The Big Story
Even as Covid cases continue to steadily decline across the country, the chief of India’s Covid task force issued a grim warning amidst the bustling festival season. “There cannot be large gatherings. Let us celebrate festivals at home with the family. We cannot lower the guard and have to adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour. We cannot let the pandemic situation go out of control,” Dr VK Paul told The Indian Express.
From the Front Page
Iran has conveyed to India its displeasure over the ban of its container cargo at Mundra port in Gujarat. The country has said the ban, which was put in place after a massive drug haul, is an “unprofessional and imbalanced move”. After a meeting between officials of the two countries, Iran said “positive outcomes” would be a “better arrangement for deepening our cordial relations”.
The Union Health Ministry has raised concern over vacancies in nine senior officer posts in its Covid team, saying this had put it under “acute stress”. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has sought “early and timely action” to fill up the vacancies “and also the vacancies arising in the coming weeks”.
After hearing arguments, a special court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail applications of Aryan Khan and two others in a drugs case. The accused have been shifted to the general barracks from the quarantine ward of Arthur Road jail, after testing negative for Covid. The matter will be heard next on October 20.
India has accepted a Russian invitation to join the Afghanistan talks in Moscow on October 20. This will bring the Taliban, who captured power two months ago face-to-face with India. The Russians had indicated earlier that India could play a role “post-conflict” — a term they reserved for the US departure.
The Pandora Papers
The Deposit Trust whose details were revealed in the Pandora Papers investigation by The Indian Express and in which Purvi Modi, sister of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, is a settlor, has offered to remit about Rs 275 crore lying in its Swiss bank account to the Indian Government, sources said. Purvi’s offer is being considered as part of her pardon plea.
Another set of documents reveal that all the three brothers of the Salgaocar clan, Dattaraj Salgaocar, the late Anil Salgaocar and Shivanand Salgaocar, set up offshore trusts and companies.
In Odisha’s tribal-majority Kalahandi district, several families have been pushed into debt traps in the last year, amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Without the means to repay loan collectors, they have resorted to sending earning members of their families to other states to find jobs and make money. According to district officials and residents, most of these loans were taken for weddings, medical treatment and post-monsoon house repairs.
Last Friday, soon after a Kashmiri businessman and a street vendor from Bihar were killed by suspected militants in the valley, two mosques in Srinagar Old City asked its worshippers to stand by members of the minority community and ensure that they feel confident of their support. Since then, other mosques too have relayed similar messages.
After a two-decade coaching stint in the United States, Russian-born Galina Bukharina took up the job of India’s chief 400m coach. The coach, with 47 years of experience, spoke to The Indian Express about the challenges she faced, the loss of form and injury to members of the women’s relay team before the Tokyo Olympics and about spotting talent.
Delhi Confidential: Ahead of the upcoming Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday, adequate Covid precautions are being taken, despite declining numbers. All the members, it is learnt, have been asked to undergo RTPCR tests. All staff members who are to be present at the AICC headquarters to help smooth conduct of the meeting and members of the communication department too have been asked to undergo Covid tests.
In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we talk about China’s objection to VP Venkiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal pradesh. We also talk about the latest on the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case and Aryan Khan’s bail plea.
Leela Murali and Rahel Philipose