Tue, 07 February 2023
No pressure from Adani to sell Mumbai airport: GVK

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23:58   No pressure from Adani to sell Mumbai airport: GVK
GVK Group Vice Chairman Sanjay Reddy on Tuesday said there was absolutely no pressure from the Adani Group or anyone else to sell the Mumbai airport.
His comments come on a day when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged in Lok Sabha that "Mumbai airport, was taken away from GVK using agencies such as the CBI and the ED, and was given to Adani by the Government of India".
Adani Group took over the management of the Mumbai airport from the GVK Group in July 2021.
In an interview to television channel NDTV on Tuesday, Sanjay Reddy said, "There was absolutely no pressure from the Adani group or anyone else for us to sell the Mumbai airport."
While explaining the circumstances that led to the sale of the airport, Reddy said the group was looking to raise funds for the airport business.
Reddy said that at that time, Gautam Adani approached him and said he had a lot of interest in the airport and whether GVK group was willing to do a transaction with him.
"... He (Adani) said that he will assure that we will conclude the entire transaction in one month which was very important for us. So, from that perspective whatever we did was in the interest of the company and the lenders who we had to repay and therefore, we had to close the transaction with Adani because we didn't see any light of day with the other investors," Reddy said.
While leading the Opposition attack over the Adani-Hindenburg issue in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Gandhi alleged that the government tweaked rules in favour of Adani and said the clause that no one without any prior experience would be involved in the development of airports was done away with.
"This rule was changed by the government and Adani was given six airports. After that India's most strategic, profitable airport, Mumbai Airport, was taken away from GVK using agencies like the CBI, ED, and was given to Adani by the Government of India," he alleged. -- PTI 
23:09   We can't say China, BBC, even Modi ji: Mahua in LS
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday launched a stinging attack on the government over the Adani-Hindenburg issue and said the billionaire businessman had 'topi-pehnau-ed (duped)' the country.
While participating in the debate on the 'Motion of Thanks to the President's Address' in Lok Sabha, Moitra, without naming Adani, said that a famous person whose name starts with 'A' and ends with 'I' and is not Advani, who stinks of crony capitalism, had duped everyone.
Soon after she concluded her speech, there were angry exchanges between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP members. Moitra was heard using certain objectionable words to which the Chair objected and urged members to avoid cuss words.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi asked Moitra to apologise out of morality and said if she does not it would reflect on her culture.
Moitra brought two birthday caps in the House to press her argument that the businessman being most talked about had "topi-pehnau-ed" the government.
She demanded that an enquiry be ordered against the activities of the Adani group.
Beginning her address by quoting from President Droupadi Murmu's address, Moitra said, "Every word I utter is going to be an oblation and offering a truth into my 'maha yagna' of nation building."
"I want to start off by saying as an ex-investment banker, I want companies to thrive. But I want honest, hardworking Indian companies to strive and not trapeze artists. As an MP colleague of mine likes to say the Chair always asked me not to get angry. I will not be angry for what I have to say. I will only say that we've all been fooled," she said.
Moitra also alleged that the businessman gives the impression that doing things for him means that one would be in the prime minister and home minister's good books.
Referring to a statement by the Adani group in which it had said that short-seller Hindenburg's report was a calculated attack on India, she said, "The pride of India is not the wealth of one individual, pride of India lies in the robustness of its institutional structures."
She said a company which is in infrastructure makes five to 15 per cent returns if they are lucky and if they get everything right, but the multiple with which this company 'A' was trading was absolutely outrageous.
Even Google, Amazon and Microsoft don't trade on such multiples, she said.
"Honourable home minister, he has topi-pehnau-ed you...he is getting security clearances from the ministry of home affairs...Madam, finance minister he has topi-pehnau-ed you," the TMC leader said.
"This man has been allowed to use LIC, SBI to get money as and when he likes.  Honourable civil aviation, he has 'topi-pehnau-ed', you shipping minister, he has topi-pehna-ed you petroleum minister, he has 'topi-pehnau-ed' oil PSUs...power minister he has topi-pehnau-ed you," she said.
"India is on its way to becoming the third largest economy in the world. Don't let him smear your time in government, with a stink of crony capitalism. Please immediately order a full complete and thorough investigation into all matters...Our country's reputation is at risk," Moitra said.
She also said the House too has historically seen some of the greatest debates, some friendly, some not so friendly sparring matches.
"But it is more and less a sacred place where elected representatives could speak their minds without fear of favour...Today and I say this with a heavy heart, Lok Sabha is a space which stands out more for what cannot be said in this hall, then what can we say. The list of unmentionables is actually far longer than the list of mentionables," she claimed.
"We cannot say China, we cannot say Pegasus, we can not say BBC, we cannot say Morbi, we cannot say Rafael, and sometimes we cannot even say Modi ji...," she said. -- PTI
22:53   First look: Kiara Advani weds Sidharth Malhotra
Kiara Adani and Sidharth Malhotra, who married in Rajasthan today, have shared their wedding album on Instagram. 

"Ab humari permanent booking hogayi hai'. We seek your blessings and love on our journey ahead," read the caption.
22:23   Assam child marriage crackdown: 2,528 held so far
As the total number of arrests in the continued drive against child marriage in Assam reached 2,528 on Tuesday, the DGP said the biggest challenge for the force now is filing charge sheets within the stipulated timeframe.
The police during the day arrested 87 more people in the crackdown, which started on Friday.
"Crackdown continues. Total arrest so far 2528," Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a tweet.
Protests against the arrests by women activists were reported during the day from Silchar in Cachar district. Four of them were arrested and released on personal bond, police said.
The Director General of Police (DGP) G P Singh said that the biggest challenge for the police is now to file charge sheets within a 60 to 90 days period.
Singh said that the police did not aim to harass anybody but its role was to stop child marriage completely in the state by the next two to three years.
"We have registered 4,074 cases and over 2,500 people have been arrested till this morning. All the accused in these cases have been identified and they will be arrested and charge sheets filed against them, Singh told PTI.
On the 65 accused people already securing bail, the DGP said the focus is on ensuring that charge sheets are filed within the stipulated time frame.
"Bail is okay. To me, it is not important who stays in jail for how long. It is important that they have to be charge-sheeted and they face the music of law," he asserted.
Chairperson of Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) Sunita Changkakoti told PTI that the crackdown was a much-awaited move and it will send a strong message to the society against this menace.
"We have been campaigning against child marriage for long and hold regular district review meetings in which we involve all stakeholders, including government departments like the health and education and NGOs. A concerted effort by all sections of society can help in ending the problem, she said.
The Assam police had launched the crackdown on child marriage on Friday with over 2,000 arrested within the first two days.
21:36   Eligibility percentile for NEET-Super Speciality courses reduced from 50 to 20
The Union health ministry in consultation with the National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to reduce the eligibility criterion for NEET-Super Speciality courses from 50 percentile to 20 percentile, officials said on Tuesday.
Candidates who have scored 20 percentile and above in the NEET-Super Speciality (SS) will be eligible to participate in the "special mop-up round", they said.
"The competent authorities of the MoHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) in consultation with the NMC have decided to conduct an additional mop-up round... it may be conducted for remaining vacant seats after completion of two rounds of the NEET-SS 2022-23 counselling," a letter send by the Medical Counselling Committee to the National Board of Examinations (NBE) stated.
The eligible candidates for the additional round will be candidates scoring 20th percentile and above -- in all subjects -- in the NEET-SS 2022 examination conducted by the NBE, it said. 
"Therefore, it is requested to you to kindly share the data of eligible candidates...," the letter stated. -- PTI
21:05   2 IAF planes land in Turkey with relief material
India on Tuesday sent to Turkiye relief materials, a mobile hospital and specialised search and rescue teams in two C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft to help the country in the wake of the devastating earthquake and multiple aftershocks that killed over 4,000 people.
Two more flights are expected to carry more relief items, including medical supplies, soon to Turkiye while another one is set to be sent to Syria which was also hit by the earthquake on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.
Several countries around the world have extended help to both countries in their rescue and recovery efforts.
"India expresses its solidarity at this challenging moment," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
In another tweet, Jaishankar said he contacted his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad to express solidarity and convey India's support.
"Two C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft of #IAF have departed India for Trkiye carrying @NDRFHQ teams and #HADR equipment. India stands in solidarity with the people of Trkiye in this difficult time," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Rescue workers in Turkiye are racing against time to save people trapped under the rubble of thousands of buildings.
The first C-17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, carrying a group of search and rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads, drilling machines, relief material, medicines landed in Adana in the quake-hit country in the morning.
A second IAF plane with similar consignments was sent to Turkiye around noon.
"First Indian C17 flight with more than 50 @NDRFHQ Search & Rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads, drilling machines, relief material, medicines and other necessary utilities & equipment reaches Adana, Trkiye," Jaishankar said on Twitter.
Adana is one of the areas affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
"Second @IAF_MCC C-17 with self-contained @NDRFHQ teams including dog squads, search & rescue equipment, extrication tools and vehicles leaves for Trkiye. India continues to support the people of Trkiye in their hour of need," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
20:47   Opposition MPs criticise President's address
Some Opposition members in Lok Sabha on Tuesday criticised the President's address to the joint session of parliament, saying it contained "some half-truths" and did not talk about important issues like the Women's Reservation Bill.
Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, BJD's Pinaki Misra said it was "somewhat a untrustworthy document," and it "suppressed" several truths.
The address talked about women empowerment, but it did not mention the Women's Reservation Bill, which is pending for long, he said. "We are deeply unhappy that Women Reservation Bill does not find mention in the address."
He also said the address talked about the poor, but in the Budget, the government slashed allocation to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA).
The finance minister needs to reconsider this, he added.
The BJD member also said that "some half-truths crept into the statement" on medical colleges also. Most colleges lack good infrastructure and equipment, he said. However, Misra added that government policies on mines, minerals and air connectivity have worked well.
JD-U member Kaushalendra Kumar said that the government is talking about amrit kal, but there is nothing like that.
Kumar alleged that the Modi-government has failed to provide jobs to people and also failed to bring back black money.
He also demanded special status for Bihar.
Danish Ali (BSP) alleged the government has worked only for the benefit of corporates like Adani. He alleged that sugar mills have not paid dues running into thousands of crores to farmers.
 Ali also alleged the government was threatening the judiciary. "What is happening in this country," asked. -- PTI
20:31   US rules out returning balloon debris to China
The United States has ruled out returning to China the debris of a surveillance balloon carrying a regional airliner-sized payload which was shot down by a US fighter jet in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
The US military has intensified its efforts to collect the remnants of the high-altitude surveillance balloon from China that floated over the United States over several days last week from Montana to South Carolina.
Initial information gathered from the balloon, the White House said on Monday with confidence, that it is a surveillance balloon. It violated international law and its sovereignty, officials said.
"I know of no such intention or plans to return it," said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, adding that the US military have recovered some remnants off the surface of the sea and they are still in the process of collecting them from under waters.
Before it was being shot down by a fighter jet on Saturday, Kirby said they had gathered enough vital information about the balloon.
"We're still analysing the information that we were able to collect off of the balloon before we shot it out of the sky and now we're going to recover it and I suspect we may learn even more," he said.
The balloon, he told reporters, was not merely drifting but had propellers and steering to give a measure of control, even as it was swept along in high altitude jet stream winds.
"It is true that this balloon had the ability to maneuver itself -- to speed up, to slow down and to turn. So it had propellers, it had a rudder, if you will, to allow it to change direction," Kirby said.
According to General Glen VanHerck, Commander of Northern Command, the balloon was up to 200 feet in height. It carried a payload weighing several thousand pounds, roughly the size of a regional jet aircraft, he said.
"China's, we believe, irresponsible action was visible for the American and the world to see. Not only that at the same time a second PRC surveillance balloon was seen traversing Latin America," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.
"It is up to China to show it is serious about its words of being a responsible country that it wants to build on the meeting that the president had with President Xi very recently. So it's up to China to figure out what kind of relationship that they want," she said.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Tuesday reaffirmed that the unmanned airship posed no threat to the US and entered its airspace accidentally.
Mao again criticised the US for "overreacting" rather than adopting a "calm" and "professional" manner, and for using force in bringing the balloon down Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean just off the US coast.
Asked if China wanted the debris back, she reasserted that the balloon "belongs to China."
"The balloon does not belong to the US. The Chinese government will continue to resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests," Mao said.
As the Chinese spy balloon floated over the continental America, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his trip to China.
19:43   'Worse': Doc flags issues with Covishield
Eminent British-Indian Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, who has been leading international calls for the suspension of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, said on Tuesday that Oxford-AstraZeneca's jab, administered in India as Covishield, was even "worse" in terms of cardiovascular effects, heart attacks and strokes.
Dr Malhotra, who has demanded a full safety review into the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine, told PTI Covishield "should never have been rolled out in the country in the first place".
Dr Malhotra is National Health Service trained medic and he has had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

He is in India this week to deliver a series of lectures on COVID vaccines to try and make an "evidence-based case" for their suspension. 
He said there have already been international calls to suspend mRNA vaccines like those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna because of the serious adverse effects especially related to the cardiovascular system.
However, a comparison done up till June 2021, and published in a peer-reviewed research journal, showed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine is far worse than Pfizer's mRNA jab in terms of cardiovascular effects, heart attacks, strokes, soime death and clotting problem in both younger and older adults, he said.
"We also have the pharmacovigilance data, which is post-marketing data, after the vaccine was approved and rolled out in the UK. We had 8,00,000 reports of adverse effects which were beyond mild after administering 9.7 million doses, almost 10 per cent," he said. "This is unprecedented."
"Why was AstraZeneca's Covishield administered in India when it was suspended in the UK and some European countries due to severe side-effects?" he said. "There needs to be immediate suspension pending inquiry as to why India got this so very very wrong."
The World Health Organisation had said last year that the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is "safe and effective for all individuals aged 18 and above".
"The Astra-Zeneca vaccine can be offered to people who have had COVID-19 in the past. But individuals may choose to delay vaccination for three months following the infection," the WHO advice from June 2022 reads.
Dr Malhotra said the major issue is that commercial entities and big pharma companies were allowed to control the politicians, regulators, media and ultimately that created a pandemic of misinformation amongst doctors and unwittingly harmed members of the public.
"People need to understand that the pharmaceutical industry is there to make profit for their shareholders," he said.
"They have no legal requirement to give you the best treatment. In the process the way they exert their power has been described as being psychopathic. What we are dealing with are the psychopathic determinants of health. Once people understand that everything else starts to make sense," he said.
Dr Malhotra, who critically analysed the data on the Pfizer mRNA vaccine and published the study last year in the peer-reviewed research in the Journal of Insulin Resistance, said the evidence became very clear that harms outweigh the benefits even from the beginning from reanalysis of the original trials.
19:26   Rakhi Sawant files FIR against husband
Actor Rakhi Sawant's husband Adil Durrani was on Tuesday brought to the Oshiwara police station in Mumbai after she filed a complaint accusing him of assaulting her and taking away money and jewellery from her flat without her knowledge, an official said. 

Citing her statement to the police on Monday night, the official said Sawant (41) got in touch with Durrani (30) in January 2022 and the two opened a joint business account. Without her knowledge, Durrani withdrew more than Rs 1.5 crore from that account in June to buy a car, but she did not object as he said he would be marrying her, Sawant told the police, according to the official. 

Later, Durrani allegedly assaulted Sawant, a former Bigg Boss contestant, on two occasions, prompting her to lodge a non-cognisable complaint against him, he said. 

As per Sawant, Durrani threatened her more than once saying he would throw acid on her face or get her killed in a road accident, said the official. 

Sawant has also accused Durrani of forcing her to offer namaaz, he said. 

On Sunday night, Sawant discovered that Rs 5 lakh cash and her mother's jewellery worth Rs 2.5 lakh were missing from her cupboard. She then learnt from the watchman of her Andheri building that Durrani had visited the flat in her absence, said the official. 

Sawant then approached the Oshiwara police on Monday night following which a first information report (FIR) was registered against Durrani under Indian Penal Code sections 406 (breach of trust) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), said the official. 

The police have not arrested anyone yet, said the official.
18:49   Aaftab dated several women after killing Shraddha
Aaftab Amin Poonawala was dating several women through an app and even brought one to his residence while the body parts of his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar were lying in the house, the Delhi police claimed in the charge sheet filed before a Delhi court.
Giving a chilling account of the gory crime, the police alleged that Poonawala's partner Walkar was "already living in constant fear of getting killed" even before the accused decided to get rid of her in a barbaric and brutal manner.
According to excerpts of the 6,629-page-long charge sheet, soon after the murder of Walkar, the accused again came in contact with several women through Bumble, a dating app.
Poonawala, 28, allegedly strangled Walkar on May 18 last year and sawed her body into several pieces which he kept in a fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in South Delhi's Chhattarpur locality.
He later disposed of the body parts across the city over several days.
A Delhi court on Tuesday took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by Delhi Police. -- PTI 
Pic: ANI on Twitter
Pic: ANI on Twitter
18:25   It's official, Sidharth-Kiara are married
Putting an end to months of speculation, Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani finally tied the knot on Tuesday in Jaisalmer. 

The wedding ceremony took place at Suryagarh Palace in the presence of close friends and family members. 

The couple got married as per Hindu traditions with band baaja and baraat

The famous 'Jea' wedding band from Delhi had arrived at the venue on Tuesday, and Sidharth made his royal entry at the wedding on the traditional ghodi

Earlier in the day, several visuals from the wedding venue went viral in which some men in traditional pink outfits were seen holding floral chhatris (umbrellas decorated with flowers). 

Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Shahid Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Mira Rajput Kapoor were among the celebrities present at Sid-Kiara's wedding. 

The couple wanted a private wedding and made sure no photos or videos leaked from the venue. 

Their wedding festivities started with haldi and mehendi ceremonies last weekend. A sangeet ceremony was held on Monday. 

Kiara and Sidharth have always been tight-lipped about their relationship. They neither accepted nor denied the dating rumours. 

The two apparently fell in love while shooting for Shershaah, which was released 2021. The duo was often seen hanging out together which added extra fuel to their relationship rumours. 

In an episode of Koffee with Karan Season 7, Kiara revealed that she first met Sidharth at the wrap-up party of Lust Stories. She also confessed that she and Sidharth Malhotra are definitely more than "close friends."

-- ANI
17:53   Banks' exposure to Adani group 'insufficient': Fitch
Indian banks' exposure to Adani group is "insufficient in itself" to pose a substantial risk to their credit profiles, Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.
Adani group has faced stock rout and questions after a US short seller Hindenburg Research came out with a damning report alleging financial and accounting fraud by the ports-to-energy conglomerate. Adani Group has denied all charges and threatened to sue Hindenburg.
"Fitch Ratings believes that Indian banks' exposure to the Adani group is insufficient in itself to present a substantial risk to the banks' standalone credit profiles," the rating agency said in a note.
Ratings of banks remain driven by expectations that the banks would receive extraordinary sovereign support if needed.
Fitch on February 3 stated that the controversy over the short-seller report had no immediate impact on the ratings of Fitch-rated Adani entities and their securities.
"Even under a hypothetical scenario where the wider Adani group enters distress, exposure for Indian banks should, in itself, be manageable without adverse consequences on the banks' viability ratings," Fitch said.
State Bank of India last week stated that its share of the group's loans had fallen to 31 per cent by 2022-end from 55 per cent in 2016.
"We believe loans to all Adani group entities generally account for 0.8-1.2 per cent of total lending for Fitch-rated Indian banks, equivalent to 7-13 per cent of total equity," the rating agency said.
"Even in a distress scenario, it is unlikely that all of this exposure would be written down, as much of it is tied to performing projects. Loans involving projects still under construction and those at the company level could be more vulnerable. However, even if exposures were fully provisioned for, we do not expect it would affect banks' Viability Ratings, as banks have sufficient headroom at their current rating levels."
Fitch said banks could have some unreported non-funded asset exposure, such as commitments or through holdings of Adani group bonds or equity, particularly as collateral.
"However, we expect any such holdings to be small compared with loan exposures, and do not believe they would be material for Fitch-rated Indian banks."
There is a risk that state banks could face pressure to provide refinancing for Adani entities if foreign banks scale back their exposure or investor appetite for the group's debt weakens in global markets, the agency added.
"This could affect our assessment of the risk appetite of such banks, particularly if not matched with the commensurate building of capital buffers. However, such a scenario would underpin the quasi-policy role of state-owned banks and reinforce our sovereign support expectations," it said.
These effects could be amplified if the controversy heightens financing challenges for other Indian corporates, increasing their reliance on local bank borrowings. Nonetheless, India's corporate sector has generally deleveraged in recent years, reducing its exposure to refinancing risk, Fitch said. -- PTI
17:29   Plea against RSS chief for 'denigrating' Brahmins
A complaint was filed before a Bihar court on Tuesday, against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat for allegedly denigrating Brahmins in a recent speech.
The petition was filed before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Muzaffarpur by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha who has cited media reports of Bhagwat's address on Sunday at Mumbai where he was attending a function held on the occasion of birth anniversary of Sant Ravidas, a medieval mystic poet and Dalit icon.
In his speech, in Marathi, the RSS chief had blamed "pandits" (the priestly class) for the rigid caste hierarchy that prevails in the Hindu society.
Some media outlets reported that Bhagwat spoke about "Brahmins", who have been associated with priestcraft.

A statement was issued later by the RSS, the parent body of the BJP, denying that Bhagwat had referred to any particular caste and asserting that by the word "pandits" he implied the scholars of yore who condoned caste system.
Nonetheless, Ojha, a serial litigant who remains in news for his petitions against celebrities of all hues, has prayed that Bhagwat, be booked under IPC sections relating to hurt caused to religious feelings and breach of public peace.
Interestingly, Ojha has also ended up calling Bhagwat the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as well as Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an RSS affiliate.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on February 20. -- PTI  
17:08   Rules followed during investments: LIC tells govt
Amid concerns in certain quarters over LIC's exposure to Adani group companies, the government on Tuesday said the insurer has informed that it strictly follows the statutory framework and regulations while making investments.

 Last week, state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) said it has investments of Rs 35,917.31 crore in Adani group's debt and equity securities. The amount is 0.975 per cent of the insurer's total assets under management of more than Rs 41.66 lakh crore. The total purchase value of equity, purchased over the last many years, under all the Adani group companies is Rs 30,127 crore and the market value for the same as at close of market hours on January 27, 2023, was Rs 56,142 crore, as per LIC.

 "LIC has informed that all investments of LIC are carried out strictly as per the statutory framework of the Insurance Act, 1938 and the IRDAI Investment Regulations, 2016 and are guided by a detailed governance mechanism," Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad told Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday. 

 To a question by BJP member Sushil Kumar Modi regarding the stakes held by LIC in various companies of the Adani group, Karad said, "LIC has also confirmed that most of the information with regard to its investments is already available in the public domain". Adani group has 10 listed companies. -- PTI
17:01   Congress is BJP's team B: Mamata in Tripura
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress ahead of the Tripura Assembly polls, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said Congress is BJP's 'team B'.

Keen on expanding her party's footprint in other states, Mamata Banerjee held a march with TMC workers and supporters in Agartala on Tuesday as Tripura Assembly elections are scheduled on February 16. 

The counting of votes will take place on March 2.

 Addressing a public meeting here, Mamata said, "We have done development work in Bengal. We provide 'Swasthya Sathi' cards for health insurance. There is no credibility in the Ayushman Bharat card given by the central government.

She said the Bengal model is being discussed at the international level.

"Unemployment has increased by 40 per cent in the country under the double-engine government. Have they fulfilled the promises they made? Has Rs 15 lakh come into your account?" she questioned.

She said the BJP is not able to fight politically, and that is why it is sending central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate to the residences of the Opposition leaders.

"Has the black money come back after demonetisation? If Life Insurance Corporation of India and State Bank of India sinks, will we get our money back? If you people are thinking that with the help of ED and CBI, we will be wiped out, that is not easy," Mamata said in a veiled attack at the Centre amid the Adani row. -- ANI
Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai
16:47   Google to launch ChatGPT competitor 'Bard': Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that the tech giant will soon launch an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot called Bard', aimed at countering the popularity of the ChatGPT tool backed by Microsoft.

 According to a blog post by Pichai, the conversational AI service will be assessed by a group of trusted testers before being rolled out to the public in the coming weeks. Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, Pichai, the Indian-origin CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, said on Monday, adding that Google's chatbot will be able to explain complex subjects like new discoveries from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to a nine-year-old. -- PTI
16:26   Nepal plane crash: Propellers did not have power
The propellers of both engines of the Yeti Airlines aircraft that crashed in Nepal last month and killed 71 people, including five Indians, did not have power during its descent, according to a government-appointed panel probing the country's latest aviation disaster.

 During the analysis and investigation, the propellers of both engines were found to have gone "feathering in the base leg in the course of landing," My Republica newspaper reported, quoting the panel. 

 Yeti Airlines flight 691, after taking off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on January 15, crashed on the bank of the Seti River between the old airport and the new airport in the resort city of Pokhara. Feathering applies to turboprop aircraft and is done when there is an engine stall, an aviation expert said.

 Usually, a propeller is feathered when the engine fails to produce the power needed to turn the propeller. By angling the propeller parallel to the direction of the flight, feathering helps in reducing the drag on the aircraft, the expert added.

Fifty-three Nepalese passengers and 15 foreign nationals, including five Indians, and four crew members were on board the plane when it crashed, in one of Nepal's worst aviation disasters in over three decades. There were 72 people onboard the ATR-72 aircraft when it crashed, but rescue officials have so far managed to recover only 71 bodies with the other passenger presumed dead. -- PTI
15:35   Rahul makes 5 observations on Modi-Adani dosti
Rahul Gandhi addresses Lok Sabha during Motion of Thanks on President's address. Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday linked the massive rise in the business fortunes and personal wealth of businessman Gautam Adani to the Modi government coming to power in 2014, as he launched a sharp attack on the BJP dispensation over the Adani issue.

"Earlier PM Modi used to travel in Adani's aircraft now Adani travels in Modiji's aircraft. This matter was earlier of Gujarat, then became of India and now has become international. How much money did Adani give to BJP in last 20 years and through electoral bonds? asks Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha.

"In 2022, Chairman of the Sri Lanka electricity board informed parliamentary committee in Sri Lanka that he was told by President Rajpaksa that he was pressured by PM Modi to give wind power project to Mr Adani. This isn't India's foreign policy, it's a policy for Adani's business.

"PM Modi goes to Australia and by magic, SBI gives $1 billion loan to Adani. Then he goes to Bangladesh & then the Bangladesh Power development board signs a 25-yrs contract with Adani.

"Adani never made drones but HAL, other companies in India do that. Despite that PM Modi goes to Israel and Adani gets the contract.

"Now, Adani has zero experience in the defence sector. Yesterday PM said at HAL that we hurled the wrong allegations. But in reality, HAL's contract of 126 aircraft went to Anil Ambani."

15:03   Rahul: From Kanyakumari to Kashmir people ask...
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha: 
"There's a rule who doesn't have prior experience in airports can't be involved in the development of airports. This rule was changed by the Government of India.

"This rule was changed and Adani was given six airports. After that India's most profitable airport 'Mumbai Airport' was hijacked from GVK using agencies like CBI, ED and was given to Adani by the Govt of India.

"Relationship began many years ago when Narendra Modi was Gujarat CM... One man stood shoulder to shoulder with PM Modi, he was loyal to PM and helped Mr Modi to construct the idea of a resurgent Gujarat. Real magic began when PM Modi reached Delhi in 2014.

"Only Adani is being talked about from apples of Kashmir, Himachal to ports, airports and even the roads we are walking on.

"Youth asked us that Adani is now in 8-10 sectors & that how his net worth reached $140 billion from $8 billion from 2014 to 2022.

"From Tamil Nadu, Kerala to Himachal Pradesh we have been listening one name everywhere 'Adani'. Across the entire country, it's just 'Adani', 'Adani', 'Adani'...people used to ask me that Adani enters any business and never fails."
14:46   Retd Army officers blame Doval for Agniveer: Rahul
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha speaking about the Bharat Jodo Yatra: "While walking during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' we heard people's voices while we also kept our voices. We talked to children, women, elderly during the yatra. 

"We ask youth about their jobs, many said they are unemployed or drive Uber, farmers talked about not getting money under PM-BIMA Yojana, their land being snatched away, while tribals talked about tribal bill. 

"People also talked about Agniveer scheme but youth of India told us about being asked to leave after 4 years. 

"Retired Senior officers said that Agniveer Yojana came from the RSS, Home ministry and not from Army. They said Agniveer scheme is being coerced on the Army. Retired officers said that people are being given arms training and then asked to go back to society, and this will lead to violence.

"They (Retired officers) have in their mind that Agniveer Scheme didn't come from Army and that NSA Ajit Doval coerced the scheme on Army."
14:35   More aid heads to Turkey
Second IAF C-17 with self-contained NDRF teams including dog squads, search and rescue equipment, extrication tools and vehicles leaves for Turkey.
The accused in the Kanjawala case in Delhi have been charged with murder
The accused in the Kanjawala case in Delhi have been charged with murder
14:29   Man dragged by car for 10 km in UP, driver blames fog
In another heart-wrenching incident of speculated hit and drag case, a body of a man was found stuck at the other end of a car moving towards Noida in Uttar Pradesh at the Yamuna Expressway, the Uttar Pradesh police said on Tuesday.

As per the information, the car was heading towards Noida from Agra when the stuck body of an individual caught the attention of security personnel at a toll booth in Mathura's Mant. 

 The car was driven by a Delhi-based Virendra Singh, who is currently being interrogated by the police. 

 "There was a dense fog at the Expressway last night, hence there was the least visibility due to which the victim got stuck under his car," Superintendent of Police (SP Dehat) Trigun Bisen said quoting suspected accused Virendra Singh as saying. 

 Virendra is being interrogated and the cameras are being scanned. The people in the nearby villages have been nudged about the incident for his identity. Further information in the matter is underway.
Deepika Padukone in the jauhar scene in Padmaavat
Deepika Padukone in the jauhar scene in Padmaavat
14:06   BJP MP refers to sati in Lok Sabha, house adjourns
Lok Sabha was adjourned briefly on Tuesday amid opposition uproar over certain references allegedly made by BJP member C P Joshi to the abolished practice of sati. 

Joshi, a BJP member from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, had initiated the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address when he made reference to Padmavati, the Queen of Mewar who self-immolated to protect her honour from invader Allaudin Khilji. 

 Opposition members Supriya Sule (NCP), Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja (DMK), K Muraleedharan (Congress), Imtiaz Jaleel (AIMIM) were on their feet claiming that Joshi had glorified the practice of sati. 

 Joshi asserted that he had not made any reference to the practice of sati', but mentioned that Padmavati had performed jauhar' (self-immolation) to protect her honour. 

"I stand by my words," Joshi said, as opposition members raised slogans in the Well of the House. As protests continued, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the proceedings for 20 minutes. PTI
The epicentre and the quake-affected areas in Turkey and Syria. Pic: USGS
The epicentre and the quake-affected areas in Turkey and Syria. Pic: USGS
13:52   5th earthquake of 5.4 magnitude hits Turkey
Earthquake update: According to USGS, a fifth earthquake of magnitude 5.4 has jolted eastern Turkey as the country grapples with widespread devastation and deaths amid a death toll reaching 5,000. 

At least 100 aftershocks measuring 4.0 or greater have occurred since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday morning local time. 

 As the time from the original earthquake extends, the frequency and magnitude of the aftershocks tend to decrease. However, 5.0 to 6.0-plus aftershocks are still likely to occur and bring a risk of additional damage to structures that are compromised from the original earthquake. This brings a continued threat to rescue teams and survivors, reported CNN. 

 The aftershocks stretch for more than 300 kilometres along the fault zone that ruptured in southern Turkey, oriented from southwest to northeast and stretching from the border with Syria up through the province of Malatya. 
13:45   Ferry service between Navi Mumbai and Gateway of India flagged off
Maharashtra Ports Minister Dada Bhuse on Tuesday flagged off a ferry service between Belapur in Navi Mumbai and the Gateway of India in Mumbai, giving commuters another transport option.

 The ferry will cover the distance in an hour, he said. 

 The lower deck of the ferry can accommodate 140 people, while 60 people can use the upper deck at a time. The fare is Rs 250 per seat on the lower deck and Rs 350 a seat on the other deck. 

 The fares are less than what taxis charge for a road journey between Belapur and Colaba, where Gateway of India is located. The service, which has been launched on an experimental basis, will go a long way in meeting the needs of the people who travel to Mumbai for work and vice versa, said the minister. 

 The timings and commuters' requirements will be reviewed from time to time, including the introduction of the monthly passes when more people start using the service, he said. PTI
13:30   Thorat resigns as Cong legislature party chief
Maharashtra Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday resigned as the state legislature party head, a day after his letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge over apparent friction with state unit chief Nana Patole came out, party sources said.

Thorat has sent his resignation to the party high command, they said. The Congress leader is the maternal uncle of Satyajit Tambe who recently won the Legislative Council election from the Nashik division graduates constituency as an independent candidate. 

 Thorat is a staunch Congress loyalist and has earlier served as the party's state president apart from holding many key ministerial portfolios. An aide of Thorat had said that the Congress leader had written to the party high command citing his inability to work with Patole due to the latter's "anger" towards him. 

Thorat also said he was not being consulted before decisions were being taken, the aide added. The matter surfaced days after Thorat's brother-in-law and then Nashik graduates constituency MLC Sudhir Tambe declined to contest despite being the Congress' official candidate. 

His son Satyajit Tambe then fought as an independent and won the election, results of which were announced on February 2. 

 While the Congress was left red-faced due to the episode, the silence of Thorat, who is recuperating from a shoulder injury, was seen as silent support to the Tambe father-son duo, sources said. PTI
An 88-member medical team was dispatched to Turkey
An 88-member medical team was dispatched to Turkey
13:03   India to send 2 more IAF aid planes to Turkey
India will send two more C-17 Indian Air Force planes to Turkey later this evening with 60 Para Field Hospital and personnel to assist in rescue and relief operations.

According to defence officials, the Agra-based Army Field Hospital has dispatched an 89-member medical team. The medical team comprises critical care specialist teams including Orthopaedic Surgical Team, General Surgical Specialist Team, Medical Specialist Teams apart from other medical teams. 

The teams are equipped with X-ray machines, ventilators, Oxygen generation plant, Cardiac monitors and associated equipment to establish a 30 bedded medical facility.

Meanwhile, the first batch of aid from India, which took off from the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad early this morning reached Adana in Turkey.

The Indian Air Force tweeted on Tuesday that a C-17, a strategic transport aircraft, left for Turkey "bearing search and rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force." -- ANI
12:38   Adani Enterprises jumps 14%
Most of the Adani group companies rose on Tuesday, with flagship Adani Enterprises gaining 14 per cent in late morning trade. Amid volatile trading in the market, eight Adani group firms gained while two were in the red. 

 On the BSE, shares of Adani Enterprises jumped 14.28 per cent to Rs 1,797 and Adani Transmission climbed 5 per cent to Rs 1,324.45, also its upper price band. 

 Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone rose 5.79 per cent to Rs 577.65, while Adani Green Energy jumped nearly 3 per cent to Rs 913.70. Shares of Adani Wilmar went up 4.99 per cent to hit the upper price band of Rs 399.40. 

 ACC jumped 3.13 per cent to Rs 2,031.20, Ambuja Cements climbed 3.20 per cent to Rs 391.60, and NDTV surged 5 per cent to reach the upper price band of Rs 225.35. Out of the ten listed companies of the Adani group, two were in the red -- Adani Total Gas slumped 5 per cent to touch the lower price band of Rs 1,467.50, and Adani Power declined 2.93 per cent to Rs 177.10. On Monday, six of the group companies closed in the red. 

The combined market capitalisation of the group companies has eroded by Rs 9.5 lakh crore since January 24, when the US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research came out with an adverse report. Adani group, on Monday, said that the promoters will pre-pay USD 1,114 million for the release of pledged shares of its firms ahead of the maturity in September 2024. -- PTI
12:07   101 NDRF personnel leave for quake-hit Turkey
A National Disaster Response Force team on Tuesday departed for Turkey to help in relief and rescue operations in the country where thousands have died after it was jolted by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, according to officials.

 The orange dungaree-clad personnel of the federal contingency force are accompanied by two search dogs, four-wheeled vehicles and communication setup, the officials said. 

A total of 101 personnel drawn from two teams based in Ghaziabad near Delhi and Kolkata along with equipment have boarded an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 aircraft to Turkey, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officer told PTI. 

 This is part of the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) measures announced by the Indian government on Monday for the earthquake-hit Turkey and neighbouring areas, the officer said. 

 The teams will help rescue people trapped under the collapsed structures and render all assistance as required by the local authorities there, he said. According to the officer, the team also includes women rescuers. In the past, the NDRF has been a part of two such international operations -- the 2011 Japan triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown) and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Image: A rescuer carries a Syrian toddler away from the rubble of a building following the earthquake. Pic: Reuters
11:38   Parliament adjourned till noon over Adani row
Both houses of Parliament were adjourned till 12 noon after opposition members disrupted the proceedings demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into the fraud-allegation-triggered rout in Adani Group company stocks.

In the Lok Sabha, soon after the House met, opposition members, including those from the Congress and Bharat Rashtra Samithi, were on their feet seeking to know the status of their demand for a probe into the tanking of the Adani Group scrips and sought a probe into the business practices of the corporate giant. Speaker Om Birla appealed them to go back to their seats and participate in the debate.

In the Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 12 noon on Tuesday as Opposition parties protested, demanding a discussion in the House on allegations of fraud against the Adani Group.

Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said he had received notices for suspension of scheduled business by the Congress, CPI-M, AAP, TRS and CPI. However, he did not accept the notices saying they were not in order.
This led to protests by several opposition MPs.
The chairman then adjourned the proceedings till 12 noon.
10:59   SC dismisses plea against Victoria Gowri
Update: Supreme Court refuses to entertain a plea against the appointment of advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as an additional judge of the Madras High Court.

Court declines to stay the oath ceremony of advocate Gowri as a Madras High Court additional judge.

Supreme Court dismisses petition challenging lawyer Victoria Gowri's appointment as Madras High Court judge. She has taken oath.

 Court says it cannot direct the Collegium to reconsider its recommendation relating to Victoria Gowri.

The Court says there have been many instances when the additional judge was not made permanent when performance was not satisfactory.
10:53   Victoria Gowri takes oath even as SC hears plea
Advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri takes oath as an additional judge of the Madras High Court. Hearing in the plea against her appointment is still ongoing in the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court started hearing a petition demanding restraining lawyer Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri from taking oath as a judge of the Madras High Court, just minutes before her scheduled swearing-in. The oath-taking ceremony started even as the court proceedings were underway.
10:51   What Shashi Tharoor told Varun Gandhi
BJP MP, poet and author Varun Gandhi's new book is out. 
"My new book, The Indian Metropolis, written over 3 tumultuous years, seeks to highlight the challenges of urban India & to spark a conversation on humanising our cities, in a push for an inclusive, hopeful future.
May this effort strengthen the pathway to the India of our dreams," Gandhi tweeted. 

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, also an author of over a dozen books, congratulated Gandhi writing, "Well done @varungandhi80.  Seems a monumental tome & it's clear a considerable amount of research & reflection has gone into it. All the best!"

Varun Gandhi is the BJP MP from the Pilibhit constituency of UP.
10:40   Have you seen Virat Kohli's phone?
Virat Kohli made a sad announcement today. He lost his brand new phone. Kohli tweeted, " "Nothing beats the sad feeling of losing your new phone without even unboxing it.  Has anyone seen it?"
10:17   Some Adani Group firms recover in early trade
The domestic equity market opened with gains on the back of strong cues from Asian stocks markets.

The equities may likely to be steady today as investors are keeping a wait-and-watch mode on the outcome of the three-day meeting of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s monetary policy committee that started on Monday.

 The domestic stocks in opening trade also seemed to have recovered from last week's losses when shares of the Adani Group firms suffered a rout and the outcome dragged on the stock key indices, namely Sensex and Nifty.

BSE Sensex went up 123 points to 60,630.32 while Nifty surged 34 points to 17,798.95 at 9.30 on Tuesday morning.

Adani Enterprises, Gravita, Tri Turbine, Adani Transmission and BLS International Services were among the active stocks that went up in Tuesday morning on BSE. Lloyd Steel, ATGL, Adani Power, Balamines and Mold-Tek Packaging were among the laggards.

Among the Adani Group firms, shares of Adani Enterprises recovered Rs 21.20 or 1.53 per cent to Rs 1,593.70 apiece while Adani Ports was up Rs 4.50 or 0.83 per cent to Rs 549.80 on Tuesday morning. 

Adani Wilmar's shares were up Rs 14.40 or 3.79 per cent to Rs 393.60 while Adani Transmission's shares surged Rs 62.80 or 5 per cent to Rs 1,319.25.Shares of Adani Green were down Rs 44 or 5 per cent to Rs 844.65 while Adani Total Gas was down Rs 77 or 5 per cent to Rs 1,464.20 on Tuesday morning.
09:45   SC to hear plea against judge's appointment
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on February 10, a plea against the appointment of Advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as an additional judge of the Madras High Court just hours before her swearing-in. 

 Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran mentioned the matter for urgent listing before the bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. 

 CJI Chandrachud agreed to list the case on Friday.

 Meanwhile, Victoria Gowri has already been appointed as an additional judge in the Madras High Court and the announcement had come minutes before the lawyer sought an urgent hearing.

 Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju today in a tweet shared a list whose appointment for the judgeship was cleared by the Centre. 

 "This is an urgent petition by senior lawyers of Madras concerning the impending appointment. They are praying for interim relief. I would request you to take it at the earliest," the senior advocate told the CJI bench while mentioning the matter. 

 A section of the Madras High Court bar had sent a representation to the CJI urging the Collegium to recall the proposal of appointment of advocate Victoria Gowri as a judge. The proposal regarding advocate Victoria Gowri became controversial after certain statements made against minorities surfaced in the public domain. -- ANI
Cagla Gurdogan/Reuters
Cagla Gurdogan/Reuters
09:30   Earthquake: Biden promises to send aid to Turkey
US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) reaffirmed the readiness of America to provide any and all needed assistance to Turkey to recover from the devastating earthquakes. 

In a telephone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden vowed US assistance to NATO ally Turkey. 

 "He reaffirmed the readiness of the United States to provide any and all needed assistance to our NATO ally Turkey in response to this tragedy," the White House said in a statement on Biden's call with Erdogan. 

 "President Biden expressed condolences on behalf of the American people to those who were injured or lost loved ones in the earthquakes," it read.

 According to latest estimates, over 4,000 people have been killed due to the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. 

 At least 4,372 deaths have been confirmed dead according to officials and agencies. Turkey's toll rose to 2,921 as of Tuesday morning, according to Yunus Sezer, Turkey's head of disaster services. 

 A total of 15,834 injuries have been reported, Sezer said in a news conference in Ankara. Sezer said he would provide a more comprehensive update at 6 am local time (10 pm ET). In Syria, 1,451 deaths and 3,531 injuries have been reported by officials, reported CNN. Biden noted that US teams are deploying quickly to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and coordinate other assistance that may be required by people affected by the earthquakes, including health services or basic relief items, added the readout. 

 The earthquake -- felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt -- occurred in Kahramanmaras province, north of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border. Rescue efforts are ongoing, and the number of people killed, injured and displaced probably will climb, reported Washington Post. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
09:26   Food poisoning: 137 students hospitalised in Karnataka
A total of 137 nursing and paramedical students staying at a private hostel here have fallen sick due to food poisoning after having dinner, police sources said on Tuesday. The students have been admitted to various hospitals in the city, city police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said. 

 The students complained of stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea and were admitted to hospitals on Monday night. Water contamination is said to be the reason for the food poisoning, sources said. The condition of some of the students is stated to be serious. PTI
08:59   HC restrains Maha police from holding mock drills showing 'terrorists' as belonging to particular community
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court has in an interim order restrained the police from conducting mock drills depicting persons of a particular community as terrorists.

It was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Sayed Usama alleging that mock drills being conducted by police department depicted attire and slogans to indicate the terrorists were Muslims.

A division bench of Justices Mangesh Patil and A S Chapalgaonkar on February 3 directed the public prosecutor to apprise the court about the guidelines for holding mock drills.

The HC, while posting the matter for further hearing on February 10, said, 'Till the next date, no mock drill shall be conducted depicting persons of a particular community as terrorists.'

Mock drills are conducted by the police at district levels in order to increase efficiency of the security force and to be better prepared for emergencies, including terror attacks.

The petitioner claimed such mock drills showed bias and prejudice against the Muslim community and sent a message that terrorists belong only to a particular religion.

The PIL took exception to three mock drills held at Ahmednagar, Chandrapur and Aurangabad districts where policemen, who played the part of terrorists in the mock drill, were dressed as men from the Muslim community.

'The petitioner, who is a social activist, apparently a Muslim, has raked-up the issue involving public interest. He takes exception to the conduct of mock drills by the police department depicting from attire and the slogan shouting as if to indicate that the terrorist is a Muslim,' the court said.  -- PTI
00:11   Quake-hit Turkey thanks 'dost' India for funds
Terming India as "Dost" for its generosity for providing funds to the country after three devastating earthquakes struck Turkey in 24 hours, Ambassador of Turkey to India Firat Sunel thanked New Delhi and said, "a friend in need is a friend indeed."

Taking to Twitter, Sunel said, "Dost" is a common word in Turkish and Hindi... We have a Turkish proverb: "Dost kara gunde belli olur" (a friend in need is a friend indeed). Thank you very much India." 

Earlier, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan visited Turkey's embassy and expressed condolences. 

He also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sympathy and humanitarian support. 

Today, India said it would despatch rescue and medical teams to Turkey.

The prime minister's office said that a meeting was held and it was decided that the search and rescue teams of NDRF and medical teams along with relief materials would be dispatched immediately in coordination with the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

Two teams of the National Disaster Relief Force, comprising 100 personnel with specially trained dog squads and necessary equipment, are ready to be flown to the earthquake-hit area for search and rescue operations, the PMO said in a statement.

"Medical teams are also being readied with trained doctors and paramedics with essential medicines. Relief material will be dispatched in coordination with the Turkish government and the Indian Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General office in Istanbul," the PMO said.

P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister held a meeting in South Block to discuss immediate relief measures.