India tells Pakistan: It will not be appropriate for Sartaj Aziz to meet with Hurriyat

Newsroom24x7 Desk

South BlockNew Delhi: India advised Pakistan yesterday that it would not be appropriate for Mr. Sartaj Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives during his visit to India as it would not be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Ufa understanding to jointly work to combat terrorism.

The official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in response to a question today that India has also sought confirmation of the understanding of the agenda for the NSA-level talks that was conveyed to the Pakistani side on 18 August 2015.

At an official press briefing yesterday, when a journalist asked what made Pakistan suddenly consult the separatist Hurriyat leaders and invite them to the High Commission in New Delhi before the meeting of Pakistan-India NSAs, the official spokesperson of the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Inviting Kashmiri leaders for meetings and participation in various events hosted by our High Commission is a long standing practice. Such meetings normally take place before talks between the senior officials of the two countries on various issues are held in Pakistan or India. It is in this context that Kashmiri leaders have been invited by our High Commissioner to attend a reception at the High Commission on 23rd August 2015. The reception is being hosted in the honour of our Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs and members of his delegation. ”

The Spokesperson said in response to a linked query that Pakistan expects India to allow the Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

Modi congratulates Ranil Wickremesinghe on being sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s PM

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Ranil WickremesingheNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has congratulates Ranil Wickremesinghe on being sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister.

“Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe on being sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister,” the Prime Minister said.

Travel agency owner arrested for stealing mileage points of flyers of British Airways

Newsroom24x7 Staff

British airways executive clubNew Delhi: The Delhi Police Crime Branch has busted a racket and arrested the owner of a travel agency involved in stealing the mileage points (Avios) from the flyers of the British Airways and redeeming them to get tickets from British Airways and other international airlines besides obtaining free stays across the globe.

Avios are global travel reward points that allow you to turn your everyday spending into flights, hotel stays, upgrades, days out and more. One can collect Avios through the Avios Travel Reward Programme at Tesco, Shell, Avis, British Airways, Lloyd’s Bank, and over 350 other partners across the world.

One Damanpreet Singh Bedi (34), who was running Kripa Travels, a travel agency at Jhandewalan here, has been arrested.

A complaint was received by the Police alleging that there is a major misappropriation of the mileage points of the flyers of British Airways. These Avios/mileagepoints are awarded to the flyers with each ticket and these can be redeemed by flyers/members for obtaining tickets, hotel bookings and forgetting cab facilities. These mileage points can also be traded for tickets with different airlines. The payment to the other airlines is then made by British Airways against the Avios points used for booking of tickets. The data of such flyers/members as well as the mileage points earned by such members is maintained by British Airways. In the year 2015, it was revealed that mileage points of some of the flyers/members were redeemed illegally by unauthorized agencies in favour of other passengers, who were not entitled to use them.

On enquiry, once the facts were verified, a case (FIR No.123/15 dated 16.08.2015 under secions 420/464/467/471/120B IPC & 43A/43B/43H/66/72IT Act) was registered by the Crime Branch. A team led by DCP Bhisham Singh and comprising of ACP KPS Malhotra, Insp. Vijay Kumar Rastogi, SIs Vijay Samaria, Neeraj Kumar, HCs Niranjan, Surender, Kanwarpal, Cts Raj Kumar, Amit, Brijesh, Anoop,Ranjeet, Vikram and Dhanraj was constituted under the supervision of Addl. Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar and it zeroed upon Kripa Travels.

During the course of investigation, it was revealed that the unauthorized access to the database of M/s Amadeus and creation of the fake executive accounts was being carried out from a particular IP addresses. M/s Amadeus provides IT enabled service for the global travel and tourism industry. It also provides search, pricing, booking, ticketing and other processing services in real-time to travel providers and travel agencies. Through its IT Solutions business area, it also offers travel companies software systems which automate processes such as reservations, inventory management and departure control.

aviosBritish Airways provided the details of the IP addresses that were used for unauthorized extraction of the Avios points. When investigation was carried out in this direction, it was revealed that all the activities pertaining to these IP addrsses were being carried out from Jhandewalan Area. On the basis of information colelcted, Kripa Travels was identified. After verifying the facts, a raid was conducted at Kripa Travels, Anarkali Complex, Jhandewalan in the national capital and the accused Damanpreet Singh Bedi was apprehended. Damanpreet disclosed that he was running Kripa Travels and was also a booking agent for Amadeus. He used to access the database of tickets booked by other agents and steal the data. Thereafter, he used to open fake executive club accounts using the ticket details and redeem the Avios points by booking new tickets. By using the stolen details like PNR number, passenger’s name and other details, he used to create a fake executive club account at ba.com (British Airways website) in the name of the passenger to access the Avios points. In this way, he accumulated the Avios points of various passengers. Thereafter, he used to purchase tickets by redeeming the collected points and was selling the tickets to his selected clientele.

Damanpreet Singh Bedi (34), son of Manjeet Singh Bedi, resident of Teliwara, Shahdara, New Delhi has studied upto 12th standard and runs the travel agency – Kripa Travels at Anarkali Complex at Jhandewalan here. He began working with a travel agency and after gaining knowledge regarding the ticketing business started his own travel agency. He also became the booking agent of Amadeus and found ways to exploit the loopholes in the system.

The Police have seized a computer hard disk and a router, both used for stealing data, besides 28 passports and a number of Amrica Express credit cards

RBI seeks inputs on converting a UCB into a commercial bank

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rbi gateMumbai: The High Powered Committee on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) has recommended that the business size of Rs 20,000 crore may be the threshold limit beyond which a Urban Cooperative Bank (UCB) is expected to convert itself into a commercial bank. The conversion will not be de jure compulsory. However, the types of businesses to be undertaken by those choosing not to convert will remain within the limits of plain vanilla products and services and hence, their growth will be at a much slower pace. Their expansion in terms of branches, area of operations and business lines will also be carefully calibrated.

Other important recommendations made by the HPC are briefly as under:

1. Conversion of UCBs into Small Finance Banks (SFBs): Smaller UCBs with business size of less than ₹ 20,000 crore willing to convert to SFBs can apply to the Reserve Bank for conversion provided they fulfil all the eligibility criteria and selection processes prescribed by the Reserve Bank and further provided that the licensing window for SFBs is open.
2. Issue of fresh licences: Licenses may be issued to financially sound and well-managed co-operative credit societies having a minimum track record of 5 years which satisfy the regulatory prescriptions set by the Reserve Bank as licensing conditions. For providing banking access in unbanked areas, the Reserve Bank may put in place an appropriate set of incentives for existing banks to open branches there.
3. Board of Management (BoM) in addition to Board of Directors (BoDs): Putting in place a BoM as suggested by the Malegam Committee has to be one of the mandatory licensing conditions for licensing of new UCBs and expansion of existing ones.
4. Entry Point Norms: The new Entry Point Norms (EPNs) may be as under:
To operate as a Multi-State Urban Co-operative Bank- ₹ 100 crore
To operate beyond two districts and as a State level UCB – ₹ 50 crore
To operate as District level UCB (upto 2 districts) – ₹ 25 crore
In case of conversion of co-operative credit societies in unbanked areas and in the north-east, suitable relaxation may be made by the Reserve Bank.
5. Depositors as voting members: The depositors ought to have a say on the Boards of UCBs. For this, a majority of the board seats may be reserved for depositors by making suitable provisions in the bye-laws.
It may be recalled that on January 30, 2015, the Reserve Bank had announced the constitution of a High Powered Committee (HPC) under the Chairmanship of Shri R. Gandhi, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India to examine and recommend permissible business lines and appropriate size, and examine the issues with regard to conversion of UCBs into commercial banks besides determining whether the time is opportune to issue new licenses to UCBs as recommended by the Expert Committee on Licensing of New UCBs (Malegam Committee). This was pursuant to the recommendation made by the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) on UCBs in its meeting held on October 20, 2014.

The Reserve Bank of India has placed on its website the Report of the HPC. Suggestiobs and comments on the Report will be received till September 18, 2015 by the Principal Chief General Manager, Department of Co-operative Bank Regulation (DCBR), Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Garment House, First Floor, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai – 400 018 (Fax No. 022-24974030) or emailed.