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PMO interfering in Malegaon terror probe, says Congress

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New Delhi, May 15 : The Congress on Sunday accused the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of interfering in the 2008 Malegaon blast case to give “clean chits” to accused people with RSS-BJP background and sought to drag National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s name into the row.

The opposition party urged the Supreme Court to take into its custody the charge sheet, official files, notings and other relevant documents in the case to ensure justice.

“This government has interfered in the process of law and justice. There is a centrally coordinated dirty tricks department in the PMO being run under the supervision of NSA (National Security Adviser Ajit Doval),” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media at the party headquarters here.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a charge sheet against 10 and dropped Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others from the list of the accused in the Malegaon case.

Charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) were dropped against all accused, including Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit.

“The NIA has now become ‘Namo Investigation Agency’ and is being misused for the sole purpose of giving clean chits to people affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP by hook or crook,” he said.

“The Supreme Court must take cognizance and take all case documents into its custody, including confessional statements, charge sheets, files and notings, correspondence between government departments, NIA, attorney general, home ministry, PMO and NSA,” Sharma added.

The Congress reaction comes after a letter written by Malegaon key accused Purohit to NSA Ajit Doval surfaced.

In the letter dated January 6, 2016, Purohit wrote that “fabricated” evidence was planted against him by the Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

“I sincerely seek your immediate intervention in the matter for the things that are not happening right,” Purohit said in the letter, and insisted that his “silence till date was out of the high hopes from the NIA which were now fast and timidly diminishing”.

Purohit said that the NIA was filing charge sheet on the similar lines “as that of fabricated and misconstructed investigation of the ATS as well as based on planted evidence”.

Though the government has not commented on the veracity of the letter, the NIA in its latest charge sheet filed last week had dropped MCOCA charges against all 10 accused who were indicted in 2008 case, including Purohit.

Anand Sharma said: “NSA Doval and the union home secretary are said to have intervened in the ongoing investigation by the NIA and the file with their notings has travelled across government departments, faster than (Olympian sprinter) Usain Bolt.”

Referring to the latest NIA charge sheet in the case, Sharma said “the government will do the same with the Samjhauta Express blast case and close it too”.

He said the affair has weakened India’s position in the world in tackling terrorism.

Sharma also said that a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and others in the 2008 Malegaon blast case was an insult to police officer Hemant Karkare, who initially investigated it as chief of Maharashtra’s ATS. Karkare was killed in the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.

India

Leaking national secret to journalist is a criminal act: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, Jan 19 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that leaking sensitive information related to the national secret of a planned attack to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

To a question about the alleged chats discussing the Balakot air strike after the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror strike on CRPF convoy, Rahul Gandhi said, “Leaking of any sensitive information is a criminal act. This applies to the person who sends it and the person who receives it.”

He said that such a sensitive issue was a subject of national secret regarding a planned air strike which is only either with the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Union Defence Minister, Indian Air Force Chief and the National Security Advisor.

“I want to know who among the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Defence Minister or NSA leaked secret information to the journalist. This is a criminal act. If the journalist had such information on his WhatsApp, I assume the Pakistanis too had it,” he said.

He also said that by leaking such information to a journalist risked the IAF fighter jets and pilots and this was not an act of “patriotism”.

He also said for leaking such a classified information, the process of putting the people in prison should start.

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India

Image of India built by Congress being destroyed by PM Modi: Rahul Gandhi

He also accused the government of “destroying” Indian agriculture by enacting the three farm laws.

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New Delhi, Jan 20: Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Centre over the farmers’ agitation, saying that the “image” of India built by the Congress is being “destroyed” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Commenting on the farmers’ protests at several borders of the national capital for the last 54 days over the three farm laws, he said that “a tragedy is unfolding” and the only solution to end the deadlock is to repeal the three farm laws.

Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, Rahul Gandhi said, “India used to be a pre-eminent economy in the world. Now we are a laughing stock. We are unable to provide jobs to the youth. Farmers are protesting outside in the cold. I don’t know why Modiji thinks that it is something to be proud of.”

“This is something to be ashamed of. The whole world is looking and asking why lakhs of farmers are sitting outside Delhi. So, Modi is destroying the image of India that Congress and Mahatma Gandhi built slowly and steadily,” he said.

“That is the reality,” he said, adding that the only solution to this is to repeal the three farm laws.

Slamming the government, the Congress leader said that the government believes it can tire out the farmers.

“But farmers cannot be tired or fooled. They are much smarter than the Prime Minister. Only solution to end the protests is to repeal the three farm laws,” he said.

He also accused the government of “destroying” Indian agriculture by enacting the three farm laws.

Rahul Gandhi also launched a booklet on the three farm laws titled ‘Kheti ka Khoon’.

He further said that there is a tragedy unfolding today in the country, and the government wants to ignore the issue and mislead the country. “I am not going to speak about farmers alone as it is only part of the tragedy. It’s also important for youngsters. This is not about the present but about your future,” he said.

“The rice and wheat that you (middle class) buy comes at the rate you purchase because of APMC and the agricultural system. This is not just an assault on farmers but on the middle class and on every single youngster in the country, who is not able to get a job,” he said.

He said, “What we have seen in industry after industry, when it comes to the airports, telecom, power, retail, across the board, what we are watching is the development of massive monopolies.”

He alleged that “three-four-five people are owning this country, and they are owning it as a small group of people who are close to the Prime Minister and have media support.”

“And now we have seen that the last bastion of agriculture that was not touched by industries is also going away,” he said.

He said that now three or four people will own the whole system and the farmers will not get their prices and the middle class will be hurt by the prices.

The Congress leader said that the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are fighting on behalf of 65 crore farmers of the country.

“They are the patriots of the country, who are protecting livelihood of 65 crore people. I support them, they are fighting for us,” Rahul Gandhi said.

To a question about China’s intrusion, Rahul Gandhi said, “China is noticing the weakness of India. China has a strategic vision as it wants to shape the entire world. China has tested India twice. If India won’t create a strategy against China, it will take benefit of that and then no one would be able to stop the damage.”

He said that the job of safeguarding the country is not being done properly.

“China is testing India and it wants to dominate. I am raising red flags, you can’t manage China with event management,” he said.

He added that whoever speaks against the government is described as an anti-national or criminal.

“We are saying this because we are seeing the problems. If we speak about China we are enemies. When we are giving warning signals, we are enemies. Even if the farmers’ protest is sorted out, then its result will come from somewhere else like from youth or someone else.

“Their approach is wrong, they don’t want to learn and accept. They only want to speak, it is the training by the RSS, they are top grade in this,” he added.

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Gujarat govt renames ‘dragon fruit’ as kamalam

It should be noted that the lotus is the symbol of the BJP and the state BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar is also named ‘Shri Kamalam’.

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Gandhinagar Jan 20: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, while interacting with the media on Tuesday, said that the government has applied for a patent to change the nomenclature of dragon fruit to ‘Kamalam’.

According to the CM, the word dragon for the fruit sounded inappropriate and so the Gujarat government had decided for the fruit to be called as Kamalam.

While interacting with the media on Tuesday during the launch of the Chief Minister Horticulture Development Mission, Rupani said, “We have applied for the patent of the Dragon fruit to be called as Kamalam. But as of now, we the Gujarat government have decided to call the fruit as Kamalam.”

“Even though the fruit is known as dragon fruit, it doesn’t sound appropriate. The word Kamalam is a Sanskrit word and the fruit does have the shape of the lotus, so we have decided to call it Kamalam, and there’s nothing political about it,” Rupani added.

According to the CM, the fruit has long since been grown as a form of cactus in the country. “Nobody has to be alarmed by the word Kamalam,” Rupani added.

It should be noted that the lotus is the symbol of the BJP and the state BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar is also named ‘Shri Kamalam’.

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