QBullet: Blame Game Over Mehul Choksi; Social Media Hub Shelved

1. Choksi Got Citizenship Last Year, Indian Agencies Gave All-Clear: Antigua

Mehul Choksi.

Antigua and Barbuda blamed Indian authorities, including market regulator SEBI and CBI, for not raising a red flag on Mehul Choksi when he applied for citizenship last year, but India debunked the Caribbean nation’s claim and asked it to extradite the diamantaire on the principles of “reciprocity and dual criminality”.

In a statement issued on Thursday night, Antigua’s citizenship by investment unit (CIU) said when Choksi applied for citizenship in May 2017, he provided a “police clearance certificate as required by Section 5(2)(b) of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act 2013”.

The certificate, issued by the regional passport office, Mumbai, certified that “there was no adverse information against Mehul Chinubhai Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities, including visa for Antigua and Barbuda”, CIU said on a day India moved to seek Choksi’s extradition, meeting a condition Antiguan PM Gaston Browne had put on Monday in response to India’s demand to send him back.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Exclusive: CBI Allowed Mehul Choksi to Escape to Antigua From US

2. Quietly, Delhi Kept Dhaka in NRC Loop: No Deportation Talk

Weeks before its publication sparked a political row, India had quietly and informally briefed Bangladesh on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, it is learnt, and assured them that there was no talk of “deportation” to prevent a slide in bilateral ties.

Sources told The Indian Express that Home Minister Rajnath Singh had briefed Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on the “broad contours” of the NRC and the process that was adopted by the Centre. This discussion took place when Singh visited Dhaka on 13 July.

According to sources, New Delhi conveyed to Dhaka that the process is Supreme Court-mandated and that it was a “purely draft” NRC. “They were also told that nobody is talking about deportation,” the source said.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Explained: Why All Things NRC Lead to the Assam Accord of 1985

3. Northeastern States Step up Security to Block Assam’s ‘Illegals’

People wait in a queue to check their names on the final draft of the NRC after it was released, at an NRC Seva Kendra in Morigaon on 30 July. 

The publication of the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), which left out four million applicants, has put many northeastern states on the edge and prompted them to reinforce security on the borders to prevent infiltration.

While Manipur has taken measures to prevent the entry of those deemed ‘illegal’, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya are demanding their own versions of NRC to identify and deport illegal immigrants. The North-East Students Organisation, the region’s biggest student body, wants NRC to be extended to all northeastern states. In Arunachal Pradesh, apex student body All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union plans ‘Operative Clean Drive’ from 17 August.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Forget NRC, We Are All Immigrants — So Throw Us Out!

4. Snoop Charge Makes Govt Kill Social Media Hub Plan

Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. Image used for representational purposes. 

In the wake of allegations of “snooping” levelled against its proposed social media communication hub (SMCH), intended to track social media comment, the Centre withdrew the proposal on Friday and ended the possibility of the Supreme Court scrutinising its legality.

As soon as a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud took up a PIL filed by Trinamool Congress MLA Mohua Moitra challenging the decision to create SMCH, attorney general KK Venugopal said the government has decided to withdraw the request for proposal (RFP) and will reevaluate the policy decision.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Amid Debates Over Data Privacy, What is the Government’s Stand?

5. Google Admits Flaw As UIDAI Number Pops up on Contact Lists

Image used for representational purposes. 

Tech giant Google said on Friday that it was responsible for a coding flaw that caused a defunct Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) helpline number to mysteriously appear in the contact lists of mobile phones running on its Android operating system.

The clarification came hours after a social media storm against UIDAI, with users blaming the agency, which oversees the Aadhaar identification system, for pushing the information to their devices without their consent.

“Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for use in India and has remained there since,” a Google spokesperson said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Aadhaar Challenge Reaches RS, Minister Says ‘Core Biometrics Safe’

6. Govt Makes Pitch for SC/ST Quota in Job Promotions

The Supreme Court of India. 

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government told the Supreme Court on Friday that scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) had suffered social inequalities for years and, for the purpose of extending them reservations in government jobs promotions, it should be presumed that they remain underprivileged communities even now.

“It represents thousands of years of backwardness. Affirmative action will have to proceed on the basis of Article 335. State will have to presume that there is backwardness,” attorney general KK Venugopal told a five-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra.

Article 335 of the Constitution says the state will take into consideration the claims of SCs/STs in making appointments to services and posts.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Bill to Restore SC/ST Act’s Provisions to be Tabled in Parliament

7. Army Court of Inquiry Set to Indict Major Gogoi in Valley Woman Case

File Photo of Major Leetul Gogoi. 

The Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident where Major Leetul Gogoi was seen with a local Kashmiri woman in a Srinagar hotel on 23 May, is likely to indict the controversial Army officer. The findings of the CoI could lead to disciplinary action against Major Gogoi.

Sources told The Indian Express that the findings of the CoI had been submitted to the XV Corps and were being studied before being processed as per military law. The CoI, sources said, indicted Major Gogoi guilty on at least two counts: being away from the place of duty while on active service in an operational area and for violating the official Army policy on fraternising with a local woman “source”.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Dear Lt Gen Panag, Major Gogoi Is Innocent Till Proven Guilty 

8. JNU Sexual Harassment: Panel Clears Professors, Warns Complainants

Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The internal regulator of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has cleared two professors named together in two different complaints of sexual harassment – and instead, issued identical warnings to the complainants for “advertising” the issue.

In separate recommendations following probes in both the cases, JNU’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) concluded that “no case of sexual harassment” could be made out against Mahendra P Lama and Rajesh Kharat.  Lama is a professor at the Centre for South Asian Studies, where Kharat was former chairperson. However, both sets of recommendations contain the same warning in identical paragraphs.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Heard Them Say ‘Kapde Phaado’: JNU Student Recounts Police Assault

9. Uttarakhand Govt Staff Can Get Maternity Leave for 3rd Child

Uttarakhand High Court.

Calling it “unconstitutional”, the Uttarakhand High Court has struck down a state government rule that denies maternity leave to its women employees for the birth of their third child.

The court said the second provision of Fundamental Rule 153 of the Uttar Pradesh Fundamental Rules, as adopted by Uttarakhand, was against both the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and Article 42 of the Constitution, which provides for “just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief ”.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: South Better Than North in Maternal and Child Health in India

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