12 convicted for 2006 Mumbai train blasts
Today, a special court held 12 people guilty of planting the bombs that exploded in the first class compartments of Mumbai’s local trains at rush hour on the evening of July 11, 2006, killing 189 people and injuring more than 700. Only one of the 13 people arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad or ATS has been acquitted. The arrested were allegedly members of the Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI, a banned organisation. The special court which tried the accused under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MOCOA) will pronounce its sentence later.
GST likely to miss April 2016 deadline
The April 2016 deadline for the roll out of a national Goods and Services Tax (GST) is likely to be missed with the BJP-led NDA government ruling out an extended session to pass the Constitution amendment Bill on the tax measure. The plan to reconvene Parliament’s monsoon session was dropped after the failure to get Congress’ support to get the bill passed. “There was a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs. It was decided to recommend the President to prorogue the monsoon session. We will keep trying, we are in touch with all the political parties,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jaitley has accused the Congress of hurting the Indian economy by delaying the tax reform. The Congress, on its part, points to the manner in which the BJP blocked the measure during the UPA government’s time.
Supreme Court extends stay on Teesta’s arrest
The Supreme Court has extended the stay on the arrest of Teesta Setalvad and her husband till October 15th. The court had on an earlier date granted anticipatory bail to the rights activist – who earned the ire of the Gujarat government and BJP for her work documenting cases from the 2002 anti-Muslim riots. The home ministry has, however, decided to suspend the registration of her NGO Sabrang Trust under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. This means that all foreign funding coming in to Sabrang Trust would now be cancelled.
OROP group breaks as one faction splits
Just three days ahead of a planned rally, the umbrella organisation leading the agitation for ‘One-Rank, One-Pension’ (OROP) split on Wednesday. A key faction dissociated itself from the grouping, citing “lack of cohesiveness” and suggesting politicisation of the movement. “We have informed the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM) about our decision to withdraw from the grouping. The movement is no longer cohesive,” said Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, President of Indian Ex-Servicemen League. Balbir Singh was among the key negotiators that were regularly in talks with the government about the implementation of OROP.
PAC wants CAG to be accountable to Parliament
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament could recommend legislative changes, including a Constitutional amendment, to make the Comptroller and Auditor General accountable to Parliament. The PAC’s move, experts say, is likely to spark a debate on the Constitutional guarantees and autonomy provided to the CAG. “During the 15th Lok Sabha, a suggestion was made by the then PAC that the committee should be consulted before the appointment of the CAG and it should be part of the legislature like in the U.K. and Australia,” Nishikant Dubey (BJP), PAC member said on Wednesday. The CAG has been a thorn in the flesh of successive governments because its reports, which detail irregularities in official expenditure, often provide ammunition to the opposition.
Obama announces plan for 10,000 Syrian refugees
President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to begin the preparations necessary to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, which starts in October, said a White House spokesperson on Thursday. The White House’s announcement comes a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US will increase the total number of refugees from around the world that it accepts from 70,000 to 75,000.
India backs UN draft on sovereign debt principles
India has told the UN that “fair and balanced” resolution of sovereign debt issues can help continue inclusive growth and sustainable development of debtor countries and also promote global macro-economic stability. India voted in favour of a draft resolution on ‘Basic Principles on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes’ in the General Assembly yesterday. India’s permanent representative to the UN Asoke Mukherji said that as the principles of the resolution are non-binding, they preserve the sovereign policy space of countries for designing their borrowing instruments to suit country-specific circumstances.
SC seeks response from Centre, Maharshtra on Malegaon
The Supreme Court on Friday sought replies from the Centre, the Maharashtra government and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on petitions, demanding its intervention to ensure a fair trial in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. This order comes shortly after Rohini Saliyan (Special Prosecutor) said that she was told to “go soft” on the charges against Hindutva suspects by the NIA.