2G verdict: Blow to BJP, leg up for Congress, as court acquits all accused

Kapil Sibal

Special Judge O P Saini acquitted all the accused, including then Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimohi, in both the cases filed by the CBI and ED


LATEST NEWS :  A Delhi court on Thursday acquitted all the accused in the alleged multi-thousand crore rupee 2G spectrum scandal.


Special Judge O P Saini acquitted all the accused, including then Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimohi, in both the cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).


The alleged scam on the issuance of licences and allocation of 2G spectrum by the Department of Telecom occurred during the Congress-led UPA government’s first tenure in 2008 but was widely reported in 2010 following a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).


Congress leaders said that the verdict vindicated then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA’s stand that there was no scam in the allocation of spectrum and licences to telecom companies.


Manmohan Singh said that a massive propaganda was unleashed against his government over the 2G spectrum allocation and now the judgment speaks for itself, TV channels reported.


Lashing out at the former CAG, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “I have been saying all along that this was not a scam. It was a scam by Vinod Rai. We stand vindicated.”


Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also hit out at Rai, saying, “The supposed 2G scam at the highest levels of the government was never true, was never correct, and that has been established.”


ALSO READ THIS  : 2G verdict: Blow to BJP, leg up for Congress, as court acquits all accused


RCom surges 45% after NCLT adjourns hearing of insolvency petition

RCom surges 45% after NCLT adjourns hearing of insolvency petition

Other ADAG stocks including Reliance Capital (up 6%), Reliance Power (up 6%) and Reliance Infrastructure (up 5%) also gained on the news


LATEST NEWSReliance Communications (RCom) rose as much as 45% in intra-day trade today after the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) adjourned the hearing of insolvency petitions filed against Reliance Communicationsto early next month after a group of the telecom operator’s lenders sought time to consider converting the company’s loans into equity.


The adjourned date comes as a breather for RCom as if the tribunal had accepted the insolvency petitions before December 28, by when the lenders need to decide on converting their RCom debt into equity, the process would have ended. RCom, which has shut its wireless business, started its strategic debt restructuring on June 2.


Other ADAG stocks including Reliance Capital (up 6%), Reliance Power (up 6%) and Reliance Infrastructure (up 5%) also gained on the news.



Earlier last month, China Development Bank had filed an insolvency case against the telecom company. CDB, a lender to RCom, has filed the suit with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Mumbai under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).


RCom, which is reeling under a Rs 45,000-crore debt, owes about Rs 7,500 crore to CDB. With interest, this increases to about Rs 9,000 crore. This makes CDB the first lender to file insolvency proceedings against billionaire Anil Ambani-controlled RCom.

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Driverless metro crash a human error, experts say tech is a tested science

Delhi Metro, metro accident, Delhi Metro trial run, Delhi Metro Magenta line, Metro trial run accident, Kalkaji Metro station, accident at Kalkaji Metro station, Delhi Metro Magenta line accident, DMRC, Delhi metro news, Botanical Garden, Botanical G

According to DMRC, the crash happened because of human error as a trial train moved from the workshop without testing the brake system that had been disabled


LATEST NEWS : With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to inaugurate Delhi Metro’s magenta line, Tuesday’s incident of a train crashing into a wall at Kalindi Kunj metro station has now raised concerns about the safety of driverless trains and its technology. The line will be the first one to have driverless metro in India.


Experts, however, believe that the technology implemented by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is one of the best in the world and the incident was not a technical but a human error.


The route will be implementing Computer Based Train Control (CBTC) based signalling system, which compared to the conventional signalling has the ability to determine the location of a train independent of track circuits. “This is indeed a reliable and proven technology and we are doing it in many countries safely. The radio linked system will enhance the efficiency of DMRC,” said a senior official of a global railway equipment manufacturer.


According to DMRC,  Tuesday’s mishap occurred due to human error as a trial train moved from the workshop without testing the brake system that had been disabled. As a result of which, while the train was moving up the ramp for washing, it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall.


DMRC said that as per normal procedure prescribed when a train enters the workshop, the brakes of the train are decommissioned so that the train and its systems including the brakes can be freely checked. As per procedure, once the train is again re-commissioned, the brakes should have been tested by the maintenance staff in the depot before the train left the shed. The train movement inside the workshop area is done manually and not by the signalling system. But this was not followed by the staff in Kalindi Kunj.

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4 more state elections in 2018: How it willl change the political equations

Voters line up to cast their votes. File photo: Reuters+

Another set of state elections is due in 2018


LATEST NEWS: Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are over. Another set of state elections is due in 2018. Business Standard reporters assess the next round of the electoral challenge and how it could change India’s political equations.


Which better caste combination?

graph Scheduled for April, the Karnataka election campaign is already underway. A Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah, former leader from the Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (S), is fighting for another term. The main challenge is led by B S Yeddyurappa, a former chief minister, once imprisoned briefly on a graft charge. Yeddyurappa has already been named as chief minister (CM) if his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should come to power.


Siddaramaiah’s pluses? An excellent orator, from the Kuruba (shepherd) community which is socially and economically backward. This gives him the sort of appeal enjoyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The downside? Not a collegial leader, strongly anti-intellectual and doesn’t seem to notice corruption.


Karnataka is a mini country, with all the contradictions and asymmetries. After the information technology revolution, Bengaluru is the hub of all that is creative but the city has next to no urban planning and is growing at a pace the government can’t keep up with. In Mandya, wealthy cotton farmers are committed to the JD (S); in arid north Karnataka and coastal Karnataka, the BJP has a base. The state has an assertive and vigorous minority population; one of the largest contingents of kar sevaks during the demolition of the Babri Masjid came from Karnataka.


The real politics is in caste coalitions. In the previous election, the Congress came to power on the back of a carefully wrought combination of some Vokkaligas, some Lingayats (both powerful middle castes) and mainly because of the support of Dalits and Muslims. This time, Yeddyurappa is working furiously to make dents in the Dalit vote. He has criss-crossed the state twice already, eating at Dalit households, holding meetings with them and generally trying to win them over. However, he has acknowledged detractors in his own party, who have made no secret of the fact that they will work to contain him. The BJP’s biggest danger is internal sabotage.

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SC extends all deadlines of Aadhaar linkages to March 31, 2018



The next hearing would take place on January 17, 2018.



LATEST NEWS :  The Supreme Court on Friday extended till March 31 next year the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.


A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in an interim order, also modified its earlier order with regard to linking of Aadhaar with mobile services and said the deadline of February 6 next year for this purpose also stood extended till March 31.


The bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said that for opening new bank accounts, an applicant will not be required to provide Aadhaar number to the bank.



However, the applicant will have to show the proof to the bank that he/she has applied for the Aadhaar number, Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the unanimous interim order, said.


The apex court said the Constitution Bench would commence final hearing from January 17 on the petition challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself.


Yesterday, Attorney General K K Venugopal had submitted before the top court that the deadline of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes can also be extended upto March 31 next year.


Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.


Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

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Hotels can charge you more than MRP for bottled water: What you should know

Proposal for bromate in water in line with best global practice: FSSAI

The court rejected the government’s argument that overcharging for pre-packed or packaged products was an offence under the Legal Metrology Act



LATEST NEWS :  Can a hotel or a restaurant charge for a bottle of drinking water more than the maximum retail price marked on the container? The answer is yes. In a major blow to consumers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that hotels and restaurants are not bound by the maximum retail price (MRP) when they sell bottled mineral water and packaged food items.


The court rejected the government’s argument that overcharging for pre-packed or packaged products was an offence under the Legal Metrology Act, which attracts a fine of Rs 25,000 or a jail term, according to ET.


A bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman said the provisions of the law will not apply to hotels and restaurants, and these establishments cannot be prosecuted for selling such items above the MRP.


“It is not a case of simple sale. Nobody goes to a hotel to buy or take away a bottle of mineral water,” the bench observed, hearing a petition by the Hotels and Restaurant Association of India.


Earlier, in its affidavit in response to a petition filed by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said that overcharging for pre-packed or prepackaged products was an offence under the Legal Metrology Act.


“Sale of packaged water over MRP by hotels and restaurants may have implications regarding tax evasion as a bottle purchased by a hotel at cost price, which should be sold at MRP or less, is being sold at much higher prices, leading to possible loss of additional revenue to the government in the form of service tax or excise duty etc.,” the government had said.



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Do you own a car? Be ready to start paying more for your cooking gas

Empty Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders are seen at a gas distribution centre at Dujana village in Noida (Photo: Reuters)

The government had last year excluded those with an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh from LPG subsidy


LATEST NEWS :  If you own a car, you might soon have to forgo the subsidy on your LPG cylinders.


By eliminating 36 million fake connections through Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL), the government has saved nearly Rs 30,000 crore of cooking gas subsidy. Now, it is planning to strike car owners off the subsidy list.


Sources in the government said the idea was in its initial stage. The government had collected registration details of cars from regional transport offices (RTO) in a few districts. If it worked out, there could be huge savings on subsidy. A lot of people who have two or three cars were also taking subsidy at present.



The government had last year excluded those with an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh from LPG subsidy.


For deciding on the income cap, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had taken details of LPG customers from the income tax department. This included PAN, residential address, and mobile number.


However, industry experts believe getting details of vehicle registration will be tough, as these need to be counter checked with address.


The government has taken a series of steps, such as launching the “GiveItUp” campaign, rolling out DBTL in all districts, and linkage of LPG connection with Aadhaar, for better targeting of subsidy.


With all these efforts, the government was successful in detecting at least 75 million fake or duplicate connections, said sources.


As of November, India has around 251.1 million domestic LPG consumers — out of which 121.2 million are of IOC, 64 million are of BPCL, and another 65.9 million are of HPCL.


The Narendra Modi government was also successful in adding another 31.6 million Below Poverty Line customers through its flagship social sector scheme Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).


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Gujarat Assembly elections 2017: BJP’s Muslim outreach worries Congress

PM Narendra Modi during an election rally for the in Surendranagar, Gujarat on Sunday

Congress workers say top leaders unwilling to campaign in Muslim areas; BJP encourages Muslims to attend its public meetings


LATEST NEWS : As the Congress embraces “soft” Hindutva in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reached out to the Muslim community of the state.


In Bharuch, Modi accused the Congress of stoking a Hindu-Muslim divide. He said Bharuch and Kutch, two districts with significant Muslim populations, are economically the fastest growing districts of Gujarat. The PM went on to say how during the Congress rule, celebrating festivals comes with the apprehension of violence.


The PM’s comments come on the heels of a finely-tuned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) outreach campaign among the minority as well as the majority communities in Gujarat, which has the Congress worried.


According to Congress workers as well as activists, the feedback is increasingly that several in the Muslim community, even if they do not vote for the BJP, might not turn up in adequate numbers to vote for Congress candidates.


Of the 43.3 million people eligible to cast their votes in the state in the forthcoming Assembly polls, Muslims make a bit over nine per cent of the electorate. The state will see elections on December 9 and 14.


According to internal estimates of political parties, Muslims comprise more than 10 per cent of the electorate in 65 of the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat. Of the 65, Muslims comprise almost a fifth of the electorate on 20 seats.


In 2012, the BJP won 42 seats with a margin of almost 15,000 votes or less. The Congress has identified 30-odd of these seats it believes it can wrest from the BJP. With the Patidar community divided, several of the 30-odd seats are on the list of 65 where Muslims can be a factor if the BJP fails to get a consolidated Hindu vote. A low turnout of Muslim voters would hurt the Congress.


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Researchers identify new drug that can stop migraine before it starts


The drug comes as a big relief to more than 127 million people suffering from chronic migraine


LATEST NEWS :  In a good news for people who suffer from chronic migraines, researchers have identified a medication that can prevent the severe headaches before they start.


An antibody therapy against a key inflammatory molecule involved in migraines reduces the number of headaches that chronic migraine patients experience per month in a phase III trial.


“This therapeutic approach offers new hope for people whose migraines cannot be treated with existing medicine,” said Stephen D Silberstein, from the Thomas Jefferson University in the US.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 127 and 300 million people around the world experience chronic migraine, defined as 15 or more headaches per month for at least three months.


The disease can be debilitating and although a number of interventions exist, many only work for a certain time before they fail to prevent or relieve pain.


The drug called Fremanezumab is a biological agent that binds to and blocks the action of a migraine-associated protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).


Mounting evidence of its importance in migraines has made CGRP a focal point of research and drug development.


The peptide is released at high levels during migraine in response to inflammation, and triggers a cascade effect that stimulates more CGRP release. This results in increasing sensitivity of the brain to pain.


By blocking this peptide, doctors hope to break the cycle of increasing inflammation and increased pain sensitivity that contributes to migraine headaches.


For the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers enrolled 1,130 patients and divided them in three groups.


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Eating cheese every day may reduce risk of heart attacks, says study

How cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack and heart failure?

Cheese, according to a previous study, also could hold the keys to a longer life


LATEST NEWSCheese Lovers, Rejoice! A new research shows that eating a daily portion of cheese could reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks and stroke.


This comes just months after a previous study found that cheese could hold the keys to a longer life.


According to the research, a daily portion of the size of a small matchbox reduces the chances of heart attack by 14 percent. All cheese is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins which help protect against cardiovascular disease.


Cheese also contains high levels of calcium, which means that although it is high in fat, less of that fat is absorbed by the body.


Participants eating around one-and-a-half ounces (40g) a day saw the greatest reduction in risk to their health.


The scientists said the research also showed cheese boosted levels of so-called “good” cholesterol while reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol.


Reacting to the latest study, Ian Givens, Professor of Food Chain Nutrition at Reading University, said calcium from dairy products such as cheese played a vital role in reducing fat in the body.


He said, “They do seem to be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and – particularly with yoghurt – Type 2 diabetes, which is an area of research we are trying to develop because there are 700 new cases every day. The biggest element in cheese appears to be the close association between calcium and fat.”


Adding, “There is a link between the fat and calcium which makes the fat less digestible.”


Sophie Clarke, of the British Cheese Board, said, “Far from having a negative effect, a number of large studies have shown dairy products to have a protective effect on factors relating to heart health. Looking specifically at cheese, a number of studies show no association between eating cheese and heart disease.”


The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

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