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Current Affairs - 25 June 2015

Row over degree: Plea against Smriti Irani maintainable, court says
  • NEW DELHI: A trial court on Wednesday took cognizance of a complaint filed against Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani for allegedly misrepresenting facts about educational qualifications in her election affidavits.

    Admitting the complaint, metropolitan magistrate Akash Jain fixed August 28 for recording of pre-summoning evidence in the case against Irani.

    "Yes, the court has found plea maintainable, but only to the extent that complainant must show proof on the day of hearing," Smriti Irani's counsel said.

    On June 1, the court had reserved its order on deciding maintainability of the complaint filed by Ahmer Khan, a freelance writer. 

    Khan had filed the complaint in April seeking action against the minister for allegedly lying on oath about her educational qualification and assets. 

    Khan's lawyer KK Manan had told the court that Irani declared herself to be a 1996 batch BA graduate from Delhi University in her affidavit filed for the 2004 Lok Sabha election. But in her 2014 Lok Sabha election affidavit, she stated she had done B.Com Part 1 in 1994 from Delhi University. 

    "It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Irani that at best, only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct," said the petitioner's counsel Manan. 

    The petition seeks Irani to be prosecuted for an offence under section 25 of the Representation of the People Act. If convicted for the offence by the court, Irani can be sentenced to upto six months imprisonment.

Arun Jaitley on Lalitgate: Govt has done no wrong, no question of going on back foot
  • NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that the Modi government has done "nothing wrong" in the "Lalitgate" and there is no question of going on the back foot.

    "The government will play by rule book and will make sure that absolute standards of probity are maintained in the case," the finance minister said in the US.

    Asked whether the controversy was creating an impression that some leaders of the ruling party and the government were siding with corrupt people, Jaitley said, "There is no question at all." 

    To a question on the opposition planning to disrupt the monsoon session of Parliament on the Lalit Modi issue, Jaitley said "Parliament is meant to discuss and not to disrupt business". 

    "We are willing to have a discussion on any subject that the opposition wants," Jaitley told PTI in an interview. 

    The finance minister also said that the reforms can even take place outside Parliament, but its smooth functioning was important for many other reasons. 

    "There are also some legislative reforms for which Parliament must function," he said. 

    Under attack from the opposition, Jaitley had on Tuesday said the authorities would continue to do their job in probing the matter. 

    Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj have been facing flak for allegedly helping former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India. 

    Modi, 49, travelled to London in 2010 after the Indian Premier League (IPL) got embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting. 

    Dushyant Singh, Raje's son, has also been under attack over reports that his company received Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Modi in 2008. 

    Congress has accused Jaitley of doing a "cover-up" on the entire issue and of influencing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe in Dushyant Singh and Modi's case. 

India Navy, Coast Guard rescue 14 from sinking ship
  • MUMBAI: The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard rescued 14 of the crew of Indian flag cement carrier ship MV Coastal Pride that sunk 75 nautical miles off Mumbai coast and 24 nautical miles of Daman on Wednesday morning.

    After a call by the vessel, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard launched its helicopters — Sea King and Chetak — that carried out the rescue operation.

    At 7.58am, Indian Navy Sea king helicopter took off from INS Shikra (Naval Air Station), Colaba while the two Coast Guard helicopters Chetak Helos left at 8.40am for the rescue operation that was carried out 24 nautical miles from Daman coast. The rescued crews were safely evacuated to Umargaon.

    The ship was waiting for towing vessel to sail out when it realised flooding in after the vessel suffered damages. "First six crews were rescued by the coast guard helicopter. Immediately the ship sunk with the eight crews onboard. The Indian Navy Sea king winched up the six crews from sea while the Coast Guard winched another two. All the 14 crews survived and were evacuated at Umargaon," said the official.

Narrow escape for Union minister Nitin Gadkari
  • EAST MIDNAPUR: Union minister Nitin Gadkari had a narrow escape on Wednesday as his helicopter met with an accident in West Bengal.

    According to TV reports, Gadkari's helicopter got tangled with red carpet while it was trying to land in West Bengal's Haldia district.

    The tarpaulin and a red carpet were flung into the air and caught in the helicopter rotors as soon as the copter tried to land on the strip.

On the run, NE militants 'offer' Rs 2 lakh for capture of any Indian armyman
  • On the run, NE militants 'offer' Rs 2 lakh for capture of any Indian armymanNEW DELHI: Even as militant outfits have shifted camps deep into Myanmar and the embarrassment faced by the neighboring nation due to chest thumping politicians ruling out joint operations in the near future, warnings have been sent to security personnel residing in north east states that they could be targeted, even while on leave to their homes. Over two weeks after the Indian Army targeted camps in Myanmar and killed over 20 militants, followed by raring comments by a set of over eager politicians, the fallout of the cross border action is becoming visible.

    For starters, insurgent outfits like NSCN (K) have moved their camps and top commanders deep inside Myanmar territory, in some cases retreating as many as 70 km across the border. These militants include perpetrators of the June 4 Manipur attack in which 18 Indian Army soldiers were killed - its highest casualty in such an attack since 1993.

    While the shifting of camps does provide a temporary buffer zone to India, the opinion is forming that the probability of an Indo-Myanmar joint operation to flush them out in the near future is very low. Besides the operational difficulties of targeting militants deep into enemy territory, the major cause seems to be the embarrassment faced by Myanmar after a very public chest thumping by Indian politicians.

    Myanmar government sources say that Nay Pyi Taw is upset with Ministers and voices in Delhi speaking publicly about surgical strikes on their territory and along India-Myanmar border. Such remarks and statements have not only killed the covertness of the operation but also embarrassed Nay Pyi Taw, according to Myanmar government sources.

    In fact, Nay Pyi Taw wants Delhi to go slow on joint operations for the time being, sources said.

    "As per a reliable input from the R&AW, the insurgent groups have also decided to stay quiet for a month and not resort to any major action.

    The main leaders of NSCN (K) are believed to be heading for the main camps inside Myanmar in Taga, which is a 70-kilometre aerial distance from the Indo-Myanmar border.

    Myanmar has cited difficulties in any joint operations in this scenario as of now," a Home Ministry official said.

Lakhvi 'a snake', can also bite China: BJP
  • Lakhvi 'a snake', can also bite China: BJPNEW DELHI: BJP spokesperson M J Akbar said on Wednesday that Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is a snake which could bite both India and China ferociously. 

    M J Akbar said the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has taken up this issue seriously with China. 

    "And, I think, we hope that China sees the wisdom of our position and understands that terrorism, particularly of the most vicious kind, spearheaded by terrorists like Lakhvi is a snake that while trying to bite India is also a snake which can bite China very ferociously," Akbar said here. 

    The BJP leader's remarks came against China's recent blockade of India's move in the United Nations for action against Pakistan for Lakhvi's release from jail. 

    According to reports, India had earlier at a meeting of the UN sanctions committee sought action against Pakistan for Lakhvi's release in the 26/11 trial, saying it a violation of UN resolution, but the Chinese representatives blocked the move on grounds that New Delhi did not provide sufficient information.

Monson session of Parliament to begin from July 21
  • Monson session of Parliament to begin from July 21NEW DELHI: The three-week monsoon session of Parliament will begin from July 21. 

    The decision to convene Parliament was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs. 

    The monsoon session assumes importance as it comes in the midst of Lalit Modi controversy that has plagued the NDA government. 

    To a question on the opposition planning to disrupt the monsoon session of Parliament on the Lalit Modi issue, Jaitley on Wednesday said Parliament is meant to discuss and not to disrupt business. 

    The finance minister also said that the reforms can take place even outside Parliament, but there are also legislative reforms for which Parliament must function. 

Steffi Graf is Kerala's Ayurveda brand ambassador
  • Steffi Graf is Kerala's Ayurveda brand ambassadorTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tennis legend Steffi Graf was on Wednesday appointed the Ayurveda brand ambassador of God's Own Country Kerala.

    A decision in this regard was taken by the cabinet on Wednesday, chief minister Oommen Chandy said.

    The Kerala tourism department was given sanction to sign an agreement with Graf to become Ayurveda brand ambassador as part of the department's 'Visit Kerala Scheme', Chandy said.

    The tourism department had already held discussions and reached an agreement with the German former World number one tennis player, who had bagged 22 Grand slam single titles.

    The 46-year-old Graf, who retired in 1999, married former World No. 1 men's tennis player Andre Agassi in October 2001.

    Kerala's Ayurveda, an ancient system of health care which is famous for its holistic effect on body and mind, attracts large number of people from the country and abroad every year.

List of waterfalls in India
  • WaterfallHeightLocation
    Kunchikal Falls455 metres (1,493 ft)Shimoga district, Karnataka
    Barehipani Falls399 metres (1,309 ft)Mayurbhanj district, Odisha
    Langshiang Falls337 metres (1,106 ft)West Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya
    Nohkalikai Falls335 metres (1,099 ft)East Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya
    Nohsngithiang Falls315 metres (1,033 ft)East Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya
    Dudhsagar Falls310 metres (1,020 ft)Karnataka, Goa
    Kynrem Falls305 metres (1,001 ft)East Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya
    Meenmutty Falls300 metres (980 ft)Wayanad district, Kerala
    Thalaiyar Falls297 metres (974 ft)Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu
    Barkana Falls259 metres (850 ft)Shimoga district, Karnataka
    Jog Falls253 metres (830 ft)Sagar, Karnataka
    Khandadhar Falls244 metres (801 ft)Sundargarh district, Odisha
    Vantawng Falls229 metres (751 ft)Serchhip district, Mizoram
    Penchalakona Falls219 metres (719 ft)Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh
    Kune Falls200 metres (660 ft)Lonavla, Maharashtra
    Soochipara Falls200 metres (660 ft)Wayanad district, Kerala
    Magod Falls198 metres (650 ft)Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka
    Hebbe Falls168 metres (551 ft)Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka
    Duduma Falls175 metres (574 ft)Koraput district, Odisha
    Joranda Falls157 metres (515 ft)Mayurbhanj district, Odisha
    Palani Falls150 metres (490 ft)Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh
    Lodh Falls143 metres (469 ft)Latehar district, Jharkhand
    Bishop Falls135 metres (443 ft)Shillong, Meghalaya
    Chachai Falls130 metres (430 ft)Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh
    Keoti Falls130 metres (430 ft)Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh
    Kalhatti Falls122 metres (400 ft)Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka
    Beadon Falls120 metres (390 ft)Shillong, Meghalaya
    Keppa Falls116 metres (381 ft)Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka
    Koosalli Falls116 metres (381 ft)Udupi, Karnataka
    Pandavgad Falls107 metres (351 ft)Thane, Maharashtra
    Rajat Prapat107 metres (351 ft)Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh
    Bundla Falls100 metres (330 ft)Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh
    Shivanasamudra Falls98 metres (322 ft)Mysore, Karnataka
    Agaya Gangai92 metres (302 ft)Tamil Nadu
    Lower Ghaghri Falls98 metres (322 ft)Latehar district, Jharkhand
    Hundru Falls98 metres (322 ft)Ranchi district, Jharkhand
    Sweet Falls98 metres (322 ft)Shillong, Meghalaya
    Gatha Falls91 metres (299 ft)Panna district, Madhya Pradesh
    Teerathgarh Falls91 metres (299 ft)Baster district, Chhattisgarh
    Kiliyur Falls91 metres (299 ft)Yercaud, Tamil Nadu
    Kedumari Falls91 metres (299 ft)Udupi district, Karnataka
    Muthyala Maduvu Falls91 metres (299 ft)Bangalore, Karnataka
    Palaruvi Falls91 metres (299 ft)Kollam district, Kerala
    Kuntala Falls45 metres (148 ft)Nirmal, Telangana

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