THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 31 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 P8 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with slight possibility of light rain/ thundershowers The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 21 and 6 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.97% Max: 20.9°C (-1) SUN RISES 07:10 hrs MOON RISES 04.22 hrs THUMBNAILS Soldiers during a ceremony to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary at SNS Rajghat. In the Capital on Wednesday. Meet to pick CBI chief: The next meeting of the selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to pick a new CBI director will take place on Friday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also member of the panel, said on Wednesday. The last meeting of the panel took place on January 24 but it remained “inconclusive”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads the three-member panel with Kharge and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as its members. Independent inquiry panel indicts Kochhar for violation of ICICI Bank code of conduct Modi defends DeMo amid allegations of NSC data suppression by govt PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P rime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed the need for a full-majority government at the Centre, saying “hung Parliaments” stalled the country's progress in the past three decades. Addressing a gathering here, he also defended the government's demonetisation move, saying it brought down prices of houses and made them affordable for the young generation by checking black money in the real estate sector. “As you all know, India witnessed instability for 30 years due to hung parliaments, as no party received a majority. This had stalled the country's development. And the country even regressed on some parameters due to that situation,” Modi said. “We are progressing today because the people applied their wisdom in casting votes (in 2014 elections). Their votes eradicated that 30-year-old illness called hung parliament and helped form a full majority government at the Centre,” the prime minister said. “You can ask me what I have done and I can give you answers because you voted for us Govt moves to appoint Lokpal: The government has decided to call for applications from eligible candidates for the post of chairman and members of anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal, officials said Wednesday. A process in this regard has been initiated and an advertisement is likely to be issued soon to recruit members. SC allows Karti to travel to UK, Spain: The SC allowed Karti Chidambaram to travel to the UK and Spain in Feb and March even as it directed him to cooperate with ED in the INX Media and Aircel Maxis case. A bench headed by CJI warned Karti, “go wherever you want, do whatever you want” but not even an iota of non-cooperation would be P7 tolerated. unanimously. We have done what we have done because of the mandate we got. If we were a coalition government, then we could have given many reasons for not functioning properly,” he said. Modi was speaking after laying foundation stone for extension of the terminal building of Surat Airport. The prime minister said his government in the last four and a half years constructed 1.30 crore houses, as against 25 lakh houses built under the previous UPA government. “Just compare those 25 lakh houses with 1.30 crore. If the previous governments had to do the work we have done so far, they would have needed another 25 years,” Modi said. The prime minister also justified his government's deci- sion to scrap old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016. “I was asked what has been benefit of the note-ban decision. You should ask it to the youth, who could buy houses at affordable rates after the decision. “Black money used to be parked in the real estate sector, but with decisions like note-ban and RERA (setting up of Real Estate Regulatory Authority) we put a check on it,” PM said. The success of Mudra loan scheme, he said, too was possible only because his government enjoyed a full majority. Out of over 15 crore persons who got loans under the scheme, around 4.25 crore were first-time entrepreneurs, Modi said. “We can say the country has Govt vs Opposition in Budget session PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Anna launches hunger strike: Posing fresh complications for the government, veteran Gandhian activist Kisan Baburao Hazare alias Anna Hazare on Wednesday launched a fresh indefinite hunger strike at his Ralegan-Siddhi village seeking a Lokpal and Lokayuktas as P7 promised by the Centre and the states. NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY The government is expected to make a host of populist announcements in the Budget session of Parliament starting on Thursday during which the Opposition is likely to corner it on a range of issues, including the contentious Rafale fighter jet deal and alleged agrarian distress. The session, which will end on 13 February and will be last one of the present government, will begin with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Finance minister Piyush Goyal will present the interim budget on Friday and the government may announce a number of welfare measures aimed at various sections of society, as the ruling BJP-NDA readies itself for the general election, likely in April-May. The government will make efforts to pass contentious bills on citizenship and triple talaq, even as stiff opposition to these proposed legislations has denied them the parliamentary approval so far. Some BJP allies like the JD(U) have also expressed their reservations to these Bills. The government is keen on the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to grant persecuted minorities- including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians - from a few neighbouring countries Indian citizenship. The triple talaq bill proposes jail term for Muslim men for practising instant divorce. The Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill 2017, which will allow NRIs to cast their vote in Indian polls through proxies, and the National Medical Council are also on the government's agenda. These key Bills are struck in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers. The Citizenship Amendment Bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha amid the Opposition demanding that the government drop Bangladesh from the list of nations from where the refugees would be eligible to apply for citizenship. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during the Winter session. Prove charges, Didi dares PM-Shah STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE RAMPURHAT, 30 JANUARY West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today hit back at the BJP president Amit Shah for alleging yesterday that chit fund operators had paid her crores of rupees for buying her paintings merely to placate her. She dared Mr Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove the charge against her failing which they should quit politics. Addressing a public meeting here Miss Banerjee lambasted Mr Shah for accusing her government of copying Central schemes and creating a situation in which Durga and Saraswati pujas are not held. “Some half-educated and illiterate leaders from Delhi are saying I have taken money for my paintings. Prove that I have taken a single paisa into my account. I challenge you. They are speaking in an uncivilised manner without showing evidence. Our party sent a legal notice to him yesterday. If needed we will file a defamation suit against him,” she said. P16 PM calls for full majority stable govt at Centre SURAT,30 JANUARY Min: 05.2°C (-4) SUN SETS 17:59 hrs MOON SETS 14:49 hrs TIME FOR SHARMA TO LEAD INDIA TO RECORD & GLORY P12 P9 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min. 48% TEMPERATURE MAY FACES IMPROBABLE DEAL REWRITE THE OPTIONS BEFORE MADURO SINGULAR FIREBRAND “ Thousands of Durga pujas are held across the state. Saraswati pujas are held in every school. How dare they make such false and misleading statements about Bengal ? ” she said. Repudiating Mr Shah’s charge, the CM said : “They are saying that we copied their schemes. Our Kanyashree scheme was launched in 2013. Their Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched in 2015. Our Nirmal Bangla scheme was launched much before their Swach Bharat Scheme.We pay the money for farmers insurance. They are only telling lies.” “The expiry date of the Modi-government has already been announced and it will be one more month. Please expire politically and we will be very happy,” she said. The Centre, she alleged, was trying to create terror through agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. T he BJP government at the Centre, she charged, was trying to run a parallel administration in the Opposition-ruled states in the country and destabilise the federal structure of the country. Even day before yesterday Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also made the same allegation, Miss Banerjee said. “ Please remember if you have CBI then I also have CID, STF and Economic Offence Bureau. There are written complaints against your leaders in child theft, LPG gas distribution scam and torture on women cases. Those leaders are still roaming outside freely. If you show me the mirror I can also show you the mirror,” she said. "Why haven’t Income Tax notices been sent to GaneshPuja organisers in Maharashtra, whereas such notices have been slapped on 30 big Durga Puja committees'', she asserted. The Centre has no role in giving crop insurance to farmers, yet it claims through huge advertisements in the media to have done so, she complained. Yesterday, the BJP president had said the results of the polls would be announced at 1 p.m. and by 2 p.m. the Trinamul-government would fall. Countering his claim Miss Mamata Banerjee questioned how he could know when the polls results would be announced and how many seats his party would win. “It seems his government is running the Central Election Commission.” NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY received 4.25 crore new entrepreneurs.... It was made possible because you voted to power a full-majority government,” he added. Past governments at the Centre intentionally refused sanction for an airport in Surat when he was chief minister of Gujarat, Modi alleged. The Congress on Wednesday accused the Modi government of destroying yet another institution after two members of the National Statistical Commission resigned and said one more venerable institution has died due to the government's “malicious negligence”. Senior Congress leader and ex FM P Chidambaram said the party mourns the death of the National Statistical Commission and will remember its valiant fight to release 'untainted' GDP data and employment data. His colleague Ahmed Patel said the resignations serve the government's objective to “black out” all data and statistics of its “mis-governance”, while party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi wondered if this has come in the wake of the “very embarrassing” jobs data and whether the NSC was “being forced” by government to do more data doctoring. In a major embarrassment for ICICI Bank, an independent inquiry has indicted former CEO Chanda Kochhar for violating various regulations, and the lender has decided to stop all unpaid retirement benefits and also recover bonuses paid to her since 2009. The leading private sector lender, which had given a clean chit to Kochhar in theVideocon loan matter, will also treat her resignation as 'Termination for Cause'. The latest development comes days after the CBI filed an FIR naming Kochhar and others in the alleged quid pro quo in extending Rs 3,250-crore loan to Videocon Group. An independent inquiry panel led by Justice (Retd) B N Srikrishna observed that Kochhar violated bank policies and other rules and regulations. Based on the findings of the panel, the ICICI Bank board has advised to take ”further actions as may be warranted in the matter”. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank CEO Sandeep Bakhshi said in analyst call that the bank has put out a statement about Kochhar, and the lender's role now is limited to cooperating with regulatory agencies. In March 2018, the board of ICICI Bank had given a clean chit to Kochhar and had said there was no question of favouritism, nepotism or conflict of interest on her part in granting loans to Videocon Industries or any other company. The board, following the receipt of the enquiry report, on Wednesday decided to treat “the separation of Kochhar from the bank as a 'Termination for Cause' under the bank's internal policies, schemes and the Code of Conduct, with all attendant consequences”. These, the statement said, include revocation of all her existing and future entitlements such as any unpaid amounts, unpaid bonuses or increments, unvested and vested and unexercised stock options, and medical benefits. The board has also asked the bank to take steps for “clawback of all bonuses paid from April 2009 until March 2018, and to take such further actions as may be warranted in the matter”. Kochhar became the CEO and managing director of the country's leading private sector lender in May 2009 and left the bank in October 2018. A high profile banker, Kochhar was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 2011. Rafale: Rahul accuses PM of ‘selling’ IAF AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY Launching a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale jet deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi onWednesday alleged that he “sold” the Indian Air Force and“stole” opportunities of the youth by giving away Rs 30,000 crore to his “friend” and businessman Anil Ambani. The government as well as Ambani have strongly denied any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal. Addressing the concluding session of the Youth Congress nationwide public outreach campaign 'Yuva Kranti Yatra', Gandhi said no one will be able to suppress the truth about the “Rafale scam” and it will come out finally. “The entire country knows that Mr Modi stole opportunities of the youth to give Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. No one can suppress the Parrikar joins issue with Gandhi AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY Congress president Rahul Gandhi tonight said he empathises with Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar for being “forced” to accuse him of doing petty politics over a courtesy visit, asserting he never shared any details of their meeting. Replying to Parrikar, hours after the former defence minister wrote to him, Gandhi said that in his two speeches since their meeting in Panaji yesterday, he had only referred to what is already in the public domain on the Rafale deal and what Parrikar had said earlier. Earlier in the day, the ailing Goa CM accused Gandhi of using his courtesy visit to him for “petty political gains”, asserting that there was no mention of the Rafale issue in their fiveminute meeting. Gandhi said he was forced to reply to Parrikar to clarify his position as the CM's letter to him has created an “unfortunate and unnecessary controversy”. In his letter, Parrikar asked the Congress chief not to use his visit to an ailing person to “feed political opportunism”, saying he felt let down that Gandhi used this visit for his "petty political gains". truth about Rafale, it will come out itself,” he said. “You have sold the Indian Air Force,” he alleged, targeting Modi over the Rafale deal. He said the prime minister spoke for one and a half hours in Parliament but when asked questions on Rafale, he could not look him in the eye and kept looking elsewhere. “The prime minister is trying to hide the truth,” Gandhi also alleged. TURN TO PAGE 6 AW co-accused, corporate a lobbyist extradited to India IANS NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY AgustaWestland chopper deal co-accused Rajiv Saxena and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar were on Wednesday extradited from United Arab Emirates (UAE) for India in another breakthrough for the government which managed successful extradition of Christian Michel James in December last year, an official said. Sources said an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team headed by an Inspector General rank officer and senior officials of Ministry of External Affairs and other officials of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) were taking them to Delhi from Dubai in a special aircraft. The flight carrying the accused will reach Delhi anytime, sources added. Saxena was reportedly picked up by the UAE secu- rity authorities from his residence on Wednesday morning and extradited to India in the evening for his pivotal role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scandal. The ED in its supplementary chargesheet had elaborated on how the bribe money paid to clinch the chopper deal was "layered" and projected as "untainted money" by creating "fictitious invoices." In its chargesheet, the ED has mentioned how fictitious engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks allegedly paid by AgustaWestland to companies directly controlled by lawyer Gautam Khaitan, now under ED custody, and his associate Saxena, a co-accused in the case. A local court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena, a businessman in Dubai, after the ED informed the court that he had not joined the investigation despite repeated summons against him. Saxena's name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who is out on bail now after being arrested by the ED. Saxena was named only in the third supplementary complaint filed in July 2018. The same is also under challenge before the High Court by another accused in the case, Khaitan. A statement of Saxena's lawyer Geeta Luthra and Prateek Yadav revealed that "there was no extradition proceedings started in the UAE" and that her client was not allowed to access his family or lawyers nor did he get his essential daily medicine. "He (Rajiv Saxena) was on board a private jet from a private terminal at Dubai International Airport. When his lawyers asked to speak to UAE state security and demanded to understand what happened, they were told he is on the flight and can't be stopped. When they queried further, they were told "ask the Indian Government". Besides Saxena, the agencies are also bringing alleged corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar to India as he fled to Dubai after the Indian agencies started probing his role for concealing income of more than Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating aviation contracts during the UPA regime. On 4 December 2018, British national and the middleman in the AgustaWestland case, Michel, 57, was brought to India following his extradition by the UAE. He is currently under ED custody.
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