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



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.

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Delhi HC reserves order on Satyendar Jain’s bail plea in PMLA casev




The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on bail pleas of jailed Aam Aadmi Party leader Satyendar Jain and his two aides in a money laundering case.

Jain has been in custody since May 30 last year and his co-accused are Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma heard arguments by accused’s counsel, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A trial court court had, on November 17, 2022, dismissed the former Delhi minister’s bail application.

The HC later issued notice on his bail plea.

According to the trial court, it has prima facie come on record that Satyendar Jain was “actually involved” in hiding the proceeds of crime by paying cash to entry operators based in Kolkata and then bringing the money into three companies against the sale of shares to demonstrate that the revenue of these three companies was clean.

In the petition before the high court, Jain argued that the Special Judge and Enforcement Directorate have gravely misread and misapplied the Prevention of Money Laundering Act “by identifying proceeds of crime solely on the basis of accommodation entries”.

The accommodation entries cannot itself lead to a punishable offence under PMLA, it was argued.

Because the charge sheet has already been filed in the case, Jain said that he is “not required to be incarcerated” during the trial.

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SC to set up bench to hear Bilkis Bano plea against release of 11 convicts




The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to set up a special bench to hear a plea against the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, which also involves the killing of her several family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Advocate Shobha Gupta, representing Bano, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The bench, also comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, assured Gupta that a new bench will be formed to hear the case.

The Chief Justice said, “I will have a bench constituted. We need to break two benches for it. We will look at this in the evening.”

In January this year, the top court had said the question of maintainability would not arise in a matter related to remission of 11 life terms convicts.

In the plea, Bano said release of all the convicts came as a shock to the petitioner, to her grown-up daughters, to her family, and also to the society at large, nationally, and internationally.

The petition said: “The premature release of all the convicts came as a shock not only to the petitioner, to her grown up daughters, to her family, but also to the society at large, nationally and internationally, and the society across segments had shown their anger, disappointment, distrust and protest to the clemency shown by the government by releasing criminals like the 11 convicts of the case.”

Terming the release order mechanical, the plea said the premature release of the convicts in much talked about case of Bilkis Bano, has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in several agitations across the country.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, last year.

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Breaking: India removes all external security infront of the British High commission & high commissioner’s residence




Indian security officials on Wednesday removed the protective barricades from in front of the British High Commissioner’s residence in Delhi.

The move comes a day after the Indian High Commission in London was attacked by pro-Khalistani extremists amid the ongoing crackdown on radical preacher and Waris Punjab De founder Amritpal Singh in Punjab.

The tricolour was removed and replaced by the Khalistani flag by Sikhs protesting outside the Indian High Commission. An official later took down the Khalistani flag and replaced it with a massive tricolour displayed outside the building.

Officials from the mission said the “attempted but failed” attack had been foiled and that the tricolour was now flying “grander”.

The UK Metropolitan Police said two members of security staff sustained minor injuries during the incident and an investigation has been launched.

Attack ‘disgraceful and totally unacceptable’

Responding to the incident, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said he condemned “the violent disorder and vandalism that took place. There is no place in our city for this kind of behaviour,” he tweeted.

The British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis described the incident as “disgraceful” and “totally unacceptable”.

Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon said he was “appalled” and the government would take the security of the Indian High Commission “seriously”.

“This is a completely unacceptable action against the integrity of the Mission and its staff,” he tweeted.

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