SC Grants Zubair Interim Bail in UP Case, But He Won't Walk Free; Maharashtra Crisis a Reminder that Urban Local Bodies Need Azadi
Toxic nonylphenol found in drinking water across India, China miffed by Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration, one-third of police stations without CCTVs, Neha Singh Rathore strikes again
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
July 8, 2022
The Supreme Court has granted interim bail of five days to fact-checker Mohammed Zubair, protecting him from being taken into custody by the UP Police on condition that he does not tweet or leave the jurisdiction of the Delhi Magistrate. Zubair must get his interim bail in the Sitapur matter extended to regular bail in the Supreme Court next week and then secure bail in the earlier case filed by the Delhi Police in order to be free. He is now in custody en route to Bengaluru as the Sitapur police wants his phone and computer. Oddly enough, Delhi Police already took him there last week and seized whatever devices he had.
Zubair’s case brings into focus privacy and police access to devices. The big question is whether persons accused — especially journalists — can cite the right to privacy and the Puttaswamy judgement to contest access to their devices.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court stayed an order of the Central Information Commission, in response to an RTI query, to the income tax authorities to reveal details of tax exemption enjoyed by the PM Cares Fund. This is because the status of the fund as a ‘public authority’ is sub judice at the court. The fund is a private trust headed by the PM and run out of the PMO.
The Centre has imposed restrictions from July 12 on the export of key wheat products including flour, wholemeal atta and semolina, after traders were found exporting these to bypass the May 13 ban on private exports of grain, according to a Directorate General of Foreign Trade notification. The country had hoped to export large quantities of wheat as the government forecast a record output of 111 million tonnes in February. A heatwave from mid-March shrivelled the winter crop, slashing production estimates by at least 5%. The new policy states that the export of wheat flour and related products remains “free” but “subject to approval” of an inter-ministerial panel.
ONGC hopes that Russia’s takeover of the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project will not impact its stake in the asset as New Delhi has strong ties with Moscow, its chairperson said yesterday. ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm, has a 20% stake in the project.
The authorities in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district clamped Section 144 in the border town of Moreh after violence on Wednesday at a protest against the killing of two Tamils in Myanmar. Protesters crossed the porous international border and torched a vacant sentry post of the Myanmar Army and pelted Myanmar homes with stones. The Myanmar police retaliated by pelting stones. P Mohan (28) and M Iyanar (35) were shot dead at Tamu, 4 km from Moreh, on Tuesday afternoon. They had gone to the Myanmar town for the birthday party of a friend. They were born and brought up in Moreh, where nearly 3,000 Tamils live. The community had migrated from Yangon in Myanmar in the 1960s. Myanmar is yet to hand over their bodies to Indian authorities.
The rationalist Govind Pansare’s family says there’s no progress in the inquiry into his assassination in 2015. The CPI leader’s daughter and daughter-in-law have sought directions from the Bombay High Court to shift the inquiry from the CID to the Anti-Terrorism Squad.
“The records on which Gandhi’s Assassin is based include, among others, Godse’s interrogation statement as well as documents seized from the Nagpur headquarters of the RSS after Gandhi’s assassination. These are public records kept in government archives, and are categorical in their assertion that Godse lied to a court when he said he had left the RSS upon joining the Hindu Mahasabha. These records, therefore, constitute not circumstantial evidence but direct evidence. It is incumbent on those who claim that Godse left the RSS to provide any solid evidence for it, and in Gandhi’s Assassin, I show the scanty fabrications used to make this claim — they all rely on the words of RSS member or sympathizers, they all date from after the assassination and none of them provide any actual evidence in their support,” Dhirendra K Jha sets the record right once again on the claim made by Vinay Sitapati in his book and a recent podcast with Amit Varma.
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Assam is ravaged by deadly floods ― among the worst ever in the region ― which have affected millions and forced thousands into relief camps. The BBC has photos from the flood-hit area of Silchar city, where thousands struggled to access food, medicines and drinking water as flooded streets made travel almost impossible.
Covid-19 is far from over. WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan yesterday spoke on the sub-variant BA.2.75. Today, Dr NK Arora, chair of the Indian National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, said that BA.2.75 and other Omicron sub-variants need to be monitored as they can trigger reinfections. India’s booster jab rate is among the world’s lowest, at just 32 per 1,000, “far behind its developing country peers”, including neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan.
‘Darr, Danger, Death: The Stakes of Being a Journalist in India’: the report by the Committee to Protect Journalists says that seven journalists are languishing in Indian jails, four charged under UAPA. Watch this Quint film.
Akasa Air, backed by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has been deemed airworthy and will begin commercial operations this month. It will compete for business with market leader IndiGo and Air India, which is recruiting.
India may be a poor country but one Indian is not. Mukesh Ambani’s million-dollar motorcade has the most expensive car in India, along with over 70 luxury rides including Bentleys and Rolls-Royces in his ‘Jio Garage’. His Antilia mansion’s garage also features a Bentley Bentayga and a Mulsanne, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Land Rover Range Rover, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and Porsche Cayenne. The second-richest man in Asia after Gautam Adani, his extravagant fleet includes four Mercedes-AMG G63s or G-Wagons – just for his security detail.
The first Indian Barbie is about to change the world, says Vogue. Sounds like a threat.