Free Press Bulletin - Top 5 - 19 July 2021

Jul 20, 11:11 AM

Here are the top 5 news updates of July 19, 2021:

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has slammed the release of "over-the-top" media reports about the government's use of Pegasus to spy on opposition leaders, journalists and others, including its own ministers and a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, and said it "can't be a coincidence" that they were published a day before the opening of Parliament's monsoon session. He said the data shared has nothing to do with surveillance. "No concrete basis of allegations. Allegations made in the past as well," he said. The minister said the National Statistical Office has already denied all these allegation. He said in India, there is a clear procedure lay down for any interception or surveillance. "There is no substance in any allegation other than sensationlism," he said.

Maharashtra Congress today sought to know if snooping and phone tapping took place in the state using the Israeli software Pegasus during the previous BJP-led state government. State Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant also demanded an inquiry into the issue. "Did the Pegasus scandal happen in Maharashtra?" asked Sawant, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and NCP in the state. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state should conduct a probe into it, he said in a statement. Sawant said in Maharashtra, a case of alleged "unauthorised phone-tapping" by (senior IPS officer) Rashmi Shukla during the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government has already come to light. "But, there were also reports of the use of Pegasus software," he claimed.

Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh today said he will appear before the Enforcement Directorate to record his statement in connection with its probe into a money laundering case after the Supreme Court's decision over his petition seeking protection from any coercive action in the case. The NCP leader's comments came a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at two of his residences in Nagpur district. Deshmukh had earlier skipped ED's summons for questioning in the case. He recently moved the Supreme Court seeking protection from any coercive action in the money laundering case.

The Bombay HC bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar today asked the National Investigations Agency (NIA) as to for how many years could an undertrial be languishing in jail without trial. The bench was referring to the fact that several activists, some of them senior citizens, arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, have been in prison without charges being framed against them, since last three years. The bench also stated that it has "great respect for Father Stan Swamy and his work, rendered to the society." The bench was hearing a plea filed by deceased Jesuit Priest Stan Swamy, who had sought interim bail on medical grounds.

Equity benchmark Sensex tanked 587 points today, tracking heavy losses in HDFC twins, Reliance Industries and Axis Bank amid a weak trend in global markets. The 30-share BSE index ended 586.66 points or 1.10 per cent lower at 52,553.40, while the broader NSE Nifty fell 171 points or 1.07 per cent to 15,752.40. HDFC Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, slumping over 3 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC, Maruti and Bajaj Finance. On the other hand, NTPC, Nestle India, Dr Reddy's and Sun Pharma were among the gainers.