NEW DELHI: The National Task Force on Covid-19 and the joint monitoring group (JMG) in the Health Ministry will take a decision on whether to continue plasma therapy in the treatment of Covid-19 patients in India after reviewing the data of its randomised controlled trial, the ICMR said on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said a randomised controlled trial, including 464 patients in 39 hospitals in 25 districts across 14 states and UTs, has shown that plasma therapy does not reduce mortality or prevent progression from moderate to severe disease.
He said that plasma therapy has been used for more than 100 years now in some form or the other for various virus infections. It was used during ebola and it was also being used amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Having said that whether it benefits or not is being studied,” the ICMR director general said.
Referring to the findings of the ICMR funded randomised controlled trial, Bhargava said this a pre-print version which is still undergoing peer review.
“Once peer review happens and we get full publication out, this data will be considered again by the National Task Force and joint monitoring group of the Health Ministry and then a decision will be taken if we should continue with this or not because at the moment we have got permission to use plasma therapy (off label) in India,” he said.
“There are a few cases where some reactions can occur and therefore, we will take a considered view once we get the full publication of this study,” he underlined.
The Clinical Management Protocols for Covid-19 issued by the Union Health Ministry on June 27 allowed use of convalescent plasma (off label) for treating coronavirus-infected patients in moderate stage of the illness under “investigational therapies”.
Is your conduct consistent with claim for fair trial, investigation: Delhi high court to Mehul Choksi
NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Wednesday asked Mehul Choksi, an accused in the $2 billion PNB scam who went to the US for treatment and ended up taking citizenship of Antigua, whether his claims for a fair trial and investigation were consistent with his own conduct.
The query by a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was posed to Choksi’s counsel during the hearing of his appeal against a single judge order which dismissed his plea for pre-screening of Netflix docu series ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Choksi, said there is a footage about his client in the series which allegedly shows him in a bad light and therefore, could affect the various proceedings against him in India.
Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Netflix, told the bench that the trailer, based on which the initial plea was filed before the single judge, does not refer to Choksi or name him.
This claim of Netflix was opposed by Aggarwal who sought permission from the court to show the trailer of the series on the next date of hearing, September 29.
During the hearing, the bench said the “conduct of the petitioner is also of some relevance” when a constitutional court is deciding whether to exercise its writ jurisdiction.
The single judge had dismissed Choksi’s plea on the ground that he had an alternative remedy available — of filing a civil suit — and that a writ petition for enforcement of a private right was not maintainable.
Aggarwal contended that his client’s fundamental right to a fair trial and investigation would be affected by the airing of the series and therefore, a writ was maintainable.
He urged the bench that the matter be sent back to the single judge for being heard as a writ.
The court, however, asked, “Is your (Choksi) conduct consistent with what you desire? You are not under trial now. You claim fair trial and fair investigation, but is your conduct consistent with that claim?”
It also noted that after going to the US for treatment, Choksi obtained citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda with “terrific alacrity”.
The observation by the court came after Aggarwal said that Choksi left for New York for treatment on January 4, 2018 and then took the oath of allegiance in Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018.
“It is terrific alacrity for someone with medical ailments,” the bench observed.
Aggarwal responded to the comment by saying that it was only a four hour flight from New York to Antigua and Barbuda and his client went to the US as his doctor was there and he was being treated there for some time.
He also told the court that when his client applied for citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda he also got a NOC from Mumbai Police stating that no cases were pending against him.
It was on January 29, 2018 that a complaint was made aganist Choksi and a case was lodged by CBI on January 30, 2018, Aggarwal told the court.
Netflix, which has opposed the plea, would continue its arguments on the next date.
In its reply to the appeal, Netflix has contended that irreparable loss or injury would be caused to it if the episode relating to Nirav Modi, of which Choksi wants a pre-screening, was stayed.
It has contended that Choksi was aware of the subject matter of the docu series since early January 2019 when he was contacted for an interview in relation to the program and he was also interviewed for the same in May 2019.
However, the interview was not utilized as it did not meet the objective of the episode, Netflix has said in its affidavit.
It has also said that the petition was not maintainable as the high court has in the past held that over the top (OTT) or internet video streaming platforms cannot be regulated and the only option was to file a civil suit.
It has further said that there can be no pre-censorship in the form of a preview or pre-screening of the docuseries as the same would be violative of the freedom of speech and expression.
B Ramalinga Raju and Subrata Roy Sahara — who also find mention in the docuseries — have obtained stays from courts in Andhra Pradesh and Araria in Bihar, respectively.
Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, and his nephew, Nirav Modi, are accused in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
The documentary, which was scheduled for release in India on September 2, was promoted by Netflix as: “This investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons”.
G-4 nations call for ‘decisive push’ for long-delayed UNSC reforms
NEW YORK: The G-4 nations of India, Germany, Brazil and Japan on Wednesday called for a “decisive push” for the long-delayed reforms of the UN Security Council.
“Participated in G4 Foreign Ministers Meeting that called for a decisive push for UNSC reforms during UN75. Unanimous call for text based negotiations in a fixed time frame. Reformed Multilateralism guides India’s approach to the United Nations,” external affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
Participated in #G4 Foreign Ministers Meeting that called for a decisive push for UNSC reforms during #UN75 . Unani… https://t.co/GeDAcITGIM
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) 1600866525000
The meeting of G4 foreign ministers is held on the sidelines for the annual UN General Assembly. With the high-level session being held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, all meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly are also being held on a virtual platform.
In the 75th year of the United Nations, India will begin its two-year term as elected non-permanent member of the powerful Security Council from January 1 next year.
Effective response to international terrorism, reforming multilateral systems, comprehensive approach to peace and security, technology with a human touch and inclusive solutions to foster development are India’s priorities for its UNSC tenure.
In a video address to the High-Level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the world body faces a “crisis of confidence” without comprehensive reforms.
He asserted that today’s interconnected world needs a reformed multilateralism that gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges and focuses on human welfare.
India has been spearheading decades-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying a structure set up in 1945 does not reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century and is ill-equipped to handle current challenges.
There is widespread support, including by four of the five permanent members of the Security Council – US, UK, France and Russia – for a permanent seat for India at the Council.
Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter moves SC seeking to amend plea against continued detention of her mother
SRINAGAR: Iltija Mufti, the daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, has approached the Supreme Court seeking to modify her petition challenging the detention of her mother under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Mehbooba, the president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arrested on the eve of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and its bifurcation into Union Territories on August 5 last year.
In her application before the Supreme Court, Iltija said it has been filed praying for permission to amend the writ petition seeking inter alia a writ of habeas corpus.
“The amendment sought is to include grounds of challenge and additional prayers for challenging the orders of confirmation (dated February 26) and subsequent extensions (May 5 and July 31) of the detention order (of Mehbooba) impugned in the writ petition,” the application reads.
The writ petition has challenged Mehbooba’s detention on several grounds. It contends that the grounds and the dossier for detention are “stale, vague and that they suffer from non-application of mind, malice in law and that they violate the provisions of Section 8(3)(b) of the PSA”.
“The detention order based on stale grounds have become staler even more since the petition was filed and the respondent administration has continued to act with total non-application of mind and the malice in law has only been reinforced and aggravated in confirming and extending the order of detention for further periods,” it said.
Seeking permission to allow her to amend the section of the writ petition entitled “Prayers”, Iltija pleaded for issuance of the writ in the nature of habeas corpus commanding the respondents — the central and Jammu and Kashmir governments — to produce Mehbooba forthwith before the court for being set at liberty.
Pleading for direction or order quashing the impugned order of detention and subsequent extension orders, the application sought appropriate compensation to Mehbooba for the “illegal detention that she has suffered” and to award costs of the litigation to the petitioner.
“I have challenged her PSA order and the subsequent extensions to ensure her continued detention. Her detention is illegal and questionable in a democracy,” Iltija said, adding “a key opposition leader has been jailed for over a year without recourse to trial.”
She said the application has been filed to bring to the notice of the Supreme Court that the Jammu and Kashmir administration is yet to file a reply to its earlier order, which shows the respect the authorities have for courts.
“We are also bringing to notice of court the treatment the former chief minister has received where she has been deliberately kept out of bounds for party people and barred from attending to her duties as PDP president,” she said.
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