Free Press Bulletin - Top 5 - 23 July 2021

Episode 38,  Jul 23, 05:43 AM

Here are the top 5 news updates of July 23, 2021:

With a quick, stylish swish of his air-bat, Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday took charge as the new President of the Punjab Congress amid loud chants of his name from the audience. With Chief Minister Amarinder Sindh in attendance on the dais, the cricketer-turned-politician looked set for a new innings, leaving behind months of a crisis in the state party unit.

His first speech as Punjab Congress President also hinted at his approach towards managing the affairs there.

"I will work shoulder-to-shoulder with you. I have no ego...The Congress is united today, contrary to what our opposition is saying," he said in his, by now well-known, aggressive style.

"We need to resolve all these issues, We have to do the politics of change," he said, hinting at the Chief Minister.

The Centre has turned down Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's demand for a court-monitored into the Pegasus 'phone hacking' allegations. The development came soon after the Wayanad MP accused the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of using the malware against "the Indian state and our institutions". He had also demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.

"We have clarified everything in the spyware case. There is no issue for any probe. Those who are making allegations are political failures and they have no other issue," MoS Ajay Kumar told NDTV.

Earlier today, Gandhi had contended that the only word that would describe the situation was "treason". "They have used it politically, they've used it in Karnataka, they've used it to scuttle probes, they've used it against Supreme Court, they have used it against all the institutions of this country," he alleged.

Recent reports had suggested that the military-grade malware from Israel-based NSO Group was being used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents.

A court in Mumbai on Friday extended till July 27 the police custody of businessman Raj Kundra in a case related to alleged creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some apps.

Kundra, husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, was arrested on the night of July 19 by the city police's crime branch after being booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

He was produced before the magistrate court at the end of his earlier remand on Friday. Police sought extension of his custody to probe the matter further.

The police had earlier told the court that the 45-year-old businessman was gaining financially from the illegal activity of making and selling pornographic material.

The police had claimed they have seized Kundra's mobile phone and its contents need to be scrutinised and also his business dealings and transactions have to be looked into.

Apart from Kundra, the police also produced another accused, Ryan Thorpe, before the court, which extended his custody till July 27.

Sharad Agarwal, the nephew of real estate developer Shyam Agarwal, filed an FIR against former Thane and Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, then deputy commissioner of police (crime) Parag Manere and three others at Kopri police station in Thane on Friday. Shyam Agarwal had filed a case of cheating and extortion against Singh and five other police officers at Marine Drive police station on Thursday.

Sharad Agarwal in his complaint has claimed that the officers had extorted Rs 9 crore from him by threatening into invoke MCOCA sections against his uncle Shyam Agarwal, and for helping to get bail for his uncle.

Sharad, in his statement to police, said that in 2011 Sanjay Punamia and Agarwal were business partners. Later they had a dispute and to take revenge Punamia filed a complaint against Agarwal in 2016 at Thane Nagar police station.

At that time Singh was the Thane police commissioner and Manare was DCP (Crime) in Thane. "After the case was registered Shyam was arrested and was in custody. Meanwhile, the police officials were in touch with Sharad. They demanded Rs 30 crore or threatened to file a case under MCOCA act. Later, they took Rs 1 crore as cash and took over the property of Agarwal costing Rs 8 crore. Punamia took over the property paper claiming it for Parambir Singh. It was a complete case if ransom to release Agarwal on bail and not invoke MCOCA," said Shekar Jagtap, advocate presenting Agarwal family.

After a volatile move, the Nifty index traded higher for the day to close at 15848.20 levels with a gain of 24 points while BankNifty has gained almost 1 percent in a day to close at 34996 levels.

Shares of Zomato on Friday zoomed nearly 53 per cent in its debut trade against its issue price of Rs 76.The stock made its debut at Rs 115, reflecting a huge gain of 51.31 per cent against the issue price on the BSE. It then hit a high of Rs 138, a jump of 81.57 per cent.

At the NSE, it got listed at Rs 116, registering a premium of 52.63 per cent.

Stocks like ICICI Bank, ITC, Wipro and SBI Life were the top gainers which supported the index for the day while Tata Motors, Grasim, L&T, Adani Ports were the draggers for the day. On the sectoral front, banking, IT< and metals closed in positive territory while Nifty PSE, Capital Goods and consumer durables were the prime laggards.