A T E S T N E W S
Gadkari defamation case:
Kejriwal sent to Tihar jail
NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal was today arrested and sent to Tihar jail till May 23 by a Delhi court after he refused to furnish bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
"Take him into custody," Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha ordered after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Chief Minister repeatedly refused to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.
"In these circumstances as the accused has refused to furnish bail bond or even personal bond without surety, this court is constrained to take the accused into custody.
"Let the accused be sent to judicial custody and be produced before the court on May 23," the magistrate said.
Kejriwal was summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP
leader who had included his name on the party's list of "India's most corrupt".
After the court pronounced its order, Kejriwal was taken into a lock up
on the court premises amid tight security and later taken to Tihar jail.
The magistrate, in her three-page order, also observed that the procedure of courts cannot be "thrown to the winds" at the whims and fancies of the litigants.
"The court cannot act as a mute spectator when a particular litigant intentionally seeks to violate the procedure established by law.
"This case cannot be dealt with any differently than any other criminal cases, where the courts insist on furnishing bail bond/personal bond to secure the presence of the accused persons.
"The accused in the present case cannot seek differential treatment to be let off only on an oral undertaking in violation/divergence to the settled practice/procedure regarding bail," the court said.
The court, in its order, also said that this was not a case where the accused is unable to furnish bail bond due to financial inability.
"The accused is just adamant to not furnish bail bond or even a personal bond for his appearance before the court," it said.
Kejriwal apologises for resigning as Delhi CM
NEW DELHI: Three months after quitting as Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday apologised to the people of Delhi and the country for “resigning midway” and said the party will gear up for elections.
The AAP chief, who had quit as Chief Minister after a 49-day stint, said the chances of his party forming a government in Delhi were negligible in the current scenario.
“I apologise to the people of Delhi and the country for resigning midway,” he told reporters.
“We had a meeting and we have decided to gear up for elections. We will go among the people, will hold various meetings in Delhi in the coming days. We will apologise to people of Delhi in meetings and gain their trust to ask them to support us with complete majority,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of forming a government again, Kejriwal said, “There were possibilities but none can be seen feasible at present to form the government.”
Kejriwal had on Tuesday met Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and asked him not to dissolve the assembly anytime soon, saying it will hold public meetings across the city to know whether the party should form the government again.
However, the Congress, which had supported the Kejriwal government earlier, had refused to support them again.
The AAP had won 28 seats in its debut assembly elections in December last year and had later formed the government with outside support from Congress’ eight MLAs.
BJP along with its ally Akali Dal’s one MLA had won 32 seats in the 70-member Assembly. The number of BJP MLAs has come down to 28 as three party legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma have been elected to Parliament.
The government led by Kejriwal had resigned on February 14 after the party’s pet project — the Jan Lokpal Bill — could not be passed due to opposition from
the BJP and the Congress.
President’s Rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17.
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had not favoured dissolution of the 70-member Delhi Assembly as recommended by the Council of Ministers headed by Kejriwal and kept the Assembly in suspended animation.
The BJP has also said that it would prefer a fresh election than forming a government through “manipulation”. — PTI
Sharif, other heads of state invited
NEW DELHI: Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi has invited Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as other South Asian leaders to his swearing-in ceremony next Monday, a spokeswoman for his party
Nirmala Sitharaman, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said all heads of government from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) "have been given invitations to be present at Modi's swearing in."
Modi is to take the oath as Prime Minister on May 26, ten days after a landslide win for the BJP which secured the first majority by a single party in 30 years.
A senior official from the foreign ministry confirmed that it was examining a proposal to welcome foreign heads of governments, but said that invites had not yet been sent.
"We have not sent any invite yet. There is a proposal but we can't share the details yet," the official
Sharif has hailed Modi's "impressive victory" with many diplomats hoping the two men can engineer a thaw in ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Sharif has cited his working relationship with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's last Prime Minister from the BJP, as a reason for optimism, according to diplomatic sources.
In 1999 during Sharif's second term in power, Vajpayee rode a bus to Lahore to sign a peace accord, raising the prospect of
Three months later, however, the countries embarked on the Kargil conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since Independence in 1947 and bilateral ties broke down after attacks on commercial hub Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed by Pakistani gunmen.
Relations have warmed slightly since under outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but remain frosty amid mutual distrust and regular skirmishes on Line of Control.
Modi had warned during campaigning that talks could not be held with Pakistan until all violence stopped.
banks: Make new ATMs talking from July
ATMs to be installed by commercial banks from July, 2014, onwards would
provide audible instructions and Braille keypads to customers, RBI said
The RBI's directive today came on its prior advice released in 2009 to
banks to make branches and ATMs accessible to persons with disabilities
and make at least one-third of the new ATMs installed as talking ATMs
with Braille keypads.
"It is, therefore, reiterated that banks should make all new ATMs
installed from July
1, 2014, as talking ATMs with Braille keypads," RBI said in
RBI also asked banks to make necessary arrangements to provide all
existing ATMs/future ATMs with ramps so that wheel-chair users and
persons with disabilities could easily access them.
"Care may also be taken to make arrangements in such a way that the
height of the ATMs do not create an impediment in their use by
wheel-chair users," RBI said.
However, RBI said this requirement may be dispensed with in cases it is
impracticable to provide ramps.
RBI also asked banks to provide the facilities of magnifying glasses at
all bank branches for the use of persons with low vision.
The branches should display at a prominent place notice about the
availability of magnifying glasses and other facilities available for
the persons with disabilities, it added.
To ensure compliance of new directives, RBI also asked banks to report
the progress made in this regard periodically to their customer service
Patna serial blasts: Four suspects arrested by NIA
NEW DELHI: In a major breakthrough, the National Investigation Agency has arrested four persons, including alleged mastermind Hyder Ali, alias 'Black Beauty', in connection with the Patna serial blasts ahead of Narendra Modi's rally last year.
Besides Ali, the others arrested from Ranchi were Taufeeq Ansari, Mojibullah and Numan Ansari, NIA sources said on Wednesday.
The NIA had announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh on their head.
The Central intelligence agencies had been trying to crack the Patna blast case, especially after the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal who was nabbed from Bihar last year.
On October 27 last year, a bomb exploded on Platform No. 10 of Patna
railway station ahead of Modi's rally.
Later, blasts took place at Gandhi Maidan outside the rally.
The NIA had named the four as absconding accused in its chargesheet filed earlier. So far, eight persons have been arrested in this case. — PTI
Election Commission wants cluster counting of votes
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it is against ward-wise declaration of vote count in election as is currently done and has asked the Centre to introduce cluster counting to protect right to privacy attached to voting.
The EC informed a Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that it had written to the Centre to amend the rule to do away with declaration of result of every polling booth.
The Bench, after hearing EC’s contention, asked it to file an affidavit on this aspect and posted the case for hearing on July 7.
Meanwhile, the apex court also issued notice to the Centre and asked it to file its response within four weeks on a PIL seeking stoppage of ward-wise counting of votes on the ground that the declaration of result of every polling booth strikes at the root of right to privacy attached to voting.
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Punjab-based advocate Yogesh Gupta which contended that “the uniform way of declaration of result for the entire constituency as a whole would bring balanced growth and balanced funding and it would also reduce cases fuelled by political vendetta, ill will and hatred.”
The lawyer in his petition cited the alleged threat by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to residents of Baramati village on the eve of polling that he would cut off water supply if they did not cast their ballot in favour of his cousin and sitting NCP MP Supriya Sule.
The advocate submitted that the proposed manner of declaration of results of every parliamentary constituency as a whole would go a long way in restoring the right of privacy as the political parties will not be able to find out the number of votes cast in their favour from different wards.
The political parties would only get information regarding the votes cast in the entire constituency. — PTI
Two car blasts kill 118 in
JOS (Nigeria): Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing at least 118 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke.
“It’s horrifying, terrible,” said Mark Lipdo of the Stefanos Foundation, a Christian charity based in Jos, who described the sickening smell of burning human flesh.
A woman’s body, her legs blown off, lay on the edge of an inferno consuming other bodies. In the middle if the flames, an arm reached up. Another woman, unconscious and wrapped in a brightly colored cloth, was being carried away in a wheelbarrow on a road strewn with glass shards.
Dozens of bodies and body parts were covered in grain that had been loaded in the second car bomb, witnesses said. A Terminus Market official said he helped remove 50 casualties, most of them dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.
At least 118 people were killed and dozens wounded in the bombings, which ignited fires that were still burning eight hours later, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.
“Firemen are still trying to put them out. We believe we will find more bodies,” Mohammed Abdulsalam, zonal coordinator for the agency, told The Associated Press. He said the fires were being fueled by flammable goods at the market, including rubber sandals.
Tensions have been rising between Christians and Muslims in Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region that divides the country into the predominantly Muslim north and Christian south. It is a flashpoint for religious violence, and there were fears the attacks could ignite a new round of sectarian violence.
President Goodluck Jonathan indicated he blamed Boko Haram for Tuesday’s bombings, extending sympathies to affected families in a statement and assuring “all Nigerians that the government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror.”
“This administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization,” the statement said.
Boko Haram has claimed other recent attacks, including two separate bomb blasts in April that killed more than 120 people and wounded more than 200 in Abuja, the nation’s capital. One went off at Abuja’s busy bus station and the other nearby.
A suicide car bomber killed 25 people on Monday in northern Kano city, where police found and disabled a second car bomb before it went off. Authorities said the death toll would have been far higher, but the first bomb exploded before it reached its target of restaurants and bars in the Christian quarter of the Muslim city.
Lipdo said at least one of Tuesday’s blasts could have been averted if authorities had acted in time. He said a white van that held the first bomb was parked for hours in the market place, raising suspicions of vendors and others who reported it to the authorities, but nothing was done.
He said authorities also had another warning of impending violence: A man with explosives strapped to his body was arrested on Saturday and told police that many militants had been ordered to plant bombs around churches and public areas in Jos.
The Nigerian government and military’s failure to curtail the 5-year-old Islamic uprising, highlighted by the April 15 abduction of at least 276 schoolgirls and lack of progress in rescuing them more than a month later, has caused national and international outrage.
Jonathan has been forced to accept help from several nations including Britain and the United States, in the hunt for the girls, who were kidnapped in northeast Nigeria. It also has brought massive attention to the shadowy extremist group, which is demanding the release of detained insurgents in exchange for the girls _ a swap officials say the government will not consider.
Diplomats said Nigeria on Tuesday asked a U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida to add Boko Haram to the list, with an arms embargo and asset freeze.
The extremists are threatening to sell the girls into slavery if Jonathan does not free detained insurgents, which officials say he will not do.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” has targeted schools, as well as churches, mosques, marketplaces, bus terminals and other spots where large numbers of civilians gather in its campaign to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. Half of Nigeria’s population of 170 million is Christian, as is most of the population of Jos. The militants have increased the reach of their attacks this year, and their deadliness.
On Christmas Eve in 2010, bombs allegedly planted by Boko Haram exploded in Jos, killing as many as 80 people.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people have been killed in assaults on towns and villages in recent weeks, and the extremists also are blamed for an attack last week on a Chinese camp in neighboring Cameroon in which one Cameroonian soldier was killed and 10 Chinese workers abducted.
More than 300 people were killed in a May 5 attack on the town of Gamboru, near the Cameroon border, where insurgents identified by residents as Boko Haram militants razed dozens of homes, more than 1,000 shops and hundreds of vehicles.
Militants’ attacks have been coming with increasing frequency despite a year-old military state of emergency in three of Nigeria’s states to curtail the uprising.
The Senate on Tuesday voted to extend the emergency for another six months, but only if Jonathan devotes more money to the military campaign and to better arming demoralized soldiers, who say Boko Haram is better equipped. A letter with the conditions was sent to the president.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in the insurgency this year in Africa’s most- populous nation, compared to an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013. — AP