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Palghar bypoll: Shiv Sena has no right to take Shivaji’s name as they act like Afzal Khan, says Yogi Adityanath

Mumbai: In a sharp attack on the Shiv Sena — the main opponent of the BJP in the Palghar Lok Sabha by-poll — Yogi Adityanath has said that the Sena has no right to take Chhatrapati Shivaji’s name as they “acted like Afzal Khan”.

He further said that the late Balasaheb Thackeray’s soul would be restless as Sena had back-stabbed BJP by forcibly inducting the late Chintamani Vanga’s son into the party and fielding him in the by-poll. In his 30-minute speech, Yogi targeted Shiv Sena’s hooliganism and the Bahujan Vikas Party and said people need not fear these people. Starting his speech in Marathi by declaring “Sarva Upasthitanna Majha Namaskaar (my greetings to everyone present here),”

Yogi said that he was glad to visit Palghar. Then warming up to his theme, the UP CM said, “The Late (Balasaheb) Thackeray fought against anti-national elements and he never back-stabbed.” Lambasting the Sena, he added that there should not be any room for those who claim to believe in Shivaji Maharaj but act like Afzal Khan. Stating that PM Modi has made development an all-inclusive agenda, Adityanath claimed that the BJP government alone can usher in prosperity.

Pointing out that riots and kidnapping were a daily occurrence in UP, Adityanath said that all such activity has ceased. Asserting that the Congress is wiped out, Yogi said, “All those who oppose BJP will meet a similar fate. So will those who are opposed to development and good governance.”Underlining the need for cordial relations between Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Adityanath said the goodwill starts from Panchavati, which was Prabhu Ramchandra’s place; and today Ram Naik is Uttar Pradesh’s Governor, who is a bridge between the two states.

Mostly city residents hailing from Uttar Pradesh had gathered to listen to Yogi. They even disrupted BJP candidate Rajendra Gavit’s speech by clamouring, ‘Yogi…Yogi’ on the lines of ‘Modi… Modi’, forcing Gavit to end his speech within a few minutes.

He was addressing a public rally in the Manvel Pada lake area in Virar East. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was among those present on the dais.The outcome of the election depends largely upon the sizeable non-tribal vote in Mira-Bhayandar, Nallasopara, Vasai, Virar and, to an extent, in the reserved Boisar (ST) seat. The semi-tribal area is now home to non-tribals, north Indians, Jains, Muslims, Bengalis, people from Bihar and Maharashtrians.

Bombay High Court slams Parsi trusts for failure to highlight threat to shrines due to Metro 3 work

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up two Parsi trusts for their failure to highlight the “threat” to their temples situated in South Mumbai. The five trustees, who had approached the court, claimed that ongoing drilling work for the Metro III corridor poses a threat to their temples, which are heritage structures. They had also claimed that drilling alignment work can also ‘desecrate’ their holy fire.

The court considered their contentions and asked the five senior-most directors of MMRCL to grant a hearing to representations of the community. Expressing shock over the conduct of the trustees, the vacation bench presided over by Justice Shahrukh Kathawala and Justice Ajay Gadkari slammed them for not approaching the court before.

“It is shameful that the trustees failed to move this court despite the community crying foul. We think if the trustees are unable to take a proper stand on such an important issue, then they should better resign from the posts,” the judges said. The scathing observation was made after the judges were informed that the high priests of the community had met CM Fadnavis and issues pertaining to security and safety of the temples were discussed. The judges were irked to note that during this discussion with the CM, none of the trustees voiced any grievance before the CM.

According to the petition filed by trustees of two temples, drilling work is being carried out near Azad Maidan. The high priests also highlighted the fact that the tunnel (for which the drilling is going on) would directly pass under the two fire temples and the Atash Behrams (sacred fires). They have claimed that the tunnel would be routed under the fires at Princess Street and Kalbadevi. In their petition, the high priests expressed apprehension that the tunnelling work would desecrate their holy fires and also lead to drying up of their holy wells.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL), on the other hand. refuted the claims of the community. It informed the judges that tunnelling work would not affect the community’s temples or holy fires and assured the judges that it would not carry out drilling beneath the sanctum sanctorum of the temples.

Having considered the submissions advanced, the judges directed MMRCL to grant a hearing to the representation of the community through the trustees of the two temples, high priests and also some chosen representatives of the Parsi community. Posting the matter for further hearing on June 14, the judges asked MMRCL to hear the contentions of the community and till then avoid drilling under the temples. To this, MMRCL itself said that till the next date, drilling work would not be carried out under the said temples.

Army Major Gogoi detained by police after scuffle in Srinagar hotel

Srinagar: An Army Major, Nitin Leetul Gogoi, whose decision to tie a civilian to the bonnet of his vehicle in Kashmir last year sparked a row, was on Wednesday briefly detained by the police after an altercation broke out at a hotel where he allegedly wanted to enter with an 18-year-old woman, according to a police official.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has initiated an inquiry into the entire incident. Gogoi told the police he had come for a “source meeting”, the official claimed. The incident happened this morning when Major Gogoi along with his driver, also an armyman, and the woman approached the front desk of a hotel at Dalgate to check-in, the official said.

The booking was made on-line in the name of Leetul Gogoi for two guests for one night, the police official, who did not want to be identified, told PTI. According to the police, which recorded statements of the hotel staff as well as the three persons, the Major was informed that he could not enter the room with the accompanying woman which led to an altercation between the staff and Gogoi’s driver.

Immediately, other hotel staff members caught hold of the army officer and his driver and called the police. Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Swayam Prakash Pani ordered a probe into the incident by Superintendent of Police (North). Pani has directed that the report be submitted at the earliest, the official said. Police have asked for the hotel’s CCTV footage as well as the room reservation form filled by the Major, as part of its probe. Srinagar-based Corps Commander Lt Gen A K Bhatt was apprised of the situation, the official said. However, the official said the police has not registered any case.

Asked for a comment, Army sources in New Delhi said the future course would be decided once police investigations were over and circumstances become clear. A team of Major Gogoi’s Army unit arrived along with Military Police and the two were handed over by the local police after recording their statements, the official said. The Major claimed it was a ‘source meeting’, the police official added.

The “sobbing woman” told the police that she knew the driver of the army officer and had accompanied him to Srinagar, the official added. Gogoi had hit the headlines last year in April when he tied a local Farooq Ahmed Dar to his jeep and paraded him through 28 villages in Budgam district apparently to escape the stone pelting. The Army had defended the action and claimed that it was committed in “good faith” to save lives of many soldiers and polling staff from violent stone-pelters in Utligam village of Beerwah.

The incident was widely criticised by political parties and intellectuals. Earlier, a police spokesperson said that “today at 1100 hours, Police Station, Khanyar, received a call from Hotel Grand Mamta that an altercation had taken place. Accordingly, a police party was deputed to the hotel and it surfaced that a woman (name withheld) and another person had come to see someone. But the hotel reception desk did not allow them to meet the person,” a police spokesperson said.

He said a police party reached the spot and all the persons, including the Army Major, were taken to the police station. “Subsequently, it was learnt that the woman had come to meet an Army officer. The identity and particulars of the Army officer were collected by the police. The officials were handed over to their unit after due recording of their statements. The statement of the woman is also being recorded for probing the matter,” the spokesperson said. Asked about the earlier statement made by the police spokesperson, the senior official said that during subsequent investigation it was found that the major along with the driver and the woman were checking in when the altercation took place.

Home buyers can now get their money back in failed development projects through bankruptcy ordinance

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to classify home buyers as “financial creditors” at par with lenders to help them quickly get refunds from companies that have gone bankrupt.

Homebuyers, who largely belong to the middle income group, now have a hope of recovering some, if not all, of their investment in failed development projects in the housing sector. Financial creditors like banks get to recover their dues first when a company or its assets are auctioned. Until now, home buyers were at the end of the queue when it came to making recoveries. But after the proposed changes are incorporated in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Ordinance, homebuyers will have legal rights to initiate a resolution process and get their money back like just any financial creditor.

It, however, was not clear if the home buyer will have a right over the unfinished property he or she had invested in after getting back a part of investment from the bankruptcy proceeds. Kalpesh Mehta, Partner, Deloitte India, said the Ordinance protects the interest of homebuyers and allows them to equitably participate in the insolvency resolution process. “The new amendment benefits all those who have  invested in housing projects that remain unfinished or whose builders are facing bankruptcy,’’ explains Mehta.

The government brought the ordinance after the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs received complaints against bankrupt real estate companies from homebuyers. In these cases, despite paying full amount for their properties, people were not handed over homes as these companies were facing financial hardship. Many realty firms such as Amrapali and Jaypee Infratech are facing insolvency proceedings.

It is understood that the home buyers will be a part of the committee of creditors that approves a resolution plan and their voting rights will be in line with their advances. However, the final contours of the code needs to be seen. Briefing reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “it’s a new legislation…the Cabinet has approved it”. He, however, refused to divulge further details citing constitutional provisions.

However, the proposal could negatively impact the lenders. The other key amendment which has got the Cabinet’s nod will allow promoters of defaulting MSMEs to participate in the resolution process. This would provide small-scale bankrupt companies with a chance to make recoveries.

Input: PTI

Opposition leaders come together on single platform for Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony

Bengaluru: Cynics may dismiss it as just a photo op but the coming together of Opposition leaders on a single platform is a loaded political message to the BJP, that there is now more to the polity than just a Modi narrative. Neither HDK, nor his father H D Deve Gowda, were the stars of the swearing in ceremony in Bengaluru. Rather, under the arc lights was the large anti-BJP rainbow formulation, from which is likely to emanate the ‘oust Modi’ chorus ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Among those present were one time enemies, many time foes and constant name callers, until the recent past. So, it was a pleasant sight to see arch rivals Mamata Banerjee and Sitaram Yechury shake hands, even if they studiously avoided each other thereafter. The new found bonhomie between Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, albeit a little forced, too was apparent. They greeted each other warmly, waved to the crowd and sat next to each other. But the most invigorating was the meeting between Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi. A beaming Mayawati held a smiling Sonia’s hand during the entire duration they were together. Rahul too was part of this inner circle and the three waved to the crowd, even as Akhilesh Yadav lurked in the background.

Others present at the venue were Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, Pinarayi Vijayan of Kerala and Nara-yanaswamy of Pudu-cherry. Sharad Yadav, Lalu’s son Tejeswi and CPI’s D Raja were also in attendance with Tejeswi dutifully touching Sonia’s feet. NCP chief Sharad Pawar was accorded a special welcome and greeted warmly by Sonia Gandhi.

Strangely, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhara Rao skipped the ceremony citing prior engagements. He had come on Tuesday and wished Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda. But sources say he did not want to be seen on the dais with his ‘enemies’ – the Congress and Chandrababu Naidu. Mamata, it was apparent to all, was going to be the political adhesive that will hold the brigade together. Like a ‘sutradhar’ she had an arm around Mayawati’s shoulder and pulled in Chandrababu Naidu with the other, much to the delight of the crowd.

But in the show of unity, the fault lines were also too obvious. So, despite the heart-warming handshake, Mamata avoided being closeted with Yechury. At one stage, she vanished from the stage and the JD(S) leaders had to mount a search for her. When found, she was taken chaperoned and ensconced near Sonia Gandhi, far away from Yechury. After the swearing-in ceremony, the entire opposition stood together, raised hands skywards; the symbolism of it was important even though it will be sometime before the contours of the ‘coalition’ are defined. Both the chemistry and the arithmetic of such an aggregation is important as a combined opposition can tilt the scales in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, at least.

“Curious to see what follows,” tweeted actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who was also on the crowded stage. Will fight general Election together: Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Wednesday that the JD(S) will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha election with the Congress and expressed confidence that the coalition government formed by the two parties will last the full five years in Karnataka. He also predicted that there will be a major political change in the country in 2019.

Single incident of harassment not enough to penalise someone for domestic abuse, cruelty: Bombay High Court

Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has said a single and solitary incident of harassment is not enough to attract the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which penalise domestic abuse and cruelty. The ruling was delivered earlier this month by a single-judge bench of Justice Kishor Sonawane while dealing with a criminal appeal filed by a man challenging his conviction under section 498 A of the IPC, which penalises husbands who subject their wives or in-laws to cruelty or harassment by demanding dowry.

In his judgement, Justice Sonawane said, “It must be noted that the word ‘harassment’ used in clause (b) of the explanation of section 498-A of the IPC has nowhere been defined in this section or anywhere in the IPC or any other statute.” “Therefore, in view of the dictionary meaning, it appears that the word harassment implies some continuous course, though not necessarily on a large number of occasions, and it may not take within its fold only one such solitary incident of harassment. Thus, it must be borne in mind that mere harassment is not enough to prove charges under Section 498-A of the IPC; it must be with a view to coercing the wife or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security, or it should be on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand,” Justice Sonawane ruled.

The ruling was made while the bench acquitted Brahmaji Patil on the charges of cruelty and domestic harassment. He was booked after his in-laws lodged an FIR accusing him of abetting the suicide of their daughter. They claimed that Patil harassed their daughter for dowry which led to her death within seven months of their marriage.

Having considered the arguments advanced by all the parties, Justice Sonawane said, “It cannot be overlooked that where a woman is subjected to cruelty or harassment, the independent evidence regarding the same can hardly be available. Therefore, in view of particular circumstances, only the relative witnesses of a victim could be the natural witnesses. But, the possibility of false involvement or exaggeration on the part of such relatives could not be ruled out due to possible prejudice.”

“The intense scrutiny of the evidence of star-witnesses of the prosecution reflects that these witnesses cast allegations against Patil in a very vague and of a general nature. They did not describe the particulars of the ill-treatment meted out to their daughter; thus the prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The appellant Patil is absolved from all the charges,” Justice Sonawane said while acquitting Patil.

PM Narendra Modi wants to appoint officers picked by RSS in civil services: Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday gave a call to students to rise in protest, warning them that “your future is at risk! RSS wants what’s rightfully yours.” In a tweet, he revealed the Prime Minister’s alleged mischief to deprive meritorious students who shine in the civil service examination of what is rightfully theirs by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings.

Thus far the selection of the civil service cadres – IFS, IAS and IPS — used to be on the basis of the UPSC exam, but now the appointments will be based on the combined score obtained in this examination and the 3-year foundation course which the candidates take after selection. Rahul’s charge stems from an official letter in which the Prime Minister’s Office had asked the department of personnel to examine if the services can be allocated after the completion of foundation course. The duration of foundation course for officers of almost all the services is three months

However, the PMO note is silent on whop will assess the candidates. Will the instructors at the training academy in Mussoorie, where the foundation course is held, serve as judges?  Those who have cleared the exam this year and past UPSC toppers say this will be an arbitrary assessment at odds with the transparent procedure followed thus far, which allots recruits purely on the marks they scored in the entrance exam.

The Indian Administrative Service or IAS draws the highest scorers, next is the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), followed by the Indian Police Service (IPS).Kashmir’s recent topper and IAS officer Shah Faesal tweeted, “If the newly proposed IAS service/cadre allocation policy is approved, it will turn IAS into ICS- Indian Chamcha Service.” In his tweet, Rahul has suggested that PM Modi wants RSS to select officers of their choice. However, there is no mention of the RSS in the official document shared by the Department of Personnel and Training.

BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday ruled out any role of the RSS in the government’s move to tweak selection of the cadres. “Where does RSS come in picture,” he shot back at a Press conference. There was nothing wrong in putting together training and performance to select the best hands and the selection will be based on the examination after the foundation course which will be as good as the UPSC examination, Shah said.

Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll: CM Devendra Fadnavis requests Yogi Adityanath to address rally in Palghar

Mumbai: For the BJP, the next port of call is the Lok Sabha seat of Palghar, where a by-poll is slated on May 28. Licking its wounds after the embarrassment in Karnataka, the BJP does not want to leave anything to chance and has requisitioned the services of Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

The Yogi will be addressing a rally on Wednesday in Virar, the bastion of Hitendra Thakur, the chief of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi. Thakur has fielded Baliram Jadhav, former Member of Parliament, against Rajendra Gavit, the BJP candidate. Shiv Sena has fielded Srinivas Vanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Vanga, and hence the triangular contest has become a battle of prestige for CM Devendra Fadnavis. There are around 17 lakh voters in the Palghar LS constituency, out of which 22 per cent hail from North India, mostly Uttar Pradesh. It is this segment of voters that the BJP wants to tap, and for this it has decided to use the good offices of Yogi Adityanath.

Fadnavis has already attended four public rallies in this constituency and two more are scheduled. His speeches were mostly directed at the Shiv Sena, which is an indication of the thinking within the BJP camp. The party perceives Sena as a bigger threat than either the Congress or the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, which has a sizeable presence in the semi-tribal belt.

According to a BJP insider, Yogi Aditynath was not scheduled to address the rally and decided to come over on a specific request by Fadnavis. A party insider said: “Yogi Aditynath is the new saffron face of the party which appeals to hard core Hindu voters; here, he can also help wean away north Indian voters. It will enable the BJP to retain its seat.” Yogi was asked address public rallies in the recently-concluded Karnataka state assembly poll as well. Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, who is also the Delhi Pradesh president of the BJP, recently addressed a public meeting in Vasai.

Gunning down of protesters in Tamil Nadu is state sponsored terrorism: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today termed the deaths of nine people in police firing during protests against the Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu a “brutal example of state sponsored terrorism”. He said people were murdered in Tuticorin for protesting against injustice.

Rahul Gandhi

 The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the #SterliteProtest in Tamil Nadu, is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured.

6:09 PM - May 22, 2018
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“The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured,” Gandhi said on Twitter. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said nine people were killed in police action at Tuticorin and ordered a judicial inquiry into the police action. The police action followed months-long protests for the closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin, about 600 km from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, over pollution concerns. The agitation turned violent today, with protesters fighting pitched battles with police, prompting it to open fire.

Tamil Nadu-Anti-Sterlite protests turn violent in Tuticorin, 9 killed in police firing
Hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire, the agitators went on the rampage in the town.

Mumbaikars in distress as petrol, diesel prices touch new high

Mumbaikars are facing problems as the petrol and diesel prices today touched historic high. The prices in the morning were seen to have touched Rs 84.70/litre for petrol and diesel Rs 72.48/litre in Mumbai. Locals told ANI, ‘petrol & diesel prices are increasing every week. Prices here are much higher than other states. How are we supposed to survive in this situation.’

According to one estimate, excise duty on petrol has gone up by 105.49 percent while on diesel it has shot up by over 240 percent. Interestingly, the only time duties were cut was by Rs 2 per litre last October in the run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat. As against this, the excise on jet fuel as a component of price was just 14%.

The gap between petrol and diesel prices has also narrowed to such an extent that it no longer makes sense to buy a diesel vehicle. Diesel set a new record across the country on Monday: In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, diesel was selling at Rs 67.82, Rs 70.37, Rs 72.21 and Rs 71.59 per litre, respectively. The carriers of public transport run mostly on diesel and the impact on the inter-state movement of perishable and imperishable commodities can well be imagined.

With the price of global crude going through the roof, the only way to scale down prices is a reduction in taxes. But, for a long time, the Centre has been conveniently taking the plea that states need to bring down their own taxes to make the fuels cheaper. But it is apparent the states are not willing to oblige given the booty that flows into their coffers.