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Former Minister, son get anticipatory bail in Aircel-Maxis money laundering case

In custody: P. Chidambaram being taken to Tihar jail in New Delhi on Thursday. PTIPTI

A Delhi court on Thursday sent former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to custody in Tihar jail in the INX Media case, even as another court granted anticipatory bail to him and his son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said: “Having considered all the facts and circumstances of the case, the nature of offences and the stage of investigation, which is still in progress, the accused is remanded in judicial custody till September 19.”

“I am only worried about the economy,” Mr. Chidambaram commented, when a reporter asked him if he had anything to say after the court ordered his judicial custody.

Earlier, the CBI produced him before the court and urged it to send him to judicial custody, submitting that he was an influential person in public life and wielded substantial and pervasive influence over witnesses, having the potential to tamper with evidence.

Opposing the prosecution plea, Kapil Sibal, counsel for Mr. Chidambaram, argued that the CBI had not brought anything on record to even suggest that his client had ever tried to influence the witnesses or interfere in the investigation.

‘Ready to surrender’

Mr. Sibal further argued that his client was ready to surrender to the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case since his appeal challenging the Delhi High Court order denying him protection from arrest had been dismissed.

Mr. Chidambaram also filed an application in the court seeking permission to surrender in the money laundering case connected with the INX bribery case. The court sought the ED’s reply by September 12.

Earlier, special judge O.P. Saini granted anticipatory bail to the father-son duo in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case. “Considering the distance of time between the commission of alleged crime and the filing of the instant application, unexplained delay in investigation, there being no possibility of the accused tampering with the evidence or threatening any witness or fleeing from justice and there being no possibility of their committing a similar crime again, I am satisfied that it is a fit case for grant of benefit of anticipatory bail,” he said.

‘Move local authorities for permission to go around in J&K’

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Iltija Mufti to meet her detained mother, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in Srinagar.

But when she asked the court’s permission to move around in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Justice of India Ranjan (CJI) Gogoi orally remarked, “Why do you want to move around? It is very cold in Srinagar.” However, the court later recorded that she could move the district authorities for permission to move around.

The top judge did not pay heed to the government’s insistent pleas that Ms. Iltija Mufti had no business moving the “august forum” of the Supreme Court.

The Centre said she should have ideally gone to the local District Magistrate for permission to meet her mother.

Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, PDP leader, has been under detention, along with several others, since August 5 in the backdrop of the dilution of provisions of Article 370, the ensuing curfew and bifurcation of the State into Union Territories. The Valley has been in a state of lockdown for the past month.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said Ms. Mehbooba Mufti’s mother and sister had met her after taking permission from the Magistrate. “Why should she [Ms. Iltija Mufti] come here now?” he asked.

‘Ostensible purpose’

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there might be something more to Ms. Iltija Mufti’s appeal than the “ostensible purpose” to meet her mother. But the CJI stopped him short, saying, “It is her privilege to move this forum... Are you going to prevent her from meeting her mother?”

Ms. Iltija Mufti said she was not permitted to leave her house in Srinagar from August 5 to August 22 by the authorities. “There was a chilling effect on my movement,” senior lawyer Nitya Ramakrishna for Ms. Iltija Mufti submitted.

Finally, the court gave Ms. Iltija Mufti, who is now in Chennai, permission to return to Srinagar at a time of her choice to meet her mother in private.

The court recorded the government’s assurance that it would “not prevent” her from doing this. It further ordered that CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami be flown to Delhi from Srinagar for treatment at AIIMS.

Historian writes letter to the administration explaining what her status means

Romila Thapar

Historian Romila Thapar has refused to submit her curriculum vitae to the administration of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which says it is “reviewing” her position as Professor Emerita. Instead she has written a letter explaining what her status means.

“No, I don’t intend to send them my CV. They have contradicted themselves in the letter they sent to me. When the status was originally conferred, it was stated that this was a lifetime honour. They are going back on that, negating what they originally wrote. They have changed the rules, and are applying them retrospectively,” she said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

On July 12, JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar wrote to Professor Thapar asking her to provide her latest CV by August 16 so that a committee, appointed by the University’s Academic Council, could “assess [her] work and decide on [her] continuation as Professor Emeritus”. A similar letter was sent to 11 other Professors Emeritus, all of them distinguished scholars in their respective fields.

Professor Thapar herself has been awarded the Kluge Prize, known as the American Nobel, holds honorary doctorates from half a dozen of the world’s top universities, and is the author of a slew of books on ancient India, which have been required reading for generations of students. She taught at JNU for over two decades, helping to found the university’s Centre for Historical Studies, and has been a Professor Emerita since 1993.

At 87, she is still actively involved in research, teaching and writing and was preparing for a workshop even as much of the academic world exploded in outrage at her treatment by JNU. Her CV is available on the university’s website. “I sent them a letter explaining what was meant by a Professor Emeritus, for if they knew what it meant they would not be demanding my CV to re-evaluate my status,” said Professor Thapar. “The university has not yet responded to me.”

She pointed out that the position of Professor Emeritus is an honour given on the basis of work already done. “How can it be based on future expectation?” she asked.

India on Thursday announced an “unprecedented” $1 billion line of credit for the development of Russia’s Far East, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowing that New Delhi would walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Moscow in its quest for the development of the resource-rich region.

At the plenary session of the Fifth Eastern Economic Forum here, he said it was a “unique case” of India providing such special credit line to another country. “For the development of the Far East, India will give a line of credit worth $1 billion,” he said.

Officials promise steps to conserve it but nothing happens, says caretaker

No protection: The map is made on a cloth, with the lines drawn with vegetable dyes. The colour is flaking off.

It is easily ’s biggest treasure. A sprawling 10 ft x 10 ft map of the walled city of dating from 1772. Nearly 250 years later, the map is slowly disappearing in one quiet corner of the city at Panjagutta. On the first floor of the Idara-e-Adabiyat Urdu in a damp airless room, without lights, is the big map stretched across a wall. Holding it together are four wooden slats, and a glass pane forms the only protection from the elements. It isn’t much of a protection as the dampness seeps inside.

“We have a financial problem. Taking care of the map is beyond our budget. Our best protection is the glass sheet,” says Rafiuddin Quadri, who takes care of the institution started by his father Mohiuddin Qadri Zore. “We have scholars, government officials coming in and seeing the map, promising steps to conserve it but nothing happens. It is a cloth map with the lines drawn with vegetable dyes. The colour flakes off when it is touched. The cloth has become brittle,” says Mr. Quadri.

The map, as well as a number of artefacts, was donated by Inayat Jung, a descendant of Mir Musa Khan known as Rukn Ud Dowla, the Prime Minister of Nizam II. The map was key to the decision to move the Asaf Jahi capital from Aurangabad to Hyderabad.

The Hyderabad map predates the effort by Scottish soldier Colonel Colin Mackenzie of the East India Company, who created maps for the Nizam’s Dominions in 1780s. The maps were so useful for the East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore wars that he was made the Surveyor-General of India. A role which is largely forgotten as Mackenzie is remembered more for the manuscripts and oral histories he collected.

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