THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 06 DECEMBER 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 P7 SENSEX 35,884.41 -249.90 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 26 and 8 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P9 NIFTY 10,782.90 -86.60 Min. 40% Max: 25.0°C (0) SUN RISES 07:01 hrs MOON RISES 6:44 hrs Min: 08.4°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 16:55 hrs ` vs $ 70.46 +3 PAISE GOLD 29,845.00 -100.00 PM-Cong clash C over Michel THUMBNAILS Ex-coal secy, 2 officials sentenced to jail term: c A Delhi court Wednesday sentenced former coal secretary H C Gupta to three-year imprisonment in a coal block allocation scam which happened during the previous UPA regime, saying such “white collar crimes were more dangerous to society” than ordinary offences. The court also awarded similar punishment to P2 two other bureaucrats. SC orders attachment of Amrapali property: Continuing its crackdown on the embattled Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered attachment and sale of the realty firm's five-star hotel, cinema hall, malls and factories across India, calling it “a worst kind of cheater” and “a perfect liar” for P6 not complying with the court's direction. Trump asks OPEC not to cut production: US President Donald Trump has urged OPEC members not to slash production at their two-day Vienna meeting beginning Thursday, saying global oil prices should remain low. His comment came as members of OPEC and other oilproducing nations prepared to meet. MUMBAI, 5 DECEMBER case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the CBI and the ED. Both the agencies notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him after the court had issued a nonbailable warrant against him. Michel had denied the charges. The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on 8 February 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million. TURN TO PAGE 10 DETAILS ON PAGE 11 NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER A Christian Michel after being produced in Patiala House SNS Court, in the Capital on Wednesday vide all relevant documents, including the charge sheet, to Michel. A bail plea was also moved on Michel's behalf. The court did not give any specific date for hearing the bail plea. Security was tightened at the Patiala House court complex here ahead of production of Michel. Dozens of CRPF and Delhi Police personnel were deployed in the court premises. Michel is one of the three European middlemen being probed in the PTI LONDON, 5 DECEMBER arate” matter which will take its “own legal course”. “The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100 per cent back. I humbly request the banks and government to take it. If payback refused, why,” he questioned in one of his posts on Twitter. In reference to some Indian media reports claiming that his offer is linked to an expected ruling in the extradition case on December 10, he added: “Usual nonsense! I have made settlement offers since 2016.” After weeks of silence, Mallya shot off a series of tweets since the early hours of Wednesday to defend the loans he had acquired from various banks as a means of keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline afloat. “Airlines struggling financially partly because of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of USD 140/barrel. Losses mounted and that's where banks money went. I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it,” reads one of his posts. Making a reference to his liquor group United Breweries, Mallya said that “India's largest alcoholic beverage group” had contributed “thousands of crores” to the state exchequer over the years. “Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay Banks so no loss. Please take it,” he said. In a further lament against the Indian government and media, he adds:“Politicians and the media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU Bank money. All this is false. Why don't I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. Sad.” Mallya's tweets came hours after alleged AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel was brought to India from Dubai, the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against alleged economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. P16 SILVER 36,800.00 -300.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 61.81 -0.27 UP violence: Villagers dispute names in FIR SNS & PTI The monetary policy committee or MPC of the Reserve Bank of India not only maintained the status quo on key policy repurchasing or repo rate at 6.5 per cent, but also retained its "calibrated tightening" stance of its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy citing that economic growth is on track and needs close monitoring. Delivering a big surprise, the MPC drastically lowered the consumer inflation or CPI for the second half of the current FY 2018-19 to 2.73.2 per cent and for H1 in 2019-20 to 3.8-4.2 per cent. Expressing sati s f a c t i o n ov e r t h e macroeconomic parameters, MPC retained its GDP projection for the current fiscal at 7.4 per cent after taking into consideration H2 GDP at 7.2-7.3 per cent. The GDP projection for H1 2019-20 has been suggested at 7.5 per cent. The policy makes positive reference to falling crude oil prices and subsequent stability in foreign exchange market where INR looks stable, albeit for now. SNS Mallya offers to repay 100 per cent ‘public money’ Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday took to social media with an offer to pay back 100 per cent of “public money” to various Indian banks and urged the government to accept his offer, days ahead of a UK court's decision on his plea not to extradite him to India. The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail in the UK on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores. A ruling in the case is expected at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on 10 December, but the businessman stressed that the extradition issue was a “sep- RBI keeps key rates unchanged SNS & PTI day after Christian Michel James ~ an alleged middleman in the scrapped Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal ~ was extradited to India, he was produced before a Delhi court which remanded him in the CBI custody for five days, even as a war of words broke out between the ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress afresh over this case. A British national, Michel was brought to India late last night following his extradition by the UAE. He was produced before special CBI judge Arvind Kumar here this afternoon. Michel's lawyer urged the court to send him to judicial custody but the CBI sought his 14-day custodial interrogation to confront him with evidence and unearth the money trail in the case. However, the judge allowed the CBI to interrogate Michel for five days in its custody. The court also asked the agency to pro- INDIA BRACE FOR BATTLE DOWN UNDER P13 5-day CBI remand for AW chopper deal ‘middleman’ Max.97% TEMPERATURE ‘IF US DEVELOPS BANNED MISSILES, SO WILL RUSSIA’ REALISTIC FANTASIES IN KOREAN DÉTENTE ‘FORM CONCRETE STRATEGY TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE’ 5 student and a 12-year-old Class 6 student are on the list. The two, who can't be identified because of their minor status, are cousins. “Their names should be removed from the FIR which accuses them of cow slaughter. Just look at them,” said the father of the Class 5 student, pointing to the children. The 42-year-old, who lost his right foot during a motorcycle accident six years ago, said the children stay at home. “I was summoned to the police station in Siyana on Tuesday. I was told the names (of the children) are in the FIR. I was made to wait for three hours and told that 'kaptan saahab' (local police chief) would enquire about something. But nothing happened and I returned home,” he said.The mother of the Class 6 student said police reached her home at 2.15 a.m. on Tuesday and started conducting a check at that unearthly hour.They were not sure of the name of her son and kept looking for a “Shehzaad” and “Qasim”, she said. “They left at 2.30 a.m. before leaving everything in the house messed up,” she claimed, adding that they kept asking where she was hiding him. Her husband lives and works in Delhi. SP city of Bulandshahr BULANDSHAHR/MEERUT, 5 DECEMBER OfthesevenpeoplefromNaya Bans named in an FIR on cow slaughter related to the mob violence, two are 12 and 10, one does not stay in the village and a fourth was at a Muslim congregation 40 kilometres away, angry villagers said on Wednesday. The FIR is based on a complaint filed by Bajrang Dal's district convenor Yogesh Raj, the main accused in the violence that broke out on Monday after cow carcasses were allegedly found strewn in a jungle, leading to the killing of a police inspector and a 20year-old man, police officials said. Yogesh Raj has been absconding since Monday. Police is investigating the violence that led to Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and Sumit Kumar dying of gunshot injuries on the basis of two FIRs ~ one on cow slaughter and the other on violence. Naya Bans village, less than three km from Chingrawati where the violence took place, is the focal point of the cow slaughter FIR. All seven named are from the village and all are Muslims. According to the villagers, a 10-year-old Class Praveen Ranjan Singh said the matter has come to their notice and they have instructed the area police to investigate the matter . Tempers were running high in the village with residents disputing two other names. One was not a resident of the village and the other was working in the Ijtima (Muslim congregation) about 40 km away. Mohammad Hussain said his brother Safruddin, 36, was wrongly named in the FIR. “Several people from Naya Bans, including Safruddin, went for the Ijtima. He was there from November 29 and returned yesterday. He was given the task of managing parking at the Ijtima,” Hussain said, showing an Ijtima management slip that named Safruddin as a parking official. Safruddin, who works as a cloth trader in Siyana near Naya Bans, has three children ~ a 14-year-old daughter and two sons, 12 and 8. As his brother was being questioned by police, Hussain waited patiently outside the police station for him. The fourth name being disputed is that of Sudaif Chaudhary. Queries during a visit to the village yielded no result. Locals said nobody by that name lives in the village. SEE ALSO PAGE 5 IISc lab blast kills 1, hurts 3 Fight between top 2 exposed CBI to ridicule, Centre tells SC BENGALURU, 5 DECEMBER PTI NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER A suspected cylinder blast killed a 32year old technician and injured three others during an experiment in the aerodynamics laboratory of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here Wednesday, police said. Four technicians of a private start-up company were involved in some experiment at the laboratory when an explosion occurred suddenly at around 2.20 pm, they said. Technician Manoj from Mysuru died on the spot while three others suffered injuries. The injured have been admitted to a private hospital where their condition was said to be stable, police said. Though the nature of explosion and its cause were yet to be established, it was suspected that the incident occurred due to a blast in a cylinder containing some gas, they said. Assistant Commissioner of Police Niranjan Raj Urs told PTI that the start-up company Superwave Technologies Private Limited was having a tie-up with the IISc for carrying out experiments PTI pertaining to its research. The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the fight between two top officers of the CBI ~ Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana ~ in public exposed the premier probe agency to ridicule. Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the fight between the two officers impacted the image of the CBI. The Centre's main aim was to see that confidence of the public in this premier institution is restored, he said. “Dispute between CBI Director and Special Director was pulling d ow n i n t e g r i t y a n d respect of premier institution,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph. “Two top officers, Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana, were fighting against each other and went public which exposed CBI to ridicule,” Venugopal told the bench. He said the fight between them had created an unprecedented and extraordinary situation and the Government of India was watching with “amazement” as to what these two officers were doing. “They were fighting like Kilkenny cats,” Venugopal said, adding that it was absolutely essential for the Centre to step in and act in the tussle between two officers. He also submitted that the Centre acted within its jurisdiction on complaints made in July and October this year. “If the government had not done so, only God knows where and how this fight between the two top officers would have ended,” Venugopal told the bench. The Attorney General concluded his arguments and now Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), has started making the submissions.The Centre had perused the report of t h e C VC , w h i c h o n Asthana's complaint against Verma had made s o m e re c o m m e n d a tions. After that the two officers were sent on leave. Superfast trains come super slow to Delhi… A STATESMAN SPECIAL REPORT ...except when they touch Gujarat NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER They don’t figure in election promises, nor does their plight attract the attention of the apex court. Legal luminaries do not take up their cause through public interest litigation, and the Prime Minister does not feel it is necessary to pull up the Railway Minister for his department’s tardiness. And yet in the silent loot that is perpetrated on them several thousand times every day, users of long-distance trains are each made to shell out between Rs 30 and Rs 75 when they travel on a train that is described as a “superfast” but takes scandalously longer than it ought to before it reaches its destination. A random analysis of superfast trains – excluding Rajdhani and Shatabdi expresses which enjoy exalted status - coming to the national Capital from vari- Trains that originate in Gujarat or pass through the Prime Minister’s home state show remarkable punctuality, suggesting that when the Railway Minister wants to please his ROUTE MUMBAI-DELHI 12907 Bandra-Nizamuddin 12903 Golden Temple Mail 12925 Paschim Express AHMEDABAD-NEW DELHI 12917 Guj Sam Kranti Express 12915 Ashram Express 12216 Garib Rath ous state headquarters shows that several of these trains never reach on time, and many are significantly late, sometimes up to six-and-ahalf hours on a 10-and-a-half hour run. And these shocking delays have taken place before the onset of the winter fog, which means trav- ellers would have to suffer even more in the weeks to come. Last November, Indian Railways had blithely “upgraded” 48 additional trains to the superfast category and thereby levied additional charges of Rs 30 on sleeper class tickets, of Rs 45 for second and third AC and Rs 75 for first AC classes. With this, the number of trains designated as superfast touched 1072; impressive on the face of it but depressing when compared with performance. At the time itself, it was known that the decision was a des- perate one to mop up more revenue and was not aimed really aimed at making journeys shorter. In its report last July, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had made scathing remarks about the imposition of the superfast boss, he is capable of doing so. Trains from Mumbai to Delhi that pass Gujarat, and those from Ahmedabad to Delhi show on-time performances that verge on the incredulous when compared with those from other points Scheduled Run of origin around the country. As our analysis shows, even when they are late, it is by a few minutes and not as in the case of trains from Kolkata, Patna and Bhubaneswar by several hours each day. 21 hrs 10 m 21 hrs 20 m 23 hrs 05 m Performance on last 3 days On-time %age Late by Late by Late by last 3 months (hr:m) (hr:m) (hr:m) 00:15 00:15 88.46% RT RT RT 72.22% 00:07 00:13 RT 75.56% 17 hrs 05 m 14 hrs 54 m 16 hrs 12 m 00:05 00:05 00:12 RT 00:15 00:11 levy saying that test audits had revealed many trains had not achieved the stipulated average speed of 55 kmph for broad-gauge services. But the CAG report did not cause even a ripple. Of course, there is no provision in railway rules for RT 00:05 00:08 97.44% 56.67% 84.62% refund of the superfast surcharge when because of delay the train ceases to be fast enough to make the grade. For instance, on its 1722 km run between Bhubaneswar and Anand Vihar Terminus, the Nandan Kanan Express ought to run at an average speed of 59.89 kmph. When it is delayed by 7 hours 59 minutes, the average speed drops to 46.85 kmph; when it is delayed by four hours as it almost invariably is, the average speed drops to 52.5 kmph. Similarly, if the Northeast express were to adhere to its schedule, it would operate at an average speed of 61 kmph between Patna and Delhi. But when it is four or more hours late, as it often is, the average speed drops to 47 kmph, insufficient to earn the superfast tag. While The Statesman’s analysis of on-time performances of 22 superfast trains coming here from state capitals tells a sorry tale, it does not disclose the added inconvenience countless passengers face when after having planned to reach their destination in the evening and when buses and the Metro are available, they find themselves being fleeced by taxi and auto-rickshaw operators late at night.
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.