Top news of the day: Supreme Court grants interim bail to Ashish Mishra in Lakhimpur Kheri case; Germany finally agrees to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

January 25, 2023 06:56 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:38 am IST

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, speaks to lawmakers in the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin on January 25, 2023.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, speaks to lawmakers in the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin on January 25, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Lakhimpur Kheri case | Supreme Court grants eight-week interim bail to Ashish Mishra

The Supreme Court on January 25 granted interim bail for eight weeks to Ashish Mishra, the prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings and son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra, even as it described the crime as “ghastly” and “unfortunate”. The court used its suo motu powers to similarly grant interim bail to four under-trial prisoners accused of lynching three men during the violence that broke out immediately after an SUV allegedly belonging to Mr. Mishra’s convoy mowed down farmers protesting controversial agricultural laws in a rally at Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh on October 3, 2021.

Germany finally agrees to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks, Russia warns of ‘historical responsibility’

After weeks of hesitation that saw growing impatience among Germany’s allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on January 25 that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve requests by other countries to do the same. In a statement, the government said it would initially provide Ukraine with one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, which comprises 14 vehicles, from its own stocks. The goal is for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions, or 88 tanks. Mr. Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies.

India, Egypt declare ‘strategic partnership’

India and Egypt agreed on Wednesday, January 25 to elevate their bilateral ties to “Strategic Partnership” covering political, security, defence, energy and economic aspects. Welcoming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said abuse of cyber space by extremist forces is a “growing threat” and both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in this regard.

CJI announces launch of service to provide verdicts in some scheduled languages from R-Day

Chief Justice of India D.Y.Chandrachud launched a Supreme Court service on January 25 that will start providing apex court judgements in various Indian scheduled languages from Republic Day. As soon as the Bench assembled for the day, the CJI told the lawyers the apex court will operationalise the part of the electronic-Supreme Court Reports project for making available verdicts in some scheduled languages free of cost from Thursday.

Jaishankar slams Pompeo for ‘disrespectful’ comments on Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has expressed his displeasure over the comments on his predecessor, Sushma Swaraj, made by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the latter’s new book Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love. “On the Indian side, my original counterpart was not an important player on the Indian foreign policy team. Instead, I worked much more closely with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, a close and trusted confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” 59-year-old Pompeo writes in his book.

Excise policy ‘scam’ | Enforcement Directorate attaches ₹76.54 crore worth assets under PMLA

The Enforcement Directorate on January 25 attached assets worth ₹76.54 crore of several persons and entities in connection with the money laundering probe into the Delhi excise policy case allegedly involving Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and others. According to the agency, the attachment order includes properties worth ₹35 crore of accused Sameer Mahandru and his wife Geetika in Delhi’s Jor Bagh; a Gurugram residential premises worth ₹7.68 crore of Amit Arora; and a ₹1.77-crore Mumbai property of Vijay Nair, who was the communication in-charge of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Kerala HC suspends conviction, sentence of disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in attempt to murder case

The Kerala High Court on January 25 suspended the conviction and sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment awarded by the Kavarathi Sessions Court to disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in a case of attempt to murder Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of former Union Minister P.M. Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok sabha polls. Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, while passing the order, observed that the decriminalisation of politics was the essential requirement of every democracy. The court took into consideration that elected candidate could continue for a limited period alone when fresh election was held could not be brushed aside.

Congress leader A.K. Antony’s son, Anil, resigns from all Congress posts

A day after criticising the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Defence Minister and Congress veteran A.K. Antony’s son, Anil K. Antony stepped down from all party positions on January 25. “I have resigned from my roles in the Congress. Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for free speech. I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuses by ones supporting a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy thy name is! Life goes on,” he tweeted.

ED arrests Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in a crowd funding initiative, official sources said on January 25. Mr. Gokhale was taken into custody under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Ahemdabad where he is lodged in judicial custody in a Gujarat Police case.

Pope Francis: ‘Homosexuality is not a crime’

Pope Francis criticised laws that criminalise homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQIA+ people into the Church. “Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Pope Francis said during an interview on January 24 with The Associated Press. Pope Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalise homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.

Rwanda fires on Congo military aircraft accused of violation

Rwanda has fired on a Congolese military aircraft it alleges violated its airspace in a new escalation of tensions between the neighbours that has set off alarm across central Africa. A Rwandan government statement said “defensive measures” were taken against a Sukhoi-25 from Congo on Tuesday evening (January 24) and it urged Congo to “stop this aggression.” Rwanda’s state broadcaster shared unverified video of what appeared to be a projectile fired at an aircraft.

Hindenburg shorts Adani Group, flags debt and accounting concerns

Hindenburg Research said on January 25 it held short positions in India’s Adani Group, accusing the conglomerate of improper extensive use of entities set up in offshore tax havens and expressing concern about high debt levels. The report, which comes days ahead of a $2.5 billion share offering by flagship firm Adani Enterprises, sent shares in Adani group firms sliding. Hindenburg, a well known U.S. short-seller, said key listed companies in the group controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani had “substantial debt” which has put the entire group on a “precarious financial footing”.

BCCI announces owners of Women’s IPL teams; combined valuation of ₹4,670 crore

The BCCI on Wednesday earned a ₹4,669.99 crore windfall for the sale of five teams in the inaugural Women’s Indian Premier League (WPL) with Adani Sportsline shelling out a massive ₹1,289 crore for the Ahmedabad team, which emerged the most expensive franchise. IPL team owners Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals made successful bids of ₹912.99 crore, ₹901 crore and ₹810 crore respectively to enter the WPL. Capri Global Holdings got the Lucknow franchise for ₹757 crore.

Australian Open 2023 | Sania-Bopanna pair reaches mixed doubles final

Playing the last Grand Slam tournament of her career, Sania Mirza earned the chance to win her seventh major title by reaching the Australian Open mixed doubles final with compatriot Rohan Bopanna here on January 25. The unseeded Indian pair knocked out third seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 10-6 in the semifinal that lasted one hour and 52 minutes.

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