Daily Bulletin: Toll in Uttarakhand, UP hooch tragedy rises; Gujjar protests continue in Rajasthan; Modi in Andhra; day's top stories

  • CBI to interrogate Rajeev Kumar: Former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh will also appear in person at the investigating agency's office in Shillong for interrogation

  • Narendra Modi in Andhra Pradesh: The PM will address a public rally at Guntur on Sunday in his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the ruling TDP severed its ties with the BJP

  • TMC MLA shot dead: Satyajit Biswas was shot dead by some unidentified assailants inside a Saraswati puja marquee on Saturday evening

CBI interrogation of Rajeev Kumar to continue today

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will continue the questioning of Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar for the second day on Sunday. Three senior CBI officers questioned Kumar for nearly nine hours on Saturday about his alleged role in the tampering of crucial evidence in the scam.

Former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh will also appear in person at the agency's Shillong office on Sunday for interrogation in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.

There was no briefing by the CBI on the questioning, which began at around 11 am at its highly-secured office at Shillong's Oakland area, as per the directions of the Supreme Court. Kumar's counsel Biswajit Deb, who is also the TMC coordinator for Meghalaya, said Kumar is "cooperating and complying" with the CBI.

The agency may confront Kumar with Ghosh, but the investigating officer in Shillong will take a final call.

The CBI is reportedly relying on a 91-page letter from Ghosh, who was expelled by the TMC, to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), detailing the role of Kumar in handling the Ponzi scam probe after the main accused, Sudipta Sen and Debjani Mukherjee, both promoters of the Saradha Group of companies, had fled to Kashmir.

 Daily Bulletin: Toll in Uttarakhand, UP hooch tragedy rises; Gujjar protests continue in Rajasthan; Modi in Andhra; days top stories

File photo of Narendra Modi. ANI

Toll in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh rises to 70 after consumption of illegal liquor

Consumption of spurious illegal liquor has claimed the lives of 70 people in Uttarakhand, forcing government officials to launch a major crackdown to nab those responsible for distribution of illicit liquor.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Saturday announced ex gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50, 000 each to those who are in a critical condition after the consumption of the liquor in Rourkee.

While 13 people lost their lives in Uttarakhand, the toll in Uttar Pradesh mounted to 56.

Uttar Pradesh excise minister Jai Pratap Singh said, "According to the information received from the localities, a person identified as Rajendra Jaispal is involved in the distribution of illicit liquor in the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar border along with four other people. The investigation is underway to track these people down."

Gujjar protesters refuse to budge

Gujjar protesters continued their sit-in on the rail tracks in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district for the second day on Saturday, refusing to back off from their quota demand even after a government delegation met them there.

The blockade by Gujjar Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti chief Kirori Singh Bainsla and his supporters has forced the West Central Railway (CWR) to divert, cancel or partially terminate nearly 200 trains in the last two days.

A state government team, which included Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh and senior IAS officer Neeraj K Pawan, met Bainsla and his supporters, but no agreement could be reached. "We will continue the dharna on the rail tracks. No compromise was made with the government delegation. We want a 5 percent reservation order," said Bainsla.

Narendra Modi to visit Andhra Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public rally in Guntur on Sunday in his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the ruling TDP severed its ties with the NDA. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has asked his party cadre to observe protests across the state.

Besides addressing the public meeting of the BJP, the prime minister will dedicate two petroleum and gas projects worth Rs 6,825 crore to the nation. He will also lay the foundation-stone through a remote control system for the construction of a coastal terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited at Krishnapatnam in SPS Nellore district.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said Sunday will be a "bad day" and a "dark day" for the state and asked TDP cadre to sport yellow and black shirts and release black and yellow balloons into the sky as a mark of protest against the prime minister's visit.

Huge hoardings from Gannavaram airport — where Modi will land at 10 am — were put up along the national highway up to Guntur. They read: "Modi, No Entry". Protests were also organised in some parts of the state against his visit. The BJP lodged a complaint with the police, seeking action against those who put up the hoardings against the prime minister.

TMC MLA shot dead in West Bengal

Trinamool Congress MLA Satyajit Biswas was shot dead by unidentified assailants inside a Saraswati puja marquee on Saturday evening in West Bengal's Nadia district. The ruling TMC alleged that it was a planned attack by the BJP, but the saffron party claimed the shooting was the result of the ruling party's infighting.

The incident occurred around 8 pm when 41-year-old Biswas, who represented the Krishnaganj constituency in the Assembly, along with party workers, were at the Saraswati puja marquee at Phoolbari in the Hanskhali Police Station's jurisdiction in the district bordering Bangladesh. The TMC leader was shot from point-blank range while he was coming down the dais.

BSP splits with Om Prakash Chautala's party in Haryana

Blaming the split within the Chautala family for "weakening" the alliance, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday snapped its nearly nine-month-old association with Haryana's main Opposition, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and forged ties with the Lok Satta Party (LSP), an outfit floated by rebel BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini.

The development came three days after INLD leader Abhay Chautala claimed that the alliance was intact. The party had suffered a humiliating defeat in the Jind Assembly bypoll, with its candidate Umed Singh Redhu forfeiting his security deposit after he was reduced to the fifth position.

On the other hand, the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which came into existence after a split in the INLD, put up a spirited fight, and its candidate Digvijay Singh Chautala secured the second position. The BJP won the seat.

India look to clinch first T20I series in New Zealand; Harmanpreet Kaur and Co eye consolation win

Harmanpreet and Co will look to avoid a clean sweep at the hands of the White Ferns in the third and last T20I on Sunday. Kaur will want her batters to put up a better show, with the series already lost. The match will begin at 8.30 am (IST).

A few hours later in the day, the men's team led by Rohit Sharma will be aiming to become the first Indian side to clinch a T20I series in New Zealand, when the two teams meet in the third and final match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

The T20I series is currently locked at 1-1 with the hosts winning the first one convincingly and India winning the second match by seven wickets. The match will begin at 12.30 pm (IST).

Facebook Acquires Visual Shopping Startup to Bolster AI Work

Facebook said it has acquired artificial intelligence startup GrokStyle Inc to improve its own AI network. This is the social media giant's second acquisition of the year.

This also is the second company in as many years that Facebook has bought to improve its own AI algorithms. GrokStyle was earlier integrated in the IKEA app.

Pritish Nandy calls controversy around Womaniya 'rubbish'

Pritish Nandy says he knows nothing about the controversy involving him and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap over the title 'Womaniya'. He says he is making a movie called Womaniya, which is why the title has been registered by his company Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd.

According to reports, Kashyap and Nandy were in a tussle over the rights to the title 'Womaniya' — the former had earlier said he had intellectual property right over the name, while the latter said the title had been registered by his company.

Kashyap on Saturday announced on Twitter that the film, starring Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar, had finally got a new title. "We have decided to not pay the extortion sum of Rs 1 crore to Pritish Nandy," Kashyap tweeted.

Nandy, regarding this and his involvement with the word 'Womaniya', said: "I know nothing about this. Have not spoken to AK (Anurag Kashyap) in the last 20 years. Yes, we are making a movie called Womaniya and have registered the title for that purpose. The rest is rubbish."

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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2019 08:10:24 IST