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Child death toll rises to 83 in Muzaffarpur due to Encephalitis, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announces Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia

Patna/Muzaffarpur: With one more child dying of suspected AES in Muzaffarpur on Sunday morning, the death toll of children in the district rose to 83 this month, even as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia of Rs four lakh each.

Kumar expressed grief over the children's death in Muzaffarpur and ordered payment of Rs four lakh as ex-gratia to the next of the kin of the deceased, an official release said. He also directed the officials of the Health department and the district administration as well as doctors to take all possible measures to tackle the disease. The chief minister prayed for a speedy recovery of the children suffering from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

A press release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration said till Sunday 9 am, 83 children had died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and the Kejriwal Hospital, which was run by a trust. According to the release, 69 children had died at the SKMCH, while 14 died at the Kejriwal Hospital due to suspected cases of AES. Officials, however, maintained that a majority of the victims, most of whom were below 10 years of age, had fallen prey to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.

Since June 1, 197 children were admitted to the SKMCH while 91 were taken to Kejriwal Hospital with suspected AES, but most of them were found to be victims of hypoglycemia. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is scheduled to visit Muzaffarpur on Sunday to take stock of the situation. He will hold meetings with doctors and officials of both the central and state governments. Vardhan is also scheduled to hold a review meeting with the officials of the Health and other departments concerned of the state government in Patna later in the day.

He will be accompanied by state Health Minister Mangal Pandey during his visit to Muzaffarpur. Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, who is also the Bihar unit chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited the SKMCH on Saturday. He expressed grief over the deaths and cancelled all the functions for welcoming him in view of the brain fever that has taken a heavy toll on children's lives. Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran. A team of experts from the Centre visited Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.

Maharashtra recorded 115 MT of food production despite drought, deficient rain: CM Devendra Fadnavis

New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Saturday said the state recorded 115.70 lakh metric tonnes of food production despite drought and deficient rainfall, thanks to various water conservation methods adopted by it. He was here to attend the NITI Aayog meet.

"We achieved 115.70 lakh metric tonnes food grain production. This could be possible because of less dependency on rainfall and putting in place alternative arrangements," Fadnavis said. He also elaborated on the benefits of Jal Yukt Shivar farm ponds and the ongoing irrigation projects and plans for the ambitious Marathwada Watergrid project. Jal Yukt Shivar is the flagship programme of the Mahrashtra government. It envisages desilting streams and encouraging farm ponds with an emphasis on percolation of water.

Fadnavis also talked about the measures taken by his government to mitigate drought like deploying tankers, fodder camps and massive tree plantation programmes. He thanked the Centre for the "highest ever assistance" to Maharashtra this year to tackle the drought situation. "Rs 4,248.59 crore assistance has been received so far and it was distributed among farmers," he said. The BJP leader said the Maharashtra government is also stressing on efforts for rainwater harvesting in cities.

As of now, 13,277 such plans have been approved in major cities like Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune and Thane municipal corporations, he said. Fadnavis also underlined measures taken to tackle the Naxal problem in the state. Numerous measures are under implementation in partnership with NGOs and corporates in Nandurbar, Osmanabad, Washim and Gadchiroli districts, he said. "In 2018, Maharashtra Police succeeded in eliminating 50 Naxals, the highest ever, and 154 naxals surrendered in last five years. Improved interstate coordination and joint operations are giving good results," the chief minister added.

Ex-Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil sworn in as minister in Maharashtra cabinet

Mumbai: Former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was sworn in on Sunday as a minister in the state cabinet led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Vikhe Patil, who was leader of opposition in the state Assembly, resigned from the Congress recently.

His son Sujay Vikhe Patil is the BJP MP from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat in the state. Meanwhile, Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta and five other state ministers quit their posts, an official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. Besides Mehta, the others who resigned as ministers are Rajkumar Badole, Vishnu Sawra, Dilip Kamble, Praveen Pote and Amrish Atram. The chief minister has accepted their resignations, the official added. The cabinet expansion took place a day before the monsoon session of the state legislature and four months ahead of the Assembly polls.

Mamata Banerjee rubbishes MHA advisory about "poor" law and order in state, opposition parties second itKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday rubbished the claims of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about "poor" law and order in the state, saying the Centre should send such advisories to states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat where "several murders have been reported in the last couple of years". The MHA sought separate reports from the West Bengal government on the ongoing doctors' strike and on political violence that has left 160 people dead in the past four years. In an advisory, the MHA told the state government that the continued trend of political violence from 2016 through 2019 is an indicative of the "failure" on the part of the law-enforcement machinery of the state and asked the administration to inspire a sense of security among the people. While Banerjee dismissed the allegation, opposition parties in the state seconded it and demanded her resigna

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday rubbished the claims of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about "poor" law and order in the state, saying the Centre should send such advisories to states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat where "several murders have been reported in the last couple of years".

The MHA sought separate reports from the West Bengal government on the ongoing doctors' strike and on political violence that has left 160 people dead in the past four years. In an advisory, the MHA told the state government that the continued trend of political violence from 2016 through 2019 is an indicative of the "failure" on the part of the law-enforcement machinery of the state and asked the administration to inspire a sense of security among the people.

While Banerjee dismissed the allegation, opposition parties in the state seconded it and demanded her resignation as home minister. "We do not have any such situation in West Bengal. It is a very peaceful state. Ask the central government to send advisory to the Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat governments," Banerjee, also the ruling TMC supremo, told reporters. She said, "In the last three years, after the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in UP, several people were killed in the name of encounter. They do not allow people to lodge FIRs in Gujarat. How many advisories have they sent to these states?"

About the junior doctors' agitation, Banerjee said sometimes incidents of strike happen in a democracy. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, "It is really shameful that the law and order situation has compeletely failed in the state. The advisory proves how the law and order situation has worsened in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee should immediately resign as home minister." CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said it is due to politics of threat and intimidation of the TMC that the situation in Bengal has come to such a pass.

"It is due to Banerjee's politics of playing with fire that situation has worsened so much. Both the BJP and the TMC are equally responsible for this law and order situation," Chakraborty claimed. The Trinamool Congress (TMC), however, accused the BJP government at the Centre of "targeting Bengal" for political reasons. "It is due to the goons of the BJP and the CPI(M) that there have been some incidents of violence. The BJP government at the Centre has taken a partisan approach towards Bengal. They are deliberately targeting Bengal for political reasons," TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

Pointing out the growing number of incidents of election-related and political violence and casualties during 2016-2019, the Centre said the "unabated violence over the years is evidently a matter of deep concern". The MHA said that according to reports it received, the number of incidents of political violence in West Bengal increased from 509 in 2016 to 1,035 in 2018.

World Cup 2019: Aaron Finch, Mitchell Starc shine as Australia defeat Sri Lanka by 87 runs

London: Aaron Finch played a knock of 153 runs and Mitchell Starc scalped four wickets as Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 87 runs in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup on Saturday at the Oval. Chasing a target of 335, Sri Lanka got off to a quickfire start as openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera played in an aggressive style from the very start. The duo enabled Sri Lanka to reach the score of 87 runs after the first ten overs.

In the 12th over, Australia appealed for LBW but it was turned down by the umpire. Australia had lost their review in the tenth over, and if they had a review up their sleeve, Sri Lanka would have lost their opening wicket. Mitchell Starc clean bowled Perera (52) in the 16th over, ending the 115-run partnership between Karunaratne and Perera.

Lahiru Thirimanne came out to bat next, and he along with Karunaratne stitched a 38-run stand, but their resistance was cut short by Jason Behrendorff as he scalped the wicket of Thirimanne (16) with Sri Lanka still requiring 182 runs for the win.

Kusal Mendis and Karunaratne stitched a 33-run partnership, but as Sri Lanka was gaining an upper hand in the match, Australia once again clawed their way in the clash as Behrendorff dismissed set batsman Karunaratne (97) in the 33rd over.

After Karunaratne's departure, Sri Lanka's chase derailed as Angelo Mathews (9), Milinda Siriwardana (3), and Thisara Perera (7) departed quickly, reducing Sri Lanka to 217 for six, still requiring 118 runs for the win.

Mitchell Starc continued to bowl lethal deliveries and the Sri Lankan batsmen had no answers. Mendis' (30) dismissal proved the final nail in the coffin as Australia secured victory by 87 runs. Earlier, Aaron Finch's knock of 153 runs propelled Australia to 334 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted fifty overs. Finch's knock marked the first century scored by a skipper in this edition of the World Cup.

Openers David Warner and Finch gave Australia a steady start as the duo put up a partnership of 80 runs. Dhananjaya de Silva scalped the first wicket for Sri Lanka as Warner (26) was sent back to the pavilion in the 17th over. Usman Khawaja (10) also failed to leave a mark as he was dismissed by de Silva, reducing Australia to 100 for two in the 23rd over.

Steve Smith came out to bat at number four, and he ensured that the team does not lose momentum in the middle overs. Smith and Finch added 173-runs for the fourth wicket, which saw Finch bringing up his century. After reaching his century, the Aussie skipper changed gears and started playing attacking shots.

Finch (153) and Smith (73) were dismissed in quick succession. Australia kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Glenn Maxwell's cameo of 46 runs off just 25 balls enabled Australia to go past the 330-run mark. Australia will next take on Bangladesh on June 20 whereas Sri Lanka will face tournament hosts England on June 21.

Brief Scores: Australia 334/7 (Aaron Finch 153, Steve Smith 74, Dhananjaya de Silva 2-40) defeat Sri Lanka (Dimuth Karunaratne 97, Kusal Perera 52, Mitchell Starc 4-55) by 87 runs.

Indiabulls cheers as fund misappropriation plea against it withdrawn

Mumbai: In a big relief to Indiabulls Housing Finance, the petitioner who had approached the Supreme Court alleging misappropriation of funds, has withdrawn the same on Thursday, the company said.

The petition now withdrawn had alleged that the company had misappropriated Rs 98,000 crore of public money, a claim which was termed as "frivolous and bizarre" by the company, which had sought urgent hearing in the matter.

In an affidavit, Abhay Yadav, the petitioner, claimed that he is not "aware of the contents and allegations mentioned in the complaints or the petition", the second largest home-loan lender said in a statement.

"I now realise that such papers, affidavits, applications etc were signed by me have been misused to file false complaints and petitions against Indiabulls with malafide intentions," the statement quoted Yadav as saying.

The statement also quoted Yadav as saying "four shares of Indiabulls were purchased in my name in May 2019 and thereafter I was asked to sign a detailed bulky complaint which was addressed to government officials, ministers etc." "I apologise with folded hands for unknowingly having signed the complaints, petition, applications etc without realizing its contents therefore I have decided to unconditionally withdraw the writ petition diary No 20710/2019 titled Abhay Yadav vs Sebi and others," the statement said quoting Yadav.

The company moved the Supreme Court Wednesday seeking urgent listing on the plea filed against it but the court, which is on summer vacation, posted the matter for July.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the company, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi.

Singhvi said frivolous allegations have been levelled against the company and the plea was leaked to the media in advance by the petitioner with mala fide intentions.

He said due to the media reports on the petition, his client has incurred loss of around Rs 7,000 crore of its market value in the past three trading sessions.

The news of the withdrawal of the petition sent the IBHF scrips soaring and the stock rallied close to 9 percent up at Rs 677 a piece on the BSE.

The petition had alleged that money worth thousands of crores were siphoned off by Sameer Gehlaut, the chairman of the firm, and the directors for their personal use.

Yadav, one of IBHF shareholders, had alleged that Gehlaut, with the help of Harish Fabiani - an NRI based in Spain, created multiple "shell companies" to which IBHF loaned huge sums of money under "bogus and non-existent pretexts".

These companies further transferred the loan amount to other companies, which were either run, directed or operated by Gehlaut, his family members or other the directors of the company, the plea had alleged.


Cyclone Vayu changes course, unlikely to make landfall in Gujarat: IMD

Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Cyclone Vayu has changed its course and is unlikely to make landfall in Gujarat, but it will cause heavy rain in several coastal districts of the state, officials said Thursday.

The state government, as a precautionary measure, has evacuated over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts. "It (Cyclone Vayu) may not make landfall. It will only skirt the coast. It has made a small deviation. But, its effect will be there with strong winds and heavy rain," Secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan told PTI. IMD Additional Director General Devendra Pradhan said the cyclone will remain in the sea and move parallel to the Gujarat coast.


"It has taken a slight westward movement. It will move parallel to the Gujarat coast," he said. The cyclone was expected to make landfall on the Gujarat coast by Thursday afternoon and was likely to move along and parallel to the Saurashtra and Kutch coasts. Speaking to reporters in Ahmedabad, the meteorological department's Additional Director Manorama Mohanti said the direction has "slightly" changed. "The 'very severe' cyclonic storm Vayu will not make landfall on the Saurashtra coast, but it will skirt the coast and affect Gir-Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi-Dwarka districts and Union Territory Diu," she said.

"The eye of the storm will not enter Gujarat, but half of the storm, the outer peripheral part, will enter the state and affect the coastal areas," Mohanti said. The storm is very likely to move north-northwestwards for sometime and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed between 135 and 145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph from June 13 afternoon, the Cyclone Warning Division said in its latest bulletin.

"Though now it will not make a landfall, it can cause damage and all the warnings for rainfall, ports and fishermen stay," Mohanti said. Precautionary measures have been taken by the Gujarat government and over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts have been evacuated, an official said. Operations at ports and airports, and train and bus services in the coastal districts have been suspended.

The coast guard, army, navy, air force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert. Around 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 11 columns (each having around 70 personnel) of the army have been deployed in the coastal districts. Besides, 24 army columns have been kept reserved for any emergency situation.


Jet Airways shares tank 23 pc after bourses announce trading restrictions

New Delhi: Shares of Jet Airways on Thursday cracked over 23 per cent after stock exchanges decided to impose restrictions on its stock trading from June 28.

The scrip plummeted 23.18 per cent to hit a multi-year low of Rs 84.80 on the BSE.

On the NSE, shares plummeted 23.30 per cent to hit a multi-year low of Rs 84.60.

Stock exchanges will impose restrictions on trading in Jet Airways shares from June 28 as part of preventive surveillance measures to curb excessive volatility, according to a circular.

Cash-starved Jet Airways suspended operations in April and lenders are working on ways for revival of the airline.

In a circular, NSE said shares of the company would be shifted from "Rolling Segment to Trade for Trade Segment, wherein the settlement in the scrip will take place on gross basis with 100 per cent upfront margin and 5 per cent price band".

There are restrictions in trading of shares that are under Trade for Trade Segment.

The decision has been taken jointly by the exchanges and would be effective from June 28, it said.

According to the circular, the company has failed to provide prompt responses to queries of exchanges regarding various rumours.


IL&FS case: Rating agencies faked IFIN ratings to dupe investors

New Delhi: Credit rating agencies played major villain in the IL&FS crisis as they adjudged positive and impressive ratings on a regular basis to commercial papers and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) despite unhealthy financial condition of the company, revealed an investigation report submitted by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

The document shows that several investors who subscribed to the IL&FS' financial arm's NCDs and commercial papers, attributed their decision to invest on the high ratings accorded by the rating agencies.

Anurag Jain, Chief Investment Office at Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance Company, which invested around Rs 30 crore in commercial papers and around Rs 10 crore in NCDs of IFIN, said their decision to invest was primarily influenced by the credit ratings provided by CARE and ICRA.

"The investment in the IL&FS/IFIN papers was done primarily on the basis of the rating of the companies as provided by the rating agencies CARE and ICRA, which are the highest rated in their categories," the SFIO document quoted Jain as saying.

During the period between 2013 and 2018, the agencies which gave ratings to the financial instruments of IFIN were CARE Ratings, ICRA Ltd, India Ratings & Resarch and Brickwork Rating India, according to the document.

With an investment of around Rs 115 crore in IFIN's NCDs, the Oriental Insurance Company was also apparently duped by the ratings accorded to IFIN.

"The basis of selection of debt securities are based on the financials, credit ratings and best yields available in the market. IFIN is an NBFC and based on the financial, credit ratings and better yields available, some funds have been allocated periodically based on the constant AAA ratings assigned by two rating agencies, CARE and India Ratings," said Dushyant Kumar Bagoti, DGM at Oriental Insurance Company.

Further, manager at the New Indian Assurance Company, Gyan Ranjan, recorded on oath said: "If rating is AA or above then there should not be any issue on the repayment."

New India Assurance Company had invested Rs 62 crore in IFIN NCDs.

Implicating the rating agencies, the SFIO said in the document: "From the above it is clear that the investor in NCDs were induced to investment based on the heavy financials and credit rating assigned to the company.

"The investors of the NCDs of the company were induced by the management by deliberately concealing the material facts pertaining to the true and fair view of the affairs of the company and the observation of the RBI with respect to NOF, CRAR etc, which had major adverse effect on the company's capacity to continue as going concern."

SFIO also noted that largely all the four agencies had given the highest rating to the long-term and short-term instruments of IFIN on the strength of its parentage and management linkages with the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS).

The probe into the role of credit rating agencies with regard to IFIN needs to be taken further in the ongoing investigation of IL&FS, it said.

With the testimonials and evidences going against the rating agencies, they might be next in the line of fire after the auditors of IL&FS, which the government wants to bar from auditing operations in the country.

The operations of rating agencies are already under close watch of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and both the regulatory bodies are looking into the business model of these agencies.

Cyclone Vayu: Thunderstorm, lightning alert issued for various districts of Gujarat

New Delhi: The Indian Meteorological Department has said that thunderstorm and lightning accompanied with gusty wind (40-50kmph) is very likely at isolated places in the districts of North Gujarat region including Banaskantha and Sabarkantha today and tomorrow (Thursday).

The alert comes in wake of Cyclone Vayu, which is expected to touch Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and Diu region as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph on the morning of June 13. Heavy to very heavy rains very likely at isolated places in Saurashtra ta Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Diu. Heavy rains are very likely at isolated places in districts of South Gujarat region, in Navsari, Valsad, Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli on 12 June, according to IMD.

"Heavy to very rains very likely at a few places with extremely heavy falls in dist of Saurashtra namely Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somanath, Diu. Heavy to very rains very likely at a few places in dists of Saurashtra namely Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Dwarka, Bhavnagar," it added. Cyclone Vayu is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat along with storm surge, which may cause inundation in the low lying coastal areas of Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir, Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall.

While heavy rains will be observed at isolated places in Kutch district, in the districts of South Gujarat region namely Surat, Navsari, Valsad, Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli on June 13, heavy to very heavy rains very likely at isolated places in the districts of Saurashtra-Kutch namely Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Morbi, Dwarka and Kutch on June 14. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off Gujarat coast during 12-15 June as well as into East-central Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra Coast today and into the northeast Arabian Sea from June 12-13. NDRF has mobilised 35 teams in Gujarat and four teams in Diu in coordination with the local administration. Rescue teams of SDRF, Army, Coast Guard, and BSF are also in the readiness.