CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 31 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 P2 SENSEX 34,906.11 -43.13 WEATHER Hot/humid weather, rain/thunder shower likely towards evening. Temperature will be in the range 35-29 degrees Celcius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.87% Max: 36.0°C (+.8) SUN RISES 04:52 hrs MOON RISES 19.47 hrs P10 NIFTY 10,614.35 -18.95 WIZARD OF OZ IS NOW BEREFT OF MAGIC TOUCH P10 ` vs $ 67.43 +43 PAISE GOLD 29,825.00 -280.00 P11 SILVER 39,700.00 -400.00 Min: 28.6°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:17 hrs MOON SETS 06:09 hrs Moon phase: Third quarter on 7 June THUMBNAILS A man inspects the damage at a site targeted by an Israeli air strike a day before in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Israel said it targeted some 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip a day earlier and into the early morning hours and around 100 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza either exploded in Israel or were intercepted by air defences, in the worst flare-up since a 2014 war. AFP CBI books Satyendar Jain: The CBI has booked Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in hiring a creative team for the Public Works Department to suggest new architectural designs and bring down costs, officials said. Jain, who holds the PWD portfolio, is already facing a Central Bureau of Investigation case related to alleged money laundering. Gauri Lankesh case: The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh filed its first charge sheet in the sensational case, naming alleged gunrunner and Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar as an accused. The 650-page charge sheet filed before the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate details the role of Naveen Kumar as an accomplice in the murder. Bank strike: Banking operations in the country were hit on Wednesday as 10 lakh employees, primarily from PSU banks, went on a 2-day strike to protest against a “meagre” 2 per cent salary hike offered by the Indian Banks Association. The strike, also supported by employees of some old generation private sector banks and foreign banks, will continue on P8 Thursday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Dear PM, You've cut the price of petrol and diesel today by 1 paisa. One paisa!?? If this is your idea of a prank, it’s childish and in poor taste. NEW DELHI, 30 MAY he prices of petrol and diesel were on Wednesday cut by 1 paisa a litre each after the unrelenting surge in their prices for 16 consecutive days. It was another matter that the State-run oil marketing companies had earlier today announced a reduction of up to 60 paise in fuel prices. They announced in the morning a cut in the price of petrol by 60 paise to Rs 77.83 a litre and diesel by 56 paise to Rs 68.75 in Delhi.However, they retracted this announcement within a couple of hours, blaming "clerical error" or "technical glitch" for it and instead declaring a 1 paisa reduction in fuel prices. The country's largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), in a statement, said: "There was a technical glitch in posting the selling prices of petrol and diesel. The selling prices T RAHUL GANDHI CONGRESS PRESIDENT of petrol and diesel with effect from May 30, 2018 have been rectified. Today, there is a minor reduction in fuel prices." This first reduction of 1 paisa after 16 days of relentless fuel price hike sparked ridicule and public resentment. It also drew fire from the Opposition parties. Tearing into the Narendra Modi government, Congress president Rahul Gandhi fired a scathing tweet at Prime Minister Modi. Gandhi said, "Dear PM,You've cut the price of petrol and diesel today by 1 paisa. One paisa!?? If this is your idea of a prank, it’s childish and in poor taste." The Congress chief also added: "P A one paisa cut .S. is not a suitable response to the #FuelChallenge I threw you last week."On 24 May, as PM Modi accepted an online "fitness challenge" from Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, Gandhi seized on it to throw a "fuel challenge" at the PM, daring him to slash the rocketing fuel prices in the country. The prices of petrol and diesel have been hiked continuously till yesterday since 14 May as the State-run oil firms continued to pass on to the consumers the increased cost of international crude oil, which had accumulated during a 19day freeze on domestic fuel prices just ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections. Altogether, the petrol price was raised by about Rs 3.80 per litre and diesel by about Rs 3.38 over the last fortnight.The fuel prices vary from state to state depending on local sales tax or VAT. Delhi has the cheapest rates among all metros. The fuel rates in Delhi had yesterday ICICI Bank to probe allegations against Chanda Kochhar 5 held guilty in J&K sex scandal PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHANDIGARH, MAY 30 MUMBAI, 30 MAY The board of India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has ordered an independent probe into allegations of 'conflict of interest' and 'quid pro quo' in bank's MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar's dealing with certain borrowers. There are allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis. It was alleged that Videocon Group pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar. Last week, market regulator Sebi had served a notice on Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and Nupower. The enquiry was ordered by the board, at its meeting yesterday, on a complaint by an anonymous whistleblower against Kochhar, the bank said in a regulatory filing today. “...the enquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person (will) examine and enquire into an additional anonymous whistle-blower complaint...,” it said. The scope of the enquiry would be comprehensive, it said. The whistle-blower had alleged that the bank's MD and CEO had not adhered to provisions relating to code of conduct of the bank and legal and regulatory provisions relating to conflict of interest over a period of time and also alleged quid pro quo in the course of Kochhar's work in dealing with certain borrowers of the bank. In April, the board had expressed full confidence in Kochhar and ruled out any quid pro quo as alleged with regard to certain loan given to Videocon group. There are also allegations that NuPower got investments of Rs 325 crore from Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings, a company owned by Nishant Kanodia, son-inlaw of Essar Group cofounder Ravi Ruia. The investments from Ruia's son-in-law's firm into NuPower started in December 2010. The same month ICICI Bank was lead banker in a consortium of Indian banks that extended a $530 million loan to Essar Steel Minnesota LLC on December 29, 2010. This loan was later classified as NPA. The Reserve Bank in its 2016 investigation in the matter had raised questions over the ownership of First Land Holding, which had invested Rs 325 crore in NuPower. Also, there was no clarity over the alleged Rs 64-crore loan given to NuPower by Supreme Energy, which was 99.99 per cent owned by Videocon chief Venugopal Dhoot at that time. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 76.20 +0.81 CBI takes over TN gutkha probe 1 paisa drop in fuel prices after botch-up sparks row STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 30 MAY 60 paise slash in fuel prices rolled back, blamed on clerical error; cruel joke, says Opposition Min. 56% TEMPERATURE RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT PYONGYANG ROSEANNE LOSES SHOW AFTER RACIST TWEET KUMARASWAMY WANTS 15 DAYS FOR FARM LOAN WAIVER touched an all time high of Rs 78.43 per litre for petrol and Rs 69.31 a litre for diesel. Explaining the oil companies' bungling today, a senior IOC official reportedly said, "The (fuel prices) reduction was supposed to be 1 paisa but due to a clerical error the price prevalent on 25 May was communicated as today's price." He was also quoted as saying that "There is a softening in international oil prices and rupee has strengthened against the US dollar, making imports cheaper. All this will reflect in reduction in retail rates in coming days." Kerala slashes sales tax The Kerala government today decided to reduce petrol and diesel prices in the state by Rs 1 per litre from 1 June by slashing its sales tax. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government took the decision to give some relief to the people, who were reeling due to the daily hike in fuel prices. The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) on Wednesday registered a case in the sensational gutkha scam in Tamil Nadu involving a senior minister and senior police officers. The agency took over the case after Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe on two Public Interest Litigations filed by J Anbazhagan, a DMK MLA and a social activist. The CBI’s Anti-Corruption (III) Unit, New Delhi, registered the FIR against unknown officials of the central excise department, the Tamil Nadu government, food safety department, public servants and private persons. The case gave ample opportunity to the opposition parties to lambast the Edappadi K Palaniswami government when Madhava Rao, one of the gutkha manufacturers, in his sworn affidavit to the Income Tax department stated that he had paid nearly Rs 40 crore toVijaya Bhaskar, health minister of Tamil Nadu and HC refuses to stay prosecution of Chidambaram kin Five persons, including a former DIG of the BSF and a former J&K police DSP , were held guilty by a special CBI court here today in the 2006 Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal. Two other accused, including the then Additional Advocate General of J&K, were acquitted by the court of Judge Gagan Geet Kaur for rape under section 376 of the Ranbir Penal Code. The quantum of sentence in the infamous case will be pronounced on June 4. The sentence could range from seven years in jail to life imprisonment. The scandal had hit the headlines in 2006 when the J&K police recovered two CDs showing Kashmiri minors being sexually exploited. The minors were allegedly coerced into prostitution and supplied to top police officials, bureaucrats, politicians and surrendered militants. PTI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 30 MAY Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to stay prosecution launched by the Income-Tax department against former Union minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram, son Karti and daughter-in-law Srinidhi under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015. Justice S. Baskaran rejected the plea for interim orders and simply adjourned the cases, filed by the family to quash the prosecution, to 5 July after ordering notice to I-T officials. The I-T department on 10 May had filed four prosecution cases in a Chennai court against the Chidambaram family under Section 50 of the Black Money Act. The cases relate to the alleged purchase of a property in London by Karti, his mother and wife for Rs 5.37 crore, as well as invest- ments amounting to Rs.4.08 crore in UK and US companies by Karti, which were not disclosed in the IT returns filed by them. In Delhi, meanwhile, Chidambaram moved a trial court as well as Delhi High Court to seek protection from arrest in corruption cases relating to the Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case in which he has been asked by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to join investigations. It is alleged that during his stint as finance minister in the UPA government, Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance was granted to the two ventures that allegedly involved irregularities and graft. India, Indonesia ties raised to Strategic Partnership PRESS TRUST OF INDIA JAKARTA, 30 MAY India and Indonesia today elevated their bilateral ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and condemned terrorism in all its forms, including cross-border terror, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held “productive discussions” with President Joko Widodo. India and Indonesia also signed 15 agreements, including one to boost defence cooperation and called for freedom of navigation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Jakarta last night on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival at the Merdeka palace, one of the presidential palaces in Indonesia, this morning. The two leaders discussed areas of strategic cooperation, ways towards ensuring better economic ties, closer cultural relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest. “Held productive discus- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo take part in a joint press conference in Jakarta. AFP sions with President JokoWidodo. Glad that ties between India and Indonesia are gaining strong momentum. We discussed areas of strategic cooperation, ways towards ensuring better economic ties and closer cultural relations between our nations,” Modi tweeted. In a joint press statement after the meeting, Modi said India and Indonesia have agreed to elevate their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. He said that India's Act East Policy and the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matches Widodo's Maritime Fulcrum Vision. “As mutual partners and neighbours, our worries are similar. It is our duty to ensure maritime security and safety. This is also for the safety of our economic interests,” he said. “In the Indo-Pacific region, we, as partners, have mutual interests in each other's progress and well-being and that's why we have agreed upon mutual vision and principles for the Indo-Pacific region,” he said. Both leaders reiterated the importance of achieving a peaceful and prosperous IndoPacific region where sovereignty, international law, freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development and an open and fair trade and investment system are respected, the statement said, amidst China's flexing of its military muscles in the East and South China seas. Modi also strongly condemned the recent terror strikes on three churches in Indonesia's second-largest city Surabaya, and said India stands resolutely with Jakarta in the fight against terrorism. A the joint statement, the two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including crossborder terrorism and terrorrelated incidents in Indonesia and India and affirmed that per- petrators of these heinous acts must be brought to justice. They called upon all countries to work towards disrupting terrorist networks and their financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists from terror organisations as well as other terrorist groups threatening peace and security in respective region. The statement did not name any country. They also shared the view on the imperative need to eradicate radicalism and reiterated the importance of promoting peaceful pluralism. The two countries signed 15 agreements including on the cooperation in the field of defence, space, science and technology, railways and health. Modi said that India and Indonesia will double their efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025. In 2017, bilateral trade amounted to over USD 18 billion. Recalling the visit of ASEAN leaders in January to attend the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, Modi said India-ASEAN partnership can become a CMYK guarantee of peace not only in Indo-Pacific region but also beyond it. The joint statement said the two leaders welcomed the adoption of the 'Shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific between India and Indonesia' with a strong belief that the two sides could develop further their cooperation in maritime sector which can be a force of immense stability in the region. “The two leaders welcomed the growing convergence in the political, strategic, defence, security and economic fields between the two countries,” it said. The document, the first with any ASEAN country, outlines areas of maritime cooperation and envisages security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. They reaffirmed their commitment in the field of defence, with the signing of Defence Cooperation Agreement between two sides. The pact will further strengthen and renew the existing cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and the region, the statement said. They agreed to further enhance mutual trust through regular meetings and staff talks between their armies, navies and air forces. They also directed officials to expand mutually beneficial collaboration between their defence industries, including for joint production of equipment. Both sides agreed to work intensively for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and reiterated that it needs to be comprehensive, fair and balanced with benefit to all member states. They welcomed potential cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy and looked forward to the early renewal of an agreement on cooperation regarding the utilisation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of culture, education, tourism, films and people-to-people exchanges. A gutkha manufacturer had claimed he had paid Rs 40 crore to a minister and top police officers senior IPS officers including DGP rank officers T K Rajendran and S George among others for facilitating the manufacture and sale of gutkha which was banned in the State. Despite its official ban, gutkha was freely available across the counter all over Tamil Nadu as law enforcing agencies had turned a blind eye to the business. The case came to light when the Income Tax department handed over a classified note to the then chief secretary, P S Rama Mohana Rao, and the then director general of police, Ashok Kumar, giving a list of officials who had allegedly received bribes from a gutkha manufacturer, seeking appropriate action against the concerned. But no action was taken by the state government on the letter submitted by the I-T department. AirAsia case: Venkataraman blames Cyrus Mistry NEW DELHI, 30 MAY Tata Trusts' R Venkataramanan today said said he has been wrongly named as an accused in the CBI case against AirAsia India as he had “little or no role to play” as a non-executive director at the airline, even as he blamed “revenge legal action” by former Tata Group chief Cyrus Mistry for the accusations. The budget carrier is majority-owned by Tatas and Venkataramanan has around 1.5 per cent shareholding in the joint venture with AirAsia Berhad. “In my capacity as nonexecutive director of Air Asia India Limited, I have been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where I had little or no role to play,” he said in a statement. The CBI has registered a case against AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, Venkataramanan and other officials for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get international licence. “It is commonly known that the present accusations qua Air Asia India find their root in baseless allegations made by Cyrus P Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against Tata Trusts Trustees (me included) and Tata Sons in his 'revenge' legal actions,” the statement said. Venkataramanan is also the managing trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and is responsible for management and oversight of all the Tata Trusts. Stating that all allegations of wrongdoing or illegality against him are baseless, Venkataramanan said these motivated allegations are part of the smear campaign run to discredit him and the work being done by the Tata Trusts, which contribute Rs 1,200 crore each year to philanthropic activities. After a bitter fallout with Tata Sons and Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry was ousted as the group chairman in late 2016. After his ouster, Mistry had flagged various governance issues at the group, including alleged wrongdoings at AirAsia India. PTI
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