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Khattar takes oath as Haryana CM, Dushyant as his deputy

CHANDIGARH, Oct 27: Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn in as Haryana’s chief minister for the second term on Sunday. The BJP leader was administered the oath of office by governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in Chandigarh.

Dushyant Chautala, whose fledgling Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) is backing the BJP, was sworn in as deputy chief minister. His father Ajay, lodged in the Tihar Jail in Delhi after his conviction in a teachers’ recruitment scam also attended the swearing in ceremony after being granted furlough for two weeks.

The governor had invited Khattar to form the government when the latter met him to stake his claim to form the government with the backing of 10 JJP legislators and seven independent MLAs. The BJP won 40 seats and Khattar now has the support of 57 members in a House of 90. In 2014, the BJP had won 47 seats.

The 31-year-old Chautala and BJP leaders late Friday announced a power-sharing agreement to ensure a stable government after the October 21 assembly elections produced a hung assembly in which the BJP fell short of simple majority by six seats. The Congress performed better than expected with 31 seats, compared with the 15 it won in 2014.

BJP working president JP Nadda, Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur attended the swearing-in ceremony.

While the BJP managed to retain power in Haryana despite falling far short of its target of 75 seats, there is disquiet among the JJP cadre for tying up with the saffron party after it had banked on the support of Jats who were angry with the ruling party.

Their grouse is that they backed the Congress and the JJP for their winnability quotient and the JJP joining hands with the BJP is tantamount to stabbing Jats in the back.

It was the result of Jat community voters’ open support to the JJP and the Congress that halted the BJP’s march towards crossing the halfway mark in the assembly.

On counting day on October 24, two-time Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had urged the JJP, INLD and independents to come together and support the grand old party form a government and stop the BJP.

Dushyant Chauthala, however, chose to spurn Hooda’s offer.

“Haryana Congress is in the hands of a leader who ruled the state for 10 years and sold 63,000 acre land,” Dushyant had said in a veiled attack on Hooda before throwing in his lot with the BJP.

The JJP chief who had been in pole position when the negotiations started with the BJP, may not be left with much heft to keep Khattar on his toes given that the BJP has the support of seven Independents.

Supreme Court grants bail to Chidambaram

NEW DELHI, Oct 22: P Chidambaram was granted bail today in the INX Media corruption case by the Supreme Court, which ruled that there is no possibility of the former Union Minister absconding and "no whisper" of any evidence that he tried to influence even one witness. But Mr Chidambaram will not be released as he remains in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.

Chidambaram, arrested by the CBI on August 21, had been in judicial custody in Delhi's Tihar jail until last week, when he was handed over to the Enforcement Directorate. The 74-year-old Congress leader has been granted bail in the CBI case but will remain in the Enforcement Directorate's custody till October 24 the top court said.

"The appellant Chidambaram is said to be aged 74 years and is also said to be suffering from age-related health problems. Considering the above factors and the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the appellant is entitled to be granted bail," the judges said.

Rejecting the CBI's argument that Chidambaram is a flight risk, the Supreme Court said the investigating agency did not provide any evidence on how the witness was influenced - "SMS, e-mail, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses."

The Congress leader "can be released if he is not required in any other case", the court said, adding that he will have to give a bond of Rs. 1 lakh.

Chidambaram was in Tihar prison for more than a month.

The court earlier on October 15 allowed the probe agency to question Chidambaram in its custody and allowed home cooked food, a separate cell, a western toilet, spectacles and medicines for the veteran leader.

The INX Media case involves allegations that Chidambaram, as Finance Minister of the country, facilitated foreign funding for the company INX Media - co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea - in 2007 and his son Karti received kickbacks for it.

Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram and 13 others including senior bureaucrats and private companies have been accused in a CBI charge-sheet of causing losses to the government. The charge-sheet alleges the Chidambarams received Rs. 9.96 lakh as bribes.

Peter Mukerjea is also an accused but Indrani Mukerjea, who has turned approver against Chidambaram, does not face charges. Both Peter and Indrani Mukerjea are currently in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani's daughter Sheena Bora.

Terrorists kill Punjab-based fruit trader in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Oct 16: One fruit trader was killed and another injured critically by terrorists near village Trenz in Shopian district on Wednesday evening said police. This is the third incident of targeting of non-Kashmiris in the last three days in the valley.

In the latest incident, three to four unknown militants fired upon two Punjab-based apple traders, Charanjeet Singh & Sanjeev at Trenz at around 7:30 pm, killing the former. Sanjeev was immediately taken to the Pulwama district hospital, where his condition was stated to be critical.

“#Terrorists fired on #civilians in #Shopian #killing 01 civilian and #injuring another. Area has been #cordoned & search is in progress. Further details shall follow,” Jammu and Kashmir Police wrote on its Twitter handle.

Earlier today, a migrant labourer from Chhattisgarh was shot dead by terrorists in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. Sethi Kumar Sagar, a resident of Besoli area of Chhattisgarh, was a brick kiln worker. He was killed by terrorists when he was walking with another civilian near Kakpora railway station.

On Monday, two militants, including a suspected Pakistan national had shot dead the driver of a Rajasthan truck and assaulted an orchard owner in the district. The deceased were identified as Sharief Khan. Police said the attack was carried out in desperation as fruit transportation had picked up in the Valley.

Post-paid cellular phone services were restored in Kashmir on Monday after a 72-day communication blackout following the August 5 abrogation of Article 370, which provided for Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

In a major success for the security forces today, three terrorists were killed in an encounter in Anantnag. The encounter broke out at Pazalpora area in Anantnag on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday on a specific intelligence provided by the district police.The three terrorists were in their early 20s and had joined terror groups recently, officials said.

Ayodhya Case: Supreme Court Concludes Hearing, Written Submissions To Be Submitted In 3 Days

NEW DELHI, Oct 16: The Supreme Court on Wednesday concluded the day-to-day hearing in the politically sensitive Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case at Ayodhya. A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had earlier said that it is hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case for the last 39 days and no more time beyond today will be granted to parties to conclude the hearing in the case.

"This matter is going to be finished today by 5 PM. Enough is enough,” the bench, which also comprises justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said at the start of the proceedings on the 40th day.

The Ayodhya case is being heard by a Constitution Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.

Sunni Board offers to surrender claim in Ayodhya dispute but has 4 conditions

NEW DELHI, Oct 16: Hours before the Supreme Court concluded the 40-day hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, the Ayodhya mediation panel submitted its final report to the five-judge bench outlining what has been described as a settlement agreement, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.

A key element of this proposed settlement is an offer by the UP Sunni Waqf Board to surrender its claim on the disputed site. The offer is conditional on the government accepting four conditions to protect the interests of Muslims in other parts of the country including Ayodhya.

It is not clear how, if at all, this last-minute offer would impact the proceedings before the court.

Outlining its four conditions, the Waqf Board wants the UP government to rebuild 22 mosques lying in dilapidated condition. The second condition requires strict implementation of the Places of Religious Worship Act 1991. The third condition pertains to allowing Muslims to pray in all mosques under the central government’s Archaeological Survey of India. Fourth condition states that the Waqf board be allowed to build a mosque at a suitable place other than the disputed site.

The Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi completed the oral hearing later on Wednesday and reserved its judgment. The parties concerned do still have three days to file written notes.

The bench has to decide cross-appeals against the Allahabad high court’s 2010 verdict that the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and “Ram Lalla Virajman”.

MR Shamshad, who represented one of the litigants Iqbal Ansari in the Supreme Court, insisted the Sunni Board’s offer to surrender its right over the land would not make a difference. “This case is contested by six other Muslim parties in which Sunni Board is one party and it has no more locus than any other individual Muslim parties,” Shamshad said.

The top court had earlier this year explored the possibility of mediation for an amicable settlement to the dispute, but the arbiters made little headway. A three-member mediation panel led by retired judge justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and comprising Art of Living founder Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu tried to work for a resolution, but failed to bridge differences. The Constitution bench has subsequently held daily hearings starting on August 6.

Last month, the top court, at the request of the mediation panel, allowed them to simultaneously talk to the parties concerned but many parties, particularly those known to have adopted a hard line, stayed away from the final round of negotiations.

Haryana witnessed fastest growth in last five years: Hardip Puri

By Deepak Arora

ROHTAK, Oct 16: Union Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Civil Aviation Industry with additional charge as Cabinet Minister State in Ministry of Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri has said that Haryana has been the fastest on the track of development as compared to other neighboring states.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said that in fact the actual ground work didn't take off in 2014 itself. After forming the government, actual implementation on the projects that were actually the door to progress was started as early as June 2015. Special projects that took off during this period were Smart City projects, Swacch Bharat and many more.

Puri said that since he belongs to Punjab and is residing at Delhi, he can compare easily the pace of development in these three states. He said that the way policies are adopted and are executed in Haryana is the best of all the neighboring states.

Appreciating the hard and sincere work of Manohar Lal in development of Haryana, Puri said that he is one of the rare persons with this level of commitment.

He said that one of the factors that has been ignored by the previous governments is the increase in urban population. While in 1947 the urban population was only 17%, it has rose to 30% as per the census of 2011. This is also eight years old figure and now the percentage must have further rose.

Quite surprisingly the earlier governments spent only 1,50,000 crores in the ten year period starting 2004 for development of urban India, BJP has already spent 4,70,000 crores for development of urban areas. The difference in intentions of both the parties can be very well assessed by these figures.

Talking about the Swacch bharat mission, the minister said that apart from initiatives taken by the government, the movement has been adopted by the common man of the country, which is more important. He said that there are self help groups, NGOs and individuals taking their own initiatives in the matter of Swacch bharat. He informed that in order to make the country free of garbage, 47% of the garbage is recycled while out of the balance segregation of wet and dry garbage is done to follow the guidelines for disposal of waste.

Talking about the pledge to make the country free of open defecation, Hardip Puri said that states have performed well in this direction and almost all of the rural areas of the country are now free of open defecation. He said that whatever area remains would also be made free of the menace. He said that the number of toilets made in rural areas of the country is tremendous and quiet surprisingly, never thought by any of the previous governments.

On the front of providing facilities to the people, he informed that 2,00,000 of new water connections are released in these five years and 1,60,000 new LED street lights added in these five years. Under the smart city initiative two of the cities of Haryana, i.e., Faridabad and Karnal, figure in the list of smart cities. He informed that in order to curb corrupt practices majority of services are made online to keep a track on the progress.

Puri also spoke about the National Security in detail. Talking about Kashmir Puri said that while the opposition accused the BJP of keeping leaders as hostage for the last two months, they forget that it was Congress that kept Sheikh Abdullah arrested for 11 years. He said that abrogation of Article 370 prevented people of the country to buy any land in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, the schemes to support the backward classes didn’t favour the residents of the state. He specially made a mention of the Pokhran during the regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai in the context of hard steps taken by BJP.

Talking on the corruption of Congress Government, he said that it is a well known fact that congress used to acquire land from farmers and sell the same to big companies at a meager cost. Even the Apex court has said that there seems to be some connection between the congress government and the companies.

He said that the economy is already rose to the tune of 3 trillion which will be increased to 5 trillion by the next elections. He shared the spread of metro train in the country. He informed that the metro train network is already spread over 670 kms including Haryana and another 600 km is more to come. In Haryana, the network of metro is for 41 kms, which is still adding with every year. He also added that Delhi Metro is considered to be 11th in world in terms of affordability.

Puri said that Manohar Government has performed fantastic on the front of women safety also. Sharing the facts, he said that while there were only two all women police stations prior to BJP coming to power in Haryana, which is now rose to 33. Also, the number of women colleges was 31 in the year 2014 which is now 62. The Manohar Government has decided that there must be a girls college at every 20 kilometer so that the girls need not travel far from their place. He further informed that there were no buses for girls for commuting but in Manohar Sarkar there are 181 buses plying for Girls only.

Talking on the matter of his ministry, i.e., housing, Puri said that on assuming charge, one of the priorities of PM Narendra Modi was to provide housing to all by 2022. At that time the estimate was to build up one crores houses to attain the target. In the five years time, 90 lacs of these are already sanction, 56 lacs already grounded and 26 lacs already occupied. In Haryana itself, 2,70,000 houses are sanctioned. Regarding the completion of construction he said that with the use of technology, we are able to complete a project in 18 months period.

Turned away by hospital, woman delivers triplets in Bihar hospital compound

ARARIA, Oct 16: A 30-year-old woman in Bihar’s Araria district on Wednesday gave birth to triplets in the compound of the government-run Raniganj Referral Hospital that had minutes earlier allegedly refused to admit her, officials said.

The incident took place at 8 am on Wednesday when Rinku Devi reached Raniganj referral hospital after developing labour pain. “We reached here and requested the auxiliary nursing midwifery (ANM) to examine her but she out rightly refused and instead asked us to go to a private nursing home,” Santosh Yadav, husband of the woman alleged, adding, “We were leaving the hospital when her condition deteriorated and she gave birth to a triplets- two male and one female baby - in the open area on the campus, assisted by few local women.”

As soon as the news spread, medical officer Dr Y P Singh rushed to the spot and ordered the woman be shifted to Araria district hospital. “As soon as I came to know about it, I rushed there and found the woman had already delivered triplets. I called an ambulance and sent the woman and newborn babies to district hospital to get her admitted to the neonatal centre after preliminary treatment.”

He admitted that one ANM identified as Ashmita (known by only one name) had erred by denying her admission and said, “She was immediately transferred to APHC and departmental proceedings have been initiated against her in this regard.”

Araria civil surgeon Dr Suresh Prasad Sinha was in Patna in connection with a meeting and said he had no knowledge of the incident.

A woman who helped Rinku Devi with her delivery said, “We saw her writhing in pain and realized that she was suffering from labour pain. We rushed to her but what a shame that no hospital staff came for help. How could they be so inhuman and insensitive?”

Araria has earned notoriety for mushrooming illegal and unregistered ultrasound centres. Recently Araria district magistrate Baidyanath Yadav taking strong note of the trend and ordered action against illegal nursing homes and unregistered ultrasound centres in the district.

“Even some of the government doctors posted at hospital/referral hospitals/ primary health centre are patronizing such health centres in the district,” locals alleged.

In Gujarat school shocker, a question on Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘suicide’

AHMEDABAD, Oct 13: A question in a school exam on how Mahatma Gandhi committed suicide has shocked the Gujarat education authorities, prompting them to initiate an inquiry into it.

Another question about boot-legging in dry Gujarat has also irked the education officials.

“Gandhijiye aapghaat karwa maate shu karyu?” (how did Gandhiji commit suicide) was the question asked in Gujarati to Class 9 students during an internal assessment examination of schools run under the banner of ‘Sufalam Shala Vikas Sankul’, an official said.

The Sufalam Shala Vikas Sankul is an organisation of some self-financed schools and educational institutions getting government grants in Gandhinagar.

Besides, another question in an exam paper of Class 12 students was about “writing a letter to district police chief complaining about the rise in sale of liquor in your area and nuisance created by bootleggers”.

“A cluster of self-financed schools and those getting grants included these two questions for internal assessment exams held on Saturday. These questions are highly objectionable, and we have initiated an inquiry. Action will be taken after the report comes in,” said Gandhinagar’s district education officer Bharat Vadher.

The question papers were set by the management of these schools, run under the banner of Sufalam Shala Vikas Sankul, and the state education department had nothing to do with it, he added.

If Babur Gets Involved, Ashoka Will Also be Judged: Muslim Parties in Ayodhya Case Urge SC Not to Open Pandora’s Box

NEW DELHI, Oct 14: Urging the Supreme Court not to rewrite history, the Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case on Monday said the Constitution Bench should not go into legitimacy of ruler's action as it has never treaded this path in the past.

“Don't go into legitimacy of ruler's action. It is not for Your Lordships to rewrite history, (it) will open a Pandora’s Box. What law will you apply to Babur? If Babur gets involved, Ashoka's action will also be judged,” senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim parties, told the five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Dhavan said the onus is on the Hindu side to prove their claim that a Ram Mandir stood at the disputed site since the title of the Muslim side has been incontrovertible since 1885.

Arguing that there is nothing that makes Babri Masjid ‘un-Islamic’, the senior lawyer said a mosque will always remain a mosque and even demolition won't take away the character of the mosque. “The demolished structure at Ayodhya is still a mosque,” he said.

The submission was made in response to some questions posed by the Supreme Court last month over some images of lions, birds and flowers at the now demolished structure. “Islamic law has evolved over 15 centuries, cannot pick and choose from Quran and Hadith to say "you are acting against Quran", Dhavan said.

He asked whether the apex court would allow the digging of over 500 mosques, where there are claims that they have been built over some temples, and questioned if a mosque can be invalidated 450 years later if some remains of another religious structure is found.

The lawyer, earlier in the day, had also alleged that questions are asked only from Muslim parties and not posed to the Hindu side in the politically sensitive land dispute case. "Your Lordship didn't ask question to the other side. All the questions have been asked to us only. Of course, we are answering them." Dhavan told the bench on the 38th day of the crucial hearing in the case.

The submission was vehemently opposed by senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing deity 'Ram Lalla', who said: "This is totally unwarranted". Dhavan's remark came when the bench, which also comprises justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said that the idea behind erecting iron railing at the disputed site was to separate the inner courtyard from the outer courtyard.

By putting up an iron railing, the idea was to separate Hindus and Muslims and it was to appreciate the fact that Hindus were offering prayers in the outer-courtyard where 'Ram Chabutra', 'Sita Rasoi', 'Bhandar Grih' were situated, the court said.

The bench also took note of Dhavan's submissions that the Hindus only had "prescriptive right" to enter and offer prayer at the site and it does not mean that they had ownership claim over the disputed property.

As you say they had the right to pray and enter, does it not dilute your right to ownership, the bench asked, adding in case of "exclusive ownership" over a property, can a third person be allowed entry and prayer right.

The protracted hearing in the case has entered the crucial final leg on Monday as the top court resumed proceedings on the 38th day after the week-long Dussehra break.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

In INX Media Case, 71 Ex-Bureaucrats Write To Modi On Prosecution Of 4 Former Officials

NEW DELHI, Oct 5: Seventy-one retired bureaucrats on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over the prosecution of four former officials of the Finance Ministry in the INX Media case and asserted that such action will demotivate diligent and honest officers from taking important decisions.

They demanded that there should be a reasonable period of time after which files should not be reopened.

The letter has been signed by retired civil servants like former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and former DGP of Punjab Julio Riberio.

The ex-bureaucrats also expressed concern over "selective targeting" of retired and serving officers, apparently for "gaining narrow political advantages".

Last month, the government issued a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and others in connection with the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media, officials said.

Besides Ms Khullar, the government also sanctioned the prosecution of former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former under secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad in the case involving INX Media, they said.

The government had already sanctioned the prosecution of former finance minister P Chidambaram in February this year, following which he was arrested by the CBI.

The officers also hit out at the government for making officers bear the brunt of criminal proceedings that "originate from settling of political scores".

The former officials said this will only seem to confirm the worst apprehensions of civil servants that they will get no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties.

They said all regimes, irrespective of their political affiliations, at both central and state levels, have been "guilty of transgression".

"Serving officials will naturally be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day," the letter added.

"It will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later," the letter said.

The retired bureaucrats said rules must be framed to make the legal principle of estoppel apply on reopening decisions based on information provided at the time the decision was taken.

If files are allowed to be "exhumed and dissected on the basis of hindsight and that too with no bar on the time that has elapsed", no decisions will be made at all in government, they added.

"It is indeed a travesty when governance systems spare no effort in ensuring that political elements charged with or prosecuted for very serious offences are given latitude while officers who have faithfully served the nation for over three decades are arraigned on the flimsiest of technical grounds. In the interests of justice, we earnestly urge that there be an early resolution of this issue," the letter said.

10 hurt in grenade attack by militants on security patrol in Kashmir’s Anantnag

SRINAGAR, Oct 5: At least 10 people were injured in a grenade attack by terrorists outside Deputy Commissioner’s office in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on Saturday, a police official said.

The terrorists hurled a grenade on a security patrol outside the heavily guarded complex in Anantnag town, 55 km from here, around 11 am, the official said.

He said the grenade missed the intended target and exploded on the roadside, causing splinter injuries to eight pedestrians, a policeman and a local journalist.

The injured were admitted to a hospital.

The attack sparked panic among people in the town.

The area has been cordoned off by security forces and a hunt has been launched to nab the terrorists behind the attack, the official said.

No outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Those who indulge in politics of falsehood will not understand Mahatma Gandhi: Sonia

NEW DELHI, Oct 2: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said those who consider themselves supreme and indulge in the politics of falsehood will not understand Mahatma Gandhi’s sacrifices and ideals.

In what appeared to be a swipe at the present BJP leadership, Sonia Gandhi told party workers and leaders at Rajghat that the Mahatma’s soul would be pained by what has been happening in India in the last few years.

Sonia Gandhi also administered an oath on Gandhi’s ideals to party workers on the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a march of party workers from the Delhi Congress office at the Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg to mark the occasion.

“How will those who consider themselves supreme understand the sacrifices of Mahatma Gandhi....Those doing politics of falsehood will not understand Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence,” Sonia Gandhi said in her brief address on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering in Hindi, she said no matter what others might claim, only the Congress has followed the path of Gandhi and has provided jobs, education and facilities to farmers, accomplishments which are unparalleled.

“India and Gandhi are synonymous. Yet some people want RSS to be synonymous with India,” she said, adding that India has arrived at its present state due to Mahatma Gandhi.

Freedom a never ending struggle, tweets Chidambaram from Tihar on Gandhi Jayanti

NEW DELHI, Oct 2: Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who has been in Tihar jail for four weeks in the INX Media case, on Wednesday paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi in a string of tweets that also raised questions about democracy, which he said, was being “hollowed out in country after country”.

“Which way will India go? Freedom is a never ending struggle. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” tweeted Chidambaram. The 74-year-old politician’s account is being handled by his family who, he said, had been asked to tweet the message on October 2, 2019.

In his tweets, Chidambaram traced how the world had evolved from enslavement to the flowering of democracy in the 20th century that brought hope of liberty and equality to hundreds of countries and millions of people.

“The 21st century has eroded that hope. Democracy is being hollowed out in country after country - Venezuela, Russia, Myanmar, Turkey, Hungary and now even in the United States,” he said, wondering what lies next for India.

Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21 in the INX Media case, a move that the veteran Congress leader and his party have blamed on vendetta politics. Chidambaram, who was questioned for nearly a fortnight, has been in Tihar jail for the last four weeks.

Chidambaram’s request to be set free on bail was rejected by the Delhi High Court this week over concerns that he could influence witnesses.

The CBI has alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea to receive overseas investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Peter and Indrani Mukerjea have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with P Chidambaram’s son Karti, to secure clearance from FIPB. Indrani, however, turned approver against Chidambaram and told the CBI that a deal of $1 million had been struck between Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas to secure the approvals. P Chidambaram and son Karti have denied that they ever met Indrani Mukherjea.


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