Goa: Supreme Court scraps all mining leases for iron ore, no operation post March 15

Source: NDTV
The SC found that the second renewals were illegally granted by the State government
The Supreme Court cancelled the renewal of 88 mining leases given in Goa in 2015. The Court has ordered that licenses must be granted anew through a fresh process of bidding. These renewals were in fact done for the second time and were supposed to be valid until March 15th.
The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur stated the reason behind the cancellation was a violation of the legislature. A public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed by the Goa Foundation in 2015 that raised questions on the renewal of the leases.
The Court also asked that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up to determine the money that had been earned by the companies since the renewal of the licenses. Prashant Bhushan, who was representing the plaintiff said that the state policy was not in alliance with the apex court’s policy on optimum usage of natural resources.
The state government should have ideally held a fresh bidding as opposed to renewing the licenses a second time. “The second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State of Goa was unduly hasty, without taking all the relevant material into consideration and ignoring available relevant information and therefore not in the interests of mineral development,” it stated.

Four soldiers killed and one injured in Pakistani shelling in Rajouri

An Army Captain and three soldiers were killed while two others were injured in shelling by Pakistani troops across the line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajouri district on Sunday.

According to a senior official, heavy shelling took place along the line of control in Poonch and Rajouri district after the Pakistani troops started unprovoked firing. The officer added that the Indian army retaliated strongly.

Those killed have been identified as Captain Kapil Kundu, Rifleman Ram Avtar, Rifleman Subham Singh, and Havaldar Roshan Lal. The injured soldier, Nilak Iqbal Ahmed is undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Shahid Iqbal Choudary, the Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri has ordered closure of 84 schools that are near the border area in Rajaouri for the next three days. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said that people have been already safely evacuated by the administration.

This is the second instance in last three days where Pakistani Army has targeted Poonch Using automatic weapons and mortars.

Ceasefire violations are high this year.  According to the army forces, January alone saw over 130 instances of ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops. There were 860 instances of ceasefire violations in 2017and 271 in 2016.

Sources: TOI, The Indian Express

Karni Sena withdraws protest against Padmaavat, says it glorifies Rajput valour

On Friday, February 2, Shri Rajput Karni Sena announced to withdraw its protests against the much controversial Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’, claiming that the movie only glorifies the valour and pride of Rajputs.

Yogendra Singh Katar, Karni Sena’s Mumbai leader stated that under the directions of Sukhdev Singh Gogamdi, national President of the organisation, several members watched the movie in Mumbai and realized that the movie in real only seems to glorify the pride and sacrifice of the Rajputs and that every Rajput should watch the movie, only to feel proud.

In a letter, he said that the movie does not contain any objectionable scenes between ruler Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmini which could possibly hurt the sentiments of Rajput. He declared that the Karni Sena withdraws their protest and will in fact help the administration release the movie in the remaining states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and across all cinema theatres in India.

The movie had released across theatres in India on 25 of January amidst tight protection from various fringe groups including the Karni Sena.

Sources: Scroll, Economic Times

India’s Next-Gen cricketers

The scorecard showed India needing one run to win of 68 balls. The Indian team stood expectantly and excitedly by the boundary ropes, arms around each other. Harvik Desai took guard. Will Sutherland’s bowled full and Desai sliced the ball inside-out over backward point. The ball raced to the fence. The batsmen in the middle jumped-up in joy as the Indian team came running in from the side-lines. India won the U-19 Cricket World Cup for the fourth time. No team had won the championship four times. History was made.

Prithvi Shaw led India’s under-19 team won the world cup after six years. India’s pervious title had come in 2012 under Unmukt Chand’s leadership. This time around India romped home, undefeated.

The Indian under-19 team has produced some of the finest cricketers to have played for the country in recent times. Noteworthy names include Yuvraj Singh (member of the 2000 world cup winning team), Virat Kohli (captain of the 2008 world cup winning team), Mohammad Kaif (captain of the 2000 world cup winning team) among others. It has been the breeding ground for some of India’s finest young talent.

This time, too, some stellar performances have made this win this possible.

  1. Prithvi Shaw

Indian captain Prithvi Shaw has been the talk of the tournament. He has represented the Middle-Income Group Cricket Club in Mumbai and has captained the Rizvi Springfield High School under-16 cricket team. He held the record for the highest score in an innings by any batsmen in organised cricket when he scored 546 in a Harris Shield game in 2013. That record was broken by Pranav Dhanawade in early 2016.

Shaw scored 261 runs in the tournament at an impressive average of 65.25. He has become the highest scoring Indian captain at the under-19 cricket world cup. His consistent performances in India’s youth cricketing circuit have brought him into the limelight. Delhi Daredevils signed him for Rs 1.2 crore for upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

  1. Shubman Gill

Vice-captain Shubman Gill has been India’s top-scorer in the top-scorer in the tournament. He has come through as a big match player and has consistently been amongst the runs. He made List A debut for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare trophy in February 2017 followed by his first-class debut for Punjab in November.

Gill scored 372 runs in the series. His stats include top score of 102 not out and three half-centuries. He was named Player of the tournament for his performance. Gill was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 1.8 crore in the IPL auction.

  1. Kamlesh Nagarkoti

Kamlesh Nagarkoti has impressed one and all with his express pace in the under-19 world cup. The Rajasthan pacer has consistently clocked speeds above 140 km/hour. Prior to the tournament he played for the Rajasthan under-16 and under-19 teams. He ended the tournament with nine wickets. His best figures read 3/18 against Bangladesh.

Nagarkoti was snapped by the Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 3.2 crores.

  1. Shivam Mavi

Another young pacer, Shivam Mavi, has grabbed eyeballs in the tournament. Like Nagarkoti, Mavi has repeatedly bowled in the 140s. He picked-up nine scalps in the world cup. The young Uttar Pradesh lad kept up his pace and exhibited control, something which is indispensable to a fast-bowler. He may well become India’s next lead-pacer from Uttar Pradesh after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Mavi has played for Uttar Pradesh under-19 before he played for India.

The Knight Riders bought Mavi for a thumping Rs 3 crore.

Mavi and Nagarkoti are bright prospects for India’s future. India has always been in search of good fast bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami have done well for India in recent times. However, next generation of Indian pacers needs to be groomed.

Its good news for Indian cricket that these players have attracted huge sums in the IPL. They will rub shoulders with the best in business and grow as cricketers and in turn be assets for the Indian team in the near future.

  1. Anukul Roy

Anukul Roy is budding all-rounder from Jharkhand. The young left-arm orthodox spinner is India’s highest wicket-keeper and the joint highest wicket-keeper in the tournament with 14 scalps. His 14 wickets include a five-for against Papua New Guinea. The Mumbai Indians have bought Roy for his base price of 20 lakh in the IPL auction.

These young boys have great prospects. They play in the IPL next and have the best possible opportunity to play with and against the best in cricket. They will be guided by some of the best minds in the game and will certainly grow as cricketers.

A bright future with the blue-jersey awaits these young players.


Virbhadra Singh, wife accused in disproportionate assets case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge sheet in Delhi’s Patiala House Court against the former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh in disproportionate assets case. Singh’s wife is also named in the charge sheet which was presented before Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann.

The ED has named three others apart from the 82-year-old Singh and his wife in their charge sheet: Chunni Lal Chauhan, Prem Raj, and Lawan Kumar Roach under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In 2015, the ED had filed its first charge sheet based on a CBI FIR against Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan, accusing him of investing Virbhadra Singh’s Rs 5.14 crore in LIC policies purchased in his name and those of his family members, including his wife.

A probe had found that Virbahdra Singh had accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore in his name and in the names of his family members, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income, during his tenure as the Union Steel Minister from 2009 to 2011.

The asset viz. a farmhouse in Delhi, worth around Rs 27 crores, was attached under the PMLA. According to ED, the farmhouse was purchased at Rs 6.61 crore by Maple Destinations and Dreambuild Pvt. Ltd., a private firm. As per the company records, Singh’s son, Vikramaditya Singh is listed as one of the directors of the firm.

Special Judge Mann listed the matter for February 12 for further hearing.

Sources: Hindustan Times, NDTV, Business Standard

Army firing in South Kashmir, death toll increases to three

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, Army opened fire on a violent mob in Ganowpora village in the Shopian district of South Kashmir, when they attacked an army convoy of 10 Garhwal Unit. Two alleged stone pelters, Javid Ahmed Bhat from Balpora and Suhail Javed Lone from Rawalpora died on spot.

With Narpora’s 19-year-old Rayees Ahmed Ganie’s, demise on Wednesday, January 31 early morning, the death toll increased to three. After getting injured, Ganie was taken to the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where he died “after battling for life in the ICU since Saturday evening”, as reported by The Hindu. The hospital denied to reveal the cause of death and only mentioned about the head injuries. His body reached his village at 8 am in the morning on Wednesday.

When inquired about their action, the Army personnel justified their deed by saying that, they opened fire for self-defense when the mob tried to lynch a junior officer and set the Army vehicle on fire.

State police had lodged an FIR against the Army under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 336 (endangering life). A magisterial probe was also ordered after chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s intervention.

As reported by India Today, there had been noisy protests by the BJP backed PDP against Mufti during the state Assembly on Monday, January 29. Their demand was the withdrawal of the FIR against Army. On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir opposition party raised slogans, showing pictures of the Shopian incident.

Source: The Hindu, India Today

Om Prakash Rawat appointed as the new chief election commissioner.

Achal Kumar Joti, who stepped down from the post, will be succeeded by election commissioner Om Prakash Rawat who has been appointed as the new chief election commissioner.

He is from Madhya Pradesh cadre of the 1977-batch IAS officer, Rawat will take over from 23rd January, 2017. His appointed to the Election Commission was in August 2015. He has held numerous important portfolios at Centre and state level during his long career.

The 64-year-old prior to his appointment as Election Commissioner of India, had retired as secretary, ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises. He had earlier also attended as a director in the defence ministry in 1993. During this tenancy, he was delegated to South Africa in May, 1994, as United Nations election observer to supervise 1st post-apartheid elections in South Africa.

He also attended as chief secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh amid 2004 and 2006. He got the Prime Minister’s honour in 2010 for brilliance in Public Administration for initiating the movement “recognition of forest rights”.