GHAZIABAD: CBI officials searched Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s locker here on Tuesday, chaos reigning outside the bank as camera crews jostled with each other and curious crowds gathered to see what was happening.
A team of about five Central Bureau of Investigation officials reached the PNB branch at Sector 4 Vasundhara in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of the national capital, to execute the search, officials said. Sisodia was at the bank with his wife.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader is among the 15 people and entities named in an FIR registered by the agency in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi government’s Excise Policy 2021-22.
“The CBI is welcome,” Sisodia had said in a tweet on Monday.
“Tomorrow, the CBI is coming to check our bank locker. They did not find anything during a 14-hour-long raid at my residence on August 19. They won’t find anything in the locker too. The CBI is welcome. My family and I will extend full cooperation in the probe,” the deputy chief minister said in his tweet in Hindi.
On August 19, the federal probe agency had raided 31 locations, including Sisodia’s residence.
Sisodia has been saying he has been made an accused in a false case to stop the march of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has emerged as an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
During a special session of the Delhi Assembly on Friday, the AAP leader had claimed that the BJP-led Centre is acting like a serial killer to eliminate state governments and described the CBI FIR against him as “fake” and based on “mere sources”.
NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is exploring the possibility of running for the post of Congress president though he is yet to take a final call on it, sources said.
They said he has not made up his mind but could take a call on it soon.
While Tharoor declined to comment on whether he would throw his hat into the ring, he has written an article for the Malayalam daily ‘Mathrubhumi’ calling for a “free and fair” election.
In the article, he has said ideally the party should have announced elections also for the dozen seats on the CWC itself which are supposed to be elected.
“Allowing members of the party drawn from the AICC and PCC delegates to determine who will lead the party from these key positions, would have helped legitimize the incoming set of leaders and give them a credible mandate to lead the party,” said Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in 2020 seeking organisational reforms.
“Still, electing a fresh president is a start towards the revitalisation the Congress badly needs, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.
Tharoor said the election also has other beneficial effects — for instance, “we have seen the global interest in the British Conservative Party during their recent leadership race, a phenomenon we already witnessed in 2019, when a dozen candidates contested to replace Theresa May, and Boris Johnson emerged on top”.
Replicating a similar scenario for the Congress will similarly increase the national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards the Congress party once again, he said in the article.
“For this reason, I hope that several candidates come forward to present themselves for consideration. Putting forward their visions for the party and the nation will surely stir public interest, he wrote.
While the party as a whole is in need of renewal, the most urgent leadership position that needs to be filled is naturally that of the Congress president, Tharoor said.
Given the current state of the party, the perception of crisis and the national picture, whoever assumes the mantle of president will undoubtedly need to achieve the twin goals of energising the Congress party workers and inspiring the voters.
“He or she should have a plan to fix what ails the party, as well as a vision for India. After all, a political party is an instrument to serve the country, not an end in itself,” he said.
“Either way, a free and fair election process would be a healthy way to go about settling the issue. It would legitimise the mandate being offered to the incoming president,” he said.
On the recent exit of party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tharoor wrote that the latest in a steady spate of departures has been fuelling incessant media speculation and a daily dose of obituaries for the party.
In turn, the Congress worker, who has already had to contend with the disappointment of the recent election results, risks further demoralisation, he said.
“The exit of valued colleagues does not help. I personally regret these departures, because I would have wanted these friends to stay in the party and continue to fight to reform it,” he said.
“As a signatory of the so-called ‘G-23’ letter, I should say that it reflected concerns building up over many months among party members and well-wishers who wanted a re-energised Congress. These concerns were about the party’s functioning not its ideology or values. Our only intention was to strengthen and revive the party, not to divide or weaken it,” Tharoor wrote.
Facing internal upheaval, the Congress on Sunday announced that the election for its president would be held on October 17, asserting that it is the only party in the country which follows such a democratic exercise. The result will be declared on October 19.
The notification for the election will be issued on September 22, while the filing of nomination would begin on September 24 and continue till September 30.
At the press conference where the party announced the schedule, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said, “Anybody can contest the election. It is an open election.”
The CWC meeting came amid several leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, having publicly exhorted Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief.
However, uncertainty and suspense continue on the issue. Several party insiders say Rahul Gandhi is persisting with his stance that he will not be the AICC president.
Gehlot on Wednesday had sought to play down reports about him being the frontrunner for the Congress president’s post and said efforts will be made till the last minute to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party again.
Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Today is the last day to apply online for the Sub-Inspector in Delhi Police and Central Armed Police Forces Examination 2022 notified by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC). Eligible candidates can apply for the vacancies on the official website ssc.nic.in. The last date for making online fee payment is August 31.
The SSC CPO 2022 Computer Based Examination is scheduled to be conducted in November 2022. The SSC CPO recruitment drive aims to fill up a total of 4300 Sub Inspector vacancies, of which 228 vacancies are for the Sub-Inspector (Exe.) in Delhi Police-Male, 112 for Sub-Inspector (Exe.) in Delhi Police-Female, and 3960 for Sub-Inspector (GD) in CAPFs.
Age Limit: The age limit of the candidates should be from 20 to 25 years as on January 1, 2022.
Educational Qualification: Educational Qualification for all posts is Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or equivalent. More details in the notification below:
The applicants are required to pay the fee of Rs 100, whereas women candidates and candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Ex-Servicemen (ESM) eligible for reservation are exempted from paying fee.
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday searched Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia’s locker at a bank in Ghaziabad in connection with a case pertaining to the Delhi government’s liquor policy, PTI reported.
On July 30, the Delhi government withdrew the policy after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into it by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Sisodia on Tuesday arrived at the Vasundhara branch of the Punjab National Bank in Ghaziabad with his wife ahead of the search.
On Monday, the Delhi deputy chief minister said in a tweet that the officials would not find anything in his locker.
“They did not find anything in a 14-hour-long raid at my residence on August 19,” he wrote. “They won’t find anything in the locker either. The CBI is welcome. My family and I will extend full cooperation in the investigation.”
The excise policy
On August 17, the Central Bureau of Investigation booked the Aam Aadmi Party leader and 14 other persons alleging irregularities in the liquor policy, which came into effect on November 17.
The excise policy 2021-’22 was formulated on the basis of an expert committee report. Under the policy, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. Earlier, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores and the remaining 389 were in private hands.
However, the new policy was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party government on July 30.
In the FIR, the central agency has alleged that the Delhi deputy chief minister and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions about the excise policy without the approval of the competent authority with “an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender”.
AAP’s allegations against LG
The Aam Aadmi Party has denied the allegations, saying that the case was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Operation Lotus” to topple the government in Delhi. Sisodia has alleged that raids were conducted at his home to put pressure on him to join the BJP.
On Monday, the AAP also accused the Delhi lieutenant governor of being involved in a Rs 1,400-crore scam during his term as the chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission in 2016, and demanded that he resign.
“When he was the KVIC chairman, demonetisation happened and a cashier working there has given in writing that he was forced to carry out exchange of notes,” AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak claimed, PTI reported. “It is unfortunate that he was suspended…But we want a probe in this. There is a news report also and there are statements by the affected employees.”
Both the AAP and BJP legislators also took part in overnight protests at the Delhi Assembly premises, accusing each other of corruption. The BJP sought the dismissal of Sisodia, who is the Delhi excise and education minister, and AAP leader Satyendar Jain, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 30 in a money laundering case.
Hyderabad: Telangana BJP’s official spokesperson N V Suhash on Tuesday alleged that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is planning to visit other states to meet opposition leaders for his political survival as people have decided to make Telangana as a “TRS-free state” in 2024.
He said the BJP would welcome any financial assistance provided to the families of martyred soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. However, he said Chandrashekar Rao in the guise of distributing cheques to families of Galwan martyrs was trying to play politics leaving the state farmers in lurch who have committed suicides.
“The people of the state had a dream and aspiration when the TRS was voted to power after the formation of new state. But now their dream and aspirations have been destroyed in the last eight years by inept and corrupt KCR government and people are awaiting for an opportunity to dethrone it and make Telangana as a “TRS-free state”, said Subhash.
Earlier, the BJP leader said “KCR tried to visit states and meet opposition leaders to pressurise central government. But all his efforts went in vain. Now He wanted to meet again opposition leaders and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who severed ties with BJP after name of his politician daughter Kavitha surfaced in Delhi liquor scam.”
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission the first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi on September 2.
The PMO said Modi will be in Karnataka and Kerala on September 1-2 to attend several programmes, including a visit to the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya at Kalady village near Cochin airport.
He will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of projects worth around Rs 3,800 crores in Mangaluru.
The PMO noted that Modi has been a strong proponent of self reliance, especially in strategic sectors, and the commissioning of INS Vikrant will mark a significant step towards this.
It will be the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier. Designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by the Cochin Shipyard, a public sector shipyard, Vikrant has been built with state-of- the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.
The aircraft carrier is named after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first, which had played a vital role in the 1971 war, the PMO noted.
It has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs. With the commissioning of Vikrant, India will have two operational aircraft carriers, which will bolster the maritime security of the nation, it said.
Modi will also unveil the new naval ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage, it added.
In Mangaluru, the prime minister will inaugurate the project worth over Rs 280 crore for mechanisation of “Berth No 14” for handling containers and other cargo undertaken by the New Mangalore Port Authority.
The mechanised terminal will increase efficiency and reduce turnaround time, pre-berthing delay and dwell time in the port by around 35 per cent, the PMO said.
The phase I of the project has been successfully completed, thereby adding over 4.2 MTPA to the handling capacity, which would further increase to over 6 MTPA by 2025.
The admit cards for 2nd/special Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) 2022 have been released. Candidates can download their hall tickets from the official website ojee.nic.in.
The exam is scheduled to be conducted on September 3, 4 and 9, 2022, in four shifts — 9.00 AM to 10.00 AM, 11.30 AM to 12.30 PM, 2.00 PM to 3.00 PM and 4.30 PM to 5.30 PM. The entrance examination will be conducted in Computer Based Test (CBT) mode.
The National Commission for Women on Monday urged the Jharkhand Police chief to ensure a fair investigation into the death of a Class 12 girl who was allegedly set ablaze by a man for not responding to his advances.
The women’s panel told the police to submit a action-taken report within seven days.
On August 23, a man named Shahrukh allegedly poured petrol on the student through a window while she was sleeping in her room, according to PTI. He then set her on fire, according to the police.
The girl was admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences at Ranchi, but died in the early hours of August 28.
“Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma has written to Director General of Police, Jharkhand to look into the matter and to ensure that a fair investigation is accomplished in a time-bound manner,” the women’s body said in a statement.
Sharma also said that a fact-finding team of the women’s panel will meet the victim’s family and also speak to police authorities on Tuesday. “…It will see to it that family gets all the required help,” she said.
The police arrested Shahrukh on August 23, and arrested another accused person, Naeem alias Chhotu Khan, on Monday, according to ANI. Dumka Superintendent of Police Amber Lakra said that the police will demand that the trial in the case be conducted in a fast-track court.
“People are co-operating with us,” Lakra said. “We appeal to people to maintain peace. The situation is under control and Section 144 [of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which bans the assembly of four or more persons] has been imposed.”
On Monday, shops, schools and colleges remained closed in Dumka after Hindutva groups Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal called for a shutdown, according to PTI. The movement of long-distance buses was also adversely affected.
Protestors also gathered at the Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi and shouted slogans against the state government.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Monday told the district administration to provide financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the family of the girl, and directed that the legal proceedings be carried out in a fast-track court.
The girl was a minor, says child rights panel
Meanwhile, the Dumka Child Welfare Committee has said that the girl who died was around 16-years- old according to her Class 10 marksheet, PTI reported.
The panel’s chairperson Amarendra Kumar said that the girl was not an adult, as the police had been claiming.
“We recommend that sections of the POCSO [Protection of Children from Sexual Offences] Act be added to the FIR as the girl was a minor as per our probe,” he said.
The police had claimed that the girl was 19 years old, based on a statement that she had given to a magistrate.
The 1790s were a period of profound political upheaval in India. The Mughal Empire was in decline, the emperor Shah Alam II under the “protection” of the Marathas. Between the Holkars in Indore, Scindias in Gwalior and the Peshwa in Pune, the Marathas were a divided house. The French East India Company had lately lost battles to the British, but retained a presence in some kingdoms. Among the remaining powerful states were Mysore and Hyderabad.
With things in flux and states vying for power, a space opened up for adventurers and mercenaries. These men for hire had no community loyalties, no kinship networks to guarantee affiliation. Money was their primary consideration and princely kingdoms and trading companies were only too happy to avail of their services.
One such adventurer was a young American named John Parker Boyd.
A former soldier, Boyd had arrived in India in 1789. He was tall, well-formed, handsome and known to be courteous and generous. With funds from the Nizam of Hyderabad, he raised two battalions (“kausolars”) of 500 infantrymen each. Over the next few years, he would hire his forces out to the Holkars and the Peshwas, before seeking a return to the Nizam’s service.
During his time in India, Boyd was witness to, or a participant in, court intrigues, shifting political fortunes of kingdoms, and military mobilisations, all of which played a crucial role in shaping events in the country in the following decades.
James Parker Boyd was born to James and Susannah Boyd on December 21, 1764, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a seaport 45 miles north of Boston. His father James was from Scotland, while his mother’s forbears immigrated from England in the mid-17th century. With his brothers, Boyd worked in a store to pick up “mercantile skills”. In 1786, he signed up as an ensign in the military, seeing limited action during the “Shays’ rebellion” in western Massachusetts, when farmer and citizen groups rebelled over higher taxes.
In 1789, he travelled to India, reaching Madras via the Isle of France (Mauritius). A year later, in June, the English consul at Hyderabad introduced him to Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II – a significant event in Boyd’s life. He wrote about the meeting in detail in a letter to his father. The opulence of the Nizam’s court mesmerised him. The Nizam’s army included 150,000 infantry, 60,000 cavalry and 500 elephants. The elephant brigade especially impressed him: the equipage was elegant and the “castle” atop the elephant that could hold a nawab and four attendants was the “noblest sight he had ever seen”. The Nawab, he said, travelled in luxury, accompanied by 50 servants, including 16 palanquin bearers as well as runners to carry messages.
The Nizam granted Boyd a commission of Rs 500, along with another Rs 1,500 in emoluments. This enabled the American to raise two small battalions of infantrymen, a number that would rise impressively during his stay in the country.
In 1795, historian Ronald Rosner says, Boyd and his unit saw military action for the first time when, as part of the combined Maratha forces, they fought against the Nizam in the battle of Kharda in present-day Ahmednagar. The Nizam’s defeat in this battle – in which the British East India Company adopted a non-interventionist policy – led the Hyderabad ruler to move closer to the French. Michel Joachim Marie Raymond, a Frenchman in the Nizam’s service, was appointed Comptroller of Ordnance. To the British, this posed a challenge. Raymond was a popular man, whose kindness and charitable acts had earned him the epithets “Musa Rahim” and “Musa Ram”.
After Kharda, Boyd’s pay increased to Rs 3,000 a month, which allowed him to raise an “independent body of troops”. With these soldiers, Boyd was seemingly free of political control, yet his loyalties evidently lay with the British. This became clear on the night of August 9, 1797, when his forces were hastily summoned to Hyderabad by the British Resident James Kirkpatrick. There were credible rumours that Raymond intended to make a military move to dislodge the English detachment in Hyderabad. Boyd stepped up to the occasion. His surprising manoeuvres and the parade of his troops, as a show of strength, forced Raymond to discreetly reposition his forces. By dawn the next day the threat was over and Boyd had earned the gratitude of the East India Company. In a letter, the Resident promised him a reward, one that Boyd would claim years later, after his return to the US.
It was Raymond, however, who prevailed in this high-stakes game of political one-upmanship as the Nizam ultimately chose not to engage Boyd’s services. Soon his hopes of reentering the Peshwa’s service were dashed as well. It was a time of toxic intrigue in the Peshwa’s court. Baji Rao II, installed as Peshwa in 1795, and Daulat Rao Scindia were determined to cut the former royal advisor, Nana Phadnavis, to size. Meanwhile, Boyd’s former employers, the Holkars, were viewed as a threat to others in the confederacy.
What happened next to Boyd is a matter of contention. It is agreed that he received veiled warnings from Scindia for his suspect loyalties. But there are other versions. One says that the court intrigues disgusted him, another that his intervention following the murder of a fellow adventurer earned him the Peshwa’s ire.
Alarmed by Baji Rao II’s penchant for having enemies trampled to death, Boyd sought refuge with the British in Bombay. He was compelled to flee after hurriedly selling his forces of “two battalions, four pieces of cannon, a troop of horsemen, and a small body of Rohillas – warriors of Pashtun descent – amounting to 2,000 effective men” to Jean-Baptiste Filose, a soldier born of a Neapolitan father and Indian mother. In return he received Rs 35,000.
Life in the US
Boyd returned to Boston in 1798. According to some accounts, he had married a woman named Housina Begum in 1795 while he was part of the Peshwa’s forces and they had a daughter, Frances, in 1797. With his immense wealth, he bought acres of land around the town of Orneville in Maine (several old landmarks such as the post office, lake and a plantation were once named after the Boyd family). More land was bought later in the township of Medford, Connecticut.
In 1806, Boyd wrote to the East India Company in London, securing permission to import 300 tonnes of saltpetre (used in gunpowder) from India. He hoped that selling the shipment to the US government would earn him a sizable profit. But the ship Martha was seized by another Company vessel at the Cape of Good Hope. Boyd tried hard to secure his goods, pulling strings in London and Calcutta, but the saltpetre was sold at a nominal sum. Making things worse for him was the belief that the consignment was bought by rival traders in Boston. It would take him another decade to recover his losses. In the meantime, a career in the military beckoned him.
In 1808, following a Congressional act, Boyd became a colonel in the newly raised 4th Infantry. Three years later, his forces saw action in Indiana, where a Native American confederacy led by brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa of the Shawnee tribe had gathered force, rousing other tribes to unite against the American government that was taking their land.
Boyd gave a credible account of himself holding back the enemy at Vincennes in Indiana. But the very next year, he failed to prove his mettle in a battle in Canada. His forces sailed up the St. Lawrence River towards Montreal, closely followed overland by the British, who had strategically allied with the Native American cause. Sustaining heavy losses in the “Battle of Chrysler’s farm”, his forces had to make a quick retreat. Though Boyd vigorously defended his role in the fight, he did not see another military engagement in his lifetime. He was described as “vacillating” by a fellow officer, especially when called to command situations on his own.
In 1816, Boyd travelled to London to secure compensation for his lost shipment. A parliamentary committee headed by William Wilberforce deliberated for several months, taking depositions from Boyd’s former associates in the East India Company, insurers and lawyers. In the end, it awarded him a compensation of £30,000, a sum far short of his expectations.
Boyd’s return to political favour took another decade and a half. In 1830, US President Andrew Jackson appointed him Naval Officer of Boston seaport, making him responsible for checking ship manifests (register of passengers), tabulating customs and other duties. In return he was given an allowance. But Boyd died a few months later in October 1830. Of his fortune, he left a quarter to his daughter Frances in India and another quarter to his son Wallace, born in 1814 from Marie Ruppel. Frances’ whereabouts could never be ascertained.
This article is part of a series on notable Americans who visited India before mid-20th century. Read the rest of the series here.