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Patiala House Court to examine MJ Akbar’s statement on October 31 in defamation case

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New Delhi | The Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Thursday ordered the examination of former MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar’s statement in the defamation case filed against journalist Priya Ramani on October 31.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal who took cognizance of case under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code asked the Former minister to be present in the court on October 31 and record his statement. He said, “I have gone through the complaint and other documents annexed. I take cognizance of the offence under section 500 of the IPC.”

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra who was appearing for MJ Akbar in the court stated, “Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against the complainant. Her 2nd tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people.” Luthra further added,” Articles in international & national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything.”

Claiming the allegations by Priya Ramani to be damaging his client reputations Geeta Luthra said, “Irreparable damage caused to Akbar’s reputation which he has built over 40 years.” Earlier MJ Akbar on October 16 filed a criminal defamation against Journalist Priya Ramani claimed that the sexual harassment allegations are a part of an agenda in the run up to the General Elections and have caused a loss to his damage and reputation.

Former Journalist MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by various female journalists in the ongoing #MeToo campaign during his tenure as Editor of various newspapers. Journalist Priya Ramani had alleged that Akbar during his tenure as an Editor of a newspaper made her feel uncomfortable and harassed her in a hotel room.

After Ramani’s allegations various female journalists including Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Ruth David spoke against Akbar.

Earlier after returning from Nigeria,  MJ Akbar termed the accusations false and baseless. Speaking to media agency ANI, the former Journalist said, “Accusations without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections.” He further added, “Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.”

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Kejriwal to give ex-gratia of Rs 1cr to kin of slain BSF jawan

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On September 21, Kejriwal had also visited the native village of Singh, who was brutally killed by Pakistani troopers along the International Border (IB) near Jammu.

 

New Delhi| Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will go to Sonipat on Wednesday to give ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the family of BSF jawan Narender Singh, who was brutally killed by Pakistan forces on the IB near Jammu in September.

It came days after the AAP government approved a proposal to amend a rule on giving ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the kin of slain security personnel to include those who have settled in the national capital after joining service.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Haryana convener Naveen Jaihind said, “The chief minister will go to Sonipat on November 21 to give ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the kin of slain BSF jawan Narender Singh.”

On September 21, Kejriwal had also visited the native village of Singh, who was brutally killed by Pakistani troopers along the International Border (IB) near Jammu.

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Grenade used in Amritsar blast similar to ones manufactured by Pak Ordinance factory: Amarinder Singh

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Amarinder Singh has announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for anyone providing information on those involved in the blast that left three persons dead.

 

Amritsar| Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday said initial investigations suggested the grenade used in the attack on Nirankari Bhavan was similar to the ones manufactured by the Pakistani Army Ordinance factory.

Three persons including a preacher were killed and over 20 injured when two-motorcycle borne men threw a grenade on a religious congregation on Sunday.

The attack took place inside the Nirankari Bhavan’s prayer hall at Adliwal village near Amritsar’s Rajasansi, an incident which the police are treating as a ‘terrorist act’.

“The grenade attack at the Nirankari Bhavan seemed to carry Pakistan’s signature, with initial investigations indicating that the grenade used was similar to the ones being manufactured by the Pakistani Army Ordinance factory,” Amarinder said.

The chief minister has announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for anyone providing information on those involved in the blast that left three persons dead, officials said.

Information can be provided on the Punjab Police helpline – 181, they said, adding the identity of the informer will be kept a secret.

Amarinder flew in from Chandigarh along with his cabinet colleague and Amritsar MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu and PPCC president Sunil Jakhar to take stock of the situation.

He said the police had recovered similar HG-84 grenades from a terror module busted by the Punjab Police last month, indicating a high probability of the involvement of inimical forces from across the border.

Prima facie, this appears to be an act of terror by separatist forces, organised with the involvement of ISI-backed Khalistani or Kashmiri terrorist groups, said the chief minister, adding his government had taken serious note of the incident and was aggressively pursuing all angles of investigation. The culprits would soon be arrested, Amarinder promised, while talking to media after visiting the site of the attack.

He said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was also helping in the investigations and certain leads had been unearthed.

An NIA team visited the blast site Sunday night along with their investigators and explosive experts and held discussions with the top brass of the Punjab Police.

Responding to a query, Amarinder said the attack could not be equated with the Nirankari conflict in 1978 as that was a religious matter and the Adliwal incident was purely a case of terrorism.

Violence between the Sant Nirankari Mission and traditional Sikhs on April 13, 1978, at Amritsar had left 13 dead, and sparked the subsequent wave of terrorism in the state.

Sunday’s incident had no religious overtones, as per initial investigations, said the chief minister.

In response to a question, the CM Amarinder Singh said the state was already on high alert, with strict checking going on around landmark buildings and other vital public installations and infrastructure.

Police nakas had been set up in all districts and patrol parties were moving around in search of suspicious objects/activities, he said.

The chief minister Amarinder Singh said the district and police administration has been directed to explore the possibility of installing CCTV cameras at all strategic points.

Amarinder, who visited the hospital to meet the injured, announced jobs for the kin of those killed in the attack and Rs 50,000 each to the injured, in addition to their free treatment.

Accompanied by top police and administrative officials, the chief minister Amarinder Singh went around the site of the attack and examined the spot from where the grenade was lobbed by two men.

The men, armed with a pistol and their faces covered, had forced their way into the Bhawan after taking the civil guards hostage at gunpoint. They had lobbed the grenade into the prayer room, killing three and injuring 20.

Earlier, on his arrival, the chief minister was briefed by Home Secretary NS Kalsi, DGP Suresh Arora, IG Amritsar Surinder Pal Parmar and DC Amritsar Kamaldeep Sangh, who updated him on the progress of the investigations so far.

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CBI vs CBI: Alok Verma submits his response to CVC findings on corruption charges against him

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Alok Verma had approached the apex court challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of his duties and sending him on leave following his feud with Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana.

 

New Delhi| CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma filed his response Monday to the findings of the CVC’s preliminary probe report on corruption charges against him in a sealed cover in the Supreme Court after he was told to do so “as quickly as possible” as the scheduled Tuesday hearing on his plea would not be deferred.

Verma, who was asked to file his response to the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) report in a sealed cover by Monday 1 pm, sought some more time from the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for filing his reply with the secretary general of the apex court around 12.40 pm.

“We are not shifting the date (of hearing). You file it as quickly as possible as we will have to read it,” the bench, also comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph told Verma’s lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

“Even though we sought a little time from the court, Verma’s reply was filed with the secretary general at 1 pm,” the lawyer told PTI.

Verma’s reply will deal with the CVC report, which was categorised into four parts by the apex court as “complimentary, very complimentary, not so complimentary and very uncomplimentary” for the CBI director.

The apex court, on November 16, had directed Verma, Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who were also supplied with the confidential report of the CVC, to maintain secrecy, saying it was needed to ensure people’s faith in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as an institution.

Earlier, the apex court had said the CVC had made some “very uncomplimentary” findings in its probe on corruption allegations against Verma and wanted further investigations into some of the charges which required more time, adding that there were also some “very complimentary” conclusions.

Summing up the “exhaustive” confidential report of the CVC given to it, the court ordered that a copy of it, along with the annexure, be given to Verma in a sealed cover.

Alok Verma had approached the apex court challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of his duties and sending him on leave following his feud with Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana, who has levelled corruption allegations against him.

Asthana has also been divested of his duties and sent on leave.

Pursuant to the top court’s order, the CVC’s inquiry against Alok Verma was conducted under the supervision of former apex court judge Justice A K Patnaik and the report was filed in the court on November 12.

Besides Verma’s plea, the court is also seized of a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, which has sought a probe by a special investigation team against CBI officers.

Besides, it had barred the interim CBI chief, Nageshwar Rao, from taking any major policy decision, but granted him the liberty to perform the routine tasks that were essential to keep the CBI functional.

On November 4, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had also moved the top court contending that divesting Alok Verma of his statutory powers and functions was “completely illegal and arbitrary”.

In an interlocutory application filed in the pending petition, Kharge, who is part of the three-member selection committee that appoints the CBI director, said “as a concerned stakeholder”, he brought to the attention of the court the “brazen and illegal actions” of the political executive in interfering with the independent functioning of the CBI director.

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