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PNB not providing information on Nirav Modi under RTI: Activist

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Mumbai, March 27: The Punjab National Bank has refused to provide any information pertaining to absconding scamster, diamantaire Nirav Modi, to queries sought under RTI, an activist said here on Tuesday.

Anil Galgali said that he had sought specific RTI replies from PNB on the total quantum of loan sanctioned to Modi, the procedures applied by the bank for sanctioning the same and the resolution of the Board of Directors by which the loans were approved.

“I sought to know the quantum of the loans extended, the board meeting details like agenda, proposal, approval and minutes of the meeting in which those loan proposals were sanctioned to Modi, under RTI,” he said.

However, the PNB’s Deputy General Manager and CPRO Joy Roy replied that the case has exemption from disclosure under the RTI Act’s Section 8(1)(h), about information could impede the process of investigations or apprehension or prosecution of offenders, and hence the plea was declined, he said.

Now, Galgali has filed the first appeal as per the RTI Act and is awaiting the reply.

“It is important to expose the officers who failed in their duty to safeguard the public money from being siphoned off, hence the details of the Board meeting of the PNB is important, the details like the Agenda of the meeting, Resolution adopted in the meeting for sanction and the Minutes of the meeting will help in exposing such officers,” he said.

Galgali said that the cooperating officers are equally responsible along with Nirav Modi in conducting the scam.

Once such information is made public and the officers are punished, the bank authorities will work with responsibility to safeguard the public deposits and will adopt proper measure while approving loan applications, he said.

Modi, his group companies and others have been implicated in the Rs 13,500 crore scam which was admitted by PNB mid-February, leading to a massive upheaval in the country’s banking system.

IANS

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Trainee pilot killed in UP chopper crash

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Plane crash
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A rookie pilot was killed after a helicopter carrying 4 people crashed in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district on Monday. Police and local authorities are the spot and rescue operations are underway.

The incident took place in Sarai Meer in an agricultural field, according to details available, the aircraft crashed at nearly 11.20 a.m. One person died and another was injured in the crash, while two others jumped out of the aircraft with the help of parachutes.

The deceased has been identified as trainee pilot Konark Saran. Amethi District Magistrate Arun Kumar said that the aircraft had taken off from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a pilot training institute located at Fursatganj Airfield of Amethi. The aircraft belonged to the academy.

Authorities are probing the cause of the crash. The police is trying to secure the debris of the crash.

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Steps taken by Delhi govt to provide aid to widows: HC

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Delhi High Court

 The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the state government has taken adequate steps to provide financial assistance to widows through pensions and other schemes.

“Looking at the Delhi government’s affidavit, it appears that adequate steps have been taken by it to provide funds to the widows. We see no reason to further monitor this case,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The Department of Social Welfare had filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Harpal Singh Rana through advocate Akhil Rana and Utkarsh Sharma, claiming that pensions to around 12,000 widows had been discontinued during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Women and Child Development without any valid reason.

The AAP government said in the affidavit, filed through advocate Anjum Javed, that it is remitting monthly pensions to beneficiaries so that they did not face any financial hardship during the pandemic.

“… the Department of Social Welfare has not withheld or discontinued pensions in respect of any beneficiary on imaginary grounds,” the affidavit said.

“The whole process of filing applications for all pension schemes, that is, old-age and disability pensions as well as financial assistance under the Delhi Family Benefit Scheme of the Department is online only.”

It said the money given under the Head “Financial Assistance to Widows for Performing Marriages of their Daughters” has been increased to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.

Rana told the court in his petition that as per a Right to Information reply, pensions of around 12,000 widows had been discontinued by the Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government also told the court that the status of the online applications is sent by the portal on the mobile numbers of the applicants. In offline cases, the status (acceptance/rejection) is conveyed by district offices through anganwadi/ASHA workers and displayed on the e-district portal.

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Farm bills Modi govt’s ‘death warrant’ for farmers: Rahul Gandhi on Farm Bill

The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the farm bills that were passed in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on Sunday, saying that the ‘democracy is ashamed’ by the decision.

“The farmer who grows gold forom earth, Modi government’s pride is making that farmer cry tears of blood,” the Congress leader wrote on Twitter in Hindi.

Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, which the government says will help boost the farming sector through private investments, were approved in Rajya Sabha today, inviting a lot of criticism from opposition parties.

“Democracy is ashamed of the way this government issued a death warrant against farmers through these bills in Rajya Sabha,” Rahul Gandhi further wrote on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1307652716508753920?s=20

The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“Why the government is running away from providing legal obligation for MSP. Who will take a guarantee of MSP outside ‘Mandi’,” Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

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