External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar formally joins BJP

Agencies
June 24, 2019

New Delhi, Jun 24: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar formally joined the BJP on Monday in the presence of party working president J P Nadda.

Jaishankar, a career diplomat and a former foreign secretary, was inducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his government as external affairs minister.

He was sworn in as a Cabinet minister along with other members of the government on May 30.

The BJP is likely to field him from Gujarat as its Rajya Sabha candidate.

He has to be a Member of Parliament within six months of his swearing in.

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Agencies
January 4,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 4: The ED has brought under its scanner the alleged fraud cases of instant loan sanction through mobile applications, reported recently from Telangana and Tamil Nadu, as part of its money-laundering probe in an online betting scam pegged at over Rs 1,100 crore, official sources said on Monday.

At least five people, including a software engineer, have reportedly ended their lives in Telangana after they were harassed to pay back these loans given in alleged violations of regulatory guidelines to gullible and needy victims facing economic hardships.

The Telangana police has filed at least 50 cases in this connection and arrested 29 people, including three Chinese nationals, till now.

The Chennai police also arrested two Chinese nationals and as many Indians recently after a complainant informed the cops that he was subjected to agony, abuse, threats and harassment by the online loan app firms over repayment with a high rate of interest.

Official sources said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has "enlarged" its investigation to probe these FIRs and complaints filed by the two state police departments.

It has been probing a case of online betting scam, allegedly being run with the connivance of some Chinese nationals, pegged at over Rs 1,100 crore.

The online betting case dates to August last year when the central probe agency conducted multiple raids across the country at the registered offices of some companies, their directors and chartered accountants, who were stated to be involved in illegally running online betting apps on websites, which are hosted from outside India and operated by Chinese nationals.

The ED case was based on a Telangana police FIR that was filed against Dokypay Technology Private Limited, Linkyun Technolgy Private Limited and others. The police in the southern state had also arrested three people, including a Chinese national, in this connection.

The three were later arrested by the ED too under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ED said these companies moved funds worth crores of rupees across the shores by using the "lax regulatory" mechanism of online wallets and that is where the money-laundering angle came up.

The ED will now probe the instant loan app case together with the online betting case as both have a more or less similar modus operandi of duping people and moving voluminous funds to foreign shores, including China, through illegal remittances and "hawala" transactions, officials said.

According to the Telangana police, the lending companies, through instant loan apps, offered loans to individuals, levied huge interest and processing charges, among others, and resorted to systematic abusing, harassing and threatening of the defaulters through call centres.

The Telangana police also said it received several complaints that these firms allegedly obtained sensitive data such as contacts, photos from the mobile phones of customers and used it to defame or blackmail them to get the loans repaid.

A statement from the Hyderabad police had said a preliminary investigation into these financial transactions revealed that about 1.4 crore transactions worth nearly Rs 21,000 crore had taken place so far.

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Agencies
January 16,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 16: Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world's biggest vaccination drive in the country, the Congress launched its attack on the Centre saying vaccines were being allowed to be used without the mandatory trials of Phase 3.

Congress leader and MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari asked if the vaccine is so reliable then why no important government functionary has taken the shot?

He said that in the every country of the world the head of the government has taken the vaccine, in US, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have taken the vaccine shots. In UK, Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have taken it and other countries there respective heads of state have done the same thing."

"In India, why has no responsible functionary of the government taken the vaccine shots first if it is so safe and reliable," Tewari asked.

He said, "As the vaccine has been rolled out, there are certain disturbing and obfuscated questions with the government using a soaring rhetoric of the vaccine nationalism. The first question about the efficacy... is that in the absence of a regulatory architecture -- requiring licencing of the drugs and vaccines for the emergency use... It is perplexing that same has been permitted by the Drug Controller.

"While Covishield has not drawn ire of eminent medical experts, the Covaxin has been questioned, and by not allowing people to choose the vaccine that to take it militates the doctrine of informed consent that lies at the heart of medical ethics," he added

Modi earlier launched the vaccination drive aimed at ending the pandemic which so far has killed 1,52,093 people in the country and ravaged the economy.

Addressing the country digitally, the Prime Minister said that India managed to make two 'Made-in-India' vaccines in a very short period which usually takes years.

Modi said that avoid "rumours" as the Drug Controller General of India has approved the vaccines for emergency use.

Lauding the efforts of scientists who are involved in vaccine research, Modi said they deserve special praise for making these vaccines and that "the vaccines will provide us a decisive victory against the deadly pandemic".

The Prime Minister further reminded people to get two doses of the vaccine, explaining that "there should be a gap of almost one month between the first and second dose".

"Only two weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against coronavirus," the Prime Minister said.

Noting that this kind of vaccination campaign on such a large scale has never been done in history, Modi said: "India is vaccinating three crore people in its first phase of vaccination starting today and the government will bear the cost of the vaccination to be administered to healthcare workers".

In the second phase, the Prime Minister said, "We have to take it to 30 crore".

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Agencies
January 4,2021

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Bhopal, Jan 4: The voices of discontent in the Madhya Pradesh BJP have become louder after two ministers were sworn-in during the cabinet expansion by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Ajay Vishnoi, a former minister and BJP MLA from Jabalpur, took a dig at the government for neglecting the Mahakaushal and Vindhya regions and said "these two regions cannot fly high but only flutter"

The third expansion of the state cabinet took place on Sunday and two BJP MLAs -- Govind Singh Rajput and Tulsi Silawat -- were sworn in as cabinet ministers. There were many other contenders in the fray touted to get a cabinet berth but were not inducted.

Regarding the cabinet expansion, former minister Vishnoi tweeted, "Mahakaushal can no longer fly high, it can only flutter! The cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh has taken place . Every other second BJP MLA from Gwalior, Chambal, Bhopal and the Malwa regions has become a minister. Every third BJP MLA from Sagar and Shahdol division is a minister today."

Pointing out the neglect of the Mahakaushal and Vindhya regions, Vishnoi tweeted, "One of the 13 BJP MLAs of Mahakaushal and one of the 18 BJP MLAs in Rewa division have had the privilege of becoming a state minister. The Mahakaushal and Vindhya regions could only 'flap their wings but cannot fly high'. These two regions will have to remain happy now, have to keep on flattering. Congratulations... "

Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister for the fourth time when the BJP returned to power in March last year. There was the first cabinet expansion in April 2020 when five ministers were sworn in, followed by the second expansion in July 2020 when 28 ministers were sworn in.

In the recent assembly by-elections, three ministers were defeated and were forced to quit while the BJP's Tulsi Ram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput remained as ministers without being MLAs for the last six months but later had to resign from their posts. Now, by swearing-in both of them as ministers, Shivraj has done a third expansion of his cabinet.

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