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Rajasthan suspends IAS officer on rape charges

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government has suspended IAS officer B.B. Mohanty in the alleged rape and exploitation case of a 23-year-old girl.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje took the decision to suspend Mohanty, Chairman of Rajasthan Civil Services Appellate Tribunal, last night after receiving the report on the matter from the police department, a CMO spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mohanty was earlier summoned by the DCP-South police to appear before them for questioning on Wednesday, sources said.

On Monday last, police team had searched his house but did not find him there.

The victim, a MBA student, had charged Mohanty, an Additional Chief Secretary rank officer, with sexually exploiting her. She has also recorded her statement before a magistrate earlier.

The victim had demanded a CBI probe into the case following alleged delay in investigation and arrest of accused by the police.

A case of sexual exploitation and rape was lodged by the victim with the Mahesh Nagar Police Station on January 25, and since then Mohanty has been missing from his home and office. - PTI






Third day of spectrum auction takes off from 45,000 crore-mark 

NEW DELHI: The telecom spectrum auction on Wednesday entered the third day with eight companies in fray for two sets of airwaves frequencies that can be used for 4G services.

“Auction has started. There is excess demand in 900 Mhz band and we expect the momentum to continue,” a DoT official said.

On the second day of auction, telecom companies put in bids worth a total of about Rs. 45,000 crore that brings hope for the government to curb fiscal deficit. The fiscal deficit at Rs. 5.16 lakh crore has crossed 95 per cent of budget target in the first nine months of 2013-14.

Now, even if bidders opt to pay the final auction price in instalments, the government will get at least Rs. 11,790 crore, exceeding the target of collecting Rs. 11,343 crore in upfront payments.

3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days, broadband wireless airwaves ended in 16 days while 2G auction in November ended in two days and CDMA auction in March concluded the same day.

It is the biggest spectrum auction being conducted by the government with about 385 megahertz of airwaves in 1800 Mhz band and 46 MHz of airwaves frequencies in premium 900 Mhz band being put on sale.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has attributed demand of airwaves to rationalisation of base price which was about 7 times more than the price of Rs. 1,658 crore at which telecom companies were given pan-India permits between 2001 to 2008.

“If you have an irrational reserve price, the market will not be attractive. I have been saying that. Now people should realise how irrational it was at that point in time for media and everybody to shout that the government is losing revenue,” Mr. Sibal had said on Tuesday.

The government set a pan-India rate of Rs. 1,765 crore per MHz as the start price for spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, which is about 26 per cent lower than the base rate in the March 2013 sale, where there were no takers for GSM airwaves.

For the 900 MHz band, it approved a rate that is about 53 per cent lower than the March auction price.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended a minimum price of Rs. 18,000 crore for 5 MHz of pan-India spectrum in the 2012 auction, Mr. Sibal had said at the time.

This followed the Supreme Court order of February 2012, asking for procedure to be followed in 3G auction.

However, even after the government cut the recommended reserve price to Rs. 14,000 crore, the November 2012 auction ended in two days, with bids of about Rs. 9,407 crore received for airwaves worth Rs. 28,000 crore. - PTI






Binny decides to withdraw support to Delhi govt 


NEW DELHI: Expelled AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny today decided to withdraw support to the Delhi Government, while terming Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of being "more dangerous" than a corrupt person.

"Today I am writing to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung apprising him of my decision to withdraw support to Kejriwal government.

Kejriwal is more dangerous than a corrupt person. He is telling lies and deceiving not only citizens of Delhi, but also people of the entire country," he said.

Binny, however, said he would support the government on the matter of Jan Lokpal Bill.

"If they government brings Anna's (Hazare) Janlokpal Bill in the assembly for its passage, I will support them," said Binny.

Binny, who has been shown the door for "indiscipline" by AAP, has put forth a series of demands before Delhi Government which include fulfilment of promises made by the party before the Assembly polls.

Claiming support of at least five legislators, Binny had on Sunday threatened to pull down the government if his demands were not met within 48 hours.

He had asked the government to sort out issues related to power and water sector. He demanded that government should give subsidy on 8 per cent increase in power surcharge. The DERC has increased the power surcharge ranging from 6 to 8 per cent this month.

He had also said that "The government should make women squads as promised to prioritise security of women. Instead of charging people for entire 700 litres of water after exceeding the limit, the government should charge only for water consumed over 700 litres.

Binny had also said that he would also form a political front with two other AAP MLAs, who were in touch with him, along with municipal councillors.

However, the two MLAs Iqbal and Shokeen did a U-turn and said they would not go ahead with their threat.

The two legislators had said they changed their mind after a meeting with Kejriwal and claimed that Binny had also agreed not to withdraw support to AAP government. - PTI






Sensex surrenders initial gains; tumbles 117 points 

MUMBAI: The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex washed out initial gains, tumbling 117 points in late morning trade on Wednesday due to profit-booking from operators, triggered by heavy capital outflows from foreign funds despite firm global cues.

Shares of FMCG, refinery, banking and power sectors were the main losers.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 1,234.02 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.

The Sensex opened higher at 20,241.12 and advanced further to a high of 20,254.82 on initial strong buying due to firm global advices.

However, it declined afterwards to 20,076.10 on fresh selling before quoting at 20,094.92 at 1030 hrs, showing a loss of 117.01 points, or 0.58 per cent, from its last close.

The NSE 50-share Nifty also moved down by 27.85 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 5,973.05 at 1030 hrs.

Major losers were NTPC (2.00 per cent), ITC (1.57 per cent), Reliance Ind (1.33 per cent), BHEL (1.32 per cent), Tata Motors (1.27 per cent), Bharti Airtel (1.12 per cent), Hindalco (1.07 per cent) and Bajaj Auto (1.06 per cent).

Asian stocks edged higher in their early trade after U.S. shares rebounded overnight and Japanese companies posted earnings that cheered investors.

Key benchmark indices in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea were up 0.31-0.49 per cent while indices in Hong Kong and Taiwan were off 0.22-2.68 per cent.

Stock markets in China will remain closed till February 7, 2014 for the Lunar New Year holidays. - PTI




Clashes break out during protests over Telangana in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Pro and anti-Telangana supporters on Wednesday clashed with each other during a protest outside the Andhra Bhawan in New Delhi in support of their demands.

Supporters from both sides held separate protests outside the Bhawan and raised slogans in support of their demands. A clash soon broke out between the two sides but police quickly intervened to stop it.

Andhra Pradesh has remained sharply divided on regional lines on the Telangana issue. The issue rocked both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday leading to adjournment of the Lok Sabha for the day and repeated adjournments of Rajya Sabha.

Both the Houses saw noisy scenes as soon as they met for the day with members from Andhra Pradesh — from Telangana as well as Seemandhra regions — cutting across party lines storming the Well. Those protesting included members from ruling Congress.

While Seemandhra members carried placards saying ‘Jai Samaikya Andhra Pradesh’ (hail united Andhra Pradesh), Telangana members shouted slogans demanding early creation of the separate state.

The government has announced that it will take up the Bill to carve out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh in the session that will conclude on February 21.

Government is expected to introduce the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in Parliament next week. - PTI






Delhi HC asks AAP to reply to PIL on foreign funding

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses from AAP and its founding members, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on a plea for registration of a criminal case on the ground that the newly formed party allegedly received foreign funding in violation of various laws.

“Let a copy of this writ petition be supplied to Prashant Bhushan who appeared on behalf of Aam Aadmi Party. Let a response be filed four days prior to February 28, the next date of hearing,” a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.

Bhushan, who has also been made a party in the petition besides AAP, accepted the notice and strongly opposed the earlier submissions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the party and its leaders have not responded to the queries on foreign funding.

“A misleading statement was made on behalf of the government counsel on the last date of the hearing that we have not responded to the queries. Each and every query has been responded to in great detail,” he said.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, appearing for MHA, said, “I did not say that they (AAP) are not providing information. What I had said was that the information regarding the bank details was not provided.”

“You had said that,” the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on February 28. The Centre had earlier told the court that AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, had not provided the information sought by it on the funding received by the party.

Besides Kejriwal and Bhushan, petitioner advocate M.L. Sharma has made AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Shanti Bhushan as parties in his PIL.

The bench earlier asked Sharma to also implead AAP as one of the respondents in his PIL.

The High Court said the Centre should look “afresh” into the accounts of AAP to find out the source of money received by it after its inception.

The order came after the Centre filed a report in which it said that an evaluation of the accounts of civil society of Team Anna was done in 2012 and a report was filed before another bench of the high court last year in a similar PIL filed by the petitioner.

The Centre earlier submitted before the court that the issue raised by the petitioner in his PIL was already investigated and a report was prepared on them by the government.

Sharma, in his plea, had cited some names including that of Kejriwal and sought that “a direction be issued to register a criminal case against the respondents (AAP members) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and to conduct day-to-day trial proceedings under court supervision in the interest of justice”. - PTI





HC asks cops to file fresh report in Arunachal student case

NEW DELHI: Pulling up the Delhi Police for failing to submit post-mortem report in the Arunachal Pradesh student case, the Delhi High Court today said infrastructure in the city for examining scientific evidence in criminal cases is at a "primitive" stage.

The court was reacting to the Delhi Police submission that it will require more time to submit the post-mortem report in the case.

"If you are unable to give post-mortem report in so many days in Delhi in a fast tracked case like this, what is the status of other cases. We must say the infrastructure (to examine evidence in criminal cases) is at a primitive stage in national capital," a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw said.

The bench returned the status report filed by Delhi Police in the case and directed it to file a fresh one along with post-mortem findings by February 7.

The high court had on Monday taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the killing of Arunachal Pradesh student, Nido Tania, who was allegedly beaten by some shopkeepers here, and had asked the Centre and Delhi Police to file a report on the incident.

The probe agency's report was returned as Delhi Police' counsel Dayan Krishnan said the nature of injuries and death of victim can't be correlated till they receive post-mortem report which will take time.

He also said the toxicology and viscera of the victim has been sent to FSL, which is must faster.

However, after the bench returned the report and directed to file a fresh one by Friday, Krishnan said that he will coordinate with AIIMS to ensure the process is speeded up.

The bench had earlier also sought details of the steps taken for safety of people from North East staying in the capital.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna today said the Ministry of Home Affairs will be filing a report regarding the measures taken for safety and security of people from North East who are staying in Delhi.

19-year-old Nido Tania, son of an Arunachal Pradesh MLA, was allegedly thrashed by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar area of south Delhi when he retaliated after they made fun of his hairstyle. He subsequently died on January 30.

The bench had said the national capital belongs to everyone and the South Delhi incident highlighted the matter of grave concern.

It had also suggested that the government should publish advertisements asking people to be tolerant.

The bench had also received complaints from several law researchers from North East in the capital regarding the harassment they have to face at public places.

Tania's relatives alleged that he was thrashed by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar on January 29 after he got into an altercation with them over their remarks on his hairstyle.

Police had reached the spot and brokered a compromise after which Tania returned to his Safdarjung home with his friends. However, he did not wake up the next morning.

When his friends took him to AIIMS, he was declared brought dead.

The death of the youth is being attributed to the thrashing he was subjected to by the accused.

Police have registered a case of murder under section 302 (murder) of IPC and are probing the matter. A magisterial inquiry has also been ordered.

Three persons were arrested in the case and are presently in judicial custody till February 18. - PTI




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