CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 OCTOBER 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 ‘EXPLOSIVES’ SENT TO CLINTONS’, OBAMAS’ HOMES MODI AWARDED SEOUL PEACE PRIZE P3 SENSEX 34,033.96 +186.73 WEATHER P10 NIFTY 10,224.75 +77.95 RONALDO SEALS IT WITHOUT GETTING ON SCORESHEET KHASGHOGGI KILLING ‘WORST COVER-UP IN HISTORY’ P10 P11 ` vs $ 73.16 +41 PAISE BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 76.64 +0.20 CBI’s feuding two stripped of charge Morning mist. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 33-23 degrees Celsius respectively. Modi govt sends Verma, Asthana on leave, appoints interim CBI chief; Verma challenges govt decision in Supreme Court RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 24 OCTOBER ‘CBI chit fund probe rigged’ Amidst the extraordinary crisis gripping the country's top investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation’s feuding director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana have been stripped of their charges and sent on compulsory leave by the Narendra Modi government. This unprecedented step was taken by the government in a midnight "coup" of sorts with the operation continuing till the wee hours Wednesday during which it appointed a CBI joint director, M Nageshwar Rao, as the agency's interim chief. Addressing a press conference later today, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the government took the step on the basis of a recommendation on the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)that was made yesterday evening. Late last night, the appointments committee of the Cabinet, headed by PM Modi, also decided that in the interim, Nageshwar Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, will "look after the duties and functions of Director, CBI with immediate effect" . Verma moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision. The court agreed to hear his plea on Friday. Verma and Asthana had been locked in an escalating internecine battle, accusing each other of corruption and bribery. The BHUBANESWAR, 24 OCTOBER Max.88% TEMPERATURE Max: 33.6 (+2) SUN SETS 17:04 hrs MOON RISES 17.49 hrs Min. 52% Min: 24.5(+2) SUN RISES 05:38 hrs MOON SETS 05:57 hrs Moon phase: Third quarter on 31 Oct THUMBNAILS Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the USA, climb on a truck in Huixtla on their way to Mapastepec, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Wednesday. as they continued their march to the US after a day’s rest in Huixtla. AFP Maharashtra boat capsizal: A man drowned Wednesday when a boat carrying 25 people, including a couple of Maharashtra government officials, capsized in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, police said. Initially, the Navy said Maharashtra Chief Secretary D K Jain was on the ill-fated boat but the official later denied it, saying he was travelling by another boat. The accident occurred when officials and some others were on their way in four boats to the site of the proposed memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, where work was to begin Wednesday. One of the boats hit a rocky patch and capsized. The war within the CBI generated ripples here today with leaders of the BJP and Congress alleging that the CBI probe in to the mega chit fund scam had been scuttled and buried for good by corrupt officers of the agency who had perhaps entered in to a ‘deal’ with the Naveen Patnaik government. The bribery charges against top CBI officers including Rakesh Asthana who had been overseeing the Ponzi scam probe in Odisha, prompted political circles to wonder whether money had exchanged hands to go slow on the chit fund scam. After all that has happened in the CBI, nothing can be ruled out, they said. Expelled BJD veteran Dr Damodar Rout said it is quite possible that BJD ministers and MLAs who are involved in the scam bribed their way out of the scam. The CBI had virtually “knocked” at the door of CM Patnaik when it grilled his aide/staff Saroj two years ago. Since then the probe has been in cold storage, he said. Senior BJP leader Mr Bijay Mahapatra said,“Two years ago I had publicly questioned the CBI investigation and how it was not progressing as per its mandate, today my suspicion has been confirmed.When I said it several others in the BJP rubbished me and claimed that the CBI is doing its job. Today all those who had championed the cause of the CBI have no place to hide”. He also questioned the appointment of M Nageswar Rao as in-charge director. “There were a lot of things said about him when he was heading the fire and home guard services here.” SNS CBI recently registered an FIR against Asthana, CBI DSP Devender Kumar and others over their alleged involvement in bribery in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Asthana has levelled allegation of bribery againstVerma in this case too. Justifying the government's midnight operation, Jaitley said it was "essential to restore the institutional integrity and credibility of the country's premier investigative agency". The trading of serious corruption charges by the agency's two top officers had led to a “bizarre and unfortunate” situation, he said. An agency team supervised by the CVC would now probe the charges against Verma and Asthana during a period when both officers will “sit out”, he said, assert- ing that the government's move was in sync with the highest standards of fairness and in accordance with the provisions of the CVC Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act. It was another matter that eyebrows were raised in various quarters over the manner in which the government carried out the operation during the night in which National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval was said to have played a key role. It was reported that Delhi Police had cordoned off the CBI headquarters in New Delhi during the night and Nagheshwar Rao was escorted by policemen as he went there to take charge as its interim director. It was also reported that immediately after taking charge Rao sealed the offices of both Verma and Asthana. He then went on to effect mass transfers of officers, especially "purging" those considered to be in the Verma camp and probing Asthana. Rao overhauled the CBI team probing allegations of corruption against Asthana, bringing in new faces from the investigation officer to the supervisory level officer. A K Bassi, who was investigating the Asthana case, was dispatched to Port Blair in "public interest" with immediate effect. His reporting officer Additional SP S S Gurm was transferred to Jabalpur while his surpervisor DIG M K Sinha was sent to Nagpur. Asthana's "bete noire" A K Sharma, CBI Joint Director (Policy), was also transferred. Govt, opposition duel over removal of CBI director PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 OCTOBER Opposition parties Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the government over the removal of the CBI director with the Congress describing the decision as the “last nail” in the independence of the agency but the Centre defended its move as “absolutely essential” to maintain the CBI's institutional integrity. Finance minister Arun Jaitley also asserted that the government's decision to send Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana was based on the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commissioner. Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that Verma was forcibly sent on leave as he was collecting documents relating to the Rafale 'scam', adding the country and its Constitution were in danger under the ruling dispensation. “Modi govt buries the 'last nail' into the independence of CBI. Systematic dismantling and denigrating of CBI is now complete. Once a premier investigating agency, PM ensures that CBI's integrity, credibility and reliability is buried and dead,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Jaitley dismissed as “rubbish” allegations that Verma Yashwant, Shourie, Bhushan KOHLI FASTEST TO 10,000 ODI RUNS move SC for FIR in Rafale deal Virat Kohli on Wed PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 OCTOBER Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking registration of an FIR into the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France alleging “criminal misconduct” by high public functionaries. They have sought a direction to the CBI to investigate the offences mentioned in their complaint in a “timebound” manner and submit periodic status reports to the apex court. The complaint was filed on October 4 with the CBI after their meeting with CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma, who was late Tuesday night directed by the Centre to proceed on leave in the wake of feud with the second-in-command in the agency Rakesh Asthana. The petition by the trio came two weeks after the court had on October 10 asked the Centre to provide details of the decision- making process in the Rafale deal with France in a sealed cover by October 29. It had clarified that it does not want information on pricing and technical particulars. The court's order had come on two PILs filed by advocates M L Sharma and Vineet Dhanda. India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment.The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation. nesday became the fastest to score 10,000 runs in One-day Internationals, rewriting the iconic Sachin Tendulkar's record. Tendulkar took 259 innings to get there, while Kohli has so far batted in 205 innings. Kohli became the 13th batsman to reach the milestone with an unbeaten 157 off 129 balls, his 37th ODI hundred. In the process, he also became the fastest to 1,000 runs in a calendar year Besides Tendulkar and Kohli, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid are the other Indian cricketers to cross 10000 runs in the format. India captain Virat Kohli raises his bat after completing 10,000 runs, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar, in the ODI format, during the second ODI against West Indies in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. AFP SC bars sale, regn of BS-IV vehicles after Mar ’20 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 OCTOBER No Bharat Stage-IV vehicle would be sold or registered in India from 1 April 2020, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, saying any extension of time in introducing the new emission norms would adversely impact the health of citizens as pollution has reached an “alarming and critical” level. Bharat stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The BS IV norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017. In 2016, the Centre had announced the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020. The apex court said there cannot be any compromise on the health of citizens and this has to take precedence over the “greed” of few automobile manufacturers who unfortunately, want to stretch the timeline to make a “little more money”. Noting that India has the “dubious distinction” of having 15 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said the effect of pollution on the environment and health was so huge that it cannot be compensated in the marginal extra profits that manufacturers might make. “Therefore, if there is a conflict between health and wealth, obviously, health will have to be given precedence,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices S A Nazeer and Deepak Gupta. “We are dealing here with a situation where children and unborn children suffer from pollution and issues of inter-generational equity are involved,” the bench said and noted there was more than sufficient time for manufacturers to make BS-VI compliant vehicles. “They (manufacturers) already have the technology to do so. The automobile industry must show the will, responsibility and urgency in this regard,” the court said in its order while deciding if BSIV compliant vehicles should be permitted to be sold in India after March 31, 2020. The top court termed as “very vague” a sub-rule inserted in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 by the government as per which grace period of three and six months respectively were given for sale of BS-VI compliant vehicles manufactured before April 1, 2020. As per the sub-rule, time till June 30, 2020 was given to automobile manufacturers to sell their BS-IV compliant four-wheelers manufactured till March 31, 2020. Similarly, according to the sub-rule, grace period till September 30, 2020 was given for sale of BS-IV compliant heavy transport vehicles manufactured till March 31, 2020. “This rule, in our view, is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution (protection of life and personal liberty) in as much as it extends time for registration of vehicles beyond March 31, 2020 and must be accordingly read down,” the bench said. “Any extension of time in introducing the new norms which is not absolutely necessary adversely impacts the health of the citizens and is, CMYK therefore, violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” it said. The court made it clear that the sub-rule shall be interpreted and understood to read that no motor vehicle conforming to BS-IV norm shall be sold or registered in the entire country with effect from April 1, 2020. It noted that Europe had introduced Euro-VI standards way back in 2015 and India was already many years behind. “We cannot afford to fall back further even by a single day. The need of the hour is to move to a cleaner fuel as early as possible,” it said. The court said that the Centre was pro-active in spending huge amounts of money to move to BS-VI technology but the automobile industry was coming up with a “variety of untenable excuses” just to delay its introduction by a few months. was removed because he was collecting documents on the Rafale fighter jet deal. “I regard this charge as rubbish. The fact that opposition parties are saying we know what agency was going to do next itself casts a doubt on the fairness process. I don't believe what they are saying is true, but if they did have access to what was going on in the mind of a person that itself demolishes the integrity of the person they are trying to support,” he said. In a tweet, Gandhi said, “CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to the Rafale scam. He was forcibly sent on leave”. “The Prime Minister's message is very clear that whoever comes near Rafale (issue) will be removed, wiped out,” he charged. The TMC's Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, BSP's Mayawati, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and CPI's D Raja were among those who attacked the government over removal of Verma. “To ensure that the CBI is not a 'caged parrot', the Supreme Court had granted protection to its chief from govt's whims and fancies by giving him a two-year tenure. What is Modi govt trying to hide by its panic move?” Sitaram Yechury asked. WHAT THEY SAID CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to the Rafale scam... The PM’s message is very clear that whoever comes near Rafale (issue) will be removed, wiped out RAHUL GANDHI CONGRESS PRESIDENT CBI has now become so called BBI (BJP Bureau of Investigation) - very unfortunate! MAMATA BANERJEE WEST BENGAL CHIEF MINISTER Director Alok Verma being sent on leave at a crucial time appears motivated with #RafaleScam under the scanner. The appointment of a corrupt officer as interim head of #CBI is equally questionable MK STALIN DMK PRESIDENT The illegal removal of CBI chief by Modi government to protect their own handpicked officer... points to attempts at a serious cover-up SITARAM YECHURY CPI-M GENERAL SECRETARY GoM set up to look into workplace sexual harassment PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 OCTOBER A Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has been constituted by the government to strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks to deal with and prevent sexual harassment at workplace. The GoM has been set up in the wake of the #MeToo movement where several women have come out and named people, many in public life, who had allegedly harassed them at their workplace. Former editor M J Akbar had to resign as Minister of State for External Affairs following allegations of sexual harassment against him by former colleagues. In a statement, the home ministry said the members of the Group of Ministers are road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. The Group of Ministers will examine the existing legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with matters of sexual harassment of women at workplace. It will recommend action required for effective implementation of the existing provisions, as well as for strengthening the existing legal and institutional frameworks for addressing issues related to sexual harassment at workplace, the statement said. The Group of Ministers will, within three months of its constitution, examine the existing provisions for the safety of women, including those mentioned above, and recommend further mea- sures required to strengthen and make them more effective. The GoM has been constituted in view of the felt need for broader consultation on this issue, from the point of view of developing appropriate recommendations and laying down a comprehensive plan of action and for ensuring its time bound implementation, the government’s statement said. The government is committed to ensure the safety and dignity of women in the workforce, it said. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act is the key legislation for preventing and protecting women against sexual harassment in the workplace and to ensure effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also launched an electronic complaints box that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace. Once a complaint is submitted to the 'SHe-Box', it is directly sent to the authority concerned having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints, it said.
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