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Monday,17-May-2021

National News

Mamata Banerjee visited Abhishek before CBI arrived

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday visited her nephew and Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee’s residence before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) interrogation of his wife Rujira in connection with the illegal coal mining scam.

The Chief Minister made an unscheduled visit to Santiniketan, Abhishek’s residence in Harish Mukherjee Road in south Kolkata, while on her way to the state secretariat Nabanno. She spent about 10-minutes with the family and was seen emerging from the building accompanied by Abhishek’s daughter, her grand niece.

Soon after Banerjee left the place, the federal investigation agency officials reached Abhishek’s residence to question Rujira Banerjee who was served with a CBI notice on Sunday.

Earlier, Rujira had responded to the CBI communication on Monday saying she was ready to be quizzed by the agency. She also asked the CBI investigators to visit her Harish Mukherjee Road residence between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Rujira also said that she was unaware of the reason for which she was being called for questioning and the matter of the investigation.

A five-member team of CBI’s anti-corruption branch had gone to Abhishek Banerjee’s south Kolkata residence on Sunday afternoon and served the notice. The Trinamool second-in-command’s wife was summoned for interrogation by the central agency sleuths. Rujira was not present at the residence when the CBI team had arrived.

The CBI had also summoned Rujira’s sister Menka Gambhir for interrogation. A CBI team, along with female officials, arrived at Menka’s high-rise residential complex at Panchashyar on Monday, at around 12 noon. The team, led by Umesh Kumar, had to wait at the main entrance for some time till they got the permission. Menka stays at Upohar Luxury Complex (Tower-3) near Kolkata’s EM Bypass. The interrogation went on for about three hours, sources said.

National News

Mamata Banerjee starts dharna at CBI’s Kolkata office

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has started a sit-in in CBI’s Kolkata office to protest the arrest of four of her Trinamool Congress leaders, provoking an unusual Centre-state confrontation of sorts.

Banerjee rushed to the 15th floor of the ‘Nizam Palace’ where the CBI has the office of its anti-corruption cell.

Her spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut told waiting media persons: “Didi (Banerjee) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested.”

He said Mamata Banerjee told the CBI officers they have arrested the four leaders, among them two sitting and two former ministers, without the mandatory notice. “These arrests are politically motivated and illegal. Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy have been let off though they faced the same charges,” Raut quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying.

Central forces guarding the CBI office were not letting media persons inside the office — so speaking to CM Banerjee was not possible.

But she sent out Raut to let journalists “know her viewpoint”.

The CBI on Monday launched parallel raids and detained TMC ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and MLA Madan Mitra in its probe in the Narada sting case. Within hours, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office.

Along with the TMC leaders, former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee was also picked up and later arrested by the CBI in the same case.

The TMC leaders were taken to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in the Narada sting operation case. A few days ago, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had given permission to the CBI for prosecution of these TMC leaders.

Dhankhar had threatened the Trinamool Congress and said he should not be forced to use his powers.

Trinamool MP and lawyer Kalyan Banerjee told IANS the party leaders had “always cooperated with the CBI in these cases.”

“Now the CBI says they have arrested the four because they are submitting the charge sheet against them. If they are submitting charge sheet, that means the investigation is over. So why they need the leaders in custody and where is the mandatory notice of arrest! This is downright illegal and politically motivated, we will move the court and we have faith in it,” Banerjee told IANS.

Analysts blamed the Modi-Shah government at the Centre for provoking this confrontation.

“Modi and Shah have failed to stomach the party’s humiliating defeat in West Bengal. They are not only trying to take revenge but also divert national attention from their failure to handle Covid by provoking this confrontation. Who knows what they plan if this leads to violence,” said Sukhoranjan Dasgupta, veteran political commentator and writer of several books on West Bengal.

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National News

Amit Shah talks to 4 CMs about preparedness on cyclone Tauktae

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Amit-Shah-71

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to assess preparedness to deal with the cyclonic storm “Tauktae”.

He took stock of the measures and the plans by the states and UTs, as well as Central Ministries along with agencies concerned to deal with the cyclone, and the situation arising out of it.

National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) over east central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around May 18 early morning.

“Tauktae” moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday over east central Arabian Sea near latitude 15.0 degree North and longitude 72.7 degree East, about 130 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 450 km south of Mumbai, 700 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 840 km southeast of Karachi (Pakistan),” the IMD said.

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National News

Harsh Vardhan to hold video meet with 4 CMs on Covid

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will be holding a meeting with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on Covid-19 situation and progress on vaccination drive in these states later on Saturday.

Harsh Vardhan will hold a meet with the Health Ministers of these four states through video conference at 3 p.m.

The Union Minister will review current Covid situation and progress of vaccination drive being run in their respective states to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus which so far has infected 2,43,72,907 people across the country, including 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths.

In a tweet, the Minister informed about his meeting on Covid-19 situation and vaccination drive in these states.

Uttar Pradesh is on top with 13,85,855 Covid cases reported so far in the state followed by Andhra Pradesh (11,75,843), Gujarat (6,09,031) and Madhya Pradesh (6,05,423).

The Health Minister will hold the meeting hours after attending a high-level virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation in the country chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the past 23 days India’s daily Covid tally has plateaued over the three-lakh-mark and over 3,000 casualties for 17 days.

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