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He was held from his residence after making surprise appearance at press meet
CBI officials taking away Congress leader P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANI
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram soon after he held a press conference at the Congress headquarters refuting all charges against him in the INX Media case.
“He has been arrested on an arrest warrant issued by a competent court,” said CBI spokesperson Nitin Wakankar.
After his arrest, doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital conducted a medical examination on him at the CBI headquarters, sources said.
Mr. Chidambaram has been kept in suite No. 5 of the CBI Guest House on the ground floor of the agency headquarters, they said.
He will be produced before a special CBI court on Thursday, where the agency will seek his remand.
Earlier, high drama unfolded outside Mr. Chidambaram’s residence following his arrival after the press conference around 8.15 p.m.
A CBI team, which had earlier reached the Congress headquarters, jumped over the wall of the premises to enter Mr. Chidambaram's house. An ED team, led by a Joint Director-level officer, also entered the residence.
Mr. Chidambaram’s supporters soon gathered outside, shouting slogans against the investigating agencies and the Central government.
After completing the formalities, the CBI team took custody of Mr. Chidambaram around 9.30 p.m. and drove away in a car to the CBI headquarters.
The CBI and the ED teams had started looking for Mr. Chidambaram after his plea for anticipatory bail was denied by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, and his appeal was not immediately listed for hearing by the Supreme Court.
Several teams of the two agencies attempted to track him down, but he could not be traced till he appeared for the press conference.
In a twist to the daylong drama with news channels and the ruling government questioning Mr. Chidambaram’s alleged attempts at “evading” arrest, he appeared at the Congress headquarters at 8 p.m. to address the media.
“In the INX Media case, I have not been accused of any offence. Nor has anyone else, including any member of my family, been accused of any offence. In fact, there is no chargesheet by either the CBI or the ED filed before a competent court,” he said.
He also said that the FIR did not accuse him of any wrongdoing. “Yes, there is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed, and my son and I have committed those offences. Nothing can be farther from truth. These are lies spread by pathological liars.”
Will do my best to mediate in the issue, says U.S. President
Ready to help: U.S. President Donald Trump speaking outside the White House in Washington, DC. AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would do his best to mediate or help somehow with the tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
Mr. Trump drew attention to the fact that he had spoken to the Prime Ministers of both countries on Monday and that he would be meeting Prime Minister Modi in Biarritz, France, for the G7 summit over the weekend. However, he stopped short of directly saying that he would raise the Kashmir issue with Mr. Modi over the weekend.
Will meet Modi
“I get along really well with both of them. As you know, Prime Minister Khan was here just recently. And I was with — I’m going to be with Prime Minister Modi. I’ll be with him over the weekend in France,” Mr. Trump said.
“I think we’re helping the situation. But there’s [sic] tremendous problems between those two countries, as you know. And I will do the best I can to mediate or do something,” Mr. Trump said, speaking at the Oval Office in the presence of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, prior to their bilateral meeting.
“Great relationship with both of them [Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan], but they are not exactly friends at this moment. Complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject,” Mr. Trump added.
The U.S. President’s comments on Kashmir also included his version of a history of the region.
“Well, they’ve been having this — these talks for hundreds of years, even under different names. But this is — but it’s Kashmir. And Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus and you have the Muslims, and I wouldn’t say they get along so great. And that’s what you have right now,” Mr. Trump said, calling the situation “very explosive”.
The U.S. has been concerned about the risk of a nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan — concerns that have especially been stressed since the terror attack in Pulwama on February 14 and the ensuing hostilities between the two countries. Washington is also seeking Pakistan’s cooperation in ensuring that a peace deal is struck with the Taliban and the U.S. can begin withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Bhim Army chief along with 50 others detained for protesting temple demolition
Police personnel baton charge activists of the Bhim Army during a rally in Delhi on Wednesday.PTI-
A protest by Dalit organisations against the demolition of a Guru Ravidas temple in the Tughlakabad forest area turned violent in south-east Delhi’s Govindpuri on Wednesday evening, with the police detaining over 50 protesters, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
DCP (South-East) Chinmoy Biswal said more people could be detained as several police teams were monitoring the situation following a clash between the protesters and the police.
Thousands of protesters from various Dalit organisations, led by the Bhim Army chief, took to the streets on Wednesday and marched from Ramlila Maidan to the site where the Guru Ravidas temple was demolished earlier this month by the Delhi Development Authority.
‘Attacked with stones’
The police claimed the protesters turned violent and attacked officers with sticks and stones. “Mild and reasonable force had to be used to disperse the unruly mob. Some policemen have sustained injuries in the incident. Some members of the unruly mob have been detained. Appropriate legal action is being taken in this matter,” said Mr. Biswal, adding that over 800 policemen were deployed in the area. Sources said the protesters also vandalised a few vehicles and set them on fire. The road leading to the temple was blocked after the violence, the sources added.
The protesters, however, claimed that the police started the lathi charge to stop their march. Satish Kumar, 43, a BSP worker from Najafgarh, said the police used force when some of the protesters tried to go inside the site of the demolished temple. “We were peaceful, but some people wanted to go inside the temple and the police used water canon and lathis to stop us.”
Kailash Nirmal, 38, a member of Samyakk Buddhvihar, C-Block Mongolpuri, said they fled the spot as soon as the police started lathi charge and lobbed tear gas shells at them. “I am yet to find the others who came with me,” he said.
Have not seen any slowdown, says its country head
The Amazon’s new office facility at Gachibowli in Hyderabad is spread over 9.5 acres.Nagara Gopal
Amazon on Wednesday inaugurated a three-million sq ft campus building on 9.5 acres within ’s financial district, the largest such facility for the e-commerce giant globally.
The opening of what is the company’s first owned office building outside the U.S. and the single-largest building globally, comes in the backdrop of a growing significance of India as a market as well as intensifying competition in the space.
Country head Amit Agarwal told the media, in an interaction at the inauguration event, that Amazon was both focused on and committed long term to India.
Not attaching undue importance to either the competition in the country or the effects of an economic slowdown on the business plans, he said, “We haven’t seen any slowdown yet.” One reason could be the small share of e-commerce in retail consumption.
‘It likely had giraffes, rhinos, elephants and giant crocodiles in the Miocene period’
Mammoth find: An upper molar of an elephant-like mammal (Gomphothere) at Palasava in Kutch. Special Arrangement
The hot arid desert of Kutch was once a humid sub-tropical forest with a variety of birds, freshwater fish and possibly giraffes and rhinos, a team of Indian and French researchers has said.
Their conclusions are based on the discovery of a tranche of vertebrate fossils from nearly 14 million years ago in a geological period known as the Miocene. After the discovery, they took nearly 12 years for analysis.
The fossils, consisting mostly of ribs, and parts of teeth and bones, were unearthed from Palasava village of Rapar taluk in Kutch, Gujarat.
“Overall, the fossil finds from Palasava suggest that a rich diversity of fauna and flora sustained in warm, humid/wet, tropical to sub-tropical environmental conditions during the Middle Miocene (about 14 Mya),” the research team of Vivesh V. Kapur, Martin Pickford, Gaurav Chauhan and M.G. Thakkar reported in the peer-reviewed journal Historical Biology.
The bulk of fossils unearthed in Kutch have so far been mainly marine organisms, due to their proximity to the Arabian Sea. Geological changes eventually closed off the salt-flats’ connection to the sea and the region turned into a large lake, eventually becoming salty wetlands.
The findings point to clues on how mammals dispersed between Africa and the Indian subcontinent when part of India was in the Gondwanaland supercontinent that existed nearly 300 million years ago.
“It is surprising that Kutch had giraffes, rhinos, elephants and giant crocodiles in a closed basin in the Miocene,” M.G. Thakkar, a senior scientist at the K.S.K.V. Kachchh University told The Hindu.
Palaeontologist G.V.R. Prasad of Delhi University said that the finds were significant because they showed Kutch to be a potential treasure trove of mammal fossils with possible continuity to vertebrate fossils in the Siwalik, spanning Pakistan to Nepal.