MLM / Chain Money
CBI notice to KMC for licences issued to Saradha
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam, has sent a notice to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) seeking details about the licenses it issued to the tainted group.
 
Addressed to KMC's chief manager (licensing), the notice has sought details about the trade and other licenses given to the Saradha Group of companies.
 
The notice dated June 4, has also sought details about the fees paid to the KMC for issuing the licences as well as information about the nature of business for which they were issued.
 
Reacting to the development, city Mayor Sovon Chatterjee accused the BJP-led central government of diluting the significance of the CBI. 
 
"It's an official letter to the KMC and whatever information they have sought we will provide. "But the way, the central government is diluting the significance of the CBI, its prestige, it really is worrisome," he said on Monday. 
 
KMC councilor Prakash Upadhyay, who had earlier approached the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) accusing Chatterjee of being involved in the scam and "unscrupulously issuing trade licenses to the company, welcomed the move. 
 
"Many had doubted if my fight would yield result, but today I feel vindicated. I have always maintained that Chatterjee was involved and all the truth will come out," he said. 
 
Upadhyay had earlier submitted documents to both the CBI and the ED alleging that Chatterjee, also a legislator of the ruling Trinamool Congress, used his influence to give over 40 trade licences to a company of the Saradha group which has a registered office in Diamond Harbor which falls under his constituency. 

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Sun eclipses India's Mars Orbiter for 15 days
India's maiden Mars mission spacecraft Orbiter got eclipsed early on Monday, with the sun coming in between the red planet and Earth, a space official said.
 
"With Mars moving on one side of the sun, and Earth being on other side, our spacecraft, orbiting around the red planet, is blocked from receiving or sending signals for the next 15 days," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director Devi Prasad Karnik told IANS here.
 
As Mars and Earth rotate around the sun on the same axis from both sides till June 22, Orbiter will be in a 15-day blackout phase, snapping communication links with the state-run space agency's ground stations here.
 
Orbiting around Mars since September 24, 2014, the 1,340-kg spacecraft is on a six-month extended life after completing its six-month intended lifespan on March 24 by conserving the remaining fuel (37 kg) onboard.
 
"As eclipses or blackouts are a cosmic phenomenon in the solar system, no cause for concern as Orbiter has been put on autonomous mode in advance by feeding the required commands from here to survive the eclipse period," Karnik said.
 
Admitting that it was the first time when the space agency's deep space network at Baylalu, about 30 km from here, would remain cut off from Orbiter for such a long period, Karnik said the spacecraft was, however, equipped and programmed to undergo the transition phase.
 
"Though our command network will not receive or send signals during the blackout, we will regain control over the spacecraft after it emerges out of the Martian shadow to resume contact with our space network again," he said.
 
The space agency's track and command network centre in the city had tested Orbiter's ability to survive a solar eclipse by simulating the conditions earlier.
 
"As Orbiter is on a borrowed life, its longevity and ability to keep spinning around Mars at a safe distance from its hot red surface is a windfall for us," Karnik said.
 
India created history by becoming the first country to enter the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt after a nine-month voyage through the inter-planetary space.
 
India also became the first Asian country to have entered the Mars sphere of influence (gravity) in the maiden attempt, as a similar mission by China failed to succeed in 2011.
 
The $70-million Mars mission was launched on November 5, 2013 onboard a polar rocket from ISRO's spaceport Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal, about 80 km northeast of Chennai.
 
When launched, Orbiter had 855 kg fuel but consumed about 800 kg for its orbit-raising exercises undertaken during its nine-month long journey and on entering the Martian sphere.
 
"The five scientific instruments onboard Orbiter will continue to collect data and relay them after June 22 to our Earth stations for analysis," Karnik said.
 
Of the five payloads (instruments) onboard, the Mars Colour Camera (MCC) has been the most active, taking stunning images of the red planet's surface and its surroundings, including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms.
 
"The camera has beamed many breathtaking pictures of the Martian surface and its weather patterns such as dust storms. We have uploaded some pictures on our website (www.isro.gov.in) and our Facebook account for viewing," he pointed out.
 
The other four instruments have been conducting various experiments to study the Martian surface, its rich mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas to know if it can support life.
 
"As methane is an indicator of past life on Mars, the sensor is looking for its presence in the Martian orbit. If available, we will know its source in terms of biology and geology. The thermal infrared sensor will find out if the gas is from geological origin," the official added.
 
Scientists at the mission control centre here monitor the orbital movement of the spacecraft around Mars and check the health of its instruments round-the-clock.
 
Orbiter takes 3.2 Earth days or 72 hours, 51 minutes and 51 seconds to go around Mars once while orbiting at a distance of 500 km nearest and over 80,000 km farthest from its red surface.
 

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'Only seven firms can sell instant pastas, tests on all'
Following tests on some samples of Maggi, the watchdog on Friday had ordered the recall of all the nine variants of Maggi pan-India and had asked Nestle to halt its production and exports
 
Instant noodles and pastas with tastemakers of only seven companies are allowed to be sold in India, the food safety watchdog said on Monday, while also ordering tests on all approved variants and calling for the remaining "illegal" ones to be destroyed.
 
The seven companies that have approvals for their variants of instant noodles and pastas with tastemakers are: Ruchi International (Koka), CG Foods (Wai Wai), Glaxosmithkline (Foodles), Nestle (Maggi), AA Nutrition (Yummy), Indo Nisin (Top Ramen) and ITC (brand not specified).
 
"The safety of all other products in these categories has not been assessed as per the product approval procedures. As such, the same are unauthorised and illegal and cannot be intended for human consumption," said a letter from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
 
Ordering tests on all the approved varieties, the letter written by chief executive Yudhvir Singh Malik to all the commissioners of food safety said: "As regards all the remaining food products, you are advised to ensure such products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed."
 
Speaking to IANS, the top food safety officer said tests on Nestle's Maggi and some other similar products had raised serious health concerns and that it was, accordingly, thought fit to conduct tests on all similar products for which approvals had been granted.
 
Following tests on some samples of Maggi, the watchdog on Friday had ordered the recall of all the nine variants of Maggi pan-India and had asked Nestle to halt its production and exports. It had also issued a similar order on Nestle's oats noodles and tastemaker.
 
While Nestle continued to contend that its noodles were safe for human and that the levels of lead were within permissible limits - as opposed to the findings of some tests that purportedly indicated otherwise - several states also became pro-active by issuing their own ban orders.
 
"Overseas and local manufacturers would be treated equally. More noodle brands including pasta and macaroni products will also start getting tested this week," Malik said. 
 
Asked if the brand ambassadors could be taken to task, he said: "As of now, we are not considering any action."
 
The regulator also detailed the process involved in the recall of food products.
 
"Ideally, consumers should be able to return the product at the retail outlet and get their money back if they have the bill with them. It is also Nestle's responsibility to let the consumers return their products, if they have kept the bill with them," he said.
 
The regulator also plans to post a list of all approved noodle products on its web site and advise the state authorities to test them. "We understand Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have already started testing other brands. We will list all the approved noodle products soon." 
 
He further said that Nestle had been asked to give the regulator an update on compliance first after three days and then regularly until the end. "Because we understand that it could take 10 days or more, we will be taking regular progress reports from the company."

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