Delhi traffic police issue advisory in view of Baisakhi celebrations
The Delhi traffic police issued an advisory on Saturday in view of the Baisakhi celebrations at Guruji ka Ashram (Bade Mandir), informing commuters about the traffic regulations in certain areas of the city. 

In a post on X, the traffic police said: "In view of Baisakhi celebrations at Guru Ji ka Ashram (Bade Mandir) on April 13, 2024, traffic regulations will be effective." 

"Movement of heavy and medium commercial vehicles will be regulated on Bhatti Mines Road, Bandh Road, Chhatarpur Road and Sant Shri Nagpal Marg," it added. 

The advisory said "all emergency vehicles will be facilitated in reaching their destination". 

It, however, advised the emergency vehicles to travel via Mehrauli-Gurugram Road, instead of Dera Road and Mandi Road. 

Baisakhi celebrations will be held at Guruji Ka Ashram, Bhatti Mines Road and Mehrauli, with the police expecting a gathering of 55,000 to 60,000 devotees from across Delhi-NCR as well as neighbouring states. 

The traffic police has requested the commuters to make use of public transport, especially metro services. -- PTI
11:11   Modi meets India's top gamers; plays VR games
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday interacted with top Indian gamers on a host of issues relating to the gaming industry.

In a free-wheeling interaction regarding the future as well as the challenges before the e-gaming industry, the prime minister posed curious questions to the gamers while also trying his hands at some of the games.

"People have offered different solutions. I have an alternative solution called Mission LIFE, which advocates for changing our daily lifestyle to benefit the environment. Now, envision a game aimed at addressing global climate issues, where the gamer must explore various methods and solutions to identify the most sustainable approach," Modi told the gamers during the interaction.

"What are these steps? How do we navigate through it and choose the best approach for success? Take swachhata as an example, the game theme could revolve around cleanliness and every child should play this game. Youngsters should embrace Indian values and understand their true significance," he said.

The gamers discussed new developments in the gaming industry with the prime minister, who stressed how the government has recognised the creativity of the gamers, promoting the gaming industry in India.

They also engaged on issues concerning gambling versus gaming while discussing the participation of women in the gaming industry. -- PTI
11:05   When Rahul Gandhi buys Mysore Pak for 'brother' Stalin
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M K Stalin on Saturday said the INDIA alliance will deliver a "sweet victory" on June 4.  

Stalin who was pleasantly surprised over receiving Mysore Pak from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the latter's visit to the state on Friday, expressed that he was touched by his brother's sweet gesture."

The two leaders had addressed a poll rally in Coimbatore.

Posting a video of Gandhi jumping over a road divider and rapidly walking towards a sweet shop in Coimbatore to purchase Mysore Pak for him, Stalin said in a post on the social media platform X quoting a couplet from Thirukkural on the possession of love: touched and overwhelmed by the 'sweet gesture' from my brother @RahulGandhi.

"On June 4th, #INDIA will surely deliver him a sweet victory!" the DMK president said.

In the video that went viral on social media, Rahul Gandhi could be seen jumping over a road divider, crossing the road and walking swiftly into a sweet shop. 

When asked what he would like to purchase, he could be heard replying to the salesperson "I want Mysore Pak for my brother Stalin."

After tasting the sample sweets offered to him, Gandhi could be seen paying for the gift pack, thanking the salesperson and posing for a group photo with the staff. 

He later walks up to Stalin and presents him the sweet gift, which the pleasantly surprised DMK president accepts. 

Posting the video, the Congress said in a post "Shri @RahulGandhi gifts famous Mysore Pak to Shri @mkstalin. Celebrating the loving relationship he shares with the people of Tamil Nadu." -- PTI 
11:02   2 FIRs filed against Cong's Bastar LS candidate for poll code violation
Police have registered two cases against senior Congress leader and the party's Bastar Lok Sabha seat candidate Kawasi Lakhma in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district for allegedly violating the model code of conduct through his alleged objectionable remarks, officials said on Saturday.
While an FIR was registered against him at Mirtur police station for allegedly making an objectionable remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another case was registered at Kutru police station for his alleged statement against police and administration, a district official said.

The cases were registered on Friday evening based on the complaints lodged by the district returning officer, he said.

Lakhma, who represents the Konta assembly constituency in Sukma district and served as a minister in the previous Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government, has been fielded by the party in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat. Bijapur district falls in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency.

As per the election official's complaint, Lakhma on April 8 evening held a public meeting in Mirtur without taking permission from the competent authority and made objectionable remarks against the PM in the local dialect, he said.

Similarly on the same day, Lakhma held a public rally in Kutru cricket ground and made an objectionable remark against the police and district administration, he said.

At the rally, Lakhma said there is a reserve of tin near Tongpal (Sukma district) and the villagers told him that the police were taking measurements (of the forest area). He then asked the villagers to attack the police with bow and arrow, he added.  

Lakhma was booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 500 (whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the official said, adding that a probe was underway. -- PTI
09:54   Rameshwaram cafe blast suspects brought to B'luru
Two prime accused in the Rameshwaram cafe blast case were brought to the city by the National Investigation Agency from Kolkata on transit remand, police sources said on Saturday.
Both will be taken for a routine medical test, after which they will be produced before the NIA court in Bengaluru.

A court in Kolkata had on Friday granted a 3-day transit remand to the two accused in the blast case, allowing the NIA to take them to the Karnataka capital.

The NIA had arrested Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Adbul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa from Kolkata for their alleged role in March 1 blast at Rameshwaram Cafe here, which left 10 people injured.

According to NIA, Shazib placed the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the cafe and Taahaa was the mastermind, the officials said.

Last month, the NIA announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for those providing information leading to the arrest of these two accused.

An IED explosion rocked the cafe located on ITPL Road, Brookefield, Bengaluru, on March 1.

The NIA took over the probe on March 3. -- PTI 
09:32   Kavitha forced SC Reddy to pay Rs 25cr to AAP: CBI
The Central Bureau of Investigation has told a special court here that Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha had allegedly "threatened" Aurobindo Pharma promoter Sharath Chandra Reddy to pay an amount of Rs 25 crore to the AAP for the five retail zones allotted to his firm under the Delhi government's excise policy.

According to the CBI, Kavitha had told Reddy that in case he does not pay the amount to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital, his business will be harmed in Telangana and Delhi.

Reddy, who was an accused in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged liquor scam in Delhi, had turned an approver in the case that is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The CBI is yet to file a chargesheet against him.

Seeking the BRS leader's custodial interrogation, the CBI told Special Judge Kaveri Baweja that it was at the "insistence and assurance" of Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, that Reddy got involved in the liquor business in Delhi.

Kavitha had allegedly assured Reddy that she had contacts in the Delhi government and that she would help him in the liquor business in the national capital under the now-scrapped excise policy.

"Kavitha further told Sharath Chandra Reddy that the payments of upfront money of Rs 25 crore for wholesale business and Rs 5 crore for each retail zone were to be made to the Aam Aadmi Party for getting liquor business and the same was to be paid to her associates, Arun R Pillai and Abhishek Boinpally, who would in turn coordinate with Vijay Nair, who was a representative of (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal," the CBI told the court on Friday.

The court has sent Kavitha to the CBI's custody till April 15.

According to the agency, in March and May 2021, when the excise policy was being formulated, Pillai, Boinpally and Butchibabu Gorantla stayed at the Hotel Oberoi in Delhi to swing the policy in their favour through Nair by inserting provisions.

After receiving the assurance of support from Kavitha, Aurobindo Reality and Infrastructure Private Limited paid Rs 80 lakh to her NGO, Telangana Jagruthi, under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in March 2021, the CBI has alleged. -- PTI
08:28   Def min issues tender to procure 97 Tejas Mk-1A jets
The defence ministry has issued a tender to state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for procurement of 97 light combat aircraft (LCA Mk-1A) Tejas for the Indian Air Force, officials said on Friday.
The fighter jets are expected to cost around Rs 67,000 crore.

The Tejas aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles.

In November, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared the project to acquire 97 more Tejas jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The DAC also approved a proposal of the IAF to upgrade its Su-30 fighter fleet by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). -- PTI    
01:17   Mumbai cops register case after textile major's 'confidential data' is wiped out
A case was registered after "confidential data" of textile major Welspun Living Limited was allegedly wiped out after its systems were subjected to an unauthorised entry, a Mumbai police official said on Friday. 

The incident, in which data, daily operation reports and the firm's dashboard have been wiped out, took place between 8pm and 8:50pm on January 17 this year, the official said. 

"An unidentified person gained access to the system by logging into email id of the company. The access was made from a Hyderabad based IP address. The breach was found when the firm's assistant general manager of IT logged into the system on January 18 from its Telangana office. He then alerted the firm's IT team in Mumbai," he said. 

"The company alerted Mumbai police on February 13. On Thursday, a assistant VP of the company approached N M Joshi Marg police station, after which a case was registered. Confidential data residing in Power BI tool software was wiped out. It included the company's dashboard and reports of daily operations," the official added. -- PTI
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00:58   Rain lashes Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram, yellow alert issued
Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram is enduring heavy rainfall, and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority on its official X handle posted that the Central Meteorological Department has announced yellow alert in four districts and advised to refrain from fishing on the coast of Kerala. 

Central Meteorological Department on its official website, issued the forecast for the next five days and the department has announced a yellow alert in various districts of Kerala. 

The districts include Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Alappuzha. 

The department has said that there are chances of heavy rain in the districts. Heavy rains mean rainfall of 64.5 mm to 115.5 mm in 24 hours. 

The Indian Meteorological Department on its official site predicted thunderstorms and lightning for districts like Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Mallapuram, Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki, and Kottyam. -- PTI
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00:31   Leh Apex Body announces fresh 'border march' in Ladakh
Days after withdrawing its call for 'border march' amidst imposition of restrictions by the administration, Leh Apex Body on Friday said a small group of their representatives would undertake a foot march to Changthang near the China border. 

The march would show the "reality of farmers losing their pasture land in the absence of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. 

Making the announcement at a press conference here, climate activist Sonam Wangchuck, who is part of the LAB, said the march will be undertaken "very soon' but the dates are yet to be decided. 

The LAB, along with the Kargil Democratic Alliance, is spearheading an agitation over the past four years to demand statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. 

The LAB had called for the border (Pashmina) march on April 7 to highlight the "plight of farmers" who are allegedly losing prime pasture land to industrial plants in the south and "Chinese encroachments' in the north. -- PTI