QBullet: Sridevi’s Funeral Today; N-E Exit Polls Predict BJP Win

Here’s a roundup of all the top stories of the day. 

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Sridevi in a still from <i>Chandni</i>.
i

1. Sridevi’s Body Brought Back to Lokhandwala Residence in Mumbai, Funeral Today

Veteran actor Sridevi’s mortal remains arrived in Mumbai on the night of 27 February, around 72 hours after her demise in Dubai. Her funeral will happen on Wednesday afternoon.

Her body was taken to her residence in Green Acres, Lokhandwala, from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in a convoy. Tight security arrangements were in place both on the way and outside the house, as a large number of fans had gathered to get a glimpse of their beloved actress.

The late actor’s daughter Jhanvi Kapoor and other family members – Anil Kapoor, Anshula Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor – were present at the airport to receive her, along with business magnate Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani.

According to a statement on behalf of Sridevi’s family, her body will be kept for three hours at the Celebration Sports Club, Andheri, near her residence from 9.30 am onwards to enable people and her fans to pay their last respects.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. NDA in Tripura & Nagaland, Hung House in Meghalaya: Exit Polls

PM Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi.&nbsp;
PM Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Exit polls on Tuesday, 27 February, predicted a massive expansion of BJP's footprint in the north-east with wins for its alliances in Tripura and Nagaland. In Meghalaya, NPP founded by former Speaker PA Sangma is projected to lead in a hung House unseating ruling Congress.

Wins in Tripura and Nagaland would be a big plus for BJP which has had a marginal presence in Tripura and Nagaland. Given that NPP is an NDA member, BJP wouldn't be too unhappy with it replacing Congress in Meghalaya either, even if its own projected tally is rather modest.

Congress, which was the main opposition party in the last elections in 2013, may fail to win a single seat in the state, all the polls indicated.

(Source: The Times of India)

3. PNB Fallout: Centre Moves to Set up New Regulator for Chartered Accountants

Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 12,000 crore involving Punjab National Bank.
Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 12,000 crore involving Punjab National Bank.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

The scam at state-run Punjab National Bank has prompted the government to move on setting up a new agency to regulate and discipline auditors, almost five years after the law provided for it.

Setting up of the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), a new agency provided for in the Companies Act, will be discussed by the Union cabinet on Wednesday, 28 February, a move that will take away review and disciplinary functions of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The cabinet will discuss a proposal from the ministry of corporate affairs to allow for creation of posts, paving the way for setting up NFRA with a chairman and up to 15 members.

The ICAI has been resisting the change as it will be rendered toothless, with education and conducting exams being left as its main role.

(Source: The Times of India)

4. Government Tells Banks to Review All Bad Loans Above Rs 50 Crore After PNB Scam

Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.
(Photo: iStock)

The finance ministry, on 27 February, directed state-run banks to examine all bad loan accounts exceeding Rs 50 crore for possible fraud, a fallout of the multi-billion dollar PNB scam.

It also gave a 15-day deadline to state-run banks to take pre-emptive action, identify and address operational and technological risks, and adopt practices to tighten their systems.

The government also stressed the need for accountability of the top management of banks, and directed them to detect frauds and willful defaults as per RBI guidelines, and to refer the cases to the CBI.

While this could pose an operational challenge to state-owned banks, in the process the Union government has signalled a toughening of stance and a sense of urgency in containing any fallout from the Rs 12,636 crore scam allegedly perpetrated by jeweller Nirav Modi on PNB.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

5. Case Schedule Clouds Aadhaar Link Deadline

Right to privacy is central to constitutionality of the Aadhaar programme.
Right to privacy is central to constitutionality of the Aadhaar programme.
(Photo: The Quint)

Petitioners opposed to the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, phone numbers, and other services will seek an extension of the deadline for such linkage, their lawyers said on Tuesday, 27 February, citing the low probability of the case being concluded in the Supreme Court by 31 March, the current deadline for such linking.

The Supreme Court is expected to resume hearing the case on 6 March. In December, it extended the last date for completion of the process to link Aadhaar with services to 31 March.

“We will be renewing the request for extension of the 31 March deadline as it is becoming apparent that the hearing cannot be concluded and the judgment delivered before March-end,” said senior advocate Sanjay Hegde who appears for petitioner John Abraham, a student denied admission to a Mumbai college for lack of Aadhaar.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Maldives Snubs India, Says Won't Join Naval Exercise

File photo of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen addressing the nation in Male, Maldives.
File photo of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen addressing the nation in Male, Maldives.
(Photo: AP)

In the throes of an internal political crisis, Maldives has refused an Indian invitation to participate in a biennial multilateral naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, beginning on 6 March.

"We have invited Maldives, but they declined it. They did not give any reasons, but I think it is due to the current situation there," Indian Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba told journalists on the sidelines of an Indo-Pacific Maritime Dialogue jointly organised by the Indian Navy and National Maritime Foundation.

Questioned on the issue, Maldives ambassador Ahmed Mohamed said: "I would like to clarify that Maldives is unable to participate in the naval exercise during this time due to current circumstances of a state of emergency being in effect for those under investigation for serious crimes. During such a time, security personnel are expected to be at a heightened stance of readiness."

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. After SUV Ran over Nine Kids, BJP Leader Manoj Baitha Got 24 Stitches, Fled

Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.
(Photo: iStock)

Eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage have helped “conclude” that Sitamarhi BJP leader Manoj Baitha was driving the SUV that ran over nine school-children crossing a road, Bihar police said on Tuesday 28 February.

While trying to flee after running down a 65-year-old woman near the Dharampur middle school on 24 February, Baitha had allegedly lost control of his SUV and ran over a group of students crossing National Highway 77, killing nine children aged between seven and 13. Ten more children, injured in the accident, are being treated at hospitals in Muzaffarpur and Patna while Minapur police has registered an FIR against Baitha.

Minapur police station in-charge, Sona Prasad Singh told The Indian Express: “We have concluded that Baitha was driving. We have taken statements of several Dharmpur villagers who have said as much.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. 33 Illegal Indian Immigrants, 121 Pakistanis Sent Back on US Flight

Representative image.
Representative image.
(Photo: The Quint)

Delhi’s IGI Airport received an unscheduled flight on 14 February. The aircraft, full of South Asian deportees, was dropping off 33 Indians allegedly living illegally in the United States, according to several people familiar with the matter.

An officer of the CISF, which handles airport security, said that the flight also had 121 Pakistanis, all illegal immigrants to the US, on board. The flight proceeded to Islamabad from New Delhi to drop off the Pakistani nationals, he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The flight landed at around 8:30 am on 14 February. We were informed in advance about the movement of a large number of deportees. Officials from the external affairs ministry were present and facilitated the movement. After completing the formalities, the passengers were sent to their respective states,” the CISF officer added.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

9. Judicial Probe into Kamala Mills Fire, Land Misuse by Mill Owners

Owners of 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro are in judicial custody after being booked for the Kamala Mills fire.
Owners of 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro are in judicial custody after being booked for the Kamala Mills fire.
(Photo courtesy: The Quint/Harsh Sahani)

The Mumbai Government, on 27 February, announced a judicial probe into the Kamala Mills fire, the alleged violation of Floor Space Index (FSI) rules, and the misuse of land by textile mills owners in the city.

The inquiry committee will be headed by a retired judge of the Bombay High Court and will include a retired secretary of the urban development department and an architect, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state Assembly on Tuesday, 27 February. The probe report will be tabled in the state legislature, he said.

In response to a PIL in the Bombay High Court, Fadnavis said the government has decided to constitute an inquiry committee, which will probe the cause of fire at Kamala Mills, the violation of FSI allotted to mills in Mumbai and misuse of land. He also announced the government has come across violation of the FSI allotted for IT firms on mill land and a probe panel will probe this, too.

(Source: The New Indian Express)

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