- Congress expels its six Lok Sabha Members from Andhra Pradesh, for anti-party activities.
- Delhi Government to file criminal cases against Veerappa Moily, Murli Deora and Mukesh Ambani for alleged manipulations in gas pricing; CPI hails the move.
- Home Minister orders a CBI probe into the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania.
- Interim Railway budget for 2014-15 to be presented in Parliament tomorrow.
- Over 100 killed in a military transport plane crash in Algeria.
- Ban on India's Olympic Association lifted, allowing the country to return to the Olympic fold.
- Indian squad for Asia Cup and T20 World Cup Cricket announced.
The Congress today expelled six Lok Sabha MPs hailing from the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh, for anti-party activities. Party President Sonia Gandhi approved the recommendation of the AICC Disciplinary Committee for expulsion. The announcement was made by Party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi in New Delhi this afternoon. The members expelled from the Party are V. Arun Kumar, Sabbam Hari, G V Harsha Kumar, L Rajgopal, R Sambasiva Rao and Sai Pratap. Our Correspondent reports that the expelled members have been continuously serving notices to move a "No Confidence" motion against the government. They have been stalling the proceedings in the House over the Telangana issue of late.
The Telangana issue rocked both the Houses of Parliament for the fifth day today. Congress, TDP, YSR Congress and TRS members stalled the proceedings in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha leading to their adjournment. In the Lok Sabha, members from both regions of Andhra Pradesh rushed to the well continuously on the issue. While members from Telangana demanded that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill be tabled in Parliament, Members from Seemandhra protested that the state be kept united. Ministers from Seemandhra were also on their feet on the issue. Left Members from Kerala and West Bengal raised slogans over atrocities against women in their States. JD(U) members also rushed to the well demanding special status to Bihar. Shiromani Akali Dal members were also seen protesting on the 1984 riots. Amidst the din, Speaker Meira Kumar allowed the laying of papers and introduction of a Bill for land acquisition for constructing Dr Ambedkar Memorial in Mumbai.
The Rajya Sabha also witnessed unruly scenes with members from Andhra Pradesh disrupting the proceedings. Amidst the din, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad introduced the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill. As the din continued, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House till 2 pm and later for the day.
The Delhi government has asked its Anti Corruption Branch, ACB, to file criminal cases against Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily, former Union Minister Murli Deora, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and others in the alleged irregularities in gas pricing. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, Mr Kejriwal said, the Anti Corruption Branch, has also been directed to register a case against former Director General of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal. He demanded that the price hike in natural gas, which is to be effected from 1st April this year, should be kept in abeyance. He said that he will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Moily in this regard.
"I will write to the Prime Minister and Mr. Moily and request them that till the enquiry is on, this order should be kept in abeyance. Secondly, I would request them that all Ministries should co-operate in this probe. Thirdly, I would recommend that if Reliance Industries is not producing gas or creating artificial scarcity, the oil well should be handed over to the ONGC or any other state owned entity."
Kejriwal alleged that the set target for Reliance Industries was to produce 80 million units but it produced even less than 18 per cent.
The price of gas from April, under the revised formula, is estimated to be 8.2 to 8.4 dollars per million British Thermal Unit as against the current 4.2 dollars.
Our correspondent reports, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last year approved the Rangarajan formula for pricing domestic gas at an average of international gas hub price and actual cost of importing gas into India.
Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily rejected Kejriwal's allegations. Talking to reporters outside Parliament today, Mr Moily said price fixing of petroleum products is not done arbitrarily but on the basis of expert advice. The Minister also said he took special interest to ensure that the CNG and PNG prices are reduced.
"I took the special interest to ensure that CNG and PNG prices are reduced. He should know that there should be a certain system for fixing the prices and nothing is done without expert advice".
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta welcomed Arvind Kejriwal government's move to file criminal cases. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Dasgupta said the government's decision to hike gas prices will seriously affect the power and fertiliser sectors.
The Congress today said it is not against any probe into the gas pricing issue, but it should not be politically motivated. Reacting to the Delhi government’s decision of filing FIR against Oil Minister Veerappa Moily, Former Union Minister Murli Deora and others, Party General Secretary Ajay Maken told reporters in New Delhi that the enquiry must be under the ambit of constitution. He said whosoever is found guilty should be punished. However, Maken said Moily should not resign and let the law take its own course.
Maken also alleged that opposition BJP is attacking journalists and others who are raising their voice against it on the social networking sites.
Meanwhile, Reliance Industries Limited has said that Delhi government's order to register FIR on gas price revision is shocking. In a statement it said that complaints on which government took the decision are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance.
The government has ordered a CBI probe into the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania in the national capital. Talking to reporters after meeting with Nido's family in New Delhi today, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the family want that the investigation should be conducted by the CBI and the government has decided to do so. Mr. Shinde said he has assured that justice will be given to the family and guilty will be punished.
The victim's father and Congress MLA Nido Pavitra said that he also requested the minister to do the needful to ensure security of people from northeast living different parts of the country.
19-year-old Nido, had an altercation with some shopkeepers at Lajpat Nagar in the city on the 29th of last month after they made fun of his hairstyle, following which they allegedly thrashed him. He was found dead the next day.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police today told a court that murder charges have been slapped against four persons, one of whom was arrested this morning, in connection with the youth's death.
<><><>The interim Railway budget for 2014-15 will be presented in Parliament tomorrow. Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge will present the budget in the Lok Sabha at noon. The Railway Minister is likely to announce more trains, better amenities and safety measures for passengers. Sources in the Ministry said, it will be a growth-oriented budget. Our Correspondent reports that in his maiden budget presentation, Kharge is likely to come out with specific measures to curb fire incidents in trains.
The News Services Division of All India Radio will bring you a bilingual pre-rail budget live discussion from 11.45 am. The discussion will be followed by live relay of the Railway Minister’s speech from 1155 hours onwards. After the speech a live bilingual discussion will continue for fifteen minutes. This can be heard on Rajdhani, Indraprastha, all four FM Gold channels and additional frequencies from 11.45 a.m.
Due to the presentation of interim railway budget tomorrow, there will be changes in the timings of national regional news bulletins.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today held an open interaction with railway porters at New Delhi Railway Station and listened to their grievances. Mr Gandhi assured them that he will take up the problems faced by them with the Railway Minister. The interaction came a day before the government presents interim railway budget.
US Embassy sources today said that the U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell will meet Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in Gandhinagar. The move is seen as a significant shift in the US stance towards Mr Modi.
President Pranab Mukherjee today called on the international community to take steps to make the world free from the scourge of polio in a time-bound manner. He said, India's victory over polio has demonstrated that the disease can be eradicated, if there is a strong commitment and political will. Addressing a function in New Delhi this evening, to mark the zero incidence of Polio cases in the country in the last three years, the President said, India cannot retain its polio free status for long until the virus is eliminated from its neighbourhood.
The organisation and successful delivery of the immunisation through 2.5 million vaccination to 117 million children would not have been possible without a high level of enthusiasm, total commitment and the tremendous ability to mobilise all sections of the society.
The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that the Government is committed to protecting newborn children from the disease until it is eradicated across the world.
India's victory over polio is no ordinary achievement. It says something about our strong committment and our determination thus reaching a goal that we have set for ourselves about a decade and half ago.
Describing the occasion as historic, Dr Singh said the Centre is firm in its resolve to achieve Universal Health Care, which is only possible with a strong public health system. The Prime Minister said that life-saving vaccines should be delivered to every child across the country. He said, the Government is also making significant and strategic investments to reduce maternal and child mortality.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said, the government leveraged information and communication technology to stimulate community participation to rid the country of the crippling disease. Mrs Gandhi said that the massive programme could not have become a success without close coordination among Centre, State Governments and International Organisations.
The programme has been an extraordinary success. It has reached every child across the length and breadth of our land and finally rid our country of this ancient and crippling scurge.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj who also graced the occasion, hailed the contribution of all stakeholders in realising the dream of Polio-free India.
22-year-old youth from North East, was allegedly stabbed and robbed by some unidentified assailants in Mehrauli area in the national capital in the wee hours today. Delhi Police maintained that it was a case of robbery and the attack was not racially motivated.
The toll in the Hirakud boat tragedy in Odisha's Sambalpur district today has gone up to 31 with recovery of the bodies of the three remaining missing persons. The tragedy took place on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Puri district administration has stopped vessel services in Chilika lake.
An Algerian military transport plane has crashed in the north-east of the country, killing 103 passengers and crew. The plane - believed to be a Hercules C-130 crashed in a mountainous area of Oum al-Bouaghi province. The plane was carrying 99 passengers - soldiers and their families - as well as four crew members. It was en route to Constantine from Ouargla. Military sources said, the cause of the crash could have been bad weather conditions. The source also added there were no survivors.
In Sports News, the ban on India's Olympic Association has been lifted, allowing the country to return to the Olympic fold. The International Olympic Committee had suspended India for electing officials accused of corruption in 2012, in breach of the Olympic charter.
Indian Cricket teams for the Asia Cup and T 20 World Cup were announced in Bangalore today. Selectors dropped speedster Ishant Sharma following his under performance in New Zealand. Cheteshwar Pujara has replaced left-handed batsman Suresh Raina for Asia Cup. Raina managed to be part of T20 team. All-rounder Stuart Binny is selected both for one-day squad for Asia Cup and T-20 World Cup. All-rounder Yuvraj Singh got the selectors' nod only for the Twenty20 World championships. The Asia Cup will be held in Bangladesh from February 25 to March 8.