Sat, 30 June 2018
LPG price hiked by Rs 2.71 per cylinder

Timeline  Refresh

20:43   2.7 kg heroin seized near Indo-Pak border in Punjab
A consignment of 2.7 kg of heroin was seized from an area near Border Out Post Kassoke in Punjab's Ferozepur sector in a joint operation by the Punjab Police and the Border Security Force today.

Assistant Inspector General of Counter Intelligence (CI) Wing of Punjab Police, Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu, said the operation was launched following a tip off that alleged drug peddler Surjit Singh alias Jitan, a resident of Bhane Wala village, will be receiving a consignment of drugs.

The CI wing personnel raided Singh's place and took him into custody, Sidhu said. Later, a joint special search operation was carried out with the help of BSF troopers from the BOP Kassoke, the AIG added.

Five packets of heroin were recovered from fields near the border, Sidhu said, adding that the consignment was concealed in a tubewell pipe.

"Singh was in touch with Pakistani smugglers through social media," Sidhu added.

He used to retrieve the drug consignments from the designated places while working as a labourer in the fields, Sidhu said.  -- PTI
20:06   LPG price hiked by Rs 2.71 per cylinder
Subsidised cooking gas price was hiked by Rs 2.71 per cylinder today as a result of tax impact of base price rising due to spurt in international rates and fall in rupee.

Subsidised LPG with effect from midnight tonight will cost Rs 493.55 in Delhi, a statement issued by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said.

Oil firms revise LPG price on 1st of every month based on average benchmark rate and foreign exchange rate in the previous month.

'The increase is mainly on account of GST on revised price of Domestic Non-Subsidised LPG,' the statement said.

As a result of higher global rates, the price of Non-Subsidised LPG at Delhi will increase by Rs 55.50 per cylinder.

'The balance Rs.52.79 (Rs.55.50 minus Rs.2.71) is being compensated to the customer by increase in subsidy transfer to their bank account.

'Accordingly, the subsidy transfer in customer's bank account has been increased to Rs 257.74 per cylinder in July 2018 as against Rs 204.95 per cylinder in June 2018. Thus the domestic LPG customer is protected against the increase in international prices of LPG,' the statement said.

Consumers buy non-subsidised or market price LPG after exhausting their quota of 12 subsidised cylinders of 14.2-kg each.  -- PTI
19:36   2 fishermen released by Pakistan reach Gujarat, hospitalised
Two fishermen from Gujarat, who were released from a Pakistan jail on Friday, reached Ahmedabad today afternoon and were immediately rushed to the local civil hospital for treatment.

The fishermen- Danabhai Arjanbhai Chauhan from Paldi in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district and Ramabhai Gohil from Kanzotar in Sutrapada tehsil in Saurashtra- were released from a Pakistan prison yesterday evening, the official said.

"Pakistan rangers handed over both these fishermen to the Border Security Force at Wagah border last evening. Thereafter, Amritsar District Collector got them admitted to a city-based hospital for treatment," Kiran Dave, an official of the state fisheries department, said.

"We received the two fishermen at midnight in Amritsar after completing all the formalities. Considering their health condition, we decided to fly them back to Gujarat," he added.

While Chauhan is suffering from cancer, Gohil had an attack of paralysis while in prison and is wheelchair-bound.

Dave said that after initial treatment at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, Chauhan will be taken to his native Paldi village as his family members want him to recuperate in the confines of his home.

Dave added that Gohil's kin, however, wanted him to be treated at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and several of them had left from their village in Sutrapada tehsil to be with Gohil.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told PTI that the state government would ensure that the two fishermen get the best medical treatment.

Fishing community leaders, including Veljibhai Masani, chaiman of the Gujarat Fisheries Central Cooperatives Association, and Sunil Gohil reached the hospital to meet Chauhan and Gohil.

Chauhan was apprehended by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for allegedly entering the neighbouring country's waters on May 3, 2017 while Gohil was nabbed earlier, on March 4, 2017.

The External Affairs Ministry had informed the Commissioner of Fisheries, Gujarat, about their imminent release. The ministry had asked the commissioner to make arrangements for their transport back to the state.

Talking to PTI over phone from Amritsar, Chauhan said, "Both of us were kept in a separate cell in a Karachi jail in Pakistan and did not get the required medical help. Despite my serious illness, I was asked to do tasks like watering a garden and cleaning utensils."

"Now, I am very happy and delighted to be back in my country," he said and thanked Swaraj for his release.

Chauhan's wife, Rudiben, had written to Swaraj last month seeking help to bring back her ailing husband.  -- PTI
19:13   Ishrat case: Order on Vanzara, Amin's discharge pleas likely on July 17
A Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ahmedabad today reserved for July 17 its order on the discharge applications filed by former police officers D G Vanzara and N K Amin in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case.

Special judge J K Pandya concluded the hearing today.

The CBI has opposed the discharge pleas of both Vanzara, a former IPS officer, and Amin, a state police service officer who retired as a Superintendent of Police.

CBI lawyer R C Kodekar said while winding up his arguments that independent witnesses had confirmed Vanzara's presence at the farm house where Ishrat and three others were kept before being killed in a fake encounter.

Also, evidence about Vanzara's presence at a meeting where the conspiracy to kill them was hatched was stronger than that regarding the presence of P P Pandey, he said.

Pandey, former in-charge director general of police of Gujarat, was discharged from the case for want of evidence in February.

Vanzara has sought discharge on the ground of parity with Pandey's case. Vanzara's application also claimed that the charge sheet filed by the agency was 'concocted', there was 'no prosecutable material' against him, and witnesses' statements were 'highly suspicious'.

The court had concluded the hearing on Amin's plea earlier. Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by police in an 'encounter' on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

Police claimed that the four had links with a terrorist organisation, and had plotted to kill the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

A Special Investigation Team set up by the high court, however, concluded that the encounter was fake.

Following this, the high court transferred the case to the CBI.

In the first charge sheet filed in 2013, the CBI named seven police officials including IPS officers Pandey, Vanzara and G L Singhal as accused.

All were booked for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy, among other charges. Vanzara was last year discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases.  -- PTI
18:20   Swaraj trolled on Twitter again, accused of Muslim appeasement
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was again trolled on Twitter today and accused of appeasing Muslims.

Her husband Swaraj Kaushal tweeted a screenshot of a post by a Twitter user who asked him to 'teach' the minister 'not to do Muslim appeasement'.

Swaraj also retweeted some of the tweets by that person.

This comes days after Swaraj was trolled and abused on Twitter over a controversy involving the issuance of passport to an interfaith couple.

A Passport Seva Kendra official, Vikas Mishra, in Lucknow was transferred after the interfaith couple alleged that he humiliated them when they went to the office with their passport applications recently.

According to the couple, Mishra asked the husband to convert to Hinduism and pulled up the wife for marrying a Muslim.

A section of social media had attacked Swaraj and the ministry for taking action against Mishra, claiming that he was just doing his duty.

The minister had taken it on the chin and retweeted some of the tweets that were even abusive and communal in nature.

Asked whether the Ministry of External Affairs is contemplating taking any action against the trolls, Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, "The EAM (External Affairs Minister) has responded to those malicious tweets and the trolling which she was subjected to in her own way and in a manner which she deemed fit. I don't think I have anything further to add on that."  -- PTI
17:52   How can US 'interfere' in India's sovereignty: Owaisi on Iran oil imports
Taking exception to the United States telling India to end oil imports from Iran, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi has sought to know how America could 'interfere' in issues involving India's sovereignty.

"Who is he to tell India? Who are you to say take (oil) from here, from there? Would the US president say what to buy and from where by interfering in India's sovereignty?" he asked while addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad late last night.

The US has told India and other countries this week to cut oil imports from Iran to 'zero' by November 4 or face sanctions, making it clear that there would be no waivers to anyone.

Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil during April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of 2017-18 fiscal).

Stating that Europe, Russia and China have now turned against America, Owaisi, Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, said India should also firm up its policy.

Criticising the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, he said the supporters of Modi had said oil prices would come down (to Rs 40 per litre) if he became prime minister, but the price has now gone up to Rs 82.

Asserting that his party was ready for election even if the Lok Sabha polls are advanced, as being discussed in some quarters, he claimed that MIM would be successful even if the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress fought together.

"Mr Modi, you contest a seat from here also. If not fighting, send your Shah. I am telling Congressmen also. Both fight together, still Majlis (AIMIM) would be successful," he said.  -- PTI
17:07   Cops claim to have exposed major scam at IGNOU centre in Kathua
The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed today to have exposed a major scam at a Indira Gandhi National Open University centre in Kathua district, where nearly 4,000 students were issued bogus degrees without appearing in examinations.

The scam at the IGNOU centre was unearthed after the police received an input that a person -- identified as Prashant Bandari -- and his associates were involved in fraudulently conducting examinations and giving admissions to students at the centre established in Billawar town in 2014-15, a crime branch spokesman said.

"About 4,000 students have been shown taken admission through the centre and till date no examination has been conducted by this centre. The students enrolled through the centre have been shown appeared in examinations and degrees issued to them," he said.

The centre runs two admission sessions -- in January and July -- and two examinations sessions -- in June and December -- every year with enrolment of 800 to 1,200 students in each session, the spokesman said.

Citing the preliminary investigation, he said bogus attendance sheets and answer sheets were submitted to IGNOU using the centre codes of Katra, Kishtwar, Chatroo and Paddar.

He said thousands of rupees were collected from each candidate and the money was embezzled through bank accounts opened in the name of the chairman and a non-existent coordinator.

The honorarium of faculty members and counsellors was also swindled by Bandari, his associate Bhopinder Gupta and others in connivance with a few IGNOU officials.

"In this scandal, officials of IGNOU and post offices are involved in preparing fake answer sheets at regional centres," the spokesman said.

He said a case has been registered but no arrest has been made so far.  -- PTI
16:50   Special court summons Vijay Mallya on August 27
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Saturday was summoned by a designated court under Fugitive Economic Offenders to appear before it on August 27.

The notice was issued to Mallya and others, in connection with the Enforcement Directorate's June 22 application for declaring him as a fugitive economic offender and confiscated his properties.

If Mallya does not appear before the designated court within the given time, he will be declared as a 'fugitive' and ED will move to confiscate his assets worth Rs 12,500 crore, the court stated.

Earlier in the day, Mallya, who is currently in London, refuted the allegations of attempting a plea bargain, levied by an ED official.

'Media reports quote an ED official stating that I am attempting a plea bargain. Would respectfully suggest that the official read the ED charge sheet first. I would invite the ED to advance the same plea bargain theory in Court in front of whom I have placed my assets,' he tweeted.

Less than a week ago, Mallya broke his silence over the controversy surrounding him of defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9000 crores.

The liquor baron, in a series of tweets, claimed that he had been falsely framed as the 'poster boy of Bank default and a lightning rod of public anger'.

He also reiterated that he is making every effort, in good faith to settle dues with the banks, but if politically-motivated factors interfere, there is nothing he can do.

The 62-year-old is facing a trial for the United Kingdom court to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges for financial irregularities involving a total amount of Rs 9,000 crore, as well as money laundering cases.   -- ANI
15:36   Arunachal landslide: Death toll rises to 5
One Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, among the eight injured in yesterday's landslide in Lower Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, succumbed to his injuries today, raising the death toll to five, a police officer said.

Out of the eight injured, the condition of two personnel were critical, the officer said.

The two critically injured personnel were initially taken to the Army hospital at Likabali, and later, referred to a hospital in Assam's Dibrugarh yesterday, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Lower Siang Singjatla Singpho said, adding that one of them died there this morning.

The other six personnel with minor injuries were treated at the local community health centre, Singpho said.

Four ITBP personnel were killed when a huge boulder, loosened by monsoon rains, rolled down a mountain and hit their vehicle on the Basar-Akajan road in Lower Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday.

The boulder rolled down the mountain slope and smashed the mini bus carrying 20 ITBP personnel.

The incident occurred at 2.30 pm, about 5 km from Likabali, the district headquarters of Lower Siang, when they were on way to it from Basar in West Siang district.

This was the second landslide-related incident in the state within five days. The toll due to landslide this monsoon has risen to nine.

On June 24, five labourers were buried alive when a retaining wall of an under-construction RCC building collapsed on a labour barrack at Donyi Colony in Itanagar.  -- PTI
14:19   Centre to celebrate 'GST Day' tomorrow
The first year of goods and services tax has been an example to the world of the readiness of the taxpayers to be a partner in the unprecedented reform in Indian taxation, the finance ministry said today.

The government will celebrate July 1, 2018, as 'GST Day' to mark the first anniversary of the new indirect tax regime.

GST was rolled out in the intervening night of June 30 and July 1, last year, in a ceremony held in the Central Hall of Parliament.

'Union Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Corporate Affairs Piyush Goyal will preside over as the Chief Guest of the event and Minister of State for Finance, Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla will be the Guest of Honour,' the finance ministry said in a statement.

GST subsumed over a dozen local levies and transformed India into 'one nation, one tax' and binds the country into an Economic Union, it added.

'The first year of GST has been an example to the world of the readiness of the Indian taxpayer to be a partner in this unprecedented reform of Indian taxation,' the ministry said.

It said the introduction of e-way (electronic way) bill is a 'monumental shift' from the earlier 'Departmental Policing Model' to a 'Self-Declaration Model'.

'It envisages one e-way bill for movement of the goods throughout the country, thereby ensuring a hassle free movement of goods throughout the country,' the ministry said.

Transporter of goods worth over Rs 50,000 have to generate an e-way bill and show it to GST inspector, if asked.

The inter-state e-way bill system was introduced on April 1.

As regards intra-state e-way bill, it was rolled out in phases from April 15.

'GST will have a multiplier effect on the economy with benefits accruing to various sectors such as exporters, small traders and entrepreneurs, agriculture and industry, common consumers,' the ministry said.

Any new change is accompanied by difficulties and problems at the outset, it said.

'A change as comprehensive as GST is bound to pose certain challenges not only for the government but also for business community, tax administration and even common citizens of the country,' the ministry added.  -- PTI
14:08   Charge sheet filed against Dawood, Iqbal Kaskar, Anees Ibrahim in extortion case
Thane police has filed a charge sheet against fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and his brothers Iqbal Kaskar, and Anees Ibrahim in connection with an extortion case filed on the complaint by a prominent builder last year.

"The charge sheet was filed in the district court on Thursday," a senior inspector of Thane police's Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) said today.

In October last year, the police had registered an offence of extortion based on the complaint of the builder against Iqbal Kaskar and the gang members of Dawood.

According to the builder's complaint, Kaskar had threatened and extorted Rs 3 crore from him over a deal of a 38-acre land in Gorai area.

During investigation, the alleged role of Dawood and Anees also came to light following which both were shown as wanted accused in connection with the offence, the police had said.

"The charge sheet, which runs into thousands of pages, lists the evidences against the accused," the police official said, adding, "The vital documents attached to the charge sheet include papers related to the land deal along with the payment proof. It also includes statement of the witnesses."

The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 384 (extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 387 (putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt, in order to commit extortion) at the Thane Nagar police station.

Iqbal Kaskar and two of his aides were arrested in September last year by the Thane police AEC in a separate case of extortion of Rs 30 lakh and four flats from a builder.  -- PTI
13:10   Amarnath Yatra resumes as weather improves
JUST IN: Amarnath Yatra resumes from both the on foot routes (Baltal and Pahalgam) after improvement in weather.

Also, air sorties by administration resume from Baltal.

The yatra was suspended last night in view of heavy rains and landslides.

Fourth batch of pilgrims reached Jammu base camp today, but they were stopped from moving further.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel help pilgrims cross difficult terrain. Photograph: ANI
12:18   Flood alert in central Kashmir as intermittent rains continue
Intermittent rains continued in Kashmir today with authorities sounding a flood alert in central Kashmir, even as water levels started receding in the southern parts of the valley.

The authorities had yesterday issued a flood alert in south Kashmir.

Today they issued a flood alert for low-lying areas of the central Kashmir, including the summer capital here, and asked the people to be alert and prepared for evacuation.

The schools across the valley were closed for today in view of the inclement weather.

"The gauge at Ram Munshi Bagh crossed the flood declaration of 18 feet and was flowing at 20.87 feet at 10 am," an official of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said.

He said the people living in areas along the embankments of Jhelum river and other streams and in low-lying areas of central Kashmir were advised to remain vigilant.

"The staff deputed on flood duty in central Kashmir is directed to report to their sectors and beats," the official added.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said the people living in low-lying areas and embankments of river Jhelum in Srinagar were requested to be alert and prepared for evacuation.

"We have issued a flood alert for low-lying areas of Srinagar," he said.

In south Kashmir after the water level crossed the flood declaration level of 21 feet at Sangam in Anantnag district of south Kashmir. following which the flood alert was sounded. While the water level at Sangam at 10 am this morning was 23.06 feet -- still above the critical mark -- the water has started receding there.

At 9 am the water level there was 23.16 feet. Kashmir valley experienced rainfall over the past three days and the downpour intensified in many parts, including the summer capital of the state, yesterday.

The rising water levels induced fear among the valley residents of a re-run of 2014 floods that caused widespread devastation and left over 300 persons dead.

An official of the MET office said the weather was likely to improve today.  -- PTI

Image for representation only.
11:08   Will talk about Syria, Ukraine and elections with Putin: Trump
United States President Donald Trump has said he will talk about Syria, Ukraine, elections and other global issues when he meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16.
Trump and Putin will meet in the Finnish capital to mend the bilateral relations and discuss a range of national security issues, the White House and the Kremlin announced on Thursday.
"We're going to be talking about Ukraine, we're going to be talking about Syria, we're going to be talking about elections. We don't want anybody tampering with elections. We'll be talking about world events," Trump said yesterday.
"We'll be talking about peace. We may even talk about saving millions of dollars on weapons...we are building a force like nobody's ever seen before," he told reporters when asked about his meeting with Putin next month.
This would be Trump's first summit with Putin, even though the leaders have met twice in the last one and half year.
The announcement of the meeting had followed after President Putin met US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was in Moscow this week to lay the groundwork for the summit.
"Perhaps the world can deescalate with China, Russia...may be the world can somewhat deescalate. That would not be a bad thing. But I think having a relationship with China,'s a good thing," Trump said.
Asked about lifting of sanctions on Russia, Trump appeared to be non-committal.
"We'll see what Russia does. We're going to be talking to Russia about a lot of things. We're going to be talking to them about Syria," he said.
Responding to a question on NATO, Trump reiterated that other countries had to spend more.
"NATO is very interesting, we'll see what happens there. Germany has to spend more money, Spain, France, it's not fair what they've done to the United States," he said, adding that the US is paying much more disproportionately to anyone else.
From the beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump has insisted that he wants a better relationship with Russia, asserting that it will be good for the US and for the world.
However, he has been facing backlash from the Opposition Democrats and the think-tank community who believe that Russia under Putin interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Moscow has denied the allegations. -- PTI 
11:06   India welcomes move to put Pakistan in FATF grey list
Days after a global anti-money laundering body placed Pakistan on its "grey list" for failing to curb terror financing, India today hoped that Islamabad will take credible measures to address international concerns on terrorism emanating from that country.
India also welcomed the decision by the Financial Action Task Force to place Pakistan under its "grey list" and hoped that the action plan suggested by the global watchdog will be complied with by the country in a time-bound manner.
"We hope that the FATF Action plan shall be complied with in a time-bound manner and credible measures would be taken by Pakistan to address global concerns related to terrorism emanating from any territory under its control," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a query on the issue.
India has been seeking global action against Pakistan for allowing terror safe havens in its territories, and has been pressing for punishing Pakistan-based terrorists involved in a series of attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attack.
"Pakistan has given a high-level political commitment to address the global concerns regarding its implementation of the FATF standards for countering terror financing and anti-money laundering, especially in respect of UN designated and internationally proscribed terror entities and individuals. 
"The freedom and impunity with which designated terrorists like Hafiz Saed and entities like Jamaat-Ud-Dawaa, Lashkar-e-Tayabba, Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate in Pakistan is not in keeping with such commitments," Kumar said.
Pakistan was formally placed on the FATF 'grey list' on June 27 for failing to curb anti-terror financing despite its diplomatic efforts to avert the decision.
The decision was taken at the plenary session of FATF in Paris.
The global watchdog had reportedly recommended an action plan for Pakistan to counter terror financing and the body is likely to review its implementation after a few months. -- PTI 
10:20   Trump denies pulling out of WTO; says it treats US 'very badly'
United States President Donald Trump has denied that he is planning to withdraw the US from the World Trade Organisation, but accused the global trade body of treating America "very badly".
Trump's remarks came amid reports that he has told his top officials that he wants to withdraw the US from the WTO.
"We've been treated very badly by the WTO...It's a very, very unfair situation. When you look at the WTO, that's where China emerged, when they joined the WTO," Trump told reporters.
Asked about reports that he is considering withdrawing from the WTO, Trump said, "I'm not talking about pulling out. I'm saying they haven't treated us fairly. We have not been treated fairly." 
"We have been treated very badly. We have lost many, many cases over the years...We've had minority judges..we've had a minority position in judges. The WTO has to start treating the United States fairly because they have not treated us fairly," he said.
Trump is a longtime critic of the WTO. He often complains that the world trade body is biased against the US. 
He also reiterated his allegations that other nations had taken advantage of the US because of bad negotiating by past presidents. 
"Our leaders have let it get away, missing in action. We will be treated fairly. We will be treated very fairly. But we have not been treated fairly on trade," he said.
"If you look at the European Union, it's USD 150 billion deficit. If you look at China, it's USD 375. If you take any country look at Mexico, it's USD 100 billion trade deficit...You look at Canada. Canada's treated us poorly...but it'll all work out," he said. 
Trump has imposed tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel earlier this year that has triggered new trade suits that will be considered by WTO panels. 
The tariffs have also led to retaliation by US allies, including Canada and the European Union. 
Canada has announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the US in a tit-for-tat response to the Trump administration's duties on Canadian steel and aluminum. -- PTI
09:44   'Want to know who exactly was at fault': Mumbai plane crash victim's kin

Husband of the co-pilot of the chartered plane, which crashed in suburban Ghatkopar on Thursday, sought to know who cleared the flight despite the adverse weather conditions and if the aircraft was fit for flying.
Prabhat Kathuria, the husband of Marya Zuberi, the co-pilot who along with four others was killed in the incident, is still to come to terms with the loss.
In a statement, he said, "The company involved in the ill-fated plane's repairs seems to have been incapable of detecting the technical snags that could have led to its crash."
Kathuria said that his wife had mentioned to him that the weather conditions were not conducive for a test flight to be conducted for a small plane like Beechcraft King Air C90 aircraft.
"She left the house assuring me she would return rather soon as the weather conditions were clearly not right for a test flight of a small plane such as the Beachcraft King Air twin turboprop," he said.
"She was sure that the permission to undertake such a flight would not be given," the statement read.
"Considering Captain (Pradip) Rajput held and shared the same view with Marya, I was confident they would not fly this day. The weather conditions were just not right," he said.
Kathuria also questioned if the aircraft was fit to fly.
"We know that the aircraft was well beyond its prime. We know it was more than 20 years old. We know it had already had an accident in 2009 and that the UP government chose to sell it rather than spend on its repairs. Considering all... the family of Marya Zuberi wants answers. We want to know who exactly was at fault," he said.
Kathuria said UY Aviation, the owners of the aircraft, "seem to have completely disregarded their responsibility to check whether such a plane should go off the ground".
Pointing out that the DGCA norms do not permit test flights of small planes in the rainy weather, Kathuria asked who allowed the flight to take off in the first place.
"Did officers within the agency allow the flight, that clearly flouted its own norms? We want to know who took the call from DGCA's side," he said.
Kathuria also said that neither government agencies nor the owner of the aircraft had contacted the family members of the victims since the crash.
"So far the government structures and the companies have both failed us... The families of the victims are still to receive a word from any of these agencies," he said.
Five people -- four crew members including two pilots and a pedestrian -- lost their lives when the 12-seater plane crashed into an under-construction building on Thursday afternoon. -- PTI
08:42   Mallya denies 'plea bargain' allegations
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya refuted allegations of attempting a plea bargain, levied by an Enforcement Directorate official.

"Media reports quote an ED official stating that I am attempting a plea bargain. Would respectfully suggest that the official read the ED charge sheet first. I would invite the ED to advance the same plea bargain theory in Court in front of whom I have placed my assets," he tweeted.

Mallya's retaliation came after an ED official dismissed the former's offer to settle all dues if his seized assets were freed up as "an attempt at plea bargaining and a bid to bolster his case against extradition to India from Britain," as per an Economic Times report.

The official further claimed that the ED had not received any copy of the affidavit filed by Mallya and United Breweries Holdings before the Karnataka High Court last week, contrary to the businessman's claims.

Less than a week ago, Mallya broke his silence over the controversy surrounding him of defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9000 crores.

The liquor baron in a series of tweets claimed that he had been falsely framed as the "poster boy of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger".

He also reiterated that he is making every effort, in good faith to settle dues with the banks, but if politically-motivated factors interfere, there is nothing he can do.

The 62-year-old is facing a trial for the UK Court to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges for financial irregularities involving a total amount of Rs 9,000 crore, as well as money laundering cases.
00:26   Tribals visited by Shah allege pressure by BJP to join outfit
Four tribals from Purulia district of West Bengal, whose houses were visited by Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah, on Friday sought protection from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over alleged pressure by the saffron party to join the outfit.

The tribals visited the Trinamool Congress office at Kalighat to apprise the chief minister of their feeling of insecurity following the pressure from the BJP, TMC leader Madan Mitra said.

Although, it is not known whether the TMC supremo met the tribal villagers.

Producing the villagers before the media, Mitra claimed that they were intimidated by the physical presence of Shah and his bodyguards and therefore, rushed to Banerjee's Kalighat residence to seek protection.

He said their families were being mentally tortured by the BJP.

The senior TMC leader also claimed that the BJP chief was not offered any seat during his household visits in Purulia, adding that 'next time he (Shah) would even be refused entry by the villagers'.

Mitra said the tribal and backward cast-dominated area in Purulia, where Shah had gone on Thursday, has traditionally supported Banerjee and the people there were beneficiaries of the Bengal government's Rs 2 per kg rice and education programmes.

"For them, Mamata Banerjee's name is synonymous with that of a mother and Amit Shah is an outsider who does not know about their lives and culture and customs," he said.

Claiming that the visit of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee to Purulia after the rural polls in May has scared the BJP, Mitra said, "West Bengal is not like Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh. You (BJP) are trying to create disturbances in Bengal. But you (BJP) won't succeed in your game plan, you will be thwarted by the people."

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Shantanu Sen said the four villagers had never been involved in politics and were feeling 'mentally traumatised and pressurised' following Shah's visit.

One of the four men, Phuchu Rajbar said, "We came to the city on our own. And we know Didi will come to our rescue on the face of threats."

The three others were his mother Astami Rajbar, Sisubala Rajbar and her son Sanjay Rajbar. They were given the party flag by Mitra and asked to repeat slogans in support of the TMC.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, however, dismissed the charges and said it was the TMC's move to forcibly take the villagers into its fold.

"TMC's end is approaching very soon. So they are resorting to such falsehood and forcing people to join their ranks...The people will reply on this in the right time," he said.  -- PTI