QBullet: Modi, Trump at ASEAN; Alwar Victim’s Kin Demand Justice
1. Modi and Trump Resolve for Greatest Militaries
"Two of the world's great democracies should also have the world's greatest militaries,'' the United States and India resolved in an unprecedented and eye-catching commitment, following a bilateral meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Philippines.
Supporting India's rise as a global power has been a US objective going back to the last two (Democratic and Republican) administrations. But never before has the goal been stated in such starkly militaristic terms.
In as much as Trump has been an enthusiastic salesman for US military hardware to allies and friends, the continued reference by his administration to the ''Indo-Pacific'' region, including at the ASEAN summit, suggests Washington is firmly set on helping expand India's military capabilities vis-a-vis China for geo-strategic reasons, while helping its large military-industrial complex to Indian lolly.
2. Finance Minister Jaitley Hints at Further Trimming of GST
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hinted at further rationalisation of goods and services tax (GST) rates, while slamming opponents who have been advocating a shift to a single-rate regime, in what was seen as a rebuff to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
"Rationalisation process in a transition (phase) will continue... Such rationalisation in future will depend on revenue buoyancy," the finance minister said.
On Friday, the GST Council, led by Jaitley, slashed rates of over 200 items with the levy on 176 reduced from 28 percent to 18 percent, leaving just 50 in the highest slab. While state FMs have said this list will be pruned further, a change in lower slabs of 12 percent and 18 percent is also on the cards in the coming months.
3. Bail Hope for Ryan Conductor
The CBI is unlikely to oppose bail for school bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who the agency believes was incorrectly implicated by Gurgaon police in a Class II boy's murder at Ryan International School, sources said.
Kumar's bail plea will come up on Thursday. "The court is likely to take a lenient view and may release him on bail," a trial court lawyer said.
"Our investigations have ruled out Kumar's involvement in the murder; we are considering not opposing his bail application," a senior agency official said.
He added that the conductor was still under suspicion of helping the school management destroy evidence.
4. Secular Word Is the Biggest Lie, Says Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said that the word “secular” was the “biggest lie” that has been told since Independence, and has damaged the country. The BJP leader also said that “distorting history was no less a crime than sedition”, and claimed that the word “Paki” was the “biggest insult” used in Europe.
Responding to a question on communalism and secularism at a function organised by the Dainik Jagran group in Raipur, Adityanath said: “I believe that the word secular is the biggest lie since Independence. Those that have given birth to this lie and those that use it should apologise to the people and this country. No system can be secular. Political system can be sect-neutral”.
5. Andhra Boat Tragedy Toll Rises to 21; Vessel on Maiden Trip Had No Govt Approval
One of the four passengers admitted to a hospital in Vijayawada died Monday evening, taking the toll in Sunday’s boat tragedy near Ibrahimpatnam to 21.
The government said the ill-fated boat was on its maiden voyage in the Krishna river without obtaining requisite permission from the authorities.
“The boat belonging to a private agency River Boating Adventure Company was a new boat that entered the waters only on Sunday. It made a couple of trial runs in the river in the morning. It got permission neither from irrigation department nor the tourism department. We have ordered an inquiry as to how it carried passengers,” Andhra Pradesh tourism minister Bhuma Akhila Priya told media persons in Vijayawada on Monday.
6. Wanted Cow to Provide Milk for Kids: Alwar Victim's Wife
The Alwar police had claimed on Sunday that prima facie, no shots were fired in the assault early on Friday by suspected cow vigilantes, in which one person, Ummar, 42, was killed. They had alleged that the three men – Ummar, Tahir and Javed – who were attacked while transporting some cows and calves in Govindgarh area were cattle smugglers. But Ummar’s neighbours in Ghatmika, in Bharatpur, say that they are a village of dairy farmers. And Tahir says he was shot, and has kept the bullet which was extracted from his left arm.
“We left our homes on Thursday afternoon to buy some cows. Ummar and I bought five cows in Dausa, and, along with Javed, we left for home on Thursday night,” Tahir, 45, told The Indian Express. “Just before dawn on Friday, we were passing through a village in Govindgarh… Towards the end of the village, six-seven men, who were hiding behind a house, fired at us,” he said.
7. Sasikala Clan Invested Rs 1,430 Crore in 'Dirty Money' in Realty
Income tax department sleuths have seized papers revealing Rs 1,430 crore worth of "unaccounted-for" investments in real estate, Rs 7.14 crore in cash, and jewellery valued at Rs 5 crore during their five-day searches at 187 premises owned by rebel AIADMK leader VK Sasikala and her relatives and associates, a senior I-T official said on Monday.
I-T officials have also seized a considerable amount of diamond jewellery from various premises that is yet to be valued, the official said, adding that 16 bank lockers had been frozen so far.
8. SC Contempt Sword Hovers
The Supreme Court on Monday prima facie felt that advocates Prashant Bhushan and Kamini Jaiswal were liable for contempt of court by casting aspersions on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in a bribery case that has triggered unparalleled events on the judicial firmament.
The bribery charge is linked to a retired Orissa High Court judge who has been accused of trying to influence the outcome of a medical college case in the top court.
"Everybody is doubting our credibility. The allegations have raised disturbing questions denting the image of the judiciary," a special three-judge bench of the apex court said on Monday.
The bench of Justices RK Aggrawal, Arun Misra and AM Khanwilkar said it would on Tuesday deliver the verdict on the action to be initiated against the two advocates.
9. Two Hizbul Militants Killed in Encounter After Attack on Police in Kashmir's Kupwara
Two militants were killed in a gun battle with security forces after they attacked a police team in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Monday, police said.
Officials said the gunfight broke out after the militants opened fire at a police party in Zachaldara area of Handwara.
The militants targeted a police checkpoint after dusk, according to the police control room in Handwara.
A police spokesman said the slain militants were identified as Toib of Sopore and Ashiq of Palhallan Pattan. They were affiliated with the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, the spokesperson said.