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Patel, Priyanka episodes raise question mark on Congress’ functioning

While Ahmed Patel is left to fight ED’s action on his own, Priyanka gets party support on eviction notice.



Last week, two incidents rocked the Congress and the “First Family”, both. First, the questioning of Congress party’s treasurer Ahmed Patel by Enforcement Directorate (ED) at his New Delhi residence and second, eviction notice to party’s general secretary and interim president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with regard to a government bungalow allotted to her in Lutyens Delhi.

The Congress’ official stands in both the cases raised many eyebrows about internal functioning of the party. The party neither released any official statement nor was seen standing with the main crisis manager and close confidant of Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, as he was left on his own to fight both legally and politically against the ED’s action in connection with a moneylaundering case involving Sterling Biotech Ltd, a company promoted by the absconding Sandesara brothers.

On the contrary, when the Urban Development Ministry served a notice to Priyanka for vacating the Lutyens’ bungalow within a month, the Congress official spokespersons reacted within no time and accused the Narendra Modi government for “trickery and treachery” for its “manipulative attitude” in the name of “changed” threat perception. Twitter was flooded with statements and comments by almost every veteran and senior leader. All were vehemently critical of the Centre’s move in asking Priyanka to vacate a government bungalow which she occupied about 23 years ago.

It is worth mentioning that the party’s official spokesperson reacted to the ED’s action against Ahmed Patel after a couple of days only when the media asked for it repeatedly. Rahul Gandhi chose to keep silent in this case and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took several days to respond.

The probe agency questioned 70-year-old Patel for three days – 27 June, 30 June and 4July — in different sessions for a total of 27 hours at his residence since the latter refused to go to the ED office citing Covid-19 guidelines. At the end of the questioning by the ED, Patel himself had to face television crews waiting outside his official residence. Patel told journalists that it was a political vendetta and harassment against him and his family.

Only four senior leaders, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath, former Union Minister Kapil Sibal and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Singh Hooda, came to the rescue of Ahmed Patel.

On the other hand, the hue and cry made by almost every Congress leader on Priyanka’s bungalow issue has left several questions unanswered. If Priyanka would have vacated the house at the time of SPG’s withdrawal, it would add to the Congress’ old narrative of “sacrifices by Gandhis”, sources say. It is a laid-down procedure that Priyanka has lost the right to have Lutyens’ bungalow as neither has she any position in the government nor is she an elected public representative, sources add.

Moreover, if all is well in the party, any Congress MP could have offered his/her official house for Priyanka in central Delhi. Now the party leaders are saying that Priyanka will shift to Lucknow, while her close ones say that she will handle the politics of Uttar Pradesh from Delhi itself. She will only use the Lucknow house as a base for meeting with party workers.

This “internal drama” that unfolded in the last 10 days reflected badly on the party’s official set up consisting mostly of Rahul Gandhi loyalists.

If a leader of the stature of Ahmed Patel is abandoned like this, party sources say, it has raised several serious questions about the Congress’ present and future leadership. Senior Congress leaders are not reacting openly, but in private conversation, they admit that they are not happy with the internal handling of the party affairs. Rahul Gandhi’s strategy to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly on issues of national security has not been perceived as a wise move by several senior leaders.

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Working hard and keeping a positive mindset, Mr Pulin Vaidhya’s mantra to sail through the pandemic



Pulin Vaidhya

Quite recently, Mr. Pulin Vaidhya, Managing Director of Aztec Group, Fluids and Machinery Pvt Ltd joined NewsX for an exclusive interview. Mr Vaidhya is a first time entrepreneur and his company deals with the production and sales of printers all around India. Recognizing an increasing demand in the market for cost-friendly solutions in relation to CIJ products; the company sought to provide necessary remedies through their business.

Aztec as a company is a renowned manufacturer, trader, exporter as well as distributer of CIJ Printers, Fluids and other related services. The goods and services are used in variable data, coding and marketing systems as well as markings on final products. With a good financial position and an experienced R&D department, the company assures quality and increased shelf life.

Upon asked about the functioning of the company during the global pandemic the world is facing and whether they have opened services to customers, Mr Pulin gave a positive response that they have availed services to their customers without charging them during these difficult circumstances.

He also revealed that coronavirus has affected their business but the company is resilient and working tremendously with essential care keeping in mind the health precautions. Customers are in regular contact with the company’s employees through virtual platforms or telecommunication services. Moreover, the employees have been receiving internal trainings provided by the company to keep themselves updated and develop their soft as well as technical skills. Through working hard and keeping a positive mindset, the company has been sailing through the pandemic and has not lost a single customer associated with them.

When asked about the practice of being ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and motivating others to produce and use indigenous products, the Managing Director had a lot to say. Being a made in India company, Aztec aims to lay a major emphasis on their in-house manufacturing facilities. They have been researching on various countries’ manufacturing processes and have tried adapting their work accordingly while keeping in mind that India’s culture and style of working is unique from other countries.

Mr Pulin also raised an important point that the labour of our countries should not be only seen at a price value but their skills and education should be also taken into consideration. He claims that by encouraging labour, development of our country’s manufacturing sector will soon happen. He also says that in India, the cost of raw materials is high and the labour efficiency is at an all time low; and we should be working on that.

When asked if he has any expectations from the government, he states that the government sector has to work on manufacturing facilities in India. The government focuses more on businesses that lay emphasis on soft skills. Ultimately, the technological and manufacturing companies often get sidelined and seldom given any attention. He wishes that the government take essential measures for companies in the technological sector of India.

Upon asked to give his opinion of MSME sectors, he jokes that they are the middle class of the whole industry. In his opinion, he says that investors are more inclined to invest in start-ups as well as app-based companies. MSME sectors have a major problem in the capital investment and by only looking forward to software-based companies, they often forget about technical and manufacturing units.

When asked for his advice for people that want to be a part of manufacturing sector, he claims that there is a lot of potential of manufacturing, especially in India. There are many tool based and electronic companies flourishing in the nation. Yet, he sees a major gap in the demand and supply. He also confirms that while our country has a lot of goods available, people are still dependent on the neighbouring countries for their supply. If worked hard in achieving to develop a good company, these obstacles can be easily tackled, he advised.

Finally, we asked about what keeps him motivated during difficult times and his success mantra, he claims that by working hard and being dedicated to it with precise planning of everything, one can achieve a lot. He also shared that he uniquely believes that he finds it better to be at the second position rather than the first, as there is always room for more hard work and improvement.

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Centre agrees for CBI probe in Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case



The Central government has accepted Bihar government’s recommendation to initiate a CBI (Centra Bureau of Investigation) probe in actor Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The SC was hearing a plea filed by Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of her case registered in Patna to Mumbai.

Sushant’s unnatural death has opened a can of worms and the case is getting murkier day by day. Meanwhile, the SC also lashed out at the Mumbai police for forcibly quarantining a Bihar IPS officer who had gone to Mumbai to investigate Sushant’s case. “As of now, perhaps Mumbai police have registered a case of unnatural death. FIR in Patna has raised certain other issues also. This case has hogged too much media time and attention. For police personnel to be quarantined does not send a good message. Are you sending the right message? So many eyes are on the Bihar police and Mumbai police and the courts,” the SC said. Justice Hrishikesh Roy who was hearing the plea has asked the parties involved to file their response in three days. The SC has also ordered the Maharashtra government to inform the court about the investigations done by Mumbai Police into Rajput’s death.

Earlier, Sushant’s father had filed an FIR against actress Rhea Chakraborty and 5 other in Patna. In her plea filed in the SC, Rhea said that a close relative of the deceased actor was an ADG in Haryana police and there was a possibility of influencing the filing of an FIR in Patna and future proceedings. While defending herself, she said that she was in a year long relationship with Sushant and was herself in the state of trauma due to the incident. Appearing for the actress in the SC, senior advocate Shyam Divan requested the court to transfer investigation of the case from Patna to Mumbai and also requested to put a stay on any coercive action against Rhea Chakraborty.

The case has now turned into a battle between two states due to continuous tussle and mudslinging between the Mumbai police and the Bihar police. Defending Mumbai police, senior advocate Basant said,” “Somebody who has not even filed a complaint before the Mumbai Police is claiming they are not doing proper investigation. Mumbai Police has been thoroughly investigating. Bihar police has no right to sit in judgement of our investigation” To his reply, advocate Vikas Singh who was appearing for Sushant Singh’s father sought full cooperation for Patna Police in their probe.

Questions have been raised on Sushant’s girlfriend but Rhea Chakraborty has claimed that she was innocent, citing that she was questioned for hours by Mumbai Police and they haven’t attributed any culpable role to her so far. She said that she joined the proceedings in Mumbai and fully cooperated with the investigation, and called the case filed in Patna entirely misconceived and intended to harass her. However, the Supreme Court will hear the plea within a week.

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Monsoon mayhem in Mumbai: 4 killed, traffic hit for 4th day

Overnight heavy spells of rainfall inundated at least 137 spots all over Mumbai.



A person was electrocuted and three were killed after being struck by lightning as rain pounded Mumbai and many parts of Maharashtra for the fourth consecutive day, disrupting normal life and hitting air, road and rail traffic, officials said on Monday.

A 30-year-old man, Mohammed Ayub Kazi, was electrocuted inside his home in Shivajinagar, Govandi suburb in north-east Mumbai. He was rushed to the Rajawadi Hospital where he was declared dead.

Three others, including a woman, were killed and two injured after being struck by lightning as they took shelter from heavy rain in a shed in Solapur on Monday afternoon.

“The five victims were waiting for the rains to subside in a shed near the Mandrup village when suddenly lightning struck them. The three killed are Parvati M. Kore, 55, Chatursingh J. Rajpu, 41 and Sanket D. Chormule, 17. The other two have been rushed to the district hospital,” Mandrup police official Baburao Rathod told IANS.

Waterlogging is seen on street from the mirror of a barber shop after heavy rain in Mumbai on Wednesday. A

The India Meteorology Department (IMD) predicted heavy downpour for the day. “Widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls and isolated extremely heavy falls most likely to continue over Konkan and Goa (including Mumbai) till 6 August and over Madhya Maharashtra (ghat areas) till 5 August and reduce thereafter,” the IMD tweeted.

RPF Sandip Khiritkar rescues the passengers trapped in local train following the heavy rainfall, near Masjid Station, in Mumbai on Wednesday

The Met department has specially warned the Konkan region. “Konkan — very heavy to very heavy with isolated extremely heavy rains possible in next 24 hours. North Konkan the impact could be more, Thane Mumbai, Palghar. Parts of S Madhya Maharashtra and adjoining Marathwada region are likely to get very heavy falls, along with intense spells,” it said.

Overnight heavy spells of rain inundated at least 137 spots all over Mumbai, including Dadar, Sion, Matunga, Parel, Wadala, Mahim, Santacruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Dahisar and virtually halted all traffic movement, leading to huge traffic snarls since daybreak.

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Something fishy in Sushant Singh’s death, says Bihar DGP



Escalating the turf war between Mumbai and Bihar Police, Bihar Police DGP G. Pandey called out the former for their attempt to thwart the ongoing investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. He said that Mumbai Police behaved in the “most unprofessional way” and “neither did they share any documents with us nor did they allow us to work there. We could conduct investigations just for three days but whatever we have gathered is enough,” adding that there was “something fishy” going on with this investigation.

He has also hinted at some startling findings by the Bihar team which had been revealed by the police after a case was registered at the Rajeev Nagar police station by the father of Sushant Singh Rajput, K.K. Singh. The DGP said that the Mumbai police told it categorically that they won’t allow the Bihar police to investigate so “when one of our IPS officers went to Mumbai for investigation, he was denied a stay in the IPS mess and was treated like a prisoner and quarantined”. He also told that the IG Patna also wrote a letter to BMC to protest this but the BMC replied that the IPS officer Vinay Tiwari will have to spend 14 days in quarantine and cannot be allowed to leave before that period. In the latest development to the case a FIR was registered at Rajeev Nagar police station in Patna, and the DGP hinted at a possible collusion between the actor and Mumbai Police. He also said that she is absconding and Bihar Police is on a lookout for her. Till date the Bihar police team has questioned about 10 people in the case and the detailed findings of the investigations are likely to be handed over to the CBI once the ace investigating agency takes up the case. The DGP of Bihar himself without disclosing any further details indicated that something fishy has been there in the case, probably hinting to the fact that the Bihar Police may have tumbled across some vital evidence.

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Won’t tolerate political interference in spurious liquor case: Punjab CM



Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said that he would not tolerate any political interference in the hooch tragedy case, and directed the DGP to book those directly involved in the case, under section 302 of IPC, for murder.

Promising justice for the victims of the hooch case, which he termed as the biggest tragedy of recent times, the Chief Minister also mooted enhancement of punishment for spurious/illicit liquor manufacturing and smuggling under the Excise Act, to ensure those repeat offenders remain behind the bars and are not able to come out easily to indulge again in the crime.

As several ministers agreed, during a Cabinet meeting to the suggestion of Advocate General Atul Nanda that a strict law like Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA) was needed to combat organised crime like illicit liquor smuggling, the Chief Minister asked the Sub-Committee, to examine the provisions of the proposed law, to finalise and submit its report at the earliest.

He agreed with Punjab Cooperation and Jails Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and other ministers that PCOCA could help control hardcore criminals and act as a deterrent to gangsters, who continue to deal in organised crime even from prison, and had close connections with terrorists too. Asserting that he wanted “to see an end to this whole business of spurious and illicit/smuggled liquor”, the Chief Minister directed the concerned officials to be extremely strict in dealing with the criminals, whether men or women.

Reiterating his government’s zero-tolerance policy to illicit/ spurious liquor and drugs, he asked the police to coordinate closely with the Excise and other concerned departments to wipe this menace out of Punjab once and for all.

Pointing out that the victims were the poorest of the poor, Captain Amarinder set a 10-day deadline for the concerned DCs and police officers to identify and process cases to provide targeted additional relief for their families.

The Chief Minister has already announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia compensation to the families of each of the victims of the tragedy, in which the death toll currently stands at 112, with several more under treatment, which is being provided free in hospitals.

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Hooch tragedy: Punjab BJP demands CBI investigation



CHANDIGARH: The Punjab unit of the BJP demanded a CBI investigation into the illicit liquor tragedy, which has claimed 112 lives so far. The BJP Punjab unit has asked the Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Krishna Reddy on Wednesday in a virtual conference.

 According to an official release from the party, BJP state president Ashwani Sharma demanded a CBI inquiry adding that the mammoth tragedy was unprecedented. Union MoS G. Krishna Reddy said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be apprised of the whole situation in Punjab and action will be taken accordingly.

 “Sadly the system is so corrupt and well entrenched in the state that we saw 112 people losing their lives to spurious liquor,” said Ashwani Sharma, BJP Punjab president. The state president demanded that the CBI should arrive at a logical conclusion so that such tragedies do not happen in the future.

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