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CBI seeks details on whereabouts of Choksi from Antiguan authorities



Mehul Choksi

New Delhi, July 25: The CBI on Wednesday said it had written to the Antiguan authorities seeking details of Mehul Choksi’s whereabouts in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) source told IANS that on Tuesday evening the agency wrote to the Caribbean nation seeking details of the owner of Gitanjali Group of companies, who is being sought in India by investigators, along with his nephew Nirav Modi.

The source also said that the query had been sent as a follow-up to the “diffusion notice” issued through the Interpol seeking information on Choksi’s location.

However, the red corner notice (RCN) request from the CBI to the Interpol against Choksi is still pending.

Earlier in July, the Interpol issued the RCN against fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, his brother, a Belgian national, Nishal Modi and an executive of his firm Subhash Parab.

Asked about when the Interpol would issue a RCN against Choksi, the CBI official said that Interpol had raised certain queries after the bureau had written to them to issue an RCN. They had been replied to. “As of now no queries from Interpol in relation to Choksi is pending with us,” the official, who did not want to be named, said.

The CBI move comes after it was revealed on Tuesday that Choksi had moved to Antigua from the US several weeks ago using an Antiguan passport. The revelation came from Antiguan authorities in response to a CBI diffusion notice circulated to foreign countries through Interpol.

The CBI came to know of it last week and shared the information with the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Both the CBI and the ED have been probing the the multi-crore fraud allegedly committed between 2011-2017.

On July 11, the ED asked a special court in Mumbai to declare both diamond merchants — Choksi and Nirav Modi — as “fugitives” under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 because they had fled from India a month before they were named in the fraudulent case on January 31.

The ED has been probing two cases of money laundering against Choksi, Nirav Modi and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of FIR registered by the CBI.

In these cases, the ED had on May 24 and May 26 filed prosecution complaints or charge sheets against Choksi and Nirav Modi.

The court has taken cognisance of the charge sheets and issued non-bailable warrant against both the of them.

On the request of the ED and the CBI, the Interpol had earlier issued RCN against Nirav Modi.



Rajya Sabha holds crucial meeting as Opposition boycotts Parliament proceedings

The Opposition parties have alleged that they were informed just an hour ago about the BAC meeting, leaving them little time to attend the meeting.




Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha has called its Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting on Tuesday after a day-full of hectic activities, protests and passage of several bills.

But the Opposition, which announced to boycott the Upper House for the remainder of the session, will not attend the meeting.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Congress’s Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha are the five Opposition leaders who will skip 11-member committee meeting.

The BAC is a panel led by Rajya Saha chairman Venkaiah Naidu to discuss the weekly agenda of the House.

The meeting has been called amid indications that the House might be adjourned in a day or two.

The Opposition parties also alleged that they were informed just an hour ago about the BAC meeting, leaving them little time to attend the meeting.

Rajya Sabha officials pointed out that the meeting was decided at a short notice and all efforts were made to inform the members of the panel as quickly as possible.

On Sunday, the Rajya Sabha passed the two key farm bills – Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, amid fierce protests in the house.

While the Opposition claimed that the bills were anti-farmer, the government says that these bills will help boost the farming sector through private investments. On Monday, eight Opposition MPs were suspended for unruly behaviour.

On Monday, the opposition demonstrated its disapproval in the Upper House of Parliament against the suspension of MPs and passage of these bills and boycotted the Rajya Sabha for the remaining part of the session.

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Punjab to start Covaxin’s Phase-3 trials





Punjab’s three Government Medical Colleges will participate in the Phase-3 trials of Bharat Biotech Ltd’s Covaxin, the first indigenously-developed vaccine candidate against coronavirus, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said on Tuesday.

The trials are scheduled to commence from October 15.

This was disclosed by a government spokesperson fter a virtual Covid review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister has directed the Medical Education and Research Department to ensure full care and strict adherence to all precautions to be taken during the trials, for which the consent of the participants will be mandatory.

He issued stern directions to also ensure that poor persons are not pulled into the trials without consent, knowledge and understanding of the possible repercussions and dangers.

Bharat Biotech Ltd, which had approached the state government a few days back, has announced Rs 75 lakh insurance cover for the participants in case of any adverse event or effects or death.

The possible side effects of the vaccine could include fever, pain at the site of the intramuscular injection and malaise.

Two doses of the inactivated virus injection would be given to the participants (0 and 28 days) as part of the Phase-3 human trials.

Source: IANS

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HC reserves order on plea seeking early hearing in 2G case



Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking early hearing of its leave to appeal application against the acquittal of the accused persons in the 2G spectrum case.

After hearing the arguments of all the accused persons and the probe agencies, a single judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Brijesh Sethi reserved its order.

During the course of hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, representing the probe agencies, submitted that substantial public time has already been consumed and since Justice Sethi, who is hearing the matter currently, is all set to demit office in November, the matter should be heard immediately.

“A judge can always decide how much time is required to hear a matter… If genuine efforts are made and assistance is rendered, it’s possible to take this matter to a logical conclusion,” said the ASG while responding to the submissions made by the counsels of the accused persons, who had opposed the petition for early hearing saying that they won’t get required time to put forth their stand if the matter is hurried.

“It’s my duty to unravel the truth,” said Sethi while hearing the submissions made by Jain and, adding that in his last four years at the high court, he had never stopped a counsel from arguing.

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