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Tuesday,15-June-2021

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Narendra Modi mourns death of 19 Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan accident

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the Cabinet meeting, in New Delhi on June 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condoled the death of 19 Sikh pilgrims in an accident involving a passenger bus and train near Lahore in Pakistan’s Sheikhupura district.

“Pained by the tragic demise of Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan. My thoughts are with their families and friends in this hour of grief,” he tweeted.

The Prime Minister said that he will pray that those injured recover at the earliest.

The Sikh devotees were travelling from a gurdwara in Lahore to Peshawar in the bus when it was hit by the train en route to Lahore from Karachi.

Hospital authorities said most of the around 60 injured were in critical condition.

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Priyanka Gandhi demands CBI enquiry into UP scribe’s death

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Priyanka-Gandhi

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demanding a CBI enquiry into the death of a TV journalist based in Uttar Pradesh who had been found dead under mysterious circumstances in Pratapgarh district.

She in the letter wrote, “The law and order has collapsed and liquor mafia from Aligarh to Pratapgarh have been found indulged in spurious liquor trade, hundreds have died, and those journalists who had been exposing them are attacked.”

She also demanded financial assistance to the victim’s family.

Just a day before his death, Sulabh Srivastava, who worked for a TV channel, wrote to the Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday saying he felt threatened following his recent reportage of liquor mafias in the district.

Seeking protection, Srivastava had said he had been informed by sources that the liquor mafia was angry with him after the publication of his report and wanted to harm him or his family.

The Pratapgarh police has said that the journalist died in a ‘motorcycle accident’.

“Srivastava was returning on his motorcycle after media coverage, at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. He fell from his motorcycle near a brick kiln. Some labourers lifted him from the road and then used his phone to call his friends.

“He was taken to the district hospital where the doctors declared him dead,” the Pratapgarh police said in a statement.

The police also added that the initial probe revealed that Srivastava fell after his “bike collided with a handpump on the road”.

The police also added that they are probing other angles in the matter.

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National News

Uttar Pradesh ministers to camp in districts in a damage control exercise

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Yogi-Adityanath

In a major damage control exercise, all ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh have been asked to reach out to people ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state.

The ministers have been asked to camp in development blocks in districts under their charge in June and July 2021, connect with party workers at the grassroots level, obtain feedback about government schemes, attend International Yoga Day programmes there on June 21 and join the booth level workers in listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Maan Ki Baat” programme at booths on June 27.

The directives were communicated to them at a meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by Yogi Adityanath.

UP BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh, who was present at the meeting, briefed the ministers about the details of the outreach programme.

The ministers have also been asked to review the preparations for the speculated third wave and visit the families of those who may have died of Covid-19. He said ministers would take feedback whether the government relief had reached them.

The exercise is also being seen as a move to muster support for the BJP in the upcoming zila panchayat elections.

According to UP minister Siddhartha Nath Singh, “Minister in charges will camp at the blocks in districts under their charge in June and July 2021. The ministers will try to cover most of the blocks in the districts under their charge and will cover about two blocks every day. The ministers will visit ration shops, PHCs (primary health centres), CHCs (community health centres) and hospitals, attend plantation drives, along with making spot visits, and reviewing implementation of development schemes.”

Singh said ministers have been asked to hold organisational meetings in smaller groups, keeping in view the Covid protocol. He said there would also be programmes, especially plantation drives from June 23 to July 6.

During the meeting, minister for medical education Suresh Khanna and minister for health Jai Pratap Singh made a presentation on the state government’s Covid management.

Animal husbandry minister Chaudhary Laxmi Narain spoke about the arrangements made at the cow shelters in the state.

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Crime

Mehul Choksi still an Indian citizen: Indian authorities

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Mehul-Choksi

The Indian authorities have described fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case as an Indian citizen in its affidavit filed in Dominican High Court, saying that his application for renunciation of citizenship was “rejected”.

And noted that he is therefore erroneously claiming renunciation of citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The 14-page affidavit filed on June 8 said “the Indian citizenship of Mr MC (Mehul Choksi) has still not ceased as on date and therefore, his claim of renunciation of Indian citizenship is contrary to the laws in India as is completely erroneous”, adding, “the claim of Choksi being bogus, this Honourable court may kindly reject the said erroneous claim at the threshold”.

It further pointed out that Choksi had submitted his Indian passport to Indian High Commission in Georgetown, Guyana, for renouncing his Indian citizenship on December 14, 2018.

“Under Section 8 of the Indian citizenship act, 1955 the declaration of renunciation should be registered and only then a person shall cease to be a citizen of India. Read with Rule 38 of the act, the declaration of registration has to be made to India’s Ministry of Home Affairs through the Indian mission,” it said.

The affidavit further stated that while Choksi did submit his passport, the Indian Home Ministry on January 29, 2019 “found deficiencies in the declaration” and also “noted that Choksi was an economic fugitive offender” advising Indian mission in Guyana to “consider the rejection of his declaration of renunciation”.

The affidavit also pointed out that the Ministry of External Affairs had also in a letter dated October 15, 2019, confirmed that his application of renunciation stood rejected by the Indian High Commission in Guyana and had communicated him on March 15, 2019.

The affidavit stated, “no entries regarding the application for surrender of Indian nationality were made in the consular register of the mission”. This was further confirmed by the MHA in its official memorandum on May 31, 2021.

It said that Choksi’s Indian Passport, number–Z3396732 was issued on September 10, 2015 from Mumbai. He acquired his Antigua and Barbuda nationality on November 16, 2017 with passport number B007713.

The affidavit also said that “concerned authorities may be directed to immediately transfer/deport/handover Choksi to the Indian authorities”.

It also said that India has already raised the issue of cancellation of citizenship of Choksi granted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on the grounds that citizenship was fraudulently obtained by Choksi.

The affidavit was filed by consular officer at the High Commission of India to the Commonwealth of Dominica.

It said Choksi is wanted by Indian law enforcement agencies for investigation of the crime committed by him in India.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing the PNB bank fraud case against Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi.

Choksi went missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23, sparking a massive manhunt. He was captured in Dominica on May 26, and faces charges of illegal entry.

He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.

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