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Thursday,29-September-2022

Crime

Leaking classified info act of ‘treason’: Congress on Arnab Goswami chat

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Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami

Upping the ante against the government over journalist Arnab Goswami’s purported social media chat leak, the Congress on Wednesday described it as an act of “treason” and demanded an immediate inquiry over leaking of such classified information about the Balakot air strikes.

The Congress also said it will raise the issue of the alleged chat leaks in Parliament’s Budget session.

The Congress brought out several senior members of the party to corner the government over the issue with former Defence Minister A.K. Antony, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Law Minister Salman Khurshid and party spokesperson Pawan Khera.

Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, Antony said, “The contents of the leaked chats between Goswami of Republic TV and the former CEO of BARC is a serious issue for the entire nation.”

Antony said that for a very patriotic Indian, it is a shock and a serious matter of concern because it affects national security.

The Congress leader said that it effects the security of armed forces, especially in this case, the security of brave air warriors. “And also in the way they (Goswami and BARC CEO) mentioned the martyrdom of 40 CRPF men is all a serious concern for us,” Antony said.

He said that the people of the country and the political parties might have differences on several issues but are united when it comes to national security cutting across the religious and party lines to protect the country.

“But now it is very clear that classified documents that too considering the national security and also considering the most sensitive secret air strikes were available with the people who were not expected to know it, and were not authorised to get these documents,” Antony said.

He said “I am very sad and shocked” over the leaked chats between Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta and the language they used while mentioning the martyrdom of 40 CRPF troopers.

Firing salvos at the government, the Congress leader said, “Three days before the Balakot air strikes, how did one journalist come to know of the details of it? It would have effected the operation and its effectiveness.”

Only very few people are expected to be in the know of such secret information, to know the details of the military operations. “Even all the Cabinet ministers are not expected to get that as only a few handful of people and few military people are informed about such operations,” he said.

“These documents were leaked to the media, but not the entire media but to only one journalist by the people who were in top positions of the government,” he alleged.

“Leaking official secrets about the military operation, national security matters, sensitive military operations especially air force strike is treason and anti-national activity,” he alleged.

“It is not only criminal activity, it is anti-national activity and a treason. Whoever has done they must be punished for anti-national activities and treason,” he said.

Questioning the silence of the government over the issue, Antony said, “Even till today the government has not said anything on this. I am sure these anti-national activities or leakage of secret military operations was among the four or five civilian people. I don’t suspect anybody. But one of them is suspect. It needs to be enquired immediately on a war footing. And whoever is guilty should be punished for treason.”

He also said that the journalist who got such secret military operation details has to be punished.

“Urgently the government must order an enquiry. And whoever is responsible and whoever is part of the leakage of military operations should be shown no mercy and he has to be punished,” Antony said.

Shinde said that what Goswami has done is not just shameful for the country but also for journalism. “In last several years no media organisation or any journalist has done such act,” he said.

He said that the country has seen several wars and the governments of different parties, but such an act of leakage of official secrets was never witnessed.

“They were celebrating on Pulwama after our 40 CRPF troopers were killed in a terror attack,” the former Home Minister said, referring to the chats of Goswami and Partho Dasgupta.

On Tuesday, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had also slammed the government and said that leaking sensitive information related to national security to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

Crime

Lingayat mutt sex scandal: Accused seer denied bail, custody extended

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 Denying bail to rape accused Lingayat seer of the Chitradurga Murugha Mutt, a court in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district extended the Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru’s judicial custody till October 10.

Second Additional Sessions Judge B.K. Komala has also extended the judicial custody of accused number two, hostel warden Rashmi, till October 10.

As the accused seer’s judicial custody ended on October 10, he was presented before the court and after its order, he was taken to the Central Jail in the district.

The court had earlier rejected his plea to consider bail on medical grounds and also denied him special permission to have food from the Mutt and conduct worship during the imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Veerashaiva-Lingayat leaders have called a meeting on September 29 to discuss on the accused seer’s decision not to step down as the head of the Chitradurga mutt in spite of the serious allegations under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The mutt, one of the richest among the Lingayat mutts, has 3,000 branches all across the country and runs more than 150 premier education institutions.

The letter circulated among leaders of the community states that as the accused seer is not coming forward to step down, it would affect the heritage and prestige of the mutt, sources said.

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Bollywood

Actresses Nikki Tamboli, Sofia Singh taken to Tihar Jail to recreate meetings with Sukesh

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 Two actresses — Nikki Tamboli and Sofia Singh — were taken inside the Tihar Jail to “recreate” their alleged meeting with conmon Sukesh Chandrashekhar, a senior Delhi Police official said Tuesday.

“It was part of the ongoing probe into the Rs 200 crore extortion case related to Sukesh Chandrashekhar,” the official said.

Chandrashekhar, presently lodged in Jail No. 3 of the Tihar Jail, was arrested last year for allegedly cheating and extorting money from some high-profile people, which includes former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh’s wife Aditi Singh. Many women Bollywood actors and models have been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for their alleged links to Chandrashekhar.

In April 2021, he was arrested in another money laundering case linked to the 2017 Election Commission bribery case, which allegedly involved a former AIADMK leader and others.

Notably, the Enforcement Directorate, recently in an application in Supreme Court, had mentioned that accused Sukesh has repeatedly committed offences, including that of money laundering during his incarceration in jail by subverting the legal system and prison rules with the help of his knowledge of technology and his “ability to con people”.

According to the sources, ‘Big Boss’ fame Nikki Tamboli, ‘Bade Acche Lagte Hai’ fame Chahat Khanna, Sophia Singh, and Arusha Patil met Chandrashekhar in the jail premises and he introduced himself as a producer of the southern film industry.

A source said that Chandrashekhar’s aide Pinky Irani, who was arrested later, had facilitated their meetings with Chandrashekhar. All these four actresses were given expensive gifts of renowned brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Louis Vuitton.

Chandrashekhar also transferred some Rs 5.20 lakh into the account of Patil, who has admitted to have met him but not in the jail. When Irani introduced Khanna to Chandrashekhar, the actress was allegedly given Rs 2 lakh and a blue-coloured Versace watch.

Chandrashekhar allegedly deposited Rs 2 lakh into the account of Singh and later gifted her an LV bag. She was, later on, given Rs 1.5 lakh more.

Irani got an amount of Rs 10 lakh from Chandrashekhar for introducing him to Tamboli, and she gave Rs 1.5 lakh to Tamboli. Later on, Chandrashekhar gave her a Gucci bag and Rs 2 lakh on their first meeting.

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Crime

Ankita Bhandari’s body found from Uttarakhand’s Chilla canal

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The body of Ankita Bhandari, a 19-year-old staffer at a resort in Uttarakhand who went missing a few days ago, was recovered from the Chilla canal in the state on Saturday and Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered an SIT probe led by DIG P. Renuka Devi to probe the murder.

The prime accused in the case is BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son Pulkit Arya.

Ankita, a resident of Dobhin Srikot, who used to work in the Vantara resort in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal. She went missing on September 18.

The BJP has removed Vinod Arya as well as his other son Ankit following the incident.

Taking to Twitter, Dhami poste:, “Today morning, daughter Ankita’s body was recovered. Heart-broken with this heart-wrenching incident.”

On directions of the Chief Minister, the JCB razed to ground accused’s illegal resort on Friday night.

Strict action will be taken against the officers who were involved in the illegal construction of the resort, Dhami said.

“It is our resolve that the those guilty of this heinous crime will bot be spared,” he added.

Ankita’s family had lodged a missing complaint on September 21 with the revenue police and on the District Magistrate’s direction, the matter was trasferred to regular police the next day.

Taking cognisance of the incident, Ashok Kumar, Director General of Police, Uttarakhand, had directed the Superintendent of Police, Pauri for a speedy investigation into the incident.

Following their arrest, they told the police that after murdering Ankita, they threw her body in Chila Shakti canal.

Under the guidance of DGP Uttarakhand, the SDRF started search for Ankita in Shakti Canal, Chila Power House.

SDRF rescue team has been searching the spot and the deep divers were also looking for the body in the bottom of the canal.

The search operation had resumed this morning during which the body was found.

The body has been handed over to the district police.

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