SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 07 APRIL 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 DHRUBA NARAYAN KUNDU HAS TURNED HIS HERITAGE RESIDENCE, ITACHUNA RAJBARI, INTO A MODEST ‘HERITAGE HOMESTAY’, WHICH EXUDES SIMPLE RUSTIC CHARM COEXISTENCE BETWEEN HUMANS AND WILDLIFE IS NOT EASY, BUT THE MAASAI OF KENYA HAVE BEEN WORKING AMAZINGLY TO KEEP THEMSELVES AND WILDLIFE ROAMING FREE WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Max and min temp to be around 34/22 degrees Cels, resp. RAINFALL: 12.7 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.91% TEMPERATURE Min. 55% Max: 33.7°C (-2) Min: 21.4°C (-4) SUN SETS SUN RISES 17:54 hrs 05:24 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 06:45 hrs 19:42 hrs Next quarter of moon on 16 April THUMBNAILS Former Army vice chief Sarath Chand joins BJP: Ex-vice chief of army staff Lieutenant General (rtd) Sarath Chand joined the BJP on Saturday in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Chand was commissioned into the Garhwal Rifles in June 1979 and retired as vice chief on June 1 last year. DRDO dismisses missile debris threat: With the successful anti-satellite missile test, India is capable of hitting a target at a range of over 1,000 km in space, but a lower orbit was chosen for the mission to avoid threat of debris to global space assets, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said on Saturday. CBI wants custodial interrogation of Kolkata ex-top cop: The CBI will move the Supreme t Court seeking removal of the “no coercive action” clause against former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar as it wants his custodial interrogation in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, an official said. Pakistan opens air route for India: Pakistan has opened one of its 11 air routes for westbound flights from India and Air India has started using it, said a government official on Saturday. “Pakistan has been opening its airspace in tranches. On Thursday, it opened one of the 11 routes for west-bound flights.” ED, Michel seek charge sheet ‘leak’ inquiry CLOSE ENCOUNTER Court urged to issue show-cause notice to a news body PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 6 APRIL he Enforcement Directorate (ED) and British-national Christian Michel, alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, on Saturday sought before a Delhi court an inquiry into the purported leakage of the supplementary charge sheet filed in the case to media. The ED urged the court to issue a notice to a news organisation asking it to explain how it accessed the documents, whereas Michel supported the demand of a probe while accusing the agency of politicising the matter. ED's special public prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta claimed that the matter was “serious”. “The charge sheet's copy is yet to be supplied to the accused persons. However, Michel's lawyers came to know what we have written in it and filed an application on that behalf. This is a very serious matter and an enquiry must be ordered to ascertain how the copy of the charge sheet was leaked,” the ED said. Special judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to the agency and directed it to file a reply on Michel's plea, which had stated that he had not named anybody in connection with the deal during investigation by the ED and that even though the court has not taken cognisance of the documents, in order to make the entire case a sensation again in the media, the agency had leaked the charge sheet. T The court will take up ED's plea related to leakage of the charge sheet copy on April 11. Meanwhile, the court issued summons to Michel's business partner and middleman David Nigel John Syms as an accused in the case. Syms, named as accused in the charge sheet, is asked to appear before court on May 9. The court also summoned two firms ~ Global Services FZE and Global Traders ~ as accused in the case. Michel and Syms are the directors of the two firms. The court directed to keep the copy the charge sheet in a sealed cover until further orders. It also extended by two days the custodial interrogation of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent arrested by the agency in the case. It further sought a reply from the agency on Gupta's bail application by April 9. Gupta was arrested by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The probe agency had said Gupta's role in the case came to light on the basis of disclosures made by Rajiv Saxena, who has turned approver in the case after he was deported from the UAE and arrested by the agency here. Michel's counsel Aljo K Joseph on Friday moved an application before the court, saying, “Michel has not named anyone in his statement before the agency which is being leaked to media. This is only to make the matter sensational and prejudice the case against my client.” He claimed the copy of the charge sheet was provided to the media before it was provided to Michel. Michel was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year after his extradition from Dubai. He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the chopper scam by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. The agency had earlier told the court that Michel received 24.25 million euros and 1,60,96,245 pounds from the AgustaWestland deal. The ED told the court that it had identified Michel's properties purchased with the proceeds of the crime. The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he had received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland. The CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros. At Srirampur station after a local train hit an inspection car on Saturday. Eight rail staff were hurt. PRASANTA MALLICK ‘Cong plans to dilute Armed Forces’ powers, break middle class backbone’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SUNDARGARH/SONEPUR (ODISHA), 6 APRIL Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that past governments did not have the courage to cross the border and kill terrorists, and hit out at the Congress saying while the “chowkidar” showed guts to hit terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan, the grand old party wants to dilute powers of the armed forces. He also accused the Congress of always using poverty as a major political weapon and said the best remedy to eradicate poverty was to do away with that party. With Odisha all set to witness Assembly elections with the Lok Sabha polls in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29, Modi also made a scathing attack at the BJD government, charging it with lacking “sahi niti & sahi niyat” (right policies or intention) for development and urged people to elect a BJP government in the state for faster growth through “double engine”. Shatrughan joins Congress, describes BJP as a ‘one-man show, two-men army’ SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 6 APRIL Dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday joined the Congress, which welcomed him with a Lok Sabha ticket, as he lambasted his former party, terming it a “one-man show and two-men army”. The 72-year-old actorturned-politician said he left the BJP on its foundation day , Saturday, with “immense pain and heavy heart”. He alleged there is no place left in the party for dialogue and its leadership does not value its own veterans, and views its opponents as “enemies”. Sinha also heaped praise on Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He is a dynamic, “tried, tested and successful” leader and the face and future of India, the Patna Sahib MP said. Within hours of joining, the Congress fielded Sinha from Bihar's Patna Sahib seat, where he will contest against BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Sinha had met Rahul Gandhi on March 28. Attacking the BJP's top leadership, Sinha said, “Today there is no place left for dialogue in the BJP anymore,” and if one speaks the truth he is termed as a rebel. “If speaking the truth is rebellion, then I am rebel,” he said addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters here. Party veterans are not being looked after in the BJP and are Actor and MP Shatrughan Sinha gestures while joining the Congress at the AICC Headquarters in the Capital on Saturday. SUBRATA DUTTA being sent to 'margdarshak mandal', he alleged. “In the BJP, democracy has slowly and surely turned into dictatorship. The party has become a one-man show and a twomen army,” Sinha alleged without naming anyone. He claimed whenever he tried to make a point, he was called a “traitor”. That Sinha was not happy with the BJP and the government led by it was clear over the past few months, during which he put out several tweets critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party and the government. In his tweets, he has also been full of praise for Gandhi and RJD leaders, including its jailed president Lalu Prasad. In an apparent reference to Modi, Sinha said, “People have called your bluff and understood your hollow promises. You have been exposed.” Sinha said the BJP has now been “exposed” and people can see through its “hollow” promises. “It's with a heavy heart and immense pain that I finally bid adieu to my old party, for reasons best known to all of us, on 6th April, which also happens to be the Sansthapna Diwas (foundation day) of BJP. “I don't hold any ill will for our people as they were like my family and I was groomed in this party,” Sinha later tweeted. He alleged that, like BJP's founding member L K Advani, other stalwarts including Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha were not given respect and not “treated properly” in the party. He also attacked the Modi government, alleging, “everything happens from the Prime Minister's Office...ministers can't work freely.” Terming demonetisation as “probably the world's biggest scam”, Sinha said, “It was a mindless decision...Several people died and we were told it was normal.” Sinha also said the country would have been transformed if the money splurged by the BJP on its publicity campaign was spent on development. Lauding the Congress' proposed Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) scheme, he said the country has not seen such a thing in the past. “I am hopeful that the Grand Old National Party which I'm stepping into, will provide me with opportunities to serve our people, society and nation in terms of unity, prosperity, progress, development, and glory,” he also tweeted. He hailed the Congress as a “party of great nationbuilders and luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and many others” and exuded confidence that the grand alliance in Bihar will emerge victorious. “Under the present president of Congress the very dynamic, able, tried, tested and successful face of today and tomorrow's India, Rahul Gandhi, I hope, wish and pray that I'm heading into a better direction. Long live democracy and the Congress party, along with the alliance of Lalu and Tejasvi's RJD. Long live our great India. Jai Hind,” he also tweeted. The PM addressed election rallies in Sundargarh and Sonepur in western Odisha where voting for simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls will take place in second phase on April 18. With a total of 21 Lok Sabha constituencies,Odisha holds importance in the ongoing Parliamentary election. Modi himself is leading the saffron party to corner maximum number of seats in the state, from where BJP had in 2014 managed only one seat, that of Union Minister Jual Oram from Sundargarh, while BJD had bagged the rest 20. The BJP is also making efforts to gain power in Odisha ending 19 years of BJD rule and on several occasions saffron party leaders have claimed Tripura would be repeated in Odisha. The BJP had ended 25 years of uninterrupted CPI(M) regime in Tripura last year and set up its own government. Coming down heavily on Congress, Modi accused the grand old party of using poverty as a tool for politics and hatching a conspiracy to break the backbone of middle-class in the country by burdening them with heavy taxes through schemes proposed in its manifesto. “I want to tell you about another conspiracy of Congress to rob the assistance meant for the poor. Congress wants to implement such policies which will double the prices of essential items including rice and wheat available through PDS,” Modi said. “Will it be good for the country to break the backbone of the middle class by burdening them with taxes?” Modi asked. “The Congress has all along been reaping political benefits by employing poverty as a major weapon. Poverty cannot be eradicated as long as the Congress exists,” he said. Giving a call for“Congress hathao”, he said poverty will disappear on its own if the Congress is removed. Noting that the Congress only gave slogans for eradication of poverty for generations but never took any step to ensure it, Modi said poor people have turned poorer and their leaders and ministers became richer. The Congress as well as the BJD used poverty for politics for which a major part of the country and Odisha has been in immense poverty for decades, he said. Mamata dubs Modi a liar, slams EC for removing IPS officers SNS & PTI ALIPURDUAR/JALPAIGURI, 6 APRIL West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “liar”, who has been blabbering lies in the last five years and not fulfilling a single promise made during the last general election in 2014. Banerjee also mocked Modi's 56-inch chest rhetoric and wryly said even Ravan (demon king) had a big chest. “Does that mean we would support Ravan raj in the country,” she asked. She criticised the Election Commission over removal of police officers in Bengal and challenged the poll panel to remove her first. Sharpening attack at the PM, who early this week had made a scathing attack at the TMC supremo describing her a “speedbreaker” in the path of development of the state and also who wants poverty to stay so her “politics of poverty” can flourish, Banerjee launched a no holds barred attack on Modi. Banerjee wondered how a person who didn't look after his wife would look after the citizens of the country, in an apparent reference to Modi. She further accused the BJP of trying to turn legal citizens of the country into foreigners in the name of NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Banerjee, who has emerged as an important leader of the anti-BJP bloc, said addressing a rally at Barobisha area of Alipurduar district,”TMC will lead the formation of the new government at the Centre. Bengal will show the way.” West Bengal with 42 Lok Sabha seats, third highest after Uttar Pradesh's 80 and Maharashtra 48, is witnessing a fierce political fight between Trinamul Congress and the saffron party, buoyed after good performances in last year’s rural election and a few bypolls. “We welcome the central forces, but they must work hand in hand with the state forces for proper and smooth voting. They have changed good police officials, but that will not affect us. Whoever you bring as replacement is our officer, it won't affect us. If you can, replace me first,” Banerjee said. Her comments come in the wake of Election Commission of India (ECI) decision to remove four IPS officers, including Kolkata and Bidhannagar Police Commissioners. Miss Banerjee has also written a letter to the EC protesting against the decision. “Let me warn you, if the BJP wins, the independence of the country and its people will be at stake. Freedom of religion, what to eat, what to wear will all be dictated to you,” she said and gave a clarion call to oust the “anti-Bengali, anti-minority” BJP . Hitting out at the BJP over NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Miss Banerjee said it is another ploy to turn legal citizens of this country into refugees. “NRC is being imposed by the BJP in Assam. They are excluding Bengalis, even Hindus. Chasing away Bengalis is not that easy. We will not allow it. Citizen Amendment Bill they are saying will give citizenship after six months of stay. But what will families do during that time? How will they access day to day necessities?,” she questioned. The Trinamul supremo and Bengal CM said: “Modi during his 2014 election rallies had promised reopening of closed tea gardens in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri. But he has not opened a single one.’’ He used to call himself a “chaiwala” (tea seller). Now the chaiwala after failing to fullfill his promises has turned into a “chowkidar” (watchman), she mocked. Questioning the credentials of John Barla, BJP's candidate in Alipurduar Lok Sabha seat, the TMC boss said Barla was one of the main accussed in the riots that took place a few years back between the Gorkhas and Adivasis in the region. “It is quite obvious that a party like BJP could not find a better candidate.’’
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