L A T E S T      N E W S

Chinese incursion a localised problem, can be resolved: PM

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said India does not want to "accentuate" the situation in the wake of the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and is working on a plan to resolve it.

"We do have a plan. We do not want to accentuate the situation. We do believe that it is possible to resolve this problem. It is a localised problem. I think the talks are going on," he said when asked if the government had any plans to resolve the issue.
The Prime Minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the defence investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

On April 15, a platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) had come inside the Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector and established a tented post there.

The government had on Saturday told a parliamentary committee that Chinese troops have pitched tents 19 kms deep inside the Indian territory in Ladakh region.

The Army has given its inputs to the government and the national security adviser-headed China study group, which is handling the present situation in Ladakh.

The Army has also given various options to the government on the issue including the aggressive use of military to handle the present situation.

All the options suggested to the China study group are being looked at carefully and other stakeholders in the situation have also given their inputs.

The Army had rushed its troops from the 5 Ladakh Scouts battalion to the DBO area and they are camping there. The force is also considering the option of dispatching additional troops if the need arises. — PTIBack








Sarabjit Singh continues to be in coma

AMRITSAR/LAHORE: The condition of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, admitted to a Lahore hospital after being brutally assaulted by fellow inmates, continued to be critical on Saturday, even as his family demanded Pakistani visas to visit him.

Sarabjit Singh is in a coma. He is being treated for head injuries in Lahore's Jinnah Hospital. He was brutally beaten with bricks and plates by fellow prisoners in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison on Friday.

A separate room has been temporarily converted into an ICU for Sarabjit Singh's treatment.

Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur, who has been spearheading the campaign for his release from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison, and his wife and two daughters, arrived in Amritsar on Saturday morning from their hometown Bhikiwind, 50 km from Amritsar.

The family members met Raj Kumar Verka, vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, to demand that their request for visas to Pakistan be submitted with the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.

"We want to be with Sarabjit in this difficult time. He is all alone. We don't even know what his condition is. We are getting reports only through news channels and his lawyer," Dalbir Kaur told IANS.

Dalbir Kaur herself had taken ill on Saturday morning while meeting Verka, and had to be examined by a doctor after she complained of uneasiness and chest pain.

"She has high blood pressure (110/160), chest pain and breathing difficulty. I have advised her rest. We are monitoring her health," the doctor treating her said.

Sarabjit's family members, including his wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Poonam and Swapandeep, were with Kaur.

In Lahore, authorities set up a medical board to treat Sarabjit Singh, a media report said.

"A high-powered medical board has been constituted to treat the patient," Mahmood Shaukat, the principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College, told Dawn.

Shaukat said Sarabjit's condition was "critical".

The police in Lahore have registered a case of attempt to murder against two prisoners, Aamir and Mudassar, who viciously attacked him, a media report said.

Shocked by the murderous assault on Sarabjit, a sobbing Dalbir Kaur alleged that Sarabjit had apprehended such an attack, and he had earlier received threats from fellow prisoners.

"Some prisoners had been threatening him. It was a conspiracy, he was deliberately attacked. Why was he not protected... I want to go to Pakistan immediately," she said.

"If our government had taken steps (earlier), this attack would not have taken place. I had met the home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde), (minister of state for external affairs) Preneet Kaur and all others with letters mentioning that Sarabjit Singh could be attacked. No one did anything, and now the attack has taken place," she said.

Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney, who has been pleading for clemency to Sarabjit Singh, said to a news channel from Karachi: "The attack looks suspicious. Someone could be behind this. No bricks or other material can reach the place where Sarabjit had been kept. This must be thoroughly investigated".

Officials of the Indian high commission arrived in Lahore to know about Sarabjit's condition.

Sarabjit Singh has been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan, which left 14 people dead.

Sarabjit's family claims he is innocent, having inadvertently crossed into Pakistan in August 1990 in an inebriated state, only to be arrested there.

Police in Pakistan however claim that Sarabjit Singh, known as Manjit Singh, was involved in terrorist strikes.

In Sarabjit's hometown Bhikiwind, and in Amritsar and Patiala, people have been gathering to protest the vicious attack.

The assault on Sarabjit Singh comes a few months after the death of Indian prisoner Chamel Singh in the same Kot Lakhpat jail, after he was allegedly assaulted by jail staff.

Chamel Singh, in his 60s, was serving a five-year term for espionage and died at the Jinnah Hospital on Jan 15.

During an autopsy done on March 13 — nearly two months after his death — marks of injury had reportedly been found on the body.

The body of Chamel Singh was returned by Pakistan last month.

His family alleged he was killed in the prison, but no probe was carried out by Pakistani authorities. — IANSBack








Govt announces multi-agency probe into money-pooling frauds

NEW DELHI: In a multi-agency crackdown against alleged duping of public investors through Ponzi schemes, the government today said the entities suspected to be engaged in such activities are being probed by SEBI, RBI and the Corporate Affairs Ministry, among others.

Besides, the Income Tax Department has also initiated an investigation of Saradha group and the Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case of suspected money laundering activities against this Kolkata-based group and others, including its chief Sudipta Sen, the Finance Ministry said.

Detailing the steps being taken against alleged illegal raising of funds by so-called chit fund companies in West Bengal and the Eastern region, the Ministry said various central government agencies have taken action on this front.

"Media reports in the past few days have highlighted concerns regarding alleged illegal raising of deposits, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, in Eastern India and duping of the gullible public.

"Promoters of such companies are allegedly siphoning the monies collected and are using a sales network comprising local persons who are offered hefty commissions, in a manner similar to Ponzi schemes," it said.

Ponzi schemes are used for activities involving collection of money from a large number of public investors with a promise of huge returns, which are typically paid from the deposits taken from new investors. The old investors and agents get hefty commissions for bringing in new investors.

"The matter is under examination by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," the Ministry said.

Sebi has initiated action against several companies which have come to its notice for violation of one or more of its regulations. In over 59 cases in the eastern region, Sebi has initiated prosecution cases in Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) related matters in various courts.

The ministry said Department of Financial Services (DFS) had also written to all the Chief Secretaries of State Governments in July 2012 requesting the states to strengthen the coordination mechanism between their regulatory institutions like the Economic Offences Wing of the State Police and the central agencies such as RBI, SEBI, Registrar of companies, Revenue Department and Enforcement Directorate.

"The RBI has also been addressed in this regard in February 2013 and the matter is currently under examination by them," it added.

Listing out the steps taken by MCA, it said the Ministry has ordered inspection of the books of accounts and other records of 31 companies. Investigations were also ordered in some matters by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in July and November 2012.

In the matter of 42 companies, Registrar of Companies, West Bengal has issued notices calling for information and explanations relating to collection of monies by those firms.

These orders have been issued by the MCA primarily to ascertain if these companies are violating the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 and to decide the future course of action.

Listing the action taken with regard to Saradha Realty India Ltd, the Ministry said Sebi passed an order on April 23 directing the company to wind-up its existing collective investment schemes and refund the money collected under the schemes with returns which are due to the investors as per the terms of offer, within a period of three months.

Failing this, prosecution proceedings would be pursued by Sebi against the company. Income Tax Department has also initiated investigation of Saradha Group from the perspective of violation of taxation laws.

Based on an information received from Assam Police, Guwahati on registration of 4 FIRs against Sudipta Sen and others, the Enforcement Directorate also on April 25 registered a case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002, against Saradha Realty India Ltd and others, including Sudipta Sen. — PTIBack








Coal scam: No question of Law Minister resigning, says PM 

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday rejected demands for his resignation as well as that of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on the issue of alleged interference in the preparation of the CBI status report in the coal scam.

He also declined to respond to allegations that he used the Law Minister as a shield to “safeguard” himself.

Speaking to reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he dismissed the opposition demand for his resignation on the coal blocks allocation scam, saying this was not the first time they were making such a demand.

“This is not the first time in the last nine years, how many times... (they have demanded the resignation). But I would like to appeal to the opposition that they should let Parliament function,” he said, when asked about the opposition demand for his resignation.

He also appealed the opposition to let the Parliament function and discuss all the issues there.

“By not allowing Parliament to function, we are making mockery of our system of democracy. The whole world is laughing at us. Whatever the issues, these can be debated, discussed and decisions arrived at through proper dialogue at Parliament,” he said.

When asked whether he would ask for Mr. Ashwani Kumar’s resignation, the Prime Minister said, “There is no question of the Law Minister resigning. The matter is now in the court and it is sub-judice. It is not proper for me to do anything. But there is no question of the Law Minister resigning.”

The demand for Mr. Ashwani Kumar’s resignation mounted after the CBI told the Supreme Court on Friday that the status report on the coal block allocations was shared with the political executive and Joint Secretary-level officers in the PMO and Coal Ministry.

On BJP’s charge that he was using the Law Minister as a shield to “safeguard” himself in the coalgate probe, Mr. Singh said, “I would not like to comment on this subject. It is a matter which is now before the court.” — PTIBack







Akhilesh Yadav cancels NY consulate reception

NEW YORK: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has cancelled a reception to be hosted in his honour by the Indian Consul General in New York on Saturday, even as the Mission said it would strongly take up with the US authorities the issue of his minister Azam Khan's detention at the Boston airport.

A communique from the Indian Consulate in New York merely stated, "that due to unavoidable circumstances, the reception scheduled to be held in honour of Akhilesh Yadav, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on April 27 at the Consulate General of India, New York, has been cancelled".

Neither, Consul General Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay, who took charge on Wednesday after his assignment as Ambassador of Maldives, nor minister (press and information) M. Rajaram were available for any comments to the media on the reason for cancellation of the reception.

This was to be the first official function of the consulate after Mulay took charge.

Yadav, on Friday had also boycotted the Harvard lecture he was due to deliver in protest against Khan's detention.

Invitation to the reception were sent out to all the prominent Indian-Americans, community leaders, elected officials, friends of India in New York and the media two days ago after the Consulate got the confirmation from the office of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, Mulay told PTI on Friday night on the sidelines of a community reception in his honour at the Asia Society in New York that it was unfortunate that a minister in the state government was treated with disrespect on arrival at Boston Logan International Airport.

He said that his Mission, under whom Boston Logan International Airport falls, would raise the matter at the appropriate level to prevent its recurrence in the future.

Refusing to comment on the cancellation of a reception accorded to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister at the Consulate General of India in New York, he said his Mission would lodge its strongest protest with the State Department and the Homeland Security on the question of disrespect to the Minister as per the guidance of the Government of India.

"I am meeting the Chief Minister who has come to New York on Friday night to get first-hand information from him and devise a strategy," he said. — PTI




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