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National
 NCW issues fresh notices to Bollywood celebs in sexual assault case

NCW issues fresh notices to Bollywood celebs in sexual assault case

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The National Commission for Women has issued fresh notices to Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt, actors Urvashi Rautela, Esha Gupta, Mouni Roy and TV actor Prince Narula to record their statements against an accused for alleged blackmail and sexual assault of a number of women on the pretext of providing modelling opportunities through his company.

The fresh notices come after these celebrities, who allegedly promoted the company - IMG Ventures - failed to appear at the hearing before the commission which it had scheduled for August 6.

"NCW has taken serious note of their non-appearance. The meeting has been adjourned to the next date, i.e., on August 18 at 11.30 a.m. You will be sent formal notices again and non-appearance will be followed by action as per our procedures," the commission said while initiating action on Thursday.

Initially, the commission had also summoned Bollywood actor Sonu Sood. However, a fresh notice was not issued to him as the actor responded to the commission clarifying his stand on the issue. Responding on Twitter, NCW chief Rekha Sharma tweeted, "He did come back to us and is cooperating."

Speaking to IANS over the phone, People Against Rapes in India (PARI) founder Yogita Bhayana, who filed the complaint, said, "I want to convey that if these people can unofficially ask IMG Ventures to remove their videos from their website why did they not answer or reply to NCW in today's hearing?"

"They are double-faced people who want to disassociate with Sunny Verma and his bad deeds and at the same time are afraid to say that they were associated with him in the past," the social activist said.

According to the complaint, the accused Sunny Verma, promoter of IMG Ventures, had been blackmailing and sexually assaulting a number of women on the pretext of providing them modelling opportunities. "Many TV and film actors are also promoting his company in a video advertisement," Bhayana's complaint had said.

Bhayana in the complaint had also named various Bollywood celebrities including Mahesh Bhatt, Sonu Sood, Urvashi Rautela , Mouni Roy, Rannvijay Singh, Prince Narula and Esha Gupta.

The complaint mentions that to make it look genuine, his company was also charging an entry fee of Rs 2,950. Once the girls applied, they were allegedly persuaded by the female accomplices of Sunny Verma to submit their nude pictures in order to get better opportunities.

"After receiving the nude pictures and sometimes even before, Sunny used to get in touch with the girls to push them for completely nude pictures and videos. He also used to ask them to submit to his sexual desires if they were interested in modelling as a career or wish to win the contest," the complaint said.

The complaint claimed that once Sunny Verma established a physical relationship with the girls, he used to blackmail them for regular sexual favours. Many girls from across the country have suffered sexual assault and mental harassment by Sunny and his accomplices.

In her complaint, Bhayana said, "I have now received several letters, texts and audio clips from several girls as proof of this modus operandi of Sunny Verma and IMG Ventures. The girls have given details of sexual harassment under the condition that their names and identities will not be revealed. They have also shared their chat screenshots and audio call records with Sunny Verma. The chats are full of demands of sexual favours from Sunny Verma."

"We request NCW to take cognisance of our complaint and take appropriate action against Sunny Verma, his female accomplices, the partners of the company as well as against the Bollywood stars who are promoting IMG Ventures in spite of knowing everything," it said.

--IANS
anb/kr/bg

03:03 PM
 Kuwait approves Indian repatriation flights

Kuwait approves Indian repatriation flights

Kuwait City, Aug 6 (IANS) Kuwait has approved a request to operate flights to repatriate Indian expatriates wishing to return home amid a ban on air travel imposed by Gulf country, including India, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a media report said on Thursday.

Kuwait's Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) agreed to the flights starting from August 10 until October 24, Gulf News quoted the Al Qabas newspaper as saying in the report.

According to the DGCA approval, 1,000 Indians will leave Kuwait daily, to be flown equally by Kuwaiti and Indian airlines.

Indians account for almost 1 million of Kuwait's 4.7 million population.

"The arrangements proposed by the Indian side are limited to departure only and do not include their return to Kuwait," the Al Qabas newspaper report said citing an informed source as saying.

"The decision to ban entry of travellers from 31 countries to Kuwait is still in effect."

Earlier this week, Kuwait announced suspending flights from 31 "high-risk" countries, including India, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Philippines.

The travel ban, which took immediate effect, was announced hours after the Kuwait International Airport partially reopened on August 1 for commercial flights after remaining closed for nearly five months.

--IANS
ksk/

02:34 PM
 Inter announces permanent Sanchez transfer from Man Utd

Inter announces permanent Sanchez transfer from Man Utd

Milan, Aug 6 (IANS) Serie A giants Inter Milan on Thursday announced permanent transfer of Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United. Sanchez, who was on a season-long loan at the San Siro Stadium, put pet to paper on a deal that will run until 2023.

No transfer fee was involved in the deal as United seemed to be in a hurry to offload the forward who couldn't reach the heights of his previous years at Old Trafford. He was also reportedly earning in excess of 500,000 pounds per week at Manchester United.

"FC Internazionale Milano announces that Alexis Sanchez is moving to the Nerazzurri outright free of charge. The Chilean striker has signed a contract with the club until June 30, 2023," Inter said in a statement.

The confirmation of the deal comes just a day after Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed the two clubs had reached an agreement over the high-profile transfer.

"I can confirm we have agreed. Alexis enjoyed his time there they have liked him so that's a good move for him," Sky Sports quoted Solskjaer as saying. "We wish him all the best and he is a top player who we want to see play his best football."

Meanwhile, Inter manager Antonio Conte had said they got Sanchez back on track after his poor spell in Manchester and now it's time to reap the reward by getting him full-time at the club.

"I think the Alexis Sanchez move is a great one made by the club. Considering the conditions we managed to get Alexis, it was a really good transfer," Conte told Sky Sport Italia following Inter's 2-0 Europa League win over Getafe.

"He had come off two years when he was really struggling at Manchester United, then he got this injury with us and we took the time to get him back on track, so it's only right that we are now able to reap the rewards of that effort," he added.

--IANS
pks/aak/bbh/

03:03 PM
 Backed by US, India warns China against Kashmir interference

Backed by US, India warns China against Kashmir interference

Washington/New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The government on Thursday warned China against attempts to interfere in India's internal affairs after Beijing unsuccessfully initiated a discussion in the UN Security Council on Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the government said that this was not the first time that China has sought to raise a subject that is solely an internal matter of India.

"As on previous such occasions, this attempt too met with little support from the international community. We firmly reject China's interference in our internal affairs and urge it to draw proper conclusions from such unfructuous attempts," the government said.

The government on Wednesday received a letter of support from the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs which held China responsible for the aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

Chairman and Ranking Democrat Member Eliot Engel and Ranking Republican Member Michael McCaul, wrote jointly on behalf of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, saying that they wanted to demonstrate the strong bipartisan support for the US-India relationship.

"Members of both parties recognize the impact that a strong US-India partnership will have on the trajectory of the 21st century. As Prime Minister Modi said in February of this year, our ties 'are no longer just another partnership. It is far greater and closer relationship.' This closer relationship is all the more important as India faces aggression from China along your shared border, which is part of the Chinese government's consistent pattern of unlawful and belligerent territorial aggression across the Indo-Pacific.

"The United States will remain steadfast in support of India's efforts to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity," the letter addressed to Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar said.

The US House Committee in its letter also acknowledged the "ongoing serious security and counterterrorism concerns" in Jammu & Kashmir and said that it looks forward to "working with" Indian government to "address these concerns while upholding our shared commitments to the democratic values and freedoms on which our countries' bond was built".

However, the letter said that it is because of its support for the India-US bilateral relationship that "we note with concern that conditions in Jammu & Kashmir have not normalized one year after India's repeal of Article 370 and the establishment of Jammu & Kashmir as a Union Territory".

The Committee recalled that Prime Minister Modi said earlier this year, "Unity in diversity and unity's vibrancy is the key to a strong relationship between India and America. The committee said that it was looking forward to working with the Indian government to continue to strengthen and advance this vibrant and consequential relationship."

--IANS
aat/in

02:28 PM

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