QBullet: NIA-Pak JIT, India Keen on US Jets, Radia-Panama Papers

All the top news and views from across all publications today.

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India
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File photo of  Pakistan JIT briefing. (Photo Courtesy: NIA)

1. Pathankot Probe: NIA Trashes Pakistan Media Claims of Not Cooperating With JIT

The National investigation Agency (NIA) has rubbished Pakistan media’s claims that India did not cooperate with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) during its probe into the Pathankot terror attack and failed to produce solid evidence to back its claim on JeM involvement.

The NIA, according to sources, stated that India had given enough evidence in the form of intercepts, phone record and DNAs of terrorists, besides other things. The top investigating agency said they have even provided additional information to Pakistan JIT, as demanded.

India’s reported stand is to go with what is communicated officially to the NIA by the JIT or by Pakistan NSA Nasir Janjua to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Also Read:
India Shouldn’t Have Invited Pakistan to Investigate: Sanjay Raut
Modi Must Apologise for Pak Probe Into Pathankot: Arvind Kejriwal
Pathankot Probe: NIA Denies Pak Unwilling to Allow India Visit

2. Pratyusha Banerjee’s Boyfriend Booked, Mother Seeks Justice

Television actor Pratyusha Banerjee’s boyfriend was booked for abetment of suicide and slapped with the charges of criminal intimidation on Tuesday.

TV producer Rahul Raj Singh, currently in hospital, was booked after police registered an FIR based on a complaint filed by Banerjee’s mother Soma at Bangurnagar Police Station.

He has been booked under IPC sections related to abetment of suicide, voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation, among others, a police official said.

3. Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca Set Up Firm Linked to Niira Radia

Investigation of the Panama Papers by The Indian Express shows the existence of one offshore entity owned by corporate lobbyist Niira Radia known as an International Business Company (IBC) registered in the British Virgin Islands by Mossack Fonseka in 1994.

Radia is shown as a British citizen in these documents and, interestingly, it is publicly known that Radia had a company by the name of Crownmart International (India) Pvt Ltd when in London which has been described as a “general business” enterprise set up by her. Both companies, it now turns out, were family enterprises with Radia herself being the primary shareholder.

4. India Keen on America F/A-18 Jet Offer

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter is all set for a trip to India from 10 to 12 April to reportedly offer fighter aircraft F/A-18 “Super Hornet” to the Indian Air Force under the Make in India programme, reports The Times of India.

The IAF is down to just 33 fighter squadrons, and the much-touted Rs 60,000-crore acquisition of 36 French Rafale fighters is yet to be clinched, a year after the Modi-Hollande summit in Paris announced the proposed deal. Sources say India is now actively exploring the possibility F/A-18 fighters being manufactured by Boeing.

But there’s a little hitch, as highlighted by the TOI report.

India, of course, remains upset with the Obama administration’s recent move to sell another eight F-16s to Pakistan for $699 million on the specious ground of counter-terrorism, which will now also be followed by nine AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters for $170 million. Overall, Pakistan will now have 84-85 F-16s primarily directed at India.

5. Conflicting Reports Over Cause of NIA Officer’s Murder

Uttar Pradesh police probing the killing of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officer Mohammad Tanzil Ahmed believe personal enmity was the motive behind the murder, reports the Hindustan Times.

However, a report in The Times of India suggests intelligence agencies are probing whether an Indian Mujahideen sleeper cell, assisted by Islamic States’ Indian commander Shafi Armar, was behind the killing of the NIA officer.

Various reports have now emerged indicating Tanzil was crucial to India’s anti-terror operations, especially against local modules.

6. Royal Lessons on Rhino-horn Trade: Prince William to Dispel Misplaced Notion

2016 has been a brutal year for India’s famed rhinos in Assam. A little over three months into the year, five rhinos have already been killed by poachers.

Poachers killed at least 1,305 rhinos in Africa in 2015, the highest number in decades, according to reports released in January.

According to a report in The Telegraph, on his visit to the Kaziranga National Park this month, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will attempt to “dispel the notion of a rhino horn having medicinal properties,” one of the main driving factors that lead to its poaching

A statement issued by Kensington Palace said,

The park has had success in recent years with protecting its animal population from poachers. This has begun to change, however, with a number of recent poaching incidents. Rhinos in particular are in danger as demand in other parts of Asia for their horns continues to rise. Traffickers in Southeast Asia are now marketing Indian rhino horn as ‘fire horn’ and lying about its increased potency when compared to African horn. The Duke will use this visit to speak out against the lies and violence that threaten this valuable species and the communities that rely on it .

7. Opinion | Here’s Why Nitish Kumar, the Teetotaler, is in ‘High Spirits’

Na peeyenge, na peene denge. (Neither will I drink, nor will I allow anyone else to drink).
Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar 

This is precisely what Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other Bihar legislators pledged a day before the state enforced its phase-wise booze ban. Five days after he enforced partial prohibition in the state, Nitish Kumar must be heaving a sigh of relief, as one of his resolves has been successfully implemented . Law enforcing agencies, particularly the cops, right from DGP to constables, have pledged to become teetotalers.

  • Now that the prohibition resolve has been implemented, Nitish must be elated to find out that women throughout the state are celebrating Holi again, even though the festival of colours was over more a fortnight back.
  • Women have suffered the most, not only due to deaths in hooch tragedies, but due to the increased number domestic violence cases.
  • With the prohibition coming into force much more effectively than was expected by critics of the CM, it’s the toddy shop owners who are laughing all the way to the bank.

Read political columnist Neena Choudhary’s full take on The Quint.

8. Opinion | When Everything is “Amazing”, Nothing is: Nalini Singh

“In 2016, happiness is no more within our reach,” writes veteran journalist Nalini Singh in The Indian Express. She continues, “…our metros are held together by the weak glue of Facebook ties, in which we feel safe and fake.”

In New Delhi, jobless young men and teenagers casually club a dentist to death for the sin of his grazing their bike; a son gores his widowed mother for the family property; cowards gangrape and mutilate innocent girls in stolen cars; sane citizens smash puppies on stone to teach the puppy’s mother a lesson; white-knuckle poverty stalks a growing number of Indians despite the MGNREGA and a food security law; angry students bristle if they are reminded that their primary occupation is to study; and foxy polarising politicians use and throw old friends like hankies. So a handkerchief civilisation rises in this ancient land of ours.

Summing it up beautifully, she writes – When everything is “amazing”, nothing is.

Read her complete take here.

9. Opinion | Beyond Naysaying - The Full Potential of India-US Relations is Yet to be Realised: KP Nayar

“The National Democratic Alliance government is institutionally incapable of realising the full potential of relations between India and the United State of America”, writes veteran journalist KP Nayar in The Telegraph.

Nayar feels that everything positive in relations between Washington and New Delhi in the last 10 or 15 years has originated with the Americans, including the Indo-US nuclear deal. He feels there are not enough players on the Indian side, ministers included, who can take an honest initiative to take the relationship forward.

One Narendra Modi, one Arun Jaitley or one Suresh Prabhu cannot, however, remake a complex bilateral relationship. The full potential of Indo-US relations will only be realized when there is a genuine two-way engagement: with targets, aims and progress being monitored and fine-tuned by people at all levels of the Indian government living the dream of a strong Indo-US partnership.

Read his take here.

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