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ED to question Raj Thackeray today, MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande detained


Mumbai: Mumbai Police on Thursday detained Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandeep Deshpande ahead of party chief Raj Thackeray's questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Deshpande was detained by the Shivaji Park police to pre-empt any law-and-order problem as the MNS had planned to protest against the ED summons, police sources said. Security has also been beefed up at the ED's office situated at Ballard Estate ahead of MNS leader's appearance. Police have installed barricades and is monitoring movements near the probe agency's office.

Thackeray, in a social media post on Wednesday, had expressed willingness to cooperate with the investigating agency and had requested his party workers to maintain peace and harmony. "No harm or damage should come upon any public property and the common man should not suffer in any way", read a public announcement shared by Thackeray on Twitter.

The ED has summoned Thackeray to appear before it at 10 am today for questioning in connection with a case pertaining to alleged irregularities related to Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) loan to Kohinoor CTNL. Earlier, the party had called for a bandh to protest against ED summon, which was withdrawn after Thackeray appealed his party workers to respect the legal process. The ED is probing the alleged irregularities pertaining to IL&FS Group's loan and equity investment in Kohinoor CTNL, which is one of the defaulters. Kohinoor CTNL is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Dadar (West) in Mumbai.

 
 
 



P Chidambaram to be produced before special CBI court today


New Delhi: Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday night for his alleged role in INX Media case, will be produced before a special court here on Thursday.

The matter was shifted to the MP-MLA court earlier this year, after his son Karti Chidambaram, who is also an accused in the case, was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP). In 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.

Based on the FIR, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case against him. Chidambaram's son Karti has also been named in the two cases. He was arrested on February 28, 2018 by the CBI and was later released on bail. The ED had also attached properties belonging to him.

On July 4, a Delhi court had allowed Indrani Mukerjea, the former head of the INX Media, to turn an approver in the CBI case. The agency had submitted that it has come across evidence in the form of conversations, which only Mukerjea is privy to and will help consolidate the case.

 
 
 



India and others nations at some point would have to fight against terrorists in Afghanistan: Donald Trump


Washington: Countries like India, Iran, Russia and Turkey would have to fight against terrorists in Afghanistan at some point of time, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, ruing that the job against terrorist is being done only by the United States some 7,000 miles away.

Trump said that other nations currently are making very less efforts against the terrorists in Afghanistan. "At a certain point Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey they are going to have to fight their battles too. We wiped out the caliphate 100 per cent. I did it in record time but at a certain point all of these other countries where ISIS is around they have been decimated by the way, badly decimated," Trump told reporters at the White House while responding to a question on the reemergence of ISIS in Afghanistan.

"All of these countries are going to have to fight them because do we want to stay there for another 19 years? I don't think so. So, at a certain point other countries and that includes Russia and it includes Iran and Turkey and Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and India," he said. Trump's comments came a day after he indicated that the US forces will not completely withdraw from the warn-torn Afghanistan and America will have "somebody there" to make sure that Taliban does not regain control.

Trump said that the US was fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan despite being 7,000 miles away while India and Pakistan were not doing so even after being next door. "Look, India is right there. They are not fighting it. We are fighting it. Pakistan is right next door. They are fighting it very little. Very, very little. It's not fair. The United States is 7,000 miles away," Trump said.

 

Trump said that the US under him has decimated ISIS. "We haven't been hearing much about ISIS. We took the caliphate 100 per cent. When I took it at 98 per cent I said all right, maybe we go home now, let these other countries in. Everyone went crazy. They said do 100 per cent. They said it was going to take a year. It took me a month and they are gone," he said.

Asserting that the caliphate is gone, he said the US is holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now and Europe has to take them. And if Europe doesn't take them, Trump said, he will have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came which is Germany and France.

"We beat them. We captured them. We've got thousands of them and now as usual our allies say, no, we don't want them even though they came from France and Germany and other places. So we're going to tell them and we have already told them take these prisoners that we've captured because the United States is not going to put them in Guantanamo for the next 50 years and pay for it," Trump said.

By Lalit K Jha/PTI

 
 
 



Will fight this trumped-up, vindictive act politically and legally: Karti Chidambaram on father’s arrest


Chennai (Tamil Nadu): After former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by CBI on Wednesday night in connection with INX Media case, his son Karti Chidambaram on Thursday said they will fight this "trumped-up and vindictive act" by a "pliant agency" politically and legally.

"This is a totally vindictive and malicious act done by a pliant agency. This is only done to settle political scores. There is absolutely no necessity to have done this. It has been done only to create a spectacle on television and to tarnish the image of the Congress party, and to tarnish the image of the former Finance and Home Minister. This is a completely trumped-up case in which he has absolutely no connection whatsoever. This is being done only for political reasons," Karti told ANI here.

When asked about comparison with Union Home Minister Amit Shah's arrest in 2010, Karti said, "I am not willing to make any kind of comparisons. I can only comment on the case pertaining to what is happening right now. All I can say is this is a completely trumped-up and vindictive act." He added, "He (P Chidambaram) has been on anticipatory bail since May last year. The judgment has been reserved since January. And all of a sudden the judgment which came out, I respectfully disagree with it and that is why we have appealed in the Supreme Court. The matter is coming up on August 23, now we will have to see its legal status. We will fight this out politically and legally." .Chidambaram was arrested in the INX Media case on Wednesday night after he failed to get relief from the Supreme Court over CBI and ED's pursuit of him as the matter was not heard by the court despite repeated efforts of his lawyers.

After his arrest by the CBI from his Jor Bagh residence, Chidambaram, 73, was taken to headquarters of the probe agency. He is likely to be produced before a CBI court at the Rouse Avenue on Thursday. Earlier, the former Finance Minister made a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters in Delhi and addressed a press conference in which he rejected the charges against him and his son in the INX Media case and said "lies" were being spread by "pathological liars."

He then left for his Jor Bagh residence from the Congress office and teams of the CBI and the ED reached soon after. He was arrested in the glare of media after over an hour-long drama during which some officials scaled the gates to gain entry to his house. Supporters of the former Finance Minister raised slogans and tried to stop officials from taking him away. Some of them also blocked the road in protest. CBI sources said that Chidambaram was arrested on an arrest warrant issued by a competent court.

The CBI and ED filed caveats in the Supreme Court over Chidambaram's plea seeking protection from arrest in the INX media case. Rejecting the charges against him and his son Karti in the INX Media case, Chidambaram said FIR does not impute any wrongdoing by him and there was no chargesheet either by the CBI or ED before the competent authority.

The CBI had on late Tuesday night put up a notice outside his residence to appear before them in two hours prompting his lawyer to request the investigation agency not to take any coercive action until the hearing of Chidambaram's plea in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

 
 
 



Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad, others detained for protest against demolition of Sant Ravidas temple


New Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad along with few others were detained by Delhi Police on Wednesday after protesting against the demolition of Sant Ravidas temple here.

"People protesting over Ravidas temple demolition issue clashed with policemen today evening. Some policemen sustained injuries in the incident. Some protesters have been detained and being verified," said DCP South East, Chinmoy Biswal. "Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad also among those detained," Biswal added. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had, on August 10, demolished the centuries-old Guru Ravidas temple in Delhi's Tughlaqabad under a Supreme Court order.

 
 
 



After 13 days, mobile internet services restored in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir


Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir): Following days of restrictions, mobile internet services have been restored in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

Starting today morning, 2G mobile internet services have been restored in Jammu, Reasi, Samba, Kathua and Udhampur districts of the region. Mobile internet services were suspended in Jammu on August 5, in view of security concerns in the region. The restrictions on the telecom services were continued in the wake of abrogation of Article 370.

Earlier on Friday, the government had decided to lift restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, in a phased and gradual manner. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam had said, "Telecom connectivity will gradually be erased and restored in a phase-wise manner keeping in mind constant threat posed by terrorist's organizations in using mobile connectivity to organize terror actions. Prevention detentions are being continuously reviewed and an appropriate decision would be made based on law and order situation." Yesterday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, had directed all government offices to resume normal functioning.

 
 
 



In another setback, US cuts USD 440 million financial aid to Pakistan


Washington [US]: In another jolt to Pakistan, the United States slashed the aid to the cash-strapped nation by nearly USD 440 million, bringing down its commitment to just USD 4.1 billion.

The aid was disbursed under Pakistan Enhanced Partnership Agreement (PEPA) 2010, reported Express Tribune. The US apprised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan about its decision to cut aid three weeks before his planned visit to Washington. Notably, the PEPA was signed in September 2010 to make operational the Kerry Lugar Berman (KLB) Act that was passed by the US Congress in October 2009 to disburse USD 7.5 billion to Pakistan over a period of 5 years.

Earlier the aid under the KLB stood at nearly USD 4.5 billion. Following the cut, the aid will come down to USD 4.1 billion. Last year in September, the United States' military cancelled the financial aid worth USD 300 million to Pakistan due to the growing concerns regarding Islamabad's failure to tackle terrorism.

In January that year, Pentagon had cut USD 1 billion worth financial aid to Pakistan, with Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials citing Islamabad's failure to crack down on the Haqqani terror outfit as the reason behind it, Fox News reported. During his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, last month, US President Donald Trump strongly criticised Islamabad for its behaviour which led to the cancellation of US aid amounting to USD 1.3 billion to the country.

"We were paying USD 1.3 billion to Pakistan as aid, for many years. The problem was...Pakistan was not doing anything for us. They were really subversive. They were going against us. I ended that about a year and a half ago, the USD 1.3 billion (aid)," Trump said during his meeting with Khan.

 
 
 



Pakistan should reduce tensions with India through bilateral dialogue: Donald Trump to Imran Khan


Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue on the Kashmir issue during a phone call with Prime Minister Imran Khan, the White House said.

The phone conversation between Trump and Khan took place before the close-door-consultation of the 15 members of the UN Security Council in New York. The White House readout of the call was issued after the meeting concluded at the UN headquarters in New York. "The President conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir," Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

The White House said Trump spoke with Khan to "discuss regional developments" and to follow up on latter's visit to Washington, DC, last month. "The two leaders further discussed how they will continue to build on the growing relationship between the United States and Pakistan and the momentum created during their recent meeting at the White House," Gidley said. In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Khan took the US President "into confidence" regarding the UN Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters after the Indian government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Prime Minister Khan conveyed Pakistan's concern on recent developments in Kashmir and the threat they pose to the regional peace," Qureshi was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan. The Foreign Minister said the conversation between the two leaders was held in a "cordial environment". They also agreed to remain in contact over the Kashmir issue, he said. They also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan has been playing a "constructive role to bring peace in Afghanistan and it made efforts in past and will do so in future too."

Qureshi said Pakistan has contacted four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and are "also trying to contact French President so that his country understands our position". The UN Security Council on Friday held a rare closed door meeting to discuss India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan, backed by its all-weather ally, China, requested "closed consultations" on the issue. The meeting was open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.

China, a permanent member of the UNSC and close ally of Pakistan, had asked for "closed consultations" in the Council. On August 5, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Reacting to India's decision, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner soon after deciding to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi. India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

By Lalit K Jha/PTI

 
 
 



India suspends Thar Link Express amid tensions with Pakistan


Jodhpur: The railways on Friday cancelled operations of Thar Link Express that connects Jodhpur in India to Karachi in Pakistan, officials said, a development that temporarily snaps all rail links between the two countries, as the services of Samjhauta Express have already been suspended.

The railways said it cancelled the services of Thar Link Express from Jodhpur as Pakistan has already suspended its operations on their side. "We have been continuously chasing Pakistan about the status of Thar Express running on its end. But we have not got any response. We cannot leave our passengers in limbo. So in view of Pakistan cancelling the train on its end, we have also decided to cancel its operation on our end till further orders," North Western Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Abhay Sharma told PTI.

Another railway spokesperson said here that the Thar Link Express would not undertake its journey scheduled for early Saturday (1 am) and the administration has initiated the process of cancellation of all the 45 tickets which have been issued so far. "The directions (to suspend the train) were issued by the railway ministry to the North Western Railway on Friday," said Gopal Sharma, the spokesperson for Jodhpur Division-NWR.

The weekly train departs from Jodhpur's Bhagat Ki Kothi railway station on Saturdays and reach Munabao, the last station on the Indian side of the border, early morning of the day. At the zero point on the international border with Pakistan, passengers change trains. And a train from Pakistan then takes them to Karachi. "Till now, 45 tickets have been issued. But with this order in effect now, we are cancelling the tickets," said Sharma.

The Thar Express has been running between Jodhpur and Karachi since services resumed on February 18, 2006 after a 41-year suspension. The train service was not suspended even after the deadly terrorist attack in Pulwama on February 14 which sent the tension between the two countries soaring. According to estimates, over four lakh passengers have taken the train in the past 13 years.

Last Saturday, the train had departed from Bhagat Ki Kothi station with 165 passengers. The train from Pakistan was also received successfully by India with as many passengers. Pakistan had last week announced suspension of all train services to India after the Centre scrapped provisions of Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. Pakistan also stopped the Lahore-Wagah Samjhauta Express services -- the main rail link between the two hostile neighbours. Following the move, the Indian Railways announced on Sunday that it has cancelled the New Delhi-Attari Samjhauta Express on its side.

 
 
 



President Ram Nath Kovind, Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath visit AIIMS after Arun Jaitley’s condition becomes critical


New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited AIIMS on Friday to enquire about the health condition of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is stated to be "critical", sources said.

The President visited the hospital around noon, while Shah and Adityanath visited AIIMS around 11.15 pm. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey were present during their visits. According to the sources, Jaitley, 66, is critical and a multidisciplinary team of doctors is supervising his treatment. He is admitted at the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU).

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has not issued any bulletin on Jaitley's health condition since August 10. Jaitley was admitted on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. In May this year, Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment. Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been an important part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet in the BJP government's first term. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.

Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election because of his ill-health. He had undergone a renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the finance ministry at that time. Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April last year, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018. In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.

 
 
 



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