March 17: Top news at noon  

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Photo by Ashok Nath Dey/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ashok Nath Dey/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


Developing news

*Calcutta High Court orders CBI to probe Narada sting operation; directs CBI to conclude preliminary inquiry within 72 hours and register FIR, if required.

*West Bengal DGP and Kolkata Police Commissioner at Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan's house to serve bailable warrant in contempt case.

India raises concerns with Pakistan over missing clerics

India has taken up with Pakistan the matter of head priest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and his nephew going missing in that country, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today. Swaraj said "We have taken up this matter with Government of Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in Pakistan. Both are missing after they landed in Karachi airport". 80-year-old Syed Asif Nizami is the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah. The two had gone to visit the famous Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore and were to catch a flight from there to Karachi on Wednesday. The clerics had gone to Karachi to meet their relatives on March 8 before travelling to Lahore to visit the shrine. Exchanges between clerics of the Nizamuddin Dargah and the Daata Darbar are part of a regular tradition.

H-1B premium processing suspended to handle huge rush: USCIS

The US today said the premium processing of H-1B visas, which are popular among Indian IT firms and professionals, has been suspended temporarily to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas in the first week of April. "The (H-1) program is not suspended. We suspend premium processing, which means we would have to process the application in 15 days," Lori Scialabba, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acting director, told members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management efficiency. The US will start accepting applications for H-1B work visas from April 3 for the fiscal 2018. Responding to questions from lawmakers, Scialabba said in the first week of April USCIS receives 2,00,000 or more H-1B applications. "We're unable to process those premium processing, we can't process cases in 15 days when we get 2,00,000 in a week. It's only suspended temporarily," she said.

Vikhe-Patil demands apology from SBI chief

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil today said SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya should apologise to farmers over her statement on loan waiver. The Congress leader, who led a protest at SBI headquarters here this afternoon, said, "She is not a policy-maker at the state or the Centre. Her statement is an infringement on the powers of legislatures. She is a public servant and should remain so. When the Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a promise of loan waiver to Uttar Pradesh farmers, Bhattacharya kept mum, but she selectively remembers credit discipline when loan waiver for Maharashtra farmers is discussed," Vikhe-Patil said. "The same bank had written off debts of many corporates and the aggregate amount is ₹1.40 lakh crore. She must not forget it when she talks about farm loans," Vikhe-Patil said. Bhattacharya had said yesterday that sops like loan waiver may disrupt credit discipline among borrowers.

Lawyer seeks FIR against TVF founder over harassment charges

A lawyer today filed an application with MIDC police station in suburban Andheri, demanding registration of FIR for sexual harassment against Arunabh Kumar, founder of web entertainment firm The Viral Fever (TVF). The complaint referred to accusations of sexual harassment against Kumar made in a blog post by an anonymous woman who claimed to be a former TVF employee. TVF has denied the allegations. Advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, the lawyer, today said a third person can set in motion a criminal case in such matters, so he had approached the police. "I have filed a complaint against Arunabh Kumar for intentionally indulging in various wilful, criminal, vulgar and contentious acts of sexual harassment against a woman at workplace," he said, Senior police inspector Shailesh Pasalwad of MIDC police said they had received Siddiquee's application/complaint. "No FIR has been registered yet. We will investigate the matter before taking further action," the officer said.

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Published: 17 Mar 2017, 12:36 PM