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Kejriwal’s demand doomed? ‘Only Gandhiji on Indian currency notes’, ruled RBI in 2010

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Amidst the ‘unholy’ row kicked up by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to include photos of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on Indian Currency Notes, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Centre had already put a lid on the issue way back in 2010.

An RTI reply to this effect on the Indian Currency Note (ICN) was sent by the Department of Economic Affairs’ Additional Secretary Manisha Sinha to a Pune businessman Prafful Sarda in 2019.

The government said that a high-level panel (October 2010) constituted by the RBI had deliberated at length on the need for inclusion of other eminent personalities, Bharat Ratnas, Nobel laureates, freedom fighters or sports persons on the ICN design.

The High-Level Screening Committee – set up on the advice of the then Government of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh – felt that “no other personality could better represent the ethos of India better than Mahatma Gandhi”.

“Therefore, it was decided to retain the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the obverse of banknotes and on the watermark. Government has approved the recommendation,” declared the RTI reply of November 11, 2019, sent from the North Block.

“I had asked the PMO to consider printing the photos of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar or Sardar Patel on the ICN after which the government gave the reply and the matter rested. It proves that the Delhi CM has only vested political motives behind his latest demand,” Sarda said.

The plea to the PMO was in view of the various demands to add pictures of other personalities on ICNs that keep cropping up frequently, he added.

Later, a former MP of All India Trinamool Congress and former cricketer Kirti Azad had raised the issue in Parliament for including other prominent personalities on the ICNs, but the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had cited the RBI panel’s report in response.

As Kejriwal faces flak now, Maharashtra Congress Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe hit out saying the ‘IIT graduate’ Delhi CM was ‘pontificating like a pandit or soothsayer’ with his ridiculous suggestions.

“Why doesn’t he talk about all his unfulfilled promises, or the failures of the BJP government in the past over eight years, instead of coming up with such meaningless ideas to solve the country’s economic crises,” Londhe added sharply.

Taking a swipe at Kejriwal, state Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant cautioned that if it happens, “then the currency notes with pictures of Gods and Goddesses will be circulated in bars, abattoirs, fish markets or non-vegetarian restaurants, then what will you do?”

Shiv Sena Spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said that while the BJP supporters may not object to this, “what’s the guarantee that this measure will solve all the ills of the country like inflation, unemployment, economic mess, etc., perpetrated by the BJP for so many years”.

On the other hand, an NRI from the US, Ketan Kakkad feels that “nothing is wrong per se with Kejriwal’s demand”, especially since the world’s largest Islamic country Indonesia has a photo of Lord Ganesh on its ‘Rupiah’ currency notes, though the Hindu population there is only three per cent of the total.

“My question to Kejriwal is – along with Lord Ganesha’s photos, why don’t you also propose religious symbols/photos of other Indian minority communities like Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jains, etc., which account for 20 per cent of the total population here? I am sure even the BJP, RSS or AIMIM won’t object to this,” said Kakkad.

Adopting a ‘wait-and-watch’ attitude, the Nationalist Congress Party has decided to maintain a ‘divine’ silence over the Kejriwal political fracas – for the present.

National News

BJP slams Cong for abusing PM Modi

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the Congress for abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Taking potshots at the Congress, party’s National spokesperson Sambit Patra on Saturday said that Congress leaders have completed a century of abuses against Modi.

Addressing a press conference, Patra added, “The manner in which top leaders of the Congress party are repeatedly using language and abuses for PM Modi is being seen on TV every day. In such a situation, the Congress has established itself as a party of abusers. Congress leaders called Modi ji ‘lowly’, ‘Yamraj’ and what not. In this way, Congress leaders have completed 100 abuses. It reflects their thinking.”

“A Congress leader from Karnataka has called Modi ji ‘Bhasmasur’. Similarly, recently Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge called Modi ji ‘Ravan’. Sonia Gandhi even called Modi ji a ‘Merchant of Death’,” he said.

Urging the people of the country, Sambit added, “We call upon the people of Gujarat and the country to reject such Congress party in a democratic way by adopting the cycle of democracy.”

Condemning Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, he said, “Similarly Arvind Kejriwal tries to make a lie the truth. Just a few days back, Kejriwal said that Manish Sisodia has got a clean chit and the scam that has taken place in the Excise policy is not a scam, but he is not going to be saved.”

He also added, “From Manish Sisodia to many accused have changed mobile phones dozens of times in this case. From this you can guess whether the common man changes mobile phones so quickly.”

The BJP National Spokesperson said, “Large-scale destruction of digital evidence done by Ex-Excise Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia; 170 mobile phones destroyed by 36 accused in Delhi liquor scam including him. Manish Sisodia changed four mobile handsets in one day and 14 handsets in 2-3 months after CBI’s FIR against him. He might have consulted Delhi CM Kejriwal, AAP leader Vijay Nair, liquor scam accused Amit Arora and Sunny Marwah to destroy digital evidence. Sisodia has a huge hand in Excise policy scam, investigation is going on, no one can save him.”

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Crime

Shraddha murder case: Aaftab’s post-narco test concludes

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The post-narco test of Aaftab Amin Poonawalla, the accused in the ghastly murder of his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in Delhi’s Mehrauli area, concluded on Friday. His test was conducted inside the Tihar prison by the FSL officials.

As per sources, the team from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini had reached Tihar jail for the post-narco test at around 11.30 a.m.

“A four-member team had reached Tihar Jail No.-4 on Friday along with the investigating officer for a post-narco analysis session of Aaftab,” said a senior FSL official.

“The test started around 12. He was again asked similar questions and his answers will be matched with the questions from the previous narco analysis session,” said the sources.

If needed, the narco test will be done again, claimed the sources.

Further details were awaited.

Meanwhile, the prison authorities have also increased the security of his barrack after the police van was attacked by men, who were armed with swords.

Though his confessions in the narco test cannot be used in the court, yet it proved that the investigators were proceeding in the right direction.

Pertinent to mention here that the findings of both polygraph and narco test are not admissible in the court. These tests will only help the Delhi Police gather evidence, and thereby increase the possibility of prosecution of the guilty.

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National News

Warrants against 16 to thwart Hanuman Chalisa call at Shahi Eidgah in Mathura

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To thwart a call by a Hindu outfit to recite the Hanuman Chalisa inside Shahi Eidgah mosque on December 6, the Mathura city magistrate has issued bailable warrants against 16 people connected to the outfit.

Mathura Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Martand Prakash Singh said that no permission has been sought by any organisation and cases have already been registered against two people so far for attempting to gather a crowd for the event.

Last month, the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) had urged all its leaders and supporters to arrive at the mosque, adjacent to Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, on December 6 to recite the Hanuman Chalisa.

ABHM president Rajyashree Bose Chaudhary had said, “The event will take place on December 6. The peaceful recital of Hanuman Chalisa will be conducted at Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi between 12 and 12.30 p.m.”

Sanjay Kumar Pandey, SHO of the Govind Nagar police station said around three dozen people have already been bound by notices. Being bound by a notice is a situation wherein an executive magistrate serves a show cause notice with a surety bond to a person on the apprehension that he/she may disturb the peace.

“Those who failed to respond and fill the required surety bond have been issued bailable warrants by the court of the city magistrate. Sixteen people have been issued warrants,” he said.

Chaudhary, meanwhile, condemned the police action and said, “We have planned a peaceful event. As such, there is no reason for police to intervene because we will offer prayers at the site.”

The ongoing dispute involves ownership of 13.37 acres, which the petitioners claim belongs to the Lord Shri Krishna Virajman.

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