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Pakistan says will grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav today

Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday said it will grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in the country, on Monday "in line with the ICJ judgement".

The announcement came nearly six months after a meeting between Indian officials and Jadhav did not materialise amid differences between New Delhi and Islamabad on the terms of the consular access to the retired Indian navy officer.

Jadhav, 49, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017, following which India had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.

"Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019, in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgement & the laws of Pakistan," Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

"Commander Jadhav remains in Pakistan's custody, for espionage, terrorism and sabotage," he added. Pakistan's offer has come amidst fresh Indo-Pak tensions which spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

Pakistan has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora, but India has maintained that it is an internal matter. Earlier, addressing a weekly media briefing on Thursday, Faisal said that Pakistan and India were in contact on the "issue of granting consular access" to Jadhav.

On the same day, India said it had asked for "immediate, effective and unhindered" consular access to Jadhav from Pakistan and was in touch with the neighbouring country through diplomatic channels.

However, Faisal's tweets on Sunday doesn't say if the consular access is unhindered as demanded by India. On August 1, Pakistan Foreign Office said the retired Indian Navy officer on death row will be granted consular access the next day.

However, the meeting, which was scheduled for 3 pm on August 2, did not materialise amid differences between India and Pakistan on the terms of the consular access to Jadhav.

On July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

One of the conditions put by Pakistan reportedly was the presence of a Pakistani official when Jadhav is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access.

India did not agree to the condition, making clear its position that the consular access must be "unimpeded" and should be in the light of the judgement by the ICJ.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.


Abduction and conversion of two Sikh girls in Pakistan: MEA asks Pakistan to take immediate remedial action

New Delhi: In the wake of forced conversion of two Sikh girls in Pakistan, India on Sunday expressed strong concern over the incidents and asked the neighbouring country to take remedial action to stop such cases.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Sunday said that civil society and people of India have strongly condemned the forced abduction, conversion and marriage of the two Sikh girls.

In Pakistan's Punjab province, a teenage Sikh girl, the daughter of a priest, was abducted and converted to Islam at gunpoint before she was married to a Muslim man, her family alleged in a video. They say she is 18-year-old.

The Sikh community in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, has held protests over the incident.

"The civil society & the people of India have strongly condemned the recent deplorable incidents of forced abduction, conversion & marriage of two Sikh girls in Pakistan.

We have reflected these strong concerns with Pakistan and have asked for immediate remedial action," Kumar said on Twitter.


Amit Shah asks Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi to clear stand on Article 370 withdrawal

Solapur: Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday virtually sounded a bugle for upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra by raising the withdrawal of Article 370 and launching a two-pronged attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Shah also said Maharashtra will be the first state in the country where elections will be held after nullification of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a campaign rally in Latur district of Maharashtra on April 9 had appealed to first-time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of the Balakot air strike heroes and the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack.

Shah was in the south Maharashtra city to attend a rally on the occasion of culmination of the second leg of the 'Mahajanadesh Yatra', launched on August 1 by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

He also took a dig at the Congress and the NCP over a string of leaders from both the parties crossing over to the ruling BJP on the eve of elections.

I ask Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Pawar to make their stand clear on our decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35 (A) of the Constitution before they go for campaigning in Maharashtra," Shah said.

In a major decision, the Centre had last month announced bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, which was later approved by Parliament.

"Maharashtra would be the first state where elections will be held after the decision of abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 (A) was taken in the both houses of Parliament. This election will decide whether people are with us or not on this decision," he said.

Shah said Jammu and Kashmir has become "part of India completely" only because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"So many prime ministers came and gone but none had the courage to take such a decision. Sardar Patel (first Home Minister) was given the responsibilities to merge some 300 princely states into India but he was not given the charge of Jammu and Kashmir during Partition," recalled Shah.

Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, Shah said, "He talks about violence in Kashmir, but I can assure you about not firing a single bullet or a tear gas shell. Whatever Rahulbaba says is being used by Pakistan to make a case before the United Nations. I wonder for which country he is speaking like that".

He also attacked Rahul for "seeking evidence" about the surgical strike and the Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force in Paskistani territory.

"Now, the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, himself has admitted that the surgical strike and airstrike had taken place. If he (Rahul Gandhi) cannot support his own country, at least he can keep his mouth shut," said the BJP president.

Shah also invoked late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a former prime minister and BJP patriarch, to stress that the party has always supported nationalism.

"There have been instances in the past when (late) Atal Bihari Vajpayee had supported the Bangladesh freedom war.

He had represented the Jammu and Kashmir issue when Congress leader P V Narasimha Rao was the prime minister. There are many other similar instances.

"The BJP has always stood with the country on national issues. I had hoped similar response from the Opposition during abrogation of the Article 370," Shah said.

In a dig, Shah said if the BJP opens its door "completely", the NCP and the Congress will be left only with Sharad Pawar and Prithviraj Chavan.

"If the BJP opens its door completely, except Sharad Pawar and Prithviraj Chavan (a former chief minister of Maharashtra and Congress leader), no one will remain in their respective parties," Shah said.

He also questionned Pawar's "contribution" in providing financial aid to farmers in Maharashtra when the latter was a minister in the erstwhile UPA government at the Centre.

"Pawar should call a press conference and give the details of how much financial help he had given so far to Maharashtra.

"In the 13th Finance Commission, Pawar could bring only Rs 1.15 lakh crore to Maharashtra as against Narendra Modi government, which had given Rs 2.86 lakh crore. It is more than two-and-a-half times of assistance that Pawar had brought for Maharashtra," Shah added.

Several leaders from the opposition Congress and NCP have joined either the BJP or the Sena in the recent weeks ahead of the polls due in October.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took a dig at the Congress and the NCP over their EVM tampering allegations by equating them with a "dim-witted child, who blames a faulty pen for flunking an exam".


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar meets Nigeria's UN envoy Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Permanent Representative of Nigeria to United Nations, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, here on Sunday.

Jaishankar assured the Ambassador of India's full support in the workings of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), ahead of the latter's succession as the President of the Assembly's 74th session.

"Pleased to meet Permanent Representative of Nigeria to UN @BandeTijjani. Happy he has kept up the tradition of such visits. Glad to note the alignment of our priorities and goals. Assured him of India's full support in the working of the UNGA," Jaishankar wrote on Twitter.

According to media reports, Bande was elected as the President of the General Assembly in June and will succeed incumbent Maria Fernanda Espinosa later this month.


Rio-Paris crash relatives finger Airbus in new report

Paris: Relatives of victims of the 2009 Rio-Paris air crash have provided evidence they say supports their claim that Airbus knew of problems with an onboard instrument five years earlier, it emerged Sunday.

They provided a report on August 8 to judges investigating the crash pending a possible trial for manslaughter and negligence, said a source for the association representing loved ones of the 228 people aboard Air France flight AF447, confirming a report in Le Parisien newspaper.

The news comes a decade into a legal wrangle and weeks after French prosecutors recommended that only Air France face trial over allegations that it had known about the instrument problem on its Airbus A330 plane.

The carrier did not tell pilots how to resolve the issue, according to an investigation document seen by AFP.

Flight AF447 plunged into the Atlantic during a storm on June 1, 2009, and a defect with the plane's Pitot tubes -- which enable pilots to monitor their speed -- was found to be the cause.

On the night of the crash it is alleged the tubes frosted over and caused the speed sensors to freeze up, according to a probe undertaken in November 2004 for Thales, the tubes' manufacturer.

A report stated that an ill-prepared crew failed to react correctly when the plane stalled and lost altitude.

The 2004 report now before investigators compared the state of degradation between a tube made by US firm Goodrich and one from Thales which had each undergone about 10,000 flying hours.

The Goodrich tube "barely degraded" whereas the Thales tube showed "catastrophic corrosion," said the report, citing an expert who recommended modifications to the hardware.

The instruments blamed for the crash of AF447 had clocked up some 19,000 flying hours.

It took two years to find the wreckage of the plane, eventually located by remote-controlled submarines at a depth of 3,900 metres (13,000 feet) off Brazil.

To the consternation of civil parties, prosecutors in July recommended dropping the case against Airbus despite demands from victims' families that the aircraft manufacturer also be held accountable. Airbus and Air France had been charged with manslaughter in 2011.

Investigating magistrates overseeing the case must now decide whether to follow prosecutors' recommendations and bring the case to trial.

"Airbus, which is participating in the certification of its equipment, could not ignore this warning," according to Daniele Lamy, chairman of the relatives' association.

It was not even known if the faulty part on AF447 had been recovered and analysed, Lamy said, adding: "it is as if the crime weapon were missing." She added:

"Our objective is not to condemn Airbus and Air France, that is for justice to decide. But with there being reports in the file that implicates them, at least they have to come to court to explain themselves.

"Airbus seems to be untouchable, it is political. But I hope the judges will have enough courage," she said. Airbus and Thales declined to comment Sunday.


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Kolkata BPO cheating youth; 3 Bengalis arrested

Hyderabad: The Cyber Crime police of Hyderabad busted a Kolkata based BPO, which defrauded hundreds of youngsters in the name of ‘online solutions’ to the tune of crores of rupees nation-wide in the past two years, was raided by the Cyber Crime police of Hyderabad.

The officials have arrested three Bengalis. According to the officials, the accused were identified as Soma Roka alias Soma Sarkar, 26, Arnab Sur, 26, and Md. Imran, 23. They were running a call center by hiring 20 women tele-callers in the name of online dating.

The gang was operating a call center in the name of ‘Saha Enterprises’ at number 4, Ho-ChiMinh Sarani in Kolkata, West Bengal and has cheated a Hyderabadi local who paid over Rs 1 lakh.
Additional DCP of Cyber Crimes, KC S Raghu Vir said, “The arrest was made following a complaint received on May 7 from a victim here, who stated that he received a call from a number and the caller introduced herself as Ritika, from love arts and claimed that they will provide girls for online dating. Upon showing interest, they told him to pay Rs 1,025 for registration and also to pay Rs 18,000 non-refundable amount, along with providing photos and address particulars for membership”.

Threatening employees

However, after collecting the information, they again called and threatened the victim saying that their photos and IDs are available in online dating sites and the police will come to catch them and further demanded him to deposit Rs 75,000 to evade legal complications.

“When he paid the said amount, they again asked him to deposit Rs 1.20 lakh. That’s when he approached us and we took up an investigation” added the official.

Cyber Crime cell of Hyderabad raided BPO in Kolkata

On August 22, the team of Cyber Crimes Hyderabad headed to Kolkata and based on technical evidence, raided the call centre and arrested the trio and also served 41 A CrPC notices to other 16 telecallers and seized a laptop, three smartphones, 35 basic mobiles and other documents of victim application forms, tele-callers SOP and diaries.

The seized items, along with the accused were produced before the court in Kolkata for transit remand.

Authored by Mohammed Hussain,

Ayodhya: Akhara, Ram Lalla will ‘stand’ or ‘fall’ together: SC

New Delhi: Claiming that both the parties will “stand” or “fall” together, the Supreme Court on Monday said, Hindu body ‘Nirmohi Akhara’ is “unnecessarily” opposing the plea of deity ‘Ram Lalla’ for the title of disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land.

A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, criticised the submission of ‘Akhara’ in which it opposed the plea filed by Ram Lalla saying that being the ‘shebait’ (devotee), only its lawsuit was maintainable. It submitted that the case filed by deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’, through next friend Deoki Nandan Agrawal, should not be allowed.

While hearing the arguments on the 12th day of the decades-old, politically sensitive case the bench observed “There is no conflict between your [Akhara’s] suit and the suit filed by plaintiff number 1 (Ram Lalla)… Even if the suit of plaintiff (deity and others) is allowed, your right as ‘shebait’ stands.” Hindustan Times quoted.

The bench, comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer added, “You [Akhara] can claim your ‘shebait’ right independently. Unnecessarily, you are entering into the conflicting territory. It is for Sunni Waqf Board to do that”

Asking the senior advocate Sushil Jain, appearing for ‘Nirmohi Akhara’, that if the lawsuit of the deity was disallowed then for whom will the Akhara be ‘shebait’ of, the bench asked him to apprise it of the view of ‘Akhara’ on Tuesday as to whether it was still seeking dismissal of the lawsuit filed by the deity and others.


RBI okays transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh cr to GoI

Mumbai: The Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday accepted the Bimal Jalan panel recommendations and decided to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore in dividend and surplus reserves to the Government of India.

The Central Board has decided to transfer a sum of Rs 1,76,051 crore to the Government of India comprising of Rs 1,23,414 crore of surplus for the year 2018-19 and Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework (ECF) adopted at the meeting of the board on Monday.

Central Board accepts all recommendations of Jalan panel

The Central Board has accepted all the recommendations of the Jalan panel and finalised the RBI’s accounts for 2018-19 using the revised ECF to determine risk provisioning and surplus transfer.

The entire net income of Rs 1,23,414 crore for the year 2018-19, of which an amount of Rs 28,000 crore has already been paid as interim dividend, will be transferred to the Government of India. This is in addition to the Rs 52,637 crore of excess risk provisions which have been written back and will be consequently transferred to the government, an RBI statement said.

The panel recognised that RBI’s provisioning for monetary, financial and external stability risks is the country’s savings for a ‘rainy day’ (a monetary/financial stability crisis) which has been consciously maintained by the RBI in view of its role as the Monetary Authority and the Lender of Last Resort.

This risk provisioning made primarily from retained earnings is referred to as the contingent risk buffer (CRB) and has been recommended to be maintained within a range of 6.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent of the RBI’s balance sheet.

The panel has recommended a surplus distribution policy wherein the Central Board will decide on the level of risk provisioning to be made to the extent necessary and only the residual net income (if any) will be transferred to the government.

Types of RBI reserves

The various types of RBI reserves are contingency fund, asset development fund, currency and gold revaluation account and investment revaluation account.

The contingency fund represents the provisions made for unforeseen contingencies while the currency and gold revaluation account represents unrealised market-to-market gains or losses.

The RBI maintains various types of reserves to cover various risk provisioning for market risk, operational risk, credit risk and contingency risk.

The RBI, in consultation with the Government of India, had constituted an expert committee to review the extent of ECF of the RBI under former central bank chairman Bimal Jalan.


Man thrashed on suspicion of child lifting

Meerut: Eight people were arrested for allegedly thrashing a man on suspicion of being a child lifter in Shahjahanpur area here on Sunday, police said.

Misunderstanding led to crime

According to the police, Azad, a resident of Haryana’s Bhiwani, was in Shahjahanpur town under Kithor police station limits to sell herbs on the day when some people mistook him for a child lifter and thrashed him.

Accused arrested based on video evidence

“A video of the incident went viral on social media platforms. We identified the accused seen in the video and arrested them,” SP City Akhilesh Narayan Singh told reporters here.

A complaint was also filed by the victim, the police said.

The accused have been identified as Nadeem, Nazim, Pawan, Imran, Shahzad, Anas, Avneesh and Mustaji — all residents of Shahjahanpur.