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Modi, Jaitley trying to topple Kejriwal govt: AAP

NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday accused BJP leaders Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley of trying to topple the Arvind Kejriwal government, claiming that they are behind moves to lure MLAs to split the ruling party.

AAP MLA Madan Lal alleged at a press conference that a person close to Modi had offered him Rs 20 crore to split the party and promised to make him Chief Minister if he could do so.

“Two persons met me around 10-12 day ago. One of them told me that his name is Sanjoy Singh and he has come from Gujarat. He said he is close to Narendra Modi.  Singh told me that Modiji wanted me to get the support of around 10 (AAP) MLAs,” he said without producing any proof to substantiate the allegations.

The Kasturba Nagar MLA alleged that the person told him that if he succeeded in getting 10 MLAs to leave AAP, then he would be made the CM and his cabinet ministers would be paid Rs 10 crore each.

Lal also claimed that on midnight of December 7, an unidentified person had telephoned him, saying a prominent leader wanted to talk to him.

“When I asked him who wanted to talk to me, he said Arun Jaitley. After hearing Jaitley’s name, I cut the phone. I could not make a call back on the unknown number,” he said.

In a tweet, Jaitley rubbished the allegations. “Rubbish claims by AAP. AAP’s alternative politics includes a fundamental right to falsehood and lies,” he said.

Addressing the press conference, AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that Delhi BJP leader Harsh Vardhan and “some media persons” were also “conspiring” to bring down the Kejriwal government.

Asked why he didn’t record the offer by that person as the Kejriwal government was trying to teach the common man of Delhi how to do sting operation of officials seeking bribe, Lal said he didn’t have such a device.

“Besides, I didn’t want to record the conversation against BJP as this is just my allegation and I don’t want to fall into any legal cases,” he said.

Singh alleged that both BJP and Congress wanted to create a situation so that the AAP government falls. He also alleged that both these parties were hand-in-glove with electricity distribution companies.

Meanwhile, as Aam Aadmi party accused BJP of trying to topple its government in Delhi by bribing its MLAs, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath asked the party to initiate a probe into the allegations.

“AAP is not only a party but also runs the government in Delhi. It should order a probe,” Nath, a Congress leader, told reporters here. — PTIBack











Armed student kills two in Moscow school

MOSCOW: A Moscow high-school student shot a teacher and a police officer dead and held more than 20 other students hostage in a classroom on Monday before he was disarmed and detained, the police said, just days before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics. 

In a rare school shooting in Russia, the attacker entered his school in northern Moscow carrying a rifle and held students and a teacher hostage in a biology classroom, the police in the Capital said. 

The police later said the attacker had been detained and had been led out of the school and into a waiting car.

According to the Lifenews website, he initially shot one officer and then opened fire at others who arrived at the scene.

"The person who took 20 people and a teacher hostage is a student in the upper classes at the same school. He has been neutralised and all the students have been freed," Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk said on state TV.

"One policeman was fatally wounded during the operation and died in hospital, and a teacher at School No. 263 was also killed," he said. The shooting sent dozens of students scurrying out the school while a police helicopter landed in a snow-covered field outside. It came with Russia in the global spotlight four days before it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. — ReutersBack










CNG price to be cut by Rs 15 per kg

NEW DELHI: CNG price will be cut by about Rs 15 per kg and cooking gas piped to kitchens by about Rs 5 after the government decided to supply cheaper domestic gas to fuel retailers in cities like Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily said the government has decided to raise allocation of natural gas from domestic fields to city gas entities to 100 per cent from current limit of 80 per cent.

This will be done by cutting supplies to non-core sectors like petrochemicals, steel and refineries.

The decision will help in reduction of prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) retailed to automobiles in cities like Delhi and Ahmedabad. It will also bring down prices of piped cooking gas to households as cheaper domestic gas will replace costlier imported LNG that entities were using now.

"Our target is common man... we want to give common man a relief and in a way this is an anti-inflationary measure," the Minister said.

Presently Mumbai sources all of its gas requirement from domestic fields and as such there will be no cut in rates in the city. However, in Delhi, which presently uses as much as 28 per cent of costlier imported LNG, and cities in Gujarat like Ahmedabad which too were heavily reliant on imported fuel, will see a price cut.

"This (move) would lead to reduction in price of CNG and PNG across the country (except in those cities which are already getting 100 per cent domestic gas like Mumbai). The price of CNG in Delhi would be reduced by about Rs 15 per kg (about 30 per cent). There will also be a reduction of about Rs 5 per cubic metres (about 20 per cent) in the price of PNG," Moily said.

While the orders for increasing domestic gas supply to CNG entities were issued today, the decision would take 2-3 days to take a effect as gas firms tie-up and sign new supply agreements. PTIBack













Indian-origin man held for killing gangster in Canada

Toronto: An Indian-origin man in Canada has been arrested and charged with stabbing to death a gangster.

Jimi Sandhu, 24, was arrested in Vancouver and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the killing of Matthew Campbell, a high-ranking member of the Red Scorpions gang.

Campbell was stabbed on January 2 at a mall in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

According to reports, Campbell took over leadership of the Red Scorpions after the fall of his close friends, the Bacon brothers.

The police said Campbell is well-known for "his history relating to gang activity", the Province reported.

Sandhu was to make a court appearance in the provincial court in Abbotsford today.

Sandhu is also known to have a criminal record, the paper said. — PTIBack










Italian marines row: SC asks Centre to end logjam within a week

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to resolve within a week all disputes arising out of the issue of invoking anti-piracy law against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.

A Bench headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan directed the Centre to end the logjam in the issue, in which Ministries of Law, Home Affairs and External Affairs are involved, and make its stand clear on February 10.

“Will you be able to end the logjam by next Monday? Don’t expect us to grant adjournment on the next date,” the Bench said, while posting the case for hearing on February 10.

Attorney General Goolam E. Vahanvati told the Bench that the Centre has “almost” resolved the issue and will respond on the next date of hearing.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Italian Government and Marines, submitted that the Centre has not been able to proceed in the case and 13 months have lapsed since the apex court has passed the order for conducting day-to-day proceedings.

He submitted that marines should be allowed to go back to their country.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Italian government challenging invoking of anti-terrorism law SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf) Act, saying it is against the order of the apex court which allowed proceedings only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.

The joint petition, filed by Ambassador of Italy Daniele Mancini along with Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, also sought direction to the Centre and NIA to expedite the proceedings in the case or discharge the marines.

During the last hearing on January 20, the apex court had adjourned the case after Vahanvati had submitted that the Centre was trying to resolve all disputes with Italian government on the issue.

The petition has said, “Invoking the anti-terrorism SUA Act would tantamount to the Republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state and acts of its organs, which were in repression of piracy, as being deemed as acts of terrorism, which is wholly untenable and unacceptable in the facts and circumstances of this case and in keeping with the comity of nations and international cooperation.”

It has said that the draft protocol of 2005 to the SUA convention expressly excludes the applicability of the convention to activities undertaken by the military forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties.

“The purported attempt by the Centre to unilaterally invoke the provisions of SUA Act is contrary to and in wilful disregard of the directions of this court,” the petition has said, adding that they came to know about invoking SUA on the basis of application filed by NIA in trial court.

It has contended that one year has passed since the apex court had directed an expeditious hearing in the case but the Centre has failed to implement the order and charge sheet has so far not been filed in the case.

“The petitioners have been detained in India for the last two years without any criminal case against them being started and the Centre has in fact failed to present any Final Report against them for almost one year despite the direction of the apex court to try and dispose of the case on a fast track basis,” the petition has said, adding that the accused be allowed to return to Italy till the proceedings begin.

On January 18 last year, the Supreme Court had directed the central agency to probe the case against the marines and directed the Centre to set up a special court to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis after the charge sheet is filed.

The case pertains to the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Latorre and Girone on board ‘Enrica Lexie’.

Fearing a pirate attack, the two officers had allegedly fired at the fishermen’s vessel off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, killing two of them. The marines were arrested on February 19, 2012. — PTIBack











AP Reorganisation Bill returned to Centre

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013, that was referred to the state Legislature for expressing its views on the proposed bifurcation under Article 3 of the Constitution, was today returned to the Centre.

The Bill, which was "rejected" by the state Legislature by voice vote on January 30, was returned along with translated copies of the statements given by members of the Legislative Council and the Assembly and also over 10,000 "amendments/ expression of views." 

An eight-member team of officials from the state's General Administration Department took the copies in 60 bundles by an aircraft to New Delhi to be handed over to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, official sources said. — PTIBack










LoC bus service resumes after two weeks

Srinagar: The Srinagar-Muzaffarbad bus service today resumed after remaining suspended for two weeks following a deadlock over the arrest of a driver from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir on drug trafficking charges.

The bus from Indian side, carrying 28 passengers reached Kaman Post — the zero point on Line of Control in Uri sector of Baramulla district — shortly before noon, officials said.

They said the passengers, including 10 PoK residents who returned home after visiting their relatives in the Valley, and 18 Indian citizens headed for their relatives' homes in PoK.

PoK authorities suspended both travel and trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road after 110 packets of brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore were recovered from a truck coming from across the LoC on January 17. The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

The PoK authorities in retaliation detained 27 Indian drivers and their trucks demanding release of the arrested driver. They also refused to take back 48 other PoK drivers till their demand was met.

The officials from two sides held several meetings to break the deadlock and during the latest round of talks on January 30 decided to resume the bus service.

They also decided to continue the talks to work out a solution to the impasse in the trade. — PTIBack













Govt gets bids in all circles for both bands of spectrum

NEW DELHI: The third round of the telecom spectrum auction opened on Monday with bids pouring in for all 22 circles or zones in the 1,800 MHz band and all three zones in 900 MHz band.

“Till now, four rounds of bidding have been completed. Bids have been received in all 22 service areas in 1800 MHz band and in all three service areas in 900 MHz band. Thus, bidding has taken place in all the service areas in both bands,” an official statement said.

The auction started at 9 am on Monday, it added.

Eight telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm, are in the fray in the auction from which the government expects to garner at least Rs 11,300 crore in the current financial year.

The auction started as planned after the Supreme Court on Sunday refused to interfere with the order of the telecom tribunal dismissing the pleas of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Loop and Idea for a stay on the spectrum auction and extension of their licenses by another 10 years.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has put on the block about 385 MHz of radiowaves in the 1800 MHz band and 46 MHz in the 900 MHz band.

Normally, six to seven rounds of bidding take place in a day with each round of 60 minutes. There is a 20-minute break between rounds.

The government is conducting this third round of spectrum auction following a Supreme Court order in the 2G case directing that all radiowaves freed from the cancellation of 122 licences in February 2012 should be auctioned.

Besides, the 900 Mhz has to be auctioned as some of the radiowaves in this band are held under old telecom licences, which will start expiring from November 2014.

The 3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days, while the offer in November 2012 lasted for two days and the sale in March last year lasted for only one day.

In November 2012, Rs 9,407 crore of bids were received for spectrum worth Rs 28,000 that was offered.

In March 2013, no GSM operators bid at the auction and only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum of about Rs 3,600 crore in eight of the 21 service areas.

Vodafone needs to get spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata; Airtel in Delhi and Mumbai, and Loop Mobile in Mumbai to continue operations as their licences expire in November.

The government is hopeful that all the spectrum offered will be sold in the auction.

The government has set a target of Rs 40,874.50 crore for this fiscal from spectrum, including the auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee. — PTIBack











Another accused in Lajpat Nagar heist arrested

NEW DELHI: An accused, in the sensational daylight heist in which around Rs. 8 crore were looted in South Delhi’s busy Lajpat Nagar area on January 28, was today arrested by the police.

Ajay, who was one of the mastermind of the loot, was arrested this morning, the police said.

Ajay is a relative of the juvenile, who had scripted the entire loot. The juvenile has already been detained in the case, while three henchmen were arrested in the case from Chandigarh.

The juvenile, who worked for businessman Rajesh Kalra, had confined to Ajay that his boss deals in large amount of cash and they can rob him to get rich. Ajay had then roped in Shakti Naidu, a seasoned criminal to execute the heist who further constituted the gang for the robbery.

However, Shakti and several others are still at large.

The police has recovered part of the looted amount, which is in crores, from several places at their instance. However, the exact amount is yet to be ascertained. — PTIBack









Maldives MP stabbed, taken to Sri Lanka for treatment

COLOMBO: A Maldavian Member of Parliament was stabbed in Male and is receiving treatment after being flown to Sri Lanka in a serious condition, a media report said on Monday.

Maldavian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Alhan Fahmy was stabbed in the back Saturday evening by a group of men at around 9 pm in a restaurant near Artificial Beach in Male. He was flown to Sri Lanka at 2.45 am on Sunday.

Fahmy's family has confirmed that the injuries sustained to the lower back have left him paralysed from the waist down. According to doctors, the chances of his recovery are high if the surgery is successful, Xinhua cited the Sun as saying.

The police has inquired his family about the incident.

MDP, Progressive Party of Maldives and Maldives Development Alliance have condemned the attack on Alhan Fahmy.

Although Alhan is serious, he is conscious and his condition is improving. The hospital said he has sustained injuries in the spine cord. 

The police arrested an 18-year-old from the spot. — IANS




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