CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 11 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 P7 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature will be around 26 degree and 13 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: aaa RELATIVE HUMIDITY RARE, LUCKY, ‘SIXER’ ‘INDIA SHOULD PLAY LARGER ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN’ SUCCESSOR WHO SWORE BY HIS PREDECESSOR P3 P6 Posted as director-general of fire service, civil defence & home guard; charge of CBI given to Additional Director Nageshwar Rao NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY Min. 42% Max: 25.6°C (0) SUN RISES 06:19 hrs MOON RISES 09.46 hrs Min: 13.7°C (0) SUN SETS 17:10 hrs MOON SETS 21:38 hrs TEMPERATURE Next moon quarter on 17 January THUMBNAILS Trump says will skip Davos if US govt shutdown continues: President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will skip the annual international conference at Davos if a government shutdown caused by the row over his demand for a US-Mexico wall isn't resolved. Trump is planning to attend the Davos meeting in just under two weeks, but said “if the shutdown continues, I won't go”. Swaths of the US government have already been without funding for three weeks while Trump rows with P10 Democrats over his demand. Bulandshshr accused arrested: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday arrested a local BJP youth wing leader accused of instigating mob violence in Bulandshahr that killed a police inspector and a civilian last month. Shikhar Agarwal alias Shekhar (25) had been on the run for nearly 40 days but was held at 7.20 am near a flyover in adjoining Hapur district by the Bulandshahr police, a senior official said. “He was arrested Thursday morning,” Additional SP (Bulandhshahr city) Atul Kumar P3 Srivastava told PTI. Quota bill challenged in SC: The bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education was on Thursday challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds it breached the 50 per cent ceiling on quotas, barely a day after the measure secured Parliamentary approval. A petition filed by an NGO Youth For Equality organisation and its president Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra said in the present form the upper limit of quota goes up to 60 per cent which violated P5 the decisions of the apex court. NCW notice to Rahul: The National Commission for Women on Thursday issued a notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his “extremely misogynistic, offensive and unethical” remarks against Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a rally in Jaipur. The women's panel said it has taken suo motu cognizance of reports which appeared in various print and electronic media dated Jan 9, “wherein it is reported that you have allegedly made insulting remarks against a woman minister”. P12 Verma shunted out as CBI chief SNS & PTI Max.95% DHONI COUNTED ON TO PLAY CRUCIAL WORLD CUP ROLE n an unprecedented move, CBI Director Alok Verma was removed from his post on Thursday on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty after a marathon meeting of the high-power selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said. Verma, whose fixed tenure of two years was to end on January 31, is the first chief in the 55-years of the CBI's history to face such an action, they said. He has been posted as Director General Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guard, under the Union Home Ministry. The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, a government order issued on Thursday evening said. There were eight counts of charges against Verma in the CVC report presented before the Committee also comprising Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee. The eight counts of charges included alleged attempts to induct tainted I officers, compromising probe in the Moin Qureshi case, IRCTC scam among others, they said. The decision for the removal of 1979-batch IPS officer Verma was taken by a majority with Kharge opposing the move, they said. The meeting of the committee was convened on Wednesday which lasted nearly 30 minutes. It was convened again on Thursday at the residence of Prime Minister Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg at around 4.30 p.m. The meeting continued for nearly two hours with Kharge strongly arguing for giving a chance to Verma to present his case before the committee on the allegations levelled by the CVC against him. However, the Prime Minister and Justice Sikri did not agree with his position making clear his ouster from the agency. Reacting to the development, the Congress said, “By removing Alok Verma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he's too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI director or by Parliament via JPC.” A delegation of former ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha along with activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had met Verma on October 4, 2018 with plea of registering an FIR in the Rafal aircraft purchase deal. Verma was sent on forced leave by the government in a late-night controversial order on October 23, 2018 in the wake of a feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana which had intensified after Asthana was booked on corruption charges by the CBI on October 15, 2018. He had challenged the order in the Supreme Court which had quashed the government order on Tuesday and reinstated him with a condition that the high-power selection committee will decide his fate in a week. Verma had joined the office on Wednesday after 77 days of forced leave set aside by the Supreme Court. The apex court had said any further decision against Verma, who was scheduled to retire on January 31, would be taken by the highpower committee which selects and appoints the CBI director. The Supreme Court in the Vineet Narayan judgment had fixed a minimum tenure of two years for the CBI director to give him immunity from any political interference. Later, through the Lokpal Act, the process of selecting the CBI director was handed over to a selection committee. Corruption and dereliction of duty flagged by the Central Vigilance Commission in its inquiry report, citing telephone interceptions by external spy agency RAW, led to the unceremonious exit of Alok Verma as the CBI chief. Kharge gives dissent note on Verma’s removal as CBI chief HC verdict on Asthana plea today NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Delhi High Court is scheduled on Friday to pronounce the verdict on the pleas of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and others seeking quashing of FIR against them on bribery allegations. Justice Najmi Waziri had reserved the judgement on December 20, 2018 on various petitions after hearing submissions of the counsel for CBI, the Centre, Asthana, Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar, CBI director Alok Kumar Verma and Joint Director A K Sharma. The court would pronounce its verdict on the petitions of Asthana, Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad seeking quashing of the FIR. The Additional Superintendent of Police S S Gurm has also filed a plea in the court to be impleaded as a party. NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge on Thursday gave a dissent note during a meeting of the high-profile panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against its decision to shunt out CBI Director Alok Verma, two days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court. According to sources, Kharge said during the meeting that Verma, who was sent on a forced leave, should not be penalised and be given an extension of 77 days for which he was not allowed to attend the office. This is the second time Kharge has objected to Verma's removal. The three-member panel also included A K Sikri as a nominee of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. During the meeting, Justice Sikri said there are charges against Verma to which Kharge asked “where are the charges”, according to the sources. “By removing #AlokVer- PTI Rawat: Will not allow gay sex in Army Ayodhya case: SC to set up fresh GST exemption for 5-judge bench, Justice Lalit recuses small biz doubled NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to constitute afresh the five-judge Constitution bench to hear on January 29 the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babari Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya after a judge, Justice U U Lalit, recused himself from the hearing. Justice Lalit, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, “expressed his disinclination to participate in the hearing any further” and opted himself out of the contentious matter. The apex court said since Justice Lalit has opted out of the hearing in the matter, there was no option left but to adjourn the case “to fix a date of hearing and to draw up a time schedule for hearing of the case”. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a In a “massive relief” to small businesses, the GST Council on Thursday doubled the limit for exemption from payment of goods and services tax (GST) to Rs 40 lakh and announced that the higher turnover cap of Rs 1.5 crore for availing composition scheme of paying 1 per cent tax will be effective from April 1. The Council allowed Kerala to levy a 1 per cent calamity cess on intrastate sale of goods and services for a period of up to two years to mobilise revenues to meet the cost of rehabilitating parts of states that were ravaged by floods last year. FM Arun Jaitley said the taxpayers with an aggregate turnover of Rs 40 lakh would now be exempted from the GST. For north eastern states, the exemption would now be Rs 20 lakh. Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday said gay sex and adultery will not be allowed in the Indian Army, months after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality and struck down a colonial-era adultery law. “In the Army, it is not acceptable,” he told a press conference while replying to a question on impact of the Supreme Court's two historic verdicts. The Army Chief said though his force is not above the law, it will not be possible to allow gay sex and adultery in the Army. “The Army is conservative. The Army is a family. We cannot allow this to perpetrate into the Army,” he said on adultery, adding soldiers and officers deployed along the borders cannot be allowed to be worried about their family. Army personnel conduct is governed by Army Act. PTI Nirmohi Akhara mahant Dharam Das speaks to the media after the Supreme Court hearing in the Babari MasjidRam Janmabhoomi case. SNS Muslim party, said Justice Lalit had appeared as a lawyer for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in a connected matter “sometime in the year 1997”. He said Singh, as then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had “failed in his promise to maintain the status quo” over the disputed structure at Ayodhya which was demolished on December 6, 1992. The bench, also com- prising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, and D Y Chandrachud, which heard the matter for 20 minutes, noted in its order that Dhavan has “no objection to Justice Uday Umesh Lalit hearing the matter, the ultimate decision in this regard is for the learned judge to take”. “The said facts being pointed out, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has expressed his disinclination to participate in the hearing any further.’’ Currently, businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh is exempt from GST registration, while the limit for hilly and north eastern states is Rs 10 lakh. Sources said the annual revenue loss on account of doubling exemption limit to Rs 40 lakh, considering that all states implement it, is Rs 5,200 crore. Jaitley said the GST Composition Scheme, under which small traders and businesses pay a 1 per cent tax based on turnover, can be availed by businesses with a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore, against the earlier Rs 1 crore, with effect from April 1. Also, service providers and suppliers of both goods and services up to a turnover of Rs 50 lakh would be eligible to opt for the GST composition scheme and pay a tax of 6 per cent. The twin decision under the scheme would have an annual revenue impact of about Rs 3,000 crore. PM says BJP open to alliances, attacks Cong for ‘arrogance’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHENNAI, 10 JANUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the BJP is open to alliances and cherished its old friends, in a hint that it was looking to strengthen the NDA in Tamil Nadu ahead the Lok Sabha elections. Slamming Congress for its “arrogance” and slighting regional parties, Modi said that the party was haughty enough to say that they would spring a “surprise” despite having none to rub shoulders with in Uttar Pradesh. In an interaction with party booth-level workers from five districts in Tamil Nadu through video conferencing, he recalled the “successful coalition politics” ushered in by former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 1990s and said the BJP's doors were “always open”. “...20 years ago the visionary leader Atal ji brought in a new culture in Indian politics, that of successful coalition politics. He gave utmost importance to regional aspirations... BJP has followed the way Atal ji has shown us,” Modi said. The Prime Minister, in the fourth interaction with party workers in the state, was responding to questions from a worker on whether the BJP would ally with AIADMK, DMK or Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who is yet to form his political party. The BJP had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu leading a six-party alliance comprising smaller parties, including the DMDK, the PMK and Vaiko-led MDMK, and won two of the 39 seats - one each by the saffron party and PMK. However, all five parties snapped ties with the BJP later. The Prime Minister said a strong NDA was “an article of faith for us”. “It is not a compulsion. Even when the BJP won a strong majority on its own, we preferred to run the government with our allies. We cherish our old friends and our doors are always open for parties,” Modi said. However, Congress had “ill-treated” regional parties, he said, adding “What Atal ji did was in direct contrast to the Congress which has never cared for regional aspirations. “Congress ill-treated regional political parties, aspirations and people because they felt they alone have the right to be in power,” Modi said. The Prime Minister alleged that the Congress, in one of their party meetings, had passed a resolution saying that they do not want an alliance. “Such was that party's arrogance.” “Even today when Congress does not find a place in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, their leaders are back to their arrogance and say we will surprise everyone. Well, everyone is aware of the reality in UP ,” he said without elaborating further. He was apparently refer- ring to the move by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together, leaving out the Congress from the alliance. On farmers' welfare, he said “our government had the honour of bringing in a historic hike in MSP Hitting out again .” at arch rival Congress, he said those who were in power at the Centre for so many years, “who consider power their divine right,” were never serious about farmers' welfare. “They never thought about taking such a farmer friendly decision. We want to keep working for the propserity of our farmers and are committed to doubling farmer income by 2022.” The Prime Minister also stressed on the importance of connecting with the people, saying more than all the political issues, the winning alliance was an alliance with the people. “The strongest alliance is one with common citizens.More than alliances we have to focus on remaining CMYK connected with the people,” he said. BJP workers from Arakkonam, Cuddalore, Krishnagiri, Erode, Cuddalore and Dharmapuri took part in the exercise on Thursday. BJP's 2-day national council meeting begins on Friday The Modi government's “social justice” plank with its outreach to Dalits, backward classes and general category is likely to be a key theme at the BJP's two-day national council meeting starting Friday, as the party looks to set the tone for its Lok Sabha poll campaign. BJP president Amit Shah will inaugurate the meeting -- the biggest ever for its national council with the party expecting participation of close to 12,000 members -- while Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the concluding speech on Saturday, laying down the agenda for the general elections. Sources said the council may pass three resolutions, highlighting the government's “successes” on various fronts ranging from economy to social justice and also dwell at length on the prevailing political scenario. Senior BJP leaders were tight-lipped on whether the Ram temple issue will find a mention in the meeting but some delegates said that the party may refer to it amid demands by Hindutva organisations, including its ideological parent RSS, for a law to construct a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The party has invited its all elected members, ranging from those in local elections to its MPs, besides organisational leaders from across the country, for the meeting. Parliament's approval of a bill providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for economically weaker sections in the general category has boosted the saffron party's morale after it suffered a blow in the recent Assembly polls. According to sources, Kharge said during the meeting chaired by the PM that Verma should not be penalised ma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he's too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI director or by Parliament via JPC,” Congress tweeted from its official Twitter handle. Verma has been removed from the high-profile post on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty, making him the first chief in the history of the agency to face such action, officials said. Hitting out at the Congress over its attack on the Modi government following removal of CBI Director Alok Verma on corruption charges, the BJP called it a “sore loser”, saying the party has been left to lick its wounds. WB to pull out of Ayushman Bharat KRISHNAGAR, 10 JANUARY Accusing the Centre of running parallel governments in states, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced that her government will pull out of the Central health scheme “Ayushman Bharat.” “We will no longer contribute to Ayushman Bharat. Why should we contribute to Ayushman Bharat if the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face is on the letterhead with a picture of lotus, instead of the symbol of the Indian government,” Miss Banerjee said adding that the Centre has to pay the full amount if it wants to run the scheme. “We (state government) share 40 per cent of the Centre’s health insurance scheme. It’s not just your (Centre’s) money. There is state government’s money in it. I am withdrawing from Ayushman Bharat from today,’ the chief minister said while addressing a public rally at Krishnagar Government College Ground in Krishnagar. She also accused the Prime Minister of using government post offices for party work. The Ayushman Bharat scheme in West Bengal was merged with Mamata’s Swasthya Sathi health scheme, where the state government provides for 40 per cent of the total cost. Crying lack of transparency in the way the Modi government is projecting the scheme; the CM said “Let them take credit by paying all the money for the scheme.” ‘Ayushman Bharat’ is a National Health Protection Scheme that provides for up to Rs 5 lakh medical coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable SNS families.
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