TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 JANUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR FIJI AFTER COUPS DALAI LAMA ‘STILL HEALTHY, WANTS TO LIVE FOR 100 YEARS’ P4 SENSEX 36,068.33 -8.39 P12 P8 NIFTY 10,862.55 -2.65 ` vs $ 69.77 +18 PAISE GOLD 30,480.00 +50.00 NEW DELHI, 31 DECEMBER WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Moderate fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 23 and 05 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.100% Min. 39% TEMPERATURE Max: 22.2°C (+3) SUN RISES 07:14 hrs MOON RISES 03:41 hrs Min: 03.8°C (-4) SUN SETS 17:36 hrs MOON SETS 14:15 hrs THUMBNAILS A view of the last sunset of 2018 from Raj Path SUBRATA DUTTA in the Capital on Monday. 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. 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 P11 located at upscale Malabar Hill. CHEERS! Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent New Year greetings to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi. 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. P16 SILVER 38,350.00 00.00 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. United Opp wants draft law to be sent to a Select Committee for scrutiny STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE talaq Bill, which was HOUSE HIGHLIGHTS NEW DELHI, 31 DECEMBER passed last week by the Lok A mid a standoff between the BJPled 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 1984 riots: Sajjan surrenders in court, sent to Mandoli jail 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 OPP LEADER proceedings of the Upper House were adjourned a 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 AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 31 DECEMBER security officials . The trial court declined the plea of Kumar's lawyer that he be sent to highsecurity Tihar Jail as the case pertains to Delhi Cantonment area which comes under Tihar Jail's jurisdiction. The court was informed by jail authorities that from Karkardooma court, all convicts are first taken to Mandoli jail and from there, the authorities may shift them to another jail, if they deem it appropriate. “The convict is taken into custody and be sent to jail as per rules. Since, there is security threat to the convict, he be provided a separate van for commuting from court to jail and from jail to court,” the magistrate said in the twopage order. Kumar came to the courtroom surrounded by 2-3 commandos along with 20-25 Delhi Police personnel, including women, said one of the police officers. He was flanked by his confidant Kailash and 4-5 advocates. No family member or Congress leader accompanied him. The court was informed by Kumar's counsel that the Rs 1 lakh fine imposed by the high court is yet to be deposited. Earlier in the day, former MLAs Krishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were also convicted in the same case, surrendered before the court to serve their 10-year jail term. They were accompanied by family members and relatives. The court allowed Yadav to take spectacles and walking stick to jail. Kumar, a former Member of Parliament, has already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the conviction and life sentence awarded to him by the high court. There is also another antiSikh riots case pending against him. The high court on 17 December convicted and sentenced Kumar to life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”. After his conviction, Kumar resigned from the Congress party. The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar Part-I area of southwest Delhi on 1-2 November 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II. The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards. 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". He said the Opposition parties proposed to move a motion that this Bill should be sent to a Select Committee. TURN TO PAGE 6 Mayawati puts pressure on Cong in 2 states over cases SNS & PTI LUCKNOW, 31 DECEMBER Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on Monday surrendered before a court here amid tight security to serve the life sentence awarded to him by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Kumar, 73, was sent to Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi by Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg, who directed that he be provided a separate van for commuting due to “security threat”. Clad in a black coat and trousers, a cream coloured muffler and a blue cap, Sajjan Kumar was flanked by his lawyers and surrounded by scores of security personnel as he arrived at Karkardooma court at 2.15 p.m. on Monday, the deadline for surrendering set by the High Court which had on 21 December declined his plea to extend the time by a month. Outside the court complex, a group of Sikhs gathered raising slogans and showing the victory sign after Kumar surrendered. Media persons were not allowed inside the court room by the judge and BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 54.56 +1.35 Opposition thwarts triple talaq Bill in RS AW case: Antony ‘shields’ Gandhis, BJP hits back PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MANDHANA WINS AWARDS ‘TRUMP SLOWING DOWN SYRIAN TROOP PULLOUT’ 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 BJPruled 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 work like the BJP, which did not fulfil 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” ‘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’ 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’ Landslide for Hasina; Oppn rejects poll verdict AGENCIES PTI 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 theWashington 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. DHAKA, 31 DECEMBER Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's alliance has won the parliamentary vote with a thumping majority, officials said on Monday, even as the main opposition rejected the “farcical” elections which claimed 18 lives and left over 200 injured, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country. The ruling Awami Leagueled grand alliance has won 288 seats in the 300-member Parliament, Election Commis- sion (EC) secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said. The oppositionJatiyaOikyaFront-National Unity Front (NUF) - has secured seven seats, he said, adding that others have won three seats. Rejecting the results, the opposition NUF urged the EC to immediately scrap the “farcical election” and hold a fresh one under a non-partisan interim government. NUF chiefandveteranlawyerKamal Hossain called the polls a “farce”, citing widespread polling frauds, bdnews24.com reported. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who steered the party in the absence of imprisoned former prime minister Khaleda Zia, described the polls as a “cruel farce”. He said the elections proved that free and fair polls were not possible under a partisan government. Modi greets Hasina: Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned hisBangladeshi counterpart on Monday and conveyed his heartiest congratulations on Sheikh Hasina's decisive victory in the parliamentary elections. The MinistryofExternalAffairssaidModi expressed confidence that the partnership between India and Bangladesh will continue to flourish under her “farsighted”leadership.Hasinaalso thanked the prime minister for being the first leader to call her to convey his congratulations. SEE PAGE 13
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