FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 FEBRUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR PARRIKAR FLOWN TO DELHI FOR AIIMS TREATMENT NO INTERIM RANCOUR BJP’S REBUFF TO CONGRESS P8 SENSEX 36,256.69 +665.00 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky becoming partly cloudy in the morning. Very light rain/ drizzle likely at one or two places. Tomorrow’s maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 20 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively. P10 P8 NIFTY 10,830.95 +179.00 ` vs $ 71.04 +4 PAISE GOLD 32,085.00 +210.00 Rafale jets to soon join IAF: President Min. 60% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 21.5°C (-1) SUN RISES 07:09 hrs MOON RISES 05.14 hrs Min: 08.2°C (0) SUN SETS 18:00 hrs MOON SETS 15:06 hrs A grand wall mural of Mahatma Gandhi at Palika Kendra in the Capital on Thursday. RITIK JAIN GDP growth rate revised upwards: The government on Thursday revised the economic growth rate upwards to 7.2 per cent for 201718 from 6.7 per cent estimated earlier. “Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for 2017-18 and 2016-17 stand at Rs 131.80 lakh crore and Rs 122.98 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 7.2 per cent during 201718 and 8.2 per cent during 2016-17 (from earliP 11 er estimate of 7.1 per cent),” CSO said. NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY T I-T concessions, farm relief package may figure in Budget NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY Income-tax concessions for individuals, a farm relief package, support for small businesses and possible populist spending measures may be part of the Budget that Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present on Friday as the government makes a lastditch attempt to woo voters ahead of the general elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's sixth and final budget before the polls due by May is supposed to be an interim budget or a Vote on Account. But it is widely expected that Goyal may go beyond seeking Parliament nod for government expenditure for four months of next fiscal. PTI come, in the coming months, its new generation ultra-modern fighter aircraft Rafale and strengthen its strike capability,” he said. The Congress and other Opposition parties have been attacking the government over the Rafale deal, alleging corruption Panel to decide on CBI chief today: The Prime Minster Narendra Modi-headed selection committee will meet Friday to decide on the director of the country's premier investigative agency CBI, which is working without its regular chief, officials said. This would be the second meeting of the panel as its 24 January sitting had remained inconclusive. The panel is scheduled to meet on Friday, the officials said, without citing further details. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge are the members of the committee. Verma may face action and accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favouritism. The President also referred to the 2016 'surgical strikes' carried out on terror launch pads across the border and said, “Through the surgical strike on cross border terror posts, India has shown its new policy and strategy.” Noting that India has been a staunch supporter of friendly ties with all countries, the President said there is need to constantly strengthen the country's capabilities to tackle any challenges. The Congress described the President's address as “a summary of lame excuses for non performance”. SEE ALSO PAGE 7 The Supreme Court constituted a fresh Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra to hear a plea challenging the Centre's 10 January order to appoint M Nageswara Rao as the CBI's interim director after Justice N V Ramana today recused himself from hearing it citing social reasons. Justice Ramana expressed his disinclination to hear the plea filed by an NGO Common Cause, saying he belongs to Andhra Pradesh from where Rao hails and that he had attended the wedding of the IPS officer's daughter. Justice Ramana became the third top court judge to recuse himself from hearing the matter after Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and the second seniormost apex court judge Justice A K Sikri. Both CJI Gogoi and Justice Sikri had recused themselves earlier from hearing the plea. The petition would now come up for hearing tomorrow before the freshlyconstituted Bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha too. The plea challenging NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY BJP wins Jind bypoll; Cong, INLD bite the dust STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE RANJEET JAMWAL The CBI today questioned a close aide of chief minister Mamata Banerjee in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches in the residences of some state officials in connection with alleged irregularities of over Rs 111 crore in construction of memorials in UP during BSP supremo Mayawati's tenure. The CBI had given notice to Mr Manik Majumdar, who has been Miss Banerjee's secretary since her early days in politics, to appear before it, sources said. But he had expressed his inability to come to the agency's Salt Lake city office on the ground of his age and health. Considering his application, the CBI team reached Mr Majumdar's residence in Kalighat to question him and record his statement. The sources said the CBI suspected Mr Majumdar was a key player in managing the Trinamul’s funds and as such had knowledge about the purchase of Miss Banerjee's paintings allegedly by the Saradha group chief Sudipta Sen. After the mining case that had alleged links to former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, the ED filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to investigate allegations of irregularities in the construction of memorials, including statues of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and the party's poll symbol "elephant", during Mayawati’s rule between 2007 and 2012 taking cognisance of a state vigilance department complaint of 2014. The UP Lokayukta had earlier indicted Mayawati's two Cabinet colleagues -- Nasmeedunin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha, besides 12 BSP MLAs and several others for alleged "wrong-doings" in the purchase of sandstone for the memorials. CHANDIGARH, 31 JANUARY In a major boost to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls later this year, the party won the bypoll for the Jind Assembly constituency by a margin of 12,935 votes. BJP candidate Krishan Middha (48) defeated his nearest rival and Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) candidate Digvijay Singh Chautala (27) ~ who contested as independent candidate as JJP is yet to be registered ~ by 12,935 votes. JJP was floated in December 2018 by Lok Sabha member from Hisar, Dushyant Chautala, after a split in the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) following a feud in the Chautala clan. Digvijay polled 37,631 votes while Congress candidate Randeep Singh Surjewala came a distant third with 22,740 votes. The BJP's rebel Kurukshtra member of Parliament Raj Kumar Saini 's newly formed Loktrantra Suraksha Party (LSP) came fourth with 13,582 votes. The main Opposition party in the state, INLD, was left redfaced as party candidate Umed Singh polled just 3454 votes despite the Om Prakash Chautala-led party's alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which had polled 13,225 votes in 2014 Assembly polls. This was despite INLD holding the Jind seat in two consecutive Assembly polls. The seat fell vacant when sitting INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha, who won from Jind twice, passed away in August 2018. The BJP managed to get Middha`s son, Krishan Middha, a BAMS doctor, to join the saffron party and field him as its candidate. The BJP victory will boost the chances of the ruling party returning to power in the state. In 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP formed its first ever government in Haryana as non-Jat voters swung the balance in its favour. The trend appears to be continuing as the Jind by-poll saw a division of votes among three Jat candidates (JJP Con, gress and INLD) even as BJP candidate Midha, a Punjabi, swept the poll. In an indication of the ruling party's dominance in the constituency won by the BJP for the first time since the formation of Haryana, the saffron party remained in the lead from the fourth round of counting. TURN TO PAGE 10 Rahul tears into PM over ‘45-yr-high unemployment’ y h STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY Seizing on media reports about the country's unemployment rate being at a "45-year high", the Congress and other Opposition parties today tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi, charging that such reports again exposed the "total failure" of the BJP-led government in fulfilling its promise to create two crore jobs annually. Gunning for the PM, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, while playing on Modi's name and one-liners, tweeted: "NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs." Gandhi also tagged a Business Standard report that broke the story on the issue today. Making startling revelations, the report stated that according to the National Sa m p l e Su r ve y O f f i c e (NSSO)'s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), the country's unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. The report said the NSSO survey found that joblessness was higher among urban youths as compared to their rural counterparts. This was described as the first comprehensive annual household employment survey conducted by a government agency after PM Modi's demonetisation move in November 2016. The NSSO's survey report was said to be at the centre of a raging row as two National Statistical Commission (NSC)'s independent members ~ P C Mohanan, also its acting chairperson, and J V Me e n a k s h i ~ re c e n t l y resigned alleging the government's bid to withhold the NSSO's report on employment as a reason for their move. The Congress blasted the Mo d i g ov e r n m e n t f o r "destroying yet another venerable institution like the NSC", but the government denied such charges, saying the two members had not expressed any concern in recent NSC meetings. Slamming the government, the Congress party's chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: "Modiji, Unemployment rate is at a 45-year high. This is why the NSSO report was kept under the wraps. This is why members of NSC resigned. Promise of 2cr jobs turned out to be a cruel joke! India does not want a govt that has left the future of our youth in jeopardy." Hitting back at the Congress, the BJP targeted Gandhi for describing PM Modi as a "Fuhrer" ~ a title assumed by the German dictator Adolf Hitler. The BJP reportedly fired a "Mussolini" barb at Gandhi, likening him to the Italian dictator. “It's clear that he (Rahul Gandhi) has inherited Mussolini's short-sightedness and has myopic understanding of issues. EPFO's re a l d a t a s h ow s s h a r p increase in jobs, created in just the last 15 months. Only a man who hasn't ever held a proper job and is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!” the BJP tweeted. The CPI-M Politburo referred to the latest NSSO's unemployment data, charging that "It is clear that the Modi government has been suppressing this information from reaching the public domain". "This has resulted in two members of the National Statistical Commission, a NSSO report not finalised: Niti Aayog PTI Amid a raging controversy, the governmentThursday said it has not finalised the survey on labour force which reportedly showed that unemployment rate in the country hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. The NSSO's periodic labour force survey (PLFS), according to the Business Standard newspaper, states that unemployment was last this high in 1972-73. The unemployment rate was 2.2 per cent in 201112, it said. Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who had previously mounted a defence of lowering of UPA-era GDP growth rates, at a hurriedly called press conference said the report cited by the newspaper “is not finalised. It is a draft report”. Refusing to comment on the content of the news report, he said the government will release its employment report by March after collating quarter-on-quarter data. He also debunked claims of jobless growth, saying how can a country grow at an average of 7 per cent without generating employment. Kumar also said it was incorrect to compare the PLFS data with earlier reports of the NSSO as their methodologies are different. To a question on why Niti Aayog was holding a press conference on NSSO data, Kumar said Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava is out of Delhi and could not be present. He further said earlier the Central Statistics Office (CSO) was part of the erstwhile Planning Commission, and so“Niti Aayog and NSSO are not completely distinct”. Kumar also said as of now he could not conclusively say what was the unemployment rate in 2017-18. Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who too was present at the conference, said India is creating adequate number of jobs for new entrants, but “probably we are not creating high quality jobs”. statutory body which releases the NSSO reports, resigning," the CPM said. "This suppression of data is a clear admission on the part of the Modi government that its policies have resulted in greater misery for our people. India’s youth which is our asset is now being wasted. It also exposes the utter failure of the BJPled government to deliver on its promise of providing two crore jobs every year," the CPM alleged, demanding that all data must be released immediately. "These must be placed and discussed in Parliament. The people of the country have a right to know about the grim realities facing them," the CPM said. NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY Ousted CBI director Alok Verma is likely to face departmental action for defying a government order asking him to join as chief of Fire Services on Thursday, the day of his superannuation, and this may include suspension of pensionary benefits, officials said. According to the officials, this non-compliance of the directive amounted to violation of service rules for all India services officers. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had directed Verma to take charge as director general of the Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards on Thursday. As Verma did not take up the new assignment he is likely to face departmental action which may include suspension of pensionary benefits, officials said. A new CBI chief is likely to be named tomorrow. PTI Rao's appointment as interim CBI chief came up for hearing today before a Bench comprising Justice Ramana, Justice M M Shantanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee. “I am recusing myself because I know him (Rao) as he is from my home state,” Justice Ramana said. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Common Cause, said, “Should I go to the Delhi High Court? Every judge in the Supreme Court is recusing himself from hearing the matter.” To this, Justice Ramana observed, “If the issue was not about M Nageswara Rao, I would have heard it. I had attended his (Rao) daughter's marriage. His (Rao's) son-in-law is a practising advocate. I know him also.” Dave then urged the Bench that the matter should be listed before another Bench on Friday. CBI grills Mamata aide; ED raids target Maya officials KOLKATA/NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY SC summons Sahara chief in SEBI case: The Supreme Court directed Sahara group chief Subrata Roy to appear before it on Feb 28 for failing to deposit Rs 25,700 crore in the SEBISahara case for returning investors' money, warning that “the law will take its own course” now. Roy was sent to Tihar Jail by SC on March 4, 2014 and came out on parole after spending over two years in prison on May 6, 2016 to perform the last rites of his mother. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 61.85 +0.20 NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY Max.97% THUMBNAILS SILVER 40,500.00 +250.00 SNS & PTI Cong: Prez address a summary of lame excuses for non-performance he Indian Air Force is preparing to welcome the new generation ultra-modern Rafale fighter aircraft in its fleet to strengthen its strike capabilities, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said. The government has been facing attack from the opposition over the multi-crore aircraft deal. Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session, he said neglecting the country's defence needs, even for a moment, will prove detrimental to the present and future of the country. He said the new agreements relating to the defence sector signed last year, the purchase of new defence equipment and indigenous production under the 'Make in India' initiative have all helped in boosting the morale of defence forces and in increasing the country's military self-reliance. “After a gap of many decades, the Indian Air Force is preparing to wel- P16 New SC Bench to hear Rao case as third judge recuses RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE BOULT IN FULL SWING TOO HOT TO HANDLE VVIP chopper case: Court grants 4 days ED custody of Saxena PTI NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY A Delhi court on Thursday granted Enforcement Directorate (ED) four days custody of Rajeev Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman wanted in the VVIP chopper case. The ED sought eight days custody of Saxena before special judge Arvind Kumar, who allowed the agency to interrogate him for four days. During the hearing, Saxena's lawyer claimed that his client was suffering from cancer. The agency, however, said that this was needed to be verified. Saxena was picked up by Dubai authorities early Wednesday in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case and deported to India in the evening. Saxena and lobbyist Deepak Talwar, wanted by the ED and the CBI in a case of allegedly misusing over Rs 90 crore taken through the foreign funding route, were brought in a special plane from Dubai to Delhi around 1:30 a.m. Bo t h o f t h e m we re picked up by Dubai authorities on Wednesday “in assistance” to a request made by Indian agencies, they added. A co-accused and alleged middleman in this case, British national Christian James Michel was recently extradited from Dubai to India (in December last year). He is currently in judicial custody. Saxena's lawyers alleged that no extradition proceedings were star ted against him in the UAE and he was not allowed to access his family or lawyers while being sent to India. Saxena, a director of two Dubai-based firms UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings was residing in Palm Jumeriah, Dubai and has been living in the UAE for last 26 years.
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