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India catches only 2 of 72 fugitive scamsters in 5 years: RTI

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In a candid admission, the Centre has stated that of the 72 absconding economic offenders, the government has managed to bring only two in the past nearly six years, as per a reply under the Right To Information (RTI).

On January 4, 2019, the government had submitted the names of 27 businessmen who had defaulted on bank loans or other economic offences since 2015.

A year later on February 5, 2020, the Minister of State for Finance S.P. Shukla informed the Lok Sabha that a total of 72 Indians charged with frauds or financial irregularities are currently abroad and efforts are being made to bring them back to the country.

Mumbai RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge, taking the 2019 reply as the base, filed an application with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking details of those from among the 27 absconders who were successfully brought back home.

“I was shocked to learn that till date only 2 of the fugitives have been brought back to India to face the laws… They are Vinay Mittal and Sunny Kalra.

“The RTI reply doesn’t comment on the other absconders, many of whom are very big names,” Ghadge told IANS.

As per the MoSF reply to Lok Sabha in 2019, the hit-list included both individuals and families: Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Neeshal Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi, Nitin J. Sandesara, Dipti Chetankumar Sandesara.

Besides, Sunny Kalra, Sanjay Kalra, S.K. Kalra, Aarti Kalra, Varsha Kalra, Umesh Parekh, Kamlesh Parekh, Nilesh Parekh, Ashish Jobanputra, Priti Ashish Jobanputra, Hitesh N. Patel, Mayuri Patel, Rajiv Goyal, Alka Goyal, Pushpesh Baid, Jatin Mehta, Eklavya Garg, Vinay Mittal, Sabya Seth and Ritesh Jain.

MoSF Shukla further said that the government is making an all-out effort to bring back the culprits by Look Out Circular, Red Corner Notice, extradition requests or action under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, depending on the cases.

The government said the extradition option is quite complicated as it involves the legal process as per bilateral treaties, if any, with the concerned country and its own domestic laws, even as the number of fugitives tripled in a year.

Both the offenders Sunny Kalra and Vinay Mittal were finally brought back to face various charges of allegedly duping public and private sector banks of huge amounts.

Mittal, extradited from Indonesia in 2018, is accused of defrauding 7 banks to the tune of around Rs 40 crore, while Sunny Kalra brought back by CBI in March 2020 is charged with a Rs 10-crore loan fraud involving Punjab National Bank (PNB).

Ghadge said that two other queries pertaining to the Look Out Circular and Red Corner Notice against the absconders, was forwarded to the CBI and Ministry of Home Affairs who flatly declined to enlighten on the issue, prompting a First Appeal which is pending.

“Merely hauling back the small fries won’t instill fear among the white-collar criminals… The government must catch the big fish like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Nitin J. Sandesara, Lalit Modi, etc. to curb the loot of public monies,” Ghadge said.

As per an earlier statement in Lok Sabha in March 2018, the government had said that 31 economic offenders had fled abroad, and many of them also figured in the list provided a year later in 2019.

The 2018 list included Ami Nirav Modi, Sanjay Bhandari, Soumit Jena, Vijaykumar Revabhai Patel, Sunil Ramesh Rupani, Surender Singh, Angad Singh, Harsahib Singh, Harleen Kaur, Nithin J. Sandesara, Hemant Gandhi, Ishwar Bhat, M.G. Chandrasekhar, C.V. Sudeer, Nausha Kadeejath and C.V. Sadiq. 

IANS

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INDIA TO BUILD NEW DAM IN AFGHANISTAN

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New Delhi: In a move that further strengthens India-Afghanistan relations, the government on Tuesday announced that it is building a new dam in Afghanistan that will provide clean drinking water to millions of people in Kabul. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who led the Indian delegation at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference held virtually in Geneva from November 23 to 24, said that India has just signed an agreement with Afghanistan to construct Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city.

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NO CHANCE OF DELHI SCHOOLS OPENING SOON: SISODIA

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New Delhi: There is no chance of Delhi schools re-opening any time soon, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told a new channel on Tuesday, as the national capital saw a big spike in Covid-19 cases. Schools in delhi have been shut since March due to the pandemic. “No chances of schools opening soon. No parent would want to send their children until they are assured that they will be safe,” Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, told NDTV. He also pointed out that no parent would risk their children’s health at this time.

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ARMY CHIEF REVIEWS SECURITY IN NORTHEAST

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Dimapur: Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived at Dimapur, on Monday, on a three-day visit to review the security situation in North East Region. According to an official press release, “On arrival at Dimapur, the Army Chief was briefed by Lieutenant General, Anil Chauhan; General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command and Lieutenant General R P Kalita, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Spear Corps on operational preparedness along the Northern borders as well as operations in hinterland of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The COAS was also briefed on the progress of the ongoing Naga Peace talks.”

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BHARAT BIOTECH’S COVAXIN REACHES AHMEDABAD HOSPITAL FOR PHASE-3 TRIALS

Abhijit Bhatt

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People are eagerly waiting for a vaccine against coronavirus across the country. Vaccine trials are taking place in different parts of the world. Now, for the first time in Gujarat, the Covid-19 vaccine is coming for ‘self-reliant’ trial and testing. Preparations were seen at Sola Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad where phase-3 trial of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech, is to take place.

The vaccine, known as Covaxin, has reached Sola Civil and is kept in a special room set up at the hospital. The vaccine will be kept at a fixed temperature subject to the ICMR guideline and will be preserved for one week. It will be adopted for trial after completion of the prescribed procedure. Covaxin will be given to about 1000 volunteers here.

The ethical committee and scientific committee have approved the trial of Bharat Biotech’s ‘Self-Reliance’. Separate storage arrangements have been made to maintain the cold chain of this vaccine. The temperature will be set in such a way that the vaccine is stored in cold storage at 2 to 8 degrees. The committee will meet for two days and then the volunteers will be given a dose of the vaccine for the trial.

A total of 1,000 volunteers are on standby for the third phase of the trial. Each volunteer will be kept under observation for one hour after being vaccinated.

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Covid-19: Tea stalls may be closed in Gujarat, state borders sealed

Abhijit Bhatt

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The Prime Minister has taken serious note of the growing number of Covid-19 cases in Gujarat and has instructed the government to take strict action and take decisions with specific guidelines. In view of this, overcrowded businesses in four major cities of Gujarat might be stopped in the coming days. In particular, tea and pan shops may be closed; the borders of Gujarat may also be sealed and in some cases, it may be decided not to allow entry without a test.

After Diwali in Gujarat, the Supreme Court took cognizance of the sudden increase in Covid-19 cases and slammed the government. Within hours of the Supreme Court’s reprimand, the state government reversed its decision to allow marriages and ordered 100 people to be invited instead of 200. However, not only marriages, but also other businesses, especially the tea stalls, are being shut down. In addition, speculation is rife that the state borders will be sealed. Meetings have started in the government to take these tough decisions and the order can be released at any time.

The government may still take important decisions in the coming days after cutting attendance at weddings and funerals, with the first step being to close tea stalls. Despite repeated appeals by the government as well as local bodies to abide by the rules on masks and social distance, crowds continued to gather at tea stalls. Despite the measures taken by the system, including shop sealing and fines, it does not seem to have made any difference. The possibility of the government temporarily closing tea stalls cannot be ruled out.

Due to alleged negligence and irresponsible attitude, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Gujarat has crossed the 2-lakh mark. The first case was reported in the state on 19 March. Attempts were then made to curb the growing contagion of Covid-19 by enforcing lockdowns and curfews, but cases have reached the 2-lakh mark as on date.

The first one lakh cases were reported in 167 days i.e. an average of 601 cases per day, while the next 1 lakh cases have been reported in just 82 days i.e. an average of 1,201 cases have been reported daily.

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Will do ‘surgical strike’ on Hyderabad’s Old City: Telangana BJP chief

Lokeswara Rao

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Controversial Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay is at it again. He said, “There are a huge number of Rohingyas, Pakistani and Bangladesh voters in the Old City of Hyderabad. Let the BJP take over the GHMC Mayor crown, we will do a surgical strike on the Old City. The elections should be held without counting the Rohingya votes. We shall oppose the forces that divide the Hindu society.” Bandi Sanjay further asked the people to choose between developmental “Bhagyanagar” and restless “Hyderabad”. The other day it was BJYM national president Tejasvi Surya who addressed as “Bhagyanagar” instead of Hyderabad and today it was Bandi Sanjay. The AIMIM has thrown a direct challenge at the BJP. MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has asked the BJP to show 1,000 Rohingyas votes in the Old City.

Participating in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections campaign, Bandi Sanjay raked up the Hindu sentiment by saying BJP is the only party which is taking responsibility for issues of 80% Hindus and their sentiments. He said: “We will not tolerate any attempts to insult Hindu dharma, divide the Hindu community and practice slaughtering cows.” On the other hand, TRS working president and minister K.T. Rama Rao strongly objected to Bandi Sanjay’s statement and took to Twitter. “Surgical strike on Hyderabad?! Has this person gone completely insane for a few votes & seats!! @kishanreddybjp Garu, you are MoS for Home Affairs. Do you condone your colleague MP’s reprehensible, hate-filled statements? #NoHatePolitics #HyderabadFirst (sic).”

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