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Shehzad Poonawalla claims he saw Rahul Gandhi meet Nirav Modi at a plush Delhi hotel in 2013

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New Delhi | Activist Shehzad Poonawalla claimed on Thursday that the Congress chief Rahul Gandhi met PNB fraud accused Nirav Modi at a plush hotel here in 2013.

Poonawalla’s charge was however denied by the Congress.

His allegation came hours after Gandhi asserted his party MP P L Punia saw Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sitting with embattled businessman Vijay Mallya in Parliament before he fled the country.

The former Kingfisher Airlines boss had claimed Wednesday in London that he met Jaitley before leaving India and offered to settle his dues, a charge the finance minister denied and dubbed “false”.

Poonawalla claimed the meeting took place during the same time when loans were given to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi and his nephew Modi and asserted the SPG will have records to prove it.

“Open challenge to Rahul Gandhi to deny he met Nirav Modi in Sep 2013 cocktail party -11th Sep if my memory serves me right! Imperial Hotel- Rahul spent a long time! Same period when loans given to Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi!! SPG may have records or let’s undergo lie detector test?” he tweeted.

Poonawalla said he could swear on Quran and take a lie detector test to prove that he was speaking the truth.

“If PL Punia is proof of @arunjaitley meeting Vijay Mallya (and accosting = meeting) I can swear on Quran and undertake lie detector @RahulGandhi attended Nirav Modi cocktail party and bridal wear programme at Imperial Hotel Delhi in Sep 2013 while loans were wrongly given to mama-bhanja,” he claimed.

Earlier in the day, while stepping up the attack on Jaitley, Gandhi had claimed Punia saw him sitting with Mallya in the Central Hall of Parliament on March 1, 2016 and held an elaborate meeting of 15-20 minutes with him.

“There is a reason why Rahul Gandhi has formed a MahaGathBandhan with Vijay Mallya and relies on such fugitives’ statements – ever since the @narendramodi govt brought in the Fugitive Economic Offender’s Law – Bhagodas and potential Bhagodas are feeling anxious,” Poonawalla alleged.

Later talking to PTI, he said Gandhi and Nirav Modi met during a “special meeting”. He said the Congress president “consciously” attended the cocktail and bridal wear party and spent “quite some time” at the hotel.

“I’m ready to quit politics if proved wrong,” he added.

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Didn’t misuse power against Janardhana Reddy: CM Kumaraswamy

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The CCB had launched a hunt for Reddy last week in connection with a transaction of crores of rupees, allegedly linked to a Ponzi scheme.

 

Bengaluru| Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Wednesday said his government has not indulged in “hate politics” or misused power against mining baron G Janardhana Reddy arrested in connection with a multi-crore ponzi scam case.

Reddy, a former Karnataka minister, had alleged “political conspiracy” against him.

“Developments are taking place in the court with regard to this case. Neither I nor my government or officials have indulged in hate politics or misused (power) in this issue. I’m saying this very clearly,” Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

After remaining elusive Since November 7, Reddy had appeared before the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the city police, which had arrested him Sunday after marathon questioning.

A Metropolitan Magistrate court had subsequently remanded him to judicial custody till November 24.

The CCB had launched a hunt for Reddy last week in connection with a transaction of crores of rupees, allegedly linked to a Ponzi scheme.

It was on the lookout for the absconding mining barron and his close aide, Ali Khan, who had allegedly struck an Rs 20-crore deal with Syed Ahmed Fareed of Ambident Marketing Pvt Ltd, a company accused of involvement in the Ponzi scheme, to bail him out from the Enforcement Directorate investigation.

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Elect AAP for better schools, hospitals: Kejriwal in recorded phone call message for Haryana people

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New Delhi | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose proposal for a mutual inspection of schools and government dispensaries has been cold shouldered by his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar, sought to connect with the people of the neighbouring state though recorded phone call messages asking them to vote for the AAP for better education and healthcare services.

Kejriwal had earlier this month invited Khattar to visit mohalla clinics and schools of Delhi government while proposing a similar visit of Haryana by him. As his attempts failed to elicit any response from Khattar, the Delhi chief minister has come up with a recorded message in Haryanvi dialect in which he invited people to visit Mohalla clinics and schools in Delhi.

“We have improved government schools in Delhi very much. Take time to visit it. The condition of government schools and hospitals in Haryana is very poor. Why did not Khattar Sahab do it when we accomplished so much,” Kejriwal is heard asking in the 58-second-long recorded message. The campaign started Tuesday, an AAP leader said.

The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) is focusing on Haryana along with Punjab and Delhi for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The party has big plans for Arvind Kejriwal’s home state, where Assembly elections will be held next year. “Parties are clamouring for the post of chief minister in Haryana. Defeat all these parties and elect AAP. We will do more work than we have done in Delhi,” the AAP national convener says in his recorded message.

On Monday, Kejriwal wrote a letter to Khattar warning him that people will not vote on religion this time and the next government in the state will be formed by those who will build schools and hospitals.

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Sabarimala: Will take final call after consulting legal experts: CM Vijayan

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Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said though the Supreme Court has not stayed its September 28 decision, permitting all women to offer prayers at the hill shrine at Sabarimala, his government would take a final call on the issue after consulting legal experts.

Speaking to reporters here, Vijayan said the state government would take legal advice on the matter. “As per my understanding, the top court has clearly stated that there is no stay on its September 28 verdict. We will consult legal experts on the matter”, Vijayan said when asked if the verdict would be implemented during the Mandala Makaravillakku pilgrim season,starting on November 17.

Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to hear the review petitions and hailed it as a “big victory” as the outcome was due to the blessings of Lord Ayyappa. “The blessings of Lord Ayyappa and prayers of lots of devotees are behind this decision to hear the matter in the open court”, a beaming Tantritold reporters.

Meanwhile,the main opposition Congress and the BJP welcomed the apex court verdict to hear the review petitions. Opposition leader in the Kerala assembly Ramesh Chennithala wanted the state government to shed its ‘stubbornness’ in implementing the September 28 verdict. “The CPI(M)-led LDF government should act maturely and not implement the decision during the upcoming two-month long pilgrim season,” he told reporters at Sabarimala.

It was only the Congress party,through former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishan, which moved the apex court against the Sabarimala verdict, Chennithala said. “We welcome the apex court’s decision to hear the review petition in open court. Though there is no stay, the government must act maturely and not implement the order,allowing entry of women,” he said.

BJP state President P S Sreedharan Pillai, who undertook a rath yatra from Kasargod in north Kerala to Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala is situated, to ‘protect’ the Lord Ayyappa temple’s traditions, described the apex court decision as a ‘good step.’ “We accept the spirit of today’s Supreme Court decision,” he said.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the government would implement whatever decision the apex court takes on the issue of women’s entry into the hill top shrine. “We are waiting for details of the apex court’s decision.

The Chief Minister had earlier declared that whatever decision the apex court takes, it will be implemented. The government will evaluate the situation and take an appropriate decision”, he said. The apex court had taken the decision to allow entry of women into Sabarimala after considering the Constitutional aspects, Balakrishnan told reporters here. He also said that his party would observe November 26 as “Constitution protection day”.

The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to stay its verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple but agreed to hear in open court on January 22, a batch of review petitions in the matter. The review petitions against the September 28 verdict were taken up ‘in-chamber’ by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. “All the review petitions along with all pending applications will be heard in Open Court on 22nd January 2019 before the appropriate Bench.

We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgement and order of this Court dated 28th September 2018 passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No.373 of 2006 (Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors. vs.the State of Kerala & Ors),” the order said. In the in-chamber proceedings, the judges examine the review petitions by circulation and lawyers are not present. There are around 50 petitions seeking review of the judgement.

On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench, headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, had paved the way for the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple, saying the ban amounted to gender discrimination. Meanwhile, a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, reviewed the facilities at Sabarimala, where the two-month pilgrim season will commence from November 17.

An official press release said that the temporary accommodation facilities for devotees at Pamba, Nilackal and other places were nearing completion.Steps had also been taken to provide free meals to devotees at resting places en route to the shrine. Steps had also been taken to provide more facilities at Chengannur, where a lot of devotees, who reach by train, arrive, it said. The Kerala Water Authority has completed all arrangements to provide safe drinking water to the pilgrims, the release said.

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