HC to hear plea against Amitabh starrer ‘Bhootnath Returns’

The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear tomorrow a plea of a Hindi writer against Amitabh Bachchan-starrer horror comedy film ‘Bhootnath Returns’ claiming that the flick is based on his literary works.

A bench comprising acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul ordered the listing of the appeal for hearing tomorrow after the counsel for Sushant Supriya, Hindi short story writer and poet, said the film, scheduled to hit theatres across the country on April 11, is based on his work.

IPL franchise promise support to Gavaskar

IPL franchises today pledged support to Sunil Gavaskar for a successful hosting of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League, starting April 16 in the UAE.

Gavaskar, who is the interim head of the BCCI for conducting the league, today met the teams and briefed them on the preparations for the upcoming season.

According to BCCI, Gavaskar had a discussion with the franchises on conducting the popular Twenty20 league.

“The franchises shared their views and extended their support and cooperation for a successful Pepsi IPL 2014,” a BCCI release said.

Airhostess suicide: Police to reply on bail cancellation plea

The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the city police on a plea seeking cancellation of bail of former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda in the airhostess Geetika Sharma suicide case.

The plea, filed by the brother of Geetika, alleged that Kanda being an “influential” politician, may tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses in the trial.

Justice V P Vaish issued notice to Delhi Police and fixed the plea for further hearing on April 17.

The trial court had on March 4 granted bail to Kanda after the high court had enlarged co-accused Aruna Chadha on bail.

BJP will change India’s face: Advani

If the BJP is voted to power, it will change the face of India, former deputy prime minister and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said here Monday.

Addressing his first rally ahead of the Lok Sabha election, Advani said that when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India faced huge problems in the form of international sanctions after the nuclear tests in Pokhran and due to the mega-earthquake in Gujarat.

Stones, chappals thrown at Nitish Kumar during poll rallies

Protesters today threw stones and chappals at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during election rallies in two separate places in Nalanda district.

However, none of the potesters could hit their target.

The protesters at a JD(U) election rally in the Chief Minister’s home turf of Nalanda pelted stones at him protesting against the government’s failure in providing basic amenities like electricity and roads in the area.

No one has been arrested in this connection yet.

Mayawati attacks centre for failing to curb corruption, poverty

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Monday lashed out at Congress-led UPA Government over its failure to curb increasing rate of unemployment, poverty and corruption in the country.

Addressing a rally in Kolkata, she criticized the central government, saying its schemes to decrease burden on the common man has failed.

“As far as there is a question of eradicating poverty and unemployment from the country, the government-sponsored schemes have failed to achieve their objectives in the state and no improvement has been shown,” said Mayawati.

Mercy petitions were kept pending for 12-13 years: CJI on recent SC rulings

Defending recent rulings of the Supreme Court commuting death sentences of several convicts to life imprisonment, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam on Monday said the mercy petitions were kept pending for so many years and therefore the apex court modified them.

“You must read our judgment. Those mercy petitions were kept pending for 12-13 years. That’s why we modified it based on article 21 and international treaties,” said the CJI Sathasivam.

Congress makes false promises, Sonia let marines go: Modi (Roundup)

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Monday launched a scathing attack on the Congress, accusing the party of making “false promises”, and on Sonia Gandhi over the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines who were allowed to leave the country.

Addressing rallies at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Biswanath Chairali, Gogamukh and Sivasagar in Assam, Modi also held Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi responsible for the attacks on northeast people living in Delhi.

Second suicide in a month gets IIT Kharagpur worried

The second incident of a student allegedly committing suicide within a month at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, has raised deep concern among the authorities of the oldest IIT in the country.

Fourth year Chemical Engineering student Lokesh Kumar Goyal (22) was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his hostel room late Sunday night.

Confirming the incident, institute’s Registrar T.K. Ghosal expressed his dismay over Goyal’s death as he was good student and did not seem to suffer from any kind of depression.

Vardhan woos Muslims, distances himself from Malhotra’s remark

Distancing himself from senior leader V K Malohtra’s statement on Jamia Nagar and Batla House, Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan today said his party was the only well-wisher of Muslims in real sense and no area is terrorist hub in the eyes of BJP.

Addressing a gathering of minority community in Chandni Chowk, from where he is contesting elections, Vardhan said, “BJP is the only well-wisher of Muslims in real sense. The Muslim community has already seen this during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government.

Deep flaws in Modi’s character, says Chidambaram

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Monday launched a strong attack on Narendra Modi saying that the BJP prime ministerial candidate had “deep flaws” in his character and his remarks reflected “a dangerous trend” for democracy.

Talking to reporters at the Congress party office here, he also hit out at former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, saying many of the 18 questions put to him Sunday by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader were “puerile.”

UPA will ensure security of women, says Antony

Congress-led UPA government would ensure security of women, especially those from tribal community, if the alliance won in the Lok Sabha elections, Defence minister A K Antony said today.

Speaking at a meet-the-leader programme at Wayanad Press Club here, he said instances of atrocities against women had increased considerably in the country.

“Indian women were not secure in their working places too,” he said adding that such a situation should be changed.

The election manifesto of Congress has offered to launch various measures to ensure the protection of women, he said.

Accept reality of plane crash: Chinese daily to passengers kin

China should accept the reality that the missing Malaysian jet had crashed in the Indian Ocean and prepare for funerals, a commentary in state media said today amid protests and accusations by anguished relatives who insist their loved ones could still be alive.

“We should not let anger prevail over facts and rationality. In the process, from the relatives of the victims, public opinion to the government, we need to comply with the fundamental norms of a civilised society and need to show the demeanour of a great power,” the commentary in China Daily said.

Cong won’t win more than 75 seats in the country: Badal

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the electorate to wipe out the Congress from Punjab’s political horizon, alleging that it meted out step-motherly treatment to the state.

Addressing a rally in support of SAD candidate from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, he urged the people to defeat Congress so that “friendly” NDA government led by Narendra Modi could be formed at the Centre.

Badal said Congress this time will not be able to win more than 75 seats in the country.

Only non-Cong alternative can counter BJP: Left

As senior Congress leader A K Antony asked CPI(M) to prove its commitment to secularism by supporting his party after the elections, the Left party today said only a non-Congress alternative would be able to successfully counter BJP.

“Everyone knows by now that Congress is heading for a big defeat in these elections. Congress has also failed to counter BJP. Only a non-Congress alternative can do that,” CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told PTI.

Complaints against Rahul, Mamata over poll code violations

The West Bengal chief electoral office Monday said it has received complaints against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bengali superstar Dev for violating the model code of conduct.

The complaints have been sent to the central election commission for scrutiny.

“We have forwarded the reports in all three cases today (Monday) to the central EC. They will take necessary action,” an official told reporters here.

Shuttler Ratchanok not to defend India Open title

Reigning world badminton champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand will not be defending her India Open Super Series women’s singles title as she has withdrawn her entry.

The current World No.4 cited medical reasons for skipping the $250,000 event which will be underway from Tuesday at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

“She sent a mail saying that she will not be playing due to medical reasons,” tournament chief referee Isabelle Jobard of France told IANS here Monday also affirming that she was the only withdrawal from the category.

Pak court indicts Musharraf; rejects plea to travel abroad

In a double whammy, former dictator Pervez Musharraf was today indicted by a court on five counts of high treason and his plea to travel abroad rejected as he became Pakistan’s first ever military ruler to face criminal prosecution that entails death penalty.

Musharraf, who personally appeared in the special court for the second time since proceedings began in December, pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges against him read out by Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court.

Rahul Gandhi alleges Odisha Govt. giving people’s money to industrialist

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that the Odisha Government is giving the hard earned money of the people of the state to the industrialists, and called for a balance in dealing with the problems of the poor and the industry.

“Odisha is rich and has wealth and resources. There is no shortage of anything in this state. But still the people of the state are poor. The main reason behind this is that the state government gives your hard earned money to big industrialists rather than using it for your benefit,” Rahul said while addressing a rally here.

Jaitley ask Capt. Amarinder to check facts before speaking

The election campaign that began here with war of words between the two heavy weight candidates from the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now turned personal.

BJP candidate Arun Jaitley on Monday told Capt. Amarinder Singh to check his facts before speaking.

On Sunday, Capt. Amarinder Singh had asked Jaitley whether he would be giving up his legal practice in the Supreme Court of India for which he requires to be in Delhi.

BJP says Chidambaram’s answers more technical than being practical: BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram was more technical in his press conference while the country demands him to be practical.

The BJP leader termed that the sensex cheered with the decision of Chidambaram not contesting this election and thus became more assured of a possible win of the Modi led BJP.

Trinamool mulling action against official who accused legislator’

A Trinamool Congress leader Monday said the party was mulling legal action against a West Bengal government official who has accused a legislator of threatening to behead him for removing posters of party supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Party general secretary Mukul Roy rubbished the allegations and accused the officer of maligning the legislator with an ulterior motive.

Protest disrupts Delhi traffic, two Metro stations shut

A religious gathering and protest on a disputed land Monday led to disruption in traffic movement in east Delhi and shutting down of two Metro stations for almost eight hours.

Police used mild force to control people when they pelted stones while trying to march from the disputed land at Karbala in Lodhi Colony area of south Delhi towards the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“About 400 people were allowed to come and join the protest from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. The protest that started about 11 a.m. continued till 5 p.m.,” a police officer told IANS.

Haven’t found wide acceptance: Neha Sharma on Bollywood

Neha Sharma, who started her career with southern films, has done a couple of Hindi movies but she still feels like an outsider in Bollywood and says “no one is your friend here”.

She was seen in the films “Crook”, “Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum” and the recently released “Youngistaan”.

“I don’t think I’ve found wide acceptance. I don’t even think the big banners know about me. But I am still trying to find my bearings around here,” said the 26-year-old Bihari girl.

Will pass the baton to a firm hand: Chidambaram

Union Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram on Monday expressed confidence that he will be able to pass the baton to a firm hand.

“I will keep a firm hand on the wheel until the last day. And I sincerely hope that I will hand over the wheel to another firm hand,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram sounded positive on the overall economic front and termed that the fundamentals of the economy as strong and the unemployment rate at its lowest levels.