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CBI raids on NDTV reminiscent of Emergency: PUCL



Prannoy Roy

New Delhi, June 9: The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Friday said the CBI raids on NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy’s houses was “reminiscent of the Emergency era” and a price for questioning the government.

Citing Supreme Court guidelines and the Banking Regulation Act, the PUCL said the CBI’s actions were “neither based on standard procedures and practices nor as per court mandated guidelines”.

“Under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, cognizance of the offences can only be taken in case of a complaint in writing by an officer of the Reserve Bank of India specially authorised to file such complaints.

“However, in this case no such complaint seems to have been lodged by an authorised officer of the RBI,” PUCL President Ravi Kiran Jain said, citing the CBI booking Roy for criminal conspiracy with unknown officials of ICICI Bank under the Banking Regulation Act.

“The CBI statement explains that the complaint is lodged by a private person said to be a shareholder of ICICI Bank and NDTV. In such a situation, the CBI is bound by higher standards of transparency, accountability and responsibility, to explain their actions.”

Observing that the CBI’s action was initiated without conducting a preliminary enquiry, the PUCL questioned why the agency has not raided the premises of the ICICI Bank or its employees to find out who were involved or responsible for the alleged crime.

“The People’s Union for Civil Liberties condemns the efforts of the present government to suppress the voice of its critics in the media through malicious prosecution on the one hand, and vicious labelling of ‘anti nationalism’ and “seditious” on the other,” he said.

It criticised the “motivated use of the enforcement and intelligence agencies” against the expressing of opposing opinions, saying it would lead only to breakdown and loss of faith in the Rule of Law.

“The raids is reminiscent of the Emergency era and a chilling reminder of the price to be paid for questioning the government and ruling elite,” the PUCL said while referring to India slipping three places, to 136th in the World Press Freedom Index.

The PUCL appealed to journalists, media houses and ordinary citizens not to remain quiet but to stand up and assert the importance of independence of the media and oppose any and all attempts to muzzle and silence dissent.

“At stake is the possibility of a new version of `Emergency’ versus protecting, promoting and deepening democracy,” it added.



AMU students re-invite Hamid Ansari

The students’ union of Aligarh Muslim University has again invited former vice-president of India, Hamid Ansari for delivering a lecture at the university. Student leaders also want to confer him with lifetime membership of the students’ union.



Hamid Ansari

The students’ union of Aligarh Muslim University (AMUSU) has again invited former vice-president of India, Hamid Ansari for delivering a lecture at the university. Student leaders also want to confer him with lifetime membership of the students’ union.

AMUSU president Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani was in Delhi on Saturday and met Ansari at his residence in this regard.

“On behalf of AMUSU, we extended an invitation and requested the former vice president to visit our campus and deliver the lecture which was earlier scheduled on May 2,” stated Usmani.

“We also wish to confer lifetime membership to the former vice- president during his visit sometime in future. The vice-president is yet to schedule his visit and it would materialise once the dates are finalized,” added Usmani.

To recall, the former vice-president had visited AMU on May 2 for delivering a lecture. The schedule included conferring of life-time membership to him by the AMUSU.

However, the event could not materialise as a conflict took place due to the controversy over the Jinnah portrait at AMU. Right wing activists marched towards the AMU, but students accused the police of ‘allowing’ them into the campus.

In protest, angry students of AMU marched towards the Civil Lines police station but were allegedly cane-charged. Seeking judicial probe into these matters, AMU students went on strike and resorted to hunger strike which was finally called off on Wednesday.

Ansari had recently extended support to the AMU students’ agitation while urging them not to let their studies get affected.

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Delhi govt planning free dialysis at pvt hospitals: Jain




New Delhi, May 21 : The Delhi government is planning to make the dialysis procedure free at private hospitals and dialysis centres on a public-private-partnership basis, subject to conditions, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today.

Jain said only those private hospitals and standalone centres which have more than 10 dialysis machines and are empanelled under the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme or the Central Government Health Scheme would be eligible to become a partner in the project.

Delhi government through the Delhi Arogya Kosh will pay them Rs 1,274 per dialysis.

Delhi residents who have been living in the city for the past three years and having an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh shall be eligible to avail the facility, Jain said.

The government is also installing dialysis machines at its own hospitals.

“We have installed 15 machines out of the 75 machines that we intend to install at various hospitals,” he said.

Jain said the idea behind providing the facility at private hospitals or dialysis centres is to cut the travel time for patients, who otherwise may have to go long distance to avail that facility at a government hospital.

“This would be like a reverse referral facility where patients would be referred to an empanelled hospital or centre nearby their home,” he said.

Jain said the government was in an “expansion mode” as far as health services were concerned.

“Five of our hospitals have already earned NABH entry-level accreditation – Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Shri Dada Dev Matri Avum Shishu Chikitsalaya, Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital, Guru Gobind Singh Hospital and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital,” he said.

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PNB fraud: ED attaches Rs 170-cr assets of Nirav Modi

According to data till March, the ED had attached over Rs 7,600 crore worth of assets of all the accused in this case.



Nirav Modi

Mumbai, May 21 : The Enforcement Directorate took fresh action against Nirav Modi and attached assets worth Rs 170 crore of the absconding diamantaire in connection with its money laundering probe in the over USD 2 billion PNB fraud case, officials said today.

They said the central probe agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) attaching a number of bank accounts, immovable assets and share investments of Nirav Modi, his associates and business-linked firms.

Last week, the agency had seized over 34,000 pieces of jewellery worth Rs 85 crore from Gitanjali Group, owned by Nirav Modi’s uncle and jeweller Mehul Choksi, also wanted in this case.

Nirav Modi and Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank, the country’s second largest lender, to the tune of more than USD 2 billion or over Rs 13,000 crore.

The agency had recently also summoned at least four family members of Modi, including his father, brother, sister and borther-in-law, and his US-based business partner Mihir Bhansali in this case.

This case is being also being probed by the CBI and other investigative agencies.

These agencies now suspect that Nirav Modi and Choksi could now be in the United States (US).

According to data till March, the ED had attached over Rs 7,600 crore worth of assets of all the accused in this case.

The duo and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraud came to light this year following a complaint by PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED have registered two first information reports each in the case.

The CBI, last week, had filed two charge sheets in the case before a Mumbai court, while the ED is expected to file its own prosecution complaint soon.

The ED complaint or charge sheet will focus on the money laundering aspect and the role of Nirav Modi, Choksi and others in perpetrating the alleged fraud.

Both Nirav Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them.

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