FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 11 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 RARE, LUCKY, ‘SIXER’ P8 WEATHER Moderate fog in the morning. Partly cloudy sky and haze and smoke thereafter. The maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 22 degrees and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively. Min: 6°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 22:20 hrs TEMPERATURE THUMBNAILS External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Nepal Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar IANS Gyawali, in the Capital on Thursday. Sheila to head Delhi Cong: Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was appointed the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president on Thursday, days after Ajay Maken resigned from the post citing ill-health. Making the announcement, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of the party's Delhi unit, P C Chacko, said Dikshit would be assisted by three working presidents ~ Devender Yadav, Haroon P2 Yusuf and Rajesh Lilotia. Bulandshahr accused arrested: The Uttar Pradesh Police 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 this morning,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Bulandhshahr P10 city) Atul Kumar Srivastava said. Quota bill challenged in SC: The bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education was 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 upto 60 per cent which violated P7 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 remarks insulting against a woman minister”. DHONI COUNTED ON TO PLAY CRUCIAL WORLD CUP ROLE P10 P16 Verma shunted out as CBI chief Posted as Director General of Fire Services; charge of CBI given to Additional Director Nageshwar Rao SNS & PTI I Min. 52% Max: 21.17°C (+1) SUN RISES 07:15 hrs MOON RISES 11.09 hrs P9 NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.100% ‘INDIA SHOULD PLAY LARGER ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN’ SUCCESSOR WHO SWORE BY HIS PREDECESSOR n an unprecedented move, CBI Director Alok Verma was removed from the position Thursday on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duties after a marathon meeting of the high-powered 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 action, they said. He has been posted as Director General Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards, 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 Congress in 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 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 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 PM. The meeting continued for nearly two hours with Kharge strongly arguing for giving a chance toVerma 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 metVerma 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 Tuesday and reinstated him with a condition that the high-powered selection committee will decide his fate in a week. Verma had joined the office 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 highpowered 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 enquiry report, citing telephone interceptions by external spy agency RAW, led to the unceremonious exit of Alok Verma as the CBI chief. Rawat: Will not allow gay sex in Army Ayodhya case: SC to set up fresh 5-judge bench, Justice Lalit recuses NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat 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 cannotbeallowedtobeworried about their family. Army personnel conduct is governed by Army Act. PTI SEE ALSO P10 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 verdict on 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.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 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 thatVerma, 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 GST exemption for small biz doubled PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY The Supreme Court has deferred hearing of the Ayodhya title dispute to 29 January as it has decided to reconstitute the fivejudge bench to hear the case after Justice U U Lalit recused himself. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took the decision after senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties, told the bench that Justice Lalit in 1997 appeared for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in one of the matters related to the Babri MasjidRam Janmabhoomi dispute. Dhawan said though he had no objection to the presence of Justice Lalit on the bench hearing the plea to the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict, he was just bringing the issue to the notice of the court. Nirmohi Akhara mahant Dharam Das speaks to the media after the Supreme Court hearing on Babari Masjid-Ram SNS Janmabhoomi case. The apex court had no option but to reconstitute the bench set up for hearing the Ayodhya dispute petitions after Justice Lalit conveyed to Chief Justice Gogoi and other members of the bench ~ Justice S A Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrachud ~ of his reluctance to continue on the bench. Meanwhile, on constituting a five-judge bench for hearing the case, the CJI said under the Supreme Court rules in exercise of his administrative powers, it was his prerogative to decide the strength of the bench. The apex court also directed its registry to go through all the records relating to the Ayodhya case which are available with it and submit a report by 29 January as to how much time it would require for translating the documents and the case material which are in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Gurmukhi languages. In a “massive relief” to small businesses, the GST Council 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. Currently, business- es 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 SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, 10 JAN 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 suc- cessful 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 sixparty alliance comprising smaller parties, including the DMDK, the PMK and Vaikoled 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 referring 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 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 today Close on the heels of the BJP's defeat in the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh where it was in power, the party is expected to discuss ways to reach out to larger sections of society ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at its two-day national council meeting beginning Friday. The meeting assumes significance in the light of the passage of the 124th Constitution amendment bill by Parliament clearing the decks for 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections among the upper caste population in the country. The party in its post-poll analysis of its defeat in three states is believed to have attributed it to the disgruntlement among poor upper caste people about lack of opportunities to them. The earmarked 10 per cent reservation for upper castes, according to party sources, might repair the damage and bring back the upper castes to the party fold ahead of polls. The two-day session will begin with an inaugural address by BJP president Amit Shah and end with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's concluding speech, in which he is likely to set the agenda for the Lok Sabha poll campaign. The move to grant 10 per cent reservation to upper castes is likely to further consolidate the BJP's core upper caste vote bank and strengthen its appeal among Jats, Patidars, Marathas among other politically important segments of society, party sources pointed out. 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. Cabinet clears repromulgation of triple talaq Ordinance NEW DELHI, 10 JANUARY The Union Cabinet Thursday approved the re-issuance of an Ordinance making the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence, sources said. The earlier Ordinance, issued in September last year, was to expire on 22 January. A Bill to convert the Ordinance into a law is pending in the Rajya Sabha where the Opposition has been resisting its passage. An Ordinance has a life of six months. But from the day a session begins, it has to be replaced by a Bill which should be passed by Parliament within six weeks, else it lapses. A fresh Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 17 December last year to replace the Ordinance. The Lower House later gave its nod to the Bill. But it faced stiff opposition when it was tabled for consideration in the Upper House. It is now pending its approval. Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh Bill superseded an earlier Bill passed in the Lok Sabha. But amid opposition by some parties in the Upper House, the government had t h e n c l e a re d s o m e amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable. However, as the Bill continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September incorporating the amendments. PTI
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