RTI reveals Canara Bank wrote off bad loans worth Rs 47,000 crore in 8 years

Agencies
October 21, 2020

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New Delhi, Oct 21: Canara Bank has written off bad loans worth thousands of crores of rupees and recovered paltry amounts from big defaulters. According to a report in Money Life, like other PSBs, Canara Bank also refused to share this information as well as names of defaulters under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. 

As per the report, data shared by Pune-based RTI activist Vivek Velankar shows that during the past eight-year period from FY12-13 to FY19-20, Canara Bank wrote off a total of Rs 47,310 crore while recovering just 19 per cent or Rs 8,901 crore from defaulters. 

The report said Canara Bank too used vague reasons of privacy for not sharing information like names of big defaulters with a bad loan of Rs 100 crore and above. 

In the reply to the RTI, the bank says, "Information sought is the personal information of the concerned and if disclosed would invade the privacy of those concerned and its disclosure does not have any relationship with public interest or activity and is exempted under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act." 

Velankar, who is also president of the Sajag Nagrik Manch, asks, "When a common borrower defaults, the same banks publish his name and all details through advertisements in newspapers. Then why do they want to keep names of big defaulters hidden under the privacy cause? Why doesn't the 'privacy' clause apply while publicising names of common borrowers?" 

In several judgements, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had ruled that to qualify for the exemption under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, the information must satisfy certain criteria, such as personal information and public interest. 

The report said ordinarily, the adjective 'personal' is attributed to that which applies to an individual and not to an institution or a corporate. Therefore, it flows that 'personal' cannot be related to institutions, organisations or corporates, especially publicly listed entities with a large shareholding of retail investors. 

Hence, Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act cannot be applied when the information concerns institutions, organisations or corporates.

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Agencies
November 19,2020

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New Delhi, Nov 19: Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail in two terror cases by a court in Pakistan, news agency PTI reported.

This was not the first time that Hafiz Saeed, chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front organisation for the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was sentenced in a terror case by a Pakistani court. In February, Hafiz Saeed and some of his aides were convicted and sentenced to 11 years in jail in a terror-financing case.

He is wanted in India for planning the 2008 attack in Mumbai, when 10 terrorists killed 166 people and injured hundreds more. Hafiz Saeed is also known as a "global terrorist" both by the United Nations and the US, which put a $10 million bounty on his head.

Hafiz Saeed was arrested in Pakistan in July last year in connection with terror-financing cases after international pressure built up on Pakistan to come clean.

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Agencies
November 25,2020

Gurgaon, Nov 25Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, one of Sonia Gandhi's closest political advisers, died at a Gurgaon hospital this morning. He was 71. The veteran politician had been at Medanta Hospital since his health worsened after a Covid infection. In a tweet at around 4 am, his son, Faisal Patel, said that the Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat died at 3.30 am.

"With profound grief & sorrow, I regret to announce the sad and untimely demise of my father, Mr. Ahmed Patel at 25/11/2020, 03:30 AM. After testing positive for COVID-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures. May Allah grant him Jannatul firdaus, inshallah," he tweeted, requesting all their well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.

Messages of condolences and tributes poured in soon after the announcement of Mr Patel's death.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered the seasoned politician, saying "his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered".

"Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai's soul rest in peace," PM Modi tweeted.

Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called Mr Patel a "pillar of the Congress party". "He lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times. He was a tremendous asset. We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz & the family," Mr Gandhi tweeted.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Mr Patel was an experienced colleague to whom she "constantly turned for advice and counsel".

"...he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end," she tweeted.

Ahmed Patel, also the treasurer of the Congress, had tested positive for the COVID-19 on October 1 and had been admitted to the ICU of Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon on November 15.

On October 1, Mr Patel, while disclosing that he was tested positive for coronavirus, had urged all those who came in contact with him in past few days to undergo self-isolation.

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Agencies
November 21,2020

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Hathras, Nov 21: A civil rights body on Saturday claimed that members of the Hathras rape victim's family are living in conditions akin to house arrest and they fear for their lives once the CRPF cover given to them is withdrawn.

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) also released a report on the state of investigation into the case. The organisation demanded security for the family and their rehabilitation through the Nirbhaya fund.

The whole family is in a way under house arrest conditions and their normal social life has been cut off, PUCL members Kamal Singh, Farman Naqvi, Alok, Shashikant and K B Maurya told reporters in Lucknow.

The victim's family members fear for their lives after the CRPF protection is withdrawn, they said.

The PUCL members said cases must be lodged against officials for a hurried cremation of the victim.

Action should be taken against District Magistrate Praveen Kumar, SP Vikram Veer and the area SHO in this regard, they said.

The 19-year-old Dalit woman died at a Delhi hospital a fortnight after her alleged rape by four men from her village in Hathras district on September 14.

She was cremated in the middle of the night in her village. Her family members claimed that the cremation, which took place well past midnight, was without their consent and they were not allowed to bring home the body one last time.

The PUCL members said action should also be taken against those responsible for defaming the woman's family.

They demanded that cases lodged for the alleged bid to incite violence in the name of the incident should be brought under the ongoing CBI investigation. Currently, these cases are being probed by the state STF, they said.

Alok and Farman Naqvi alleged that the name of the Popular Front of India (PFI) has been dragged into the controversy to create a Hindu-Muslim chasm and divert attention.

Kamal Singh said the PFI is not on the list of banned organisations but Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath calls it an extremist body.

If that is so, then why a ban has not been imposed against it, he asked.

Four people, said to be members of the PFI, were arrested in Mathura while on their way to Hathras last months.

The Uttar Pradesh police had said the four, including a journalist, had links with the Popular Front of India.

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