CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 07 MARCH 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR TRADE WARS RS 10 K CRORE RBI DIVIDEND LIKELY P8 SENSEX 33,317.20 -429.58 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature will be around 34 and 23 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Min. 30% GOLD 29,425.00 -25.00 Bank scam continues to roil Parliament Max: 34.2°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:52 hrs MOON RISES 22.46 hrs Min: 24.1°C (+4) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 09:34 hrs First moon quarter on 13 March THUMBNAILS India lose despite Dhawan’s feat: Shikhar Dhawan hit 90 off 49 balls as India shrugged off a poor start to post a competitive 174 for four against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas T20 Trophy opener in Colombo. Dhawan hammered six sixes and as many fours. India, however, P12 lost the match. Russian plane crash kills 32: A Russian transport plane crashed on landing at Russia's Hmeimim airbase in Syria, killing all 32 on board today, defence ministry said in a statement carried by RIA Novosti. There were 26 passengers and 6 crew. “The reason for the crash according to preliminary information could have been a technical fault.” 30 killed in Guj truck mishap P12 SILVER 38,700.00 -50.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 66.00 +0.46 PNB fraud: Kochhar and Sharma summoned SNS The Rs 12,700 crorePunjab National Bank (PNB) scam involving fugitive jewellers, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, continued to make waves along with some other issues within and outside Parliament on Tuesday, forcing the proceedings of the two Houses to be washed out for the second consecutive day of the second phase of the Budget Session. The Opposition members continued to raise slogans and storm the Well of the House or even wave placards in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha over their respective issues, forcing their multiple adjournments and continued disruptions before their final adjournment for the day. While the Congress and Trinamul members protested over the PNB scam, seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's response over it, the ruling BJP's ally TDP MPs continued their demand for a special status for Andhra Pradesh as promised by the Centre during the state's bifurcation four years ago. The AIADMK P7 ` vs $ 64.96 +16 PAISE NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH Max.65% TEMPERATURE P6 NIFTY 10,249.25 -109.60 AN ABRASIVE AUSSIE IN THE EYE OF THE DURBAN STORM UP RS SEAT FOR JAITLEY? Top bankers to appear before SFIO in Mumbai on Tuesday AGENCIES Banking turmoil pulls down Sensex MUMBAI, 6 MARCH members reportedly pressed for creation of the CauveryWater Management Board, the TRS MPs raised slogans for an increase in reservation quota in Telangana. In the Lok Sabha, the BJP's ally Shiv Sena members also protested in the Well, demanding classical language status for Marathi. The government expressed its wilingness to discuss the bank frauds and other issues in both the Houses, with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar asserting it in the Lok Sabha and his junior Minister Vijay Goel echoing it in the Rajya Sabha, but to no avail. Amid ruckus in the Lower House, Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue of financial irregularities in the banking sector and that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would reply to the debate. "Banking irregularities have been going on. It was happening even during UPA. Why are they running away from discussion. People who indulged in wrongdoing should be punished...Congress should discuss what unscrupulous activity (hera pheri) happened during UPA,” Kumar charged. Congress's leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said thousands of crores of fraud in nationalised banks has resulted in loot of public money and the perpetrators were allowed to leave the country. He insisted for discussion. As the House continued to witness uproarious scenes, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned it till Wednesday morning. In the Rajya Sabha, similar scenes were witnessed, with members from the Opposition and TDP protesting over their respective issues. The Trinamul members demanded that the alleged PNB scam kingpin Nirav Modi be brought back to the country. CICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma have been summoned by an antifraud agency in the bank fraud case involving jeweller Nirav Modi and his partner and uncle Mehul Choksi. Kochhar and Sharma will appear before the Serious Fraud Investigation Office in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon, sources in the agency said. The sources said the two top bank officials were summoned for giving loan facility to Gitanjali Group and would be questioned. ICICI Bank is believed to have extended a loan of Rs 1,000 crore and Axis Bank Rs 700 crore last year to Gitanjali Gems of Choksi. According to another source, officials of country's largest lender State Bank of India have been called for questioning. Both Modi and Choksi are alleged to have frauded Punjab National Bank with Rs 12,600 crore. They have since fled from country. Senior officials from Axis Bank today appeared before the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which has started seeking details from lenders with exposure to the firms promoted by Nirav Modi I MUMBAI, 6 MARCH Chanda Kochhar Shikha Sharma and Mehul Choksi with regard to the over Rs 12,000-crore PNB scam. A team from Axis Bank, led by deputy managing director V Srinivasan and executives from the trade and transactions department, went to the SFIO's office here, after the investigating agency called them to help in the probe, sources said. The officials were in the office for over two hours and are understood to have been asked about their business with firms like Choksi's Gitanjali Gems and also Modi, as per sources. The CBI today arrested Vipul Chitalia, the vice president of Gitanjali Group of Companies, in the multicrore PNB scam and claimed that he was a “mastermind” who reported directly to diamond trader Mehul Choksi. It was the 19th arrest in the case, the CBI said. Chitalia was produced before a special CBI court here in the afternoon after he was detained at the airport and questioned by the agency. Judge S R Tamboli remanded him in CBI custody till March 17. The Central Bureau of Investigation said that Chitalia had left the country in the last week of January, as did the prime accused Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi. “There was a look-out notice against him, hence the immigration officials detained him at the airport as soon as he arrived from Bangkok,” an agency official said. Special prosecutor A Limosin told the court that Chitalia reported directly to Choksi. “Chitalia was instrumental in preparing applications for putting through the fraudulent transactions of the LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) and FLCs (Foreign Letters of Credit) with the active connivance of key accused Gokulnath Shetty,” Limosin told the court. Lanka declares emergency to quell communal violence AGENCIES Indian equities tumbled like nine- pins today, with the benchmark Sensex plummeting by about 430 points to end at a nearly three-week low of 33,317 due to massive fag-end sell-offs in banking counters amid reports that the SFIO summoned other lenders in the PNB fraud matter. This was the lowest closing for the BSE Sensex since December 14 when it had finished at 33,246.70 and also its biggest single-day fall since February 6, when it had lost 561.22. Banking stocks led by State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Federal Bank and Yes Bank fell as much as 2.77 per cent. Investor sentiment was dampened after reports that the SFIO had approached other lenders that have exposure to the firms promoted by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to help in the agency's probe into the PNB scam.PTI (P8) Two statues of Lenin pulled down in Tripura SNS AGARTALA, 6 MARCH COLOMBO, 6 MARCH SNS AHMEDABAD, 6 MARCH At least 30 people were killed in an accident on Tuesday morning when a truck carrying a wedding party fell down from a bridge under construction on the Rajkot-Bhavnagar highway. Among the dead are 20 women and five children. The bridegroom Jay, who was in another vehicle along with some relatives, lost his parents in the tragedy on his wedding day. The accident occurred near Ranghola village when the truck ferrying the wedding party hit the railings of the bridge under construction and fell on the dry rivulet bed underneath. The truck was carrying around 60 people, mostly women and children from Aniyali village to Tatam village for the wed- ding celebration. Over a dozen people have been injured in the accident. They have been rushed to hospitals in Bhavnagar, Sihor and Botad. The truck had reportedly overturned and fell 20 feet down on the rivulet. The villagers rushed to the spot and carried out rescue operations even before fire brigade personnel could reach the site with their cranes. However, the wedding was completed as bridegroom Jay had reached the venue on time without the knowledge of the accident that killed his parents and many others. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of those killed in the accident. The funds would be released from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. An inquiry into the exact cause of the accident has been ordered. Sri Lanka today declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence between majority Sinhala Buddhists and minority Muslims in the country's scenic Kandy district that left two persons dead and damaged several mosques and homes. Violence, triggered by the death of a Sinhalese man at the hands of a mob last week, erupted yesterday in the Theldeniya area of the central hill district popular with tourists. The government sent troops and elite police commandoes to Kandy to restore order and enforce the curfew. President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cabinet decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days following the violence prevailed in some parts of the country, Minister of Social Empowerment S B Dissanayake told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. Muslims claimed that around 10 mosques, 75 shops and 32 houses belonging to the minority community were badly damaged in the attacks by the Sinhalese Buddhists, forcing police to fire tear gas shells and impose an overnight curfew to prevent clashes between the two communities. The situation, howev- er, remained tense in part of Kandy, home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics, after charred remains of a Muslim man was recovered today from a burnt building. Fresh curfew was imposed today and heavily-armed police commandos of special task force were deployed in Theldeniya and Pallekele areas of Kandy after rioters disobeyed an overnight curfew and went on a rampage. This will be the first time since August 2011, that a state of emergency will be in force in the Indian Ocean's island nation. T20 to continue: The BCCI today said the Trination T20 series in Sri Lanka, also involving the Indian cricket team, will continue despite the country plunging into a state of emergency following communal violence. (PAGE 12) Two statues of Communist icon Vladimir Lenin were brought down in South Tripura, the police said today, as the CPI(M) and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamul Congress, blamed the BJP for the incidents. The statues were pulled down just days after the Left was defeated in Assembly polls by the BJP and its ally IPFT, which together won a two-third majority in the House in a state where the CPI(M) was in power for 25 years. Deb to be new CM: BJP leader Biplab Deb will be sworn in as the new chief minister of Tripura on March 9 to usher in the party's maiden government in the northeastern state after it ended 25 years of uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front.BJP leader Jishnu Kumar Debbarma, a tribal, will assume office as Deputy CM. Meghalaya: Backed by the BJP and regional parties, National People's Party(NPP) chief Conrad Sangma was today sworn in as the chief minister of Meghalaya, heading a 12-member Cabinet and bringing an end to 10 years of Congress rule. Rio to be new Nagand CM: Senior NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio was today appointed the new chief minister of Nagaland by Governor P B Acharya and would be sworn in here on March 8, a Raj Bhavan source said. Governor Acharya, in a letter to Rio, asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly on or before March 16, the Raj Bhavan source added. NK says it could give up N weapons as historic border summit with South announced THE INDEPENDENT North and South Korea have agreed to hold summit talks at the border between the two countries next month, according to officials in Seoul. South Korea's presidential office said the nations had agreed to set up a telephone hotline between their leaders, who will meet for the first time at the summit in a tense border village in late April. Chung Eui-yong, the South's presidential national security director, said Pyongyang had also made it clear it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against the country were resolved and it received a credible security guarantee. And in another significant development, Kim Jong-un has agreed to a freeze on all nuclear and missile tests in the event of any talks with the US, South Korea said. Donald Trump has previously said he is willing to talk with the North Korean leader, describing him in an upbeat speech at the end of last week as a "fine man". But the two sides have previously reached an impasse on whether denuclearisation would be a prerequisite for diplomatic progress. The announcement came hours after a 10-person strong South Korean delegation led by Mr Chung returned from a visit to the North, where they met North Korean leaders including Mr Kim. KCNA said Mr Kim held "openhearted talks with the South side's special envoy delegation over... actively improving the North-South relations and ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula". The summit in late April will be only the third-ever since a war between the two Koreas ended in stalemate and without a formal peace treaty in 1953. The two past summits, in 2000 and 2007, were held between Mr Kim's father - Kim Jong-il - and two different liberal South Korean presidents. The reports from the South were corroborated by articles in the official North Korean news agency KCNA. It reported that "after being told about President Moon Jae-in's intention for a summit... the Supreme Leader (Mr Kim) exchanged views and reached a satisfactory agreement". Those talks resulted in a number of cooperative projects that were eventually scrapped after conservative administrations took over in the South. The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, won that country's election in May last year after campaigning on a message of new talks with the North. Earlier this year, he said he wanted to be remembered as the leader "who built a peaceful relationship between the North and South". Mr Chung's visit to the North was the most senior in more than a decade. During CMYK those talks, Mr Kim seemed to relish a role he rarely gets to take - that of a magnanimous statesman welcoming an important international delegation. Kim's rite of passage He has been in power for six years, but Kim Jong-un has yet to complete one of the defining rituals of a world leader - hosting another head of state, or being welcomed by one abroad. The progress in inter-Korean diplomacy in recent weeks, sparked by the North's presence at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, raises the prospect of that changing. North Korea's state-run media made a point of portraying him on Monday as a confident statesman, holding court over a lavish dinner, beaming with satisfaction during group photos and congratulating South Korea for successfully staging the PyeongchangWinter Olympics. That's quite a dramatic departure from the predominant images of 2017 — Kim surrounded by his generals celebrating their latest missile launch. Make no mistake — Kim is sticking to his nuclear weapons and arsenal of missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. He has said repeatedly that he has no intention of giving them up or of using them as a bargaining chip to improve ties with Seoul, Washington or anybody else. But both of Kim's predecessors travelled outside North Korea's borders during their tenures — Kim Il Sung famous- ly visited the Soviet Union and most of eastern Europe by train in 1984. Kim Jong Un himself has been abroad, having attended school as a boy in Switzerland, and rumours have come up from time to time that he would visit either Beijing or Moscow. If nothing else, it appears Kim does have an aircraft ready for the task. Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, flew to the South for the Olympics on an aircraft believed to be Kim Jong Un's personal jet, which was decked out to resemble the kind of plane other national leaders use for state trips. The optics seemed designed to suggest Kim, like any other political leader, could be ready to hop on a flight if the opportunity arose.
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