MONDAY NIRAV’S BROTHER IN MILLION-DOLLAR FRAUD 21 DECEMBER, 2020 Nehal Modi, the younger brother of Nirav Modi, was on Saturday indicted in New York for fraudulently obtaining diamonds worth over $1.4 million epaper.morningstandard.in Nehal told New York-based LLD Diamonds USA that he was pursuing a business relationship with Seatlle-based Costco Wholesale Corporation P9 facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard He sought and obtained diamonds worth $2.6 million from LLD, saying he wanted to show them to Costco for a potential sale IN THE NEWS T O D AY INDIA Vaccines from Jan? India may begin vaccinating people for COVID-19 in January, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, adding that the government’s priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. “Our first priority has been safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We don’t want to compromise on that. I personally feel, maybe in any week of January, we can be in a position to give first Covid vaccine shot to people of India,” Vardhan told a news agency. Vaccines that have applied for emergency use authorisation are being analysed, he said. A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Nehal then pawned most of the diamonds to secure loans for personal use. The rest were sold to various retailers without LLD’s authorisation Though he paid back $1.2 million to LLD, a majority of the proceeds were spent for personal purposes CBSE exam schedule The schedule of CBSE exams for Classes 10 and 12 proposed to be held next year through the paper-pen mode is likely to be announced on Tuesday. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who will interact with teachers across the country, is expected to make the important announcement regarding the examination dates. CBSE officials have clarified that there is no proposal to hold the Board exams online. Right from registrations for board examinations to classroom operations, all work was being done in virtual mode till now Relief for pensioners The date for submission of life certificate for central government pensioners is extended up to February 28 next year, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said. “The decision was taken considering all the sensitivities to avoid pandemic risk emanating from gathering of crowds at the pension disbursing banks,” said Singh. Pensioners above the age of 80 years were given an exclusive window from October 1 onward to submit their life certificate so as to avoid rush likely to happen from the opening date of November 1. INTERNATIONAL Pak summons envoy Pakistan on Sunday summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register its protest over the alleged ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC). The Pakistan Foreign Office alleged that a civilian sustained injuries due to the Indian firing in the Rakhchikri Sector on Saturday. The Indian side was called upon to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, investigate this and other such incidents of ceasefire violations and maintain peace along the LoC and the Working Boundary. Flights to UK halted Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy all announced restrictions on travel to the UK, hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Christmas shopping and gatherings in south England must be cancelled because of rapidly spreading infections blamed on the new coronavirus variant. Among other countries that puit an embargo was France. The Czech Republic imposed stricter quarantine measures from people arriving from the UK. The European Commission was in touch with member states on the matter. P9 People light candles at Singhu border in New Delhi on Sunday evening in memory of those who lost their lives in the farmers’ agitation; Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays obeisance at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib | PTI & PIB Govt sends invite for talks, farmers to decide date Agriculture ministry asks union leaders for details of ‘remaining’ concerns; farmers to chalk out fresh plans for public participation in stir E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre has written to the protesting farmer unions inviting them for next round of talks and has asked them to choose the date. In a letter to the union leaders, Vivek Aggarwal, Joint Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry, request “previously invited” union leaders to provide details of their “remaining concerns and doubts” and suggest a date, as per their convenience, for next round of talks. Earlier in the day Union , home minister Amit Shah had indicated that his colleague and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar will meet representatives of agitators in a day or two. Addressing the media in Bolpur town of West Bengal, Shah said: “I am not exactly aware of the timing, but Tomar is likely to meet the representatives of farmers tomorrow or the day after to discuss their demands.” Also, in a gesture loaded with symbolism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to the historic Gurdwara Rakabganj in Delhi to pay tribute to Guru Teg Bahadur, a day after his death anniversary . Five rounds of talks held with leaders of 40 farmer unions have failed to break the deadlock so far as the farmers have outrightly refused to consider any proposal unless and until the three agarian laws are repealed. Aggarwal said the Centre was making all efforts to find an appropriate solution to all the issues raised by the farmers with an open mind. The next meeting is also likely to be convened at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan where the previous rounds of talks were held. The agriculture minister had earlier said that he was hopeful that the issue would be resolved before the New Year. Even as the government indicated at ramping up efforts to resolve the deadlock, Tomar met another peasants’ delegation who extended their support to the farm legislations. The Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti is the seventh group to have extended support to the laws. P4, 5 &7 FOREIGN DONATION GLARE ON PUNJAB UNION BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Sukhdev Singh said, “We received an email from a Central agency through our bank seeking our registration details that allow us to receive donations from abroad.’’ He said it is part of the Centre’s pressure tactics to defeat the agitation Farmers will begin a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the new agri laws. It will be started by a team of 11 members at protests sites in Delhi Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj India chief CM will be from Bengal, says Shah to blunt ‘outsider’ attack E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kolkata SEEKING to take the sting out of the ‘outsider’ barb frequently directed at the BJP by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday asserted that the new chief minister after polls will certainly be someone from the state’s soil. “The change in people’s mind is clearly visible. Mamata Banerjee’s misrule will end in the upcoming elections and Bengal will get a new chief minister who is from West Bengal, not an outsider,’’ said Shah. “When you (Mamata) were in Congress and Indira and Rajiv Gandhi visited Bengal, did you call them outsiders?’’ he quipped. Without specifying any deadline for implementing the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Shah flagged the infiltration issue and said Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a roadshow at Bengal’s Bolpur | PTI people will usher in change in the Assembly elections to stop it. “The people of Bengal are unhappy with the infiltrators. They will bring in change to stop infiltration from the neighbouring country Shah said in ,’’ Bolpur town of Birbhum. He said after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and the vaccination process is over, the Centre will begin discussions to implement the CAA. Impressed by the large turnout, Shah said it was a reflec- tion of the people’s love for PMModi, adding he had never seen such a massive roadshow. “2021 will usher in change for the development of Bengal. All BJP-ruled states have already started their journey on the path of development. You gave Congress three decades; communists over three decades; and Trinamool 10 years. Give the BJP a chance and within five years, we will make it Sonar Bangla,’’ he said. CONTINUED ON P7 Farmer leaders to send feelers to NDA allies for building pressure on Centre H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh EVEN as the farmers observed Shradhanjali Diwas to pay homage to the 30-odd people who have died during the agitation, the unions on Sunday decided to approach allies of the ruling NDA asking them to step up pressure on the BJP to repeal the three contentious farm laws to end the deadlock. Articulating the position of farmers after a meeting of all unions at Delhi’s border, Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union, said, “We will approach NDA allies on December 26 and urge them to put pressure on the BJP to repeal the farm laws.” The farmers will begin a relay hunger strike from Monday at all protest sites. The unions also decided to observe Kisan Diwas on December 23 as a day of fast, co-opting the public by urging them not to cook lunch that day so as to skip a meal in solidarity And on December 27, . when Modi’s Mann Ki Baat will be on, they intend to copy his Covid time strategy of urging people to beat thalis at home till the his speech is over, this time to show anti-BJP unity. Also, Haryana will be forced to be toll free from December 25 to 27, Pal said. “We also urge the Indian diaspora to come out in our support on December 26 and 27 and hold agitations in their respective countries,” he said and urged the people not to purchase any product made by the Adani group. As for commission agents, their Punjab Artiya Association decided to shut all mandis in the state indefinitely from Monday to protest against income tax raids on their premis- HIMALAYAN RUMBLE PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED, FRESH NEPAL POLL IN MAY The Constitutional Council, headed by the Prime PUSHED to the wall by re- Minister has the leader of bellion within his party Ne- opposition as one of the , pal Prime Minister members. It recomK P Oli Sharma on mends appointS u n d ay r e c o m ments to various mended the dissoconstitutional lution of Parliabodies. m e n t a n d s n ap Among Oli’s polls. Shortly therestrengths was solid after, President Bisupport from the OLI HAD NO Chinese Embassy. dya Devi Bhandari CHOICE complied and anHe seems to have nounced the gen- Oli has gradually lost it now, said eral window of lost his majority in sources in Nepal. April 30 to May 10. Parliament, and in “There are mulAccording to tiple reasons bethe party. So he sources, the immehind Oli recomdid not have diate reason for the mending the many options, dissolution was an dissolution of Parsaid Dr Nihar R ordinance intro- Nayak, a fellow at liament, but the duced by Oli this main problem was MP-IDSA month concerning his autocratic style the Constitutional Council as he took all decisions on that his opponents said will his own,” said Parshuram weaken the country’s checks Kaphle, a Kathmandu-based and balances. journalist. M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi HOMECOMING Missing for a decade, Tamil Nadu man reunited with family E J A Z K A I S E R @ Raipur SHIVA PRAKASH’S parents couldn’t have asked for a better gift ahead of Christmas and New Year. The family from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai district is now united with their son who went missing a decade ago. The 42-year-old, who according to his family has some men- tal problem, went away from home 10 years ago. They are still wondering where all he went and how he survived all these years, but are eternally grateful to the district collector of Bastar in Chhattisgarh for finally reuniting him with them. During the lockdown, Shiva was found roaming in Jag- dalpur city and was intercepted by health volunteers who took him to a quarantine centre. “We tried hard to gather information about him but he couldn’t understand Hindi. After four months of stay he man, aged to scribble a few lines in Tamil after which we came to know his name and learnt that his native place was Echur village in Cheyyar of Tiruvannamalai,” said Alexander M Cherian, vice-president of Jagdalpur Red Cross Society Inhabitants of his vil. lage were contacted by district authorities and later his parents were traced. “It was the benevolence of Bastar’s collector Rajat Bansal who personally ar ranged his retur n,” Cherian added. “When we learnt and substantiated the details, authorities from Prakash’s native place were contacted and he was sent When we learnt and substantiated the details, authorities from Prakash’s native place were contacted and he was sent back safely —Rajat Bansal, Bastar district collector back safely said Bansal. ,” Shiva’s delighted father Nagappa shared the photographs of the reunion with Bansal. This is not the first such case in Chhattisgarh. Earlier this month itself, an 83-year-old widow staying in Bengaluru with her grandsons, who by mistake took a wrong train and landed in Bastar instead of Tamil Nadu, was reunited with her kin. es since the last few days. “We will also be filing a writ petition in the Supreme Court,” said Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the association. The farmers also accused the Centre of employing pressure tactics like squeezing the donations being sent from supporters and sympathisers abroad to weaken the protests. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), the largest farmer union in Punjab, claimed it had been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details for receiving foreign funds. “A central department has sent an email, which we received through our bank’s branch, stating we should give registration details in respect of these donations. The bank manager showed me the email,” BKU’s general secretary Sukhdev Singh said. LAPSE GLARING LOOPHOLES IN HATHRAS INVESTIGATION CBI says the UP Police failed to comply with the mandate of Section 154 of CrPC. Neither did it act promptly when the victim approached them, nor did the cops record her statement or send her for medical exam | P8 DELHI COVID WATCH STATUS OF CASES RECOVERED DEATH ACTIVE CASES TOTAL +VE Today 1,275 26 -1,091 Cumulative 5,96,580 10,277 10,148 6,17,005 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant H OS P I TA L 18,770 2,997 15,773 CARE CENTRE 7,792 118 7,398 H E A LT H C E N T R E 562 35 527 *276 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights 5,907 HOME ISOLATION TESTING STATUS 46,001 37,288 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted Rapid antigen test conducted today 78,00,367 4,10,545 Total tests done so far Tests per million CONTAINMENT ZONES AS ON DATE: 5,943 Source: Delhi health bulletin | December 20
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