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Tension in Surat following arrest of Hardik Patel’s aide in old sedition case

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Surat | Tension gripped this Gujarat city with mobs setting ablaze a BRTS bus and vandalising a bus stand tonight, apparently in protest against the arrest of Patidar quota agitation leader Alpesh Kathiriya, a close aide of Hardik Patel, by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in an old sedition case. The bus was set ablaze in the Yogi Chowk area and the bus stand in the Varachha area.

The mobs also burnt tyres on roads and indulged in stone pelting. Kathiriya is a leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), an outfit organising protests demanding reservation for the Patidar community. He was arrested by the Crime Branch in Ahmedabad when he was on his way to stage a symbolic fast.

Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said the situation was under control and the police were trying to ascertain who were behind the violence.

“A BRTS bus was set ablaze and a bus stand damaged by mobs, but we have brought the situation under control. We are trying to ascertain who all were behind the violence. It appears that those behind the violence are PAAS members and those sympathising with the outfit,” he said.

Sharma added that patrolling was intensified since evening, anticipating violence, after Kathiriya, who is from Surat, was arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in an old sedition case.

Kathiriya was detained, along with Patel, who is spearheading the protest demanding reservation for the Patidar community, and seven others by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch this morning when they were on their way to a protest site to observe a symbolic fast.

While eight of them were released on bail after being booked under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the IPC, Kathiriya was shown as arrested in a sedition case dating back to 2015, in which he was an accused, a Crime Branch official said. This had apparently irked the PAAS members and sympathisers, who indulged in violence, Sharma said.

Meanwhile, Patel released a video clip, appealing for peace. “I request the people to maintain peace and not destroy public property. Whatever the police did was not right, but what is being done now is also not right. Protest, but peacefully and constitutionally, not by destroying government property. I appeal for peace,” he said in the clip.

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

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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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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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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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