THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 JANUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR WHY IT IS HONOURABLE TO SPURN HONORARY DEGREES NEW TAX REGIME TAKES EFFECT, GOVT ON TENTERHOOKS P9 SENSEX 35,891.52 -363.05 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% Max: 23.4°C (+4) SUN RISES 07:15 hrs MOON RISES 05:33 hrs Min: 06.5°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:37 hrs MOON SETS 15:36 hrs THUMBNAILS Ramakant Achrekar (photo), the celebrated cricket coach credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar, died in Mumbai on Wednesday. Bihar murderers lynched: A mob lynched two suspected murderers in Bihar soon after an RJD leader was shot dead by unidentified persons, triggering panic in the areas. The incident took place in Nalanda, the home district of chief minister Nitish Kumar. Passports missing: Government on Wednesday said it has declared as “lost” passports of 23 Indians after receiving information that the documents were misplaced by the Pakistani High Commission. The Indians, whose passports went missing, had applied for visa. Subsidy for merchant exporters: The government on Wednesday decided to provide 3 per cent interest subsidy to merchant exporters, entailing an expenditure of Rs 600 crore, to P11 enhance liquidity. SILVER 39,350.00 +100.00 Rafale firestorm rages in Lok Sabha, spirals outside STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY NO HOLDS BARRED T he raging firestorm over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal today swept through the Lok Sabha again as the ruling BJP and the Congressled Opposition exchanged fireworks during a fierce, noholds-barred debate amid unrelenting din and slogan-shouting. Their war of words subsequently erupted outside Parliament. Sparks flew between the two camps in the Lower House, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi unleashing a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi while accusing him again of being allegedly involved in Rafale "scam" in a bid to benefit his "failed businessman friend" Anil Ambani with Rs 30,000 crore offset contract after "thoroughly violating" norms and the process. Gandhi charged that the PM did not have the courage to come and face questions in Parliament during the Rafale PM Modi living in another reality, says Cong chief NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY ‘The tape was false and fabricated and Gandhi would not Congress chief Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering authenticate it as it attack on the PM, accusing him of involvement. was false. This man lies, lies repeatedly. ‘ Rahul Gandhi said the PM was involved in the Sparks flew between the two camps -govt and Opposition - in the Lok Sabha over the Rafale issue. scam in a bid to benefit his ‘friend’ Anil Ambani. FM Arun Jaitley said there was no corruption. debate, even as he and other Opposition leaders maintained their demand for a JPC probe. Rejecting the Opposition's JPC probe demand, finance minister Arun Jaitley maintained that there was no corruption in this deal, accusing the Congress of "inventing" allegations against a "clean" government despite having a "running legacy of scams ranging from Bofors scam to AugustaWestland VVIP chopper scandal to the National Herald case". The Lok Sabha witnessed frequent adjournments as the two sides traded allegations and counter-allegations. The discussion on the Rafale issue ended abruptly in the evening after the Speaker suspended 24 AIADMK members for five days overprotests against a dam ARUN JAITLEY UNION FINANCE MINISTER across Cauvery river. Dealing a blow to the Modi government, its ally Shiv Sena also supported the JPC demand.The House witnessed high drama as Gandhi sought the Speaker's permission to play an audio tape, purportedly of a Goa minister Vishwajit Rane, on the Rafale matter. But the Speaker asked Gandhi to authenticate the tape. Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with advocate Prashant Bhushan approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking review of its December 14 judgement which dismissed all PILs alleging irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France. The apex court had relied upon “patently incorrect” claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover in the court, they alleged in their review plea. They said that they were not given an opportunity to be heard on the claims made by the government in the note “resulting in gross miscarriage of justice”. PTI Parrikar’s purported claim on Rafale file triggers row SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Sparks flew between the Congress and the government Wednesday over Goa CM Manohar Parrikar's purported claim he had a file on the Rafale jet deal “lying in his bedroom” and Rahul Gandhi making an attempt in the Lok Sabha to play an audio tape purportedly of a Goa minister regarding this matter. As tempers ran high in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserted that Gandhi may have to face privilege motion and even expulsion in case the tape turns out to be fabricated. Parrikar termed the audio clip as a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after the Supreme Court exposed the “lies” of the Opposition party. No such discussion as cited in the audio clip ever came up during the Cabinet or any other meeting, said Parrikar, who was the defence minister when Merger of 3 banks cleared PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Paving the way for the first ever-three way merger of PSB lenders, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved amalgamation of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there would be no retrenchment of employees.As per the Scheme of Amalgamation announced by Bank of Baroda, shareholders of Vijaya Bank would get 402 equity shares of BoB for every 1,000 shares held in the bank. In case of Dena Bank, the shareholders would get 110 shares of BoB for every 1,000 shares PTI owned in the bank. NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar. The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018, moved by Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha, bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 53.30 -0.50 Bhushan and 2 others move SC for review Govt tables bill in LS to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar The government on Wednesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that will allow individuals to offer voluntarily biometric ID Aadhaar as a means of identity verification for obtaining services like opening a bank account and getting a mobile phone connection. The bill, which seeks to amend three separate laws governing Aadhaar, telecom sector, and banking regulation, also gives a minor an option to opt out of the 12digit identity scheme on attaining the age of 18 years. It also provides for stiff GOLD 32,500.00 +30.00 Sparks fly over Cong claim on Parrikar's Rafale file tape; Rahul, Jaitley exchange fireworks Min. 50% TEMPERATURE ` vs $ 70.18 -75 PAISE P15 P13 P12 NIFTY 10,792.50 -117.60 WHY GUARDIOLA IS SO SCARED OF A LIVERPUDLIAN XI ASKS TAIWAN TO SHUN INDEPENDENCE means of authentication. It also makes it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it a bank account or a SIM card. The bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002. The legislation proposes telecom service providers, apart from using Aadhaar for authentication, can also leverage offline verification, use of passport, or any other officially valid document or modes of identification as notified by Centre. India and France signed a deal for the purchase of fighter aircraft. The Congress earlier in the day demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Parrikar's purported claim and asked if this was the reason why a JPC probe was not being ordered. Congress chief spokesperson Ran- deep Surjewala came out with a conversation purportedly between Goa minister Vishwajit Rane and another person. Rane purportedly can be heard saying that during a Goa Cabinet meeting last week Parrikar stated he had an entire file and all papers relating to the deal. Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conSNS ference on the Rafale scam In Delhi on Wednesday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Addressing a press conference on Wednesday evening, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asserted that the Rafale tape released by his party was "authentic", charging that the ailing Goa CM was "blackmailing" PM Modi by indicating at his Cabinet meeting that he could not be removed since he possessed the entire Rafale file in his bedroom. The Congress president also hinted that there might be some other tapes over the Rafale affair. During his speech in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi quoted PM Modi as saying in a "yesterday's staged interview" that "no personal allegations" were levelled against him in the Rafale row. Dismissing this claim, the Congress chief said PM Modi seemed to be living in "another reality" as the entire nation was "pointing an accusing finger at his involvement in the Rafale corruption" and FASTEST ON TRACK RS Chairman names TN MPs for ‘disturbance’ NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY The country’s fastest T-18 train, slated to run between New Delhi and Varanasi railway stations, (P7) at New Delhi Railway Station in the Capital on Wednesday. SNS Protests erupt as 2 women enter Sabarimala temple STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 2 JAN Months after the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple, two women below 50 have finally managed to have a darshan at the hill shrine on Wednesday. The two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, entered the temple early morning on Wednesday and offered prayers. Video footage shows Bindu from Koyilandy in Kozhikode and Kanakadurga from Perinthalmanna in Malappuram making the entry through the VIP gate on the northern side at 3.48 am and moving out in front of the temple at 3.50 am. Policemen in plainclothes escorted them. They did not climb the 18 steps, which is the route that all other devotees take. It is, however, not clear how and when they reached Pamba and started the trek to the shrine. On 24 December, these two women attempted to enter the temple with a 50member police battalion. However, the police on that day decided to take them back in the face of massive protests by devotees. Official confirmation about the women's entry came from Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan. "It's a fact that women had entered the temple. Some people had hindered their entry to the temple earlier. Today there was no such hindrance. The government would continue to provide security to women seeking to worship at Sabarimala as per the SC order,” he told media persons here Just hours after the entry of the young women into the shrine, the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple was closed on Wednesday Police intervene as members of Sabarimala Karma Samithi try to disrupt a celebratory meeting AFP after two women entered Sabarimala Ayyapa temple, at the High Court Junction in Kochi. to carry out ‘purification’ rituals. Following an hour-long "purification'' ritual, the sanc- tum sanctorum was reopened around 11.30 am. CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrish- asking him direct questions. “We demand a JPC probe into Rafale matter. The country will get to know that Modi put Rs 30,000 crore in the pockets of Anil Ambani. The contract was snatched from HAL (a State-run unit),” Gandhi alleged. "Who changed the requirement of Air Force from 126 to 36 in the new deal?...Why did the price go from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,600 crore per aircraft?" Gandhi asked, charging that the defence ministry and law ministry officials had raised objections to the new deal pushed by PM Modi "unilaterally". Slamming Gandhi, finance minister Arun Jaitley said he would have played in the lap of 'Q', a reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors scam. The FM also mentioned alleged references made by AgustaWestland accused Christian Michel to terms like “Mrs Gandhi” and “the Italian lady's son”, to attack the Congress leadership. nan said closing the sanctum sanctorum is against the verdict of the Supreme Court, and that proceedings of contempt of court must be initiated against the Thantri. Nair Service Society(NSS) general secretary G Sukumaran Nair expressed thanks to the Thantri and the Pandalam erstwhile royal family for shutting the sanctum sanctorum and conducting purification rituals. BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai said chief minister Vijayan had betrayed Ayyappa devotees. “The government would face a backlash against the assault on Hindu faith. Hindu social organisations and sanyasis, including the Sabarimala Karma Samathi, would react strongly,” he said Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said Chief Minister Vijayan had authorised the covert operation in total disregard to the religious sentiments of crores of devotees. “The CM’s thoughtless actions would have severe repercussions in Kerala. “Non-believers have conspired to destroy faith,” he said. As the news regarding the women's entry spread, protests erupted in many parts of Kerala. BJP/ RSS workers and Ayyappa devotees took to the streets shouting slogans against the LDF government and Chief Minister Vijayan. BJP/RSS-Sabarimala Karma Samithi workers forced owners to shut shop in various parts of the state. The police fired tear gas, grenades and water cannon as protests and clashes erupted across Kerala In Thiruvananthapuram, the road in front of the secretariat witnessed a face off between the BJP and the CPIM activists, who hurled stones at each other prompting police to fire tear gas shells. Five Mahila activists were detained. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu onWednesday named about a dozen AIADMK and DMK members for disturbing proceedings and asked them to withdraw from the House but they did not leave the chamber. In the past, members named have either left the House on their own or they were escorted out as per procedure. Rule 255 governing the functioning of the House provides “the Chairman may direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the Council and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.” When the AIADMK and DMK members named by the Chairman in the post-lunch sitting onWednesday, did not leave, the Chairman adjourned the House for 15 minutes. At that time, the House had taken up the approval of the Presidential Rule in Jammi and Kashmir, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had spoken on the circumstances requiring the Presidential Proclamation. Minister of State for Parliamentary AffairsVijay Goel said the government had offered a statement byWater Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari on the Cauvery waters issue being raised by the MPs but they did not let him speak and continued the uproar. Shortly thereafter, Harivansh adjourned the SNS House till Thursday.
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