CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 14 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 SENSEX 37,752.17 +216.00 WEATHER Partly cl sky with 1 or 2 spells of rain or thundershower likely. Max-min temp to be around 33-25 deg celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P10 NIFTY 11,341.70 +40.00 HOW RONALDO CAUGHT UP WITH MESSI P8 ` vs $ 69.54 +17 PAISE GOLD 31,125.00 +195.00 P11 SILVER 38,700.00 +100.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 67.09 +0.42 ‘R-papers used in plea All eyes on China as UN set for Azhar terror tag sensitive to security’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Affidavit filed by ministry of defence urges SC to reject review petitions Max.93% Min. 48% Max: 34.2°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:46 hrs MOON RISES 10.56 hrs Min: 25.1°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:46 hrs MOON SETS 00:00 hrs TEMPERATURE NCLAT RESERVES ORDER ON RCOM PLEA MAY’S BREXIT DEAL CRUSHED AGAIN BY MPS HOW MODI CHANGED THE PMO Next moon quarter on 16 March THUMBNAILS The Ambassador-designate of Nepal, Mr Nilamber Acharya, presenting his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in the Capital on Wednesday. SNS BJP delegation meets CEC, wants WB as ‘super-sensitive zone’: A BJP delegation on s Wednesday called on the Chief Election Commissioner in Delhi and apprised the commission of its apprehensions about free and fair elections to the Lok Sabha in West Bengal. The delegation comprising Union ministers JP Nadda and Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded that the state be declared a 'Super-sensitive Zone' in view of the alleged attempts at intimidation of rivals and misuse of police force by the ruling Trinamul Congress in the state. AGP returns to NDA fold: The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will fight the Lok Sabha election in Assam in alliance with the BJP, two months after severing ties with the saffron party over the contentious citizenship bill. The alliance was finalised in a meeting among BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, AGP president Atul Bora and others that ended post midnight. “After discussion, BJP and AGP have decided to work together in the coming Parliament election in Assam to defeat Congress,” Madhav, the BJP's incharge of Northeast, tweeted early on Wednesday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 13 MARCH n an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the Centre said the documents attached in the review petitions in the Rafale deal are sensitive to national security.. The Ministry of Defence filed an affidavit in the apex court saying the documents submitted by the petitioners in the Rafale review case are sensitive to national security as they are related to war capacity of French-made combat aircraft. The affidavit, filed by the ministry of defence, asks the court to reject the petitions and states that leakage of documents on the fighter jet deal from the ministry through photocopying amounted to theft. The government said the review plea filed by former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie as also activist advocate Prashant Bhushan has been widely circulated and is available to the country's enemy and adversaries. "This puts the national security in jeopardy. Without consent, permission or acquiescence of the Central Government, those who have conspired in making the photocopy of these sensitive documents and annexing it to the review petition/ mis- I cellaneous application and thereby committing theft by unauthorized photocopying of such documents...have adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with the foreign countries," the affidavit said. On March 6, the Centre had opposed the review petitions and asked the apex court to dismiss them as they were based on documents “stolen” from the ministry of defence. “It’s a criminal act on the part of petitioners to bring these documents with them. They have come with unclean hands,” Attorney General KK Venugopal had said. However, the government made a U-turn two days later as the Attorney General said the documents were not stolen, but the petitioners were using “photocopies of the original” papers. Earlier, Venugopal had informed the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench on March 6 that documents cited by The Hindu newspaper in its reports on the Ayodhya litigants appear before mediation panel PRESS TRUST OF INDIA controversial Rafale deal were stolen and cannot be shown in court as it would affect national security. The government had also warned The Hindu with a case under Official Secrets Act for publishing articles based on these documents. PTI adds: The Congress on Wednesday hit back at the BJP for levelling graft allegations against Rahul Gandhi, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Smriti Irani were making “completely baseless” charges to divert attention from real issues such as “rampant joblessness” and “agrarian crisis”. The BJP dragged Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into alleged corruption involving land deals, claiming the opposition party known for “institutionalising” graft has now come to define “family corruption”. Responding to the allegation, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked if there was wrongdoing in the ‘Central force in Assam not for poll duty’ FAIZABAD (UP), 13 MARCH J Karnataka Congress-JDS seat adjustment: The Congress will contest 20 seats and JDS eight in the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka under a deal finalised by the two ruling coalition partners on Wednesday, the JDS said. The seat sharing was hammered out at a meeting betweenCongress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali at Kochi in Kerala on Wednesday evening, party sources said. JD(S) will contest in Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, Tumkur, Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru North and Vijayapura, according to the sources. India lose series: India's quest to find right combinations for the upcoming World Cup ended with a 35-run defeat in the decisive fifth ODI against Australia as they lost the series 2-3 in New Delhi on Wednesday. In what was their last game before the showpiece event in UK, the Indian innings folded for 237, while chasing a 273-run target. Australia had put on board 272 for nine, built around Usman Khawaja's (100) second hundred of the series. It was India's first ODI series defeat at home since losing to South Africa in 2015. The Supreme Court on Wednesday reiterated that it will not extend the July 31 deadline for publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and said the NRC work and Lok Sabha polls can go on simultaneously in the state. The Centre informed the top court that 167 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) deployed in the state will not be diverted for poll duty. A bench headed by CJI said requisite manpower and technology needed for publication of final NRC by July 31 will be provided. “We will not extend the deadline for publication of final NRC on July 31, PTI 2019. The fate of the proposal to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed's chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by the UN Security Council will be known on Wednesday and all eyes are on China, after it blocked the move thrice since 2009. The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that led to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan. The Al Qaida Sanctions Committee members have 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal moved by France, the UK and the US. The no-objection period deadline ends 3 pm local time (New York) Wednesday (12:30am IST Thursday). The Committee makes its decisions by consensus among its members. China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, and an “all-weather ally” of Pakistan, has blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee in 2009 and 2016. In 2017, Beijing also blocked a move by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN. According to the listing rules of the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, if no objection is received by the end of the no-objection period, the decision will be deemed adopted, meaning that Azhar will become a UN-designated global terrorist. A UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities. The travel ban entails preventing the entry into or transit by all states through their territories by designated individuals. Under the arms embargo, all states are required to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities. Hectic diplomatic and political parleys have preceded are expected to spend three days here. Swami Avimukteshwaranand of the Ram Janmabhoomi Punruddhar Samiti, said the meeting began at 10 am with over 50 participants. Nirmohi Akhara's Mahant Dinendra Das, Triloki Nath Pandey who is representing Ram Lalla Virajman, Mahant Dharam Das appearing for Ram Abhiram Das and Mahant Suresh Das of the Digambar Akhara were among the participants. Litigants Iqbal Ansari, Mohammad Umar and Haji Mahboob attended the meeting, where Maulana Ashhad Rashidi represented Jamiat Ulemae-Hind. the closely-watched March 13 deadline as New Delhi reached out to member countries of the 15-member UNSC. In the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama, India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad, holding briefing for envoys of 25 countries, including from the five permanent UNSC members -- the US, China, Russia, the UK and France -to highlight Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. India also handed over to Pakistan a dossier on “specific details” of involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack. Days before the March 13 deadline on Azhar's possible listing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said in a statement that Pompeo expressed his “understanding” of India's concerns on cross-border terrorism. “They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable,” the MEA said. On Wednesday, the US said Azhar meets the criteria to brand him as a “global terrorist” by the UN. ‘Probe Vadra as also Modi’ SNS & PTI CHENNAI, 13 MARCH NEW DELHI, 13 MARCH Twenty-five litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babari Masjid land case on Wednesday appeared before a Supreme Courtappointed panel as it began an attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation, officials said. The litigants and their counsels altogether over 50 people met the threemember mediation panel on the Avadh University premises here. The Supreme Court has given the panel, led by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, eight weeks to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement over the disputed site in Ayodhya. The panel members, who also include Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu arrived in Faizabad Tuesday and deals then why had the BJP not probed them in the last five years. He claimed that facing “imminent defeat in the 2019 general elections, and finding no answer to the rampant joblessness, agrarian crisis, economic slowdown, all-pervading corruption and social unrest, a frustrated Modi government and its perpetually peeved Union ministers like Smriti Irani, have lost their balance and equilibrium”. “The prime minister and his favourite minister Smriti Irani are resorting to levelling completely baseless and false allegations,” the Congress leader said. Surjewala alleged that the BJP wants to divert people's attention from real issues. “Smriti ji has got so blinded by her desire for revenge against Rahul Gandhi along with her mentor Narendra Modi that she is resorting to fake and false allegations as a diversionary tactic to give cover fire to the prime minister. But they are never going to succeed,” he said. Referring to a media report, Irani claimed that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra purchased land in a deal involving H L Pahwa, who was raided by the Enforcement Directorate, and Mahesh Kumar Nagar, who also had a role in land transaction involving Robert Vadra. UNHQ, 13 MARCH Asserting that law must not be applied selectively, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed so can Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the Rafale deal. He also said economic growth is directly related to the mood of the nation and one cannot expect it to happen in a negative and fearful atmosphere. The Congress will change the mood of the country and make people feel happy and empowered, the Congress chief said while addressing women students at a college here. Gandhi, who asked students to refer to him as Rahul, said the law must apply to everybody and not be applied selectively. He said this in response to a question on Vadra, who is being probed in connection with a money laundering case related to purchase of assets abroad and a land case in Rajasthan's Bikaner dis- trict. During his informal interaction with the students, he also brought up the issue of the Rafale deal and reiterated his allegations about the pricing of the aircraft and the process. “I will be the first person to say it... Investigate Robert Vadra but also investigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said. Modi is a “corrupt” man, he bypassed negotiations and ran parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal, Gandhi alleged while responding to the question. The Congress chief said the prime minister should have the guts to face the media and asked why Modi was “hiding”. The BJP and the government have repeatedly rejected the Congress's allegation of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal. He also alleged that the BJP's idea is to capture every institution of the country and run them from Nagpur, the RSS headquarters. Gandhi said the Congress would pass the women's reservation bill if it comes to power. ‘SpiceJet most affected by grounding of 737 Max 8 aircraft’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 MARCH All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft being operated by Indian airlines have been grounded and around 35 flights of SpiceJet would be cancelled on Thursday consequently, Civil Aviation Secretary P S Kharola said Wednesday. He said Thursday will be a “challenging” day as “out of 520 odd flights that SpiceJet flies every day, about 30-35 flights will have to be cancelled”. SpiceJet has been most affected by the grounding of 737 Max 8 aircraft as it has 12 of them in its fleet. Jet Airways has not been affected as its five 737 Max 8 aircraft have already been grounded - even before the grounding decision of the government -- due to non-payment of dues to lessors. As the Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max 8 crashed near Addis Ababa killing all 157 people onboard on Sunday, Indian aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Tuesday night announced that the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would be “immediately” grounded. “Tomorrow is going to be a real challenging day because today the ban has come into effect only from the second half of the day... SpiceJet has assured us that they have taken up multiple plans. They have increased the utilisation of existing aircraft, so that the cancellations get limited,” Kharola said. “As of now, all aircraft of B737 Max have been grounded. The last flight (aircraft) to be grounded was today around 2.30 pm. The deadline was 4 pm and before that all aircraft have been grounded,” he said. On Wednesday morning, the DGCA issued a statement stating no Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would be allowed to fly in Indian airspace from 4 pm. “We had a discussion with airlines as to how they would plan to overcome the situation. The airlines have assured that the grounding of 12 aircraft would not significantly impact the passengers and they would draw up a very elaborate plan,” the secretary said. “Today, SpiceJet has just cancelled 14 flights... They have been able to accommodate the passengers affected by cancellation of 14 flights within their own system,” he added. Kharola emphasised that the SpiceJet has been told that cancellations of flights should happen on those sectors that have multiple flights. He added that SpiceJet has assured that if the airport has only its flights, it will not go “unserviced” due to aircraft ban. He said added that SpiceJet would be setting up spe- CMYK cial cell to deal with passenger complaints and ensure that the passengers are informed well in time about cancellations or any other adjustments. He added that the ministry has requested SpiceJet that in case it is not able to adjust or accommodate, other airlines should come forward and they should carry these passengers based on their existing agreements with SpiceJet. Operators have also agreed not to indulge in “predatory pricing”, the secretary said. DGCA chief B S Bhullar said that lifting the ban on the 737 Max 8 aircraft will be based on inputs from various agencies and it will not happen soon. He added that other airlines - apart from SpiceJet - have been requested to keep fares at a reasonable level and the DGCA will monitor fare levels regularly. In a statement Wednesday evening, SpiceJet said,”SpiceJet is rationalizing & optimizing the use of its Boeing 737 NG and Bombardier Q400 aircraft to address the current situation and minimize inconvenience to its passengers.” “We are evaluating options for augmenting capacity in the coming days through a mix of additional flights & aircraft inductions. We are sure that our operations will be normal very soon,” it said. The airline said that a majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated on alternate flights. The budget carrier said it is offering passengers the option of “a full refund, changing the flight/date of travel, or even change of destination (to nearest alternate airport); all this without any cancellation charges or any fare difference”. While European Union and most countries across the world have decided to ban the use of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, the US has refused to do it as yet. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates aviation industry in the US, said in a tweet Wednesday that it “continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX”. SPICEJET SHARES HIT, PAGE 8
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