WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 24 OCTOBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P6 SENSEX 33,874.23 -287.15 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 32 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY NIFTY 10,146.80 -98.45 Min. 27% Max: 32.5°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:28 hrs MOON RISES 17:51 hrs Min: 16.0°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 06:47 hrs THUMBNAILS An Indian navy officer stands on the deck of INS Rana as it docks at the international port in Manila on Tuesday. The multi-role guided missile destroyer INS Rana is in the Philippines for AFP a four-day goodwill visit. Khashoggi murder was ‘preplanned’: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that the “savage murder” of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was meticulously planned, demanding that all those linked to the killing face punishP12 ment. NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER The Supreme Court Tuesdayexpressed shock over“vanished”31hillsintheAravalliarea ofRajasthanandaskedthestate governmenttostopillegalmining in the area within 48 hours. The court said though Rajasthan was earning a royalty of aroundRs5,000crorefrommining activities in Aravalli, it cannot endanger the lives of lakhs of people in Delhi as the disappearance of hills there could be one of reasons for rise in pollution level in the national capital region(NCR).AbenchofJustices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta referred to the status report filed by Rajasthan governmentandsaiditindicated that illegal mining activity was going on in 115.34 hectare area in Aravalli range in the state. GOLD 30,805.00 +280.00 HC orders status quo on Asthana matter STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER CBI likely to question Asthana soon A NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER mid the raging intra-agency war involving the top brass of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Delhi High Court today directed the agency to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings it has launched against its special director Rakesh Asthana ~ who moved the court to challenge the CBI's FIR against him in a bribery case ~ until 29 October, the next hearing date. The CBI's second-incommand Asthana ~ who has been locked in a battle of attrition with CBI director Alok Verma ~ thus got temporary relief as the CBI would not arrest him till 29 October, although the high court made it clear that there will not be any stay on the investigation, given the nature and gravity of the case. Apart from Asthana, the CBI's deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Devender Kumar, who was arrested by the agency yesterday, also filed a separate petition in the high court, seeking quashing of the FIR. The high court's order reportedly asking the CBI to maintain the status quo SC orders halt to illegal mining in Aravalli hills PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ` vs $ 73.57 -1 PAISE It also referred to a report of the central empowered committee which had said that out of 128 samples taken by the Forest Survey of India, as many as 31hillsorhillockshavevanished. “31 hills or hillocks have disappeared. If hills disappear in the country, what will happen? Have people become 'Hanuman' that they are running away with hills?,” Justice Lokuraskedthecounselappearing for Rajasthan. “15-20 per cent hills have vanished in the state of Rajasthan. This is your ground truth. Whom do you want to take for a ride?,” the bench asked. It said that it was compelled to pass an order to stop illegal mining activities in the area there within 48 hours as it appeared that the state has taken the issue “very lightly”. RECORD BECKONS KOHLI AS INDIANS SMELL VICTORY P13 P10 War within CBI top brass rages; trial court remands DSP in CBI custody Max. 86% TEMPERATURE ISSUE OF MARRIED CATHOLIC PRIESTS GAINS TRACTION KERALA CM HITS OUT AT SAFFRON DELEGATES ‘NATIONAL PRE-POLL OPPOSITION ALLIANCE UNLIKELY’ The CBI may soon question its special director Rakesh Asthana in connection with alleged bribery to give relief to a businessman who was being probed in a case involving Moin Qureshi, sources said Tuesday. They said the directions of Delhi High Court on Asthana’s plea to maintain status quo in the matter do not bar the agency from carrying on its investigation and questioning of the accused. Questioning of an accused does not come in the definition of coercive action which Asthana till 29 October was however given on Asthana's plea only. Justice Najmi Waziri issued notices and sought responses of the CBI, its chief Verma and its joint director A K Sharma on both the pleas. The high court also issued notice to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which has administrative jurisdiction over the CBI, in this regard. The court asked both Asthana and Kumar to preserve the records in their custody, including mobile phones. During the hearing, the CBI told the court that the charges against Asthana were serious and that the agency was likely to add more offences in the FIR in the course of its probe. Asthana's lawyers said it was a case of "malafide and illegal" registration of FIR against the special CBI director, which was based on the statement of an accused. The judge said this was not the stage to examine such a charge against the case. Asthana's counsel said the DoPT's sanction is required to proceed against the officers and that the CBI had not sought permission from it. Kumar's counsel also sought quashing of the FIR against the officer. The CBI's counsel said had sought to be stopped, they said, adding that coercive action means arrest or searches which the agency will not conduct till the next order of the court. An agency spokesperson said that there is no change in the status of Asthana as special director and no charge has been removed from him. The spokesperson also denied rumours of CBI searches on Asthana’s premises Tuesday afternoon. PTI the FIR was registered under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, and they have added more sections against the accused relating to extortion and forgery. The high court turned down the plea of Asthana's counsel seeking to stay further proceedings in the matter. Later, a lower court in Delhi allowed the CBI to interrogate Kumar in its custody for seven days. Special CBI judge Santosh Snehi Mann remanded Kumar in the CBI's custody, which had sought ten days of his custodial interrogation. TURN TO PAGE 4 P16 SILVER 38,800.00 +300.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 78.05 -1.78 Two dead, 14 injured in stampede at Santragachi STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 23 OCTOBER Two passengers were killed and at least 14 persons, including two women, were injured in a “stampede-like situation”onafootoverbridge atSantragachirailwaystation in West Bengal on Tuesday evening, a South Eastern Railway spokesman said. The chief minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the spot along with the state chief secretary, DGP and other senior officers of Howrah Commissionrate. The incident occurred when an Express train and two EMU locals arrived at the station at the same time at around 6.30 pm and passengers rushed to the platforms to board the trains, the spokesman said. The Nagercoil-Shalimar Express and two EMU locals arrived at the station at the same time, while ShalimarVishakhapatnam Express and Santragachi-Chennai Express were scheduled to arrive shortly, SER spokesman Sanjay Ghosh said. The incident occurred between platform numbers two and three at Santragachi station of South Eastern Railway, about 10 km from Howrah station, he said. A large number of passengers either deboarded or were waiting to board trains at the same time, leading to a rush on the foot overbridge. Only the railways can tell why such a scramble happened... It is the culmination of lack of coordination in the railways that has led to such incidents MAMATA BANERJEE WEST BENGAL CHIEF MINISTER The chief minister announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the spot from the carnival podium at Red Road slammed the railways for the stampede. Putting the blame squarely on the railways, the chief minster said it was due to mismangement on the part of the railwaysthat the incident happed. ” Only the railways can tell why such a scramble happened. There was some No right to desecrate: Irani on Sabarimala Terror, talks can’t go together: Rajnath MUMBAI, 23 OCTOBER JAMMU/SRINAGAR, 23 OCTOBER Amid protests against the Supreme Court order opening the Sabarimala temple in Kerala to women of all ages, Union minister Smriti Irani Tuesday said the right to pray did not mean the right to desecrate. “I am nobody to speak against the Supreme Court verdict as I am a serving cabinet minister. But just plain common sense is that would you carry a napkin seeped with menstrual blood and walk into a friend's house.You would not... And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of god? That is the difference. I have the right to pray, but no right to desecrate.That is the difference that we need to recognise and respect,” Irani said at an event here. PTI The Centre is ready to hold talks with anyone including Pakistan but terror and dialogue can never go together, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said here Tuesday. The home minister, who reviewed the security situation in the state, told reporters that over the past four to five months there has been a big shift asincidentsofstone-peltinghave come down and the recruitment of militants has also decreased. Singh also announced an exgratia of Rs 5 lakhs to the kin of each of the seven civilians who were killed in an explosion in Kulgam on Sunday. Singh met representatives of various political parties, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah and said he has appealed to all of them to partic- SNS & AGENCIES ipate in the upcoming panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Asked about the controversy over Article 35-A, the minister said the Centre has no proposal to change any constitutional provision regarding Jammu and Kashmir. “Biggest of problems can be facedandissuesresolvedthrough democratic means. Many problems of Jammu and Kashmir can also be addressed through democracy. I appeal to people of the state to take part in this festival of democracy,” he said at a press conference in Srinagar. Singh told reporters that as far as talks are concerned, the government has no problem in holding dialogue with anyone. “But there is a condition from our side. At least, they should see that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in India and promoting terrorism also. Give us thismuchofassurancethatthere will not be any such attempt by Pakistan. Terror and dialogue can never go together,” he said. Asked if there was any initiative to hold talks with separatists, Singh said the government will talk to anyone who is willing to enter dialogue, but refused to elaborate. His visit came amidst vain attempts of Hurriyat leaders to march to Lal Chowk in the town to protest against the killing of civilians in an explosion at an encounter spot in Kulgam on Sunday. Top Hurriyat leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq andYasin Malik, were taken into custody as they defied restrictions and tried to march towards Lal Chowk, for which a call had been given by Syed Alishah Geelani. Malik had reportedly gone underground for the past two days. SC allows ‘green’ crackers on Diwali for two hours STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER In a big relief to Diwali revellers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to impose a complete ban on bursting of firecrackers but restricted its use during all religious festivals even as it put a limit on their “emission and decibel levels”. The court did not only put restrictive conditions on duration of fireworks but also specified crackers that are within noise pollution limits set in its July 2005 verdict. “We have tried to strike a balance,” said a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan while announcing a two-hour limit for all festivals and weddings. The bench had noted that Article 21 of the Constitution on the Right to Life applied to all, including cracker-makers, and a balance was needed while considering a countrywide ban. ‘No such thing as green crackers’ NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER With the Supreme Court permitting only 'green firecrackers' for a less-polluting Diwali, the manufacturers on Tuesday said “no such thing” exists, while social media erupted with jokes with many simply colouring the crackers green. Industry bodies, which peg the firecracker market at around Rs 20,000 crore per annum, said the court order, including restricting time to burn crackers to just two hours on Diwali and other festivals, would have a significant impact on sales. Environment and health experts welcomed the order, saying it was time society cel- ebrated festivals “more responsibly”. D Saha, an environmental scientist who previously worked with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), said the authorities would now have to ensure that the norms are adhered to more strictly, especially at the manufactur- ing level. Saha said the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) works on the regulation of public safety aspects related to explosive substances. The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers' Association, which represents the state's Rs 6,000 crore crackers industry, said they are already producing crackers after approval from the PESO. K Mariappan, General Secretary of the association, which has decided to file a review petition on the court verdict, said the direction on use of only 'green crackers' won't work as “there is no such thing”. He said the cracker industry in and around Sivakasi in Hearing a petition seeking complete ban on fireworks for curbing air pollution across the country, the bench spec- ified that on Diwali, firecrackers could be burst only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on Christmas and New Year be- tween 11:55 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. The ban would be in force throughout the year and these conditions would also prevail Tamil Nadu employs eight lakh people and the current year production has already been completed. “We need to explain to the court that we cannot produce such (green) crackers. We may reduce the chemicals used in manufacturing.. But it will take more time,” he said. The court, in its order, said that the permissible limit of sound and smoke will be approved by the PESO. “The PESO already has a centre in Sivakasi, home to some of India's largest fireworks manufacturer. And, since Diwali is approaching, the authorities would have to work quickly to ensure compliance,” environmentalist Saha said. PTI during marriage festivities, the apex court said. The verdict also prohibits the manufacture, sale and bursting of chain firecrackers or 'laris' and bans online sale on e-commerce websites. The court has allowed only licensed traders to sell firecrackers, that too safer ones with reduced emission and permitted chemicals. Crackers cannot be sold online and if they are, such e-commerce sites will be hauled up for contempt, the apex court said. In Delhi, crackers will be allowed only in designated spots, which need to be identified within a week, said the bench, directing police station chiefs to be personally responsible for ensuring the compliance of its order. The court said authorities in Delhi would identify common community areas for the bursting of firecrackers and ensure awareness among people about it. The court also recommended that other states should explore the feasibility of community firecrackers. The bench also directed the Petroleum and Explosives Safe- ty Organisation (PESO to ensure that only fireworks with permitted chemicals are sold and possessed during Diwali and other religious festivals as well as occasions such as marriages. Asking PESO to submit its report within two weeks after reviewing the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly for reducing the aluminium content, the court ordered it to also test and check for the presence of banned chemicals like lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead and mercury and ensure suspension of the licenses of manufacturers of such fireworks items and appropriate disposalofsuchstock.PESOisthenodal organisation looking after safety requirements in manufacture, storage, transport and use of explosives and petroleum. The court asked the Central and state pollution control bodies to carry out short-term monitoring for 14 days before and after Diwali for parameters like aluminium, barium, iron apart from the regulatory parameters. negligence on the part of the railways in some respects. It is the culmination of lack of coordination in the railways that has led to such incidents. The state will initiate an administrative probe into the stampede. A ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to be given to those who had died and the injured will be given Rs 1 lakh. The state will take care of those who have been admitted to hospital.” While 11 injured persons were taken to Howrah General Hospital for treatment, three others were administered first aid at the station, railway officials said. Several express trains stop at the station, apart from numerous EMU locals of SER. Thousands of people use the station everyday since it is easier to travel to and from south and central Kolkata from Santragachi. Will extend hand of friendship after 2019 poll: Imran RIYADH, 23 OCTOBER Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he would once again extend a hand of friendship to India after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as he believed New Delhi rebuffed his offer of talks because Pakistan is an issue in the elections in the neighbouring country. Speaking at the highprofile Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Khan said Pakistan wants “peace with all our neighbours particularly India and Afghanistan for regional peace and stability.” “Peace with India would help the two countries to divert their resources towards human development instead of indulging in arms race,” Khan was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan. Similarly, peace in Afghanistan would help Pakistan to have an easy access to the Central Asian states for bilateral economic and trade activities, he said. Khan said he had extended a hand of friendship to India, which rebuffed the move. After assuming power in August, Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September. India accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, terrorists killed three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, prompting New Delhi to cancel the foreign ministers' meeting. “He (Khan) attributed this (cancellation) to anti-Pakistan rhetoric raking in votes in India,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the prime minister. Prime Minister Khan said he would try once again following the conclusion of the general elections in India. The general elections are due to be held in India next PTI year.
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