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Ishrat case: Congress government watched terror plot bloom, alleges BJP

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New Delhi, April 18 : Levelling serious allegations against the Congress in the Ishrat Jahan shootout case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said the Congress almost connived to get a political rival eliminated.

“Here is a political rival, the then chief minister of Gujarat, whom the Congress could not face politically. So they quietly saw a terror plot bloom,” said union minister Nirmala Sitharaman targetting Congress referring to ex-Gujarat chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The then union home minister gave two affidavits in the court. They tried to show as if there was no terror plot, as if there was no threat to Modi’s life.

“By politicising the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the Congress has undermined the national security. They have weakened the entire security network,” Sitharaman said.

Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan and her three alleged associates Pranesh Gopinath Pilai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar were killed by Gujarat Police in an allegedly fake shoot-out on June 15, 2004.

Gujarat Police had described the four as Pakistani-controlled terrorists who came from Jammu and Kashmir to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

In Feruary, Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley told a Mumbai court that Ishrat Jahan was a member of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Fire at Delhi’s ITO building, no casualties

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Fire
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A fire broke out at the Institution of Engineers building at ITO on Friday here. No injuries were reported, and the blaze has been brought under control, the Fire Department said.

The fire started from a meter board of the building. “We received a call around 8.30 a.m. about a fire in the meter board at the Institution of Engineers building at ITO. A total of 12 fire tenders were rushed to the site. The fire was on the second floor of the building,” said Atul Garg, Director Delhi Fire Service.

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India

Maha Congress to agitate for Arnab’s arrest

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Arnab Goswami

Terming the recent revelations of WhatsApp chats of two media personalities Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta as “extremely serious and violative of the Official Secret Act, 1923” the Maharashtra Congress on Thursday announced state-wide protests on Friday (Jan. 22) demanding their arrest and prosecution.

State party President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the chats between the Republic TV Editor and the ex-BARC head had some serious revelations related to national security and pertaining to the retaliatory surgical strike by India in Balakot, Pakistan.

“How did Goswami get the information on the air-strikes of Feb. 23, 2019, three days before the action was taken? Who is the ‘Big Name’ in the government that he refers to? With whom did Goswami share such sensitive information that is violative of the OSA, 1923,” Thorat demanded.

The Congress leader pointed out that the WhatsApp chats indicate how Goswami enjoys very close ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party government, many ministers or high-ranking officials have helped him out by flouting rules, and the Pulwama attack pointed to vested interests of some big functionary.

“The chats mention that ‘he will win elections’ on the issue – so did the BJP use the martyrs’ sacrifice only to win polls? What is the connivance between Goswami and the BJP which is dangerous not only for the press freedom, but also the country’s security and democracy,” Thorat pointed out.

Claiming that Goswami is not ‘the only culprit’, the Congress chief alleged that many Central ministers have violated their oath to help the Republic TV chief earn commercial gains, and action must be taken against all those who were party to the entire episode.

Referring to the ongoing TRP manipulations scam and Republic TV illegally using Doordarshan’s satellite frequencies causing huge losses to Prasar Bharati, Thorat said even after DD lodged a complaint, the then Information & Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore failed to take cognizance of the matter and set it aside.

“This shows that Goswami enjoys great support from within the BJP government is it the reason he has been spared of action despite misappropriation of public funds,” Thorat asked.

Last week, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that the state government will seek legal opinion to examine how it could proceed against the Republic TV head in the matter which concerned national security.

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Australian envoy calls on Punjab, Haryana CMs

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Jan 21 (IANS) Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell on Thursday called on Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana here to explore cooperation in agriculture, water and education.

“Valuable insights from Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar-ji on his key priorities for Haryana and opportunities for greater Australia-Haryana cooperation in agribusiness, water and education,” O’Farrell said in a tweet.

He said he met officials of key universities in Punjab and Haryana to explore ways to strengthen education partnerships between institutions in Australia and north India as India’s new National Education Policy is being implemented.

On his meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, he tweeted: “Thank you Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh-ji for a great discussion on how we can revitalise our economies post COVID-19, and further deepen our cooperation in agriculture, water and education.”

The envoy said he also enjoyed conversation about Amarinder Singh’s grandfather Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s and father Maharaja Yadavinder Singh’s contribution to the Indian cricket — one played several first-class cricket matches for India and the other played a Test match in 1934.

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