Nirav deposited Rs 900 mn in PNB hours before note ban: NCP’s Majeed Memon

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Majeed Memon has quoted a report alleging that the accused celebrity jeweller, Nirav Modi had deposited cash worth Rs 900 million at one of the branches of the scam-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB), hours before the announcement of demonetisation.

“When Nirav Modi left India, at that time it was reported that some hours prior to Prime Minister’s announcement of demonetisation in 2016, Nirav Modi deposited Rs 900 million of cash in one branch of PNB, and he probably exchanged it for bullion or something,” Memon told ANI, and added, ” I think that there should be proper investigation to see if there is any element of truth to it.”

Memon also took to Twitter to convey the same, and hinted on suspicion of connivance between the accused and the BJP-led government at the Centre, by adding, “What does it suggest?”

Prime Minister announced the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Indian rupee notes, on November 8, 2016.For the unversed, PNB detected a Rs 1.77 billion dollar (Rs 11,400 crore) scam earlier this month, in which Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.


Does BJP’s polarising politics weaken India’s strategic edge in Maldives?

The Narendra Modi government is currently experiencing a near-perfect storm of domestic and foreign policy setbacks. The ruling BJP has been drubbed in recent parliamentary bypolls in Rajasthan after an underwhelming result in Gujarat elections. The economy continues to struggle with the effects of demonetisation and GST, global fuel prices are high, the stock market is wobbly, the Union budget disappointed even BJP’s supporters and remarks by Modi that making pakodas (fritters) constituted gainful employment for citizens has become a source of mirth and anger.

The foreign affairs scene is not comforting either. China is reinforcing its military presence near Doklam, belying claims that India had “won” the standoff last year, Beijing is negotiating a military base in Afghanistan, and a Chinese company has formally signed the lease for the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka while experts say that Delhi has lost “all its leverage” in Nepal.
India now finds itself in a strategic tangle with China in the form of a crisis in the Maldives, an archipelago 400 kms away from India. Abdulla Yameen, a pro-China president of the Maldives, has imposed emergency, detained Supreme Court justices and defied their order to reinstall opposition MPs and release political prisoners. His opponent in exile, the pro-Indian former President Mohamed Nasheed has asked Delhi to “act soon, and to act firmly.” India sent paratroopers in 1988 to counter a coup and analysts are currently advising Delhi not to rule out read more

US issues new travel advisory for citizens, says India ‘user friendly’

The US on Wednesday issued a new travel advisory for countries including India, which its officials said is “user friendly” as it is based on ready-to-understand level of advice ranging from one to four.India has been ranked Level 2 (exercise increased caution) while Pakistan has been places in Level 3 (reconsider travel).

Level 1 advises travllers to exercise normal precaution, while Level 4, which has countries like Afghanistan, recommends “Do Not Travel”.Now every country has a travel advisory based on this system, which has replaced all the previous such advisories.”These improvements will provide US citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and

security information worldwide,” the State Department said.Placing India on Level 2, the State Department identified “crime and terrorism” for Americans to exercise increased caution.

However, it asks Americans not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir, except for eastern Ladakh and Leh and not to venture within 10 miles of the India-Pakistan border due to read more


Excise duty on petrol, diesel cut by Rs 2/L; Govt may suffer Rs 26k-cr loss

Facing public resentment over the recent spike in fuel prices, the government on Tuesday cut the excise duty on both branded and unbranded petrol and diesel by Rs 2 a litre from Wednesday.
According to sources, the finance ministry was initially reluctant to reduce the duty due to revenue concerns, but relented after discussions with the petroleum ministry on implementing steps to bring down petrol prices to Rs 60-65 a litre.
While this would hit the revenues of the exchequer by Rs 13,000 crore in the second half of the current financial year at a time when the fiscal deficit has already touched 96 per cent of the Budget Estimates, consumers will get relief as the move would reduce the read more

Cashback, buyback, more: Know Reliance Jio offers on Apple iPhone 8 series

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are the first Apple products to be launched in India with an introductory offer from most e-commerce portals.
The two smartphones are also the first Apple devices that can be availed of on a 12-month contract from Reliance Jio.
In India, the iPhone 8 base model with 64 GB storage is priced at Rs 64,000 and the higher storage model with 256 GB internal storage is priced at Rs 77,000.
On the other hand, the iPhone 8 Plus base model with 64 GB and 256 storage are priced at Rs 73,000 and read more

Cheap fuel: After new highs, experts see petrol, diesel prices falling soon

Diesel prices in Delhi on Tuesday scaled a new all-time high of Rs 59.14 per litre, while other cities too saw a considerable increase.
However, industry experts and the government believe that prices will ease in the next few weeks as international prices are showing a declining trend.
In Delhi, the price of petrol, too, was at a two-year high on Tuesday at Rs 70.88 per litre.
Since the implementation of daily pricing from June 16 this year, Indian basket crude oil has gone up by around 19 per — from $46 a barrel to $55.36 a barrel. However, domestic retail selling prices of petrol  and diesel in Delhi have gone up by only eight per cent during this read more

Countries getting better at preventing flood-related deaths but not India

Nearly 14% of India’s landmass is vulnerable to flooding and more than 15% of this area gets flooded every year. Since 1953, 1,600 lives have been lost every year on average due to floods.

Yet, the central government has not released 61% of the funds promised for flood management between April 2007 and March 2016, and 43% of the 517 works approved have not been completed, a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the government’s auditor, has found.

The CAG studied a sample of 206 flood management programmes, 38 flood forecasting stations, 49 river management activities and works related to border area projects, and 68 large dams across 17 selected states and union territories (UTs) from read more