Free Press Bulletin: Farmers' protest will not end before October, says Rakesh Tikait; Sukhbir Singh Badal's vehicle attacked by 'Congress goons'- Check out top 5 news updates of February 2, 2021


2. Probe into blast near Israel embassy handed over to NIA

The Ministry of Home Affairs has handed over to the National Investigation Agency the probe into the blast near the Israel embassy in Delhi. A minor IED blast took place near the Israeli Embassy in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi on Friday evening. “The investigation into the blast near the Israeli embassy has been handed over to the NIA,” a home ministry official said.

Some cars were damaged in the explosion that occurred about 150 metres from the embassy on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road in the high-security Lutyens’ bungalow zone. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also spoken to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to convey his strong condemnation of the terror attack and asserted that India will deploy all its resources to find and punish the perpetrators.

3. Sukhbir Singh Badal‘s vehicle attacked by ‘Congress goons’ in Jalalabad, 3 suffers bullet injuries

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s vehicle was attacked allegedly by police-backed Congress goons in Jalalabad, when he had accompanied party candidates to file nomination for the upcoming municipal corporation elections. Three party workers who jumped in to the president’s rescue received bullet injuries, claimed the SAD.

Strongly condemning the “murderous” attack on Sukhbir Singh Badal and others accompanying him, the party has demanded Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation citing the complete breakdown in the law and order situation in the state. In a statement, party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said: “There was a premeditated attempt on the SAD President’s life and the Jalalabad police was complicit in this crime as it allowed the attackers a free run. A high-level judicial inquiry should be held into this attack under the supervision of the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court as the heinous act seems to be enjoy State patronage.”

4. Australia’s tour of South Africa postponed due to ‘unacceptable’ COVID-19 risk

Australia’s three-match Test tour of South Africa has been postponed due to an ‘unacceptable’ coronavirus risk, Cricket Australia confirmed today. The Tim Paine-led Australia squad was scheduled to tour South Africa later this month. CA’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley said traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time will have an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting players.

“Following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players, support staff and the community,” Hockley said in a statement. “We acknowledge the significant amount of work by CSA in planning for the tour, during which we made it clear that CA was prepared to take on additional cost and effort to make the series happen,” he further said. “This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time, our valued relationship with CSA, and our aspirations to compete in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship,” Hockley added.

5. Sensex soars nearly 1,200 points; Nifty tops 14,600

The BSE benchmark Sensex zoomed nearly 1,200 points while the NSE Nifty reclaimed the 14,600-level today as the post-Budget rally continued for the second session. The Sensex ended 1,197.11 points or 2.46 per cent higher at 49,797.72. The BSE gauge topped the 50,000-level briefly and swung 1,554 points during the day. Likewise, the Nifty advanced 366.65 points or 2.57 per cent to end the session at 14,647.85.

Together with Budget day gains, the Sensex has amassed 3,511 points or 7.58 per cent in two sessions, and the Nifty has accumulated 1,007.25 points or 7.38 per cent. Today’s top gainers included SBI, UltraTech Cement, HDFC Bank, L&T, Bharti Airtel, Maruti Suzuki and Kotak Bank. Most analysts are of the view that the equity markets reacted positively to the Budget primarily due to higher capital expenditure plans, status quo on direct taxes and no incremental taxes on capital gains.

(With input from agencies)