Big New Snub For India From Maldives As It Favours China


Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is considered a backyard of India. (File)

NEW DELHI: 

The Maldives wants India to withdraw military helicopters and personnel posted there following the expiry of an agreement in June, its envoy said, the latest snub to Delhi by President Abdulla Yameen’s China-backed government.

India and China are going head to head in the Maldives, the Indian Ocean island chain where Beijing is building roads, bridges and a bigger airport, upstaging India which has been the country’s prime provider of military and civilian aid for decades.

India has opposed Yameen’s crackdown on political rivals and the imposition of an emergency this year and some of the president’s rivals have called on Delhi for military intervention, creating worries in the Maldivian government.

The tensions are impacting aid programmes such as security assistance that Delhi has given to smaller countries in the region to help them protect exclusive economic zones, carry out surveys and combat piracy.

The Maldives’ ambassador in India, Ahmed Mohamed, told Reuters that two military helicopters provided by India were mainly used for medical evacuations but were no longer required as the islands had built up enough resources of its own.

“They were very useful in the past but with the development of adequate infrastructure, facilities and resources we are now in a position to handle medical evacuations on our own,” he said.

However, India and the Maldives are still conducting joint patrols in the islands’ exclusive economic zone every month, Mohamed said. The Maldives, 400 km (250 miles) to the southwest of India, is close to the world’s busiest shipping lanes, between China and the Middle East.

Along with the helicopters, India had stationed around 50 military personnel, including pilots and maintenance crew, and their visas had expired. But Delhi has not yet withdrawn them from the island chain.

“We are still there, our two helicopters and the men,” an Indian navy spokesman said on Wednesday, adding the foreign ministry was handling the situation. The foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

India has been demanding that Yameen free political rivals including former President Abdul Gayoom and Supreme Court justices. It also criticised Yameen’s decision to hold elections in September saying the rule of law should be restored before embarking on such an exercise.

India was a close supporter of Gayoom during his long years of stewardship of the island chain and sent troops to foil an attempted coup against him in 1988.

China, which opened an embassy in the Maldives in 2011, has rapidly built ties with the tropical island chain as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. It says it is opposed to any country interfering in the internal affairs of the Maldives.

Providing helicopters and patrol boats and satellite assistance to countries such as the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles has been part of India’s naval diplomacy to retain influence in the Indian Ocean.

But in recent years China has moved in, building ports and roads backed by loans. In the Maldives, Beijing Urban Construction Group Company Limited took over a project to expand the airport servicing the capital Male, after the government cancelled a $511 million deal with India’s GMR Infrastructure.

Maldives has also given the Chinese a few islands to develop, officials said. Abhijit Singh, a former Indian naval officer who specialises on Indian Ocean politics at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, said the Indian helicopters were deployed near the islands where the Chinese were present.

“Now the issue is Yameen wants the helicopters out, but more importantly he wants the personnel out. It is not the helicopters that trouble him so much, it is actually the fact that there are these people there.”

“Yameen has invited China to do a lot of infrastructure building and he suspects that India is trying to keep a watch on what the Chinese are doing and so wants to keep the Indians out,” said Singh.

Ambassador Ahmed declined comment on that view.

© Thomson Reuters 2018





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Tamil Nadu Man, Accused Of Asking Sexual Favours, Found Dead In Well


Police said they were investigating the death from all possible angles (Representational)

Coimbatore: 

A city-based private women’s hostel owner, wanted for allegedly seeking sexual favours from the inmates in return for waiver of room charges, was found dead in a well in Tirunelveli district, police said

The body of Jagannathan was found inside a well in Alankulam in that district, they said.

Punita, warden of the hostel had taken five women inmates to a hotel under the pretext of celebrating the birthday of Jagannathan on July 22 and allegedly asked them to extend sexual favours to him to waiver the room charges.

After the parents of the women lodged a complaint, a case was registered against Jagannathan and Punita, on July 24, on charges of threatening to murder and under the Prevention of Atrocities on Women Act, 2016.

The two had been absconding since then and the body of the owner was found.

Police said they were investigating the death from all possible angles, including suicide.

 





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Hostel Owner Accused Of Seeking Sexual Favours From Women Found Dead


Police said they were investigating the death from all possible angles, including suicide.

Coimbatore: 

A city-based private women’s hostel owner, wanted for allegedly seeking sexual favours from
the inmates in return for waiver of room charges, was found dead in a well in Tirunelveli district today, police said.

The body of the owner was found inside a well in Alankulam in that district, they said.

The warden of the hostel had taken five women inmates to a hotel under the pretext of celebrating the owner’s birthday on July 22 and allegedly asked them to extend sexual favours to him for waiver of the room charges.

After the parents of the women lodged a complaint, a case was registered against both of them on July 24 for allegedly threatening to kill and under the Prevention of Atrocities on Women Act, 2016.

The two had been on the run ever since then and the body of the owner was found today.

Police said they were investigating the death from all possible angles, including suicide.





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Imran Khan Favours Cooperation With India For Regional Peace


Imran Khan’s PTI’s manifesto said the party will focus on strategic partnerships (File)

Islamabad: 

Imran Khan on Monday vowed to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state as he unveiled his party’s manifesto which said the “most viable” policy to ensure peace in the region was to cooperate with India, including on the Kashmir issue within the parameters of the UNSC resolutions.

The 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has a 100-day plan to meet serious economic and administrative woes faced by the country if his party is voted to power in the July 25 elections.

On the foreign policy and national defence front, the PTI’s manifesto said the party would work on a blueprint towards resolving the Kashmir issue within the parameters of the UN Security Council resolutions.

“For lasting peace within our own region, especially with our neighbour India, conflict resolution and the security route to cooperation is the most viable,” the manifesto of the party said.

The manifesto said, PTI’s guiding principles will be of reciprocity, mutual interests and international norms that will govern Pakistan’s relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

“We are committed to initiating new policies rooted in Pakistan’s priorities, including a conflict resolution approach towards improving our relation with our eastern and western neighbours,” it said.

If elected, the PTI’s focus will be on moves to expand the existing strategic partnership with China, as well as with the country’s other allies in the region, including the newly emerging cooperation with Russia. With the US, reciprocity and mutuality of interest will be the determinants of our relationship, it said.

It promised that the credibility of Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence will be ensured.

The PTI will move substantively on the bilateral strategic dialogue with India encompassing all aspects of the strategic nuclear deterrence so as to prevent a spiraling nuclear arms race in the region.

On combat terrorism, the PTI manifesto said, immediate steps will be taken to reform the criminal judicial system and revise the anti-terror legislations so that it is precise and focused on terrorism.

The PTI “will not allow Pakistan’s territory or people, including its armed forces, to be used by any other nation for the promotion of its political ideology or hegemony, for promoting terrorism or for destabilisation of any other state,” it said.





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Supreme Court Favours Live Streaming Of Proceedings, A TV Channel May Be A Reality Soon


Litigants have the right to know how their cases are dealt with, says Supreme Court

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court while hearing a petition filed by senior lawyer Indira Jaising, on allowing people to watch what happens in courtrooms said it is not opposed to the live streaming of proceedings. The Centre in its reply to the petition said if the top court takes a policy decision; it can facilitate the setting up of a separate channel for the Supreme Court, like the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha TV, which live telecasts parliament sessions.

Chief Justice Deepak Misra said, “The concept of access to justice can be stretched through live streaming. Litigants are entitled to know how their cases are dealt with and will ensure transparency. Litigants will also know how his or her lawyer is presenting the case.”  

The Chief Justice however, had a word of caution for sensitive rape trials or matrimonial cases.

The court also said live streaming of proceedings “will help students to learn.” 

The centre, represented by the Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court “on an experimental basis the Chief Justice’s court can be the first” and then live streaming can be extended to other courts.

The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Deepak Misha, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar asked the parties for “suggestions.”

Indira Jaising in her plea filed in January had said live telecast of court proceedings would be in line with the principle of open court and cited a 1967 verdict by a nine-judge bench that courts “must permit the public admission to the court room”.

She had also pointed out that the live telecast of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings since 2003 and 2004 respectively had generated awareness among the people about the work of their elected representatives and enhanced transparency in the parliamentary processes.

“There is no rational reason as to why the same should not be done for cases of constitutional and national importance that impact the public at large,” Ms Jaising had said in her petition.





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AIADMK Says It Favours The Proposal For Simultaneous Polls, But After 2021


Simultaneous polls in Tamil Nadu may be considered in 2024, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said. (File)

Chennai: 

The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu was in principle agreeable to the proposal to hold simultaneous polls to Parliament and state assemblies, but wants it to be considered after 2021 when the present state assembly’s term would expire, a senior leader today said.

This view had been conveyed through a letter to the Law Commission and it will be put forth again by AIADMK leaders during the panel’s two-day deliberations on the matter being held in Delhi from today, senior leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai.

He was replying to a question on the consultations by the Centre on holding simultaneous polls and the Tamil Nadu government’s stand.

He said “the tenure of the (present) Tamil Nadu Assembly is till 2021” and hence assembly election should not be combined with the Lok Sabha poll scheduled for next year.

Simultaneous polls in Tamil Nadu may be considered in 2024, he added.

Though the proposal to hold simultaneous polls to Parliament and state assemblies was agreeable in principle for the AIADMK which meant “toeing the line of Amma (late chief minister Jayalalithaa),” it can, however, be considered post-2021 Assembly polls, Mr Jayakumar said.

Jayalalithaa had in 2015 conveyed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law and Justice that her party favoured the idea of simultaneous polls in principle.

The former chief minister, had, however, flagged “some key issues” that had to be addressed before the new mechanism could be put in place.

The Law Commission is holding consultations at Delhi with all the national and state parties on the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls.

It had written to the seven recognised national and 59 state parties seeking their participation in the meeting. 





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Maharashtra Officer Arrested For Asking Sexual Favours From Woman


The woman also claimed to have recorded the accused’s calls on her mobile phone (Representational)

Yavatmal: 

Police in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra on Tuesday arrested the secretary of a cooperative credit society for allegedly demanding sexual favours from a woman for helping her get a bank loan.

Dadarao Ingole, resident of Talegaon and the secretary of a local cooperative credit society, was booked under IPC sections 354 (A) (sexual harassment) and (D) (stalking), said Darwha Police Station Officer Rita Uikey.

He was later released on bail by a magistrate’s court though police sought his custody, she added.

A woman lodged a complaint yesterday that Ingole sought sexual favours from her for helping her get a loan of Rs 5 lakh for dairy business from a cooperative bank, the police officer said.

The woman and her farmer husband had sought Ingole’s help for obtaining the loan on the advice of a relative.

The woman also claimed to have recorded the accused’s calls on her mobile phone.

Police officer Uikey said the recording will be sent to a forensic science laboratory for examination.

In a similar case, a branch manager of Central Bank of India was arrested in Buldhana district last month when he allegedly sought sexual favours from a farmer’s wife to sanction a crop loan.





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Banker Who Asked Farmer’s Wife For Sexual Favours To Grant Loan Arrested


The bank manager and peon were suspended for demanding sexual favours from the wife of a farmer.

Nagpur:  The manager of the Central Bank of India’s Datala branch, Rajesh Hivse, who allegedly sought sexual favours from a woman to clear a crop loan, was arrested from Nagpur on Monday.

Mr Hivase was arrested by a team of the Buldhana police and the Nagpur Crime Branch.

Earlier, the bank’s peon Manoj Chavan was arrested from Amravati on June 23.

Over the weekend, Mr Hivse and Mr Chavan were suspended for demanding sexual favours from the wife of a farmer.

Chandrapur District collector Nirupama Dange told ANI that the matter has been taken seriously at the administrative level, and would be raised in a fast-track court shortly.

The Maharashtra Police filed a case against the banker and the peon under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

According to the police, when the crop loan proposal was submitted, the bank manager had asked the farmer for a contact number to clear doubts during scrutiny. The farmer gave his wife’s contact number.

The manager, who made a call to the farmer’s wife, however, spoke in an obscene and lewd manner and demanded sexual favours in return for clearing the loan request.

The peon allegedly told the woman that Mr Hivase will pass the required farm loan and also extend benefits under a special package if she agreed.

The woman recorded the phone conversation and filed a complaint with the local police, they said.

A protest was also staged by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana in front of the bank’s Datala branch on Saturday. While the bank was closed, the protestors broke the bank’s board and painted its wall black. 





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Sebi Favours Adjudication Proceedings Against ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar


Besides Sebi probe, ICICI Bank’s board has also constituted an “independent enquiry”

New Delhi:  A preliminary examination by regulator Sebi has favoured adjudication proceedings against ICICI Bank and its CEO Chanda Kochhar for alleged violation of listing disclosure norms regarding ‘conflict of interest’ in business dealings of her husband with Videocon group.

ICICI Bank may face a penalty of up to Rs 25 crore under the relevant Sebi regulations for such lapses, while the fine for Chanda Kochhar may go up to Rs 1 crore, besides other penal actions, a senior official said.

The adjudication process will start formally soon after taking into account the replies to the show cause notices issued by Sebi to ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar and others in this matter, the official added.

According to an ICICI Bank spokesperson, the bank and its MD received show cause notice seeking a response as to why an inquiry should not be held against them under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules.

“Documents relied upon under the notice have been received today. Appropriate response to the show cause notice after seeking legal advice would be submitted within the timeline provided,” the spokesperson said.

Besides Sebi probe, ICICI Bank’s board has also constituted an “independent enquiry” and Chanda Kochhar has gone on leave till completion of this enquiry.

According to a regulatory filing by the bank last week, Chanda Kochhar will continue as MD and CEO, though the group’s life insurance arm head Sandeep Bakshi has been appointed as a whole time director and COO. Bakshi will report to Chanda Kochhar and will handle the day-to-day operations in her absence.

The bank has maintained that its board has full faith in Kochhar.

According to regulatory sources, Sebi’s preliminary examination findings are based on enquiries made by the regulator in the matter involving Kocchar, ICICI Bank and Videocon Group.

As per the report, Chanda Kochhar has admitted that her husband Deepak Kocchar has had many dealings with Videocon Group over the last several years.

Besides, it has also been admitted by her that Deepak Kocchar and Venugopal Dhoot were co-founders and promoters of NuPower.

Further, in June 2009, shares of Venugopal Dhoot and Pacific Capital (owned by Deepak Kocchar’s father and sister-in-law) in NuPower were sold to Supreme Energy. Also, Venugopal Dhoot continues to hold interest in NuPower through debentures of Rs 64 crore, subscribed through Supreme Energy, the regulator found.

Association of Deepak Kocchar and Videocon has also been confirmed in case of Credential Finance.

On the basis of the preliminary report, Sebi has concluded that there was conflict of interest in the transactions of ICICI Bank with Videocon.

By not disclosing the details of her husband’s dealings with Videocon, Chanda Kochhar has not complied with the provisions of listing agreement. Further, the bank also failed in ensuring that its directors comply with listing rules, the official said.

Therefore, adjudication proceedings have been recommended against ICICI Bank and Kochhar, he added.

Last week, Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi had said the regulator was yet to receive a reply from ICICI Bank on the allegations involving Chanda Kochhar.

The cases under scanner include the bank’s Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012 and the involvement of Kochhar’s family members in restructuring of the loan.

Chanda Kochhar and her family members are facing allegations of quid pro quo and conflict of interest with respect to a loan extended to certain entities. 





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Bank Manager Asks Farmer’s Wife For Sexual Favours To Grant Crop Loan


The incident happened in a Central Bank of India branch in Maharashtra’s Buldhana (File)

Mumbai:  A branch manager of Central Bank of India in Buldhana district has been booked for allegedly demanding sexual favours from a farmer’s wife seeking crop loan, police said today.

The woman had accompanied her husband to the bank where they had applied for a crop loan at Datala in the Malakapur Tehsil, they said.

Branch manager Rajesh Hivase sought the woman’s contact details for processing loan after which he called her up and allegedly used obscene language and demanded sexual favours, they said.

Later, Hivase sent a peon to the woman’s home, asking her to comply.

The peon allegedly told the woman that Hivase will pass the required farm loan and also extend benefits under a special package if she agreed.

The woman recorded the phone conversation and filed a complaint with the local police, they said.

A complaint has been registered against the manager and the peon under relevant sections of the Indian Peal Code and also sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, they said.

Both the accused are absconding and efforts are on to nab them, the police said.





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