Parliament paralysed for 8th day on coal block issue

Uproarious scenes were witnessed in both Houses of Parliament like in the last seven days on the coal block allocation issue creating turmoil with BJP paralysing the proceedings by pressing for resignation of the PM 

New Delhi: The eighth consecutive day of the Indian Parliament was lost on Friday to the uproar created by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over coal block allocations, raising the prospect of washout of the remaining part of the Monsoon Session which ends on 7th September, reports PTI.


Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha like in the last seven days with the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) report on the coal block allocation issue creating turmoil with BJP paralysing the proceedings by pressing for resignation of prime minister Manmohan Singh.


In the Rajya Sabha, BJP members refused to take part in the House proceedings shouting slogans and vehemently refusing to read out their Special Mentions. However, NK Singh, a member of NDA ally JD-U, laid it seeking urgent measures to address the problem of declining growth rate of export.


As soon as the two Houses reassembled after the first adjournment till noon, opposition members were on their feet shouting slogans like “Koyla Dalalon Ki Sarkar Nahin Chalegi” (we will not allow government run by coal brokers). They were countered by Congress members.


In the Rajya Sabha, Renuka Chowdhary led the Congress charge and shouted back at the BJP saying “sit down or go out” while her other colleagues chanted “BJP ki gundagardi nahin chalegi” (BJP’s hooliganism won’t be allowed).


A short notice question, which was listed, could not be taken up as the BJP member who was supposed to ask it declined to do so and no supplementary was asked by any other member.


Soon BJP members trooped into the well in both Houses while those from AIADMK as well as the CPI-M were standing.


As the slogan shouting continued, both Houses were adjourned for the day.


In the Rajya Sabha, KN Balagopal and P Rajeeve (both CPI-M) demanded cancellation of the coal blocks.


When the Lok Sabha met for the day, BJP members trooped into the well raising slogans against the Prime Minister for allegedly extending “undue benefits” to private parties to the tune of Rs1.86 lakh crore while allocating coal blocks.


UPA members launched a counter-offensive raising slogans in favour of Mr Singh and waved the “List of Business” at the agitating BJP-led opposition members.


P Lingam (CPI) was seen holding a placard “We want Parliament to Function”.


As members continued their protests, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till noon.


In the Rajya Sabha, the moment chairman Hamid Ansari took up the Question Hour, BJP members rushed to the well demanding the prime minister’s resignation.


Minister of state for railways Bharatsinh Solanki’s reply to a supplementary raised by Saifuddin Soz (Cong) could not be heard in din.


As BJP members did not relent, Mr Ansari adjourned the House till noon.


Mumbai gangster Arun Gawli gets life term for murdering Shiv Sena corporator

During arguments on sentencing in the MCOCA Court, Gawli, the once feared underworld don said that there was no reason for him to kill the Sena corporator for a 'paltry' amount of Rs30 lakh

Mumbai: Gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar murder case, reports PTI.


Special MCOCA court judge Prithviraj Chavan, while pronouncing the judgement here, also imposed a fine of Rs17 lakhs on Gawli, failing which he will have to undergo an additional three-year imprisonment.


Ten others were also awarded life imprisonment in the case while accused Sunil Ghate was convicted only under Arms Act and has been sent to three years' rigorous imprisonment.


The court also sent Gawli to ten-year imprisonment each for being a member of the organised crime syndicate and extortion.


While pronouncing the sentence, judge Chavan said "Instead of death I am giving you life imprisonment."


During arguments on sentencing in the MCOCA Court, the once feared underworld don had told judge Chavan that there was no reason for him to kill the Sena corporator for a 'paltry' amount of Rs30 lakh.


"After 2007 BMC elections, when Shiv Sena was not in majority it was our Akhil Bharatiya Sena who gave them support of four corporators (to attain majority). At that time each of our corporator commanded very high monetary value (for providing support) and there was no reason for me to kill Jamsandekar for Rs30 lakh," Gawli argued.


On 24th August, the former MLA and 11 others were found guilty of murdering Jamsandekar in 2008. According to the charge sheet, a sum of Rs30 lakh was paid to the Gawli gang for eliminating the Sena corporator over a land deal.


Earlier, Gawli's lawyer Sudeep Passbola had argued in the court that his client should not be given capital punishment, as demanded by the prosecution. "Give a dog a bad name and shoot it - that should not be the principle," Passbola had said.


According to police, the contract for killing Jamsandekar was given by Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve, who were reportedly the Sena corporator's rivals in construction business and local politics.


Crime Branch had said the other reason why Jamsandekar was killed was that Bintade and Surve were eyeing a plot at Saki Naka in suburban Mumbai and the corporator reportedly "refused to cooperate".


Jamsandekar was murdered at the behest of Gawli, who had, along with the co-accused, conspired to eliminate him. He was shot dead in March 2008 at his residence in suburban Ghatkopar.


Gawli was arrested on 21 May 2008 and is in custody since then. On 7 October 2010, the court framed charges against Gawli and other accused under MCOCA, sections 302 (murder), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. All accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.


Demanding death penalty for Gawli and co-accused Vijay Giri and Pratap Borse, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare had said this was the first case in which the kingpin of an organised crime syndicate had been convicted.


Thakare had said Gawli was heading an organised crime syndicate and used Akhil Bhartiya Sena (ABS) as a political front for his "criminal activities".


"The gang slowly expanded its horizons, where they misguided youth and got them to do illegal work," Thakare had said, adding the gang members continued to operate from jail.


Gawli's lawyer Sudeep Passbola said Jamsandekar was not targeted for extortion but for political vendetta and rivalry.


High Court gives a go ahead to Kudankulam Nuclear project

Dismissing a batch of petitions challenging commissioning of units 1 and 2 of KNPP, the High Court said the project did not suffer from any infirmity for want of any clearance from any authorities

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday gave its nod to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), clearing the decks for the fuel loading and commissioning of unit 1 of the controversy-hit Indo-Russian project, reports PTI.


Dismissing a batch of petitions challenging commissioning of units 1 and 2 of KNPP, a division bench comprising justices P Jyothimani and M Duraiswamy said the project did not suffer from any infirmity for want of any clearance from any authorities.


"There is absolutely no impediment to proceed in units 1 and 2 of KNPP," the bench said in its order, which was keenly awaited for loading the real fuel in the 1,000 MW unit 1.


The court also said the Union and Tamil Nadu governments shall oversee the plant continuously and take steps to protect the interests of the people and fishermen in the area.


Besides undertaking awareness schemes, the state government should establish a multi-speciality hospital and schools with hostel facilities for locals and children, give financial assistance for the fishermen in the area to have mechanised boats and provide port and cold storage facilities to store fish catch.


The Collector of Tirunelveli, the district in which plant is situated, should ensure off-shore safety drills regularly involving the public, it said.


Another bench comprising justices P Jyothimani and P Devadoss dismissed a petition challenging the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)'s clearance for loading real fuel in the plant.


The bench said, "It is not for the court to suspect the statutory authorities, until a classic case is made out...the court does not have expertise to suspect the statutory authorities' opinion."


It also said that all the 17 safety recommendations made by the Task Force should be implemented as committed and the "nuclear loading can go ahead."


The AERB had recently given its approval for loading the real fuel in the first reactor of the plant, taking the project a step closer to commissioning.


The commissioning of the first of the 2 x 1,000 MW units of the Indo Russian project was slated for December last year, but protests by local people on grounds of safety concerns delayed it.


Reacting to the verdict, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) convenor SP Udayakumar, spearheading the protest, said, "It is one-sided and against the people, who are struggling for the past one year in a democratic way. Injustice has been done and we will appeal in the Supreme Court."


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