Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Vishnu, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1) We begin with the news of a little-known outfit, the Islamic Resistance Council, claiming responsibility for the Mangaluru blast that took place on November 19
2) Polygraph test of Aaftab Poonawala delayed in Shraddha Walkar murder case as he develops fever; victim's complaint, filed in 2020 against him, surfaces
3) The Supreme Court questions the Centre's 'haste' in appointing Arun Goel as Election Commissioner
4) Kerala CM expresses shock over murder of 2 men in Kannur by the drug mafia
5) No French credit for Kochi Metro’s Phase 2; fate of project uncertain
Lets get into the details
1) A little-known outfit Islamic Resistance Council (IRC) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the Mangaluru blast on November 19, saying that one of its 'Mujahid brother Mohammed Shariq' attempted to attack a 'Hindutva Temple in Kadri.'
The Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar said the police are verifying the genuineness of the organisation.
In a message that went viral on social media, the outfit said “One of our Mujahid brother Mohammed Shariq attempted to attack the Hindutva Temple in Kadri, a bastion of the Saffron terrorists in Mangaluru. Although the operation didn't meet its objectives, we still consider it a success from a trade craft and tactics point of view as the brother in spite of being wanted and being pursued by the state and central intelligence agencies, was not only able to successfully evade them but even prepared and mounted an attack.”
The outfit also warned the Mangaluru Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar that it is just a matter of time before the IRC gets to him.
Regarding the attack, the outfit said they were forced into this war and the path of resistance by the fascists and that they were only responding to the worst forms of state terrorism.
It was on November 19 that Mohammed Shariq, a member of the IRC, travelled in an autorickshaw with a pressure cooker which exploded in Mangaluru, injuring both him and the driver. The police termed the blast an act of terror.
2) The police team investigating the brutal murder of Shraddha Walkar revealed the polygraph test of accused Aaftab Amin Poonawala had to be delayed after he was diagnosed with fever and cold. The delay in completion of the polygraph test would also mean a delay in conducting a narco test on Poonawala.
The 28-year-old also has to undergo a set of tests to ascertain his emotional, mental, physiological and psychological well-being. The narco analysis cannot be conducted if he is found to be disturbed in the preliminary tests.
Teams of Delhi Police once again conducted searches at the house where Poonawala lived along with Walkar in South Delhi's Chattarpur area. So far, the place of offence, a rented accommodation in Chattarpur, has been closely inspected by the police and forensic experts.
Meanwhile, a 2020 complaint surfaced in which Shraddha alleged her partner tried to kill her and she feared he would cut her into pieces.
In the complaint, dated November 23, 2020, Walkar alleged that Poonawala used to beat her up and his parents were aware of it. The Maharashtra government ordered a probe into the police inaction on the complaint and said it took the development very seriously.
Poonawala allegedly strangled Walkar and sawed her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in South Delhi's Mehrauli before dumping them across the city over several days past midnight. The murder took place in May.
3) The Supreme Court on Thursday questioned the Centre's "haste" and "tearing hurry" in appointing Arun Goel as Election Commissioner. The Centre vehemently resisted the observations, with the attorney general asking the court to "hold its mouth" for a while and look into the issue in its entirety.
At the outset, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph perused the Centre's original file pertaining to Goel's appointment as EC, and questioned the lightning process of Goel's appointment.
While the court observed Goel's file did not even move within departments for 24 hours, the Centre through Attorney General R Venkataramani vehemently urged the bench not to make observations without looking into the entire issue pertaining to the appointment process.
The top court said the 1985-batch IAS officer got voluntary retirement from service in a single day, his file was cleared by the Law Ministry in a single day, a panel of four names were put up before the prime minister and Goel's name got the nod from the President within 24 hours.
The bench, which also comprised Justices Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar, said none of the four names in the panel were "carefully hand-picked" by the Law Minister so that they could complete a six-year tenure.
Venkataramani responded that there is a mechanism and criteria for selection and there cannot be a scenario where the government has to look back at every officers' track record and ensure that he completes the six-year tenure.
Under the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, an Election Commissioner can have a tenure of six years or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier. Referring to Goel's appointment, the Attorney General said his profile is important and not the voluntary retirement which is being made an issue.
The Supreme Court made the observations while hearing a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of Election Commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner.
On November 19, Goel, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, was appointed as election commissioner.
Goel would be in line to be the next Chief Election Commissioner after incumbent Rajiv Kumar demits office in February 2025. His total tenure in the Election Commission would be of over five years.
4) In a tragic incident, two men were killed near Thalassery in Kannur on Wednesday allegedly by a drug mafia gang.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed shock over the murders and said the duo were killed for joining the government's fight against the drug menace.
The victims are Khalid, a fisherman, and his brother-in-law Shameer, who were hacked to death. Police said the two men who were killed and a third person, who was the victims' relative, were attacked by the gang a day after they brutally assaulted the son of one of the victims for objecting to the sale of banned substances by them. The accused are absconding.
The gruesome murder comes amid the ongoing mass campaign against intoxicants and contraband substances in the state.
The CM said strict legal action would be initiated against the culprits. He further urged the entire society to wake up and fight together against the growing drug menace in the state.
Stating that such crimes should be viewed as a challenge against the land, he said similar gangs would be rooted out through comprehensive probe and coordinated interventions by the police and excise departments.
5) AFD, the French Development Bank, will not be extending credit for the proposed second phase extension of the Kochi Metro. Consequently, uncertainty looms over the second phase planned from the International Stadium in Kaloor to Infopark in Kakkanad.
AFD has already conveyed its unwillingness to provide loans for work on the second phase to Kochi Metro Rail Limited, the implementing agency of the project. The French agency took the decision reportedly pointing out ambiguities in the central government order clearing the second phase. Moreover, the inflated figures in the project report prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the first phase work also compelled AFD to withdraw from its commitment.
Incidentally, the first phase of Kochi Metro was completed after receiving an AFD credit of Rs 1,525 crore at 1.9 percent interest. During a visit to Kochi Metro in 2016 to evaluate the progress of the first phase, the French Ambassador to India had offered loans for the second phase also.
However, following the recent developments, an AFD team arrived in Kochi two months ago and informed KMRL officials during an evaluation meeting at KMRL headquarters that the loan will not be available. Even after two months, KMRL has yet to officially reveal that the French agency has withdrawn from the project.
Ironically, the second phase development was formally inaugurated by the prime minister himself two months ago and actual work was scheduled to start in January, 2023.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Follow onmanorama.com for detailed updates on the latest news, and be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.