QBullet: Chhattisgarh Votes Today; Janardhana Reddy Arrested
Find the top headlines of the day on QBullet.
1. BSF Officer Killed in Poll-Eve Attacks by Maoists in Bastar
A day before polling in the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections, Maoists stepped up violence in Bastar on Sunday, triggering six IED blasts in Kanker and attacking a patrol party in Bijapur. A BSF officer, Sub-Inspector Mahendra Singh, was killed in one of the explosions, while forces gunned down a Maoist in a counterattack after the Bijapur ambush.
Polling will be held in 18 constituencies of eight Naxal-affected districts — Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon – under unprecedented security cover.
2. Avni Killing: Autopsy Suggests Tigress Shot When Looking Away, Dressed Up With Dart
The man-eater tigress T-1, or Avni, was shot in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal this month when it was “facing away” from the shooter. And the dart found lodged in its left thigh did not show any impact of being “fired from a syringe projector” (tranquilising gun).
These conclusions in the post-mortem witness report submitted by a representative of the Maharashtra forest department contradict the department’s own claim that the tigress was gunned down by them in self-defence after it charged at the team that had fired a tranquiliser dart to immobilise the animal.
The post-mortem was conducted by four veterinarians, and the witness report was submitted by Nagpur-based wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam, who was the representative of the Maharashtra forest department.
3. Ballari’s Reddy Arrested in Rs 600 Cr Ponzi Scheme Case
The Central Crime Branch wing of the Bengaluru police on Sunday arrested former Karnataka minister and the BJP’s strongman from Ballari, Gali Janardhana Reddy, after a marathon interrogation session over his role in the alleged Rs 600-crore Ponzi scheme by Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd. The interrogation began around 4pm on Saturday and went on till 2am on Sunday.
Although the CCB sought custody of Reddy — listed as accused number six in the case — the magistrate remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days till 24 November. CCB claims to have evidence to show that Reddy conspired to use ED’s name to get Rs 20 crore illegally, but they are yet to make any of the evidence public.
4. Critics Will Exist: Jaitley on Note Ban, GST Impact
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday appeared to address former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan’s recent comment that the Indian economy was slowing down by saying that India has made some “monumental economic changes” over the last four years and that “you will always have critics who will come up and say it has slowed down India’s growth”.
Jaitley, who did not mention Rajan in his address, admitted that steps such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) slowed down growth for two quarters but described that as a “response to any monumental reform”.
“For two quarters, growth got impacted, and after two quarters, we again resumed 7%, 7.7% and 8.2% growth respectively,” Jaitely said, comparing it with 5%+ and 6%+ which existed between 2012 and 2014.
5. Equations Shift Ahead of Crucial RBI Board Meet
Some directors on the Reserve Bank of India’s central board, who were earlier not on the same page as the government, are now open to discussions on many “contentious” issues, but want decisions such as those related to the capital base to be implemented after next year’s general elections to ensure that they are delinked from politics, according to people close to the situation.
While the agenda comprising nearly 20 items for the 19 November meeting is available with all the directors, on its part, the government is keen that immediate concerns such as more credit flow for micro, small and medium enterprises, liquidity for non-banking finance companies, and aligning bank regulations in line with global norms, instead of stiffer norms for Indian entities, be addressed.
6. Kushwaha Set to Split As JD(U) Meets His MLAs, BJP Mum
The fight between NDA allies JD(U) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) took a turn for the worse on Sunday, with both the MLAs of the RLSP reportedly offering to join the JD(U). With the BJP showing little sign of intervening, the RLSP is expected to walk out of the NDA in December first week. RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who has been openly critical of JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, said he had sought an appointment with BJP president Amit Shah.
RLSP MLAs Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan met top JD(U) leaders, including its national vice-president Prashant Kishor, and were reportedly offered a ministerial berth and the Sasaram parliamentary seat respectively. While Shekhar is the MLA from Harlakhi (Madhubani), Paswan is the legislator from Chenari (Rohtas).
Kushwaha said Nitish Kumar had “an expertise in breaking away MLAs” and had come after his party after having earlier split the BSP, RJD and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
7. Rafale, Sabarimala, CBI: Busy Week for Top Court After Break
Convening after Diwali holidays on Monday, the Supreme Court will take up pleas on India’s most-debated issues in the next three days, when it will hear petitions pertaining to an infighting in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple and the deal to buy 36 Rafale jets from France.
To kick-start what is likely to be a high-voltage week, the court is expected to hear on Monday the petition of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma, who has challenged the government’s move to divest him of powers last month over an internal battle with deputy Rakesh Asthana, who too has been sent on leave. Both have accused each other of bribery.
8. Worst Not Over: AQI ‘Severe’ for 3 Days
Pollution levels in the NCR remained in the ‘severe’ category for the third consecutive day on Sunday because of a combination of unfavourable weather conditions keeping dangerous pollutants from firecrackers used during Diwali and increased stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana suspended in the air, according to multiple experts who monitor air quality.
But the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said some improvement was likely on Monday with the speed of surface winds, which have been also negligible for the last three days, expected to pick up.
9. Citizenship Bill Helping ULFA, Creating Rift: Assam Top Cop
A senior Assam Police officer said Sunday that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill — proposed by the Union government — has given “a fresh lease of life” to the activities of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), the militant outfit suspected by police to be behind the killing of five farmers in Tinsukia district recently.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Special DGP (Special Branch) of the Assam Police, Pallab Bhattacharyya, said the proposed Bill has led to a new rift between the state’s Assamese- and Bengali-speaking communities, in turn fomenting trouble. The top officer also added that the recent publication of unverified news reports regarding the death of the chief of the ULFA(I), Paresh Barua, could add to the tension.
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