SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 14 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 WHOEVER MAKES THEM AND WHATEVER THEIR CONTENT MAY BE, GREAT SPEECHES WILL NEVER FAIL TO INTEREST US IT IS IMPORTANT TO SYSTEMATICALLY LIST THE COUNTRY’S HERITAGE, JEWELLERY TRADITIONS, CRAFTSMANSHIP AND DESIGNS TO SAFEGUARD THEM ‘France tax relief for Anil firm after R-Deal’ WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Max and min temp to be around 37/26 degrees Celsius, resp. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.92% TEMPERATURE Govt denies link between deal, tax waiver to Ambani’s firm; Reliance Communications denies any wrongdoing in tax matters Cong slams PM; no meddling in deal, says French embassy SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 13 APRIL Min. 43% Max: 35.7°C (0) Min: 26.9°C (+1) SUN SETS SUN RISES 17:57 hrs 05:17 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 02:44 hrs 01:23 hrs Next quarter of moon on 16 April THUMBNAILS Sania Mirza on Saturday said India still needs to do a lot more to bring women at par with men in sports, though the country has come a long way in this aspect. Global economy: The global economy is likely to pull out of a brief growth slump later this year with a little help from the world's central banks and from U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators, say global finance leaders of G-20. P8 Former IL&FS finance chief arrested: Making its second arrest in the IL&FS case, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Saturday arrested former IL&FS Financial Services chief P8 Ramesh C Bawa, official sources said. rance waived taxes worth 143.7 million euros to a Frenchregistered telecom subsidiary of Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications in 2015, months after India's announcement of buying 36 Rafale jets, French newspaper Le Monde reported today. The Defence Ministry on Saturday asserted that any connection drawn between the tax exemption to a private company and the Rafale aircraft deal was totally inaccurate, tendentious and a mischievous attempt to disinform. In a statement, the MoD said the reports drawing conjectural connection between tax exemption to the private company and procurement of Rafale fighter jets by the government were inaccurate. It said neither the period of the tax concession nor the subject matter of the concession relate even remotely to the Rafale deal concluded during the tenure of the present NDA government. Reliance Communications rejected any wrongdoing and said the tax dispute was settled under a legal framework that is available to all companies operating in France. The French newspaper F SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 13 APRIL said the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance Flag Atlantic France as a settlement against an original demand of 151 million euros. Reliance Flag owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France. Reacting to the report, the Defence Ministry said any connections drawn between the tax issue and the Rafale matter is totally inaccurate, tendentious and is a mischievous attempt to disinform. "We have seen reports drawing conjectural connection between tax exemption to a private company and procurement of Rafale fighter jets by government of India. Neither the period of the tax concession nor the subject matter of the concession relate even remotely to the Rafale procurement concluded during the tenure of the present government," the Defence Ministry said in a statement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced India would buy a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016. The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs. 1,670 crore as against Rs. 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal. The Congress has also been targeting the government over selection of Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence as an offset partner for Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale. The government has rejected the allegations. The French newspaper said the company was investigated by French tax authorities and found liable to pay 60 million euros in taxes for the period 2007 to 2010. However, Reliance offered to pay 7.6 million euros only as a settlement, but the French tax authorities refused to accept the amount. The authorities conducted another probe for the period 2010 to 2012 and told the company to pay an additional 91 million euros in taxes, the report said. It said by April 2015, the total amount owed by Reliance to the French authorities in taxes was at least 151 million euros. In October, six months after PM Modi announced the Rafale deal in Paris, the French authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance as a settlement as against the original demand of 151 million euros. A spokesperson of Reliance Communications said the tax demands were "completely unsustainable and illegal" and that the company denied any favouritism or gain from the settlement. Firing a fresh salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale issue, the Congress on Saturday alleged that the 143.7 million euro French tax waiver to Anil Ambani's telecom company in 2015, after India announced the fighter jet deal, was due to PM Modi's “blessings” as he acted as a “middleman” for the businessman. “This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa' (blessings),” Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here while referring to a French newspaper report that France waived taxes of the Reliance Communications' subsidiary. In the wake of reports that it granted huge tax waiver to Anil Ambani's French firm, France on Saturday said a global settlement was reached between the French tax authorities and the Reliance subsidiary and that it was not subject to any political interference. Leading French newspaper Le Mondereported that France waived taxes worth 143.7 million euros to a Frenchregistered telecom subsidiary of Ambani's Reliance Communications in 2015, months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of India buying 36 Rafale jets. “A global settlement was reached between the French tax authorities and Reliance Flag, a telecom company, in a tax dispute pertaining to the period 2008-2012,” the French embassy said in a statement. It further said, “This settlement was conducted in full adherence with the legislative and regulatory framework governing this common practice of the tax administration,” the embassy said. It said the settlement was not subject to any political interference whatsoever. Surjewala alleged that the “murky layers of cor- ruption and money trail” in the Rafale saga are out. “PM Modi is acting as middleman for Anil Ambani. How many other companies in France have got a tax benefit? Is this not a quid pro quo for the purchase of aircraft? It is clear only one watchman is the thief,” Surjewala said. “Those that have Modi's blessings can get anything. If Modiji is there, then it is possibile. (Modi ji ki kripa jispar ho jaye uska kuch bhi ho sakta hai, Modi hai to mumkin hai),” he said taunting the BJP with its poll slogan. Le Monde said the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance Flag Atlantic France as a settlement as against original demand of 151 million euros. Reliance Flag owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France. Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016. Maya dig at Yogi: ‘Ali, Bajrang Bali ours’ 100 yrs later, floral tribute PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BADAUN (UP), 13 APRIL Giving her own twist to a recent remark by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday said her party wanted both Ali and Bajrang Bali ~ particularly Bajrang Bali as the deity is “linked with my own Dalit caste”. Addressing a rally in Badaun, Mayawati recalled Adityanath's comment on Tuesday in which he referred to her earlier appeal to Muslims to vote for the Opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh. The chief minister had said if Ali is with the BSP-SP-RLD alliance, then Bajrang Bali is with the BJP . “In this connection, I want to tell him (Adityanath) that both Ali and Bajrang Bali are ours.... So we want both Ali as well as Bajrang Bali,” she said. Ali is a revered figure in Islam and Lord Hanuman is often called Bajrang Bali. Both Mayawati and Adityanath were served notices by the Elec- tion Commission over their remarks. “We particularly want Bajrang Bali because he is linked to my own Dalit caste,” Mayawati said. The BSP chief was apparently referring to Adityanath's comments last year when he had described Lord Hanuman as a forest dweller and a Dalit. “I am very thankful to Yogi ji that he has given us an important information about our ancestors. So, it is a very happy moment to note that we have both Ali and Bajrang Bali, and their coming together will give us very good results in these elections,” she said. “In the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi's party (BJP) will neither get the votes of Ali nor Bajrang Bali, who is associated with my caste,” she said. Mayawati was addressing a rally of the BSPSP-RLD alliance in favour of Samajwadi Party nominee Dharmendra Yadav for the Badaun Lok Sabha seat, where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was also present. “In these elections, the NaMo people are going out of power and the Jai Bhim ones are coming, which is also the need of the country.” NaMo is an acronym for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jai Bhim is the slogan used by followers of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar. The BSP president said Dalits have long left the Con- gress and also the BJP. “After Independence, for a long time, both at the Centre and states, there had been Congress governments.... It was the wrong policies and working of the Congress that forced it out of power,” Mayawati said. Similarly, she said, in the ongoing election, the BJP will be thrown out of power because of its pro-RSS, “casteist, capitalist, communal and narrow mindset”, besides alleged wrong policies and wrong-doings. “In these elections, no amount of drama or 'jumlebaazi' (rhetoric) is going to help the BJP. Even the new drama of 'chowkidari' is not going to save them this time,” Mayawati said. The BSP leader also alleged that Modi had tried to mislead people by resorting to gimmicks even after the announcement of election dates. Mayawati also alleged that even one-fourth of the “achchhe din” (goods days) that the BJP promised had not been fulfilled. British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith laying a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial on Saturday to mark the centenary of the massacre. The envoy said Britain deeply regrets the incident that took place on this day a 100 years ago. AFP Modi woos middle class in IT capital, attacks Congress, flaunts ASAT test TYAGARAJ SHARMA BENGALURU,13 APRIL Prime Minister Narendra Modi today iterated his government’s strength, determination and resolve to take bold decisions against terrorism citing the recent surgical and the Balakot strikes in this connection. This, he said here, was in sharp contrast to the negative and spineless approach of the Congress governments in the past. Referring to his government's decision to acquire the Anti Satellite (ASAT) missile capabilities, he said that in the process India had become the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to have the facility, much to the chagrin of the Opposition parties in the country. He also dwelt at length at what he alleged was the attack on the middle class by the Congress which was calling it selfish. This was in sharp contrast to the steps taken by his government to protect their interests. Addressing a well attended rally in the IT capital with the objective of reaching over 90 lakh voters spread over the nearby constituencies of Kolar and Chickballapur as well, in addition to Bangalore Central, Bengaluru North, Bengaluru South and Bangalore Rural, he reminded the audience of the security that his government had ensured in the state’s capital. In this context he referred to the repeated bomb blasts in the city which were witnessed during the earlier regimes. Similarly, he said the Con- gress governments had, in the past, failed to even honour the sacrifices made by the soldiers while protecting the country. While its rulers kept on building memorials and statues in the name of one family, it was his government which built one for the soldiers in New Delhi. In the same vein he spoke about how his government had provided bullet proof jackets for the Armed Forces, a request from the Defence which the previous government had repeatedly ignored. This was not all. He spoke at length about his government’s contribution to Digital India , highlighting " the sharp increase in the users of Internet and smartphones. " He also iterated the Centre's role in pushing "Make in India,Rupay cards and BHIM app ,all of which had become popular in India and abroad. DetaiIing the failure of the Congress under the UPA for not hastening the spread of optic fibre in the country, he said in sharp contrast, his government had covered over 1.25 lakh panchayats during its tenure. According to him, the Congress was accusing the middle class of being selfish; even abusing it. "This is the very middle class which had supported the Congress government ." Yet, he claimed that the party wanted to tax it heavily. Chowkidar is ‘hundred per cent chor’, alleges Congress chief PRESS TRUST OF INDIA KOLAR/CHITRADURGA (KARNA), 13 APRIL Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged the “chowkidar” was a “100 per cent chor” and the Lok Sabha polls was a fight between Anil Ambani and ordinary people and thieves and honest people. Stepping up the campaign for the ruling Congress-JDS alliance on a day when the Prime Minister was also on a blitzkrieg in Karnataka, Gandhi said he wanted to know “why all the thieves have surnames of Modi.” The Congress president said he would not like to be the Chowkidar (watchman), but the voice of the people. Continuing his vituperative attack on the Modi government over the Rafale fighter jet deal at a rally in Kolar, he said, “100 per cent. Chowki- dar is a chor (thief )” and alleged that the Prime Mnister stole Rs 30,000 crore and gifted it to his “thief friend” Anil Ambani. “You stole Rs 30,000 crore and gifted to your thief friend. You 100 per cent steal money. 'Chowkidar' is a thief. Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksy, Lalit Modi, Mallya, Anil Ambani and Narendra Modi - There is a group, a team of thieves,” Gandhi said, attacking Modi, who has described himself as a “chowkidar” in his battle against graft. He also mocked the surname Modi, saying, “I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don't know how many more such Modis will come out.” Gandhi also said Modi no longer spoke about farmers, jobs and corruption. “Unlike him, we don't tell lies.” At the Chitradurga rally, Gandhi said the 2019 Lok Sabha election is a fight between Anil Ambani and ordinary people, thieves and honest people and false promises and the truth. “This election is between Anil Ambani and the common citizens, five years of 'Anyay' (injustice) and NYAY (justice/minimum income scheme), thieves and honest people and false promises and truth,” Gandhi said. He said the 2019 election was also a fight between ideologies, where there is hatred, anger and divisive politics on the one hand and love, affection and brotherhood on the other.
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