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Four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists in national capital, police conduct raids

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New Delhi: An alert about the presence of suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed modules in the national capital had the Delhi Police conducting searches in different areas all of Wednesday night but without success.

Teams of the Delhi Police Special Cell and the Crime Branch carried out the all-night search operation in 15 districts of the city till 5 a.m. on Thursday.

The areas seached inluded Zafrabad, Seelampur and Welcome Colony in Northeast; Jamia Nagar and Okhla in South; Chandni Chowk, Chitli Kabar and Chandni Mahal in Old Delhi; several areas in East Delhi; and illegal colonies on the Yamuna Bank. Airports across north India have been placed on high alert and security has been enhanced, say officials.

An official said that anti-terrorist measures at railway and Metro stations and places with high footfall such as markets and malls have been intensified. Footage of CCTV cameras was being examined to monitor suspicious activities, the official added.

Intelligences sources say a special cell of the Delhi Police received an alert last evening about the presence of the terrorists in the capital. All four are said to be heavily armed. The alert led to searches across Delhi, especially in its more crowded neighbourhoods.

The threat was discussed at a meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home this morning.

According to inputs received by the defence ministry and intelligence agencies, the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has been planning a fidayeen or suicide attack on airbases. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security received a threat letter on September 10. The letter in Hindi is reportedly from one Shamsher Wani of Jaish and claims vengeance for the government’s Article 370 move.

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FM Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India, BPCL to be sold by March 2020

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the central government is looking to wrap up the sale of state-run companies Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) by March next year.

Sitharaman said that the sale has been strategically decided upon after being aborted a year ago due to lukewarm responses. Many investors have shown interest to purchase the two loss-making companies and it could help meet the government’s disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year, she said in an interview.

“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out,” Sitharaman stated while speaking to The Times of India.

Earlier this month, Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani, in an open letter to Air India employees, had said that the divestment may enable the airline’s sustainability.

For Air India, there is a “lot of interest” among investors, Ms Sitharaman said.

Recently, the cabinet approved changes in the process of disinvestment where the prospective bidders will be heard in roadshows before the expressions of interest (EoIs) are floated so that concerns of the prospective buyers are addressed.

Last year, the government had floated the Expression of Interest (EoI) for Air India to offload a 76 per cent stake and management control in the airline but it did not get a single bidder. The government currently owns 100 per cent equity of Air India.

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