Monthly Archives: JULY 2017
India carried out Surgical Strike 14 km deep into Pak, brought back bodies, reveals Arun Shourie
IN A SENSATIONAL DISCLOSURE, former Union Minister and now a strong critic of Narendra Modi government, Arun Shourie has said he had "personal knowledge” that Indian army conducted a surgical strike 14 kilometres inside Pakistan during Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, killed 10-15 persons and brought seven bodies from across the border into India.
"But we kept quiet and it has never been talked about," Shourie told Shekhar Gupta during an interview under Gupta's "Off the Cuff" programme, telecast by NDTV.
Castigating the government for the hype created around surgical strike against Pakistan, Arun Shourie, narrated the incident that ostensibly happened during the Vajpayee years but did not say where exactly had the strike happened. Shourie was a minister in the Vajpayee government.
"I am telling you this from absolutely personal knowledge. I can't reveal his (the person who planned the strike) name...they (the Pakistanis) had done something evil (and) to teach them a lesson, a raid was planned 14 km inside Pakistan. They killed everybody there (at the forward post of Pakistan), probably about 10-15 persons and lugged seven bodies back across the border into India," Shourie said.
This is the first time that this particular surgical strike has ever been mentioned by any politician.
Last year, the Narendra Modi government had claimed that India carried out a military raid across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on September 29. While the BJP made a lot of political and electoral capital out of this surgical strike, the Congress and other political parties had questioned the wisdom of making the fact public and said such strikes had happened in the past, too.
Former Defence Minister P Chidambaram had then said that the UPA government had decided not to make public the fact of cross-border raids.
Shourie's revelations are likely to trigger off more controversy. Arun Shourie even said the Indian army jawans brought with them "as a trophy" the guest book of the forward post of Pakistan that they destroyed.
"It so happened that (Pakistan President Pervez) Musharraff had visited the forward post 10 days before this raid and had written in the guest book – "What a good job you people are doing, keep it up".
The guest book is now lying at one of the regimental headquarters," Shourie said.
He advised caution against upping the rhetoric about the situation along the Pakistan and China border.
He said the aggressive tone of India against Pakistan is pushing Islamabad into Beijing's lap.
He also advised the powers that be to focus on capacity building and carry out the urgent steps as per the recommendations of the Naresh Chandra committee report instead of indulging in hyper talk.
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No more blankets in AC coaches as railways faces CAG heat
Indian Railways will discontinue providing blankets in their air-conditioned (AC) coaches after an inspection from the Comptroller Accounts General (CAG) criticised it on cleanliness and hygiene, according to a Business Standard report.
Instead, the Railways is set to increase the average temperature of AC coaches from the current 19 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius.
"Cleaning blankets and bedrolls is costly. While the Railways is spending Rs 55 for cleaning bedroll, we are charging travellers only Rs 22. Hence, removing blankets on trains will prove to be economical,” said an official.
According to the CAG report, the bedrolls were not being washed every one to two months as stipulated by guidelines. This was because the railways could not handle the load of linens and resorted to outsourcing the cleaning of the bedrolls. Also, there was the lack of quality control for the washing.
The report had said "A robust system for procurement, washing and distribution of linen is necessary to provide clean, hygienic, well-ironed and good quality linen to all passengers travelling in AC classes of the Indian Railway”.
Although Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu directed the use disposable bedrolls in 2016, it is yet to implemented everywhere. Passengers have also frequently complained about dirty linens and smelly blankets in AC coaches.
Fearing more defections, Congress flies over 40 Gujrat MLAs to Bengaluru
Rattled over its six MLAs submitting their resignations ahead of upcoming Rajya Sabha elections on August 8, with one more likely to leave soon, the Gujarat Congress flew off over 40 of its remaining MLAs to Bengaluru in party-ruled Karnataka on Friday night.
"All our Gujarat MLAs have been put up at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bidadi on the Mysuru road after they flew into the city in two batches from Ahmedabad via Mumbai," the party's state unit's official told IANS on anonymity.
The Times of India quoted Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar as saying, "To ensure BJP is not successful, 44 of us (Congress MLAs) are leaving from Gujarat for Bengaluru."
The lawmakers were shifted, ostensibly to prevent its rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from poaching them ahead of the Rajya Sabha poll in Gujarat on August 8 in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is contesting for a fifth term.
As the Congress herded its legislators into a commercial flight at Ahmedabad airport close to midnight yesterday, senior Gujarat Congress leader Naresh Rawal told NDTV that the party had been forced to fly them out because the BJP "government in Gujarat is harassing them and forcing them to cross over".
After six of its MLAs quit the party ahead of the crucial 8 August Rajya Sabha polls, the Congress leadership decided to "shift" its MLAs in Gujarat to Bengaluru to guard them from being "poached" by the BJP .
"Looking at the current situation (in Gujarat), where attempts are being made to lure our members, we are taking 46 of our MLAs to Bengaluru," said a senior party leader told PTI, requesting anonymity.
They are expected to be in Bengaluru for at least a week with Gujarat Congress unit president Bharatsinh Solanki. These MLAs are staying at Eagleton The Golf Resort, which is about 22 kilometres from Ramanagara.
Senior Congress leader Naresh Rawal told NDTV the party had been forced to fly out the legislators "since the Gujarat government was harassing them and forcing them to cross over."
In a major setback for the Opposition party in Gujarat, three more of its MLAs resigned on Friday, taking the number of legislators who quit the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to six. Mansingh Chouhan, Chhanabhai Chaudhary and Ramsinh Parmar handed over their resignation to the Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora.
For the third seat, to challenge Ahmed Patel, the BJP has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, a senior leader and Vagehla's close relative who quit the Congress and immediately joined the BJP this week.
By quitting the assembly, the Vaghela loyalists have reduced the strength of the house, which means that while Ahmed Patel will need fewer votes to win (currently 45), so will Rajput, who is already assured of 31 of the BJPs extra votes.
On Friday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that the Election Commission lodged a criminal case against the BJP for "poaching" its MLAs using "money and muscle" power, a charge denied by the saffron party.
The issue also rocked the Rajya Sabha, which witnessed repeated adjournments as angry Congress members accused the BJP of "stealing” party lawmakers.
The Congress accused the BJP government in Gujarat and at the Centre of pressurising Congress legislators to quit the party and join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Kejriwal used abusive words far worse than 'Crook': Ram Jethmalani in letter to Jaitley
Days after quitting as Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's counsel in the defamation cases filed against him by Union minister Arun Jaitley, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has fired a fresh salvo at his erstwhile client, saying the CM has asked him to use abusive words against the Finance Minister.
Earlier on July 20, the senior lawyer had written a letter to Kejriwal in which he has claimed that the AAP leader had asked him to use worse words against Arun Jaitley. As per the latest reports of Times Of India, Jethmalani has now taken an unprecedented step and has sent the letter to Jaitley.
"When Arun Jaitley filed the first suit and criminal case, you naturally sought my services. Ask your conscience how many times you used worse abuses than a mere 'crook'. You have hundred times asked me to teach this crook a lesson," Jethmalani wrote in his letter to Kejriwal on July 20.
He further wrote, "You have hundred times asked me to teach this crook a lesson. Incidentally, for the last couple of weeks, you only met me briefly. However, your assistant Raghav Chadha and advocate Anupam Srivastava have been briefing me in the matter. Of course, the law is settled that no suit for damages lies against parties and lawyers even if the suggestion made only in court judicial proceedings proves to be false or malicious."
On May 17, the recording of Jaitley’s statement in a Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit, filed by him against Kejriwal and other AAP functionaries, witnessed high drama as the Union minister objected to the use of a word against him by the veteran lawyer representing the chief minister. When the Finance Minister asked Jethmalani whether the word was used as per instructions from Kejriwal, he replied in affirmative.
It has been reported that in a letter to the CM, the senior advocate had also claimed Kejriwal had used even more offensive language against Jaitley during private discussions on the case.
However, Kejriwal denied instructing his lawyer to use the word 'crook'. In an affidavit, the Delhi CM told the court, "Neither the defendant (Kejriwal) nor the counsel (Anupam Srivastava) briefing the senior counsel (Jethmalani) gave instructions to the senior counsel to use the objectionable words on May 17, 2017."
Kejriwal had accused Jaitley of complicity in the "DDCA scam", leading the latter to file a defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore. The 'derogatory' word Jethmalani had used triggered the second Rs 10-crore defamation case against Kejriwal.
Apologise or face Rs 50 crore defamation suit, DIG Roopa told
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Roopa was on Thursday served with a legal notice by transferred Karnataka Director General of Police (DGP) HN Satyanarayana Rao, who asked her to either apologise for the controversial report on the alleged special treatment being given to AIADMK (Amma) leader VK Sasikala in jail, or face a Rs 50 crore defamation suit.
The notice, dated July 16, 2017 refers to allegations made by Roopa against Rao. Roopa alleged that she had heard that convict V K Sasikala was being allowed extra privileges in Central Jail, Parappana Agrahara, and a bribe of Rs 2 crore was involved in the irregularities.
Roopa had dragged Rao also in the matter claiming he was one of the beneficiaries of the Rs 2 crore bribe paid by Sasikala. She was eventually shifted from the prisons department to the traffics department but she continues to stand by what she said.
Rao denied all allegations made by Roopa and asked her to tender an unconditional apology within three days of receiving the notice, failing which he will file criminal and civil suits for defamation, for Rs 50 crore.
"You (D Roopa) are required to get an apology duly published in all leading newspapers in the next three days, failing which, I will be constrained to initiate appropriate legal proceedings both civil and criminal, against you to recover damages from you and the same is quantified as Rs. 50 crore tentatively," Rao said in the notice issued to Roopa, a copy of which is with PTI.
"You claim that you have taken pictures of irregularities inside the prison. But you have not taken the picture of Sasikala's separate kitchen and other royal facilities, which are the prime subject of your allegations. You could not take pictures because nothing like that existed," Rao's notice stated.
Roopa grabbed headlines when she, in a report, said that AIADMK leader VK Sasikala availed VIP treatment in the Parappana Agrahara Central prison by bribing jail officials.
The notice said that DIG Roopa tried to "damage the integrity and reputation of Sathyanarayan Rao," which according to law comes under defamation. The notice also said that Rao will also be approaching the concerned Income Tax Department to find out the source from where the "alleged Rs. 2 crore were mobilised."
"I will be approaching the concerned in the income tax department to find out the source from where the alleged Rs. 2 crore was mobilised, who carried it, who is its recipient and where is it stored, so that the guilty of various provisions of tax laws are brought to book," he said.
Roopa was transferred to the Traffic department following her revelations around alleged irregularities in the Bengaluru prison where Sasikala is housed in a disproportionate assets case.
Soon after her allegations came out in the media, the state government affected a large-scale reshuffle of officials in the state. 32 prisoners were also shifted to other parts of the state in a midnight transfer.