Thu, 29 February 2024
No parole to Dera chief without court nod: HC

Timeline  Refresh

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23:57   Bill Gates meets Modi, discusses 'AI for public good'
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday and said they discussed AI for public good, women-led development and innovation in agriculture and health. 

Gates said on X, "I is always inspiring to meet with @narendramodi and there was a lot to discuss. We talked about AI for public good; DPI; women-led development; innovation in agriculture, health, and climate adaptation; and how we can take lessons from India to the world." 

Replying to him, Modi said, "A wonderful meeting indeed! Always a delight to discuss sectors which will make our planet better and empower millions of people across the globe." -- PTI
23:31   New Pakistan PM to be elected on Sunday; Shehbaz Sharif frontrunner
Shehbaz Sharif is set to become Pakistan's new Prime Minister on Sunday with the National Assembly Secretariat on Thursday announcing the schedule for the election of the head of the government. 

According to the schedule, candidates can submit their nomination papers by Saturday, 2 pm. 

The scrutiny of the papers will be completed the same day. 

It said that the procedure for the election of the premier was given to the newly elected lawmakers. 

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has nominated Shehbaz Sharif, 72, for the slot of prime minister while Omer Ayub Khan is the pick of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. 

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N has received the support of the Pakistan Peoples Party led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to lead a coalition government after the February 8 elections resulted in a hung Parliament. 

The agreement means Sharif is on course to become prime minister for a second time. 

Shehbaz earlier served as prime minister when the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's government was ousted in April 2022. 

The PML-N party president served as prime minister for 16 months till August 2023 when fresh elections were announced. -- PTI
23:05   No parole to Dera chief without court nod: HC
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked the Haryana government not to grant further parole to Dera Sacha Sauda chief and rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh without its permission. 

A bench of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji was hearing a petition of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which had challenged the grant of temporary release to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief. 

Gurmeet Singh was granted a 50-day parole on January 19. 

The parole came two months after the Sirsa-headquartered sect chief walked out of the Sunaria jail in Haryana's Rohtak district on November 21 last year after he was granted a 21-day furlough which was his third temporary release from jail in 2023. 

Singh is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two of his disciples. 

In 2021, the Dera chief, along with four others, was also convicted for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager. 

The Dera chief and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago. 

The court in its order said, "In the meantime, the said respondent may surrender on the date fixed i.e. 10.03.2024 and thereafter the State authorities shall not consider his case for grant of further parole till further orders without the permission of this Court." -- PTI
22:24   Gujarat drug bust: 5 foreign nationals in NCB custody till March 5
Five foreign nationals held in the biggest drug bust in recent times were remanded in the custody of the Narcotics Control Bureau till March 5 by a magistrate's court in Porbandar in Gujarat on Thursday. 

The Navy and the NCB had in a joint operation apprehended a dhow off the Gujarat coast two days back with five crew members and seized 3,300 kg of drugs from it, including 3,089 kilograms of charas, 158 kg of methamphetamine and 25 kg of morphine. 

The NCB had sought seven-day remand. Since no ID cards or other proof was recovered from these five men, their exact nationality hasn't been established yet, said public prosecutor Shailesh Parmar. 

Drugs were recovered from their boat nearly 60 nautical miles or 111 kilometres from Porbandar coast on February 27, Parmar told the court. 

While the agencies have not specified the exact worth of the seized contraband, a kilogram of charas is usually sold for Rs 6 to 7 crore in the international markets.
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21:45   Stir irrelevant, move SC: Himanta to CAA agitators
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday claimed that there was no relevance of any protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act at this point and said that all those opposed to the law may approach the Supreme Court for revoking it. 

Addressing a press conference here, Sarma said Parliament, which had passed the law, is "not supreme" as the apex court is above it and can terminate any legislation enacted like what it did to the electoral bonds. 

"There is no relevance of protest against CAA as agitation cannot do anything regarding the fate of an Act passed by Parliament. That can only change in the Supreme Court like it abolished the electoral bonds introduced by the BJP," he added. 

Sarma stressed that the judiciary has the power to alter an Act and moreover, Parliament has also ended sine die and nobody can call a sitting of the two houses to undo the CAA in the next four months. 

"CAA is a reality and it is in the law book of India, it has been a part of the statute book of India for the last two years. Those who hate the CAA wholeheartedly will also have to approach the SC. Those who want to make a political career out of CAA can do agitation. There is a difference between the two," he added. -- PTI
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21:25   7 cops booked for beating up lawyers in Lucknow
The police have registered an FIR against several police personnel, naming seven of them, for allegedly beating up some lawyers and implicating them in a false case here. 

According to the FIR, the lawyers had gone to have dinner at the Summit Building on February 23 where Sub-Inspector Rahul Baliyan came upon receiving information regarding a fight between two other people. 

Lawyers Abhishek Singh Chauhan, Rohit Rawat, Abhishek Pandey and Mukul Singh along with others filed a complaint at the Vibhuti Khand police station on Wednesday night alleging that they were brutally beaten and humiliated by several police officers in the Vibhuti Khand area of Gomti Nagar, it said. 

In a brawl with the police personnel, Rawat suffered a fracture in his hand while Chauhan had a nose injury, the FIR read. 

The lawyers have also alleged that they were humiliated and forced to sit in the police station overnight and were framed in a case regarding the fight at the building, the FIR read. 

Sub-inspectors Rahul Baliyan, Jasim Raza, Pramod Kumar Singh, Phoolchand, Ritesh Dubey and Vinay Gupta and constable AK Pandey along with other 10-12 unidentified police personnel have been booked in connection with the case, officials said. -- PTI
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21:01   Deadline to comply with Kannada signage rules extended by two weeks
The Karnataka government on Thursday extended, by two weeks, the deadline for business establishments to comply with the Kannada signage rules, whereby information in the state language should be displayed on 60 percent of the space on nameplates. 

The decision was taken so that the order is duly followed, deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said. 

"Considering that it takes time to change the signage, Karnataka govt has decided to extend the deadline given to commercial establishments by two more weeks so that the 60 per cent signage in Kannada rule can be followed," Shivakumar posted on social media platform X. 

Explaining further, the DCM said, "It is important that we uphold our mother tongue in utmost respect. Therefore, we expect that this law will be duly followed, and we shall ensure compliance by the end of the two-week extended period." 

The decision came on the last day of the deadline to implement the rule. -- PTI
20:34   J-K scribe held for 'providing support to terrorists' walks free after 5-yr detention
Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan who was arrested for allegedly providing logistical support to terrorists, has been released after a five-year detention, officials said on Thursday. 

Sultan was released two months after the Jammu and Kashmir high court in December last year quashed his detention order under the Public Safety Act. 

The court had said the authorities "did not follow the procedural requirements in letter and spirit". 

Officials said Sultan's release was delayed because the jail authorities at Ambedkar Nagar district jail in Uttar Pradesh were awaiting clearance letters from Kashmir's home department and Srinagar district magistrate. 

"He reached home today and was also taken to SMHS hospital for check-up for chest infection," the officials added. 

Sultan was first arrested in a UAPA case in September 2018 when he was working as a reporter with a local magazine. 

He was arrested for "allegedly providing logistical support to a banned militant group." -- PTI
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar/File image
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar/File image
20:08   Sharad Pawar invites Shinde, Fadnavis, Ajit for lunch
Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) president Sharad Pawar has invited Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar to share a meal at his residence in Baramati during their visit to his hometown on March 2. 

Shinde along with his deputies Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, all political rivals of Sharad Pawar, will be attending a job fair, 'Namo Maharojgar Melava', in the premises of Vidya Pratishthan college in Baramati town of Pune district. 

The surprise invitation to Shinde and the two deputy CMs by senior Pawar comes in the backdrop of a split in the NCP, a party founded by him in 1999, and strained ties with his nephew Ajit Pawar, who parted ways with him and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government in July last year. 

There are also talks to Ajit Pawar, who has got the NCP name and symbol following the split, thinking of fielding a candidate for the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, currently represented by his cousin and Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule. 

In the invitation (which is part of a letter dated February 28) extended to Shinde, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, the former Union minister stated that as parliamentarians, he and Sule would like to attend the official event in Baramati. -- PTI
20:01   Question mark on my seat after tie-up with NCP: BJP's Pankaja Munde
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pankaja Munde on Thursday said there is a question mark on her constituency after her party allied with the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra. 

Munde lost the 2019 assembly polls from Parli to cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde, who is now a minister in the Eknath Shinde government that also includes the BJP. 

Speaking about the Beed Lok Sabha seat, which has been represented by her sister Pritam Munde for the past two terms, the former state minister said, "She has done a good job. But after the alliance with the NCP, naturally there is a question mark on my constituency." 

"But no matter who is the candidate from Beed, I will be the star campaigner. I have been a star campaigner in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan," she added. 

Munde, who has been appointed as an observer by the BJP, was talking to reporters here after visiting the party's Mumbai North office in Kandivali in the metropolis. -- PTI
19:42   India's GDP growth from 2012-13
India's economic growth accelerated to 8.4 percent in the third quarter of 2023-24, mainly due to good performance by the manufacturing, mining & quarrying and construction sectors. 
19:28   1st civilian team reaches Maldives to replace troops
India on Thursday said its first civilian team of technical experts has reached the Maldives to replace the military personnel operating an advanced light helicopter in the island nation.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had set March 10 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the first group of Indian military personnel from his country.

"The first team of technical personnel to operate the advanced light helicopter has reached the Maldives. It will replace the existing personnel who were operating this platform," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing.

Following a second meeting of the high-level core group that was set up to address the issue of withdrawal of the Indian military personnel, the Maldivian foreign ministry had said India will replace all its military personnel in two phases by May 10.

The second meeting of the core group took place in Delhi on February 2.

The two sides decided to set up the core group following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Muizzu on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai in December last year.

At present, around 80 Indian military personnel are in the Maldives, primarily to operate two helicopters and an aircraft that have carried out hundreds of medical evacuations and humanitarian missions.  -- PTI
Courtesy: YSRCP/X
Courtesy: YSRCP/X
19:23   IAS officer Imtiaz quits service, joins Jagan Reddy
Senior IAS officer AMD Imtiaz quit the service on Thursday and joined the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) in the presence of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Intiyaz, who opted for voluntary retirement from the administrative service, previously served as the CEO of SERP (Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty) while also holding the position of secretary in the minority affairs department.  

The former IAS officer was formally inducted into the party at a ceremony held at the Chief Minister's camp office on Thursday.  

The induction event was attended by a clutch of YSRCP heavyweights, including the party's regional coordinator Ramasubba Reddy, Kurnool MLA Hafeez Khan, Kurnool mayor BY Ramayya, and former MLA SV Mohan Reddy. 
18:51   Putin warns of nuclear war over Ukraine if...
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned of "tragic consequences" for any Western country that dared to send its troops to fight in Ukraine. 

"They have announced the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine ... The consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic," Putin said while delivering his annual address to both houses of the Russian parliament and other members of the country's elite in Gostiny Dvor in Moscow, Al Jazeera reported. 

The daily reported that Putin's comments appeared to be a response to French President Emmanuel Macron's refusal earlier this week to rule out sending troops to Ukraine. 

The United States, Germany, Britain and others had rejected Macron's suggestion. 

"They should eventually realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. Everything that the West comes up with creates the real threat of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and thus the destruction of civilisation," Putin said, addressing the Federal Assembly, two weeks ahead of presidential elections in the country. 

Russian state media TASS reported that Putin, in his 19th State of the Nation speech, emphasised that the actions of the US and its satellites have led to the dismantling of the European security system. 

According to Putin, "this creates risks for everyone", TASS reported.

-- ANI
18:41   Son of Haldwani violence 'mastermind' held in Delhi
Uttarakhand Police has arrested Abdul Moid, the son of Abdul Malik, the alleged mastermind in the Haldwani violence, officials said.

The arrest of Moid, who is among the key accused in the case, takes the total arrests in connection with the February 8 incidents of stone pelting and arson in Banbhoolpura area of the town to 84, they said.

His father Abdul Malik owned the 'illegal' madrassa whose demolition sparked violence in the town prompting authorities to impose a curfew that was lifted entirely after 12 days of gradual relaxation.

Malik was arrested on February 24, 16 days after the Banbhoolpura violence which left six persons dead and over 100 injured, including police personnel and journalists.

A look out notice was issued earlier against the father-son duo and a massive manhunt launched to nab them. Their properties in the town were also attached earlier.

Malik had vehemently opposed the administration's action and his wife Safia had gone to the court challenging the Municipal Corporation notice for its demolition.

However, the court did not grant them immediate relief and the structure was demolished, triggering incidents of stone-pelting and arson in the Muslim-dominated Banbhoolpura area.

Apart from the three FIRs lodged initially, a fresh case was registered by the police against six persons including Malik and his wife Safia charging them with criminal conspiracy and fraudulently using a dead man's name for illegal plotting, construction and transfer of land, the police had said.  -- PTI
18:22   SC dismisses Vedanta plea against closure of Thoothukudi plant
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by the Vedanta group against the closure of its copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi.

The plant has been closed since May 2018 after 13 people were killed as the police opened fire to quell a protest over alleged pollution caused by it.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said the health and welfare of residents of the area is a matter of "utmost concern" and the state government is responsible for preserving and protecting their concerns.

"We have come to the conclusion that the Special Leave Petition (SLP) by the industrial unit shall not warrant interference under Article 136 of the Constitution. For the above reasons, the SLP shall stands dismissed," the bench, also comprising justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

The Madras high court had in August 2020 rejected Vedanta's plea for allowing reopening of its Sterlite Copper unit. 
18:13   Cong: Alliance with NC, PDP to be finalised soon
The Congress on Thursday said its alliance with the National Conference (NC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir for the forthcoming parliamentary polls would be sealed and announced by next week.

"INDIA bloc will fight the elections with its full might... In J-K, you will get good news in the coming few days that Congress, NC and PDP have done seat-sharing and we will fight the election jointly. We will fight with full might and achieve a clean sweep," J-K Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani told reporters in Srinagar.

He said final discussions are taking place on the alliances and an announcement would be made in the first week of March.

"Any party can say it wants to contest as many seats, but we only have six seats including Ladakh. So when an alliance takes place, final talks happen and seat-sharing is done. Wherever a particular party contests, the other two parties will give full support," he added.

The JKPCC chief said assembly elections have not taken place in J-K for the last seven years, and should be held along with Lok Sabha polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party claims security issues delayed the election for these years, he said.

"We demand both elections be held together. If the situation is good for Parliamentary polls, why not for assembly elections?

"The Supreme Court has already passed an order to hold assembly elections by September. If this (Lok Sabha) election is planned in the coming months, then only one or two months will remain till September, why then undertake double expenditure? Why does the government not go for simultaneous elections?" Wani said.   -- PTI
President Draupadi Murmu
President Draupadi Murmu
17:55   New species of head-shield sea slug named after President Murmu
Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) scientists have discovered a new species of head-shield sea slug from the Bay of Bengal in the Odisha-West Bengal border and named it in the honour of President Droupadi Murmu, an official said. 

The new species which was discovered from Udaipur and Digha coast of Odisha and West Bengal and named as "Melanochlamys Droupadi", said Dhriti Banerjee, director, ZSI. 

The proposed common name of the new species is Droupadi's head-shield sea slug, said one of the scientists. 

The species was confirmed by examination of morphological, anatomical and molecular characteristics. It is a small invertebrate with a maximum length up to 7 mm, brownish black in colour with a ruby red spot in the hind end, shell inside the body, hermaphrodite, normally crawling on the intertidal zone, which left the crawl mark behind them in the sandy beaches. 

Their reproduction apparently occurs between November and January, said Prasad Chandra Tudu, Marine Aquarium Regional Centre, ZSI, Digha. 

Melanochlamys Droupadi is a unique species with a ruby red spot on the left posterior side unlike the other species reported throughout the world, said Tudu, who was leading the study along with S K Sajan of ZSI Kolkata, Smrutirekha Acharya and Anil Mohapatra of the ZSI's Estuarine Biology Regional Centre, Gopalpur-on-Sea. 

Tudu said the distribution of this species was presently recorded only from a 3-km stretch of the Digha-Udaipur coast. 

The study has revealed it was the second species discovered in the country, he added. They have collected around 145 specimens from the stretch from February 2021 to March 2023 for the purposes of the study. 

"After a thorough study, we confirmed the species was a new one," he added. 

The research paper was published in the leading molluscan journal, Mollusca Research, in its online edition. 

Tudu said the sea slugs are active marauders and rapid hunters, feeding on small animals like ribbon worms, marine worms and small fishes by sucking the whole prey into their mouths. It plays a secondary consumer role in the ecosystem, he added.
17:33   Modi's Bengal blitzkrieg begins tomorrow
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit West Bengal on a two-day tour from Friday during which he will address two public rallies and inaugurate several government initiatives in Hooghly and Nadia districts, state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said. 

 Modi will address two public meetings, the first at Arambagh in Hooghly district on Friday, followed by another at Krishnanagar in Nadia district on Saturday, he said.

 "The PM will return to the state on March 6 to address a rally at Barasat in North 24 Parganas," Majumdar said. According to a government release, Modi will participate in a public event on Friday and inaugurate, dedicate and lay the foundation stone for multiple development projects worth over Rs 7,200 crore in Arambagh. 

 On Saturday, he will head to Krishnanagar to inaugurate, dedicate and lay the foundation stone for development projects totaling Rs 15,000 crore, it said. 

 Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a programme here last year, had set a target of winning 35 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal out of 42. In the 2019 general elections, the saffron party had bagged 18 seats in the state. PTI
DKS with Sukhvinder Sukhu
DKS with Sukhvinder Sukhu
17:16   Sukhu takes responsibility for Singhvi's poll loss
Himachal CM Sukhvinder Sukhu takes responsibility for Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi's defeat in RS poll, says Central observer DK Shivakumar. 

The Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister who was appointed as an observer for the Himachal Pradesh political crisis said on Thursday that all is well and the government will complete its five-year tenure. 

 "All is well. This government will stay for 5 years. All issues have been sorted out. We are hearing all the MLAs. There is no problem in the government," DK Shivakumar after meeting with HP Congress leaders Vikramaditya Singh and Pratibha Singh in Shimla said. 

 Himachal Pradesh in-charge Rajiv Shukla has left Shimla. Observers Bhupendra Singh Hooda and D K Shivakumar will leave from Shimla today.
WB governor with Sandeshkhali women. File pic
WB governor with Sandeshkhali women. File pic
17:03   Shahjahan under mehman-nawazi of state police: BJP
Making a dig at the TMC government and West Bengal Police over the arrest of absconding strongman and Sandeshkhali accused Sheikh Shahjahan, and, his 10-day remand, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi on Thursday said he has been put under the 'mehman-nawazi' (hospitality) of the state police in a bid to avoid arrest by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and the CBI. 

 Close to two months after he was reported untraceable in the wake of the attack on an ED team, which was on its way to raid his residence in the North 24 Parganas in connection with the alleged ration scam, the TMC strongman, who is also alleged by the women of Sandeshkhali to have perpetrated grave atrocities along with his henchmen, was arrested earlier in the day. 

 Addressing a press briefing at the BJP headquarters in the national capital on Thursday, Trivedi said, "After being reported missing and untraceable for close to two months, Sheikh Shahjahan was arrested all of a sudden. However, no charges have been pressed against him for perpetrating atrocities on the women of Sandeshkhali and sending them inappropriate messages. It is evident that he was arrested under pressure from the high court (which cleared his arrest by the ED, CBI or state police) and the spontaneous uprising in Sandeshkhali, much against the wishes of the ruling party."
16:43   Nothing objectionable: HC on Netflix Indrani docu
The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it has not found anything against the prosecution or the trial in the Netflix docu-series on Indrani Mukerjea, accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora. 

 A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande dismissed the petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), seeking a stay on the release of the movie till the trial in the case is complete.

 This paves the way for the release of the series on OTT platform Netflix. The bench said it had viewed the series and found nothing in it that would prejudice the trial or the prosecution. The docu-series, titled 'The Indrani Mukerjea Story: The Buried Truth', delves into the disappearance of 25-year-old Bora and was scheduled to premiere on streaming platform Netflix on February 23. 

The bench had last week directed Netflix to hold a special screening of the series for the CBI officers and lawyers concerned. Netflix had then said it would not air the series till Thursday (February 29). On Thursday, Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas, appearing for the CBI, said the series prejudices administration of justice and fair trial. 

He claimed that it may create a public perception which would in turn affect the judicial mind. The high court, however, noted that it too had watched the series and had in fact thought that the CBI would not press its demand against the series. "There is nothing in the series that goes against the prosecution or the trial. We tried to look at it in every single way, but honestly we did not find anything," the bench said.

 It added that not a single witness, whose interview has been taken by the makers of the series, have said any single word against the prosecution. "Not a single witness has said anything. Let us not say much as the series is yet to be released. Tell us which witness has spoken which is contrary to the prosecution? In fact it is favouring the prosecution," the high court said.
16:34   Laapataa Ladies Review
The film is gentle yet firm in calling out the hypocrisies colouring everyday mindsets and prejudices without acquiring the high-handedness of a crusader, observes Sukanya Verma.
Read it here
The Himachal CM with the Singhs. File pic
The Himachal CM with the Singhs. File pic
16:13   Natural for MLAs to be upset: Virbhadra's wife
Even as Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu held a breakfast meeting with MLAs to deal with the crisis facing his government, the state Congress president Pratibha Singh and her MLA son Vikramaditya Singh continued to exert pressure on him, saying they had highlighted issues they thought "were not correct". 

 Pratibha Singh, wife of former Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, appeared to back the six rebel MLAs who had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections, saying it was natural for MLAs to be upset. 

 "Definitely, why not? When it has been more than a year and you take no cognizance or listen to them, it is natural for them to be upset. Had you sat them down, talked to them and found out a solution, this situation would not have occurred," Pratibha Singh said, answering a query. 

 The state Congress chief invoked the legacy of her late husband, saying that she was only following his sentiments for the state. 

 "Whatever step we took, keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of Himachal Pradesh, people are connected with us. The legacy of Virbhadra Singh is with us. We are going ahead, following in his sentiments of what he wanted for the state. We brought to their (party high command) knowledge again and again about whatever we thought was not correct. We said these things before them in yesterday's meeting as well. We are waiting to see what decisions they take," Pratibha Singh,MP, said.
16:00   Enough work for 10 yrs: HC to Shahjahan's lawyer
Stating that the court has "no sympathy" for Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday asked his lawyer to appear before it on March 4 when a suo motu motion on alleged sexual atrocities and land grabbing of tribal people at Sandeshkhali will be heard. 

Sheikh's lawyer appeared before the court and sought to make an urgent submission with regard to his client. Stating that the court has "no sympathy" for Sheikh, a division bench presided by Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam asked him to appear before it on Monday, when a suo motu motion on alleged sexual atrocities and land grabbing of tribal people at Sandeshkhali is scheduled to be heard. 

 The court said that if Sheikh had given vakalatnama to the lawyer, then his whereabouts were known.

 The vakalatnama is a document by which a client authorises a lawyer to represent him/her before the court. Sheikh, accused of sexual atrocities and land grab was arrested by the state police on Thursday morning. 

 When Sheikh's lawyer stated that an anticipatory bail prayer made by him was rejected two days ago and four other applications made by him were still pending before the courts, the CJ said that 42 cases were pending against the TMC leader.

 The CJ told the lawyer that he will have wonderful work for the next 10 years as he would be busy handling matters relating to Sheikh. "For the next ten years, you will not have the time to handle any other brief," the CJ said. He said that the lawyer will need to have a big legal team to handle cases relating to Sheikh. PTI
Shahjahan Sheikh is a TMC strongman
Shahjahan Sheikh is a TMC strongman
15:29   TMC suspends Shahjahan for six years
TMC leader Derek O'Brien in Kolkata announces, "TMC has decided to suspend Sheikh Shahjahan from the party for six years."

Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh, accused of sexual abuse and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali, was arrested in the early hours of Thursday after being on the run for 55 days that witnessed violent protests led by local women and a fierce political slugfest.

Additional Director-General of Police (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar said Sheikh was arrested from a house in Bamanpukur in Minakhan police station area, around 30 km away from the island of Sandeshkhali on the outskirts of Sunderbans, in North 24 Parganas district.Sheikh was hiding in the house along with a few associates, police said.

After the arrest, he was taken to the Basirhat court, which sent him to 10 days in police custody.
15:23   Shahjahan under 'legal protection' now, mocks BJP
The BJP on Thursday dubbed the arrest of Shajahan Sheikh as a "legal protection" given to him by the West Bengal police. BJP national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi slammed the state's ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) for not slapping Sheikh with the criminal charges levelled against him by women in Sandeshkhali. 

 The complainant women have accused the local TMC strongman and some other party members of sexually assaulting them and grabbing land. Sheikh was arrested in the early hours of Thursday after being on the run for 55 days that witnessed violent protests led by the Sandeshkhali women and a fierce political slugfest. 

 Trivedi claimed that Sheikh has been arrested in the case involving violent attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials by a mob affiliated to him.

 The BJP leader asked at a press conference as to why the West Bengal police has in such a case not handed over his custody to the central agency. He said the video of Sheikh striding ahead with cops following him looked more like a case of him being escorted instead of being under arrest. 

 The TMC leader was under "secular protection" all these days when he was supposedly on the run while he is now under legal protection, Trivedi said. PTI
15:01   Himachal completely under control: Cong
The Congress on Thursday asserted that the situation in Himachal Pradesh is "completely under control" and the BJP has failed in its attempts to "destabilise the elected government" in the hill state. 

 The Congress government faces a crisis after the ruling party in the state lost the lone Rajya Sabha seat despite having the numbers due to cross-voting by some of its own MLAs, who are now siding with the BJP. 

The six MLAS who cross-voted have been disqualified by the Speaker and are likely to challenge their disqualification from the house. Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh said like other states, the BJP started the game of using money power, power of the government and muscle power to destabilise the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh but has failed. 

 "Various things are going around in the media regarding Himachal Pradesh. But we want to say one thing very clearly. The Prime Minister and the so-called 'Chanakya' have completely failed in Himachal. After the intervention of the Congress leadership and the promptness of our observers, the situation there is completely under the control of the Congress," he said in a post in Hindi on X.

 "Like several other states, the BJP had started the game of money power, power of government and muscle power in Himachal Pradesh too to destabilize the Congress government elected by the people with absolute majority. 

 "But they failed because the blessings of the people of Himachal are with the Congress. After this incident our resolve has become stronger. We will continue to serve the people of Himachal Pradesh," the Congress leader said. 

 In a major embarrassment for the Congress, the BJP on Tuesday won the Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi and apparently setting the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly. 

 Amid the crisis, several Congress MLAs met at Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's house on Thursday even as there are demands from a section within the Congress to replace Sukhu as the chief minister.

 In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress had 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators. The remaining three seats are held by independents. PTI
14:54   TADA court acquits Abdul Tunda in 1993 blasts
The Terrorist and Anti-Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court on Thursday acquitted Abdul Karim Tunda, the main accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case. The court acquitted Tunda due to a lack of evidence.

Advocate Shafqat Sultani of Tunda said that the CBI failed to present any strong evidence against Abdul Karim Tunda.

"Abdul Karim Tunda is innocent, today the Court gave this judgement. Abdul Karim Tunda has been acquitted in all sections and all acts. CBI prosecution could not produce any concrete piece of evidence before the court in TADA, IPC, Railway Acts, Arms Act, or Explosive Substances Act," Advocate Sultani told reporters.

The CBI had accused Tunda of being the mastermind behind the blasts on four trains on the first anniversary of the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.

"We had been saying from the beginning that Abdul Karim Tunda is innocent...Irfan and Hamiduddin have been convicted and the quantum of the sentence will be pronounced shortly," he added.

The charges were framed against Tunda, and two other accused, identified as Irfan alias Pappu and Hamiruddin, for orchestrating the blasts in Lucknow, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Surat and Mumbai on the intervening night of December 5-6, 1993. 
14:26   Rs 30L fine for Air India for wheelchair pax death
Aviation regulator DGCA on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for the incident where an 80-year-old passenger collapsed and later died after walking from plane to terminal at the Mumbai airport after not getting a wheelchair. 

 The incident happened on February 12. A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday said a penalty of Rs 30 lakh has been imposed on Air India as it failed to provide any wheelchair to the elderly passenger. 

 "Further, Air India did not inform about any action taken by the airline against the erring employee(s) and the airline also failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future," the official said. 

 Earlier this month, DGCA issued a show cause notice to the carrier, which submitted its response to the watchdog on February 20. The airline submitted that the elderly passenger wished to walk along with his wife who was on a wheelchair too, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

 "An advisory has also been issued to all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance during embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey," the official said. PTI
14:13   Akhilesh won't appear before CBI for questioning
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will not appear before the CBI on Thursday for questioning in an illegal mining case registered five years ago in which he is a witness, party sources said. 

 A senior party leader said Yadav has "expressed his inability to appear before the CBI on Monday and asked the agency why it did not seek any information from him in the case for the past five years". 

 The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister has, however, assured all help to the CBI in the probe, the leader said. Yadav attended a meeting of PDA -- "Picchda (backward classes), Dalit and Alpsankhyak (minorities)" -- at the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow.
14:11   Modi likely to visit Odisha on March 5
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Odisha on March 5, a senior BJP leader said. The itinerary of the trip is yet to be prepared, BJP state election co-incharge Lata Usendi said. 

 State BJP president Manmohan Samal had earlier that the the PM would visit Odisha in the first week of March, and address a public meeting at Chandokhole in Jajpur district. Modi last visited the state on February 3 and unveiled projects worth over Rs 68,000 crore. He had also addressed a political rally during that trip. PTI
14:10   LIVE! Will CBI handle Sandeshkhali probe? Hearing on...
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday said that a PIL praying for transfer of investigation into alleged sexual assault of women at West Bengal's Sandeshkhali to the CBI or an SIT will be listed for hearing on Monday, along with a suo motu motion on the issue. 

 The suo motu motion of the court pertains to allegations of sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing of tribals in the restive Sandeshkhali. 

 Petitioner-lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava requested the court that his PIL be taken up on Monday along with the suo motu motion. A division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam said the PIL will be listed for hearing along with the suo motu matter on Monday. 

 The bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, directed the petitioner to serve notice to the parties in the matter. 

 The PIL was filed by Srivastava, praying for transfer of investigation into alleged sexual assault of women at Sandeshkhali to the CBI or to a special investigation team (SIT) situated outside West Bengal. He also prayed for formation of a committee of three retired high court judges to investigate the matter.
13:53   CID takes over probe into cases against Shahjahan
The West Bengal CID on Thursday took over the investigation of cases lodged against TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh, who was arrested from Minakah in North 24 Parganas district, a senior official said.

"We will probe into the cases against him (Sheikh). He has been brought to Bhavani Bhavan (Bengal Police headquarters) for questioning," the official said.

Sheikh, who was apprehended in the early hours of Thursday, was brought to Bhawani Bhawan from a local court in Basirhat, which sent him to 10 days police custody.

He was arrested in two cases in connection with an assault on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers on January 5 during a raid at his house in an alleged ration scam. 

He was booked under various sections of the IPC, including 147 (rioting) and 307 (attempt to murder), police said.  
13:11   Shahjahan was holed up 30km from Sandeshkhali
TMC strongman Shajahan Sheikh, accused of sexual abuse and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali, was arrested in the early hours of Thursday after being on the run for 55 days that witnessed violent protests led by local women and a fierce political slugfest. 

 Additional Director-General of Police (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar said Sheikh was arrested from a house in Bamanpukur in Minakhan police station area, around 30 km away from the island of Sandeshkhali on the outskirts of Sunderbans, in North 24 Parganas district. 

 Sheikh was hiding in the house along with a few associates, police said.

 After the arrest, he was taken to the Basirhat court, which sent him to 10 days in police custody. 

 Sheikh, who has been at the centre of a massive political firestorm, came out of the lock-up around 10.40 am dressed in white kurta-pajama, and walked to the courtroom with policemen behind him. 

He also made a gesture with his hand at the media contingent waiting there. After the hearing, which lasted for barely two minutes, he returned to the lock-up. Later, police whisked him away to an undisclosed destination. Sheikh was taken into custody within 24 hours of the Calcutta High Court stating that the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the West Bengal Police can arrest him.
Shajahan Sheikh arrives at a police station
Shajahan Sheikh arrives at a police station
12:33   Criminals calling shots in Bengal: Guv on Shahjahan
West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose on Thursday welcomed the arrest of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh in Sandeshkhali case and asserted that the time has come to put criminals, who are ruling the roost in parts of Bengal, behind bars. 

 Absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh was arrested on the early hours of Thursday from a house in Minakhan, around 30 km away from the island of Sandeshkhali. 

 "This is the beginning of an end. We have to put an end to the cycle of violence in Bengal. In parts of Bengal, the goons are ruling the roost. This must end and the gangsters should be put behind bars," the governor said at a press conference in Kolkata. 

 Bose maintained that the Sandeshkhali incident is only the tip of an iceberg, suggesting there is much more to it than what meets the eye. PTI
12:09   Hollywood remake of 'Drishyam' in the works
Production house Panorama Studios on Thursday said it has teamed up with Gulfstream Pictures and JOAT Films for the Hollywood remake of the "Drishyam" franchise. Panorama Studios has acquired the international remake rights to the Malayalam movies "Drishyam 1 & 2" from the original producers Aashirvad Cinemas. 

 The film series is also being developed in South Korea as well as a development deal is being finalised for a Spanish language version, the banner said in a release. 

 Kumar Mangat Pathak, Chairman and Managing Director, Panorama Studios, said he is excited to celebrate the story of "Drishyam" with audiences worldwide. "We are very happy to collaborate with Gulfstream Pictures and JOAT Films to create this story in English for Hollywood. After Korea and Hollywood, our mission is to produce 'Drishyam' in 10 countries in the next three to five years," he said in a statement. 

 "We have received immense love from our Indian audiences, who have made the 'Drishyam' franchise a massive success. The strength of 'Drishyam' lies in its story, and we want it to be enjoyed by audiences globally," added producer Abhishek Pathak, who also directed "Drishyam 2" (Hindi). 

 "Drishyam", the 2013 Malayalam crime thriller, revolved around Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and his family, who come under suspicion when Varun Prabhakar, the son of the IG Geetha Prabhakar, goes missing. 

The movie was written and directed by Jeethu Joseph. Mike Karz and Bill Bindley of Gulfstream Pictures, the banner behind "Blended" and "Upgraded", said they are happy to collaborate with Panorama Studios and JOAT Films on the English language adaptation of "Drishyam".
Assam CM on a bike rally
Assam CM on a bike rally
12:04   Rs 1,643 crore recoverable from Assam bandh agitators: DGP
A day after opposition parties of Assam threatened a state-wide bandh if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is implemented, DGP Gyanendra Pratap Singh on Thursday warned that financial losses, estimated to be Rs 1,643 crore a day due to the agitation, can be recovered from the organisers. 

 The United Opposition Forum Assam (UOFA), formed in the state in line of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), on Wednesday announced that a state-wide bandh will be called the very next day of the contentious Act coming into force, followed by 'gherao' of the Janata Bhawan (the secretariat) on next day.

In a post on X, Singh shared two pages of a Gauhati High Court order on bandhs, pronounced in 2019, and posted his own post on the issue from June 2022. 

 "Needless to say that with the GSDP of Assam pegged at Rs 5,65,401 crore, loss from a day's bandh would be approximately Rs 1,643 crore recoverable from those who call for such a bandh in accordance with para 35(9) of the aforementioned order of the Hon'ble Gauhati High Court order," he added. Reacting to the DGP's post, Raijor Dal chief and MLA Akhil Gogoi said there will be no problem at all if the CAA is not implemented. 

 "You (Centre) will bring a draconian law and if we protest, then we will be punished for making the losses. Who is to be blamed for this loss? Is it BJP or us? They are planning to give citizenship to 15-20 lakh Bangladeshis and we cannot even protest! 

 "Who is this DGP? Why does he not tell the Centre to withdraw this law if he is so concerned about the financial losses to the state?" asked Gogoi, who had spent 567 days in jail for his alleged role in violent anti-CAA agitation of 2019 before a Special NIA Court cleared him of all charges.

 Gogoi, who is the Chief Spokesperson of the UOFA, claimed that Assamese identity and culture will die if the CAA is implemented in the state.
Himachal Pradesh Speaker Pathania
Himachal Pradesh Speaker Pathania
11:36   6 Cong MLAs, who cross-voted in HP, disqualified
Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker disqualifies six Congress MLAs who defied party whip and cross-voted in favour of BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls, have been disqualified.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania says, "Six MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of anti-defection law against themselves... I declare that the six people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect."
11:31   'King of Sandeshkhali' sent to 10-day police custody
TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh of Sandeshkhali was sent to 10 days in police custody by a court in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Thursday. Sheikh was produced before the court in Basirhat around 10.40 am after his arrest from Minakhan in the early hours. The state police sought 14 days of custody, but the court granted 10 days.
Deepika, Ranveer posted this image on Instagram
Deepika, Ranveer posted this image on Instagram
10:51   Deepika, Ranveer expecting baby in September
Power couple Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone are all set to embrace parenthood. 

The 'DeepVeer' are expecting their first child.

On Thursday, the couple took to Instagram and shared the good news with their fans and followers. The announcement image featured the baby's clothes, shoes and playful stuff.

The image mentioned Deepika's delivery date, "September 2024."As soon as the news was shared, fans and industry members chimed in the comment section.

Mom-to-be Richa Chadha wrote, "badhai."Sonam Kapoor commented, "Congratulations."Manish Malhotra posted, "congratulations."
Sandeshkhali women have accused him of land grab and sexual assaults
Sandeshkhali women have accused him of land grab and sexual assaults
10:31   Shahjahan arrested only for assault on ED officers
West Bengal police said on Thursday that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan's arrest was in connection with an assault on officers of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) during a raid in January this year. 

 "Sheikh Shahjahan, one of the principal accused in a case which happened on January 5, 2024, where ED officers were assaulted during the course of a raid they were conducting," South Bengal ADG Supratim Sarkar said during a press conference following the arrest.

On complaints under Section 354, the ADG said, "In this case the complaint did not pertain to 354." He further said that Shahjahan will be produced in Basirhat court today. 

 "We arrested him yesterday night from Minakha Police area. We have forwarded Sheikh Shahjahan to Basirhat court. We will ask for police remand," the ADG said. On sexual assault complaints, the ADG said that there were many cases and most of them happened around two years back so investigation will take time. 

 "Many cases after February 7,8,9, those came up then, pertain to incidents that happened 2,3 years back. So investigating them, gathering evidence takes time," Supratim Sarkar said. Sheikh Shahjahan was arrested by West Bengal police on Thursday morning in connection with allegations against him in ongoing cases.
The Congress observers with CM Sukhu in Shimla yesterday
The Congress observers with CM Sukhu in Shimla yesterday
10:10   Sukhu calls breakfast meet with all Cong MLAs
Ahead of the Assembly session, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has called a 'breakfast meeting' of all Congress MLAs on Thursday in Shimla."It is an important meeting. Let's see what happens...This is an informal meeting," party MLA Ashish Butail.

Congress MLA Sudarshan Singh Bablu said, "The CM has called everyone for breakfast. Let's see what discussions are taking place...We received the message last night. Our Government will continue under the leadership of the Chief Minister."

On Wednesday the Congress MLAs met individually with the two central observers DK Shivakumar and Bhupendra Hooda. The observers will now submit their report to the party high command.
TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh
TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh
09:36   Shahjahan will get 5-star facility in jail: Suvendu
West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Thursday claimed that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan is in the "safe custody of Mamata Police" as part of a 'deal'. 

 Sheikh Shahjahan was arrested by West Bengal police on Thursday morning in connection with allegations of 'sexual assault and land grab'. The LoP, in a post on X, alleged that Shahjahan will be extended five-star facilities while in jail. 

 "The Scoundrel of Sandeshkhali, Seikh Shahjahan, is in the safe custody of Mamata Police since 12 am last night. He was taken away from the Bermajurr-II Gram Panchayat area, after he managed to negotiate a deal with the Mamata Police, through influential mediators, that he would be taken care of properly while in police and judicial custody," Suvendu Adhikari said in his post. 

 "He will be extended 5-star facilities during his time behind bars and will have access to a mobile phone, through which he will be able to lead the Tolamool Party virtually," he added. 

 "Even a bed in the Woodburn Ward will be kept ready and vacant for him if he chooses to spend some time there," Adhikari said. 

 Shahjahan's arrest comes three days after the Calcutta High Court Chief Justice ordered to add Sheikh Shahjahan to the Sandeshkhali case.
09:28   Ex-Intel India head killed in hit-and-run at Navi Mumbai
Former Intel India country head Avtar Saini was killed after a speeding cab hit him while he was cycling in Navi Mumbai township of Maharashtra, police said on Thursday. 

 The accident took place at around 5.50 am on Wednesday, when Saini (68) was riding a bicycle along with fellow cyclists on the Palm Beach Road in Nerul area, an official said. 

 The speeding cab hit Saini's bicycle from behind and the driver then tried to escape from the spot, with the bicycle's frame wedged under the front wheels of the cab, he said. Saini received injuries and the fellow cyclists rushed him to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival, the official said.

Saini, a resident of suburban Chembur, was credited with working on the Intel 386 and 486 microprocessors. He also went on to lead the design of the company's Pentium processor. 

 The police have registered an FIR against the cab driver under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by doing an act rashly or negligently so as to endanger human life) and 304-A (causing death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide), and provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. The accused has not yet been arrested, an official from the NRI police station said. PTI
08:58   14 killed, 20 injured as pick-up vehicle overturns in MP
Fourteen people were killed and 20 others injured when a pick-up vehicle overturned in Madhya Pradesh's Dindori district in the wee hours of Thursday, a police official said.
The accident took place near Badjhar Ghat at around 1.30 am when the vehicle's driver lost control over the wheels.
As a result, the vehicle overturned, killing 14 people and injuring 20 others, the official said.
The victims had gone to Amhai Devri village to take part in a programme in the district's Shahpura block and were returning when the accident took place.
Soon after getting information about the incident, Dindori collector and superintendent of police rushed to help the victims.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav expressed grief over the incident and announced an assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. -- PTI
08:23   Farmer's death: Punjab Police registers murder case, paves way for cremation
Seven days after the death of Shubhkaran Singh during clashes between protesting farmers and Haryana security personnel at the Khanauri border point, the Punjab Police on Wednesday night registered a case of murder.

Shubhkaran (21), a native of Bathinda, was killed and 12 security personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri on the Punjab-Haryana border on February 21. The incident occurred when some protesting farmers were trying to head towards police barricades, put up to halt their "Delhi Chalo" march.

The Punjab Police has registered a case under sections 302 (murder) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the Indian Penal Code at the Patran Police station in Patiala.

The case has been registered against an unidentified person, according to the FIR, registered on the complaint of Shubhkaran's father.

According to the FIR, the place of occurrence has been shown at Garhi in Haryana's Jind district. 

Khanauri is located near Jind district.

The registration of the FIR brings to an end the stalemate between the farmers and the Punjab government and paves the way for post-mortem of the body.

Farmer leaders spearheading the march were adamant that an FIR be registered before allowing the post-mortem. The body is being kept at the mortuary of Rajindra Hospital in Patiala.

Shubhkaran is likely to cremated on Thursday. -- PTI
08:07   TMC's Sandeshkhali strongman Shajahan Sheikh held
Absconding Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh, accused of alleged sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, was arrested on Thursday morning, police said.

He was arrested from a house in Minakhah in North 24 Parganas district where he was hiding, they said.

After the arrest, he was taken to the Basirhat court, they said.

He is at present in the court lockup, a police officer told PTI, adding that he will be produced before the court later in the day.

Sheikh has remained at large for more than 50 days since an Enforcement Directorate team that went to raid his house was attacked allegedly by a mob.

People of the Sandeshkhali area have been staging violent protests demanding his arrest. 
File image
File image
01:43   Internet ban lifted in Manipur's Churachandpur
The Manipur government on Wednesday lifted the suspension on internet services in Churachandpur district following improvement of law and order situation there, according to a home department order. 

The services were suspended on February 16 following attack of senior officer's offices. 

"The government of Manipur is pleased to revoke the order regarding suspension of internet services' and orders restoration of the services in the whole revenue jurisdiction of Churachandpur district," the order read. 

The state government on February 16 ordered temporary suspension of internet services in Churachandpur district for five days after a mob entered the district office complexes of the superintendent of police and deputy commissioner and engaged in vandalism and torched government properties. -- PTI
01:33   ED conducts raids in Bengal in Mahadev app-linked money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday conducted raids in six places of West Bengal as part of its investigation into a money laundering case linked to the Mahadev online gaming and betting app that purportedly involved various politicians and bureaucrats from Chhattisgarh, officials said. 

The six places included the residence and office of a businessman in Salt Lake and the house of a share trader at Hatibagan in Kolkata. 

 Several documents related to business transactions, share deals, and bank accounts belonging to the businessman were seized, an official said. 

The team from Chhattisgarh will be checking the documents. 

A total of 15 premises in Mumbai, West Bengal and the Delhi-NCR as part of the investigation, official sources said. 

The ED had earlier said that the alleged illegal funds generated by the app were used to pay bribe to politicians and bureaucrats in Chhattisgarh, from where its main promoters and operatives hail. -- PTI
Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut/File image
Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut/File image
01:09   MVA Lok Sabha seat-sharing deal finalised, announcement soon: Raut
Members of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance agreed on a seat-sharing formula in Maharashtra for the coming Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday and it would be announced soon, Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut said. 

He was talking to reporters after a meeting of the Congress, NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar and Shiv Sena-UBT in Mumbai. 

Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats, second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80). Congress leaders Patole, Prithviraj Chavan, Varsha Gaikwad, NCP (Sharad Pawar faction) leaders Jayant Patil, Jitendra awhad and Anil Deshmukh, and Sena-UBT's Sanjay Raut and Vinayak Raut participated in the meeting. 

A representative of the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was also present. There will be no more meetings to discuss seat-sharing, Raut said. 

 "Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, state Congress president Nana Patole and Prakash Ambedkar will meet to give final approval to the deal and it will be announced at a press conference," the Rajya Sabha member said. -- PTI
File image
File image
00:55   150 companies of central forces to arrive in Bengal in first week of March
Around 150 companies of central forces are likely to reach West Bengal in the first week of March primarily to conduct route marches ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, a senior official of the Election Commission said on Wednesday. 

These security personnel will be deployed in two phases in all parts of the state by March 7, he added. 

"In the first phase, 100 companies of central forces are coming to the state by March 1 and another 50 companies will reach the state by March 7," the official told PTI. 

More forces will arrive after the dates of the polls are announced, he added. 

In the first phase, three companies will be posted in Darjeeling, and another two companies in the second phase, he said. In the two phases, two companies each will be deployed in Siliguri, Kalimpong, the official said, adding that five companies will be deployed in Cooch Behar, four companies each in Jalpaiguri, Raiganj police district, Dakshin Dinajpur, Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum districts. -- PTI
Imagte courtesy @DeepakN172/X
Imagte courtesy @DeepakN172/X
00:52   No metro for farmer: NHRC notices to K'taka, BMRCL
The National Human Rights Commission has sent notices to the Karnataka government and the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation over a report that a farmer was allegedly "stopped" from boarding a metro train by an official at a station because his clothes were "untidy", it said on Wednesday. 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in a statement, said it observes that "no person can be denied access to public transport based on the nature of the clothes he or she is wearing". 

The commission has taken "suo motu cognisance of a media report that a farmer was stopped from boarding a metro train by an official at the Rajajinagar station, Bengaluru in Karnataka because his clothes were untidy. 

Reportedly, the video of the incident went viral on social media," it said. 

The NHRC observed that the content of the media report, if true, amounts to a violation of human rights. 

If someone possesses any objectionable material, only then can he be stopped, according to the provisions of the law, it added. It has issued notices to the Karnataka government. -- PTI