FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 FEBRUARY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`3|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SONIA PITCHES FOR ALLIANCE TO TAKE ON BJP IN LS POLLS ‘TMC LEADERS SHOULD LOOK INTO THE MIRROR’ P10 P7 SENSEX 34,413.16 +330.45 WEATHER Clear sky. Mist/shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 24 and 7 degrees Celsius respectively RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY NIFTY 10,576.85 +100.15 ` vs $ 64.26 +2 PAISE Min. 27% Max: 23.1°C (0) SUN RISES 07:04 hrs MOON RISES 02:43 hrs Min: 05.5°C (-4) SUN SETS 18:07 hrs MOON SETS 12:56 hrs GOLD 28,860.00 -280.00 FM slams Cong over allegations THUMBNAILS Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman receiving Defence Minister of Tajikistan, Lieutenant General Sherali Mirzo, in South Block,in the Capital SNS on Thursday. Andhra bandh : A state-wide bandh over Andhra Pradesh being overlooked in the Union Budget on Thursday affected normal life with almost all parties but the BJP supporting the call given by the Left parties. There were no incidents of violence, but the bandh elicited a good response, with business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed and state transport buses remaining off the roads. Ruling TDP, whose MPs have raised these issues vociferously in Parliament, supP7 ported the bandh. CCI slaps Rs 136 crore penalty on Google: The Competition Commission imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on internet giant Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search. After a detailed probe on the complaints filed in 2012, the regulator through a majority order said the penalty is being imposed on Google for “infringing antitrust conduct”. On the CCI ruling, a Google spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the ComP11 mission and will assess our next steps”. Close shave for SpiceJet passengers: Passengers of budget carrier SpiceJet had a narrow escape after rear tyres of its Delhi bound plane burst soon after taking off, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing at the airport in Chennai. There were no casualties or any injuries to the 199 passengers due to the incident, the SpiceJet said. The flight scheduled for New Delhi suffered a suspected tyre burst at the time of take off, the airlines said. “The crew decided to turn back and landed safely at the Chennai airport.’’ Draft auto policy in 2 months likely: The government will release in the next two months the draft of a new auto policy aimed to address issues faced by the industry in the wake of emergence of new technology such as EVs and demand for eco-friendly mobility, Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete said on Thursday. Speaking at the inauguration of the 14th Auto Expo, the minister said suggestions P11 from all stakeholders will be taken. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY F inance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday accused the Congress leadership of manufacturing allegations of corruption and “seriously compromising India’s security” by asking details of the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, which should always remain classified. Replying to the discussion on the General Budget 2018-19, the Finance Minister said when the Opposition could not find any case of corruption against the Modi government, they were indulging in manufacturing allegations of corruption against the NDA government. “The new trend is to manufacture allegations of corruptions against the NDA,” Jaitley said referring to Rahul Gandhi’s recent charges. Citing statements made by former Defence Ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony, he said it was in the larger interest of the country’s security not to disclose the price of defence transactions. “So please ask your party president to go back to Pranab Mukherjee and take certain lessons from him,” the Finance Minister said without taking PM’s call to oust LF in Tripura Rahul Gandhi’s name. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor interrupted Jaitley and said ,”You are accountable to Parliament to disclose expenditure of public money”. Amid disruptions made by several Congress leaders, Jaitley responded quickly "NDA is as accountable as UPA”. The Finance Minister also hit out at the Congress government for not making any structural reforms from 2004 to 2014. He said demonetisation, use of Aadhaar card and GST implementation were major reforms which would pay dividends in the coming years. "Finance ministers of Congress-ruled states were aware of benefits of GST and we managed to stabilise the situation within a few months which in other countries took several years," Jaitley said. He said despite this India’s growth is fastest in the region, fiscal deficit is under control, and gov- INDIA'S PHILOSOPHY, YOGA, RELIGION FASCINATE SHVEDOVA P12 India’s growth is fastest in the region, fiscal deficit under control: Jaitley Max. 94% TEMPERATURE SUICIDES SPIKED AFTER ROBIN WILLIAMS’ DEATH ernment is following the fiscal discipline to check fiscal deficit and currency stabilisation. Even IMF and World Bank have recognised India as one of the fastest growing economies among its peers .On the disinvestment front, he said the government would only keep PSUs which have strategic importance and the rest should go to private sector. The money received from disinvestment should go for public welfare activities, he said. The Finance Minister also responded to Opposition members demand to give relief on long term capital gains tax. “Last year nearly Rs 3,67,000 crore earned from equity were not taxed, most of them were large corporate houses, and high earners. We have only sought 10% tax on the earnings and give relief to the small investors for earnings up to Rs 1 lakh,” he said. Former FM P Chidambaram on Thursday said the economy was limping, investments falling, jobs growth sluggish and exports failing, and there was little hope of “course correction” because the Union Budget for 2018-19 had only empty promises. Initiating a General Discussion on the Budget in the Rajya Sabha amid con- stant disruption from Treasury Benches, he said the Economic Survey before the Budget had given ample diagnosis of the problems. Instead of coming out with solutions, the Budget had only “jumlas” and talked of big schemes, without proper allocations. When the Congress protested over BJP members’ shouting, just as Chidambaram started speaking, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Congress members had shouted during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply to the Motion of Thanks debate in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The BJP members were angry, he said. The Congress members later shouted slogans when Bhupender Yadav (BJP) spoke in reply to Chidambaram’s speech. Asking the government 12 questions on the management of the economy, Chidambaram said if the government said the economy grew by 6.4 per cent during the last year of the UPA Government (2013-14), the huge fall in crude prices gave it opportunities for “boom years” of growth. However, no such thing happened. The import prices fell from $147 a barrel during the UPA Government’s time to $47 per barrel recently, he said. P15 SILVER 38,000.00 -650.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 64.89 -0.62 SC to deal with Ayodhya case as land dispute Great-great-grandson of the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar, Prince Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy with (C) Mahant Dharam Das and (L) Mahanth Ram Das outside the Supreme Court. The apex court fixed 14 March 2018 SNS as the next date of Ayodhya hearing. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will deal with the Ram MandirBabri Masjid case as a “pure land” dispute and refused to hear it on dayto-day basis. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer refused the appellants' plea for dayto-day hearing, saying "over 700 poor litigants are waiting for justice, we have to hear them". Scheduling the next hearing for 14 March, it asked parties in the case to file translated copies of the documents before it. The apex court was hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided the disputed Babri MasjidRamjanmabhoomi site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board. The apex court was moved challenging the High Court verdict by petitioners M Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, the Nirmohi Akhara, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha's Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and TURN TO PAGE 7 others. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY The Congress was Thursday up in arms against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his allegedly "derogatory" remark against its senior MP Renuka Chowdhury, which the party described as "sexist and distasteful". The Congress MPs created an uproar in the Rajya Sabha on the matter, disrupting the proceedings of the House briefly. The row made waves outside Parliament too. As soon as the Upper House resumed its sitting this morning, Congress members were on their feet protesting against PM Modi's jibe at Renuka during his reply to the debate on motion of thanks on President's address Wednesday. Chairman MVenkaiah Naidu chided the protesting MPs for their "unbecoming" behaviour and adjourned the House till noon. During his reply in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, PM Modi had questioned the Congress's claim of conceiving the biometric national ID Aadhaar during its previous UPA regime, saying that the then Union Home Minister L K Advani had spoken of an all-purpose national ID in the Upper House way back in1998. TURN TO PAGE 10 Major’s father moves SC over FIR ON THE JOB SONAMURA/KAILASHAHAR (TRIPURA), 8 FEBRUARY PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi onThursday accused the Left Front government in Tripura of subjecting people to “slavery”, and asked the voters to “throw it away”. Addressing two rallies in the poll-bound state, Modi coined a new acronym 'HIRA'--H for highways, I for Internet way, R for roadways and A for airways--, hardselling the BJP as a tool for ushering in prosperity and development in the state which the Left has ruled for 25 years without a break. Launching a scathing attack on Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and his party, Modi said the people in Tripura feel intimidated by the communists. “For something as basic as a ration card, people here have to approach the party PTI office’’, he said. Cong cries foul over PM’s jibe at Renuka General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, during his visit to Kolkata on Thursday. He reviewed the operational preparedness in view of the security situation in the Eastern theatre and also interacted with senior officers of EC. SNS Gen Rawat complimented all ranks of EC for maintaining a high level of operational preparedness. The father of Army Major Aditya Kumar, booked by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the firing incident in Shopian, has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the FIR against his son. Lieutenant Colonel KaramveerSinghsaidhisson, a Major in the 10 Garhwal Rifles, has been“wrongly and arbitrarily” named in the FIR as the incident relates to an Army convoy on bonafide military duty in an area under the AFSPA, which was isolated by an “unruly and deranged” mob pelting stones causing damage to military vehicles. The plea, filed through advocate Aishwarya Bhati, said the intention of his son was to save Army personnel and property and the fire was inflicted “only to impair and provide a safe escape from a sav- age and violent mob engaged in terrorist activity”. The unruly mob was requested to disperse and not obstruct military in performance of their duties and not to damage government property but when the situation reached beyond control, a warning was issued to disperse, the plea said. As the unruly behaviour of the “unlawful assembly” reached peak and when theygotholdofaJuniorCommissioned Officer and were in the process of lynching him to death, warning shots were fired fire to disperse the violent mob and protect public property, it submitted. Singh referred to last year's incident of a mob lynching of DSP Mohd Ayub Pandith to apprise the top court about the situation in the state and the condition in which Army officials were working to control violent mobs in J&K. India ‘declined’ to host special envoy of Maldives Prez Khaleda jailed for 5 ASHOK TUTEJA NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY Amid the turmoil in the island, the Maldives onThursday claimed that it wanted to send a special envoy to India to brief New Delhi on the current crisis but was informed that the dates of the visit were not suitable for the Indian leadership. ‘‘India was, in fact, the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the President of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership,’’ Maldives Ambassador to India Ahmed Mohamed told The Statesman. He said, ‘’we understand the External Affairs Minister (Sushma Swaraj) is out of the country and the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is leaving for the UAE during the week.’’ Mohamed said his country would now send its envoy to India on a mutually convenient date. The Maldives Embassy in New Delhi also issued a statement describing as ‘grossly misleading’ reports in the Indian media that the special envoy of the Maldives President has bypassed India. It is understood that New Delhi indeed declined to host the Maldivian envoy since Male did not give any advance notice and also because democratic institutions and the judiciary continue to be undermined in the island. The Maldives has sent envoys to three ‘friendly’ nations — China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia — to explain the situation arising from the recent Supreme Court verdict asking the government to free nine political prisoners, including former President Nasheed, and the subsequent declaration of emergency by President AbdullaYameen. The apex court on Tuesday reversed its rul- ing after PresidentYameen moved to reassert his authority and ordered the arrests of the Chief Justice and former President M A Gayoom. India has been under intense pressure from the Maldivian Opposition to intervene in the archipelago. While it weighs various options, New Delhi has said it was disturbed over the developments and asked Indian nationals to avoid non-essential travel to the neighbouring country. Male says it is committed to its ‘India First’ policy and, therefore, its Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim was himself scheduled to travel to New Delhi on Thursday as the President’s envoy. Saeed was on board a flight for his visit to New Delhi when he was informed that India would not be able to host him since both the PM and the EAM were busy. Asim has since left for Islamabad as the President’s envoy to Pakistan. The envoys to China and Pakistan are Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed and Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Mohamed Shainee respectively. Meanwhile, an informed source in Male said the situation in the island nation was normal with schools, offices and business establishments functioning as usual. ‘’People are not going through any hardships and tourists continue to arrive in the island,’’ they added. The two international airports and one domestic airport were also functioning normal. SEE ALSO PAGE 13 years in graft case AGENCIES DHAKA, 8 FEBRUARY Khaleda Zia was on Thursday sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment for corruption, a body blow for the ex-Bangladeshi prime minister and main opposition leader who may be disqualified from contesting the next general elections in December. The 72-year-old threetime former prime minister was sentenced by Dhaka's Special Court in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician. The verdict simultaneously sentenced Zia's “fugitive” elder son and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP's) senior vice president Tarique Rahman as he was tried in absentia. Rahman and four oth- ers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman, who delivering the judgement, said: “The case was proved beyond any doubt against the accused”. Terming Khaleda Zia's conviction in a corruption case as natural consequences of her past deeds, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today accused her arch-rival of looting public property and burning to death over 500 people in a “demonstration of extreme brutality”. Zia, 72, and Hasina, 70, are known as the 'Battling Begums'.
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