Fodder scam: Lalu convicted, taken into custody; Mishra acquitted
In a major setback to the RJD, a special CBI court today convicted former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a fodder scam case 21 years after it had surfaced, while acquitting six others including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra. Special judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. The court convicted Lalu Prasad for offences of cheating along with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PMLA), his advocate Chittaranjan Prasad told PTI.
Army Major, 3 soldiers killed in Pak firing along LoC
Pakistani troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers, along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district today, officials said. The latest violation of the ceasefire agreement took place at a time Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was camping in Rajouri district headquarters to address people’s grievances, they said. A defence spokesman said Pakistani troops targeted the Army patrol at Brat Galla in Keri sector at around 1215 hours. “We suffered three fatal casualties including one officer in the incident. Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh and Sepoy Pargat Singh were grievously injured during the ceasefire violation and succumbed to their injuries. Two other personnel also sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment,” the spokesman said.
BJP MLAs meet tomorrow; Jairam Thakur, Nadda seen front runners for HP CM post
Prem Kumar Dhumal tonight ruled himself out from the race for the post of Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a day before a meeting of BJP MLAs to elect their leader. Five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union minister J P Nadda are the frontrunners for the chief minister’s office. A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the central leadership. Although Thakur was seen a front runner for the job till recently, Nadda may emerge as the most acceptable candidate in this changed scenario, a BJP source said.
After acquittal, Raja, Kanimozhi meet DMK chief Karunanidhi
Two days after their acquittal in the 2G scam case, former Union minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi today arrived here to a rousing welcome by party workers. Led by DMK Working President M K Stalin, a host of party leaders, including Duraimurugan and former Union minister TR Baalu, welcomed them at the airport.
Stalin and others presented shawls to the duo. Cadres showered flowers, burst firecrackers and played traditional music. They also performed folk dances like ‘Karagattam’ and ‘Kavadi’. Raja and Kanimozhi visited party patriarch M Karunanidhi at his residence here and took his blessings. Upon their arrival at the Gopalpuram residence of the nonagenarian leader, Raja touched the top leader’s feet as a mark of respect and presented a shawl.
Last week I had written that ‘the BJP may still ride to victory’ in Gujarat. As it turned out, the BJP did not ‘ride to victory’. The BJP limped across the finish line with a young and energised sprinter close on its heels. Both the BJP and the Congress were winners: the BJP scored an electoral victory, the Congress scored a political victory. The BJP’s leadership has reason to be despondent that it lost 16 seats (from the 115 seats it had held) and was nowhere near its declared goal of 150 seats. The Congress’s leadership has reason to be disappointed because it came so near (80 seats) but couldn’t cross the finish line (92 seats).
Arun Jaitley says Aadhaar’s technology to evolve; public interest is supreme
As biometric unique identity Aadhaar gets rolled out to cover more welfare schemes, the government will be able to plug more leaks and save substantial amount of revenue, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday at a book-launch function. He added that the technological infrastructure around Aadhaar will continue to evolve with firewalls to protect privacy. “You have to build adequate firewalls, but, at the same time, the larger public interest will always have to prevail over personal interests,” Jaitley said. In an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court earlier this year, the government had said it had saved nearly Rs 50,000 crore during FY15 and FY16 by using Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfers (DBT) for various welfare schemes. Linking beneficiaries of government schemes had helped the administration eliminate fake benefit claimants.