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ED searches at TRS MP’s residence

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 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches at the residence of TRS MP Vaddiraju Ravichandra in connection with alleged violation of the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.

The ED officials conducted searches at the Rajya Sabha member’s house at Srinagar Colony in Hyderabad.

The searches are believed to be a continuation of raids conducted on Wednesday at the offices of granite barons and state minister Gangula Kamalakar’s house.

Popularly known as Gayatri Ravi, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP is the founder chairman of Gayatri Group, a leading granite industrialist and president of Telangana Granite Quarry Owners’ Association.

Joint teams of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Wednesday carried out simultaneous searches at multiple locations, including the residence of Civil Supplies and Backward Classes Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar and offices of several granite companies in Karimnagar.

Kamalakar was away on a vacation in Dubai with his family, when the joint team raided his locked house.

The searches were reportedly in connection with a probe into alleged violation of FEMA.

The officials scoured through various documents and records relating to the export of granite blocks and other business transactions of the granite firms, including Swetha Granite reportedly belonging to the minister’s brother.

On learning about the searches, minister Kamalakar rushed back to Hyderabad late Wednesday night. He told reporters at the airport that they have been in the granite business for 32 years and they operate within the purview of the law and with transparency. “There has been no violation of any rules. I returned within 16 hours. We will fully cooperate with authorities,” he said.

The simultaneous raids come in the backdrop of complaints to the central agencies against some granite companies, including the firms engaged in export of rough granite blocks from quarries in Karimnagar district to China and a few other countries over alleged violation of FEMA norms.

It was alleged that eight granite agencies evaded crores of rupees of royalty by under-measuring the granite blocks exported to various foreign countries via Kakinada and Krishnapatnam sea ports in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, resulting in a huge loss of Rs. 124.94 crore to the public exchequer.

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‘Let religious people handle’, SC declines AP plea against HC order on Ahobilam Mutt temple

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The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by the Andhra Pradesh government against a high court order, which held that the state had no authority under law to appoint an executive officer to the Ahobilam Mutt temple in Kurnool district.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul told the counsel, representing the Andhra Pradesh government, to let the religious people handle this matter.

The bench, also comprising Justice A.S. Oka asked why is the state government stepping into this matter, and added: “Let the temple people deal with it… Why should religious places not be left to religious people?”

The top court said that Andhra Pradesh has no jurisdiction or entitlement under law to appoint an executive officer of the ‘Sri Ahobila Mutt Parampara Aadheena Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Devasthanam’ (the Ahobilam Mutt temple).

It told the state government lawyer: “In every case under Article 136, we need not try to settle the law. Sorry.”

After hearing the arguments, the top court declined to entertain the state government and others’ appeal against the high court order.

A petition before the high court contended that the Ahobilam temple has been under the control of Sri Ahobilam Mutt, which is based in Tamil Nadu, since time immemorial.

The high court had said appointing an executive officer for the temple, which is a part of the mutt, violated Article 26(d) of the Constitution as it affects the right of administration of Jeeyars’/Mathadipathis.

The Andhra Pradesh government and others had challenged the high court order passed in October last year.

It made it clear that the temple is an integral part of the Ahobilam Mutt and the contention raised by the state government that the temple and Mutt were distinct entities cannot be entertained.

The high court further added that said the temple is an integral and inseparable part of the Ahobilam mutt, which was established as a part of the propagation of Hindu religion and for rendering spiritual service for propagating Sri Vaishnavism.

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Students are taking my test and I enjoy it: PM Modi

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Inaugurating the discussion on ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha, 2023,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that crores of students in the country are taking his exam and he derived pleasure from it.

Modi said that it was perhaps the first time where Pariksha Pe Charcha was being held in such cold weather, since it is usually held in February.

Ashwini, a student of Madurai Kendriya Vidyalaya, asked a question on the stress and pressure to score high marks in exams. Similarly, other students asked questions on how to deal with their family’s expectations if they do not score well in the exams.

Modi replied that it is natural for one’s family to have expectations from their children but it is concerning if the expectations are a result of social status.

He added that sometimes parents, despite knowing their child’s capabilities and calibre make tall claims among their peers.

They then expect the same from their children which creates “pressure on the children to score better marks.”

The PM gave the example of a cricket match and said that a cricketer focuses entirely on the ball when he enters the field and not on the spectators shouting “chauka, chauka!” (four).

He said that the player does not hit sixes and fours on the crowd’s demand and focuses on his game and the ball.

Modi advised the students to focus on their studies in a similar way and not feel pressurised.

The PM guided the students to introspect and understand their potential and not achieve less than their potential.

Arushi Thakur, a student from Himachal Pradesh said, “It is not clear from where do I start studying during exams, I often feel that I’ve forgotten everything that I had studied.”

Many other students asked the PM questions regarding time management and exam preparations.

Modi said that one should know how to manage time in exams and in life. He said that students’ work often piles up due to procrastination and not doing the work at the right time.

He advised the students to analyse the amount of time they want to dedicate to a particular subject to avoid spending hours on the subject that they are familiar and good at.

He added that the students should start reading the subject that they face difficulty in with a fresh mind.

The PM said that the students can learn time management by observing the working style of their mothers and advised them to utilise their time properly for studies.

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SC agrees to examine plea by AAP Mayoral candidate for time-bound election

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The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine on February 3 a plea by Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi seeking an order for holding the election in a time-bound manner.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice Dipankar Datta.

The top court agreed to hear the case on February 3.

The AAP accused the BJP of running away from holding the election for the post of mayor. It has been alleged that the L-G appointed presiding officer adjourned the House indefinitely in view of a “ruckus” by some councillors.

The AAP won 134 of the 250 wards in the MCD polls held last December. The BJP managed to win 104 wards.

In its plea, the AAP has demanded time-bound urgent mayoral elections and has also sought the prohibition on voting by aldermen as per law.

“People of Delhi gave majority to the AAP in the MCD but BJP is not allowing us to form a government in the MCD. AAP has moved the Supreme Court through its Leader of the House and Mayor candidate (Oberoi). We have placed two major demands in the Supreme Court, the first is to elect the Mayor in a time-bound manner and form the government in the MCD. Second, as aldermen do not have the right to vote under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the DMC Act, they should be prohibited from casting votes,” party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj had said.

The Mayoral election was first scheduled for January 6, but the House was adjourned following a scuffle between the councillors of the BJP and the AAP.

Then a session was convened on January 24 to elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committee.

However, after all the 250 newly-elected MCD councillors and 10 nominated members (aldermen) took their oath, the House was again adjourned until the next date after a ruckus created by the councillors of AAP and BJP.

On the other hand, BJP state working president Virendra Sachdeva alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP have been misleading the public and that they have no faith in the Constitution.

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