CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 MAY 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 P10 WEATHER Hot/humid weather; rain/thundershower likely in some areas towards evening. Temperature in the range 35-29 degree Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.86% P10 P4 P12 EC fights EVM snag Sterlite plant shut claims with heat logic down ‘permanently’ NEW DELHI, 28 MAY Copper smelter unit sealed following Tamil Nadu government order Min: 28.6°C (+2) SUN SETS 18:19 hrs MOON SETS 04:30 hrs Full moon today THUMBNAILS Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands during their meeeting in New Delhi on Monday. AFP Ex-ISI chief on no-fly list: Pakistan's Lt Gen I f (retd.) Asad Durrani, former head of the country’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been banned from leaving the country and will face a Court of Inquiry over a controversial book he recently co-authored with India's former RAW chief, A S Daulat. Durrani, who headed the ISI from August 1990 till March 1992, was summoned to the General Headquarters on Monday to explain his position on the book, said a statement issued by the Pakistan military's media wing. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHENNAI, 28 MAY he Tamil Nadu government today ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and “permanently” close the Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin following last week's violent protests over pollution concerns during which 13 people were killed in police firing. Soon after the issuance of the Government Order (GO), top Tuticorin district officials sealed the copper smelter unit premises and pasted the order at the main gate. Palaniswami told reporters in Chennai the “plant has been permanently closed”. The government's decision came a day ahead of the start of the state Assembly session where it is likely to come under intense Opposition fire over the Tuticorin incidents. “Now the plant is permanently closed. The GO has been implemented,” Tuticorin district collector Sandeep Nanduri said. The closure of the copper plant caps sustained protests and campaign for the last several years by the local people against the T Pakistan’s caretaker PM: Pakistan’s former chief justice Nasirul Mulk was on Monday named as the country’s caretaker Prime Minister for a two-month period, ending the political wrangling between the ruling PML-N and the Opposition parties ahead of the general elections on 25 July. Mulk, 67, is likely to be sworn in on Friday, 1 June. The present government will complete its tenure on 31 May and the caretaker government will remain in office until a new government is set up after P9 the elections. A demonstration against the killings of protesters in Tuticorin, in Chennai on Thursday. AFP FILE PHOTO copper factory over pollution concerns. The Government Order (GO) said it endorsed the recent closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, and also asked the TNPCB to “seal the unit and close the plant permanently”. The document cited the Constitution's directive principles of state policy (Article 48-A) enjoining protection of environment and provisions of the Water Act, 1974, to order the permanent closure of the copper factory “in the larger public interest”. It referred to the PCB order of 9 April refusing to renew its consent to allow Vedanta's copper smelter plant at Tuticorin to operate. The order recalled how on 23 May the TNPCB had issued directions for closure of the unit and disconnection of power supply to it. The power supply was disconnected a day later. Chief minister K Palaniswami said the government has issued the GO in deference to the sentiments of the people. The locals were protesting for the closure of the factory for 99 days. Protesters turned violent on 22 May, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 people were killed in police action against them last Tuesday and Wednesday. Asked what he had to say to the people of Tuticorin, the chief minister said, “Peace has returned to the Karnataka power sharing deal ‘in a day or two’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Rupee continues rise: The rupee continued its unabated rise for the third straight day, surging by 35 paise to end at a new two-week high of 67.43 against the US dollar after a surprise crash in crude prices quickly faded near-term trade deficit and inflation worries. The easing in crude prices is expected to lead to considerable improvement in India's position on fiscal front, bolstering investor confidence towards the home currency. Global crude oil collapsed after Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih endorsed calls from his Russian counterparts for self-imposed output curbs to be relaxed. NEW DELHI, 28 MAY The Congress and the JDS are likely to seal the deal over portfolio allocation in Karnataka within a day or two, a senior Congress leader said today after the two coalition partners held deliberations over the issue. Top leaders of the two parties including chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara met here at the residence of Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and AICC incharge of party affairs in Karnataka K C Venugopal were also present.“We held discussions with chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and other leaders of our ally in Karnataka. We are likely to finalise the portfolio-sharing issue within a day or two. We will be meeting again this evening and hold further discussions,” Venugopal told PTI. After the meeting, Kumaraswamy exuded confidence that an amicable power sharing arrangement will be worked out. JD-S leader Danish Ali, who attended the discussions, said the talks were “constructive” and would yield a positive outcome. The two partners have been engaged in hectic bargaining over portfolio sharing ever since they got together to form a government in the state. Kumaraswamy has admitted earlier to having “some issues” with the Congress over allocation of portfolios in the new government. Sources said both part- ners want key portfolios of Finance and Home, besides other departments like Public Works, Power, Mining, Water Resources, Irrigation and Urban Development. Farm loans waiver Kumaraswamy said he is committed to waive farm loans or else he will retire from politics. The JD-S leader said he is ready with the guidelines on farm loan waiver, details of which will be disclosed on Wednesday. He was talking to reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I have clearly said that I will waive farm loans. I had promised during election that I will do it in 24 hours. That is true. At least you should give time to breathe. Today, I have limitations,” Kumaraswamy said. town and it must continue, and people should cooperate with the government. Their demand has been fulfilled by Amma's government.” He said people of Tuticorin were seeking permanent closure of the plant since it did not meet the environment related conditions of the National Green Tribunal and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. Recalling the efforts initiated by late J Jayalithaa in 2013 for the closure of Sterlite plant following a gas leak incident that year, he said on 29 March 2013, the unit's closure was ordered. Subsequently, power supply to it was discontinued and the unit was shut. However, the plant approached the National Green Tribunal which allowed operations on 8 August 2013, he said. The government had appealed against this direction in the Supreme Court and its petition is pending there, he said. On 9 April, the TNPCB had rejected a plea of the plant management for renewal of consent as pollution control norms were not being followed, and since 24 May the unit was not getting power and water supply, he said. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 28 MAY sages on social media should be taken as a “dying declaration”, the police told the court, which today reserved for 5 June its order on whether to summon Tharoor as an accused in the case. Referring to Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava said, “It is presumed that if she has committed suicide, she must have been subjected to cruelty before death. Court may take cognisance of this fact that it is a case of abetment, as the death has taken place within seven years of the marriage, and under the law, a case of abetment is made out.” Under Section 113A of the Act, a court “may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that ... suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband” if she kills herself within seven years from the date of her marriage. To drive home the point that Pushkar was subjected to cruelty, he also alleged that Tharoor did not bother to take care of his ailing wife who was suffering from high fever. He said that Pushkar used to write poems, the contents of which showed that everything was not right with her. Delhi Police had on 14 May accused the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram of abetting Pushkar's suicide and urged the court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half yearold case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him. In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, the police has namedTharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty. The couple's domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named one of the key witnesses in the case. Tharoor has not been arrested in the case. Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a luxury hotel in south Delhi on the night of 17 January 2014. The Congress leader has been charged under sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI 28 MAY External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said India was prepared for talks with Pakistan before or after the general elections in the neighbouring country scheduled for July provided Islamabad stopped aiding and abetting terrorism on the Indian soil. "Elections have nothing to do with talks. We are ready for talks…we never said we will not talk. But there is a caveat: terror and talks cannot go together," she said addressing a press conference to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi government on the foreign policy front on completion of four years’ in office. When people were dying on the border, how could one think of talks, she wondered. But there were certain mechanisms between the Under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term of up to 10 years is prescribed under section 306. The charge sheet, which includes several annexures including medical reports, said that Pushkar died within four years of her marriage with Tharoor. The couple had entered wedlock on 22 August 2010. The suite of the South Delhi hotel, where Pushkar had died, was sealed by police on the night of her death for investigation. An FIR was registered by police on 1 January 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder). According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet has mentioned that Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty. The special investigation team on April 20 had told the Supreme Court that a draft final report has been prepared after conducting “thorough professional and scientific investigations” in the case relating to Sunanda’s death. CMYK Allegations of EVM malfunctioning returned to haunt the Election Commission as four Lok Sabha seats and nine assembly constituencies went for bypolls today across 10 states with moderate-to-heavy voting with prestige at stake for the BJP as well as opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections. The EC said reports of 'large-scale' failure of EVMs were “exaggerated projection of reality” even as complaints mounted about problems with electronic voting machines including in Uttar Pradesh's Kairana, where BJP is trying to retain the Lok Sabha seat against a united Opposition. Sources in the poll panel, which has in the past also faced allegations about EVMs, blamed inept handling of the paper-trail machines for votes by ground staff, especially when the temperature is high, for the snags in some areas. Counting for all seats will take place on May 31. EVM-related complaints also came from UP's Noorpur assembly seat, which has become another high-stake election in the state after the BJP’s shock defeat in the earlier by-elections for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats ~ the first vacated by UP sugarcane minister Suresh Rana standing in a queue to cast his vote in Kairana on Monday. SNS UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Even when the voting was underway, opposition parties and the ruling BJP moved the EC in Delhi claiming that “hundreds” of EVMs and paper trail machines deployed for Kairana and Noorpur bypolls developed snags and were not replaced for hours. Polling for Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia LS seats in Maharashtra was also marred by instances of alleged malfunctioning of EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs). In Punjab, nearly 73 per cent voting was recorded for Shahkot in a largely peaceful bypoll. Voting was also peaceful elsewhere as well with 70 per cent votes being cast in the lone Parliamen- tary seat in Nagaland, while the polling was 53-90.42 per cent in five assembly seats across four other states ~ Ampati in Meghalaya, Gomia and Silli in Jharkhand, Maheshtala in West Bengal and Jokikhat in Bihar. In Karnataka, tight security and a changed political equation post CongressJD(S) alliance marked voting for the Rajarajeshwarinagar bypoll in the state. The election for the seat was deferred earlier due to seizure of 9,564 Election Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) from an apartment. In Kerala, people braved heavy rains to vote in the Chengannur assembly bypoll, where a fierce contest was expected among the three fronts of the Left, the BJP and the Congress. Terror rider on talks with Pakistan No desire to live, Sunanda wrote Tharoor: Cops “I have no desire to live...all I pray for is death.” This is what Sunanda Pushkar wrote in an e-mail to her husband Shashi Tharoor nine days before she was found dead in a luxury hotel room here, police today told a city court. The police also said that Sunanda's death was due to poisoning and 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room but it was not clear how many pills she had consumed. While quoting from the charge sheet, the Delhi Police told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal that Sunanda had injuries on her body which were received prior to her death which is reflected in the post-mortem report. In an e-mail sent to Tharoor on January 8, 2014, she had written, “I don't care about the test. I have no desire to live...all I pray for is death,” the police said. Sunanda's mail and mes- NO FUSS OVER BIG BOY IN HIS HOMETOWN PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min. 57% TEMPERATURE Max: 35.1°C (N) SUN RISES 04:40 hrs MOON RISES 18.05 hrs NAIDU WARNS AMIT SHAH AGAINST ‘INTERFERENCE’ ITALY LURCHES INTO FRESH POLITICAL CHAOS SOUTH KOREA’S MOON COULD JOIN TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT The answer we got (from Islamabad) in response to what happened with the Gilgit Baltistan Order was laughable. They tried to teach us history SUSHMA SWARAJ EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER two countries which were still active, Swaraj said, referring to the ongoing talks between the coast guards of the two countries on maritime issues. Similarly, National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the two countries were in touch regularly, she said, adding, "talks on terrorism could always be held". She denied that there was any ‘flip-flop’ in India’s policy on Pakistan. She said India had succeeded in isolating Pakistan globally on the issue of terrorism On Pakistan’s 21 May order to integrate GilgitBaltistan with the rest of the country’s federal structure, Swaraj said India had already lodged a protest on Sunday. "The answer we got (from Islamabad) in response to what happened with Gilgit Baltistan Order was laughable. They tried to teach us history. Pakistan always distorts history and doesn’t believe in law. Only thing I felt while reading their answer was,‘look who’s talking’.” Talking about relations with China, the minister referred to the recent informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying it had helped the two countries to strengthen bonds of friendship. She disputed a suggestion that China was trying to change the status quo at Doklam, which was the scene of a bitter stand-off between India and Chinese troops last summer. "I reiterate that there is no change whatsoever in the status quo at Doklam," she said. Asked about the possible repercussions on Indian techies of H-1B visa restrictions proposed by the Donald Trump administration, Swaraj said India had taken up the issue with the authorities in Washington at different levels to protect the interests of the Indians there. "We are trying to protect our people but the US is a sovereign country which takes its own decisions,’’ she added. Asked how US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela could affect India’s economic ties with these two nations, especially in oil imports, the minister said India had made it abundantly clear that it would only abide by UN sanctions and not country-specific sanctions. ‘Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS event in Nagpur’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 MAY In a decision that might come as a shock to many in the antiBJP front, former president Pranab Mukherjee has apparently agreed to attend a major event hosted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). According to reports, a senior RSS official has confirmed that Mukherjee will be attending an event that will witness the graduation of RSS’s third-year camp for members studying to qualify as pracharaks. The event is scheduled to be held at the headquarters of the organisation in Nagpur on 7 June. The RSS had earlier confirmed that they had sent an invitation to Mukherjee, who was associated with the Congress throughout his political career before becoming the 13th President of India on 25 July 2012. “Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance to attend RSS event in Nagpur sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue, and adversaries are not enemies,” an ANI report quoted RSS leader Rakesh Sinha as saying. “Questions raised on RSSHindutva is being answered by his acceptance of the invitation,” he added. Over 600 workers will participate in the third year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV), an event that will be attended by the top leaders of the ideological parent of the BJP . Before becoming the President, Mukherjee served as finance minister and defence minister during the two terms of the UPA government led by former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often praised Mukherjee calling him a “father figure” on many occasions. In July 2017, during the launch of a 340-page photo essay published by The Statesman titled President Pranab Mukherjee ~ A Statesman at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, PM Modi hailed the then president as a great human being and said that there was never a moment in the three years since 2014 when Mukherjee did not treat him like a son. Mukherjee, too, had tweeted a letter he received from PM on the last day in office. In his tweet, the former president wrote that the letter “touched his heart”. The 82year-old Mukherjee demitted the office of President on 25 July 2017.
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