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NewsClick case: Court takes cognizance of Delhi Police’s first charge sheet

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New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) A court here on Tuesday took cognizance of Delhi Police’s first charge sheet filed against NewsClick Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha over allegations that the news portal took money to spread pro-China propaganda.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police on March 30 filed the charge sheet running into over 9,000 pages against the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of Patiala House Courts said there was sufficient evidence against the accused person in the case, and directed the prosecution to supply a copy of the charge sheet to Purkayastha.

The matter will come up for argument on charge on May 31.

Last time, the police had informed the court that it had obtained all the necessary sanctions for the prosecution of the accused in the NewsClick case.

Special Public Prosecutor Akhand Pratap Singh had said that three different sanction orders under section 45 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been secured, which are being filed in the form of supplementary charge-sheets.

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Along with Prabir Purkayastha, PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd (news portal) has also been made an accused.

The judicial custody of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty, the HR head of NewsClick has also been extended.

On January 9, the court granted permission to Amit Chakravarty to become an approver in the case after he had filed an application seeking pardon. He claimed to possess material information, which he was willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.

According to official sources, the charge sheet also contains information regarding 480 electronic devices confiscated during the various raids conducted during the probe.

Prabir Purkayastha has been accused of accepting foreign funds to destabilise the country, sources said.

The sources told IANS that Prabir Purkayastha has been identified as the primary suspect, while Amit Chakravarty has been granted the role of a witness.

The charge sheet alleges that Prabir Purkayastha accepted funds to undermine the stability of the nation by fabricating narratives and attempting to disrupt the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the sources said.

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As per the FIR filed by the Delhi Police on August 17 last year, substantial sums of money were clandestinely transferred from China through a convoluted route.

This money was then utilised to disseminate paid news articles deliberately criticising India’s domestic policies and developmental initiatives while endorsing, advocating, and defending policies and initiatives of the Chinese government. The allegations against NewsClick are that it received approximately Rs 38 crore in funding from abroad, the sources said.

–IANS

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Factors that led to demolition of YSRCP's under-construction office

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The demolition of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP)’s under-construction central office in Tadepalli of Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district on Saturday led to a war of words between the ruling TDP and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP.

Jagan Reddy accused the newly-elected Chandrababu Naidu government of pursuing “vendetta politics” while the latter termed it “judicious”, claiming that the party office was built illegally on the land of the state’s Irrigation Department.

As the issue snowballs into a major controversy, here is an explainer on the irregularities and alleged abuse of power by the then-YSRCP-led government in allotting itself a vast chunk of land for building the party office.

A slew of government documents, available in the public domain, shows how the previous regime overrode the objections by the Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation Department) and went on to “illegally” build the party office. The documents also show consent from government departments was either not taken or bypassed.

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On February 16, 2023, the then Special Chief Secretary & Chief Commission of Land Administration Sai Prasad issued an order, allocating the said land for construction of the YSRCP’s office.

The District Collector was expected to take due action in this. He was mandated to obtain consent from the Irrigation Department and enter into a lease deed on the stipulated conditions, however, the task was delegated to the Tahsildar of Tadepalli.

Further documents show the Tahsildar handing over land to the YSRCP district president, subject to consent from the irrigation authorities.

A document, purportedly an RTI reply on the said land, says, “no consent was given by the Water Resources Department to alienate or lease land in Tadepalli of Guntur district for construction of YSR Congress Party office building.”

Notably, the then Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation Department), in a reply dated February 2, 2023, had refused to give consent for handing over the land and also concluded that “boat yard land can’t be given to YSR Congress Party for building party office”.

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In case of no consent from the Irrigation Department, no lease deed could be entered into and as there is no legal position, the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) cannot entertain the permission for construction.

The CRDA rules empower the authority to remove such illegal constructions and the persons who have made such illegal construction are also liable for penal action.

Complaints were filed before the CRDA and the Municipal Corporation and show-cause notices were issued on May 20, 2024, to the YSRCP and Ramky Infra, the builder constructing the office. However, both failed to respond to the notices. Following this, the demolition orders were passed on June 14.

About a week later on June 22 morning, the authorities of Mangalagiri-Tadepalli Municipal Corporation (MTMC) began demolition with bulldozers and excavators.

–IANS

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Three-day pulse polio drive to begin in Madhya Pradesh from Sunday

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Bhopal, June 22 (IANS) A three-day statewide pulse polio vaccination drive for children will begin in Madhya Pradesh from Sunday.

Deputy Chief Minister Rajendra Shukla said on Saturday that 27,371 polio booths have been set up across the state to conduct the drive, while more than 1,000 transit teams will be carrying out vaccination drive in the remote areas.

Additionally, for high-risk and migratory areas, around 6,500 mobile teams will be carrying out the vaccination drive. On June 24 and 25, mobile teams would go from door-to-door to administer polio drops to children.

Shukla, who also holds the health portfolio, will launch the campaign at the J.P. Hospital here on Sunday.

–IANS

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LS poll results tight slap to CM Siddaramaiah, Dy CM Shivakumar: Pralhad Joshi

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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Pralhad Joshi stated on Saturday that just within a year of the assembly election, the people of Karnataka have given a tight slap for the arrogance of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar.

Speaking at the felicitation programme for central ministers and MPs from Karnataka, Joshi expressed his gratitude to the voters and party workers for this outcome. He remarked that CM Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM Shivakumar should have resigned over the Valmiki Tribal Welfare Board scam. “We should strive to overthrow the corrupt, anti-Hindu Congress government which has imposed inflation on the people,” he appealed.

The NDA managed a great victory despite the Congress’s propaganda in the country. No one should forget that after the late PM Jawaharlal Nehru, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who made it to the PM’s post for a third consecutive term, Joshi stated.

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BJP state president B.Y. Vijayendra stated that the election results proved that Karnataka is a fortress of the BJP. Amid the propaganda by the Congress, the people have blessed the BJP-JD(S) alliance. The Congress, which had won only one seat in 2019, might have won 9 seats in 2024. The BJP and JD(S) gained leads in more than 145 assembly constituencies in the state. “Our candidates have secured leads in the constituencies of cabinet ministers,” he added.

“We have to focus our energies on the forthcoming Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat elections now,” he stated.

Former CM B.S. Yediyurappa stated that the Congress stands for false guarantees, corruption, mismanagement and zero development. “The party workers have to convince people on these fronts. We have to win the Bengaluru civic polls, Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat and Gram Panchayat elections. We have to show our strength in these elections,” he stated.

–IANS

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Maharashtra BJP discusses raodmap for Assembly and state council polls

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Mumbai, June 22 (IANS) Maharashtra BJP’s core committee held a marathon meeting till Friday midnight to discuss the roadmap for the upcoming Assembly elections and the biennial elections to the state council slated for July 12.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Union minister Raosaheb Danve, former state minister Pankaja Munde, and the party’s state unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule.

A senior party functionary said that the core group decided to identify the seats that the BJP can claim during the seat-sharing talks with the Shiv Sena and NCP. In the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 106 seats.

There was unanimity that the BJP, Shiv Sena, and NCP must collectively contest the Assembly elections scheduled later this year to retain power, especially after the below-par performance of the MahaYuti in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

“BJP is going to prepare a blueprint for the Assembly elections on the basis of which the number of seats, selection of candidates, and the poll campaign strategy will be determined. Another meeting of the core committee will take place soon,’’ said a party functionary.

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The core committee also discussed the party’s strategy for the state council elections scheduled for July 12.

In view of its present strength of 103 legislators and 8 MLAs belonging to smaller parties and Independents, the party’s five nominees can be elected with a quota of 23 votes. The committee will shortlist about 10 names which will be forwarded to the party’s central leadership.

–IANS

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SGPC files complaint against Instagram influencer for doing yoga in Golden Temple

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Amritsar, June 22 (IANS) The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Saturday filed a police complaint against a woman Instagram influencer for doing yoga at Sri Darbar Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple Amritsar, here.

The incident sparked outrage among the Sikh community.

Also, the SGPC has taken action against three ‘sewadars’ or employees for duty dereliction in the Darbar Sahib ‘Parikrama’ by allowing the woman to do yoga exercises in the morning of June 21 that is observed as International Day of Yoga.

A marble walkway is known as the ‘Parikrama’ where pilgrims can take a circumambulation, offering prayers and paying their respects.

SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said some people deliberately ignore the sanctity of the holy place. He said Sikh sentiments have been hurt by the act of the woman.

He appealed to the ‘sangat’ that Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib has great respect in the entire Sikh community and at the same time pilgrims, belonging to every religion and country, come here to pay obeisance with reverence.

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An inquiry committee, constituted by the SGPC, questioned the ‘sewadars’ for dereliction of duty.

Pictures of Instagram influencer, Archana Makwana, while performing yoga went viral.

Amid the uproar, she has issued a public apology, expressing regret.

Golden Temple General Manager Bhagwant Singh Dhangera said Archana Makwana had posted her photos on her social media account.

“After verifying through the CCTV cameras, it was found that she performed yoga exercises at 7.04 a.m. after entering the premises at 6.57 a.m. She spent almost an hour in the ‘Parikrama’ but she had not paid a reverence during her stay,” he added.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is considered the ‘Mini Parliament’ of the religion.

–IANS

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