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Evidence of Chidambaram meeting Mukerjeas destroyed: CBI

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New Delhi, Sep 27 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday told the Delhi High Court that “certain evidence relating to the meeting between Chidambarams and Mukerjeas has been destroyed”.

The court was hearing the arguments on the bail plea filed by former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram in the CBI case related to INX Media, once promoted jointly by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

“During investigation, it has come up that Indrani and Peter Mukerjea along with some other people met P. Chidambaram. However, the records of the visitors register were destroyed,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

Mehta further claimed that the though the hotel visitor register has been destroyed, the details of the car by which the Mukerjeas went for the meeting with the petitioner is secure with the agency.

The agency also told the court that Indrani Mukerjea in her statement before the Magistrate said that she and her husband went to meet Chidambaram at his office where discussions were held to grant the erstwhile Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to INX Media and it was conveyed to them that they will have to “take care of his son”.

Opposing the claims of the agency, senior advocate Kapil Sibal from Chidambaram’s legal team contended: “Hundreds of delegations call on the Finance Minister. I have no recollection of an INX Media delegation calling on me. Only the Visitors Log can confirm the fact. I will go by the entry in the Visitors’ Log. I am certain that I had never met Indrani at any place.”

“Sufficient evidence has come on record that the peititoner is using his position to influence the witness. Indrani is not the only one who has given a Section 164 statement, there is another witness,” the agency claimed further.

In an affidavit filed before Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, Chidambaram’s counsels on Wednesday claimed: “The said documents have been obtained by the Petitioner from his son and wife.”

The affidavit further stated that the government documents in question were a part of the Relied Upon Documents (RUD) filed by the ED in the proceedings initiated before the Adjudicating Authority in which Karti and Nalini were made defendants.

The court had on Tuesday asked Chidambaram to file an affidavit stating the source of the documents relating to the approval which were being referred to by his lawyers during the hearing of his bail plea.

Chidambaram’s legal team had also stated that denial of bail to their client would result in his “undertrial incarceration without conviction”

The agency had contended that there was sufficient evidence on record which revealed the role of the ex-Finance Minister in the INX Media case.

The agency said that if Chidambaram was released on bail, he would ensure that the crucial details pertaining to the case were not accessed by the probe agencies.

Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were named in the case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.

The ED too has filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram in this regard in 2017.

India

COVID-19: 48 including 28 cops test positive at Telangana Raj Bhavan

Ten staff and 10 family members who tested positive were admitted to Government Ayurveda Hospital for treatment.

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Telangana Raj Bhavan

Hyderabad, July 12 : As many as 48 people including 28 police personnel at Telangana Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the state governor, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ten members of Raj Bhavan staff and their 10 family members were among those found infected with the virus.

According to the governor”s press secretary, since few of the special police battalion personnel had tested positive in RT-PCR test, Rapid Antigen tests were conducted on Saturday and Sunday as a part of contact tracing with the help of Director Public Health.

“In all 395 tests were conducted out of which 347 were negative. Twenty eight police personnel were tested positive and they were sent to isolation immediately,” the official said.

Ten staff and 10 family members who tested positive were admitted to Government Ayurveda Hospital for treatment.

Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan led from the front by not only arranging the tests for the staff and police personnel but also volunteered herself for getting tested. She tested negative.

The governor appealed to the people in red zones or with the contact history to get themselves tested at the earliest to contain further spread. “Early diagnosis not only protects us but also protects others. One should not hesitate from getting tested and should motivate others to follow 4Ts – test, trace, treat and teach,” she said.

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Assam flood situation worsens; 13 lakh affected, toll at 44

In all, at least 8.03 lakh domestic animals and over 4.24 lakh poultry were affected due to the current wave of floods.

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Assam Flood

Guwahati, July 12 : The flood situation in Assam worsened further on Sunday with two more persons losing their lives in the deluge in Nagaon district, taking the death toll to 44 in the state, while the situation deteriorated across 24 of the 33 districts, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials said.

The flood waters have submerged 2,015 villages affecting 13 lakh people and 82,546 hectares of crop area across the state.

The district administrations have set up 224 relief camps and distribution centres in 16 districts, where 21,071 people have taken shelter, the ASDMA officials said.

Besides several other rivers, the mighty Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark in Dibrugarh, Neamatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur and Dhubri town, an ASDMA bulletin said.

The ASDMA officials said that in the current wave of floods over the past four weeks, at least 27 persons have died in Morigaon, Tinsukia, Dhubri, Nagaon, Nalbari, Barpeta, Dhemaji, Udalguri, Goalpara and Dibrugarh districts, taking the state’s death toll to 44, while 26 people have been killed in separate landslides since May 22.

Though the 24 of the state’s 33 districts are affected by the floods, the worst affected 16 districts are Dhemaji, Udalguri, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Chirang, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat, Majuli, Dibrugarh,West Karbi Anglong and Tinsukia.

Embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure have been damaged at various places in 18 districts, the ASDMA officials said adding that around 810 houses were fully or partially damaged due to the floods.

In all, at least 8.03 lakh domestic animals and over 4.24 lakh poultry were affected due to the current wave of floods.

The National Disaster Response Force, Assam State Disaster Response Force personnel, along with the local administration, are continuously working to rescue the affected people and render relief services, including distribution of relief material to the marooned villagers.

Meanwhile, with several rivers in many northeastern states are in spate due to constant monsoon rain, huge low-lying areas in the other states wof the region were inundated on Sunday even as the Meteorological Department forecast more downpours in the next couple of days.

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India

India needs ‘a Manmohan Singh’: Sharad Pawar

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

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sharad pawar

Mumbai, July 12 : Given the current financial crisis, India needs an economic expert like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said here on Sunday.

Pawar recalled how he was a Union minister when Singh was the Finance Minister and the country was passing through a financial crisis in the early 1990s.

“However, it was Manmohan Singh who gave the country a new direction and pulled the country out of the economic problems. For this I give full credit to Manmohan Singh, and also (then Prime Minister) P.V. Narasimha Rao. Today, the country needs him (Singh). I feel Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saheb should take the initiative to seek help of economists. I am confident the country will support him,” said Pawar.

The NCP chief urged Modi to confabulate with knowledgeable people from different parties, take the help of whosoever possible or feasible, take everybody along, as in the Prime Minister’s current set-up, “there are some persons who have no such experience.”

Pawar’s comments came in the second instalment of his marathon interview with ”Saamana” and ”Dopahar Ka Saamna” Group Executive Editor and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Asked whether he had discussed the current scenario with the current Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman), Pawar, 79, replied in the negative.

“No. I never met her even once, nor had any discussions with her. At times of financial crisis confronting such a big country with a huge population there are many challenges, and a dialogue with others (parties) is necessary, but that”s not happening now,” the NCP supremo said.

In this context he pointed out he had observed persons like Pranab Mukherji, P. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh spending hours with experts and leaders of other political parties, seeking their suggestions as India is a huge country with diverse viewpoints.

“I don’t know if something similar is happening now. If its being done, there has to be some outcome of that, which is not visible,” Pawar said, implying that a political dialogue at the national level seems to be missing.

Dwelling on questions pertaining to security vis-a-vis India’s neighbours, Pawar said that “when we think of the enemy, the first name that crops up is Pakistan.”

“But we should not worry about Pakistan. In the long-term, it is China that is detrimental to India’s interests, it is 10 times more powerful than us militarily, it has systematically created all this after years of planning, vision and programmes besides economic strength to act against us. China is the real worry and poses a bigger threat to India,” Pawar asserted.

Recounting his meeting as Defence Minister with the Chinese Premier at a private sea resort in that country, Pawar said at the time (over 25 years ago), China was only concerned about giving a challenge to the USA and Japan.

“When I asked him what China’s policy vis-a-vis its neighbours, he said they were not thinking of them, maybe after around 25 years. Today, that danger has arisen, China is economically strong. Now, its target is India. Modi became friends with President Xi Jinping, hugged and shook hands, sat on a swing, gave gifts. An impression was conveyed that we have achieved something big with this camaraderie. But problems between two countries cannot be solved in such a manner, now we realise that,” Pawar pointed out.

On the tendency of the BJP government to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi for all problems related to China and Pakistan, Pawar said we must also consider the situation whereby all our neighbours like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are now siding with China. “These sullied relations are the contribution of the present times”.

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

Pawar also touched upon various other issues pertaining to the lockdown and how Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government has fared well in the first half and is working hard.

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