CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 NOVEMBER 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 P7 SENSEX 34,442.05 +550.92 Partly cloudy sky. Temperature will be in the range of 32-23 degree Celsius. RAINFALL: 2.0 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.93% Max: 30.8°C (0) SUN SETS 16.59 hrs MOON RISES 23.11 hrs Min: 22.4°C (0) SUN RISES 05:42 hrs MOON SETS 12:42 hrs New moon on 7 November THUMBNAILS Former President Pranab Mukherjee pays homage during a prayer meeting at the memorial of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 34th death anniversary at Indira Gandhi Memorial, in the Capital on Wednesday. SNS Pak court overturns blasphemy death sentence: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of a Christian woman who was on death row for eight years for blasphemy, a landmark verdict that sparked nationwide protests, death threats from hardline groups and cheers from human (P9) rights advocates. P9 ` vs $ 73.95 -27 PAISE GOLD 30,610.00 +35.00 RBI autonomy essential: Govt PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 OCTOBER he government Wednesday said the RBI's autonomy is “essential” and will be “nurtured”, as it sought to calm investors worried by the central bank reportedly being forced to resolve differences with the Centre which has cited powers never used before. Finance minister Arun Jaitley refused to be drawn into the row, saying discussions and consultations with the RBI are never disclosed publicly. The row was sparked off on Friday when RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya warned that undermining the central bank's independence could be “potentially catastrophic”, a possible indication of the RBI being pushed to relax its policies ahead of general elections next year. Sources privy to developments said the government has sent at least three letters on different issues under Section 7 of the RBI Act that gives it T powers to issue any direction to the central bank governor on matters of public interest. The standoff was in relation to RBI's handling of weak public sector banks, tight liquidity in the market and ways of resolving bad loans in the power sector. Some reports claimed Governor Urjit Patel was considering stepping down if the government were to issue an unprecedented direction. Without acknowledging that the notices have been sent to the RBI, the Union finance ministry in a statement said that the “autonomy for the central bank, within the framework of the RBI Act, is an essential and accepted governance requirement. Governments in India have nurtured and respected this”. A senior finance ministry official said that the RBI has not been able to contain liquidity crisis and push credit growth. Sources said the government has not taken issued any specific direction and has only initiated consultations with the central bank on unresolved issues. Without making any reference to the letters, the ministry statement said, ”both the government and the central bank, in their functioning, have to be guided by public interest and the requirements of the Indian economy... For the purpose, extensive consultations on several issues take place between the government and the RBI from time to time. This is equally true of all other regulators.” Sources said the ministry wrote three separate letters in the past few weeks to the RBI on issues ranging from Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework to liquidity management and sought consultation under Section 7 of the RBI Act. The letters apparently prompted Acharya's hard-hitting speech on Friday. NEW DELHI, 31 OCTOBER The Supreme Court today asked the central government to place before it in a sealed cover within 10 days the pricing details and the deemed advantage in the Rafale fighter jet deal. The directive is significant, as on 10 October, the court had asked the Centre to provide in sealed covers only the "details of the steps in the decision-making process" leading to the deal in which India is buying 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France. The top court had then stated that the information it sought from the government would "not cover the issue of pricing or the question of technical suitability of the equipment for purposes of the requirement of the Indian Air Force”. The court today, however, also said that various details ~ including the steps in the decision-making process for the procurement of Rafale jets and the induction of the Indian offset partner ~ which could “legitimately” be brought into public domain, should be made available to the parties who have filed public interest litigations (PILs) before it in the matter. After the court dictated the order, Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal told the Bench that pricing details of these jets were not even shared with Parliament. The Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the AG that if the pricing was “exclusive” and could not be shared with the court, then the Centre should state this in an affidavit. The Bench, also comprising Justice U U Lalit and Justice K M Joseph, made it clear that at this stage, such details of the Rafale deal which might be considered to be “strategic and confidential” by the government may be placed before the court and need not be given to the petitioners. The court noted that pur- The Bench made it clear that at this stage, details which might be considered to be “strategic and confidential” need not be shared with the petitioners suant to its 10 October order the Centre placed before it in a sealed cover a note giving the “details of the steps in the decision-making process" leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter jets. “At this stage, we would not like to record any finding or views with regard to the contents of the said report. Rather, we are of the opinion that such of the core information conveyed to the court in the aforesaid confidential report which can legitimately be brought into the public domain be made available to the counsels for the petitioners," the Bench Saudi writer Khashoggi strangled and dismembered, says Turkey AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ISTANBUL, 31 OCTOBER Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body was dismembered and destroyed as part of a premeditated plan, Turkey's chief prosecutor said Wednesday, making details of the murder public for the first time. The revelations came only an hour after Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor left Istanbul, and his Turkish counterpart said he was “obliged” to release the information after their talks produced “no concrete results”. Gruesome reports in the Turkish media had previously alleged that Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Washington Post contributor who had criticised the powerful Saudi crown prince, was killed and cut into pieces by a team sent from Riyadh to silence him. His body has not been found. “In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled to death immediately P2 SILVER 38,400.00 +100.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 75.46 -0.45 Modi unveils Patel statue, tribals protest with black balloons India ranks 77th in ease of business WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI, 31 OCTOBER India has jumped 23 places to the 77th position in theWorld Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking released today, a development that could help the country attract more foreign investments. India was ranked 100th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report last year. The ranking comes as a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government which faces strong dissenting voices from the Opposition ahead of general election next year. In its annual ‘Doing Business’ 2019 report, the World Bank said India improved on six of the 10 parameters relating to starting and doing business. PTI (P8) Rafale deal: SC seeks price details of 36 fighter jets from Centre STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE ANOTHER ONE-DAY SERIES IS RIPE FOR THE PICKING Govt said to have invoked powers never used before under RBI Act Min. 55% TEMPERATURE P6 NIFTY 10,386.60 +188.20 WEATHER ‘NORTH KOREA READYING N-SITE FOR INSPECTORS’ MR ABE’S NEW TEAM LOANS ALONE WOULD NOT HELP Jamal Khashoggi after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 for marriage formalities,” said a statement from the office of Istanbul chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan. “The victim's body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation ~ again, in line with advance plans,” it added. Saudi Arabia sent its attorney general to Istanbul this week, seeking to draw a line under a crisis that has brought near unprecedented scrutiny on the Gulf nation. Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb arrived in Istanbul on Sunday, met with Fidan twice, visited the consulate and spoke with Turkey's MIT intelligence agency. He then flew out of Istanbul on Wednesday afternoon without making a public statement. “Despite our well-intentioned efforts to reveal the truth, no concrete results have come out of those meetings,” the Turkish prosecutor's office said. It added that the Saudi prosecutor's office invited Fidan and his delegation to Riyadh “along with the evidence they have obtained”. A senior Turkish official earlier said that Saudi officials seemed “primarily interested in finding out what evidence Turkey had against the perpetrators”. After initially insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, then saying he died in a brawl during an interview gone wrong, the Saudi regime has admitted he was killed by a “rogue operation” and arrested 18 people. said. "Along with the said facts, further details that could legitimately come in the public domain with regard to the induction of the Indian offset partner (if any) be also furnished to the learned counsels for the parties." When the AG told the Bench that the report which the Centre has already placed before the court was covered under the Official Secrets Act and could not be shared, the Bench said that confidential and strategic information need not be shared. The Bench also noted that in none of the PILs filed before it in the matter, the “suitability” of Rafale fighter jets and its “utility” to the Indian Air Force have been questioned. “What has been questioned is the bona fides of the decision-making process and the price/cost of the equipment (jets) at which the same is to be procured,” the court said. During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who along with ex-Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie has filed a petition in the matter, said they were seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the Rafale deal. “That you will have to wait,” the Chief Justice said, adding “Let CBI put its house in order first”. The other PILs in the case have been filed by lawyers M L Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and AAP MP Sanjay Singh. The Bench asked the Centre to give necessary information to the court and the counsels for petitioners in the next 10 days. It said the parties may then file their response, fixing 14 November as the next date of hearing. Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan, in their PIL, sought registration of an FIR, alleging “criminal misconduct” by high public functionaries in the Rafale deal. They wanted a direction to the CBI to investigate the offences mentioned in their complaint in a “timebound” manner. Indian Air Force helicopters shower rose petals on the "Statue Of Unity", the world's tallest statue dedicated to independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, overlooking the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara in India's western Gujarat state on Wednesday. AFP STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, 31 OCTOBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the Statue of Unity, built as a tribute to freedom movement icon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had unified as many as 562 princely states into the newly independent nation, on his 143rd birth anniversary today. The grand ceremony at Kevdiya village in Narmada district, three kilometres downstream of the multi-purpose Sardar Sarovar Dam, had its share of controversies too as several activists and tribal people protesting the loss of land and livelihood were detained or put under house arrest. However, the tribal people affected by the Rs 2,989 crore memorial for the ‘Iron Man’ of India succeeded in registering their protest in a unique way by releasing in the air black balloons. Recalling the contribution of Sardar Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary, Prime Minister Modi said that had he not unified India, people would have required visa to watch lions at Gir or pray at Somnath temple. “If you are able to travel from Kutch to Kohima and Kargil to Kanyakumari without any hassle, it is because of Sardar Patel’s efforts towards a united India,” said the Prime Minister. Talking about the criticism he is facing about 182-metre statue, Mr Modi said that he is amazed that people see politics in honouring of a great personality like Sardar Patel. Modi also said that the ‘Statue of Unity’ would create employment and build a stronger economy. Sardar Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’ is an engineering marvel and symbol of technical excellence, he said at the unveiling ceremony which also saw colourful cultural programmes and showering of flowers from Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters. The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and has been built by Larsen and Toubro. The ‘Statue of Unity’ site also has several other attractions like photo gallery on Sardar Patel, auditorium and a valley of flowers spread over many kilometres on the bank of Narmada river. The ceremony was an all BJP affair as the Opposition Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence on the dais. Those present on the occasion included BJP president Amit Shah, governors of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, chief minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi. Hashimpura case: Life term for 16 former cops PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 OCTOBER Over three decades after the Hashimpura massacre in Uttar Pradesh in which 38 Muslims were shot dead in cold blood, Delhi High Court Wednesday sentenced 16 former policemen to life imprisonment, holding it was a “targeted killing” of “unarmed, innocent and defenceless” persons. Reversing an order of the trial court in 2015 that acquitted the 16 personnel, who were with the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel termed the case as an instance of custodial killing where the legal system was unable to effectively prosecute the perpetrators of gross human rights abuses. Around 42 to 45 Muslim men, old and young, were rounded up by the PAC from Hashimpura area in Meerut city on 22 May 1987 and taken away in the armed force's truck, the court noted. The victims were shot at two different locations by the PAC personnel with .303 rifles and the bodies were thrown into two canals ~ Gang nahar and Hindon river, it said. During the hearings, it was stated by the counsels before the high court that in all 42 persons were killed. But the court in its 73page judgment concluded that 38 were killed while five survived to recount the horrific tale. The bodies of just 11 of the dead could be identified later by their relatives while the remaining bodies CMYK were not recovered, it said. “This was a case of a targeted killing revealing an institutional bias within the law enforcement agents in this case,” the court said, lamenting the manner in which the law enforcement officials have “frustrated” the cause of justice by weeding out important records. “The prolongation of the trial for over two decades, compounded by the endemic systemic delays, have frus- trated the attempts at securing effective justice for the victims,” the court said and directed the convicts to surrender by 22 November, failing which the SHO concerned will immediately take them into custody. It said a “disturbing” aspect of the case was the targeted killings of persons belonging to a minority community soon after the incident of riots in which two rifles of the PAC were allegedly taken away by the rioters. “It points to the disproportionate reaction by the PAC in targeting the members of the minority community. The court is therefore unable to accept the submission on behalf of the accused that the motive for the commission of the crime was not proved,” it added. The 16 former policemen were held guilty for the offences of murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the IPC and the life terms effectively means they will be behind bars for the remainder of their natural lives. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 each on the 16 convicts who all have retired from service. The verdict came on the appeals filed by the UP government, National Human Rights Commission, survivors and victims' families against the trial court verdict on 21 March 2015. The case was transferred to Delhi on a Supreme Court direction in September 2002 following a petition by the families of the massacre victims and survivors. (Photo: File)
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