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Sterling Biotech: ED questions Ahmed Patel again

The ED suspected that Faisal and his brother-in-law Irfan Siddiqui were close to the Sandesara brothers.

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, June 30 : Three days after questioning senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, a close aide of party interim Chief Sonia Gandhi, a team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday once again arrived at his residence to question him in connection with the alleged multi-crore bank fraud case by the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech.

A team of financial probe agency officials arrived at the 23, Mother Teresa Crescent road here on Tuesday morning to record Patel”s statement under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

An ED source related to the development told IANS, “The agency had questioned Patel on Saturday but they were not satisfied with the answers. So they have once again come to his residence to record his statement.”

Patel, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP and Congress treasurer, said after the questioning for eight hours on Saturday, “Instead of taking action against China, dealing with Covid-19 pandemic, they are attacking opposition. (Prime Minister) Modi and (Union Home Minister) Shah”s people came and questioned me and I replied to their questions.”

Last year, the ED had questioned Patel”s son Faisal Patel about his relations with the Sandesara brothers (Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara), owners and promoters of the Vadodara-based pharmaceutical firm.

The ED had also confronted Faisal with the statement of Sunil Yadav, an employee of the Sandesara group, in which he had alleged that the son of the Congress leader took his friends to a farm house for party and all the expenses were borne by Chetan.

The ED suspected that Faisal and his brother-in-law Irfan Siddiqui were close to the Sandesara brothers.

On July 30 last year, the ED had questioned Patel’s son-in-law and advocate Irfan Siddiqui in connection with the probe.

According to ED officials, Yadav alleged that Siddiqui and Faisal were given code names by Chetan Sandesara. “Chetan and Gagan referred to Siddiqui as Irfan Bhai,” he said.

Irfan”s code name was ”i2” and Faisal”s ”i1”, Yadav had said. He also said, Faisal would take his friends to Puspanjali Farms for party and all the expenses were borne by Chetan Sandesara.

The ED registered a money laundering case against the Sandesara brothers and others in August 2017 after a case of alleged bank fraud of Rs 5,700 crore was filed against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The ED probe revealed that the Sandesara brothers and others hatched a criminal conspiracy to cheat banks by manipulating figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies and induce banks to sanction higher loans. The ED has also attached properties to the tune of Rs 9,778 crore of Sterling Biotech in its investigation against the pharmaceutical company and others involving domestic and offshore branches of Indian banks in 2004-12.

India

Deception, disinformation part of China’s game plan with India

The former diplomat predicted that Beijing will insist that it is on its own territory and defend its position at all cost while accusing Indian troops of being the aggressors.

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India China Galwan Valley

New Delhi, Aug 10 :: China’s game plan for the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control with India in Ladakh will include a combination of pressure, deception, disinformation and continuation of its long-term expansionist policies.

This was deduced by the Delhi Policy Group (DPG), one of India’s oldest think tanks on strategic and international issues of critical national interest, from the statements from a series of meetings between senior Army commanders, foreign ministers and ministries and the special representatives on the border question of the two countries.

In his paper on ‘China’s post-Galwan Posture’, former ambassador Nalin Surie, distinguished fellow for diplomacy at DPG, said that over six weeks after the brutal, unprovoked, illegal and fatal attack by Chinese troops on Indian soldiers in East Ladakh, the situation there remains tense and fragile.

“Chinese obduracy has ensured that the rebuilding of confidence, let alone trust, in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is in serious doubt,” he said.

India and China have made no headway in de-escalation in the Pangong Tso lake region of Ladakh, where both sides have built up forces and are preparing to dig in for the long haul.

Surie in his paper said that the “Chinese game plan to extricate itself from a situation of its own creation which has won it no friends except Pakistan” would contain “a mix of pressure, deception, disinformation and not having to abandon its long term and long held objectives”.

The former diplomat predicted that Beijing will insist that it is on its own territory and defend its position at all cost while accusing Indian troops of being the aggressors.

China will also insist that India should compromise its position and “meet the Chinese side halfway”, Surie said.

The third line of attack, Surie said, will be to repeatedly “warn India not to misjudge or make a strategic calculation of the current situation and not underestimate China’s firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty”.

The Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong warned of this on July 10, and reiterated his advice at a public forum in New Delhi on July 30.

China has concerns at the growing congruence of interests in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region between India and the US and other QUAD countries, particularly post the Chinese attacks in East Ladakh, the DPG paper said.

Besides, the growing distrust between the Trump administration and China, Beijing may also be worried about Russia’s neutrality.

As a result, Surie said that the Chinese will also put pressure on New Delhi by claiming that India will greatly suffer from economic decoupling.

“India’s decisions on Chinese Apps, Chinese tenders for projects and investments in India have undoubtedly caused considerable disquiet. Given the state of the world economy and the future prognosis, loss of one of the largest and fast growing markets in the world is not going to be easily digested by China,” the former Ambassador said.

Part of China’s response will be to strengthen its economic assistance and cooperation with our neighbours and other economic partners, Surie said.

Incidentally, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi threatened Strat News Global, an independent media portal of “severe consquences” if it did not “delete a video” comparing Xi Jinping with the Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler.

Strat News Global founder and editor-in-chief Nitin Gokhale revealed this on Twitter, confirming Surie’s analysis that China will use pressure, deception and disinformation in the long haul with India.

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India

Preparations on to resume anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests in India

The unlock stage has reached to an advanced level in the country and the Central an state governments are permitting every kind of activities in the countryand there is no reason that protests can also be started.

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Resolution against CAA

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Mehmood Pracha said that Government has allowed unlock India an is now implemented across the country which is now in advanced stage, therefore the CAA-NRC protests can be re-started from August 15.

The process to resume anti-CAA protests has started.The efforts have gained momentum to re-start anti- CAA , anti-NRC protests which were cancelled due to coronavirus in Aligarh. Senior Supreme Court lawyer Mehmood Pracha reached Aligarh on Sunday and during an interview to news18, he said that preparations are in full swing to re-launch protest against (Citizenship (Amendment) Act, (National Register of Citizens).

The unlock stage has reached to an advanced level in the country and the Central an state governments are permitting every kind of activities in the countryand there is no reason that protests can also be started.

He said that people of Aligarh are demanding that to save the Constitution of India the protests can be started. The protests which were stopped due to coronavirus can now resume.

All types of activities have started and the state and central governments have issused guidelines for the work to resume.

Moreover, how a Mumslim community can do the religious acticities uring Muharram under the ambit of legal guidelines are also to be discuused.

The Lawyer said , “the people of the country knows that the Supreme Court gave permission for the Jagannath Puri Rathyatra and the guidelines that were issued for the Jagannath Puri Rathyatra, should be given for all the religions. The permission should be granted for religious activities of Muslims. and protests can be started during Aug 15.

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Citizenship query: It’s not unusual, Chidambaram comes out in Kanimozhi’s support

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English? the senior Congress leader asked.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former Union Minister P Chidambaram, a native of Tamil Nadu, has come out in support of DMK MP Kanimozhi, who had tweeted about an incident at an airport wherein she was asked about her citizenship and pointed to his own experiences.

“The unpleasant experience of DMK MP Kanimozhi at the Chennai airport is not unusual. I (too) have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens, who insisted that I speak in Hindi during telephone conversations, and sometimes even face to face,” Chidambaram said.

Read: CISF orders inquiry after DMK MP Kanimozhi asked ‘are you Indian’ at Chennai airport

The former Union Minister said: “If the Centre is genuinely committed to both Hindi and English being the official languages of India, it must insist that all central government employees are bilingual in Hindi and English.”

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English?” the senior Congress leader asked.

Meanwhile, the BJP has dismissed her allegation as ‘electoral stunt’. BJP General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh tweeted to counter Kanimozhi’s charge, saying that “assembly elections are 8 months away … the campaign starts”.

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