TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`3|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR 35,165.48 +240.61 10,688.65 +83.50 ` vs $ 67.73 Rain or thundershowers with strong gusty winds. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 40 and 28 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 51% Min. 21% Max: 43.5°C (+3) SUN RISES 05:25 hrs MOON RISES 19:00 hrs Min: 27.2°C (0) SUN SETS 19:13 hrs MOON SETS 05:59 hrs THUMBNAILS PM Narendra Modi with Queen Maxima of the SNS Netherlands in New Delhi on Monday 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 P13 the Pakistan military's media wing. CNG price hiked in Capital: CNG price in Delhi was Monday hiked by Rs 1.36 per kg as input raw material got costlier because of rupee depreciation and rise in natural gas price. CNG will cost Rs 41.97 per kg in the national capital with effect from Monday midnight following the price increase, the Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) said. In adjoining Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, CNG rates were increased by Rs 1.55 to Rs 48.60 per kg. 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 P13 set up after the elections. 30,876 -295.00 SILVER 39,545 -684.00 BRENT OIL (IN $) 75.38 -1.09 Sterlite plant shut down ‘permanently’ Byelections held amid charges of EVM ‘flaws’ MUMBAI/MEERUT/NEW DELHI, 28 MAY PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHENNAI, 28 MAY T he Tamil Nadu government on Monday ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and “permanently” close theVedanta 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 A demonstration against the killings of protesters in AFP FILE PHOTO Tuticorin, in Chennai on Thursday. the 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 SNS & PTI 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. Crucial byelections to four Lok Sabha seats and 10 Assembly constituencies were held on Monday amid allegations of rampant EVM malfunctioning in the Kairana seat in Uttar Pradesh, and Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia in Maharashtra. The Election Commission, however, termed as “exaggerated projection of reality” reports of 'large scale' failure of EVMs during Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The RLD and Samajwadi Party, who are fighting the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly bypolls together, have accused the BJP of deliberately tampering with the EVMs. However, the BJP too complained of malfunctioning of EVMs. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and the NCP alleged malfunctioning of EVMs in the Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypolls. Former Union minister Praful Patel claimed that almost 25 per cent of EVMs malfunctioned in BhandaraGondia, while Sena leader Sanjay Raut said those in power were contesting UP Sugarcane Minister Suresh Rana standing in a queue SNS to cast his vote in Kairana on Monday. elections while keeping the “key and remote of EVMs in their hands”. Patel sought to know why EVMs from Surat in Gujarat were used in the bypoll when similar machines were available in Maharashtra. To say that EVMs malfunctioned due to excessive heat is shocking, the senior NCP leader said, and demanded repolling soon in the booths where the voting machines failed. “In developed countries like the US, Germany, France and Japan, the use of EVMs was stopped and they reverted to ballot papers,” he said. Patel, who lost from the Bhandara-Gondia constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, said his party has raised the issue of the faulty EVMs with the Election Commission. He also pointed out that the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, which eject slips to confirm the voter's choice, were not functioning. “As and when re-polling takes place, will we be able to count every slip?” he asked. Meanwhile, Raut told reporters in Mumbai that manipulating EVMs was now a trend. In Kairana, RLD candidate Tabassum registered a complaint in this regard. She said about 175 EVMs in Kairana and 130 EVMs in Noorpur malfunctioned. TURN TO PAGE 7 Karnataka power sharing deal ‘in a day or two’ Terror rider on talks with Pakistan PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 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 NEW DELHI, 28 MAY The Congress and the JD-S are likely to seal the deal over portfolio allocation in Karnataka within a day or two, a senior Congress leader said on Monday 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 in-charge 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 Kar- nataka. 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 partners 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 onWednesday. 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. Mulayam, Akhilesh move SC for time to vacate official homes STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI 28 MAY ‘Sunanda’s emails, messages taken as dying declaration’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 MAY AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 28 MAY Former UP chief ministers Mulayam SinghYadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking “appropriate time” for vacating their official residences allotted by the Uttar Pradesh government. The top court had on 7 May held that former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh cannot retain government accommodation after demitting office and said that a chief minister was at par with a common man once his or her term ends. The two former Chief Ministers had earlier moved the UP government's estate department seeking two years' time to vacate their official residences and shifting to their private accommodations in Lucknow. In their pleas filed through advocate Garima Bajaj, they have sought appropriate time GOLD P16 Copper smelter unit sealed following Tamil Nadu government order WEATHER TEMPERATURE NIFTY FITNESS MATTERS MORE THAN AGE, SAYS DHONI P12 P10 P6 SENSEX TECHNOCRAT SET TO BECOME NEW PM OF ITALY NAIDU WARNS AMIT SHAH AGAINST ‘INTERFERENCE’ FINALLY, JAY PANDA RESIGNS FROM BJD Akhilesh Yadav Mulayam Singh Yadav to vacate their official bungalows on various grounds. While the plea filed by Mulayam SinghYadav sought sufficient time from the apex court to make arrangements for alternate accommodation, the one by his son Akhilesh has urged the court to consider the security of his family. “We are requesting the Supreme Court to grant us sufficient time to make arrangements for a suitable alternate accommodation, taking into consideration the security of the petitioner and his family members,” Akhilesh said in his plea. “Grant us sufficient time to make arrangements for a suitable alternate accommodation, taking into consideration the security of the petitioner, age and ill health,” plea by Mulayam Singh Yadav said. The pleas by the fatherson duo has been filed in the backdrop of the 7 May apex court judgment that had struck down an amendment in a state legislation allowing former Chief Ministers to retain government accommodations even after demitting office. Shortly after this verdict, Union Home Minister Raj- nath Singh and Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, who were Chief Ministers earlier, had informed the estate department that they will vacate the government bungalows. Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh are among the six former chief ministers who have been asked by the estate department to vacate the bungalows within 15 days in pursuance of the Supreme Court's order. However, former UP chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati recently put up a signboard outside her official accommodation in Lucknow announcing that it was a memorial named after the party founder late Kanshiram. The top court had passed the order on a petition filed by an NGO Lok Prahari challenging the amendments made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the 'UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981'. 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 between the 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 iso- lating 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 ‘Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS event in Nagpur’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 MAY Delhi Police on Monday told a court here that in an email sent to her husband Shashi Tharoor nine days before her death, Sunanda Pushkar had expressed her desire to die. Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) SamarVishal that there was "sufficient evidence" to proceed againstTharoor in connection with Sunanda's death. The prosecutor said Sunanda was passing through depression and, in her email on 8 January 2014 toTharoor, she had purportedly said that she had no desire to live. "I have no will to live. All I pray for is death," prosecutor Shrivastava read out from the email purportedly sent by Sunanda to Tharoor. The cause of Sunanda's death was poisoning, he said. Delhi Police also told the court that Sunanda's mails and messages in social media before her "suicide" have been taken as her "dying declaration". SEE PAGE 3 the scene of a bitter standoff 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 inWashington 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 andVenezuela 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 countryspecific sanctions. 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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