Vinod Adani Steps Down from 3 Firms Linked to Adani’s Australian Coal Mine; Gujarat HC Judge Hearing Rahul’s Appeal Recuses Herself
Govt says FIR on BJP MP needs enquiry first, Badal passes away, more Indians crossing into UK on risky boats, Aamir Khan joins North Korean style 'national conclave' on Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia, Tanweer Alam and Pratik Kanjilal | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Vinay Pandey
Snapshot of the day
April 26, 2023
Vinod Adani, the powerful elder brother of Gautam Adani whose role was also questioned by US short-seller Hindenburg, may be far more important in shoring up Adani’s mining project in Australia than has been known so far. He resigned from three key companies days before the Indian Supreme Court set up a committee to look into the Hindenburg allegations, reports Bloomberg.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta requested the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Delhi police be allowed to hold a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment against BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, before registering an FIR. A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had asked the Delhi police to explain why they had not registered an FIR. The CJI told Mehta on Wednesday that the latter could present to the court on Friday the material which justifies a preliminary enquiry before FIR in this case.
“Normally, I am averse to the court looking at any material, without showing it to the other side, but in this case, we will examine whether there is really any merit in what you are requesting,” the CJI said. Top wrestlers of the country – including Olympic, Commonwealth and world championship medallists – have been protesting at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against the Delhi police’s refusal to register an FIR against the MP despite serious allegations against him of sexual harassment, including that of a minor. They first protested at the same venue in January. Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia told The Wire that the complaint had been lying unattended for three months. Former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik joined the wrestlers’ protest on Wednesday.
A Gujarat high court judge on Wednesday recused herself from hearing the appeal petition of Rahul Gandhi seeking a stay on his conviction in the Modi-name criminal defamation case. The Congress leader’s lawyer mentioned the case before Justice Gita Gopi, seeking an urgent hearing. The government pleader opposed it, to which Gandhi’s lawyer said it was a private matter and the government should have nothing to do with it. After some time, Justice Gopi recused herself and referred the matter to the chief justice of the high court for assigning it to a different bench. No reason was stated.
At least 10 security personnel and a civilian were killed in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada in a Maoist attack on Wednesday afternoon. The slain security personnel were from the District Reserve Guard, a state force created to carry out anti-Naxalite operations. Confirming the incident, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel told reporters: “This fight is in its last stage. Naxals won’t be spared.”
Parkash Singh Badal, who died on Tuesday at the age of 96, had a 75-year-long political career. He started as the sarpanch of his native village, Badal, and went on to become the chief minister of Punjab five times. At a time when the political middle ground in Punjab has been shrinking, the state has lost a leader who embodied this middle ground for decades, writes Aditya Menon. Prime Minister Modi visited Chandigarh on Wednesday to pay his last respects to Badal, who as an ally of the BJP until the government rammed through its controversial farm laws two years ago.
On Day 5 of the same-sex marriage hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, solicitor general Mehta began his submission for the Centre, saying religions have always recognised only heterosexual marriages. “My respectful submission is that the only constitutional option before the court is to leave it to the Parliament,” he added. He went on to remark that the right to marry does not include the right to compel Parliament to change the definition of marriage. Earlier, Chief Justice Chandrachud observed that the elitism argument of the Centre is “just prejudice and has no bearing on how the Court will decide the case”.
Indicating that there will likely be no bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, foreign minister S Jaishankar said: “It is very difficult for us to engage with a neighbour who practises cross-border terrorism against us.” Pakistani foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who will be in India for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers in Goa on May 4 and 5, too, said a few days ago that his visit should not be seen in terms of bilateral ties. At a joint press briefing with Panama’s foreign minister in Panama City, Jaishankar said India continues to hope to have good relations with Pakistan “one day”. He also visited a Hindu temple in Panama City.
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Indians have overtaken Albanians to become the second-largest group of migrants crossing into the UK through the English Channel on risky small boats, according to the UK Home Office. Afghans, fleeing from the Taliban, are the largest such group. Visa-free travel to Serbia appears to have encouraged small boat journeys, with smugglers now charging less than £3,500.
The California state senate judiciary committee has unanimously decided to forward to the senate a bill to ban caste discrimination in the US state. On Tuesday, the committee members unanimously voted “yes” to Senate Bill SB 403 after Senator Aisha Wahab – California’s first Muslim and Afghan Senator – introduced it. The move by the senate committee comes after weeks of advocacy by caste equity civil rights leaders from Equality Labs, the California Coalition for Caste Equity and Aisha Wahab, among others, according to a press release issued by Equity Labs.
Singapore on Wednesday executed an Indian-origin man convicted of drug trafficking, a representative for his family said, despite pleas from his relatives and activists for clemency. Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had been convicted for abetting the trafficking in 2013 of more than 1kg of cannabis, double the threshold for the death penalty in the city-state, which is known for its tough laws on narcotics.
Twitter will not be publishing a formal transparency report for the year 2022, the social media platform announced on its blog on Tuesday. It is not clear if the company has also chosen to stop publishing routine disclosures of copyright and government takedown requests on the Lumen Database – Twitter doesn’t appear to have disclosed any Indian takedown requests since April 9, and even copyright request disclosures globally haven’t been forthcoming since April 15. The platform hasn’t published a detailed breakdown of government demands for information or takedowns since its takeover by Elon Musk.
Anand Mohan Singh, a gangster turned politician who was serving life imprisonment for the murder of a young Dalit IAS officer in 1994, will soon walk free from a Bihar jail after the state government amended the remission rules to include the offence for which he was imprisoned: murdering a public servant. A former MP and leader of the Bihar People’s Party, Singh is an influential Rajput leader, who could affect poll outcomes even from jail. Both the ruling JD(U) and RJD seem keen to include him in the Mahagathbandhan.
According to the Indian Express, the remission has political appeasement and injustice written all over. The Central IAS Association has conveyed dismay at the decision of the Bihar government to release Singh. Such dilution leads to impunity, the IAS body said in a communique to the Bihar govt on Tuesday.
The “Basic Structure” doctrine, which restricts the power of Parliament to alter the fundamental features of the Constitution, completed 50 years this week. On this occasion, veteran jurist Fali Nariman expresses confidence that the doctrine, which is now “cemented” in the Constitution, is here to stay. In an interview with the Indian Express, Nariman, 94, says that even if tested again, the Supreme Court will defend the Basic Structure doctrine.
A mere 13% of MPs attended special briefing sessions organised by the Lok Sabha secretariat to help lawmakers understand various aspects of forthcoming bills, according to data reviewed by the Hindustan Times. Only 101 out of 778 lawmakers attended the 19 briefing sessions by experts that the secretariat organised in 2022 and till the conclusion of the budget session this year. A majority of those who attended were first-time MPs.
Days after being evacuated to safety in the UK, more than 100 Nepali guards who risked their lives to defend British embassy personnel in Afghanistan before the Taliban regained power were secretly sent back to Nepal against their will, reports the Guardian. During the chaotic withdrawal from the Afghan capital by western nations in August 2021, as triumphant Taliban forces moved in, hundreds of Nepali and fewer Indian citizens who had been defending important institutions in Kabul were flown to the UK aboard a Royal Air Force aircraft.
In an editorial titled “India’s democratic regression”, Le Monde writes: “Attempts to suppress the media, harassment of opponents and minorities, manipulation of the justice system, educational revisionism: Modi’s record speaks for itself. This makes it all the more regrettable that countries that claim to defend democratic values prefer to remain silent, so as not to upset a regime that is asserting itself in the new global geopolitical order.”
Yesterday we reported how community radio stations were being ‘advised’ to promote Modi’s monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio broadcast. Today, a North Korean style ‘seminar’ was held in Delhi to hail the prime minister’s communication skills and among those presssganged was Bollywood actor Aamir Khan.
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