The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
The central government’s decision to auction 12 ‘small’ oilfields has not gone down well with even the ruling party’s ally, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) led by former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. Both AGP and AASU staged demonstrations in protest and wondered why the oilfields were not given to a state corporation as was done in Gujarat earlier. Moreover, if OIL and ONGC could explore oil abroad, why not in Assam, they asked.
The arrest of Rajinder Kumar, principal secretary to CM Arvind Kejriwal, raised many eyebrows, not just in AAP. Arrests in economic offences are meant to prevent the accused from tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. In this case, though, the alleged fraud dates back to 2006-12 and the papers were seized last December, there is little chance of either.
Known as CPI(M)’s Fidel Castro, 93-year-old former CM V.S. Achuthanandan is reportedly getting ready for his debut in a Malayalam film and hopes to finish the shooting before joining work as the chairman of the state administrative reform commission. Meanwhile, CM Pinarayi Vijayan, 72, no spring chicken himself, has made his Facebook debut. Comrades seem determined to make a difference this time.
Where there is smoke, they say there is fire too. After listening to a petition, the Madras High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into a bizarre incident in which three trucks carrying Rs 570 crore were seized by the Election Commission during the last assembly election. While the State Bank of India stepped in to claim the money and the ‘news’ disappeared from the media, the last word about it is yet to be heard, or so it seems.
Dinesh Rathod and his wife, judging by photos they shared on Facebook, wore an orange-and-yellow suit during their ascent to Mount Everest and a red-and-black suit on the summit. Climbers were quick to point out that changing suits mid-climb would surely have caused frostbite. The shadow in the pics indicated they were taken between 11 am and noon while the time code on the pic was 6.25 am. After Nepal’s Tourism Board started a probe, the Nepal-based Makalu Adventure said the climbing sherpas had endorsed the police couple’s claim and the board had issued the certificate after making due inquiries. Seventy Indians are said to have climbed the world’s highest peak in the last 12 months.
Had Ashoka not converted to Buddhism out of guilt for the bloodshed in his conquest of Kalinga and if only the Buddhists hadn’t preached ‘Ahimsa’, India could have beaten back invaders from the west, says a comment in the journal of Rajasthan Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra, an RSS affiliate. The idea, the author says, is to learn lessons from history.
On June 26, a Rajkot man was arrested for hiring assassins to kill his 33-year-old son after a DNA test confirmed he was not the biological father. Data from 2014 shows 98 per cent paternity tests confirm infidelity. Police say men think of the test when they want a divorce or have to choose heirs, while alimony cases make women go for it to prove the estranged spouse fathered the child. The demand-supply gap in the fidelity-check market is apparently huge.