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Bihar: CM Nitish Kumar allocates portfolios in new cabinet, Deputy CM Samrat Chaudhary gets Finance, Health, Sports Departments

Today Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet after taking oath as CM for the 9th time.The Agriculture Department has been assigned to Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sinha.

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Almost a week after taking the oath of office for the 9th time as Bihar’s chief minister, Nitish Kumar assigned portfolios to his cabinet members on Saturday. The Home Department has been retained by Nitish Kumar himself. The portfolios of Finance, Health, and Sports have been given to Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary, while Deputy CM Vijay Sinha will be in charge of the Agriculture Department.

This comes a few days after Nitish Kumar left the Mahagathbandhan and the opposition group I.N.D.I.A., joined the NDA, and established a new government in the state. Nitish Kumar took an oath of office on 28 January with eight other ministers (three from each of the BJP and JD-U, one from HAM, and one independent).

However, earlier a BJP official said assigning portfolios and then redistributing them when the Cabinet is expanded is pointless.  

As per a JD(U) leader, the allocation of portfolios and the expansion of the Cabinet would take place on the day that the BJP wishes, and there is no chance of it changing to ensure consistency. There is no problem, and the JD(U) has resolved it. With two BJP deputy chief ministers and an NDA administration led by Nitish Kumar, the portfolio distribution will follow the 2020 formula, he said.

Meanwhile, the RJD leader, Shakti Singh Yadav, blamed the delay in decision-making to Kumar’s shifting positions. The leader said, they have nothing to do with expanding the Cabinet or allocating portfolios. But Bihar has suffered from constant transformation. Bihar’s work on fundamental issues affecting the youth and masses was abruptly ended.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea

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Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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PayTm share price slips 2 per cent over SEBI warning

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Paytm

The share price of PayTm fell by nearly 2 per cent on Tuesday following a warning from the the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

PayTm’s parent One 97 Communication had got SEBI’s administrative warning letter on some transactions involving the PayTm Payments Bank during fiscal year 2021-2022. The bourses reacted strongly leading to PayTm shares falling by 1.88% to Rs 460.80 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

SEBI said it had noted the violation with concern and said these matters are being viewed very seriously. The regulator warned the company to exercise caution going forward and improve compliance to rules to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The markets regulator added that failure to comply with rules may force it to invoke enforcement actions as per the law.

In its response to SEBI, PayTm said in a media release that it has always followed listing regulations, as well as any change to these rules over time. The company said it would keep up its commitment to maintain and follow high standards of compliance. Paytm said it intends to provide an adequate response to SEBI on this matter.

PayTm said it has always followed Regulation 23 along with Regulation 4(1)(h) of the SEBI Listing Regulations, without including any change made to these rules over time. Paytm added that the letter from  SEBI has no influence on its finances, operations or other activities in any way.

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VIP Party Chief Mukesh Sahani’s father found murdered in Bihar

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In a shocking incident that has shaken Bihar’s Darbhanga district, Jitan Sahani, the father of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) leader Mukesh Sahani, was discovered brutally murdered at their ancestral home. His gravely damaged body was found on his bed this morning, prompting immediate police action.

Authorities, led by senior officer Jagannath Reddy, have launched a Special Investigation Team to probe the heinous crime. Initial assessments suggest the possibility of a robbery gone awry or personal enmity leading to the tragic demise of the former Bihar minister.

The incident has sent shockwaves through the community, with local residents expressing deep concern over the safety situation. The VIP party, known for its significant support among the OBC community and currently aligned with the RJD and Congress in the Opposition bloc, has been thrust into mourning.

Opposition parties, particularly the RJD, have vehemently criticized the state government under Nitish Kumar for failing to maintain law and order. RJD spokesperson Shakti Yadav condemned the incident, questioning the government’s ability to protect its citizens.

In response, Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary assured swift and strict action against the perpetrators. “The government stands firmly with Mukesh Sahani ji’s family during this tragic time,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Chirag Paswan of LJP offered condolences and pledged to expedite the identification and arrest of the culprits. “Justice will be served,” he affirmed.

As investigations unfold, the people of Darbhanga await answers and justice for the senseless murder that has gripped their community.

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