QBullet: Kamal Haasan Launches Party; 2 AAP MLAs Sent to Jail

Here are the top stories of the day. 

Published
News
7 min read
Kamal Haasan with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the launch of political party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ in Madurai on 21 February.
i

1. Kamal Haasan Launches His New Party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ with Kejriwal by His Side

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal played the supporting actor’s role as Kamal Haasan launched his political party, the 'Makkal Needhi Maiam', in Madurai on Wednesday 21 February

With this, Haasan joined a long list of film stars who switched over to politics, especially in the southern states. Haasan has avoided the word Dravidian in the name of his party and has preferred the term Makkal (people) to denote inclusiveness and even his party symbol on the flag – joined hands in red, white and black colour scheme – denotes unity and fight for justice for the people of Tamil Nadu, said a person from Haasan’s team who did not want to be named .

“I am not a thalaiva (leader or boss), I am one among you,” Haasan said after unfurling the party flag sets the tone and tenor of his political messaging.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. Two AAP MLAs Sent to Jail Over Alleged Assault of Delhi Chief Secy

AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan(left) and Prakash Jharwal (right).
AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan(left) and Prakash Jharwal (right).
(Photo: PTI)

Battle lines were clearly drawn in the Delhi government a day after Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash alleged that AAP MLAs had assaulted him during a meeting at CM Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.

While two AAP MLAs were arrested and sent to judicial custody, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, in a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, mentioned a “breakdown” between bureaucrats and the political leadership. As police announced the arrests, Prakash was called by the Assembly Privileges Committee in an ongoing enquiry into irregularities in appointments to the Delhi Nagrik Sehkari Bank, but he did not turn up.

While Deoli MLA Prakash Jarwal was arrested late 20 February, Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested after he surrendered on 21 February and Kejriwal’s advisor VK Jain, who was present at the meeting on Tuesday, was questioned by police.

(Source: The Indian Express)

3. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Gives Canadian PM Justin Trudeau List of 9 ‘Radicals’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on 21 February.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on 21 February.
(Photo: PTI)

After weeks of speculation over whether or not they would meet, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh brought up the Khalistan issue with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on 21 February and handed him a list of Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in promoting radicalism in Punjab, according to officials familiar with the matter.

In a 40-minute meeting at an Amritsar hotel, Singh urged Trudeau to initiate stern action against “radical elements” and named nine Category ‘A’ Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in “target killings, hate crimes in Punjab, trying to radicalise the youth, and financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities”, a government official, who requested anonymity, said.

Trudeau assured Amarinder Singh that Canada did not support separatism in India or elsewhere as he pitched for greater cooperation, an official said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Sohrabuddin Case: Bombay HC Says Not Getting Enough Assistance from CBI

Kausar Bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
Kausar Bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
(File photo)

Almost two weeks after it began daily hearing on petitions challenging the discharge of police officials in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, the Bombay High Court said on 21 February that the CBI had failed to adequately assist it due to which it was still unclear on the agency’s overall case.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said the CBI had failed to put all evidence on record including the prima facie evidence against those discharged to assess whether the same warranted that they be discharged from the case.

“It is the primary duty of a prosecuting agency to place all evidence on record before the court. However, in this case, despite the court’s repeated queries, the CBI has chosen to argue only on the role of the two officials whose discharge it has challenged,” Justice Mohite-Dere said.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. PF Interest Rate Lowered Yet Again, This Time to 8.55 Percent

Representational image.
Representational image.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Wednesday declared an interest rate of 8.55 percent for 2017-18 for over 5 crore members, lower than 8.65 percent for 2016-17.

This is the second time in a row that the retirement fund entity has lowered interest rates for its subscribers. The EPFO had announced 8.65 percent rate of interest on deposits for 2016-17 and in 2015-16 it was pegged at 8.8 percent.

At the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) meeting, the EPFO decided to lower the rate despite reports that the retirement body had sold a portion of its investments in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF) worth Rs 2,886 crore earlier as it wanted to retain the rate at 8.65 percent.

Sources also said the EPFO had earned a return of Rs 1,054 crore on sale of ETFs in February, which would be sufficient to persist with 8.65 percent rate of interest in the current fiscal year.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Pak Aiding, China Backing Influx Into North-East: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
(Photo: PTI)

A "planned" influx of people from Bangladesh into the Northeast is taking place as part of a proxy warfare by Pakistan with support from China, with an aim to keep the area disturbed, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on 21 February.

Referring to reports of increase in Muslim population in several districts of Assam, the Army Chief also talked about Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) in the state, observing that its growth has been "faster" than that of the BJP in the 1980s.

He was addressing a conference on bridging gaps and securing borders in the Northeast region. "A planned immigration is taking place because of our western neighbour. They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over, playing the proxy dimension of warfare," Gen. Rawat said, talking about influx of people from Bangladesh into the Northeast.

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. PNB Fraud: CBI Seals Nirav Modi’s Farmhouse

Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 11,300 crore in Punjab National Bank.
Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 11,300 crore in Punjab National Bank.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Nirav Modi)

The CBI sealed a farmhouse of fraud accused Nirav Modi in Alibaug on 21 February. “The farmhouse on 1.5 acres includes a 12,000-sq.ft bungalow, which has five bedrooms and a swimming pool. It is registered in Modi’s name,” a CBI officer said.

The CBI had earlier sealed a house in Worli in the name of Modi’s wife, Ami. Some more properties are likely to be sealed in the days to come, sources said.

The CBI is also questioning several senior officials of the Modi Group and the PNB. While five arrests were made on 20 February and three were made earlier, CBI officers said that a few more arrests could be made this week.

(Source: The Hindu)

8. NIA to Chargesheet Former Pakistan Diplomat

NIA cracks terror module after conducting raids across the country. Image for representation.
NIA cracks terror module after conducting raids across the country. Image for representation.
(Photo: The Quint/Poonam Agarwal)

The NIA is likely to chargesheet former Pakistan diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui, in a case of conspiracy to attack vital establishments in India, The Hindu reported.

The chargesheet will be filed at a special court for terror cases in Chennai on 22 February.

Among the installations planned to be targeted were the US Consulate in Chennai, the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam, and ports across the country.

Mohamed Zakir Hussain was arrested by the ‘Q’ Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013 on the basis of specific information that he was indulging in spying activities as an agent of Pakistan.

(Source: The Hindu)

9. Assured Return Offers by Realtors, Jewellers to Be Treated as Ponzi

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Image used for representational purpose only.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Image used for representational purpose only.
(Photo: Reuters)

The proposed law to crack down on Ponzi schemes will bar real estate developers that offer fixed returns till possession as well as schemes from jewellers as the government believes that they are “unregulated deposits”.

The clampdown on realtors, jewellers and other deposit-seeking entities is part of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, which was cleared by the Cabinet on 21 February and is expected to be introduced in Parliament shortly.

The bill requires all deposit-seekers, including entities that are already regulated, to register with the designated authority provided under the proposed law.

Senior government officials told TOI that unchecked schemes offering assured returns for cash, are akin to ponzi schemes and need to be regulated.

(Source: Times of India)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!