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DNA Morning Must Reads: Latest on demonetization, Tata-Mistry tussle & Trump administration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Politicians, babus and hoarders woo friends to turn black money into whiteFollowing the crackdown on black money post Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last Tuesday, panic-stricken hoarders of black money—mostly jewellers, traders, politicians and bureaucrats across the country—are desperately looking for innovative means to convert their unaccounted wealth to white money. Read moreDNA Exclusive: Banks shower loans ‘wilful defaulter’ Niranjan Hiranandani”Defaulter!” This is exactly how India’s premier institution, the RBI, had described property tycoon and co-founder of the Hiranandani Group — Niranjan Hiranandani. But despite the RBI declaring Hiranandani as a “wilful defaulter” as far back as 2014, the group continues to receive loans from premier banks across the country. Read detailsDemonetization: Facing ire of united Opposition, NDA gears up for counter-offensiveAs people waited for hours outside banks and ATMs on Sunday, a senior BJP leader made a conference call to party units in all states asking them to take help of cadre, supporters, and NGOs to assist the people waiting in the queues. The BJP leadership has also asked party MPs to extend “all possible help and guidance” to these people , sensing that the Opposition would take mileage from any inconvenience stemming from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to demonitise notes of 500 and 1,000. Read moreTata fiasco: Wadia on his side, Mistry stays Tata Motors chairmanIn another twist to the ongoing war between the sacked chairman and Tata Sons, independent directors of Tata Motors backed chairman Cyrus Mistry in a board meeting of the automotive company on Monday. Read full storyTrump appoints Priebus as chief of staff, hardliner Bannon as chief strategistPresident-elect Donald Trump chose Washington insider Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and firebrand conservative Stephen Bannon as chief strategist, showing a willingness to work with Congress and giving a nod to right-wing activists who helped sweep him into office. Read more

DNA Exclusive: Banks shower loans ‘wilful defaulter’ Niranjan Hiranandani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Defaulter!” This is exactly how India’s premier institution, the RBI, had described property tycoon and co-founder of the Hiranandani Group — Niranjan Hiranandani. But despite the RBI declaring Hiranandani as a “wilful defaulter” as far back as 2014, the group continues to receive loans from premier banks across the country.Documents exclusive to DNA reveal that the Hiranandani Group has received Rs 5,500 crore from the State Bank of India and Axis Bank, which was given to two firms belonging to the group. The SBI loan was given in February 2015 and March 2016 by Axis Bank. These loans, the documents make clear, come well after the RBI listed Hiranandani as a defaulter.When contacted, Hiranandani insisted that he had done nothing wrong. A spokesperson authorised to speak on behalf of him and the Group admits that Hiranandani’s name had figured in the RBI’s list of wilful defaulters. But he claimed that it was an “error” and has now been struck off.Niranjan Hiranandani’s name had first appeared in the RBI’s wilful defaulters’ list on June 30, 2014 following a default of Rs 350 crore loan with Punjab National Bank-led consortium by his company Sunny Vista Realtors Pvt Ltd (SVRPL). Other banks in this consortium were UCO and Andhra Bank. But eight months later while his name was still on the wilful defaulters’ list, SBI seemingly decided to deviate from RBI rules and lend his company – Hiranandani Builders – Rs 1,250 crore in February 2015.All these loans were sanctioned despite an RBI’s master circular on wilful defaulters, which reads: “No additional facilities (loan) should be granted by any bank/FI to the listed wilful defaulters”.What is even more shocking is that SBI was seemingly aware that they were flouting RBI rules. In a document issued while sanctioning the loan, SBI officials wrote: “…deviation from loan policy guidelines in respect to name of one partners, Niranjan Hiranandani appearing in the RBI wilful defaulters list dated 30 June 2014.”It’s not just the RBI. The SBI seems to have flouted its own guidelines when sanctioning the loans to the Hiranandani Group. The documents available with DNA show that the above loan of Rs 750 crore to Hiranadani Builders were sanctioned against the securitisation of rental income known as Lease Rental Discounting or LRD scheme with a tenure of 12 years. However, SBI policy allows that such a loan is only up to Rs 100 crore and that too only for a 10-year period.Asked about this, the Hiranandani Group maintained that this loan was pre-closed in March 2016, stating that “the funds were raised from private sources for closure”.But while the Hiranandani Group may have clarified this loan, other loans continue to have been given to them. Axis Bank pre-funded Rs 2,815 crore (Rs 1,480 crore to Lakeview Developers and Rs 1,335 crore to Hiranandani Builders in March 2016). Later on, Axis bank sold down the majority of the loan to SBI. SBI sanctioned Rs 750 crore loan with syndication of Axis Bank to Hiranandani Builders in August this year.The group, however, insists that it has flouted no guidelines. Asked about the date of removal of Hiranandani’s name from the RBI’s wilful defaulter list, his team forwarded a letter of Andhra Bank written to Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) addressing concerns regarding Sunny Vista Realtors Private Limited (SVRPL) — a company belonging to the Group.The Andhra Bank letter dated December 11, 2015, addressed to CIBIL, says, “We request you to delete the name of company and its directors as wilful defaulters from your records.” Another letter released by the group, shows a communication from Andhra Bank to SVRPL, dated December 9, 2015, where the bank has recommended to its officials, “for deletion of company and its director’s name from RBI wilful defaulter list.”Despite these letters, questions continue to surround the Group. SBI documents show Niranjan Hiranandani to be a wilful defaulter during the loan process in 2015. Again, in August 2016, SBI cites a similar request letter of Andhra Bank during its risk analysis discussion for a new loan of Rs 750 crore requested by Hiranandani Builders from Axis Bank.When asked to comment, SBI and Axis bank officials have maintained that they can’t comments on any individual’s account status. In a statement, Axis Bank says, “As a matter of policy we don’t comment on individual borrowers. However, as a normal practice, we follow prudent underwriting, well-defined credit principles and effective loan approval process.” Similarly, RBI says in its response to DNA, “As a matter of policy, we do not reply to media queries relating to individual bank accounts.”Group denies chargesThe Hiranandani Group has denied all the allegations raised against it. A spokesperson for the Group said: “Mr Hiranandani’s name appeared in the RBI wilful defaulters list but on clarification by the bankers was removed from the wilful defaulter list. The listing of his name in the RBI defaulters list was an error and consequently rectified. Irrespective of the above, Mr. Hiranandani took over all the projects along with its loans and made sure that all banks were fully paid.”TimelineJune, 2014 – RBI declares Hiranandani ‘wilful defaulter’
February 2015 – SBI loan of Rs1,250 cr was given to Hiranandani Builders was in violation of rules
December, 2015 – Andhra Bank requested CIBIL to delete wilful defaulter tag from the HiranandaniGroup
March 2016 Axis Bank pre-funded Rs 1,335 cr to Hiranandani Builders Definition of a wilful defaulterAnyone who has enough cash, but is not willing to pay banks’ dues is a wilful defaulter.
Siphoning off funds, fabrication of bank records and fraudulent transactions by the borrower can also invite the chip of wilful defaulter. Action against a wilful defaulterRBI rules state that a “wilful defaulter can’t float new ventures for a period of five years from the date the name appeared in RBI “wilful defaulter” list.
Further, if a bank identifies siphoning or diversion of funds, misrepresentation, falsification of accounts and fraudulent transactions then that bank should debarred from that account.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said that wilful defaulter tag is a necessary tool in the hands of creditors to resolve distressed assets. Outstanding Loans: How much wilful defaulters owe banksSource-AIBEA

Attack on Union ministers’ convoy: Rajnath Singh calls up Odisha Guv

Concerned over the attack on the cavalcade of two Union ministers in Odisha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday called up Governor SC Jamir and CM Navin Patnaik and asked them to ensure safety and security of central leaders visiting the state.The cavalcade of Union Ministers Santosh Gangwar and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda was pelted with stones allegedly by a group of ruling BJD workers, led by one MLA, when they were on way to attend a meeting in Odisha’s Bargarh to mark two years of the NDA government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his telephonic conversation, the Home Minister asked the Chief Minister to look into the incident and take appropriate action to prevent such untoward incidents in the future. Singh also told Patnaik to ensure safety and security of Union ministers visiting the state.In his phone call to the Governor, the Home Minister took stock of the incident and asked him to send a detailed report about the incident. Gangwar, who was also shown black flags allegedly by the BJD workers, said it was the responsibility of the state government to ensure safety of Union ministers. “If the state government can’t protect a Union minister, how can it protect the common man,” Gangwar said.

‘Rats’ wrecking Congress from within, says senior party leader

With Congress out of power in Odisha since 2000, senior party leader Niranjan Patnaik on Monday said “rats” were wrecking the party from within and need to be shown the door.”Political parties now have people as members who view politics as a way of making money. These people have no other known source of income or earning and have used politics to amass wealth,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Without taking any Congress leader’s name, Patnaik alleged they have nothing to do with the party ideology or the spirit of public service and take all political decisions only out of greed.”These rats must be purged if parties are to regain their role as institutions defined by ideology and the spirit of public service,” he said.”These are people for whom making money and personal agenda come before the party ideology or organisational interest,” Patnaik, a former Odisha PCC president, said in a statement.Politics has now become an investment of money for a return like any other business, he added.

Minor fire breaks out in CM Naveen Patnaik’s chamber in Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: A fire broke out in the chamber of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the state Assembly building in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

No one was reported hurt in the incident. The Chief Minister is away on a visit to Delhi, assembly officials said.

A television set and set-top box were damaged in the minor fire, which was quickly doused by the fire brigade personnel deployed in the Assembly premises, they said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

No other furniture, equipment or file was damaged in the fire as the fire brigade personnel immediately rushed to the site on getting information.

“No major damage has been caused by the fire…It was suspected to have occurred due to electric short circuit,” Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari said.

Senior officials including Director General of Police K B Singh and Commissioner of Police Y B Khurania rushed to the site after the incident.

While the fire is suspected to have erupted due to electric short circuit, efforts are on to ascertain the exact cause, a senior police official said.

The incident took place on the second day of the second phase of budget session.

Minor fire in CM’s chamber in Odisha Assembly

A fire broke out in the chamber of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the state Assembly building on Wednesday.No one was reported hurt in the incident. The Chief Minister is away on a visit to Delhi, assembly officials said.A television set and set-top box were damaged in the minor fire, which was quickly doused by the fire brigade personnel deployed in the Assembly premises, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No other furniture, equipment or file was damaged in the fire as the fire brigade personnel immediately rushed to the site on getting information.”No major damage has been caused by the fire…It was suspected to have occurred due to electric short circuit,” Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari said.Senior officials including Director General of Police K B Singh and Commissioner of Police Y B Khurania rushed to the site after the incident.While the fire is suspected to have erupted due to electric short circuit, efforts are on to ascertain the exact cause, a senior police official said.The incident took place on the second day of the second phase of budget session.

Pathankot attack: Lt Col Niranjan, NSG dog recommended for gallantry award

In probably a first, the elite commando force NSG has recommended its dog ‘Rocket’ along with slain officer Lt Col Niranjan and two others for military gallantry medals for their role in eliminating terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air base early this year.Officials said while the specially trained canine has been recommended for a ‘Sena medal’, Lt Col Niranjan EK who was killed while sanitising a terrorist’s booby-trapped body has been recommended for a ‘Shaurya Chakra’ along with two other commandos. The two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois dog and his handler have been recommended for bravery decoration by the National Security Guard headquarters for displaying “raw courage and dedication to duty” in the face of extreme threat and danger. ‘Rocket’ had walked into a burning airmen billet on the direction of his master and brought back a pouch that indicated presence of militants inside.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior official said, Rocket’s paws got singed but that did not deter him from following the directions of his master also called the handler. “While there have been few instances when Army dogs have been honoured with military medals, this is the first for NSG which was established in 1984 as the federal contingency force,” they said. A final decision will however be taken by a Union Home Ministry-appointed committee which clears names of recipients of these medals. The list is expected to be finalised before the next Independence Day.’Rocket’ is one of the most trusted four-legged trooper of the NSG’s K-9 (canine) squad. The squad is deployed along with commandos during counter-terror and counter-hijack operations. Officials said apart from ‘Rocket’, a similar recommendation has been made for the second-highest peacetime gallantry medal for Niranjan, Commanding Officer of the NSG’s bomb disposal squad, who was killed while sanitising a terrorist’s body.NSG had said it lost the experienced and brilliant counter-IED officer to a deadly booby trap as the terrorists had used an innovative technique whose antidote was not included in the Standard Operating Procedure of the ‘black cat’ commandos force. Niranjan’s lungs got punctured due to the impact of the blast of a grenade that was kept in the pocket of a slain terrorist and the officer died before being taken to hospital.The Pathankot attack that took place on the intervening night of January 1-2 claimed the lives of seven security personnel while four terrorists were killed by NSG and other security personnel. While the NSG has maintained six terrorists were involved in the attack, including two in the airmen billet which they brought down using heavy explosives, according to the NIA, it so far has proof of presence of only four militants whose bodies were later recovered.

What’s in a name? Supreme Court dismisses PIL seeking direction to use ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to use ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ by the Union Government and states, saying that it was not right to bring all kinds of emotional issues to the court.Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, while dismissing the plea, told the petitioner not to bring all kinds of emotional issues to this court in the name of public interest.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Thakur also said that those who want to call the nation as India will call it India, and those who want to call it Bharat will call it Bharat.The apex court had last year in April issued notices to the central and state governments seeking their response to a PIL seeking to use ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ for all ‘official and unofficial purposes’.The PIL, filed by a petitioner identified as Niranjan Bhatwal, also sought to restrain the use of ‘India’ for governmental purposes.

Pathankot terror attack: Martyred Lt Col Niranjan did not break any protocol, says military report

NSG’s martyred Lt Col Niranjan Kumar did not breach protocol by not wearing a bomb disposal suit, as per a military report, says NDTV.A controversy had erupted over NSG’s Lt Col Niranjan Kumar’s death when a leading daily had claimed that he broke protocol by not wearing the suit, thereby risking lives of other personnel. It also said that he did not deserve to be treated as a martyr.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The military has now reconstructed the details of the attack and according to them, owing to the uneven terrain at the base which is covered by elephant grass, Kumar could not wear the suit. “The bomb suit weighs about 60 kg, the terrain was undulating and covered by elephant grass, it was not possible to wear the suit, Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan didn’t violate any procedure. He was an expert,” a senior official told NDTV.As per the military’s report which was given to the Centre, the militants came in two groups. The first group of two terrorists who came on January 1 were able to breach the base without being detected. The second group of four terrorists climbed the 10-foot high wall lined with barbed wire. They were detected by the thermal surveillance of the aircraft on January 3, a day after they broke into the base. The report says that the thermal devices confirm they operated in two groups in the entire operation.The group of two was supposed to be a guide for the rest. They were supposed to lead the others to the technical area where fighter jets and helicopters were parked. They did not have machine guns, but had Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs, highly flammable incendiary gels, and ammonium nitrate to blow up military assets.However, the second group could not move to the technical area and blew up motorcycles and parked cars in the residential area instead. The group of two terrorists took shelter in the ground floor. There were at least five officers on the first floor who had to be rescued by NSG commandos before the forces could neutralise the terrorists.

AAP govt scraps all admission quotas from private schools except for children belonging to the extremely weaker section

When asked if schools refuse to abide by the government’s order, he said, “The government can do anything; schools can be derecognised or the government can take over such schools.”

ANI

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Nagaland: 9-year old girl allegedly raped, two held

Yanthan said that on being alerted about the incident, the local youths first conducted search in the area where the incident took place and apprehended the two youths. They were then sent to the police.

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