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Evidence of Chidambaram meeting Mukerjeas destroyed: CBI

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New Delhi, Sep 27 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday told the Delhi High Court that “certain evidence relating to the meeting between Chidambarams and Mukerjeas has been destroyed”.

The court was hearing the arguments on the bail plea filed by former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram in the CBI case related to INX Media, once promoted jointly by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

“During investigation, it has come up that Indrani and Peter Mukerjea along with some other people met P. Chidambaram. However, the records of the visitors register were destroyed,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

Mehta further claimed that the though the hotel visitor register has been destroyed, the details of the car by which the Mukerjeas went for the meeting with the petitioner is secure with the agency.

The agency also told the court that Indrani Mukerjea in her statement before the Magistrate said that she and her husband went to meet Chidambaram at his office where discussions were held to grant the erstwhile Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to INX Media and it was conveyed to them that they will have to “take care of his son”.

Opposing the claims of the agency, senior advocate Kapil Sibal from Chidambaram’s legal team contended: “Hundreds of delegations call on the Finance Minister. I have no recollection of an INX Media delegation calling on me. Only the Visitors Log can confirm the fact. I will go by the entry in the Visitors’ Log. I am certain that I had never met Indrani at any place.”

“Sufficient evidence has come on record that the peititoner is using his position to influence the witness. Indrani is not the only one who has given a Section 164 statement, there is another witness,” the agency claimed further.

In an affidavit filed before Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, Chidambaram’s counsels on Wednesday claimed: “The said documents have been obtained by the Petitioner from his son and wife.”

The affidavit further stated that the government documents in question were a part of the Relied Upon Documents (RUD) filed by the ED in the proceedings initiated before the Adjudicating Authority in which Karti and Nalini were made defendants.

The court had on Tuesday asked Chidambaram to file an affidavit stating the source of the documents relating to the approval which were being referred to by his lawyers during the hearing of his bail plea.

Chidambaram’s legal team had also stated that denial of bail to their client would result in his “undertrial incarceration without conviction”

The agency had contended that there was sufficient evidence on record which revealed the role of the ex-Finance Minister in the INX Media case.

The agency said that if Chidambaram was released on bail, he would ensure that the crucial details pertaining to the case were not accessed by the probe agencies.

Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were named in the case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.

The ED too has filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram in this regard in 2017.

India

Atal statue installed in Lucknow, to be unveiled on Dec 25

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Lucknow: A 25-ft bronze statue of former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was installed at the Lok Bhawan building here and is expected to be formally unveiled on December 25, his birth anniversary.

The statue was installed at the Bhawan on Monday night.

According to sources, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to unveil the statue.

Sources said that the Prime Minister’s Office was yet to confirm Modi’s availability on December 25.

Sculpted by famous sculptor Raj Kumar Pandit of Jaipur, it statue is going to be the tallest statue in the state.

Vajpayee’s life-size statue was commissioned on March 9, 2019 to Jaipur’s Works for Artist Foundry. It has been mounted on an eight feet high base, prepared by the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited.

The statue has come up at the spot where a cut-out of Vajpayee, overlooking the imposing entrance to the Lok Bhawan, was symbolically placed.

Vajpayee represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha for a record five consecutive terms, which also included his three stints as Prime Minister.

Yogi Adityanath has taken a keen personal interest in the construction of the Vajpayee statue.

Though the exact estimate was not known, officials said that the contract for the Vajpayee statue was given for Rs 89.6 lakh.

Last year, a 12.5 ft bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, made by Maharashtra’s Uttam Pacharne, was unveiled at the Raj Bhawan by the then governor Ram Naik and the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Four more statues — all 12.5 ft high — that are nearly ready and are being given finishing touches include those of Adityanath’s revered gurus Mahant Avaidyanath and Mahant Digvijayanath, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and also Bhartendu Harish Chandra — widely regarded as the father of modern Hindi literature and Hindi theatre.

While Bhartendu Harish Chandra’s statue would be installed at the Bhartendu Natya Akademi in Gomti Magar, the place and positioning of Bahuguna’s statue as well as those of spiritual gurus from Gorakhnath Math, of which Adityanath is the head priest, are yet to be decided.

“Unlike in previous governments when statues were mostly sanctioned on political lines, the Adityanath government is sanctioning statues of leaders which inspire our young generation,” said Uttar Pradesh Minister Ashutosh Tandon.

In the Bahujan Samaj Party regime, statues of almost all Dalit icons were installed in various places in the state capital while Akhilesh Yadav, in his regime installed statues of Janeshwar Misra and Ram Manohar Lohia.


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Citizenship Bill ‘patently unconstitutional,’ battle ground to shift to Supreme Court: Chidambaram

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p chidambaram

New Delhi, Dec 10: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram described the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as “patently unconstitutional” on Tuesday and said with its passage in Parliament, the battleground will shift to the Supreme Court.

“CAB is unconstitutional. Parliament passes a Bill that is patently unconstitutional and the battle ground shifts to the Supreme Court. Elected Parliamentarians are abdicating their responsibilities in favour of lawyers and judges!,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

“That is the price we pay for giving a party a brute majority that it uses to trample over the wishes of the states and the people,” the former Union minister said in another tweet.

According to the proposed legislation, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan by December 31, 2014 and faced religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given the Indian citizenship.

P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 10, 2019
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it, 80 voting against it and zero abstentions, after a heated debate.

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BHU professor attacked for supporting Muslim colleague

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Banaras Hindu University, BHU

Varanasi: A Sanskrit professor at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) here has been allegedly attacked by students for supporting his Muslim colleague, Feroz Khan, whose appointment to the department as assistant professor had sent students on protests since the past one month.

The Dalit professor is a senior faculty member in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan (SVDV) department where Khan has been appointed.

“I was sitting in a classroom when some students barged in and started abusing me in foul language. They asked me to stop supporting a Muslim’s appointment to the faculty.

“I felt unsafe and came out. Some of the students then hurled stones at me and later caught up with me and shoved and pushed me. I could escape because a stranger gave me a lift on his scooter,” Professor Shanti Lal Salvi told reporters here, following the Monday’s incident.

Salvi alleged a colleague had instigated the students but would not name him before the media.

“I have complained to Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar against a professor of the department and some students,” he said.

A student, who was a part of the group that had accosted Salvi, said they had only asked the professor to stop supporting Khan and never attacked him.

Some students of the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Sankay department have been protesting Khan’s appointment on the ground that a Muslim cannot teach Hindu religious texts, which the department’s syllabus includes.

There has been speculation that Khan may be shifted to the department of Samhita and Sanskrit, part of the university’s faculty of Ayurveda, or the Sanskrit department of the arts faculty as a compromise.

He has appeared in interviews held by the two departments, on November 29 and on December 4.

Meanwhile, no classes have been held in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan department since November 8, the day after Khan’s appointment.

Chief proctor O.P. Rai met the student protesters on Monday and said Khan’s appointment would soon be discussed at the executive council of the university.

The semester examinations have also been postponed due to protests. “The next date of the semester examination in the department will be announced soon,” the proctor told reporters.

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