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Gujarat

ED attaches property worth Rs 1,122 cr of Vadodara's Diamond Power

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached property worth Rs 1,122 crore belonging to Vadodara-based DPIL firm in connection with a Rs 2,654.40 crore bank fraud case.
 
The ED has also attached some belongings of promoter-directors of the Diamond Power Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. -- Suresh Narain Bhatnagar, his two sons Amit Suresh Bhatnagar and Sumit Suresh Bhatnagar -- under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 
 
DPIL, which deals in cables and other electrical equipment, is alleged to have availed credit facilities fraudulently since 2008, leaving behind a total outstanding debt of Rs 2,654.40 crore as of June 29, 2016 sanctioned by a consortium of banks.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is also probing corruption charges in the case, had on April 18 arrested the three from Udaipur in Rajasthan nearly 23 days after it filed an FIR against them. 
 
The ED is probing financial irregularities under money laundering case it has filed based on the CBI FIR. 
 
On April 9, the ED had also conducted raids at the corporate office, factory premises and the residences of the directors of DPIL. 
 
The CBI had on March 26, filed a case against DPIL and its directors for defrauding the consortium of 11 banks. The loan availed by them was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2016-17. 
 
The company managed to get term loans and credit facilities though it figured in the Reserve Bank of India's list of defaulters and the caution list of Export Credit Guarantee Corp of India (ECGCI) at the time of initial sanction of credit limits by the consortium.
 
Bank of India, which tops the list with Rs 670.51 crore of loans, is followed by Bank of Baroda (Rs 348.99 crore), ICICI (Rs 279.46 crore), State Bank of India (Rs 266.37 crore), Axis Bank (Rs 255.32 crore), Allahabad Bank (Rs 227.96), Dena Bank (Rs 177.19 crore), Corporation Bank (109.12 crore), Exim Bank of India (Rs 81.92 crore), IOB (Rs 71.59 crore) and IFCI (58.53 crore). 
 
The CBI FIR said DPIL, through its founder and directors associated in the criminal conspiracy with unidentified bank officials of various banks, cheated those banks by way of misappropriating public funds through falsification of accounts, creation of false documents, forgery of records and knowingly used such records as genuine. 
 
IANS
 
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Gujarat Police arrests SP in extortion, loot case

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Amreli district Superintendent of Police (SP) Jagdish Patel has been arrested in a case of extortion and loot, following the questioning of an Inspector earlier arrested in the case, the Gujarat Police said on Monday.
 
"We picked up the Amreli SP after interrogating arrested Crime Branch Inspector Anant Patel," Director General of Police (CID-Crime) Ashish Bhatia told the media here.
 
Police sources said that SP Jagdish Patel had stayed away from office after the arrest of Inspector Patel. The CID-Crime summoned Jagdish Patel for questioning two days ago but picked him from his residence in Amreli late Sunday night after he did not respond.
 
Surat builder Sailesh Bhatt had alleged that he was abducted by the Amreli Local Crime Branch (LCB) Inspector Anant Patel, who forcibly made him transfer 200 Bitcoin currency of Rs 12 crore from his account and pay up Rs 32 crore in cash. 
 
Bhatt said there were other policemen from the Amreli LCB who helped Patel and kept him confined at a farmhouse near Gandhinagar. He was then forced to share his passwords and code for the transfer of Bitcoins.
 
Amreli LCB Constables Babu Der and Vijay and Surat-based advocate Ketan Patel were also arrested in the case earlier.
 
Anant Patel, on the run since a police complaint filed earlier this month, was arrested by the Crime branch last week. 
 
Anant Patel is said to have named the SP during his interrogation, and claimed that he acted on the Amreli SP's orders.
 
The CID-Crime has constituted an SIT to probe the case.
 
IANS
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Settle matters with The Wire outside court, SC again tells Jay Shah

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The Supreme Court on Monday again asked BJP President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah to settle his defamation suit with The Wire even as the news portal said a firm no to an apology but agreed to carry a clarification.
 
"This is a matter which can be solved" instead of coming to the court, said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud as the court took up for hearing the plea against a civil suit filed by Jay Shah against the news portal.
 
Making it clear that the court will not suffocate the freedom of press, Chief Justice Misra said: "I believe in freedom of press. I don't restrain the media. The court cannot be seen as gagging the press."
 
As senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Jay Shah, complained about an alleged slant given by the news portal to a story regarding Jay Shah's company's revenue, Chief Justice Misra questioned him: "Are you responding to my learned brother's (Justice Chandrachud) statement on settling the matter?"
 
"You are in public life. There are pros and cons... they will put a little bit of slant and masala...," Justice Chandrachud said. 
 
Drawing court attention towards photographs and alleged innuendos that the "moment a particular person comes to power, becomes the Prime Minister, his fortunes soar", Kaul said that Amit Shah's son was not in public life. 
 
The news portal's counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan ruled out an apology but said the clarifications they want are already there. However, she left the courtroom for considering further clarifications.
 
At this, Justice Chandrachud observed: "They are willing to carry any clarification you want. That is as fair as it can be."
 
The Foundation for Independent Journalism, which owns the news portal, has moved the top court against Jay Shah who has filed a civil suit to seek damages of Rs 100 crore.
 
Earlier, the Gujarat High Court declined to quash the case.
 
On April 18, while hearing the news portal's plea against criminal defamation, the apex court had asked both parties to settle the matter amicably.
 
On Monday, the court said that both the cases involving criminal defamation and civil defamation would be taken up on July 9.
 
During a hearing on March 15, the top court put on hold the proceedings before a magisterial court. The stay was extended on April 12 with a further extension on April 18 till July 9.
 
The defamation case is rooted in an article by journalist Rohini Singh on Jay Shah's company, which claimed that the firm's turnover grew exponentially after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
 
IANS
 
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Three held for Surat rape, murder

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Three persons, including the alleged main perpetrator, involved in the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Surat have been arrested, the Gujarat government said on Friday.
 
Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told the media here that Gujarat Police arrested the alleged key perpetrator from a village in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan, who will be brought to Gujarat.
 
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that Surat Police had arrested three persons in the case. All accused are believed to be originally from Rajasthan. 
 
Police had found the body of the girl with over 86 injuries dumped in the bushes near Jeeav Road in Pandesara area of Surat on April 6. An autopsy revealed that she was brutally raped and tortured for days before her murder.
 
A case of rape was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
 
The Minister said that over 400 personnel of Surat police and Ahmedabad Crime Branch worked on the case. 
 
Police analysed the mobile data and CCTV footage from a 3-km radius of the spot from where the body was found. The case was finally cracked after police zeroed in on CCTV footage of a black car moving suspiciously in the area. 
 
Earlier, police suspected that the girl hailed from either Odisha, West Bengal or Jharkhand. An Andhra Pradesh man had come forward to claim the girl was his daughter. Surat police even carried out a DNA test to verify his claim.
 
"On April 9, a woman's decomposed body was found lying a few km from the spot where the girl was found dead. We believe she is the girl's mother. We will carry out a DNA test," Jadeja said.
 
"We will appoint a special public prosecutor to pursue the case in a fast-track court," Jadeja said.
 
IANS
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Maya Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

Six years after a trial court sentenced her to 28 years in jail calling her the key instigator in Gujarat's worst communal massacre that left 97 Muslims dead in 2002 in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya, the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani saying there was no evidence to nail her.
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Six years after a trial court sentenced her to 28 years in jail calling her the key instigator in Gujarat's worst communal massacre that left 97 Muslims dead in 2002 in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya, the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani saying there was no evidence to nail her.
 
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A.S. Supehia acquitted her, stating there was absence of sufficient proof of her presence at the crime scene where huge armed crowds went about on a killing spree for hours.
 
A SIT Court had in 2012 found it "beyond reasonable doubt" that Kodnani, a doctor by profession, was present at the spot of the crime, instigated mobs to attack Muslims and abetted the crime.
 
"In the record of this case, the witnesses have stated that all the disturbances were started and in fact reached its peak after the arrival of Kodnani. It stands proved beyond all reasonable doubt that she was present and participated in the crime on that day," the court had ruled in August 2012, sentencing Kodnani to 28 years in imprisonment.
 
Friday's acquittal of Kodnani, who was made a Minister after the riots, came in the backdrop of witnesses turning hostile, six judges recusing themselves from the hearing and the SIT deciding not to seek enhancement of her sentence stating that it did not have the Gujarat government's sanction for it.
 
BJP President Amit Shah's testimony in the case in September 2017 was the last one and could have proved to be the much needed alibi for Kodnani. He stated that he saw Kodnani in the Gujarat Assembly on 28 February, 2002 (the day of the massacre), first at 8.30 a.m. and then again at 11 a.m. 
 
The Gujarat Assembly is located in Gandhinagar and so the former minister could not have been at Naroda Patiya on the day of the riots.
 
However, the SIT Court had refused to consider this as evidence stating that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad were like twin cities and that Kodnani could have easily travelled to Naroda Patiya from the state Assembly after 8.30 a.m.
 
However, the High Court acquitted her with several witnesses turning hostile and there was insufficient evidence to establish her presence at the place of the crime.
 
The court meanwhile upheld the conviction of Babu Bajrangi, an activist of the Bajrang Dal. The judgment was pronounced on the appeals filed by the former BJP Minister and others against their conviction by the SIT court. He was the key conspirator in the massacre.
 
The Naroda Patiya riots was one of the worst incidents during the communal conflagration that engulfed Gujarat following the train burning incident on February 27, 2002 at Godhra in which 59 Hindus were killed.
 
The High Court in August 2017 had reserved its order.
 
The special court had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani and Bajrangi. Seven others were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).
 
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The remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment of 14 years. The trial court's acquittal of 29 other accused in the case, for want of evidence, was challenged by the SIT, even as those convicted challenged the lower court's order in the High Court for respite.
 
Government counsel Prashant Desai said: "It is clear from the Gujarat High Court's judgment that the court has gone on no witness theory.
 
"Twelve accused have been convicted. Besides Babu Bajrangi, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Chara alias Suresh Langda have been convicted under the IPC 120 (B) as key conspirators.
 
"The sting operation by the Tehelka was not taken into account by the court. The 12 have been convicted with 21 years imprisonment without remission.
 
"Whatever Babu Bajrangi did was no different from what the others did, so his conviction was on parity. Court believed police witnesses.
 
"On Kodnani, there were contradictions in the witnesses' testimony against her presence at the crime scene. None of the police witnesses have said that they saw Kodnani at the scene.
 
"The SIT will have to appeal within 90 days to the Supreme Court if they want to challenge the Gujarat High Court verdict," added the counsel.
 
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said: "Our Minister Kodnani was wrongfully implicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. But today she has been found innocent.
 
"We are happy with the verdict and welcome the decision. She has worked hard for the party and definitely she will be given an active role in the party if she wishes to continue."
 
Meanwhile, the state BJP President Jitu Vaghani has blamed the Congress for arraigning Kodnani in the case. "The Congress wrongfully involved our former minister."
 
IANS
 
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

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A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani, saying there was absence of sufficient proof of her presence at the crime scene in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of 2002.
 
The court also upheld the conviction of Bajrangi Dal activist Babu Bajrangi, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life by the trial court. 
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party Minister was one of the key accused in the riot case and was convicted by a special SIT court in August 2012. She was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
 
The judgment was pronounced on the appeals filed by the former BJP Minister and others against their conviction by the SIT court.
 
The Division Bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A.S. Supehia upheld the conviction by the special court of Babubhai Patel alias Bajrangi, a prominent leader of the Bajrang Dal Hindu outfit.
 
He was a key conspirator in the massacre in Naroda Patiya area, where 97 Muslim persons were killed in the Godhra aftermath. 
 
The Naroda Patiya riots was one of the worst incidents during communal conflagration that engulfed Gujarat, following the train burning incident on February 27, 2002, at Godhra in which 59 Kar Sevaks were killed. 
 
The High Court in August 2017 had reserved its order after the hearing concluded against the judgment of the special court. 
 
The special court had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani and Bajrangi. Seven others were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt). 
 
The remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment of 14 years.
 
The trial court's acquittal of 29 other accused in the case, for want of evidence was challenged by the SIT, even as those convicted had challenged the lower court's order in the High Court for respite.
 
Government counsel Prashant Desai said: "It is clear from the Gujarat High Court's judgment that the court has gone on no witness theory." 
 
"Twelve accused have been convicted. Besides Babu Bajrangi, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Chara alias Suresh Langda have been convicted under the IPC 120 (B) as key conspirators. 
 
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"The sting operation by the Tehelka was not taken into account by the court. The 12 have been convicted with 21 years imprisonment without remission. 
 
"Whatever Babu Bajrangi did was no different from what the others did, so his conviction was on parity. Court believed police witnesses." 
 
"On Maya Kodnani, there were contradictions in the witnesses' testimony against her presence at the crime scene. None of the police witnesses have said that they saw Kodnani at the scene. 
 
"The SIT will have to appeal within 90 days to the Supreme Court if they want to challenge the Gujarat High Court verdict," added the counsel.
 
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said: "Our minister Kodnani was wrongfully implicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. But today after the Gujarat High Court acquittal, she has been found innocent."
 
"We are happy with the verdict and welcome the decision. She has worked hard for the party and definitely she will be given an active role in the party if she wishes to continue." 
 
Meanwhile, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani has blamed the Congress party for arraigning Kodnani in the case. "The Congress wrongfully involved our former minister."
 
IANS
 
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

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A division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Bharatiya Janata Party Minister Maya Kodnani while upholding the conviction of Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of 2002.
 
Kodnani was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court for inciting a mob post the Godhra train carnage in 2002. 
 
The court found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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CBI arrests 3 company directors in Rs 2,654 crore bank fraud case

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The CBI has arrested three promoter-directors of a Vadodara-based company in connection with its ongoing investigation into an alleged case of Rs 2,654.40 crore fraud committed on a consortium of banks, officials said on Wednesday.
 
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official told IANS: "The agency has arrested the promoter-directors of the Diamond Power Infrastructure Ltd (DIPL) Suresh Narain Bhatnagar, his two sons Amit Suresh Bhatnagar and Sumit Suresh Bhatnagar."
 
The CBI located the accused in Udaipur in Rajasthan on Tuesday evening with the assistance of Gujarat Police and arrested them on Wednesday morning.
 
The official said they would be produced before the Special Judge of CBI Cases in Ahmedabad.
 
On March 26, the CBI filed a case against DPIL and its directors for defrauding the consortium of 11 banks of Rs 2,654.40 crore. The loan availed by them was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2016-17.
 
Since the filing of case, the agency has carried out searches at the corporate office, two factory premises and the residences of the directors of the firm. 
 
According to the CBI FIR, the DPIL, which is engaged in the production of cables and other electrical equipment, fraudulently availed credit facilities since 2008, leaving behind a total outstanding debit of Rs 2,654.40 crore as of June 29, 2016.
 
The agency said that the company managed to get term loans and credit facilities thought it figured in the Reserve Bank of India's list of defaulters and the caution list of Export Credit Guarantee Corp of India (ECGCI) at the time of initial sanction of credit limits by the consortium.
 
At the time of consortium's formation in 2008, Axis Bank was the lead bank for the term loan and the Bank of India was the lead bank for cash credit (CC) limits.
 
The Bank of India, which tops the list with Rs 670.51 crore of loans, is followed by Bank of Baroda (Rs 348.99 crore), ICICI Bank (Rs 279.46 crore), State Bank of India (Rs 266.37 crore), Axis Bank (Rs 255.32 crore), Allahabad Bank (Rs 227.96), Dena Bank (Rs 177.19 crore), Corporation Bank (109.12 crore), Exim Bank of India (Rs 81.92 crore), IOB (Rs 71.59) and the IFCI Bank (58.53 crore). 
 
The company, allegedly with the support of officials from various banks, managed to obtain enhancement in credit facilities. 
 
The FIR said the DPIL, through its founder and directors associated in the criminal conspiracy with the unidentified bank officials of various banks, cheated those banks by way of misappropriating public funds through falsification of accounts, creation of false documents, forgery of records and knowingly using such records as genuine.
 
IANS
 
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Petitioner in Ishrat Jahan fake shootout case dies in road accident in Kerala

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A petitioner in the June 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake shootout case in Gujarat was killed in a road accident here on Friday. Kerala Police have started a probe.
 
M.R. Gopinathan Pillai died when the car he was travelling in collided with a lorry.
 
"We are leaving nothing to chance and all aspects of the accident are being thoroughly probed," said an officer, who did not wish to be identified. 
 
Pillai was the father of Javed Ghulam Shaikh, alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, who was one of the three others killed by the Gujarat Police along with Ishrat Jahan on the outskirts of Ahmadabad in June 2004.
 
"It's too early at this moment to come to any sort of conclusion on the accident. An FIR has been registered and the probe has begun," the officer said.
 
Speaking to IANS, a police officer attached to the Pattanakad police station said: "Pillai was on his way to a hospital for a check-up when his car met with the accident."
 
The 78-year-old Pillai, a retired teacher had heaved a sigh of relief after the Special Investigation Team submitted to the Gujarat High Court in 2011 that his son was killed in a fake shootout.
 
Pillai then reacted that he was a much relieved man because no one would call him the father of a terrorist -- as the Gujarat Police had dubbed his son.
 
Shaikh had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim woman.
 
The Gujarat Police had then alleged that Ishrat and the three others were Leshkar-e-Taiba activists on a mission to kill then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
 
IANS
 
 
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CBI files case against Vadodara firm for alleged Rs 2,654 crore fraud

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The CBI on Thursday said it has filed a case against Vadodara-based Diamond Power Infrastructure Ltd (DPIL) and its directors for allegedly defrauding a consortium of 11 banks of Rs 2,654.40 crore.
 
Apart from DPIL, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR filed on March 26 includes the names of firm's founder Suresh Narain Bhatnagar and his sons Amit Suresh and Sumit Suresh.
 
The FIR also mentions some unidentified public servants.
 
The CBI has reportedly conducted searches at the corporate office, two factory premises and at the residences of the directors of the firm. 
 
The loan, it said, was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2016-17. 
 
DPIL, which is engaged in the production of cables and other electrical equipment, through its management has fraudulently availed credit facilities from a consortium of 11 banks since 2008, leaving behind a total outstanding debit of Rs 2,654.40 crore as of June 29, 2016, according to the FIR.
 
The company managed to get term loans and credit facilities, in spite of the fact that they were already appearing in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s list of defaulters and the caution list of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGCI) at the time of initial sanction of credit limits by the consortium, it said.
 
At the time of the consortium's formation in 2008, Axis Bank was the lead bank for the term loan and the Bank of India was the lead bank for cash credit (CC) limits.
 
Bank of India, which tops the list with Rs 670.51 crore of loans, is followed by Bank of Baroda (Rs 348.99 crore), ICICI Bank (Rs 279.46 crore), State Bank of India (Rs 266.37 crore), Axis Bank (Rs 255.32 crore), Allahabad Bank (Rs 227.96), Dena Bank (Rs 177.19 crore), Corporation Bank (109.12 crore), Exim Bank of India (Rs 81.92 crore), IOB (Rs 71.59) and IFCI (58.53 crore). 
 
The company, allegedly with the support of officials from various banks, managed to obtain enhancement in credit facilities. 
 
During 2011, DPIL had projected a turnover of Rs 2,197.60 crore for the year 2012, whereas the actual turnover was Rs 1,267.60 crore only for the year 2011, the FIR said.
 
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"DPIL got credit facilities enhanced from Rs 285 crore to Rs 480 crore." 
 
Next year, against its projected estimate of Rs 2,197.60 crore, DPIL actually achieved a turnover of Rs 1,740.38 crore, which was Rs 457.22 crore less from the projected turnover figure, despite the fact that the CC limit was fully availed by the company, said the FIR.
 
Bank of India officials, while conducting the credit review, did not decrease the CC limit and kept it unchanged at Rs 480 crore even though such figures were based on grossly exaggerated sales figures, it said.
 
DPIL is also accused of submitting false stock statements to the lead bank by treating the receivables more than 180 days (Non-Current Asset) to less that 180 days (Current Asset) to get more drawing power in their CC accounts.
 
The firm also allegedly utilised the CC limits for obtaining a large number of Letters of Credit (LCs), many of which could not be honoured by the company and were thus forced charged on the credit limit.
 
"It is learnt that about 1,000 such LCs were issued since 2008 by Bank of India alone. The LCs were issued by the bank officials in favour of sister concerns in gross violation of bank's guidelines in order to give undue pecuniary favour to the borrowers," the FIR read.
 
"Thereby, DPIL was able to fraudulently divert the bank funds and thus, the securities were grossly inadequate to cover the outstanding dues of the consortium of banks amounting to Rs 2,654.40 crore."
 
The FIR said DPIL, through its founder and directors associated in the criminal conspiracy with the unidentified bank officials of various banks, cheated those banks by way of misappropriating public funds through falsification of accounts, creation of false documents, forgery of records and knowingly using such records as genuine. 
 
IANS
 
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Amit Chavda appointed as new president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee

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Mr. Amit Chavda, a three-time member of the state legislative assembly, has been appointed as the new president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), succeeding Mr. Bharatsinh Solanki.
 
"Congress President Rahul Gandhi has appointed Mr. Amit Chavda, MLA as the president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee in place of Mr. Bharatsinh Solanki," a press release from the Congress said.
 
"The party recognizes the service and contribution of Mr. Bharatsinh Solanki who has relinquished the responsibiliity as the GPCC President," it added.
 
Mr. Chavda, 41, represents the Anklav constituency in Anand district. He was elected to the Assembly for the first time in a bye-election in 2004 and was re-elected in 2007, 2012 and 2017.
 
A chemical engineer by profession, Mr. Chavda is associated with several educational trusts and cooperative organisations.
 
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Gujarat’s Madhavpur Mela to see cultural integration with North-East

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The famous Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat will see its first ever cultural integration with the North-East with which it is said to share its roots, according to Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma. 
 
The Mela is being held from March 25 to 28 at Madhavpur Ghed in Porbandar district of Gujarat. 
 
Dr Sharma told reporters here yesterday that the purpose of this integration is to bring various parts of the country, especially the North-East, close to each other under the banner of “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares its connection to the Mishmi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. For the first time ever, the festival will celebrate the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna, he added.
 
Bhismaknagar, located near Roing in the Lower Dibang Valley district, also finds mention in Kalika Purana. The IGNCA, Manav Sangrahalay of Ministry of Culture and States of Gujarat, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and others have joined hands to give a new dimension to the festival.
 
A Jatha of 150 persons from the North-East will be given a traditional welcome at Madhavpur Mela as representatives of Rukmini’s family. The entire concept of celebration this year symbolizes unity in diversity of the country and establishes the East to West connect, he added.
 
All States and Union Territories except West Bengal are participating in the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat campaign and have been paired for the purpose of exchanges at the level of students, sports and through culture.
 
Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Raghvendra Singh said some of the local sites and temples connected to the Madhavpur festival have been upgraded by the Ministry of Culture and connecting the North-East through such kind of events and cultural exchanges will now be made a regular feature.
 
Apart from Dr Sharma, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brigadier (Dr) BD Mishra (Retd), Chief Ministers Vijay Rupani (Gujarat), Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh) and N Biren Singh (Manipur) will join the Mela on March 27, along with senior officials of the Ministry of Culture and Gujarat Government.
 
The four-day event will see a vibrant cultural trail of art, dance, music, poetry, story-telling and folk drama from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and the other North-Eastern States with the aim to integrate the rich cultures of the two regions.
 
Madhavpur Ghed, a small but culturally significant village, is the place where, according to folklore, Lord Krishna married Rukmini, the daughter of King Bhishmaka. Located on the seashore, close to Porbandar, the 15th-century Madhavrai temple marks the site. 
 
This event is commemorated by a cultural fair held every year, commencing on Ram Navami. A colourful chariot carrying the idol of Krishna is taken around the village and the festivities usually continue for five days. This year the Ministry of Culture is collaborating with the state government of Gujarat to scale up the festival.
 
The Mela will witness, for the first time ever, several eye-catching performances from the North-East, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Troupes from Assam will perform Rukmini-Haran, a popular folk theatre of the region. A musical troupe from Manipur will sing songs related to Rukmini in the Khullong Ishei and Nat gen?e.  Dance-dramas based on Rukmini-Krishna legends from Arunachal and Manipur and folk dance of the Idu Mishmi tribe from Arunachal will be part of the varied repertoire.
 
An exposition and sale of art and crafts of Gujarat and handloom and handicrafts products from Arunachal, Manipur and other North-Eastern states will be part of the event. 
 
A Visual Art Exhibition on Krishna and Rukmini put together by different institutions of Ministry of Culture like the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya highlighting the variegated legends of Krishna and Rukmini will be organised at an exhibition space being created for the purpose.
 
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30 dead, 45 injured as truck carrying wedding party crashes off bridge in Gujarat

 
30 dead as truck falls from bridge in Gujarat
At least 30 people died and 45 others suffered injuries when a truck carrying a wedding party veered off a bridge and plunged about 20 feet below onto a dry river bed in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat this morning, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7 am near Ranghola on the Bhavnagar-Rajkot highway, about 55 km from Bhavnagar, as the group of about 75 people was headed for a wedding, District Collector Harshad Patel told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
Mr. Patel said 25 of the victims died on the spot, while five succumbed to their injuries while on their way to hospital or during treatment. The deceased included 14 men, eight women and eight children, he said.
 
The injured, who were taken to hospitals in Sihor and Bhavnagar, included 17 men, 16 women and 12 children. The condition of four men, four women and three children was stated to be serious. 
 
According to various sources, the driver of the speeding truck appeared to have lost control over the vehicle while it was on the bridge and it crashed through  the railing and fell upside down on the river bed, crushing many of the people under it.
 
Local people were the first to reach the scene and were followed shortly afterwards by the police, fire brigade and other emergency personnel. Ambulances and private vehicles were used to rush the injured to hospitals.
 
Mr. Patel and other senior district administration and police officials also reached the spot to oversee rescue and relief efforts.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed expressed his grief and condoled the loss of lives in the accident.
 
"My condolences to all those who lost their loved ones due to an accident near Ranghola in Gujarat. The accident was extremely unfortunate and anguishing. May those who have been injured recover at the earliest," he said on Twitter.
 
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IIMA ties up with NTPC to create world class research institute

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Public sector power producer NTPC and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the country's top business school, today announced a joint initiative to create a world class research institute at NTPC School of Business for policy prescription and churn out management graduates with focus on energy sector.
 
"We are proud to have entered an agreement, under which India's marquee business school -- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - will hand hold NTPC School of Business to replicate its management degree courses beginning this year with special focus on energy verticals not only for NTPC but for the entire power sector," Mr Saptarshi Roy, Human Resource Director, NTPC, said.
 
"This is the first time we are tying up with a leading academic institution for degree and other specialised courses on the lines of IIM-A. We were blessed with handholding from IIM-A for five years and we are proud of it. We will be doing the same with NTPC School of Business (NSB) and hand hold it for five years, create a top class faculty like our own and offer a host of specialised electives for various aspects related to energy and power sectors," IIM-A's HRM Area Chair and Strategic Management Professor Sunil Kumar Maheshwari said.
 
"We wish to create a strong research and policy centre. To create manpower for this centre, NSB shall be ideal institute to take lead and this will become Centre of excellence for policy research and policy documentation," Mr Maheshwari said.
 
Under the scheme of arrangement, NSB, guided and shepherded by IIM-A specialists, will seek applications from aspirants for MBA degree from April this year for a two-year degree course with specialisation in energy sector.
 
IIM, apart from bringing professionals from the parent organisation, will gradually create NSB's own faculty by the end of the fifth year.
 
Mr Roy, who also holds additional charge as Director Finance, said that NTPC is focused on creating robust leadership for the future of the organisation that accounts for 16 per cent of the country's total power generation capacity. He added that NTPC's budget for learning and development has significantly gone up this year.
 
"The NSB tie-up is the latest in the series of learning and development initiatives at NTPC. We also have tied up with Harvard Business School and other Ivy League institutions under which a total of 180 senior executives are being given global exposure for the first hand learning of leadership modules and best business practices as part of efforts to create future leadership for the organisation that is supplementing the national economic growth by way of meeting electricity requirement," he said.
 
“We have the entire infrastructure at our NSB’s Noida campus ready to start the courses from the academic year including residential facility for the students.  We intend to enrol 120 students in the first year,” said Mr. A.K. Bhatnagar, Executive Director, Head of Power Management Institute & NSB, Noida.
 
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25 dead, several injured as truck carrying wedding party skids off bridge in Gujarat

 
25 dead as truck falls from bridge in Gujarat
At least 25 people died and several others suffered injuries when a truck carrying a wedding party veered off a bridge and plunged about 25  feet below in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat this morning.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.30 am near Ranghola on the Bhavnagar-Rajkot highway, about 55 km from Bhavnagar, as the group of about 60 people was headed for a wedding, police sources said.
 
The sources said 25 people, including 15 men and 10 women, had died on the spot.
 
The injured were rushed by the police, fire brigade and other emergency services personnel and local people to nearby hospitals. Their numbers could not be immediately ascertained.
 
Senior district administration and police officials were at the spot to oversee rescue and relief efforts, the sources added.
 
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Harappans had knowledge of hydraulic engineering, Dholavira reveals

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Indian researchers have found buried archeological features at Dholavira, one of the important sites of Harappan civilisation in India.
 
A team of archeologists at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar, conducted a survey of an unexplored area of around 12,276 square meter at Dholavira using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technique which helps scanning of the ground and reveals objects buried underground.
 
The GPR data suggests existence of a set of small and shallow reservoirs possibly connected with the existing Eastern Reservoir. The depth of these reservoirs has been estimated to be around 2.5 meters below the present ground level. In addition, some structures have been found containing rubble with some features. These findings suggest the possible existence of check dams in the past, which may have collapsed due to flash floods in Manhar river.
 
The studied area is surrounded by Manhar river flowing from east to west. The overall site is gently sloping towards west, thus during floods the overflow water could have only flowed towards the area which may have caused damage in some of the structures, researchers have pointed out. 
 
“The presence of the grand East Reservoir and a series of reservoirs excavated earlier suggests that the Harappans had a good water-harvesting system.The studied area is expected to have similar kinds of reservoirs, bunds, check dams, channels, drains and water tanks,” the study has noted. Moreover, the observed features in the GPR data are of large dimension and resemble reservoir-type of structures, unlike residential structures of smaller size.
 
The present study provides evidence that the Harappans had an excellent knowledge of hydraulic engineering. Check dams were built to control flow of water during floods while small reservoirs protected the East Reservoir. This investigation suggests that check dams and small reservoirs may have sustained partial damage due to a major flood at some point of time, but most of the East reservoir could still survive. Therefore, the study says, the purpose of engineering design behind these structures was well served under extreme conditions too.
 
Dholavira is one of the largest and the most prominent archaeological sites of Harappan civilization in India situated at Khadirbet in Bhachau taluka, Kutch district, Gujarat. The site is surrounded by salt pans of the Great Rann of Kutch and consists of the ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization. The city existed from about 3000 to 1700 BCE, in an area of around 100 ha with 48 ha under fortification. There were several unexplored areas inside the city space which may contain ruins of the ancient city.
 
“The buried structures in Dholavira are probably made of stones and bricks, which is why there is low contrast between objects and medium. Such weak radar signals were analyzed using special processing tool developed by us. This tool can pinpoint objects better by magnifying the signals at local level by looking at it in time-frequency domain. The structures are mostly broken and therefore resulted into indistinct or uncommon reflection patterns. We then correlated our findings with the structures seen in exposed part of the site," Dr. Amit Prashant, who led the study team, told India Science Wire.
 
The radar data will assist archaeologists to plan further excavations without damaging the underground structures. The study has been published in journal Current Science. The research team included Silky Agrawal, Mantu Majumder, Ravindra Singh Bisht and Amit Prashant. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Modi to visit two States, two UTs over the next two days

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit two States  -- Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- and two Union Territories -- Daman & Diu and Puducherry -- in the next two days.
 
An official press release said Mr. Modi would reach Daman tomorrow and launch various development projects, and hand over certificates to beneficiaries of various official schemes. He will address a public meeting.
 
The Prime Minister will then travel to Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, he will attend an event to mark the inauguration of the Amma Two Wheeler Scheme – a welfare scheme of the State Government.
 
On Sunday, the Prime Minister will visit Puducherry. At Aurobindo Ashram, he will offer floral tributes to Shri Aurobindo, and interact with students of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. 
 
Mr. Modi will also visit Auroville. He will release a commemorative postage stamp on the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Auroville. He will deliver an address on the occasion. He will also address a public meeting in Puducherry.
 
On Sunday evening, Mr. Modi will be in Surat in South Gujarat, to flag off the “Run for New India Marathon".
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Junagadh district of Gujarat

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Junagadh district of Gujarat this evening.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which  had its epicentre at latitude 21.0°N and longitude 70.6°E, occurred at 1832 hours a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Sayajirao Gaikwad supported talented people from underprivileged sections: Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind today said Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad, who founded the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda for promoting high-quality education, had supported and encouraged talented people from the underprivileged sections of society, including Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution.
 
Addressing the 66th convocation of the University here, Mr Kovind said at that time, there were very few people with such an expansive vision as the Maharaja.
 
He appreciated the efforts of the University for institutionalising fellowships for students from economically weaker sections. Contributions of the students towards the development of those from a deprived and underprivileged background would be consistent with the ideals of Sayajirao, he added.
 
Later in the day, the President attended the 150th anniversary of Akshar Deri, a major site of pilgrimage for the Swaminarayan sect in Gondal.
 
Mr Kovind noted that the Swaminarayan Sanstha is engaged in providing assistance to spread education among weaker sections. Similarly, it is providing health services for the welfare of people. He praised the humanitarian work of the organisation.
 
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Kovind says students must help those deprived of opportunities for education

 
Universities must prepare students for self-employment: Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind today said students must think of how they must pay back, especially to society, and urged them to think of those who had been deprived of opportunities for education and try and help their process of development.
 
Addressing the 66th convocation of Gujarat University here, Mr. Kovind reminded the students that whatever they have received in life is not only due to their own efforts but also due to contributions from their family, well-wishers, teachers, society and the government.
 
He said good education should not only make students skilled but also sensitive. He said that it was natural to expect that students from Gujarat, the state of Narsinh Mehta and Mahatma Gandhi, would contribute to compassion, morality and human well-being.
 
Mr. Kovind noted that Gujarat University is supporting many entrepreneurs through its “Start-up and Entrepreneurship Council”. The creation of the “Council of Skill Development” is also a welcome step towards empowering students. He stated that today’s universities should give top priority to preparing their students for employability, and for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
 
The President said that there are many good institutions in Ahmedabad that promote a start-up culture. Recently, the Prime Ministers of India and Israel inaugurated the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology – or iCreate – in Ahmedabad. This will provide world-class facilities to young Indian entrepreneurs, he said.
 
The President urged students of Gujarat University to take advantage of these facilities.
 
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Kovind to pay two-day visit to Gujarat on January 21-22

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Gujarat from tomorrow, when he will attend the 66th annual convocation of Gujarat University in Ahmedabad.
 
On January 22, the President will address the 66th annual convocation of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.  
 
On the same day, the President will grace the 150th anniversary celebrations of Akshar Deri at Gondal, before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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Anandiben Patel appointed as Governor of Madhya Pradesh

Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel
President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as the new Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said the appointment would be with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.
 
Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli is currently holding charge of the post of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh after Mr. Ram Naresh Yadav completed his tenure on September 7, 2016.
 
Ms. Patel, 76, had become the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat in May, 2014, succeeding Mr. Narendra Modi, who moved to Delhi as the Prime Minister after ruling the state for more than 12 years. She had earlier served as Revenue Minister in Mr. Modi's cabinet.
 
On August 1, 2016, Ms. Patel sprang a surprise by offering to resign from her position, citing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "tradition" of leaders quitting their posts when they attain the age of 75.
 
In a letter to BJP President Amit Shah, which she posted on her Facebook and Twitter pages, she said she had always abided by the party's ideology, principles and discipline. She said many leaders had established the tradition of voluntarily giving up their positions when they reached 75 years of age, which had set an example for everyone in the party.
 
She said this tradition had provided opportunities for younger leaders to work for the party and the country.
 
The offer of resignation served to end months of speculation about whether Ms. Patel would be able to complete her term, especially in the wake of criticism of the way her Government had handled the agitation by members of the influential Patidar community in the state as well the protests by Dalits.
 
Her resignation had been accepted by the party's leadership and Mr. Vijay Rupani was chosen to succeed her as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
 
Born on November 21, 1941, Ms. Patel has been a member of the BJP since 1987.
 
She studied as the only girl in a school with some 700 boys because there was no other school nearby. She went on to complete her M.Sc. and M.Ed. degrees. She joined a school in Ahmedabad as a teacher and went on to become its principal.
 
She came into prominence when, during a school excursion, she jumped into the Narmada river to save two of her girl students who had fallen into it, a feat for which she received a bravery award from the President. Following this, the BJP invited her to join the party and she went on to become the head of its women's wing in Gujarat.
 
She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1994 and has been elected as a member of the State legislative assembly for four consecutive terms since 1998 and served as a Minister in the State Cabinet since then till she resigned as Chief Minister in 2016.
 
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IndiGo announces new flights on Ahmedabad-Kochi sector

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would launch new flights on the Ahmedabad-Kochi sector with effect from March 12.
 
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce additional flights on the Kochi-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Ahmedabad sectors from that date, underscoring the tourism potential of Tier-II markets.
 
"Commencing on March 12, 2018, these new services will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India, with over 1000 daily flights connecting 48 destinations," it said.
 
IndiGo had recently announced its ATR operations and inaugural flights from Tirupati and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
 
In March 2018, the carrier will also commence Vijayawada operations to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the airline said.
 
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are delighted to introduce new connections between Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. IndiGo has established itself as the fastest growing carrier with its extensive domestic network and we are hopeful that the introduction of the new service will further cement our place in the Indian skies.”
 
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SC stays ban by three States on screening of film "Padmaavat"

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a stay of the operation of the notifications and orders issued by three States against the screening of the film "Padmaavat" and also restrained other States from issuing similar orders in any manner prohibiting the exhibition of the movie.
A poster of the film Padmaavat
A poster of the film Padmaavat
The Supreme Court today ordered a stay of the operation of the notifications and orders issued by four States against the screening of the film "Padmaavat" and also restrained other States from issuing similar orders in any manner prohibiting the exhibition of the movie.
 
"We are sure, the concerned State authorities shall keep paragraph 27 of the judgment in the case of Prakash Jha (supra) in mind which clearly lays down that it is the paramount obligation of the State to maintain law and order," a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud said in an interim order on a petition filed by Viacom 18 Media Private Limited, the producers of the film, and others against the ban imposed by Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana.
 
"It should always be remembered that if intellectual prowess and natural or cultivated power of creation is interfered without the permissible facet of law, the concept of creativity paves the path of extinction; and when creativity dies, values of civilization corrode.
 
"Keeping in view the fact situation, we have no hesitation in stating by way of repetition and without any fear of contradiction that it is the duty of the State to sustain the law and order situation whenever the film is exhibited, which would also include providing police protection to the persons who are involved in the film / in the exhibition of the film and the audience watching the film, whenever sought for or necessary," the judges said, listing the matter for March 26 for final disposal.
 
Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgri, submitted that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had issued a certificate under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 after constituting an Expert Committee which had seen the movie, critically examined it and suggested few excisions which had been carried out. The CBFC also directed the producer to file two disclaimers, which he had filed.
 
The CBFC had certified that the film is fit for public exhibition with an  endorsement of caution that the question as to whether any child below the age of 12 years may be allowed to see the film should be considered by the parents or guardian of such child, and also subject to excision and modification sought.
 
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali, Padmaavat has actors Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in the lead roles. The film is due for worldwide release on January 25. Apart from Hindi, the film will also be released in Tamil and Telugu.
 
The court noted that the notification issued by the Gujarat Government had said the ban was necessary in the public interest and to maintain the law and order situation in the state. The Rajasthan Government's order also said similar things, while the Haryana Government was yet to issue formal orders in this regard.
 
The court noted that the disclaimers made by the producers said that the film was inspired from the epic poem Padmavat, written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, which is considered a work of fiction. They said the film does not infer or claim historical authenticity or accuracy in terms of the names of the places, characters, sequence of events, locations, spoken languages, dance forms, costumes and/or such other details. They also said they did not intend to disrespect, impair or disparage the beliefs, feelings, sentiments of any person(s), community(ies) and their culture(s), custom(s), practice(s) and tradition(s).
 
The second disclaimer said the film did not intend to encourage or support "sati" or such other practices.
 
Counsel for the petitioners argued that, once a certificate had been issued by the CBFC, the States could not issue notifications or orders prohibiting the exhibition of the film in theaters. Citing the judgement in the case of Prakash Jha Productions & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. (2011), they said it was obligatory on the part of the State to maintain the law and order situation effectively because it is the responsibility of the State to maintain law and order as was laid down in the case of  Union of India v. K.M. Shankarappa (2001).
 
Mr. Salve and Mr. Rohatgi contended that the Act is a parliamentary legislation and the CBFC has been constituted under the said Act and once the CBFC exercises the power and suggests certain excisions and the producers without appealing against the said directions, accept the same and certificate is issued, the States, taking recourse to law and order, cannot prohibit the film from being exhibited. It was also contended by them, the term "being publicly exhibited" as has been interpreted in the case of Prakash Jha (supra) has to be appositely understood by the authorities. They said that the freedom of speech and expression and the creative potentiality through any medium including the medium of celluloid cannot be curtailed in this manner.'
 
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Mr. Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General, appearing for Gujarat and Rajasthan, submitted that  the grant of Certificate by the CBFC cannot denude the the State of the power to prohibit the exhibition of a film. He also argued that State Governments could suspend the public exhibition of a film if they are of the opinion that it was likely to cause breach of the peace. He also said the CBFC was not in a position to take all aspects into consideration as it does not have the inputs regarding the law and order situation in the concerned States.
 
Stating that they were, for the present, considering the prayer for grant of interim relief, the judges said creative content was an insegregable aspect of Article 19(1) of the Constitution. 
 
"Needless to emphasise, this right is not absolute. There can be regulatory measures. Regulatory measures are reflectible from the language employed under Section 5B of the Act and the guidelines issued by the Central Government. Once the parliamentary legislation confers the responsibility and the power on a statutory Board and the Board grants certification, non-exhibition of the film by the States would be contrary to the statutory provisions and infringe the fundamental right of the petitioners. That apart, as we understand at present from paragraph 27 of the judgment in the case of Prakash Jha (supra), it is the duty and obligation of the State to maintain law and order in the State. We may also note here with profit that the guidelines are to be kept in mind by CBFC. 
 
"For the sake of completeness, we reproduce the relevant part of the guidelines :
“2. In pursuance of the above objectives, the Board of Film Certification shall ensure that...
... ...
(vii) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;
... ... ...
(ix) scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented;
... ... ...
(xii) visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented;
(xiii) visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitudes are not presented;
... ... ...
(xvii) public order is not endangered;'
 
"It has to be borne in mind, expression of an idea by any one through the medium of cinema which is a public medium has its own status under the Constitution and the Statute. There is a Censor Board under the Act which allows grant of certificate for screening of the movies. As we scan the language of the Act and the guidelines framed thereunder it prohibits use and presentation of visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups.
 
"Be that as it may. As advised at present once the Certificate has been issued, there is prima facie a presumption that the concerned authority has taken into account all the guidelines including public order," they said.
 
They disagreed with Mr. Mehta's contention that grant of an interim order would tantamount to final expression of an opinion on the merits of the case. 
 
"We do not think so. If a substantial ground is established in law by the States, there may be a different perception, for we are passing an interim order, considering the prima facie case and having due regard to the fundamental conception of right of freedom of speech and expression," they added.
 
Originally, the movie, then called Padmavati, was due for release on December 1 but the producers announced on November 20 that they had decided to defer the release in the face of continuing protests by Rajput and other groups against the period drama for allegedly distorting history.
 
The film has become the subject of a major controversy, with various groups accusing its makers of distorting Rajput history and the story of Rani Padmini. While some say that Padmini was only  a fictional character, there are others who insist she was a historical figure. In any case, she is widely revered in Rajasthan.
 
Fringe elements have issued death  and violence threats against Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the title role in the film. 
 
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Two injured, 26 rescued as fire breaks out on oil tanker near Kandla Port

Indian Coast Guard ships and tugs fighting a major fire that broke out on an oil tanker near Kandla Port in Gujarat, on January 18, 2018. Photo: Indian Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard ships and tugs fighting a major fire that broke out on an oil tanker near Kandla Port in Gujarat, on January 18, 2018. Photo: Indian Coast Guard
At least two members of crew suffered serious burns and 26 others were rescued after a major fire broke out on board an oil tanker, M T Genessa, anchored 14 nautical miles off Kandla Port in Gujarat, today.
 
The injured persons were shifted to a hospital in Mundra, said sources in the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), which is fighting the fire with four ships at the scene and 11 tugs.
 
The Coast Guard said smoke was observed from the accommodation deck of Genessa and the fire was suspected to have broken out in the accommodation area or engine room. 
 
"Hot spots temperature of 68 degree Celsius on port & 25 degree Celsius on starboard side observed...Hot spots temperature brought down to 40 & 25 degree Celsius on port/stbd side respectively. Boundary cooling in progress," the ICG said on microblogging site Twitter.
 
It said an ICG hovercraft had been deployed for shoreline assessment for oil traces, if any.
 
The 183-metre long tanker is said to be carrying about 30,000 tonnes of high speed diesel.
 
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