Daily briefing: Probe indicts L-G Advisor again in Gulmarg land case; In Tamil Nadu, row over actor playing Muralitharan in biopic

From the Maharashtra floods to the role of the Extremely Backward Classes in Bihar elections, read the top stories from print edition today.

Good morning Reader,

We are covering the 2009 Gulmarg land scam, the flash floods in Hyderabad and the controversy over an upcoming Tamil biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.

The Big Story

In a significant climbdown from its earlier position, the Centre has agreed to borrow from the market to cover up the GST compensation shortfall. But this could not have happened without nudge from the RBI, which preferred the Centre to borrow than the states. Moreover, the Centre gets cheaper rates, at least 50 basis points lower. 

From The Front Page

To plug pilferage of subsidised fertiliser bags, the Centre is working on a new plan to limit the purchases of individual farmers in any cropping season. Currently, the government is following a “no-denial” policy: anybody, non-farmers included, can buy any quantity of fertiliser.

Days after The Indian Express reported on alleged suspicious transactions of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) with three companies based in Dubai, Switzerland and Singapore, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at the premises of the co-operative giant and its MD US Awasthi.

The reindictment of an advisor to the Lieutenant Governor in a land scandal has left several red faces in the J&K administration. Baseer Ahmad Khan, a former IAS official, is among the state officials accused of illegally transferring state land in Gulmarg to private parties.

Decision 2020

Even though all political parties claim to be seeking votes on the plank of development, underlying their candidate lists are careful caste considerations involving their core constituencies, plus EBCs — Extremely Backward Classes — who are considered floating voters.

Exclusive: AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi talks about the ‘disarray’ in the BJP-JD(U) and RJD-Congress alliances, why time is ripe for a new front like he promises, and the issues the AIMIM will raise in its campaign.

Must Read

Every four years, the US has an “Election Day” on the first Tuesday after November 1, with the result usually called by the end of the day. But this year, election officials are speaking of an “Election Week”, cautioning Americans not to expect an immediate result. Here is why.

Four members of his immediate family are dead; another four, including his five-year-old grandson, are missing. In just one day, the world of 60-year-old Mohammed Abdul Taher Qureshi came crashing down around him, after extraordinarily heavy rain wreaked havoc on Hyderabad. 

An upcoming Tamil biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan has irked political leaders and prominent film personalities in Tamil Nadu, with many protesting actor Vijay Sethupathi’s decision to play the lead role. The reason? Mutalitharan’s questionable political stand during the 26-year civil war involving the LTTE.

ICYMI

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Republic TV to approach the Bombay High Court against the summons issued by Mumbai Police in connection with the TRP ‘scam’.
  • Weeks after the Hathras horror, another Dalit girl was allegedly raped and strangulated in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district on Wednesday. 
  • The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has moved the Islamabad High Court for the release of four Indian nationals who remained imprisoned long after they had completed their sentence.
  • A senior journalist in Odisha was on Thursday picked up by the police in Keonjhar district over alleged involvement in a case of obscene video that was circulated online last year.
  • Twenty seven people died while over 20,000 people were evacuated in three Maharashtra districts as heavy rain caused by a deep depression battered various parts of the state.

And Finally

From Mumtaz’s pop orange sari in ‘Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche’ from Brahmachari (1969) to Vyjayanthimala’s iconic costume in Amrapali (1966), some of the most memorable costumes in Bollywood were Bhanu Athaiya’s handiwork: On Thursday, India’s first Oscar winner passed away in Mumbai.

Delhi Confidential: The Election Commission had recently asked the government to amend the Conduct of Election Rules to increase campaign expenditure limit by 10 per cent for all future elections. 

📹 Ad veteran Kaushik Roy tells us why we should be worried about the backlash against Tanishq’s Ekatvam ad that has since been pulled down. 

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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