Nation
CBI raids Chidambaram's residences
The premises of two top opposition leaders, P. Chidambaram and Lalu Prasad, were on Tuesday raided by CBI and IT officials with Karti Chidambaram accused of getting pay-offs for helping a media company get FIPB clearance, while the former Bihar Chief Minister was accused of "benami" land deals -- actions the opposition denounced as vendetta by the BJP-led central government.
 
The day began with raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, Chennai, Gurugram and Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu, while the Income Tax raided 22 locations in Delhi and Gurugram on a number of premises said to be owned by Lalu and kin.
 
The CBI raided the residence of Chidambaram and his son Karti in Nungambakam in Chennai, after registering an FIR on Monday night in which it was alleged that his son could have benefited to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore for helping in the clearance of an FIPB proposal of media company INX Ltd when his father was at the helm in the North Block.
 
The CBI FIR alleged that invoices for approximately Rs 3.5 crore were raised by the INX Ltd in favour of companies in which Karti was having "sustainable interests" either directly or indirectly.
 
The FIPB clearance was given to Mumbai-based INX Media (now called 9X Media) when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, and Chidambaram was then the Finance Minister.
 
The FIR does not mention the name of Chidambaram, though it states that he had cleared the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval for Rs 4.62 crore Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007.
 
Both Chidambaram and his son denied there was any misconduct on their part and said the whole action was aimed at "muzzling" the voice of Chidambaram senior, who has been writing against the NDA government. 
 
Karti said he had committed no crime and the case against him was foisted on account of political vendetta.
 
Chidambaram said FIPB clearance is given in hundreds of cases and there is no allegation against officials, who are members of the FIPB, or against him.
 
Besides Karti, those named in the FIR include INX Director Indrani Mukherjea and her husband Peter Mukherjea, both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, and some unknown officials of the ministry. 
 
In the other case, the Income Tax Department conducted raids at 22 places in and around Delhi in connection with alleged "benami" property deals allegedly to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad. 
 
Besides the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo, the IT raids were also carried out on the premises of party MP P.C. Gupta's residence as well as several businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi and Haryana's Gurugram and Rewari.
 
The raids started around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, in which over 100 officials were involved. 
 
Income Tax officials also searched over 10 premises of some government officials.
 
The IT Department's action comes in the wake of the allegations made by former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
 
Sushil Modi has accused Lalu Prasad and his children - Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and Rajya Sabha Parliamentarian Misa Bharti - of being involved in corrupt land deals. 
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said if there was documentary proof or solid evidence against the RJD chief and his family then the central government should take legal action.
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier alleged that the RJD chief's daughter Misa Bharti has not disclosed these assets in her election affidavit and demanded that the Election Commission take action against her. 
 
The BJP leader also alleged that the land deals were done during Lalu Prasad's tenure as Union Railway Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. 
 
Following the IT raids, Sushil Kumar Modi told the media in Patna that his stand has been "vindicated".
 
Senior RJD leader and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said the IT raids are part of the BJP's political vendetta against rivals. "BJP has been conspiring against Lalu Prasad for his vocal criticism and his bid to unite all non-BJP parties ahead of the 2019 general elections," Singh said.
 
More than a dozen senior RJD leaders have visited Lalu Prasad at 10, Circular Road, his official residence, in high security zone, not far away from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's official residence in Patna, since Tuesday morning after the IT conducted raids. 
 
Reacting to the raids on Chidambaram and his son, the Congress said: "The truth is that revenge has become a DNA of the BJP. Neither Chidambaram nor any Congress leader or any other leader of opposition will be deterred, would be cowed down or would fear the politics of revenge and vendetta."
 
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to take action against its leaders such as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who allegedly helped former cricket administrator Lalit Modi leave the country.
 
"The entire landscape of BJP is mired by one scam after another. If yardstick is morality then why is he (Modi) shying away from ordering an inquiry into the Sahara-Birla Computer Excel sheets, in which none other but the Prime Minister himself has been named repeatedly about having taken bribe," Surjewala said. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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SRINIVAS SHENOY

6 months ago

I personally feel that the Prime Minister is not involved in any misdeeds whatsoever.

Bird-hit forces Mumbai-Bangkok flight to return
A "suspected" bird hit forced a Jet Airways flight to return shortly after it took off from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport here on Friday morning.
 
The aircraft landed safely and all 180 passengers and eight crew have also deplaned, a spokesperson said.
 
The incident occurred around 8.15 a.m. on the Mumbai-Bangkok flight 9W-70 when the crew executed an air-turn following the suspected hit on the tail of the aircraft.
 
The aircraft is currently being examined by the Jet Airways engineering team and ground personnel.
 
Following the strike, the flight has been delayed by over four hours and is rescheduled to depart at 12.45 p.m. to reach Bangkok around 6.25 p.m., the spokesperson said.
 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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India may receive higher than predicted rainfall this year: IMD
India may receive ahigher rainfall this year than previously predicted, a top IMD official said on Wednesday citing the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon.
 
India would see normal monsoon with 96 per cent of rainfall still maintained as the current forecast, and an update could only be known by the first week of June, K.J. Ramesh, Director General of India Meteorological Department, told IANS.
 
"From the current trend where for now the strong El Nino is weakening, the monsoon may increase," he said.
 
"We will still have to wait and watch though," Ramesh said.
 
According to the IMD official, the actual status of the overall rainfall in India depends on the future status of El Nino and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) activities.
 
The pattern suggests that a moderate or strong El Nino and a positive IOD results in good rainfall. 
 
El Nino is a climatic phenomenon which is the warm phase of the cycle in the Pacific Ocean and IOD is a climate event occurring over the equatorial Indian Ocean. Both impact the monsoon.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) earlier in April predicted a 96 per cent monsoon for 2017 season average, with a moderate error estimated at 'plus-minus five per cent' of the Long Period Average (LPA). 
 
On Tuesday, some reports claimed IMD predicting that the monsoon could be above normal and bring 100 per cent rainfall instead of 96 per cent predicted earlier.
 
The IMD assessment also suggested 38 per cent of probability for "near normal monsoon rainfall", depending on the situation of El Nino and IOD. 
 
A figure between 96 and 104 per cent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 per cent above normal. 
 
"There are two constraints; first is being near normal which is about 96 per cent. The second prediction is based on a weakening trend of the El Nino, which may lead towards the positive trend of a near normal rainfall (based on the 38 per cent probability). But we will still have to wait for the actual range," Ramesh said.
 
He further added that the present trends which may lead to a moderate El Nino could increase the rainfall based on the 36 per cent probability and a positive trend on the error estimation of plus-minus five per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA). 
 
"But we will have to see when does that happens," Ramesh said.
 
Indian monsoon period is from June 1 to September 30, which is the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.
 
"We have not issued any update of the monsoon, that would be in the first week of June. For now the prediction is still 96 per cent with error estimate of plus-minus five," M. Mohapatra, IMD scientist, said.
 
According to private weather forecaster Skymet, if we predict the Long Period Average from the current pattern, the monsoon would be not more than 98 per cent or in normal conditions around 97 per cent.
 
"However, there are no chances of a 100 per cent rainfall," Mahesh Palawat, director Skymet, told IANS.
 
He added that the season would be good for the farmers anyway.
 
"There are no heavy pre-monsoon rains to destroy the wheat during harvest season, and by June, the time of planting the paddy, rainfall would range from good to moderate," Palawat said.
 
He added that while East and Central India would see normal monsoon, the pattern in northwest region including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, where monsoon had been below normal for past two years, will see a comparative weaker monsoon.
 
"These areas have irrigation facilities, which would balance the water consumption with the rainfall," Palawat added. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

6 months ago

Wish the predictions are accurate. I hope in future we do not have to regularly await the vagaries of the monsoon.

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