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Mamata Banerjee condoles soldiers’ death in Pakistani firing



Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Feb 5: Expressing sadden over the death of Indian soldiers in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said their “sacrifice for the nation will not go down in vain”.

Four Indian soldiers, including a 22-year-old officer, were killed and four other persons were injured on Sunday in Pakistani firing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri and Poonch districts, Army officials said.

The soldiers include Captain Kapil Kundu, who would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on February 10. Hailing from Haryana’s Gurugram, he is survived by his mother Sunita.

The others were, Riflemen Ramavatar, 27, from Baraka village in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior, Subham Singh, 23, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, and Havilder Roshan Lal, 43, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba.

“Captain Kapil Kundu, Rifleman Ramavatar, Rifleman Subham Singh & Havaldar Roshan Lal were martyred in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in BG (Bhimber Gali) sector of Rajouri. Your sacrifice for the nation will not go down in vain. Heartfelt condolences to NoK,” she said in a tweet.




Coal scam: Ex-Union Minister Dilip Ray sentenced to 3 years jail




Dilip Ray

Former Union minister Dilip Ray was on Monday sentenced to three-year imprisonment in a coal scam case. Ray was convicted in the case which pertains to irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.

A Delhi court had earlier this month reserved the order for October 26 after hearing arguments from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well the convicts. The court directed the convicts to be present before it physically on that date.

Besides Ray, former minister of state (coal) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the CBI had sought life imprisonment for other convicts – two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, and Castron Technologies Ltd’s (CTL) director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla.

Ray was convicted under various sections including 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to criminal breach of trust of trust by a public servant.

“I am very surprised at conviction under section 409 of the IPC as the same court in the past has acquitted people in 409 IPC in view of three-judge bench judgement of Supreme Court. However, I welcome sentence not being harsh of three years having been imposed by the court,” said Vijay Aggarwal, advocate who represented various accused in 2G scam and is also representing various accused in coal scam cases.

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‘Democracy being hollowed out’, Sonia Gandhi attacks PM Modi, Centre




Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

Congress President Sonia Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of doing “sinister conspiracies” behind every political protest opposing it and being determined to pursue its “authoritarian strategy” regardless of consequences.

In an op-ed written for Hindustan Times, the senior Congress leader attacked the central government over using investigative agencies to target political opposition and dissenters, diverting attention from people’s real problems, handling anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest and Hathras rape case, and more.

Sonia Gandhi began the article by calling democracy of India – world’s largest -at the crossroads and added that it is clear that its economy is in deep crisis. She goes on by saying, “that all the pillars of a democratic system of governance are under assault.”

The fundamental right to freedom of expression has been systematically suspended through suppression and intimidation, she wrote. Dissent is deliberately stifled as “terrorism” or branded as an “anti-national activity”, added she.

According to Sonia Gandhi, the Centre diverts attention from real problems of the people by pronouncing bogus threats to “national security” everywhere. “Of course, some of these threats are real and have to be dealt with uncompromisingly but the Narendra Modi government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conjure up sinister conspiracies behind every political protest, indeed behind any and everything they see as opposition to them,” she stated.

She further alleged the government in Centre for using investigative agencies to target political opposition, as she said: “Every organ of State that could possibly be used to target political opposition has already been pressed into service — the Police, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and even the Narcotics Bureau.”

The Congress chief accused the Modi government of designating political opponents as enemies of the country. Calling it a “self-serving”, she said that the move unleashed the “most draconian laws in our penal code against any and every protester who disagreed publicly with the BJP and its politics.”

She charged the government for labelling anti-BJP protests as anti-India conspiracies by giving examples of protests against the CAA and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). She further said the Modi government “chose to vilify it and made it a divisive issue in the Delhi elections.”

“The BJP may have differences with dissenters and civil society activists. Indeed, the same activists have often protested against Congress governments as well. But to paint them as anti-national conspirators promoting communal violence is prejudicial and extremely dangerous for democracy,” article stated.

Taking up the gang-rape and murder case of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, she said that the state government’s response was “vile”.

She said the PM Modi claims to represent 130 crore Indians but his government treats political opponents, dissenters, and those who did not vote for the ruling party as “second-class citizens without democratic rights”.Concluding the article the senior political leader said the citizens of India are not just an electorate but only they are the nation and country will thrive only when democracy as envisioned by our Constitution.

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SC junks UBHL plea against HC order to wind up Mallya’s firm




Vijay Mallya

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea filed by liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) to challenge a Karnataka High Court order to uphold the winding up of the company for recovery of dues payable by Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the consortium of banks led by the SBI, informed the top court that so far around Rs 3,600 crore have been recovered but Rs 11,000 crore still needed to to be recovered from Mallya and UBHL.

Rohatgi contended that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should not have attached the properties of the company as these were encumbered assets and thus banks had the first claim over the assets.

The total dues of UBHL to its creditors, as per the Karnataka High Court order in February 2018, are around Rs 7,000 crore.

On September 30, the United Breweries Holding Ltd had told the Supreme Court that it had offered over Rs 14,000 crore to various banks to settle its dues and that the company’s assets exceeded its total debt.

Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for United Breweries, had submitted before the top court that since the company’s assets exceeded the total debt, it was not the case wherein the company should be directed to wind up.

Vaidyanathan insisted that the ED had attached many assets of the company, as a result of which none was available to the banks.

Source: IANS

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