Daily Bulletin: Govt may file FIR on 'stolen' Rafale docs; Cabinet to hold last meeting before elections; day's top stories
Today's top stories: A day after the government alleged that documents that found their way in a news report were stolen, the Rafale controversy rages on; the Union Cabinet is set to meet for the last time before the Lok Sabha elections 2019; Indian women take on England in their second T20I; and more.
The government is expected to file a report on actions taken over allegedly stolen documents in the Rafale fighter jet case
The Union Cabinet is expected to bring in an ordinance on Thursday, on reservation in faculty positions at universities
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a statement on Wednesday said that his government does not intend to implement the Church Act
Controversy over Rafale deal rages on
Alleging that the "trail of corruption" in the Rafale fighter jet deal "begins and ends with" Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed there "is now enough evidence" to prosecute him.
After an intense round of arguments and counterarguments over the allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal, the Supreme Court the hearing for 14 March. The court was hearing arguments related to the admissibility of new evidence that had come to the fore in the form of media reports to review its 14 February judgment giving a clean chit to the government.
The hearing was peppered with sensational claims from both sides. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is one of the petitioners against the Government of India in the case, accused the Centre of submitting false documents to the top court. Attorney General KK Venugopal alleged that the documents Bhushan had cited were "stolen from the defence ministry".
Meanwhile, the government is expected to file an FIR on actions taken over allegedly stolen documents in the case.
Last Cabinet meeting ahead of Lok Sabha polls
The Union Cabinet is expected to bring in an ordinance on Thursday on reservation in faculty positions at universities. This will be the last meeting of this Cabinet before the general elections. The meeting is scheduled to be held at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government may also take a few last minute steps to impress the electorate.
Modi is also expected to address a public meeting in North Goa and flag off the Nagpur Metro at 5 pm on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will address rallies at Moga in Punjab and Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, while BJP president Amit Shah will address booth workers at Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
Uttar Pradesh party leadership summon sparring BJP MLA, MP
The Bharatiya Janata Party was left red-faced on Wednesday after a video of two of its lawmakers — an MP and an MLA from Uttar Pradesh resorting to ugly blows and spewing profanity — went viral. BJP MP Sharad Tripathi attacked party MLA Rakesh Baghel with his shoe over his name not being included in the foundation stone of a project.
The incident occurred during a district coordination meeting in Uttar Pradesh's Sant Kabir Nagar, about 200 kilometres from Lucknow. The party's state leadership has summoned both of them to Lucknow on Thursday.
Kerala not to implement Church Act
The draft Bill to regulate the properties of the Kerala Church has not gone down well with various sections in the state. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a statement on Wednesday, said his government does not intend to implement the Church Act, after a meeting with Church leaders.
The proposed Act aims to put in place a Devasom-like structure of administration over churches in the state and make heads of different churches accountable to the state government.
The Law Reforms Commission mooted the bill to ensure fair and transparent administration of church properties and funds besides a mechanism to adjudicate disputes within the Church.
The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice KT Thomas, was given the task in light of several disputes in various denominations of the Church over alienation of Church properties by the members of the clergy and prelates.
India, Pakistan to meet on 14 March to discuss Kartarpur Corridor
The first meeting between India and Pakistan to discuss and finalise the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor will be held at Attari-Wagah (Indian side) on 14 March. India has also proposed that a technical-level discussion on the alignment of the corridor be held on the same day on the sidelines of this meeting.
The announcement came a day after Pakistan said it would send a delegation to India on 14 March to discuss a draft agreement to set up the corridor to facilitate visa-free visit of Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
This development comes amid heightened tension between the two neighbours following India's air strikes on a terrorist training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot and Pakistan's subsequent retaliation.
Facebook to pivot towards privacy-focused platforms and services
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has published a 3,200-word blog post on his vision for a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform. In the post, he explains why he believes that encryption and ephemeral messaging must play a central role in this new Facebook.
CBI seeks additional documents from ICICI Bank in Videocon loan default case
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought more documents from ICICI Bank relating to the Rs 1,875 crore loans it gave to the Videocon Group during the tenure of its former CEO Chanda Kochhar, officials said on Wednesday. The officials refused to give any further details about the nature of the documents as the agency is at a crucial stage of determining points on which it may call Kochhar, her husband Deepak and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot, all named as suspects in the CBI FIR, for questioning.
So far, the CBI has not issued a notice to any of the accused in the FIR for questioning, they said, adding that the agency has also sought additional documents from NuPower, Supreme Energy and Videocon Group.
It is alleged that during Kochhar's tenure as the ICICI chief, six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were cleared for the Videocon Group and its associated companies. In two of these cases, she herself was on the sanctioning committees.
Table-toppers Bengaluru FC take on NorthEast United FC in first leg of ISL semi-final
Bengaluru FC travel to Guwahati to face NorthEast United FC in the first leg of their Indian Super League semi-final. Bengaluru topped the league table with 34 points to qualify for the semi-finals while NorthEast finished in fourth place with 29 points.
The last time the two teams faced off in Guwahati in the league stage, Bengaluru scored a stoppage-time equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw. The second leg of the semi-final will be played on 11 March in Bengaluru.
India women look to snap losing streak in second T20I against England
A desperate Indian women's team aim to snap their five-match losing streak in the second T20 International against England at Guwahati on Thursday. India suffered a crushing 41-run loss to England in the first T20 of the three-match. The loss, India's fifth in a row in the shortest format, meant the WV Raman-coached side has a lot of work to do before the T20 World Cup in Australia early next year. India lost all their T20s in New Zealand after winning the ODI series and things seem to be heading in a similar direction against England.
Roger Ailes film to release on 20 December
The untitled Roger Ailes sexual harassment movie is set to open in theatres on 20 December. The Lionsgate film will now compete with Universal's Cats and Disney's Star Wars: Episode IX, reported Variety. The film will feature Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron in the lead and will follow the women who faced sexual harassment at Fox News during its late chief Ailes' reign.
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The prime minister said there is a need to make science more popular across the country and asserted that science cannot be limited to physics and chemistry, and labs
If lodged in the barrack, Modi likely to get three square meters of personal space, where a cotton mat, pillow, bedsheet and blanket will be provided, Arthur Road jail officials said
The prime minister made the remarks on Wednesday while speaking at a webinar on privatisation by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management