Harish Rawat not cooperating in probe, CBI to Uttarakhand High Court

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NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday told the Uttarakhand High Court that former chief minister Harish Rawat was not cooperating with the investigating agency in its probe into the sting operation case.

Appearing on behalf of the CBI before Justice RC Khulbe of the high court to inform about the progress in the case, senior advocate Rakesh Thapliyal and Sandip Tandon said Rawat was not cooperating with it in the probe.

Though Rawat’s counsel and Supreme Court lawyer Devidutt Kamath denied the CBI’s claim, Justice Khulbe asked for more documents to be submitted in the court.

However, Khulbe recused himself from hearing the case later.

The case will now be taken to Chief Justice Ramesh Rangnathan who will decide the new bench to be constituted for further hearings in the case.

With Khulbe recusing himself from hearing the case it is uncertain when it will come up next for hearing.

A sting video in 2016 which purportedly showed Rawat negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel party MLAs in 2016 created a flutter across the country.

Though Rawat subsequently won a Supreme Court-monitored floor test in the state assembly and his government was reinstated after a brief spell of the president’s rule a CBI probe was launched into the sting operation.

Source: Press Trust of India

Former minister Swami Chinmayanand arrested on charges of rape: Police

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SAHAJAHANPUR: Former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand was arrested on Friday for allegedly raping a law student and sent to 14 days judicial custody by a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur, police said.

The BJP leader was arrested by the special investigation team (SIT) of UP police from his ashram here around 8.50 am amid heavy security deployment. He was then produced at the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, which remanded him to judicial custody.

Police said they have also arrested three other persons on charges of extorting money from Chinmayanand.

“Chinmayanand was arrested this morning from his ashram. The SIT team arrested him and conducted a medical examination. He was produced in a court and sent to jail,” said Director General of Police O P Singh.

He said Chinmayanand has been arrested on charges of rape.

According to Senior Prosecution Officer Kuldeep Singh, Chinmayanand has also been booked under charges of sexual intercourse by superintendent of an institute like a jail, stalking, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

The arrest comes nearly a month after the woman, who is a postgraduate student at one of the colleges run by Chinmayanand’s organisation, first levelled allegations against him.

“There was no delay, as the SIT was minutely investigating the case. When the statement of the girl was recorded, she gave some video clippings. All the video clippings of the girl, and the videos related to extortion were sent for forensic examination, and after this only Swami Chinmayanand and three other persons were arrested,” the DGP said.

The woman had submitted a pen drive containing 43 video clips to support her allegations.

Chinmayanand’s counsel Pooja Singh said the SIT took signatures of his relatives on the arrest memo but no arrest-related documents were given to them.

Ahead of the arrest, massive security was deployed at Mumukshu Ashram where members of the SIT reached in a fleet of more than 12 vehicles.

As Chinmayanand was taken for a medical check-up, patients at the government hospital had to face a tough time as they were not allowed to enter the premises.

Teams led by senior police officials were deployed at the court premises and the hospital. The police also patrolled the area to ensure there is no disturbance, a senior official said.

The case is being investigated by the SIT on directions of the Supreme Court.

Chinmayanand was admitted to the medical college here on Wednesday and later referred to King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow.

But he chose to return to his residence on Thursday and get ayurvedic treatment there, according to his counsel Om Singh.

The student had earlier threatened self-immolation if the police do not arrest him.

The SIT has also examined the principals of the two colleges where the woman studied in recent years.

Source: Press Trust of India

Maharashtra government’s farm loan waiver scheme a sham, claims Congress

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NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday termed as false the BJP-Shiv Sena Maharashtra government’s claim that its Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver to 89 lakh farmers was the largest ever in the country.

The opposition party claimed that 50 per cent of those entitled to waiver were yet to get benefits.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while launching the scheme, had called it the biggest in the country.

Addressing a press conference, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The government announced a loan waiver scheme named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

However, 27 months after it was announced, several lakh farmers have been left out.”

“After the final number of beneficiaries of the scheme was released, the Congress’ stand that names of several farmers have not been included stands vindicated,” he said.

Sawant said the latest data showed that, as on August 31, a total of 44,04,147 farmers have received loan waiver worth Rs 18,761 crore.

This meant that nearly 45 lakh farmers are yet to have their loans written off, he said, adding that the one-time settlement announced by the state government was also a sham.

“Under the one-time settlement plan, 4,26,588 farmers have been given Rs 2,629 crore. Nearly 6 lakh eligible farmers have not yet received the benefits as the government had said 10,44,279 farmers would be covered. A provision of Rs 7,290 crore was finalised in the budget,” Sawant said.

However, Sawant said, the state government finalised a green list according to which 55,60,896 farmers were found to be eligible for loan waiver for which a sum of Rs 26,456 crore was required.

This meant that 34 lakh farmers were excluded from the original list of 89 lakh beneficiaries, he alleged.

“So far 44,04,147 farmers has received Rs 18,761 crore in their bank accounts. So nearly 11 lakh farmers who were part of the green list have not received loan waiver. This would cost the government Rs 8,000 crore more,” Sawant said.

He termed these exclusions as indicative of the state government’s lack of compassion and sensitivity, alleging that it made the scheme in such a way that only a few farmers would benefit.

While CM Fadnavis has blamed banks for mismanaging the scheme, he is yet to lodge a complaint with the Reserve Bank of India, Sawant pointed out.

He claimed the Congress, if elected to power in the forthcoming Assembly polls, would announced a blanket loan waiver.

Meanwhile, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhay called Sawant’s allegations baseless.

“The figure of 89 lakh farmers was given by the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC). When applications were invited online, the banks deleted 15 lakh accounts,” Upadhay said.

“If there was a Congress government in power, it would have still put the amount in the banks. The BJP government ensured only needy farmers benefit since the money belongs to the people,” the BJP leader said.

He claimed the state government decided to exclude government officials, elected representatives from the list of 89 lakh farmers.

Source: Press Trust of India

Anil Kumar Jain appointed new Coal Secretary

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NEW DELHI: Senior IAS officer Anil Kumar Jain has been appointed as the new Coal Secretary, according to a government order.

Jain is a 1986-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre.

“The Appointments Committee of the cabinet has approved the appointment of Anil Kumar Jain, Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as Secretary, Ministry of Coal,” the order said.

Jain succeeds Sumanta Chaudhuri, a 1985-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre.

Source: Press Trust of India

Ajoy Kumar appointed AAP’s national spokesperson

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NEW DELHI: Ajoy Kumar, who joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after quitting the post of Jharkhand Congress chief, was on Friday appointed as the party’s national spokesperson.

Kumar joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday in the presence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said Kumar has been appointed as the party’s spokesperson.

Kumar, a former IPS officer, resigned as Jharkhand Congress chief last month, accusing some colleagues of promoting their own interests over the party and indulging in corrupt practices.

Source: Press Trust of India

Investor wealth up by Rs 6.8 trillion in a day following Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements

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NEW DELHI: Investor wealth on Friday zoomed a whopping Rs 6.82 trillion in single day as equity markets rallied, with the Sensex skyrocketing 2,284 points in intra-day trade, following a slew of economy-boosting measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The 30-share key BSE index saw a hike by 1,921.15 points or 5.32 per cent to close at 38,014.62. During the day, it advanced 2,284.55 points to 38,378.02, its biggest intra-day spike in over a decade.

The bull market led the market capitalisation of the BSE-listed companies to soar Rs 6,82,938.6 crore to Rs 1,45,37,378.01 crore in single day.

The government on Friday slashed the corporate tax rate for companies by almost 10 percentage points to 25.17 per cent and offered a lower rate to 17.01 per cent for new manufacturing firms to boost economic growth rate.

“Today’s measures, without exaggeration, have revived the sagging economic situation and has reinfused the “Josh” among the corporate and capital market fraternity. Apart from the benchmark indices correcting, it was more to do with the sentiment which was hitting new lows day after day. That seems to be dealt with by daring to cut corporate tax, which clearly has a positive impact on the earnings,” Devang Mehta, head (equity advisory) of Centrum Wealth Management, said.

In the fourth phase of post-budget economic stimulus measures, Sitharaman cut base corporate tax for existing companies to 22 per cent from the current 30 per cent; and for new manufacturing firms, incorporated after October 1, 2019, and starting operations before March 31, 2023, to 15 per cent from the current 25 per cent.

Sitharaman also said no tax will be charged on share buyback by listed companies that announced such a move prior to July 5.

Also, super-rich tax by way of enhanced surcharge on income, announced in the July 5 Budget, will not apply to capital gains arising on equity sale or equity-oriented funds liable to securities transaction tax (STT) with a view to stabilise flow of funds into capital markets.

“The biggest event of the week was the cut in corporate tax rates as announced by the finance minister. This is a huge step in boosting the overall profitability of corporate India.

“This step, along with some other measures announced including the enhanced tax surcharge introduced in July 2019 to not apply to capital gains on sale of equity share which is subject to STT, would go a big way in restoring confidence in the Indian equity markets,” said Shibani Kurian, senior vice-president and head of equity research, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company.

Religare Broking Ltd Vice-President (Research) Ajit Mishra said it turned out to be a historic session for equity markets as Nifty gained over 5 per cent. Participants rejoiced the announcements made by the finance minister to boost the economy and market sentiments, wherein the cut in corporate tax turned out to be the catalyst.

The announcements came just in time as markets were reeling under tremendous pressure, citing weak domestic sentiments and not-so-encouraging global markets, Mishra added.

From the BSE 30-share basket, 25 scrips closed with hefty gains led by Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki India, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, State Bank of India and Mahindra & Mahindra and zoomed up to 12.52 per cent.

On the BSE, 1,864 scrips advanced, while 728 declined and 144 remained unchanged.

Sectorally, the BSE auto, bankex, capital goods, consumer durables, finance, energy, oil and gas, metal and telecom indices rallied up to 9.85 per cent.

In the broader market, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices also rose by up to 6.28 per cent.

Source: Press Trust of India

BJP-JDU alliance will win over 200 seats in Bihar election: Nitish Kumar

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PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today predicted a landslide victory for the NDA in the assembly polls due next year, and asserted that those trying to create a rift between his party Janata Dal United or JD(U) and alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP will be in trouble.

Addressing a state council meeting of the Janata Dal (United), of which he is the national president, Kumar lashed out at his detractors, claiming that people “lacking political acumen” were trying to gain publicity by launching personal attacks on him.

“Many of them have shamelessly admitted that they did so because it was their USP,” the Chief Minister said.

Kumar also urged his partymen to avoid reacting to “slanderous” remarks made against him. “I would advise my party spokesmen, do not get drawn into all this… Avoid reacting to every slanderous remark that may be made against me.”

“Try to recall the 2010 assembly polls. Sceptics doubted that we will get majority. We ended up winning 206 out of 243 seats. Rest assured we will cross 200 next year,” Kumar said evoking applause.

Asserting that all is well between the JD(U) and the BJP, he said, “There are many who think there is ghachpach (something amiss) in our alliance. It is not so. Those trying to do ghachpach (create confusion) are going to be in trouble and soon find themselves in a sorry state (bura haal hone waala hai), let me assure you.”

Source: Press Trust of India

Amazed at what PM will do for a market bump before Howdy Modi: Rahul Gandhi

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NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said he is amazed at what Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to do for a stock market bump ahead of his ‘HowdyModi’ event in Houston, which he termed as the world’s most expensive event ever.

He said no event can hide the reality of the economic “mess” ‘HowdyModi’ has driven India into.

“Amazing what PM is ready to do for a stock market bump during his #HowdyIndianEconomy jamboree.

“At + 1.4 Lakh Crore Rs. the Houston event is the world’s most expensive event, ever! But, no event can hide the reality of the economic mess ‘HowdyModi’ has driven India into,” he said on Twitter.

The Congress leader’s attack comes after the government announced slashing of corporate tax rates for companies by almost 10 per cent to 25.17 per cent to bring them at par with Asian rivals such as China and South Korea, as it looked to boost demand and investments.

Battling a six-year low economic growth and a 45-year high unemployment rate, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the step two-and-half-months after presenting her maiden Budget, that was hailed as “development-friendly” and “future-oriented”.

Sitharaman announced fiscal measures that will cost the government Rs 1.45 trillion in revenue annually.

In the fourth phase of post-budget economic stimulus measures, Sitharaman cut base corporate tax for existing companies to 22 per cent from current 30 per cent and for new manufacturing firms, incorporated after October 1, 2019 and starting operations before March 31, 2023, to 15 per cent from current 25 per cent.

Source: Press Trust of India

Corporate tax cut historic: Narendra Modi

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday termed as “historic” the cut in corporate tax rates and asserted that economic announcements made in the last few weeks show that his government is leaving no stone unturned to make India a better place to do business.

The announcements in the last few weeks clearly demonstrate that the government is leaving no stone unturned to make India a better place to do business, improve opportunities for all sections of society and increase prosperity to make India a USD 5 trillion economy, he said on Twitter

“The step to cut corporate tax is historic. It will give a great stimulus to #MakeInIndia, attract private investment from across the globe, improve competitiveness of our private sector, create more jobs and result in a win-win for 130 crore Indians,” he said.

Battling a six-year low economic growth and a 45-year high unemployment rate, the government on Friday slashed corporate tax rates for companies by almost 10 per cent to 25.17 per cent to bring them at par with Asian rivals such as China and South Korea, as it looked to boost demand and investments.

Source: Press Trust of India

Government investing LIC money in loss-making firms, shattering people’s trust: Priyanka Gandhi

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NEW DELHI: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday alleged that the Modi government was “shattering” people’s trust in LIC by investing the state-run insurance firm’s money in loss-making companies.

Taking to Twitter, she also tagged a media report which claimed that LIC has suffered losses of Rs 57,000 crore in just two and a half months.

“LIC is another name for trust in India. Common people invest their hard earned money in LIC for future security, but the BJP government is investing LIC money in loss-making companies, shattering their trust,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

“What kind of a policy is this that has become only a loss-making policy?” she said.

The Congress on Wednesday had accused the government of “sacrificing” public money by investing in loss-making public sector units and said it was using the LIC as an instrument to meet its ends.

Senior Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken had cited an RBI report and claimed that the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has doubled its investment in “risky” public sector undertakings in the last five years from Rs 11.94 lakh crore to Rs 22.64 lakh crore.

Source: Press Trust of India