Mon, 12 February 2024
International drugs cartel busted in Punjab

Timeline  Refresh

23:59   Have not resigned from Congress, says MLA Vishwajeet Kadam
Congress MLA and former Maharashtra minister Vishwajeet Kadam on Monday junked speculation that he too had resigned from the party like senior leader Ashok Chavan. 

Earlier in the day, Chavan, a former chief minister of the state, announced he was quitting the Congress. 

Kadam represents Palus-Kadegaon constituency in Sangli district and had served as minister during the MVA government. 

"As a Congress party worker, I am pained to hear the news of Ashokrao Chavan's resignation from the party. Along with this news, misleading information is being spread that I too have resigned. I want to clarify I have not resigned from the party and I am still working as a Congress party worker," Kadam said. 

The people of his constituency have sent him to the state Assembly and he will not take any decision without taking them into confidence, the MLA added. -- PTI
23:43   International drugs cartel busted in Punjab
Nine people, including three Mexicans, have been arrested and a "drugs lab" busted in Punjab's Ludhiana as part of a Narcotics Control Bureau  operation that began last month to crackdown on an international cartel, according to a statement. 

More than 15 kg of methamphetamine, nine kg of pseudoephedrine and other chemicals have been seized by the central anti-narcotics agency's Delhi Zonal Unit since the operation began, the statement issued by the NCB on Monday said. 

It said an advocate from Mohali in Punjab is the "prime suspect" in the case and the NCB was trying to apprehend him. 

The cartel, the agency said, operated across Delhi-NCR, Punjab and Rajasthan, apart from Dubai, and its operatives included Indians, Mexicans, Canadians and British citizens. 

The narcotics were prepared at a laboratory-like facility in Ludhiana from where the three Mexicans, who worked as chemists, were held, the statement said. -- PTI
23:24   Body of Chennai ex-mayor's son recovered in Himachal 8 days after accident
The body of a former Chennai mayor's son, who went missing after the vehicle he was travelling in plunged 200 metres down into the Satluj in Himachal's Kinnaur district, was recovered on Monday after eight days, the police said. 

The accident took place on February 4 near Kashang Nallah, they said. 

The body of Vetri Duraisamy (45), son of former mayor of Chennai Saidai Duraisamy, was recovered from the Satluj river, around 3 km from the accident spot. 

Divers of Mahun Nag Association, Sundernagar (Mandi) recovered the body around 2 pm on Monday, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar Sharma said. 

The body would be handed over to the family members after conducting a post mortem at Indira Gandhi medical College Hospital, Shimla, the police said in a statement issued in Shimla. 

Two days after the accident, Vetri's father Saidai Duraisamy had announced a reward of Rs 1 crore to anyone who finds his son. He had also also made an appeal to the local people to help in finding his son. The vehicle was on its way to Shimla from Kaza when the accident took place. -- PTI
PM Narendra Modi meets UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan/File image
PM Narendra Modi meets UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan/File image
23:13   Modi's 2015 visit was 'turning point' for ties, says UAE envoy to India
UAE ambassador to India, Abdulnasser Jamal Alshaali praised the role of diaspora in UAE's journey in terms of economic growth and said that it has developed at a faster pace due to the special bond between PM Modi and UAE President Al Nahyan.  

He also called PM Modi's visit to UAE in 2015 -- which was the first by Indian PM in 34 years -- as the "turning point" in the relationship.  

Speaking to ANI, the UAE envoy said, "The first visit was the turning point in the relationship. 

"The relationship has been there for quite some time, the diaspora has been here for quite some time and things were happening, but they were not happening at the pace that you see today. Thanks to the special bond and the special friendship between the two leaders. I was there in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and they were discussing all kinds of things."  

He further said that the diaspora coming to UAE is also changing and now, people from more Indian states and different backgrounds are coming to UAE to support its vision.  

"The diaspora has always been important in the UAE's journey in terms of economic growth, in terms of every single stage of development that UAE has gone through and will continue to go through in the future. Perhaps the diaspora is changing in terms of where are they coming from," the ambassador said.   -- ANI
22:36   Rs 2.44-cr recovery notice to Haldwani accused for property damage
The Municipal Corporation in Haldwani on Monday issued a recovery notice of Rs 2.44 crore against Abdul Malik, a key accused in the Banbhoolpura violence, for allegedly causing damage to government properties. 

In the notice, Malik's supporters attacked the team that had gone to carry out the demolition drive in 'Malik Ka Bagicha' and damaged the properties of the municipal corporation. 

The notice also mentions the FIR lodged on the day of the incident on February 8 in which Malik has been named. 

The initial assessment of loss allegedly caused by Malik is Rs 2.44 crore, the civic body said, asking him to deposit this amount in Municipal Corporation, Haldwani by February 15. 

If this is not done then the recovery will be done from him through legal means, the notice said. 

Malik had allegedly built the "illegal structure' whose demolition triggered the violence in the town leaving six people dead and more than a 100 injured, including police and media personnel. -- PTI
22:18   SC extends stay on bail to activist Navlakha in Elgar case
The Supreme Court on Monday extended the stay imposed by the Bombay high court on the operation of its order granting bail to activist Gautam Navlakha in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. 

A bench of Justices M M Sundresh and S V N Bhatti adjourned the matter till the first week of March. 

"Taking into consideration the fact that the high court has already granted stay, the same stands extended till the next date of hearing," the bench said. 

This is the second time when the apex court has extended the stay imposed by the high court. Earlier, it was extended on January 5. 

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the bail granted to Navlakha. 

The Bombay high court had on December 19 last year granted bail to Navlakha but kept its order in abeyance for three weeks after the NIA, the federal anti-terror probe agency, sought time to appeal the order in the top court. 

On November 10, 2022, the top court had allowed Navlakha, who was then lodged in Navi Mumbai's Taloja prison, to be placed under house arrest owing to his deteriorating health. 

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the NIA, had opposed the order of house arrest. He is currently under house arrest in Navi Mumbai. 

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 which police claim triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. As

many as 16 activists, accused of being associated with the proscribed CPI-Maoist, have been arrested in the case and five of them are currently out on bail.
22:02   ED issues fresh summons to Farooq Abdullah in JKCA money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate has issued a fresh summons to National Conference president Farooq Abdullah for questioning in a money laundering case pertaining to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, official sources said Monday.

He has been asked to depose at the ED office in Srinagar Tuesday. 

The 86-year-old politician was last called by the central agency in this case on January 11 but he did not appear before it.

He is not expected to appear at the Srinagar office of the central agency this time too, sources close to him said.

The ED investigation pertains to alleged financial irregularities at the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

The MP from Srinagar was charge-sheeted by the Enforcement Directorate in this case in 2022.

The case relates to siphoning off JKCA funds by way of transfer to various personal bank accounts of unrelated parties, including those of JKCA office-bearers, and by way of unexplained cash withdrawals from its bank accounts, the ED had said.

The agency's case is based on a 2018 charge-sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the same accused. -- PTI
File image
File image
21:39   US citizen, Nepalese couple among many saved from drowning off Goa coast over weekend
A US national and a couple from Nepal were among several persons rescued from drowning off the coast of Goa over the weekend, an official said.   

A 32-year-old American caught in a riptide off Candolim beach after wading into the deeper sections of the water was rescued and his vital signs were found to be stable on examination, he said. 

At Vagator beach, Drishti Marine lifesavers saved a Nepalese couple from drowning, a spokesperson for the firm appointed by the state government for beach safety said. 

"At Ashwem beach, a 25-year-old woman from Karnataka who got caught up in the waves was rescued. A 55-year-old man from Karnataka was given first aid in a separate incident after he fell ill while swimming off Calangute coast," he said. 

"On initial assessment, the man displayed a stable pulse and normal breathing, but remained unresponsive. As a precautionary measure, oxygen was administered and within 10 minutes he recovered," the spokesperson said. -- PTI
21:11   Sonia Gandhi may be named for RS polls
Top Congress leaders on Monday met at the residence of party chief Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss the names of party candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. 

Former party chief Sonia Gandhi and treasurer Ajay Maken are among the likely candidates, sources said. 

Gandhi is the frontrunner for the seat that will fall vacant from Himachal Pradesh after BJP chief JP Nadda's tenure ends this April. 

The Congress is yet to announce any candidate for the biennial elections for 56 seats from 15 states. 

The last date for filing nominations is February 15 and elections will be held on February 27. 

Gandhi is likely to be nominated by the party for the lone seat from the hill state as she is unlikely to contest the Lok Sabha this time. 

Gandhi had stated in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls that it was the last time she was contesting in the general elections. 

Among those present at Kharge's residence were Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal and party treasurer Ajay Maken. 

Senior party leader Mukul Wasnik was also present at the meeting. -- PTI
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File image
20:31   Bengaluru residents protest against proposed HC annex in Cubbon Park
Several organisations and citizens of Bengaluru staged a protest against the construction of a 10-storey building as an annex to the Karnataka high court within the premises of the Cubbon Park in Bengaluru.

The groups gathered on Sunday at the Cubbon Park to show their opposition to the project.

Protesters also said that the building would take up park space and lead to an increase in pedestrian and traffic congestion. They urged the state government to drop the plan.

The recent decision of the Karnataka public works department to revive an earlier project to build an annex to the high court in Cubbon Park has drawn widespread criticism from the public as well as from the opposition BJP.

Reacting on the issue, BJP MLA Uday Garudachar on Monday said, "Those (Cubbon Park) are all areas which should not be touched. They are lung spaces of the city."

Congress MLA from the city's Shivajinagar constituency Rizwan Arshad said he would appeal to the concerned authorities and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in this regard.

"Absolutely, we will appeal to the government and CM. We will raise this issue. We need to encourage more green spaces," he said. -- PTI
20:09   Gurugram child drinks thinner, mistaking it for water, dies
A child died in Gurugram in Haryana after drinking paint thinner, mistaking it for water, the police said on Monday.

Hakshan, one and a half years old, became unconscious from an excruciating pain in his stomach and died while he was being taken to a hospital in Gurugram on Sunday, they said.

The incident was reported from Sohna's Kothada Raipur village where Hakshan's family was attending a marriage ceremony, the police said.

The ceremony was taking place at a house, which was painted a few weeks ago, and the thinner was bought then, they said.

Hakshan, who was playing, drank the thinner, mistaking it for water, the police said and added that  he had come to Sohna along with his parents.

"The child drank the thinner by mistake. We have lodged a report and taken action under 174 of the CrPC. The body has been handed over to his family after postmortem," investigating officer Dharmendra said.

The boy was a resident of Jalalpur village in Haryana's Palwal district. -- PTI
19:55   Rahul shakes hands with people chanting 'Modi, Modi'
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday walked towards a crowd in Chhattisgarh's Korba district that had many persons shouting pro-Narendra Modi slogans and shook hands with them, with the opposition party stating that "there is great strength in love".
Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', which entered the state from Odisha last week, was passing through Dhodipara on the way to Katghora from Korba.

Sharing a video of the incident on X, the Congress said, "There is great strength in love. BJP workers stood to protest against #BharatJodoNyayYatra. But when the yatra passed by there and public leader @RahulGandhi ji met him, the scene became something like this.." 

In the video, a large number of people can be seen lining the road, including a group wearing saffron scarfs and holding flags having the image of Lord Hanuman and shouting slogans like 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Modi Modi'.

On seeing them, Gandhi got off his vehicle, walked up to them and shook hands with several people in the crowd. He then got back into his vehicle and blew kisses at the crowd.

Earlier in the day, addressing a gathering in Sitamadi in Korba, Gandhi said people were distressed with unemployment and inflation under BJP rule.

Asking people to wake up, the Congress leader said masses were being robbed and misled by the ruling dispensation.

The Congress MP reiterated his party's demand for a caste census and said it will be done with the people's support. -- PTI
19:45   Farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march: Delhi Police issues traffic advisory
The Delhi Police on Monday issued a traffic advisory in view of the proposed farmers' protest, alerting the commuters about restrictions on the movement of vehicles at three borders of the national capital.
Several farmer associations, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have called for the march on February 13 to demand a law guaranteeing MSP for their produce, one of the conditions they had set when they agreed to withdraw their agitation in 2021.
According to the Interstate buses intending to go towards Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal etc. via NH-44 will take ISBT to Majnu Ka Tilla to Signature Bridge to Khajuri Chowk to Loni Border to KMP via Khekra, it said.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) intending to go towards Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal etc. via NH-44 are suggested to take exit number-2 on NH-44 (DSIIDC) intersection to Harish Chander Hospital crossing to Bawana road crossing to Bawana Chowk to Bawana-Auchandi Road reaching Auchandi Border to KMP via Saidpur chowki, the advisory stated. 
"The HGVs intending to go towards Bahadurgarh, Rohtak, etc. are suggested to take Outer Ring Road from Mukarba Chowk to Madhuban Chowk to Bhagwan Mahavir Road to Rithala to Pansali Chowk to Helipad to UER-II to Kanjhawala Road-Karala T-Point-Kanjhawala Chowk to Jaunti Village to Jaunti Border/Nizampur Border and enter in Haryana village Bamnoli and may go further go via Nahra-Nahari road to Bahadurgarh road," it read. 
The cars and light goods vehicles intending to go towards Sonipat, Panipat Karnal etc. via NH-44 are suggested to take exit from exit 1 (NH-44) Alipur cut to Shani Mandir, to Palla Bakhtawarpur Road Y-Point to Dahisara Village Road two lane stretch to MCD toll Dahisara to Jatti Kalan road to Singhu Stadium to PS Kundali reaching NH-44 towards Sonipat in Haryana. 
They can take exit from exit number-2 NH-44 DSIIDC intersection to Harish Chander Hospital Red Light to Sector-A/5 red light to Ramdev Chowk. Ramdev Chowk to Piau Maniyari Border (entering Haryana) towards NH-44, the advisory said.
"The cars and LGVs intending to go towards Bahadurgarh, Rohtak, etc. are suggested to take exit from exit number-2 DSIIDC cut towards Bawana road to Kanjhawala T-Point to Kanjhawala Chowk via Dr Sahib Singh Verma Road to Jhanda Chowk/Ghevra to take right Nizampur Border via Savdha Village to Bahadurgarh Connecting NH-9," it stated.
They can take Outer Ring Road from Mukarba Chowk to Madhuban Chowk to Bhagwan Mahavir Road to Rithala to Pansali Chowk to Helipad to UER-ll to Kanjhawala Road-Karala T-Point Kanjhawala Chowk to Jaunti Village to Jaunti Border/Nizampur Border and enter in Haryana's Bamnoli village and may go further via Nahra-Nahari road to Bahadurgarh road, the advisory stated. 
Traffic from Delhi going to Ghaziabad through Gazipur border may take Pushta Road in front of Akshardham temple OR, Patparganj Road/Mother Dairy road OR, Chaudhary Charan Singh Marg ISBT Anand Vihar and exit from Maharajpur or Apsara border in UP Ghaziabad, it said.
Heavy/commercial vehicles going towards Bahadurgarh, Rohtak etc. via Rohtak Road are advised to use Najafgarh Nangloi Road from Nangloi Chowk to enter Haryana via Najafgarh Jharoda Border, it stated. 
The vehicles intending to go towards Bahadurgarh, Rohtak etc. via Rohtak Road may take left turn from PVC red light up to Jharoda Nala Crossing-take right turn up to Najafgarh Bahadurgarh Road reaching towards Bahadurgarh, the advisory said. 
The motorists coming from Punjabi Bagh to turn left from Peeragarhi Chowk up to Najafgarh Road (8 KM) - turn right Uttam Nagar Chowk-Dwarka Mor-Tura Mandi-Najafgarh Firni Road turn left-Chhawla Stand-turn right Dhansa Stand-turn right Bahadurgarh Stand - turn left Najafgarh Bahadurgarh Road-Jharoda Village-Jharoda Border reaching towards Bahadurgarh (HR), it said. -- PTI 
18:54   Soren showing 'acute non-cooperation' in probe: ED
The Enforcement Directorate on Monday alleged that former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren was showing "acute non-cooperation" in the money laundering investigation being conducted against him and others.
The central agency said that Soren was "reluctant" to divulge information about the lands allegedly acquired by him.
The central agency produced the 48-year-old JMM leader before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court of Judge Rajiv Ranjan which extended his remand to the ED for three more days.
Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 after he resigned as the chief minister.
The agency told the court that a WhatsApp chat between the politician and his alleged "close associate" Binod Singh showed details of a banquet hall that was proposed to be built on a 8.5 acre land in the Baragai area of Ranchi which the ED alleges is an immovable asset "illegally acquired and possessed" by Soren.
"The accused person Shri Hemant Soren has been showing acute non-cooperation and is reluctant to divulge true facts regarding the properties acquired by him and other persons connected to him," the ED said in its paper seeking four-day remand of Soren.
The agency said that the former chief minister was being confronted with his WhatsApp Chats with Binod Singh and these contain exchange of information relating to immovable properties.
"The accused person (Soren) has been refusing to even sign and acknowledge the WhatsApp chats in order to conceal the information about the properties," it said.
"Scrutiny of the WhatsApp chats between Binod Singh and Shri Hemant Soren has led to the identification of a plan/map of proposed banquet shared by Binod Singh to Shri Hemant Soren on 06.04.2021." 
"The location of the proposed banquet mentioned on the said plan matches with the said 8.5 acres of land which is illegally acquired and possessed by Shri Hemant Soren," it claimed.
It was informed to the court by the ED that its officials conducted a survey on February 10 in the presence of the officials of the Baragai circle, Binod Singh, Bhanu Pratap Prasad (arrested revenue sub-inspector in this case) and it was "corroborated" that the locality of the banquet as per the plan shared by Binod Singh (with Soren on WhatsApp) and the area of 8.5 acres of land acquired by Soren are the same.
There is no such big parcel of land available in the said locality where such large structure can be planned for construction, the ED claimed.
18:43   Union ministers begin talks with farmer leaders
A team of Union ministers on Monday evening began talks here with farmer leaders in a bid to dissuade them from their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre for enactment of a law on minimum support price for crops. 
The ministers, including food and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal and agriculture minister Arjun Munda, were holding a meeting with the farmer leaders at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26 in Chandigarh.
18:18   India Inc backs 'One Nation One Election'
India Inc has come in full support of the idea of 'One Nation One Election' as it would synchronize electoral cycles at the central and state levels, thus enhancing governance efficiency and fostering economic development.
Representatives from industry bodies FICCI and CII recently met a high-level committee on One Nation One Election chaired by former President Ram Nath Kovind and briefed the panel on its benefits.
The panel has been constituted to study the feasibility of holding simultaneous state and national elections.
Ficci President Anish Shah said there are over 2,50,000 Ficci members across the country, who feel that multiple elections at various levels impact ease of doing business, slow down decision-making in government and lead to avoidable costs, both for employees and employers.
Secretary General S K Pathak proposed one election every 5 years for central, state and local governments; brief code of conduct period, so that government decision-making is not slowed; and all eligible voters to be in universal electoral rolls, using India Stack technology.
Ficci said that at a time when India is on its way to becoming the third largest economy in the world, it is important that the electoral process is reassessed that will result in better outcome for the people and enhance economic activity.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also presented its views to the committee in a separate meeting held earlier.
"CII's view was based on the economic benefits of streamlining the electoral process, that would enhance governance efficiency, and foster economic development," the industry body stated.
It argued that asynchronous multiple elections lead to frequent disruption in policy making and administration, leading to uncertainty about the government's policies.
"It also affects the working of the governments due to officials being roped in for election duties. Investment decisions by the private sector tend to slow down prior to elections," said CII.
"Further, it leads to delays in project implementation, as the model code of conduct gets imposed." -- PTI
Six of the eight Indians who were released by Qatar
Six of the eight Indians who were released by Qatar
17:44   PM personally supervised release of navy men: FS
Qatar has released eight jailed former Indian Navy personnel and seven of them returned home on Monday morning, in what is being seen as a major diplomatic victory for India that came nearly three-and-half months after a Qatari court handed them death sentence that was subsequently commuted to jail terms. 

 Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself constantly supervised all the developments in the case and has never shied away from any initiatives to ensure the return of the Indians. 

 At a media briefing, the foreign secretary announced that Modi will travel to Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday after concluding his two-day trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but indicated that the trip was long conceived. 

 The foreign secretary, without elaborating, said New Delhi continues to work with the Qatari government to ensure the early return of the eighth Indian. 

 In an early morning statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India appreciates the decision by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani enabling the release and home-coming of the Indians. 

 The former Indian Navy personnel apparently faced charges of espionage, but neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against them public. 

 "The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar," the MEA said. 

 "Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals," it said in a brief statement. The eight nationals are: Captains Navtej Gill and Saurabh Vasisht, Commanders Purnendu Tiwari, Amit Nagpal, SK Gupta, BK Verma and Sugunakar Pakala, and sailor Ragesh.

 Commander Tiwari could not return due to some pending paperwork, people familiar with the matter said. The Navy veterans were on October 26 given death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance. 

The Court of Appeal in the Gulf nation on December 28 commuted the capital punishment and sentenced them to jail terms for varying durations ranging from three to 25 years. The Court of Appeal had also given 60 days to appeal against the prison terms. 

 In December, Prime Minister Modi had met the Qatari Emir on the sidelines of the COP28 Summit in Dubai and discussed the "well-being of the Indian community" in Qatar. 

 It is learnt that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval played a key role in the negotiations with Qatari authorities in securing the release of the Indians as he paid a number of quiet visits to Doha. 

 The Indian nationals, who worked with private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August 2022 reportedly in an alleged case of espionage. The charges were filed against the eight Indian Navy veterans on March 25 last year and they were tried under Qatari law. 

 In May last year, Al-Dhara Global closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home. 

 "After completing his UAE visit, on February 14, the prime minister will travel to Doha, Qatar on February 14 afternoon. During the visit the prime minister will hold bilateral talks with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, the Amir of Qatar and other high dignitaries," Kwatra said on Monday. The foreign secretary said India is grateful to Qatar for the return of the Indians. 

 "We are gratified on their return. We deeply appreciate the decision of Qatar's government and the Amir to release them," Kwatra said. "We are happy to have seven of those Indian nationals back. The eighth Indian national has also been released and we continue to work with the Qatar government to see how quickly his return to India would be possible," he said.

 "The prime minister has himself personally constantly supervised all the developments in this case and has never shied away from any initiatives that would ensure the return of the Indian nationals back to home," he said. Asked whether the Qatari Emir granted a royal pardon to the Indians, the foreign secretary declined to comment.
Six people were killed in the Haldwani violence
Six people were killed in the Haldwani violence
17:27   Haldwani: Police station to replace razed madrasa
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday said a police station would be constructed on the land freed from encroachment in Haldwani's Banbhoolpura, where violence erupted last week after authorities razed an "illegally built" madrasa. 

Referring to the Haldwani violence, the chief minister, who came here to participate in the Nari Shakti Mahotsav, said the manner in which police personnel and journalists were "attacked by unruly elements cannot be condemned enough". 

 Six people, including five alleged to be rioters, were killed while 60 people were injured in the violence that erupted on February 8 during the demolition of the madrasa and a structure where namaz was held. 

 Dhami said several acres of land were freed from encroachment during the demolition drive in the 'Malik Ka Bagicha' area of Banbhoolpura. 

 "Today, I announce from the holy banks of Mother Ganga that a police station will be built at that place." 

 The chief minister reiterated that the government will not tolerate such acts of violence and the police is constantly working to arrest those involved in the incident. 

 "The law is taking its course. Whoever was behind this conspiracy will soon be brought before the public," he added. The police have so far arrested 30 people on charges of inciting violence during the demolition drive. PTI
17:08   Hemant Soren's ED remand extended by 3 days
A special PMLA court on Monday extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand of former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren by three days in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam, lawyers said. 

 The ED prayed for four days of remand of the JMM leader. Soren, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha executive president, was on February 7 remanded to five days of ED custody by the special PMLA (the Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court. On February 2, the court granted 5 days of ED remand to Soren. PTI
16:59   Kejriwal, Mann keep their date with Ayodhya
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann attended a special prayer service at the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Monday, a senior AAP leader said.

 Both the chief ministers arrived in the city in the afternoon. Though Kejriwal, who is the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was invited for the January 22 Pran Pratishtha (consecration) ceremony of the idol of Ram Lalla at the newly built temple, he had said he wanted to visit the it later with his family.
16:57   Raut: Will Chavan claim Cong symbol now?
Taking a dig at Ashok Chavan who resigned from Congress on Monday, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut wondered whether now the former Mahrasthra Chief Minister would stake a claim on the grand old party and its 'hand' symbol. 

 Drawing parallels with Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena) and his deputy Ajit Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party) who after splitting from their respective parties staked and won their claim to the Sena party symbol, Raut said that such a scenario was possible. 

 "I can't believe it. Till yesterday they were together, discussing; today he left... Will Chavan, like Eknath Mindhe and Ajit Pawar, now claim Congress and take the 'hand' symbol? And will the Election Commission give them to him? Anything can happen in our country!," Raut said in a post on X. 

 Meanwhile Congress MP Manickam Tagore shared a snippet from the classic Hindi movie 'Sholay', in which Gabbar Singh, the character played by actor Amjad Khan is seen saying "Jo dhar gaya, sanjo mar gaya" (Whoever is afraid is considered dead). "True", wrote the Congress leader tagging Chavan's August 2023 post in which the former state congress chief expressed gratitude on being chosen as a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). -- PTI
16:47   Manish Sisodia gets bail to attend niece's wedding
A Delhi court on Monday granted three-day interim bail to senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia, arrested in the alleged excise policy "scam", to attend his niece's wedding.

 Special judge M K Nagpal granted the relief to Sisodia from February 13-15 in the corruption and money laundering cases being probed by the CBI and ED, respectively. 

 The CBI had arrested the former deputy chief minister on February 26, 2023 over alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. Following his arrest by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him on March 9 from Tihar jail in a related money laundering case. PTI
16:45   Cong: Never thought Ashok Chavan would...
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Monday said the decision of his colleague Ashok Chavan to end his association with the party was unfortunate. Prithviraj Chavan also said he was unaware of the compulsion due to which Ashok Chavan left Congress. 

 "This is an unfortunate decision. Never thought a person like him (Ashok Chavan) would take such a step," he told reporters. 

 The former Union minister also said voters would teach a lesson to those who deserted them and left the party. After he quit the party, Ashok Chavan said the decision was a personal one and he doesn't want to ascribe any reason to it. The Bhokar MLA said he has not taken any decision yet on joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.

 Speaking to reporters, Prithviraj Chavan, who was accompanied by party colleagues Balasaheb Thorat and Naseem Khan, said there was discussion about the possibility of such a move by Ashok Chavan. "I do not think anyone from the Congress will follow Ashok Chavan. The party is holding a meeting with all its MLAs in Mumbai on Tuesday to review the situation," the Karad South MLA said. PTI
15:59   RBI: Hardly any room to review action taken against Paytm Payments Bank
Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday said there was "hardly any room" to review the action taken against Paytm Payments Bank. 

 In a major action against Paytm Payments Bank (PPBL), RBI, on January 31, directed it to stop accepting deposits or top-ups in any customer accounts, wallets, FASTTags and other instruments after February 29. Talking to reporters in the national capital on Monday, Das said there was "hardly any room" to review the action taken against Paytm Payments Bank.

 He also said that RBI takes action against regulated entities only after a comprehensive assessment. 

 While emphasising that RBI is supportive of the fintech sector, Das said it is also committed to protect the interest of customers as well as ensure financial stability. The central bank is expected to soon issue a set of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the Paytm matter. PTI
15:43   Nitish-BJP alliance wins trust vote
Nitish Kumar-BJP alliance sails through Bihar test of strength after Opposition walks out. Nitish Kumar-led NDA govt secures 129 votes.

The BJP-JD(U) combine has 128 members in the 243-member Bihar assembly, where the majority mark stands at 122.

The BJP has 78 seats, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United 45 and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha four seats. The remaining seat is held by an Independent MLA. The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and ally Congress hold 114 seats.
15:22   No decision on joining BJP yet: Ashok Chavan
After resigning from the Congress, former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan says, "I have not had a word with a single MLA of the Congress party. I haven't taken any decision yet on joining BJP; don't know BJP's working system. I will take a decision on the future political course in a day or two," Chavan said. 

"I have not decided to join any party. I will clear my stand on joining a party after two days," he added. 
15:12   Thorat, Chavan meet, Maha Congress shocked at Chavan's resignation
After former CM Ashok Chavan resigns from the Congress, CLP leader Balasaheb Thorat (extreme right) meets Prithviraj Chavan (centre). 
Congress leader and LoP in state assembly Vijay Wadettiwar says, "Ashok Chavan's resignation is shocking. The reason for the sudden resignation is not clear. He did not discuss it with me. I have worked with him for 16 years. He will explain the reason for his resignation. The way BJP is breaking the party (Congress)...voters will teach them a lesson."
Memories of bygone camaraderie
Memories of bygone camaraderie
15:08   Tejashwi: I thank Nitish for taking oath 9 times
Launching a scathing attack over the announcement of conferring Bharat Ratna to former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur (posthumously), former Bihar Deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday said that the BJP has made Bharat Ratna a deal.

"I am happy that Karpoori Thakur got (Bharat Ratna)...They (BJP) have made Bharat Ratna a deal. Deal with us and we will give you Bharat Ratna," former Bihar Deputy CM said in Bihar Vidhan Sabha ahead of the floor test of CM Nitish Kumar's government to prove their majority.

The RJD leader congratulated Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for scripting history by taking oath for the ninth consecutive time."I stand against this new government. I want to thank CM Nitish Kumar for creating history by taking oath 9 times," he said.
TN governor walks out of Assembly
TN governor walks out of Assembly
14:48   TN Raj Bhavan: DMK ignored advice to play national anthem
Governor RN Ravi's advice to the Tamil Nadu government to show due respect to the national anthem and play it at the beginning and end of the Governor's customary address to the Assembly was ignored by the DMK regime, the Raj Bhavan alleged on Monday. 

 Speaker M Appavu launched a tirade in the Assembly against the Governor and called him a 'follower of Nathuram Godse' and hence, the Governor, with due regard to the dignity of his office, left the House, it said. Explaining the sequence of events that unfolded in the House, an official Raj Bhavan release said the draft Governor's address was received on February 9 and that it had 'numerous passages' with 'misleading claims far from truth.'

 Ravi returned the file and advised the government to show due respect to the National Anthem and play it at the beginning and end of the Governor's address. 

In this regard, the Governor had written letters to Chief Minister and Speaker in the past as well. The state government however chose to ignore the advice of governor. 

 "Governor's address should reflect government's achievements, policies and programmes and to inform the House of the causes of its summons and should not be a forum for peddling misleading statements and venting blatantly partisan political views."

 When the Speaker concluded the address, the Governor stood up for the National Anthem, as scheduled. "However, the Speaker, instead of following the schedule, launched a tirade against the Governor and called him a follower of Nathuram Godse and more. The Speaker with his unbecoming conduct lowered the dignity of his chair and grace of the House. While the Speaker went on his tirade against the Governor, the Governor with due regard to the dignity of his office and the House, left the House," Raj Bhavan added. -- PTI
14:22   Tejashwi: Will always respect Nitish Kumar
Former Bihar Deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says, "We will always respect CM Nitish Kumar...When you came out of Raj Bhavan after resigning, you (Nitish Kumar) said, 'Mann nahi lag raha tha, hum log nachne gaane ke liye thode hai..'.we were there to support you..." 

"In the last session, when Jitan Ram Manjhi presented his views, the CM got angry and later Manjhiji said that someone gave you (Nitish Kumar) wrong medicine and that his mental condition was not good and should be treated. Now I have full trust that Manjhiji will give you good medicine..."

Tejashwi Yadav adds, "I feel bad for JDU MLAs because they will have to go among the public and answer. If someone asks you why Nitish Kumar took oath 3 times, what will you say? Earlier you used to criticise them (BJP) and now you are praising them, what will you say? We (RJD) will say that we have given jobs."

14:05   Celebrating Indonesia's 'fiesta of democracy'
Celebrating Indonesia's 'fiesta of democracy' As many countries hold elections this year, the simultaneous presidential and legislative elections in Indonesia, the third-largest democracy, holds special significance for ensuring ever more democracy for people at home and around the world. Read the column here. 
Tejashwi Yadav speaks in the Bihar Assembly
Tejashwi Yadav speaks in the Bihar Assembly
14:02   Tejashwi: Can PM guarantee Nitish won't flip sides?
Always considered Nitish Kumar as 'Dashrath', don't know what reasons forced him to ditch Mahagathbandhan," says RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, the former Bihar Deputy CM.

"Can PM Narendra Modi guarantee that Nitish Kumar will not do another volte-face," he asks in the Bihar assembly.

"...We think of you (CM Nitish Kumar) as a member of our family. We are from the Samajwadi family...Jo aap jhanda le kar ke chale the ki Modi ko desh mein rokne hain, ab aapka Bhateeja jhanda utha kar ke Modi ko Bihar mein rokne ka kaam karega."

Ahead of the floor test of CM Nitish Kumar's government to prove their majority, RJD MLAs Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav were seen sitting on the government side in the Bihar Assembly causing a big jolt to the Opposition.
 Reacting to this, former Bihar Deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said "MLAs should sit on their respective seats till the end of voting, otherwise voting will be considered invalid."
13:55   Bihar trust vote: 3 RJD MLAs sit on govt side
RJD MLAs Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav sit on the government side in the Bihar Assembly in Patna. Floor Test of CM Nitish Kumar's government to prove their majority will be held today. 

RJD Spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav says, "Two MLAs Chetan Anand and Neelam Devi have been made to sit on the side of JDU's whip. They were given threats and whatnot...What kind of trading is this..."

Chetan Anand is the son of former MP Anand Mohan Singh, who was convicted in the lynching of Dalit IAS officer G Krishnaiah. Neelam Devi is the wife of politician Anant Singh, who is currently in jail.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav objected to the MLAs sitting at the Treasury benches.

The BJP-JD(U) combine has 128 members in the 243-member Bihar assembly, where the majority mark stands at 122. The BJP has 78 seats, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United 45 and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha four seats. The remaining seat is held by an Independent MLA. The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and ally Congress hold 114 seats.

-- With inputs from MI Khan
13:15   Former Maha CM Ashok CM quits Congress
In a setback from the Congress party, senior leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has resigned from the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Speculations have arisen after Chavan's meeting with Speaker Rahul Narvekar in Mumbai, fueling rumors of his impending departure from the Congress party.
Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary
Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary
13:07   Bihar Speaker who refused to resign is removed
Update: A no-confidence motion moved by the ruling NDA in Bihar against Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary was on Monday taken up by the state assembly. 

 Chaudhary, who belongs to the RJD, had refused to step down after his party lost power a fortnight ago when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar snapped ties with 'Mahagathbandhan' and returned to the BJP-led coalition. 

 BJP MLA Nandkishore Yadav moveed the no-confidence motion against the Speaker. In the 243-strong assembly, 128 MLAs belong to the NDA, which also includes the JD(U) headed by the chief minister, ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM and an Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh, who is a minister. -- PTI
Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar
12:56   Bihar Speaker removed ahead of trust vote
Bihar Assembly updates: Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary, from Lalu Yadav's party, removed ahead of Nitish Kumar's trust vote. The renewed Nitish Kumar-BJP alliance government in Bihar will take a test of strength today, a hurdle it is expected to cross easily. The trust vote will kick off the budget session of the state assembly.
A multi-layered security is in place in Delhi
A multi-layered security is in place in Delhi
12:48   Sec 144 in Delhi for 1 month, immediate arrests
Section 144 has been imposed in the entire city of Delhi for the next 30 days ahead of the 'Delhi Chalo' March on February 13, a top police official said. The order was issued by the Delhi Police Commissioner, Sanjay Arora, on Monday. The Police said that any person found to be violating the order would be arrested immediately. 

 "There shall be an absolute prohibition on the organisation, convening, or participation in any processions, demonstrations, rallies, or march on foot, whether for political, social, or any other purpose, within the geographical limits of Delhi/New Delhi," the order stated. 

 "No tractor trolleys, trucks, or any other vehicles transporting individuals or materinis, and especially those carrying implements such as sticks/lathis/dandas, swords, spears, bludgeons, firearms, or any other thing capable of being used as weapons or tools of Ban on Carrying Corrosive Substances or Explosives: There shall be a ban on the carrying of any fire-arms, explosives, corrosive substance, or any lethal weapon or any other article capable of being used as a weapon of offence or defence at any public place within the territory of Delhi/New Delhi, with immediate effect," the order read. 

 "There shall be a prohibition on blocking of roads, passages, any type of procession agitation, rally, or public meeting by the agitators or general public or public representatives by way of assembly or gathering of five or more persons with or without weapons in the entire jurisdiction of Delhi, except for purposes specifically permitted under Inw," read the order.

 Meanwhile, DCP (North East) Joy Tirkey told ANI on Monday that they are monitoring everything, including social media. "We are monitoring everything, including social media and the inputs we are receiving. We have deployed advance porters deep inside Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. We are getting live information. We started our arrangements in the North East district on February 11..." "According to the information, there will be a little pressure on the Singhu and Tikri borders... A detailed arrangement has been issued. Border checking will be multi-layer; we are using vehicles, JC barricades, and iron barricades...I have also issued a notice that Section 144 has been imposed. We will be prepared for tomorrow's 'Delhi Chalo' march..."
12:42   SpiceJet plans to lay off 1,000 people
Crisis-hit SpiceJet plans to hand out pink slips to at least 1,000 employees in the coming days as the airline works to significantly reduce costs and streamline operations of its depleted aircraft fleet, officials said on Monday.

Faced with financial woes, legal battles and other headwinds, the no-frills carrier might ask more staff to leave as there is excess manpower now compared to the number of planes in service.

 A final decision on the quantum of layoffs is expected this week, one of the officials in the know said. 

 The airline has around 9,000 employees and is now looking at reducing the strength by 10-15 per cent, the official said, adding that layoffs are necessary to reduce the overall costs and annual savings could be up to Rs 100 crore. 

 A reduction of 15 per cent would mean around 1,350 people will lose their jobs. The second official in the know said that layoffs are expected across departments and the final list is being prepared. 

People from the management and consultancy are working on chalking out the contours of letting staff leave, and all the departments have been asked to give their inputs, the official added. There was no official comment from SpiceJet on the proposed job cuts.
12:19   MS Aiyar says Pakistani people India's biggest asset
No stranger to controversy, veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, on Sunday triggered a fresh row after coming out in praise of Pakistani people and terming them as the 'biggest asset of India', Dawn reported. 

 According to the Pakistan daily, Aiyar, while addressing an event in Lahore, said, "The Pakistanis, from my experience, have been the people who perhaps overreact to the other side. If we are friendly, they are over-friendly, and if we are hostile, they get overly hostile." 

 Speaking at the session titled 'Hijr Ki Rakh, Visaal Kay Phool, Indo-Pak affairs', on the second day of the Faiz Festival at Alhamra in Lahore, the former Union Minister shared his affection for Pakistan and its people, saying he had never been to a country where he had been welcomed with such open arms as he was in Pakistan. The former diplomat recalled his posting in Karachi as consul general, saying everyone looked after him and his wife. 

 "He has written about a number of incidents in his book, Memoirs of a Maverick, which shows Pakistan as a completely different country to what the Indians imagine. He said that goodwill was needed but instead of goodwill, there had been something opposite during the last 10 years since the formation of the first Narendra Modi government," Dawn reported. 

 "All I ask the people (of Pakistan) is to remember that Modi has never received more than one-third of the votes but our system is such that if has one-third of the votes, he has two-thirds in the seats. So two-thirds of Indians are ready to come towards you (Pakistanis)," Dawn quoted Aiyar as saying at the event.
Will Nitish Kumar win trust vote?
Will Nitish Kumar win trust vote?
12:15   Bihar floor test: Few JD-U, BJP, RJD MLAs missing
Uncertainty is rife in the Bihar Assembly ahead of trust vote, reports MI Khan.
According to sources, three of the 45 JD-U MLAs and two of the 78 BJP MLAs have failed to reach the Assembly to take part in trust vote.

Similarly, two of 79 RJD MLAs are yet to reach the Assembly.

Ruling NDA will move to remove Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary, a RJD MLA, after end of Governor's speech.
Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar
Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar
11:41   Bihar floor test: Governor addresses Assembly
Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar addresses the State Assembly Floor Test of CM Nitish Kumar's government to prove their majority will be held today. 

 The BJP, which is back in power in Bihar after a recent realignment with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Monday exuded confidence that the new government will easily sail through the trust vote. 

 State BJP president Samrat Choudhary, who has landed the job of a deputy CM, reached the assembly premises ahead of the trust vote flashing a victory sign. He was accompanied by party colleague Vijay Kumar Sinha, who is also a deputy CM. 

 "Democracy shall win", said Sinha, as he sauntered towards the central hall where the day's proceedings will begin with the governor's address to members of the bicameral legislature. Choudhary quipped, "bachche ko khilona mil jaaega (the kid will be left with a toy)". -- ANI
11:22   Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code draws significantly from Hindu law and barely represents others
This could lead to personal law practices of minority communities being erased, experts say. Read the column here. 
10:58   In a first, TN guv ends address to House in minutes
In a first in the history of the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Governor RN Ravi on Monday concluded his customary address to the House within a few minutes, asserting he disagreed with the government over the content of the address and flayed the DMK regime for 'not respecting' the national anthem. 

 In his inaugural address for the year to the House, Ravi said his repeated requests and advice (to the state government) to show due respect to the national anthem and play it at the beginning and the end of the address has been ignored. 

The House was convened on February 12 by the government for the customary Governor's Address to the Assembly. The Governor said the address has numerous messages with which 'I convincingly disagree, on factual and moral grounds.' 

Hence, Ravi said 'lending his voice' to such aspects that he disagreed with the government, would constitute 'Constitutional travesty.' 

 "Hence with respect to the House, I conclude my address. Wish this House a productive and healthy discussion for the people's good." Ravi, after offering his greetings in Tamil to Speaker M Appavu, Chief Minister M K Stalin and Legislators ended his speech within a few minutes after conveying his disagreement with the government. 

 Recently, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan too ended his customary address in a couple of minutes and read out only the last paragraph. PTI
Security outside the Bihar Assembly
Security outside the Bihar Assembly
10:35   Bihar floor test: Nitish, MLAs arrive at Assembly
Bihar CM and JDU national president Nitish Kumar arrives at the Bihar Assembly in Patna, ahead of the floor test of his government today.

Former Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav leaves from his residence for the Bihar Vidhan Sabha. 

 The floor test of the NDA government led by CM Nitish Kumar will be held in the Assembly today. 

 Bihar Deputy CMs Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Kumar Sinha and BJP MLAs show victory signs as they arrive at the State Assembly in Patna.
A swarm of mosquitoes
A swarm of mosquitoes
10:18   Not a tornado, that's a swarm of this deadly bug...
A swarm of mosquitoes formed tornadoes in the skies of Keshavnagar and Kharadi Gavthan areas in Pune due to the rise in the water levels of the Mula Mutha River. Residents of Pune were left astounded when they witnessed the rare sight of the mosquito 'tornado'. The video of the sight was caught on camera and shared on social media, which is now going viral. The footage capturing this unusual occurrence evoked surprise and concern among viewers, with some labelling it as 'dangerous.' 

 Speaking to ANI about the mosquito menace, Nitin, a local from Kharadi, said, "Recently, I have seen a lot of mosquitoes. For three or four days, there has been a tornado of mosquitoes here in Kharadi. There have been a lot of problems and the locals are having difficulties due to this." 

 Abhishek, another local from Kharadi, also spoke on the same and said, "There are a lot of mosquitoes in our area. I just requested that the Pune Corporation resolve it as quickly as possible. It is dangerous for our health." 

 According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, mosquitoes are considered the world's "deadliest animal," killing hundreds of thousands of people and making millions more sick every year.
10:07   Nitish Kumar faces crucial test vote today
Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United (JDU) exuded confidence that the party's president will win the trust vote during the crucial floor test scheduled on Monday, two weeks after he ditched its alliance with the RJD and formed a government with the BJP. 

 The trust vote will follow after Nitish took the oath as the chief minister of Bihar for the record ninth time. JD(U) national secretary Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said, "Under the leadership of CM Nitish Kumar, we will get the majority and the government will complete its tenure." 

 A heavy security cordon was thrown around the residence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, in Patna on Sunday. Amid huddles and shifting of MLAs to secure locations in the state or beyond ahead of the crucial trust vote, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alleged that the police personnel "wanted to enter (Tejashwi's) residence on any pretext and orchestrate untoward incidents against party MLAs".

 "Nitish Kumar has sent thousands of police and surrounded Tejashwiji's residence from all sides. They want to enter the residence on any pretext and do untoward incidents with the MLAs," read a post on the official X handle of RJD. The party added that it will not 'bow down' in the ongoing 'ideological struggle'. -- ANI
Mithun Chakraborty in Kabuliwala
Mithun Chakraborty in Kabuliwala
09:57   Mithun '100% fine', to be discharged from hospital today
Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai last week amid speculative reports on his health.  Subhash K Jha spoke to Mithun's wife and son for the real story. 

Mithun's wife, Yogeeta Bali, a star of the 1970s, says, "He's absolutely OK now. His blood sugar levels had shot up, but now it's totally under control."

Their son Mimoh added, "Dad is a 100 per cent fine. He was admitted to the hospital for a routine sugar-level check-up and is being  discharged  today."

In December during an interview with Mithun on his recent release Kabuliwala, I had aske about his unfulfilled  wishes. "None, absolutely  nothing, Subhash my friend. I have got more than I  ever dreamt  of. Bass abb sirf ek tamanna hai. I want good health  for  myself  and my family."
09:37   Here's what Cong said on release of Navy veterans
The Congress Monday expressed relief and happiness at Qatar releasing eight former Indian naval personnel nearly three and a half months after they were handed down death sentences, and it greeted them and their families.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said seven of them have returned to India. It said India appreciates the decision by the Amir of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of the Indians.

The Navy veterans were on October 26 last year given death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance in a case of suspected espionage.

In a post on 'X', Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, 'The Indian National Congress joins the entire nation in its relief and happiness that the eight former Indian Navy personnel earlier sentenced to death by a court in Qatar have been released and are back home.'

'It sends its greetings and good wishes to them and their families,' he said. 

The Court of Appeal in the Gulf nation on December 28 last year commuted the capital punishment of the eight Navy veterans and sentenced them to jail terms for varying durations.

The Indian nationals, who worked with the private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August 2022.

Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against them public.  -- PTI
08:44   All because of PM: Freed veterans praise Modi
Setting foot to their homeland after several agonising months of captivity in Qatar, seven of the eight Indian navy veterans who were sentenced to death on 'espionage' charges, heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying they wouldn't have been freed had it for the sustained diplomatic efforts at his behest to secure their release.

Speaking to ANI, one of the Navy veterans lauded Modi for raising their sentencing with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and attributed their release to relentless diplomatic efforts at his behest.

"I feel relieved and delighted to finally be back home safe and sound. I wish to thank Prime Minister Modi as this wouldn't have been possible had it not been for his personal intervention to secure our release. I also wish to express my gratitude to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar," he said.

Wearing a relieving smile and a calm demeanour, another released former naval officer told ANI, "Without the intervention of PM Modi, we would not have walked free. We wouldn't be standing before you today had it not been for his untiring efforts and interventions at the highest levels to get us freedom."

Another freed navy veteran also came out in praise of the Centre's intervention in securing their release, saying, "We, as well as our anxious family members back home, had been waiting for this day for a long time. It all worked out because of PM Modi and his personal intervention in the matter. He took up our case with the highest levels of the Qatari government and eventually secured our release. I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to him and the Emir of Qatar."

"We are very happy to be back and it wouldn't have been possible had the honourable Prime Minister not taken personal interest in the matter. I also thank the Qatar Emir for his personal involvement in the matter," another former Navy officer told ANI.

"We waited almost 18 months to be back home to our loved ones in India. We are extremely grateful to PM Modi for getting us back. We wouldn't have seen this day without the joint efforts of PM Modi and the Emir of Qatar. The personal equations that the two leaders share also helped in our release," another Navy veteran told ANI after landing in Delhi.   -- ANI
08:09   Indian Navy veterans jailed in Qatar released
In a major diplomatic triumph for India, eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death in Qatar, were released by Doha on Monday.

The capital punishment was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi.

Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.

Of the eight former Navy officers, seven have already returned to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed through an official statement on Monday.

The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, 'The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.'

The eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme.

The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.Earlier, the Qatari Court commuted the death penalty sentence of eight ex-Indian naval officers it had arrested last year in the Dahra Global case, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement.

The sentence has now been reduced to jail terms.

Describing the judgement, the Ministry of External Affairs had said, 'We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced.'

The MEA also said that the detailed judgement in the case is awaited and are in close touch with the legal team in Qatar.

MEA added, 'The detailed judgement is awaited. We are in close touch with the legal team as well as the family members to decide on the next steps. Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities.'   -- ANI