Mon, 19 February 2018
Bill Gates says billionaires should pay 'significantly' more taxes

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23:43   Bill Gates says billionaires should pay 'significantly' more taxes
Bill Gates says he has paid more than $10 billion in taxes over a lifetime but billionaires like him should pay "significantly" more because they benefit more from the system.

The Microsoft co-founder, the world's second richest man after Amazon's Jeff Bezos, was critical of a recent US tax overhaul that slashed corporate taxes and lowered the top bracket for individual income.

"I've paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes," he said in an interview with CNN.

He said the tax overhaul passed in December favors the rich despite Republican claims it will help the middle and working classes.

"People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor, and so it runs counter to the general trend you'd like to see, where the safety net is getting stronger and those at the top are paying higher taxes," he said.

With a sixth of the US population living in what he called "disappointing" conditions, he said US policymakers need to think about rising inequality and ask, "Why aren't we doing a better job for those people?"
23:24   Trump India 'dinner and chat' property offer criticised
Investors in a luxury property development in India are being offered the chance to have "conversation and dinner" with Donald Trump Jr.

The eldest son of the US president is visiting India this week and will promote the Trump Towers development near Delhi.

Critics say the Trump family is cashing in on the president's name.

But Trump Jr has said he has been building relationships in India for years.

The 47-storey towers in Gurgaon, close to the Indian capital, are being developed by the Trump Organisation and local partners - with some apartments selling for more than $1m.

The Trump Organisation, formerly headed up by President Donald Trump, is an umbrella company for hundreds of investments in businesses including real estate. Donald Jr is now its executive director.
22:59   PNB says enough arrangements for customers
Embroiled in a major fraud, state-owned PNB today assured all its customers that "enough arrangements" for their banking transactions without any inconvenience, and it has sufficient assets to meet any liability.

Replying to clarifications sought by stock exchanges, the Punjab National Bank said: "Bank has enough assets to meet any liability which is decided as per law."

However, it added realisation of any specific asset would be decided at the time of need with the approval of board.

This followed media reports that the country's second largest bank was in process to monetise its fixed assets in the wake of Rs 11,400 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by defaulter businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
On reports about law enforcement agencies sealing its MCB Brady House branch in Mumbai, PNB said it is under discussion with CBI to allow normal operation at the branch during business hours.

"However, the bank has Core Banking Solution through which any customer of bank can transact at any branch of his convenience. Bank has made enough arrangements to ensure no customer is put to any inconvenience," it said.

Regarding exchanges' query on a petition in the Supreme Court demanding Special Investigation Team probe into the fraud, PNB said it is not aware of any such petition.

The bank's shares continued to tank for a fourth day in a row today.

-- PTI
22:21   Eat beef, why celebrate it? says Venkaiah Naidu
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday raised the issues of 'beef ban' in the country, saying one can eat beef if he wants, but why to have festival for the same.

"You want to eat beef, then eat. Why festival? Similarly, a 'kiss festival', if you wish to kiss why do you need a festival or anyone's permission for it," Naidu said.

Naidu talking about beef festival could be directed to the reports of July 2017 when students of IIT-Madras held a beef festival inside the campus to protest against the cattle slaughter ban.

In the past too, Naidu had addressed the beef issue; while stressing on how food is an individual's choice he said that he is a strict non-vegetarian and nobody could tell him to what to eat or what not.
22:04   Goa scribe detained over 'false news' on Parrikar's health
The Goa Police detained a local journalist in connection with an alleged false news item about the health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is admitted in a Mumbai hospital for treatment of a pancreatic ailment.
Parrikar is being treated at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai since February 15.
"We have detained journalist Harish Volvoikar as a part of an investigation. He was questioned related to the false news that is being circulated," said Inspector General of Police Jaspal Singh.
The action against the journalist was taken after BJP leader Sunil Desai filed a complaint with Ponda police alleging that a fake news was being circulated, in which he (Desai) was being quoted about the health condition of Parrikar.
Earlier in the day, the journalist was also stopped from attending the ongoing assembly session when Goa Governor Mridula Sinha addressed the legislators.
Singh said a case had been registered and the investigation was underway.

-- PTI
21:34   Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys
US President Donald Trump signalled support today for a bipartisan effort to improve a national system of background checks for gun purchases in the wake of the Florida school shooting.

"While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 
JUST IN: CBI arrests three more officers of Punjab National Bank in Rs 11,384 crore scam
21:26   Raids just a smoke-screen, PM must answer questions on bank fraud: Cong
The Congress today described as an "eyewash" the raids by agencies in the Rs 11,400-crore PNB bank fraud and said the prime minister and the finance minister should answer the country on how the scam happened and the accused escaped, instead of creating a "smoke-screen".

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the government should tell who facilitated the escape of accused designer jeweller Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi, despite a court order declaring Choksi as an "absconder" and a proclaimed offender.

He said "fresh revelations" have come in the matter and the court of chief judicial magistrate had on August 4, 2017 declared Mehul Choksi, the managing director of Gitanjali Jewellery, and Vipul Chaitalia, the company's authorised signatory, as proclaimed offender and "absconding".

"How was this man allowed to leave the country? The question arises that how can a person who is a declared proclaimed offender and absconder by a court of law be allowed to leave the country and we would like to ask the NDA-BJP government.

"We would like to ask the prime minister of India and the finance minister of India that who facilitated the exit of this man from the country despite the order of a competent court which brings us to certain other questions that we would like to ask," he told reporters.

Tewari said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "speaks on everything , referring himself as 'Chowkidar' (watchman) of the country and its 'Pradhan Sevak' (servant).

"But we would like him to answer some questions on issues that are critical and the country is demanding answers," the Congress leader said.

-- PTI
JUST IN: Pakistan Senate has approved motion to declare Chinese as an official language: Pakistan Media
20:59   Emergency extended in Maldives by 30 days
The state of emergency in trouble-torn Maldives was today extended by 30 days after the a key parliamentary committee approved President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's request, a media report said, allowing him to reinforce his power in the picturesque Indian Ocean
island nation.

President Yameen declared the emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials. Among them was exiled ex-President Mohamed Nasheed. The court said his 2015 trial had been unconstitutional.

Under the emergency law, Yameen had two Supreme Court judges arrested, accusing them of corruption. Later, the remaining three judges annulled the order to release Yameen's

On Sunday, the judges also delayed their earlier order to reinstate 12 pro-opposition lawmakers who were expelled after siding with the opposition. Yameen's party would have lost a majority in Parliament had they been allowed to sit, AP reported.

There has been international condemnation of the government's moves, with the US and India expressing concern.

-- PTI
20:30   All party meet on Cauvery issue on Feb 22; DMK to participate
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK today called for an all-party meet on February 22 to discuss the Supreme Court verdict on the Cauvery issue, scuttling the opposition DMK's plan for a similar discussion.
The announcement comes a day after the DMK said it had decided to convene an all-party meet on the issue, accusing the AIADMK of not heeding to its demand for such an exercise.
"The Tamil Nadu government will immediately take steps on the issue after consulting and getting the views of leaders of all parties," an official release here said.
Apparently caught off guard, the DMK said it would participate in the meeting and announced its cancellation.
DMK working president M K Stalin welcomed the announcement of the all-party meeting and said his party would participate and give constructive suggestions to the government on the issue.
He also said representatives of farmers' associations should be invited as their opinion on the issue was crucial.
"A proposed all-party meeting called by the DMK in this regard now stands cancelled," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam claimed that Stalin announced the all-party meet after "somehow coming to know" that the government had decided to elicit the views of all parties on the issue.
The AIADMK's decision to hold an all-party meet is a marked departure from the stand of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on similar matters.
Though the DMK, all along, sought such meetings on key issues like the Cauvery matter, Jayalalithaa had not acceded to it. 

The meeting on the Cauvery issues comes after a gap of several years. A similar meet was held during the previous DMK regime when M Karunanidhi was the chief minister.

Yesterday, Palaniswami had said the Tamil Nadu government would go through the Supreme Court verdict, which reduced the quantum of Cauvery water for the state, and consult legal experts on going for an appeal.

-- PTI
20:13   Gujarat: BJP retains edge, wins 47 municipalities
Continuing its winning run in the 2017 assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday grabbed power in 47 municipalities out of 75 in the civic elections. 

However, the Congress also received traction and increased its number, winning 16. In 2013, it had won a mere eight municipalities. In 2013 also, the BJP had won 47 out 75 municipalities.

The BJP also won from Prime Minister Narendra Modis home Vadnagar municipality.

Both the parties claim to have support in 10 municipalities where there is no clear mandate and independents are in higher numbers.

State election commissioner Varesh Sinha said that, Out of 75 municipalities, BJP has won 47, Congress has won 16, while both NCP and BSP have won from 1 (municipality). There is no clear mandate in six municipalities while in four municipalities, independents have an edge."

Out of 2060 seats, BJP won 1167 seats, Congress won 630 seats, BSP won 15, NCP won 28 seats, other parties won 18 seats while independents won 202 seats," added Sinha.
19:32   Pak troops violate ceasefire along LoC in Uri sector, injure 3 civilians
Pakistani troops violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, injuring three civilians, police said today.
"Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing in Churanda in the Silikote area of Hajipeer sector of Uri," a police official said.

Three civilians sustained injuries in the firing, he said, adding that they were rushed to a hospital.

-- PTI
18:54   Rahul reminds PM Modi of 'na khaoonga, na khaane doonga' remark
Congress president Rahul Gandhi fired yet another salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "silence" on the multi-crore PNB bank fraud, asking where the "country's watchman" was when jeweller Nirav Modi fled the country like liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Gandhi took the swipe at the Prime Minister for his refrain during poll rallies that he would act as a watchman for the country, and cited his "na khaoonga, na khaane doonga" (will neither do nor allow anyone to do corruption) statement.

Taking to Twitter, the Congress chief said the entire country was keen to know the "secret behind his silence" and alleged that it screams out loudly where his loyalties were.

"First Lalit (Modi) and then (Vijay) Mallya, now Nirav (Modi) also eloped. Where is the country's watchman who claimed 'Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga' (Will neither do nor allow anyone to do corruption)?

"The public is longing to know the reason of 'Saheb's' silence. His silence screams out loud who is he loyal to?" he asked in a tweet in Hindi.

Gandhi also used the hashtag "ModiRobsIndia" along with his tweet, to target the prime minister.
18:24   Actress Priya Varrier moves SC for quashing of FIR against her
Actress Priya Prakash Varrier, who recently became an internet sensation for her wink in a song of a Malyalam movie, today moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against her in Telangana.

The 18-year-old actress of the upcoming movie also sought top court's direction to prohibit states from initiating any criminal proceedings against her.

In her plea, Varrier, a student of BCom from a college in Thrissur district of Kerala, sought protection from an FIR lodged on complaints alleging that the lyrics of the song 'Manikya Malaraya Poovi' from the movie 'Oru Addar Love' was "offensive" or has "violated the religious sentiment of a particular community".

In her plea, she said that an FIR has been lodged against her on February 14 at Falaknama police station at Hyderabad on a complaint that alleges that the song hurt the religious sentiment of a particular community.

She said that on the same day, a criminal complaint was also filed by the Secretary of Raza Academy, Mumbai, with the Commissioner of Police to take appropriate action against the petitioners, taking down the video and prevent it from being broadcast.

"The present petition has been filed as a result of multiple criminal proceedings which have been instituted against the petitioners in the States of Telangana and Maharashtra.
"The complaint filed is against the song titled 'Manikya Malaraya Poovi' which was released on YouTube as a song of the film. In Telangana, an FIR has already been registered against the Petitioner no.2. (director of the movie).

"The criminal complaints have been instituted by various fringe groups based on a distorted and incorrect interpretation of the song in the states of Telangana, Maharashtra and similar complaints are likely from other non-Malayalam speaking states as well," she said in her plea filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap.

She said the entire controversy has resulted in the filing of several criminal complaints, while the FIR arises from the lyrics of the song, which is a Mappila song or a traditional Muslim number from the Malabar region of Kerala.

-- PTI
17:51   Trudeau will meet Punjab CM on Wednesday
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on February 21 in Amritsar. The CM, who will receive Trudeau in Amritsar on 21 February and accompany him to the Golden Temple, had sought a structured meeting with him from the ministry of external affairs. Reports say that Amarinder Singh is concerned about a Khalistani separatist movement allegedly being run from Canadian soil.

Trudeau will be in Mumbai tomorrow.

Trudeau and his family today offered prayers at the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Gandhigram today and visited the Sabarmati Ashram as part of their day-long visit to Gujarat.

The family travelled straight to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad after arriving here this morning. Trudeau, accompanied by his wife Sophie and their three children, visited Hriday Kunj, the place where Mahatma Gandhi lived and from where he ran the non-violence movement. Dressed in traditional Indian clothes, they also tried their hand at Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel.

Yesterday, Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and three children, visited the Taj Mahal. This is his second visit to the Taj. He tweeted, "I was about Xav's age when I first visited the Taj Mahal almost 35 years ago... and it's amazing to be back with him & the family on Day 1 of our trip to India."

While officials said that Trudeau's visit to Gujarat will be the first by a Canadian prime minister, the absence of PM Modi to shepherd him around has raised eyebrows, especially by the Canadian media.

Speculation is rife that PM Modi's absence is a snub for Justin Trudeau because of India's concerns over Sikh radicalism in Canada and support for a separate Khalistan state.
17:38   Ayodhya case: 3 plaintiffs rule out out-of-court settlement
Three plaintiffs in Babri Masjid/Ram Janmbhoomi case have said they will not accept any out-of-court settlement. At a gathering of local Muslims in Ayodhya which the plaintiffs - Haji Mahboob , Iqbal Ansari and Mohammad Umar -- were present, a resolution was passed that the "Muslims will not shift the mosque" to any other site or gift the land to any party, according to a press statement issued after the meeting which was held on Saturday.

It said the Hindus can build Ram temple on Ram Chabootra in the outer court yard of Babri Masjid. The resolution also rejected any out-of-court settlement in Babri Masjid/Ram Janmbhoomi case and said that Muslims will only obey the Supreme Court verdict, it said.

Among those who signed the resolution were the three plaintiffs, the statement said, claiming that the meeting was attended by the representatives of Barelvi , Deobandi and Shia sects of Muslim community. -- PTI

Image: The development comes amid efforts by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar and Muslim cleric Maulana Salman Nadvi for an out -of-court settlement in the Ayodhya dispute.
17:23   Hearing in Justice Loya case to continue on March 5
The arguments on Monday were inconclusive in Central Bureau of Investigation judge B H Loya death case hearing, which would continue on March 5.

Advocate of Bombay Lawyers Association, Dushyant Dave will continue the hearing.

The apex court had earlier asked the Maharashtra Government to submit the postmortem report of the CBI judge, who had died in alleged suspicious circumstances in 2014, citing that the "matter was very serious."
17:11   Rotomac bank fraud: CBI files FIR in scam worth Rs 3,695 cr
The CBI has registered a case against Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari and his family in connection with a case related to the alleged swindling of Rs 3,695 crore of bank loan funds, officials said today. The scam was earlier estimated at around Rs 800 crore.

The case against Kanpur-based Rotomac Global Pvt Limited, its director Vikram Kothari, his wife Sadhana Kothari, and son Rahul Kothari and unidentified bank officials was filed on a complaint received from Bank of Baroda, they said.

The agency searched three locations in Kanpur, including Kothari's residence and office premises. There have been no arrests in the case yet, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal categorically said.

He said Kothari, his wife and his son are being examined by the CBI, which is conducting the searches. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a money laundering case against Kothari and his family members in connection with the alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 3,695 crore, officials said.

The case was filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), after studying the CBI FIR that was registered yesterday. The ED, the officials said, would probe if the funds obtained through the alleged fraud were laundered and if the proceeds of the crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.

According to the complaint from Bank of Baroda, the conspirators allegedly cheated a consortium of bank loans of Rs 3,695 crore, including the interest component, officials said. The principal involved is Rs 2,919 crore. -- PTI
16:56   How did scam take place: PNB has to reply in 10 days
PNB scam: Central Vigilance Commission asks PNB and the Finance Ministry officials to submit a report on how the scam took place despite monetary regulations being in place. CVC gave a time of 10 days to the bank.

Officials of PNB, RBI and Dept of Financial Services gave a presentation of 2 hours to the Central Vigilance Commission about the case. CVC has asked for names of officials who were involved and sought identification of officials who could have taken action & prevented it.

After meeting with PNB and Finance Ministry officials Central Vigilance Commission also had a meeting with CBI officials, CBI told CVC that it was a system failure at multiple levels.

The Enforcement Directorate today searched the Mumbai residence of diamantaire Nirav Modi as raids continued for the fifth day in connection with the agency's money laundering probe in the Rs 11,400-crore alleged fraud at the Punjab National Bank.

Official sources said ED sleuths arrived at Modi's Samudra Mahal bungalow in Worli in south Mumbai and searched the premises.

The central probe agency also conducted searches at 34 other locations in various cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Thane, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Surat, in connection with its probe.

Image: Diamantaire Nirav Modi
16:26   Citizens can tell who is genuine: Trudeau
Justin Trudeau at IIM, Ahmedabad. "Citizens are not fools. Citizens can tell whether someone is genuine in their approach or just trying to live up to some lofty familial expectation.

On discrimination:  "Any comments about how a man looks isn't even an eyelash worth of the systemic discrimination women face. As a man in business and politics I had lots of advantage but I didn't go near discrimination, sexism, superficiality and judgement that women go through on daily."

The Canadian Prime Minister and his family today offered prayers at the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar and visited the Sabarmati Ashram as part of their day-long visit to Gujarat.

The family travelled straight to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad after arriving in Gandhinagar this morning.

Trudeau, accompanied by his wife Sophie and their three children, visited Hriday Kunj, the place where Mahatma Gandhi lived and from where he ran the non-violence movement.

Dressed in traditional Indian clothes, they also tried their hand at Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel.

Canada's first family also spent nearly half an hour at the Akshardham temple here and offered flowers to the deity. "What an extraordinary place of peace. Thank you for sharing with me, with my family, with the world," Trudeau wrote in the visitors' book at the temple.

"In oneness. Shanti," wrote his wife Sophie Trudeau. 
16:14   PNB fraud: Petition filed in SC demanding SIT probe
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court on Monday demanding a Special Investigation Team probe in the ongoing Punjab National Bank fraud.

PNB detected the scam last week, wherein noted jewellery designer Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

The state-owned lender lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems. The Central Bureau of Investigation sealed the bank's MCB Brady House branch in Mumbai earlier today as part of the ongoing investigation.

Raids are also being carried out presently by the Enforcement Directorate in a Gitanjali Gems outlet in Pune's Pacific Mall, a Nakshatra showroom in Kolkata's Salt Lake area and other locations.

On a related note, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal who had represented a number of 'high-profile' accused persons in the 2G spectrum case will be the lawyer for accused jeweller Nirav Modi. -- ANI
16:09   Modi robbed India: Rahul on PNB fraud
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday fired yet another salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asserting that he has "robbed India". Taking to Twitter, Gandhi through a poem said that first it was Lalit Modi then Vijay Mallya and now Nirav Modi, who have eloped the country.

He alleged that the whole scenario depicts as to whose side the Prime Minister is on and ended with a hashtag saying, "Modi robs India".

Gandhi's statements come in the wake of Punjab National Bank fraud case, involving businessmen Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi.

The PNB has lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs. 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a formal case charging four- Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi- on January 31 over Rs. 280 crore fraud.The agency has filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The PNB detected the scam in which jeweller Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders. The scam started in 2011 and was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials filed a complaint with the CBI on January 31. -- ANI
16:09   Former Mehul Choksi staffer was told to 'shut up and do his job'
What former employee Santosh Srivastava has to say about Mehul Choksi: Around 2012-13, I observed there were huge discrepancies in the books of accounts and physical things. I raised these with Mehul Choksi but I was told to shut up and do my job. In fact the language was tu apna kaam kar salary le aur nikal."
15:39   Bagdogra airport to install sanitary napkin vending machines
The Bagdogra airport in Darjeeling district will soon have sanitary napkin dispensing machines at its terminal, a senior Airports Authority of India official said today.

The facility would be available at ladies toilets in the airport at the end of this month and the cost of each napkin will be Rs 5, Director of Bagdogra Airport Rakesh R Sahay said.

"The availability of sanitary napkins inside the terminal building will ensure comfort to women passengers and promote hygienic practices. It will also help address the deep rooted stigma attached to menstruation," the Director of Bagdogra Airport, Rakesh R Sahay, told PTI.

The AAI first installed sanitary napkin vending machines at Indore airport in 2017 and then in various other airports, Sahay said adding that the initiative was widely appreciated by women passengers. -- PTI
15:26   ED to meet Allahabad Bank whistleblower
Vadodara: The Enforcement Directorate team reaches the residence of former Allahabad Bank director Dinesh Dubey who had alleged that loan was given to Gitanjali Gems in 2013 despite his dissent note. 
15:17   People voting for Congress will not get anything, claims BJP's MP minister
Madhya Pradesh Minister Maya Singh issued an indirect warning to the people in Ashoknagar in the state, saying that people voting for the Congress party will not get the benefit of any scheme by the Centre.

The urban development while campaigning for the upcoming by-poll in the constituency asked the people to vote for the BJP.

"Those who have voted for the phool (BJP) everything is fine with them. You people made a mistake by voting haath (Congress). Vote for the BJP everyone will get everything. Don't waste your votes. Those who will commit the same mistake will not get anything," she added.

A few days back, BJP leader Yashodhara Raje Scindia also made a similar remark. Addressing a rally in Shivpuri, she said that Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was BJP's scheme and will not be provided to those who vote for the Congress.

BJP had won 165 of the 230 assembly seats in the last elections. -- ANI
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami calls for an all party meet on Feb 22 over the Cauvery verdict.
14:34   Wrong to say I'm not paying back bank loan: Rotomac pens' owner
Rotomac Pens owner Vikram Kothari rebuffed the reports of not repaying bank loan worth Rs. 837 crore.

Kothari on February 16 said that he has not done anything wrong and would not run away from the country.

"Yes, I took a loan from the bank, but it's wrong to say I am not paying it back. I live in Kanpur and will continue to live here, I am not running away anywhere, no country better than India," Kothari said.

Earlier in the day, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a case against Kothari and others. Furthermore, raids are presently underway at his residence in Kanpur. On Sunday, reports surfaced that Kothari was allegedly 'missing' from Kanpur in possession of a bank loan worth Rs. 837 crore. Kothari had taken a loan worth Rs. 352 crore from the Kanpur branch of Allahabad Bank and Rs. 485 crore from three other banks, namely Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, and Union Bank of India.

Rajesh Gupta, a Recovery Agent of Allahabad Bank, told ANI that the loan amount was being recovered from the attached properties of Kothari.Since last week, Kothari's office in Kanpur's City Center road has been locked, and he has been untraceable ever since. -- ANI
14:20   'Newton stole the idea of gravity from Aryabhatta'
Resource persons affiliated to Vijnana Bharati, the science wing of the RSS, insisted that ancient Indian scriptures are the repository of all scientific knowledge and that western scientists plagiarised these accomplishments, which are being falsely feted today as western in origin. As an example, one speaker claimed that Aryabhatta was the original proponent of the theory of gravity. The insight came to him apparently when a litchi fell on his head -- Newton stole these ideas much later, adroitly substituting an apple for the litchi.

Read the full report here.
14:07   Trump calls Oprah 'insecure'
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!

Winfrey, a talk show host, actress and philanthropist, made her debut on "60 Minutes" as a correspondent in September last year with a story about the political divide in the US, reports CNBC.

She accepted the Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement last month, and gave an acceptance speech that explored issues of race, gender and other social and political hot buttons.

Her speech gave rise to speculation of a potential presidential bid in 2020, but Winfrey has denied any such plans.

13:49   Bank stocks continue to haemmorhage
Bank stocks continued to face selling pressure today with many hitting their 52-week lows amid concerns over the alleged Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud case involving billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi.

Shares of UCO Bank plunged 11.26 per cent, those of Union Bank of India - 10.94 per cent, Allahabad Bank - 10.77 per cent, Bank of Baroda - 9.28 per cent, Syndicate Bank - 8.96 per cent and Bank of Maharashtra - 7.33 per cent on BSE. Among others, State Bank of India lost 5.57 per cent, Corporation Bank 3.32 per cent and AXIS Bank 1.71 per cent. Almost, all public sector lenders saw prices of their stocks tumble last week after the alleged PNB fraud came to light. -- PTI
The Trudeaus at the Akshardham temple
13:42   Trudeaus visit Akshardham
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits the magnificent Akshardham Mandir in Gandhinagar. Seen here with his sons. 
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau spins yarn at the Sabarmati Ashram. 
13:12   One for the album
Justin Trudeau ‏ Verified account  @JustinTrudeau I was about Xav's age when I first visited the Taj Mahal almost 35 years ago... and it's amazing to be back with him & the family on Day 1 of our trip to India.

Justin Trudeau's father, Canadian premier Pierre Trudeau, had visited India in 1983. Trudeau recalled he had come down to see Agra from New Delhi to see the Taj Mahal. His father was not able to accompany him then due to his busy schedule.
12:57   PM missing during Trudeau's visit to Sabarmati
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who arrived in India on Sunday for a week-long visit, was at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad today. He will hold talks with Narendra Modi on wide-ranging issues, including defence, and counter-terror cooperation, on February 23.

Yesterday, Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and three children, visited the Taj Mahal. This is his second visit to the Taj. He tweeted, "I was about Xav's age when I first visited the Taj Mahal almost 35 years ago... and it's amazing to be back with him & the family on Day 1 of our trip to India."

While officials said that Trudeau's visit to Gujarat will be the first by a Canadian prime minister, the absence of PM Modi to shepherd him around has raised eyebrows, especially by the Canadian media.

Every time foreign heads of state visited his home state Gujarat, PM Modi has been present. The PM accompanied Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014 during their visits to Gujarat.

In UP, neither was CM Yogi Adityanath present to welcome Trudeau in the state.

Speculation is rife that PM Modi's absence is a snub for Justin Trudeau because of India's concerns over Sikh radicalism in Canada and support for a separate Khalistan state.

Image: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau with his wife Sophie and three children at the Sabarmati Ashram this morning. The picture was tweeted by India's envoy to Canada, Vikas Swarup.
12:25   A day with Dreze
"I had met Jean Drze several times before. Once, in the early 1990s, when he was teaching at the London School of Economics, and living in a working-class tenement. A second time, in the late 1990s, when he was teaching in the Delhi School of Economics, and living in a jhuggi-jhopri colony in Timarpur. A third time, in the early 2000s, when he was visiting Bangalore, and I dropped him at the railway station where he took a train, travelling unreserved to places further south to study the implementation of the mid-day meal programme in small towns and villages across Tamil Nadu. On another occasion, I visited an NGO working among tribals in Odisha to find that Drze had just left my hosts, having chosen to spend a week walking from Kashipur to Rayagada, stopping in hamlets on the way when he was not sleeping under the open sky. And one time, when we were due to meet in Delhi, he had to abruptly cancel as he had to fly urgently to Brussels. Drze was in the process of getting Indian citizenship; that was hard enough, but even harder, apparently, was getting the Belgians to agree to his no longer being a Belgian."

Ramchandra Guha on the man who helped formulate NREGA, RTI and the Right to Food -- Jean Dreze. Do read
12:22   Body of heavily-armed Pak infiltrator recovered along LoC
The body of a heavily-armed Pakistani intruder was recovered along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Pooch district after the Army thwarted an infiltration attempt by a group of terrorists under the cover of Pakistani firing, an Army official said today.

The body was recovered during a search and sanitisation operation launched after the Army foiled an attempt by a group of terrorists to intrude into this side in Khari Karmara sector yesterday evening, the official said.

The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing yesterday along the LoC in Poonch to facilitate an infiltration attempt by a group of terrorists.

Indian troops deployed at the border detected the movement and engaged the infiltrators with effective automatic fire. The official today said three Army personnel who were injured in the exchange of fire were admitted to a hospital and their condition was stated to be 'stable'.

Twenty people -- 11 security personnel and nine civilians -- were killed and over 75 others injured in Pakistani shelling along the LoC and the International Border in Jammu division since the beginning of this year. Meanwhile, a junior commissioned officer was injured in an accidental mine blast in a forward area in Mankote sub sector in the district yesterday. The officer accidentally stepped over a landmine, which was washed away, causing an explosion, the official said requesting anonymity. -- PTI

Image: Artika, the daughter of Army Havaldar Roshan Lal, who lost his life in a ceasefire violation in Rajouri, told ANI that the J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti only cares about Kashmir and not Jammu. "We have no hope from her, she hasn't even called us," the girl said. 
12:09   Gitanjali Gems shares continue fall; down 10%
Shares of Gitanjali Gems continued to fall for the fourth straight session today, plunging 10 per cent as investor sentiment remained muted after the company came under the scanner of various investigating agencies following PNB's Rs 11,400-crore fraud detection.

The stock tumbled 9.99 per cent to Rs 33.80 -- its lower circuit limit -- on BSE. At NSE, shares of the company plunged 9.87 per cent to hit its lowest trading permissible limit of Rs 33.75. In four trading sessions, the stock has lost over 46 per cent, wiping out Rs 344 crore from its market valuation.

Among other jewellery stocks, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri was trading lower by 3.80 per cent, Thangamayil Jewellery 1.84 per cent and PC Jewellers 1.42 per cent on BSE.

On February 14, Punjab National Bank disclosed that it detected some fraudulent transactions with financial implication of about Rs 11,346 crore and the matter has been referred to law enforcement agencies for the recovery.

Four big jewellers -- Gitanjali, Ginni, Nakshatra and Nirav Modi -- are under scanner. While billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi, the alleged perpetrator of this fraud, is not directly linked to any listed company, his relative and business associate Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Gems is a listed firm and has been involved in some other cases of suspected market manipulations.
12:04   DMK to convene 'all-party' meet on Cauvery issue
The DMK has decided to convene an "all-party meeting" on the Cauvery issue in which actor Kamal Hassan, who will to launch his party this week, has agreed to attend, party working president MK Stalin has said.

The DMK took the decision as the AIADMK government was not paying heed to its demand of holding an all-party meeting in the wake of the Supreme Court reducing the quantum of water from Cauvery river to the state, he told reporters in Chennai last night.

"As an opposition party, we have decided to convene an all party meeting and will invite the AIADMK which is the ruling party... we will also invite the BJP," Stalin said, without mentioning the date of the proposed meeting.

"Not only that... I have invited Kamal Hassan, who is going to launch his party on February 21. He has assured us about his participation," he said.

To a query on actors Hassan and Rajinikanth's political foray, the DMK working president said anyone can enter politics. The Supreme Court had on February 16 directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, reducing the quantum specified by the tribunal in 2007. The DMK has accused the state government of inept handling of the case in the Supreme Court. -- PTI
11:41   CBI files FIR against Rotomac promoter for Rs 800 cr bank fraud
The CBI has registered an FIR against Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari on the basis of a complaint from Bank of Baroda for allegedly swindling over Rs 800 crore, officials said here today. The agency started searching his residence and offices in Kanpur from early in the morning, they said. There were no arrests in the case yet, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal categorically said.

He said Kothari, his wife and his son are being examined by the CBI, which is conducting the searches. This is the second major financial scam to break out after the sensational Rs 11,400 crore fraud allegedly committed by billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who is a promoter of Gitanjali group of companies. Both fled the country before the Punjab National Bank realised the depth of the alleged crime. -- PTI

Image: A CBI raid at Vikram Kothari's residence in Kanpur this morning.
11:38   PM to visit Karnataka today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Karnataka today to take part in the 88th Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsav of Bhagwan Bahubali in Shravanabelagola.

Prime Minister Modi will also inaugurate the newly carved 630 steps on the Vindhyagiri hill that takes the disciples to the top for a darshan of the 58.8 feet tall monolithic statue of Bahubali.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Modi will flag off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur. He will also lay the foundation stone for the eight-laning of the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway.

Meanwhile, in the later part of the day Prime Minister Modi will also inaugurate a new block of the Employees' State Insurance hospital in the city. By evening, he will also address a public rally in Mysuru. -- ANI
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal who represented a number of accused persons in the 2G spectrum case, to be the lawyer for Nirav Modi. File pic. 
11:05   CBI quizzes Nirav Modi's CFO
The CBI is questioning Vipul Ambani, the Chief Financial Officer of diamantaire Nirav Modi's Fire Star diamond company, officials said in Mumbai today. They said Vipul Ambani was holding the position for the last three to four years. He is understood to be a relative of the late Dhirubhai Ambani.

The CBI yesterday started an intensive search operation at the Brady road branch of PNB in Mumbai, which is at the centre of a colossal banking fraud involving billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

The agency continued interrogating two PNB officials and an authorised signatory of Nirav Modi's company, officials said. The probe agency has also started interrogating five more officials, including general manager level officers, taking the total number of officials facing questioning to 11, they said.

CBI officials said the agency is continuing the questioning of arrested bank officials -- Gokulnath Shetty (retired) and Manoj Kharat, and the signatory of Nirav Modi's company -- besides that of other officials of PNB, to find out the money trail and depth of the alleged scam involving thousands of documents and digital records.

The CBI is also examining financial transactions of 18 India-based subsidiaries of the Gitanjali group of companies promoted by Choksi to understand the money trail of funds taken from various banks on the basis of Rs 11,384 crore of guarantees furnished by Punjab National Bank, officials said here. -- PTI
10:54   PNB scam: Public sector banks to transfer officers every 3 years
In the wake of Punjab National Bank fraud case, the Central Vigilance Commission on Monday issued an advisory to all the public sector banks ordering them to transfer the officers who have completed three years as on December 31, 2017.

The CVC advisory also stated that the transfer of all clerical staff who have completed five years as on December 31, 2017 "should be done immediately".

Bank of Baroda (BOI) on CVC's behest has started implementing the process.

"As per Central Vigilance Commission guidelines, all officers should be rotated every 3 years. Further, as per Bank's Transfer Policy for Officers, no officer should be retained in the same post for a period in excess of 3 years and in the same station (municipal limits) for a period in excess of 5 years," said a BOI office memorandum.

The PNB has lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs. 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a formal case charging four- Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi- on January 31 over Rs. 280 crore fraud.

The agency has filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The PNB detected a scam in which jeweller Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.The scam was started in 2011 and was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials filed a complaint with the CBI on January 31. -- ANI
Two bombs were found in front of the main gate of a government school in Paraiya in Gaya district.
Kanpur: Visuals from outside Rotomac Pens' owner Vikram Kothari's residence as a CBI raid is underway.
10:25   Sensex slips below 34k level, down 131 pts in early trade
The benchmark BSE Sensex slipped below the 34,000-mark by falling nearly 131 points in early trade today, extending Friday's losses as investors cut bets amid weak domestic sentiment and absence of Asian cues.

The 30-share barometer dropped by 130.54 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 33,880.22 in early trade led by fall in Tata Steel, SBI, Reliance Industries and L&T.

The gauge had lost 286.71 points in the previous on Friday. The Nifty50 index also fell 47.40 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 10,404.90. Brokers said investors trimmed positions on distinctly weak sentiment since the detection of a massive Rs 11,400-crore fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank. Shares of PNB remained under selling pressure and lost another 5.25 per cent.

Other laggards were Tata Steel, SBI, L&T, IndusInd Bank, Adani Ports, M&M, Hindustan Unilever, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paint, Bajaj Auto, Yes Bank, ONGC, Coal India and Reliance Industries, falling up to 3.22 per cent.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors continued selling on domestic bourses. On net basis, they sold shares worth Rs 1,065.99 crore, while domestic institutional investors made purchases to the tune of Rs 1,127.78 crore on Friday, provisional data showed.

Globally, in the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei rose 1.33 per cent, while markets in Hong Kong and China remained shut today on account of a public holiday. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.08 per cent higher on Friday. -- PTI
10:13   Rotomac Pens' owner seen at Kanpur wedding
Vikram Kothari, the promoter of Rotomac Pen, has denied reports that he has left the country.

On Sunday media reports claimed that like billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi, Kothari too had gone abroad after swindling Rs 800 crore from various public sector banks.

The Kanpur-based company's owner had taken a loan of more than Rs. 800 crore from over five state-owned banks, including Allahabad Bank, Bank of India and Union Bank of India.

"I am a resident of Kanpur and I will stay in the city. However, I do have to travel to foreign countries for business purposes," Kothari said.

Kothari was seen at the wedding of Jagran group owner Sanjeev Gupta's daughter's wedding in Kanpur yesterday, reported ANI.

The development comes less than a week after Punjab National Bank had detected a USD 1.77 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) scam wherein Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

The PNB fraud pertains to issuance of fake LoUs to companies associated with billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi by errant PNB employees, which enabled these companies to raise buyers credit from international branches of other Indian lenders.  - PTI
09:19   Goa assembly session to be cut short due to Parrikar's illness
The budget session of the Goa assembly will be curtailed to three days owing to ill health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is undergoing treatment at a Mumbai hospital.
Parrikar, who is being treated at the Lilavati Hospital for a pancreatic ailment since February 15, would not attend the session, said BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to the hospital to enquire about Parrikar's health on Sunday.
"The prime minister was in the hospital for 15 minutes in the evening. He was accompanied by Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis," a BJP source told PTI.
Earlier, the hospital authorities said Parrikar is "responding well to treatment".
"It has been brought to our notice (that) various malicious and misleading reports/rumours are floating around in the electronic/print media with regards to his health," a hospital statement read.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant met Governor Mridula Sinha in Panaji to discuss the situation in view of Parrikar's ill-health.
The budget session will begin today with Governor Mridula Sinha's address.
It was scheduled to end in mid-March, but now it would end in three days owing to Parrikar's illness, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said.
The state budget, scheduled for February 22, will now be presented on February 20, the deputy speaker said, adding that the Business Advisory Committee will meet in the afternoon to take a formal decision on cutting the session short.
"The questions, which were supposed to be discussed in the current session, would be postponed to the next session," Lobo said.
Legislature sources said minister Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party will table the budget as Parrikar, who holds the finance portfolio, will not be able to attend the session.
"On the advice of his doctors, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will be continuing with the treatment for (the ailment of) pancreas in Mumbai," BJP MP from South Goa Narendra Sawaikar told reporters.
The chief minister was responding to the treatment but he needed "sufficient time to recover and be focused on the treatment", he added.
"Expert doctors are taking a good care of him," the MP said. -- PTI
09:04   TN becoming training camp for terrorism, says Union Minister; EPS hits back
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy on Sunday hit out at Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan for his remarks that Tamil Nadu was becoming a training camp for terrorism, saying the state was the most peaceful in the country.
"It is a blatant lie. In the present situation, Tamil Nadu is the most peaceful state in India and law and order situation is also very good," Palanisamy told reporters at the Coimbatore Airport.
Stating that both the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led state governments were functioning to serve the people and working jointly for their benefit, he said the ideology of both the parties was completely different.
"I do not know," was his reply to a question on Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam's remark that he joined hands with Palanisamy following advise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Paneerselvam had taken pains for the cause of the party and now both (he and Paneerselvam) were taking it on the path of growth, he said and blamed the media for blowing the issue out of proportion.
The proposed entry of film stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Hasan will not have any impact on the AIADMK and nobody can defeat the party, he said.
Blaming the DMK for the prolonged dispute on Cauvery water issue, Palanisamy said the party had not renewed the 1974 agreement which was the root cause for the problem.
He alleged that DMK's working president M K Stalin was blaming the AIADMK for the problem which was a blatant lie.
It was the case filed by former chief minister Jayalalithaa which resulted in Tamil Nadu getting its due share of water, he said. -- PTI
08:27   Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan ties the knot for a third time
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has confirmed party chief Imran Khan's marriage to his spiritual guide Bushra Maneka, thus ending weeks of speculation about the union.
Khan, a cricketer turned politician, married Bushra Bibi (also known as Pinki Pir) in a simple ceremony held in Lahore yesterday, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet.
He said the marriage ceremony was held at Maneka's brother's residence in Lahore. PTI Central Executive Committee member Mufti Muhammad Saeed performed the 'nikah'.
"Marriage is the combination of two hearts and two souls which join each on this special day of wedding. I wish a very happy and blessed married life to Imran Khan," Chaudhry said.
"The valima ceremony will also be held in a simple manner in a few days," he said.
The PTI's media wing released pictures of the marriage ceremony in which Khan is seen wearing salwar kameez and black jacket while the bride is decked in red suit with woolen shawl.
None of Imran's sisters was present in the ceremony triggering rumours that Khan had not taken them into confidence about his third marriage.
Khan's previous two marriages ended in divorce. His first marriage was with Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of a British billionaire, in 1995, which lasted nine years. Khan has two sons from her.
His second marriage with TV anchor Reham Khan in 2015 ended after a brief 10 months. -- PTI

Photograph: Kind courtesy @PTIofficial/Twitter