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Gadkari has come clean, says Advani

NEW DELHI: Senior BJP leader L K Advani on Wednesday backed party chief Nitin Gadkari saying he has come “clean” by asking for a probe on charges against him and said the party should not claim immunity on either scale or nature of the allegations. 

“Nitinji has come clean by asking for an inquiry by the Department of Company Affairs,” Advani said in a statement here on certain media allegations questioning investments in his family business. 

He said the allegations against Gadkari were about “standards of business and not misuse of power or corruption”. 

“I am of the view that the BJP should be different and should not claim immunity on either scale or nature of the allegations,” he said. 

Accusing the government of trying to neutralise the “unprecedented” corruption charges against it by targeting Gadkari, Advani hoped there will be an impartial probe into the matter. 

“I hope that the government inquiry will be fair and the government will not use its political hostility to the BJP to colour the inquiry,” he said. 

Advani lashed out at the UPA for trying to work a strategy to paint the entire political class with the same brush to minimise and escape its “unpardonable sins". 

He said the allegations against opposition leaders like Gadkari was an “off-shoot” of this. 

Terming Gadkari’s response to the government probe into his business investments as “fair and proper”, Advani said, “This shows the difference in the BJP’s attitude.” 

He said one of the allegations of wrongdoing against Gadkari related to land issue which has been proved wrong according to media reports themselves. 

He also congratulated Gadkari for “voluntarily” asking for a probe into the allegations of dubious funding in his companies. 

Advani lamented that the “monumental” corruption by the ruling UPA has “made the political class hang its head in shame”. — PTI





RSS mum on charges against Gadkari

NAGPUR: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday refused to comment on corruption allegations against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, saying it was a “matter of the party”.

Asked about the charges against the BJP chief, Bhagwat said, “It is a matter of the party.

“I have already touched the issue of corruption (in general) in my speech and if you want to know more, you can speak to Manmohan Vaidya, the Prachar Pramukh of the organisation,” he told reporters after addressing RSS workers at the annual Vijayadashmi function.

Vaidya said the allegations of corruption against Gadkari “are in the media only”.

“A media trial is on and the concerned person (Gadkari) will put forth his views before the party,” he said.

Gadkari, who attended the function, in the RSS attire, left the venue without talking to media.

Media reports have raised questions over the source of funds for Purti Power and Sugar Ltd controlled by Gadkari.

Media investigations claim that major investments and large loans to Purti were made by a construction firm Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when Gadkari was PWD minister in Maharashtra.

Gadkari has denied the allegations and offered himself and his companies to any probe.

Earlier, during his speech, Bhagwat said Sangh “continues to concentrate in its work of character building and people should be made aware of the need to change the system, ensuring that they do not develop an aversion towards it.”

“The mind-boggling revelations of corruption have not come to an end yet. Many small and big agitations are being conducted to demand punishment to the corrupt, to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks and for making stringent laws to curb corruption,” he said.

On the “seven social sins” quoted by Mahatma Gandhi in the “Young India” issue in 1922, Bhagwat said, “We cannot become free of fault by leaving all responsibility to politics, government and the administration.”

These sins are politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice, he said.— PTI





Virbhadra loses cool, threatens media; Cong apologises

SHIMLA/NEW DELHI: An angry Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Virbhadra Singh threatened to break the cameras of mediapersons on being questioned about allegations of corruption against him. 

“I will break your cameras. Don’t you have any other work to do?” he retorted when reporters questioned him about graft allegations. The incident occurred at Ani in Kullu district Tuesday evening when some mediapersons sought his reaction to the fresh charges levelled against him by the BJP. 

Dismissing charges against him as “baseless”, he said, “I will deal with all these issues after the election on November 4.” 

The former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister had on Tuesday brushed aside allegations by the BJP and others of income tax evasion, money-laundering and forgery as “false and fabricated” and had threatened action against those behind the “malicious” campaign ahead of Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls. 

BJP leader Arun Jaitley had alleged that Singh had altered his income tax account books from 2008 onwards to show a forged, back-dated contract and a highly inflated income of around Rs 6.5 crore. 

Singh had also come under the scanner following allegations that he had received payments from a steel company which had come to light after raids were conducted on the firm in 2010. 

Lashing out at Jaitley for making the allegations, Singh had said the “malicious” campaign against him is being carried out to divert his attention from the poll campaign and create confusion in the minds of voters. 

Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday apologised for senior party leader Virbhadra Singh’s threat to mediapersons that their cameras would be broken on being questioned about allegations of corruption against him.

“If anyone is hurt, we apologise,” party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said when asked to react to the incident.

Terming as “unfortunate” Singh’s remarks, the party said such things can sometime happen in the midst of an election campaign.

“We do not know the context behind the incident. Sometimes in the midst of an election campaign one gets angry and upset.

It is unfortunate. Virbhadra Singh is a senior leader.

Sometimes, in the midst of election campaign, such things happen under mental or physical pressure,” Dikshit said. — PTI





Yuvraj picked for practice game against England

CHENNAI: Comeback batsman Yuvraj Singh was on Wednesday picked in the India A squad which will play England XI in their opening three-day practice game scheduled from October 30 in Mumbai.

Yuvraj, who has returned to cricket after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, showed fine form in North Zone’s Duleep Trophy match against Central Zone by getting a double hundred.

The 30-year-old left-hander will be the batting backbone of the 14-member India ‘A’ line-up, to be led by Suresh Raina.

Post-recovery from cancer, Yuvraj had returned to competitive cricket in the World Twenty20 and a good performance in the warm-up game would go a long way in getting him the selectors’ nod for the four-match Test series against England starting November 15.

The squad, announced here by the new selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil, features six batsmen in all, including upcoming names such as Shikhar Dhawan Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary.

Wriddhimaan Saha is the lone wicketkeeper in the squad.

The bowling attack of the side would be spearheaded by Irfan Pathan and he will have Ashok Dinda and Vinay Kumar to assist him.

The Squad: Suresh Raina (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhimaan Saha (wk), Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Parwinder Awana, Ashok Dinda, Robin Bisht, Ashok Menaria, Abhinav Mukund. Coach: Lalchand Rajput. — PTI





Indian woman killed, grandkid abducted in US

Washington: An Indian woman from Andhra Pradesh visiting the US was killed when she apparently tried to resist the abduction of her 10-month-old granddaughter.
The police and the FBI have launched a massive manhunt to find the assailants and the kidnappers.

"Saanvi Venna is believed to have been taken from her family's apartment after the murder of her grandmother, Satayvathi Venna, age 61, on Monday," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement.

Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert.

According to Ferman, the body of Satyavathi Venna, the paternal grandmother of Saanvi, was discovered inside the apartment.

Satyavathi had arrived from India for a visit in July and was scheduled to return home in January. She was babysitting the child.

The parents of the child, Venkata Konda Siva Venna (father) and Chenchu Latha Punuru (mother), had emigrated from India in February 2007 and have previously lived in San Antonio Texas, Troy Michigan, and Cleveland Ohio. In June this year, they moved to King of Prussia in Pennsylvania.

An autopsy of the body of Satyavathi Venna is underway, Ferman said.Back




Australian man admits to murdering Indian student

Melbourne: A 21-year-old Australian man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a young Indian woman whose dismembered body was discovered in a suitcase in a Sydney canal last year. The body of Tosha Thakkar, 24, was found in the suitcase floating in a canal near the Parramatta River at Meadowbank in March 2011.

The police says she had been raped and then strangled, a crime which drew a shocked and furious response from the Indian community both in Sydney and overseas.

Burwood Local Court said that Daniel Stani-Reginald, who was Thakkar's neighbour, pleaded guilty to the murder.

He was also charged of raping Thakkar. According to 'The Age' report, Stani-Reginald has not pleaded guilty to this charge.

The two were living in the same apartment building and Stani-Reginald was arrested soon after Thakkar's body was found.

Magistrate Christopher Longley committed Stani-Reginald for sentencing in the NSW Supreme Court on November 28.

Stani-Reginald and Thakkar lived in separate apartments above an empty storefront on Edwin Street in Croydon in Sydney's inner west, the report said adding it was believed the murder took place in Thakkar's apartment.

Her body was found in a suitcase by construction workers a few days later while working on an oil line. — PTIBack




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