The Hindu Morning Digest, March 16, 2024

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BRS leader K Kavitha being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from her residence in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, in Hyderabad, on March 15, 2024.
| Photo Credit: PTI

BRS MLC K. Kavitha arrested after ED searches at her Hyderabad residence

In a dramatic development that stretched through the day, the Enforcement Directorate officials arrested Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Kalvakuntla Kavitha in connection with the Delhi Liquor Policy scam case. She has been arrested under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

U.S. probing Gautam Adani and Adani Group over potential bribery: report

The United States has widened its investigation of Adani Group to focus on the conduct of its founder, Gautam Adani, and whether the company may have engaged in bribery, Bloomberg News reported. Prosecutors are digging into whether an Adani entity or people linked to the company, including Mr. Adani, were involved in paying officials in India for favourable treatment on an energy project, the report said.

Supreme Court agrees to hear plea for stay of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, its rules on March 19

The Supreme Court agreed to hear on March 19 pleas to stay the operation of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and its rules, notified on March 11, which fast-track the grant of Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

New Election Commissioners take charge

Former bureaucrats Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu assumed charge as Election Commissioners, a day before the poll body is scheduled to announce the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This is the first time that Election Commissioners have been appointed in accordance with the new Chief Election Commissioner and other Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023, which was brought in by the Government in December last year.

CID to probe POCSO case against BSY

The State government has handed over the case against former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The order was issued by Director-General & Inspector-General of Police Alok Mohan on Friday afternoon, but the case is yet to be handed over to the CID. This decision came hours after Home Minister G. Parameshwara confirmed that the city police had registered a case against the former Chief Minister.

Santiago Martin aka Lottery King | The business tycoon who topped the list of electoral bond donors

Over five years, Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR donated a whopping ₹1,368 crore in electoral bonds. The Coimbatore-based company founded in 1991 by Santiago Martin, aka Lottery King, emerged on top in the list of donors to political parties released by the Election Commission, thanks to the Supreme Court which ordered the State Bank of India to release the data. Santiago Martin, founder and chairman of Martin Group of companies, rose from being a simple trader to head one of the largest business empires, mostly involved in lottery.

Adani wind power project sparks concern in Sri Lanka’s Mannar district

A wind power project being executed by Adani Green Energy in northern Sri Lanka has run into controversy, with locals and environmentalists raising concern over its possible impact on the coastal region and livelihoods. In February last year, Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment cleared the company’s $ 442-million project at two wind energy-rich sites in the island’s Northern Province.

Viksit Bharat: Indian Railways to create mega terminals, hubs

The Indian Railways will create mega railway terminals with multi-modal connectivity in aspirational cities with population of more than 10 lakh across the country. The programme is part of the infrastructure being developed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Viksit Bharat’ initiative. According to official sources, the Railway Board has communicated to General Managers of all Zonal Railways that the project could also be extended to cities where sizeable population was expected.

Huge assumption to link ED raids with electoral bond purchases, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed suggestions that electoral bonds were purchased by many corporates to “save themselves” from investigative agencies’ probes, arguing there is a probability that these bonds had been either transferred to regional parties or were donated to the ruling party before the said probes began. “For all you know, that money was given earlier and yet, we went knocking at their door. Am I making sense? No?!… What if the companies gave the money and after that, we still went and knocked at their doors through the ED… Is that a probability or not?” the Minister said.

Electoral bonds are quid pro quo: AIMIM chief Owaisi

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi said his party did not receive a single electoral bond, and described those that did receive them as having sold themselves to buyers, and indicated that there exists a quid pro quo. He claimed that if a company purchases an electoral bond for any party, it does not do so for nothing. “When they [EB donors] are giving, then Modi is giving something to them [in return]. All parties are saying: you give me, I will give you everything. You give me a bond, take in return whatever you like (sic),” he said.

MoD signs ₹2,890-crore contract with HAL for midlife upgrade of Dornier aircraft

The Ministry of Defence signed a contract worth ₹2,890 crore with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the midlife upgrade of 25 Dornier patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy. In addition, this upgrade will also enable the aircraft to carry out secondary roles of search and rescue, casualty evacuation and communication linking. The upgrade is likely to generate an employment of 1.8 lakh man-days during its execution span of 6.5 years, the statement said

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expands Cabinet; 12 BJP and nine JD(U) Ministers sworn in

A day before the Lok Sabha election date is to be announced, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanded his Cabinet, inducting nine Ministers from his party JD(U) and 12 from the ruling ally BJP. Earlier, along with Mr. Kumar and two Deputy Chief Ministers from the BJP quota, six other Ministers were in the Cabinet, which can have a maximum of 36 Ministers in the 243-member Assembly. The Cabinet expansion comes 46 days after the new NDA government was formed in the State on January 28, 2024 after Mr. Kumar severed ties with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and rejoined hands with the BJP.

Assam Congress MP Abdul Khaleque resigns after being denied Lok Sabha ticket

Assam MP and former journalist Abdul Khaleque resigned from the primary membership of Congress after the party declined to field him again from the Barpeta parliamentary constituency. In a letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, he said Congress attracted him 25 years ago because of its ideologies and the “selfless sacrifice” of its leaders leading to the country’s independence.

Centre’s okays wage revision for LIC staff, overall hike at 17% 

The Centre has approved wage revision of LIC employees with effect from August 1, 2022, a decision that will result in a 17% increase in wage bill of the State-owned insurance major. More than 1.10 lakh LIC employees will benefit from the revision that incorporates an enhancement in NPS contribution from 10-14% “for a better future” of nearly 24,000 employees who had joined after April 1, 2010, LIC said on Friday.

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