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AQI remains ‘very poor’, likely to improve tomorrow

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New Delhi [India], February 20 (ANI): The air quality of Delhi remained in the “very poor” category with Air Quality Index (AQI) docking at 309 and likely to improve on Sunday (tomorrow), according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
“The overall Delhi air quality is in the low-end of the Very Poor category as forecasted. Surface winds are low and forecasted to improve. A fresh western disturbance is likely to affect the Delhi region from February 21. A marginal improvement in ventilation and lower end of Very poor AQI is forecasted for tomorrow. AQI is likely to improve Very Poor to Poor on February 21 and further improve to Poor on February 22,” SAFAR said in its bulletin.
An AQI between 0-50 is marked good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101- 200 is moderate, 201- 300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor and 401-500 is considered severe.
As per the SAFAR, the concentration of PM10 particles stood at 280 in the ‘poor’ category while PM at 131 in the ‘very poor’ category today.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), 13 degree Celsius temperature was recorded in Delhi’s Palam at 5:30 am today.
The maximum temperature would be around 28-degree Celcius whereas the minimum would be 10 degrees Celcius respectively, the regional weather department said yesterday. (ANI)

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Army launches its first community radio station in North Kashmir to bridge gap between Jawan, Awaam

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Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Indian Army launched its first community radio station ‘Radio Chinar’ on Saturday in Sopore of Baramulla district in North Kashmir to bridge the gap between jawan and awaam (people).
Speaking to media persons, Army’s core commander LT General BS Raju said, “The main aim of this new initiative is to get connected to the local youth directly and Radio has the ability to reach out to the people living in remotest parts and makes them aware of various schemes and programmes of the government.”
The radio station will have coverage around north Kashmir. It will be available at the frequency of 90.4 FM MHz. The service will be available in Baramulla district and other parts of north Kashmir.
“Community Radio Station will primarily play all genres of songs starting from Sufi songs in the morning and as the day will progress, will gain tempo in the pitch of songs with a mix of Hindi and Punjabi,” said Sajid Ahmad, a radio jockey.
The residents and local councilors appreciated this initiative of the Indian Army saying it will help to “bridge the gap between jawan and awaam”. (ANI)

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BJP urges EC to restrain Rahul Gandhi from campaigning in Tamil Nadu citing MCC violation

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 4 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu president L Murugan on Thursday wrote to Election Commission (EC) requesting to restrain Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from campaigning in the state.
According to the BJP, Murugan has accused Gandhi of violating the Model Code of Conduct and urged EC to issue a direction to register an FIR against the Congress leader under 124A section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which lays down the punishment for sedition.
“In terms of MCC, the use of educational institutions for political campaign and rallies are strictly prohibited. On March 1, Rahul Gandhi of Indian Nation Congress visited St Joseph Matric Higher Secondary School in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and undertook a surrogate election campaign in the school premises,” the letter read.
Rahul Gandhi was recently on a three-day visit to Tamil Nadu aggressively campaigning for his party ahead of state assembly polls set to take place on April 6. He interacted with the students at St Joseph Matric Higher Secondary School in Kanyakumari on Monday.
Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other. (ANI)

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Delhi: CISF nabs two lady passengers with foreign currency worth Rs 55.65 lakh at IGI Airport

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Wednesday recovered foreign currency worth Rs 55.65 lakh at Delhi Airport from two female foreign passengers.
According to a statement issued by CISF on Thursday, during Pre-Embarkation Security Check (PESC) through X-BIS machine at Security Hold Area (SHA) of Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the CISF personnel noticed a suspicious image inside the hand baggage of a foreign lady passenger and her baggage was picked up for a physical check.
“On physical checking of her bag, 40,000 US Dollars in four bundles neatly concealed inside the sweet packets was detected. In the meantime, during frisking of the same lady passenger, a pouch was detected by CISF lady personnel and found a pouch carrying 6,500 US Dollars,” the CISF said.
The CISF further said, “On analysing the CCTV on suspicion, another foreign was located near the boarding gate area. She was intercepted and her handbag was physically checked. During the physical checking of her handbag, 30,000 USDs were detected from her handbag.”
Both lady passengers were Afghan nationals and they were travelling to Kabul by Kam Airlines flight.
On enquiry, both the foreigners could not produce any valid document to carry such an amount of foreign currency and they were handed over to the customs officials with recovered 76,500 US Dollars worth around Rs 55.65 lakh for further legal action, the CISF said. (ANI)

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CM Vijayan says Sitharaman violates MCC, ‘attempting to attack Kerala govt using ED’

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Alleging that the Model Code of Conduct was violated by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Kerala, state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said the former is ‘attempting to attack’ his government by using Enforcement Directorate (ED).’
Addressing media here, Vijayan said if Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) officials called by investigation agencies do not give statements, attempts are being made to misbehave with them and threaten them.
“Model Code of Conduct is in force in Kerala, which aims to ensure providing an equal playing field to all parties. But some things are happening here against it. Sitharaman came here & made some baseless allegations. She made a speech against KIIFB, which is an initiative for development. As she knows her allegations didn’t make any sense, she has now attempted to attack the state govt by using ED,” said the Chief Minister.
“Some officers of central probe agencies are showing overenthusiasm in it. If officials (of KIIFB) called by investigation agencies do not give statements, attempts are being made to misbehave with them and threaten them. They (officials of probe agencies) behave in such a manner as if they would attack physically,” he added.
The Chief Minister said KIIFB has issued Masala Bonds after obtaining permission from RBI and is following all norms. “State Finance Minister has explained it. I want to make it clear that if anyone attacks us with false allegations, we’ll not allow it. We don’t have the culture of surrender,” he said.
Yesterday Vijayan accused ED of summoning KIIFB officials and said it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.
In a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner, he said that the ED summoned KIIFB officials as per the political interests of Sitharaman, hence, calling it a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“The EC should take action against the investigating agency for violating the code of conduct,” the Chief Minister said.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark on February 28 during a BJP Yatra is evidence of the political use of investigative agencies, the letter read.
Recently, Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
While Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac on Tuesday said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in an alleged case of external borrowings of KIIFB through Masala Bonds.
“There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI.
ED has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.
KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body. In November 2020, it had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB, as per the sources. Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB. (ANI)

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Centre thinks ‘media management’ as substitute for geopolitical strategy: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): In a renewed attack on the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that the Central government thinks ‘media management’ as a substitute for geopolitical strategy.
Taking on Twitter, the Congress leader remarked that continuing down this path will be disastrous for India.
“GOI believes media management is a substitute for geopolitical strategy. China has already made us pay a price for this. Continuing down this path will be disastrous for India,” he tweeted.
Referring to the tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he said, “China has already made us pay a price for this.”
India and China are in a standoff in eastern Ladakh along the LAC following aggressive border skirmishes by the Chinese army. (ANI)

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Special CBI court discharges former OSD of Satyender Jain in illegal appointment case

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court on Thursday discharged Nikunj Aggarwal, the former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain in connection with a case involving alleged irregularities in his appointment.
The court also discharged Anup Mohta, former director of Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya (‘CNBC’) in the case.
Special CBI Judge Sanjay Bansal on Thursday while passing the order said, “It is held that no prima facie case is made out for framing any charge. Both the accused are entitled to discharge and are hereby discharged from the case. Their bail bonds are cancelled and sureties are discharged”.
The allegations were made by the CBI that Mohta, while being posted as Director, CNBC, approved the appointment of accused Aggarwal to the post of Senior Resident (Ortho) on ad hoc basis.
It is alleged that the said appointment was illegal and was made in total disregard of the rules and procedure. It was alleged that at the relevant time, there was no post of Senior Resident (Ortho) vacant in CNBC.
The FIR was registered on December 28, 2016, under sections 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and S.13 (2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act) (prior to amendment of 2018). An investigation was initiated.
According to the CBI, during the investigation, it was also found that after a few days of appointment, services of Aggarwal were requisitioned as OSD to the Delhi Health Minister.
It was also found that as per the Residency Scheme, resident doctors are engaged for working in hospitals and not for other duties.
Appearing for Aggarwal, senior advocate Rebecca John and advocate Rishikesh Kumar had argued that the prosecution case is misconceived and is a result of misconstruing the facts. The advocates contended that the appointment of Aggarwal by advocate Anup Mohta was totally in consonance with the relevant rules and procedure.
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey and advocate Anurag Andley appearing for Mohta had argued that there was no objection from any person who had processed the file of appointment of Nikunj Aggarwal which shows that there was no wrongdoing in the appointment. They argued that, there was no violation by Anup Mohta in appointing Nikunj Aggarwal, and if there was any, the violation was merely of executive instructions which does not give rise to any prosecution.
According to the CBI charge sheet, Mohta appointed Aggarwal as a senior resident (orthopaedics) in CNBC in 2015 without a vacancy or conducting a walk-in interview. CBI alleged an advertisement wasn’t even issued for the position.
Nikunj Aggarwal was appointed first as a senior resident in the state-run Bal Chikitsalaya and later as an OSD to the health minister in contravention of rules, according to the CBI. (ANI)

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