TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 12 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 P6 SENSEX 36,395.03 -151.45 WEATHER Shallow and moderate fog in the morning. Generally clear sky with haze thereafter. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 23 and 9 degrees Celsius respectively. NIFTY 10,888.80 -54.80 ` vs $ 71.18 +13 PAISE GOLD 31,760.00 -290.00 P16 SILVER 40,100.00 -50.00 Storm over revelations in fresh Rafale report NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY TEMPERATURE Min: 7°C (-3) SUN SETS 18:09 hrs MOON SETS 00:45 hrs T THUMBNAILS Amit Bhandari assaulted: Former India pacer Amit Bhandari, who is chairman of the DDCA senior selection committee, was on Monday assaulted by a group of unidentified men, led by a rejected U-23 player, during the Delhi senior team's practice at the St Stephen's ground. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (National Twenty20 tournament), starts Feb P16 21. Jafri case: Zakia Jafri, wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, told the Supreme Court that her plea challenging SIT's clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, in the 2002 postGodhra riots be heard after the Lok Sabha polls. A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi considered the submission and P10 listed the matter for hearing in July. he Congress on Monday cited a media report claiming that the government waived anticorruption clauses in the Rafale deal to call for a probe into “who paid whom”, with party chief Rahul Gandhi alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “opened the door” to allow industrialist Anil Ambani to “steal” Rs 30,000 crore from the Air Force. The all-out attack on the government came after a report in The Hindu newspaper claimed the Rafale deal between India and France involved “major and unprecedented” concessions from the Modi dispensation, with critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA). “NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 Cr. from the IAF (sic),” Gandhi tweeted, tagging the report. The government, as well as Ambani, whose company is offset partner under the deal, have strongly refuted allegations of any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement with France. Last week, the Congress president had demanded answers to questions raised by another report in the newspaper that the PMO conducted parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal. Repeating the “chowkidar” epithet, he ramped up his attack on the Prime Minister and said it was “crystal clear” that the “watchman” is the “thief”. Speaking at Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's daylong fast at the Andhra Bhavan here, he alleged that Prime Minister Modi had “stolen” from the people of the state and given the money to industrialist Ambani. “The Prime Minister became Prime Minister by saying, he is going to fight Nageswara Rao apologises to SC PTI NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY M Nageswara Rao Monday admitted that as an interim chief of the CBI he committed “mistake” in transferring former joint director A K Sharma and apologised to the Supreme Court, saying he had no intention to circumvent its orders. Rao, who filed an affidavit in response to a contempt notice issued to him on February 7, said he was praying for an unconditional and unqualified apology by the apex court. “I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I specially state I have not wilfully violated the order of this court as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing order of this court,” Rao said in the affidavit. He admitted that in view of the Supreme Court P13 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min. 49% Max: 22.3°C (-1) SUN RISES 07:02 hrs MOON RISES 11.24 hrs P9 PANT IN WORLD CUP RECKONING orders dated October 31 and November 28, 2018 “I ought not have agreed with the legal advice for relieving A K Sharma even in his promotion without prior approval of this court”. The Supreme Court on February 7 came down heavily on the CBI for transferring Sharma, who was probing Bihar's shelter home cases, out of the agency in violation of the court's order and had directed Rao to personally appear before it on February 12. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took serious note of the violation of the two earlier orders and issued contempt notice to Rao for transferring Sharma to the CRPF on January 17 without taking prior permission from the court. “I unhesitatingly accept my mistake and tender my unconditional and unequivocal apology to this court. I most respectfully pray that this court may be graciously pleased to accept the same,” Rao said. He also submitted that the officer was transferred “not with any deliberate or disobedient intent and it is humbly submitted that it was never my intention to undermine the majesty of this court or flout or circumvent any direction of this court.” The IPS officer, who is additional director in the CBI, said he has highest respect for the apex court and prayed “most humbly and respectfully” that his apology be accepted. In his affidavit, Rao narrated his achievements in 32 years as an IPS officer. corruption. Have you read The Hindu newspaper today...The Prime Minister has stolen from the people of Andhra Pradesh and he has given that money to Mr Anil Ambani, that is the fact of the matter,” he said. Later, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, at a press conference, said the Congress wants to raise the fundamental question why the BJP-led NDA government waived the anticorruption clauses in the Rafale deal. The answer is very simple because there has been corruption in the Rafale deal, he said. Tewari said the implications of the action of alleged waiving of the anticorruption clauses in the deal meant that the French, especially the suppliers Dassault and missile-maker MBDA —were indemnified. “Essentially, what it means is that those who essentially paid, through whom the transactions were routed, and the end beneficiaries, get fully indemnified...Government doesn't have the legal locus to cancel the contract,” he claimed. Dassault and MBDA were in the “driver's seat” in the Rafale deal negotiations and not the government of India, he alleged. “One thing is emerging clearly, which requires investigation, which requires a joint parliamentary committee (probe), that somebody has paid somebody in the fighter Rafale procurement,” Tewari said. “We would again like to emphasise that if these very very overt acts of malfeasance...if the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report ignores it, because we believe that the CAG report is being tabled tomorrow, then that report will not be worth the Hazarika's Bharat Ratna in Bill row PTI GUWAHATI, 11 FEBRUARY Taking a swipe at the BJPlegendary , Assamese singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika's son Tez Hazarika said on Monday his father's name and words were being invoked and celebrated publicly while plans were afoot to pass the “painfully unpopular” Citizenship (Amendment) Bill against the wish of the people of the Northeast. In a Facebook post, Tez said the proposed legislation undermines the“documented position” of his father, who was awarded the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna posthu- mously by the Narendra Modi government last month.“Numerous media journalists are now asking me whether or not I will accept the Bharat Ratna for my father. I go on record here to answer that A), I have not received any invitation so far there is nothing to reject. And B), how the Centre moves on this matter far outweighs in importance the awarding and receiving of such national recognition ~ a display of short lived cheap thrills,” he wrote. “For his fans ~ a vast majority of people of the Northeast ~ and India's great diversity including all indigenous populations of India, he would never have endorsed what appears, quite transparently, to be an underhanded way of pushing a law against the will and benefit of the majority in a manner that also seems to be grossly unconstitutional, undemocratic and un-Indian,” said Tez. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 61.94 -0.16 Govt may table CAG report on Rafale deal in House today PM ‘opened door’ for Ambani to steal ` 30,000 crore from IAF, alleges Congress president RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.97% THAI PRINCESS NOT IN LIST OF PM CANDIDATES DEFENCE MINISTRY IN ANOTHER TURF WAR HDK AGREES FOR SIT PROBE INTO AUDIO TAPES PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY paper it is written on,” he said. On August 24, 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the intergovernmental agreement, while in September, 2016, the defence acquisition council overrode the Cabinet Committee on Security and amended eight vital clauses of the fighter jet deal, Tewari alleged. “The moot question is what happened between August 24, 2016, and September 23, 2016, what transpired in those 30 days. Who paid whom in those 30 days that led to the dropping of the anti-corruption clauses from the Rafale agreement,” he asked. Earlier, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said the Rafale deal is unravelling faster than the government thought. “First, it was the loading of the India Specific Enhancement costs on 36 aircraft, instead of 126 aircraft, giving a bonanza to Dassault. Then it was the revelation that 'parallel negotiations' were being carried on by PMO undermining the efforts of the Indian Negotiating Team,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets. The government is scheduled to table the CAG report on Rafale jet fighter deal, which has generated a massive political controversy, in Parliament tomorrow, sources said. The government's decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault has become a controversial political issue, with the main Opposition party Congress levelling allegations of corruption and impropriety, and the ruling dispensation defending the move. The CAG report will be tabled on Tuesday, a day before the end of the present Lok Sabha session. This is the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha as the general elections are due in April-May. Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday alleged conflict of interest and asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated. Union Minister Arun Jaitley, however, rebutted the claims of Sibal saying that the Congress was casting aspersions on the insti- tution of CAG based on “falsehood”. “Another attack on the institution of CAG by the 'Institution wreckers' based on falsehood. After ten years in government former UPA ministers still don't know that Finance Secretary is only a designation given to the senior most secretary in the finance ministry,” Jaitley said in a series of tweets on Sunday. Sibal said Mehrishi was the finance secretary from October 24, 2014 to August 30, 2015 and in between Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Paris on April 10, 2015 and announced the signing of the Rafale deal. “...Finance Ministry plays an important role in these negotiations...Now it is clear that the Rafale deal happened under Rajiv Mehrishi. Now he is CAG. We met him twice on September 19 and October 4, 2018.We told him about the scam. We told him that the deal should be probed because it is corrupt.’’ Naidu’s protest against Modi a big draw for Opposition Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu during Dharma Porata Deeksha, a day-long fast to demand special status for the state of Andhra Pradesh, in the Capital on Monday. Other RITIK JAIN Opposition leaders, too, joined the protest. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY The daylong fast observed by TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at Andhra Bhavan here today ~ in protest against the Narendra Modi government's alleged betrayal of his state by denying it the special category status (SCS) ~ turned into a rallying point for a number of top Opposition leaders, who visited the protest fast veneue, to express solidarity with Naidu and train their guns on PM Modi and the BJP . A day after the PM ripped into Naidu while addressing a public rally in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP chief hit back today, bringing his battle against Modi to the national capital. Demanding that the Centre must fulfil assurances given to Andhra Pradesh during its bifurcation in 2014, Naidu alleged that PM Modi was not following "raj dharma" by denying the state the SCS. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a number of his senior colleagues, including ex-PM Manmohan Singh, visited Naidu, backed his cause, and blasted the BJP and the Modi dispensation. TURN TO PAGE 7 Priyanka takes the plunge with a grand roadshow in Lucknow STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE LUCKNOW, 11 FEBRUARY Priyanka GandhiVadra marked her formal entry into politics with a 15 kilometre long road show in Lucknow on Monday. Her road show seemed to revive the spirits of the state Congressmen, who hoped that her charisma would ensure that the Congress emerged from political wilderness it has been in Uttar Pradesh for the last 30 years. She has been appointed the Congress general secretary in charge of east Uttar Pradesh while Jyotiraditya Scindia has been named the general secretary in charge of west UP. Her appointment has been timed with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In the 2014 polls, the Congress had won only two seats, Rae Bareli and Amethi. Accompanied by her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Priyanka chose to remain silent all through the road show. It was Rahul Gandhi who first took the mike at a make shift stage set up near the Noor Manzil Psychiatric Centre and later at the Uttar Pradesh Congress headquarters where the road show ended. Addressing the Congress workers and leaders at the UPCC office, Rahul said that Priyanka and JyotiradityaScindia will have to give due importance and weightage to the grassroot level workers and not to those who fly on helicopters. If they succeed, the Congress will stand on its feet in the state. He said he had chosen the young leaders for Uttar Pradesh as the Congress had started its political journey from the state and it could not afford to be weak in UP Rahul told Priyanka and . Scindia as well as other state leaders that whenever and wherever required he will be there for them. He said the current fight is of two ideologies, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra waves to supporters in Lucknow as Rahul Gandhi looks on. On Monday. AFP one of the Congress which believed in love and in uniting people and other of the RSS, BJP and Narendra Modi which believed in dividing people. He attacked the Prime Min- ister on his “56-inch chest” statement and also on the Rafale deal interspersing his observations with the “Chowkidar chor hai” slogan. On the BSP-SP alliance, Rahul said he had great respect for “Mayawati ji” and “Akhileshji”, but the Congress will fight on its own and with full force. Earlier, addressing the party workers and the people who had thronged the Noor Manzil crossing, Rahul raised the slogan of “Chowkidar Chor Hai” and added the chowkidar had done `chori’ in Uttar Pradesh and other states. He said he had appointed Priyanka and Scindia as general secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and had told them that they would have to pull UP out of the `anyaya’ ( injustice ) it had been facing since long. He added the intent was to bring a government which had justice as its foundation. Rahul said their ( Priyanka and Jyotiraditya Scindia) “lakshya” (aim) was the Lok Sabha polls but their main “lakshya” is the Vidhan Sabha elections in the state with the focus on installing a Congress government in the state. “Till such time a Congress government was installed, we ( Rahul himself, Priyanka and Scindia ) would not rest in peace”. He added he would now play on the front foot and not on the back foot and will ensure that justice was done to the poor, needy, women and farmers. Referring to the Rafale deal, the Congress president said important clauses had been deleted to ensure that Anil Ambani stood to benefit with Rs 30,000 crores. Earlier in the day, Priyanka arrived at the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport with her sibling Rahul and Jyotiraditya Scindia. The three along with UPCC president Raj Babbar and some others climbed a specially designed vehicle for the nearly 15 km long road show. Dressed in a printed off white and blue churidar-kurta ensemble it was evident that the limelight was on Priyan- ka, as both Rahul and Jyotiraditya chose to take the backseat.While she waved to the crowd and did Namaste, many in the crowd threw flowers and garlands at her. She reciprocated by accepting those which made their way to the vehicle. Congress workers raised slogans of Zindabad, with some indulging in jigs. A few wore tee-shirts with the images of the three leaders. With enthusiastic Congress workers waving party flags, the road show winded its way slowly from the airport to the RTO office and then onwards to Krishnanagar, Alambagh and Charbagh. Here, Priyanka and Rahul were accorded a grand welcome by party workers. Upon reaching the Allahabad Bank crossing in the posh Hazratganj area of the state capital, Rahul and Priyanka offered floral tributes at the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
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