CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 FEBRUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: TRUMP SLAMS MCCONNELL HUNTER BIDEN AND THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE P7 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures most likely to be around 28 °C and 20 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 97 % TEMPERATURE P10 Max: 27.7 °C (-2) Min: 19.5 °C (+1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:07 hrs 17:35 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 09:33 hrs 22:24 hrs Next moon quarter on 20 February THUMBNAILS Punjab finance minister and Congress leader Manpreet Singh Badal meets the winning candidates of his party after the results of municipal corporation elections were declared in Bathinda, Wednesday. AGENCIES Cong sweeps Punjab civic polls: In a boost to the Congress ahead of Assembly polls expected early in 2022, the ruling party on Wednesday swept the urban local body polls in Punjab, leaving both Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and BJP far behind. In the final count, the Congress had won 1199 of the 1815 wards (municipal councils) and 281 of the 350 municipal corporation seats, with SAD trailing at 289 and 33, BJP at 38 and 20, and AAP at 57 and nine, while the remaining seats largely went to Independents and others. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday hailed the Congress party’s spectacular victory in the state municipal polls. Juvenile justice law: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the juvenile justice law to increase the scrutiny of child care institutions and enhance the role of district magistrates to ensure the set-up works in the best interests of children. Women and child development minister Smriti Irani told the media that district magistrates along with additional district magistrates will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district. She said a bill in this regard would be brought in Parliament to amend The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015. P12 #MeToo: Ramani acquitted Defamation case was filed against Priya Ramani for accusing M J Akbar of sexual misconduct PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 2018 Delhi court on Wednesday threw out M J Akbar's criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani who accused him of sexual harassment, saying a woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against such abuse. A woman has the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades, the court said and dismissed Akbar's complaint, holding that no charges were proved against Ramani. It said right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right of life and dignity of a woman as guaranteed in the Constitution under Article 21 and right of equality before law and A THE AKBAR VS RAMANI SAGA 2020 2021 8 OCTOBER Ramani names Akbar in a tweet with a reference to a 2017 Vogue India article she had written titled To the Harvey Weinsteins of the World. 15 OCTOBER Akbar files criminal defamation complaint before Delhi court. 17 OCTOBER Akbar resigns as Union minister. 2019 7 FEBRUARY Court starts hearing final arguments in the case. 19 SEPTEMBER Judge hearing the case seeks transfer of the matter to another court. 22 OCTOBER District judge refuses to transfer the case to another court and sends it back to the magistrate who was hearing the matter. 18 NOVEMBER Judge hearing the case transferred. 21 NOVEMBER New judge starts hearing afresh the final arguments in the case. 25 FEBRUARY Delhi court grants bail to Ramani. equal protection of law as guaranteed under Article 14. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said it is shameful that incidents of crime and violence against women are happening in the country where epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana were written around the theme of No Covid deaths in last 24 hours in 18 states, UTs SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 17 FEBRUARY Eighteen states and Union Territories, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, have not reported any death due to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday. The country as a whole reported 100 fatalities linked to the virus in the same period, the majority of them occurring in Maharashtra (39), Kerala (18) and Tamil Nadu (seven). India reported 11,610 fresh cases during the period, taking its tally of infections to 1,09,37,320, while the death toll now PRESS TRUST OF INDIA stands at 1,55,913, with the case fatality rate at 1.43 per cent. There are 1,36,549 active cases of the coronavirus infection in the country currently. Nearly 90 lakh vaccine doses have been given to beneficiaries through 1,91,373 sessions till 8 a.m. on Wednesday, according to provisional data. Bengal logs 133 cases: West Bengal today registered 133 fresh Covid cases and two deaths linked to the virus infection. The state's total Covid case count is 5,73,012 with the death toll reaching 10,237. There are 3,736 active cases. Kolkata recorded 44 cases and 1 death while The price of petrol crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark in Rajasthan after fuel rates were hiked for the ninth day in a row. Opposition parties have criticised the price hikes, blaming it on the Modi government NEW DELHI, 17 FEBRUARY hiked for the ninth day in a row. Since India imports the majority of its oil needs, retail rates are benchmarked to international prices, which have spiralled in recent weeks. Opposition parties, including the Congress, have criticised the price hikes, blaming it on the Modi government raising taxes to scoop out the benefit that arose from international oil rates plunging to a two-decade low in April/May last year.While global rates have rebounded with pick up in demand, the government has not restored the taxes, which are at a record high. Central and state taxes make up for 60 per cent of the retail selling price of petrol and 1 FEBRUARY Court reserves the verdict after both the parties complete their final arguments. 10 FEBRUARY Judgment adjourned to Feb 17. 17 FEBRUARY Ramani acquitted, court dismisses the complaint filed by Akbar. 29 JANUARY Delhi court summons Ramani as accused in the case. 1,09,37,320 1,36,549 11,610 11,833 1,55,913 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 17 FEB 2021 North 24-Parganas recorded 35 cases and 1 death. Previous govts blamed for fuel price hike On a day when petrol crossed the Rs 100 a litre mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the middleclass would not have been burdened if the previous governments had focussed on reducing India's energy import dependence. Without referring to the relentless increase in retail fuel prices, which are linked to international rates, he said India imported over 85 per cent of its oil needs in the 2019-20 financial year and 53 per cent of its gas requirement. “Can a diverse and talented nation like ours be so energy import dependent?” he asked, addressing an online event to inaugurate oil and gas projects in poll-bound Tamil Nadu. “I do not want to criticise anyone but I want to say (that) had we focused on this subject much earlier, our middleclass would not be burdened,” he said. The price of petrol crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark in Rajasthan after fuel rates were P4 Toolkit case: Nikita Jacob gets transit pre-arrest bail NEW DELHI, 17 FEBRUARY Min. 47 % GOAL-RUSH MBAPPE LEAVES MESSI AND BARCA IN A DAZE RAHUL FORGIVES FATHER’S KILLERS over 54 per cent of diesel. The Prime Minister further said it was a collective duty to work towards clean and green sources of energy as well as energy independence. “Our government is sensitive to the concerns of the middle class. That is why India is now increasing the focus on ethanol to help farmers and consumers,” he said. Ethanol extracted from sugarcane is being doped in petrol to reduce the requirement of imports. Currently, 8.5 per cent of petrol is ethanol and this proportion is targeted to be raised to 20 per cent by 2025, helping cut imports as well as give farmers an alternate source of income. India, he said, is looking to cut energy import dependence as well as diversify its sources to reduce risks. The focus now is also towards using renewable sources of energy, which will by 2030 form 40 per cent of energy generated in the country, he said, listing measures such as increased share of solar power, focus on public transport, switching to LED bulbs, scrappage policy for vehicles and use of solar pumps in irrigation. Modi further said India is looking to reduce energy import dependence through capacity building. “In 2019-20, we were fourth in the world in (oil) refining capacity. About 65.2 million tonnes of petroleum product have been exported. This number is expected to rise even further.” Also, Indian firms have ventured overseas in the acquisition of oil and gas assets, which provide energy security. Modi said the nation is looking to build a natural gas pipeline grid to boost usage of the environment-friendly fuel that would help cut carbon emissions. CMYK respect for women. Ramani made allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of the global #MeToo movement in 2018. Akbar filed the complaint against her on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago. The court said it is of “the considered view that case of complainant regarding commission of offence punishable under section 500 IPC against the accused Priya Ramani is not proved and she is acquitted for the same”. Reacting to the verdict, Ramani said it feels great to have truth validated before the court. She said: “It feels amazing, truly does. I feel vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment at work place. I thank everyone who stood by me especially my witnesses Ghazala Wahab who came to the court and testified on my behalf”. MUMBAI, 17 FEBRUARY The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted transit anticipatory bail to advocate Nikita Jacob, a suspect in a case registered by Delhi police in connection with the “toolkit” shared by climate activist Greta Thunberg over the ongoing farmers' protest. Justice P D Naik gave Jacob three weeks' time to approach the court concerned in Delhi for relief. The court in its order noted the applicant (Jacob) is a permanent resident of Mumbai and the FIR is lodged in Delhi, and the relief sought by her now is only temporary. The court said if Jacob is arrested in the three-week period, then she shall be released after furnishing a bond of Rs 25,000. Meanwhile, Shivlal Muluk, father of green activist Shantanu Muluk, a suspect in the “toolkit” case, told local police that two persons claiming to be personnel of Delhi Police seized a computer hard disk and other items from Muluk's home in Beed in Maharashtra without a search warrant on February 12. Beed superintendent of police Raja Ramaswami said the matter was under investigation. Man arrested for waving swords during R-Day protest:A 30-year-old man who was allegedly swinging swords that “motivated” the protesters at the Red Fort during the violence in Delhi on Republic Day has been arrested, police said on Wednesday. Maninder Singh, who works as a car AC mechanic, was arrested on Tuesday near the C D block bus stop in Pitampura in northwest Delhi.
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