THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 06 SEPTEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR GAURI LANKESH KILLING: ONE YEAR ON, SIT SAYS PROBE IN FINAL STAGE NC THREATENS TO BOYCOTT RURAL POLLS ON ART 35A P5 P7 SENSEX 38,018.31 -139.61 NIFTY 11,476.95 -43.35 ` vs $ 71.75 -17 PAISE ‘SALISBURY SUSPECTS ARE RUSSIAN SPIES’ P12 GOLD 29,215.00 +65.00 Generally cloudy sky with possibility of light rain/thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 31 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. SC verdict on validity of Section 377 today RAINFALL: 21.6 MM RELATIVE HUMIDITY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER WEATHER Max. 100% Min. 72% Max: 31.1°C (-3) SUN RISES 06:02 hrs MOON RISES 03:03 hrs Min: 28.6°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:37 hrs MOON SETS 16:14 hrs TEMPERATURE THUMBNAILS Thousands of farmers and labourers from across the country hold a mega rally in the Capital on Wednesday to highlight their demands and protest against the Modi gov(P3) ernment’s policies . RITIK JAIN 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 P7 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 defers Assam NRC dates: The Supreme Court today deferred till further orders the commencement of the process of receiving claims and objections for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, even as it sought the Centre's response on the state NRC coordinator's suggestion that any of the 10 documents could be used by claimants for P6 their inclusion in the NRC. Dilip Kumar, who has been admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital with a chest infection. 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) commu- nity. The apex court heard the writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs. These petitioners have sought decriminalisation of consensual gay sex between two consenting adults by declaring Section 377 as illegal and unconstitutional. Describing Section 377 as a “terrible colonial legacy”, they have said it violated Articles 15 (discrimination on sex), 14 NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER 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 T 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- 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 Koregaon-Bhima 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 investiga- tion, 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...’’ Apex court to hear plea seeking stay on Rafale deal next week NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER ed the godown, offices and residences 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 aTamil 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. RATHIN DAS AHMEDABAD, 5 SEPTEMBER 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 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in New Delhi onWednesday for the much-awaited ‘2+2’ dialogue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman onThursday. In a gesture symbolising ties between the two countries, Swaraj received Pompeo at the airport on his arrival here from Islamabad onWednesday night. Defence Secretary Mattis arrived earlier in the day. Speaking to the US media travelling with him, Pompeo said that issues like India buying Russian missile defence system and Iranian oil export to India would "certainly come up, but I don't think they'll be the primary focus of what it is we're trying to accomplish here". The two countries will aim to further solidify their global strategic partnership in the dialogue, withafocusonsignificantly boosting military ties.The two sides will also seek to finalise a pact on encrypted defence technologies, deliberate on ways to boostcounter-terrorcooperation and try to resolve tariff-related issues. SNS P16 SNS & PTI Ex-IPS Sanjiv Bhatt held in I 1996 Gujarat narcotics case 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 NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER TURN TO PAGE 10 SNS & PTI 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 seekVRS as he had recommended a CBI probe into the Gutka scam. The scam came to light on July 8, 2017, when income-tax sleuths raid- Stage set for India-US ‘2+2’ dialogue today (equality), 19 (liberty) and 21 of the Constitution and has a “chilling effect” on the sexual minority. The writ petitions were opposed by the Apostolic Alliance of Churches and Utkal Christian Association and some NGOs and individuals. Seeking decriminalisation of consensual homosexuality, the NGO Naaz Foundation had first challenged Section 377 in the Delhi High Court in 2001. In a landmark verdict in 2009, the Delhi High Court declared as unconstitutional the criminalisation of gay sex between consenting adults. Tamil Nadu DGP, others raided by CBI in gutka scam EPIC ENCOUNTER: NADAL DOWNS THIEM with Bhatt. The Rajasthanbased 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. 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 as a part of upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender for the same. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submissions of advocate M L Sharma that his plea be listed for urgent hearing. In his petition, Sharma has alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it. Sharma has claimed in his FM non-committal on cutting excise duty on fuels NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today remained noncommittal on cutting excise duty to cushion spiralling petrolanddieselprices,which touched an all-time high, saying international oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. Jaitley defended criticism that he and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as Opposition leaders had mounted attacks against the previous UPA government on the issue, saying inflation during those times was in double-digit and they would have failed in their duties if they had not criticised the government of the time for its failure to curb fuel prices contributing to furPTI ther price rise. plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution. The petition has also sought FIR and prosecution of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former defence Minister and present Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, business tycoon Anil Ambani and French armament firm Dassault with recovery of amount. NSA, defence top brass brief Union Ministers on Rafale deal With the government under attack from the Opposition on the Rafale issue, the top security brass briefed the Union Council of Ministers today on the fighter aircraft deal with France, saying that its cost is based on equipment and weapons that will be integrated into the jet. The presentation was made in a bid to give the Ministers points to counter the Opposition's allegations of favouritism and corruption being levelled against the ‘Rafale is beautiful, will add teeth to IAF's combat capabilities‘: In the midst of a raging political squabble over purchase of 36 Rafale jets, the Vice-Chief of the IAF said Wednesday that the “beautiful” aircraft will give India “unprecedented” combat capabilities and those criticising the deal must understand the procurement norms. Air Marshal S B Deo indicated unhappiness over delay in delivery of indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and suggested that private sector should be involved in PTI its production. government. A senior government functionary said National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Secretary, Defence Production, Ajay Kumar highlighted various aspects of the deal in the meeting, which lasted more than two-and-ahalf hours. Global factors behind ` fall: Jaitley PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 5 SEPTEMBER Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday attributed the fall in rupee to global factors and said there was no need for panic or knee-jerk reactions. He said the Reserve Bank is doing whatever is necessary to deal with the situation. The rupee's unabated fall continued for the sixth straight session today as it hit yet another closing low of 71.75 against the US dollar, tumbling 17 paise. The battered rupee has lost 165 paise in the last six trading sessions. “If you look at the domestic economic situation and the global situation, there are virtually no domestic reasons which are attributable to this. The reasons are global. “I don't think there is any need for the world's fastest growing economy to come out with panic and knee-jerk reactions,” he said while replying to questions regarding the fall in rupee. Jaitley further said the dollar has strengthened against almost every other currency and added that the rupee has consistently either strengthened or remained in a range. “It has not weakened...the rupee is better-off,” he said, adding that the rupee has strengthened against other currencies like the British pound and the euro. The Minister further said the government has consis- tently maintained 4 per cent inflation during the last four years. Elaborating his point on global factors affecting the rupee, he said India is a net buyer of crude oil and spike in prices affects the country. “That's an external factor. We are not in a trade war business but when countries neighbouring us devalue their currencies, that has a corresponding impact on us. Turkey had some impact on us,” he said. Jaitley said eventually the inherent strength of the Indian economy has to play a very important role and expressed confidence that fluctuation in the currency market will come down. “I am sure that the currency management in these areas are done by the Reserve Bank of India and they are certainly doing whatever is necessary for this purpose,” he added.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.