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ED, CBI submit status reports in Aircel-Maxis case

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p chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday submitted status reports in Aircel-Maxis case, involving former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti, before a Delhi court.

The ED submitted the report in a sealed envelope and told the court that active investigation is underway in the matter.

The CBI informed that Letters Rogatory (LR) had been sent to Malaysia and the status was awaited on it.

Letter Rogatory is a formal request for judicial assistance from a foreign court. The agency also claimed to be working on a new lead.

After submission of reports, District Judge Sujata Kohli posted the matter to February 20 at 10 a.m.

The court had on January 31 directed both the agencies to file a status report in the matter in two weeks.

Issuing directions, the court had earlier observed that the allegations mentioned in the charge sheet appeared to be “quite serious in nature” and keeping the matter as “adjourned sine die” was not conducive to the interest of justice”.

Chidambaram and his son are currently out on bail.

Allowing their anticipatory bails, then Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini had maintained that they couldn’t commit any similar crime since they held no position in the government at present.

The court had observed that the evidence on the alleged crime was documentary in nature and thus could not be tampered with by the accused.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal. The approval was granted in 2006 when P. Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.

According to rules and the foreign direct investment policy in force at that time, Chidambaram was allegedly empowered to give approval to proposals involving foreign investment only up to Rs 600 crore.

India

Rural economy still strong on record procurement of farm produce: PM Modi

During the virtual launch program, Modi also interacted with three Primary Agriculture Credit Societies from Karnataka, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.

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PM Modi

New Delhi, Aug 9 : As the pandemic severely hits the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the rural economy of India is on a strong footing, bucking the overall economic slowdown, courtesy the ‘record’ procurement of farmers’ produce by the government.

Speaking at the launch programme of the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Modi said it was due to the farmers that the country did not have to face problems in terms of essential food items during the lockdown.

“When the country was under lockdown, our farmers were harvesting their crop and were also making new records in terms of sowing,” he said.

Prime Minister added that the government assured record public procurement of the farmers’ produce, leading to an increase of Rs 27,000 crore in the money transferred to the farmers.

Talking of the recent decisions to end the Essential Commodities Act and freeing the farmers from the limitations of selling at the APMC of a concerned state, he said that these decisions will change the scenario of rural economy in the country and will also lead to multiple increase in farmers’ income.

He noted that the government plans to set up around 10,000 farmer-producer organisations (FPO) in the country.

On Sunday, Modi launched the Rs 1 lakh crore financing facility under the ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’. The fund was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat economic package in May.

It has been created for funding in agriculture infrastructure projects at the farm-gate and aggregation points such as primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmer producer organisations and agriculture entrepreneurs, among others.

This will provide impetus for development of other financially viable post harvest management infrastructure, as per the government. It was announced in view of the lack of adequate cold chain and post harvest management infrastructure in the vicinity of farm gate causes gaps in value chains.

The Prime Minister also initiated the transfer of Rs 17,100 crore benefit to bank accounts of 8.55 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.

He expressed his satisfaction with the pace of implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme. He also noted that the scale of the program is so large that the funds released on Sunday have reached more people than the entire population of several countries taken together.

During the virtual launch program, Modi also interacted with three Primary Agriculture Credit Societies from Karnataka, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.

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Cities

Mukhtar Ansari’s aide, accomplice shot dead by STF in Lucknow

Police was continuously trying to track him down for the past many months, the IG said.

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BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari

Lucknow, Aug 9 : A dreaded shooter, said to be a close aide of mafia don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, was gunned down along with an accomplice by a team of Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) on the outskirts of Lucknow on Sunday morning.

Officials said that shooter Rakesh Pandey aka Hanuman Pandey carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head.

STF IG Amitabh Yash said Pandey was gunned down in retaliatory firing when the STF team tried to arrest him after he went to an area falling in Sarojini Nagar police station limits to meet one of his accomplices.

Police said Pandey was involved in a number of murders and shootouts carried out by the Ansari’s gang in the past 23 years. He was also accused of hatching a conspiracy to kill BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, who was shot dead in 2005.

Pandey was, however, acquitted after a trial in a subordinate court.

The police officer said Pandey had at least 10 criminal cases registered against him between 1993 and 2010. He said the criminal was untraceable for the last 10 years or so.

Police was continuously trying to track him down for the past many months, the IG said.

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India

Rajnath promised a bang, but ended with whimper: Chidambaram

Chidambaram pointed out that the only importer of defence equipment in India is the Defence Ministry. “Any import embargo is really an embargo on oneself.”

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Aug 9 : After Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced an import embargo on 101 defence items, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram took a dig at him on Sunday and called his announcement a “whimper”.

“The Defence Minister promised a ‘bang’ on a Sunday morning and ended with a ‘whimper’!” Chidambaram said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Rajnath said: “The Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. The MoD will introduce an import embargo on 101 items beyond the given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production.”

Chidambaram pointed out that the only importer of defence equipment in India is the Defence Ministry. “Any import embargo is really an embargo on oneself.”

“What the Defence Minister said in his historic Sunday announcement deserved only an office order from the minister to his secretaries!” he added.

The Congress leader also said that the ‘import embargo’ is “high-sounding jargon”.

“But what it means is we will try to make the same equipment (that we import today) in 2 to 4 years and stop imports thereafter!” the former Finance Minister said.

Rajnath on Sunday announced the ban on import of 101 items to make Indian defence industry self-reliant and boost indigenisation.

The list of 101 embargoed items comprises not just simple parts but also some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, and radars.

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