NEW DELHI: Former Union minister Dilip Ray was on Tuesday convicted by a special court here in a coal scam case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar convicted Ray, former minister of state (coal) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, for criminal conspiracy and other offences.
The court also convicted two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, Castron Technologies Ltd (CTL), its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Ltd (CML).
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on October 14.
The case pertains to allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to CTL in 1999.
Rift between BJP old-timers and new entrants resurfaces in Bengal
NEW DELHI: Factional feud in the BJP West Bengal unit reached new heights on Saturday when the party’s Bishnupur MP, Saumitra Khan — who switched from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls — dramatically announced that he is quitting as state BJYM (BJP Youth wing) chief and left the official Whatsapp group, “BJYM West Bengal Official”.
However, Khan returned to the same group by the evening and also withdrew his resignation.
He sent out a video message saying he was “upset and hurt… but no person is larger than the party… hence he decided to remain in the party, continue in his post and work towards throwing out the ruling TMC from office.”
This act was a follow-up to Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh’s action the previous day. On Friday, Ghosh unilaterally dissolved all the district BJYM committees that had been set up by Khan, without consulting him. Khan is known as a Mukul Roy-loyalist within the party.
Soon after Khan announced quitting his post, central BJP leaders Kailash Vijaywarghiya and Shiv Prakash spoke to Ghosh, it is learnt.
This Khan episode comes four weeks after former state party president Rahul Sinha openly revolted against the party, when Mukul Roy and Anupam Hazra were given national party posts during the organisational reshuffle by party chief J P Nadda.
Sinha is still with BJP but has not reconciled to being sidelined “after giving 40 years to the party,” according to party insiders.
With BJP’s strength in Bengal having grown considerably since the party won its biggest ever victory in the state, picking up 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, it has seen a steady inflow of leaders and cadre.
Without a suitable leadership face in the state, BJP has relied on breaking away winnable candidates from rival camps. However, the induction of leaders from TMC and other parties has created a steady rift between the old timers and the new entrants.
As the party is gearing up for 2021 assembly polls, a clear demarcation between the Dilip Ghosh camp (mostly old timers including RSS-backed members) and Mukul Roy camp (mostly those who came in from TMC) has surfaced.
Matters came to such a point that former party chief and Union home minister Amit Shah had to step in with the message that internal differences need to be buried to fight TMC.
Daily news wrap: Cashback for not skipping EMIs, Trump casts ballot & more
NEW DELHI: The finance ministry’s guidelines on the waiver of interest on loans up to Rs 2 crore where borrowers who didn’t opt for the moratorium will get an ex gratia payment or a cashback, US President Donald Trump casting his ballot in West Palm Beach, Florida are among the top stories of the day.
Here is a look at the top news stories from the day
Didn’t skip EMIs during lockdown? Get cashback from your bank: Government
The government on Friday spelt out the details of the waiver of interest on interest on loans up to Rs 2 crore where borrowers had taken moratorium during the lockdown and also made it clear that those who didn’t opt for it will get an ex gratia payment or a cashback.
The payment will be made to small businesses and individual borrowers with loans up to Rs 2 crore.
The finance ministry on Friday wrote to all RBI-regulated lenders, stating that the government has approved a “scheme for grant of ex gratia payment of the difference between simple interest for six months to borrowers in specified loan accounts” between March 1 and August 31, 2020. The lenders include banks, cooperative banks, housing finance companies and microfinance institutions.
Trump casts presidential ballot for himself
President Donald Trump cast an early ballot Saturday in the US election as he geared for another grueling day of campaigning.
Trump voted at a library serving as a polling center in Florida, where he has a home and to which he switched his residency from his native New York.
“I voted for a guy named Trump,” he said with a smile as he emerged.
Nearly 55 million Americans have now cast early votes as the coronavirus has made in-person voting more problematic.
IPL 2020: MS Dhoni vows changes after season of IPL ‘failures’
Three-time Indian Premier League champions Chennai Super Kings will be forced into major changes after a humiliating defeat to their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians, their veteran captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
Dhoni’s team suffered a crushing 10-wicket loss in Friday’s clash that is widely considered Indian cricket’s El Clasico drawing a huge TV audience.
“Whenever you’re not doing well, there can be a hundred reasons, but one of the main things you ask yourself is whether you’ve played to the potential you’ve got, no matter the conditions,” Dhoni said.
“And this year we haven’t. Cumulatively there have been batting failures.”
Kashmir off the table for future talks, India signals to Pakistan
This week India came down hard on Pakistan at the Commonwealth foreign ministers’ meeting, describing it as a “globally acknowledged promoter of state-sponsored terrorism” masquerading as a victim and dismissed Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s comments on Kashmir as a subject that was India’s “internal matter”.
The dismissive and undiplomatic brusque response has now become the template for Indian response to Pakistan’s repeated attempts to raise Kashmir, a position that has steadily solidified since the reorganisation of J&K in August last year.
While the commentary is not new, the clear signal to Islamabad is that it has no locus standi on Kashmir and is, in fact, in illegal occupation of PoK.
Govt extends due date for FY20 ITR filing by individuals till Dec 31
In a relief to taxpayers, the government on Saturday further extended the deadline for filing returns by individual taxpayers for FY 2019-20 by a month till December 31.
Also, the due date of furnishing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for taxpayers whose accounts require to be audited has been extended till January 31, 2021.
The government had earlier in May extended various due dates for filing ITRs for FY 2019-20 from July 31 to November 30, to give compliance relief to taxpayers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said, “The due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns for the other taxpayers [for whom the due date (i.e. before the extension by the said notification) as per the Act was July 31, 2020] has been extended to December 31, 2020.”
We are not anti-national, says NC leader Farooq Abdullah
National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which is fighting for restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is an anti-BJP and not an anti-national front.
He said the aim of the People’s Alliance is to ensure that the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are restored.
The statement came after the members of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration met at PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s residence in Srinagar for the first time after its formation.
After the meeting, People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who also attended the meet, said that Farooq Abdullah has been chosen as the president and Mehbooba Mufti as the vice-president of the recently-floated People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
China illegally occupies Nepal’s land at many places, India’s intelligence agencies sound alert
China has illegally occupied Nepal’s land at several places spreading over seven bordering districts and Indian intelligence agencies have sounded an alert in New Delhi.
The agencies have flagged that Beijing is fast moving forward and further pushing Nepali boundaries by encroaching more and more landmass. “The actual scenario could be worse as the Nepali Communist Party (NCP) is trying to shield the expansionist agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” an internal intelligence agency report pointed out.
The report also talked about the Survey Department of Nepal flagging China’s attempts to grab land before Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli which was ignored.
Covid-19: Mumbai has more deaths but fewer cases than Bengaluru and Delhi
Age combined with underlying comorbid conditions—diabetes, kidney disease, obesity and hypertension — have emerged as the biggest contributors to Covid-19 deaths in the metropolis. Over 85% of the deaths in Mumbai have occurred in age groups above 50 though they account for only 44% of positive cases.
Doctors say a higher share of co-morbidities combined with stress endemic to Mumbai’s population could be blamed for its higher death toll. Compared to Mumbai which has 2.48 lakh cases in all, Bengaluru urban has nearly 3.2 lakh cases.
However, it has about a third of Mumbai’s deaths and a fatality rate of 1.15%. Similarly, Delhi with 3.48 lakh cases has a little over 6,000 deaths.
Nitish refrains from speaking anything against Chirag or LJP
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday addressed a poll rally in LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan’s native Alauli assembly seat but refrained from speaking anything either against the party or its president Chirag Paswan who has been attacking him regularly.
After dissociating his party from the ruling NDA in Bihar, Chirag has been hitting out at the chief minister almost on a daily basis in his election meetings as well as in the social media, but Kumar has chosen not to react to him.
Kumar maintained the same approach and avoided making any reference either about Chirag or his party at his rally in Alauli during the day.
Mehbooba Mufti disrespecting Indian flag; Article 370 won’t be restored: Prasad
NEW DELHI: The BJP on Saturday accused PDP president Mehbooba Mufti of “disrespecting” the Indian flag and asserted that the revocation of Article 370 was done constitutionally and that it will not be restored.
Her comments that she will not hold the tricolour till the Kashmiri flag is restored is “downright denunciation” of the national flag’s sanctity, senior BJP leader and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister had on Friday said that she was not interested in contesting elections or holding the tricolour, the national flag, till the constitutional changes enforced on August 5 last year were rolled back.
She said she would hold the tricolour only when the separate flag of the erstwhile state is restored.
Prasad asserted that Article 370, which gave the erstwhile state a special status and was revoked last year, will not be restored.
It was removed following a proper constitutional process and both Houses of Parliament approved it with overwhelming numbers, he said.
Revoking it was our commitment to the nation and people have appreciated it, he said.
In many ways, Mufti has shown serious disrespect to the very image of India which the tricolour represents, he added.
The minister also hit out at other opposition parties, saying they have maintained a stony silence at her remarks showing serious disrespect to the national flag, even as they criticise the saffron party at the “slightest of issues”.
“This is hypocrisy and double standard,” Prasad said.
He claimed that the revocation of the Article 370 has led to increased development in the union territory with the weaker sections of society, like SCs, STs, OBCs and women, enjoying the same rights that they do in the rest of the country.
People participated in local polls in Jammu and Kashmir with joy and happiness, he said.
“Some people and families who used to rule with impunity and without accountability are going to have problems,” he said.
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