CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 JANUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P9 SENSEX 36,068.33 -8.39 ‘TRUMP SLOWING DOWN SYRIAN TROOP PULLOUT’ DALAI LAMA ‘STILL HEALTHY, WANTS TO LIVE FOR 100 YEARS’ HASINA SECURES LANDSLIDE VICTORY; EC SAYS NO REPOLL P5 NIFTY 10,862.55 -2.65 ` vs $ 69.77 +18 PAISE P10 GOLD 30,480.00 +50.00 AW case: Antony ‘shields’ Gandhis, BJP hits back PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 DECEMBER WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 24 and 12 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.81% Min. 40% Max: 24.2°C (-1) SUN RISES 16:17 hrs MOON RISES 01.52 hrs Min: 12.2°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:04 hrs MOON SETS 13:36 hrs TEMPERATURE New moon on 5 January THUMBNAILS Seeking to shield Sonia and Rahul Gandhi from allegations in the AgustaWestland bribery case, former defence minister A K Antony on Monday said the two top Congress leaders “never interfered” in the VVIP chopper deal or any defence contract during the UPA regime. The assertion by Antony in which he also accused the BJP and the government of “manufacturing” lies came on a day of escalating political war of words in the AgustaWestland chopper deal with BJP president Amit Shah leading the party offensive against the Gandhis. In a series of tweets, Shah said the “friendship” between Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the deal, and Congress' top leadership is “time tested and deep”. He also asked what is this Family Balm' that every middleman wants. As part of its nationwide campaign to attack the Congress over Michel's statement to the Enforcement Directorate(ED), the BJP fielded its chief ministers and top leaders in state capitals across the country. Yogi Adityanath, Devendra Fadnavis, Jai Ram Thakur and Trivendra Singh Rawat--the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand respectively--were among those who addressed news conferences. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath claimed that the Rs 3,700 crore AgustaWestland deal during the UPA regime involved a bribery of around Rs 360 crore, out of which the Congress leaders got Rs 150 crore. He, however, did not elaborate on his claim. The BJP's senior state leaders also spoke to reporters in Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, according to a party leader in Delhi. The BJP stepped up its attack on the Congress and its leaders in the wake of the alleged reference made by Michel about one “Mrs Gandhi”, as told by the ED to a Delhi court. The Congress, has, however, rejected the allegations and has counteralleged that it was the Modi government that was a “protector, benefactor and promoter” of AgustaWestland as it lifted a ban imposed on the helicopter maker during the UPA rule and allowed it to bid for 100 naval utility helicopters. “I would like to say categorically that (UPA chairperson) Sonia Gandhi and (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi never showed any interest ... never interfered in the AgustaWestland deal. During my entire tenure as defence minister, Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi never interfered in any defence deal,” Antony told a press conference in Parliament premises, ”The Government and the BJP are misusing agencies to manufacture lies. I am surprised to know that the present government is spreading lies....is trying to manufacture something out of nothing,” the UPA defence minister Antony said. Mayawati puts pressure on Cong in 2 states over cases CHEERS! Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent New Year greetings to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi. Modi congratulates Hasina: Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Monday and conveyed his heartiest congratulations on her party's decisive victory in the elections. The MEA said Modi expressed confidence that the partnership between India and Bangladesh will continue to flourish under her leadership. Sajjan Kumar surrenders in court, sent to jail: Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar surrendered before a court in Delhi to serve the life sentence awarded to him by the High Court in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. He was sent to Mandoli jail by Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg, who ordered he be provided a separate van for commuting due to “security threat”. IL&FS puts up assets for sale: The debt-laden IL&FS group has further put up its properties for sale to garner funds in order to settle loan dues. It has invited bids from interested buyers for properties (commercial and residential) in Mumbai and one in Kolkata. Properties on sale include a 1,376 sq ft residential property P8 located at upscale Malabar Hill. The last sunset of the year 2018 as viewed from Kolkata on Monday. DILIP DUTTA SNS & PTI LUCKNOW, 31 DECEMBER Virtually putting the Congress-led governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on notice, the BSP supremo Mayawati on Monday said she might have to “reconsider” her party's outside support to them if cases against “innocent” persons framed in the Bharat Bandh on April 2 were not withdrawn. “If the newly-elected governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan do not act swiftly and withdraw the cases against the innocent persons framed in Bharat Bandh, the BSP may have to reconsider extending the outside support to the Congress governments,” she said in a hard-hitting press release here. Mayawati said the cases against the innocent people were framed out of political and caste considerations in Uttar Pradesh and other BJP-ruled states including MP and Rajasthan, which were previously under the BJP She said now that MP . and Rajasthan are ruled by the Congress, the new governments should immediately withdraw such cases, failing which her party would have to reconsider its decision of extending outside support. The BSP has two members in Madhya Pradesh's 230-member Assembly, while in Rajasthan her party has six seats in the House of 200 MLAs. The BSP extended outside support to the Congress to form governments in these two states as it had failed to reach majority on its own. Mayawati also said the governments formed by the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan should not ‘Now that MP and Rajasthan are ruled by the Congress, the new govts should immediately withdraw cases against ‘innocent’ persons’ framed in the 2 April Bharat Bandh’ work like the BJP which did not ful, fil its promises made to the farmers and the unemployed. “The warning to the Congress is necessary, as now merely making announcements is not enough. People are of the view that in making promises on paper, the Congress and the BJP are two sides of the same coin. Now, it depends on the Congress whether it is able to change this perception,” she said in the statement. She said had the Centre left its “stubborn” behaviour pertaining to triple talaq bill, 2018, and sent it to the joint select committee of Parliament as demanded by the entire Opposition, it would have been better. The BSP chief said in the past five years, there have been non-fulfilment of promises, and by showing dreams of 'achchey din', demonetisation and GST have been implemented in an immature manner. Footage claims Khashoggi ‘facts’ AGENCIES ANKARA, 31 DECEMBER A Turkish television station has broadcast CCTV footage showing men carrying cases and bags which it says contained slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's body parts. The images shown on AHaber television late Sunday feature three men carrying five suitcases and two large black bags into the home of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul. The residence lies a short distance from the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was murdered in October in a killing that has tested Riyadh's relations with the West. Citing unnamed Turkish sources, A-Haber said Khashoggi's dismembered body was inside the cases and bags. Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 shortly after entering the kingdom's consulate in what Riyadh called a “rogue” operation. The 59-year-old former Saudi insider turned critic was strangled before he was cut up into pieces by a team of 15 Saudis sent to Istanbul for the killing, according to Turkish officials, with media reports suggesting the parts were dissolved in acid. The consulate and the residence were searched by the Turkish authorities in October along with several other locations but Khashoggi's body has still not been found. There has been speculation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the hit but Riyadh has absolved the de facto leader of any blame. Saudi Arabia has also repeatedly rejected Turkish demands to extradite suspects connected to the murder of the journalist, a critic of the crown prince. A-Haber said the bags and suitcases were put into a minibus which travelled the short distance from the consulate to a garage at the residence. The men are then seen taking them inside. CMYK ‘AUSTRALIA NOT VERY RICH IN BATTING TALENT’ P11 SILVER 38,350.00 00.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 54.56 +1.35 Opp thwarts triple talaq bill in RS United Opp wants draft law to be sent to a select committee for scrutiny STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 DECEMBER mid a standoff between the BJP-led government and a united Opposition led by the Congress party, the Rajya Sabha failed to take up the triple talaq Bill for discussion today, with the entire Opposition sticking to its demand that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee for a thorough legislative scrutiny before it is taken up for consideration and passing. The government, however, kept pressing for a discussion on the revised Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, which criminalises the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims, even as both camps crossed swords on the contentious matter, accusing each other of "doing politics" over it. With the BJP and the Congress-led Opposition continuing to exchange fireworks and the AIADMK members carrying on with their protests on the Cauvery river dam issue, the proceedings of the Upper House were adjourned a A HOUSE HIGHLIGHTS With the government pressing for a discussion on the bill, the Opposition stuck to its demand for sending the bill to a select committee. Amid a stalemate between the government and the Opposition over the issue, the Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business. The House was adjourned for the day amid din over the bill. Earlier, the House was adjourned twice during the day. The Bill is very important. We want to discuss it here (House) and are ready to listen to any suggestion. Bill is crucial and requires further scrutiny. More than half of the members want it to be sent to a select committee RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD GHULAM NABI AZAD UNION LAW MINISTER RAJYA SABHA CONG LEADER couple of times before Deputy Chairman Harivansh was forced to adjourn it for the day. The Rajya Sabha will now meet on 2 January when the Bill is again likely to cause heated exchanges between the Treasury and Opposition benches. When the Upper House met this afternoon for the post-lunch sitting following an earlier adjournment, the Deputy Chairman said that the House will be taking up the triple talaq Bill, which was passed last week by the Lok Sabha where the BJP-led NDA government enjoys a majority unlike the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition members were however on their feet demanding that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Narendra Modi government has been disregarding the old practice of sending important Bills to the Standing Committees for legislative scrutiny. "Since the government does not send such Bills to the Standing Committees, the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha is forced to fight for sending them to the Select Committees," Azad said. He said the instant triple talaq Bill would affect crores of people in a "positive or negative" manner and that its thorough scrutiny by such parliamentary panels was thus "essential". Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “This Bill is very important....There have been incidents of triple talaq till yesterday. It is a question of gender equality....We want to discuss and pass the Bill.”
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