Rakesh Asthana, Special Director moved out of CBI

Rakesh Asthana, Special Director moved out of CBI

A week after a high-powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ousted CBI chief Alok Verma, the government on Thursday moved out Special Director Rakesh Asthana from the probe agency. The tenure of three other senior officers of the probe agency has also been curtailed.

Special director Rakesh Asthana moved out of CBI
Special director Rakesh Asthana moved out of CBI

Asthana is facing corruption charges in the Moin Qureshi case. An FIR was filed against Asthana and others last year after Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana claimed he had paid bribes to get relief in a case related to meat-exporter Moin Qureshi and made allegations of corruption and extortion against Asthana.

The Delhi High Court has given the CBI ten weeks time to complete the investigation against Asthana. “The Appointment Committee of the cabinet has approved the proposal of DOPT/AV division for curtailment of tenure of the following officers working in CBI in the rank of Special Director/ Joint Director/ DIG/SP with immediate effect. Rakesh Asthana, Arun Kumar Sharma, Manish Kumar Sinha, Jayant J Naiknavare,” read the government notification.

Last week, Alok Verma was removed as CBI director on corruption charges based on a CVC report despite objections from Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, who was one of the three members in the committee.

The government on October 23 had sent Asthana on forced leave, divesting him of his powers, along with Verma after their clash levelling mutual allegations of corruption against each other.

Verma, however, challenged the government’s decision in the Supreme Court that last week set aside the government’s order and reinstated him only to be ousted two days later by the committee.

Another officer whose tenure has been curtailed is CBI DIG MK Sinha, the main supervisory officer of the case against Asthana. Sinha was one of the officers transferred amid the CBI feud.

His petition has alleged that NSA Ajit Doval interfered in the probe against Asthana and that Law Secretary Suresh Chandra tried to influence Sana Sathish Babu.

-January 17, 2019

Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union council of ministers

Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union council of ministers

RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha Monday resigned from the Union council of ministers, a day ahead of the start of Parliament’s Winter Session. Party sources said he has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he is quitting the BJP-led NDA alliance.

The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief has been targeting the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a key ally of the ruling party, for weeks.

Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union council of ministers

He has been upset with the BJP after it asserted that the RLSP would not be given more than two seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, even as it went out of way to accommodate Kumar by agreeing that the saffron party and the JD(U)  would fight equal number of seats.

The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief has been targeting the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a key ally of the ruling party, for weeks.

The RLSP may join hands with the opposition, which includes Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress. Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha.

Party sources said he has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he is quitting the BJP-led NDA alliance. The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief has been targeting the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a key ally of the ruling party, for weeks. He has been upset with the BJP after it asserted that the RLSP would not be given more than two seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, even as it went out of way to accommodate Kumar by agreeing that the saffron party and the JD(U)  would fight equal number of seats.

– PTI | 10 December 2018 | New Delhi

PM Modi hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘Hindu’ remark

PM Modi hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘Hindu’ remark

PM Modi on Monday took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for questioning his Hindu credentials and asked the Opposition party if it wanted to win the Rajasthan Assembly elections by raising the issue of one’s knowledge of religion. “Even the saints and sages never claimed that they had full knowledge of Hinduism,” Mr. Modi said. “It is so vast.”

Addressing a rally on the last leg of his Rajasthan campaign, Mr. Modi said it seemed the ‘Naamdar’ (dynast) had the right to speak with authority on the religion, while he, as a “small kaamdar” could not claim it. Mr. Modi’s retort came two days after Mr. Gandhi asserted that the BJP leader did not understand the foundations of Hinduism.

The Congress’s leaders appeared to believe that talking about development was “futile during [the] polls,” Mr. Modi said. “The Congress today has become a university for spreading lies… the student who scores the highest in speaking falsehood is awarded with a new position and title,” he asserted.

Jodhpur Rally of PM

Mr. Modi contended that the Congress’s dream of winning the elections in Rajasthan would be crushed, as had happened in other States. The Congress’s assumption that it would come to power in the State because of the trend of alternate governments being formed by different parties would be proved wrong this time.

Mr. Modi also brought up the issue of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s alleged opposition to the reconstruction of the Somnath temple in Gujarat, while reiterating his charge that Mr. Nehru had objected to the then President Rajendra Prasad’s visit for the temple’s consecration. “This historic temple was destroyed by foreign invaders and renovated by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” he told the audience.

In a veiled reference to Mr. Nehru, Mr. Modi said the leader who wore a rose “knew about gardens but did not know about farmers or farming”. “Because of this, the farmers’ community faced hardships,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Modi also lavished praise on Jodhpur’s Bishnoi community for its dedication to the cause of environment protection and recalled the historical incident of 1730 when 363 Bishnoi villagers are said to have laid down their lives in Khejarli for protecting trees. “It is because of them that India has won the ‘Champion of Earth’ award.”

JODHPUR, DECEMBER 03, 2018

Western peripheral expressway in Delhi inaugurated by PM

Kundli-Manesar section of Western Peripheral Expressway in Delhi inaugurated by PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Kundli-Manesar section of the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Western Peripheral Expressway.

He also inaugurated the 3.2 km-long Ballabhgarh-Mujesar Metro rail link, which would facilitate travel for people of Delhi and Faridabad, and laid the foundation stone for Shri Vishwakarma Skill University that is to come up at Dudhola in Palwal district of Haryana.

The inaugurations and foundation stones laying ceremonies were done through remote from Sultanpur village of Gurgaon district. Mr. Modi, on arriving at Sultanpur village in this district, went around a visual art exhibition pertaining to the KMP project.

Related image

Western Peripheral Expressway

Mr. Modi was accompanied by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Union ministers Birender Singh and Rao Inderjit Singh, who is also Gurgaon MP. Haryana Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya was also present on the occasion.

Earlier this year, Manesar to Palwal stretch of the KMP, whose entire length is 135.65 km, was opened for public, Mr. Khattar said on the occasion. A sum of ₹6,400 crore has been spent on the expressway project and 3,846 acres of land was acquired at a cost of ₹2,788 crore, a Haryana government spokesperson said.

The length of the stretch from Kundli to Manesar is over 83 km. This stretch would have 14 major or minor bridges, 56 underpass or agricultural vehicular underpasses, seven intersections and seven toll plazas.

He also inaugurates 3.2 km-long Ballabhgarh-Mujesar Metro rail link, which would facilitate travel for people of Delhi and Faridabad.

The expressway will decongest the road traffic from Delhi, especially reducing the number of trucks entering the national capital.

Besides, the project will also provide high-speed link between northern Haryana and southern districts and give uninterrupted high-speed link for traffic, especially commercial traffic, from Haryana to the neighbouring States.

-PTI, GURGAON, NOVEMBER 19, 2018 

India signs $5.43 billion S-400 missile deal with Russia

India signs $5.43 billion S-400 missile deal with Russia

India and Russia signed a $5.43 billion deal for five S-400 missile system on Friday during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While India has a long history of signing big ticket defence contracts with Russia, this deal comes at a time of increased friction between the United States and Russia, Washington’s strong objections to the agreement and New Delhi’s own deepening defence cooperation with Washington.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin“The S-400 deal was signed today at 1100 hrs by the Joint Secretary Land Systems from India and the Director General, Rosoboronexport of Russia,” a top government source said. The deliveries will begin in 24 months, which is end 2020.

The U.S. has warned that the deal, signed during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi, could attract sanctions.

The U.S. has warned that the deal could attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea. It has to be seen if the U.S. would grant a waiver to India in this case.

Few other defence deals are also expected to be concluded, which will be announced during the joint statement after the talks.

Modi, Putin hold restricted meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a restricted meeting ahead of delegation-level talks of the annual bilateral summit. Modi received Putin at the Hyderabad House here and the two leaders warmly shook hands and hugged each other obliging cameramen.

Putin arrived here on Thursday evening for the 19th India-Russia Bilateral Summit and held a private meeting with Modi at the latter’s residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Putin at the airport here.

Around 20 agreements are expected to be signed between the two sides following the summit on Friday. This includes India’s purchase of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia at a cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore.

The deal has been an issue of much speculation after US President Donald Trump’s administration’s law — Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) — came into effect in January. CAATSA targets countries doing business with Russian, Iranian and North Korean defence companies.

Also expected to come up for discussion is Washington’s fresh sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear programme. New Delhi is worried over the new sanctions, set to come into effect on November 4, as Iran is a major supplier of oil to India.

The sanctions have also put into jeopardy the Chabahar Port in Iran being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan. Chabahar is a crucial link in the International North South Transport Corridor of which Russia is a key party.

Russia is one of only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits, the other being Japan. The India-Russia bilateral relationship was elevated to Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership in 2010.

This is the third meeting between Modi and Putin this year after an informal meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi in May and a bilateral on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa in July.

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 05, 2018

‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’: Modi’s slogan for 2019 polls

‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’: Modi’s slogan for 2019 polls

Setting the tone for the 2019 parliamentary election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined Sunday a new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, highlighting his party’s commitment to its core values and the country’s progress and forward march under its rule.

Addressing the BJP national executive meet, Modi also paid rich tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee through his slogan.

Image result for bjp national executive 2018The new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, means an India which is victorious and cannot be subjugated by anyone and a party which is committed to its principles, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said briefing the media about Modi’s speech in the closed-door meeting.

Taking a dig at efforts by opposition parties to stitch together a grand alliance against the BJP, Modi said, “People who do not see eye to eye are thinking of a grand alliance. It is vindication of our work.”

He said that no one, not even smaller parties, was ready to accept the leadership of the Congress in such an alliance.

Describing his vision for the country, the prime minister said, “I want the country to be affluent, but its bedrock should be simplicity.

Setting the tone for the 2019 parliamentary election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined Sunday a new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, highlighting his party’s commitment to its core values and the country’s progress and forward march under its rule. Addressing the BJP national executive meet, Modi also paid rich tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee through his slogan. The new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, means an India which is victorious and cannot be subjugated by anyone and a party which is committed to its principles, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said briefing the media about Modi’s speech in the closed-door meeting.

– PTI | 09 September 2018 | New Delhi

Death of Vajpayee end of an era: PM

Death of Vajpayee end of an era; it’s a personal loss for me: PM Narendra Modi 

Death of Vajpayee; Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the passing away of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee marks the end of an era and termed it as a “personal and irreplaceable” loss for him.

He said the BJP patriarch lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades while noting that it was Vajpayee’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century.

VAJPAYEEVajpayee died at the AIIMS hospital here this evening at the age of 93 following prolonged illness.

“Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit.

“It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” Modi tweeted.

He said it was due to Vajpayee’s perseverance and struggles that the BJP was built brick by brick.

“He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP’s message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states,” he said. Modi said India grieves the demise of Vajpayee.

“Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit. “It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” Modi tweeted.

“My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti,” he added.

-PTI |16 August 2018 | New Delhi

Sanitation coverage in India almost doubled: PM

Sanitation coverage in India almost doubled: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the sanitation coverage in the country has increased from 38 per cent to nearly 80 per cent and asserted that the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ is playing a central role in creating a healthy India.
Interacting with the beneficiaries of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) and affordable cardiac stents and knee implants through video bridge, the Prime Minister said that more than 3.5 lakh villages in the country have declared themselves open defecation free.

Sanitation coverage
“Cleanliness is considered to be first necessity for a healthy life. We initiated the campaign to construct toilets at home. This campaign for cleanliness is being taken forward successfully by 125 crore people of the country.”
“Look at its results. Sanitation coverage has gone up from 38 per cent to around 80 per cent. So if it was 40 per cent it has (it means) doubled. More than 3.5 lakh villages have declared themselves open defecation free in India,” he said. “The scheme is playing a central role in creating a healthy India,” Modi said.

Referring to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study, he said that those villages which are open defecation free, Rs 50,000 which would have otherwise been used for other works, is being saved on an average per family.

Otherwise the same amount would have gone into treatment of various diseases and commuting to and fro to the hospital, among others.

Interacting with the beneficiaries of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) and affordable cardiac stents and knee implants through video bridge, the Prime Minister said that more than 3.5 lakh villages in the country have declared themselves open defecation free. “Cleanliness is considered to be first necessity for a healthy life. We initiated the campaign to construct toilets at home. This campaign for cleanliness is being taken forward successfully by 125 crore people of the country.” “Look at its results. Sanitation coverage has gone up from 38 per cent to around 80 per cent. So if it was 40 per cent it has (it means) doubled. More than 3.5 lakh villages have declared themselves open defecation free in India,” he said. “The scheme is playing a central role in creating a healthy India,” Modi said.

Interacting with the Prime Minister, the beneficiaries explained how the ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ brought down the cost of the medicines and made it affordable. The beneficiaries also talked about how reduced prices of heart stent and knee transplants have changed their life.
-PTI | Jun 7, 2018

Ramzan ceasefire a chance for stable, progressive J&K

Ramzan ceasefire a chance for stable, progressive J&K: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday described the Ramzan ceasefire “a chance for youth to have a stable and progressive J&K” and “an awakening call to those who exploit Islam”.

“The Ramzan ceasefire is not mere a ceasefire but an awakening call to those who exploit Islam. Many countries, which had chose a certain path, are looking for return routes now. Those youths influenced by foreign forces and attack their own motherland should join the mainstream and take an active participation in J&K’s progress and contribute to its pride,” said Mr. Modi in his speech in Srinagar, after inaugurating a slew of development projects.

He said the Centre will provide all support be make J&K a crown of the country, while terming his visit during Ramzan “a privilege”.

rally“J&K for centuries has been sons of the same mother India. Mother’s milk will see no split ever. This land has always been welcoming and rooted in secular traditions. (Former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in awe of J&K’s Kashmiriyat. Modi is also a disciple of it,” said the Prime Minister, while reiterating his Red Fort speech, “Na gali, na goli say, har kashmiri ko galay lagayna ki zaroorat hai (Neither abuse, not bullet but embracing every Kashmiri is need of the hour).

On the dialogue process, Mr. Modi said a Central representative has been appointed to talk to “all groups to strengthen the peace process”. “All all those who want to talk should express it. Our representative is trying to strengthen the peace process. Kashmiryat and Jamooriyat connection has to be strengthen. The civil society, intellectuals and religious leaders need to put their all energies should be on progress of J&K. Because vikas (development) will made a new J&K stable, peaceful and progressive,” he added.

The Prime Minister said J&K can be part of new India with best education, best hospitals, best airports and best roads. “There are forces that do not want J&K to be progressive and happy. We have to fight these foreign forces. Every stone and weapon be sued to bring J&K out of this (turmoil),” said Mr. Modi.

He praised security forces for their coordination and hardships they face in J&K. The Prime Minister started and concluded his speech in Kashmiri: “Khodah devnay khosh to khoshhal (May God bless you and keep you happy).

Earlier, Mr. Modi laid foundation stone of the Zojila Tunnel, inaugurated the Kishenganga power project and laid foundations for the Srinagar Ring Road at SKICC, Srinagar.

He is heading for Jammu’s General Zorawar Singh Auditorium and inaugurate development projects there too.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari will also be present at the events.

SRINAGAR, MAY 19, 2018

Modi attacks Rahul over ‘15-minute’ dare

Karnataka Assembly elections: Modi attacks Rahul over ‘15-minute’ dare

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched his campaign blitzkrieg in Karnataka, unleashing a blistering attack on Rahul Gandhi and daring him “to speak in any language” for 15 minutes about the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government without reading out from piece of paper.

ModiHe accused the State’s Congress government, which he claimed was steeped in corruption, of thwarting the Centre’s efforts for development.

Hitting out at the Congress president, Mr. Modi also said those currently leading the party had “no understanding” of history and the country’s legacy.

“I dare the Congress president to speak in Hindi, English or the mother tongue of his mother to deliver a speech in Karnataka for 15 minutes, without reading out from a piece of paper, on the achievements of the party government… people of Karnataka will draw their own conclusion,” he told an election rally in Santemaranahalli.

“2=1 fomula”

Mr. Modi also attacked the Congress for indulging in “family politics” by allowing a party’s leaders kith and kin to contest in the Assembly elections.

“For the Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) the rule is ‘2+1’, where he will contest from two seats and has given his old seat (Varuna in Mysuru district) to his son (Yathindra) and for the other ministers (in the state cabinet), the rule seems to be ‘1+1’, allowing their relatives to fight polls.”

Fearing defeat, Mr. Siddaramaiah was changing his Assembly constituencies and contesting from two seats, Mr. Modi alleged.

Mr. Siddaramaiah has filed nominations for the May 12 election from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district and Badami in Bagalkot district, while his son Yathindra is contesting from Varuna in Mysuru district.

The Prime Minister slams the ruling Congress for indulging in “family politics” by allowing a party’s leaders kith and kin to contest in the Assembly polls.

Though Mr. Siddaramaiah had won from Varuna twice since the 2008 Assembly elections, he shifted to Chamundeshwari, making way for his son Yathindra to contest from his home constituency.

“For the Congress, it has always been about family politics. But for us (BJP), it is about people’s politics. People of the state will decide which kind of politics they will choose (in the upcoming election),” Modi said.

Mr. Modi was responding to Mr. Gandhi’s dare to allow him to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament on various issues, including corruption, and that the Prime Minister will not be able to sit for 15 minutes.

“His speaking for 15 minutes will itself is a big thing. And when I hear that I would not be able to sit, I think… wow, what a scene it is? Congress president, Sir, we cannot sit before you. You are ‘naamdar’ [famous], while I am ’kaamdar’ [ordinary worker]. We have no status to sit in front of you,” he said.

Addressing the first of the 15 election rallies he is scheduled to address over the next few days, Mr. Modi claimed, “A storm, and not a simple wave,” was blowing in the BJP’s favour in the State.

Greeting the workers on the occasion of “May Day”, Mr. Modi also took a dig at Mr. Gandhi for not acknowledging the contribution of workers towards 100% electrification of villages achieved under his government.

“April 28th is a day that will be written in golden letters in country’s history, because our hardworking people made electricity reach the last unelectrified village Leisang in Manipur.

“But the new leader of the Congress did not utter two words of praise for the workers who made it possible,” Mr. Modi said.

-PTI, SANTEMARANAHALLI (KARNATAKA), MAY 01, 2018