09:27 Why PM not instructing banks to accept money I am offering: Mallya:
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday asked as to why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not instructing the banks to take the money he had made available to pay off the public funds lent to Kingfisher.
On February 4, the UK Home Office has signed an order approving the extradition of Mallya to India.
“The Prime Ministers last speech in Parliament was brought to my attention. He certainly is a very eloquent speaker. I noticed that he referred to an unnamed person who ran away with 9000 crores. Given the media narrative I can only infer that reference is to me,” Mallya said in a serie of tweets.
“Following on from my earlier tweet, I respectfully ask why the Prime Minister is not instructing his Banks to take the money I have put on the table so he can at least claim credit for full recovery of public funds lent to Kingfisher,” he said in a series of tweet.
The reaction from Mallya came after Modi in his last Parliament speech on Wednesday referred to an unnamed person who “ran away” with Rs 9,000 crore.
The fugitive liquor baron further claimed that he has made the offer to settle the matter before the high court of Karnataka.
“I have made the offer to settle before the HonBle High Court Court of Karnataka. This cannot be dismissed as frivolous. It is a perfectly tangible, sincere, honest and readily achievable offer. The shoe is on the other foot now. Why dont the Banks take the money lent to KFA?” he added.
Mallya said: “Am appalled to say the least at the media reports on the Enforcement Directorate claims that I hid my wealth ! If there was hidden wealth how could I put approximately 14,000 crores worth of assets openly in front of Court? Shameful misleading of public opinion but unsurprising.”
08:54 US Secretary of Commerce cancels India visit due to bad weather:
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday claimed that India has failed to diplomatically isolate Islamabad, according to a media report.
Briefing Parliament, the minister claimed India on multiple occasions tried to harm Pakistan’s diplomatic ties with other countries.
Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived following a spate of terror attacks on Indian military bases by Pakistan-based terror groups since January 2016.
Following the strikes, India announced it will not engage in talks with Pakistan, saying terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.
India in September cancelled the proposed meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York citing the brutal killing of security personnel by Pakistan-based entities.
“India’s failure to isolate Islamabad diplomatically is a win for the country,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
He reiterated to strengthen Pakistan’s position in the diplomat and global arena and continue to address any challenges that may arise.
Qureshi also maintained that countries willing to invest in Pakistan and benefit from mutual cooperation shall not be agreeable to India.
“It is to India’s discontent that nations are willing to establish mutual trade ties with Pakistan,” he said.
Qureshi’s assertion of diplomatic successes of Pakistan came days ahead of planned visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday to expand economic and defence cooperation. — PTI
08:51 Delhi hotel fire: DNA profiling to be done of unidentified body:
An unidentified and badly-charred body, recovered from Hotel Arpit Palace in central Delhi where a blaze claimed 17 lives on Tuesday, would be subjected to DNA profiling amid a desperate search by the family members of hotel staff Lal Chand, who remained untraced after the tragic incident, officials said on Wednesday.
The family members of Chand described him as a heavily-built man. They were in a state of shock when asked to identify the body at the mortuary of Ram Manohar Lohia hospital as it was beyond recognition.
“At least five members of our family went to identify the body, but it was charred to such an extent that we could not identify it. He was a heavyweight man. Hardly anything is left (of the body), only the skeleton. The body has compressed. How can we claim the body when we are not sure?,” asked Kamlesh, a relative of Chand.
Since the body is charred beyond recognition, officials are now opting for DNA profiling to ascertain if it is that of Chand.
The medical officer at the RML hospital said the tissues had been preserved and the blood samples of Chand’s relatives would be taken, adding that the DNA profiling would take a couple of days since it also involved the role of the Forensic Science Laboratory.
Chand’s family has been running from pillar to post to trace him.
His elder brother, Tulsi Ram, along with Chand’s son Himanshu and other members of the family, visited at least five hospitals since Tuesday morning.
The family also went to the Karol Bagh police station at around 10 am on Wednesday to check if the officials had any details about him.
Himanshu was on his way to college on Tuesday, when he saw a huge crowd and a heavy police deployment near the hotel, where his father worked as a supervisor for close to 25 years. — PTI
08:30 Don’t elect 12th pass PM this time: Kejriwal’s dig at Modi:
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday asked people to vote for an educated person for the prime ministerial post, instead of a Class “12th pass”, indirectly referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I want to tell the people that the position of the prime minister is very important. Last time, you made a 12th pass person the prime minister of India. This time don’t make the 12th pass the prime minister. Search for a well-educated person. It is better when a literate person becomes the prime minister. The person who is 12th pass does not even understand which document he is signing. The second problem with him is that he does not consult anyone. He does what he wants to do,” Kejriwal said at a dharna at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Talking about the political drama between the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Centre, Kejriwal said that Prime Minister Modi wants to destroy BR Ambedkar’s Constitution.
“If Kolkata Police Commissioner (Rajeev Kumar) had got arrested that day then a message would have gone to all governments and police force across the country that one needs to be worried about the Narendra Modi-led government now and not the state governments,” Kejriwal said.
“BR Ambedkar made a Constitution which provided different powers to the state and central governments. Today Narendra Modi wants to destroy that Constitution. He wants to end democracy in this country. I salute Mamata Banerjee for what she did to Prime Minister Modi’s CBI officials,” he added.
Kejriwal later went on to compare Prime Minister Modi with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. — ANI
01:59 Sitharaman visits Germany, reviews defence ties:
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday concluded an official bilateral visit to Germany and reviewed a gamut of bilateral defence cooperation, which is emerging as an important facet of India-Germany Strategic Partnership.
Sitharaman’s visit took place between February 12-13, at the invitation of her counterpart, Minister of Defence of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen.
The ministers noted with satisfaction the steady growth in bilateral defence ties and signed an Implementing Arrangement on Enhanced Defence and Defence Industry Cooperation, which would further strengthen military to military engagement, the defence industry as well as research and development (R&D) linkages.
The duo also exchanged views on regional and international developments of mutual interest.
Sitharaman addressed a select audience at the prestigious German think tank DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), on Indias Defence Engagement in a Disordered World: Principles, Priorities and Partnerships.
She highlighted Indias defence priorities and engagements with the aim to contribute towards a secure, stable and peaceful environment and enable greater prosperity for all.
Sitharaman further emphasised the need for like-minded liberal democracies with common values and common interests, such as India and Germany, to build on the commonality of assessments on strategic issues and work together to strengthen the rules-based world order.
During her visit, the defence minister also interacted with CEOs of the German and Indian defence industry.
The minister also urged them to expand their collaboration in defence manufacturing in India under the Make in India initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation with the Indian companies. — ANI