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Fire at Biocon’s research subsidiary Syngene; no casualties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A fire broke out ton Monday at the premises of Syngene, the contract research subsidiary of Biocon, but there were no reports of any casualties.The fire was brought under control with the assistance of the local authorities, a statement issued by the company said here. “This is to inform that there has been an incident of fire at the Syngene Campus, Jigni Link road, which has been brought under control with the assistance of local authorities,” the company said.It also stated that preliminary reports indicated that no one was injured in the incident and there has been no loss of life. The company has taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its employees, the statement said. Karnataka Fire Department also tweeted that a chemical fire broke out in Biocon factory and eight vehicles had been sent to the spot. Syngene offers integrated drug discovery and development services with capabilities in medicinal chemistry, biology and toxicology.

Govt serious about bringing back Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya: Rajya Sabha told

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government is serious about bringing back Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, who are facing various allegations, to India, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.In a written reply, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the two cases in question remain an issue under discussion between the governments of India and the UK and referred to the Joint Statement issued during the recent visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May to India.According to the statement, it was agreed that “ensuring simple and effective visa systems depended critically on cooperation to protect the integrity of border and immigration systems. This included ensuring the timely and efficient return of individuals to their country of origin, as required by their respective national laws,” she said.The Joint Statement stated that “the two Prime Ministers affirmed their strong commitment to enhance cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The two leaders agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law,” Swaraj asserted.Giving details of both the cases, she also said the law enforcement authorities are contemplating various other steps available under the relevant provisions of the PMLA and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the UK in order to bring them back.In case of Modi, former Chairman of Indian Premier League (IPL), a special PMLA court in Mumbai had on Wednesday allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to send a Letter of Request (LR) to the British government for execution of a non-bailable warrant against him and his transfer to India for facing probe in a money laundering case. Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender by an ED court, also allegedly owes thousands of crores of rupees in loans to various banks in India.

India asks UK to extradite Mallya, Agusta middleman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Monda asked Britain to extradite nearly 60 people wanted by it, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya and Chirstian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, for bringing them back to face justice here.India and Britain also agreed to hold annual strategic dialogue at the level of Union Home Secretary to jointly deal with issues like terrorism, organised crimes, visa and immigration matters. The Indian list of around 60 wanted people was handed over to Britain during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Theresa May. Britain also handed over to India a list of 17 people whose custody it seeks under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or against whom Letters Rogatories had been issued, official sources said.While industrialist Vijay Mallya has been accused of money laundering, Chirstian Michel is the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal. The two countries agreed not to allow fugitives and criminals escape law and resolved to facilitate outstanding extradition requests. In talks between Modi and May, the issue of extradition requests figured and officials dealing with the issue from both sides were directed to meet at the earliest.Sources said India expects forward movement in Mallya’s extradition from the UK following the talks. They said the specific issue of Mallya’s extradition had also figured in the talks between the two sides in the run up to the meeting between Modi and May. Asked whether Mallya issue figured in the talks, Joint Secretary (Europe) in the External Affairs Ministry Randhir Jaiswal referred to the Indo-UK joint statement issued after the discussions which said the two Prime Ministers affirmed their strong commitment to enhancing cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.Former IPL boss Lalit Modi is also evading law in India and today’s talks may help Indian authorities to push for his early extradition as well. Michel is a British citizen and wanted by CBI while Mallya and Modi, who have made the UK their home, are wanted by the ED in money laundering cases. “The two leaders agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law. They expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides.”In this context, they directed that the officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each countries legal processes and requirements; share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests,” the statement said.The strategic dialogue between Union Home Secretary and his British counterpart, Permanent Secretary for Home Office, will begin from next year to discuss counter-terror cooperation, ways to deal with organised crimes besides bilateral visa and immigration matters, sources said.This is for the first time India and Britain will have such a mechanism for dealing with security issues. India already has an arrangement with the United States to have annual Homeland Security dialogue at the level of Union Home Minister. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two Prime Ministers affirmed their strong commitment to enhancing cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.”The two leaders agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law. They expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides,” it said. In this context, the Prime Ministers directed that the officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each countries’ legal processes and requirements; share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests.They also agreed that regular interactions between the relevant India-UK authorities would be useful for resolving all outstanding cases expeditiously.

ED to invoke India-UK mutual treaty to extradite Mallya

New Delhi: ED is soon expected to make a fresh request for Vijay Mallya‘s extradition under the India- UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in connection with its money laundering probe against the liquor baron in an alleged bank loan fraud case.

In extradition without MLAT, an agency has to file a charge sheet first and then notify the counterpart country to send back the fugitive, which is a time taking affair. AFP

In extradition without MLAT, an agency has to file a charge sheet first and then notify the counterpart country to send back the fugitive, which is a time taking affair. AFP

Officials said the agency is expected to place the request before the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) soon, in order to execute the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by a Mumbai court against Mallya, seeking execution of the 1992 signed MLAT between the two countries against a fugitive.

The India-UK MLAT has a clause where the treaty can be invoked in a criminal probe case seeking the “transfer of persons, including persons in custody, for the purpose of assisting in investigations or giving evidence” and it is understood that ED considers this step a better legal tool than the regular extradition action to get a person back to country, under investigation by Indian probe agencies.

In extradition without MLAT, an agency has to file a charge sheet first and then notify the counterpart country to send back the fugitive, which is a time taking affair.

The agency, which wants Mallya to join the probe in the Rs 900 crore IDBI alleged loan fraud probe case “in person”, has virtually exhausted all legal options to bring him back to India including issuance of the NBW warrant against him based on which it made the requests for revocation of his passport and subsequent deportation bid.

However, the UK had early this month made it clear that the liquor baron cannot be deported and had asked India to seek his extradition instead.

The agency has also asked the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him even as it is working to attach Mallya’s Indian assets under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

ED is also understood to be considering issuing Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to at least seven countries to not only probe Mallya’s finances but also that of his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).

Mallya had left India on 2 March using his diplomatic passport.

The agency has registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI.

ED is also investigating financial structure of Kingfisher Airlines and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loans.

India’s aid to Nepal dwindles, China now among major donors

India’s aid to Nepal has dwindled by over 50% in the last five years to US $22 million while China’s assistance to the land-locked nation doubled, a Nepalese Finance Ministry report says, amid Nepal’s deepening ties with the Communist giant.Chinese aid of US $37.94 million was disbursed in the 12-month period in 2014-2015 which made it the fourth largest bilateral donor to Nepal behind the UK, the US and Japan, according to Nepal’s Development Cooperation Report 2014-15.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Switzerland was the fifth largest donor. India’s actual disbursement of aid to Nepal in the financial year 2010-11 was US $ 50,728,502. In 2011-12, it was US $50,620,749 and in 2012-13 it rose to US $ 63,813,269.In 2013-14, the Indian aid, however, fell to US $ 47,796,349 and it dwindled to US $ 22,227,306 in 2014-15, the report said. On the other hand, China’s aid to Nepal has been steadily growing from US $ 18,843,988 in 2010-11 to US $28,344,923 in 2011-12 and US $ 34,120,033 in 2012-13. The financial help again grew to US $ 41,381,522 in 2013-14 and stood at US $37,948,75 in 2014-15.The volume of aid disbursement in FY 2014-15 reached a total of US $1.13 billion of which Overall Official Development Assistance (ODA) contribution was US $1020.75 million (90 %) and INGO contribution was US $116.89 million (10 %).Despite the devastating earthquake in April 2015, the level of ODA disbursement stood at almost the similar level as compared to the previous fiscal year (US $1.03 billion in FY 2013-14), the report said.Of the total disbursement of ODA, about 45 % was provided by multilateral donors, while nearly 55 % came from bilateral donors, it said.The top five bilateral development partners for the FY 2014-15 were the UK (US $168.07 million), USAID (US $132.37 million), Japan (US $39.87 million), China (US $37.95 million) and Switzerland (US $ 32.47 million).The top 5 bilateral development partners contributed approximately 40 % of the total ODA disbursements. The report noted that the trend of ODA shows disbursed over the last 5 years from top development partners indicates that the disbursement from the World Bank Group, ADB, India, Japan and EU has declined, the Finance Ministry report said.Nepal has been receiving development assistances for more than six decades and aid continues to play an important role in the socio-economic development of the country, it added. ODA represents in average about 20 % of the national budget over the last 5 years. The estimated GDP for FY 2014-15 was US $ 21.2 billion whereas the total government expenditure was estimated to be about US $ 6.2 billion which is about 29.1 % of GDP.

Modi in Brussels: PM pitches for pact with Belgium to combat terrorism

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday strongly pitched for resumption of talks on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and other instruments to combat the common challenge of terrorism during his talks with Belgian premier Charles Michel, days after a series of terror attacks in the Belgian capital that left over 30 people dead.LIVE England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final T20, ICC World T20 2016, March 30, 2016During the talks, the two leaders covered whole spectrum of bilateral ties. Modi, who arrived in Brussels on Wednesday on a day-long visit, invited Belgian government and companies to pro-actively associate with India’s ambitious projects including ‘Digital India’, ‘Start Up India’ and ‘Skill India’, asserting that combination of Belgian capacities and India s economic growth can produce promising opportunities for businesses on both sides.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to various partnership possibility between the two countries, Modi said Belgian businesses can make their global supply chains more cost effective by manufacturing in India. “Clearly, it is not just diamonds that can bring shine to our partnership,” he added.Ahead of his talks, Modi laid a wreath of white flowers at the Maalbeek Metro station in the Belgian capital where a suicide bomber blew himself up killing scores of passengers, including Raghavendran Ganeshan, an Infosys employee from Bengaluru.”Last week has been a sad week for Belgium. Let me say Prime Minister that we share the depth of sorrow and grief that the people of Belgium have experienced in the last 8 days…Having experienced terrorist violence ourselves on countless occasions, we share your pain. Prime Minister, in this time of crisis, the whole of India stands in full support and solidarity with the Belgian people. I deeply appreciate your welcome and the time that you have devoted to me despite pressing demands on you. As part of our efforts to respond to this common challenge we could resume discussions on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Negotiations on Extradition Treaty and a Treaty on Exchange of Sentenced Prisoners could be concluded expeditiously,” Modi said after his talks with Belgian leader.Modi’s visit comes just days after the March 22 terror attack here in which at least 32 people were killed.Describing India as “one of the brightest economic opportunities” in the world today, Modi said its macroeconomic fundamentals are robust, and at 7 per cent plus, the country was one of the fastest growing economies of the world.India’s goal to modernise infrastructure, especially railways and ports, and building of 100 plus smart cities also presents a unique investment opportunity for the Belgian companies, he said, adding that these partnerships can help the two countries reach new heights in their trade and commercial partnership.Modi said he has invited Prime Minister Michel to visit India with Belgian businesses to see first-hand the reality of India’s economic and political promise. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges before mankind and the two countries have agreed to enhance their cooperation in renewable energy, he said.”We would also build partnerships in areas such as harnessing waste for energy, small wind turbines and zero emission buildings. Advancement in S&T and High technology areas is of particular importance for India’s development priorities,” the Prime Minister said.Noting that India and Belgium share a long history of friendship, Modi said a hundred years ago, more than 130,000 soldiers from India fought in the First World War alongside Belgians on Belgian soil and more than 9,000 Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice.”Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of India-Belgium diplomatic ties. To celebrate this important milestone in our friendship, we look forward to welcoming His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium in India next year,” he added.

Security stabilised after Pathankot attack but needs to improve: IAF

Shillong: The security scenario in the country has stabilised after the Pathankot attack, though it is yet to improve, Air Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Air Command C Harikumar said on Monday.

“Though stabilised, we have not been able to improve (our security),” Harikumar told reporters in Shillong on Monday.

“Our country has been fighting to improve security for quite sometime. We have inimical agents that are not allowing us to settle that,” he said.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The Eastern Air Command Chief said, “No other country will find so much police visible all over. Though stabilised, we have not been able to improve.”

“Post Pathankot incident and thereafter in Jammu and Kashmir, we realised that we need to have added emphasis to ensure that our bases are more secure,” Harikumar said.

“We have made SOPs, we have made a lot of decisions and a lot of brainstorming on this. We are seeing how we can involve everybody, including the state, as our outer cover to ensure that our assets are not affected,” he said.

Harikumar hosted a two-day seminar on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) aimed at synergising all state governments, army, navy, para-military forces in any emergency or disaster relief operations in the future.

In the past five years, IAF helicopters have successfully evacuated 10,868 persons from several disaster zones or flood- affected areas in the Eastern Command’s reach.

During the same time, over 1,200 hours of flying efforts have been made for such operations, defence spokesman Amit Mahajan said.

In the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, the need to involve IAF in all four steps of disaster management – mitigation, preparation, response and recovery – by all agencies was reiterated during the seminar.

In other presentations, HADR in remote locations of the NE region, air maintenance towards the sustenance of armed forces and civilian population were also discussed, Mahajan added.


PM Modi to visit Varanasi on Friday, to distribute aids among differently-abled

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be highlighting the need to ensure a life of dignity for the differently-abled with distribution of aids among nearly 8,000 people in Varanasi on Friday.The Prime Minister, who will undertake fifth visit to his constituency after assuming office in May, 2014, is likely to personally hand over the aids to some of the beneficiaries, besides interacting with children from various parts of the country who have overcome disabilities relating to speech and hearing with the help of the ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Persons) scheme of the Centre.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 25,000 aids like wheelchairs, hand-driven tricycles, smart crutches and hearing implants will be distributed among 8,000 beneficiaries and the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has reportedly written to the Guinness Book of World Records to take note of the event, which is touted to be one of the largest of its kind.The Prime Minister had in a radio address recently made a plea for doing away with the word ‘vikalang’ (handicapped) and calling the differently abled as ‘divyang’ (born with a divine limb/organ) in a bid to sensitise the society towards their right to live a life of dignity and honour.Related Read: Mann Ki Baat: Address the disabled as ‘divyaang’, not ‘viklaang’, says PM ModiThere have also been reports that a new Disabilities Act may be passed by his government wherein the word ‘handicapped’ may be replaced with ‘impairment’, in all national institutes, as a mark of ‘changing attitudes’ towards persons with disabilities.The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) premises, where the function will be held, is also likely to witness the flagging off of the ‘Mahamana Express’ by the Prime Minister.Named after Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, renowned educationist and founder of the Benares Hindu University (BHU), the thrice-a-week superfast train promises to cover the nearly 800-km distance between Varanasi and New Delhi in less than 14 hours.The last tour, on December 12 last, was marked by Modi witnessing the famous Ganga Arti on the banks of the holy river, accompanied by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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