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CBI arrests BSF commandant held in cattle smuggling case

“This is just the beginning. The TMC should be careful. Many more heads will roll in days to come,” BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said.

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Cows

Kolkata: The CBI on Tuesday arrested a BSF commandant for his alleged involvement in a cattle smuggling racket operating at the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, a statement by the investigating agency said.

Satish Kumar, the BSF commandant who is now posted at Raipur in Chhattisgarh, was summoned to Kolkata for questioning in connection with the case by CBI.

He was arrested after the CBI interrogated him for hours.

“Satish Kumar has been arrested. A case was registered against him two months ago. He will be produced before a court on Wednesday,” the CBI source said.

A CBI statement said that a case was registered on September 21, 2020 against the then commandant of 36 Battalion, Border Security Force (BSF), three private persons and unknown public servants and private persons following allegations of illegal cattle trade along West Bengal- Bangladesh border by the accused “in connivance with public servants.

“Searches were earlier conducted at the premises of the accused. Investigation is on”, it added.

In September, CBI sleuths had conducted raids in different parts of West Bengal, including Kolkata, over cattle smuggling on the international border. The BSF commandant’s house was also raided at that time.

Kumar, who was Commandant of the 36th Battalion of the BSF’s South Bengal Frontier then, and three others were booked for rustling cattle, the source said.

When contacted, a senior BSF official of the South Bengal Frontier said, “Kumar was transferred from the 36th Battalion three years back. He is now posted in the Naxalite area of Raipur, Chattisgarh.”

The three other persons who were booked along with Kumar included Enamul Haque, the alleged kingpin of the cattle smuggling racket.

The CBI had arrested Haq on November 6 in New Delhi. A court in the national capital had granted him interim bail and told him to appear before CBI in Kolkata on November 9.

He came to the agency’s office and claimed he is a suspected COVID-19 case. Following this the CBI asked him to visit it on November 24.

Haque was arrested in 2018 by CBI for allegedly bribing another BSF Commandant and is out on bail in that case.

The BSF commandant’s arrest has triggered a war of words between the BJP and the ruling TMC in Bengal. The saffron party has said that many more heads are “likely to roll in the days to come”.

“This is just the beginning. The TMC should be careful. Many more heads will roll in days to come,” BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said.

The TMC refuted the charge as “baseless and politically motivated”.

“From where has the TMC entered the scene? The CBI has arrested a BSF official. The BSF is a security force under the central government. The allegations against us are baseless and politically motivated,” TMC MP Sougata Roy said.

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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India

Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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