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National Herald case:Sonia,Rahul Gandhi to approach SC

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Delhi High Court on Monday had refused to quash the summons to Rahul and Sonia Gandhi to appear on Tuesday before a trial court in the National Herald case saying “serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into”..While Gandhis Lawyers will seek issuance of fresh summons against them as the earlier summons have not been served to them.

Meanwhile,Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday morning left for Puducherry to visit the rain-affected areas.

The summons were issued on a criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald.. “They have to be present in the court, or they will face a warrant. Sam Pitroda has a foreign passport. I don’t know about Rahul. He is denying CBI inquiry,” said Swamy.

Rahul is scheduled to visit flood-battered Chennai as well.

The Congress vice-president informed about his tour through Twitter,”Will visit flood affected areas in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry tomorrow, Tuesday 8th Dec (sic).”

Will visit flood affected areas in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry tomorrow, Tuesday 8th Dec

— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 7, 2015

The court, in its judgement, has also questioned the need for extending interest-free loan to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) the publishers of National Herald. “Where was need to extend interest free loan,” it said.

The trial court had on 26 June, 2014 summoned all the above accused to appear before it on 7 August, 2014 on Swamy’s complaint.

Disaster

Covid19: Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, April 7 : A day after her telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister on the fight against Covid-19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five measures to curb government “expenditure” and to divert money in fighting the deadly virus.

Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi #Covid19

🔴 Suspend all govt, PSU ads

🔴 Suspend Central Vista project

🔴 30% reduction in Expenditure Budget (not salaries) to use as economic safety net

🔴 Put all foreign visits on hold

🔴 Transfer money from PM CARES to PMNRF

Sonia Gandhi in her letter suggested to Scrap Central Vista project of approximately Rs 20000 crore, suspension of government advertisements and foreign visits of ministers and other dignitaries, and asked to divert the money to PMNRF from PM-CARES fund.

Sonia Gandhi in her letter wrote to convey her support to the decision taken by the Union Cabinet to reduce salaries for Members of Parliament by 30 per cent. Austerity measures which can be used to divert much needed funds to the fight against Covid-19 are the need of the hour, she said.

“In this spirit, I am writing to offer five concrete suggestions. I am certain you will find value in them.”

The first suggestion Sonia Gandhi made was to impose a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sectors Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years.

“The only exceptions should be advisories for Covid-19 or for issues relating to public health. Given that the Central Government currently spends an average of Rs 1250 crore per year on media advertisements (not including an equal or greater amount spent by PSUs and Government companies), this will free up a substantial amount to alleviate the economic and social impacts of Covid-19.” wrote Sonia Gandhi

The Congress President suggested to suspend Rs 20,000 crore ‘Central Vista’ beautification and construction project forthwith. “At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical building and this sum could instead be allocated towards constructing new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics along with equipping our frontline workers with Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and better facilities.”

Proportionate reduction of 30 per cent in the expenditure budget (other than Salaries, Pensions and Central Sector Schemes) should be done for the Government of India as well. This 30 per cent (i.e. Rs 2.5 lakh crore per year approximately) can then be allocated towards establishing an economic safety net for migrant workers, labourers, farmers, MSMEs and those in the unorganised sector, wrote Sonia Gandhi

“All foreign visits including that of the President, the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Ministers and Bureaucrats must be put on hold in a similar fashion,” she said.

The Exceptions can be made in case of special emergency or exigencies in national interest to be cleared by the PM. This amount (which is around Rs 393 crore for just the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet’s trips in the last five years) can be utilised extensively in measures to combat Covid-19, Sonia Gandhi added.

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

“This will ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit in the manner in which these funds are allocated and spent. It seems like a waste of effort and resources to have and create two separate silos for the distribution of funds. I understand that Rs 3800 crore approximately are lying unutilised in the PM-NRF (at the end of FY2019). These funds, plus the amount in ‘PM-Cares’, can be utilised to ensure an immediate food security net for those at the very margins of society.” wrote Sonia Gandhi.

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India

Kapil Sibal to PM Modi: You gave in to Trump’s threats

On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, April 7 : Congress leader Kapil Sibal has slammed the Prime Minister for lifting temporary ban on hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol which are presumed as preventive life saving drug for front line workers against COVID-19.

Kapil Sibal said “Modiji :UPA remembers your advice on Chinese intrusions . You said Look them in the eye. But this was time to look Trump in the eye. But he threatened, you gave in. Where is the 56 inch chest ?” tweeted Sibal.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jaiveer Shergill on Tuesday slammed US President Donald Trump’s alleged threat to retaliate in case India did not supply a drug requested for by Trump to fight coronavirus.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said: “Never in my decades of experience in world affairs have I heard of a Head of State or government openly threatening another like this.”

“What makes Indian hydroxychloroquine ‘our supply’, Mr President? It only becomes your supply when India decides to sell it to you,” said Tharoor.

Trump called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and allegedly said that the US could “retaliate” if India did not release drug that he termed “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19. On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.

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Cities

Andhra extends IPS officer’s suspension period

Last month, the Central Administrative Tribunal had also dismissed the petition by the IPS officer challenging his suspension.

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AB Venkateswara Rao IPS

Amaravati, April 7 : The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday extended suspension period of senior police officer A.B. Venkateswara Rao for another four months.

Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney issued a Government Order to continue the suspension of the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer till August 5 or till further orders.

It was on February 8 the state government had suspended Rao on grounds of serious misconduct in the process of procurement of security equipment while he was working as Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence.

Last month, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had confirmed Rao’s suspension on the request of the state government.

The decision to continue suspension of the IPS officer was taken after Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau recommended the same in its interim report. According to the GO, the Review Committee had also recommended extending Rao’s suspension.

The officer allegedly committed irregularities in the procurement of aerostats and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the cost of Rs.25.50 crore under the modernization of police force scheme.

He was also accused of “endangering national security’ by disclosing intelligence protocols to an Israeli defence manufacturing firm.

The IPS officer of 1989 batch while working as Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) during the previous government, colluded with Israeli defence equipment manufacturer RT Inflatables Pvt. Ltd to illegally award critical Intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, CEO, Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd, primary bidder on behalf of RT Inflatables.

Considered close to then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Rao was removed as the intelligence chief after Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed office in May last year. He was since then waiting for a posting.

Last month, the Central Administrative Tribunal had also dismissed the petition by the IPS officer challenging his suspension.

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