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450 questions, 90 hours: P Chidambaram’s gruelling ‘interrogation week’


Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram was sent to Tihar jail on Thursday by a Delhi court where he will spend 14 days in judicial custody in connection with the INX Media corruption case. But before going to Tihar jail, while Chidambaram was in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody in connection with the INX Media case, he answered 450 questions during 90 hours of gruelling interrogation last week, reported NDTV.

Sources told NDTV, that most of the questions were related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearances that the former Finance Minister allegedly secured for the company and his son Karti Chidambaram's alleged mail exchanges with the co-accused in the case. The sources further told the leading news channel that Chidambaram was confronted with five other accused and witnesses. He, however, was not confronted with D Subbarao, who was the FIPB chief when the INX media's proposal for foreign funds was cleared.

The week was quite long for former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram. On Monday, after a high-pitch legal drama, the Supreme Court refused him interim protection, asked him to seek interim bail from the trial court and ordered that he be not sent to Tihar. The apex court also extended his CBI custody till Thursday.

On Thursday, a trial court judge put an end to all by ordering that Chidambaram be sent to Tihar jail. Chidambaram's lawyers had begged against any adverse order before the Supreme Court on Monday in the INX Media case, registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On Tuesday and Wednesday, Chidambaram's lawyers argued in different courts to protect him from being sent to Tihar jail. On Thursday morning, the apex court declined anticipatory bail to Chidambaram in the matter being probed by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), and later, the Congress leader withdrew the petition against the CBI custody.

 
 
 



Incessant Mumbai rains claim 7 lives across city


At least seven persons were killed in different incidents between Tuesday and Thursday as Mumbai notched record rains in the city and suburbs, which saw the country's commercial capital paralysed for the third time this monsoon.

According to Hindustan Times, a 69-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest while wading through water at Hindmata, a six-year-old boy, a 62-year-old man, and a civic body staff drowned to death in overflowing nullahs at Nalasopara, Bhiwandi, and Goregaon. A man was electrocuted at Taloja and a youth died after jumping into a creek for a swim at Bandra. Ashok Mayekar, 69, died of cardiac arrest after he fainted and fell near the waterlogged Hindmata junction in Dadar (West) on Wednesday around 4.15pm.

Amongst the deceased was 6-year-old Abu Bakar Zafar Khan, who drowned after he fell into an open drain near his house at Nallasopara while playing with his three-year-old brother in the heavy rain on Wednesday. Arshad Qureshi, 24, was washed away when he and his three friends went for a swim in the swollen Mithi River near Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) the same day. In Taloja, Surendra Parmar, 20, was electrocuted to death after he came in contact with a live wire in his shop, on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the body of 62-year-old Lakshman Tapisar who drowned in a nullah in Naikpada, Bhiwandi, on Tuesday, was found on Thursday after a search operation by the Bhiwandi fire brigade and local residents. Even, two on-duty BMC staffers died on Wednesday after falling in rainwater during a heavy downpour at Goregaon in western suburbs. The deceased, identified as Vijayendra Sardar Bagdi (36) and Jagdish Parmar (54), were employees of P/S Ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

At least 1,300 persons living on the banks of the Mithi were shifted by the National Disaster Response Force, disaster management cell of the BMC, fire brigade, and the police when the river crossed the danger mark. Teams of Navy, NDRF and other agencies are deployed along the river as a precautionary measure. In neighbouring Palghar and Thane districts, two persons including a seven-year-old boy were washed away in flooded nullahs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 
 
 



Days after meeting Sonia Gandhi Alka Lamba says goodbye to AAP


New Delhi: Days after meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, AAP's disgruntled MLA Alka Lamba on Friday said the time has come to resign from the primary membership of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Lamba on Tuesday met Gandhi, fuelling speculation of her joining Congress. "The time has come to say Good Bye to #AAP and to resign from the primary membership of the Party.

The past 6years journey was a great learning for me," Lamba said in a tweet on Friday. The AAP MLA from Chandni Chowk had last month announced that she has made up her mind about leaving the party and contest the upcoming Assembly election as an Independent.

Lamba has been at odds with the Aam Aadmi Party for some time now. After the party's defeat in Lok Sabha polls, she had sought accountability from its national convener Arvind Kejriwal. She was then removed from the official WhatsApp group of the party lawmakers.

She had also refused to campaign for the party in the Lok Sabha polls and refrained from participating in Kejriwal's roadshow after she was asked to walk behind his car during the event.

Lamba had first hit a rough patch with the AAP over its decision to pass a resolution to revoke Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna. Lamba had raised objections to the party's resolution.

In December 2018, she said in a tweet that AAP had asked her to support the resolution, which she refused. Lamba had added that she was ready to face any punishment for her actions.

She started her political career with the Congress, and had served the party in various capacities for around 20 years before joining the AAP.

 
 
 



Tihar Jail, where P Chidambaram is lodged, has 17,400 inmates, including 14,000 undertrials


New Delhi: Former Union minister P Chidambaram is the latest inmate of the Tihar jail here, known to be the largest in Asia with 16 prisons.

Currently, it houses 17,400 inmates, including around 14,000 undertrials, officials said. Chidambaram, a former Union home minister who is just 10 days short of his 74th birthday, was on Thursday taken in a blue police bus to the prison from a special CBI court in Rouse Avenue -- a distance of 18 km -- and was ironically lodged in Jail No.7, where his son Karti was locked up for 12 days in the same INX Media case last year.

Jail No.7 usually houses those facing Enforcement Directorate (ED) cases. Till December 31, 2018, there were 14,938 male and 530 female inmates lodged in the jail -- an increase of 2.02 per cent compared to the numbers as on December 31, 2017.

The hike was due to an increase in the number of undertrials (1.67 per cent). An increase of 2.23 per cent in the number of convicts has been observed compared to last year.

Tihar has housed a number of high-profile inmates, including late Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi, former JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Yadav, industrialist Subrata Roy, gangsters Chhota Rajan and Charles Sobhraj, social activist Anna Hazare and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The convicts in the infamous Nirbhaya gangrape case were also lodged in the jail.

 
 



India has never been aggressor but will not hesitate in using its strength to defend itself: Rajnath Singh


Seoul [South Korea]: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday stated that India has never been an aggressor in history but would not hesitate in using its strength to defend itself.

"India has never been an aggressor in its history nor will it ever be. But that does not mean that India would balk at using its strength to defend itself," said Singh while addressing a special session of 'Seoul Defence Dialogue' in South Korea's capital. The Union Minister who arrived here on Wednesday with an aim to intensify defence and security ties also outlined that defence diplomacy is "a key pillar of India's strategic toolkit." "In fact, defence diplomacy and maintaining a strong defence force are two sides of the same coin," he added.

Advocating Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'India's Neighborhood First Policy'-- which accords primacy to nations in India's periphery-- the Union Minister noted that a key feature of the approach is also its engagement with its neighbours in sub-regional groupings of Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), apart from a trilateral maritime cooperation with Sri Lanka and the Maldives to improve Maritime Domain Awareness.

He also gave new mantras to build an open and inclusive architecture in the Indo-Pacific region. "If we work together on the basis of the five principles that have characterised Indian thought and policies for centuries - the principles of Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Sahayog (cooperation), Shanti (peace) and Samriddhi (prosperity), our success is assured," the Defence Minister tweeted.

Singh also said that countries working in harmony among each other must provide the right of equal access to the use of common spaces on sea and in the air to all the nations.

"We advocate an open and inclusive architecture for the Indo-Pacific region, with ASEAN centrality and equal access to the global commons," he added. Singh further stated that he is being optimistic about the outcome as long as all concerned parties are committed to building peace together.

"I thank the Govt of the Republic of Korea for inviting me to address at the 'Seoul Defense Dialogue' which is a prestigious multilateral security dialogue, a forum that offers a sound platform for discussions of the pressing defence and security issues facing the world today," he said. Singh noted that India and South Korea have ancient cultural links between each other. Buddhism spread from India to East Asia and was introduced in Korea over 2000 years ago, he said.

The Minister said that the people of the two South Asian countries are linked through family ties that can be traced to the legendary Queen Heo Hwang-ok, who travelled all the way from Ayodhya to marry King Suro of Gaya in present-day Gimhae. "These linkages form a strong underpinning for our contemporary ties," he said. The Defence Minister also laid a wreath at the National Cemetery in Seoul today.

Upon his arrival here yesterday, Singh met South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yon and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to bilateral ties. The two leaders further noted with appreciation that South Korea's 'New Southern Policy' and India's 'Act East Policy' shared the same perspective and goals. The elevation of bilateral relations to a Special Strategic Partnership in 2015 has heralded a new era in India-Korea relations.

Prime Minister Lee expressed that the South Korean government's desire for active cooperation with India in diplomatic as well as national security and defence policy arenas.

During yesterday's meeting between the South Korean Prime Minister and Defence Minister sides also shared the view that the CEOs Forum will serve as a catalyst for greater industry-level cooperation. The two sides conveyed their good wishes to each other for their efforts in the Korean peninsula and Kashmir respectively. Singh is also expected to hold talks with counterpart Jeong Kyeong-Doo, the Minister of National Defence.

The Defence Minister will also be attending a CEO's Forum today followed by a Business-to-Government (B2G) meeting with the participation of members of the Defence Industry from both sides with an aim to encourage co-operation between defence Industry of India and the Republic of Korea. India is developing strong military hardware cooperation with South Korea as the Indian Army has already inducted the K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers built in partnership with the Indian firm Larsen and Toubro.

 
 
 



Ex MLA Amit Jogi arrested, Ajit Jogi said - Jungleraj in Chhattisgarh


At the moment big news is coming from Bilaspur where the police has arrested former Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi, son of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi. Additional SP city OP Sharma, Rural SP Sanjay Dhruv and a large number of police forces came to arrest Amit Jogi.

Bilaspur At the moment big news is coming from Bilaspur where the police has arrested former Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi, son of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi. Additional SP city OP Sharma, Rural SP Sanjay Dhruv and a large number of police forces came to arrest Amit Jogi. The police have taken Jogi into custody. Police arrested Jogi from Marwahi Sadan. During this time, a large number of his supporters were also present at Jogi's bungalow. The supporters shouted slogans against the police and the administration.

Jungleraj in Chhattisgarh - Ajit Jogi Former CM Ajit Jogi has said about the arrest that law is not the rule in Chhattisgarh. Here is Jungle Raj. He accused the government that this was a revenge action. He said that the High Court has already heard the verdict in favor of Amit Jogi. In such a case, if they are arrested, it is contempt of court.

What is the matter - tell us that a case of Section 420 has been registered against Amit Jogi at the Gorella police station. This case was filed in 2013 by Sameera Packra, BJP candidate from Marwahi assembly constituency. According to the complaint, Jogi had stated his birth place as incorrect in the affidavit. About which Sameera Packra was repeatedly demanding that Jogi be arrested.




Navi Mumbai: 4 killed, 3 injured as massive fire breaks out at ONGC plant in Uran


Mumbai: Four people were killed and three others injured after a fire broke out at the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) plant in Navi Mumbai township of Maharashtra on Tuesday, police said.

The ONGC said there was no impact on oil processing and that the gas was diverted to its Hazira plant in Surat district of Gujarat. The blaze erupted around 7 am in a processing plant of the ONGC located in Uran area of neighbouring Navi Mumbai, the police said. "Four people have been killed and three others injured in the mishap," a senior police official said.

"Fire broke out in storm water drainage in Uran Plant early morning successfully doused within two hours by fire fighting team. #ONGCs robust crisis mitigation preparedness helped put off this major fire in a very short time," the ONGC said in a tweet. Earlier, in another tweet, it said, "A fire broke out in storm water drainage early morning 2day in Uran oil & gas processing plant. ONGC fire services & crisis management team immediately pressed in2 action. Fire is being contained. No impact on Oil processing. Gas diverted to Hazira Plant.

Situation is being assessed. Nearly 22 fire brigade tenders, including that of the ONGC, Navi Mumbai civic body and other agencies, were at the spot, the police official said. The injured persons were admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, he said. The cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, he added.

 
 
 



First de-orbiting manoeuvre performed for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft: ISRO


Bengaluru: A day after lander 'Vikram' was separated from Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, the ISRO said on Tuesday it has successfully performed the first de-orbiting manoeuvre for the spacecraft.

The city-headquartered space agency will perform one more de-orbit manoeuvre on Wednesday, before the powered descent on September 7 for its landing in the south polar region of the moon. "The first de-orbiting manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (September 03, 2019) beginning at 0850 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the manoeuvre was 4 seconds," the ISRO said in an update.

"The orbit of Vikram Lander is 104 km x 128 km. Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter continues to orbit the Moon in the existing orbit and both the Orbiter and Lander are healthy," it said, adding that the next de-orbiting manoeuvre is scheduled on September 4, between 03:30 and 04:30 hrs IST. In a key event of India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2, lander 'Vikram' was separated from the orbiter on Monday.

Vikram (with rover 'Pragyan' housed inside) is expected to touch down on the surface of the moon on September 7, between 1:30 and 2:30 am. Two de-orbit manoeuvres of Vikram Lander, to bring it further down, have been planned to prepare for its landing in the south polar region of the moon. ISRO Chairman K Sivan has said the proposed soft-landing on the Moon is going to be a "terrifying" moment as it is something ISRO has not done before, where as LOI manoeuvre was successfully carried out during the Chandrayaan-1 mission.

Following the landing, the rover 'Pragyan' will roll out from lander 'Vikram' between 5:30 and 6:30 am on September 7, and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days. The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year. India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 had successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the earth's orbit on July 22.

Chandrayaan-2 satellite had began its journey towards the moon leaving the earth's orbit in the dark hours on August 14, after a crucial manoeuvre called Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) that was carried out by ISRO to place the spacecraft on "Lunar Transfer Trajectory." In a major milestone for India's second Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft had successfully entered the lunar orbit on August 20 by performing Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru, the space agency has said. The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and studying the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon while the lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments.

The rover carries two payloads to enhance the understanding of the lunar surface. India's second lunar expedition -- would shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon, its South Polar region. According to ISRO, the objective of the Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.

On the science front, this mission aims to further expand knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere, leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon, the space agency had said. On successful completion, it will make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.

 
 
 



Kulbhushan Jadhav under pressure to parrot Pakistan's false narrative: MEA


New Delhi: Hours after its official had consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad, India on Monday said that the former naval officer appeared to be "under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims".

The Ministry of External Affairs said it will decide further course of action after receiving a detailed report from Charge d' Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia, who met Jadhav, and determining the extent of conformity to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directives. Replying to queries on the issue, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that consular access given to Jadhav on Monday was part of the binding obligations of Pakistan on the orders of the ICJ to ensure effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Jadhav through "a farcical process".

"The Charge d' Affaires, High Commission of India in Islamabad, met Kulbhushan Jadhav today. This meeting was held in the light of the unanimous judgement of the International Court of Justice delivered on July 17, 2019, which found Pakistan in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, on many counts and ordered Pakistan to provide Indian consular officers access to Jadhav," he said.

 
 

"While we await a comprehensive report, it was clear that Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims. We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Cd'A and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives," the spokesperson added on Monday. Meanwhile, Pakistan said that the meeting, which lasted for two hours, took place in the presence of its officials and was recorded even though New Delhi had asked for "effective and unhindered" consular access to him.

"Consular access was provided at 1200 hours and lasted for two hours in the presence of officials of Government of Pakistan. On Indian request, there was no restriction on the language of communication. In order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures, and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded," Pakistan MoFA said in a statement. In his remarks, Kumar said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Jadhav's mother and briefed her on the day's developments.

He said the government remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that "Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India." Pakistan had announced in April 2017 that Jadhav had been given death sentence by a military court. India had subsequently moved the ICJ.India has rejected Pakistan's allegations about Jadhav's involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business.

Pakistan first offered access on August 2 but India had insisted that the consular access should be "unimpeded". Kumar had said on Thursday that two sides were in touch through diplomatic channels and India had sought "immediate, effective and unhindered". In a major diplomatic victory for India, the ICJ, in July, had asked Pakistan to comply with the Vienna Conventions and provide consular access to Jadhav and to ensure "effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences".

 
 
 



Assam government to provide legal aid to needy people excluded from NRC list: MHA


New Delhi: The Assam government will provide legal aid to the needy people from amongst those who have been excluded from the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

"State government has also made necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from NRC final list, by providing all assistance through the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA)," a tweet by the official handle of the spokesperson of MHA on Tuesday read.

It added that no person whose name has been excluded from the NRC list will be detained by the authorities and can challenge his exclusion from the list using the remedial measures provided. "Persons left out of NRC final list NOT to be detained under any circumstance till they exhaust all remedies available under law. Such persons to continue to enjoy all rights as earlier, like any other citizen, example right to employment, education, property etc," another tweet read.

The spokesperson, in another tweet, added that 200 new Foreigners' Tribunal in addition to the ones which are already functional will be opened to hear the appeal of the people in Assam. "Adequate judicial process available for affected persons to appeal to Foreigners' Tribunal within 120 days from August 8. To facilitate appeal, 200 new FTs to be functional from today, in addition to 100 already existing," the tweet on Monday read.

The spokesperson tweeted a day after over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC list that was published on August 30. NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela had said that a total of 3,11,21,004 persons are found eligible for inclusion in final NRC, leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims. The list is aimed at segregating Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh.

 
 
 




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