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Maharashtra: CAG rap for BJP in airport, Metro project procedural lapses in tender process

Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has rapped the previous BJP-led government and its various undertakings for procedural lapses, flaws in tendering process and for extending a helping hand to contractors while compromising the state's interest in the development of Navi Mumbai airport project and the Mumbai Metro.

The report was tabled in the State cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday evening. The copies of the report were distributed to the ministers but were later collected since they are confidential.

The Navi Mumbai international project is running behind schedule and involves an investment of Rs 16,000 crore. It is being developed by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd while the State-run City and Industrial Development Corporation is the nodal agency.


The first phase with handling of 10 million passengers was to be commissioned in December 2019 and later rescheduled to May 2020. Now, it will be further delayed.

As far as the Mumbai Metro is concerned, the BJP government had proposed that the network be enhanced to more than 300 km from the existing 11.4 km.

The project is being implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation.

An MVA minister told the FPJ, "CAG has castigated the previous BJP-led government and government undertakings for irregularities and major procedural lapses in awarding contracts.

In some contracts awarded in the case of Navi Mumbai airport, CAG found that global tenders were not called; neither was it publicised. In the case of demolition of a hillock, which was situated right in the middle of the aeronautical zone, the CAG has noticed some financial errors."

Further, the CAG has also expressed displeasure over the government's haste in awarding some contracts for Mumbai Metro project which will benefit the contractors.

The minister informed FPJ that the CAG report, after the cabinet discussion, has been forwarded to the state Governor; after his nod it will be tabled in the legislature during the ongoing budget session.

The MVA constituents – the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress -- plan to corner the BJP on CAG's scathing report. T

he findings will come handy in checkmating the BJP which has been setting deadlines for the collapse of the state government. The MVA government also plans to expose various other scams and irregularities during the BJP government.


FPJ Exclusive: MVA govt may invoke Maharashtra Police Act to form SIT for Elgar case probe

Mumbai: Maha Vikas Aghadi may establish a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Pune police conduct in the Elgar Parishad case by invoking section 4 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

As per this section, the superintendence of the Police Force throughout state vests in and is exercisable by the State Government and it can exercise control, direction and supervision over the police force.

This is in addition to invoking section 10 of the National Investigation Act, 2019 which gives powers to the state government to hold parallel inquiry excluding the list of Scheduled Offences.

The state government is expected to get legal opinion soon and then it will take a final call. SIT is likely to be headed by the retired judge.


MVA minister told FPJ, "The Pune police conduct in the Elgar Parishad needs to be investigated and, under section 4 of the Maharashtra Police Act, the state government can do it."

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had demanded SIT probe into police behaviour saying that those who were not present at the Elgar Parishad were charged and some of them were arrested. He had also demanded suspension of a few Pune police officers.

The Elgar Parishad case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. Pune police claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists and arrested nine activists.


NPR exercise to be put on hold in Telangana

Hyderabad: What comes as a major relief for the Muslims and poor people of Telangana, the State government has decided to put on hold the National Population Register (NPR) work for the time being.

As reported by the New Indian Express, the TRS government would move a resolution in the Legislative Assembly urging the Centre to implement the old format of NPR, instead of the revised one proposed for 2020 Census.

According to sources, government would adopt another resolution suggesting the Centre to dispense with the new format of NPR in the forthcoming budget session of the Legislature, along with a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The State government has opposed the CAA in the parliament and it also wants to take up the NPR work in old format without the objectionable questions.

West Bengal and Kerala have decided to put NPR work on hold and Telangana would follow suit. The sources added that though the States cannot stop the NPR work, the move to stop all the activities with regard to NPR would bring some pressure on the Centre to make some modifications in the new NPR format.

With reference to the sources close to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the New Indian Express stated that the TRS 
Meanwhile, a senior IAS officer issuing orders to carry out NPR work when TS has decided to put it on hold was shunted out of the GAD some time ago.
government was against the new format of the NPR.

Journalist forced to drop pants to prove religion

New Delhi: A journalist associated with a Hindi news portal narrated his ordeal that he faced while filming in a riot-hit area of Delhi.

Susheel Manav, the journalist said that he and another person, Awadhu Azad who were riding on a bike were stopped by miscreants at Lane 7 of Maujpur. The rioters questioned them, “Why are you filming?”

Although, Manav informed them that he belongs to a media house, they snatched his phone.

Religion test
When a group of 20-25 men carrying lathis and country-made pistols surround Manav, he informed them that he is a Hindu. To confirm his religion, they asked him to recite Hanuman Chalisa.

Even after reciting it, they forced Manav and Awadhu to drop their pants to prove their religion.

The ordeal did not end there. Despite checking the religions of Manav and Awadhu, the miscreants beat them.

After a while, two police constable approached the spot and help the victims to reach the main road. It is alleged that the cops were not interested in taking action against the rioters.

Treatment in Muslim area
After the incident, they reached nearby Muslim area, Babarpur. Once they reached Babarpur, locals rushed to help them as Awadhu was bleeding.

When Manav informed them about the incident and his identity, Muslims took them to the nearby clinic. The staff at the clinic did not charge any amount for the treatment.

Later, an auto driver helped them in reaching home safely.  

After the incident, Manav recalled that his mother suggested him not to visit Muslim area.

No religion teaches violence

The ordeal faced by the journalist proves that religion has nothing to do with violence. Despite proving that they are Hindus, rioters assaulted them whereas, locals of Muslim area not only provided treatment free of cost but also ensured their safe return to home.

Karnataka: Yeddyurappa is aging but irreplaceable

By M. A. Siraj

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa is proving an albatross around the neck for the BJP High Command. Seemingly indispensable for the party in the State, BSY is 77 and should retire from active politics, given the norm set by the High Command. But he is no ordinary mortal to be sounded the marching order. Having successfully mustered the numbers for the majority in the 224-member House, he sits pretty on the throne. The party and the High Command knows too well the risk of displacing or replacing him with any of the several ambitious and younger contenders for the top post in the State.

The cabinet expansion saw over a third of the cabinet berths going to the former Congress and JDS MLAs (who had rebelled against their parties) and enabled the BJP to form the Government on the basis of majority in a house whose strength had gone down by 17. But this has badly put off the old loyalists who were natural claimants to the posts and waited for years together for the reward. They are being promised lackluster chairmanships of boards and corporations which are anyway poor substitutes. Saddled with sulking loyalists and unfairly rewarded newcomers, the Yeddyurappa cabinet and Government are seen as the best model of expedient politics, enough to shock those who aspired to see ‘a Government with a difference’.

It may be recalled that BSY consolidated his position in December last year with the BJP winning 12 of the 15 seats for which the by-elections were held on December 5. It was a defection by detour. In 2018 Assembly election, the BJP though won 104 seats and emerged as the largest party, it fell short of eight for a majority. Congress and the JDS with a combined strength of 117 hastily cobbled a coalition Government which only hopped from one crisis to another during its 14-month tenure before collapsing in the wake of BJP making a clean sweep in the State in May 2019 General Elections winning 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from the State. Defections were engineered shortly thereafter by the BJP into the partners of the ruling coalition
The teetering coalition was replaced by the BJP after it persuaded 17 of the ‘rebel’ MLAs from the Congress and the JDS to resign and seek the reentry into the House through by-elections, having assured them tickets and cabinet berths. By-elections were held for only 15 seats. The BJP nominated 14 of the ‘rebels’, one being denied the ticket and replaced by another party nominee. Among the winners were 11 who had rebelled against the parent Congress and JDS parties. New inductees included 10 of these rebels, with one left sulking on the margins.

Though BSY has secured his Government, the High Command has given him enough signals of him not being in the good books of Mr. Amit Shah. It took nearly eight months for the BSY to expand his cabinet, clearly two months after the by-elections. He was denied the appointment several times by the High Command and had to return from Delhi unheard. Age is catching up with him and if grapevine has to be believed, he is dependent upon his younger son B. Y. Vijayendra who happens to be one of the general secretaries of the State BJP. His first son B. Y. Raghevendra is Member of Lok Sabha representing Shimoga seat. In a party that shuns dynastic tendencies, these antecedents evoke both hostility and fear within the party rank and file. In order to scotch rumours, the High Command directed BSY to take three deputy CMs from three distinct caste groups, Lingayath, Vokkaliga and Scheduled Caste. BSY too indulges in adding an anti-minority touch to his style in order to be in good books of the High Command. He withdrew the Rs. 10 lakh compensation to the two Muslim victims of police firing in Mangalore until the probe into the incidents declared them innocent. His Government cancelled the official celebration of Tipu Jayanthi in the State on November 9. These are uncharacteristic of the Chief Minister who had meticulously avoided being seen as anti-any caste or community in the previous term (2008-2011).   

But this has neither assuaged the feelings of those who were denied the cabinet berth, nor pacified the other party aspirants for the top post. Yeddyurappa remains the tallest leader of the Lingayaths, the most powerful caste group within the State with substantial representation in bureaucracy, cooperatives, banking, educational institutions, religious mutts and overall politics. The BJP’s fulcrum of the votebank in the State rests mainly on the Lingayaths. BSY’s displacement will not be taken kindly by the community. Combination of these factors is stoking unrest among loyalists and the party.

But better late than never, BSY will have to vacate the seat. B. L. Santosh, a soft-spoken leader who has emerged from the RSS ranks is the hot favourite of the High Command for the top post. He is being tipped to replace BSY. He was appointed the national general secretary (organization) in January and is being tipped for the post. But there are enough indications that ouster of BSY will not be smooth. Last time when he was replaced by Mr. Sadananda Gowda (who was succeeded by Jagadish Shettar only a year later), he (BSY) split the party, formed Karnataka Janata Party and robbed the BJP of at least 8% votes in 2013 elections, leading to revival of Congress in the State. It is certain that the BJP will see unrest and suffer dents in the Lingayath votebank if he were to be removed as CM. BSY has taken care to project himself more pro-Lingayath than pro-Hindutva. At no occasion—both in the current and previous term as CM—he has issued any hurtful or hateful statements to annoy communities traditionally opposed to the BJP.

Meanwhile, the main Opposition party Congress is yet to dress up its dented image. Though former chief minister Siddramaiah had resigned (following party’s rout in by-elections) as the Congress Legislature Party President, he is yet to be replaced by anyone. Resignation was not accepted. He still calls shots within the organization and is keen to retain his position. Interestingly, many of his former loyalists who defected to the BJP have got the ministerial berths. They do not mince their words in showing reverence to him and calling him their mentor. This has led to a queer situation, where nearly half of the BJP ministers are seen as fifth columnists within the party.

Going for the BJP in Karnataka will be smooth till BSY is not disturbed. But going by his age and over-dependence on his sons, his removal is taken as a fait accompli. It is not certain how configuration may change if the High Command were to think of a change in Karnataka, the only large state in the South where it is in power.

Delhi violence: Modi breaks silence after 3 days

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi took three days to break silence over Delhi violence. In his first reaction on the violence, he appealed for peace on Wednesday even as he held an “extensive review” on the prevailing situation that has become a cause of concern for law enforcement agencies.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “Had an extensive review on the situation prevailing in various parts of Delhi. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy.”
Appealing for calm to restore normalcy, Modi said peace and harmony are “central to our ethos”.

“I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest,” he said.
HM Shah’s resignation demanded
Modi’s appeal came minutes after Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi held a rare press conference in New Delhi, flanked by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior leader P. Chidambaram where the party demanded Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation for allegedly being unable to contain the violence.

At least 27 people have been killed, while over 200 others have been injured in the deadliest violence in the national capital in decades.

The cause of the violence is believed to be a clash between pro- and anti-CAA protesters after those in support of the legislation blocked a road of northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad area.

Several areas including Jaffrabad, Maujpur, and Gokulpuri remained tense on Wednesday. Police and paramilitary forces have also been deployed in parts of northeast Delhi that have been affected.

AMU students seek Amit Shah’s resignation
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students have sought the resignations of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Delhi Police Commissioner for failing to save the lives and properties of the people in the violence-hit national capital.

The students have also slammed the opposition political parties for being silent on the ongoing violence in North-East Delhi.

Shah chairs 3 meetings
On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with Delhi Police and Home Ministry officials in the wake of violence that has been raging in the national capital for the past two days, according to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sources.

Newly-appointed Special Commissioner of Delhi Police (Law and Order) SN Srivastava also attended the meeting. It was the third meeting chaired by the Home Minister in less than 24 hours.


SC to hear pleas seeking removal of anti-CAA protesters from Shaheen Bagh

Supreme Court, on Wednesday, will hear pleas seeking removal of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters from Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area.

Earlier, Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors filed their report in a sealed cover in the apex court on Monday following their talks with protestors at Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for over two months.

The court had on February 17 asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde to "play a constructive role as an interlocutor" and talk to the protestors to move to an alternative site where no public place would be blocked.

It had said that Hegde along with advocate Sadhana Ramachandran or any other person of his choice may talk to the protestors.

The interlocutors placed the report before a bench of justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph which said it would peruse the report and hear the matter on February 26.

The bench made it clear that the report will not be shared with the petitioners or the lawyers representing the Centre and Delhi Police at this stage.

When the counsel representing one of the petitioners requested the court that report be shared with them, the bench said: "We are here. Everyone is here. Let us have the benefit of the report first. The copy of the report is for the court only."


'Stepped out to buy food': Story of the man who was beaten up by mobs in Northeast Delhi

Accosted and brutally beaten up by mobs with sticks and iron rods, Mohammed Zubair who was severely injured in the Delhi violence had just stepped out of his house to buy halwa and paratha for his children on Monday. A resident of Chand Bagh, Zubair was returning home when a group of people attacked him with wooden sticks and iron rods.

Narrating his story to the Indian Express, he said that he begged the mobs to stop beating him before he fell unconscious.

Videos and photos of Zubair being beaten up also went viral within few minutes on social media.

Zubaie says that looking at the pictures and videos of the attack brings back the painful memoriesReuters

Well, Zubair who fell unconscious says he only remembers waking up at GTB hospital. He said that looking at the pictures and videos of the attack brings back the painful memories. Remembering bits and pieces from the incident, he says, while he begged them to leave him, the mob took Kapil Mishra's name and chanted communal slogans.

Eye witnesses who spoke to the Indian Express also said that the mob beat him up untill he fell unconscious and he also sustained injuries to his head, shoulders, arms and legs which can also be seen in the video. Zubair has now been discharged after receiving medical aid from GTB hospial and is being taken care by his cousins in Inderpuri.

He said that he was supposed to pick up his wife from a wedding but was attacked by the mobs instead. Zubair, a father of three, fearing his children's safety immediately shifted to his village in UP.

Zubair, who is now advised to take rest by the doctors, says that he is a class 9 passout and works as a labourer to earn a livelihood. He earns Rs 15,000 per month, he said.

He said that the situation in Delhi is such that his younger brother locked him and his entire family inside their house and has refrained from stepping out to avoid meeting a similar fate like him.

He said that he has not been able to meet his family ever since he has been attacked by the mobs. He says that he fears their safety. According to the Indian Express, his brothers lashed out at people who asked the family to file a police against the mob. Zubair's brother, who does not wish to be named, said "File a complaint against who? A mob? We are small people..." He also said that they had nothing to do with the protests and were still dragged into it. "We have to fight for our survival,' he said.

Delhi violence: Entry, exit gates at 5 metro stations in North-East district opened

New Delhi: Entry and exit gates at all five metro stations in North-East Delhi, which were closed in view of violence in the area have been opened, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said on Wednesday.

"Entry and exit gates at all stations have been opened. Normal services have resumed in all stations," DMRC tweeted.

Five Delhi Metro stations in the North-East district -- Jaffrabad, Maujpur-Babarpur, Gokulpuri, Johri Enclave and Shiv Vihar were shut down in view of the violent clashes over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation

Security Update

Entry & exit gates at all stations have been opened. 

Normal services have resumed in all stations.

4:56 PM - Feb 25, 2020
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Delhi Police Special Commissioner, Crime, Satish Golcha, said that protestors have left sites of protest in Jaffrabad and Maujpur and the situation is under control.

On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with Delhi Police and his ministry officials in the wake of violence that has been raging in the national capital for the past two days.

Shah had also chaired a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and other political leaders regarding the violence and the prevailing situation in Delhi. At least 13 people lost their lives and around 190 have been injured in the violence.

Delhi violence: Police disperse protestors gathered outside CM Arvind Kejriwal's residence

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday dispersed the crowd of people, who had gathered outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday demanding action against perpetrators of Delhi violence and seeking restoration of peace.

Police personnel were seen dispersing protestors who gathered outside Kejriwal's residence on Tuesday midnight.

Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) and Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) had organised a demonstration outside Kejriwal's residence. They all gheraoed Kejriwal's residence.


Look- Appealing to Kejriwal to take action against the violence in affected areas in North-East Delhi, protestors who called themselves concerned citizens, asked the chief minister to personally visit affected areas with local MLAs and organise peace marches to de-escalate tensions.

They also urged the chief minister to inform citizens about steps taken by the Delhi government and allow all rescue operations to reach hospitals from the affected areas.

They further appealed to identify perpetrators of violence and take action against them.


Delhi: Police disperse the people who had gathered outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence demanding action against #DelhiViolence and seeking restoration of peace. …

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Delhi: Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) and Jamia Coordination Committee organise a demonstration outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence. People have gathered here demanding action against #DelhiViolence and seeking restoration of peace.

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3:07 PM - Feb 25, 2020
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Late on Tuesday Kejriwal called an urgent meeting at his residence, of MLAs and officials of the violence-hit areas of North East Delhi, to take stock of the situation and issued instructions to take all necessary steps to restore peace.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval late on Tuesday reached Seelampur area to take stock of the situation and visited violence-hit areas.

At least 13 persons have died so far and around 190 are injured in the violence that has been raging in North-East Delhi from Monday.