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A happy New Year for 100 bureaucrats

The New Year brought good news for 100 bureaucrats as government approved of their promotion. In official orders released on late evening of December 31, 40 IAS, 44 IPS and 16 IFS were promoted.Following the promotion, two 86 batch IAS Deepak Utpreti and SK Agarwal were elevated to post of additional chief secretary from principal secretary at their respective departments. They along with Yaduvendra Mathur and Sanjay Dixit of the same batch have been promoted to chief secretary pay scale.IAS JagdIsh Chandra Desai had his designation changed from director to commissioner of Child Empowerment Department while IAS Suchi Sharma became commissioner ICDS from director earlier. They along with eight others have been promoted to super time pay scale. Of these, Jagdeesh Chandra Desai has received a double promotion.Promotions also shined on the police cadre and IPS Govind Gupta, Sunil Dutt and Amrit Kalash were promoted to additional director general pay scale from IG scale earlier.The promotions are expected to be followed with change in postings, even as except for six IAS the remaining officials have been asked to continue with their current designations till further orders.CS NC Goel conveyed good newsOn his first day at office, CS NC Goel was accompanied with the news of promotion orders. Before he left the office, he called up a senior IAS and told him of the promotions been approved by the chief minister. It was minutes after that the list was officially declared by department of personnel.

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Thief turns extortionist, demands Rs 10K

A 28-year-old Mumbai-based man, whose laptop bag was stolen while he was sleeping on a train, is now being blackmailed by the thief who is demanding money in return for the bag.The thief is abusing the victim via text messages and threatening him to pay the money via Paytm or else he will burn all his valuables.According to the victim, Dhagesh Desai, he was returning to Mumbai from Indore in Avantika Express on December 4. Desai claimed that his bag was missing when he woke up in the morning.He immediately lodged a complaint with Borivili Government Railway Police. However, the next day he received a call from an unknown number.The caller told him that he had stolen the bag and if Desai wants it back, he will have to pay Rs 10,000 immediately failing which he will destroy all his documents.”He then started sending me messages on WhatsApp and threatened me that if within 10 minutes I did not pay the money then he will destroy everything. The bag contained my laptop, my wallet and other important office documents,” Desai told DNA.”I am wondering what kind of security the railway is providing in the coaches. There were few more passengers on the train who lost their mobile phones and other valuables. Is been 5 days that the FIR has been lodged but the police have not done anything,” he added

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BMC to construct stay facility for families of TB patients at Sewri Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the line of KEM Hospital, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC ) has decided to develop an accommodation facility for the families of TB patients at Sewri Hospital. This will have facilities for stay of 50 persons with washroom and other facilities.The BMC’s stay facility in KEM Hospital receives good response as it is occupied most of the day.TB patients from across the state for their treatment and many of them are required to admit. However, patients’ family members face difficulty while staying as cost of living in Mumbai is very high. “We will take a nominal charge of Rs 50 to Rs 100 per day,” said Kishore Desai, assistant commissioner of F South ward of BMC.According to Desai, TB is contaminated easily and so, patients’ family cannot reside within hospital premises. “This is safety for patients’ family members to stay out of the hospital,” said Desai. He added that the facility will be available in the next six months time. The Sewri TB hospital receives over 30,000 patients across the year.

Open jail inmates can now video call their families

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, state prison inmates can now keep in touch with their families, thanks to the efforts of the state prison department. Inmates can make video calls to their families. There are plans to cover other such correctional establishments in subsequent phases.”We have issued orders that it should start for open jails and women prisons… we will expand it to other facilities later,” said Bhushankumar Upadhyaya, additional director general of police (prisons).”At present, the facility has been made available in the open jails at Amravati and Nagpur where prisoners can make video calls using apps like WhatsApp to their relatives from handsets given to officials … it will also cover prisoners in women jails,” said Yogesh Desai, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Eastern Region, Nagpur.He added that the phone numbers of relatives on which these inmates would call were verified by the local police. “They will be able to make phone calls once in 15 days. Earlier, they were allowed to make voice calls, and the facility has been enhanced to video calling,” said Desai.”The prisoners who are lodged in the open jails in Vidarbha are selected from correctional facilities across the state… this video calling facility will reduce the expenses of their relatives who have to travel to these prisons for long distances and give them the satisfaction of meeting their family members,” he explained.While convicts are allowed two visits from their relatives, they can make phone calls to their families once every fortnight. Undertrials can meet their relatives once a week.”We are also allowing undertrials to make these video calls at an experimental level. However, convicts are given preference,” said Desai.

Ahmed Patel saviour Chhotubhai Vasava puts Congress in bind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chhotubhai Vasava, the tribal JD-U MLA from Jhagadia who tilted the fortunes in favour of Congress leader Ahmed Patel for hotly contested Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat, has started flexing his muscles. The firebrand leader from the Bhil community, made the acting president of Sharad Yadav-led splinter JD-U, wants a big pound of flesh from the Congress.”We want to field our candidates on 25 seats. The influence of our Bhilistan Tiger Sena and Bharatiya Tribal Party spreads across east Gujarat. How long will the parties run by Baniyas, Brahmins and Kshatriyas dictate us, the tribals? In tribal seats only the tribal parties should be allowed to field candidates,” said Vasava, sitting outside his plush home in Maljipura village in Jhagadia constituency of Bharuch.However, JDU insiders say that Vasava is finally haggling for 19 seats and is not mood to settle below 15.Vasava knows the tight squeeze the Congress is in. In these elections, the Congress has focused its campaign mainly around demonetization and GST that affect the urban trading centres to woo influential Patidars and OBCs. In the process, it has largely neglected the tribal belt that spreads along Gujarat’s eastern border from Dangs in deep South to Banaskantha in the North.The “unreasonable” demand has put the Congress in a dilemma that had won 16 out of 27 tribal seats in 2012 and can ill afford to part with so many seats to its junior wannabe partner that won only Jhagadia despite fielding more than 15 candidates in 2012.Vasava’s influence, besides Jhagadia, is limited to the five-odd seats of Mangrol and Mandvi in Surat, Dediapada and Nandod in Narmada and to some extent in Dahod.Though local Congress supporters such as Anandbhai Solanki in Dediapada and Ruchir Desai in Vyara agree that the Congress has of late neglected tribals, but consider that the traditional base will not be easily dented despite the BJP making inroads with the help of RSS and VHP.”A big chunk of Adivasis, especially the Christians, are traditional Congress voters. Moreover, there is an anti-incumbency factor against BJP. Plus, demonetization and GST have adversely impacted the Adivasis, too,” said Ruchir Desai, adding that the Congress should not give more than 5-6 seats to Vasava.But Vasava does not want to let go of the opportunity to emerge as a kingmaker and a tall leader in a spectrum devoid of tribal politics.”I can fight alone, I do not need support of any political party, I’m myself the symbol. Amit Shah is actually ruling the JD-U. If need be, we’ll fight on my Bharatiya Tribal Party which has 8 lakh members in Gujarat alone,” says Vasava.This opens up yet another possibility that Vasava is doing shadow boxing and may use the BTP to field candidates in tribal pockets where the BJP is strong and in turn helping the Congress in the game of thrones to seek his pound of flesh later.

BJP made Narmada dam project happen: Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lambasting opposition Congress for creating hurdles in the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Yojana, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said major work on the project was carried out during the Morarji Desai and BJP-led governments at the Centre.Addressing a press conference here, Sitharaman, who is BJP’s election in-charge for Gujarat, said, “When the UPA was in power, none of the Congress MPs from Gujarat ever raised Narmada Yojana at the central level. The water resource minister in the UPA government gave a negative report on the project, citing environmental reasons. So, the project gained momentum under the central regimes of Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi.”Sitharaman, who was in the city to campaign for the party ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled for next month, did not answer why the scheme could not get the status of a national irrigation project. It may be recalled that when he was Gujarat CM, Modi had demanded national project status for the yojana and pushed BJP MPs from the state to raise the issue in Parliament.”That was a separate demand by the Gujarat government and not part of pending issues with the central government,” Sitharaman said.Talking about the GST, the minister said, “Congress has been trying to take credit for GST rates revision, claiming that the rates have been revised after they demanded. The Congress took 10 years to just prepare a draft of the GST, while it’s the NDA government that implemented it.”Sitharaman also said the international border with Pakistan, especially Sir Creek, will be sealed to ensure the social, financial and political security of Gujarat. She noted that the work on fencing, setting up of immigration check posts and construction of roads at border areas in the state had ran into technical issues, but they would be solved soon.

Shiv Sena to contest over 50 seats in first phase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally in Maharashtra, will contest over 50 seats in the first phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat, a top party leader said here on Thursday. It will contest mainly in Surat, Saurashtra and Kutch and will come out with a manifesto soon.Party leader Anil Desai said that Gujarat elections are very important. Hindutva and development will be the main issues on which it will seek mandate of the people. “Hindutva is an important part of the core of Shiv Sena’s ideology. Just like Maharashtra, Gujarat is progressive in education, health and other sectors but still a lot needs to be done,” Desai told mediapersons here. He was non-committal on whether party president Uddav Thackeray will come to Gujarat for polling. However, he clarified that they are not in negotiations with any of the party or political formations for an alliance.The party has, however, not finalised the seats it will contest in the first phase. It also has plans to contest in the second phase for which announcement will be made at a later stage. Replying to a question, Desai said that BJP has deviated from its original goal of Hindutva and building Ram Temple.He came down heavily on the proposed Bullet Train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which was recently launched with much fanfare, and said that instead of taking the country in the right direction, the proposed train will take the country in reverse direction. Instead of focussing on such costly projects, the government should focus on improving the existing infrastructure and services,” said Desai.On demonetisation, which happened a year ago as well as Goods and Services Tax (GST) which was rolled out in the country four months ago, the party leader said that both in Maharashtra and Gujarat, businesses have slowed down. “The unorganised sector has been hit the most. The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are in trouble and its cascading effect is being felt on other sectors as well,” he said.The government’s decision to merge Public Sector Banks (PSBs) has also not gone well with the party. Asked if the party would be able to make any impact in elections, Desai said that the party will put candidates for a win and not to enable anyone to win or lose.WHAT’S ON TABLEDevelopment and Hindutva will be the main issues on which the party will seek people’s mandate Sena is not in talks with any party for any sort of alliance However, it still hasn’t finalised all the seats it will contest in the first phase

Cop-BMC-neta trio gives cover to hawkers: Citizen activists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been undertaking hawker-eviction drives following the stampede at Elphinstone Road station, residents groups and civic activists – who have been pushing for action against illegal hawkers for years – fear the crackdown may just be a cosmetic exercise.They claim that before the recent massive outrage from citizens, their grievances about encroachment fell on deaf ears as hawkers regularly greased the palms of civic staff and policemen. Thus illegal hawking in neighbourhoods across the city was allowed to carry on with impunity.”Hawkers give at least Rs 100 every day to the BMC and police,” said Nikhil Desai, co-ordinator of Action for Good Governance and Networking in India, “All senior BMC officials are aware of this. The current drive is just a knee-jerk reaction.”If they are really serious, why don’t they immediately form the Town Vending Committee that is supposed to demarcate hawking zones and follow court orders?”Sources in BMC admit to corruption within the ranks, but pass the buck on to the police and local politicians. “There are times when we call up the police asking them to provide security when we decide to raid a particular area,” a senior BMC officer requesting anonymity told DNA, “By the time we reach the spot or the police arrive, the hawkers have already vanished. It is quite possible some junior civic staff may be alerting them. Not all civic staff or policemen are involved in these illegal activities. But it is very difficult to identify who might be leaking the information. It is not easy to take action against hawkers as there is also involvement of local politicians.”Desai refutes BMC’s claim that they have cleared hawkers from all railway stations, saying there are at least 100 hawkers outside Matunga station. “On Monday,” he says, “I wrote to Deputy Municipal Commissioner Narendra Barde and also met F-North ward officer Keshav Ubale, and written instructions were passed on to the ward’s Removal of Encroachments officer. However, the officer told me that he did not have the JCB to remove the stalls.”Desai says he had to request the ward’s Solid Waste Management department and arrange for the JCB himself, after which the hawkers outside Matunga station were removed. “But, as usual, the road was filled with hawkers that very evening,” Desai said.Another civic activist, Vasant Patil from Kandivli, said the identity and contact details of residents who lodge complaints against hawkers have been leaked to the hawkers, resulting in threats to the complainants.”The hawkers are aided by the connivance of BMC, police and local politicians,” Patil said, “I know many incidents where people visit ward offices and lodge written or oral complaints against hawkers. Within a short while, the complainant gets a call from a hawker leader, asking him/her to withdraw the compliant or face the consequences. After such experiences, many stop complaining. The question arises: How does the contact number of the complainant reach the hawkers?”Nita Bajpai, secretary of Gulmohar Residents Group, Juhu said, “We have already lost six to seven lives to unhygienic street food. We have complained to the police and at the BMC ward office several times, but the hawkers give them some money and the officers go away. Such officers should be punished. We want footpaths to be free for pedestrians and we will keep our fight going.”Advocate Nitin Nikam, secretary of Tilak Nagar Residents Welfare Association, says that even when action is taken, it is short-lived due to the unholy nexus. “The BMC does take action against hawkers, but only after repeated complaints. Even when action is taken, the hawkers put up their stalls at the same place the next day.”

Man seeks probe into corruption of Vadodara Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A public interest litigation, pleading an independent inquiry into a bootlegger’s diary that contains details about bribe being paid to police officers, was filed in August. The petition had said the diary was recovered during a raid at a bootleggers residence in August.One Praful Desai, of Jagate Raho Party in Vadodara, has filed a PIL in connection with the recent police raid under the Pani Gate Police station area. During the search, the cops had recovered a dairy which contains details about how much bribe was paid to which police officer.The petitioner also claimed that though the police are inquiring into the diary, hardly any action was taken. Desai also alleged that the police commissioner has not pursued a thorough inquiry in a time-bound manner.The petitioner also contended that this was a clear case of generating black money and, when there is a prohibition in the state, it is the police department’s duty to ensure its implementation. However, this incident seeks the court’s intervention.The petitioner also pleaded that a retired judge should head the case and look into the diary and decide the course of action. The inquiry report should be tabled before the high court within two months, Desai pleaded.The matter came up for hearing before the first division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi on Friday. After hearing the petitioner, the court instructed Assistant Government Pleader Dharmesh Devnani to take instruction from the state government and decided to have another hearing in next week.According to the petition, Vadodara city police had conducted a raid at bootlegger Vikram Chawda’s home on August 25 and seized IMFL worth Rs. 2.19 lakh worth. When the police raided Vikram and his three other associates had fled away. But, during search, a diary was found which carried bribe amount details. DIARY CONTENTRs 15,000 Jenulbhai (DCP) Rs 2,00,000 Vikramsinh (DCP) Rs 1,00,000 DCP Rs 2,00,000 DCP Rs 1,00,000 DCP

Illegal tree felling in Dang’s Purna Sanctuary: PIL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of trees at the Purna Sanctuary in Dangs were illegally chopped between 2016 and 2017 and several Forest Department officials have even paid for the illegal activity, a former employee of the department alleged in a public interest litigation.The illegal chopping violates the Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Act, the petition says.Nathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.Desai had filed the report with the Deputy Conservator of forest and also informed his seniors in 2016. Neither any action was taken, nor a FIR was lodged.The petition was heard by the first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi on Friday. The court has adjourned the matter till November 28.However, the chief justice inquired that while serious allegations are made against two forest officers, why was no response made to the appeal? Petitioner’s advocate Vijay Nagesh assured the court that they will be joined as a party in the petition.According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs between January 2014 and 2015. However, Desai was informed under RTI that the forest department had paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work. The logs would worth Rs 1 crore in the market, sources said.The cutting of a dry tree is also illegal under Purna Wild Life Sanctuary Management Plan, the petition added. The tree cutting in wildlife sanctuary is in violation of Section 29, 35(6) of the Wild Life Protection Act.The petitioners pleaded the court that it should ask the state to inquire into his allegations and take action against the officials who had given permission for the felling of the trees.CHARGES MADENathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.
According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs. Forest department allegedly paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work.

Naroda Gam case: SIT judge to visit riot site on October 5 to verify claims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The judge of the special SIT court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam case said on Tuesday that he will visit the riot site on October 5.Judge PB Desai decided on the date after Himanshu Shukla, the special investigation team’s officer, who was asked to remain present in court on Tuesday, said he will be free after October 3.Shukla, currently posted as ATS SP, was investigating officer in the case.Judge Desai said that lawyers of SIT, accused and victims will accompany him but no accused will be allowed when he visits the site on October 5. He asked police to submit parts of the punchnama, which carries description of areas in Naroda Gam where the incident took place, so that he can decide which parts of the area he needs to visit.The SIT had on Monday suggested that the court visit the site to get a better idea about it and verify the claims made by witnesses.It requested the judge on Tuesday to visit the site to understand the area’s topography.When the judge asked lawyers to specify the places he needs to visit, they suggested that he may visit Muslim Mohalla, gram panchayat office, a lane near Bank of India, Mayur Hotel and Nandu Mian’s shop near the mosque which have figured in descriptions given by witnesses.The special court concluded the recording of testimonies of 187 witnesses, including BJP president Amit Shah, who appeared as a witness for former MLA Maya Kodnani.SIT has filed a charge sheet against 82 people, including Kodnani.Eleven people belonging to minority communities were killed in the Naroda Gam riots in 2002. Kodnani, who was MLA at the time, has been convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in Naroda Patiya case in which 97 people were massacred.SIT SUGGESTIONThe SIT had on Monday suggested that the court visit the site to get a better idea about it

Naroda Patiya case: Amit Shah to appear as defence witness for Maya Kodnani at Ahmedabad court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah is going to appear at Ahmedabad Sessions Court on Monday to appear as a defence witness for Maya Kodnani in the Naroda Patiyacase. The BJP president is set to reach Ahmedabad City Civil and Session Court at the old HC campus at 11 AM to present himself as a witness.He had been asked by special court Judge PB Desai who had also made it clear it will not re-issue the summons if he failed to appear. On two previous occasions, Kodnani had failed to furnish the address to which the summons was to be issued.Stating she was not present in the spot on February 28, 2002, the day the massacre took place, Kodnani claimed she had attended the assembly session before going to Sola civil hospital, where Amit Shah was also present. Kodnani is seeking Shah’s testimony to prove her innocence.Eleven people were killed in the Naroda Gam and Patiya massacre on February 28, a day after 59 persons were killed in the Godhra train carnage. Kodnani is sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. She is presently out on bail on health grounds.

India doctor fight during operation goes viral

The two are seen arguing while standing over a pregnant patient during an operation in India.

Subhash Desai offers to resign, CM says no

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an independent inquiry in Minister for Industries Subhash Desai’s alleged corruption of land denotification and allottment, the minister on Saturday morning offered his resignation. Fadnavis, however, refused to accept his resignation.State Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil termed Desai’s offer as a “damage control exercise” by Shiv Sena. Leader of Opposition in legislative council Dhananjay Munde said the government has proved that it is a “corrupt government”.While the Assembly witnessed high drama over allegations against Desai and Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, Fadnavis announced inquiries against both of them on the last day of the Assembly’s monsoon session. While the Opposition insisted on resignations from both ministers, Fadnavis said there was no need for them to offer resignations.On Saturday morning, Desai went to the CM’s official residence and offered to resign. However, Fadnavis told Desai that since independent inquiry will take place, he will not accept the resignation.Later in the day, Fadnavis also spoke to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray as well.According to Desai, since inquiry was instituted against him, it was not moral on his part to remain in the chair of a minister. He also said he will cooperate during the inquiry.Criticizing Congress and NCP, Thackeray said that these corrupt parties have no right to criticize Sena since their scams, whether the irrigation scam or scams in cooperatives, have resulted in change of guards in Maharashtra.Thackeray said that even CM Fadnavis told him that there is no need for Desai to tender his resignation since the Opposition was leveling allegations with a political purpose.On the other hand, Patil, while criticizing the Sena leader, said that Thackeray should look at the scams in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which is the most corrupt corporation in the country. He also reiterated his demand of Maheta’s and Desai’s resignations.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Venkaiah Naidu takes veiled dig at Hamid Ansari, Updates on likely AIADMK merger and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Talk of Muslim unease is political propaganda: Venkaiah Naidu takes veiled dig at Hamid AnsariNaidu did not name Ansari, but said, Some people are saying minorities are insecure. It is a political propaganda. Read more here2. #DNAImpact | Uddhav Thackeray asks minister Subhash Desai to clarify de-notification of landSeeing how it spells more trouble for Shiv Sena ahead of the 2019 state assembly elections, party president Uddhav Thackeray is said to be upset over the corruption allegations made against Industry Minister Subhash Desai. Read more here3. AIADMK merger likely after TTV Dinakaran ousterAfter weeks of wrangling, the two warring factions of AIADMK seemed to be moving closer towards a merger on Thursday, with the Chief Minister EK Palaniswami declaring TTV Dinakaran’s appointment as deputy general secretary “illegal” under party bylaws. Read more here4. Of Sreesanth, DDCA & mocking the lawThe Indian public has simply stopped taking the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and some errant cricketers seriously. Just see the case of former India speedster S Sreesanth who has all but sneeringly walked back into the cricket field armed with Kerala High Court’s order to revoke the lifetime ban on him. Read more here5. Sidharth Malhotra turns rapper for ‘A Gentleman’Sidharth Malhotra is learning the guitar and is even expected to sing in Aashiqui 3. But before that, he will debut as a rapper. In his next film, A Gentleman. Read more here

Guj riots: HC order on Zakia Jafri’s petition likely tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce tomorrow its order on a petition by Zakia Jafri, widow of the slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging a lower court order upholding a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others regarding the 2002 riots. Hearing on the petition before Justice Sonia Gokani concluded on July 3. Jafri and Citizen for Justice and Peace, an NGO run by activist Teesta Setalvad, had filed the criminal review petition against a magistrate’s court’s order which upheld the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT). The petition demanded to make Modi and 59 others accused for being party to “the larger criminal conspiracy” behind the post-Godhra riots of 2002. Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was one of the riot victims. He and 67 others were killed when a mob set his house in Gulberg Society here on fire on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident. The SIT, which probed Jafri’s complaint alleging a deeper conspiracy, submitted before the high court that its investigation was monitored by the apex court, and its report was largely accepted by all. The lower court looked into all aspects and held that there was no need to investigate the matter further from the angle of larger conspiracy involving the state functionaries, it said. Zakia Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai, on the other hand, argued that the magistrate’s court did not even consider the option of rejecting the report and ordering a fresh probe. The lower court ignored Supreme Court’s guidelines and did not consider signed statements of witnesses which suggested that there was a conspiracy behind riots, he said. The magistrate ignored submissions of key witnesses such as (former IPS officers) Sanjiv Bhatt, R B Shreekumar, and Rahul Sharma, and ignored findings of Tehelka magazine, advocate Desai argued. The SIT filed its closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and others on February 8, 2012 before the metropolitan magistrate’s court here.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Morning Must Reads: 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs back home, Mumbai BEST workers on strike, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajya Sabha polls | 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs back home; Ahmed Patel confident of victoryThe 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs, who were herded inside Bengaluru resort, returned to home state on Monday to cast their votes in the Rajya Sabha polls which are scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Read more hereStalking case: Accused using my pics to malign me, won’t stop me from fighting, says victimStalking survivor says her fight will continue. Read more here#DNAExclusive: 60k acres of land denotified in 3 years by Maharashtra minister Subhash DesaiIn what could be another embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government, it has been revealed that a whopping 60,000 acres of land has been denotified over the last three years by the Industries Minister Subhash Desai. Read more here J&K: Pakistani LeT terrorist Umer killed in encounter; AK-47 rifle recoveredA Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Sambora village in Pampore area of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. Read more hereMumbai: 36,000 BEST workers on strike; to affect around 30 lakh commutersWith the buses staying off the roads, suburban local trains are likely to see more crowds and auto rickshaws and taxis will be more in demand. Read more here

#DNAExclusive: 60k acres of land denotified in 3 years by Maharashtra minister Subhash Desai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what could be another embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government, it has been revealed that a whopping 60,000 acres of land has been denotified over the last three years by the Industries Minister Subhash Desai.DNA is in possession of documents that suggest that the minister denotified land across the state between 2014-2017.As much as 30,695 acres of land was denotified in Nagpur, followed by 9,377 acres in Nasik, and 8,259 acres in Pune region.Besides this, the Industries Minister also denotified 3,444 acres in Ratnagiri, 3032 acres in Amaravati region, 1,913 acres in Kolhapur, 1,432 acres in Sangali, 937 acres in Panvel, and 731 acres in Latur.What is likely to put the minister on a tricky ground is that the land has been denotified without auction which is mandatory under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act, 32 (1).How does the process work?Maharashtra government has the right to identify land that it may need for projects.The land, thus identified, is notified by the government, which mandates the owner to give possession of the land to the government in lieu of compensation decided by the government from time to time.Once notified, the owner of the land cannot sell, or transfer the rights to anyone other than the state. Often the land owners agitate or go to court seeking removal of notification, since the government departments tend to offer much lower compensation. Once notified, government goes ahead with stamping the deed.The land thus acquired, cannot be denotified arbitrarily — it must be given to another department for project, or auction it so that the government gets maximum benefit.Sources claim Desai did not follow this and simply denotified vast tracts of land.Desai on his part, however, insisted he had followed all procedures. “Congress-NCP regime denotified more land than I ever did. I am prepared to answer every question about this on the floor of the House,” Desai said.Interestingly, Desai’s own department needs over 50,000 acres of land to set up new industries after several Memoranda of Understanding signed under the Make in India and Make in Maharashtra banner.”Applications are pending as we do not have adequate land to be allotted to various industrials firms. We are ready to pay more than market rate, but are unable to get land. On the other hand, we are denotifying land. This is both very unfortunate and contradictory,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity.NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik demanded a thorough inquiry into all denotification decisions made by Desai. “Desai should step down and if he refuses to do so, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should seek his resignation pending inquiry,” Malik said.I’M CLEAN: DESAISources claim that Subhash Desai did not follow all procedures and simply denotified vast tracts of land.
Desai, however, said that he had followed all govt procedures and will answer all questions in the House.

Bogeyman, black magic or good ol’ thievery? Hairy plot in Delhi village thickens

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deserted roads, empty classrooms and shuttered doors behind which hide women and children too scared to step out. Kanganheri is a village spooked after three of its women reported that their braids had been chopped while they were sleeping.The village on the edge of southwest Delhi – separated by not just a few kilometres but an entire world from the plush malls and much vaunted higher educational institutes of the national capital – is not alone in its panic.It started off with isolated reports of women’s hair, particularly braids, being chopped while they were sleeping or unconscious. But the numbers are increasing each day with some 30 odd cases being reported, mostly from villages in Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh.Bogeyman, black magic or good ol’ thievery..the theories are many as the hysteria spreads, blurring the boundaries between superstition and crime in a largely rural belt.In Kanganheri, like in other villages, the discourse centres around black magic and sorcery after three women became unconscious following a splitting headache and woke up with their braids on the floor.Suspense and fear hang heavy in the air with most villagers not sending their kids to school and women confined to their homes.Manoj, whose 55-year-old mother Sridevi, lost her hair, is convinced the police is simply trying to put the blame on a person while it is in fact “Bengali black magic” in play.”For one moment, I will believe that it is a man roaming around cutting women’s braids, but how do you explain the same thing happening at so many places simultaneously?” asked the 32-year-old.Sridevi, he said, had complained of a headache after returning from feeding cattle in the neighbourhood. When she woke up from a nap, her hair was gone.”Bhagat ji”, an astrologer, was the go-to man. He told Manoj that a tantric from Bengal had sent his followers to “bind the village inside a magical circle”.”My mother, who is active usually, is feeling so weak now. The tantric has stolen her strength from her body through her braid,” Manoj, who runs an electrical repair shop in the village, told PTI.Most villagers have covered the outside walls of their homes with henna handprints, along with the lime, chillies and neem leaves to ward off evil spirits.Roshanlal Yadav, whose wife Munesh Devi, also 55 like Sridevi, found her hair cut, said they don’t want to leave anything to chance.”Some elders of the village told us to put handprints, then somebody said wash them off. And some others said hang neem leaves on the entrance, we are doing everything that can be done,” he said.Fantastical stories — including one of a woman seeing a cat turning into a person before she lost consciousness and another seeing a man in red-yellow clothes carrying a trident – have been doing the rounds in the belt.As the delirium spreads with the supernatural dominating the discussion, police and psychologists are weighing in with their theories.The theft theory doesn’t seem to work because family members of the victims said nothing had been stolen from their houses – not even the hair – admitted a police official.With more such incidents being reported every day, officials said they are still searching for clues and awaiting results from forensic experts.A team from the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) visited Kanganheri village on Wednesday.According to IHBAS director Nimesh Desai, it is “too early to have an opinion, but one of the many possibilities could be factitious disorder”, a condition where a person fabricates or exaggerates physical or psychological symptoms.”Diagnosis or impressions like factitious disorder should be made very carefully. “But it becomes more complicated and delicate when my belief system or behaviour is rooted in something my community and/or my subculture believes,” Desai said, doubting the possibility of factitious disorder at a mass level. It is possible theoretically that “an individual starts believing in a fictional scenario, but mass hysteria in factitious disorder is very uncommon if not rare”.Incidents of mass hysteria are not new to India.In May 2001, over 100 instances of attacks by a mysterious “monkey man” were reported.With descriptions ranging from a hairy creature wearing metal helmet, metal claws and glowing red eyes to an eight- feet-tall creature, the monkey man hysteria spread from Delhi to neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.In September 1995, idols of the Hindu god Ganesha were reported to be drinking milk. Before it was refuted as simple capillary action by scientists across the world, people had already queued up outside temples all over the world claiming it to be a miracle.

President calls up Amarinder to condole Mohinder Kaur’s demise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today called up Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to condole the death of the latter’s mother, Rajmata Mohinder Kaur. The President expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the Punjab chief minister saying his thoughts and prayers were with the family in their hour of grief. Singh is currently in Patiala. The last rites of his mother, who died on Monday, were performed yesterday. Kovind recalled his stay with the family in Moti Bagh Palace during his visit to Patiala along with Morarji Desai in 1977. He remembered the pleasant hospitality offered to him by the ‘Rajmata’ during their palace stay, a press statement issued by the chief minister’s office said. Despite being close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mohinder Kaur had chosen to side with the old guard led by Morarji Desai when the Congress split after Emergency, it said. She chose to join the Janata Party and was appointed its general secretary. It was during that time, in 1977, when Kovind had visited Moti Bagh palace. The chief minister, while thanking President Kovind for his condolences, regretted that he could not attend the latter’s swearing-in at the Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday. Amarinder congratulated Kovind on being elected to the high office of President. Jaitley also expressed his deepest sympathies to the chief minister and other members of the family. The finance minister said he prayed to the Almighty to give the family courage to bear the grief.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Accused out on bail, wants demonetised notes exchanged

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight months after demonetization, an accused in a case is experiencing its aftershocks. The kidnap accused from Banaskantha has now knocked on the doors of the high court with a prayer to direct the Reserve Bank of India to exchange Rs2.50 lakh in old denomination notes.Kalpesh Patel is charged with kidnapping the dean of Patan Medical College, Dr. Rajesh Mehta, who was later rescued from the former’s residence in Mehsana four days later.During primary investigation, police had recovered Rs2.50 lakh from him. It included 300 notes in Rs500 and 100 notes in Rs1,000 denomination. The seized cash was deposited with the Banaskantha district sessions court as ‘muddamal’.Advocate for the accused petitioner, Kamlesh Kotai, submitted before the single bench judge AJ Desai on Monday that though the high court had directed all lower courts to either exchange the scrapped currency notes before December 2016 or deposit them in its account, in this case, the money was neither deposited nor exchanged.He further submitted that when the accused was released on bail in March, he moved an application seeking that the cash be returned to him as it was his personal income accrued from maturity of an insurance policy.The court subsequently directed the police to hand over the cash to the accused. However, the accused flatly refused to accept the now redundant currency. On March 24, the police accompanied him and they approached the RBI to exchange the notes, but the federal bank refused to do so stating the deadline was December 2016.Post this development, he moved another petition before the trial court with a prayer to direct the RBI to exchange the notes. Though three months have passed since the application was moved, the trial court is yet to pass an order.After hearing the primary submission of the petitioner, the single bench judge AJ Desai on Monday issued notice to the RBI, the union finance ministry and the registrar of Banaskantha district court directing them to file replies before August 21, when the matter is kept for further hearing.The caseDean of Patan Medical College, Dr. Rajesh Mehta, was kidnapped by Kalpesh Patel and co-accused Hitendra Patel who had demanded Rs2 crore ransom. Four days later, on August 24, Mehta was rescued from Kalpesh’s house in Mehsana. Gujarat police had formed 16 teams to crack the case. Kalpesh had worked as Dr. Mehta’s driver in Valsad, hence he knew he was well off.

HC notice to RBI as kidnapping accused wants seized money back

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court today issued a notice to the Reserve Bank of India on a petition filed by an accused in a kidnapping case who wants Rs 2.5 lakh, seized by police before demonetisation, back in new currency notes. Justice A J Desai today issued notices to the RBI, Union Finance Ministry and registrar of district and sessions court at Banaskantha after the central bank declined to exchange demonetised currency notes when police approached it following an order of a lower court on March 24. Petitioner Kalpesh Patel was arrested on the charge of kidnapping before demonetisation was announced. Police had seized Rs 2.5 lakh and his motorcycle. Patel then approached the Banaskantha district and sessions court in January with the plea to release his money in new currency notes. The court, in its order dated March 8, had allowed his petition and asked police to exchange the currency notes with the RBI. Police approached the RBI with the money on March 24, but the latter declined to exchange the notes, saying that a Finance Ministry circular prohibited it at that stage. The RBI said the window was open only for NRIs. Patel then approached the lower court again but, as the matter was not urgently heard, he moved the High Court. The HC issued notices to the RBI, Finance Ministry and the registrar of the Banaskantha district sessions court. The matter will come up for hearing again on August 21.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

The right side of the bus was not the right side: Eyewitness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yogesh Prajapati, who was part of the Amarnath entourage that was attacked on Monday night, said the first bullets hit the windshield of the bus and cracked it. Sitting right next to the driver, Saleem, in the front cabin, Prajapati said this was followed by a barrage of bullets from the front and its right side.According to him, Saleem ducked to evade the bullets but continued driving. This turned out to be fatal for tour organizer Harsh Desai, who was hit by three bullets and the conductor Mukesh. “Saleem was the only lucky one on the right side of the bus,” Prajapati said. “Most others sitting on his side either died or were injured.”According to him, the bus left Srinagar in the afternoon but developed a flat tyre five kilometres on. “We called a mechanic, who was about to fit the repaired tyre, when he realized there was another puncture. This delayed the bus by nearly three hours and it resumed its journey at around 6.50 pm,” he said.In the meanwhile, the military convoy they were with left without them. “As going back would have been equally dangerous, we decided to proceed towards our destination. At nearly 8.30pm, the firing started. Harshbhai told Saleem to just keep going. Harshbhai caught three bullets, while Mukesh also got hit. After nearly two kilometres, we ran into a military personnel,” Prajapati said.Yogesh says an Army jeep had started following the bus at some point and the terrorists might have aimed at the jeep but ended up hitting the bus.GROUP PERSONALITYThe front cabin of the bus was occupied by Saleem, the primary driver; Suresh, the second driver; bus owner Jawahar Desai and his son Harsh; conductor Mukesh and Prajapati. There were 61 people in the bus altogether, including the crew.
Two of the injured, Pushpaben Gosavi of Dahanu and Laliben Patel of Valsad, are still undergoing treatment at the Army hospital in Srinagar, while the others have been brought back. A cook, Suresh bhai, has stayed back to look after the two in Srinagar.

Pune activist booked under Atrocity Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Activist Trupti Desai who led the agitation for allowing entry for women in various places of worship in the state has been booked by Hinjewadi police after a case of atrocity has been registered, against Desai and her husband, by Vijay Annasaheb Makasare, a 33-year-old Ahmednagar-based resident.According to Makasare, some months back Desai approached him, requesting him to work for her organisation, Bhumata brigade. “I joined her organisation so I could also contribute for a social cause. However, after joining, I realised that Desai was running the organisation with mala fide intentions. I decided to leave the organisation, which she did not like.”The alleged incident took place on June 27, 2017 when Desai called Makasare and requested him to accompany him to visit Mantralaya for some work. Makasare said, “In the morning of June 27, I was travelling in my four wheeler along with Desai. When my car reached near Balewadi stadium, Desai’s husband Prashant and others came in another vehicle and stopped my car.””Desai snatched my phones claiming I had some evidences against her recorded in it. She ordered her husband and other men to beat me up. She also hurled abuses mentioning my caste and threatened me to lodge false cases against me if I raise voice against her organisation,” Makasare said.Meanwhile, Desai has refuted all the allegations.

DCP Rada’s honeymoon pictures go viral: Hubby, Rabaris want action against lawyer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DCP Usha Rada’s husband Naresh Desai alongwith members of the Rabari community on Monday submitted a memorandum to the additional district collector Mehul Dave. They also wore a black ribbon on their arms to register their protest against city-based lawyer RR Shukla. On Sunday, Desai had lodged a complaint with the cybercrime cell alleging that his Facebook account was hacked and their honeymoon photos made public, which later went viral. The memorandum stated that the act was a part of a larger conspiracy by Shukla against the women of Rabari community. The memorandum read, “I am a British Citizen and married Usha on May 22. We had gone to Malaysia for honeymoon and returned on Saturday…Before our arrival in India, Shukla had organised a press conference with an intention to defame my wife and affect her job.” Shukla had submitted an application to city police commissioner and chief secretary stating ‘Rada should not have posted such photos on a public platform to maintain the dignity of her post’ and demanded departmental inquiry against her, Desai alleged. When contacted, Shukla said, “I respect the community. What I have done is as per the law, which will take its own course.” Leader of the community Valji Rabari said they will meet CM to demand justice. He even warned of a stir.

Campaigning comes to an end, GCCI polls today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The voting for the top posts of state apex trade body, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) will take place on Saturday. Voting will be held for the post senior vice-president and vice-president category, with two candidates contesting in each category. The post of senior vice-president is critical as the elected member will be automatically promoted to the post of president after a year. Here the competition is between industry veterans KT Patel and Jaimin Vasa. Patel is betting high on his association with the apex body of all industrial estates of Gujarat Industries Development Corporation, Federation of Industries Association (FIA). He is also a member of Vatva Industrial Association which has around 390 votes. His rival Jaimin Vasa is a prominent face in chemical and dyestuff sector. He has also been the chairman of MSME Committee and Foreign Trade Committee. In VP category, the contest is between Jayendra Tanna and Bhargav Thakkar. Tanna claims he played a critical role in abolition of octroi from state. He has been active in raising concerns about GST regime. Thakkar on the other hand is a silent player. With Tanna and Patel forming ‘Active Panel’, observers believe they have formed coalition of traders and industrialists.GCCI has 3,580 personal votes, 204 mahajan together have 465 votes, 39 corporates have 92 votes. Ahmedabad has 2,311 votes, while Saurashtra has 60 and north Gujarat has 55 votes. Results will be announced on Sunday.Winners sans pollsPresident: Shailesh PatwariCorporate: Jigish Doshi, Trilok Parikh, Shaishav ShahLife/ Patron (local): Babubhai Patel, Nilesh DesaiLife/Patron (outstation): Praful TalsaniaRegional Chambers: Nilesh ShuklaBusiness Association (local): Pratap Chandan, Vinay PanjwaniBusiness Association (outstation): Gunvant ThakkarGeneral local: Meena Kaviya, Anil Sanghvi, Devendra Prajapati, Sachin Patel, Kirti Patel, Mihir Patel, Chiranjiv Patel, Ashish GuruGeneral Outstation: Kanubhai C. Patel, Dilip Padhya, Jayantibhai Patel, Rajesh BhattBWW Chairperson: Shibani Desai

Nikam withdraws as prosecutor in Mohsin Sheikh murder case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has withdrawn as special public prosecutor in the 2014 Mohsin Sheikh murder case in which members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) are accused. The state government last month cancelled the appointment of Nikam as prosecutor in the case based on his request, according to sources familiar with the development that has come to light only now. A notification by Maharashtra’s Law and Judiciary Department said it had withdrawn its order appointing Nikam as special public prosecutor, on his request, in the case pending before a Pune court. Sheikh, 28, a software engineer, was attacked and killed on June 2, 2014 allegedly by HRS members in Hadapsar area. Nikam, who was the prosecutor in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, refused to comment. He had also handled the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and last year examined Pakistani-American LeT operative David Headley in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) expressed shock over Nikam’s move. “Advocate Nikam has never done this before in any case, so what happened in this case that he sought to withdraw his appointment?” said AIMIM local leader Anjum Inamdar. He asked Nikam to clarify what prompted him to withdraw from the case. Sheikh’s father Sadique Shaikh requested Nikam to reconsider his decision. “In our opinion, Nikam is the most capable public prosecutor of India. We were very much sure that we will get justice by his representation,” he said. Sadique said they had personally requested then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for Nikam’s appointment. “Nikam’s acceptance to their request was the first sign of justice,” he said. “There could be various reasons for the delay in trial but we do not blame Nikam for that. We request him to reconsider.” he said. Around 20 people, including HRS chief Dhananjay Desai, were arrested in connection with the case. Desai had been charged under IPC Section 120B, which pertains to criminal conspiracy. The Bombay High Court granted bail to three accused– Vijay Gambhire, Ganesh Yadav and Ajay Lalge — on January 17 while observing that the trio seemed provoked in the name of religion. Police suspected that the incident was a fallout of violent protests in Pune over derogatory pictures of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji and the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on a social networking site.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Guj HC concludes hearing on Zakia’s plea against Modi, others

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court has concluded hearing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister, and others in 2002 riots cases. Justice Sonia Gokani yesterday concluded the hearing while allowing filing of a written submission by Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai on June 19 and a reply by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team on July 3, before pronouncing the judgement. Zakia had moved the HC against a closure report filed by SIT on the issue of larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind 2002 riots cases. Her husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire. Senior counsel representing SIT C S Vaidyanathan said in his concluding argument that the SIT report challenged by Jafri was based on investigation conducted under the watchful eyes of the apex court and was largely accepted by all. He said the lower court had looked into all aspects of allegations to conclude that there was no further need to investigate the matter from larger conspiracy angle. Desai said the magistrate who accepted the SIT’s closure report did not even think of other options like rejecting the report, or order fresh probe. The criminal review petition by Zakia and NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by activist Teesta Setalvad, has demanded making Modi and 59 others as accused on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots. Zakia also prayed for the rejection of the closure report of the Supreme Court appointed SIT giving clean chit to Modi and others. In December 2013, a metropolitan court had rejected Jafri’s plea to book Modi and others for criminal conspiracy, after which she moved the HC in 2014. SIT had on February 8, 2012 filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and others in the case. On 28 February, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage, 68 people, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob at Gulberg Society here during the riots.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Goa government withdraws serious charges against two priests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Goa government today withdrew an application challenging the dropping of serious charges slapped against two Christian priests for attacking a group of special branch policemen. Public prosecutor Subhash Desai submitted before south Goa district judge Edgar Fernandes that the state government is withdrawing the application which had challenged the decision of the lower court to drop charges of attempt to murder and grievous injury against all the accused. A group of 22 people headed by two priests – Fr Romanova Gonsalves and Fr Lucio Dias – were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for assaulting the group of policemen near a church in south Goa’s Velim village in 2012. The policemen attached to the special branch including sub-inspector Kapil Naik along with head constable Krishnanand Rane and Kuldeep Desai were assaulted outside Velim Church on February 26, 2012. Judicial Magistrate in Margao Ram Prabhudesai had dropped charges of attempt to murder and grievous hurt against the group including both the priests in November 2016. The state government had then challenged the order before the district court which came up for hearing today. Now the case would continue to be tried before the judicial magistrate of Margao as various charges related to rioting, obstructing government servant from discharging duties and others continue to be pressed against the group. “I am thankful to the state government for dropping charges of attempt to murder and causing grievous injuries pressed against us. “We hope to get the acquittal in the case,” said Fr Gonsalves while talking to reporters today.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Minister’s driver caught overtaking on bridge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Water Resources Minister of Goa, Vinod Palyekar, on Friday had to pay a fine of Rs 600 for violating traffic rules. Interestingly, the minister was in Varanasi when his driver committed the offence. Taking the matter in his own hands, the minister called the RTO director, and requested for a challan to pay the fine after video of the violation went viral on social media.The video which was widely shared on social media, showed the minister’s car overtaking another car on the Mandovi bridge. The minister was quick to take a stand as soon as the video started circulating. He recorded a video message from Varanasi airport and explained himself.”I am at Varanasi airport and on my way to Goa. My official car was sent for servicing and my driver was bringing it back to pick me up from the airport when he overtook another car. I immediately called the director of transport, Nikhil Desai, after watching the video and requested for a challan to pay the fine,” Palyekar said in his video message.The enforcement wing of the transport department of Goa issued the challan and the fine was promptly paid by one of the associates of the minister.

NGT issues notice to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on contempt plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today issued notice to spiritual figure Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on a contempt plea against him for blaming the Centre and the panel for damaging Yamuna floodplains by allowing his NGO’s cultural extravaganza held there. “Notice to the respondent,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said while seeking his reply before May 9, the next date of hearing. However, Art of Living (AOL) spokesperson and legal adviser Kedar Desai said “No such order has been passed. It is factually incorrect to report that any notice has been issued. The matter has been simply adjourned to May 9.” Desai’s stand was contradicted by petitioner’s counsel Rahul Choudhary who said the bench has issued notice to the AOL founder and sought his reply by May 9. During the hearing, the bench also pulled up petitioner Manoj Misra over his plea, asking him “how this has come in the press before coming to us.” Misra has sought action against Ravi Shankar alleging that his remarks on social media had interfered with free and fair dispensation of justice. AOL’s World Cultural Festival was held on the Yamuna floodplains from March 11-13, 2016, to celebrate 35 years of its service. In a statement published on the AOL’s website, Ravi Shankar had blamed the government and the NGT for permitting AOL to hold the function and said his foundation had obtained all necessary permissions, including from the green panel, and the event could have been stopped in the beginning itself if the river was so “fragile and pure”. In a Facebook post, Ravi Shankar had said, “If, at all, any fine has to be levied, it should be levied on the Central and state governments and the NGT itself, for giving the permission. If the Yamuna was so fragile and pure, they should have stopped the World Culture Festival”. In the plea filed through advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary, Misra had said the AOL head’s statements “denigrated the dignity and status of this tribunal, which was an interference in the fair dispensation of justice”. He had asked NGT to take appropriate action against Ravi Shankar for making the statements which “on the face of it, scandalises/tends to scandalise and interferes/tends to interfere with the free and fair dispensation of justice by the apex green tribunal.” The NGT had earlier termed as “shocking” the charge levelled by Ravi Shankar and the AOL against the government and the green panel for the damage to the Yamuna floodplains, saying they had “no sense of responsibility”. An expert committee had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore the floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza last year. The expert panel had suggested that there would be two components of rehabilitation plan — physical and biological, which would cost Rs 28.73 crore and Rs l3.29 crore respectively, besides additional ancillary expenses. The AOL had alleged that the findings of the panel were “biased” and made allegations against Prof C R Babu, a member of the expert panel which had quantified the damage to the floodplains. “The Art of Living is a responsible and environment- sensitive NGO. We have never caused any damage to the environment but have in fact worked for preserving and reviving it through various environment-related projects over the years,” it had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s statement on Yamuna riverbed damage ‘shocking’ NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday said that charges of a bias report on damage to the Yamuna riverbed leveled by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on them is ?shocking?. Speaking on the issue, the green panel slammed the Art of Living (AOL) and said that the organisation has no sense of responsibility. ?You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?? said the NGT to AOL. The NGT bench asked the petitioner Manoj Mishra to file an application with details of statement so that the court can take the issue on record. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for May 9. Earlier in the month, after the NGT stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the ‘World Culture Festival’, the foundation cried foul while terming it to be a ‘conspiracy.’ The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action. “The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected from them as their malfide intentions to malign us, has been evident since the beginning,” said Kedar Desai, the spokesperson of The Art of Living. In a statement, Desai also said that the NGT’s expert committee, which was supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of the judges, have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice. “How come Shri CR Babu who is one of the senior-most member of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that WCF had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt,” he added. The NGT appointed Committee of Experts earlier found the AOL foundation responsible for destroying the entire Yamuna floodplain area used by the foundation for its event during the ‘World Culture Festival’ earlier in March 2016. The expert panel told the NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs. 13.29 crores and take almost 10 years. The green panel had last year allowed the AOL to hold the three-day ‘ World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NGT to continue hearing on plea on damage to Yamuna floodplains today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday will continue to hear plea alleging environmental degradation on Yamuna floodplains due the World Culture Festival, which was organised last year. Earlier in the month, after the NGT stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the ‘World Culture Festival’, the foundation today cried foul while terming it to be a ‘conspiracy.’ The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action. “The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected from them as their malfide intentions to malign us, has been evident since the beginning,” said Kedar Desai, the spokesperson of The Art of Living. In a statement, Desai also said that the NGT’s expert committee, which was supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of the judges, have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice. “How come Shri CR Babu who is one of the senior-most member of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that WCF had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt,” he added. The NGT appointed Committee of Experts earlier found the AOL foundation responsible for destroying the entire Yamuna floodplain area used by the foundation for its event during the ‘World Culture Festival’ earlier in March 2016. The expert panel told the NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs. 13.29 crores and take almost 10 years. The green panel had last year allowed the AOL to hold the three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Positive results can be achieved when ‘sahkar’, ‘sarkar’ work together PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who today inaugurated the fully automatic Cattle Feed Plant here, on Monday said the focus must be to increase per capita milk production and added that positive results can be achieved only when the government and cooperative work together. ?The government is doing well but a lot can be done. Focus must be to increase the per capita milk production. Here, in SUMUL we see the positive results that can be achieved when ?sahkar? and ?sarkar? work together,? he added. He also remembered Morarji Desai on the occasion and said the SUMUL Cattle feed plant is closely linked with the country?s fourth prime minister. ?The stretch from Umbergaon to Ambaji has been transformed and this has benefited the tribal communities of Gujarat. SUMUL has empowered several people in the nearby areas. SUMUL is also closely linked with Morarjibhai Desai,? said Prime Minister Modi. ?I have worked here in this area for a long time. I have also come here as the Chief Minister but the gathering today is very big. Thank you for coming,? he added. Surat District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited popularly known as Sumul is on a major expansion spree. SUMUL, which has made efforts to make cattle feed more balanced, nutritional and therapeutic, is expanding its cattle feed production with addition of new 500 metric tonne plant at Bajipura in Tapi district at the cost of Rs. 300 crore.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Now, only medical visas for Pakistanis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After deciding to put all bilateral engagements with Pakistan on hold pending a climbdown on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, India is planning to escalate the diplomatic offensive by restricting visas only on humanitarian grounds, including health reasons, to Pakistani citizens. Sources said the government is considering to sharply reduce or even stop visas for all purposes other than medical and hospitalisation. Such a decision will hit Pakistani citizens’ travel to India for leisure, tourism, cultural exchanges, including cinema and sports. The government is also planning to review business and religious pilgrimage visas offered to Pakistani citizens. Earlier, the norms in these categories were relaxed to a great extent by the government. Though the curbs will also come at some cost to India, the government is ready to go ahead to reflect what foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had announced in Parliament that India will go to any extent to provide justice to Jadhav.One such cost is being borne out by the 442 Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails. Most of these fishermen belong to coastal Gujarat and were expected to released at the end of the now-postponed bilateral talks on Maritime Security between the two countries from April 17 to 20. The annual Maritime security talks between Indian Coast Guards and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) usually lead to the decision of releasing a large number of these fishermen who inadvertently cross over into the Pakistan maritime zone in search of good catch that they often get there. In comparison, there are only 70 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails. India side of the Arabian sea is not good for fishing because of pollutants and warmer current. “India has set a bad precedent by postponing these talks. Kulbhushan Jadhav and maritime security are two different issues and should not be mixed. What is the fault of these 442 fishermen. Why make them suffer in diplomacy,” said Jatin Desai of Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy. India has never taken diplomatic escalation to such a level, even during Kargil conflict and 1971 war, the annual engagements like meeting of Water Commissioners on Indus water treaty went on as usual, added Desai.Unhappy with the development, Jeevan Jhungi, an activist in Porbandar, Gujarat, said the news has come as a blow to the fishermen’s families who were anxiously waiting for their release at the end of these talks. There are fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails since 2009, he said.Meanwhile, in what could add to the tension, Police in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir claimed on Saturday, arresting three suspected Research and Analysis Wing agents for their alleged involvement in anti-state activities.The masked suspects were produced before the media during a briefing in Rawalkot, Dawn newspaper reported. According to the report, Sajid Imran, Deputy Superintendent of Police in Poonch, said the main suspect Khalil had visited Kashmir in November 2014, where he came in contact with R&AW officials.The three suspects were involved in a bomb blast outside a police station in Abbaspur in September, said the DSP, claiming that Khalil was offered Rs 5 lakh for the task.

Report on Yamuna floodplains leaked without serving us: AOL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) today alleged that expert committee’s report, regarding quantification of damage on Yamuna floodplains due to its cultural extravaganza, has been leaked to the media without serving them a copy. “The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected of them as their malafide intentions to malign us has been evident since the beginning. “The Expert Committee of the NGT who were supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of judges have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice,” AOL said. The foundation said that the head of the NGT’s seven- member expert committee, who was not even a technical person, noticed that the earlier figure of Rs 100-120 crore did not have any scientific basis and requested the Chairperson of NGT not to consider it. “It is unprecedented that technical persons like Shri CR Babu, Shri AK Gosain and Shri Brij Gopal recommended an arbitrary figure without any scientific basis. Our legal team will have to study the basis of this new figure. “How come Professor C R Babu who is one of the senior- most members of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that World Culture Festival had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt. The closeness of the petitioner with the Expert Committee members was not disclosed to us when the Expert Committee was appointed by NGT and went into the preparation of the report. They are caught in their own web of misdeeds,” it said in a release. Reacting to the report, the AOL foundation alleged that the findings of the panel are “biased”. “We have been victims of a conspiracy. And we will fight for the truth to come out. The Art of Living is a responsible and environment-sensitive NGO. We have never caused any damage to the environment but have in fact worked for preserving and reviving it through various environment-related projects over the years. Our legal team will study the report and decide on the appropriate future course of action,” AOL spokesperson Kedar Desai said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Residents complain of garbage dumping along Mutha river

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of parents has asked the authorities to act against those responsible for dumping garbage along the banks of Mutha river near the Nanded City locality on the city outskirts. A group of parents of children from two schools in the affected belt and also some alert citizens have approached the district administration against the pollution, said advocate Gajanan Dhage, a resident of Nanded City. Residents complained that garbage collected from five localities around Khadakwasla is dumped along the riverbank, posing a serious health risk to school children and people in surrounding areas. In most cases, garbage is dumped and burnt barely 100 metres from school campuses, Dhage said. “Garbage collected from Nanded and Shivane gram panchayats and Warje, Uttamnagar and Kirkatwadi areas and even construction debris are dumped here,” he said. In a letter to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, a group of residents said the garbage dumping and burning was a major source of pollution. “The garbage is dumped in the riverbed and then it is set on fire. Garbage may contain anything like plastic, hospital waste, etc. And directly setting it on fire may create toxic smoke. The residents of Nanded City are facing issue of smoke hovering over the area. There are schools adjacent to this riverbed and the students are suffering the most because they spend seven hours in the school,” the letter said. Pune Zilla Parishad CEO Daulat Desai said stringent action will be taken against those polluting the riverbed and adjoining area.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha to study UP model on farm loan waiver: Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said the state government will study the Uttar Pradesh model of farm loan waiver worth Rs 36,000 crore. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly here, where Shiv Sena and BJP members demanded that the state government announce a loan waiver for distressed farmers, Fadnavis said, “we will study how Uttar Pradesh will raise such a huge amount.” The CM said he has directed the State Finance Secretary to study how UP goes about with the promised debt waiver. Referring to the High Court directive in Tamilnadu asking the state government to waive farm loans following a peasant protest, Fadnavis said, “decision of waiving farm loan is the prerogative of the government.” Fadnavis also targeted the Opposition for staying away from the House proceedings saying they were roaming outside in name of ‘Sangharsh Yatra’. “But the Sena and BJP members’ sentiments regarding farm loan waiver are genuine and the state government is positive to it,” the CM felt. Fadnavis said, “we have asked Centre for financial assistance. If we don’t get help from Centre, we are working on how a loan waiver (of Rs 30,000-crore) can be granted.” Earlier as soon as the House assembled after a three-day break and Speaker Haribhau Bagde called for the questions, Shiv Sena and BJP members were on their feet on the issue of farm loan waiver. Shamburaje Desai (Shiv Sena) said recently two farmers committed suicide at Wadgaon in Satara district since they were debt-ridden. “If Uttar Pradesh can make provision of Rs 36,000 crore to waive off loan upto Rs 1 lakh, why can’t Maharashtra. Our financial condition is better than Uttar Pradesh. UP Chief Minister did not wait for central government help,” he added. Desai said Rs 30,500-crore loan in Maharashtra should be waived off before the Budget session ends on April 7. Subhash Sabne (Sena) said farmers in Parbhani are planning to go on strike from June 1 by stopping Kharif sowing..”If farmers strike and stop sowing, should we eat ‘dhatura’ (poisonous thorn apple),” he asked. Ashish Deshmukh and Sanjay Kute (both BJP) said the state government should go for a loan waiver to ensure there is no burden on the financial condition of the state and continue the investment in agriculture sector. Prashant Bamb, an independent supporting the BJP opposed loan waiver to farmers after which enraged Shiv Sena members started arguing with him. Seeing the Sena members getting too close to Bamb, Minister of State for Housing, Ravindra Waikar (Sena) and Raj Purohit (BJP) rushed to defuse the situation.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘What made guv change mind on nod to try ex-CM in Adarsh scam’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today sought to know “the change in circumstances” due to which Maharashtra governor granted sanction to try former CM Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing society scam after initially refusing it. A bench of Justice R V More sought the explanation while hearing former Chief Minister Chavan’s petition challenging Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the scam. Rao has allowed the CBI in February 2016 to prosecute Chavan, now a sitting Congress MP, allegedly for committing criminal conspiracy and cheating respectively under sections 120 B and 420 of the Indian Penal Code besides various other provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Appearing for Chavan, his counsel Amit Desai told the bench that the governor had first denied the permission but later granted it after the CBI approached him again with fresh material against the former minister. “What was the change in circumstances? Why was it first refused and then granted? What got changed?” Justice More quipped. To this, Desai said, “There is no fresh material as claimed by the CBI. The only change was the findings of a judicial commission (set up to probe the Adarsh scam) and certain observations made by a single-judge bench of the high court while dismissing a petition by Chavan seeking deletion of his name as an accused in the case.” At this, CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar pointed out to the court that subsequently even a bench headed by Justice More himself had made certain observations against the accused persons while dismissing a petition filed by Adarsh society challenging the order of demolition passed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The bench today posted the petition for further hearing on April 17 when the State Advocate General Rohit Deo would appear in the matter for the governor. Chavan’s petition termed the governor’s order as “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed without “proper application of mind” and with “malafide intentions.” The CBI has accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in return for two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as the then revenue minister, the allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians. While the CBI has Chavan named him as an accused in its FIR in December 2013, erstwhile Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused to grant permission to the agency to prosecute him. At this, Chavan had moved the high court in March 2015 for deletion of his name as accused in the scam on the ground that the governor had refused to grant permission to prosecute him, but the court had dismissed the plea. Following this, the CBI approached the Governor’s office again ton seek the sanction, which was granted in February 2016.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Naroda Gam case: Kodnani urges court to summon Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former state minister Maya Kodnani has moved the Special SIT court for summoning BJP chief Amit Shah and 13 others to prove her alibi in the Naroda Gam massacre case, involving killings of 11 people. Sentenced to 28 years in jail in another Gujarat riot case of Naroda Patiya massacre but presently out on bail, Kodnani has urged the court to call Shah and others as her defense witnesses to prove that she was not present at the scene of the crime involving Naroda Gam massacre on February 28, 2002. The plea was made on Thursday to Special SIT Judge P B Desai. As Kodnani’s counsel sought time till Monday to submit the reasons to justify the relevance of the plea at this stage of trial, Judge Desai slated Monday for further hearing to decide if the plea can be admitted. Through her application, Kodnani, a gynaecologist, urged the court to issue summons to Shah to prove that she met him in state assembly in Gandhinagar and then at Sola Civil hospital here, where bodies of Godhra train massacre were being brought on February 28, 2002. She also claimed in her plea that she had then gone to her nursing home and then to the main civil hospital in Asarwa area of the city. To prove her claim, she also sought summoning of 13 other persons, including former BJP MLA Amrish Patel, erstwhile Civil Hospital Superintendent, Dr Anil Chaddha and various staffers of her hospital besides a person whose child, she claimed, was born in her hospital that day. Naroda Gam massacre is one of the nine major riots cases investigated by the Special Investigation Team. Eleven persons of the minority community were killed in Naroda Gam in 2002 riots during a bandh call given to protest the Godhra train burning incident. A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case. The Supreme Court had in September last year given the special court six months to conclude the trial. Kodnani has been sentenced to 28 years in jail in another riot case of Naroda Patiya, in which 97 people, mostly of the minority community, were killed by a crowd. Kodnani was a State Minister for Women and Child Development in erstwhile Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s government.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

We are together, says Fadnavis with Sena ministers in tango

When asked about this display of bonhomie at an otherwise routine presser, held on the eve of every Legislative session, Fadnavis smiled and asked: “Do you guys have a problem?” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after extending outside support to Shiv Sena in the Mayoral election to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a news conference in Mumbai on Sunday, which saw his entire cabinet including Shiv Sena members in attendance. Industries Minister Subhas Desai and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote, both senior members from Shiv Sena, were seated on Fadnavis’ both sides.Other Sena ministers also occupied front row seats. When asked about this display of bonhomie at an otherwise routine presser, held on the eve of every Legislative session, Fadnavis smiled and asked: “Do you guys have a problem?” When pressed further, the Chief Minister said: “We are together in the government”.

HC refuses to modify Hardik Patel’s bail conditions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court today rejected quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s plea that his bail conditions be relaxed. Justice A J Desai rejected the petition. Hardik had said as per the conditions laid down by the high court while granting him bail in two sedition cases in July 2016, he has to appear before crime branch offices in Ahmedabad and Surat once a week. Visiting two cities every week was inconvenient, said his lawyer I H Syed, who urged the court to relax the condition and require Hardik to appear only before Ahmedabad crime branch every week. However, public prosecutor Mitesh Amin opposed the plea, saying it would be too early to modify the conditions. The court then rejected the petition. As a part of the bail conditions, Hardik stayed outside Gujarat for six months after his release in July last year. He returned to his home state last month.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pune civic polls: Leaders of political parties participate in Breakfast pe Charcha ahead of results

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They indulged in war of words for over two weeks, but leaders from all political parties had breakfast together at Wadeshwar Katta in Pune on Wednesday.Started by a few political leaders, this weekly informal meeting invites people to discuss current issues and tries to explore various angles of the news from those involved in it. In this weeks meeting, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade, Congress youth wing president Vishwajeet Kadam, Shiv Sena city chief Vinayak Nimhan, MNS city unit president Hemant Sambhus and NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade shared their views on Pune Municipal Corporation elections and prospects of the parties which contested. Former corporators Dr Satish Desai, Shrikant Shirole, Gopal Chintal, Ankush Kakade began this initiative ‘Breakfast Pe Charcha’ in January 2014. Desai said that people from all walks of life were invited for this breakfast discussion so that people can understand and have insights on current issues.During the discussion, Shiv Sena leaders appeared to be confident that they would play king makers role in PMC. On the other hand, Sanjay Kakade announced that he would retire from active politics if BJP does not win absolute majority. To which, Ankush Kakade retorted saying Pune would miss Sanjay Kakade because he was sure NCP would win the election. Vishwajeet Kadam was modest and pointed out that Congress has its roots in the city and they would improve the tally to be in a deciding position in the corporation.Chintal, Shirole and Desai underlined that Pune stands for social harmony and this Katta would send a message that whatever the result of elections, the city would still remain peaceful.

Lawyer turns collector of priceless old currencies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While scrapped currency notes are nothing but pieces of paper for one and all, it is priceless treasure for a 50-year-old collector in Kendrapara Town of Odisha. Mohammad Mustaque, a legal practitioner, has converted his house into a miniature museum of notes. He has preserved currencies right from Rs 1000 denomination, demonetised in 1978 by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai, to scrapped and out-of-circulation ones in pre and post-Independence era. The lawyer by profession, living in Badahaat locality here, might have exhausted his resources in his thirst. However, he feels proud of his vast repertoire of antique collections, which includes currency notes and coins. “Along with legal practice, collecting antiquities is part of my life….Researchers from across the state visit my private museum. I feel my labour is worth it,” he said. “When high-value notes ceased to be legal tender post-November 8 night, I glimpsed through my note collections. I was delighted to find a Rs 1,000 note that had been demonetised by Morarji Desai-led Janata government in 1978,” he said. “The government then had scrapped Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes. I managed to collect a Rs 1,000 note in 1983. A Marwari trader had donated the same to me. Later on I could locate Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 demonetised notes of that era, but could not collect the same as people demanded an equal sum for exchange of their scrapped notes,” he recalled. The intrepid numismatist has amassed currencies from over 70 countries. MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BMC polls: Sena ridicules BJP’s allegations about friendly match with Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ridiculing Minister Vinod Tawde’s allegation that Shiv Sena and Congress would be helping each other in fifty more seats in Mumbai, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai on Tuesday said that it is sign of defeat accepted by BJP in the BMC elections.The Minister for Education Vinod Tawde on Tuesday had alleged that Shiv Sena had decided to help the Congress by reducing its campaign in 40 wards while Congress would reciprocate and help Sena in 10 wards.Reacting to Tawde’s allegations, Desai said that BJP does not have any other face than Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and people like Tawde who were eyeing the Fadnavis’ post are trying raise such non-issues. Desai said that Tawde’s allegation is testimony of the fact that BJP does not have any valid point to raise with respect to BMC. He pointed out that there was absolutely no chance of an alliance with the Congress.Desai also said that the Tawde had also raised the issue of incomes of Sena corporators which he claimed were out of context. Desai said that once any candidate has filed affidavit with election commission while filing nominations, the affidavit also provides the information of profession of the candidate. He said that immovable property including that of shares could increase manifold and Tawde knew it.Desai added that the Sena would win BMC elections on its own and they wouldn’t need support from anyone, and that that if Sena withdrew the state government would fall and the BJP ought to evaluate if it could repeat its 2014 experience. Meanwhile, the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) President Sanjay Nirupam ridiculed Tawde by saying that this allegation was a joke, and claimed that the BJP was trying to create confusion in the minds of voters. He said that BJP city unit President Ashish Shelar also made similar allegations last week and Tawde repeated that it showed BJP was trying to create confusion in the minds of voters. Nirupam promised that the people of Mumbai would give a benefitting reply to BJP and Tawde.

Pune techie murder: Trupti Desai assaults accused outside court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TFour activists of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade including its president Trupti Desai today allegedly assaulted Bhaben Saikia, arrested for the murder of a woman software professional at Infosys building, when he was being taken out of Shivajinagar court here. Police said the incident took place when Saikia (26), accused of killing 23-year-old Rasila Raju OP, was being taken out of court building this afternoon after the court remanded him in judicial custody till February 21. “Desai and three other activists suddenly came and tried to assault him, however, the policemen took him away swiftly,” said an officer with Shivajinagar police station.”We have detained Desai and other three women. They will be released upon an admonition,” the officer said.Speaking to PTI on phone while she was detained, Desai, a women’s rights activist, said, “The Infosys incident has raised concerns about security of female employees. To punish elements like Saikia, we today assaulted him.” Desai had last year successfully campaigned for permission for women to enter the inner sanctum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra.Meanwhile, Saikia’s lawyer Tousif Shaikh said the court refused to extend his police custody despite the prosecution’s request.Saikia, who worked at Infosys as a security guard, allegedly murdered Rasila on the ninth floor of the company’s building at Hinjawadi here on January 29 because she had earlier scolded him for staring at her.

Techie murder: Women activists ‘assault’ accused outside court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four activists of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade including its president Trupti Desai today allegedly assaulted Bhaben Saikia, arrested for the murder of a woman software professional at Infosys building, when he was being taken out of Shivajinagar court here. Police said the incident took place when Saikia (26), accused of killing 23-year-old Rasila Raju OP, was being taken out of court building this afternoon after the court remanded him in judicial custody till February 21. “Desai and three other activists suddenly came and tried to assault him, however, the policemen took him away swiftly,” said an officer with Shivajinagar police station. “We have detained Desai and other three women. They will be released upon an admonition,” the officer said. Speaking to(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

How would we take care of staff without service charge: Eatery owners

New Delhi/Mumbai: Though customers now refuse to pay the service charges levied by restaurants, the owners of the eateries have voiced their disappointment over the centres decision on the issue, saying it would “adversely impact millions of workers”.

“Levying service charge is an established practice of several years and it has even been upheld in the court of law. Most of money collected goes to the staff and is an integral part of their income. Discontinuation of the same at this stage will adversely impact millions of workers and therefore we plan to continue levying the service charge as before,” Anurag Katriar, Executive Director and CEO at Mumbai’s deGustibus Hospitality Pvt. Ltd told IANS.

The Department of Consumer Affairs on Monday issued a statement saying that customers dissatisfied with service at any hotel or restaurant can opt for the service charge not being levied as this is optional or discretionary.


Representational image. Flickr

“The decision of the Department of Consumer Affairs to make levy of service charge optional or discretionary will affect around 8.5 million employees associated with the food service industry,” said Riyaaz Amlani, the President of NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India).

According to Mihir Desai, Co-owner of Mumbai’s Corum Hospitality, the customers should not deny paying after using the services and they should be well informed about the service charge before ordering.

“Service charge is not wrong, it should be mentioned on the menus. If customers don’t wish to pay they will not take your services. If customer doesn’t like your food for any reason so will they not pay for it,” Desai wondered.

The decision was taken in lieu of complaints received from consumers that many hotels and restaurants charged “service charge in the range of 5-20 per cent, in lieu of tips” and consumers were “forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided”, the department said.

“Earlier the tips used to go only to the service staff and there was a big gap between what the kitchen and service staff were making. Since service charge is distributed equally amongst all departments based on grades, it helps motivate everyone and improve team moral”,” Mitesh Rangras, Partner of Mumbai’s SID hospitality mentioned.

A clarification was sought from the Hotel Association of India which replied that the “service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience they can have it waived off”, as per the department.

“The service charge should be on the complete discretion of the customer and his satisfaction. It should not be imposed on them. The restaurants should focus on giving premium services to all their guest and let the customers decide if they want to pay for the good service render”d,” Samira Chopra, Director of New Delhi’s Cybiz BrightStar Restaurants, stated.

The department has asked the state governments to advise hotels and restaurants to disseminate information, such as through displays, that “the service charges are discretionary or voluntary” and to sensitise the companies, hotels and restaurants regarding provisions of the Act.

“It is a matter of policy for a restaurant to decide if service charge is to be levied or not. Information regarding amount of service charge is to be clearly mentioned by restaurants on their menu cards or otherwise also displayed, so that customers are well aware of this charge before availing the services and can use their discretion of not using the facility offered by the restaurant,” Amlani added.

First Published On : Jan 3, 2017 17:56 IST

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