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Government has no choice, must listen to wise counsel: Chidambaram

The Congress has been demanding cash transfer directly to the people’s account to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore.

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New Delhi, May 27 : The Congress, after rejecting the government’s economic package announced to revive the economy, has said that sooner than later the government will accept the suggestions made by the Congress.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said on Twitter: “I had tweeted a few days ago that the day is not far off when the Congress’ suggestions will be accepted by the government. A stubborn government has no choice and must listen to experience and wise counsel.”

“The government has hinted at taking up cash transfers to the poor,” Chidambaram added citing media reports.

“The government has also practically admitted through unnamed sources that it has asked the RBI to be prepared for monetising part of the fiscal deficit,” he further said.

The Congress has been demanding cash transfer directly to the people’s account to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore.

Rahul Gandhi in his press conference on Tuesday said it is important the Government share concrete plans for how it intends to deal with our migrants crisis? How does it plan to scale up testing which is urgently needed? How does it plan to support our MSMEs? How will our State Governments be funded? There are many critical questions that the Government is not providing us answers to, which need to be addressed urgently, he said.

“Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced an economic stimulus which according to him was equivalent to 10 per cent of the GDP. However, economists in India and around the world have done the maths and come to the sad conclusion that the economic stimulus announced by the Prime Minister is actually less than 1 per cent of our GDP and that too most of it is in terms of loans that could drag our MSMEs into a debt trap from which they will struggle to recover,” Rahul Gandhi had said.

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Maharashtra Guv Koshyari tests negative for Covid; says ‘hale and hearty’

“Reports appearing in a section of the media regarding my health are baseless. I am hale and hearty,” said Koshyari.

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Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Mumbai, July 12 — Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday said that the has tested negative for COVID-19 and was “perfectly alright”.

“I am perfectly alright and not in isolation now. I underwent relevant tests, the results of which came out to be negative. There are no symptoms of CCOVID-19 either,” assured Koshyari.

However, the Governor said that considering the Covid situation elsewhere, he continued to discharge all his official duties strictly adhering to protocols like social distancing, sanitizing and wearing masks.

“Reports appearing in a section of the media regarding my health are baseless. I am hale and hearty,” said Koshyari.

Earlier, an official of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that a few persons in the Raj Bhavan complex have tested positive for coronavirus, and they are likely to undergo a fresh round of tests by the civic authorities soon.

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Business

Haunting Past – From AI Files – Airline paid Atul Chandra Rs 80 lakh in excess ‘erroneously’ as Sandhu shielded fraudster pilots

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New Delhi, July 12 : Fresh allegations have emerged against Captain Rajwinder Singh Sandhu, the newly appointed Director (Operations) of Air India, who was terminated for anti-management activities and has been shielding fraudster pilots.

According to a Twitter post, Capt Sandhu was terminated for anti-management activities. He is also accused of shielding Capt Atul Chandra since July 2019.

As per the post, Chandra has defrauded Air India of around Rs 2 crore in two years.

The post goes on to say that “if a thief, fraudster, crook returns returns D money it is admission of guilt but this Common sense was lost on Capt Sandhu. In fact based on d action Capt Atul Chandra shld hv been sacked without ny benefits. Capt Sandhu is defending d fraudster amounts to criminal conspiracy”.

Documents reviewed by IANS show that Air India acknowledged in December 2018 having paid excess amounts of Rs 80 lakh to Capt Chandra “erroneously”.

R.K. Goel, General Manager (Finance) Northern Region wrote a mail to Dilawar Singh Rawat, Dy Director Finance/Administration, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on December 7, 2016.

The mail says that Capt Chandra is presently on deputation from Air India to DGCA.

“However, since the papers pertaining to such deputation are not available with our personnel department, Capt Atul Chandra has been erroneously paid salary and allowances from Air India also for such deputation period till August 2018, resulting in excess payment of around Rs 80 lakh to him,” the mail said.

“It is required that copies of all the documents pertaining to his deputation to DGCA may please be provided to us. Moreover, you are also requested to help us in recovering the amount of such excess payment from Capt Atul Chandra,” Air India told DGCA.

In a similar case, Capt Sandhu is also accused of shielding another pilot, Capt Karan Mann in 2018 who was facing similar charges of withdrawing excess amounts from Air India running into crores of rupees over several months.

The Finance Department of Air India had red flagged payments running into crores of rupees and foreign exchange in thousands of dollars over several months made to a pilot, Karan Mann in 2018, who was facing complaints of receiving excess payments as he was allegedly not flying.

However, a draft enquiry report by a committee of the northern region of Air India in Delhi in August 2018 came to the conclusion that no excess payments had been made.

“Capt Mann held a valid licence and was medically fit. No enquiry for any technical/non technical reason was pending against him and no specific instructions for grounding issued by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The Bureau of Civil Aviation and Safety (BCAS) did not issue an instructions/communications to Air India or Capt Mann for reason of delay in issue of his airport entry pass (AEP)

In view of the above, Capt Mann has been paid only the relevant salary and flying allowances for the period under consideration and not paid the layover allowances. No excess payment has been made him.

Committee constituted by Regional Director (Northern Region) to enquire into the charges against Capt Mann for excess payment of allowances, the draft report said.

The Committee members included Capt Rajeev Khurana of CMS, Capt Aditya Singh Dhillon, NR and R.K. Sikka-Finance.

The committee was examining a complaint against Capt Mann for excess payment of allowances.

During this time, these complaints had Air India northern region and headquarters in a tumult with several departments involved. The Northern Region also passed on the issue to Mumbai which it said had made the payments.

General Manager Operations NR in a mail said in October 2018: “It is reiterated that the decision as well as payment for Pay and Allowances was made by CMS Mumbai. Therefore, in the interest of expediting the enquiry and seeking further clarifications, details of payments made
to Capt Karan Mann may be directly sought from CMS Mumbai, which will clarify the draft report.”

The red flag was raised by R.K. Sikka, DGM Finance.

In a mail to Narayan Koli, Mumbai Allowances, Sikka, Dy GM (Finance) wrote on October 16, 2018: “In my opinion, the payment of flying allowances also should not be payable as the payment is based on number of hours flown by a pilot and in this case, Capt Karan Mann has not flown due to not having the valid licence to fly the aircraft.

“It is therefore requested that clarification may please be provided whether salary and flying allowances are payable to Capt Karan Mann considering he was not having the valid licence to fly the aircraft and his PIC was also not renewed and he has not done any ground work during this period as informed by GM (Operations) NR office.”

In a mail dated September 4, 2018, Sikka wrote about the draft report into the enquiry against Capt Karan Mann.

“Reference to the draft report dated August 31, in regard to enquiry of Capt Karan Mann. As you are kindly aware that in the last meeting which was held in your office, the undersigned had placed the copies of the payslips for the period April 2016 to June 2018 and copies of flying allowances paid to him during the period June 2016 to June 2018 amounting to Rs 47.45 lakhs and Rs 1.5 crore was paid towards salary and flying allowances.”

“It has also been informed by the GM (WR) that Capt Mann has collected $93,321 towards flying and layover allowance vide email dated August 21, 2018 for the period July 2016 to November 2018.

“As per the draft report, it has been informed that Capt Mann was endorsed on B 787 PIC on July 25, 2017 and his AEP was issued on April 19, 2017.

It is evident from the above that Capt Mann did not fly the day he was relieved from DGCA i.e. May 31, 2016 to April 19, 2017. Furthermore, it was also informed that Capt Mann did not perform any ground job during the period May 31, 2016 to April 19, 2017.

“Whereas, he has been paid salary and flying allowances and layover allowances for the above mentioned period.

It is therefore requested that a meeting be arranged with GM (Operations), NR/Fin, NR/Pers before finalizing the draft report.”

The mail was marked to GM Operations, GM Fin, GM CMS, GM Fin NR among others.

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India

Diesel prices rise after 4-day pause

Diesel prices across the metro cities increased on Sunday, after remaining unchanged for four consecutive days

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New Delhi, July 12 : Diesel prices across the metro cities increased on Sunday, after remaining unchanged for four consecutive days.

With a 16 paise hike in diesel price in New Delhi, the gap between diesel and petrol prices widened in the national capital. Last month, an unprecedented development, diesel prices overtook that of petrol in the national capital.

Diesel was priced at Rs 80.94 per litre on Sunday in the capital, higher than the previous level of Rs 80.78 a litre.

Similarly, in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, prices of the fuel increased to Rs 79.17, Rs 78.01, and Rs 76.05 per litre respectively from Rs 79.05, Rs 77.91 and Rs 75.89 on Saturday.

Petrol prices, however, remained unchanged across the major cities. In Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, it was priced at Rs 80.43, Rs 87.19, Rs 83.63, and 82.10 a litre respectively, same as on Saturday.

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