‘Following Modi govt’s actions closely’: US speaks again on Kejriwal arrest, mentions frozen Congress accounts

News Network
March 28, 2024

New Delhi: After India summoned an American diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated on Wednesday its call for "fair, transparent, timely legal processes".

We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller while responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi.

The meeting at the foreign ministry's South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Mr Kejriwal.

Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party's frozen bank accounts, saying, "We are also aware of the Congress party's allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections."

He said the US encourages "fair, transparent and timely legal processes" for each of these issues.

"With respect to your first question, I'm not going to talk about any private diplomatic conversations, but of course, what we have said publicly is what I just said from here, that we encourage fair, transparent, timely legal processes. We don't think anyone should object to that," he said.

Mr Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the third Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader after Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh to be taken into custody in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam.

The US State Department on Tuesday said it is monitoring reports of Mr Kejriwal's arrest and called on New Delhi to ensure "a fair and timely legal process" for the jailed Chief Minister.

India objected to it and warned of "unhealthy precedents".

"States are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents," the foreign ministry said.

"India's legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted," the ministry stressed.

The US remarks came days after Germany's Foreign Office stressed that Mr Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government had reacted strongly and summoned the German envoy, labelling their remark "blatant interference in internal matters".

The excise policy was introduced to bring an overhaul to the liquor business in Delhi, but was scrapped after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities in the policy. The ED believes the bribe money from the policy was allegedly used for funding the AAP's election campaigns. It has also called Mr Kejriwal a "conspirator" in the case.

His arrest just ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election has also prompted furious protests from the opposition camp.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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BJP MLA Arabail Shivaram Hebbar’s son Vivek Hebbar on Thursday, 11 April, joined the Congress party along with his supporters at Banavasi in Uttara Kannada district.

After quitting the BJP, Vivek Hebbar joined the party in the presence of state Congress vice president and former MLC Ivan D’Souza and other local party leaders.

Speculations have been rife about his father Shivaram Hebbar, an MLA from the Yellapur Assembly segment, also planning to join the Congress, ever since he did not turn up for voting during the polls to four seats of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka held on 27 February.

The senior Hebbar’s absence from voting, despite a party whip, had caused embarrassment to the BJP. He had, however, later attributed his absence to poor health.

The BJP had also issued notice to him, which he responded to.

Shivaram Hebbar had recently met Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar but claimed that the meeting was about water issues in his Assembly segment.

The senior BJP leader was earlier with the Congress. He was among 17 Congress-JD(S) legislators, who had quit from their parties, which ultimately led to the collapse of the then HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July 2019.

Shivaram Hebbar had subsequently won the by-poll on a BJP ticket and served as a minister in the then government of the saffron party.

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News Network
April 13,2024

Mangaluru, Apr 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to campaign for the upcoming and much awaited Lok Sabha election in coastal Karnataka by holding a mega roadshow in Mangaluru. 

Meanwhile, the organisers have announced a slight delay in the commencement of Modi's scheduled roadshow on April 14 in Mangaluru.

Addressing the media BJP principal secretary and Karnataka MLA V Sunil Kumar said: Originally the roadshow was scheduled to begin at 5 pm., but it will start at 7:30 pm."

As planned, the Roadshow will kick off from Narayan Guru Circle, where Prime Minister Modi will pay floral tribute to Sri Narayan Guru idol. From there, the Roadshow will proceed and conclude at Navabharat Circle. 

Mr Kumar urged people traveling to Mangaluru to see Mr Modi's visit by 7 p.m. and stand behind the barricades. The roadshow is estimated to conclude at 8:30 pm.

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News Network
April 12,2024

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Bengaluru, Apr 12: The two men who allegedly plotted and executed the blast that rocked Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru last month have been arrested from Kanthi in Bengal's East Midnapore district, the National Investigation Agency said Friday morning. 

Mussavir Hussain Shazeb and Abdul Matheen Taha were caught after a joint operation by central intelligence agencies and police from Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, and Kerala, and are en route to Kolkata, the anti-terror agency said in a statement.

The available evidence indicates Shazeb planted the explosive device, placed inside a backpack, at the popular eatery. Taha was responsible for planning the attack and for their disappearance.

These are the second and third arrests in this case; last month Muzammil Shareef, who extended logistical support to the Shazeb and Taha, was taken into custody.

Residents of Karnataka's Shivamogga district, Shazeb and Taha were traced to Kanthi after officials conducted searches at 18 locations across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and even Uttar Pradesh.

The blast at Bengaluru's Rameshwaram Cafe on March 1 injured 10 people, customers and staff.

Fortunately there were no deaths; the bag containing the explosives was placed in a relatively less crowded area and against a large pillar that absorbed the brunt of the explosion.

After the blast, the NIA released photos and videos of the accused, as seen on CCTV cameras across Bengaluru. In one such clip, the accused - wearing a face mask - was seen boarding a bus.

The agency had declared a reward of ₹ 10 lakh for information leading to the arrest of each accused. The agency had also questioned their acquaintances, including college and school friends.

The Rameshwaram Cafe, which suffered extensive damage after the blast, reopened eight days later, with enhanced security measures including metal detectors.

BJP’s reaction

The Karnataka BJP on Friday attacked the Siddaramaiah government after the arrest of two men by the NIA in the Bengaluru cafe blast case, saying that the terrorists were 'brothers' of the Congress.

Taking to social media, Karnataka BJP stated, “National Investigation Agency (NIA) detains ‘Brothers’ of Congress in Rameshwaram Blast case. Ever since Jihadi Tipu Sultan’s admirers came to power in Karnataka, terrorists have got a free ride.”

“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s ‘Ease of Doing Terror’ Policies have prompted ISIS to now set up its shop in Karnataka. The only guarantee that CM Siddaramaiah has fulfilled is converting prosperous Karnataka into a terror hub,” the BJP stated.

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