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Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan ramp up IIFA glitz by couple of notches




Bollywood star couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have been added to the star-studded guest list for the 22nd edition of the IIFA Weekend and Awards, the organisers announced on Tuesday.

The three-day extravaganza, which is taking place after two years, will see some of the biggest names from the film industry serve as hosts and performers on June 3 and 4 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.

Abhishek will also perform at the IIFA Awards, joining the likes of Shahid Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, Kartik Aaryan, Ananya Pandey, Sara Ali Khan, Divya Khosla Kumar and Nora Fatehi.

The 46-year-old actor said he is thrilled to perform on the IIFA stage once again. “After being disconnected physically for more than two years, celebrations help us unite. I am excited for this reunion of the industry to be happening as the world gets together again. And I am looking forward to entertaining, meeting fans and connecting with them globally,” the Dasvi actor said in a statement. The junior Bachchan will be making a second trip to the UAE in as many months along with Aaryan.

Aishwarya, 48, said she is delighted to be a part of the award gala’s 22nd edition. “It has always been splendid to be a part of IIFA Awards for years. Undoubtedly, it is the global event that both the Indian film industry and its well-wishers look forward to every year,” she said.

The IIFA Awards will be held on June 4 with Salman Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Maniesh Paul as the hosts.
The event is organised in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and Miral.


Shahid Kapoor to perform at IIFA awards

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Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of Now managing editor of, part of MEMc (


Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar arrive in Jamnagar for Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant pre-wedding celebrations



Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India], March 1 (ANI): Actors Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar on Friday arrived in Jamnagar, Gujarat for the three-day pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Mr Perfectionist was seen posing before the lensmen at the airport.

The ‘Dhoom 3’ actor wore a white jacket paired with red baggy hippie harem pants. He completed his look with a black cap.

Akshay, on the other hand, kept it casual as he wore a black t-shirt paired with black pants.

Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son, Anant, is set to tie the knot with industrialist Viren Merchant’s daughter, Radhika Merchant.

Who’s who from different fields has arrived to attend the lavish celebrations. Eminent personalities like Ivanka Trump, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his wife Sakshi Dhoni, superstar Shah Rukh Khan, among others, graced the mega event.

Founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani spoke about the pre-wedding function of her son, Anant Ambani, with Radhika Merchant.

She shared the relevance of art and culture and how she is “passionate” about it, saying, “Throughout my life I have been inspired by arts and culture. It has deeply moved me and I am very passionate about it.”While talking about her son’s wedding she mentioned, “When it came to my youngest son Anant’s wedding with Radhika, I had two important wishes – first, I wanted to celebrate our roots…Jamnagar holds special place in our hearts and has a profound significance. Gujarat is where we come from, it’s where Mukesh and his father built the refinery and I started my career by converting this arid and desert like area into a lush green township and a vibrant community.”The guest list also includes former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, President of Google Donald Harrison, former President of Bolivia, Jorge Quiroga, former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd and Chairperson of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.CEO and MD ADNOC Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO bp Murray Auchincloss, Chairman and Founder Colony Capital Thomas Barrack, CEO JC2 Ventures John Chambers, Former CEO bp Bob Dudley, President of Global Development at BMGF Christopher Elias, Executive Chairman at Exor John Elkann, and CEO of Endeavor Ari Emanuel are also expected to be in Jamnagar. (ANI)

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ED freezes Rs 580.78 crore in Mahadev Online Book case; says its operations are being run from Dubai



New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate has seized Rs 580.78 crore in assets related to the Mahadev Online Book Betting app case, asserting that its activities are being operated from Dubai.

The ED’s action occurred as the agency conducted raids at 15 locations targeting individuals suspected of involvement in money laundering networks associated with Mahadev Online Book in Kolkata, Gurugram, Delhi, Indore, Mumbai, and Raipur.

During the operation, the ED said it retrieved cash worth Rs 1.86 crore, valuables worth Rs 1.78 crore and also frozen and identified proceeds of crime worth Rs 580.78 crore. The searches also resulted in the seizure of a large amount of incriminating evidence, including digital data and the identification of assets.

The agency is investigating a case against “Mahadev Online Book”, which is an umbrella syndicate arranging online platforms for enabling illegal betting websites to enrol new users, create user IDs and launder money through a layered web of Benami bank accounts.

The ED initiated an investigation on the basis of First Information Reports (FIRs) registered by Chhattisgarh Police. Subsequently, other FIRs registered by Visakhapatnam Police and other states were also taken on record.

An ED investigation into the matter has revealed that “the operations of Mahadev Online Book are being run from Dubai and it operates by franchising ‘panel and branches’ to their known associates on a 70 per cent to 30 per cent profit ratio.””The main promoters of Mahadev Online Book are also partners and promoters in multiple such online betting books like ‘Reddy Anna’ and ‘Fairplay’. Large-scale hawala operations are done to syphon off the proceeds of betting proceeds to off-shore accounts,” said the agency.

In the course of further investigation, the ED successfully identified other major players involved with the promoters of Mahadev Online Book.

“It was found that one Hari Shankar Tibrewal, who hails from Kolkata but is currently residing in Dubai, is a huge hawala operator and has partnered with the promoters of Mahadev Online Book. ED conducted searches at his known premises and at the premises of his associates. The searches revealed that Hari Shankar Tibrewal owned and operated one of the illegal betting websites, such as SkyExchange.

“He, through his Dubai-based entities, was investing the betting proceeds in the Indian Stock market by way of the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route. He had also employed many of his associates as Director in various companies which were involved in layering of the betting proceeds by investing them in the stock market. He was also involved in large-scale hawala movement of the betting funds,” said the ED.

Accordingly, security holdings worth Rs 580.78 crore in the name of the entities beneficially owned by Hari Shankar Tibrewal have been frozen by ED under PMLA 2002.

Earlier in this case, movable properties totalling Rs 572.41 crore were seized and frozen during searches conducted under the PMLA, 2002. Two provisional attachment orders have been issued, attaching movable and immovable properties valued at Rs 142.86 crore.

Prosecution complaints dated October 20, 2023, and January 1 of this year have been filed in the case. Nine accused have already been apprehended in connection with the case. Thus, total attachment and freezing in the case stand at Rs 1,296.05 crore.

The move comes almost a month after the federal agency arrested two individuals, Nitin Tibrewal from Kolkata and Amit Agrawal from Raipur. Both accused were arrested in the second week of January.

Earlier, the ED had arrested alleged accused Asim Das, Bheem Singh Yadav, Chandrabhushan Verma, Anil Kumar Agrawal, Sunil Dammani, and Satish Chandrakar. The agency stated that the illicit funds generated by the app were used to bribe politicians and bureaucrats.

In November last year, the ED had also conducted searches against the money laundering networks linked with the alleged Mahadev Book Online Betting App, which led to the recovery of cash worth Rs 5.39 crore and a bank balance of Rs 15.59 crore.

Several celebrities and Bollywood actors have also been summoned by the agency for questioning regarding their connections with the online betting platform and the payment methods involved.

ED has filed two charge sheets in the Mahadev app case, including against the main promoters, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal. The two promoters were recently detained in Dubai based on an Interpol red notice, and ED is working on their deportation or extradition to India.

The first charge sheet alleges that Chandrakar spent around Rs 200 crore in cash for his wedding in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, in February 2023. The agency claims that private jets were hired to transport Chandrakar’s relatives, and celebrities were paid for performances. The projected proceeds of crime in this case are estimated at Rs 6,000 crore.

The agency filed the second charge sheet before a special court in Raipur on January 1 of this year.

The about 1,700-1,800 page fresh charge sheet specifically named five accused, including alleged cash courier Asim Das, police constable Bheem Singh Yadav, and Shubham Soni, a prominent executive linked to the app, among others.

Das and Yadav were arrested by the agency in November last year, just before the first phase of polling for the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

Soni, who had claimed to be the owner of the app, earlier issued a video statement and sent an affidavit to the ED claiming to have “proof” about kickbacks paid to politicians and their linked persons for allowing the app to run its illegal businesses without any legal action.

ED previously asserted that Mahadev app promoters paid approximately Rs 508 crore to former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel. These claims, made just before the state assembly polls, were denied by Baghel, who labelled them as attempts to malign his image. The Congress party termed it vendetta politics by the Centre.

Chandrakar and Uppal, originally from Bhilai town in Chhattisgarh, are associated with the Mahadev online betting app, which is accused of facilitating illegal betting websites. (ANI)

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Meenakshi Sheshadri on her second inning as an actor



Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 1 (ANI): Meenakshi Sheshadri made an indelible impression on fans’ hearts with her performances in films such as ‘Damini’, ‘Hero’, and others. The stunning actor is making a comeback after a long sabbatical.

In a conversation with ANI, she talked about coming back to India and her passion for acting. “I am back in India after hearing my inner voice. My family also supported me and realised that I wouldn’t be getting many opportunities in the US, so I am here.”The ace actor added that she never wanted to be typecast and even now, after making a comeback, she wants to be “undefinable.””Even though this is my second inning, I have come again and I want to be absolutely undefinable,” added the ‘Ghatak’ actor.

Recalling her childhood passion for dance and how she started acting, Sheshadri shared, “My mom used to run singing and dancing classes. At the age of one, I learned to dance, so the kind of training I got at home in music, dance, and acting, I explored in school, and in talent competitions. I won awards and on the way, after passing 12th class, I was chosen as Miss India that year. So the winners of beauty pageants used to get offers for modelling and acting, I too got that and I think classical dance has a big role in getting me into acting….”She made her debut with the film ‘Painter Babu’, which was released in 1983 and produced by Manoj Kumar. The stunning actor shared that the veteran star only introduced him and finally she got a role in Subhash Ghai’s 1983 film ‘Hero’ starring Jackie Shroff opposite her.

Meenakshi said, “Manoj Kumar ji introduced me and Subhash Ghai, his very big fan, finally decided to make me the heroine of his film. That film got so much success that even today people remember ‘Hero’.”While talking about the actors she admires most, she added, “Chiranjeevi, Rishi Kapoor and Govinda. I am a great admirer of Govinda’s personality.”Recently, the actor watched ‘Fighter’ and she said, “I am great fan of Hrithik Roshan.”Meenakshi took a break from acting after marrying investment banker Harish Mysore in 1995. She is known for her performances in movies such as ‘Hero’, ‘Aandhi-Toofan’, ‘Meri Jung’, ‘Swati’, ‘Dilwaala’, ‘Parivaar’, ‘Shahenshah’, ‘Mahaadev’, ‘Awaargi’, ‘Jurm’, ‘Ghayal’, ‘Ghar Ho To Aisa’ ‘Damini’, ‘Ghatak’, among others. (ANI)

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