CBI files first charge sheet in Saradha scam

24102014

CBI files first charge sheet in Saradha scam

CBI on Wednesaday filed its first charge sheet in the multi-crore Saradha scam naming the company chief Sudipta Sen, close aide Debjani Mukherjee and suspended Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh, five months after it was ordered by the Supreme Court to probe the case.

CBI sources said the 25-page charge sheet coupled with annexures contained names of three accused persons–Sudipata Sen, Debjani Mukherjee and Kunal Ghosh, a suspended TMC Rajya Sabha MP who had worked with Sen.

Five companies–Saradha Tours & Travels, Saradha Gardens, Saradha Realty, Saradha Constructions and Strategic Media, a company owned by Kunal Ghosh, were also named in the charge sheet, the sources said.

The charge sheet was filed by the investigation officer of the Special Crime Branch of CBI accompanied by its counsel with the Metropolitan Magistrate of the City Sessions Court.

It was filed under Sections 120B, 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and also under Sections four and six of Prize, Chit and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978. The agency would also continue its investigation under Section 173(8) of CrPC for ascertaining the role of other accused persons and financial transactions, the sources said.

The charge sheet was filed on a day when the Calcutta High Court rejected a petition seeking extension of the term of Shyamal Sen Commission formed to probe the ponzi scheme scam in which thousands of small investors were allegedly duped.

A bench of justices Dipankar Dutta and Asish Chakraborty dismissed the petition after the government counsel pleaded that the commission was an administrative decision and that the tenure will depend on the choice of the government.

Lawyer Arindam Das had filed the petition, saying the commission’s term ends today but many duped investors are yet to receive their compensation.





INSAT-3D helped in tracking Cyclone Hudhud

24102014

INSAT-3D helped in tracking Cyclone Hudhud accurately: IMD

Images from INSAT-3D, which became operational in January this year, played an important role while tracking Cyclone Hudhud which hit the east coast of India on 12th October, according to Indian Meteorological Department.

“This was for the first time that all the “products” of INSAT-3D satellite were fully utilised with the development of new products like enhanced IR imageries and coloured enhanced imageries and were made available through an exclusive page for cyclone images in IMD website (www.imd.gov.in),” a report by IMD said.

Launched in July 2013 by INSAT by the ISRO from French Guiana, the satellite became operational in January this year and linked to its website.

It is a meteorology specific satellite. Before INSAT 3D, images were used by from another meteorological satellite Kalpana 1.

INSAT 3D not only gives colour imageries, but also images of better resolution compared to Kalpana 1.

During Cyclone Phailin, which hit east coast at the same time last year, images from Kalpana played a vital role.

“The images from the INSAT 3D give better resolution and allow more precise forecast,” said Mritunjay Mohapatra, Scientist, incharge of Cylone Warning Division.

“Kalpana’s images are black and white whereas INSAT 3D has colour images. It helps in giving more accurate forecast. This time our system was more like the National Huricance Centre in the US,” said A K Mitra, Director (software).

A senior IMD official, however, added that a lot needs to be done in getting better resolution.

Hudhud originated from a low pressure are over Tenasserim coast and adjoining North Andaman Sea on 6th October 2014.

It concentrated into a depression over North Andaman Sea the next day morning over the North Andaman Sea while moving west-northwestwards.

On the same day the region and associated wind speed was about 25-30 knots. The wind speed was relatively higher in northern sector of the system.

According to satellite observation, intense to very intense convection was seen over Andaman Sea and adjoining area on 7th October.

It made landfall on the coast on 12th October inflicting maximum damage to Visakhapatnam district.





India, 20 others set up Asian Infra Investment Bank

24102014

India, 20 others set up Asian Infra Investment Bank

India along with 20 other countries on Friday signed an agreement to become founding members of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to aid the infrastructure development in the Asian region and reduce the dependence on Western-dominated World Bank and IMF.
Usha Titus, Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs division of the Ministry of Finance, signed the MoU on behalf of India at a special ceremony in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People on Friday.

China’s Vice Finance Minister Jin Liqun, who was also the former Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank, has been appointed as the Secretary General of AIIB.

The Bank, to be headquartered in Beijing, is expected to be operational by next year.

The MoU specifies that the authorised capital of AIIB is USD 100 billion and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around USD 50 billion. The paid-in ratio will be 20 percent.

Voting rights are to be decided after consultations among the members over fixing the bench marks which were expected to be combination of GDP and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

Based on this formula, India will be second largest share holder of the bank after China.

Elaborating on decision to participate in AIIB, Titus said India’s view is that the new bank provides rich resource capital base for infrastructure financing, which is good for the regional development.

It will help to bridge the infrastructure deficit by playing a complimentary role along with other financial institutions like ADP and IMF and work for good governance, she said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chua Chunying had welcomed India’s participation in new bank.

China regards India’s support as a major boost to the bank’s formation which was largely seen as an effort to enlarge funding for the Asian countries reducing the dependence on ADB and other Western-dominated global financial institutions like World Bank and IMF.

China was keen about India’s participation and an invitation in this regard was extended by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of BRICS summit in Brazil in July.

The AIIB is in addition to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Development Bank formed this year, which will be based in Shanghai. It is set to commence its operations with an Indian as its President.

Besides India and China, other AIIB members are Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Qatar, Oman, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia and Myanmar.

Japan, which along with the US plays a major role in the ADB, is conspicuous by its absence.

After the signature ceremony, officials of the member countries called on President Xi who had formally proposed the formation of the bank last year.

Terming the formation of the bank as a “very significant endeavour”, Xi told the delegates that the signing of the MoU is an “expression by the member countries to take concrete actions to go forward”.

“In China we have a folk saying. If you would like to get rich, build roads first, and I believe that is a very vivid description of the very importance of infrastructure to economic development,” he said.

“The very purpose of setting up the AIIB is to promote infrastructure development among Asian countries, to promote greater infrastructure connectivity and also enhance practical economic cooperation among all Asian countries,” he said.

“We believe doing this will go a long way to promoting economic growth in Asia, as well as to contribute to economic prosperity and stability of the whole world,” Xi said.

Stating that tallest mountains can be moved with unity, he said in Asia “we have very diverse culture and not every country is in the same phase of economic development”.

“I believe the setting up of the AIIB is another expression of the same spirit, and for the AIIB itself I believe we need to uphold open multilateralism and we welcome the participation in the AIIB by all countries either from within or outside of this region who are interested in promoting such economic cooperation,” he said.

Allaying perception that that AIIB is competitor to ADB, he said, “I believe the setting up of the AIIB will be an enrichment of the existing multi-lateral institutions.”

“We have also to learn from the World Bank and the ADB and other existing multi-lateral development institutions in their good practices and useful experiences,” he said.

“We would like to set up a very interactive and very meaningful exchange among all the multi-lateral financial platforms and for the AIIB we would like to have it become an inclusive, highly-effective and well-connected economic cooperation platform to boost economic cooperation in Asia and also to contribute to world economic prosperity,” he said.

Elaborating further, Titus said the issues of the structure, voting rights and all other issues would be decided in subsequent meetings to be held in the next few months to finalise a framework in consultations with other members.

A chief negotiator will formulate articles of agreement after consultations among the member countries, she said.

About the difference between BRICS Development Bank and AIIB, she said both will strive to finance the infrastructure.

While BRICS bank will help financing countries other the member countries, the AIIB will focus on funding the countries in the Asian region.

According to a joint study by the Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute, the infrastructure finance gap in Asia alone is somewhere in the range of USD eight trillion for the next decade.

In India itself current requirement for infrastructure development was estimated to be over USD one trillion.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao, who was in Beijing, said he did not think the AIIB was a threat to the ADB’s role.

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