CMYK THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2018 www.thestatesman.com FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SUSPECTS IN SKRIPAL POISONING CIVILIANS, NOT CRIMINALS: PUTIN P10 P7 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with 1/2 spells of rain/thundershower likely. Max-min temp likely to be around 34-27 degree celsius, resp RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.95% TEMPERATURE Max: 34.6°C (+2) SUN RISES 0523 hrs MOON RISES 08.41 hrs BENGAL TO FOCUS ON EXPORTS CHINA’S SOFT-POWER SEDUCTION Min. 65% Min: 25.6°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 20:31 hrs First quarter of moon on 20 September THUMBNAILS Sardar Singh retires: Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh (in photo) on Wednesday decided to call time on his illustrious career, saying he had played enough in the past 12 years and now it was time for youngsters to take over. Singh said that he had made the decision after a disappointing Asian Games where India failed to defend their title, managing only the bronze medal. With age and, therefore, speed not on his side, Singh's performance in the Games came in for criticism. SC seeks details of pending cases against MPs, MLAs: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked 25 states and Union Territories (UTs) as well as the high courts across the country to place before it "full and complete updated information" about the status of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs. The top court also asked these states/UTs and Registrars General of all high courts to place before it the "precise number" of such pending cases required to be transferred to special courts. PM to launch another cleanliness drive: Four years after the launch of Swacch Bharat Mission, Prime Minister Modi plans to embark on another cleanliness drive 'Swacchta Hi Seva (Cleanliness is true Service) movement' on 15 September. The movement will be kicked off by the PM to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The PM described the Swacchta Hi Seva as a 'historic mass movement aimed at fulfilling Bapu's dream'. Boost to railways: In a major boost to railways, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) , chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the proposal for 100 per cent electrification of the remaining un-electrified broad gauge routes of Indian Railways (IR) comprising 108 sections covering 13,675 route kilometres (16,540 track kilometers) at a cost of Rs.12,134.50 crore which is likely to be completed by 2021-22. Controversial bishop asked to appear before Kerala Police IANS KOCHI/KOTTAYAM (KERALA) 12 SEPTEMBER The Kerala Police on Wednesday sent a notice to controversial Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, asking him to appear before them on September 19. A Kerala nun has accused him of repeated sexual abuse between 2014 and 2016. "We reviewed the entire case today (Wednesday) and there are contradictions in the statements of the victim, the accused and the witnesses. So, we have asked the bishop to appear before us on September 19, when the Investigation Officer would question him. "The contradictions in the statements have to be cleared, or else there could be issues," Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Sakhre told the media in Kochi soon after a review meeting on the case. "Security to the complainant and the witnessess is there and we have registered cases against the death threats that the nuns have allegedly received," added Sakhre. State Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, deputising for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is off to the United States for treatment, told the media in the state cap- ital that the government is with the victim. "No one needs to be worried for anything and it's unfortunate that nuns have had to stage protests. We all know that the probe has been going on for a while now, but since it has to be submitted to the court, there just can't be any errors," said Jayarajan. On Wednesday, a daylong protest before the state secretariat in Kochi was organised by the Joint Christian Council, whose indefinite relay fast at in the state capital entered its 5th day. In the state capital, joining the protesters was former state Congress President V.M. Sudheeran, who said the protests should not be mistaken as one against the Christian community. "The police itself said that all the evidences are there with them in the case, then why are they hesitant to go forward? The state police chief is unable to go forward in this case and it's most unfortunate," said Sudheeran. In Kochi, Wednesday saw more and more lead- ers -- political and otherwise -- visiting to the protest venue. They included top political leaders from various parties, civil society members and film personalities. Coming to the defence of Mulakkal was his own diocese, who in a statement said that this is nothing but a conspiracy hatched against the bishop. "This is just an allegation... The bishop had visited the nun's home for a function and she looked very happy also. According to her complaint, the previous day the bishop had abused her. If that were the case, could she be happy? Moreover, all the complaints surfaced after a lady came with a complaint against the nun," says the statement. Popular Malayalam film personality Joy Mathew led a protest in Kozhikode against the callousness of the authorities in the case as the nun is yet to get justice. Incidentally, the Kerala High Court will on Thursday look into an affidavit that it asked the state government to file detailing the steps taken on the complaint of a nun alleging that a bishop sexually abused her for three years. "All the details in the case would be presented before the high court on Thursday in the affidavit," said Kottayam SP. SC extends house arrest of 5 activists till 17 Sept STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 SEPTEMBER The Supreme Court today extended the house arrest of five human right activists, arrested by the Maharashtra police for their alleged links with the Naxals, till 17 September. Extending its interim order putting them under house arrest, a Bench ~ headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud ~ adjourned the hearing on the petition ~ filed by five eminent citizens including historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpandey, and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala ~ to 17 September. The top court was hearing the petition filed against the arrest of five leading rights activists and lawyers ~ including Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha ~ in the case. The apex court was reportedly informed that the wife of Surinder Gadling, one of the activists arrested earlier, had filed an intervention application on their behalf challenging their arrests. A plea was made that the top court may treat her intervention application as a writ petition. The Maharashtra police had arrested the five activists on 28 August after multi-city raids on their premises in connection with an FIR lodged following a public meeting, Elgaar Parishad, held on 31 December last year in Pune that was alleged to have led to violence at KoregaonBhima village between Dalits and upper caste people on 1 January this year. Thearrests of the activists triggered widespread anguish and outrage among civil society, human rights and civil liberties groups. ASENSIO STAR OF SPANISH RESURGENCE P8 P12 Mallya says he met FM before leaving India Mallya also claimed that he was disliked by both the BJP and Congress Jaitley rejects Mallya’s claim, FM says he never met him IANS NEW DELHI, 12 SEPTEMBER IANS LONDON, 12 SEPTEMBER ugitive business tycoon Vijay Mallya, wanted in India for his alleged role in a multi-crore bank loan fraud case, claimed on Wednesday that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India in 2016. "I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left... repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," he told reporters outside a Westminster Magistrate court where he is fighting an extradition case filed by Indian authorities. Mallya, who left India on March 2, 2016, also claimed that he was disliked by both the major parties in India -- the BJP and Congress. "I am a political football... As far as I am concerned, I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. I hope the honourable judges will consider F Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday rejected Vijay Mallya's claim that the fugitive businessman met him before he left India two years ago. "My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallya on having met me with an offer of settlement. The statement is factually false inasmuch as it does not reflect truth," he said in a Facebook post shortly after the fugitive businessman made the claim outside a London court where he is facing extradition trial. Jaitley said he had never given Mallya any appointment to meet him since 2014 and "the question of his having met me does not arise". "However, since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. "He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that 'I am making an offer of settlement'," the Minister said. Jaitley said having been fully briefed about his earlier "bluff offers", without allowing him to pro- ceed with the conversation, "I curtly told him 'there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers'. I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand." The Minister said besides this one-sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member in order to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, he never gave Mallya any appointment to meet hi it favourably." Asked if he could settle his dues, Mallya, who headed the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and the United Breweries, said: "Obviously. That is why a settlement offer has been made." Mallya, who faces charges of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore, said he did not file any clemency plea in the Karnataka High Court where he was ready to settle all dues. "I put almost Rs 15,000 crore offer on the table of the Karnataka High Court. I feel like a scapegoat. Both political parties don't like me," he said, adding that the banks had rejected his settlement offers. Earthquake hits Assam, Bengal, Bihar and N-E ROAD RELIEF The tremors felt in parts of WB and more strongly in Assam, triggered fear in the people of Kolkata KOLKATA, 12 SEPTEMBER Work in progress to make new road beside Majerhat collapsed bridge in Kolkata on Wednesday. Dismantling and debris removal work that was said to be over by Wednesday, is still going on. “Although a lot of dismantling work has been done, debris removal activities will take a few more days,” informed a PWD official at the site. In a bid to maintain smooth movement of vehicles near Kolkata port, the authorities at Lal Bazar, directed the officers-in-charge (OC) of nearby police stations to personally oversee the traffic logjams in the area. Following the instruction, OCs in the area swung into action. Mr Mrinal Kanti Mukherjee, OC New Alipore police station was also spotted working in close coordination with other traffic personnel. Sources from the traffic department said that additional traffic personnel were also deployed to handle the added number of vehicles passing through the port area. SNS Air Chief bats for Rafale jets, cites ‘grave threats’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 SEPTEMBER Even as a political battle rages over purchase of fourth generation French fighter aircraft Rafale to strengthen the country’s air power, the Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa came out strongly supporting the purchase, saying that they were essential to fight "grave threats" India faces from Pakistan and China. Speaking at a seminar here on Wednesday, the Air Chief said that by acquiring the French fighters, the IAF would also be able to strengthen its depleting fleet of fighters at a time when India's neighbours were "not sitting idle" and continuously modernising their air warfare capabilities. He said the Russianmade S-400 Triumf advanced air defence systems to be bought from Moscow would also enhance the capability of the air force. "By providing the Rafale and the S400 (anti-missile system), the government is strengthening the IAF to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft," he said. "The hi-tech fighters like Rafale are needed because medium-tech fighters like Tejas alone can- Air Chief said that by acquiring Rafale, the IAF would be able to strengthen its depleting fleet of fighters not do," he said, adding the IAF was already down with only 31 squadrons from the sanctioned strength of 42. "Even when we do have 42 (squadrons), we will be below the combined strength of our two adver- saries," he said, adding that the gap was being "partially fulfilled" by getting the hi-tech aircraft. CMYK "The question that is asked very often in public domain is why 42 squadrons when older aircraft like MiG-21s are being replaced by more capable aircraft. There are reasons (for that) because our neighbours are not sitting idle. Pakistan has upgraded F-16s and made them 4.5 generation as far as avionic electronics goes and is inducting JF17 (from China) in large numbers,” he said. The Air Chief said that China was rapidly replacing its 2nd and 3rd generation fighters with 4th generation fighters and is developing 5th generation fighter which is like- ly to be deployed very soon. He said very few countries were facing challenges like India, which is surrounded by "two nuclear-armed neighbours". "We have to match neighbours Pakistan and China to tackle a two-front war. Intentions of our adversaries can change overnight. We need to match force level of our adversaries," he said. The IAF chief's comments come a day after former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "personal culpability" in the Rafale deal which they dubbed as the country's "biggest defence scam". The procurement of 36 Rafale fighters from France's Dassault Aviation has come under fire from the Congress, alleging that the Modi government had compromised national security and bought the bombers at a higher price than what the UPA had negotiated with the French government. Earlier this month, IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal S B Deo too endorsed the Rafale, saying the aircraft will give India "unprecedented combat capabilities". An earthquake of magnitude 5.5 Richter Scale hit Assam, Bengal, Bihar and other north eastern parts of the country today at around 10.20am. The tremors felt in parts of West Bengal and more strongly in Assam, triggered fear in the people of the city. Being the early hours of the day, a large number working people had just signed in their offices. School children were either inside their schools, or were heading towards their institutes. According to Babita Kumari, employee of a call centre in Salt Lake, the sudden shake in the floor and fans caused panic among her colleagues in the office. "Within few minutes, our entire office was on the ground floor," said the 21-year-old BPO employee. "The aftershock tremors were so frightening that we did not even wait for the office authorities and came down running through the stairs," added Babita. Similar crowd was observed in several parts of the city with groups of people standing outside multi-storied residential buildings. Sulagna Das, resident of Salt Lake said, "Residents of our entire complex were in the compound as soon as the first tremors were felt. However, as several children from our complex, including mine, were at school, we were worried for them." SNS
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