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Thousands pay tributes to Karunanidhi; Madras HC allows burial at Marina

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Chennai:The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed the burial of DMK chief M Karunanidhi on the Marina Beach.
A division bench of the court comprising Acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and S S Sundar passed the order on a petition filed by the DMK at a special hearing.
Tamil Nadu’s main opposition party had moved the court last night after the AIADMK government rejected its request for allowing the burial of Karunanidhi on the famed Marina sands alongside his mentor and former chief minister C N Annadurai.
Earlier, soon after the court resumed the hearing on the DMK’s plea, which was adjourned in the wee hours today, all five petitions challenging former chief minister late Jayalalithaa’s burial at the Marina on different grounds were dismissed as withdrawn.
These petitions had been cited by the government for denying permission to bury the DMK stalwart on the beach, which also has memorials to former chief ministers M G Ramachandran and his protegee Jayalalithaa.
Defending its decision the state government said the previous DMK government headed by Karunanidhi had turned down a plea for burying late chief minister M G Ramachandran’s wife Janaki on ground she was not a sitting CM.
Meanwhile, a large number of people have gathered outside the Rajaji Hall here to pay their last respects to DMK President M Karunanidhi, who died on Tuesday evening due to age related ailments.
The mortal remains of Karunanidhi was brought to Rajaji Hall on early Wednesday after it was taken to his homes at Gopalapuram here and at CIT Colony for relatives and leaders to pay their last respects to the departed leader.
A Chief Minister for five times, the 94-year old veteran politician Karunanidhi’s body is covered with National Flag.
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth paid his respects to Karunanidhi and consoled the family members of the DMK leader.
Leaders of DMK party have assembled at Rajaji Hall.


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Train driver is lying, say eyewitnesses; slam statements

Amritsar tragedy

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AMRITSAR: Several eye-witnesses have slammed the locomotive driver’s statement in the Amritsar train incident that mowed down 61 onlookers and injured over 50 people participating in the Dusshera revelries .

“I was at the spot. Leave alone stopping, the train did not even slow down. It seemed as if the driver wanted to mow us down. The train passed us in a matter of seconds. Is it logically possible for us to pelt stones at the train when so many people were dead and injured around us? Is it possible for us to get our bearings after such an incident and pelt stones at a speeding train? The driver is lying,” Shailender Singh Shally, Councillor, Ward Number 46, Amritsar, said.

The clean-up operation, which resumed, continued at the site – on Monday morning.

Locals, who have been protesting against the accident, claimed that the people celebrating Dussehra at the accident spot had pelted stones at the train.

“He did not even slow down, let alone almost stopping. The train was in such speed that the accident happened in split seconds. There are hundreds of videos that show how fast the train went. There was no chance of us reacting, leave alone pelt stones. All we could hear around us was people screaming and crying,” Paramjeet Singh, another onlooker, said.

Arvind Kumar, the driver of the train which crushed 61 people to death, said that he knew that people were killed but had to keep driving for the safety of the passengers. In his statement, the driver said that he applied the emergency brakes while continuously honking yet some people came under the train.

“I saw a crowd of people around the track. I immediately applied emergency brakes while continuously blowing the horn. Still some people came under it. The train was about to stop when people started pelting stones, so I started the train for the safety of the passengers,” the train driver said.

Speaking on the incident, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, said, “I believe that the statement of Amritsar Police Commissioner must be an authorised statement of Punjab government. He said that we (Railways) didn’t give any permission regarding the event.”

The maximum speed of the train, which was a Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) is 96 kmph, once brakes are applied, this kind of train stops completely in about 300 metres if empty, and in 600 metres if full, officials said. The last recorded speed of the train, according to Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozpur) Vivek Kumar, was 68 kmph, reported PTI.

“As the train passed, I heard people screaming and shouting. There was no stone pelting. I don’t understand why the driver would make up such a thing. Will people who are seeing their loved ones lying in pools of blood leave them and pick up stones to hit the train?

“Anyway, the speed of the train was such that even if people wanted to pelt stones, by the time they collected them, the train would have disappeared from sight. He is lying,” Ajay Goenka, who was present at the spot, said.

Local police too corroborated the claims of the eyewitnesses and said that not just the train was travelling at a high speed, there were no reports of stone pelting at the site of the incident on October 19.

After more than 40 hours on Sunday of the Amritsar train accident in Punjab, the train services resumed on Sunday after the Punjab police removed protesters from the railway tracks.

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Call records, WhatsApp messages: How CBI built case against its Special Director Asthana

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New Delhi: In a major development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked its second-in-command Special Director Rakesh Asthana for allegedly accepting bribes .

But building the case against Asthana was not easy.

The CBI started the probe following the arrest of a Dubai-based middleman Manoj Prasad on October 16, 2018.

The investigative agency intercepted nine phone calls immediately after middleman Manoj Prasad was held in the alleged bribery case against Asthana, to allege that there was panic after the middleman’s brother, Somesh Prasad got “wind” of the arrest, officials said Sunday.

Call data analysis shows that the phone calls were allegedly exchanged between Asthana and a senior officer of another intelligence agency, who wanted to confirm the details of the middleman’s arrest.

Prasad reportedly came to know his brother’s arrest on October 16 and immediately called his contact, the senior officer of the intelligence agency on the same day. A call was then made by the officer to Somesh within a minute, claims CBI.

Next day, the intelligence agency officer allegedly called Asthana to purportedly know the situation.

Three more calls were exchanged between the two, the agency claimed.

The calls were also exchanged between the senior officer and the wife of middleman Prasad among others, an officer claimed.

The sources claimed that call data records show that four calls were exchanged between Asthana and the senior officer on October 17, 2018, a day after the arrest.

In addition to the call exchanges, CBI is also depending heavily on the Whatsapp messages recovered from Manoj Prasad’s phone.

The CBI registered the case on the basis of claims made by businessman Sathish Sana, probed by him in a separate case, that he was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 crore by Manoj Prasad, an investment banker based in Dubai to get relief from repeated summons and a clean chit in the case, they said.

Satish also claimed that he was being harassed by the CBI officers to pay more.

Interestingly, Asthana, the second-in-command in the agency, had intimated the cabinet secretary nearly two months ago that Sana had allegedly paid a bribe of Rs 2 crore to CBI Chief Alok Verma to get relief in the case.
The CBI is now defending Director Verma, terming the charges as “false and malicious”.

In his letters to the Cabinet Secretary and Central Vigilance Commission, Asthana had written about 10 cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against the CBI Director Alok Verma, levelling serious corruption charges in some of them.

One of the case pertained to Sathish Sana, a businessman facing probe in a corruption case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi in which Asthana had alleged on August 24 that Sana paid Rs two crore to Verma to get relief in the case.

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Rahul takes dig at PM Modi-Anil Ambani, tweets iconic ‘Sholay’ song

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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi used a popular song from Bollywood blockbuster ‘Sholay’ to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “proximity” to industrialist Anil Ambani.

Rahul Gandhi used the hit song, “Ye dosti hum nahin todenge”, from the film, using the pictures of PM Modi and Ambani, whose company, according to the Congress chief, had received the offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore in the Rafale deal.

The 17-second video uploaded by Rahul Gandhi on Twitter only shows the smiling faces of PM Modi and Ambani with the song playing in the background.

Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the prime minister over alleged corruption and favouritism in the Rafale fighter jet deal with a French firm.

According to the Congress chief, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has renegotiated the deal by leaving out the State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which was set to get the offset contract as per the deal negotiated by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

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