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Verma’s ‘removal’ in gross violation of laws: Congress

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Singhvi

New Delhi, Oct 24: The Congress on Wednesday termed the “removal” of CBI Director Alok Verma “illegal” and alleged that it has been triggered by the Narendra Modi governments fear that its “dirty secrets” in the “Rafale scam” might pop out.

Hours after the Centre sent Verma “on leave” and asked Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao “to look after the duties and functions” of the CBI Director in the interim, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the move was in gross violation of the Lokpal Act that governs the appointment of CBI directors as per a Supreme Court verdict.

“The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has no locus standi to either appoint a CBI director or transfer a director. This is a clear case of the CVC being usurped and misused by the government to cover up things,” Singhvi told the media here countering the Centre’s bid to justify the move.

Defending the decision Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier said the step was absolutely essential and was recommended by the CVC to maintain “institutional integrity and credibility” of the probe agency.

“The defacto removal of Verma was in gross violation of laws and procedures. There is too much at stake for this government to cover up. All this is a result of the Modi government’s Rafale-mania,” said Singhvi.

Citing the Lokpal Act, Singhvi asked if the decision was taken on the basis of the recommendation of a search committee that comprises of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“The government post midnight takes the decision and now puts the onus on the CVC. But was the Leader of Opposition or the CJI called? Moreover, it also is in gross violation of the Supreme Court judgment in the Vineet Narain case wherein a tenure of a minimum of two years was fixed for the CBI director,” said Singhvi citing the 1997 verdict.

He said that neither Verma’s removal nor Rao’s appointment was referred to the Selection Committee, as is required under the law and the Supreme Court directives.

“The CBI director’s tenure as per the 1997 verdict is regardless of the date of his superannuation. The court also ruled that the CBI director could be transferred only under extraordinary circumstances and the transfer needs to be approved by the Selection Committee, none of which have been done.

“This is a sordid story and the sorry state of affairs where the government is abusing and misusing central agencies and institutions to cover up its dark and dirty secrets,” added Singhvi.

Health

Haryana Minister Anil Vij, who was part of vaccine trial, tests positive for COVID-19

Vij, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, had volunteered to be part of the third phase trial of Covaxin, which started in Haryana on November 20. He was administered a trial dose. However, it’s not immediately clear whether he was administered the vaccine candidate during the trial or a placebo.

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Anil Vij

Haryana health minister Anil Vij said on Saturday he has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and has been admitted to a hospital.

“I have been tested Corona positive. I am admitted in Civil Hospital Ambala Cantt. All those who have come in close contact to me are advised to get themselves tested for corona,” he tweeted.

Vij, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, volunteered to be a part of the third phase trial of Covaxin, which started in Haryana on November 20. He was administered a trial dose.

However, it’s not immediately clear whether he was administered the vaccine candidate during the trial or a placebo.

Also, the antibodies against the infection build up only after a specific number of days pass after the second dose of the vaccine is taken, since it is a two-dose vaccine, according to a health ministry official who did not want to be named.

The official said this was not solely in the context of Vij, who got just one dose — of either the vaccine or a placebo.

Vij’s media coordinator, Vijender, Chauhan said the minister was in Chandigarh on Friday afternoon and had reported fatigue later. “He got tested himself today morning and the result is positive. The staff will be tested today itself,” Chauhan said.

Bharat Biotech had said that phase 3 trials would involve a total of 26,000 people and be conducted at 25 centres across the country. “After successful completion of the interim analysis from the phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of Covaxin, Bharat Biotech received Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for phase 3 clinical trials in 26,000 participants in over 25 centres across India,” the company had said in a statement. This will be India’s first phase 3 efficacy study for a Covid-19 vaccine, and the largest such trial ever conducted in the country, the statement added.

According to top officials of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED) in Kolkata, the results of the phase-III trial of the indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine candidate, Covaxin, will be available in November 2021. The interim report may be available by May 2021 at the earliest, they added.

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Election

Hyderabadis give fractured mandate, TRS single largest party

Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, BJP President J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP.

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Telangana CM KC Rao

Elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) threw up a hung house as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made big inroads to deny the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) a clear majority.

TRS emerged as the single largest party with 55 seats in the 150-member municipal body while the BJP won 48 seats, signalling its emergence as a dominant political force in the state.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which retained 44 seats, has emerged as the kingmaker. TRS and MIM are likely to enter into a power sharing arrangement to rule the municipal body.

The Congress could win just two seats. Owning the responsibility for the party’s disastrous performance, state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy announced his resignation from the poston Friday evening.

The results came as a big shock to the TRS, which had won landslide majority in 2016 with 99 seats. With just four seats in the previous elections, the BJP improved its performance manifold.

Result in one division (Neredmet) was withheld as the number of ballots with ‘distinguished mark’ other than ‘swastik’ was more than the majority of TRS. The ruling party was leading by 505 seats but ballots with ‘distinguished mark’ other than ‘swastik’ was 544. The result will be subject to High Court order in the matter.

The counting day saw several twists and turns in the fortunes of the parties. Though TRS appeared set to retain power with lead in 70 divisions at around 4 p.m., the scene changed subsequently with the BJP racing ahead in divisions where it was locked in neck-and-neck battle with the TRS.



The newly elected corporators and 52 ex-officio members will elect the Mayor. Since TRS has majority ex-officio members, it required 65 corporators to have its Mayor. The party may now have to negotiate power sharing agreement with the MIM if the latter doesn’t extend unconditional support. In 2009, when GHMC polls had thrown a similar verdict, the Congress had shared power with the MIM, leaving the post of Mayor to MIM for two years.

The post of Mayor this time has been reserved for woman.

Terming the results not to the expectations of the party, TRS working President K.T. Rama Rao said the party fell short by 20-25 seats. When asked about the possibility of an alliance with the MIM, he said the party would discuss all the issues and then take a decision.

Performing beyond its own expectations and making big inroads in the state capital, the BJP replaced MIM as the second largest party.

The saffron party fought the polls with all the might with top Central leaders and Union ministers campaigning for its candidates.

The party’s state chief Bandi Sanjay said that people have taught a lesson to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for his arrogance and corruption. He said despite all the unfair means adopted by the TRS, people gave their mandate to the BJP and they see it as the sole alternative to TRS.

Counting of votes cast in all 150 divisions began at 8 a.m. at 30 places in the city with Telangana State Election Commission deploying over 8,000 personnel.

The police made elaborate security arrangements in the city in view of the counting. Prohibitory orders and traffic restrictions were imposed around the counting centres.

The police in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda have imposed ban on victory rallies for the next 48 hours.

Out of the total 74.67 lakh voters, 46.55 per cent had cast their votes in 149 divisions on Tuesday. There were 1,925 postal ballots.

Polling in one division was stopped due to discrepancy in ballot paper and re-poll was held on Thursday.

A total of 1,122 candidates tested their political fortunes. The bitterly contested elections saw a high-decibel campaign with the participation of several central ministers and top national leaders of the BJP.

Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, BJP President J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP.

The campaign also saw no holds barred attack by political opponents. The promise by BJP leaders to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if the party was voted to power also sparked a row.

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Politics

RJD denied permission to stage protest at Gandhi maidan

It is a Tuglaki government’s rule in state which is making all possible efforts to suppress the voice of opposition parties and farmers of the country. We will not allow them to do so.”

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Tejashwi Yadav

Patna, Dec 5 : The Patna district administration has rejected the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) application for staging demonstration here at Gandhi maidan, in protest against the Centre’s farm laws, which have triggered massive outrage across the country.

RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Friday announced its support to the farmers protesting in and around Delhi seeking repeal of the three recent farm laws and decided to stage a dharna near the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Gandhi maidan on Saturday.

Kumar Ravi, District Magistrate of Patna told IANS that dharna inside Gandhi maidan is not allowed.

“Hence, we have rejected the application of RJD. We only allow an individual to pay respect at Mahatma Gandhi statue. For dharna, we have already allocated place at Gardanibagh locality.”

As denied permission of holding a protest, RJD leaders have started demonstration at the maidan’s gate.

RJD spokesperson Chitranjan Gagan said: “We have staged dharnas in the past. If the district administration can give us permission of political rallies which have a large magnitude, why we are being denied permission of holding a stir?

It is a Tuglaki government’s rule in state which is making all possible efforts to suppress the voice of opposition parties and farmers of the country. We will not allow them to do so.”

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