QBullet: 2 Weeks to Complete CBI Chief Probe; MoD Tweet Slams Army

1. Finish Probe Into CBI Chief Row in 2 Weeks: SC

CBI Director Alok Verma. 

The Supreme Court on Friday, 26 October, skirted the issue of whether the government, through the Central Vigilance Commission, had the power to effectively remove the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Alok Verma, but insisted that an investigation into the director by CVC be supervised by retired SC judge AK Patnaik, and be concluded within two weeks.

A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to grant CVC more time. “Can’t give more time, it’s not in the interest of the country,” the CJI told solicitor general Tushar Mehta who sought three weeks for the task.

The court also refused to entertain a plea by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, also divested of all responsibilities on the same day as the director (23 October), saying he had “missed the bus”. However, its order to CVC did not mention the CBI’s own probe into him which precipitated the crisis in the country’s federal investigation agency.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: CBI Row: SC Directs CVC to Complete Inquiry in Two Weeks

2. Bihar: JD(U), BJP to Contest Equal No. of Seats in 2019 Polls

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and BJP President Amit Shah. 

Ending months of uncertainty over seat-sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday, 26 October, said his party and JD(U) will contest on an equal number of seats. The announcement came after a meeting between Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Following the meeting, Shah was quoted as saying by ANI: “It has been decided that BJP and JDU will fight on an equal number of seats for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in Bihar. Other allies will also get a respectable seat share. Numbers will be announced in a few days.”

Shah said that the party will adjust with new allies and that the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) will remain with the NDA in the parliamentary elections.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: BJP, JD(U) Will Contest Equal Seats in Bihar in 2019: Amit Shah

3. Sabarimala: Kerala HC Warns Govt Not to Play to Gallery over Mass Arrests

The Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The Kerala High Court on Friday, 26 October, warned the state government not to play to the gallery and harass innocent people amid the mass arrest of Sabarimala devotees, who protested against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to worship at the shrine earlier this month.

The division bench of the court, while hearing a petition filed by two devotees, said the government will have to pay a heavy price if it arrested innocent and sought a report from it by Monday, 29 October.

In their plea, the petitioners said the police were arresting innocent devotees who participated in peaceful ‘nama japa yatra’ (hymn singing campaign) and some of them were slapped with non-bailable offences.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Sabarimala: Police Launch a Crackdown, Arrest 1,400 Protesters

4. BJP Will Win 2019 with or Without Shiv Sena: Fadnavis

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. 

The BJP will emerge the number one party in the state and Centre in 2019, with or without its ally Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday, 26 October.

Fadnavis said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will try to form an alliance with the Sena, for both the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls next year, and given the political reality, such a tie-up will fall in place. But, he added even if the alliance falls apart, the BJP was already prepared and would emerge winner.

“Both of us will suffer if we don’t have an alliance. If we form one, we will win the polls easily and if we don’t, we [BJP] will have to struggle a little. But, the BJP will be the number one party in any scenario,’’ the chief minister told HT.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Shiv Sena Will Ally with BJP Over Hindutva, says CM Fadnavis

5. MoD Tweet Slams Army Officers, Spokesperson Goes on Leave

Image used for representation. 

Highlighting a widening rift between the armed forces and the bureaucracy over privileges and status, the Defence Ministry’s spokesperson on Friday, 16 October, tweeted about “misuse” of facilities by military officers, while responding to a tweet by Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), a former Navy chief.

While the tweet by the spokesperson, Swarnashree Rao Rajshekhar, from the official handle, @SpokespersonMoD, was later deleted, and she apologised for it, many military veterans expressed their outrage on Twitter.

Later in the evening, Rajshekhar went on leave. “Col Aman Anand, took over as the acting Official Spokesperson of MoD as the spokesperson proceeds on leave,” said a tweet from the official handle.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Attempts on to Include Illegal Migrants: NRC Officer to SC

People wait to check their names on the final draft of the Assam NRC after it was released. Image used for representational purposes.

National Register of Citizens’ (NRC) Assam coordinator, Prateek Hajela, has claimed in the Supreme Court that the outcry against the exclusion of five identity documents as a basis for filing claims and objections is an attempt to get illegal immigrants included in the NRC.

The top court had on Tuesday, 23 October, asked Hajela to explain to the state government, Centre and other stakeholders why five documents – extract of the 1951 NRC, copy of electoral rolls up to 24 March 1971, citizenship and refugee registration certificates up to 24 March 1971 and ration cards – were not allowed to be used for filing inclusion claims. Around four million people were excluded from the final NRC draft released on 30 July.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Retired Assam Teacher Commits Suicide Post Exclusion from NRC List

7. Govt Treating Rights Groups like Criminals, Says Amnesty

Photo of Amnesty International office in Bengaluru. 

A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at two locations of Amnesty International India in connection with contravention of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the human rights watchdog alleged that the Union government is treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises.

“Government authorities are increasingly treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises,” Amnesty International India executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement.

“As an organisation committed to the rule of law, our operations in India have always conformed with our national regulations. The principles of transparency and accountability are at the heart of our work,” Patel said.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: ED Freezes Amnesty International India’s Bank Accounts

8. YSRC Moves HC Seeking CBI Probe into Knife Attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy

YSR Congress Party Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy.

YSR Congress party on Friday, 26 October, moved the Hyderabad High Court seeking a thorough probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the knife attack on party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy by a restaurant worker at the airport in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam a day earlier.

Former YSRC MP from Ongole Y V Subba Reddy, who filed petition in the high court, requested that the Central Industrial Security Force authorities manning the Visakhapatnam airport be directed to give a comprehensive report on the attack and the case be handed over to the CBI for an impartial inquiry.

A separate petition with a similar demand was filed by Jagan’s followers P Anil Kumar and Amarnath Reddy seeking an urgent hearing. The petition is expected to come up for hearing in the afternoon, a party leader familiar with the development said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Jagan injured in attack at Vizag airport, TDP smells conspiracy

9. Ganga Activist Reportedly Criticised Centre in ‘Final Video’ Before Death

Environmentalist GD Agarwal passed away on Thursday, 11 October, after giving up food and water in his quest to save River Ganga.

Followers of Ganga activist Guru Das Agarwal have released a video, reportedly recorded about an hour before his death on 11 October, showing the scientist-turned-seer on the hospital bed questioning the central government’s notification on the river’s environmental flow.

The video was released on Friday, the day the Supreme Court (SC) refused shifting his body from AIIMS, Rishikesh, to his Matri Sadan ashram in Haridwar for post-death rituals. The ruling came hours after the Uttarakhand high court had ordered the state police to supervise the body’s transfer after accepting a plea on behalf of the seer’s followers who wanted to pay their last respects to the 86-year-old former IIT professor, popular among his disciples as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand.

Members of the ashram said he had passed away soon after the video was shot.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Forcible Hospitalisation Is a Violation: GD Agarwal Before Death

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