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IRCTC Case: RJD Chief skips CBI questioning, seeks 15 days time




New Delhi, Sep 25: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday skipped the CBI questioning, in case against him and his son Tejashwi Yadav in connection with alleged irregularities in issuing contracts for two IRCTC hotels to a private company.

Lalu Prasad’s advocate, through a letter, informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday afternoon that his client would not be able to join the investigation in response to the summons issued on September 22 seeking his presence at the CBI headquarters here.

“His advocate submitted a letter to us on behalf of the leader seeking two weeks’ time to appear before the investigators in the IRCTC case,” a CBI official said.

The CBI on September 22 issued fresh summons to Lalu Prasad and his son to appear before the agency on September 25 and 26.

Earlier, the CBI summoned the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and his son, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, on September 7 to report at its headquarters in Lodhi Road area of south Delhi for questioning on September 11 and 12.

The CBI had on July 5 filed a corruption case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav for alleged irregularities when Lalu Prasad was the Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.

The contracts for two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels at Ranchi and Puri were handed over to Sujata Hotels company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar in lieu of an alleged bribe in the form of a plot of prime land in Bihar, the CBI said.

According to the CBI, Lalu Prasad allegedly granted illegal favours to Sujata Hotels through the IRCTC, and the tender process for the development, maintenance, and operation of the two hotels was manipulated in exchange for the three-acre plot in Patna where a mall is coming up.

The CBI, which registered the case under charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating under the Indian Penal Code and sections of Prevention of the Corruption Act, claimed that the kickbacks were paid through a ‘benami’ company owned by Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta.

The CBI FIR alleged that Vinay Kochhar sold three acres of land in Patna through 10 sale deeds on February 25, 2005, for Rs 1.47 crore to Delight Marketing Company in which Sarla Gupta was a Director.

The FIR alleged that the land was sold at a price below circle and market rates and was falsely shown as agricultural land to evade substantial stamp duty.

During the CBI’s preliminary inquiry, the agency purportedly found that the said land was sold by the Kochhars to Delight Marketing, and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia.

The Enforcement Directorate, which is also probing the financial irregularities in the case, have questioned Ahluwalia and also summoned Sujata Hotels owners for questioning.

The ED had, on July 27, registered a separate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following the CBI FIR and is probing allegations against Lalu Prasad and others for alleged transaction of money through shell companies.



China is building helipads, airports at our borders in Doklam but PM Modi is silent: Rahul Gandhi



Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka

Chikmagalur, March 21: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka, on Wednesday questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence over the construction of helipads, airports in Dolkam by China. 

Addressing public meeting, Gandhi said China is building helipads and airports at our borders in Doklam but PM Modi is silent.

Launching a scathing attack on Modi, the Congress chief said that the Prime Minister comes here and talks against corruption but on the stage with him are sitting leaders who have been in jail on corruption charges including the BJP CM candidate.

“PM Modi doesn’t see corruption in Yeddyurappa or Jay Shah’s wealth. He doesn’t see corruption in Nirav Modi running away after looting crores. PM doesn’t tell you the price of the Rafale plane and why he gave the deal to his industrialist friend”.

The Congress president further added people do not want to listen to lies, and speeches of hate, they want to listen to truth and issues that concern them.

“I’m confident that due to the unity and hard work of our party workers, we will achieve victory”, he asserted.

Gandhi also humbly requested the people of Karnataka to bless him with their support, as they supported his grandmother, Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

Earlier in a day, clad in traditional dhoti Gandhi offered prayers at Sharadamba Temple and visited Sringeri Mutt along with some senior leaders of the party.

During his Jana Aashirwada Yatre, Gandhi also inaugurated the Block Congress Committee office.

Later, AICC President, accompanied by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah met with delegations from Karnataka Planters Association, Karnataka Growers Federation, Plantation Labour Union Leaders, Farmers’ Association and Dry Lands Farmers’ Association.


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Cambridge Analytica row: Congress hits back, says BJP’s fake news factory produced one more fake product



New Delhi, March 21: The Congress on Wednesday refuted the mischievous allegations of the Bharatiya Janata Party over the role of Cambridge Analytica behind AICC chief Rahul Gandhi’s social media profile, saying fake agendas have become an everyday character of the BJP.

Hitting back at Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad,  Congress’s Randeep Surjewala said “BJP’s factory of fake news has produced one more fake product today. It appears fake statements, fake press conferences & fake agendas have become an everyday character of BJP and its ‘Lawless’ Law Minister.

“Indian National Congress or the Congress President has never used or never hired the services of a company called Cambridge Analytica. It is a fake agenda and white lie being dished out by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad”, Surjewala asserted.

The Congress leader also claimed that the Cambridge Analytica’s linked website reveals in 2010 its services were used by BJP-JD(U). Firm’s Indian partner Ovlene Business Intelligence (OBI) is being run by BJP ally’s MP’s son. OBI company’s services were used by Rajnath Singh in 2009.

Earlier in a day, alleging that Congress has links with Cambridge Analytica, Prasad said My question to Congress party is whether to win elections, Congress will depend on data manipulation and theft of data” and asked, “What is the role of Cambridge Analytica in social media profile of Rahul Gandhi”.

“Will Congress Party depend on data theft and manipulation to win elections? What is the role of Cambridge Analytica in social media profile of Rahul Gandhi?” Prasad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Earlier in a series of tweets, “the Union Minister had also questioned the Congress party on its links with the data analytic firm.

“This is not just a question of Congress Party’s association with a rogue data analysis firm but it is a question of free and fair elections in India and democratic values of our country,” he tweeted.


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SC-ST Act: Congress accuses BJP of being Anti-Dalit party



New Delhi, March 21: The Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP of being an anti-Dalit party over the Supreme Court ruling in the prevention of atrocities against SC-ST Act.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addersing a presser, said “the Rights of Dalits, SC/ST have been compromised under the Narendra Modi government. The law that was enacted during the Rajiv Gandhi governmnt has been entirely done away way with”.

“The Maharashtra government was part of it (the petition) and they did not take any step to establish a stand on it. The Attorney General, too, did not go to court over it. Through this order it has been made clear that no immediate action will be taken if a Dalit, SC/ST comes to report any grievance,” he added.

“Were Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sleeping that they were not aware that the Attorney General is not going to court on this case? This depicts the anti-Dalit mind set of the BJP-RSS. However, there can be misuse but that doesn’t mean all cases lodged are wrong or false as per misuse. Does one-odd cases of misuse mean you abolish the legislature ? Surjewala questioned.

Reacting to this, Prasad said, “The Congress is making irresponsible statements. I will examine and respond to the apex court verdict. What has the Congress done for Dalits in the 48 years of their rule? They have only used them as a vote bank”.

Meanwhile, former Union Minister Anand Sharma stated, in a bid to empower backward classes, there were scores of decisions have been. We are saddened by the decision that the law now doesn’t agree to protect the SC/ST. If this decision if not thought over again, it will lead to further questions. Why is the Government mum on the matter, it seems like they are welcoming the decision”.

This comes a day after the apex court held that there is no absolute bar for granting anticipatory bail in a matter related to atrocities on SCs/STs.

The Top Court further stated that a public servant can be held after approval by some senior staffer.

A bench comprising of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit also noted that to avoid the false implication of an innocent, preliminary probe will be conducted by the DSP to chalk out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous.

Later, the court observed that the Government official cannot be prosecuted on a mere allegation of carrying out an offence under the Act without the sanction of appointing authority.


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