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Manohar Parrikar to raise cross-border terrorism by Pakistan with US counterpart Ashton




Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will raise cross border terrorism by Pakistan and articulate India’s stand on the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East during a crucial meeting with his American counterpart Ashton Carter  on December 9 and 10

Parrikar  will “plainly” tell the US that its policy of engaging Pakistan was not working.

Parrikar will also be telling Carter that the American military and foreign policy in the Middle-East and Afghanistan “are not very sound” and not working properly, sources said. Parrikar, who is already in the US on his maiden visit as Defence Minister, will also express his concern over Islamabad’s “threat” to use tactical nuclear weapons against India.

Parrikar’s visit comes against the backdrop of reported US plans to sell eight F-16 fighters and 15 Bell AH 1Z Viper attack helicopters to Pakistan. He is also likely to articulate India’s stand on this.

India’s concern about the US policy in Middle-East relates to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) which recently carried out terror strikes in Paris killing more than 120 people. Besides Pakistan and the security situation, Parrikar will also take forward the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) as both countries work towards greater collaboration in joint development and manufacture of next-gen military technology, sources said.

Both Parrikar and Carter will review the functioning of the joint working group on aircraft carrier and identify technologies India could acquire in future. The two are also expected to discuss possible programmes that could be taken up under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

US’ Lockheed Martin has already offered to manufacture its planes here in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ push. Indicating its growing interest in the Indian market, Lockheed recently entered into a joint venture with the Tatas to manufacture parts of C-130J aircraft at a newly built facility in Hyderabad.

A forward movement is also expected in India’s decision to acquire 145 pieces of M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers from the US under a government-to-government deal that would see its manufacturer BAE Systems invest over US $200 million in India as offset.

Parrikar is also scheduled to visit the powerful Hawaii-based US Pacific Command, the first by an Indian Defence Minister. Its area of responsibility includes China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam


Two more die in Delhi; toll 6, most positive cases from Jamaat





New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The corona toll rose to six in Delhi on Friday with two new deaths in the last 24 hours during which 93 new positive cases were reported, taking the total to 386.

So far, 259 from the Nizamuddin Markaz have tested positive for coronavirus — biggest domestic source in Delhi’s patient count — the Health Department said.

Among the 93 new cases reported on Friday, 77 were from Markaz, while seven were having forign travel history, among others.

“Total 10 people have been cured and dischregd while six deaths have been reported in Delhi, with two being reported today,” the Health Department said.

The patient number in Delhi has increased multiple times since Monday due to Markaz patients.

The total positive cases in Delhi was 97 on Monday, which increased to 120 on Tuesday. While the cases were 152 on Wednesday, the national capital by Thursday reported 293 coronavirus cases with two new deaths in the last 24 hours.

Of the total positive cases, 369 were in the hospitals with two on ventilators and 10 in ICU.

“Five patientsAare on oxygen,” the Health Department said.

A total of 296 test reports are pending with the labs, it says.

“Total 3,273 tests were conducted and 399 reports were positive, while 2,578 were negative,” it says.

Along with the police, the Delhi government evacuated over 2,300 people from the Markaz building in the Nizamuddin area here.

While 1,810 were quarantined, 536 were admitted to hospitals as they had coronavirus symptoms.

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SC gives relief to NDTV, quashes IT notice




New Delhi, April 3 In a major relief to New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), the Supreme Court on Friday allowed its appeal to quash the notice issued by the Income Tax Department seeking reassessment of income assessment for the financial year 2007-08 for allegedly round-tripping hundreds of crores of rupees from foreign sources.

A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta said, “We accordingly allow the appeal by holding that the notice issued to the assessee (NDTV) shows sufficient reasons to believe on the part of the assessing officer to reopen the assessment but since the revenue has failed to show non-disclosure of facts, the notice having been issued after a period of four years is required to be quashed.”

However, the apex court clarified that though it quashed the 2015 notice on technical ground, it left it open for the revenue department to issue a fresh notice under pertinent IT provisions.

“The revenue department may issue a fresh notice taking benefit of the second proviso if otherwise permissible under law,” said the apex court.

The assessing officer had issued notices to NDTV under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act on the ground of escaping income from assessment.

“The assessee then asked for reasons and thereafter on August 4, 2015, the reasons were supplied. The main reason given was that in the following assessment year, i.e. assessment year 2009-10, the assessing officer had proposed a substantial addition of Rs 642 crore to the account of the assessee on account of monies raised by the assessee through its subsidiaries NDTV BV, The Netherlands, NDTV Networks BV, The Netherlands (NNBV), NDTV Networks International Holdings BV, The Netherlands (NNIH) and NNPLCa, observed the court.

The apex court said that these notices were time-barred, hence unsustainable. NDTV had urged that no income was derived from the foreign entity and a loan cannot be termed to be an asset or an income and had submitted that the notice cannot be said to have been issued under the second proviso.

Citing the 2015 notice, the apex court said, “There is no case set up in relation to the second proviso either in the notice or even in the reasons supplied on August 4, 2015 with regard to the notice.

“It is only while rejecting the objections of the assessee that reference has been made to the second proviso in the order of disposal of objections dated November 23, 2015.”

The top court examined whether the revenue department can take the benefit of the extended period of limitation of six years for initiating proceedings under the first proviso Section 147 of the Act.

“This can only be done if the revenue can show that the assessee had failed to disclose fully and truly all the material facts necessary for its assessment,” the top court noted.

The court said that in its view, NDTV was not guilty of nondisclosure of material facts. “We are clearly of the view that the notice and reasons given thereafter do not conform to the principles of natural justice and the assessee did not get a proper and adequate opportunity to reply to the allegations which are now being relied upon by the revenue,” the apex court said.

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Gathering of migrants, Jamaat event caused setback, Prez tells Guvs, LGs



Nizamuddin Tablighi

New Delhi, April 3 In his second communication with all Governors, Lieutenant Governors (LGs) and Administrators, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said that gathering of migrant workers and Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi caused a setback to the efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

He was referring to the gathering of migrant workers in Anand Vihar a few days after the nationwide lockdown was imposed, and the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin on various occasions in March — both in Delhi.

Both the gatherings, specially the Tablighi Jamaat, have caused havoc across India as it could be the main cause of spread of novel coronavirus pandemic with many positive cases identified so far.

The President emphasized the need to ensure that no one remains hungry during the 21-day lockdown that will continue till April 14.

In the video conference from Rashtrapati Bhavan in which Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu also took part, ways to contribute to the measures taken by the Central government and the state governments in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 were discussed.

It was the second such conference held by the President and the Vice President within 10 days.

In a video conference on March 27, 15 Governors and Delhi LG Anil Baijal had shared with the President their experience. On Friday, the Governors, LGs and administrators of 21 remaining states and UTs briefed the President and Vice-President on COVID-19 related efforts.

There was a unanimity that there is no scope for laxity or complacency in fighting the “invisible enemy”. In this context, the President noted with concern the incidents of attacks on doctors, health workers and police personnel in some parts of the country. He wholeheartedly endorsed the Prime Minister’s appeal earlier on Friday morning to all citizens to switch off lights in homes at 9 p.m. on Sunday and instead switch on their mobile flashlights, torches or lamps in an expression of people’s solidarity to fight against Coronavirus.

He, however, cautioned people not to let their guard down and steadfastly adhere to the practice of social distancing.

Taking note of the problems faced by the homeless, the unemployed and the weaker sections of society during this crisis, the President said: “We will have to be extra sensitive towards their needs”. He invited other participants in the conference to deliberate upon the ways to ensure nobody remains hungry.

Acknowledging that this was a big challenge, he said he was confident the Governors will contribute to the efforts made by the Central and state governments and involve all sections of society.

While ensuring that food and other essential items are made available to the needy, care has to be taken that no compromise is made on the question of social distancing, he added.

The President invited suggestions to involve and encourage maximum participation of the voluntary agencies as well as the private sector in meeting the humanitarian challenge.

“In battling the pandemic, our efforts so far have been in the right direction, notwithstanding some incidents, and we are moving ahead with firm determination,” the President said in his remarks.

The President expressed appreciation of the fellow citizens for their patience and cooperation and thanked the doctors and all officers and employees who have been serving the society.

The Vice President, who conducted the conference, emphasised roping in volunteers of the Indian Red Cross Society, social organisations and private sector to mitigate the plight of the poor.

He urged the Governors, LGs and administrators to persuade leaders from different walks to life to come forward and support the most vulnerable sections of society, particularly farmers, as the lockdown coincides with the harvesting season in many states.

Intervening in the discussion, the President urged all Governors to revive units of the Red Cross Society and take their help. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu pointed out that the UT administration has been keeping intensive surveillance and has identified hotspots to preempt the outbreak of disease.

“We faced problems because of the movements of Tablighi Jamaat,” Murmu said.

He, however, assured that the administration is taking care of migrant workers, students and has also set up adequate quarantine centres.

The Ladakh Lt Governor Radha Krishna Mathur expressed concern over rise in cases due to the return of pilgrims from Iran where some of them had been infected, and pointed out that inaccessibility of certain areas and tough terrain make operation difficult.

The Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Admiral D.K. Joshi ((Retd.) said that 10 positive Covid-19 cases were related to Tablighi Jamaat. All those who participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event are quarantined after identifying them.

Chhattisgarh Governor Sushri Anusuiya Uikey, said that the state government had launched a comprehensive strategy to check the spread of the disease at the earliest.

Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya said that the state had suitably augmented its capacity to meet any situation arising out of the crisis.

The other governors who gave a briefing about the initiatives in their states include the Governor of Goa, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, and LGs of Puducherry and Delhi.

Those who briefed the President and Vice-President in the conference held on March 27 also provided the latest information from their states and UTs.

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