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17 February 2018

17 Feb. ND: BJP claims PNB scam began under UPA govt, CBI FIR says it happened in 2017/Banks may take more than $3 billion hit from PNB fraud:I-T




Evening NEWS DIGEST  
17 Feb.2018:30 Jamadiul-1 1439:Vol:9, No:122
INDIA
BJP claims PNB scam began under UPA govt, CBI FIR says it happened in 2017
New Delhi:Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed Friday that a majority of the “loans” sanctioned to businessman Nirav Modi was during Congress rule between 2011 and 2014. However, the FIR lodged by the CBI on 31 Jan.refers to just 8 LoUs, all of which were issued after 2017, during the NDA’s regime. Sources in CBI also said that a further 293 LoUs were issued to Nirav and his companies in the last 2 years. So far, there is no LoU older than that has been revealed during investigations.A Letter of Undertaking, or LoU, is not a loan. It is a guarantee given by a bank branch in India to an overseas bank that it will meet the liability if the firm borrowing from it (the foreign bank) defaults. Diamond firms use LoUs for securing cheap, low interest “buyer’s credit” in dollars overseas, mostly to purchase rough diamonds. Banks are always supposed to cover their LoUs against collaterals, which wasn’t allegedly done in this case.CBI suspects there could be more LoUs, but that could take time to establish since the bank employees accused in the case — Gokulnath Shetty (a deputy manager, now retired) and Manoj Hanumant Kharat (a single window operator) — did not keep an official record of the LoUs issued. Despite several audits, including internal and concurrent ones, the fraud was not detected by bank officials. BJP-led NDA govnt fielded senior Cabinet ministers Friday to say that the scam started in 2011, when Congress-led UPA was in power. But as details show, all the LoUs in question are from the past two years. Sources said the govt, including the PMO, was alerted about the ongoing fraud several times. However, no action was taken. In the first instance, a complaint was given on 7 May 2015 to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs by one Vaibhav Khuraniya & R.M. Green Solution Private Limited. A copy was also sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, ED, and Serious Fraud Investigation Office, but no action was taken.Another person named Digvijaysing Jadeja filed an FIR in the Ahmedabad Economic Offences Wing in Gujarat against Mehul Choksi and others for defrauding him. Jadeja also filed an affidavit on 20 July 2016 pointing out that Choksi – who is Nirav’s maternal uncle – and others owed Rs 9,872 crore to banks, and were likely to escape from India. But no case was registered.In a third instance, a Bengaluru-based entrepreneur Hari Prasad had written to the PMO, bringing to its notice financial discrepancies that could lead to a huge scam involving Choksi, and listed details of all balance and audit sheets.The letter, dated 29 July 2016, bore the subject line: “Complaint lodged at PMO and CIC against Gitanjali Gems Ltd and its MD Mehul C. Choksi”.It stated:“We wish to bring to the government’s notice, a major financial scam, similar to that of Vijay Mallya, Subrata Roy of Sahara group or Ramalingaraju of Satyam group…This scam and fraud done by the person based in Mumbai involving loss of Rs 1,000 crore of Indian public money.”The complainant also enclosed copies of complaints by franchisee victims against Choksi and various firms linked to him. It accused Gitanjali Gems and Choksi of siphoning off thousands of crores through subsidiary companies floated in India, and fictitious companies abroad. However, no action was taken. PNB, in its complaint, directly accused Nirav, wife Ami, brother Nishal, and Choksi of conniving with the 2 bank official to commit the fraud.theprint
PNB 11,400-crore scam: CBI says most of Nirav Modi’s fraud LoUs issued or renewed in 2017-18
Banks may take more than $3 billion hit from PNB fraud:I-T
New Delhi: Indian banks could take a hit of at least $2.74 billion (Rs 17,600 crore) from loans and corporate guarantees provided to Punjab National Bank in Rs 11,400-crore fraud case, the tax department said on Saturday.As of March 2017, banks had extended loans and guarantees worth Rs 17,600 crore to companies tied to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the tax department said in a note seen by news agency Reuters.But the total hit to banks "may well exceed" that amount, the department said in its note.The whereabouts of Nirav Modi, whose high-end jewellery has been worn by Hollywood stars including Kate Winslet, is unknown. However, TV channels traced him to a swish 36th-floor suite at JW Marriott's Essex House in New York. Modi spent the day holed up in the suite, which overlooks New York's famed Central Park.The scale of the fraud has sparked a slew of probes into the lender, as well as into Nirav Modi, his uncle Choksi and companies affiliated to both.The Income Tax Department has extended a probe into Nirav Modi and his group companies, looking into possible tax evasion and suspected investment of illegal funds, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.Reuters
India’s loan frauds amount to almost $10 billion in 8,670 cases
New Delhi, Mumbai: Investors may have been shocked when one of India’s biggest banks disclosed a $1.77 billion fraud by a billionaire jeweller, but the central bank has recorded data that shows the problem runs far deeper and wider. RBI data, which a Reuters reporter obtained through a right-to-information request, shows state-run banks have reported 8,670 “loan fraud” cases totalling Rs612.6 billion  over the last five financial years up to March 31, 2017.In India, loan frauds typically refer to cases where the borrower intentionally tries to deceive the lending bank and does not repay the loan.The figures expose the magnitude of the problem in a banking sector already under pressure after years of poor lending practices. Bad loans surged to a record peak of nearly $149 billion last year.Bank loan frauds have steadily increased as well, reaching 176.34 billion rupees in the latest financial year from 63.57 billion rupees in 2012-13, according to the data, which doesn’t include the PNB case.Punjab National Bank, India’s second-largest state lender, said on Wednesday two junior officers at a single branch had illegally steered $1.77 billion in fraudulent loans to companies, most of them controlled by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi. It was India’s biggest fraud ever.“This might be the tip of the iceberg or the middle, and that is the worry,” said Pratibha Jain, partner at law firm Nishith Desai Associates, who advises on bankruptcy cases.“The fact is we don’t know what else is out there.” Reuters
PNB case: Modi has destroyed India’s financial system, says Rahul
New Delhi : Targeting the BJP-ruled central government over the alleged PNB fraud case to the tune of over Rs 11,300 crore, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “destroying the financial system” of the country.“PM through his actions has destroyed the financial system of this country. He has taken money from people’s pockets and put it into the banking sector. And now his friends and cronies are stealing it from the banking sector,” a visibly-agitated Gandhi said while addressing reporters after the Congress party’s steering committee meeting. Congress chief also rejected the BJP charge that he had personal ties with Nirav Modi and had attended his promotional event, saying “they are trying to divert the issue”. Gandhi said it all started with the prime minister banning currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8, 2016, “when he took out all public money and put it into the banking system”. He also alleged that businessman Nirav Modi has fled the country with Rs 20,000 crore of that public money.indianexpress
Iran ready to share oil, gas and energy resources with India: President Rouhani
Hyderabad: In what could breathe fresh hopes to revive the 11 billion dollar Farzad-B gas field deal, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is ready to share its oil, gas and energy resources with India. The President was addressing people from the Muslim community at the Mecca Masjid in Old City of Hyderabad on Friday, the second day of his three-day visit to India.“Iran is rich in oil, gas and energy. It is ready to share its energy resources for the development and progress of India,” said 69-year-old. “Chabahar seaport will benefit Afghanistan and Central Asia”, he added.President’s statements comes on the eve of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, where he is expected to take up formal bilateral talks. Issues related to Chabahar seaport, expansion of International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the development of the Farzad-B gas fields by ONGC Videsh are agendas expected to be discussed in the meeting.The Iranian President has also offered to strengthen bilateral ties on diverse frontiers including “industry, agriculture, and new technologies”. This cooperation can mutually help India and Iran attain common goals, he added.“Government of Iran will simplify visa norms for India so that Indians can find it convenient to sustain their relationship with the people of Iran,” said Rouhani, and expressed hoped that “India will reciprocate this gesture.”“Our only aim is to promote unity among the Muslims of the world,” said Rouhani, emphasising on the need for Muslim unity across countries. He added that the enemies of Islam do not want Muslims to be united. If Muslim countries were united, the President of America wouldn’t have dared to announce Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he said. Iranian President called upon the Muslim community to rise above sectarian differences and accept all sects of the community as Muslims.Earlier in the day, Rouhani visited Qutb Shahi tombs, a royal necropolis of Qutb Shahi rulers who were Shias, and paid his tributes. He then visited the Salarjung museum which is known as the world’s largest one-man collection of antiques. He was accompanied by Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh. Later, he also met select Islamic scholars, clergies and intellectuals. newindianexpress
PM Modi meets Rouhani, India, Iran sign pacts after ‘substantive’ talks
Muslims worldwide must unite, rise above sects: Iranian prez
Hyderabad: Â President Hassan Rouhani called for unity among the global Muslim community and asserted if they had been united, the US would not have dared to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Rouhani, who is on a three-day visit to India, said people who think Islam is a religion of "violence and terrorism" are wrong in their assessment.He was addressing a Muslim congregation at the historic Mecca Masjid here, after offering Friday prayers."If Muslims of the world were united, these countries would not have dared to torture Muslims of Palestine every day," he said, without naming any country."Had Muslims been united, the USA would not have dared to announce Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," the Iranian leader said.In his speech, Rouhani also referred to some of the shooting incidents in educational institutions in the USA, resulting in deaths of people."Some people alleged that Islam is a religion of violence and terrorism. But they are wrong in their assessment of Islam. On the contrary violence is there in Western societies. We see people killing other people in American colleges and schools," he added.PTI
It’s key for Iran to have Indian Muslims on its side: President Hassan Rouhani
Ayodhya dispute: Amarnath Mishra expelled for his remark on Salman Nadvi
Lucknow: President of Ayodhya Sadbhavna Samnvyay Maha Samiti, Amarnath Mishra was on Saturday expelled from Ramjanbhoomi Mandir Nirman Vyas for making remarks against former AIMPLB executive member Moulana Salman Hasni Nadvi.Mishra has earlier claimed that the ousted board member demanded money, position and land for building another Masjid in Ayodhya. He said, "I do not stand any negotiation. What is illegal in what I am doing? Is making Ram Temple illegal? But a person who thinks Bagdadi is a prophet and wants to convert Ayodhya into Mecca and spread Islam here, is it legal?"He added that he has been working for Ram Mandir since last 30 years and will continue to do so."My role is to help all senior lawyers in this matter, when the proceeding starts in the Supreme Court on March 14. It is a conspiracy towards transforming Ayodhya into Mecca," Mishra asserted.Earlier, Mishra told ANI that he met Nadvi on Feb.5 and discussed the issue of Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi, after which the latter made his demand.Nadvi rebuffed Mishra's claims, saying that he did not know him at all.Nadvi even accused Mishra of raising such issues to maintain tension between Hindus and Muslims.ANI
Muslim leadership responsible for dragging Babri dispute for 3 decades: Abdullah Tariq
New Delhi: Muslim scholar Syed Abdullah Tariq had in 1988 warned the then Muslim leadership of repercussions of taking Babri Masjid issue to the level of a clash between the two communities.When the Babri Masjid Action Committee gave a call for a march of the Muslims towards the Babri Masjid in 1988, he had termed its step as incorrect and provocative. Tariq, also hailed Maulana Salman Nadwi's initiative of an out-of-court settlement of Ayodhya dispute as a "courageous step". Tariq said the human beings are the living temples or mosques and maintaining peace between them is more important than building any religious structure. Replying to the  question that Who's responsible for dragging this issue for almost three decades?, he said,"The simple reply is ‘the politicians, the governments and the proceedings in the courts too' but being an honest Muslim, I shall proclaim that we, the Muslims are responsible. Not only we did not agree to peaceful settlements till others were more tolerant and understanding towards us, we did not fulfil our main responsibility in the first place, of reaching out to the Non-Muslim brothers to convince them by our words and actions that Islam is a religion of peace."abplive
70,000 Muslim women protest against Triple Talaq Bill in Malegaon
Mumbai: A large throng of approximately 70,000 women, mostly clad in hijab, stepped out of their houses in Malegaon to join a silent march protesting against the Centre's Triple Talaq Bill. Holding placards, they stated they did not want any interference in Sharia (Islamic law) by the government. This is the biggest gathering so far of Muslim women in the country joining voice against the imposition of a new law on triple talaq.The protest march was organised by AIMPLB and supported by all sects of Muslims, apart from NGOs and social workers. A nondescript town on the national map, Malegaon is a textile hub.  All the roads in Central Malegaon were cleared for the protest. “As per our estimate around 60,000 to 70,000 women participated in the silent rally. Not a single untoward incident was reported. We had deployed mostly women police personnel, and additional staff was called in from outside Malegaon to maintain law and order,” said Gajanan Rajmaney, the deputy superintendent of police of the town. Unofficial estimates put the figure at well over a lakh.Rajmaney added that besides police cameras, over two dozen CCTV cameras were installed especially for the procession at various locations. “We did not allow even any bicycle along the entire stretch of the rally. It was a peaceful bandobast,” he said.Well qualified women including teachers, lawyers and doctors were among those who chose to make themselves heard. "We participated in the rally to oppose the triple talaq Bill. We don’t want any interference in our Sharia law,” said Aafiya Kaleem, a homemaker who travelled two kilometres to join the march. Gazala Nasir Royal, a doctor who attended, said that India is a democratic country and everyone has the right to follow his/her religion. “The govt should not interfere in anyone's religion. We will not tolerate this. To register our protest, we carried out a silent and peaceful march,” she said.Rizwana Hamdani, a schoolteacher, said she participated to register her protest against the hypocritical discourse around gender equity. “Why is there no talk of 22 lakh abandoned Hindu wives? Why shed crocodile tears for Muslim women alone? I am completely opposed to the criminalisation of instant triple talaq,” said Hamdani.Dr Saiqua Jabeen, a gynecologist, said, “We love Allah and his Prophet and cannot tolerate any interference in our Sharia. Islam has given maximum freedom to women. We don’t want any change in Sharia and that is why we protested.” Dr Arshiya Malik Ambar, an eye specialist, stated that the triple talaq bill be rejected.Ulema from different sects including Maulana Umrain Rehmani, general secretary of the AIMPLB, handed over a memorandum to the additional collector in Malegaon requesting that it be sent to senior officials.TOI
President Kovind, PM Modi need to learn more about Islam: Muslim Women Protest against triple talaq bill
Mumbai: Women stage protest to withdraw triple talaq bill
Demand for revocation of talaq Bill
Aurangabad: Islah-E-Muashra Jalna Distrct Committee of AMIPLB on Saturday demanded that the Centre must revoke the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017.A statement from the District Committee of AIPLB here said that a hasty decision of passing Tripal Talaq Act in Lok Sabha was taken without consulting or taking into confidence Muslim region scholars or experts. UNI
SC asks CBI to take instructions on plea by Rajasthan hate crime victim’s wife seeking sit probe, compensation, removal of videos
A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar on Friday directed CBI lawyer to take instruction on a petition filed by Gulbahar, wife of Mohammad Afrazul who was hacked and burnt in Rajsamand, Rajasthan seeking an impartial investigation from an independent national agency and also to look spreading of hate speech of a communal nature targeting a whole religious community and discriminating against them, demonizing them and encouraging violence against them and creating a communal divide. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising and Advocate Fuzail Ayyubi also sought the transfer of the case from Rajasthan to West Bengal. However the Court has clarified that the prayer is being not considered for this point of time and can be considered if at a later stage the petitioner is not satisfied with the investigation. The petition also seeks an inquiry into the factors that acted as a catalyst and motivated him to commit such a heinous act, the factors and people responsible for spreading such hatred in the name of a communal myth/ fiction being propagated as “Love Jihad”, being hate speech, stigmatizing an entire community, by creating a myth that Muslim men are marrying Hindu women and fighting a Jihad.According to the petition, on the fateful day of 6th December, the Petitioner’s husband, Afrazul Khan was murdered brutally by one Shambhu Lal Raigar, who not only mercilessly and cruelly killed her husband but also recorded the entire incident through his 14-year old nephew as if it was some sort of gallantry show. In this video Shambhu Lal Raigar can be clearly seen hitting the deceased with a long-axe repeatedly while crying in Hindi of “Babu Jaan Bachao” (Please save my life) and “Maar Daala” (He has killed me) can be repeatedly heard from the victim. After the brutal murder, while Afrazul’s body is lying behind him in a pool of blood, Shambhu Lal paused to make the following statement while looking towards the camera, as if addressing a larger group of spectators who have watched this heinous act.Petitioner also seeks the immediate removal of all videos of the heinous killing circulating on several websites including YouTube and Respondent No 1 is duty bound to ensure that the service providers do not upload the said videos which are a form of hate speech encouraging others to indulge in copycat crimes.
Man's hacking in Rajasthan: SC directs CBI to seek instructions
Afrazul Murder Case: Seek Instructions Regarding All Prayers Except One, SC Directs CBI;Newsclick Report
Muslim man who was not in Kasganj during violence slapped with rioting & sedition charges
New Delhi: Zahid Ilias Jagga, a Muslim resident of Kasganj, has been slapped with a number of serious charges, including attempt to murder, rioting, and sedition, in connection with the recent communal clashes in the Uttar Pradesh city. However, his wife Tarannum says Jagga was not in Kasganj when the violence broke out, submitting proof to the National Commission for Minorities.Taking cognisance of the matter, commission chairperson Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi has written to UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, urging him to re-examine Jagga’s case. In a letter, dated 16 February, Rizvi has requested that Jagga’s name be removed from the list of suspects, as on the day of the violence, 26 January, he was in Lucknow, accompanying his friend Manoj Maheshwari, who had gone to get his impounded car released.The duo left for Lucknow on 25 Jan., arriving in the state capital in the afternoon, and returned to Kasganj late in the evening on the 26th, hours after the violence had taken place. Tarannum has, in fact, submitted CCTV footage of the police station they visited, toll booths they crossed, and the hotels and restaurants they visited, and even the receipts of the toll they paid (with timestamps) to prove that Jagga was not in Kasganj at the time the violence broke out.Tarannum also told the Commission Thursday that the family was being routinely harassed by the police, since her husband was absconding in the aftermath of the false cases slapped on him. In the FIR, Jagga has been charged with rioting, unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint, endangering life or personal safety of others, attempt to murder, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, criminal intimidation, and sedition.Rizvi had earlier written to the state govt in Uttar Pradesh seeking a report on the violence in Kasganj. While the report has now been filed by the state secretary, Rizvi says the number of arrests are not mentioned in the report, even though he had highlighted the issue of overwhelming number of arrests being those of Muslims to the Chief Minister.Rizvi further added that he met Adityanath on 11 Feb., and told him he had received a number of complaints regarding Muslims being unduly arrested in the aftermath of the violence. CM assured him that there would not be any arrests on the basis of religion, and if any innocent was arrested, he would be let off, Rizvi said.theprint
Woman talking in these videos may bring serious trouble for two BJP ministers: newsx
A video of a woman who calls herself Bobby is doing the rounds on micro-blogging site Twitter in which the woman is seen talking about two prominent BJP ministers. The content of the woman who is talking about two senior BJP government ministers may defame the image of these leaders and may bring trouble for the BJP led government. The video has been shared on Twitter by fan pages of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, AAP, and individuals.However, it is not confirmed yet that whether these videos are fake, real or carry any substance and NewsX takes no responsibility for the authenticity of these videos. The woman who is seen talking about two BJP prominent ministers in these videos also said that BJP ministers are scared from her that she will give all this information in the media. The woman also alleged that she had received offers from Congress party asking for this information and offering her crores of rupees. The content of the woman who is speaking in these videos can seriously defame the two BJP minister and could create massive trouble. NewsX once again takes no responsibility for the authenticity and validity of the videos and also its content. The fan page of Arvind Kejriwal which is also among other Twitter accounts those who have shared this video says that the Bharatiya Janata Party should sack these ministers about whom this woman is talking about which could seriously malign the image of BJP ministers and the party. It’s not the first time when Aam Aadmi Party fans or BJP fans have tried to defame each other. Given the political scenario between both the parties, in the past too, both the parties have indulged in political mud slugging and levelled charges on each other.newsx
"Horrified" Indian Flag Used To Support Jammu Rapist: Mehbooba Mufti
Srinagar:  In the last two days, hundreds of people carrying the national flag took to the streets in Kathua district near Jammu demanding the release of the accused in the rape and murder case of a nomad girl.8-year-old Ashifa was brutally murdered last month after she was kidnapped and allegedly held captive for a week at Rasana village.Referring to the protests, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called them "nothing short of desecration of national flag".A Special Investigation Team of the Crime Branch has arrested a special police officer (SPO), Deepak Khajuria, and a juvenile for the gruesome crime.Over the last two days, protesters, marching under the banner of Hindu Ekta Manch, were seen on the Jammu-Pathankote Highway. The protesters alleged that the Crime Branch had falsely implicated the SPO, who was part of the investigation team formed initially to trace the girl.The protesters have threatened agitation if the accused are not released. Carrying national flags and shouting anti-Pakistan slogans, the marchers want the case to be handed over to the CBI because they don't trust Crime Branch.CM Mehbooba Mufti said she was appalled by these protests and "horrified" to see the use of national flag to defend the accused in the Kathua rape-and-murder case."Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration. The accused has been arrested & the law will follow its course" Ms Mufti tweeted.NDTV
Release Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf immediately:  Journalists panel
Committee to Protect Journalists urged India on Friday to immediately drop charges against arrested Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf and release him. Organisation, which works for press freedom globally, said Yusuf’s works are “public service in the best spirit of journalism”. On Thursday, NIA had produced a chargesheet against Yusuf in a Delhi court, saying that Yusuf was not a “real journalist”. A “real journalist” should cover development activities by the govt, inaugurations of hospitals and schools, and statements of ruling parties, the chargesheet suggested.“India’s NIA is way out of its league and has no business defining what ‘a real journalist’ should cover,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.“Kamran Yusuf’s work taking photographs of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is a public service in the best spirit of journalism. He should be freed immediately.” scroll
Evidence Against Journalist in Kashmir Terror Funding Case Weak, NIA Says Accused Not Real Journalist
Absence of Forest Rights act makes Gujjar Bakerwal community in J&K victims of state harassment
Jammu: J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti while reviewing the working of Tribal Affairs Department, has  directed authorities not to harass any member of the Tribal community during anti-encroachment drives till a formal Tribal Policy is unveiled.“In extreme cases of ascertaining their places of habitations, the Department of Tribal Affairs is taken into confidence beforehand,” J&K CM told the officials.Stressing on preserving the Tribal culture of the State, Mehbooba said Jammu & Kashmir has been a rich repository of diverse cultures and their protection should be taken as a priority. She also directed more allocations to Tribal development under Special sub Plan for meeting the educational, health and other developmental requirements of the members of the Tribal community.This is not the first time when J&K CM has issued the directive against harassment of tribal community. In November 2016, Mehooba Mufti had directed the Deputy Commissioners of Jammu division to ensure that the poor nomadic communities living in forests for decades are not harassed and dislocated during the anti-encroachment drive.But it seems that the advice fell on the deaf ears. According to a report published in Kashmir reader in August 2017, 250 families of the Gujjar community were forcibly evacuated from 1,200 kanals (1 kanals= 0.125 acre) of land by the government officials in Vijaypur area in Jammu for establishing an AIIMS.TwoCirclestwocircles
Aliah University students detain faculty on campus over cancelled stipend, no AICTE approval for M.Tech course
In a controversial step, students of Aliah University surrounded the University Authorities and more than 25 Faculty members for 18 hours when they assembled for a meeting at the Newtown Campus. The agitating students claimed that they have been cheated by the University with the false promise that University has All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approval for B.Tech and M.Tech courses. But in reality, it does not have any approval for the M.Tech course. The University Authority, agreeing with the students’ claim, clarified that AICTE approval is not necessarily the yardstick for employment in public or private sector jobs. The acting VC of the University retorted that the cancellation of stipend as Teaching Assistantship for the first year M.Tech students from the University Fund is the reason for the students’ agitation.On Thursday, more than 96 students from first-year M.Tech courses gathered at Aliah University New Town Campus compound and locked the main entrance gate when all the faculty heads from various Depts of the University entered to attend a meeting to draft new procedures for admission in the coming session at around 4.30 P.M. Since then, all the Faculty heads, Controller of Examinations and other Staffs have been detained into the Campus. However, Acting VC, who is also the Registrar of the University and who attended the meeting, was allowed to leave the Campus due to illness.The protesting students confided that they have been agitating for the last 6 months, but the University did not pay any attention to their demands. They blamed the University Authority for publishing wrong information in advertisements and in the University Prospectus that the University has AICTE approval.twocircles
Muslim girls from Bihar show willingness to study abroad, but want clarity on dressing system and security
Patna : Over 50 Muslim students from Bihar’s leading colleges such as Patna Women’s College, Magadh Mahila College and Maulana Azad Engineering have expressed their willingness to study at US universities under ambitious Indo-US collaboration programme. While the students, who participated at a workshop (13-14 February) at Patna attended by Ohio State University, expressed enthusiasm at prospect of studying in US, they also wanted to know about their security, parity with students from other nationalities and religions and more importantly if they would be allowed to wear full dresses. Patna is among six Indian cities chosen for the programme promotion along with Delhi, Hyderabad, Aligarh and Kurnool. Bihar Muslim students are elated at Patna’s inclusion in the 75,000 US dollar one-year education promotion programme, which started in September last year, to prepare students to seek admission in post-graduation and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The programme is for Muslim girls and girls from other disadvantaged groups, ones belong to scheduled caste and OBCs.Syed Hasnain, local expert who played a crucial role in mobilising and motivating Muslim students, told The Indian Express: “Women in STEM roadshow, as this is popularly known as, did evoke good response in Patna after we were hard put by Muslim women students to convince them to attend it. Most of them come from poor economic background with some of them having annual family income of Rs 2 lakh. Since I know about only four Muslim women having gone abroad to pursue research, this may well be a huge opportunity. Our intention is to prepare them in such a manner that they are able to get scholarship, which can make their education almost free”.Karen E Irving, an associate professor at the Ohio State University, said:”As per figures of US department of state, USA had about 9,70,000 international students in 2015. Of it, 1,35,700 students were from India, 14 per cent of the total students. China, South Korea, Canada and Mexico had sent maximum of these students to US”. Sultana N Nahar, a reseach professor at Ohio State Unity, added: “Muslim women students from India had neglible presence – less than even 0.25 per cent – in US educational institutions. This is where this programme holds so much importance”. indianexpress
Sohrabuddin case: Accused and his lawyer absent during recording of evidence, special court issues NBW
Mumbai :A special court on Friday issued a non-bailable warrant against accused Balkrishna Chaubey after neither he nor his lawyer were present before court while evidence was being recorded in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case. Special Judge S J Sharma directed the CBI to execute the warrant and ensure his production before court. On Friday, the CBI was to examine two prosecution witnesses — a police constable with the Gujarat police and an IPS officer — related to the Sohrabuddin case. After the examination-in-chief by special public prosecutor B P Raju was completed, the court began recording cross-examination of the witnesses by defence lawyers. While all other accused were represented by their lawyers or by themselves in person, Chaubey and his lawyer Devendra Shukla were both absent. At this point, the court noted their absence and directed that a warrant be issued against the accused.“Despite repeated requests in the past made to him to co-operate with the court in examining witnesses, he (Chaubey’s lawyer) has not paid attention. In this situation, it is difficult to proceed to examine other witnesses,” the court said, while issuing a non-bailable warrant against Chaubey. The court then deferred the hearing. Both witnesses had travelled from Gujarat for the hearing. Special prosecutor Raju told the court along with the warrant, the accused should be made to pay the cost incurred by the witnesses in travelling to Mumbai, including air tickets’ cost incurred by the IPS officer, though no formal application has been made so far. Chaubey, who was a police sub-inspector with the Gujarat police at the time of the offence in 2005, had through his lawyer on Thursday sought exemption, claiming it was his son’s examination. The court had directed him to be present before it on Saturday as one of the witnesses will require his presence for identification. Considering the difficulty in travelling from Gujarat, Rajasthan and AP for the accused, the court had directed they remain present in court when witnesses pertaining to their identification are being examined. Otherwise, their lawyers represent them in their absence. indianexpress
Sohrabuddin case: Did same policemen escort Prajapati earlier also, Bombay High Court asks CBI
Muzaffarnagar: Muslims agree to remove Mosque for bridge construction
Muzaffarnagar: The long-pending construction work of an overbridge in Muzaffarnagar city could now see the light of the day after members from the Muslim community gave their consent to remove a roadside mosque affecting the project.The project had remained stalled for the past 10 years with the religious structure playing as a major hindrance.However, the locals held a meeting and decided to remove the mosque for the betterment of the area and smooth flow of traffic.The district administration had made adequate security arrangements to deal with any eventualities considering the sensitivity of the issue.However, the demolition drive was conducted under peaceful atmosphere and no untoward incident was reported from the spot.TOI
Tripura votes tomorrow: CPM seeks to retain power, BJP poses tough fight
New Delhi :Tripura, the first of the three Northeast states going to polls on February 18, will witness a direct battle between the Left and BJP. Ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, Northeast has been its special focus, with the win in the Assam assembly elections giving the party a massive boost in the region.BJP, propelled by the Congress whose seven MLAs defected to the saffron party in the run-up to the elections, has emerged as the main challenger for the Left. The state is crucial for the Left, which is its last bastion in the country, with Manik Sarkar’s 25-year rule facing a sort of referendum this election. The Congress has been the main opposition party for 25 years, and in power twice in Tripura.
Narendra Modi insisted on merger to 'save AIADMK', asked me to join hands with K Palaniswamy, says O Panneerselvam
Theni/Chennai: Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, who last year merged his faction with that of Chief Minister K Palaniswamy, has said that he had acted on a suggestion from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Speaking at a party office-bearers meeting at Theni on Friday, the AIADMK coordinator said that the issue came up during a courtesy meeting he had with Modi in New Delhi last year."He (Modi) said that you (Panneerselvam) could join (merge the faction) to save the party," the deputy chief minister said, without specifiying the exactly when the conversation took place.The merger of the two AIADMK factions took place in August 2016.Panneerselvam, who had become chief minister of the state following the death of his predecessor J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, said he told the prime minister he did not want any cabinet position and can settle for a party post.But the prime minister wanted him to join the ministry headed by Palaniswamy, he said.The deputy chief minister said he had conveyed the same to two of his cabinet colleagues from the Palaniswamy camp prior to the merger, and that they also insisted he accept a minister's post."That is why I am a minister today. I have no desire to be a minister. Amma (Jayalalithaa) made me MLA four times and chief minister twice.That honour itself is enough for me," he told the gathering.Panneerselvam took over as chief minister twice — in 2001 and later in 2014 — when Jayalalithaa was convicted in two different cases.PTI
I merged with Palaniswami faction on PM Modi's suggestion, says OPS
Arun Jaitley to leave for two-day Saudi Arabia visit tonight
New Delhi:Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will go on a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia to co-chair the 12th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).The JCM will be held at Riyadh, and the delegation leaves tonight, an official statement said on Saturday.On February 18, Jaitley along with his counterpart from Saudi Arabia will open the ‘Saudi-Indian Business Council’, it said, adding that the same day he will visit the ‘India Pavillion’ at the Saudi National Heritage and Cultural Festival Janadriyah. Jaitley will meet with the Saudi Minister of Trade & Investment, Majid Al-Qassabi on February 19 to discuss the bilateral issues.PTI
Fearing encounter, two alleged UP criminals carry placards with pledge not to commit crime
New Delhi :Two days after UP CM Yogi Adityanath informed the Legislative Council that police encounters in the state would continue, two alleged criminals were seen carrying placards in Kairana which said they would not commit crime in the future, reported ANI. The incident comes in the wake of crackdown against criminals in the state.“Main aage bhavishya mein koi apraadh nahi karunga aur mehnat majdoori karke apna aur apne parivaar ka bharan-poshan karunga (I will not get involved in any crime in future and will work hard to take care of my family and myself),” read one of the placards, according to ANI visuals.UP police also shared on Twitter a combination photo of reports on the surrender of the alleged criminals. The text accompanying the photograph read: “Police se nahi, crime se darr lagta hai sahab (I am scared of crime and not the police).” The caption was written along the lines of a famous dialogue from a cop-film.indianexpress
When I embraced Islam SP declared me runaway and removed from job: Muslim Fayyaz
New Delhi: There is no religion like Islam. The truth and the virtues of Islam forced me to embrace it, but after I embraced Islam, I lost my job. I was tortured, said Jai Prakash Sharma, now Fayyaz Aalam. He told that he was constable in Bihar police. I was posted in Chira district. I went to my home for some work, then SP declared me runaway and removed from the job. Fayyaz said since 2009 I was facing the torture of my family, when the suffering became unbearable I filed a petition in Mumbai high court in 2017. I also met foreign minister Amer Subhani to get my job back. He assured justice.siasat
WORLD
UN blames funding cuts and blockade for Gaza crisis
Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric blamed on Thursday UNRWA funding cuts, the closure of Gaza’s crossings, and the delay of internal Palestinian reconciliation for the dire situation in the enclave.Answering to questions about the situation in Gaza, Dujarric said: “The dire humanitarian situation has obviously been made more stressful with the funding crisis” facing UNRWA.He added: “So far, UNRWA has not cut back on any services and is striving not to.”“We know the humanitarian crisis is also linked to internal issues having to do with the reconciliation between various Palestinian factions and, of course, issues related to closures;” he said.On his part, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council that: “The United Nations have presented proposals to revitalize Gaza’s economy and discussed the conditions required to ease movement and access, and support Palestinian development.”middleeastmonitor


Palestinians to abort ‘deal of century’: Hamas leader
GAZA CITY, Palestine:A senior Hamas leader has vowed to bring down any proposed peace plan that does not meet Palestinian demands.“Any project rejected by the Palestinian people will not pass," Moussa Abu Marzouk said on Twitter on Saturday.He was commenting on media reports about the U.S.-proposed “Deal of the Century” -- ostensibly aimed at resolving the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict.Abu Marzouk said the Palestinian people have never united around any project except the “resistance”.The term "Deal of the Century" refers to a back-channel U.S. plan to decisively settle the perennial Palestine-Israel dispute.Last month, Anadolu Agency revealed details of the plan, which calls for annexing the whole city of Jerusalem and major settlement blocs to Israel in return for establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state.Anadolu Agency
Netanyahu to UN chief: Israel will ‘forever’ control Golan Heights
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday declared that the occupied Golan Heights would “forever” remain under Israeli control.At a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of a major security conference in Munich, Netanyahu declared that the Golan Heights would “remain in Israel’s hands forever.”The Syrian Golan Heights has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.Netanyahu also said Israel would not allow Iran to establish military bases in Syria — a scenario, he said, that Israel would take action to prevent.middleeastmonitor
Promising money, EU tries to woo Assad into Syria peace talks
The European Union’s top diplomat on Friday raised the prospect of collecting money for rebuilding Syria but only if fighting abates and Russia makes sure its ally, President Bashar al-Assad engages in the stalled UN peace talks.The EU wants to leverage its top aid donor role to revive the United Nations-led talks that have achieved little over seven years of the war and hit a deadlock as Russian and Iranian military interventions gave Assad the upper hand on the ground. Federica Mogherini, who will host an international conference on Syria on April 24-25 in Brussels, said she could seek pledges of not only humanitarian aid but also for early recovery in Syria, where the multi-sided proxy war has killed hundreds of thousands and driven millions from homes.“We are ready and we’re willing to also use the conference to mobilise resources for early recovery, especially in the areas liberated from Islamic State,” Mogherini said.middleeastmonitor
Airstrike kills child, injures 4 in Syria’s Idlib
IDLIB, Syria;A Syrian child was killed and four civilians were wounded in an airstrike in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Saturday, according to a local civil defense official.Fighter jets carried out the attack on the province’s Hazano neighborhood in the morning, Mustafa Hajj Youssef, director of the White Helmets civil-defense agency said.He said a fire broke out in the area after the attack, but was quickly put out by civil defense forces.Notably, Idlib falls within a network of de-escalation zones -- endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. Anadolu
Turkey, US joint statement alludes to YPG terror group
ANKARA ;The fight against YPG/PKK terror group has been alluded to in the joint statement released following the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Turkey.The YPG is the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian offshoot.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his U.S. counterpart in Ankara following which a joint statement was released that said: “Turkey and the United States reiterate their resolve to fight against Daesh, PKK, Al-Qaeda and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions.” The reference to terror groups and “their extensions” points to a new understanding in the diplomatic discourse of the U.S.The joint statement highlights that Ankara and Washington have reached a mutual understanding on the issue. Anadolu Agency
Qatar calls for EU-style security pact for Middle East
Middle Eastern states should put their differences behind them and forge a security pact modeled on the European Union in order to pull the region back from the brink, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said on Friday.He asked the international community to keep up diplomatic pressure on the countries concerned to achieve that but offered few other details.“I believe that it is time for wider regional security in the Middle East. It is time for all nations of the region to forget the past, including us, and agree on basic security principles and rules of governance, and at least a minimum level of security to allow for peace and prosperity,” Sheikh Tamim told a security conference in Munich.“This should not be a pipe dream. Too much is at risk. The Middle East is at the brink. It’s time to bring it back.”Qatar, a tiny but rich Gulf Arab state, has been isolated over the past seven months by trade and travel sanctions imposed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over accusations – denied by Doha – that it supports terrorism and regional rival Iran.Efforts by the United States and Kuwait to end the rift have failed to produce any results.middleeastmonitor
ICC Gets over 1 Million Testimonies from Afghans Suing US, CIA, Gov't over War Crimes
The International Criminal Court began collecting material three months ago for a possible war crimes case involving armed actors Afghanistan.More than one million statements from Afghan people and organizations have been submitted to the International Criminal Court alleging war crimes were committed by several actors in the country including the US military, the CIA, Afghan forces and the Taliban, local groups working with the Hague-based tribunal said Friday.Abdul Wadood Pedram, an official at the Kabul-based Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization, told the AP Friday that his group has knowledge of the groups and individuals who submitted the 1.17 million statements to the court over the past three months."It is shocking there are so many," Pedram said, noting that in some instances, whole villages were represented. "It shows how the justice system in Afghanistan is not bringing justice for the victims and their families."The ICC began accepting statements in November after the court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, presented a request to open a formal investigation into possible international crimes committed in Afghanistan since it became a member of the court in May 2003, few years after the U.S.-led intervention.The court accepted testimonies until Jan. 31 and will now evaluate the statements to decide if the war crimes investigation requested Bensouda should get the greenlight. Pedram told the AP that since in some cases one statement represents multiple people or whole village, the number of people seeking the war crimes probe could amount to several millions. telesurtv.net
‘Afghans file 1.7 million war crime complaints with ICC’
Afghanistan govt Rejects Surprise Taliban Peace Outreach to US
Afghanistan’s government rejected a surprise Taliban overture for peace talks with the U.S., insisting the insurgent group that controls or contests nearly half the country needs to cease fighting first.In an unexpected statement on Wednesday, the Taliban reached out to the American people asking them to pressure President Donald Trump and “war-mongering” congressmen to end the near 17-year-old “occupation.” Those words were met with disbelief in Kabul after the group claimed responsibility for attacks in the Afghan capital last month that killed and wounded hundreds.“The Taliban has started the war and the Taliban is continuing the war, if the Taliban want peace they should stop,” Dawa Khan Menapal, a deputy spokesman of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said in an interview. “They keep killing innocent civilians -- they should stop the battle and then reach out to Afghanistan not the Americans for peace talks.”While many believe America’s longest war will only cease when a political settlement is hashed out with the Taliban, Trump ruled out peace talks after the wave of violence. The U.S. president last year announced the deployment of more troops and an increase in air strikes in an attempt to push back Taliban and Islamic State’s gains across Afghanistan.“The Taliban believe the Americans have come to understand their war in Afghanistan is going to become akin to their Vietnam war,” said Waheed Mujhda, a former Taliban official and now a Kabul-based political analyst. “If the Americans put careful consideration to the Taliban statement and realize the Afghan war is at a stalemate, no doubt it will be a game changer. Bombardments can’t break the stalemate.”In the Taliban’s statement, the group reiterated it will accept peace talks after the draw-down of foreign forces and that Afghanistan’s government doesn’t have the authority to negotiate.“War is imposed on us, it is not our choice,” Zabihullah Mujahed, a Taliban spokesman, said in the lengthy open letter. “Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogs” and prolonging the war is “neither beneficial for America nor for anyone.” bloomberg
Far-right Austrian party revokes statements on Muslims
Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPO), which entered government last December, will pay compensation to the Muslim Youth Austria (MJO) organisation for failing to prove in court its accusations that the MJO is an Islamist organisation.Last June, Heinz-Christian Strache, FPO's chairman, said at a press conference that there are "numerous indications" that the MJO "spearheads Islamist ideologies" and are "part of a nested network … over which political Islam organises".These allegations were also published on the FPO's website.MJO denied these allegations and filed a lawsuit against Strache, the FPO and the Freedom Parliamentary Club. aljazeera
Pakistan: Zainab's killer gets four death sentences
LAHORE: A Pakistani court Saturday handed four death sentences to a man charged with raping and murdering a young girl, in a case that shocked the country and sparked major riots in his home district.Imran Ali, 24, was on trial for the killing of six-year-old Zainab Fatima Ameen in the eastern city of Kasur last month.He faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children attacked in the Punjab city- five of whom were murdered- in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer was on the loose. He has confessed to all eight attacks, including the death of Zainab.Ali was handed four separate death sentences after being convicted of the rape and murder of Zainab, as well as terrorism charges, prosecutor general of Punjab province Ihtesham Qadir said after a special anti-terrorism court passed its judgement.Under Pakistani law, crimes that are considered to have spread terror in society can be charged as acts of terrorism.AFP
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 10:05 PM)

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