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Modi a seasonal bird, afraid of me: Mamata

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Jalpaiguri/Alipurduar (West Bengal) : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “seasonal bird” for coming to north Bengal only ahead of elections, and dismissed his claim that she was petrified, saying it was he who was scared of her.


“Babus of Delhi set fire in the hills and we defused it. You (Modi) had not come to Darjeeling during the days of unrest. Where were the BJP leaders when there were disturbances in the hills?” Banerjee said in a strongly-worded speech at a rally at Churabhandar in Jalpaiguri district, hours after Modi spoke at an election meeting in Cooch Behar.


Addressing a rally later in the day at Falakata in Alipurduar district, she said BJP leaders “are seasonal birds who come here only during elections and run away after polls” while Trinamool Congress leaders and activists have been with the people 365 days a year

 


For the major part of 2017, the hills in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong witnessed violence and political turmoil over the revived demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be curved out of the northern West Bengal hills.


The entire region came to a standstill for 104 days following the longest-ever shutdown called by the pro-Gorkhaland outfits.


Responding to Modi’s remarks that she was petrified at fearing defeat, Banerjee said: “They are saying Didi and Trinamool Congress are scared. I am not scared of any dacoit like you and it is not so easy to frighten Didi. Didi was beaten up from head to toe and I have injuries all over my body. I had fought in front of bullets and guns.


“When rest of India remained silent (during the note ban and the NRC), we raised our voice. That is why Modi babu is afraid of us and he knows he will be defeated,” she said.


In Churabhandar, Banerjee also asked why the people of Bengal would vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as “Modi has done nothing for Bengal” and “has not even cleared the proposal for changing the name of the state to Bangla”.


She attacked the BJP for nominating “tainted” candidates such as John Barla from Alipurduar, whom she accused of indulging in “violence and efforts to create division between hills and plains”.


Banerjee also alleged that the saffron party was offering cash to the youth and the people so that they come and join its meetings and rallies.


“They are threatening people and fighting the elections with money power,” she said.


Responding to the Prime Minister describing the Trinamool Congress as “Saradha-Narada” party, Banerjee said: “You had linked the Trinamool with the Saradha chit fund scam in 2014 and with the Narada sting case in 2016. But during today’s rally in Cooch Behar, you shared the stage with persons who were accused in both the cases and are now controlling your meetings.”


“Sarada-Narada-Hawala leaders have now become BJP’s leaders,” she said at Falakata.


Incidentally, BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had jumped ship from the Trinamool to the BJP and was questioned by the central investigation agencies in these cases, was present at Modi’s rally in Cooch Behar earlier in the day.


Amid the controversy over removing senior police officers in the state by the Election Commission, Banerjee claimed that the saffron party will not win the Lok Sabha elections by transferring officers.


“Why the Cabinet Secretary and your Secretary won’t be removed ahead of the elections? There were many allegations against you (Modi),” she said.
Taunting Modi for calling himself a “chowkidar” (watchman), Banerjee wondered whether the Prime Minister knew that many “chowkidars” at the ATMs do not even get their salary regularly.


“We want real chowkidar, not the fraud. I will say chowkidar jhoota hain. Chowkidar lootera hain. Chowkidar did note-ban and is corrupt,” she said at the Falakata rally .

ontroversy over removing senior police officers in the state by the Election Commission, Banerjee claimed that the saffron party will not win the Lok Sabha elections by transferring officers.


“Why the Cabinet Secretary and your Secretary won’t be removed ahead of the elections? There were many allegations against you (Modi),” she said.


Taunting Modi for calling himself a “chowkidar” (watchman), Banerjee wondered whether the Prime Minister knew that many “chowkidars” at the ATMs do not even get their salary regularly.


“We want real chowkidar, not the fraud. I will say chowkidar jhoota hain. Chowkidar lootera hain. Chowkidar did note-ban and is corrupt,” she said at the Falakata rally .


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UK court set to hear Nirav Modi’s new bail application today

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London: A UK court is set to hear a new bail application on Wednesday filed by fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is fighting extradition to India on charges of nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.

The 48-year-old is expected to be produced before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London to make another attempt at being let out on bail until his trial in May next year.

He has been in custody at Wandsworth prison in south-west London, one of England’s most overcrowded prisons, since his arrest in March. “The bail application is at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday November 6. The grounds cannot be made public until the hearing,” said a spokesperson for the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which represents the Indian government in the extradition proceedings in court. Modi has reportedly claimed anxiety and depression in his latest application, with earlier bail applications at the court being rejected by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, and then also on appeal at the High Court in London, as he was deemed a flight risk.

 

His legal team has previously described their client’s experience in prison as “damaging” and offered stringent electronic tag and other conditions akin to house arrest at his posh Centrepoint apartment in the West End of London in an attempt to persuade the judge to grant bail.

“His experience in custody has been vivid and damaging…he is willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court because Wandsworth is unliveable and makes the effective preparation of his case virtually impossible,” his barrister Clare Montgomery had told Judge Arbuthnot earlier in the year. They had also doubled the initial bail bond offer of 1 million pounds to 2 million pounds in an attempt to sway the court. However, Arbuthnot had concluded that Modi was wanted in connection with a “large fraud” and the doubling of security was “not sufficient to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender”.

In June, Modi’s legal team took his appeal against that ruling to the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where a judge was told about the diamond merchant’s troubled state of mind in “confidential” documents. “The circumstances he has had to endure at Wandsworth have been personally difficult and the confidential exhibits reflect the experience that has marked him deeply. The reality is that he is not the cold-blooded hardened criminal as claimed by the government of India but a jewellery designer from a long line of diamond dealers, and regarded as being honest, careful and reliable,” Montgomery told the High Court, adding that a number of individuals were willing to offer sureties and substantial sums to back up the claim that Modi is not a man who plans to run.

But in her judgment, Justice Ingrid Simler concurred with the Chief Magistrate that there were “substantial grounds” to believe that Modi would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to “abscond”. After considering all the material “carefully”, the judge said she found strong evidence to suggest there had been interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence in the case and concluded it could recur if he was let out of prison.

There are no strict limits on the number of times Modi can apply for bail, but he would have to produce substantially modified grounds in a new application. He has meanwhile continued to appear via videolink before the magistrates’ court in London, appearing in a standard prison-issued grey tracksuit and mostly freshly shaved and upbeat. His next routine 28-day appearance required under UK law is listed for November 11, a date that still remains on the court’s lists.

At a hearing last month, Judge Nina Tempia had confirmed that his extradition trial is scheduled between May 11 and 15 next year, with the case management hearings set to begin from February next year. Modi has been behind bars at Wandsworth prison since his arrest on March 19 on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on charges brought by the Indian government.

During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Modi was the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.

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Forces capable of giving befitting reply to those who cast evil eye on us: Rajnath

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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said India has never been the aggressor but its armed forces are capable of giving a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on it.

The Navy has maintained vigilance to ensure that 26/11 is not repeated, Singh added while addressing the media at the Naval Commanders Conference. India, he said, has never been “offensive”.

“It’s character is such that it has not attacked any country nor conquered even an inch of land belonging to another nation. But the armed forces have the capability and strength to give a befitting reply to anyone who casts an evil eye on us,” the minister said.

 

He was responding to a query on Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed reported statement that his country would retaliate against India with a nuclear attack for targeting Pakistani military posts in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangadhar sector.

According to Indian Army officials, there was unprovoked firing by Pakistan in the sector on the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday. On Sunday, the Indian Army retaliated by launching heavy artillery attacks, targeting at least four terror camps and several Pakistani military positions opposite the Tangadhar sector along the Line of Control, officials said. Discussing the Indian

Navy, the defence minister said he was confident that India’s seas are safe in the hands of the force.

“Our Indian Navy’s resolve is that 26/11 will not be repeated under any circumstances and it has ensured tight vigil,” he said, referring to the November 2008 terror siege of Mumbai. The Indian

Navy is marching towards indigenisation and its ships have a high percentage of indigenous equipment, Singh added. The minister also said all three services have placed emphasis on the need to reduce defence imports.

“All the three forces are also working to pick up niche technologies to meet the challenges,” he said. The three-day second edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference began here on Tuesday. The conference is the apex level biannual event for interaction between Naval commanders for the deliberation and formulation of important policy decisions.

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Next war with indigenised weapons: Army chief

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New Delhi, Oct 15: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said the Defence Research and Development Organisation has made strides in ensuring that requirement of the country’s defence services are met through home-grown solutions, adding that the next war will be fought and won through indigenised weapons systems and equipment.

Speaking at the 41st DRDO Directors Conference, Rawat said: “The DRDO has made strides in ensuring that requirements of the services are met through home-grown solutions. We are confident that we will fight and win the next war through indigenised weapons systems and equipment.”

With a network of 52 laboratories, the government agency DRDO is charged with the military’s research and development covering various fields like aeronautics, land combat engineering, armaments, electronics, missiles, and naval systems.

 

The Army chief said that the Defence industry of India is a budding industry and the time has now come to look at the development of systems for future warfare and start preparing for “non-contact warfare.”

Rawat asserted that along with artificial intelligence, the future lies in the development of cyber, space technology, laser, electronic warfare and robotics.

“We are looking at systems for future warfare. We have to start looking at development of cyber, space, laser, electronic and robotic technologies and artificial intelligence,” he said.

The Army chief said that if the timeline between the design development and production of any weapon system of equipment is to be reduced then it would be better to embed the service officers along with Research and Development.

Calling for joint research by Army officials and DRDO, he said: “In a joint project, the success and failures will become a joint responsibility and we will not start pointing fingers at each other.”

On the occasion, Rawat recalled APJ Abdul Kalam on his birth anniversary stating that the late President had set benchmarks and standards for the Defence Research and Development (R and D) community, which is a challenge for scientists who are now emerging.

“I am quite sure the scientists will live up to those expectations,” he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were also present at the event. (IANS)

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