15022018-TT-01.qxd 2/14/2018 10:38 PM Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday, february 15, 2018 jammu & kashmir chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 3 no. 45 | 16 pages | ~4.00 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd /thetribunechd ~11,400-crore fraud at PNB Show stopper ED books diamond merchant Nirav Modi; several banks face heat A Bichon Frise named Flynn was crowned “best in show” at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, wagging his tail to triumph over nearly 3,000 dogs entered in the world-renowned contest for pure-bred canines. The diminutive, fluffy white winner edged out six other finalists. REUTERS New Delhi, February 14 The Enforcement Directorate today registered a money-laundering case against diamantaire Nirav Modi and others after Punjab National Bank (PNB) alleged a Rs 280-crore fraud. The Central Bureau of Investigation had on Tuesday received two complaints from the bank, alleging fraudulent transactions worth about Rs 11,400 crore, one-third of its market capitalisation, at one of its Mumbai branches. The fraud involves other banks as well. The bank has reportedly suspended 10 officials. The PNB stock plunged 9.81 per cent after the bank informed stock exchanges it had found fraudulent transactions worth $1.77 billion (Rs 11,335 crore). The bank said it had detected fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of select account holders with their apparent connivance. “Based on these transactions, other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank, these transactions are contingent in nature and liability arising out of these on the bank shall be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions.” In an earlier filing on February 5, the bank had said it had come across a suspected fraud involving a branch wherein certain irregularities had been observed. Analysts said the magnitude of the scam was substantial. Several banks are likely to face the heat for their links with diamond merchant Nirav Modi. Sources say Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and uncle Mehul Choksi had undertaken several circular transactions on the basis of Letters of Undertaking (LoU) allegedly obtained fraudulently from a PNB branch in downtown Mumbai. The names of Axis Bank and Allahabad Bank figure in the matter. According to the FIR, Modi and his associates allegedly floated several firms ostensibly in the diamond business — Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds. Bogus invoices and orders from buyers generated by these companies were used to borrow funds from the PNB. Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, whose Gitanjali Gems is listed on the exchanges, was earlier barred from the stock markets by SEBI for manipulating the company’s stock price. Modi, who owns the Nirav Modi brand of diamond jewellery, had recently hired actress Priyanka Chopra as brand ambassador. — TNS & PTI Pro-China Oli named Nepal Prime Minister HC stays order against Capt aide No GST on hospital Kathmandu, February 14 The CPN-UML today picked party chairman KP Sharma Oli as the next Prime Minister of Nepal, a senior leader of the party said, over two months after the successful conclusion of historic parliamentary polls. Oli, 65, served as the Prime Minister from October 11, 2015, to August 3, 2016. He is known for his pro-China stance. A standing committee of the party in Lalitpur named Oli as the PM candidate as he is also the UML’s parliamentary party leader. The Left Alliance of the CPN-UML, led by Oli, and CPN-Maoist Centre, led by Prachanda, had in December secured 174 seats in the 275-member Parliament in the historic provincial and parliamentary polls that many hope will bring much- Tribune News Service Dual vote: Probe ‘indicts’ AAP MLA Bathinda: An inquiry by the Talwandi Sabo SDM has prima facie indicted Punjab AAP MLA Baljinder Kaur in the dual vote case and recommended a thorough probe. RTI activist Harmilap Grewal said he had received a copy of the SDM’s letter to the District Election Officer, clearly stating the MLA “deliberately made a false statement”. He said he would write to the Speaker to disqualify her. The issue was first raised during the 2014 bypoll in Talwandi Sabo after the then Congress MLA Jeet Mohinder Sidhu joined the SAD. Baljinder Kaur had lost the poll then. TNS Lt Col picked up for questioning Bhopal: A Lieutenant Colonel posted at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh has been picked up for questioning by a team from the Army Headquarters in Delhi. Defence PRO, Allahabad, Wing Commander Arvind Sinha refused to disclose details. The move came days after Group Captain Arun Marwah, posted at IAF headquarters, was interrogated on charges of espionage and subsequently handed over to Delhi Police. The Group Capt was allegedly leaking classified documents to a woman he had befriended on Facebook in December through WhatsApp, according to investigators. PTI KP Sharma Oli needed political stability to the Himalayan nation. It had also secured an overwhelming majority in the Upper House with 39 seats, paving the way for the Leftist Alliance to form the country’s next government. The UML leaders also discussed unification with CPN (Maoist Centre). The Party Unification Coordination Committee (PUCC) formed to discuss the merger was also scheduled to meet. —PTI Division Bench says Single Bench could not have decided Suresh Kumar issue Saurabh Malik Chandigarh, February 14 Staying the operation of the January 17 order setting aside the appointment of retired IAS officer Suresh Kumar as Chief Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today expressed prima facie opinion that the Single Bench could not have decided the matter as it was in the nature of public interest. The order by Justices Mahesh Grover and Rajbir Sehrawat comes as a reprieve for the government, which brought in former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Advocate General Atul Nanda to argue. After hearing the counsel at length, the Bench said it was prima facie of the opinion that at best even if the locus standi of the petitioner to file a writ of quo warranto was accepted, it would necessarily espouse public interest. Elaborating, the Bench asserted that the petitioner’s interest was not in conflict with that of the state or the incumbent assigned the status of Chief Principal Secretary. “Since the Single Judge who dealt with the matter was not bestowed with the subject roster, the judgment in these circumstances could possibly be construed as coram non judice. Even otherwise, the matter needs deeper deliberation,” the Bench added. A writ of quo warranto is filed to challenge an individual’s right to hold office or governmental privilege. Coram non judice indicates legal proceedings without jurisdiction. Bullet Raja Suresh Kumar In the Punjab and Haryana High Court, quo warranto is heard by a Single Bench while a petition filed in public interest is placed before a Division Bench especially assigned the task of hearing PILs. Punjab’s stand is that quo warranto can be heard by a Single Bench if an individual’s rights are affected. If the petitioner is not an affected party, the matter has to be placed before the PIL Bench. Issuing notice of motion for April 17 to the petitioner before the Single Judge, Suresh Kumar and other respondents, the Bench asserted: “In the meantime, operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed”. As the case came up for preliminary hearing, senior advocate Chidambaram, Nanda, Additional AG Rameeza Hakeem and Assistant AG Diya Sodhi appeared for the State of Punjab. caveator-petitioner Ramandeep Singh was represented by senior advocate Gurminder Singh and RPS Bara. It was contended on behalf of the appellant-state that the petitioner’s locus to raise the issue decided in writ proceedings would seriously be in doubt. The Bench was told the petitioner had filed the plea citing wrong provisions. The petition should have been heard by a Bench hearing PILs, if at all it was to be filed. food for in-patients New Delhi, February 14 No GST will be charged on the cost of food served to patients by hospitals as advised by doctors, the government has said. However, patients not admitted will have to pay tax on the total value of food served by the hospital. In a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs), the Revenue Department also clarified that no Goods and Services Tax will be levied on services provided by senior doctors/consultants/technicians hired by the hospitals as these are covered under healthcare services. The FAQ said the food supplied to in-patients was not separately taxable as it formed part of the composite supply of healthcare, already exempt under the GST. “The food supplied to in- patients, as advised by the doctor/nutritionists, is part of the composite supply of healthcare and not separately taxable. Other supplies of food by a hospital to patients (not admitted) or attendants or visitors are taxable,” it said. As per the GST law, healthcare services have been defined to include any service by way of diagnosis or treatment or care for illness, injury, deformity, abnormality or pregnancy in any recognised system of medicine in India. “The entire amount charged by them (hospitals) from the patients, including the retention money and the fee/payments made to the doctors, etc, is towards the healthcare services provided by the hospitals to the patients and is exempt (from GST),” it said. — PTI Batla House escapee IM operative held Prateek Chauhan Tribune News Service On the eve of BJP chief Amit Shah’s rally in Jind, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was in town on Wednesday to oversee last-minute preparations. He drove a new motorcycle to motivate the cadre, but one without any registration number. PTI New Delhi, February 14 The Delhi Police have arrested suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) member Ariz Khan, alias Junaid, on the run since the Batla House encounter in 2008, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) PS Kushwah said here today. Encounter specialist Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was killed in the Batla House operation. Ariz was also involved in several bombings, including the 2008 Delhi blasts. “He is a big catch as his arrest dents plans to revive the IM network in India,” the DCP said. Suspected IM terrorist Ariz Khan in custody. MUKESH AGGARWAL Ariz, against whom Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice, carried a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head. “He is an expert bomb-maker, conspirator and executioner. At least 165 persons died in the incidents that he was involved in,” Kushwah said. Ariz had given the police the slip during the Batla House encounter on September 19, 2008, in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, in which two IM terrorists were killed and as many arrested. “He was associated with Atif Amin, who was killed in the Batla House encounter. Ariz was wanted in the 2007 UP blasts, the 2008 Jaipur serial blasts and the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts.” A trial court in 2013 had sentenced IM terrorist Shahzad Ahmed to life imprisonment in connection with the Batla House encounter. His appeal is pending. NITI sounds alarm on depleting springs Asks govt to start monitoring and management plans in Himalayan states Mukesh Ranjan Tribune News Service New Delhi, February 14 India’s top-think tank NITI Aayog has alerted the government that Himalayan states will soon face an acute water shortage as more than half of the perennial springs have “already dried up or have become seasonal”. To save millions living in the region, it has asked the Centre to implement a “springshed management” scheme. The Aayog in its report, “Inventory and revival of springs in Himalayas for water security”, said: “More than half of the perennial springs have already dried up or have become seasonal and tens of thousands of villages are facing an acute water shortage for drinking and domestic purposes.” Calling for a graded approach, the report suggests “short-term (four years), medium-term (four- eight years) and long-term (more than eight years) plans”, aimed at actively monitoring spring water levels in depleted regions and “carrying out of spring-shed management” schemes. Of the five million springs in the country, close to three million are located in the Himalayan region. There are 50 million people living in that region, many of whom rely on spring water for their daily drinking water needs. The report said 60 per cent of low-discharge springs that provide water to small habitations in the Himalayan region have seen a clear decline during the past couple of decades. Sikkim has seen the most alarming drop in collection of spring water, and Uttarakhand the sharpest decline with the Almora region seeing a fall from 360 functional springs to just 60 in the past 150 years, it said. Tourists throng Nehru Kund in Manali on Wednesday after Monday’s snowfall. PHOTO: MC THAKUR
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
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