Tue, 29 May 2018
Preparation for N Korea summit meeting in full swing: WH
23:22 Preparation for N Korea summit meeting in full swing: WH
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with a top North Korean general in New York this week, as preparations for a historic summit meeting in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in full swing, the White House said today.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, however, did not confirm if the Singapore summit would be on June 12, as was scheduled earlier.
She gave an insight into the preparations that the Trump Administration is having with the North Koreans and the other countries in the region, Japan, Singapore and South Korea in particular.
"Since the President's May 24th letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans have been engaging. The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump's expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore," Sanders said in an update on the 'expected' Singapore summit.
On Thursday, Trump abruptly cancelled the proposed summit meeting with the North Korean leader on June 12 in Singapore and blamed Pyongyang's 'tremendous anger' and 'open hostility' for his dramatic decision.
His move resulted in flurry of activities by the North Koreans, who then said that Pyongyang was willing to hold the meeting anytime in any form.
But within 24 hours, Trump said the meeting could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.
A day later, Kim had an unscheduled meeting with North Korean president Moon Jae-in.
A team of US officials had a meeting with the North Koreans in the demilitarized zone, while another team travelled to Singapore for preparations.
Sanders today said President Trump will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on June 7 at the White House.
She said North Korean Vice Chairman of the Central Committee, General Kim Yong Chol, is traveling to New York and will meet with Secretary of State Pompeo later this week.
Kim Yong Chol was expected to arrive tomorrow in New York.
"We also have a US delegation meeting with a North Korean delegation in the DMZ," she said.
The United States delegation consists of Sung Kim, US Ambassador to the Philippines; Allison Hooker, Director for Korea for the National Security Council; and Randy Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at the Department of Defence.
"They plan to have additional meetings this week," Sanders said.
"Separately, Joe Hagin, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, and the US pre-advance team are in Singapore coordinating the logistics of the expected summit," she said.
Lastly, the National Security Advisor John Bolton is in touch with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Sanders said.
Washington has made it clear it wants to see the 'complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation' of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression.
In April, Trump had stunned the world by accepting an invitation to meet Kim in an unprecedented sit-down. -- PTI
23:16 Speaker asks YSR Cong MPs to reconsider decision to resign
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today asked the five YSR Congress MPs to reconsider their decision to resign from the House, which they had taken in protest against the Centre's failure to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
In a meeting with the five MPs of the regional party, she prodded them to reconsider their decision, sources said.
They had submitted their resignation letters to the Speaker last month.
The issue of special category status has become a key political plank in the state, and the state's ruling Telugu Desam Party severed its alliance with the BJP over the matter.
The TDP and the YSR Congress are the main contenders for power in the state. Assembly election in Andhra Pradesh is scheduled for early next year, along with the Lok Sabha polls. -- PTI
22:34 Haryana minister Vij compares Rahul Gandhi to Nipah virus
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who is known for making controversial statements, today compared Congress president Rahul Gandhi to the deadly Nipah virus, saying he would 'destroy whosoever comes in contact with him'.
"Rahul Gandhi is like the Nipah virus which will devastate the party and destroy whosoever comes in contact with him," Vij said in an official statement issued by Haryana government in Chandigarh.
The Haryana minister has often made controversial statements in the past.
He had once described the Taj Mahal as a 'beautiful graveyard'. The outspoken minister had in the past said that those who were supporting Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur for her campaign against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, were pro-Pakistan and should be thrown out of the country.
Vij also courted controversy with his remarks that Mahatma Gandhi's image did not help 'Khadi' and caused devaluation of the currency, triggering widespread outrage.
Meanwhile today, Vij also took a dig at Haryana Congress leaders, saying all of them were in a hurry to get themselves declared as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the next assembly polls. -- PTI
22:02 Fire at rubber factory in Delhi
A fire broke out in a rubber factory in south Delhi's Malviya Nagar area today.
The call of fire was received around 6 pm and 35 fire tenders were rushed to the factory to bring the blaze under control, said a Delhi Fire Services officer.
More details about the fire was awaited, he said. -- PTI
21:41 Renowned Sikh leader shot dead in Pakistan
A renowned Sikh religious leader and rights activist was today gunned down in Peshawar in Pakistan's northwestern city, according to a media report.
Charnjit Singh, 52, was killed inside his shop in Scheme Chowk area in the outskirts of the city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Express Tribune reported.
"An attacker shot Singh inside his shop and escaped afterwards. He died on the spot," superintendent police Saddar Shaukat Khan.
It was not clear whether it was a target killing incident or a result of personal enmity.
The deceased had been residing in Peshawar for decades but his family hailed from Kurram Agency. He owned a store in the metropolis for quite a long time, the report said.
The murder caused panic among the minority community as several Sikhs have been killed in different parts of the city in the past.
Most of the Sikhs residing in Peshawar are those whose families previously resided in different parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) but shifted to Peshawar and started a business. -- PTI
20:31 Jawans' hands not tied during Ramzan: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today made clear that the security forces would act if there were terror attacks during Ramzan, the period during which the Centre has halted anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked about the continuing violence during the Ramzan 'ceasefire', Singh said the Centre had only announced a suspension of operations.
"If there is a terrorist attack, the hands of the jawans are not tied," he added.
On his recent comment on the possibility of talks with Pakistan or the separatists for peace in Kashmir, he said the country has no aversion to dialogue.
Singh, who is also an MP from Lucknow, was addressing reporters on the completion of four years of the National Democratic Alliance government.
He said the Centre was trying to bring petroleum prices under control, saying the hikes were the result of increase in international crude oil rates and the rise in the value of the dollar.
"I accept that problems have emerged because of the rise in dollar and crude oil prices," he said at a joint press conference with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The home minister said while 471 terrorists were killed in 2010-13, 619 have been killed in 2014-17.
He said the number of districts affected by Naxalism has dropped from 76 in 2013 to 58 in 2018.
"Our crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) is winning praise from all over the world," he said.
Lauding the para-military forces, he said,"When a jawan attained martyrdom, Rs 50 lakh to Rs 55 lakh used to be given to his family but now we have decided that the amount should not be less than Rs 1 crore."
Asked about economic offenders leaving the country, the minister said, "I want to ask the Congress people if no one had fled during their government."
He said there was special thrust on infrastructure development under the Narendra Modi government, and by 2040 four to five trillion dollar investment was likely in this field alone.
"It is a fact that during the last four years of the UPA government, on an average, 12 km of highways were constructed on a daily basis, which went up to 27 km in the four years of the present government," he said.
He said road connectivity was a gift from former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the effort has been taken forward by Modi.
Singh stressed that none of the ministers in the Modi goverment faced any corruption charge.
He praised the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, saying there has been fear among criminal elements since he came to power. -- PTI
19:20 India, Pak DGMOs agree to ensure no ceasefire violation
Directors General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan spoke to each other on the issue of ceasefire violations and terrorist activities, among other issues.
The DGMOs have agreed to fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003, to ensure that ceasefire will not be violated by both sides. -- ANI
19:17 Rajinikanth's Kaala will not release in Karnataka
Rajinikanth starrer Kaala won't be released in Karnataka following his comments on the Cauvery issue.
"No film distributors are ready to release Rajinikanth's Kaala in Karnataka," Sara Govindu, president of Karnataka Films Chamber of Commerce said. -- ANI
JUST IN: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Indonesia's Jakarta. He is on a five-day visit to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. -- ANI
18:36 EC orders re-polling in 73 booths in Kairana, 49 in Maha LS seat
The Election Commission has ordered re-polling in 73 polling stations in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh and 49 polling stations in Bhandara Gondia in Maharashtra after the failure of paper trail machines in yesterday's by-elections.
The re-polling will take place tomorrow.
"Re-polling will take place at 73 booths in Kairana. A brawl took place at one spot yesterday and police had taken action. We will ensure that any untoward incident doesn't take place during re-polling tomorrow," Praveen Kumar, Deputy Inspector General of Police Law and Order said.
In BhandaraGondiya Lok Sabha seat, polling was disrupted due to faulty EVMs.
The EC has also ordered the transfer of District Collector Abhimanyu Kale and Kadambari Balkawade will replace him.
Over 11 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT, or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, machines across 10 states had developed faults and had to be replaced yesterday. -- ANI, PTI
18:28 Sudha Balakrishnan appointed 1st RBI CFO
National Securities Depository Limited Vice-President Sudha Balakrishnan has been appointed as the first chief financial officer of the Reserve Bank of India, as part of the organisational change brought in by Governor Urjit Patel, banking sources said.
Balakrishnan, a chartered accountant, will hold the rank of executive director.
While inviting applications for the newly created post in May last year, RBI had said that the CFO will be responsible for reporting of financial information of the central bank, establishing accounting policies and ensuring compliance with regulations.
The CFO, it had said, will also be entrusted with communicating RBIs expected and actual financial performance and overseeing its budget processes.
Till now, the central bank did not have a dedicated official handling the finance function, and the tasks were being carried out internally.
Patel's predecessor Raghuram Rajan had pursued an idea of creating a chief operating officer for the apex bank but the government shot down the proposal as it involved changing the RBI Act.
Rajan had also hired a slew of specialists from outside. -- PTI
18:20 Dalits will take oath in Ambedkar's name to not vote for BJP: Mewani
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani today said Dalits would take a pledge to not vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party in upcoming Rajasthan elections under a campaign which will be later extended to Maharashtra.
Addressing a gathering in Nagpur, the first-time MLA and Dalit leader said the saffron party would 'long' for Dalit votes in all upcoming polls but would never get them.
"We will ensure that Dalit votes don't go to the BJP. We will make Dalits take a pledge not to vote for the BJP. At least, one lakh Dalits will take the oath in name of B R Ambedkar. This campaign will also be conducted in all districts of Maharashtra," he said while addressing 'Manavadhikar Parishad' (Human rights conference) organised by the Republican Youth Federation.
BJP-ruled Rajasthan is going to polls later this year.
Attacking the BJP, Mewani said the saffron party is anti-Constitution, fascist, and believes in 'Manusmriti' (an ancient book of Hindu law which liberals dub as casteist).
Mewani also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming him the 'biggest liar' of Century.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest liar of the century. He had promised creation of 2 crore jobs every year before coming to power. However, even after completing four years in office, not even 8 lakh jobs were created," he said.
In a dig, Mewani said, "...At least give jobs to unemployed workers of ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and BJP".
"If the prime minister really wants to work for people he can create 25 lakh jobs in government sector overnight. At least 15 lakh teachers can be appointed in primary and higher primary schools in the country and two lakh more people can be appointed in railways. Similarly, if Modi wants five lakh doctors can be appointed in primary health centres, district hospitals and community health centres in the country," he said.
However, instead of creating jobs in government, Modi will sell Air India, the legislator said.
Replying a query on former President Pranab Mukherjee accepting an invitation to attend an RSS event here next month, Mewani said, "I think he should bring a lock and lock the RSS here". -- PTI
17:36 Southwest monsoon hits Kerala 3 days before: IMD
The southwest monsoon today hit Kerala, three days before its scheduled arrival, the India Meteorological Department said.
The conditions are favourable for further advance of the monsoon into some parts of central Arabian Sea, remaining parts of Kerala, parts of coastal and south interior Karnataka, parts of east-central and northeast Bay of Bengal, and some parts of northeastern states during the next 48 hours, it said.
The onset of monsoon over the southern state of Kerala marks the commencement of the four-month long rainy season in the country.
"Today, the southwest monsoon has further advanced into remaining parts of southeast Arabian Sea, Comorin-Maldives area, entire Lakshadweep, most parts of Kerala, some parts of Tamil Nadu and some more parts of southwest, central and northeast Bay of Bengal. Thus, the southwest monsoon has set in over Kerala, today, the 29th May 2018, three days ahead of its normal date," the IMD said.
June 1 is the official onset date for arrival of monsoon in the country and it takes more than a month-and-half to cover the entire country.
The usual date for the monsoon over Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan, its last post, is July 15.
This is the second consecutive year when the monsoon has made an early arrival.
Last year, the annual rainy season commenced on May 30.
Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency and a rival of the IMD, had, however, said that the monsoon made its arrival in Kerala yesterday.
Owing to the arrival of monsoon, isolated places over coastal and south interior Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are expected to receive 'heavy to very heavy rain' tomorrow.
But there will be no respite from hot weather conditions in parts of north and central India. Heat wave conditions are 'very likely' to severely affect parts of west Rajasthan, one or two pockets over east Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh tomorrow.
The IMD has also issued an alert of thunderstorm accompanied with squall at isolated places in Uttar Pradesh tomorrow.
"Thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds very likely at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar and sub Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim," the weather body said.
According to the IMD, if after May 10, 60 per cent of the available 14 stations --Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudlu and Mangalore -- report 2.5 mm or more rainfall for two consecutive days, the onset of monsoon over Kerala can be declared on the second day.
This is one of the main parameters for declaring the arrival of monsoon.
Besides this factor, the westerly winds must be up to 15,000 feet above main sea level and outgoing long-wave radiation less than 200 wm-2 (watt per square metre) to declare the arrival of monsoon.
All the necessary parameters were met following which the onset of monsoon over Kerala was announced today, Mritunjay Mohapatra, Additional Director General, IMD said.
The southwest monsoon is responsible for about 70 per cent of the country's annual rainfall and is critical to the economy, that is still largely dependent on agriculture.
The IMD has made a forecast of 'normal' rainfall this season.
Last year, the MeT department recorded a 'below-normal rainfall'. -- PTI
16:54 It's his greatness that he accepted our invitation: RSS on Pranab
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Tuesday said that it's the greatness of former president and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjeeto accept their invitation to address their workers in Nagpur.
The RSS invited Mukherjee to address their workers at headquarters in Nagpur on June 7.
'This isn't surprising for those who know and understand the Sangh, because the RSS has always invited prominent people of the society in its programmes. This time, we invited Dr Pranab Mukherjee and it's his greatness that he has accepted our invitation,' read a statement from the RSS.
The former president will address the Third Year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV), which is held at the RSS headquarters annually in Nagpur.
'Dr Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the RSS, will be the keynote speaker at the function. Every year, for 25 days workers from all over the country come to take the training of union work. This year, the class started May 14 and will conclude on June 7. In this, 709 volunteers are taking training from all the states,' the statement further read.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that there should be no problem if the former President visits RSS event.
"If former President Pranab Mukherjee joins, it is good. What is the problem if the former President visits RSS event. The RSS is an organisation of the nation. There should not be any political untouchability in the country," Gadkari said.
Earlier, while speaking to ANI, RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said, "Former president Mukherjee's acceptance to attend RSS event in Nagpur (Maharashtra) sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue and adversaries are not enemies. Questions raised on RSS-Hindutva is being answered by his acceptance of the invitation."
Mahatma Gandhi, former president Zakir Husain, activist Jayaprakash Narayan and commander-in-chief of the Indian Army, Kodandera M. Cariappa had previously been guests at various RSS events. -- ANI
16:08 Parrikar will return to India by the end of June: Goa minister
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is unwell and undergoing treatment in the United States since March 7, will return home by the end of June, state Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar today said.
Dhavalikar, a senior minister, is part of a three-member Cabinet Advisory Committee that was formed to run the government in Parrikar's absence.
Francis DSouza of the BJP and Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party are its other two members.
"The chief minister will be in Goa by the end of June and the current government will complete its tenure of five years under his leadership," Dhavalikar said.
Speaking about the CAC, he said that a decision to extend its term beyond May 31 would be taken by Parrikar.
"Whatever the chief minister decides about the CAC would be acceptable to the cabinet," he said.
Dhavalikar, who had earlier told a press conference that he is "psychologically prepared to take over as the chief minister" withdrew his statement today.
He said it was not the right time to talk about chief ministership.
"I was only responding to a question from the media. I had not raised the issue on my own. I had said that if people like my work, they will make me the chief minister some day," the senior Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader said. -- PTI
16:05 Mumbai: Fire breaks out in coach of solapur express at CST
A fire broke out on a train at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway yard today afternoon.
According media reports, the fire broke out in a coach of the Solapur Express, which was parked at the yard.
No casualties have been reported till now.
15:43 Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes, others booked by CBI
The CBI has registered a case against Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and others over alleged violation of norms for getting international flying licenses, officials said today.
The case relates to alleged violation of norms by directors of the aviation company for relaxation of 5/20 rules in the aviation sector to get licenses for international operations, as well as violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board rules, they said.
The 5/20 rule means that a company needs five years of experience and 20 aircraft to become eligible for the license, the officials said.
Besides Anthony Francis "Tony" Fernandes, Group CEO Air Asia Malaysia, the company Air Asia, Travel Food owner Sunil Kapoor, Air Asia Director R Venkatraman, aviation consultant Deepak Talwar, Director of Singapore-based SNR Trading Rejendra Dubey and unidentified public servants have been named in the FIR.
The searches are going on at six locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, the officials said.
Fernandes allegedly lobbied with government servants for clearances, removal of existing 5/20 rule of aviation and change in regulatory policies, the agency has alleged. -- PTI
15:41 Trai proposes use of blockchain technology to curb pesky calls, SMS
Telecom regulator Trai today issued new draft norms to curb pesky calls and SMSes by using blockchain technology to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorized entities.
"Blockchain will ensure two things, non- repudiative and confidentiality. Only those authorised to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service... Trai will become first organisation to implement this kind of regulation," Trai Chairman RS Sharma told reporters.
The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft will be open for public comment till June 11.
The new technology based norms will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorised telemarketing agencies.
Trai Secretary SK Gupta said: "It is learnt that many telemarketing firms get registered with telecom companies to obtain subscriber details. The new system will give access to only authorised agencies at the time they need to deliver service and details of only those subscribers who have agreed to receive the message.
"The digital record will show entire communication between entries involved."
The draft proposes to check misuse of repeated unsolicited calls being made even to those subscribers who have given consent.
"A subscriber may have given consent for a service but that consent is liable to be misused. Under the proposed regulation. The subscriber will be able to revoke consent given to entities whenever he or she desires through Trai app and other mechanism that will be provided under the regulation," Gupta said. -- PTI
15:11 EVM snags 'dangerous trend for democracy', says Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today termed as a "dangerous trend for democracy" EVMs developing snags in "areas having SP and RLD influence" and demanded that all future elections be conducted through paper ballots.
"Complaints in large numbers have been received of EVMs and VVPAT developing snags in areas where the SP and the RLD have good influence during yesterday's polling...it seems as if this has been done as part of a design," the SP chief told newspersons in Lucknow.
The Samajwadi Party president alleged that people in large numbers could not exercise their franchise yesterday.
"Common people have also lost faith in EVMs...officials did not take the issue seriously...this is a dangerous trend for democracy," he said.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said his party had said it earlier too and wants to make a fresh demand that all future elections be conducted through paper ballots.
"This will strengthen democracy...I will ask other political parties, will also write to them, that all should unitedly put forth their views against EVMs...there are many countries which are ahead of India in many things but have faith in paper ballot rather than EVMs for conducting elections," the SP president said.
To a question as to whether any peoples' movement will be launched on this issue, Yadav said first he will talk to all political parties on this issue.
"Earlier when a meeting was convened on the matter, the Congress had not participated in it but they are also in favour of this now...my effort will be to first talk to all and then take decision," he stressed.
To a question, he termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's road show on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway on May 27 near Kairana as an attempt to influence the by-election.
"The prime minister participated in a roadshow and in his speech also talked about quota within quota...we say that if you really want to give quota to backwards and most backwards then you first need to have their numbers counted and only then give them their right and honour as per their population. But, since you only wanted to influence the bypoll, you just made a mention of it (in your speech)," Akhilesh said. -- PTI
14:55 Senior UP ATS officer found dead
A senior police official of the Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorist squad today allegedly committed suicide in his office here, police said.
A 1992-batch Provincial Police Services officer, Rajesh Sahni used an official weapon to shoot himself on his temple at 12.45 pm in his office, ADG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said.
Sahni was an additional superintendent of police rank official.
Kumar said it was being ascertained as to why Sahni took the extreme step. -- PTI
14:55 Hardcore Naxal killed in face-off with police in Chhattisgarh
A Naxal 'deputy commander' and two supporters of the outlawed outfit were killed in an encounter with the police in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district today, an official said.
The encounter took place at a forest in Bortalav area of Rajnandgaon bordering with Maharashtra around 11 am when a team of the district force was out on a search operation, Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal told PTI.
The Naxals started firing on the police at a hill in the forest following which the patrolling team retaliated, he said.
Later during a search, the police found three bodies, Agrawal said.
One of the deceased was identified as Azad, the deputy commander of the Darrekasa area committee of Maoists, he said.
The other two deceased, who had apparently gone to the forest to supply some items to Maoists, were yet to be identified, the SP said.
Two firearms were also recovered from the spot, the official said.
Further details were awaited as the search operation was still underway in the forest, he added.
14:24 ED attaches Rs 177-cr assets in Rotomac bank fraud case
The Enforcement Directorate today said it has attached assets worth Rs 177 crore in connection with its money laundering probe against Kanpur-based Rotomac group in an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 3,695 crore.
The agency said it has issued a provisional order yesterday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for attachment of properties "owned by Ms Rotomac Global Private Limited and its directors located at Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Ahmedabad and Gandhi Nagar (Gujarat) and Mumbai (Maharashtra) valuing Rs 177 crore."
It alleged that these assets were the "proceeds of crime" of the illegal act of money laundering.
The ED probe revealed, the agency said in a statement, that Ms Rotomac Global Private Limited "indulged in merchanting trade with limited number of buyers and sellers and it used to receive back the discounted LC (letters of credit) amount from the overseas beneficiary after deduction of 1.5-2 per cent commission by them either directly into the accounts of Rotomac group companies or into the accounts of overseas companies controlled by owner Vikram Kothari."
This discounted LC amount, it said, thereafter has been used by the firm for "other business activities" such as FDR (fixed deposit receipts), iron ore purchase and investment in real estate.
It said the oversall modus operandi to perpetrate this alleged bank fraud was that the accused, in guise of merchanting trade, without having any genuine business transactions defaulted in meeting their payments obligation to the bank by "diverting and siphoning off the funds."
The ED had filed a criminal case under the PMLA in this instance in February, based on a CBI FIR.
The ED-CBI case has been registered against firm director and owner Vikram Kothari, his wife Sadhna Kothari, son Rahul Kothari and unidentified bank officials on a complaint from the Bank of Baroda. -- PTI
14:19 34 killed as thunderstorms rage in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand
At least 34 people were killed on Monday due to a thunderstorm that hit different parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand on Monday.
Of 34 people, 12 were reported dead in Jharkhand while 12 and 10 people lost their lives in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
Around 28 and five people were left injured in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
Thunderstorm has left a spate of destruction this month claiming several lives.
On May 2-3, a storm had killed 134 people and injured over 400 in five states and Uttar Pradesh was the worst affected, accounting for 80 deaths, most of them in Agra district. -- ANI, PTI
Image: Villagers inspect the damaged house which collapsed in thunderstorm and rain, in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. Photograph: PTI Photo
14:04 TN: Anti-Sterlite protest case transferred to CB-CID
Days after 13 people were killed in the alleged police firing in Tuticorin during the anti-Sterlite protests, Tamil Nadu Director General of Police TK Rajendran today transferred the case to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department.
The development comes after the Tamil Nadu government ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and "permanently" close the Sterlite Copper plant following last week's protests, over pollution concerns, during which 13 people were killed in police firing.
On Tuesday, the allotment of land for the proposed expansion of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin was also cancelled "in larger public interest" by the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd.
The locals were protesting for the closure of the factory for 99 days.
Protesters turned violent on May 22, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 people were killed in police action against them last Tuesday and Wednesday.
13:07 CEC Rawat debunks failure of EVMS, VVPAT during bypolls
The Chief Election Commissioner today refuted reports of large-scale failure of electronic voting machines in the bye-elections held yesterday.
Speaking to ANI, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said, "There were absolutely no problems in EVMs yesterday. Yes, problems were noticed in the VVPATs which was used for the first time in these constituencies and by the polling parties."
Opposition parties and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday moved the Election Commission claiming "hundreds" of electronic voting matchines and paper trail machines deployed during Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra developed snags and were not replaced for hours.
The leaders demanded that re-poll should be announced in polling stations where EVMs were not replaced for over one-and-a-half hours.
At polling stations where EVMs were replaced within one-and-a-half hours, additional time should be granted to voters to exercise their franchise, they told reporters after meeting the EC.
They alleged that poll officials "took their own time" in replacing EVMs in rural areas, the base of their voters.
The EVMs were, however replaced with alacrity in urban areas.
13:01 Banks have given Rs 6 lakh cr Mudra loans to 12 cr beneficiaries: PM
As part of government's scheme of funding the unfunded, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said banks and financial institutions have given Rs 6 lakh crore to 12 crore beneficiaries.
"Out of the 12 crore beneficiaries, 28 per cent or 3.25 crore are first-time entrepreneurs," he said in his interaction with beneficiaries of this scheme.
He also said 74 per cent, or 9 crore, borrowers are women and 55 per cent belong to the SC/ST and OBC category.
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was launched by the prime minister on April 8, 2015, for providing loans of up to Rs 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises. -- PTI
12:37 When Salman trolls Race 3 critics
Superstar Salman Khan's upcoming film Race 3 has already become a 'meme favourite', but the actor is not bothered by it as he does not consider people with "one or two" followers ranting against the movie as "trolling".
The trailer of Race 3, the third installment in the thriller franchise, was trolled on Twitter after its release two weeks ago, with many memes being made on the film and its dialogues.
At the launch of the new season of Dus Ka Dum, when a reporter asked about the trolling of Race 3, Salman shot back, "Are you trolling it?"
When the reporter said "a lot of people are", the actor said, "Those guys with one or two followers? That's trolling? Who's controlling that trolling, you know? No? How sad. When guys with one, two, three, four followers troll, it isn't trolling."
The actor had also given in to the meme phenomenon by mouthing the Daisy Shah dialogue from the film, "Our business is our business, none of your business", in a short video.
At the event, Salman, 52, subtly referred to the trolling of his recently released song, Selfish penned by him, has received.
When a reporter, before posing his question, said, "Hi Salman," the actor replied to him in a musical manner, humming, "Hello, Hi, How are you?" and then quipped, "This song is also written by me. It hasn't been released. It will be released soon and then get trolled."
12:31 Amit Shah meets ex-Army chief as part of BJP's outreach programme
Launching his party's massive outreach programme, 'sampark for samarthan', Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah today met former Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag.
Shah will personally contact at least 50 people as part of the 'contact for support' programme, the party said.
About 4,000 BJP functionaries, including chief ministers, Union ministers, down to panchayat members, across the country will contact one lakh people who are recognised names in their fields to inform them about the government's achievements, it said.
The party has launched the 'sampark for samarthan' exercise to mark the fourth anniversary of the Modi government as it prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. -- PTI
12:00 Southwest monsoon hits Kerala: IMD
The southwest monsoon today hit Kerala, three days before its scheduled arrival, says the India Meteorological Department.
The onset of monsoon over the southern state marks the commencement of the four-month long rainy season in the country.
June 1 is the official onset date for arrival of monsoon in the country and it takes more than a month-and-half to cover the entire country.
The IMD has made a forecast of "normal" rainfall this season.
Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency and a rival of the IMD, had said that the monsoon made its arrival in Kerala yesterday.
According to the IMD, if after May 10, 60 per cent of the available 14 stations --Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Allapuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudulu and Mangalore -- report 2.5 mm or more rainfall for two consecutive days, the onset of monsoon over Kerala can be declared on the second day. This is one of the main parameters for declaring the arrival of monsoon.
Besides this factor, the westerly winds must be up to 15,000 feet above main sea level and outgoing long-wave radiation less than 200 wm-2 (watt per square metre) to declare the arrival of monsoon.
All the necessary parameters were met following which the onset of monsoon over Kerala was announced, Mritunjay Mohapatra, Additional Director General, IMD said. -- PTI
11:02 9 killed in lightning and thunderstorm in UP
Nine persons were killed and six others injured in incidents of thunderstorm and lightning in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, a senior government official said today.
As many as five persons were killed and four others injured as lightning struck some parts of Unnao district last night, Principal Secretary, Information, Avinish Awasthi said.
There are also reports of two persons each being killed in thunderstorm in Kanpur and Rae Bareli, he said.
Respective district magistrates have been directed to undertake rescue works and ensure distribution of relief in 24 hours, Awasthi added. -- PTI
10:25 After shutdown, TN govt cancels land allotted to Sterlite
A day after announcing the shutdown of Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin, The Tamil Nadu government today cancelled the land allotted to Sterlite for expansion.
Yesterday, the state government ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and "permanently" close Sterlite plant following last weeks violent protests over pollution concerns during which 13 people were killed in police firing.
Soon after the issuance of the government order, top Tuticorin district officials sealed the copper smelter unit premises and pasted the order at the main gate.
Reacting to the closure, Vedanta Ltd termed it "unfortunate" and said it would decide the future course of action after studying the development.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minsiter K Palaniswami said the government has issued the government order in deference to the sentiments of the people.
10:18 PM Modi to leave for Indonesia, Singapore today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today will embark on a two-nation tour to boost Act East Policy.
On the eve of his visit, Modi said that India had a robust strategic partnership with all the three countries and his visit would provide a further boost to the country's policy.
In Singapore, he will deliver the keynote address at Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security meet, on June 1.
"This will be the first time that an Indian Prime Minister would deliver this address. It would be an opportunity to articulate India's point of view on regional security issues and maintenance of peace and stability in the region," he said.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, the prime minister said he would be in Jakarta today on the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
"This is my first visit to Indonesia as Prime Minister. I am looking forward to my discussions with President Widodo on 30 May, as also to our joint interaction with the India-Indonesia CEOs Forum. I will also address the Indian community in Indonesia," he said.
He said, on May 31, on his way to Singapore, he will make a brief halt in Malaysia to congratulate the new Malaysian leadership and looks forward to meet Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
"In Singapore, I will be focusing on enhancing India-Singapore partnership in areas of Fintech, skill development, urban planning and artificial intelligence. Singapore entities have become major partners with India in areas like urban development, planning, smart cities and infrastructure development. My visit in Singapore presents an opportunity for both countries to engage further," he said.
On 31 May, Modi will visit the India-Singapore enterprise and innovation exhibition and will also address a business and community event followed by a roundtable meeting with select top CEOs of Singapore to discuss business and investment opportunities.
On June 1, the prime minister will call on Singapore President Halimah Yacob and hold delegation level talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee (Hsien Loong).
Later in the evening, he will deliver the keynote address at Shangri-La Dialogue.
On June 2, he will unveil a plaque at Clifford Pier, where Gandhiji's ashes were immersed in sea on March 27, 1948. He would also visit some places of worship that have civilisational linkages with India.
India's Act East Policy, that was introduced by the Modi government, focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. -- PTI
09:57 Will take call on opening of cantonment roads to public after feedback: Army
Amid concerns raised by its officials and their families over reopening of all roads in cantonment areas to civilians, the army has said any final decision on opening or closing of roads will be taken after receiving feedback from Local Military Authorities.
In a statement, the army said the opening of cantonment roads is a "deliberate, calibrated and monitored exercise" aimed at streamlining the process of closure where required after carrying out assessment of the nature of traffic moving through cantonments by following due procedure.
According to a decision taken during a meeting convened by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently, it was decided that all closed roads in cantonment areas will be reopened immediately.
It was also decided that the issue of closure of individual roads will be reviewed de novo, in conformity with the provisions as laid down, and any closure of roads will be done only after following the due procedure, a government statement issued on May 20 had said.
Army officials and their families have apparently expressed strong reservations against the decision to reopen all roads in cantonments to civilians, citing security concerns.
A country-wide signature campaign against the government decision has been launched by wives of army officers. They say they would meet the defence minister urging her to reverse the cantonment board decision.
The army's statement said, "There seems to be some apprehension in the minds of military personnel and their families that the opening of roads may lead to a security situation or traffic congestion.
"A freehand has been given to the LMA to close and control access to the cantonments when there is actionable intelligence input or in case of emergencies."
It further added that a simplified procedure will shortly be issued to jointly address the needs of the local public and the military establishment.
"After giving due thought to the likely implications on the opening of roads, a considered decision was taken to open roads in military areas for one month and thereafter review the nature of traffic passing through these areas.
"Decision on opening or closure of roads will be taken after a feedback from Local Military Authorities (LMA) on whether roads can be opened for civil traffic, completely, selectively or as in the past," it added.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman indicated the government's readiness to review its decision to allow civilian access to all roads in military cantonments across the country. -- PTI
09:48 Delhi police sends list of students, who received leaked papers, to CBSE
The Delhi police has sent to the CBSE a list of students who had allegedly received the leaked class 10 mathematics and class 12 economics question papers after the board sought it from the crime branch, an official privy to the probe said.
A senior Crime Branch officer said the CBSE had requested them to provide details of students who had received the leaked papers.
Last week, the police sent an investigation report to the board mentioning the names of over 60 students, he said, adding, these students were quizzed by the Crime Branch while it was probing the case.
Two modules were allegedly involved in leaking the CBSE question papers. Other than the class 12 economics paper, the class 10 mathematics paper had also surfaced online before the scheduled examination.
One of the modules was busted in Una town of Himachal Pradesh last month and six people, including a woman, were arrested in connection with leaking the question papers.
The Bawana module was busted in March, and three people, including two teachers of a private school, were arrested.
The teachers had taken photographs of the economics paper and sent it via WhatsApp to Tauqeer, who gives private tuition. Tauqeer, in turn, circulated the paper among his students about an hour before the examination started, police said.
The Delhi Police has registered two cases in connection with the paper leaks. The first case related to the leak of economics paper was registered on March 27, while the other pertaining to the leak of mathematics paper was filed on March 28.
The retest for class 12 economics paper was held on April 25, but the board decided against a re-test of the Class 10 paper, saying the examination was "largely an internal segment" of the school education system. -- PTI
08:51 Protests in S Africa over death of Indian-origin girl in botched hijacking
A nine-year-old Indian-origin girl was on Monday killed in a botched car hijacking, leading to angry protests by the community members in the Indian township of Chatsworth in Durban.
The girl, Sadia Sukhraj, was on her way to school with her father when three armed men allegedly accosted and hijacked the car she was in and sped away with her.
In an ensuing chase in which the hijackers and community members shot at each other, the hijackers crashed the car they were in. The girl was found shot and critically injured while one of the hijackers tumbled out of the car dead.
She was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to her serious injuries.
A second hijacker was arrested by an off-duty policeman, while the third one escaped.
Following the incident, more than 3,000 members of the community converged outside Chatsworth police station calling for urgent police action.
As the small contingent of officers at the police station allegedly came under severe verbal abuse and threats of physical action from protestors, they resorted to firing rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, which included scores of children.
Mahendra Lillkan, chairperson of the local Crime Forum, said there had been a spike in crime in the area, despite community patrols at night.
"It seems that the criminals have now resorted to striking at soft targets, such as parents taking their children to school, as we have seen with this tragic incident."
Police and community leaders have appealed for calm amid fears that the protests would escalate tomorrow as the distraught family prepared for the funeral. -- PTI
08:48 Dawood's brother Iqbal Kaskar hospitalised
Iqbal Kaskar, the brother of fugitive Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was on Monday nigth admitted to J J hospital in Mumbai after he complained of chest pain and giddiness, sources at the hospital said.
Kaskar, 56, who has been lodged in the Thane Central Jail, was referred to the hospital by the prison authorities, they said.
Kaskar was brought to the hospital at 10.15 pm, the sources said, adding that he is stable at present and his general condition is good.
His medical evaluation is underway, they said.
Kaskar was arrested by the Thane Police in connection with an investigation into an extortion case in September last year.
Kaskar, who was deported from the UAE in 2003, is suspected to have been operating the real estate business of his brother in Mumbai, police had said. -- PTI
08:45 Sushma apologises for saying PM Modi addressed Indians in Nepal
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday apologised for saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed lakhs of "Indians" in Nepal's Janakpur recently.
She posted a tweeted an apology after people on Twitter, including a Parliamentarian from Nepal, pointed out that Modi addressed Nepali people in Janakpur earlier this month and not Indians.
"This was a mistake on my part. I sincerely apologise for this," Swaraj tweeted along with a video of her comments about Modi's efforts to reach out to Indian dispora abroad, including in Nepal.
Earlier addressing a press conference on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the NDA government, Swaraj said no prime minister before Modi had tried to reach out to the Indian diaspora at such a large scale.
"Narendra Modi is the first prime minister of the country who has from America's Madison Square to Janakpur (in Nepal) addressed lakhs of Indians and reached out to them," Swaraj had said.
Nepali Congress leader and Parliamentarian Gagan Thapa criticised Swaraj for the comments and wondered whether it was a "casual undermining of Nepal's sovereignty".
"Regrettable that India's External Affairs Minister @SushmaSwaraj described Janakpur's population that @narendramodi greeted as Indians. One wonders what the confusion was, or if this was casual undermining of Nepal's sovereignty," he tweeted. -- PTI
08:38 CBSE Class 10 results to be declared today
The Central Board of Secondary Education will announced the results of Class 10 examinations today at 4 pm.
"The results will be declared on May 29 at 4 pm," an official from the CBSE said.
The results will be available on www.results.nic.in, www.cbseresults.nic.in and www.cbse.nic.in.
The board exams were marred by controversy this year with question paper leaks being reported from Delhi-NCR, Haryana and Jharkhand of Class 10 mathematics paper, but the HRD ministry had decided against conducting a re-examination in the "interest of students".
This was the first batch to appear for the Class 10 board examinations after the CBSE decided to junk the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation and reintroduce the board exams.
Over 16 lakh students appeared for Class 10 exams this year. -- PTI
08:33 No respite from rising fuel prices as petrol, diesel prices surge for 16th day
Fuel prices continue to touch another peak for the 16th consecutive day, with petrol being sold at Rs 78.43 per litre in Delhi and Rs 86.24 per litre in Mumbai.
The cost of diesel per litre has also been increased to Rs 69.31 per litre in Delhi and Rs 73.79 a litre in Mumbai.
the cost of CNG has been increased by Rs 1.36 per kg in Delhi and Rs 1.55 per kg in in Noida, Greater Noida, and Ghaziabad.
All India Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee is expected to protest against the fuel price hike at noon at Gandhi Murti in Kolkata.
As the Centre has come under fire over fuel price hike, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had earlier assured that the government will soon find a solution to tackle the situation.
He further pointed out that less production of oil in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and hike in crude oil price in the international market are some of the factors affecting the fuel price. -- ANI
00:12 British PM May to urge Trump to skip London during visit to avoid protesters
British PM Theresa May will this week urge Donald Trump to avoid central London protesters and meet her at her country residence instead.
Britains ambassador to Washington DC, Sir Kim Darroch, will present the PMs plan to the White House for the US Presidents first visit to Britain in July.
As well as keeping him away from Downing Street, No 10 will also propose he takes tea with the Queen in Windsor Castle instead of Buckingham Palace, reports The Sun.
It is hoped the American leader will not be able to resist being snapped at the site where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle on May 19.
A third out-of-town attraction is also being lined up to entertain Trump -- a visit to his hero Winston Churchills birthplace, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
The president has told May he wants to pay homage to the legendary World War II prime minister during his three day visit to Britain.
It comes as Trump sent out a tweet for Memorial Day in the US, which commemorates fallen soldiers.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters have vowed to take to Londons streets if Trump comes to the nations capital, potentially plunging the visit into a diplomatic disaster.
The trip -- from July 12-14 -- is seen by Downing Street as very high stakes, as upsetting the volatile property billionaire could lead to another setback in the PMs strained relations with him.