Morning Digest: Arvind Kejriwal granted bail in Delhi Excise policy case; PM Modi says preparations underway for J&K Assembly polls, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

Published - June 21, 2024 06:48 am IST

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ‘Empowering Youth, Transforming J&K’ programme, in Srinagar, on June 20, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ‘Empowering Youth, Transforming J&K’ programme, in Srinagar, on June 20, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Poll preparations on, J&K to shape its future as a State soon, says PM Modi in Srinagar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Srinagar amid tight security, said the day was not far when people will elect a new government and shape Jammu & Kashmir’s future as a State once again. He pledged to “teach a lesson to the enemies of J&K”, while referring to recent terror attacks. The Prime Minister inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for multiple development projects worth more than ₹1,500 crore. He launched Competitiveness Improvement in Agriculture and Allied Sectors Project worth ₹1,800 crore and handed over appointment letters to 200 fresh government recruits.

Arvind Kejriwal granted bail in Delhi Excise policy case

A Delhi court granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi Excise policy of 2021-22. Vacation judge, Rouse Avenue Court, Niyay Bindu passed the order after hearing Mr. Kejriwal and the ED at length. The bail order was dictated by the judge in an open court on June 20 evening. The detailed court order is awaited. Mr. Kejriwal, earlier this month, had filed two bail applications in the Rouse Avenue Court, one for a seven days bail for treatment which was denied on June 5.

NEET, UGC-NET paper leaks: Government to form panel to improve NTA’s working, says Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the alleged irregularities in the recently held National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), and the cancelled University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) were “an institutional failure of the National Testing Agency”. Mr. Pradhan has said that a reform committee consisting of technocrats, bureaucrats and scientists would be formulated, which would suggest improvements to the NTA’s working.

French journalist forced to leave India as MHA refuses to renew his work permit 

A second French journalist, working in India since 2011, said he had been forced to leave the country after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) denied the renewal of his work permit without providing any reason. Earlier this year, French journalist Vanessa Dougnac, who had been living in India for 22 years, left the country after the MHA sent a notice citing “malicious reportage” and visa violations, asking why her OCI card should not be cancelled.

ECI receives 11 requests for EVM and VVPAT memory verification post results

The Election Commission of India has received 11 requests for memory verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) from the recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. These requests essentially mean rematching the votes polled in 5% of the EVMs in each of these constituencies. This is the first time that such requests have been received since the Supreme Court order of April 24 allowing verification on the request of the runners-up in any election.

UGC-NET exam cancelled to safeguard students’ interest, says Education Ministry official

A day after the UGC-NET was cancelled, Education Ministry officials said no complaints were received about the exam but a suo motu action was taken on the basis of inputs available with them to protect students' interest. Education Ministry Joint Secretary Govind Jaiswal said the details of the inputs cannot be shared as the matter has been referred to the CBI and is currently under investigation

India shuns China's calls to resume passenger flights after 4 years, officials say

China is pressing India to restart direct passenger flights after a four-year halt, but New Delhi is resisting as a border dispute continues to weigh on ties between the world's two most populous countries, officials said. India-China relations have been tense since the biggest military confrontation in decades on their disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers in June 2020. Thousands of troops remain mobilised on each side.

IRCTC apologises to Vande Bharat passenger who found cockroach in food

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) apologised to a couple who found a cockroach in their meal while traveling on the Vande Bharat Express from Bhopal to Agra. After an X user Vidit Varshney took to the social media platform about his uncle and aunt finding an insect in their meal on the Vande Bharat Express, IRCTC responded by apologising for the incident and said they are taking it seriously.

Jaishankar reviews India-backed energy, connectivity projects during Colombo visit

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar undertook a day-long visit to Colombo and discussed progress on key energy sector initiatives that India and Sri Lanka have agreed to jointly undertake. Participating in a ceremony with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, he commissioned a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and handed over new homes built with Indian assistance. In his first bilateral visit abroad after being re-appointed to the post in the newly installed coalition government, EAM Jaishankar focused mostly on progress made in the implementation of ongoing India-backed projects across the island nation, sources said

IIT Bombay imposes fine on 8 students for performing play that allegedly mocked Lord Ram

The Indian Institute of India (IIT) Bombay has imposed a fine of up to ₹1.2 lakh on eight students, who performed a play that allegedly mocked Lord Ram and portrayed the 'Ramayana' in a bad light, a fellow student said. The students had presented the play named 'Raahovan' on March 31 this year, as part of the Performing Arts Festival (PAF).

Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: Madras High Court to hear on June 21 a plea for CBI probe

The Madras High Court on Thursday agreed to hear a public interest litgation petition seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy that had so far claimed over 30 lives and left many others hospitalised. The petitioner insisted on a CBI probe since there was serious suspicion of the spurious liquor sale having taken place with the connivance of local politicians belonging to the ruling party and the police personnel.

Sanjay Singh seeks INDIA bloc's support to get Delhi's share of water from Haryana

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh sought the INDIA bloc's support in the party's fight to get Delhi's share of water from Haryana. Mr. Singh said Delhi Water minister Atishi will be starting an indefinite fast from June 21 to get Delhi's share of water from Haryana, which is ruled by the BJP.

Rain brings some relief to North India, heatwave conditions ease

Heatwave conditions have abated over large parts of North India, the India Meteorological Department said, but this is expected to be short-lived as dry conditions are expected to resurface over the weekend or early next week. “Heat wave conditions have abated from Punjab, Haryana-Chandigarh-Delhi, north Rajasthan and many parts of Uttar Pradesh today the 20th June 2024. Scattered to fairly widespread light/moderate rainfall has been observed over Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, north Haryana-Chandigarh and north Uttar Pradesh during past 24 hours (Thursday). Isolated very heavy rainfall has also been observed over Uttarakhand during this period,” the IMD said on Thursday.

68 Indians among over 600 to die due to heat during Haj pilgrimage

A diplomat in Saudi Arabia said that 68 Indian nationals died during the haj pilgrimage this year marked by searing heath, bringing the overall tally to more than 600. “We have confirmed around 68 dead... Some are because of natural causes and we had many old-age pilgrims. And some are due to the weather conditions, that’s what we assume,” the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

T20 World Cup, AFG vs IND: After the Suryakumar show, Bumrah takes over

India had no trouble adapting to conditions in the West Indies. The move from USA to Barbados was seamless, as India crushed Afghanistan by 47 runs in its first Super 8 game on Thursday. Led by Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, India passed the pitch test with flying colours to make a commanding 181 for eight. With ball in hand, Jasprit Bumrah (3/7) and the three spinners put the stranglehold on the Afghans.

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