CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 26 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 DEVE GOWDA ASKS MODI TO HELP HORTICULTURE FARMERS BIDEN SPEAKS WITH EGYPTIAN PREZ ON MIDEAST CONFLICT P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Heavy shower in some areas very likely. Temperature will be in the range of 30-24 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 007.1 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.92% TEMPERATURE THUMBNAILS Desolate look during lockdown at Chandni Chawk, in the Capital on Tuesday. SNS GDP growth forecast: The country's GDP is likely to grow by 1.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY 2020-21 and may see a contraction of around 7.3 per cent for the full financial year, according to an SBI research report Ecowrap. The e-National Statistical Office will release the GDP estimates for the March 2021 quarter and provisional annual estimates for the year 2020-21 on 31 May. Meanwhile, Barclays on Tuesday cut India's FY'22 GDP growth estimate by a sharp 0.80 per cent to 9.2 per cent, saying economic impact of second wave P8 has been deeper than initially expected. Ex-CM Buddha hospitalised: Ex-West Bengal C chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who tested Covid-19 positive last week, was admitted to a hospital here on Tuesday after his health condition deteriorated, officials said. His oxygen level slipped below 90 per cent this morning, following which doctors advised hosP3 pitalisation, they said. Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, wanted in a Rs 13,500 crore loan fraud in Punjab National Bank, has gone missing in Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since January 2018, his lawyer and the Royal Police Force of the Caribbean island nation said. The businessman was last seen on Sunday in his car. Police recovered the vehicle after a search but Choksi could not be found, a statement from the Antiguan police said on Monday night India time. His lawyer Vijay Aggarwal confirmed that Choksi had been missing since Sunday. Police in Antigua have started search operations for him. The family is worried about his safety,” Aggarwal said today. The CBI, which is probing allegations against Choksi, is verifying the reports through “formal and informal” channels. The statement from the Antiguan police carries a photograph of the businessman and seeks information from the public. “The Police are investigating a Missing Person Report made of 62-year-old Mehul Choksi of Jolly Harbour. Mehul was reported missing on Sunday 23rd May 2021 at the Johnson Point Police Station,” it said. Antiguanewsroom, a local media outlet, quoted police commissioner Atlee Rodney as saying that the police is “following up on the whereabouts of Indian businessman Mehul Choksi”, who is “rumoured” to be PTI missing. P5 ‘BUMRAH VULNERABLE TO INJURIES’ P12 Narada: SC allows Yaas landfall likely near CBI to withdraw Odisha’s Dhamra Port: IMD appeal against HC SNS & PTI Max: 30.6°C (-5) Min: 25.5°C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 04:53 hrs 18:15 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 18:15 hrs 04:32 hrs Next new moon on 10 June NEW DELHI, 25 MAY P4 Yaasintensifies into very severe cyclonic storm, says IMD DG; red-coded warning alert issued Min. 79% Manhunt launched for missing Mehul Choksi: Lawyer MAHA TO GET 60K VIALS OF MUCORMYCOSIS DRUG: TOPE BHUBANESWAR/KOLKATA/RANCHI, 25 MAY disha and West Bengal have evacuated lakhs of people from vulnerable areas to safety as severe cyclonic storm Yaas is nearing the coasts and is expected to make landfall near Dhamra Port in Bhadrak district early on Wednesday morning. Neighbouring Jharkhand is also preparing for Yaas impact. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that her administration has evacuated over nine lakh people to safe shelters. The Odisha government said it has moved over 2 lakh people from vulnerable areas in coastal districts to safety and will complete the evacuation of 7.5 lakh people by 9 pm tonight . IMD Director General Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that Yaas has intensified into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) on Tuesday evening. He said the cyclone’s impact will be severe for six hours before and after the landfall and Chandbali will witness the maximum damage. Dr Umashankar Das, a scientist at the Regional Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar said that the landfall will most likely be between Dhamra and Chandbali in Odisha’s Bhadrak district. Bhadrak and Balasore districts will be in the ‘eye of the storm’ while bordering Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts will be severely impacted by Yaas, said Odisha Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that each life is precious, our policy is zero casualty while stressing on drinking water, Covid care, uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen and round the clock monitoring. Over 5,000 O ‘BIG TREES, ELECTRIC POLES MAY GET UPROOTED’ Yaas very likely to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach near north Odisha coast close to Dhamra port by the early morning tomorrow. Chandbali is likely to face the maximum fury. Wind speeds will increase to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph over northwest Bay of Bengal and along and off north Satellite image provided by Odisha and adjoining West NASA shows Yaas approaching Bengal coasts. India’s eastern coast. AP ‘Highest-ever’ number of NDRF teams for Odisha, Bengal NEW DELHI, 25 MAY The NDRF has earmarked its highest-ever number of teams for deployment in Odisha and West Bengal as part of its preparations for Yaas, a senior officer said on Tuesday. A total of 112 teams in five states and the UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been deployed. Out of these, the highest number of 52 teams are designated for Odisha followed by 45 for Bengal. NDRF DG S N Pradhan tweeted that this was the “highest ever” commitment of its teams PTI in Odisha and Bengal. In Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district and West Bengal’s Midnapore (east) and South 24 Parganas districts, wind speeds may increase to 100-120 kmph gusting to 145 kmph. officers have been deployed for rescue and relief work, he added. Wind velocity has picked up in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Bhadrak districts causing damage to houses, uprooting trees and disrupting power supply. Miss Banerjee said over 74,000 officers and workers and over 2 lakh policemen and civic volunteers have been deployed. Senior IAS officers will monitor the situation in different districts, she added. KMC board of administrators’ chairman Firhad Hakim is monitoring the situation from home, she said. Jena said that over 2.10 lakh people residing in kutcha houses in low-lying areas have been moved to cyclone shelters and the target is to shift 7.5 lakh. Around 5,000 pregnant women expecting delivery by 1 June have been admitted to hospitals, a health official said. Jena said four coastal districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Balasore are in the high-risk zone, while the impact of Yaas will also be felt in Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundergarh, Dhenkanal, Angul, and parts of Puri and Khurda districts. Also, 404 rescue teams including 52 from the NDRF, 60 from the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, 205 Fire service teams and 86 groups of tree-cutters have been deployed in the vulnerable districts, he said. Around 50 mm rainfall has been recorded across 30 districts since Monday night, with Jagatsinghpur receiving the maximum downpour, Jena said. He said over 10,000 energy department employees have been deployed in the vulnerable districts to restore power and 2,000 more will reach by Tuesday night. Jajpur district administration has prohibited the movement of vehicles, barring emergency ones, on NH 16 from Chandikhole to Balasore from Tuesday midnight till landfall, collector Chakravarti Singh Rathore said. “Big trees and electric poles may get uprooted. Chandbali is likely to witness the maximum damage due to the cyclone,” Mohapatra said. Wind speeds will increase to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph over northwest Bay of Bengal and along and off north Odisha and adjoining West Ben- gal coasts during landfall, it said. South Eastern Railways has announced the cancellation of several passenger special trains till Wednesday. Jharkhand has evacuated people to safety in East and West Singhbhum districts, a senior official said. The cyclone is likely to hit the Kolhan division comprising east and west Singhbhum and Saraikela-Kharsawan districts, besides Bokaro and Khunti, disaster management secretary Amitabh Kaushal said, adding that eight NDRF teams have been deployed in Kolhan division areas. Hospitals have been asked to ensure alternate arrangements for electricity, oxygen and other essential supplies. DGP Neeraj Sinha said police machinery is also ready to deal with any exigency. IMD senior scientist Dr R K Jenamani said Jharkhand is likely to witness wind speeds from 110kmph to 120kmph. See pg 3 Daily Covid cases fall below 2-lakh mark SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 25 MAY The daily Covid-19 cases in the country fell below the 2-lakh mark after over a month taking the total tally to 2,69,48,874, while the death toll rose to 3,07,231, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday. A total of 1,96,427 new cases were reported in a day. The country also reported the lowest death toll in 21 days with 3,511 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The active cases have further reduced to 25,86,782. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,40,54,861. A total of 3,07,231 deaths A health worker collects swab sample of a passenger at a Covid-19 testing counter at New Delhi Railway Station, in the Capital on Tuesday. SNS have been reported so far in the country. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate has reduced and now stands at 9.54 per cent, while the single-day recoveries continue to outnumber the new cases for the 12th consecutive day, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday. The active Covid-19 caseload has also reduced with a net decline of 1,33,934 cases being witnessed in a span of 24 hours. It now accounts for 9.60 per cent of the country’s total infections. The active cases have decreased since its last peak on 10 May. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 25 MAY The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted CBI to withdraw its appeal against Calcutta High Court order allowing house arrest of four leaders, including three from TMC, in the Narada bribery case. A vacation bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai took note of the fact that a five-Judge bench of the Calcutta High Court is already hearing the Narada case and permitted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, to withdraw its appeal and raise all the grievances there. The apex court said that the CBI “can proceed against those persons who have taken law into their hands” referring to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s ‘dharna’ at CBI’s Nizam Palace office in Kolkata. The apex court was hearing the CBI’s plea challenging the house arrest of three TMC leaders including two Cabinet ministers-Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee-TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former city mayor Sovan Chatterjee by Calcutta HC. According to the CBI, Miss Banerjee had rushed to its office on 17 May and passed several derogatory and defamatory comments on the probe agency. She sat on dharna for six hours while a fuming mob continued to swell stifling the job of investigating officer, the agency said, adding that agitated TMC supporters and workers also pelted stones. “We will make it very clear that we do not appreciate the ‘dharnas’. But, if the chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) or the law minister take the law into their hands, should the accused suffer because of it. You can proceed against those persons who have taken law into their hands,” the bench said. The bench noted that there is ample remedy in the Constitution to address such situations, and remarked, “We are not here to advise the government or CBI.” The bench told Mehta: “Why should the accused be made to suffer because of a dharna by the chief minister and law minister?...Proceed against them if you wish to.” The bench said: “We do not like to mix liberty of citizens with whatever illegal acts of politicians.We will not do that.” However, the top court asked CBI who is more in a position to influence the witnesses: “those who were named in charge-sheet or those who haven’t been?” On CBI’s contention to move the trial to another state, the bench observed that it may demoralise the High Court. The top court said that Calcutta HC’s five-judge bench was already hearing the matter, and asked CBI whether it wants to withdraw its appeal. Mehta submitted, “it is happening periodically in the state that the CM barges into investigating agency office to help the accused”. However, CBI withdrew its appeal from the top court. Meanwhile, Supreme Court asked the Centre and West Bengal government to respond to a plea seeking directions to prevent the alleged exodus due to “statesponsored” violence after the assembly polls, constituting an SIT to probe the issue and take action against culprits. AERIAL VIEW 2,69,48,874 25,86,782 1,96,427 Bengal cases: West Bengal today registered 17,005 fresh Covid cases and 157 deaths. Kolkata recorded 2,979 cases and 33 deaths while North 24 Parganas recorded 3,452 fresh cases and 46 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 13,01,978 and death toll is 14,674 in the state till now while there are 1,26,376 active cases. 3,26,850 3,07,231 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 25 MAY 2021 Desolate look of city from the top of Landfill Bhalswa during lockdown, in the Capital on Tuesday. SNS ‘Covid toolkit’: 2 Cong leaders get notices; Rahul says ‘truth remains unafraid’ SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 25 MAY The Delhi Police has served notices to two Congress leaders in the ‘Covid toolkit’ case, asking them to join the probe into a complaint in the matter, officials said on Tuesday. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said“Truth remains unafraid” on Tuesday after the Delhi Police sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about the alleged ‘Covid toolkit’. A senior police officer confirmed that the notices were served to Congress social media head Rohan Gupta and party spokesperson MV Rajeev Gowda in connection with the probe. “These are not fresh notices. These notices were served around 8-9 days ago based on a complaint received from the Congress. They were asked to join the probe so that it could help us in carrying the investigation forward,” the officer said. A preliminary enquiry into the complaint is still being carried out by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell team and no FIR has been registered in the matter yet, officials said. On Monday, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about the alleged “Covid toolkit”, asking it to share information based on which it had classified a related tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as manipulated media, officials had said. The police teams also descended on the microblogging site’s offices in Lado Sarai in Delhi and in Gurgaon Monday evening. “The Delhi police team went to the Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter as a part of routine process. This These are not fresh notices. These notices were served around 8-9 days ago based on a complaint received from the Congress. They (Congress social media head Rohan Gupta and party spokesperson MV Rajeev Gowda) were asked to join the probe so that it could help us in carrying the investigation forward SENIOR POLICE OFFICER DELHI POLICE was necessitated as we wanted to ascertain who is the right person to serve a notice, as replies by Twitter India MD have been very ambiguous,” Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal had said. The BJP has accused the Congress of creating a “toolkit” on how to tarnish the image of the coun- try and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Congress has denied the allegation and claimed that the BJP is propagating a fake “toolkit” to defame it. Last week, Twitter labelled as “manipulated media” a tweet by Patra on the alleged “toolkit”. Twitter says it “may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated”. Biswal said the Delhi Police is inquiring into a complaint in the toolkit matter. “It appears that Twitter has some information which is not known to us and on the basis of which they have classified it (Patra’s tweet) as such. This information is relevant to the inquiry. The Special Cell, which is conducting the inquiry, wants to find out the truth. Twitter, which has claimed to know the underlying truth, should CMYK clarify,” he said. The government had earlier asked Twitter to remove the “manipulated media” tag as the matter is pending before law enforcement agency. Using the hashtag ‘Toolkit’, Gandhi tweeted, “Truth remains unafraid.” Congress seeks manipulated media tag The Congress on Tuesday demanded that Twitter affix manipulated media tag to tweets of several Union ministers for allegedly spreading false and malicious propaganda against the party. Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote to Twitter’s Lead for Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Vijaya Gadde and its Deputy General Counsel and Vice President (Legal) Jim Baker, seeking stern action against 11 Union ministers for allegedly spread- ing false and forged documents. Surjewala has alleged that the “forged, fabricated material” and the claims made under the #CongressToolkitExposed by various ministers are identical to the material that has already been marked as ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter. He alleged that the subject matter of the forged Toolkit document was created by certain BJP leaders to gain undue and wrongful political advantage by spreading potentially dangerous, false and fabricated material through their Twitter handles against the Indian National Congress and its leaders. The Union ministers against whom the Congress has sought action are Giriaj Singh, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prahlad Joshi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Thaw- archand Gehlot, Harsh Vardhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Surjewala said, “It is a matter of fact that people tend to believe ‘true’ and take on face value, any information that is put up directly by a Union minister of the Government of India through his/ her official/ verified Twitter account.” “Hence, it becomes all the more imperative to tag, ‘manipulative media’ (sic), on all such tweets made by Ministers of the Government of India on the above referred forged toolkit document created by the BJP he said in his ,” complaint. “It is reasonable to expect that the aforementioned individuals will be dealt with the same yardstick as applied in other cases where the Twitter platform is misused to broadcast forged and fabricated material...,” he also said.
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