CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 12 MARCH 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 P4 SENSEX 37,054.10 +382.67 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature will be around 34 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 95% P3 NIFTY 11,168.05 +132.65 ` vs $ 69.89 P10 +25 PAISE GOLD 31,010 -100.00 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 24.5°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:45 hrs MOON SETS 22:41 hrs Next moon quarter on 16 March THUMBNAILS President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Padma Shri award to Kadamputharamadom Gopalan Thanthri Jayan on Monday SNS Pawar not to contest polls: A NCP chief Sharad Pawar Monday said he will not contest next month's Lok Sabha election. The 78-yearold veteran politician said as two members of his family are going to contest the polls, “somebody had to step back.” “Since I have already won elections 14 times, I decided not to contest the poll (this time),” the Rajya Sabha member told reporters after holding a meeting with party leaders. “Somebody from our family had to step back and I decided to give an opportunity to the young leadership.” Samjhauta blast case: A Pakistani woman Monday moved the anti-terror court here trying the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case and sought examination of the blast eyewitnesses from her country. The new twist to the case came on a day when the special NIA court was expected to pronounce its verdict in the case in which 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed. Special Judge Jagdeep Singh slated the Pakistani woman Rahila Wakeel's application for hearing on March 14. Indian team had permission to wear military caps: The International Cricket Council (ICC), in a statement issued Monday, said India had sought and was granted permission to wear camouflage military caps in the third ODI against Australia as a tribute to the country's armed forces, a gesture which Pakistan has objected to. In the third ODI in Ranchi on March 8, the Indian team sported military caps as a mark of respect to the CRPF personnel who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack and donated its match fee to the National Defence Fund. WORLD CUP PRESSURE? ‘DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT IT MEANS’ P11 SILVER 38,500 -150.00 BRENT (OIL IN $) $ 66.34 +0.60 28 Mar date for 10 pc ‘Mastermind’ behind Pulwama attack killed quota challenge STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SC to consider whether to refer petitions to Constitution Bench Min. 54% TEMPERATURE Max: 32.8°C (N) SUN RISES 05:48 hrs MOON RISES 09.24 hrs MAY IN DESPERATE FIGHT TO SAVE BREXIT DEAL FOREIGN SECRETARY TO MEET POMPEO ‘B’DESH NOT TO ALLOW TERROR GROUPS ON SOIL’ NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH efusing to stay the Centre’s 10 per cent quota for the economically weak in jobs and education once again, the Supreme Court on Monday said that it will consider on 28 March whether petitions challenging the 10 per cent reservation institutions for EWS of unreserved categories should be referred to a larger bench. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that it would consider the plea on referring the issue to a larger bench after senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said the limit of 50 per cent was part of the Constitution's basic structure. "If it requires consideration by a larger bench, we will do it," Chief Justice Gogoi said as Dhavan reiterated that the 10 per cent reservation was also part of the basic structure. The government, in January, had announced the 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections in the general category. Asking the petitioners to file a short note of the points which they have raised in their application, the apex court said it is not in favour R of passing an order at this stage to refer the issue of 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections across all classes to a Constitution Bench. Chief Justice Gogoi asked Dhavan to tender a short note on his submissions. Many petitions have filed in the top court challenging the decision on ground that it is against the 50 per cent cap on total reservations set by the Supreme Court. Under the new law, those who earn less than Rs 8 lakh a year and have less than five acres land qualify for the quota. The petitions say the top court's Mandal Commission verdict in 1992 had "specifically stated that the economic criteria cannot be the sole basis for reservation under the Constitution". On 8 February, the apex ED to attach Paris property of Christian Michel’s wife PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH The ED said on Monday it had issued an order to attach a Paris-based property worth Rs 5.83 crore of the former wife of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the VVIP choppers scam case, under the antimoney laundering law. The agency said a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was issued to attach the asset located at 45 Avenue, Victor Hugo in Paris, which was registered in the name of M/s SCI Solaime and belonged to Michel's former wife, Valerie Michel. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also alleged that Valerie had received the “proceeds of crime” from her former husband. The agency said its probe had found that Michel “had transferred the amount received as kickbacks to various entities, including 9,22,185.76 euros (equivalent to Rs 5,83,40,422) to Valerie Michel and subsequently, to SCI Solaime for buying the immovable property”. The ED would soon send the attachment order to its French counterpart and the asset would be seized and held with a competent court in France till the case was finalised and the accused convicted in India, a senior official of the agency said. He added that the probe revealed that “funds were transferred from Dubaibased companies to various entities”. court refused to stay the decision to give 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections among the unreserved categories and had clubbed all petitions for early hearing. The top court on 25 January sought the Centre's response on a plea by NGO Youth for Equality challenging the constitutional validity of the 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker section within the general category. The NGO had contended that the amendment violated the "basic structure" of the Constitution as cited in a 1992 Supreme Court judgment that held that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis of reservations under the Constitution. It had also contended that the amendment breaches the 50 per cent cap set JAMMU, 11 MARCH by the 1992 judgment by a nine-judge Constitution Bench. In the present form, the upper limit of quota goes up to 60 per cent which violates the decisions of the apex court, the plea claimed. It also said the amendments fail to consider that articles 14 and 16 form the basic feature of equality, and that they have been violated with the doing away of the restraints that were imposed on the reservation policy, that is the 50 per cent ceiling limit and the exclusion of economic status as a sole criterion. The plea filed by businessman Poonawalla had sought quashing of the Constitution (103 Amendment) Bill, 2019, saying that backwardness for the purpose of reservation cannot be defined by“economic status alone”. In a poll year, the Modi government has come out with the constitutional amendment bill giving quota benefits to the poor among general category candidates. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 respectively, and has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). A key conspirator of the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy, Mudasir Ahmad Khan, who provided the explosives-laden Maruti Eeco van to the suicide attacker, is among at least two Jaish-eMohammad (JeM) terrorists killed on Monday in an overnight encounter with security forces in the Tral area of South Kashmir. Khan is believed to be the mastermind of the terror attack on 14 February in which at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The bodies of the terrorists were badly charred and police has sought assistance of their family members for DNA tests to establish their identity. Khan had provided the explosive-laden van to the suicide attacker Adil Ahmad Dar to crash into the CRPF convoy that was heading towards Srinagar from Jammu. Most of the CRPF personnel were returning to duty after spending their leave with their families. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken up the investigation of the terror strike. Mobile phone records indicate that Khan was in constant touch with Adil after providing the van to him. The encounter started on Sunday evening in the Pinglish area when a joint team of Army, CRPF and Villagers look at a house destroyed during a gun battle between militants and security forces in the Pinglish area in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. AFP police reached the village following inputs about presence of terrorists. The JeM had claimed responsibility of the terror attack at the CRPF convoy. Security forces had been hunting for the 23 years old Khan who was an electrician and had reportedly arranged the van and explosives for the attack. Police said that Khan joined the JeM in 2017 as an overground worker and in January last year became an activist of the terror group. Khan was also reported to be involved in the terror attack on the military station at Jammu’s Sunjwan where nine persons, including six Army personnel were killed. He was also suspected to have masterminded the terrorist attack in which five CRPF personnel were killed in Lethpura last year. The body of the other ‘RBI did not back govt’s arguments for note ban’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH The Congress on Monday claimed that the RBI, at a high-level meeting hours before the announcement of demonetisation, had observed that the Modi government's key arguments that the step would curb black money and destroy counterfeit currency did not hold. At a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh released the minutes of the 561st meeting of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), held at 5.30 pm on November 8, 2016, hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency would cease to be legal tenders from midnight. Ramesh said the minutes of the RBI meeting were obtained through an Right to Information (RTI) application filed by an activist, who got the reply 26 months after he had sought it. The Congress leader alleged that the Cental Board of Directors of the RBI had rejected the government's main arguments in favour of the move ~ curbing black money, ending counterfeit currency and excessive currency in circulation ~ put forward by the prime minister three hours later, when he announced demonetisation. “Most of the black money is not held in the form of cash, but in the form of real sector assets such as gold or real estate and that this move would not have a material impact on those assets,” an observation by the RBI board of directors was quoted by Ramesh. In another observation, the board had said the “growth rate of economy is the real rate while the growth in currency in circulation is normal. Adjusted for inflation, the difference may not be so stark. Hence, the argument does not support the recommendation”, the Congress leader said. “While any incidence of counterfeiting is a con- cern, Rs 400 crore as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation in the country is not very significant,” the board had said, according to Ramesh. However, the minutes of the meeting show that the RBI board of directors had also said demonetisation was a “commendable measure”, but would have a short-term negative effect on the GDP for the current year. “Arriving domestic long distance travellers, who may only be carrying high denomination notes, will be taken by surprise at railway stations/airports for payment to taxi drivers and porter charges and hence, put to hardship. It would also have an adverse effect on tourists,” Ramesh quoted from another obser- Choose between Mahatma's, Godse's Indias: Rahul STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH A day after the schedule of the Lok Sabha polls was declared, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched an all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, declaring that the upcoming polls would throw up a choice between Mahatma Gandhi's India and his assassin Nathuram Godse's India. Addressing a meeting of the Congress party's booth workers here today, Gandhi slammed PM Modi on multiple fronts ranging from high unemployment to rural distress, to Rafale "scam" and Doklam to national security. “You have to decide, you want Gandhi's India or Godse's India. On one hand, there is love, brotherhood, on the other is hate, fear. Gandhiji was fearless, stayed in jail for years, but spoke with the British with love, while (Veer) Savarkar militant has not been identified yet, said officials, who had earlier claimed he was Sajjad Bhat, a JeM operative whose car was used in the Pulwama attack. Bhat's brother refused to take the body, saying it was charred beyond recognition. Khan's body has been taken by his family members, the officials said. Khan was the “main conspirator” of the attack on the CRPF convoy, Lt General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, XV Corps, said at a joint press conference by the Army, state police and the CRPF. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, Swayam Prakash Pani, said the identity of the second militant has not been ascertained yet. “We know that his code was 'Khalid'. We are trying to find his actual identity,” he said. Choice to be either Modi or chaos, says Jaitley PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Finance minister Arun Jaitley said Monday the 'Mahagathbandhan' is a self-destructive coalition of rivals' and choice before voters in the general elections would be either “Modi or chaos”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government will be seeking second term as 900 million people are expected to vote in the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23. Several non-BJP parties like the Congress, the SP the , BSP and the TMC have joined , hands to form a grand coalition 'Mahagathbandhan' to take on Narendra Modi-led NDA in the forthcoming elections beginning April 11. “What was promised to be Mahagathbandhan' is turning out to be a gathband- han' of several conflicting gathbandhans. It is a selfdestructive coalition of rivals',” Jaitley said while highlighting the conflicts among the parties in the coailition against BJP-led NDA. In his blog, he wrote that the leadership issue in the opposition camp is an absolute puzzle. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is an inadequate leader, Jaitley said. “He is tried, tested and failed. His lack of understanding of issues is frightening. He aspires to be the leader of this chaotic pack”. The senior BJP leader further said the Opposition alliance is unclear and is absolutely fragile. “None of the political parties is capable of any significant number of seats. The alliance will not have a stable nucleus. It has a set of highly ambitious, self-centred and maverick leaders. wrote letters to the British apologising and asking to be let off,” the Congress president reportedly said. Attacking the ruling BJP on the national security issue, Gandhi said 40 CRPF personnel were killed in the Feb- ruary 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Pakistanbased Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), whose chief Masood Azhar was released from jail by the BJP during its previous government. “These people with 56-inch chests, you would NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH CMYK recall, in their previous government, the current National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, went in an aircraft with Masood Azharji and handed over Masood Azhar in Kandahar,” Gandhi said sarcastically, adding "Two of our prime ministers (Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) were martyred. We don't bow before anyone." Gandhi also blasted Modi over the alleged Rafale fighter aircraft deal-related "scam", charging that five years ago, the “chowkidar” (Modi) had come to power and said he had a “56-inch chest” and would fight corruption. “People earlier used to say, 'acche din ayenge'...now you just say 'chowkidar' and everyone else says 'chor hai' ~ this is due to the Congress,” he said. PM Modi spoke for an hour-and-a-half in Parliament, but could not answer four questions on the Rafale deal, Gandhi charged. “He talked about the Congress, Rajiv Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, but did not utter Anil Ambani's name,” the Congress chief said in a reference to the allegation that the industrialist was "favoured" in the deal. Gandhi said Modi kept talking about Make in India, but his "shirts, shoes and phone, with which he took selfies" were made in China. He said the Congress will ensure minimum guaranteed income to every citizen of the country if it comes to power and that farmers, who are the backbone of the country, will be protected. He said, "Congress government will also address the unemployment issue on a priority basis and lakhs of unemployed youth will be ensured employment." Rahul called upon the party's booth workers to put in their best efforts to ensure the victory of all the seven Congress candidates in Delhi in LS polls. vation made by the RBI directors. The former Union minister alleged that despite the observations, the Central Board of Directors had backed the move as the RBI was “pressured” by the government. He also alleged that demonetisation, issued through a “Tughlaqi farmaan” (autocratic and arbitrary decision), had destroyed the Indian economy. Ramesh said all abnormal flows from legitimate tax havens and abnormal deposits in cooperative banks would be probed if the Congress came to power in the upcoming general election. “The first thing that we will do when we come to power is restore the autonomy and independence of the RBI,” the Congress leader said. B737 MAX: DGCA issues safety instructions NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday issued additional safety instructions to SpiceJet and Jet Airways for operating Boeing 737 MAX planes. The pilot commanding the aircraft should have at least 1,000 hours of flying experience, according to the DGCA directions. A day after a 737 MAX aircraft crashed in Ethiopia killing 157 people, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said interim safety measures are being taken with inputs available at this stage. The watchdog has also asked the airlines to ensure various requirements are complied with by engineering and maintenance personnel with respect to 737 MAX planes. China, Indonesia and Ethiopia have already grounded their domestic carriers’ B737 MAX fleets. PTI
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