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Chidambaram alleges political vendetta in INX Media case

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New Delhi, Sep 11 : Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday alleged that the INX Media case is “political vendetta” and the investigation agency is “acting on the behest of the Centre”.

“It is the petitioner’s case that the instant criminal proceeding is a mala fide and is borne out of political vendetta and the investigation agency is acting at the behest of the Centre which wants to malign the untainted and unimpeachable reputation of the peititoner,” Chidambaram has said in his applications filed before the Delhi High Court.

Chidambaram has moved two applications before the high court, one for seeking regular bail and another for seeking setting aside of the order on September 5 passed by the trial court that sent him to 14 days’ judicial custody.

Chidambaram has further mentioned in his pleas that he is a political opponent of government in power and this is a clear case of political vendetta.

Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar last week sent Chidambaram to 14 days in custody after the former Union minister was produced before in court on Thursday. The court also allowed applications moved by Chidambaram seeking medicines and a western-style toilet in jail along with Z-category security and a separate cell with a cot and a bathroom.

The same were allowed by the court.

Chidambaram has also moved another application in the court seeking permission to surrender in the Enforcement Directorate case relating to INX Media. The court had issued a notice to the financial watchdogs and the hearing on it would take place on September 12.

During the course of hearing, Chidambaram’s counsel Kapil Sibal said, “There is nothing found against me. If I am a powerful person and I can influence the witness, they should bring some evidence of at least an attempt of tampering of evidence or influencing of witness.”

“Potential of, likely to, apprehension of, can’t be the reasons for me going to the judicial custody,” he added.

Responding on the submissions, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said, “Are you arguing on bail?”

Sibal replied, “I am arguing on the grounds you are seeking judicial custody for.”

“It is bascially humiliation. There must be proof that has to be given,” Sibal said.

Mehta replied “So far as the ED case is concerned, Supreme Court has accepted the chance of tampering. There is a strong possibility of tampering with the evidence.”

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Private players to run trains on key routes: Railways

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New Delhi, Sep 24 : The Indian Railways is mulling the idea of handing over operations of more trains to private players in the coming days on several important routes with improved services and amenities for passengers.

The decision comes under the 100-day agenda of the national transporter to hand over operations of the trains to private players on key routes.

Earlier, the Indian Railways had announced to grant operations of two of its luxurious Tejas Express trains to Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) between Lucknow-New Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad.

According to a railway ministry official, the national transporter has called a meeting of senior railway officials on September 27 under the chairmanship of Member, Traffic of the Railway Board to decide the operational issues relating to private operation of passenger trains.

In a letter to all the Principal Chief Operations Managers of the Central, Northern, North Central, South Eastern, South Central and Southern Railway dated September 23, Principal Executive Director of Coaching of the Railway Board, A. Madhusudan Reddy said, “As part of the 100-day action plan, the ministry has proposed that private operation of passenger trains be introduced to provide world class services.”

He said, “Under the railways proposal, private operators would be identified through a participative bid process to run private passenger day or overnight trains connecting important cities.”

“It is contemplated that the private operators shall induct modern passenger trains and operate them on paths allocated to them on payment of haulage charges,” Reddy said.

“Thus in order to prepare the RFQ (Request for quote) and concession documents, it is necessary to identify the routes and the number of services that can be run,” he said.

According to the railway ministry plans, besides the Lucknow-New Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad being given to the IRCTC for operations, the national transporter is mulling to give trains to private operators on inter-city services on 14 routes, while 10 on overnight and long distance services and four suburban services.

The railways has proposed giving trains to private operators on long distance or overnight journey trains on the routes of Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu/Katra, Delhi-Howrah, Secunderabad-Hyderabad, Secunderabad-Delhi, Delhi-Chennai, Mumbai-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Mumbai.

It has proposed to invite the private players for the intercity express on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Aurangabad, Mumbai-Madgaon, Delhi-Chandigarh/Amritsar, Delhi-Jaipur/Ajmer, Howrah-Puri, Howrah-Tata, Howrah-Patna, Secunderabad-Vijaywada, Chennai-Bengaluru, Chennai-Coimbatore, Chennai-Madurai and Ernakulam-Trivandrum routes. The railways has also proposed the operation of suburban trains in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad by private players.

The railways had earlier clearly said that before engaging private operators to run the trains, the national transporter will consult the trade unions and other stakeholders.

The IRCTC has started the booking of tickets for the Tejas Express between Lucknow-New Delhi from October 5 onward journey. The IRCTC’s Tejas Express will be flagged off from Lucknow on October 4.

The minimum fare for the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express has been kept at Rs 1,125 for the AC chair car, while the fare for Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express AC chair car will be Rs 1,280.

On the other hand, the ticket price for Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express Executive chair car has been kept at Rs 2,310 and the Delhi-Lucknow fare for Executive Chair Car will be Rs 2,450.

The passengers travelling on Tejas Express from Lucknow to Kanpur in AC chair car will have to shell out Rs 320 and Rs 630 for the Executive Chair car (ECC). For Lucknow to Ghaziabad travel, the passenger needs to pay Rs 1,125 for the AC chair car, while Rs 2,310 for the ECC. On the return journey, the fare is Rs 1,155 for AC Chair car from Delhi to Kanpur while for the ECC it is Rs 2,155.

All these fares are subject to the application of dynamic fare, just like airlines, the IRCTC has said.

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File affidavit detailing guidelines to regulate social media: SC to Centre

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New Delhi, Sep 24 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing statutory guidelines to balance online privacy, state sovereignty and the reputation of an individual.

A Bench, headed by Justice Deepak Gupta, gave the order while hearing a case on linking of Aadhaar with Facebook and regulating of the social media.

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Police can’t seize property during investigation: SC

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Sep 24 The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that police has no power to seize immovable property during an investigation.

The top court upheld the Bombay High Court order.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had heard the matter relating to powers of the police under section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code in respect of seizure of property during investigation.

The court was hearing Maharashtra government plea challenging a Bombay High Court order which held that the police has no power to seize property during the course of an ongoing probe.

The ruling was announced by the bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

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