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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 2100 hours: NATION DEL84 POLLS-LD-EC-SEIZURE Cash, liquor bribe to voters in 5 assembly polls at record high of Rs 1,000 crore: EC New Delhi: The seizure of illegal inducements to voters, such as liquor and cash, during the ongoing polls to five assemblies and by-polls to some seats has crossed the record value of Rs 1,000 crore, a whopping jump of over four times since the 2016 polls, the Election Commission said Friday.

DEL73 MEA-INDIA-AFGHANISTAN Political settlement in Afghanistan must be inclusive: India New Delhi: Two days after US President Joe Biden announced withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, India on Friday said any political settlement in the war-ravaged country must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years.

DEL71 RAHUL-LD VIRUS GOVT Rahul Gandhi slams govt's COVID-19 strategy New Delhi: Taking a dig at the government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said its strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic consisted of imposing a 'Tughlaqi lockdown', ringing bells and singing praises to the Lord.

DEL69 VACCINE-COVAXIN-RAMP UP COVID-19: Centre ropes in PSUs to ramp up vaccine production New Delhi: The production of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin will be ramped up significantly and increased to 10 crore doses per month by September, the Department of Biotechnology said on Friday.

DEL88 VIRUS-VARIANTS OF CONCERN 1,189 samples have tested positive for variants of concern of SARS COV-2 in India: Health ministry New Delhi: A total of 1,189 samples have so far tested positive for variants of concern of SARS COV-2 in India, the health ministry said on Friday as the country is witnessing a steep surge in COVID-19 cases.

DEL88 VIRUS-VARIANTS OF CONCERN 1,189 samples have tested positive for variants of concern of SARS COV-2 in India: Health ministry New Delhi: A total of 1,189 samples have so far tested positive for variants of concern of SARS COV-2 in India, the health ministry said on Friday as the country is witnessing a steep surge in COVID-19 cases.

DEL62 VIRUS-MHA-OXYGEN Ensure free movement of medical oxygen carrying vehicles along inter-state borders: MHA New Delhi: The Centre on Friday directed the states to ensure uninterrupted movement of medical oxygen carrying vehicles along their borders, and said they must not impose any curb on production and supply of the essential public health commodity anywhere.

DEL55 CBI-2NDLD SINHA DEATH Former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha passes away New Delhi: Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha died here Friday morning at the age of 68 in what is believed to be a COVID-19 related death, senior officials said.

CAL22 WB-LD SHAH-RALLY Shah calls Rahul 'tourist politician', blames Mamata for denial of citizenship to Matuas Tehatta/ Khardah: Union Home Minister Amit Shah Friday accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of denying citizenship to Dalit Matua and Namsudra communities as her 'vote bank would not like it'.

DEL78 CICSE-EXAMS CICSE defers class 10, 12 exams in view of surge in COVID cases New Delhi: The CICSE on Friday deferred the board exams of classes 10 and 12 in view of a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country.

DEL93 IMD-3RDLD MONSOON Monsoon to be normal this year: IMD New Delhi: The Southwest monsoon, which brings nearly 75 per cent of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.

LEGAL LGD12 SC-LD CHEQUE BOUNCE SC issues norms for speedy disposal of cheque bounce cases, asks Centre to amend laws New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday came out with a slew of directions to ensure speedy disposal of cheque bounce cases across the country and asked the Centre to amend laws to ensure clubbing of trials in such cases if they are lodged against a person within a year related to same transaction.

FOREIGN FGN65 UK-NIRAV MODI-2NDLD EXTRADITION UK home secretary approves Nirav Modi's extradition to India London: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed off on the order to extradite fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges related to the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, the UK Home Office said on Friday. By Aditi Khanna FGN60 VIRUS-CHINA-BIO-LABS China to build more bio labs amidst questions over Wuhan lab’s role in COVID-19 origin Beijing: China has operationalised its new biosecurity law to fortify the legal cover for the establishment and safe operation of more bio labs in the country amidst questions whether the COVID-19 originated from such a laboratory in Wuhan. By K J M Varma PTI SRY