Court extends Manish Sisodia’s ED custody by 5 days
It was further argued that the agency’s probe revealed that Sisodia was using a mobile phone for nearly eight months but he changed the same on July 22 last year, the day when LG forwarded the complaint to CBI. The ED counsel said that Sisodia has claimed that the phone was damaged. “The timing was very important”, the ED counsel submitted.
The court was further told that Sisodia has so far been confronted with four individuals connected to the case. However, he needs to be confronted with two more individuals. The agency further argued that it is awaiting a mail dump from CBI and that Sisodia needs to be confronted with those emails (running into over one lakh in number). The counsel for the ED further contended that the members of the South cartel were staying in a Delhi Hotel in 2021 while the Excise policy was being framed.Denying the allegations, the defence counsel for Sisodia argued that the ED is rehashing the grounds for custody previously taken by the CBI. The defence argued that there is no whisper about the alleged proceeds of crime which is “fundamental to allegations of money laundering”.
The ED arrested Sisodia on March 9 after he was questioned in Tihar jail, where he has been lodged after the CBI ended its round of interrogation. The CBI had arrested Sisodia on February 26.
Don’t penalise districts adhering to population control: Assam BJP
The opposition Congress skipped the consultation programme on Monday alleging allocation of little time. Over 55 organisations and 10 national- and state-recognised political parties met the Election Commission team in Guwahati. The commission has again invited Congress to join the consultation.
Chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar, and commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel reached Guwahati on Sunday and will be here till Tuesday.Leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia said: “The Assam Congress had earlier met the ECI full bench in Delhi and asked them about the clarifications and the irregularities regarding district political boundaries. They told us they will meet our queries and we then gave them a reminder and ever since we are waiting for the reply. Now they are only giving 10 to 15 minutes and we don’t think meeting them will be any useful.”
Meanwhile, Assam minister and BJP leader Ashok Singhal said the ruling party has requested the commission to keep the Kokrajhar seat reserved for scheduled tribes. Also, in the two seats of Dhemaji, one should be kept for unrepresented tribes and communities, he said.
Assam joint chief electoral officer Lakhinandan Saharia said the commission had taken note of the representations made in January by the Congress and the Bodoland Peoples’ Committee. “The commission, thereafter, decided to hear all stakeholders including political parties, people’s representatives, civil society organisations, etc.,” he said.He said while the Congress had already made a representation, it was again given time to meet the commission in Guwahati on Monday after the party sought another meeting in Delhi.
Opposition resolves to take united fight to people
The meeting also saw some leaders cautioning Rahul Gandhi over his comments on VD Savarkar and advised him to keep in mind nuances and need to maintain maximum Opposition unity. NCP chief Sharad Pawar is learnt to have pointed out at the meeting that large sections in Maharashtra hold Savarkar in high esteem and certain aspects of Savarkar’s life, such as building a temple near his house and allowing Dalits to worship during age of untouchability, were admired by many people in the state. CPI leader Benoy Vishwam is learnt to have said while his party fully agreed with Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Savarkar, Gandhi should have kept in mind the bigger task of ensuring maximum Opposition unity in Maharashtra, including with the Shiv Sena (U). Vishwam said it was unfortunate Shiv Sena (U) disengaged with Opposition over Gandhi’s comments and called for efforts to ensure Thackeray‘s party continued to fight against BJP with the larger Opposition. Pawar also raised the issue of disqualification of Lakshadwwep MP Mohamad Faizal.
Some participants said Gandhi clarified that his comments on Savarkar was on ideology and said he would henceforth try to be flexible while commenting on him. Referring to his court conviction, disqualification from Lok Sabha and notice for vacating the house, Gandhi said he was not treating it as a personal issue but part of larger fight against ‘dangers posed to democracy’ by the regime. Sonia Gandhi is believed to have urged all to work for maximum possible unity against the BJP.
2024 Lok Sabha polls: Gujarat BJP chief CR Patil seeks 500,000-margin win for candidates in state
“The target is not really impossible as a five lakh margin will need a total margin of 1.3 crore,” said a BJP functionary, who did not wish to be identified. “The BJP’s margin over the Congress in the 2022 assembly polls was close to 85 lakh. Adding 45 lakh to it is not impossible.”
The BJP has already hit the ground and is reaching out to voters at the booth level, another party functionary said on condition of anonymity. “Out of 51,000 booths in the state, our tally was negative in 15,000 booths. Now while we are reaching out to everyone, special focus is being given to those 15,000,” he said.While the BJP’s “page committees” have been pressed into service to analyse the causes of the result in detail, the party is also closely monitoring the caste combinations in these booths.
“In the areas where we have not done well, we are preparing a detailed list of the benefits that the communities of those areas have availed from the government over the years,” said the second person, adding that voters are now being reminded of all those benefits to turn the tide further towards the BJP.
“With the page committees now being in place, we can clearly find out who went out to vote and who didn’t and therefore mobilising voters has become much easier,” he said.
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