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Pinarayi Vijayan’s Kannur to host party meet, fate of Sitaram Yechury uncertain




With Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s home town, Kannur, to be the venue for the 23rd Party Congress next year, it clearly shows the sway he has over the party, which could well spell trouble for General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, whose third term hangs in the balance.

Yechury is in his second term and according to the party Constitution, he can get one more term, but as is known to all both Vijayan and Yechury at times are not on the same page when it comes to issues and it’s here that Vijayan’s absolute control of the party, by virtue of winning the Assembly polls in Kerala, despite a few scams and other issues, could well affect Yechury’s third term.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said as things stand now, Vijayan’s unquestionable grip over the party is going to be his forte and with the Party Congress to be held in his home turf, it could well be another advantage for him to further consolidate the party.

“Then comes the issue — whether Yechury needs to continue, and in all likelihood, Vijayan would like to have one of his handpicked persons to the top post and veteran leader M.A. Baby, who has had terms in the Upper House and also a former State Minister, is in his mind. It remains to be seen, will Vijayan be able to get away from any opposition which might come from the West Bengal wing of the party.

“But, Vijayan who is a master in tactical moves, could give Yechury another term, to see that there is no animosity, which could well be the clincher for Vijayan to keep Yechury under his leash,” said the critic, who did not wished to be identified.

Incidentally with Kannur hosting the mega event, it could well be Vijayan’s show. He for sure would like the event to go without any unnecessary discussions in the media and would like to stamp his authority that he is not just the last word in Kerala but nationally also, and hence Yechury could well have his third and final term.

Moreover, with a big team of his aides like State Minister for Local Self Government M.V. Govindan, former Minister’s E.P. Jayarajan, K.K. Shailaja, P.K. Sreemathy — all members of the present central committee of the party besides politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, all hailing from Kannur, Vijayan will ensure that there is not going to be any sort of hiccups, which could well be flared up by media.

The last time this mega event was held in Kerala was at Kozhikode in 2012 when Vijayan was the state party secretary and his tirades with then Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was at its peak and yet he managed to keep Achuthanandan quiet.

So irrespective of which position Vijayan holds, when he runs the show, he is the final word in the party and one will have to wait to find out which way Yechury will be going.

National News

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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