UP constable rapes 7-year-old girl in Greater Noida

constable_Noida45-year-old Uttar Pradesh police constable Subhash Singh allegedly raped a seven-year-old girl on January 11, right before her younger brother in Greater Noida’s Surajpur area.

The constable, who is posted with the sales tax department, was in an inebriated state when he took the girl to his house and raped her. She was playing outside her house when Subhash, taking advantage of the situation lured the girl with a ten rupee note inside his house, said Akhilesh Pradhan, SHO, Surajpur police station.

Singh immediately fled the scene after which the neighbours reached for her rescue when they heard her screaming. The accused returned to his rented room the next morning assuming that the issue has been resolved, only to find the victim’s family and local people were waiting for him.

Singh has been booked for raping the minor under Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The child has been admitted to a district hospital in Noida for medical examination.

ISRO launches 100th satellite Cartosat-2 Series

The Indian Space Research Organisation on January 12 successfully launched workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) carrying 100th satellite Cartosat-2 Series and 29 other satellites in orbit.

The launch was lifted off from the Satish Dhawisro_cartosatknklan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 9:28 am.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on his Twitter to congratulate the ISRO team, “My heartiest congratulations to ISRO and its scientists on the successful launch of PSLV today. This success in the New Year will bring benefits of the country’s rapid strides in space technology to our citizens, farmers, fishermen etc.”

He further tweeted, “The launch of the 100th satellite by ISRO signifies both its glorious achievements and also the bright future of India’s space programme.”

The PSLV-C40 carrying 100th satellite Cartosat-2 Series also carried satellites from Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and the United States.

To this PM Modi tweeted, “Benefits of India’s success are available to our partners! Out of the 31 Satellites, 28 belonging to 6 other countries are carried by today’s launch.”

4 SC judges address press conference for the first time

supreme-court-judges-press-conference_650x400_41515740029In an unusual move and for the first time in India, four senior judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference at 4, Tughlaq Road, the residence of Justice J Chelameswar.

The other three judges were: Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joesph.

“It is an extraordinary event in the history of any nation. There is no pleasure in this, we were compelled to do this, the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order,” said Justice Chelameswar.

“We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution,” he added while addressing the gathering at the lawns of his residence.

  “We tried to persuade the CJI (even today morning) but we failed. Our efforts to seek remedial measures failed. Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country,” Justice Chelameswar.



Nilekani slams ‘orchestrated campaign’ to malign Aadhaar

nandanReacting to the filing of an FIR against the Chandigarh based leading daily newspaper report relating to Aadhaar data breach, former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani has slammed an “orchestrated campaign” to malign Aadhaar.

“There is hundred per cent an orchestrated campaign to see how Aadhaar gets maligned, yes absolutely,” an economic paper quoted Nilekani as saying on the sidelines of the Infosys Science Foundation Award in Bengaluru.

Delhi Police had on January 8 registered the FIR on a complaint by an UIDAI official following the newspaper report on data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards, naming the journalist behind the story.

The police were informed by the official that the correspondent, posing as a buyer, had purchased a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details of Aadhaar numbers.

Nilekani reportedly said that the issue has been blown out of proportion as Aadhaar have built far too many security layers and it is not possible to randomly pore it.

Further referring to FIR filed in the case, he said negative views on Aadhaar will have negative reactions and hence, it would be better for people to have a constructive view on it.

“If you are just taking a negative view, and not a constructive view, then you also have other (negative) reactions. I think, everybody has to accept Aadhaar is here to stay,” the former UIDAI chief reportedly said.

The Aadhaar is here to stay because as many as 119 crore people have it, 550 million have linked the numbers to their bank accounts and Rs 95,000 crore transferred into DBT accounts, he added.

Nilekani said he was very confident of the Supreme Court upholding Aadhaar under the fundamental right of privacy because it meets the test of the law being proportionate and reasonable.

He welcomed putting in place a two-layer security to reinforce privacy protection for Aadhaar ID number holders by the UIDAI. “I think this is a very significant announcement by UIDAI and in some sense it really makes the case against it go away,” he reportedly said.

The former UIDAI chief said it has introduced a virtual identification for ID holders so that the actual number need not be shared by the people to authenticate their identity.

Simultaneously, it has further regulated the storage of the Aadhaar number within various databases, he added.

Vikas Barala gets bail in Chandigarh stalking case

vikas-baralaPunjab and Haryana High Court on January 11 granted bail to accuse Vikas Barala, son of Chandigarh BJP president Subhash Barala, in the Chandigarh stalking case.

Vikas and his friend were arrested for stalking and harassing Varnika Kundu on August 4, 2017, when she was returning home from work at 11:15 pm. 29-year-old Varnika was driving alone and was almost waylaid by the duo. Following the incident, she took on the Facebook to post the entire incident which caught the attention of national media. She is a daughter of a Senior IAS officer.

 On January 9, Varnika was grilled by Barala’s counsel for five hours and asked nearly 500 questions about her personal life – from the friends she has and to whether her mother had been told of the incident when it took place, as per news report.

Kamala Fire: Mumbai Police arrest pub owners

kamala-mills-fire-1Mumbai Police has arrested the owners of ‘1 Above’ pub, Abhijeet Mankar, Kripesh Sanghavi and Jigar Sanghavi in connection with the Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives on December 29.

The owner of the pub Abhijeet and co-owners Kripesh Sanghavi and Jigar Sanghavi were on the run since the day of the incident. Abhijeet was arrested from Marine Lines, and the Sanghvi brothers were apprehended from Andheri.

“Now our teams are in search of Yug Tulli, owner of Mojo’s Bistro pub, who is also on the run,” a police official said.

On December 29, a major fire that broke out in a building in Kamala Mill of Mumbai’s Lower Parel claimed 14 lives and injured more than 20.

UIDAI introduces 16-digit Virtual ID to secure Aadhaar data

aadhaar-card-image The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has introduced a 16-digit temporary Virtual ID (VID) which will be used instead of Aadhaar number to authenticate identity for availing services from March 1. This move has come in the wake of a security breach of Aadhaar which was reported by a Chandigarh-based national daily.

The UIDAI has also brought in Limited KYC (Know Your Customer) and UID Tokens, in an attempt to secure the privacy and security concerns about Aadhaar numbers being used and stored by many public and private entities.

The UIDAI said, “Today the initiative, which is aimed at minimising instances of leak and misuse of Aadhaar numbers, would enhance privacy of the 119 crore people issued the identification number.”

 “The UIDAI, which had been working on the “Virtual ID” for months, made the announcement at a time privacy concerns around Aadhaar peaked after a newspaper expose on unauthorised access of its database earlier this month,” it further said.

A person can generate a new 16-digit Virtual ID through UIDAI’s portal, enrollment centers, Aadhaar’s mobile app, etc. for various services as the older ID gets automatically cancelled after a period of time. The Virtual ID, which is similar to an OTP, will be then submitted to Aadhaar servers to confirm the person’s identity.  

Foreign airlines allowed to buy up to 49% stake in Air India

air-indiaWith the latest clearance of the Cabinet proposal, foreign airlines can now own up to 49 percent stake in national carrier Air India.

The move comes at a time when the government is working on the modalities for strategic disinvestment of the loss-making Air India and is expected to attract more bidders for the airline, reports said.

While allowing foreign airlines to have a stake in Air India, the government has also reportedly made it clear that the national carrier’s substantial ownership would remain with Indian nationals.

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to a number of amendments in the FDI policy, including those pertaining to Air India.

Now, foreign airlines have been allowed to have up to 49 percent stake under the approval route in Air India subject to certain conditions, the company said in a statement.

Foreign airlines were allowed to invest under government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49 percent of their paid-up capital, the reports pointed out.

The provision was not applicable to Air India. “It has now been decided to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent under approval route in Air India…,” the release said.

Foreign investments in Air India, including that of overseas airlines, should not exceed 49 percent either directly or indirectly.

“Substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian national,” the release said.

A group of ministers is in the process of finalising the contours for the proposed strategic stake sale in the national carrier and expression of interest is likely to be invited from bidders soon.

Debt-laden Air India is staying afloat on taxpayers’ money.

Last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle nod for the strategic disinvestment of the airline.

Under a turnaround plan approved by the previous UPA regime, Air India is to receive up to Rs 30,231 crore from the government subject to meeting certain performance thresholds.

The ten-year bailout package began in 2012, the reports said.

100% FDI in single brand retail via automatic route; 49% in Air India: Cabinet

fdi in single brandThe Cabinet on January 10 approved 100 percent FDI or foreign direct investment through automatic route in single-brand retail. Currently, FDI up to 49 percent is permitted under automatic route in single-brand retail but beyond that limit requires government permission.

The government has also approved investment up to 49 percent by foreign airlines in Air India under the approval route.

“Foreign investment(s) in Air India including that of foreign Airline(s) shall not exceed 49% either directly or indirectly. Substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian National,” said the government release.

JNU PhD student Mukul Jain goes missing from campus

mukul-jain1Mukul Jain, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University campus reportedly went missing from the campus on January 9. Mukul was pursuing PhD from JNU’s School of Life Sciences. An investigation has been initiated by Delhi Police to find out his whereabouts.

As per the CCTV footage, Mukul was last seen at 12:30 pm while making exit from Gate no.4 of the campus.