‘Modi govt paid Rs 100 crore to Israeli company NSO, the maker of notorious Pegasus’

News Network
July 23, 2021

New Delhi, July 23: The budget allocation for National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) rose 10 times to Rs 333.58 crore in 2017-18 from the previous fiscal with activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Friday claiming that it was the year in which Rs 100 crore was paid to Israeli company NSO which makes the controversial spyware Pegasus.

The NSCS advices the Prime Minister on key strategic and security issues and reports to the National Security Adviser.

Bhushan's remarks came as the country is rocked by the revelation of a leaked database, which claimed that Opposition leaders, journalists activists, law enforcement officials and Constitutional authorities among others were potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus.

"In 2016-17, NSA’s budget was Rs 33.17 crore. Next year the budget increased 10 times to Rs 333 crore because Rs 300 crore was added under new head 'cyber security R&D'. This is the year when NSO was paid Rs 100s of crore for cyber hacking of Opposition, journalists, judges, Election Commissioner, activists using Pegasus! Wow," Bhushan tweeted.

It appears that Bhushan is referring to NSCS as the NSA's budget comes under it.

The allocation for 2016-17 was Rs 33.17 crore, which was later revised to Rs 81.03 crore. However, the actual spending was Rs 39.09 crore.

The allocation rose to Rs 333.58 crore in the next fiscal which was further revised to Rs 168 crore. However, the actual expenditure was only Rs 61.18 crore.

In 2018-19 fiscal, which preceeded the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the NSCS budget allocationwas Rs 303.83 crore, which was revised to Rs 841.73 crore while the actual spending was Rs 812.32 crore. 

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News Network
September 16,2021

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Mysuru, Sept 16: A journalist of was assaulted in broad daylight by the miscreants belonging to hardline Hindutva outfits during the protest rally staged by the Hindu Jagaran Samiti, near Kote Anjaneyaswamy Temple in Mysuru on Thursday.

Mohammed Safdar Kaiser of 'The Daily Kausar' was covering the event and recording the speech of hardline leader Jagadish Karanth when they pounced on him and attacked without any provocation. They also demanded him to delete the video footage.

Condemning the assault on the journalist, the Mysuru District Journalists Association has lodged a complaint with the Police Commissioner seeking protection to the journalists covering the events.

Hindutva activists, under the banner of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, took out a huge rally in Mysuru on Thursday condemning the BJP government and the district administration for the demolition of Hindu temples.

They raised slogans against the BJP government, Minister S T Somashekar, MLA S A Ramadass and other BJP leaders for failing to protect the temples.

As permission was not given for the rally, the protesters staged a protest near Kote Anjaneyaswamy Temple. The organisations sought action against all the officials, who were responsible for the demolition of the historic Mahadevamma Temple, that was built centuries ago at Uchagani village in Nanjangud taluk recently.

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News Network
September 23,2021

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Bengaluru, Sep 23: A delegation of Catholic bishops of Karnataka, led by Archbishop of Bangalore Reverend Peter Machado, met Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to voice their opinion over a proposed law to ban religious conversions in the state.

They also spoke about a host of other topics, including inclusion of representatives of Christian managements in committees formed to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP).

In a statement issued here on Thursday said Machado said they had expressed displeasure over recent allegations against the community, terming it “malicious” and “untrue”. The Archbishop of Bangalore Archdiocese highlighted that hundreds of schools, colleges, and hospitals were operated under the aegis of each bishop. “There are about a lakh students but none have been advised to get converted to Christianity. Some minor events might have taken place which have been blown out of proportion now,” he added.

While speaking about the need for an anti-conversion Bill in the Assembly, Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar had recently claimed that religious conversions were “rampant” across the state. The MLA had also said 15,000 to 20,000 people, including his own mother, were converted to Christianity in his constituency.

Responding to this, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had said the state government was considering bringing in a law to regulate religious conversion. “The issue (of religious conversions) has come to the government’s notice. Converting people from one religion to another by inducing them is a punishable offence. We will keep a strict vigil on such activities. There is a wide network working on religious conversions across the country,” Jnanendra had said in his reply in the Assembly.

When asked about the same, Machado said, “Someone is trying to malign us. While the issue is being debated in the Assembly, we have reminded people not to do such things. It is not right if someone approaches people, hands over the book and a cross, and converts them. We, too, have a conscience and moral responsibility. We are not forcing anyone.”

In a memorandum submitted to the CM on Wednesday said the bishops noted that such a law would lead to “unnecessary communal issues and unrest” with many more controversial statements and reactions made following the same.

The memorandum also noted the need to include representation from Christian managements in the NEP implementation committees. “Even though thousands of educational institutions are being managed by members from the community, we would like to bring to your notice that there is no Christian representation in various committees formed to implement NEP,” the letter read.

The bishops also urged Bommai to establish a Christian Development Board under the government to ensure their welfare and address demands made by the community on various fronts.

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News Network
September 17,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 17: In a shocking incident, a 17-year-old boy was found dead with a gunshot wound in the early hours on Friday at a BMTC bus stop near Indian Air Force Headquarters Training Command in RMV Second Stage in Bengaluru.

The police suspect that the deceased boy allegedly shot himself with his father's licensed pistol.  

The deceased has been identified as Rahul Bandari, a resident of Ganganagar of RT Nagar. According to a preliminary investigation, Sadashivanagar police said that Rahul was found dead on the pavement of the BMTC bus stop around 5.30 am. 

A passerby who noticed him lying in the pool of blood alerted the police. On reaching the spot police found that Rahul had a gunshot wound on his head. A pistol, pistol bag, a belt and a mobile phone were lying next to his body. 

Rahul was studying in class XI in the Army Public School. He was the son of retired Army Havaldar Bhagath Singh. Rahul was staying along with his parents and elder sister in a rented house in Ganganagar. 

MN Anucheth, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) after visiting the spot, told media persons that prima facie it appears that Rahul had shot himself. There is a bullet entry injury on the right side of his head and an exit wound on the left side.

Rahul left his house around 3.30 am for a walk. While leaving, he carried his father's pistol kept in almirah without anybody noticing it. When he came to the bus stop, he allegedly shot himself. The reason for his extreme step is yet to be ascertained, Anucheth said. 

Rahul used to go for a walk in the morning and at night whenever he felt stressed after studying. He was preparing for his class exams. He was studying from Thursday night till the wee hours on Friday. 

His parents tried to reach him on his mobile phone to check if he had gone for a morning walk, but the calls went answered, a senior investigating officer said. 

According to Rahul's parents, they had trained him on using the pistol. Bhagat brought the pistol in 2017. The family hails from Uttarakhand and has been residing in Bengaluru for almost two decades. The parents are shocked by the extreme step of Rahul. He didn't have any issues at home, he was also good at studies and had scored around 90 percent in his class X, the officer added. A case of unnatural death has been registered by Sadashivanagar and further investigation is on.

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