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Man convicted of first-degree murder of Indian American Smurti Patel

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Timothy Varmall
Timothy Varmall

Timothy Varmall, of Sacramento, has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of Smurti Patel.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — Timothy Varmall, who had been accused of killing an Indian-American woman that rejected his romantic advances, has been convicted of first-degree murder.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman on Friday found the 50-year-old Varmall guilty in the death of 44-year-old Smurti Patel, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release. The judge also found that Varmall was armed and committed the murder by lying in wait for the victim.

From a period stretching between September 2014 and February 2015, Varmall followed Patel and planned “coincidental” encounters with her to make her think favorably of him. His purpose was to find the best opportunity to kill the woman, the news release said. On Feb. 9, 2015, Varmall stalked Patel as she boarded a local light-rail train. As the two were getting off the train, Patel caught a glimpse of Varmall and agreed to walk with him. While the two were crossing the street, Varmall stabbed Patel seven times, then fled the area.

Patel died of her wounds four days later.

Varmall confided in one of Patel’s friends that he murdered her because he was romantically interested in Patel and she had rejected him, the news release said. The court found that Varmall had two prior strike convictions under California’s “three strikes” law, both for sex offenses.

He will be sentenced on June 9.

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Houston to host community summit for Indian Prime Minister Modi

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Houston hosts Modi

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Non-profit group Texas India Forum announced they are organizing “Howdy, Modi!”, an Indian American community event for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Houston September 22nd. The venue has yet to be announced, but tens of thousands of people are expected at the event.

Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was among the members of the House antitrust committee with sharp questions for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in a hearing focused on competition and anti-competitive behavior online.

Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal died days after the Indian Supreme Court threw out his plea to postpone imprisonment in a murder conviction. He was 72. The ‘dosa king’ was found to have orchestrated the murder of a man, whose wife he wanted to marry.

And the managing director of the State Bank Of India, Anshula Kant, is taking the helm at the World Bank as managing director and chief financial officer.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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House vill passes removing Green Card country cap

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The House of Representatives passed a bill to lift the current seven percent country-cap on issuing Green Cards, a development that could benefit thousands of skilled Indian IT professionals.

The United States India Strategic Partnership Forum had a bipartisan feel to it in Washington, as the event was keynoted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senior Advisor to President Trump, Jared Kushner. Watch both of their speeches to the USISPF crowd exclusively on Diya TV.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning his post amid controversy over the way he handled a sex crimes case a decade ago against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will be the 1st publicly traded space tourism company in a $800 million deal backed by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s investment company.

And Mindy Kaling’s open casting call for her upcoming Netflix series led to the hiring of Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who was cast out of 15,000 people.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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