BBC Tax Raid is Proof Defying the Modi Cult Comes at a Price; BJP’s Donations Three Times That of Combined Opposition
Gujarat leads in custodial deaths, Russia rupee trade DOA, US crude imports increasing, Air India orders 470 aircraft, Pawansut vanishes from fighter’s tailfin, the surrogate date has landed in India
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
February 15, 2023
This is what Indian news channels look like to the foreign press:
Forbidden Stories has picked up threads following the violent assassination of journalist Gauri Lankesh. It has investigated the so-called media outlet, Postcard News. “We found that in the years following Lankesh’s killing, [co-founder Mahesh Vikram] Hegde grew closer to the BJP, co-founding a company with an active BJP advisor as a director. Hegde’s media empire, which includes popular YouTube channel TV Vikrama, has over 3 lakh subscribers. Hedge has grown despite a 2018 lawsuit against him for spreading fake news and two police complaints for publishing defamatory content and circulating a possible forged document.” The report uncovers a deep network of disinformation connected to political power.
The Mizoram Assembly yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution opposing any move to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India. Home Minister Lalchamliana moved the resolution which said, “That this House unanimously resolved to oppose any steps taken or proposed to be taken for enactment of UCC in India.” Lalchamliana said that it “would disintegrate the country as it was an attempt to terminate the religious or social practices, customary laws, cultures and traditions of the religious minorities, including the Mizos.”
With 80 deaths, Gujarat tops the list with the most custodial deaths in the last five years, followed by Maharashtra (76), UP (41), Tamil Nadu (40) and Bihar (38), as per data provided to Parliament. A total of 146 cases of death in police custody were reported during 2017-2018, 136 in 2018-2019, 112 in 2019-2021, 100 in 2020-2021 and 175 in 2021-2022.
For some unfathomable reason, the Chinese are putting out videos from the Galwan clash in June 2020 that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers. One is from just before the clash, while another is of an injured Indian soldier – among the 150 or so – in PLA captivity being returned across the river.
Retired military officers, war widows and their kin who came to the National War Memorial in Bengaluru yesterday evening had to go home disappointed. Its inauguration was cancelled for the second time because Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was “stuck at some other place in the state”. They called it “an embarrassment to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.”
The US share in India’s crude basket hit a record 14.3% in December 2022, Commerce Ministry data shows. While Russia remained the top source (21.2% in December), India reduced its dependence on Iraq (16.9%), UAE (6%) and Kuwait (4.2%). Till FY17, India didn’t import any crude oil from the US.
Public-sector banks (PSBs) in Q3FY23 wrote off bad loans worth Rs 29,000 crore, up from Rs 23,000 crore in the same quarter a year ago. According to estimates by rating agency CARE Ratings, the write-offs by PSBs in April-December 2022, at Rs 81,000 crore, were lower than the Rs 90,000 crore in April-December 2021.
The BJP received Rs 614 crore in donations in 2021-22, while the Congress got just Rs 95 crore, according to election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms. Total donations (above Rs 20,000) declared by national parties for 2021-22 added up to Rs 780.774 crore from 7,141 donations. “The donations declared by the BJP are more than three times the aggregate declared by the Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI(M), NPEP and AITC for the same period,” it said.
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Granting anticipatory bail to certain accused in different matters booked under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 r/w the POCSO Act, the Gauhati High Court observed that these are not matters which require custodial interrogation. “If marriage is taking place in violation of law, the law will take its own course. These cases have been happening since time. We will only consider if immediate custodial interrogation is required or not. At this moment, this court thinks that these are not matters for custodial interrogation. We will ask them to appear and record their statements. These are not NDPS, smuggling, stolen property cases,” the bench of Justice Suman Shyam orally observed. When the counsel for the State argued that these are serious matters, Justice Suman Shyam remarked: “POCSO, you can add anything. What is the POCSO here? Merely because POCSO is added, does it mean judges will not see what is there? … We are not acquitting anyone here. No one is preventing you from probing.”
The month-long anti-encroachment drive in Jammu and Kashmir to retrieve government land has been halted following an intervention by the Union Home Ministry. The Union Territory administration has been asked to issue notices and hear residents properly before arriving with bulldozers. An official, however, denied that the drive had been halted and said that “geo-tagging and geo-referencing” of the retrieved land was going on.
Exactly four years after a deadly suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama left 40 paramilitary personnel dead, eight militants involved in the attack have been eliminated and seven arrested while four, including three Pakistanis, are still at large. This was stated by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, while speaking to the press after paying tributes to the fallen CRPF men.
One Gupta accused of fraud knows another Gupta suspected of fraud. Financial Times on the man behind Trafigura’s nickel fiasco has some interesting connections with the man behind the implosion of supply chain financier Greensill Capital.
A students’ organisation on Tuesday alleged that IIT-Bombay student Darshan Solanki, who died by suicide, had told a senior that he was facing caste bias on campus. The premier technology institute has rejected the charge that discrimination on campus drove him to the act.
AltNews on Monu Manesar: A story of violent vigilantism from Haryana in the name of ‘gau-raksha’, armed with state support.
Seventeen years since its last aircraft order, and a year since its sale to Tata Sons, Air India yesterday announced an order of 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, which include 260 widebodies. This is the largest order ever from an Indian airline and among the largest globally. The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s widebodies. The narrow-bodies include 210 Airbus A320 and 321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft.
Former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was acquitted by a local court in Kerala last year over rape charges by a nun, met Pope Francis in the Vatican last week. Mulakkal met the Pope on February 8, his first meet after being acquitted by the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, in the rape case. Despite being acquitted by the local court in the sensational case, Mulakkal has not got any new responsibilities in the church.
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has asked no questions at all and has not introduced any private member’s Bill. The ‘My Participation’ section of the MP’s record on the portal — where audio and video clips can be viewed — says “no records found”. Even his attendance is just 30%, as per PRS Legislative Research.
Over half of the advertising spends this year could be digital. Ad agency GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year 2023’ report predicts a 15.5% increase in ad spends in India, an increment of about Rs 20,000 crore over 2022, making the ad industry worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore. Perhaps 56% of the pie will go to digital, which will grow at 20% CAGR over last year.
BCCI has roped in the Saudi Tourism Authority as an official partner or sponsor of IPL. Saudi Tourism will replace edtech company Unacademy, which indicated last year that it would not be a sponsor this year. The BCCI said that Saudi Tourism was the second Saudi entity to sponsor the IPL after Saudi Aramco was onboarded recently as sponsor of the Orange Cap and Purple Cap, for the leading batsman and wicket keeper at the T20 tournament.
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