No question of CBI probe into Rafale deal Centre tells SC

first_imgNew Delhi: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that there was no question of either registration of an FIR or investigation by CBI in the Rafale fighter jets deal as the apex court had already concluded that there was no reason for intervention by it on the “sensitive issue”.The Centre, which sought dismissal of petitions seeking review of the December 14 last year verdict which gave a clean chit to the government on procurement of 36 fighter jets from French firm Dassault, said CAG report “belied” the main arguments of petitioners regarding alleged “exorbitant price” of the jets. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCIn its 39-page written submissions filed in the top court, the Centre has said that petitioners and former union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist advocate Prashant Bhushan have not made out any ground which would justify review of the “well reasoned” December 14 judgement last year. “Especially, once this court had come to the conclusion that on all the three aspects i.e., the decision making process, pricing and Indian offset partner, there is no reason for intervention by this court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts by the Indian Government, there is no question of either registration of FIR much less any investigation by the CBI,” the government said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsA three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on May 10 reserved its verdict on the pleas seeking review of the December 14 judgement in the Rafale case. The apex court, in its December 14 verdict, had said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets and dismissed the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal. Besides Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan, review petitions have also been filed by AAP lawmaker Sanjay Singh and lawyer Vineet Dhandha. In its written submissions, the Centre has said in the garb of seeking review of the verdict and placing reliance on “some press reports and some incomplete internal file noting(s), copies of which were obtained unauthorisedly and illegally”, the petitioners cannot seek to re-open the whole matter since scope of review petition is extremely limited. “The review petition, it is therefore, submitted is an attempt to get a fishing and roving enquiry ordered, which this court has specifically declined to go into based on perceptions of individuals,” it said. The Centre also said the petitioners have not disclosed any new evidence in the review petition “except that they have now based their case on some unauthorisedly accessed documents copied from the secret files of the Ministry of Defence.” It said files and documents were made available to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who took about two years to complete its study and finalise its report. “The report of the CAG does not support the main argument of petitioners which has been perpetually repeated before this court that the cost of each aircraft under 36 Rafale contract is Rs 1,000 crore higher than what it would have been under the MMRCA bid,” the Centre said.last_img read more

Kartarpur Corridor India Pak officials discuss technical aspects

first_imgChandigarh: Officials from India and Pakistan on Monday met at the Zero Line along the international border in Punjab’s Dera Baba Nanak sector and discussed the technical aspects to link Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. Official sources said officers from the two sides discussed the road alignment of around 5-km-long Kartarpur Corridor. Out of this, nearly 4.5 km will fall in Pakistan’s territory. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist Indian officials who participated in the meeting included those from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, National Highways Authority of India and the Land Ports Authority of India. This was the third meeting and the last one held on April 16 focused largely on security aspect of the corridor. Officials say the security is important as the corridor is expected to cater to daily movement of hundreds of pilgrims from India who will be visiting the Sikh shrine inside Pakistan under a visa-free arrangement. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France The corridor is expected to be completed before November this year to enable pilgrims to travel to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has been demanding visa-free “khula darshan” at the gurdwara for Indians of all faiths, from India and overseas, all days of the week. The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, located 4.5 km from the border near the Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, is significant for the Sikh community as it is here that Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place. The governments of India and Pakistan are trying to facilitate the travel of pilgrims to offer prayers at the gurdwara, a demand made by the Sikhs for over 70 years. Dera Baba Nanak town is around 260 km from the state capital.last_img read more

Spurious liquor claims 12 lives in UP political conspiracy angle to be

first_imgBarabanki (UP): At least 12 people died and around 40 others were taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district, officials said on Tuesday. The incident prompted the Adityanath government to order a high-level probe to look into all angles, including the possibility of a political conspiracy. Four members of a family are said to be among those who died in the incident that took place on Monday night. Heads rolled after the incident with authorities suspending 10 excise and two police officials. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for each of the deceased and ordered a high-level probe to look into all angles, including political conspiracy and submit a report within 48 hours, UP government spokesperson and cabinet minister Siddhart Nath Singh said. Locals belonging to Raniganj and adjoining villages consumed liquor purchased from a shop in Ramnagar area on Monday night and were rushed to Ramnagar Community Health Centre (CHC) after they were taken ill early Tuesday morning, police said. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France At least 16 of those taken ill have been referred to the King George Medical University Hospital in Lucknow where they were undergoing dialysis while 5-6 others were being brought to Balrampur and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals in Lucknow, Singh said. He said directives have been issued to ensure all possible medical facilities to those undergoing treatment in hospitals. UP Excise Minister Jai Pratap Singh said the excise commissioner, joint and deputy commissioners have rushed to the spot and further information was awaited. District Excise Officer, Barabanki, Shiv Narayan Dube, Excise Inspector Ramtirath Maurya, three head constables and five constables of the excise department have been suspended with immediate effect, the excise minister said. Police Circle Officer Pawan Gautam and Station House Officer Rajesh Kumar Singh have also been suspended on charges of dereliction of duty. The chief minister has taken serious note of the incident and directed senior officials to take stern action against all those found guilty, a senior government official said. The chief minister has set up a high-level committee comprising Commissioner and IG (Ayodhya) and Excise Commissioner to probe into the incident to fix responsibility and identify lax employees. The committee will also look into any political conspiracy angle into the Barabanki incident as had been seen in some incidents of similar nature in the past, Singh said. After a major hooch tragedy in two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh earlier this year that claimed around 100 lives, Adityanath had suggested the involvement of the Samajwadi Party in “such mischievous acts” and had warned of stern action against all those found involved in illicit liquor trade even if they were associated with any political party. “In the past too, such types of mischievous acts by SP leaders had come to the fore. In Azamgarh, Hardoi, Kanpur and Barabanki, SP leaders were found to be involved in past hooch tragedies. We can’t deny conspiracy this time too,” Adityanath had told reporters in the aftermath of the tragedy in Saharanpur in February.last_img read more

Climate change affecting global food production

first_imgClimate change is adversely affecting the production of key crops such as wheat and rice, with some countries faring far worse than others, according to researchers including those of Indian origin. The world’s top 10 crops – barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat – supply a combined 83 per cent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Also Read – Pollution makes you more aggressiveThe research shows that climate change has already affected production of these key energy sources. Scientists used weather and reported crop data to evaluate the potential impact of observed climate change. They found that observed climate change causes a significant yield variation in the world’s top 10 crops, ranging from a decrease of 13.4 per cent for oil palm to an increase of 3.5 per cent for soybean, and resulting in an average reduction of about one per cent of consumable food calories from these top 10 crops. Also Read – Physical therapy better for low back pain”There are winners and losers, and some countries that are already food insecure fare worse,” said the reearchers. “These findings indicate which geographical areas and crops are most at risk, making them relevant to those working to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and limiting the effects of climate change. Insights like these lead to new questions and crucial next steps,” they added. The impacts of climate change on global food production are mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, generally positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia and Northern and Central America. About half of all food-insecure countries are experiencing decreases in crop production – and so are some affluent industrialised countries in Western Europe, the study found.last_img read more

Mamata directs CID to take over Nimta murder case probe

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Thursday to take over the investigation of Trinamool leader Nirmal Kundu’s murder at Nimta.In the evening, she visited Nirmal’s house and interacted with his family members. Later, Banerjee alleged that BJP is resorting to violence in the name of victory rallies and instructed the police not to allow any more victory rallies across the state by the saffron party. Banerjee was accompanied by Sujit Bose, Jyotipriya Mallick, MLA Saugata Roy and MP Dola Sen. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaOn Thursday at around 6:30 pm, Banerjee visited Nirmal’s family members where they called for capital punishment for the guilty persons. After interacting with the Trinamool leader’s family, the Chief Minister stated that the conspirator behind the murder should be found at any cost. “Who is the conspirator? I have met Nirmal’s family and they have demanded capital punishment for the murderers. We want justice and punishment for the culprits as well,” she said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersLater, Banerjee alleged that BJP has won the seats in Bengal through fraud and bribes. She also stated that the party is lying about their workers getting killed in the state. “None of their workers have been killed. But in Delhi they are claiming that Trinamool is doing all the violence. They are lying. Only our workers are getting killed. After winning in some sub divisions, BJP is doing naked displays of violence. Bengal is not the place for it, it is a place of peace,” Banerjee said. She also alleged that general people and Trinamool leaders are getting attacked during the saffron party’s victory rallies. “No victory rally will be allowed. I am instructing the police about it. Only peace rallies will be allowed,” she added. Banerjee also stated that BJP on Wednesday had killed a Trinamool worker in Dinhata and a newborn baby in Habra. She also challenged BJP over the poster pasted on a Trinamool leader’s house in Birati, where there was a threat of his head being severed. Talking about Nirmal’s murder, Banerjee further said, “BJP workers were arranging a display of the oath taking ceremony. Nirmal just requested them to do it a bit far from his home. Was that his fault? I am requesting people to take action so that BJP cannot win in Bengal.” She also alleged that the CPI(M) is supporting BJP and warned the leaders of the party to control their cadres. According to sources, following Nirmal’s murder his brother is being threatened continuously by a group of miscreants. They have mentioned five names in the FIR lodged. On the other hand, two accused persons arrested on Wednesday, identified as Suman Kundu and Sujoy Das, were produced before the Barrackpore Court on Thursday. After hearing the petition from both parties, the magistrate remanded the duo to police custody for seven days. Sleuths are searching for the other accused persons named in the FIR and are conducting raids in several places.last_img read more

Celebrating Blockchain

first_imgTechnology is always going to attract investors and developers. That said, India should actively promote technological conclaves so that Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ gets the boost it lacked in his first term. Technological conclaves for one aid in attracting a pool of investors to a platform populated by developers and techno-enthusiasts. A similar event in the form of India Dapp Fest 2019 is being held in Bengaluru by Blockchained India – a network of this fintech’s champions – from June 11-15. Boasting a huge one-of-its-kind in Asia gathering, this fest is set to attract techno-enthusiasts, technocrats as well as investors who will experience a showcase of the wide spectrum of applications that utilise this new technology. In a massive upgrade from the India Blockchain Week in September 2017 which had a dismal footfall, India Dapp fest envisages huge participation both from foreign as well as the native audience. In two years, Blockchain has grown making a global presence whereby research papers suggest how it could be a revolution in the banking systems across the world. But here our curiosity piques as to what exactly is Blockchain and why is it making such ruckus in the techno-world. Simply put, blockchain is a vast networked database. However, unlike usual systems, blockchain does not have central authority with the records shared among the members of the network. Classic decentralisation of data one may say. Blockchain allows users to collaborate on the same file through different source points with everything saved for later use. The fact that it lacks a central mainframe is beneficial for several industries and a developed blockchain framework could be part of companies in the near future. Hence, the Blockchain fest happening in the silicon valley of India – a hub for startups – is a great platform for potential developers to interact with like-minded people and develop partnerships and projects leading to successful applications that can be absorbed by the corporate sector in future. Expert surveys already rate blockchain as a technology worth a lot. According to Gartner, by 2030, the annual business value generated by blockchain will be more than US$3 trillion. It goes without saying that new technology is always attracting people for what it brings to the table and in blockchain’s context, a lot is on the table which needs investment and development. In the fast-progressing world which is slowly embracing IoT and 5G, the internet has outgrown its former definition. Blockchain is another innovation which will greatly utilise internet and fifth generation services providing sectors with a novel data system. Opportunities are galore and so is the scope of development. All it needs is like-minded people discussing parallels before cohesively developing the next big thing. Conclaves like India Dapp Fest bring up the opportunity for small developers to go global and it is also a medium for expert interaction and learning which is highly beneficial if one looks at the skill gap present amongst our graduates who are largely unemployed even as the culture of entrepreneurship and startups has hit the nation for some time now. Promoting such conclaves should be in the best interest of government since it serves a flurry of purposes for the mass.last_img read more

Telugu film Oh Baby grosses Rs 17 crore in 3 days

first_imgHyderabad: Actor Samantha Akkineni-starrer Telugu comedy “Oh! Baby” has grossed Rs 17 crore in its opening weekend, according to a poster released by its makers on Monday. Directed by Nandini Reddy, the film is the story of a 70-year-old woman who wakes up one day to find herself in the body of a 24-year-old. “Oh! Baby” is the official remake of South Korean comedy “Miss Granny”. Sharing the poster on her Twitter page, Samantha wrote: “What a weekend. Thank you for all the Baby love. We are doing back flips.” Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography In the US, the film has collected half a million in its opening weekend and will look to breach into the million dollar club in a few days. The film, which also stars Naga Shaurya, Rao Ramesh and Rajendra Prasad in crucial roles, marks the second time collaboration of Samantha and Reddy after “Jabardasth”. In March, Samantha thanked her director for giving her a very special film. “Today, I am so grateful to the universe, to God and to the people who have been instrumental in helping me find my direction. I have taken some time to grow both personally and professionally. “There have been many ups and downs. But today I feel the satisfaction of that growth as I wrap yet another film ‘Oh! Baby’. I just know in my heart that this one is going to be special,” she had tweeted.last_img read more

BHEL bags Rs 486 cr order from NPCIL for Kudankulam project

first_imgNew Delhi: State-owned BHEL Sunday said it has secured an order worth Rs 486 crore from Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to erect the reactor side equipment in unit 3 and 4 of Kudankulam project. “BHEL has secured an order for erection work of reactor side equipment of 2×1000 MWe (Units 3&4) Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu, being set up under foreign cooperation (Russia),” the company said in a regulatory filing. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalFor the same project, BHEL had earlier secured an order for erection work of Turbine Generator (TG) island. BHEL has also successfully executed the erection work of TG island for Units 1 and 2 at Kudankulam. “This is the first time BHEL is lending its capabilities for erection of reactor side equipment manufactured by another supplier. With this, the company has expanded its footprint in the nuclear sector,” the filing said. BHEL is an established Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) leader for both thermal and nuclear power projects. Out of 18 operating Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the country, 12 are equipped with BHEL-supplied steam turbine generator sets, accounting for 74 per cent of the installed capacity, the filing said. BHEL is also currently executing turbine generator packages for 4 units of 700 MWe, 2 units each at Kakrapar and Rawatbhata, it added.last_img read more

To save water Delhi govt schools to implement zero liquid discharge system

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Delhi government has started a new initiative to promote conservation of water in the Delhi government schools. It has asked all the schools affiliated to it to implement the zero liquid discharge system. The government had earlier undertaken the implementation of the rainwater harvesting to prevent wastage of water in the schools. The government has given the schools a 90-day window to implement the system. The government aims to save water by recycling and reusing it through the zero discharge system initiative. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe system will help direct using wastewater for those activities for which freshwater is used in the school compound. The Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister, Manish Sisodia while talking about the Zero Discharge System said that ‘in order to create awareness among students regarding the environment, the eco-club has been made years back. As per our latest step towards the same direction, the water that is being consumed in schools is recycled.’ He further added that they are planning to reach the stage of zero wastage of water. And after the implementation of the ZLD system, the Delhi government schools will be observing zero wastage of water. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe Delhi government also organised recently the Mega Parents Teacher Meeting (PTM) in all of 1041 schools on July 12, 2019. The event has now formed into an important platform for interaction between the teachers and the parents of the students studying the Delhi government schools. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that ‘Mega PTM is mandatory for the parents to attend the meeting with the teachers and the principal. “It gives parents a kind of importance that boots their confidence. It helps parents come and asks questions of their own from the teachers,” Sisodia said.last_img read more

Uproar in Parl over Trumps Kashmir mediation remarks

first_imgNew Delhi: US President Donald Trump’s claim on Kashmir mediation led to angry reactions from the opposition in Parliament on Tuesday, as the government asserted that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally.While Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the issue, the opposition walked out of Lok Sabha proceedings demanding a statement from the prime minister himself. Soon after the House met for the day at 11 am, opposition parties raked up the issue of Trump’s remarks made in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe US President had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir. Deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said Trump had stated that Prime Minister of India had at the recent G20 meeting in Osaka in Japan sought his mediation. CPI’s D Raja wanted to know if there was any change in India’s position on third-party mediation on Kashmir issue. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Prime Minister Modi never made any such request to the US leader and reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayHe said all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally, thereby ruling out any third-party mediation. “I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the prime minister to the US President,” he said. The minister said it has been the consistent position of India that all outstanding issues with Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally. “Any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross border terrorism,” he said, adding Shimla and Lahore accords signed between India and Pakistan provide the basis for resolution of all issues bilaterally. Opposition parties were, however, not satisfied by the statement of the External Affairs Minister and wanted the prime minister to come to the House and clarify. This led to heated exchanges between opposition benches and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who adjourned proceedings for nearly an hour. In Lok Sabha, the Opposition walked out demanding the prime minister’s statement on Trump’s remarks. As soon as the Lower House met for the day, members from the Congress and some other opposition parties were on their feet shouting slogans over the issue. Later, when the Zero Hour began, Manish Tewari (Cong) said since the statement of Trump is serious, the prime minister himself should clarify. Saugata Roy (TMC) said it was in contravention to the position held by India. He also rejected any clarification by Jaishankar on the issue. When Jaishakar rose to make a statement, it was drowned in protest by the entire opposition. Home Minister Amit Shah requested the Speaker to allow Jaishankar to repeat the statement as it was essential that people hear him. Amid the ruckus in the House, Speaker Om Birla said it was a serious issue and there should not be any politics over the matter.last_img read more

Circle rates of commercial and residential properties come down in GB Nagar

first_imgG B Nagar: In a bid to provide much needed boost to the ailing realty sector, the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration, on Wednesday, decided to slash the circle rates of commercial as well as residential properties in the district. Officials said that the move will not only help in curbing the revenue loss to the state but will also attract more commercial projects in Gautam Budh Nagar.District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar, B N Singh said that the circle rates have been revised after a study was done based on the difference between considerable rate and circle rates. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The minimum price for a circle rate is determined once a year, keeping in mind the economic activities happening in the district. There has been a considerable decrease in the revenue of the district in past couple of years and due to the increasing circle rates, the targets of commercial areas were not completed. We have decided to slash the circle rates over property while we will also invite comments from the public and the decision would be affective after the official notification,” said Singh. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe officer further informed that 6% surcharge being imposed on the properties has been removed and no further increase in the circle rate will be done. He also said that the 25% surcharge on the malls is already removed and the government is also going to reduce floor vice of 21% in all the commercial projects in Noida. Singh further said that the economic activities in the district have witnessed a slight increase with the upcoming Jewar International Airport which is at prime focus of the government. “Keeping in mind the development of the upcoming International Airport at Jewar in Greater Noida which is also expected to bloom economic activities in the district, the government has already paid nearly Rs 1,500 crore rupees to the farmers, lands of those have been acquired for Jewar Airport. The government will also pay the Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore in next couple of months,” added Singh. The circle rate will be reduced to increase the revenue of the government and will also benefit group housing societies and to those investors who are planning to buy a property in the district, he added.last_img read more

No Islamic State link in Easter attacks Sri Lankan investigator

first_imgColombo: A senior Sri Lankan investigating officer probing the Easter terror attacks which killed over 250 people and injured hundreds has said that the bombings were not directly linked to the Islamic State (IS) as earlier claimed. Senior Deputy Inspector General of the Criminal Investigations Department Ravi Seneviratne testified before the country’s Parliament Select Committee (PSC), which was appointed in May to investigate the April 21 attacks, that the suicide bombers were inspired by the IS theology but there was no evidence directly linking them to the group. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USHe said on Wednesday that investigations were ongoing to probe if there were more suspects linked to the bombings which targeted three churches, three luxury hotels and two other locations, Colombo Page reported. Seneviratne told the panel that remnants of the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ), the group that was held responsible by the government for the attacks, had persuaded the IS to claim the bombings. Director of the Criminal Investigations Department Shani Abeysekera told the committee that all those involved in the terror blasts had either died or arrested and the country was returning to normalcy. Abeysekera said since the attacks, large stocks of weapons and ammunition had been seized and further investigations were ongoing. The police said there were over 100 suspects in custody to date, who were directly or indirectly linked to the suicide blasts and security forces were continuing to conduct island wide operations to catch more suspects. Seneviratne also said that he was not satisfied with the action taken on the prior warnings received before the bombings — one of the most brutal attacks in the island nation since the civil war ended in 2009.last_img read more

B Ganeshan takes over as AFC managing director

first_imgNEW DELHI: B Ganeshan has taken charge as MD of AFC India Ltd (Formerly, Agricultural Finance Corporation). AFC is a National level premier multi-disciplinary consultancy and technical support organization established way back in the year 1968 wholly owned by Commercial Banks, NABARD and EXIMBank. AFC is a deemed Government Company and its accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).Prior to this appointment, Ganesban was serving as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India. He has served for over 22 years in NABARD as well as various Ministries of Government of India viz. Ministry of Power, Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ministry of Shipping and other premier National level institutions in senior administrative capacities. He also had a stint as Regional Manager in Agriculture Insurance Co. of India (AIC), an apex institution established by Govt. of India, leading four important states viz.,.Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.last_img read more

FPI Nomura Morgan Stanley Citi Fidelity may meet FM

first_imgNew Delhi: Leading foreign investors, including Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Templeton, Fidelity, GIC (Singapore), CPDQ are likely to meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Finance Secretary Rajeev Kumar and DEA Secretary Atanu Chakraborty on Friday afternoon as the government reaches out to know their concerns over the surcharge on FPIs who are operating as trusts or association of persons (AoP) without being registered as companies. The FPIs are likely to raise issues such as the recently-introduced tax surcharge and seek either full rollback or suitably tweaked to keep them out of the higher tax net. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Sources indicated that the discussions would throw up other issues like restricted access to foreign investors in corporate bond markets and tighter know your client (KYC) norms. These issues have also dented institutional investors liking for the Indian market. However, surcharge on tax for FPIs is the biggest concern that has impacted FPI inflows into the maker since the budget announcement in July 5. It is learnt that meeting would also be attended by Citi, Deutsche, Fidelity and Capital Group JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BoAML, UBS. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost “The government is keen to get suggestions from foreign investors about the outflows in the past few weeks before taking any policy intervention steps. It may be pointed that the Budget for FY 20 which contains the surcharge on FPIs has already been passed by Parliament,” said an official source. However, ordinance route may also be explored if government decides to remove tax liability on FPIs. This would be required as the tax proposal is part Finance Bill 2019 and it needs to be amended and approved by Parliament if changes are to be made. The meeting comes amid growing concerns among FPIs triggering outflows of over Rs 22,000 crore since July. The government had increased the tax surcharge on all the non-corporate entities which earn over Rs 2 crore of income annually. About 40 per cent of the FPIS would be impacted by this tax .last_img read more

Pak PM discusses Kashmir issue with German Chancellor

first_imgIslamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held a telephonic conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Kashmir issue. During the talks, the prime minister “emphasised that India scrapping the special status to Jammu and Kashmir has serious implications for peace and security in the region and the international community has the responsibility to act urgently”, the Foreign Office said. Merkel said Germany was closely observing the situation and underlined the importance of de-escalation of tensions and resolution of the issue peacefully, it stated. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USIndia has categorically told the international community that removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also “briefed” his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid on the Kashmir issue, the Foreign Office said. Qureshi urged Maldives to play a constructive role for peace and stability in the region and peaceful settlement of disputes, it said.last_img read more

Out on bail Bulandshahr violence accused welcomed with garlands

first_imgNew Delhi: The seven accused who were granted bail in the December 3 Bulandshahr violence and arson case were welcomed with cheers and slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, and ‘Vande Mataram’ after they stepped out of the district jail on Saturday evening, Indian Express repoted. In videos that have gone viral on social media, key accused Shikhar Agarwal and Jeetu Fauji can be seen being garlanded as people jostle to get pictures and selfies clicked with them. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Cattle carcasses were found strewn in the fields outside village Mahaw in Siyana on December 3 last year after which a mob went on the rampage alleging cow slaughter and attacked the local Chingrawathi police post. Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and civilian Sumit Kumar, 20, died of bullet shots during the violence. Two separate FIRs were registered – one for the violence in which nearly 80 people including 27 named, and the other for cow slaughter – at the Siyana police station. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KRaghvendra Kumar Mishra, who headed the Special Investigation Team, said the seven who were granted bail were accused in the arson case and not the murder of the SHO and the local during the violence. He informed that six accused in the murder case were still lodged in jail. A total of 38 people, including local BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders, were arrested for the violence. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to probe the case and it filed a charge sheet in the court of the chief judicial magistrate on March 2, almost three months after the incident. While the key accused were charged with IPC sections relating to the riots, Prashant Natt, along with four others, had been charged with the murder of Subodh Kumar Singh. According to the chargesheet, Natt attacked Subodh with an axe before shooting him with his own licensed revolver. The SIT had submitted that Bajrang Dal activists “led” the crowd that formed the blockade outside Siyana police booth with the tractor that contained the alleged cow carcasses.”The crowd was responsible for destroying State property and the violence was incited to create law and order problems. Objectionable slogans were raised against the police”, stated the chargesheet.last_img read more

UGC asks varsities to ban singleuse plastic

first_imgNew Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic. The move comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a mass revolution against single-use plastic from October 2, which will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The guidelines state that the institutions should systematically ban the use of plastic on their campuses and replace it with “environment friendly substitutes.” It also mandates that every higher education institution in the country should ban single-use plastics in canteens, hostels and shopping complexes in the institution’s premises. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “Carry out awareness drives and sensitisation workshops on the harmful impacts of single-use plastics, mandate all students to avoid bringing non-bio-degradable plastic items to the institution, install necessary alternative facilities like water units to avoid the use of plastic,” the guidelines state. The UGC guidelines also ask the institutions to encourage the students to sensitise their respective households about the harmful effects of plastics and make their households ‘plastic-free’. The guidelines are an effort to encourage the universities and colleges to adopt policies and practices towards cleaner and plastic-free campuses. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The guidelines also ask the higher education institutions, which have adopted villages under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, to undertake a campaign in their adopted villages till they are converted into ‘plastic-free villages’ through promoting awareness and encouraging shift to alternative products. The higher education regulator, while issuing the guidelines, said that plastic waste has emerged as one of the biggest environmental concerns adversely impacting the soil, water, health and well-being of citizens at large and that time has come for a systematic campaign to reduce the usage of plastics. It added that the educational institutions have the unique spread and influence to educate the students and households on the need to avoid the usage of plastics. Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech had urged citizens to eliminate the use of single-use plastic, besides suggesting that shopkeepers should provide eco-friendly bags to the customers. Subsequently, in his monthly “Mann Ki Baat” address, Modi had said that the time has come for the citizens to join hands in curbing single-use plastic.last_img read more

Modi lays foundation stone of Mega Food Park at IMT Rohtak

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of a Mega Food Park to be set up by HAFED at a cost of Rs 179.75 crore at Industrial Model Township (IMT), Rohtak. The initiative of Mega Food Park at Rohtak was taken by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to give momentum to the growth of the food processing sector in Haryana and to generate employment and further to boost the income of the state farmers. Further supporting the move of chief minister, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India has approved Mega Food Park with the state of the art infrastructure facilities The primary objective of the Mega Food Park Scheme (MFPS) is to provide modern infrastructure facilities for the Food Processing along the value chain from the farm to the market, officials said.last_img read more

Income Tax serves notices to Reliance First Family under Black Money Act

first_imgNew Delhi: The Mumbai unit of the Income Tax Department, after an investigation aided by information received from agencies in several countries, has served notices to members of the Mukesh Ambani family under provisions of the 2015 Black Money Act. In a closely guarded move, notices were served on March 28, 2019 in the names of Mukesh Ambani’s wife Nita Ambani and their three children for their alleged “undisclosed foreign income and assets”.The I-T probe began after the government received details of an estimated 700 Indian individuals and entities holding accounts in HSBC Geneva in 2011. This was followed by an investigation by The Indian Express and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (February 2015) — called Swiss Leaks — which expanded the number of HSBC Geneva account holders to 1,195. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details It was The Indian Express investigation that had first revealed how a cluster of 14 HSBC Geneva bank accounts with a cumulative balance of $601 million held by offshore entities in tax havens were all linked, through a complex chain of associates and offshore holdings, to the Reliance Group.Details of the Income Tax investigation report dated February 4, 2019 and the notices sent on March 28, 2019 reveal that members of the Ambani family are named as “ultimate beneficiaries” of one of these 14 entities, the Capital Investment Trust, through various foreign and domestic entities. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Responding to questions sent by The Indian Express on the notices and the key allegations, a Reliance spokesperson replied: “We deny all the contents of your email including receipt of any such notice.” However, The Indian Express has learnt that the notices were served after a protracted “back and forth” between the Mumbai unit and the top brass of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. Final clearances were given days before the notices were served. Details reveal that the notices, from the office of the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax 3(3), Mumbai, were served under Sub-Section (I) of Section 10 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. There are details of how Capital Investment Trust was created on November 5, 2003 with one C J Damani as its Settlor/ Economic Contributor. The Trust’s initial funding was just $1,000. It owned an entity named Thames Global Limited which, in turn, owned Infrastructure Company Limited and Antalis Management Limited based in the British Virgin Islands. The IT Department notice has also alleged that the Ambanis failed to disclose details and holdings in the Capital Investment Trust and in its “underlying company,” the Cayman Islands-based Infrastructure Company Limited of which they were also ultimate beneficiaries. The notice states that the assessees were ultimate beneficiaries of another entity named Harinarayan Enterprises, having a Mumbai address. Citing “non-compliance,” the notice states that following provisions introduced in the 2012 Finance Bill, the assessees were required to disclose details of all foreign bank accounts, Trusts as well as financial interest/ immovable property or assets held outside India. And that the assessees also did not avail of the Black Money Disclosure Scheme of 2015 under which a four-month compliance window was given to declare any foreign income or assets. The notice clarifies that in this case, the officer proposes to assess the “Undisclosed Foreign Asset” in Previous Year (PY) 2018-2019 relevant to Assessment Year (AY) 2019-2020. The assessees have been asked to produce accounts/ documents/ evidence in their support either in person or through authorised representatives. The first date of hearing fixed for the case was April 12, 2019. The notices are based on the IT Department’s investigation which was finalised about three months before the notices were served. Its key findings: * Records received from overseas under foreign exchange treaties show that Infrastructure Company Limited invested $400 million on February 9, 2004 in GDRs of Reliance Ports & Terminals (RPTL) and Reliance Utilities & Power Ltd (RUPL). However, the name of this investor (Infrastructure Company Limited) does not appear in the list of shareholders of the two Indian companies. This $400 million ultimately reached RIHPL (Reliance Industries Holding Pvt Ltd) whose ultimate beneficiaries are the four members of the Ambani family. * Foreign assets were obtained via The Bank of New York Mellon in the form of GDRs in the year 2002-03 and after transfer/ demerger/ amalgamation, the funds reached Reliance Industries Holding Private Limited having a share capital of Rs 5 lakh only. The shareholder of this company was a private Trust named Harinarayan Enterprises with four beneficiaries belonging to the Ambani family. Inquiries with The Bank of New York Mellon showed that it acted as the global custodian of the GDRs and was neither the owner nor beneficial owner of the GDRs. It is concluded that the two Indian companies “tried to hide” the names of owners and beneficial owners of GDRs by incorporating the name of Bank of New York as investors/ shareholders.(Inputs From The Indian Express)last_img read more

Major crackdown against illegal liquor mafiyas

first_imgGreater Noida: In a major crackdown against illegal liquor mafiyas, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police have busted an illegal liquor making factory from Badalpur area in Greater Noida. Cops said that the gang used to produce adulterated liquor and supply it after packing in imported bottles to Gautam Buddh Nagar and nearby districts. Police have arrested two persons and have sealed the premises.According to police, the arrested accused have been identified as Sunil Kumar and Gaurav Gupta, both natives of Sihani Gate area in Ghaziabad. Police have recovered 40 empty drums, one drum with 180 liters of liquor worth Rs 20 lakhs, large quantity of labels of imported liquor, bar codes and empty bottles. Vaibhav Krishna, Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar said that the gang used to pack adulterated liquor in the bottles and supply them after pasting the label of imported liquor brands on these bottles. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Upon interrogating the arrested persons, they told police that they used to produce liquor as well as smuggle cheap liquor from other states. The adulterated liquor was filled in bottles with labels pasted on it and were packed in such a way that it looks similar like an imported liquor bottle. These bottles were then supplied to local and markets of nearby district through private cars. Also they had produced labels which display only for sale in Uttar Pradesh,” said Krishna. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”It also came to light that the owner of premises, Devendra Yadav was also involved in illegal liquor trading. Police have sealed the premises and have arrested two of their gang members. Two accused persons are still absconding and we have launched a manhunt to nab them as well” the officer added. In another incident, Gautam Buddh Nagar police have also arrested two accused from Jarchha and Dadri area with over 1500 liquor cartoons worth Rs 65 lakhs. “The accused persons, identified as Manjeet Jaat and Anil, both natives of Haryana were arrested with Arunachal Pradesh made liquor which was supposed to be supplied in Bihar from Haryana,” a senior police officer said.last_img read more