QBullet: Modi Breaks Silence on Trudeau; PNB’s Reply to Nirav Modi
Here are the top stories of the day.
1. Row over Dinner Invite to 'Terrorist' Hits Trudeau Trip
A fresh controversy hit Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled visit to India on Thursday, 22 February, as reports emerged that a convicted Khalistani separatist had been invited to an official dinner reception in New Delhi and photographed with the leader’s wife.
Already stung by a perceived snub to Trudeau because of his government’s soft stance on pro-Khalistan elements, Canadian authorities said the invitation extended to Indo-Canadian businessman Jaspal Atwal had been “rescinded”.
“This individual (Jaspal Atwal) should never have been invited to any event on the program, and his invitation has been rescinded. We are in the process of looking into how this occurred”, ANI quoted Canada PMO as saying.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
2. Look Forward to Meeting Trudeau: Modi Breaks Silence on Canadian PM’s Visit
PM Modi on the evening of 22 February welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his visit, and said that he looked forward to meeting him on 23 Friday.
“I look forward to meeting PM @JustinTrudeau tomorrow and holding talks on further strengthening India-Canada relations in all spheres,” Modi tweeted.
“I appreciate his deep commitment to ties between our two countries,” he said.
In a separate tweet, Modi said that he hoped Trudeau had an enjoyable visit to India so far and that he particularly looked forward to meeting Trudeau’s three children Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien.
He also posted a picture of him along with Trudeau and Ella-Grace during his visit to Canada in April 2015.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
3. Kejriwal’s Advisor Saw Delhi Chief Secretary Being Hit, Say Police
The Delhi Police on 22 February quoted Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s advisor VK Jain as saying in a statement that he had witnessed two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the CM’s residence on the night of 19 February.
Jain later appeared before another magistrate and recorded his statement, according to advocate BS Joon who represented the two AAP MLAs arrested in connection with the alleged assault. According to Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson, Jain’s statement to the police was corroborated by his statement to the magistrate, which is admissible in court.
The AAP, however, alleged that Jain had denied any assault in his initial statement to the police on Wednesday 21 February and any change in his statement on Thursday was due to “duress caused by police pressure”.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
4. Rotomac Fraud Case: CBI Arrests Vikram Kothari and Son
The CBI on 22 February arrested Rotomac Global Private Limited promoter-director Vikram Kothari and his son in the alleged Rs. 3,695-crore “wilful” loan default case. They have been accused of cheating a consortium of seven nationalised banks.
The father-son duo was being questioned by the investigating team for the past two days at the CBI headquarters. Kothari’s wife Sadhana is also an accused in the FIR that was registered on 18 February following a complaint by the Bank of Baroda.
The FIR alleges that Kothari’s companies had taken a loan of Rs 2,919 crore from a consortium of seven nationalised banks, but the directors of the companies had cheated the banks by diverting funds so raised, in conspiracy with certain bank officials.
(Source: The Hindu)
5. We Only Got 99 Seats Because Butchers and Bootleggers Didn’t Vote BJP: Gujarat Home Minister
The BJP tally in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls was restricted to 99 seats because butchers, bootleggers, and those opposing the proposed triple talaq bill didn't vote for the saffron party, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly on 22 February.
The BJP managed to retain power for a sixth straight term in Gujarat, though its tally fell to 99 seats. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member House.
I tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry against us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law. It was bootleggers who were angry because the BJP government has introduced a tough prohibition law.Pradeepsinh Jadeja, Minister of State for Home, Gujarat
(Source: The Indian Express)
6. Come up with a Concrete Plan to Repay Dues: PNB to Nirav Modi
Scam-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Thursday, 22 February, asked billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi to come up with a concrete plan that can be implemented to settle the loss caused to it by the fraudulent issuance of Letter of Undertakings (LoUs) through its Brady House branch.
PNB said this in its response to a mail written by Nirav Modi, who allegedly cheated the bank of Rs 11,400 crore in connivance with a few bank officials.
"You were getting LoUs issued illegally and in an unauthorised way through few bank officials. At no stage such facilities were extended by our bank to your three partner firms," sources said citing a mail response sent by PNB General Manager (international banking division) Ashwini Vats to Nirav Modi.
"Your commitment and undertaking for sparing of the total liability was not backed by providing upfront amounts and timelines. However, should you have any concrete and implementable plan, do revert back," the mail said.
7. India Is Ignoring Facts, Says Maldives
India’s public statements regarding the suspension of democracy in the Maldives have ignored facts and ground realities, the government of President Abdulla Yameen said on 22 February.
The statement came after the Indian MEA spoke against the extension of emergency rule in the country.
“The assertion by India that the extension of the state of Emergency by the People’s Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts which ignore the Constitution and Laws of the Maldives,” stated a press release from Male.
The Government of Maldives said the declaration of Emergency was backed by Article 253 of the Constitution, which empowers the President of the nation to protect national security with suspension of democracy.
(Source: The Hindu)
8. CBI Unearths Global Child Porn Racket
The CBI on Thursday, 22 February, unearthed a global child pornography racket which was being run on a WhatsApp group where the accused from at least 11 countries shared videos, pictures and other disturbing content related to abuse of minors.
The agency arrested the alleged mastermind and main administrator of the WhatsApp group – titled “KidsXXX”– Nikhil Verma, a 20-year-old unemployed youth from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh.
After registering a case of alleged violation of the Information Technology Act, the agency carried out searches in Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, and Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh.
The CBI is investigating the organised nature of the racket and plans to approach the US, China, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka as some of the accused are from these countries and shared child pornography content.
9. India’s Ranking Falls Further on List of Corrupt Nations
India has been ranked 81st in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perception Index 2017. While it maintained its score at 40 on a 100-point scale where anything below 30 is considered seriously corrupt, its ranking fell from 79 last year, to 81 in 2018.
A Transparency International release also characterised India as “among the worst regional offenders” in the Asia Pacific region on grounds of journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies being threatened or even murdered.
In this, it was clubbed with the Philippines and Maldives. “These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths,” the report added.
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