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Khattar govt promotes IAS Ashok Khemka as Principal Secretary

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Ashok Khemka, the Haryana bureaucrat who faced 46 transfers in 22 years of his service was given a New year gift as Haryana government promoted him to the post of principal secretary.

Kheka reacted with a tweet :Wish all a very Happy New Year! Grateful to the Almighty. Awaiting posting on promotion to the rank of Principal Secretary.    — Ashok Khemka, IAS (@AshokKhemka_IAS) January 1, 2016

Whistleblower IAS officer Khemka had grabbed headlines after he cancelled the mutation of a controversial land deal involving Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s firm and real estate giant DLF in 2012.

Ashok Khemka  was among six officers promoted to the rank of Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary by the Haryana government on Friday.

Then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government had chargesheeted Khemka for “wrongly” cancelling the mutation of land deal. With the change of guard, the BJP government on November 4, 2015, had dropped the chargesheet paving the way for his promotion.

In November 2015, the BJP-led Haryana government had dropped charge sheet against  Khemka in which he had been charged by the previous Congress regime with exceeding his jurisdiction when he had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between a firm owned by Mr Vadra and the realty major.

The Rs 58 -rore deal related to 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon’s Shikohpur village, which was sold by Mr. Vadra to DLF amid controversy over allegations of undervaluation.
The other five IAS officers of 1991 batch who have been promoted to the rank of Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary are Abhilaksh Likhi, Vineet Garg, Anil Malik, AK Singh and Shrikant Walgad said a senior official here.

“These officers have been promoted to the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) which entitles them to be designated as Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary,” Additional Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal said.
Mr. Kaushal further said the officers who have been promoted will continue holding the same charge which they are presently handling.

Khemka is currently posted as Secretary and Director-General, Archaeology and Museums Department of the Haryana Government.

India

Nation In Grip Of Corporates: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi said the farmers of the country have still not got a clear picture on the farm laws and the agitation could flare up again.

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 28 : Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that “one or two corporates” are controlling the country and added that this is not good for democracy.

Gandhi said the farmers of the country have still not got a clear picture on the farm laws and the agitation could flare up again.

He was speaking at a public function in Wayanad.

The former Congress chief said that the Congress and UDF would sweep the upcoming Assembly polls in the Kerala and added that several new faces will be contesting the election.

Gandhi who is in the state for the past couple of days, had interacted with girl students on Wednesday and had even asked a schoolgirl to translate his speech. He had called upon the girls students to be independent and equal to boys and asked them to be active in all walks of life.

Gandhi was also involved in a series of discussions with senior state Congress leaders and its ally the Indian Union Muslim League regarding the sharing of seats. He is keen that a large number of women and youth contest the next election on Congress tickets.

With the Congress and the UDF on the backfoot following the recent Kerala local body elections, where the ruling LDF had swept the polls, the Congress is active with altering of strategies including bringing in former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as the chairman of the election supervisory committee as well as Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor as member of the election manifesto committee.

The state Congress is expecting Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi as their star campaigners in the 2021 Assembly election, likely to take place in mid-April and the Congress is in a do-or-die battle to wrest power from the LDF.

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Sixteen Opposition parties to boycott President’s address

President Ram Nath Kovind would address the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament on January 29.

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Ram Nath Kovind

A total of 16 Opposition parties have decided to boycott the president’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament in solidarity with the farmers protesting the new farm laws, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Thursday.

The 16 Opposition parties also demand a probe into the Centre’s role in violence on Republic Day in Delhi, said the leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha while speaking to the media with Congress’ chief whip in Lok Sabha, K Suresh, by his side.

The Congress on Wednesday had held Union home minister Amit Shah responsible for the violence that shook the national capital on Republic Day and said he should be sacked immediately.

The Congress had also accused the Modi government of being part of a concerted conspiracy to malign the farmers’ agitation by allowing some miscreants to enter the Red Fort complex and hoist a religious flag, in their bid to ensure that the farmers bury their demand for the repeal of the three new agri laws.

President Ram Nath Kovind would address the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament on January 29.

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Bombay HC: Unzipping pants, holding minor’s hand not ‘sexual assault’

The Nagpur bench observed that the case comes under the gambit of “sexual harassment” and not “sexual assault”.

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Rape Sexual Violence

Mumbai, Jan 28: Bombay High Court has held that holding a minor girl’s hands and opening the zip of pants cannot be called “sexual assault” under POCSO Act, but would amount to “sexual harassment” under Section 354-A(1)(i) of the IPC.

The same judge, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, recently held that groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be called “sexual assault” under POCSO Act.

The ruling was pronounced in a criminal appeal against the conviction and sentence awarded to a 50-year-old man for molesting a five-year-old girl.

The Nagpur bench observed that the case comes under the gambit of “sexual harassment” and not “sexual assault”.

The Session Court had convicted the man and ruled it to be “aggravated sexual assault” punishable under Section 10 of POCSO and sentenced him to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 25,000 with a default simple imprisonment for six months.

However, Justice Ganediwala set aside his conviction under Sections 8, 10 and 12 of POCSO Act, but held him guilty under Section 354A (1) (i) IPC, which carries a maximum imprisonment of three years.

The police had registered a case based on the complaint lodged by the victim’s mother, who said that she saw the accused, whose pants zip was opened, holding the hands of her daughter. She had also testified that her daughter informed her that the accused removed his penis from the pant and asked her to come to the bed for sleeping.

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