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Coronavirus cases in India surges to 5194; death toll rise to 149

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Corona India Tablighi Jamaat

New Delhi, April 8 With India in the third week of its 21-day lockdown, the total number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus surged to 5,194, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.

Of these, 4643 are active cases of COVID-19, 401 individuals have recovered and discharged from the hospital, one person migrated to another country and 149 people succumbed to the disease.

Amongst the total affected people, 70 are foreign nationals.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with a total number of positive cases rising to 1018, followed by Tamil Nadu which has 690 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

India

Punjab CM launches scholarship scheme for SC students

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Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday formally launched the recently announced Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Post Matric Scheduled Caste Scholarship Scheme, and also virtually laid the foundation stone of Rs 50 crore worth of projects at Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal in Amritsar to mark the Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti.

Participating in the Valmiki Jayanti celebrations here, the Chief Minister also inaugurated a new Ram Tirath ITI, while giving the go-ahead for the establishment of a skill development centre to prepare Dalit students for competitive exams

In addition, he announced an annual holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act in remembrance of the great personality, and said that Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar would organise an annual seminar on Bhagwan Valmiki on the eve of his birth anniversary every year.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister distributed Post Matric SC Scholarship Certificates to students and congratulated the Valmiki Samaj for various schemes launched by the Technical Education and other departments for the Dalit community in the state.

His government was committed to the welfare of the community, he added.

The Chief Minister said the state scholarship scheme would ensure that poor SC students get free higher education, which the government of India had unfairly deprived them of with its abrupt withdrawal of the Central aid of Rs 800 crore to the state.

The Dr B.R. Ambedkar Post Matric SC Scholarship, being launched without any financial contribution from the Centre, will provide 100 per cent fee waiver for the SC students to give them net savings of about Rs 550 crore, he said.

The scheme, which will benefit more than 3,00,000 poor SC students every year, will involve no upfront payment by these students to government and private educational institutions.

The institutes will provide free education to the SC students under the scheme against direct subsidy from the state government, the Chief Minister announced, adding the students will also get monthly stipend to buy books, uniforms, etc.

Giving details of the Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal projects, the Chief Minister said these include a panorama on Maharishi Valmiki (Rs 25-30 crore), facade lights (Rs 10.9 crore), filtration plant in the sarovar (Rs 4.75 crore), furniture (Rs 2 crore) and construction of a ‘parikrama’ (Rs 1.3 crore).

Virtually inaugurating the temporary campus of the ITI at Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal, popularly known as Ram Tirath, Amarinder Singh said the institute will contribute to generating more jobs for youngsters.

Around 90 trainees had so far been admitted to the institute, he announced, adding that the student strength will be raised to 240 by next year when the building will be renovated at a cost of Rs 1.82 crore and machinery worth Rs 3.5 crore will be procured.

The number of courses will also be increased from the current four to nine, he added.

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Educational institutions in Assam to reopen on Nov 2

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Children wearing mask

GUWAHATI: The Elementary, Secondary and Higher Education Department of the Assam Government has issued new standard operating procedure (SOP) for re-opening of Schools/Colleges/Engineering Colleges/Polytechnics/Private educational institutions as well as Govt. and private training and coaching institutes/universities in the State. The SOP will come into effect from 2nd November.

Attendance of students must not be enforced and shall be purely based on parental consent, states the Assam government in its latest guidelines.

As per the guidelines, in Upper Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary schools, for students of class VI, VIII, X and XII, classes will be conducted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Classes VII, IX and XI, classes will be conducted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Fixation of first batch and second batch of students will be done by the Head of the Institution, and institutions will prepare a daily routine chart for imparting, giving equal importance to all subjects.

The first batch of students will come at 08.00 AM and stay up to 12.00 Noon and the second batch of students will come at 12.30 PM and stay up to 03.30 PM.

As for midday meals, the first batch will have their midday meal from 11.30 AM to 12.00 noon, and the next batch from 12.30 PM to 01.00 PM. SMC/SMDC shall distribute food security allowance to the eligible absentee children as per entitlements/ norms following the guidelines of distribution of food security allowance.

Sanitization has to be done on every weekend (preferably on every Sunday).

Before the schools reopen, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) of all Teachers/Cooks/ Staff members have to be done and thereafter periodic testing at an interval of 30 days from time to time.

Temperatures check of all students/teachers etc. shall be done every day through thermo scanner.

Whenever any single COVID-19 positive case is detected in the school premises and thereafter, the school should be opened the next day only for COVID 19 testing of all, and in case of multiple positive cases detected in the school premises, the institution will be closed for a period of 7 days.

School buses will carry 1/3 intake of the students in the bus.

In respect of those educational institutions which do not have potable water/drinking water facilities/stations, the school shall not be re-opened on 2nd November 2020 and the decision in this connection will be taken by the Deputy Commissioner of the District.

However, all hostel facilities in schools and colleges will remain suspended until further orders.

Online mode of education will continue for students who prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend schools/colleges.

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ED arrests key accused in Rs 750 cr Bush Foods bank fraud cas

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Enforcement Directorate

 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a key accused in the Bush Foods bank fraud case involving the laundering of Rs 750 crore. The agency has secured his seven-day custody from a special court.

The Central agency produced the accused Sai Chandrasekhar before the Saket district and sessions court here and got the remand for his custodial interrogation, the agency said on Saturday.

Sai Chandrasekhar is accused of representing the level of stocks and inventory. The agency on October 23 had carried out searches at the residential and office premises of Chandrasekhar.

The ED initiated investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Virkaran Awasty, Vinod Sirohi, KPMG India Pvt. Ltd. and others based on the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Economic Offence Wing of the Delhi Police on the basis of a complaint received from Hassad Netherlands B.V. and consequently filed a charge sheet.

Hassad Netherlands B.V., a subsidiary of Hassad Food Company, was induced by Virkaran Awasty and Ritika Awasty, Directors of Bush Foods Overseas Pvt. Ltd., to part with funds amounting to $ 120 million (approximately Rs 750 crore) by misrepresenting the level of stocks and inventory.

On the basis of such misrepresentations the accused persons induced Hassad Netherlands B.V. to provide corporate guarantee for the outstanding amount of Rs 714 crores of credit facilities availed from the consortium of banks.

Credit facilities were availed by Bush Foods Overseas Pvt. Ltd. on the basis of non-existent stocks or inventory.

Investigation under PMLA revealed that Virkaran Awasty along with other directors created bogus stocks by inflating the inventory and fabricating financial statements of the company.

“Bulk transactions of sales and purchases were generated in order that Bush Foods could record increased turnover, profit margins and additional stock by generating approximately equal value of sales and purchases in a year,” the ED said in a statement.

“Artificial profit and artificial stock in the book value of inventory was recorded in the books by showing these bulk sales as domestic sales.”

Chandrasekhar was an employee of Hassad Foods Company and was part of the team which evaluated the transactions, said the ED, adding he colluded and conspired with Virkaran Awasty to cheat Hassad Netherlands.

Chandrasekhar had a pivotal role and responsibility in the business transactions between Bush Foods Overseas Pvt. Ltd. and Hassad Netherlands B.V. He also had a key role in negotiations, discussion and due diligence carried out by Hassad on Bush Foods.

“In lieu of manipulating the due diligence exercise in favour of Bush Foods and knowing that the credentials of the company were not genuine and facilitating the transactions, Chandrasekhar was paid illegal gratification by Virkaran Awasty to the tune of Rs 20.79 crore,” the ED said.

The ED investigation also revealed that Chandrasekhar acquired property located at Indiranagar in Bengaluru worth Rs 5.8 crore for which amount was transferred by Virkaran Awasty from his concern V&R Overseas.

Chandrasekhar also received ‘Proceeds of crime’ to the tune of Rs one crore in the account of his father and mother from Virkaran Awasty which was spent for medical treatment of his father. He further received Rs 13.79 crore from Virkaran Awasty in his company Harin Ventures Limited, Dubai.

Assets identified so far of Chandrashekhar located in Bengaluru and Mumbai and movable assets in the form of balances in bank accounts totaling to Rs seven crore were attached by the ED in July last year.

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