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SC directs all political parties to furnish receipts of donations received to EC

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered all political parties to submit in sealed-cover details of donations received by them through Electoral Bonds till May 15 to the Election Commission.

In an interim order, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked them to furnish names of donors, the amount received through Electoral Bonds along with their bank accounts to the poll panel by May 30.

It said the petition filed by Association for Democratic Reforms challenging validity of Electoral Bonds scheme will be heard in detail later.

 

The Centre had on Thursday defended before the Supreme Court donors’ anonymity under electoral bonds scheme, saying the new method political funding was a “policy decision” even as the Election Commission questioned it for lack of transparency.

Attorney General KK Venugopal had told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the purpose behind the electoral bonds was to eliminate use of black money in elections.

“So far, as the electoral bond scheme is concerned, it is the matter of policy decision of the government and no government can be faulted for taking policy decision,” Venugopal said. The court can scrutinise it after polls, he had added.

Venugopal had earlier told the Bench, “We have no policy of state funding of elections. Funds are received from supporters, affluent persons and companies. They all want their political party to win. If their party does not win then they apprehend some repercussions and hence secrecy or anonymity is required.”

Venugopal’s submissions were contested by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing EC, who had said secrecy in the electoral bonds scheme legalised anonymity.

“Anonymity must go. We want transparency. We want reforms. We cannot go one step forward and two steps backwards. We want free and fair polls,” Dwivedi had said.

He, however, had clarified that the EC was not against the scheme as such, but it had opposed anonymity in it.

ADR counsel Prashant Bhushan had termed it a “retrograde” step as it was against the concept of free and transparent elections. Electoral bonds may be the “kick backs” to the ruling political parties and referred to the replies of the poll panel underlining that the changes made in the law will have serious repercussions on the transparent funding of political parties, he had said.

The petitioner has questioned the validity of various amendments made through Finance Act 2017 and Finance Act 2016 in Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Representation of People Act, Reserve Bank of India Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations Act.


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Crime Branch questions former PDP minister Naeem Akhtar

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch has questioned PDP leader Naeem Akhtar over alleged irregularities committed during his tenure as public works minister in allotment of contracts for the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), officials said on Sunday.

The former minister has, however, denied any wrongdoing and said he has cooperated with police officials.

“I am sure that truth will prevail. I have done nothing wrong and all due processes were followed,” Akhtar told PTI in Srinagar.

 

The officials said Akhtar was questioned at his residence about giving out work at JKPCC to a specific set of contractors and making some appointments without following the due process.

The questioning revolved around JKPCC work, construction work at the Islamic University in south Kashmir and allotment of work for setting up the AIIMS in south Kashmir, they said.

It is alleged that the contracts were given to such people who had no experience in construction work and had floated companies barely a few days before the tendering process was initiated, the officials said.

The investigation was also into the air-conditioning work of the health department, they said.

“I have answered all the questions and clarified the matter. I am sure that the matter is sorted out. I have full faith in judiciary,” PDP leader Akhtar.

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Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies at 81

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NEW DELHI: Former Delhi Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit died at the age of 81 on Saturday. The veteran Congress leader was not keeping well from some time and died of a prolonged illness.

Former Delhi chief minister was on Friday admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in a critical state.

Three-time Delhi chief minister from Congress, Dikshit had cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and had to be immediately put on the ventilator, said Congress sources.

 
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Centre appoints new Governors in 6 states, Anandiben Patel transferred to UP

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New Delhi: The Centre Saturday appointed six new Governors in the states of  Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Nagaland and Tripura.

MP Governor and former Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel has been transferred as appointed the new as Governor of UP. Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon was also transferred and appointed as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Jagdeep Dhankhar was appointed as the new Governor of West Bengal, replacing Keshari Nath Tripathi. BJP member Ramesh Bais has been appointed as the Governor of Tripura, replacing Kaptan Singh Solanki.

 

BJP MLA Phagu Chauhan has been appointed as the Governor of Bihar while RN Ravi as Governor of Nagaland, replacing Padmanabha Acharya.

“The above appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices,” said a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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