UPA govt drops move to name judge to head 'snoopgate' probe

NCP and National Conference, the two allies of UPA, as well as BJP have questioned the move to appoint a judge to head the snoopgate probe

Following stiff opposition from its allies, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Monday decided to drop its move to name a judge to head the Commission set up to probe the snooping on a young woman by Gujarat police allegedly at the instance of chief minister Narendra Modi.


“We have left the decision on appointing a judge to the next Government,” Government sources said a day after two UPA constituents Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and National Conference openly opposed the move in the “dying days” of UPA-II.


A controversy had broken out last week when senior ministers – Kapil Sibal (Law) and Sushilkumar Shinde (Home) – told the media that a judge would be named into the surveillance, which was dubbed as ‘snoopgate’, before 16th May when the counting of votes in the Lok Sabha elections will be taken up.


The announcement came under severe attack from the BJP, which slammed the UPA saying it was practising vendetta out of desperation of defeat in the elections.


BJP questioned the move saying the original decision of the Cabinet was taken in December and they could not decide on a judge all these days.


The party also questioned the need for such a probe when the State government itself had ordered a commission of inquiry into the same subject.


However, what apparently took the Government by surprise was the opposition from its allies. Yesterday, NCP leader Praful Patel had said: “When the results of the Lok Sabha elections are due in two weeks’ time, where is the need for such an enquiry.”


Significantly, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday to convey the party’s view in the matter. NCP is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA.


Striking a similar note, National Conference leader and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said if the decision to appoint a judge could not be taken in December, then it was wrong to appoint a judge five months later.


“Was talking to my dad last night and he felt the same way -- setting up a commission of inquiry in the dying hours of UPA 2 is just wrong.


“If the decision to appoint a commission was taken in December it should have been implemented. To appoint a judge 5 months later is wrong,” Omar tweeted.


It was alleged that illegal surveillance was carried out on a young woman architect in Gujarat in 2009 at the behest of Modi and Amit Shah, who was the Home Minister at that time.


Unfazed by the opposition from its two allies, Congress spokesperson and Mahila Congress chief Shoba Oza had said there was “no compromise” on going ahead with the probe as the matter does not involve any political party but women of the country who constitute half of the population.


Rajinikanth @superstarrajini sets Twitter on fire!

One tweet and thousands of followers, that is the magic of Superstar Rajinikanth on Twitter

He came, he saw and his tweet spread like a wild fire. Well that is the story of one of India’s most influential and bankable movie stars, Rajinikanth, whose mass popularity and appeal is largely drawn from his mannerisms and stylized dialogue delivery.


Rajinikanth on Monday made his debut on Twitter with a handle @superstarrajini and with just one tweet, "Salutation to the Lord. Vanakkam anaivarukkum !! A big thank you to all my fans. Excited on this digital journey", is being followed by over 30,000 people and the numbers are increasing at phenomenal speed matched only by Rajini Sir!


"I decided to start with Twitter because I felt that the platform is abuzz with all the news and the trends that happen across the globe and I'm told that this is where all the best Rajini one liners are!” the super star said.


A cultural icon, the normally reticent superstar is looking forward to interacting with his fans on the platform. “I have always believed that my career graph is a miracle I owe my fans. I have been contemplating joining the social media platform for a while to connect with them, hear what they have to say and share my thoughts. Unfortunately I never got around to it until now. By partnering with Fluence I am confident that I have the best team and the best guides who will help me connect with my audience” said the Superstar.


CA Media Digital’s first venture, Fluence - Indian celebrity digital network, will be managing Rajinikanth’s digital interests, to further create and leverage the Thalaivar’s social presence.


Dr Subramanian Swamy moves EC over AirAsia, Tata-SIA licensing

Besides Dr Swamy, the Federation of Indian Airlines has also filed two separate petitions challenging the approvals granted to the Tata-Airasia and Tata-SIA Airlines deals

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Subramanian Swamy has urged the Election Commission to restrain Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from giving flying licences to AirAsia India and Tata-SIA Airlines till a new Government takes over.


Dr Swamy, in a memorandum presented to Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath, urged the EC to “formally restrain the DGCA from proceeding any further in the matter till after the new Government takes office after the election.”


“My information is that the Ministry of Civil Aviation is unaware of the principle laid down by the Election Commission in enforcing the model code, that is, no administrative or policy decision impacting the benefits accruable to any section of the society, should be cleared if there is no operational urgency in the matter,” he said.


He claimed, he had information that the DGCA “appears hell bent on issuing the Airline Operators' Permit to these two joint ventures”, even though the Delhi High Court was in “an advanced stage” on the matter.


The court had on 1st May decided to constitute a special bench to hear pleas seeking quashing of approvals being granted by the Centre to operationalise the $30-million deal between Tata Sons and Malaysia-based AirAsia.


Chief Justice G Rohini said a special bench comprising her and Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw will start hearing the petitions, that also include a PIL filed by Swamy, on 11th July.


Besides Swamy, the Federation of Indian Airlines has filed two separate petitions challenging the approvals granted to the Tata-Airasia and Tata-SIA Airlines deals respectively.


Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA), while AirAsia India is a joint venture between Tata Sons, Malaysia-based AirAsia and infrastructre firm Telstra Trade.


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