Amit Shah Ends Speculation Over Who Will Lead Bihar Poll Campaign


PATNA: Nitish Kumar will remain the Chief Minister of Bihar after the 2020 assembly election, which the BJP will fight under his leadership, the party’s national chief Amit Shah has said. “The Janata Dal (United) and the BJP will go to polls together and we will fight polls under the leadership of Nitish ji. This is absolutely clear,” the Union Home Minister said in an interview to News18 on Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and the BJP are in a coalition government in Bihar. Leaders from both sides have often aired passive aggressive views over who would lead the election battle formation in the eastern state. Amit Shah’s assertion is likely to put to rest any speculation over who will lead the alliance campaign.

Mr Shah admitted there were some differences over who would lead the campaign. But he added that in collation politics, differences are signs of a healthy relationship and there should be no “manbhed” (argument) on this.

Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister from the BJP, Sushil Kumar Modi, has already said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will contest under Nitish Kumar’s leadership. But until now, there was no official word from the BJP’s leadership.

Mr Shah’s comment has come as a big relief for all those working behind the scenes to ensure the alliance remains intact, especially after relentless attacks on Nitish Kumar by Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who criticised the Chief Minister almost every day after heavy rain led to unprecedented flooding in state capital Patna earlier this month.

When no BJP leader or MLA showed up for a Dussehra event in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan attended by Nitish Kumar, it was read as a sign of a widening rift between the allies.

Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaisawal has said Giriraj Singh’s comments cannot be seen as the party’s official line. “He (Mr Singh) speaks in his personal capacity. Only a statement by the party’s spokesperson should be treated as official,” Mr Jaisawal said.

The Bihar assembly election is due next year.

Complaint Against Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi Over Patna Floods



A complaint was filed against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, several ministers and Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials seeking action against them over the recent Patna floods.

The complaint was filed in the court of Patna Chief Judicial Magistrate under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 302 (murder) and (120B) criminal conspiracy.

Bihar Cabinet minister Suresh Kumar Sharma, PMC Mayor Sita Sahu, Commissioner Amit Kumar Pandey, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited Managing Director Amrendra Prasad Singh, Ex-UDD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad and Ex-Patna Commissioner Anand Kishor were also named in the complaint.

The complaint urged the court to look into the matter, take cognizance against the accused in the given sections and suitably punish them.

The complaint, filed by an advocate, alleged that the lives of several people were lost and government and private property worth over Rs. 100 crore was affected due to the “man-made” floods, caused “due to the non-maintenance of the drainage system” and the failure of the government machinery.

It said that even after 18-20 days, some of the affected areas were water-logged.

Over 73 people died in the floods in several parts of the state.

Bullet flies in Ranchi again


Gun attacks are taking place in the heart of the capital city with an alarming regularity.

A 42-year-old man was shot at by an unidentified person near his house at Site-5 of HEC Township under Jagannathpur police station on Wednesday night, barely two days after five men fired at two owners of a jewellery store in Lalpur.

Anuj Sinha, who used to work as a driver in the excise department office on Kanke Road, was shot at around 11.30pm on Wednesday about 500 metres away from his house.

“As soon as Sinha’s car reached Sardar Patel School, a bike overtook the car and came close to window on the driver’s side. A man riding pillion on the bike whipped out a gun, shot at Sinha and sped away,” a local resident said on the condition of anonymity.

Sinha, who slumped in his car, was first rushed to Gurunanak Hospital and then to RIMS by local residents.

Officer-in-charge of Jagannathpur police station, Anup Kumar Karmakar, said prima facie the matter appeared to be a case of personal rivalry.

“If the attacker wanted to loot the victim, his car would have been intercepted in an isolated place between Kanke Road and HEC Township. It seemed that the attacker was following the victim’s car and opened fire as soon as he got the opportunity,” Kumar said.

A RIMS doctor said the condition of the victim was stable after the bullet, which got stuck between his spinal cord and kidney, was removed after a two-hour operation.

Bihar: Man arrested for extortion in name of Naxal organisations


Patna: A person was arrested by the security forces for allegedly extorting money in the name of Naxal organisations from the residents of an area in Bihar’s Gaya.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Gaya, Rajeev Mishra said that a team of the Rampur police station, working along with CRPF and COBRA nabbed the accused identified as Vikas Kumar on Wednesday from the area.

“We had received the info that people working with Naxals were coming to take levy from a contractor. A CRPF, Cobra and Rampur police team carried out the operation in which a person named Vikas Kumar was arrested, and Rs 1.98 lakh was recovered from him, as against the amount of Rs 2.10 lakh given by the contractor,” Mishra told reporters here yesterday.

The SSP added that after the arrest it had come to light that a separate ring which was involved in extortion in the name of Naxal organisations was active in the area.

“However, after the arrest, it came to notice that one person named Mandeep, who is a sub-Zonal commander, had been extorting money by forming his own chain of command separate from the Naxals. The prime Naxal organisation had no idea of the levy being taken from contractors or businessmen,” Mishra said.

The police official added that the parallel gang which was involved in the business of extorting money from businessmen had been active in the region since long. Further investigations are underway.

President Ram Nath Kovind to be in Japan for emperor’s enthronement


President Ram Nath Kovind will join Britain’s Prince Charles, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan and leaders of several Asian countries in attending the enthronement ceremony of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito on October 22. Mr. Kovind, who leaves on Thursday for a four-day state visit in the Philippines, will travel to Tokyo on October 21.

According to officials, about 80 world leaders are expected at the ceremony and banquets, which will be held over two days. Royal families of the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Saudi Arabia are also among the invitees due to attend.

Mr. Kovind will also visit a Buddhist Temple in Tokyo to plant a Bodhi tree as well as travel to the city of Kakegawa, about 230 km away, to inaugurate an Indian cultural and yoga centre there, funded by a Japanese citizen of Indian origin.

“President Kovind’s visit underlines the deep traditional and civilisational bonds between India and Japan, and shared heritage of Buddhism,” said MEA Secretary (East) Vijay Singh, briefing the media. “His participation in the enthronement ceremony signifies the high importance India attaches to Japan,” Ms. Singh added. No bilateral talks are expected during Mr. Kovind’s visit, although he will attend both the court banquet hosted by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, and a state banquet hosted by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

In the Philippines, bilateral talks during Mr. Kovind’s State visit will focus on the joint challenge of terrorism. Indian and Philippines officials will hold a joint working group on terrorism, with a focus on fighting urban terrorism, narco-terrorism, and work on information-sharing on terror groups. India had donated $500,000 to the Philippines for the reconstruction of Marawi city, which had been destroyed during a siege in May 2017 by a terror group claiming allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in which more than 1,000 people were killed, and the two sides will discuss strengthening counter terror cooperation, officials said.

Cops clueless, jewellers on warpath in Ranchi


Jewellers here downed shutters for three hours on Wednesday to protest Monday’s gun attack near Lalpur Chowk on two members of their fraternity, asking pointedly why the police had not yet nabbed the assailants.

Under the banner of Sona Chandi Vyavsayi Samiti, over 500 jewellers shut shop from 11am to 2pm in solidarity with injured brothers Rahul and Rohit Kheriwal and demanded speedy arrest of five gunmen who had entered their jewellery store at a posh market complex posing as customers. Samiti president Ravi Kumar Tinku told the media that they would call for a Ranchi bandh if the criminals were not arrested within 48 hours.

“It is a question of security of those in our profession, all businessmen as well as the people of Ranchi,” Tinku said. “The criminals left the city within 25 minutes after shooting at the brothers in the heart of the city, despite being under electronic surveillance. Not only this, they also reached Bihar safely within five hours after they committed the crime. This has exposed poor policing in the state. In case the gunmen are not arrested within 48 hours, we will give a call for Ranchi bandh.”

Contacted, a senior police officer said they were working on several leads to nab the criminals. “Several teams have been constituted. One team has been sent to Gaya and another to Aurangabad, both in Bihar. Several teams are conducting raids based on intelligence inputs. We are waiting for a breakthrough,” he said, but requested not to be named as he is not authorised to brief the media.

Both the Kheriwal brothers, aged 35 and 40, who had been operated upon for bullet wounds at RIMS, Ranchi, were airlifted in ambulances on Wednesday to Delhi for “better post-operative care”, their father Banwari Kheriwal said.

Thanking the RIMS doctors for “saving the lives of my sons”, he added: “Based on consultations with family members, we decided to send Rahul and Rohit to Apollo in New Delhi (Indraprastha Apollo Hospital) by air ambulance on Wednesday for post-operative care. We understand post-operative care is vital to quick recovery. Otherwise treatment here (at RIMS) has been done properly,” Kheriwal said.

Rahul was seen speaking to his parents anxiously while being wheeled out of the RIMS trauma centre for Delhi in the morning. “He was worried about medical expenses, but I asked him not to worry about money and said I was getting support from my brothers. I said ‘we just want you two to recover completely’,” the father said.

Ink Attack on Union Minister Ashwini Choubey Outside Government Hospital in Patna


Patna: A bottle full of ink was flung here on Tuesday towards Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who ended up with stains on his clothes while his vehicle got smudged with the dark blue liquid.

The drama unfolded outside the Patna Medical College and Hospital which Choubey had visited to inspect the ward where patients suffering from dengue, incidence of which has witnessed a spurt in the past fortnight, were admitted.

The minister, who is known to prefer taking the front seat adjacent to that of the driver, had opened the door and was about to board when the uncorked bottle came across flying and crashed a few feet away from him.

Spots of the ink could be seen on the ministers kurta sleeves and his sleeveless jacket while the cars bonnet and window panes were covered with blotches. Hospital authorities and officials who had come out to see the minister off exclaimed in horror while the personnel deputed for his security gave the suspected miscreants, one of them donning a blue T-shirt and jeans and the other dressed in a formal full-sleeve shirt and trousers, a chase for some distance.

A visibly irritated Choubey told a posse of journalists before speeding away “it has been orchestrated by elements who do not believe in democracy, who led a life of crime before entering politics”.

Although the minister took no names, his barb was apparently aimed at controversial politician Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who has floated his own outfit Jan Adhikar Party (JAP).

Several people, claiming to owe allegiance to JAP, had raised slogans against Choubey when he had arrived at the PMCH in the morning.

Yadav had made his presence felt in the state capital during the recent waterlogging when he was seen moving through the inundated streets atop motor boats, distributing food, drinking water and money among residents.

On a local news channel, a man in his 20s appeared dressed in a blue T-shirt claiming that he indeed was the one who had thrown ink at the minister.

He said he did so as an expression of “personal anguish” over the failure of governments in the state as well as the Centre to help the people of the city whose lives had come to a grinding halt on account of streets remaining submerged in waist-deep water for several days together.

He also said his name was Nishant Jha and although he acted in his “personal capacity”, he was an active member of the students wing of JAP.

However, when Yadav was contacted and told about Jha, he remained evasive about the young mans connection with his party.

“I do not condone such acts. But did the honourable minister expect bouquets? A few drops of ink on his clothes has got his goat.

“He should try putting himself in the shoes of those whose homes and shops were destroyed in water logging and who are still not able to live in peace, thanks to the outbreak of vector-borne diseases that the deluge has brought in its wake”, Yadav told reporters.

Later, after concluding a meeting with state health officials besides central medical experts who have been camping here to assist the former, Choubey denounced the episode as “a cowardly act”.

He said “if people are so desirous of expressing anguish, they should do so in my face, without hiding behind a crowd and scurrying away immediately afterwards”.

Meanwhile, no FIR was registered in connection with the incident which took place several hours ago and Pir Bahore police station SHO- Rizwan Ahmed Khan- said “we are awaiting a complaint to be lodged on behalf of the aggrieved party”.

A close aide of Choubey said on condition of anonymity the minister has left for Samastipur where he has been requested by LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan to campaign in favour of his nephew and party candidate Prince in the Lok Sabha by-election.

“We, wonder why the police cannot act taking suo motu cognizance of an incident that has taken place at a public place, caught on camera and involves a Union minister,” the minister’s aide said.

BPSC 65th prelims: Cut off expected to be 100, says expert


Around three lakh candidates took the preliminary tests of 65th Combined Competitive Exam (CCE) examinations conducted by Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) at 718 centres across 35 districts for 423 government jobs on Tuesday.

In Patna, the candidates took the exams at 29 centres. There were 150 objective type questions from general studies that had to be answered within three hours.

“Only 70% candidates appeared for the exams across the state. It was concluded peacefully. In one of the centres at Hajipur, the exam started 15 minutes late due to some unavoidable reasons. The candidates were given extra time to compensate,” said Amrendra Kumar, exam controller of BPSC.

According to Dr M Rahman of Rahman’s Gurukool, Patna, “The questions this year were from history and current affairs. Candidates who have studied NCERT, current affairs and Bihar politics are expected to fare well.”

Expected Cut off:

In his opinion, the cut-off for general category will be 100, OBC 96-98, EBC 88-93, SC/ST 80-85 and female reserved 87-90.

What Students Said:

“Questions were not so difficult. Majority of questions were on current affairs and Bihar politics,” said Divyanshu, who took the exam at College of Commerce, Rajendranagar.

Another candidate, Amar Tiwary who took the exam at Sir GD Uccha Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Patliputra said, “I attempted more than 125 questions.All the questions had five options which made it challenging to choose the correct answer.”

After Prolonged Patna Water-logging, Bihar Govt Shifts Senior Officials from Currents Posts


Patna: The Bihar government has removed Principal Secretary of Urban Development department Chaitanya Prasad and Patna Divisional Commissioner Anand Kishor from their positions apparently in the wake of prolonged water-logging here triggered by incessant rain in September end.

Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO) Managing Director Amarendra Prasad Singh has also been shifted to another post, according to a General Administration Department notification issued Tuesday evening.

Axe has fallen on the senior officials after the government had cracked whip on several middle level officials of the Patna Municipal Corporation and BUIDCO, responsible for upholding civic facilities in the capital city.

They were punished for lapses in discharge of their duties in dealing with the accumulation of water in several localities after heavy downpours for three days starting September 27 in Patna.

Water-logging continued for over a week in promiment localities like Rajendranagar, Kankarbagh and Patliputra colony, when boats of NDRF and SDRF were seen rescuing citizens from their inundated houses, had drawn national outrage.

The visual of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi being rescued from his flooded house in Rajendranagar with other family members was seen with awe across the country. The issue had also resulted in some hot exchange of words between the ruling NDA partners- JD(U) and the BJP.

Chaitanya Prasad has been shifted to Science and Technology department as its principal secretary. Prasad, a 1989 batch IAS officer, will continue to hold additional charge of the Parliamentary Affairs department, the notification said.

Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor has been made Secretary in the urban development department. He will also hold additional charge of Managing Director of the Patna Metro

Rail Corporation.

According to the notification, 2002 batch IAS officer Sanjay Agarwal, currently Transport Secretary, has been given additional charge of Patna divisional commissioner till further order.

He had earlier served as Patna District Magistrate. BUIDCO MD Amarendra Prasad Singh has been transferred and made Administrator, Bihar State Road Transport Corporation, Patna while Chandrashekhar Singh, presently working as Additional Secretary in the CM Secretariat, will replace him in BUIDCO.

Choked drainage system after heavy rain in September end had caused massive water logging in many areas of the state capital.

The government had on Monday placed officials under suspension, withheld payment of their salaries and issued show-cause notices for lapses in discharge of their duties when the state capital was reeling under worst-ever water logging in three decades.

Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar had said the action followed a review meeting of the top government officials. The new transfer order also saw change in position of some other IAS officers.

Dr Dipak Prasad, currently Advisor, Bihar State Planning Board, has been made principal secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat department.

Science and Technology department’s principal secretary Harjot Kaur Bamhara will be principal secretary-cum commissioner in the Mines and Geology department.

Pradeep Kumar Jha has been made Director, Information and Public Relations department till further order. Jha will continue to hold additional charge as Special Secretary of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), it added.

Jharkhand lynching case: Murder charge reimposed against 11 accused of killing Tabrez Ansari


The Jharkhand police on Wednesday reimposed section 302 of the Indian Penal Code ( murder) in a supplementary charge sheet filed against 11 accused in a case involving the mob lynching of 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari in Dhatkidih village under Seraikela police station (PS) on the night of June 17-18 this year, district police officials said.

Police also pressed the same charge against two others accused in the case.

The police dropped the charge of murder in the first charge sheet submitted in the Seraikela court on July 23 and charged the 11 jailed accused under section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) citing the autopsy report and viscera report that mentioned cardiac arrest as the cause of Ansari’s death on June 22.

Ansari died during treatment at Seraikela Sadar Hospital, four days after he was brutally beaten up by an angry mob for allegedly trying to burgle the house of Kamal Mahato in Dhatkidih village during the intervening night of June 17 and 18. He was handed over to the police by villagers on June 18 and sent to jail the same day. His thrashing was captured on a video.

The absence of the murder charge in the original charge sheet prompted outrage; the police were already under fire for not admitting a clearly injured Ansari in hospital soon after it apprehended him.

“Seraikela police submitted a supplementary charge sheet in Setaikela court today under section 302 of the IPC after ongoing investigation against two more accused was completed. Since the second autopsy report has further elaborated and pinpointed cause of death and the forensic report has also confirmed the integrity of the lynching video, section 302 of IPC has also been re-imposed against all the 11 jailed accused,” said Navin Kumar, South Chotanagpur inspector general of police (IGP).

Kolhan DIG Kuldeep Dwivedi in a statement on Wednesday said that viscera report from forensic science laboratory (FSL), Chandigarh, attributed Ansari’s death to cardiac arrest but added that it did not pinpoint the exact cause of death.

The police got another an autopsy test done by a board of doctors of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College Hospital (MGMMCH) in Jamshedpur, he added.

This showed that the cardiac arrest was caused by heart chambers filling with blood as a result of the beating he received, he explained in the statement. “The forensic report of the lynching video also confirmed its integrity and stated that no tampering was done with the video, therefore, section 302 is being imposed against all the 13 accused.”

Ansari’s widow Sahista Parveen expressed her happiness that the murder charge has been reimposed against all the accused but sought a CBI investigation into the case.

“This is victory of our fight for justice. Imposing section 302 sure has sparked hope for justice but I still demand a CBI probe so that the culprits can’t escape by any chance. I want all of them to be hanged to death,” Parveen said.