Election Commission refutes reports regarding complaints of alleged movements of EVMs
New Delhi: After former President Pranab Mukherjee joined the opposition chorus in expressing concern over the alleged tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines, the Election Commission asserted on Tuesday that “all polled EVMs are absolutely safe in strong rooms.”
In a press note, it clarified “emphatically and unambiguously” that alleged movement of the EVMs, purportedly to replace them with the polled EVMs in strong rooms, are absolutely false and factually incorrect.”
It claimed the visuals seen viral on the media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls. Allegations of Electronic Voting Machines being tampered with or being transported in private cars in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana surfaced on Tuesday morning.
For instance, a mobile phone clip that emerged from the Chandauli parliamentary seat shows EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside what appears to be a counting centre. Supporters of the Samajwadi Party candidate in Chandauli, who filmed the video, can be heard questioning why the voting machines were being off-loaded a day after polling and why they were not brought in earlier.
The administration said the machines seen in the video were 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in Chandauli.
Officials said these voting machines reached the storage room and the counting centre later than the other EVMs because of “logistical issues”. According to the rules, reserve EVMs should be deposited at the same time as the machines used in voting.
In eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, the BSP candidate protested outside the storage room for electronic voting machines last night. Afzal Ansari and his supporters claim there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of voting machines The Election Commission called the allegations “frivolous” and said the voting machines were maintained in “proper security and protocol”.
It pointed out that all polled EVMs and VVPAT machines are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms, which are sealed with double locks in the presence of candidates and the EC observers and this is videographed. Noting that each strongroom is guarded with round-theclock security by the central armed police forces, it said the candidates or their designated agents remain present in the strongroom for 24×7 vigil at all times.
The EC said, on the counting day, the strongrooms will be opened in the presence of candidates/agents and observers under videography and the counting agents will be shown the address tags, seals and serial numbers of EVMs before the counting of the EVMs begins.
Remaining silent in court my biggest mistake: Rajat Gupta
New Delhi: Rajat Gupta, the first foreign-born head of influential management consultancy McKinsey and Co who was jailed for two years for insider trading, says his biggest regret is remaining silent in court even as his legal team mounted a vigorous defence and insists that he did no wrong but “would anyone in the courtroom realise this?”
“To this day, that decision is my greatest regret. Without my testimony, our defence was considerably diminished. After all, how can you demonstrate that you did not do something. How can you prove a negative”, particularly in a situation in which his lawyers could not use the term “integrity in examining character witnesses because it was “too vague”, Gupta writes in his memoir, “Mind Without Fear” (Juggernaut), the title inspired by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s “Gitanjali”.
“Integrity was a virtue that I’d striven for my whole life, but what did it really mean? Did it demonstrate integrity to miss the fact that one’s business associates were involved in illegal activity? Could one be said to have integrity if one was too busy to pay close attention to critical financial deals and ended up being cheated. I have lived a full life and tried to do good in the world, but I had not always achieved balance or integration between my many commitments,” Gupta writes.
Insisting that he “certainly did not intend” to provide insider information on investment banker Goldman Sachs to Sri Lankan-American former hedge fund manager Rajakumaran Rajaratnam, jailed in 2011 for 11 years on 14 counts of fraud, Gupta admits: “Perhaps I said more than was strictly appropriate for my role as a board member, but my motives were to support, not betray the bank.”
He then poses a crucial question: “Would nayone in the courtroom realise this though, when I was given an opportunity to clear myself?” “The choice not to tesstify continues to haunt me – not becuase I know the outcome would have been different but because at least it would have allowed me to accept the outcome better, knowing I had done my best in every way. The fact is I succembed to fear in that moment, and that is something I find it hard to forgive myself for and to live with,” Gupta writes.
Noting that he finds it “painful” that he could not continue on his journey “of giving back to society in an impactful way”, or bear the loss of his reputation and position of leadership, Gupta states: “But the truth is, that was all lost long before my decision about (not) taking the stand. The day the SEC charged me, the damage was done, an no matter what I’d done differently during the trial, I’d already paid that price.”
“In the end, however, I accept that perhaps this course of events was simply my destiny. It is not my job to understand why, it is just my job to make the best of it. Again, I remind myself, life is a series to experiences. None is inherently good or bad – it is what you make of it. I am thankful to have been remineded of what really matters in life,” Gupta maintains.
What of the future? “I want to try something completely different, to focus inwardly. Perhaps a greater emphasis on the spiritual dimension will offer avenues for personal growth? I am at peace with my paast, and the question on my mind is: How should I complete this life with tranquility and grace,” Gupta concludes.
Dwarka: 2 criminals shot dead in inter-gang rivalry
New Delhi: Two criminals were gunned down in West Delhi’s Dwarka area on Sunday afternoon in a case of inter-gang rivalry. One of the criminals was shot dead by rival gang members while the other died after suffering bullet injuries during a shootout with police.
According to the police, the gang war between Manjeet Mahal gang and Nandu gang led to a shootout when a member of Mahal’s gang Praveen alias Golu was shot at by at least four members of the Nandu gang. “Praveen is believed to be the financier of the Mahal gang and was travelling towards Dwarka Mor metro station when suddenly three men in a car and two bike-borne men opened fire at him,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Western range) Madhup Tiwari.
An eyewitness said the accused initially could not target Praveen so one of them identified as Vikas Dalal got down from the car, reached Praveen’s car and fired three rounds at him from a very close range. However, the sound of the gunshots by Dalal were also heard by a constable in a PCR van across the road, who ran to the crime scene with his service rifle. The constable warned the accused to put his gun down, but he alleged that the accused starting firing at him instead.
The constable then retaliated with three rounds of fire, which injured Dalal and his associate. “The constable had asked the accused to drop their weapons but when the accused fired, he had to retaliate. Two of the accused received injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital,” Tiwari added. Though the rest of the attackers were able to escape, Dalal, his associate and Praveen were taken to a nearby hospital where Praveen was declared dead while Dalal succumbed to his injuries during treatment.
Hope Naidu’s excitement lasts till May 23: Shiv Sena mocks Andhra CM
Mumbai: Shiv Sena on Monday took a dig at Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and mocked his efforts to form a non-BJP government at the Centre. The TDP chief’s deliberations are part of his efforts to unite non-NDA parties and bring them together on one platform.
“There are at least five contenders for the Prime Minister’s post in Opposition. There are more chances of their disillusionment (mohbhang). Who will form the government? This question has already been answered. Amit Shah said that BJP will win 300 seats and the party reached that target in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections only,” Shiv Sena said in its editorial mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
“Why Chandrababu Naidu is exhausting himself without any reason? Hope his current excitement last till May 23. We wish him luck for the same,” the party added. TDP chief Naidu in the past week undertook a hectic round of discussions with parties opposed to BJP when he met leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Mahagathbandhan leaders — Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.
Naidu is on a mission of rallying opposition parties in a bid to keep the BJP out of power, in case its numbers fall short of majority considerably. Naidu also met CPI leader Sudhakar Reddy and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav. Notably, BSP chief Mayawati was too expected to meet with Congress’ top rung, however with exit polls giving a clear verdict in favour of the BJP and Prime Minister Narnedra Modi’s leadership, Opposition leaders may change their plans and prefer to wait for the results on May 23.
After exit polls predict BJP win, ex-Maldives Prez Nasheed congratulates PM Modi
New Delhi: With most of the exit polls predicting a majority for the NDA, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hoping that the island nation would continue to have close cooperation with the BJP-led government.
“As Indian polls close, congratulations are in order for @narendramodi and the BJP. I am sure the Maldives people and Govt will be delighted to continue their close cooperation with the PM and the BJP-led Govt,” Nasheed wrote on his Twitter handle on Sunday. In November last year, Modi had visited the Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih after he surprisingly defeated Abdulla Yameen in the presidential polls.
During Solih’s visit to India in December, New Delhi had announced financial assistance of USD 1.4 billion to Male. Nasheed’s congratulatory message comes even as the counting of votes in the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections will begin on May 23. Several exit polls on television channels have projected that the BJP-led NDA will retain power at the Centre with most pollsters giving Modi a clear majority again in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Three exit polls including that of CNN News 18-IPSOS and India Today-Axis My India have predicted the NDA will retain power at the Centre with over 300 seats. In the 2014 general elections, the NDA got 341 seats of which BJP alone accounted for 282 seats. The UPA had 60 seats of which 44 were won by the Congress.
Odisha: Jharsuguda SP says ‘doesn’t have any clue’ about minor’s rape case Jharsuguda
Odisha (India): The Superintendent of Police on Friday said he does not have any clue about the case where a 15-year-old girl alleged that four police personnel from Jharsuguda raped her. “We got to know this through media reports and immediately contacted Telco police station. We have not received any clue yet, it is to be ascertained if they were from Jharsuguda or Jamshedpur. We have asked Telco police for clues and will take action,” Aswini Mohanty, Superintendent of Police, Jharsuguda told reporters here.
The girl has filed an FIR in Jamshedpur’s Telco police station against four policemen from Jharsuguda for allegedly raping her.
5 dead, 30 injured in bus accident on Lucknow-Agra expressway
Unnao (Uttar Pradesh): Five people lost their lives and more than 30 were injured in a bus accident on the Lucknow-Agra expressway on Saturday.
The accident happened near Devkhari village which comes under the Bangarmau police station. The incident happened when a bus carrying passengers from Delhi to Bihar overturned after ramming into a tractor trolley.
More than a dozen injured people have been referred to the Lucknow Trauma centre for further treatment. Further details in this regard are awaited.
PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Kedarnath
Kedarnath (U’khand): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday offered prayers at the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath, a day after campaigning for the general election came to a close.
He reached Jolly Grant airport this morning. Stringent security arrangements have been made for the prime minister’s visit, DGP (law and order) Ashok Kumar said. This is Modi’s second visit to the temple in the last two years. Modi will offer prayers at Badrinath on Sunday. The portals of the both the shrines were reopened for devotees after winter break early this month. The campaigning for the seventh and the last phase of the general election ended Friday evening. The Election Commission gave its nod to the visit while “reminding” the prime minister’s office that the model code of conduct is still in force.
25-year-old shot at for marrying woman from same ‘gotra’
New Delhi: A 25-year-old man sustained a bullet injury following an argument with the relatives of his wife who were against their marriage as they belonged to same ‘gotra’, police said Wednesday. The couple eloped and got married in November last year, police said, adding that the two were staying in Matiala in West Delhi after their marriage.
The incident took place on Tuesday in Uttam Nagar area at around 10.30 pm when Bobby, a first year student at a college here, was stopped by his wife’s brothers Nitin (26) and Neeraj (30) while he was returning home. They thrashed Bobby and shot at him. The bullet, however, brushed past his elbow, police said.
He was rushed to the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, where his condition was stated to be stable. The two accused were absconding and efforts were underway to nab them, police said.
BMC official among 15 held in raid at dance bar
Mumbai: At least 15 persons, including a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), were arrested following a raid on a dance bar in Colaba at South Mumbai early on Wednesday, police said.
The raid was conducted at the Platinum Bar and Restaurant by a special team of additional commissioner of police South region, comprising local police around 12.30 am, an official said. “During the raid, police arrested nine members of the hotel management staff and six customers, which includes an officer rank of deputy municipal commissioner,” he said.
A businessman, a government official and some high profile persons were among those arrested, he said, adding that the female staff of the bar was let off. The action was taken under different IPC sections and the Maharashtra Hotels Establishment Act, he said. All the accused were produced before the court, which released them on bail, he said.