QBullet: Nirav Modi Arrested; Aseemanand Acquitted & More
1. Nirav Modi Arrested From London Bank While Trying to Open Account
A court here on Wednesday, 20 March, rejected the bail application of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and termed him a flight risk after he was arrested a day earlier from a London bank while he was trying to open an account. The police’s move came as a surprise for Nirav and his lawyers. He appeared in the Westminster magistrates’ court after spending a night in a police cell on being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
At the Westminster magistrates’ court, district judge Marie Mallon remanded him in custody till 29 March, when he will appear for a preliminary hearing before chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, the same judge who oversaw the Vijay Mallya trial.
2. Aseemanand Acquitted in Samjhauta Blasts Case
Four accused, including “radical Hindutva monk” Swami Aseemanand, were on Wednesday, 20 March, acquitted by the special NIA court in Panchkula in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case.
Other accused who were acquitted are former RSS actvists Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajender Chaudhary. Three others wanted in the case, Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Amit Chauhan, remain on the run and could not be tried, while yet another, Sunil Joshi, was killed under mysterious circumstances.
3. Content Violating Poll Code Will Be Removed in 3 Hours: Social Media Companies
Social media firms, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, have committed to a three-hour time limit to comply with legal requests and orders of the Election Commission for taking down content in violation of 48-hour ‘silence period’ during the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
According to a “voluntary code of ethics for general elections 2019” agreed to between the EC on the one hand and Internet and Mobile Association of India and social media intermediaries, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, Tiktok etc, on the other, the latter will have a notification mechanism by which the poll panel can notify the relevant platforms of potential violation of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act and other applicable electoral laws in accordance with established legal procedures.
(Source: The Times of India)
4. J&K: Three CRPF Jawans Dead, One Injured in Incident of Fratricide
Three CRPF personnel were killed and one injured when a Central Armed Police Force personnel, in an incident of fratricide, opened fire inside his camp at Battal Ballia in Udhampur late Wednesday, 20 March, night.
The deceased included Pokarmal of Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, Yogender Sharma of Delhi’s Maujpur and Umeed Singh of Haryana’s Rewari. Constable Ajit Kumar of Kanpur, who was involved in the shootout, is admitted in a military hospital and is in a critical condition.
5. Sawant Wins Goa Floor Test, Says It’s Time to Work Now
Newly inducted Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant comfortably won a floor test in the state Assembly on Wednesday, 20 March, registering the support of 20 legislators to prove the majority of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
All 12 BJP MLAs, including former minister Pandurang Madkaikar who made his first public appearance since suffering a stroke last year, supported Sawant. The BJP’s allies, the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) – which have three lawmakers each – and three independent MLAs backed the 45-year-old chief minister. The count stood at 20 since the speaker, who is from the BJP, did not vote.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
6. We Hurt Pak, People Back in India Cried: Modi to Chowkidars
Hitting out at political opponents over the Pulwama terror attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 20 March, questioned why Opposition leaders are “pained” even as the Indian forces have hit Pakistan badly.
Interacting with 2.5 million chowkidars (watchmen) and security guards across India over phone, Modi lashed out at Opposition leaders who, he said, criticised India’s response to Pakistan after the Pulwama terror strike that killed 40 troopers.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
7. Cong, NC Friends on 3 J&K Seats, But Will Fight on the Other 3
The Congress and the National Conference (NC) reached a seat-sharing pact on Wednesday, 20 March, in Jammu and Kashmir under which the former will not put up a fight against NC president Farooq Abdullah in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and the latter will give up two seats in the Jammu region.
The two parties will both contest the remaining three of the six seats J&K fills in the Lower House.
Farooq Abdullah said the idea behind the deal, finalised in Jammu after the Congress’s leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the chairperson of the Congress coordination committee for elections, Ambika Soni, held talks with NC leaders, was that all Lok Sabha seats in J&K should be won by either the NC or the Congress.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
8. SBI Pushes for Jet Airways Rescue – And Change in Board
As the crisis at Jet Airways deepens, the airline’s lenders led by the State Bank of India are pushing for a change in management to revive the airline, bankers and top government sources said.
The Tata Group, which runs full-service airline Vistara, was earlier in talks to pick stake in Jet Airways. Indications are that discussions to buy a stake in Jet Airways could restart at the Tata Group. The talks had floundered the last time on promoter Naresh Goyal’s reluctance to cede management control.
9. Casual Farm Labour Shrinks by 40% Since 2011-12, Total Job Loss Nearly 3 Crore: NSSO Data Shows
An estimated 3.2 crore casual labourers lost their jobs in rural India between 2011-12 and 2017-18, a 29.2 percent slide over the previous survey. Of these, almost 3 crore were those working on farms.
This translates to an over 40 per cent shrinkage in the casual farm labour workforce since 2011-12, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-2018 report by NSSO which the government has declined to release. Casual labour refers to those employed from time to time according to exigencies of work.