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HomePlugged InPlugged-In: Warrants for Nirav Modi, outspoken Chelameswar and Karnataka elections

Plugged-In: Warrants for Nirav Modi, outspoken Chelameswar and Karnataka elections

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Nirav Modi in the sky with other people’s diamonds. A special CBI court has issued non-bailable warrants against absconding diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of over ₹13,500 crore. Both Modi and Choksi have failed to respond to two summons issues against them, and have also refused to join the CBI probe so far, “citing business commitments and health issues”, The Hindu reports front page.

But apparently, PNB should have seen the Nirav Modi scam coming, because “a year before the Rs 13,500 crore Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi scam came to light, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had sounded an alarm over irregularities in the gems and jewellery sector”, The Times of India reports. A meeting was held on 5 January 2017, in which CVC representatives met senior CBI and ED officials as well as the chief vigilance officers of 10 banks, to red-flag frauds committed by other jewellery firms, and to pinpoint loopholes in the banking system.

Punjab National Bank (PNB) branch in Mumbai
A Punjab National Bank (PNB) branch in Mumbai | PTI

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Games really are happening in ‘Gold’ Coast for India, because our women athletes bagged three golds over the weekend. A silver and two bronze medals were also won, making Sunday the most successful day for India in the Games. With seven gold, two silver, and three bronze medals, India remains in 4th position overall. All major newspapers report this front page today, as does IndiaToday.

Only six of 59 airports guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) can effectively defuse and dispose of explosives, an audit by the paramilitary agency has found. It’s just the airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Cochin and Hyderabad that have all the 28 pieces of equipment necessary to detect and defuse a bomb under various circumstances, Hindustan Times reports. So, basically, next time security checks take longer than you like, be glad.

Front row ‘seats’ for Karnataka 2018 have been reserved, as the BJP on Sunday named 72 candidates in its first list of candidates for the coming Karnataka assembly elections to 224 seats. “Top leaders who figure in the list are state president B.S. Yeddyurappa (Shikaripura), leader of the opposition in the assembly Jagadish Shettar (Hubballi-Dharwad Central) and R. Ashok (Padmanabhanagar),” The Hindu reports.

BJP Karnataka president B.S. Yeddyurappa with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davanagere, Karnataka | @BSYBJP

Justice Jasti Chelameswar spoke to journalist Karan Thapar at an event organised by the Harvard Club of India in the national capital Saturday. The second most senior judge of the Supreme Court said impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was not the solution to resolve the crisis in the judiciary, as Apurva Vishwanath reported for ThePrint. Chelameswar also said that if Justice Gogoi didn’t become next CJI, it would prove what the four judges said at their historic press conference.

A file image of Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar | PTI

But that wasn’t the only instance where Chelameswar made news. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad countered SC judge Chelameswar with a letter of his own to the CJI, Hindustan Times and ThePrint report. This letter is in response to Chelameswar’s letter criticising the government’s decision to withhold Karnataka district judge P. Krishna Bhat’s elevation to the high court. In his letter, Prasad suggested that the complaint sent by a female judicial officer against Bhat wasn’t properly handled by the judiciary.

India’s public banking sector needs urgent hand-holding, as “more than half the country’s public sector banks (PSBs) are now under the RBI’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, which restricts lending activities of the banks, government sources said”, The Indian Express reports. At present, 11 weak PSBs out of the 21 state-owned banks are under the PCA.

Business Class

In the light of the Videocon-ICICI Bank controversy, some directors on the board of the ICICI Bank are expected to meet soon to “discuss the way ahead for chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar”, reports The Economic Times. The board has backed the CEO so far.

The Corporate India picture is not becoming rosy anytime soon. Business Standard reports that “combined net profit of India’s top 50 companies… is estimated to grow by 10.9 per cent year-on-year (YoY) during the January-March 2018 quarter, down from the 11.5 per cent YoY growth clocked in the third quarter and 40.5 per cent growth during the year-ago quarter”.

Representational image | Pixabay photo

News it’s just kinda cool to know

So a train continued to run for several kilometres without an engine in Odisha, prompting the suspension of seven railway staffers. Staff had to put stones on the track to bring Ahmedabad-Puri Express to a halt Saturday night. “Twenty-two coaches of the train rolled down the track at Titlagarh in Balangir district after detachment of the engine,” Financial Express reports.

In case you use any of these 14 steroid creams, you should know their over-the-counter sale has been banned by the government.”The move comes following a sustained campaign by dermatologists across the country,” The New Indian Express reports.

Gujarat has the cutest (and most deserving) millionaires in the world: Dogs. In Panchot village of Mehsana, Gujarat, an old local tradition of donating land to animals through an informal trust known as the ’Madh ni Pati Kutariya Trust’, made millionaires out of some 70 dogs. Read this Times of India article to know more about these rich furry friends.

A dog in Gujarat. | Flickr/Nevil Zaveri

Point of View

Both the houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on 6 April. In the second half of the Budget session, the productivity of both the houses was less than 10 per cent. The Hindu writes in its editorial: “The Budget session shamed democracy; the damage can be undone with a new session.”

The Indian Express, in its editorial, explains why there is a rush among farmers to go back to sugarcane, wheat and paddy. It writes, “The current rush among farmers to grow sugarcane, cereals is a reflection of falling returns from other crops.”

An Indian farmer at work | Source: iarunk/Pixabay

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy generated debate about the safety of private data. Arghya Sengupta, research director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, writes in his column in The Times Of India, “Strong rules to ensure informed consent, greater accountability for data breaches and liability for platforms for content, might be good places to start.”

Recently, banks, both public as well as private, are in the news for all the wrong reasons — rising NPAs, frauds etc. Ila Patnaik, professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, writes in her column in The Indian Express, “The banking supervisor (read RBI) had allowed banks to hide bad news and permitted them to continue ever-greening loans; this led to rising NPAs.”

Reserve Bank of India | Photo by Getty Images

The news of two examination paper leaks caused much embarrassment to the CBSE. Former Delhi University vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh writes in his column in The Indian Express, “CBSE examination paper leaks are symptomatic of a deeper rot in the system. It needs to be overhauled using technology to secure exam papers, process.”

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