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INDIAN (E)

INDIAN (E)

HC directs relief for CRPF jawan injured in 1989 terror attack

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NEW DELHI: 29 years after a CRPF jawan suffered serious injuries in a terrorist ambush, the Delhi high court has directed the Centre to grant him due financial upgrade benefits.

The court said the constable has been “unjustifiably deprived” of financial benefits to which he was entitled after being granted relaxation in the medical standards according to the policies of the ministry of home affairs and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli quashed and set aside the government’s June 2003 and December 2005 orders by which it had rejected the jawan’s claim for grant of benefits under the assured career progression (ACP) scheme.

“The official is held entitled to receive the first financial upgradation from the due date i.e. August 9, 1999 and the second financial upgradation under the ACP scheme from January 24, 2005, when he had completed 24 years of services,” the bench said while allowing his petition.

It, however, said that keeping in view the delay on the part of the official in approaching the court for relief, he will be granted only notional fitness in the scales and the arrears payable on the upgrades would be given only for three years prior to the date of filing of petition in 2016.

The man had approached the high court for grant of first and second financial upgrades under the ACP scheme from the due dates, by treating him to be in the appropriate medical category after grant of relaxation according to the policies.

He was appointed as a constable (GD) in the CRPF on January 24, 1981, and was re-mustered as a constable (driver) in 1984.

On July 26, 1989, while posted in the 72nd battalion at Tarn Taran in Punjab, he became a victim of an ambush attack by terrorists, when he was driving a government vehicle carrying troops.

The man said in his plea that in the attack, he suffered bullet injuries in his left eye, right arm and chest and a court of inquiry was held to enquire into the circumstances relating to the attack.

The court of inquiry came to the conclusion that the injuries sustained by the official were attributable to government service.

When the man approached the authorities seeking grant of financial upgrade under the ACP scheme, his request was turned down and he was informed that he did not fulfil the criteria as he had not undergone the pre-promotional course and was not under the required medical category.

He relied on a September 2000 government policy by which those personnel who have been placed in a low medical category due to injuries/ wounds suffered while fighting against the enemy/ militants or in accidents while on active duty, will be entitled to relaxation in medical category in certain cases.

The authorities government, however, opposed his claim on the ground that since he was in a low medical category and had admittedly not undergone a pre-promotional course, he did not fulfil the promotional norms which were mandatory for grant of financial upgrade under the ACP scheme.

The bench, however, said it was of the view that the official was entitled to get relaxation in respect of the requirement of medical category for grant of benefits under the ACP scheme.



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INDIAN (E)

Modi ji first PM whose words don't mean anything: Rahul

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NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the PM has failed to implement the 2015 Nagaland peace accord.

Questioning the credibility of PM’s word, the Congress president tweeted:

“August 2015, Mr Modi claims to create history by signing the NAGA accord. Feb 2018, Naga Accord is still nowhere to be found. Modi ji is the first ever Indian PM whose words don’t mean anything. #CantFindTheAccord.”

The Nagaland Peace Accord was signed in August 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to end the insurgency in the region.

Several Naga groups under the banner of Core Committee of
Nagaland
Tribal Hoho and Civil Organisations (CCNTCHOC) and political parties have demanded postponement of the state polls to facilitate early resolution to the protracted Naga insurgency issue.

Earlier this week, the Congress leader had blamed the Prime Minister’s “unilateral decision” as the reason behind the “failure” of the accord.

“Nobody has understood what the Prime Minister had signed, (or) whether he had signed. This is his style. This (Naga accord) is similar to (November 8, 2016) demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax at midnight,” Gandhi told journalists.

“Modi called up then Congress President Sonia Gandhi one evening and told her we have solved the Naga problem and signed an accord. Soniaji called me and told what Modi conveyed to her. She told me to check with the then Congress Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur to find if they were aware of the accord and were consulted by the Prime Minister,” Gandhi recalled.

“They (Chief Ministers) called the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and were told that the MHA had no idea about the deal. Then they wrote to the Union Home Minister, and he too informed them that he had no idea what exactly the accord was,” he said.

Reacting to the crisis in Nagaland, Gandhi said: “The style of functioning of the Prime Minister has led to Nagaland’s reaction. It shows a large number of people do not believe in the Prime Minister because he has got credibility problem.”

Several Naga groups under the banner of Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hoho and Civil Organisations (CCNTCHOC) and political parties have demanded postponement of the state polls to facilitate early resolution to the protracted Naga insurgency issue.

(With agencies inputs)



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Isro plans landing near moon’s south pole with Chandrayaan-2

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In preparation for this touchdown, landing simulations are currently on at Isro’s Liquid Propulsion System Centre at Mahendra Giri in Tamil Nadu. The exercise involves a prototype of the lander simulating a soft landing from a height of 70-80 metres.

| TNN | Feb 4, 2018, 10:08 IST

Highlights

  • This will be the first-ever mission to soft land near the moon’s south pole, which poses a number of challenges.
  • The launch could take place either in the first quarter of 2018 or second half.

The PSLV-XL carrying India's first moon mission spacecraft 'Chandrayaan-I' (TOI File Photo)The PSLV-XL carrying India’s first moon mission spacecraft ‘Chandrayaan-I’ (TOI File Photo)

MUMBAI: With the much-awaited Chandrayaan-2 mission, India’s second flight to the moon, Isro is attempting to pull off a daredevil manoeuvre. It will be the first-ever mission to soft land near the moon’s south pole, which poses a number of challenges.

“We have identified two locations and will be choosing one. No other moon mission has landed in this area,” said former Isro chief AS Kiran Kumar on Saturday, who retired as Isro chairman last month.

In preparation for this touchdown, landing simulations are currently on at Isro’s Liquid Propulsion System Centre at Mahendra Giri in Tamil Nadu. The exercise involves a prototype of the lander simulating a soft landing from a height of 70-80 metres.

He said Chandrayaan-2’s flight hardware was getting ready and the launch could take place either in the first quarter of 2018 or second half. He said Chandrayaan-2’s flight hardware was getting ready and the launch could take place either in the first quarter of 2018 or second half. The rocket which will fly Chandrayaan-2 will be the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II.

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    BJP on witch-hunt to hide ‘failures’: Congress

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    AICC spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “The decision of the Delhi high court in the Bofors case established how Congress leadership, including (former PM) Rajiv Gandhi, was a victim of the smear campaign of BJP decades ago.” Surjewala added that attorney general K K Venugopal had also said there was no evidence or truth in the case.

    | Feb 4, 2018, 02:59 IST

    File photo of AICC spokesman Randeep SurjewalaFile photo of AICC spokesman Randeep Surjewala

    NEW DELHI: Congress accused BJP of carrying out a political witch-hunt against opposition leaders to “divert people’s attention from its failures” and “save the NDA government from a public backlash in the 2019 LS elections”, a day after the CBI filed a chargesheet against former Haryana CM B S Hooda and filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against a 2004 Delhi high court ruling to bury the case.

    AICC spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “The decision of the Delhi high court in the Bofors case established how Congress leadership, including (former PM) Rajiv Gandhi, was a victim of the smear campaign of BJP decades ago.”

    Surjewala added that attorney general K K Venugopal had also said there was no evidence or truth in the case.

    Referring to the Hooda case, he added, “Political witch-hunt, vendetta and malicious intent to seek revenge has blinded the Narendra Modi-led government and the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government in registering a series of criminal cases against Congress leaders across the country… The… false criminal cases being filed against Congress leaders exposes the sinister hallmark of the Modi government’s style of functioning,” he said.

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    No sign of ship with 22 Indians that vanished from West Africa

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    MUMBAI: A Panama-flag merchant ship with 22 Indian crew members, including two from Kerala, went missing from Benin Coast of West Africa on Thursday. The owners of tanker ship MT Marine Express, which was loaded with gas oil, have sought the help of the directorate general of shipping in Mumbai to get in touch with their counterparts in Nigeria and Benin to carry out search operations for the merchant ship.

    B R Shekar, chief surveyor who holds additional charge as director general of shipping, Mumbai, told TOI: “The owners of the ship lost contact with their tanker, MT Marine Express, on February 1 when it was in Cotonou anchorage at Benin. We have informed Nigerian authorities and the coast guard there to carry out search for the missing ship. Till Saturday, there was no trace of the ship. The owners and the manning agent from Mumbai had alerted us about the missing ship,” said Shekar.

    A DG shipping official said the fate of the crew members and the ship is not known.

    Pirates

    The ship vanished from West Africa and a possibility of hijack is high. Meanwhile, Nigerian authorities have alerted all boats to look out for the missing tanker ship and if sighted to report to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Anti-Piracy Reporting Centre immediately in London.

    Rajesh C, welfare officer of Mumbai-based manning agent of the ship crew, Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, told TOI from his Andheri office to contact the company’s media manager in the UK.

    On Friday, the company had tweeted: “We regret that contact has been lost with the AE-managed MT Marine Express while at Cotonou, Benin. Last contact was at 03:30 UTC, Feb 1. Authorities have been alerted and are responding. Our top priority is the safety of the crew, whose families have been contacted.”

    Foreign news agencies published a statement released from the ship management company saying that the 45,989 dwt oil products tanker Marine Express has not been heard of since the early hours of Thursday and that authorities in the Gulf of Guinea region have been notified. “The vessel was last contacted at 0330 UTC on February 1. The first priority is the safety of the 22 crew members on board whose families have been contacted and informed of the situation,” the statement read.

    Pat Adamson, the shipping company spokesman in the UK, told foreign news agencies that the Panama-registered Marine Express was part-laden with a cargo of 13,500 tonnes of gasoline.

    According to DG shipping, the Indian crew hailed from different parts of India. One of the sailors on board is Sree Unni (25), son of Perilavallap Ashokan of Udma in Kasargod district, Kerala. Another crew member, also from Kerala hails from Kozhikode.

    Anglo-Eastern has informed the families that it had lost contact with Marine Express.

    The high commission of India at Abuja told foreign agencies that satellite tracking found the ship missing from anchorage. “Without getting in touch with the crew, the official said it was not possible to make a guess on what happened to the vessel.”



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    With 7 more, UP sees 1 encounter every 3.5 hours

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    | TNN | Feb 4, 2018, 05:39 IST

    LUCKNOW: With seven more encounters leading to the arrest of 10 wanted criminals in the past 24 hours on Saturday evening, the UP police hit a strike rate of one ambush every three-and-a-half hours in the last three days.

    UP cops had carried out 15 encounters in the preceding 48 hours. Cops arrested 34 criminals, most of them with gunshot wounds, and shot two in last 72 hours.

    DGP OP Singh said the encounters are part of aggressive policing that is needed to keep law and order under control. He said a dozen policemen suffered injuries in these encounters.

    Among the 34 criminals arrested and two killed, 14 carried cash rewards on their heads ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000.

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    CBI arrests GST commissioner, 8 others for bribery racket

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    NEW DELHI: The CBI has arrested a commissioner of goods and services tax (GST) department from Kanpur and eight others, including three officials, busting an alleged bribery racket in the department.

    They collected regular bribes from the businessmen of Kanpur for providing them relief from tax-related issues and notices of the department, sources said.

    The accused persons reportedly collected bribes on a monthly or weekly basis as part of the racket. The illegal gratification was collected either in form of cash or costly gadgets like refrigerators, televisions, and mobile phones which were delivered to the commissioner’s residence in New Delhi.

    CBI arrested 1986-batch Indian Revenue Service officer posted as commissioner, Sansar Chand, two superintendents of the department, Ajay Shrivastav and R S Chandel; one personal staff, Saurabh Pandey and five private persons, including the owner of a firm called Shishu Soaps.

    The agency has named wife of Sansar Chand Avinash Kaur and Aman Shah, superintendent, GST and central excise, Kanpur in its FIR but they have not been arrested yet, the sources said.

    Officials say the bribes in cash were routed through hawala channels to Delhi and were accepted on case-to-case basis. “Sansar Chand was in the habit of taking periodic updates from his superintendents… receipt of illegal gratification from various parties,” the FIR alleged.



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    NE is heart of ‘Act East’ policy, invest here: PM Modi to Asean

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    GUWAHATI: PM Narendra Modi on Saturday appealed to Asean member states as well as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to invest in the northeast, which, he said, was at the heart of India’s ‘Act East’ policy.

    Inaugurating the ‘Advantage Assam: Global Investors’ Summit’ in Guwahati, Modi added, “The Act East policy envisions increased people-to-people contact, trade ties and other relations with Asean countries.”

    “Assam has been ranked first in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and is the most soughtafter state for investment at present,” he said, adding that “balanced and fast-paced growth of the northeastern region will further energize India’s growth story”.

    The summit was attended by government and business delegates from India and 13 other countries. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal called upon all investors taking part in the summit to explore investment possibilities in the state.

    On the first day, the summit generated investment commitments of nearly Rs 70,000 crore. The biggest investment promises came from two giant PSUs — Rs 13,000 crore from ONGC and Rs 10,000 crore by Oil India Ltd.



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    ‘Just chill’: Master Modi pens exam guide, lists mantras to ace them

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    NEW DELHI: With stressful days round the corner for those appearing for their Class X and XII board exams, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a book detailing ’25 mantras’ to help students treat examinations as a cause for celebration and not despair.

    In a book, ‘Exam Warriors’, the PM has urged students to see exams as a way “to compete with self “. He has also asked youngsters to “embrace technology”, which Modi describes as “great teacher”, while ensuring adequate rest since “sleep is a great weapon”.

    The book was launched by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who elaborated on the 25 mantras.

    Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said the “book will find space in each household as it connects with millions of students, teachers, parents and grandparents in a non-political way”. The 193-page book, published by Penguin, has been presented in an interactive mode with activities, tearaways as well as a pledge not to cheat.

    Stating that the book was an attempt to “add to the debate and discourse around the importance of stress-free examinations…” Modi, in his ‘note from the author’, writes, “It is our collective duty to ensure that their (students’) childhood is not overshadowed by the burden of exams and the constant anxiety of ‘what do I do next?'” It also has two letters, to parents and teachers. In one, the PM writes, “You (parents) are your child’s best mentor. You know your child better than anyone else, having seen him or her grow up in front of your eyes. Thus, I would request you: always accept rather than expect.” He also advised parents against trying to realise their unfulfilled desires through their children.

    The PM called for teachers to teach their students how to appear for an exam in a “tension-free manner”, and that they should pursue knowledge and not marks. The book starts with the first mantra, “exams are like festivals — celebrate them”.

    Here, he says exams, like festivals, bring the best out in a person. In a style that will easily connect with the young generation, the second mantra — “Exams test your current preparation, not you. Chill!” — tries to bring forth the fact that exams are not about “life and death”.

    The best way to deal with exams is to have a balanced life is what the book advocates as mantras 10, 11 and 12. The book also asks youngsters to discover themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone, getting involved in community service and travelling across India.



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    BJP dumps NPF for NDPP in Nagaland

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    GUWAHATI: BJP ended its 15-year alliance between the Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland on Saturday, breaking away from the senior ally in the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) and entered into a new partnership with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).

    JD (U), the third partner in the alliance, has also pulled out of the DAN. This marks the total collapse of the partnership forged in 2003 under the initiative of Neiphiu Rio, the current leader of BJP’s new partner NDPP, and the then-NDA chairman George Fernandes.

    Announcing the new political arrangement with Rio by his side, Union minister of state for home and BJP’s observer for Nagaland Kiren Rijiju said, “Earlier, BJP was not a major force.

    Now, we need a seat-sharing agreement. Hence this departure from past practice.” BJP will once again be the junior partner in this electoral understanding as well, with NDPP contesting 40 of the 60 seats, leaving the remaining 20 for BJP.

    Rio, who himself left NPF to join NDPP after months of speculation that he was the brainchild behind the new party’s formation, said, “We will form the next government. We appeal to the people to join us and take part in the election.” NDPP was one the 11 signatories to the joint declaration to boycott polls until a “resolution” to the Naga peace process, a decision which fell through later. NPF said it is “relieved”. “It seems like a big load has been taken off our shoulders. We talk our minds freely,” party spokesperson Sebastian Zumvu said.

    Cracks between NPF and BJP first appeared in July. Following intra-party dissension within NPF in July last year, the Shurhozelie-led faction had severed ties with the saffron party, believing it was behind the disruption.



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