SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 17 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘GALWAN DESTROYED INDIA-CHINA TRUST’ JAISHANKAR FOR AFGHAN-LED PEACE PROCESS P4 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of very light rain / drizzle. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 36 and 19 degrees Celsius respectively. P7 P11 Heavyweights in Ph 5 fight 5th phase to witness battles between veterans and turncoats amidst Covid spurt in Bengal EC curtails campaigning for remaining poll phases RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 69% Min: 23% TEMPERATURE Max: 40.0°C (+3) SUN RISES 05:53 hrs MOON RISES 09: 56 hrs GIVE ASHWIN THE BALL AND BOB’S YOUR UNCLE HK PRO-DEMOCRACY ADVOCATES GIVEN JAIL TERMS THUMBNAILS Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee during a poll campaign at Palta, North 24 parganas; AGENCIES (right) Home Minister Amit Shah campaigns at Krishnanagar on Friday. TIRTHANKAR MITRA/ SOMA MOOKHERJEE AT STAKE: 45 ASSEMBLY SEGMENTS KOLKATA, 16 APRIL During the ongoing holy month of ‘Ramadan’, at AGENCIES Jama Masjid in New Delhi on Friday. Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha passes away: A Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha passed away in New Delhi on Friday morning in what is believed to be a Covid-19 related death, senior officials said. He was 68. He was confirmed positive for coronavirus on Thursday night and breathed his last at 4.30 am on Friday. He had taken over P4 as the CBI chief in 2012. FIR against ED quashed in gold smuggling case: In a setback to the LDF government, the Kerala High Court on Friday quashed two FIRs registered by the crime branch of the state police against unnamed ED officials for allegedly coercing Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the accused in gold smuggling case, to give statement implicating chief P4 minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the case. Russia to expel US diplomats: Russia on Friday responded in kind to new US sanctions, saying it would expel 10 US diplomats and take other retaliatory moves in a tense showdown with Washington. Moscow said it will add eight US officials to its sanctions list and move to stop US NGOs from interfering in Russia's politics. C onducted in the shadow of five election-related deaths in the previous phase, the fifth phase of the state Assembly elections tomorrow will see a cluster of political heavyweights fighting it out. The fifth phase, covering 45 Assembly constituencies in both south and north Bengal districts, stands out owing to the presence of veteran Congress leaders like Sukhabilas Barma in Jalpaiguri, Shankar Malakar in Matigara-Naxalbari, Sunil Tirkey in Phansidewa, CPI-M’s Ashok Bhattacharya in Siliguri. It is also being conducted amidst an unprecedented spurt in Covid-19 cases, with the state logging as many as 6,910 fresh cases and 26 deaths while there are 41,047 active cases. Kolkata recorded 1,844 cases and 9 deaths In a phase marked by the near absence of cine stars, Trinamul Congress stal- 24-Parganas 16 seats in North 8 in Purba Bardhaman 8in Nadia in Jalpaiguri 7in Darjeeling 5in Kalimpong 1 warts predominate. They are tourism minister Gautam Deb in Debagram-Phulbari, minister for science and technology Bratya Basu in South Dum Dum, minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs Tapas Ray at Baranagar, to name a few. Ministers apart, several senior political leaders are seeking the people’s mandate like Madan Mitra at Kamarhati, while former Bidhannagar Mayor, Sabyasachi Dutta who has crossed over to the BJP is pitted against state fire minister Sujit Bose. Another important Left leader, Shankar Ghosh of CPI-M, after having crossed over to the saffron camp is pitted against his one-time leader Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri. With the fifth phase covering parts of north Bengal, Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee’s game plan of splitting the GJMM may make a difference. Trinamul Congress is supporting the Bimal Gurung faction of the GJMM. In Nadia, the Trinamul leadership had decided to replace sitting minister Ratna Ghosh with Subhankar Singh in Chakda. Subhankar’s father Shankar Singh, who joined Trinamul from Congress is contesting in Ranaghat (NorthWest). In Krishnagunj, Dr Tapas Mondal is contesting as a Trinamul candidate where the sitting MLA Satyajit Biswas was gunned down in a soiree. In Rajarhat-Gopalpur BJP’s spokesperson, Samik Bhattacharya. is contesting against Kirtan singer Aditi Munshi who replaced technical education minister Purnendu Basu, the chief minister’s campaign manager at Nandigram. In Burdwan (South), minister Rabi Ranjan Moitra was replaced by council- Taking a serious view of the Covid-19 situation, the Election Commission today decided to curtail campaigning for the remaining phases of the state Assembly elections 72 hours before polling and prohibited all kinds of rallies, meetings and roadshows from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. beginning today in view of the spurt in coronavirus cases. The move came on the heels of an all party meeting convened by the Election Commission to exchange views with representatives of 10 recognised political parties in view of the Covid surge and Calcutta High Court’s recent observation. The EC had previously ordered a 72-hour ‘silence period’, instead of the normal 48 hours, before the fifth phase of polling tomorrow scheduled tomorrow in the wake of the deadly violence in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase. A similar silence peri- od will now apply for the remaining phases. Earlier, during the all party meeting convened by the state chief election officer today to exchange views with political parties regarding the spurt in Covid-19 cases, while the Trinamul Congress demanded clubbing of the last two phases, the BJP and the Sanjukta Morcha rejected the idea. After the meeting at Bedi Bhavan, Partha Chatterjee, TMC general secretary said the party was ready to adhere to the Covid protocols mandated by Calcutta HC while campaigning “because our party felt it necessary that to prioritise human lives.” lor Khokon Das for the TMC. In an almost unprecedented move, minister Siddiqulla Chowdhury has shifted his base from Mangalkot to Monteswar alleging interference by the party’s strongman Anubrata Mondol. Debaprasad Bag is contesting as a Trinamul candidate at Kalna, after Biswajeet Kundu, sitting Trinamul MLA defected to BJP. Dr Saptarshi Banerjee replaced former footballer Dipendu Biswas at Britain home secy approves Nirav’s extradition to India PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PROTOCOLS Campaigning curtailed 72 hours before polling Rallies, meetings and roadshows prohibited from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. beginning Friday in view of spurt in Covid numbers STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 16 APRIL Min: 20.2°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:48 hrs MOON SETS 23:32 hrs P12 Bashirhat (South) as the TMC candidate after the latter received public flak for his role in a communal flare-up. Voting will be held at 15,789 polling stations in 16 seats in North 24-Parganas, eight each in Purba Bardhaman and Nadia, seven in Jalpaiguri, five in Darjeeling and one in Kalimpong district. Elections have been held in 135 constituencies so far, and the remaining 159 seats are set to go to polls between 17 & 29 April. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed off on the order to extradite Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges related to the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, senior Indian diplomatic sources in the UK said on Friday. Modi, 50, who remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, has 14 days to apply for permission to appeal against the Home Secretary’s order in the High Court in London. Back on 25 February, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court had concluded that the diamond merchant has a case to answer before the Indian courts, leaving the sign off on the order with the Cabinet minister. He had allegedly perpetrated the fraud in the Punjab National Bank in collusion with his uncle Mehul Choksi. After a two year long legal battle, District Judge Samuel Goozee had ruled that Modi only has a case to answer in the Indian courts but that there is no evidence to suggest he would not receive a fair trial in India. He also dismissed the human rights concerns that Modi’s medical needs would not be addressed as per several Indian government assurances. “I am satisfied that there is evidence upon which NDM [Nirav Deepak Modi] could be convicted in relation [to] the conspiracy to defraud the PNB. A prima facie case is established,” the judge noted. Top court issues norms for speedy IMD predicts normal monsoon this year disposal of cheque bounce cases RAIN ALERT PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 16 APRIL The Supreme Court on Friday came out with a slew of directions to ensure speedy disposal of cheque bounce cases and asked the Centre to amend laws to ensure clubbing of trials in cases which are lodged within one year against a person relating to the same transaction. The apex court directed all the high courts across the country to issue guidelines for trial courts to deal with cheque bounce cases. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde further said that the evi- NEW DELHI, 16 APRIL SC asked the Centre to amend laws to ensure clubbing of trials in cases which are lodged within one year against a person relating to the same transaction dence in cheque dishonour cases can now be tendered by filing affidavits and there would be no need to examine witnesses physically. The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, B R Gavai, A S Bopanna and S Ravindra Bhat, asked the Centre to make “suitable amendments” in the Negotiable Instruments Act to ensure that trials in cheque bounce cases lodged in 12 months against a person can be clubbed together into one consolidated case. It reiterated the earlier decision and held that trial courts have no “inherent power” to reconsider their decisions to summon persons to face trials in the cheque bounce cases. The apex court said the issues which have not been dealt by it would be considered by a committee headed by Justice R C Chavan, former judge of the Bombay High Court. The Southwest monsoon, which brings nearly 75 per cent of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. The Long Period Average (LPA) will be 98 per cent with an error margin of plus and minus 5 per cent, said M Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Rainfall in Odisha, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya is likely to be below normal, but normal or above normal in the rest of the country, he said while releasing the first Long Rainfall in Odisha, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya is likely to be below normal, but normal or above normal in the rest of the country The monsoon will be 98 per cent of the LPA, which is normal rainfall. It is a really good news for the country and will help India have a good agriculture output Range Forecast for the fourmonth rainfall period from June to September. “The monsoon will be 98 per cent of the LPA, which is normal rainfall. It is a really good news for the country and will help India have a good agriculture output,” Rajeevan said at a virtual press conference. The LPA, the average M RAJEEVAN, SECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF EARTH SCIENCES of the season’s rainfall across the country from 1961-2010, is 88 cm. The news augurs well for economy, battered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Southwest monsoon is one of the primary drivers of the country’s economy, which is largely based on agriculture and its allied activities. Large parts of the coun- IN SOUP LONDON, 16 APRIL try rely on the four-month rainfall season for agriculture and also for filling reservoirs. This is the first time the IMD has made a specific forecast on spatial distribution. Rajeevan said the IMD will also issue month-wise forecasts during the next four months and also for the homogenous regions of the country~IMD’s four divisions ~ the Northwest India, East and Northeast India, Central India and South Peninsula. The country has recorded above normal rainfall for the last two rainfall seasons. The La Nina and El Nino factors major influences on the Indian monsoon. “There are less chances of formation of an El Nino,” Rajeevan said. Nirav Modi, 50, who remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, has 14 days to apply for permission to appeal against the Home Secretary’s order in the High Court in London UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed off on the order to extradite Nirav, wanted in India over $2 billion PNB bank fraud A prima facie case to have been established on all counts of charges brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate money laundering, intimidation of witnesses and disappearance of evidence, he had said. Under the UK Extradition Act 2003, the judge sent his findings to the Secretary of State for Home Affairs. It is the UK Cabinet minister who is authorised to order an extradition under the India-UK Extradition Treaty and has two months within which to make that decision. The CBI had registered the case on 31 January, 2018 against Modi, Choksi and others including then officials of PNB on a complaint from the Bank on the allegations that the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy amongst themselves to defraud the public sector Bank by fraudulently issuing Letters of Undertaking. 8 dead in shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis INDIANAPOLIS, 16 APRIL Eight people were shot and killed in a late-night shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and the shooter has killed himself, police said. Multiple others were injured Thursday night when gunfire erupted at the facility near the Indianapolis International Airport, police spokesperson said. Four were hospitalized, including one with critical injures. The shooter has not been identified. Police were called to reports of gunfire just after 11 p.m. and officers observed an active shooting scene. The gunAP man later killed himself. DETAILS ON P 10 PM reviews medical oxygen stocks; India adds 2.1L cases Second Covid wave grips India SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 16 APRIL Amidst a steep rise in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday undertook a comprehensive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country and called for ramping up its production. With cases hitting a new peak in several parts of the country, health infrastructure has come under increasing strain, while the demand for medical oxygen has increased. India on Friday added 2,17,353 new coronavirus infections, the second consecutive day the country reported over 2 lakh new cases, along with 1,185 new fatalities. The PM undertook a comprehensive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in PM Modi undertook a review of the current oxygen supply and projected use in coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states a statement. He also undertook a review of the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states ~ Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The PMO said that an overview of district-level situation in these states was presented to the prime minister. It said 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand of medical oxygen as Medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from Covid-19 disease in other parts of the country. 1,42,91,917 AJAY KUMAR BHALLA - HOME SECRETARY on 20 April, 25 April and 30 April respectively. The Prime Minister was briefed about production capacity in the country to meet the rising demand, it said. He suggested increasing oxygen production according to the capacity of each plant. Officials also briefed the PM about the efforts being made to import medical grade oxygen. The Centre has also written to state governments asking them to ensure that there are no restrictions on free movement of medical oxygen, including between states. India added a record 2,17,353 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the total tally of Covid19 cases to 1,42,91,917, while active cases surpassed the 15lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. Delhi’s highest-ever spike: 19,486 cases, 141 deaths: Reeling under a staggering, unprecedented coronavirus surge, Delhi today recorded the highest-ever single-day tally of 19,486 fresh infections and 141 Covid-linked deaths ~ its highest single-day fatality count till date ~ according to the Delhi government’s health (SEE P2) bulletin. 15,69,743 2,17,353 1,18,302 1,74,308 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 16 APRIL 2021 CICSE defers class 10, 12 exams: The CICSE on Friday deferred the board exams of classes 10 and 12 in view of a rise in Covid-19 cases across the country. In light of the nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, the class 10 and 12 exams which were to be held from 4 May have been deferred, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations’ chief executive and secretary Gerry Arathoon said. Lockdown in all UP districts tomorrow: Amidst a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced a lockdown across the state on Sunday. To enforce wearing of masks, the state government has doubled the fine to Rs 1,000 for those caught without masks. Passengers arrive to board train to their native places, outside Anand Vihar Railway Station on Friday. Weekend lockdown in Chandigarh: The Chandigarh administration annou-nced a weekend lockdown in the union territory from 10 pm on Friday to 5 am on Monday. K'taka CM tests Covid positive: Karnataka chief minister B SYediyurappa tested Covid positive on Friday. He was admitted first to Ramaiyya Hospital before the doctors shifted him to Manipal Hospital for treatment. SNS Javadekar tests Covid positive : Union minister Prakash Javadekar said he has tested positive for coronavirus and urged those who came in contact with him in the last few days to get themselves tested. Digvijaya Singh tests positive: The former MP CM had given his sample for Covid test to the staff of Delhi-based Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Thursday after developing symptoms.
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