Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said PM Narendra Modi and his government believed in imposing “one idea” on the country, including a particular view on women’s role in society. At an event in Chennai, Gandhi said he has no problem with the government investigation into his brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s role in a corruption case.
India has joined a growing list of countries that have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft used by their airlines in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines air crash on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. SpiceJet has 12 such planes in its fleet, while the Jet Airways has five.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Asom Gana Parishad are back in an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The regional party had quit the alliance in January to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The BJP also finalised tie-ups with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, the Nationalist Democratic People’s Party, the National People’s Party and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.
Here are the biggest stories of the day:
A Delhi court on Wednesday set March 18 as the date for the framing of charges in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha passed the order. There are 21 people who are chargesheeted in the case. Five of the accused have denied the charges against them and have claimed that there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.
In remarks targeting Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday claimed the Opposition party defines “family corruption” by “institutionalising” corruption. Union minister Smriti Irani alleged Robert Vadra is “merely a mask” in suspect land deals, while Gandhi was the real face.
Petitioners seeking an inquiry into the Rafale jet deal had no authority to present secret official documents before the Supreme Court without the government’s permission, the Centre told the top court on Wednesday. The privileged documents attached in the review petition are sensitive to national security, and those who “conspired in their leakage” are guilty of penal offences including theft, the government said.
Uttar Pradesh Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday met Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in Meerut, where he is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital. Azad and his supporters were taken into custody in Deoband on Tuesday after they allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct by using more than a stipulated number of motorcyles in a political rally in Saharanpur district. Azad had soon fallen ill after he was detained and was admitted to the Anand Hospital in Meerut.
A man who witnessed the killing of his two brothers during the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Khatauli area on Tuesday. Asbab was a witness in the case in connection with the riots, which had left 62 people dead. Circle Officer Ashish Kumar said Asbab was murdered when he was going out to deliver milk and added that CCTV footage is being examined to identify the killer.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday pitched for an alliance with the Congress in Haryana. Kejriwal said that an alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and the Jannayak Janta Party in Haryana will ensure that the coalition wins all 10 seats in the state. “The duo of [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi and [Bharatiya Janata Party National President] Amit Shah are very dangerous for the country,” the Aam Aadmi Party chief claimed.
A 25-year-old civilian was allegedly shot dead by suspected militants outside his home in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday. The incident took place in Pingleena village. A joint team of the Army and Special Operations Group launched a cordon and search operation in the area to look for the assailants.
The Election Commission has issued notices to Bharatiya Janata Party MP Ramcharan Bohra and Congress leader Sunil Sharma for using pictures of defence personnel in their election campaign in Jaipur, reports said. The notice, sent by the Jaipur district electoral office, sought a response in three days, along with details of expenditure incurred on the offending campaign material.
India and the United States on Tuesday asked Pakistan to “meaningfully address” the concerns of the international community on terrorism exported from its soil. The statement was issued after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and his US counterpart, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, held consultations at the US State Department in Washington.
Surf Excel and Microsoft Excel may have little in common, but outrage by some against the detergent brand has ended up in poor ratings for the spreadsheets app on the Google Play store. Users were trying to express their anger against a Surf Excel advertisement, which they claimed was anti-Hindu.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Assam government for the inadequate functioning of foreigners tribunals and said it was not taking deportation of illegal migrants seriously. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Assam government, told a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna that tribunals had declared over 50,000 migrants as foreigners in the last 10 years. Around 900 people have been detained in six detention centres across the state, he added.
“We have requested the EC to take action against Rahul Gandhi for levelling unverified allegations against PM Narendra Modi yesterday in Ahmedabad, when the Model Code of Conduct is already in effect,” said Prasad. However, he did not clarify the exact allegations on the basis of which the party complained to the electoral monitor.
An Indian Police Service officer of the 2013 batch, Jitendra Shukla was appointed the superintendent of police of the Sukma district in February. Soon after his appointment, five-time Congress MLA and Cabinet minister Kawasi Lakhma asked him to transfer Surendra Pambhoi, who was in charge of the Phulbagdi police station, to another part of the district.
Addressing a tweet to Modi, Abdullah wrote it was good to see the prime minister appeal to famous people to increase voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled from April 11. “However, at the same time your government has consciously disenfranchised people in J&K by not holding Assembly elections on time,” said the National Conference vice president.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government believe that “one idea” should be imposed on the country. “They have a particular view about role of women in our society,” Gandhi said at Stella Maris College in Chennai.
Private airline SpiceJet on Wednesday announced that it has decided to cancel 14 flights after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation asked all carriers to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet. The directive came days after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa airport, killing all 157 passengers on board.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that only officers with a minimum of six months left in their tenure should be considered for the post of director general of police. The court was clarifying on its order on police reforms, passed in July 2018.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Centre the permission to file an affidavit in the Rafale deal case. The Ministry of Defence will file the affidavit. The hearing of a bunch of review petitions against the court’s earlier verdict in the case will continue on Thursday.
The Election Commission on Tuesday directed Facebook to delete two posts shared by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA with Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s image. The posts, which were election posters, were shared by Delhi MLA Om Prakash Sharma.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi on Tuesday criticised the state police for disclosing the name of a 19-year-old college student in Tamil Nadu’s Pollachi town who had filed a complaint against four men for sexual harassment. The complaint brought to light the Pollachi serial sexual assault and blackmail case.
“The BJP, NPP, NDPP, AGP and BPF will fight together in Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with the mission of defeating Congress party at the hustings,” BJP leader Ram Madhav wrote on Facebook. “In Tripura, the BJP will fight the elections together with IPFT, our alliance partner. In Sikkim, our alliance will be with SKM, the main Opposition party.”
A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated union of security guards on Monday submitted an application to the Mumbai Police to register a case against Congress President Rahul Gandhi, for his “chowkidaar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief) jibe. Gandhi often uses the remark at election rallies, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The United States on Tuesday said Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar meets the criteria to be listed as a global terrorist and failure to do so would run counter to the goal of achieving regional stability and peace. Azhar’s group had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar claimed on Tuesday that the Bharatiya Janata Party may emerge the single largest party after the Lok Sabha elections, but Narendra Modi will not become the prime minister again.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday took into custody Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and his supporters after they allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct by using more than a stipulated number of motorcycles in a political rally in Saharanpur district.
India on Tuesday grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft used by the country’s airline companies in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Saturday that killed all 157 people on board. The Ministry of Civil Aviation said these planes will be grounded “till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations”.