Daily Briefing: An untold Kashmir story; key Adani investor Elara co-owner with Adani in defence firm; and more

Express Investigation: Part Two

81 sculptures, five paintings, five pages of a manuscript, two Kashmir carpet antiquities and one page of calligraphy.

These are some of the artefacts originating from Jammu and Kashmir that are now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York. Very little is known about how they got here. But here is what we found: 24 of these artefacts have been linked to an American mathematician with links to a US-based antiques dealer on the radar of investigative agencies. Another three are linked to one of India’s most notorious art smugglers Subhash Kapoor.

Meanwhile, we also found that in J&K, FIRs on missing artefacts are gathering dust, with some of these cases closed as “not traced”.

Read Part 2 of our investigation series on India’s missing antiquities.

The road to recovering stolen antiquities has been a long and arduous one. But nothing better illustrated the challenges faced by India better than the wall it hit to get a J&K painting back from the US for over six years. Here is what happened. 

Only in the Express

The financial year is drawing to a close and India has made no headway yet on its outstanding Rouble payments for weapons purchased from Russia. To work around this, the government is set to go in for a series of big-ticket indigenous acquisitions for the military to use up its pending defence capital funds. From missile vessels, to radars – check out what’s on the government’s shopping list.

In its bid to help Indian startups that have been caught in the Silicon Valley Bank storm, the IT Ministry, in a submission to the Finance Ministry, is likely to emphasise the need to devise a plan on how the RBI can get domestic banks to offer loans to these start-ups. Here is what it has planned.

(🧐 Wondering how the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed and why Indian startups were impacted? Read our explainer)

On the surface, ELARA India Opportunies Fund is just one among four of the Adani Group’s key investors. But upon closer inspection, we found that Elara wasn’t just another investor. It is also a promoted entity in a defence company, that works closely with ISRO and DRDO. Here is the catch: through pyramid structuring, Elara and Adani together own a majority of 51.65 per cent in the Bengaluru-based defence firm. 

From the Front Page 

The RSS has put its weight behind the stand taken by the Centre recently on the rights of the LGBTQ community, saying marriages can only take place between opposite genders.

In Karnataka, where Assembly polls are due in May, the short supply of milk has become a cause for concern. The Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation, India’s second-largest dairy concern, recently hiked the price of full-cream milk, sold under its ‘Nandini’ brand. Now, consumers get ony a 900-ml packet for Rs 50 as opposed to a one-litre packet they used to receive previously.

Must Read

Upendra Kushwaha, Mukesh Sahani, and Chirag Paswan – three leaders from Bihar – have either received central security cover in recent months or had their security category upgraded. While the BJP has insinuated the granting of the security covers is part of the efforts to cultivate potential allies for 2024 polls, a MHA official said that security is granted based on threat assessment by the IB.

In our Opinion section today, Bhaskar Chakravorti goes in-depth on why we should pay more attention to the right uses of AI: “It is time we applied more intelligence on how to direct money, talent, data access and regulatory and ethical resources so that we end up with less demon, more god and usher in a technology that can set the world on fire — and, if we aren’t careful — burn us all down.” 

And Finally 

Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, based on the real-life story of an Indian woman who stood up to the Norwegian government to reunite with her children, has hit the screens. But is it worth our time? The Indian ExpressAlaka Sahani feels that Rani tries too hard when less could’ve been more. “Even with a story as deeply emotional as this, the film needed less melodrama and more contemplative moments,” she writes. 

Delhi Confidential: Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who has been raising the issue of Bihar’s “backwardness” for some time, has now embarked on a different path to get “adequate attention”. Rudy has made documentaries on “Why Bihar is a backward state” and is travelling across the state. He says he has already covered 14 districts and the campaign will run until the next Assembly polls.

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we discuss why the Taliban is attending an Indian online course, the reasons behind the delays in the Smart Cities Mission, and what’s different about the flu this season.

Until Tomorrow,

Rahel Philipose and Anandu Suresh

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