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Probe Agency Says “Bengal Police Acting At Trinamool MP’s Behest” – dot newz

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Bengal police issued notices to officials probing coal mining case, the agency said. (Representational)

New Delhi:

Enforcement Directorate has alleged before the Delhi High Court that West Bengal Police is acting at the behest of Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, who “enjoys clout” in the state government, to derail the probe into an alleged coal pilferage scam.

The submission was made by the probe agency in its petition seeking a direction to quash two notices issued against its officers pursuant to an FIR lodged by Mr Banerjee.

The High Court said that it will hear the ED’s challenge to the police notices issued against its officers, arising from an FIR by the Trinamool MP, on September 21.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for ED, contended before Justice Yogesh Khanna that the notices issued pursuant to the FIR are patently illegal, malafide and a “counter blast” to the investigation in the coal pilferage case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its petition before the high court, said that in order to pressurize its officers probing the case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Mr Banerjee, who is the nephew of chief minister Mamta Banerjee and under scanner in the case, filed an FIR in April.

The ED has sought a direction to quash two notices issued against its officers and any other subsequent notices that may be issued in the FIR, saying that they amount to abuse of process of law.

“The notices will not stand scrutiny even for a minute,” SV Raju told the judge who deferred hearing on the petition, saying that the senior counsel for West Bengal will take care of the notices issued to the ED officers on July 22 and August 21.

“Once they are saying there is no other notice, we can fix (the plea for hearing) on Friday or Monday. Mr (Sidharth) Luthra (appearing for West Bengal) will take care of it,” said the judge after taking note of Sidharth Luthra’s submission.

“I don’t think there will be a problem. Mr Raju, take it from me,” said Mr Luthra who also contended that the legal view was against the ED’s stand.

In April, on a complaint by the Trinamool MP, a case was filed by local police in West Bengal under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code for alleged commission of offences of forgery of records, forgery for purpose of harming reputation, defamation etc.

The petition, filed through Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, said that pursuant to this FIR, two notices were issued by the Sub Inspector, Special Cell (GS), DD of Kalighat Police Station, Kolkata to ED officers performing their statutory functions in the Headquarters in Delhi.

“The complainant in the instant FIR is a political heavy weight and enjoys clout in the State Government of West Bengal. The West Bengal Police is acting at his behest to derail the investigation being carried out by Enforcement Directorate,” the plea said.

“It is pertinent to mention that the investigation into the illegal coal mining and the role of the complainant therein Abhishek Banerjee is being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement in exercise of its statutory powers under PMLA in the Headquarters at New Delhi,” it added.

The petition said that based on “reasonable belief and evidences”, the probe agency issued summons to Banerjee for his appearance on three occasions, out of which he appeared only once on September 6.

“In order to pressurize the Petitioners/ IOs investigating the case related to illegal coal mining, Abhishek Banerjee lodged an FIR on date 05.04.2021, against a News Channel and in furtherance of the same, notices have been issued to the IOs investigating the case of illegal coal mining by the West Bengal Police. The said FIR has been registered with a malafide intention to derail the investigation under PMLA being conducted by the Directorate of Enforcement,” the plea said.

The petition alleged that the issuance of notices against ED officers is “malafide and with the oblique motive and intent at stifling the fair and impartial investigation being undertaken by Enforcement Directorate for unearthing large financial scams / frauds taking place in the State of West Bengal and the country.”

It also argued that the motive behind registration of the FIR and the subsequent issuance of notices is “only to harass the officers of the Directorate and to use the State Police Machinery to halt the investigation being conducted by the officers of the Directorate against highly placed persons in the State Government of West Bengal & their suspected role in the offence of money laundering”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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2 Space Technology Startups Get Access To ISRO Facilities. What They Plan To Test – dot newz

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Department of Space entered into an agreement with 2 aerospace tech startups (Representational)

Bengaluru:

The Department of Space (DoS) has entered into a framework agreement with aerospace technology startup Agnikul Cosmos for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

The agreement will enable the company to undertake multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) centres for testing and qualification of its single piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems.

It will also enable Agnikul, based in National Centre for Combustion R&D of IIT-Madras, Chennai, to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

Agnikul said the agreement would formally enable it to go forward with its testing plans at ISRO.

“With this level of Govt. support, low earth orbit does look close”, tweeted the company, which raised USD 11 Million Series A round from institutional and angel investors earlier this year.

Top Agnikul officials met Department of Space secretary and ISRO Chairman, K Sivan, who assured all support from Department of Space for qualifying Agnikul launch vehicle systems.

ISRO’s Scientific Secretary and Chairman, Interim IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) Committee, R Umamaheswaran signed the agreement on Friday on behalf of DoS and Agnikul CEO Srinath Ravichandran inked it from the company side.

Department of Space also entered into a similar agreement with Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace last week for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

The Framework MoU will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centres and also to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the ISRO Chairman inaugurated the spacecraft research laboratory at Bellatrix Aerospace located at the Indian Institute of Science campus in Bengaluru.

This privately funded propulsion lab has in-house facilities for development and testing of electric and green chemical propulsion technologies, according ISRO.

Dr Sivan appreciated the young team for establishing the state-of-the art facility which houses equipment such as integrated thermal high vacuum test facilities, catalytic reactors, propellant preparation facilities, and specialised high temperature coating facilities.
 



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Kashmiri Hindus Face Identity Barrier In PM Scheme For Kashmiri Pandits – dot newz

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Government jobs were announced for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in 2009 in J&K

Srinagar:

For Navjot Kumar, it’s a fight over identity to get a government job in Jammu and Kashmir. A court ruling that he’s not a Kashmiri Pandit has shattered his dreams. Like Mr Kumar, over two dozen Hindus living near the Line of Control in Uri sector had qualified for a job under the Prime Ministers special employment package for Kashmiri Pandits.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, however, dismissed a petition on Tuesday that sought to include Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs into the jobs scheme for Kashmiri Pandits.

The court said every Hindu resident of Kashmir valley is not a Kashmiri Pandit as Pandits have their separate identity and other Hindu castes cannot be treated as Kashmiri Pandits.

“Jammu and Kashmir administration denied us the right (to jobs scheme) on the grounds that Kashmiri Hindus, Rajputs and Kshatriyas do not fall under the Kashmiri Pandit category. The court was our only hope, but the decision was not in our favour,” said Mr Kumar, a Kashmiri Hindu.

“The court said Kashmiri Pandits and Rajputs are different. Our community has been discriminated against. We want justice,” Mr Kumar said.

Under the Prime Minister’s special employment scheme, some 6,000 government jobs were announced for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in 2009. While 4,000 posts have been filled, 2,000 jobs were recently advertised by the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board.

The controversy started after the centre included non-migrant Pandits in the recruitment package last year. The Hindu groups and Sikhs also demanded their inclusion as they equally suffered during the turmoil and never migrated from Kashmir valley.

The Kashmiri Sikhs say they will go to the Supreme Court as the government’s policy to reserve jobs for only one specific community is a clear discrimination.

“Everyone has suffered here, not just one community. Majority and minority have suffered. Minority include Hindus, Pandits and Sikhs. But when you single out Kashmiri Pandit community and say only they have suffered, it is sheer injustice. I’m taking up this case with the Supreme Court,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of the All Sikh Coordination Committee.

In the judgment, Justice Sanjeev Kumar said, “Kashmiri Pandits is a separately identifiable community distinct from other Hindus residing in the valley like Rajputs, Brahmins, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and many others.”

“It is thus difficult to accept the contention of the petitioners who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Castes and non-Kashmiri Brahmins that they should be treated as Kashmiri Pandits and admitted to the benefits of the Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants,” the high court said.

Kashmiri Pandits welcomed the judgment. They say it is line with Kashmiri Pandit identity, which is distinct from the larger Hindu identity.

“We have a separate identity, culture. Our rituals are different from the rest of the people. If you look at it, the Hindus, even if they live in Kashmir, don’t follow Nilmat Puran Kashmiri Pandit rituals, which are altogether different than the rest of the people following larger Hinduism,” said Satish Mahaldar, Kashmiri Pandit leader.

The petitioners still maintain that if the Prime Minister’s package is meant for those who lived through periods of extreme violence and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, then people from all sections of society have suffered and should be included.



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Amarinder Singh On Backfoot? Congress Calls Key Meeting Of Punjab MLAs – dot newz

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The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year (File)

New Delhi:

There is fresh sparking in the Punjab unit of the Congress. Citing “representation from a large number of MLAs”, the Congress, in a late night tweet, has called for a key meeting of its Punjab legislators today.

“The AICC has received a representation from a large number of MLAs from the Congress party, requesting to immediately convene a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab. Accordingly, a meeting of the CLP has been convened at 5 PM on September 18 at Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office.

“AICC directs the PPCC to facilitate this meeting. All congress MLAs of Punjab are requested to kindly attend this meeting,” Harish Rawat, Congress’s Punjab in-charge, tweeted Friday night.

Mr Rawat also tagged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in his tweet.

Navjot Sidhu, who continues to take potshots at his Chief Minister, retweeted Harish Rawat, then tweeted, and repeated, that a meeting has been called.

“As per the AICC directive, Congress Legislature Party meeting has been convened at @INCPunjab PPCC Office, Chandigarh on 18 September 2021 (Saturday) 5 PM,” said Mr Sidhu.

Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken will be the central observers for the Punjab meeting.

There has been no reaction from Captain Amarinder Singh so far.

Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised a squadron of complaints against the Punjab Chief Minister and said that they had no faith in his ability to honour poll promises.

The Congress has been papering over the differences between the two top leaders in the state unit, telegraphing a message of unity and cooperation.

As recently as September 8, Mr Rawat, speaking to news agency ANI, said that the people assume party leaders in Punjab are fighting because the ”brave” leaders put forward their opinion strongly.

“Punjab is the land of braves. People there put their opinion very strongly there and it looks like they will fight. But, there is nothing like that, and they find solutions to their problems. Punjab Congress is solving their issues themselves. We are not doing anything,” the Congress leader said.

When asked about the relation between Amarinder Singh and Mr Sidhu, Mr Rawat said, “If there would be a dispute, it would be good for Congress.”

The BJP, in a sharp contrast, has replaced four chief ministers in six months. Most recently Vijay Rupani quit as Gujarat Chief Minister a year ahead of polls.. His resignation follows that of BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka in July and a double blow in Uttarakhand, where Tirath Singh Rawat quit barely four months after replacing Trivendra Rawat.

Both Gujarat and Uttarakhand will vote for new governments next year.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was declared the Punjab Congress chief in July after weeks of infighting and in face of strong opposition by Captain Amarinder Singh. He has been a vehement critic of the state government.

Even after a month of assuming the new role, Mr Sidhu keeps pulling up the government for not fulfilling the pre-poll promises.

The Congress, which has only a skinny group of states in its kitty, has been battling leadership issues in Punjab, which is quickly turning into a political sinkhole for the grand old party.

The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year.





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