TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 MAY 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 SALMAN KHURSHID WANTS HIS PARTY TO THINK BIG LIKE BJP P4 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with possibility of light rain. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 33 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively. MICROSOFT PROBED GATES BEFORE HE LEFT BOARD THE MIDEAST BATTLE P6 A GOALIE WHO DOUBLES AS SCORER P10 P12 Narada: No bail yet for arrested leaders Matter to come up for hearing tomorrow Four leaders to remain in judicial custody at Presidency correctional home till then RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 66% Min: 28% TEMPERATURE Max: 37.8°C (-2) SUN RISES 05:29 hrs MOON RISES 10:34 hrs Min: 23.6°C (-3) SUN SETS 19:07 hrs MOON SETS 0:41 hrs THUMBNAILS TMC workers protest at CBI office at Nizam Palace complex, in Kolkata on Monday. TMC ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee Women mourn the death of a family member, AGENCIES who died due to Covid. In Srinagar. WPI inflation hits double digits in April at 10.49 pc: The wholesale price-based inflation shot up to an all-time high of 10.49 per cent in April, on rising prices of food items, crude oil and manufactured goods, and experts believe that the uptrend is likely to continue. This is the fourth straight month of uptick seen in the wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation. In March 2021, it was 7.39 per cent. The low base in April last year, when WPI inflation was (-) 1.57 per cent, also contributed to the spike in April 2021. P8 SC orders rebel YSRC MP's medical examination: The Supreme Court on Monday directed rebel YSR Congress MP K Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, arrested in sedition case, be taken to Army hospital at Secunderabad in Telangana for medical examination. Raju had moved the Delhi High Court last year for his security on the ground that he was facing threats for being critical to the state government. The bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai directed that he be kept at the Army hospital P5 at Secunderabad till further orders. SNS & PTI KOLKATA, 17 MAY A cting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal today stayed the CBI court’s bail order of Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee and the matter will come up for hearing next on 19 May. The four leaders will now remain in judicial custody at Presidency correctional home till Wednesday. The bail order, approved by the Bankshal court was later challenged by the CBI in Calcutta High Court. A special CBI court had earlier on Monday granted bail to two West Bengal ministers, a TMC MLA and a former minister arrested in connection with the Narada sting tape case, their lawyer said. Special CBI court judge Anupam Mukherjee granted bail to senior ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee after hearing their lawyers and the counsel for the agency, lawyer Anindya Raut said. The CBI moved a petition later in the evening before acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Rajesh Bindal today seeking a transfer of the venue of hearing of the petition of bail of the TMC ministers and MLA and a former minister. The CBI counsel submitted the venue be shifted in the backdrop of agitations outside CBI office at Nizam Palace and elsewhere by irate crowd demanding release of the arrested persons. Earlier in the day, the four were pro- West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrives at CBI office after arrest of state IANS ministers, MLA in Narada case. In Kolkata on Monday. duced before the court through the virtual mode. They were kept at the CBI office in Nizam Palace following their arrest in the morning from their homes in different parts of Kolkata. TMC supporters held demonstrations defying lockdown norms in various places protesting the arrest of two state ministers in the Narada case by CBI. TMC party supporters defied Bengal’s lockdown norms, raised slogans against the BJP-led NDA government, and hurled stones and bricks at security personnel outside Nizam Palace, which houses the Central Bureau of Investigation offices here, protesting the arrests. The agitators also burnt tyres and blocked roads in several other parts of the state, including Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and Daily cases below 3L; uptick in fatalities SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 17 MAY India’s Covid-19 tally mounted to 2,49,65,463 on Monday with 2,81,386 fresh cases, the lowest in 27 days, while the death toll climbed to 2,74,390 as 4,106 more people succumbed to the disease, according to Union health ministry data.The daily new Covid cases being registered in India was less than 3 lakh after 26 days, the ministry said. The number of active cases stands at 35,16,997, accounting for 14.09 per cent of the total infections. The national recovery rate has improved to 84.81 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,11,74,076, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.10 per cent, it stated. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh,West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh cumulatively account for 75.04 per cent of India’s total active cases. There has been an average decline in daily new cases since 9 May. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 34,389, followed by Tamil Nadu with 33,181 new cases. A declining trend in the weekly positivity rate is also observed which stands at 18.17 per cent, it said. Delhi cases fall below 5K: Delhi today reported 4,524 fresh coronavirus cases — the lowest since 5 April — and 340 Covid deaths while the positivity rate dipped to 8.42 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The current positivity rate is the lowest since 9 April when it had stood at 7.8 per cent. On 5 April, 3,548 peo- Deadly second wave rages on 2,49,65,463 35,16,997 2,81,386 3,78,741 2,74,390 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 17 MAY 2021 ple were diagnosed with the disease, according to official data. South 24 Parganas districts. The CBI on Monday morning arrested state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra as well as former minister Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada sting case in which politicians were purportedly caught taking money on camera. West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who had rushed to the CBI office following the arrest of two state ministers, an MLA and a former party leader in Narada tapes case, left its premises almost six hours later, sources in the agency said. Earlier, she had asked agency sleuths to arrest her, too, when requested to leave the office. The fiery TMC boss wait- Adverse effects after Covishield jab minuscule in India: Govt panel SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 17 MAY Vaccine doses: More than two crore Covid-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and Union territories, while nearly three lakh doses are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days. AP govt extends curfew: The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday decided to extend the curfew till 31 May as the virus graph continued to be on an upward spiral in the state. Hoarding of Covid meds: Political leaders have no business to hoard stocks of Covid-19 medicines that are already in shortage and they are expected to surrender these drugs, said P2 Delhi High Court. SEE P 2 ed outside a room on the 15th floor, where the four leaders were reportedly escorted to, after their arrest. Banerjee, however, did not take any question from journalists gathered outside the premises. The chief minister had reportedly visited Hakim's residence in Chetla before making her way to the agency’s Nizam Palace office. The sources said Banerjee's actions are akin to interference in the probe handed over to the agency by the Calcutta High Court. Banerjee since left Nizam Palace, while her nephew Abhishek Banerjee advised party supporters not to break lockdown norms. West Bengal has gone into a 15-day lockdown from Sunday to tackle a rising surge in Corona cases. Apart from the CM, Chatterjee's estranged wife Ratna, who is now an MLA from Behala Purba, Hakim's daughter and other senior leaders of the Trinamul Congress also reached the CBI office. Reacting to the arrests, TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh claimed that the CBI action was a vengeful act and a fallout of the BJP’s loss in the West Bengal Assembly elections. “The BJP is still not able to accept defeat in the polls after having made an all-out attempt to win... This is a reprehensible act. “When the state is fighting the Covid situation, they are trying to create disturbances in such a manner,” he said. TMC MP Sougata Roy said this was a “vengeful and vindictive” decision by the Centre. Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee dubbed the arrests as illegal, contending that the CBI move based on the governor’s sanction was unlawful. “I have not received any letter from the CBI nor has anybody sought any per- India has reported 26 potential cases of bleeding and clotting after administration of Covishield vaccine, a government panel investigating adverse events following Covid-19 immunisation has found. The Union Health Ministry said in a statement on Monday that over 23,000 adverse events have been reported since the vaccination drive involving Covishield and Covaxin vaccines started in the country and of these 700 cases were reported to be serious. The National Adverse Event Following Immunisation committee (AEFI) has completed an in-depth case review of 498 serious and The National Adverse Event Following Immunisation committee has completed an in-depth case review of 498 events, of which 26 cases have been reported to be potential thromboembolic (formation of a clot in a blood vessel) after Covishield administration severe events, of which 26 cases have been reported to be potential thromboembolic (formation of a clot in a blood vessel that might also break loose and carried by the blood stream to plug another vessel) events following administration of Covishield vaccine”with a reporting rate of 0.61 cases/ million doses”. “There were no potential thromboembolic events reported following administration of Covaxin vaccine,” the ministry said. As alerts were raised in some countries on post-vaccination embolic and thrombotic events on 11 March particularly with AstraZenecaOxford vaccine, a decision was taken to conduct an urgent in-depth analysis of the adverse events (AE) in India in the light of global concerns, the ministry said. “The AEFI data in India showed that there is a very miniscule but definitive risk of thromboembolic events. The reporting rate of these events in India is around 0.61/million doses, which is much lower than the 4 cases/million reported in the UK. No oxygen shortage for this MP man! Tauktae barrels towards Guj coast; two barges adrift GAURAV CHANDRA BHOPAL, 17 MAY Even as the government and experts are grappling with ways to produce and supply adequate oxygen for Covid19 patients across India, a farmer in Madhya Pradesh simply climbs a peepal tree, fixes a plastic chair between two branches and sits there for most of the day in the belief of directly breathing in the oxygen released by the tree. The 68-year-old farmer, Rajendra Patidar of village Rangwasa near Indore, believes that directly receiving oxygen from the peepal tree keeps his body’s oxygen saturation level at 99 percent. He says that fresh and pure oxygen goes into his lungs. Doctors say such antics do not help in increasing the oxygen level in the body. Nonetheless, Patidar points out that climbing and descending the tree daily has an added advantage too, as it keeps him physically agile and fit. He states that physical fitness attained by the exercise of climbing and coming down the tree has boosted his immunity level. The farmer says he does not even have to bother about social distancing when he is on the tree. His family members, though not following in his footsteps, support his ways. They provide Patidar his meals, snacks and tea daily at the tree only, while he remains seated on the chair perched between two branches. The farmer has been carrying out this ritual for the past fortnight and says he will continue doing it regularly. According to some media reports, many hapless relatives of oxygen-requiring Covid-19 patients were also allegedly advised by policemen in Prayagraj to make the patients sit under trees to boost up their oxygen levels. Eminent pulmonologist of Bhopal, Dr Priyanath Agrawal DM, cautions people to not believe in such methods. “Non-Covid people must regularly do deep breathing exercises, Pranayam, yoga or cardiovascular exercise for maintaining good oxygen levels,” he suggested. SNS & PTI MUMBAI, 17 MAY A very severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting up to 185 km per hour was barreling towards the Gujarat coast on Monday, dumping heavy rains on Mumbai, forcing the evacuation of over 1.5 lakh people in Gujarat and leaving two barges with 410 people on board adrift in the Arabian Sea. Tropical storm Tauktae which has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm was packing wind speeds of about 20 kmph and is expected to reach Gujarat coast by the evening and cross it between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., the IMD said. As the cyclone raged past the Maharashtra coast and inched closer to Mumbai in the morning, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Interna- Strong sea waves near the Gateway of India on Monday Six persons were killed in Maharashtra’s Konkan region related to the severe cyclonic storm Tauktae while three sailors remained missing after two boats sank in the sea tional Airport here announced the suspension of operations from 11 am to 2 pm and later decided to keep all operations shut till 6 pm. Six persons were killed in Maharashtra’s Konkan region in separate incidents related to the severe cyclonic storm while three sailors remained missing after two boats sank in the sea, a statement and officials said on Monday. Over 1.5 lakh people have been shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat, while 54 teams of the NDRF and SDRF remained deployed, an official said. At least 17 Covid-19 patients on ventilator support in the Porbandar Civil Hospital’s ICU were shifted to other facilities on Monday as a precautionary measure because of cyclone Tauktae which is heading towards the Gujarat coast, an official said. The Indian Army said on Monday it has put 180 teams and nine engineer task forces on standby to face any contingency as Tauktae is likely to hit the Gujarat coast. The Army said it is continuously monitoring the situation for anticipated relief efforts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa besides the lieutenant governor of Daman and Diu regarding preparation and response to deal with cylone Tauktae. SNS mission from me as per the protocol,” he said. Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had recently granted sanction to prosecute all the four leaders, following which the probe agency finalised its chargesheet and moved to arrest them. “I do not know for what unknown reason they went to the governor and sought his sanction. The chair of the speaker was not vacant at that time, I was very much in office. “This sanction is illegal and arresting anyone based on this sanction is also illegal,” Banerjee claimed. Taking note of the widespread protests across the state, Dhankhar urged the CM to contain the “explosive situation” and asked her to weigh the “repercussions of such lawlessness and failure of constitutional mechanism”. Another senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee urged party workers to follow the law and refrain from violating the lockdown norms. Rajnath launches DRDO’s 2DG Covid medicine NEW DELHI, 17 MAY Defence minister Rajnath Singh today released the first batch of Anti-Covid drug 2DG developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), calling the medicine an important example of the country’s scientific prowess. “This drug is a new ray of hope in our fight against Covid,” he said at an event in which Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was also present. Singh said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the issue of oxygen production has been resolved with collective effort of various authorities. “We should not become complacent because this is the second wave of coronavirus and there is no certainty about the future. We can’t afford to lower our guard.” He complimented the DRDO for bringing out the drug which was the outcome of the first indigenous research in the battle against Covid-19. The drug was recently approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use. Clinical trials of the drug, 2-deoxy-Dglucose (2-DG), showed that it helps in a faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. The anti-Covid therapeutic application of the drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) along with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories SNS (DRL) in Hyderabad.
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