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Centre denies permission to Kerala ministers to go abroad

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Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre has denied permission for the scheduled visit of Kerala ministers to 17 countries to mobilise funds from expatriates for flood relief work, officials here said on Wednesday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is scheduled to leave for some of the Gulf countries on Wednesday as part of the efforts to mobilise funds from Kerala expatriates. He is expected to be back by October 21.

Seventeen of the 20 state ministers had also planned to visit different countries in the Gulf and Europe to mobilise funds. However, the Centre has approved the foreign visit of the chief minister alone. Officials at the CM’s office said the Centre has refused permission for the ministers’ foreign trip. The ministers were scheduled to visit various countries, for five days beginning today to mobilise funds from the expatriate community to help rebuild the flood-hit state. Vijayan had said on October 3 that each minister would visit various countries from October 17 to 21, including in the Gulf and Europe.

Kerala had suffered huge damage in the torrential rains that lashed the state in August last, claiming 493 lives and leaving a trail of destruction. The LDF government had last month decided to raise Rs 15,900 crore as loan from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other funding agencies to rebuild the prime sectors of the state.

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For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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zakir-naik

New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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