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NIA chargesheet on Shivamogga IS conspiracy: 2 B.tech graduates paid in crypto | Latest News India

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The National Investigation Agency has filed a chargesheet against two accused in the Shivamogga Islamic State (IS) conspiracy case in connection with the conspiracy hatched to further the activities of the Islamic State by carrying out acts of arson sabotage and violence in Karnataka. NIA re-registered the case in September 2022 and took over the investigations of the case registered by Karnataka Police after the stabbing of one Prem Singh at Shivamogga (Karnataka) on August 15, 2022 by accused Zabiulla and others.

NIA team investigating Shivmoga case
NIA team investigating Shivmoga case

Maaz Muneer Ahmed (23) and Syed Yasin (22) of Shivamogga have been charged under sections 120B, 121A and 122 of IPC, 1860, sections 18, 18B, 20 & 38 of UA (P) Act, 1967 and sections 4 (i) & 5 of ES Act, 1908 and section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Both Maaz and Syed are B. Tech graduates and were radicalised and motivated by an online foreign-based handler to target public and private properties, including warehouses, liquor outlets, hardware shops, vehicles and properties belonging to citizens belonging to a particular community. They committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage, the chargesheet said.

On how they prepared for the rampage, the chargesheet said Maaz and Syed Yasin both went to Agumbe and Varahi river backwaters forest area of Shivamogga district for trekking and recce for hideouts. They procured explosives and prepared to fabricate an IED. Syed Yasin conducted a trial explosion of one of the IEDs at theVarahi river bank in Shivamogga. He also burnt an Indian National Flag and recorded a video to establish his anti-India credentials.

These IS terror operatives were being paid in cryptocurrencies by their online handler by fund transfers from abroad, the NIA said. Investigations have revealed that Maaz received Crypto equivalent to around 1.5 lakh from the online handler into accounts of his friends, whereas Syed Yasin received 62 K into the account of a friend.

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As part of the larger IS conspiracy, accused Mohamed Shariq had planned to carry out IED blast at Kadri Temple, Mangaluru on November 19, 2022. However, the IED had exploded prematurely due to atimer malfunction, when Shariq was en route to the target location averting a potential disaster.

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How Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from parliament works | Latest News India

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Here’s how Rahul Gandhi, leader of India’s opposition Congress Party, was disqualified as a lawmaker by parliament and what could happen next:

Gandhi faces the risk of not being able to contest the next general election due in 2024 if his conviction is not suspended or overturned, or the sentence is not reduced by a higher court.(Sanjeev Verma/HT)
Gandhi faces the risk of not being able to contest the next general election due in 2024 if his conviction is not suspended or overturned, or the sentence is not reduced by a higher court.(Sanjeev Verma/HT)

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the law that governs elections in India, mandates disqualification of any lawmaker who is “convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years”.

A lower court sentenced Gandhi, 52, on Thursday to two years in jail on charges of defamation for a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi. India’s prime minister is called Narendra Modi.

His disqualification as lawmaker came into effect from the date of conviction. A formal disqualification notice was issued on Friday by the secretariat of India’s Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament of which Gandhi was a member.

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CAN GANDHI CONTEST ELECTIONS?

Gandhi faces the risk of not being able to contest the next general election due in 2024 if his conviction is not suspended or overturned, or the sentence is not reduced by a higher court.

The law also mandates that a convicted lawmaker cannot contest elections for six years after the end of their jail term.

Gandhi represented the Wayanad constituency in the southern state of Kerala.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said on Friday the party was confident the conviction would be suspended.

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WHAT NEXT FOR GANDHI?

To save his parliament seat, a convicted lawmaker has to secure an order from a higher court suspending the conviction, lawyers said.

A lawmaker can be reinstated to parliament if the conviction is stayed or overturned and a fresh election to the seat had yet to be conducted. A reduced sentence would also remove the disqualification.

Gandhi was present in the Gujarat court which gave him bail immediately and suspended the sentence for a month, allowing him to appeal against it.

He can secure bail extensions during the appeal period but cannot contest elections until the conviction is stayed or he is acquitted or he gets a reduced sentence in the case.

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Supreme Court lawyer Vikram Hegde said the most likely recourse for Gandhi was to appeal to a sessions court and seek a stay of conviction.

Once a court suspends the conviction, the disqualification ceases to operate, Hegde told Reuters.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2013?

In July 2013, India’s top court ordered that lawmakers convicted of a serious crime would immediately forfeit their seats, closing off a loophole that had allowed politicians to stay on during appeals, which can drag on for years in India.

In response, then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, a coalition led by the Congress party, issued an executive order that could have allowed convicted lawmakers to continue to hold office and stand in elections.

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Gandhi lambasted Singh’s ordinance as “complete nonsense” and said it should be torn up and thrown out, embarrassing his own party and forcing the government to withdraw the decree.

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Who is Tajinder Gill, what Punjab Police found from Amritpal aide? | Latest News India

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The Khanna Police in Punjab has recovered videos from a mobile phone of Tajinder Singh Gill, aka Baba Gorkha, a close aide of pro-Khalistani leader and ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh.

Videos recovered from a mobile phone of Tajinder Singh Gill show firearms practice by youngsters allegedly picked for Amritpal Singh's Anandpur Khalistan Fauz (AKF).(Screenshot)
Videos recovered from a mobile phone of Tajinder Singh Gill show firearms practice by youngsters allegedly picked for Amritpal Singh’s Anandpur Khalistan Fauz (AKF).(Screenshot)

The phone carries pictures of the flag, emblem and currency of “Khalistan” and videos show firearms practice by youngsters allegedly picked for the radical preacher’s Anandpur Khalistan Fauz (AKF), the Punjab Police said on Friday.

The incriminating material shows the “sinister designs” of this nascent militia force and the enormous threat they would have become for “peace and harmony of Punjab and national security”, a statement by police in Khanna district said.

Who is Tajinder Singh Gill and what Punjab Police revealed?

Senior Superintendent of Police (Khanna) Amneet Kondal said that during interrogation, Tajinder Singh Gill or Baba Gorkha said he had come in contact with Amritpal Singh through Bikram Singh Khalsa, whom he had come in touch with during the farmers’ protest on the outskirts of Delhi.

Baba also revealed that they made a firing range in Amritpal’s native Jullupur Kheda village in Amritsar district. They have also arranged bulletproof jackets.

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Baba went to Jallupur Khera five months back and was inducted as his gunman. Baba was given weapons marked AKF and firing practice was conducted at a makeshift range in the village.

Baba used to display weapons in pictures and videos on social media without having an arms licence. An FIR against him was registered under IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), the police earlier said.

Officials said the investigation has revealed that he was also involved in the Ajnala incident and the Ajnala Police will separately take action against him.

The arrested man was a member of the AKF, being raised by Amritpal to wage an armed struggle for the formation of a separate Khalistan state, a police statement said.

What Punjab Police found?

The phone seized after the arrest on Wednesday of Baba, 42, of village Mangewal held pictures that revealed the design of the flag and the emblem of “Khalistan” and the logos for its proposed provinces.

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Kondal said the mobile phone also had pictures of an AKF hologram and Khalistan currency, including a “10 dollar” note. There was also a picture of a Pakistani national’s driving licence.

The “Khalistan flag” had some Urdu words on it.

During the investigation, police said, Baba revealed that all AKF members were assigned belt numbers like AKF 3, AKF 56 and AKF 47 – perhaps based on their seniority or proximity to Amritpal Singh.

The examination of his phone showed that two WhatsApp groups – “AKF” and “Amritpal Tiger Force” – were created.

The members of the AKF were paid salaries.

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Another associate, Gurbhej Singh alias Bheja, arranged 10 bullet-proof jackets with AKF inscribed on them for the group two months back.

He also gave firearms training to newly inducted members of the group at the makeshift firing range.

Videos of members showing their expertise in assembling, disassembling, cleaning weapons have been recovered, the SSP said.

While Amritpal has eluded police since it began a crackdown against him and his Waris Punjab De outfit, several of his alleged aides are now in custody.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Centre hikes DA by 4% to 42% for central govt employees | Latest News India

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Union minister Anurag Thakur on Friday announced that the government has increased the dearness allowance or DA for central government employees by 4 per cent to 42 per cent with effect from January 1, 2023.

The government has increased the dearness allowance for central government employees by 4 per cent with effect from January 1, 2023.
The government has increased the dearness allowance for central government employees by 4 per cent with effect from January 1, 2023.

It has also extended the subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana for another year and decided to increase the MSP for jute by 300.

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