Nation
India asks US Embassy to stop commercial activities by 16th January

The US has also been asked to provide the tax returns filed by it with Indian authorities for commercial activities which are afforded through ACSA to non-diplomatic persons, including private American citizens and their families

In further retaliatory steps over the arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade, India on Wednesday asked the US to discontinue commercial activities being undertaken from its embassy premises in New Delhi by 16th January.

 

India’s action comes ahead of the 13th January deadline for the indictment in New York of Khobragade, deputy consul general in New York, on visa fraud charges.

 

Acting tough, the Indian government has asked the US embassy to stop commercial activities undertaken under the aegis of the American Community Support Association (ACSA), including restaurant, bar, video club, bowling alley, swimming pool, sports field, beauty parlour and gym.

 

The US has also been asked to provide the tax returns filed by it with Indian authorities for commercial activities which are afforded through ACSA to non-diplomatic persons, including private American citizens and their families, government sources had said.

 

Indian authorities have cited the provision of such commercial facilities to non-diplomats as a violation of Article 41(3) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

 

The Convention states that “the premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreements in force between the sending and the receiving State.”

 

It is also understood the US diplomatic vehicles will now attract penalties for all traffic-related offences such as unauthorised parking, red light jumping, dangerous driving etc.

 

Necessary action against Vehicles with AF (Applied for) number plates is also on the cards.

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Coalgate: Huge investment no reason for not cancelling licences

Companies that made huge investments in coal blocks without getting clearance must suffer consequences and no law would help them, the Supreme Court said

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said huge investment made by companies in coal blocks without getting clearance cannot be a ground for not cancelling licences.

 

They must suffer consequences no matter how much investment has been made and no law would help them, the apex court added.

 

Meanwhile according to media reports, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two fresh cases in the alleged coal allocation scam.

 

“Two regular cases have been registered in the coal allocation case against Mumbai-based BLA Industries and its managing director, Castron Technologies, Castron Mining, and some unknown public servants and private persons,” sources told Business Line.

 

Till now, the CBI has filed around 15 cases in the alleged multi-crore scam. The first case was registered on 4 September 2012. However, no chargesheet has been filed till now. The latest case is under the inquiry of the coal block during 1993-2005, the report says.

 

According to the report, on 6 June 1996, BLA Industries was allocated two blocks -- Gotitoria (East) and Gotitoria (West) mine in Madhya Pradesh with 5.15 million tonnes and 4.19 million tonnes of reserves, respectively. Similarly, on 1 September 1999, Castron was allocated Brahmadiha open cast mine in Jharkhand with 2.215 million tonnes reserve, the report says.

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Mumbai-Dehradun Express: Nine people charred to death near Dahanu

The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed while about Rs50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries

Nine people were charred to death when a fire broke out in three coaches of Mumbai-Dehradun Express train near Dahanu road in neighbouring Thane district in the wee hours on Wednesday.

 

Among the nine dead, one is a woman and four are men while the rest were yet to be identified, said Sharat Chandrayan, public relations officer of Western Railway.

 

Four persons have sustained minor injuries, said police.

 

The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. About Rs50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries. The Railway Safety Commissioner will conduct an inquiry into the fire accident, Arunendra Kumar, chairman of Railway Board said.

 

Kumar said the damage was restricted due to an alert guard. The coaches have been separated from the train and the train has it made its forward journey.

 

The fire erupted in one of the three coaches and soon spread to other two coaches when the passengers were sleeping at about 2.50am, Chandrayan said, adding the cause of the blaze is not yet known.

 

He said that a level crossing gate man spotted the fire and immediately alerted the guard inside the train. The guard subsequently informed the motorman following which the train was stopped.

 

“Due to alertness of the gate man, a major disaster was averted,” Chandrayan said.

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