SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 04 JULY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 | `5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with light rain/ thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 39 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively. P10 Govt, Opp spar over French Rafale probe PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 43% NEW DELHI, 3 JULY TEMPERATURE Max: 38.6°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:29 hrs MOON RISES 01:53 hrs P4 Cong seeks JPC investigation, BJP says Rahul agent of rival companies RAINFALL: 019.2 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 84% BIDEN CALLS FOR BRAZIL SCRAPE BIPARTISAN ACTION ON THROUGH A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP COPA TEST SPL COURT REJECTS CLOSURE OF PROBE AGAINST K’TAKA CM GLOCALISATION OF HUMANITY Min: 24.1°C (-4) SUN SETS 19:23 hrs MOON SETS 14:32 hrs THUMBNAILS Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress activists protest against LPG and fuel price hike, outside Shastri SUBRATA DUTTA Bhawan, on Saturday. BJP claims victory in UP local elections: The Uttar Pradesh BJP has claimed that the partybacked candidates won 67 of 75 seats of the district panchayat chief, the voting for which was held on Saturday. State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh told reporters that the success of the party was due to the welfare policies initiated by its government and the popularity of PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath. (P5) ED summons Deshmukh, son in PMLA case: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and his son have been issued fresh summons by the Enforcement Directorate to appear next week in a money laundering case against them, officials said on Saturday. Deshmukh has been asked to record his statement at the central agency's office in south Mumbai on Monday while his son on 6 July. (P5) Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao announce divorce: Actor Aamir Khan and producer-director Kiran Rao on Saturday announced their decision to get divorced after 15 years of marriage and said they were ready to start a new chapter as co-parents and family for each other. (P5) T he Congress on Saturday demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Rafale deal, alleging corruption in the purchase of the fighter jets, and said such an investigation is the only way forward to find the truth. The Congress said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order the investigation and come clean on the deal. The Opposition party is also set to rake up the issue in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament. The Congress’ demand came after French investigative website Mediapart reported that a French judge has been appointed to lead a “highly sensitive” judicial investigation into alleged “corruption and favouritism” in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal with India. “Corruption in the Rafale deal has come out clearly now. The stand of the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi has been vindicated today after the French government ordered a probe,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told a press conference. The French public prosecution agency has ordered an investigation into the alleged corruption in the defence deal, he said and urged Prime Minister Modi to come forward and order the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe. The Mediapart said the probe into the inter-gov- French investigative website Mediapart reported that a French judge has been appointed to lead a “highly sensitive” judicial investigation into alleged “corruption and favouritism” in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal with India. Mediapart said the investigation into the inter-governmental deal signed in 2016 was formally opened on June 14. ernmental deal signed in 2016 was formally opened on 14 June. “A judicial probe into suspected corruption has been opened in France over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft,” the Mediapart reported on the latest development on the controversial deal. It said the investigation has been initiated by the national financial prosecutors’ office (PNF). Surjewala said since the matter deals with national security and identity, a fair and independent JPC probe is the only way out and not the Supreme Court. “When the French government has accepted that there is corruption in the deal, should a JPC probe not be held in the country where the corruption took place,” he asked. The judicial investigation has been ordered by France's national financial prosecutors' office, following Mediapart's fresh reports in April of alleged wrongdoings in the deal as well as a complaint filed by French NGO Sherpa that specialises in financial crime. Mediapart journalist Yann Philippin, who filed a series of reports on the deal, said a first complaint was “buried” in 2019 by a former PNF chief. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took an apparent swipe over the Rafale deal, while party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra quoted Lord Buddha to say, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” The BJP however, accu, sed the Congress of playing politics on the issue and alleged that Gandhi is acting as an agent of rival defence companies and being used as a “pawn”. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra played down the French P12 Pushkar Singh Dhami to be new U’khand CM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA DEHRADUN, 3 JULY investigation and said the Congress keeps raking up corruption allegations in the Rafale deal in an attempt to “weaken” India. Surjewala said this issue is not about Congress versus BJP but this is an issue that , concerns the security of the country and “corruption” in the biggest defence deal. “The facts now clearly tell and call for a thorough JPC probe into the Rafale scam. Will the Prime Minister, like the French, now answer to the nation and tell when the Prime Minister will submit his government to a JPC probe into the Rafale scam,” the Congress leader asked. He said this is an issue of national interest and against those who are filling their pockets by indulging in corruption in defence deals. Surjewala said a JPC probe will be able to call witnesses and will be able to have access to all government files which the Supreme Court or the Central Vigilance Commission could never see. It will be able to ask probing questions, will be able to punish somebody for lying and will be able to summon the prime minister, defence minister or defence ministry officials and anybody else, he said. Asked if the Congress would move court again, Surejwala said, “This is not a matter to be deliberated by the court as the SC finally conceded. They don’t have the jurisdiction or capacity to let witnesses depose before the SC or to have access to the entire government record. Only a fair independent JPC can do it.” Pushkar Singh Dhami will be the new chief minister of Uttarakhand following his election today as the leader of the BJP legislature party in the hill state where Assembly polls are due next year. The 45-year-old will be the youngest chief minister of the state and replaces Tirath Singh Rawat, who resigned on Friday night within four months of taking charge from Trivendra Singh Rawat. Dhami will be sworn in on Sunday, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters after a legislature party meeting at the state BJP headquarters where he was a central observer. “My party has appointed a common worker, son of an ex-serviceman, who was born in the border district of Pithoragarh to serve the people. “We’ll work on people’s issues with the cooperation of all. I will carry forward the work done by my predecessors,” Dhami, a two- Uttarakhand CM-designate Pushkar Singh Dhami in Dehradun on Saturday. time MLA from Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district, said. As Dhami takes over less than a year ahead of the next Assembly elections, his biggest challenge lies in leading the BJP to another victory and retaining power in Uttarakhand, where the party has been plagued by factionalism. Changing chief ministers twice in a short span has not helped the party’s image, with the Opposition Congress accusing it of causing “political instability” and betraying the people. “We accept the challenge and we will take forward the party NEW DELHI, 3 JULY India on Saturday added 44,111 new cases of coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, less than on Friday, along with 738 new fatalities, the lowest in 86 days, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said. On 8 April, India had reported 780 deaths due to Covid in 24 hours. The first death due to Covid in the country was reported last year in March. On 23 May, 2021, the country witnessed the highest fatalities with 4,454 deaths in 24 hours. The total caseload rose to 3,05,02,362 after India crossed the three crore-mark on 25 June. The active cases have now come down below 5 lakh. The country has 4,95,533 active STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE cases presently and has witnessed a total of 4,01,050 deaths so far. Among the states, Kerala continued to fare badly, reporting another 12,456 fresh Covid cases on Saturday, along with 135 deaths. Maharashtra wasn’t far behind with 9,489 new cases and 153 deaths. According to the Union Health Ministry, a total of 57,477 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 2,96,05,779 till date. The Ministry said that a total of 34,46,11,291 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 43,99,298 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours. Delhi cases: Delhi today logged 86 fresh coronavirus infections and 5 Covid- HYDERABAD, 3 JULY 3,05,02,362 4,95,533 44,111 57,477 4,01,050 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 03 JULY 2021 linked deaths, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. (SEE P2) Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of the country’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine has announced that efficacy analysis demonstrated Covaxin to be 77.8 per cent effective against symptomatic Covid-19 with 65.2 per cent protection against the Delta variant. However, the data publicised is yet to be peer reviewed and appeared on a pre-print server, which is an online archive or repository containing work associated with various scholarly papers that are not yet peer reviewed or accepted by traditional academic journals. The vaccine manufacturer which came under criticism for the delay in publicising phase III clinical trial data Passengers wait in a long queue to board a bus after authorities eased some restrictions AGENCIES in the Covid-induced lockdown, in Kolkata on Saturday. The vaccine manufacturer which came under criticism for the delay in publicising phase III clinical trial data finally came out with the results of the trial Bharat Biotech in its final analysis of Covaxin efficacy has also claimed that Covaxin is the first to report promising efficacy against asymptomatic infections today finally came out with the results of the trial that involved nearly 25,800 volunteers in 25 facilities spread across the country. It has also claimed that Covaxin is the first to report promising efficacy against asymptomatic infections based on qPCR testing which will help in reducing disease transmission. According to a statement from Bharat Biotech, no other licensed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has reported efficacy against asymptomatic infection in a randomised con- trolled trial based on qPCR testing. The vaccine was found to demonstrate 63.6 per cent efficacy against asymptomatic Covid-19. Covaxin was also found to be well tolerated and the Data Safety Monitoring Board has not reported any safety concerns related to the vaccine. Around 12 per cent of the subjects reported experiencing commonly known side-effects. “The overall rate of adverse events observed in Covaxin was lower than that seen in other Covid-19 vaccines,” said the vaccine maker, adding that Bharat Biotech has so far not sought indemnity for Covaxin from the governments. The efficacy analysis demonstrated Covaxin to be 77.8 per cent effective against symptomatic Covid, through evaluation of 130 confirmed cases with 24 observed in the vaccine group versus 106 in placebo group. Data demonstrated 65.2 per cent protection against the SARS-CoV-2, B.1.617.2 Delta variant, the one which is currently a growing concern across the world. It was also found to be 93.4 per cent effective against severe symptomatic Covid-19 cases. Chairman and MD of Bharat Biotech Dr Krishna Ella said: “We are proud to state that innovation from India will now be available to protect global populations.” IT min lauds Google, FB for ‘compliance reports’ High Court seeks liability for govt raising false claims with impunity PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 3 JULY IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday lauded major social media platforms such as Google, Facebook and Instagram for publishing their first compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts as per new IT rules, terming it a big step towards transparency. Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms that have over 5 million users are required to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon. “Nice to see significant social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram following the new IT Rules. First compliance report on voluntary removal of offen- Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms that have over 5 million users are required to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon “Nice to see significant social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram following the new IT Rules. First compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts published by them as per IT Rules is a big step towards transparency” sive posts published by them as per IT Rules is a big step towards transparency,” Prasad tweeted. The publishing of compliance reports by Google, Facebook and Instagram is bound to turn up the heat on Twitter, which has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD, IT MIN rules, and not appointing the requisite officers, leading to it losing the ‘safe harbour’ immunity. Facebook on Friday said it “actioned” over 30 million content pieces across 10 violation categories during 15 May -15 June in the country, as the social media giant brought out its maiden monthly compliance report as mandated by the IT rules. Instagram took action against about two million pieces across nine categories during the same period. ‘Actioned’ content refers to the number of pieces of content (such as posts, photos, videos or comments) where action has been taken for violation of standards. Taking action could include removing a content from Facebook or Instagram or covering photos or videos that may be disturbing to some audiences with a warning. Google had stated that 27,762 complaints were received by Google and YouTube in April this year from users in India over alleged violation of local laws or personal rights, which resulted in removal of 59,350 pieces of content. Koo, in its report, said it has proactively moderated 54,235 content pieces. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 3 JULY The Delhi High Court expressed shock over the government raising false claims and defences with impunity as there is no accountability of officers for doing so and called for framing rules by the Centre and Delhi government to hold officers accountable for the lapses in handling of court cases. The high court, which termed it as a matter of grave concern, said it was of the prima facie view that whenever a false claim is raised by the government, it causes immense injustice to the litigant seeking justice and also puts unnecessary burden on the court. and serve the people,” Dhami said when asked whether taking over as CM just months ahead of polls will be an uphill task. The chief minister-elect thanked the party leadership for reposing faith in him and said that he will work with everyone’s cooperation. Soon after his election, Dhami headed for the Raj Bhawan along with a number of MLAs to stake his claim to form the government. WAITING FOR ETERNITY Active caseload goes below 5L Covaxin 65.2 pc effective against Delta variant STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The 45-year-old will be the youngest chief minister of the state and replaces Tirath Singh Rawat. Tirath Singh Rawat resigned on Friday within four months of taking charge from Trivendra Singh Rawat. As Dhami takes over less than a year ahead of the next Assembly elections, his biggest challenge lies in leading the BJP to another victory and retaining power in Uttarakhand The court said with these false claims, even the government suffers but the concerned officer, who has raised the false claim, does not suffer any action In all these cases, the government raised false claims/defences before this court which is a matter of grave concern. All these cases shocked the conscience of this court. It appears that the false claims are raised with impunity because there is no accountability of any government officer for raising the false claims and courts seldom take any action against the person concerned for raising false claims, Justice J R Midha said in a 31-page judgment. The court said with these false claims, even the government suffers but the concerned officer, who has raised the false claim, does not suffer any action. If the facts given by the officers are found to be false/incorrect by the court, the government shall consider taking action and the copy of the judgment be kept in the ACR file of the officer. This will ensure that the officer is held accountable for the actions taken by him in the court case, the court said. Referring to the rules framed by Sikkim for holding its officers accountable for the lapses in handling of court cases, the high court said there is a need to incorporate similar rules by the Centre. SG Tushar Mehta denies meeting Suvendu Adhikari at former’s home TMC MPs had written a letter to the PM seeking the Solicitor General’s removal stating that the alleged meeting between Adhikari and the law officer “reeks of impropriety” NEW DELHI, 3 JULY Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has denied meeting West Bengal leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari at his official residence here after the TMC wrote to PM Modi seeking his removal over the issue. The letter to the PM was written by TMC MPs Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Mahua Maitra stating the alleged meeting between Adhikari and the law officer “reeks of impropriety” as the BJP MLA is an accused in Narada and Saradha cases which are being investigated. Suvendu Adhikari did come to my residence cum office on Thursday at around 3:00 p.m unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room of my office and offered him a cup of tea. When my meeting was over and thereafter my PPS informed me about his arrival, I requested my PPS to convey to Mr Adhikari my inability to meet him and apologise as he had to wait. Mr Adhikari thanked my PPS and left without insisting to meet me. The question of my meeting with Mr Adhikari therefore did not arise, the law officer said. Adhikari had also denied the meeting, saying that he had gone to Mehta’s residence in Delhi regarding a case related to “post-poll violence” in the state but “could not meet PTI him in person”.
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