- Private Power distribution companies in National Capital approach High Court against authority of CAG to audit their accounts.
- Delhi Chief Minister under pressure to take action against Law Minister Somnath Bharti.
- Finance Minister P Chidambaram expects 5 per cent growth during current fiscal.
- CBI court in Ranchi convicts 19 persons in Fodder scam case.
- Leander Paes and Sania Mirza along with their partners to fight for Semi Final berth in Mixed Doubles today.
Three power distribution companies of Delhi, BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, TPDDL have moved the Delhi High Court challenging the City Government’s decision to get their accounts audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the CAG. These companies contended that the move of the Arvind Kejriwal government lacks legal sanctity. BSES stated that Section 20 of the CAG Act under which the present audit is sought to be done does not empower the CAG to conduct audit of private companies. The new government had on January 7 ordered a CAG audit.
Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti seems to be headed for trouble as the senior leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party is pressing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to take action against him. Senior leader Prashant Bhushan said, nobody will support Bharti's uncivilized language. The four African women allegedly harassed by Somnath Bharti and his supporters have identified the minister from video footage and newspaper clippings. They recorded their statement before a Metropolitan Magistrate on Tuesday. In their complaint, they said they were slapped, threatened and subjected to racist remarks.
On the charges leveled against Mr Bharti for carrying out a raid with his supporters against African nationals in connection with the alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi, Party spokesperson Dilip Pandey said, a Judicial inquiry is already underway and the party will honour its outcome.
The Reserve Bank of India has said that all bank notes issued prior to 2005 will be completely withdraw after March 31st this year. It has asked the public to approach banks for exchanging these notes from the 1st April this year. Banks will provide exchange facility for these notes until further communication. In a press release, it has also clarified that the notes issued before 2005 will continue to be legal tender. The apex bank said the notes issued before 2005 do not have on them the year of printing on the reverse side. Business correspondent Anshuman Tiwari told AIR that the move is expected to unearth black money held in cash.
This move is primarily targeted to the manifestations of black money and since 2005 RBI has started printing date of printing on each currency note which they put on the back side of notes. However, withdrawn note will not be seen as illegal. People have to speak to branch and get them exchange with the new series of the note. For sure,RBI will create a lot of panic among the black money holder and also to the people who are facilitating fake currency.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kuamr Reddy has strongly opposed the Reorganisation Bill that proposed bifurcation of the state. Speaking on the Bill during the debate in the state Assembly yesterday, he said bifurcation will harm the interests of all regions of the state. His speech will continue today as it was inconclusive last evening.
Our correspondent reports that the time limit given by the President of India to the State Assembly by which it should send Members’ views over the Reorganisation Bill will come to an end today.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to facilitate formation of separate Telangana state had been sent to the state Assembly on 12th of December last year. The union home ministry had sent the Bill from the President of India asking the state assembly to consider the Reorganisation Bill and send its views in six weeks. The Assembly could not start the constructive debate over the bill till last week mainly due to continuous disturbances in both the houses of legislature. The ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party expressed divided opinion. It is yet to be made clear whether a voting over the bill will take place on the floor of the House or not. A decision is expected today whether to extend the deadline. Lakshmi, Airnews, Hyderabad.
In Jharkhand, a special CBI court in Ranchi has convicted 19 fodder scam case accused, including disqualified JD(U) MP Jagdish Sharma pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of 1.16 crore rupees from the Godda treasury in the 1990s. More from our correspondent:
Judgment on various cases related to fodder scam have started coming now, one after another. In a case related to fraudulent withdrawal from Godda treasury of Jharkhand, a special CBI court has convicted 19 accused including the then PAC chairman Jagdish Sharma. Seven of them were sentenced 3 year imprisonment with fine, and the sentencing of remaining 12 would take place on 24th January. Rajesh Sinha /AIR NEWS/ RANCHI.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has assured global investors that India is prepared to face the impact of US Fed tapering. He also said that the country is poised to clock a 5 per cent growth in the current fiscal and over 6 per cent a year after. Addressing the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos yesterday, he said, the Indian economy has stabilized and it is poised to return to a high growth path and step by step we will go back to an 8 per cent growth rate. Talking about the impact of calibrated tapering of bond purchases by the US Federal Reserve, Chidambaram said India has done a lot of preparatory work.
India backs a peaceful negotiated settlement of the crisis in Syria. Addressing the first international conference on Syria in the Swiss city of Montreaux, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid urged all the sides to strive for a political solution on the lines of the Geneva communique of 2012. More on this from our correspondent:
India's stand on resolving the crisis in Syria has been marked by pragmatism. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid emphasized importance of Syria led inclusive dialogue process leading to the implementation of 2012 Geneva Conference which calls for ceasefire and negotiation followed by elections. He shared India's concern over the rise of Jehadist elements and said there can not be a military solution to the crisis in Syria. Mr. Khurshid said, India is willing to play it's role in successful conclusion of Geneva Conference .Atul Tiwary, AIR News, Montreaux.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid met his US counterpart John Kerry on the sidelines of the international conference in Montreaux. This was the highest level meeting between the two countries after the recent Devyani Khobragade issue, that created tensions between the two countries. A senior State Department official said, Mr. Kerry and Mr. Khurshid discussed their shared commitment to moving the relationship forward and returning to a close partnerships on strategic, security and economic issues.
A full dress rehearsal of the Republic day parade will take place today from Vijay Chowk to the Red Fort in New Delhi. The parade which will start at 9.50 AM from Vijay Chowk, will proceed to the Red Fort passing through Rajpath, India Gate ,Tilak Marg and the Netaji Subhash Marg. Traffic is not being allowed at Vijay Chowk while movement of vehicles will be closed at Rafi Marg, Janpath and Mansingh Road from 9 AM to 12 noon. To facilitate uninterrupted movement of the parade, the Delhi Traffic Police have advised motorists to avoid the parade route and to take alternative routes to reach their destinations. As per the advisory, the Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan metro stations will remain closed upto 12.30 P.M.
A Cold wave has gripped northern India as temperatures dips further in many parts of the region.In Himachal Pradesh, biting Cold sweeping the hills and valleys, further intensified as parts of the state received intermittent rain and snow accompanied by high velocity icy winds yesterday. A report:
People in the state are facing bone chilling cold wave conditions. The fresh rainfall in the lower parts and moderate to heavy snowfall in many other places including capital Shimla. Several state transport buses and other vehicles have been stuck in the snowbound areas in different districts. The authorities in Lahaul-Spiti have advised people to remain alert due to possibility of landslides and snow storm. Shishu Sharma Shantal, AIR News, Shimla.
In the Kashmir valley, normal life continues to be affected following heavy snowfall during the last 24 hours. Our correspondent reports that the valley remained cut off from the rest of the country.
The heaviest snowfall of the season has thrown life out of Srinagar-Jamumu national highway is closed for traffic for the 2nd consecutive day. In Srinagar city power has been partially restored. Efforts of the administration in snow clearance has been hampered. Met office has said that the weather will improve from today. Expert says the snow fall is going to be good for Horticulture and Agriculture. MusHtaq Ahmed TantrAy, Air NEWS, SRINAGAR.
In Australian Open today, Indo-Slovakian pair of Leander Paes and Daniela Hantuchova will clash with French-Canadian duo of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor for a semi final berth in Mixed Doubles. In another Quarter Final match in the Mixed doubles category Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau will clash with German Julia Goerges and Pakistani Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi. In Men's Singles Semifinal today, Czech Tomas Berdych will clash with Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. In women's singles Canadian Eugenie Bouchard ranked 30 will take on world number 4 Chinese Li Na in first Semifinal today and other semi final will be played between Polish Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.
- Five foreign nationals - 2 from Uganda and 3 from Nigeria - recording their statements before a magistrate against Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti accusing him, of leading and instigating a mob against them in Delhi on the night of 15-16 January is prominently covered by the Press. "Pressure on AAP to remove Bharti" is the Asian Age's lead.
- The Indian Express cautions - "Check your cash, pre 2005 notes will not work after July" - as the RBI has announced that it will withdraw all currency notes issued before 2005 after March 31. Hindustan Times writes that anybody with such notes can get these exchanged in any bank after April 1st.
- The Asian Age reports that Sunanda Pushkar's son Shiv Menon has implied that his mother died due to an unfortunate combination of media stress, tension and a wrong mix of different medications.
- The Pioneer informs us that bringing Delhi's private power distribution companies under the CAG scanner is turning out to be a distant dream for CM Arvind Kejriwal, as the three distribution companies have approached the Delhi High Court challenging the CAG's authority to audit their finances.
- Energy starved Pakistan is looking at buying electricity from India - writes the Tribune - with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's cabinet approving the signing of an MOU on electricity trade with India.
- According to Mail Today the Capital has turned into a nursery for touts milking desperate parents of 3 and 4 year olds who want their children educated at good schools. For Rs. 6,000, touts are providing 'Economically Weaker Section' certificates - to avail of the 25% quota for the poor in nursery admissions says the paper.
- And finally, the Times of India informs us that the humble hair clip has now been transformed by a US based couple into a 'crime fighting gadget for women', that can detect an attack and record evidence - all while contacting emergency services.