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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Daily Briefing: In Valley, 7 civilians killed by militants in 5 days; Post-Ranbaxy, Singh brothers opened 2 offshore firms

What’s behind the unprecedented enrollment of Kerala students for undergraduate programmes at Delhi University’s top colleges? Turns out, the Kerala board decided to support students amidst the pandemic by making it easier to score marks.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
October 8, 2021 7:56:19 am
A look at the top news today, October 12, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Marking a disquieting new pattern in violence in the Valley, suspected militants shot dead a woman principal and a teacher in their government school in Srinagar — taking to seven the number of civilians killed by militants in five days. Of the seven, four, including the two teachers, were from minority communities. It is being seen by security agencies as a shift in their strategy — militants have in 2021 targeted civilians and, more recently, members of the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir.

In what is being seen by security agencies as a shift in their strategy, militants have in 2021 targeted civilians and, more recently, members of the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir. Almost all civilian killings have been carried out by newly recruited terrorists or those about to join the ranks, using pistols, police said. Of the 28 civilians killed until October 7 this year, seven were non-Muslims, including two Hindu outsiders and five local Hindus and Sikhs. During the same period in 2020, 37 civilians were killed, and in 2019, as many as 39 civilians.

Pandora Papers 

In 2017-18 when investigating agencies were busy probing criminal cases against Nitin Sandesara and his group Sterling Biotech for an alleged bank loan fraud of over $2.1 billion, Sandesara, who had fled India, was busy collecting character certificates from Nigerian banks and solicitors to float a string of companies in the British Virgin Island (BVI) to expand his oil business, Pandora Papers records investigated by The Indian Express show. These letters were used by Sandesara to set up at least half a dozen companies in the BVI.

In January 2009, just six months after the family sold its 34.8 per cent stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories to Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo for around $2.4 billion, Malvinder Singh and his younger brother Shivinder Singh set up two offshore firms in the British Virgin Islands, records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express reveal. These records show that the two firms, Clonberg Holdings Ltd and Forthill International Ltd, own an apartment each in London. Besides, they show, Shivinder Singh mortgaged some properties of Forthill International to borrow £5.1 million from Barclays Bank.

India-born billionaire Arvind Tiku established The Sai Charan Investment Holding Trust in Singapore, of which Auctus Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company, is the prime investment holding vehicle with assets of $199.4 million, show records of Trident Trust. But he’s not just another businessman. While verifying his credentials, Trident Trust had red-flagged Tiku, given his association with LN Mittal, chairman of the world’s largest steel and metal company, ArcelorMittal, and Timur Kulibaev, son-in-law of former President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, both of whom are Politically Exposed Persons. 

Cyprus is the latest dot on the map of offshore entities linked to Bhanu Choudhrie, the eldest son of India-born British arms agent Sudhir Choudhrie who faced probes in India and the UK on charges of alleged fraud and financial irregularities. Records of law firm Demetrios A Demetriades & Co (Dadlaw) show that it received direct instructions from Bhanu on managing Lifedream Trading Ltd which was incorporated in Cyprus in 2001. They show a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, Kimba Ventures Ltd, as the beneficiary of the Cyprus entity.

Must Read 

Lakhimpur Kheri MP Ajay Mishra, presently under fire after a vehicle owned by him was among three that mowed down four farm protesters, claimed that there was no case pending against him. What he chose to omit was this: There is a revision petition pending in the Allahabad High Court against his acquittal in a murder case from 2000. Members of the family that filed the petition say they now live in constant fear.

What’s behind the unprecedented enrollment of Kerala students for undergraduate programmes at Delhi University’s top colleges? Turns out, the Kerala board decided to support students amidst the pandemic by making it easier to score marks. They did this by doubling the number of questions, as well as by ensuring that the examinations carried questions on key focus areas for each subject. The impact is apparent in the results. 

And Finally 

Anshu Malik may have missed out on becoming India’s first woman world wrestling champion, when she lost a bout against American Helen Maroulis in the world wrestling championships at Oslo — but she had already made history. No Indian woman had ever reached the summit clash of a World Wrestling Championship. In fact, no one has even come close; even in the men’s category, just five have progressed this far into the Worlds. 

Delhi Confidential: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla delivered a strong message while speaking to Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, on the sidelines at the G-20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit in Rome. “No country should raise internal affairs of other countries in its Parliament unless those matters affect the interests of that country,” he said.

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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