CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 06 SEPTEMBER 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 P10 SENSEX 38,018.31 -139.61 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with 1/2 spells of rain thundershower. Max-min temperature likely to be 33-27 degree celsius, resp RAINFALL: Trace RELATIVE HUMIDITY NC THREATENS TO BOYCOTT RURAL POLLS ON ART 35A WHY MERKEL SHOULD HEAD EC ‘SALISBURY SUSPECTS ARE RUSSIAN SPIES’ P7 NIFTY 11,476.95 -43.35 ` vs $ 71.75 -17 PAISE P3 GOLD 29,215.00 +65.00 Bridge death toll rises to 2 as blame game begins STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 5 SEPTEMBER Max.95% Min. 69% Max: 32.7°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:21 hrs MOON RISES 01.24 hrs Min: 25.9°C (0) SUN SETS 17:49 hrs MOON SETS 15:06 hrs TEMPERATURE New moon on 9 September THUMBNAILS Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu felicitates a teacher during the Shikshak Diwas 2018 (Teachers Day) function, in the Capital on SNS Wednesday. Death penalty for 3 accused: A Himachal Pradesh court on Wednesday gave the death penalty to three people for the murder of a four-year-old boy Yug whose skeletal remains were found in a municipal water tank two years later. Shimla Sessions Judge Virender Singh had convicted Chander Sharma, Tajender Singh and Vikrant Bakshi on August 6 for the child's murder. Brahmaputra boat capsizal: Three persons drowned and at least 11 others are missing after an overloaded motorised country boat capsized in the Brahmaputra river near Guwahati after hitting a rock on Wednesday, officials said. Ten passengers have been rescued, while 12 others managed to swim to safety, Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kamal Kumar Baishya said. SC to hear Rafale deal plea: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear next week a petition seeking a stay on the Rafale deal. The petition filed by advocate M L Sharma has sought a stay on the India-France Rafale deal. Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition. Dilip Kumar, who has been admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital with a chest infection. The death toll in yesterday’s collapse of the arterial Marjerhat Bridge rose to two today when a body was extricated from the debris causing shock waves and bereaved relatives wailing at the spot. The discovery of the body strengthened fears of more people still having been trapped under the rubble. The deceased was identified as Pranab Dey. Even as the scene of disaster looked like a battle field, chief minister Mamata Banerjee hinted metro railway work near the spot could be a reason for the collapse. “Vibrations could be felt on the bridge during the metro work and an inquiry into the matter will reveal the truth.I surveyed the place and interacted with engineers along with senior police personnel and ministers. This could have been a big disaster. Our entire administrative, police teams along with local residents have worked very hard and I thank all of them," Miss Banerjee said. However, Rail Viks Nigam Ltd (RVNL) offi- Grieving relatives of a Majerhat bridge collapse victim. At SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Wednesday. BISWAJIT GHOSHAL cials ruled out metro railway work had anything to do with the collapse. "The distance between the metro construction site and that of the bridge is too far to have any effect on the bridge," said a Metro official. The collapse of the bridge is the failure of very old RCC girdle " said Mr A K Roy chief project manager, RVNL,Kolkata. "The approach piers of railway over bridge on both ends of affected span are intact in position. At 4.5 metre away from this railway over bridge piers Metro foundation was completed over a year ago. In fact, the condition of piers of both end is a clear indication of this, "Mr Roy asserted. The chief minister has called an emergency meeting tomorrow afternoon to go into the reasons behind the collapse and discuss the condition of other flyovers and bridges in the state. “The state government monitors the bridges after every six months. However, due to lack of papers it becomes difficult to understand the structural details,” she said adding that a similar problem had been faced after the collapse of Vivekananda flyover in 2016. (Turn to page 5) Tamil Nadu DGP, others raided by CBI in gutka scam SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER In a possible first, the premises of a police chief in Tamil Nadu were among 40 locations searched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday in connection with gutka scam, officials said. After registering a case in May, the CBI carried out searches at 35 places in Tamil Nadu and five places in Karnataka, Mumbai and Puducherry which included the residential premises of Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, Tamil Nadu DGP T K Rajendran and former police commissioner S George in Chennai. An Indian Revenue Services officer has also been raided by the CBI in connection with the case, the officials said. This is possibly a rare incident when a serving Director General of Police of any state has been raided by the CBI. A 1984-batch IPS officer, Rajendran was made Director General of Police in 2016 after Ashok Kumar opted out for a voluntary retirement scheme. Officials said that Kumar, a 1982 batch IPS officer, was forced to seek VRS as he had recommended a CBI probe into the Gutka scam. The scam came to light on July 8, 2017, when income-tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and res- idences of a pan masala and gutka (a concoction of tobacco and pan masala) manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore. The manufacture, storage and sale of the chewable forms of tobacco, including gutka and pan masala, were banned by the Tamil Nadu government in 2013. During the raids, the department had seized a diary containing the names of those who had been allegedly paid by the gutka manufacturers. The case was sent to the CBI by Madras High Court in April this year on the plea of a DMK leader. This was challenged in the Supreme Court by a Tamil Nadu health official but the apex court sided with the order of the High Court and asked the agency to register a case. The agency had registered an FIR against unidentified officials of the Tamil Nadu government, Central Excise Department and the Food Safety Department in May. Ex-IPS Sanjiv Bhatt held in 1996 Gujarat narcotics case RATHIN DAS AHMEDABAD, 5 SEPTEMBER The long arm of the law has once again come to haunt former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who had insisted that he was present at the 2002 meeting at the Gujarat Chief Minister’s residence when the state’s police were instructed to be soft on the rioting mobs out to avenge the killing of 58 passengers in the Sabarmati Express fire at Godhra. Bhatt, who was terminated from service after a year’s harassment for taking a stand on the 2002 Gujarat riots, was picked up from his home this morning for questioning in a 1996 case involving a lawyer from Rajasthan. As Superintendent of Police in Sabarkantha district, Bhatt had allegedly framed the lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit in a narcotics case in 1996. Bhatt’s detention follows a High Court instruction to the CID (Crime) to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case about three months back. Six more people have been taken into custody along with Bhatt. The Rajasthan-based lawyer had filed a case against Bhatt in 1996 when he was the Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district of north Gujarat. Gujarat High Court has ordered the special probe into the case after 22 years. The lawyer from Pali in Rajasthan, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit had alleged that Bhatt and other cops had abducted and implicated him in a false NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) case to force his family to vacate the rented premises owned by the sister of a judge in Gujarat. The lawyer was arrested after the police reportedly found over one kilogramme of opium from a hotel in Palanpur, but Rajpurohit claimed that he had never occupied that room. He alleged that he was abducted and pressurised by Bhatt and his subordinates to vacate that rented premises in Pali. He was forced to vacate that house, the lawyer told the court in his complaint. CMYK SC verdict on Section 377 likely today NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER The Supreme Court is likely to deliver its judgment Thursday on a clutch of petitions seeking decriminalisation of Section 377 of the 158-yearold Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises consensual gay sex between adults. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra ~ and also comprising of Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra ~ had reportedly reserved its verdict on 17 July after hearing various stakeholders for four days, including gay rights activists. The Centre, which had initially sought adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, had later left to the top court's wisdom to decide the constitutional validity of Section 377. The Centre had also urged the court not to deal with issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community. Petitioners have sought decriminalisation of consensual gay sex by declaring Sec 377 SNS as illegal. CULTURAL BLUEPRINT AFTER SCANDAL ON SOUTH AFRICA TOUR P11 SILVER 36,750.00 -500.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 77.39 -0.78 ‘Activists held for Maoist links’ Maharashtra govt files affidavit in Supreme Court SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER he Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the five rights activists were arrested due to the cogent evidence linking them with the banned CPI(Maoist) and not because of their dissenting views. The state's response came in the backdrop of the apex court, while ordering the house arrest of the five activists on August 29 till tomorrow, categorically stating that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy”. The Maharashtra police filed an affidavit in response to a plea of historian Romila Thapar and four others challenging the arrest of the five activists in connection with the KoregaonBhima violence case, claiming they were planning to carry out violence in the country and ambush the security forces. The police said there was sufficient evidence to “dispel” the claim that they were arrested for their dissenting views. While promi- T nent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, activistsVernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were nabbed from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj from Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha was arrested from Delhi. The raids were carried out as part of a probe into an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year, which had later triggered violence at KoregaonBhima village in Pune. The police sought their custody and questioned the locus of Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande and legal expert Maja Daruwala, dubbing them as “strangers” to the investigation in the matter. “The petitioners, who are strangers to the offence under investigation, are also praying for bail on behalf of the persons arrested during an ongoing investigation, strictly in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure after the investigating agencies having gathered requisite incriminating material against the said individuals,” the affidavit said. The police also told the court that the activists were part of the criminal conspiracy and active members of the banned CPI (Maoist), who had arranged public meetings under the banner of 'Elgaar Parishad'. The affidavit said the state was committed to protect fundamental rights of every citizen and a mere dissenting view, difference in ideology or vehement objections to political thinking, cannot only not be prohibited but should always be welcomed in any democratic country. “Five accused persons for whose benefit the present petition is filed are not arrested based upon any dissenting views expressed by them or difference in their political or other ideologies...’’
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