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Daily News & Analysis
 •  NRA honours US FCC boss Ajit Pai with rifle for repealing 'net neutrality'

The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday honoured the head of the Federal Communications Commission with a rifle after braving death threats and other opposition as he worked to undo the Obama administration's 2015 net neutrality rules.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was honoured at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hills, Maryland, by the NRA with the "Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award," an honor named for the late actor who was an NRA president.

The award is a Kentucky long rifle that will stay at the NRA's museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The NRA was not allowed to bring the weapon on stage, said Carolyn Meadows, an NRA official.

It was not immediately clear why the NRA was not able to present the long gun to the FCC chairman. The FCC, CPAC and the NRA did not immediately respond to questions.

A Reuters reporter at the event said there were no visible prohibitions against weapons at the event but metal detectors were present before President Donald Trump's address earlier on Friday.

At the event, Pai defended his aggressive approach to undoing numerous telecommunications regulations put in place under former President Barack Obama.

"Some people urged me to go for sacrifice bunts and singles and try to nibble around the edges — make some minor changes," Pai said. "But I don't play small ball."

Pai cancelled his appearance in January at a large consumer electronics event in Las Vegas after receiving deaths threats, sources told Reuters.

The repeal of the net neutrality rules was a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, conferring power over what content consumers can access and allowing them to offer paid fast lanes for certain content.

On the other side, technology companies including Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc have thrown their weight behind the congressional bid to reverse the net neutrality repeal.

On Thursday, 22 state attorneys general filed sued to block the repeal.

Fight for the Future, a group that backs net neutrality, said in a tweet the NRA gave Pai an award that will "allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to censor websites and information about guns."

Several corporations have cut ties with the NRA after the group launched a counter-offensive against a student-led campaign for tighter U.S. gun ownership laws after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high-school.

Insurer Chubb Ltd said on Friday that it would stop underwriting an NRA-branded insurance policy for gun owners that covers legal costs in self-defence shootings. Insurance company MetLife Inc ended an auto and home incentive program for NRA members, while several rental car companies announced they were ending discount programs for NRA members.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-09:01am
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Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, US, February 23, 2018. REUTERS
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 •  US to open Jerusalem embassy in May, says State Department

The United States said on Friday it will open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of US policy and is bound to trouble US allies who have already objected.

US President Donald Trump announced last December that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating even Washington's Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.

No other country has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Trump's decision has sown discord between the United States and the European Union over Middle East peace efforts.

"We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, noting that it will coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary.

The embassy in Jerusalem will be gradually expanded in existing consular facilities in the Arnona neighborhood, while the search for a permanent site has already begun for what Nauert called a "longer-term undertaking."

The interim embassy will have office space for the ambassador and a small staff and, by the end of 2019, a new embassy annex on the Arnona compound will be opened, Nauert said in a statement.

The consulate in East Jerusalem will continue to serve Palestinians, and for security reasons US Ambassador David Friedman will continue living in the residence in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, and commute to the relocated embassy, another official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A May opening is earlier than expected - US Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament last month that the move would take place by the end of 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Friday's US announcement as "a great day for the people of Israel".

Palestinians reacted to the news with anger.

"This is an unacceptable step. Any unilateral move will not give legitimacy to anyone and will be an obstacle to any effort to create peace in the region," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who is in the United States until Saturday.

The status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions — has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts.

In a speech on Friday to a gathering of conservatives in suburban Washington, Trump recalled his controversial decision, saying he withstood enormous pressure to make the move.

"I put the word out that I may do it. I was hit by more countries and more pressure and more people calling, begging me 'Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it,'" Trump said.

"I said we have to do it. It's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do, we have to do it. And I did it."

Clashes erupted in Gaza and the West Bank earlier on Friday, in a weekly protest against Trump's stance on Jerusalem.

Palestinian health officials have said at least 20 Palestinians, most of them in Gaza, have been killed in protests against Trump's decision since he announced it on December 6.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-08:46am
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 •  Delhi Police busts auto racket, arrests three

Delhi Police have arrested three men and busted a gang that used to steal batteries from vehicles and then sell it illegally in the grey markets of the Capital. The gang was busted when the exact longitude and latitude measurements of the position of an autorickshaw in which they were fleeing, was used to identify the vehicle with the help of GPS.

The accused have been identified as Dharmender (27), Riyazddin (35) and Shokeen (33), all residents of Shahadra.

Police claimed to have solved at least a dozen cases of car battery thefts following the arrest. According to senior officers, the act came to light on January 28 when one Arvind Kumar from Ghaziabad, UP, reported that he is running a school in Naveen Shahdara, Delhi. He reported that a day before some people sneaked into his school premises and fled with batteries of vehicles along with that of other equipment and some cash.

DCP Shahadra, Nupur Prasad said, "During investigation, CCTV footages of the nearby houses were checked and one auto rickshaw was seen in front of the school at the mentioned time of incident. Some suspects were also seen loading batteries into the vehicle. In order to trace the suspected auto, longitude and latitude of the place, where the auto was last seen, were taken and same were given to DIMTS, IT Park for providing the GPS location of any auto that was spotted at that place at the time of incident."

As per the report of DIMTS, the auto was identified as one with the registration number DL-1RS- 4683, registered in the name of one Rambir. "The owner of the auto was then traced, but when the house was raided, a woman, Rambir's wife said he had died years ago and that after the death of her husband she is now lending the auto on rent for her livelihood. She further stated that one Dharmender drives her auto during night. In a raid on February 1, Dharmender was arrested. After he confessed to thefts, on his instance, his two associates were also arrested," Prasad said.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:40am
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The gang stole batteries from vehicles and sold them in the grey market
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 •  Delhi cops nab two men for smuggling gold worth Rs 2 crore at IGI

Customs at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Thursday caught two men for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold worth about three crore rupees by hiding it into different machinery parts. Both were arrested and the gold was seized.

According to the officers, the two men, aged 29 and 32 years, had arrived at the IGI airport from Dubai in a Jet Airways flight. Minutes before the duo was about to exit the green channel, they were stopped by customs sleuths deployed at Terminal 3 who then asked them to cooperate in a thorough frisking.

"It was then, while checking their baggage, some electrical equipment were recovered. On checking closely it was found that gold plates, coloured metallic were concealed in equipment. Market value of these gold plates weighing more than 10 kilograms is worth Rs 2.04 crore," an official said.

They said that both of the men were asked about the gold but since they could not provide with any satisfactory reply, they were arrested under the provisions of section 104 of the Customs Act, 1962 and the gold was seized. Further investigation is underway, the officer said. Customs at the IGI airport have stepped up vigil following repeated cases of gold smuggling busted at the airport recently.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:35am
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Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 6:35am
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The men were trying to smuggle gold by hiding it in machine parts
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 •  Narela killing: Delhi Cops suspect gangwar

A suspected gangwar between criminals led to mayhem on the streets of outer Delhi's Narela on Thursday night, where a group of bikers rained bullets on three men, leaving two of them dead. The role of Sandeep Dhilu, who had fled from police custody two days ago in central Delhi, is also being probed.

It was around 8.30 pm, on Thursday, when two men, identified as Govind (25) and Satish (40), were attacked by a group of bikers on the Balbir nursing home road on the Ghewra village carriageway. While both of them died, their associate Mukesh (30), sustained critical injuries.

DCP Rohini, Rajneesh Gupta, said that all of the victims are residents of Bankner village in Narela and have a criminal background. Police suspect the murders are a fallout of a gang rivalry between Jitender Gogi and Tillu gang in the area.

While the deceased sustained five bullet injuries, police said, locals informed that more than a dozen rounds were fired. They also said that the killers not only shot but also stabbed their bodies with a knife.

The victims who belong to the same family were taken to Raja Harishchandra hospital where Govind and Satish were declared dead. Mukesh was later shifted to LNJP hospital.

"One of the deceased had injuries on his face and abdomen, while the other had injuries in his abdomen and chest," said a police officer.

Cops are probing the role of Sandeep Dhillu, who had escaped from police custody in central Delhi last week. Dhillu has been trying to gain supremacy in the areas around Narela and parts of Sonipat. Police are also probing the role of hired killers from Haryana in the murders.

"Govind and Satish were property dealers and had cases of assault and attempt to murder registered against them in Delhi and Haryana. They were suspected to be involved with the Jitender Gogi gang," said a senior police officer.

Family members said they were informed about the murders by someone claiming to be a well-wisher from one of the victims' phones. They suspect one of the killers made the call. The bodies were handed over to their family after autopsy on Friday.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:30am
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 •  Delhi's campaign leads to better air quality in 2 weeks

The 15-day Delhi Clean Air Campaign that ended on Friday saw 7,357 cases of pollution norm violations and penalties were imposed in 3,117 or 40 per cent of the cases, the environment ministry said. The campaign was a joint effort Centre and Delhi government had 70 field teams were monitoring compliance of pollution norms.

The Capital's air quality saw an overall marginal improvement during the course of the campaign, as it went from very poor to satisfactory and back to the poor category, according to data analysis by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Out of the 7,357 cases of violations the maximum; 3,742 were of dust pollution from the construction and demolition activity and penalties were imposed in 2,051 of those cases. Open burning, visible vehicular pollution, traffic violations, road dust pollution, landfill violations and miscellaneous cases accounted for the rest of the cases of violations. The ministry was yet to arrive at a final figure of the revenue collected from the penalties, but preliminary estimates showed that they were in the range of Rs.8 crore to Rs.10 crore.

Environment minister Dr.Harsh Vardhan said that the campaign helped the field staff of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi government to plug gaps in implementation of pollution norms and proved to be an exercise in preparedness for crisis situations. "We know that no permanent solution has come out of this campaign but it showed that it had an impact on improving air quality. The air was very poor at the beginning and it has not gone back to the same levels," he said. The ministry will now implement a similar campaign across 100 non-attainment cities where pollution is above safe limits.

SAFAR's analysis showed that when the campaign began, Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) levels were in the very poor category. Subsequently, there were gains and between February 10 and February 13, the PM 2.5 levels were in the green or at satisfactory levels. Between February 14 and February 18 it was in the moderate category and at the latter part of the campaign, it went to the poor category.

VISIBLE CHANGE

  • When the campaign began, PM 2.5 levels were in the very poor category
     
  • Between February 10 and 13, the PM 2.5 levels were in the green or at satisfactory levels
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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:25am
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 •  Arvinder Singh Lovely trains guns on AAP, claims no development done in key sectors

Attacking the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), senior Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely said on Friday that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has failed to carry out any development work in the sectors of health, education, transport and social work. The remarks came as the ongoing tussle between the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash intensified.

"We have specific information that not even a single meeting has been called in connection with the Delhi budget between the finance ministry and the planning departments of the government for preparing the revised budget estimates," said Lovely, a former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chairperson, at a press conference organised at the party office.

"The month of February is going to an end but there is no whisper about the Delhi budget, nor any dialogue has taken place in this regard. The deadline for the present budget will expire on 28 February,"he added

Lovely who has recently rejoined the Congress after leaving the BJP, also alleged the AAP government has till date not made any expenditure for the capital works taken by Public Works Department (PWD) or for the weaker sections of the society, industries, and fisheries.

"Almost 66% funds for health, 41% for Education and 89% for the Social welfare capital development were lying unutilised till January this year," said Lovely. The former DPCC president also claimed that there was slow progress on schemes of development work under MLA fund.

"Only 31% projects were completed in 2016-17. The first quarter of 2017-18 saw no progress under MLA-LAD projects. After two and a half-years Kejriwal realized his mistake and transferred all the works to Urban Development. Again due to disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs, these projects, taken over last year, could not be completed in time," he said.

‘SLOW PROGRESS’

  • Arvinder Singh Lovely, a former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chairperson, made the remarks at a presser at the party office.
     
  • Lovely has recently rejoined the Congress after leaving the BJP.
     
  • He alleged slow progress on schemes under MLA fund.
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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:20am
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Congress’s Arvind Singh Lovely addressing a press conference on Friday
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 •  IAS officers meet MoS Jitendra Singh to protest thrashing of CS

A delegation of IAS officers working under the Delhi government met Minister of State Jitendra Singh on Friday and put forward their grievances following the alleged attack on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.

“We have heard the members of the delegation. We took cognisance of all the grievances and concerns raised by them and necessary steps would be taken on it,”  Singh said. He said the officers wanted to officially register their grievances with the personnel ministry, which is the cadre controlling authority of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

The officers have submitted a memorandum mentioning some of their demands and necessary action will be taken on it, said Singh, MoS in the PMO. He said, “the common objective of all of us is that we should be able to get the best out of our officers and we must enable them to perform their work to the best of their potential in the interest of the nation.”

Meanwhile, Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir hinted that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may be questioned by the police in connection with the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at his residence. “Whosoever it may be, the police will question all those in whose presence the incident took place,” he said.

After the meeting, IAS officers association secretary Manisha Saxena said the minister has assured full cooperation: “He said he is overseeing the developments, and action as per the law will be taken.”

RIGHT TO PROTEST

‘We are govt employees. We aren’t related to any party. We are angry at this development. It is our Constitutional right to put across our grievances,’ said IAS officers assn secy Manisha Saxena.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:15am
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Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 6:15am
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 •  Party to sit in protest against Delhi Police ‘bullying’

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Delhi Police on Friday of acting like a “bully” by entering Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence for carrying out a “so-called” search operation and being a mere “puppet” in the hands of the BJP-ruled central government. Calling the police operation an act of “dadagiri”, the party has called for nationwide protests on Saturday.  

The AAP leaders will sit on protest outside government offices in every city to condemn the act of “dadagiri”.

“We will tell the nation in dharna protests how BJP is acting as a bully and trying to scare those who are working for the city. We are going to raise question on ration and electricity and all that concerns the public at large,” said AAP said in a statement.  

Lashing out at the act, AAP leader and spokesperson Ashutosh claimed that the police team went inside Kejriwal’s residence at 6, Flagstaff Road, Civil Lines only to “humiliate and insult the CM”.

“It is not possible that without the indication of the Centre, the police could have indulged in  such dadagiri,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh tweeted.

“The police could have just asked about the CCTV footage or check out the room where the meeting took place. But the additional CP rank officer leading the team asked about the wall paint and plaster, went up on the roof, as if it was a murder spot,” said Ashutosh.   

In a press conference organised at its office, AAP also showed a two-and-half-minute video clip where a team led by senior police officials are seen inside the residence of the chief minister, purportedly asking questions about the wall paint of the room.

“What police team in the country asks such questions about the wall paint and plaster at the CM’s residence? These questions are ridiculous and preposterous,” said BS Joon, AAP counsel.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:10am
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Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 6:10am
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Police outside Kejriwal’s residence
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 •  Delhi Court denies bail to AAP MLAs, says they are 'history-sheeters'

A Delhi court refused to grant bail to two AAP MLAs, accused of physically assaulting the Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, on Friday stating that "prima facie it points towards premeditated criminal conspiracy".

Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon dismissed the bail applications of Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan and Deoli MLA Prakash Jarwal stating that the allegations are "serious" in nature.

The court held that the applications for bail cannot be considered "routine" and "casual" as the accused are "history-sheeters".

"The circumstances, if looked at overall, prima facie points towards premeditated criminal conspiracy. Though bail is the rule and jail is an exception, however, the applications of the present applicants cannot be considered in a routine and casual manner, as they are history sheeters," the court said.

The court also stated since the complainant's version had been backed up by a witness it could not be dismissed without a "cogent reason." On Thursday, AAP members, along with the CM, had to face a major embarrassment when the adviser to the CM VK Jain, agreed that he had seen the MLAs assaulting the CS.

"The version of the complainant is corroborated by statement of VK Jain recorded on oath under section 164 CrPC and the MLC of the complainant. Hence, at this stage, it cannot be looked at with suspicion without any cogent reason or evidence to the contrary,"it said

The MLAs will now continue to stay in Tihar jail and will produced at the end of their 14-day judicial custody.

The court also rejected a fresh application by the police seeking custody of the accused after VK Jain admitted he had seen the MLAs assaulting the Chief Secretary.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:05am
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Deoli MLA Prakash Jarwal
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 •  Officers who sit on files and obstruct people's work should be beaten up: Naresh Balyan

Amid the ongoing controversy between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and bureaucrats, a party legislator from south-west Delhi's Uttam Nagar constituency, Naresh Balyan, said that "officers who sit on files and obstruct people's work should be beaten up" during a public gathering on Friday.

Addressing a rally in his constituency, that was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Balyan said, "What happened with the Chief Secretary (CS), the false allegation that he levelled, I believe such officials should be beaten up. Those officials who are creating hurdles in pro-people schemes of the government should face similar action."

Balyan claimed the bureaucracy was not clearing files "intentionally". "Files that normally take three days to clear are not getting clearance even after six months. They are not moving because the Delhi Chief Minister has stopped the setting and the commission system," he said.

The statement, however, did not go down well with the party that is already at loggerheads with the bureaucrats following the allegations of assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.

"Strongly condemn statement made by @MLANareshBalyan; all govt officers need to be treated respectfully. @AamAadmiParty govt believes in working in collaboration with them for Delhi's development (sic) Atishi Marlena, AAP leader tweeted.

Balyan, however, stood by his statement."I did not disrespect anyone. What's wrong in what I said? Officials who don't do their jobs and create hurdles for the government in doing its job deserve such treatment," he said while speaking to DNA.

On being asked if he referred to the Chief Secretary while making the statement he said, "I did not say anything directly about the CS. It was about all those bureaucrats who don't do their jobs right, due to which people suffer," Balyan said.

FUEL TO THE FIRE

  • AAP MLA Balyan was addressing a rally in his constituency; it was attended by CM Kejriwal.
     
  • He claimed that the bureaucracy was not clearing files and obstructing people’s work ‘intentionally’.
     
  • The statement did not go down well with AAP, since it is already at loggerheads with the bureaucrats follwing the fiasco with the Chief Secretary.
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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:00am
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 •  Babus skipped key meeting, claims AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government submitted a list of important meetings which were skipped by IAS officers in the last three days to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Friday in order to apprise him about the issues which were delayed.

A list of eight such important issues was made relating to various departments like environment, finance, food supplies and education. The revelation by the government will further accelerate the ongoing war between bureaucrats and the AAP government. The officers are not attending any meetings with the AAP Ministers and are having only written communication in order to ensure that no work is hampered.

"These are the important meetings which couldn't take place as the officers refused to come. The purpose of holding a meeting gets defeated," said a senior government official. The top agenda that could not take place was on the issue of ammonia in the water supply by Haryana. The meeting was scheduled on February 20.

"While the Chief Secretary of Haryana reached on time, its counterpart in Delhi skipped the meeting without making alternative arrangements. As result, the water crisis continues to haunt the residents of Delhi," said another government official.

However, senior bureaucrats from the Delhi government had a different stand. Some of them claimed that the Ministers were well informed in advance about the officers not attending the meeting.

"A note was sent to the Minister much in advance. Also, whatever I was supposed to present in the meeting, I had given it in details to the concerned department. So there was no delay in the work," said one of the bureaucrats.

Meanwhile an ex-bureaucrat, who works with the Delhi government, resigned on Friday as he expressed "solidarity" with Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash after the latter was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs during a late-night meeting at the CM's residence.

Dhir Jhingran, a retired senior IAS officer who is a member of the Delhi State Advisory Council for Education and a batchmate of Anshu Prakash, wrote his letter of resignation on Tuesday, the day after the alleged assault.

Kejriwal breaks his silence on Twitter

After keeping quiet for three days on the political drama in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal broke his silence on Friday.

Soon after a team of Delhi police reached his residence for collecting evidence related to an alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs, Kejriwal tweeted saying that investigating agencies should show “equal urgency” to probe the death of CBI judge BH Loya.

“An army of policemen was sent to my residence. The entire CM residence is being searched over allegations of two slaps. But when will Amit Shah be questioned in connection with Judge Loya’s death? (sic)” he asked on Twitter.

Kejriwal has been maintaining silence since the day Prakash went out and filed a police complaint. He instead went to Chennai to support Kamal Haasan on the launch of the latter’s political party. He also posted pictures of himself from the launching ceremony of actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan’s newly formed political outfit held in Chennai on Wednesday, on social networking site Instagram.

On Friday afternoon, Kejriwal attended a rally in Uttam Nagar constituency where he slammed the Center for attacking his government in Delhi.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-05:55am
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Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 5:55am
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(From L-R) A Delhi police team at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence looking the alleged assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary; Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia at the CM’s residence
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 •  We are targeted for being different: Atishi Marlena, adviser to deputy CM

What exactly happened that night?

The CM had called a meeting with the Chief Secretary to discuss delays in various schemes focusing on distribution of ration and it's doorstep of delivery . MLAs were present and there was a heated argument. But there was no violence. The CCTV footage outside the CM office saw CS leaving the CM residence in just 8 minutes. What could have possibly happened in just those eight minutes? It is impossible to believe the allegations that are being levelled.

Since AAP came to power, there has been a power tussle...

We are all working for the people of Delhi. We are aggressive. But the pressure we put on officers is simply to get work done. We have never put forward any illegitimate demands to officers. Cite one example, if anyone can. We don't believe in paperwork, we believe in what we see. Previous governments never used to fix any responsibility but we are doing that. We are holding people accountable for their work and this is why the situation in Delhi has improved.

Many bureaucrats complain about the interference of MLAs in the administrative setup...

MLAs are the people who are directly dealing with residents. They know core issues in every constituency. Even Ministers have to rely on them to have a real picture of the area. Their fight is for the development of the city and not to get into any political tussle.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-05:50am
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Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 5:50am
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Atishi Marlena
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 •  It is about dignity of all govt employees: Manisha Saxena, Secretary, IAS Association

The revolt by bureaucrats is unprecedented...

It was needed. In fact we are prepared for a long haul. Because it is about the dignity and safety of not just bureaucrats but all Delhi government employees. A person who is working in Delhi Jal Board, or sitting outside the office of a municipal commissioner, is fearful about his security. The surprising part is that everything (the alleged of the Chief Secretary) happened in front of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Why these frequent fights? What does the rulebook say?

We are appointed under the Constitution of India and report to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. As a part of the administrative setup, our job is to coordinate with the state government and help it in the implementation of policies. The government and bureaucrats needs to work together in coordination.

Where do we go from here?

We will not bow down this time. In past cases, we have been holding back, but not this time. The CS is the top officer and no one can disrespect him. We have sought time from Cabinet Ministers and are waiting for their response. The state government will have to respect the integrity of the officers.

 

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-05:45am
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Manisha Saxena (in green) after meeting L-G Anil Baijal on Tuesday
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 •  AIADMK MLA joins rebel group

In a big set back to the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, its Kallakurichi MLA A Prabhu on Friday switched loyalties to rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran.

With Prabhu joining hands with Dhinakaran, the number of MLAs in the dissident camp — including the 18 disqualified legislators — goes up to 22. Prabhu is the first MLA to extend support to Dhinakaran after the Speaker disqualified 18 MLAs who filed a petition to the state Governor Banwarilal Purohit seeking change of current Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy.

Prabhu said the outcome of the RK Nagar by-election proved Dhinakaran's popularity. "I am unable to do public service in my own constituency. Wish all MLAs from the ruling camp strengthen the hands of Dhinakaran and fulfil the wish of late CM J Jayalalithaa," he said after meeting Dhinakaran at his Adyar residence.

The disqualification of MLAs has been challenged in the High Court and the verdict is awaited.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:55am
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TTV Dhinakaran
TTV Dhinakaran
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 •  Sidelined by Kejri, Kumar Vishwas says he is the 'youngest Advani'

Neglected in his own party, Hindi poet and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Kumar Vishwas said that he has become the 'youngest Advani' in Indian politics.

Participating in a Kavi Sammelan in Amethi from where he had contested in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 against current Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Vishwas said, "Before anyone makes fun of me, I am saying on my own that everyone wants to honour me as I have become the youngest Advani in politics."

He compared himself with Advani as he did not get a Rajya Sabha berth despite working hard to establish AAP.

Vishwas also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi. "Modiji planned to deposit Rs 15 lakh in everyone's accounts, but people close to him ran away with the money. First Vijay Mallya and now Nirav Modi," said he taking a jibe at PM's false promises.

He mocked Rahul by saying that the potholes he had seen four years ago in Amethi has remained there despite Gandhi's promises of development.

Vishwas said his job has become to make way for some Sanjay or the other. "When I fought polls from Amethi, pujya pitaji was sent to Rajya Sabha. Now another Sanjay Singh got a berth," he said.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:55am
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 •  Turning it around with pickles

In a rare display of innovation, an Udaipur farmer managed to not just cut losses on his farm produce but also managed to make a neat profit.

Lachhiram Jat, a farmer from Udaipur switched from jowar and mustard to plant 695 lemon trees on his 17 acres of land. After six years of care, 649 of these survived to give him a bumper produce this year. But when he reached the mandi at Udaipur to sell the produce, he was in for a rude shock. "I managed to get Rs 35 per kilo for my crop the first day. But before the week was over, all the broker was offering me was seven rupees per kilo," said Lachiram.

Speaking to DNA, he said, "Rather than settle for a distress sale and incur losses, I returned home with the produce unsold. I consulted a professor of agriculture to know the preservation techniques and got down to making lemon pickle."

"Lachiram is an innovator. He has established an industry in his house. Its exemplary," said Dr Gajendra Kumar Mathur, former professor of Agriculture.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:50am
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 •  SSB jawans flee with two held by cops

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans on Friday forcibly took away two of their own, who had been arrested on Thursday on charges of shooting an alleged fake currency dealer, from a police station when the two arrested were being taken to the court.

Police officers chased and intercepted them, but SSB jawans managed to flee.

District Superintendent of Police Koteswar Rao informed senior SSB officials of the incident. SSB Siliguri Frontier Srikumar Bandopadhyay said, "We don't support what DK Singh has done. SSB does not support any lawlessness. We have asked my men to hand over the two to the police."

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reacted sharply to the incident. "The incident is highly condemnable. Law and order is a state subject. It is unthinkable that SSB jawans who had been accused of murder had been taken away like this. We have spoken to IG SSB," she said.

The two SSB jawans — Commanding Officer Dipak Kumar Singh and habildar Amit Singh — were arrested for allegedly shooting a jamadar while investigating a fake currency racket which was beyond their jurisdiction.

The incident happened at Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas. It was found out that on Thursday, SSB had got into an altercation with one Altab Jamadar at a market in Sarisha in the district. Dipak had allegedly shot Jamadar dead. Later when officials of Diamond Harbour PS reached the spot they arrested owner of the market Muzammel Mondal and upon interrogating him the names of these two SSB officials came up.

The two accused had reportedly said that they had gone to investigate a fake currency racket but police maintained that they had gone beyond their jurisdiction and shot Jamadar dead.

On Friday, as Diamond Harbour PS officials were getting the two ready for a medical test ahead of producing at the court, about 8-10 other SSB jawans appeared in a vehicle and forced the two away out of police custody.

Officers of Diamond Harbour PS chased them and intercepted them on the road but from there too they forced him away to their camp.

ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma too said, "They cant do this. We will take strictest action against offenders."

DK Singh, while he was being taken to the court, told reporters that he had done nothing wrong and was investigating a case of fake currency racket but district police official said that SSB could not carry out the operation without taking them in confidence.

A case has been initiated against them and charges slapped on them include Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 307 (attempt to murder), 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).

Police sources also said that offending weapon has been recovered along with Rs 2 lakh which the SSB officers claimed to be their personal money which was being used in the operation.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:45am
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 •  Gulab Chand Kataria orders release of detained farmers

As Rajasthan Assembly witnessed Opposition creating a ruckus over farmer agitation leading to adjournment twice, state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria informed the House that agencies that acted against the farmers are taking measures to prevent situations in the future and also declared that 167 farmers who were detained would be released.

Speaking on the issue, Kataria said that while there is no restriction on holding rally in Jaipur he had personally told the farmers that he could not allow the rally on February 22.

“I personally talked to the farmer representatives expressing helplessness in not allowing their protest. As a preventive measure we detained the farmers enroute. We had arrested 332 farmers, of whom 165 have already been released on bail,” he said while announcing release for the rest.

NUMBERS

  • On February 22, 332 farmers were arrested for rallying sans permission.
     
  • 165 have already been released on bail.
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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:40am
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 •  Rajasthan waives bank loans up to Rs 50K for small farmers

All small and marginal farmers will get a waiver of short-term crop loans up to Rs 50,ooo, Rajasthan Co-operative Minister Ajay Singh Kilak informed the state assembly on Friday. This move will benefit around 20 lakh farmers across the state.

Kilak said this in response to a question asked by deputy speaker Rao Rajendra Singh about the present situation of the farmer loan issue. The minister said that under the first point of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's Budget announcement all penalties and interest of loan to small and marginal farmers from co-operative banks has been waived off till September 30, 2017.

This includes all farmers who have taken a loan amounting up to Rs 50,000. Farmers who are regularly depositing instalments to the banks will also be given a one-time waiver of the same amount.

The budget has also announced formation of Rajasthan State Farmers Debt Relief Commission and a high level interim committee under state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria. This committee will decide loans other than the cooperative ones can be included in the scope of the Commission.

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Sat, 24 Feb 2018-06:35am
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