Wed, 22 May 2024
Verdict on OBC quota to Muslims a tight slap: Modi

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Suspected Maoist linked to 2005 massacre held in Bengaluru
A suspected Maoist, who is an accused in the 2005 Venkatammanahalli massacre, was arrested by the police in Bengaluru on Wednesday. 

Kottagere Shankara was nabbed in a coordinated operation with the help of internal security division at Goripalya in Bengaluru, the police said. 

He was working as a driver, they said. 

Tumakuru superintendent of police Ashok KV said in a statement that Pavagada police in association with internal security division arrested Kottagere Shankar. 

According to police sources, on October 2, 2005 at about 10.30 pm nearly 300 Maoists ambushed a police camp at Venkatammanahalli village in Pavagada Taluk of Tumakuru village. 

In this incident, seven policemen on duty were killed and five others were injured. 

A case was registered in Tirumani Police Station in this regard. -- PTI
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Jamia Millia appoints officiating VC hours after HC order
Jamia Millia Islamia on Wednesday appointed Mohammad Shakeel as its officiating vice chancellor, hours after the Delhi high court quashed the appointment of Eqbal Hussain and directed the varsity to make a fresh appointment within one week. 

The high court quashed the appointment of Hussain as the pro-vice chancellor and subsequently as officiating vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, holding that the appointments were not made in conformity with the relevant statute. 

It directed to make a fresh appointment to the post of officiating vice chancellor to ensure that the academic and administrative machinery of the university does not suffer or come to a complete halt. 

The court also asked the President of India to order initiation of the process of appointing a regular VC in the meantime. 

Shakeel is the senior most professor with the department of civil engineering in Jamia. 

He has assumed the charge of the officiating VC till a regular vice chancellor of the university assumes office. 

Shakeel has obtained his BTech and MTech degrees from Aligarh Muslim University and subsequently obtained his PhD degree from the University of Roorkee. -- PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi/File image
Prime Minister Narendra Modi/File image
HC verdict on OBC quota to Muslims a tight slap to Oppn: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called the Calcutta high court decision of striking down the OBC status granted to '77 classes' in West Bengal since 2010 a 'tight slap' to the Opposition and alleged that the INDIA bloc's 'obsession with appeasement' has crossed every limit. 

The Calcutta high court, in its verdict on Wednesday, noted that "religion indeed appears to have been the sole criterion" for declaring these classes as OBCs. 

Stating that the court's mind is not free from doubt that "the said community (Muslims) has been treated as a commodity for political ends," the bench added, "This is clear from the chain of events that led to the classification of the 77 classes as OBCs and their inclusion to be treated as a vote bank." 

Addressing an election meeting in Dwarka here, Modi said every time he utters the word 'Muslim', he is accused of making communal statements and asserted that he is only "exposing" the Opposition "by stating facts". 

"Just today (Wednesday), the Calcutta high court has given a big slap to this INDI alliance. The court has cancelled all OBC certificates issued since 2010. Why? Because the West Bengal government issued unwarranted OBC certificates to Muslims just because of the vote bank," the PM said.   

"They have crossed every limit in their obsession with appeasement," he said. -- PTI
HC permits Ashneer Grover, wife to travel to US
The Delhi high court on Wednesday permitted former BharatPe MD Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover to travel to the United States of America. 

They were stopped from boarding a flight in November 2023. 

A look out circular was issued by the Economic Offences Wing. 

They had already challenged the LOC. 

Justice Subramonium Prasad allowed the couple to travel abroad after considering their plea. 

Justice Prasad allowed Ashneer Grover to travel from May 26 to June 12. 

Thereafter, Madhuri Jain Grover has been permitted to travel from June 15. 

The high court has asked the Delhi police to suggest the conditions for Grovers to ensure their return to India. Grovers had moved an application seeking permission to travel to the US. -- PTI
International Space Station/Courtesy NASA
International Space Station/Courtesy NASA
US to send Indian astronaut to ISS this year
America will send an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station by the end of the year, US envoy to India Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday. 

He said the NISAR project, a joint Earth-observing mission between US space agency NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation, is also likely to be launched by the end of the year. 

"We are going to put an Indian astronaut into the International Space Station this year. 

"We promised when PM (Narendra) Modi came (to the US in 2023) that by the end of this year, we will do this and our mission is still on track to be able to go in space this year," he said. 

The US ambassador was speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark the 248th Independence Day of the United States. 

He said both India and the US should look at coordinating research and critical emerging technology so that they can increasingly leverage each other's strengths. 

The diplomat said India landed 'Chandrayaan 3' on the Moon last year at a fraction of the cost that the US incurred on a similar lunar mission. -- PTI
Law must take its course: Mallikarjun Kharge on Swati Maliwal case
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said the law must take its own course in the alleged assault of Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal, as he refused to be drawn drawn into the row over the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar in the matter. 

"I do not want to get into this issue. The law must take its own course," he told PTI when asked about the recent developments in Delhi over the alleged assault on Maliwal. 

"When the law is effective, people will have fear and that is why the law must work. If Modi ji also follows the law and rules, people will not indulge in any wrong things," Kharge said, refusing to be drawn into the controversy. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's ex-personal secretary Bibhav Kumar was arrested after Maliwal accused him of assaulting her inside the chief minister's residence last week when she had gone to meet the CM. 

Polling in the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi will be held on May 25 for all the seven seats. -- PTI
British PM Rishi Sunak
British PM Rishi Sunak
British PM Rishi Sunak calls elections on July 4
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday ended frenzied speculation by announcing that the country's general election will be held on July 4. 

In an address from the lectern on the steps of 10 Downing Street on a rainy London evening, the country's first prime minister of Indian heritage confirmed a summer poll in six weeks' time and that the parliament would soon be dissolved after he formally informed King Charles III of the election timeline. 

The 44-year-old leader laid out his record in office in his pitch to the British electorate, who will soon give their verdict at the ballot box. 

"I will do everything in my power to provide you with the strongest possible protection I can. That is my promise to you now is the moment for Britain to choose its future," he said. 

It comes as the governing Conservative Party is forecast for a general election drubbing by most opinion polls, with the Opposition Labour Party holding a firm lead after a series of recent byelection and local election victories. 

A Labour spokesperson said the party is "fully ready to go whenever" and that the country is "crying out for a general election".
BJP's Pankaja Munde
BJP's Pankaja Munde
Pankaja Munde, NCP (SP) rival get notices over poll expenses
BJP's Beed Lok Sabha candidate and former Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde and the NCP (SP) nominee for the seat have been served notices over alleged irregularities in their poll expenses, an official said on Wednesday. 

District Election Officer and Collector Deepa Mudhol Munde issued the notices to Munde and her rival Bajrang Sonavane of the Sharad Pawar-headed NCP (SP) on Tuesday. 

Lok Sabha polls in Beed were held in the fourth phase on May 13. 

The notice was issued to Sonavane for allegedly not including a spend of Rs 9.59 lakh between April 22 and May 10 in his election expenses register, said an official release. 

According to Section 77 of The Representation Of The People Act, 1951, every candidate should provide the correct account of their expenditures from the date of filing nomination to the date of results, the official said. 

Expense observers then match expense documents, vouchers, and receipts against records maintained by the candidates in their daily expense registers. 

In the case of Munde, an amount of Rs 20.94 lakh was spent between May 2 and May 10 but not mentioned in her expense register, the release said. 

Through the notices, the candidates have been directed to make the records clear, an official said.
An Indian embassy official meets the students/Courtesy Indian embassy on X
An Indian embassy official meets the students/Courtesy Indian embassy on X
Situation in Bishkek back to normal: Indian mission
The situation in Bishkek has returned to normal, the Indian embassy in the Kyrgyzstan capital said on Wednesday, days after mobs targeted foreigners in the city triggering concerns over Indian students there. 

Last week, India asked its students in Bishkek to stay indoors following the incidents of violence. At present, about 17,000 Indian students are in the Kyrgyz Republic and most of them are in Bishkek. 

The embassy has been concerned at the recent incidents of violence against foreign students in Bishkek. 

"However, due to swift action by the Kyrgyz authorities the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal," the Indian mission said in a statement. 

"No untoward incident has been reported in Bishkek during the past few days. There are no restrictions on the movement of transport or people. However, as a measure of precaution, the classes are being conducted in an online mode," it said. 

The embassy urged the students and their families not to pay attention to rumours. 

"The embassy has been working actively with the universities and senior government functionaries to address the concerns of the Indian students. Two helplines 0555710041 and 0555005538 have been functional 24x7 where students can continue to reach out to the Embassy for all kinds of assistance," it said. -- PTI
Kerala crime branch files charge sheet against Congress MLA in rape case
The crime branch wing of the Kerala police on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against Perumbavoor MLA and Congress leader Eldhose Kunnappilly in the case of rape of a woman. 

In the charge sheet filed before the Neyyattinkara Additional sessions court, the crime branch has also named two of his friends as accused. 

The charge sheet says that Kunnappilly raped the woman multiple times at various places and even tried to murder her after an altercation at Kovalam. 

The police had registered a case against the two-time legislator after the woman complained that she was raped multiple times since July 2022. 

Besides rape and attempt to murder, the Congress MLA has also been charged with assault, following a complaint from the alleged victim who stated Kunnappilly had abducted and manhandled her. 

The victim has also claimed that Kunnappilly offered her Rs 30 lakh to settle the case registered against him. -- PTI
Juvenile court cancels Porsche driver's bail, sends him to remand home
Following an outcry, the Juvenile Justice Board here on Wednesday cancelled the bail granted to a 17-year-old youth allegedly involved in a car accident and remanded him to an observation home till June 5. 

The board had on Sunday granted bail to him hours after the accident in which two persons were killed, while also asking him to write a 300-word essay on road accidents, an order that drew an onslaught of criticism from various quarters. 

The police then approached the Board again, seeking a review of its order and permission to treat the teenager as an adult accused on the ground that the crime was of heinous nature. 

The police have registered a First Information Report against the minor, son of a real estate developer, under IPC Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 304 A (causing death by negligence), 279 (rash driving ), 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety) and relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act. -- PTI
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Mumbai civic body sets up expert panel for billboard norms after mishap
The Mumbai civic body has set up an eight-member panel that includes experts from IIT Bombay for developing comprehensive guidelines concerning billboards and outdoor advertising in the city, an official said on Wednesday. 

The guidelines will balance the "aesthetic, economic, and regulatory aspects" of outdoor advertising in Mumbai, said the official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, citing a BMC notification of May 8 concerning the committee. 

On May 13, a giant illegal hoarding in the city's Ghatkopar area fell on a petrol pump during gusty winds and unseasonal rains, leaving 17 dead so far and over 70 injured. 

Rakesh Kumar, an ex-employee of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, is the environment expert on the panel, while IIT Bombay's Prof. Avjit Maji, Prof. Nagendra Rao Velaga, besides Prof. Shreekumar from the department of Industrial Design, are other members. 

BMC additional commissioner (City) Ashwini Joshi will head the panel, which also has joint police commissioner (traffic) Anil Kumbhare, BMC's deputy commissioner (special) Kiran Dighavkar and superintendent of licence Anil Kate as members, the official said. -- PTI
IIT alumnus sentenced to life imprisonment in murder of fashion designer in 2008
A special CBI court in Lucknow on Wednesday sentenced an IIT alumnus to life imprisonment in the murder of Mumbai-based fashion designer Adesh Bajpai in 2008. 

The probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation showed that Bajpai had come to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh on August 10, 2008, to meet his friend Rahul Verma, the accused in the case. 

Bajpai had come to Lucknow from Mumbai on August 4 and had then gone to Kanpur on August 10 from where he was reported missing, according to the probe. 

"The deceased Adesh Bajpai and the accused Rahul Verma were members of a group. Adesh Bajpai went with accused Rahul Verma on the night of August 10, 2008, from Moolganj Chauraha, Kanpur," the CBI spokesperson said on Wednesday. 

The agency had taken over two cases -- one related to a gunny bag with human remains found in the IIT-Kanpur compound on the basis of a report by a security guard and the second related to a missing persons report filed by Bajpai's father. -- PTI
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Govt fines Nadella, others in LinkedIn case
The corporate affairs ministry on Wednesday slapped fines on Microsoft-owned LinkedIn India, Satya Nadella and eight other individuals for violation of the significant beneficial owner norms under the companies law. 

Nadella is the chief of Microsoft, which acquired the professional networking platform LinkedIn in December 2016. 

In a 63-page order, the Registrar of Companies ((NCT of Delhi & Haryana) said that LinkedIn India and the individuals violated the Significant Beneficial Owner norms under the Companies Act, 2013. 

"... Satya Nadella and Ryan Roslansky are the SBOs in relation to the subject company and are liable to a penalty under section 90(10) of the Act, due to their failure to report as per section 90(1). Ryan Roslansky was appointed as the global CEO of LinkedIn Corporation on 1st June 2020 and started reporting to Satya Nadella," the RoC, which comes under the ministry, said in the order. 

Section 90 of the Act pertains to SBO. 

It requires companies have to disclose SBO details. According to the order, the company and its officers are liable for action for the failure to take necessary steps to identify the SBO in relation to the company. 

The RoC has slapped penalties totalling Rs 27,10,800 on LinkedIn Technology Information Pvt Ltd or LinkedIn India, Nadella, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky and seven other individuals. -- PTI
NIT student dies after falling from top of house in Himachal's Hamirpur
A final-year student of National Institute of technology, Hamirpur died after falling from the top of his rented house, the police said on Wednesday. 

The incident took place at Panyala village of the district in the early hours of Wednesday around 3 am when he was going to take a nap with his friends but lost imbalance as the railing was small, they said. 

Hamirpur SP Padam Chand said that as per initial investigation, it seems the deceased fell from the top of the house. 

The matter is being investigated thoroughly, he said. Kamal Kumar (22), who hailed from Rajasthan's Sitsar village, was a final-year student of MSc Mathematics and Computer Science at NIT-Hamirpur. 

According to the police, the student died after falling from the second floor of the building while climbing the staircase. 

He lost balance as the railings were small, they said. -- PTI
Shah Rukh Khan suffers heat stroke, in hospital
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was admitted to a hospital in Ahmedabad on Wednesday after suffering from a heat stroke, the police said. 

He was admitted to multi-speciality KD Hospital, they said. 

Khan was in Ahmedabad on Tuesday to attend an Indian Premier League match of his Kolkata Knight Riders team at the Narendra Modi Stadium. 

"Actor Shah Rukh Khan was admitted to KD Hospital after suffering from a heat stroke," Ahmedabad (Rural) superintendent of police Om Prakash Jat said. -- PTI
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
Will not accept HC order on OBC status: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that she "will not accept' the Calcutta high court order scrapping the Other Backward Class status of several classes in the state. 

Addressing a poll rally at Khardah under the Dumdum Lok Sabha constituency, Banerjee said the OBC reservation will continue in the state, as the Bill concerned was passed within the framework of the Constitution. 

"The OBC reservation quota introduced by the West Bengal government will continue. We had drafted the Bill after conducting a house-to-house survey, and it was passed by the cabinet and the assembly," she said. 

"The BJP has conspired to stall it by using central agencies. How can the saffron party show such audacity?" the TMC boss said. 

The Calcutta high court on Wednesday struck down the OBC status of several classes in West Bengal, finding such reservations under an Act of 2012 to vacancies in services and posts in the state illegal. -- PTI
M Karunanidhi/File image
M Karunanidhi/File image
DMK invites INDIA leaders to Karunanidhi's birth centenary celebration
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has invited INDIA bloc leaders for an event to pay tributes to former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi on his birth centenary on June 3 at the party office in Delhi, sources said on Wednesday. 

The event will take place a day before the announcement of results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on June 4. 

A leader from the INDIA bloc said the DMK has sent invitations to all parties that constitute the opposition alliance. 

A DMK leader has also confirmed that INDIA bloc parties have been invited for the event. 

DMK's TR Baalu and Tiruchi Siva are likely to lead the event here, a party source said. In March last year, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president MK Stalin's 70th birthday celebrations became an occasion for show of strength for the Opposition. 

The event, held in Chennai on March 1, saw Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, and Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav sharing the stage with Stalin, among others. -- PTI
Ex-Republican prez candidate Ramaswamy buys 7.7% stake in Buzzfeed
Former Republican presidential candidate and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has purchased a minority stake in Buzzfeed, the digital publishing company that shut down its media outlet last year. 

Shares of the company skyrocketed more than 50% before the market open on Wednesday. Ramaswamy acquired a 7.7% stake in Buzzfeed, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday. 

Ramaswamy said in the filing that he believes Buzzfeed's stock is undervalued. He is looking to speak with the company's board and management. Buzzfeed has struggled to prop up sales since it went public in 2021. 

In late 2022 job cuts began rolling out with the company citing a poor digital advertising environment, then early last year announced that it was shutting down its Pulitzer Prize winning digital media outlet BuzzFeed News. 

The corporate parent's co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said in a memo to staff at the time that in addition to the news division, layoffs would take place in its business, content, tech and administrative teams. -- PTI
Man dies of beating in police custody in UP; cop booked for murder
A man died in police custody here allegedly after being beaten by policemen, an officer said on Wednesday. Angry villagers gathered at the police post and set a sub-inspector's motorcycle on fire. 

The incident happened in a village under the Barhaj Police Station jurisdiction and police have booked a sub-inspector and some other other policemen for murder. 

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav condemned the incident and demanded at least Rs 5 crore for the family of the victim, 32-year-old Daddan Yadav. 

The custodial death led to an outcry among the villagers, who reached the police post where the SI was posted and set his motorcycle on fire. 

Superintendent of police Sankalp Sharma said Daddan Yadav, a native of Satrao village, was allegedly beaten by SI Virendra Kushwaha and his fellow policemen on Monday. 

According to Daddan Yadav's family, he was rushed to a hospital with severe wounds, where seeing his critical condition, doctors referred him to Maharishi Devraha Baba Medical College in Deoria. 

Daddan Yadav succumbed Tuesday night during treatment at the hospital. -- PTI
Man held, two girls detained for murder of Mauritian national in Maha's Thane
The police arrested a man and detained two girls for allegedly killing a 52-year-old Mauritian national on a hill in Navi Mumbai's Belapur area, an official said on Wednesday. 

The victim, whom the accused had befriended, had been staying in Belapur with his son since the past few months and was in search of a job, he said. 

"On May 18, the body of an unidentified man was found on the Parsik hill in Belapur. After that, the police registered a case of murder and launched a probe. The police also circulated the picture of the victim over social media, following which his identity was established," senior inspector Giridhar Gore of the CBD police station said. 

"The victim was identified as Navikumar Gurudatta Babu, a Mauritian national. As per the investigation, he came to India eight months back and while he was hunting for a job in a hotel, he met the three accused persons and befriended them," he said. 

The victim earlier worked as a manager with a renowned hotel in Mauritius, the official said. 

During the probe, the police received a tip-off that the accused was seen with another man and two girls in the locality on the day of his murder, he said. 

"The police then detained a man, identified as Sayyed Mustakin Khan. During his interrogation, the police got the information that the victim had gone to Parsik Hill in Belapur along with Khan and the two girls on May 17 and all of them consumed liquor together, which they frequently did," the police official said. -- PTI
Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna
Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna
Uncle HDK yet again appeals to Prajwal to return to India, face probe
Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday once again appealed to his nephew and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, who is facing charges of sexually abusing women, to return from abroad and face the investigation. 

The former CM said there are no differences between his party and its alliance partner, the BJP, over the allegations against Prajwal Revanna. 

"This case has nothing to do with the alliance." 

Prajwal (33), who is the grandson of JD-S patriarch HD Deve Gowda and is the NDA candidate from Hassan Lok Sabha segment. He reportedly left for Germany on April 27, a day after Hassan went to polls, and is still at large. 

A 'Blue Corner Notice' seeking information on his whereabouts has already been issued by Interpol, following a request by the SIT via the Central Bureau of Investigation. 

A special court for elected representatives issued an arrest warrant on Saturday against Prajwal Revanna, following an application moved by the Special Investigation Team set up by the state government to probe the serial sex abuse charges against the MP. -- PTI
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Bomb threat to Delhi's North Block, search launched
A bomb threat has been received by the North Block, which houses the home ministry, according to an official of the Delhi Fire Service. 

The threat was received through an email, according to the official.

The DFS official said a dog squad and bomb disposal and detection teams along with police and fire department personnel are conducting searches. 

The call to the DFS was made after an officer posted at the North Block received the bomb threat email, a police officer said. 

Searches are on and, as of now, nothing suspicious has been found, the officer said. -- PTI
INDIA bloc worse than cancer: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the SP and the Congress will undo the work done by him, taking away houses built by the government, closing people's Jan Dhan accounts, cutting off their power connections and removing water taps. 

 Stating that the "INDI alliance" is a disease worse than cancer, Modi said the "INDI alliance" parties are staunchly communal, casteist and family-centric. These diseases are worse than cancer for the nation," he added.

 Modi was addressing an election rally in support of BJP candidate from Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh, Saket Misra. "When people ask them what they did in the last 60 years, they take out their ace of cards, which is to divide the society and get vote jihad done," Modi said. 

 Accusing the INDIA bloc parties of indulging in the politics of appeasement, he said, "The Congress says the first right on the country's property is of Muslims. But Modi says the poor of the country have the first right on the property." 

 The Congress wants to snatch your earnings and give them to its vote bank which indulges in vote jihad, he told the people. "In the last 10 years, Modi gave permanent houses to four crore poor people. Now the SP and the Congress have decided to reverse everything, that is, they will take the keys of four crore houses from you, they will snatch the houses and will give them to their vote bank. 

 "Apart from this, Modi has opened Jan Dhan accounts of more than 50 crore people. They will close your bank accounts and take away your money. Modi provided electricity to every village, they will cut the electricity connection in your house and make it dark again," he said. 

 The prime minister said he is delivering water to every home. The SP and the Congress people will remove the "tonti" (water taps) from the houses and take them away as they have expertise in this, he said. Modi went on to claim that the Congress will take away the reservation of the Dalits and the backwards and give it to its vote bank. -- PTI
Patra's 'Jagannath' remark has hurt faith of millions: TMC
The 'Lord Jagannath' remark made by BJP's Puri candidate Sambit Patra has hurt the faith of millions of people, Trinamool Congress leader Sagarika Ghose said on Wednesday, as she accused the ruling party of using religion for political gains. 

 Patra on Monday had said that Odisha's most revered deity "Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi". He, however, later clarified that it was a slip of the tongue and he wanted to mean that the prime minister was an ardent 'bhakt' (devotee) of Lord Jagannath. 

 "Nothing reveals the egoism of the BJP and Narendra Modi than those in the BJP who are comparing Narendra Modi to God. The BJP candidate from Puri, Sambit Patra, said that Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Modi, he is a "bhakt" of Modi. Now what can be more egoistical than this?" Ghose said.

 "The BJP is insulting the faith of millions of people who worship Lord Jagannath by saying Lord himself is a devotee of a politician. What kind of politics is the BJP trying to do? This is the politics of devotion, the politics of bhakti?" 

 "...As Ambedkar said, the politics of bhakti leads to degradation," she told PTI. 

 Ghose said this is not the first time the BJP has compared PM Modi with god. "This is not the first time a BJP person has said that Modi is akin to God. There have been other instances with BJP leaders saying that Modi is like Lord Krishna. During the Ram Temple ceremony, there was a photograph of Modi leading the Lord into the temple. 

 "So this kind of egoism on the part of the BJP and on the part of Narendra Modi is kind of trying to be a divine figure, trying to aspire to divinity, trying to have a kind of divine aura, trying to deify Narendra Modi almost as if he is a god," Ghose said. The TMC leader said that this kind of politics is "shocking". -- PTI
KBK Infographics
KBK Infographics
Indigo still has largest market share
Domestic air travel in India. How the figures hold up... See the image alongside. 
RBI gives nod to highest-ever dividend to govt
The Reserve Bank on Wednesday approved the highest-ever dividend payout of Rs 2.11 lakh crore to the central government for 2023-24, a decision which will help better manage the fiscal deficit. 

 The dividend or surplus transfer by the RBI to the Centre was Rs 87,416 crore for the fiscal 2022-23. 

The previous high was Rs 1.76 lakh crore in 2018-19. The decision on the dividend payout was taken at the 608th meeting of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India held under the chairmanship of Governor Shaktikanta Das. 

 "The Board...approved the transfer of Rs 2,10,874 crore as surplus to the Central Government for the accounting year 2023-24," the RBI said in a statement. The central government aims to contain the fiscal deficit or gap between expenditure and revenue to Rs 17.34 lakh crore (5.1 per cent of the GDP) during the current financial year. In the Budget for 2024-25, the government projected a dividend income of Rs 1.02 lakh crore from the RBI and public sector financial institutions.

 The RBI board also reviewed the global and domestic economic scenario, including risks to the growth outlook. 

 The Board discussed the working of the Reserve Bank during 2023-24 and approved its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the last fiscal.
Mt Everest
Mt Everest
British and Sherpa climbers go missing while descending Mt. Everest
A British climber and a Sherpa mountaineer guide have been missing since Tuesday morning after they fell while returning to the lower camps after summiting Mount Everest, according to media reports on Wednesday.

 The victims have been identified as Daniel Paul Peterson from the UK and Pas Tenji Sherpa from Makalu, Sangkhuwasabha, the Himalayan Times newspaper reported. The duo was part of 8K Expeditions. 

 The British climber and the Sherpa fell when a section of the route in the Hillary step below the summit collapsed on Tuesday morning, the report quoted a source as saying at the base camp. 

 The incident reportedly occurred when the duo was returning to the lower camps after summiting the world's highest peak at around 4:40 am on May 21. 

 According to the report, a team led by Nga Tenji Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa of Summit Force Pvt Ltd carried out rescue and saved other climbers when the route broke at the Hillary section. A few climbers were immediately rescued but Peterson and Pas Tenji fell down," eyewitnesses told the base camp officials. -- PTI
INDIA bloc govt will scrap Agniveer: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Wednesday the Agniveer military recruitment scheme will be scrapped and thrown in the dustbin if the INDIA bloc comes to power, as he slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "turning Hindustan ke jawan into labourers". 

 In his first election meeting in Haryana for the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi also attacked Modi over the issue of farmers. He claimed that the Modi government waived loans amounting to Rs 16 lakh crore for 22 "arabpatis (top industrialists)" but openly says it "won't waive farmers' debts as it will spoil them". 

 "We had brought the land acquisition bill to protect farmers and give them due compensation, but the Modi government scrapped it. They brought three black farm laws and farmers had to take to the streets," the former Congress president said. 

 Slamming the BJP government over the Agniveer scheme, he said, "This is Modi's scheme, not the Army's scheme. The Army does not want it. This scheme has been framed by the PMO (Prime Minister's Office)." 

 "When the INDIA bloc forms the government, we will chuck the Agniveer scheme in the dustbin, we will tear it up," he said at the rally held in the Mahendragarh-Bhiwani Lok Sabha constituency. India's borders, Gandhi said, are secured by the youths of Haryana and the country. 

 "There is patriotism in the DNA of our youth," he said, adding, "Modi has converted Hindustan ke jawan into labourers." 

 Sharpening his attack on the BJP government, the Congress leader said, "They say there will be two types of martyrs -- normal jawans and officers who will get a pension, martyr status and facilities and those from poor families who have been named Agniveer. Agniveers will neither get martyr status nor pension or canteen facility." 

 The Centre in 2022 rolled out the Agnipath recruitment scheme for short-term induction of personnel into the armed forces with an aim to bring down the age profile of the three services. 

 The scheme provides for recruiting youngsters in the age bracket of 17 years and a half to 21 years for a four-year period with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 years. Gandhi also said when the INDIA bloc comes to power on June 4, debts of farmers in Haryana and other states will be waived, adding, "We will bring a 'karza maafi' commission." 

 "Whenever Haryana farmers need their debts waived, the commission will tell the government and it will be done. When they can waive Rs 16 lakh crore for industrialists, why can we not help farmers, labourers and the poor," he asked.
PM lying that Cong will bulldoze Ram temple: Cong
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has rubbished Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charge that the Congress will run a bulldozer on the Ram temple if it comes to power, saying it is a "complete lie" and the party respects all sects, religions and honours everyone's faith.

 He also asserted that the Congress has been in power for 55 years but has never stopped anyone from worshipping anyone or has taken away anyone's mangalsutra, as claimed by the prime minister.

 "This is a complete lie. They talk like this only. No one from our party has spoken like this and neither is it written in the Constitution. We respect all sects and religions and honour everyone's faith," Kharge said in an interview with PTI. 

 He also said that helping the poor in any community is not appeasement, as alleged by the BJP. "People were earlier living happily, but the BJP and Modi ji have done the work of dividing people for their votes. They do such things for votes and accuse others of using the bulldozer," Kharge asserted.

 He also accused the BJP of creating false propaganda against the Congress every time it came out with schemes to help the poor during the UPA government. He said the prime minister is now accusing them for practising the politics of freebies. 

 The Congress chief said when the party first brought MGNREGA, Food Security Act, Rural Health mission, the BJP opposed them. He also cited land reforms and nationalisation of banks which were opposed by the BJP. "Whenever we introduced schemes for the poor, they criticised them. Now we are talking of giving double ration to the poor," he said. -- PTI
JD-S miffed at Rahul's 'Prajwal mass rape' comment
The JD(S) on Wednesday complained to Karnataka DGP Alok Mohan against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for allegedly claiming that Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, who is facing charges of sexual abuse, has "raped 400 women". 

 In a complaint, H M Ramesh Gowda, a former MLC and party's Bengaluru City president has sought registration of a criminal case against Gandhi under section 202 (Intentional omission to give information of an offence by a person legally bound to inform) of the Indian Penal Code for his alleged statement while addressing election rallies in the district headquarters of Shivamogga and Raichur on May 2. 

 The JD(S) leader also cited the alleged statement by Gandhi in his complaint, "Prajwal Revanna has raped 400 women and made videos. This is not a sex scandal but mass rape. And the Prime Minister, in front of the people of Karnataka, was supporting and seeking vote for this mass rapist. He is saying that if you vote for this mass rapist, it would help him." 

 The complainant said that in the interest of justice for the alleged victims, Gandhi being a public servant is duty bound to give information of offence.

"In view of the fact that Gandhi has made a specific statement that Prajwal has raped 400 women, he is aware of the information and details of the 400 women raped and has intentionally failed to disclose the details," he stated in the complaint. 

 The 33-year-old Prajwal, who is the grandson of JD(S) patriarch and former PM H D Deve Gowda and is the NDA's candidate from Hassan Lok Sabha segment, is facing charges of multiple instances of sexually abusing women. The cases came to light after a number of explicit videos of sexual assault allegedly by Prajwal became public.
EC asks Cong, BJP to stop campaigns on caste, community lines
The Election Commission on Wednesday asked the BJP and the Congress to desist from campaigning along caste, community, language, and religious lines, asserting that India' socio-cultural milieu cannot be made a casualty to elections. 

 Nearly a month after it issued notice to BJP president J P Nadda on opposition charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a divisive speech in Rajasthan's Banswara, the poll watchdog rejected his defence and asked him and his party's star campaigners to desist from campaigning on religious and communal lines.

 It also asked the BJP to stop campaign speeches that may divide society. Along with Nadda, the EC had issued a similar notice to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asking him to respond to the complaints filed by the BJP against him and the main opposition party's senior leader Rahul Gandhi regarding their remarks. 

The EC also rejected his defence and asked the Congress not to politicise defence forces and make potentially divisive statements regarding socio-economic composition of the armed forces. 

It also asked the Congress to ensure that its star campaigners and candidates do not make statements which give false impression that the Constitution may be abolished or sold. The EC asked the presidents of the two national parties to issue formal notes to their star campaigners to correct their discourse, exercise care and maintain decorum. PTI
Image credit: @INCIndia, the Congress party's X handle
Image credit: @INCIndia, the Congress party's X handle
JPC on Adani in a month of India bloc win: Cong
The Congress on Wednesday attacked the Modi government over a media report that claimed that the Adani Group passed off low-quality coal as far more expensive cleaner fuel in transactions with a Tamil Nadu PSU, and said that a JPC will be set up within one month of an INDIA bloc government taking office to probe such allegations. 

 Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi claimed that a "huge coal scam" has come to light under the BJP government and through this "scam", "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's favourite friend Adani" has looted thousands of crores of rupees by selling low-grade coal at three times the price, which the common people have paid from their pockets in expensive electricity bills. 

 There was no immediate reaction from the Adani group but in the past, the conglomerate has rejected all such allegations. 

 Financial Times, citing documents secured by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), reported that Adani Group passed off low-quality coal as far more expensive cleaner fuel in transactions with the public sector Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).

 In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi said, "Will the Prime Minister tell how many tempos were used to keep ED, CBI, and IT quiet on this open corruption? After June 4, an INDIA bloc government will investigate this mega scam and account for every penny looted from the public." 

 In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said as the election momentum of the INDIA coalition accelerates, the tempo of revelations about the 'Modani Mega Scam' has also picked up. 

 "An investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), reported by the Financial Times newspaper, has found that dozens of shipments of low-quality, high-ash coal bought cheaply by Adani from Indonesia in 2014 were sold fraudulently at three times the price to the public sector Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) as high-quality, low-ash coal," Ramesh said.

 Adani made excess profits of Rs 3,000 crore from this while the common person was made to suffer overpriced electricity and elevated air pollution, Ramesh alleged. 

"This is yet another example of the impunity with which the PM's close friends have enriched themselves in the past decade by violating the law and exploiting the most vulnerable Indians as they are left to struggle for basic needs like cheap electricity and clean air," he said. Pointing out that air pollution kills 20 lakh Indians every year, Ramesh said, "'Amrit Kaal' for the PM and his cronies is 'Vish Kaal' for everyone else". 

He alleged that the prime minister may have helped Adani to stall all the investigations carried out into its illicit activities in India, but the information pouring in from Indonesia and other countries has only shown how close those investigations were to unveiling the truth before PM Modi "bailed out his partner". -- PTI
UP will awaken Cong, SP shehzadas from daydream: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a swipe at Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over their claim of winning 79 seats in Uttar Pradesh and said that on June 4, the people of UP will wake them from their sleep. 

"Both the 'Shehzadas' of Congress and SP are spreading rumours that they will win 79 seats of UP. Earlier I used to hear that people used to daydream, but now I understand what it means to daydream. On June 4, the people of UP will wake them and then they will blame the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)," PM Modi said while addressing a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh's Basti. 

PM Modi launched a scathing attack on Congress and Samajwadi Party over their remark, 'Pakistan has an atom bomb', and accused them of scaring the people, adding that India does not have a weak Congress government. 

"Pakistan has been defeated, but its sympathizers like SP and Congress are now busy scaring India. These people say, to be afraid of Pakistan, as it has the atomic bomb. Why should India be afraid? Today, India does not have a weak Congress government, it has a strong Modi government, 'Bharat Aaj Ghar me Ghuskar Maarta hai'," he said. 

 Urging the people to vote in large numbers, PM Modi said, "Whenever you get some virtuous work to do, should you lose that opportunity? If you don't cast your vote, will you get the benefit? If 80 crore people are getting free rations, don't they bless? But if you hadn't voted, would that virtue be counted as yours? I am going to do such good works that those who will vote will get the benefit for sure." 

"Five phases of voting have been completed in the country, and these five phases have ensured the Modi government in the country. Look at the statement of the INDI Alliance, the entire INDI Alliance is in such a state of despair that now they do not even remember what they said two days ago and what they are saying today," he added. 

 Hitting out at the opposition's INDIA bloc over the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, PM Modi said that the country was waiting for Ram Mandir for 500 years, but these people have problems with Ram Mandir and Ram. 

 "The nepotistic parties of the INDI alliance have crossed all limits of appeasement. Our country has been waiting for the Ram Mandir for 500 years, but these people have problems with the Ram Mandir and Ram," he said. -- ANI
Bangladesh MP who went missing in India, found murdered in Kolkata
Veteran Bangladeshi MP Anwarul Azim Anar, who went missing in India, was found murdered in Kolkata and three people have been arrested, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan announced in Dhaka on Wednesday. 

Awami League MP Anwarul Azim Anar, who went missing in India, was murdered at a Kolkata flat, Khan told reporters. "So far, we have come to know that all the killers involved are Bangladeshis. It was a planned murder," he said. 

 The minister said that Bangladesh Police have arrested three persons in connection with the murder of the 56-year-old lawmaker, The Daily Star reported.

 Asked about the whereabouts of the body, he said that they were yet to know about it. "We will soon inform you about the motive," the minister said, adding that Indian police are cooperating with the case.
Can Rahul Gandhi lead the country as a PM?
Can Rahul Gandhi lead the country as a PM?
No leader in INDIA bloc can be PM: Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday launched a blistering attack on the "corrupt INDI alliance" and said the opposition bloc doesn't have any leader who can become Prime Minister. 

While addressing a rally at Ghatal, Shah said the INDIA bloc leaders just want their dynasty to move ahead and "neither have any leaders to lead the country nor have any intention for the development of the nation." Shah, while referring to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir said "PoK is part of India and we will take it". 

"The INDI alliance doesn't have any leaders. The INDI alliance wants five PMs in five years. The INDI alliances neither have leaders nor have any intention for the development of the nation," he said. The BJP leader said the ongoing parliamentary elections are about choosing between "leaders of dynastic politics or honest leader Narendra Modi" who considers the country as his family. 

"Sharad Pawar wants his daughter to be the chief minister. Mamata Banerjee wants her nephew to succeed her as chief minister. Stalin (Tamil Nadu CM) wants to see his son succeed him. Sonia Gandhi wants Rahul Baba to become the Prime Minister of the country. On the other side, there is Narendra Modi Ji who considers the entire country as his family," he said. 

 Hitting out at Congress leaders for not supporting the demand of taking over PoK, Shah said, "Congress leaders say it should not be done as they have an atom bomb. But let me say this Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is part of India, was part of India, and we will take it." PTI
The banged up Porsche after the accident
The banged up Porsche after the accident
Police acted swiftly, don't politicise: Fadnavis
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday asserted that the Pune police have taken every possible action on the rash driving case and there has been an attempt to politicise the incident by the opposition.

"There is an attempt to politicise the Pune case. The police acted swiftly in the Pune incident," Fadnavis said speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

The Deputy Chief Minister said that the police have appealed for a review before the Juvenile Justice Board.

"We have been surprised by the Juvenile Justice Board's decision on the Pune incident. But the police did not stop at that. Police have appealed against the decision and under the cognizance of the higher court, a review petition has been filed before the Juvenile Justice Board," Fadnavis said.

Speaking about the arrests in the case, Fadnavis said, "Those who served alcohol to the underage child have been arrested, and the father who gave him the car has been arrested as well. The police have done whatever is necessary."

Slamming Rahul Gandhi over his comments on the incident, Fadnavis said, "The attempt to bring electoral politics into every issue by Rahul Gandhi is wrong. I condemn this."

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing the PM of creating two Indias where justice is dependent on wealth. "Narendra Modi is creating two Indias - where even justice is dependent on wealth," Rahul Gandhi posted on X. -- ANI
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik
Another BJD MLA quits party
Biju Janata Dal MLA Jyotiprakash Panigrahi on Wednesday resigned from the regional outfit. Panigrahi submitted his resignation letter to BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

 "I do hereby tender my resignation from the primary membership of Biju Janata Dal with immediate effect," he said in the letter. Panigrahi who was elected as MLA on BJD ticket from Simulia constituency in Balasore district in 2014 and 2019 and became minister of state for tourism in the Naveen Patnaik ministry, was later dropped from the ministry.

 He was denied a BJD ticket for the 2024 Assembly elections. Panigrahi is the second BJD MLA in Balasore district after Soro MLA Parsuram Dhada to resign from the party after being denied a party ticket in the Assembly election.
Why bring up Maliwal again and again: Tharoor to BJP
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that by repeatedly raising the issue of AAP MP Swati Maliwal, the BJP does not want to discuss the issues of unemployment and inflation and the law will take its course.

 His remarks came as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing heat amid the ongoing Swati Maliwal investigation, in which the party MP has accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal's former personal secretary Bibhav Kumar of assaulting her at the Delhi Chief Minister's residence. 

 "AAP's official statement has been made...I don't see a need to add anything to it. She is not our appointee. So, if they know, let them only speak. Secondly, what does the BJP want by raising this issue again and again? To see that the reality of the country felt by people--unemployment, inflation--is not discussed...," he told reporters. 

 Earlier on May 20, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atisihi had claimed that Swati Maliwal was threatened by the ACB to make allegations against Arvind Kejriwal's aide. 

"A conspiracy was hatched against Arvind Kejriwal by using Swati Maliwal as a pawn. The whole country saw the truth of Swati Maliwal's allegations in the video that came out from CM House. We believe that Swati Maliwal was threatened regarding the ACB case against her and she was made the face of this conspiracy. Under this, allegations were to be made against Arvind Kejriwal ji, but this conspiracy also failed," she had said.

 These allegations were however denied by Swati Maliwal who said she would take those who were making false claims against her to court.
Shashi Tharoor takes a auto ride in Thiruvananthapuram
Shashi Tharoor takes a auto ride in Thiruvananthapuram
'Abki Baar 400 Paar' complete fantasy: Tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor termed the BJP's 'Abki Baar 400 Paar' a "complete fantasy" and said due to the Balakot airstrike following the Pulwama terror attack before the 2019 general elections, the BJP "maxed out" in a number of states. 

 He also said that the previous elections, which should have been a referendum on the "economic failures" of the Modi government, turned into a "national security election." 

 Addressing a press conference in the National Capital, the Congress leader said, "...It was already very clear when the BJP started talking about 'Abki Baar 400 Paar' that this was a complete fantasy. Last time in 2019, thanks to the tragedy in Pulwama the response in Balakot and the conversion of the election from what should have been a referendum on the economic failures of the first term of Mr Modi, it became a national security election in 2019. As a result, they (the BJP) maxed out in a number of states...". 

He also claimed that the strongholds of the BJP are showing minimal turnout (after the end of the fifth phase of polling for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections).

"In all those 11 states, those results are impossible to replicate and we are already seeing this very clearly...The strongholds of the BJP show minimal turnout and a significant drop in voting figures. Whereas the Congress candidates and the INDIA Alliance had attracted enthusiasm, the voting was carried out in good numbers...Our confidence has gone up even further...," Tharoor added. 

 The Congress MP also refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding Congress's ally the AAP and its Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal. 

 "...The AAP has issued a statement on the matter which, I believe, cannot be improved and doesn't need to be added to. I honestly feel that this is a serious attempt to distract from the real issues facing the nation - unemployment, inflation...We have to focus on what touches the lives of ordinary Indians, not on these other issues. The media is often requested by the BJP to serve as a weapon of mass distraction. I request you, don't oblige this. Distraction from the real issues doesn't serve anyone's interests," Tharoor said. 

 The National Capital goes to the polls on May 25.
PM at a meeting in Darbhanga
PM at a meeting in Darbhanga
BJP expels Bhojpuri film star Pawan Singh
BJP expels Bhojpuri film star Pawan Singh for contesting as an independent candidate against official NDA candidate in the Karakat seat. 

The Bhojpuri film star was expelled by the BJP from the party on Wednesday for anti-party activities.

Two days ahead of PM Narendra Modi's election rally in the Karakat seat  in support of the NDA candidate Upendra Kushwaha, the BJP has finally acted against Pawan Singh, who refused to withdraw from the fray. 

Modi will address an election meeting in Karakat tomorrow seeking votes for Kushwaha.

Early this month, Pawan Singh announced he would contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Karakat constituency in Bihar, ignoring the  BJP's official line.

In March 2024, Pawan Singh refused to contest from the Asansol Lok Sabha seat after BJP named him as the party nominee against TMC incumbent MP Shatrughan Sinha.

-- MI Khan/Patna
Why is EC delaying voter turnout data, asks Cong
The Congress on Wednesday raised questions over the big difference between the real time voter turnout data and the final figures released by the Election Commission, and said voters are worried over the "strange goings-on" in the poll body. 

 Congress leader and head of media and publicity department of the party Pawan Khera said the difference is around 1.7 crore votes, and termed it as unprecedented. 

 "Voters are worried about the strange goings on in the Election Commission through the four phases of voting. First, the Election Commission takes 10-11 days to bring out the final figure of voting and then the difference between real time data and final figure turns out to be 1.7 crore votes. This is truly unprecedented," Khera said on X.

"Unanswered questions about the missing EVMs are also very worrying," he added. 

 AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "This difference of 1.07 crore overall translates into an increase of 28,000 in each LS seat. This is HUGE." 

 "The discrepancy is maximum in states where BJP is expected to lose seats heavily. What is happening?" Ramesh asked. 

 Other opposition parties have also raised questions over the delay in release of final voter turnout. Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven phases and the results will be declared on June 4. PTI
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
AAP lists BJP hand in Maliwal, water, arrests
Delhi Cabinet Minister Atishi on Wednesday alleged the BJP has hatched a "new conspiracy" to target AAP and through its Haryana government has stopped water supply to the national capital. 

There was no immediate reaction from the BJP Or Haryana government. Addressing a press conference, Atishi, who is also the Water minister, said the BJP has been hatching conspiracies to target AAP ever since the Lok Sabha polls were announced. 

 "Within five days of the announcement of Lok Sabha polls, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested so that the AAP could not campaign in the polls. After he came out on interim bail, they used the party's Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal to frame him but even that plan did not work," Atishi said. 

 "Then they raked up the old issue of foreign funding to the party and now through their Haryana government, the BJP has stopped the supply of Yamuna water to Delhi," she alleged. Atishi said the matter came to light after they started receiving complaints of water shortage even from those areas where such issues had never risen before. 

She said they would write to the Haryana government on Wednesday itself. If there is no action on their part, they will move an urgent application to the Supreme Court.

"The Yamuna level mostly remains at 674 feet at Wazirabad and even when it is at the lowest it remains at 672 feet. But on May 11, it was at 671.6 feet and remained at that level for three days. On May 14 and 15, it was at 671.9 feet and then on May 16 it came down to 671.3 feet and then it further declined to 671 feet in the subsequent three days, Atishi said. 

 "On May 21, maybe for the first time in history, Yamuna's water level came down to 670.9 feet," she added. Atishi accused the BJP of doing this to "tarnish the image of the AAP government" and "to trouble the people of Delhi". 

 "They want to create a water crisis in the capital. I want to warn the people of Delhi that in the coming days till May 25, more such things will happen. They will do this to manipulate voters. I want to tell BJP that you cannot fool the people of Delhi," she said. -- PTI
The Porsche that was damaged in the crash
The Porsche that was damaged in the crash
Porsche teen given bail on grandpa's assurance
The 17-year-old boy, who allegedly crashed his high-end car into a motorbike killing two persons in Pune, was granted bail on a surety of Rs 7,500 and an assurance from his grandfather to keep him away from bad company, as per the order. 

 The Porsche car, allegedly driven by the 17-year-old, who the police claim was drunk at the time, fatally knocked down two motorbike-borne software engineers at Kalyani Nagar in Maharashtra's Pune city in the early hours of Sunday. 

 The teenager, son of a real estate developer, was subsequently produced before the Juvenile Justice Board which granted him bail hours later. 

 On the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, the accused juvenile along with his friends went to the two establishments between 9.30 pm and 1 am and allegedly consumed liquor, police had said.

 "His grandfather has given an assurance that he will keep the Child-in-Conflict with Law (CCL) away from any bad company and he will concentrate on his study or any vocational course which is useful for his career. He is ready to abide by the condition imposed on him. Therefore, it is just and proper to release the CCL on bail," said the order passed by the Juvenile Justice Board on Sunday. 

 While passing the order, the Board also stated the CCL is released on bail on executing his personal bond and surety bond of Rs 7,500 with conditions that his parents shall take care of him and he will never get involved in offences in future. -- PTI
The interior of the SQ flight. Pic: Reuters
The interior of the SQ flight. Pic: Reuters
Very sorry: Singapore Airlines on pax death
After the deadly Singapore flight incident, which killed one person and injured many, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong shared a video message on Wednesday, apologising for the traumatic experience that everyone on board went through. 

 Singapore Airlines CEO offered his deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased. 

 One person died, and several were reportedly injured after a Singapore Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Bangkok due to severe turbulence on Tuesday. 

The Singapore Airlines Boeing flight SQ321 was operating from London's Heathrow Airport to Singapore on May 20. CEA Phong in his message shared on social media, highlighted that the flight had 211 passengers and 18 crew members. 

 The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to Bangkok, landing at 3:45 pm local time, he said. 

 "We are deeply saddened by this incident. It has resulted in one confirmed fatality and multiple injuries. On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased. We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through," Phong said on Wednesday. 

 He further assured that their priority is to render all possible assistance to their passengers and crew members. -- ANI
The interior of the SQ flight. Pic: Reuters
The interior of the SQ flight. Pic: Reuters
3 Indians among pax aboard Singapore Flight hit by severe turbulence
Of the 211 passengers onboard the Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight that took the life of a 77-year-old, three Indians were also on board the SQ321 flight, the airlines confirmed in a social media post. 

 There were a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board SQ321. A Singapore Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Bangkok on Tuesday due to severe turbulence, killing one person and injuring 71 others. The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok, and landed at 15: 45 pm local time.
Representational graphic
Representational graphic
Woman kills daughter, roams with body for 4km
A woman allegedly killed her three-year-old daughter after a fight with her husband in Maharashtra's Nagpur city and roamed around 4 km on streets with the body before informing police about the incident, officials said on Wednesday. 

 The incident took place on Monday evening in the MIDC police station limits, they said.

 The accused, Twinkle Raut (23), and her husband Rama Laxman Raut (24) moved to Nagpur four years ago in search of employment. 

 They worked at a paper products company and resided at a room in the firm's premises on Hingna Road in the MIDC area, an official said.

Their relationship was marked by frequent quarrels stemming from mutual distrust, the police said. The couple again had a fight at around 4 pm on Monday, the official from MIDC police station said. Amid the heated exchange, their daughter began to cry. 

 The woman, in a fit of rage, took the daughter out of the house. She allegedly throttled the child to death under a tree, the official said. She later walked with the body for almost four kilometres. At around 8 pm, she spotted a police patrolling vehicle and informed the security personnel about the incident, he said. 

 The police rushed the child to a hospital where doctors declared her dead, the official said.
The accused has been identified as Ankit Goyal
The accused has been identified as Ankit Goyal
Banker held for threatening anti-Kejriwal graffiti
One person has been arrested on Wednesday for writing threatening graffiti against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal inside the national capital's Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar metro stations, police said.

According to the Delhi Police, the accused has been identified as Ankit Goyal (33). 

As per police sources, the accused is a resident of Baraeli.

"The accused is highly educated and works in a renowned bank. He is not associated with any political party," the police sources added.

It also seems that the mental condition of the accused is not good, although this can be confirmed only after a medical examination, the police sources said.

The Metro Unit of Delhi Police had registered an FIR and was investigating the matter. Further details are awaited. -- ANI
Swati Maliwal
Swati Maliwal
AAP to reveal 'BJP hand' in Maliwal case today
Delhi Minister Atishi claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hatching a new conspiracy before the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi which she is going to reveal on Wednesday at 10 am.

"The BJP is hatching a new conspiracy before voting in Delhi...I will be revealing it today at 10 am," Atishi said in a post on 'X'.

This comes as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing heat amid the ongoing Swati Maliwal investigation, in which the party MP has accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal's former personal secretary Bibhav Kumar of assaulting her at the Delhi Chief Minister's residence.

Earlier on Tuesday, Atishi said that after June 4, when the INDIA bloc will form the government, the Electoral Bond scam will be investigated, in which not only BJP leaders but also ED, CBI and IT officers will go to jail.

Addressing a press conference, Atishi said, "I want to clearly tell the BJP that now your end is near. Now the people of the country have made up their minds. After June 4, when the INDIA bloc forms the government, the country's biggest Electoral bond scam will be investigated in which not only BJP leaders will go to jail but ED, CBI and IT officers will also go to jail because they are also involved in it."
Famine is widespread in Gaza
Famine is widespread in Gaza
Amid high levels of hunger and acute shortage of food in Gaza, the United Nations has suspended food distribution in Rafah due to a lack of supplies and insecurity in the densely populated area, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson on Tuesday, said, the distribution centres of the World Food Program and UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees, are inaccessible because of the ongoing military operation in Rafah.

Over 1 million people are facing high levels of hunger, the UN stated.

The Rafah crossing into Egypt, once the main entrance for aid, has been closed since May 6, and no aid trucks have crossed the US-built floating pier in two days, the UN said, VOA reported.

A World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson said, "humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse.

"WFP Spokesperson Abeer Etefa warned that if food and other supplies don't resume entering Gaza in "massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread."

Additionally, UNRWA stressed that its health centres have not received medical supplies in 10 days, however, its health care staff still conducts medical consultations at its centres, as reported by VOA.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization shared a post on X, stating that Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza has been "under siege since 19 May, with no one allowed to leave or enter."

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted that 22 patients, their companions and 148 hospital staff "are still trapped inside."
Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Four Indians accused of killing Nijjar appear in Canada court
Four Indian nationals accused of killing Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year in Surrey were ordered by a Canadian court to have no contact with several people in the community, as they made their first joint appearance before it in the case that has severely strained ties between India and Canada. 

 Three of the four suspects Karan Brar (22), Kamalpreet Singh (22) and 28-year-old Karanpreet Singh appeared in person for the first time in B.C. Provincial Court in Surrey. The fourth suspect -- Amandeep Singh, 22, -- appeared by video link.

 Amandeep Singh remains in custody in Ontario where he was facing unrelated weapons offences before being arrested on May 10 for Nijjar's killing. Judge Mark Jette spoke to the men through an interpreter as he placed them under a no-contact order, before adjourning until the suspects' next appearance on June 25, CBC News reported. Prosecutor Marcel Daigle said the time until the next hearing will allow the Crown to fulfil its evidentiary disclosure obligations to the suspects' lawyers. 

Those appearing in person wore red prison sweatsuits as they entered the courtroom. Richard Fowler, the lawyer representing Karan Brar, told the Vancouver Sun," it's completely understandable given the context why there is an enormous amount of community interest in this case. -- PTI
Teacher suspended as polling officer for clicking a selfie inside booth in UP
An assistant teacher posted as a polling officer in Hamirpur for the Lok Sabha elections has been suspended for clicking a selfie inside the polling booth. 

 Ashish Kumar Arya, an assistant teacher at Girls Primary School, Umri in Muskara Development Block in Hamirpur district in Lucknow, was deployed on duty as Polling Officer (First) at polling station 112 of Shri Vidya Mandir Inter College, Hamirpur, UP's Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said in a statement on Tuesday.

 Rinwa said that it is alleged that Arya took selfies with his mobile phone and took photographs of voters on the day of voting, which is a clear violation of the instructions of the Election Commission. 

 He said that due to this "serious violation", the District Basic Education Officer of Hamirpur has suspended Arya and has attached him to the Block resource centre in Muskara. 

 The Block Education Officer headquarters has been designated as the investigating officer to probe the matter, the statement said. The Chief Electoral Officer has cautioned the polling personnel to strictly follow the instructions of the commission during the election process and avoid any kind of inappropriate activities, it said. PTI
Hoarding collapse: 1 more person dies, toll 17
Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident: One more person succumbs to his injuries during treatment. Death toll climbs to 17, says the BMC. 

The Mumbai Crime Branch has formed a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident, officials said on Wednesday. 

Seventeen people died and 74 were left injured after a massive billboard collapsed due to strong winds earlier in the month. Bhavesh Bhide, the owner of the company that put up the giant billboard, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch from Udaipur in Rajasthan last week and brought to Mumbai. 

Officials added that police are investigating how Bhide was awarded the hoarding contract and how much he earned.
Image only for representation
Image only for representation
6 drown as boat capsizes in dam backwaters in Pune
Six persons, including two children, drowned after their boat capsised in the Ujani dam backwaters in Maharashtra's Pune district, officials said on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening following strong winds and rains, they said.

The victims included three men, a woman and two children, Indapur tehsildar Shrikant Patil said.

The boat service operates between Kalashi and Bhugav villages, he said. 

Following strong winds and rains on Tuesday evening, the boat carrying seven persons overturned, he said.

An officer of the assistant police inspector-rank, who was among the seven persons on the boat, swam to safety, the official said.

A search operation was underway with the help of the NDRF and local administration, he said.   -- PTI
India's mcap hits $5 trillion
Samie Modak/Business Standard

India's market capitalisation (mcap) hit the $5-trillion milestone on Tuesday, with the buoyant domestic markets adding $1 trillion in market value in under six months.

This makes India the fifth country/region to join the exclusive $5-trillion m-cap club, alongside the US, China, Japan and Hong Kong.

However, on a closing basis, India's mcap, which represents the combined market value of all firms listed on the BSE, stood at $4.97 trillion (Rs 414.6 trillion). The National Stock Exchange (NSE), a larger exchange with fewer listed companies, reported a combined mcap of $4.93 trillion, or Rs 411 trillion.

India's mcap has seen a surge of over 60 per cent -- the highest among major markets --  from its lows in March 2023, driven by a rally in shares of small- and mid-sized firms. This increase in market value is attributed to a re-rating of valuations amid improved economic and earnings growth prospects compared to most global and emerging market peers.

"The mcap of the BSE-listed firms jumped from $4 trillion to $5 trillion in a short period despite events, such as the Lok Sabha polls and the Fed pivot. This journey is front-ended through the expansion of valuations, followed by earnings. India will have to deliver on 3G of growth, governance and green to meet elevated market expectations," said Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak Mahindra AMC.     

Indias market cap-to-GDP ratio (on a trailing 12-month GDP basis) is now at 154 per cent compared to 120 per cent in November 2023, when it first hit the $4 trillion mark.

When India achieved the milestones of $500 million, $1 trillion, and $2 trillion market capitalisation, the mcap-to-GDP ratio was less than 100 per cent, which is considered fair value.

The market cap of India has been bolstered in recent years by mega newly listed companies. For example, the Life Insurance Corporation, which was listed two years ago, has a market cap of $78 billion. In addition to LIC, the market value of the entire public sector undertaking pack has seen a significant increase over the past year.

India now boasts 100 stocks with an m-cap above $10 billion, up from just 30 in the pre-Covid period. For comparison, China, whose m-cap is nearly double that of India, has just over 130 companies.

The growth in India's market value has enhanced its influence on the global stage and attracted higher inflows from foreign investors, particularly those investing via exchange traded funds (ETFs). India is now the second-largest market in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, after China, with a weighting of nearly 19 per cent, up from just 8.2 per cent in 2018.

In the first three months of 2024, India-dedicated global funds have channelled over $8 billion into domestic stocks.

"The markets continue to reflect the strong fundamentals of our country. The government should carry out future reforms after the election results, supported by strong fundamentals of company and earnings," said A Balasubramanian, managing director & CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC.

His views were echoed by Andrew Holland, CEO of Avendus Capital Alternate Strategies. He said: "The markets are a bit forward-looking. Therefore, this tells you that there is more optimism around the growth of the economy. The near-term outlook depends on what the upcoming Budget has in store for us regarding taxation and policy measures."
BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia
BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia
Firm of Scindia's son files complaint of funds embezzlement against its own manager
MyMandi, a grocery app startup of Mahanaaryaman Scindia, son of Union minister and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, has lodged a complaint of cheating against its own manager at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh for allegedly embezzling funds, the police said. 

MyMandi app's account manager Utkarsh Hande has complained against the company's procurement manager Shivam Gupta about the embezzlement of funds, Janakganj police station's in-charge Vipendra Chouhan said. 

The complainant said the company deals in buying and selling vegetables and fruits through MyMandi app, he said, adding that they have registered a case and started a probe into the complaint. 

When asked if the Union Civil Aviation Minister's son Mahanaaryaman owns this company, Chouhan said he has asked for the documents from the complainant. -- PTI
File image
File image
YouTuber Irfan courts trouble for revealing sex of his unborn child
The Tamil Nadu health department on Tuesday issued a notice to YouTuber and food vlogger Irfan for violating the PCPNDT Act, 1994, by revealing the sex of his unborn child in videos posted on his YouTube channel. 

Also, the department has asked the Tamil YouTuber to remove the videos about the prenatal sex determination test and subsequent disclosure. 

Posting a video of his pregnant wife undergoing the prenatal sex determination test at a hospital in Dubai, on his channel "Irfan's View," he said that it was legal in several countries, including, Dubai to conduct this test, but not in India, where it was banned. 

"When I was born in 1993, my mother knew my gender. It was not a big issue then. It was stopped because many mad people were discriminating against female gender," he said in the video. 

"The YouTuber Irfan revealed to the audience during a family function that he found out the gender of his wife's unborn child (girl) after a scan during his visit to Dubai," the health department release said. 

The video posted on May 19 on his channel was watched and shared by many viewers all over the world. 

"Ascertaining and announcing the gender of a child in India is prohibited under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1994. Such an action will lead to a decline of the female birth rate besides leading to crimes against women," the release said. -- PTI
File image
File image
Parts of Maha see temp above 40 degrees C; Jalgaon sizzles at 45.2 deg C
Several parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius with Jalgaon clocking 45.2 degrees Celsius, the India Meteorological Department said. 

Santacruz and Colaba, the two meteorological observatories for suburbs and the island city of Mumbai respectively, recorded 34.9 and 35 degrees Celsius respectively, it said. 

Beed recorded 43.3 degrees Celsius, Malegaon 43, Nashik and Solapur 41.8 each, Parbhani 41.7, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar 41.6, Ahmednagar 41, Pune 40.6 and Dharashiv 40.5 degrees Celsius, the IMD added. -- PTI
Pune car crash: 2 restaurants visited by teen sealed
The Maharashtra excise department on Tuesday sealed the two restaurants, where the 17-year-old boy involved in a fatal car crash was allegedly served liquor, on orders of the Pune district collectorate, said the local administration. 

The car, a Porsche, allegedly driven by the 17-year-old, who the police claim was drunk at the time, fatally knocked down two motorbike-borne software engineers in Kalyani Nagar in Pune city in the early hours of Sunday. 

On the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, the accused juvenile along with his friends went to the two establishments between 9.30 pm and 1 am and allegedly consumed liquor, according to police. 

The two outlets, Cosie restaurant and Hotel Blak Club, were sealed following orders of the district collectorate. 

While Cosie is located in Koregaon Park, an area adjacent to Kalyani Nagar, the Blak Club is in Mundhwa. 

"The Cosie restaurant and Blak Club in Marriot Suite have been sealed with immediate effect by the state excise department following orders from district collector Suhas Diwase," said a statement from the district administration. -- PTI