Sat, 20 April 2024
Shah targets Cong over reservation, PFI ban

Timeline  Refresh

21:06   Firing outside Salman's residence: Bishnoi, brother declared 'wanted accused' in case
The Mumbai police has declared jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi and his younger brother Anmol Bishnoi as "wanted accused" in connection with the incident of firing outside Bollywood actor Salman Khan's residence here, an official said on Saturday.
Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal, arrested in the case earlier this week, were allegedly receiving instructions from the two Bishnoi brothers, he said. 

While Lawrence Bishnoi is lodged in the Sabarmati central prison in Gujarat in another case, his brother is believed to be in Canada or the US, the official said, adding that Mumbai Police is likely to seek Lawrence's custody soon. 

The crime branch of police, which is investigating the case, has added Indian Penal Code sections 506 (2) (criminal intimidation with a threat to cause death or serious injury) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to shield offender) to the First Information Report (FIR), the official further informed.

Police had  registered the FIR under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder) after two motorbike-borne men fired at Galaxy Apartment in Bandra, Salman Khan's residence, in the early morning of April 14.

On April 16, police arrested Gupta and Pal from Bhuj in Gujarat. Pal allegedly fired the shots while Gupta was riding the motorbike, officials claimed.

A Facebook post taking responsibility for the attack, created in the name of Anmol Bishnoi, surfaced after the incident. 

The IP address from where the post had been uploaded was traced to Portugal, the official said. Notably, it had been uploaded three hours before the firing incident. The Facebook account in Anmol's name was created by using a foreign mobile number, the police official added. -- PTI 
20:46   Shah targets Cong over reservation, PFI ban
Accusing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of spreading lies on the issue of reservation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said even if the opposition party wants to do away with quota given to SC, ST and OBCs, the BJP will not allow it to happen.
Addressing rallies in Rajasthan, Shah also claimed that the Congress wanted to remove the ban on the Islamic extremist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI).
He hit back at the opposition's claim that the BJP's slogan of winning 400 seats was aimed at changing the Constitution.
"When Congress got a majority, they used it to impose Emergency... we got the majority in 2014 and 2019, we did not use it remove reservation but to remove Article 370, to build Ram temple... bring CAA... give reservation to women ... we used our majority to remove poverty, to secure the country," Shah said.
"Rahul baba, you should not lie. Even if the Congress party wants to remove SC, ST and OBC reservation... we will not allow it to remove reservation. This is Modi's guarantee. These (Congress) people are spreading lies," he said.
He claimed the Congress has harmed the interest of Other Backward Classes (OBC) the most.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the OBC community, Shah said, adding that it was Modi who implemented schemes for various communities among the backward classes.
Shah said Modi worked to give constitutional recognition to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

 "We worked to give 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in all central institutions in the country. Modi, under whom respect for the country increased globally, also comes from the OBC community," he said.
Shah said that before the Modi government, there was no scheme in the country for communities such as blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters and boat-makers, but Prime Minister Modi "spent Rs 13,000 crore and connected them with skill development and self-employment schemes".
"The Congress government did not implement the Mandal Commission report. During a discussion in Parliament on the reservation, Rahul baba's father Rajiv Gandhi spoke against it for two-and-a-half hours," he claimed.
Shah said that if people had voted for Congress in the previous Lok Sabha elections, Kota would have become a stronghold of PFI.
"People voted for Modi, he has finished PFI and put them (PFI people) behind bars. Now these people say they will remove the ban on PFI".

 "Do you think PFI should be banned or not?" the home minister said.
 Urging people to vote for the BJP candidate, Shah said, "Press the button of the lotus symbol on the EVM so hard that electric shocks are felt in Italy." -- PTI
20:08   Kejriwal stopped taking insulin before his arrest: Tihar officials
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had stopped taking insulin months before his arrest and is on a basic anti-diabetes oral medicine, officials said on Saturday, citing a report by the Tihar jail administration to Lt Governor VK Saxena.

In response, AAP leader Atishi said the report has "exposed" the BJP's "conspiracy". 

"At the behest of the BJP, a conspiracy is underway to kill Kejriwal in jail. The chief minister has been taking insulin for 12 years, what is the problem for the Tihar administration to give insulin to him?," she asked.

The Delhi minister also claimed that Kejriwal used to take 50 units of insulin daily before he was sent to jail.

Kejriwal -- who is under the care of a Telangana-based private doctor for diabetes -- stopped taking insulin a few months ago and, at the time of his arrest, he was on a basic anti-diabetes oral tablet called Metformin, the officials said, citing the Tihar report.

During his medical check-ups in Tihar jail, Kejriwal told doctors that he was taking insulin "since the last few years and stopped taking it a few months back", the report said.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi government's now-scrapped excise policy. He has been lodged in Tihar jail since April 1.

According to the medical records from RML Hospital, Kejriwal was "neither advised any insulin nor any requirement of any insulin was indicated", the Tihar report said and added that the chief minister's health was reviewed by a medicine specialist on April 10 and April 15.

The  specialist advised oral anti-diabetic drugs and it is "incorrect to state that Kejriwal was denied insulin at any point of time" during his treatment, it said.

The medicine specialist, after examining Kejriwal, noted, "Considering all parameters and vitals of undertrial prisoner (Kejriwal) since his lodgment in judicial custody, his blood sugar levels are not alarming, and administration of insulin is not required as of now."

The Tihar administration, in a letter to AIIMS seeking a diet plan for the AAP chief, said Kejriwal had been consuming high-sugar food such as "sweets, laddoos, bananas, mangoes, fruit chaat, fried food, namkeen, bhujia, sweetened tea, poori-aloo, pickles and other high cholesterol food on a regular basis", the report said. -- PTI
19:31   He too...: Cong on Musk deferring India visit
The Congress on Saturday took a swipe at the Narendra Modi government over the postponement of Elon Musk's India visit, saying it was odd the Tesla CEO was coming to meet an outgoing prime minister and that he too has now read the "writing on the wall".
Musk on Saturday said his proposed visit to India has been postponed due to "very heavy Tesla obligations".

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X, "It was odd that @elonmusk was coming all the way to India to meet an outgoing prime minister. He too has now read the writing on the wall and decided to put off his visit."

Ramesh said an INDIA bloc prime minister will welcome Musk soon.

He added, "The INDIA government will promote electric vehicles even more aggressively -- I myself am a user of one!"

Musk -- the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla who was expected to be in India on April 21-22 and scheduled to meet Modi -- said in a post on X that he is looking forward to coming to India later this year.

"Unfortunately, very heavy Tesla obligations require that the visit to India be delayed but I do very much look forward to visiting later this year," Musk said in response to a post that stated that his proposed India visit on April 21-22 had been postponed as the reason could be that he needed to attend Tesla's earnings call on April 23.

Earlier this month, Musk had confirmed his visit to India with a post on X, saying, "Looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister @NarendraModi in India." -- PTI 
19:19   BJP's 'washing machine at full spin' in Karnataka: Cong
The Congress on Saturday said the BJP's "washing machine is at full spin" in Karnataka, alleging that its Bengaluru North candidate is currently under ED investigation for a money laundering case but the trial has made no "discernible progress".
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh attacked the BJP ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Bengaluru.

"Today's questions for the PM as he heads to Bengaluru: Where are the grants awarded to Bengaluru by the 15th Finance Commission? Why are BJP leaders misbehaving with financial fraud victims? Is the BJP Washing Machine hard at work for Shobha Karandlaje?" he said in a post on X.

Elaborating further on what he said were "jumla details", Ramesh claimed that   Bengaluru's Peripheral Ring Road project and lake improvement efforts have been seriously hampered by the Modi government's failure to release funds earmarked for these projects.

"The final report of the 15th Finance Commission had recommended state-specific grants worth 6,000 crores to Karnataka for 'holistic improvement of water bodies and for peripheral ring roads' in Bengaluru," he said.

While the Centre's explanatory memorandum stated that "consideration will be given to the recommendation on specific grants", no funds have been released so far, he alleged.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has even written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman regarding the issue but to no avail, he said.

"In his letter, the CM had highlighted that 'this has been a major setback to the state's fiscal position, which is already strained due to a severe cut in tax devolution'. Why is Bengaluru facing such deep neglect from PM Modi?" Ramesh said.

Why has the Modi government failed to release the grants despite the 15th Finance Commission's recommendation, he asked.

He further alleged that in 2020, a 2,500 crore scam was unearthed at the Shri Guru Raghavendra Cooperative Bank in Bengaluru.

"About 10,000 depositors are yet to receive their principal deposit, amounting to Rs. 1700 crores of the total Rs. 2500 crores," Ramesh said.

On April 17 2023, before the assembly elections in 2023, the Bangalore South MP and his uncle, the Basavanagudi MLA, had assured depositors that they would bring fresh investors to recover the remaining 1700 crores, he said, adding that after the elections, they disappeared.

"Those seeking help were not even allowed near BJP offices. Last week, on April 13, 2024, the victims attended a public meeting on cooperative banks to voice their grievances and were allegedly assaulted by aides of Surya and Subramanya," he alleged.

The BJP leaders were eventually driven out of the meeting by disgruntled depositors, who have once again been left in the dark, he said.

"In the aftermath, instead of apologising to depositors, the Bengaluru South MP has brazenly dismissed the investor's grievances. The BJP has shown once again that any dissent will be violently suppressed, and covered in a web of lies to avoid accountability," Ramesh alleged.

Is PM Modi's "silence" on this rowdy behaviour of his MP and MLA a tacit endorsement, he asked. -- PTI
19:05   South se saaf, north se...: Pilot's prediction for BJP
Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Saturday claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party will be wiped out in the south and reduced to the half of its current strength in north India in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. 
The saffron party had realised after the first phase of the elections that it was "on the backfoot," he said, talking to reporters at the Swami Vivekananda Airport here.

"Someone has said, 'south se saaf, north se half'. It means the BJP will get half of the seats it currently has in the north while it will fail to open its account in the south and east. It will shrink," the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister said.

Pilot, who is his party's in-charge for Chhattisgarh, also said he wanted to congratulate the people of Bastar Lok Sabha constituency in the state for exercising their franchise in large numbers in the first phase despite several challenges. "Reports coming from there are very positive, and I believe we will achieve success," he added.

Congress general secretary  Priyanka Gandhi will address rallies in Rajnandgaon and Kanker Lok Sabha constituencies in the state on Sunday, he informed. 

The two seats are among three parliamentary constituencies in the state which will go to polls in the second phase on April 26.

"Though the turnout in the first phase was low, the reports we have been receiving are that people are looking for a change. This election is for change," Pilot said.

After assessing the BJP's performance in the last ten years, people have realised that they need a better option, which is the Congress and opposition's INDIA bloc, he said. -- PTI
18:55   US sanctions 3 Chinese firms for providing ballistic missile components to Pak
The United States has slapped sanctions on three Chinese companies and one from Belarus for supplying missile-applicable items for Pakistan's ballistic missile programmes, including its long-range missile programme, the State Department has announced.
The names of the companies are Xi'an Longde Technology Development, Tianjin Creative Source International Trade and Granpect Co. Ltd from China and Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant from Belarus.
These entities "have engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a risk of materially contributing to, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery, including any efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use such items, by Pakistan," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Friday.
Miller said the US is committed to strengthening the global nonproliferation regime by taking action to disrupt procurement networks supporting proliferation activities of concern.
China, an all-weather ally of Pakistan, has been the main supplier of arms and defence equipment to Islamabad's ambitious military modernisation programme.
The Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant in Belarus supplied special vehicle chassis to Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile programme.
Such chassis are used as launch support equipment for ballistic missiles by Pakistan's National Development Complex (NDC), which is responsible for the development of Missile Technology Control Regime Category (MTCR) I ballistic missiles, according to a State Department Factsheet.
China's Xi'an Longde Technology Development Company Limited, supplied missile-related equipment, including a filament winding machine, to Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile programme that the US said was destined for Pakistan's NDC.
Filament winding machines can be used to produce rocket motor cases.
Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co Ltd supplied missile-related equipment to Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile programme, including stir welding equipment (which the United States assesses can be used to manufacture propellant tanks used in space launch vehicles), and a linear accelerator system (which the United States assesses can be used in the inspection of solid rocket motors).
Tianjin Creative's procurements were likely destined for Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), which develops and produces Pakistan's MTCR Category I ballistic missiles, the US state department said.
Granpect Company worked with Pakistan's SUPARCO to supply equipment for testing large-diameter rocket motors.
In addition, Granpect Co. Ltd. also worked to supply equipment for testing large-diameter rocket motors to Pakistan's NDC. -- PTI 
18:38   Big people in India, abroad want to remove me: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said big and powerful people in India and abroad have joined hands to remove him from power.

Addressing a mega public meeting in Karnataka's Chikkaballapura, he said, "Mothers and sisters have come in a large number here. Your struggle and the challenges you face to nurture your family, Modi has seen this in his house. These days big and powerful people in the country and abroad have united to remove Modi."

"But, because of Nari Shakti and Maatru Shakti's blessings and Suraksha kavach (safety armour), Modi is able to move on fighting challenges."

"Serving mothers, sisters and daughters and protecting them is Modi's priority," he said, listing out measures taken by his government for women's welfare in ten years, like supporting their self help groups and creating 'Lakhpati Didis'.

Former Minister K Sudhakar is the BJP candidate from Chikkaballapur, while its alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular has fielded M Mallesh Babu from the neighbouring Kolar.

The prime minister said the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha on Friday has gone in favour of NDA and 'Viksit Bharat'.

Targeting the INDIA bloc, he said the opposition alliance doesn't have a leader at present, and has no vision for future, and "their history was of scams."

Praising JD-S patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda who shared the stage with him, for his energy and commitment at the age of 90, Modi said he too draws inspiration from him.

"His (Gowda) commitment towards Karnataka, the pain in his heart for the plight of Karnataka today and the 'josh' in his voice, is the testimony for Karnataka's bright future," he said, as he thanked Gowda for his "blessings". -- PTI
Representative image
Representative image
17:45   About 180 prisoners in UP jails pass Class 10, 12 board exam
About 180 prisoners lodged in various jails in 30 districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad, Agra and Lucknow, passed the Class 10 and Class 12 board exams, results of which were announced on Saturday.
The Uttar Pradesh State Board of High School and Intermediate Education today announced the board exam results, with the pass percentage for Class 10 at 89.55 and that for Class 12 at 82.60.
According to the results, 89 of the 91 prisoners, who appeared for the Class 10 board exams, passed while 87 of the 105 inmates, who gave the Class 12 papers, cleared the exams.
Twenty-one prisoners from Ghaziabad appeared in the Class 12 board exams, out of which 17 passed, according to an official release.
Similarly, 11 inmates from Bulandshahr jail appeared for the examination and 10 passed. All four prisoners who appeared from Hardoi jail cleared the board exams, it said. -- PTI 
17:43   Modi's speeches project him as 'BJP's PM': Pawar
The prime minister belongs to the country and has the responsibility to lead the nation but Narendra Modi's speeches suggest he is "BJP's PM" and not India, claimed NCP-SP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday.

PM Modi should tell the people what he and his party will do for the country instead of attacking the opposition, said the 83-year-old NCP founder at a campaign rally in Maharashtra's Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar.

Pawar was in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar to canvass for opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidates Chandrakant Khaire, who is contesting from the Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency on a Sena-UBT ticket, and Congress' Kalyan Kale from Jalna. 

The central Maharashtra constituencies, located in the state's Marathwada region, will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13.

Pawar said, "I was listening to Narendra Modi's speech before I came here (Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar). The prime minister belongs to the entire country. If we listen to Modi's speeches, it seems he is the prime minister of BJP and not the country."

The NCP (SP) chief said PM Modi and BJP should tell the people what they will do for the country. "But sometimes they criticise Nehru (country's first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru), sometimes Rahul Gandhi and also me at times," he said. 

Nehru spent over ten years of his life in jail fighting against the British. He encouraged science, said Pawar. 

Incidentally, Modi on Saturday held rallies in Nanded and Parbhani constituencies in the state and attacked the opposition, particularly the Congress.

According to a recent report by the International Labour Organisation, 87 of 100 students coming out of college are unemployed in India, claimed Pawar. -- PTI
17:11   Kerala CM compromised, attacks only Rahul: Priyanka
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday said that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is  "compromised" as he "attacks" only the grand old party and Rahul Gandhi but not the BJP.
The Congress leader said that Vijayan's name has come up in many scams, including 'Life Mission' and gold smuggling through diplomatic bags, but the BJP-led Central government has neither taken up any case against him nor carried out raids or any kind of action against him.

"Like in a football match, you cannot win with a compromised player, the same way you have a compromised CM. He only attacks my brother (Rahul Gandhi) and the Congress party. He does not attack the BJP.

"Have you thought about it? His name came up in so many scams -- Life Mission, gold smuggling, many other scams -- but how come the BJP government never put cases on him, never carried out raids on him and no action was taken against him?" Gandhi said.

She was speaking at a poll rally in the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency seeking votes for Congress candidate Anto Antony. The statement came hours after Vijayan raked up the DLF-Robert Vadra connection and targeted Priyanka Gandhi, who is Vadra's wife. Targeting her, the Kerala CM referred to the CBI raids at a private company DLF.

He said there were allegations of land dealings between the company and Vadra. Vijayan claimed the company purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 170 crore after the raids.

"The same BJP government later told the court that there was nothing illegal with the transactions of the company. The raid and the case ended soon after they paid the BJP through electoral bonds," Vijayan said. -- PTI
16:20   LS poll is a Modi vs Rahul battle: Ajit Pawar
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said this Lok Sabha election is not about family relations but a battle between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra, the NCP's candidate from the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency in Pune district, officially launched her campaign by offering prayers at the Hanuman temple at Kanheri on Saturday.

Ajit Pawar, his sons Parth and Jay, and several local party leaders were present for the campaign launch.

On Thursday, Sunetra and her sister-in-law three-term Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule filed their nomination papers for the NCP and NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar respectively.

Ajit Pawar has also filed nomination papers for the seat, which an NCP functionary described as a backup plan in case his wife's nomination does not stand scrutiny or if any discrepancy is found.

Addressing the gathering, Ajit Pawar said, "We are launching the official campaign after praying to Lord Hanuman. The election is not about family relations. The election is all about Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi."

Incidentally, Sule launched her poll campaign on Friday by offering prayers at the Hanuman temple in the presence of her father, NCP-SP supremo Sharad Pawar, and other members of the Pawar family.

"Yesterday, everyone (members of the Pawar family) was sitting next to Pawar saheb. They attempted to show that the family was united. One of them claimed that Sharad Pawar established all institutions in Baramati. In that case, what have I done in the last 30 years?" Ajit Pawar said. -- PTI
16:08   Unseasonal rains cause waterlogging in Goa
Goa witnessed unseasonal rains on Saturday, leading to traffic disruptions due to waterlogged roads, officials said.
The rain, however, brought respite from the searing summer heat, they added.

In its forecast, the India Meteorological Department said thunderstorms, lightning and winds gusting at 40-50 kilometres per hour are very likely in many places in Goa on Saturday,  Sunday and Monday.

The IMD has also predicted "heavy to very heavy rainfall" at isolated places on these three days.

As per its website, there will be light rains at isolated places till April 22, after which weather is likely to be dry till April 26.

"Rains caused waterlogging on several streets on Saturday morning. Among the worst affected was the main market area in capital Panaji," an official said.

Corporation of City of Panaji Mayor Rohit Monserratte claimed the waterlogging was due to Smart City works underway in several areas.

Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Corporation Limited, a special purpose vehicle wholly owned by the Goa government, is the nodal agency in the state for the Centre's Smart City Mission. which aims to equip urban areas nationwide with future-ready infrastructure.

"We had cleaned the drains but mud from Smart City works went back into them. Smart City must clear the flood points. We had a meeting with the Smart City MD. They have used hot mix on the roads but the main gutters have not been cleaned," he said. -- PTI 
15:27   Navneet Rana hits back at Raut for 'dancer' jibe
The Bharatiya Janata Party's Amravati Lok Sabha candidate Navneet Rana slammed Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut for referring to her as a "dancer" and "babli" (a film character who cons people) and said people of her constituency will not tolerate such insults.
 The actor-turned-politician said Raut was "tin tappad" (scrap and useless household items/also used as slang to refer to riffraff) from Mumbai who goes to various places and speaks derogatorily about others.

"If he speaks in this way about the daughter of Amravati, the people here will not tolerate such insults," she said in a public gathering on Friday.

Some days ago, Raut had said, "The Lok Sabha election is a contest not against a dancer or 'babli' (a con character in a Hindi film) but a fight between Maharashtra and Modi. She is a dancer, an actor on the screen who will mark some affectionate gestures, but do not fall for that trap," Raut said.

Rana had won the seat in 2019 as an opposition-backed Independent candidate but is fighting on a BJP ticket this time. -- PTI 
15:23   Kerala police book online channel for fake news against voting machines
The Kerala police on Saturday registerd a case against an online channel for propagating fake news against electronic voting machines and poll officials.

As per the case registered at the City Cyber crime station in Thiruvananthapuram, the online channel had published a news stating that electronic voting machines kept in the capital district have glitches and there was a dispute between election officials and politicians in this regard.

The case was registered based on a complaint lodged by the district collector, police said.

The online channel withdrew the news after the legal action, police said in a Facebook statement.

Police also warned of stringent action against those who spread misleading and hate-mongering news among the public in connection with the Lok Sabha polls.

A 24x7 cyber patroling has been launched in the state to detect all kinds of such cyber crimes, they added. -- PTI  
15:21   CJI urges voters not to miss voting in 2024 LS polls
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has urged citizens not to miss the opportunity to vote in the general elections, saying that it is one of the "foremost duties" in a constitutional democracy.
In a video message for the Election Commission's 'My Vote My Voice' mission for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Justice Chandrachud said, "We are citizens of the world's largest democracy, which is our country.
"The Constitution gives us a multitude of rights as citizens but it also expects that each of us performs the duty, which is cast upon us. And one of the foremost duties of citizenship is to cast a vote in a constitutional democracy," he said.
"I will request every one of you please do not miss this opportunity to vote responsibly as citizens of our great motherland. Five minutes, every five years for our nation. It's doable, isn't it? Let's vote with pride. My vote, my voice," the CJI said.
Justice Chandrachud said the citizens have a participatory role in electing the government and that is why it is said that "this government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people".
He recalled his excitement as the first time voter and queuing up at the polling booth to exercise the franchise.
"The ink on the finger when I vote allows tremendous feelings of patriotism and association with the nation...," he said.
"So our Constitution and our law provides for one citizen, one vote and one value. I think that's the great tenacity and the power of our nation as a constitutional democracy," he said.
The CJI said he never missed that duty to cast his vote when he was a lawyer and had to run around for work.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held from April 19 to June 1, 2024 to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha.
The elections will be held in seven phases and the results will be announced on June 4. 2024. -- PTI 
14:39   BJP's '400 paar' film flopped on 1st day: Tejashwi
Asserting that the Mahagathbandhan will win all the four Lok Sabha seats in Bihar that went to polls in the first phase on Friday, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav mocked the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying the saffron party's "400-plus movie turned out to be a flop on the first day of voting".

"Their (BJP's) '400-plus film' has turned out to be a super flop on the first day (phase) of polling. We (Mahagathbandhan) will win all the four seats in Bihar that went to polls on April 19. We will also perform well in the coming phases," he told reporters in Patna.

"The turnout in the four Lok Sabha seats was low as compared to the 2019 polls but on the basis of feedback received from these constituencies, we are confident of winning these. People are fed up with false promises made by BJP leaders," he said.

Mukesh Sahani, chief of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), a part of the Grand Alliance in Bihar, echoed a similar view.

"We will win not only the four Lok Sabha seats that went to polls yesterday but also all the remaining 36 constituencies where voting will be held in the coming phases," he said.

Bihar recorded a 48.23 per cent turnout in the four seats -- Jamui, Nawada, Gaya, and Aurangabad -- that went to polls in the first phase on Friday. -- PTI 
14:09   CBI team visits Sandeshkhali to probe alleged crimes against women, land-grabbing
A 10-member team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday visited Sandeshkhali in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district to probe alleged crimes against women and land-grabbing, an official said.

One part of the team of the CBI visited houses of the victims in Sundarikhali area of Sandeshkhali and spoke to them individually, documenting their allegations, he said.

Another part of the team visited Sandeshkhali Police Station and spoke with local policemen regarding the investigation.

"We are in Sandeshkhali to speak to villagers in connection with crimes against women and land-grabbing. We are noting down their allegations," the official told PTI.

The Calcutta High Court last week ordered a CBI investigation into allegations of crimes against women and land-grabbing in Sandeshkhali, which had witnessed protests over the issues.

The court directed the CBI to investigate the allegations and submit a comprehensive report to it.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials were attacked on January 5 by a mob when they went to Sandeshkhali to search the premises of now-suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh in connection with alleged ration distribution scam case. 
14:04   INDIA to foil BJP's attempt to scrap Constitution: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the ruling BJP at the Centre of trying to "scrap" the Constitution, but vowed that the opposition bloc INDIA would foil its attempt.

Addressing an election rally at Bhagalpur, his first in Bihar, Gandhi also scoffed at claims of the BJP that it will win more than 370 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, asserting that "their tally will not go past 150".

"The INDIA bloc is fighting to save democracy and the Constitution which the BJP-RSS combine is trying to scrap," Gandhi said.

The former Congress president also alleged, "Whatever the country's poor, Dalits and tribals have got, it is because of the Constitution. If the Constitution is scrapped, all things will come to an end."

Gandhi charged the Narendra Modi government with being pro-super rich, claiming that "under its rule, merely 22 people hold wealth that is equivalent to what 70 per cent of the population has. We want to change that".

He also spoke about promises made by the Congress in its manifesto, like scrapping the 'Agniveer' scheme and right to apprenticeship. -- PTI
13:26   Cong demands repoll in 47 polling stations in Manipur
The Congress has demanded repoll in 47 polling stations in Manipur alleging that booths were captured and elections to two Lok Sabha constituencies in the northeastern state were rigged.

Incidents of firing, intimidation, destruction of EVMs at some polling booths and allegations of booth capturing were reported from conflict-hit Manipur that recorded a turnout of over 68 per cent in the two Lok Sabha constituencies - Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur - on Friday.

Manipur Congress president K Meghachandra said the party has lodged a complaint with Manipur Chief Electoral Officer demanding repoll in 36 polling stations in Inner Manipur constituency and 11 in Outer Manipur constituency.

Speaking to reporters on Friday night, K Meghachandra said "Unidentified armed miscreants have been threatening Congress candidate Angomcha Bimol Akoijam and party election agents for some days."

"We have lodged a complaint with the CEO Manipur for repoll in 36 polling stations in Inner Manipur and 11 polling stations in Outer Manipur," he said.
The demand for repoll included three polling stations under Chief Minister N Biren Singh's Assembly constituency of Heingang. -- PTI 
12:57   Cong's 'sahabzade' will lose Wayanad too: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, saying that in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, "Congress' sahabzade" will lose from Wayanad constituency in Kerala and he will have to look for a safer seat after that. 
Addressing a rally at Nanded in Maharashtra to campaign for BJP candidates from Nanded and Hingoli seats, Modi said the information available for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls indicates that there has been a one-sided voting in favour of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). 

Referring to Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, "After losing Amethi, the Congress' sahabzade will lose Wayanad as well. So he will have to look for a safe seat after April 26." 

In an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi, he said some INDIA bloc leaders left the Lok Sabha and moved to the Rajya Sabha as they have no courage to contest elections.

"For the first time, the family will not vote for a Congress candidate in the constituency where they live as there is no party candidate there," he said.

Modi said he has spent 10 years fixing the bad governance of the Congress regimes.

"A lot of work needs to be done," he added. 

The Congress has been a barrier in the development of farmers and poor people, he alleged. 

"The agriculture crisis did not happen now. It happened because of the flawed policies of Congress," Modi said. 

Targeting the INDIA bloc, he said it has no face to project and people do not know whom to entrust the country's future.

"They may claim anything, but the reality is that Congress leaders have accepted defeat even before the announcement of polls," he said. -- PTI
11:59   Even Pak politicians say they wish Modi was...: MP CM
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that even politicians in Pakistan say they wish their country had a leader like him. 

He also alleged that India got divided due to the seeds sown by the Congress.

Yadav was addressing gatherings on Friday evening during the campaigning in Hoshangabad Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh. 

He claimed that the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) also want to become part of India as there is a crisis of survival in the neighbouring country.

"Pakistan's leaders, including (former PM) Nawaz Sharif, are continuously saying that they wish Narendra Modi was there (in Pakistan). If you are a leader, then you should be such that even your enemy praises you. This leader (Modi) is making us proud," Yadav said in one of his addresses.

He slammed the Congress, saying that there was a "stigma on the forehead" of the party of dividing the country into Bharat and Pakistan.

"There was no BJP or Jan Sangh at the time of the country's partition. The country got divided due to the seeds sown by Congress. Half of Punjab went there (in Pakistan)," Yadav said.

The chief minister said the Congress created fear among the people at the time of the abrogation of Article 370.

"When Article 370 was being scrapped, Congress said that if this happens then rivers of blood will flow in the country. Rivers of blood will flow only when there is blood in the veins. There is water in your (Congress) veins. 

The entire country is celebrating as the stigma of Article 370 was wiped off," Yadav said.

The people of Kashmir are so happy that even those in PoK are seeking to include them in India as it is hard to make ends meet in Pakistan, he added. 

Polling in Hoshangabad LS seat is scheduled in the second phase on April 26. -- PTI 
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat after casting his vote at a polling station, in Nagpur/ANI Photo
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat after casting his vote at a polling station, in Nagpur/ANI Photo
11:11   Lok Sabha polls: Approximate 61.06% voting in 5 Maharashtra seats
An approximate voter turnout of 61.06 percent was recorded in Lok Sabha polls held on Friday in Nagpur, Ramtek, Bhandara-Gondiya, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli-Chimur in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region, though final figures will be updated by Saturday, an official said. 

The lowest voting was recorded in Nagpur at 54.46 percent, while it was 69.43 percent in Gadchiroli-Chimur, 64.08 in Bhandara-Gondiya, 60.35 percent in Chandrapur and 59.58 percent in Ramtek, he said. 

"This is an approximate trend as data from some polling stations is yet to arrive. It also does not include data of postal voting," the official said. 

Nagpur, where Union minister and BJP heavyweight Nitin Gadkari is pitted against Congress' Vikas Thakre, had recorded 54.74 percent voting in 2019. 

Among those who voted during the day were Gadkari, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit as well as Congress leaders Mukul Wasnik and Avinash Pande. -- PTI
Elon Musk/Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Elon Musk/Kyle Grillot/Reuters
10:57   Musk delays India visit due to 'Tesla obligations'
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Saturday said his visit to India has been delayed due to the company's heavy obligations. 

Musk, who was supposed to be visiting India in the fourth week of April, in a post on X, said, "Unfortunately, very heavy Tesla obligations require that the visit to India be delayed, but I do very much look forward to visiting this year". 

Earlier this month, Musk had confirmed his proposed visit to India, saying he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. -- PTI
File image/Pawan Kumar/Reuters
File image/Pawan Kumar/Reuters
10:49   LS polls: BSP releases sixth list of candidates, fields Syed Neyaj Ali from Varanasi
The Bahujan Samaj Party on Friday released its sixth list of candidates for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and fielded its MLC Bhimrao Ambedkar from Hardoi (SC) seat.

In all, the Bahujan Samaj Party named 11 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

The party changed its earlier candidate fielded from the high-profile Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting, and has made Syed Neyaj Ali as its candidate. 

Earlier, the party had named Athar Jamal Lari as its candidate from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

The party in a statement said that Mohammad Alam has been fielded from Sant Kabir Nagar Lok Sabha seat, while Manish Singh Sachan has been fielded from Fatehpur.

Chaudhary Basheer is the BSP candidate from Firozabad, Mahendra Singh Yadav from Sitapur and Mohammad Mausame Alam from Maharajganj. -- PTI
10:28   Man held for booking cab in Bishnoi's name, sending it to Salman's home
A Gaziabad resident has been arrested for allegedly booking a cab in the name of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi and sending it to Bollywood actor Salman Khan's residence in Bandra area here, police said on Friday.   

Accused Rohit Tyagi, who was picked up from his hometown, intended it to be a prank, an official said. 

On Wednesday, Tyagi allegedly booked a cab online for a journey from Galaxy Apartments, Khan's residence, to the Bandra police station. 

When the cab driver reached the address, he realised that it was a prank, and lodged a complaint. 

Taking serious note of the incident, Bandra police registered a case and traced Tyagi. 

Bishnoi was in news earlier this week after a motorbike-borne man fired at Khan's residence last Sunday. 

While the alleged shooter and his accomplice were arrested, police had said they were probing Bishnoi gang's role as a Facebook post taking  responsibility for the attack, created in the name of Anmol Bishnoi, younger brother of the jailed gangster, surfaced after the incident. -- PTI
10:15   Explosions rock pro-Iran military base in Iraq
At least three people were injured following five explosions at a pro-Iran military base in Iraq on Saturday, CNN reported, citing a security official. 

However, the reason behind the explosions is not known as yet. 

The blaasts, notably, took place at a site belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Units, as per Muhannad al-Anazi, a member of the security committee in Babylon Governorate, south of Baghdad. 

The investigation into the blasts that occurred "at the Kalsu military base in the Al-Mashrou district on the highway, north of the Babylon Governorate," is underway. 

Israeli and US officials said neither was involved in the blast, a day after a military strike on Iran which has been attributed to Israel. 

Known alternatively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, the PMU is an Iraqi paramilitary group that is mostly supported by Shiite Iran. 

The PMU, in contrast to other Iran-backed organizations in the area, is affiliated with the local administration and has strong ties to Shiite blocs in Iran that have dominated Iraqi politics for a long time, according to CNN. 

The explosion occurred during a period of intense tension in the Middle East as Israel fights Hamas in Gaza following the terrorist organisation's deadly assault into southern Israel on October 7, which was sponsored by Iran. -- ANI
File image
File image
09:51   9.4 kg gold worth Rs 5.71 cr seized, 8 held in 14 cases at Mumbai airport
The Customs department has seized 9.482 kilograms of gold valued at Rs 5.71 crore in 14 separate cases at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, an official said on Friday. 

Eight passengers were arrested for their alleged in the cases that took place between Monday and Thursday, he added. 

"The accused had concealed gold in the rectum, hang bags, undergarments etc. The action was taken by the Airport Commissionerate of the Mumbai Customs -III," he said. -- PTI
09:30   Earthquake of magnitude 4.3 jolts Tibet's Xizang
An earthquake of magnitude 4.3 on the Richter Scale struck Tibet's Xizang on Saturday, the National Centre for Seismology reported.  

The quake occurred on Saturday at 07:14:09 IST at a depth of 160 km.  

"Earthquake of Magnitude:4.3, Occurred on 20-04-2024, 07:14:09 IST, Lat: 33.66 & Long: 81.79, Depth: 160 Km ,Location: Xizang," read a post on the official NCS handle on X.  

No reports of material damage have surfaced yet.  Further details are awaited. -- ANI                        
09:19   21 cops hurt as bus carrying them after poll duty overturns in MP
Twenty-one police and Home Guard personnel were injured when the bus carrying them overturned in Madhya Pradesh's Betul district in the wee hours of Saturday, an official said. 

These jawans were returning to their home district Rajgarh in the state after performing their election duty when the accident occurred near Baretha Ghat on the Bhopal-Betul highway, the official said. 

The incident took place around 4 am, sub divisional officer of police Shalini Paraste said. 

"It happened when the bus carrying a total of 40 jawans, including five policemen and remaining home guard, was on its way to Rajgarh after their election duty in Chhindwara," she said. 

Eight of the personnel who received serious injuries are being treated in the district hospital at Betul, while those with minor injuries are being treated in Shahpur hospital, the police official said. 

The incident took place when the bus swerved to avoid a truck that crossed its path, she said. -- PTI
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/
09:09   IRDAI removes age limits on health cover purchase
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has removed the age cap on buying health insurance policies, effective from April 1, 2024.  

Earlier, individuals were restricted to purchasing new insurance policies only until the age of 65. 

However, after the recent changes that have come into effect from April 01, 2024, anyone, regardless of age, is eligible to purchase a new health insurance.  

"Insurers shall ensure that they offer health insurance products to cater to all age groups. Insurers may design products specifically for senior citizens, students, children, maternity, and any other group as specified by the Competent Authority" said a notification issued by the IRDAI.  

The move by the insurance regulatory body aims to create a more inclusive healthcare ecosystem in India and to encourage insurance provider companies to diversify their product offerings.  

IRDAI has also instructed health insurance providers to introduce tailored policies for specific demographics, such as senior citizens, and establish dedicated channels for handling their claims and grievances.  

"It's a welcome change since it now opens Avenue for people above  65 to seek health cover. Insurers based on their Board approved Underwriting guidelines can cover people above 65. The coverage is subject to offer and acceptance between the Insured and Insurer based on affordability for the senior citizens and viability for Insurers." said an industry expert.  

After the recent notification, the insurers are now also prohibited from refusing to issue policies to individuals with severe medical conditions like cancer, heart or renal failure, and AIDS. -- ANI 
File image/Courtesy @ceonagaland/Twitter
File image/Courtesy @ceonagaland/Twitter
08:50   Polling for Nagaland's lone LS seat peaceful, voter turnout at 56%
Polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland was peaceful on Friday with a low voter turnout recorded at over 56 percent, Chief Electoral Officer Vyasan R said. 

With over 4 lakh electors from eastern Nagaland abstaining from casting their votes, the "turnout this time is the lowest in the state" as compared to previous elections, he said. 

Nagaland had the highest voter turnout in the country at 87.82 percent in 2014, and 83 percent in 2019. 

The voting began at 7 am, and the turnout was "uniform" throughout the day, the CEO told reporters. 

The voter turnout figure is an approximate one as the collection of data from polling stations in remote areas takes time and the final poll percentage will be announced only after the scrutiny of all the documents on Saturday, he said. 

Of the 13.25 lakh voters in Nagaland, 56 percent of electors exercised their franchise, he said. 

The polling was held, amid a call given by the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation to abstain from voting in six districts of the region over its demand for a separate state. 

People in the six districts, which have over four lakh votes spread over 738 polling stations, remained indoors in solidarity with the ENPO. -- PTI
08:31   Indian American businessman sentenced for bribery and tax evasion
An Indian American businessman has been 'sentenced to 18 months' probation and 200 hours of community service for bribery and tax evasion, the department of justice said. 

Arman Amirshahi, 46, was part of one of the several sophisticated and long-term bribery schemes helmed by co-conspirators Anthony Merritt, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, and Vincent Slater, former manager in the DC office of tax and revenue. 

In furtherance of the schemes, four business ownersincluding Amirshahi, Charles Zhou, Andre De Moya, and Davoud Jafari paid cash bribes, through Merritt as a middleman, to Slater, to evade their business taxes. 

A former employee of the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Merritt held himself out as a permit and licensing expediter and introduced the business owners to the scheme, an official release said on Friday. 

For a cut of the bribe payments, Merritt handled communications with the business owners. 

Merritt ferried their cash bribe payments to Slater and allowed Slater to maintain apparent distance from them as he fraudulently reduced their liabilities or intervened on their behalf within OTR. -- PTI
File image
File image
08:13   EC suspends 2 cops in Bengal over violence on Ram Navami
The Election Commission of India on Friday suspended two police stations in West Bengal's Murshidabad district for their alleged failure to stop violence during Ram Navami celebrations. 

According to the poll body, the officers in-charge of Shaktipur and Beldanga police stations failed to stop "religious violence" despite instructions. 

"The two officers will be at the district police headquarters and will not be able to carry out any election-related work. The authorities concerned should file a charge sheet against the two officers," an official said. 

The ECI asked the chief electoral officer to send names for their replacement, he added. -- PTI
08:05   Three held for firing at school in Manipur's Imphal
Three persons were arrested in connection with a firing incident at a primary school in Manipur's Imphal, the police said on Friday.  

They said that one person was injured in the alleged firing incident.  

The arrested accused have been identified as Leichombam Jemson Singh (34), Nongthombam Ratan (47) and Khumukcham Angamba (32).  

The police further said that they recovered live ammunition and three mobile phones from the possession of the accused.  

In a post on X, the Manipur police said, "On 19.04.2024 Manipur police arrested 3 (three) persons identified as i. Leichombam Jemson Singh (34 yrs), ii. Nongthombam Ratan (47 yrs) and iii. Khumukcham Angamba (32 yrs) in connection with a firing incident at Moirangkampu primary school in which one person was injured".  

"Further, from their possession the following items were recovered: i.1 (one) .32 pistol with 8 (eight) live ammunitions. ii.3 (three) mobile phones iii.1 (one) car iv.Rs. 1.5 Lakhs in cash" the police said. --ANI                       
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File image
01:04   16 year-old stabbed after spat on social media in Delhi
A 16 year-old boy was critically injured after being stabbed by three people over an issue triggered on social media in northwest Delhi's Mahendra Park area, police said on Friday. 

The incident took place on Wednesday night when the victim was standing outside his house. 

The three people came and attacked him with sharp edged weapon, they said. 

He was admitted to hospital where his condition is stated to be critical, police said. 

The accused were having a verbal spat with the victim on social media platform after which they attacked him with sharp edged weapon, they said. 

"The initial cause of fight is suspected due to social media spat but exact reason of attack is being investigated and teams were formed to nab the accused," a police officer said.  -- PTI
Vir Hirani(middle) with parents Rajkumar Hirani (right) and Manjeet/File image
Vir Hirani(middle) with parents Rajkumar Hirani (right) and Manjeet/File image
00:42   Rajkumar Hirani's son Vir to make his acting debut
Ace director Rajkumar Hirani's son, Vir Hirani is all set to make his acting debut with play Letters from Suresh

Directed by theatre veteran Feroze Abbas Khan, the play narrates a hauntingly beautiful story of human relationships through letters. 

Presented for the very first time in India, Rajiv Joseph's Letters from Suresh is a rare dramatic gem that tells the story of four unique characters, tethered by love, loss, tenderness -- and a yearning for human connection. 

Vir Hirani is a recent graduate of the prestigious RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). 

Vir has been making short films since his teenage years. 

He made his directorial debut with Return Gift, which premiered at the 18th edition of the International Children's Film Festival of India in Hyderabad. -- ANI
File image/PTI Photo
File image/PTI Photo
00:26   2 killed, 7 missing as boat capsizes in Odisha's river
At least two persons were killed and seven others, including four women and three children, were missing as the boat they were travelling in capsized in Mahanadi River in Odisha's Jharsuguda district on Friday, police said. 

The incident took place when around 50 passengers hailing from Kharsia area in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh were returning in the boat after visiting a temple in Patharseni Kuda in Odisha's Bargarh district. 

The boat capsized as it was about to reach Sarada Ghat in Rengali police station in Jharsuguda district, a police officer said. 

Local fishermen rescued 35 passengers and brought them to the bank, he said, adding that police and fire services personnel rescued seven more passengers. 

Seven other passengers are still missing and a search operation has been launched, the police officer said. 

"The missing persons comprised four women and three children. The search and rescue operation will continue till the last person is located," Northen Range IG Himansu Lal told PTI over phone. -- PTI