Tue, 18 April 2017
I-T detects over Rs 540 cr black money in last fortnight

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23:28   I-T detects over Rs 540 cr black money in last fortnight
With the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana black money window closed on March 31, the Income Tax department has detected over Rs 540 crore black money in the next 15 days as part of its nationwide operations to check tax evasion.
Officials said the tax sleuths, in the first fortnight of the new financial year that began on April 1, have conducted multiple search and survey operations on entry operators (agents using banking channels to launder funds), shell firms, government officials, real estate players and other sectors.
As per an official data compiled till April 15, the department has carried out "over 250 search and survey operations where the taxman raided at least 300 shell firms and detected more than Rs 540 crore of black money."
The action is significant as it comes after the closure of the third black money declaration window of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna, provided by the government to people holding stash funds to come clean and pay due taxes and penalty, that ended on March 31.
The government had brought the first black money declaration window in 2015 for people who held illegal assets abroad followed by the Income Declaration Scheme last year where individuals and entities could declare their domestic black funds.
The PMGKY was brought by the government in order to check hidden money in the wake of the demonetisation that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 last year.
A senior official said three major searches were conducted in Noida near here during the said period against an entry operator who was "managing" about 200 shell firms for providing entries of bogus sale and purchase.
"More than 20 beneficiaries who have received entries of over Rs 1 crore have been identified and the total undisclosed income in this case is about Rs 300 crore," the official said. 

Representative image 
23:05   Beef eating not crime according to Hindu scriptures: NCP leader
Claiming that Hindu scriptures do not term eating beef as a crime, an NCP leader today challenged RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to debate on the issue.

Bhagwat had recently sought a pan-India ban on cow slaughter.
NCP general secretary D P Tripathi termed the activities of cow vigilante groups as "anti-Hindu" and claimed that had it been possible for them, these groups would have "jailed even the likes of Swami Vivekananda" for their views on beef and meat.
"Nowhere in the Vedas it is written that eating beef is a crime. It is not there in the shastras, the Vedas. I challenge Bhagwat or any of his representatives to come and a debate on the basis of all Hindu scriptures," the Rajya Sabha member argued.
Claiming that 80 per cent of the countrymen, including a majority of Hindus, eat meat, Tripathi said Bhagwat's idea of having a ban on cow slaughter is against the spirit of the Constitution.
He claimed Swami Vivekananda, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi admires, was "not only a meat eater, but used to cook" non-vegetarian food. 
"Had it been possible, these people (vigilantes) would have jailed these icons too," Tripathi said.
22:31   Those who have looted will have to return that: PM Modi
Those who have "looted the poor and the middle classes will have to return what they have looted," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, on a day businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on loan
default charges.
"Indeed. There is no place for corruption in India. Those who looted the poor & middle classes will have to return what they have looted," he tweeted.
He was responding to a tweet by a follower who wrote that "...corruption not only robs us of hard earned money but also of our dignity."
Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, was arrested in London by Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition in a loan default case.
Senior Indian officials described his arrest as the first salvo in the case, which will now involve a legal process in the UK to determine if Mallya can be extradited to India to face charges in Indian courts.
In response to another tweet, Modi wrote, "Indias farmers are the nations pride. Their hardwork feeds millions. We are doing everything possible for their welfare."
21:56   Sasikala and family to be kept away from AIADMK, says TN minister
In a major blow to VK Sasikala, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar tonight said that the former aide of Jayalalithaa and her nephew, TTV Dinakaran to be kept away from the party.   

Speaking to media, Jayakumar said "We have decided to lead the AIADMK without the influence of Dinakaran and his family."

Claiming support of all MLAs, he said that Sasikala and family to have no further say in the party and a committee will run the party.

Earlier, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam set terms for merger talks between rival AIADMK factions, one led by him and the other by Chief Minister E Palaniswamy. 

VK Sasikala or her family cannot be in the picture, he told the media.

"There can be no dialogue with Sasikala's family in the picture...the party should not be in the hands of one family," said OPS, accusing the jailed AIADMK chief and her nephew of "making mistake after mistake" and urging the Palaniswamy faction to dump them.
21:26   Shazia Ilmi files complaint against trolling by 'AAP supporters'
Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shazia Ilmi today filed a police complaint accusing Aam Aadmi Party supporters of "abusing" and hurling "sexual innuendos" at her on social media.
Ilmi said she was trolled over her video statement on Twitter, where she had attacked the Arvind Kejriwal government over the involvement of sacked AAP minister Sandeep Kumar in a sex tape.
It also came on a day the BJP expelled Savitri Khatri, its Narela ward candidate for the upcoming municipal polls, for allegedly allowing Kumar to campaign for her.
"I left the AAP because of bad elements in it and our party (BJP) did the right thing today. Because of Kumar, Savita Khatri had to pay.
"But, because of Kumar's misadventures, I am now facing abuse on social media. They are posting nasty comments with ration card jokes and sexual innuendos. Some of it is so vulgar, I cannot even describe it in words," she said.
Ilmi, who had switched to the BJP from the AAP, alleged that users of the microblogging site who were "abusing" her were "AAP supporters".
"These people follow big AAP leaders. They must be tracked through their handles and IP addresses. This is not just an insult to me, but an affront to all women. Would they use such filthy language for women in their own homes?" she asked.
Kumar, a former minister in the Kejriwal government, was sacked from the AAP last year over a sex tape purportedly featuring him.
20:31   Delhi records hottest day in April since 2010
The national capital today witnessed the hottest day in April in the last seven years as the mercury crossed the 43-degree Celsius mark in some parts of the city which reeled under a heatwave.
The Safdarjung observatory, whose recording is considered the official figure for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 42.5 degrees Celsius, five notches above the season's average.
"It is the hottest day in in April since 2010 when the maximum temperature had settled at 43.7 degrees Celsius," Ravinder Vishan, the in-charge at the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre said.
Areas under Palam, Lodhi Road, Ridge and Ayanagar registered a maximum temperature of 43.7, 41.8, 43.4 and 42.6 degrees Celsius, respectively, a MeT department official said.
The minimum temperature was recorded at 24.9 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal, the official said.
Humidity levels oscillated between 76 and 15 per cent.
According to the Met office, the city is likely to reel under heatwave-like conditions for the rest of the days in this week.
The weatherman has predicted mainly clear skies for tomorrow.
19:57   Hindi may be made compulsory till class X in CBSE schools, KVs
Students of schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education and Kendriya Vidyalyas may have to compulsorily study Hindi till class X with recommendations of a Parliamentary panel in this regard getting the President's nod.

The HRD ministry has also been instructed to form a policy in consultation with the state governments to make the language compulsory. 

"The HRD Ministry should make serious efforts to make Hindi language compulsory in curriculum. As a first step, Hindi should be made a compulsory subject up to standard X in all schools of CBSE and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan," the Presidential order said.

"The Centre should form a policy in consultation with state governments," it added. 

The recommendations were made in the ninth report of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language. CBSE had last year recommended a three-language formula '" English and any two Indian languages '" to be expanded to classes IX and X.

However, the HRD Ministry is yet to take a call on the suggestion.
19:03   CBI, Indian high commission to present case against Mallya in UK
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Indian High Commission in London will present India's case in the United Kingdom court for extradition of controversial industrialist Vijay Mallya as the government looks to break the myth that a law breaker is out of bound once he is out of country.

A top source said India is seeking extradition of Mallya for defaulting on loans due to IDBI.

"We want to shatter this myth that by crossing boundaries you are out of bounds. Mallya extradition will act as an important test case," the source said.

The embattled businessman, who has been declared a proclaimed offender in India, was today arrested in London by the Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition on fraud charges.

The 61-year-old liquor baron, wanted in India for defaulting on loans, was arrested after he appeared at a central London police station this morning. The flamboyant businessman, who once called himself 'The King of Good Times", was released on bail a few hours later. -- PTI
JUST IN: International Monetary Fund trims India's growth forecast to 7.2 per cent for 2017.
18:38   Will bring Mallya back after completing legalities: Centre
Soon after Vijay Mallya was arrested in London following India's extradition request, Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar on Tuesday assured that the beleaguered liquor baron will be brought back after completion of all required legal procedures.

Addressing the media in New Delhi, Gangwar claimed that although bail was granted to Mallya, who is facing money laundering charges, this does not imply any leniency towards him. He added that granting bail was required on grounds of a 'legal formality'.

"Eradication of black money has been discussed since the Lok Sabha elections. We will not let miscreants like Mallya escape. We will make sure he is brought back to India and produced before the law after due consideration of legal formalities," he said.

"Our government will make sure that nothing diverts this country's progress. Mallya's case will be investigated thoroughly," added Gangwar. -- ANI
The rush to claim credit for Mallya's extradition. 1st up, Congress.| "Relentless campaign of Congress and Oppn outside and inside Parliament has led to arrest of Mallya," says Randeep Surjewala
The list of fugitives extradited to India since 2002.
17:33   Lovely news
In a big setback to the Congress a week ahead of the municipal elections in Delhi, former Delhi Congress chief and four-time MLA Arvinder Singh 'Lovely' joined the Bharatiya Janata Party along with Delhi Youth Congress president Amit Malik on Tuesday.

Not to be confused with former Union Home minister Buta Singh's son, Arvinder Singh Lovely, who joined the BJP in 2015.
shweta roy @shweraroy SBI Team waiting for #VijayMallya to be extradited from #London to India.
Twitter explodes with Vijay Mallya memes. Loved this one. 
17:20   TCS Q4 profit up
TCS Q4 net profit up 4.2 per cent at Rs 6,608 crore; revenue rises 4.2 per cent to Rs 29,642 crore from year-ago period.
Vijay Mallya will be brought back to India, due process of law will be followed: Santosh Gangwar, MoS Finance
17:02   Usual media hype, extradition hearing expected: Mallya reacts
Vijay Mallya @TheVijayMallya  reacts to the arrest: Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.
17:00   Three hours after arrest Vijay Mallya gets bail
Vijay Mallya granted bail. 

This is the full statement issued by the UK's metropolitan police confirming the arrest of the liquor baron.

"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extradition warrant.

"Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.

"He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later today, 18 April."

Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, was arrested on Tuesday in the UK by Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition.

Mallya, 61, will be appearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court in London later today.

India had given a formal extradition request for Mallya as per the Extradition Treaty between India and the UK through a note verbale on February 8.

16:48   Normal monsoon, assures Met
India's crucial monsoon rains are expected to be average in 2017, a senior official at the weather office said on Tuesday, easing concerns over farm and economic growth in the world's leading producer of an array of agricultural goods.

The crop-nourishing monsoon is the lifeblood for India's farm-dependent $2 trillion economy. Nearly two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people depend on agriculture for a living.

Monsoon rains in 2017 would be at 96 percent of the long-term average, K J Ramesh, director general of the state-run India Meteorological Department, told a news conference.

India's weather office defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire four-month season beginning June.

Monsoon rains deliver about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because nearly half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.
16:22   CM rules out total ban on liquor in Uttarakhand
The predominantly tourist state of Uttarakhand "cannot afford" to go for a total ban on liquor, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said today, noting that prohibition had "failed" in Bihar and Haryana. Regulation, he said, is always a better option than total prohibition and the state government is moving steadily towards that goal.
16:16   UK PM announces snap polls on June 8
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June.

The BBC reports: May said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.

Explaining the decision, May said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not."

There will be a Commons vote on the proposed election on Wednesday - she will need Parliament's backing to hold a vote before 2020.

Explaining her change of heart on an early election, May said: "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election."
End of good times: Vijay Mallya in a vintage car in 1980. Picture courtesy:  @IndiaHistorypic
15:45   Mallya arrested at 9:30 am in London
Mallya was arrested at 9:30 am (local time) in London. The Ministry of External Affairs had made the extradition request as received from the Central Bureau of Investigation to the United Kingdom High Commission in New Delhi in February.

Mallya is likely to be produced in court today and will get a chance to present his case.

The State Bank of India, which leads the consortium of 17 banks that lent money to Kingfisher Airlines, had moved Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru against the airlines chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000 crore of dues from him. 
Just in: UK PM Theresa May announces snap general election on June 8.
15:32   Liquor baron Vijay Mallya arrested in London
Just in: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya arrested in London. Mallya held by the Metropolitan police will be produced in court. Mallya  is wanted in India for defaulting on loans worth Rs 9,000 crore. He is likely to be extradited to India. A CBI team will visit United Kingdom soon.
15:23   IIT-D diktat for girl students: Wear fully-covered decent dress
The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi on Tuesday issued a diktat for its girl students, ahead of the 13th edition of Open House to be held on Thursday. The notice says that girls should wear "fully covered decent western dresses" for the one-day event. There are two girls' hostel at IITD - Himadri and Kailash. Open House day is an annual event at the institute where residents can invite guests in the hostel for an hour. The event is scheduled for April 20. The notice, put up at Himadri hostel and signed by the warden, was shared by the students. 
Delhi MCD polls: BJP sacks Savita Khatri after former AAP leader Sandeep Kumar campaigns for her.
14:29   Merger can't happen if Sasikala, Dinakaran step down: EPS
The Edapaadi Palaniswami camp reacts to the two conditions put forth by the OPS camp for the merger. "We want the party to be united but without preconditions. If such conditions are raised, a merger cannot happen. Why should Sasikala and Dinakaran step down?" the EPS camp said.

A day after the two factions of the AIADMK, one led by O Pannerselvam and the other by VK Sasikala decided to come together, the former state chief minister on Tuesday said that he has sent a petition to the Election Commission to declare Sasikala's appointment as general secretary as illegal.

"During the election campaigning in .K. Nagar many malpractices were done and Rs. 4000 were offered to each voter. We have submitted all this to the Election Commission yesterday and asked to inquire into the matter," Panneerselvam said.

He added that the party should not be controlled by one family and it was nothing short of treason to allow Sasikala to control party affairs.

"Dinakaran was not even member of the party till Amma's demise. Judicial probe in to Jayalalitha's death is our first demand. Sasikala's appointment as general secretary is illegal and we will not accept it. Family politics will not be accepted. Dinakaran is only tarnishing the image of the party and it will not be tolerated," he asserted.

File pic of E Palaniswami
Just in: 41 IAS officers transferred by UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
14:13   US reaffirms India's designation as Major Defence Partner
The US today reaffirmed India's designation as a Major Defence Partner and emphasised the importance of its strategic relationship as its National Security Adviser H R McMaster met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held talks with his counterpart Ajit Doval.

"The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including their shared interest in increasing defence and counter-terrorism cooperation," the US embassy said in a press statement after the meetings.

"NSA McMaster emphasised the importance of the US-India strategic relationship and reaffirmed India's designation as a Major Defence Partner," it said and noted that the meetings were "productive".

McMaster, whose trip here marks the first visit by a top official of the Trump Administration, also met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

"The visit was a part of regional consultations that included stops in Kabul and Islamabad," the statement said. During the US official's meeting with the prime minister, the two sides discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence and counter-terrorism cooperation.

Doval, Jaishankar and several key officials were present in the meeting that took place at the prime minister's residence. Earlier, McMaster and Doval held detailed discussions on Indo-US relations especially the security aspect of the ties, sources said.
14:06   OPS sets conditions for merger: Probe Jaya death, evict Sasi & co
So OPS has set conditions for a patch-up with the mother ship.

As the VK Sasikala-faction held talks with O Panneerselvam and spoke of the need for a united AIADMK, the former CM said he was open to a merger and a dialogue only if the death of J Jayalalithaa was probed and both Sasikala and her nephew and the deputy general secretary TTK Dinakaran is removed from the party.  "Dinakaran was not even a member of the party till Amma's demise. Elections for office-bearers of the AIADMK was itself illegal," he tweeted.

Hitting out against Sasikala, he said that the party should not be in the hands of a family. "Our founder MGR and Amma created this party as a party for the people and cadres, this is a democratic party for people and cadres. If we don't follow this path then it shall be injustice to the people," OPS said.

He also called for a probe into the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa's death. "The treatment provided to amma should be made transparent with an enquiry to the same," he said.

He also said that the elevation of the general secretary (Sasikala) is not as per the bylaws of the party. "Sasikala's elevation and in turn her subsequent actions is null and void. We have submitted  a petition to EC to follow the bylaws and give justice. The TTV faction gave Rs 4000 per voter in the recent by-election at RK Nagar and IT raids were conducted unearthing evidence. We have been insisting that the family against whom we have waged a war had indulged in activities bringing disrepute to the entire TN. We have not deviated from our stand and we stick to our basics. Any change in our stand shall be injustuce to people of TN and AIADMK cadres," he said.

The OPS faction of the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) yesterday moved the Election Commission with a prayer to dispose of the petition relating to appointment of VK Sasikala as general secretary on the ground that she was not elected by the primary members of the party.
Singing Vande Mataram mandatory in all educational institutions: Supreme Court issues notice to the Centre on plea.
13:06   Woman shot dead outside a police post in UP
A 45-year-old woman was thrashed and shot dead allegedly outside a police post in Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh. Anisa Begum had gone to the Agra Gate Police Chowki yesterday to complain about threat to her life from the accused Wasim over a land dispute, her family members said.

Wasim also arrived at the Chowki along with his mother and sister and thrashed Anisa Begum and when she rushed to save herself, the culprit fired four shots from a revolver, one of them hitting her neck, they said.

The woman was rushed to the district hospital by the locals where she was declared brought dead, they said, adding that public overpowered Wasim and handed him over to the police. SP, Sunil Kumar Saxena, said that all the three culprits have been arrested and investigations are on to ascertain the details of the incident.
12:36   Mover-shaker Thambidurai holds the key to AIADMK's future
M Thambidurai, Lok Sabha deputy speaker and senior leader in the VK Sasikala-led AIADMK faction, boarded a late-night flight on Monday to New Delhi. In the national capital, the AIADMK leader has now been interacting with his close contacts in the BJP. This morning, Thambidurai held a quiet meeting with a senior BJP leader, who shall remain unnamed.

Thambidurai has emerged as the go-to person in the AIADMK. If the Sasikala and O Pannerselvam factions merge, alliance talks with the BJP will also begin.

The formula is that the AIADMK will support the Presidential nominee of the BJP and in return get 10 Parliament seats in 2019. The Centre will also extend its support to the Edapaadi Palanisamy government.

But for that to happen, the BJP wants an assurance from Thambidurai that the party's 132 MLAs and 49 MPs will vote for the BJP's Presidential candidate. Informal talks have begun between the two parties towards securing votes for the presidential election which is expected in the next two months. The AIADMK has 39 Lok Sabha and 12 Rajya Sabha MPs.

Indeed, if Thambidurai succeeds in securing the AIADMK's votes and can provide a concrete proposal to the BJP leadership, it will ensure a career boost -- a ministerial berth in the Modi cabinet.

The AIADMK is keen to get four berths -- a cabinet minister, two Union Ministers of State (independent charge) and needless to say, retain the Deputy Speaker's position, which is held by Thambidurai.

The AIADMK will also gain by being included in foreign delegations. So, in September during the United Nations General Assembly, the BJP is likely to depute four AIADMK MPs as part of the Indian delegation to New York.

Both the AIADMK and the BJP will benefit with from an alliance as the the AIADMK will get berths in the Union Ministry and the BJP in turn will get its numbers in the Parliament.
The alliance will be AIADMK, BJP, PMK and the Vaiko-led MDMK. The combine will be a formidable opposition for the DMK-Congress combination.

Thambidurai belongs to the Gownder community as do most of the MLAs. This gives him a tacit  nod by the full block of Gownder MLAs to hold backroom talks with the BJP in New Delhi.

Interestingly, Thambidurai is also the key figure in the Sasikala faction to speak against her nephew TTV Dinakaran, now accused of grave corruption charges. Also, no AIADMK MLA is keen to go in for an early Tamil Nadu
assembly polls, which is why both factions are considering merger talks.

That is the kind of power Thambidurai wields now. 
11:52   PM Modi meets US NSA: Bilateral ties, security on agenda
Update: India and the US reviewed bilateral ties and the situation in the South Asian region at the meeting with US NSA HR McMaster. Indian NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and some other officials were present in the meeting that took place at the prime minister's residence.

Earlier, McMaster and Doval held detailed discussions on Indo-US relations especially the security aspect of the ties, sources said.

The US NSA arrived in New Delhi last evening from Pakistan where he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some top officials. In Islamabad, the relations between India and Pakistan figured in McMaster's discussions with Sharif. As part of the South Asia trip, he also visited Afghanistan before travelling to Pakistan.
11:49   Manipur Congress MLA Ginsuanhau joins BJP
Manipur Congress MLA Ginsuanhau has joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, giving a shot in the arm to the BJP-led coalition government in the state. "I have resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP,' Ginsuanhau said during a function at the state BJP office in Imphal on Monday. He was welcomed into the party fold by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh and Manipur Pradesh BJP president Ksh Bhabananda Singh.
NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secy S Jaishankar at the meeting.
11:40   How will US deal with Pak? The clue lies here
Lisa Curtis, who is accompanying the US NSA General H R McMaster on his visit to India, writes this report. It may be a route map on how Trump's foreign policy team will deal with Pakistan. Read
11:38   PM Modi meets US NSA
US National Security Advisor HR McMaster meets PM Narendra Modi at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg in Delhi; Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval also present.

He is expected to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thereafter.

McMaster yesterday held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Ministers Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan NSA Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi.
11:19   Both factions have to work together to retrieve symbol
Tamil Nadu Minister Sellur Raju: A team consisting of senior ministers formed by us for the process of merger of two factions. We are brothers from same family. The core issue with both of us remains the symbol of 'two leaves'. In order to retrieve the symbol both factions must work unitedly. Yesterday OPS said there are possibilities that we (both AIADMK factions) could sit together and talk to iron out the differences. 
11:11   Brothers of the same family: AIADMK factions set to unite
A team consisting of senior ministers was formed for the process of merger of the two factions. We are brothers from same family: Tamil Nadu minister Sellur Raju.
10:56   Trump aides impromptu visit may renew pressure on Pakistan
US National Security Adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster called on Pakistan to confront 'terrorism in all its forms' in a calculated statement issued on Monday, suggesting the President Donald Trump administration may put renewed pressure on Islamabad. Read more
10:53   The strange case of the missing Pak armyman? Three Indians identified
At least three more characters involved in the kidnapping of Pakistan Army's Colonel (retd) Habib Zahir in Nepal have been unearthed and a whole network of Indian agencies seems to be implicated in the kidnapping.All three persons involved are Indians and they include one who booked his air ticket, another who booked his hotel room and the third one who received him at Lumbini airport.  Read more
10:52   Cadre want AIADMK united, OPS wants to work together: Thambidurai
The beginning of the end of the Sasikala era of AIADMK.

Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai, who is from the Sasikala camp said the talks with with O Panneerselvam camp is being held keeping in mind Amma's (J Jayalalithaa) ideals. The cadre want the AIADMK to be united. OPS has welcomed the move to work together. Amma's government has to remain, no split in AIADMK.

He said the aim is to see Amma's government continue and it needs the support of everyone. "We are hopeful of getting it," the AIADMK leader said, denying any split in the party. "It is just differences of opinion among ourselves," he said.
The Mumbai police continues its stellar tweets... this one on child abuse.

CP Mumbai Police @CPMumbaiPolice Aren't we shirking our responsibility by not informing? #ReportAbuse. 
Ramesh Srivats @rameshsrivats  So, if Sasikala leaves, and TTV Dinakaran leaves, AIADMK will get two leaves.
10:26   Parivartan of the wrong kind
The Prime Minister's comrades in Hindutva have been very, very busy. On the edges of Delhi we have in recent days seen Hindutva warriors enter people's homes and drag lovers out of their bedrooms. Last week, a man got arrested in Meerut for dropping his fiance home. And, we have seen restaurants and bars along major highways see sales drop by more than 80 per cent since the Supreme Court started imposing its own form of semi-prohibition.

Tavleen Singh gets misty-eyed over the pre beef-ban, moral policing era. Do read
10:22   Nifty regains 9,200-level, Sensex zooms 267 pts in early trade
NSE Nifty reclaims the psychological 9,200-mark and BSE benchmark Sensex soared about 267 points in early trade today, triggered by across-the-board buying amid mixed overseas cues. Investors appeared optimistic ahead of quarterly earnings of some key companies, including IT major TCS which is scheduled to release its results later in the day.
10:15   TN CM forms 10-member committee to discuss merger with OPS
Rebel All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader O Panneerselvam on Tuesday said the Sasikala faction of the party has formed a committee to conduct talks on merger.

Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK Amma (the Sasikala faction), in an initiative led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami, has set up a 10-member committee to hold re-merger talks with the party's rival faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.

Most ministers and lawmakers are clear that party chief VK Sasikala and her deputy and nephew TTV Dinakaran must resign. Faced with the rebellion, Dinakaran is returning to Chennai from Bengaluru without meeting his aunt Sasikala in the jail where she is serving time for corruption.

This comes after state Finance Minister D Jayakumar yesterday hinted at the possibility of a merger between the two groups.

Jayakumar said all 123 AIADMK lawmakers and party cadres were on the same page and discussed about the possibilities of retaining the 'Two Leaves' symbol, which had been frozen by the Election Commission.

This development came after the Delhi Police booked AIADMK general secretary TTV Dinakaran on charges of bribing the Election Commission officials to claim the 'Two Leaves' symbol.

The Crime Branch recovered approximately Rs. 1.3 crore from alleged middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar. Dinakaran, who is considered to be a close Sasikala aide, later said that he was ready to legally face any summons from the Delhi Police. When asked if Sasikala would quit from the party in case the merger took place, Jayakumar said, "We have no information regarding this."

File pic: Former TN CM O Panneerselvam.
09:50   Sasikala, nephew Dinakaran to be kicked out of party?
There is a revolt in the making in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's VK Sasikala camp as leaders of the faction want her and nephew TTV Dinakaran to step down from all party posts.

Nearly 25 ministers and MLAs held a late night meeting on Monday to discuss possibility of a merger with rival O Panneerselvam camp. Whether the two camps would bury their differences and come together could be decided today.

Finance Minister D Jayakumar said modalities were being worked out to pave the way for the merger of the two factions. "Given the opinion (voiced by O Panneerselvam), modalities to strengthen the party and to run it with unity were discussed," Jayakumar told reporters.

Meanwhile, a Delhi Police team which was to visit Chennai today to serve summons to AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran has put off the trip.

09:24   US NSA to hold talks with his Indian counterpart in Delhi today
United States National Security Advisor Lieutenant General HR McMaster is in Delhi to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

McMaster yesterday met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed bilateral ties, Afghan situation and rising tensions between India, Pakistan.

Lt Gen McMaster also met Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad.

Aziz briefed Lt Gen McMaster on the policies being pursued by the Pakistan government that have resulted in improved security environment and economic turnaround in the country.

The Dawn quoted Aziz, as saying that that Pakistan remains determined to continue its fight as part of the National Action Plan until terrorism is completely eliminated from the country.
09:00   Trump to sign executive order On H1Bs today
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs.

Two senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters at the White House said Trump will also use the "buy American and hire American" order to seek changes in government procurement practices to increase the purchase of American products in federal contracts.

Trump is to sign the order when he visits the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his "America First" campaign pledges to reform US immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

The order he will sign on Tuesday will call for "the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States," one of the senior officials said.
08:47   AIADMK to patch up? All AIADMK MLAs asked to come to Chennai today
Tamil Nadu ministers discuss a possible merger of both factions of AIADMK in the absence of Dinakaran. 

Late-night discussions are back in Tamil Nadu politics after a short break. This time it is by the state's ministers.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister's Office asked all AIADMK Amma lawmakers to reach Chennai on Tuesday. 

As many as 26 ministers met at the Electricity Minister Thangamani's official residence on Greenways Road in Chennai since late evening.                      
A separate meeting was under way at the bungalow of Housing Minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan, in which a few ministers participated. Later, they joined the meeting at Thangamani's residence.

This has raised speculation of a new political development within AIADMK faction led by Sasikala.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police had booked party's deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran on charges that he allegedly attempted to bribe Election Commission officials to get 'Two Leaves' symbol.
08:36   Govt can't silence me by targeting my son: Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram came down heavily on the Enforcement Directorate for issuing a show-cause notice to his son Karti over alleged forex allegations, asserting that the government was trying to muzzle his voice by going after his son.

"The Enforcement Directorate has the habit of recycling allegations from time to time. Today's press release by the ED is another example. The allegations in the press release are baseless, totally false and ridiculous," Chidambaram said in a statement.

However, he claimed that no notice has been served upon Karti so far, adding that if a notice is received, a suitable reply will be sent.

"By targeting Karti Chidambaram with baseless notices, the government cannot silence my voice or stop my writing," he added.
08:18   Now, security forces to use plastic bullets for crowd control in J-K
The home ministry asked the security forces to use non-penetrative plastic bullets in place of pellet guns to tackle stone-pelters and violent mobs during protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the non-lethal pellet guns would continue to be in use as an alternative.

The plastic bullets are non-penetrative and can be fired from INSAS rifles.

Thousands of plastic bullets have already been dispatched to the Kashmir Valley for their use by enforcement agencies.

Security forces often face violent protests and stone pelting mobs, especially during stiff resistance from the locals, when they are engaged in gunfight with militants, who at times manage to escape with the help of the crowd.

So far, security forces are using PAVA shells and pellet guns, the last option in the non-lethal category before the use of assault rifles, to control the mobs.

Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide is a chilli-based ammunition, which is less lethal and immobilises the target temporarily.
JUST IN: 5.0 magnitude earthquake jolts various cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad & Lahore; epicentre in Hindu Kush region (Afghanistan)
07:48   Kashmir jeep video: Attorney general backs army, says officer did smart thing
The government appeared to be backing the army on Monday after a controversial video showing a man being used as human shield in Kashmir triggered outrage, with the countrys top law officer saying the officer-in-charge did a smart thing and defused a nasty situation.  

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said the armed forces were working under tremendous pressure and exercising great restraint.

"The poll booth is symbolic of democracy. He (the major) should not be criticised. The army should be applauded. They are guarding our northern and north-eastern frontiers admirably, Rohatgi said in a statement. 

They are a trained force responsible for their actions. Military operations cannot be subject of such discussions on social media.

Meanwhile, army chief General Bipin Rawat emphasised the need to guard the high reputation of the army. 
00:12   Note ban will have positive impact in long term: World Bank

Temporary setbacks notwithstanding, note ban will have a positive development impact in the long term as it accelerates financial deepening, foster financial inclusion and increase transparency, the World Bank has said.

In a report titled 'South Asia Economic Focus - Globalisation Backlash', it said eliminating tax evasion and corruption -- the most talked objectives of junking old 500 and 1000 rupee notes -- is "typically a demanding process involving multiple measures overtime."

Demonetisation caused an immediate cash crunch, hurting economic growth, it said.

In November last year, the government withdrew from circulation 86 per cent of the currency and gradually replaced them with new 500 and 2000 rupee notes, making demonetisation a massive currency exchange.

"The most prominent reasons brought forward for this far- reaching move were to curb black money, to eliminate counterfeit notes, and to promote the use of electronic payments," the report said.

Eliminating tax evasion and corruption is typically a demanding process, involving multiple measures over time, it said.