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Won’t commit sin by declaring missing Indians in Iraq dead without evidence: Sushma Swaraj

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Won’t commit sin by declaring missing Indians in Iraq dead without evidence: Sushma Swaraj

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Minister for External Affairs has been under attack for misleading the Parliament on status of 39 Indians who have been missing from Mosul in Iraq since 2014

Under attack from the Opposition for allegedly misleading Parliament and the nation on the status of the 39 Indians who have been missing from Mosul in Iraq since 2014, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, on Wednesday, declared that she had done no such thing and that declaring a person dead without any proof was a sin that she will not commit.

Making a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha amid protests by Opposition members, especially from the Congress, Swaraj said: “Whatever I have done is with the permission of the House. I repeatedly told the House that I don’t have solid proof of either – their being killed or being alive.”

Asserting that she “will not give up” on getting concrete evidence of the whereabouts of the 39 Indians who have been missing since they got caught in the crossfire in Mosul in June 2014 when the ISIS militants raided Iraq’s second largest city, Swaraj said: “This file will not close till there is proof that the 39 Indians are dead.”

In a moving speech aimed at dismissing the Opposition’s allegation that she had misled Parliament in November 2014 on the status of the missing Indians, Swaraj said: “I have never misled. I want to ask the Opposition – what benefit will I get by misleading? What benefit will my government get by misleading the people on the issue? (sic).”

While members of the Congress, led by Mallikarjun Kharge who claimed that the Lok Sabha Speaker had disallowed any questions to be raised on Swaraj’s statement, lashed out at the minister, she said: “one person, Harjit Masih, who was also abducted along with the 39 Indians but had managed to flee from captivity, had said the Indians were killed but six sources had told the government that they are alive. There were contradictions in Masih’s version. That is why I told our embassy to find out more details.”

Claiming that after she heard Masih’s story she “told the embassy to search the whole of Mosul, and around…you will find the 39 bodies somewhere, or blood stains would be there”. Giving details of what followed, Swaraj added: “I told the embassy that the Islamic State has a habit of issuing lists if they kill many people of a country…We did not find any bodies, list, video or any photo.”

Swaraj explained that according to the information that has been received about the missing Indians so far, the group was caught at the Mosul airfield, and taken to a jail, after which they were put to construction work, and then farming, before being taken to Badush jail in 2016… “But after that there has been no contact.” 

It was after recent media reports claimed that the Badush jail had been demolished in an ISIS attack that the Opposition’s tirade against Swaraj and allegations of her misleading the Parliament began.

On Wednesday, however, Swaraj made a spirited rebuttal of the charges. “Iraq has never said that the 39 Indians missing are dead”, Swaraj said, adding: “It’s very easy for me to say that the 39 Indians are dead. 

No one including their families will ask me anything after that…but declaring anyone dead without proof is a sin and I won’t commit a sin.”

“We can’t even take them from the category of ‘missing’ to ‘believed to be dead’. I will not take this crime on my head,” the external affairs minister said, adding: “People who are convinced that they are dead and I am lying are free to tell their families that those Indians are dead. But if anyone turns up alive, then it is their responsibility.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Fali S Nariman tribute: Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai says jurist’s death has left irreplaceable void for legal fraternity

Despite enjoying a good lifestyle, Fali S Nariman ensured his actions aligned with legal principles.

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Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai mourned the passing of constitutional jurist Fali S Nariman as an immense loss to the legal fraternity.

Reacting to the death of the veteran jurist on Wednesday, Rai said it has left an irreplaceable void. Fali S Nariman’s profound influence on future generations and the legal field is unmistakable.

The Senior Advocate recounted his interactions with the jurist. “Each interaction with him provided invaluable learning experiences, marked by his humility,” he said.

Reflecting on instances like the Office of Profit matter involving Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, Nariman, despite representing her, prioritized legal integrity and the responsibility as an officer of the court over personal affiliations.

Engaging him as counsel for Jaya Bachchan, the Supreme Court was almost convinced that she did not fall within the ambit of office of profit. However, Justice YK Sabharwal requested Nariman’s opinion, and he asserted that the court was incorrect in not considering the benefits attached to the office of Uttar Pradesh Film Development Corporation. “This illustrates the responsibility of a senior lawyer when providing opinions to the court,” he reminisced.

In another case concerning Ruby Hospital in Kolkata, Nariman’s dedication to his client wavered when appointed as the adjudicator by the court, as he opined against his client in alignment with the duties of an officer of the court, Rai said.

Nariman was a disciplined man who enjoyed a good lifestyle, but he ensured his actions aligned with legal principles. His demise leaves an irreplaceable void in our legal fraternity. He had a unique working style from a bygone era, relying on profound knowledge and research methods without the aid of computers.

Recalling his generosity, Rai said Nariman had the biggest chamber in the old block of the Supreme Court and when the bar required a room for medical facilities to be created for lawyers, Nariman was the first person who offered his chamber and gave it to the bar. Thereafter, he started sitting in Library Number Two and continued working from there only.

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Congress says I-T Department withdrew Rs 65 crore from its bank accounts, asks if BJP pays income tax

The I-T Department mandated banks to transfer over Rs 65 crores from INC, IYC, and NSUI accounts to the government.

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The Congress party on Wednesday said that the Income Tax Department had withdrawn a sum of Rs 65 crore from its accounts in several banks undemocratically even when the case is sub judice and being heard by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The Congress leader Ajay Maken slammed the Centre asking if the BJP also pays income tax. Maken further charged on BJP asking if is it common for national political parties to pay income tax, adding that he questioned why then is the Congress party facing an unprecedented demand of Rs210 crores.

Speaking to reporters, the Congress treasurer Maken said that the I-T Department had written to various banks to withdraw a sum of Rs 65 crore from different bank accounts of the Congress and Indian Youth Congress in view of the demand raised by the I-T authorities earlier, despite the appellate authorities hearing the case.

The Congress treasurer further said that even when the ITAT, which the Congress had moved against the I-Tax department’s claim of Rs 210 crore as recovery for discrepancies in previous tax returns has been stayed and a lien has been marked, the tax authorities have resorted to undemocratic action by taking out the amount from their accounts.

On Tuesday, the I-T Department mandated banks to transfer over Rs 65 crores from INC, IYC, and NSUI accounts to the government, which are Rs 5 crores from IYC and NSUI, and Rs 60.25 crores from INC, marking a concerning move by the BJP Government.

About today’s ITAT proceedings, Maken informed that Congress presented their case and the hearing will continue tomorrow. The funds in question were raised through grassroots efforts, including crowdfunding and membership drives by the IYC and NSUI, the Congress leader added.

Expressing their belief in the judiciary, the Congress also said that such a situation raises a crucial question about the state of democracy.

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal says Lord Krishna speaking through Chief Justice Chandrachud on Supreme Court’s Chandigarh elections verdict

There was so much sin that lord Krishna decided to interfere himself.

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Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday lauded Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud saying, Lord Krishna was speaking through CJI Chandrachud while announcing the verdict on Chandigarh mayoral elections.

Addressing the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal hit out at the BJP and said the situation in the country is such that there is unrighteousness everywhere. Speaking on Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain, said those who built schools and hospitals for people are in jail today. Pointing out to the BJP, Kejriwal further said that even if people have been fed up with them, they are confident that they’ll win 370 seats.

He also questioned how BJP will win 370 seats, adding that, there must be something wrong, maybe EVM has been fixed or something else. There was so much sin that lord Krishna decided to interfere himself, he charged. It was no coincidence that cameras captured BJP’s sins in Chandigarh’s mayoral election and the way SC had given its verdict, it seems god was speaking through CJI Chandrachud.

He said that few people hesitate to cast their vote because they think there has been an issue with EVM but Kejriwal still appealed to them to cast their vote and leave the rest thing on god. Speaking on Anil Masih, who was involved in tempering voting paper in Chandigarh Mayoral polls, said he was just a pawn and he has been given punishment but his masters should be punished as well.

Hitting out at Centre, Kejriwal said that Adharma (unrighteousness) has been spread everywhere, and people have started thinking that truth and honesty have no place. Good people lost their faith due to the dominance of Adharma.

He further said that, in such circumstances, god established faith by taking out people from the obstacles. In this country, a similar situation has emerged as he said in Hindi, Charon Taraf Adharma Ka Bolbala Hai (everywhere there is a dominance of unrighteousness). People have begun thinking that there was no point in walking on the path of truth, those who were indulged in wrong acts and conspiring have been rising, the AAP convenor added.

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