LIVE UPDATES: Shashi Tharoor-led parliamentary panel to grill Facebook executives today; Ravi Shankar Prasad writes extraordinary letter to Mark Zuckerberg after Ankhi Das faces more heat

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is expected to grill senior executives of Facebook today. This was days after American publications namely the Wall Street Journal and TIME magazine sensationally revealed the dirty nexus of top executives working for Facebook and WhatsApp with the BJP. Facing the heat are two senior lobbyists, Ankhi Das and Shivnath Thukral. Both of the are accused of turning a blind eye to the hate speech of BJP leaders. Das has also faced allegations of compromising the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in collusion with the BJP.

Soon after the Wall Street Journal first reported on the dirty nexus between Das and the BJP, Tharoor had revealed his intention to hear from Facebook executives on their brazen biases in favour the ruling party of India.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written to Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg expressing his displeasure on internal leaks from the social media giant’s India team to a foreign publication. The minister’s extraordinary angst over a social media company’s leaks came a day after the Wall Street Journal revealed more biases of Facebook’s public policy director, Ankhi Das, in favour of the BJP. Interestingly, the second report by the WSJ was based on Das’s posts made on internal communication system of Facebook

LIVE UPDATES on these and other stories will appear below:

18:24 PM: CPI MP Binoy Viswam writes to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Nadu, says suspension of #QuestionHour and Private Members’ business is ‘unjust’ and they must be reinstated immediately. (PTI)

17:43 PM: India bans PUBG, earlier it had banned TikTok.

17:34 PM: Centre blocks 118 more mobile apps, including PUBG, in the interest or “sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence oof India, security of the state and public order” invoking Section 69 Information Technology Act. (Live Law)

17:06 PM: Jewellery shop owner allegedly stabbed to death by two men during robbery attempt at his store in Margao city of South Goa: Police. (PTI)

15:56 PM: AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel detained by police in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district while he was on his way to mosque to offer prayers, defying #COVID19 restrictions: Senior officer. (PTI)

15:24 PM: Five fans of popular #Telugu actor #PawanKalyan, died in a road accident while returning home after celebrating his birthday in #Telangana’s Warangal district in the early hours of Wednesday. (IANS)

14:51 PM: Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat goes into self-quarantine once again with his OSD testing positive for COVID-19. A meeting of state cabinet scheduled for Wednesday postponed as a result, say official sources. (PTI)

14:18 PM: #Lucknow: A property dealer was shot dead in broad daylight on Wednesday near the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences in the state capital. The property dealer, Durgesh Yadav, was taken to the Trauma Centre where the doctors declared him brought dead. (IANS)

13:14 PM: SC rejects Netflix plea against Bihar court’s order asking it not to use name of Subrata Roy in its web series ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’. (PTI)

12:23 PM: HC seeks replies of Dharma Productions, Netflix and former Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena on Centre’s plea to stop streaming of movie. (PTI)

11:57 AM: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tests positive for coronavirus

11:13 AM: #Lucknow: The 15-year-old girl, accused of killing her mother and brother, is staying with her father, a senior railway officer, under medical supervision. Women police personnel in plain clothes have been deployed at the officer’s residence. (IANS)

10:04 AM: Single-day spike of 78,357 cases push India’s COVID-19 tally to 37,69,523; death toll rises to 66,333 with 1,045 more fatalities: Centre. (PTI)

09:31 AM: Army junior commissioned officer (JCO) killed in Pakistani firing along LoC in Rajouri district of J-K: Army sources. (PTI)

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