Pulwama IED blast: Political leaders condemn ‘cowardly attack’ on CRPF personnel

Several politicians on Thursday expressed shock and concern hours after 30 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed and several injured in an improvised explosive device attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he strongly condemned the “despicable and dastardly” attack.

Phone tapping: Home Ministry refuses to share data on the approvals granted to central agencies

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has said it cannot make public the details on permissions granted to central agencies to tap phones. The ministry cited national interest, possible obstruction of an ongoing investigation and danger to individuals in a reply to a Right to Information application.

CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra appointed election commissioner

The Centre appointed Indian Revenue Service officer Sushil Chandra an election commissioner on Thursday. Chandra is currently the chairperson of the Central Bureau of Direct Taxes. His appointment comes months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, which are expected this summer.

2012 Delhi gangrape: Victim’s parents move court to fast-track death sentence of convicts

The parents of a woman who was gang-raped in New Delhi in December 2012 approached the Patiala House Court on Thursday to expedite the procedure to hang all the convicts. The court will hear the matter on March 2.

Sedition charges against 14 students of Aligarh Muslim University will be dropped, say police

The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh on Thursday said sedition charges against 14 students of the Aligarh Muslim University will be dropped as there is no evidence against them.

Rafale deal: CAG has allowed itself to become a joke, claims Congress leader P Chidambaram

Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the Rafale deal was “useless” and claimed that the institution had allowed itself to become a joke, PTI reported.

Uttar Pradesh: BJP ally Om Prakash Rajbhar offers to resign as backward classes welfare minister

Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar on Thursday said he will hand over the charge of the backward class welfare department to Chief Minister Adityanath. Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state and has four MLAs in the Assembly.

Tamil Nadu: Opposition alliance lacks leaders, philosophy, says BJP chief Amit Shah

Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah on Thursday attacked the Opposition alliance, saying they lacked “leaders, policies and philosophy”, reported PTI. Shah addressed the handloom and powerloom associations in Tamil Nadu’s Erode on Thursday.

‘Centre to seek advice on deleting biometric data of those who want to exit Aadhaar,’ UIDAI chief

Unique Identification Authority of India Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the government will seek legal counsel on whether it can delete the biometric data of minors who choose to exit the Aadhaar system once they turn 18.

Jammu and Kashmir: At least 30 CRPF jawans killed in IED attack in Pulwama

At least 30 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed and several injured after a suspected militant drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday. Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) SP Pani said the toll is expected to rise.

Sterling Biotech case: Court asks absconding promoters to give ED their address within 15 days

A Delhi court on Thursday asked two absconding promoters of Sterling Biotech Limited to give their address to the Enforcement Directorate within 15 days. The two accused had moved the court seeking the cancellation of non-bailable warrants issued against them in a Rs 8,100-crore bank fraud case.

Congress has ‘more or less’ said no to alliance with AAP, says Arvind Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said the Congress has “more or less” ruled out an alliance with his party in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal’s remark came a day after Opposition leaders met in Delhi, following which Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said Opposition parties will have a pre-poll alliance. Kejriwal and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi were also part of the meeting.

Demonetisation: No information on deaths related to note ban, says PMO

The Prime Minister’s Office has said that it has no information on the number of deaths in the aftermath of demonetisation, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016. The move banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as legal tender, with one of its stated objectives being to curb black money.

‘Invoking NSA, sedition law are examples of state terror’: Mayawati attacks Congress and BJP

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Thursday attacked the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party for invoking the stringent National Security Act and booking people under sedition charges, saying they were examples of “state terror”. She was referring to two separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Private players asked to send proposals to help Centre set up a Vedic school board

The government has invited private players to help set up a “Bharatiya Shiksha Board” to standardise education in Vedic tradition. Interested parties were given just eight days to send their proposals. The government normally gives at least two weeks for accepting such applications.

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan claims Mulayam Singh Yadav was forced to praise Narendra Modi

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Thursday expressed shock at former party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statement that he wanted to see Narendra Modi become the prime minister once again after the Lok Sabha elections. Khan claimed that Singh had been forced to make such a statement.

Wholesale price inflation eased to 2.76% in January, lowest in 10 months

Wholesale price inflation eased to 2.76% in January from 3.8% in December, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement on Thursday. This was the lowest rate of inflation in 10 months.

Rajasthan: ‘We cannot fight BJP’s hate with hate, hugged Modi to remove hatred,’ says Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday claimed that he had hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament in July to “remove hatred”. Gandhi was addressing a rally of the party’s Seva Dal in Ajmer in Rajasthan.

Indian researchers discover new mysterious frog species in the Western Ghats

Delhi University researchers have discovered a new species of narrow-mouthed frogs in a roadside puddle in Kerala. Sonali Garg, a PhD student, and her research supervisor Professor SD Biju have named the new genus Mysticellus – derived from the Latin word meaning mysterious and diminutive.

Gujarat University warns 300 foreign students not to approach media, police without permission

The Gujarat University has asked nearly 300 students in its Study Abroad Programme to sign an undertaking that they will not approach the media or police without taking permission from university officials. The order came after many students from other South Asian countries complained of unhygienic and cramped accommodation in hostels.

AgustaWestland scam: Rajeev Saxena given seven-day interim bail after ED does not oppose plea

A court on Thursday granted seven-day interim bail to businessman Rajeev Saxena, who is an accused in the AgustaWestland helicopter scandal, PTI reported. He was also asked to furnish two sureties of Rs 5 lakh each. The case will be heard next on February 22.

Delhi-Centre tussle: AAP says Supreme Court verdict is unfortunate, BJP welcomes ruling

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday called the Supreme Court’s split verdict on the jurisdiction over bureaucrats in the National Capital Territory unfortunate while the Bharatiya Janata Party welcomed the ruling. The court delivered the judgement on a batch of petitions that had challenged notifications issued by the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi amid a power tussle with the Centre.

VK Singh questions HAL’s capabilities, says parts of aircraft it manufactures are falling off

Union minister and former Indian Army chief General VK Singh has questioned the capabilities of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited o manufacture aircraft. The minister made the remark on Wednesday in response to the Congress’s claim that the government had ignored the company while signing the Rafale deal with France.

Tamil Nadu: Woman gets ‘no caste, no religion’ certificate after long battle

A woman in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupattur has been issued a certificate saying she does not belong to any caste or religion, after a nine-year battle. According to media reports, this is the first time in the country that such a certificate has been issued.

Puducherry CM, Cabinet continue sit-in protest outside Raj Nivas; L-G Kiran Bedi calls it unlawful

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has accused Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi of “continuous acts of high-handed dictatorship” as he continued a sit-in protest with his ministers outside the Raj Nivas on Thursday. In a letter to Bedi the day before, Narayanasamy had asked the lieutenant governor to change her “style of undemocratic day-to-day governance”.

Delhi-Centre tussle: SC delivers split verdict on power to appoint and transfer civil servants

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the Delhi government’s power to appoint and transfer civil servants. The court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging notifications issued by the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi amid a power tussle with the Centre. Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, who were on the two-judge bench, referred the matter of jurisdiction over “services” to a larger bench.

‘Why is not the PM instructing banks to take the money I am offering?’ asks Vijay Mallya

Businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday reiterated his offer to pay back the money he owes to a consortium of banks, and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not “instructing banks to take the money”. The businessman said he even told the Karnataka High Court about his offer to settle dues.

Andhra Pradesh merges PM-Kisan Yojana with state scheme, promising Rs 10,000 per year to farmers

The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday merged the Centre’s newly-announcedPradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana with the Annadatha Sukhibhava, its own scheme that promises direct benefit transfer of Rs 10,000 to all farmers in the state. The benefits will be transferred in two equal batches of Rs 5,000 before the start of the kharif and rabi seasons.

Congress won’t scrap Rafale deal if voted to power, will improve it: P Chidambaram to Indian Express

Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said his party will not scrap the Rafale fighter jet deal if it forms government after the Lok Sabha elections this year. The number of aircraft bought through the deal and the schedule for their delivery are the “most critical issues”, he told The Indian Express in an interview published on Thursday.

Rain lashes Delhi-NCR; hailstorms likely later today, says Met department

Delhi woke up to an overcast sky and thundershowers on Thursday as rain lashed the National Capital Region, bringing temperatures down. The city is likely to experience hailstorms later in the day, the India Meteorological Department said. At least 10 Delhi-bound trains were delayed in the morning because of poor visibility.

Citizenship Bill: Lapse of draft law in Parliament a defeat for Assam, says Himanta Biswa Sarma

The bill sought to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. the Lok Sabha had pased it on January 8.

‘Do not elect a Class-12 graduate prime minister again,’ Arvind Kejriwal urges voters

“Last time you made a Class 12-pass the prime minister of the country,” the AAP leader said, referring to Modi. “Do not commit the mistake this time and find someone who is educated because a Class 12-pass does not have the understanding where he is putting his signs.”

Verdict on Delhi-Centre power tussle likely to be delivered by Supreme Court today

At 10.30 am, Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan are expected to pronounce judgement on who has control over services in Delhi administration, the power to set up commissions of inquiry, control over the anti-corruption bureau, and the postings and transfers of bureaucrats.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross abruptly cancels India trip because of ‘bad weather’

“Due to inclement weather, technical problems that led to the cancellation of his flight and other logistical issues, Secretary Ross regrets he is no longer able to attend the CEO Forum and Commercial Dialogue in person,” said a spokesperson for the US-India CEO Forum. India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu was to hold dialogue with Ross.

16th Lok Sabha: Number of sitting days reduced, but more time spent on legislative business

According to data complied by PRS Legislative, the 16th Lok Sabha sat for 331 days, between June 2014 and February this year. The past full term Lok Sabhas sat for 468 days on an average.

Lok Sabha polls: We will have a pre-poll alliance, says Mamata Banerjee after Opposition meeting

Her statement came soon after Opposition leaders including Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah, N Chandrababu Naidu and Sharad Pawar had met at the Nationalist Congress Party president’s house in Delhi following an Opposition rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party in the national Capital.