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Let us begin with the top stories of the day: The Allahabad High Court pulled up the petitioner seeking opening of 20 rooms in the Taj Mahal. The court asked not to make “a mockery of the PIL system”. A bench comprising Justices DK Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi said, “Go and research. Do M.A. Do PhD., Then choose such a topic and if any institute disallows you to research on such a topic.” The plea was filed by Dr Rajneesh Singh, seeking direction to the Archeological Survey of India to open 20 sealed doors of the Taj Mahal to resolve the controversy around its origins. He contends that the Taj Mahal was a Shiva Temple, known as Tejo Mahalaya, and has asked for the government to constitute a fact-finding committee.
The Varanasi court hearing the petition of five women seeking right to worship without any hindrance at the Kashi-Vishwanath- Gyanvapi mosque complex today, ordered the survey to continue at the disputed site. Two more advocate commisioners — Ajay Singh and Vishal Singh — have been appointed by the court, in addition to Advocate Ajay Kumar Mishra. They were appointed after Mishra was accused of being biased by the Anjuman Intezamia mosque committee. The Commission will submit a report by May 17 on the inspection of the complex. The court ordered an inspection in April, this year following a petition by the Hindu women who asked for year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine located within the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi.
In other news, Delhi Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan was detained after clashes broke out during protests against an SDMC demolition drive that took place today. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation conducted an anti-encroachment drive in Amar Colony, East of Kailash and other adjoining areas in South Delhi. No damage was done to any shops or properties during this time. Delhi saw an anti-encroachment drive in several parts yet again on Thursday, days after bulldozers reached the Shaheen Bagh area. Amanatullah Khan was seen in Madanpur Khadar as he protested the action by the civic body. The drive has been carried out in the national capital since communal violence broke out in Jahangirpuri area during a Hamuman jayanti procession.
The Tata Group has appointed Campbell Wilson as CEO and MD of Air India. Wilson is currently CEO of Singapore Airline’s low-cost subsidiary Scoot. Earlier this year, Tata Group had named Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci as Air India’s CEO & MD, but he subsequently denied the position. Wilson has 26 years of aviation industry expertise across both full service and low-cost airlines. He started off as a Management Trainee with Singapore Airlines in New Zealand in 1996. He then worked for SIA in Canada, Hong Kong and Japan before returning to Singapore in 2011 as the founding CEO of Scoot, which he led until 2016. He returned to his second stint as the CEO of Scoot in April 2020.
India’s retail inflation rate rose to an eight-year high of 7.79 percent in the month of April. Separately, country’s factory output, measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), witnessed a growth of 1.9 percent in March, two separate data released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) showed on Thursday. The retail inflation for the month of March was 6.95 per cent. This is the fourth consecutive month that CPI data has breached the Reserve Bank of India’s upper margin of 6 per cent. The government has mandated the central bank to maintain retail inflation at 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent on either side for a five-year period ending March 2026.
The Jharkhand government today suspended mining secretary Pooja Singhal, a day after she was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its probe into a money laundering case. Singhal was arrested in a case involving the alleged diversion of MGNREGA funds during her tenure as deputy commissioner in Khunti district in 2009-2010. She was produced before a special court, which sent her to ED custody for five days. The investigation is linked to 16 FIRs registered against a former government junior engineer in 2010-2011, but the action comes at a time when Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren is under the scanner for allegedly allotting a mining lease in his favour and a plot of land to his wife.
A Delhi court today rejected the bail plea of National Stock Exchange’s former managing director Chitra Ramkrishna and former group operating officer (GOO) Anand Subramanian in a 2018 case of bourse manipulation case. Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal refused to grant bail to the two accused after the CBI had opposed their bail claiming that they were involved in a serious offence affecting the integrity of the financial system. The agency had told the court that Ramakrishna, by the “gross abuse of her official position”, illegally and arbitrarily appointed Anand Subramanian, “who did not have any prior experience”. According to the SEBI, several key decisions were taken by Ramkrishna during her tenure as NSE’s MD and CEO from 2013 to 2016.
Now news from the Sri Lankan economic crisis, A Sri Lankan court today imposed a ban on overseas travel on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son and MP Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others. The decision was taken in view of the investigations against them for the deadly attack on peaceful anti-government protesters in the capital, Colombo this week. The Fort Magistrate’s Court asked them to surrender their passports to the court. At least nine people were killed and over 300 others injured in the violence. The magisterial order came as a response to a request by the police’s criminal investigation division who are conducting the investigations into the Monday’s violence. The court issued the bans on 13 law makers.
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