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IT sleuths search Karnataka minister’s house, resort suite in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, Aug 2: Income Tax sleuths on Wednesday conducted searches at the residence of Karnataka Power Minister D.K. Shivakumar in the city and at a luxury suite he was staying in at a private resort here where 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs have been housed.

“Our state investigative wing is conducting searches at the residence of a Karnataka Minister (Shivakumar) and the room he is staying at a resort (Eagleton) near Bengaluru where some MLAs from another state (Gujarat) are put up,” said Income Tax Joint Commissioner S. Ramesh in a statement here.

The searches were being conducted under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act as an evidence gathering exercise in compliance with the statutory requirements, he said.

“The search is the continuation of an investigation, which has been in progress for a considerable period of time,” asserted Ramesh.

He maintained that the timing of the search was decided well in advance, and that it had nothing to do with Gujarat Congress MLAs being brought to Karnataka.

“Our search team has no concern with the MLAs and there is no contact between the team and the MLAs. The minister’s room alone was being searched,” Ramesh said.

The Congress has slammed the raids and termed it as political vendetta.

Ahead of the searches, security was stepped up at the minister’s residence and at the resort and vehicles coming out of the two places were checked.

The IT sleuths brought Shivakumar to the city from the resort to question him on the documents and a huge haul of cash that was found in his residence.

The search at the Minister’s posh residence in the city’s upscale northwest suburb and his deluxe room at the resort caught the ruling party in Karnataka unaware and led to condemnation.

“It’s a political vendetta by a desperate party (BJP) and its governments in the state (Gujarat) and in New Delhi to frighten the opposition members,” party’s state unit spokesman Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters here.

The Congress had flown its 44 Gujarat lawmakers from Ahmedabad on July 29 and lodged them in the Eagleton resort at Bidadi, 30km from here, ostensibly to prevent the BJP from poaching them ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha poll in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is contesting for a fifth term from Gujarat.

The resort is located in the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Congress lawmaker D.K. Suresh, younger brother of Shivakumar, a lawmaker from the Kanakapura assembly segment in the district.

Patel, also political secretary to party President Sonia Gandhi, filed nomination in Ahmedabad on July 26. He needs 47 preference voters in the first round for re-election. It also has the support of two NCP lawmakers.

The party’s high command directed Shivakumar and Suresh to look after the needs of the Gujarat legislators, who are likely to stay at the resort till August 7 before flying back to Ahmedabad for the crucial voting on August 8.

Ironically, the ruling BJP in Gujarat has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, who quit the Congress as Chief Whip, to contest against Patel.

BJP National President Amit Shah and Union Textiles and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are the two other candidates in the fray for four of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats from the state.

IANS

India

Media bodies seek action against J&K MLA for threatening press

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

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Choudhary Lal Singh

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Media organisations on Sunday demanded strict action against Jammu and Kashmir BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at journalists in the Valley.

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

He openly threatened them with consequences and warned them of a fate similar to that of Shujaat Bukhari, the Editor of Rising Kashmir who was shot dead less than a fortnight ago, the statement said.

Bukhari’s assassination was condemned by people in general, besides a number of journalist organisations.

Condemning his remarks, the statement said that Singh also blamed Kashmir journalists for creating a “wrong atmosphere” and told them to control themselves.

Singh resigned from the state cabinet in April following his participation in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in January in support of those accused of rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua.

“We demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley,” the statement said.

It said that such remarks were nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

“They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” the statement read.

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NBCC clarifies over Felling of trees for south Delhi’s Housing Project

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New Delhi, June 24: A day after the residents of south Delhi protested carried out a candle light march  in order to protest cutting of more than 16,000 trees under the south Delhi redevelopment project, National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC)  chairperson AK Mittal said that replanting and replacement of trees is being done.

“We’ve permission to cut 1400 trees in Nauroji Nagar&2200 in Netaji Nagar. Nothing finalised in Sarojini Nagar yet.That’s only 3600 trees, not 16,000. No. of trees in rest 4 colonies which will be developed by CPWD is also less.Replanting&replacement of trees is going on,”Mittal said.

In September last year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC) Limited to complete compensatory plantation before they start felling trees for the redevelopment of Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar areas.

 

The centre while responding to reports saying that nearly 17,000 trees are to be cut in Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar as part of the redevelopment project, said that “14,031 trees are to be cut out of the existing 21,040 trees”.

 

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in a statement, added that “the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, which will enhance the green area”.

 

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15 killed as tractor falls in Telangana canal

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accident

Hyderabad, June 24 : Fifteen agriculture workers were killed and 15 others injured when a tractor plunged into a canal in Telangana’s Yadadri district on Sunday, police said.

The incident occurred when the tractor carrying the workers fell in Musi canal near Veligonda. The dead include 14 women and a boy.

According to the police, the tractor driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to avoid a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction.

The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals. The death toll may rise as the condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.

The agriculture workers were on their way to nearby fields for sowing when the incident took place. Police personnel and revenue workers with the help of locals retrieved the bodies from the canal.

State Energy Minister Jagdish Reddy visited the accident site. He told reporters that a probe would be conducted into the incident. He assured all help to the families of the deceased and to the injured.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock over the incident. He conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased and directed officials to provide best medical care to the injured.(IANS)

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