Daily Briefing: Pandora Papers part-4; the latest on Lakhimpur Kheri, and more…

The Supreme Court Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of the events in Lakhimpur Kheri in UP.

Good morning,

The Big Story

The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognizance of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and the matter will come up today before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. Sources told The Indian Express that the court has taken note of reports in the press as well as a letter written to it on the incident

A farm leader who suffered a skull fracture after being hit by one of the three vehicles in Lakhimpur Kheri said that he “heard gunshots” before losing consciousness. Virk said that Union MoS Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra, was driving one of those vehicles — and that he was targeted for leading the protest that day against the Minister’s remarks about farmers the previous week.

The family of a journalist who was killed in Lakhimpur believe he was among the ones who came under the wheels when a convoy of vehicles of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish rammed into protesting farmers in Tikunia. They no FIR has been filed, despite their complaint, neither have they got a copy of his post-mortem report.

The Pandora Papers 

We begin part-4 of the Pandora Papers investigation by throwing light on the offshore footprints of the promoters of Bharat Hotels Group. Incidentally last year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) raided the group in connection with its “undisclosed foreign assets”. 

Six years after businessman Shravan Gupta figured in the HSBC (Geneva) list of account holders along with that of his wife, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm owned by him has cropped up in the Pandora Papers.

Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve, a former Solicitor General of India, acquired a company in the British Virgin Islands in 2015 to buy a London apartment it owned. To a question if the Income Tax Department was informed about this, he said it was “fully disclosed”. 

Manoj Prasad, booked by the CBI for alleged extortion, owns two offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Pandora Papers show. In Globex Advisors Limited, one of his two BVI companies, Prasad is among three directors and owns 40 per cent stakes. In the second company, Justforajob.com Limited set up in January 2016, he is the sole director. He was arrested in October, 2018 after a complaint was filed against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act, but was later released on bail three months later. 

Bengaluru-based self-styled football investor Satyajit Sadanandan and former FIFA development officer from Pakistan Syed Mohsen Gilani are partners in at least two offshore companies in Seychelles, records in the Pandora Papers reveal. At least one of these firms was funded by fees for facilitating “investments in a professional football club in Denmark from India”. 

Must Read 

What do a BJP worker and a self-styled detective in Malaysia have to do with the recent NCB drugs bust on a cruise ship? Maharashtra’s ruling coalition partner NCP questioned the presence of BJP worker Manish Bhanushali with one of the accused Arbaaz Merchant, and that of K P Gosavi, the so-called detective, with Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan. They have demanded a “high-level inquiry” by the state government into “collusion between NCB and BJP”.  

“Whatever the doctors have said, we have to make peace with it…But goli toh lagi thi (he had definitely been shot).” Two post-mortem reports concluded that 18-year-old Gurvinder Singh died after coming under the wheels of one of the cars that ploughed into protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. But his father, Sukhvinder Singh, is not convinced. While the families of the three other victims of the incident had carried out their last rites, Gurvinder’s family had held out, demanding a second autopsy.

And Finally 

The country’s premier athletics venue, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, has been without a permanent pole vault apparatus for over six months. So, how do athletes train? Well, they have had little choice but to use the long jump pit — a makeshift arrangement that has been responsible for several twisted ankles and knees. Now, a few of the Capital’s pole vaulters are contemplating quitting the sport, while others are dealing with a sudden drop in performance.

Delhi Confidential: When Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari was an Air Commodore, he had served in the staff of the then IAF Chief P V Naik between 2009 and 2011 as his Air Assistant. Now, Naik’s son, Group Captain V P Naik, will work closely with Chaudhari – he has been appointed Staff Officer to the new IAF Chief.

In today’s episode of the Love Matters Podcast, Evelyn Sharma discusses how we can talk about sex, openly. 

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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