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LIVE! Strong tremors jolt north India

22:59  5.8 magnitude quake strikes north India:  

Update: An earthquake of the magnitude 5.8 on the Richter sent tremors across northern India, Press Trust of India reported quoting National Seismological Bureau.

The epicentre of the earthquake was located close to Pipalkoti in Uttarakhand.

22:43  Strong tremors jolt north India :  Strong tremors were felt in parts of north India including Delhi and NCR regions on Monday evening.   

Tremors were felt for nearly 30 seconds according to initial reports.   

More details are awaited


22:11  Rs 104 cr in cash, drugs worth Rs 46 cr seized in poll-bound states: EC:   The election authorities have recovered Rs 104.61 crore illegal cash and drugs and liquor worth over Rs 46 crore aimed at influencing voters in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

According to the latest data, the enforcement agencies have so far recovered Rs 104.61 crore in illegal cash, 14.38 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 38.41 crore and drugs totalling 2,465.17 kg worth Rs 8.15 crore.

These agencies work under the direct supervision of the Election Commission during polls to ensure that cash, drugs, liquor and even precious metals like gold and silver are not used to influence voters.

Precious metal recovered so far amounts to Rs 23 crore, the data added.

Image for representation only.


21:44  India attracted $32.5 bn FDI during April-Nov:  India attracted $32.49 billion (Rs 2.17 lakh crore) foreign direct investment in April-November of 2016-17, Parliament was informed today.

The key sectors that received a major chunk of FDI included metallurgy, computer software and hardware, telecom, information and broadcasting and automobile, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

“The government reviews FDI policy on an ongoing basis and significant changes are made in the FDI policy regime, from time to time, to ensure India remains increasingly attractive and investor-friendly investment destination,” she said.

“Further, no proposal is under consideration of the government to review extant policy to bring public sectors under its ambit in the country.”


20:43  More trouble for Jolly LLB 2: Jaipur court summons Akshay:  The Sanganer court in Jaipur has summoned Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar for his role in his movie Jolly LLB 2 on March 10.

The petitioner has stated that Akshay’s character has distorted the profession of a lawyer in the flick.

Earlier in the day, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court ordered the deletion of four scenes in Jolly LLB 2 — a scene where a scared judge is hiding behind the chair, another where a shoe is hurled, a scene with objectionable signalling and dialogues in an argument scene have to be modified.

The producers are likely to approach the Supreme Court again soon, as the film is due for release this week. — ANI


20:39  Chennai oil spill: NGT seeks Centre’s reply in 24 hrs:   The National Green Tribunal on Monday sought a report on the Chennai oil spill within 24 hours.

The NGT has asked the Centre to present the facts of the oil spill and the measures being taken to clean up the sludge.

10 days after the oil spill, close to 5,000 volunteers are struggling to clean up the Chennai coastline of the sludge.

The development came after a petition, which has also sought constitution of an expert committee to oversee and monitor the entire clean-up process and assess the damage caused to the environment.

The petition has made the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Ministry of Shipping, the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, the TN State Pollution Control Board as parties. — ANI


19:49  Raees won’t be released in Pak as ‘it shows Muslims in bad light’:  Pakistan’s censor board has not cleared Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees for release in the country after finding the film’s content and theme objectionable.

“The portrayal of Muslims is negative and the film’s content undermines Islam, and a specific religious sect, (while also) portraying Muslims as criminals, wanted persons and terrorists,” an official source in the censor board said.

The distributors of Raees, Hum Films had last week submitted the film to the censor board for clearance to release in the Pakistani cinema halls after the government allowed screening of latest Bollywood movies last week.

An official with Hum Films declined to comment and said so far they had not got any official word from the censor board about banning Raees.

The lifting of the unofficial ban followed the release of a flow of latest Bollywood movies including Kaabil and Ae Dil Hai Muskhil.

Raees will not release in Pakistan according to a decision taken by the censor board today,” the source told PTI.

“It shows Muslims in very negative light and could lead to reactions from different sects and it is unsuitable for public screening.”

Another source said that CBFC chairman Mobashir Hasan had backed the censor board members in their decision. — PTI


19:11  Trump’s jobs policy to hit Modi’s Make in India plan: Chinese media:  President Donald Trump’s bring jobs back to America policy could challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative, Chinese media warned today, even as it commented that the United States continued engagement with Asian allies may benefit Indo-US ties.

It is being speculated that Trump could request more access to Indias market while following protectionist policies at home, an article in the state-run Global Times said.

This move would impact firms outsourcing to India and Indian exporters, particularly in the sectors of IT and pharmaceuticals. Currently, India has one of the largest numbers of educated, technically trained people in the world, making it a favoured outsourcing destination for some of the largest US firms. Trumps bring jobs back to America is a challenge to Modis Make in India, it said.

The article noted that Trump has directed the Department of Labour to investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut American workers.

If any visa restrictions are imposed, they would definitely constrain the movement of Indian IT professionals. Indians are believed to be the largest recipients of H-1B visas in the US, and IT companies that outsource to India are among the top sponsors of such visas. Such a move will definitely not go down well with Indian public as well as leaders, it said. — PTI


18:58  Plea in SC to stop Sasikala from taking oath tomorrow:   A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking to restrain swearing-in of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader V K Sasikala as Tamil Nadu chief minister tomorrow.

Sasikala is set to be sworn-in as CM at 8.30 am tomorrow. The oath taking ceremony will take place at the Madras Centenary Hall. 


18:14  Bombay HC orders deletion of four scenes from Jolly LLB 2:  

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has ordered the deletion of four scenes in Akshay Kumar and Huma Qureshi’s upcoming film Jolly LLB 2 – a scene where a scared judge is hiding behind the chair, another where a shoe is hurled, a scene with objectionable signalling and dialogues in an argument scene have to be modified.

The Central Board of Film Certification had already cleared Jolly LLB 2, but will have to reissue the certificate in light of the court order. The Akshay Kumar-starrer got caught up in controversy when Nanded-based advocate Ajaykumar Waghmare filed a petition, saying that the film is “nothing but an attempt to portray the Indian Legal Profession and Judicial System as a laughing stock to the society at large.”

The producers are likely to approach the Supreme Court again tomorrow, as the film is due for release this week. The Supreme Court had earlier said that it will let the Bombay High Court decide first and hear the matter only if the need arises.


18:10  Here’s a look at UP candidates ahead of polling on February 11. 


17:57  PM Modi ignoring poor’s plight, busy helping the rich: Rahul:  Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday branded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘anti-farmer’ and accused him of not fulfilling any of the promises made during 2014 general elections.

Gandhi while addressing a rally in Mathura, said that Prime Minister Modi waived debt worth lakh of crores of 50 richest families of the nation but at the same time could not help the farmers who are suffering under the burden of heavy loans.

“In the past two and half years Modi ji has let go debt of 110,000 crore of 50 richest families of the nation. I requested Narendra Modi ji to waive off debt of farmers of Uttar Pradesh but he kept silent. He can do such a big favour to industrialist but he cannot help poor farmers. This is the bitter truth,” said Gandhi.

“Uttar Pradesh is the biggest state of the nation. Youth from this state go to various states for work. Modi ji during general elections promised two crore jobs for the youth of Uttar Pradesh, but I would like to ask you all that did Modi ji create jobs for you all? Modi ji has not created any job opportunities for Uttar Pradesh,” he added.

The people of Uttar Pradesh will be voting for a new government in seven-phase elections between February 11 and March 8.

17:22  Demonetisation is for losers: American economist:  

Criticising India’s decision to scrap high value currency notes, noted American economist Steve H Hanke has said demonetisation is for ‘losers’ and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not know where the country is heading now.

“Demonetisation is for losers and has been bungled from the start. No one, not even Modi, knows where India is heading,” Hanke, an American applied economist at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a tweet.

A Senior Fellow and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, Hanke had earlier said that “India simply does not have the infrastructure to adapt to Modis demonetisation…he should have known.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 had announced demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.


16:52  Sasikala to take oath as Tamil Nadu CM at 8:30 am tomorrow:  Sasikala to be sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister at 8:30 am tomorrow. The oath taking ceremony will take place at the Madras Centenary Hall.

Over a month after she took charge as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary following Jayalalithaa’s demise, V K Sasikala was on Sunday elected legislature party leader, paving the way for her to become the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

At a meeting of party MLAs in Chennai, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam proposed the name of Sasikala as legislature party leader. 62-year-old Sasikala, also called ‘Chinnamma’ and Jayalaithaa’s shadow in public for nearly three decades, later drove to the party headquarters where she was greeted by Panneerselvam and senior party leaders.

“It was Panneerselvam who had first persuaded me to become the chief minister and general secretary as well when Jayalalithaa passed away,” Sasikala told party legislators.

With her elevation, which comes over a month after she took charge as AIADMK general secretary on December 31, Sasikala carries on the legacy of Jayalalithaa, who also held the two posts allowing her to wield complete control on the government and the party.


16:22  Subrata Roy’s parole extended, Aamby Valley seized:  The Supreme Court orders the attachment of Sahara Group’s property worth Rs 39,000 crore at Aamby Valley in Pune. The court asks Sahara to give a list of unencumbered properties that can be put to public auction to realise remaining Rs 14,000 crore of principle amount. Sahara deposits Rs 600 crore as per the last order of the SC. Matter to be heard on February 20.

But in good news for Subrata Roy, the court has extended the parole of the Sahara chief yet again. In its hearing today, Roy’s parole — he has been out of jail since May 5, 2016 — after his mother expired.

File pic.


15:53  Sasikala interacted with Jayalalithaa in hospital: Apollo docs:   Dr Balaji, coordinator for former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospital and the UK doctor who treated Jayalalithaa, Dr. Richard Beale, address the  media. The press conference is being facilitated by the government, says Dr Beale, who is a world renowned intensive care specialist.  He said the government asked him to come now.

The press conference has been called to dispel rumours on Jayalalithaa’s death.

“We want to dispel rumours on Jayalalithaa’s condition, treatment. Infection resulted in damage of organs. The diagnosis is of respiratory failure. Consequences of sepsis, bacteria in blood very severe.

Photographic proof of what happened in hospital
Not normal practice to photograph patients who are critically ill. It is an intrusion of privacy and takes away from the dignity of the patient. Someone who is not well is not in a position to make decisions.
“There are no CCTV images in a hospital room. We do not do that. It’s extraordinary to even think that CCTV footage could be asked for.

“She was talking, interacting with officials, but the sepsis was slowly taking over and she had to be put on ventilator. She was on sleeping medicines and  not able to communicate. We did a procedure called tracheotomy. Usually patients come off the sleeping medicines after tracheotomy is removed. This is regular procedure. Bacterial infection in blood was underlying problem. Infection spread to organs, led to shortness of breath. Diabetes made treatment difficult. No amputation, no transplantation took place. Marks on face happen on critically ill patients.

On the cardiac arrest
Her potassium levels were not high on that day. It was checked in the morning.
She had a sudden cardiac arrest.
All the facilities were available at her bedside. She was later shifted to the intensive care unit.
A medical personnel was available in the room. The on-call cardiologist present in the hospital was there in a few minutes.
The core team was informed immediately. Resuscitation was started immediately.
It was a witnessed cardiac arrest. She had a sudden cardiac arrest.

“Jaya was conscious when she gave a thumb impression to sign poll papers.

Jayalalithaa’s recovery
When she was recovering, she spoke to people, she watched TV and was also able to walk a few steps, but not a lot, she was very weak.ed to London.

Dr Beale’s interaction with Jayalalithaa.
She talked about TV, rehabilitation, food, told her about my children, we were having those sort of interactions. She couldn’t speak clearly, but I understood what she said. She was a remarkable lady, and I could sense had a strength of purpose and dedication.

On visitors
: Even when sedation is on it doesn’t prevent the patient from interaction. Jayalalithaa gave the go-ahead on the visitors she wanted to meet. Sasikala was interacting with her, but she was not the only one.

“At 12:20 midnight the embalming procedure began. Anatomy department of Madras Medical college carried it out, the same department that did the embalming of MG Ramachandran. The embalming was carried out in 15 minutes.

Jayalalithaa hospitalisation timeline:

She got admitted on September 22. She was in ICU with non-invasive ventilator.
She was slowly taken off of the ventilator when her condition improved.
She was later moved to the room. She was only on respiratory support.
She had a sudden cardiac arrest in the room days later.

Jayalalithaa’s transfer to London for treatment.
The issue of transfer of patient to London was discussed. Yes, there is always a degree of risk, but with the resources at hand, almost anyone can be transported. We consulted her and she was the one who decided that she did not want to be transferred to London.

15:28  Alastair Cook steps down as England captain after 59 Tests in charge. England had recently lost five-Test series in India 4-0


13:42  Explosives found in Red Fort well :  Ammunition and boxes of explosives have been found during cleaning of a well inside Red Fort. The discovery triggered panic, prompting police to cordon off the area and inform the NSG. Bomb disposal teams from the NSG as well as the Delhi Police and dog squads are at the spot. Fire tenders, too, have also rushed in.

“When the wells inside the Red Fort were being cleaned by the ASI, some ammunition and explosive boxes were discovered in one of the wells behind the publication building.

“Police after cordoning the area immediately informed the NSG and army. NSG bomb disposal teams were at the spot,’ a senior police officer told PTI.

“Five mortars and 44 live rounds were recovered from the well There were 87 fired rounds that were also found,” an NSG official said.


12:33  RIP Colonel Nizamuddin:  @IndiaHistorypic Colonel Nizamuddin who was the driver of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and member of the Indian National Army passed away today in Azamgarh. #RIP

12:22  Just in: BCCI Media manager Nishant Arora resigns, Committee of Administrators closes offices of BCCI President and Secretary.


12:19  Governor accepts Panneer’s resignation, Sasikala set to take over:  O Panneerselvam’s resignation as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister accepted by Governor. VK Sasikala set to take over.

Over a month after she took charge as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary following Jayalalithaa’s demise, V K Sasikala was on Sunday elected legislature party leader, paving the way for her to become the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

At a meeting of party MLAs in Chennai, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam proposed the name of Sasikala as legislature party leader. 62-year-old Sasikala, also called ‘Chinnamma’ and Jayalaithaa’s shadow in public for nearly three decades, later drove to the party headquarters where she was greeted by Panneerselvam and senior party leaders.

Image: Sasikala and former TN CM O Panneerselvam at Jaya’s memorial 

12:03  At least 50 killed as avalanche hits East Afghanistan :  Far from the hustle bustle of UP politics, in Afghanistan, at least 50 persons were killed after avalanche hit the eastern province of the country. The incident took place earlier on Sunday after Hafsi village in Bargmatal district was hit by avalanche, reports Khaama Press.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Hafiz Qayum said the rescue team has managed to recover dead bodies of at least 50 people so far. The death toll is expected to rise.

He said efforts are underway to recover the bodies of the remaining residents who are still trapped under the snow.

Meanwhile at least 10 people, including women and children, were killed when two avalanches struck Chitral, Pakistan on Sunday.

The avalanches smashed into the village of Sher Shal area near Gharam Chashma, killing four women and four children among others.

The region has been hit by heavy snowfall that is four feet (1.2 metres) deep in some places


11:57  ‘People don’t want to marry their daughters to boys in Western UP’:   Travelling on a UP government bus in the interestingly named Chhutmalpur in western Uttar Pradesh,’s Archana Masih gets a sense of the fault lines in this election’s most volatile region — that can make or break the future of political parties in UP. Make the time to read this.

11:44  Air India flight from Bhopal, carrying 122 passengers, crew onboard, diverted to Jaipur after suffering a bird hit, reports PTI.

11:42  Unclaimed bag found inside Parliament House:  An unclaimed bag was today found near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament House complex, sending security personnel into a tizzy. As soon as it was spotted this morning, security was alerted and the personnel rushed to the spot, Parliament sources said. However, nothing suspicious was found and the security men took away the bag.

11:35  Jayalalithaa corruption case verdict next week: SC :  The Supreme Court on Monday said that it would pronounce its verdict in the corruption case against former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa within a week. “The judgment is almost ready, and it is likely to be delivered next week,” the court announced.

Newly anointed AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan is also a co-accused in the case.

Jayalalithaa was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act in 1996 for allegedly amassing unaccounted wealth.

The Congress government in Karnataka moved the Supreme Court in 2015 after the state high court acquitted her in the case.

A special court in Bengaluru had earlier in 2014 found her guilty and sentenced her to four years imprisonment along with her close aide Sasikala. Jayalalithaa had to temporarily vacate the chief minister post, but stormed back to power in the 2016 assembly elections.

11:24  Top court verdict in the Jayalalithaa disproportionate income case next week. 


11:24  Rahul Gandhi’s Je Suis Charlie moment, protests Ahamed’s death :  Upping the ante on E Ahamed’s death, Rahul Gandhi today led a Congress protest alleging that the Kerala MP’s death was hushed up by the government to ensure the Union Budget is presented on time.

The 78-year-old former Union minister and IUML MP collapsed during the President’s address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on January 31, a day before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget.

The Congress had demanded that the presentation of the Budget should be postponed by a day over Ahamed’s death.”We are Ahamed Sahab,” said the placard held by Rahul as he stood with other MPs from Kerala near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue.

“The government will answer if the issue is raised in Parliament. They are trying to politicise it. The doctors did their best. I don’t understand what is the issue?” Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

The Congress, an ally of the IUML, has alleged that Ahamed had passed away while he was taken to the hospital, but the government wanted to keep the body in hospital until the Budget was presented.

The party said it was not only an “insult” of the late MP and his family, but also “the Muslim community”.

The Congress has also alleged that Ahamed’s family was “ill-treated” at the Delhi hospital after Ahamed was admitted there on January 31.

Senior Congress leader KV Thomas has demanded strong action and probe by a Parliamentary Committee into the incident.”Had Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi not intervened strongly, Ahamed’s children would not have got the opportunity to see his body and offer prayers as per Muslim customs,” Thomas claimed.

The We are Ahamed Saheb is a possible reference to the Charlie Hebdo protests in 2015. “Je suis Charlie”, French for “I am Charlie” is a slogan adopted by supporters of freedom of speech and freedom of the press after the 7 January 2015 shooting in which twelve people were killed at the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

11:13  J&K: As an answer to Pakistan’s ceasefire violation, Indian troops retaliated suitably. No loss or damage has taken place.


11:07  Iran deal ‘the worst’ agreement ever negotiated: Trump:  US President Donald Trump has described the nuclear deal with Iran as “the worst” agreement ever negotiated, calling the Islamic Republic the number one terrorist state in the world.

“They (Iranians) are the number one terrorist state. They’re sending money all over the place — and weapons. And can’t do that,” Trump told Fox News in an interview telecast during the Super Bowl tournament. Trump said the nuclear agreement with Iran was the “worst deal” that he has ever seen negotiated. “I think it was a deal that should of never been negotiated,” he said.

Last week, Trump administration imposed additional sanctions against Iran for its alleged destabilising behaviour in the region and ballistic missile test in alleged violation of the UN Security Council resolution. The Trump administration has also issued tough warning against Iran.

10:47  Just in: Delhi’s Dalhousie Road has been renamed to Dara Shikoh Road: NDMC Chairman Naresh Kumar

10:47  Sensex climbs 161 pts on rate cut hope, positive global cues:  The benchmark BSE Sensex surged about 161 points to 28,401.47 in opening trade today as investors and funds widened their bets amid hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank amid a firming trend in global markets. Moreover, the rupee appreciating by another 10 paise to 67.21 against the dollar in early trade today sent out positive vibes to the stock markets. Extending its post-Budget rally for the fourth straight day, the BSE 30-share barometer surged 160.95 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 28,401.47.

10:37  ‘Salmon pink is one of my favourite colours’:  She is mesmerising. Her stare. The lovely Tarun Tahiliani outfit she has on. And the lack of airs with which she is standing here, with everyone else, not acting like a model and celebrity.

Rajesh Karkera/ was at the just concluded Lakme Fashion Week when he bumped into the stunning Padma Lakshmi.

For what happened next, read on.


10:18  Superstar Rajinikanth speaks about liking ‘power’, TN waits :  Superstar Rajinikanth’s recent statement about liking “power” has sent ripples through Tamil Nadu. The actor then clarified that he was talking about spiritualism, reports NDTV.

This comes amid speculation that Rajinikanth may launch his own political party, with support from the BJP, which wants to make inroads in Tamil Nadu. The superstar who has a cult following the state, has so far stayed away from politics, but it is believed he has been unhappy with the current state of affairs in Tamil Nadu politics.

If Rajinikanth indeed enters active politics, he will fill in the void after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death. Fans even sent Rajinikanth SOS messages after Jayalalithaa’s long-time friend and companion, VK Sasikala, was picked for the Chief Minister’s post by the ruling AIADMK.

Though Rajinikanth’s appreciation for Jayalalithaa grew over the years, in 1996, the superstar’s famous statement, that “even god can’t save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa was voted to power” is believed to have led to her defeat.

A decade later, his views took a 180-degree turn, when he praised her as “the reincarnation of (goddess) ashtalakshmi”. He lives near Jayalalithaa’s upscale Poes Garden residence. 

10:06  Shootout near Nehru Place metro station, wanted criminal nabbed:  The Delhi Police on Monday arrested a wanted criminal in an encounter near Nehru Place metro station. Akbar, who was carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, was nabbed after a gunfight with the police, while his accomplice Rashid managed to escape.

Around 13 rounds of firing were exchanged between Akbar and the police.

No policemen got injured during the gunfight as they were wearing bullet proof jackets.Akbar is wanted in many cases of robbery, theft, snatching and attempt to murder. 


09:56  The election in Uttar Pradesh:  Punditry about elections is, understandably, about forecasting their results. Since opinion writers generally aren’t privy to exclusive information, their predictions are a form of entertainment. A reporter’s insights into likely election results are always more nutritious than a columnist’s because eye-witness accounts, even when they are anecdotal, have some roughage: fact-free speculation has none. An auto- wallah is a more reliable guide to the pulse of the people than your average op-ed writer. Read more


09:34  SC to hear SEBI-Sahara refund case today:  

The Supreme Court will hear the SEBI-Sahara refund case Monday. The apex court had decided to hear the Sahara refund case on February 6 after Subrata Roy’s lawyer Kapil Sibal urged that this matter be advanced. Roy’s interim parole will expire Monday.

In a major relief to Roy, the court on November 28, 2016 extended his interim bail and ordered him to pay Rs 600 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India by February 6. 

During the hearing, Sibal proposed to the three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur, that Roy pay Rs 11,000 crore within a period of two-and-a-half years.

His parole was earlier extended till November 28 taking note of the deposit of Rs 200 crores made by him with SEBI in October, as a condition precedent for his release. The apex court had then granted four weeks’ custody parole to Roy to perform his mother’s last rites.

Roy was in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014, till his mother’s death in May 6, 2016, for not complying with the apex court’s orders in connection with a long dispute with the market regulator. SEBI had alleged that Roy failed to comply with the 2012 SC order directing him to return investors more than Rs 20,000 crore with 15 percent interest that his two companies Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd and the Sahara Housing Finance Corp Ltd had raised through optionally fully convertible debentures in 2007 and 2008.

09:31  UP STF seals house of Noida ponzi scam prime accused’s wife:  

ANI reports: House of Ayushi Mittal, wife of prime accused in Rs 3,700 crore Noida ponzi scam, Anubhav Mittal, sealed by UP STF in Kanpur.

On Sunday, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at five premises in Noida, Ghaziabad and Kanpur related to Anubhav, the 26-year-old kingpin of the scam, his wife Ayushi and four companies they ran  — Ablaze Info Solutions Pvt Ltd, Social Trade Pvt Ltd, 3W Digital Pvt Ltd and Intmaart Pvt Ltd.

The income tax department, Serious Fraud Investigation Office and Hyderabad Police have also started their own investigations into what is estimated to be a Rs 3,700-crore fraud, which makes it bigger than the Saradha scam that unravelled in West Bengal in 2013.

The ED raid came after its Lucknow office registered a case under the anti-money laundering act. 

Additional director of ED’s Lucknow zone Rajeshwar Singh said, “Searches have resulted in recovery of incriminating documents.” The Rs 3,700-crore scam estimate was made by UP Police’s Special Task Force, which busted the racket in Noida on February 2, on the basis of total deposits made.

09:16  ANI reports: KC Venugopal and NK Premachandran give adjournment motion in Lok Sabha over the issue of E Ahamed’s death


08:46  Lady Gaga soars over Super Bowl stage with bow to inclusion:  

Reuters reports: Standing atop the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium with drones illuminating an American flag in the night sky behind her, Lady Gaga kicked off her Super Bowl halftime set on Sunday by singing “God Bless America” as a subtle message of inclusion and unity in a deeply divided United States.

As many speculated about whether the outspoken singer would use her spotlight to address women’s rights, immigration or President Donald Trump, Gaga recited part of the American Pledge of Allegiance, “one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” in her opening song.

She then swung down from the roof to a stage suspended on cables and embarked on a meticulously choreographed 13-minute set of her greatest hits during the National Football League championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Ahead of her high-profile performance, watched by more than 100 million US viewers, Gaga, 30, said in a post on the Instagram social media network that she planned to headline the slot entirely on her own, eschewing a tradition of halftime main acts bringing on special guests.


08:38  She hasn’t even done basic party work, says the other Sasikala:  

Expelled AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Puspha has opposed party chief V K Sasikala becoming the Tamil Nadu chief minister, alleging she had a “criminal background”.

In letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, she said, “It is condemnable to nominate or invite Sasikala Natarajan to be a Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu due to her criminal background. All criminal cases are pending and (she is) convicted.” 

Pushpa was apparently referring to the disproportionate assets case against late chief minister Jayalalithaa in which Sasikala was a co-accused and convicted by the trial court in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka High Court had set aside the conviction. An appeal challenging the acquittal is now pending before the Supreme Court.

Pushpa also alleged Sasikala, who was on Sunday elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party paving the way for her to become the Chief Minister, had “not done any basic work to the party.”

“The then Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) not even proposed her (Sasikala) as a candidate when she was in hospital. When she will be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, there would be law and order problems,” she alleged.


08:30  Trump to meet NATO leaders in May: White House:  

Donald Trump will meet fellow NATO leaders in May, the White House said after the president’s call with the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump expressed “strong support for NATO” but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement yesterday, adding that Trump “agreed to join in a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in late May.” 

“The parties agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing NATO,” the White House statement said.

The United States provides significant funding to NATO, and Trump has previously urged other member nations to step up their contributions.

“The leaders discussed how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments,” Sunday’s statement added.

European leaders are concerned about Trump’s virulent criticism of NATO — he has dubbed the transatlantic military alliance “obsolete” — at a time when it stands as the main defense against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. 

08:19  Denmark is naming an ambassador to deal with increasingly powerful tech companies:  

The job of an ambassador has changed a lot over the centuries, perhaps first with the advent of the telegraph in the 19th century, which dramatically diminished the authority of an overseas ambassador. But at its heart, the core purpose of the job has been the same: to act as a state representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad.

However, in an increasingly interconnected world, that purpose could soon change. Denmark recently announced that it would be creating a new diplomatic posting — a “digital ambassador” — to deal not with states and international organizations, but with giant technology companies like Facebook and Google. According to the Danish Foreign Ministry, it is the first such position in the world.



How Swedish Deputy PM roasted Trump

Donald Trump has suffered a severe international bruising – after a world leader hit back at his notorious all-male executive order photo. 

Isabella Lvin, the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, rebuffed Trump by posting a picture of herself signing a new climate law surrounded by a group of women.

In a subtle diplomatic message to the new US President, Lvin said the energy act would provide for a safer and better future.

It appeared to be a deliberate reference to the now-infamous photograph of Trump signing an executive order to cut $600 million in funding for abortion groups, flanked by five men.


08:13  Oil prices edge up on Iran tensions:  

Oil prices edged up on Monday on fears that new US sanctions against Iran could be extended to start affecting crude supplies, but markets were capped by further signs of growing US production. 

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since a recent Iranian ballistic missile test which prompted US President Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the Revolutionary Guards.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $56.86 per barrel at 0037 GMT, up 5 cents from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 5 cents at $53.88 a barrel.

Traders said the strain between Tehran and the United States raised concerns that US sanctions could be tightened further to impact Iranian oil exports, which were only allowed to return to normal last year.

08:11  What’s making news today:  

* Home Minister Rajnath Singh to address election rallies in Kasganj, Firozabad, Mathura and Bulandshahr.

* Congress VP Rahul Gandhi to address election rallies in Aligarh, Shamli and Mathura.

* UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to address election rallies in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh

* Police nabbed criminal Akbar, carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, after firing frm both sides near Nehru Place metro. His aide escaped.

* Dimapur Commissioner of Police Liremo Lotha and Deputy Commissioner of Police of zone-I Vilhousie Peseyie removed by govt: DGP Nagaland

08:00  Good morning…

Source: Rediff