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/thundershower likely towards evening. Temperature will be in the range of 35-29 degrees Celsius. 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 1 paisa drop in fuel prices after botch-up sparks row 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 P5 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 P5 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 ICICI Bank to probe allegations against Chanda Kochhar PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 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 the 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 loans 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. 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 5 guilty in J&K sex scandal CHANDIGARH, 30 MAY Five persons, including a former DIG of the BSF and a former Jammu and Kashmir police DSP were , held guilty by a special CBI court here today in the infamous 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 Details on Page 4 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. 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 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. In a joint press statement after the meeting, Modi said India and Indonesia have agreed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo take part in a joint press conference in Jakarta. AFP 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. In the joint statement, the two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in Indonesia and India and affirmed that perpetrators of these 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 CMYK 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 $50 billion by 2025. In 2017, bilateral trade amounted to over $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 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 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 76.20 +0.81 CBI takes over TN gutkha probe STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 30 MAY 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 after 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 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. Chidambaram moves courts for protection from arrest STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, 30 MAY Former Union minister P Chidambaram onWednesday 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 to join investigations. Chidambaram's role is under the scanner in the Rs 3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the Rs 305 crore INX Media case as during his stint as finance minister in the UPA government, Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance was granted to the two ventures that allegedly involved irregularities and graft. A case of money laundering is being probed in the Aircel-Maxis deal in which the Enforcement Directorate had summoned Chidambaram for questioning today. The CBI has summoned him to join the probe in the INX Media case tomorrow. Today, Chidamabaram India, Indonesia upgrade ties, sign 15 pacts PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P11 SILVER 39,700.00 -400.00 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 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 IndoPacific 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. Another report on Page 3 first moved the court of Special Judge O P Saini, which directed the ED not to take any coercive action or arrest him till 5 June in the AircelMaxis matter. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, representing Chidambaram, also approached Delhi High Court with a plea seeking his anticipatory bail in the INX Media case. The matter will be heard tomorrow. Chidambaram's petition in the High Court stated that he was being harassed in the case in which he was not named in the FIR but has now been asked to join questioning by the CBI. Chidambaram’s son Karti had been arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case on 28 February and released on bail on 23 March. He is accused of taking money to facilitate FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007. Chidambaram has rejected the allegations levelled against his family members as "baseless" and "driven by vendetta politics". Separately, Madras High Court today refused to stay prosecution launched by the Income-Tax department against Chidambaram’s wife Nalini, Karti and daughterin-law Srinidhi under the Black Money Act of 2015. Justice S Baskaran rejected the plea for interim orders and adjourned the cases filed by the family to 5 July. The I-T department on 10 May had filed four prosecution cases in a Chennai court against the Chidambaram family members 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 investments in UK and US companies amounting to Rs 4.08 crore by Karti, which were allegedly not disclosed in the IT returns filed by them. AirAsia case: Accused blames Cyrus Mistry PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 30 MAY Tata Trusts' RVenkataramanan today 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, while blaming “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. Stating that all allegations of wrongdoing or illegality against him are baseless,Venkataramanan said these allegations are part of the smear campaign run to discredit him and the work being done by the Tata Trusts. 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.
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