OpIndia Evening Dispatch: Saturday, 2nd February, 2019

A quick round-up of people and events that made news today.

In the hustle and bustle of the day, it is only natural to miss some of the biggest developments that impact the nation. The OpIndia Evening Dispatch will catch you up on the day’s event even if you have been busy thus far.

1. Embarrassment for Congress: Letter from Digvijay Singh ‘thanking’ middleman Deepak Talwar emerges

As per Times Now report, a letter authored by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has surfaced in which the former Madhya Pradesh CM is found thanking the middleman Deepak Talwar for rendering his services to him.

In the letter, Digvijay Singh is found expressing his gratitude to the middleman Talwar for allegedly getting his and his family’s air tickets to Houston upgraded from Economy class to Business class. The letter emerges days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had secured the custody of Deepak Talwar.

The agency today told the Court that Talwar received “exorbitant amounts” from Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways from June 2008 to February 2009.
ED, in its remand paper, alleged that Talwar received ‘kickbacks’ to the tune of 5 million US dollars in his “Bank of Singapore” account from Emirates (June to November 2008). Also, he allegedly received 1.5 crore US dollars from Qatar and Air Arabia (June 2008 to Feb 2009). ED has also furnished details of the accounts “directly or indirectly” controlled by Khaitan which received the payments.
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ED maintained that the payment received was “very near to the time of the signing of the respective” bilateral agreements. It added that the said payments were “not usual business transactions” and the same was “basically proceeds of crime”.

2. ‘Azam Khan attempted acid attack on me, I had no certainty if I would be alive next day’: Jaya Prada

Actor turned politician Jaya Prada while speaking at the Queensline Literature Festival said that Azam Khan, MLA from Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, had once attempted an acid attack on her when she was contesting elections. “Because the state I was in, contesting elections with Azam Khan, as a woman, with acid attack threats, the threat to my life… I couldn’t even tell my mother if I would come back alive whenever I left from home”, she said.

“Even as a sitting MP from a party, I wasn’t spared. Azam Khan harassed me. He attempted an acid attack on me. I had no certainty if I would be alive the next day. I would tell mother while leaving the house that I wasn’t sure if I would ever return home. I emerged out of it,” she added.

3. ‘Won’t let you walk in AP’: After sermonising about ‘Modi killing democracy’, Chandrababu Naidu threatens BJP MLAs

During a discussion on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in the Assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu proceeded to lose his cool and threatened BJP lawmakers. Chandrababu Naidu threatened the BJP lawmakers and said that he would not allow them to ‘move freely’ in Andhra Pradesh if they continue to defend the Centre “despite injustice to the State”, reported The New Indian Express.

Chandrababu Naidu’s outburst happened after BJP floor leader P Vishnu Kumar Raju started listing out all the institutions that the central government had sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu said, “Shame on you to speak like this. You have no commitment to the development of the State. You are unfit to be a public representative. If we go on listening, you will put flowers in our ears. For whose sake will you give? Whose money is that? For a new State, the Centre should give all institutes. Tell me how many institutes are located in Hyderabad, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Compare them. Are you doing tamasha? My blood is boiling. Instead of supporting a new State, it is unfair on your part to speak in such a way”.

4. Islamist terror organisation SIMI banned for five more years by Union Home Ministry

The Union Home Ministry has banned the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for five more years for engaging in subversive activities that threaten the integrity and security of the country.

The government asserted that if the unlawful activities of SIMI are not checked, then it will “continue its subversive activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding; disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony; propagate anti-national sentiments; escalate secessionism by supporting militancy; and undertake activities prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country.”

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the central government hereby declares the SIMI as an ‘unlawful association’ and directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect for a period of five years,” the Home Ministry notification said.

5. Modi in Bengal

A scuffle broke out between Trinamool Congress (TMC) cadres and BJP workers when the former pulled down hoardings and banners announcing PM Modi’s rally in the state. The BJP workers have complained that TMC workers on Friday had attacked them and replaced PM Modi’s posters with Mamata Banerjee’s posters.

The brawl comes ahead of PM Modi’s rally in West Bengal’s Durgapur which is scheduled to take place later today at 2 pm. Many BJP posters welcoming PM Modi were also smeared with dirt. BJP Minister Babul Supriyo expressed his shock on Twitter by claiming the vandalism carried out by TMC workers as “heights of indecency”.

6. ‘Mulayam Singh govt buried Karsevaks, conspired to hide actual number of casualties’: Republic TV exposé

In a sting carried out by Republic TV, the channel claims to reveal that innumerable Karsevaks were slaughtered by the Police in 1990 under the Mulayam Singh government. The sting also claims to reveal that the Karsevaks were denied proper Hindu funeral rites as they were buried instead of being cremated.

In the sting, Veer Bhadur Singh, former SHO Ram Janambhoomi Thana, one of the top officials involved in the matter, can be heard saying that innumerable bodies were buried and some were cremated. And it was on the basis of the cremations that the then state government gave a very meagre account for the Hindus that were killed.

The sting also states that contrary to the claims by the Mulayam Singh government that only 16 Hindus were killed, the actual number may have been in the hundreds. And then the government conspired to hide the actual numbers by having the Karsevaks buried instead of cremating them, Republic alleges.

7. Ahmed Patel case marred with controversy as important documents go missing and hearing mysteriously gets scheduled early

The Gujarat High Court has ordered a magisterial enquiry after important documents of the petition submitted by BJP leader Balasntsingh Rajput against the election of Ahmed Patel to the Rajya Sabha were reported missing. The absence of files came to notice while Rajput was being cross-examined by the lawyer of Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Indian Express reports.

Justice Bela Trivedi has directed the registrar general (judicial) to look into this matter and submit a report in a sealed cover. The court, according to the report, found about the missing files when counsel B B Naik appearing with advocate P S Champaneri, representing Ahmed Patel, sought a copy of the petition during cross-examination of Rajput. After verification of the entire file, it was noticed that the petition and summons produced along with the list at exhibit number 30 were not in the file.

When Justice Trivedi inquired about the matter, registry officials said that they had received a request from Patel’s advocate on January 24, asking for the simple copy of entire matter. Following which, a copy was furnished to advocate’s clerk, a person named Abdul Shaikh. The registry officials also said that Patel’s advocate had asked for a photocopy of the petition memo along with all annexures on September 15, last year, and again on January 21.


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