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AAP, Congress ask Jaitley to quit, CBI rebuts Kejriwal

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New Delhi, Dec 16 : The AAP and the Congress on Wednesday separately asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign over alleged wrongdoing in the Delhi cricket association which he once headed, even as the CBI denied again that it conducted searches at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.

Jaitley, former chairman of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), rubbished the charges against him.

“What is the specific allegation? I can’t answer vague allegations without any basis,” Jaitley told the media.

Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party reiterated that the CBI did raid Kejriwal’s office on Tuesday while targeting his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar as it was looking for files related to the DDCA.

Kejriwal tweeted that documents had indeed been seized from his office that were not linked to Rajendra Kumar.

He said CBI officials kept reading the DDCA file in his office. “They would have seized it. But after my media briefing, they left it. Not clear if they took a copy.”

Kejriwal added: “Finance minister lied in parliament… Why is Jaitleyji so scared of DDCA probe? What is his role in DDCA scam?”

The CBI spokesperson countered that Kejriwal’s office was neither searched nor sealed, and whatever was taken away was related to corruption allegations against Rajendra Kumar.

“This information is being spread by certain quarters since yesterday to discredit the agency with intent to obstruct the investigation,” the spokesperson said.

Deputy Chief Minister and Kejriwal confidant Manish Sisodia demanded to know why the CBI seized the records of file movements of November-December this year if the agency was probing Rajendra Kumar’s doings from 2007 to 2014.

“I want to categorically say that it was CM’s office where the raid was conducted, DDCA files were looked into,” Sisodia said.

The alleged search of Kejriwal’s office rocked parliament for a second day, with Trinamool Congress members taking the lead.

Trinamool’s Sudip Bandhopadhyay said the CBI should be renamed “GBI” — Gujarat Bureau of Investigation.

As AAP’s most vocal Lok Sabha member, Bhagwant Mann raised slogans near Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s podium, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood up and offered him a glass of water.

Ignoring the CBI denials, AAP leader Sanjay Singh insisted that the CBI did search Kejriwal’s office and said Jaitley was involved in the what he claimed were huge financial bunglings in the DDCA.

He said the AAP would make public the documents related to DDCA on Thursday.

The Congress demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the alleged financial irregularities during Jaitley’s tenure as the DDCA chief.

Calling the Delhi government’s threat to probe the charges as empty rhetoric, it said Jaitley should resign from the government until the JPC finished its probe.

The Congress listed numerous alleged wrongdoings which it said took place during Jaitley’s tenure as DDCA chief from 1999 to 2013.

Meanwhile, social activist Anna Hazare questioned the CBI’s raid but said Kejriwal should have checked officer Rajendra Kumar’s background before appointing him as his principal secretary.

“From the beginning Arvind has been fighting corruption. I have always told him that ‘you should have people with strong character around you’.”

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Won’t listen after 3 days: Kapil Mishra’s ultimatum to Delhi Police to vacate Jaffrabad roads

In an ultimatum to the Delhi Police, Kapil Mishra said he would give only three days to the cops to clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. After that, he said, “we would take to the streets”.

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Kapil Mishra in Jaffrabad

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra on Sunday asked the Delhi Police to vacate the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh roads in Delhi where protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are going on. In an ultimatum to the Delhi Police, Kapil Mishra said he would give only three days to the cops to clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh.

After three days when United States President Donald Trump leaves, Kapil Mishra said, “do not try to convince us, we would not even listen to you”. Donald Trump is arriving in India on Monday on a two-day visit to the country.

Around 500 people, mostly women, gathered near the Jaffrabad metro station on Saturday night in protest against the new citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), blocking a major road. Kapil Mishra, who has been vocal against the CAA protests, reached Maujpur, close to Jaffrabad, and held a rally in support of the citizenship act.

While addressing a gathering during a pro-CAA rally in Delhi’s Maujpur, where stone pelting was reported between two groups, Kapil Mishra said, “Dilli mein aag lagi rahe, ye yahi chahte hain, isiliye inhone raaste band kiye, isiliye dange jaisa maahaul bana rahe hain. Hamari taraf se ek bhi patthar nahi chala hai [Dilli burns, these people [the anti-CAA protesters] want this only and that is why they have blocked the roads and that is why they are creating a riot-like situation. We did not pelt a single stone during the rally]”

Kapil Mishra then went on to give an ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh roads emptied. He also gave a three-day ultimatum to the police or, he said, “we would have to take to the streets”.

“Trump ke jaane tak toh hum shaanti se jaa rahe hain. Lekin uske baad hum aapki bhi nahi sunenge agar raaste khaali nahi huye toh. Trump ke jaane tak aap Jaffrabad aur Chand Bagh khaali karwa dijiye, aisi aapse vinti kar rahe hain, uske baad hamein road par aana padega [We will not do anything till Donald Trump leaves. But after Donald Trump leaves India, we would not even listen to you if the roads are not vacated. Get the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh roads cleared, we are requesting you, after that, we will have to hit the streets]” Kapil Mishra was heard saying in the video he tweeted.

CLASHES AT MAUJPUR PRO-CAA RALLY

Clashes broke out between two groups of people near Jaffrabad in northeast Delhi on Sunday evening where a large number of people had gathered to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Police fired tear gas shells as members of the two groups pelted stones at each other in Maujpur.

There was tension in the area after hundreds of anti-CAA protesters, mostly women, blocked a road near the Jaffrabad metro station which connects Seelampur with Maujpur and Yamuna Vihar.

The anti-CAA protest continued on Sunday, prompting the Delhi Metro authorities to close the entry and exit gates of the station.

There was heavy security deployment in the area.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad gets invitation for Trump reception

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Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has been invited to attend the reception of US President Donald Trump at Rashtrapati Bhavan on February 25, a source said on Sunday.

The source, however, could not confirm if Azad would attend the function as he is out of Delhi. “It would be confirmed after he returns tomorrow (Monday).”

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had declined the invitation to attend the Presidential banquet saying since party interim-president Sonia Gandhi has not been invited, he will not attend.

The Floor leaders of both House of Parliament have been invited to for the Presidential banquet to be hosted on Tuesday.

The schedule of the US President has no mention of meeting with any opposition leaders. The Congress had said on Friday that it has not received any invitation yet for its leaders to meet Trump on his upcoming two-day visit to India.

Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said: “If any invitation comes, we will take a view on it.”

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Role of judiciary to be pivotal in coming days: President

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Sunday that the role of the judiciary is bound to be pivotal amid dramatic transformations in the coming days.

In his address at the International Judicial Conference being organised by the Supreme Court, he said that issues like gender justice, contemporary perspectives on protection of constitutional values, dynamic interpretations of the Constitution in a changing world, harmonisation of environment protection vis-a-vis sustainable development and protection of the right to privacy in the Internet age are issues that influence every member of the global community.

These five distinctly defined topics cover the matrix of challenges faced by the judiciary across the world, he said.

The President praised the Supreme Court for carrying out “radical reforms” which, he said, made justice more accessible to common people. He cited landmark judgements passed by the apex court which have strengthened the legal and constitutional framework of India.

“Its bench and bar are known for their legal scholarship and intellectual wisdom. What it has achieved is nothing less than a silent revolution in diagnosing and correcting the afflictions that adversely affected the justice delivery system,” he said, as per a press note.

The President particularly mentioned the role of Supreme Court in making the higher courts’ judgments available in regional languages, terming it “an extraordinary achievement given the linguistic diversity of India”.

As of now, the judgments of the Supreme Court get translated in up to nine Indian languages to make them accessible to common people. Kovind expressed confidence that its scope would further widen in the future.

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