Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kalsaria joins Congress

Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kanu Kalsaria, who had successfully spearheaded a huge public agitation against a Nirma cement plant in the state's Mahuva area, on Wednesday evening joined the Congress party after a meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
Kalsaria, who is a social activist and a surgeon, drifted away from the BJP while running the agitation against the cement factory because of the "pro-capitalist" regime of Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister.
"I have been fighting social causes but needed the right political strength to do it more effectively. I feel I can do it through the Congress party," he told mediapersons after meeting Gandhi.
Kalsaria, who had joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and became its chief in Gujarat, said: "Somehow, AAP could not emerge strongly in the State and I also tried as an independent candidate but could not make a dent."
"Farmers are unhappy, they want their rights. There is unemployment, health and education are serious issues in Gujarat. I decided I should join the Congress where I can work effectively," said the three-time BJP lawmaker (1997-2012).
State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi told IANS: "Kanubhai is a sincere man with a clean image dedicated to public welfare for years. It is a good news for the Congress party that he has joined us and that too without any conditions whatsoever." 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Congress' Gujarat unit plans to woo defectors, calls it 'Ghar Wapsi'

After losing out two bigwigs in two months in the form of senior legislator Kunwarji Bavaliya and former MLA Indraneel Rajyaguru, the Congress in Gujarat has decided to bring back the defectors into the party fold, calling it "Ghar Wapsi".
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said the party was open to welcome all those who left the party to join the BJP and were feeling suffocated as well as disgruntled BJP members. He claimed that several such leaders would return to the party in near future.
"After having a detailed discussion in the party, it has been decided that the Congress will be holding a 'Recruitment Mela', a sort of 'Ghar Wapsi', in the coming days for disgruntled BJP members into the Congress.
"They include all those BJP members, who once originally belonged to the Congress as well as the original BJP members dissatisfied with the party," he said.
Asked if this would not create dissatisfaction amongst the loyal party workers who have been consistently working hard over the years, Dhanani said: "There's a difference between this recruitment and the way we do. We will be asking our grassroots level workers and party leaders before deciding who to take back. 
"But one thing is certain, the party won't compromise on discipline and ideology. The party will only welcome those who are ready to follow the ideology."
He claimed that many BJP members have expressed such desire to join the party. "Many such BJP members, once belonging to Congress and now repenting, are in touch with our rank and file and keen to return. They believe in the party's vision and ideology. This will be an attempt to save democracy, preserve the constitutional values and it will be a 'Bharat Bachao Campaign'.
Many former MLAs, local body representatives at various levels, including political leaders from cooperative bodies, have showed their willingness to join the Congress," he added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

SC asks Gujarat HC not to proceed with case against Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel
Ahmed Patel
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat High Court not to proceed with the case filed by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought Rajput's response on Patel's plea seeking direction to the High Court to not proceed with the plea challenging his election. It asked the Gujarat High Court to frame the issues to be decided by it on Rajput's petition and posted the matter before it for hearing in August.
Rajput, a Congress MLA, had defected from the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just ahead of the August 8, 2017 Rajya Sabha election for three seats in the state.
Fielded as a BJP nominee for one of the seats, he lost the election to Patel after the Election Commission passed an order invalidating the votes of then Congress MLAs Raghavjee Patel and Bholabhai Gohel over flouting of poll norms as the two had gone against the party's decision, and voted for Rajput instead.
The decision paved the way for Patel's victory.
After the elections, Rajput filed the petition in August 2017 questioning the Commission's order that came following objections raised by the Congress.
He had also accused Patel of indulging in corrupt practices by taking 44 Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru and keeping them in captivity and spending lavishly on them.
The Gujarat High Court had rejected Patel's plea against admission of Rajput's petition challenging the Election Commission's decision that resulted in his victory, and he subsequently approached the Supreme Court.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

L&T Defence opens production line for Transport Launch Canister for BrahMos Missiles

L&T Defence, one of the leading industry partners of BrahMos Aerospace, today opened a new production line for Transport Launch Canister (TLC) at Ranoli here to cater to the serial production requirements of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile systems.
Dr. Sudhir K Mishra, DS & Director General (BrahMos) and CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace, inaugurated the second production line in the state of Gujarat to manufacture the indigenous canisters which are designed for storage, transportation and launch of the state-of-the-art BrahMos weapon system.
The canister for the missile serves the dual purpose of a container and that of a launching tube.
Mr. Jayant Patil, Whole-Time Director & Sr. Executive Vice-President – Defence Business, L&T, was also present during the official event.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mishra said, “The highly successful BrahMos missile programme has taken a remarkable lead under the flagship ‘Make In India’ initiative of our Government. Today, BrahMos has created a robust ecosystem of indigenous defence manufacturing and integration, thus reinforcing and realising the long-cherished dream of self-reliance in this critical sector. And the immense contribution of each of our defence industry partners in this direction is highly commendable.”
Mr. Patil said, “We have been associated with the development of BrahMos missile programme for close to two decades. Our journey started under the guidance of DRDO to develop indigenous capabilities and facilities for realization of composite airframes, canisters and allied sub-systems for BrahMos missile. Our products have successfully passed applicable qualification tests, and L&T has already started delivering these articles under serial production mode.”
The versatile, multi-role, multi-platform BrahMos has been integrated with L&T-manufactured Composite Airframes and two different versions of Transport Launch Canister (TLC). L&T Defence has successfully completed the realisation of Composite Airframes for the tactical missile.
L&T Defence’s Advanced Composites Manufacturing Facility at Ranoli, Vadodara, will now take up the serial production of BrahMos TLC. The unit has the accreditation of National Aerospace and Defence Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) towards manufacturing of Aerospace Products. The Advanced Composites Laboratory at Ranoli, in its efforts towards quality compliance for the ongoing BrahMos programme, has received the Accreditation Certification from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
As a leading industry partner of BrahMos Aerospace, L&T Defence is augmenting the infrastructure at its Precision Manufacturing & Systems Complex, Coimbatore by adding a Composites Facility which will also cater to the serial production requirements. 
L&T Defence has also been closely involved in the design, development and production of Launchers and Fire Control Systems (FCS) for the formidable BrahMos missiles for naval platforms.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Ahead of Rahul's visit to Gujarat, senior Congress MLA threatens to quit

Senior Congress legislator and OBC leader from Gujarat's Saurashtra region Vikram Madam on Friday threatened to resign if the party failed to address "several issues" worrying him.
His announcement, a few days before Congress President Rahul Gandhi visits Gujarat on July 16 and 17, comes less than a week after another veteran MLA from the same region Kunwarji Bavaliya resigned and joined the BJP to be made a cabinet minister.
Incidentally, Gandhi is scheduled to tour the same Saurashtra region, according to informed sources. BJP President Amit Shah, who is "credited" with engineering problems in the Congress, will also be in the state on July 13 and 14.
Madam, the legislator from Khambhalia and two-time Jamnagar Lok Sabha member, said that there were "several" issues that were bothering him. "I would continue to raise them within party forum and but if I do not get satisfactory answers, I may leave Congress," he told reporters.
Madam said even if he happened to quit he "would never join" the BJP. Incidentally, Bavaliya, who is a three-day-old cabinet minister, had also made similar claims.
Other than meeting state party leaders, Madam is pinning his hopes on a probable meeting with Gandhi during his visit. 
Madam and Bavaliya are not the only ones from the crucial Saurashtra region to rebel. Rajkot strongman and earlier the richest MLA, Indranil Rajyaguru, called it quits late last month. 
Rajyaguru, who had won from Rajkot East constituency in 2012, vacated this safe seat to take on Chief Minister Vijay Rupani during the December 2017 assembly elections but lost.
Party sources claimed they were upset with the Congress leadership for trying to bring in a generational shift in the party's Gujarat unit by ushering in two young men, Amit Chavda as state party President and Paresh Dhanani as leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly. 
Madam, like Bavalia, is an OBC strongman. He lost out to Dhanani, who is a Patel, and the party needed to keep the community in good humour, the sources added.
Saurashtra region, which sends 52 legislators to the 182-member Assembly, has been a bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party for over two decades but the Congress made a huge comeback in the 2017 elections winning as many as 30 seats. It is also in this context that the going of these leaders is bad news for the party with the 2019 elections less than a year away. 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Alpesh, Hardik, Jignesh conduct raids on 'liquor den'

Gujarat's three young firebrand leaders -- Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakore -- on Thursday raided a country liquor stand in the state capital and announced they would be carrying out similar 'janata (public) raids' on illicit liquor dens across the state to expose the government's failure in implentation of prohibition.
They alleged that the liquor stand was running right behind the Superintendent of Police's office here and they recovered liquor pouches from there.
"Every year 10,000 to 15,000 youngsters are losing their lives by consuming illicit liquor. All three of us, Thakor Sena, Dalit Ekta Manch and PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti), will together carry on 'janta raids' across the state, beginning Saturday, on illegal liquor dens," Thakore, the Congress legislator from Radhanpur in north Gujarat, told reporters. He was flanked by Mevani and Patel.
"Today, there is a rule of bootleggers in Gujarat," Thakore, who has been running a campaign against illegal liquor for nearly two years, added.
Patel said: "It is sad that liquor is easily available across the land of Gandhi. I went to Bihar recently but it was not available there. How come it is available in Gujarat? If police stops us from carrying out janta raids, it is a failure of the government."
Vadgam MLA Mevani said: "Police and government are responsible for the failure of prohibition policy. It is not the responsibility of Jignesh, Alpesh or Hardik to ensure that the law is implemented but that of the government. There seems to be a channel of corruption that is running from bottom till top. It is a state-wide nexus."
Thakore also said: "A lot of hue and cry is being made about 'Udta Punjab', but here the 'Dry Gujarat' too has similar problems. If the government can stop water pouches in a day, why cannot it stop sale of illicit liquor?"
Police however denied there was any liquor den running from behind the SP's office and only a couple of polythene pouches containing 400 ml of country liquor were found. "It appears prima facie that someone may have planted the pouches! We don't have anything that shows that illegal liquor was being made there," said Gandhinagar SP Virendrasinh Yadav.
The three youth leaders raised the issue after four persons were admitted to the civil hospital in Ahmedabad after consuming spurious substance on Wednesday night. However, police said no traces of ethyl alcohol or methyl alcohol were found.
"The FSL reports suggest that no traces of any drugs or ethyl or methyl alcohol have been found in the initial reports of the blood samples of the four persons. We will have to wait for some more time," said Ahmedabad Crime Branch's Special Commissioner J.K. Bhatt.
Moreover, police also claimed that they want to seriously curb the sale of illegal liquor in the state. "We arrested 240 persons under PASA (Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act) and 55 persons were externed last year in Ahmedabad city alone. We have started a special prohibition drive," said Ahmedabad's Special Commissioner of Police K. L. N. Rao.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Senior Gujarat Congress MLA joins BJP, to be made minister

Accusing Congress President Rahul Gandhi of playing caste politics and ignoring the aspirations of senior leaders, veteran Gujarat Congress MLA and prominent Koli community leader Kunwarji Bawalia on Tuesday quit as a legislator to join the ruling BJP. He will be sworn in as a minister in the evening.
A four-time MLA from Jasdan and former Lok Sabha member from Rajkot in 2009, Bawalia handed over his resignation to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi. He subsequently went to the BJP's "Shree Kamalam" state headquarters and met the party's state President Jitu Vaghani and two other cabinet ministers to join the party.
The Koli community leader, who has been sulking ever since the December 2017 elections for being ignored for any key party position, said: "Gandhi has been playing caste politics at the cost of the aspirations of senior party men and even the state Congress leadership was doing the same."
"This has been playing on my mind for some time since I was unable to carry out public welfare works without interruption because of internal politicking in the party. 
"On the other hand, I had been watching how Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the national level and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at the state level have been working for public good," he told reporters after joining the BJP. 
Welcoming Bawalia, State BJP chief Jitubhai Vaghani said: "Such a senior leader from the Koli community, he is president of the All-India Koli Samaj, would be big a asset for the party. 
"This is why Chief Minister Rupani has decided to induct him as a minister today (Tuesday)."
"He will be sworn in at 4 p.m.," Vaghani added.
Bawalia said: "Narendra Modi had sentimental relations with me and often told me that the BJP was on the lookout for sincere leaders like me. And the way he is running the government at the national level, he is wedded to development of the country. Ditto Vijay Rupani in Gujarat."
His resignation comes days after another leader from Rajkot, former legislator Indranil Rajyaguru, quit alleging that the Congress leadership ignored the aspirations of several party seniors.
Rajyaguru had unsuccessfully contested Gujarat Assembly elections in December 2017, against Vijay Rupani. 
The richest MLA from Gujarat, Rajyaguru had vacated his safe Rajkot East constituency to taken on the chief minister.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Veteran Gujarat Congress MLA resigns from party

Senior Gujarat Congress MLA and prominent Koli community leader Kunwarji Bawalia on Tuesday tendered his resignation as a legislator as well as from the party. He then reached the BJP's state headquarters "Shree Kamalam" and met the party's state President Jitu Vaghani and two other cabinet ministers.
Bawalia, a four-time MLA from Jasdan constituency in Rajkot district, handed over his papers to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi. 
Bawalia was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rajkot during the 2009 elections.
The Koli community leader, who has been sulking ever since the December 2017 elections for being ignored for any key party position, is likely to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and, sources believe, could be inducted into the Vijay Rupani cabinet.
His resignation comes days after another leader from Rajkot, former legislator Indranil Rajyaguru, quit alleging that the Congress leadership ignored the aspirations of several party seniors.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

IndiGo launches Surat as its 56th destination

Low-cost carrier IndiGo today announced Surat as its 56th destination with new flights connecting the south Gujarat city to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
IndiGo has so far launched seven domestic and two international destinations since the beginning of this year.
A press release from the airline said that IndiGo would also launch three new routes -- Jaipur-Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati and Mumbai-Bagdogra -- along with the new flights to and from Surat from August 2018.
"The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options," it said.
Mr William Boulter, Chief Strategy Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to fly out of Surat starting August 2018. Surat, undoubtedly holds immense potential for IndiGo, and launching operations to and from the diamond city is in line with our growth strategy for the India market. IndiGo is looking at introducing new flights connecting Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. We are also launching three other new routes which includes Jaipur- Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati, and Mumbai-Bagdogra.  With these new services, we are providing more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, courteous and hassle-free service and an always affordable flying experience.”
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Three Gujarat BJP MLAs protest against government

Three senior ruling BJP legislators from Vadodara district came out in the open late on Wednesday evening expressing their resentment against the State government and claimed more than a dozen others were with them, hours after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani flew out the country on a six-day tour.
Three legislators, Madhu Srivastava from Waghodia constituency, Yogesh Patel from Manjalpur and Ketan Inamdar from Savli, asserted that several state ministers and the bureaucracy were not listening to them and showing a callous attitude to public representatives.
Incidentally, national BJP President Amit Shah was in his home state on Wednesday but the MLAs chose to vent their grievances before the media, also claiming that many more legislators were angry with the working of the government.
Madhu Srivastava, who is a legislator for six terms, asserted that several other frustrated MLAs were with them and they would also come out in future. "Today we are three but tomorrow there may be 13 or 23. Today we three, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, have got together. Now let anything happen," Srivastava said.
"Ever since the present government took charge six months ago, the bureaucrats in the state are working at their whims and fancies. And when we go to meet the ministers on the designated Tuesdays for us, we are unable to see them," Srivastava told reporters, as Patel and Inamdar nodded in agreement.
Concurring with Srivastava, Yogesh Patel said that their only demand was that when they seek resolution to the issues of their electorate, it must be sorted out but this was not happening.
Asked if they had made a representation to the Chief Minister about this, Srivastava said, "We are not going to stand in queue (to meet him) if the officials did not allow them."
Ketan Inamdar said their anger was not against the party or the government but with the attitude of officials. "The government which is trying to do best for the people, should sure have control over the bureaucracy but it appears the officials have got thick-skinned," he said.
The BJP swiftly swung in to action, asking senior Cabinet minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to intervene. "Whatever be the issue, I, Nitin bhai (Deputy Chief Minister) and Jitubhai Vaghani (state BJP President) will speak to them in person and sort out their issues," Chudasama said.
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, "The three have been summoned by state party chief for a meeting in person. We have touched base with them and asked them to put forth their grievances on the right forum."
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Seychelles President Danny Faure arrives in Ahmedabad at start of six-day visit to India

Seychelles President Danny Faure arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday evening at the start of a six-day state visit to India.
He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising two Cabinet Ministers, four Secretaries of State and other senior officials of the Government of Seychelles. A business delegation will also be accompanying him on the visit. 
In Ahmedabad, Mr. Faure will visit the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram and the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University before meeting the Governor of the state today.
Later in the day, he will reach Goa, where he will have a meeting with the Governor tomorrow before emplaning for Delhi.
In Delhi, Mr. Faure will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday morning. This will be followed by a visit to Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. 
His official engagements include meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, delegation level talks with the Prime Minister, calls by the Vice-President and the External Affairs Minister, and an address to the India-Seychelles Business Forum.  President Kovind will host a State Banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary. 
On Tuesday, Mr. Faure will travel to Dehradun, Uttarakhand, where he will meet the Governor on that day and visit the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy on the next day before returning to Delhi and  then flying back home.
"The State Visit of President Faure is part of regular high level exchanges between India and Seychelles, and will accord an opportunity to review our wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership," the release added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Nothing unusal, says ADCB; 1.6 lakh deposited Rs 746-cr banned notes, says NABARD

The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) on Friday attributed the country's highest deposits of Rs 745.59 crore in banned currencies at the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) to the latter's massive size and performance.
After a political storm over the IANS report on RTI revelations about ADCB, in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah is a director, the NABARD came out in strong defence of the Ahmedabad-based bank.
"NABARD conducted 100 per cent verification in ADCB which revealed that the bank had complied with all the KYC guidelines of the RBI while accepting the demonetised notes," it said in a statement here.
"During the period when the banks were permitted to accept deposits, 1.6 lakh customers of the bank deposited/exchanged the demonetised notes aggregating to Rs 746 crore, which was only about 15 percent of the total deposits of the bank," NABARD said.
Confirming the figure of deposits of the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes worth Rs 745.59 crore, NABARD said the ADCB has 16 lakh accounts spread across 194 branches, making it Gujarat's biggest DCCB.
It said of the 16 lakhs accounts, barely 1.6 lakh customers or 9.37 percent exchanged or deposited the old notes.
Of these less than Rs 2.5 lakhs were deposited in 98.66 percent of the accounts in which deposits/ exchanges were made.
NABARD also said of the total number of accounts with ADCB, only 0.09 percent comprised accounts with deposits of more than Rs 2.5 lakh.
"The average deposit amount in ADCB was Rs 46,795, which was lower than average per depositor in 18 DCCBs of Gujarat," it added.
In contrast, the NABARD said that the DCCBs in Maharashtra and Kerala had deposits that were higher than the DCCBs in Gujarat.
Our Gujarat Correspondent, Darshan Desai adds: ADC Bank chairman Ajay Patel says there was "nothing unusual" about the bank receiving as much as Rs 746 crore deposits in the first five days of demonetisation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 2016.
Asked how could the bank staff managed to handle so much money in just five days when making deposits after demonetisation required a detailed procedure, Patel told IANS, "We have 194 branches across Gujarat, not just one."
"So it is no big deal. And for any other clarification about the deposits in our bank, the NABARD has issued a detailed press release. You can refer that," he added, speaking in Gujarati.
The NABARD statatement lauded the ADCB, saying the bank had total business levels of over Rs 9,000-crore, is one of the top 10 DCCBs in the country, and was recently awarded for best performance by the Federatoin of Cooperative Banks, and its deposit base of Rs 5,330-crore is the highest among all the Gujarat banks.
Moreover, calling it a "farmer friendly bank", it said the bank has adopted technology to the core to enhance ease of doing banking to farmers, is among the first few DCCBs in India to offer modern mobile banking and limited Internet banking facilities to its customers.
IANS on Thursday highlighted how the ADCB became the most sought-after bank for deposits of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies which were abruptly demonetised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.
The issue created a controversy with several opposition parties, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the CPI-M targeting the BJP on the issue.
Mumbai Youth Congress President Ganesh Yadav has announced a protest on Saturday to demand a CBI probe against Shah on all the charges against him, suspension of the Rajkot DCCB Chairman Jayesh V. Radadiya who is a cabinet minister in Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's government, and stringent action against both the banks and its officials.
Earlier in the day, the AICC issued a hard hitting statement detailing the other DCCBs in Gujarat which are controlled by the ruling BJP.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Indian scientists discover sub-Saturn-like planet around Sun-like star

A team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has discovered a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. 
The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b, an official press release said here today.
The research work has appeared online in Astronomical Journal of the American Astronomical Society and published by IOP publishing (the DOI of the article is 10.3847/1538-3881 /aac436).
The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. 
Only 23 such planetary systems (including this discovery) are known to this date with masses between 10 and 70 Earth mass and size of 4 to 8 Earth radii with such precise measurement of mass, the release said.
"This discovery is very important for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star and as well as planet formations around Sun-like stars," it said.
With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements, the release added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Bank with Amit Shah as director collected highest amount of banned notes among DCCBs: RTI reply

A district cooperative bank, which has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah as a director, netted the highest deposits among such banks of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on November 8, 2016, according to RTI replies received by a Mumbai activist.
The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes -- in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement. All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency notes from the public after November 14, 2016, -- five days after demonetisation -- on fears that black money would be laundered through this route.
According to the bank's website, Shah continues to be a director with the bank and has been in that position for several years. He was also the bank's chairman in 2000. ADCB's total deposits on March 31, 2017, were Rs 5,050 crore and its net profit for 2016-17 was Rs 14.31 crore.
Right behind ADCB, is the Rajkot District Cooperative Bank, whose chairman Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is a cabinet minister in Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's government. It got deposits of old currencies worth Rs 693.19 crore.
Interestingly, Rajkot is the hub of Gujarat BJP politics -- Prime Minister Modi was first elected from there as a legislator in 2001.
Incidentally, the figures of Ahmedabad-Rajkot DCCBs are much higher than the apex Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Ltd, which got deposits of a mere Rs 1.11 crore.
"The amount of deposits made in the State Cooperative Banks (SCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) -- revealed under RTI for first time since demonetisation -- are astounding," Manoranjan S. Roy, the RTI activist who made the effort to get the information, told IANS.
The RTI information was given by the Chief General Manager and Appellate Authority, S. Saravanavel, of the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).
It has also come to light, through the RTI queries, that only seven public sector banks (PSBs), 32 SCBs, 370 DCCBs, and a little over three-dozen post offices across India collected Rs 7.91 lakh crore -- more than half (52 per cent) of the total amount of old currencies of Rs 15.28 lakh crore deposited with the RBI.
The break-up of Rs 7.91 lakh crore mentioned in the RTI replies shows that the value of spiked notes deposited with the RBI by the seven PSBs was Rs 7.57 lakh crore, the 32 SCBs gave in Rs 6,407 crore and the 370 DCCBs brought in Rs 22,271 crore. Old notes deposited by 39 post offices were worth Rs 4,408 crore.
Information from all the SCBs and DCCBs across India were received through the replies. The seven PSBs account for around 29,000 branches -- out of the over 92,500 branches of the 21 PSBs in India -- according to data published by the RBI. The 14 other PSBs declined to gave information on one ground or the other. There are around 155,000 post offices in the country.
Fifteen months after demonetisation, the government had announced that Rs 15.28 lakh crore -- or 99 per cent of the cancelled notes worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore -- were returned to the RBI treasury.
Roy said it was a serious matter if only a few banks and their branches and a handful post offices, apart from SCBs and DCCBs, accounted for over half the old currency notes.
"At this rate, serious questions arise about the actual collection of spiked notes through the remaining 14 mega-PSBs, besides rural-urban banks, private banks (like ICICI, HDFC and others), local cooperatives, Jankalyan Banks and credit cooperatives and other entities with banking licenses, the figures of which are not made available under RTI," he said.
The SCBs were allowed to exchange or take deposits of banned notes till December 30, 2016 -- for a little over seven weeks, in contrast to district cooperative banks which were allowed only five days of transactions.
The prime minister during his demonetisation speech had said that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be deposited in bank or post office accounts from November 10 till close of banking hours on December 30, 2016, without any limit. "Thus you will have 50 days to deposit your notes and there is no need for panic," he had said.
After an uproar, mostly from BJP allies, the government also opened a small window in mid-2017, during the presidential elections, allowing the 32 SCBs and 370 DCCBs -- largely owned, managed or controlled by politicians of various parties -- to deposit their stocks of the spiked notes with the RBI. The move was strongly criticised by the Congress and other major Opposition parties.
Among the SCBs, the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank topped the list of depositors with Rs 1,128 crore from 55 branches and the smallest share of Rs 5.94 crore came from just five branches of Jharkhand State Cooperative Bank, according to the replies.
Surprisingly, the Andaman & Nicobar State Cooperative Bank's share (from 29 branches) was Rs 85.76 crore.
While Maharashtra has a population of 12 crore, Jharkhand's population is 3.6 crore. Andaman & Nicobar Islands have less than four lakh residents.
The poorest of all the cooperative banks in the country is Banki Central Cooperative Bank Ltd in Odisha, which admitted to receiving zero deposits of the spiked currency.
Of the total 21 PSBs, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab & Sindh Bank, Vijaya Bank, Andhra Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and IDBI Bank (14 banks) -- with over 63,500 branches amongst them -- did not give any information on deposits.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Gujarat farmers protest land acquisition for bullet train

Strong protests have started emerging in Gujarat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project of a bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, with farmers in Surat district taking to the streets opposing acquisition of land for the purpose.
More than 200 farmers from 15 villages drove down to the Surat District Collectorate in tractors and motorcycles against the notification to acquire their land for the project with as many as 14 objections. They submitted a detailed memorandum to the District Collector.
Farmer leader Jayesh Patel told reporters that around 140 hectares of land across 21 villages were being acquired for the project, which is being opposed by the farmers.
"The notification for land acquisition was issued without carrying out the mandatory environmental or social impact assessment," he said, pointing out that there had been no consultation with the local bodies before bringing out the notification.
He went on: "Legally, the District Collector needs to declare the market rate of the land for which the acquisition notification is issued." This had not been done so far.
The farmers, who gathered at the collectorate, said the government had already acquired enough land for the Delhi-Mumbai dedicated freight corridor. 
Patel said even Western Railways have sufficient land to take the project forward. "There is no reason why our land is being acquired now," he added.
Besides Surat, hundreds of farmers in another South Gujarat district of Valsad are also strongly opposing the land acquisition in their fertile mango and chikoo region. 
Similarly, the National High Speed Rail Corp Ltd (NHRCL), the nodal body to implement the Bullet Train Project, is also facing resistance in Palghar in Maharashtra.
"We are in touch with our counterparts in Palghar and like them we too don't want to part with our land," Patel added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Smart City Centres helping in improved and efficient delivery of public services: Puri

Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep S Puri has stated that Smart City Centre project, a unique component of the Smart City Mission, was helping in improved and efficient delivery of public services.
He was speaking while chairing the Consultative Committee meeting attached to the Ministry here recently.  Parliament Members KRP Prabhakaran, Raghav Lakhanpal, Rattan Lal Kataria, Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary and senior officers of the Ministry attended the meeting.       
Presentations were made by the CEO/representatives of Smart Cities from Surat, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Pune, Visakhapatnam, NDMC and Bhubaneshwar. These showcased the progress made by projects in various sectors like Smart classrooms (Visakhapatnam& NDMC), Social Equity Centre (Bhubaneshwar), Mayor’s Express (Bhopal), Disaster resilience mechanism adopted in smart cities located in coastal areas, and so on.
The members of Consultative Committee were also shown some of the projects in Surat Smart City like Bamroli Tertiary Treatment Plan, Althan Water Treatment Plant, visible improvement of area-Smart Road, affordable housing projects, vertical garden, BRTS (Gujarat Gas Circle), Surat fort and SMAC Centre. 
At present, nine Integrated Control and Command Centre at Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Pune, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara and Bhopal have become operational. Mr Puri said it has been observed that the cities were becoming cleaner due to monitoring of cleaning work through CCTV cameras leading to a reduction in instances of garbage throwing, littering, urinating in public and nighttime burning of garbage. Increase in traffic challan issuing indicated an orientation for better traffic discipline.
The Intelligent Transit Management System has helped Ahmedabad to improve its operational efficiency by reducing its operational cost while improving the service levels. Smart City Centres were also providing technical support in ensuring better safety of women on the streets, environmental sensitivity of people, faster response and better preparedness for emergencies and disasters., he added
During the course of the meeting, the Minister said that around 1350 projects worth Rs 50,000 crore have been tendered in the Smart City Mission, of which work has begun or has been completed in 950 projects costing Rs 30,675 crore.
Another 400 projects costing about Rs. 20,000 crore are at tendering stage.  Other projects being implemented in the mission are Smart Roads which optimize the utilization of space and are adding universal accessibility in 31 cities.  
As many as 47 cities were implementing more than 120 MW of solar projects promoting cleaner energy. Development of public spaces like riverfront, waterfronts, rejuvenation of city lakes and ponds are a priority of the mission, he said.
“An innovative feature of the mission is that our municipal bodies need to leverage their financial resources by municipal bonds, value capture finance, PPP, multi-lateral loans etc. It is noteworthy that 98 projects costing Rs 6,000 crore are under implementation with Public Private Partnership (PPP). PPP projects are getting good responses not only in the big cities but even in the smaller towns,” he added.
He said making Urban Local Bodies financially self-sufficient was very important for sustainable development. The Ministry has also started a campaign to do the credit rating of cities, which has been completed in 412 cities. As many as 155 cities have become "investment grade". 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

BHEL wins orders of over Rs. 125 crore for setting up solar photovoltaic plants

The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had won two orders, cumulatively valued at more than Rs. 125 crore, for setting up solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants, on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis,  in Gujarat.
The first order for setting up a 20 MW SPV power plant has been placed on BHEL by Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL), while the other for setting up a 10 MW SPV power plant has been received from Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (GSFC). 
Both the solar power plants will be set up at Gujarat Solar Park, Charanka, Gujarat, a press release from the company said.
With these orders, BHEL’s solar capacity under execution at Gujarat Solar Park has reached 120 MW while the company’s solar portfolio has risen to 580 MW, the release said.
The company is presently executing over 210 MW of ground-mounted and rooftop solar PV projects across the country, it said.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

IAF's second Jaguar crash in three days

An Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot escaped narrowly on Friday after the Jaguar aircraft he was flying developed a snag and crashed near an air base in Gujarat.
The pilot, a Squadron Leader, was returning to the Jamnagar Air Force base after a routine training mission when he detected the snag while landing, an IAF spokesperson said.
He managed to eject safely but it wasn't known immediately if he sustained any grave injuries.
Informed sources said the plane rolled for about 500 feet before the rocket-assisted ejection seat threw the pilot out. The plane then rolled for another 100 feet and slipped into the rough alongside the tarmac.
A court of inquiry has been ordered, the spokesperson said. 
This is the second IAF Jaguar crash in the last three days.
Air Commodore Sanjai Chauhan was killed after his plane went down in the Kutch region in northwestern Gujarat on Tuesday. He had also taken off from the Jamnagar Air Force base for a routine training mission. The cause of the June 5 crash is still unknown.
The Jaguar aircraft, in service for four decades, were built under licensing from SEPECAT - an Anglo-French consortium.
The IAF has been upgrading them with modern avionics, radar systems and modern engines to prolong their service life.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

38 Indians rescued from cyclone-hit Yemen island reach Porbandar

The 38 Indians rescued by an Indian Naval ship on June 3 from the Yemeni island of Socotra, which was hit by cyclone Mekenu last month, reached Porbandar in Gujarat safely on Thursday.
"Indian Naval Ship Sunayana entered Porbandar harbour at 0900 hrs today on 07 Jun 2018 after successfully evacuating 38 Indian Nationals at/ off Socotra Islands during a swift Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operation (HADR), code named Operation Nistar," a press release from the Ministry of Defence said here yesterday.
The Indian nationals were stranded for nearly ten days after the severe cyclonic storm devastated the area around Socotra island.
INS Sunayna was diverted from Gulf of Aden deployment to Socotra Island for search and rescue operations after the Indian Navy received a distress call from the Directorate General of Shipping and the Indian Sailing Vessels Association. 
The 38 Indian nationals were successfully rescued and evacuated in the early morning of June 3.
"All evacuees were safely embarked onboard the ship and were immediately provided with medical care, food, water and telephone facilities. Thereafter, the ship also undertook intensive surface search and aerial reconnaissance of the area to look for any more survivors," the release said.
Upon entering harbour, INS Sunayna was received by Rear Admiral Sanjay Roye, Flag Officer Commanding Gujarat, Daman & Diu Naval Area. After initial briefing about the scheduled disembarkation formalities, all 38 Indian nationals were put through mandatory customs clearance and immigration checks. They were served light refreshments. 
Post completion of all the administrative formalities, they were handed over to the civil police to facilitate their return to their native places, the release added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Deendayal Port in Kandla to have mechanized facility for handling fertilizer cargo

The Standing Finance Committee of the Ministry of Shipping has cleared a project for setting up an exclusive, fully mechanized handling facility for fertilizer cargo at Deendayal Port in Kandla, Gujarat.
The facility will be developed at berth number 14 of the port, which is being constructed at an approximate cost of Rs 138 crore. 
The port will further invest approximately Rs 340 crore for the project from its internal resources. Initially, the proposed facility will handle 2.60 MMTPA and subsequently, this will be raised to 4.50 MMTPA, an official press release said.
In the proposed project, all activities, right from the unloading of bulk fertilizer cargo from the ships to loading of the bagged fertilizer onto the wagons will be fully mechanized. The fertilizer cargo will be unloaded using Mobile Harbour Cranes onto Mobile Hoppers.
The conveyor system, along with the tipper system, will transfer the cargo to the cargo storage shed of 38,500 m2.  The storage shed will be equipped with 40 sets of bagging and stitching units which will feed the bagged cargo directly into wagons to reduce labour, movement and will optimize time and as such the logistic cost will come down, the release said.
At present, the handling of fertilizer cargo at Deendayal Port involves multiple movements and agencies.  The mechanized facility will reduce the same and ensure faster delivery of the cargo to the end users. It will be beneficial to the farmers in terms of cost and faster delivery, the release said.
For the fertilizer importers, the benefits of the proposed facility will be efficient operation due to end to end mechanization; No contamination of fertilizer cargo due to dedicated mechanization and closed PEB Shed; No internal vehicular movement for transfer of cargo; Lesser number of labour required due to mechanization and no multiple handling; One time transfer through equipment and conveyor.
It will also have Mechanized Dust Suppression to avoid dust; Lower rake turn-around time; Lower vessel turn-around time and lower logistics cost.
 The tendering work for the project is in progress. The facility is expected to be commissioned by October 2020, the release added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

IAF Jaguar crashes in Jamnagar, pilot dies

An Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar crashed in Gujarat on Tuesday, killing its pilot, an official said.
An IAF spokesperson said the aircraft was on a routine training mission when it met with the accident at Jamnagar around 10.30 a.m. 
"The pilot, Air Commodore Sanjay Chauhan, sustained fatal injuries during the crash," the spokesperson said. 
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

First LNG cargo under long-term contract with Russia arrives at Dahej

The first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under GAIL (India) Limited's long-term contract with Russia arrived at the LNG Terminal of Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) in Dahej, Gujarat today.
The cargo is part of the contract signed by GAIL with Gazprom Marketing & Trading Singapore (GMTS) of Russia. The LNG vessel “LNG Kano” carried 3.4 TBTU of LNG, a press release from GAIL said.
The cargo was received by Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan in Dahej. Russian Trade Commissioner in New Delhi and senior officials of Gazprom were present on the  occasion.
Mr. Pradhan said that the starting of LNG imports from Russia has added a new dimension to the  bilateral relations between the two countries.
He pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin had placed special emphasis on energy cooperation between the two countries, which has taken shape of an "energy bridge" between the two countries. Today’s arrival of the first LNG cargo from Russia is an example of this growing strategic partnership, he sai.
Mr. Pradhan said Russia had emerged as a long-term source for India’s hydrocarbon imports. He said LNG imports from Russia will go a long way in mitigating the risks arising out of geo-political uncertainties. He said the government is committed towards transforming India into a gas-based economy. To realize this aspiration, investments are being made for augmenting natural gas infrastructure, including pipelines, LNG import terminals and City Gas Distribution networks.
GAIL became the first Indian public-sector company from India to source LNG from Russian side on a long term basis. It has contracted to import 2.5 MMTPA of LNG from Gazprom Marketing and Trading Singapore’s (GMTS) under this arrangement.
In the last few years, Indian companies have made investment of more than $ 10 billion in acquiring varying stakes in strategic Russian projects Sakhalin-1, Vankorneft and Taas-Yuryakh. On the other hand, a Russian company-led consortium has committed an investment of $ 13 billion in Essar Oil in 2016.
Russia is currently the world’s largest crude oil and second largest gas producer in the world. India is the world’s third largest energy consumer and fourth largest importer of LNG. Russia has potential to be a significant supplier for Indian hydrocarbon demand in the coming years, the release added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Governor an important link in the federal structure, says Kovind

Kovind, Naidu, Modi attend Governors' Conference
President Ram Nath Kovind today said as per the Constitution, the Governor occupies an exalted place in the scheme of governance as a mentor and guide to the state government and an important link in the federal structure.
Delivering the inaugural address at the two-day Conference of Governors and Lt. Governors at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mr Kovind said, “The people of the state view the office of the Governor and the Raj Bhavan as a fount of ideas and values.
He said in the previous conference, various issues related to infrastructure, public services, higher education in the States and skill development were discussed and extremely useful and valuable suggestions were received.
A Committee of Governors constituted at that meeting had submitted its report in January. The report envisages the role of Governors as “Change Agents” in society, he added.
Mr Kovind said that, while drafting the agenda for the Conference, the central focus has been to sensitise the participants to the programmes being implemented for the benefit of those citizens who have been left behind in the development journey.
“As many as 115 Aspirational Districts, across various states, have committed themselves to speedy development. There will be a presentation and discussion on the schemes being implemented in these districts. Understanding this background will help you guide a spectrum of stakeholders in their efforts to work for the welfare of the poor, women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, farmers and young people.
“There are approximately 100 million people in our country who belong to the Scheduled Tribes. A majority of this population lives in regions that are covered under the Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. As Governors, you can help in the shaping of a roadmap for the betterment of lives of our fellow citizens, who have not benefited as much as expected from our development journey,” Mr Kovind said.
Referring to the youth, he pointed out that 69% of all universities were under the purview of state governments. About 94% of students enrolled for higher education study in these universities. Governors are the Chancellors of most of these universities.
In their capacity as Chancellors of state universities, it is for them to provide the necessary impetus and inspiration to these institutions and to enhance the level of scholarship. With the instruments of their office and with their rich experience in public life, Governors are ideally equipped for this responsibility, he said.
The President said the Governors can help ensure that admissions of students and appointments of teachers in state universities are completed well in time and in a transparent manner. They can also help ensure that examinations, declaration of results and convocations take place as scheduled. It is for them to inspire state universities to maintain this discipline and integrity.
The Conference will discuss important thematic issues in various sessions which include briefings and presentations on flagship programmes of the Government and on internal security; higher education in state universities and skill development for employability; steps taken on the report of Committee of Governors, constituted during the 48th Conference of Governors; and commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
A special session on Union Territories will also be held on June 5 at which Lt. Governors/Administrators of Union Territories will discuss the status of implementation of various flagship programmes.
Apart from the Governors and Lt. Governors of all States and Union Territories, the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Human Resource Development, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Minister of State for Culture and the Vice-Chairman and CEO of NITI Aayog and other senior officials from various Ministries are participating in the Conference.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

ED attaches Sterling Biotech properties worth Rs 4,700 crore

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has attached properties worth Rs 4,700 crore in a Rs 5,000-crore bank fraud case involving Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech.
The Directorate has attached properties of Sterling Biotech in Mumbai and Ahmedabad under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, an ED official told IANS.
The official said the attached assets include around 4,000 acres of immovable properties, plant machinery, around 200 bank accounts of various companies and accounts of promoters, shares worth Rs 6.67 crore and various high-end luxury cars.
The ED action comes after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) lodged an FIR against Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, Anup Prakash Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud.
Sterling Biotech had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank which turned into non-performing assets. The total pending dues of the group companies stood at Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016, said the CBI FIR.
The Directorate said that during the probe, it found that "certain entries" in a diary seized by the Income Tax Department in 2011 showed cash payments amounting to Rs 1.52 crore made to one "Garg, Director, Andhra Bank" between 2008 and 2009 by the Sandesara brothers.
On January 13, the ED arrested Garg. The agency also arrested a Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in connection with the case in November 2017.
According to the ED officials, the Sandesaras had set up more than 300 shell and benami companies in India and abroad, which were used to divert and misutilise loan funds. The modus operandi of money laundering involved formation of shell or benami companies, manipulating balance sheets, inflating turnovers, insider shares trading, etc. 
"These shell and benami companies were controlled by the Sandesaras through dummy directors, who were or are employees of the various companies of Sterling Group," the official said.
According to the agency officials, a major breakthrough in the case came when the agency was successful in recovering truckloads of material connected to the formation and management of the various shell and benami companies, such as original cheque books, rubber stamps, company seals, original property documents, original PAN cards, and more than 10 lakh pages of other incriminating documents.
"This material was recovered from a room in Jogeshwari (East), Mumbai, where it was shifted from various premises and was being concealed to evade seizure," the official said.
To date, the ED has carried out more than 50 searches at various premises in multiple cities including Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Surat, in connection with the case.
The official said the siphoned off loan funds were used to buy properties in the names of various companies, to purchase shares of Sterling Biotech Ltd and Sterling International Enterprises Ltd to attract market fancy and project a healthy picture of the companies, and to purchase luxury cars including Porsche, Range Rover, Audi, Mercedes, BMW etc.
Besides, the loan money was transferred to other companies' accounts, from where an amount of about Rs 140 crore was withdrawn. Such shell or benami companies included Dipraj Trading Ltd., Embio Trading Ltd., Gatsby Trading Ltd., Newport Enterprise Ltd., Raj Bones Ltd., which were also used for various personal purposes such as purchase of jewellery.
Some of the diverted loan funds were also paid to public servants. 
The official said that the Sandesaras are into the oil business and own several rigs, barges and oilfields across Nigeria. Apart from this, they have several business concerns in Mauritius, the UAE, British Virgin Islands, Seychelles and the USA, among other countries. 
"More than 50 foreign bank accounts and several other assets and properties located abroad, related to the Sterling Group, are also under the ED scanner," the official added.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Education should promote innovation, freedom in thinking: Kovind

The objective of education should be to promote innovation and freedom in thinking, according to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Addressing the annual convocation of the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University here yesterday, Mr Kovind said besides building capacities for a professional career, education should also make students develop a respect for the sentiments of others as well as an inclination to work for the welfare of society.
He said the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University is named after renowned Gujarati literary figure Narmadashankar Dave or Veer Narmad, who was not only a poet and writer but also a social reformer. He was a nation builder who shaped Gujarati and Indian identity and worked for female empowerment, widow remarriage and similar causes.
The President said the region of south Gujarat is an economic engine for the state. And within this region, Surat makes a significant contribution. The textiles and diamond industries are special to Surat and attract workers from across the country. That is why the city is sometimes called “mini--India”.
As the leading educational institution here, the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University bears an important responsibility. The large tribal student population that the University serves also adds to its importance.
Earlier in the day, the President attended a function to felicitate family members of cadaver organ donors. The function was organised by the NGO Donate Life. Addressing the gathering, Mr Kovind called for motivating people for organ donation as a service to humanity.
Later, at another function, he presented the ‘Santokbaa Humanitarian Award’, instituted by the SRK Foundation, to former ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar and Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was happy to note that the business community in Surat, which was well known across the world, was supportive of philanthropic and social welfare efforts.
He appreciated the efforts of Govind Dholakia of SRK Exports for maintaining this tradition and instituting the awards.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.