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World Cup 2019: Illegal bets on India-New Zealand semi-finals cross Rs 150 crore

New Delhi: On the eve of the World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand, the betting bazaars in Delhi have gone crazy: the police estimates that the bids in the illegal satta (betting) market could have crossed the Rs 150-crore mark in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Punters, mostly from the trading class, and bookies linked to underworld syndicates are known to have wider network in Delhi's adjoining towns of Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurugram. Delhi Police have put their electronic surveillance in top gear.

"We are taking all measures to monitor the satta operators in the wake of the crucial India-New Zealand semi-final match on Tuesday," Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma told IANS.

"We are keeping a tab on five star hotels and guest houses, particularly in Karol Bagh and Old Delhi area that are hired by big-time punters. These operators have strong networks, which are often difficult to crack, but we are on the job.

"On previous occasions, the police arrested top bookies from north Delhi, who had a sophisticated internet software of betting linked with mobile phones." Police sources said odds were placed on New Zealand as India seem the favourites in Tuesday's tie. The bids are not only placed on who wins, but also over-to-over and ball-to-ball.

Individual bids are placed on who will take maximum wickets or who will hit the most sixes. The betting starts right at the toss. "Most punters place their bids on which team will win the toss. Besides, after winning the toss, bids are placed on the decision of the captain, whether he would decide to bat or field. This time the base betting rate on Team India is Rs 4.35 and Rs 49 on New Zealand," a punter from West Delhi told IANS.

The punters in the capital's satta market -- in Khari Baoli, Karol Bagh, Old Delhi and South Delhi's guest houses and big hotels -- are siding with Team India. But they have not handed them a clean sweep, like in the 2011 World Cup as New Zealand is also a strong competitor this time.

"Like every year during IPL matches, in this World Cup, most college-going youth, businessmen, hoteliers, cricket lovers, traders, corporate women and hawala operators are betting with us. Over 60 per cent bidders are in favour of India's victory. That means thumbs-up for skipper Virat Kohli and his team," a punter told IANS.

Bets are also being placed on the margin of victory in terms of runs and wickets and also on whether runs scored by India and New Zealand could be 400-plus or below 400.

An interesting bet is on who will take more than three wickets from both sides -- whether it would be spinners or pace bowlers. Also, will it be India's Jaspirt Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal or New Zealand's Trent Boult or Lockie Ferguson?

The base betting rate of Indian players, for example, in case of Bumrah, it is Rs 20, while for Boult, it is Rs 7, said a source. The other bets are on star batsmen -- Indian skipper Virat Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill -- whether they would score half-century or century.

Gurugram Police PRO, Subhash Bokan said: "We are already keeping tight vigil to crack the betting racket on the ongoing World Cup. We have arrested over a dozen of gamblers in the city in the last few weeks. A circular was issued to guest houses and hotel owners to avoid bidding in their premises,"

The satta bazaar operators are closely monitoring the tweets of the players, captains and coaches to know the status of the players who will be in or out. They are also keeping a tab on weather reports and newspaper clippings. Police sources said that this time, punters have sent some of their middlemen to the UK to keep tabs on all updates, the weather included.


Majority reeling under 'roti-rozi' problem, PM Narendra Modi talking about cake: Mayawati

Lucknow: Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "size of the cake matters" remark, BSP supremo Mayawati said Sunday the PM is talking about cake for people when a majority of them is reeling under the problem of "roti-rozi".

In a tweet, Mayawati said, "At a time, when a majority of population is reeling under basic problems of inflation, poverty, unemployment, illness, illiteracy and jobs and food (roti-rozi), the prime minister is talking about cake for them. "This is the pride of power and despotism, by which the entire country is affected."

Her comments came a day after the prime minister dismissed as "professional pessimists" the critics of the Centre's target to achieve a USD 5-trillion economy within five years. Addressing party workers in Varanasi, Modi said his government's Budget for 2019-20 lays down a roadmap for nearly doubling the size of the economy. "Size of the cake matters. The larger the cake, larger pieces are what people will get. So we have set a target of making India a USD 5-trillion economy. Larger the size of the economy will be, the larger prosperity will it bring for the country," he said. Mayawati also said the government should shed its rhetoric (jumlebaaji), and become serious towards the basic problems of the 130 crore people of the country.


Jyotiraditya Scindia resigns as Congress General Secretary, says I am not a leader who gives orders

New Delhi: After resigning as All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday said that he is not a leader who gives orders to others and took the responsibility for the party's defeat in the recently held Lok Sabha polls, saying that accountability comes with responsibility.

Considering himself as equally responsible for the Congress' poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, he said: "Even I am responsible if the performance of the Congress isn't good. Therefore, I took the decision to resign." Recently in a letter which Rahul Gandhi tweeted in his resignation as the party chief had raised the point that accountability should be fixed for the party's performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

Now Scindia, who is known as a close aide of Rahul, has apparently chosen the line adopted by Gandhi, giving a clear impression that the Team RG is slowly gaining momentum, which can be a bad omen for the senior leadership. "Accepting the people's verdict and taking accountability, I had submitted my resignation as General Secretary of AICC to Shri @RahulGandhi. I thank him for entrusting me with this responsibility and for giving me the opportunity to serve our party," Scindia tweeted from his official Twitter account.

Scindia had been appointed Congress' general secretary for West Uttar Pradesh along Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who had been appointed the general secretary for East UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Scindia's resignation comes at a time when the party leaders from several states are offering their resignation or have resigned as an expression of solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, who recently quit as the party president.

Earlier in the day, former Member of Parliament (MP) Milind Deora also announced to step down from the post of Mumbai unit Congress president. Deora has also proposed a three-member panel to lead the local unit of the party in view of the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections to be held later this year. It is being said that the Congress leader may move to Delhi for a national role in the party.

"The same has been conveyed to Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal, General Secretaries, All India Congress Committee," a statement from Deora's office said. Deora had a meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on June 26.

His resignation comes at a time when the party leaders from several states are offering their resignation as an expression of solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, who recently quit as the party president. Deora had been appointed the president of Congress' Mumbai unit on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections. He unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from South Mumbai constituency.


Union Budget 2019-20 is an eyewash: Asaduddin Owaisi

Hyderabad (Telangana): AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday termed the Union Budget 2019-20 as "an eyewash."

"The Union Budget is not going to do any good for the people. It is only going to increase the burden on poor people. The increase in fuel prices is going to hit the poor people badly. Not only this, the price hike in fuel is going to increase the rate of export duties," he said. Owaisi said that the increase of rate in public listing to 35 per cent and the increase in the surcharge rate to 3 per cent on Rs 2 crore and 7 per cent on Rs 5 crore income is going to benefit only the BJP government and not the common people.

"On the one hand, they talk about educating common people, on the other, the BJP government has increased 10 per cent import duties on print materials, which is going to make books costly. The lower-middle class people are certainly going to find it difficult to cope up with." Owaisi also pointed out that the NDA government had promised a loan of Rs 50 lakh without any collateral. There was no mention of this in the budget too.

He also said the BJP government promised students from different countries would come to India to pursue studies, but the fact is that all of them are scared, as the mob lynching incidents have become a phenomenon in the country. Commenting on the BJP's membership drive in Telangana by Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, Owaisi said: "Bharatiya Janata Party's membership drive in the state is going to be a futile effort." He said that the TRS, which lost four seats in the parliament, three were lost due to overconfidence and one due to the wrong choice they made, which the TRS would rectify.


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to do a tightrope walk in Budget 2019

New Delhi: A mini-stimulus to take the economy out of five-year low alongside giving some tax relief to common man may be on the cards, as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman does a tightrope walk balancing the needs of the economy and fiscal constraints in her maiden Budget.

The Budget to be presented on Friday is expected to boost spending at the cost of short-term slippage in fiscal deficit targets as she lays down the Modi 2.0 government's road map for the economy and the nation in the next five years. Some believe she may give relief to the common man by raising personal income tax threshold for certain categories while at the same time, upping spending on agriculture, healthcare and social sectors.

Also, there is expected to be a big push for infrastructure spending including on roads and railways to drive growth which had slowed to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent in the first three months of 2019 -- well below China's 6.4 per cent. The slowdown is also reflected in high-frequency numbers such as IIP and automobile sales numbers. The economy has also been impacted by slowing trade, rising protectionism, trade conflict between the United States and China, Brexit, US sanctions on Russia, Iran and Venezuela impacted the domestic economy.

The sluggishness in the economy has led to expectations of the budget containing further stimulus measures to boost the growth through new policy initiatives and continued reforms to achieve accelerated growth and increase in employment. This may be in the form of a combination of capital infusion in the public sector banks, removing the roadblocks that have crept into the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code process, providing liquidity to non-bank financial companies (NBFCs), address the agrarian crisis and step up allocations for infrastructure and social sectors.

But, the combined effect of all these would be that the budget deficit may widen to 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019-20 that began on April 1, instead of 3.4 per cent target. For Sitharaman, the biggest constraining factor is lower-than-expected growth in tax revenues, particularly those of the goods and services tax (GST), something she may look to bridge through aggressive stake sale in PSUs, higher dividend from the RBI, rollover of some FY20 expenditure to FY21, cut back in plan expenditure and increase in off-balance sheet expenditure with portion of subsidies being transferred to state-owned enterprise balance sheet.

The scope of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) was also recently expanded to cover all farmers which would lead to an increase in outlays from the earlier budgeted Rs 75,000 crore to Rs 90,000 crore along with a new pension scheme. At the same time, she has to live up to the relief promised to small taxpayers in the Interim Budget in February. Besides, monsoon has been erratic with a 33 per cent deficit rainfall in June, which has slowed Kharif crop sowing. In an economy that is losing growth momentum, all this bring the tightrope walk of balancing growth with fiscal prudence to the fore.


Be fearless, maintain dignity of Parliament: Amit Shah tells new MPs

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday advised newly elected parliamentarians to be fearless while asking questions in Parliament and stressed the need to maintain dignity of the House.

Speaking at the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training Orientation Programme for newly elected members of the 17th Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said Parliament is not only a platform for political debate but also an institution to make laws. He said that parliamentarians play a crucial role in making laws, preparing budget as well as bring up the honour of the country. An MP, should, there be fearless, he said.

"Parliamentarians should put across one's point of view without any fear while representing one's party. We cannot make a new India if we are unable to speak fearlessly," Shah said while addressing parliamentarians on the topic 'How to be an effective parliamentarian'. Expressing his concern about the weakness of the legislature, Shah admitted that judiciary and bureaucracy had encroached on it.

"But, I also admit that this is not the fault of judiciary or bureaucracy, it is the fault of the legislature." "It is our responsibility to strengthen the legislature. If we do not play our role properly, the judiciary and the bureaucracy will encroach on it automatically," Shah said. Giving example of Mahabharat epic, he said that the historical war occurred when Hastinapur Sabha lost its importance and dignity.


BJP faced many electoral defeats, but their leaders did not quit: Uddhav Thackeray takes swipe Rahul Gandhi


Second blast in West Bengal's Birbhum in 5 days, none injured

Kolkata: A massive blast occurred at a primary health centre building on Thursday in West Bengal's Birbhum district but there was no report of any casualty, police said.

Preliminary police investigation pointed to a suspected stockpile of explosives in the house, which blew up. The severity of the blast was such that the roof and wall of one side of the building at Labhpur were blown away. Two rooms were reduced to rubble. "The building of Dwarka health centre was blown off due to an explosion around 2.45 a.m. We are at the spot investigating the matter and there is no report of any injury or casualty," an officer of Labhpur police station said.

An employee of the health centre said they were lucky that the incident occurred at night but there is an atmosphere of fear all around. Incidentally, the health centre is barely a few metres away from the police station. Trinamool Congress supporters staged an angry demonstration, accusing the police of arriving at the spot eight hours of the incident.

On June 29, another explosion inside the club building at Mollarpur had blown away the walls and damaged some of the houses in the vicinity. A local BJP leader said that there should be proper investigation of these blasts, while Trinamool Congress members feel that the BJP is responsible. "We want the NIA to investigate, not just the police or CID of West Bengal Police," the BJP leader said.


‘Few have the courage that you do’: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lauds Rahul Gandhi’s decision to resign

Taking to Twitter, Priyanka said, "Few have the courage that you do, Rahul Gandhi. Deepest respect for your decision. "


A day after her brother Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress President, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday tweeted lauding brother's “courage” to take responsibility for the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections and step down as party chief.

Taking to Twitter, Priyanka referred to Rahul’s statement on resigning as party chief, and said, “Few have the courage that you do, Rahul Gandhi. Deepest respect for your decision.” Priyanka was appointed Congress general secretary days before the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that he was no longer the party chief and that he was to blame for its rout in the Lok Sabha elections. "As President of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party," he said in a letter that was put on his Twitter account. The letter said: "Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party."

Soon after Rahul Gandhi said that he was no longer the Congress chief, party leaders said he would continue as the party President till the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meets and accepts his resignation. The CWC is the party's top decision-making body, and is authorised to start the process of electing Gandhi's successor.


Rahul Gandhi Gets Bail in RSS Defamation Case, Released on Rs 15,000 Surety Bond

Mumbai, July 4: A day after Rahul Gandhi resigned officially as the Congress chief, he had to arrive at a Mumbai Court in connection with the RSS defamation case today. Rahul allegedly linked Gauri Lankesh murder to RSS ideology. According to the latest development in the case, Rahul Gandhi has been granted bail and released on Rs 15,000 surety amount. Ex-MP Eknath Gaikwad gave the surety for Rahul Gandhi.

A Mumbai-based lawyer Dhrutiman Joshi had filed a defamation petition against Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury seeking damages of Re 1 for their allegation that RSS was behind Lankesh’s murder. Reportedly, earlier the hearing was scheduled to take place on April 30, but it got postponed because of the transfer of the respective judge. This is the second defamation petition case against Rahul Gandhi in Mumbai. Earlier, a Bhiwandi-based RSS official Rajesh Kunte had sued him in 2014 for saying that RSS was behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

Earlier in the day, his sister and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra praised him for his "courageous" decision. She tweeted saying, "Few have the courage that you do Rahul Gandhi. Deepest respect for your decision."

On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi officially resigned as the Congress President. In a tweet, he shared his resignation letter and vowed to resist Bharatiya Janata Party's idea of India. He said he is "a loyal soldier of Congress" and "a devoted son of India" and will continue to protect the country till his last breath. He also took the complete responsibility of the party's poor show in the Lok Sabha elections.