TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 22 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 COME OUT WITH NEW PM FACE: AKHILESH TO BJP P5 SENSEX 36,578.96 +192.35 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light rain/thundershowers towards evening/night with possibility of isolated hailstorm. Gusty winds will prevail. The maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 20 degrees and 11 degrees Celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: 001.2 MM RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.88% Min. 66% Max: 22.06°C (+1) SUN RISES 07:14 hrs MOON RISES 19.17 hrs Min: 11.05°C (+4) SUN SETS 17:52 hrs MOON SETS 08:56 hrs TEMPERATURE THUMBNAILS Harris jumps into US presidential race: Kamala Harris, the first Indian-origin Senator, on Monday officially launched her campaign for the US presidential election in 2020 to take on President Donald Trump, saying she was “honoured” to announce her bid on a day when Americans celebrated Martin Luther King Jr who sought inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. A vocal critic of President Trump, Harris, 54, is the fourth Democrat to join the battle. Madras HC notice to Centre on 10 per cent quota: Madras High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre to reply before February 18 on the DMK's petition challenging 10 per cent reservation in employment and education to economically weaker section in general category. A division bench rejected the contention by Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan that the petition filed by the DMK P7 was a “political interest litigation”. Lokpal would have averted Rafale 'scam', says Anna: The Rafale “scam” would not have happened if the Lokpal was in place, veteran antigraft activist Anna Hazare said in New Delhi on Monday, announcing indefinite hunger strike from 30 January over his unmet demands for farmers and the Lokpal law's implementation. He slammed the Narendra Modi government for not implementing the Lokpal Act despite a Supreme Court's order, saying the country was in “danger” of slipping towards “autocracy”. P2 India projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2019, says IMF: India is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2019 and 7.7 per cent in 2020, an impressive over one percentage point ahead of China's estimated growth of 6.2 per cent in these two years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday, attributing the pick-up to the lower oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening. The International Monetary Fund in its January World Economy Outlook update today said India would remain the fastest gro wing major P11 economies of the world. P16 P12 P6 NIFTY 10,961.85 +54.90 KOHLI MAINTAINS TOP POSITION IN ICC TEST RANKING BRITISH PM TO UNVEIL NEW BREXIT STRATEGY INDIA IS GROWING YOUNGER, SAYS FOREIGN MINISTER ` vs $ 71.28 -9 PAISE GOLD 31,055.00 -80.00 SILVER 38,900.00 -400.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 62.82 +0.12 Cyber expert: ‘India's 2014 polls rigged' Says polls rigged through EVMs, which he says can be hacked, says Gopinath Munde killed because he was aware of EVM hacking AGENCIES LONDON, 21 JANUARY A n Indian cyber expert, seeking political asylum in the US, on Monday claimed that the 2014 general election was “rigged” through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he says, can be hacked. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Shuja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. Shuja claimed the telecom giant Reliance Jio helped the BJP to get low frequency signals to hack the EVMs. However, he provided no proof to back up his claim. He said the BJP would have won Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh elections if his team hadn't intercepted the BJP attempts to hack the transmissions in these states. The outlandish and explosive claims, made in a cloak and dagger manner, could not be immediately confirmed. He claimed he was part of a team at the public sector Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which designed and developed the EVMs. He was presented at a press conference organised by the Indian Journalists' Association (Europe). Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked. In New Delhi, the Election Commission asserted that it firmly stands by the 'foolproof nature' of its machines even as it said it is examining as to what legal action “can and should” be taken in the matter. In a statement, the poll panel said it firmly stands by the “empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs” used in elections in India. The Election Commission of India today strongly denied any possibility of tampering of EVMs, and said it is examining legal action against those who are trying to engage EC into "this motivated slugfest". The poll panel iterated that the EVMs used by it are manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of Choksi surrenders Indian passport AGENCIES India Limited (ECIL) under “very strict” supervisory and security conditions. It said there are rigorous standard operating procedures “meticulously observed” at all stages under the supervision of a committee of technical experts constituted in 2010. Several political parties in the past have alleged that the EVMs are prone to tampering and demanded reintroduction of the ballot papers. Speaking at the event in London, Shuja claimed that he worked for the ECIL from 2009-2014. Shuja said that he was part of a team which designed the EVMs used in the 2014 elections. He said that he and his team were instructed by the ECIL to find out if EVMs could be hacked, and find out how must be protected. Every vote of yours is precious. All Oppn parties discussed the #EVM issue after the #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally. We are working closely together and decided on Jan 19 itself to consistently take up the matter with EC. Yes, every vote counts,” she tweeted. Rejecting an India cyber expert's claim that the 2014 general election was rigged, the BJP on Monday described this explosive allegation as a “hacking horror show organised” by the Congress, and said the Opposition party has begun looking for an excuse for its likely defeat in the next Lok Sabha polls. In a sharp attack on the Congress, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said its leader Kapil Sibal's presence at the press conference in London was not a coincidence. Naqvi alleged that top Congress leaders, including its president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, would have sent Sibal as their “postman”. “Electronic Voting Machines cannot be hacked. What is clear is that anti-India forces have CJI recuses from hearing Rao case CBI DSP moves SC against transfer NEW DELHI, 21 JANUARY NEW DELHI, 21 JANUARY Bank fraud fugitive Mehul Choksi has surrendered his Indian passport to the High Commission in Guyana, official sources said on Monday. Choksi, one of the alleged masterminds of the USD 2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and an uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, took citizenship of Antigua last year. Indian citizens are expected to surrender their passports when they acquire a foreign nationality. India continues to pursue Choksi's return with the government of Antigua through diplomatic and legal channels, the sources said. In August last year, India handed over Antigua a request for Choksi's extradition. A team from India was also sent to Antigua to pursue the request. Choksi is wanted in India by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which are probing the PNB fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country. Sources CBI DSP A K Bassi on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging his transfer to Port Blair saying it was vitiated by “malafides” and would prejudice the probe against former special director Rakesh Asthana. Bassi, who was the investigating officer in the corruption case against Asthana, said he is being“victimised by the present interim CBI Director - M Nageswara Rao, who represents certain elements within the CBI, who did not want the petitioner herein to conduct a free and fair investigation in the Asthana FIR”. He said it was Rao, who had passed the order dated October 24, 2018 transferring him to Port Blair and it is the same person at whose behest he is being sent to Andaman Nicobar again in utter disregard to the judgment of this court in the case of former CBI director Alok Verma. PTI (SEE P6) indicated that Choksi himself came to the High Commission in Guyana to surrender his Indian passport. He had fled India on January 4 last year and took the oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15. The CBI had sent its request to the MEA for extradition of Choksi. Choksi's application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local authorities in Mumbai, Antiguan newspaper the Daily Observer had reported, citing a statement from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua and Barbuda (CIU). Under the Citizenship by Investment Program of Antigua and Barbuda, a person can take their passport on a minimum investment of USD 1,00,000 in the NDF investment fund. to do this. “The 2014 general elections were rigged,” he claimed. He also alleged that the Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi election results were rigged during the elections. The cyber expert claimed that the EVMs were hacked by the BJP using a modulator which transmits military-grade frequency. The cyber expert also claimed that BJP leader and Union minister Gopinath Munde was “killed” because he was aware of EVM hacking in 2014 general elections. Munde died in a road accident in New Delhi weeks after the BJP won the 2014 elections. Shuja also claimed the NIA officer investigating Munde's death, Tanzil Ahmed, was planning to file an FIR noting he had been murdered, but was himself killed. “In Delhi state elections in 2015, we managed to intercept the transmission, resulting in the AAP winning 67 out of 70 seats. Otherwise the BJP would have swept,” he claimed. He said that other than the BJP the SP BSP AAP and , , , Congress too are involved in the EVMs rigging. Shuja said some of his team members were killed and he was also allegedly attacked but survived. He said he met a prominent Indian journalist and told him the whole story about the EVM rigging. The Election Commission and political parties were invited to be at a press meet but only Congress leader Kapil Sibal attended the event, he added. Soon after Shuja's press meet in London, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Opposition will take up with the Election Commission the claims made by the USbased cyber expert that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be hacked. “Our great democracy PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 21 JANUARY Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday recused himself from hearingapleachallengingthegovernment's January 10 order appointing M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director, saying he would be taking part in the meeting to select the CBI director on January 24. The Selection Committee, comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CJI and the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, is likely to meet on January 24 to appoint a new CBI chief. The post of CBI Director is lying vacant ever since the government removed Alok Verma and appointed Additional Director Rao as interim chief till the appointment of a new director.“I am participating in the selection committee meeting and so I will not be hearing this,” said the CJI. The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, then said that the PIL filed by NGO 'Common Cause' would be heard by some other appropriate bench. Rao was made the interim CBI director after the Selection Committee removed Verma as chief of the probe agency on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. The NGO, in its petition filed through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, has sought laying down of specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the process of appointment of CBI director. It has alleged that Rao's appointment was not made on the basis of recommendations of the committee. The plea stated that the October 23, 2018 order appointing Rao as the interim CBI director was quashed by the top court on January 8, but the government has “acted in a completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner” to appoint him again in “complete contravention” of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.The plea has also soughtadirectiontotheCentre to appoint a regular CBI director forthwith by following the procedure laid down in accordance with the provisions of the DSPE Act, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. Besides, it has sought a direction to the government to ensure that “all records of deliberations and rational criteria related to short-listing and selection of the director, CBI, be properly recorded and made available to citizens in consonance with the provisions of the RTI Act”. The plea said the government should ensuretransparencyinshortlisting, election and appointment process of CBI director by publicly disclosing the procedure and rational criteria for short-listing candidates. Siddaganga seer Shivakumara Swamiji no more PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU, 21 JANUARY Shivakumara Swamiji, the 111-year old head of the Siddaganga Math in Karnataka, known as 'Walking God' among his countless followers, died on Monday after a prolonged illness, the seminary said. The senior pontiff who had undergone a surgery at a hospital in Chennai recently for liver complications, had shown signs of improvement but his condition deteriorated in the past few days, said doctors who attended on him. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and the education society run by the Swamiji announced the demise of the seer, plunging lakhs of his followers across the state into grief. “I am deeply saddened to announce that the walking God, Parama Poojya Siddaganga Sri, has passed away. It is an irreparable loss to the state. “His contribution to the society transformed lakhs of people from across the state. He shaped future of many people,” said Kumaraswamy as he announced the seer's passing away in Tumakuru where the math is based. The Siddaganga Education Society founded by the seer said, “The seer left for his heavenly abode leaving his mortal body at 11.44 am.” The highly revered pontiff of the influential Lingayats, the major community in Karnataka, is a recipient of Padma Bhushan and Karnataka Ratna, the highest state civilian award. Kumaraswamy announced a three-day state mourning and government holiday on Tuesday. The last rites of the seer will be performed on Tuesday at 4.30 pm at Tumakuru, the math said. According to the math website, the swamiji was born on April 1, 1908 in Veerapura village in Karnataka. The website of Sree Siddaganga College of Education, founded by him, mentions his date of birth as April 1, 1907. The seer was considered by his followers as an incarnation of social reformer Basaveshwara, the founder of Lingayat sect in the 12th century AD. Shivanna, the premonastic name of Shivakumara Swamiji, was the youngest among the 13 children, including five sisters, of his parents, Honnappa and Gangamma. At the age of eight, he lost his mother and that made him spiritual. The seer, who remained a celebate throughout his life, founded the Sri Siddaganga Education Society that revolutionised the education scenario in Tumakuru district. His philanthropic activities helped thousands of people get foodeveryday. The Gurukula he had founded provides free shelter, education and food to thousands of children. He has a huge following in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and border regions of Maharashtra. In 1930, the Swamiji became the successor of the prestigious Siddaganga Math, which was founded in the 14th century AD by Haradanahalli Gosala Siddeshwara Swamiji to promote theteachings of Basaveshwara. The seer with a saffron turban used to perform the daily ablutions and worship 'Ishta Linga', a small Shivalinga which he held close to his heart, till his condition worsened. Chief ministers and Governors of Karnataka and of other states, politicians of all hues, educationists and eminent scholars used to visit him and seek his blessings. The then President A P J Abdul Kalam had participated in the 100th Birthday and Guruvandana Celebrations of the Swamiji held on April 8, 2007 at the math. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on the seer in September, 2014. In the run-up to the May Assembly elections last year, presidents of the BJP and the Congress Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi, respectively, had visited the seer. Condoling the seer's death, President Ramnath Kovind said he was extremely sad to learn of the passing of the spiritual leader. “He contributed immensely to society particularly towards healthcare and education. My condolences to his countless followers,” he tweeted. Modi tweeted, “His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. “He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice. Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world.” “The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale,” Modi said. In his condolence message, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the Swamiji was respected and revered by millions of Indians, from all religions and communities. “His passing leaves behind a deep spiritual void. My condolences to all his followers,” he said. hacked into the mind of Congress. What we have seen is a hacking horror show organised by the Congress ahead of its defeat in Lok Sabha polls. It is looking for an excuse for its impending loss,” the BJP leader told reporters. He said these allegations were part of an exercise to “defame” India and people will never accept such attempts. The Congress distanced itself from the London press conference wherein a selfproclaimed Indian cyber expert claimed electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be hacked and the 2014 parliamentary election was “rigged”, and demanded an investigation into the allegations. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said party leader Kapil Sibal was invited by a journalist and he did not represent the Congress party at the press conference. He said the Congress and other parties want that there should be a system in place to check 50 per cent of voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) to reassure the country on the infallibility of EVMs. Jallikattu kills two spectators in Tamil Nadu CHENNAI, 21 JANUARY An attempt byTamil Nadu minister CVijaya Baskar, in the Edappadi K Palaniswamy government, to create a world record in Jallikattu in his home district ended up in a tragedy on Sunday as two spectators were gored to death by bulls while 40 persons were injured. The gory incident happened within minutes of Chief Minister Palaniswamy who inaugurated the event atViralimalai in Puthukotta district declaring that Jallikattu was Tamil Nadu’s sport of valour. And according to sources, some of the kelkunnathu venues are now aiming at and attempting to attain guinness world record in it! A Ramu, a 32-yearold spectator and G Satish (35), a bull owner were gored to death while 40 persons were injured during the sport. The event was organised by the controversial health minister Vijaya Baskar, who hails from the district and who also owns costly bulls. It may be remembered that the home and offices of Vijaya Baskar were raided twice by the IncomeTax department in the run up to the April 2017R K Nagar by-poll and had seized unaccounted cash worth crores of rupees and incriminating documents. Vijaya Baskar announced on Sunday that the Viralimalai Jallikattu would be a regular feature in Tamil Nadu’s sporting calendar. A record number of 1353 bulls and 700 tamers took part in the event. More than 300 persons had been injured in various Jallikattu events which commenced after the Pongal festivities of this SNS year.
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