The Morning Wrap is Huffpost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers.
The Indian Express disclosed that a top financial executive of a subsidiary company of the Aditya Birla Group, has told Income Tax (IT) investigators that company officials regularly routed large amounts of cash through "angadias" or "local hawala operators" and made payments to "unidentified persons." Rahul Gandhi could take over the mantle of Congress president from his mother this year, possibly even as early as March or April; two senior party functionaries considered close to the Gandhi family have told the Economic Times. A month ahead of the Delhi elections, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has donned his whistle-blowing cap again and alleged a nexus between Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay and certain power distribution companies in the state. Upadhyay’s firms, according to Kejriwal, were installing and replacing meters for electricity distribution companies in the city. Infosys, India's second largest information technology (IT) services company is in talks with the Nasdaq-listed DreamWorks Animation to invest in one of that company’s startup ventures. This will be Infosys' first investment from its innovation fund, dedicated to start-ups and emerging technologies, and a strong signal of the kind of services it intends to offer in the future to move up the value-chain. Trinamul Congress leader Mukul Roy has sought more time to appear before the CBI on the eve of his scheduled appointment with the agency probing the Saradha case. Though he asked for a fortnight, the investigating agency has only agreed to a week-long reprieve. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the country would build two more nuclear plants in the southern city of Bushehr in line with the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The president's remarks gain significance given traditional US and European suspicions of Iran’s nuclear programme. A U.S. federal district judge has dismissed the case brought by the American Justice Center, a human rights group, against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for his alleged role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, at a time when he was the was the Chief Minister of the state.
Off The Front Page
Mint reports that the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) plans to form a search committee to scout for a replacement for Air India Ltd chairman and managing director (CMD) Rohit Nandan, whose extended term is set to end in August. Opting for a search gives the incumbent government a greater say in selecting a preferred candidate. Narendra Modi government's recent ordinance to kickstart coal mining across the country has drawn flak from adivasi villagers of north Chhattisgarh.
They protest that decks have been cleared for mining in already-notified forest areas of the state. This, even as Chhattisgarh is ruled by a BJP government.In what could be a significant poll reform ushered in by the Modi government, the home ministry has prepared a draft cabinet note proposing that electoral bribery be made a cognizable offence under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). A cognizable offence is an offence for which a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant. District magistrates in several districts of Uttar Pradesh are looking for ‘brides’ or women who submitted fake documents to take advantage of a government scheme that financially assists women from minority communities to get married. Several women, who got the money, didn’t actually get married and siphoned the money off with conniving local officials. A church in West Delhi’s Vikaspuri was vandalised on Wednesday. With probes still on in recent cases of alleged arson in three other churches in the city over the last few months, the incident has added to fears of safety within the Christian community.
Erik Solheim, a former Norwegian negotiator during Sri Lanka’s LTTE crisis, opines in The Hindu that the way forward for the present government will be “bumpy,” and that the hardest challenge for the new government will be forging reconciliation of Tamils and Muslims. Ramaswamy Iyer in The Hindu has critiqued the newly-passed Land Acquisition Act, saying that the government has only accepted one perception of the conflict, and sought to undo the compromise embodied in the earlier 2013-avatar of the Act without a review. “Apart from the merits of the ordinance, this is an authoritarian, partisan and undemocratic procedure,” he writes. Sohini Das in the Business Standard says that Vibrant Gujarat investments are vastly exaggerated. Christophe Jafferlot, discussing the state of development in India’s Muslims in the Indian Express, makes the intriguing point that Muslim ghettos are sometimes a blessing in disguise for the poor. The insecurity from communal tensions forces the rich and the poor in the community to band together that paradoxically, to some extent, leads to the development of the community.
Sujata Anandan in the Hindustan Times says that Raj Thackeray's MNS is crumblingbecause it is largely made up of venal opportunists rather than those with a genuine political agenda.