BJP chief J.P. Nadda on Thursday evening will review the functioning of party's Rajasthan unit with members of Parliament (MPs) from the state. All the BJP MPs from both the houses of parliament will attend the dinner meeting here.
Rajasthan BJP Chief Dr Satish Poonia and party national general secretary (organization) B.L. Santhosh are also likely to attend the review meeting of the party's functioning in the desert state.
A source said, "In the review meeting over dinner in Delhi, Nadda and Santhosh will interact with MPs of Rajasthan to discuss issues concerning party and failure of the Congress ruled state government."
According to a party insider, BJP central leadership will review work done under 'Sewa Hi Sangathan Abhiyaan' during the second wave of the Covid, how effectively the party promotes schemes of the Narendra Modi government among masses along with other issues.
"Status of outreach programme of the central government schemes' beneficiaries and upcoming programmes of the party will be discussed. Plan to highlight failure of the Congress government in state will also be discussed in the meeting," a party leader said.
On Wednesday, Nadda met with party MPs from Madhya Pradesh over dinner. Sources said that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan left the meeting to push off to Bhopal to attend a meeting on the flood situation in some parts of the state. "Chief Minister rushed back to Bhopal to attend an emergency meeting on the flood situation he called late evening in Bhopal," sources said.
Last week in a similar meeting, Nadda met BJP's MPs from Uttar Pradesh and discussed poll preparedness. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also present in the meeting.
Earlier, Nadda also met party MPs from Bihar. A senior party functionary said that it is a routine meeting held during a parliament session and nothing should be read between the lines.
New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Kumar Verma, who was unceremoniously removed from the post may have to face disciplinary action and even lose his retirement benefits for allegedly "misusing his position" as the central agency director and violating rules during his service, sources said on Wednesday.
A DoPT source related to the development told IANS: "A file recommending disciplinary action against Verma has been received from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and has been sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for further action."
The Union Home Ministry (MHA) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked the UPSC to take action against Verma, who was at the epicentre of a controversy in 2018, when Rakesh Asthana, the then special director of the probe agency had levelled allegations of corruption against him.
The source said that the file for disciplinary action was received two to three days back.
Explaining the action, the source said that Verma may lose his retirement benefits as per the rules.
The source said that the government has also cited that Verma, a 1979 batch IPS officer 'violated government rules' during his service.
Verma, as the CBI Director indulged in bitter feud with the agency's Special Director Rakesh Asthana and traded charges of corruption against each other. Asthana has been appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner in July.
Following the open fued between the top two officers of the CBI, the government moved them out of the country's top premiere investigative agency on October 23, 2018 on the recommendations of the CVC.
Verma's name had recently also figured in the Pegasus 'snoop list'.
The midnight coup in the CBI came barely two days after Verma ordered the filing of a criminal case against Asthana, then special director in the Bureau, accusing him of corruption.
The Supreme Court, however, reinstated him to the same post on January 9, 2019. However, two days later a high powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with its other two members Justice A.K. Sikri and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, ousted him as the CBI Director in a 2-1 vote on January 11, 2019.
Asthana, however, got a clean chit from the CBI in February 2020. Recently, he was given an extension for a year and also appointed as Commissioner of Delhi Police.
Verma had earlier requested for the consideration of his retirement after attaining the age of superannuation on July 31, 2017. He had also crossed superannuation age for DG - Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
IANS tried to get the comments of Verma. However, by the time of filing this report he did not respond to repeated calls and messages.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that 29 cabinet ministers will take oath in the Glass House of Raj Bhavan on Wednesday afternoon.
Bommai addressed the press conference from Vidhana Soudha along with the state in charge Arun Singh and maintained that his cabinet would be a mixture of experience and enthusiasm.
He explained that 8 Linagayats, 7 Vokkaligas, 7 OBCs, 3 Dalits, 1 Scheduled Caste, 1 Reddy will be in the cabinet and one berth is given to women.
He further stated that, former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa's son B.Y. Vijayendra's name is not on the list.
"Party President J.P. Nadda, state in-charge Arun Singh and I have personally conveyed the message to Yediyurappa Ji," he stated.
The new cabinet is formed after a detailed discussion. "I have discussed in detail with party President and later, it was further discussed by top brass. There was no question of coming under pressure," he said.
The cabinet is formed as per the wishes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party President J.P. Nadda and also with the blessings of former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Bommai said.
Despite continuous protests and disruptions by the Opposition members on various issues like inflation, snooping and farm laws, the Government is set to introduce the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR region Bill, 2021 on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha.
This Bill seeks to constitute the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration and to move that the Bill be passed.
Apart from this, the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021 will also be tabled in the House. The Bill seeks further to amend the Coconut Development Board Act, 1979, as passed by Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration.
The Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt will be making statement on the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the 4th Report of the Standing Committee on Defence on Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Defence for the year 2019-20 on 'Ordnance Factories, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Directorate General of Quality Assurance and National Cadet Corps.
The monsoon session of Parliament has been continuously disrupted amid Opposition's protests against the Government from the day the session commenced on July 19 over several issues including the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, farm laws and the Pegasus snooping controversy.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed two Bills namely the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 and Tribunals Reform Bill, 2021.
The continuous protests and disruptions have caused a loss of over Rs 133 crore of taxpayer's money.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have functioned for merely 13 per cent and 21 per cent of its total scheduled time till last week.
New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said that the discussion on cabinet formation has reached the final stages and he will get a green signal from the BJP high command on Wednesday.
"Decisions are yet to be taken on two or three issues. They will be taken in the morning. I am going to get 'good' news. If I get it on Wednesday early morning hours, a swearing ceremony will be held by noon or evening on the same day," he said late Tuesday night. All aspects including regional, social justice and also requests of those of my friends who have come here have been considered, he said.
"There were some issues on which party President J.P. Naddaji sought clarifications. I have clarified those issues. Finally, he will approve the list on Wednesday morning. As soon as I get the list, it will be sent to Raj Bhavan," Bommai said.
He refused the possibility of dropping seniors from the cabinet. The list will be finalised keeping the next elections and delivering good administration in mind. "We need experience as well as enthusiasm. I am expecting the cabinet expansion to take place in two phases. The inclusion and exclusion of names is the prerogative of the high command. I am cool and used to the pulls and pressures of cabinet formation. I am returning to Bengaluru on an early morning flight," he explained.
Sources said that the high command has approved the list of 20 to 24 ministers and there will be no deputy chief minister post this time.
Sources also said that the high command is considering a cabinet berth to former Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa's son B.Y. Vijayendra. However, they are yet to take a call on the chief minister aspirants -- former speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri and BJP MLA Aravind Bellad.
It is said that former Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karajol, Dr. C.N. Ashwathnarayan, former ministers Sriramulu, Aravind Limbavali, K.S. Eshwarappa, V. Somanna, Murugesh Nirani, R. Ashok, Anand Singh, Dr. K. Sudhakar, J.C. Madhuswamy, S.T. Somashekar, MTB Nagaraj, K. Gopalaiah, Bhyrathi Basavaraju, B.C. Patil, Narayana Gowda, C.P. Yogeshwar, Bhyrathi Basavaraju, Shivaram Hebbar, senior leaders V. Sunilkumar, K. Poornima, S. Angara, Abhay Patil, Raju Gowda, P. Rajeev, Dattatreya Patil Revur, M.P. Kumaraswamy are likely to make it to the cabinet.
Bengaluru, Aug 3 (IANS) In a major setback to former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on Monday issued notice to him in connection with alleged corruption in a housing project.
A single judge bench of Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav also issued notice to Yediyurappa's son and BJP state Vice President B.Y. Vijayendra, former minister S.T. Somashekar, and others in connection with the case.
Activist T.J. Abraham had approached the high court seeking inquiry, after a special court dismissed the case for want of sanction to prosecute as Yediyurappa held the Chief Minister's post and Somashekar was a minister.
The allegations included receiving kickbacks from a contractor in a housing project launched by the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA).
The development comes even as Yediyurappa is trying hard to get cabinet berths for Vijayendra and his followers.
New Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 3 (IANS) The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has issued a clarification over Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's earlier statement in which he had said it is the Afghan government's responsibility to monitor and keep Islamic State (IS) terrorists in the country in check.
MoFA spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said certain sections of the media had "have misquoted and twisted" Qureshi's remarks on the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.
Chaudhri clarified that the Foreign Minister had "clearly spoken" about the consensus among the international community, the regional players and the Afghans themselves "against the menace of terrorism", News Pakistan reported.
"His remarks cannot be in anyway be misconstrued as advocacy for a particular side in the Afghan conflict.
"We have repeatedly stated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan. We see all sides in the conflict as Afghans who need to decide about their future themselves. We will continue to play a constructive facilitation role in the Afghan peace process," he added.
A few days ago, Qureshi's statement in which he categorically stated that it was Afghanistan government's responsibility to monitor the presence of the IS in the country and keep it from growing.
Addressing a press conference at Multan's Raza Hall on July 31, Qureshi said that the Afghan forces had the capacity to combat the IS group.
"Nobody wants Daesh (IS) to grow. They (Afghan government) don't want it, the Taliban don't want it, Iran doesn't want it, (Afghanistan's) neighbours don't want it and the international community doesn't want it ."
In response to a query that Moscow says IS militants were arriving in Afghanistan from Iraq, Libya and Syria for terrorism, he said it was the responsibility of the Afghan government to monitor the militants and keep them from growing in Afghanistan.
"If they are shifting from Iraq and Syria, whose responsibility should it be to check them? It's the Afghan government's."
An Army helicopter crashed in Ranjit Sagar Dam on Tuesday, Senior Superintendent of Police of Pathankot in Punjab Surendra Lamba said.
"We have received information that an Army helicopter has crashed in the lake. We have rushed our teams to the spot," Lamba told PTI over phone.
There were no immediate reports of any casualty, he said, adding further details were awaited.
The dam is located about 30 km from Pathankot in Punjab.
In a show of unity, 15 opposition parties attended the breakfast meeting hosted by Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday at Constitution Club. They discussed the current political situation after the Pegasus snooping project was revealed.
The parties which attended the meeting included -- Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party, CPI-M, CPI, IUML, RSP, KCM, JMM, National Conference (NC), Trinamool Congress, DMK and LJD.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bahujan Samaj Party, however, stayed away from the meeting.
Opposition parties are mulling an idea of holding a mock Parliament after their demand of discussion on the snooping controversy has not been met by the government so far.
The opposition has been demanding a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row but the government says that after the IT Minister's statement only clarification can be sought. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has termed it as a "non issue".
Amid the blame game, sources have said that both the Houses of Parliament could function for only 18 hours out of the total 105 hours of scheduled sitting till last week.
In the upper House, a proper debate was witnessed only on the Covid issue while the Lok Sabha could not see any debate, though the government passed important legislations in both Houses.
New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The US army on Monday conducted aerial strikes against the Taliban in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, killing around 40 Taliban fighters, sources said.
Though the Afghan government did not confirm civilian people being hit, sources in the provincial capital said that eight members of a family, including children, were killed in the strikes.
The sources added that the fighters had attacked the central prison in Lashkargah city which was driven back by the strikes.
The US army has recently intensified its airstrikes on the Taliban to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), media reports said.
Earlier, US CENTCOM commander General McKenzie had said that the US army will conduct airstrikes in support of the ANDSF in the fight against the Taliban even after full withdrawal of forces, but acknowledged that the strikes will be over the horizon.
The Taliban had attacked the Lashkargah city nearly 10 days ago and recently toppled two police districts in the city and then got closer to the central jail.
The Afghan government has recently sent reinforcements to the city which led to heavy conflicts between the warring sides, leaving hundreds of families displaced.
New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The government on Monday told Parliament that some Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Rs 685 crore fertilisers import scam but declined to share their names as it "may impact" the ongoing probe.
Replying to a question from Congress Lok Sabha member Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said that the ED is probing the money laundering scam involving IFFCO Managing Director U.S. Awasthi, based on the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
On the involvement of the NRIs and foreign companies in the case, the minister said: "Some of the persons are NRIs. Disclosures of further details of the case may not be in the larger public interest as the same may impact the ongoing investigation in the case."
In its FIR filed in May, the CBI has named Awasthi, Indian Potash Ltd Managing Director Pravinder Singh Gahlaut, Awasthi's sons and Catalyst Business Associates Pvt Ltd promoters Amol Awasthi and Anupam Awasthi, Gahlaut's son Vivek Gahlaut, Pankaj Jain of Jyoti Group of Companies and Rare Earth Group, Dubai, and his brother and Jyoti Trading Corporation President Sanjay Jain, and Jyoti Trading Corporation's Senior Vice President Amrinder Dhari Singh.
Besides them, it has also named chartered accountant and Midas Metal International LLC and other companies promoter Rajiv Saxena, Pankaj Jain's employee Sushil Kumar Pachisia, and unknown directors of IFFCO and unknown others.
According to the CBI FIR, IFFCO and IPL were importing huge quantities of fertilisers, running into several thousands of metric tons, along with raw materials for fertilisers from various foreign suppliers, for the country's farmers, and the government was providing subsidy on them to facilitate supply to the farmers at reasonable rates.
However, it was alleged that in order to cheat the government by claiming higher subsidies, some IFFCO and IPL officials were importing the fertilisers and raw materials through Kisan International Trading FZE in Dubai, a subsidiary of IFFCO, and other middlemen, at highly inflated rates, covering the commission meant for the accused, including the MDs of IFFCO and IPL, which was paid or transferred by the overseas suppliers to the accused officials through sham transactions involving the accused.
All these imports were done between 2013 and 2017, it said.
The ED has arrested Rashtriya Janata Dal Rajya Sabha member A.D. Singh and Delhi-based CA Alok Kumar Agarwal in connection with the case.