SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 FEBRUARY 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 P10 P9 SENSEX 36,546.48 -424.61 WEATHER Moderate fog in the morning. Clear sky and haze/smoke thereafter. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 20 and 06 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 4.8 MM RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.100% Max: 20.6°C (-3) SUN RISES 07:04 hrs MOON RISES 10.15 hrs NIFTY 10,943.60 -125.80 ` vs $ 71.31 +14 PAISE Min: 7°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:06 hrs MOON SETS 22:00 hrs GOLD 31,850.00 +5.00 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY F SC refuses to stay 10 per cent quota: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and admissions to poor candidates in the general category. The apex court, however, agreed to examine the validity of the law and issued the notice to the Centre on the plea filed by businessman and Congress supporter Tehseen PoonP5 awala. Hooch tragedy: Illicit liquor has claimed nearly 30 lives in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. At least 15 people died and 6 are critical in Umahi and two other villages of UP's Saharanpur district after they consumed the illicit hooch on ThursP6 day night. Ladakh now becomes a separate division in J & K THUMBNAILS Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee being honoured by former Indian hockey player Gurbux Singh during the unveiling of the Bengali verSNS sion of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. On Friday. PM inaugurates Jalpaiguri circuit bench: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the long-awaited circuit bench of Calcutta High Court and said it would help in providing speedy justice to the people of north Bengal. The bench will provide speedy justice to people of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, he said. Modi also laid the foundation stone for the four-laning of the Falakata-Salsalabari section of NH31 D. SBI cuts interest rate on home loans: Within a day of RBI reducing repo rate by 25 basis points, the country's largest lender State Bank of India on Friday announced a cut in interest rates by 5 basis points on its home loans up to Rs 30 lakh. In it sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review announced Thursday, RBI had cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent. The new rates are effective from Friday. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA JAMMU, 8 FEBRUARY In a major decision, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday created aseparatedivisionforLadakh, which was part of the Kashmir division till now. Ladakh will now have a separate divisional commissioner and an inspector general of Police (IG) with a full administrative and revenue division at par with Kashmir and Jammu divisions, an order issued by the administration said.“Ladakh created as a separate administrative and revenue division. Jammu and Kashmir will have three divisions -Jammu, Ladakh andKash- (Ministry of Defence) and Indian Negotiating Team" in this deal. “We have been saying for more than a year that PM Modi is directly involved in the Rafale scam. Now, today, in The Hindu newspaper, it is in black and white... that the Prime Minister was carrying out a parallel negotiation with the French,” Gandhi said. “It has been proven now that the chowkidar (watchman) is chor (thief)....It is absolutely clear now that the Prime Minister has stolen Rs 30,000 crore of public money in the Rafale deal after bypassing the defence procurement process and given it to his friend Anil Ambani,” Gandhi alleged. "What can be more clear than this?...It's an open and shut case," the Congress president said. Gandhi read out the then defence secretary's comment in his mir,” it said.The administration has sanctioned creation of a separate administrative and revenue division comprising Leh and Kargil districts, with its headquarters at Leh, the order said. It has also ordered constitution of a committee under chairmanship of principal secretary, planning, development and monitoring department to identify the posts of divisional level heads of departments that may be required for the new division, particularly their staffing pattern, responsibilities and proposed location of these offices. The order said this decision goes a long way in fulfilling local aspirations. PM targets Bengal CM MANAS R BANNERJEE MAYNAGURI, 8 FEBRUARY Modi also criticised the term Satyagraha, allegedly used by Miss Banerjee to refer to her dharna in Kolkata. "West Bengal's chief minister is such a chief minister who is safeguarding those who looted poor people's savings," he said. "Her eyes on Delhi, Mamata Banerjee has left Bengal in the hands of middle men," he added. He repeatedly referred to the “syndicate raj” in Bengal and used words like ‘Jagai’ and ‘Madhai’ to showcase the present “unruly culture of Bengal.” Pointing out to the chitfund scams like Narada, Saradha and Rose Valley, the PM said, "I have assured every affected family that I would not spare the looteras (thugs) and betrayers.” He further wondered why Didi was afraid of investigations. Significantly, Mr Modi spoke about the ‘Triple Talaaq’ and criticised both the Congress and the Trinamul Congress. He also asked Miss Banerjee to make her stand clear on Muslim women. Photo: Roni Chowdhury SEE ALSO PAGE 10 P16 P13 SILVER 40,000.00 -150.00 Rafale row snowballs after fresh revelations resh media revelations over the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale fighter aircraft deal between India and France today again set off a political firestorm within and outside Parliament, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders turning up the heat on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue even as the BJP-led government dismissed such revelations as merely a "motivated" bid to "flog a dead horse". Leading the Opposition's blistering onsaught on the Modi dispensation, the Congress chief held a press conference right in the morning to highlight questions raised by a report published in The Hindu newspaper today on the Rafale matter. The report cited a defence ministry's purported note dated 24 November 2015 showing that the ministry had raised strong objections to “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with the French side to procure 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and that such discussions by the PMO had "weakened the negotiating position of the MoD Prime Minister Narendra Modi today claimed that he, as a 'Chowkidar,' will not spare anyone who has looted the poor people’s hardearned money. Addressing a mammoth rally at Maynaguri in Jalpaiguri, Mr Modi further said: "This is the first time in Indian history that a chief minister is shielding corrupt persons who looted funds of the poor people." However, contrary to the expectations in the Hills, the Terai and the Dooars, Mr Modi did not speak a work on the Gorkhas and their demands, which the BJP had earlier promised to fulfil. Criticising Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her decision to stage a dharna in Kolkata over possible CBI action in the chit-fund scams, the PM assured the gathering that he would take appropriate legal steps to take action against those involved in the scandal. Mr INDIA LEVEL T20 SERIES AGAINST NEW ZEALAND Citing defence ministry note, Rahul turns up heat on PM Modi; Sitharaman rejects report Min. 56% TEMPERATURE PRINCESS TO RUN FOR PM AGAINST JUNTA CHIEF HDK RELEASES AUDIO CLIP TO ALLEGE BJP’S TOPPLING BID ‘EWS QUOTA IS MIDNIGHT ROBBERY’ handwriting on the defence ministry's 24 November 2015 note, which stated that "It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously”. To questions about his brother-in-law RobertVadra being grilled by the ED, Gandhi said he would like to urge the Modi government, "Whatever inquiry you want to do, you do it. Vadra, P Chidambaram ~ you implement the law regarding everyone. No problem. But you also give answers on the Rafale scam too.” The fresh Rafale row today also rocked both Houses of Parliament, leading to a wash-out of the Rajya Sabha for the entire day amid strong uproar by slogan-shouting Opposition members. The Lok Sabha also witnessed massive protests by members from the Congress and other Opposition parties, who stormed the Well, shouted slogans demanding PM Modi's resignation, pressed for the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the Rafale matter, and waved placards carrying the newspaper's "expose". This led to an adjournment till noon immediately after the House met. Amid the ruckus and sloganeering, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman strongly defended PM Modi, dismissed the newspaper's report, and slammed the Congress-led Opposition. “They are flogging a dead horse. Periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference,” Sitharaman told the Lower House. She accused the Opposition of "playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests and not working in the interests of the Indian Air Force". Referring to the defence ministry's 24 November 2015 note, Sitharaman said the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had also put his comment on that note, asking his official to remain “calm as everything was alright”. She also alleged that during the previous Congress-led UPA regime the then chairperson of the National Advisory Council Sonia Gandhi "used to run the PMO" regularly. “Was that not interference?" she asked. Earlier, raising the demand for constitution of a JPC, the Congress's leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, charged: "You (government) are antinational. You indulged in stealing but are instead blaming us...You are buying only 36 Rafale jets as against 126." Referring to the report, Trinamul leader Saugata Roy alleged that parallel negotiations were continuing when the defence ministry's negotiating panel was discussing the Rafale deal with the French in 2015. He alleged that “notorious National Security Advisor Ajit Doval" was conducting parallel negotiations in Paris, undermining the bargaining power of the government. “It concerns national security...Prime Minister Modi is destroying the defence of the country and undermining negotiations...Why did PMO interfere? Rafale stands out to be the biggest scandal,” Roy alleged. Union minister Prakash Javadekar rejected Gandhi’s allegations. “The liemanufacturing factory of Rahul Gandhi continues to operate,’’he said. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 61.81 +0.18 Lok Sabha starts discussion on interim Budget STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY The Lok Sabha on Friday started the discussion on the interim Budget for 2019 amid the Opposition Congress party's fresh demand for a JPC probe into the Rafale deal. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan initiated the discussion just ahead of the lunch break. After the lunch break as BJD member Tathagata Satpathy concluded his submission, the Speaker called the name of BJP member Anurag Thakur. As Anurag Thakur stood up to speak, the Congress MPs took strong exception to the Speaker giving preference to Thakur over Congress leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. To this the Speaker told the Congress members that they were disrupting the House proceedings. "You are not allowing the House to function," Mahajan said. Kharge said his party was left with no option but to demand a JPC probe, in the wake of a newspaper report alleging the direct role of PMO in the Rafale deal. "We have no other choice. You must also press for a JPC," he said. BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab also took exception to the behaviour of a section of members in the House. Anurag Thakur beginning his speech termed the inter- im Budget "pro-poor", "pro-farmer", "pro-middle class and "pro-growth" reflecting the Modi government's vision. He said the growth rate under the BJP-NDA government had been faster than those during the 55 years of the Congress rule. Meanwhile, as many as 29 private member bills were introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday including one seeking steps to check 'fake news'. Tej Pratap Singh Yadav (SP) tabled the private member bill which sought measures against creation and distribution of fake news in media. Udit Raj (BJP) also introduced a bill for stringent punishment to curb atrocities against children and women, rehabilitation measures for such victims and constitution of special courts to try these cases. Gaurav Gogoi(INC) introduced a bill seeking setting up of a Commission for Immigration Reforms to check illegal immigration and regulate immigration and related issues in the country. SC: ‘Mayawati should return money used for statues’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 8 FEBRUARY In a strong observation, the Supreme Court on Friday said BSP chief Mayawati should deposit public money used for erecting statues of herself and elephants, the party's symbol, at public places in UP to the state exchequer. The remarks were made by the apex court which was hearing a petition filed in 2009 by an advocate who had alleged that about Rs 2,000 crore was used from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10, when Mayawati was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, for stalling her statues and BSP's symbol at different places. It was contended that public money cannot be utilised for creating own statues and for propagating the political party. On May 29, 2009 the court had issued show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and Mayawati for using the public money for installing her statues and party's symbol at parks in Lucknow and Noida, adjacent to the national capital. When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “Ms Mayawati, pay all the money back.We are of the view that Mayawati should reimburse all the money she spent.” The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna said: “We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the state exchequer.” The bench made it clear that a tentative view was expressed by it as the matter would take some time for hearing. “We will have it for final disposal on April 2.” Senior advocate S C Mishra, appearing for Mayawati and the BSP requested the , bench to hear the matter in May. However, the bench told Mishra, who is also the party's Rajya Sabha MP that , it was fixing a date of April 2 as it will require detail consideration. During the pendency of the PIL, the apex court on February 22, 2010, had asked the Election Commission to examine the plea for removal of installation of these symbols from public places during the 2012 assembly polls. EC on January 7, 2012 had ordered that statues of Mayawati and elephants be covered during the state Assembly election. The poll panel had said the measure was taken with the idea that no one should get political mileage.
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