Kerala: Murder accused Cop B Harikumar Commits Suicide

The deputy superintendent of police of Kerala’s Neyyattikara, B Harikumar, who is an accused of murder, allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday.

According to the reports, the senior police officer was found dead at his residence in Kollam district.

A 32-year-old Sanal Kumar an electrician in Neyyattikara was crushed by a speeding car after B Harikumar allegedly pushed him following an argument between the two.

The victim, Sanal later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The deceased electrician’s wife had earlier demanded a CBI probe in the matter because she feared of no justice as Harikumar’s colleagues would turn the murder into a road accident.

The incident occurred at Neyattinkara when Harikumar asked Sanal to move his car which he had parked on the side of the road.

A scuffle ensued in which Harikumar allegedly pushed Sanal Kumar onto the road during an altercation over a parking spot, because of which Sanal was hit by the car.

Death toll rises to 42 in the Deadliest Wildfire In California History

A massive blaze that ravaged the wooded town of Paradise in northern California became the deadliest wildfire in the state’s modern history with the number of persons killed rose to 42 on Monday,

Officials said, “remains of 13 more people were discovered, bringing the death toll to 42.”

Firefighters were digging battle lines to contain the “Camp Fire” in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Sacramento, while search teams were on a grim mission to recover the dead.

Fires thrashed by strong winds were raging through thousands of acres of forests and chaparral in both Northern and Southern California on Monday, having sent a quarter of a million people fleeing their homes across the tinder-dry state.

As the search for victims dragged on, friends and relatives of the missing called hospitals, police, shelters and the coroner’s office in hopes of learning about their loved ones.

More than 5,000 firefighters statewide were battling wildfires that destroyed more than 7,000 structures and scorched more than 325 square miles.

US President Donald Trump “declared the fires in the state of California a major disaster making people affected eligible for various types of federal government support,” the White House said in a statement.

Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier rubbishes charges levelled by Rahul Gandhi over Rafale

Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier on Tuesday rubbished the allegations levelled by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in connection with the Rafale fighter jets deal between India and France.

In an interview with news agency ANI, Trappier responded to a question on the allegations by the Congress party, saying, “I don’t lie”, He said that he had declared the truth earlier and would not lie at the position of CEO.

“I don’t lie. The truth I declared earlier and the statements I made are true. I don’t have a reputation of lying. In my position as CEO, you don’t lie,” he said.

Trappier further said that the first deal with India was struck in 1953, under the government of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

On the pricing issue, Trappier said that the present aircrafts are cheaper by 9 %. “Price of 36 was exactly the same when you compare with 18 flyaway. 36 is the double of 18, so as far as I was concerned, it should have been double the price. But because it was government to government, there was some negotiation, I had to decrease price by 9%. The price of Rafale in flyaway condition is less expensive in the 36 contract than the 126 contract,” he said.

On the allegations of corruption in the Reliance-Dassault JV deal, Trappier said, “We chose Ambani by ourselves. We already have 30 partners other than Reliance. The IAF is supporting the deal because they need the fighter jets for their own defence to be at the top.”

He said that they are not working for any party. “Supplying strategic products like fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian government is what is most important.”

On the issue of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence being chosen as the offset partner, the Dassault Aviation CEO said that the money being invested was not going directly to Reliance but in a joint venture (JV) that included Dassault.

Trappier clarified about the investments being made by Dassault, adding that Reliance would match the amount since the shareholding pattern is 49% Dassault and 51% Reliance as per prescribed Government norms.

He said, “we are supposed to put in this company together about Rs 800 crore as 50:50. For the time being, to start work in the hangar and to pay workers and employees, we have already put Rs 40 crore. But it will be increased to Rs 800 crore, which implies Rs 400 crore by Dassault in the coming five years.”

Trappier added Dassault has seven years to perform offset. “During first three years, we are not obliged to say with who we are working. We have already settled work and agreement with 30 companies, which represents 40% of total offset obligation as per contract. Reliance is 10% out of the 40, while rest 30% is a direct agreement between these companies and Dassault,” He said.

On November 2, Rahul Gandhi, in a press conference alleged that Dassault invested Rs 284 crore in a loss-making company promoted by Anil Ambani which was used to procure land in Nagpur. “It is clear the Dassault CEO is lying.If an inquiry starts on this Modi is not going to survive it. Guaranteed,” added Gandhi.

“Dassault gave Rs 284 crore to a loss-making company with a valuation of Rs 8.3 lakh. This is the first instalment of kickbacks that has been given to Anil Ambani,” Gandhi had said.

RIL commits Rs 3,000 crore of investment in Odisha in next 3 years

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Monday that his company will invest an additional ₹3000 crore through its “new businesses” in Odisha over the next three years.

“Reliance has already invested over 6,000 crores in Odisha and I am committing to investing an additional 3,000 crore in the next three years in our various businesses in Odisha,” Ambani said at the Make in Odisha Conclave 2018 organised in Bhubaneswar.

He said they are also working on creating the world’s largest online-to-offline new commerce platform which will create ease of doing business and also create employment opportunities in the state.

Ambani said, “We have created sustained new employment opportunities, both direct and indirect to over 30,000 people in the state.”

He added that its telecom arm Jio is leading India’s digital transformation. “Since Jio commenced operations little over two years ago, India has moved from 155th rank in mobile broadband penetration to be the number one nation in mobile data consumption in the world.”

Ambani said that Jio has already connected all cities and towns, and around 43 thousand villages in Odisha.

He said that RIL is working with Odisha Government on an initiative to integrate several lakh women in the digital mainstream under the “Mission Shakti” Scheme.

He said that Reliance is partnering with the State Government of Odisha to set up the “Reliance Foundation – Odisha High Performance Athletics Centre” to train local talent.

Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee dies at 95

Stan Lee, the colorful Marvel Comics patriarch who gave the world the radioactive Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, the legend of Thor and the swaggering Iron Man died on Monday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 95.

Lee, born as Stanley Lieber on December 28, 1922, began his career at what was then Timely Comics in 1939. Over the years he was a writer, editor and occasional illustrator.

He was considered as one of the most legendary names in the history of comic books and the leading creative force behind the rise of Marvel Comics.

Lee had created hundreds of colorful characters. Those superheroes have been adapted into blockbuster films, most of which were made after Disney acquired Marvel in a 4-billion-dollar deal in 2009.

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created,” The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement on Monday. “A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Lee had the power to entertain, to inspire and to connect.”

As per the statement, “Marvel and The Walt Disney Company salute the career and life of Stan Lee and offer their undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments.”

RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha meets Sharad Yadav in New Delhi

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) president Upendra Kushwaha met with opposition Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) founder Sharad Yadav on Monday in the national capital, indicating his party’s severing all ties with the NDA.

Kushwaha preferred to go public with his discomfort at the “equal seat-sharing” deal between the BJP and JD(U).

Kushwaha visited Sharad Yadav at his home in Delhi. He tweeted later that it was a courtesy call, but that did not set speculation at rest.

On November 2, BJP president Amit Shah had announced the seat-sharing deal after a meeting with JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Kushwaha had accused Nitish Kumar of trying to poach his two MLAs in Bihar assembly.

The relationship between Kushwaha and Nitish Kumar’s party touched a low after it emerged that the BJP and Nitish Kumar may contest an equal number of seats in Bihar in 2019 election.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA won 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar. The JD(U) which parted ways with the NDA just before the polls could manage just two seats, LJP had contested seven seats winning six of them and Kushwaha’s RSLP had won in three constituencies. With Kumar’s return to NDA fold, Kushwaha does not want to give up seats for JDU.

The meeting between Kushwaha and Sharad Yadav has created speculation that he might be exploring alternatives for 2019 Lok Sabha election. He has been meeting Opposition leaders in Bihar including Tejashwi Yadav, the son of RJD chief Lalu Yadav. 

Kashmiri Sikhs hold protest discrimination relative to other J&K minorities

For the second time in a week  Kashmiri Sikh community has demanded end of discrimination with the community in the jobs kept reserved for the J&K minorities. In a protest held at Lal Chowk today, the community sought revocation of the SRO-425 under which  jobs under minority category have been exclusively reserved for Kashmiri Pandits.
The Sikhs from various districts of Kashmir valley assembled at Pratap Park to press their demand. They held placards with slogans scrawled on them  denouncing the injustice allegedly meted out to the community over the years.  The slogans went like  ‘Stop discrimination with Kashmiri Sikhs’ ‘Stop Favouritism,’  ‘SRO- 425 total injustice with Kashmiri Sikhs,’ and ‘Do Justice of equality’. 
The protest  was led by the chairman of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC)  Jagmohan Singh Raina. He  termed the SRO as part of an effort to deny Sikh community their share in the jobs. He asked the government to amend the SRO  so that Sikh  community  also reaps the job benefits announced by New Delhi.
“Central government had announced a job package for non-migrant minorities in Kashmir. But for four years the government kept the order under  wraps and suddenly came up with SRO-425 to benefit Kashmiri Pandits only,” Raina said. “The erstwhile PDP-BJP government   altered the job package order to benefit a particular community rather than all minorities who suffered from the turmoil of past 30 years”.
Raina threatened more protests if the order was not revoked at the earliest.
Earlier APSCC in a statement had demanded a high-level probe into various packages announced by successive governments at the Centre for Kashmiri Pandits and alleged that other communities in J&K have been ignored.
“Over the years, it has been observed that the governments in New Delhi have been announcing packages for Kashmiri Pandits and nothing has been done with respect to Muslim and Sikh communities,” Raina said in a statement. 
“The SRO (sadr-e-riyasat ordinance) 425 issued in October 2017 by the state government to provide jobs, under the Prime Minister’s package, to Kashmiri Pandits, who have not migrated from the Valley, is an act of gross discrimination against the Sikh community”.

Parliament has to take a call in the issue, says SC on gender neutral rape laws

The Supreme Court on November 12 has refused to hear a petition which sought to strike down the rape law under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the ground that it is not gender neutral.

The top court states that it is not the appropriate forum to deal with the case and suggested that the Parliament can amend the law if required.

The Section 375 of the IPC only covers instances of rape of a woman by a man.

The petition is filed by the Criminal Justice Society of India.

While dismissing the petition, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “We are not inclined to interfere at this stage. Parliament has to take a call in the issue.”

CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul also asked, “Why should women also be not made liable for raping man, or a man for raping another man?”

The sexual assault law, which was amended in 2013, widened the definition of rape but did not make any single change that includes men or transgenders as victims under the law.

SC pulls up Bihar Police for its failure to arrest former minister Manju Verma

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Bihar Police for its failure to arrest the former minister Manju Verma linked to the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home case.

“Fantastic! Ex-Cabinet Minister is not traceable. How could it happen. You (Bihar government) will have to explain. You realise the seriousness of the issue that the former minister is not traceable?” said the top court.

The top court summoned the Director General of Bihar Police to appear before it on November 27 if the police failed to arrest Manju Verma by then.

On November 1, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Manju Verma after Supreme Court rapped the Bihar government for not arresting Verma.

An FIR was registered against Manju Verma and her husband Chandrasekhar Verma in August after the CBI recovered arms and ammunition from her residence during raids in connection with the shelter home rape case.

Manju Verma had in August resigned as Social Welfare Minister of Bihar following the revelations that her husband Chandrakant Verma had alleged links with key accused Brajesh Thakur in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case.

Over 40 girls were sexually assaulted at a shelter home, which was run by Brajesh Thakur’s NGO at Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.

Supreme Court refuses urgent hearing on Ayodhya dispute case

The Supreme Court on November 12 has rejected a plea seeking an urgent hearing in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. 

The top court said it had already fixed January 2019 as the time and there was no need to rush it.

A SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had on October 29, said that the appropriate bench will decide the future course of hearing in January 2019 in pleas challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

“We will fix the date of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January,” the top court bench, had said.

In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had divided the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area into three parts among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhada and the Sunni Waqf Board. The appeals have been filed against Allahabad HC order.