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New Delhi/Patna: Accusing BJP leaders Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur of “abusing authority” in Himachal Pradesh, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said that their actions would cause Rs.100 crore loss to the exchequer. Thakur, the BJP Lok Sabha member from Hamirpur, however, termed the allegations “baseless”.
Ramesh told reporters in Delhi that when Dhumal, the former Himachal chief minister, was in power in 2002, he allotted 16 acres of land in Dharamsala to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by his son Thakur.
He said the land was for building a stadium. The then Himachal Pradesh government, which should have annually earned Rs.94 lakh as rent for the land, got a mere Rs.12.
Stating that the state cabinet headed by Dhumal “approved the grant of land to HPCA for 99 years but changed the lease amount to a token rate of Re.1 per month”, Ramesh added: “Dhumal and his son Thakur together have misused the public property and the office held by them.”
“The lease is for 99 years. Therefore, the government will bear the loss that will be around Rs.100 crore,” he added.
“Blatant constitutional impropriety, conflict of interest, glaring misuse of office, usurpation of public property, and duping of public exchequer is writ large in their case,” Ramesh said.
He said that since 2002, Dhumal and his son Thakur misused power “in the name of cricket in Himachal Pradesh”.
“They have grabbed the land illegally and it is a matter of conflict of interest,” the Congress leader said, adding that the stadium was also being used for commercial purposes in gross violation of the approval given by the state cabinet.
Taking potshots at the Narendra Modi government, he said: “The BJP and its leaders have become habitual offenders in committing gross constitutional impropriety, misuse of office, conflict of interest and brazen conduct, which is the very anti-thesis of constitutional democracy.
Taking a jibe at Modi and other BJP leaders for “arrogant refusal” in affixing responsibility of union minister Sushma Swaraj, and chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramesh asked: “Will he (Modi) take action now?”
Thakur, who was in Bihar, later said there was no truth in the Congress party’s allegations against him and his father Dhumal.
“This is a baseless allegation leveled against me and my father,” Thakur said, adding that he will reply to the allegations soon.
BJP leader and union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Congress was running out of issues.
“This matter is already in the court, no one from the Congress appears there (in court). They should if they are so serious about this,” she said and added: “The fact is that the Congress just wants press coverage and is running out of issues.”
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)