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Fire breaks out at Delhi hotel, 17 Killed

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Delhi Fire

New Delhi, Feb 12: At least 17 people have lost their lives and several others injured in a major fire that broke out in a central Delhi hotel early on Tuesday.

Around 35 others were rescued from the six-storeyed building, while three jumped off the upper floors of the hotel in Karol Bagh to save their lives.

The death toll could further rise. Most victims died of suffocation, Fire Chief Officer G.C. Mishra said.

A call was received at 4.30 a.m. from Arpit Palace Hotel and immediately 25 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the officer at the Delhi Fire Department headquarters told IANS.

The Fire was reported on third and fourth floor, but the blaze spiralled down as well. Only the basement and ground floor were not affected. The fire has already been controlled and the cooling process was underway.

The blaze took place due to fire in ducting because of which it had spread to the hotel rooms.

Delhi Hotel Association Vice President. Balan Mani told ANI, “It was due to fire in ducting because of which it had spread to the hotel rooms.All norms were followed here; license is issued only after inspection. Mishappening can occur in a house as well”.

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Court extends Vadra’s interim bail in money laundering case

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) A Delhi court on Saturday extended the interim bail till March 2 of Robert Vadra, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, who came to the court for the first time in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Judge Arvind Kumar also extended the interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora till March 2.

The hearing was in relation to Vadra’s anticipatory bail plea.

The ED, however, told the court that Vadra is not cooperating in the investigation.

Defending him, Vadra’s counsel K.T.S. Tulsi said that he has appeared in the ED office thrice and grilled for a total of 23 hours and 25 minutes.

Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh argued that Vadra was taking to social media and claiming that he was a victim by posting that he was being “harrased”.

Singh said that accused should not use social media to claim that he is being victimised.

He said that Vadra’s visit to the court had attracted a lot of media attention which seemed like people had turned up for a “baraat” or a wedding party.

The case relates to ownership of 1.9 million pounds worth undisclosed assets abroad, allegedly belonging to Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, the new General Secretary of the Congress for Uttar Pradesh East.

The ED had lodged a money laundering case against Arora after his role surfaced during a probe by the Income Tax Department into another case under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

The London property was allegedly bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of the investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

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Cloudy, foggy Saturday morning in Delhi

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delhi fog
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New Delhi, Feb 16: Delhiites on Saturday witnessed a cloudy and foggy morning with the minimum temperature recorded at 13 degrees Celsius, two notch above the season’s average.

“The sky will remain partly cloudy throughout the day,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 19 degrees Celsius. The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 93 per cent while visibility was at 600 metres.

The Indian Railways said as many as 13 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to fog and low visibility in several parts of northern India.

The overall air quality of the city remained in the ‘poor’ category with the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 225 as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting.

On Friday, the maximum temperature settled two notches below the average at 22 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was recorded at 11.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average.

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Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express

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Train 18

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off the indigenous Train 18, renamed Vande Bharat Express, from the New Delhi railway station to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in the backdrop of the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir which killed 45 troopers.

A sombre Modi told a gathering at the station that he was “grateful to designers and engineers behind Vande Bharat Express” which set off at 11.20 a.m.

The train will clock 160 km per hour — the fastest on the Indian rail network.

The Prime Minister said with “our sincerity and hard work in the last four and half years, we have tried to improve the railways”.

Earlier, Modi inspected the coaches and the engine cabin of the Vande Bharat Express along with senior railway officials.

The flagging off was delayed by over 80 minutes as Modi presided over a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi and members of the Railway Board were on board the train on its inaugural journey.

Bookings on the Vande Bharat Express opened on Friday. All the seats of were booked within four hours.

The train, which will start replacing Shatabdi Express trains, will run between Delhi and Varanasi.

The train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.

The gleaming blue-nosed train comes fitted with world class amenities on board like high-speed on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature.

The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each.

The executive class will have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.

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