Imran ‘Taliban’ Khan goes on a bizarre defense of terrorists who may have infiltrated India disguised as Hindus

Imran Khan has defended terrorists on Twitter
Source: Pakistan Today

Pakistan very existence now seems to be a glaring question mark on the intellectual evolution of humankind. The parody nation keeps defying its own records in displaying the utter stupidity of its political leaders.

Imran Khan, after days of whining about RSS, Modi and Nazis that got zero attention from anywhere, has today crossed some invisible line between ranting and raving. He has taken to Twitter to defend some terrorists who may have infiltrated into India.

Imran Khan on Twitter

Just like his army violates the ceasefire and starts shelling whenever they want to help some terrorists trying to enter India through LoC, Imran Khan tried to provide a narrative cover, claiming that India is lying to divert attention from whatever Pakistan daydreams about happening in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Not stopping there, Khan even claimed that the terrorists whose existence and their entry into India he had just denied, may actually be a ‘false flag operation’ by India

Imran Khan on Twitter

Khan was referring to media reports earlier today where it was revealed that 6 LeT terrorists might have entered Coimbatore posing as Hindus, with Tilaks on their forehead. There were also reports that Pakistan is preparing Afghan terrorists for an attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is notable here that the Pakistani terrorists that had attacked Mumbai on 26/11 also had tried to look like Hindus with saffron threads (Kalawa) on their wrists.

khan’s statement, despite being hilarious, also shows how ‘mainstream’ the idea of terrorism is for the terror factory of Pakistan. If harbouring, nourishing and sending terrorists to India was not enough, Pakistan has now shed all pretence and has been officially using terrorism as its state policy.

Earlier, an ex-military chief from Pakistan had revealed that Pakistan is planning to exploit the Kartarpur corridor to revive khalistani terrorism in India.

Samajwadi Party dissolves its state and district units, removes everyone from their posts except Naresh Uttam Patel

Akhilesh Yadav declares additional tax burden on the middle class in SP’s manifesto
Akhilesh Yadav (Source: India TV)

Samajwadi Party today disbanded its Uttar Pradesh state and district units and removed everyone from their posts except Naresh Uttam Patel, the UP state head.

In another tweet, Samajwadi Party said the party chief Akhilesh Yadav has also disbanded all youth wing, women’s wing, student wing and removed their national and state heads and other office bearers.

Here is how these 7 opinion pieces in 4 days reveal newspaper The Hindu’s legendary level of meltdown and arrogance

The Hindu

While the vast majority of our country is rejoicing at the bold move by the Modi government on Jammu and Kashmir, the self-proclaimed liberal intellectuals have gone into a tizzy. Their OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) levels have been consistently rising. But, this week, there is someone whose OCD levels have peaked! None other than “India’s National Newspaper”, The Hindu. You think I am exaggerating? Let’s take a look at their opinion pieces, published in their print edition, in this week.

The lack of creativity is really amusing! For how many more years do they want to continue with the same “Democracy under siege” and “Idea of India” phrases? For all the talent at their disposal, can’t they really do better than repeating these boring phrases? Most articles say the same and mean the same. However, there are two articles that are quite upsetting, because they seem to assume that the reader is naïve and will believe anything that is written.

The first such article was published on Wednesday, August 21st: Choppy waters lie ahead. The author of this article is a former National Security Advisor of India, Shri M.K. Narayan. In the section titled “Global reactions and lessons”, he begins thus: “International opinion is unlikely — whatever gloss we may apply — to accept at face value our reasons as to why the steps taken in Kashmir were necessary.”

I was immediately reminded of this awesome tweet of Ashok Mallik where he roasted Sadanand Dhume’s vague definition of “internationalization”. But since I was reading a piece by a former National Security Advisor, I was really expecting more depth than Sadanand Dhume. He continues by telling us that “Already, voices critical of India’s actions are beginning to be heard. China made its views clear…

Yes, China is not happy, we know that. We want to know from the former NSA who else is not happy? He enlightens us that “Most nations across the world may adopt a similar line…”. So we have a grand total of one country not happy with what we did. No other nation has adopted a “similar line” like China. If this article came in a piece of advice within a day or two of the monumental decision, then it made sense. This advice came a full three weeks after no country commented on India. And yet the former NSA found it fit to continue the fear-mongering that the alleged liberals bank on!

The fear-mongering by the former NSA doesn’t stop. Weeks after the government had emphatically clarified that there will be no impact on Articles 371, he chooses to write that “It could also induce fears across the entire Northeast, even though Article 371 still holds sway there.

To top it all, we are also told by him that “It would be an error of judgment, however, to believe that “all is well” in J&K.”. Slowly, but surely, all is getting well in Ladakh, Jammu and parts of Kashmir. Why can’t he acknowledge the areas where things are getting normal and the areas which are still problematic? He was NSA for quite some period of time – why can’t he tell us what is it that he did to resolve the problem of Kashmiris? Why, instead, resort to this fear-mongering?

The second such article was also published on Wednesday, August 21st: Recognising fair criticism.

The Lancet is a reputed medical journal. They, however, chose to comment on India’s decision to remove Article 370 from J&K. This invited a rebuke from many in India and also the Indian Medical Association. And this rebuke hurt these self-proclaimed intellectuals, so much that R. Prasad wrote in The Hindu– “The editorial is not an “act of commission” by The Lancet, as the IMA calls it, but what the journal considers as its beholden duty to speak up for people in health distress.

The Lancet editorial has only one mention of a “formidable health crisis”. This is based on a study done in two districts of J&K which concluded that “that nearly half of Kashmiris rarely felt safe and of those who had lost a family member to violence, one in five had witnessed the death firsthand. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people in the region have increased anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

There needed no study to be done to understand that Kashmiris live in fear because of the terrorism infested violence. There needed no magazine to tell us that people living in conflict areas suffer from anxiety. And there is only one way to solve this problem – end the violence! And that is precisely what India is aiming to do now. The Modi government is reaching out to Kashmiris to put an end to all their woes, “health distress” included. The Lancet finds this move “controversial” is even more surprising.

What’s even more surprising is that R. Prasad repeatedly comes to The Lancet’s defence on grounds that Lancet focused on health! Sample another line from his article – “But the central focus has always been on health, and the editorial on J&K is no different.” Slow claps for the ingenuity, (over)confidence and the staggering boldness of the author when he emphatically declares that the editorial on J&K is about health. Does the author, R.Prasad, really think that people today will not have access to Lancet’s editorial; will read it and understand how the focus is anything but health?

Then we have an article on “State breaking is not nation-making”. This, after repeated assurances by the government that while Ladakh will continue to be a UT (a long-pending people’s demand that was finally met), full state status will be restored to J&K at the earliest possible opportunity. Yet this ilk continues to perpetuate the same old argument, only to spread fear and rumours.

The icing on the cake though is the following conclusion by The Hindu’s readers editor in his Monday’s article – “A cursory reading of the responses to critical voices in the comment section of this newspaper proves that there is an explosion of ignorance.” In my opinion, no one can beat The Hindu in their legendary arrogance. They will continue to display this in abundance in the days to come

Tej Pratap Yadav toes Congress’ line to malign Veer Savarkar’s contributions to India’s freedom, calls him ‘coward’ and ‘British agent’

Tej Pratap Yadav, courtesy: hindustantimes.com

Tej Pratap Yadav, the RJD MLA from Mahua in Bihar, took to Twitter to malign Veer Savarkar’s contributions to India’s freedom by branding him a ‘coward’ and a ‘British agent’.

The son of fodder scam convict and Bihar’s former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, took to Twitter to slander the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) which had recently installed a pillar with busts of Veer Savarkar, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh at the North Campus of Delhi University.

In his Tweet, the fancy dress buff blamed ABVP which is the RSS’ students’ wing, of ridiculing the sacrifices and contributions made by the other heroic sons of the country in the freedom struggle by installing Savarkar’s bust along with theirs. He says, that the university has not only taught the traitor’s (referring to Savarkar) lesson to its students but have gone a step ahead and installed a statue of the ‘coward’ in the university.

On Tuesday, a pillar with busts of Veer Savarkar, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh had been put up at the North Campus of Delhi University. The pillar was installed by the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU). As per DUSU’s own admission, the pillar was installed without the permission of the University.

Some people had objected specifically to the Savarkar bust that was installed on the campus. NSUI goons had vandalised the installation, by blackening the face and puting a garland of shoes around it. They had seen the installation of Savarkar’s bust as a prelude to the installation of Nathuram Godse’s bust.

Congress has also on several occasions attempted to malign Veer Savarkar’s contributions to India’s freedom by branding him as a “loyal colonialist”.

NSUI, the students’ wing of the Congress party, straight-out lied that Savarkar worked against the freedom struggle. The Congress government in Rajasthan had gone a step ahead and decided to change the school curriculums to portray Savarkar as a traitor. It’s ex-president, Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly insulted the great revolutionary and freedom fighter Swatantryaveer Savarkar (the meaning of it is ‘Hero of Independence’ Savarkar), and called him a ‘traitor’ for his ‘mercy petitions’ to the British while he was in jail in the Andamans.

Even the mercy petitions ought to be seen in their proper context. One can read behind the actual reasons of Savarkar’s mercy petitions here. Moreover, Savarkar did not give up his political struggle after being released, he continued to serve our motherland as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha.

As much ever these cynics may denounce Savarkar, it is a fact that the seeds of Hindutva Savarkar had sown all those years ago have finally bloomed and Hindutva now dominates the corridors of power.

Parle responds to reports of 10,000 potential job losses, says no job loss yet, definite slowdown but issue blown out of proportion

Parle sees a dip in sales by 7-8 per cent, however, company claims no job loss yet
(Source: Hindustantimes)

In an interview with the media outlet BTVi, senior category head at Parle Products, Mayank Shah clarified that there have been no job losses at Parle yet and that the issue has been blown out of proportion by naysayers. There were reports recently that slowdown could force ParleG to lay off 10,000 staff members.

Shah added that there has been a marked decline in the sales of their products, attributing the slumping sales to the GST tax slab for biscuits below Rs 100 per kg, which attracts 18% GST.

“Biscuit as an industry or category has been severely affected. This phenomenon is industry-wide and not Parle specific. The consumer is thinking twice before buying biscuits now. Biscuits which were earlier exempted from excise were now included after the advent of the GST. This has had a serious effect on the sales of the basic biscuits which are less than Rs 100 per Kg. Right now, basic biscuits fall under the same 18 per cent GST slab as the premium biscuits,” Shah said.

Shah further stated that their company has been requesting the government from last 1 year to look into the matter. “Premium segment biscuits which are sold at or above Rs 100 per kg and basic biscuits which are less than Rs 100 per Kg are two different categories. We have been requesting the government to provide concessions to us in basic biscuits category by changing its GST slab as it did with apparels, footwear and other commodities,” Shah said.

Dismissing the reports of downsizing at Parle Products, Shah said that the job losses will be an eventuality if the sales of the basic biscuits category continue to decline. Once the category which used to grow at 10-12 per cent per annum is currently declined by 7-8 per cent.

“Sales of premium biscuits at Parle are showing impressive growth. However, the sales of the basic biscuits category which is for the consumption of common man is getting the beating after the implementation of GST. We have to take a price hike because of the GST. We urge the government to exempt basic biscuits, which are priced less than Rs 100 per Kg be exempted from the tax like it was before the GST,” Shah said.

Bihar: Nurses of Araria hospital accuse Dr Javed Aalam of demanding sexual favours for clearing bills

Nurses at the Jokihat Referral Hospital in Araria, Bihar have written to the District Magistrate alleging that the doctor is asking for sexual favours for clearing bills, a report in News18 says. The nurses have alleged that Dr Mohammed Javed Aalam has been telling nurses that they have to spend a night with him in order to get the necessary bills passed.

The nurses further alleged that Aalam, who is also the in-charge at the hospital, has been abusing them verbally and pressurizing them to generate money illegally through the hospital and deliver it to him. They further claim that they have been paying bribes ever since they started working at the hospital. It is also being claimed that Aalam has been threatening them.

The nurse in the video can be heard saying, “Are we his slaves? We work for the government, not for him.” She further says that Aalam said she will be forgiven for some unspecified transgression only if she sleeps with him for a night. Another nurse claims that she was told, “I will kick you and throw you out.”

As per reports, the Acting Chief Medical Officer at the Hospital, Dr M.P. Gupta, has said that investigations are underway in the matter. However, his approach to the issue didn’t appear too constructive.

Chidambaram hearing: ‘Don’t make false statements’, SG Tushar Mehta slams Kapil Sibal who accused prosecution of ‘handing over a note’ to HC judge

Congress leader and former Home Minister P Chidambaram smiling when arrested by CBI and ED (image: Zee News)

The Supreme Court (SC) today gave protection to former union Home Minister P Chidambaram from arrest from Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media scam. The CBI as well as the ED matter will now be heard on Monday. Chidambaram will stay in the CBI custody till 26th August. While arguing for Chidambaram, former minister and another senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that certain paragraphs in the Delhi High Court order were ‘cut and paste’ of a note handed over by Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta after the pleadings were over in the INX Media case.

However, coming down heavily on Sibal, Mehta told him not to make such false statements.

On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had cancelled P Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea, paving the way for his arrest. Although ED and CBI sought to arrest him immediately after the HC order on August 20, they could not locate him.

Dismissing his plea, the Delhi High Court judge had called former finance minister Chidambaram as the “kingpin”, the key conspirator in the INX Media case.

Later next day, Former Finance Minister who was on the run following the Delhi High Court judgement appeared before the media in a press conference in the AICC headquarters.

Chidambaram was arrested late night on Wednesday by the CBI soon after he reached his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi following his appearance at a press conference at AICC headquarters. The arrest came after high-intensity drama where CBI officials had to climb up walls to reach the senior Congress leader.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram’s counsel represented by senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and others had approached the Supreme Court seeking an urgent mentioning, but it was rejected.

Next day on Wednesday, the lawyers had approached the court of Justice NV Ramana, who sent the file to CJI saying he is not authorised to decide who will hear a case. As CJI Gogoi had already started hearing the Ayodhya case, it could not be presented before him. The plea also had some defected which delayed the case of Chidambaram, and it was decided that SC will take up the plea on Friday.

Currently, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is in five-day CBI custody. A special CBI Court has granted CBI custody of former Union Minister for Finance and Home, P Chidambaram, in the INX Media case till August 26.

SC postpones hearing of Chidambaram plea challenging HC’s dismissal of anticipatory bail plea, to be heard on Monday

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram

On Friday, the Supreme Court on hearing the plea of Congress leader P Chidambaram challenging the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case ordered that the petition filed by P Chidambaram against his custodial remand by the CBI to be taken up on Monday.

The apex court fixed the hearing in the case against CBI on Monday, August 26 as former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been remanded to custody till that date.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court had decided to hear the petition filed by Chidambaram against the Delhi High Court verdict and scheduled it to be heard on Friday. The bench of Justice R Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna heard the plea.

On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had cancelled P Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea, paving the way for his arrest. Although ED and CBI sought to arrest him immediately after the HC order on August 20, they could not locate him.

Dismissing his plea, the Delhi High Court judge had called former finance minister Chidambaram as the “kingpin”, the key conspirator in the INX Media case.

Later next day, Former Finance Minister who was on the run following the Delhi High Court judgement appeared before the media in a press conference in the AICC headquarters.

Chidambaram was arrested late night on Wednesday by the CBI soon after he reached his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi following his appearance at a press conference at AICC headquarters. The arrest came after high-intensity drama where CBI officials had to climb up walls to reach the senior Congress leader.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram’s counsel represented by senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and others had approached the Supreme Court seeking an urgent mentioning, but it was rejected.

Next day on Wednesday, the lawyers had approached the court of Justice NV Ramana, who sent the file to CJI saying he is not authorised to decide who will hear a case. As CJI Gogoi had already started hearing the Ayodhya case, it could not be presented before him. The plea also had some defected which delayed the case of Chidambaram, and it was decided that SC will take up the plea on Friday.

Currently, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is in five-day CBI custody. A special CBI Court has granted CBI custody of former Union Minister for Finance and Home, P Chidambaram, in the INX Media case till August 26.

Former Pakistan army chief says Pakistan will use Kartarpur corridor to revive Khalistani terrorism in India

Pakistan’s former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has said that the country will use Kartarpur corridor for formulating Khalistan terror, reports India Today. With this shocking revelation, India’s apprehensions about the terror state using the Kartarpur corridor to peddle its anti-India agenda has now been proven right.

The ex-Army chief has said that the terror ‘jihad’ was the “only way to teach India a lesson” and that the Indian Army at the LoC cannot stop the ‘jihadis’.

In a barren attack on India, Mirza Aslam Beg said that “Pakistan army and the government should create trouble for India through Khalistan movement.”

Last year, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had said that Pakistan is trying to revive militancy in Punjab and had warned that Pakistan is conspiring with Khalistni terrorists ot use the Kartarpur Corridor to achieve that objective. He had said that Pakistan will use the corridor to stoke pro-Khalistan elements, with the help of secessionist SFJ.

He had claimed in December 2018 that it was nothing but an ISI ploy to strengthen anti-India forces. Amarinder had said, “The entire affair of Kartarpur Corridor smacks off a wider conspiracy by the Pakistan Army and ISI to dismember India by reviving militancy in Punjab.”

Meanwhile, Mirza Aslam Beg had expressed earlier also that he wants a hybrid war against India. In fact, many former Pakistan chiefs and high commissioners have opined the same in the past.

Rattled by India decision to abrogate Article 370, Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan had also a few days back warned India of a ‘Pulwama type attack’. Designated global terrorist Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar who had been in the hiding amidst rumours of his death had also in a recorded message echoed Imran Khan’s hollow threats warning India of ‘stormy attacks’ after the repealing of Article 370.

Flummoxed by India’s bold and pathbreaking decision, Pakistan had said that it will exercise “all possible options” to counter the move and approach the International Court of Justice if need be. Interestingly, while India’s historic decision has been welcomed by the Kashmiri’s, Pakistan’s foreign secretary, Sohail Mahmood had reiterated that Pakistan would continue to “extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people’s struggle for the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination.”

No Sonia Gandhi, your husband did not stand for democracy or liberty

Rajiv Gandhi's tenure saw justice, freedom and institutions compromised at every level
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, image via Twitter
Congress celebrated the 75th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi with big pomp and show in Delhi where it’s workers from all over India were invited. Every senior leader of the party spoke at the event about how Rajiv Gandhi was such a great leader who had a vision(?) for India and how he transformed India. They have all the right to do so. Rajiv Gandhi was an energetic leader and one of the youngest Prime Minister of India. By the virtue of the chair he occupied, he deserves respect.
During her speech at the event, the newly appointed interim President of Congress & Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi gave a passionate speech which many of us may have heard. At one point, she said that he ‘never used power to create an atmosphere of fear’ in the country and how Rajiv ‘stood for strong institutions’. I was stunned at the brazenness of these statements. Well, these statements certainly need a reality check.
How Rajiv Gandhi ‘never’ used power to create an atmosphere of fear, was visible in very first days of his first tenure when thousands of Sikhs were massacred across India under his watch. He justified those murders by saying, “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.” Till date, we witness how all the accused in those gruesome killings continue to be big leaders of the Congress.
Now let’s talk about the strength of institutions. In 1986, the Supreme Court gave a judgement granting an old Muslim lady named Shah Bano the right to get some amount as maintenance from her ex-husband who had divorced her.  It was a landmark judgement because it went beyond regressive personal laws to deliver justice to a widow. But so much was Rajiv’s faith in the institutions, that he brought a legislation in Parliament and on the basis of the brute majority that he had, overturned the judgement and denied the right to basic compensation to a woman.
That he used INS Virat for holidays with family and friends is no hidden story now, showing another example of his respect for institutions.
The Post Office Amendment Bill 1986, moved by Rajiv Gandhi government, on being passed, would have given the central government the power to read any letter which was being handled by Indian Postal Department. In that era when there were no emails or SMS, a letter was the only way of sending information and Indian Post was the only agent. Rajiv Gandhi got the bill passed in Parliament but thanks to the wisdom of the then President Gyani Zail Singh, who didn’t sign it for two years, the bill didn’t become a reality. Subsequent government of VP Singh withdrew it. This was another glaring example of Rajiv’s commitment to ‘freedom & liberty of people’.
An amazing example of Rajiv’s immense respect for democracy and institutions was the infamous case of a chemical leak from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Thousands of people got killed by the dangerous leak and the after-effects of which are still visible on some. The main culprit, Warren Anderson, was escorted by then Madhya Pradesh CM Arjun Singh to the airport on orders of Rajiv Gandhi, who later ensured that Anderson flew back to the US safely. Later it was discovered that it happened under a Quid Pro Quo agreement due to which the then US President Ronald Reagen granted amnesty to Adil Shaharyar, a long-standing friend of Rajiv Gandhi.
Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘immense faith in democratic institutions’ was also seen in the way his government conducted assembly elections of Jammu & Kashmir in 1987. Every single rule was broken to ensure that his alliance partner and friend Farooq Abdullah became Chief Minister of the state of J&K. The process of elections and the discontent that spread after gross manipulations in their results are considered to be the biggest reasons for the unrest that started in Kashmir in the late 80s. To make his friend the Chief Minister, Rajiv killed democracy but is being hailed as protector of institutions. What a mockery of truth!
Mrs Sonia Gandhi & the Congress should realise that in New India, false narratives don’t work any more. New India is young, sharp, and is equipped with facts and hence it asks tough questions. So better be prepared in future, Madame!

6 LeT terrorists may have entered Coimbatore disguised as Hindus with Tilak on their forehead, Tamil Nadu on high alert

Tamil Nadu put on high alert. Courtesy: India TV

Tamil Nadu has been put on high alert after Intelligence agencies sounded a warning on Thursday midnight that six Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists may have entered Coimbatore from Sri Lanka for possible attacks in Tamil Nadu and Kerala

Coimbatore and Chennai City police commissioners have confirmed that the alert has been issued by the state home department and security has been subsequently beefed up in all the major cities of Tamil Nadu.

“While one terrorist is from Pakistan, five others are from the island nation. They have come here through the sea route,” police sources revealed the intelligence alert. The Pakistani national has been identified as Ilyas Anwar.

The LeT terrorists have reportedly disguised themselves as Hindus and may carry out attacks across the state. According to a News 18 report, the alert also highlighted that the men are likely to have disguised as Hindus “with tilak/bhabuti smeared on foreheads”. The Pakistani national has been identified as Ilyas Anwar.

The reports further state that security installations, foreign embassies, tourist spots and worship centres could be among the targets of the terrorist group. Officials are also monitoring the coastal areas, particularly the movement of ferries and boats.

Vigil has been stepped up in malls, public places, railway stations and bus stands.

A general alert was sounded in the country after the Modi government came up with a historic move to change Kashmir’s destiny by revoking Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and the resultant deterioration of ties with Pakistan. The government had warned of possible ‘retaliatory attacks’ by terror organizations.

Notably, the Indian Armed Forces have been manning the volatile and infiltration prone Line of Control along Jammu had recently thwarted a major infiltration bid in the Macchal sector made within 15 hours of the announcement of scrapping Article 370 on August 5.

LoC between India and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir has been tensed since days as Pakistan has reportedly been attempting to send BAT personnel with Islamist terrorists into the valley. There have been reports of continuous shelling at the LoC.

Last week, Bangaluru was put on high alert following intel warning of a possible terror strike. The Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force were also put on high alert and Delhi Metro was put on red alert following the abrogation of Article 370.

McDonald’s India admits to discriminating against non-Muslims, buys only Halal meat for its restaurants

Mathew Horwood

The global fast-food chain network, McDonald’s, has admitted to discriminating against non-Muslims as part of their business model in India. All their restaurants are Halal certified. As we have reported earlier, Halal is the Islamic method of slaughter which cannot be carried out by non-Muslims.

Halal can only be performed by a Muslim man. Thus, non-Muslims are automatically denied employment at a Halal meat firm. Guidelines by Halal certification authorities make it clear that non-Muslim employees cannot be employed in any part of the slaughtering process. Even the labelling of the meat can be done by Muslims only. Animals slaughtered by Non-Muslims will not be Halal.

The Halal-Jhatka debate had come to the fore during the Zomato controversy. The food aggregator was accused of hypocrisy for claiming ‘food has no religion’ but going out of their way to satisfy their Muslim customers’ demand for Halal food. It was finally forced to take cognizance of the Halal-Jhatka debate and conceded after immense public pressure that they will add a Jhatka tag on their app if customers demand it.

Thus, it appears that for all their talk of social justice and ‘Woke Activism’, multinational corporations like McDonald’s do not hesitate to indulge in institutional discrimination on the basis of religion to increase their profit margin. Halal is a discriminatory practice by its very nature.

Uttar Pradesh: ‘Kasai’ fires bullet at locals opposing cow smuggling in Pilibhit, youth dies

Cattle smugglers have shot a local youth Sonu dead in UP for trying to stop them
Representational Image, courtesy: Dailymail

In another incident of violence by cattle smugglers, one local youth Sonu, residing in Mohanpur village under Bilsanda police station area in Philbhit, Uttar Pardesh has been shot to death for trying to stop the smugglers on the night of August 22.

At around 10 pm on Wednesday, Sonu, an artist in a local orchestra, was sleeping outside his house when he saw some butchers and cattle traders trying to stuff the stolen cattle in a pickup van on the other side of the road.

On seeing this Sonu started protesting and reportedly tried to confront the smugglers. The cattle smugglers allegedly started beating Sonu on the spot. When Sonu’s family members and local residents gathered, the smugglers reportedly started firing from a gun. One bullet had hit Sonu.

Sonu who was seriously injured by the bullet was rushed to the district hospital, from where he was sent to the hospital in Bareilly. He succumbed to his injuries on the way.

After receiving the news of the incident, the police reached the village at night and took information about the matter from the locals. At present, the police have sent the body for postmortem and the matter is being investigated.

This is, however, not the first such incident. Similar cases of Gau Rakshak’s being killed trying to oppose the crime has previously also come to the fore. On July 31, a ‘Gau Rakshak’ named Gopal had been killed after he was shot dead by a cattle smuggling gang. The incident occurred in a village near Palwal, Haryana.

On June 19, in a similar case, a person named Vikas Sharma, a resident of Natthu Colony, Ballabhgarh in Haryana was killed after he tried to stop the cattle smugglers. An FIR had been subsequently registered by the police against six persons identified as Arif (a resident of Utawad, Palwal), Tassi (a resident of Punhana), Subin (a resident of Dhauj), Teeman (a resident of Bibipur) and Tareef (a resident of Nuh).

Pakistan takes a cue from Congress yet again, asks ‘what happened to Rafale investigation’

Pakistani minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain

Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry, who had expressed angst over Rahul Gandhi for not winning the 2019 general elections, today again took a cue from Congress and raked up the Rafale bogey.

Misspelling the fighter jet as ‘Rafael’, Pakistan’s minister of science and technology taunted PM Modi and French President Macron’s meeting in France where the latter said that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue and no third party should interfere. The French President even took a strong stand against terrorism.

Chaudhry was referring to the Rafale controversy Congress had raked up prior to the elections and claimed that there was widespread corruption in the Rafale deal, despite the fact that the then Congress President couldn’t even stick to one consistent figure of extent of corruption. Amusingly, following the conclusion of elections and Congress’ monumental loss, the ‘Rafale scam’ seems to have been long forgotten.

The Indian government has signed a deal with the French government for the purchase of 36 Rafale jets, after the attempt to buy 126 fighter jets had failed. Rafale had emerged as the winner in 2012 in that bid, but a deal could not be signed due to various issues. Therefore, after coming to power, the Modi government had scrapped that deal and signed a new deal to buy 36 jets directly from France to immediately replenish the fast depleting fleet of IAF. But opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and activists are trying hard to derail the deal by making numerous baseless allegations and filling PILs in court against the deal.

In case Chaudhry missed out, the first Rafale jet is expected to be delivered next month.

Why Indians need to see more of the country they live in

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not have nudged we Indians into travelling more often in India than we do abroad but he surely has invited attention and it’s a good enough Independence Day intervention from the man who is master in making you reflect.

Modi wants us to make at least 15 travels within India by 2022 when India would be a young 75. Figures of 2016 show Indians already travel more within (1613 million) than they do abroad (21 million) but that’s a coarse understanding. We all know we spend five times more abroad than we do while travelling within. There is a kick when you pack your bags for Sweden than when you do it for Sarnath. You feel equal, if not superior, within your family, friends and neighbours.

All of us who travel abroad screw up their noses at hotels, transport, infrastructure, squalor and surging humanity which surrounds our own popular tourist destinations—all this of course without visiting much of India!  Yet, they are right. Just imagine our religious (Mathura, Vrindavan, Tirupati, Vaishno Devi), scenic (Ooty, Shimla, Mussoorie) or Hilly terrains (Manali, Darjeeling) and a Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur begin to make much better sense. That surely is a much better value for your rupee.

Yet, think.

India is a country which has all but Himalayas bound by the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Amazing rivers (Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Indus) are its rich veins. Incredible waterfalls dot our interiors. Wildlife like rarely elsewhere; deserts as daunting as Thar; forests as dense as Sunderban or Gir; caves carved like ones in Ajanta or Ellora; temples like Rameshwaram and Khajuraho which knock your breath out; forts like ones in Agra, Jaipur or Mysore; lakes in Nainital or Ooty; hill stations like Coorg and Shimla; snow-capped peaks which can soar young to do adventure as they do to meditate or brood over the profound for the elderly.

Come on, no less than 37 venues are World Heritage Sites authenticated by UNESCO in 2017.  These are parts of India’s rich cultural, historical and religious heritage.

Modi concedes India needs better infrastructure for its tourist destinations. And his solution offered makes so much sense. More footfalls would bring more investment, and better infrastructure would usher in more jobs for our young and restless. Technology would make inroads at so many levels. The administration would’ve much more funds to police as well as to beautify the location. Theatre and dance; artistes and artisans; local culinary and skills all get a fillip.

And if you think India is lightweight on matters of tourism think again. The World Travel and Tourism Council tabulated that tourism generated Rs 16.91 lakh crore (US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018 and supported 32.673 million jobs, 8.1% of its total employment. The forecast is of 6.9% annual growth rate to Rs. 32.05 lakh crore (the US $460 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP). And we are not even talking of medical tourism which is already worth the US $3 billion in 205. By next year, it’s expected to be worth the US $7-8 billion.

While reflecting on India and its inbound travellers, Tamil Nadu is the most visited state. Just reflect on the names of Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Ooty and Kodaikanal and you would know why. Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh is the second most visited of all Indian states by domestic travellers. Be it religious sacredness of Mathura or Varanasi; Prayag or Sarnath; Ayodhya or Vrindavan, forts of Agra; the regal nawab heritage of Lucknow, UP is far richer than is given credit for.

Most southern states are in India’s top 10 tourist destinations but for Kerala which is surprising given God’s Own Country has Alleppey and Munnar to boast of, among others. Rajasthan, surprisingly, is on number 10 for it just doesn’t alone have magnificent forts but also Pushkar and much-revered shrines. And we haven’t come to talking of Goa, Andaman, Leh, Puri, Amristar, Bodhgaya and Shirdi.

And as Modi said, ever wondered on the magnificence of North East? Cherrapunjee, most won’t know, is in Meghalaya after all.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries. Its air transport (32nd) is rated good and the one on the ground (29th) is reasonable too. The country also scores high on natural and cultural resources (9th).

But let’s be grounded for the moment. Just think of the benefit domestic travel would do to bring different cultures, languages, food and customs closer within our own contours. It would improve brotherhood and remove alien-ness. Besides, as Modi said, we would only be deepening our roots in this sacred land. Generation next too would retain the bond.

“Mitti, paani, hawaon se nayi urja prapt karein (Gain new energy from the earth, water and winds of this land)” was the exhortation Modi made from the ramparts of Red Fort in the Capital on the Independence Day on Thursday. If all of us do it, we would be enriching both us and the country we live in.

Pakistan blacklisted: FATF’s regional affiliate APG blacklists Pakistan for failure to curb terror funding

Pakistan may face a blacklisting by FATF's regional affiliate APG
Imran Khan, image via Twitter

In a significant development, the APG, FATF’s major regional affiliate has blacklisted Pakistan for its failure to curb terror funding. The APG is currently meeting in Canberra, Australia where Pakistan has failed miserably to show improvements in set parametres for financial systems.

After global isolation of the terror state of Pakistan, the parody country was all set to face further humiliation a major affiliate group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is now on the verge of blacklisting Pakistan, reports India Today.

Pakistan, which has been already grey-listed by the FATF, has been put in the black-list by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) of the FATF, one of the nine regional affiliates of the anti-money laundering watchdog.

The APG is currently meeting at Canberra in Australia conducting a five-year mutual evaluation of Pakistan’s progress on upgrading its systems in areas of financial and insurance services.

On Wednesday, Pakistan had submitted the compliance report on its 27-point action plan to the FATF, which is currently under review by the APG and has found Islamabad lacking on many fronts. Reportedly, the APG has found deficiencies in Islamabad’s anti-money laundering and combating terror financing efforts.

Reza Baqir, the governor of Pakistan’s State Bank, is currently heading a 10-member team to represent Pakistan at the APG meeting. So far, Pakistan’s performance has been assessed as ‘poor’.

In the APG, there are around 40 parameters of which Pakistan has failed in over 35. There are 11 effectiveness parameters and Pakistan has failed in 10.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has to show compliance in both, the Mutual evaluation and the FATF action plan. The next plenary session of the FATF to be held in October will take up the final review of Pakistan’s case.

The blacklist is the lowest list of the APG. The APG blacklisting will have be a major blow to Pakistan as its chances of being blacklisted by FATF in October have now increased manifold.

Pakistan was earlier placed under the FATF greylist after severe pressure from the US, France, Germany, and the UK over Pakistan’s failure to curb terror funding. The adverse findings by the APG will keep Islamabad on the negative radar when the deadline for the final review ends in October 2019. A blacklisting by the APG can have a major impact on the final decision of the FATF and may result in an overall blacklisting of Pakistan.

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the Group of 7 (G7) to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

USA, UK, Canada, and Pakistani NGO representative at UN slam China and parody country Pakistan over minority rights violation

Pakistan's Naveed Walter at UN (image: Screenshot of @akbaruddinIndia video)

In a major embarrassment to the terrorist state of Pakistan, on Thursday, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada slammed Pakistan and China for discrimination against religious minorities at a United Nations meeting held to discuss the safety of Religious Minorities in New York.

Yesterday, on first International Day for Victims of Violence based on Religion or Belief, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted to draw the attention of international community on Kashmir.

Lying to the world at large, Khan accused that the Kashmiris were not even allowed to celebrate Eid ul Adha observed earlier this month. Ironically, Pakistan, the global terror exporter, has also decided to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.

However, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, shared a video on Twitter and took a dig at the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He pointed out the irony in Khan who was accusing India of allegedly violating international humanitarian laws by “attacking innocent civilians” in Jammu and Kashmir despite the fact that Pakistan itself has been accused of Human Rights violations against minorities by the UN bodies.

The meeting took on the first-ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, which was established by a resolution of the General Assembly following a resolution led by the Polish government.

The New York meeting, hosted by Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz, was attended by Sam Brownback – US ambassador for religious freedom, Michelle Bachelet – the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Naveed Walter – President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan among others.

The most embarrassing moment for Pakistan came when Naveed Walter, the President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, himself admitted that there were grave human rights violations against minorities in Pakistan. Amusingly, Pakistan NGO head Naveed Walter also called out minority rights violation in Pakistan where attacks are carried out on religious places.

“Today, a large number of people are marginalized in their own societies. The biased behavior dwells in other areas also, like the minorities. On the basis of religious affiliation as like in Pakistan, Ahmadis having a situation; like China, a growing number of countries using national security as a pretext for restricted religious expression at the role of religion in public domain,” said Naveed Walter.

Sam Brownback, the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at UN meet on Safety of Religious Minorities in New York said, that religious minorities in Pakistan continue to suffer from prosecution either at hands of non-state elements or through discriminatory laws and practices.

Brownback also raised his concerns regarding Human rights violations in China. “We remain deeply concerned about the Chinese government escalating widespread and undue restrictions on religious freedom in China. We urge the Chinese government to respect the human rights & fundamental freedoms of everyone in that nation,” said Brownback.

Echoing the same sentiments, Lord Ahmad, British PM’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief said, “the United Kingdom has spoken up for rights of religious communities and minorities across the world. From Uyghurs in China, Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan.”

The terrorist state of Pakistan, which displays its cowardice by unleashing terror across the world, is notoriously known for grave human rights violations. Apart from causing severe pain, misery and deaths by perpetrating terror, Pakistan commits human rights violations ethnic and religious minorities from Pakistan.

The Mohajirs, the Pashtuns, Ahmedias, the Balochs and even the religious minorities like Hindus and Christians have time and again accused the Pakistani establishment and security agencies of engaging in human rights violations against them.

‘Priyanka Chopra has the right to speak in personal capacity’: UNICEF rubbishes Pakistan’s petition to have her removed as Ambassador

Entertainer Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra, who once lived in India and often performs the role of a ‘peacenik’, had recently faced strong denunciation from similar ‘peace-loving’ Pakistani citizens after she came out in support of the Indian Air Force and tweeted, “Jai Hind”. Pakistan expressed anguish over support by Priyanka Chopra to Indian armed forces and have demanded the removal of the actress as a goodwill ambassador of UNICEF.

“War between two nuclear powers can only lead to destruction & death. As goodwill ambassador of UNICEF, Priyanka Chopra was supposed to stay neutral and peaceful but her tweet in favour of Indian arm forces after they invaded Pakistan airspace shows otherwise. She doesn’t deserve this title any more,” the petition read.

A Pakistan woman had accused Priyanka Chopra of being a hypocrite and encouraging nuclear war in an event in Lok Angeles. She had made these accusations because, after the Balakot airstrikes, Chopra had tweeted ‘Jai Hind’.

The Pakistan petition essentially wanted Priyanka Chopra removed from the position of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador For Peace based on her support for the Indian Armed Forces.

Now, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his daily briefing on Thursday has said that Priyanka Chopra retains the right to speak in her personal capacity on issues concerning her.

Reportedly, Dujarric said, “When UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors speak in their personal capacity, they retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them, Their personal views or actions do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF.”

Dujarric, however, added that the Ambassadors have to maintain an impartial position while representing UNICEF on any platform.

Pakistan has a long history of being paranoid and usually overreacts at any given situation. While Priyanka Chopra herself is widely considered as a hypocrite as she often peddles the ‘aman ki asha’ narrative, in this instance, Priyanka got chided by the very country she thinks India should maintain peace with.

Sri Lanka busts Pakistan’s lies, says never mentioned Kashmir in their meeting with Pakistan envoy

Pakistan's High Commissioner in Sri Lanka caught lying as Sri Lanka dismisses his official statement regarding president Sirisena
Pakistan PM Imran Khan, image via Twitter

Pakistan seems hell-bent on being exposed and humiliated worldwide. Being compulsive liars, they have been exposed time and again internationally. Yesterday, Sri Lanka has exposed Pakistan’s lies where Pakistan had claimed that the Sri Lankan president has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Shahid Ahmad Hashmat had recently requested the Sri Lankan president for a meeting. After the meeting on 20th August, the statement by the Pakistani high commissioner has claimed that the Sri Lankan president had acknowledged that Kashmir is a ‘disputed territory’ and the dispute should be resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people under the UN resolutions.

He had also claimed that President Sirisena has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan HC’s press release, courtesy: Aditya Raj Kaul

After the office of the Pakistan High Commissioner in Sri Lanka issued this statement, the office of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has denied giving any such statement.

In a press release, the Sri Lankan president has clarified that though the Pakistani envoy had briefed the Sri Lankan President about India’s recent decision to abrogate Article 370 and section 35A regarding Jammu and Kashmir, Sri Lanka has made no such statement as Pakistan claims.

Sri Lankan President’s press release, courtesy: Aditya Raj Kaul

President Sirisena’s office has stated, “The President gave a careful hearing to the Pakistan High Commissioner’s views and stated that both India and Pakistan have excellent friendly relations with Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s interest is to see the growth of regional cooperation and friendship. The President did not make any other comment on the issues pertaining to India and Pakistan,”

Also read: Pakistan claims Russia invited Imran Khan to the EEF in September. No, we did not, says Russia

It is notable here that Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to acknowledge that India’s decision regarding Article 370 and Jammu and Kashmir bifurcation are its internal matters. In a statement after the decision, Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had asserted that it is India’s internal issue and he had also expressed pleasure at the Buddhist majority Ladakh being a separate Union Territory finally.

Pakistan has been trying desperately for international intervention over the Kashmir issue. However, all its efforts and juvenile rants seem to be in vain as the country keeps losing all credibility with one international embarrassment after another.

France firmly in India’s corner: Kashmir a bilateral issue, strong statements on terrorism

PM Modi hugs French President Emmanuel Macron (image:TheHindu)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the French President Emmanuel Macron in Chantilly, France and briefed him on the recent Government of India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 making Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India without any riders attached. In a joint statement issued last evening, the French President said that the Kashmir situation between India and Pakistan is a bilateral issue and no third party should interfere or incite violence.

“PM Modi told me what decisions the government has taken and that they are based on India’s sovereignty. However, it is important that there is stability there and we must ensure that the situation doesn’t worsen,” said the French President.

The French President also issued a strong statement on terrorism and called upon “all countries to work together for halting cross-border movement of terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayabba and their affiliates in South Asia and Sahel region.

The two countries also called upon UN member countries to implement UNSC Resolution 2462 on Fighting Terrorist Financing adopted last March and agreed to call upon a global conference to tackle terrorism threat across the globe.

President Macron expressed condolences over the ghastly Pulwama attack earlier this year and added that India and France would continue to work together to fight terrorism. Reaffirming the commitment to ‘Make In India’, President Macron said that our defence sector shows how much we trust each other. He even added that the first Rafale aircraft will reach India next month.

President Macron also added that he would like India to be a part of the G7 and that he has changed some parts about how G7 is organised. G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United State of America.

BJP to conduct nationwide public awareness campaign on Article 370, to rope in 2000 prominent personalities

Ever since the abrogation of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government, some anti-social elements have been trying to disrupt the peace in the valley through a well-chalked out propaganda. While the government of India is doing everything in its capacity to bring peace, normalcy and development to the terror infested region, ignorance about the article granting separate status to Jammu and Kashmir has led the unsuspecting people to fall prey to the wicked plans of the propaganda machinery.

In the wake of this move and to spread awareness about Article 370, BJP has planned a Jan Jagaran Abhiyan-public awareness campaign and Sampark Abhiyan on Article 370 beginning September 1.

As per a report, this program will be attended by BJP President Amit Shah, working President JP Nadda, senior ministers, chief ministers among others. This program is slated to run between September 1 to September 30. The party will take this campaign through 370 places and will hold large scale meetings in 35 big cities.

According to the information available, the party has formed two committees to prepare for the campaign that will be headed by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

As per the plan, the party will rope in 2,000 prominent personalities from different parts of the country for the Sampark Abhiyan to explain the reasons behind the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, and its repercussions. Shah, Nadda and other leaders will meet the prominent personalities.

Under the Jan Jagaran Abhiyan, the party will hold public awareness campaigns across 370 places. During this, small gatherings and rallies will be organized.

Various political parties including Congress have opposed the abrogation of Article 370 by the government.

Special CBI Court grants CBI custody of Chidambaram till 26th August

Both Chidambaram and his son Karti are accused in the INX Media case
Source: MoneyControl

A special CBI Court has granted CBI custody of former Union Minister for Finance and Home, P. Chidambaram, in the INX Media Case. Custody has been granted till the 26th of August.

As per reports, the Court has permitted Chidambaram’s family and lawyers to meet him for half an hour every day. Furthermore, a medical check-up for Chidambaram has been ordered every 48 hours.

Chidambaram was arrested late night on Wednesday by the CBI soon after he reached his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi following his appearance at a press conference at AICC headquarters. The arrest came after high-intensity drama where CBI officials had to climb up walls to reach the senior Congress leader.

Chidambaram spent the night at the CBI headquarters, the CBI headquarters where he spent his night was the same building he inaugurated back in 2011 when he was the Home Minister.

Online Aggregators: Corporate Strategy bleeding the Hotel Industry

Amidst the controversy involving the various Online Aggregators, and the E-Commerce Business Companies, the widest and the most popular dispute in the recent days is between the Hoteliers and the Online Aggregator ‘OYO Rooms’.

Hoteliers and their Associations are speaking out against the policies and method of business by the Online Aggregators. Protests and agitations against OYO is making news in Print and Social Media, since few days.

What’s hitting the hotel industry hard? Undue control of the customer market, withholding of hoteliers’ money, arbitral deductions of unreasonable commissions, unreasonable convenience fees, invoicing issues, manipulation of average room rate (ARR) and many such unreasonable practices has lead to discomfort, and anger in the Hotelier Community against E-Commerce Companies and Online Aggregators like OYO.

The entire world is moving towards the online business market, Asset Light Business Modules are dominating the market, across all industries, services and professions. Factors of customer convenience exist, but the question remains are these Asset light businesses ethical? Sustainable or are they a threat to the “Real Asset and Business Owners”?

What we must understand is the significance of OYO for the Customer. It is a facility which gives the customer rooms for affordable rates! However, for a Hotelier, OYO is a facade which sells the Hotelier’s rooms for prices much below their costs. Basically, a transaction of unfair trade practice and market disruption. In fact, Oravel Stays Private Limited, Allcott Town Planners Private Limited and many other associated Companies have been now branded as ‘OYO’.

The Business and the Facade

It has often been said that the principal business model of OYO was based on an innovative module of providing couples with affordable rooms. The business model functioned on anonymity. The couples did not need to reveal their identity and the hotels did not need to keep a record. This was a ‘business model’ but was in direct violation of the law of the land. In legal terms, one would call it ‘A Principle Actus Reus Mens Rea’, which is, an act was done with a guilty mind, for benefit, against public policy

Once OYO gained popularity with this initial module they proceeded with their actual plan of market penetration. Essentially, they first gained the confidence of some players and then when they are lured completely, they proceeded to manipulate them.

A systematic way of OYO in establishing its foot in the market is of searching for those hotels who are into the unorganized mid-size segment. OYO looks for those who lack marketing skills and reach and provide such hoteliers with initial promotion facilities for some months. After that, they take up such small hotels in a radius of 2 – 3 kms to initiate competition and lower the prices. OYO essentially plays the volume game for controlling the customers and then when there are substantial hotel properties under the banner of OYO, they start slashing the Average Annual Room Rates to less than 50%. The reduction of price, in turn, leads to sales prices less than the cost prices with hotels making a clear cut loss.

One might wonder, what’s the harm in this? An average hotel has a staff strength of at least 40 employees. With such predatory pricing methods of sale, any business can run down to losses in 2 years. This then means that the Hotel property owners would be run out of business, eventually.

A Corporate Strategy purposefully mismanaged

Hoteliers have been complaining about the method in which their complaints are being addressed regarding the manipulations of OYO and its representatives. OYO does not have a properly qualified staff to redress the grievances of the Hoteliers relating to payments received, GST paid etc. When hoteliers inquire, the staff usually has the same answer to offer – ‘We have raised it to the central team’. However, the central team has never ever appeared before the Hoteliers with proper papers.

It is often noticed that OYO employs people from unrelated fields in several departments. One would ask why someone from humanities would be offered a post in the Accounts department. Several hoteliers now suspect that such hiring practices are done to exhaust the hoteliers from raising their issues with OYO.

The Root Cause: The Transaction

As per various statutes, principally the Indian Contract Act 1872 read with the Specific Relief Act, 1963, OYO is an ‘Agent’ appointed by a Hotelier to perform a specific function of marketing and sales. It is settled that the Agent is paid his commission by the Principal i.e. the Hotelier; from the proceeds of the customer and accordingly all taxes including GST etc. are settled and paid to the government.

However, with OYO, one sees a complete reversal of the transaction.

The Customer pays the Agent first and then the Agent withholds the entire amount for a period of 60 days or more. After that pays only half of the amount to the Hotelier after much of harassment. In this entire fiasco, OYO uses the money of the Hotelier for 60 days to manage its internal cash flows. The hoteliers get further harassed because they have to pay GST as soon as the invoice of sale is raised.

OYO hardly bothers tallying its own account statement with the account statement of the hotelier for receipts and balances. Instead, it shoots out an Excel sheet of confusing explanations termed as ‘RECON SHEET’ in order to confuse the hoteliers further.

Another common complaint that the Hoteliers have is the arbitral increase in the commission rates, reducing the Minimum Guarantee without the consent of the Hotelier, Levying of Convenience Charges which are never approved; which again indicates that the Company has various unethical practices resorted to showing its strong cash flow position before its investors.

Further, Softbank, a Japanese company headquartered in Tokyo Japan seems to hold the majority stake in OYO.

The Basis of Hospitality

Hospitality is to do with ‘Service’ to the customers. Service builds the reputation of the Hotel and the Hotelier. It’s not just about the brick and mortar, it’s much more than that. Further, without an Asset in Place, an Asset Light Module cannot work.

(‘The Author is a Practicing Advocate dealing with litigation matters in White Collar Crimes and Economic Offences and is representing certain stakeholders in the Hospitality industry. However, the views expressed and information shared in the article does not contain any specific instances of a privileged communication or confidential information and that the said views and information is publicly available and is of general nature’)

Bombay HC directs Mumbai Police to file a case against Ajit Pawar and 70 others in a Bank scam

Bombay HC orders FIR against Ajit Pawar and 70 others in a Bank scam
Ajit Pawar(Source:loksatta.com)

The Bombay High Court on Thursday instructed the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) against NCP leader Ajit Pawar and 70 others in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.

The court observed that “prima facie” there was credible evidence against the accused. The accused allegedly were involved in causing losses worth Rs 1,000 crore to MSCB from the period 2007 to 2011. A bench comprising of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S C Shinde ordered the EOW to file an FIR against the offenders in next 5 days.

Alongside former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, NCP leader Jayant Patil is also named in the list of economic offenders and several senior cooperative bank officials.

Scrutiny carried out by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and a charge sheet filed by a quasi-judicial enquiry commission under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (MCS) Act held Pawar and other accused, including several directors of the bank responsible for the loss. It stated that because of their decisions, actions and inactions, massive losses were incurred to the bank.

An audit report by NABARD revealed flagrant violations of several banking laws and RBI norms by the accused in the allotment of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills and the ensuing default on repayment and recovery of such loans. During that time, Ajit Pawar was the director of the bank. However, despite damning scrutiny reports, no FIR was lodged. It was only after a local activist, Sunil Arora filed a complaint with the EOW in 2015 and went to the high court that the police took cognisance of the underlying scam.

‘She is nobody that I should know her,’ Samajwadi Rajya Sabha MP denies knowing Shehla Rashid after sharing stage

Ram Gopal Yadav says he has no idea who Shehla Rashid is, minutes after sharing stage with her
Ram Gopal Yadav and Shehla Rashid

Opposition party leaders organized a protest at Jantar Mantar today against the abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian government. Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress party, CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav were present at the protest led by DMK. Interestingly, Shehla Rashid also attended the event.

Amusingly enough, mainstream politicians appear to be hesitant to associate themselves with Shehla. Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Yadav outright denied knowing her minutes after sharing the stage with the freelance activist.

Yadav said, “I am against anyone who says or tweets anything against the Indian Army. I don’t know who Shehla Rashid is, I do not recognize her. She is nobody that I should know her.”

Yadav also clarified that he does not oppose the removal of the Article 370 and the all-party demonstration was limited to demanding the release of political leaders detained in Jammu and Kashmir and allowing the media more freedom in the valley.

Shehla Rashid, a habitual fake news peddler, was under controversy recently for accusing the Indian Army of torture of common citizens of Kashmir. Shehla, moreover, was asked about her dubious allegations against the Indian Army. She was evasive about it as she said she would provide evidence for her claims if the Army constitutes a probe into the matter.

The protests didn’t go according to plans. Karti Chidambaram’s dramatic entry at Jantar Mantar stole the opposition parties’ show as all the media attention went to Karti. The media seemed to be more interested in knowing what the next step of the father-son duo would be than the DMK-led protest.

They may throw ink on Savarkar’s statue, but it is the Congress who has a tainted face

Congress hatred for Savarkar is decades old
Image via: Savarkar.org
At a time when one of the topmost leaders of India’s grand old party is making nationwide headlines for running from law enforcement agencies like a petty criminal, another aspiring Congress member did what they are best at, maligning a nationalist icon. A group of NSUI activists led by their DUSU aspirant Akshay Lakra threw black ink the bust of Swatantray Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar outside the Arts Faculty of Delhi University last night.
Hatred for Veer Savarkar is not new for Congress. Jawaharlal Nehru put him in jail for false charges in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Later Savarkar was released when no evidence was found against him. Since then, except for a small period of time under Indira Gandhi, Congress has always tried to malign and defame Savarkar and neglected his glorious contribution to the independence struggle.
Savarkar can be in many ways, called the Father of Indian Independence Struggle. His book based on the struggle of 1857 named ‘The Indian War of Independence’ was banned even before publishing. The book was published in Holland and was smuggled to India by patriot youngsters. In India, the book became hugely popular in a very short span of time. He was a great writer & poet who inspired millions through his writings. Great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Madan Lal Dhingra and many more got motivated for the cause of independence after reading & listening to him.
It is said that Bhagat Singh even published his book & distributed 100s of its copies to his fellow revolutionaries. The famous jump by Savarkar on 9 July 1910 into the Mediterranean Sea is seen as an act of momentous courage and conviction. Had he knew french and could tell the French marine about him being a refugee before being arrested by the Britishers, many historians suggest, would have been a big defeat for the English govt. But the news of his courage reached India & inspired millions to fight for the cause.
During the period of his jail term at the Cellular Jail, Savarkar was subjected to the most rigorous punishment possible. He was kept in a solitary cell and was only brought outside for work. Such was the punishment that he and his brother who was in the same jail, could get to know of each other after almost 2 years! Later he was released only on the request of senior congress leaders like Vittalbhai Patel.
After independence too, the hatred for Savarkar in Nehru didn’t end. He arrested him on false allegations of links with Nathuram Godse. His family & residence was attacked by congressmen. He was subjected to the choicest of abuses. The hate didn’t stop there. Almost 50 years after his death, the Congress govt under Sonia Gandhi removed the plaque from Cellular Jail that was put in his honour. It could only be reinstated in 2015 when NDA under Narendra Modi came to power.
Why such hatred for a freedom fighter? Can anyone deny Savarkar’s contribution to the freedom struggle? While top Congres leaders spent their so-called jail terms in posh guest houses, he was subjected to inhuman atrocities in Andaman. The cell in which he lived is a testimony of his struggle & love for the motherland. His songs and poems still instil pride in the heart of every patriot. It is fine that that congress wants to dedicate every credit to a family, but why should all that come on the cost of our great leaders who laid down their lives for Bharat Mata? Nobody is denying credit to Nehru or Mahatma Gandhi or anyone else that they fought for freedom, but here was a man who spent all his youth in solitary confinement but still dreamt for an independent nation. Still, if you don’t wish to give him credit, fine. Don’t give. But don’t malign him.
Savarkar was a hero. Savarkar is a hero and will remain a hero, in the eyes of all citizens of this great country who feel proud to be called an Indian. A grateful nation will always remember him, through his works and his words.
जयोस्तुते ते श्रीमहन्मंगले शिवास्पदे शुभदे।
स्वतंत्रते भगवति त्वामहं यशोयुतां वंदे ||

Victory to You, O Most Auspicious One, O Abode of Sublimity and Eternal Delight! O Goddess of Freedom, O Triumphant One, We salute you.

NDTV’s Interim CEO Suparna Singh resigns with immediate effect

The interim CEO of media outlet NDTV, Suparna Singh has resigned from her post with immediate effect. This was informed by NDTV in fillings made with BSE and NSE as per disclosure norms.

In the regulatory filing, NDTV said, “Singh has informed the company that she will step down from her responsibilities as Interim CEO with immediate effect.” NDTV said that in accordance to a board resolution on December 4, 2017, the board resolved to appoint Suparna Singh as its CEO on receiving the receipt of requisite approval from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Disclosures made by NDTV

The company promptly applied for approval on December 12, 2017, but is yet to receive the approval from the ministry. Therefore, “Singh and the organisation entered into an appointment agreement to appoint Singh as the CEO contingent upon the receipt of such approval,” NDTV added.

In the meanwhile, Suparna Singh continued to act as the interim CEO of the company. NDTV said in the disclosure that the matter will be placed before board and committee members for consideration.

Suparna Singh, who holds a Master’s degree in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University, has been associated with NDTV since 1994 and has worked on several positions at the media organisation. She was elevated to the post of CEO after Vikram Chandra, the former CEO, had resigned from the post in 2016. It is understood that she only resigned from the post of interim CEO and she will continue in NDTV as a journalist.

NDTV is facing multiple cases related to violation of FDI norms, Income Tax violation, and non-compliance with disclosure norms. CBI is probing a case against NDTV in relation to a Rs 375 crore loan from ICICI Bank and a corresponding wrongful loss of Rs 46 crore to the bank. There is a chain of borrow, repay and borrow where Roys took a series of loans in 2008 as they sought to buy back a large chunk of NDTV shares from the market, allegedly violating foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in a 2007-09 investment, a charge denied by the company.

An FIR was filed against Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, NDTV, RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and unknown officials of ICICI Bank by a company called Quantum Securities Limited in June 2017. The charges levelled were those of criminal conduct, conspiracy and cheating. QSL is a shareholder both in NDTV and ICICI and filed the FIR as an aggrieved party of the alleged misdeeds.

Earlier this month the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) had upheld a SEBI order imposing a penalty of ₹2.10 crore on NDTV and ₹3 lakhs each on 3 directors for violation of disclosure norms. It is alleged that the company and its directors failed to inform the stock exchanges about a tax demand of ₹450 crore served by the income tax department.

Read about the P Chidambaram link in the new FIR filed against NDTV by the CBI

On Wednesday, the CBI filed a new FIR against NDTV, its founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy and former CEO Vikram Chandra for alleged violation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms and alleged tax evasion. It is alleged that the accused floated subsidiaries in tax haven destinations to route foreign funds to India through sham transactions. It is also alleged that the proceeds of corruption of unknown public servants were invested in NDTV.

Two of its subsidiaries, NNPLC in London and NDTV lnternational Holding BV (NNIH) in the Netherlands, are at heart of the matter. Charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption have been slapped on the accused. As it so happens, the issues were flagged by the Assessing Officer (AO) of NDTV’s income tax returns who issued notices initiating reassessment proceedings against the accused and the provisional attachment of NDTV’s assets under provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

NDTV filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court against the decision of the authorities to initiate reassessment proceedings against the channel and provisionally attach their assets. The concerns registered by NDTV in its petition were summarily dismissed by the Court. The Court ruled in August, 2017 that there was merit in the AO’s arguments and hence, the demands made ought to be rejected.

The AO examined the Step Up Coupon Bonds issued by NNPLC, NDTV was the guarantor in the said transaction. According to the investigations of the authorities in the matter, NDTV also received $150 million through investments made in NDTV Networks International Holding BV (NNIH) by Universal Studios International BV, Netherlands (USBV) during FY 2008-09. After studying the entire matter, the AO concluded that NDTV had unaccounted money on which taxes were not paid.

According to the AO, the investments made in its subsidiaries were actually NDTV’s own unaccounted money and was of the view that it was a sham transaction. The matter was further examined by the Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP) which permitted the lifting of the corporate veil. The lifting of the corporate veil is a legal term that indicates a legal decision to treat the rights or duties of a corporation as the rights or liabilities of its shareholders. Ordinarily, a corporation is treated as a separate legal entity that is solely responsible for its debt and credit. However, on exceptional occasions, the corporate veil can be ‘pierced’ or ‘lifted’.

The DRP observed, “Though the assessee has sought to explain the above amount through the lengthy and circuitous transactions, the commercial substance/economic rationale for such transaction has not been satisfactorily explained.” It further noted, “Assessee’s theory of having sold a “Dream” to the investor has not been substantiated by any credible evidence as no details have been filed whatsoever for the so called business projections and the basis for computation of the sale price of the share at the astronomical price of Rs.7,015/-which is 159 times of its face value of Rs.45/.”

Furthermore, the NNIH was incurring huge losses and there appeared to be no justification as to why investors would invest in the company and buy shares at such exorbitant prices. Interestingly, the shares were bought back the next financial year at the rate of Rs.634.17 per share totaling Rs.58 crores. In neither instance was any justification provided for the price of the shares that were fixed.

The DRP observes, “no details/justification has been given by the assessee as to how the above buy back price was fixed by the assessee when the so called “Dream” went bust, as being claimed by assessee. What was the justification for the assessee to buy back the shares of nearly defunct and own subsidiary company at a value which was more than 12 times of the face value.”

Thus, the DRP concluded, “The totality of the transaction clearly lead to the inescapable conclusion that the entire transaction of sale & subsequent buy back of shares was a “sham” transaction entered into by the assessee with the sole motive of introducing Rs.642,54,22,000/-in its books and providing loss of Rs.584.46 crores to Universal Studios BV Netherlands.”

Lastly, it noted, “In view of the facts and finding as mentioned above and taking the totality of the picture into consideration, it is held that assessee has brought an amount of Rs.642,54,22,000/- being unexplained money in to its books through its subsidiary
NDTV Networks BV Netherlands (NNBV). It is pertinent to mention that, as per the admission of the assessee the above subsidiary has been subsequently liquidated, which shows that the same was floated only to create a front for introducing the above amount.”

It is pertinent to mention that the NNIH finds mention in the CBI’s new FIR against NDTV and that the subsidiaries of NDTV are intricately intertwined with each other through a series of complex transactions. The CBI’s FIR states, “NDTV Ltd. incorporated other company in Netherlands on 10.04.08 in the name and style of M/s NDTV lnternational Holding BV for the purpose of raising funds of USD 150 million from M/s NBCU, a subsidiary of General Electric USA. M/s NBCU transferred an amount of USD 150 million from the account of its subsidiary M/s Universal Studios lnternational BV Netherland on 23.05.08. By investing the said amount by NBCU in NDTV lnternational Holdings, M/s NBCU acquired 26% indirect share holding in NNPLC.”

On the same note, the DRP observes that “the money amounting to US $150 million received by an NDTV subsidiary NDTV Networks International Holdings BV, Netherlands from Universal Studios International BV, Netherlands on account of issue of shares of its indirect subsidiary NDTV BV, resulting in transfer of 26% effective indirect stake in NNPLC, represents NDTV’s own unaccounted money introduced into its books through its subsidiary NDTV Networks BV (NNBV) through this ‘sham’ transaction and the same was directed to be added to the taxable income of NDTV.”

The AO also relied on the tax evasion petitions filed by shareholders of NDTV alleging that the money introduced in its subsidiaries is its own unaccounted money which was later transferred to NDTV through merger and liquidation of its subsidiaries. Thus, the AO concluded that the investments made in NNPLC through Step Up Coupon Bonds were a sham transaction and NDTV’s own money along the lines of the investment made in other subsidiaries.

The AO is said to have taken note of these tax evasion petitions because they were received from NDTV’s shareholders “who were aware of its internal affairs and aim and object of floating complex corporate structure by the petitioner; therefore, the AO had reason to believe that information was credible.” It is further said, “The tax evasion petition
contained detailed information regarding the complex corporate structure created by petitioner to route funds and evade taxes and most of this information was corroborated with the findings of the DRP for AY 2009-10.”

The authorities further observed that the NNPLC had a capital of only Rs. 40 lakh and did not have any business activities or fixed assets. It was a new company with no performance record, was incurring losses and therefore, it was unlikely that any investor with a sound mind would invest such huge sums in it.

In light of the arguments made, the Court ruled that “the complex and circuitous structure of subsidiaries and the transactions entered therein are closely connected and provide a live link for the formation of the belief of the AO that there has been escapement of income in AY 2009-10 and for the previous assessment year, AY 2008-09 as well because the investments continued that year.”

The Judgment stated, “NDTV has alleged that the details of the corporate guarantee issued by NDTV to NNPLC regarding the Step Up Coupon Bonds was intimated to the Revenue during the original assessment proceeding. This argument of NDTV falls flat in light of the judicial decisions mentioned above considering that the AO has reason to believe that this transaction is bogus. For these reasons, this Court is of the view that the impugned reassessment notice is valid in law and can be sustained.”

NDTV objected to the provisional attachment of its assets under section 281B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 on the grounds that it is mala fide and in violation of the said Act. NDTV argued that the respondent in the matter, the CIT, failed to establish that NDTV was likely to thwart attempts at recovering legitimate taxes. Furthermore, it argued that the relevant section cannot be invoked merely on grounds of difficulty in recovering taxes.

However, on this matter as well, the Court agreed with the decision of the authorities to provisionally attach NDTV’s assets and shot down NDTV’s objections. It observed that “a reasonable apprehension that NDTV may liquidate the assets thwarting the recovery of tax liability is not unwarranted.” It added, “the impugned order under Section 281B does not suffer from any infirmities and is valid under the Act.”

According to the new FIR filed against NDTV by the CBI involving the said subsidiaries, it isn’t merely a case of tax evasion or corruption. It is alleged that NNPLC got approval from the FIPB board in violation of the existing FDI norms. It was also alleged that the investments made in these subsidiaries were actually the tainted money of unknown public servants. Furthermore, charges were also slapped on unknown public servants who allegedly colluded with NDTV in their criminal conspiracy.

The FIR, thus, reminds one of the allegations made by Income Tax Officer Sanjay Srivastava who had claimed that P. Chidambaram had parked his bribe money in NDTV. In an 88 page letter written to the CBI chief in April in 2018, Srivastava had said that “NDTV Ltd. needs to be investigated over parking of bribe of US $40 million by Maxis and its owner T. Ananda Krishnan (accused in the Aircel-Maxis case) on behalf of P Chidambaram and Karti P. Chidambaram for obtaining FIPB approval in Rs.3500 crores. Aircel-Maxis deal fraudulently claiming the proposal for Rs.180 crores only when gross value of the proposal was to be considered and which has been hushed up by certain IRS officers in lieu of bribe paid by NDTV Ltd.”

According to Srivastava, in return of the senior Chidambaram’s favour to Aircel-Maxis, his son Karti was paid $40 million, which was routed through NDTV. He claimed that the transaction was “disguised as a purchase of shares (49% indirect stake whatever that may mean) of NDTV Lifestyle Holdings Pvt. Ltd wholly owned by NDTV Networks Plc, UK which was wholly owned by NDTV Networks BV, Holland and which in turn was wholly owned by NDTV Ltd, India and all of which were sham letterbox companies owned and floated by NDTV Ltd to launder the proceeds of crime bring the bribe paid to the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Karti by various entities by All Astro Asia Networks Plc, UK wholly owned subsidiary of the Maxis Ltd an T Ananda Krishnan.”

It is to be noted that the NDTV Networks Plc, UK and NDTV Networks BV (NNBV) mentioned by Srivastava are the same NNPLC, London and NNBV, Netherlands which have been mentioned in the DRP examination of the AO’s findings as mentioned above. According to the AO, the investment made in NNPLC was a sham transaction of a similar nature to the $150 million made in NNBV.

The officer went on to add that “the fraudulent nature of the transaction between NDTV and Maxis is borne out from the fact that Maxis Ltd never cared to carry its investment or seek any return on that or get involved in the affairs of the company which was 49% owned by Maxis Ltd & had just forgotten their huge investment of about Rs.200 crores with NDTV Ltd and its subsidiaries. The case was hushed up by the NDTV Ltd by paying a bribe to the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers.”

On Wednesday, OpIndia.com learnt from government sources Chidambaram’s modus operandi. We were told that it revolved around granting illegal FIPB clearances to receive kickbacks, often paid through various shell companies floated by his son Karti Chidambaram. Thus, it appears that the INX Media case, the new FIR against NDTV and Chidambaram’s arrest are all interconnected. If one card falls, the entire pack would collapse.

Here is why Congress defence of Chidambaram’s name not being in the FIR holds no water

Delhi HC judge dismisses P Chidambaram's flimsy defence
P Chidambaram(Source: Hindustan times)

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram who made a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters yesterday before being subsequently arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation from his residence made a flimsy defence around the fact that his name was missing from the FIR filed by the CBI in the INX Media case and yet he was accused of economic offences in the case. He had mentioned this while addressing the press at AICC headquarters, and after that, Congress leaders and several Congress sympathisers are parroting that same argument.

On the basis of the evidence presented by CBI and ED, the Delhi Court dismissed this detail stated by Chidambaram as “inconsequential” and held him as the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in the INX Media case. Justice Sunil Gaur, in his order, which was made available on Wednesday, rejected the former finance minister’s contestations claiming that the “gravity of the offence committed by the petitioner is remarkably evident from the case diaries”.

The court observed that not being named in the FIR is an inconsequential detail, especially when the petitioner holds the power and on whose order offences of such large proportions can be committed. The judge further added that Chidambaram cannot claim parity with other offenders who have been granted bail as the petitioner was a union finance minister at that time and commanded the authority to grant FDI clearance to INX Media for receiving a foreign investment of Rs 305 crores.

Justice Gaur stated that the time is ripe for the law to be strengthened. “It is time that the parliament gives more teeth to the law to prevent economic offenders from getting pre-arrest bail. It is the need of the hour that law comes down hard on the economic offenders.”

The order takes a cue from the Supreme Court order which said that the economic offenders should be dealt with utmost severity as the fraudulent transactions done or aided by them has a potential to affect country’s economy. “Economic crimes of such colossal scale are deviously schemed and implemented. Thus the grant of instant bail in such cases will send a wrong message to the society,” it states.

Justice Gaur observed that it is often inferred that when economic offenders secure pre-arrest bail, the probe is conducted in a superficial manner. He said that in such a scenario, mega scam cases become weaker and leaves the prosecution in a disarray. “The court cannot let this case to devolve into smoke as it happened in some other high-profile cases,” the judge said.

India Today’s opinion website DailyO folds, shuts down operations, sacks editorial staff

DailyO

India Today flagship DailyO, which was an opinion-based website that provided commentary on news from various categories like politics, sports, life, sci-tech, money, humour and art & culture seems to have folded its operations.

Launched in 2014, DailyO was supposed to be in direct competition with the Reliance website FirstPost in providing opinions and views from all corners of the ideological spectrum. It was rumoured that the website was inspired by Medium, a collaborative publishing portal. It features a similar distraction-free reading interface for articles along with the time duration one would require to read any specific article. One can also sign in with their Twitter credentials to add paragraph annotations.

Much to everyone’s surprise, DailyO abruptly stopped publishing any new articles yesterday. Their social media account also lay dormant when news started trickling in that the website had decided to fold operations.

OpIndia reached out to a member of the Editorial Staff who was also laid off recently. According to her, the website has folded operations because it wasn’t doing as well as expected.

The website DailyO functioned on a massive budget and according to our source, who wishes to stay anonymous, the hits the website was garnering was not doing justice to the budget it guzzled.

According to the member of the editorial staff, about 6 months ago, the Editorial team was asked to pull up their socks and try to introduce features that are not being covered by any other website. However, it is said that the team had no intimation that failing to revamp the website would lead to its closure only 6 months down the line.

According to information, the entire editorial staff was asked to resign yesterday and have been given 2 months to look for an alternate job. The staff was told that the while the website would exist and the older articles already published would continue to reflect, further operations have been shut down.

The media industry is going through a massive churn in recent times. Scroll recently fired several of its Editorial team members because the ‘current financial situation’ did not allow them to maintain the size of their operation. Kapil Sibal owned Tiranga TV too fired all its employees overnight without giving them any compensation. This was touted to be a breach of the agreement by senior members like Barkha Dutt.

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