Daily Bulletin: Nirav Modi arrested in London; politicians shun Holi celebrations to remember Pulwama soldiers; day's top stories

FP Staff
At least, twenty-two antique statues, mostly from the 3rd Century Gandhara period owned by fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, is likely to go under the hammer in the ongoing bankruptcy proceeding in the US court. These statues, that have substantial value in the international market, were brought from Christie's Auction House in March 2010 and recovered from Firestar Diamond office in New York.

Nirav Modi arrested, denied bail

Nirav Modi, the main accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has been arrested in London where a court on Wednesday remanded the fugitive diamantaire in custody till 29 March. The court passed the order saying there were substantial grounds to believe that he would fail to surrender if granted bail.

Opposition leaders like Priyanka Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mamata Banerjee and Omar Abdullah were quick to point out that the arrest could not be held as a victory for the government.

He was produced before the Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, where he contested his extradition to India.

Apart from claiming that the charges against him were politically motivated, Modi said in the bail plea that he has a five-year-old child to look after. He also offered £500,000 as security deposit.

All four accused acquitted in Samjhauta Express blast case

A special NIA court in Panchkula acquitted all four accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case. These were Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary.

The blast on the Samjhauta Express occurred near Panipat in Haryana on 18 February, 2007, when the train was on its way to Attari in Amritsar, the last railway station on the Indian side. The blast had ripped apart two coaches of the cross-border train, killing 68, most of them Pakistani nationals.

The National Investigation Agency had charged the accused with murder and criminal conspiracy, besides under other relevant provisions of the Explosive Substances Act and the Railways Act.

Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti has questioned the grounds on which the accused were acquitted. "Had they been Kashmiris or Muslims, they would have been pronounced guilty and imprisoned without even a fair trial," she said.

Poll watch: Several leaders to not celebrate Holi

Leaders of several political parties, including Rajnath Singh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Arvind Kejriwal, will not be celebrating Holi on Thursday as a mark of respect to the CRPF personnel who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack.

Meanwhile, Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor has filed a complaint against the Bharatiya Janata Party and Sabarimala Karma Samithi with the Kerala chief electoral officer for an alleged "malicious attempt" to appeal to religious sentiments of voters in the name of Lord Ayyappa and the Sabarimala issue.

Furthermore, K Chandrasekhar Rao is likely to announce candidates of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi on Thursday.

India likely to boycott China's Belt and Road Forum

India on Wednesday signalled that it will boycott China's second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, saying no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum in 2017 in protest against the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, overriding New Delhi's sovereignty concerns.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF next month, which will also be attended by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan.

ED to question Geelani's son-in-law in terror funding case

A special NIA Court has allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Altaf Fantoosh, the son-in-law of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and two others, Zahoor Watali and Naval Kishore, inside Tihar jail over three days. The interrogation will be in connection with a terror funding case involving 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

At the previous hearing on Friday, the financial investigators had also sought permission to quiz Watali, an influential businessman allegedly well known in Pakistani leaders' circles.

The ED's counsel Nitesh Rana had further submitted that the agency wanted to question the accused in Tihar jail to confront them with some documents and fresh evidence of money laundering.

Jet Airways pilots approach SpiceJet for jobs

Pilots of Jet Airways, which is on the brink of shutting operations, have now approached SpiceJet seeking employment.

Jet Airways pilots had earlier been wooed by IndiGo with compensation for their pending salaries and other benefits, leading to murmurs of protests from its own pilots.

The largest airline has been facing acute shortage of cockpit crew, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of its flights last month. Jet pilots, along with engineers and senior management, have not been paid for more than three months now as the airline is facing its worst crisis since its inception 25 years ago.

Jay-Z, The Killers to headline Woodstock 50th anniversary fest

Jay-Z, Dead & Company and The Killers will headline one of the 50th anniversary shows commemorating the groundbreaking Woodstock festival this summer.

Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang announced on Tuesday Miley Cyrus, Santana, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, the Black Keys and Chance the Rapper will also perform at the Woodstock 50 Music and Arts Fair.

The event is scheduled for 16 to 18 August in Watkins Glen, New York, about 185 kilometers northwest of the original site.

Also See: Holi 2019: Politicians, CRPF, other paramilitary forces shun celebrations in solidarity with families of soldiers killed in Pulwama attack

Holi 2019 celebration LIVE updates: Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Deepika Padukone urge fans to have a safe festival

Holi 2019: Five iconic scenes from Bollywood films to revisit during this festival season

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