QBullet: Pramod Sawant Becomes Goa CM, Nirav Modi Cornered in UK
Catch all the top headlines of the day.
1. Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant Succeeds Parrikar as CM
Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the 13th chief minister post midnight on Monday, 18 March, after BJP got letters of support from its allies on the assurance that both Goa Forward Party President Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Ramkrishna Dhavalikar would be made deputy chief ministers.
It is the first time that the tiniest state will have two deputy chief ministers. Though an official communication said 46-year-old Sawant would be sworn in by 11 pm, gruelling discussions between BJP and its allies GFP, MGP and independents delayed the swearing-in to late night. Sawant, who resigned from the speaker’s post, was sworn in along with 11 Cabinet ministers, who were part of the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s Cabinet.
2. Anil Ambani Pays Up, Thanks ‘Respected Elder Brother Mukesh & Nita’
Racing to meet the four-week deadline set by the Supreme Court and averting a potential jail term for its chairman Anil Ambani, Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) Monday, 18 March, said it had paid Rs 550 crore and interest to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson.
Thanking elder brother Mukesh Ambani for “timely support”, Anil Ambani said, “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support.”
3. Cornered in UK, Nirav Modi’s Arrest Imminent
Wanted diamantaire Nirav Modi is expected to be arrested, and appear in Westminster magistrates’ court next week.
A top Indian government source told Times of India on Monday, 18 March: “The CBI team handling Nirav Modi has been put together and will be flying to London within the next week. The ED will also be sending someone. They need to give some evidence to the courts and then an arrest is expected to happen soon afterwards, so the CBI and ED will be present in court when he is produced after he is arrested.”
4. Congress Seeks More Seats, Opposition Talks in Bengal, Bihar Come Under Strain
A day after the Congress decided to go alone in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, the party Monday, 18 March, cleared names of candidates for 11 seats, including two sitting seats of the CPM. The CPM was planning a retaliation. In Bihar too, seat-sharing talks between the Congress and RJD, though they are continuing, have come under severe strain with the Congress insisting it be given 11 seats.
At stake in these two states are 82 Lok Sabha seats, crucial for the Opposition bid to upstage the BJP from power. The Congress has so far managed seat-sharing pacts in only Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jharkhand and is racing against time to conclude these — the Election Commission has issued notification for the first phase of polling in 91 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 20 states on 11 April.
5. Human Embryo Smuggling: Mock Delivery Leads DRI to Mumbai Clinic
An investigation that involved the arrest of a Malaysian national and the “mock delivery” of a canister led the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to conduct a search at a well-known in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic in Mumbai run by a top embryologist, who is now being probed in connection with the alleged smuggling of human embryos.
The search at the office of embryologist and IVF trainer, Dr Goral Gandhi, was conducted on 16 March, a day after the DRI detained Malaysian national Partheban Durai on his arrival at the Mumbai international airport and seized a canister of human embryos. Gandhi is the scientific and laboratory director at the Indo Nippon IVF clinic in Bandra.
6. Rare West Nile Virus Claims First Victim, Kerala Boy Dies
A six-year-old boy from Kerala, who died on Monday, 18 March, after contracting the West Nile Virus (WNV), could be the first casualty of the disease reported from the country, say experts in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The ministry said it will be tracking each case that tests positive for WNV disease to document the disease outcome.
“This could be the first death that we know of. There may have been deaths earlier but we don’t seem to have any documented evidence whether any of those [people] tested positive for the disease or not,” said an expert from the ministry, asking not to be identified.
7. Three Killed on Dutch Tram, Cops Arrest Shooter
Dutch police arrested a Turkish man suspected of shooting dead three people and wounding five on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday, 18 March. Police said the suspect, 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis, had been taken into custody after an hour-long manhunt and had earlier run-ins with authorities in the Netherlands.
The city was put into lockdown after the shooting, which authorities initially said was an apparent terror attack. The gunman’s motive is still unclear. A prosecutor said it could be for “family reasons” and Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency, quoting relatives of the gunman, said he had fired at a relative on the tram and had shot at others who tried to help her.
8. Soldier Killed in Pak Firing at LoC in Kashmir’s Rajouri
A soldier was killed and three others injured after Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district for a second day on Monday, 18 March, defence officials familiar with the matter said.
“Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Sunderbani sector along the LoDC on Monday. In the incident, rifleman Karamjeet Singh was critically injured and later succumbed to his injuries,” defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said.
9. Violent Turn to Protests at Vedanta’s Odisha Plant, Two Killed
A security man was burnt by a mob and a protester killed in clashes near the Vedanta alumina refinery in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, after locals demanding jobs tried to storm its premises on Monday, 18 March, police claimed.
Twenty people were also injured in the clashes that broke out between Odisha Industrial Security Force (OISF) personnel and the protesters, police said.
The incident took place when residents of Rengopali and nearby villages were staging a demonstration near the refinery at Lanjigarh demanding jobs and other facilities, Kalahandi SP B Gangadhar said.
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