The Statesman – Panjab National Bank fraud: CBI examines two SBI officials

New Delhi – India, 12 April 2018. The CBI on Thursday said it is examining two officials of overseas branches of an Indian bank in connection with its ongoing probe into the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case involving diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Gitanjali Group.

Two Deputy General Manager (DGM) rank officials of the State Bank of India (SBI)’s Frankfurt and Mauritius branches were asked to join the investigation at its Mumbai’s Bandra office.

According to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials, the bank had issued buyer’s credit to exporters of Nirav Modi and Choksi firms on the basis of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs).

On Wednesday, the CBI had examined two officials of Canara Bank’s Bahrain Branch and one from Bank of India’s Antwerp (Belgium) Branch over the role of these branches in extending credit facilities on the basis of LoUs issued by the PNB to the firms related to Modi and Choksi.

The CBI on Sunday also questioned an officer who dealt with forex transactions in Allahabad Bank’s Hong Kong Branch.

The agency’s move comes days after a special CBI court here on Sunday issued non-bailable warrants against Modi and Choksi as both diamond traders, who left India in January, refused to join the investigation into the scam.

Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, along with his group companies, Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports, uncle and business partner Choksi and others, has been named in the mega scam, admitted by the PNB in February that led to a massive upheaval in the country’s banking system.

Earlier, a lookout notice was issued by the CBI against Modi and Choksi but they and their associates had fled the country. While Modi and his brother Nishal left India on January 1, his wife Ami, a US citizen, and Choksi left on January 6, all before the CBI received a complaint from the PNB on January 29.

The PNB has claimed in different complaints to the CBI that several LoUs, issued by one bank to other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers, were fraudulently issued by its officials in connivance with Modi and other accused in the case causing huge losses to the bank.

The Tribune – Earrings from collection of last Sikh Queen to be auctioned in UK

London – UK, 12 April 2018. A pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of Maharani Jind Kaur, the last Sikh Queen of Punjab, will be auctioned as part of the Islamic and Indian sale in London later this month.

The earrings, which belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, are estimated to fetch between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds when they go for sale at Bonhams on April 24.

Jind Kaur, who was the only wife of Ranjit Singh not to commit sati on his funeral pyre following his death in 1839, went on to be appointed the de facto ruler of Punjab before being captured by the British during the Raj era.

It was only many years later when she arrived in England that her jewellery, including the earrings on sale, were handed back to her.

“These gold earrings are beautiful pieces of jewellery in their own right. They are also an important reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude,” said Oliver White, Bonhams head of Islamic and Indian art.

When Jind Kaur’s five-year-old son Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, she was appointed Regent.

The Punjab Empire at the time stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled for its artistic and scientific achievements and opulence and riches.

The East India Company invaded and annexed Punjab, despite armed opposition organised and led by Jind. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son and imprisoned.

According to Bonhams’ historians, the Maharani’s personal wealth was confiscated and the state Treasury plundered by the British Army. The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria.

Jind Kaur made a daring escape from captivity, and fled to Kathmandu where the King of Nepal kept her under virtual house arrest at the direction of the British, who saw her as a continued threat. Duleep was sent to England, converted to Christianity and adopted as a godson by Queen Victoria.

Mother and son were eventually reunited after 13-and-a-half years apart in 1861 when Jind Kaur moved to England to be with her son Duleep. She died in 1863, her health broken by the years of hardship.

After Jind Kaur’s death, Duleep’s attempts to return to the Punjab, and fulfil his mother’s dream of assuming his ancestral position, were thwarted by the British government.

He died in Paris at the age of 55 and his daughter Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, went on to become a prominent suffragette who fought for women’s right to vote in the UK.

Gent Bevrijdingslaan – Gent-Sint-Pieters – Leuven Sluispark

Gent Bevrijdingslaan
16 February 2018

Star Supermarket

17 February 2018

Track 9 IC train to Brugge and Oostende

L Train to Brugge

IC Train to De Panne

Leuven Sluispark
17 February

Leuven Sluispark

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Daily Times – Sikh pilgrims welcomed upon arrival in Lahore

Mustansar Abbas

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 12 April 2018. The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Secretary Muhammad Tariq on Thursday welcomed Sikh pilgrims upon their arrival in Lahore for Baisakhi celebrations.

Tariq presented flower bouquets to Sikh leader Sardar Gurmeet Singh and various other prominent pilgrims, who are on a three-day visit to Pakistan to commemorate birth of Khalsa, commonly known as Baisakhi.

The pilgrims reached Punjab’s provincial capital via Lahore’s Wahga Railway Station. From there, the 2,000 visitors will be taken to Hasan Abdal’s Panja Sahib Gurdwara under stern security.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee said that over 20,000 Sikh pilgrims from all around the world would visit Pakistan for Baisakhi celebrations. It was added that all visitors will be provided free of cost residence and food.

Dawn – Islamabad braces as TLP workers disrupt life in Lahore

Arif Malik

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 12 April 2018. Security has been beefed up in the capital and adjoining areas after the latest deadline given by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to the government for the implementation of its demands lapsed on Thursday.

A heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies has been deployed at the entry and exit points of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. A joint flag-march of the army and LEAs was also held in the capital, according to a security official.

Meanwhile, TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi has escalated a protest he has been leading at Lahore’s Data Darbar since 2 April.

He is pressing for the implementation of the Faizabad agreement, which was brokered by the army last year between the government and leaders of Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), of which TLP is an offshoot.

Pir Afzal Qadri, chairperson of the TLP, told party workers after the 4 pm deadline lapsed today that they must “come out on the streets and not go back until Rizvi announces an end to the protest”.

Following Qadri’s orders, TLP workers have taken to the streets in various locales of Lahore. According to reports, they have also attempted to intimidate commuters and citizens with sticks and batons.

They have also blocked various key traffic intersections in Lahore, including the busy Thokar Niaz Beg.

Reports also state that the flow of traffic from Shahdara till the motorway has been choked considerably. There are also reports of clashes between TLP workers and commuters. Law enforcement agencies are reportedly present but are refraining from stepping in.

TLP leadership’s words caused a chain reaction in Sahiwal where party workers created blockages on the Lahore-Multan motorway at Chichawatni bypass and near View Hotel at Lahore-Sahiwal bypass; they vowed to not end their sit-in until orders come from Lahore.

Temporary demonstrations and sit-ins were also reported in Mian Channu city in Khanewal district as well as in Kabirwala on the National Highway.

In Hyderabad, TLP workers blocked Hyder Chowk, whereas the party’s spokesperson in Karachi told Dawn that they are planning to march from Numaish Chowrangi to the Karachi Press Club at 7 pm.

According to DawnNewsTV’s sources, TLP leaders have also been considering blocking the Lahore-Islamabad motorway as well as the GT Road to paralyse inter-city movement.

“If the 11-point Faizabad agreement, which includes provisions like the release of arrested workers and withdrawal of cases against them, is not implemented, the entire country will be on the roads next Friday,” Qadri had told journalists last week.

CM Punjab chairs advisory meeting on security situation

With TLP workers choking major arteries of Lahore, an advisory meeting was called by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to discuss the situation.

During the meeting, the chief minister was briefed on the security situation of the province.

The meeting was also attended by provincial law minister, the spokesperson of the Punjab government, the chief secretary, and officials from different law enforcement agencies.

Government fails to arrest Rizvi, others

Last week, the TLP chief and some TLYRA leaders were declared proclaimed offenders by an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. Law enforcement agencies, however, have been unable to make any arrests.

The spokesman for the Punjab government, Malik Ahmed Khan, had admitted that arresting Rizvi and other TLYRA leaders was proving to be difficult for the provincial authorities.

Speaking to DawnNewsTV regarding the protest, Khan had said Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was in constant contact with the protesters and was trying to convince them to abandon the sit-in.

Faizabad debacle

The protests in the capital at Faizabad had begun last year after a change to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath via the Elections Act 2017 came to the fore. Despite the government terming it a clerical mistake and immediately moving to bring the document back to its original form, the opposition and TLYRA demanded action against those involved.

Violent protests then spread across the country after the federal government used force against those camping at Faizabad. The protests were eventually called off when the government accepted most of their major demands under an army-brokered agreement.

The demands of the protesters included making public the Raja Zafarul Haq report, containing details of the investigation into the clerical error, the release of all arrested protesters, formation of committee to suggest action against those who used force against protesters, and full implementation of an earlier agreement between Punjab government and TLYRA.