Ex-Minister Gopinath Munde’s Nephew Wants Probe After Expert’s Wild Claim


BJP leader Gopinath Munde had died in a road accident in New Delhi in 2014. (File Photo)

Mumbai: 

Nationalist Congress Party or NCP leader Dhananjay Munde has demanded a probe either by the R&AW or a Supreme Court judge into the death of his uncle and former union minister Gopinath Munde after a cyber expert claimed that the BJP leader was “killed” as he was aware of hacking of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Dhananjay Munde, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, also termed as “shocking” the claims made by the self-proclaimed US-based Indian cyber expert.

He said those who loved Gopinath Munde had always raised questions over his death wondering “if it actually was an accident or a sabotage”.

Gopinath Munde died in a road accident in New Delhi in 2014.

“A cyber expert has made a sensational claim that former Union Minister Late Gopinathrao Munde saheb was murdered. This claim needs immediate attention and investigation from RAW/Supreme Court, as it is directly linked to the death of mass leader. #EVMHacking,” Dhananjay Munde tweeted.

“Everybody who followed Munde saheb’s leadership and loved him had raised questions about his death. After today”s revelation, the doubt has been addressed. If the claim of #EVMHacking is true, then it also violate the norms of the biggest democracy of the world(sic),” the NCP leader alleged.

In another tweet in Marathi, Dhananjay Munde said, “Each of those who loved Munde Saheb had doubted that he died in the accident, but it was a sabotage.”

“Hence, the startling claims made by cyber expert Syed Suja in a live press conference backs the suspicion,” he claimed.

The cyber expert, identified as Syed Shuja who is seeking political asylum in the US, claimed on Monday that the 2014 elections were “rigged” through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he claims, can be hacked.

The Election Commission of India has denied the charge.

Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, Syed Shuja said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members.

The cyber expert also claimed that BJP leader Gopinath Munde was “killed because he was aware of EVM hacking in the 2014 elections.”

He however, provided no proof to back up his allegations.

Syed Shuja also claimed that NIA officer Tanzil Ahmed, who was investigating Munde’s death, was planning to file an FIR noting that the BJP leader had been murdered, but was himself killed.

The Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI in October 2014 ruled out any foul play in the death of Gopinath Munde, claiming that the politician had died due to injuries sustained in a road accident.
 





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SIT probe will be done to kill BJP leader in madhya pradesh


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India, Bangladesh Border Forces Probe How 31 Rohingya Got Stuck In Border


While the BGB asserted that the Rohingyas came from India, the BSF denied the claim. (Representational)

Agartala: 

Thirty one Rohingya Muslims are stuck in no-man’s land, holed up behind the barbed wire fencing along the Bangladesh border in Tripura since Friday, while a blame-game is on between the border guards of the two countries over their refuge.

The Border Security Force (BSF) officials said six men, nine women and 16 children were detained by the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and are behind the fencing at Rayermura in West Tripura district, about 15 km from Agartala.

While the BGB asserted that the Rohingyas came from India, the BSF denied the claim. Both the sides have met twice since Saturday but failed to make any headway to resolve the issue.

“They are stranded between the international border and the barbed wire fencing for last 48 hours. They tried to enter Indian territory from Bangladesh side and we stopped them,” BSF Deputy Inspector General CL Belwa told PTI Sunday.

The barbed wire fencing has been erected 300 feet into the Indian side from the international border.

“We are supplying water and other basic needs from our own resources to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds since last night,” the DIG said.

Despite the BGB stressing that the Rohingyas were from India, the BSF said there was no tell-tale sign of breach of fence on the Indian side.

The BSF has also offered the BGB to join a survey on the Indian side to identify any sign of breach in fencing.

Around 8.30 pm on Friday, BGB Commanding Officer Lt Col Gomal Kabir had called up BSF Commandant Ratnesh Kumar to inform him that they had detained 31 Rohingyas at the border.

“BGB commanding officer insisted that the BSF take those Rohingyas inside the Indo-Bangladesh border fencing. Commanding Officer BGB also alleged that BSF have been pushing Rohingyas into Bangladesh territory,” General Belwa told reporters.

“We were expecting that BGB will contact us for a flag meeting. But they did not contact us, rather we contacted them and yesterday 12 o”clock, an officer level meeting was conducted at zero line,” General Belwa said.

He said the BSF offered BGB officials to come and survey the Indian side to see if there is any breach of the barbed wire fence.

However, the BGB authorities declined the offer and stuck to their demand that the BSF must take the Rohingyas into the Indian territory. A Battalion Commander level meeting was held at the Zero Line at 11 am on Sunday.

“The BGB battalion commander was of the same view that Rohingyas came from Indian side. We have denied their allegations and said there is no tell-tale sign of breach of fence on Indian side,” BSF DIG Belwa said.

He added that the Rohingyas might have come from the other side (Bangladesh).

Twelve and 62 Rohingyas were detained in Tripura in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

In October 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had ordered all state governments to identify and monitor Rohingya refugees.

It said the centre viewed infiltration of Rohingyas from Rakhine state of Myanmar into Indian territory as a burden on the country”s resources and it aggravated security challenges to the country.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as the most persecuted minority in the world, fled their homes in 2017 to escape an alleged crackdown by Myanmar’s military.

Many of them reached India via Bangladesh.





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Man Killed By 2 Lions In Punjab Zoo; Cops Probe How He Entered Enclosure


The victim was attacked for around 10 minutes by two lions. (Representational)

Chandigarh: 

A man was killed inside the Lion Safari enclosure of the Chhatbir Zoo in Punjab’s Mohali district today.

There were four lions in the lion safari at the time of the incident. The victim was attacked for around 10 minutes by two lions.

Zoo officials said they are trying to ascertain how the man scaled the 12-ft-high wall of the safari enclosure. There was a barbed wire fencing on top of that wall.

The man, believed to be around 25 years old, was spotted by drivers of the buses that ferry tourists inside the lion safari.

“The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him brought dead,” a zoo official said.

The lion safari has been closed for the time being for visitors following the incident.

Called the Mohendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir zoo is spread over 505 acres and is home to over 1,200 animals from over 100 species.





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Infant Dies After Woman Gives Birth On Srinagar Road, Probe Ordered


The relatives and neighbours of the woman held a protest march (Representational)

Srinagar: 

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday ordered an inquiry after a woman gave birth to a baby on a road as doctors at the state’s premier maternity care hospital allegedly refused to admit her.

The woman, a resident of Kupwara district of north Kashmir, delivered a baby girl on the road, but the family could not save the baby.

Divisional commissioner Jammu and Kashmir, Baseer Khan, ordered an inquiry after reports of denial of entry to a pregnant woman into Lal Ded Hospital came out.

“A news item has been posted on the social media which reveals that a woman from remote area of Kupwara district was forced to deliver on the roadside after doctors of Government LD Hospital, Srinagar, the largest maternity care hospital in the valley, did not allow her to stay in the hospital for a night and did not admit her on Thursday,” Mr Khan said in the order.

The officer asked Principal/Dean, Government Medical College Srinagar to inquire into the matter and submit a report in two days.

“This news item needs a thorough enquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned if found liable for such negligence/ act,” the order read.

“You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent,” it added.

The relatives and neighbours of the woman held a protest march at Press Enclave on Saturday, demanding action and doctors and hospital administration.

They also demanded establishment of a maternity care hospital in Kupwara and accommodation at Srinagar for patients from such far-flung areas.

The incident happened on Thursday night after the woman from remote Moore village of Kalaroos area of Kupwara developed labour pain at her home earlier during the day.

A family member of the woman said she was taken to Kalaroos hospital on a cot by a few people as the road was not motorable because of snow.

“The doctors there referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was further referred to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar,” the family member said.

He said the woman was kept under observation for a few hours at Lal Ded hospital, after which the doctors there allegedly refused her an overnight stay at the hospital.

“We were told to leave the hospital. A doctor also misbehaved with us. After we left the hospital, she developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The new-born died immediately,” the family member said.

Medical Superintendent, Lal Ded Hospital, Shabir Siddique said there were strict instructions to the doctors to keep patients from far-flung areas for an overnight stay at the hospital.

“We are ascertaining the facts. If there is any negligence, then we will take strict action,” he added.

Meanwhile, politicians have demanded action against the doctors.

“I hope the state functionaries working under the command of @jandkgovernor take immediate action in this tragic case,” National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

“Heart wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded . She later gave birth to a still born in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel,” former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir expressed serious concern over the incident and described it as shameful, deplorable and unfortunate.

Mr Mir expressed hope the Governor-led state administration would take strong notice of the incident, reform the health sector in the state and ensure that no such incident happens in the future.





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NASA’s Cassini Probe Reveals New Details on Saturn’s Rings: Study


The rings of Saturn may have formed much later than the planet itself, according to a new analysis of gravity science data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

The findings, led by scientists from Rome’s Sapienza University, indicate that Saturn’s rings formed between 10 million and 100 million years ago. From our planet’s perspective, that means Saturn’s rings may have formed during the age of dinosaurs.

Saturn formed 4.5 billion years ago, in the early years of our solar system. There have been clues that its ring system is a young upstart that attached to Saturn years afterward. But how long afterward?

To figure out the age of the rings, scientists needed to measure the mass of the rings, or how much material they hold. 

Researchers had the remote-sensing measurements from Cassini and both of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. Then came Cassini’s unprecedented, up-close data from its final orbits in 2017. As the spacecraft was running out of fuel, it performed 22 dives between the planet and the rings.

The dives allowed the spacecraft to act as a probe, falling into Saturn’s gravity field, where it could feel the tug of the planet and the rings. 

Radio signals sent to Cassini from the antennas of NASA’s Deep Space Network and the European Space Agency relayed the spacecraft’s velocity and acceleration.

Once scientists knew how much gravity was pulling on Cassini, causing it to accelerate – down to a fraction of a millimeter per second – they could determine how massive the planet is and how massive the rings are.

“Only by getting so close to Saturn in Cassini’s final orbits were we able to gather the measurements to make the new discoveries,” said Cassini radio science team member and lead author Luciano Iess, of Sapienza University of Rome. 

“And with this work, Cassini fulfills a fundamental goal of its mission: not only to determine the mass of the rings, but to use the information to refine models and determine the age of the rings.”

The findings were published in the journal Science.

The new evidence of young rings lends credence to theories that they formed from a comet that wandered too close and was torn apart by Saturn’s gravity — or by an event that broke up an earlier generation of icy moons.



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Election Commission Directs Probe Into Fake News Of 2019 Election Schedule


Delhi Police has been asked to investigate the matter and take “immediate necessary action”.

New Delhi: 

The Election Commission on Thursday directed the Delhi chief electoral officer (CEO) to ask the city police to investigate the “fake news” of Lok Sabha poll schedule being circulated on social media.

The CEO has also been asked to seek action against unnamed persons and entities under relevant laws to prevent spreading of rumours, official sources said.

The fake news has been circulating on social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp for the past one week.

The office of the CEO Thursday issued a letter to the Delhi Police, asking it to investigate the matter and take “immediate necessary action”.

“It is brought to your kind notice that fake news related to the schedule of general election 2019, has been found in circulation on various social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp etc.” the letter reads.

The Delhi CEO office said the publication of such “fake news” is causing severe confusion to the public, thereby creating “public nuisance and mischief”.

“Accordingly, I am directed to request you to investigate the matter and take immediate necessary actions against unnamed persons and entities under relevant laws,” it said.

The action taken in this regard “may be informed to the undersigned for perusal of CEO, Delhi and onwards submission to the Election Commission,” the letter, written by a senior official, said.





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Could That Street Art Be Banksy? Tokyo Officials Probe


A rat holding an umbrella is one of Banksy’s most famous artworks. (FILE)

Tokyo: 

Tokyo is trying to verify if a drawing of a rat holding an umbrella that has been sprayed near a station is the work of the famous and mysterious street artist Banksy.

“We noticed there is a drawing of a rat painted with spray” on the door near a monorail station in central Tokyo, government official Koji Sugiyama told AFP.

“We think there’s a possibility it has been done by Banksy.”

A rat holding an umbrella is one of Banksy’s most famous artworks.

The government removed the door and placed it in storage Wednesday night to prevent any damage, Sugiyama said.

It is unclear when it was painted but local residents contacted the government about the work at the end of last year.

The government hopes to find out if it is truly a work by Banksy, but “we still don’t know if there’s an expert in Japan”, the official admitted, adding that the government will discuss ways to verify the painting.

Banksy, a British street artist whose identity is known to only a handful of friends, caused a sensation in October when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4 million (1.2 million euros).

Experts say “Girl with Balloon”, which is now called “Love is in the Bin”, is probably worth even more because the stunt created such a massive media stir.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Jay-Z’s Tidal Faces Probe Over Streaming Numbers


The Norwegian government is investigating rapper Jay-Z’s music streaming service, Tidal, for the alleged manipulation of streaming numbers. Whether or not the company is guilty – it denies everything – the industry in which it operates certainly has problems around dubious audience figures. Facebook and Twitter have faced similar accusations of fake accounts and questionable video viewing data.

The Norwegians are interested in Tidal because it’s almost a local company. Jay-Z bought its parent firm, Aspiro, in 2015 from Norwegian media company Schibsted ASA. The hip hop artist’s aspiration was to create an alternative to the industry leader, Sweden’s Spotify Technology SA, with better audio quality and higher royalties to musicians. The project hasn’t gone too well, although Jay-Z has done OK. In 2017, Sprint Corp. bought one-third of Tidal for $200 million, more than three times the $56 million the singer paid for the entire company.

Frequent management changes, the failure to secure exclusive rights to new releases from top artists and slow subscriber growth have relegated Tidal to the status of minor competitor. In June, the market research firm MusicWatch estimated Tidal had 3 million subscribers, including trial accounts – less than 4 percent of Spotify’s paying subscriber count.

Tidal had reported reaching the 3-million mark about two years prior, but its numbers have been disputed. In 2017, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv first alleged that Tidal was massaging them. Jay-Z himself had already accused Schibsted of selling him a firm with an inflated subscriber base. Neither allegation has been reviewed by a court.

The current investigation, however, isn’t about subscriber numbers but about streaming data. In May, 2018, Dagens Naeringsliv reported, based on what it claimed to be a massive data dump from Tidal, that the company had exaggerated the streaming statistics for two albums, “Life of Pablo” by Kanye West and “Lemonade” by Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce. Both were released in 2016, and Tidal said they were streamed 250 million times and 306 million times, respectively – a surprising number given its relatively small subscriber base.

There is a motive for boosting figures (even if this turns out not to have been happening at Tidal). Streaming companies put aside a certain share of their subscription revenue to pay artists. This pool is divided between musicians according to their share of total streams. If, for example, Kanye West’s listener numbers rose sharply, he would receive a bigger payout at no extra cost to the streaming service, but rather at the expense of other artists. That could potentially convince him that an exclusive deal with a streaming company would be a good idea.

These types of exclusive agreements have fallen out of favor in the industry, but even in their absence, a streaming service will still want to make sure the biggest stars are happy with how much money they make. Artists often complain about the size of their streaming royalties and periodically refuse to make their music available. Taylor Swift’s boycott of Spotify lasted three years.

At the same time, lesser-known artists can buy streams, much as it’s been possible for aspiring stars to buy social media followers. In 2017, two Danish journalists succeeded in placing an openly terrible song on Spotify, paying an intermediary for 10,000 streams and avoiding detection by the service’s fraud squad. The intermediary in question is still around, though some of its other clients have had their music removed. Spotify is aware of various fraudulent schemes and is engaged in the usual Whac-A-Mole efforts against them.

Last year, a Bulgarian scammer (or group thereof) was reportedly caught making money from fake Spotify playlists to which 1,200 fake premium accounts “listened” millions of times (a song is considered played on Spotify if someone has listened to at least 30 seconds of it).

One doesn’t need to dive into the Dark Web to find plenty of services offering to generate plays for wannabe superstars. They offer “completely legal” streams at a few dollars per thousand plays or guarantee the placement of a song on a sought-after playlist, even though streaming services’ terms of use forbid this. In other words, the streaming companies’ algorithms can be gamed sometimes. Detecting potential royalty fraud in the streaming industry is a relatively new area, and it’s not an exact science.

Since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have been under pressure to eradicate fake accounts. They’ve been issuing regular estimates of the number of them. Streaming apps aren’t used in presidential campaigns, so much less is known about fraudulent activity in the industry. That certainly needs to change. Data manipulation is a problem across all modern tech platforms.

© 2019 Bloomberg LP



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Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul Controversy: E-Mails Fly In Huge Cricket Panel Rift Over Probe


“In my view, the CoA is duty bound to follow the new constitution and what you are suggesting is neither in consonance with the constitution nor is it as per the legal advice received. It cannot be the case that we follow legal advice only when we consider it, “justifiable”. I can’t be party to this decision and process. In the circumstances, please go ahead with your suggestion. You and AS (acting secretary) please conduct the inquiry. I cannot be a party to such an inquiry as I will not go against a Supreme Court direction/constitution.

“Also please note that since you do not want to follow the suggestion of legal to have an ‘ad hoc ombudsman your suggestion runs the risk of your committee being ‘judge, jury and executioner’. Please go ahead and take it forward. I will keep away and leave it to you,” Rai wrote.

Replying to Rai’s mail, Edulji wrote, “CoA can’t be duty bound in selected matters and that’s what I have been highlighting all through, that we should act as per the rules and regulations being the new constitution at all times. Your point of not going against a Supreme Court Direction / Constitution is what I have been time and again warning about as you have acted against the Supreme Court Direction/Constitution in the matter of Women’s team Head Coach where a committee was appointed inspite of CAC being there and also in the case of sexual harassment matter of Rahul Johri, you unilaterally appointed the independent committee which is not as per the Constitution and I had opposed for that also. Your point of “your committee being ‘judge, jury and executioner” is exactly what you followed and did in the sexual harassment case, which I had opposed and you took the decisions unilaterally.

“My point of having a legal view in players matter was only to take a informed and correct decision. As there is no provision for appointment of an ad hoc ombudsman as per the new Constitution we cannot go ahead with that. As the SC hearing is scheduled for 17th Jan, let the court be informed about this situation and let an Ombudsman be appointed by the court instead of taking a wrong step of appointing the ad hoc ombudsman, which is not as per the new constitution.”

Last week, Edulji had warned the CoA chief of any “cover up” in the Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul inquiry. According to news agency PTI, Vinod Rai in his reply wrote that conducting an inquiry was “not a desire to cover up”.

“Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to “cover up”. The interest of cricket in India has to be kept in mind. The off the ground act of the players was deplorable. It was crass as I said immediately after reading the comments,” Rai wrote in an e-mail to Edulji. 

“It is our responsibility to reprimand them, take corrective action, sensitise them of their misdemeanour and then get them back on to the ground once they have suffered the consequences,” he said.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on Monday tendered “unconditional” apologies.

“Yes, Hardik and Rahul have submitted their reply to the fresh showcause notices that were served to them. They have tendered unconditional apology. The CoA chief has instructed the CEO to conduct an inquiry as per clause 41 (c) of the new BCCI constitution,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul had appeared on TV show Koffee with Karan, where the all-rounder had made controversial comments about women, eventually kicking up a social media storm. Pandya later apologised on social media, after which the BCCI suspended the duo from cricket.

(With inputs from Rica Roy and PTI)



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