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Ahmedabad

IIM Ahmedabad to introduce Post-Graduate Programme in Advanced Business Analytics

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The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) today said it would offer a Post Graduate Programme in Advanced Business Analytics (PGP-ABA), a 16-month post-graduate diploma, from the academic year 2020.
 
The institute, generally regarded as India's top business school, said this was being done  at a time when, with the deluge of digital data, data-driven decision making has now become an integral part of the efficient functioning of every organization, and more generally of society at large. 
 
Prof. Errol D’Souza, Director, IIMA said, “Along with the growth in processing power we are witnessing the growth of large pools of unstructured data which have embedded information that can be beneficially used for the good of organizations and societies. This course enables those who take it to deploy appropriate methodologies so as to extricate significant information from data and enrich decision-making that unlocks value for all stakeholders.”
 
A press release from the institute said the PGP-ABA is designed to help working professionals to acquire essential skills and knowledge for asking the right questions, addressing it with analysis of the right kind of data, and finally drive the decisions with the insights gained from the analysis to drive decisions. The programme thus provides a framework for transforming data into insights that are coupled into an effective business decision making process. 
 
"In a nutshell, the programme will focus on building blended expertise in data 'literacy', data processing and business acumen. We strongly believe that this unique blended competency is the requirement in the Analytics profession today," it said.
 
"The PGP-ABA curriculum is designed to give the participants in-depth exposure to the analytics tools and techniques, and prepare them to solve business problems across industry verticals and functional domains using data. The course is geared towards enhancing the analytical problem-solving ability of the students through structured coursework. The students will be exposed to state-of-the-art data handling tools and techniques, followed by a rigorous and comprehensive coverage of analytical methods and model development techniques, which are immediately applicable to cutting-edge business problems," it said.
 
Prof. Tathagata Bandyopadhyay, Chairperson, PGP-ABA, IIMA, added, “IIMA believes in delivering high-quality programmes, with emphasis on experiential learning and this programme is no exception. Besides explaining the theoretical underpinning of the tools and techniques, emphasis will be given on hands-on learning using a variety of data sets from various domains of applications. Finally, you will be exposed to the domain-specific application of analytics in two chosen domains from different business vertical and Public Policy.”
 
The objective of PGP-ABA programme is to upskill and prepare students for future in taking up leadership positions and shouldering more significant responsibilities in the organization. The programme delivery is through a thoughtful mix of online, and on-campus sessions, the release added.
 
More details about the course are available here.
 
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Modi pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by paying homage to the Father of the Nation at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by paying homage to the Father of the Nation at the Sabarmati Ashram here today.
 
He also inaugurated the Swachh Bharat Diwas 2019 in the city and released a postage stamp and a silver coin to commemorate the occasion.
 
At the Sabarmati Ashram, which was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle, Modi visited the Magan Niwas (Charkha Gallery) and interacted with children there.
 
Addressing a gathering of Sarpanches at the 'Swachh Bharat Diwas’ programme said that the entire world is commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the event has been made more memorable after the United Nations released a postal stamp on Gandhiji a few days back. 
 
He said that he had the opportunity to visit Sabarmati Ashram many times in his  lifetime and today like every other time got new energy there as well.
 
Modi said that, today, villages in India had declared themselves free from open defecation and he congratulated every countryman, especially those living in villages, Sarpanches and all those who have worked for 'Swachata'. 
 
He added that, irrespective of age, social and economic status, everyone has contributed in this pledge of cleanliness, dignity and respect. He said that  today the world is amazed by this success of the country and they are rewarding it. The entire world is amazed that India has provided toilet facilities to more than 60 crore population in 60 months by constructing more than 11 crore toilets, he added.
 
Public participation and voluntarism has been the hallmark of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the reason for its success, Modi said. He thanked the entire country for the wholehearted support provided for the mission. 
 
Stressing on the importance of public participation, he said that collective efforts are essential for the success of important government initiatives like Jal Jeevan Mission and the elimination of single-use plastic by 2022.
 
The Prime Minister said that his Government was committed to realizing the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi. In this context, he mentioned about the initiatives of the government to ensure self-reliance, provide Ease of Living, and taking development to the last mile.
 
 He urged the public to take a resolution for the betterment of the nation and strive hard to make it successful. He added that if all the 130 crore people of India made such resolutions, it could bring about a massive transformation in the country.
 
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Ginger opens its first Lean Luxe hotel in Sanand, Gujarat

Ginger, operated by Roots Corporation Limited which is a subsidiary of The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), has opened a Lean Luxe hotel in Sanand, Gujarat.
 
With this, the brand has a total of nine operating hotels in Gujarat, with two more in the pipeline, a press release from the company said.
 
Deepika Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ginger, said, “We are excited to announce the opening of Ginger Sanand. Built around our Lean Luxe design philosophy of seamlessness, this hotel facilitates the ‘never stop’ lifestyle of the millennial travellers.”
 
"The hotel presents re-imagined spaces that blur the lines of work and play and creates experiences that are vibrant, quirky, intuitive and smart. Café Et Cetera, the all-day diner, will serve select Japanese cuisine and ‘glocal’ comfort food, doubling up as a personal workstation. With 104 well-appointed rooms, complimentary WiFi, a conference room and fitness centre, the hotel will offer guests a memorable stay," the release said.
 
Located 35 km from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, Ginger Sanand is based in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation area which houses major industries such as Automobile, Pharma and FMCG. The National Highway-17 connects the city to a network of roadways, railways and ports, thus, making it highly accessible, the release said.
 
With the opening of this hotel, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) will have fifteen hotels across its brands in the state of Gujarat, the release added.
 
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Rain brings relief to water-starved Gujarat

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After playing truant for most of July, it rained in almost all the 33 districts of Gujarat in the last 24 hours with the water-starved northern areas recording heavy showers. The rest of the state received light to moderate rainfall.
 
According to the Meteorological Department, all 198 talukas witnessed rainfall till 6 p.m. on Monday due to three atmospheric systems. The state is likely to witness rain for the next four days, which will be a huge relief to farmers.
 
While Vav in the Banaskatha district recorded the highest 230 mm rain in the past 24 hours, Tharad received 171 mm, Deodar 102 mm and Umerpada in the Surat district 100 mm. As many as 168 talukas received rain till Monday morning.
 
Kaprada in Valsad recorded 128 mm, followed by Mangrol in Surat at 110 mm, Umerpada 103 mm, Dharampur in the Vaslad district 96 mm, Waghai 92 mm, Ahwa 90 mm, Ankleshwar 89 mm, Walai 85 mm and Netrang 82 mm. All these are in South Gujarat, which traditionally receives good rainfall.
 
Bavla in the Ahmedabad district recorded 75 mm and Abdasa in the water-starved Kutch district 30 mm. Ahmedabad city recorded 9 mm rain.
 
Dams and rivers have been receiving fresh water inflows.
 
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BJP captures eighth municipal corporation in Gujarat

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The ruling BJP on Tuesday romped home with a thumping majority in the elections to Junagadh Municipal Corporation, thus continuing its rule over all the eight city corporations in Gujarat.
 
The BJP retained its rule, capturing as many as 54 seats in the 59-member Junagadh Municipal Corporation in the politically important Saurashtra region. The opposition Congress could manage only one seat, while the Nationalist Congress Party picked up four seats.
 
The State Election Commission announced the results on Tuesday.
 
After the Congress' Lok Sabha debacle when it lost all the 26 seats from the state to the ruling BJP for the second time in a row, the Junagadh result on Tuesday was the party's worst-ever performance in Gujarat.
 
Jubilant over the party's victory in the Junagadh Municipal Corporation, Gujarat BJP President Jitu Vaghani said it was the "beginning of the end of the Congress in Gujarat."
 
He claimed that the outcome in the Saurashtra city was a harbinger of yet another rout of the Congress in the 2022 Assembly election. "The Congress will be wiped out of Gujarat in the next few years," he asserted.
 
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Syria hold India to 1-1 draw in final Intercontinental Cup match

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India were held to a 1-1 draw by Syria in their final Intercontinental Cup match in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Narinder Gahlot (18) scored in the 51st minute while Syria struck back with skipper Firas Al-Khatib converting a penalty in the 78th minute.
 
Having lost both their previous matches to Tajikistan and North Korea, India were already out of contention for a spot in the final while Syria needed a win to get there. 
 
India played much of the game with more cohesion than they showed in the previous two matches, both of which exposed defensive frailties for new coach Igor Stimac to solve. The two sides traded blows for what turned out to be a goalless first half. 
 
In the 51st minute, Anirudh Thapa sent in a corner kick from the right. Gahlot rose above the rest and headed the ball in and scored his first goal in his second international outing. 
 
India looked to be on top after that. While chances were few and far between, India dominated possession in midfield and kept the pressure on the Syrians. However, this changed after a rather rash tackle by Jerry Lalrinzuala, who had replaced Mandaro Rao Desai only a few minutes earlier, forced the referee to give Syria a penalty. Firas stepped up and made no mistake with the spot kick. 
 
India lived dangerously after that and saw off waves of Syrian attack to win a point at the end of the game. 
 
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Freak roller-coaster ride collapse claims three lives in Ahmedabad

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In a freak accident, at least three people were killed and 30 others injured when a roller-coaster ride collapsed at the public park around the sprawling Kankaria Lake here on Sunday evening.
 
Officials said there were around 40 persons on the 'Discovery' ride in Kankaria Adventure Park when it collapsed, minutes after it went up. The park is in the Maninagar area of the city.
 
The 65-feet high joy ride, which swings up to 30 feet on two sides, came unstuck from its hinges and heavily hit the ground with three people dying on the spot by the impact. Municipal officials, who rushed to the spot, denied that the ride collapsed because of overloading.
 
Officials said at least 15 of the over 25 people who were admitted to the nearby Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation LG Hospital, were reported to be critical.
 
Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra, who reached the spot immediately on knowing about the incident, told reporters that the injured persons would be provided the best possible treatment.
 
He, as well as Mayor Bijal Patel, said a detailed investigation would be carried to ascertain the reason for the accident and strict action would be initiated the private company, which operated the joy ride if necessary. 
 
Nehra added that it would be inquired if the cause of the accident was poor maintenance of the amusement ride.
 
Police officials, led by Ahmedabad Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 6, Bipin Ahire, who reached the spot, said it was not immediately clear if the welded part that held the ride from its hinges on the top gave away or its nuts and bolts were loose leading to the roller coaster come crashing on the ground.
 
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Rahul Gandhi granted bail in Gujarat defamation case

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
A court in Ahmedabad on Friday granted bail to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a director.
 
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for September 7.
 
The defamation suit relates to Gandhi's Twitter message last year which was then reposted several times during the April-May Lok Sabha election, alleging that the bank had swapped Rs 750 crore worth of old currency notes with valid tender within five days of demonetisation on November 8, 2016.
 
Gandhi appeared in the court of Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court Judge Nirali Munshi and pleaded not guilty on charges of defamation.
 
The counsel for the bank contended that Gandhi must seek bail, while the Congress leader's advocate Pankaj Champaneri argued that no bail was required since he had appeared promptly on the court's summons.
 
After the court rejected this plea, Gandhi moved the bail application, which was granted on a personal bond of Rs 15,000 with Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda standing as his guarantor.
 
Gandhi is facing a slew of defamation cases for his statements against the BJP and its leaders in several states, including Bihar, Maharashtra and three in Gujarat.
 
He told reporters outside the court premises, "I am thankful to my opponents in the RSS and the BJP for providing me with opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public."
 
He added that the more severe the attacks against him, the more resolute would be his fight. "I am not going to be cowed down by such attacks that may make me run from pillar to post. I will fight it out," he asserted.
 
After landing in Ahmedabad, Gandhi tweeted, "I'm in Ahmedabad today, to appear in another case filed against me by my political opponents in the RSS/BJP. I thank them for providing me these platforms & opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public. Satyameva Jayate."
 
He was accompanied by veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the Congress' Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajiv Satav, former state president Arjun Modhvadia, and others.
 
The small courtroom with a capacity to accommodate just about 30 people was crammed with around 100 people standing on their toes to hear Gandhi.
 
When he landed, Gandhi was welcomed by scores of Congress workers at the Ahmedabad airport. Many others waited on the route and near the court premises.
 
Later, he had several meetings with Gujarat Congress leaders as well as an interaction with the party's legislators. He is learnt to have told the leaders to try and check party MLAs from leaving to join the BJP.
 
In Gujarat, eight legislators have deserted the Congress since the December 2017 Assembly election.
 
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Rahul Gandhi to appear before Ahmedabad court on Friday

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will travel to Ahmedabad on Friday to appear before a court in a defamation case filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its chairperson.
 
Gandhi last week appeared before a court in Mumbai in response to a defamation suit regarding the murder of journalist and writer Gauri Lankesh for which he had blamed "BJP-RSS ideology".
 
On July 6, he was at a Patna court in connection with a defamation case filed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for his comment "why all thieves" were called Modi.
 
According to Congress leaders, over 20 cases have been filed against Gandhi in various courts around India by RSS or BJP workers.
 
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Gujarat law to prevent transfer of properties in communally sensitive areas made stricter

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The Gujarat Assembly on Monday passed a bill on amendments to the Disturbed Areas Act with the ruling BJP introducing more stringent provisions in it against the transfer of properties in communally sensitive areas, contending that this was needed to plug loopholes in the law.
 
The bill was passed by the BJP majority in the House while the Congress MLAs opposed it, arguing that the ruling party was targeting a certain community.
 
The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991, better known as Disturbed Areas Act, bans the sale of property by the member of one religious community to that of another without the approval of the district collector.
 
This Act is in force in places notified as communally sensitive areas in the state, including in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
 
The amendment bill, moved by in-charge Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, provides for expanding the word "transfer" to include sale, gift, exchange, lease or taking possession of the property by way of power of attorney.
 
Chudasama insisted that there was no political motive behind this amendment bill. He said many people with "mala fide intentions" were found to be unlawfully acquiring properties in disturbed areas through power of attorney or by adding their names in the revenue records without taking consent of the collector as mandated by the Act.
 
"By adopting illegal methods, many people were found to be forcibly getting lawful residents to sell properties out of fear or pressure. We want to stop this," he said.
 
The Minister said besides ensuring that transfer of property was fair and with proper consents, the District Collector could also check if there was any "likelihood of polarisation", "disturbance in demographic equilibrium" or any "likelihood of improper clustering of persons of a community" if the transfer took place.
 
According to the amendment bill, the collector can reject the application of transfer after making assessment on these grounds and the aggrieved person can now file an appeal with the state government against the collector's order. This provision was not there in the existing Act.
 
The bill proposes imprisonment between three and five years along with a fine of Rs 1 lakh or 10 per cent of the value of the property, whichever is higher, to prevent the illegal acquisition of properties in such areas. 
 
Besides, the government could constitute a Monitoring and Advisory Committee to keep a check on the demographic structure in the disturbed areas.
 
The committee can also advise the collector about various issues regarding the implementation of the Act.
 
"The bill allows forming a special investigation team (SIT) to assist the state government in deciding any area to be notified a disturbed one. It will also assist the Monitoring and Advisory Committee in gathering necessary information," Chudasama added.
 
Congress MLAs, led by Imran Khedawala from Ahmedabad, opposed the amendment bill alleging that it aimed at targeting people from a certain religion.
 
"The Disturbed Areas Act is similar to Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir where outsiders could not buy property. On the one hand, the BJP is keen to repeal Article 370, but here it makes it more stringent. Why this double standard," Khedawala asked.
 
The Congress lawmaker went on to assert that this legislation was made out of fear that the population of one particular religious community will outgrow the others.
 
"This Act violates our constitutional right to buy property anywhere we want," he added.
 
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Football: Tajikistan beat India 4-2 in Intercontinental Cup opener

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India squandered a 2-0 first-half lead to lose 2-4 against Tajikistan in the opening match of the four-nation Intercontinental Cup here on Sunday.
 
In what was a game of two halves, Sunil Chhetri's brace put India in the driver's seat in the first half before Tajikistan scored four goals after the breather to win the game. 
 
After Tajikistan squandered a number of chances in the first half, Komron Tursunov opened the scoring for the visitors in the 56th minute after his initial shot was blocked by Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. 
 
India could have restored their two-goal lead in the very next minute if it wasn't for an uncharacteristic miss by skipper Chhetri. Udanta Singh made a low cross from the right and set up a tap-in for Chhetri but the 34-year-old ended up hitting it over the cross bar. 
 
Tajikstan levelled the score in the minute after that. Mandaro Rao Desai squandered possession in a dangerous area and young Narender Gahlot could not anticipate the cross that ended with Sheriddin Boboev scoring the goal. 
 
Tajikstan dominated play after that and in the 71st minute, Muhammadjon Rahimov raced past Adil Khan and put the ball between Sandhu's legs into the goal. Three minutes later, Samiev scored the fourth. India were completely out of the match after that as Tajikistan saw off the game. 
 
The first half was quite a different story though. Though Tajikistan enjoyed more possession and took more shots at the goal, six as opposed to India's three, only one of those was on target. That was a free-kick by Ehson Panjshanbe in the 28th minute which went straight into the hands of Sandhu. 
 
On the other hand, all of India's three attempts were on target and two of them led to goals. Lalianzuala Chhangte earned India a penalty in the third minute when he was fouled by Siyovush Asrorov at the end of a nicely built counter-attack involving Mandar and Sahal Abdul Samad. Chhetri stepped up and chipped the ball into the goal as the Tajikistan goalkeeper went the other way. It was Chhetri's 69th goal for India. 
 
His 70th came in the 41st minute when he managed to get to the end of a cross from Udanta Singh. Some loose defending from Tajikistan gave Chhetri enough time inside the box to find his spot and he made no mistake with the shot. 
 
The visitors could have restored parity just a couple of minutes after Chhetri converted the penalty had it not been for some poor finishing by Sheriddin Boboev. Muhammadjon Rahimov sent in a cross from the left and Narender Gahlot seemed to have arrived in time to nip the ball away before Boboev got to it. But he was too early and Boboev only had the keeper to beat. However, his shot however rolled past the far post and India were let off. 
 
Syria will clash with North Korea in the second match of the tournament on Monday.
 
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Cabinet nod for leasing out of Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports to Adani Enterprises

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The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for leasing out of three airports -- Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru -- of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) through public private partnership (PPP) to the highest bidder -- Adani Enterprises Ltd.
 
The company had quoted the highest bid for these airports for operation, management and development under PPP for a lease period of 50 years as per the terms and conditions of the bid documents, an official press release said.
 
"These projects will bring efficiency in delivery, expertise, enterprise and professionalism apart from harnessing the needed investments in the public sector. This will also result in enhanced revenues to the AAI, which may lead to further investment by AAI at Tier II and Tier III cities and economic development in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure," the release added.
 
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Ex-Gujarat cop Sanjiv Bhatt gets life in 1990 custodial death case

Sanjiv Bhatt
Sanjiv Bhatt
A Gujarat court on Thursday sentenced sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a three-decade-old custodial death case, finding him guilty of murder.
 
Jamnagar District and Sessions Court Judge D. M. Vyas also awarded similar penalty to police constable Pravinsinh Jhala.
 
The verdict came after the Supreme Court last week rejected Bhatt's application seeking fresh examination of witnesses in the case, contending that this was key to arrive at a proper judgment.
 
The ex-officer had challenged a decision of the Gujarat High Court against this plea. The state government had meanwhile submitted in the Supreme Court that the trial court had reserved its verdict for June 20.
 
Bhatt was an additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar district when the incident occurred in 1990 in Jamjodhpur. He had detained one Prabhudas Vaishnani along with 133 others for rioting and other offences during a bandh call given by the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the wake of arrest of BJP leader L. K. Advani during his Ayodhya Rath Yatra.
 
Vaishnani, who was allegedly severely beaten up in police custody, later succumbed to his injuries days after his release. His brother Amrit Vaishnani had lodged a complaint against Bhatt and five other policemen. The trial started in 2016.
 
The former police officer is at present lodged at Palanpur sub-jail in North Gujarat in connection with an alleged case of framing a lawyer for possession of drugs when he was Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district.
 
Bhatt was arrested in September 2018.
 
Bhatt, who has always been at loggerheads with the BJP government in Gujarat, had deposed before various inquiry commissions after the post-Godhra riots of 2002 against then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had given a clean chit to Modi.
 
The controversial officer was first suspended in 2011 for remaining absent from duty without proper permissions and subsequently sacked in 2015. Before his arrest last year, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had demolished a portion of his house in Ahmedabad declaring it illegal.
 
His wife Shweta Bhatt had contested the 2012 Assembly election against Modi from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad and lost.
 
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Cyclone Vayu begins skirting Gujarat coast, brings heavy rainfall: IMD

Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
 
The 'severe cyclonic storm' did not make landfall in Gujarat but was passing over the Saurashtra region, affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Dwarka districts, bringing widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy rains.
 
Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, said that although the IMD has informed that the cyclone has changed its course, "it may still cause heavy winds and rains, and so we are still on stand-by mode".
 
"Cyclone Vayu is 110 kilometres from Veraval to the south-west and 150 kilometres from Porbandar to the south. The cyclone is moving towards the north and was crossing over Saurashtra," he said.
 
The Chief Minister's Office in Gujarat said Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani immediately after reaching Bishkek for the SCO Summit and inquired about the cyclone preparedness and assured all assistance and support from Centre to mitigate the effects of the storm.
 
Skymet Weather had earlier stated that the 'Very Severe Cyclone' might weaken into a Category 1 Cyclonic Storm from Category 2, though the wind speed will be 135-145 kms per hour gusting up to 175 kms per hour.
 
Gujarat has, meanwhile, already evacuated over 3.1 lakh people and the Union Territory of Diu that touches the Saurashtra coast has moved over 10,000 people to safety.
 
The Coast Guard has stated that the cyclone would take up to Saturday before it completely moves over into the sea at Dwarka.
 
Iqbal Singh Chauhan, DIG of Coast Guard, Porbandar, told reporters that, "The next 50-60 hours will be very important for Gujarat." He said all fishermen and coastal residents were requested to shift to safer places if they had not done so.
 
Those living in 'katcha' (thatched) houses were advised to take shelter at the relief camps set up by the Gujarat government as the sea was expected to surge to about 1-1.5 metres.
 
"I want to inform all the citizens of India that the pre-emptive steps taken by the administration, government agencies and armed forces will ensure that there is no loss of life," Chauhan said.
 
Meanwhile, the Western Railways have cancelled as many as 70 trains from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions, while 28 trains had been short terminated.
 
According to Western Railways PRO Pradeep Sharma, special relief trains had been started to supply essential commodities to the areas that are affected and move people to safer places. Hundreds had been shifted through state transport buses.
 
According to the Airports Authority of India, the impact of the cyclone has been mild at most airports in Gujarat and no damage has been caused to the infrastructure of aerodromes.
 
Flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla had already been suspended since midnight of Wednesday.
 
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Cyclone Vayu to skirt Saurashtra coast, affect Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Diu

Cyclone Vayu is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from Thursday afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Vayu, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea, is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from this afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
 
But, even as the cyclone changed its course towards the sea overnight and it appeared that it may not cross the coast, the authorities in Gujarat had evacuated some three lakh people from the coastal areas and the Diu administration had shifted about 10,000 people to safety by yesterday evening.
 
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone over Eastcentral and adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 11 kmph in the previous six hours and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST near latitude 20.3°N and longitude 69.5°E, about 150 km south-southwest of Diu, 110 km southwest of Veraval (Gujarat) and 150 km nearly south of Porbandar (Gujarat).
 
"It is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph from afternoon of 13th June 2019," the  bulletin said.
 
The bulletin said widespread rainfall would occur over Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat today and tomorrow, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It also forecast fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places in Konkan and Goa and other parts of Gujarat today.
 
The bulletin said gale wind speed of the order of 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast today. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
Tomorrow, gale wind speed of the order of 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in the morning hours, after which it will decrease gradually. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
On June 15, gale wind speed of the order of 100-110 kmph, gusting to 125 kmph, is very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till evening and decrease gradually thereafter.
 
The bulletin said the sea condition will be phenomenal over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till June 15 and over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea during the next 12 hours.
 
The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off north Maharashtra coast today, it said.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the affected areas during this period.
 
According to the bulletin, storm surge of height of about 1.6m near Mangrol, Junagadh district above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas this afternoon.
 
The IMD warned of the possible destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to kutcha houses and some damage to pucca houses in Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Diu. It warned of uprooting and bending of power and communication poles, damage to roads, flooding of escape routes, minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems.
 
There could also be widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds. 
 
The IMD called for regulation of road and rail traffic in  the districts likely to be affected, total suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of people from low-lying areas.
 
People in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone have been advised to remain indoors.
 
NNN
 

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Mumbai businessman gets life, Rs 5 crore fine for creating hijack scare in 2018

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In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman to a life term and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare on a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight on October 30, 2017.
 
Convicting Birju Kishor Salla for violating provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, the court, in its order, said that the fine amount would be used to compensate each pilot of the Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339 with Rs 1 lakh, each air hostess with Rs 50,000 and each passenger with Rs 25,000 for the misery they underwent.
 
Salla was arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) after a letter warning of a hijack and bomb threat was discovered on Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339, which had 122 passengers, including seven crew, on board. 
 
Following the scare, the flight had to be diverted to Ahmedabad and then grounded at the Ahmedabad airport. It was only after all passengers were disembarked and screened at a remote bay there that the flight was cleared for take-off.
 
The NIA took over the probe on November 7. During investigation, the NIA claimed that it found clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane. 
 
The pilot had alerted the Ahmedabad airport authorities about the threat letter, reported to be in Urdu and English. The NIA said that Salla intentionally put the printed threat letter inside the toilet to disrupt the aircraft operation thus jeopardising the safety of the passengers and the crew members on board. 
 
The NIA filed a charge sheet against Salla on January 23, 2018 in the NIA Court under several sections of Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.
 
IANS

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Nine of a family killed in accident in Gujarat

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Nine people of a family, including eight women, were killed and 27 injured near Ambaji temple town in North Gujarat's Banaskantha district on Friday evening when the brakes of the tourist bus they were travelling in failed, official sources said.
 
The injured were rushed to the government hospital in Palanpur. The bus overturned after its brakes failed, the sources added.
 
The accident occurred nearly 200 km from Ahmedabad when they were returning to their village Bhal in Vadgam taluka (tehsil) in Banaskantha district after offering prayers at the popular Ambaji temple.
 
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed shock and grief over the accident and conveyed his sympathies to the family of those killed.
 
Rupani issued instructions to the Banaskantha district administration to ensure the best possible care for the injured. 
 
IANS
 

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BJP issues notice to MLA for kicking woman

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Hours after getting him to issue an apology, the Gujarat BJP on Monday slapped a show cause notice on its Ahmedabad legislator Balram Thawani for kicking a woman and asked him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
 
Even as the Naroda MLA, who was caught on camera roughing up and kicking a woman on a street, insisted he did not hit her intentionally, his party strongly condemned his behaviour.
 
State BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said: "We condemn this behaviour which is shameful and unbecoming of a people's representative."
 
He said Gujarat BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani had issued Thawani a show cause notice to "explain in three days why disciplinary action should not be taken against him".
 
This came several hours after Thawani apologized for his behaviour, while in a rapprochement of sorts the woman in question on Monday evening went ahead and tied a rakhi to him.
 
"Vaghani immediately called up Thawani on Sunday night on knowing about the incident and directed him to issue a public apology. He has also sought his explanation," Pandya told IANS earlier.
 
Nitu Tejwani, a municipal ward in-charge of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had gone to Thawani's office in Naroda as part of a group protesting over water supply.
 
A video that went viral of the lawmaker kicking the woman shows Tejwani fallen to the ground after being roughed up by another man.
 
Witnesses confirmed that Thawani came out of his office when this man was beating her and joined him in kicking her. This only stopped after a passer-by intervened and slapped the MLA.
 
Talking to reporters, Tejwani, who also filed a police complaint against Thawani and others, claimed that she had gone to meet the MLA to represent about the water supply issue in her area.
 
She added: "Without reason and without saying anything, he (legislator) came out and started kicking me and beating me up and even slapped me."
 
She claimed that her husband, who came to her rescue, was beaten up with sticks. Other women protesting over the issue were also roughed up, she said.
 
Thawani admitted that he did kick the woman but insisted that it was in self defence and he did not intend to hit anyone.
 
"I got carried away in a fit of anger. I have apologized for my mistake. I will say sorry to her," the BJP MLA said.
 
The Congress asserted that the ruling party as well as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should personally apologize.
 
"The BJP must take strict action against the MLA," Congress' Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajeev Satav stated. "It is time women are protected from BJP leaders."
 
NCP's Reshma Patel, who had quit the BJP over six months ago, met Tejwani at the Civil Hospital where she was admitted. Condemning the "MLA's behaviour", she said she would stand by Tejwani's "fight for justice."
 
IANS
 

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Next five years crucial to regain India's global position: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the next five years would be crucial for India to regain its global position.
 
He equated his first tenure as the Prime Minister (2014-2019), with the five years from 1942 to 1947 leading to Independence, which were key to laying the foundation for a strong India. 
 
Making his first public address in Gujarat after his landslide victory, Modi said: "If we look at the five years leading to Independence from 1942 to 1947, they were very important to revive the idea of India and galvanise the people to fight the external forces."
 
"This is a similar opportunity to awaken the public consciousness and work hard to scale new heights for the country. We must work as one society with one purpose and in one direction to achieve this goal," he said in his speech outside the old BJP headquarters at JP Chowk, where he took his first steps in politics in the 1980s.
 
Addressing thousands of people, Modi said wherever he went for campaign during the 2014 and the 2019 elections, the stories of Gujarat's development had already reached there.
 
Giving an example, he said: "I watched a social media interview of an elderly woman in Bengal where she kept on repeating Modi-Modi. But when asked who she will vote for, she said she will vote for the Communists.
 
"When she was asked why, since she wanted Gujarat like development, she said this is Bengal, we can't say all this publicly, you never know what happens to you."
 
Modi, along with BJP President Amit Shah, arrived here on a two-day thanksgiving visit to Gujarat, which gave the party all the 26 Lok Sabha once again. Modi later took his nonagenarian mother Hiraba's blessings at Raisin near state capital Gandhinagar. He would spend the night at the Raj Bhawan in the state capital before returning to Delhi on Monday. 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat: Amit Shah set to win, BJP ahead on all 26 seats

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday appeared all set to capture all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat yet again even as its national President Amit Shah was leading by a hefty margin of over 2.38 lakh votes at the end of the first 10 rounds of counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Shah, contesting from the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency for the first time, has bagged 3,52,099 votes to establish a lead of more than 2.38 lakh votes over his nearest rival C. J. Chawda of the Congress who has managed 1,13,436 votes.
 
As many as 15 BJP candidates were well ahead of their nearest rivals by more than one lakh votes. Woman candidate Ranjan Bhatt from Vadodara has established a margin of around 2 lakh votes over Congress' Prashant Patel.
 
Another woman candidate of the BJP, Geeta Rathwa, contesting from the tribal seat of Chhota Udepur in central Gujarat, was leading by more than one lakh votes. BJP's Ahmedabad West candidate Kirit Solanki, Mohanbhai Kundaria from Rajkot, Bhartiben Shiyal from Bhavnagar, Mitesh Patel from Anand, Mansukhbhai Vasava from Bharuch, Parbhubhai Vasava from Bardoli, Darshnaben Jardosh from Surat, C. R. Patil from Navsari and K. C. Patel from Valsad were all leading by over one lakh votes after the 10th round of counting.
 
The only saving grace for the Congress appears to be in the Amreli Lok Sabha constituency in Saurashtra where leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani was trailing by a narrow margin against Naran Kachhadiya of the BJP.
 
The BJP had bagged all the 26 seats in the 2014 general elections when as many as 64.7 per cent voters exercised their franchise while this time the polling percentage was 64.11.
 
Besides the Lok Sabha seats, counting of votes was also being held in four Assembly constituencies where bye-elections were conducted on April 23 during the third phase of the seven-phased parliamentary elections. There are 28 counting centres for these seats.
 
IANS
 

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Adani Group to withdraw defamation cases against 'The Wire'

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The Adani Group is set to withdraw all defamation suits filed against news portal thewire.in and its editors in an Ahmedabad court for articles against its companies, highly placed sources said on Wednesday.
 
Adani Power Maharashtra Limited had filed two suits against the web portal, while Group firm Adani Petronet Port Dahej Limited had moved a defamation case against it.
 
Besides the portal, its founder-editors Siddharth Varadarajan and M.K.Venu, as well as Siddharth Bhatia, Monobina Gupta, Pamela Philipose and Noor Mohammed were also named in the law suits.
 
Confirming the development, Varadarajan told IANS: "We understand that the Adani Group has moved to withdraw all the defamation cases, civil and criminal, instituted against The Wire over the past two years for various articles we have published on the Group's businesses. We will issue a statement once this process attains finality." 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat to shift 8 Asiatic lions to UP zoo

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Eight Asiatic lions from the Sakkarbaug (Junagadh) zoo of Gujarat will be soon transferred to a zoo in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, as part of the Animal Exchange Programme.
 
Junagadh Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Dushyant Vasavada said, "Two male and six female lions from the Gujarat zoo will be transferred to the Uttar Pradesh zoo..., and we are ready for the transfer." 
 
It is not yet disclosed which animals are to be transferred from the Gorakhpur zoo to Gujarat under the programme. 
 
The date and the mode of transport are yet to be decided by the zoo officials, he added.
 
The idea of such mutual exchange for the zoos came up at the Annual Conference of Indian Zoos held in December last year. It was organized by the Central Zoo Authority at Mysore where 25 directors of different zoos across the country visited the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.
 
Sakkarbaug zoo, also known as Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, is spread over 200 hectares of land and it opened in 1863. It is one of the oldest zoos in the country that is considered an important centre for providing Asiatic lions to other zoos and for safaris across the state and the country.
 
IANS
 

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PepsiCo withdraws case against Gujarat potato farmers

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Facing increasing pressure, food and beverages giant PepsiCo on Thursday said it has withdrawn the case it filed against nine Gujarat farmers for growing a potato variety which it claimed was its registered product.
 
"To safeguard the larger interest of farmers, PepsiCo India was compelled to take judicial recourse to protect its registered variety. PepsiCo from the very start had also offered an amicable settlement to farmers. After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw cases against farmers...," the company said in a statement. 
 
PepsiCo had sued the nine farmers of Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts of north Gujarat for allegedly growing the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights.
 
It held that it obtained PVP rights over the potato variety under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act, 2001 and that the farmers were violating its rights over the seed variety.
 
IANS
 

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Ahmedabad court summons Rahul in defamation case

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A court here on Wednesday issued summons to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a suit filed by a BJP member accusing him of making defamatory statements against party President Amit Shah at a poll rally in Madhya Pradesh last month.
 
The case was filed by Krishnavadan Brahmbhatt, a BJP corporator from the city's Khadia ward, who contending that the Congress chief's terming Amit Shah a "murder accused" at the rally was defamatory as well as false "because Amit Shah had been discharged honourably by the CBI court in January 2015" in the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an allegedly staged gunfight.
 
Issuing the summons, Metropolitan Magistrate D. S. Dabhi fixed the next hearing on July 9.
 
Brahmbhatt's lawyer had argued that an Ahmedabad court could have jurisdiction though Gandhi made the remarks in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur since the speech was televised nationally while city newspapers also reported it.
 
IANS

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Voter ID stronger than IED: Modi after voting

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said people must vote in large numbers as the power of the Voter ID is stronger than the IED (improvised explosive device) used by terrorists.
 
"Terrorists' weapon is IED while democracy's strength is Voter ID. I believe that the power of Voter ID is much stronger than the IED. Understand the importance of Voter ID and vote in large numbers," Modi told the media after casting his vote here. 
 
Modi said voters of India were wise to decide whom to vote. "They know the difference between good and bad." 
 
He said the feeling one gets after voting was akin to what one feels after the holy dip during the Kumbh.
 
The Prime Minister cast his vote at a polling booth in Ranip in Ahmedabad, a part of Gujarat's Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, in the third phase of the parliamentary polls.
 
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is the party candidate from this constituency, which was earlier represented by BJP veteran L. K. Advani. 
 
Modi also asked the youths and first-time voters to exercise their franchise in the interest of the nation.
 
"I welcome the youths for their active participation in making a decisive government..."
 
Voting was underway on Tuesday across 117 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 15 states and Union Territories as the third - and largest - phase of the seven-phase electoral exercise kicked off. All 26 constituencies in Gujarat are voting on Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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