CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 SENSEX 35,319.35 +103.03 WEATHER Hot and humid weather. Rain or thundershower likely towards evening. Temperature in the range 36-29 degrees Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P6 NIFTY 10,741.70 +23.90 P9 ` vs $ 67.27 -19 PAISE GOLD 30,030.00 +40.00 P12 SILVER 39,700.00 +100.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 76.97 +2.12 Karnataka: Cong, Walmart buys 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for $16 billion BJP spar over fake voter cards NEW DELHI, 8 MAY Min. 66% Max: 36.1°C (+1) SUN RISES 04:59 hrs MOON RISES 01.30 hrs Min: 29.1°C (+3) SUN SETS 18:07 hrs MOON SETS 13:17 hrs New moon on 15 May Around 10,000 ‘fake’ voter I-cards were found in flat PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU/NEW DELHI, 9 MAY early 10,000 “fake” voter I-cards were recovered from a flat in a constituency in Karnataka, setting off a war of words between the Congress and BJP which demanded coun, termanding of the poll for the seat, claiming the Congress was behind the racket, a charge the latter dismissed as a “lie”. The row erupted just three days before the keenly fought elections, with the two major contenders for power claiming the flat belonged to a woman associated with the rival party. The Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka Sanjiv Kumar, however, told the media the I-cards recovered from a flat in Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency looked genuine but a Deputy Election Commissioner rank official was rushing from the national capital to Bengaluru for a probe. “It was earlier suggested that somebody was trying to break into our (computer) system to prepare fake ID cards.... that is not so,” he said, adding it was for the EC to take a decision on countermanding the election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was campaigning in Karnataka, attacked the Congress for adopting such tactics to win the elections. “Thousands of voter ID cards were sei- N THUMBNAILS Senior ministers and dignitaries paid tributes at the portrait of Rabindranath Tagore, on his Birth Anniversary at Parliament House in the capital on Wednesday. SNS Mufti ceasefire call: The Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir starting from Ramzan in mid May till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said in Srinagar on Wednesday. She made the remarks after chairing a four-hour all-party meeting, which was convened to discuss the present situation in the Kashmir Valley especially after a tourist from Chennai died due to stone pelting on May 7. Mufti appealed to all shades of opinion in joining in the mission to get the state out of violence and bloodshed. Thousands of voter ID cards were seized, 1 lakh voters slips were seized in just one place. They must have planned such games in 40-50 constituencies. You (voters) be alert. NARENDRA MODI PRIME MINISTER zed, 1 lakh voters slips were seized in just one place. They must have planned such games in 40-50 constituencies. You (voters) be alert. Such sin cannot be allowed during the celebration of democracy (polls),” he told elections rallies. Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed Congress candidate and the sitting RR Nagar MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the alleged racket, which was exposed by BJP worker Rakesh. “This is the philosophy of the Congress....if voters do not vote for you, create fake voters,” he said, claiming a “fake voter ID print- ing factory” was being run in Manjula's flat. Manjula, he said, was once associated with the BJP but was now with the Congress, and demanded her immediate arrest. The Congress launched a counteroffensive, claiming BJP was making such allegations because it was aware of its imminent defeat. Congress spokesman Rajdeep Singh Surjawala alleged that flat owner Manjula Nanjamari and Rakesh, who was dubbed by Javadekar as the “whistleblower” in the matter, had BJP connections and both had contested the Bengaluru Municipal Corporation elections on saffron party tickets. “They are making such allegations because of their imminent defeat, and after their workers and leaders were caught red-handed influencing voters in collating and collecting fake ID cards in order to influence the results of the elections,” Surjewala told reporters in Bengaluru. SC slams ASI for failure to protect Taj Mahal PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 9 MAY “Can algae fly?” This question was posed by the Supreme Court to the Archeological Survey of India which faced its wrath for failure to take steps to protect the iconic Taj Mahal. The court also asked the government whether the ASI needed to be “thrown out of the picture” on protection and preservation of the historic white marble mausoleum. When ASI's counsel contended that algae on the monument was a cause of concern, the bench shot back asking “can algae fly?” and how can algae “reach the top of the structure”. The scathing remarks came after a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta perused recent pho- INDIAN EXPECTED TO TO BREATHE LIFE INTO COUNTY CRICKET PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max.83% TEMPERATURE WORLD BANK DENIES SHARIF MONEY LAUNDERING REPORT ON YOUR MARX JINNAH TODAY, NEHRU TOMORROW tographs of the Taj Mahal and expressed concern over the monument being infested by insects and algae. The top court has been monitoring developments in the area around the monument, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It had on May 1 expressed concern over the changing colour of the Taj apparently due to pollution and rapped the government. Today, the bench took exception to the arguments by counsel appearing for the ASI and observed, “This situation would not have arisen if the ASI would have done its job.We are surprised with the way the ASI is defending itself”. “You (Centre) please consider if the ASI is needed there or not. The view of ASI is very clear from their submissions. They are not prepared to accept the problem,” the court told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre. “You have to remove the ASI because they are saying they are doing an excellent job. ASI will have to be thrown out of the picture,” the bench said. ASG Tushar Mehta told the court that it was a matter of “failure” and the government was concerned over the situation at the Taj. ASG Nadkarni told the bench that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was considering the apex court's suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of Taj Mahal. The bench asked the authorities what steps they have taken to prevent the monument getting infected by insects. The lawyer appearing for ASI said the presence of insects was due to the stagnation of water of river Yamuna and this problem occured after the monsoon.He also referred to the huge footfall at the mausoleum and said that tourists entered wearing “dirty socks”. Walmart Inc today said it is buying 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for about USD 16 billion (Rs 1.05 lakh crore), its biggest deal which will give the US retailer access to Indian e-commerce market that is estimated to grow to USD 200 billion within a decade. The deal, wherein cofounder Sachin Bansal and Japan's Softbank Corp Group are exiting, values Flipkart at USD 20.8 billion. It is the biggest M&A deal in India this year. “Walmart's investment includes USD 2 billion of new equity funding, which will help Flipkart accelerate growth in the future,” a Walmart statement said. They “are also in discussions with additional potential investors who may join the round, which could result in Walmart's investment stake moving lower after the transaction is complete”, the statement added. “Even so, the company would retain clear Walmart CEO Doug McMillon (L) and Flipkart co-founder and CEO Binny Bansal seal the deal in Bangalore. AFP majority ownership,” Walmart said. Google parent Alphabet Inc seen to be the potential investor who may get as much as 15 per cent. Binny Bansal, who had co-founded Flipkart with Sachin 11 years ago, will retain his 5.5 per cent stake and will be Chairman of the company's Board. Walmart's Krish Iyer will be the CEO of the company which will continue to be based out of Bengaluru. Walmart and Flipkart will remain separate brands and the Indian e-commerce company will have an independent Board, which will be revamped to give representation to the US firm. Tencent Holdings Ltd, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp will also continue to remainshareholders in Flipkart, Walmart said without divulging their stake. “While the immediate focus will be on serving customers and growing the business,Walmart supports Flipkart's ambition to transition into a publicly-listed, Parliamentary panel reports can be relied upon in courts: SC PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 9 MAY The report of a parliamentary committee can be relied upon in courts for interpretation of statutory provisions wherever necessary, the Supreme Court today said while making it clear that its findings cannot be questioned or challenged in a court of law. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that courts can take notice of parliamentary standing committee reports, which are admissible under the Evidence Act. “Parliamentary Standing Committee report can be taken aid of for the purpose of interpretation of a statutory provision wherever it is so necessary and also it can be taken note of as existence of a historical fact. Judicial notice can be taken of the Parliamentary Standing Committee report under Section 57(4) of the Evidence Act and it is admissible under Section 74 of the said Act. “In a litigation filed either under Article 32 or Article 136 of the Constitution, this Court can take on record the report of Parliamentary Standing Committee. However, the report cannot be impinged or challenged in a court of law,” the bench also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said. The 338-page verdict was delivered on the PILs which had initially raised the issue of untimely death of some young girls in 2008 in Andhra Pradesh due to alleged administration of cervical cancer vaccines and the grant of compensation to their families. The petitioners, seeking compensation for the victims' families, had relied on the 81st Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee of December 22, 2014, which had allegedly indicted some pharma firms for conducting trials of the controversial Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. The matter was later referred to a five-judge constitution bench to determine whether a parliamentary standing committee's report can be relied upon during the judicial proceeding and can its veracity be questioned. Giving its findings on the matter, the five-judge bench held that the admission of parliamentary standing committee reports as evidence does not amount to breach of parliamentary privilege. "All references to parliamentary proceedings and materials do not amount to breach of privilege to invite contempt of Parliament. When a party relies on any fact stated in the report as the matter of noticing an event or history, no exception can be taken on reliance on such report. "However, no party can be allowed to 'question' or 'impeach' a report of Parliamentary Committee. The parliamentary privilege that it shall not be impeached or questioned outside Parliament shall equally apply both to a party who files claim in the court and the other who objects to it. Both parties cannot impeach or question the report," the bench said. Europeans scramble to save Iran deal after Trump reneges AGENCIES WASHINGTON/PARIS, 9 MAY Dismayed European allies sought to salvage the international nuclear pact with Iran on Wednesday after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark accord, while Teheran poured scorn on the US leader. “The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had been reluctant to back the deal, said: “Mr Trump, I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You’ve made a mistake...I said many times from the first day: don’t trust America.” French President Emmanuel Macron was due to speak later in the day to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Le Drian said. Iran also signaled its willingness to talk. Trump announced on Tuesday he would reimpose U.S. economic sanctions on Iran to undermine what he called “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”, which was “defective at its core”. The fruit of more than a decade of diplomacy, the agreement was concluded in 2015 by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran. It was designed to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb in return for lifting sanctions that had crippled its economy. Trump complained that the deal, the signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria. His decision raises the risk of deepening conflicts in the Middle East, puts the United States at odds with European diplomatic and business interests, and casts uncertainty over global oil supplies. Oil prices rose more than 2 percent, with Brent hitting a 3-1/2year high. The deal could also strength- en the hand of hardliners at the expense of reformers in Iran’s political scene. France’s Le Drian, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all said Iran was honouring its commitments under the accord. The European Union said it would remain committed to the deal and would ensure sanctions on Iran remain lifted, as long as Tehran meets its commitments. The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “deeply concerned” by the withdrawal. Merkel said that, while the existing deal should not be called into question, there should be discussion of “a broader deal that goes beyond it”. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson spoke of a “follow-on agreement” but said it was now up to Washington to come up with concrete proposals. Macron’s contact with Rouhani will be followed by meetings next week involving the Iranians and European counterparts from France, Britain and Germany. But Iran’s Khamenei appeared skeptical, saying: “I don’t trust these three countries.” The prospects of saving CMYK the deal without Washington depends in large part on whether international companies are willing and able still to do business with Iran despite the US sanctions. Le Drian said meetings would be held with major firms including oil giant Total. In a harbinger of what could be in store, Trump’s new ambassador to Germany said German businesses should halt their activities in Iran immediately. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the United States should not consider itself the world’s “economic policeman”. Britain and France said they would do their utmost to protect their business interests in Iran, while Germany said it was seeking details of the effect of U.S. sanctions. European companies including carmaker PSA, plane manufacturer Airbus and engineering group Siemens said they were watching the situation. In a speech carried on his official website, Khamenei said Trump’s announcement had been “silly and superficial”, adding: “He had maybe more than 10 lies in his comments.” Lawmakers in Iran’s parliament burned a US flag and a symbolic copy of the deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), chanting “Death to America!”. President Hassan Rouhani, a reformist who had hoped that the deal would boost living standards in Iran, struck a more pragmatic tone in a televised speech, saying Iran would negotiate with European Union countries, China and Russia. “If at the end of this short period we conclude that we can fully benefit from the JCPOA with the cooperation of all countries, the deal will remain,” he said. majority-owned subsidiary in the future,” it said. Pre-deal, Tiger Global Management held about 20 per cent stake in Flipkart. The deal is subject to clearance from Competition Commission of India and other regulators. It is expected to close later this year. The deal will help the US retail giant ~ which has seen consumers migrate to online platforms like those run by Amazon ~get a vantage position in e-commerce space in the world's fastest growing economy which has a huge untapped but rapidly growing market. Only 14 per cent of its over 400 million Internet users shop online and the number is projected to rise to over 50 per cent by 2026. The deal would bring over 175 million users toWalmart, which has been eyeing the Indian market for a few years. So far it had been handicapped by India's retail policy that does not allow overseas companies to sell directly to consumers (except in wholesale cashand-carry segment). Top SC judge declines SCBA invite for his farewell NEW DELHI, MAY 9 Justice J Chelameswar, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court who retires on 22 June, has declined an invitation from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for his farewell function citing personal reasons, SCBA office-bearers said. Justice Chelameswar had recently courted controversy by holding a press conference along with other three senior most judges ~ Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph ~ on January 12, in which a litany of allegations were made against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. SCBA president Vikas Singh said the bar body had met him last week to invite him for the farewell on May 18, which is the last working day of the Supreme Court before the summer vacation. “He declined the invite for the farewell function,” Singh told PTI. He said the members of the executive committee of SCBA today once again tried to persuade him to attend the farewell function but the judge did not agree citing personal reasons. The judge also told the members of the bar that he had not accepted a farewell earlier when he was moving out of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to another high court. SCBA honorary secretary Vikrant Yadav said the senior most judge today met the members of the bar at his residence, had a chat with them but declined the invite for his farewell. He said it is a tradition that when a judge is retiring during the vacation, a farewell is thrown on the last working day before the holidays. Justice Chelameswar today did not come to the apex court for judicial work. As a result, he also missed the traditional Wednesday lunch of the judges when one of them takes a turn to bring home food) from his or her home PTI state.
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