Chandrayaan-2 is closer to moon

Chandrayaan-2 is closer to moon

Chennai: The Indian space agency on Sunday evening successfully completed the fifth and final lunar bound orbit change for the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the spacecraft's maneuver began at 6.21 p.m. using its onboard propulsion system for 52 seconds.

The orbit achieved is 119 km x 127 km. All spacecraft parameters are normal. The next crucial operation is the separation of Vikram, the lander, from the spacecraft scheduled on September 2 at 12.45 p.m. -1.45 p.m.

After Vikram's separation, there will be two de-orbital operations on September 3 and 4 so that it could soft land on the moon's south pole on September 7 at 1.30 a.m.- 2.30 a.m.

On July 22, the Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into the space by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.

The spacecraft comprises three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), the lander 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads).


Digvijaya Singh accuses BJP of spying for ISI

Digvijaya Singh accuses BJP of spying for ISI

Bhopal: Senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh on Sunday denied accusing the BJP of spying for the ISI in return for money, even as TV channels ran recordings of his Friday’s statement made in this regard.

“Some TV channels are saying that I have accused the BJP of spying for Pakistan’s ISI in return for money. This is totally false and baseless,” Singh tweeted.

In his subsequent tweet, he clarified: “Madhya Pradesh police have arrested some functionaries of the Bajrang Dal and a person belonging to the BJP IT Cell on charge of spying for the ISI. This is the charge I made and I stand by it. Why don’t the TV channels question the BJP on this.”

Singh’s clarification came after there was furore over the charges he made against the BJP. During a visit to Gwalior and Bhind on Friday, Singh told reporters: “Bajrang Dal (the youth wing of VHP) and BJP are taking money from ISI. Attention should be paid to this.”

“Non-Muslims are spying for Pakistan’s ISI more than Muslims. This should be understood,” he added giving a communal dimension to his claim. Former Madhya Pradesh CM and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan was quick to rubbish Singh’s remark.

“Digvijaya Singh deliberately raises such kind of issues. He and his leaders speak the language of Pakistan. His credibility is gone so I don’t take his statements seriously. The whole country is aware of the patriotism of the BJP and the RSS. We don’t need a certificate from Digvijaya Singh,” wrote on Twitter.

Though Chouhan alleged that the Congress leader makes controversial statements to get publicity, Singh’s remarks were made in the backdrop of some recent events in Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP in Madhya Pradesh has been under fire from the Opposition since last Wednesday, when five persons were arrested in Satna district in a terror-funding racket managed by ISI operatives based in Pakistan. One of those arrested is a Bajrang Dal leader called Balram Singh.

The five arrested were found to have communicated with their handlers using an app which does not keep any record of the messages it sends, police said.

Two years ago, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader Dhruv Saxena was arrested in a similar case of espionage and terror-funding in Satna. The accused later got bail. Balram Singh was also a part of this gang.


Saffron bedsheets in Rae Bareli hospital for Yogi Adityanath's visit

Saffron bedsheets in Rae Bareli hospital for Yogi Adityanath's visit

Rae Bareli: Bedsheets with saffron stripes were laid out in wards of the district hospital in Rae Bareli on Tuesday, ahead of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit there.

Chief Medical Superintendent Dr N.K. Srivastava said there was nothing unusual about the bedsheets. "The bedsheets are colour coded to ensure they are changed every day," he said.

Sources, however, said this was the first time that saffron striped bedsheets were used in the hospital. The Chief Minister is likely to pay a surprise visit to the hospital though it is not a part of his itinerary.

He is visiting Rae Bareli to pay homage to Rana Beni Madho Singh's statue. He will also offer tributes at the Shaheed Chowk and then attend another function before returning to Lucknow.

Incidentally, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also reaching Rae Bareli, later in the day, to pay her condolences to the family of former MLA Akhilesh Singh, whose daughter Aditi Singh is now a Congress legislator. Akhilesh Singh passed away on August 20 after a prolonged battle with cancer.


INX Media and 5 other cases P Chidambaram is embroiled in

INX Media and 5 other cases P Chidambaram is embroiled in

New Delhi: Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram was on Wednesday formally arrested by the CBI after his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case was rejected by the Delhi High Court. Here's a list of the cases he has been embroiled in:

INX Media Case

The case in which the former Finance Minister has been arrested involves alleged kickbacks received by his son Karti Chidambaram in exchange for allowing INX Media, a television company, to receive Rs 305 crore as foreign funds in 2007. Delhi High Court's Justice Sunil Gaur said that his being a Member of Parliament doesn't affect the case. He has been questioned many times in relation to this case. ED argued that the companies where money was transferred to were controlled by his son.

In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance.

Aircel Maxis Deal

The case pertains to alleged irregularities while granting of FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The father-son are suspect in this case as well. Both the CBI and ED are probing the case from different angles. The CBI is examining how Chidambaram, while he was Finance Minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, while the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was only allowed or empowered to do it. The Enforcement Directorate is probing money laundering in the Aircel-Maxis case. In the case, the Chidambarams have been grilled by the agency. Their anticipatory bail is pending. The Aircel-Maxis deal is worth Rs 3,500 crore.

Air India Purchase

If Aircel-Maxis deal and INX Media deals weren't enough, the former Finance Minister is also embroiled in the Air India purchase case. The ED has summoned him for questioning on August 23. The case pertains to alleged wrongdoing in the purchase of 111 aircraft for Air India when he was Finance Minister in the UPA government.

As many as 42 Airbus and 24 Boeing aircraft were slated to be purchased but had ended up in the purchase of 111 aircraft. Chidambaram will be questioned to explain the jump in a number of purchase. Chidambaram chaired the empowered group of ministers which finalised the decision to purchase the aircraft in 2009. According to the FIR, private entities were favoured. The senior Congress leader is also under the agencies in the aviation scam, involving the sharing of the profitable routes with foreign airlines.

Black Money Case

Last November, the Madras High Court quashed the sanction orders issued by the Income Tax department to prosecute Chidambaram, his wife Nalini, son Karti and daughter-in-law Srinidhi Karti Chidambaram under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The Madras High Court order has been challenged in the Supreme Court where it is pending.

Tamil Nadu land grab case

The CBI has initiated a preliminary enquiry into allegations that a hotel in Tamil Nadu was grabbed by a relative of Chidambaram in collusion with officials of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

Ishrat Jahan affidavit case

A complaint against Chidambaram is also pending with Delhi Police relating to the alleged manipulation of an affidavit in connection with the Ishrat Jahan case when he was Union Home Minister.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram's wife Nalini has also been charge sheeted by the CBI in the Saradha chit-fund scam for allegedly accepting a bribe to the tune of Rs 1.4 crore. She had been granted interim protection from arrest by the Calcutta High Court in January this year.

CBI, ED actions a political vendetta: DMK’s Stalin

CBI, ED actions a political vendetta: DMK’s Stalin

Chennai: DMK chief MK Stalin on Thursday said that there is a political vendetta behind actions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX media case.

"P Chidambaram is an expert in law and he is able to come out of this situation legally. I think that the actions by CBI and ED are due to political vendetta," he said when asked about the action being taken against the former Union Minister Chidambaram.

Earlier in the day, CBI and ED filed caveats in the Supreme Court over Chidambaram's plea seeking protection from arrest in the INX media case.

With the caveat being filed, the apex court cannot pass any order on the former finance minister's plea without hearing the probe agencies. The Congress party also defended Chidambaram and said he is one of the most respected and qualified leaders of the country.

"P Chidambaram is an extremely qualified and respected leader, he has served this nation with dedication and humility. We stand by his quest for truth no matter what," the Congress tweeted.

Chidambaram was unable to get immediate relief after a three-judge bench of the top court sent the file of Chidambaram's Special Leave Petition (SLP) seeking pre-arrest bail to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi for passing an order on the listing of the case.

CJI Gogoi, however, had commenced hearing in the Ayodhya dispute case due to which Chidambaram's counsel Sibal was unable to mention the matter before him for urgent hearing.

The Congress leader's lawyers had moved the apex court against Tuesday's Delhi High Court order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea regarding cases filed by the CBI and the ED related to the alleged INX Media scam.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the plea of Chidambaram and said this is a case of money laundering of monumental magnitude.

ED had also issued a lookout notice against Chidambaram on Tuesday evening shortly after teams of the probe agency went to the former finance minister's residence but were unable to find him.


Court refuses to cancel NBW against Ratul Puri

Court refuses to cancel NBW against Ratul Puri

New Delhi: A Delhi court Wednesday refused to cancel a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Special judge Arvind Kumar dismissed Puri's application seeking cancellation of the NBW saying there was no ground to grant the relief.

Puri, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a separate case related to a bank fraud, had approached the court saying there was no need for the NBW as he was wiling to cooperate in the probe.

"I do not find any ground for cancellation of NBW issued against accused Ratul Puri. The application filed by accused Ratul Puri for cancellation of NBW issued against him, is dismissed," the judge said.

The order noted that the accused had not joined the probe on different dates despite repeated notices of the ED. "Accused had left the ED office on July 26 without signing his statement. He has made himself unavailable and his whereabouts could not be ascertained," the court observed.

It also noted from ED's submission that there was every likelihood that accused may tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses. Delhi High Court yesterday dismissed his plea seeking anticipatory bail in the same case.

The court had issued the NBW against Puri while noting the ED's submissions that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses "as he already did earlier".

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary, AgustaWestland.

The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.

According to the ED, the proceeds of the crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by Puri and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by the other accused and to determine last-mile connectivity of the proceeds.


Not keen on linking Aadhaar with social media: Madras High Court

Not keen on linking Aadhaar with social media: Madras High Court

Chennai: A day after the Supreme Court restrained the Madras High Court from passing final orders on two public interest litigation petitions seeking linking of Aadhaar with social media accounts; the latter said it was not keen on the issue in any case.

On Wednesday, a bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad made it clear that they were not interested at any point in the plea of the petitioners to link the Aadhaar ID or any other government authorities’ identity proof with the social media accounts of individuals including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The judges pointed out that long ago they had expanded the scope of the PILs and issued notices to social media giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and WhatsApp only to “make them share information with police” in case of cyber crimes.

When Advocate General Vijay Narayan pointed out that since August last year - when the scope of the petitions were expanded - much has changed on the ground with the social media companies participating in the proceedings, the court agreed with him.

Appearing for a social media giant senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi pointed out that the Supreme Court had restrained the Madras High Court from passing any final order on the PIL petitions.

Agreeing with him, the judges said that propriety would demand that the High Court await the decision of the SC and adjourned the hearing to September 19.

By Dravida Thambi


Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan’s Luxury Resort in UP Faces Trouble

Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan’s Luxury Resort in UP Faces Trouble

The resort had allegedly been built on a nullah owned by the Irrigation department. A notice has already been served to Azam Khan in the matter.

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan, who recently made headlines over land grabbing cases, is once again in the deep end as the district administration has razed down the boundary of his luxury resort ‘Humsafar’.

The resort had allegedly been built on a nullah owned by the Irrigation department. A notice has already been served to Azam Khan in the matter.

“If it (the resort) is not removed then it will be bulldozed. A piece of land has also been encroached for parking near the resort,” District Magistrate Rampur, Anjaney Kumar Singh said.

The ‘Husamafar’ resort was inaugurated by the former Samajwadi Party chief and former CM Mulayam Singh Yadav during the SP regime in the state. The Rampur MP is already facing flak over alleged land grabbing cases in Rampur’s Jauhar University.

Responding to the allegations Khan, who visiting Rampur for the Eid Ul Azha celebrations, had said, “The courts are questioning DM and SP over their action on Jauhar University as the gate of the university was razed down and it was looted. The court has given 40 rulings in which you can’t claim after three years that your land was grabbed. The trust which bought hundreds of acres of lands, won’t encroach quarter to three acre of land.”

Previously, Azam Khan sparked outrage for his sexist remarks targeting BJP leader Rama Devi for which he was forced to tender an apology in the lower house. Azam Khan’s son and SP lawmaker from Suwar district, Abdullah Azam was also detained by Rampur police for hindering raids related to stolen ancient books in Jauhar University.


Kerala Mosque Opens Prayer Hall for Autopsy of Landslide Victims

Kerala Mosque Opens Prayer Hall for Autopsy of Landslide Victims

The management of the Salafi Juma Masjid at Pothukal near Nilambur in Malappuram district threw its doors open for the autopsy of the decomposed bodies of the landslide victims cutting across religions.

Malappuram: Showcasing a rare model of humanism, a mosque in north Kerala has offered its prayer hall to perform autopsy of the people who were killed in a massive landslide at a nearby village last week.

The management of the Salafi Juma Masjid at Pothukal near Nilambur in Malappuram district threw its doors open for the autopsy of the decomposed bodies of the landslide victims cutting across religions.

The mosque is located few kilometres away from Kavalappara, a remote hamlet in the district where a large number of people and children were killed following the landslide last Thursday. Search operations are still on to trace the bodies of the people, who have gone missing and are feared to have been buried alive.

The remoteness of the place and practical difficulties in shifting the decomposed bodies to the nearest hospital, which is at least 45 km away, have forced the authorities to look for a temporary facility for post-mortem.

When the police and authorities approached the mosque management with the request, they wholeheartedly offered a portion of their prayer hall and other facilities for performing the autopsy. Thus, the prayer hall is now working as a makeshift autopsy centre and study tables there are used for post-mortem, health authorities said.

The bodies of nearly 30 people, recovered after days of searches, were brought at the mosque for autopsy till Wednesday, they said.

The noble gesture came to light after Parameswaran, a staff in the government medical college, Manjeri, posted a video of the prayer hall and the makeshift autopsy facility on social media. He said it was one of the finest examples of communal harmony prevailing in the state.

While delivering the Independence Day speech in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday lavished praised on the mosque management, saying it was a great model of communal harmony and secularism the state can proudly present before the country.




Pak-Backed Protesters Target Indian Diaspora Celebrating I-Day Outside Indian High Commission in London, 4 Arrested

Pak-Backed Protesters Target Indian Diaspora Celebrating I-Day Outside Indian High Commission in London, 4 Arrested

London: Scotland Yard said it made four arrests as thousands of protesters converged outside the Indian High Commission in London for planned protests and counter-demonstrations to mark Independence Day on Thursday, resulting in an extremely tense face-off between different groups.

The anti-India protest, organised by Pakistani groups and Sikh and Kashmiri separatist outfits, was demarcated with metal barriers from a pro-India demonstration outside India House, during which placard-waving crowds disrupted the flow of traffic and chanted slogans.

As the clashes progressed through the day, there were instances of stone-pelting and bottle-throwing, with Scotland Yard officers on duty seen tackling some of the protesters to restrain them.

The protests, which according to the Metropolitan Police resulted in one injury, was described as largely peaceful involving a small number of incidents.

Pro-India demonstrators outside the Indian High Commission in London on August 15, 2019. (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

"The event was largely peaceful but officers did have to react and deal with a small number of incidents as they happened. In total there were four arrests for Section 4 of the Public Order Act, affray, obstruction of police and possession of an offensive weapon," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

"Public order trained officers were policing today's demonstration as part of a planned operation. One person was injured during the demonstrations," it said.

Earlier, the Met Police had confirmed that it had been aware of the protests and had therefore made appropriate policing arrangements, which included considerable number of officers on foot as well as officers mounted on horses.

While the anti-India protesters chanted slogans, the counter-protesters waved the Tricolour during the face off. The anti-India crowd included the pro-Khalistan Referendum 2020 group, a regular feature outside India House during Independence Day protests over the years.

However, the turnout this year was expected to be much larger in the wake of the Indian government's move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, the Indian High Commission hosted its annual Independence Day celebrations with a flag-hoisting ceremony, with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, felicitating members of the World Peace Rally, which concluded in London this week after covering 105 cities and a distance of 17,000-km.

Ghanashyam also greeted the Indian Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged team, which recently beat England to win the Physical Disability World Cricket Series 2019 at Worcester in the West Midlands region of England.